The price of next-gen blockchain platform currency Ethereum (ETH) reached a peak of 0.037 BTC ($15.16 USD) this week, before correcting toward the 0.029BTC/$10.50 level. The peak marked an abrupt 150% increase in March alone for the cryptocurrency.
While bitcoin and litecoin prices both wait for direction following last week’s uptrends, Ethereum celebrated its ‘Homestead‘ release, the first production software for the platform. The release arrives amidst growing interest from the finance sector, as well as the bullish price run that analysts expect to continue. At this time, Ethereum has taken up the position as the second most traded cryptocurrency.
Analysts are mulling the factors contributing to the platform’s rise, and whether it will continue.
Arcade City: Upcoming Uber Killer?
Activist and entrepreneur Christopher David, the crowdfunding organizer behind the Free Uber campaign in Portsmouth, NH, plans to implement the Ethereum blockchain in his new ride-sharing service. Arcade City hopes to address the numerous driver grievances of Uber and Lyft, such as frequent rate cuts by corporate headquarters and intervention by city ordinances, by implementing the decentralization Ethereum can facilitate.
David believes the problem of the centralized pricing in ridesharing can be addressed through “opt-in gamification layers,” in which drivers may upgrade their profiles by obtaining positive customer feedback. The rules governing drivers’ “experience points” will be driven by customer feedback, all of which is encoded as smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.
Ethereum Democracy vs. Electoral Fraud
Officials in the Ukraine recently signed a memorandum to implement elections in the Etherium blockchain. The platform E-vox aims to provide a decentralized and transparent system for various group decision-making, from political primaries to online petitions to referenda. This move comes at the heels of 2014’s Euromaidan Revolution, which brought to light the many incidents of electoral fraud, voter intimidation, and corruption rampant in the February 2014 elections.
E-Vox will combat voter fraud by using several layers of identity verification using government and bank issued digital signatures, while lesser polls and petitions will utilize phone number verification. National polls will collect votes in person using the payment kiosks throughout Ukraine’s stores and bank branches.
Several major players in the Ukrainian government and legal system have thrown in their support, buoying the confidence of the various companies behind E-Vox, such as Ambisafe, Distributed Lab, and Kitsoft.
Enthusiasts for the project anticipate more widespread use of the idea, particularly in the US, where the security flaws of the widely-used Diebold voting machines have been an discussed throughout recent elections.
Hybrid BTC/ETH ATMs
Instacoin, the operators of Lamassu bitcoin ATMs, have announced the installation of hybrid bitcoin-Ethereum machines.
The machine, demonstrated above at Draper University’s Hero City, was developed by Ether.camp, who is building the Java implementation of Ethereum. The “one-way” machine allows users to purchase bitcoin against cash or credit card payments. While the machine in the demo is only capable of deposits, the code allows for two-way transactions, allowing the exchange of fiat to bitcoin and vice-versa.
Thus far, the bitcoin ATM market has had trouble gaining footing, likely due to a lack of transactions offered, and a small number of consumers. These hybrid machines hope to expand that market.