This Week in Crypto 6-20-23

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Welcome to This Week in Crypto, brought to you by RockItCoin! In this edition, we’ll explore three captivating stories that have been making waves in the industry. First up, we’ll delve into BlackRock’s bold move as the world’s largest investment company files an application for a Bitcoin spot exchange traded fund (ETF) in the United States. Next, we’ll cover Coin Metrics’ groundbreaking report that offers a more accurate measurement of Bitcoin’s energy consumption by analyzing blockchain data. And finally, we’ll discuss Trezor CEO Matej Zak’s insights on the crucial role of usability in driving the adoption of self-custody hardware wallets. Join us as we navigate through the captivating happenings in the crypto space!

BlackRock Applies for Bitcoin ETF in the United States

Investment firm BlackRock applied for a Bitcoin spot exchange traded fund (ETF) in the United States. If approved, it would be a significant development in the crypto industry, as the United States has yet to approve a Bitcoin ETF. According to the filing, Coinbase Custody Trust Company will be the custodian of the fund’s Bitcoin holdings, while Bank of New York Mellon will hold its fiat. BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust would be traded as Commodity-Based Trust Shares. The Bitcoin price in the ETF will be updated at least every 15 seconds during regular market trading, utilizing the CF Benchmarks Index. The SEC has not yet approved a spot Bitcoin ETF, despite multiple applications from other firms including ARK Invest and 21Shares. 

Trezor CEO Says Usability is Key Factor for Hardware Wallet Adoption

Trezor CEO Matej Zak emphasized the importance of enhancing usability to increase the adoption of self-custody hardware wallets. Speaking at the BTC Prague 2023 conference, Zak stated that educating users and simplifying the user experience were the main strategies for Trezor in meeting the growing demand for self-custody. While security and privacy have always been crucial, usability plays a vital role in making hardware wallets more user-friendly and appealing to newcomers. Trezor aims to double or triple the number of hardware wallet users worldwide within the next few years by focusing on usability.

Zak expressed that complicated self-custody setups like multisignature (multisig) wallets may not be suitable for newcomers due to their complexity. Multisig wallets involve using multiple public keys to authorize transactions, enhancing security but potentially compromising usability. Trezor believes that by prioritizing usability and education, they can attract more users and make them feel comfortable and secure while being in control of their Bitcoin. The company has implemented features like Shamir backup, introduced in 2019, to distribute private key phrases among different locations for enhanced security.

While Trezor’s CEO highlighted the significance of usability, he mentioned that the company does not plan to introduce new built-in features to help users recover their private keys. Zak stated that Trezor has already made significant efforts to ensure the security of seed phrases, including implementing the Shamir backup. The comments from Zak come in the wake of rival hardware wallet supplier Ledger facing criticism and postponing the launch of Ledger Recover, a tool for private key recovery.


Report Offers New Approach to Measuring Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption

Crypto intelligence firm Coin Metrics released a report that proposes a new method for measuring Bitcoin’s energy consumption. By analyzing blockchain data, the report links network activity to specific high-powered machines, known as ASICs, used by Bitcoin miners. This approach provides a more accurate estimation of energy usage, taking into account the efficiency of each ASIC. Coin Metrics’ findings suggest that previous studies, such as those conducted by the University of Cambridge, may have overestimated Bitcoin’s energy consumption due to the lack of ASIC-level data. The report also allows miners to compare the efficiency of their rigs against competitors and identifies trends in ASIC popularity over time. Coin Metrics’ methodology could facilitate more informed discussions about Bitcoin’s energy use and its environmental impact.

Coin Metrics’ report offers a refined approach to measuring Bitcoin’s energy consumption, incorporating ASIC efficiency and providing accurate estimates. It challenges previous studies and emphasizes the importance of considering ASIC-level data. By shedding light on Bitcoin’s energy use, the report aims to contribute to more informed discussions about the cryptocurrency’s environmental implications.

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