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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!
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Syscoin Platform’s Great Reddit Scaling Bake-off Proposal

Syscoin Platform’s Great Reddit Scaling Bake-off Proposal

https://preview.redd.it/rqt2dldyg8e51.jpg?width=1044&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=777ae9d4fbbb54c3540682b72700fc4ba3de0a44
We are excited to participate and present Syscoin Platform's ideal characteristics and capabilities towards a well-rounded Reddit Community Points solution!
Our scaling solution for Reddit Community Points involves 2-way peg interoperability with Ethereum. This will provide a scalable token layer built specifically for speed and high volumes of simple value transfers at a very low cost, while providing sovereign ownership and onchain finality.
Token transfers scale by taking advantage of a globally sorting mempool that provides for probabilistically secure assumptions of “as good as settled”. The opportunity here for token receivers is to have an app-layer interactivity on the speed/security tradeoff (99.9999% assurance within 10 seconds). We call this Z-DAG, and it achieves high-throughput across a mesh network topology presently composed of about 2,000 geographically dispersed full-nodes. Similar to Bitcoin, however, these nodes are incentivized to run full-nodes for the benefit of network security, through a bonded validator scheme. These nodes do not participate in the consensus of transactions or block validation any differently than other nodes and therefore do not degrade the security model of Bitcoin’s validate first then trust, across every node. Each token transfer settles on-chain. The protocol follows Bitcoin core policies so it has adequate code coverage and protocol hardening to be qualified as production quality software. It shares a significant portion of Bitcoin’s own hashpower through merged-mining.
This platform as a whole can serve token microtransactions, larger settlements, and store-of-value in an ideal fashion, providing probabilistic scalability whilst remaining decentralized according to Bitcoin design. It is accessible to ERC-20 via a permissionless and trust-minimized bridge that works in both directions. The bridge and token platform are currently available on the Syscoin mainnet. This has been gaining recent attention for use by loyalty point programs and stablecoins such as Binance USD.

Solutions

Syscoin Foundation identified a few paths for Reddit to leverage this infrastructure, each with trade-offs. The first provides the most cost-savings and scaling benefits at some sacrifice of token autonomy. The second offers more preservation of autonomy with a more narrow scope of cost savings than the first option, but savings even so. The third introduces more complexity than the previous two yet provides the most overall benefits. We consider the third as most viable as it enables Reddit to benefit even while retaining existing smart contract functionality. We will focus on the third option, and include the first two for good measure.
  1. Distribution, burns and user-to-user transfers of Reddit Points are entirely carried out on the Syscoin network. This full-on approach to utilizing the Syscoin network provides the most scalability and transaction cost benefits of these scenarios. The tradeoff here is distribution and subscription handling likely migrating away from smart contracts into the application layer.
  2. The Reddit Community Points ecosystem can continue to use existing smart contracts as they are used today on the Ethereum mainchain. Users migrate a portion of their tokens to Syscoin, the scaling network, to gain much lower fees, scalability, and a proven base layer, without sacrificing sovereign ownership. They would use Syscoin for user-to-user transfers. Tips redeemable in ten seconds or less, a high-throughput relay network, and onchain settlement at a block target of 60 seconds.
  3. Integration between Matic Network and Syscoin Platform - similar to Syscoin’s current integration with Ethereum - will provide Reddit Community Points with EVM scalability (including the Memberships ERC777 operator) on the Matic side, and performant simple value transfers, robust decentralized security, and sovereign store-of-value on the Syscoin side. It’s “the best of both worlds”. The trade-off is more complex interoperability.

Syscoin + Matic Integration

Matic and Blockchain Foundry Inc, the public company formed by the founders of Syscoin, recently entered a partnership for joint research and business development initiatives. This is ideal for all parties as Matic Network and Syscoin Platform provide complementary utility. Syscoin offers characteristics for sovereign ownership and security based on Bitcoin’s time-tested model, and shares a significant portion of Bitcoin’s own hashpower. Syscoin’s focus is on secure and scalable simple value transfers, trust-minimized interoperability, and opt-in regulatory compliance for tokenized assets rather than scalability for smart contract execution. On the other hand, Matic Network can provide scalable EVM for smart contract execution. Reddit Community Points can benefit from both.
Syscoin + Matic integration is actively being explored by both teams, as it is helpful to Reddit, Ethereum, and the industry as a whole.

Proving Performance & Cost Savings

Our POC focuses on 100,000 on-chain settlements of token transfers on the Syscoin Core blockchain. Transfers and burns perform equally with Syscoin. For POCs related to smart contracts (subscriptions, etc), refer to the Matic Network proposal.
On-chain settlement of 100k transactions was accomplished within roughly twelve minutes, well-exceeding Reddit’s expectation of five days. This was performed using six full-nodes operating on compute-optimized AWS c4.2xlarge instances which were geographically distributed (Virginia, London, Sao Paulo Brazil, Oregon, Singapore, Germany). A higher quantity of settlements could be reached within the same time-frame with more broadcasting nodes involved, or using hosts with more resources for faster execution of the process.
Addresses used: 100,014
The demonstration was executed using this tool. The results can be seen in the following blocks:
612722: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/6d47796d043bb4c508d29123e6ae81b051f5e0aaef849f253c8f3a6942a022ce
612723: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/8e2077f743461b90f80b4bef502f564933a8e04de97972901f3d65cfadcf1faf
612724: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/205436d25b1b499fce44c29567c5c807beaca915b83cc9f3c35b0d76dbb11f6e
612725: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/776d1b1a0f90f655a6bbdf559ff5072459cbdc5682d7615ff4b78c00babdc237
612726: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/de4df0994253742a1ac8ac9eec8d2a8c8b0a6d72c53d6f3caa29bb6c171b0a6b
612727: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/e5e167c52a9decb313fbaadf49a5e34cb490f8084f642a850385476d4ef10d70
612728: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/ab64d989edc71890e7b5b8491c20e9a27520dc45a5f7c776d3dae79057f59fe7
612729: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/5e8b7ecd0e36f99d07e4ea6e135fc952bf7ec30164ab6f4d1e98b0f2d405df6d
612730: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/d395df3d31dde60bbb0bece6bd5b358297da878f0beb96be389e5f0e043580a3
It is important to note that this POC is not focused on Z-DAG. The performance of Z-DAG has been benchmarked within realistic network conditions: Whiteblock’s audit is publicly available. Network latency tests showed an average TPS around 15k with burst capacity up to 61k. Zero-latency control group exhibited ~150k TPS. Mainnet testing of the Z-DAG network is achievable and will require further coordination and additional resources.
Even further optimizations are expected in the upcoming Syscoin Core release which will implement a UTXO model for our token layer bringing further efficiency as well as open the door to additional scaling technology currently under research by our team and academic partners. At present our token layer is account-based, similar to Ethereum. Opt-in compliance structures will also be introduced soon which will offer some positive performance characteristics as well. It makes the most sense to implement these optimizations before performing another benchmark for Z-DAG, especially on the mainnet considering the resources required to stress-test this network.

Cost Savings

Total cost for these 100k transactions: $0.63 USD
See the live fee comparison for savings estimation between transactions on Ethereum and Syscoin. Below is a snapshot at time of writing:
ETH price: $318.55 ETH gas price: 55.00 Gwei ($0.37)
Syscoin price: $0.11
Snapshot of live fee comparison chart
Z-DAG provides a more efficient fee-market. A typical Z-DAG transaction costs 0.0000582 SYS. Tokens can be safely redeemed/re-spent within seconds or allowed to settle on-chain beforehand. The costs should remain about this low for microtransactions.
Syscoin will achieve further reduction of fees and even greater scalability with offchain payment channels for assets, with Z-DAG as a resilience fallback. New payment channel technology is one of the topics under research by the Syscoin development team with our academic partners at TU Delft. In line with the calculation in the Lightning Networks white paper, payment channels using assets with Syscoin Core will bring theoretical capacity for each person on Earth (7.8 billion) to have five on-chain transactions per year, per person, without requiring anyone to enter a fee market (aka “wait for a block”). This exceeds the minimum LN expectation of two transactions per person, per year; one to exist on-chain and one to settle aggregated value.

Tools, Infrastructure & Documentation

Syscoin Bridge

Mainnet Demonstration of Syscoin Bridge with the Basic Attention Token ERC-20
A two-way blockchain interoperability system that uses Simple Payment Verification to enable:
  • Any Standard ERC-20 token to be moved from Ethereum to the Syscoin blockchain as a Syscoin Platform Token (SPT), and back to Ethereum
  • Any SPT to be moved from Syscoin to the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC-20 token, and back to Syscoin

Benefits

  • Permissionless
  • No counterparties involved
  • No trading mechanisms involved
  • No third-party liquidity providers required
  • Cross-chain Fractional Supply - 2-way peg - Token supply maintained globally
  • ERC-20s gain vastly improved transactionality with the Syscoin Token Platform, along with the security of bitcoin-core-compliant PoW.
  • SPTs gain access to all the tooling, applications and capabilities of Ethereum for ERC-20, including smart contracts.
https://preview.redd.it/l8t2m8ldh8e51.png?width=1180&format=png&auto=webp&s=b0a955a0181746dc79aff718bd0bf607d3c3aa23
https://preview.redd.it/26htnxzfh8e51.png?width=1180&format=png&auto=webp&s=d0383d3c2ee836c9f60b57eca35542e9545f741d

Source code

https://github.com/syscoin/?q=sysethereum
Main Subprojects

API

Tools to simplify using Syscoin Bridge as a service with dapps and wallets will be released some time after implementation of Syscoin Core 4.2. These will be based upon the same processes which are automated in the current live Sysethereum Dapp that is functioning with the Syscoin mainnet.

Documentation

Syscoin Bridge & How it Works (description and process flow)
Superblock Validation Battles
HOWTO: Provision the Bridge for your ERC-20
HOWTO: Setup an Agent
Developer & User Diligence

Trade-off

The Syscoin Ethereum Bridge is secured by Agent nodes participating in a decentralized and incentivized model that involves roles of Superblock challengers and submitters. This model is open to participation. The benefits here are trust-minimization, permissionless-ness, and potentially less legal/regulatory red-tape than interop mechanisms that involve liquidity providers and/or trading mechanisms.
The trade-off is that due to the decentralized nature there are cross-chain settlement times of one hour to cross from Ethereum to Syscoin, and three hours to cross from Syscoin to Ethereum. We are exploring ways to reduce this time while maintaining decentralization via zkp. Even so, an “instant bridge” experience could be provided by means of a third-party liquidity mechanism. That option exists but is not required for bridge functionality today. Typically bridges are used with batch value, not with high frequencies of smaller values, and generally it is advantageous to keep some value on both chains for maximum availability of utility. Even so, the cross-chain settlement time is good to mention here.

Cost

Ethereum -> Syscoin: Matic or Ethereum transaction fee for bridge contract interaction, negligible Syscoin transaction fee for minting tokens
Syscoin -> Ethereum: Negligible Syscoin transaction fee for burning tokens, 0.01% transaction fee paid to Bridge Agent in the form of the ERC-20, Matic or Ethereum transaction fee for contract interaction.

Z-DAG

Zero-Confirmation Directed Acyclic Graph is an instant settlement protocol that is used as a complementary system to proof-of-work (PoW) in the confirmation of Syscoin service transactions. In essence, a Z-DAG is simply a directed acyclic graph (DAG) where validating nodes verify the sequential ordering of transactions that are received in their memory pools. Z-DAG is used by the validating nodes across the network to ensure that there is absolute consensus on the ordering of transactions and no balances are overflowed (no double-spends).

Benefits

  • Unique fee-market that is more efficient for microtransaction redemption and settlement
  • Uses decentralized means to enable tokens with value transfer scalability that is comparable or exceeds that of credit card networks
  • Provides high throughput and secure fulfillment even if blocks are full
  • Probabilistic and interactive
  • 99.9999% security assurance within 10 seconds
  • Can serve payment channels as a resilience fallback that is faster and lower-cost than falling-back directly to a blockchain
  • Each Z-DAG transaction also settles onchain through Syscoin Core at 60-second block target using SHA-256 Proof of Work consensus
https://preview.redd.it/pgbx84jih8e51.png?width=1614&format=png&auto=webp&s=5f631d42a33dc698365eb8dd184b6d442def6640

Source code

https://github.com/syscoin/syscoin

API

Syscoin-js provides tooling for all Syscoin Core RPCs including interactivity with Z-DAG.

Documentation

Z-DAG White Paper
Useful read: An in-depth Z-DAG discussion between Syscoin Core developer Jag Sidhu and Brave Software Research Engineer Gonçalo Pestana

Trade-off

Z-DAG enables the ideal speed/security tradeoff to be determined per use-case in the application layer. It minimizes the sacrifice required to accept and redeem fast transfers/payments while providing more-than-ample security for microtransactions. This is supported on the premise that a Reddit user receiving points does need security yet generally doesn’t want nor need to wait for the same level of security as a nation-state settling an international trade debt. In any case, each Z-DAG transaction settles onchain at a block target of 60 seconds.

Syscoin Specs

Syscoin 3.0 White Paper
(4.0 white paper is pending. For improved scalability and less blockchain bloat, some features of v3 no longer exist in current v4: Specifically Marketplace Offers, Aliases, Escrow, Certificates, Pruning, Encrypted Messaging)
  • 16MB block bandwidth per minute assuming segwit witness carrying transactions, and transactions ~200 bytes on average
  • SHA256 merge mined with Bitcoin
  • UTXO asset layer, with base Syscoin layer sharing identical security policies as Bitcoin Core
  • Z-DAG on asset layer, bridge to Ethereum on asset layer
  • On-chain scaling with prospect of enabling enterprise grade reliable trustless payment processing with on/offchain hybrid solution
  • Focus only on Simple Value Transfers. MVP of blockchain consensus footprint is balances and ownership of them. Everything else can reduce data availability in exchange for scale (Ethereum 2.0 model). We leave that to other designs, we focus on transfers.
  • Future integrations of MAST/Taproot to get more complex value transfers without trading off trustlessness or decentralization.
  • Zero-knowledge Proofs are a cryptographic new frontier. We are dabbling here to generalize the concept of bridging and also verify the state of a chain efficiently. We also apply it in our Digital Identity projects at Blockchain Foundry (a publicly traded company which develops Syscoin softwares for clients). We are also looking to integrate privacy preserving payment channels for off-chain payments through zkSNARK hub & spoke design which does not suffer from the HTLC attack vectors evident on LN. Much of the issues plaguing Lightning Network can be resolved using a zkSNARK design whilst also providing the ability to do a multi-asset payment channel system. Currently we found a showstopper attack (American Call Option) on LN if we were to use multiple-assets. This would not exist in a system such as this.

Wallets

Web3 and mobile wallets are under active development by Blockchain Foundry Inc as WebAssembly applications and expected for release not long after mainnet deployment of Syscoin Core 4.2. Both of these will be multi-coin wallets that support Syscoin, SPTs, Ethereum, and ERC-20 tokens. The Web3 wallet will provide functionality similar to Metamask.
Syscoin Platform and tokens are already integrated with Blockbook. Custom hardware wallet support currently exists via ElectrumSys. First-class HW wallet integration through apps such as Ledger Live will exist after 4.2.
Current supported wallets
Syscoin Spark Desktop
Syscoin-Qt

Explorers

Mainnet: https://sys1.bcfn.ca (Blockbook)
Testnet: https://explorer-testnet.blockchainfoundry.co

Thank you for close consideration of our proposal. We look forward to feedback, and to working with the Reddit community to implement an ideal solution using Syscoin Platform!

submitted by sidhujag to ethereum [link] [comments]

Crypto Banking Wars: Can Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets Ever Replace Banks?

Crypto Banking Wars: Can Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets Ever Replace Banks?
Can they overcome the product limitations of blockchain and deliver the world-class experience that consumers expect?
https://reddit.com/link/i8ewbx/video/ojkc6c9a1lg51/player
This is the second part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
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While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this very powerful technology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe companies that build with blockchain at their core will have the best shot at winning the broader consumer finance market. We hope it will be us at Genesis Block, but we aren’t the only game in town.
So this series explores the entire crypto landscape and tries to answer the question, which crypto company is most likely to become the bank of the future?
In our last episode, we offered an in-depth analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. Today we’re analyzing non-custodial crypto wallets. These are products where only the user can touch or move funds. Not even the company or developer who built the application can access, control, or stop funds from being moved. These apps allow users to truly become their own bank.
We’ve talked a little about this before. This group of companies is nowhere near the same level of threat as the biggest crypto exchanges. However, this group really understands DeFi and the magic it can bring. This class of products is heavily engineer-driven and at the bleeding-edge of DeFi innovation. These products are certainly worth discussing. Okay, let’s dive in.

Users & Audience

These non-custodial crypto wallets are especially popular among the most hardcore blockchain nerds and crypto cypherpunks.
“Not your keys, not your coins.”
This meme is endlessly repeated among longtime crypto hodlers. If you’re not in complete control of your crypto (i.e. using non-custodial wallets), then it’s not really your crypto. There has always been a close connection between libertarianism & cryptocurrency. This type of user wants to be in absolute control of their money and become their own bank.
In addition to the experienced crypto geeks, for some people, these products will mean the difference between life and death. Imagine a refugee family that wants to safely protect their years of hard work — their life savings — as they travel across borders. Carrying cash could put their safety or money at risk. A few years ago I spent time in Greece at refugee camps — I know first-hand this is a real use-case.

https://preview.redd.it/vigqlmgg1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=0a5d48a63ce7a637749bbbc03d62c51cc3f75613
Or imagine a family living under an authoritarian regime — afraid that their corrupt or oppressive government will seize their assets (or devalue their savings via hyperinflation). Citizens in these countries cannot risk putting their money in centralized banks or under their mattresses. They must become their own bank.
These are the common use-cases and users for non-custodial wallets.

Products in Market

Let’s do a quick round-up of some of the more popular products already in the market.
Web/Desktop The most popular web wallet is MetaMask. Though it doesn’t have any specific integration with DeFi protocols yet, it has more than a million users (which is a lot in crypto land!). Web wallets that are more deeply integrated with DeFi include InstaDapp, Zerion, DeFi Saver, Zapper, and MyCrypto (disclosure: I’m an investor and a big fan of Taylor). For the mass market, mobile will be a much more important form-factor. I don’t view these web products as much of a threat to Genesis Block.
https://preview.redd.it/gbpi2ijj1lg51.png?width=1050&format=png&auto=webp&s=c039887484bf8a3d3438fb02a384d0b9ef894e1f
Mobile The more serious threats to Genesis Block are the mobile products that (A) are leveraging some of the powerful DeFi protocols and (B) abstracting away a lot of the blockchain/DeFi UX complexity. While none get close to us on (B), the products attempting this are Argent and Dharma. To the extent they can, both are trying to make interacting with blockchain technology as simple as possible.
A few of the bigger exchanges have also entered this mobile non-custodial market. Coinbase has Wallet (via Cipher Browser acquisition). Binance has Trust Wallet (also via acquisition). And speaking of acquisitions, MyCrypto acquired Ambo, which is a solid product and has brought MyCrypto into the mobile space. Others worth mentioning include Rainbow — well-designed and built by a small indy-team with strong DeFi experience (former Balance team). And ZenGo which has a cool feature around keyless security (their CEO is a friend).
There are dozens of other mobile crypto wallets that do very little beyond showing your balances. They are not serious threats.
https://preview.redd.it/6x4lxsdk1lg51.png?width=1009&format=png&auto=webp&s=fab3280491b75fe394aebc8dd69926b6962dcf5d
Hardware Wallets Holding crypto on your own hardware wallet is widely considered to be “best practice” from a security standpoint. The most popular hardware wallets are Ledger, Trezor, and KeepKey (by our friends at ShapeShift). Ledger Nano X is the only product that has Bluetooth — thus, the only one that can connect to a mobile app. While exciting and innovative, these hardware wallets are not yet integrated with any DeFi protocols.
https://preview.redd.it/yotmvtsl1lg51.png?width=1025&format=png&auto=webp&s=c8567b42839d9cec8dbc6c78d2f953b688886026

Strengths

Let’s take a look at some of the strengths with non-custodial products.
  1. Regulatory arbitrage Because these products are “non-custodial”, they are able to avoid the regulatory burdens that centralized, custodial products must deal with (KYC/AML/MTL/etc). This is a strong practical benefit for a bootstrapped startup/buildedeveloper. Though it’s unclear how long this advantage lasts as products reach wider audiences and increased scrutiny.
  2. User Privacy Because of the regulatory arbitrage mentioned above, users do not need to complete onerous KYC requirements. For example, there’s no friction around selfies, government-issued IDs, SSNs, etc. Users can preserve much of their privacy and they don’t need to worry about their sensitive information being hacked, compromised, or leaked.
  3. Absolute control & custody This is really one of the great promises of crypto — users can become their own bank. Users can be in full control of their money. And they don’t need to bury it underground or hide it under a mattress. No dependence, reliance or trust in any third parties. Only the user herself can access and unlock the money.

Weaknesses

Now let’s examine some of the weaknesses.
  1. Knowledge & Education Most non-custodial products do not abstract away any of the blockchain complexity. In fact, they often expose more of it because the most loyal users are crypto geeks. Imagine how an average, non-crypto user feels when she starts seeing words like seed phrases, public & private keys, gas limits, transaction fees, blockchain explorers, hex addresses, and confirmation times. There is a lot for a user to learn and become educated on. That’s friction. The learning curve is very high and will always be a major blocker for adoption. We’ve talked about this in our Spreading Crypto series — to reach the masses, the crypto stuff needs to be in the background.
  2. User Experience It is currently impossible to create a smooth and performant user experience in non-custodial wallets or decentralized applications. Any interaction that requires a blockchain transaction will feel sluggish and slow. We built a messaging app on Ethereum and presented it at DevCon3 in Cancun. The technical constraints of blockchain technology were crushing to the user experience. We simply couldn’t create the real-time, modern messaging experience that users have come to expect from similar apps like Slack or WhatsApp. Until blockchains are closer in speed to web servers (which will be difficult given their decentralized nature), dApps will never be able to create the smooth user experience that the masses expect.
  3. Product Limitations Most non-custodial wallets today are based on Ethereum smart contracts. That means they are severely limited with the assets that they can support (only erc-20 tokens). Unless through synthetic assets (similar to Abra), these wallets cannot support massively popular assets like Bitcoin, XRP, Cardano, Litecoin, EOS, Tezos, Stellar, Cosmos, or countless others. There are exciting projects like tBTC trying to bring Bitcoin to Ethereum — but these experiments are still very, very early. Ethereum-based smart contract wallets are missing a huge part of the crypto-asset universe.
  4. Technical Complexity While developers are able to avoid a lot of regulatory complexity (see Strengths above), they are replacing it with increased technical complexity. Most non-custodial wallets are entirely dependent on smart contract technology which is still very experimental and early in development (see Insurance section of this DeFi use-cases post). Major bugs and major hacks do happen. Even recently, it was discovered that Argent had a “high severity vulnerability.” Fortunately, Argent fixed it and their users didn’t lose funds. The tools, frameworks, and best practices around smart contract technology are all still being established. Things can still easily go wrong, and they do.
  5. Loss of Funds Risk Beyond the technical risks mentioned above, with non-custodial wallets, it’s very easy for users to make mistakes. There is no “Forgot Password.” There is no customer support agent you can ping. There is no company behind it that can make you whole if you make a mistake and lose your money. You are on your own, just as CZ suggests. One wrong move and your money is all gone. If you lose your private key, there is no way to recover your funds. There are some new developments around social recovery, but that’s all still very experimental. This just isn’t the type of customer support experience people are used to. And it’s not a risk that most are willing to take.
  6. Integration with Fiat & Traditional Finance In today’s world, it’s still very hard to use crypto for daily spending (see Payments in our DeFi use-cases post). Hopefully, that will all change someday. In the meantime, if any of these non-custodial products hope to win in the broader consumer finance market, they will undoubtedly need to integrate with the legacy financial world — they need onramps (fiat-to-crypto deposit methods) and offramps (crypto-to-fiat withdraw/spend methods). As much as crypto-fanatics hate hearing it, you can’t expect people to jump headfirst into the new world unless there is a smooth transition, unless there are bridge technologies that help them arrive. This is why these fiat integrations are so important. Examples might be allowing ACH/Wire deposits (eg. via Plaid) or launching a debit card program for spend/withdraw. These fiat integrations are essential if the aim is to become the bank of the future. Doing any of this compliantly will require strong KYC/AML. So to achieve this use-case — integrating with traditional finance —all of the Strengths we mentioned above are nullified. There are no longer regulatory benefits. There are no longer privacy benefits (users need to upload KYC documents, etc). And users are no longer in complete control of their money.

Wrap Up

One of the great powers of crypto is that we no longer depend on banks. Anyone can store their wealth and have absolute control of their money. That’s made possible with these non-custodial wallets. It’s a wonderful thing.
I believe that the most knowledgeable and experienced crypto people (including myself) will always be active users of these applications. And as mentioned in this post, there will certainly be circumstances where these apps will be essential & even life-saving.
However, I do not believe this category of product is a major threat to Genesis Block to becoming the bank of the future.
They won’t win in the broader consumer finance market — mostly because I don’t believe that’s their target audience. These applications simply cannot produce the type of product experience that the masses require, want, or expect. The Weaknesses I’ve outlined above are just too overwhelming. The friction for mass-market consumers is just too much.

https://preview.redd.it/lp8dzxeh1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=03acdce545cd032f7e82b6665b001d7a06839557
The winning bank will be focused on solving real user problems and meeting user needs. Not slowed down by rigid idealism like censorship-resistance and absolute decentralization, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be a world-class product that’s smooth, performant, and accessible. Not sluggish and slow, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one where blockchain & crypto is mostly invisible to end-users. Not front-and-center as it is with non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one managed and run by professionals who know exactly what they’re doing. Not DIY (Do It Yourself), as it is with non-custodial wallets.
So are these non-custodial wallets a threat to Genesis Block in winning the broader consumer finance market, and becoming the bank of the future?
No. They are designed for a very different audience.
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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]

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!
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Weekly Update: Parachute Crypto League, new assets on Voyager’s Interest Program, Fantom Lachesis now ABCI compatible, CyberFM + Blockchain Radio... – 1 May - 7 May'20

Weekly Update: Parachute Crypto League, new assets on Voyager’s Interest Program, Fantom Lachesis now ABCI compatible, CyberFM + Blockchain Radio... – 1 May - 7 May'20
Hi everyone, it’s been a difficult few weeks for everyone around the world with a constant barrage of sobering news – from COVID-19 to super cyclonic storms to George Floyd. I hope this update offers some much needed respite. Here’s your week at Parachute + partners (1 May - 7 May'20):

Congratulations to Foo for winning the inaugural Parachute Crypto League (which started last week). New leagues (including ones with $PAR prizes) were added this week. New Parachute league was added as well. How does it work? Click here to find out. Hope you got a chance to partake in the Tiproom giveaway event. Bose hosted a Football-themed trivia in TTR for some sweet $PAR rewards. Noice! Gamerboy’s random quiz for 1k $PAR per question got everyone scratching their heads. Unique and Victor’s trivias were pretty as well. Charlotte changed up the format of standard tiproom quizzes with a new one this week. Cap shared a sneak peek of what’s to come in the next few weeks. New $PAR use-case as well. Plus, latest digestives coming up. The 2FT ongoing theme continued with "videos featuring bands or artists whose name starts with the letters U, V, W, X or Y" this week. Check out all the cool music that got posted from Sebastian’s playlist. Epic gif Peace Love. Haha! Want to get some $PAR for staying in shape during the lockdown? Don’t forget to check out the TTR Pushups Contest. And if you were a fan of Jason’s Financial Fridays in 2gether, stay tuned for next week since it is coming back to Parachute. ParJar is currently at 32k+ users and 1.4M+ tips. Epic!
Jason shared a sneak peek into his computing setup. Pretty cool!
aXpire COO Matthew Markham wrote about the effect of legal billing software on law practice management. The monthly 200k $AXPR burn can be tracked here. 2gether CEO Ramon Ferraz routinely sends out emailers with project updates to all Founders (registered 2gether members). Click here to check out the latest. The crew also compiled a list of 7 books to read in order to learn about cryptocurrencies. Voyager introduced $XRP (Ripple), $EOS, $XLM (Stellar), $OMG (OmiseGO) and $ZRX (0x) to its Interest Program. Read more about it here. They celebrated it with a massive 5k $XRP giveaway along with an interest boost program. CEO Stephen Ehrlich sat down for an interview on Scott Melker’s (The Wolf of All Streets) podcast this week. Stephen was also interviewed by Jason Hartman (host of Creating Wealth Show). Switch released the first set of a 10 part series blog posts this week chronicling the story of the project starting with the beginning, move from Ethershift to Switch, launch of SwitchDex and the various Switch tokens. More to come next week. Fantom submitted a proposal to the MakerDAO community for adding $FTM as a collateral for $DAI. The latest technical update was published as well. The update covers news such as Fantom’s consensus protocol now being compatible to Application BlockChain Interface (ABCI). ABCI allows blockchain "transactions to be processed in any programming language". Saweet! Read more about ABCI compatibility here. The first Uptrennd Halvening ($1UP gets doubly difficult to earn) is expected to happen around the time of bitcoin halvening. Altcoin Buzz talked about it in their latest video. Huge congratulations on crossing 100k members! Uptrennd also announced a Citizenship program aimed at improving the overall quality of posts and comments by offering more giving power to higher ranked members. Jeff also sat down for interviews with Scott Cunningham for BeInCrypto and with Cash Alternative TV this week.
Amazing achievement, Uptrennd!
Following the launch of Pangaea Phase 3 last week, Harmony started an incentivised testnet staking program this week for delegators in partnership with Binance. The April #pow thread (i.e. project updates from April) can be found here. It was also summarised into an article. If you missed last week’s AMA, you can catch up from the transcript. Pangaea Phase 3 testing now has 1k+ validators and delegators. Noice! Part 2 from last week’s smart contract webinar was released. Harmony's Edgar Aroutiounian gave a presentation at Ready Layer One's online conference on BLS Aggregate Signatures. The project joined Indian state Telangana’s Blockchain District Accelerator program T-Block Accelerator as an official platform partner. Cointelegraph covered this news as well. The team also shared the latest updates through a community hangout. IntelliShare founder Raymond Xiong will appear for an AMA with CoinKeeper next week. Elections for the 6th Autonomous Committee started this week. GET Protocol shared their thoughts on how to reopen Dutch museums safely. COTI’s April rewards were distributed. Crypto analysis collective Trade Dog’s in-dept project review was released. Congratulations on getting the highest rating. If you have missed the events of April, the latest newsletter’s got your back. DoYourTip announced a partnership with InFocus Games to have their mascot Tipply as a playable character in the Pathfinders game in the form of an ERC1155 asset. The demo is live already. Have fun gaming! A DYT trading league on Crypto Leagues was started as well.
Harmony’s Pangaea P3 testing turned out to be a success with high participation throughout
Read all about Opacity’s April updates here. District0x’s latest weekly update report can be read here. The latest Hydro blogpost cleared some FAQs about prepaid cards. Community requests for the latest Sentivate update was closed this week. The update includes browser upgrade, devMode toggles etc. The code commits can be tracked on GitHub. Check out how stream and play works here. If you are worried about censorship resistance of the Universal Web, have a read of this tweet thread. Plus, a $BTC giveaway contest was launched by the crew as well. Chief Engagement Officer at OST, Simona Pop, spoke at the first ever Ethereal Virtual Summit this week in addition to speaking at Ready Layer One’s community event (as mentioned in the last update). The SelfKey team explored if there was a causal relationship between developer activity and market cap of a project. The data breach compilation article was updated. The crew will be hosting an AMA next week. The progress report for April was published. Now that Constellation’s Hypergraph Mainnet is live, read all about the current status and what next here. The team sat down for an AMA with KuCoin. The community-built balance-checker lets you look at mainnet wallet balances. The Yazom Mobile app got approved by Google Play. You can register for early access on the website. Blockchain Radio was integrated with CyberFM this week. This means all 17 featured shows and 23 radio hosts of Blockchain Radio will now be available on the CyberFM app.

And with that, we close for another week in the Parachuteverse. See you again with another update. Ciao.
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Update TKEYSPACE 1.3.0 on Android

Update TKEYSPACE 1.3.0 on Android

https://preview.redd.it/6w93e0afttx41.png?width=1400&format=png&auto=webp&s=c00989612ec2d52eb522405e6b6a98bf875e08bb
Version 1.3.0 is a powerful update to TkeySpace that our team has been carefully preparing. since version 1.2.0, we have been laying the foundation for implementing new features that are already available in the current version.
Who cares about the security and privacy of their assets is an update for you.
TkeySpace — was designed to give You full control over your digital assets while maintaining an exceptional level of security, which is why there is no personal data in the wallet: phone number, the email address that could be compromised by hackers — no identity checks and other hassles, just securely save the backup phrase consisting of 12 words.

Briefly about the TkeySpace 1.3.0 update :

  • Code optimization and switching to AndroidX;
  • New section-Privacy;
  • Built-in TOR;
  • Selecting the privacy mode;
  • Selecting the recovery method for each currency;
  • Choosing the address format for Litecoin;
  • Enhanced validation of transactions and blocks in the network;
  • Disk space optimization;
  • Accelerated syncing;
  • Checking “double spending”;
  • The bloom filter to check for nodes;
  • Updating the Binance and Ethereum libraries;
  • A function to hide the balance;
  • Advanced currency charts;
  • Access to charts without authentication;
  • News section;
  • Browser for Tkeycoin;
  • Independent Commission entry for Bitcoin;
  • New digital currencies;
  • Digital currency exchange tab.

Code optimization and switching to AndroidX

A lot of work has been done on optimizing the code to speed up the application, improving the logic, synchronization speed, calculating the hash of cryptocurrencies, and successfully switching to AndroidX.

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New section: Privacy

  • Enable Tor;
  • Blockchain transaction (the selection of the privacy mode);
  • Blockchain recovery (choosing a recovery method);
https://preview.redd.it/iydfwuhittx41.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=2ce7c489d893a2ab6b9d6fede57d8b94404edcfb

TOR

Starting with the current update, the TkeySpace wallet can communicate via the TOR network, includes new privacy algorithms, and supports 59 different currencies.

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Tor is a powerful privacy feature for those who own large assets or live in places where the Internet is heavily censored.
Tor technology provides protection against traffic analysis mechanisms that compromise not only Internet privacy, but also the confidentiality of trade secrets, business contacts, and communications in General.
When you enable TOR settings, all outgoing traffic from the wallet will be encrypted and routed through an anonymous network of servers, periodically forming a chain through the Tor network, which uses multi-level encryption, effectively hiding any information about the sender: location, IP address, and other data.
This means that if your provider blocks the connection, you can rest easy — after all, by running this function, you will get an encrypted connection to the network without restrictions.

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In TOR mode, the wallet may work noticeably slower and in some cases, there may be problems with the network, due to encryption, some blockchain browsers may temporarily not work. However, TOR encryption is very important when Internet providers completely block traffic and switching to this mode, you get complete freedom and no blocks for transactions.

Confidentiality of transactions (the Blockchain transaction)

The wallet can change the model of a standard transaction, mixing inputs and outputs, making it difficult to identify certain cryptocurrencies. In the current update, you can select one of several modes for the transaction privacy level: deterministic lexicographic sorting or shuffle mode.

Mode: Lexicographic indexing

Implemented deterministic lexicographic sorting using hashes of previous transactions and output indexes for sorting transaction input data, as well as values and scriptPubKeys for sorting transaction output data;
We understand that information must remain confidential not only in the interests of consumers but also in higher orders, financial systems must be kept secret to prevent fraud. One way to address these privacy shortcomings is to randomize the order of inputs and outputs.
Lexicographic ordering is a comparison algorithm used to sort two sets based on their Cartesian order within their common superset. Lexicographic order is also often referred to as alphabetical order or dictionary order. The hashes of previous transactions (in reverse byte order) are sorted in ascending order, lexicographically.
In the case of two matching transaction hashes, the corresponding previous output indexes will be compared by their integer value in ascending order. If the previous output indexes match, the input data is considered equal.

Shuffle Mode: mixing (random indexing)

To learn more about how “shuffle mode” works, we will first analyze the mechanisms using the example of a classic transaction. Current balance Of your wallet: 100 TKEY, coins are stored at different addresses:
x1. Address-contains 10 TKEY. x2. Address-contains 20 TKEY. x3. Address-contains 30 TKEY. x4. Address-contains 15 TKEY. x5. Address-contains 25 TKEY.
Addresses in the blockchain are identifiers that you use to send cryptocurrency to another person or to receive digital currency.
In a classic transaction, if you need to send, for example, 19 TKEY — 100 TKEY will be sent to the network for “melting” coins, 19 TKEY will be sent to the Recipient, and ~80.9 TKEY will return to the newly generated address for “change” in your wallet.

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In the blockchain explorer, you will see the transaction amount in the amount of 100 TKEY, where 80.99999679 TKEY is your change, 19 TKEY is the amount you sent and 0.00000321 is the transaction fee. Thus, in the blockchain search engine, most of your balance is shown in the transaction.

How does the shuffle mode work?

Let’s look at a similar example: you have 100 TKEY on your balance, and you need to send 19 TKEY.
x1. Address-contains 10 TKEY. x2. Address-contains 20 TKEY. x3. Address-contains 30 TKEY. x4. Address-contains 15 TKEY. x5. Address-contains 25 TKEY.
You send 19 TKEY, the system analyzes all your addresses and balances on them and selects the most suitable ones for the transaction. To send 19 TKEY, the miners will be given coins with x2. Addresses, for a total of 20 TKEY. Of these, 19 TKEY will be sent to the recipient, and 0.99999679 TKEY will be returned to Your new address as change minus the transaction fee.

https://preview.redd.it/doxmqffqttx41.png?width=1400&format=png&auto=webp&s=5c99ec41363fe50cd651dc0acab05e175416006a
In the blockchain explorer, you will see the transaction amount in the amount of 20 TKEY, where 0.99999679 TKEY is Your change, 19 TKEY is the amount you sent and 0.00000321 is the transaction fee.
The shuffle mode has a cumulative effect. with each new transaction, delivery Addresses will be created and the selection of debit addresses/s that are most suitable for the transaction will change. Thus, if you store 1,000,000 TKEY in your wallet and want to send 1 TKEY to the recipient, the transaction amount will not display most of your balance but will select 1 or more addresses for the transaction.

Selecting the recovery method for each digital currency (Blockchain restore)

Now you can choose the recovery method for each currency: API + Blockchain or blockchain.
Note: This is not a syncing process, but rather the choice of a recovery method for your wallet. Syncing takes place with the blockchain — regardless of the method you choose.
https://preview.redd.it/gxsssuxrttx41.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=cd9fe383618dda0e990e86485652ff95652a8481

What are the differences between recovery methods?

API + Blockchain

In order not to load the entire history of the blockchain, i.e. block and transaction headers, the API helps you quickly get point information about previous transactions. For example, If your transactions are located in block 67325 and block 71775, the API will indicate to the node the necessary points for restoring Your balance, which will speed up the “recovery” process.
As soon as the information is received, communication with the peers takes place and synchronization begins from the control point, then from this moment, all subsequent block loading is carried out through the blockchain. This method allows you to quickly restore Your existing wallet.
‘’+’’ Speed.
‘’-’’ The API server may fail.

Blockchain

This method loads all block headers (block headers + Merkle) starting from the BIP44 checkpoint and manually validates transactions.
‘’+’’ It always works and is decentralized. ‘’-’’ Loading the entire blockchain may take a long time.

Why do I need to switch the recovery method?

If when creating a wallet or restoring it, a notification (!) lights up in red near the selected cryptocurrency, then most likely the API has failed, so go to SettingsSecurity CenterPrivacyBlockchain Restore — switch to Blockchain. Syncing will be successful.

Selecting the address format

You can choose the address format not only for Bitcoin but also for Litecoin. Legacy, SegWit, Native SegWit. Go to SettingsManage WalletsAddress Format.

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Working at the code level

Enhanced validation of transactions and blocks in the network

Due to the increased complexity in the Tkeycoin network, we have implemented enhanced validation of the tkeycoin consensus algorithm, and this algorithm is also available for other cryptocurrencies.

What is the advantage of the enhanced validation algorithm for the user

First, the name itself speaks for itself — it increases the security of the network, and second, by implementing the function — we have accelerated the work of the TkeySpace blockchain node, the application consumes even fewer resources than before.
High complexity is converted to 3 bytes, which ensures fast code processing and the least resource consumption on your device.

Synchronization

The synchronization process has been upgraded. Node addresses are added to the local storage, and instant synchronization with nodes occurs when you log in again.

Checking for double-spending

TkeySpace eliminates “double-spending” in blockchains, which is very valuable in the Bitcoin and Litecoin networks.
For example, using another application, you may be sent a fake transaction, and the funds will eventually disappear from the network and your wallet because this feature is almost absent in most applications.
Using TkeySpace — you are 100% sure that your funds are safe and protected from fraudulent transactions in the form of “fake” transactions.

The bloom filter to check for nodes

All nodes are checked through the bloom filter. This allows you to exclude fraudulent nodes that try to connect to the network as real nodes of a particular blockchain.
In practice, this verification is not available in applications, Tkeycoin — decided to follow a new trend and change the stereotypes, so new features such as node verification using the bloom filter and double-spending verification are a kind of innovation in applications that work with cryptocurrencies.

Updating the Binance and Ethereum libraries

Updated Binance and Ethereum libraries for interaction with the TOR network.

Interface

Function — to hide the balance

This function allows you to hide the entire balance from the main screen.

Advanced currency charts and charts without authentication

Detailed market statistics are available, including volumes, both for 1 day and several years. Select the period of interest: 1 day, 7 days, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years.
In version 1.3.0, you can access charts without authentication. You can monitor the cryptocurrency exchange rate without even logging in to the app. If you have a pin code for logging in, when you open the app, swipe to the left and you will see a list of currencies.

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News

In the market data section — in the tkeyspace added a section with current news of the cryptocurrency market.

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Blockchain Explorer for Tkeycoin

Transaction verification for Tkeycoin is now available directly in the app.

Independent Commission entry for Bitcoin

Taking into account the large volume of the Bitcoin network, we have implemented independent Commission entry — you can specify any Commission amount.
For other currencies, smart Commission calculation is enabled based on data from the network. The network independently regulates the most profitable Commission for the sender.

New digital currencies

The TkeySpace wallet supports +59 cryptocurrencies and tokens.

Cryptocurrencies

Tkeycoin (TKEY), Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), DASH, Binance (BNB), EOS.

Stablecoins

TrueUSD (TUSD), Tether USD (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), STASIS EURO (EURS), Digix Gold Token (DGX), Paxos Standard (PAX), PAX Gold (PAXG), Binance USD (BUSD), EOSDT, Prospectors Gold (PGL).

ERC-20, BEP2, and EOS tokens

Newdex (NDX), DigixDAO ERC-20 (DGD), Chainlink ERC-20 (LINK), Decentraland ERC-20 (MANA), EnjinCoin ERC-20 (ENJ), the Native Utility (NUT), 0x Protocol ERC-20 (ZRX), Aelf ERC-20 (ELF), Dawn DAO ERC-20 (AURA), Cashaaa BEP2 (CAS), Bancor ERC-20 (BNT), the Basic Attention Token ERC-20 (BAT), Golem ERC-20 (GNT), Mithril ERC-20 (MITH), MEETONE, NEXO ERC-20, Holo ERC-20 (HOT), Huobi Token ERC-20 (HT), IDEX ERC-20, IDEX Membership ERC-20 (IDXM), Bitcoin BEP2 (BTCB), Waltonchain ERC-20 (WTC), KuCoin Shares ERC-20 (KCS), Kyber Network Crystal ERC-20 (KNC), Loom Network ERC-20 (LOOM), Ripple (XRP), Everipedia (IQ), Loopring ERC-20 (LRC), Maker ERC-20 (MKR), the Status of the ERC-20 (SNT), Ankr Network BEP2 (ANKR), OmiseGO ERC-20 (OMG), ^ american English ERC-20 (^american English), Polymath ERC-20 (POLY), Populous ERC-20 (PPT), Pundi X ERC-20 (NPXS), Parser ERC-20 (REP), Revain ERC-20 (R), Binance ERC20 (BNB-ERC20), Gifto BEP2 (GTO).

Exchange of cryptocurrency

The “Limitless Crypto Exchange” tab is available for a quick transition to an unlimited exchange in 200 digital currencies — 10,000 currency pairs.

How do I update TkeySpace to version 1.3.0?

  1. Go to Google Play on your device — My apps and games — find TkeySpace in the list of apps — click Update.
  2. Go to Google Play on your device-write TkeySpace in the search — click on the app icon — Update.
After the update, you will need to restore your wallet.
submitted by tkeycoin to Tkeycoin_Official [link] [comments]

The Best Privacy Coins Today: A Comparison

A little-known fact about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and others, is that, contrary to popular belief, they aren't anonymous. Perhaps the belief that they are anonymous persists because rather than using real names in transactions, crypto transactions such as sending bitcoin from one wallet to another only require a string of text and numbers known as public addresses.
Public addresses, however, are pseudonymous, and still provide anyone with the sophistication and resources the ability to track down the personal details of the actors within an exchange. Within the last year, several well-known and popular figures within the cryptocurrency industry have had their identities and funds compromised, with millions of dollars lost.
Pseudonymity is not Anonymity
Just because your name, birthdate, and geographic location are not apparently tied to your cryptocurrency wallet doesn't mean that they can't be found out using your public address alone. The reason for this is simple: blockchain analysis. What is blockchain analysis? There are two forms of it; one is simple, the other much more sophisticated.
The simple version of blockchain analysis is one that anyone with access to the internet can perform. On any block explorer, whether it's for Bitcoin, Qtum, Neo, Ethereum, or Icon, you will find a search field into which any wallet address can be looked up. If you input your own public address, you will see the entire history of your financial activity on the blockchain laid bare. Who you've sent to, who you've received from, and what you own on the blockchain are all part of the public domain of blockchain information that is viewable by the world. If you're thinking that it's not a problem since you've got your public address shielding your real identity, then think again.
The sophisticated method of blockchain analysis aims to make connections and uncover a logic between different entities on blockchains. Essentially, this type of blockchain analysis views blockchains as massive Sudoku puzzles -- and with enough computer power and effective enough algorithms, patterns can be easily found on blockchains that lead hackers, blockchain analysis startups working for government organizations, and others straight to your actual identity.
Consider the way you entered into the cryptocurrency market in the first place. You had to buy bitcoin using Coinbase, Kraken, Bithumb, or another exchange with a fiat to crypto gateway. Doing so required your personal and bank details owing to the fact that regulated exchanges must comply with KYC (know-your-customer) and AML (anti-money-laundering) laws. After entering all of the required personal information, the exchange set about to confirm your details by sharing them with other third-party KYC organizations.
Finally, your documents and details were verified, allowing the chance to enter the market. After your you bought bitcoin, the natural thing to do was send it away from the exchange wallet and into your own software or hardware wallet. Then, perhaps you sent some bitcoin to Binance in order to buy a cryptocurrency asset such as ethereum. After purchasing ETH, perhaps you sent it back to your wallet before using it to participate in an ICO. This entire web of financial activity may seem disconnected and hard to trace, yet to a powerful enough blockchain analysis engine tracing all the way back to your initial exchange of purchase would have no problem at all uncovering your IP address and, eventually, your identity.
Using Anonymity to Protect your Digital Assets
The above scenario is in large part why privacy tokens such as Apollo Currency, Monero, Verge, and Dash have found popularity and value within cryptocurrency markets. Essentially, users are looking for a cryptocurrency asset which gives them the private, financial autonomy blockchain seemed to promise in its early days without being exposed to the possibility of being hacked, monitored, or otherwise controlled by outside parties.
Which Are the Best Coin for Anonymity?
The top contenders in the cryptocurrency marketplace for taking best privacy coin honors are Monero, Verge, and Dash, and Apollo Currency. Despite having some similarities, they are all in fact quite different. After the comparison, we'll share the reasons why three of these coins fail to provide adequate privacy while only one of them provides true anonymity and more.
Dash
Dash is a digital currency and payment network that places its privacy feature as an option rather than as the main feature. For this alone, it is already on the backfoot. Rather than have privacy built into every transaction as a standard, the Dash development team instead opted to give users the option to make transactions private using a feature called PrivateSend.
Despite having started out as Darkcoin, Dash changed paths and began focusing on mass-adoption and placed it's anonymity features to the side. As such, there are concerns around the centralization of Dash masternodes which are largely hosted by cloud AWS services leading to legitimate worry that government agencies could one day demand, and have access to, transaction logs.
Beyond this, Dash does not feature stealth addresses, encrypted messaging, IP masking, or a secure form of coin shuffling. Dash relies on CoinJoin for its PrivateSend feature which requires users to negotiate with each other during the transaction process.
Monero
Monero has the largest reputation when it comes to anonymous cryptocurrency. Apart from enjoying wide adoption and a stellar market capitalization, Monero is open-source and uses a proof-of-work algorithm for consensus along with RingCT signatures for privacy.
In sharp contrast to Dash, Monero is not a privacy-optional coin. Every transaction uses RingCT (confidential-transactions) to hide the sources of transactions in a given set. In theory, this should shield every transaction with anonymity, yet in practice, quite the opposite has been found. Researchers from MIT published a report titled "An Empirical Analysis of Traceability in the Monero Blockchain" wherein they revealed that they were able to trace 80% of Monero transactions prior to the integration of RingCT and 45% of transactions after its integration.
Beyond this, Monero lacks an encrypted messaging platform, does not mask IP addresses, does not function as a bitcoin mixer, and its proof-of-work consensus algorithm has significant negative effects on the environment.
Verge
Verge deserves a mention if only because of its bold claims. Prior to their Wraith update, Verge developers claimed that they would use Tor and I2P networks to anonymize user IP addresses. Unfortunately, not long after the Wraith update was announced, it appeared that Tor had not been integrated at all and several cryptocurrency whistleblower websites were able to track IP addresses involved in Verge transactions.
Initially called DogeCoinDark, Verge also uses two ledgers -- a private and a public ledger. This is to allow users the option of switching between ledgers depending on the type of transaction made and the level of disclosure the user prefers for that transaction. Like Monero, Verge lacks a coin shuffling function, claims to mask IP addresses but fails in practice, does not offer an alias system (meaning users can not encrypt text), and relies on a slow proof-of-work algorithm for consensus.
Apollo Currency
Apollo Currency picks up where privacy coins prior to it have left off and then goes several leaps further. Rather than offer a cut-rate privacy coin, Apollo has taken the strengths of other privacy coins and made them stronger, while also containing what they lack -- namely, real anonymity and financial freedom on the blockchain.
Apollo's Olympus Protocol ushers forth a new paradigm of anonymous transactions using a host of innovations. IP masking via Tor will allow for untraceable transactions directly from the Apollo wallet without the risk of having a compromised IP address somewhere down the line. Apollo also features coin-shuffling which, like bitcoin mixing, is a process for coin anonymization that makes shuffled coins resistant to tracing and blockchain analysis.
The way this works is simple - Apollo users simply send their coins through the shuffling mechanism which then pools user coins together, mixes them, then sends each user their specified amount of coins back from different sources than they started with. The result is complete anonymity and a break in the connection between sending and receiving addresses.
Apollo's encrypted messaging platform furthers the total anonymity offered by the currency. Users can communicate and transfer files without a trace, all the while having their IP addresses masked by Olympus Protocol.
Conclusion
Until Monero and Verge clear up the allegations made by researchers from MIT and other institutions that users are vulnerable to having their IP addresses exposed, I would steer clear of them. Dash and Apollo Currency are proven and both offer coin shuffling which is a real, proven coin anonymization technique that offers the best of privacy.
As always, it's best to DYOR (do your own research).
submitted by stardawg777 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Daily analysis of cryptocurrencies 20191026 (Market index 53 — Neutral state)

Daily analysis of cryptocurrencies 20191026 (Market index 53 — Neutral state)

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Chinese Encryption Law To Come Into Force Next January China has passed the Encryption Law during the 14th session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) on Oct 26, which will take effect on January 1, 2020.
Libra’s Threat To Central Banks Raises Questions About Its Launch According to AMBCrypto, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, is the latest think-tank professional to shed some light on Libra’s positive impact. In a recent interview with CNBC, di Mauro admitted that Libra may not receive a green light from lawmakers, adding that it had however managed to sow the seed for the introduction of another global digital currency.
YI Huanhuan: There Will Be National-Level Digital Bank, Digital Asset Exchange, Digital Investment Bank And Digital Asset Management Services Beijing Financial Association Research Institute Dean Yi Huanhuan commented on this politburo study session. YI has made nine predictions on governments’ action and industrial trend based on XI’s remarks. 1. The Cyberspace Administration will likely oversee this [blockchain] field; 2. To establish a national association of blockchain; 3. A large number of blockchain pilots will appear first in the financial industry, and then in government administrations; 4. Chinese national digital currency will play an important role in the world; 5. There will be state level digital banks, digital asset exchanges, digital investment banks and digital asset management; 6. The global blockchain network standards are likely to be set by China; 7. China will generate a large number of world-class leaders, entrepreneurs, and scholars in blockchain; 8. The performance of blockchain will be improved significantly in the next three to five years; 9. Mathematics, cryptography, and computational theory will become the most popular subjects.
Former Deputy Of BOC Governor: China has high blockchain visions, but should be careful with the trading risks and speculations Former Deputy Governor Of Bank Of China WANG Yongli shared his thought with CoinNess that China shows its ambition of establishing a leading global position in blockchain by researching and developing blockchain technology and applications. However, the blockchain technology is on an initial development stage. He urges investors to be careful with the trading risks and speculations as the definition of blockchain hasn’t been clarified, and there are existing issues like “decentralisation, security, high energy consumption” to be solved.
Video Lessons Targeting Blockchain Technology Go Live On CCPPD’s Platform Following the news that XI Jinping, Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, addressed the importance of blockchain in making technological breakthroughs at the eighteenth group learning event organized by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee Oct 24, the Xuexi.cn platform led by the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, or CCPPD, announced Oct 26 the launch of the video lessons targeting the blockchain technology. The videos with a total of 25 lessons mainly include the preliminary introduction to the blockchain technology, the consensus agreement, Bitcoin, Ethereum and smart contracts, blockchain performance improvement, blockchain security, the basic knowledge of big data, in-depth analysis of blockchain instances, as well as the concrete programming code examples.

Encrypted project calendar(October 26, 2019)

KAT/Kambria: Kambria (KAT) Kambria will host the 2019 Southern California Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Conference in Los Angeles on October 26th with IDEAS. BTC/Bitcoin: CoinAgenda Global Summit will be held in Las Vegas from October 26th to 28th Horizen (ZEN): 26 October 2019 (or earlier) ZEN 2.0.19 Upgrade Zen 2.0.19 upgrade at block #610000, which is expected around October 26. IOTA (MIOTA): 26 October 2019 Taipei Workshop “Sam Chen, our Software Engineer, will explain how to use IOTA C Client library & will demonstrate 3 IoT projects running on ESP32 at…” Streamr DATAcoin (DATA): 26 October 2019 Data Union Demonstration “This Saturday, Streamr will hold the first demonstration of data unions, with a community built plugin for users to crowdsell…”

Encrypted project calendar(October 27, 2019)

ICON (ICX): 27 October 2019 Money 20/20 USA Event Money 20/20 USA in Las Vegas from October 27–30. Aeternity (AE): and 5 others 27 October 2019 CoinAgenda Conference CoinAgenda conference in Las Vegas from October 26–28.

Encrypted project calendar(October 28, 2019)

LTC/Litecoin: Litecoin (LTC) 2019 Litecoin Summit will be held from October 28th to October 29th in Las Vegas, USA BTC/Bitcoin: Mt.Gox changes the debt compensation plan submission deadline to October 28 ZEC/Zcash: Zcash (ZEC) will activate the Blossom Agreement on October 28th Stellar (XLM): 28 October 2019 Protocol 12 Upgrade Vote Horizon v0.22.0 has been released, which supports Protocol 12. This gives everyone ample time to prepare for the Protocol 12 upgrade vote Celsius (CEL) and 3 others: 28 October 2019 Litecoin Summit “…The Litecoin Summit offers two fun, jam-packed days with something for everyone.” XFOC (XFOC): The IDAX platform will be online XFOC and will open the XFOC/USDT trading pair at 13:00 on October 28. MEDIUM (MDM): The IDAX platform lists MDM and will open MDM/BTC trading pairs on October 28th at 15:00. ZB/ ZB Blockchain: The “2019 Hamburg Intercontinental Dialogue Conference” hosted by ZB.com will be held from October 28th to November 9th at the Four Seasons Hotel Hamburg, Germany. BQT (BQTX): 28 October 2019 Down for Maintenance BQTX.com will be down for maintenance on the 28th of October from 7 to 12am UTC.

Encrypted project calendar(October 29, 2019)

BTC/Bitcoin: The 2nd World Encryption Conference (WCC) will be held in Las Vegas from October 29th to 31st. ICON (ICX): 29 October 2019 Decentralization “As a result, the decentralization schedule of the ICON Network has been changed from September 24, 2019 to October 29, 2019.” Ark (ARK): and 10 others 29 October 2019 WCC 2019 Second annual Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technology event, World Crypto Conference (WCC), October 29th — October 31, 2019. Insifa (ISF): 29 October 2019 Prototype Alpha “We from Insifa have decided to be more open. Our Prototype will be developed in scrum. This means new releases every two weeks.” Enjin Coin (ENJ): 29 October 2019 EnjinCraft Stress Test “Join us Oct. 29 at 7:00pm GMT for a stress test. Let’s try to break #EnjinCraft!” IOTA (MIOTA): 29 October 2019 IOTSWC Barcelona IOT Solutions World Congress Digitalizing Industries conference in Barcelona from October 29–31.

Encrypted project calendar(October 30, 2019)

MIOTA/IOTA: IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on October 30th at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on the topic “How to store data on IOTA Tangle.” TRON (TRX): 30 October 2019 SFBW19 Afterparty “TRON Official SFBW19 Afterparty from 7–10:30 PM in San Francisco.” Horizen (ZEN): 30 October 2019 Horizen Quarterly Update Join our first Quarterly Update on October the 30th at 5 PM UTC/ 1 PM EST. Deeper look into Engineering, BD, Marketing, and more. Aeternity (AE): 30 October 2019 Hardfork “The third hardfork of the æternity Mainnet is scheduled for October 30, 2019.” Valor Token (VALOR): 30 October 2019 Transaction Fees Resume “It’s September and the SMART VALOR Platform is still waiving transaction fees for all members, until October 30th!” Aragon (ANT): 30 October 2019 Singapore Meetup “Aragon on DAOs and DeFi” from 6:30–8:30 PM. Kambria (KAT): 30 October 2019 Outliers Hashed Awards Outliers Hashed awards from October 30–31. Ethereum Classic (ETC): 30 October 2019 Cohort Demo Day “ETC Labs hosts it’s 2nd Cohort Demo Day. Learn about the companies and project being accelerated through the Ethereum Classic ecosystem.”

Encrypted project calendar(October 31, 2019)

Spendcoin (SPND): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Cross Ledger Mainnet “Cross Ledger Mainnet Release and SPND Token Swap,” during October 2019. Spendcoin (SPND): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Blkchn University Beta “Blockchain University Beta goes live,” during October 2019. Stellar (XLM): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Minor Release “We will have 6 Minor Releases in 2019; one each in February, March, May, June, August, and October.” Bitcoin SV (BSV): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) BSV Conference Seoul No additional information. Seele (SEELE): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Public Network Mainne launch has been moved to Oct 31 . Howdoo (UDOO): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Howdoo Live on Huawei Howdoo begins its exciting partnership with Huawei with listing as a featured app starting in October. Chiliz (CHZ): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) App Soft Launch Soft launch of Socios App by end of October. Dent (DENT): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Loyalty Program “Afterburner loyalty program launch for all 21,6 Million mobile #DENT users will be in October!” IceChain (ICHX): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Wallet Release IceChain releases wallet during October. Chiliz (CHZ): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) New Partnerships New sports and new teams joining Socios (+more updates and events) will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Horizen (ZEN): 31 October 2019 Weekly Insider Team updates at 3:30 PM UTC/ 11:30 AM EDT: Engineering, Node network, Product/UX, Helpdesk, Legal, BD, Marketing, CEO Closing thoughts, AMA. PCHAIN (PI): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) New Website No additional information. IOST (IOST): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) New Game on IOST “Eternal Fafnir, a new role-playing game developed by INFUN is coming to you in Oct.” Achain (ACT): 31 October 2019 Mainnet 2.0 Launch “… The main network is officially scheduled to launch on October 31.” Mithril (MITH):31 October 2019 Burn “MITH burn will take place on 2019/10/31 2pm UTC+8. “ Aergo (AERGO): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Aergo Lite V1.0 Release AergoLite, which brings blockchain compatibility to billions of devices using SQLite, released during October 2019. TE-FOOD (TFD): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Complementary Product “Development of a new, complementary product with a new partner, which we hope to be launched in September-October.” Edge (DADI): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Full Open Source Code base for the network fully open-sourced in September or October. BlockStamp (BST): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) ASIC Miner Prototype In orderr to ensure BlockStamps continued decentralization, we will release a BST ASIC miner for testing. Perlin (PERL): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) SSA Partnership “Perlin has partnered with the Singapore Shipping Association to create the International E-Registry of Ships (IERS)” Skrumble Network (SKM): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Exchange Release “3rd dApp: Exchange Release,” during October 2019. EDC Blockchain (EDC): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Blockchain Marketplace “As you already know, our ECRO blockchain marketplace is ready for release, and will open to the global community in October!” BlockStamp (BST): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) ASIC Miner Prototype In orderr to ensure BlockStamps continued decentralization, we will release a BST ASIC miner for testing. XinFin Network (XDCE): 31 October 2019 Homebloc Webinar “XinFin — Homebloc Webinar 2019” from 9–10 PM. Akropolis (AKRO): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Alpha Release “Delivers the initial mainnet implementation of protocol. All building blocks will be united to one product.” Hyperion (HYN): 31 October 2019 (or earlier) Economic Model The final version of the HYN Economic Model launches in October.

Encrypted project calendar(November 1, 2019)

INS/Insolar: The Insolar (INS) Insolar wallet and the redesigned Insolar Block Explorer will be operational on November 1, 2019. VeChain (VET):”01 November 2019 BUIDLer Reunion Party BUIDLer Reunion Party in San Francisco from 8–11 PM. uPlexa (UPX): 01 November 2019 Steadfast Storm — PoS/PoW split (Utility nodes ie. master nodes) — Upcoming Anonymity Network much like TOR — Privacy-based DApps — Reduced network fees. Enjin Coin (ENJ): 01 November 2019 MFT Binding “ICYMI: On Enjin Coin’s 2nd anniversary (November 1), Enjin MFTs will be bound to hodlers’ blockchain addresses…” Auxilium (AUX):01 November 2019 AUX Interest Distribution Monthly interest distribution by Auxilium Interest Distribution Platform for coinholders. Also supports charity. Havy (HAVY):01 November 2019 Token Buyback “Havy tokens buyback, Only in 1 exchange between Idex, Mercatox & Hotbit. The exchange depends on the most lower sell wall.” Egretia (EGT): 01 November 2019 Global DApp Contest SF 2019 Egretia Global DApp Contest in San Francisco.

Encrypted project calendar(November 2, 2019)

Kambria (KAT): 02 November 2019 VietAI Summit 2019 Kambria joins forces with VietAI for the annual VietAI Summit, with top experts from Google Brain, NVIDIA, Kambria, VietAI, and more!

Encrypted project calendar(November 4, 2019)

Stellar (XLM): 04 November 2019 Stellar Meridian Conf. Stellar Meridian conference from Nov 4–5 in Mexico City. Cappasity (CAPP): 04 November 2019 Lisbon Web Summit Lisbon Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal from November 4–7.

Encrypted project calendar(November 5, 2019)

Nexus (NXS): 05 November 2019 Tritium Official Release “Remember, Remember the 5th of November, the day Tritium changed Distributed Ledger. Yes, this is an official release date.” NEM (XEM): 05 November 2019 Innovation Forum — Kyiv NEM Foundation Council Member Anton Bosenko will be speaking in the upcoming International Innovation Forum in Kyiv on November 5, 2019. TomoChain (TOMO): 05 November 2019 TomoX Testnet “Mark your calendar as TomoX testnet will be live on Tuesday, Nov 5th!” aelf (ELF): 05 November 2019 Bug Bounty Program Ends On Oct 24th, 2019 aelf’s biggest bug bounty will launch with a large reward pool. The event will run for almost 2 weeks.

Encrypted project calendar(November 6, 2019)

STEEM/Steem: The Steem (STEEM) SteemFest 4 conference will be held in Bangkok from November 6th to 10th. KIM/Kimcoin: Kimcoin (KIM) Bitfinex will be online at KIM on November 6, 2019 at 12:00 (UTC).

Encrypted project calendar(November 7, 2019)

XRP (XRP): 07 November 2019 Swell 2019 Ripple hosts Swell from November 7th — 8th in Singapore. BTC/Bitcoin: Malta The A.I. and Blockchain summit will be held in Malta from November 7th to 8th.

Encrypted project calendar(November 8, 2019)

BTC/Bitcoin: The 2nd Global Digital Mining Summit will be held in Frankfurt, Germany from October 8th to 10th. IOTX/IoTeX: IoTex (IOTX) will participate in the CES Expo on November 08

Encrypted project calendar(November 9, 2019)

CENNZ/Centrality: Centrality (CENNZ) will meet in InsurTechNZ Connect — Insurance and Blockchain on October 9th in Auckland. HTMLCOIN (HTML): 09 November 2019 (or earlier) Mandatory Wallet Update Mandatory Wallet Update: there will be a soft fork on our blockchain. This update adds header signature verification on block 997,655.

Encrypted project calendar(November 11, 2019)

PAX/Paxos Standard: Paxos Standard (PAX) 2019 Singapore Financial Technology Festival will be held from November 11th to 15th, and Paxos Standard will attend the conference. Crypto.com Coin (CRO): and 3 others 11 November 2019 Capital Warm-up Party Capital Warm-up Party in Singapore. GoldCoin (GLC): 11 November 2019 Reverse Bitcoin Hardfork The GoldCoin (GLC) Team will be “Reverse Hard Forking” the Bitcoin (BTC) Blockchain…”

Encrypted project calendar(November 12, 2019)

BTC/Bitcoin: The CoinMarketCap Global Conference will be held at the Victoria Theatre in Singapore from November 12th to 13th Binance Coin (BNB) and 7 others: 12 November 2019 CMC Global Conference “The first-ever CoinMarketCap large-scale event: A one-of-a-kind blockchain / crypto experience like you’ve never experienced before.”

Encrypted project calendar(November 13, 2019)

Fetch.ai (FET): 13 November 2019 Cambridge Meetup “Join us for a @Fetch_ai #Cambridge #meetup on 13 November @pantonarms1.” Binance Coin (BNB) and 5 others: 13 November 2019 Blockchain Expo N.A. “It will bring together key industries from across the globe for two days of top-level content and discussion across 5 co-located events…” OKB (OKB): 13 November 2019 Dnipro, Ukraine- Talks Join us in Dnipro as we journey through Ukraine for our OKEx Cryptour on 11 Nov. Centrality (CENNZ): 13 November 2019 AMA Meetup “Ask our CEO @aaronmcdnz anything in person! Join the AMA meetup on 13 November in Singapore.” OKB (OKB): 13 November 2019 OKEx Cryptotour Dnipro “OKEx Cryptour Ukraine 2019 — Dnipro” in Dnipro from 6–9 PM (EET).

Encrypted project calendar(November 14, 2019)

BTC/Bitcoin: The 2019 BlockShow Asia Summit will be held at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore from November 14th to 15th.

Bitcoin (BTC) bulls seem to have decimated the bears. As of the time of writing this article, the leading cryptocurrency is at $9,800 — up over $2,500, some 38%, in the past 36 hours. This is around $800 short of the daily high of $10,600.
Chairman of China’s top leadership announced that China should be expected to take the lead in the global blockchain, so that the exchange rate of Bitcoin against the US dollar rose sharply, and the support level exceeded $10,500.
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Binance Says Reports Are False, Google Enters Blockchain And China Says Bitcoin Gives Freedom

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