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Backing the development of Bitcoin Core infrastructure for ‘sound’ money

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Supporting the open-source community continues to be a priority for OKCoin, which has enabled us to sponsor the development of the very infrastructure that we depend on as a crypto exchange. Our commitment to free and open-source software, or FOSS, has led us to provide three additional grants so far in 2020. Announced on Aug. 6, our most recent grant was awarded to Marco Falke, a Bitcoin Core maintainer and the most active contributor to the Bitcoin code since 2017. This has been preceded by three more: BTCPay, Amiti Uttarwar and Fabian Jahr.

Sponsoring development of crypto infrastructure

It’s been six months since we announced our first developer grant to a Bitcoin Core developer. In those months, we’ve witnessed the fallout from a global COVID-19 pandemic, and the strange and contrasting impact it has had on global communities and markets. While the general public has been pessimistic, experiencing hardship and loss, equity markets have been rising, with the Federal Reserve significantly increasing the money supply. These flaws in the existing economic systems have only served to further solidify the importance of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin (BTC) as an alternative, “sound” currency.

We’ve also been inspired to heighten our role in supporting the open-source development of cryptocurrency infrastructure. Collectively, OKCoin has now provided over $500,000 in grants to open-source developers. Having provided these grants, we’ve been pleased to see other organizations get involved in supporting Bitcoin Core developer sponsorship as well.

FOSS sponsorship is growing

We’re excited to see the level of interest increase among a varied group of organizations, each of which views crypto from a different perspective. Optionality and partnership are very important in maintaining the independence of the developer community. This is why we partnered with BitMEX on our recent grant to Amiti Uttarwar, who has made strides in her work on Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer layer. Uttarwar’s contributions have strengthened Bitcoin Core, making the codebase more secure for everyone sending transactions.

Stronger infrastructure for “sound” money

Money is the foundation of our society, and OKCoin is committed to building crypto for the long run. Therefore, we think it’s a natural concept for us to support the developers who contribute to making Bitcoin a stronger candidate as “sound” money.

We’ve continued to focus on supporting Bitcoin Core with our latest sponsorships because we see great externality in Bitcoin Core. The development of Bitcoin supports the entire industry in the forms of education, validation and adoption.

There may be many different versions in the future where crypto is impactful, but one of the most exciting versions may have a distributed and trustless monetary system, for example, Bitcoin, as a fundamental layer. On top of the new monetary system, a distributed and trustless financial system and a distributed and trustless society could emerge. To do that, Bitcoin needs to scale. Fabian Jahr, OKCoin’s first grant recipient, worked on accelerating remote procedure calls in the UTXO set — this is just one example of the direct impact developers have on building essential Bitcoin infrastructure.

Bitcoin’s success is our success, so we don’t see developer grants as an obligation or as a donation. We see these grants as an investment in our future. Free and open-source software benefits everyone, and supporting it is particularly critical in crypto.

An open network of knowledge

Connecting with and backing Bitcoin developers has been a community effort, with a lot of knowledge shared among sponsors. Chaincode and Square Crypto have been very helpful to our efforts at OKCoin, and in order to strengthen this initiative, we’ve been happy to share what we’ve learned through the process with Kraken and others.

While not all grants are done in partnership, sponsoring open-source development is ultimately a collaborative initiative. We’ve been open about what we’ve learned because we believe it’s healthy to build a community sponsorship matrix for FOSS development.

Incentivizing open-source developers

The funding model that exists today for open-source work is based on corporate grants and financial backing. While corporate objectives may align with the work that FOSS developers are focused on, the credibility of their contributions to decentralized networks relies on their ability to function autonomously while being financially supported. We believe that allowing developers to do their work without conditions improves the quality of full-time developers committed to open-source development and ensures that the community of developers operates collectively and transparently. It’s on us as an industry to ensure that the right incentives are in place to attract and keep the best talent to help grow Bitcoin and the crypto industry.

Just as companies are continuously developing, so too is the Bitcoin codebase. There is still much work to be done, and it’s important that the organizations that rely on the infrastructure support this work. It also matters how financial backing is provided; without strings attached, allowing developers to focus on what they believe is most crucial. We’re proud to have sponsored three independent developers and the BTCPay Server project and look forward to continuing to support the open-source community.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Hong Fang is the CEO of OKCoin — a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in San Francisco — and is the chief operating officer at OKGroup. Hong comes from a Wall Street background, having spent almost a decade at Goldman Sachs where she focused on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, investment, restructuring and various other corporate development activities for both traditional financial institutions and fintech companies. She is a graduate of Peking University in Beijing, China, and has an MBA in finance, accounting and entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.



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Athena confirms plans to bring 1500 Bitcoin ATMs to El Salvador

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U.S. company Athena intends to supply El Salvador’s new crypto-based economy with 1500 Bitcoin ATMs, a company representative has confirmed.

The rollout will start small, trialing a few dozen machines to establish a business model. The Chicago headquartered firm plans to invest more than $1 million to install cryptocurrency ATMs, targeting regions where residents receive remittances from abroad.

Along with installing the new machines it will also hire staff and open an office to carry out operations in El Salvador.

Athena currently operates just two ATMs of this type in El Salvador, one at El Zonte beach as part of an experiment called “Bitcoin Beach” aimed at making the town one of the world’s first crypto economies, and the other in El Tunco, according to CNN.

Athena’s director for Latin America, Matias Goldenhörn, told Reuters that Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele had “presented us with a tough challenge of 1,500 ATMs, we will go for that, but in phases. We are a private company and we want to ensure that our development in the country is sustainable.”

On June 17, Athena posted about its plans to expand in the country in the wake of lawmakers passing a bill to make Bitcoin legal tender. The company tagged President Bukele asking if a thousand machines would be enough. He responded he had set his target on a larger figure.

Goldenhörn stated that the business model is likely to be different from that in the U.S., which currently has a total of 19,325 BTC ATMs according to Coinatmradar.

“Initially we are going to bring dozens of machines, (we’ll) test what the business model is like in El Salvador, which will probably be different than in the United States,”

Related: Athena Bitcoin installs the first Bitcoin ATM that operates with dollars in Argentina

El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption plan has already experienced pushback from the World Bank, which refused to assist the country in its transition, citing “the environmental and transparency shortcomings” associated with the digital asset.

On June 22, Cointelegraph reported that an opposing political party filed a lawsuit alleging the new Bitcoin law could be unconstitutional and harmful to the country.





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PlanB feeling ‘uneasy’ as 41% of his followers tip $100K BTC won’t happen this year

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PlanB, the brainchild behind the Bitcoin stock-to-flow model, has revealed he is feeling “uneasy” about his renowned price predictions due to the recent downtrend in markets.

The stock-to-flow (S2F) model, which has predicted BTC prices with some degree of accuracy over the past two years, has been called into question by some of his followers in a recent Twitter poll.

The anonymous analyst surveyed his followers on June 21 asking them what price they thought BTC would reach by the end of the year. He used the results to compare them to a similar survey in March when market sentiment was overwhelmingly bullish.

Of the 124,595 respondents to the latest poll, 41% thought that BTC prices would remain below $100K by the end of the year, which would invalidate the S2F model. That’s two and a half times the 16% in the previous poll who thought the lazer eyes crowd would be disappointed this year.

PlanB who originally published the price predictor in March 2019, pinned a message admitting that even he feels a little “uneasy” when BTC prices deviate from the model. However, the analyst noted that the model had managed to hold previously in March 2019, again in March 2020 when the pandemic caused a global market meltdown, and once more in September 2020.

Preston Pysh, the founder of The Investors Podcast Network, commented that it was difficult for a model to account for a blizzard of bad news that has accelerated the market downturn.

“You mean your model doesn’t account for 40%+ of mining rigs getting banned & forced to turn-off & relocate to various parts of the world…and with no forward notice to companies/entitles for the extraordinary expense to their heavily denominated BTC treasuries/retained earnings.”

The model is a calculation of a ratio based on the existing supply of Bitcoin against how much is entering circulation. The scarcer the asset becomes due to the four-year halving cycles the higher the price. PlanB’s model predicts an average price of $288K over the next three years.

Related: $288K BTC price ‘still in play’ says PlanB as Bloomberg champions Bitcoin halving

At the time of writing, Bitcoin had gained 2.9% over the past 24 hours to trade at $34,450 according to CoinGecko. The asset is currently 45% down from its all-time high of $64,800 on April 14.





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Bitcoin in uptrend but BTC may never beat gold’s $10T market cap — ex-NYSE head

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Bitcoin (BTC) is on a “lower left to upper right trend” and its volatility should not scare investors, the former head of the New York Stock Exchange says.

In an interview with CNBC on June 23, Thomas Farley revealed long-term convictions about Bitcoin and dismissed concerns over BTC price losses.

Bitcoin: Going up, but not “up only”

Coming a day after CNBC pundit Jim Cramer admitted that he sold his Bitcoin stash, suggesting that BTC/USD was going as low as $10,000, Farley provided some much-needed mainstream bullishness.

“With respect to the recent price moves, I’m kind of sanguine about them — Bitcoin’s a very volatile asset class, in part because it’s a new asset class,” he told the network.

“I have no doubt it’ll go up, it’ll go down over the long term — I still think it’s a lower left to upper right trend and I think we’re going to see that play out over five years.”

With mining upheaval coming from China still on everyone’s lips, popular mainstream criticism of Bitcoin’s energy usage was also swiftly cast aside as a temporary issue.

“I think this kerfuffle is an interesting conversation, but by and large I think it’ll be resolved because I think the blockchain at its core adds to its efficiency and in fact will add to energy efficiency over time,” he continued.

Less convinced on gold. vs. Bitcoin

When it comes to Bitcoin as “digital gold,” however, Farley was more conservative in his predictions.

Now firmly beneath a trillion-dollar market cap, Bitcoin must transform in order to take on store-of-value safe-havens.

Related: Joining the ranks: Bitcoin’s correlation with gold and stocks is growing

“I think the upper bound for now is gold, which is about a $10 trillion market cap,” he added.

“In order for Bitcoin to one day exceed gold, it’ll have to be more of an accepted form of currency — I’m not sure, frankly, if it ever gets there.”

Proponents argue that Bitcoin, by its very nature, faces just a matter of time before eclipsing gold thanks to the latter’s ultimately infinite supply and inability to beat Bitcoin in all aspects of “money.”

The precious metal saw a major sell-off last week after comments on policy from the United States Federal Reserve.

To beat gold, Bitcoin would need to trade at more than $533,000 with the current supply.