Bitcoin Picks: BitPay Enlists New Partners, Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Wanes

A variety of developments transpired this week across the Bitcoin realm, which included BitPay adding DriveWealth and Xsolla as partners, while bitcoin mining difficulties declined for the first time since 2013.

A volatility index for the crypto markets: Digital Currency Labs’ Ron Quaranta shares vision

Bitcoin’s volatility has made it a popular choice among many ambitious traders looking to capitalize upon its price swings, as evidenced by the proliferation of dozens of crypto exchanges.

For some, the more volatility the better. Others would sleep better at night if they could find a way of hedging. Long-term investors and those gaining direct or indirect exposure often fall into the second camp.

Bitcoin derivatives are naturally the next step for some investors. Indeed, the past few months have witnessed some surprisingly strong progress in this area. Tera Exchange’s Bitcoin derivative platform was approved by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and IG Group’s Nadex plans to offer bitcoin-based binary options to US clients, subject to CFTC approval.

BitPay adds DriveWealth, Xsolla as partners in busy week

Drivewealth, a mobile-based platform for low-cost investing, has partnered with BitPay to enable clients to make deposits via bitcoin.

It allows a minimum deposit of $50 and each transaction costs $2.99. Of priority is allowing customers to fund their accounts quickly and easily. Multiple payment options are available including credit card, wire transfer, cheque and TransferWise. Along with the credit card option, Bitcoin will allow customers to fund their accounts instantly.

Xsolla, a payment processing platform that helps game developers monetize their offerings, has also partnered with BitPay to enable bitcoin payments. They follow the lead of large gaming companies such as Twitch and Nexon already accepting bitcoin for in-game payments.

Mining difficulty decreases for first time since January 2013, weak prices forcing out underperformers

The mining difficulty of bitcoin decreased in its most recent readjustment, decreasing by 0.62% from 40,300,030,238 to 40,007,470,271.

The drop coincided with a larger-than-average decrease in total network hashrate, which fell from as high as 312.5 PH/s to as low as 242.4 PH/s, a drop of 22.4%.

It was the first such drop in mining difficulty since January 25, 2013. On that occasion, the decrease was much larger: from 3,249,549 to 2,968,775, or 8.6%. The drop was in fact large enough to slightly offset the rise from the previous period. The price of bitcoin at that time hovered between $16 and $19.

Coinsetter added to Tera Exchange’s Bitcoin Price Index

Tera Exchange has added Coinsetter as one of its venues for calculating its Tera Bitcoin Price Index, which it publishes for derivatives based on bitcoin’s traded price.

Coinsetter launched its exchange in July, stating to provide a solution “built on Wall Street, for Wall Street” with a low-latency platform that executes trades within 40 milliseconds.

In August, the company became FIX 4.4 API compliant, and one month ago, they began offering 10% in company equity to professional market makers who provide liquidity.

Tera’s platform for trading bitcoin-based swaps was approved by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in September. Key to the approval was the creation of this index for tracking the underlying bitcoin price.

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