Bitcoin Block Header format detailed explained with ...

What is Bitcoin Cash and some exchanges to try out!

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) came about in August 2017 after a hard fork and a split in the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin Cash is a direct result of the constant debates and many opinions about the future of Bitcoin’s scalability and mass adoption.

Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin’s blockchain has grown exponentially in recent times. This means that many more users are using the cryptocurrency, which is slowing down the network.
The limited Bitcoin block size of 1 MB means that blocks are filling up quickly, resulting in a long queue of unconfirmed transactions. As a result, at peak times, transactions have become slow and expensive.
Bitcoin cash, on the other hand, was initially created with an 8MB block, which was later on increased in size to 32MB. This change allows for more transactions to be processed in each block mined.
Many see this as a step forward in terms of how best to scale the network.
Bitcoin Cash opposers remain adamant that it’s simply a short-term fix that doesn’t solve the problem in the long run. Also, they claim there’s no implementation of ideas such as Segwit to help effectively break transactions down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Sometimes referred to as Bcash, is a fork of Bitcoin (BTC). When a fork occurs on a Blockchain, the currency is basically duplicated.
This means that anyone with Bitcoins in his possession at the time the fork occurred, got credited with the same amount of Bitcoin Cash.

Buying Bitcoin Cash in 3 Simple Steps

Step 1: Get a Bitcoin Cash Wallet

Before you can buy Bitcoin Cash, you’ll need a Bitcoin Cash wallet to store it in. Hardware wallets that support Bitcoin Cash include industry leaders Ledger and TREZOR.
Both Ledger and TREZOR provide functions for you to use Bitcoin Cash as you would any other cryptocurrency. Both have also introduced the ability to claim your funds if you already owned Bitcoin at the time of the Bitcoin Cash hard fork.
Additionally, there are a variety of software wallets you can use to store Bitcoin Cash as well.
Exodus provides a great user experience with a seamless coin exchange service known as Shapeshift built in.
Edge is a mobile wallet for iOS and Android that supports multiple cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin Cash. It also has a variety of features allowing you to buy cryptocurrencies and exchange them from within the app.
Electron Cash is a clone of the awesome Electrum wallet for Bitcoin. If you’re used to Electrum, then you’ll have no problem jumping on board with its sister technology.
Other wallets that support BCH include Keepkey, BTC.com, Bitpay, and Coinomi. You can view all available wallets on the official Bitcoin Cash website.
Once you have your wallet, you will need your Bitcoin Cash address. It’s a long string of letters and numbers that start with either a “1” or a “3” — similar to normal Bitcoin addresses.
Since many people got confused and started sending Bitcoins to Bitcoin Cash wallets and vice versa, a new format was invented for Bitcoin Cash. The format, called “Cash Address” is 42 characters long and starts with a “p” or a “q”. Here’s an example:
qpm2qsznhks23z7629mms6s4cwef74vcwvy22gdx6a
Keep in mind that Cash Addresses are just a representation of original Bitcoin Cash addresses. This means that the same address can be represented in two different ways (normal format or Cash Address format).
Not all wallets support Cash address format.

Step 2: Find a Bitcoin Cash Exchange

Most Bitcoin exchanges will also allow you to buy Bitcoin Cash, here are top ones around.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through eToro
eToro allows users from around the world to buy and sell Bitcoin Cash with a variety of payment methods.
eToro is more aimed towards investing in BCH for making a profit in fiat currency (i.e. Dollars, Euros, etc.) rather than actually using it. That being said, eToro does give you access to your coins and allows you to send coins from eToro to other people.
If you use eToro for investment only, you don’t actually need a Bitcoin Cash wallet as you won’t be withdrawing the coins.
*75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. CFDs are not offered to US users. Cryptoassets are highly volatile unregulated investment products. No EU investor protection.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through Coinmama
Coinmama, one of the oldest exchanges around, allows you to buy Bitcoin Cash with a credit card, debit card or SEPA transfer. Coinmama accepts users from almost all countries around the world.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through CEX.io
CEX.IO, based in London, is a trusted, experienced name in the industry, having been around since 2013. You can choose from a selection of cryptocurrencies on the site, including Bitcoin Cash.
The exchange has a brokerage service (easier to use, more expensive) and a trading platform (cheaper but more complex).CEX accepts credit cards, debit cards, wire transfers and SEPA.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through Coinbase
Coinbase is a reputable Bitcoin exchange that supplies a variety of other services including a wallet, a trading platform (Coinbase Pro) and a Bitcoin debit card.
If you’re a beginner, it’s probably best to use the brokerage service which is a bit more expensive, but easier to use. Advanced users can use Coinbase Pro to buy Bitcoin Cash with lower fees.
Coinbase accepts debit cards and wire transfers.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through Bitstamp
Bitstamp, the oldest exchange around, supports the trading of BCH to Bitcoin and direct purchases with US dollars or Euros. There’s also an option to buy Bitcoin Cash with your credit card at a higher price.
If you know your way around Bitcoin trading platforms it’s best to use that service and not the credit card service since you’ll save substantially on fees.
Other options to purchase Bitcoin Cash include Bitfinex, Cryptmixer, Kraken, Poloniex, HitBTC, and more (you can view all available exchanges on Bitcoin Cash’s website).

Step 3: Transfer the BCH to your wallet

As usual, I recommend that you never leave money on an exchange.
Once you’ve finished buying your Bitcoin Cash, move it to your own wallet (the one you chose in step 1). You can then follow the status of your transaction using a Bitcoin Cash block explorer.
Once you receive three confirmations for your Bitcoin Cash, you can safely say you’ve completed the process.

Conclusion

It’s apparent that Bitcoin Cash has still not gained full acceptance by large parts of the cryptocurrency community. It still sits firmly in second place to its older brother in terms of both price and usage.
Bitcoin Cash has the advantage of being the first major split that has garnered acceptance. Most forks after it didn’t receive nearly enough attention from the community or the media.
However, with internal conflicts inside its founding team and accelerated Bitcoin development for scalability solutions, I’m not sure if there’s an actual use case for Bitcoin Cash other than price speculation.
submitted by MonishaNuij to MonMonCrypto [link] [comments]

small passive income while browsing the web

Introduction
If you were on the internet in the late 1990s, you might remember companies like "AllAdvantage" that promised to pay you to browse the web. You could install a program that tracked your browsing and showed you targeted ads at the top of the screen, then "AllAdvantage" would give you a cut of the ad revenue you generated.
These schemes largely disappeared after the dot-com crash. But Brendan Eich, the creator of the JavaScript programming language and cofounder and former CTO of Mozilla, thinks his company Brave Software has found a way to revive that old idea.
What is it?
Brave makes a browser based on Google Chrome that blocks tracking scripts and other technologies that spy on your online activity. As a result, it also blocks many web ads; if you visit any website using the Brave browser, you won’t see any ads. But Brave will give users the option to see ads that Eich says will respect your privacy. The ads will appear as desktop notifications, he says, not as replacements for the ads the Brave browser blocks. So you still won’t see ads on any website, but you might see them on the right lower corner of your screen. If you choose to see these ads, you’ll get 70 percent of the revenue they generate.
Eich hopes Brave can solve two of the web's most vexing problems the privacy and revenue problem by turning the traditional digital advertising model on its head. Today, ad networks pay sites for ad space and web browsers like Brave and Chrome deliver content from those publishers to users. Brave is trying to put the browser in the center of the advertising experience. Instead of paying publishers directly, ad networks would pay Brave, which will pass part of the money to users and keep a cut for itself.
By handling advertising in the browser on your device, Brave says it will be able to target ads without sending your data to the cloud, and protect your privacy. When you interact with an ad on Brave, the browser sends notice to the company's servers, but doesn't include any identifying information. Eich sees four sets of winners: browser makers get paid; users get paid, and get more privacy; advertisers can target pitches without running afoul of European privacy regulations; and publishers can survive in a world where many users are installing ad blockers.
Publishers and ad networks might bristle at the idea of putting browser makers in the middle of their business. But in recent years browsers have taken a more active role in shaping the web, instead of merely displaying a website’s content. Chrome now blocks ads on a small number of sites with particularly egregious advertising practices, while browsers like Firefox and Safari have added privacy protections. Meanwhile, browser plugins are giving users more control over their experience. There are Chrome extensions, for example, that let you change Facebook's color scheme, or change the way images are displayed on Pinterest. And of course there are extensions that block all ads.
Trying to win advertisers and publishers to a new model isn't Brave's only challenge. It also needs users. Eich says Brave has 15 million users and is growing.
Brave will give users a 70 percent cut of its advertising revenue, which Eich estimates could work out to about $10 a month. Brave will pay users with its own bitcoin-style "cryptocurrency” called Basic Attention Tokens or BAT, which has traded for as little as 24 cents over the past 12 months, according to CoinMarketCap. You can exchange the BAT you have received for viewing ads into USD, EUR, GBP, CHF and many more currencies.
The company offers a service through the cryptocurrency exchange Uphold to allow users to change, sell and buy BAT or donate it to publishers, and for publishers to exchange the BAT they receive for dollars. Advertisers like HomeDepot or recent campaigns included brands such as Verizon, Newegg, Chipotle, and PayPal/Honey, in addition to earlier campaigns by Amazon, Harry’s Razors, Intel, CBS, KIND snacks, Logitech, Lenovo, Grubhub, Belkin, Quickbooks, Evernote and some of cryptocurrency related companies, will be able to buy ads either with BAT or with traditional currencies.
Eich says Brave opted to create its own tokens using the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform in part to avoid regulatory requirements, such as verifying users' identifies, that partners like Uphold are better equipped to handle.
Estimated revenue? (depending on the country you live in the revenue can be higher or lower)
I made around 3oo$ so far this year using 3 devices, just for viewing some ads.
5 months so far july is not included if you calculate it down for 1 device, 100$/5months = 20$ a month just for viewing ads, you would need to buy risky stocks worth of 2000$ to get the same amount per month.
can only recommend everyone to try it, not every country has the same number of advertisers so you probably get the most out of it when you live in the USA.
If you are interested here is a quick guide how to set it up to get the max amount out of Brave:
Quickstartguide:
1 Download brave here
2 Activate the reward system (gif link below)Gif link
3 go into the settings an deactivate auto contribution and activate 5 ads per hour (image link below)image link
4 Create an Account on Uphold and connect it with your BraveBrowser.
Now you are good to go and can make some money on something you do anyway.
I hope this helps some folks in the community to make some extra bucks.
edit1:you can find more infos and support here:brave_browser & BATProject or www.brave.com
edit2:the earnings are depenging on the number of devices you are using and were you are living. Best paying countries: United States (69) United Kingdom (39) Canada (36) Australia (35) New Zealand (26) Germany (21) Ireland (21) France (18)( the number next to the country are the companies that are running ads on brave for this particular country, the more companies the more revenue )
you can find a full list with all countries and campaigns here: https://brave.com/transparency/
edit3:You don't need to browse to a certain website to receive ads, just browse as you are used to, play browser games, watch videos on youtube or do whatever you want.Sometimes Ads appear on the startpage looks like that https://i.imgur.com/5tohhRc.jpg and after some time on the right lower corner a clickable pop-up appears looks like that->https://i.imgur.com/CTGdVsu.png
edit4:If you want to import your bookmarks and settings from your old browser:on the right top corner of the browser is a button ->https://i.imgur.com/oi8EAri.jpg click it > than on settings > and than you got the option to import bookmarks and settings from your old browser.
If you want to sync brave between devices and for backups:type brave://flags/ into the adressbar and than brave sync into the search bar and acticate itif its enabled it should look like this https://imgur.com/a/tCMDgDjthan just click on sync ->https://i.imgur.com/oi8EAri.jpg
here is a guide ->https://support.brave.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021218111-How-do-I-set-up-Sync
edit5: Don't keep your BAT from free token grants to long in your browser, always send your bat to an external wallet or exchange like uphold, only tokens from free token grants have an expire date if they dont get used they go back to the bat pool. you can find more infos about this here -> https://support.brave.com/hc/en-us/articles/360018305731-Why-does-my-BAT-have-an-expiration-date-
submitted by OnlyReveal6 to beermoneyglobal [link] [comments]

small passive income while browsing the web

Introduction
If you were on the internet in the late 1990s, you might remember companies like "AllAdvantage" that promised to pay you to browse the web. You could install a program that tracked your browsing and showed you targeted ads at the top of the screen, then "AllAdvantage" would give you a cut of the ad revenue you generated.
These schemes largely disappeared after the dot-com crash. But Brendan Eich, the creator of the JavaScript programming language and cofounder and former CTO of Mozilla, thinks his company Brave Software has found a way to revive that old idea.
What is it?
Brave makes a browser based on Google Chrome that blocks tracking scripts and other technologies that spy on your online activity. As a result, it also blocks many web ads; if you visit any website using the Brave browser, you won’t see any ads. But Brave will give users the option to see ads that Eich says will respect your privacy. The ads will appear as desktop notifications, he says, not as replacements for the ads the Brave browser blocks. So you still won’t see ads on any website, but you might see them on the right lower corner of your screen. If you choose to see these ads, you’ll get 70 percent of the revenue they generate.
Eich hopes Brave can solve two of the web's most vexing problems the privacy and revenue problem by turning the traditional digital advertising model on its head. Today, ad networks pay sites for ad space and web browsers like Brave and Chrome deliver content from those publishers to users. Brave is trying to put the browser in the center of the advertising experience. Instead of paying publishers directly, ad networks would pay Brave, which will pass part of the money to users and keep a cut for itself.
By handling advertising in the browser on your device, Brave says it will be able to target ads without sending your data to the cloud, and protect your privacy. When you interact with an ad on Brave, the browser sends notice to the company's servers, but doesn't include any identifying information. Eich sees four sets of winners: browser makers get paid; users get paid, and get more privacy; advertisers can target pitches without running afoul of European privacy regulations; and publishers can survive in a world where many users are installing ad blockers.
Publishers and ad networks might bristle at the idea of putting browser makers in the middle of their business. But in recent years browsers have taken a more active role in shaping the web, instead of merely displaying a website’s content. Chrome now blocks ads on a small number of sites with particularly egregious advertising practices, while browsers like Firefox and Safari have added privacy protections. Meanwhile, browser plugins are giving users more control over their experience. There are Chrome extensions, for example, that let you change Facebook's color scheme, or change the way images are displayed on Pinterest. And of course there are extensions that block all ads.
Trying to win advertisers and publishers to a new model isn't Brave's only challenge. It also needs users. Eich says Brave has 15 million users and is growing.
Brave will give users a 70 percent cut of its advertising revenue, which Eich estimates could work out to about $10 a month. Brave will pay users with its own bitcoin-style "cryptocurrency” called Basic Attention Tokens or BAT, which has traded for as little as 24 cents over the past 12 months, according to CoinMarketCap. You can exchange the BAT you have received for viewing ads into USD, EUR, GBP, CHF and many more currencies.
The company offers a service through the cryptocurrency exchange Uphold to allow users to change, sell and buy BAT or donate it to publishers, and for publishers to exchange the BAT they receive for dollars. Advertisers like HomeDepot or recent campaigns included brands such as Verizon, Newegg, Chipotle, and PayPal/Honey, in addition to earlier campaigns by Amazon, Harry’s Razors, Intel, CBS, KIND snacks, Logitech, Lenovo, Grubhub, Belkin, Quickbooks, Evernote and some of cryptocurrency related companies, will be able to buy ads either with BAT or with traditional currencies.
Eich says Brave opted to create its own tokens using the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform in part to avoid regulatory requirements, such as verifying users' identifies, that partners like Uphold are better equipped to handle.
Estimated revenue? (depending on the country you live in the revenue can be higher or lower)
I made around 3oo$ so far this year using 3 devices, just for viewing some ads.
5 months so far july is not included if you calculate it down for 1 device, 100$/5months = 20$ a month just for viewing ads, you would need to buy risky stocks worth of 2000$ to get the same amount per month.
can only recommend everyone to try it, not every country has the same number of advertisers so you probably get the most out of it when you live in the USA.
If you are interested here is a quick guide how to set it up to get the max amount out of Brave:
Quickstartguide:
1 Download brave here
2 Activate the reward system (gif link below)Gif link
3 go into the settings an deactivate auto contribution and activate 5 ads per hour (image link below)image link
4 Create an Account on Uphold and connect it with your BraveBrowser.
Now you are good to go and can make some money on something you do anyway.
I hope this helps some folks in the community to make some extra bucks.
edit1:you can find more infos and support here:brave_browser & BATProject or www.brave.com
edit2:the earnings are depenging on the number of devices you are using and were you are living. Best paying countries: United States (69) United Kingdom (39) Canada (36) Australia (35) New Zealand (26) Germany (21) Ireland (21) France (18)( the number next to the country are the companies that are running ads on brave for this particular country, the more companies the more revenue )
you can find a full list with all countries and campaigns here: https://brave.com/transparency/
edit3:You don't need to browse to a certain website to receive ads, just browse as you are used to, play browser games, watch videos on youtube or do whatever you want.Sometimes Ads appear on the startpage looks like that https://i.imgur.com/5tohhRc.jpg and after some time on the right lower corner a clickable pop-up appears looks like that->https://i.imgur.com/CTGdVsu.png
edit4:If you want to import your bookmarks and settings from your old browser:on the right top corner of the browser is a button ->https://i.imgur.com/oi8EAri.jpg click it > than on settings > and than you got the option to import bookmarks and settings from your old browser.
If you want to sync brave between devices and for backups:type brave://flags/ into the adressbar and than brave sync into the search bar and acticate itif its enabled it should look like this https://imgur.com/a/tCMDgDjthan just click on sync ->https://i.imgur.com/oi8EAri.jpg
here is a guide ->https://support.brave.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021218111-How-do-I-set-up-Sync
edit5: Don't keep your BAT from free token grants to long in your browser, always send your bat to an external wallet or exchange like uphold, only tokens from free token grants have an expire date if they dont get used they go back to the bat pool. you can find more infos about this here -> https://support.brave.com/hc/en-us/articles/360018305731-Why-does-my-BAT-have-an-expiration-date-
submitted by OnlyReveal6 to passiveincome [link] [comments]

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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[ Bitcoin ] Bitcoin legality in India – Is Bitcoin Legal ?

[ 🔴 DELETED 🔴 ] Topic originally posted in Bitcoin by x23_shivam [link]
Bitcoin has been a heavy financial blow to the trading world since it rose to significance. The flickering uncertainty of the traditional economy, entirely controlled by the government has caused several disastrous events in the past. But Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies in the world are completely free from government and political influence, which don’t lose its value over a political takeover.
India has also witnessed the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in some events. You may remember the demonetization and the aftermath of it. Here in India, we saw a spike of Bitcoin users around that time but the sudden ban imposed by the RBI made it all gone. Now that after two years the Supreme Court has overruled the decision of RBI, the Indian cryptocurrency market is slowly rising from ashes.
But the question remains, about Bitcoin legality in India if legal then does it have a framework and regulations passed by the Government?
Before we find answers to these questions, let’s look back at the beginning.

The Beginning

Started in 2009, Bitcoin first rose to global significance in the year 2017. It was the first time for bitcoin to cross the $1000 mark but it didn’t stop there.
Then came a blow from the Chinese government when the People’s Bank of China decided to tighten its grip on the cryptocurrency market. As a result, the graph went down by 30%, however, it successfully maintained its steady growth. Around May, it had jumped well over $2000.
It was December 17, the Crypto exchange recorded its highest value of all time as the Bitcoin value was standing on the number $19,783.21.
But the market subsequently came down and nowadays it roams around the $10,000 mark.

India Banned Cryptocurrency in 2018

Surprisingly when the world was facing a crypto bull market race, Indian backed down from the idea and the Reserve Bank of India imposed a de facto ban on the trading of crypto.
The RBI assessed that there were multiple risks involved in dealing with crypto and should be immediately banned to trade it. As a result, the huge market that was yet to understand its potential was dismissed.
Many people and respective associations spoke against it and the Internet & Mobile Association of India went to the Supreme Court against the RBI’s decision.
At that point, India had around 5 million cryptocurrency users, who were actively trading and using Bitcoin as a currency. But all of a sudden it all shut down, as the users were left with the option to either hold on to their Bitcoin savings or trade through the foreign.
But since Supreme Court took the matter in hand the situation began to change. Unlike RBI, SC had a wider view on the matter and asked about the reasons of the Bitcoin trade ban.
While there wasn’t any satisfactory answers from the RBI, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on the use of Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in 2020.
It seems like, with the ban lifted, India is currently free to deal or trade in Bitcoins without any barriers. But it isn’t that easy.

Bitcoin legality in India


https://preview.redd.it/t5bxt1cnlgl51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=6b4d014c65e4a8bb3e787531b7654eb37d736994

Now having covered all the backstories, let’s take a look at the main question of this article.

Can you trade bitcoins now?

The answer is- Yes. Trading or dealing with bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency like Ethereum is legal in India. You can trade, buy, and sell bitcoins from domestic or foreign exchanges and even invest in them.

Startups like WazirX, Lastbit, Zebpay, and international companies like Paxful are providing platforms to market crypto as the optional currency. CEOs of these companies are hopeful for the near future as India is counted among the five countries to have the most Bitcoin users.
But there are some problems yet unresolved.
Crypto Mining. Though the SC lifted the ban from crypto trading, crypto mining is still impossible in India. Mining is a work that requires specific technologies and a high supply of electricity. While the latter is a problem in India, the former is the bigger challenge. Because the machine to mine bitcoins, ASIC is still illegal to import.
ASIC standing for application-specific integrated circuit is the most advanced technology to mine bitcoin profitably. When the crypto was banned, importing ASIC was also banned. So, now the miners are left with nothing useful other than GPU technology to mine. While GPU was useful 10 years ago, today it simply doesn’t work.
It’s also unlikely to manufacture ASIC in India, because it only works for the purpose of crypto mining only. As long as there’s no stable market here, manufacturers wouldn’t take the risk to produce it here.
So, the conclusion on Bitcoin legality in India can be to trade crypto but not mine it. We think it’s still a fair opportunity to get the Indian crypto market a bit more stability and then the government might reconsider their stand on crypto mining.
Source - How To Buy Bitcoin in India
x23_shivam your post has been copied because one or more comments in this topic have been removed. This copy will preserve unmoderated topic. If you would like to opt-out, please send a message using [this link].
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Monero - The Elephant in the Room

The state of financial privacy in 2020
Note: You can read this in a friendlier format with images over on Medium - https://medium.com/@johnfoss/the-elephant-in-the-room-34e061f5912a
The erosion of personal privacy is gaining momentum since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Worldwide, there have been numerous calls by governments and social commentators to increase the surveillance of citizens in hope of controlling the virus. Corporations such as Google and Apple, along with countries such as Singapore, Germany, Belgium, USA, and South Korea have been utilizing smartphone data in different capacities to monitor the movements of citizens.
Many believe the implementation of new surveillance measures will calcify and become the new norm, setting precedence for further encroachment.
Mainstream media has also begun supporting the notion of increased surveillance to serve social and financial needs. A recent Bloomberg opinion piece discussed the need for increased surveillance, pointing out the financial system we operate within is fractured and inefficient when dealing with wide spread social and economic problems.
Once again, government over-reach of citizens’ privacy is a considered solution to our problems.
Countries such as Sweden (which is expected to go entirely cashless by 2023) have been leading the charge in moving to a cashless world, and in Australia the government is preparing to ban cash transactions over ten thousand dollars in order to increase monitorization.
This road to a cashless society is being sped up by the coronavirus pandemic. There is correlation between countries where ‘cash is king’ and a high number of coronavirus infections. Many retail stores are now too afraid to accept cash due to possible virus transmission, with some outright refusing to transact with cash.
The erosion of privacy, and the gradual transition from cash to digital financial transactions leads us to murky waters. Will we be able to conduct private financial transactions five to ten years from now?
Throughout the past decade, unorthodox individuals turned to Bitcoin in order to transact privately. This led to the inception of popular online darknet markets such as the Silk Road. However, many of the darknet markets proved to be unreliable and short-lived. It soon became apparent to Bitcoin users that Bitcoin is not private, and many of those conducting transactions in relation to darknet markets were identified and prosecuted.
Blockchain analytic companies such as Chainanalysis gained traction and suddenly Bitcoin tumblers were found to be ineffective. Blockchain analytic companies take advantage of Bitcoin’s transparent blockchain, analysing data and tracking transaction outputs. The blockchain analytic company then sells this information to cryptocurrency exchanges and government organisations so they can link Bitcoin addresses to specific users. Many Bitcoin advocates tout Bitcoin can be used privately via the use of newer tumbling technologies, however this is a somewhat arduous process with no guarantee of its effectiveness. In December 2019 Chainanalysis demonstrated how they tracked transactions mixed via Wasabi Wallet that were associated with the PlusToken scam. Tumbling also leads to the possibility of coin taint, whereas certain Bitcoin may be perceived to be less valuable because they can be identified as being associated with nefarious activities, and as a result exchange services may confiscate coins when a user attempts to sell them.
While Bitcoin holds many desirable characteristics of sound money, many prominent figures within the Bitcoin space have repeatedly discussed on the need for default privacy and fungibility. However, as was seen in previous years’ block size dispute, the issue of privacy will come with great lengthy debate as stakeholders attempt to reach a consensus that does not impact upon the characteristics of Bitcoin.
As change within the social and financial landscape continues to accelerate, those seeking financial privacy may turn to Monero.
Monero is the elephant in the room.
Monero is a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin and shares many of the same characteristics of sound money, however it also provides default privacy. Unlike other privacy focused cryptocurrencies, privacy isn’t opt-in, so all transactions and wallet amounts are unknown and indistinguishable from one another. Every unit of Monero is valued equally as no matter its history. This allows Monero to be truly fungible, and eradicates any possibility of coin taint. It has proven this in a number of cases. For example, exchanges have been hesitant to list Monero due to KYC/AML compliance issues it raises because it is impossible to determine transaction history.
If Monero provides financial privacy solutions, why is Monero being ignored?
Firstly, while most deem privacy to be important, many are yet to find it necessary to adopt privacy technologies. There are many easy to use privacy solutions such as Signal or DuckDuckGo, however these are not widely used as users opt for convenience instead. As surveillance increases and data collected is harnessed to marginalize or punish users, it is like that privacy technologies will become extremely desirable. Additionally, acquiring Monero can be difficult or inconvenient for some, as cryptocurrency exchanges must comply with laws and regulations, and may perceive it to be a risk listing an untraceable cryptocurrency. This also leads to lower liquidity than other cryptocurrencies.
Monero remains a community driven project. Public figures such as John McAfee and Crypto Vigilante continue to advocate the use of Monero ahead of Bitcoin. Due to its humble and open-source nature, Monero isn’t widely promoted even though it maintains the third largest cryptocurrency community on Reddit after Bitcoin and Ethereum.
In respect to the technology, Monero’s hashrate has steadily been increasing over time, and the number of daily transactions taking place on the Monero blockchain are higher than ever. The Monero Research Lab continues its research in order to improve the protocol. Over the past few years these improvements resulted in reduced transaction fees, and enhanced scalability and privacy.
In just a few years from now, it is extremely likely traditional financial systems will not provide the capacity to transact privately. Banks will be required to ask questions regarding why certain transactions took place, and recorded transaction data will be sold to third parties. As the erosion of our privacy continues to accelerate, it won’t be long until Monero gains the use and recognition it deserves, and price reflects this.
Monero is what people think Bitcoin is.
Feel free to share or publish this article as you wish.
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How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation


In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.



Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:

Offline Multi-Signature

Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.

Regular Transparent Audits

Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.

Insurance Requirements

Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.


Background and Justifications


Cold Storage Custody/Management
After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems:
• Funds stored online or in a smart contract,
• Access controlled by one person or one system,
• 51% attacks (rare),
• Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or
• Some combination of the above.
For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program.
The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms.
• 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective.
• The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated.
The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II.

On The Subject of Third Party Custodians
Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems.
However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies.
There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both.

On The Subject Of Insurance
ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC.
However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline[] to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance.
In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework.
A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians.

On The Subject of Fractional Reserve
There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds.
There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past.

Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability
Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis.
The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users.
Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit.
The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided.
Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense.

Hot Wallet Management
The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets.
However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process.
A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage.
Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.

Current Draft Proposal

(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage.
(a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet.
(b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time).
(c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7.
(d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds.
(e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers.
(2) Regular and transparent solvency audits.
(a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row.
(b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored.
(c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process.
(d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify.
(e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible.
(3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions.
(a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets.
(b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy.
(c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage.
(d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange.
(e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.

Steps Forward

Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized.
The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges.
The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
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Top Proof Of Stake Networks and Staking Coin List

Proof of stake consensus algorithm was launched as an alternative to the proof of work algorithm and since its discovery in 2012, it has been used by a number of crypto platforms seeking to become more scalable than the Bitcoin network. With one of the main objectives of the proof of work model, allowing for a decentralized network to confirm transaction instead of a third party, the proof of stake model achieves this in a different manner. Before we dive into some of the top proof of stake cryptocurrency networks right now, it is best that we get an idea of what proof of stake is.
What Is Proof Of Stake?
Proof of Stake otherwise referred to as PoS is a consensus algorithm that makes use of the coin staking format. To explain better, for users on the network to be able to mine, they need to be able to stake a certain amount of coin on the network if they are to start mining. In addition to staking a certain amount, these individuals will only mine the total amount of coins that have been staked on the network. This simply means that if a manages to stake or lock up a huge amount of coins, let’s say about 10% of the total coins on the network, they will be able to validate about 10% of the total transactions that are carried out on the network. So if a network processes about 10,000 transactions each day, these miners will validate and receive rewards for validating 10% of the total blocks. Aside from the rewards they stand to gain, these miners are also paid transaction fees of users on the network each time they validate a transaction.
There are a couple of benefits that come from making use of PoS based blockchain networks and they include;
  1. They are less expensive; unlike the PoW mechanism that requires users to invest their hard-earned funds in the purchase of expensive hardware or mining rigs, these PoS networks do not require you to pay for mining rigs. All you have to do is buy or own a certain amount of coin on the network and you can begin validating transactions and earning rewards.
  2. It is eco-friendly; unlike PoW based networks, PoS networks offer users guaranteed returns. The value of these PoS based coins does not fall like the PoW based coins unless there is a slight change in the market.
  3. On this network, stakers can decide to delegate their responsibilities to third-party agents to help them carry out.
Top Proof Of Stake Networks And Staking Coins
1. Dash (DASH)
Otherwise referred to as “Digital Cash”, DASH happens to be one of the very advanced crypto networks to adopt the PoS algorithm. DASH simply acts like liquid cash or P2P platform that is used to make payments for goods and services that are purchased daily. Currently, in most countries, DASH has been integrated as a means of payment for goods and services bought daily. In the last couple of years, DASH has implemented the InstantSend and PrivateSend features which will facilitate a fast and secure transaction for all on the network. Holders of the DASH coin can run master nodes on the network or receive rewards in DASH coins.
On the DASH network, users will have to stake about 1000 DASH coins when the price of one (1) DASH is equal to $300. While this network was built on Bitcoin’s main core it happens to focus on the privacy and quick transfer of funds aspect.
Early adopters of DASH that have a large number of DASH coins in their possession will do well to become master nodes on the network. Individuals with about $300,000 worth of DASH coins will make approximately 7.5% annual profit from becoming master nodes on the network. Those seeking to stake DASH coins will do well to ensure that they have the DASH staking wallets in their possession.
2. NEO (NEO)
Previously referred to as Antshares, NEO happens to be the first Chinese open-source blockchain project in existence. The developers of this network have referred to it as the distributed network for the smart economy. Being a PoS powered network, users on the NEO blockchain can stake their coins if they want to become miners on the network. Aside from the fact that there is a crypto platform, NEO has a token which is referred to as GAS which can be staked on any of the NEO staking wallets available. Unlike some of the other PoS based crypto networks, NEO does not require users to keep their staking wallets open.
Stakers on the NEO network can expect a 4.5% annual profit when they stake on this network. There are a couple of benefits that are associated with making use of this PoS based network and they include; it is a smart network that affords you the opportunity to send and receive coins in less than no time. The certificates, as well as the identities, are digital. Also, there is a wide range of decentralized applications (DApps).
3. Vechain (VET)
This happens to be another top PoS based network and since its launch has been able to gather attention from members of the crypto community. This network has been said to be similar to the NEO network and it offers users the opportunity to carry out fast transactions at a reduced cost. Unlike some of the other PoS based networks, Vechain focus primarily on the supply chain industry. It has allied with the Amazon web service and Walmart China. When you stake VET on the Vechain network, you are given VTHO for staking VET coins on the network. It is used in transactions and it has a return of investment of about 2% or more. Users on the network get extra with the nodes and it is easy to make use of.
One of the main benefits of this network is that it is incredibly easy to make use of and it has a long-range of partnerships. In addition to this, it has a fair ROI rate as well as other amazing bonuses that users will have to enjoy as well.
As always, the team here at Affil Coin is happy to help where we can. So, if you ever have any questions, stop by the AffilCoin Telegram chat and talk to a member of our team! Furthermore, if you want to learn more about Delegated Proof of Stake, click here and visit the AffilCoin site!
submitted by affilcoin to affilcoin [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!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

ARK. Here's what's it's all about, what's been going on, and what's coming. [Explain Like I'm Busy]

Dude, it said explain like I'm busy I'm not going to read all this

No problem. Check out these hand-picked relevant ARK Crypto Podcast episodes. Learn while you listen, drive to work or home, cook a steak, give your dog a bath, etc.
If you have decided to read all this, thanks, keep reading for a concise breakdown!

So what's the current big thing going on with ARK right NOW?

ARK.io has recently announced on both its blog and its Twitter that ARK Core v2.6 is coming to Mainnet February 11th. The iteration of 2.6 may sound anticlimactic, but it's far from that. Core v2.6 is the biggest upgrade to date- even bigger than the total Core overhaul performed for v2.0, deployed late 2018.
The new version brings new transaction types to the ARK Public Network, including types that will play a role in creating an ecosystem of linked chains. This ecosystem of linked chains will have the ARK Public Network in the center of the action, storing chain details and allowing for chain discovery.
These new transaction types include:
Multipayments — sending to multiple ARK addresses, while just initiating one transaction, saves time and cost
Multisignatures — you can now get all of the benefits of multisignatures where more than one user can propose or spend funds depending on the predefined terms (eg. 2 out of 3 users needed to successfully send tokens, vote, …)
IPFS — register IPFS compliant hashes on the ARK blockchain within Desktop Wallet.
Business & Bridgechain registrations — you can now register your business and bridgechain on the blockchain and soon, you will be able to get verified via our Marketplace to get access to some exciting new features.
Delegate resignation — delegates who don’t want to be voted for anymore can now opt-out of this by simply initiating delegate resignation.
Additionally, the Core v2.6 improves security against double-spend attacks by implementing nonces. Also, massive enhancements were made to the GTI or Generic Transaction Interface, a critical tool for developers who wish to develop decentralized applications.

What is ARK's unique approach to current issues plaguing the blockchain industry?

ARK empowers everyone, regardless of their aim or technical background, to quickly and easily leverage blockchain technology. In the current hype-driven blockchain landscape, ARK acts as a beacon for individuals, groups, and enterprises seeking to apply blockchain technology to both reach their individual goals and affect change in their local community. ARK’s uniquely simple technology stack allows almost anyone to create and deploy standalone blockchains for any use case with an intuitive graphical user interface and experience. These newly created blockchains also known as bridgechains will have the ability to interoperate through ARK SmartBridge Technology. ARK is also reinventing smart contracts with ARK Logic, a collection of tools including custom transaction types, templates, and plugins. ARK Logic brings security, adaptability, and scalability to decentralized computing workflows. Most importantly, the ARK Ecosystem fosters a growing international community of developers, node operators, blockchains, businesses, and enthusiasts who collectively breathe life into this disruptive technology. Get into the interactive whitepaper here.

Tell me about the ARK Public Network

Ok, no problem. Since coming online on March 21, 2017, the APN has operated as a P2P cryptocurrency with fast block times of 8 seconds and low dynamic fees (near a penny and somewhat novel for a DPoS blockchain). However, the end goal of the APN far exceeds that of just a cryptocurrency that is faster and cheaper to use than Bitcoin. I'll explain further in a minute.
The network, as mentioned, is set up as Delegated Proof-of-Stake. This means forging delegates are deemed worthy to secure the chain and add blocks to it by the holders of the ARK token, which vote for delegates using their ARK as vote weight. ARK remains in users' control at all times, and the top 51 delegates in vote weight enter forging status. The network awards each delegate 2 ARK per block (~12,705 ARK/mo) for services rendered. This continues ad infinitum resulting in a declining inflation rate each year (relative to total supply). When users add or remove ARK from a voting wallet address, vote weight adjusts automatically and they don't need to vote again. Voting continues even if user's wallet is offline.
The main uses of ARK as the cryptoasset of the ARK Public Network besides being a P2P cryptocurrency include:
If you're interested in more details about APN uses, check this direct link to that section of whitepaper.

Is team good?

Yes, team good. Team very good. General sentiment among ARK team members is that ARK is a dream project to work on, and this motivates them to do great work on a consistent basis as the ARK technology stack progresses. Very recently, ARK hired an additional half dozen people in various departments, including marketing department. This brings ARK team total to over three dozen experts. The ARK business entity is also well funded with around 10 years of budget. The ARK business entity spends funds in a very sensible manner compared to some other projects who spend with insufficient foresight or discretion.
Members of the board are thoughtful and deliberate, and the CEO FX Thoorens has been hard at work putting a spotlight on ARK, showing an 'intermeshing' of ARK with the global regulatory landscape in regards to crypto. Recently, ARK became a founding member of ADAN, a professional association based in France created to help structure and develop the digital assets industry. Other members include Consensys France and Ledger. ADAN will consult with public authorities, industry leaders and private bodies to promote the use of digital assets and all activities in this sector. This includes exchange platforms, brokers, hardware, protocols, decentralized applications and blockchain technology platforms. Hear FX Thoorens talk more about this in this podcast episode.
The ARK business entity is located in France, but the ARK team is distributed across 10+ countries and multiple continents.

What's going to happen?

Cool stuff. Organizations and open source projects have been stumbling across ARK and really like what they see. Multiple projects are working with ARK technology and are at various stages of development, but since you're busy, I'll highlight the project nOS which recently launched their public testnet and uses ARK technology for their blockchain. nOS also has great things to say about ARK that you can hear in this podcast episode or watch in this video.
We believe that as more businesses, organizations, and open source projects start looking around for blockchain solutions, they will also enjoy ARK's simplicity, flexibility, and feature set. Our powerful technology stack is backed up by a recently upgraded documentation hub for developers.
The product we have that makes it very easy for projects to join the ARK Ecosystem is called the ARK Deployer, which you can learn about in this two minute video. It allows developers from all walks of life to create, customize and launch a standalone blockchain in three simple steps. In the near future, what's going to happen is a big improvement to the Deployer. The ARK Deployer will get an upgraded and more powerful user interface that also facilitates chain management post-launch, as well as interface directly with cloud providers like Digital Ocean to launch genesis node and peers in background. This would allow for a massive leap forward in our vision of 'Point. Click. Blockchain.'
ARK.io is also working on a Marketplace for developers, where custom plugins and tools developed by both ARK.io as well as third parties can be acquired for assembling blockchains much easier. Imagine a wordpress-type environment where you can create a super-powerful and customized blockchain by connecting Legos together. In the same way that early World Wide Web needed WordPress/Squarespace style tools to bring the technology to every business or organization, we believe that this need will be out there for blockchain technology as this new decade progresses.
There is more cool stuff that is going to happen, but I'll wrap it up there for now.

After reading all this stuff, what is it you want me to do?

Well, not make any financial decisions, because that is not the purpose of this information. However, as a developer, there's a lot of interesting things you should know and may want to consider doing. The ARK technology stack uses TypeScript and other JS-style frameworks, so if you know those, you should get excited.
Here's some additional less 'developery' stuff you can do:
Thanks for coming along for the ride of this post. ARK has been out here, it's out here, and it's going to continue to be out here, doing its part to make sure everybody knows that blockchains are, in fact, a thing.
submitted by doubled1c3 to ArkEcosystem [link] [comments]

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