(PDF) THE EFFECT OF BITCOIN ON MONEY LAUNDERING LAW ...

Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet

Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots.
A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC).
Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea.
When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust.
However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:

Is Bitcoin money?

No.
Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves:
1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own.
As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get.
You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there?
2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile.
If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point:
3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away.
For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast.
On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC
While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad.
One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy.
If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due.
Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.

BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in

Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense.
Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run.
See here
Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well.
Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money.
Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph
The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand.
Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price
Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control.
It's also a national security risk...
The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa
In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca.
He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade.
This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.

Currencies are based on trust

Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged?
The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president.
People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all.
It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board.
For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency
This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government."
The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.

BTC is not gold

Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value.
How do we know that?
Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan.
Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well.
Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties:
First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment.
Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials.
Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans.
It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods.
To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that.
On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.

BTC is really risky

One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds.
But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:

Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient

Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science.
That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale.
The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
submitted by VodkaHaze to badeconomics [link] [comments]

Who can legally use Atari Token?

So the blockchain thing keeps coming up, but all the explanations are super vague and hand-wavey.
I looked-over those PDFs PowerDubs posted the other day. I still cannot figure out how this is even hypothetically supposed to work.
One proposed use is for a future online casino. Crypto casinos already exist, and they are shady. The largest bitcoin casino's CEO goes by the pseudonym "wetsuit". I assume he doesn't use his real name because of, you know, all the crime involved.
So what's Atari's plan? If Atari is selling a tool for transmitting money for gambling, this is a wire-fraud risk. If Americans try and use this token, Atari will have to function as a financial institute in compliance with US law. The obscure bank Atari has partnered with may or may not exist, but it won't hold up to scrutiny either way. Maybe some other countries are more lax about this, but a lot are even more strict. So who, exactly, will legally be allowed to use this token?
The other major purpose is for in-app purchases. If Atari lets users cash-out in-app currencies, this basically turns EVERY GAME into a gambling game. Game companies don't want to be fined for running money laundering operations, so they don't usually make it easy to cash-out in-app currency. "Blockchain" doesn't change this. If reputable companies don't want this, why would they work with Atari? Why would Atari even offer this?
There are other proposed uses as well. None of these ambitious plans amount to anything unless the token has some value in "fiat". Game industry workers still need to pay rent and buy groceries, wherever they live. Workers don't want to be payed in coupons they can only spend on overpriced app stores like RobotCache.
The whitepaper even says something about Atari Token helping people without internet access. Sure Jan. If Facebook couldn't figure this out with Libra, what hope does Atari have?
Again, who will legally be allowed to use this token for its proposed purpose? How does being on the blockchain actually benefit anyone?
submitted by ComradeSnuggles to AtariVCS [link] [comments]

Cryptocurrencies and Money Laundering: To What Extent They Are Actually Connected ( part 2)

Cryptocurrencies and Money Laundering: To What Extent They Are Actually Connected ( part 2)

https://preview.redd.it/rwfzet5fu2u51.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f27873c32c2c5435ae7ed7d51f8abf47152073bf
Cryptocurrencies are ill suited to money laundering
As a tool for money laundering, cryptocurrencies are a lot less universal and convenient than bank payments and cash.
Unlike cash transactions and bank transfers, transactions in decentralized blockchains are easily traceable. Cryptocurrencies are transparent in nature — all transactions are recorded and publicly accessible. If you can accumulate considerable volume of data, you can determine who's behind a bitcoin address used for money laundering. Besides, you cannot use the ВТС network and other cryptocurrency networks to transfer a large amount of money — such a transaction would be immediately brought to attention of law enforcement.
The experience of fighting against the Darknet (the illegal Internet) shows that states can fight against cyber crime while anonymity of cryptocurrencies is greatly exaggerated. Legal cryptocurrency platforms have demonstrated a long-standing trend of using KYC principles (provision of complete information about a user) — exchanging currencies anonymously is getting harder. Special services can connect transactions to specific users, sometimes using the blockchain technology itself to do it.
Super anonymous coins that encrypt transaction data (Monero, Dash, ZCash and others) cannot save criminals either — there are methods that can be used to break down these transactions. However, some experts state that cryptocurrency technologies evolve really fast and will soon become completely untraceable. In any case, to withdraw cryptocurrencies and turn them into fiat money, you would have to “burn” your actual bank accounts, thus reducing the entire anonymity level.
It is often mentioned that criminals use the so-called “mixers” — software and services where transactions can be run by mixing your coins and coins owned by other users to maintain confidentiality. It allows you to hide your withdrawal data and addresses, as well as your real identities. However, according to the above mentioned Chainalysis report, most users prefer to use mixers to ensure confidentiality and not to conduct illegal activity. This method is only used to launder 8 % of all money passing through.
Moreover, special services can track transactions passing through mixers which makes them suspicious by default. This is why criminals are not overenthusiastic to use them — cash and banks are more secure.
As you can see, cryptocurrencies are not all that convenient for criminals though it may seem so. They are an excessive intermediate since actual laundering requires cashing out and it's getting harder to do so anonymously by the day.
Banks are the key “laundromats” of the criminal underworld
Let's turn to the best part now. Criminals launder most money via regulated banks seen as ideal by the states. They can annually launder up to $ 2 trln. Think about it: trillions of dollars laundered through the banks.
Many of the world's biggest banks have been involved in money laundering schemes and fined for this. For instance, Wells Fargo, J. P. Morgan Chase & Co and the Bank of America, Standard Chartered and others. Last year, it turned out that Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Raiffeisen had helped criminals launder $ 8.8 bln over a period of 7 years. It's only three bank conglomerates seen as strongholds of honesty and security. Imagine how much money has been laundered via other banks, including “shadow” banks.
In 2019, various companies around the world were fined for being involved in money laundering schemes worth of the record $ 8.14 bln. It's twice as much as in 2018. Two thirds of the fines were attributed to banks — $ 6.2 bln, and 17% — to gaming and gambling organizations. The best joke is that these fines are a drop in the ocean for the banks while money laundering cannot be undone.
According to the August report by the Mexican Finance Intelligence Unit, local criminals still prefer to launder money using conventional financial institutions, mostly banks, as well as brokerage firms and exchange companies. Seven biggest and most regulated Mexican banks that control 80 % of all assets in the national financial sector run the biggest number of transactions with black money (no specific amounts are given).
Moreover, Mexican banks have long been known to deal with activities of this kind. In 2012, one of them — HSBC — paid a record $ 1.92 bln in fines to the US authorities after the Mexican and Columbian drug cartels were caught using this bank for laundering drug-related money.
A short time ago, the international payment system SWIFT used by all of the world's banks published a report drafted in partnership with the financial research firm Bae Systems. The report noted that cryptocurrencies are rarely used for money laundering — with criminals preferring the more conventional ways. These include: using the so-called “money mules” — intermediaries who allow to use their accounts for transferring illegal money; hacking bank accounts, bribing bank officials, using shell companies and casinos.
The report also lists examples of laundering big amounts of money using cryptocurrencies while also noting that only few cases have been registered. These include use of intermediaries, prepaid crypto cards, purchase of physical assets, such as real estate or expensive cards, for cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrencies do not launder money — they fight against money laundering
As you can see, while cryptocurrencies can be used for money laundering, they are ill suited to this purpose. Moreover, they actually work the other way around by increasing transparency, security and speed of payment transactions and giving users more independence. Coins like UMI are building an alternative financial system accessible to anyone, not a shadow market for laundering illegal money.
The fact is that today 99 % of laundered money passes through other channels, not cryptocurrencies. Criminals still prefer using fiat money for this purpose. Banking institution are their key accomplices, and the amounts of money they hide outmatches the overall capitalization of the cryptocurrency market. However, no one is threatening to prohibit banks.
At the same time, we hear all the time that cryptocurrencies should be banned or strictly regulated. Unfortunately, financial regulators and law enforcement agencies all over the world are sometimes obsessed with the idea of putting spokes in wheels for the usual people who use cryptocurrencies while also allowing bankers to launder trillions of dollars. Isn't it ironic?
UMI is fighting against this state of affairs. We're building a new, alternative and completely transparent financial system where any person on the globe can generate digital money and make instant, fast and free-of-charge payments.
To sum up, don't trust the negative publicity for cryptocurrencies Trust the facts. The negative publicity is mostly generated by people who are not happy that the existing financial system based on banks is gradually become a thing of the past while cryptocurrencies are growing rapidly. At any rate, the key point is that decentralized cryptocurrencies which belong to users from across the world cannot be banned, even from the technical point of view. Thus, there's nothing to fear and progress cannot be stopped.
Sincerely yours, UMI Team!
submitted by UMITop to u/UMITop [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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

The Travel Rule is Coming in 2021 - Here’s What You Need to Know

Link to BTCTimes: https://www.btctimes.com/news/the-travel-rule-is-coming-in-2021-here-is-what-you-need-to-know
On June 30th, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released the outcomes of the June FATF Plenary, a report that concluded a 12-month review of cryptocurrency businesses as they prepare for the Travel Rule and its extended information sharing requirements.
The result back then: the FATF would extend the preparation period by another 12 months, allowing the industry more time to become compliant with the Travel Rule and avoid penalties.
The year-long extension did not come as a surprise: “I expect FATF to only reiterate their guideline expectations on member countries during the plenary. This will help ensure that more VASPs [virtual asset service providers] can work with greater confidence towards firm Travel Rule compliance deadlines in each country following the June plenary,” said Michael Michael Ou, CEO of CoolBitX, on June 9th, prior to the June Plenary report.
Another extension of the preparation period, however, is unlikely according to David Riegelnig, Head of Risk Management at Bitcoin Suisse AG.
“From the regulators’ point of view, they’ve granted one more year to implement the travel rule and they see that the industry is moving,” he told the BTC Times. “I expect regulations to come into effect at least mid-next year.”

What Is the FATF?

The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) sets international standards to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Its primary objective is to develop and enforce FATF Recommendations, which describe a comprehensive plan for a globally coordinated effort to identify the transfer of funds for illicit purposes.

What Is the Travel Rule?

The Travel Rule was first created in the U.S. on May 28th, 1996 through the Bank Secrecy Act and was issued by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The rule requires all intermediary financial institutions to share customer information with one another for fund transfers exceeding $3,000. The type of information that must be provided include the name, address, and the bank account number of the sender.
With the emergence of Bitcoin, a new, unregulated asset class has stepped into the picture and continues to draw interest from both young and established financial institutions. In light of this, the FATF is currently developing new standards for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to comply with the Travel Rule.
On June 21st, 2019, the FATF updated the existing FATF Recommendation 16 to include the FATF Travel Rule specifically to address the challenges law enforcement faces in monitoring and identifying the use of cryptocurrency for money laundering or terrorist financing. This new Travel Rule is similar to the audit regulations of the United States’ Bank Secrecy Act, but extends the obligation to cryptocurrency transfers world-wide.

Which Cryptocurrency Companies Need to Comply With the Travel Rule?

The Travel Rule applies to businesses that exchange, transfer, or safekeep cryptocurrencies, as well as those who provide financial services related to cryptocurrencies.
“If you custody, process, or exchange crypto, you’re a VASP. But if you are a wallet software provider, you might be excluded,” David Riegelnig told the BTC Times.
But what about “decentralized” exchanges and lending protocols that facilitate transactions through smart contracts?
“FATF is increasingly thinking about this [space], especially with the recent DeFi frenzy,” Riegelnig shared. “If a smart contract is controlled by humans through admin keys, it’s very possible that they will be treated as intermediaries.”
Privacy-enhancing services such as CoinJoin providers, according to Riegelnig, likely have no reason to worry about the Travel Rule as they don’t typically control the private keys of CoinJoin participants.

What Will Change for Businesses and Customers?

With the FATF extending its review period by another 12 months, the Travel Rule is anticipated to be enforced by June 2021.
Therefore, customers of cryptocurrency businesses that operate in one of the FATF’s 39 participating member states should expect personally identifiable information to be collected and shared should they transfer cryptocurrency from one institution to another. This includes countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and Japan.
However, the Travel Rule will have an impact on businesses all over the world as members may choose not to interact with those who aren’t compliant.
“It's true that FATF requirements are binding only to member states. But in reality, they are effective beyond this group. After this migration period, no transfers will be done with VASPs in countries that are ‘non-cooperative’. You can simply not risk your license for that,” Riegelnig concluded.
submitted by BlockDotCo to u/BlockDotCo [link] [comments]

Stablecoins Are Not as Safe as You Think. How Your USDT, PAX, BUSD Get Frozen in a Moment

Stablecoins Are Not as Safe as You Think. How Your USDT, PAX, BUSD Get Frozen in a Moment
Being created on the basis of blockchain, stablecoins were considered to be a safe haven for investors… until recently. Why is their immunity elusive and how does the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plan to control them?
Established in 1989 by the G7, the FATF inter-governmental organization develops policies to resist money laundering and financing of terrorism. It sets standards and implements legal and regulatory measures to combat illegal financial transactions.
They developed recommendations for the monitoring of money laundering and keep revising them regularly. In case of non-compliance, law enforcement is executed via regional financial organizations. As of 2019, there are 39 full members of FATF, including the USA, UK, Australia, most EU countries, Singapore, India and the Russian Federation.
Since 1st July, the FATF organization has been headed by Marcus Pleyer. During the last FATF meeting, the new president expressed his concerns about global stablecoins and organizations that issue them. Although the organization had already dealt with these cryptocurrencies, it highlighted that, “it is essential to continue closely monitoring the ML/TF risks of so-called stablecoins, including anonymous peer-to-peer transactions via unhosted wallets”.
Is it ever possible to control crypto wallets that are not hosted on online exchanges? – you’d ask. We’re used to the fact that cryptocurrencies are outside the reach of banks and governments. However, when it comes to stablecoins, things are different.

It’s in the code

What makes stablecoins special is that they are pegging to fiat currency, for example, 1 TUSD = $1 USD. This means that such assets should be backed up by real money stored in the bank accounts of the issuing organization. Consequently, stablecoin creators need to comply with the requirements of the SEC, FATF and other controlling agencies, if they are to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere and be authorised to sell stablecoins. Transparent reports are not the only requirement, stablecoins must also provide the possibility of account blocking.
Surprisingly, this feature is implemented in each stablecoin. The experts from QDAO DeFi are covering several stablecoin protocols that enable this function.

OMNI-based USDT

Issued by Tether Limited, USDT is a stablecoin that was originally created to be worth $1 with each token backed by a $1 real fiat reserve. The currency was successfully promoted and added to major cryptocurrency exchanges but stayed a controversial asset. Despite the claims of Tether Limited, they failed to provide any contractual right or other legal claims to guarantee that USDT can be swapped for dollars or be redeemed.
In April 2019, Tether’s lawyers explained that each USDT was backed by only $0.74 in cash or equivalent assets. No audit of dollar collateral was done. A month before that, it changed the backing to include loans to affiliate companies. The scandal also involved the Bitfinex exchange that was accused of using USDT funds to cover $850 million in funds lost since 2018. They were also accused of manipulating USDT to push the BTC price.
Tether is available on five blockchains: Omni, Ehereum, EOS, Tron and Liquid. Only the latter does not have a freezing feature. Omni was the first protocol for USDT. Blocking of users’ accounts is possible, thanks to the following piece of code:

https://preview.redd.it/uqho45l33om51.png?width=690&format=png&auto=webp&s=c0feebdae086b0deeccde05278eaf3cc760f9e2b
Apparently, it’s used to blacklist addresses and contracts.

PAX

The concerns about PAX were centered around the notorious MMM BSC Ponzi scheme. Before the widespread adoption of DeFi services, it was the second-largest gas consumer after Ethereum. Out of 25,000 daily transactions, 5,000 were performed by MMM BSC. It was reported to be a scam but none of the accounts were frozen. Does it mean PAX lacked the resources to regulate illicit activities?
Evidently, not. The protocol code has a LAW ENFORCEMENT FUNCTIONALITY function that allows for the freezing/unfreezing of contracts or burning assets on blacklisted accounts. It turns out, anyone risks having their PAX coins destroyed during an investigation process while their accounts stay blocked.

History of frozen accounts

In 2019, the ZCash Foundation and Eric Wall conducted research on the privacy of stablecoins and revealed several frozen addresses. It’s not clear why exactly they were blocked. Most probably, it happened shortly after the exchange withdrawal – users took this action after witnessing platforms being hacked.

https://preview.redd.it/pkbruqm83om51.png?width=838&format=png&auto=webp&s=b068c5b8c5e5439892eaf5feefa3fbc93c694c8c
USDT was implicated at least twice in scandals to do with freezing. In April 2019, about $850 million in Tether dollars sent by Crypto Capital Corp. were frozen by a New York court. Tether and Btfinex were accused of participating in a cover-up to hide about $850 million worth in clients’ funds. By July 2020, Tether had frozen 40 Ethereum addresses with millions of USDT (some of them are shown in the screenshot above).
The Centre Consortium was the next to follow their lead; about a month ago, it blacklisted an address with USDC worth $100,000. That was done in response to law enforcement.
Yet, it’s not only Europe and the USA imposing control over cryptocurrencies. Since June 2020, the Chinese government managed to block several thousands of users’ bank accounts. It was done to resist illicit activities, especially money laundering. On some of those accounts, no activity had been detected for several months. Meanwhile, prior to April 2020, Chinese residents moved over $50 billion worth of crypto outside the country borders – more than is officially allowed (a maximum of $50,000 per person).
The authorities claim that USDT and other stablecoins are often used in illegal activities. Together with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), they are developing new ways of investigating digital crimes and money laundering operations involving exchanges and crypto wallets. Local financial bureaus and police are working tight-lipped about investigating startups and crypto exchanges. And they are succeeding at it.
In July 2020, Chinese authorities confiscated BTC, ETH and USDT worth $15 million from people who allegedly ran a fake cryptocurrency scheme.
By the way, not only corporate accounts are being closed. One investor claims his account had been frozen after using yuan to purchase crypto. Also, users who transfer illegally obtained money outside of the mainland in large amounts are under suspicion. Does it mean the Chinese government has started tightening the screws on cryptocurrency users?

DAI, USDT on Liquid and USDQ are the main options for stablecoin deposits

So, where can you store your crypto assets? USDT on Liquid and DAI are not the only solutions available. Consider making a deposit in USDQ, the stablecoin of the QDAO ecosystem. Like other stablecoins, it’s 1-to-1 pegged to USD. However, it cannot be frozen by a government, financial organization or anyone from the QDAO team. You can check it yourself by reading our Smart contract and USDQ Audit.
In QDAO, users’ accounts are never frozen by a single person – all account issues are solved by the entire QDAO community, with the help of a QDAO governance token.
In case of blocking (the chances of which are almost non-existent), you can address the QDAO community and get timely help.

Bottom Line

With FATF taking this new course of action, we might witness serious pressure on stablecoin providers. Some projects will resist it, but it’s still not safe to store your assets in popular stablecoins, especially USDT. Your account can be frozen by authorities for dozens of reasons without the possibility of retrieval.
Yet, there are a number of reliable alternatives and USDQ stablecoin is one of them. QDAO DeFi platform users feel free to manage their crypto reserves and make profitable deposits.
Want to be the first to hear QDAO DeFi news and updates? Visit our website and stay in touch with us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and LINE (for the Japanese-speaking community).
submitted by QDAODeFi to u/QDAODeFi [link] [comments]

BitcoinBCH.com accidentally publishes on-chain proof that they fake BCHs adoption metrics. Post to r/btc gets deleted and OP is now permanently banned.

Everybody who has posted this on btc has been banned according to modlog. Total of 9 users so far. Don't post this on btc or you will get banned. If you get banned comment on this thread or PM me.

May 2020:

According to btc modlogs, mc-78 has been banned because he questioned the April report with this comment.

According to btc modlogs, BCH4TW has been banned because he questioned the April report with this comment.

March 2020:

According to btc modlogs, bch4god has been banned because he questioned the February report with this comment.

According to btc modlogs, ISeeGregPeople has been banned because he linked to this thread in his comment.

February 2020:

According to btc modlogs, whene-is-satoshi has been banned because he linked to this thread in his comment.

January 2020:

According to btc modlogs, cryptokittykiller's post has been removed for linking to this thread.

According to btc modlogs, bashcalf has now been banned for linking to this thread.

According to btc modlogs, EnterLayer2 has now been banned for this post pointing out that this thread has reached 1000 upvotes.

This article was posted by bitcoinsatellite on btc here. Once it reached frontpage it got deleted and OP was banned from btc and bitcoincash as a result.

Disclaimer: I am not and have never been affiliated with any of the mentioned parties in a private or professional matter.
Presumably in an attempt to smear a local competitor, Hayden Otto inadvertently publishes irrefutable on-chain proof that he excluded non-BCH retail revenue to shape the "BCH #1 in Australia" narrative.
  • Scroll down to "Proof of exclusion" if you are tired of the drama recap.
  • Scroll down to "TLDR" if you want a summary.

Recap

In September 2019, BitcoinBCH.com started publishing so called monthly "reports" about crypto retail payments in Australia. They claimed that ~90% of Australia's crypto retail revenue is processed via their own HULA system and that ~92% of all crypto retail revenue happens in BCH.
They are aggregating two data sources to come up with this claim.
One is TravelByBit (TBB) who publishes their PoS transactions (BTC, LN, ETH, BNB, DASH, BCH) live on a ticker.
The other source is HULA, a newly introduced POS system (BCH only) and direct competitor to TBB run by BitcoinBCH.com - the same company who created the report. Despite being on-chain their transactions are private, not published and not verifiable by third parties outside BitcoinBCH.com
Two things stood out in the "reports", noted by multiple users (including vocal BCH proponents):
  • The non-BCH parts must have tx excluded and the report neglects to mention it (the total in their TBB analysis does not match what is reported on the TBB website.)
  • The BCH part has outliers included (e.g. BCH city conference in September with 35x the daily average)
The TBB website loads the historic tx data in the browser but hides transactions older than 7 days from being displayed, i.e. you can access more than 7 days worth of data if you understand JavaScript and can read the source code (source).

Hayden Otto's reaction

In direct response to me publishing these findings on btc, Hayden Otto - an employee at BitcoinBCH.com and the author of the report who also happens to be a moderator of /BitcoinCash - banned me immediately from said sub (source).
In subsequent discussion (which repeated for every monthly "report" which was flawed in the same ways as described above), Hayden responded using the same tactics:
"No data was removed"
"The guy is straight out lying. There is guaranteed no missing tx as the data was collected directly from the source." (source)
"Only data I considered non-retail was removed"
"I also had these data points and went through them to remove non-retail transactions, on both TravelbyBit and HULA." (source)
He admits to have removed non-BCH tx by "Game Ranger" because he considers them non-retail (source). He also implies they might be involved in money laundering and that TBB might fail their AML obligations in processing Game Ranger's transactions (source).
The report does not mention any data being excluded at all and he still fails to explain why several businesses that are clearly retail (e.g. restaurants, cafes, markets) had tx excluded (source).
"You are too late to prove I altered the data"
"[...] I recorded [the data] manually from https://travelbybit.com/stats/ over the month of September. The website only shows transactions from the last 7 days and then they disappear. No way for anyone to access stats beyond that." (source)
Fortunately you can, if you can read the website's source code. But you need to know a bit of JavaScript to verify it yourself, so not an ideal method to easily prove the claim of data exclusion to the public. But it laters turns out Hayden himself has found an easier way to achieve the same.
"The report can't be wrong because it has been audited."
In response to criticism about the flawed methodology in generating the September report, BitcoinBCH.com hired an accountant from a regional Bitcoin BCH startup to "audit" the October report. This is remarkable, because not only did their reported TBB totals still not match those from the TBB site - their result was mathematically impossible. How so? No subset of TBB transaction in that month sums up to the total they reported. So even if they excluded retail transactions at will, they still must have messed up the sum (source). Why didn't their auditor notice their mistake? She said she "conducted a review based on the TravelByBit data provided to her", i.e. the data acquisition and selection process was explicitly excluded from the audit (source).
"You are a 'pathetic liar', a 'desperate toll', an 'astroturf account' and 'a total dumb ass' and are 'pulling numbers out of your ass!'"
Since he has already banned me from the sub he moderates, he started to resort to ad hominems (source, source, source, source).

Proof of exclusion

I published raw data as extracted from the TBB site after each report for comparison. Hayden responded that I made those numbers up and that I was pulling numbers out of my ass.
Since he was under the impression that
"The website only shows transactions from the last 7 days and then they disappear. No way for anyone to access stats beyond that." (source)
he felt confident to claim that I would be
unable to provide a source for the [missing] data and/or prove that that data was not already included in the report. (source)
Luckily for us Hayden Otto seems to dislike his competitor TravelByBit so much that he attempted to reframe Bitcoin's RBF feature as a vulnerability specific to TBB PoS system (source).
While doublespending a merchant using the TBB PoS he wanted to prove that the merchant successfully registered the purchase as complete and thus exposed that the PoS sales history of TBB's merchants are available to the public (source), in his own words:
"You can literally access it from a public URL in the Web browser. There is no login or anything required, just type in the name of the merchant." (source)
As of yet it is unclear if this is intentional by TBB or if Hayden Ottos followed the rules of responsible disclosure before publishing this kind of data leak.
As it happens, those sale histories do not only include the merchant and time of purchases, they even include the address the funds were sent to (in case of on-chain payments).
This gives us an easy method to prove that the purchases from the TBB website missing in the reports belong to a specific retail business and actually happened - something that is impossible to prove for the alleged HULA txs.
In order to make it easier for you to verify it yourself, we'll focus on a single day in the dataset, September 17th, 2019 as an example:
  • Hayden Otto's report claims 20 tx and $713.00 in total for that day (source)
  • The TBB website listed 40 tx and a total of $1032.90 (daily summary)
  • Pick a merchant, e.g. "The Stand Desserts"
  • Use Hayden's "trick" to access that merchants public sale history at https://www.livingroomofsatoshi.com/merchanthistory/thestanddesserts, sort by date to find the 17th Sep 2019 and look for a transaction at 20:58 for $28. This proves that a purchase of said amount is associated with this specific retail business.
  • Paste the associated crypto on-chain address 17MrHiRcKzCyuKPtvtn7iZhAZxydX8raU9 in a blockchain explorer of your choice, e.g like this. This proves that a transfer of funds has actually happened.
I let software aggregate the TBB statistics with the public sale histories and you'll find at the bottom of this post a table with the on-chain addresses conveniently linked to blockchain explorers for our example date.
The total of all 40 tx is $1032.90 instead of the $713.00 reported by Hayden. 17 tx of those have a corresponding on-chain address and thus have undeniable proof of $758.10. Of the remaining 23, 22 are on Lightning and one had no merchant history available.
This is just for a single day, here is a comparison for the whole month.
Description Total
TBB Total $10,502
TBB wo. Game Ranger $5,407
TBB according to Hayden $3,737

What now?

The usual shills will respond in a predictive manner: The data must be fake even though its proof is on-chain, I would need to provide more data but HULA can be trusted without any proof, if you include outliers BCH comes out ahead, yada, yada.
But this is not important. I am not here to convince them and this post doesn't aim to.
The tx numbers we are talking about are less than 0.005% of Bitcoin's global volume. If you can increase adoption in your area by 100% by just buying 2 coffees more per day you get a rough idea about how irrelevant the numbers are in comparison.
What is relevant though and what this post aims to highlight is that BitcoinBCH.com and the media outlets around news.bitcoin.com flooding you with the BCH #1 narrative are playing dirty. They feel justified because they feel that Bitcoin/Core/Blockstream is playing dirty as well. I am not here to judge that but you as a reader of this sub should be aware that this is happening and that you are the target.
When BitcoinBCH.com excludes $1,000 Bitcoin tx because of high value but includes $15,000 BCH tx because they are made by "professionals", you should be sceptical.
When BitcoinBCH.com excludes game developers, travel businesses or craftsmen accepting Bitcoin because they don't have a physical store but include a lawyer practice accepting BCH, you should be sceptical.
When BitcoinBCH.com excludes restaurants, bars and supermarkets accepting Bitcoin and when pressed reiterate that they excluded non-retail businesses without ever explaning why a restaurant shouldn't be considered reatil, you should be sceptical.
When BitcoinBCH.com claims the reports have been audited but omit that the data acquisition was not part of the audit, you should be sceptical.
I expect that BitcoinBCH.com will stop removing transactions from TBB for their reports now that it has been shown that their exclusion can be provably uncovered. I also expect that HULA's BCH numbers will rise accordingly to maintain a similar difference.
Hayden Otto assumed that nobody could cross-check the TBB data. He was wrong. Nobody will be able to disprove his claims when HULA's BCH numbers rise as he continues to refuse their release. You should treat his claims accordingly.
As usual, do your own research and draw your own conclusion. Sorry for the long read.

TLDR

  • BitcoinBCH.com claimed no transactions were removed from the TBB dataset in their BCH #1 reports and that is impossible to prove the opposite.
  • Hayden Otto's reveals in a double spend attempt that a TBB merchant's sale history can be accessed publicly including the merchant's on-chain addresses.
  • (For example,) this table shows 40 tx listed on the TBB site on Sep 17th, including their on-chain addresses where applicable. The BitcoinBCH.com report lists only 20 tx for the same day.
  • (Most days and every months so far has had BTC transactions excluded.)
  • (For September, TBB lists $10,502 yet the report only claims $3,737.
No. Date Merchant Asset Address Amount Total
1 17 Sep 19 09:28 LTD Espresso Lightning Unable to find merchant history. 4.50 4.50
2 17 Sep 19 09:40 LTD Espresso Binance Coin Unable to find merchant history. 4.50 9.00
3 17 Sep 19 13:22 Josh's IGA Murray Bridge West Ether 0x40fd53aa...b6de43c531 4.60 13.60
4 17 Sep 19 13:23 Nom Nom Korean Eatery Lightning lnbc107727...zkcqvvgklf 16.00 29.60
5 17 Sep 19 13:24 Nom Nom Korean Eatery Lightning lnbc100994...mkspwddgqw 15.00 44.60
6 17 Sep 19 14:02 Nom Nom Korean Eatery Binance Coin bnb1w5mwu9...552thl4ru5 30.00 74.60
7 17 Sep 19 15:19 Dollars and Sense (Fortitude Valley) Lightning lnbc134780...93cpanyxfg 2.00 76.60
8 17 Sep 19 15:34 Steph's Cafe Binance Coin bnb124hcjy...ss3pz9y3r8 57.50 134.10
9 17 Sep 19 19:37 The Stand Desserts Binance Coin bnb13f58s9...qqc7fxln7s 18.00 152.10
10 17 Sep 19 19:59 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc575880...48cpl0z06q 8.50 160.60
11 17 Sep 19 20:00 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc575770...t8spzjflym 8.50 169.10
12 17 Sep 19 20:13 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc202980...lgqp5ha8f4 3.00 172.10
13 17 Sep 19 20:21 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc577010...decq7r4p05 8.50 180.60
14 17 Sep 19 20:24 Fat Dumpling Lightning lnbc217145...9dsqpjjr6g 32.10 212.70
15 17 Sep 19 20:31 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc574530...wvcpp3pcen 8.50 221.20
16 17 Sep 19 20:33 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc540660...rpqpzgk8z0 8.00 229.20
17 17 Sep 19 20:37 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc128468...r8cqq50p5c 19.00 248.20
18 17 Sep 19 20:39 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc135220...cngp2zq6q4 2.00 250.20
19 17 Sep 19 20:45 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc574570...atcqg738p8 8.50 258.70
20 17 Sep 19 20:51 Fat Dumpling Lightning lnbc414190...8hcpg79h9a 61.20 319.90
21 17 Sep 19 20:53 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc135350...krqqp3cz8z 2.00 321.90
22 17 Sep 19 20:58 The Stand Desserts Bitcoin 17MrHiRcKz...ZxydX8raU9 28.00 349.90
23 17 Sep 19 21:02 The Stand Desserts Bitcoin 1Hwy8hCBff...iEh5fBsCWK 10.00 359.90
24 17 Sep 19 21:03 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc743810...dvqqnuunjq 11.00 370.90
25 17 Sep 19 21:04 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc114952...2vqpclm87p 17.00 387.90
26 17 Sep 19 21:10 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc169160...lpqqqt574c 2.50 390.40
27 17 Sep 19 21:11 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc575150...40qq9yuqmy 8.50 398.90
28 17 Sep 19 21:13 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc947370...qjcp3unr33 14.00 412.90
29 17 Sep 19 21:15 The Stand Desserts Binance Coin bnb1tc2vva...xppes5t7d0 16.00 428.90
30 17 Sep 19 21:16 Giardinetto Binance Coin bnb1auyep2...w64p6a6dlk 350.00 778.90
31 17 Sep 19 21:25 The Stand Desserts BCH 3H2iJaKNXH...5sxPk3t2tV 7.00 785.90
32 17 Sep 19 21:39 The Stand Desserts Binance Coin bnb17r7x3e...avaxwumc58 8.00 793.90
33 17 Sep 19 21:47 The Stand Desserts BCH 32kuPYT1tc...uFQwgsA5ku 18.00 811.90
34 17 Sep 19 21:52 The Stand Desserts BCH 3ELPvxtCSy...4QzvfVJsNZ 36.00 847.90
35 17 Sep 19 21:56 The Stand Desserts Lightning lnbc677740...acsp04sjeg 10.00 857.90
36 17 Sep 19 22:04 The Stand Desserts BCH 38b4wHg9cg...9L2WXC2BSK 54.00 911.90
37 17 Sep 19 22:16 The Stand Desserts Binance Coin bnb14lylhs...x6wz7kjzp5 18.00 929.90
38 17 Sep 19 22:21 The Stand Desserts BCH 3L8SK3Hr7u...F3htdSPxfL 90.00 1019.90
39 17 Sep 19 22:30 The Stand Desserts Binance Coin bnb19w6tle...774uknv57t 5.00 1024.90
40 17 Sep 19 22:48 The Stand Desserts BCH 3Qag8c4UYg...9EYuWzGjhs 8.00 1032.90
submitted by YeOldDoc to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

ISIS allegedly ran a COVID-19 PPE scam site

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 74%. (I'm a bot)
Now, according to the US Department of Justice, it seems that even ISIS has gotten in on the game.
Court documents [PDF] detail how an ISIS agent allegedly ran a scam website for COVID-19 personal protective equipment, or PPE, known as FaceMaskCenter.com.
ISIS' participation in the COVID-19 PPE scam industry is just part of a wave of fraud that has flooded the Internet since the COVID-19 pandemic began, says Mark Turnage, chief executive of DarkOwl, a security firm that's tracked COVID-19 scams online for months.
According to one civil complaint, a confidential source linked an ISIS "Facilitator" who used the alias Murat Cakar with the operation of FaceMaskCenter.com, as well as four Facebook accounts that advertised the site.
Cakar is believed to be responsible for managing multiple ISIS hacking operations; the complaint alleges that he received $100,000 from Zoobia Shahnaz, an American woman who had planned to travel to Syria to join ISIS, and who pleaded guilty to material support of terrorism in 2018 after laundering ISIS funds with bitcoin.
ISIS appears to have been unique among the groups-at least based on the behavior captured in the indictment-in using a COVID-19 scam to raise money, rather than mere appeals for donations.
Summary Source | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: ISIS#1 PPE#2 masks#3 COVID-19#4 scam#5
Post found in /worldnews, /Coronavirus, /nottheonion and /SkydTech.
NOTICE: This thread is for discussing the submission topic. Please do not discuss the concept of the autotldr bot here.
submitted by autotldr to autotldr [link] [comments]

Cryptocurrency technical analysis: cryptocurrency assets began the rally

Cryptocurrency technical analysis: cryptocurrency assets began the rally

Cryptocurrency technical analysis: cryptocurrency assets began the rally
Top crypto assets have been in an uptrend this week. One of the reasons for the growth was the positive dynamics in the US stock market. This was facilitated by the decision of the US Federal Reserve to continue the asset repurchase program in current volumes until March 2021. In addition, a number of news has influenced the digital asset market. So, on July 25, Chief Justice of the District Court of the District of Columbia Beryl Howell recognized bitcoin as a form of money and stated that the asset falls under the money laundering law. This decision was made during the $311 million laundering case, where the head of the Coin Ninja crypto project Larry Dean Harmon is the defendant.
Also since the beginning of the week, Bitcoin futures trading volumes have shown impressive growth, and the regulated crypto exchange Bakkt has reported closing of record high trading sessions. Also, significant support for the growth of the first cryptocurrency was provided by the massive closing of short positions, which were liquidated on July 28 for more than $500 million. And on July 29 it became known that the Central Bank of the Philippines is now participating in the race to launch the first national cryptocurrency. For this, a special committee will be created that will study the issue of launching the CBDC and the legal norms necessary for its work.

Bitcoin

After a rebound from support at $9150, bitcoin quotes easily overcame the $9500 level, which now also acts as support. The 200-day simple moving average (SMA) line passes in this area, as well as the boundaries of the technical analysis “Triangle” (they are marked in pink on the chart below). This allowed Bitcoin to reach the first goal in the form of cluster boundaries of $9,900- $10,000 and $10,400- $10,500.
Now the movement is taking place within the consolidation of $10,800- $11,300. In the coming weeks, maintaining the upward momentum will allow BTC quotes to rush to the following targets — $11,580 and $12,000. divergences ”between the highs on the chart and the MACD oscillator. If this scenario is realized, the targets will be the levels of $10,400 and $10,000. Further downward movement looks unlikely, but may lead to a retest of the $9,500- $9,600 area, where whales will most likely prefer to gain new positions in bitcoin.

BTC / USD chart, four-hour timeframe
On the daily chart of Bitcoin, you can see that there was a breakthrough of the boundaries of the technical analysis model “Triangle” (in the chart below they are marked in orange). From the point of view of technical analysis, a retest of the upper border of this figure should follow in the near future. This can lead to a decrease in the price from the current resistances of $11,000 and the cluster $11,200- $11,300 back to the supports at $10,500 and $10,000. If this scenario is implemented, there is also a chance of Bitcoin falling to the important cluster of $8900 (50% retracement at Fibonacci levels) — $9580.
The presence of divergence between the BTC price and the MACD oscillator indicates a high probability of a correction. But at what levels this reversal will occur is not yet known. But until the end of this year, the first cryptocurrency is ready to maintain its growth trend, which can lead to reaching $11,800, $12,500, a cluster of $13,100- $13,350 and $14,000.

BTC / USD chart, daily timeframe

Ethereum

Altcoins went up after bitcoin. The ether also shows good growth, the quotes of which continue to confidently rise from the support at $233, below which the 200-day SMA line is located. After overcoming the first target at $280, the ether rushed to the next targets located at the resistance levels of $300 and $320.
Now the ETH quotes have returned to the framework of the “Flag” graphical model, which can reduce the volatility of the asset. At the same time, a correctional decline below $320 will allow big capital to gain positions. The support levels will be $300, $280 and $251. The targets for the development of a long-term upward movement are $363.80, $400 and $420.

ETH / USD chart, daily timeframe

Litecoin

On the daily chart, Litecoin confidently maintains a positive momentum, which led to a breakout of the boundaries of the Descending Triangle technical analysis model. The upward breakout of the $47.45 level, just above which the 200-day moving average (MA) line is located, allowed LTC to go to the targets of $51.50 (38.2% correction level along the Fibonacci lines) and $56.80.
In the medium term, further upward movement may develop to $60.80, $65, $70 and even $83. However, in the event of a correction from the current levels, the whales are likely to gain positions only at the previously tested levels of $50 and $51.50.

LTC / USD chart, daily timeframe

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash, as expected, soared from the borders of the “Triangle” price model (on the chart below the borders are marked with pink lines) to the resistance located at the upper border of the “Horizontal Channel” $200- $272. Then the altcoin continued its way to the $305 area.
A correction may develop towards the 200-day SMA line, which is located in the $272 area. But in the long run of the coming months, we can expect a breakout of the $305 level, which will allow Bitcoin Cash to go up to the $356- $368 cluster and further to $400.

BCH / USDT chart, daily timeframe

XRP

XRP also took advantage of an influx of liquidity, which led to the breakout of the boundaries of the Descending Triangle model. This allowed the asset to break through the boundaries of the “horizontal channel” of $0.18- $0.2050, in the area of which the 200-day MA line passes. As a result, XRP reached its first targets at $0.2360 and $0.2540.
In the long term, the bulls will be able to take profits at $0.27, $0.2860 and $0.3080. At the same time, the levels of $0.2040, $0.2360 and $0.2540 in the event of a correction can act as supports for the current XRP quotes.

XRP / USD chart, daily timeframe

Binance Coin

Binance Coin also did not fail to take advantage of the market situation to break through the resistance in the form of the upper boundary of the “Ascending Triangle” and the level of $18.14. This allowed us to start the long-awaited growth towards the first target in the form of a powerful $19.36– $20 cluster. Maintaining this momentum in the months ahead will lead to the achievement of targets at $21.30, $23.50, $25.80 and $28.20.
But before that, the asset may wait for a correction to the levels of $19.36 and $18, where the 200-day SMA line is located.

BNB / USDT chart, daily timeframe
At the end of this week, we can confidently say that another rally has begun among crypto assets. Moreover, it occurs before the start of the correctional decline on the world stock markets, which some investors warn about. Thus, the cryptocurrency market is becoming a new safe haven for whales, which have preferred to accumulate positions since March. We will not be surprised if this upward movement will last more than one month.
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submitted by Smart_Smell to Robopay [link] [comments]

Blockchain in the Public Sector – Webcast Q&A

Blockchain in the Public Sector – Webcast Q&A
Link to our website: https://block.co/blockchain-in-the-public-sector-webcast-qa/
Block.co fourth webcast titled "Digital Transformation of the Public Sector & The Upcoming Legislation of Blockchain Technology in Cyprus” was an immense success. We gathered some of the best experts in the field, Deputy Minister Kyriacos Kokkinos, Jeff Bandman, Steve Tendon, and Christiana Aristidou to share their experience and discuss with us the latest updates regarding Blockchain in the Public Sector.
In its fourth series of webcasts, Block.co gathered 281 people watching the event from 41 different countries, for a two-hour webcast where guests answered participants’ questions. Following the impressive outcome and response we received from the audience, Block.co’s team has done its best to address all the questions for which public information is available.
Below is a list of the questions that were made and were not answered due to time constraints during the webcast. For the remaining questions from our audience, the team will reach out to our distinguished guests to receive their comments and feedback. Please note, that the below information is only for informational purposes!
Question 1:
How can asset tracing be accomplished with bitcoins and cryptocurrency? And how can this be regulated?
Block.co Team Answer:
Digital Asset tracing may be accomplished with cryptocurrency intelligence solutions such as Cipher Trace and the ICE cryptocurrency intelligence program. FATF (Financial Action Task Force) embarked on a program of work from summer 2018 to June 2019 to strengthen and update the provisions dealing with virtual assets and virtual asset service providers. FATF updated Recommendations in October 2018 and Guidance in June 2019 include several new obligations that apply to VASPs. The so-called “Travel Rule” FATF announced in October 2019 agreed on the assessment criteria for how it will assess countries’ compliance with the new global standards. Under the Travel Rule, the transmitter’s financial institutions must include and send information in the transmittal order such as Information about the identity, name, address, and account number of the sender and its financial institution Information about the identity, name, address and account number of the recipient. The ”Travel Rule” is effectively being applied to cryptoasset transfers when there is a virtual asset service provider (VASP) involved. The scope of focus has broadened from “convertible” virtual assets to any virtual asset. Countries should make sure businesses can freeze crypto wallet or exchange accounts for sanctioned individuals.
Question 2:
Which kind of software or technical knowledge is required to develop cryptocurrency?
Block.co Team Answer:
It depends on the type of cryptocurrency you wish to create, as well as the preferred functionality and features, and characteristics of the token or coin (i.e. will it be pre-mined, what type of hashing or cryptographic algorithm will be used (i.e. proof of work (POW) or proof of stake (POS) or a hybrid of both), etc. Likewise, it is useful to utilize a programming language that is broadly used and supported by a vast and active development community; more data could be found here: more information could be found here: top programming languages in 2015/2016, published by IEEE here, and TIOBE. Hypothetically, you can utilize any programming language to make cryptocurrency digital money, however, the most widely recognized are C, C++, Java, Python, Perl. The beauty of cryptocurrencies is that you can literally have access to the entire Bitcoin and Ethereum open-source programming scripts, and create your alternate coin (altcoin).
Question 3:
Hello all, I want to know about the current status of the European Union Blockchain initiative in currency or public identity.
Block.co Team Answer:
Please refer to the European Services Blockchain Infrastructure (EBSI) website.
Question 4:
Mining is also the process of confirmation of transactions in the Bitcoin Blockchain. What is the process of confirmation of transactions in the Blockchain of an Organization? How do we call it?
Block.co Team Answer:
That would depend on the specific consensus algorithm used for the confirmation of transactions. The consensus algorithm is part of the blockchain protocol that defines the rules on how consensus is reached on that blockchain. In order to participate, entities on the blockchain must obey and follow the same consensus algorithm. Make sure to check our glossary for more information.
Question 5:
How does a small business implement blockchain into its current non-blockchain software systems? Who do they hire to install it?
Block.co Team Answer:
It is easy when there are APIs to connect the various software. For more information, you can check Block.co API.
Question 6:
What is your opinion on digitizing developing economies like India by using AI and blockchain?
Block.co Team Answer:
Watch a very interesting webinar on the matter by Mr. Prasanna:
Question 7:
Blockchain technologies have been around since 2008. What would you say has been the biggest obstacle in widespread adoption?
Block.co Team Answer:
In our opinion, the biggest obstacles are volatile cryptoasset prices, complicated UIs, undefined blockchain technology standards. Moreover, the legislation around the technologies is still now being developed and does not offer legal certainty for broader adoption.
Question 8:
Limitations to Blockchain Usability in the Public Sector?
Block.co Team Answer:
Blockchain in the Public Sector, like any other innovative concept with big potential, cannot be a solution to every problem. Users and developers are still figuring out technological and managerial challenges. From a technological perspective, some aspects such as platform scalability, validation methods, data standardization, and systems integration must still be addressed. From a managerial point of view, the questions include business model transformation, incentive structure, and transaction scale, and maturity. Read more here.
Question 9:
How can these blockchain initiatives be practical for the African context
Block.co Team Answer:
As long as the internet infrastructure is in place, these blockchain initiatives may have the same benefits for the African region.
Question 10:
What are some compelling use cases you’ve seen lately, and how do they serve to further legitimize blockchain as a solution?
Block.co Team Answer:
You can see the global trends from all around the world when it comes to further legitimization as a solution, with China leading the way. Read more here.
Question 11:
How does digital currency manage the issue of money laundering?
Block.co Team Answer:
Depends under which context you are looking at the term digital currency. A digital currency usually refers to a balance or a record stored in a distributed database, in an electronic computer database, within digital files or a stored-value card. Some examples of digital currencies are cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and e-Cash. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an intergovernmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to fight money laundering. Since 2001 FATF is also looking into terrorism financing. The objectives of FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. FATF is a “policy-making body” that works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas. FATF monitors progress in implementing its Recommendations through “peer reviews” (“mutual evaluations”) of member countries. It is the global watchdog for anti-money laundering & counter-terrorist finance. In June 2019, it updated its guidance paper for Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs) regarding the transfer of digital assets. There was an insertion of a new interpretive note that sets out the application of the FATF Standards to virtual asset activities and service providers. To apply FATF Recommendations, countries should consider virtual assets as “property,” “proceeds,” “funds,” “funds or other assets,” or other “corresponding value.” Countries should apply the relevant measures under the FATF Recommendations to virtual assets and virtual asset service providers (VASPs). Read more about the FATF recommendations here).

https://preview.redd.it/58tt7mt1pld51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=d24811c4864ebf02cb9aacc8d6b877a1fbc3756b
Question 12:
To what extent can blockchain be used to improve the privacy of healthcare?
Block.co team Answer:
Please refer to our previous webcast, blog, and articles for more information.
Question 13:
What is Blockchain technology in Shipping?
Block.co team Answer:
The shipping sector has been in the hold of phony maritime institutes charging exorbitant fees via agents, issuing certificates to candidates who do not have the imperative attendance, or those candidates who just pay the fees for the course and ask for the certificate. In view of these fake accreditations, the possibility exists that someone could be harmed or killed, and we could face any number of potential ecological disasters. Having the option to easily verify the genuine origin of a certificate by an approved maritime center is foremost for shipping companies to fast-track their operation and streamline their labor.
Question 14:
Different uses of blockchain other than cryptocurrency?
Block.co team Answer:
Please refer to our blog and glossary.
Question 15:
Upcoming trends in Blockchain concerning Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations in the Public and Private sectors.
Block.co Team Answer:
Regarding the application of blockchain technology to media copyrights, please see Block.co use case proposal during the Bloomen Ideathon.

https://preview.redd.it/48zc8j38pld51.png?width=3622&format=png&auto=webp&s=79987d1dc7eb8d0c8e32dbce8680b17801d0d244
Question 16:
How to create a decentralized blockchain?
Block.co Team Answer:
An excessive number of individuals feel that blockchain is some supernatural innovation that makes up a decentralized system. In truth, this innovation only enables decentralization. Which means, it permits cryptocurrency to work in a decentralized way. Yet, it doesn’t give any guarantees that it will work that way. Along these lines, it’s really, some outer variables that decide genuine decentralization. Technology, itself never really guarantees it. That is the reason it’s a mistake to expect that if it’s a blockchain — it’s decentralized. From a technical perspective, both blockchains, centralized, and decentralized are comparative, as they take work on distributed peer to peer to network. This implies every node is individually responsible to verify and store the shared ledger. Both Blockchains utilize either a proof-of-work or proof-of-stake mechanisms to make a solitary record and they have to give upper and lower limits on the security and productivity of the system. For more information please refer to our infographic.
Question 17:
Dubai government Blockchain implementation progress?
Block.co Team Answer:
You can see more information here.
Question 18:
How Blockchain and IoT can be integrated to secure data being transmitted through IoT devices.
Block.co Team Answer:
You can read more about it here.
Question 19:
How can the Nigerian government use Blockchain to effectively implement its existing launched eGovernment master plan?
Block.co Team Answer:
Perhaps it can draw its attention to the initiatives of Dubai, Estonia, and Malta to prepare an implementation framework.
Question 20:
What impact is blockchain going to have in today world of business especially in the financial sector
Block.co Team Answer:
Please refer to our recent article titled Benefits of Blockchain Technology in the Banking Industry.
Question 21:
Is Blockchain Technology affect individuals?
Block.co Team Answer:
The social effect of blockchain innovation has just started to be acknowledged and this may simply be a hint of something larger. Cryptocurrencies have raised questions over financial services through digital wallets, and while considering that there are in excess of 3,5 billion individuals on the planet today without access to banking, such a move is surely impactful. Maybe the move for cryptocurrencies will be simpler for developing nations than the process of fiat cash and credit cards. It is like the transformation that developing nations had with mobile phones. It was simpler to acquire mass amounts of mobile phones than to supply another infrastructure for landlines telephones. In addition to giving the underprivileged access to banking services, greater transparency could also raise the profile and effectiveness of charities working in developing countries that fall under corrupt or manipulative governments.
An expanded degree of trust in where the cash goes and whose advantages would without a doubt lead to expanded commitments and backing for the poor in parts of the world that are in urgent need of help. Blockchain technology is well placed to remove the possibility of vote-apparatus and the entirety of different negatives related to the current democratic procedure. Obviously, with new innovation, there are new obstacles and issues that will arise, yet the cycle goes on and those new issues will be comprehended with progressively modern arrangements. A decentralized record would give the entirety of the fundamental information to precisely record votes on an anonymous basis, and check the exactness and whether there had been any manipulation of the voting procedure.
Question 22:
As Andreas Antonopoulos often says in his MOOC: ”is a blockchain even needed?” Ie. Are there better methods?
Block.co Team Answer:
In combination with nascent technologies, IoT, distributed computing, and distributed ledger technologies, governments can provide inventive services and answers for the citizens and local municipalities. Blockchain can provide the component to create a safe framework to deal with these functions. In particular, it can provide a safe interoperable infrastructure that permits all smart city services and capacities to work past presently imagined levels. On the off chance that there were better techniques, they would be researched.
Question 23:
Would any of this be also applicable to the educational sector (as part of the general public sector), and if so in which way?
Block.co Team Answer:
Yes, please refer to our Webcast on Education and our blog post.
Question 24:
Will we be able to get a hold of this recording upon completion of the meeting?
Block.co Team Answer:
Yes, here is a link to the recording of our webcast Blockchain in the Public Sector.
Question 25:
Was wondering if there are any existing universal framework in governing the blockchain technology?
Block.co Team Answer:
The short answer is NO, as this framework is currently being prepared in collaboration with the various Member States.
We would like to thank everyone for attending our webcast and hoping to interact with you in future webinars. If you would like to watch the webinar again, then click here!
For more info, contact Block.co directly or email at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).
Tel +357 70007828
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submitted by BlockDotCo to u/BlockDotCo [link] [comments]

Was Epstein behind an anonymous team that created Satoshi Nakamoto?

"The behavior of termites, together with ants and bees, is a precursor to trust because they have an extraordinary ability to form relationships and sophisticated social structures based on mutual altruism even though individually they are fundamentally dumb. Money itself is a derivative of trust. If we can figure out how termites come together, then we may be able to better understand the underlying principles of market behavior -- and make big money."
—Jeffrey Epstein, Letter to Martin Nowak (evolutionary game theory scientist), 2002. https://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/n_7912/index.html
——————————————————— “I have this idea of a future with virtual peer to peer banking. A kind of decentralized and secured system. Gone would be the times that governments and banks can track and interfere with our money transfers. Or even interfere with the total amount of money on earth. My envisioned sytem would have a fixed total amount of money. But each money unit (say virtual coin) is divisable indefinitely. So a kind of deflation would replace inflation. The total value of the money in the world would be a fixed number. It poses no problem for liquidity, because the currency can be divided anytime. However maybe people will not spend their money much, because it's value will increase often. Other problems raise in the areas of security, malicious use, and how to come towards such system from current systems? These are just ideas, I like to hear comments or about net resources on this subject.”
—X, UK finance forum, 2002. https://archive.ph/T7ZBD
——————————————————— “My studies are not complete as I am working on the intersection between evolutionary dynamics, social statistical mechanics, game theory, computational biology and synthetic biology in an attempt to discover the mathematical underpinnings of competition verses cooperation. Included in this is an attempt to formularize the efficiencies of social prosthetic systems. First attempts have been to analogize it to heat and energy transfers across variable resistance nodal networks. I'm further attempting to find a derivation of “power” (Why does everybody want it?) in an ecological social system that would include variables for reputation, trust or awe and the inherent strategically diverse tactics of deception.”
—Jeffrey Epstein, application to secure Visiting Fellowship position at Harvard. 2006. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6880926/HarvardEpsteinReport.pdf
——————————————————— “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending. We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network. The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work. The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed, but proof that it came from the largest pool of CPU power. As long as a majority of CPU power is controlled by nodes that are not cooperating to attack the network, they'll generate the longest chain and outpace attackers. The network itself requires minimal structure. Messages are broadcast on a best effort basis, and nodes can leave and rejoin the network at will, accepting the longest proof-of-work chain as proof of what happened while they were gone.
Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments. While the system works well enough for most transactions, it still suffers from the inherent weaknesses of the trust based model. Completely non-reversible transactions are not really possible, since financial institutions cannot avoid mediating disputes. The cost of mediation increases transaction costs, limiting the minimum practical transaction size and cutting off the possibility for small casual transactions, and there is a broader cost in the loss of ability to make non-reversible payments for non- reversible services. With the possibility of reversal, the need for trust spreads. Merchants must be wary of their customers, hassling them for more information than they would otherwise need. A certain percentage of fraud is accepted as unavoidable. These costs and payment uncertainties can be avoided in person by using physical currency, but no mechanism exists to make payments over a communications channel without a trusted party.”
—Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin Whitepaper, 2008. https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
—————————other relevant links: 2017: Epstein publicly endorsed Bitcoin as a store of value, publically funded many bitcoin “maximalist” projects HODLr since when?
2013: Links and instructions on accessing Cheese Pizza embedded on the bitcoin blockchain on blk00052 Ultimate deadman’s switch?
2013: Death of Dave Kleinman, PALM BEACH COUNTY POLICE Computer Forensics Expert and reputed encrypter of Satoshi’s 1 million Bitcoin Investigating said deadman’s switch or Epstein’s encrypted CP/blackmail confiscated by Palm Beach County police?
2003-2008: Paul Calder LeRoux “Solotsi”, #1 Bitcoin programmer candidate sets up dozens of shell companies for money laundering, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, mining/logging enterprises, paying off assassinations. He is the founder of E4M/TrueCrypt—only encryption unbreakable by NSA according to Snowden. He is also proported to be the bastard grandson of a US senator. He lobbied Mugabe with the help of Ari Ben-Menashe of Israeli intelligence once. He came under satoshi speculation after being mentioned in a footnote of redacted Wright vs Kleinman Estate case, coincidentally being litigated by Virginia Guiffry’s law firm.
August 2019: Computer-Generated Deep Fake AI Satoshi Nakamoto? No further confirmation of this guy has appeared, either as a real person or as further proof he is Satoshi. Seems to be hiding behind mysterious shell company.
*my post got removed from bitcoin for being off-topic and deleted from Epstein probably for mentioning pizzagate, can it find a home here?
Edit: added Jeffrey’s Visiting Fellowship statement from the Harvard Report
submitted by yunibyte to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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