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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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

Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?
These crypto lending & borrowing services found early traction. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market?
https://reddit.com/link/icps9l/video/98kl1y596zh51/player
This is the third part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this very powerful technology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe a crypto-native company will ultimately become the bank of the future. We’re confident Genesis Block will have a seat at that table, but we aren’t the only game in town.
In the first post of this series, we did an analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. In our second episode, we looked at the world of non-custodial wallets.
Today we’re analyzing crypto lending & borrowing services. The Earn and Borrow use-case covers a lot of what traditional banks deliver today. This category of companies is a threat worth analyzing. As we look at this market, we’ll mostly be focused on custodial, centralized products like BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.
Many of these companies found early traction among crypto users. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? Let’s find out.

Institutional Borrowers

Because speculation and trading remains one of the most popular use-cases of crypto, a new crypto sub-industry around credit has emerged. Much of the borrowing demand has been driven by institutional needs.
For example, a Bitcoin mining company might need to borrow fiat to pay for operational costs (salaries, electricity). Or a crypto company might need to borrow USD to pay for engineering salaries. Or a crypto hedge fund needs to borrow for leverage or to take a specific market position. While all of these companies have sufficient crypto to cover the costs, they might not want to sell it — either for tax or speculative reasons (they may believe these crypto assets will appreciate, as with most in the industry).
Instead of selling their crypto, these companies can use their crypto as collateral for loans. For example, they can provide $1.5M in Bitcoin as collateral, and borrow $1M. Given the collateralization happening, the underwriting process becomes straightforward. Companies all around the world can participate — language and cultural barriers are removed.

https://preview.redd.it/z9pby83d6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=54bf425215c3ed6d5ff0ca7dbe571e735b994613
The leader (and one of our partners) in this space is Genesis Capital. While they are always the counterparty for both lenders and borrowers, they are effectively a broker. They are at the center of the institutional crypto lending & borrowing markets. Their total active loans as of March 2020 was $649M. That number shot up to $1.42B in active loans as of June 2020. The growth of this entire market segment is impressive and it’s what is driving this opportunity for consumers downstream.

Consumer Products

While most of the borrowing demand comes from institutional players, there is a growing desire from consumers to participate on the lend/supply side of the market. Crypto consumers would love to be able to deposit their assets with a service and watch it grow. Why let crypto assets sit on an exchange or in cold storage when it can be earning interest?
A number of consumer-facing products have emerged in the last few years to make this happen. While they also allow users to borrow (always with collateral), most of the consumer attraction is around growing their crypto, even while they sleep. Earning interest. These products usually partner with institutional players like Genesis Capital to match the deposits with borrowing demand. And it’s exactly part of our strategy as well, beyond leveraging DeFi (decentralized finance protocols).
A few of the most popular consumer services in this category include BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.

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BlockFi

BlockFi (Crunchbase) is the leader in this category (at least in the West). They are well-capitalized. In August 2019, they raised $18.3M in their Series A. In Feb 2020, they raised $30M in their Series B. In that same time period, they went from $250M in assets under management to $650M. In a recent blog post, they announced that they saw a 100% revenue increase in Q2 and that they were on track to do $50M in revenue this year. Their growth is impressive.
BlockFi did not do an ICO, unlike Celsius, Nexo, Salt, and Cred. BlockFi has a lot of institutional backing so it is perceived as the most reputable in the space. BlockFi started with borrowing — allowing users to leverage their crypto as collateral and taking out a loan against it. They later got into Earning — allowing users to deposit assets and earn interest on it. They recently expanded their service to “exchange” functionality and say they are coming out with a credit card later this year.

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Security Woes
It’s incredible that BlockFi has been able to see such strong growth despite their numerous product and security woes. A few months ago, their systems were compromised. A hacker was able to access confidential data, such as names, dates of birth, postal addresses, and activity histories. While no funds were lost, this was a massive embarrassment and caused reputational damage.

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Unrelated to that massive security breach and earlier in the year, a user discovered a major bug that allowed him to send the same funds to himself over and over again, ultimately accumulating more than a million dollars in his BlockFi account. BlockFi fortunately caught him just before withdrawal.
Poor Product Execution
Beyond their poor security — which they are now trying to get serious about — their products are notoriously buggy and hard-to-use. I borrowed from them a year ago and used their interest account product until very recently. I have first-hand experience of how painful it is. But don’t take my word for it… here are just a few tweets from customers just recently.

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For a while, their interest-earning product had a completely different authentication system than their loan product (users had two sets of usernames/passwords). Many people have had issues with withdrawals. The app is constantly logging people out, blank screens, ugly error messages. Emails with verification codes are sometimes delayed by hours (or days). I do wonder if their entire app has been outsourced. The sloppiness shines through.
Not only is their product buggy and UX confusing, but their branding & design is quite weak. To the left is a t-shirt they once sent me. It looks like they just found a bunch of quirky fonts, added their name, and slapped it on a t-shirt.

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Culture
To the innocent bystander, many of these issues seem totally fixable. They could hire an amazing design agency to completely revamp their product or brand. They could hire a mercenary group of engineers to fix their bugs, etc. While it could stop the bleeding for a time, it may not solve the underlying issues. Years of sloppy product execution represents something much more destructive. It represents a top-down mentality that shipping anything other than excellence is okay: product experience doesn’t matter; design doesn’t matter; craftsmanship doesn’t matter; strong execution doesn’t matter; precision doesn’t matter. That’s very different from our culture at Genesis Block.
This cancerous mentality rarely stays contained within product & engineering — this leaks to all parts of the organization. No design agency or consulting firm will fix some of the pernicious values of a company’s soul. These are deeper issues that only leadership can course-correct.
If BlockFi’s sloppiness were due to constant experimentation, iteration, shipping, or some “move fast and break things” hacker culture… like Binance… I would probably cut them more slack. But there is zero evidence of that. “Move fast and break things” is always scary when dealing with financial products. But in BlockFi’s case, when it’s more like “move slow and break things,” they are really playing with fire. Next time a massive security breach occurs, like what happened earlier this year, they may not be so lucky.
Institutional Focus
Based on who is on their team, their poor product execution shouldn’t be a surprise. Their team comes mostly from Wall Street, not the blockchain community (where our roots are). Most of BlockFi’s blockchain/crypto integration is very superficial. They take crypto assets as deposits, but they aren’t leveraging any of the exciting, low-level DeFi protocols like we are.
While their Wall Street heritage isn’t doing them any favors on the product/tech side, it’s served them very well on winning institutional clients. This is perhaps their greatest strength. BlockFi has a strong institutional business. They recently brought on Three Arrows Capital as a strategic investor — a crypto hedge fund who does a lot of borrowing. In that announcement, BlockFi’s founder said that bringing them on “aligns well with our focus on international expansion of our institutional services offering.” They also recently brought someone on who will lead business development in Asia among institutional clients.
BlockFi Wrap Up
There are certainly BlockFi features that overlap with Genesis Block’s offering. It’s possible that they are angling to become the bank of the future. However, they simply have not proven they are capable of designing, building, and launching world-class consumer products. They’ve constantly had issues around security and poor product execution. Their company account and their founder’s account seem to only tweet about Bitcoin. I don’t think they understand, appreciate, or value the power of DeFi. It’s unlikely they’ll be leveraging it any time soon. All of these reasons are why I don’t see them as a serious threat to Genesis Block.
However, because of their strong institutional offering, I hope that Genesis Block will ultimately have a very collaborative and productive partnership with them. Assuming they figure out their security woes, we could park some of our funds with BlockFi (just as we will with Genesis Capital and others). I think what’s likely to happen is that we’ll corner the consumer market and we’ll work closely with BlockFi on the institutional side.
I’ve been hard on BlockFi because I care. I think they have a great opportunity at helping elevate the entire industry in a positive way. But they have a lot of issues they need to work through. I really don’t want to see users lose millions of dollars in a security breach. It could set back the entire industry. But if they do things well… a rising tide lifts all boats.

Honorable Mentions

Celsius (ICO Drops) raised $50M in an ICO, and is led by serial entrepreneur Alex Mashinsky. I’ve met him, he’s a nice guy. Similar to Binance, their biggest Achilles heel could be their own token. There are also a lot of unanswered questions about where their deposits go. They don’t have a record of great transparency. They recently did a public crowdraise which is a little odd given their large ICO as well as their supposed $1B in deposits. Are they running out of money, as some suggest? Unclear. One of their biggest blindspots right now is that Mashinsky does not understand the power of DeFi. He is frequently openly criticizing it.
Nexo (ICO Drops) is another similar service. They are European-based, trying to launch their own card (though they’ve been saying this forever and they still haven’t shipped it), and have a history in the payments/fintech space. Because they haven’t penetrated the US — which is a much harder regulatory nut to crack — they are unlikely to be as competitive as BlockFi. There were also allegations that Nexo was spreading FUD about Chainlink while simultaneously partnering with them. Did Nexo take out a short position and start spreading rumors? Never a dull moment in crypto.
Other players in the lending & borrowing space include Unchained Capital, Cred (ICO Drops), and Salt (ICO Drops).

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Wrap Up

While many companies in this category seem to be slowly adding more financial services, I don’t believe any of them are focused on the broader consumer market like we are. To use services like BlockFi, Nexo, or Celsius, users need to be onboarded and educated on how crypto works. At Genesis Block, we don’t believe that’s the winning approach. We think blockchain complexity should be abstracted away from the end-user. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
For many of these services, there is additional friction due to ICO tokens that are forcefully integrated into the product (see NEXO token or CEL Token). None of these services have true banking functionality or integration with traditional finance —for example, easy offramp or spending methods like debit cards. None of them are taking DeFi seriously — they are leveraging crypto for only the asset class, not the underlying technology around financial protocols.
So are these companies potential competitors to Genesis Block? For the crypto crowd, yes. For the mass market, no. None of these companies are capable of reaching the billions of people around the world that we hope to reach at Genesis Block.
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MiniSwap -- A New Hybrid Incentive Model in DeFi

Cryptocurrency exchanges process over $20 billion in trade volume per day. Most of the transactions are going through centralized exchanges, where the users need to fully trust them for managing their assests and transactions. However, the risk of trusting these centralized exchanges has also been seen. For example, QuadrigaCX, which was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Canada, lost $19 million of their customers' assets [1].
Decentralized Exchanges (DEXes) have been introduced to address this problem -- they allow traders to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies in a peer-to-peer manner, so no involvement of any trusted party is required. Atomic Swap is one of the promising technology for implementing a DEX. While it enables pure peer to peer trading, it also introduces problems such as unfairness and long confirmation latency. While existing work [2] has provided a solution towards a fair atomic swap protocol, the issue of long confirmation latency is inherent.
Another promising direction is leveraging liquidity pools. With liquidity pools, pairs of assets are reserved for trading. For any pair of assets supported by the liquidity pool, traders can exchange their assets without any third party. As traders can only perform the transactions if there are reserved assets, one core problem is how to attract liquidity providers to provide liquidity by reserving assets. It is not difficult to see that incentive [3,4], which has been a key component of all permissionless blockchains, can be equipped to incentivize liqudity providers. However, flawed incentive designs will lead to attacks and other concerns [5-13].
There are two main types of incentive designs, namely "trans-fee mining" and "liquidity mining". They are different from the Proof-of-X mining in blockchains for reaching consensus (a detailed analysis can be found in the survey [14]). Rather, they are used to incentivise users to join the ecosystem.
"Trans-fee mining" was proposed by FCoin in 2018 [15]. With FCoin, each time a transaction is created, 100% of its transaction fee will be returned in FCoin token to the payer as a reward. This is one incentive design to encourage traders to join the system. However, as FCoin may have no value to the trader, FCoin also introduces extra reward to all coin holders -- 80% of the transaction fee in its native currency (such as ETH) will be distributed to all coin holders. So, traders are incentivized to join the system, becoming a holder of FCoin token, and obtaining a share of the transaction fee of every transaction in the FCoin ecosystem.
While this had successful attracted traders, it is not sustainable. Rather than charging a trader to perform transactions, FCoin rewards traders. Profit-driven traders will create transactions at full speed to earn FCoin token and the share as a token holder. Indeed, the trading volume of FCoin was the top one among all exchange services, and the daily reward can be as high as 6000 BTC [16]. However, once all coins are minted, then the system would lose liveness as there is not enough supply to be distributed.
"Liquidity mining" aims at giving reward to the liquidity providers rather than the traders. There are different ways to implement liquidity mining. Compound [17] is a famous example of protocols deploying liquidity mining. With Compound, users become a liquidity provider by supply assets to a pool and obtain interests for its contribution (similar to depositing money into a bank). Liquidity providers first reserve some assets in the pool and obtain "cToken" of Compound which entitles the owner to an increasing quantity of the underlying asset. Users can use their "cToken" to borrow different assets available on the Compound and pay some interests to Compund. The borrowers may have some quick gains through the financial games [18]. Both borrowers and liquidity providers can withdraw their asset by trading them back with "cToken". Oners of "cToken" can also manage the business direction and decisions of Compound through weighted voting. The potential concern here is that rich users might be able to take over the control of the system.
Uniswap [19] is another popular DEX deploying liquidity mining. Uniswap incentivizes liquidity providers by giving them a share of the earned transaction fees. In particular, Uniswap changes each transaction a 0.3% fee, where 0.25% will be distributed to the liquidity providers, and 0.05% will go to the Uniswap account. One issue is how to incentivize traders. With Uniswap, traders are incentivized by the potential profit it can gain through the price difference between Uniswap and other exchanges. Uniswap price oracle is based on a constant function market makers [20,21], where the product of the number of reserved tokens is a constant. For example, if Uniswap has a pair of X token A and Y token B, then when a user using X' token A to buy Y' token B, the product of the reserved number of tokens should remain the same, i.e., XY = (X+X')(Y-Y'). The price of Uniswap (V1) is also defined in this way. This allows traders to speculate in the exchange market as the asset price on Uniswap is changed dynamically and is different from other exchanges. This, on the other hand, may have a security risk as the price can be easily manipulated. Uniswap (V2) fixed this problem by taking an accumulated price over a period of time [22]. However, as speculation/manipulation becomes harder, the trading volume may decrease.
MiniSwap [23] introduces a hybrid model (a mixture of "trans-fee mining" and "liquidity mining") to address the above issues. MiniSwap provides three types of rewards. For each trade with transaction fee f ETH in MiniSwap, a number of MiniSwap tokens (called MINI) worth 2f ETH will be minted. A (parameterized) portion of the tokens are given to the trader, and the rest are distribued to the liqudity providers. The transaction fee (f ETH) is used to exchange MINI in the liquidity pool. 50% of the obtained MINI will be distributed to all MINI holders, and the other 50% will be destroyed. In this way, both traders and liquidity providers are incentivized to join the ecosystem.
Recall that with FCoin, there is a problem when all coins are minted. MiniSwap has an upper bound (of 500,000 tokens) on the number of tokens can be created every day, and this limit reduces every month until a point where the limit (18,000 tokens) remains unchanged. This guarantees the sustainability of the system as the mining process can last for 100 years. The parameterized ratio of tokens as the reward to the trader and liquidity provider can also strengthen sustainability. It enables the system to dynamically balance the incentive of different parties in the system to make it more sustainable.
Overall, the MiniSwap hybrid model has taken the benefit of both "trans-fee mining" model and "liquidity mining" model, while eliminated the potential concerns. Formally defining and analyzing these models, e.g. through the game-theoretic approach [24], would be an interesting direction.
Reference
[1] The Guardian, Cryptocurrency investors locked out of $190m after exchange founder dies, 2019.
[2] Runchao Han, Haoyu Lin, Jiangshan Yu. On the optionality and fairness of Atomic Swaps, ACM Conference on Advances in Financial Technologies, 2019.
[3] Satoshi Nakamoto. 2008. Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system
[4] Jiangshan Yu, David Kozhaya, Jeremie Decouchant, and Paulo Verissimo. Repucoin: your reputation is your power. IEEE Transactions on Computers, 2019.
[5] Joseph Bonneau. Why Buy When You Can Rent? - Bribery Attacks on Bitcoin-Style Consensus. Financial Cryptography and Data Security - International Workshops on BITCOIN, VOTING, and WAHC, 2016.
[6] Yujin Kwon, Hyoungshick Kim, Jinwoo Shin, and Yongdae Kim. Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash: Coexistence or Downfall of Bitcoin Cash, IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP), 2019.
[7] Kevin Liao and Jonathan Katz. Incentivizing blockchain forks via whale transactions. International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, 2017.
[8] Ayelet Sapirshtein, Yonatan Sompolinsky, and Aviv Zohar. Optimal Selfish Mining Strategies in Bitcoin. Financial Cryptography and Data Security, 2016.
[9] Ittay Eyal and Emin Gün Sirer. Majority Is Not Enough: Bitcoin Mining Is Vulnerable. Financial Cryptography and Data Security, 2014.
[10] Ittay Eyal. The Miner’s Dilemma. IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2015.
[11] Miles Carlsten, Harry A. Kalodner, S. Matthew Weinberg, and Arvind Narayanan. On the Instability of Bitcoin Without the Block Reward. ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security, 2016.
[12] Kartik Nayak, Srijan Kumar, Andrew Miller, and Elaine Shi. Stubborn mining: generalizing selfish mining and combining with an eclipse attack. IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2016.
[13] Runchao Han, Zhimei Sui, Jiangshan Yu, Joseph K. Liu, Shiping Chen. Sucker punch makes you richer: Rethinking Proof-of-Work security model, IACR Cryptol. ePrint Arch, 2019.
[14] Christopher Natoli, Jiangshan Yu, Vincent Gramoli, Paulo Jorge Esteves Veríssimo.
Deconstructing Blockchains: A Comprehensive Survey on Consensus, Membership and Structure. CoRR abs/1908.08316, 2019.
[15] FCoin, https://www.fcoin.pro
[16] The Block Crypto. Cryptocurrency exchange Fcoin expects to default on as much as $125M of users' bitcoin, 2020.
[17] Compound, https://compound.finance.
[18] Philip Daian, Steven Goldfeder, Tyler Kell, Yunqi Li, Xueyuan Zhao, Iddo Bentov, Lorenz Breidenbach, Ari Juels. Flash Boys 2.0: Frontrunning, Transaction Reordering, and Consensus Instability in Decentralized Exchanges. IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2020.
[19] Uniswap. https://uniswap.org
[20] Bowen Liu, Pawel Szalachowski. A First Look into DeFi Oracles. CoRR abs/2005.04377, 2020.
[21] Guillermo Angeris, Tarun Chitra. Improved Price Oracles: Constant Function Market Makers, CoRR abs/ 2003.10001, 2020.
[22] Uniswap V2.0 whitepaper. https://uniswap.org/whitepaper.pdf
[23] MiniSwap. https://www.miniswap.org
[24] Ziyao Liu, Nguyen Cong Luong, Wenbo Wang, Dusit Niyato, Ping Wang, Ying-Chang Liang, Dong In Kim. A Survey on Blockchain: A Game Theoretical Perspective. IEEE Access, 2019.
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Coming TkeyNet and listing on exchanges

Coming TkeyNet and listing on exchanges

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Global changes are coming to the TKEY project, and 2020 is the year of great changes. What should we expect, you may ask.
Indeed, from the very beginning of large-scale updates, you might have dozens of questions? What happened, why can’t I transfer transactions, what’s in store for us in the future, or is it over? In General, the questions could Mature as much as your imagination will allow, and this is normal, given that the upcoming updates — we kept secret even for many members of the Tkeycoin Team.

What awaits us and how it all started?

Today we will briefly open the curtain on a secret that we have kept secret for more than 2.5 years. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Yes, it was a difficult burden for us to keep secret the trumps that we wanted to tell about. Getting criticized, misunderstood by investors while making a very global financial infrastructure. And we can understand all those who did not understand our strategy because due to the confidentiality of the infrastructure, which will be available soon, we had to keep secret all the advantages of the TKEY platform, all the development processes, and make various strategies to calmly finish what we started.

What is this mysterious infrastructure?

When we created the first concept of Tkeycoin — we clearly understood that a system should be developed that will provide users around the world with easy and fast work with finances. Here we are not only talking about the user segment, but we are also talking about more global segments, such as the global financial system, which can be used by millions of people and corporations around the world.
At the same time, we clearly understood and understand that there are many different tools in the world, and all of them are good in their way, including SWIFT or Bitcoin, they all have their advantages and scope.
But, TKEY is not about Bitcoin or SWIFT. Remember our words?
“Our goal then and now was to create a simple decentralized way to exchange funds with minimal fees anywhere in the world” ©
To create something more than a cryptocurrency, you need time, money, knowledge, experience, and radically different views of the world.
We are here to create an infrastructure for working with Finance. Based on this system, we can provide people with investment tools, rapid exchange of assets around the world, provide our users with new revenue generation mechanisms, offer the corporate segment effective use of their assets, and the public sector — improve data exchange. That’s why we developed — TkeyNet.

TkeyNet is a new branch in the world of financial technologies

First of all, TkeyNet is an infrastructure based on which you can create various microservices, applications, financial instruments, exchanges, investment products, work with smart contracts, create your assets in various branches of TkeyNet, and much more.
Second of all, TkeyNet is a set of solutions focused on payment systems and operations with instant currency exchange in an international format. TkeyNet software solutions allow you to make instant money transfers to any point in the world, as well as act as a reliable storage of amounts of various denominations.
TkeyNet was conceived from the beginning of 2018 — the project was kept in the strictest secrecy and its development was carried out by a separate team of developers together with foreign programmers.
In 2018, the necessary funding was received to develop the entire TkeyNet system. The development period set for us was at least 2.5–3 years.
Taking into account the long development period of TkeyNet, we have drawn up an internal roadmap and decided to release the intermediate Core 1.0 Protocol with subsequent release to the exchange in 2019.
The plan was as follows:
  1. Core 1.0 release — listing on the stock exchange in 2019 to attract a new audience and create liquidity for the TKEY digital asset.
  2. Updates from Core 1.0 to Core 2.0 for a smooth transition to TkeyNet when the TKEY digital asset is already being traded on the exchange.
  3. The transition to TkeyNet to strengthen market position and scale the project.
In simple words, the full version of Core 2.0-would allows us to switch to TkeyNet during trading, without further stopping the entire network.
The first references to TkeyNet were presented by us in 2018 on the platform’s websites and in the first editions of the “white paper”, and the first presentation took place in the period from April 18–21, 2019 at the Asian parliamentary Assembly (APA), where TKey’s management presented the TkeyNet system during closed presentations.
Most of the APA participants were very interested and paid attention to the information that was presented in the report, but also to the arguments that were exchanged during the discussions. During an informal meeting, the leaders of TKEY group and several representatives of countries that showed interest in developing a digital economy talked about the problems regarding the implementation of blockchain systems at the state level, and made preliminary deals about pilot projects, setting the stage for further cooperation. © — businessinsider.com
In 2019, we actively tested the system and held closed meetings with representatives of large businesses. The system was known only to the management of some of the major companies and trusted persons. This helped keep all the company’s plans completely secret.
Nowadays, the Tkeycoin digital financial ecosystem (DFE) is in the final stages of testing by TKEY. This product will help to lower the costs of domestic and international money transfers. In the near future, this product will help individuals and business to make money transactions without interactions from banking institutions or government institutions. © — businessinsider.com
Details of the APA-2019 presentation can be found here https://medium.com/@tkeycoin/tkey-presented-future-oriented-economic-model-at-the-asian-parliamentary-assembly-371e999a903c or https://medium.com/@tkeycoin/8-most-significant-events-for-tkeycoin-ac12e700aba1.
Link to the presentation — https://tkeycoin.com/tkey.pdf

Why TkeyNet will be launched soon?

Given the current situation and the almost complete completion of work on TkeyNet, as well as the upcoming listing, we made an operational decision to quickly switch to the new system.
After all, the more users in the project, the more difficult it is to implement global changes, and even more so when assets are already traded on the exchange. But this is not the most important thing — these are only indirect reasons that affected the upgrade to TkeyNet.
The FINTECH market is developing at a tremendous speed, with products that are already embedded in TkeyNet and its technical characteristics — we will actively stand out in the market. TkeyNet already has built-in features that make it easy to compete with other projects, also, the following products based on TkeyNet will be available this year, which will further strengthen our position in the digital market.
Yes, this is a chance that should not be missed. Why not switch to TkeyNet now? Only forward! “that’s our motto.
Since last week, we have been working on active and final work to fully launch TkeyNet, so it takes time to debug all the processes. We ask all users to adhere to our recommendations and wait for a little, because it’s worth the wait, and you will see for yourself when TkeyNet is launched. After the release of TkeyNet — we will tell you in detail what it can do, how it works, but most importantly, you will see how it works.
TkeyNet — will is available to all users in Mainnet\* and Testnet\*.
Mainnet is a complete product, ready to use. Testnet is an alternative blockchain (test network) that is used for testing.
After the launch of TkeyNet and integration with the exchange, there will be a long-awaited listing of Tkeycoin.
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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analysed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, secure and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue disecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as:
“A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next he states that: >“blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”.* For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (>66%) double spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralised nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching their transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public.They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers.The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translates to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS & shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behaviour are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.”
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: > OCaml is a general purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognised by academics and won a so called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities safety is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa for Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships  
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organisations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, AirBnB, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are build on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”*
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They dont just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities) also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures & Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
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Weekly Update: 24 crypto assets live on ParJar fiat on/off ramp, FantomVision PWA, $LINK + Voyager, $GHOST for $ESH Hodlers... – 17 Apr - 23 Apr'20

Weekly Update: 24 crypto assets live on ParJar fiat on/off ramp, FantomVision PWA, $LINK + Voyager, $GHOST for $ESH Hodlers... – 17 Apr - 23 Apr'20
Hiya folks! Hope the shelter-at-home is treating you well. As you might know that the super cyclone Amphan struck Eastern India and Bangladesh day before yesterday. As a result, I went into radio silence for two days. Now that I am back in the grid (albeit with ultra-super slow internet; this post took 4+ hours of retries just to upload pictures), let’s get rolling with the weekly update catch-up series again. Here’s your week at Parachute + partners (17 Apr - 23 Apr'20):

24 cryptocurrencies are now live on ParJar for trading with fiat in Europe, India and UK. This is massive! The new ParJar and #cryptoforeveryone masks look great Clinton! Designers in Parachute, Clinton is looking for fresh original designs for merchandise in the Parachute Shop. You can bag some cool $PAR and discount codes if your art makes it to the store. The #par4par raffle currently has a 500k $PAR prize pool. If you have 10k $PAR in your ParJar, you can claim a ticket. Get in on it! Foo hosted a Parena so that winners can get a taste of the raffle with their prize $PAR. Bose hosted a random TTR trivia this week for a 10k $PAR prize pot. Don't forget her rules: "you argue and you're wrong, you skip next question". Gamerboy's Tiproom quiz theme was a secret. Did you find out what it was? Charlotte’s Tuesday TTR trivia was fun as always. Victor hosted an animal-themed trivia for 1k $PAR in prize per question. Two-for-Tuesday continued with the ongoing series of letters. This week Gian got Parachuters to post music "featuring bands or artists whose name starts with the letters M, N, O or P". As always, super thankful for the playlist Sebastian! 136 music videos in total. Dang! Jason’s #wholesomewed prompt involved Parachuters sharing unconventional art pieces. "They can be made by you or someone else".
Visit the Parachute Shop for more epic merch like these
Uber cool #wholesomewed entries by (clockwise from top left) Fakhir, Erol, Pars, Georg, Eric, OilJam, Peace Love
Click here to track this week’s aXpire burn transaction. CEO Gary Markham wrote about Time Recording in his latest blog post. More insights into 2gether’s study about women in crypto were released. This is part of their original study report on female crypto consumers which was first published in March. $BOMB founder Zachary Dash set the ball rolling on a proposal system for brainstorming on ideas for the project. Click here for a sample proposal. For #XIOSocial discussions, Citizens talked about what interest rate would be ideal for $XIO when the dApp launches. $LINK was added to Voyager’s platform this week. Click here for the full range of available assets. Voyager also featured in MyFirstBitcoin.info's list of "Where To Buy Bitcoin". They also launched an integration with crypto trading education platform Market Rebellion this week. Switch announced that $ESH token holders will be eligible to claim John McAfee-backed $GHOST coins on 25th May. News of Ghost’s launch was shared in bitcoin.com, Cointelegraph, CoinPedia, Crypto News Flash and CryptoNewsZ. Neva Fomo’s review of SwitchDex was released this week. The winners of the #BUIDLonFantom Developer contest were announced this week. The FantomVision block explorer was upgraded to a Progressive Web App (PWA) which can be installed on your device as an application. The team hosted a monthly AMA in their Discord. This will be happening every month from now. A new technical paper on smart was contracts was published as well.
Bitcoin is a clear favourite for trading among female users
Bounty0x’s fundraiser on Republic came to a close this week with funding crossing over targeted amount by nearly three times. Founder Angelo Adam also shared a sneak peek into how the Hypedia platform could look like. Uptrennd Head of Community, Luke, started an #InfectedWithGratitude giveaway that brought 2 days of wholesome joy to the community. Founder Jeff Kirdeikis sat down for an Altcoin Buzz interview to talk all things crypto. IOST joined Uptrennd this week. Coingecko joined in the fun too. Awesome! Congratulations on onboarding 30k+ new users in 2020 alone. The team also set the ball rolling for a community-powered blockchain awards. The District0x District Weekly can be read here. Meme Factory now has a fixture inside the virtual world of Cryptovoxels. Hydro made it to the semifinal round of Ground Up Ventures’ March Madness Startup Competition. Congrats! With news of Google’s smart debit card leaking out recently, the team at Hydro discussed the implications of the tech giant entering digital banking. They also wrote at length about FinTech in Brazil and strategies to bank the unbanked. The team also made a presentation at the Canada FinTech Summit this week. For the latest Sentivate development updates click here, here, here and here. SelfKey’s $KEY token was listed on Kyber Network this week. Read more details here. The team opened up an AMA questionnaire form for the community. AMA date not decided yet. They are also hiring currently. Apply if you’re up for it. SimpleSwap listed $KEY and joined SelfKey’s Crypto Exchange Marketplace. To learn more about Constellation’s ERC20 to mainnet $DAG swap, click here. COTI crew sat down for an AMA with KuCoin this week. The KuCoin staking campaign (announced last week) reached its cap within 5 minutes of opening up. If you were hoping to be a mode operator, hope you reached out to the team on time. To read the fee policy, click here. $COTI will be listed on Coinbit next week. Main registration for Staking 2.0 was started.
The Hypedia mockups look great!
Pynk is now SEIS/EIS approved which entitles investors in its fundraise round to tax benefits. Wibson hosted an online meetup with Crypto Resources Academy for their Spanish community. This was followed by an ETHSantiago meetup to discuss data privacy. Harmony founder Stephen Tse was part of a Miami DevCon Fintech panel to talk about DeFi and blockchain in finance. Also, congratulations on becoming the top blockchain project by GitHub activity. Stake Heist was formally opened with bounties to find bugs in the Open Staking Testnet Network and build stuff on it for some sweet $ONE. Delegators were also invited to test the staking dashboard in return for $ONE prizes. Watch more about it here. $ONE got listed on WazirX. Ankr published a comprehensive Open Staking node setup guide. Another major announcement this week was that a chunk of block rewards from staking in the phase 2 testnet will be converted to mainnet $ONE. Woohoo! Click here for an early sneak peek into the new IntelliShare website. A quick introduction of the testnet Pacific Program was also released. In his latest article, GET Protocol CEO Maarten Bloemers expanded on the significance of contactless ticketing in the post-coronavirus world. The article was an excerpt from the team’s submission to the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport to explore possible opportunities. Maarten was interviewed by HKB News of Korea where talked about all things GET. Their crowd management solution was featured on Cointelegraph as well.

And with that, we have to say Bye for now. See you again with another update. Cheerio!
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The Network of Networks, Scalable Interoperability to Unleash the True Potential of Blockchain

The Network of Networks, Scalable Interoperability to Unleash the True Potential of Blockchain
There is not going to be one blockchain to rule them all, each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Interoperability is key to unlocking the true potential of blockchain, where it will have a profound effect across all industries, creating a secure, trusted and hyper-connected world.
The rise of The Networks of Networks, interconnecting all DLT Networks, existing off-chain networks and even the Internet itself. Where true, scalable interoperability can be achieved without requiring connected chains to fork their code and imposing limitations, without the overhead, bottleneck and single point of failure of adding another blockchain in the middle. Where it will be quick, easy and free to participate.
It’s time to stop the childish tribalism that’s plagued this space for so long and realise the bigger picture. Tribes fighting amongst themselves over a tiny insignificant island where there is a whole world out there to conquer if they work together. A rising tide lifts all boats and with the birth of The Network of Networks all connected projects can benefit from the efforts of each other, to usher in Mass adoption of Blockchain.
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In this article I will discuss the foundations that are being laid in preparation for the release of Overledger Network, The Network of Networks to make all of this possible and to unleash the true potential of blockchain with a secure, hyper-connected decentralised ecosystem. Table of Contents:
  1. Overledger SDK Update
  2. Standards
  3. Security
  4. Regulation
  5. Overledger Network
  6. The Five Ingredients of Interoperability
  7. Connecting Blockchain and Non-DLT Applications / Networks to Overledger
  8. Connecting the Internet directly to blockchain
  9. Join your favourite Blockchain project to the Overledger Network Ecosystem

Overledger SDK Update

Quant have just released their Overledger SDK update which has enabled standardisation of objects to abstract and simplify how to interact with different types of blockchains (UXTO and Account-based) in a common model. As well as the ability to directly deploy, invoke and query smart contracts directly through Overledger. I strongly recommend reading the teams Overledger SDK Update which explains it in more detail and includes example use cases of how Overledger is being used and the benefits it brings. Dr Luke Riley also did a fantastic job providing an in-depth demo of the Overledger SDK Update via Video as well.
https://youtu.be/PbpaZpe4mTQ

“This update sets the foundations to build the ecosystem for Overleger Network, allowing stakeholders other than Quant to write any type (DLT and non-DLT) Overledger connectors and sets up the ecosystem with multiple entry points for Overledger Gateways. These updates open up the integration capabilities of Overledger to 3rd parties and create the foundations for the Overledger Network”

Standards

“Trusted standards mean that industry doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, that innovations will be compatible and work with existing technology, and that products and services will be trusted too. Governments use standards as trusted solutions to complement regulation, and they give peace of mind to consumers who know they are not putting themselves or their families at risk.” — Acting ISO Secretary-General Kevin McKinley
The foundations need to align with internationally recognised standards as they play a crucial role in ensuring interoperability with new and existing technology and validates a product meets the best practices / regulation required to ensure Enterprises remains in compliance. CEO of Quant, Gilbert Verdian, founded the ISO TC 307 standard covering blockchain as a whole, which 56 countries are working towards today.
Countries involved with ISO TC 307 — https://www.iso.org/committee/6266604.html?view=participation
Gilbert Verdian is the chairman for the ISO TC 307 working group for interoperability of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems as well as being chairman for Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology for BSI (British Standards Institution) which represent the UK and includes companies such as Quant, IBM, Microsoft, HSBC, BAE Systems, Huawei as well as a number of UK Government bodies such as BEIS — Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Defence Science and Technology and the National Cyber Security Centre.
The standardisation updates to the Overledger SDK aligns with the work in ISO TC 307 and academic work from Dr Paolo Tasca and Dr Claudio Tessone to provide users with a clear distributed ledger data standard. This will enable everyone to easily create connectors in a standard way, facilitating interoperability with all of the connected blockchains / non-DLT networks that are already connected to Overledger through Overledger Gateways.

Security

Cybersecurity is in Quant’s DNA. The team have a rich heritage of working for Governments, banks and industry for over 20 years protecting organisations and people from security threats. Before Quant, Gilbert Verdian was the Chief Information Security Officer for Vocalink (Mastercard) where he was in charge of security for the entire payments infrastructure in the UK (£6 Trillion per year).
Gilbert has led a team determined to take security to another level, protecting a critical part of the UK’s infrastructure, protecting UK citizens and businesses from fraud and risk and, by extension, allowing them to live as they want to. Under Gilbert’s guidance, Vocalink security is not merely best-in-class, but setting a new standard. — https://connect.vocalink.com/2017/july/a-winning-streak/
In addition to Quant being selected as a Guarantor for Pay.UK, Gilbert has also been appointed to the Cybersecurity Advisory Board (Pay.UK is the UK’s leading retail payments authority and runs the UK’s retail payments operations, which includes Bacs, Faster Payments and Cheques.)
The pillars of security are Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability. As such, they have used their experience in running payment and financial infrastructure and critical national infrastructure for nations and embedded these principles into every aspect of Overledger.

Regulation

Regulation is playing an ever increasing role for blockchain. Standards and Security naturally complement and help define regulation. The verticals Quant are involved in with regards to regulation span the globe. Gilbert helped shape the conversation about consumer data protection rights during his time as CISO of NSW Health, and is continuing to serve as a cornerstone for policy within the adoption of blockchain in public infrastructure. Quant serves as a founding member of INATBA (The International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications), which is the formal governing body of the European Blockchain Partnership, all of which is overseen in Brussels by the EU. More locally, Gilbert and team are in consistent contact with the House of Lords within the UK, and advises the FCA in matters regarding cryptoassets.
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As recently seen in the SDK update, Overledger can serve as a key component of automatic compliance of governance bodies’ financial regulation, shown here by an Overledger instance reporting to the BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority. Project BARAC, stewarded by University College London, is a project examining the impact Automatic Regulation as administered by Blockchain can have on the Federal Government. Most notably, the FCA and R3, the developers of Corda, are involved here. Gilbert’s recent engagements with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston also seem to revolve around this very topic, with the Boston Fed pilot-testing a Supervisor Node for automatic regulatory compliance. While at P2PFISY 2019, it was noted by Gilbert that Raphael Auer’s “Regulation Automata” aligns very well with the vision of Overledger, with Paolo Tasca, former CSO of Quant, more recently co-hosting a recent blockchain panel with him. Raphael’s ideas will most likely be taken into consideration by the BIS, as they recently announced a trial of a 6 central banks collaboration centered around exploring CBDC, and are in the early stages of installing Innovation Hubs in Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Singapore.
Gilbert Verdian with Guy Dietrich (Managing Director at Rockefeller Capital who is also on the Board at Quant) attending a meeting with the Financial Conduct Authority

Overledger Network

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The Overledger Network is a network of networks, which allows enterprise and communities stakeholders to access and participate in a growing hyper-connected decentralised ecosystem. Enterprises, banks, central banks, trading venues, etc will be able to host their own secure dedicated gateways, enabling secure connectivity to permissioned networks, permissionless networks, ecosystems, consortia and other distributed technologies. Community members will also be able to run an Overledger gateway to further enhance the scalability, decentralisation and optimise network latency, providing enterprises, developers and users choice to use the closest gateway when accessing permissionless blockchains. The Overledger gateways will create a scalable p2p network that shares the transaction and volume between participants and chooses the closest or largest node to transact with.
As per the example use case in the recent update a Bank can run an Overledger Gateway to provide access to the various consortiums hosted on a variety of blockchains including Corda, Hyperledger Fabric and JP Morgan’s Quorum as well as access to the legacy / non-DLT platforms. Should they want to utilise a public blockchain as well in a hybrid scenario then they also have the option of using a Overledger Gateway hosted by a community member.
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The Overledger Gateways contain several layers which we will explore some of their features below:

Overledger Operating System

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Overledger allows connection to any blockchain / DAG as well as easily integrating with existing non-DLT environments. It does this without adding the overhead of yet another blockchain / consensus in the middle, ensuring that it’s scalable and doesn’t contain a single point of failure. Nor does it require the connected blockchains to fork their code to integrate and place restrictions on what can be implemented going forward. All of this is done in a secure, trustless manner where transactions are signed and encrypted client side so the contents can’t be viewed / modified as they pass through Overledger. It currently connects all of the leading permissioned and permissionless blockchains used by enterprises today. This article explains the differences between other interoperability solutions and the benefits of Quant’s approach

The Five Ingredients of Interoperability:

Recently there was an interoperability webinar with Fintech connect with speakers such as R3’s CTO Richard Gendal Brown, along with representatives from the Bank of England, Deutsche Boerse, Nasdaq, ArchaxEx and SwissRe. Richard Gendal Brown from R3 wrote about the Five key Ingredients of Interoperability:
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  1. INTEGRATE with existing business systems — Businesses aren’t going to replace their existing applications for new blockchain ones, they need to integrate with their existing systems.
  2. INITIATE Payments on existing rails or blockchain rails — Needs to be able to make a payment / settlement using a wide variety of existing payment rails (off chain) as well as blockchain rails, ensuring delivery vs payment can be achieved with certainty that they have happened.
  3. INTERCHAIN applications and smart contracts that can be deployed / executed across protocols — Enabling a solution built on Corda such as Marco Polo to easily connect to a solution on another platform such as Vakt on Ethereum or CargoSmart on Hyperledger Fabric etc
  4. INTRACHAIN applications that benefit from value add of same underlying protocol — What happens when networks such as Marco Polo and Contour both running on Corda want to interoperate and the additional value and benefit that can be achieved.
  5. INTERCHANGE applications to switch platforms — What happens if you want to interchange one platform for another. Can you achieve that holy grail of interoperability by being able to be completely agnostic to the underlying platform?
Overledger meets all of these key ingredients in performing interoperability. Overledger enables existing business systems to benefit from blockchain connectivity by adding as little as 3 lines of code to their existing applications. No need to completely rewrite / replace their existing systems and all done in the most common programming languages such as Java and JavaScript.
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At QuantX in December they announced Overledger Interchange which enables settlement on a variety of existing non-dlt payment rails such as Faster Payments, BACS, CHAPS, SEPA, SWIFT as well as on DLT payment rails such as with Central Bank Digital Currencies, Stablecoins and XRP. It also facilitates Cross Chain Atomic Swaps using Hash Time Locked Contracts ensuring Delivery vs Payment is achieved. Interchange is at the centre of the discussions Quant has had with traditional exchanges in capital markets and central banks and is a technology financial services have been missing and was built it address client needs.
Overledger enables interoperability within the same ecosystem such as Corda DAPP to another Corda DAPP etc as well as interoperability between any of the connected permissionless and permissioned blockchains.
Quants blockchain agnostic Operating System enables users to benefit from using the best features from different chains in combination and migrate between them, preventing Vendor or Tech Lock in without having to completely rewrite existing applications, achieving the holy grail of interoperability. It enables developers to quickly test a variety of connected blockchains in a sandbox environment to see which is best suited for their requirements, starting with just 3 lines of code.

Transactions Services Layer

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The Transaction Services layer handles more complex features of Overledger. Allowing for applications to request services such as cross-chain atomic swaps, treaty contracts (Multi Chain Smart Contracts as well as enabling smart contract functionality even on blockchains that don’t support smart contracts natively such as Bitcoin) and transaction brokering (using heuristic analysis to determine which method is the fastest / cheapest out of the various payment rails)

Financial Services Layer

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Financial services features can be called upon by participants and applications to use crosschain and cross-platform. Financial Services specific use cases can use the features in Overledger to operate across networks. This layer provides enhanced privacy and security to regulated entities and institutions who require additional controls to maintain compliance to regulation and security policy. The features of Zero-knowledge Proof and privacy can be mandated for all transactions.

Channels Layer

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Channels provide interoperability of services related to digital assets, payments and tokenisation. The Overledger Network allows for participants to transfer interoperate enterprise and institutional issued tokens and assets. Connect to many existing payment rails such as SWIFT, SEPA, Faster Payments etc.
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Connecting Blockchain and Non-DLT Applications / Networks to Overledger

The connectors to Overledger which grant access to Overledger Network will be open source and soon be made available, allowing for anyone to create a connector and benefit from being part of the ecosystem. Currently the permissionless blockchain space is mostly speculation with little adoption, mainly due to issues that need to be resolved such as scalability, privacy and regulation with permissionless blockchains, however there are some extremely large Enterprises, Banks, Governments, even Central Banks getting heavily involved and going into production albeit mostly in the permissioned blockchain space where such issues are not a problem. Just as each Blockchain has its advantages and disadvantages, parts of Enterprise applications are better suited to Permissioned blockchains (such as more sensitive parts) and permissionless blockchains suited for a higher degree of immutability, thus a Hybrid model requiring interoperability between permissioned, permissionless as well as existing non-DLT applications is required arguably for many years ahead. Just as with cloud computing where everything didn’t suddenly just move up into the cloud, well over a decade later since the birth of the likes of Amazon AWS, hybrid is still very prevalent today with only recently the likes of central banks, banks, governments discussing moving more sensitive workloads to public clouds such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud etc.

SIA, Central Banks, Banks, Trading Venues

Quant Network partnered with SIA, a game changer for mass blockchain adoption by Financial Institutions. SIA is the leading financial network provider in Europe that connects over 570 Banks, Central Banks, Trading Venues (stock exchanges etc) to their infrastructure. They provide a dedicated private network / infrastructure for financial institutions. Every European financial institution will either connect via SIA, in partnership with Colt or via SWIFT (and in many cases they will have connectivity with both) in order to access the Eurosystem Single Market Infrastructure Gateway, granting access to all RTGS, Securities and Instant Payment transactions for Europe.
SIA have integrated Overledger into their private infrastructure covering Europe consisting of 570 supernodes called SIAChain which enables each bank, central Bank, trading venue etc to utilise Overledger for interoperability. Some of the largest deployments of blockchain are happening on SIAChain such as the Spunta project where the entire Italian Banking Sector will be using blockchain and due to go live next month. As well as the “Fideiussioni Digitali” initiative (Digital Sureties) to digitize the management of sureties using blockchain technology with the Central Bank of Italy involved.
Central Bank Digital Currencies are going to play a hugely significant role in the future and there is one central Bank currently testing Overledger and Quant are in discussions with 4 others.
Connecting your blockchain / legacy network to Overledger enables the possibility that it could be used by any of these connected Banks, Central Banks, Trading venues etc in their private network (obviously due to the amount of regulation and critical financial infrastructure the options are going to be limited on what they want to connect).
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Oracle

Quant are a Fintech Partner with Oracle, the 2nd largest software company in the world and Oracle are taking Quant’s tech to their clients directly. They have 480,000 clients globally and towards the end of last year Oracle invited Quant to attend Sibos (SWIFT) where they met existing financial services and banking clients and introduced to new ones. By connecting to Overledger this also enables your solution to potentially be used by those 480,000 of Oracle’s global clients.
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SIMBA Chain

SIMBA Chain is a cloud-based, smart-contract-as-a-service (SCaaS) platform, enabling users across a variety of skill sets to implement dapps (decentralized applications). The easy-to-use platform is tailored for users, developers, government, and enterprises to quickly deploy blockchain dapps for their enterprise. SIMBA Chain are developing on Quant’s Overledger Blockchain OS to allow them to deploy DAPPs across multiple connected blockchains.
SIMBA Chain have recently been awared a $9.5 million contract with the US Navy, they are also working with the US Air Force. They have a thriving ecosystem with over 1100 Organizations and 650+ Applications developed. Partners include Microsoft, Government Blockchain Association, Air Force Research Laboratory, Caterpillar, SAP and EY. Recently they also integrated Unity 3D plugin for Gaming to enable owning, storing, and managing all personal gaming assets across a variety of blockchains.
These are just a few of the companies that Quant have partnered with directly, but the ecosystem for Overledger Network is the Network of Networks. Every connected blockchain (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple (XRPL), EOS, Stellar, IOTA, DAG, R3’s Corda, Hyperledger Fabric, JP Morgan’s Quorum and other Permissioned Variants of Ethereum) and their associated partners / applications built on them have the ability to connect and interoperate with the other blockchains connected as well as non-DLT networks such as existing payment rails like SWIFT, Faster Payments, SEPA etc. This Network of Network’s effects will grow exponentially as more and more join the ecosystem.
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Connecting the Internet directly to blockchain

Quant Network are also developing the ability to allow developers to build MAPPs that integrate directly with the internet as well as blockchain data. They will enable this via creating a new IP address for blockchains which they are calling Quant IP which will enable traffic to be routed from an IP connection from the Internet through Overledger to the connected blockchains.
Another Quant product called Seeq is a distributed search engine that is able to search and retrieve data from multiple blockchains and display them via html directly from the blockchain. More details will be released about Seeq later this year.
Connecting the Internet directly to blockchain will allow websites to be natively created and served directly from blockchains, without the need to have, run and maintain web servers, web services, SSL certificates etc and all running in a completely trusted, extremely resilient / tamperproof environment. The implications of this are enormous and more details will be released by the team later on this exciting prospect. By connecting your blockchain to Overledger you will also be able to benefit from this.

Join your favourite Blockchain project to the Overledger Network Ecosystem

Instead of the current mentality of having the main focus for many projects of listing on exchanges for vast sums of money, why not spend a little time (connectors can be created in as little as a week of development and don’t necessarily even need to be created by the team themselves) and make your blockchain / non-DLT application available to be used by all existing enterprises / members. Not only that but if you also run an Overledger Gateway connecting your blockchain node you also benefit from the transaction fees of the traffic going to it. The connectors are open source and completely free to connect and now with the standardisation of Objects in the recent SDK update the foundations are in place for the launch of Overledger Network with an ETA of Q2 2020. If you would like your favourite blockchain project to interoperate and be part of the ecosystem to further adoption then make the relevant people aware and keep an eye out for further details released in the future.

https://medium.com/@CryptoSeq/the-network-of-networks-scalable-interoperability-to-unleash-the-true-potential-of-blockchain-c54e7d373d2d

Thanks to community member Ghost of St. Miklos for contributing the section about regulation as well as Sonic for proofreading.
You can find more about Overledger Network as well as the token utility — here and community member David W. wrote an excellent article “A deeper look into the Quant Network Utility Token (QNT) valuation dynamics and fundamentals”
What is a blockchain operating system and what are the benefits? Introducing Overledger from Quant Network.
Wall Street 2.0: How Blockchain will revolutionise Wall Street and a closer look at Quant Network’s Partnership with AX Trading
Large Enterprise Adoption of Blockchain is happening, enabled by Quant Network’s Overledger
As well as an 8 Part Series taking an indepth look at Overledger starting with Part 1
submitted by xSeq22x to QuantNetwork [link] [comments]

Over the past 100 days, Grayscale has bought every third bitcoin

Over the past 100 days, Grayscale has bought every third bitcoin

Over the past 100 days, Grayscale has bought every third bitcoin
The Grayscale Investments cryptocurrency investment fund acquired every third bitcoin mined in the last 100 days. And in April, the fund bought 50% of all ETH mined. At the same time, despite the financial crisis and the fall of the cryptocurrency market in March, shares of Grayscale crypto funds in the first quarter of 2020 attracted record investments, which indicates a growing interest of institutional investors in the crypto industry. Why does the company need so many coins, what is its current position regarding the crypto market and what role does it play on it?

Grayscale Investors Believe in Bitcoin

Grayscale Investments, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG), owner of the famous crypto media CoinDesk. The investment fund is the largest institutional holder of bitcoin. The company’s main product is the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), with which accredited investors can earn on bitcoin without actually owning it. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust tracks the price of bitcoin based on the TradeBlock XBX index.
Grayscale accumulates Bitcoin on an impressive scale. Reddit user under the nickname u/parakite noted that the fund added 60,762 BTC ($548.3 million on the day of publication) from February 7 to May 17. This is a third of the total number of bitcoins mined over the past three months.
The user made a table showing how the number of bitcoins in GBTC changed:
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As you can see, the procurement rate of the MTC fund has been increasing since the end of 2019. GBTC has become more aggressive in its acquisitions since early April before the upcoming halving of the Bitcoin network. About 34% of the 60,762 MTC were purchased 17 days before the reduction in remuneration to the miners.
As of May 17, GBTC under management had a total of 343 954 BTC. This is 21% more than the 283,192 BTC held by the fund 100 days earlier. In value terms, the portfolio grew from $2.77 billion to $3.37 billion.
“Grayscale is just one of many, albeit the largest, ETFs that people use to buy bitcoin, not wanting to mess around with private keys and other problems,” commented u/parakite. — There is a demand for it. The supply is declining. Let’s see where we will be in 100 days.”
88% of Grayscale customers are institutional investors. Most likely, the sharp increase in the pace of the purchase of military-technical cooperation in addition to the last halving is due to the desire of investors to hedge risks during the developing crisis.

GBTC stock price over the past year, according to Yahoo.Finance. The price of shares (shares) of GBTC does not coincide with the price of the MTC, it depends on the mood of investors and can be traded with a premium or a significant discount. Usually it follows bitcoin, but sometimes the trends diverge. So, the difference between the July and current MTC rates is 20–30%, and between the same GBTC shares it is about 70%.

Grayscale also bought half of ETH mined in April

Aggressive Grayscale crypto purchases have recently been spotted with respect to ether. So, by April 24, the company had bought about 756 539 ETNs (accurate data are not publicly available) for its Ethereum Trust fund. This is about 48.4% of all 1.5 million coins mined since the beginning of this year. As a result, the company already owns 1% of all coins in circulation and only increases the pace of purchases. The first user to notice this was Reddit under the nickname u/nootropicat.
According to the latest quarterly report by Grayscale, the flow of investments in ETN reached a record level for the first three months of 2020 — $110 million. This is a very sharp increase, given that total investments in ETN for the previous two years amounted to $95.8 million. The total demand for the Ethereum fund grew over the quarter is almost 2.5 times compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.
From the beginning of the year until the end of April, the company issued 5.23 million shares of the fund at 0.09427052 ETN apiece.
At the same time, shares are traded with a premium of 420% relative to the current price of the coin — $92 against $17.70. That is, investors are willing to pay extra pretty much not to deal with cryptocurrency on their own.
Most likely, the increase in the rate of purchase of the coin is associated with the upcoming upgrade of the network to the state of Ethereum 2.0. It can take place at the end of July, but, most likely, it will happen not earlier than the end of the year. After the upgrade, the network will become more scalable and there will be the possibility of staking — validators will be able to receive passive income for providing their funds to confirm the blocks.
The crypto market, by the way, is also preparing for the transition of the ecosystem to a new stage. ETH has grown 55% since the crash in March, from $110 to $202 on the day of publication. At the end of April, CoinDesk drew attention to the increase in the number of long positions in ETH futures — this indicates expectations for further growth of the coin.

Last quarter — the most successful in the history of the company

In May, Grayscale released a report on the results of the first quarter of this year. “Despite the decline in risky assets this quarter, Grayscale’s assets continue to approach record highs, as does our share of the digital asset market,” the document says. And this despite the coronavirus pandemic, the global recession and the traditional cryptocurrency market volatility.
A record $503.7 million investment was raised in the first quarter. This is almost twice the previous quarterly maximum of $254 million in the third quarter of last year and accounts for 83% of the total capital of $1.07 billion raised for the entire 2019. New investors accounted for $160 million of raised funds. The main products of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust and Grayscale Ethereum Trust raised $388.9 million and $110 million, respectively. It is noteworthy that the company reduced the premium on stocks of funds relative to the price of assets.
88% of investments came from institutional investors, among which hedge funds prevail; 5% — from accredited individuals, 4% — from pension accounts (yes, pension funds are extremely conservative in nature, but also invest in bitcoin against the background of a decrease in the profitability of other assets); 3% came from family offices, and 38% of customers invested in several products at once.
It is noteworthy that two years ago the share of institutional investors was about 50% — it is obvious that they no longer consider bitcoin as something criminal. “Many of our investors see digital assets as medium and long-term investment opportunities and the main component of their investment portfolios. Quarterly inflows doubled to $ 503.7 million, demonstrating that demand is reaching new peak levels even in conditions of “risk reduction”, the document says.

Today, more than 46.5% of the inflow of funds was attracted from multi-strategic investors. Crypto investors accounted for only 11.2% of the inflow, according to the report.
Grayscale currently operates ten cryptocurrency investment products targeted at institutional investors. They cover PTS, ETN, ETS, BCH, ZEC, XRP, LTC, ZEN, XLM. The value of the assets under his management is more than $3.8 billion. GBTC is the most demanded product, most investors invest in it and it takes about 1.7% of the total volume of circulating bitcoins.

Aggregate quarterly flow of funds to different Grayscale products. Pay attention to the growing share of investors diversifying portfolios with products tied to altcoins.
Since January of this year, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has been registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to it, the company provides quarterly and annual reports in the form of 10-K. The status makes it possible to sell shares of a trust in the secondary market after 6 months, rather than 12, as before, and also increases the confidence of conservative investors. Other products comply with OTCQX reporting standards in the OTC market and are approved by the US Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for public offering.

Amount of assets managed by Grayscale as of May 20, 2020.
It is noteworthy that the news about the success of Grayscale comes amid news of how panicky investors in traditional assets are fleeing from market turmoil. So, the largest fund managers — BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Global Advisors — lost several trillion in capitalization of their assets, and BlackRock in the first quarter for the first time in five years saw a net outflow of funds from its long-term investment products.

Bitcoin is the best asset for hedging portfolios in crisis

At the end of April, Grayscale also released a separate report on the analysis of the impact of regulators during a pandemic and the crisis caused by it and how it affected the bitcoin and cryptocurrency market as a whole.
The document said fiat currencies are at risk of devaluation as central banks print more and more money. Even the US dollar, which is the world’s reserve currency, risks being devalued if the US Federal Reserve continues to print the currency in trillions. A decrease in interest rates to zero and negative values deprives government bonds of the status of “safe haven” during the crisis.
Therefore, investors are trying to diversify their portfolios with alternative instruments. Cryptocurrencies are the best choice for this, according to the authors of the report. The text emphasizes the historical significance of gold as a global standard, but it is noted that in the modern digital world it is becoming increasingly burdensome for investors — it has complex logistics. Bitcoin seems resistant to the problems that other assets face. Therefore, in times of economic uncertainty, the first cryptocurrency is one of the best assets that investors can use to hedge their portfolios. The coin performs better than any other asset, including fiat currencies, government bonds, and traditional commodities like gold. The authors of the report emphasize that Bitcoin has already begun to show signs of becoming a protective asset.
At the same time, the company believes that bitcoin is an excellent asset not only in times of crisis. So, in December 2019, Managing Director of Grayscale Investments Michael Sonnenshine said that the company expects an influx of investments in bitcoin after the transfer of $68 trillion of savings between generations in the next 25 years. Today, this capital is invested in traditional assets, but a significant part of these wealth millennials will invest in cryptocurrencies. Already, according to him, investments in GBTC are among the five most popular among young people, ahead of, for example, investments in Microsoft and Netflix.

Finally

The unprecedented financial measures taken by the US Federal Reserve, as well as the worsening recession, are forcing even the most conservative investors to rethink their current strategies and portfolio composition. Many of them are increasingly beginning to appreciate the fixed emission and non-correlation of Bitcoin — it is becoming a tool for risk diversification. Growing institutional interest is driving the acceleration of coin prices.
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Develop a profitable Bitcoin Trading Strategy! - YouTube

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