Ontology Integrates Chainlink’s Decentralized Oracles To Boost DApp Development

Ontology blockchain is the latest project to integrate Chainlink’s decentralized oracles to create a credible data management system.

According to a release post on Medium Ontology blockchain, which allows cross-chain transactions, launched its integration with Chainlink. The integration is expected to enable the ONT to developers to leverage off-chain data on their decentralized applications (dApps) in real-time.

The integration with Ontology is expected to create a new data management base for the platform by integrating the “ONT ID, Ontology’s digital identity framework, and the ONTO wallet” into the dApps. To make the integration compatible, the Ontology dev team had to switch the Chainlink smart contract to its native code, Python programming language.

Blockchain is usually independent, working on data on the chain at a specific time. Hence the need for off-chain ramps such as Chainlink. The co-founder of Ontology, Andy Ji, believes the integration of Chainlink is set to enhance the scalability and robustness of its platform. He further said,

“Ontology’s high-efficiency and low transaction fees, combined with Chainlink’s adept ability to provide secure and reliable oracles consistently is a potent combination that will drive mutually beneficial outcomes for our respective platforms and communities.”

A Tried and Tested Platform.

Ji believes Chainlink is the best oracle option for the platform, given the large and warm reception it has received from some prominent industry figures and companies.

“Chainlink has demonstrated a stellar track record in providing bespoke oracle solutions to leading global enterprises including Google, Oracle, and SWIFT,” Ji said. “This experience underlines Chainlink’s credentials as the undisputed, market-leading decentralized oracle network.”

In the future, Ontology hopes to build multiple Chainlink oracles on its HydraDAo in a bid to “enable stronger data accuracy within smart contracts, cross-chain interactions, and cross-data source collaboration.”

This is not the first partnership between Ontology and Chainlink. In November 2019, Ontology developers started the process of adding simple decentralized data oracle from Chainlink onto its platform.

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Author: Cody L

Microsoft’s Blockchain-Based Identity System, ION, Launches Amidst Data Privacy Concerns

Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), a non-profit organization aiming at building a digital identity ecosystem, announced the launch of the beta version of Microsoft’s Identity Overlay Network, a Bitcoin-based identity platform.

At the mainnet launch, Microsoft’s ION will enable over 1.1 billion people who lack a legal ID to acquire one and also help in identifying and contact tracing COVID-19 patients.

The accelerating progress in government partnerships to develop decentralized digital ID systems, however, is facing resistance from several experts who believe it may lead to privacy concerns, hacks, and breaches of personal information.

Microsoft’s ION Partnership With Casa Wallet

The spread of COVID-19 has seen multiple digital identity and contact tracing apps come up in a bid to curb the spread of the pandemic. Microsoft’s ION will partner with Casa, a startup known for its Casa HODL Bitcoin wallet, to improve the “authentication, privacy and security” of users’ digital identities on the platform. ION’s project lead, David Buchner said:

“We are thrilled to have Casa collaborating on ION with us, which showcases the potential of building real-world applications that leverage the strong foundation Bitcoin provides.”

The ION project employs a tagging system, whereby instead of including all the data on a specific transaction on the platform, the info is given a reference number. The number is then added to the ledger, and is easy to retrieve the transaction at any time from the ION nodes.

Several other initiatives, including ConsenSys, backed the project, Uport, form the DIF, and this will allow the interoperability of the systems across the DIF platform. DIF leader Rouven Heck said:

“Everybody wants to move fast and has a high interest in demonstrating this technology can be very powerful.”

The miners on the BTC network validate and verify the reference numbers for a small fee.

A Race to Form Partnerships With Governments

Competition across the blockchain digital identity industry is spiking as governments continue to show interest in citizens’ medical and financial records. The targeted blockchain contact tracing on COVID-19 platforms has seen adoption by several governments and corporations.

In compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) credentials, over sixty corporations around the world formed the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI) to develop digital identity passports. Late last year, eleven South Korean startups announced plans to launch the blockchain-based digital identification service within the government’s regulatory sandbox.

However, some analysts remain skeptical of the actual safety and security of the personal data collected on these platforms.

‘Data Collected is Extremely Hard to Protect.’

On the subject of contact tracing and data collection by these decentralized identifiers, Blockchain Commons founder Christopher Allen said the project would have a hard time upholding user privacy as the data such as the location of the patient is “incredibly hard to protect.”

Microsoft and IBM, who have been at the forefront of funding and developing digital identifiers, have faced much criticism, Harry Halpin, CEO of privacy-tech startup Nym, the latest industry player branding these systems “feel-good rhetoric.” Harry sarcastically said:

“Governments need to establish identities of who owns these keys, so they say, ‘OK, we’ll have an open standard, call it decentralized, and make it mandatory.’”

As the digital id systems grow, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released guidance for government regulation on financial institutions that use these systems.

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Author: Lujan Odera

LocalBitcoins Show Strong Transaction Volume Despite The Recent Regulatory Clampdowns

Bitcoin peer-to-peer decentralized marketplace, LocalBitcoins, has continued to maintain steady volumes despite the change in policies around the world that now require the user to complete a KYC procedure and even banned cash transactions.

The policy change was undertaken in accordance with new European anti-money laundering directives. In fact, the policy change was made in June 2019 and people thought it would really hamper the business and customer inflow.

However, the data suggest that policy changes didn’t really have any negative impact on the peer-to-peer exchange’s volume. In fact, the trading volume on the platform is well on-par with centralized exchanges such as OKEx and Coinbase, as per a data set from Nomics.

The data set revealed that in the past 12 months, OKEx and Coinbase have seen a volume drop of 30% and 45% respectively, while LocalBitcoins in the same time frame saw a decline of 27% which is less than both the prominent exchanges.

One of the spokespeople from the peer-to-peer exchange revealed that cash transactions on the platform were minimal and constituted only 0.5% of the total volume on the exchange. Thus removing the cash transaction option did not really have any long-lasting impact.

LocalBitcoins was created back in 2012 as a peer-to-peer exchange where anyone can buy/sell their bitcoins without the need to create an identity-based account, The main motive was to avail banking and financial services to the underprivileged who cannot get access to banks.

Developing Nations With Financial Troubles Contribute Largest to the Volumes

LocalBitcoins registered elevated transaction volumes from developing nations that are facing financial troubles due to various reasons. For example, transaction volumes recorded from Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela have risen by 51%, 46%, and 125% respectively in the past couple of months.

Thus, it is quite clear from these statistics that LocalBitcoins volume hasn’t degraded after the policy change which many believe would bring the platform’s doom. In fact, since the policy change, the exchange has managed to keep its trading volume in-line with mainstream centralized crypto exchanges These statistics also prove that people do not really care about privacy for as long as they get to trade bitcoin.

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Author: Silvia A

DiversiFi, Formerly Ethfinex, Launches Its DEX 2.0 With Starkware; Processing 9,000 + TPS

  • Bitfinex sister decentralized exchange, DEX in short, DiversiFi, which relabeled from Ethfinex in August last year, announced a relaunch of their platform, now DiversiFi 2.0, on June 3rd, 2020.
  • The new platform will introduce Starkware’s zkSTARK layer 2 scaling solution, which will improve the privacy and reduce latency on the exchange.

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According to an official publication, DiversiFi 2.0 DEX will be able to process over 9,000 transactions per second by employing a ‘batching mechanism. The DiversiFi DEX is a non-custodial trading platform that targets high-frequency traders and the latest integration will allow the users to capitalize on arbitrage and real-time orders – a problem on centralized crypto exchanges.

The new launched platform will be powered by zero knowledge proof batch validation relying on zkSNARKS and ZK Rollups scalable solutions. The Starkware scaling solution will batch the trade transactions in large batches and securing each batch with a ZK verification signature.

Given that these transaction will be done off-chain, the transaction details only consume a small part of the Ethereum blockchain reducing the overall cost in transaction fees.

New solutions through Starkware’s integration

In a statement released following the re-launch of DiversiFi 2.0 with Starkware integration, the CEO of the company, Will Harborne, said the new platform will offer solutions to current scalability solutions. Deep liquidity, the instant transfer of trades between peers and withdrawal certainty through a partnership with BitFinex and ConsenSys are key on DiversiFi 2.0’s development agenda. Harbone said,

“The solutions born out [Starkware integration’s] will address the key issue of scalability – but without the usual traditional sacrifices of liquidity, speed, settlement and fees.”

Always certain to withdraw your funds

DiversiFi also formed the Data Availability Committee, DAC in short, who will maintain the copies of users account balances in case the DEX fails or faces a blackout. The DAC committee includes its sister company, BitFinex, Nethermind, StarkWare, and ConsenSys.

Furthermore, copies of the account balances allows easier distribution of users fund and maintains the withdrawal operations on the DEX when there is a failure in the system.

The platform records a second by second timer list showing users withdrawals and what time they will complete keeping arbitrage traders in a real time loop.

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Author: Lujan Odera

AVA Labs Integrates Chainlink’s Decentralized Oracles to Improve DeFi Dapps Development

AVA blockchain, becomes the latest platform to add Chainlink, a decentralized oracle system to its platform. The integration of Chainlink to the Dapp blockchain platform will reduce the development time and allow the creation of new products on the platform such as crypto derivatives, calculation of strike prices and triggering liquidations.

In an official report released on Medium AVA Labs, the development team behind AVA blockchain, will integrate Chainlink’s decentralized oracle system on the blockchain. AVA is a platform that enables developers to create decentralized financial applications on the blockchain.

Chainlink’s multiple sources of data oracles will prevent single point of failure (SPOF) attacks in price data retrieval. Moreover, it reduces the overall development time needed on the DApps, as well as allowing tokenized traditional assets & derivative instruments and expanding the toolkit available to devs. In an official statement to BEG, Emin Gün Sirer, CEO and Co-founder of AVA Labs, said,

“A core design principle for us is to make it dead simple for developers to build without limits on the AVA network, and that means integrating with best-in-class tech that is secure, reliable, and trusted. Any decentralized finance application on Ethereum that uses those tools and Chainlink data will soon be able to dramatically increase the velocity and volume of transactions, while also providing a far superior user experience.”

Chainlink has gained quite a repertoire over the last few months with multiple open finance platforms, exchanges and even other price oracles integrating the system. Several smart contract developers lead the security of the oracle systems on ‘Sybil-resistant’ node operators that source data from premium and trusted data centers. The increased demand in Chainlink has seen the overall number of nodes increase and the fees spiking by 1% as consumption of gas increased in the past month.

Speaking on the latest integration, Sergey Nazarov, Co-founder of Chainlink, showed his excitement in partnering with AVA. He further said,

“Due to the scalability of AVA’s subnets, developers can expect to have large amounts of data available to them for the creation of various DeFi Dapps.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Digitex Futures Exchange Becomes First Centralized Platform To Integrate Chainlink’s Price Oracles

  • Bitcoin (BTC) futures exchange, Digitex, announces its planned integration of Chainlink’s decentralized oracle system on its centralized exchange.
  • The integration of Chainlink becomes the first-ever integration of its kind on a centralized crypto futures exchange.

In an official press release on Monday, May 25, 2020, Seychelles-based Bitcoin futures exchange, Digitex, announced the integration of Chainlink’s decentralized price reference oracles in a bid to improve and support its internal index to prevent slippage on the platform. Chainlink’s integration on the futures exchange makes it the first centralized exchange to harness the power of the decentralized oracles.

Open finance platforms are the main users for the decentralized oracle system using Chainlink to match prices, recently SmartPy, a blockchain firm, announced the integration of the platform on Tezos. The tamperproof and reliable Chainlink price oracles will offer a back up to the Digitex crypto index in case the prices are too volatile from the average global price.

The price oracles will first be integrated into the BTC perpetual futures against the dollar (BTCperp/USD) and add more pairs’ price feeds in the future. Speaking on the Chainlink’s integration, Digitex CEO, Adam Todd said,

“Chainlink provides Digitex with highly reliable and transparent price feeds that protect our users against the negative outcomes of abnormal market conditions or internal complications.

Using Chainlink price data enables us to deliver stronger security and performance guarantees to our users, furthering our vision to revolutionize futures trading.”

Chainlink is a blockchain-based data oracle that allows users smart contracts to securely and transparently connect to off-chain data in real-time. Recently, the internet giant, Kakao blockchain project, Klaytn, announced the integration of the decentralized oracle to sync their smart contracts with external API’s and payment systems. They also launched Verifiable Random Function (VRF) earlier in May.

Chainlink’s LINK token currently trades at $3.88, representing a slight percentage gain over the past 24 hours.

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Author: Lujan Odera

EOS-Based DeFi, Equilibrium, Adds Binance, Eosfinex to EOSDT Stablecoin Governance Council

  • Binance and Eosfinex, Bitfinex’s decentralized exchange, are some of the big names in crypto to join Equilibrium’s EOSDT stable coin governance committee.

According to official reports, the two companies joined the council alongside independent block producers, EOS Nation and EOS Cannon, to provide oversight over approval of contracts and amendments made on smart contracts on the EOSDT stablecoin blockchain.

Equilibrium is an EOS based open finance platform that offers similar capabilities to Maker platform with EOSDT similar to the DAI stablecoin. With the new governance team in place, Alex Melikhov, CEO of Equilibrium, said this will allow the network to fully utilize the features on EOS in his statement,

“One of the main advantages of EOS lies in updatable smart contract code. In other words you can migrate to new versions of your application seamlessly without hard stop of the whole system.”

Binance involvement in the governance of the Equilibrium chain will see the exchange oversee every smart contract on the platform, granting access to upgrades or rejecting them. However, the governance council regulations require at least two parties to give their consent before the smart contract is implemented.

“You can also consider it as establishing a four-eyed principle for Equilibrium’s EOSDT.”

The decision to add the new members was voted by the existing council members not only Equilibrium, Alex said. This is to ensure the best and most reliable participants in governance are chosen for the slots. Such decisions are uncommon on Ethereum DeFi platforms whereby the founders hold the admin keys of the protocol giving them absolute power over the system.

Equilibriums governance council, while not fully trustless, offers the blockchain “decentralization by creating a proof-of-authority framework which consists of trusted counterparts that are independent according to their background.” Alex further said,

“Instead of a single owner who can potentially do whatever they want there is a group of reputable and known ecosystem participants who bid their reputation on the integrity/relevance of these updates.”

While the verdict remains unknown on why Binance joined the governance council, the possibility of BNB being added as a backing asset to the EOSDT stablecoin has improved. According to one spokesperson from the largest crypto exchange, top management is looking forward to BNB getting added as collateral on the Equilibrium DeFi platform.

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Author: Lujan Odera

UMA Project Launches Synthetic Token ETHBTC Which Tracks Relative Value of ETH to BTC

UMA Protocol, a decentralized finance (DeFi) project, has approved an innovative contract to create a synthetic token called ETHBTC which would track the relative value of Ether concerning BTC.

This synthetic token would allow users to bet on the relative value of the second largest token concerning Bitcoin. However, the synthetic ETHBTC token would not involve either ETH or BTC for minting.

While introducing Bitcoin’s synthetic value (tBTC being the latest project) on the Ethereum network as a collateralized asset has been the trend in 2020, the idea of creating a synthetic token that is pegged against the value of bitcoin and Ether is one of a kind.

This synthetic token would be the first deployment of the UMA project, and they are calling it a priceless token model since it will be built from scratch without the need for any oracle.

Hart Lambu, the co-founder of UMA, commented on the reason behind going for an unconventional defi project model despite it being their first deployment, to which he responded:

“ETHBTC was selected as the first test for UMA’s priceless synthetic design because it’s DeFi-centric but not too serious.

This first token is still experimental, so it felt wise to choose a product that appeals to hardcore DeFi natives – the type of people that might want to bet on this rate, and who best understand the risks of ‘new’ things.”

The UMA team has, however, cautioned users who were enthusiastic about buying tokens to be careful. According to them, not only is the token quite new, but even the concept behind it hasn’t been widely tested, and thus users must proceed with great caution.

How ETHBTC Works?

In order to mint ETHBTC, a user needs to deposit DAI in a smart contract, allowing them to withdraw ETHBTC against it. The user can then either trade it in the open market like any other Ethereum based token until the contract expires or increase the liquidity of the ETHBTC pool.

When the contract expires, the collateralized DAI is split between holders and stakers, and if the relative value of the ETH against BTC is higher, the token holder receives a profit and if the value has declined the token staker receives a profit. This means ETHBTC holders would go long while the stakers go short on the synthetic token.

The other interesting aspect of this priceless synthetic token is that it doesn’t require any oracle to track the price, unlike many other token systems (see chainlink’s decentralized price oracles). Primarily because there is no on-chain activity required to keep this model flowing, and Lambur believes this could be a perfect way to scale the DeFi platform.

In case of any dispute, the involved parties can settle the issue through a vote, and the decision-makers who vote for the winning side would receive the same UMA tokens.

Lambur also explained that the voting would be unbiased since the UMA’s economy has been designed in a way that people buying tokens to gain an advantage in the voting process would remain unprofitable. As of now, the ETHBTC can be purchased on Uniswap, which just launched v2.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

3 BTC Mining Pools Accounts for 53% of Hash Rate, Bitmain Controls 2; Is Decentralization at Risk?

Bitcoin may not be as decentralized as it is normally touted. According to stats from BTC.com, two Chinese companies control over 52% of Bitcoin’s hashrate.

This, combined with reduced rewards from the May 2020 halving, begs the question of whether the leading digital asset is fully decentralized.

The data highlights that three mining pools dominate the BTC network in the following order; F2Pool (22.7%), BTC.com (14.7%) and Antpool (13.8%). Notably, both BTC.com and Antpool are run by Bitmain which means that this Chinese rig manufacturer yields a significant amount of power within Bitcoin’s network.

Source; BTC.com

The Decentralization Aspect

Based on this analysis, one could argue that these three mining pools could collide, compromising the BTC network through a 51% attack. Should such a situation occur, Bitcoin’s decentralization would be at risk; a factor that might ultimately see the coin lose market confidence due to an erosion of its fundamental philosophy.

On the other hand, BTC halving is not particularly good news for small miners. The new 6.25BTC block reward could see larger players like Bitmain benefit from economies of scale as their struggling counterparts are forced out of the market.

As it stands, such a market shift would spell more dominance from the Chinese players. According to a 2019 report by Coinshares, 65% BTC’s mining power at the time was within China,

“At the time of writing, as much as 65% of Bitcoin hashpower resides within China – the highest we’ve seen since we began our network monitoring in late 2017.”

China’s Crypto and Blockchain Dominance

Despite strict regulations towards cryptocurrencies, the Chinese market has remained resilient and continues to actively contribute to the volatile space.

Just recently, the PBoC also took an initiative by piloting the country’s CBDC in four regions through Agricultural Bank of China. Should the tests be successful, China is expected to gradually integrate the digital yuan within its payment ecosystems for better oversight and to spur FinTech growth.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

The Battle of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Continues As Bitcoin Takes Over Ethereum

The amount of Ether locked in decentralized applications (DeFI) has been on a constant decline since hitting the peak at 3.2 million ETH in February.

In the past three months, the amount of ETH locked dropped almost 19% and over 7% in less than a week.

Currently, 2.6 million ETH are locked in DeFi, as per Defi Pulse, with Maker accounting for 50% of this followed by Compound and InstaDapp.

Total value locked in DeFi also fell from over $1.2 billion in February to $530 million in March, following the Black Thursday. However, unlike Ether, this amount has grown to nearly $850 million.

This growth could also be the result of the Bitcoin locked in DeFi besides rising price.

45% Jump in Locked BTC

Up until March 15, the number of BTC locked remained flat at around 1.7k from where it continued to grow only to experience a huge spike this week.

Almost 1,000 BTC were added in a single day. With a jump of almost 45%, now more than 3.2k BTC are locked in DeFi.

While this growth has been in incomplete contrast with ETH, just like Ethereum, Maker dominates here as well.

DeFi projects with the highest amount of locked bitcoin include WBTC, Lightning Network, and Compound.

This uptrend was also the result of Maker now accepting WBTC as collateral. An ERC-20 token backed with Bitcoin, WBTC makes BTC available on the Ethereum Network. An overview of WBTC transactions shows WBTC was minted on CoinList and then sent directly to the lending platform Nexo Wallet.

Most of the newly minted WBTC was used to create DAI. As such, customers at Nexo were depositing BTC to get a loan, and Nexo, in turn, took those BTC to CoinList to mint new WBTC.

These newly created WBTC were then sent to Maker, locked up as collateral and in turn, Nexo received DAI which was sent to the customer or sold for USD to send US dollars to the customer.

Good for BTC price but bad for ETH price

Elsewhere, cryptocurrency exchanges continue to have steady bitcoin withdrawals, which started right after Black Thursday.

BTC balance on exchanges is down more than 300k BTC, worth about $3 billion, since the violent sell-off on March 12. This is the lowest balance held on exchanges since May 22, 2019.

As we reported, spot exchange Bitfinex saw the biggest decline of more than 50% followed by derivatives exchange BitMEX’s 32%.

This is good for the leading digital currency as investors are choosing to keep their BTC off the exchanges in favor of holding them.

In complete contrast, Ether (ETH) balance on crypto exchanges has hit an all-time high, up 132k ETH, worth about $26 million, since the sell-off in March.

Increased balance on exchange could mean holders are looking to sell-off their ETH.

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Author: AnTy