Cryptos: The 2019 crypto rally shows no signs of slowing — but has anything changed?

If you haven’t heard, bitcoin is back. Well sort of. The best-known cryptocurrency is on a relentless run and bottom pickers may have finally struck gold. After climbing as much as 20% on April 2, bitcoin BTCUSD, -1.68%  and other digital asset prices have not just held, but extended their gains, raising the question: has something fundamentally changed in the digital currency landscape? “Prices may be rising, but it’s hardly the whole story,” said Dave Balter, chief executive of Flipside Crypto. “Maybe more significant, the fundamentals of crypto projects — their customer acquisition and retention, their product developer capabilities — have been on the rise through all of 2018 and continue to grow at a significant enough pace to determine these are real businesses with real outcomes ahead of them.” Some of the most promising projects center around fixing one of bitcoin’s biggest shortcomings, scalability, or the capacity of blockchains to process cryptocurrency transactions efficiently and quickly. The much-hyped Lightning Network, the second-layer system that sits on top of the bitcoin blockchain, has garnered support from projects that are assisting the network in achieving its goal of scaling. On April 3, one day after the initial crypto rally, developer Pierre Rochard announced the release of the Lightning Power Users app, which aims to boosts the network’s inbound capacity, the ability for merchants to receive payments more easily. Today, the bitcoin network can process around 5 transactions per second, while payment networks like Visa and Mastercard can process more than 5,000 per second. Read: A team at Northwestern think they have solved one of bitcoin’s biggest problems Crypto year-to-date gains Some observers say the rebound has been accompanied by a shift in investor behavior. “We have seen a lot of interest in people buying and holding of late,” said Lennon Sweeting,
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