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The impending fork that’s crashing bitcoin prices explained

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The Fork in simple ‘English’ is a technical term used to describe an option to choose between an update to the application code that users and operators of bitcoin machines use in mining bitcoin. The option is usually between sticking with the old application code or switching to the new one.

We also have two types of Fork, the Hard Fork and Soft Fork.

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Hard Fork

In a hard fork, the rule requires miners to switch to the new upgrade making machines running on the older application not to be compatible with the new upgrade.

Soft Fork

A Soft fork on the other hand is a change to the application code that does not render the older application incompatible with the new. Bitcoin miners who are yet to upgrade to the new application codes can still see their transactions as valid.

Deciding on whether to go with a hard or soft fork is very critical in the world of cryptocurrencies as Hard Forks typically require that miners upgrade their software despite investing millions in servers.

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Why bother with Hard or soft forks?

Bitcoin operates on what is known as blockchain technology. Think of a blockchain as a Microsoft Word document. Unlike a regular word document where access is limited to just one person, everyone can view this document. Changes made to this document, can be seen by everyone, and can’t be reversed.

Blockchain transactions involve two parties, and are usually confirmed by individuals/companies known as miners. In return for this, they are rewarded with bitcoin. There is a limit to the speed at which transactions that can be processed on the bitcoin blockchain at a time, due to the size of the blocks and for security reasons.

As more people have adopted the currency, the time taken to confirm transactions has grown longer. This has made the currency less attractive. While cryptocurrency transactions take a few seconds, more currencies are adopting technology that makes transaction time shorter. This has led to some individuals advocating for a change in how the blockchain processes transactions. This is known as a fork or upgrade.

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Why is this affecting bitcoin price

Bitcoin enthusiast had been pondering about the need to improve the transaction time of bitcoins and reduce fees. Whilst they agree on the need to improve the technology, how they go about it is the bigger concern. One side (the miners) are proposing that they increase the block size limit of blockchain while the other side (core) want them to change the actual software technology used to run bitcoin.

Another group within the Core proposed a software called SegWit, which has also been rejected by others. The guys pushing for SegWit believe it will retain bitcoin as the worlds most dominant completion. Bitcoin has been facing serious competition from corporate backed Etherum which has capabilities similar to what the Core faction thinks SegWit will offer.

The miners understandably support the increase in size as it will make transactions faster and reduce cost of mining but do not support upgrades as it will mean they will have to invest more after investing millions of dollars on existing servers.

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The SegWit software is expected to go live August 1 and if not adopted by all miners will mean that the world will have two sets of bitcoins running. If this occurs then miners will patiently wait to see which bitcoin does better thus the reason why the price is probably falling at the moment.

As August 1st draws near, the volatility in the cryptocurrency markets will likely persist as investors fear the impact of the fork.

The price of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has crashed from a high of about $2,800 in June to under $2,000 as at the second week of July.

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If you want to know what to do with your bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies, refer to our earlier article.

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Patricia

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training. He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy. You can contact him via [email protected]

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: US to start manufacturing vaccine for the virus in next 4 weeks 

Trump’s Operation Warp Programme has helped finance the development of 4 COVID-19 vaccines.

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Novavax secures $1.6 billion funding for covid-19 vaccine production

A senior United States administration official has said on Monday that, the government’s partnership with some drug makers to actively start the manufacturing of a vaccine for COVID-19 are on track. 

The US government has partnered and given grants ranging from several hundred millions of dollars to over $1 billion to drug makers like Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novavax Inc. 

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It also signed a $450 million contract earlier this month with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc in order to help it supply therapies for patients who are sick with the virus. 

According to a report from Reuters, the US government official said, ‘’If you say exactly when will literally the vaccine materials be in production and manufacturing, it is probably four to six weeks away, but we will be actively manufacturing by the end of summer.’’ 

He also said that US is already working with companies to equip manufacturing facilities and acquire raw materials. 

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It should be noted that the Trump administration while working towards producing 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021, has helped finance the development of 4 COVID-19 vaccines through its Operation Warp Programme. 

The senior US official also said, ‘’While we think is fair to say that vaccine progress is occurring at warp speed pace, faster than any vaccines have been developed in history, therapeutics are even faster. 

He also pointed out that clinical trials for therapeutics can produce results in a matter of weeks, thereby making it possible to produce hundreds of thousands of doses in a couple of months. 

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There has been reported progress in the search of a cure for COVID-19 as the race amongst drug makers, health institutions and governments to develop a vaccine for the virus hots up. 

Nairametrics had reported that German biotech firm, BioNTech in partnership with New York-based pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, had announced that the COVID-19 vaccine candidate is expected to be ready to obtain regulatory approval by the end of 2020. 

The European Union on its part has made deals with drug makers, Roche and Merck, to secure supplies of experimental treatments for COVID-19. The deal will secure supplies to any of the 27 European Union member countries who will be willing to buy the vaccines. 

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The World Health Organization (WHO) and its key partners also plan to purchase 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for distribution to the most vulnerable people around the world by the end of 2021. 

The WHO and the partners which include Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), revealed that about $18.1 billion will be needed to implement this plan.  

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Appointments

AfDB appoints Rabah Arezki as new vice president and chief economist 

Before Arezki joined the World Bank, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has announced the appointment of Dr Rabah Arezki as  Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, with effect from October 1, 2020. 

This was disclosed in a press statement on the bank’s website on July 13, 2020. 

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Dr Rabah Arezkiwho is an Algerian citizen, is currently the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank, a role he has held since 2017. 

At the World Bank, he led the development of the Bank’s “moonshot approach” for the Middle East and Africa which aims to achieve full internet and digital payment connectivity. He championed the agenda on fair competition, data and transparency to empower and unlock the potential of the region’s youth. 

Before Arezki joined the World Bank, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2006 to 2017. He started his career at the IMF as an Economist and became the Chief of the Commodities and Environment Unit in the Research Department. He provided leadership on IMF’s rapid response to the historical collapse in oil prices that started in 2014. He advised authorities all around the world on risk mitigation policies. 

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Dr Arezki is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, an external Research Associate at the Oxford University, UK, a research fellow at the CESifo, a global independent research network. Dr. Arezki is also a resource person for the African Economic Research Consortium and a Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum. He has been a non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institute, USA. 

He has published extensively both in top academic journals and policy-oriented outlets and is a co-editor and co-author of five books including Shifting Commodity Markets in a Globalized World. Many of his research papers have been cited extensively in academic circles and in prominent media outlets.  

In his statement after his appointment, Dr Arezki said, The African Development Bank is making excellent progress in accelerating Africa’s development. I am excited with the opportunity to work with President Adesina and the Bank’s leadership and teams to further provide top notch policy, knowledge and capacity building support for African countries.” 

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Dr Arezki holds a Masters in Economics and Statistics from Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique (ENSAE) – France (2003), and a PhD in Economics from the European University Institute – Italy (2006). He is multilingual and fluent in French, English, and Arabic. 

In his own response, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, said, I am delighted that Dr. Rabah Arezki is joining the African Development Bank Group following an impactful career at the World Bank and the IMF. Rabah is an outstanding researcher and policy expert with extensive experience in research, policy and reforms.” 

“His leadership will be especially important as the Bank designs and deploys policy-based operations to address COVID-19, advances policy reforms, and supports African countries growth recovery efforts from the pandemic,” Adesina added. 

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Corporate Press Releases

NSE simplifies investing in the capital market with comic book

StockTown is dedicated to providing financial literacy education to Nigerians.

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The proliferation of dubious investment schemes that often result in loss of money by unsuspecting members of the public continues to make the role of financial literacy imperative. To play its part, Nigeria’s leading bourse, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE or The Exchange) has issued the second edition of its comic, StockTown, dedicated to providing financial literacy education to Nigerians.

The comic, available in digital format on a dedicated website at www.nse-stocktown.com builds on The Exchange’s advocacy for safe and trusted investment schemes.

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READ ALSO: NSE aids financial literacy, rewards students with equity, edufund

The story picks up from the first edition, following the life of Mora Johnson as she seeks to liberate her family from their financial struggles by investing in the capital market. This second edition highlights some major lessons for potential and existing investors including the need for vigilance in avoiding Ponzi schemes and unregulated investments, whilst advising prospective investors to seek proper guidance before making investment decisions. Readers can look forward to a simplified explanation of the history of the capital market, its evolution over the years, and how anyone can start making investments today in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of StockTown.

Commenting on the importance of this comic book, Head, Corporate Communications, NSE, Olumide Orojimi said, “Investor Education is a priority for us at The Exchange. We have identified the need to empower individuals across all levels to make good financial decisions and better their lives now and in the future. As the investment landscape continues to evolve to accommodate more retail participants, we are excited to leverage new and existing platforms to present investment products and processes in ways that are both appealing and easy to understand, particularly in this new normal. We hope that StockTown becomes a widely-read resource for potential and existing investors, the financially excluded, millennials and the larger public.”

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READ ALSO: Gold rises above $1,800 amid COVID-19 surge, weaker dollar

StockTown is just one of the many ways NSE demonstrates its strong commitment to promoting financial literacy in Nigeria. Even amidst the Coronavirus pandemic and the temporary closure of The Exchange’s facilities, NSE continues to host virtual financial literacy workshops with students and young upwardly mobile professionals. Furthermore, The Exchange has hosted several webinars on various products including Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Green Bonds, and Securities Lending to provide more information to the market on available securities and how to trade them.

It should also be recalled that NSE is a member of the Financial Literacy Technical Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); as well as the National Finance Inclusion Steering Committee led by the Central Bank of Nigeria with a mandate to reduce the level of financial exclusion in Nigeria to 20%.

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