4 June

“The DeversiFi decentralized exchange, or DEX, relaunched as DeversiFi 2.0 on June 3, incorporating Starkware’s zkSTARK layer-2 scaling technology. This new platform will be able to process over 9,000 transactions per second, while maintaining privacy, liquidity and low fees in a non-custodial solution.

Starkware’s layer-2 solution utilizes Zero Knowledge Proof, or ZKP, technology to bring scalability to non-custodial trading. This consumes a small fraction of the Ethereum blockchain resources that standard on-chain processing would require.

Commercial grade Defi needs robust cryptography and zkSTARKs are fastest in class, post-quantum safe and can easily scale to tens of thousands of transactions per second with no trusted setup … We are excited to see traders embracing self-custodial trading without sacrificing liquidity or speed.”

See Also: Say Hello to the New DeversiFi – powered by StarkWare!

“Vodafone SIM technology and Energy Web’s blockchain-based Decentralized Operating System [will be used] as a communications backbone for the so-called edge devices that crowd power grids in the hundreds of millions.

Grids now feature solar panels and electric cars and wind turbines and heat pumps that could all carry SIM cards. They could then also carry proof of identity to the grid operators via public private keys.

The SIM’s private key infrastructure allows devices to sign transactions on the Energy Web blockchain, all while remaining secure. In the long run, this could lead to the creation of “a new digital energy marketplace” powered by blockchain.”

See Also: Blockchain Underpinning Much of Germany’s Renewable Energy Evolution
See Also: French Renewable Energy Provider Wins Regulator’s Approval for €10M Token Sale
See Also: Oil and Gas Blockchain Consortium’s Pilot Test Produces Successful Result

“MVIS outlined that the new rate aggregates BTC transaction prices on the top five trading venues included in CryptoCompare’s Exchange Benchmark and disseminates each hour.

Licensed crypto bank SEBA will be using the new rate to launch further products for the digital assets market.

It is essential for derivatives on cryptocurrencies to have a representative reference rate which is robust against market distortions and manipulations.”

“ConsenSys has helped the North American Collegiate League launch a blockchain-based platform for its Esports tournaments. Their goal is to automate match reporting and make player payments faster.

NACL has already conducted a Fortnite tournament using the platform, paying the winner in DAI.

You can even program revenue sharing into the smart contract among the teams, players, and game developers with bonus payments triggering based on achieving certain viewership or social media metrics.”

Stablecoins’ Role in the Shift to Blockchain/DeFi

“Developers are exploring replacing [HTLCs] with Point Timelock Contracts (otherwise known as “payment points” or PTLCs).

One problem with HTLCs is that all intermediaries in the path get the same hash, which can be a problem from a privacy point of view. PTLC, on the other hand, can add a “random tweak” at each hop, Kohen said, making it harder to tell that they are part of the same payment path.

[Also,] useful information can be stored in a PTLC, making it a possible tool for more complex smart contracts. In this way, PTLCs could be used for escrow, for example, or for oracles.

I’d caution against underestimating how long all of this will take in practice, and the degree of synchronization required to pull it all off properly.”

“Chinese authorities have released a master plan for turning southern island province Hainan into a free trade port. The master plan encourages government institutions to use blockchain and other technologies to reform government functions.

We should give full play to the role of modern information technology, such as big data and blockchain, [and] standardize government service standards through government service platforms.”

“Zoom, the video conference app whose popularity has rocketed on the back of the global lockdown, won’t be encrypting calls for free users. This way, the company hopes to create space for collaboration with the FBI and other authorities, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said during a June 2 conference call.

According to Yuan, Zoom’s end-to-end encryption service, which is currently under development, will be available exclusively for corporate clients.

Free users for sure we don’t want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI.”

See Also: Brave Browser Launches Encrypted Video Calls Before Zoom

3 June

“The price of Bitcoin (BTC) plummeted by 14% from $10,180 to $8,600 on BitMEX within less than 15 minutes.

Bitcoin was overdue for a long squeeze. A signal something was amiss was the fact that prior to the price drop, Bitcoin’s funding rate was too high and around 75% of the market was holding long contracts.

The majority of traders were anticipating Bitcoin’s price to increase and were aggressively longing the market. Inevitably, a long squeeze occurred, liquidating about $120 million worth of long contracts.

The price of BTC also fell exactly as the United States market opened. It suggests the CME Bitcoin futures market was partially behind the sell-off in BTC.

BTC crashes -$1000 in 15 minutes on US opening (exact same time and volumes as of May 20 and May 21.”

See Also: Bitcoin Price Above $10K Sees ‘Strange’ Premium After $1M BTC Buys
See Also: Open Interest in Ether Options Hits Record High on Deribit
See Also: BitMEX Sees Biggest Short Squeeze in 8 Months After Bitcoin Surge

Good non-technical overview of Eth2 from lead researcher Danny Ryan.

“This post is aimed at the community, to provide you with a comprehensive look at what eth2 is today: where it’s going, what it might become, and what it means for you.

Phase 0, the Beacon Chain, is the core of the new consensus mechanism. Other non-sharded, proof-of-stake mechanisms have 100s or maybe 1000s of validators, but eth2 is designed to have a bare minimum of ~16k validators with the expectation that this figure will be in the hundreds of thousands within a couple of years.

Phase 0 is about coming to consensus, whereas Phase 1 is about coming to consensus on a lot of stuff. This “stuff” comes in the form of many shard chains. Today, we expect there to be 64 shards to start, and for the total data available to the system to be in the 1 to 4 MB/s range (YES, that’s a ton of data), which translates into massive scalability gains when coupled with rollup tech.

Phase 1.5 is the integration of Ethereum mainnet into the new eth2 consensus mechanism as a shard. For existing applications and users, this hot swap of the consensus mechanism will largely be transparent. Applications will continue chugging along, but developers will now have a much more powerful system to build on (better security properties, proper economic finality, more layer 1 data for rollups and other fun applications).

Phase 2 is the addition of state and execution on more shards than just the original Ethereum shard.

See Also: Eth2 Development Update: May 30
See Also: Danny Ryan on Eth2 Progress (Video)

“From today onwards, Canadian firms operating with virtual currencies will be legally recognized as Money Service Businesses.

Candian crypto firms must now report all transactions exceeding 10,000 Canadian dollars ($7,403), and register and comply with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

Bitcoin is money, it should be regulated like other money, no more no less.”

“Microsoft’s principal architect, Marley Gray, and Enterprise Ethereum Alliance’s former executive director, Ron Resnick, on Tuesday launched the InterWork Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at bringing global standards to the token-based ecosystem.

At launch, the IWA included more than 28 blockchain, technology and financial organizations from around the world. The IWA will eventually work on interoperability between decentralized applications from different blockchain networks. 

For this approach to work, standards are urgently needed around defining what a token is and how its contractual behaviors will work.”

“The head of Venezuela’s cryptocurrency initiative, the petro, is wanted by the U.S government on charges of corruption and links to the narcotics trade.

Ramirez Camacho is a public official and serves as the superintendent for Venezuela’s petro initiative, a cryptocurrency supposedly backed by the country’s oil and mineral reserves.”

The problem is the display of the phone, where Android does not give any guarantees that the data shown on it will be accurate — a feature called “Trusted Display.”

You can add malware which will swap the address to which you want to make a transaction with another one, and display to you the address you think you’re about to send to.”

We Choose to Build

“On Saturday we ushered in a new era of space travel – we were traveling to the stars while the cities burn below.

I’m struck by the juxtaposition.

One man kicks in a window and steals $500 worth of H&M shirts. Another prints billions in bailouts for his cronies. Only one of these things is a crime.

I’m struck by the juxtaposition.

But burning isn’t our focus. That’s not where we’ll spend our energy. We don’t want to burn it down. We want to build it up.

Crypto is peaceful protest.

We want to provide an open alternative to the world. A lifeboat. A better system.

We see the terrible juxtapositions in our societies and we choose to build.

While the Cities Burn Below – Ryan Sean Adams

2 June

Various Layer-2 Scaling Solutions Deploy on Ethereum

See Also: Can Fancy New Cryptography Scale DeFi? (Good read)
See Also: The Matic Network Mainnet is Now Live!

“For three years we’ve been engineering a Layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum called Plasma. Today’s the day we ship it!

OMG Network, a subsidiary of SYNQA, Southeast Asia’s leading payment business, scales Ethereum to thousands of transaction per second while simultaneously reducing transaction fee to 1/3rd with its release of OMG Network V1 Mainnet Beta.

The OMG Network has released two additional products to accompany its mainnet deployment. The first is a demo web wallet. The second is the OMG Network Block Explorer. Future releases include faster exits, scalable exits, and OMG staking.”

See Also: OMG Network Interview (Video)

“The integration marks the first time that Tether [has been issued on] an Ethereum sidechain to boost its performance. The OMG-based Tether network will be accessible through Bitfinex and ‘allow traders to react faster to trading opportunities.’

By migrating USDT value transfers to the OMG Network we save costs, drive performance improvements and relieve pressure on the root chain network.

Tether is by far the largest “gas guzzler” on the Ethereum network at 8,900 ETH (about $1.84 million) in fees spent last month. This is more than the next five protocols combined.”

SocGen Issues €40M AAA-rated Bonds on Ethereum

“Private Swiss bank Maerki Baumann’s new crypto trading service shows there’s a growing market for providing premium execution for an institutional or wealthy clientele.

See Also: Custodian With 100K Users Plans to Tokenize $13 Billion in Assets
See Also: Swiss Regulators Green Light Crypto Transactions for Local Bank

“0x upgraded its protocol in December of last year to aggregate liquidity from on-chain sources like Uniswap, Oasis and Kyber. Delphi noted that the protocol had seen steady trade-volume growth since the upgrade took effect, mostly driven by non-fungible tokens.

Basic Attention Token (BAT) had the second-best performance, with an 18% return in May. Bitcoin ranked third with an 11% gain for the month. Among the worst-performing tokens was XRP from Ripple, which slid 5.6% on the month to 20 cents. Bitcoin SV (BSV) lost 7.4%, falling to $192.”

“Alibaba says its “unified domain name scheme” would simplify and improve communication between blockchains. Assigning universally recognizable domain names to blockchains, or parts of a blockchain, could enable better identification and interaction.

Alibaba says, in its simpler system, blockchains only need one domain name – a unified blockchain domain name (UBCDN) – recognizable and valid in any and all communication it has with other chains.

[U]nlike existing cross-chain implementations such as COSMOS … the UBCDN can be used and is recognizable globally by all blockchain instances in the unified blockchain network.”

“Pseudonymous engineer 0xb10c found more than a million of these “timelocked” transactions made between September 2019 and March 2020 were not accurately enforced by the network. This increases the risk of a hypothetical form of attack in which miners could essentially steal bitcoin from other miners.

Currently, not enforcing a timelock to an absolute block height does not have consequences for the majority of transactions. In a few years, when the block reward consists mainly of transaction fees, it might make fee-sniping more profitable.

Hence, the bug could be harmful to the wider network. But right now, it’s most likely a “low-priority” problem to fix for most wallet services because it doesn’t result in users losing money.”

“Wracked by regulation, supplier issues and the volatility of digital assets, crypto debit cards have had a rough start. Nonetheless, crypto debit card use is growing and is considered an important development for the growth in the adoption of crypto around the world.

Cointelegraph examines where crypto debit cards are available and what options they offer as wider adoption starts to take hold.

“Osinachi, a self-taught Nigerian digital and crypto artist, has sold his latest “I Can’t Breathe” digital art piece on May 31 for 7 Etherum (ETH), about $1,703 at press time on blockchain-based art [marketplace] SuperRare.

Each artwork on SuperRare is authentically created by an artist in the network. They are then backed by Ethereum blockchain to verify the origin and trace the entire history of the piece.

The art piece was tokenized as a non-fungible ERC-721 token, a crypto-collectible digital item that can either be traded or held as long term investment.

Decentraland users were able to watch the event in the environment’s virtual auditorium as Elon Musk sent two humans into orbit in the first private, manned spacecraft launch in history.”

“I’ve talked before about the rise of corporations regulating governments but here we have Twitter soft-censoring the U.S. president on the grounds of incitement of violence. This is a major escalation and could be a new chapter in relations between corporations and states. [Buterin]

A better system might include ‘social media designs that naturally create selection pressures that favor positive content, and do so in a way that’s credibly neutral,’ according to Buterin.

Cameron Winklevoss tweeted a statement of opposition. Imagine if a phone company fact-checked your calls or the post office fact checked your mail?

30 May

“Any U.S. CBDC should maintain the existing two-tier banking system, the paper said.

When we do big things in the United States, it’s almost always a very healthy partnership with the private sector and the public sector.

Under this model, the Fed would issue digital dollars to banks, while users could either store funds in their accounts or hold onto these tokenized dollars in their own digital wallets. The bank would be able to lend against the funds held in accounts.

These deposits underpin the U.S. entire economy by enabling banks to lend funds to borrowers.

The digital dollar envisioned by the paper could even operate alongside private stablecoins, the paper said. The two-tiered system would also need to include anti-money laundering and know-your-customer (AML/KYC) rules.

To have the end points of where the tokens can move be a regulated wallet infrastructure we think is likely the best answer.

The next step for the project is to develop a series of pilot programs and tests.”

“Amazon has patented a distributed ledger-based (DLT) system for proving the authenticity of consumer goods. The patent describes using DLT to infuse ‘digital trust from the first mile of an item’s supply chain‘ to the last.

Amazon’s system compiles data from distributors, manufacturers and shippers on an “open framework” that builds a product provenance across information silos. This data could be neatly packaged for the consumer.

Amazon said in the patent that Hyperledger could be one form of DLT used.”

Mike Maloney: 1929 vs Now (Good watch!)

Coinbase Pro will begin accepting MKR deposits on Monday, June 8. Trading is slated to commence at approximately 9am Pacific Time on June 9.

Maker currently comprises the largest DeFi project by assets under management, currently representing $486.3 million in locked funds or 54% of the entire DeFi capitalization.”

“The Aave lending protocol introduced a new market based on Uniswap liquidity tokens. Each liquidity token represents ownership in a Uniswap liquidity provider pool. Liquidity providers receive a portion of the trading fees acquired by the Uniswap protocol.

An interesting use case of this system is opening leveraged liquidity pool positions. As Aave wrote, this will greatly reduce decentralized exchange slippage,’ as the liquidity pools can be inflated through borrowed money.

This will [also] effectively let users receive interest from two protocols at once.”

“Equigy’s system is a free platform for registering and tracking energy transactions allowing home batteries and electric cars to sell electricity to the grid.

Green Tech Media reported on May 29 that three major European Union electricity transmission system operators, or TSOs, joined Equigy’s platform. Equigy decided to run its system on a private instance of the Hyperledger framework.”

“While there are at least two global TON-based initiatives so far, namely Free TON and NewTON, the Chinese TON Community has opted to launch their own TON network.

We plan to start the TON Blockchain testnet in the first step, recruit more nodes and developers to join the network and test the network, and then redesign network rules that are more adapted to the current context.”

29 May

“Crypto fund manager Grayscale Investments is accumulating Bitcoin at a rate equivalent to 150% of the new coins created by miners since the May 11 block reward halving.

There isn’t enough new supply to go around, even for just one guy.

Last week, Rooke estimated that Grayscale had been buying Bitcoin at a rate equal to between 33% and 34% of new supply during the first quarter of 2020, having accumulated 60,762 BTC over 100 days.”

See Also: SEC Comm: A Bitcoin ETF Could Help Fairly Price Grayscale’s GBTC

Samsung Blockchain users in the U.S. and Canada can now connect to Gemini’s mobile app to buy, sell and trade crypto after the companies built an integration between the two applications.

The Samsung Blockchain Wallet allows users to self-custody crypto directly on their Samsung Galaxy phones. With Gemini Custody, Samsung users can now also transfer their crypto into cold storage.”

“Speaking during an annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, Zuckerberg said Facebook’s commerce work, including Libra, should be viewed through the lens of its ads business. Combining ads with an effective payment tool for users can benefit businesses further.

If we can make commerce be more effective for businesses if when they run an ad, somebody who clicks on that ad is now going to be more likely to buy something because they actually have a form of payment that works that’s on file.”

“Brave, the privacy-centric cryptocurrency-powered web browser has launched in-browser video calls featuring end-to-end encryption.

The encrypted video service, dubbed ‘Brave Together’ can be used to make unlimited encrypted video calls featuring two participants. All Brave users can access the feature, with no account sign-ups needed. Video conferencing supporting more than two participants is currently being tested.

Brave Together is based on the open-source encrypted video software Jitsi — which was vouched for by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2017.”

“The new offering allows server hosts to create their own localized Minecraft economies by providing their players with tangible ownership over in-game items and currencies.

It also allows for players to securely trade their assets in peer-to-peer (P2P) fashion through the server or via external chat rooms and digital trading platforms like the Enjin Marketplace.

EnjinCraft is the beginning of a new era for sandbox games. Players now have a tangible stake in their gaming worlds.”

“Bayer China revealed in an interview Thursday it had chosen VeChain as tech provider for a new blockchain-powered solution that will allow the firm – a branch of Bayer – to track clinical drugs across the supply chain.

Known as “CSecure,” the system loads a batch number relating to a specific drug onto the blockchain. Each drug can then be tracked as it moves across the supply chain, using timestamps and user-identification information at different waypoints.”

“We’re excited and proud to announce that the next edition of Devcon will take place in Bogotá, Colombia at the beautiful Agora Bogotá Convention Center in 2021!

Rather than asking you all to continue to wait with bated breath or delaying plans by a few short months, we’re going to lengthen our lead time and super-size our ongoing efforts around Devcon 6 in 2021. This can be done staying true to Ethereum’s roots with ecosystem-driven events in 2020.”

“Crypto key management platform, Torus, has launched its non-custodial key management solution DirectAuth — enabling streamlined log-in experiences for web3 applications.

DirectAuth builds on top of the Torus Wallet, which facilitates one-click logins for decentralized applications, or dapps. The addition of DirectAuth allows persistent logged-in action, streamlining transactions and signing from within a single app.

Users can also send ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens to Google emails, Reddit usernames, or Discord IDs through Torus.”

See Also: After a Slow Start, Tether Sees Increasing Usage in DeFi
See Also: Tether Explains Why It Hasn’t Burned Any USDT

“Blockchain-enabled ‘immunity certificates’ or ‘immunity passports’ for COVID-19, if implemented by public authorities, would have serious consequences for our fundamental human rights and civil liberties.

I cannot be part of an organization overly influenced by commercial interests that that only pays lip service to human rights.”

“Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, has called for tenders to provide 4,917 ATMs with a built-in graphic card capable of supporting “blockchain operations”. The most obvious use case for a blockchain optimized graphics card is mining cryptocurrency.

Besides mining, perhaps it could be used for processing of some cryptographic algorithms, but I have no idea why an ATM would need it.

Could Sberbank be issuing its own cryptocurrency or will Russia’s government use the bank’s vast network to distribute a cryptorouble? Perhaps, these new ATMs could become a part of the enormous mining network supporting the new cryptocurrency?

See Also: Russia’s Central Bank to Launch Blockchain-Powered Digital Mortgage Platform

“The order draft, labeled at press time as “Preventing Online Censorship,” brings further clarity to social media industry boundaries.

Current guidelines give internet entities broad liability immunity. The executive order aims to give that immunity parameters, preventing overarching censorship. The draft also includes several other aspects, such as the First Amendment’s place on the web.

In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online.”

28 May

“Coinbase is finally acquiring Tagomi, a prime brokerage platform specializing in digital asset trading. The two companies said the deal is expected to be finalized later this year.

We are going to be integrating the Tagomi platform into our product suite and it will form the foundation for the future of our institutional trading business.

Crypto prime brokerage, which offers institutional clients easier access to liquidity, custody, lending and other products, appears to be on a roll right now.

Coinbase said the acquisition comes at something of an inflection point in the industry [and stated] it has seen a 100% increase in volume from professional and institutional traders over the past three months.”

See Also: Crypto Custodian BitGo Joins Race to Provide Prime Brokerage Services
See Also: ‘Focus on Retirement’: Crypto Custodian Rolls Out Hybrid IRA Offering

“RenVM Mainnet is live! This marks the beginning of a cross-chain era for DeFi and we couldn’t be more excited for its impact on the digital asset ecosystem.

RenVM is an sMPC based decentralized custodian that fluidly mints and burns digital assets 1:1 on Ethereum as ERC20s. This means you can now use real BTC, BCH, and ZEC in any DeFi app.

“We are excited to announce that the Raiden Network Alderaan release is live on the Ethereum mainnet. The Alderaan release is the first full suite version of Raiden.

The goal of this release is to have a secure and reliable, feature complete version of the Raiden Network that allows other projects to start building on top of and integrating Raiden into their dApps.

We encourage anyone interested in doing fast, cheap and scalable payments on Ethereum to try out the Alderaan release.”

“Goldman Sachs held an investor call Wednesday to discuss current policies for bitcoin, gold and inflation in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The big takeaway? The stalwart investment bank is still no fan of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

A slideshow released before the call cited hacks and other losses related to cryptocurrencies as well as their use to “abet illicit activities” as some potential liabilities.

The criticisms were very cookie cutter, the type you’d expect if someone just read mainstream headlines.”

“Global telecommunications giant Vodafone has partnered with blockchain startup Energy Web (EWT) to connect “billions” of distributed energy generating assets.

The project will combine SIM-centric DLT with IoT connectivity provided by Vodafone Business to “create secure IDs for energy assets.”

This means that renewable and distributed assets like wind turbines, batteries, heat pumps, and solar panels can be integrated with energy grids safely and efficiently.”

“The idea is a licensed eMoney provider stores client funds in a central bank and, in return, receives a central bank liability they can package however they see fit into a publicly tradeable stablecoin that remains fully-backed by central bank reserves.

This public-private partnership [of a synthetic CBDC] is intended to conserve the competitive advantages of the private sector: to interface with clients and innovate, and the comparative advantage of the central bank: to regulate and provide trust.

In fact, there would be nothing to stop, under the IMF’s interpretation, multiple private companies all issuing digital currencies that are all backed by the same central bank liabilities, and effectively compete with one another.”

See Also: Do Zero-Reserve Loans Make Tether Better Off Backed by Bitfinex Stock?

“Theta is unique in that their video delivery network needs both a reliable, high-performance network – which we provide via our premium network tier – as well as reputable node operators to ensure protocol security.

Google will become the protocol’s fifth external validator node. Google Cloud is also becoming Theta’s preferred cloud provider with today’s announcement.

Theta rewards network participants for relaying video content to other users using their spare bandwidth and computing resources. The end result should be a ‘massive decentralized mesh network of relayers.'”

“The latest date for which data is available in May produced $34 million for Bakkt’s physically-settled Bitcoin futures. Cash-settled Bitcoin futures recorded $9.3 million in volume.

The trend reverses the previous status quo, under which futures settled in fiat saw larger volumes.

“A new kind of cryptocurrency tipbot allows users to pay others to answer their questions on social media, providing a new tool to pool data in the ecosystem.

Lee showcased the system on May 18 by asking Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Sechet if he believes Bitcoin Cash’s value can exceed the value of Bitcoin. Sechet was paid 0.5 BCH (about $114 as of press time) to answer the question.

Other than Twitter, CCTip will also work on Telegram, Discord, WeChat and on Reddit.”

“This alternative, virtual economy now has 2.5 billion users and is growing at an extraordinary pace, as people look for virtual ways to earn real income and deliver traditionally offline experiences online.

Our primary focus was on NFT-based, decentralized platforms because they are creating economic infrastructure that adds value to virtual assets in a way that nothing else ever really has.

Egan believes that, in the coming years, society, culture and economics will be transformed by these virtual worlds, as virtual tycoons, decentralized government and digital nations emerge.”

See Also: CryptoKitties Creator Debuts NBA Game on Its Own Blockchain