Ethereum has been a hot topic in the cryptocurrency world over the past few weeks as it’s been climbing the market capitalization ladder. The digital currency is almost $6 USD per ETH, currently holding the second spot in crypto-coin economy by market cap. On February 22, two significant announcements were made showing continued support of the programmable token’s infrastructure.
Microsoft Believes in Ethereum
Microsoft has certainly been interested in the digital currency known as Ether. It has been working with Ethereum for a few months now with its cloud-based Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) integrating its blockchain applications into the Azure program. Just recently the Microsoft project revealed its first technical preview of the protocols stack giving people a glimpse of some of the code. The company states they will be releasing more information regarding the Azure Stack over the course of the next few weeks.
On February 22nd, the Azure team released an Ethereum-based blockchain enterprise software called BlockApps STRATO. This will be the first distributed ledger-based program released over the Azure Marketplace. The market enables the ability to purchase and sell finished Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and data.
“STRATO is a single-node blockchain instance, which acts as a developer sandbox for testing Ethereum blockchain applications, and offers the STRATO RESTful API for connecting applications to private, semi-private (consortium) and public Ethereum blockchains,” explained the BlockApps team.
Marley Gray, Director of Blockchain Strategy at Microsoft has been blogging about the experience as the company has experimented with this technology. The Director is pleased with the progress Azure has demonstrated with Ethereum. Gray states in the announcement:
This is a watershed moment for the blockchain industry, and Microsoft is excited to be working with ConsenSys and BlockApps. The simple, rapid, and flexible one-click deploy of Ethereum blockchain architecture launched on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace enables enterprises and developers to quickly deploy a certified blockchain environment on Azure. The offering will help expedite enterprise development and tooling necessary to realize the infrastructure and operational benefits that blockchain provides.
BoostVC Now Investing in ETH Development & Startups
Another announcement coinciding with the STRATO news is from a Medium post by the blockchain investment firm Boost VC. The business is investing its interests in Ethereum-built projects and companies. Boost VC helps early-stage startups with its 12-week accelerator program. The incubator has invested in 15 blockchain and cryptocurrency projects since its inception in 2012. Boost was founded by Brayton Williams and Adam Draper who believes “with the proper business and product guidance, any entrepreneur can build a great idea into an amazing company.”
Williams reveals in his blog post that the accelerator service thinks highly of Ethereum development and leadership. He says that founder and developer Vitalik Buterin has shown significant progress over time that has provided results. Williams also explains that at first he and others thought of Ethereum as “Vaporware” but his opinion has changed since then.
“Ethereum is being used in a meaningful capacity. It is no easy task to bring an idea to market,” he states. “I believe the Ethereum team and contributors will continue to work together and deliver results, allowing Ethereum to thrive as a platform to allow others to build meaningful companies.”
The company also details that for three years they have invested into the Bitcoin industry but signs of other businesses using the ETH protocol was a large “deciding factor” for the company. Williams says he would love to hear from startups and developers using the Ethereum blockchain to build a company. He also clarifies that the accelerator program still loves Bitcoin, stating:
For three years we at Boost VC have seen the trials and tribulations of starting a blockchain company and we hope to share those lessons learned with others outside of just Bitcoin. Although, Bitcoin is still our first love and where the majority of our investments will continue to happen.
First Mobile App Jaxx Arrives, Hardware Wallets Coming Soon
Besides investments and institutional awareness there has been another development surrounding the Ethereum ecosystem: new wallets.
On February 13th, Anthony Di Iorio, co-founder of Ethereum and Kryptokit announced Jaxx, the first-ever Ethereum mobile wallet introduced to the industry. The first rolling out of the wallet has started for Android, iOS, and Firefox extensions. The Jaxx website also reveals that in late 2016 the company will also provide a hardware wallet for Ether.
The Bitcoin hardware wallet company Ledger has also said that it is working on developing a Ethereum device. “We are currently developing an Ethereum hardware wallet,” said Eric Larcheveque, Ledger CEO. “It’ll be available with the Ledger Blue device, (available as a developer edition now on our website).” On the Ethereum subreddit, one company representative explained that they were unsure about fitting the protocol’s firmware on the Ledger Nano so the focus of implementation has gone into the Blue series.
Buterin: Foundation is Self-Sufficient for 4.5 Years
As the currency keeps making moves within the crypto-environment, it’s awfully hard not to notice its current development and investments. The decentralized blockchain has been used in governance applications for startups like BitNation and for voting applications in the Ukraine. Every week a new announcement comes out of the crypto-woodwork detailing the development of a project using the protocol and this has brought the value up considerably. Moreover, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin says the Foundation will be self-sufficient for over four years at current market prices.
The foundation currently has ~1.65 million ETH, plus ~$750k in non-ETH assets. 1650000 * 6.1 + 750000 = $10,815,000. Based on our current ~$200k/month burn rate, that will last us ~54 months ~= 4.5 years. That said, we are planning some substantial expansions which will increase our expenses but also get Casper and other fun stuff out the door much faster, and we are also starting to get interest for corporate sponsorships coming in, which could secure us a more sustainable funding path in the long term.
As 2016 moves forward, the Ethereum ecosystem continues to show strength and many will be closely monitoring its progression.
What's the most interesting live & working Ethereum app you have used?
— Fred Ehrsam (@FEhrsam) February 23, 2016
What do you think about Ethereum development and investments? Let us know in the comments below.
Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com is not affiliated with any of the above-mentioned companies or projects
Images courtesy of the Ethereum website, Twitter, Boost VC, Jaxx, and the Azure website