Vitalik Buterin Celebrates Ethereum Layer 2 Scaling; Only ‘Refinement & Deployment’ Left

LRC token jumped 14% today to trade at $0.054.

In 2020 so far the 97th largest cryptocurrency recorded 144% gains but despite that, it is still down 98% from its all-time high.

The ongoing gains have been the result of the monthly update released by the team that the Loopring Exchange has settled over one million trades. Since its launch two months ago, it has traded $14 million in volume through only 1,600+ users.

The most interesting piece of information is that the exchange only paid about 50 ETH for this which means each trade cost only $0.1, thanks to zkRollup.

Zero-knowledge proof (zkRollup) is deployed for layer 2 that increases scalability by processing mass transfer into a single transaction.

“We believe Loopring Exchange and Loopring Pay will become the killer features in our mobile app.

Our users will not be restricted by Ethereum’s ever-rising gas price and congestion, but still enjoy Ethereum’s security guarantees and everything else it offers.”

Loopring Pay, a zkSNARK-based layer-2 fast transfer service is to be released this week for an invite-only beta testing for Loopring Wallet.

It will enable its users to transfer Ether and ERC20 tokens without on-chain Ethereum transactions or gas fees. The transfer fees are reportedly “negligible” thanks to zkRollup. It will also be integrated into Loopring Wallet.

“This is sorely needed on Ethereum right now, as transfers of stablecoins, especially USDT, are among the biggest gas guzzlers,” reads the update.

Interestingly, today, Bitfinex also announced the largest stablecoin by market cap Tether will be integrated into the OMG Network (formerly known as OmiseGo) which will reduce transaction confirmation time and fees because Ethereum is “vulnerable to severe network congestion” under heavy demand.

Ethereum network is already over 90% at capacity and throughout May, it has also been experiencing a very high gas price. Not to mention, ETH 2.0 is still nowhere near its release.

But Ethereum co-founder Viatlik Buterin took to Twitter to shout out to the likes of Loopring, Matic Network, Omise Network, and others that are working on Ethereum’s L2 scaling.

Matic Network’s mainnet is now live with an initial set of validators. The mainnet has also already produced over 43,000 blocks.

“While everyone wasn’t looking, the initial deployment of ethereum’s layer 2 scaling strategy has *basically* succeeded. What’s left is refinement and deployment,” Buterin said.

Although these systems are by and large limited to payments and DEX, these sections are a large part of Ethereum activity.

As for moving these into rollups and plasmas, there is an adoption challenge as it would require the users to have wallets where their coins are stored in either of them. He said,

“Look forward to the future of ethereum scaling! (Including sharding supercharging all of these techniques 100x further down the line).”

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Author: AnTy

Alibaba’s Cross-Chain Patent Approved by Us Authorities; Hailed as a ‘Better’ Option to Cosmos

  • China’s eCommerce giant, Alibaba, has been granted approval for a ‘unified blockchain domain name’ (UBCDN) by the U.S Patent.
  • This will advance the firm’s footprint in blockchain given recent milestones under its blockchain subsidiary, Ant Financial.

Dubbed ‘Cross-chain interactions using a domain name scheme in blockchain systems‘, the patent was filed back in April 2019 in a bid to make cross-chain interactions more seamless. According to Alibaba, the UBCDN proposes a greater value than the current cross-chain networks like Cosmos.

Alibaba’s UBCDN

The concept of interoperability has emerged as a core fundamental for blockchain networks, especially when it comes to communication between organizations or large entities. Alibaba’s UBCDN aims to solve existing inefficiencies attributed to relay chain ecosystems. Ideally, the design is based on providing a unified protocol to facilitate the communication of blockchains deployed on a given network. The patent reads,

“The described domain name scheme can provide a unified protocol for interactions between blockchain systems in a unified (or global) blockchain network that includes multiple or all blockchain instances deployed, based on different blockchain products or technologies.”

Compared to the Cosmos relay chains, Alibaba noted that its approach will make it easier to identify blockchain instances despite being transferred to a different ecosystem. In the former, a chain is assigned multiple ID’s before interacting with different chains hence making it difficult to identify a network in the long-run. With Alibaba’s UBCDN, this will not be a challenge since the chains will maintain a described domain scheme making them globally identifiable.

In addition, this cross-chain product might include a human-readable identifier that will help the blockchain users to better memorize their instances.

“As an example, owners or operators of public blockchains, private blockchains, or consortium blockchains can choose blockchain domain names that correspond to their names, helping users to remember the identifiers of the blockchain instances….”

Alibaba’s Expansion into the Blockchain Space

Notably, this is not the first blockchain milestone by Alibaba; the firm has been actively involved in the sector competing with IT giants like Huawei. Last year, the blockchain arms of both firms were both approved by Chinese Authorities. Since then, Alibaba has invested in a number of blockchain-based projects through Ant Financial.

Its blockchain platform ‘Ant’ had facilitated over $6 billion in medical billing as of Q4 in 2019. Going by these developments, the newly acquired patent might add to the portfolio of products/projects under Alibaba’s blockchain initiatives.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitmain Launches ASIC-based BTC Mining Machine, Antminer T19, to Combat S17’s Issues

China-based Bitcoin mining firmware company, Bitmain, announced the launch of the Antminer T19 model version. This model is a cheaper version of the flagship Antminer S19 and S19 Pro models but competes favorably in efficiency of BTC mining.

Bitmain releases ‘cheaper’ Antminer T19 model

After a problematic launch of the Antminer S19 models, Bitmain officially announced the launch of the cheaper Antminer T19 model which will start selling on Bitmain’s website on June 1, 2020. According to the main website the price of the Antminer T19 is $1,749 compared to S19 ($1,785) and S19 Pro ($2,407). The S19 version was sold out in minutes following the launch in 2019. The shipping of the products will start on June 21st till June 30th, the statement reads.

The Antminer T19 is the latest model in the new generation of SHA-256 custom-built chips created by Bitmain. The miner will generate a hash rate of 84 TH/s with a 3 percent variance and a power efficiency of 37.5 joules (J/TH) with a 5 percent variance. In comparison to the two flagship devices – the S19 miner produces 95 TH/s and the S19 Pro producing a hash rate of 110 TH/s. The official report further states,

“The T19 also utilizes the new APW12 power supply and upgraded firmware, which offers faster start-up speeds for an optimized mining experience.”

Bitmain, the largest Bitcoin firmware manufacturer, will limit the number of purchases to two for each user to prevent “hoarding” by the miners. Recently, Riot Blockchain, bought over 1,000 Antminer S19 model machines to boost BTC’s hash rate by 80 percent.

A solution to a failed start?

The third line in a generation of new machines gives miners hope after the terrible and troubling launch of the Antminer S19 and S19 Pro models. Users complained on abnormal failure rates of the mining firmware with nearly 20-30 percent of the total machines failing – normal failure rate is at 5%.

The dominance of Bitmain in Bitcoin’s mining is however raising questions of centralization with the company dominating the manufacturing of miners and mining the token too. Three of the largest mining pools control over half of the total hash rate and Bitmain controls two of those.

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Author: Lujan Odera

John McAfee Now Claims His $1 Million Bitcoin Price Prediction Was ‘Absurdist Humor’

John McAfee, the infamous tech mogul who has been on the run from the US authorities has been quite popular in the decentralized space for his drunken tweets and changing opinions. He was also an avid Bitcoin proponent for quite sometime before jumping ship and now shilling various altcoins.

After the 2017 bitcoin peak price rise, many self-proclaimed crypto experts came up with different price predictions, where a few seemed realistic but a majority of them just plain bizarre. McAfee was one of them who predicted back in 2018 that Bitcoin would trade at $1 million price value by 2020, and like the majority of the price predictions, even his did not age well. However, McAfee has backpaddled from his prediction and claimed that it was absurdist humor and nothing more. McAfee back then famously said,

“When I predicted Bitcoin at $500,000 by the end of 2020, it used a model that predicted $5,000 at the end of 2017. BTC has accelerated much faster than my model assumptions. I now predict Bitcoin at $1 million by the end of 2020. I will still eat my dick if wrong.”

He stood by his price prediction on a number of occasions before he changed ship from being an ardent Bitcoin bull to promoting absurd crypto projects like Zombie coin and other similar shitcoins.

McAfee’s Fugitive Life

McAfee enjoyed being one of the most successful tech businessmen of the US with his McAfee antivirus brand but has been on the run since 2012 when he was accused of murdering his neighbor. McAfee has maintained that he is of Libertarian views and believe taxation is theft by the government. He claimed that authorities are behind him because he refuses to file his tax returns.

McAfee is also running for the US President in the upcoming election, and despite being on the run from the authorities, he has managed to run his campaign from the sea.

Price prediction in the crypto space has never aged well and almost all of them have fell flat on their faces with each passing year. However, Bitcoin as an asset is growing in popularity and strength and thus the true Bitcoiners believe the price would eventually rise once its acceptance grows among common population.

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Author: James W

Raging Protests Across America Historically Bodes Well for Stocks; What About Bitcoin?

Coronavirus cases in the US are slowing down, rising by the slowest pace of 1.1% in five days after over 1.8 million reported cases and more than 106,208 deaths so far.

“Market upside ultimately depends on the path of the virus and the success of reopening,” wrote Credit Suisse Chief U.S. Equity Strategist Jonathan Golub on Monday.

The stock market opened higher only for Dow Jones to then drop by 0.38% along with the S&P 500 (currently above 3,000) and Nasdaq by 0.38% and 0.29% respectively.

When it comes to reopening the opening, Chicago which is hit hard by violent protests over a police custody death may delay its reopening.

Grappling with protests and cold war with China

The death of an African American at the hands of the police in the United States has set off mass protests against police brutality.

A chorus of criticism has erupted in many parts of the world alongside the unrest in the US over the death of 46-year old George Floyd last week.

Chinese officials and state media seized this news to compare these protests to the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, accusing Washington of hypocrisy.

Beijing repeatedly blamed “foreign forces” for inciting and diving Hong Kong protests.

The US administration has been vocal in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. In response, Lijian Zhao the foreign ministry spokesman on Monday urged the US to protect the lawful rights of the minority and eliminate racial discrimination.

“US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once called the violent protests in Hong Kong ‘a beautiful sight to behold.’… US politicians now can enjoy this sight from their own windows,” wrote Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of nationalist tabloid Global Times.

Zhao also threatened with “counter-attacks” on the US for reversing Hong Kong’s special custom status.

This house of cards will come toppling down very soon

The stock market enters June on a higher trend despite multiple challenges ahead. S&P 500 rallied over 36% off its March 23 low despite a global pandemic, political and civil unrest, and economic and earnings downturn. Art Hogan of National Securities noted,

“At the levels we’re at, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the market take a pause and pull back.”

“We can say we’re slowly reopening and there’s going to be economic activity but it’s hard to defend valuations with so much unrest that we’re seeing going on in this country this weekend.”

But others believe protest won’t materially impact markets which is historically correct. As a matter of fact, stocks have risen while riots flared up. For the riots to have a major impact, there needs to be an expectation of long-lasting riots “otherwise they are noise as far as asset prices go.” Analyst Mati Greenspan said,

“Already hearing analysts with bated breath getting excited about buying stocks now because the #GeorgeFloyd protests will unleash additional monetary stimulus from the FederalReserve.”

“This house of cards will come toppling down very soon.”

According to Goldman Sachs analysts as well, the “remarkable journey” of US stocks is likely to stop, with its year-end target at 3,000, because of “numerous medical, economic and political risks dot the investment landscape.”

What about Bitcoin?

The world’s leading digital currency is trading around $9,550, up 0.80%. May marked the “highest monthly close on BTC in over 7 months.” So far, in 2020 BTC/USD is up 30.58% and nearly 50% in Q2 of 2020.

However, the June 1 candle has opened into resistance and it needs to “confirm itself above this structure” otherwise be ready for rejection and risk distribution.

If the stock market takes a hard hit, bitcoin could also be in danger of some extent of sell-off.

Historically, however, April, May, and June have been good months for bitcoin price performance which combined with investors preferring to hold their coins, institutional investors flocking to the digital currency and Federal Reserve’s balance sheet surpassing $7.09 trillion for the week ending in May 20 works in favor of bitcoin.

In the current global backdrop of social unrest, bitcoin — a decentralized, deflationary asset that is censorship-resistant and unseizable offers a great alternative.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Classic Successfully Completes Third Hard Fork Phoenix, Earlier Than Expected

  • Ethereum Classic (ETC) completes its third successful hard fork on May 31, 2020.
  • The hard fork implements the “Ethereum Istanbul” hard fork upgrades making the two sister chains totally compatible.

Ethereum Classic completed its third successful fork of the year, named Phoenix, which introduces complete compatibility with Ethereum, including its Istanbul hard fork upgrades.

The ETC Phoenix upgrade scheduled to go live at block number #10,500,839, however, came about ten days early from the planned event date. This hard fork follows the successful updates of Atlantis and Agharta upgrades in the past year.

While the two blockchains will remain completely independent, the update increases the efficiency in collaborative use cases, tools, and future opportunities to absolute technical compatibility between ETH, ETC.

So far, a total of 326 clients or 68.4% of the total client nodes have successfully synced to the Phoenix upgrade including Corgeth, Multigeth and OpenEthereum (which has a few issues).

Despite the hard fork going live over 14 hours ago, Besu client node is yet to sync on the new update fully. Besu is used by enterprise clients, including projects like Hyperledger, which does not affect the blockchain in any way.

Parity client is currently moved to OpenEthereum after the Parity Tech devs no longer manage and maintain the client.

ETC/USD Remains Stagnant Despite Successful Fork

The price of ETC against the dollar dropped on the news of the fork coming ten days early – losing three percent in the past day. The ‘original Ethereum’ currently trades at $7.00 across major exchanges, representing a 6.2% spike in the past week.

Ethereum Classic continues its fight to supremacy after surviving a certain death during Ethereum’s fork from the chain. Recently, the leading blockchain developers on Ethereum Classic, ETC Labs, announced they would integrate Chainlink’s decentralized oracle system to improve the system.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Mempool Empties After Reaching to 95 Million Unconfirmed Transactions Post-Halving

Bitcoin price is keeping stable around $9,500 and the network is also coming back to the levels it was before the halving.

The week before last, the average bitcoin transaction fees soared to nearly $7. The fee remained below $1 except for during the times of extreme volatility in the market such as at the end of June in 2019 when BTC price jumped to $13,900 or during the peak of the 2017 bull rally.

Since its peak on May 20th, the bitcoin average transaction fee has been on a constant decline and is currently at $2.25.

The tremendous increase in bitcoin transaction fees of over 160% in May came after the halving. The historic event resulted in the hash rate declining and block finding time to surge above 14 minutes as such pushing the fees higher.

Moreover, as we reported, a mysterious entity, most probably the crypto exchange Coinbase consolidated outputs at the highest fee rates which drove up fees for everyone.

The number of transactions waiting to be confirmed also contributed to this. On the day of halving, the mempool had 935k transactions which peaked at almost 95 million on May 21st. High mempool size indicates more network traffic that results in longer than average confirmation time and higher priority fees.

But 10 days after that and we are back to normal levels, as per blockchain.com.

This backlog has been clearing for over a week now. With the next difficulty adjustment expected to be another downwards of nearly 11% later this week, it will only make finding blocks that much easier, balancing things out.

“3 weeks after the Bitcoin halving the mempool is almost empty again, 1 sat transaction confirming. No mining death spiral, even though we lost nearly 50% of the hashrate, it’s bouncing back, next difficulty adjustment down less than 10%,” said Whale Panda. “Bitcoin working like it was designed to.”

Just like fees and block time, the hash rate of the network is back above 100 Th/s, up from 83 Th/s on May 14.

Also, the rainy season in Sichuan, China, one of the hottest spots for Bitcoin mining, will push down the cost of electricity to about 0.10 RMB/kWh ($0.014 USD) which will help the hash rate to further recover.

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Author: AnTy

OMG Network Partners With Bitfinex To Add Tether (USDT) Stablecoin On The Plasma Sidechain

OMG network becomes the first sidechain ever to add USDT capability aiming to improve the scalability and reduce costs of transaction on the platform. In the official announcement released on June 1, 2020, OMG Network announced a partnership with Tether’s sister company, Bitfinex Inc., to successfully integrate of the stablecoin on OMG’s Plasma sidechain.

Tether (USDT) becomes the latest token to join the OMG Network’s, once called OmiseGo, Plasma sidechain. The partnership between OMG Network and Bitfinex, adding the stablecoin, aims at “reducing the confirmation times, making payments faster, and lowering the transaction costs” on the Ethereum network. The upgrades will not affect the security of the platform – statement says it will operate at “the same level of security as Ethereum”. CEO at OMG Network, Vansa Chatikavanij.

“Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of the OMG Network that supports thousands of transactions per second and reduces transaction costs to a third of Ethereum.”

OMG Plasma sidechain to solve scalability issues

Ethereum has seen increased gas prices over the past few weeks as reported by BEG as the network’s usage reached an all-time high in anticipation of the Ethereum 2.0 launch. ETH currently offers a capped number of transactions per second at 7-15 TPS causing lags when there is high traffic on the network. USDT is currently approaching 50% of the total transactions on Ethereum and Bitfinex is looking to let off some pressure to an Ethereum sidechain.

Addition of USDT will solve most of the issues with Ethereum – improving scalability and reducing volatility on the platform.

Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Bitfinex, supported Vansa’s statements saying the reduction of fees and scalable platform “allows traders to react faster to trading opportunities.” He further says,

“By migrating USDt value transfers to the OMG Network, we save costs, drive performance improvements, and relieve pressure on the root chain. This is good for Bitfinex, our users, and the entire Ethereum ecosystem.”

OMG Network mainnet test launches

OMG Network, a platform based on the Ethereum network also announced the launch of its mainnet test on June 1. The new blockchain iteration of its Minimal Viable Plasma design will introduce a “Tesuji Plasma architecture” and employ a “proof-of-authority” (PoA) consensus mechanism.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Hong Kong Residents Rushing to US Dollars as the US-China Cold War Intensifies

China is moving closer to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong following months of violent pro-democracy protests last year.

This has expats and anyone who can afford to flee Hong Kong and move to other countries. Amidst this, the residents of Hong Kong have been exchanging more and more of their HKD holdings into US Dollars at banks and money exchange counters.

This rush for USD is forcing many exchangers in Hong Kong to turn away hundreds of customers after they ran out of currency amidst the fears that the US could end the preferential status of the city.

Last week, President Donald Trump said the US will end its preferential treatment of Hong Kong as a customs and travel territory from the rest of China. This announcement came just days after the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from China to warrant special treatment.

China said on Monday that any attempt by the US to harm China will be met with countermeasures.

“Any words or actions by the U.S. that harm China’s interests will meet with China’s firm counterattack,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

HKD’s 36-year-old peg to the US dollar

There are also fears that the Trump administration might break the 36-year-old peg system that fixes the exchange rate of currency at 7.8 Hong Kong dollars per US dollar. HKD was first pegged to USD in 1983.

City’s finance secretary Paul Chan said on Monday that they have no plans to change its currency peg to US dollar and the Asian financial hub hasn’t seen any “obvious” capital outflows yet.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) along with local banks and investors, all can buy and sell US dollars in the open market.

Moreover, a temporary repurchase agreement was introduced by the US Federal Reserve in March that made it easier for central banks to get USD. This arrangement which is to last six months is part of the efforts to combat the economic effects triggered by COVID-19.

In April, the HKMA introduced a $10 billion liquidity facility to provide all 162 banks in the city with access to USD made available by the Fed.

US dollar is out of stock

Last week, the demand for US currency surged after Chain’s new legislation endorsed to craft a law for Hong Kong that would criminalize acts and activities of secession, subversion of state power, terrorism, and foreign interference.

In response, HK residents rushed to convert their local currency into US dollars, which they view as more stable.

Demand for currency actually increased 10 times last week. More and more customers are looking to switch large sums, “hundreds of thousands or even millions of Hong Kong dollars – at a time.”

“The US dollar is out of stock everywhere. We’ve offered every last bit of our supplies to our customers,” said Eric Wong Wai-lam, who runs Rich Bird Currency Exchange in Sham Shui Po and was forced to turn away 600 customers.

Residents are also looking for alternatives like the pound, Euro, and Australian dollar. “People will take anything you have,” he said.

City’s largest banks, HSBC also had some of the automated teller machines run out of US dollars.

Increased adoption for Bitcoin and Stablecoins

Last year, when protests surged in Hong Kong, the city turned to bitcoin, which traded at a premium. On Paxful, the demand for BTC in the city has been growing throughout 2020 which like last time could see another spike.

Now that there are uncertainties over the city’s economic future, Hong Kong residents may flock to the decentralized, censorship-resistant cryptocurrency and even to USD pegged stablecoins which have been seeing immense adoption during the recent market sell-off.

During the first quarter of 2020, as the USD became a hot commodity so did the stablecoin in the crypto market. One of the reasons for the increased adoption of USD-pegged digital currencies was the global shortage of US dollars.

Moreover, the stock and crypto market could see the effect of the US-China jitters, although for now, both are stable.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin S2F Model Prints the First “Red” Dot Marking the Start of the Bull Market

In 2020 so far, Bitcoin is up 30% while trading at $9,500, starting June with 0.76% losses.

In May, BTC went through ups and downs and made several attempts to take over the $10k level. But overall it remained in the range of $8,500 and $10,000 which continued to get tighter.

After 10.58% of losses in the first quarter of 2020, in the second quarter so far, we are up 48.56%.

As per the Relative Strength Indicator, bitcoin is currently neutral at a reading of 55, the same as market segments with the Crypto Fear and Greed Index having a reading of 50.

However, the good thing is the popular stock to flow model has printed the first red dot, indicating we are at the beginning of a bull run.

The updated S2F chart which has been expected since the third block reward halving last month points to the starting of the next 18-months bitcoin price cycle with its top at $100,000 by the end of 2021, as analyst PlanB has previously pointed out.

However, along the way, bitcoin will go though some pullbacks as occurred in the previous cycles as well.

As we reported, there are a number of factors working in favor of a new bull market. The institutional interest is growing, with Grayscale consuming more bitcoin than what is being created while supply is already entering the market at half the pace it was before halving.

Bitcoin investors are also preferring to holding than looking to sell their BTC in the near future.

No $1 million for Bitcoin

While Bitcoin is making its way to a new bull market, John McAfee, the eccentric billionaire who predicted in 2018 that bitcoin would reach $1 million by the end of 2020 or he will “eat my dick on national television”, dismissed it this weekend.

“What idiot could believe such nonsense?” said the 74-year-old about his prediction which is “the most crippled crypto-tech.”

He called out people to “wake up” on twitter adding “If Bitcoin ever hit $1 mil, it’s market cap would be greater than the GDP of the entire North American Continent.”

“Whale Fucking is a thousand times more likely to make its way onto the Olympics Stage,” than Bitcoin skyrocketing 10,426% from its current level, stated McAfee.

As a matter of fact, the first bitcoin rally from late 2012 to 2014 was 10,000%. However, the percentage of gains has been dropping after that with every bull run.

McAfee actually long maintained his $1 million prediction for bitcoin only to say in January this year that it was “a ruse to onboard new users” adding, “It’s an ancient technology. All know it.”

This time he had this to say, “Are you one of the persons who did not see the absurd humor in it?”

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Author: AnTy