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The Blockchain is Perfect for Government Services

As government services are one of the most obvious and immediate application areas for the blockchain, it's no surprise progressive governments are already working on initiatives.

In the first half of 2016, cities, municipalities and governments have been vocal in their plans for the technology.

Indeed, a quick overview of the projects in development shows how far the idea that blockchain could change government services has spread around the globe

Decentralization & Governance: Can Bitcoin Have the Best of Both?

Since the earliest days of bitcoin, decentralization has been key to its value proposition. But it's also been its greatest obstacle.

Whether it's the block size debate, or the ethereum classic debacle more broadly, decentralization in public blockchain networks presents significant hurdles to what can seem like straightforward objectives. After seven years of open-source study, decentralized governance remains a little explored and unsolved enigma.

But solving it will likely mean going back to the beginning, asking what exactly we mean by 'decentralization'. Do we mean the distribution of hash power? The number of nodes? The inherent ability to fork and secede as recently demonstrated by ethereum?

The exact definition of decentralization in cryptocurrency debates depends on the context. Yet, semantics and technical terms tend to obscure the fact that, at its heart, "decentralization" refers to a system of voluntary cooperation between peers.

UK Legislators Cast Critical Eye on Bitcoin and Blockchain

A committee of the UK House of Lords, the upper chamber of Parliament, struck a curious and at times critical tone when discussing blockchain technology and its impact on finance and government.

During an afternoon hearing of the The Economic Affairs Committee, members heard from academics and representatives of the blockchain industry, as well as Ben Broadbent, the deputy governor for monetary policy of the Bank of England. Lasting about three hours, the hearing demonstrated a mixture of genuine interest and skepticism on the part of committee members

Broadbent went on to frame the conversation about blockchain within a broader question of how financial markets should be structured at all, telling committee members:

"When you think of things on these scales, the benefits are clear and quite large, and so are the costs. And what I was really trying to say is, even though this is a very new technology, I think it's possible, once you think through, to realize that some of the big questions involved are very old, not to say ancient."

Blockchain Innovation Announces the Release of the Simple, Fast, and Secure BitTeller ATM

The Worlds Most Affordable Bitcoin ATM Austin, Texas (July 2) – Blockchain Innovation, announced today the official release of their highly anticipated Bitcoin ATM, the BitTeller. With the growing popularity of cryptocurrency; developing and producing the BitTeller was a no brainier for Blockchain Innovation. The BitTeller is a small but powerful Crypto­ATM system designed to provide a safe and simple way to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The BitTeller is portable and easy to move to different locations, but also provides multiple methods for securing it permanently.

Why Bitcoin Halving Was a Boring Vindication

An event anticipated in the bitcoin community for years came and went last week with little fanfare and, a week later, little impact.

At approximately 12:48 EST, the 420,000th block on the bitcoin blockchain was mined and sealed by F2Pool, one of the largest bitcoin pools, earning its members 12.5 BTC. This marked the second halving, and the first time a miner would receive the reduced subsidy.

Terrence Thurber, founder of Oregon Mines, originally told CoinDesk that he believed the price could reach as high as $900, double the $445 bitcoin had been hovering around prior to the massive run-up in June.

He said:

“The price of bitcoin after the halving would normally be expected to rise as decreasing supply meets increasing demand.”

Washington State Utility Raises Power Rates on Bitcoin Miners

A Washington State utility is raising rates on bitcoin miners, months after a dispute with the local industry began over its power usage.

The Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) announced earlier this week that, effective January 2017, electrical rates will rise for so-called "high-density load customers", or those that use 250 kilowatt hours per square foot per year. The definition, as stated by the PUD, is intended specifically to cover server farms and bitcoin mines, or data centers that specifically service network transactions.

"There was a lot of individual and collective effort involved in bringing this proposal forward, and I think it's a good product," Commissioner Dennis Bolz said in a statement.

Coinbase Wallet Users Can Now Buy and Sell Ether

Coinbase has added support for ether, the digital currency that powers the ethereum blockchain.

The announcement comes just two months after the startup, which has raised $117m to date, added ether trading to its bitcoin exchange service, at which time it also formally rebranded the platform, Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX).

The company wrote:

"Ethereum is pushing the digital currency ecosystem forward and we are excited to support it as part of our mission to create an open financial system for the world."