Another important first for bitcoin has been achieved. A Swiss private bank announced that it is providing blockchain-asset management services for the popular cryptocurrency.
Falcon Group; or Falcon Private Bank Ltd, of Zurich will allow depositors to exchange and hold bitcoin in their accounts, a press release indicates. They will also be able to buy bitcoins with cash from Falcon. This makes Falcon the first Swiss private bank to offer bitcoin services.
Falcon customers will even be able to get cash from a bitcoin ATM in the bank’s lobby. The bitcoin service is being offered in cooperation with Bitcoin Suisse AG.
Falcon is a 50-year old private banking boutique that maintains offices in Luxemburg, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and London as well as Zurich. Adding bitcoin will make it easier for bank customers to move money around which is the purpose of banking in the first place.
The press release did not say if Falcon will offer other cryptocurrencies such as etherum or Litecoin. Although I have a feeling it may in the future and it will not be the last Swiss bank to join bitcoin.
Bitcoin Civil War
Falcon’s move comes at a very interesting time for bitcoin; as the cryptocurrency goes through what Bloomberg Technology has a labeled a “civil war.”
The war is between those who want to limit the amount of data bitcoin can can carry its blockchain and those who want to increase its’ capacity . One side wants to increase the size of the blockchain to facilitate more mining. The other wants to limit the cryptocurrency’s capability to carry and store data.
Their opponents want to add a new technology called SegWit to bitcoin that would increase its size and make it more like Ethereum. Among other things, SegWit would add smart contracts to bitcoin that are similar to those found on etherum. A commercial version of SegWit; SegWit2X, is scheduled to be released on July 21, it’s supposed to double the size of the bitcoin blockchain.
The two sides are fighting are and it is not clear who is winning. The victory will be determined when people see how many SegWit users there are. There’s also a group of bitcoin purists who are planning to release something called UASF (User Activated Soft Fork) which is designed to block SegWit.
Litecoin Booms, Bitcoin and Ethereum go Down
The effect of all this on bitcoin is not clear but bitcoin is losing value it lost $375.18 or 13.75% of its value in the month that ended on July 13, 2017. Bitcoin was trading at $2,353.58 on that day. Ethereum lost even more value in that time -$205.51 or 46.43%. It was trading at $205.51 on July 13, 2017.
The big gainer is litecoin which gained 52.57% or $15.57 in value during that period, Coinbase data indicates. Litecoin was trading at $45.19 on July 13, 2017. It looks as if traders might be rejecting the big two in exchange of the upstart. One wonders how the SegWit/UASF battle will affect that.