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Ripple is a shitcoin

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Why Ripple is a shitcoin

Ripple is a shitcoin because Ripple is shit.

The fact that media outlets continue to feverishly report on it is as mind boggling as it is disheartening.

Ripple’s unit of currency is known as XRP. XRP are Digital Disney Dollars printed by the company Ripple Labs who own over 60% of them. You can buy them from Ripple and you can sell them to other people, and that is it. They serve no other purpose and probably never will. They’re Disney Dollars and there’s no Disneyland to go spend them at.

Western Union decided to experiment with XRP six months ago. But, since they began using it for payment, there have been complaints that it has not brought them any financial gain. Recently, two other money transfer companies Viamericas and MercuryFX tested xRapid and XRP. However, they are not currently being used by banks because of scalability and privacy issues according to Ripple.

Wait, isn’t that all cryptocurrencies? No.

Other cryptocurrencies are decentralised. The supply of the currency, like Bitcoin (although Bitcoin is pretty shit too), is distributed among a large number of people. Whether that’s through a faucet, an airdrop or plain and simple mining. There will likely always be the “whales” but nothing compares to Ripple Labs owning 60% of all the XRP. Decentralisation also applies to network authority. In Proof of Work currencies, the miners have control of the network. In Proof of Stake currencies, all currency owners have control of the network. In the case of Ripple, Ripple Labs maintains 100% control of the network.

Other cryptocurrencies are fungible. Privacy coins like Monero, Dash or PIVX have fungibility which means that because of the anonymity of each transaction, nobody can ever identify the source (or destination) of any given unit of that currency. That is a useful to protect against actors like Coinbase arbitrarily freezing and locking accounts because they don’t like how you spend your funds.

Other cryptocurrencies are feeless. Nano has no fees and is lightning fast.

Ripple is often celebrated under the misguided notion that XRP is somehow going to light the financial world on fire. This is misleading. Ripple Labs, as in, Ripple the profit-making company, is changing the world in its own way, and it uses private blockchains.  Some banks might even be using Ripple Labs’ private blockchain technologies. In no way whatsoever does that make Ripple, as in, XRP, the useless cryptocurrency, more useful.

Stellar is a publicly available cryptocurrency, like XRP, that does have financial partners integrated into it, and a wealth of projects being built on top of it already. Does Ripple have that? No.

Ripple is barely even a cryptocurrency. Your Digital Disney Dollars can be frozen at any time, anywhere on the network, because Ripple Labs controls the network. More can be issued at any moment from the vast supply held by Ripple Labs. The blockchain can be rewound at any moment. Your XRP can do nothing that can’t be done more easily and more cheaply with other cryptocurrencies.

But.. but…!?

Yes, Ripple Labs are doing very well, have hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal and are working very hard at becoming a bank. That does not mean they care about you, or that buying their Disney Dollars will do anything for you. The technology behind XRP is implemented better in lots of other cryptocurrencies. Will Ripple Labs be here for the long term, yes, they are just too big. Will XRP increase in value again ever? Why would it?

What is a shitcoin?

A shitcoin is a coin that is bought into due to its brand, marketing and uneducated euphoria at buying what could be “the next bitcoin.” Often the price of the cryptocurrency rockets up – particularly true for several coins in January 2018 – and then collapses just as fast. As it becomes quickly apparent that technically, there is nothing interesting or useful about the cryptocurrency, its price drops like a stone.

Helluva chart.

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Snarknado! Have we found the answer to Ethereum’s scaling problem?

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Plasma has recently been interrupted as Ethereum Co-Founder, Vitalik Buterin, extolled the virtues of a technology that could help scale Ethereum “by a huge amount.” Privacy central zk-Snarks.

According to Buterin, you can actually scale asset transfer transactions on Ethereum by a huge amount, without using layer 2’s that introduce liveness assumptions (eg. channels, plasma), by using zk-Snarks to mass-validate transactions.

What is Ethereum?

Launched in 2015, Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that enables the revolutionary function of Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications (ĐApps) to be created without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from any third party. Ethereum has its own native programming language, helping developers to build and publish distributed applications. The potential applications of Ethereum are wide-ranging. Ethereum is the second biggest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, but unlike Bitcoin, it allows other dApps to build on top of its blockchain.

Ethereum’s scaling problem

As the Ethereum ecosystem has expanded, it has become evident that there are serious limitations on the ability of the Ethereum blockchain to cope effectively and efficiently under high transaction demand.

This comes down to one simple fact: Ethereum, in its current state, does not – and importantly, cannot – scale.

Indeed, Vitalik Buterin proclaimed in June 2017 that “Ethereum’s scalability sucks.”

Buterin’s honesty highlights what is currently considered by many to be the largest barrier to Ethereum’s mainstream adoption: the inability to scale beyond 15-25 transactions per second.

Ethereum under pressure

Afri Schoedon recently tweeted that they were running Ethereum at capacity, instructing developers to stop deploying dApps to the network. Buterin disagreed with him, launching a staunch defense with replies to Schoedon’s tweet:

What exactly is zk-Snarks?

The acronym zk-Snarks stands for “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge,” and refers to a proof construction where one can prove possession of certain information, e.g. a secret key, without revealing that information, and without any interaction between the prover and verifier.

zk-Snarks: the benefits

Security

zk-SNARKs maintains the security guarantees of on-chain computations. That is, you can still prove that you ran your programme or executed a certain smart contract in a trustless manner.

Layer 2 solution

zk-SNARK is considered a “layer 2” solution, which means that it could be implemented without altering the blockchain itself.

However, unlike other “layer 2” solutions, such as Plasma or Raidenzk-SNARKs doesn’t require data to be held off-chain.

Speed

Despite its nascent form, the technology represents a promising route toward a more functional Ethereum network. Vitalik Buterin estimated that zk-SNARKs could bring the Ethereum network throughput from 15 to 500 transactions per second — an increase of over 30x. 

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Bitcoin Turns 10: The Rollercoaster Journey So Far!

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On 31st October 2018 Bitcoin turns 10! We look back at Bitcoin’s Journey from 2008 until the present day.

Bitcoin: How did it all begin?

On 31 October 2008 a person or group who went by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto published the whitepaper, titled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to Peer Electronic Cash System’.

Just over a few months later on 3 January 2009, the genesis block was released.  This was the starting point for the bitcoin blockchain on its path to becoming a revolutionary network for peer-to-peer transfers of value.

The first physical purchase of goods using Bitcoin

Laszlo Hanyecz is infamous amongst developers for the first physical purchase of goods using bitcoin in 2010. He paid 10,000 Bitcoin for pizza on May 22nd, 2010 just over a year after the first block of bitcoin was mined.

Given that 10,000 bitcoin would be worth more than £55m today, these would be the most expensive pizzas in history!

For some time, many people were spending thousands of bitcoin on insignificant items, even giving them as kudos on some forums.

Lightning Network: possible solution to Bitcoin’s problem of speed & scalability

On February 25th, 2018  Laszlo Hanyecz  repeated the transaction – this time paying just a fraction of a Bitcoin due to the gargantuan rise in the price of the first digital currency.

However, this time he used the Bitcoin Lightning Network, a “second layer” payment protocol operating on top of the Bitcoin blockchain to enable instant transactions. The Lightning Network is becoming a popular possible solution to Bitcoin’s problem of speed and scalability.

Bitcoin: a criminal’s best friend?

The majority of Bitcoin users are motivated by privacy concerns or plain curiosity. However, Bitcoin’s anonymity is also a powerful tool for financing crime

The rapid growth in cryptocurrencies and the anonymity that they provide users has created considerable regulatory challenges, including the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal trade (drugs, hacks and thefts, illegal pornography, even murder-for-hire), potential to fund terrorism, launder money, and avoid capital controls. 

Bitcoin mining uses a lot of energy!

It is well-established established that Bitcoin mining uses a lot of energy.
The bitcoin network is run by miners, computers that maintain the shared transaction ledger called the blockchain. A new study estimates that this process consumes at least 2.6GW of power—almost as much electric power as Ireland consumes. This figure could rise to 7.7GW before the end of 2018—accounting for almost half a percent of the world’s electricity consumption.

However, Bitcoin’s high energy use is a problem that, to some extent, will resolve itself over time. The bitcoin network is programmed to reduce the block reward by 50 percent every four years, with the next halving scheduled to happen in mid-2020. When that happens (assuming a constant bitcoin price) the mining industry’s revenue will fall in half. In equilibrium that should mean that energy use falls by half as well. Energy use should halve again in 2024, 2028, and so forth—though that could be offset by further gains in bitcoin’s price.

Bitcoin turns 10: milestones over the last decade

As Bitcoin turns 10, we look at some of the main milestones reached over the last decade.

October 31, 2008  – The white paper is published

Nakamoto publishes a design paper through a metzdowd.com cryptography mailing list that describes the Bitcoin currency and solves the problem of double spending so as to prevent the currency from being copied. January 3, 2009

January 3, 2009 –  Genesis Block is mined

Block 0, the genesis block, is established at 18:15:05 GMT. January 12, 2009

January 12, 2009 – First Bitcoin transaction

The first transaction of Bitcoin currency, in block 170, takes place between Satoshi and Hal Finney, a developer and cryptographic activist. October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009 – An exchange rate is established.

New Liberty Standard publishes a Bitcoin exchange rate that establishes the value of a Bitcoin at US$1 = 1,309.03 BTC, using an equation that includes the cost of electricity to run a computer that generated Bitcoins. May 22, 2010

May 22, 2010 – 10,000 BTC is spent on pizza!

The first, real-world transaction using Bitcoins takes place when a Jacksonville, Florida programmer, Laszlo Hanyecz, offers to pay 10,000 Bitcoins for a pizza on the Bitcoin Forum. At the time, the exchange rate put the purchase price for the pizza July 12, 2010

July 12, 2010 – Bitcoin value increases tenfold

Over a five day period beginning on July 12, the exchange value of Bitcoin increases ten times from US$0.008/BTC to US$0.080/BTC.

November 6, 2010 – Market cap exceeds $1 million USD.

Calculated by multiplying the number of Bitcoins in circulation by the last trade on MtGox, the Bitcoin economy exceeds US$1 million. The price on MtGox reached US$0.50/BTC. January 28, 2011

2011 – The year other cryptocurrencies start to emerge

This is the year the first alternative cryptocurrencies appear. Sometimes known as altcoins, these generally try to improve on the original Bitcoin design by offering greater speed, anonymity or some other advantage. Among the first to emerge were Namecoin and Litecoin. Today, there are over 1,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation with new ones frequently appearing.

January 28, 2011 –  25% of total Bitcoins generated

With the generation of Block 105000, 5.25 million Bitcoins have been generated, totalling more than 25 percent of the projected total of almost 21 million. February 9, 2011

February 9, 2011 – Bitcoin reaches parity with US dollar

Bitcoin touches US$1.00/BTC at MtGox, reaches parity with the US dollar for the first time. August 20, 2011

March 28, 2013 – Market cap reaches $1 billion.

The total Bitcoin market cap passes US$1 billion. May 2, 2013

May 2, 2013 – First Bitcoin ATM unveiled.

The first Bitcoin ATM in the world is debuted in San Diego, California. November 19, 2013

November 19, 2013 – Bitcoin goes above $1000.

Bitcoin price surges to a record of US$1242 after Senate hearings.

September, 2015 – Bitcoin now a commodity

Bitcoin is a commodity according to The Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

December, 2016 – Bitcoin enjoys end of year price surge

Bitcoin enjoys end of year price surge and hits a three-year high with each one now worth about $900.

January 2, 2017 – Bitcoin Tops $1,000 for first time in 3 years

Bitcoin tops $1,000 for first time in three years as 2017 trading begins.

March 1, 2017 – Value of 1 bitcoin surpassed the spot price of an ounce of gold for the first time.

April 1, 2017 – Bitcoin legal payment in Japan

Japan passed a law to accept bitcoin as a legal payment method.

June 12, 2017 – Bitcoin reaches all time high

Bitcoin reaches an all-time high of $3,000.

August 1, 2017- Bitcoin Cash is born

Bitcoin Cash is born and bitcoin crosses $4000.

August 23, 2017  Segwit activates on Bitcoin.

A huge milestone in the development of Bitcoin.

“The activation of segregated witness is a huge milestone in the development of Bitcoin. A step which enables a literal explosion of cool new features enhancing scalability, fungibility, privacy and usability of our favourite money,” said the hosts of the SegWit activation party.

November 28, 2017 – Bitcoin Hits $10,000

Bitcoin hits $10,000 for the very first time, 10x since starting the year at $1000.

April 2018 – Only 4 million Bitcoin left to mine

There are now 17 million bitcoins in existence only 4 million left to mine.

September 2018 – Bitcoin trading consistently

Since early September 2018 Bitcoin has traded consistently at around $6,500, only ever fluctuating by a few hundred dollars.

This trend has been helped by a lack of destabilising news in the cryptocurrency space, together with broader consensus on how to address some of the technological challenges facing bitcoin.

Bitcoin Turns 10: conclusions

As Bitcoin turns 10,  it has had its ups and downs. And since bitcoin’s inception nearly a decade ago, more than 3,000 other cryptocurrencies have emerged. However, of these, only a handful have actually managed to have any significant impact, and none have managed to reach the same heights as bitcoin.

Throughout regulatory pressures, technical difficulties, the cryptocurrency has remained at the forefront of the Blockchain revolution. Will Bitcoin replace fiat currency in another decade? Unlikely. But anything is possible!

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Battle of the stablecoins: Tether vs Dai

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Stablecoins – aptly named cryptocurrencies designed to be more market-stable and heralded as a way to strengthen the commercial case for blockchains.

In this post, we will evaluate two stablecoins, Tether vs Dai. Called the “holy grail” of cryptocurrency, stablecoins are an exiting proposition for  many businesses who often shy away from the volatility associated with the sector.

What is a stablecoin?

Stablecoins, in their most ideal form, are simply cryptocurrencies with stable value. An optimal cryptocurrency should have the following: price stability, scalability, privacy, and decentralization. A “stablecoin” is a cryptocurrency that is backed by a fiat currency reserve which corresponds with the coins in circulation. Usually, a stable coin is pegged to U.S. dollar but is not tied to a central bank and has low volatility.

This makes the usage of a cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange more viable since the price of a stablecoin should relatively unchanging; being the representation of a known amount of an asset.

Compare this to non-stable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum; these are highly volatile, and on any given day, it is common to see a fluctuation of 10-20%, making the usage of most cryptocurrencies for daily transactions inconvenient at best, or impossible at worst.

The main types of stablecoins

There are various types of stablecoins in the cryptocurrency market, which can be divided into three main categories, as follows:

  1. Fiat-collateralized – this is the simplest method of creating a stablecoin, and is used by one of the top stablecoins today (Tether). Essentially, fiat-collateralized stablecoins are backed by a real-world asset. This real-world asset is controlled and owned by a central entity.
  2. Crypto-collateralized – these are similar in concept to fiat-collateralized stablecoins, except that crypto-collateralized stablecoins are backed by another cryptocurrency as opposed to being backed by a real-world asset.
  3. Non-collateralized (i.e. seigniorage shares) –  the main non-collateralized approach is the seigniorage shares method. The seigniorage shares method uses smart contracts that automatically expand and contract the supply of the non-collateralized stablecoin using algorithms to maintain its value.

Who issues stablecoins?

Stablecoins are issued either by a central authority or a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). A central authority behind a stablecoin is Tether which issues new coins based on the guarantee provided, allowing for more stablecoins to enter in circulation if the reserve increases. The benefit of using a DAO rather than a centralised issuer is that DAOs allow for additional transparency if done in a decentralized manner. Dai is an example of a DAO stablecoin and runs on the Ethereum network.

Tether vs Dai: what you need to know

Tether: stablecoin pegged to the US Dollar

Tether was launched as RealCoin in July 2014 and was rebranded as Tether in November 2014.

Tether is the best-known stablecoin and often the most traded crypto asset after bitcoin. However, it is a highly controversial stablecoin, not because of how it works, but due to questions over whether it’s actually dollar-backed with fiat reserves.  What’s undisputed is that over-reliance on a centralized coin that accounts for $4 billion of daily trade volume is a bad thing.

The concept of Tether is simple, on paper at least. For every tether that exists there is a US dollar, meaning the value of one tether should always match one dollar. This is a centralised IOU model, whereby the central issuer (Tether the company) holds the US dollars on behalf of the users to uphold the value of tether and provide price stability.

But tether has been shrouded in controversy ever since questions were raised about whether Tether had the billions of US dollars in the bank to back up the billions of tether in issue. The company dismissed its first auditors and, although it insists it is fully audited, the evidence produced so far has been unconvincing. There is major doubt that it has the $2.7 billion to match the 2.7 billion tethers in circulation and that the stablecoin is being pumped out with artificial value just to prop up the prices of other cryptocurrencies. Supporting this is the fact that, while exchanging dollars for tether is easy enough, swapping your tether back into dollars is thought to be considerably harder. The company has stated on several occasions that it was unable to convert any tethers into dollars. Although some argue this sets off warning sirens about how much dollar it has in the bank, others say it is because it wants people to exchange their tether into other cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, and then convert that into fiat currency.

Tether is a great example of the highs and lows that the crypto community endures. The idea of injecting crypto power into fiat currency is welcome. However, all of its problems stem from the fact it is centralised. Users have to trust Tether that it has the money it says it does and that it will facilitate the transactions on the network and, so far, Tether is yet to earn its badge of trust.

Dai: decentralised stablecoin built on Ethereum

With the above in mind, competition for Tether is to be encouraged. And it arrived on 18th December 2017, when MakerDAO announced the launch of their Dai stablecoin

Dai is a decentralized dollar-pegged stablecoin from MakerDAO that operates as an ethereum token. The buyer places ethereum in the Maker core smart contract and receives a dollar equivalent of Dai in return. It’s tradable on the likes of Bibox, Ethfinex, IDEX, and Bancor Network.

With all of Tether’s problems spawning from the fact it is centralised this stablecoin could be a game changer. Dai is a decentralised cryptocurrency that is built around Ethereum, a much larger cryptocurrency that is centred on smart contracts to make it stand out from other top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Ethereum is used as collateral to support the price of Dai. The Ethereum is held in a smart contract, which means there is not a need for a central authority to hold it on behalf of the users.

According to MakerDAO,  the age of stability has arrived.  However, Dai is not free from problems. It may be decentralised but the underlying asset that gives Dai its value is nowhere near as stable as the fiat currencies like the dollar.

Tether vs Dai stablecoins: final thoughts

The 3 key characteristics of cryptocurrencies are that they are trustless, immutable, and decentralized.  Tether has done nothing to convince the crypto community that a centralised cryptocurrency is the way forward. If part of cryptocurrencies is shutting the door to so-called opaque and dishonest banks then the very least a centralised cryptocurrency has to do is prove it can be more transparent and do a better job at managing people’s money.

Dai wins points for being decentralized but the foundation it is built on – the thing that gives this stablecoin its stability – is itself not free from volatility.  Its fate is in the hands of Ethereum.

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Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH): What’s The Difference?

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In this post, we will be looking at the difference between Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Bitcoin (BTC) is a digital currency which was created in 2009 by a mysterious entity using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Eight years later on 1st August 2017, a ‘hard fork‘ of Bitcoin (BTC) created Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Two Different Idealogical Camps: Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

There are essentially two different idealogical camps in the the Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH) debate.

It all started as a discussion about how to change Bitcoin. Something was needed to help it cope better with the increasing number of people using the cryptocurrency.

However, after years of debate, two different ideological camps arose with opposing views on how Bitcoin should scale its protocol. The miners wanted Bitcoin to use bigger blocks while the users and developers wanted to implement SegWit, an upgrade that would compress transaction data, so more transactions could fit in each block.

The argument about how to scale Bitcoin has centred around restrictions imposed by the original design of Bitcoin. These limited the way in which transactions were processed and put into the public ledger of transactions, called the blockchain.

The rationale for this was to put the security of the system ahead of functionality which, given the small number of people using Bitcoin in those early days, wasn’t an issue.

The options for lifting this restriction however became a sticking point between different groups of developers and their various supporters. One group, consisting of the Bitcoin core developers, decided on a gradual approach that would first make more space in the ledger by shuffling how things were stored. And then as a second step, increase the size of the “blocks” or groups of transactions that were added to the blockchain (the ledger that records all of Bitcoin’s transactions).

Another group of developers lead by ex-Facebook Developer Amaury Séchet, however, disagreed with this approach. They didn’t believe it would actually go ahead and came up with a different design. This essentially meant diverging from the existing Bitcoin blockchain and creating their own version.

The proposal of the Bitcoin core developers, called SegWit2x, wanted to improve the way Bitcoin worked by saying that signatures could be moved to a separate piece of paper, one that is filed along with the sheet containing the transaction information. Because there is more room on the paper, more transactions can be written down. The other proposal was to set a timeline through which the system would allow two sheets of transactions instead of just one.The developers behind Bitcoin cash didn’t agree with the idea of separating the signatures from the transaction. They thought this was a “hack”.

Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH): Same Goals But Different Directions!

The goals of the two camps were the same, but neither was willing to compromise on how to get there. Therefore, Bitcoin forked into two different currencies, each sharing a common transaction history from before the fork. Bitcoin Cash is the chain supported by the miners who wanted larger blocks, and the regular Bitcoin chain is the one supported by the core developers.

In terms of the practical intents and purposes of most users, there is very little difference. However, it is imperative to understand that Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are now two entirely separate currencies.

SegWit implementation

Supporters of Bitcoin Cash looked at SegWit as being an inadequate solution to the problem of scalability. It was also against what Satoshi had envisioned, especially with off-chain solutions.

Even if the upgrade was done, the pro-Bitcoin Cash (BCH) team felt that the way forward lacked transparency and would undermine the blockchain’s decentralization and democratization.

In short, the difference is that BTC chose to implement SegWit and has the Lightning Network while the BCH community disagreed and pursues on-chain scalability.

Proof-of-Work (PoW) Consensus Algorithm

Both Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH)  run on the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm. 

A Proof-of-Work (PoW) coin uses miners to confirm transactions on the blockchain. This isn’t the most environment-friendly option, as a large amount of energy-consumption is involved; but it is the most effective, compared to other consensus algorithms like Proof-of-Stake (PoS).

Besides not being environmentally friendly and slow there is also an added risk of a 51% attack on the network.

Key Differences Between Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

One key difference between Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the difference in block size. Bitcoin has a 1MB block size, while Bitcoin Cash originally had an 8MB block size.  In May 2018 Bitcoin Cash initiated a hard fork to increase the size of the BCH block from 8MB to 32 MB. The upgrade also added new OP codes to its codebase.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) protocol allows for more transactions per second which translates to faster payments and lower fees.   However, Bitcoin has much greater security and stability, as there is more mining support and infrastructure behind it.

So what does the future hold for Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH)? Do you think there will be a greater demand for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) than Bitcoin (BTC) in the future? We will have to wait and see!

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Sidechains: Everything You Need To Know

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Sidechains are an emerging technology that allows tokens, coins and other digital assets from one blockchain to be used in an entirely separate blockchain, securely, and then be moved back to the original blockchain if needed.

How Do Sidechains Work?

A sidechain is a separate blockchain, attached to a parent via a two-way peg. This enabled the interchange slitty of assets between the blockchains. The original, parent blockchain is referred to as the ‘main chain’ and any child blockchains are referred to as ‘sidechains’, however some such as Ardor refers to them as ‘childchains’.

The first step in transferring digital assets, is for a user to transfer their assets (such as coins) to an output address where they are locked and cannot be spent. Once that transaction is completed, a confirmation is sent across the Cains, followed by a brief waiting period for additional security. After that period has expired, an equivalent amount of assets are released on the sidechain, allowing the user to spend them there. The same happens in reverse, when transferring back to the main chain.

What’s The Point

Sidechains allow cryptocurrencies developers to test beta versions of alt coins or software updates on a blockchain before pushing them to the main chain. Things like issuing and tracking share ownership can be tested on sidechains before moving them to main chains. They also allow cryptocurrencies to interact with one another.

Sidechains also allow newer technologies and ideas to be present on older cryptocurrencies. For example, Bitcoin lacks turing-complete smart contract abilities; however side chains can enable that feature. See about Rootstock below.

Examples Of Sidechains

Liquid

Liquid is a commercial sidechain.  If facilitates immediate transfer of funds between exchanges without having to wait for the delay of confirmation in the Bitcoin Blockchain. Liquid is available to users of all participating Bitcoin exchanges.

Rootstock

As mentioned, Bitcoin lacks turing-complete smart contract abilities; however Rootstock is a smart contract platform sidechain with a two-way peg to Bitcoin. This means that effectively Bitcoin minders can participate in the smart contract revolution by reading them with merge-mining.

Conclusion

Sidechains are an exciting new technology in the cryptocurrency space, although they are not without their security concerns. I do think the possibilities of expanding existing currencies like Bitcoin through the addition of new ideas such as smart contracts will aid scalability in the old cryptocurrencies and prolong their live.

As with all cyrptocurrencies, the side chains that succeed will be those that are made to fill a niche, not ones that are used to generate an income and therefore I foresee  side chains with no coin themselves, such as Rootstock, taking off.

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Tezos Blockchain Platform Goes Live

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Tezos Foundation took to Twitter on Monday 17th September to announce that the mainnet is now live.  The Tezos Foundation raised $232 million in July 2017 to build the network and issue a new type of cryptocurrency to its backers in one of the largest-ever initial coin offerings, and launched an initial version of the network one year later after months of delays. 

The announcement marks an important development for one of the most successful ICOs in the past two years:

What is Tezos?

Tezos is a blockchain system designed to govern and upgrade itself through establishing a true digital commonwealth. Tezos facilitates formal verification, a technique which mathematically proves the correctness of the code governing transactions and boosts the security of the most sensitive or financially weighted smart contracts. Stakeholders of the blockchain can vote on protocol amendments to reach social consensus on development proposals.

Tezos is the vision of Arthur Breitman. French-born, Breitman has significant experience working for large corporates like Morgan Stanly and Goldman Sachs. Together with his wife Kathleen, they now manage the cryptocurrency project from a San Francisco office.

Tezos is quite similar to Ethereum and while cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have stuck to their guns, Tezos sees the future of cryptocurrency as an upgradable path to success. As new innovations unfold, Tezos predicts that their blockchain will remain on the cutting edge.

However, the project has had its fair share of controversy from the start including a number of lawsuits. 

Bitfinex announces Tezos listing

Soon after the official mainnet announcement, Bitfinex, the world’s leading digital asset trading platform, which offers state-of-the-art services for digital currency traders and global liquidity providers, also announced the listing of Tezos, to its trading platform. 

The appearance of XTZ trades on Bitfinex was immediately followed by selling activity. A bit later, the exchange confirmed the listing in a tweet:

The newly introduced token listing has a market capitalization of $1.1 billion USD and is firmly positioned among the world’s top 20 coins, representing a significant addition to the Bitfinex trading platform.

“The new listing of Tezos to the Bitfinex trading platform represents a significant milestone, adding yet another top 20 coin to our services. Bitfinex is committed to providing investors with unlimited trading opportunities by offered a growing array of diverse coins. Tezos is an elite token, with a market cap of $1.1 billion, which will provide a new and exciting investment avenue for our users,” said Jean-Louis van der Velde, Chief Executive Officer of Bitfinex.

“Today’s announcement continues the strong wave of activity within the Bitfinex community, as we continue to anticipate the needs and demands of the digital asset community. We look forward to working with Tezos and building upon this latest achievement for Bitfinex,” concluded van der Velde.

Tezos price spike then dip

According to CoinMarketCap, Tezos went from $1.30 on the day before the announcement to $1.66 the day after.

The Bitfinex development has raised hopes of inclusion on more exchanges soon. XTZ supporters believe the sell-off is temporary:

What was supposed to be a celebratory moment for the project and its investors quickly went downhill, as the price collapsed by almost 20 percent, erasing $170 million from its total market cap a little less than an hour after the announcement. This amounts to almost as much as the Tezos Foundation managed to raise in its July 2017 ICO.

However, Bitfinex volumes immediately increased, making up 20% of XTZ trading, according to updated information from Coinmarketcap. As of 7:00 UTC, volumes were above $1.4 million in 24 hours, with more activity anticipated.

The project expects renewed activity and robust price appreciation to make up for the losses. The launch of the crypto ecosystem comes relatively late and will have to prove its consensus solution is better compared to other platforms.

According to Tezos Scan, the network currently seems to be functioning fine, with a new block once every minute.

Update 18/09/2018: 1530

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