Moving into the holiday season, the crypto 2.0 segment of the bitcoin industry continues to garner increasing attention for its efforts to expand the potential use cases for blockchain technology.
However, after months of heightened activity and exciting launches that saw the community come into sharper focus, the last few weeks have shown that the sector may now be focusing on refining its message for a wider audience.
Arguably the most visible event of the news cycle occurred when crypto 2.0 protocol Counterparty announced that it had ported Ethereum's smart contracts system, a move that it alleged brought all the functionality of the unlaunched project to its protocol, and by extension, the bitcoin blockchain.
Though often hyped and distorted in the media, there was strong agreement that the move would now present developers with options that articulate some of the larger debates ongoing in the bitcoin space. For example, entreprenuers who want to implemenet smart contract systems on top of crypto 2.0 systems can now chose to build on top of bitcoin through Counterparty or on a new blockchain with Ethereum.
In an effort to showcase that its platform was as robust as its competitor's, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin quickly fired back, copying over the Counterparty protocol to Ethereum, a process he claims took just three hours.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Buterin explained that he intended the rebuttal to be a joke, though its one that also showcases the utility of his platform:
"The only real serious portion of the intent there is that it shows how powerful Ethereum is where it can gobble up any of these protocols very quickly."
Buterin said that the move will enable developers who use Ethereum to do "anything they can do with Counterparty on Ethereum" when it launches. In turn, Buterin offered a counterargument to what he called the "crazy" idea that an independent block chain is unnecessary for bitcoin projects, a claim made by Counterparty chief architect Adam Krellenstein.
"The attitude is that bitcoin is supposed to be the one blockchain to rule them all, my opinion is that having lots of coins is great," he added.
Buterin's thoughts on this trend, as well as its potentially negative repercussions for wider ecosystem development, are developed further in a post for the Ethereum blog.
Evidence indicates that the still unproven rumour that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking into crypto 2.0 projects is continuing to have an influence on the nascent industry.
Decentralised crowdfunding platform Swarm, for example, has announced it has enlisted Harvard and MIT professors for an event that will examine the legal considerations that entrepreneurs face when building new products in the developing bitcoin and crypto 2.0 space.
Swarm has told CoinDesk there will be more forthcoming details released about the event, entitled "Cryptoledgers and the Law" and scheduled for 17th–19th January.
Elsewhere in the ecosystem, a partnership between digital asset liquidity exchange Melotic and crypto 2.0 gold trading platform DigitalTangible has been altered proactively in the face of regulatory concerns. Previously, the two platforms were integrated so that DigitalTangible users could directly trade the gold tokens they purchased on Melotic through the platform.
However, Melotic CEO Jack Wang told CoinDesk that this functionality is no longer available. Both parties confirmed that regulatory uncertainty was the primary cause.
"We are reaching out to the SEC to confirm the authority we have to allow our customers to trade exchange tokens from within our platform," DigitalTangible CEO Taariq Lewis said.
Lewis went on to explain that DigitalTangible customers can still use the Meltoic exchange independently, and that the two companies remain friendly.
"We'll continue to look for opportunities to work together in the future," Wang said.
On the other end of the crypto 2.0 spectrum, colored coins project Coinprism, which offers an Android wallet for colored coins as well as tools for asset trading, introduced a new dividends functionality this week.
Coinprism uses the Open Assets protocol, a protocol built on top of bitcoin to allow the exchange of colored coins, or bitcoins that have been "colored" or altered to represent decentralized assets.
The new feature allows users to an amount of bitcoin to be evenly split up amongst any number of asset holders.
Speaking to CoinDesk, founder Flavien Charlon explained how the feature could open new marketplaces for things like votes or event tickets:
"Companies who used colored coins for raising money can now use dividends to organize a vote amongst the coin holders, and all of this is fully transparent through the blockchain."
Expanding on ideas in the formal announcement, Charlon indicated that users could create a new asset, such as a "votecoin" for voting, which could then be sent by recipients to predefined addresses. Votes could then be tallied by looking at the results in separate wallets for collecting yes and no votes.
Perhaps most interestingly, he said this would enable votes to be resold on an open market such as MasterXchange, an asset exchange built on the mastercoin protocol that supports colored coins.
"If you don't care about a vote, you can resell the vote on the free market to someone who cares about it," he said, before noting that such functionality could be applied to any smart property, whether its voting or invitations to a corporate event.
Code image via Shutterstock
However, after months of heightened activity and exciting launches that saw the community come into sharper focus, the last few weeks have shown that the sector may now be focusing on refining its message for a wider audience. Ethereum fires back at Counterparty
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