Bitcoin Millionaires: Tales of 10 Cryptocurrency Winners
Bitcoin Millionaires: Tales of 10 Cryptocurrency Winners
Nine Bitcoin Success Stories – Will You Become Number 10?
Crypto Genesiz – Trade in the green!
Algorithmic Trading Success Stories that you must Read
Success stories – CRYPTO CRYPTO NEWS
Economist's that trade some sort of markets like stock ,crypto ,options or bond that already have Decade(s) of experience share your success or not so soccesful storys that might help begginers. Also how different from what you imagined your strategys became when you gained experience in your field?
Economist's that trade some sort of markets like stock ,crypto ,options or bond that already have Decade(s) of experience share your success or not so soccesful storys that might help begginers. Also how different from what you imagined your strategys became when you gained experience in your field?
Obviuosly not asking for some insider strategys or guidelines on how to trade , but id really like to hear how others deal with adversity they have to face in there early stages. Everything that might seem usefull and interesting to read is more then welcome , i bet im not the only one here who'd like to learn from others experience
Traders on #CINDX are estimated according to their success story in trade. There is an opportunity to choose the trader who suits you and will bring success. #CINDXTOKEN #Crypto #Blockchain #ether #cindx.io
Jaava trade is the advance platform which deals in trading all types of crypto currencies and including the personal exchange also.Taking forward the story of success Jaava trade will proudly launch it’s own coin—JT COIN(JAAVATRADE COIN).
Could various cypto-currencies produce a television show depicting the daily lives and story of successful Crypto-Trades
Seeing HULU do a show about CSGO pro gaming has me wondering if a weekly show detailing the lives of a few different large volume crytotraders could be entertaining and raise awareness and use of the Blockchain currency system. Basically a weekly episode follow traders of various types and philosophies. Show casing their lives through out the day and most importantly emphasizing the idea that anyone savy enough can make money.. It would be nice to maybe get rivalry between fans of the day traders. BTC holders, and Alt holders.. Maybe showcase a few exchanges executives
01-06 17:52 - 'I’ve been trading crypto for 2 years and been very successful. Recently, I predicted GNO(34%) AMP(21%) PAY(55%) SYS(82%) and much more based on TA or FA. / Long story short, I have decided to create a call group and accept...' by /u/tothemoongroup removed from /r/Bitcoin within 0-9min
''' I’ve been trading crypto for 2 years and been very successful. Recently, I predicted GNO(34%) AMP(21%) PAY(55%) SYS(82%) and much more based on TA or FA. Long story short, I have decided to create a call group and accepting members for free. I can pretty much guarantee(99%) members doubling investments minimum each month. I'm accepting new members for free anyways so what do you have to lose right? It's a win win situation because the coins I predict will make profit either way and with members, we can pump it up a bit more! email [email protected] for membership. ''' Context Link Go1dfish undelete link unreddit undelete link Author: tothemoongroup
I am not from a finance background ( I am in IT) but in past I have tried my luck in stock and crypto trading. Much of it was based on FOMO I would say . I also did read a book on Day trading by Andrew Aziz which covered candlesticks, abcd pattern etc. I feel like day trading is not my cup of tea and I want something by fundamentals. I was told that The intelligent investor book is one of the best out there but considering its soo old I am not sure if this is the right book now. I know what is a margin account, how to buy sell with limits, options trading, StockTwits, finviz, Norbert gambit. Pretty much very basic but I trying to say I understand this. Had joined some discord channels where I used to see day traders making big money but never had the courage to practically do that kind of stuff. I am a tech person, can anyone recommend books based on fundamentals and share stories of success if you have been through all this. Also if someone would like to share invite link to other discord channels that would be really helpful.
Investment Thesis: Why investing in POW.TO (Power Corporation of Canada) now is an investment in a future high market cap Wealthsimple IPO
I have seen some posts here wondering about the wisdom of investing in Wealthsimple's parent company, Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO). I decided to look more into this, decided to post my investment thesis and research on why I, long-term, I have a very bullish view on Wealthsimple (and by extension POW.TO), and why I think this is equal to being an early stage investor in a Wealthsimple IPO.
Ownership: Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO) (83.2% ownership)
AssetsUnderMangement: $5.4 billion, as of June 30, 2020 (4.9 billion in June 30, 2019)
Wealthsimple Invest (ETF Roboadvisor service), WS was one of the first-movers in this space in Canada and offered robo-advising as part of its initial product in 2015. WS claims to have largest digital investing presence in Canada (70% of the market) (reference).
Wealthsimple Cash, a savings account service
Wealthsimple Trade, a commission free trading app where users can buy and sell ~8,000 stocks and ETFs
Wealthsimple Crypto, a commission free cryptocurrency trading app, currently in beta
SimpleTax.ca, a free tax-return service used by ~1 million Canadians per year, acquired in late 2019
WS has had many successful rounds of funding and a vote of confidence from both its parent POW.TO and other multinationals investing in fintech.
Last year WS received a $100 million dollar investment led by Allianz X, the start up investor arm of German financial services giant Allianz
WS has had 7 total investing rounds, totalling $266.9 million (reference)
WS has been extremely aggressive in targeting growth areas. Wealthsimple’s CEO Mike Katchen has said he wants to position the company as a “full-stack” financial services company. Here are some of their current expansion areas:
UK and USA Expansion - in 2017, they started offering similar investing services in the UK and the US (reference and reference).
Socially Responsible ETFs - WS recently partnered with Mackenzie Investment to offer socially responsible ETFs with a social and environmental focus. Although probably not something that older investors care about, this is particularly important for younger investors who want to make sure their investments are socially responsible
Cryptocurrency - WS is currently testing a beta service of their cryptocurrency app, and offering fee-free cryptocurrency trading, similar to Wealthsimple Trade. Whatever your views of cryptocurrency (I'm of the view that I can in some cases be part of a portfolio to hedge against risk), it's here to stay. Earlier this month, WS was the first company in Canada to register with the Ontario Securities Exchange Commission (reference). My sense is that crypto will face increasing regulations and scrutiny in the coming years, which will be a good thing for WS which is a step ahead of the game (reference). Even Google is starting to look into relaxing its restraints on crypto (reference).
Other full-stack services - WS has been mum on what other services they might offer, but insurance, mortgages, and chequing accounts could be other areas of disruption. (Reference)
WS is run by young guys who have big ambitions and plans for the company. Sometimes there are CEOs with the intangibles that can really drive a company's growth, and from what I can glean, I think the company has a lot of potential here in terms of vision by its leaders. You can read more about the founders here
Michael Katchen, CEO, Background: Led product and marketing at a start up called 1000memories, a Y Combinator startup later acquired by Ancestry.com. Worked for McKinsey & Company.
Brett Huneycutt, COO, Rhodes Scholar... not much else I know about the guy
Quote sfrom CEO: Michael Katchen On being laughed out of the boardroom when he proposed his idea for Wealthsimple:
Within the last month, Wealthsimple has also opened an office in London. Katchen said a push into the European market is “possible” as its “ambitions are global,” but right now the Canadian and U.S. markets are “a lot to chew.” It is a far cry from the company’s early days: Katchen said he was “laughed out of the boardroom” for laying out a global vision for Wealthsimple at a time when they had just $1.9-million in funding and 20 users***.***“It’s a very personal mission of mine since I moved back from California, to inspire more Canadian companies to think big and to think internationally about the businesses that they’re building,” he said. (reference)
On Wealthsimple's growth in the next 10-15 years:
Wealthsimple has more than $5 billion in assets under management and 175,000 customers in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. He sees that reaching $1 trillion 15 years. “We’re just getting started,” he said. “Our plans are to get to millions of clients in the next five years.” (reference)
Brand Value and Design
Out of all the financial services company in Canada, WS probably has the most cohesive and smart design concept across its platforms and products. I see the value in Wealthsimple in not just the assets they have under management, but also the value of the brand itself. I mean, what kind of financial services company makes a blog post about their branding colour scheme and font choices? Also see: Wealthsimple’s advertisement earlier this year capturing 4 million views on Youtube. There also seems to be very strong brand awareness and brand loyalty amongst its users. I think a lot of users find WS refreshing as a financial services company because they cut through the "bullshit" and legalese, and try to simply things for the consumer. They also have their own in house team of designers and creative directors to do branding, design, and advertising, and this kind of vertical integration is generally unheard of in the financial services industry (reference).
Interestingly, the CEO’s ultimate goal is to take the company public. Therefore, I see an investment in POW.TO as being an early stage pre-IPO investor in WS (reference).
The goal is to get Wealthsimple to the size and scale to go public, something that Katchen said he’s “obsessed with.” While admitting that an IPO was still a few years down the road, Katchen already has a target of $20 billion in assets under administration (AUA) as the tipping point (the company recently announced $4.3 billion in AUA as of Q1 2019) (reference)
Ultimately, my sense is that a spun-out Wealthsimple IPO eventually be worth a lot, perhaps even more than POW.TO at some point. Obviously the company is losing money right now, and no where even close to an IPO, and there are still many chances that this company could flop. The best analogy that I can think of is when Yahoo bought an early stake in Alibaba (BABA) back in the early 2000s, and there came a point where their stake in BABA was worth more than Yahoo’s core business. I think an investment in POW.TO now is an early investment in WS before it goes public. (reference)
Expansion problems. In the UK, they reported significant losses and despite increasing users. (reference). The US is also an especially competitive space with lots of similar competitors.
The robo-advising, fintech space is highly competitive now, and the Big Five Banks and other investment/trading companies could easily start offering low-cost or commission free trading
Competitors such as Robinhood could also expand into the Canadian market and take out a huge chunk of WS's userbase
The X Factor
What I find particularly compelling about WS is they have aggressively positioned themselves to be a disruptor in the Canadian financial services industry. This is an area that has traditionally been thought to be a firewall for the Big Five Banks. There is also a generational gap in investing approaches, knowledge, and strategy, and I think WS has positioned itself nicely with first-time investors. My sense is that COVID-19 has also captured a huge amount of young adults with its trading app in the last few months, who will continue to use Wealthsimple products in the future. The average age of its user is around 34. As younger individuals are more comfortable with moving away traditional banking products, I think Wealthsimple’s product offering offers significant advantages over its competitors.
Power Corp is a Good Home
Currently POW.TO is trading at $26.30, down from its 52-week high of $35.15. I see an investment in POW.TO now as fairly low risk, and while WS grows, and there is also the added benefit of a high dividend stock. One of the most confusing things I found about Power Corp was its confusing corporate structure where there were two stocks, Power Financial Corp, and Power Corp of Canada. Fortunately, in Dec 2019, they simplified and consolidated the stocks, which also simplifies the holding structure of WS. I currently see POW.TO has a good stock to hold as well if you're a dividend holder, with a dividend of 6.86%. Also, POW.TO is patient enough to bide its time and let its investment in WS grow, unlike a VC that might want to sell it quick. For example, the reason why WS went with POW.TO instead of the traditional VC route is explained here:
Katchen has directly addressed the question of why he did not go the traditional VC route recently, saying: If you are a business that requires perhaps decades to achieve the vision you have, well, if you’re not going to be able to generate the kind of returns that venture needs is they will force you to sell yourself, they will force you to go public before you’re ready, or they will just forget about you because you’re going to be a write off. And so Katchen essentially flipped Wealthsimple to Power Financial. Power is well known as a conservative, patient, long-term investor. (https://opmwars.substack.com/p/the-wealthsimple-founders-before)
My belief is there is a huge unrecognized potential in POW.TO's massive ownership stake in WS that will be realized maybe 5-10 years down the road. I didn't really dive into the financials of POW.TO in relation to WS's performance, because the earnings reports do no actually say much about WS. I'm aware of the main criticisms that POW.TO is a mature company and dividend stock that has been trading sideways for many years, and the fact that WS is currently not a profitable company. I am not a professional investor, and this is just my amateur research, so I certainly welcome any comments/criticism of this thesis that people on this subreddit might have! (Please be gentle on me!).
The Turkey City Lexicon - annotated for 40K by Matt Farrer circa 2004 - and Farrer's analysis of Abnett's eye-ball kicks
I wrote a suggestion on how to create a Space Marine OC (the whole thread is a good reading for aspiring fan authors so I'll link it), and it got me thinking about writing within the 40K setting. Back in the day when Black Library still had their own forum, I saved Matt Farrer's annotation of the Turkey City Lexicon (the original, pre-internet version of TV Tropes). I searched the subreddit for it earlier with no results, so I'll share it again here. — Please note: The Turkey City Lexicon isspecifically, explicitlynon-copyright and isencouragedto be shared/reposted/expanded. Posting it here in its entirety violates no copyright legislation in any country - in fact, Matt Farrer himself asked us to share it with our fellow writers. Hat off to you, Mr Farrer, for your contributions to the 40K lore from a longtime fan. — [Originally posted to Black Library Online, November 2004, by user Matt Farrer] The Turkey City Lexicon (Annotated with some Games Workshop observations) The Turkey City Lexicon is a terminology guide that’s been floating around in one form or another since the late eighties (Google will turn up plenty of hits if you want to see one of the original copies; I got this one from the SFWA website). The Lexicon is deliberately not copyrighted and is intended to be copied at will and passed on to other writers (note that you shouldn’t try this with anything else on the SFWA site, if you go there – there are some great articles but most of them are copyrighted). There’s a tendency for people to look at the Lexicon as a list of “common mistakes” or “things not to do”, which is not entirely correct as I understand its purpose. Certainly seeing a common problem set down pithily can help crystallise that particular example of bad technique, but a couple of the terms in here are complimentary and many others aren’t necessarily fatal problems. As in “you might want to watch out for funny-hat characterisation on page four, although with the narrative voice you use it works well”. What it is meant to be is a useful resource for critiquers, giving you a quick and easy shorthand for a known quantity you’ve observed in writing. In the above example, you don’t need to spend half a paragraph describing a shaky spot in the characterisation, you have a quick term to cover it and save space and time for both of you. The early, simple version of the lexicon by Lewis Shiner was expanded and added to by Bruce Sterling, not, in my opinion, always for the better. There are no real differences in actual content between the two, so for this version I’ve picked whichever version of an entry I thought was better phrased. The GW-specific notes are my own – I’ll add more as I think of them, if I have the time. Discussion of any or all of the entries is of course welcome - it's what I'm posting this for. Anyway, let’s get on with it. The meta-rule: Cherryh's Law No rule should be followed over a cliff. (C.J. Cherryh) MF - There are times when the literary or dramatic effect of breaking any supposed "rule" about writing is going to be worth it, and that includes any and all of the points about writing offered in the Lexicon. Such principles are based on experience that shows that certain approaches work better than others, but getting carried away with imposing a set of rules as though they were holy writ simply turns into an attempt to stamp out creativity and have every writer write exactly alike. Know the principles, understand why they work as they do, but don't wear them like shackles. Part One: Words and Sentences Brenda Starr dialogue Long sections of talk with no physical background or description of the characters. Such dialogue, detached from the story's setting, tends to echo hollowly, as if suspended in mid-air. Named for the American comic-strip in which dialogue balloons were often seen emerging from the Manhattan skyline. "Burly Detective" Syndrome This useful term is taken from SF's cousin-genre, the detective-pulp. The hack writers of the Mike Shayne series showed an odd reluctance to use Shayne's proper name, preferring euphemisms like "the burly detective" or "the red-headed sleuth." This comes from a wrong-headed conviction that the same word should not be used twice in close succession. This is only true of particularly strong and visible words, such as "vertiginous." Better to re-use a simple tag or phrase than to contrive cumbersome methods of avoiding it. Brand Name Fever Use of brand name alone, without accompanying visual detail, to create false verisimilitude. You can stock a future with Hondas and Sonys and IBM's and still have no idea with it looks like. "Call a Rabbit a Smeerp" A cheap technique for false exoticism, in which common elements of the real world are re-named for a fantastic milieu without any real alteration in their basic nature or behavior. "Smeerps" are especially common in fantasy worlds, where people often ride exotic steeds that look and act just like horses. (Attributed to James Blish.) Gingerbread Useless ornament in prose, such as fancy sesquipedalian Latinate words where short clear English ones will do. Novice authors sometimes use "gingerbread" in the hope of disguising faults and conveying an air of refinement. (Attr. Damon Knight) Not Simultaneous The mis-use of the present participle is a common structural sentence-fault for beginning writers. "Putting his key in the door, he leapt up the stairs and got his revolver out of the bureau." Alas, our hero couldn't do this even if his arms were forty feet long. This fault shades into "Ing Disease," the tendency to pepper sentences with words ending in "-ing," a grammatical construction which tends to confuse the proper sequence of events. (Attr. Damon Knight) Pushbutton Words Bogus lyricism like "star," "dance," "dream," "song," "tears" and "poet". Used to evoke a cheap emotional response without engaging the intellect or critical faculties, getting us misty-eyed and tender-hearted without us quite knowing why. Most often found in titles. Roget's Disease The ludicrous overuse of far-fetched adjectives, piled into a festering, fungal, tenebrous, troglodytic, ichorous, leprous, synonymic heap. (Attr. John W. Campbell) "Said" Bookism An artificial verb used to avoid the word "said." "Said" is one of the few invisible words in the English language and is almost impossible to overuse. It is much less distracting than "he retorted," "she inquired," "he ejaculated," and other oddities. The term "said-book" comes from certain pamphlets, containing hundreds of purple-prose synonyms for the word "said," which were sold to aspiring authors from tiny ads in American magazines of the pre-WWII era. Tom Swifty An unseemly compulsion to follow the word "said" with a colourful adverb: "'We'd better hurry,' Tom said swiftly." This was a standard mannerism of the old Tom Swift adventure dime-novels. Good dialogue can stand on its own without a clutter of adverbial props. Part Two: Paragraphs and Prose Structure Bathos A sudden, alarming change in the level of diction. "There will be bloody riots and savage insurrections leading to a violent popular uprising unless the regime starts being lots nicer about stuff." Countersinking Expositional redundancy. "'Let's get out of here,' he said, urging her to leave." Dischism The unwitting intrusion of the author's physical surroundings or mental state into the text of the story. Authors who smoke or drink while writing often drown or choke their characters with an endless supply of booze and cigs. In subtler forms of the Dischism, the characters complain of their confusion and indecision -- when this is actually the author's condition at the moment of writing, not theirs within the story. "Dischism" is named after the critic who diagnosed this syndrome. (Attr. Thomas M. Disch) False Humanity An ailment endemic to genre writing, in which soap-opera elements of purported human interest are stuffed into the story willy-nilly, whether or not they advance the plot or contribute to the point of the story. The actions of such characters convey an itchy sense of irrelevance, for the author has invented their problems out of whole cloth, so as to have something to emote about. False Interiorisation A cheap labour-saving technique in which the author, too lazy to describe the surroundings, afflicts the viewpoint-character with a blindfold, an attack of space-sickness, the urge to play marathon whist-games in the smoking-room, etc. Fuzz An element of motivation the author was too lazy to supply. The word "somehow" is a useful tip-off to fuzzy areas of a story. "Somehow she had forgotten to bring her gun." Hand Waving An attempt to distract the reader with dazzling prose or other verbal fireworks, so as to divert attention from a severe logical flaw. (Attr. Stewart Brand) Laughtrack Characters grandstand and tug the reader's sleeve in an effort to force a specific emotional reaction. They laugh wildly at their own jokes, cry loudly at their own pain, and rob the reader of any real chance of attaining genuine emotion. Show, Don’t Tell A cardinal principle of effective writing. The reader should be allowed to react naturally to the evidence presented in the story, not instructed in how to react by the author. Specific incidents and carefully observed details will render auctorial lectures unnecessary. For instance, instead of telling the reader "She had a bad childhood, an unhappy childhood," a specific incident -- involving, say, a locked closet and two jars of honey -- should be shown. Rigid adherence to show-don't-tell can become absurd. Minor matters are sometimes best gotten out of the way in a swift, straightforward fashion. Signal from Fred A comic form of the "Dischism" in which the author's subconscious, alarmed by the poor quality of the work, makes unwitting critical comments: "This doesn't make sense." "This is really boring." "This sounds like a bad movie." (Attr. Damon Knight) Squid in the Mouth The failure of an author to realize that his/her own weird assumptions and personal in-jokes are simply not shared by the world-at-large. Instead of applauding the wit or insight of the author's remarks, the world-at-large will stare in vague shock and alarm at such a writer, as if he or she had a live squid in the mouth. Since SF writers as a breed are generally quite loony, and in fact make this a stock in trade, "squid in the mouth" doubles as a term of grudging praise, describing the essential, irreducible, divinely unpredictable lunacy of the true SF writer. (Attr. James P Blaylock) Squid on the Mantelpiece Chekhov said that if there are dueling pistols over the mantelpiece in the first act, they should be fired in the third. In other words, a plot element should be deployed in a timely fashion and with proper dramatic emphasis. However, in SF plotting the MacGuffins are often so overwhelming that they cause conventional plot structures to collapse. It's hard to properly dramatize, say, the domestic effects of Dad's bank overdraft when a giant writhing kraken is levelling the city. This mismatch between the conventional dramatic proprieties and SF's extreme, grotesque, or visionary thematics is known as the "squid on the mantelpiece." MF – I’ve heard several versions of the supposed “Chekhov’s Gun” principle, no two of them meaning exactly the same thing. For example, the version I first heard is “If a character produces a gun, then it should be used to shoot someone, or threaten someone, or go off by accident, or fail to fire when it’s needed, and so on. If it does none of these things, then it is superfluous and should be taken out altogether.” That’s a point about narrative tidiness rather than timely deployment of plot elements. White Room Syndrome A clear and common sign of the failure of the author's imagination, most often seen at the beginning of a story, before the setting, background, or characters have gelled. "She awoke in a white room." The 'white room' is a featureless set for which details have yet to be invented -- a failure of invention by the author. The character 'wakes' in order to begin a fresh train of thought -- again, just like the author. This 'white room' opening is generally followed by much earnest pondering of circumstances and useless exposition; all of which can be cut, painlessly. It remains to be seen whether the "white room" cliche' will fade from use now that most authors confront glowing screens rather than blank white paper. Wiring Diagram Fiction A genre ailment related to "False Humanity," "Wiring Diagram Fiction" involves "characters" who show no convincing emotional reactions at all, since they are overwhelmed by the author's fascination with gadgetry or didactic lectures. MF – A trap hard SF often falls into, in my experience. I suppose the related ailment in GW fiction would be “fluff-diagram fiction” (sorry Gav), in which the story is sidelined by the author’s desire to lay out in detail some aspect of his take on the game-universe. You Can't Fire Me, I Quit An attempt to diffuse the reader's incredulity with a pre-emptive strike -- as if by anticipating the reader's objections, the author had somehow answered them. "I would never have believed it, if I hadn't seen it myself!" "It was one of those amazing coincidences that can only take place in real life!" "It's a one-in-a-million chance, but it's so crazy it just might work!" Surprisingly common, especially in SF. (Attr. John Kessel) Part Three: Common Workshop Story Types Adam and Eve Story Nauseatingly common subset of the "Shaggy God Story" in which a terrible apocalypse, spaceship crash, etc., leaves two survivors, man and woman, who turn out to be Adam and Eve, parents of the human race! MF – Not an issue for GW writing for obvious reasons. See Alfred Bester’s “Adam With No Eve” in the brilliant anthology Starburst for a rather good twist on the idea. The Cosy Catastrophe Story in which horrific events are overwhelming the entirety of human civilization, but the action concentrates on a small group of tidy, middle-class, white Anglo-Saxon protagonists. The essence of the cosy catastrophe is despite the supposed devastation the hero actually has a pretty good time (a girl, free suites at the Savoy, fancy cars for the taking) while everyone is dying off. (Attr. Brian Aldiss) Dennis Hopper Syndrome A story based on some arcane bit of science or folklore, which noodles around producing random weirdness. Then a loony character-actor (usually best played by Dennis Hopper) barges into the story and baldly tells the protagonist what's going on by explaining the underlying mystery in a long bug-eyed rant. (Attr. Howard Waldrop) MF - Not unrelated to Roger Ebert's remarks about the Talking Killer device, aka "Before I kill you, Mister Bond..." The killer gets the protagonist at his mercy and then decides to put off killing him so that he can fill the hero in on exactly what's been going on, and bring the reader up to speed at the same time. You know, like I did at the end of Crossfire. Although this is a plot device rather than an actual story type. Deus ex Machina or "God in the Box" Story featuring a miraculous solution to the story's conflict, which comes out of nowhere and renders the struggles of the characters irrelevant. Oh look, the Martians all caught cold and died. The Grubby Apartment Story Writing a little too much about what you know. The penniless writer living in a grubby apartment writes a story about a penniless writer living in a grubby apartment. Stars all his friends. The Jar of Tang "For you see, we are all living in a jar of Tang!" "For you see, I am a dog!" Mainstay of the old Twilight Zone TV show. An entire pointless story contrived so the author can jump out at the end and cry "Fooled you!" For instance, the story takes place in a desert of coarse orange sand surrounded by an impenetrable vitrine barrier; surprise! our heroes are microbes in a jar of Tang powdered orange drink. This is a classic case of the difference between a conceit and an idea. "What if we all lived in a jar of Tang?" is an example of the former; "What if the revolutionaries from the sixties had been allowed to set up their own society?" is an example of the latter. Good SF requires ideas, not conceits. (Attr. Stephen P. Brown) When done with serious intent rather than as a passing conceit, this type of story can be dignified by the term "Concealed Environment." (Attr. Christopher Priest) Just-Like Fallacy SF story which thinly adapts the trappings of a standard pulp adventure setting. The spaceship is "just like" an Atlantic steamer, down to the Scottish engineer in the hold. A colony planet is "just like" Arizona except for two moons in the sky. "Space Westerns" and futuristic hard-boiled detective stories have been especially common versions. MF – Then again, one of the fun things about the GW settings – the 40Kverse more than the Warhammer world, it seems to me – is the way you can rip all kinds of stuff off and stuff it in there to do a 41st-millennium tribute to it. Not necessarily a bad thing, providing you don’t end up in Bat Durston territory (more about him another time). [From another post:] In case you are not familiar with the term, a Bat Durston refers derogatorily to a science fiction story which is little more than a traditional western using sf settings and icons. Taking the comparison to alternate history, the better stories in this genre should create the story’s world for some reason other than merely creating a nice setting for an adventure. The Kitchen-Sink Story A story overwhelmed by the inclusion of any and every new idea that occurs to the author in the process of writing it. (Attr. Damon Knight) The Motherhood Statement SF story which posits some profoundly unsettling threat to the human condition, explores the implications briefly, then hastily retreats to affirm the conventional social and humanistic pieties, ie apple pie and motherhood. Greg Egan once stated that the secret of truly effective SF was to deliberately "burn the motherhood statement." (Attr. Greg Egan) MF - He wasn’t kidding, either. Greg Egan writes some of the most powerful and disturbing hard SF I’ve read, precisely because he’s not afraid to back away from the full implications of the science and technology he writes about. I think that 40K writing is vulnerable to this to a certain degree: I’ve seen quite a few stories that dip a toe into the grim, violent, insane world of the 41st Millennium, stay there for a moment but quickly falls back into “but the Imperium is actually an OK place and lots of people there are nice and happy just like us”. Discussion on this welcome. The "Poor Me" Story Autobiographical piece in which the male viewpoint character complains that he is ugly and can't get laid. (Attr. Kate Wilhelm) Re-Inventing the Wheel A novice author goes to enormous lengths to create a situation already tiresomely familiar to the experienced reader. Reinventing the Wheel was traditionally typical of mainstream writers venturing into SF without actually reading any of the existing stuff first (because it's all obviously crap anyway). Thus you get endless explanations of, say, how an atomic war might get started by accident, and so on. It is now often seen in writers who lack experience in genre history because they were attracted to written SF via movies, television, role-playing games, comics or computer gaming. MF – Not that coming into the genre that way is a bad thing per se, but when a writer hasn’t had much exposure to written specfic in this way it usually shows, and not in a good way. To quote Terry Pratchett, you should be importing, not recycling. The Rembrandt Comic Book A story in which incredible craftsmanship has been lavished on a theme or idea which is basically trivial or subliterary, and which simply cannot bear the weight. The Shaggy God Story A piece which mechanically adopts a Biblical or other mythological tale and provides flat science-fictional "explanations" for the theological events. (Attr. Michael Moorcock) MF – Although he wrote them himself: arguably his finest and most powerful story, called “Behold The Man”, does this for the life of Jesus. I remember it disturbed me when I read it, and I’m not even religious. The Slipstream Story Non-SF story which is so ontologically distorted or related in such a bizarrely non-realist fashion that it cannot pass muster as commercial mainstream fiction and therefore seeks shelter in the SF or fantasy genre. Postmodern critique and technique are particularly fruitful in creating slipstream stories. The Steam-Grommet Factory Didactic SF story which consists entirely of a guided tour of a large and elaborate gimmick. A common technique of SF utopias and dystopias. (Attr. Gardner Dozois) MF – See the opening of Huxley’s Brave New World for an example of this done effectively. The Tabloid Weird Story produced by a confusion of SF and Fantasy tropes -- or rather, by a confusion of basic world-views. Tabloid Weird is usually produced by the author's own inability to distinguish between a rational, Newtonian-Einsteinian, cause-and- effect universe and an irrational, supernatural, fantastic universe. Either the FBI is hunting the escaped mutant from the genetics lab, or the drill-bit has bored straight into Hell -- but not both at once in the very same piece of fiction. Even fantasy worlds need an internal consistency of sorts, so that a Sasquatch Deal-with-the-Devil story is also "Tabloid Weird." Sasquatch crypto-zoology and Christian folk superstition simply don't mix well, even for comic effect. (Attr. Howard Waldrop) MF – I’m not as convinced as the Lexicon that these two genres are utterly incompatible. Well, obviously not, since I work in a setting which combines them without hesitation. Which isn’t to say that the combination doesn’t need to be handled delicately, since those aforementioned different mindsets lead to different storytelling conventions as well as different world views. The Whistling Dog A story related in such an elaborate, arcane, or convoluted manner that it impresses by its sheer narrative ingenuity, but which, as a story, is basically not worth the candle. Like the whistling dog, it's astonishing that the thing can whistle -- but it doesn't actually whistle very well. (Attr. Harlan Ellison) Part Four: Plots Abbess Phone Home Takes its name from a mainstream story about a medieval cloister which was sold as SF because of the serendipitous arrival of a UFO at the end. By extension, any mainstream story with a gratuitous SF or fantasy element tacked on so it could be sold. And plot Picaresque plot in which this happens, and then that happens, and then something else happens, and it all adds up to nothing in particular. Bogus Alternatives List of actions a character could have taken, but didn't. Frequently includes all the reasons why, as the author stops the action dead to work out complicated plot problems at the reader's expense. "If I'd gone along with the cops they would have found the gun in my purse. And anyway, I didn't want to spend the night in jail. I suppose I could have just run instead of stealing their car, but then..." etc. Best dispensed with entirely. Card Tricks in the Dark Elaborately contrived plot which arrives at (a) the punchline of a private joke nobody else will get, or (b) the display of some bit of learned trivia only the author is interested in. This stunt may be intensely ingenious, and very gratifying to the author, but it serves no visible fictional purpose. (Attr. Tim Powers) Idiot Plot A plot which functions only because all the characters involved are idiots. They behave in a way that suits the author's convenience, rather than through any rational motivation of their own. (Attr. James Blish) Kudzu plot Plot which weaves and curls and writhes in weedy organic profusion, smothering everything in its path. Plot Coupons The basic building blocks of the quest-type fantasy plot. The "hero" collects sufficient plot coupons (magic sword, magic book, magic cat) to send off to the author for the ending. Note that "the author" can be substituted for "the Gods" in such a work: "The Gods decreed he would pursue this quest." Right, mate. The author decreed he would pursue this quest until sufficient pages were filled to procure an advance. (Dave Langford) MF - Nick Lowe expands on the idea in an excellent article atwww.ansible.co.uk/Ansible/plotdev.html. Cheers to Bill King for the link. Second-order Idiot Plot A plot involving an entire invented SF society which functions only because every single person in it is necessarily an idiot. (Attr. Damon Knight) MF – The assertion that this applies to the 40K Imperium is not a new one. Floor’s open… Part Five: Background "As You Know Bob" A pernicious form of info-dump through dialogue, in which characters tell each other things they already know, for the sake of getting the reader up-to-speed. This very common technique is also known as "Rod and Don dialogue" (attr. Damon Knight) or "maid and butler dialogue" (attr Algis Budrys). The Edges of Ideas The solution to the "Info-Dump" problem (how to fill in the background). The theory is that, for example, the mechanics of an interstellar drive (the centre of the idea) are not important. What matters is the impact on your characters: they can get to other planets in a few months, and, oh yeah, it gives them hallucinations about past lives. Or, more radically: the physics of TV transmission is the center of an idea; on the edges of it we find people turning into couch potatoes because they no longer have to leave home for entertainment. Or, more bluntly: we don't need info dump at all. We just need a clear picture of how people's lives have been affected by their background. Eyeball Kick That perfect, telling detail that creates an instant visual image. The ideal of certain postmodern schools of SF is to achieve a "crammed prose" full of "eyeball kicks." (Rudy Rucker) MF - See the other thread. Frontloading Piling too much exposition into the beginning of the story, so that it becomes so dense and dry that it is almost impossible to read. (Attr. Connie Willis) Infodump Large chunk of indigestible expository matter intended to explain the background situation. Info-dumps can be covert, as in fake newspaper or "Encyclopedia Galactica" articles, or overt, in which all action stops as the author assumes center stage and lectures. Info-dumps are also known as "expository lumps." The use of brief, deft, inoffensive info-dumps is known as "kuttnering," after Henry Kuttner. When information is worked unobtrusively into the story's basic structure, this is known as "heinleining." "I've suffered for my Art" (and now it's your turn) A form of info-dump in which the author inflicts upon the reader hard-won, but irrelevant bits of data acquired while researching the story. As Algis Budrys once pointed out, homework exists to make the difficult look easy. Nowhere Nowhen Story Putting too little exposition into the story's beginning, so that the story, while physically readable, seems to take place in a vacuum and fails to engage any readerly interest. (Attr. L. Sprague de Camp) Ontological riff Passage in an SF story which suggests that our deepest and most basic convictions about the nature of reality, space-time, or consciousness have been violated, technologically transformed, or at least rendered thoroughly dubious. The works of H. P. Lovecraft, Barrington Bayley, and Philip K Dick abound in "ontological riffs." Space Western The most pernicious suite of "Used Furniture". The grizzled space captain swaggering into the spacer bar and slugging down a Jovian brandy. Stapledon Name assigned to the voice which takes centre stage to lecture. Actually a common noun, as: "You have a Stapledon come on to answer this problem instead of showing the characters resolve it." Used Furniture Use of a background out of Central Casting. Rather than invent a background and have to explain it, or risk re-inventing the wheel, let's just steal one. We'll set it in the Star Trek Universe, only we'll call it the Empire instead of the Federation. Part Six: Character and Viewpoint Funny-hat characterization A character distinguished by a single identifying tag, such as odd headgear, a limp, a lisp, a parrot on his shoulder, etc. MF – This can work if done deftly and with minor characters. Stephen King excels at it, and Ed McBain is pretty good too. Mary Sue A ridiculously perfect and idealised character, moving through a story which serves no other purpose than demonstrating how ridiculously perfect and idealised Mary Sue is. None of the other characters have anything to do other than rave about Mary Sue's wonderfulness; challenges and obstacles exist only for Mary Sue to solve effortlessly to admiring gasps from everyone else. Also known as "avatars" or "self-insertion", since the most common Mary Sues are thinly-disguised versions of the author and are more about wish-fulfiment fantasies than conventional storytelling. Endemic to fanfic; the term apparently originates from an early and infamous example in an old Star Trek fanzine. MF - There are lots of definitions and examples of Mary Sue, although the term as it's used here isn't really attributable to one author any more. The definition supplied here owes much to Teresa Nielsen Hayden's rather good one athttp://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004188.html. GW fanfics and homebrew backgrounds aren't immune either - you can find them pretty easily once you know the signs. The twist is that the Mary Sue is often a Guard regiment, Space Marine Chapter, Eldar Craftworld or an entire galactic state. Common warning signs: "The Mary Sue Regiment fought so ferociously in the Battle of Sueville that even the [famous Space Marine Chapter] were awe-struck that unaugmented humans could fight so hard, and their Chapter Master officially declared the Mary Sue regiment the equals of Space Marines". "Inquisitor Mary Sue has demonstrated such amazing ability that the High Lords have personally ordered that nobody is allowed to stand in her way or question her actions". "Now that it has declared independence from the Imperium the Mary Sue Republic has become a haven of enlightenment and progress, where technology is being developed at an exponential rate with no aura of superstitious mysticism, painless and fully-effective techniques to protect psykers from daemonic attack have been developed, alien races of all kinds are putting aside their differences and living contentedly side by side, and where every Imperial who sees what's going on immediately defects once they see how wonderful and free life among the Mary Sues is". I've since found out that even the original "Ensign Mary Sue" in that old seventies fanfic was a satire on the trope, so clearly it was already a fiction cliche by then. Mrs. Brown The small, downtrodden, eminently common, everyday little person who nevertheless encapsulates something vital and important about the human condition. "Mrs. Brown" is a rare personage in the SF genre, being generally overshadowed by swaggering submyth types made of the finest gold-plated cardboard. In a famous essay, "Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown," Ursula K. Le Guin decried Mrs. Brown's absence from the SF field. (Attr: Virginia Woolf) ...stamped on their forehead The story lets a character get away with something illogical or impossible because they have "hero" (or "villain", "sidekick", disposable underling", or whatever) stamped on their foreheads. There's nothing wrong with heroes triumphing against the odds or villains being brought low through their own flaws, but those consequences need to come about because of the characters and their actions rather than despite them. Adapted from Aaron Allston's roleplayers' glossary from a few years ago, which included "He's got 'PC' [player character] stamped on his forehead" as an all-purpose excuse for why characters unquestioningly accepted or trusted one anothers' actions while treating non-player characters differently. (Aaron Allston.) MF - This was partly prompted by the "script immunity" and "Hollywood Shield" ideas in the discussion thread, although the scene I had in mind for it was actually in Walking Tall, where the main character is manifestly guilty of all manner of assaults and property destruction but is acquitted in court when he makes a sentimental speech about down-home values. It doesn't even resemble making a legal case for his innocence, but he gets let off because he's got "hero" stamped on his forehead. Submyth Classic character-types in SF which aspire to the condition of archetype but don't quite make it, such as the mad scientist, the crazed supercomputer, the emotionless super-rational alien, the vindictive mutant child, etc. (Attr. Ursula K. Le Guin) MF – You can pick the GWverse submyths for yourselves, I’m sure. Viewpoint glitch The author loses track of point-of-view, switches point-of-view for no good reason, or relates something that the viewpoint character could not possibly know. Part Seven: Miscellaneous AM/FM Engineer's term distinguishing the inevitable clunky real-world faultiness of "Actual Machines" from the power-fantasy techno-dreams of "Fething Magic." MF – Except the original Lexicon didn’t say “fething”. :grinning_emoticon: Well worth remembering for 40K and Necromunda fiction, which deliberately shies away from the sleek, clean, super-reliable dream-tech of settings like Star Trek. Consensus Reality Useful term for the purported world in which the majority of modern sane people generally agree that they live -- as opposed to the worlds of, say, Forteans, semioticians or quantum physicists. Intellectual sexiness The intoxicating glamor of a novel scientific idea, as distinguished from any actual intellectual merit that it may someday prove to possess. The Ol' Baloney Factory "Science Fiction" as a publishing and promotional entity in the world of commerce. — Additional suggestions from other forum members: User Chiron: Script Immunity The tendency of lynchpin characters to be blatantly immune to harm, despite the fact that they consistently place themselves in situations that they cannot reasonably be expected to survive. User Vortemir: Hollywood Shield / Imperial Stormtrooper Syndrome Bad Guys will never be able to hit essential characters no matter what they're armed with or how hard they try. — [Originally posted to Black Library Online, October 2004, by user Matt Farrer] A term from the Turkey City Lexicon that might be useful here is the "eyeball kick", Rudy Rucker's term for that perfectly-turned descriptive phrase that creates an instant, telling visual image for the reader. An example that springs to mind from the opening of Necropolis:
After a minute or so, raid-sirens in the central district also began keening. The pattern was picked up by manufactory hooters and mill whistles all through the lower hive, and in the mill whistles and outer habs across the river too. Even the great ceremonial horns on the top of the Ecclesiarchy Basilica started to sound.Vervunhive was screaming with every one of its voices.
That last line provides the eyeball kick. Some other examples that spring to mind: "[he] screamed out two mouthfuls of silent spun glass" (Stephen King); "the sky above Chiba City was the colour of a television tuned to a blank band" (William Gibson); "a great moist loaf of a body... features as bunched as kissed fingertips" (E. Annie Proulx); "[after walking through snow] my feet, in wet socks, slowly turned to marble and fell off" (Donald Westlake). I don't know if there's a way you can break down an eyeball kick to pick apart the technique, since its whole impact comes from lateral thinking and the effect of an incongruous image that nevertheless fits exactly with what you're describing. It's an imagination thing rather than a technique thing. However, the paragraph from Necropolis that I used above is also a very good example of how to maximise the effect of a good piece of description, and worth having a closer look at. Firstly, the rest of the paragraph has been describing the machinery that makes the sound, and doing so in fairly neutral, inorganic terms: "keening", at the start of the para, is about as close as we get to an emotive word. The rest is a pretty calm description about how a series of klaxons and horns are going off. That increases the wrench when we suddenly switch gears into words that you'd use to describe a living being in agony: "screaming with every one of its voices", which gives weight to the sense of foreboding that dominates the early pages. This is reinforced further by the way that the previous sentences tend to be longer, with more connecting commas and lots of adjectives to slow their rhythm and give a more discursive feel, while the last sentence is a simple, flat declarative. Using the rhythm of words and sentences for a setup and payoff like that is a very good way of driving home a piece of exposition or description, and it's something that Dan uses quite a bit. Secondly, look at the way that the passage, which at first blush is about the sounds of the sirens, actually helps build a visual image as well. We've been going through all the various parts and districts of Vervunhive, watching as different kinds of buildings in different areas go off. Look at how the mental "camera" moves down the lower hive, then down the river, then up to the top of the Basilica. Then in the last sentence we get an eyeball kick that describes the whole of Vervunhive as a single entity: the effect is like pulling back sharply from an individual scene or building and seeing the whole Hive at once. And that concludes the main piece of visual scene-setting at the opening: notice that in the next line Dan can start in on conversations between individual characters around the Hive because the major scene has been laid out. The broad point to take away from this is that each piece of text should work on as many levels as possible, and even a short passage like that one can be far more than the sum of its parts. I suspect that the reason a lot of bad fiction (including, I am sorry to say, a lot of fanfic I've seen) seems so flat and plodding is that each sentence is put down to do one thing: make a statement, provide a description or what have you. But there's no depth to the prose, no interaction between them to create any rhythm, or momentum, or startling switch in imagery. It's like a song from your favourite band, with each element (vocals, percussion, each instrument) separated and played end to end. It sounds so much better when they're all working together. — That's it. Got any suggestions for new 40K-specific tropes to add?
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Market performance in test period
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Hi everyone, It’s been a while since we’ve had a State of the Beta, so we’re in for a big one this time. I hope it helps shed some light on what we’ve been doing and where we’re going next.
Reflecting on Q2
Our team has been working incredibly hard across the last quarter in order to make quality of life improvements to not just the game itself, but the wider Gods Unchained experience. In the last quarter, we saw some major improvements to the new player experience arrive in the form of the Welcome Set, a complementary set of 70 unique cards that allow users to customize their starter decks from the get-go. There’s more to come in this space, the next being new tutorial content (which is in the works internally). Elsewhere, we made some adjustments to the Weekend Ranked Constructed event structure, to shift the focus from a pure grind to rewarding skill, and have continued to observe the data and user feedback from the event to inform iterations since its inception. Marketplace improvements were high-up on our Q2 list to get out ahead of the expansion, especially in regards to making trinkets and boards tradable alongside cards – all of which is currently done, dusted, and running smoothly. We also announced Immutable X, which is going to greatly increase our functionality and scalability moving forward - a huge priority for us over the year ahead. Not only will this eliminate some of the problematic aspects around gas prices when it comes to fusing, trading and more, but it will also make it much easier to mint assets. This quarter also saw a major focus on the visuals for GU, with the game boards and lighting for the game going through a major update. Though we’ve had to walk back the VFX update due to Unity 2018 issues, the revamp there will be live again soon along with an update to the card visuals as they switch from 2d to 3d. All of these changes added up help us better showcase the gameplay. In game development, there is also a class of update where – if done correctly – no one notices there’s been a change. This is embodied by the upcoming replacement of our underlying network code. If all goes well when it’s pushed live with the next update, it’ll slip under the radar because the game will simply perform as expected. Behind the scenes, these types of changes impact the PC and MAC versions of GU for the better, but are also key to the move towards Mobile. We also revealed the Mythic card for the upcoming expansion and how you can win it, along with laying down the lore for the season that’s about to kick off. It’s quite the epic story, and this is only the beginning!
Where does Trial of the Gods fit in?
Trial of the Gods is the first set in Season 1, which is known as the “Order & Chaos Season.” It won’t be the only one – there will be other sets released as part of this season in the future, adding to the overall story. Edit Note: I've edited the following section to add clarity to where Trial of the Gods will live in our Formats. At present we have a single Constructed Format calledStandard. This Format currently includes Welcome Set, Core, Genesis, Etherbots, and Promo Cards. When Trial of the Gods goes live it will be added to the Standard Format. Genesis holds a special place in the Standard Format as it isEvergreenand will always remain in the format. Standard is the Format we'll be running the upcoming World Championship in. In the future Trial of the Gods will rotate out of the Standard Format along with Etherbots and Promo cards. When they rotate out it will also coincide with the rise of the Extended Constructed Format, which will be a Constructed Format where we expect all GU cards to be playable. We expect in the future that when a set joins Standard it will also join Extended. There is the potential for Tournament play in this format in the future, though it is not guaranteed. Moving forward we may have other Constructed Formats that contain any combination of sets to create unique deckbuilding challenges. As a required disclaimer: we retain the right to ban cards from a format if there’s an absolute worst-case scenario, which is something we haven’t done and do not intend to do unless there’s no other way around it. As far as releasing Season 1 is concerned, we’re currently working on our payment platform before we launch the first set. Opening the market to credit and debit card purchases is a crucial part of bringing GU to mainstream audiences, as doing so greatly improves all parts of the game. Things like queue health, matchmaking, community engagement, economy etc. are all greatly improved by a larger playerbase, and we believe that Trial of the Gods is an important step along that path. It isn’t, however, the final obstacle on our path to taking GU mainstream. We know we still need Immutable X and other key features in place before we’ll be able to grow GU and reach mainstream audiences, and that means for Trial of the Gods we’re focusing more on meeting the needs of our existing players while growing the playerbase enough to provide us with data to make decisions by, rather than defining success as selling out the set. With this in mind, some may wonder about the impacts a more scarce pool of Trial of the Gods cards will have on the long term health of the game. We have plans to address this, which will be announced ahead of the season’s launch. This is the final hurdle we need to conquer before Trial of the Gods is released. It’s a big one, but once we’ve overcome it – it’s go time. Working on this set has been a labor of love across the team and we can’t wait to get it into players’ hands.
The future of GU’s competitive landscape
One of the other questions that we commonly receive is around the World Championship and our plans in that area. This is something that we’ve been actively working on internally, but have had to refactor much of our initial thinking around this in light of global travel bans and other limitations to large-scale physical events. It’s looking likely that this will need to move to an online format, but we’ll expand on this in the future with more of the details ironed out. You’ll still need a Tournament Pass in order to enter. The prize pool is currently sitting around the $570,000 mark, and we’re aiming to have the prizes spread more deeply amongst competitors and not just concentrated on the top spots alone. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to accomplish this on the scale that we require with up to 20,000 potential entrants, but we can’t wait to share more with you in the future. One of the requisites that we need for the World Championship is the ‘Direct Challenge’ feature, otherwise known as 1v1. We’ve shared previously that production has commenced in this area, and we’re currently aiming for it to land in players’ hands shortly after the launch of Trial of the Gods. The team can’t wait to see what kinds of events you all come up with! To this end, we hear many of you in that the current state of matchmaking, especially in ranked events, isn’t ideal. It’s not always easy to get players of the same level together 24/7, but as we continue to develop our systems and expand our playerbase throughout the beta we expect that this will help to alleviate the issue. The tension is always between queue length and queue quality, and at the moment if we want to greatly improve queue quality we’d need to adjust queue times to lengths players simply won’t wait for. This bias can also feel skewed because matchmaking cares about the total length in time of the first person in the queue. If someone with a different rank than you has been waiting for a time for a match, it can mean you match quickly with them. We will run some experiments around changing some matchmaking variables to skew more towards quality after the release of Trial of the Gods. Another area where we’re making solid progress is on our mobile prototype of Gods Unchained. We’ve recently added some new faces to the Immutable team to help us on that front, and have gotten the ball rolling in terms of development. It likely won’t be ready for a while yet, but we’re excited about making GU more accessible for players on-the-go!
The Proof is in the Priority
This past May I made it through the 20 year mark for my career in gaming. Having worked on online games for almost all of that, and having engaged with the community on games that have lived for over a decade, I know a few truths. One of them is that the most engaged members of a community will eventually transition to the final stage of their love of the product, and that is player vs. developer. This is one of the hardest parts of being a developer, seeing someone who you’ve listened to and interacted with begin to question all the choices you have made and the quality of what you have delivered. Sometimes this lasts days, sometimes weeks, and sometimes even years. Immutable and Gods Unchained are still young, but for many who have been with us since long before I joined about a year ago, promises made remain unkept and this has led to justified frustration. Be it with issues around Genesis promises, Etherbots Redemption, CryptoKitty Trinkets, or any feature that they feel should be complete by now. The past year for me has gone by in a flurry of changes to the game, but for those still waiting on certain features I understand it can feel like it has been an eternity. I thank you for your patience, and for those who are at their wits end I understand. A game development project isn’t so simple as just shipping one feature or element one after the other in an endless feature factory supply chain. At any moment of time, a complex tapestry of projects is in flight, revisions, and maintenance. Depending on the capacity of the team, some of lower priority move far faster than those of higher priority. Some features have dependency chains that block them all-together no matter how important they are, and though the team has grown there are still limits to how fast quality features can be delivered. Even features that seemed complete like fusing during Genesis were missing key blockchain elements which have delayed their final delivery in practice. I make no excuses for where we’re at in delivering on our past commitments, but know that they are important to both me and the team and that the priority of everything we’re working on delivering is tailored from my experience with game development to deliver for all of our players and supporters. When you don’t agree with it please continue to provide your thoughts, they are important in reminding me and others of the cost of the choices we make and they are appreciated.
This past year has been full of deep learning about what it will take to blend the world of blockchain with that of gaming. Some parts have worked, and others have shown that we need to take a completely different approach. At Immutable we pride ourselves in being scientists, and we’re looking to apply what we’ve learned through trial and error over the quarter. Our aim for the months ahead is to set ourselves up with everything we need in order to scale the game, playerbase, and the Play to Earn experience. As a team, we’re forging ahead over a lot of ground that hasn’t been trodden before, and we will continue experimenting and learning as we go. The more people we can introduce to the paradigm-shifting importance of true ownership that blockchain brings, the better. That’s our key mission here at Immutable, and we thank you all for coming along for the ride. Sincerely, ClayGame Director for Gods Unchained
Clang! Clang! Clang! I swear on the genitals of every god, I’m moving. I’ll dig a hole in the fucking Subterrane or something. Hell, I’ll just punch whoever this is in the face, and keep punching until they’re a fine liquid. Prison would be better than anyone being able to walk up and bang on my door while I’m trying to sleep. Clang! Clang! I roll over, because my brain’s only been off for about two hours and I cannot withstand a mere taste of sweet, sweet oblivion. “Fuck off!” “Either you open this door or I do, Featherlight!” It’s Deepwell. I don’t think the Lieutenant has ever shown up here before. He’s never had a reason to. This could be bad. I shed the blankets and ooze out of bed, lumbering over to the door and shoving it open. There’s Lt. Deepwell, uniform as blue and black and pristine as ever. He looks fine, but he’s got his hands on his hips like a miffed aunt. He scrunches his orange, caterpillar-y eyebrows at me. More specifically, at my underwear, which is salmon pink with a repeating print of a teal and orange umbrella cocktail. “I didn’t think you were the type, Featherlight.” “I’m a man of fashion, Lieutenant.” “The fuck are you doing here?” “I live here.” “I somehow expected you to be gone longer than less than a day.” “Me too. Expectations are funny like that. I didn’t tell anyone I was back yet, Lieutenant. When did you bug my apartment?” “You bugged your apartment. The scrambler on your computer. It logs activity. I got to my desk this morning and saw it had your data engine coming out of standby at around one in the morning. So I drove over. I thought someone had tried to rob you or something.” “Nope. Just me. You’d better come in.” I let him in. He doesn’t look around a lot, because there isn’t really anything to see. I do see his eyes stop, very briefly, on the machinery panel leading down to my secret hidey hole. Because he’s a cop, and all cops are criminals that just happen to be part of the biggest gang in town. I sit down on my bed, and wave at the chair. He spins it around and parks, reaching into his jacket. “Can I smoke in here?” He already knows the answer, because there’s an ashtray on my desk. He’s just being polite. “Only if I can have one.” He hands me a smoke out of his shiny pack of Crystalclears. They’re wrapped in blue paper. A no-nonsense middleshelf brand. Smoked by cops, accountants, dads, and anyone for whom musical theater is a death sentence. They taste like leather and professionalism. Lightning one might cause me to spontaneously grow a mustache. We light and smoke for a second. Deepwell tries not to look at my body. It’s hard to do, considering it’s kind of horrible and taking up a good 25% of his vision at the moment. I might put something on just to spare him. “How long were you in there?” “Only a few hours.” “That’s not really long enough for… any of the shit we discussed to actually happen. Or at least I wouldn’t think it is, I don’t know fuck all from magic.” “Turns out I don’t either.” I explain what happened. I trust Deepwell. I probably shouldn’t, but I do anyway. In the middle of the explanation, the animonculus decides to crawl out from under my bed and I explain that too, to momentarily widened eyes. I show off my cool new sword, because why wouldn’t I. At the end of the story I start putting on some pants. He says, “So much for unlocking the mysteries of the universe, I guess.” I shrug. “The universe will still be there when I’m ready for it. Until then, there’s a case. Have you heard anything?” “Rediron’s still pissed. High Marshal has gotten together with a few of the other Lords to try and talk him off the warpath, but he hasn’t relented. The story’s already started leaking into some of the news feeds, which means WCBN is probably going to be given the go-ahead just to retain some semblance of credibility. I haven’t heard anything about the Prime Controller weighing in on this, but a few of the Exarchs have formally filed for inquest. The High Marshal and his band are the only ones stopping it, and that’s just for now. Without some concrete results, the order will probably come down in a few days.” “Have you found anything?” He scoffs. “Since we last talked about it? Yeah, I have. This morning I found a notice in my mail informing me that the case had been moved to the Captain’s desk. I turned all the documents over to him before I came over here. And you know what that means.” I sigh. “Yeah.” It means no more consultant’s fees, and my involvement with the case in any semi-official capacity is out the window, sight unseen. Captain Tallowmire of the Tenth has made his stance toward me and those of my ilk very apparent over the years. It’s not a collaboration anymore - it’s a competition. Deepwell continues, “So go nuts, do whatever you want. I’m just not officially allowed to clue you in anymore.” “Officially.” “That’s right. If I was to tell you that Captain Tallowmire’s initial plan of attack is to hard canvas the areas around the scenes in Ten and Thirteen first, and that you’d be better off hitting up leads a bit more esoteric or underground in nature, if you’ve got any? Well, that wouldn’t be official. So I wouldn’t tell you that kind of thing.” Deepwell doesn’t like Cpt. Tallowmire. He thinks Tallowmire is a glory-thieving bigot who’s gotten where he is by parasitizing the achievements of others. He’s also the reason Deepwell hasn’t been promoted in a while, despite his arrest record - because Deepwell is prone to using people like me as informants and outside hires. Tallowmire taking the case from him means any success is going on his reports instead of Deepwell’s, so now Deepwell has very little reason to work anywhere near as hard. The Lieutenant is just following orders now. “Well. Unofficially, I’m right there with you. I went to check out Littlerock’s place after I got back. Around 1.” “Yeah? Anything interesting?” I tell him the story. Then I start on the second part of the story, but Rocky asked me not to tell people about him, so I lead off like he’s a confidential informant. Deepwell balks immediately like he’s got a fishbone in his throat. “Woah woah woah. Back up. Confidential informant?” “Yeah. They asked me not to reveal their identity to anyone. And they informed me of things. So. They’re a confidential informant. Are you new?” “You’re not a cop, wiseass, you don’t get to have CIs.” “Well, this individual asked me not to tell anyone who they are. And they provided me with information. Sooooooooo…” He just glares at me. I snort, “What are you gonna do, Lieutenant, arrest me? It’s not even your case anymore.” “No.” He huffs a petulant puff of smoke from his nostrils. “I’m just curious. It would be obstruction, if I didn’t think you were probably the best shot at actually solving this case with minimal damage done.” “Well I appreciate that greatly, Lieutenant. But I gave them my word. You get it. From one professional to another.” I keep going until the story is over. I steer away from some of the details that might give away who or what Rocky is, but I still get some raised eyebrows. At the end of it, Deepwell nods thoughtfully. “Who else but the Brotherhood. Fucking scum. You’d better find a way to break this wide open, or I’m gonna have to make a move soon. These chipheads treat the law like it’s a fucking suggestion and I’m getting sick of it. I can’t believe they’d kill one of their own just to… I don’t know, test something out. Freaks.” “It’s not like this is a new development. They’ve taken a world war won six hundred years ago and used it as a blank check the entire time. They fucking take people, Deepwell. Hell, look at me. You think I’m some kind of accident?” “I don’t know what you are, Featherlight. You’ve never told me.” “You never asked.” “Well I think that’d be pretty fuckin’ rude, wouldn’t it? Hey, what’s the deal with all the scars and hoses and metal bits on ya? Not something you just up and ask a guy. I know you’re a slab, you’re a mage, and you do dirty jobs. For lollipops, apparently.” I wipe my face. “Suffice it to say, for now, that all this,” I wave at my entire self, “is the Brotherhood’s fault. I’ve got more cause than most to want to put them under my wheels.” “Subterrane stakeout with your new friend, then.” “Looks like it.” “Stakeouts aboveground are tough enough.” “Yeah. Related to that, I was wondering if, unofficially, you could find some way to get some… equipment, into my hands. On a borrowing basis.” He narrows his wood-colored eyes. “What kind of equipment?” “A splat tracker. With opened keys, so I can interface with the beacon.” The Lieutenant rubs his beard pensively. “Hmmm. Could be tricky. That’s specialist stuff, needs forms attached to check one out.” “Can you do it?” “Maybe. I’ll have to come up with a clever justification. No promises. I’ll look into it and let you know by tomorrow morning. You think it’ll work?” “Probably. Even if this… thing, is strong enough to rip off the flash glue, it doesn’t have skin. If it’s busy running away from us, it might not notice being shot in the back.” “If you can hit a target from that far away. We don’t have any slab-sized splat guns, either.” “I’ll make it work. If I’m lucky, I’ll be fast enough to catch the thing without it.” I sit back down on the bed and the metal kitten crawls onto my lap. Deepwell nods at it. “You think Electrofuck is going to go for that?” Shrug. “Hopefully, if I talk fast enough. If not, I doubt he’ll kill me for trying.” He shakes his head. “Well I hope you walk out of there with all your molecules still in the same places. Or most of them, at least. Maybe a couple missing here and there will teach you a lesson about borrowing money from a maniac’s loan sharks.” “Make it so people like me can find consistent, gainful employment and put Electrofuck in the Arcanix where he belongs, then maybe this kind of thing wouldn’t happen. Move heaven and earth, Deepwell. Chop chop.” “Sure. After lunch.” He stands up, then looks at my desk, pointing at something. “Is this Littlerock’s book, here?” “Yeah.” “And you said you couldn’t make north nor south?” “Yeah, but I only glanced at it.” “Mind if I borrow it? It’s not my specialty, but I know a guy in the crypto lab, and they decode dealer’s books all the time. They might be able to squeeze something out of it.” “Okay. All yours.” He pockets it. “I’ll let you know if anything comes of it.” One hand on the door, he looks back and says, “Keep an eye out for chipheads. I’ll get in touch tomorrow morning. Don’t do anything stupid between now and then.” I shrug my arms at the room he’s in. “My whole life is stupid, Deepwell.” He smiles. “Better dumb than dead.” And he’s gone. I flip my coat on and make sure I have everything. There’s not a lot to have. From my bed, the magitechnical kitten looks at me. Its eyes smolder with the light of ineffable ages, the glare of powers that my pathetic human mind has no chance of ever grasping. I stuff it in my pocket. It mews at me indignantly from somewhere around my hip. Yeah, you and me both, pal. Time to face the music. Or, more accurately, time to face the murderous electricity wizard and trade him a millennia-old magical robot kitten for my life. Y’know, just another morning for Baulric Featherlight. [you can find the first chapterback here. the rest of the chapters you can find under my reddit profile or down there in the comments, gathered by the helpful robot. and if you think my work is worth paying for,why not flip me some spare change? freelance writing is tough, but i can keep going with help from readers like you. i'd really appreciate it ♥] [by the way, i've started the process ofmoving this project to Royal Road. if any of you folks are also Royal Road-ers, comments, reviews, and follows would really help me out ♥] [and thanks for reading. ♥]
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
after reading this article by a malaysian I want to put this out here to hopefully encourage some understanding and discussion +++++-++ Share By Zeis Siez I’m from Malaysia. China has traded with Malaysia for 2000 years. In those years, they had been the world’s biggest powers many times. Never once they sent troops to take our land. Admiral Zhenghe came to Malacca five times, in gigantic fleets, and a flagship eight times the size of Christopher Columbus’ flagship, Santa Maria. He could have seized Malacca easily, but he did not. In 1511, the Portuguese came. In 1642, the Dutch came. In the 18th century the British came. We were colonised by each, one after another. When China wanted spices from India, they traded with the Indians. When they wanted gems, they traded with the Persian. They didn’t take lands. The only time China expanded beyond their current borders was in Yuan Dynasty, when Genghis and his descendants Ogedei Khan, Guyuk Khan & Kublai Khan concurred China, Mid Asia and Eastern Europe. But Yuan Dynasty, although being based in China, was a part of the Mongolian Empire. Then came the Century of Humiliation. Britain smuggled opium into China to dope the population, a strategy to turn the trade deficit around, after the British could not find enough silver to pay the Qing Dynasty in their tea and porcelain trades. After the opium warehouses were burned down and ports were closed by the Chinese in ordered to curb opium, the British started the Opium War I, which China lost. Hong Kong was forced to be surrendered to the British in a peace talk (Nanjing Treaty). The British owned 90% of the opium market in China, during that time, Queen Victory was the world’s biggest drug baron. The remaining 10% was owned by American merchants from Boston. Many of Boston’s institutions were built with profit from opium. After 12 years of Nanjing Treaty, the West started getting really really greedy. The British wanted the Qing government:
To open the borders of China to allow goods coming in and out freely, and tax free.
Make opium legal in China.
Insane requests, Qing government said no. The British and French, with supports from the US and Russia from behind, started Opium War II with China, which again, China lost. The Anglo-French military threatened to burn down the Imperial Palace, the Qing government was forced to pay with ports, free business zones, 300,000 kilograms of silver and Kowloon was taken. Since then, China’s resources flew out freely through these business zones and ports. In the subsequent amendment to the treaties, Chinese people were sold overseas to serve as labor. In 1900, China suffered attacks by the 8-National Alliance(Japan, Russia, Britain, France, USA, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary). Innocent Chinese civilians in Peking (Beijing now) were murdered, buildings were destroyed & women were raped. The Imperial Palace was raided, and treasures ended up in museums like the British Museum in London and the Louvre in Paris. In late 1930s China was occupied by the Japanese in WWII. Millions of Chinese died during the occupancy. 300,000 Chinese died in Nanjing Massacre alone. Mao brought China together again from the shambles. There were peace and unity for some time. But Mao’s later reign saw sufferings and deaths from feminine and power struggles. Then came Deng Xiao Ping and his infamous “black-cat and white-cat” story. His preference in pragmatism than ideologies has transformed China. This thinking allowed China to evolve all the time to adapt to the actual needs in the country, instead of rigidly bounded to ideologies. It also signified the death of Communism in actually practice in China. The current Socialism+Meritocracy+Market Economy model fits the Chinese like gloves, and it propels the uprise of China. Singapore has a similar model, and has been arguably more successful than Hong Kong, because Hong Kong being gateway to China, was riding on the economic boom in China, while Singapore had no one to gain from. In just 30 years, the CCP have moved 800 millions of people out from poverty. The rate of growth is unprecedented in human history. They have built the biggest mobile network, by far the biggest high speed rail network in the world, and they have become a behemoth in infrastructure. They made a fishing village called Shenzhen into the world’s second largest technological centre after the Silicon Valley. They are growing into a technological power house. It has the most elaborate e-commerce and cashless payment system in the world. They have launched exploration to Mars. The Chinese are living a good life and China has become one of the safest countries in the world. The level of patriotism in the country has reached an unprecedented height. For all of the achievements, the West has nothing good to say about it. China suffers from intense anti-China propagandas from the West. Western Media used the keyword “Communist” to instill fear and hatred towards China. Everything China does is negatively reported. They claimed China used slave labors in making iPhones. The truth was, Apple was the most profitable company in the world, it took most of the profit, leave some to Foxconn (a Taiwanese company) and little to the labor. They claimed China was inhuman with one-child policy. At the same time, they accused China of polluting the earth with its huge population. The fact is the Chinese consume just 30% of energy per capita compared to the US. They claimed China underwent ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang. The fact is China has a policy which priorities ethnic minorities. For a long time, the ethnic minorities were allowed to have two children and the majority Han only allowed one. The minorities are allowed a lower score for university intakes. There are 39,000 mosque in China, and 2100 in the US. China has about 3 times more mosque per muslim than the US. When terrorist attacks happened in Xinjiang, China had two choices:
Re-educate the Uighur extremists before they turned terrorists.
Let them be, after they launch attacks and killed innocent people, bomb their homes.
China chose 1 to solve problem from the root and not to do killing. How the US solve terrorism? Fire missiles from battleships, drop bombs from the sky. During the pandemic, When China took extreme measures to lockdown the people, they were accused of being inhuman. When China recovered swiftly because of the extreme measures, they were accused of lying about the actual numbers. When China’s cases became so low that they could provide medical support to other countries, they were accused of politically motivated. Western Media always have reasons to bash China. Just like any country, there are irresponsible individuals from China which do bad and dirty things, but the China government overall has done very well. But I hear this comment over and over by people from the West: I like Chinese people, but the CCP is evil. What they really want is the Chinese to change the government, because the current one is too good. Fortunately China is not a multi-party democratic country, otherwise the opposition party in China will be supported by notorious NGOs (Non-Government Organization) of the USA, like the NED (National Endowment for Democracy), to topple the ruling party. The US and the British couldn’t crack Mainland China, so they work on Hong Kong. Of all the ex-British colonial countries, only the Hong Kongers were offered BNOs by the British. Because the UK would like the Hong Kongers to think they are British citizens, not Chinese. A divide-and-conquer strategy, which they often used in Color Revolutions around the world. They resort to low dirty tricks like detaining Huawei’s CFO & banning Huawei. They raised a silly trade war which benefits no one. Trade deficit always exist between a developing and a developed country. USA is like a luxury car seller who ask a farmer: why am I always buying your vegetables and you haven’t bought any of my cars? When the Chinese were making socks for the world 30 years ago, the world let it be. But when Chinese started to make high technology products, like Huawei and DJI, it caused red-alert. Because when Western and Japanese products are equal to Chinese in technologies, they could never match the Chinese in prices. First world countries want China to continue in making socks. Instead of stepping up themselves, they want to pull China down. The recent movement by the US against China has a very important background. When Libya, Iran, and China decided to ditch the US dollar in oil trades, Gaddafi’s was killed by the US, Iran was being sanctioned by the US, and now it’s China’s turn. The US has been printing money out of nothing. The only reason why the US Dollar is still widely accepted, is because it’s the only currency which oil is allowed to be traded with. The US has an agreement with Saudi that oil must be traded in US dollar ONLY. Without the petrol-dollar status, the US dollars will sink, and America will fall. Therefore anyone trying to disobey this order will be eliminated. China will soon use a gold-backed crypto-currency, the alarms in the White House go off like mad. China’s achievement has been by hard work. Not by raiding other countries. I have deep sympathy for China for all the suffering, but now I feel happy for them. China is not rising, they are going back to where they belong. Good luck China. End. personal opinions: bravo for people who actually finished reading this long ass article. I don't agree with everything said in this article but most of the article checks out. The shit going on in Xinjiang is not okay, it doesn't make sense to punish a whole ethnic group because of a group of radicals stabbed a bunch of people. the belt and road initiative is definitely aiming for expansion but at least CCP didn't bomb any other country. I feel for hong kong people as their living condition is usually horrific, but I can't read one more comment about potential "massacre" in Hong Kong. The shit has been going on for like over a year and there is no one got killed by Hong Kong police, at least CNN,MSNBC didn't report any. There is this one dumb kid who tried to grab the pistol from a single officer who was being cornered and beaten by a mob, the kid got one belly shot and survived to pass down the dumb gene. I spent most my adulthood in Boston and if you pull that shit on American cops you dead. I don't know I am probably just a dumbass but I swear to god some people won't even do the research.
The power players of consumer finance in the 21st century will be crypto-native companies who build with blockchain technology at their core.
The crypto landscape is still nascent. We’re still very much in the fragmented, unbundled phase of the industry lifecycle. Beyond what Genesis Block is doing, there are signs of other companies slowly starting to bundle financial services into what could be an all-in-one bank replacement. So the key question that this series hopes to answer:
Which crypto-native company will successfully become the bank of the future?
We obviously think Genesis Block is well-positioned to win. But we certainly aren’t the only game in town. In this series, we’ll be doing an analysis of who is most capable of thwarting our efforts. We’ll look at categories like crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, centralized lending & borrowing services, and crypto debit card companies. Each category will have its own dedicated post. Today we’re analyzing big crypto exchanges. The two companies we’ll focus on today are Coinbase (biggest American exchange) and Binance (biggest global exchange). They are the top two exchanges in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. They are in pole position to winning this market — they have a huge existing userbase and strong financial resources. Will Coinbase or Binance become the bank of the future? Can their early success propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market? Is their growth too far ahead for anyone else to catch up? Let’s dive in. https://preview.redd.it/lau4hevpm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c5de1ba497199f36aa194e5809bd86e5ab533d8
The most formidable exchange on the global stage is Binance (Crunchbase). All signs suggest they have significantly more users and a stronger balance sheet than Coinbase. No other exchange is executing as aggressively and relentlessly as Binance is. The cadence at which they are shipping and launching new products is nothing short of impressive. As Tushar Jain from Multicoin argues, Binance is Blitzscaling. Here are some of the products that they’ve launched in the last 18 months. Only a few are announced but still pre-launch.
Binance is well-positioned to become the crypto-powered, all-in-one, bundled solution for financial services. They already have so many of the pieces. But the key question is:
Can they create a cohesive & united product experience?
Binance is strong, but they do have a few major weaknesses that could slow them down.
Traders & Speculators Binance is currently very geared for speculators, traders, and financial professionals. Their bread-and-butter is trading (spot, margin, options, futures). Their UI is littered with depth charts, order books, candlesticks, and other financial concepts that are beyond the reach of most normal consumers. Their product today is not at all tailored for the broader consumer market. Given Binance’s popularity and strength among the pro audience, it’s unlikely that they will dumb down or simplify their product any time soon. That would jeopardize their core business. Binance will likely need an entirely new product/brand to go beyond the pro user crowd. That will take time (or an acquisition). So the question remains, is Binance even interested in the broader consumer market? Or will they continue to focus on their core product, the one-stop-shop for pro crypto traders?
Controversies & Hot Water Binance has had a number of controversies. No one seems to know where they are based — so what regulatory agencies can hold them accountable? Last year, some sensitive, private user data got leaked. When they announced their debit card program, they had to remove mentions of Visa quickly after. And though the “police raid” story proved to be untrue, there are still a lot of questions about what happened with their Shanghai office shut down (where there is smoke, there is fire). If any company has had a “move fast and break things” attitude, it is Binance. That attitude has served them well so far but as they try to do business in more regulated countries like America, this will make their road much more difficult — especially in the consumer market where trust takes a long time to earn, but can be destroyed in an instant. This is perhaps why the Binance US product is an empty shell when compared to their main global product.
Disjointed Product Experience Because Binance has so many different teams launching so many different services, their core product is increasingly feeling disjointed and disconnected. Many of the new features are sloppily integrated with each other. There’s no cohesive product experience. This is one of the downsides of executing and shipping at their relentless pace. For example, users don’t have a single wallet that shows their balances. Depending on if the user wants to do spot trading, margin, futures, or savings… the user needs to constantly be transferring their assets from one wallet to another. It’s not a unified, frictionless, simple user experience. This is one major downside of the “move fast and break things” approach.
BNB token Binance raised $15M in a 2017 ICO by selling their $BNB token. The current market cap of $BNB is worth more than $2.6B. Financially this token has served them well. However, given how BNB works (for example, their token burn), there are a lot of open questions as to how BNB will be treated with US security laws. Their Binance US product so far is treading very lightly with its use of BNB. Their token could become a liability for Binance as it enters more regulated markets. Whether the crypto community likes it or not, until regulators get caught up and understand the power of decentralized technology, tokens will still be a regulatory burden — especially for anything that touches consumers.
Binance Chain & Smart Contract Platform Binance is launching its own smart contract platform soon. Based on compatibility choices, they have their sights aimed at the Ethereum developer community. It’s unclear how easy it’ll be to convince developers to move to Binance chain. Most of the current developer energy and momentum around smart contracts is with Ethereum. Because Binance now has their own horse in the race, it’s unlikely they will ever decide to leverage Ethereum’s DeFi protocols. This could likely be a major strategic mistake — and hubris that goes a step too far. Binance will be pushing and promoting protocols on their own platform. The major risk of being all-in on their own platform is that they miss having a seat on the Ethereum rocket ship — specifically the growth of DeFi use-cases and the enormous value that can be unlocked. Integrating with Ethereum’s protocols would be either admitting defeat of their own platform or competing directly against themselves.
The crypto-native company that I believe is more likely to become the bank of the future is Coinbase (crunchbase). Their dominance in America could serve as a springboard to winning the West (Binance has a stronger foothold in Asia). Coinbase has more than 30M users. Their exchange business is a money-printing machine. They have a solid reputation as it relates to compliance and working with regulators. Their CEO is a longtime member of the crypto community. They are rumored to be going public soon.
Let’s look at what makes them strong and a likely contender for winning the broader consumer finance market.
Different Audience, Different Experience Coinbase has been smart to create a unique product experience for each audience — the pro speculator crowd and the common retail user. Their simple consumer version is at Coinbase.com. That’s the default. Their product for the more sophisticated traders and speculators is at Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX). Unlike Binance, Coinbase can slowly build out the bank of the future for the broad consumer market while still having a home for their hardcore crypto traders. They aren’t afraid to have different experiences for different audiences.
Brand & Design Coinbase has a strong product design team. Their brand is capable of going beyond the male-dominated crypto audience. Their product is clean and simple — much more consumer-friendly than Binance. It’s clear they spend a lot of time thinking about their user experience. Interacting directly with crypto can sometimes be rough and raw (especially for n00bs). When I was at Mainframe we hosted a panel about Crypto UX challenges at the DevCon4 Dapp Awards. Connie Yang (Head of Design at Coinbase) was on the panel. She was impressive. Some of their design philosophies will bode well as they push to reach the broader consumer finance market.
Early Signs of Bundling Though Coinbase has nowhere near as many products & services as Binance, they are slowly starting to add more financial services that may appeal to the broader market. They are now letting depositors earn interest on USDC (also DAI & Tezos). In the UK they are piloting a debit card. Users can now invest in crypto with dollar-cost-averaging. It’s not much, but it’s a start. You can start to see hints of a more bundled solution around financial services.
Let’s now look at some things that could hold them back.
Slow Cadence In the fast-paced world of crypto, and especially when compared to Binance, Coinbase does not ship very many new products very often. This is perhaps their greatest weakness. Smaller, more nimble startups may run circles around them. They were smart to launch Coinbase Ventures where tey invest in early-stage startups. They can now keep an ear to the ground on innovation. Perhaps their cadence is normal for a company of their size — but the Binance pace creates quite the contrast.
Institutional Focus As a company, we are a Coinbase client. We love their institutional offering. It’s clear they’ve been investing a lot in this area. A recent Coinbase blog post made it clear that this has been a focus: “Over the past 12 months, Coinbase has been laser-focused on building out the types of features and services that our institutional customers need.” Their Tagomi acquisition only re-enforced this focus. Perhaps this is why their consumer product has felt so neglected. They’ve been heavily investing in their institutional services since May 2018. For a company that’s getting very close to an IPO, it makes sense that they’d focus on areas that present strong revenue opportunities — as they do with institutional clients. Even for big companies like Coinbase, it’s hard to have a split focus. If they are “laser-focused” on the institutional audience, it’s unlikely they’ll be launching any major consumer products anytime soon.
Coinbase Wrap Up
At Genesis Block, we‘re proud to be working with Coinbase. They are a fantastic company. However, I don’t believe that they’ll succeed in building their own product for the broader consumer finance market. While they have incredible design, there are no signs that they are focused on or capable of internally building this type of product. Similar to Binance, I think it’s far more likely that Coinbase acquires a promising young startup with strong growth.
Other US-based exchanges worth mentioning are Kraken, Gemini, and Bittrex. So far we’ve seen very few signs that any of them will aggressively attack broader consumer finance. Most are going in the way of Binance — listing more assets and adding more pro tools like margin and futures trading. And many, like Coinbase, are trying to attract more institutional customers. For example, Gemini with their custody product.
Coinbase and Binance have huge war chests and massive reach. For that alone, they should always be considered threats to Genesis Block. However, their products are very, very different than the product we’re building. And their approach is very different as well. They are trying to educate and onboard people into crypto. At Genesis Block, we believe the masses shouldn’t need to know or care about it. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto. Most everyone needs banking — whether it be to borrow, spend, invest, earn interest, etc. Not everyone needs a crypto exchange. For non-crypto consumers (the mass market), the differences between a bank and a crypto exchange are immense. Companies like Binance and Coinbase make a lot of money on their crypto exchange business. It would be really difficult, gutsy, and risky for any of them to completely change their narrative, messaging, and product to focus on the broader consumer market. I don’t believe they would ever risk biting the hand that feeds them. In summary, as it relates to a digital bank aimed at the mass market, I believe both Coinbase and Binance are much more likely to acquire a startup in this space than they are to build it themselves. And I think they would want to keep the brand/product distinct and separate from their core crypto exchange business. So back to the original question, is Coinbase and Binance a threat to Genesis Block? Not really. Not today. But they could be, and for that, we want to stay close to them. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Crypto Mining Latest Crypto Mining News Does anyone have any cool success stories with accumulating Bitcoin by selling at highs and rebuying in at lows? To some, my Bitcoin holdings are small but to others they might be a little bigger/more respectable. Read our success stories. Thank you Crypto Genesiz for the insightful course into crypto currency markets. As a first timer venturing into the crypto markets, this course covers all the basics of understanding the markets and the relevant chart analysis techniques. Kudos to Nico and Wyedun for making the sessions easily understandable. Erik Finman – Early Investor Erik Finman is known as one of the youngest cryptocurrency millionaires in the world. Finman began investing in cryptocurrencies back in 2011 when the price per BTC was around $12. After he received $1,000 as a gift from his grandmother, his brother, Scott, suggested buying Bitcoin. How I got sucked into the cryptocurrency craze and walked away with $13 million This is the first-person account of Dan Conway, an ex-middle manager in corporate America who made a fortune betting his life savings on cryptocurrency. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: 7 Best Bitcoin Success Stories Jan 12 2018 · 10:54 UTC | Updated Jan 15 2018 · 13:30 by Maria Konash · 7 min read Photo: BTC Keychain / Flickr
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