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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Why UMI is a Step toward a Free Financial World

Why UMI is a Step toward a Free Financial World

https://preview.redd.it/sk4qzvg2o5p51.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=42c422967888ffb44288e1cf7b8e9b4ffd6e20a1
Quite recently, the world has seen a remarkable event — an anonymous bitcoin whale sent a total of $2.24 billion in a series of transactions. Large transactions are certainly not uncommon for the bitcoin network. Whale Alert — blockchain tracker and analytics system — regularly reports large and interesting transactions. Although $2.24 billion is the largest ever cryptocurrency transfer, the most remarkable thing about this event is not the transfer amount but the incredibly little fee the sender paid for the transaction — less than $1. With no checkups and intermediaries.
If such a transfer had happened a few years ago, it would have considered abnormal and unreal. Today it is a matter of fact. With each passing day, using cryptocurrency for making transfers is getting more attractive than bank transfers. The UMI network, which enables instant payments with no fees, fits in best with new realities. Let's explore this issue.
Freedom from Bank Charges
The BTC whale sent the above-mentioned amount in seven successive transactions within one hour. The total amount was 241,500 BTC, which was equivalent to $2.24 bln. Each transfer cost around 0.0001 BTC or just $0.93, giving a total of about $6.51 for the seven transfers.
Let's compare now how much you would be charged for an identical transfer in a bank.
In big banks, the international transfer fee is at least 1% of the amount, but it is often higher than that depending on the conditions. For instance, the VISA system charges 1 to 10% of the transaction amount for an international transfer (minimum of $10). Therefore, the more you transfer, the more you pay for it. To transfer the above-mentioned amount via a bank, a customer would have to part with as much as $22.4 mln (!!!), in the best-case scenario — that is if the fee is the minimum 1%. In other words, a bank would make a fortune — virtually at the drop of a hat, making no effort whatsoever — by simply taking someone's money. What makes it more absurd is that banks intend to further raise their fees amid coronavirus pandemic.
Cryptocurrencies are a completely different story. In most cryptocurrency networks, fees do not depend on the transaction amount — the same fee could be charged for transferring $1 or $1 bln. In the cryptocurrency world, it doesn't matter how much money you transfer. If you make a big transfer, no one makes you pay the “tithe”. With UMI, you don't have to pay anything to anyone — not a dime. But we'll get back to this a little later.
Freedom from Excessive Limits and Unneeded Checkups
First, let's consider another important factor — the very possibility to make unhindered transfers of large amounts via bank especially foreign transfers. The irony is that even if someone chooses to pay this multi-million dollar fee, the transfer would far from being 100% successful.
In most countries, including the Russian Federation, a $22 bln transaction would be virtually impossible to run in a state-owned bank, let alone private banks. Even going through a bunch of mandatory procedures as well as wasting lots of nerves and time wouldn't save the day. This is why a payment of this size is virtually impossible:
  1. The overwhelming majority of the world's banks just don't happen to have such large amounts on their correspondent accounts. Even if we assume they do have sufficient funds on the books, this money doesn't just sit idle — bankers use it in their own favor, for instance, to grant loans, make deposit payments, etc. No bank would agree to send all its reserve funds to another bank on your orders. Moreover, banks have no right to violate the law in terms of reserve requirements, including currency norms. And processing such a large amount contradicts the established rules and regulations. So, even if money is technically recorded on the customer's account, transferring it to another bank, especially in a foreign country, is still a virtually impossible task.
  2. In almost all states transactions of this scale are only allowed on the level of governments, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, or mega-tycoons with a declared multi-billion dollar income, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and the like. In other words, only customers with a special status can make especially large transfers without restrictions. Any “abnormal” transactions fall under suspicion and automatically frozen. If you have always run $500 transactions on a monthly basis, any incoming or outgoing $10,000 transfer would most probably be frozen. Let alone billions of dollars. An average owner of a large business will only be allowed to transfer billions of dollars after they get approval from FATF on an individual basis. Obviously, they must also be verified using KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-money laundering) procedures and must establish the provenance of each dime they transfer. They have to do all this to transfer THEIR money, with a huge fee of billions of dollars.
  3. The situation is even worse because it is equally true for receiving monetary transfers. In other words, if you have a large amount successfully transferred to you, there is no guarantee that you can use this money. Sadly, even if the money leaves the sender's bank, the recipient's bank can instantly freeze it. On the very same day, you could get a visit from bank or government officials along with the state security service and a special interrogation. If you cannot provide provenance data for the funds, the transfer could easily remain frozen for good. Naturally, this system opens the doors for various types of abuse of power and manipulation by bankers, governments, and state services.
For the existing banking system, any big transaction makes you a suspect of some manipulations resulting in a frozen transfer. More importantly, it isn't only true for multi-billion or multi-million transfers. Any transaction involving hundreds of thousands, dozens of thousands, or simply thousands of dollars may be deemed suspicious and sanctioned. It means that anyone who runs relatively big transactions runs the risk of encountering certain problems at any time.
Cryptocurrencies are a step toward free transfers
The above-described situation proves that digital money helps people get rid of many problems related to bank transfers: high fees, payment amount limits, specification of personal data, verification procedures. With digital money, you don't have to prove or explain anything. This is a real revolution that makes people free from fees and manipulation. Cryptocurrencies allow people to be a master of their funds and no one has the power to change this. No one charges you crazy fees and no one can steal your coins.
With each passing minute, cryptocurrencies are becoming part of our life, and rather than profit from trading, investment, mining, or staking, they are regarded as a convenient way of sending funds. Only cryptocurrencies make people feel completely safe and allow them to transfer whatever amount wherever they want. This is a huge step towards changing the existing financial system, and it has already been made.
But UMI Goes Even Further
It may appear that problem with bank fees concerns only large businessmen. In real fact, regular people living live paycheck to paycheck are more sensitive to this issue. Being on a tight budget, most people have to pay for any bank transaction.
You always pay fees charged by banks — when you pay utility bills, buy online, deposit money to your bank card, receive money, transfer money between your accounts or withdraw cash from an ATM. Overall, bank fees cost people a lot of money. It's curious to know how much your pay banks every year for mediation.
Now let's see how you can make transactions using UMI.
In terms of fees, UMI is more profitable than banks and even more profitable than most of the other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin. There are no fees in the UMI network at all, even hidden ones. All transactions are instant. That is, if you sent $2.24 billion through the UMI network, it would be instant and completely free. There are no limits, verifications, and other nervous procedures. Instant, free, and secure — here and now.
This is the key advantage of UMI as a payment instrument. Our cryptocurrency empowers all people — from large businessmen to factory workers — with profitable and absolutely safe funds transfers. UMI gives all people around the globe equal opportunities. This is the next step toward a free financial world. We are the first to make it.
Sincerely yours, UMI team
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ArCoin from Arca: how the first tokenized US government bonds work

ArCoin from Arca: how the first tokenized US government bonds work

ArCoin from Arca: how the first tokenized US government bonds work
On July 6, digital asset manager Arca registered his private crypto fund Arca U.S. Treasury Fund at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund invests most of its funds in short-term US bonds, while the fund’s shares are represented in the form of ArCoin Ethereum tokens of the new ERC1404 format, which fully comply with securities legislation.

Why SEC registration is important for Arca U.S. Treasury Fund.

Arca U.S. Treasury Fund is a closed-end hedge fund owned by the American digital asset management company Arca. It aims to combine the regulatory, legal and operational standards of the traditional financial sector with the efficiency of the blockchain. The company believes that actively managed hedge funds are the best way to address the volatility, immaturity, and rapidly changing nature of cryptocurrencies as an investment asset.
Registration with the SEC was not easy for the fund — Arca agreed on the form of its digital shares within 20 months. But now the fund’s securities comply with the 1940 Investment Companies Act, which regulates the work of investment funds, including those issuing their own securities.
For investors, SEC approval is an opportunity to receive guarantees from the traditional financial market: broker control by the regulator, independent audit and regular reporting, as well as the right to return their money in the event of a broker’s bankruptcy.
For an investment fund, registration with the SEC imposes obligations to provide information on the company’s financial position, investment policy and current operations, meet liquidity requirements, conduct an independent audit and transfer control over assets to an independent board of trustees. But this is what allowed Arca to release an institutional-grade product.

How Arca U.S. Treasury Fund works

Arca U.S. Treasury Fund invests 80% of its assets in short-term US Treasury bonds. The rest of the funds are invested in fixed income debt securities. As the fund plans to invest in low-risk assets, the ArCoin price is expected to be stable.
The fund operates just like any other fund holding US debt securities, but with the addition of blockchain to manage stocks. Investors do not invest their money directly in securities, but purchase shares of the fund — ArCoin tokens (ARCT). They were created by a special division of the company — Arca Labs. TokenSoft, a crypto startup that helps companies launch and sell tokens, has become a technical service provider.
ArCoin sets a new standard for Ethereum tokens — ERC1404. It is specifically designed to meet regulatory requirements. Unlike the universal ERC20 standard, ERC1404 is more strictly controlled: such a token can be frozen, and the addresses to which users can send it must also be predefined. This “whitelist” of permitted addresses allows the SEC to almost completely control and track their circulation and ensures that tokens are not transferred outside of regulatory oversight.
Each ArCoin grants the right to one share in the fund. The price of the coin is $1 with a minimum investment of $1000. A total of 100 million ArCoins will be available. Accrued interest is paid directly to ArCoin holders every quarter. You can buy shares directly through the website after passing the KYC / AML check. At the same time, investors can trade tokens with each other — the blockchain allows you to do without a broker.
The fund’s shares will not be available for trading on stock exchanges and for secondary trading on crypto exchanges. Notably, the prospectus filed with the SEC in April 2019 states that in the future, Arca coins “may be traded on a public decentralized or centralized electronic exchange platform that is registered with the SEC as an alternative trading system, although there is no guarantee that such systems or platforms will be available.” But, apparently, this situation did not suit the regulator, and in the latest version of the document it was changed.
The standard investor commission for fund management is 3.22%, but during the first year it will be reduced to 0.75%. Investors can keep ArCoin in their own wallets, but if the private keys from them are lost or compromised, the fund will replace the lost tokens with new ones. The digital assets are held in tokenized asset-oriented investment bank DTAC LLC, launched by TokenSoft last December.
ArCoin offers companies and investors several use cases and wide integration of the coin into the work of structures. Individuals can use ArCoin to hedge their cryptocurrency portfolio against volatility, and financial institutions and other companies can use ArCoin to clear, settle, pay and lend “more efficiently, less costly, faster and with the ability to directly track all transactions.”
The ability to pay for goods and services with tokens on US Treasury bonds is a revolutionary step that narrows the space between payment and investment funds.

Fight for a new trillion dollar market

US Treasuries, to which ArCoin is tied, are issued by the US Treasury Department and serve as a government debt financing instrument.
Traditionally, they have a credit rating equal to or close to the maximum AAA, and are considered one of the safest and most reliable assets in the world. This makes US Treasuries highly sought after by central banks, financial companies, and private investors around the world, as they act as a safe haven from volatility in stock and corporate bond markets in times of geopolitical or economic turmoil. The SEC cleared ArCoin linkage to US Treasuries makes the asset the safest and most regulated token on the market. This is a great choice in turbulent financial times.
The launch of Arca U.S. Treasury Fund is targeting one of Wall Street’s oldest outposts — investing in the US Treasury bond market.According to Brookings, its value is about $18 trillion. ArCoin is a modern alternative to existing methods of investing in Treasury securities (buying bonds from a broker or purchasing shares from an investment fund). Arca is clearly looking forward to the emergence and growth of a new market for fully regulated and SEC-approved digital shares in traditional assets. Moreover, their competitors are not other crypto funds, but traditional exchange-traded funds and ETFs.
The Arca team is made up of Wall Street veterans and knows what a product needs to be that will be successful. Blockchain aims to show investors that it simplifies, cheaper and speeds up the process compared to the traditional market. On the site, the Arca team describes ArCoin as a “blockchain-traded fund”, or BTF.
In comments to CoinDesk in February this year, CEO Ryan Steinberg said that Arca hopes to see large institutional investors as early buyers. It was for them that the company fought so long and hard to get registered with the SEC — it had to increase confidence in the products. “The answer to the question of why there are so few institutions in the crypto industry is simple: there are no institutional-grade products on the market,” Steinberg said, noting that ArCoin is just right for the needs of large investors.
“This is a huge leap forward in legitimizing securities on the blockchain.
Huge round of applause for the Arca team, great talent and domain expertise paired with great execution.” — TokenSoft CEO Mason Borda praised the Arca team.
However, the Arca team understands that success is not guaranteed. Treasury digital assets are a new and untested market. In its filing with the SEC, Arca recognizes the potential risks for investors. For example, digital asset markets may not have the liquidity that US Treasury investors currently enjoy in traditional markets. “The use of blockchain is relatively new and untested. Therefore, investors should initially expect greater price volatility in the secondary market than would be the case if the shares had greater liquidity, ”the application says. Other risks include congestion on the Ethereum network and “the possibility of breakdowns and trading stops as a result of undiscovered technological deficiencies.”

To the conclusion

SEC-registered crypto investment products are nothing new. Cryptocurrency investment fund Grayscale Investments, for example, is one of the largest bitcoin funds that is regularly audited by the SEC. But the point is, Arca offers its own cryptocurrency, not Bitcoin.
ArCoin is set to become just the first asset in the portfolio of SEC-approved financial products to be released by Arca. The increase in the number of such initiatives can convince the SEC that their launch does not carry enormous risks. For several years now, this regulator has refused to launch bitcoin ETFs, arguing this by the lack of a legal environment in the market, manipulation of asset prices, difficulties with liquidity, storage and arbitration, and non-compliance with the regulator’s rules. Now, amid the emergence of products such as ArCoin, the SEC may reconsider its opinion on Bitcoin ETFs.
The SEC approval for Arca has potentially opened the door to new and innovative blockchain-based financial products. Regulatory registration can be a challenge for many companies, but Arca has shown how to achieve it. The project has taken a pioneering and revolutionary step towards combining traditional finance with digital investments.
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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analysed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, secure and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue disecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as:
“A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next he states that: >“blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”.* For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (>66%) double spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralised nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching their transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public.They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers.The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translates to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS & shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behaviour are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.”
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: > OCaml is a general purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognised by academics and won a so called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities safety is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa for Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships  
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organisations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, AirBnB, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are build on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”*
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They dont just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities) also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures & Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
A whirlwind tour of Defi, paying close attention to protocols that we’re leveraging at Genesis Block.
https://reddit.com/link/hrrt21/video/cvjh5rrh12b51/player
This is the third post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
Last week we explored how building on legacy finance is a fool’s errand. The future of money belongs to those who build with crypto and blockchain at their core. We also started down the crypto rabbit hole, introducing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi (decentralized finance). That post is required reading if you hope to glean any value from the rest of this series.
97% of all activity on Ethereum in the last quarter has been DeFi-related. The total value sitting inside DeFi protocols is roughly $2B — double what it was a month ago. The explosive growth cannot be ignored. All signs suggest that Ethereum & DeFi are a Match Made in Heaven, and both on their way to finding strong product/market fit.
So in this post, we’re doing a whirlwind tour of DeFi. We look at specific examples and use-cases already in the wild and seeing strong growth. And we pay close attention to protocols that Genesis Block is integrating with. Alright, let’s dive in.

Stablecoins

Stablecoins are exactly what they sound like: cryptocurrencies that are stable. They are not meant to be volatile (like Bitcoin). These assets attempt to peg their price to some external reference (eg. USD or Gold). A non-volatile crypto asset can be incredibly useful for things like merchant payments, cross-border transfers, or storing wealth — becoming your own bank but without the stress of constant price volatility.
There are major governments and central banks that are experimenting with or soon launching their own stablecoins like China with their digital yuan and the US Federal Reserve with their digital dollar. There are also major corporations working in this area like JP Morgan with their JPM Coin, and of course Facebook with their Libra Project.
Stablecoin activity has grown 800% in the last year, with $290B of transaction volume (funds moving on-chain).
The most popular USD-pegged stablecoins include:
  1. Tether ($10B): It’s especially popular in Asia. It’s backed by USD in a bank account. But given their lack of transparency and past controversies, they generally aren’t trusted as much in the West.
  2. USDC ($1B): This is the most reputable USD-backed stablecoin, at least in the West. It was created by Coinbase & Circle, both well-regarded crypto companies. They’ve been very open and transparent with their audits and bank records.
  3. DAI ($189M): This is backed by other crypto assets — not USD in a bank account. This was arguably the first true DeFi protocol. The big benefit is that it’s more decentralized — it’s not controlled by any single organization. The downside is that the assets backing it can be volatile crypto assets (though it has mechanisms in place to mitigate that risk).
Other notable USD-backed stablecoins include PAX, TrueUSD, Binance USD, and Gemini Dollar.
tablecoins are playing an increasingly important role in the world of DeFi. In a way, they serve as common pipes & bridges between the various protocols.
https://preview.redd.it/v9ki2qro12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=dbf591b122fc4b3d83b381389145b88e2505b51d

Lending & Borrowing

Three of the top five DeFi protocols relate to lending & borrowing. These popular lending protocols look very similar to traditional money markets. Users who want to earn interest/yield can deposit (lend) their funds into a pool of liquidity. Because it behaves similarly to traditional money markets, their funds are not locked, they can withdraw at any time. It’s highly liquid.
Borrowers can tap into this pool of liquidity and take out loans. Interest rates depend on the utilization rate of the pool — how much of the deposits in the pool have already been borrowed. Supply & demand. Thus, interest rates are variable and borrowers can pay their loans back at any time.
So, who decides how much a borrower can take? What’s the process like? Are there credit checks? How is credit-worthiness determined?
These protocols are decentralized, borderless, permissionless. The people participating in these markets are from all over the world. There is no simple way to verify identity or check credit history. So none of that happens.
Credit-worthiness is determined simply by how much crypto collateral the borrower puts into the protocol. For example, if a user wants to borrow $5k of USDC, then they’ll need to deposit $10k of BTC or ETH. The exact amount of collateral depends on the rules of the protocol — usually the more liquid the collateral asset, the more borrowing power the user can receive.
The most prominent lending protocols include Compound, Aave, Maker, and Atomic Loans. Recently, Compound has seen meteoric growth with the introduction of their COMP token — a token used to incentivize and reward participants of the protocol. There’s almost $1B in outstanding debt in the Compound protocol. Mainframe is also working on an exciting protocol in this area and the latest iteration of their white paper should be coming out soon.
There is very little economic risk to these protocols because all loans are overcollateralized.
I repeat, all loans are overcollateralized. If the value of the collateral depreciates significantly due to price volatility, there are sophisticated liquidation systems to ensure the loan always gets paid back.
https://preview.redd.it/rru5fykv12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=620679dd84fca098a042051c7e7e1697be8dd259

Investments

Buying, selling, and trading crypto assets is certainly one form of investing (though not for the faint of heart). But there are now DeFi protocols to facilitate making and managing traditional-style investments.
Through DeFi, you can invest in Gold. You can invest in stocks like Amazon and Apple. You can short Tesla. You can access the S&P 500. This is done through crypto-based synthetics — which gives users exposure to assets without needing to hold or own the underlying asset. This is all possible with protocols like UMA, Synthetix, or Market protocol.
Maybe your style of investing is more passive. With PoolTogether , you can participate in a no-loss lottery.
Maybe you’re an advanced trader and want to trade options or futures. You can do that with DeFi protocols like Convexity, Futureswap, and dYdX. Maybe you live on the wild side and trade on margin or leverage, you can do that with protocols like Fulcrum, Nuo, and DDEX. Or maybe you’re a degenerate gambler and want to bet against Trump in the upcoming election, you can do that on Augur.
And there are plenty of DeFi protocols to help with crypto investing. You could use Set Protocol if you need automated trading strategies. You could use Melonport if you’re an asset manager. You could use Balancer to automatically rebalance your portfolio.
With as little as $1, people all over the world can have access to the same investment opportunities and tools that used to be reserved for only the wealthy, or those lucky enough to be born in the right country.
You can start to imagine how services like Etrade, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and even Robinhood could be massively disrupted by a crypto-native company that builds with these types of protocols at their foundation.
https://preview.redd.it/agco8msx12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=3bbb595f9ecc84758d276dbf82bc5ddd9e329ff8

Insurance

As mentioned in our previous post, there are near-infinite applications one can build on Ethereum. As a result, sometimes the code doesn’t work as expected. Bugs get through, it breaks. We’re still early in our industry. The tools, frameworks, and best practices are all still being established. Things can go wrong.
Sometimes the application just gets in a weird or bad state where funds can’t be recovered — like with what happened with Parity where $280M got frozen (yes, I lost some money in that). Sometimes, there are hackers who discover a vulnerability in the code and maliciously steal funds — like how dForce lost $25M a few months ago, or how The DAO lost $50M a few years ago. And sometimes the system works as designed, but the economic model behind it is flawed, so a clever user takes advantage of the system— like what recently happened with Balancer where they lost $500k.
There are a lot of risks when interacting with smart contracts and decentralized applications — especially for ones that haven’t stood the test of time. This is why insurance is such an important development in DeFi.
Insurance will be an essential component in helping this technology reach the masses.
Two protocols that are leading the way on DeFi insurance are Nexus Mutual and Opyn. Though they are both still just getting started, many people are already using them. And we’re excited to start working with them at Genesis Block.
https://preview.redd.it/wf1xvq3z12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=70db1e9587f57d0c470a4f9f4523c216929e1876

Exchanges & Liquidity

Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) were one of the first and most developed categories in DeFi. A DEX allows a user to easily exchange one crypto asset for another crypto asset — but without needing to sign up for an account, verify identity, etc. It’s all via decentralized protocols.
Within the first 5 months of 2020, the top 7 DEX already achieved the 2019 trading volume. That was $2.5B. DeFi is fueling a lot of this growth.
https://preview.redd.it/1dwvq4e022b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=97a3d756f60239cd147031eb95fc2a981db55943
There are many different flavors of DEX. Some of the early ones included 0x, IDEX, and EtherDelta — all of which had a traditional order book model where buyers are matched with sellers.
Another flavor is the pooled liquidity approach where the price is determined algorithmically based on how much liquidity there is and how much the user wants to buy. This is known as an AMM (Automated Market Maker) — Uniswap and Bancor were early leaders here. Though lately, Balancer has seen incredible growth due mostly to their strong incentives for participation — similar to Compound.
There are some DEXs that are more specialized — for example, Curve and mStable focus mostly only stablecoins. Because of the proliferation of these decentralized exchanges, there are now aggregators that combine and connect the liquidity of many sources. Those include Kyber, Totle, 1Inch, and Dex.ag.
These decentralized exchanges are becoming more and more connected to DeFi because they provide an opportunity for yield and earning interest.
Users can earn passive income by supplying liquidity to these markets. It usually comes in the form of sharing transaction fee revenue (Uniswap) or token rewards (Balancer).
https://preview.redd.it/wrug6lg222b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c47a3f2e01426ca87d84b92c1e914db39ff773f

Payments

As it relates to making payments, much of the world is still stuck on plastic cards. We’re grateful to partner with Visa and launch the Genesis Block debit card… but we still don’t believe that's the future of payments. We see that as an important bridge between the past (legacy finance) and the future (crypto).
Our first post in this series shared more on why legacy finance is broken. We talked about the countless unnecessary middle-men on every card swipe (merchant, acquiring bank, processor, card network, issuing bank). We talked about the slow settlement times.
The future of payments will be much better. Yes, it’ll be from a mobile phone and the user experience will be similar to ApplePay (NFC) or WePay (QR Code).
But more importantly, the underlying assets being moved/exchanged will all be crypto — digital, permissionless, and open source.
Someone making a payment at the grocery store check-out line will be able to open up Genesis Block, use contactless tech or scan a QR code, and instantly pay for their goods. All using crypto. Likely a stablecoin. Settlement will be instant. All the middlemen getting their pound of flesh will be disintermediated. The merchant can make more and the user can spend less. Blockchain FTW!
Now let’s talk about a few projects working in this area. The xDai Burner Wallet experience was incredible at the ETHDenver event a few years ago, but that speed came at the expense of full decentralization (can it be censored or shut down?). Of course, Facebook’s Libra wants to become the new standard for global payments, but many are afraid to give Facebook that much control (newsflash: it isn’t very decentralized).
Bitcoin is decentralized… but it’s slow and volatile. There are strong projects like Lightning Network (Zap example) that are still trying to make it happen. Projects like Connext and OmiseGo are trying to help bring payments to Ethereum. The Flexa project is leveraging the gift card rails, which is a nice hack to leverage existing pipes. And if ETH 2.0 is as fast as they say it will be, then the future of payments could just be a stablecoin like DAI (a token on Ethereum).
In a way, being able to spend crypto on daily expenses is the holy grail of use-cases. It’s still early. It hasn’t yet been solved. But once we achieve this, then we can ultimately and finally say goodbye to the legacy banking & finance world. Employees can be paid in crypto. Employees can spend in crypto. It changes everything.
Legacy finance is hanging on by a thread, and it’s this use-case that they are still clinging to. Once solved, DeFi domination will be complete.
https://preview.redd.it/svft1ce422b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=9a6afc9e9339a3fec29ee2ae743c07c3042ea4ce

Impact on Genesis Block

At Genesis Block, we’re excited to leverage these protocols and take this incredible technology to the world. Many of these protocols are already deeply integrated with our product. In fact, many are essential. The masses won’t know (or care about) what Tether, USDC, or DAI is. They think in dollars, euros, pounds and pesos. So while the user sees their local currency in the app, the underlying technology is all leveraging stablecoins. It’s all on “crypto rails.”
https://preview.redd.it/jajzttr622b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=fcf55cea1216a1d2fcc3bf327858b009965f9bf8
When users deposit assets into their Genesis Block account, they expect to earn interest. They expect that money to grow. We leverage many of these low-risk lending/exchange DeFi protocols. We lend into decentralized money markets like Compound — where all loans are overcollateralized. Or we supply liquidity to AMM exchanges like Balancer. This allows us to earn interest and generate yield for our depositors. We’re the experts so our users don’t need to be.
We haven’t yet integrated with any of the insurance or investment protocols — but we certainly plan on it. Our infrastructure is built with blockchain technology at the heart and our system is extensible — we’re ready to add assets and protocols when we feel they are ready, safe, secure, and stable. Many of these protocols are still in the experimental phase. It’s still early.
At Genesis Block we’re excited to continue to be at the frontlines of this incredible, innovative, technological revolution called DeFi.
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None of these powerful DeFi protocols will be replacing Robinhood, SoFi, or Venmo anytime soon. They never will. They aren’t meant to! We’ve discussed this before, these are low-level protocols that need killer applications, like Genesis Block.
So now that we’ve gone a little deeper down the rabbit hole and we’ve done this whirlwind tour of DeFi, the natural next question is: why?
Why does any of it matter?
Most of these financial services that DeFi offers already exist in the real world. So why does it need to be on a blockchain? Why does it need to be decentralized? What new value is unlocked? Next post, we answer these important questions.
To look at more projects in DeFi, check out DeFi Prime, DeFi Pulse, or Consensys.
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Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Follow our social channels:https://genesisblock.com/follow/
Download the app. We're a digital bank that's powered by crypto:https://genesisblock.com/download
submitted by mickhagen to genesisblockhq [link] [comments]

Urbit meetup in North Texas

Hi everybody, I'm holding a meetup in the DFW area for people interested in Urbit next month. If you're interested in the project or want to learn more about it, come hang out! Details are at the end of the post. I've got the blessing of u/ZorbaTHut to post this here contingent on explaining why Urbit is interesting, both in general and for this audience, so I'll give you a brief outline of the project if you're not familiar, and answer questions you may have once I'm home from work on Monday (though I encourage anybody else who'd like to to chime in until then -- I have to go to bed soon.)

What is Urbit?

Urbit is an interenet decentralization project, and a full networked computing stack from the ground up. Urbit's ultimate goal is to build a new internet on top of the old one, that is architecturally designed to avoid the need for centralized services by allowing individuals to run and program robust personal servers that are simple to manage. When Urbit conquers the world, your digital identity will be something you personally permanently own as a cryptographic key, not an line in a corporation's database; Facebook and Twitter will be protocols -- encrypted traffic and data shared directly between you and your friends & family, with no middlemen spying on you; your apps, social software and anything you program will have secure cryptocurrency payment mechanisms as a system call, payed out of a wallet on a device you fully control; and you will tangibly own and control your computer and the networked software you use on it.
As I said, Urbit is a stack; at its core is Nock, a minimal, turing-complete function. Nock is built out into a deterministic operating system, Arvo, with its own functional programming language. For now, Arvo runs as a process, with a custom VM/interpreter on *nix machines. Your Arvo instance talks to other instances over a native, encrypted peer-to-peer network, though it can interface with the normal internet as well. Urbit's identity management system is called Azimuth, a public key infrastructure built on Ethereum. You own proof of your Urbit instance's identity as a token in the same way you own your Bitcoin wallet.
Because the peer-to-peer network is built into Arvo, you get it 'for free' with any software you write or run on it. You run your own personal server, and run all the software you use to communicate with the world yourself. Because all of your services are running on computer you control using a single secure identity system, you can think of what it aspires to like a decentralized, cypherpunk version of WeChat -- a programmable, secure platform for everything you want to do with your computer in one place, without the downsides of other people running your software.

Why is it interesting?

Urbit is extremely ambitious and pretty strange. Why throw out the entire stack we've spent half a century building? Because it's a giant ball of mud -- millions of lines of code in the Linux kernel alone, with all the attendant security issues and complexity. You can run a personal server today if you're technically sophisticated; spin up a VPS, install all the software you need, configure everything and keep it secure. It's doable, but it sucks, and your mom can't do it. Urbit is designed from the beginning to avoid the pitfalls that led to cascading system complexity. Nock has 12 opcodes, and Arvo is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 lines of code. The core pieces of Urbit are also ticking towards being 'frozen' -- reaching a state where they can no longer be changed, in order to ensure that they remain absolutely minimal. The point of all of this is to make a diamond-hard, unchanging core that a single person can actually understand in its entirety, ensure the security of the architecture, prevent insane dependency hell and leaky abstractions from overgrowing it, and allow for software you write today to run in a century. It also aims to be simple enough that a normal person can pay a commodity provider $5/mo (or something), log into their Urbit on their devices, and control it as easily as their phone.
Urbit's network also has a routing hierarchy that is important to understand; while the total address space is 128-bit, the addresses are partitioned into different classes. 8-bit and 16-bit addresses act as network infrastructure, while human instances use 32-bit addresses. To use the network, you must be sponsored by the 16-bit node 'above' you -- which is to say 'be on good terms'. If you aren't on good terms, that sponsorship can be terminated, but that goes both ways -- if you don't like your sponsor, you can exit and choose another. Because 32-bit addresses are finite, they're scarce and have value, which disincentivizes spam and abuse. To be clear, the sponsor nodes only sign/deliver software updates, and perform peer discovery and NAT traversal; your connections with other people are direct and encrypted. Because there are many sponsor nodes, you can return to the network if you're kicked off unfairly. In the long term, this also allows for graceful political fragmentation of the network if necessary.
The world created by Urbit is a world where individuals control their own data and digital communities live according to their mores. It's an internet that isn't funded by mass automated surveillance and ad companies that know your health problems. It's also the internet as a frontier like it once was, at least until this one is settled. Apologies if this comes off a little true-believer-y, but this project is something I'm genuinely excited about.

For TheMotte

The world that Urbit aims to build is one not dissimilar from Scott's archipelago communism -- one of voluntaristic relations and communities, and exit in the face of conflict & coercion. It's technical infrastructure to move the internet away from the chokepoints of the major social media platforms and the concentration of political power that comes with centralized services. The seismic shifts affecting our institutions and society caused by the internet in the last decade have been commented on at length here and elsewhere, but as BTO said, you ain't seen nothin' yet. I suspect many people with a libertarian or anti-authoritarian bent would appreciate the principle of individual sovereignty over their computing and data. The project is also something I've discussed a few times with others on here, so I know there's some curiosity about it.
The original developer of Urbit is also rather well known online, especially around here. Yarvin is a pretty controversial figure, but he departed the project in early 2019.

Meetup

There's a lot more that I haven't mentioned, but I hope this has piqued your interest. If you're in DFW, you can find details of the first meetup here. There will be free pizza and a presentation about Urbit, help installing & using it (Mac & Linux only for now), as well as the opportunity to socialize. All are welcome! Feel free to bring a friend.
If you're not in North Texas but are interested, there are also other regional meetups all over the world coming up soon.

Further reading:

submitted by p3on to TheMotte [link] [comments]

when cash is banned.................

https://news.bitcoin.com/when-cash-is-banned-centralized-cryptos-are-not-going-to-save-you/


Australia is now moving forward with its proposed legislation to ban cash purchases over 10,000 AUD ($6,900) for business purposes. According to the treasury website: “The Black Economy Taskforce recommended this action to tackle tax evasion and other criminal activities.” While many Aussies are celebrating Bitcoin’s exclusion from this clause, others find the move away from hard cash somewhat chilling. After all, if this finally goes through, banks and the state will be given sole power to deny or approve any and all purchases above this limit. Crypto is not yet affected, but when cash is erased, and the control grid is tightened, be sure that centralized shitcoins are not going to save anyone, either.

There’s always been a lot of zealous hype in crypto circles. Search “bitcoin” on Twitter and you’ll be overwhelmed with an avalanche of largely meaningless noise. “Feeling really bullish right now thanks to X, Y, Z!” “If you don’t have any Bitcoin by now, you’re doing it wrong.” “Crypto #Revolution.” These hyped-up voices flash in the pan like cheap sparklers, and tend go quiet when the markets tank. They talk about being “unbanked” and the revolution of all things “powered by blockchain.”

But at the end of the day, what the hell does all this really mean? A lot of people seem to think that freedom in finance can come easily, without a fight or intentional action. That the dynasty of powers that be are just going to roll over and accept a money they cannot control. For all the shouts of “ditch fiat!” and “why are people still using statist play money?” very few seem to understand the real score, which is this: there’s no war being waged on your technology, but on its ability to provide you with financial autonomy, self-sufficiency, and privacy.
The really bad news for these folks, though, is that if Australia pushes through this ban on cash purchases, and they are forced to use only digital assets and credit, it doesn’t matter how much of whatever centralized crypto shitcoin anyone holds. At that point, the state is in control, and fiat cash–as evil as it is–would be a lot more friendly.

The alliance of Five Eyes nations (FVEY) really seems to have chosen Australia as a testing ground for implementing Orwellian, anti-privacy measures. Aussies are no longer allowed to be secure in their communications thanks to a controversial new law outlawing encrypted devices and chat applications. Now they are moving away from the privacy of paper money as well. This ostensibly to combat drug trafficking and terrorism via almost completely state-supervised monetary transactions for everyone.
It likely won’t be long until similar laws make their way into other FVEY countries like the United States, the U.K., Canada, and New Zealand. If that happens, the only cryptocurrencies that will be able to help secure value are those that are open source, private, secure and decentralized. Not surprisingly, these are the very coins now being specifically targeted by these nations, and slandered as “tools for criminals.”

If sound money is to survive this financial tyranny, it seems there might be some kind of battle. Many believe technological innovation can make this struggle a more or less peaceful one. When dealing with groups that do not respect the individual, inalienable rights of human beings to their bodies, minds, and property, however, there always comes a point where “no” must be uttered.
Whether it be boldly proclaimed from a stage in the spotlight or silently through a private action or transaction, it still must happen. There is no change without conscious, human action. Bitcoin allows for this by being decentralized. No state has control over the network. “No” is still an option. “No” is still somewhat of an option with fiat paper as well, as much as sensationalists might hate to hear it, or fear to say it.

These aforementioned hypesters don’t get that the propagandized fiat money they rail against (and indeed they are correct in their criticisms) is still much more private and useful than a centralized, government-regulated digital money could or ever would be. The Ripple crowd, for example, brags about how realistic and adoption-friendly they are, the company itself writing a saccharine, syrupy letter to Congress on July 29. They speak about wanting to comply with whatever regulations must be put in place:
We don’t take for granted the vital role of central banks in issuing currencies and setting monetary policy in concert with the complex dynamics of economies around the world. For centuries, governments have been well suited for the job because paramount to the acceptance of any currency is trust.
Well-suited? For what job? Is debasing and devaluing people’s money, letting terrorists and violent traffickers off the hook, and losing trillions, spending trillions to finance the death and destruction of hundreds of thousands in war and democide “well-suited”? They’ve lost their minds.
If crypto is to be useful, it has to resemble the models of gold and cash, as far as privacy and user autonomy is concerned, and improve upon them immensely–not make a mealy-mouthed return to state-sponsored, central bank-controlled play money irrelevancy. Imagine being an Australian business owner and trying to buy something, but it’s too expensive to pay for with cash. For whatever reason, your bank cannot approve the purchase. Your account is frozen, or their servers are down. You’re stuck. This issue doesn’t exist with physical money. But it already does with bank accounts and centralized crypto exchanges.

The moment someone tells you in your private life that you’re “not allowed” to have something that is rightfully yours, and they try to steal it, you cease trusting them, and cut off the relationship. Why, when it comes to the state, should things be any different?
Like a patient off his head on painkillers, these people talk about pie-in-the-sky crypto utopias to be brought about by “blockchain revolutions” controlled by the very people who oppress them the most. Writing letters to Congress. Laughing at the “idealists” who wish to retain the keys to their holdings.
When cash is out, erased, kaput, if blockchain is going to save people, it’s going to be secure money, and not state shitcoins or digital, bank-regulated credit and debt. What the poor Twitter zealots have missed is that this peaceful resistance for non-violent money called the “crypto revolution” is not about just “getting rich,” but at its root is about preserving the dignity of precious, individual human life everywhere.
submitted by mohtasham22 to btc [link] [comments]

Why Are Gift Cards So Heavily Discounted on Redeeem?

Why Are Gift Cards So Heavily Discounted on Redeeem?
One of the most common questions we get from new buyers on Redeeem goes something like this: "I see a bunch of Amazon Gift Cards selling for 20-30% discount our site... are they legit?" Our answer is obviously and emphatically "yes", but the true reason deserves a much longer explanation.
First, it's worth pointing out that sellers set their own rates and we have strict requirements for purchase receipts on Redeeem. Every gift card and receipt is carefully reviewed by our validators before it can be posted for sale. We have a zero-fraud policy and rely heavily on Trust Ratings to help us resolve disputes fairly and efficiently. All users on the platform are required to complete KYC and identity verification after a certain volume. We take trust very seriously.
So why are gift cards so cheap? A better question would be: "Why are people willing to pay a 20-30% premium to buy bitcoin?" Bitcoin is still hard to buy for most people around the world. Gift cards are the easiest way to buy bitcoin for people in some countries, and people who have it don't part ways with it easily.
Let's break the reasons into categories...
1. Limited Access
Banks the past few years have been notorious for blocking crypto. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, Chase, Discover, Capital One and 20+ other banks have formally banned crypto purchases on credit card, ACH and wires, despite investing in blockchain technology heavily behind the scenes. Banks vary in their strictness in enforcing these laws, but it’s well documented that many wires into Coinbase and other exchanges have been getting blocked.
In their defense, crypto still has unclear tangible value, high monetary risks, limited regulation, high fraud, virtually no insurance, and irreversible transactions—making it unpopular to many large institutions.
2. Price Speculation
April 2019 had the highest volume of future bets placed on bitcoin ever, at 22,000 open contracts. Bitcoin is a highly volatile investment vehicle with high volume, making it perfect for day-traders. So the number of contracts continues to increase every month globally. The kind of bets these traders are placing can yield as high as 800% returns, so they may not care about a 20% loss upfront.
3. Speed
Exchanges are very slow. For new users on Coinbase who choose the ACH option, it takes about 4 days to actually own and withdraw bitcoin from Coinbase. If you choose to send a wire, this cost you $25 anyway which is roughly 25% cost of buying a $100 gift card. And we already know other marketplaces like CardCash and Raise regularly send checks in the mail. People are willing to pay a premium for speed—especially considering the price volatility of bitcoin.
4. Exchange Limits
Crypto exchanges often have low purchase limits for bitcoin. It’s easier to buy gift cards across multiple retail stores like CVS, Walgreens, Ralphs, etc and sell them for bitcoin than buying directly with a credit or debit card. Many people reported their bank accounts being frozen for trading too much crypto.
5. Foreign Demand
China has huge demand for bitcoin. After the Chinese government banned bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading in September 2017, a large number of Chinese investors still actively trade bitcoin, circumventing restrictions through use of VPNs, stablecoins, and OTC markets, and they are willing to pay a premium. Other countries (not named China) have demand for bitcoin because its a more useful currency than their own fiat, especially in Africa.
6. Taxation
Many countries have some unusual tax laws for cryptocurrencies. In Israel, cryptocurrencies are taxed as high as 50% capital gains for businesses. In China, despite a blanket ban on crypto trading, the P2P and OTC markets are still legal (and active). For many wealthy Chinese, bitcoin (and stablecoins) are tax havens for their money, and they may be willing to pay a premium to get bitcoin.
7. Hyperinflation
Nigeria has the #15 highest inflation rate in the world. Other countries like Venezuela and Argentina are desperate to move their earnings into an asset that not only will retain its value, but may actually increase. Many citizens in of these hyperinflationary countries would rather get paid in a gift card or bitcoin in exchange for goods or services—knowing its a safer asset to hold.
8. Corruption
Corrupt governments also impact people’s willingness to convert fiat currencies into cryptocurrencies, as they believe it is a safer place for their money. According to the Human Rights Foundation, more than 50% of the world’s population still lives under an authoritarian regime where their money could be at risk of forfeiture. This accounts for more than 2.6 billion people that live in nations tainted by repression, corruption and human rights abuses. A currency like bitcoin gives them protection from these factors, even at a 20-30% premium.
9. Unbanked
Amazon has over 250,000 “Turks” working on Mechanical Turk, and most have the option to be paid in Amazon Gift Cards rather than their fiat currency. Some % of this population that doesn’t have bank accounts, this is a great only way to cash out their earnings, even with a hefty fee. Amazon pays out hundreds of millions of dollars a year to their Turks, and not many of them are in countries where bitcoin exchanges are available.
10. Risk
Amazon and other retailers have a reputation for shutting down accounts of buyers with money trapped inside. They will do this if buyers have unusual buying patterns or buy too many secondhand gift cards from non-authorized retailers. With every trade comes the inherent risk that the entire gift card will be frozen by the retailer or become invalid in some other way. It's not guaranteed money, and this is reflected in the price.

https://preview.redd.it/55j85njw35u31.png?width=572&format=png&auto=webp&s=7b1ba3447779b9d3481344080a267ab32388ce29
submitted by levi_d-19 to Redeeem [link] [comments]

Stop Blaming Bearish Market in Your Investment Failures

Stop Blaming Bearish Market in Your Investment Failures


How to survive when you invested in cryptocurrency. A story of one crypto enthusiast.
I’m an optimist. A persistent optimist. But when you watch your money goes down the drain under the label “long-term investment,” it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve invested quite a few bucks in crypto, and I truly believe that in a year or two, I’ll be thinking where else to shove an extra couple of thousands. But let’s talk about here and now. Sitting on my backside won’t refuel my car and my whiskey tumbler. And since I’m a regular in trading and crypto communities, I’ve started looking around in search of the low-risk alternatives.
Well, when there’s a will, there’s a way.

Cryptocurrencies, ICOs, Security Tokens

I don’t want to touch a sore subject, but still, let’s recollect how the things were developing on the cryptocurrency market. First, we all rushed to buy Bitcoin. We entered a market more or less decently and followed the trend upwards. At some point, it became not enough. And we started forming our investment portfolio, Bitcoin-centered but expanding to other coins like Ethereum, Ripple, Monero, and so on. Our capital was growing, nice and smooth.
Next, there was the stage of ICO investments. Almost every single project, even quite scammy ones, was giving crazy x’s. Of course, we’ve got tempted (well, I did). And our nice portfolio started lacking Bitcoins and refilling with some trashy tokens like DTH, XBR, HYB and similar.
Let’s not continue; we all know what happened next.
I hope you haven’t cashed out the remnants of your portfolio and just calmly put them off for better times. Forget about your coins for a year or two, consider them frozen.
Now, we are moving to the short term. I suggest looking at the new megatrend within the crypto field - security tokens. The name didn’t even exist a few years ago, and even now it remains quite a novelty (it’d be too late to talk about it if everyone knew, wouldn’t it?). This thing can bring you a stable monthly income - checked by myself. Here’re the details.

Some Theory Behind Security Tokens

They originate from securities - tradable financial assets like stocks, options, etc. If we view security tokens as stocks, then it becomes clear that it’s a way to own a part of a business. The scheme is simple: a company wants to raise some money from investors, and it offers some return mechanism - dividends, interest rates, profit shares. Now, shift this principle to the crypto field, and you’ll get a security token. It all can be distilled down to one statement: security tokens generate profits for the token holders.
In the USA, to be considered a security, the token has to meet the following requirements (due to the Howey Test):
  • there’s a money investment
  • in a common enterprise
  • you expect profits
  • the efforts are not yours
These are SEC-regulated projects. Still, there are quite a few outside-SEC-jurisdiction blockchain startups that can bring profits.
Think about it. You don’t invest in something that may or may not play out, as with ICOs. You give your money to some blockchain project and receive returns every month. For businesses, it means more investors’ attention, more liquidity to the securities market, and more tradable tokens. If they fail to pay what’s been promised, they lose their investors in a minute.
So, now you can guess how I’ve started to come back on track. I looked for the projects that pay crypto dividends to their token holders. Then, I tried to come up with the estimated daily and monthly earnings. After that, I chose the most profitable projects and invested small sums to check them out. Some of the projects fell off with time; others are still performing well with more significant sums.
But after I’ve done all the work on finding and choosing the best-paying dapps, it dawned on me that I can help others to do the same thing. And I’ve come up with the CryptoDividend idea.

Crypto Dividends

Free. Useful. Constantly updated. For cryptocurrency investments.
This is all you have to know about my service.
Well, okay, not all. My website is mainly a list of companies that offer a part of their business profits to token holders. I’m calculating and displaying the estimated earnings from the cryptocurrency dividends. How? I make my own investments or review the payout history on different resources. Then, I calculate daily dividend ROI based on the token exchange price, number of staked tokens and payout history. Check it out.
There’s just one issue - for now, practically all listed projects are about gambling. No, you don’t need to play to get dividends, you can just hold their tokens and cash out your money. At a very rough estimate, your $1000 investment will make you 300 bucks a month. So much for the prejudice against gambling. And, well, let’s be honest, investment is gambling. Our entire life is gambling, for Bitcoin’s sake! If yours is not, how did you even get so far?
Right now, I’m working to improve my service with some new and shiny features and add more dapps and projects from other industries. Feel free to visit cryptodividend.io (pun intended) and choose the project to invest.
submitted by CryptoDividend to CryptoCurrencies [link] [comments]

The Great Bitcoin Bull Market Of 2017 by Trace Mayer

By: Trace Mayer, host of The Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast.
Originally posted here with images and Youtube videos.
I just got back from a two week vacation without Internet as I was scouring some archeological ruins. I hardly thought about Bitcoin at all because there were so many other interesting things and it would be there when I got back.
Jimmy Song suggested I do an article on the current state of Bitcoin. A great suggestion but he is really smart (he worked on Armory after all!) so I better be thorough and accurate!
Therefore, this article will be pretty lengthy and meticulous.
BACKGROUND
As I completely expected, the 2X movement from the New York Agreement that was supposed to happen during the middle of my vacation flopped on its face because Jeff Garzik was driving the clown car with passengers willfully inside like Coinbase, Blockchain.info, Bitgo and Xapo and there were here massive bugS and in the code and miners like Bitmain did not want to allocate $150-350m to get it over the difficulty adjustments.
I am very disappointed in their lack of integrity with putting their money where their mouths are; myself and many others wanted to sell a lot of B2X for BTC!
On 7 December 2015, with Bitcoin trading at US$388.40, I wrote The Rise of the Fourth Great Bitcoin Bubble. On 4 December 2016, with Bitcoin trading at US$762.97, I did this interview:

As of 26 November 2017, Bitcoin is trading around US$9,250.00. That is an increase of about 2,400% since I wrote the article prognosticating this fourth great Bitcoin bull market. I sure like being right, like usual (19 Dec 2011, 1 Jul 2013), especially when there are financial and economic consequences.
With such massive gains in such a short period of time the speculative question becomes: Buy, Hold or Sell?
FUNDAMENTALS
Bitcoin is the decentralized censorship-resistant Internet Protocol for transferring value over a communications channel.
The Bitcoin network can use traditional Internet infrastructure. However, it is even more resilient because it has custom infrastructure including, thanks to Bitcoin Core developer Matt Corrallo, the FIBRE network and, thanks to Blockstream, satellites which reduce the cost of running a full-node anywhere in the world to essentially nothing in terms of money or privacy. Transactions can be cheaply broadcast via SMS messages.
SECURITY
The Bitcoin network has a difficulty of 1,347,001,430,559 which suggests about 9,642,211 TH/s of custom ASIC hardware deployed.
At a retail price of approximately US$105/THs that implies about $650m of custom ASIC hardware deployed (35% discount applied).
This custom hardware consumes approximately 30 TWh per year. That could power about 2.8m US households or the entire country of Morocco which has a population of 33.85m.
This Bitcoin mining generates approximately 12.5 bitcoins every 10 minutes or approximately 1,800 per day worth approximately US$16,650,000.
Bitcoin currently has a market capitalization greater than $150B which puts it solidly in the top-30 of M1 money stock countries and a 200 day moving average of about $65B which is increasing about $500m per day.
Average daily volumes for Bitcoin is around US$5B. That means multi-million dollar positions can be moved into and out of very easily with minimal slippage.
When my friend Andreas Antonopolous was unable to give his talk at a CRYPSA event I was invited to fill in and delivered this presentation, impromptu, on the Seven Network Effects of Bitcoin.
These seven network effects of Bitcoin are (1) Speculation, (2) Merchants, (3) Consumers, (4) Security [miners], (5) Developers, (6) Financialization and (7) Settlement Currency are all taking root at the same time and in an incredibly intertwined way.
With only the first network effect starting to take significant root; Bitcoin is no longer a little experiment of magic Internet money anymore. Bitcoin is monster growing at a tremendous rate!!

SPECULATION
For the Bitcoin price to remain at $9,250 it requires approximately US$16,650,000 per day of capital inflow from new hodlers.
Bitcoin is both a Giffen good and a Veblen good.
A Giffen good is a product that people consume more of as the price rises and vice versa — seemingly in violation of basic laws of demand in microeconomics such as with substitute goods and the income effect.
Veblen goods are types of luxury goods for which the quantity demanded increases as the price increases in an apparent contradiction of the law of demand.
There are approximately 16.5m bitcoins of which ~4m are lost, ~4-6m are in deep cold storage, ~4m are in cold storage and ~2-4m are salable.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/lost-bitcoins-1.jpg)
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/lost-bitcoins-2.jpg)
And forks like BCash (BCH) should not be scary but instead be looked upon as an opportunity to take more territory on the Bitcoin blockchain by trading the forks for real bitcoins which dries up more salable supply by moving it, likely, into deep cold storage.
According to Wikipedia, there are approximately 15.4m millionaires in the United States and about 12m HNWIs ($30m+ net worth) in the world. In other words, if every HNWI in the world wanted to own an entire bitcoin as a 'risk-free asset' that cannot be confiscated, seized or have the balance other wise altered then they could not.
For wise portfolio management, these HNWIs should have at least about 2-5% in gold and 0.5-1% in bitcoin.
Why? Perhaps some of the 60+ Saudis with 1,700 frozen bank accounts and about $800B of assets being targetted might be able to explain it to you.
In other words, everyone loves to chase the rabbit and once they catch it then know that it will not get away.
RETAIL
There are approximately 150+ significant Bitcoin exchanges worldwide. Kraken, according to the CEO, was adding about 6,000 new funded accounts per day in July 2017.
Supposedly, Coinbase is currently adding about 75,000 new accounts per day. Based on some trade secret analytics I have access to; I would estimate Coinbase is adding approximately 17,500 new accounts per day that purchase at least US$100 of Bitcoin.
If we assume Coinbase accounts for 8% of new global Bitcoin users who purchase at least $100 of bitcoins (just pulled out of thin error and likely very conservative as the actual number is perhaps around 2%) then that is approximately $21,875,000 of new capital coming into Bitcoin every single day just from retail demand from 218,750 total new accounts.
What I have found is that most new users start off buying US$100-500 and then after 3-4 months months they ramp up their capital allocation to $5,000+ if they have the funds available.
After all, it takes some time and practical experience to learn how to safely secure one's private keys.
To do so, I highly recommend Bitcoin Core (network consensus and full validation of the blockchain), Armory (private key management), Glacier Protocol (operational procedures) and a Puri.sm laptop (secure non-specialized hardware).
WALL STREET
There has been no solution for large financial fiduciaries to invest in Bitcoin. This changed November 2017.
LedgerX, whose CEO I interviewed 23 March 2013, began trading as a CFTC regulated Swap Execution Facility and Derivatives Clearing Organization.
The CME Group announced they will begin trading in Q4 2017 Bitcoin futures.
The CBOE announced they will begin trading Bitcoin futures soon.
By analogy, these institutional products are like connecting a major metropolis's water system (US$90.4T and US$2 quadrillion) via a nanoscopic shunt to a tiny blueberry ($150B) that is infinitely expandable.
This price discovery could be the most wild thing anyone has ever experienced in financial markets.
THE GREAT CREDIT CONTRACTION
The same week Bitcoin was released I published my book The Great Credit Contraction and asserted it had now begun and capital would burrow down the liquidity pyramid into safer and more liquid assets.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/Great-Credit-Contraction-Liquidity-Pyramid.jpg)
Thus, the critical question becomes: Is Bitcoin a possible solution to the Great Credit Contraction by becoming the safest and most liquid asset?
BITCOIN'S RISK PROFILE
At all times and in all circumstances gold remains money but, of course, there is always exchange rate risk due to price ratios constantly fluctuating. If the metal is held with a third-party in allocated-allocated storage (safest possible) then there is performance risk (Morgan Stanley gold storage lawsuit).
But, if properly held then, there should be no counter-party risk which requires the financial ability of a third-party to perform like with a bank account deposit. And, since gold exists at a single point in space and time therefore it is subject to confiscation or seizure risk.
Bitcoin is a completely new asset type. As such, the storage container is nearly empty with only $150B.
And every Bitcoin transaction effectively melts down every BTC and recasts it; thus ensuring with 100% accuracy the quantity and quality of the bitcoins. If the transaction is not on the blockchain then it did not happen. This is the strictest regulation possible; by math and cryptography!
This new immutable asset, if properly secured, is subject only to exchange rate risk. There does exist the possibility that a software bug may exist that could shut down the network, like what has happened with Ethereum, but the probability is almost nil and getting lower everyday it does not happen.
Thus, Bitcoin arguably has a lower risk profile than even gold and is the only blockchain to achieve security, scalability and liquidity.
To remain decentralized, censorship-resistant and immutable requires scalability so as many users as possible can run full-nodes.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/ethereum-bitcoin-scability-nov-2017.png)
TRANSACTIONS
Some people, probably mostly those shilling alt-coins, think Bitcoin has a scalability problem that is so serious it requires a crude hard fork to solve.
On the other side of the debate, the Internet protocol and blockchain geniuses assert the scalability issues can, like other Internet Protocols have done, be solved in different layers which are now possible because of Segregated Witness which was activated in August 2017.
Whose code do you want to run: the JV benchwarmers or the championship Chicago Bulls?
As transaction fees rise, certain use cases of the Bitcoin blockchain are priced out of the market. And as the fees fall then they are economical again.
Additionally, as transaction fees rise, certain UTXOs are no longer economically usable thus destroying part of the money supply until fees decline and UTXOs become economical to move.
There are approximately 275,000-350,000 transactions per day with transaction fees currently about $2m/day and the 200 DMA is around $1.08m/day.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-transaction-fees-nov-2017.png)
What I like about transaction fees is that they somewhat reveal the financial health of the network.
The security of the Bitcoin network results from the miners creating solutions to proof of work problems in the Bitcoin protocol and being rewarded from the (1) coinbase reward which is a form of inflation and (2) transaction fees which is a form of usage fee.
The higher the transaction fees then the greater implied value the Bitcoin network provides because users are willing to pay more for it.
I am highly skeptical of blockchains which have very low transaction fees. By Internet bubble analogy, Pets.com may have millions of page views but I am more interested in EBITDA.
DEVELOPERS
Bitcoin and blockchain programming is not an easy skill to acquire and master. Most developers who have the skill are also financially independent now and can work on whatever they want.
The best of the best work through the Bitcoin Core process. After all, if you are a world class mountain climber then you do not hang out in the MacDonalds play pen but instead climb Mount Everest because that is where the challenge is.
However, there are many talented developers who work in other areas besides the protocol. Wallet maintainers, exchange operators, payment processors, etc. all need competent developers to help build their businesses.
Consequently, there is a huge shortage of competent developers. This is probably the largest single scalability constraint for the ecosystem.
Nevertheless, the Bitcoin ecosystem is healthier than ever before.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-ecosystem.jpg)(/images/bitcoin-ecosystem-small.jpg)
SETTLEMENT CURRENCY
There are no significant global reserve settlement currency use cases for Bitcoin yet.
Perhaps the closest is Blockstream's Strong Federations via Liquid.
PRICE
There is a tremendous amount of disagreement in the marketplace about the value proposition of Bitcoin. Price discovery for this asset will be intense and likely take many cycles of which this is the fourth.
Since the supply is known the exchange rate of Bitcoins is composed of (1) transactional demand and (2) speculative demand.
Interestingly, the price elasticity of demand for the transactional demand component is irrelevant to the price. This makes for very interesting dynamics!
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-speculation.jpg)
On 4 May 2017, Lightspeed Venture Partners partner Jeremy Liew who was among the early Facebook investors and the first Snapchat investor laid out their case for bitcoin exploding to $500,000 by 2030.
On 2 November 2017, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-02/blankfein-says-don-t-dismiss-bitcoin-while-still-pondering-value)said, "Now we have paper that is just backed by fiat...Maybe in the new world, something gets backed by consensus."
On 12 Sep 2017, JP Morgan CEO called Bitcoin a 'fraud' but conceded that "(http://fortune.com/2017/09/12/jamie-dimon-bitcoin-cryptocurrency-fraud-buy/)Bitcoin could reach $100,000".
Thus, it is no surprise that the Bitcoin chart looks like a ferret on meth when there are such widely varying opinions on its value proposition.
I have been around this space for a long time. In my opinion, those who scoffed at the thought of $1 BTC, $10 BTC (Professor Bitcorn!), $100 BTC, $1,000 BTC are scoffing at $10,000 BTC and will scoff at $100,000 BTC, $1,000,000 BTC and even $10,000,000 BTC.
Interestingly, the people who understand it the best seem to think its financial dominance is destiny.
Meanwhile, those who understand it the least make emotionally charged, intellectually incoherent bearish arguments. A tremendous example of worldwide cognitive dissonance with regards to sound money, technology and the role or power of the State.
Consequently, I like looking at the 200 day moving average to filter out the daily noise and see the long-term trend.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-price-200dma-nov-2017.png)
Well, that chart of the long-term trend is pretty obvious and hard to dispute. Bitcoin is in a massive secular bull market.
The 200 day moving average is around $4,001 and rising about $30 per day.
So, what do some proforma situations look like where Bitcoin may be undervalued, average valued and overvalued? No, these are not prognostications.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-price-pro-forma.png)
Maybe Jamie Dimon is not so off his rocker after all with a $100,000 price prediction.
We are in a very unique period of human history where the collective globe is rethinking what money is and Bitcoin is in the ring battling for complete domination. Is or will it be fit for purpose?
As I have said many times before, if Bitcoin is fit for this purpose then this is the largest wealth transfer in the history of the world.
CONCLUSION
Well, this has been a brief analysis of where I think Bitcoin is at the end of November 2017.
The seven network effects are taking root extremely fast and exponentially reinforcing each other. The technological dominance of Bitcoin is unrivaled.
The world is rethinking what money is. Even CEOs of the largest banks and partners of the largest VC funds are honing in on Bitcoin's beacon.
While no one has a crystal ball; when I look in mine I see Bitcoin's future being very bright.
Currently, almost everyone who has bought Bitcoin and hodled is sitting on unrealized gains as measured in fiat currency. That is, after all, what uncharted territory with daily all-time highs do!
But perhaps there is a larger lesson to be learned here.
Riches are getting increasingly slippery because no one has a reliable defined tool to measure them with. Times like these require incredible amounts of humility and intelligence guided by macro instincts.
Perhaps everyone should start keeping books in three numéraires: USD, gold and Bitcoin.
Both gold and Bitcoin have never been worth nothing. But USD is a fiat currency and there are thousands of those in the fiat currency graveyard. How low can the world reserve currency go?
After all, what is the risk-free asset? And, whatever it is, in The Great Credit Contraction you want it!
What do you think? Disagree with some of my arguments or assertions? Please, eviscerate them on Twitter or in the comments!
submitted by bitcoinknowledge to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

An Unbiased View of Bitcoin - Wikipedia - YouTube BITCOIN IS FALLING!!!! THE BREAKOUT CAME TODAY! $8,500 ... THE WOLF OF BITCOIN  Inanna Sarkis - YouTube Bitcoin - Wikipedia - An Overview - YouTube Bitcoin 80% Crash after the Halving!

By 2017, bitcoin was no longer some unknown discovery buried in the Wikipedia rabbit hole. Everyone from the Starbucks barista to my own grandmother seemed to have an opinion on it. And the headlines were again talking about a crazy prince increase. Except this time, those headlines weren’t impressed with a $100 bitcoin. Bitcoin had just hit ... Cryptography for the purpose of confidential payments began to be used since 1990, in the DigiCash system of David Chom, whose company went bankrupt in 1998.However, his payment system was centralized, and the term "crypto currencies" was used for the first time after the appearance of the Bitcoin payment system, which was developed in 2009 by a person or a group of individuals under the ... Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article. Bitcoin is a distributed, worldwide, decentralized digital money. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever: there is no government, company, or bank in charge of Bitcoin. You might be interested in Bitcoin if you like cryptography, distributed peer-to-peer systems, or economics. Mr Money Mustache. Mr Money Mustache is a financial blogger. He retired at 30 by living frugally and consistently investing his paycheck. Mon 15 Jan 2018 05.00 EST Last modified on Mon 15 Jan 2018 ...

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An Unbiased View of Bitcoin - Wikipedia - YouTube

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