Cryptocurrency update: Bitcoin’s biggest upgrade in four years is live

The Bitcoin network has been upgraded, giving BTC prices a quick boost – but will the coin be overtaken by the Ethereums of this world soon?

Cryptocurrency update

Say hello to Taproot: the Bitcoin network’s latest upgrade

Bitcoin may have dropped away from the all-time highs seen last week, but markets are looking to the freshly announced Taproot network upgrade to help the coin along.

Taproot promises to realign Bitcoin back to its decentralised finance (DeFi) roots by making the blockchain an attractive place to do business.

Basically, it introduces the ability to create smart contracts on the BTC blockchain, giving it similar functionality to the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum, and its token Ether, is Bitcoin’s chief rival, although still falls way below BTC in terms of market cap. However, the adaptability of the Ethereum network makes it attractive for those exploring DeFi platforms and services.

It’s hoped that Taproot can do much the same for Bitcoin.

Taproot has made smart contracts cheaper and easier, according to developers using the network, offering “mind blowing potential”.

Bitcoin is back in the green as of Monday 15th November after a mostly flat weekend. Prices, at the time of writing, are north of $66,000. $69,319 is the all-time high to beat for Bitcoin. Will this network upgrade send it on its way?

SEC rejects VanEck Bitcoin ETF

When ProShares Bitcoin ETF launched back in October, we knew it was only a matter of time before the SEC opened the door to more crypto exchange traded funds.

VanEck will have to wait a little bit longer before it can join in the fun. Last Friday, the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) rejected the investment firm’s proposals for a spot bitcoin ETF.

In its rejection letter, the SEC wrote: “The Commission concludes that [the fund] has not met its burden under the Exchange Act and the Commission’s Rules of Practice to demonstrate that its proposal is consistent with the requirement that the rules of a national securities exchange be ‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices’ and to ‘protect investors and the public interest.’”

The SEC has previously given the go ahead to VanEck’s Bitcoin Futures fund, but it has yet to start trading. This falls in line with the general feeling that SEC chair Gary Gensler is more in favour of funds that trade on futures, rather than those that hold Bitcoin directly.

Gensler’s preferences are mirrored by the fact that two current US crypto exchange traded funds work on futures: the aforementioned ProShares ETF, and Valkyrie’s Bitcoin ETF.

Part of the reason for Bitcoin’s weekend dip, which took the price down around the $63,000 level, was due to the SEC rejecting VanEck. However, we can probably expect to see more futures-focused funds going forward.

Billionaire gives bleak Bitcoin prediction

Hedge fund billionaire and markets-maker Ken Griffin has made some bold crypto claims at a recent New York Times event. According to Griffin, Bitcoin will be overtaken by Ethereum and similar younger coins.

Speaking at the New York Times DealBook Online summit, Griffin said: “I think we’re going to see bitcoin replaced conceptually by ‘the Ethereums’.” Griffin noted the rapid rise of coins like Cardano, Ether, and Solano this year.

According to Griffin, a new generation of cryptos in the ETH mould will offer “the benefits of higher transaction speeds, lower cost per transaction, perhaps people will start thinking about how to better deal with security and fraud prevention.”

Ethereum recently reached an all-time high as interest in decentralised finance picks up globally. Griffin’s predictions may come true, should more coins offer functionality similar to ETH.