Mark Cuban Compares the Ongoing Blockchain & DeFi Development to the “Early Days of the Internet”

Mark Cuban Compares the Ongoing Blockchain & DeFi Development to the “Early Days of the Internet”

Blockchain and digital goods, according to the Dallas Maverick owner, the “Money 2.0,” are the future.

Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban’s enthusiasm about the cryptocurrency market, especially the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, continues to grow, which he eagerly shares with the world.

In an interview with the Defiant podcast, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Maverick shared that he is a DeFi and Ethereum bull and that “ETH has an advantage over BTC as a store of value.”

While his general stance isn’t changed and Bitcoin can’t be used as a currency, he believes the digital currency can become powerful enough to be a store of value.

But smart contracts is what has him more excited as it allows developers to lay the foundation for “friction-free banking.” Ethereum is the blockchain where this is all happening, and that makes ETH far more of a store of value than BTC, as per Cuban. This is why he is buying more ETH on pullbacks and not Bitcoin.

This makes sense given that Ether is outperforming Bitcoin in 2020 with 150% gains YTD compared to Bitcoin 62%. Eth also outperformed Bitcoin last year and during the 2017 bull run.

In a separate interview with Real Vision founder and CEO, Raoul Pal, Cuban talked about blockchain technology, which, if you don’t understand, “is going to smack you down and make you bleed,” he said.

“What we’re seeing right now with this communal effort, and the foundation of blockchain-type applications that people stuck at home can use to try to make money … just changed the game 180 degrees.”

To him, the development going on in the space reminds him of the “early days of the internet,” which is brand new, and “no one really knows what it’s going to be.”

That’s why the high fees on Ethereum and DeFi make sense as the billionaire points out how it was about two decades into the internet that bandwidth became available and cheap enough to make streaming possible, and “we’re only 10, 12 years into crypto after starting with bitcoin,” he said.

According to him, the evolution of blockchain and digital goods is the future, which, as we have seen Cuban himself partake in by selling several NFTs. He said,

“Now this is America 2.0. This is money 2.0. And I don’t mean currency money, I mean being able to earn money via digital has all changed. The only thing we don’t know is who are the Amazons and who are the Pets.coms.”

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Author: AnTy

Blockchain Payment Firm, Wyre, Gets A $5M Investment From Stellar Development Foundation

Blockchain Payment Firm, Wyre, Gets A $5M Investment From Stellar Development Foundation

In a press statement shared with BitcoinExchangeGuide, the foundation stated that it is investing $5 million worth of Enterprise Funds that will help introduce various payment application programming interfaces, commonly known as APIs, which can integrate with different apps within the Stellar ecosystem.

The foundation also explained that on/off ramps for Stellar USDC will also be rolled on for the existing fiat pairs consisting of USD, GBP, CAD, AUS, and EUR.

Founded in 2013, Wyre has executed transfers of more than $5 billion and provides advanced services to both businesses and individuals such as crypto to fiat ramps, crypto wallet infrastructure, savings account, and foreign exchange others.

The foundation stated that the addition of Wyre to the Stellar network would help create crucial payment infrastructure and allow for relationships that will connect to the international financial system.

“Growing the network of Stellar anchors— stablecoin issuers and on/off ramps — is fundamental to how Stellar connects global financial systems with blockchain technology. Bringing Wyre’s industry-leading payment APIs to the Stellar ecosystem will empower businesses, especially anchors, to expand existing payment corridors and develop new ones.”

Denelle Dixon Stellar Development Foundation CEO

Dixon is also set to become a member of Wyre’s board of directors to represent Stellar Foundation.

With Stellar USDC set to go live in Q1, Wyre will help in different ways. Wyre is set to offer a compliant and safe way for apps within the Stellar ecosystem to use the dollar-pegged stablecoin without the developers’ need to create additional tools, the statement elaborated.

Stellar’s Enterprise Fund was launched last year, and Wyre’s investment is the first one for this year. Cumulatively the fund has pumped more than $14 million in different companies and projects so far, including Abra, Settle Network, SatoshiPay, and DSTOQ.

Stellar Foundation’s chief operating officer, Jason Chilpala, explained that the Enterprise Fund was started to offer support to businesses with goals in tandem with Stellar’s, such as enabling cheap and reliable cross-border payments.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Stellar Invests $3 Million in Digital Assets Settlement Network Across LATAM

Stellar Development Foundation is investing up to $3 million, paid in Lumens (XLM), in digital assets settlement network across LATAM, Settle Network.

This investment will help boost the payment tools of Settle Network that are focused around stablecoins, including fiat-to-crypto onramps, stablecoin issuance, and payment processing.

As we reported, the team of Stellar is currently working on making XLM useful globally. Denelle Dixon, the CEO and Executive Director of SDF, said,

“Settle Network is delivering on the vision and mission of Stellar, putting blockchain technology and access to finance into the hands of people that need it.”

Founded in 2018, Settle Network is a Stellar-based platform that provides digital asset settlement across LATAM and users of Argentine Peso and Brazilian Reais stablecoins.

Stablecoins have been one of the main themes in 2020, with their supply exploding. Stellar is now ready to take the help of stablecoins for “international remittances and cross-border payments.”

Besides Settle Network, SDFs Enterprise Fund has also invested in Abra, SatoshiPay, and DSTOQ. Jason Chlipala, Chief Operating Office of SDF, said,

“We created the Enterprise Fund to support inspiring businesses like Settle Network that demonstrate the value of Stellar, bring value to the Stellar ecosystem, and represent our mission.”

“We are proud of the impact this fund has made in its first year and look forward to furthering its reach in 2021.”

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Author: AnTy

ConsenSys Acquires Truffle Suite; The ‘Most Widely Used’ Development Toolkit On Ethereum

Ethereum’s leading development and investment firm, ConsenSys, has acquired Truffle Suite’s dev team and technology. Truffle Suite is a platform hosting Ethereum development tools, a development environment, testing framework, and asset pipeline, allowing developers to build dApps on the second-largest blockchain network easily.

The acquisition follows a one-and-half year-long layoff in any partnership between the two companies. As one of the first companies to be incubated by ConsenSys since 2015 as a developer tool kit, Truffle spans out of the firm in 2019 and has since raised over $3 million in equity funding. The terms of the contract of their reunion were not disclosed in the report. ConsenSys Founder, Joe Lubin said,

“The Truffle Suite is essential for developers to get started on Ethereum and Web3, and is invaluable for increasing adoption of Mainnet applications and enterprise blockchain solutions alike.”

Truffle is currently used by over 1.3 million developers worldwide, enhancing Solidity development into an elegant, productive, and safe product for users. According to the report, the acquisition “concludes ConsenSys strategic restructuring of the company”. The report further stated the restructuring would “form two separate entities and delineate our core technology business from our investment activities, which we started in February 2020″.

“Truffle will now be a wholly-owned product of ConsenSys the software company, which includes Codefi, Diligence, MetaMask, Infura, and Quorum.”

Tim Coulter, Founder of Truffle, labeled Truffle Suite’s acquisition by ConsenSys “a natural fit” for the products stack. He further said,

“We look forward to delivering enterprise-grade solutions that enable developers to build and deploy blockchain systems using Ethereum and across multiple blockchains.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Blockstream Reveals MuSig2; An Easy & Privacy-Focused 2-Round Schnorr Multisignature Scheme

As the Bitcoin Taproot upgrade approaches, a multi-signature solution is in development by Blockstream engineers, according to a medium blog post on Nov 4. Two engineers, Tim Ruffing and Jonas Nick said that they have already published a blueprint for MuSig2, an advanced version of the MuSig multi-signature scheme built to facilitate collective ownership of some Bitcoin and the creation of a single authorization signature.

Notably, Blockstream had debuted MuSig1 back in 2018 but is now seeking to solve communication shortcomings in the MuSig scheme’s initial version. MuSig1 brought in a privacy aspect that previously did not exist in the CHECKMULTISIG code; this version also reduced the transaction fees. However, this particular version had implemented multiple backs and forth signing process; something that Musig2 is designed to solve.

MuSig2 Non-Interactivity Signature

As highlighted, this MuSig scheme version introduces a less interactive signing process; to be precise, only two communication rounds are required. The initiative, which is currently undergoing a peer review, is set for presentation at the Real World Crypto Conference scheduled for next year. Per the blog, MuSig2 leverages a non-interactive signing approach to enhance the utility in MuSig1. It reads,

“As the name suggests, MuSig2 is intended to be the successor of MuSig1.

It offers the same functionality and security as MuSig1 but makes it possible to eliminate almost all interaction between signers.”

Basically, MuSig2 combines the best of MuSig1 and CHECKMULTISIG functionalities to provide an ecosystem with both privacy and efficient communication. With the Taproot integration around the corner, Blockstream is set to update the Schnorr signature code library by replacing MuSig1 with MuSig2. The blog also hinted that they might test MuSig2 on Taproot code earlier, in preparation for deployment on the Bitcoin Mainnet.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

China’s Crackdown on Crypto Rears its Head as BTC Gets “Over-Extended” & PBoC Focuses on DCEP

As China accelerates its digital yuan development, it is taking steps to tighten its control on the cryptocurrency market.

In 2017, during the bull market, the reports came of China banning virtual currencies on domestic cryptocurrency exchanges but permit over-the-counter transactions.

Now, as BTC enjoys a bullish market structure, currently around $13,750, China is further taking more steps towards regulating the market.

Last month, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges of the country, OKEx’s founder, was arrested, which resulted in the platform suspending any withdrawals which are yet to resume.

The platform, however, maintains that the founder has been assisting in a separate investigation.

According to the latest local reports, another exchange, the biggest one this time, Huobi is facing a similar issue; its COO Zhu Jiawei being under police investigation. They have reportedly been planning in advance after the OKEx incident and are not expected to halt withdrawals.

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The exchange Huobi Global took to Twitter to deny the “rumors” of the arrest of a senior executive by local officials and that they are, in fact, “Operating Normally.”

Amidst this, as we reported, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong is planning to propose a new licensing regime under which retail investors are banned from trading virtual currencies.

Additionally, all the crypto platforms operating in the city and overseas ones targeting local investors, are required to obtain a license to protect investors and combat money laundering.

There are also reports that buying and selling crypto may violate foreign exchange control and anti-money laundering laws. Those making profits from their crypto investments failing to pay income tax could also be suspected of tax evasions.

“The timing of the Chinese OTC and exchange crackdowns is no coincidence. The PRC government is sending a strong message about its stance on cryptocurrencies other than the DCEP,” said an executive at the crypto fund The Spartan Group.

However, China’s stance on crypto isn’t anything new, “It just rears its head every now and then,” he said, adding: “BTC was getting over-extended from a short term technical standpoint anyway so this event likely triggers some profit-taking.”

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Author: AnTy

IOTA Tangle Tech Project Funded by Japanese Govt, to Build DLT-based Maintenance Solutions

Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a national research and development organization under the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industries in Japan, announced a strategic partnership with IOTA Foundation to create risk-based maintenance (RMB) systems across industries using artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs).

In a press release shared with BEG, IOTA Foundation will team up with Best Materia, IMC, High-Pressure Institute of Japan, The Society of Chemical Engineers Japan, OMC, Lloyd’s Register, and Yokohama National University in the project. The project aims to provide solutions in the 170 Trillion Yen ($1.5 Trillion) domestic social infrastructure conservation market to build durable and secure infrastructure across industries worldwide.

The AI-driven RMB systems built by IOTA Foundation will be integrated across various industries in Japan to target more countries in the future. The project will assess the damages and risks involved in maintenance – using past maintenance data to predict which parts in industries, factories, and plants need maintenance.

As a software solution (SaaS) service, the RBM solutions will provide a decentralized data service built on IOTA Tangle, a distributed artificial intelligence system, and digitization and sharing infrastructure for data.

As Japan struggles to solve its aging problem across the country, the launch of AI-powered solutions will be vital in replacing current RBM specialists who manually carry out the maintenance schedule. Shigemitsu Kihara, CEO at Best Materia, hopes the integration of IOTA Tangle protocol will enable secure collection and storing of RBM related data, “which is the key to the AI system’s accuracy,” he said.

With blockchain-based RBM systems in place, plants and industries will benefit significantly in mitigating risks from the machines’ maintenance, etc. This will further reduce “unplanned outages, improve plant availability and lower costs” by reducing the manual influence and unnecessary repairs.

According to the release, over 30,000 industries require AI-powered RBM systems in Japan alone. The cost to integrate the project is estimated at 30-50 million Japanese Yen each – totaling 900 billion Yen (~$7.9 billion) to 1.5 Trillion Yen (~$13.2 billion).

In an email sent to BEG’s desks, Holger Köther, Director of Partnerships at IOTA Foundation, praises the open-source and distributed risk-based maintenance system. Holger hopes the IOTA Tangle platform will enhance data collection on the project and further stating,

“Digitalizing the risk-based maintenance (RBM) systems for safer and more efficient industrial plants is only one of many applications where IOTA will be used in the future.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

DeFi Growth & Stablecoin Surge Most Bullish Crypto Development: State of Crypto 2020 Survey

39% of the respondents that involve 150 portfolio companies see DeFi as the most bullish crypto development of 2020, as per the DCG Founders survey “State of Crypto 2020.”

The sector has seen immense growth in 2020 and continues to hit new highs; just today, a new record was set of $12.5 billion TVL.

The founders surveyed said notwithstanding the price of DeFi tokens, which have been tanking hard until very recently, “the protocol development and business growth of 2020 bodes well for the industry’s future.”

What has been the most bullish crypto industry development this year?
DCG Survey: What has been the most bullish crypto industry development this year?

DeFi is followed by “BTC resilience” and “Stablecoin surge,” which makes sense given that the market cap of fiat-backed crypto has shot up past $12 billion this year.

​“The growing demand for stablecoins in Latin America, and Argentina specifically, is due to the fact that buying dollars as a form of savings is a regular monthly habit for middle-class Argentinians, due to cyclical devaluations and loss of trust and credibility in the Argentinian peso,” said Sebastian Serrano, CEO of Ripio, an Argentinian digital asset exchange, and payments company.

​Still, respondents were split on whether Ethereum, which is the center of it, will remain the dominant transaction-based blockchain. 51% still believe the second largest network will find scalability faster than new blockchains develop a community.

Adoption Drivers & Greatest Risks

What macro development will have the greatest impact on digital currency adoption?
DCG Survey: What macro development will have the greatest impact on digital currency adoption?

Other findings of the survey revealed “global recession” (24%), “inflation” (19%), and “hunt for yield” (18%) as the main macro crypto adoption drivers. However, the smart money adoption won’t be bringing new highs for BTC price in the next 6-12 months as per the majority.

Only 20% think during this period, BTC will surpass $20,000.

Where do you think the BTC price will be in 6-12 months?
DCG Survey: Where do you think the BTC price will be in 6-12 months?

Meanwhile, nearly six in ten respondents expect industry consolidation, resulting from big players buying smaller ones to limit competition to accelerate, particularly in the exchange and wallets & custody spaces.

However, the industry’s greatest risk remains the same; compliance and regulation as per 51% of the respondents.

“It’s really important that we start to see some consistency and coordination across regions,” said Simone Maini, CEO of Elliptic, a blockchain forensics, and analysis company, “there are still plenty of opportunities for regulatory arbitrage at the moment, where businesses are trying to operate in jurisdictions with looser regulations.”

Other factors that impede sustainable growth involve theft/hacks/scams (22%), investment crunch (12%), and technical obstacles (8%).

Overall, in 2020, four in five rated their company’s performance against expectations as “outperformed” or “neutral” while having COVID/remote work, third party delays, and fundraising as the main business challenge.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Classic & IOHK Team Up to Find Solutions to Prevent 51% Attacks On The Blockchain

  • The Ethereum Classic Cooperative development team partners with Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) to counter the numerous 51% attacks on the Ethereum Classic (ETC) blockchain.

An announcement from the ETC lead development team, ETC Coop, the company has collaborated with IOHK “to provide Ethereum Classic stakeholders and the broader community with the knowledge and understanding of how to resist issues” these 51% hack attempts.

Since the start of 2020, the Ethereum Classic blockchain has faced three 51% attacks in successive weeks, leading to a loss of users’ funds from network disruptions and double-spending. In total, from 2019, ETC has faced four 51% attack attempts, leading to the community setting up upgraded Ethereum Classic Improvement Proposals (ECIPs) in the near past.

Some of the recent changes to prevent 51% attacks include defensive mining and implementing the ‘Permapoint’ finality arbitration system to curb chain reorganizations. Now the IOHK, ETC Coop teams have released a report highlighting six possible solutions to the risk of 51% attacks.

The solutions include the ECIP 1100, or Modified Exponential Subjective Scoring (MESS) proposal close to implementation. This aims to implement Vitalik Buterin’s idea of making chain reorganizations harder and more expensive. However, the two teams are not fully convinced that MESS will solve its problems, and further 51% attacks could still occur.

The teams have released five more solutions to 51% of attacks, including proven methods such as Checkpointing and Timestamping, and other unproven methods such as Rootstock (RSK) sidechain, PirlGuard, and Veriblock.

Checkpointing aims at making mined blocks irreversible on the blockchain by establishing checkpoints. On the other hand, Timestamping will leverage the security of Bitcoin to creating a new timestamp on every block and recording it as a transaction on Bitcoin (BTC).

Implementing the RSK proposal will also require developers to timestamp ETC block data such as block height and hash on the Bitcoin network but connect it to sidechains. The blockchain will need to be connected to the Rootstock network, own RBTC, and participate in auctions on UMM times every day.

PirlGuard aims at making 51% of attacks more expensive for the attacker to stop them. However, there remain concerns that a good enough incentive could lead to a future attack.

Despite the changes, the ETC Coop team is working on longer-term solutions to avoid the increasing attacks on the platform to build a sustainable network.

“But let’s also ensure we remember the longer-term goal – the health and sustainable success of Ethereum Classic.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Coinbase to Sponsor Bitcoin Developers to Help the Grow & Maintain the BTC Protocol

“Excited to be supporting more Bitcoin protocol development. This is a great start, but hopefully, we can expand this program over time,” said Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong as the exchange announced that it is sponsoring Bitcoin developers who contribute directly to the Bitcoin Core codebase or closely associated Bitcoin projects.

Coinbase has already begun its search for at least two Bitcoin development grant recipients from anywhere in the world.

“Bitcoin launched without a fundraise, while bootstrapping an entire industry, and the open-source community has provided critical support for Bitcoin development.

Our goal is to similarly support developers who are committed to growing and maintaining the Bitcoin ecosystem.”

This is yet another step from Coinbase to grow the crypto-economy, which is essential to building the open financial system.

The Crypto Community Fund aims to improve the entire crypto industry. Although it started with the leading digital currency, the company intends to expand the program to other projects if successful.

Interested people can start applying for the grant, which will be shortlisted by current Bitcoin Core developers and community members, with Coinbase making the final decision.

While the focus is on one-year-long developer grants, shorter projects are also encouraged.

Coinbase is looking to support the likes of those projects that contribute directly to Bitcoin core, Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) review, contributor tooling, Bitcoin Core libraries, and tools, or improvement to testing.

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Author: AnTy