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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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

What is a Crypto Wallet?

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency based on blockchain technology, and a cryptocurrency wallet is an application specifically used to manage these assets. The cryptocurrency wallet provides basic financial functions such as the creation of a wallet address, the transfer of cryptocurrency, and the query of the transaction history of each wallet address. Common digital currency wallets include Binance, Cobo and other functions with different functions. Tokenview's application ViewToken has the above-mentioned digital currency wallet function, and can predict the market of virtual currency, and can also help users earn more digital assets through financial management.

Blockchain Digital Currency wallet Classification

Blockchain Wallet API Helps to Manage Your Crypto Wallet

In the development of blockchain digital currency applications, a common question is how to query the balance information of this wallet address? Or in a similar way, how to query the balance information of a specified Bitcoin address? The good news is that many third-party organizations have solved these problems and provided them in the form of wallet balance API, which can be used directly.
Tokenview blockchain API data interface is one of the largest and most popular third-party blockchain digital currency APIs. Provides functions such as broadcast transactions, token information query, wallet service and transaction information. It also provides data on more than 100 mainstream cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum. Easy to use, and there are Chinese API documentation information. Refer to: https://services.tokenview.com
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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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

Let's discuss some of the issues with Nano

Let's talk about some of Nano's biggest issues. I also made a video about this topic, available here: https://youtu.be/d9yb9ifurbg.
00:12 Spam
Issues
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
01:58 Privacy
Issues
  • Nano has no privacy. It is pseudonymous (like Bitcoin), not anonymous.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues & Outstanding Issues*
  • Second layer solutions like mixers can help, but some argue that isn't enough privacy.
  • The current protocol design + the computational overhead of privacy does not allow Nano to implement first layer privacy without compromising it's other features (fast, feeless, and scalable transactions).
02:56 Decentralization
Issues
  • Nano is currently not as decentralized as it could be. ~25% of the voting weight is held by Binance.
  • Users must choose representatives, and users don't always choose the best ones (or never choose).
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Currently 4 unrelated parties (who all have a verifiable interest in keeping the network running) would have to work together to attack the network
  • Unlike Bitcoin, there is no mining or fees in Nano. This means that there is not a strong incentive for emergent centralization from profit maximization and economies of scale. We've seen this firsthand, as Nano's decentralization has increased over time.
  • Nano representative percentages are not that far off from Bitcoin mining pool percentages.
  • In Nano, voting weight can be remotely re-delegated to anyone at any time. This differs from Bitcoin, where consensus is controlled by miners and requires significant hardware investment.
  • The cost of a 51% attack scales with the market cap of Nano.
06:49 Marketing & adoption
Issues
  • The best technology doesn't always win. If no one knows about or uses Nano, it will die.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • I would argue that the best technology typically does win, but it needs to be best in every way (price, speed, accessbility, etc). Nano is currently in a good place if you agree with that argument.
  • Bitcoin started small, and didn't spend money on marketing. It takes time to build a community.
  • The developers have said they will market more once the protocol is where they want it to be (v20 or v21?).
  • Community marketing initiatives have started to form organically (e.g. Twitter campaigns, YouTube ads, etc).
  • Marketing and adoption is a very difficult problem to solve, especially when you don't have first mover advantage or consistent cashflow.
08:07 Small developer fund
Issues
  • The developer fund only has 3 million NANO left (~$4MM), what happens after that?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • The goal for Nano is to be an Internet RFC like TCP/IP or SMTP - development naturally slows down when the protocol is in a good place.
  • Nano development is completely open source, so anyone can participate. Multiple developers are now familiar with the Nano protocol.
  • Businesses and whales that benefit from Nano (exchanges, remittances, merchant services, etc) are incentivized to keep the protocol developed and running.
  • The developer fund was only ~5% of the supply - compare that to some of the other major cryptocurrencies.
10:08 Node incentives
Issues
  • There are no transaction fees, why would people run nodes to keep the network running?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • The cost of consensus is so low in Nano that the benefits of the network itself are the incentive: decentralized money with 0 transaction fees that can be sent anywhere in the world nearly instantly. Similar to TCP/IP, email servers, and http servers. Just like Bitcoin full nodes.
  • Paying $50-$100 a month for a high-end node is a lot cheaper for merchants than paying 1-3% in total sales.
  • Businesses and whales that benefit from Nano (exchanges, remittances, merchant services, etc) are incentivized to keep the protocol developed and running.
11:58 No smart contracts
Issues
  • Nano doesn't support smart contracts.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Nano's sole goal is to be the most efficient peer-to-peer value transfer protocol possible. Adding smart contracts makes keeping Nano feeless, fast, and decentralized much more difficult.
  • Other solutions (e.g. Ethereum) exist for creating and enforcing smart contracts.
  • Code can still interact with Nano, but not on the first layer in a decentralized matter.
  • Real world smart contract adoption and usage is pretty limited at the moment, but that might not always be the case.
13:20 Price stability
Issues
  • Why would anyone accept or spend Nano if the price fluctuates so much?
  • Why wouldn't people just use a stablecoin version of Nano for sending and receiving money?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • With good fiat gateways (stable, low fees, etc), you can always buy back the fiat equivalent of what you've spent.
  • The hope is that with enough adoption, people and businesses will eventually skip the fiat conversion and use Nano directly.
  • Because Nano is so fast, volatility is less of an issue. Transactions are confirmed in <10 seconds, and prices change less in that timeframe (vs 10 minutes to hours for Bitcoin).
  • Stablecoins reintroduce trust. Stable against what? Who controls the supply, and how do you get people to adopt them? What happens if the assets they're stable against fail? Nano is pure supply and demand.
  • With worldwide adoption, the market capitalization of Nano would be in the trillions. If that happens, even millions of dollars won't move the price significantly.
15:06 Deflation
Issues
  • Nano's current supply == max supply. Why would people spend Nano today if it could be worth more tomorrow?
  • What happens to principal representatives and voting weight as private keys are lost? How do you know keys are lost?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Nano is extremely divisible. 1 NANO is 1030 raw. Since there are no transaction fees, smaller and smaller amounts of Nano could be used to transact, even if the market cap reaches trillions.
  • People will always buy things they need (food, housing, etc).
  • I'm not sure what the plan is to adjust for lost keys. Probably requires more discussion.
Long-term Scalability
Issue
  • Current node software and hardware cannot handle thousands of TPS (low-end nodes fall behind at even 50 TPS).
  • The more representatives that exist, the more vote traffic is required (network bandwidth).
  • Low-end nodes currently slow down the network significantly. Principal representatives waste their resources constantly bootstrapping these weak nodes during network saturation.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Even as is, Nano can comfortably handle 50 TPS average - which is roughly the amount of transactions per day PayPal was doing in 2011 with nearly 100 million users.
  • Network bandwidth increases 50% a year.
  • There are some discussions of prioritizing bootstrapping by vote weight to limit the impact of weak nodes.
  • Since Nano uses an account balance system, pruning could drastically reduce storage requirements. You only need current state to keep the network running, not the full transaction history.
  • In the future, vote stapling could drastically reduce bandwidth usage by collecting all representative signatures up front and then only sharing that single aggregate signature.
  • Nano has no artificial protocol-based limits (e.g. block sizes or block times). It scales with hardware.
Obviously there is still a lot of work to be done in some areas, but overall I think Nano is a good place. For people that aren't Nano fans, what are your biggest concerns?
submitted by Qwahzi to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

What are Nano's biggest issues? Let's talk about it!

Let's talk about some of Nano's biggest issues. I also made a video about this topic, available here: https://youtu.be/d9yb9ifurbg.
00:12 Spam
Issues
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
01:58 Privacy
Issues
  • Nano has no privacy. It is pseudonymous (like Bitcoin), not anonymous.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues & Outstanding Issues*
  • Second layer solutions like mixers can help, but some argue that isn't enough privacy.
  • The current protocol design + the computational overhead of privacy does not allow Nano to implement first layer privacy without compromising it's other features (fast, feeless, and scalable transactions).
02:56 Decentralization
Issues
  • Nano is currently not as decentralized as it could be. ~25% of the voting weight is held by Binance.
  • Users must choose representatives, and users don't always choose the best ones (or never choose).
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Currently 4 unrelated parties (who all have a verifiable interest in keeping the network running) would have to work together to attack the network
  • Unlike Bitcoin, there is no mining or fees in Nano. This means that there is not a strong incentive for emergent centralization from profit maximization and economies of scale. We've seen this firsthand, as Nano's decentralization has increased over time.
  • Nano representative percentages are not that far off from Bitcoin mining pool percentages.
  • In Nano, voting weight can be remotely re-delegated to anyone at any time. This differs from Bitcoin, where consensus is controlled by miners and requires significant hardware investment.
  • The cost of a 51% attack scales with the market cap of Nano.
06:49 Marketing & adoption
Issues
  • The best technology doesn't always win. If no one knows about or uses Nano, it will die.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • I would argue that the best technology typically does win, but it needs to be best in every way (price, speed, accessbility, etc). Nano is currently in a good place if you agree with that argument.
  • Bitcoin started small, and didn't spend money on marketing. It takes time to build a community.
  • The developers have said they will market more once the protocol is where they want it to be (v20 or v21?).
  • Community marketing initiatives have started to form organically (e.g. Twitter campaigns, YouTube ads, etc).
  • Marketing and adoption is a very difficult problem to solve, especially when you don't have first mover advantage or consistent cashflow.
08:07 Small developer fund
Issues
  • The developer fund only has 3 million NANO left (~$4MM), what happens after that?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • The goal for Nano is to be an Internet RFC like TCP/IP or SMTP - development naturally slows down when the protocol is in a good place.
  • Nano development is completely open source, so anyone can participate. Multiple developers are now familiar with the Nano protocol.
  • Businesses and whales that benefit from Nano (exchanges, remittances, merchant services, etc) are incentivized to keep the protocol developed and running.
  • The developer fund was only ~5% of the supply - compare that to some of the other major cryptocurrencies.
10:08 Node incentives
Issues
  • There are no transaction fees, why would people run nodes to keep the network running?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • The cost of consensus is so low in Nano that the benefits of the network itself are the incentive: decentralized money with 0 transaction fees that can be sent anywhere in the world nearly instantly.
  • Paying $50-$100 a month for a high-end node is a lot cheaper for merchants than paying 1-3% in total sales.
  • Businesses and whales that benefit from Nano (exchanges, remittances, merchant services, etc) are incentivized to keep the protocol developed and running.
11:58 No smart contracts
Issues
  • Nano doesn't support smart contracts.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Nano's sole goal is to be the most efficient peer-to-peer value transfer protocol possible. Adding smart contracts makes keeping Nano feeless, fast, and decentralized much more difficult.
  • Other solutions (e.g. Ethereum) exist for creating and enforcing smart contracts.
  • Code can still interact with Nano, but not on the first layer in a decentralized matter.
  • Real world smart contract adoption and usage is pretty limited at the moment, but that might not always be the case.
13:20 Price stability
Issues
  • Why would anyone accept or spend Nano if the price fluctuates so much?
  • Why wouldn't people just use a stablecoin version of Nano for sending and receiving money?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • With good fiat gateways (stable, low fees, etc), you can always buy back the fiat equivalent of what you've spent.
  • The hope is that with enough adoption, people and businesses will eventually skip the fiat conversion and use Nano directly.
  • Because Nano is so fast, volatility is less of an issue. Transactions are confirmed in <10 seconds, and prices change less in that timeframe (vs 10 minutes to hours for Bitcoin).
  • Stablecoins reintroduce trust. Stable against what? Who controls the supply, and how do you get people to adopt them? What happens if the assets they're stable against fail? Nano is pure supply and demand.
  • With worldwide adoption, the market capitalization of Nano would be in the trillions. If that happens, even millions of dollars won't move the price significantly.
15:06 Deflation
Issues
  • Nano's current supply == max supply. Why would people spend Nano today if it could be worth more tomorrow?
  • What happens to principal representatives and voting weight as private keys are lost? How do you know keys are lost?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Nano is extremely divisible. 1 NANO is 1030 raw. Since there are no transaction fees, smaller and smaller amounts of Nano could be used to transact, even if the market cap reaches trillions.
  • People will always buy things they need (food, housing, etc).
  • I'm not sure what the plan is to adjust for lost keys. Probably requires more discussion.
Long-term Scalability
Issue
  • Current node software and hardware cannot handle thousands of TPS (low-end nodes fall behind at even 50 TPS).
  • The more representatives that exist, the more vote traffic is required (network bandwidth).
  • Low-end nodes currently slow down the network significantly. Principal representatives waste their resources constantly bootstrapping these weak nodes during network saturation.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Even as is, Nano can comfortably handle 50 TPS average - which is roughly the amount of transactions per day PayPal was doing in 2011 with nearly 100 million users.
  • Network bandwidth increases 50% a year.
  • There are some discussions of prioritizing bootstrapping by vote weight to limit the impact of weak nodes.
  • Since Nano uses an account balance system, pruning could drastically reduce storage requirements. You only need current state to keep the network running, not the full transaction history.
  • In the future, vote stapling could drastically reduce bandwidth usage by collecting all representative signatures up front and then only sharing that single aggregate signature.
  • Nano has no artificial protocol-based limits (e.g. block sizes or block times). It scales with hardware.
submitted by Qwahzi to nanocurrency [link] [comments]

TOP 3 Anonymous Cryptocurrencies

TOP 3 Anonymous Cryptocurrencies
Last year Bitfury’s multidisciplinary Blockchain specialists announced the possibility of revealing the identities of more than 16% of all owners of Bitcoin addresses. Several years ago, a team of CryptoLux developers, having conducted a study of transaction privacy on the Bitcoin network, concluded that 60% of all addresses can be deanonymized. Summarizing all this, it’s worth highlighting three existing methods that can successfully deanonymize private transactions.

Clustering

The easiest way to cluster (link Bitcoin addresses) is by analyzing transactional networks. In other words, this is a method that allows finding several inputs combined in one transaction. The second clustering method is “distribution analysis”. It allows calculation the percentage of cryptocurrency at the certain address that comes from another specific address and it becomes clear whether these addresses are connected by one direct transaction or a chain of transactions or not.

Graph analysis

It consists of quantitative and temporal analyzes. Quantitative analysis studies not certain transactions, but amounts. Time analysis tracks specific periods.

Memory Pool Method

When a transaction is made through the user’s wallet, the input nodes send information about the transaction to the Blockchain network. The purpose of this method is to identify the set of input nodes through the wallet and the user. In this case, the IP address of the client can be associated with its transactions. There are certain private cryptocurrency-leaders which are popular and trusted among users. Using one feature-privacy, they have different ways of functioning.

Basic principles of work: anonymous cryptocurrencies (Monero, Dash, Zcash)

Monero

The platform focuses on privacy and decentralization. The coin uses three levels of protection:
• Ring signatures, that hide the origin of the sender by mixing the user’s address with the addresses of other group members. • Ring confidential transactions, which hide the amount of the transaction. • Stealth addresses, that allow a user to hide the recipient’s address.
Such way guarantees the privacy of the sender and the recipient. Monero can be bought on Poloniex, Bitfinex, Livecoin, and Kraken crypto exchanges. It is possible to store Monero via an online wallet. More secure is its computer wallet. Due to its privacy, the popularity of the coin is expected to grow, so it makes sense to add a coin to an investment portfolio.
Advantages
• Increased privacy. Cryptocurrency is suitable for those who are afraid of deanonymizing network transactions. • Unlimited and difficult mining. • It takes less time to find blocks. • Resistance to the centralization of mining capacities.
Disadvantages
• Resources. All currency protection technologies require impressive machine performance for normal operation. The Monero block size is constantly growing, and this requires additional resources of network participants. • The popularity in the dark web leads to problems in working with regulatory authorities, exchanges often delist it. Speaking of reputation, Monero’s reputation is far from the best. The coin is often used on the dark web as payment for various illegal services. It happens to almost all crypto coins that provide privacy. • Large transaction sizes. Since Monero Blockchain is five times larger than the Bitcoin Blockchain in terms of one transaction. • Problems with scalability.

Dash

The Dash platform is a classic decentralized Blockchain-based payment system and the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. It implements multi-off-chain money transfers without loss of reliability and overall security of the Blockchain. Its confidentiality is rather an additional option that can be used optionally. In the case of anonymity, it is possible to send a hidden transaction, but at a more expensive cost, which also requires additional time. Dash developed a hashing algorithm with eleven cryptographic functions-X 11 for the first time. The coin developers have released apps for other platforms. Today it is possible to use Dash for IOS, Zeal for Linux, LovelyDocs for Android and Velocity for Windows.
As well known, the CoinJoin is an anonymization method for crypto transactions, which is used by Dash as an improved version called the PrivateSend. Its mixing sessions are limited to 1,000 DASH for each session and will require multiple mixing sessions to anonymize a large amount of money.
Advantages
• High transaction speed. It is achieved via InstantX technology, which enables the confirmation of operations in less than 4 seconds. • Law transaction fees. • Energy consumption. Unlike Monero, it does not require a lot of power or high commission costs.
Disadvantages
• “Transparency” of the network. Without triggering the “mixing” mechanism, the directions of transactions and their balances are publicly visible to everyone. • Lack of proper cryptographic technologies that provide privacy, but can provide a sufficiently high level of protection. • Transaction visibility to the founders and the team.

Zcash

An open-source decentralized cryptocurrency that provides users with maximum privacy. Zcash is the first private cryptocurrency, using cryptographic protocol zk-SNARKS, a zero-knowledge security layer. It allows users to make hidden and open transactions.
Mathematically guaranteed privacy is something cryptocurrency can not be proud of. This fact makes the currency specific. All Zcash coins are identical, it means that interchangeable coins do not contain information about past use created. In this regard, the connection of coins with their history on the Blockchain is broken, which makes them universal and identical to each other. Zcash blocks are generated 4 times faster than Bitcoin. The currency trades on Huobi, Bitfinex and Binance exchanges, and after purchase, it can be stored on the exchange’s internal wallet, as well as transferred to Jaxx, Cryptonator and Coinomi multi-currency wallets. Coins can also be stored on hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor.
Advantages
• Privacy. Since no information except the time stamp, is recorded in the Blockchain, transactions cannot be tracked, and the identity of the sender and recipient is almost impossible to establish. • Interchangeability. Due to interchangeability, all coins have a “clean” history. This means that it is practically impossible to determine which transactions coin was used. • Security. Lack of information about user keys, which protects user wallets and the network.Mining energy efficiency. Zcash mining hardware consumes less electricity than Bitcoin mining ASICs. • The difficulty of mining. Zcash is beneficial for those who want to get coins for block creation. Bitcoin mining becomes more and more complicated, so miners cannot earn enough money via their computers with high capacity.
Disadvantages
• 6 users can decide to leave the transferred data completely open. • It takes a lot of calculations to complete a transaction. • Insecurity. There are fears that the system could be hacked, or users may accidentally open the data. • Legally ZCash is supported only by Linux, however, it provides users with wallets for other platforms: Jaxx, Ledger, Trezor, Trust, Zecwallet, Ibitcome, Exodus, Guarda, Coinomi, Cobowallet, and Bitgo.
Private cryptocurrencies are necessary for anyone who values the privacy and confidentiality of financial transactions. Privacy can generate more value, than danger, as Eric Hughes says: “Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn’t want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn’t want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world”.
submitted by Stealthex_io to StealthEX [link] [comments]

Nano #Ama on Binance Spanish telegram group!!

Regards!! I'm Jesús Zambrano, member of the Hispanic community of NANO for a long time. Last thursday, we had an interesting and enjoying Ask-me-anything at Binance Spanish community on telegram with the people behind NANO, Colin LeMahieu (Founder and Executive Director) and Zach Hyatt (Proyect Manager), where we take advantage of their kindness and willingness to ask them some questions and share opinions about de currency. I will share a compilation of some of the questions and answers.
-(Admin) ¡Welcome Binancians to our following AMA!
I will explain how AMA works; we will have three (3) segments.
Segment #1: I am going to ask to our guests five (5) questions and then they will answer them.
I will be explaining the rest of the segments as we conclude one of them.
-(Admin) Today we have the great pleasure of having Colin (Founder and Executive Director) and Zach (Project Manager) with us in our chat room. Could you give us a little introduction about you?
- (Zach) Hi everyone, I am Zach Hyatt, the Project Manager at the Nano Foundation and am excited to help answer questions about Nano. I live in Austin, TX where it is quite hot right now!
-(Colin) I’m Colin LeMahieu, founder of Nano. I’m a computer engineer and I’ve worked at companies like Qualcomm, Dell, and AMD. I have been working on Nano for about 5 years now and I’m really excited to talk with people who are interested as well!
-(Admin) It is a pleasure for us to have you here, I have to say that on a personal level, I have been a follower of the project for a long time now, so it is incredible for me to be able to count on you tonight, we will start with segment # 1, with the questions I have for you.
Feeless transactions and in record time! What is NANO? Can you give us an introduction to the project?
-(Colin) Nano’s goal is to solve problems with other cryptocurrencies and make sending value fast and fee-less. It has a unique design to allow us to accomplish this. We want people to have the option of using decentralized digital money instead of fiat money anywhere in the world. Nano is accessible and easy-to-use today and we plan on keeping it focused on these goals.
-(Admin) Thank you for answering my first question, I am delighted with the features offered by the project, every week they are updating and making important changes that help to improve the ecosystem that surrounds the team.
Here you can find all the weekly updates: https://nano.org/en
Previously the project was called RaiBlocks, it appeared for the first time in an ad in Bitcoin Talk in 2015. Can you tell us why a name change came up later?
-(Zach) Yeah, absolutely. Although the original RaiBlocks name has a special place in our history, it was difficult to pronounce in some areas of the world and caused confusion with certain users. We decided to move to a shorter name that not only was easy to pronounce but also reflected the fast, efficient nature of the protocol.
-(Admin) A short and quick name to pronounce, definitely NANO is perfect to define it!
My third question is the following; I had seen a very interesting gif early in the chat and it is just about the question that I came to ask.
Currently, NANO has 100% of its tokens in circulation and these tokens were distributed through Faucets, so it meant that any user with a computer could get coins simply by completing some captchas, can you tell me which has been the experience of users when using this method?
-(Colin) The faucet was a great way for us to distribute coins to people who have never used it before. Cryptocurrencies that use mining end up distributing only to people who have money to buy the mining hardware and this is unfair. We had a lot of people from Indonesia and Asia in the beginning of our distribution and at the end there were a lot of people from South America, Venezuela and Brasil that were getting most of the Nano from the faucet. We think this was a fairer way to do it and it got Nano into the hands of people in different locations, and it had a very positive impact on their lives.
-(Admin) This is incredible! thanks for your answer!
Can you tell us about what the Open Representative Vote is about and how it protects the network?
-(Zach) Nano uses voting to get confirmation on the network instead of mining and the nodes on the network that create votes are called Representatives. Open Representative Voting allows people who have a Nano balance to pick whatever representative they want to vote on their behalf. This allows the people who hold Nano to decide who generates consensus instead of mining companies. The voting process is very efficient and is a big part of what allows Nano to be fee-less and use very little energy.
-(Admin) Very good! The last question on my part:
Nano PoW is your new approach, I have read a pretty interesting example with emails, can you explain what it is about?
-(Colin) Nano PoW is a research project we’re doing in order to create a proof of work algorithm that uses less energy than other popular algorithms. Since Nano is fee-less, there must be a method to limit transactions going onto the network, which this PoW achieves. With the goal of using more memory in the process instead of CPU cycles in order to generate proofs, this new Nano PoW will help prevent ASICs from being able to cheaply send lots of transactions. It’s important for a cryptocurrency that’s used around the world to be energy efficient and green so continuing our research on this is important to us.
-(Admin) https://medium.com/nanocurrency/nano-pow-the-details-ba22a9092d6f
Thanks for your answers, Colin and Zach! I have a video, taken from your YouTube account that I would like to share with the community
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh9pA8UCUrI
Can you tell me what we see in this video?
-(Colin) This is a video of how fast our transactions send and receive. You can see it takes less than 1 second to finish which means you can use it as a currency.
- (Zach) The wallet was made by developers in our amazing community, it is called Natrium. It really shows how fast Nano is and how it is easy-to-use!
-(Colin) You can also see how simple it is to use. You just scan, enter an amount, and send. There are no complicated setting which is great for new users and great for adoption.
- (Zach) And the best part is, there were no fees at all for that transaction. In fact there have never been any transaction fees on the Nano network ever!
-(Admin) Great! That's why I wanted to share it with everyone, yesterday I could try the wallet and it is really spectacular to use, thank you very much for that excellent explanation, please stay with us, now comes the part in which our users participate
Segment 3, community questions
Q -First congratulations on your project, it is amazing. Now, does nano BlockChain have another use besides making transactions?
A - (Zach) Thank you! Nano has always been focused on transfer of value and will continue to maintain that focus. The overall design is aimed at doing only this so it can remain fast, efficient and fee-less.
Q -Good evening! I understand that thanks to its architecture called "Block-lattice", each individual provides the computing power necessary to verify their own transaction, thanks to this they do not use miners to confirm transactions and they do not apply commissions of any kind. My question is: How did this occur and how difficult was it?
A - (Colin) It’s simila, transactions are validated by votes from the representatives, not by the PoW. The PoW is a way to slow down how fast people can create transactions so they can’t spam the network.
Q - Do you have any short or long term projects so that transactions using $NANO were anonymous?
A - (Colin) Long term we want to see what privacy options exist and are fast. Most privacy schemes make the transactions very big or slow to process and it’s important for things to remain quick and efficient so we can have fast transactions.
Q - We are living in Venezuela many changes in the cryptocurrency sector, the integration of crypto for service payment and product purchases is already a reality. What agreements has NANO made with service stores to integrate it as a means of payment? I want to pay my movie ticket with NANOS
A - (Zach) Thanks for your interest in Nano. We are always looking for ways to allow everyone to use Nano in as many places as possible. Although separate from our organization, we are aware of the efforts of the Nano Venezuela organization and try to support them when possible in bringing Nano to as many people and stores in Venezuela as possible.
Q - (7 questions made from one persone at once)
  1. How do you manage to make your transactions virtually instantaneous?
  2. How do they create part of the company's livelihood if no fees are charged for transactions?
  3. Why does $ NANO consume so little electricity?
  4. Requirements for a medium-sized company to adopt nano correctly as a means of payment?
  5. Since 100% of the $ NANOS are distributed, I have seen something in Medium that talked about `` Nano PoW '', could you tell me a little more about how it works? What profit will the person / institution get that puts hardware for their PoW? Will more $ NANO be created apart from those already in circulation?
  6. What do the representatives earn for putting their vote and validating blocks if 100% of the $ NANOS are already created / issued?
7- Since your policy / slogan / commandment is to be a cryptocurrency without fees, shouldn't you force exchanges in which $ NANO is present that they don't charge withdrawal fees?
A - (Colin)
  1. Transactions are fast because they’re validated by voting. The votes get transmitted around the world in milliseconds and all people have to do is count votes to confirm the transaction.
  2. We use the Dev fund to pay for developing the Nano protocol. The Nano protocol is a free tool that other people can build businesses on. We have ideas for businesses that can use fast, free money in order to help people send money to their family in other countries or pay microtransactions. It’s similar to Linux, it’s free but big companies use it because it saves them money.
  3. Nano uses little electricity because we use voting for validating transactions. Voting is just sending data over the internet which is power efficient.
  4. You can run a nano node with 40-60$/mo using cloud virtual machines
  5. Nano pow is just a more efficient way to slow people down from sending transactions to the network
  6. The most important thing is: why does a company want to use cryptocurrency? They want to use it because it saves them money on bank fees, etc. Since 40-60$/mo running a node is less expensive than their bank fees, they want to participate in the network to keep it going and save them money.
Q - Knowing all this about Nano, could you say that Nano is one of the most energy-efficient, Ecological friendly currencies in existence?
A -(Zach) Absolutely. We care about making a positive change in the world and so pride ourselves on leaving as little energy trace possible in the world. It may just be the fastest, most efficient transfer of value available.
Q - If the nano protocol had not passed the Red4Sec signature security test, would it have any vulnerability today?
A - (Colin) The Red4Sec audit didn’t find any critiral vulnerabilities in Nano. In fact they did the audit twice because they couldn’t find anything wrong and that never happened before.
It’s important for us to keep the code high quality and we will do audits again in the future because it’s important to make sure everything is secure.
Q - I'd like to see more development of Nano by using SMS on our phones to avoid the problem of no Internet connection at the moment
A -(Zach) As much as we like the idea of SMS, unfortunately it is not a secure network so managing Nano transactions over it brings some unique requirements. However we are always innovating and trying to make Nano as easy and accessible as possible so hope advances can help over time make it more accessible in this area.
Q - What plans do you have to close this 2019 to increase adoption in Latin America?
A -(Colin) We are very excited about the passion we see in the south american community. We would love to make it down to VE however in the mean time follow nanoVE for updates and meetups - there may be one near you soon!
Q - How will you make the adoption and use of $ NANO continue to increase especially in markets where other cryptocurrencies are gaining more ground?
A - (Colin) Our focus is to build tools people need to accept cryptocurrency. Right now it’s still difficulty and expensive. One thing we’re making is the device Appia which can accept cryptocurrency similar to a credit card. We made this device very inexpensive and can connect over wireless so it can be used in markets or resturaunts or other places cryptocurrency is not yet available.
- (Admin) Thank you very much for your answers! You are the first guests that answer all the questions of our users, you are amazing guys!
@AndyNano It was amazing to meet you, I learned a lot from you
@FundacionNanoVE Thanks for making this happen! excellent work
@nano_isam Thanks for everything buddy!
-(Zach) Can we ask a question to the channel?
What are the top things Nano can do to help you in your daily lives?
-(Colin) My question: How do you store cryptocurrency safely? Where do you back up your seed so it isn’t lost or stolen?
A - In Venezuela we currently have a problem with conventional payment processors, they are very slow, it would be great to be able to see people using NANO to make their purchases at any store in Venezuela, 0 commissions and instant transactions, is what we need
A - Fast transactions are what can help society the most, and except that, the best thing is that it is very cheap ... from there it is addition, those are the main characteristics that we look for the most
A - encrypted file in a pendrive
A - Nano is a direct competition to the vast majority of Cryptos, in transaction speed and that it is literally free to send or receive, nothing to wait for 5 hours or the next day when you pay for items or services with Crypto, let's increase the adoption of nano!
-(Colin) Question: Are there barriers to using Nano in your country right now?
A - No barriers in Venezuela
A - No barrier what is lacking is greater diffusion in means to give greater projection and that the adoption arrives. Here I am to support NANO!
A - There should be no barriers to the payments we wish to make, freedom above all
-(Colin) Fantastic!
- (Zach) Thanks everyone, I have to go but I appreciate all the awesome questions and answers!
submitted by AlejandroZD58 to nanocurrency [link] [comments]

NANO #AMA ON BINANCE SPANISH TELEGRAM GROUP!!

Regards!! I'm Jesús Zambrano, member of the Hispanic community of NANO for a long time. Last thursday, we had an interesting and enjoying Ask-me-anything at Binance Spanish community on telegram with the people behind NANO, Colin LeMahieu (Founder and Executive Director) and Zach Hyatt (Proyect Manager), where we take advantage of their kindness and willingness to ask them some questions and share opinions about de currency. I will share a compilation of some of the questions and answers.
-(Admin) ¡Welcome Binancians to our following AMA!
I will explain how AMA works; we will have three (3) segments.
Segment #1: I am going to ask to our guests five (5) questions and then they will answer them.
I will be explaining the rest of the segments as we conclude one of them.
-(Admin) Today we have the great pleasure of having Colin (Founder and Executive Director) and Zach (Project Manager) with us in our chat room. Could you give us a little introduction about you?
- (Zach) Hi everyone, I am Zach Hyatt, the Project Manager at the Nano Foundation and am excited to help answer questions about Nano. I live in Austin, TX where it is quite hot right now!
-(Colin) I’m Colin LeMahieu, founder of Nano. I’m a computer engineer and I’ve worked at companies like Qualcomm, Dell, and AMD. I have been working on Nano for about 5 years now and I’m really excited to talk with people who are interested as well!
-(Admin) It is a pleasure for us to have you here, I have to say that on a personal level, I have been a follower of the project for a long time now, so it is incredible for me to be able to count on you tonight, we will start with segment # 1, with the questions I have for you.
Feeless transactions and in record time! What is NANO? Can you give us an introduction to the project?
-(Colin) Nano’s goal is to solve problems with other cryptocurrencies and make sending value fast and fee-less. It has a unique design to allow us to accomplish this. We want people to have the option of using decentralized digital money instead of fiat money anywhere in the world. Nano is accessible and easy-to-use today and we plan on keeping it focused on these goals.
-(Admin) Thank you for answering my first question, I am delighted with the features offered by the project, every week they are updating and making important changes that help to improve the ecosystem that surrounds the team.
Here you can find all the weekly updates: https://nano.org/en
Previously the project was called RaiBlocks, it appeared for the first time in an ad in Bitcoin Talk in 2015. Can you tell us why a name change came up later?
-(Zach) Yeah, absolutely. Although the original RaiBlocks name has a special place in our history, it was difficult to pronounce in some areas of the world and caused confusion with certain users. We decided to move to a shorter name that not only was easy to pronounce but also reflected the fast, efficient nature of the protocol.
-(Admin) A short and quick name to pronounce, definitely NANO is perfect to define it!
My third question is the following; I had seen a very interesting gif early in the chat and it is just about the question that I came to ask.
Currently, NANO has 100% of its tokens in circulation and these tokens were distributed through Faucets, so it meant that any user with a computer could get coins simply by completing some captchas, can you tell me which has been the experience of users when using this method?
-(Colin) The faucet was a great way for us to distribute coins to people who have never used it before. Cryptocurrencies that use mining end up distributing only to people who have money to buy the mining hardware and this is unfair. We had a lot of people from Indonesia and Asia in the beginning of our distribution and at the end there were a lot of people from South America, Venezuela and Brasil that were getting most of the Nano from the faucet. We think this was a fairer way to do it and it got Nano into the hands of people in different locations, and it had a very positive impact on their lives.
-(Admin) This is incredible! thanks for your answer!
Can you tell us about what the Open Representative Vote is about and how it protects the network?
-(Zach) Nano uses voting to get confirmation on the network instead of mining and the nodes on the network that create votes are called Representatives. Open Representative Voting allows people who have a Nano balance to pick whatever representative they want to vote on their behalf. This allows the people who hold Nano to decide who generates consensus instead of mining companies. The voting process is very efficient and is a big part of what allows Nano to be fee-less and use very little energy.
-(Admin) Very good! The last question on my part:
Nano PoW is your new approach, I have read a pretty interesting example with emails, can you explain what it is about?
-(Colin) Nano PoW is a research project we’re doing in order to create a proof of work algorithm that uses less energy than other popular algorithms. Since Nano is fee-less, there must be a method to limit transactions going onto the network, which this PoW achieves. With the goal of using more memory in the process instead of CPU cycles in order to generate proofs, this new Nano PoW will help prevent ASICs from being able to cheaply send lots of transactions. It’s important for a cryptocurrency that’s used around the world to be energy efficient and green so continuing our research on this is important to us.
-(Admin) https://medium.com/nanocurrency/nano-pow-the-details-ba22a9092d6f
Thanks for your answers, Colin and Zach! I have a video, taken from your YouTube account that I would like to share with the community
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh9pA8UCUrI
Can you tell me what we see in this video?
-(Colin) This is a video of how fast our transactions send and receive. You can see it takes less than 1 second to finish which means you can use it as a currency.
- (Zach) The wallet was made by developers in our amazing community, it is called Natrium. It really shows how fast Nano is and how it is easy-to-use!
-(Colin) You can also see how simple it is to use. You just scan, enter an amount, and send. There are no complicated setting which is great for new users and great for adoption.
- (Zach) And the best part is, there were no fees at all for that transaction. In fact there have never been any transaction fees on the Nano network ever!
-(Admin) Great! That's why I wanted to share it with everyone, yesterday I could try the wallet and it is really spectacular to use, thank you very much for that excellent explanation, please stay with us, now comes the part in which our users participate
Segment 3, community questions
Q -First congratulations on your project, it is amazing. Now, does nano BlockChain have another use besides making transactions?
A - (Zach) Thank you! Nano has always been focused on transfer of value and will continue to maintain that focus. The overall design is aimed at doing only this so it can remain fast, efficient and fee-less.
Q -Good evening! I understand that thanks to its architecture called "Block-lattice", each individual provides the computing power necessary to verify their own transaction, thanks to this they do not use miners to confirm transactions and they do not apply commissions of any kind. My question is: How did this occur and how difficult was it?
A - (Colin) It’s simila, transactions are validated by votes from the representatives, not by the PoW. The PoW is a way to slow down how fast people can create transactions so they can’t spam the network.
Q - Do you have any short or long term projects so that transactions using $NANO were anonymous?
A - (Colin) Long term we want to see what privacy options exist and are fast. Most privacy schemes make the transactions very big or slow to process and it’s important for things to remain quick and efficient so we can have fast transactions.
Q - We are living in Venezuela many changes in the cryptocurrency sector, the integration of crypto for service payment and product purchases is already a reality. What agreements has NANO made with service stores to integrate it as a means of payment? I want to pay my movie ticket with NANOS
A - (Zach) Thanks for your interest in Nano. We are always looking for ways to allow everyone to use Nano in as many places as possible. Although separate from our organization, we are aware of the efforts of the Nano Venezuela organization and try to support them when possible in bringing Nano to as many people and stores in Venezuela as possible.
Q - (7 questions made from one persone at once)
  1. How do you manage to make your transactions virtually instantaneous?
  2. How do they create part of the company's livelihood if no fees are charged for transactions?
  3. Why does $ NANO consume so little electricity?
  4. Requirements for a medium-sized company to adopt nano correctly as a means of payment?
  5. Since 100% of the $ NANOS are distributed, I have seen something in Medium that talked about `` Nano PoW '', could you tell me a little more about how it works? What profit will the person / institution get that puts hardware for their PoW? Will more $ NANO be created apart from those already in circulation?
  6. What do the representatives earn for putting their vote and validating blocks if 100% of the $ NANOS are already created / issued?
7- Since your policy / slogan / commandment is to be a cryptocurrency without fees, shouldn't you force exchanges in which $ NANO is present that they don't charge withdrawal fees?
A - (Colin)
  1. Transactions are fast because they’re validated by voting. The votes get transmitted around the world in milliseconds and all people have to do is count votes to confirm the transaction.
  2. We use the Dev fund to pay for developing the Nano protocol. The Nano protocol is a free tool that other people can build businesses on. We have ideas for businesses that can use fast, free money in order to help people send money to their family in other countries or pay microtransactions. It’s similar to Linux, it’s free but big companies use it because it saves them money.
  3. Nano uses little electricity because we use voting for validating transactions. Voting is just sending data over the internet which is power efficient.
  4. You can run a nano node with 40-60$/mo using cloud virtual machines
  5. Nano pow is just a more efficient way to slow people down from sending transactions to the network
  6. The most important thing is: why does a company want to use cryptocurrency? They want to use it because it saves them money on bank fees, etc. Since 40-60$/mo running a node is less expensive than their bank fees, they want to participate in the network to keep it going and save them money.
Q - Knowing all this about Nano, could you say that Nano is one of the most energy-efficient, Ecological friendly currencies in existence?
A -(Zach) Absolutely. We care about making a positive change in the world and so pride ourselves on leaving as little energy trace possible in the world. It may just be the fastest, most efficient transfer of value available.
Q - If the nano protocol had not passed the Red4Sec signature security test, would it have any vulnerability today?
A - (Colin) The Red4Sec audit didn’t find any critiral vulnerabilities in Nano. In fact they did the audit twice because they couldn’t find anything wrong and that never happened before.
It’s important for us to keep the code high quality and we will do audits again in the future because it’s important to make sure everything is secure.
Q - I'd like to see more development of Nano by using SMS on our phones to avoid the problem of no Internet connection at the moment
A -(Zach) As much as we like the idea of SMS, unfortunately it is not a secure network so managing Nano transactions over it brings some unique requirements. However we are always innovating and trying to make Nano as easy and accessible as possible so hope advances can help over time make it more accessible in this area.
Q - What plans do you have to close this 2019 to increase adoption in Latin America?
A -(Colin) We are very excited about the passion we see in the south american community. We would love to make it down to VE however in the mean time follow nanoVE for updates and meetups - there may be one near you soon!
Q - How will you make the adoption and use of $ NANO continue to increase especially in markets where other cryptocurrencies are gaining more ground?
A - (Colin) Our focus is to build tools people need to accept cryptocurrency. Right now it’s still difficulty and expensive. One thing we’re making is the device Appia which can accept cryptocurrency similar to a credit card. We made this device very inexpensive and can connect over wireless so it can be used in markets or resturaunts or other places cryptocurrency is not yet available.
- (Admin) Thank you very much for your answers! You are the first guests that answer all the questions of our users, you are amazing guys!
@AndyNano It was amazing to meet you, I learned a lot from you
@FundacionNanoVE Thanks for making this happen! excellent work
@nano_isam Thanks for everything buddy!
-(Zach) Can we ask a question to the channel?
What are the top things Nano can do to help you in your daily lives?
-(Colin) My question: How do you store cryptocurrency safely? Where do you back up your seed so it isn’t lost or stolen?
A - In Venezuela we currently have a problem with conventional payment processors, they are very slow, it would be great to be able to see people using NANO to make their purchases at any store in Venezuela, 0 commissions and instant transactions, is what we need
A - Fast transactions are what can help society the most, and except that, the best thing is that it is very cheap ... from there it is addition, those are the main characteristics that we look for the most
A - encrypted file in a pendrive
A - Nano is a direct competition to the vast majority of Cryptos, in transaction speed and that it is literally free to send or receive, nothing to wait for 5 hours or the next day when you pay for items or services with Crypto, let's increase the adoption of nano!
-(Colin) Question: Are there barriers to using Nano in your country right now?
A - No barriers in Venezuela
A - No barrier what is lacking is greater diffusion in means to give greater projection and that the adoption arrives. Here I am to support NANO!
A - There should be no barriers to the payments we wish to make, freedom above all
-(Colin) Fantastic!
- (Zach) Thanks everyone, I have to go but I appreciate all the awesome questions and answers!
submitted by AlejandroZD58 to u/AlejandroZD58 [link] [comments]

Consensus Network EP36: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.consensusnetwork.io/podcastepisodes/2019/10/5/ep36-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style-1
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
submitted by Buck_Joffrey to u/Buck_Joffrey [link] [comments]

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