Yet again we have seen the bullish scenario for bitcoin continue on into March. Whilst bitcoin managed to again reach record price highs, it was also a month which saw the cryptocurrency able to stabilise in amidst the speculation from institutions and customer driver demand. With the US financial stimulus package set to be injected into the economy, the increase in demand for bitcoin could still be felt in the coming months.
In retrospect it was inevitable
Tesla has officially confirmed that customer payment for their vehicles are now available for customers within the US. Via his twitter account, the company CEO Elon Musk also confirmed that they do not intend to exchange any received bitcoin back into fiat, and that bitcoin purchasing options will become available outside of the US region later this year.
A terms and conditions sheet on Tesla's website which seems to be region blocked in Australia, also detailed further information in regards to only allowing bitcoin purchases within a short time frame, seeing as the price of bitcoin is volatile. It is expected that when offered to Australian customers that these T&Cs become more clear.
The most promising aspect of the announcement was the mention that "Tesla is using only internal & open source software & operates Bitcoin nodes directly". This suggests Tesla has a more active role in their bitcoin involvement than previously thought, as running a bitcoin node helps secure the network and by extension keeping track of the payments their customers make.
Coinbase goes public
In what could be a maturation process for cryptocurrency, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US (Coinbase) has announced plans to become a publicly traded company. Coinbase will be listed on the Nasdaq with the stock label of COIN, potentially as soon as April 2021.
Coinbase so far has operated as a fairly influential and powerful backer of trading crypocurrencies as far back as 2012, and has probably helped paved the way for crypto trading platforms within the last decade.
The ION project
Anyone following Microsoft's open source projects may have heard about ION, which has completed its first release version to run on the Bitcoin mainnet. ION is a decentrialised identifier (DID) network which is public, permissionless and decentralised. It is a layer 2 technology in the same way the Lightning network is (meaning its not part of the bitcoin protocol/blockchain but runs alongside it and communicates with it).
Its an interesting project which uses PKI (public key infrastructure) data which is secured by ION based nodes on its own separate network. This identifying information contains important ID information (passport, drivers license) that can be used in a variety of ways (screening job applicants, social media/email verification, etc).
The ION project is a good demonstration on the types of applications that bitcoin can potentially service outside of digital currency. The processing power and decentralised nature of the bitcoin network being used for other emerging technologies such as these is always a positive, so as long as it doesn't disrupt its intended use case (a bitcoin payment from Bob to Alice), it should be a win.
A youtuber by the name of stacksmashing was able to modify a Nintendo Gameboy cartridge to try and mine bitcoin. Through his demonstration, stacksmashing was able to use the limited processing power of the Gameboy to try and mine bitcoin blocks using an external Raspberry Pi device that sent and received transaction data from a bitcoin node connected to the bitcoin network.
Whilst the results were unsuccessful, since successfully mining a bitcoin block with a Gameboy using 4 AA batteries puts the calculatable odds as one-in-a-quadrillion, he further proved that it did indeed work by running his own bitcoin blockchain from a genesis block which verified the transactions.
Bitcoin price in March
The price of bitcoin set a new historic high (again) throughout the month of March, where it peaked at $61000 USD (79000 AUD). It has since dipped and is currently hovering around the $74000 AUD mark. Quite a healthy bit of growth for a month, considering the price of bitcoin around early March was around $63000 AUD.