Thursday, January 25, 2018

The intelligent investors guide to Particl (PART): Part 6 - What does Particl as a privacy platform have over Monero and other privacy currencies?

 


What does Particl as a privacy platform have over Monero and other privacycurrencies?

Monero is a decentralised currency that is currently reliant on centralised services for its use. Thus in its practical implementation it is not fully decentralised and there is a central point of failure when transacting.

In contrast under the Particl network and client listings, transactions, escrow services and settlement are fully integrated and decentralised; this includes:

Network security where the nodes can be obfuscated via tor integration.

Transactions security where the buyer, seller and amount can be obfuscated yet verified by RingCT.

Seller security whereby the nature of listed items being sold can be made private and obfuscated to the rest of the Particl network and only viewable if the viewkey is disclosed (i.e. the seller discloses this via private communication to potential buyers).

Communications security. The client nodes have the capacity for sending encrypted messages between each other allowing for truly private communications between individuals on the Particl network.

Settlement security by providing a trustless third party free escrow service (the mutually assured destruction escrow) whereby both seller and buyer deposit a bond that can only be released when both sides agree goods/services have been delivered as specified.

I'd just like to point out that many of Particl's competitors (syscoin, district0x, openbazaar) do not offer this level of security or integration in transacting, listing, exchange and settlement, because they lack one or more features that are already built into Particl by default; this includes the integration of exchanges and direct currency conversions via atomic swaps
..
Whilst Monero and other private currencies offer anonymous settlement security with the benefits of decentralisation, they do not provide the other forms of decentralised security I've just listed which Particl and currently Particl alone proposes to.

Yes decentralised marketplaces could accept monero currency but they would have to provide decentralised, trustless privacy centric escrow, communications and private listings to provide the same level of service and flexibility of selling/buying options that the Particl platform intrinsically provides.

This is because in addition to what I've described Particl also enables anonymous or public settlement of public listings.

By:Joske

QTUM is Proud to Announce the First Matchpool Developer Challenge

 


Matchpool has announced a 50,000 USD development challenge, in which entrants develop an MVP QTUM app for Matchpool's platform. A winner of the challenge will be announced on February 18th, 2017. After a successful launch, community and connections network Matchpool seek to develop their Asia outreach, developing the QGUP model specifically for this market. Asia is formidably important within the cryptocurrency market and Matchpool endeavours to expand operations in this huge market region. Matchpool believe running a competition to develop an app will provide them with sufficient coverage.

The contest is called "QTUM Dev Challenge." It is expected that experienced developers from all over the world will take advantage of this rare opportunity to compete alongside the best in the industry. Matchpool is looking to develop a social app. Recognising the importance of social media and how pervasive it is in everyday life. Viral marketing and platform basis is the way to go. Matchpool has shared some specifics of the platform they would like to see:

Paid "in-app" services
Multiple forms of cryptocurrency accepted including $QGUPs
Fully designed and operational
Multilingual (Japan / China / Korea )
The team that develops the best MVP for the app will win a $50,000 cash prize as well as 5% of all QTUM tokens. The competition is already live, having started on the 8th of January and will run up to the 8th of February. Once the MVP is complete the 50,000USD prize will be paid in 4 monthly payments upon MVP delivery.

The Matchpool vision is to create and give everyone matchmaking tools that incentivise positive connections between all of us all over the world. Matchpool uses cryptocurrency as its payment method. This will aid the community in providing value to the entirety of the network. We will offer products that provide solutions for community owners to run successful businesses.

QTUM is a blockchain project that was created with the intention of facilitating the inter-connectivity of other mainstream cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The Qtum Foundation has recently announced that it will be combining its efforts with '360 Blockchain Research Center' and BTN Foundation in a bid to create China's first ever blockchain laboratory.

This collaboration will aim to promote the continued development and commercialization of blockchain technology. Previous to this news QTUM recorded a rise in value from $26.67 USD on December 17, 2017, to $56.06, capping off an increase in the value of 189% within 24 hours.

People Are Paying Thousands of Dollars for Crypto Celebrities on the Blockchain

 

Anything can be placed on the blockchain with a little ingenuity – even Hollywood celebrities. Cryptocelebrities is this week's Cryptokitties, a smart contract-based trading game which profits from digital scarcity. Only one copy of each celebrity is released, compelling traders to spend thousands of dollars to snap up 'celebs' like Satoshi Nakamoto and Emma Watson.

Celebrities on the Blockchain Because 2018
On paper, a game like Cryptocelebrities sounds as dumb as last month's big crypto game, Cryptokitties. Like its feline forebear, Cryptocelebrities rewards early adopters who get to snap up the best digital real estate and then sell it on for a profit. Blockchain-based collectors' games such as these create a level of FOMO that can cause assets to change hands for thousands of dollars. At 4pm EST on Tuesday 23rd January, the Cryptocelebrities site was knocked offline temporarily, believed to be due to high demand.

While the Cryptocelebrities project looks like a shameless cash-in, both on the current craze for blockchain games and on the celebs themselves, it does have some interesting features. One of these is for verified celebrities to control the royalties from the trading of their image and earn a share of the profits. It's hard to imagine the likes of Clint Eastwood or Donald Trump using ether to verify their blockchain counterparts, but it's a bold concept. Vitalik Buterin and Satoshi Nakamoto (depicted here as simply a question mark) also feature.

Don't Get Too Attached
People Are Paying Thousands of Dollars for Crypto Celebrities on the BlockchainAnyone contemplating snapping up Hollywood's – or Crypto's – A-listers would do well not to get too attached. Anyone who wants to buy a celeb off its current owner can do so, and there's nothing its owner can do to halt the sale. As the Cryptocelebrities website explains: "When someone else matches the current price, they'll automatically snatch your Smart Contract. You'll lose the card but you will receive up to double the amount you originally invested in ETH."

If you buy a contract for 0.2 ETH, another player can snatch it away from you. Once that happens, you'll automatically receive 0.4 ETH! Most contracts double in price with each transaction until they reach 1 ETH. Price increase: 2x from 0 ETH to 0.05 ETH, 1.2x from 0.05 ETH to 0.5 ETH and 1.15x from 0.5 ETH up.

Like other blockchain games, the smart contracts that control ownership may be decentralized but the images of the celebs reside on a centralized database. Should Robert Pattinson or Woody Allen's agent step in and exert pressure on Cryptocelebrities to remove their image, traders could be left holding an empty card. Right now, Woody Allen is worth 1.05 ETH, but would anyone be willing to pay a higher free if his image wasn't associated with the smart contract?

At present, Vitalik Buterin is the most traded celeb, with a price tag that stands at 20 ETH, followed by Satoshi Nakamoto and Angelina Jolie on 13 ETH apiece. While it's hard to imagine the pair ever sharing a red carpet, in Cryptocelebrities they stand shoulder to shoulder. Such is the popularity of the site that newly added celebs can change hands a dozen times within the first hour, as traders jostle to complete their Metamask transaction ahead of the competition. In the interests of journalism, news.Bitcoin.com tried – and failed – to snap up Ellie Goulding and Van Morrison.

Someone paid half an ETH for this.
At the time of publication, user mfs7772 is the Cryptocelebs whale, with 24 high-priced contracts in their custodianship including Nicole Kidman, Vitalik Buterin, and Ke$ha. It's easy to write these primitive games off as ephemeral and frivolous – which they undoubtedly are – but they make for a fascinating study of human psychology, whilst demonstrating the concept of digital scarcity and the greater fool theory in action.

Friday, January 19, 2018

SCCEX Will Support BCH Because It Is “Satoshi’s True Bitcoin”

 
Bitcoin Cash is on the minds of a lot of people these days. Whether one loves it or hates it, no one can deny BCH has made its mark on the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole. So much, even, that the Scandinavian Cryptocurrency Exchange (SCCEX) is looking to promote this altcoin. More specifically, it will offer fee-free Bitcoin Cash trading. Moreover, there will be a line of BCH-related banknote-style paper wallets as well.

SCCEX HAS BIG PLANS FOR BITCOIN CASH
In the history of crypto, we have never seen exchanges show such outspoken support for specific altcoins. Although most trading platforms offer support for currencies such as XRP, ETH, and LTC, they have never gone "all-in" on such currencies. However, SCCEX has announced some big plans for Bitcoin Cash, the alternative version of Bitcoin which came to market several months ago.

According to the company's recent announcement, it will not charge any trading fees for BCH trades. That is always a good way to attract more traders, even though the name Scandinavian Cryptocurrency Exchange won't ring a bell for most people. The company also offers fee-free trading for Ethereum Classic, which is another relatively new cryptocurrency which has not gained as much traction just yet. By not charging any fees, the company aims to push adoption of specific altcoins throughout Scandinavia and Europe.

The primary reason for this decision is that SCCEX views Bitcoin Cash as the Bitcoin that Satoshi Nakamoto originally intended to create. It is a statement we have heard before from other companies, even though the jury is still out on whether or not BCH can become the one and true Bitcoin over time. It is certainly true that Bitcoin Cash has a few aspects which make it far more appealing than Bitcoin itself, namely its lower fees, faster transactions, and on-chain scaling. Bitcoin itself should not be discounted just yet either, though, as things will continue to evolve moving forward.

Furthermore, SCCEX plans to introduce some new paper wallets for Bitcoin Cash enthusiasts in the form of physical cryptocurrency banknotes. The design of these notes looks rather appealing in the Medium post, but users can only obtain them by visiting the company's physical offices. It's always nice to have a Bitcoin Cash paper wallet with a far more appealing design, even though people could generate them at home as well if they wanted to do so.

As is always the case with paper wallets, these banknotes are not designed to hold massive amounts of Bitcoin Cash. A paper wallet makes for an excellent gift or collectible item, but there is no reason to deposit hundreds of BCH to the address printed on a paper wallet. It still looks rather beautiful, though, and there will most likely be at least some interest in this particular product. It will be interesting to see if any other cryptocurrency exchanges decide to take a similar "promotional" approach to Bitcoin Cash in the future.

Do keep in mind that SCCEX is not open for business as of right now. Instead, the company expects to launch in April of 2018, with fee-free ETC and BCH trading going live on day one. It is unclear if this is a temporary measure or a permanent policy, though. Assuming it is the latter, things will get very exciting for Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic supporters.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Overstock Glitch Gave Customers ‘Discounts’ With Bitcoin Cash

 


This week security experts found a website glitch on the e-commerce marketplace Overstock that let customers purchase items for a fraction of the price. The reason users were getting such huge discounts is because the system was accidentally allowing bitcoin cash (BCH) purchases in place of items priced in bitcoin core (BTC).

'Big Discounts': Some Overstock Customers Pay for Items Priced in BTC With BCH
Overstock Glitch Gave Customers 'Discounts' With Bitcoin Cash According to the company Krebs on Security and the security firm Bancsec, Overstock's marketplace had a serious glitch allowing people to pay for products priced in BTC in BCH. On January 5 a Krebs researcher chose to purchase three outdoor solar lamps from Overstock which added up to $78.27. At the time Overstock's invoices told the researcher to pay 0.00475574 bitcoins to a specific address. Instead of paying BTC, Krebs on Security decided to send 0.00475574 BCH to the specified address. In a matter of minutes, the researcher purchased the three lamps for roughly $12 worth of bitcoin cash.

If things couldn't get any worse, they did: Krebs decided to get a refund for the three solar lamps purchased with BCH.
"I didn't really want the solar lights, but also I had no interest in ripping off Overstock," explains the Krebs employee.
So I canceled the order — To my surprise, the system refunded my purchase in bitcoin, not bitcoin cash.

Payment Glitch Lasted for Three Weeks
Overstock Glitch Gave Customers 'Discounts' With Bitcoin Cash Krebs contacted Overstock and informed the firm that individuals were allowed to purchase lavish items like diamond rings for very little money compared to the real retail price. Overstock says they disabled the payment method glitch immediately after an independent researcher investigated the problem.

"After working with a researcher to confirm the findings, that method of payment was disabled while we worked with our cryptocurrency integration partner, Coinbase, to ensure they resolved the issue," explains Overstock to Krebs. "We have since confirmed that the issue described in the finding has been resolved, and the cryptocurrency payment option has been re-enabled."

Coinbase revealed to Krebs that the bug existed for "three weeks" and the issue was caused by the merchant partner "improperly using the return values" in the company's  merchant integration API.

What do you think about Overstock accidentally letting people buy items priced in BTC but used BCH instead? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.



Friday, January 12, 2018

The intelligent investors guide to Particl (PART): Part 5 - How will Particl if successfully adopted increase the value of *all* cryptocurrencie

 

The following is a quick announcement about how Particl (PART) if succesfully adopted could potentially increase the value of all cryptocurrencies:

...

Firstly can users only use PART tokens to transact?
 
Short answer: No. Not quite.

Detailed answer: If we understand that Particl is a modular smart contract platform with the decentralised, privacy centric marketplace being the first module to launch then the following responses make more sense:
 
The aim is for the marketplace module to have built-in shapeshift integration. This means any of the (currently 67) cryptocurrencies supported by shapeshift can be transferred to a particl client and automatically converted to the native PART token for transacting on the Particl network.

Furthermore the modular smart contract nature means other widgets and modules can be built to integrate other exchanges (both centralised and decentralised) and services into the Particl network and client e.g changelly integration for USDT:PART integration or widgets that connect direct fiat gateways.

Particl also utilises atomic swaps so any other chain which utilizes atomic swaps can directly interact with the Particl network to exchange/swap PART (foregoing exchanges altogether). Current candidates include LTC, DCR and BTC.
 
To this end its a misconception to think Particle only supports the PART token. It actually supports multiple cryptocurrencies via a mechanic that brings value to the PART token whilst providing a means to buy and sell goods anonymously using those cryptocurrencies.
...
 
There are advantages to this approach:

For one it means Particl can simplify its user interface by driving all core transactions on the Particl network via the PART token.

It makes the Particl platform both a fiat/liquidity magnet as it provides non-speculative value to multiple cryptocurrencies which are sent to it and acts as a liquidity generator since it creates the means for people to buy/sell goods with multiple cryptocurrencies.
 
As the Particl network grows this would strengthen the links between cryptocurrency and fiat whilst simultaneously making cryptocurrency more independent of fiat.
 
This approach creates economic incentives to hold and promote the token and benefits holders as its value increases in a manner proportional to increasing non-speculative use on the Particl network.

Contrast this with systems like syscoin where the native sys token is not essential to transact. It suffers from diminished speculator and thus network effects to propagate spread, promotion and usage of the native token and even if non-speculative use of the syscoin network increases this does necessarily translate to increased buy demand on the sys token.

The PART token is used to secure the Particl network via PoS. Increased non speculative use of the PART token to transact leads to diversification of PART.
 
Those who set their clients to stake to earn a portion of the marketplace/transaction fees + staking rewards thus wind up increasing the node count and diversification which increases the security of the network.
 
The PART token has a dual nature: A public token for where the added cost/verification time of transacting privately is not necessary and where accountability is a requirement (e.g. selling large volume, low cost, high frequency white-hat goods).
 
A large transaction pool is required to make the private ringCT transactions work. If multiple currencies were allowed to buy/sell goods directly (rather than be first converted to the native PART token), the pool of available transactions for RingCT would be diluted and thus the anonymity ringCT provides would be weakened.

...
Particl will provide a system where all the economic, network and pragmatic incentives of cryptocurrency are in perfect alignment, something which is not true of many other systems in cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology.


Perhaps the most important thing I haven't stated is that by integrating all the services it does (the marketplace, the exchanges, the escrow service and the security and privacy features) and allowing for modular expansion under one privacy centric platform, Particl provides convenience and streamlines existing processes for private, anonymous and public commerce independent of traditional fiat.
...

In summary cryptocurrencies that choose to integrate with the Particl platform will instantly find non-speculative uses and revenue. This will drive fiat into those cryptocurrencies and perpetuate a tendency to keep it there, increasing both their liquidity and value as these will now be used to buy and sell goods on the Particl platform via its decentralised marketplace and any other services it offers.

By: Joske

Notorious Domain XBT.com Goes up for Sale at 200 BTC

 


XBT.com, one of the web's most desirable domain names, is up for sale. Its current owners, XBT Holding SA, are seeking 200 BTC – or about $2.9 million – for the site. The domain is coveted partially because XBT is the abbreviation that many institutional trading platforms use for bitcoin, and also on account of the site's notoriety, having been linked to the hacking of the US Democratic Party.

Buy XBT with BTC
It's not often a three-letter dot com domain goes up for sale, but when it does, it's guaranteed to command a premium price tag. XBT.com is of particular interest to bitcoiners, given that the letters XBT are synonymous with bitcoin in some circles. This connection accounts for why the web hosting company in charge of the domain have elected to capitalize on the bitcoin boom and price the domain in BTC.

200 BTC is the starting bid for XBT.com, whose holding page currently shows a "buy now" button or the option to place a bid, complete with the price of bitcoin in real-time, denominated in XBT. There's more to the site than a cool name and a convenient bitcoin connection though: the backstory to XBT.com is the most enthralling part of the whole affair.

In January 2017, Buzzfeed published a story based on information supplied by research group Fusion GPS. It contained a series of allegations about XBT, the Luxembourg-based company currently selling the domain of the same name. XBT, in conjunction with its Webzilla subsidiary, had been complicit in stealing data from the Democratic Party including a damning dossier on Donald Trump, the allegation went. XBT's former CEO Aleksej Gubarev was named specifically in the report, supposedly abetted by Russia's Federal Security Service.

Notorious Domain XBT.com Goes up for Sale at 200 BTCXBT and its then-CEO bitterly contested these allegations, but the cat was already out the bag, and the company's reputation and finances took a hit. Gubarev and XBT took Buzzfeed to court over the story, in a case which is still ongoing in a Florida court. XBT and Buzzfeed have been sniping ever since, with the Luxembourg-based company filing a response to Buzzfeed's attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed entitled "Six Ways BuzzFeed Has Misled the Court (Number Two Will Amaze You) … And a Picture of a Kitten".

Bloomberg quotes Gubarev, via his lawyer, as saying:
This domain has way more value in the hands of someone in the cryptocurrency business. Also, the brand name of XBT has severely suffered due to the false allegations in the dossier, and we are considering re-branding as the result of the reputational damage.

XBT's loss can be one bitcoin entrepreneur's gain, but they'll need to dig deep for the privilege. Aside from the 200 BTC asking price, the auction requires a deposit of $10,000 or 0.5 BTC just to eligible to bid. With no bids received so far, it remains to be seen whether XBT will succeed in shifting one of the web's most infamous domains.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Dubai to Become a Blockchain City

 

Dubai is a city known for its extravagance and technology. Flying taxis, water jet firefighters, and robotic police are all parts of its current reality or future. It would not be a surprise if they were simply looking into smart contracts and cryptocurrencies, but what many may not realize is that they also plan on being the world's first blockchain-powered government.

DUBAI AS A BLOCKCHAIN CITY
There are some immediate and obvious advantages to getting much of a nation's citizenship and other tedious documents which require extensive reconciliation between various organizations onto a blockchain. Distributed, decentralized ledgers offer numerous benefits for this kind of recordkeeping.

Dubai plans to make the majority of city documentation powered by smart contracts by the year 2020. This is ambitious, but not impossible. The various items that will find their way onto the blockchain by then are: visa applications, bill payments, and license renewals. Essentially, anything that currently requires paperwork will likely end up on the blockchain between now and 2020.

This makes an incredible amount of sense, and the amount of money saved by cutting down on man-hours and labor costs is significant.

CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COINS
While many may assume that these smart contracts and the associated data will be written on a public, already widely-used blockchain, we may need to reconsider. There are many reasons why new cryptocurrencies may be more attractive to governments, such as Dubai's, over others. Namely, there are coins like DubaiCoin (DBIX), which was built and developed by residents of Dubai. One must also consider the fact that Islam (the majority religion in the UAE) also has its own set of financial laws, which would make a locally created coin a more culturally appropriate choice for a predominantly Islamic city.

Please note that this is only a guess, as the Dubai government has not yet announced which blockchain(s) it will employ to facilitate these smart contract functions. Do not take this as financial advice.

OTHER GOVERNMENTS HOLD THEIR BREATH
At the end of the day, this is going to be an incredibly valuable dry run for the rest of the world. This will demonstrate just how effective blockchain technology can be for solving the many challenges that national governments face.

Once the example has been set, the benefits made apparent, and the pitfalls identified, this is going to be a great blueprint for other governments and cities to follow. While the cost of spinning all of this up may be a bit beyond the means of many governments for a while, the price of blockchain adoption will surely decrease the more widespread it becomes.

We should all be excited about this.