Last month, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin himself admitted that the Ethereum blockchain is almost full. Buterin said at the time: “If you’re a bigger organization, the calculus is that if we join, it will not only be more full but we will be competing with everyone for transaction space. It’s already expensive and it will be even five times more expensive because of us.”
Fred Wilson, a financier and co-founder of venture capital firm Union Square Ventures, has revised his bullish opinion on Ether (ETH).
Back in 2017, Wilson had suggested the market capitalization of Ether will bypass the market capitalization of Bitcoin (BTC) and eventually be worth more per coin. However, in a Sept. 4 blog post, Wilson acknowledged ETH has fallen short of this – and that the underlying Ethereum network is experiencing problems. He wrote:
“Ethereum, as many of you know, confounds me. It has shown the way to so many important things; smart contracts, programmable trust-free computing, potentially proof of stake, and a lot more. But it remains hard to build on, scaling issues abound, and many developers are looking elsewhere.”
Ether is no match for Bitcoin
Referring to Bitcoin, Wilson said there is still nothing on the market that comes close to the leading digital currency, adding: “There are some protocols, like the privacy-focused ones, that offer similar and in some cases better use cases. But for the most part, Bitcoin is our digital gold.”
The venture capitalist also touched on the issue of Facebook’s yet-to-be-released Libra stablecoin, calling it a bright spot. In Wilson’s opinion, the industry will see more innovation, including a stable programmable crypto asset.
In January, Wilson had warned cryptocurrency will not be a safe haven in 2019 amid a weakening economy and a bear market in stocks, although he noted that “there will be signs of life in crypto land in 2019.” As for the impetus for the next bullish phase, Wilson listed a number of promises made back in 2017, including a number of smart contract platforms that can compete with Ethereum.
Cryptocurrency investor and Placeholder partner Chris Burniske argued in late August that Ether is enduring its first mainstream bear market, just as Bitcoin did back in 2014–15.
Vermont Turns to Home-Grown Blockchain Company to Track Hemp With Ethereum
Vermont regulators will track hemp production on the ethereum mainnet in partnership with cannabis supply chain blockchain startup Trace.
The five-year deal, announced Monday by Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM), is a production-ready solution for every level of the hemp trade, said Trace CEO Josh Decatur. Beginning in March, farmers and processors will begin putting all associated crop data into the Trace system, which runs on ethereum.
It is one of the first times a state regulatory agency has decided to run with the ethereum mainnet, Decatur told CoinDesk in a phone call. The two-year-old company, based in Vermont’s capital Montpelier, has built an app users can share details through, and gas fees for conducting transactions are passed onto the users – in this case, the state government.
“Everyone is deriving value from innate blockchain tech – namely the security that comes with public permissionless blockchain technology,” he said.
Vermont’s regulators said this is the first full-scale government registration and licensing system that pairs blockchain with the nascent hemp industry. Hemp was legalized nationally in the 2018 Farm Bill, but Vermont’s program runs under the 2014 edition.
A cannabis strain used in the textiles industry, hemp represents a small but growing slice of Vermont’s agriculture sector. The Green Mountain State had just 1,000 registered hemp farmers in 2019 with nearly 9,000 acres of farmland, as well as 300 processors, according Stephanie Smith, VAAFM’s Hemp Program manager.
“It’s important to understand what’s being grown, where it’s being grown and where it’s going after being harvested,” she said.
The mini-boom foreshadowed VAAFM’s call for a hemp registration system. Trace, whose CEO has roots in the Northern California grow scene, beat out the competition. Being based in Vermont didn’t hurt either.
“We spent the last couple of years finding innovative ways to hone a product that could meet the tracking and data requirements of a state agency,” Decatur said.
His Vermont-based team had been building “seed-to-shelf” tools for other sectors of the cannabis supply chain, such as cannabidiol (CBD) products. The company built patented software, an app and a web portal to document where, when and to whom a plant and its derivative products move.
Trace’s solution relies on the ethereum network. At 15 transactions per second, the network is hardly a salve for industrial users moving massive amounts of data. But that doesn’t matter for the low-frequency hemp lot farmers who, Decatur said, only send three to four transactions per year.
“The use case that we’ve applied the tech to fits into the performance restrictions of ethereum,” he said.
Trace’s registration system should be live by the end of March, according to Smith, in time for the start of the outdoor growing season in June.