Saturday, December 30, 2017

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Privacy Coins

 

With over 50 privacy coins on the market, purveyors of anonymous transactions are spoilt for choice. This smorgasbord of privacy-centric coins can be a little overwhelming though. To help you pick the best of the bunch, here's our rundown of the main contenders.

How Privacy Coins Work
Bitcoin transactions are semi-anonymous: every transaction on the blockchain is broadcast publicly and visible for all eternity, but the owner of each wallet is unknown. Tying addresses to real-world identities is now relatively easy for the powers-that-be, because everyone has to cash out somewhere, and that usually involves linking bitcoin addresses to bank accounts.

Most privacy coins still rely on a bitcoin-style public ledger, but use technology that obfuscates the path of the transaction. It might still be possible to determine that a certain amount of cryptocurrency was sent, but the path leading from sender to recipient has been concealed. The way in which various privacy coins go about this differs considerably.

Privacy Tech Algorithms
The three most common privacy algorithms are zk-Snarks, Coinjoin, and RingCT. The latter method is used in monero; Coinjoin features in dash and is also being trialed with bitcoin; and zk-Snarks are used by most of the Z coins including Zcash. Here's how they work:

RingCT: Monero's ring signatures allow the sender to hide their transaction among other outputs. In addition, RingCT makes it possible to hide the amount being sent. Coupled with a stealth receiving address, this makes for an extremely discreet way of sending funds. Transparency is optional with monero, which uses an "opaque" blockchain.

How monero's RingCT works.
Coinjoin: Developed by Gregory Maxwell, Coinjoin deploys a 'safety in numbers' approach. When two senders despatch a transaction of an identical amount, this is converted into a joint payment. When this occurs, correlating the transaction inputs and outputs is virtually impossible. There are many variants of Coinjoin including Private Send, which is used by dash, and Coin Shuffle; Cash Shuffle is the version currently being tested with bitcoin cash.

zk-Snarks: Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge is a technology that allows miners to verify transactions without knowing who sent or received the coins. Using a cryptographic hash, each party can prove that a certain statement is true without revealing the precise details of who sent what and where. Although most commonly associated with the Zerocoin family, zk-Snarks are also being tested with ethereum.

The Main Privacy Players
Several of the most popular privacy coins have since forked, creating additional flavors of privacy coin. These spin-offs tend to use the same privacy algorithm but add additional features. We'll consider some of these forks shortly, but first let's examine the big two in the privacy war.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Privacy CoinsZcash: Born out of the Zerocoin protocol, Zcash is basically bitcoin with the option of privacy. There's a fixed supply of 21 million coins (sound familiar?) and despite using a public blockchain, Zcash allows for the sender, recipient, and amount being sent all to be concealed. Researchers have published evidence that suggests some Zcash transactions can be de-anonymized, though for everyday usage, Zcash should still provide enough privacy for most people.

To date, Zcash is mostly being used as a regular cryptocurrency, with only a small portion of users enabling its privacy features. Tellingly, Zcash doesn't have much by way of deep web adoption, a realm whose users are especially paranoid about privacy.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Privacy CoinsMonero: Like Zcash, monero has emerged as a viable cryptocurrency in its own right, even for individuals who aren't interested in privacy. Its privacy tech is highly regarded and numerous deep web marketplaces accept monero. Monero usage surged in the wake of the Alphabay shutdown, after it emerged that feds were unable to determine how much XMR the site's alleged kingpin, Alexandre Cazes, held.

A string of deep web dealers were busted this year after their bitcoin transactions were tied to their real-world identities, and it was around then that monero cemented itself as the darknet's privacy coin of choice. SHUM – Should Have Used Monero – is the default reply on r/darknetmarkets any time another vendor is busted.

The Forked Contenders
The Zerocoin protocol has spawned a slew of Z-named coins, most of which forked from Zcash. There isn't space to detail them all, but the following two are particularly interesting.

Zclassic: ZCL forked from Zcash over concerns that Zcash had an excessive pre-mine. Zclassic has since forged its own path and is currently one of the hottest privacy tokens in town. ZCL has rocketed in value this week due to the forthcoming launch of Bitcoin Private. This is a fork which aims to combine the best bits of bitcoin and Zclassic. Because Bitcoin Private will be available to holders of Zclassic, buyers have bundled into ZCL, pushing its price to over $100, in readiness for the free Bitcoin Private coins they stand to receive at the time of the fork.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Privacy CoinsZencash: ZEN is a fork of Zclassic – that's right, a fork of a fork – but it's got some interesting features, not least encrypted messaging. Like dash, zencash uses nodes as an additional means of securing its network; there are currently almost 5,000 ZEN Secure Nodes in operation. ZEN is a community-oriented project that utilizes many of the principles governing a DAO, and the nascent privacy coin seems to have a solid roadmap in place.



The Hopefuls
The following coins have privacy features either enabled as standard or as an optional extra and are also worthy of consideration.

Dash: By market cap, dash is the biggest coin on this list. It's not an outright privacy coin however, but does have Private Send for users who'd prefer to keep their business to themselves.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Privacy CoinsZcoin: The other Z worth mentioning, Zcoin enables users to "mint" a coin on a public ledger so as to transform it into a private coin. This process can be repeated multiple times, allowing a coin to be sent publicly or privately as desired.

Pivx: An open source project, Pivx is another community-oriented privacy coin. It uses a mixing mechanism that's based on Coinjoin, but which operates in a decentralized manner, aided by a network of masternodes.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Privacy CoinsVerge: XVG is another anonymous cryptocurrency that was designed for privacy-friendly networks such as Tor and I2P. The general consensus is that verge isn't as private as some of its competitors, so don't trust it with your life. On the plus side, it boasts fast and low-cost transactions.

The Rest of the Pack
Unfortunately there isn't space to delve into the inner workings of every privacy coin on the market. When it comes to the likes of Navcoin, Hcash, Cloakcoin, Stealthcoin, Hush, Zoin, Spectrecoin and all the rest, you'll need to do your own research and assess the merits of each coin's privacy tech. With over 50 coins to choose from, you could be reading for some time. This Twitter thread rounds up the rest of the chasing pack.

How to Ensure Complete Privacy
Buying a privacy coin doesn't mean you now operate under a cloak of invisibility. From browser fingerprinting to recording IP addresses, there are various ways in which three-letter agencies can de-anonymize supposedly private transactions. Unless you're a drug lord or a terrorist, though, they've probably got better things to do with their time. In situations where absolute privacy is essential, there are mixers such as Bitmixer and Join Market that can be used to tumble coins and obfuscate their origins.

When using monero, some users split their transaction into multiple hops, often passing through Shape Shift from a different altcoin and then on to an Electrum wallet using Tails. There's no such thing as perfect privacy on the web, but privacy coins make it a lot easier to send and receive funds without broadcasting your business to the world. Expect to see many more privacy-centric coins entering the market in 2018 as the battle for privacy heats up.

Here Are the Crypto Exchanges With the Lowest Fees

 


Considering you've got to pay a network fee every time you want to transfer cryptocurrency, you'd be justified in wanting to avoid excessive exchange fees. It's bad enough that the dollar value of Bitcoin transaction fees can be upwards of double digits, so there's no need to get gouged on withdrawal and trading rates by your favorite exchange. That's why we compiled this handy list of low-fee exchanges so that you can get the best bang for your buck investing that crisp Benjamin your granny gave you for Christmas.

GDAX is Coinbase's exchange counterpart, and conveniently, if you have an existing Coinbase account, you can automatically link it with GDAX. The exchange charges 0% for maker trades, 0.25% for Bitcoin taker trades, and 0.30% for Litecoin and Ethereum taker trades (maker trades provide liquidity by creating a new buy/sell offer that is not immediately filled, while taker trades remove liquidity by taking a standing buy/sell offer and are filled immediately). GDAX does not charge for deposits or withdrawals.

Coinbase, on the other hand, charges a 1.49% fee for currency purchased using a bank account and 3.99% (yikes) for purchases using a credit/debit card. When we compare the two – and factor in the fact that you can use GDAX with your Coinbase account – GDAX is a no-brainer for fiat-to-crypto trading pairs.

BINANCE
Once you've got your wallet loaded with some coins, Binance is a great exchange option if you're looking to take that Ethereum or Bitcoin and turn it into some altcoins.

Binance offers incredibly low rates, charging a flat 0.1% for all buy and sell orders with no deposit fee. Withdrawal fees vary on a coin-by-coin basis.

Even better, if you're trading with Binance's own coin (BNB), all exchange fees are cut in half to 0.05%. That's hands down the lowest you'll see an exchange charge for trading on its platform.

Like Binance, HitBTC is another solid choice for low-fee trading. While it may not be as popular as other exchanges and includes fewer markets, HitBTC only charges a 0.1% fee on buy/sell orders.

For deposits, HitBTC does not charge a fee, but rates for withdrawals vary by coin.

Bitfinex charges a bit more than Binance and HitBTC do, but not by much. This exchange charges a 0.1% maker fee and a 0.2% taker fee. This is compared to Bittrex, which charges a constant 0.25% for both taker and maker trades.

As you probably guessed by now, Bitfinex has no deposit fee, but like those before it, there's a withdrawal fee that varies from coin to coin.

These two are at the bottom of our list because while they still have lower fees than some of the other choices out there, the exchanges we've listed so far have them beat.

On Poloniex, maker fees come in at 0.15%, while taker fees will run you 0.25%. Funnily enough, Kraken is just 0.01% higher on both fronts, with 0.16% and 0.26% for maker and taker trades, respectively.

You already know what's coming, don't you? Yep: no deposit fees, and withdrawal fees vary.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

11 The intelligent investors guide to Particl (PART): Part 4 - Is there a huge unmet demand for 100% private 2-party transactions? (self.Particl)

 

Is there a huge unmet demand for 100% private 2-party transactions?

...

Yes.

...

Privacy centric markets e.g. Particl (PART) are useful for:

 

  • Privacy enthusiasts.

  • People who wish to live independent of fiat.

  • People who live in localities where crypto is not taxed or recognized as a legal unit of exchange (potentially legally bypassing local tax laws).

  • Grey market purchases (nootropics, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, alcohol, luxury goods, knockoff's (including unbranded device clones or items which are essentially legal but copyright may be an issue).

  • Embarrassing legal goods purchases or purchases you do not want appearing on a credit card statement (sex toys is an obvious one; I'm sure there are more)

  • People in countries with unstable economies (Venezuela, Zimbabwe) where local currency hyperinflation means purchasing various goods in native currency is pointless/expensive/cumbersome but using alternative non-private currencies to transact (e.g. Bitcoin) may result in prosecution.

  • Legal transaction of goods internationally but the need to keep location of buyer/sender publicly hidden due to local/regional restrictions or requirements for other bureaucracy if purchased in fiat

  • Extremely sensitive research and development or manufacturing projects especially product manufacture where for whatever reason the design, parts and manufacturing process must be completely unknown or obscurable.

  • Purist use as a store of value, anonymous secure, large OTC cryptocurrency transactions and wholeseller/sensitive R&D or confidential supply chain transactions is a massive legal use case area.

  • Whole seller/boutique manufacturing and R&D is probably the biggest legal use case especially where patent's or highly sensitive data is concerned and for whole sellers and large scale manufacturers who wish to keep their trade secrets intact.

  • Providing a safe, secure competitive edge when negociating with multiple contractors. MAD Escrow service serves as a nice deposit feature for lock on of contracts for large scale distributors where trust or quality concerns may be an issue.

  • Sometimes the convenience associated with trading on a fully anonymous platform (where the client node locations are anon and the buyer/seller/amount are publicly anon) in terms of keeping paperwork and records but still trading goods for a fungible currency) outweighs the risks. Anyone who has ever had to do company accounts will understand what a pain in the ass these are to keep and produce.

  • Any transaction where only the buyer and seller can know about the nature of the transaction. This relates back to R&D, sensitive information exchange but is facilitated by PARTICL having a trustless, automated non-human escrow (the MAD mutually assured destruction escrow) to ensure both buyer and seller are complicit in ensuring delivery of payment and delivery of goods in acceptable condition.

...

I've discussed this with a friend who tinkers in making all kinds of legal useful gadgets (we're talking voice activated Iron Man suits with built in LCD screens, Thor Hammers and tonnes of custom cosplay stuff in amazing quality); he'd be reluctant to sell these on eBay due to litigation risks but he'd make a killing selling these anonymously online; these are definitely things people want and would enjoy. There's a tonne of stuff on alibaba which would be ideal to sell on the Particl network; true anonymity creates an incentive to justify many of the negatives I've outlined.

 

The stuff he's building would actually be legal to sell in many jurisdictions where copyright laws are more relaxed but centralised services would never tolerate due to their need to appease international corporate interests regardless of laws. Decentralized private commerce would allow him to serve those jurisdictions with confidence.

...

I've also had the pleasure of discussing distributed ledger technologies with an analyst at BNY Mellon who highlighted his opinion that the two big things large investment banks look for in blockchain technology are scalability and privacy. These are banks whose transaction volumes can be in the billions of USD per trade. Discretion for their clients and representatives is paramount and freely publicly viewable records of transactions on a block chain represent a potential disadvantage to adoption. Privacy is paramount and solutions which preserve it protect security.

 

It is unfortunate that in recent times a need for privacy has been confused or maligned in popular culture with the desire to commit illegal activity. In day to day practice, the need for privacy of data transmission and transaction settlement manifests in the designs of all major institutions be it medical records in healthcare, government and corporate memos and communications or even transmission of social media and personal communications. Privacy is fundamentally associated with security and by extension safety.

...

With that in mind, if you started this questioning the value and scope for privacy markets, I hope it is more apparent that the market and volume for true privacy centric, trustless listings, transactions, communications, escrow and marketplace settlement is probably much larger than you realized.

By: Joske

Bitcoin’s Market Cap Surpasses the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights Reserves

 


Twenty-four hours ago the decentralized cryptocurrency bitcoin and its US$300Bn market capitalization just surpassed the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Special Drawing Rights market (SDR $291Bn).

Bitcoin's Market Valuation Outpaces the IMF's Special Drawing Rights Reserves
Bitcoin's value has grown immensely in 2017 outperforming nearly every world currency, stock, and commodity this year. With a global average of over $18,000 per BTC and a $300Bn+ market valuation bitcoin has surpassed the IMF's international reserve assets ($291Bn). The SDR is comprised of a 'basket of legal tender' from five nation-states. The value of the SDR, also known as XDRs, is based off a percentage of Chinese renminbi, U.S. dollar, the Japanese yen, the euro, and the British pound sterling. The SDR was created in 1969 using the Bretton Woods exchange system, and before 1973 it contained the value of 0.8 grams of gold.

The SDR Gains Traction This Year As the U.S. Loses Ground, and Countries Decouple from the USD
Bitcoin's Market Cap Surpasses the IMF's Special Drawing Rights ReservesThe IMF's Special Drawing Rights market has always been controversial since the day it was introduced. Essentially, the basket of currencies are allocated to countries by the IMF and a nation participating in the exchange market has to have reserves. Many skeptics believe the IMF is creating a "globalist one world currency" so it can continue to keep the central banking system in power. This year has been an interesting year for the SDR, as the reserve has gained in value in comparison to other solitary nation-state currencies. The trend has seen an uptick due to a few nations decoupling from the USD, as the IMF revealed this past summer that America was no longer the top economic powerhouse. These days other countries like Germany, Russia, and China are making monetary moves on their own.

Bitcoin's Black Swan Event and the Next Transfer of Wealth
Bitcoin's Market Cap Surpasses the IMF's Special Drawing Rights ReservesHowever, the citizens of the world, the ones without borders, are riding the lightning growth of a different kind of currency. Bitcoin has become the censorship-resistant black swan economy that's not issued by a nation state or corporation. In fact, the decentralized currency came from an anonymous creator, and it's a software made up of digits and code that millions of people trust. Bitcoin has become an internet-infused 'people's money,' and the technology is shifting a lot of wealth into the hands of individuals in a way that's not been seen since the oil rush back in 1859. Even the International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde says bitcoin will cause "massive disruptions" to the existing financial system.

"In many ways, virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money. The best response by central bankers is to continue running effective monetary policy, while being open to fresh ideas and new demands, as economies evolve," explains Lagarde this September. 

The currency was born in 2009 and bitcoin has come along way since 10,000 BTC happened to be traded for two Papa Johns pizzas in 2010. A year later the currency reached parity with the U.S. dollar and rose to thirty dollars during its first "bubble." The reason it was called a bubble is because, shortly after, markets dipped to a low of $2. For a while, the price remained stable, but slowly rose to $13 in December of 2012. Then in the spring of 2013, the price jumped to $266 and rallied to a high of $1,242 across global exchanges. Again the high didn't last long as the price took a bearish dive all year after the Mt Gox exchange lost 800,000 BTC, and went bankrupt. That year economic pundits and financial publications called bitcoin the "worst currency of the year."

Bitcoin's Value Matures Greatly In 2017
In 2015 bitcoin started gradually rising once again and captured the top performing currency in 2015 and 2016. After the new year and into 2017 bitcoin once again surpassed $1,000 per BTC. It started its phenomenal rise that has stayed consistent every month since then. In March of 2017 bitcoin proponents thought it was a big deal when the decentralized currency surpassed the spot price of one troy ounce of .999 gold. However, bitcoin's capitalization even today is tiny in comparison to the gold market's 9 trillion annual valuation. Still, bitcoin is bigger than many of the capitalizations tethered to corporate entities and stocks. For instance, bitcoin's market cap is larger than Paypal, IBM, Disney, General Electric, McDonalds, and even the global fine arts market.

NEO Receives Its First ICO Template

 

NEO Receives Its First ICO Template JP Buntinx  December 15, 2017  Crypto, News TheMerkle NEO Price Supply Increase
It is only a matter of time until we see more ICO projects run on top of the NEO infrastructure. Like Ethereum, NEO wants to cater to this crowd. Whether or not it can do so without legal repercussions remains a big question. For now, there is a NEO ICO template for people to check out, which seemingly checks all of the right boxes for running a successful campaign.

It is always interesting to see how people create templates for raising money, which can then be used and modified by others to fit their needs. Ethereum has such ICO templates and there are even dedicated "guides" on how to create and issue tokens. Smart contracts are valuable tools in this regard, especially considering that both Ethereum and NEO have this technology at their disposal. In a way, it seems inevitable we will see another ICO boom involving the NEO ecosystem in the future.

With the new template unveiled to the public, it will become a lot easier for most companies and projects to host their ICO on the NEO network. Although most people will still prefer to run an ICO on the Ethereum network, it is evident that infrastructure can't always cope with the growing demand for such tokens. Every time a very popular initial coin offering happens on the Ethereum blockchain, it is only a matter of time until the network clogs up and causes a lot of issues.

Whether or not NEO will run into similar problems in the future remains to be determined, though. It is certainly possible its infrastructure may not fare much better, of course. This open-sourced template will certainly attract a lot of attention in the future, although NEO may still face repercussions for allowing ICOs to be organized in the first place. The team claims it is free from scrutiny by the Chinese government, but this has not been confirmed in any official capacity.

As one would expect, this ICO template touches upon some critical aspects of creating an initial coin offering. The contract has built-in refund capabilities and it can even reject transactions if needed. More specifically, if a crowdsale is over and someone tries to send money, their transaction will be rejected and the funds will not leave their wallet. It is an integral part of creating a proper ICO infrastructure, to say the very least.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this template is how it enforces KYC regulations. Any NEO address participating in an ICO must be verified through a KYC service. Once such addresses are verified, they will automatically be eligible to partake in the initial coin offering. Any address not officially verified will be disallowed. Although the contract template doesn't provide the KYC framework necessary to verify the addresses themselves, it's an interesting addition nonetheless.

Whether or not we will see any major interest in NEO-based ICOs remains to be seen. Some projects are already in existence, although there's still a very long way to go in this regard. Initial coin offerings will remain popular for quite some time to come, despite opposition from regulators and governments around the world. NEO may become the new go-to solution for initial coin offerings, although nothing has been set in stone just yet.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The intelligent investors guide to Particl (PART): Part 3 - How will Particl succeed in gaining price appreciation, adoption and network effect where centralised anonymous marketplaces fail?

 

How will Particl succeed in gaining price appreciation, adoption and network effect where centralised anonymous marketplaces fail?

It's real simple. Particl is not a centralised marketplace so you would need to take the majority of the nodes down to compromise the network.

 

Contrast this with tradtional centralised marketplaces where taking down a handful of servers can shut down the entire service leading to loss of any funds held there.

  • The Particl nodes can be run on the tor network for added security thus the network is inherently more resistant to tradtional hacks, takedowns and DDOS attacks.

  • Integration of the currency into the platform means that the value of the PART token will increase rapidly as use of the marketplace increases.

  • This is because although Particl can accept multiple cryptocurrencies, these will all be converted in the Particl client into PART token via integration of shapeshift exchange and other decentralized exchanges into the Particl client before being used to transact on the Particl network.

  • Thus there is a constant buy pressure on the PART token to raise its daily trading volume, attract speculators who will then promote the platform further (after learning about it) and thus speading the network effect and awareness about the marketplace.

  • Integration of the currency into the platform also makes it easier to use as it reduces the number of additional trusted third party services required to zero, thus the service is more accessible, secure, safer and convenient.

  • XMR and DNM's are currently the way with regards to anonymous, private commerce but the Particl network provides all their services integrated and avoids all their inherent problems.

  • A design which encourages convenience (integration of the currency exchange/converter, marketplace listings, escrow service, currency, communications, security features and any additional services required under one client operating on a separate chain).


Compare with centralized marketplace's which have a number of distinct disadvantages:

  • Have far higher fees

  • Are governed by centralized authorities which can delist or prevent you from listing products for any reason whatsoever without any recourse; this also prevents buyers from being able to purchase things they want

  • Contain your sensitive data (credit card information, purchase/sell history, personal information) on centralized servers which means your information can be sold to third-parties, governments or leaked during hacks (Equifax anyone?)

  • Have zero network effects -- unless you own stock in Amazon.com you couldn't give two shits about how it operates

 

In contrast decentralized privacy centric MP's do not require personal information, can benefit from leveraging the network effects of speculation (Bitcoin circa 2013 is a perfect example), can have low or zero transaction fee's and protect sellers from premature, unfair or even illegal delisting i.e. protect buyers and sellers from censorship where none is required or where censorship is questionable.

 

  • Furthermore the tax implications of cryptocurrency have yet to be determined. PART wouldn't qualify as just a currency as it has features that make it more in keeping with a bond and a share simultaneously (as the token confers governance rights, generates passive income if staked and is used to secure the network + act as bond in it's escrow service). Tax laws specific to an asset class like PART have yet to be clearly defined. I think a large amount of legal white market commerce could run through Particl simply because it potentially represents a more legally tax efficient solution.

  • Following on from this I think a large amount of wealth that has moved into cryptocurrency wants to stay there. Thus the general market for legal goods acquired tax efficiently through multiple cryptocurrencies is potentially untapped and could explode as crypto marketcap continues to grow. I think this represents a case for all decentralised marketplaces.

 

This argument in general is the case for decentralization of marketplace technologies and is the main use case for District0x, Openbazaar, Syscoin etc.


By: Joske

Bitcoin Cash: The Birth of Satoshi's Real Model?

 


Blockstream trying to take over Bitcoin 
BlockstreamLocated in San Francisco, is perhaps the most important and at the same time, the least comprehensive company in the community of Bitcoin-World. 

Bitcoin is an open source software project where everyone can view the code and propose changes, but only a small group of people accompanying the project can approve the changes and run them into the implementation. Blockstreamhas gathered under its wing many of the most experienced and productive developers of the Bitcoin Core team, including Gregory Maxwell, Peter Will, and Matt Corallo, who over the past year together made more than 1,212 contributions to the Bitcoin code on GitHub. For this reason, people working in Blockstream may have the deepest knowledge of crypto protocols and have the greatest impact in the crypto world. 

While the positive influence of many people in the company on Bitcoin is obvious, some people blame the company for the lack of an experimental approach to Bitcoin's development, for the lack of rapid progress at the protocol level over the past few years. 
Bitcoin Core is slow to take risks when it comes to making changes to Bitcoin's code. In particular, Core does not support increasing the block size as fast as some would like. Some in the community are afraid that very soon, the bandwidth of the network will become a bottleneck that hinders the growth of user acceptance, which even led to the emergence of offers of alternative customers and development teams (for example, Bitcoin Unlimited, so ardently supported by Roger Vero). 

Most of these moods stem from the misunderstanding of Bitcoin's governance structure. Bitcoin was described as democratic, but in reality, it does not represent a democratic structure, where government representatives are elected, receiving the right to make decisions. Instead, Bitcoin is a user-controlled system where the code is associated with all network members (developers, miners, users, exchanges). Not any of the groups are able to make significant changes to the protocol. In fact, this requires an absolute majority of votes. This can be considered as a gift, and as a curse at the same time and this makes Bitcoin one of the most invulnerable means of accumulation that ever existed, but this same feature makes it difficult to make changes at the protocol level. 

So what is the role of Blockstream in the ecosystem? 
When the company attracted investments at the zero round of financing, the main idea was that Blockstream would be for Bitcoin that Mozilla was for the Internet: a commercial organization that supports the basic values of the protocol. 
Since the launch of Blockstream, it has passed more than two years now, and it seems that the company has safely forgotten about it The popular opinion is that Blockstream is using its influence on Bitcoin Core to push out the solutions that are beneficial for the company, and not for the Bitcoin ecosystem as a whole. 

The main mission of Blockstream 
The founder of the block stream Adam Back says that he believes in the future, where users are given the right to control their own assets. The mission is to take Bitcoin's core peer security and expand it to other digital assets. 
Back also says that Bitcoin is the most secure and reliable decentralized value transfer network. It runs smoothly for eight years and is based on computing power, larger than the world's largest supercomputer. The network is based on a simple scripting language with the smallest "surface" for potential attacks. Other blockades, such as the Etherium, are interesting experiments, but they do not compare with Bitcoin in terms of reliability, security, and decentralization. 

10 of the Biggest Lies Told About Bitcoin

 


As British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once averred, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Bitcoin is frequently on the receiving end of them all, whether it's exaggerated statistics about energy consumption or damned lies conflating it with terrorism. We've rounded up 10 of the most pervasive mistruths and endeavored to set the record straight. The next time someone brings one up, send them here.

1. Bitcoin Funds Terrorism
We'll start with the most asinine assertion, although all of the entries in this list are pretty dumb. You know what funds terrorism? Terrorists and terrorist sympathisers. If you want to blame a currency though, try the U.S. dollar which has been used to fund more wars, proxy wars, bombings, hijackings, and insurgencies than any other.

In 2016, Europol found no evidence that terrorists were using cryptocurrencies to fund their activities. That's not to say it hasn't happened and won't happen. It's telling however that the only people linking bitcoin with terrorism are governments seeking to crackdown on digital currencies. If a major terrorist attack funded by bitcoin were to occur, we'd never hear the end of it. So far there's been a lot of noise but nothing to substantiate this claim.

Yaya Fanusie of the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance had this to say:

There are examples of terrorists using virtual currencies, but probably are not indicative of a major push. Right now, virtual currencies are harder to acquire and spend than, say, prepaid cards, or the most anonymous way to fund terrorism – cash. And most terrorists operate in a world where fiat, or government-backed, currency is needed for their expenditures, so a virtual currency where one has to figure out how to cash out without tipping off authorities only complicates a funding scheme.
 
2. Bitcoin is a Bubble
Where do we even start with this one? No, bitcoin is not a bubble. It's not going to come crashing down to earth and it's certainly not going to return to zero. We've long passed the point of no return for that to happen. That won't stop the B-word being trotted out every time bitcoin gains or sheds another $2,000 however. There will be corrections along the way – no asset in history has ever ascended in a straight line – but bitcoin is not about to pop. It wasn't a bubble at $3,000, it's not a bubble at $11,000, and it still won't be next week after a dozen more op-eds have posed this question.

3. Bitcoin is Volatile
For those who don't relish risk, there are certainly less exciting assets to invest in. Nevertheless, the notion that bitcoin is volatile and needs to be "tamed" is misguided. Hugely respected crypto assets expert Chris Burniske broke this down in a recent slidedeck, showing that bitcoin's volatility is now lower than Twitter stock. There are still roller-coaster days, but for the most part the digital currency is blissfully calm.

4. Bitcoin is Tulip Mania All Over Again
If you're not familiar with the much-cited case of tulip mania which swept 17th century Holland, your search engine of choice will furnish you with the backstory. The craze culminated in the price of a particular bulb reaching 4,600 florins. From there, the only way was down.

It turns out that tulips lack any sort of intrinsic value and make a rubbish commodity, just like seashells and pretty stones. Bitcoins, on the other hand, are easy to divide, imperishable, transportable and scarcer than tulips.

5. Bitcoin is Used by Hate Groups
We could launch into a lengthy explanation as to why it's ridiculous to blame a currency for the actions of a tiny subset of its users, but sometimes the simplest responses are best:

6. Bitcoin is Mostly Used for Illegal Purposes
That claim might have been true in 2013, but today the vast majority of bitcoin transactions are for legitimate purposes. Chris Burniske also provided further evidence of this in his slidedeck which was cited earlier. Still, that won't stop benighted hacks from the mainstream media trotting out this old chestnut whenever they can, usually accompanied by some variation of this image:

7. Bitcoin is a Ponzi Scheme
A Ponzi or pyramid scheme involves older investors being paid back through the capital from new investors, until eventually the racket becomes unsustainable and the whole thing collapses on itself. The workings of bitcoin are completely transparent and its adoption and growth cannot be controlled by anyone. The price of bitcoin is determined solely by what the market is willing to pay for it, not by a necessity to pay back previous investors. Bitcoin is certainly not a pyramid scheme. Bitconnect, on the other hand…

8. Bitcoin Can Be Hacked
Bitcoin exchanges and cloud-based wallets can theoretically be hacked, just like anything else connected to the internet. The underlying code powering the bitcoin blockchain cannot be hacked however. Bitcoin has been stress-tested more thoroughly than possibly any other piece of code ever written. If you're worried about having your coins stolen, take our advice and use a wallet which you own the keys to rather than trusting a third party.

9. Bitcoin is a Fad
You know what else was a fad? The internet and cell phones.

10 of the Biggest Lies Told About Bitcoin
We've debunked this loads of times, most recently here, and Wired have also explored the matter at length. Yes, bitcoin mining uses a lot of energy – though not nearly as much as reported – and yet every watt is worth it. Rather than delve into lengthy technical explanations, here are a couple of pertinent facts to mull over: bitcoin mining uses a third less energy than is expended on Christmas lights in the U.S. each year. One study estimates bitcoin to use between 0.8 and 4.4 TWh per year. Compare this with the 138TWh per year spent on mining and recycling gold or the 650TWh expended by the global banking system annually and bitcoin looks like a model in efficiency.

To invoke an apposite quote, a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on. The next time fake news defames your favorite digital currency, drop in this link and set the record straight. Bitcoin is many things but it's none of the above.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The intelligent investors guide to Particl (PART): Part 2 - Why am I bullish on the price of Particl (PART) long term?

 

Currently Particl trades in the $5-10 range on Bittrex with a relatively low market cap. Present valuations are determined solely by market speculators (mostly accumulators aware about the project potential).

 

However on release of their decentralised marketplace module in Q1 2018, provided its released with full atomic swaps and shapeshift/exchange integration, it's buy side dynamics will change significantly.

 

This will be driven by the fact that whilst multiple cryptocurrencies will be accepted on the Particl network to automatically convert to the native PART token via in-client integration of shapeshift, decentralized exchanges and widget implementation of atomic swaps (direct conversion of other cryptocurrencies to the native PART token without intermediary if they possess atomic swap functionality), all buying and selling transactions on the marketplace and other Particl modules will be conducted solely via the native PART token.

 

At this stage I estimate a 5x to 20x (conservative is 5x) rise in price purely on a hype cycle alone. Longer term however I view it very differently to other assets due to it's liquidity characteristics which resemble DASH but with actual utility to self perpetuate it. This is because: 

  • People decide to use the Particl marketplace.
  • People sent their crypto to the Particl client.
  • This converts to PART: Buy pressure on PART.
  • People buy PART in the Particl client to transact.
  • People use PART escrow: PARTs get locked into escrow contract.
  • Circulating supply of PART gets further restricted.
  • Successful buying/selling of goods = repeat custom exclusively in PART token.
  • Repeat custom = regular repeat buy pressure on PART per individual.
  • Repeat custom = word of mouth = more new customers on Particl marketplace. This perpetuates first step.
  • Buy pressure increases. More escrows. Further liquidity lockup.

 

  • More dApps (beyond market place) release as PART hype & awareness increases = more buy pressure on PART.

  • Staking locks away PART also restricting circulating supply.

  • As value of PART increases incentive to stake increases (as stakers earn tx fees). As PART value increases and tx frequency increases, stakers earn more rewards perpetuating further staking.

  • More PART gets locked in staking. Lower circulating supply.

  • Rapidly escalating PART price.

 

So provided it is released as described and people use it as a marketplace non-speculatively, with time it's price should rise exponentially independent of traditional exchange dependent model.

...

I hope this makes it super clear why I rank Particl on par with Ethereum and Bitcoin in terms of price growth potential.


By: Joske

CME Group Is Pleased to Bring Bitcoin Futures to the Market on December 18

 



On November 20 the firm CME Group published an error on the company's bitcoin futures web page stating that its new bitcoin derivatives products would launch on December 10. Later that day, the company announced it was a mistake, and that the date was incorrect. Now on December 1, the exchange has announced its bitcoin-based self-certified initial listings will be available on December 18. Terry Duffy, CME Group's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer explains;   

We are pleased to bring Bitcoin futures to the market after working closely with the CFTC and market participants to design a regulated offering that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery, and risk transfer capabilities.
CME Group to Launch Bitcoin Futures December 18

A Continued Collaboration With U.S. Regulators and  Reputable Cryptocurrency Trading Platforms
CME Group's bitcoin futures products will be available for trade on the CME Globex electronic trading platform. Alongside this, the futures have been submitted for the CME Clearport on Sunday, December 17 and trading will begin the following day. The bitcoin futures provided by CME will be cash-settled by referencing the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR). The rate is based on a daily rate utilizing the USD price of bitcoin across multiple spot exchanges.     

"Though we have worked through a lengthy, comprehensive process with the CFTC to get to this point, we recognize bitcoin is a new, uncharted market that will continue to evolve, requiring continued collaboration with the Commission and our clients going forward," CME's CEO details.

At launch, our new Bitcoin futures contract will be subject to a variety of risk management tools, including an initial margin of 35 percent, position and intraday price limits, and a number of other risk and credit controls that CME Group offers on all of its products.
The options exchange has been calculating and publishing the BRR with the help of Crypto Facilities Ltd. The calculation window for the aggregated trade flow ends at 4:00 pm London time. Further, CME details the BRR utilizes the "IOSCO Principles for Financial Benchmarks," alongside leveraging well-known cryptocurrency exchange spot prices from Kraken, Itbit, GDAX, and Bitstamp. The news also follows JP Morgan and Nasdaq revealing they plan to offer bitcoin futures contracts as well. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Bitcoin Touches a Milestone Price of $9K Across Global Exchanges

 



The price of bitcoin has crossed the $9,000 USD zone across global exchanges on November 26, 2017, at approximately 10:40 am EDT. Earlier this year, bitcoin's meteoric price rise had crushed those who believed it would tank when it passed $2K, and has continued to exceed some of the more modest expectations.

Bitcoin Crosses the $9K Region
Bitcoin Touches a Milestone Price of $9K Across Global ExchangesBitcoin is on the tip of everyone's tongues these days, as the decentralized currency has breached many all-time highs month after month. 2017 has been spectacular as far as the currency's value is concerned, with bitcoin rising over 700 percent this year alone. For instance, back in January the price finally breached $1,000 per BTC, but then kept roaring all year long. On October 7 the price surpassed $4,500 which was half of what it is today, and you could have bought the dip on November 12 when the price was $5,850. Although the present value of bitcoin has astonished many, how quickly it has risen has been a shock to most. The currency is now being taken very seriously by naysayers, with it's massive $150B market capitalization. At press time the price per BTC is at an all-time high of $9020 per token.  

Milestone After Milestone, Bitcoin Just Won't Quit
The cryptocurrency's market price isn't the only milestone of bitcoin's ninth year of life. The currency is being used more than ever before – as there are roughly 250,000-375,000 transactions confirmed on the network every single day. Further, well over three-quarters of the cryptocurrency has been mined so far leaving just 4.3M bitcoin's left to mine. Bitcoin mining is more profitable than ever – with 24 pools splitting the current hashrate. Right now, the biggest mining pools in the industry as far as hashrate is concerned include Antpool, Viabtc, BTC.com, Slush, and BTC.top. Hashrate itself is massive, as miners at press time are processing over 10 exahash per second, and on October 24 the hashrate surpassed 12.5 exahash. In contrast to the positive news regarding bitcoin during 2017, the network has experienced congestion and significantly higher fees this year as well.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

NEO Price Surpasses $39 as Rumor Mill Hits its Stride

 

It certainly appears to be the season to pump altcoins, by the look of things. After we have seen a few different cryptocurrencies get their pump of the month on, NEO appears to be the latest one in this line. More specifically, the NEO price has risen to over $38 over the past few hours, indicating strong growth and speculation for this particular altcoin. Whether or not this can become a long-term trend, remains to be determined.

It is evident any cryptocurrency that isn't Bitcoin still has to go through a major price increase over the next few weeks. During the weekend, we often see the value of different altcoins go up in value, especially when the Bitcoin price is struggling for momentum. It is pretty interesting to see how all of this momentum seems to culminate in massive price pumps, including where the NEO price is concerned. After all, a 35% increase in both USD and BTC value is certainly not "normal" whatsoever.

ProjectICO AMA to be held on NEO Subreddit November 20th
Stephen Hyduchak, founder and CEO of ProjectICO announced an reddit AMA session on the NEO subreddit, giving a short introduction to ProjectICO and invited the community to join the AMA session on neonewstoday.com

That being said, we see the NEO price up by 35% in both markets and people seem to like this unexpected momentum. NEO has been a pretty strong altcoin over the past few months, and it seems this momentum is far from over. There appears to be some news regarding NEO right now, although it seems most of it is still unconfirmed at this point in time. How the NEO price will evolve over the next few hours and days, remains to be determined, though.

No one can deny this NEO price momentum will undoubtedly spill over to some other altcoins in the days to come. As long as the Bitcoin price doesn't go on another major rampage in the near future, interesting things will continue to happen in the altcoin department. Should this momentum reverse all of a sudden, things will certainly take a turn for the worse as far as altcoins are concerned. At the same time, we see some altcoins decouple their value from Bitcoin, which is a positive trend.

Thanks to around $328m worth of trading volume, this NEO price momentum might be sustained for a few more days. Everything is very difficult to predict when it comes to cryptocurrencies, as new trends emerge and disappear in quick succession virtually every other day. While we see major NEO trading volume right now, it may dry up by this evening, for all we know. At the same time, it can also double or even triple. There are no guarantees in cryptocurrency.

What is rather remarkable is how Bittrex's NEO/BTC trading pair is generating most of the trading volume right now. Bitfinex's NEO/USD pair is in second place, whereas Binance's NEO/BTC pair completes the top three. A lot of money is circulating from altcoins to Bitcoin and the other way around again. Without too much fresh money coming into the cryptocurrency industry, we may see some interesting market changes over the next 24-48 hours, that much is evident.

It is impossible to predict how all of this will play out for the NEO price in the long run. Solid momentum may push the NEO price above $40 or even $42.5 in the coming hours. However, there will be plenty of profit-taking as well, as a lot of people bought this currency below $30 in recent weeks. An interesting situation to keep an eye on, that much is rather evident. Assuming the NEO rumors are true, this may even be the beginning of a price rally toward $50 or more.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bitcoin Cash Network Completes a Successful Hard Fork

 


At approximately 4 pm EDT at block height 504031, the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network successfully hard forked. The fork is a change to the decentralized currency's consensus rules and aims to upgrade the network's Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm (DAA).

The Bitcoin Cash Network Has Successfully Hard Forked
Bitcoin Cash Network Completes a Successful Hard ForkNovember 13 is a memorable day for bitcoin cash supporters, as the network is forking in order to fix the BCH blockchain's DAA. The primary development teams who have been working on the bitcoin cash protocol consensus change include Bitcoin ABC, Unlimited, Nchain, and XT developers. The original DAA applied to the BCH network allowed the currency to thrive but also produced wild hashrate fluctuations. After several DAA proposals were researched and tested by the above-mentioned development teams, the community chose to implement a DAA proposal from Bitcoin ABC's lead developer Amaury Sechet.

Bitcoin Cash Network Completes a Successful Hard Fork
At approximately 4 pm EDT at block height 504031, the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network had successfully hard forked.
The new BCH consensus change hopes to adjust the difficulty to hashrate to target a mean block interval of 600 seconds. Alongside this, the DAA aims to make sudden difficulty drops and spikes avoidable. For instance, the network will adjust difficulty rapidly when the hashrate changes exponentially, while also avoiding feedback oscillations. Sechet's DAA is based on a 144-period simple moving average according to the ABC team.

"The difficulty is adjusted each block, based on the amount of work done and the elapsed time of the previous 144 blocks," explains the Bitcoin ABC development team.

Since the DAA hard fork, block times have been smooth and consistent.
The Bitcoin Cash DAA Should Keep Block Times Consistent and the Mining Ecosystem Honest
Essentially the consensus change means the new DAA should keep block times stable and consistent at roughly 10 minutes per block. So far this goal of 10-minute block intervals has come to fruition. Now that the fork has happened BCH network participants will wait and see what happens with miners who have been hopping back and forth between two chains. Many BCH supporters believe this will level the playing field and from here on out, as the BTC and BCH competition should be fair without any miners gaming the system.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bitcoin Cash Surges as Businesses Abandon Legacy BTC

 


Bitcoin cash is enjoying a new lease of life as major figures throw their weight behind the chain. In the wake of the abortive Segwit split, neither bitcoin nor B2x has prospered, with the latter failing to materialize and the former dropping below $6,800 for the first time in 10 days. BCH, meanwhile, hit $866 earlier today.

All Aboard The BCH Express
As the elation, anger, and acrimony over Segwit2x has started to settle, focus has returned to the seemingly intractable problems of bitcoin scaling and transaction fees. Given the difficulty of attaining consensus for developments of the bitcoin network, many have grown frustrated by the stalemate, with widespread Segwit adoption and Lightning Network implementation still months or years away.

Bitcoin Cash Surges as Businesses Abandon Legacy BTCWith bitcoin currently unsuitable for small transactions due to high fees, various businesses and public figures have expressed their preference for a cryptocurrency more suited to everyday use. For some, this has meant looking to the world of altcoins, where the likes of Litecoin and Dash beckon. For those keen to stick with the bitcoin brand, however, bitcoin cash looks increasingly attractive.

One member of the Openbazaar team tweeted:
Hearing lots of great things about @BitcoinCash $BCH today. Many developers and businesses seem better aligned with the vision now that 2x has failed.

The team running the P2P marketplace have every reason to be extolling the virtues of bitcoin cash, having announced that they'll be accepting BCH on account of its cheaper fees along with zcash. As businesses have wrestled over what to do with a legacy bitcoin that's becoming increasingly un-transactable, the BCH team have wasted no time in wooing defectors, stating:

BTC's utility continues to decline. Watch as businesses adopt BCH.
One public figure who has thrown his weight behind BCH is Pirate Party founder and bitcoin maverick Rick Falkvinge, who declared: "With recent developments, I'm putting all available dev resources to retool my software for #Bitcoin Cash. I suspect I'm far from alone." He later added: "I'm moving my development effort to Bitcoin Cash, as Bitcoin Legacy now has hit a brick wall and needs to be dropped like a bad habit. I have no real reason to move the coins."

One Coin to Rule Them All
Bitcoin Cash Surges as Businesses Abandon Legacy BTCThe Bitcoin Cash market has surged over the last 24 hours, with volume exceeding $2.5 billion, 57% of which was trading against the Korean won. Much of the fevered interest in BCH will simply have been market sentiment, fueled by the growing consensus that the legacy bitcoin chain is ill-equipped to handle growing volume. It would be speculative at this stage to suggest that BCH is gearing up for its own version of The Flippening, when Ethereum believers thought their coin might actually overtake bitcoin to become The One True Coin.

Make no mistake though, if BCH's most ardent supporters have their way, not only will bitcoin cash steal bitcoin's market cap eventually but it will also steal its name. In the wake of the Segwit2x furore, there were hopes that the in-fighting which had driven a wedge into the bitcoin community would cease and work could resume on infrastructure improvements. Instead, the BTC/BCH debate has been ramped up, with supporters of both chains adamant that theirs is the best bitcoin.

Friday, November 10, 2017

What is Flixxo ?

 




Flixxo is a decentralized video distribution network. All the videos you are watching are stored safely. Flixxo is free from structural costs, and producers can share the earnings from their content with the network that supports them. Flixxo is also based on blockchain technology that is the first attached to a social video platform.

What makes Flixxo alluring to purchasers?

Because of the super bills of capability and information transmission, simply a few actual levels are sharing this very productive trade. In spite of everything, this will likely trade quickly on account of the development and utilization of Flixxo. The video stream level that is determined by the dedication of the vast majority of its purchasers. Benefit from your maximum beloved roughly recordings, at the larger a part of your units To find the crisp financial system in view of staff conveyed video - Flixxo. Flixx can be used to observe the substance that you just really like, do buying groceries on the internet and even trade over it to cryptographic cash.

Features of flixxo

- Easy to make use of via non cryptographic cash purchasers
- Fast and easy to discover via or paintings
- Ready to paintings from any roughly information superhighway related system, comprehensively
- Every other and imaginative gaming background, on account of its prizes and the social collaborations it makes
- Alluring to content material makers on account of its motivating power framework

Query

With out query, it's extra interesting and all of the extra easy to simply take a gander at some account than learn a web page or two. It does not depend on a solitary server alternatively lets in these kind of disseminated units crosswise over to community to percentage the recordings it stated.

Flixxo Team



Remunerating the purchasers

For serving to the machine paintings, all purchasers are remunerated with Flixxo credit referred to as Flixx. Thusly, you permit other folks from the level to come back and get bits of that video from you - at that time, they are able to likewise growth towards changing into traders. How can it serve as? You'll mortgage your system stockpiling prohibit, to video makers over the Flixxo.

How to use

- Level 1 - watch a video that you just really like and want to put one thing apart for another time, too.
- Level 2 - spare it into your gadgets.
- Level 3 - change into right into a Flixxo video wholesaler. The framework is on this approach like Bittorrent (the shared conference you maximum unquestionably applied as of just lately).


Alongside those strains, kind of, that is the way in which Flixxo works. At this time, gauges reveal that over 70% of the information superhighway servers are applied for video placing away. The global marketplace of web-based social networking levels reveal that an enormous choice of buck are coordinated towards manufacturing of video content material. Within the match that you just ask the overall inhabitants round you what would possibly they slightly do - watch a brief video introducing one thing or learn a piece of writing that portrays exactly the similar - the majority of them would pick out the foremost selection. This is why recordings are probably the most distinguished and absolutely the most efficient types of on-line substance. As well as, those types of fabrics are simple to percentage. That is completed throughout the Bitcoin innovation that makes an unusual automatic token - utterly safe and transferable. Moreover, it may be gotten from other folks from the level.

It may be earned via demonstrating recordings or looking at supported substance.

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