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Coinbase will support newly-minted Bitcoin Cash after all

Earlier this week, disgruntled members of the bitcoin community successfully split a new cryptocurrency off from the main branch. Bitcoin Cash, as it’s called, attempts to speed up transactions, a key problem with bitcoin’s aging structure. But the new alternative currency will only survive if users invest in it. Some cryptocurrency exchanges said they wouldn’t back it due to its instability, but one of those holdouts, Coinbase, just announced that it’s come around and will support Bitcoin Cash.

In a blog post, Coinbase stated their decision came after careful review. Ensuring the security of Bitcoin Cash’s network was a priority, as was evaluating customer demand, trading volumes, and regulatory considerations. But the exchange wanted to be clear that “both bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash remain safely stored on Coinbase,” and “that customers with balances of bitcoin at the time of the fork now have an equal quantity of bitcoin cash stored by Coinbase.”

Assuming no great risks emerge, Coinbase says it will start supporting Bitcoin Cash on January 1st, 2018. Once that happens, customers will be able to withdraw their new cryptocoins — but until then, they’ll stay safely locked away.

Source: Coinbase Blog

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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