Ethereum 2.0 Deposit Contract Almost Ready, Awaiting NCC Group Audit Approval

The Deposit Contract of Ethereum 2.0 is almost ready, according to Danny Ryan, a researcher from the Ethereum Foundation. He revealed this development when speaking on the Blankless podcast last week, noting that the deposit contract will be ready after an audited approval of its BLST crypto library. The audit currently ongoing and being undertaken by the NCC Group crypto audit firm. Ryan was keen to emphasize the criticality of this particular library,

“This library is critical to creating keys, signing messages. Critical, in early phases, [means] that if you use this library, they need to be secure; if you use it to generate your wallets, it needs to have good randomness; and if you are signing your deposits which have a signature associated, it needs to be correct.”

He speculated a release date between early and mid-Nov, slightly later than the anticipated October release. The Deposit Contract will play a fundamental role in the ETH 2.0 ecosystem; touted as the last ‘piece of the puzzle,’ it will facilitate ETH transfer between the current and expected blockchain iteration.

Almost Sunrise for ETH 2.0!

After a very long wait, it appears there is some ‘white smoke’ coming from the ETH 2.0 development team. Last week, BEG reported that the Beacon Chain launch might be a few weeks away, according to an update by Ben Edgington, a developer at ConsenSys. Going by his estimation, this launch is likely to take place in late November or December. Notably, the Beacon chain launch will mark phase 0 of the ETH 2.0 rollout in what will be followed by a series of phases 1 and 2.

The ETH 2.0 upgrade is a much-anticipated event by the whole crypto community as it will mark Ethereum’s shift from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain. This move is expected to improve Ethereum’s scalability and security to create a sustainable ecosystem. So far, a couple of testnets have been held in preparation for the Beacon chain launch, with the latest being Zinken testnet.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

PoolTogether’s ‘No Loss’ Gambling Platform Utilizes Chainlink’s VRF on Ethereum to Select Winners

Chainlink announces its verifiable random function on the Ethereum mainnet, bringing a host of benefits to the decentralized platform. PoolTogether, a gamified savings platform that allows users to gamble without losing, became the first platform to launch on Chainink’s verifiable randomness function (VRF). After two successful versions, PoolTogether launched Version 3 update on Thursday, allowing users to create their own new games implementing their own rules.

Chainlink plans to expand VRF to multiple blockchains.

Chainlink VRF is a decentralized randomness generator useful in improving lotteries, gambling, and gaming systems – both traditional and decentralized. Despite currently having full focus on implementing VRF on Ethereum mainnet-based platforms, the developers are looking forward to implementations to other blockchains.

Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov confirmed with CoinTelegraph that several projects have inquired about the randomness function – gaming-focused Matic Network being one of them. Over 10 projects have worked on the testnet versions, while others such as PoolTogether used it on the mainnet.

“And I also know that a number of the chains that we’re integrating into, interestingly enough, whether they’re gaming-focused or not, already have people lined up to use it when we’ve finalized our integration to that chain.”

According to Sergey, Chainlink VRF is switching its focus to gaming and gambling-specific blockchains as rising Ethereum fees scare away gaming dApps from the platform. He said,

“And many users for gaming have now started to move to other more gaming-specific, which is then also where we’ll have Chainlink VRF soon as well.”

PoolTogether uses Chainlink VRF on Ethereum mainnet

As mentioned before, PoolTogether is the first use case of Chainlink VRF on Ethereum mainnet. The decentralized gambling platform aims to give users a “lossless” random game. The platform uses Chainlink VRF to randomly select and reward one winner with crypto each week from a pool of savers. Well, you may wonder, how does no one lose on this gambling platform?

On the surface, PoolTogether collects Dai stablecoins in exchange from gamblers for raffle tickets and pools the tokens together. The pool then earns interest on Compound Finance, and a random raffle ticket is selected, to which the full interest from the pool is given. Everyone then gets their DAI stablecoins back.

So far, PoolTogether has distributed over $34,000 in rewards on the platform and plans to expand its platform with its third version launch. According to the team, PoolTogether V3 will allow users to create new games and pools using any asset available on the Compound Finance network, including Ether (ETH), Tether (USDT), Circle’s stablecoin, USDC, and Uniswap (UNI), among others.

The V3 also includes Chainink’s VRF system, which will replace the administrator that selects the rewards making it more decentralized and, in turn, trustless.

“So we see this as a continuing step of a long term mission. Ultimately, it’s important because building a system that doesn’t rely on any single person or entity can have a much greater impact on the world,” PoolTogether co-creator Leighton Cusack said.

According to Sergey, PoolTogether sets the pace for gaming and gambling platforms to decentralize randomness systems. While there’s still some room to fill before corporate gaming firms switch from their centralized randomness systems to decentralized systems, Sergey predicts a massive scandal could change all this.

“Once in a while in the gaming industry, you see these kinds of flashes of concern from users, you see some gaming sites somewhere front-running users from inside the gaming site, or you see a scandal with some gambling thing that’s regulated, but some employee still was playing the game, and they still were able to win against other players,” he said. “And I think whenever those happen, those bigger firms do start to seek additional solutions.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Digital Assets Beat Traditional Assets by a Wide Margin & Ethereum Outperforms Bitcoin

In 2020 to date, Bitcoin has seen a positive performance of 80% and Ethereum 217%.

With these gains, digital currencies are leading this year, with both the top digital assets outperforming traditional asset classes, that too by a wide margin.

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Source: TradeBlock

Clearly, Ether has enjoyed much higher performance than Bitcoin, just yesterday it also caught up with BTC’s latest move. ETH went to $420 and is currently trading around this level only.

The realized price of Ether, the average price for each ETH at the time it last moved on-chain, actually hit a 21-month high, at $246, a level not seen since January 2019. In the past six months, it has increased by 21%.

According to one quant trader, benign bearish on the network, which is the center of the fast-growing DeFi and stablecoin space, just doesn’t make sense.

“I get not being long ETH, but I don’t get why anyone would be short ETH against what is to me the single most important protocol upgrade and token incentives change since the beginning of Ethereum in 2014,” said Qiao Wang.

Outperforming Bitcoin

It has been because of DeFi and stablecoins crazy growth this year, which saw Ethereum beating Bitcoin not just in terms of price but also in transaction volume as it transacted two times more value than BTC daily.

“Ethereum’s progress has been so incredible that it will likely becomes the first public blockchain ever to settle $1 trillion in a year,” said Ryan Watkins, a researcher at Messari.

ETH vs BTC Daily Transactions
Source: Messari

Much of this growing activity has been because of stablecoins, especially ERC-20 USDT, with Tether alone doing more volume daily, nearly double, than Bitcoin.

When it comes to DeFi, Yield farming phenomena and decentralized exchanges (DEX) play a big part. DEXs now comprise 13.6% of total volumes from all exchanges (CEX+DEX). Uniswap and Curve did more than $20 billion in combined volume last month, resulting in a boom in on-chain liquidity on Ethereum.

However, as Ethereum becomes the “epicenter of crypto finance,” it comes at the cost of extremely high fees pricing out retail users and pushing some apps out too.

And this allows alternative platforms to gain attention and adoption. According to Messari, 5 layer 1 alternatives raised a combined $138 million over the quarter.

“The next 12 months could come to define the smart contract market as almost every high-profile Ethereum competitor will be live by year-end. And these networks are barrelling towards a head-to-head battle with Ethereum’s bevy Layer-2 scaling solutions,” said Wilson Withiam of Messari.

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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

Ethereum Exchange Reserves on a Sharp Decline While Locked ETH Continues its Uptrend

Activity on the second-largest network is thriving.

Since early this year, daily transactions on Ethereum have been growing, hitting an all-time high last month. Although it has come down some as DeFi mania cooled down, daily transactions are keeping to July-August level.

Ethereum fees have also gone back to normal levels as the DeFi rush came to an end, which in August sent average fees to $10 for the first time, bringing Ethereum’s scaling issues into glaring light.

With the upgrade coming up to keep the fees down for another potential growth spurt, it “would mean less demand for the token because people would need to buy fewer coins to do the same operations. From developers to end-users, it will largely reduce the buying pressure,” wrote analyst Mati Greenspan.

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Moreover, as per Glassnode, the popular stablecoin Tether transaction volume on Ethereum also saw a 20% spike over the past 30 days. It reached a new milestone of $600 billion.

“Tether’s important role in the digital asset ecosystem… If you were to add tether’s usage on other chains such as Tron, Omni, and Algorand, the headline figure would be higher still,” said Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and its sister company crypto exchange Bitfinex.

Out of the total supply of $16 billion, USDT’s supply on Ethereum has also exceeded $10 billion, representing nearly 65% of the Tether token supply on a blockchain.

7.6% of ETH’s Total Supply Out of the Market

Amidst this growing activity, Ether’s amount on exchange wallets has been declining ever since May, as per Crypto Quant. Ethereum exchange reserves have fallen to 11.8 million ETH from the mid-May high of 14.14 million ETH.

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This trend coincides with the ETH that hasn’t been moved in over a year, which has reached 60%.

Additionally, 8.7 million of ETH are currently locked in the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, as per DeFi Pulse.

“7.6% of ETH’s total supply is currently locked in the DeFi ecosystem. The amount of ETH locked in DeFi increased by a record high of 3.3M in September and has grown by 5.6M in 2020. That’s 2M more than the total supply of ETH has increased this year,” as per The TIE.

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The only factor lagging is Ether’s price, which is currently trading around $380, up only 188% YTD and still down 75.76% from its ATH.

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Author: AnTy

Lido to Allow ETH to be Staked on Ethereum 2.0 and Still Participate in DeFi

Ethereum 2.0 is getting ready for first big steps; in the next few weeks, it will begin its transition to proof of stake (PoS) by launching Phase 0 to allow people to stake their ETH.

But it comes with the caveat that the staked ETH will remain unlocked for months or years until transactions are enabled on ETH 2.0. It further means, these stakes ETH, which can only be in the multiple of 32 (worth about $11,850 at the time of writing), can’t be moved, traded, or used as collateral.

To allow people to secure the network through staking and participate in DeFi simultaneously, Lido is launched. Currently, in development, this project is headed by CEO Jordan Fish and CTO Vasiliy Shapovalov, with more details to come over the next few weeks.

This staking solution for Eth 2.0 is built to solve the issue of staked ETH being non-transferable and illiquid.

When using Lido to stake ETH on the Ethereum beacon chain, users will receive a token called bETH, representing ETH on the Ethereum beacon chain on a 1:1 basis.

Staking rewards earned from staked ETH will reflect the user’s ETH balance on the beacon chain, and so will the bETH balances.

“We believe that bETH will be an important base primitive in DeFi, and a foundational building block for the Ethereum money-lego stack,” reads the official announcement.

In this manner, ETH users can earn incentives through staking and simultaneously getting access to additional yield by participating in DeFi protocols.

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Author: AnTy

Stellar to Become The Third Blockchain to Support Stablecoin USDC; Rolling Out in 2021

USDC is being added to the Stellar blockchain. The stablecoin, which was launched on the Ethereum network, was later added to the Algorand blockchain.

The announcement was made on Thursday at the Stellar Development Foundation quarterly review event. The support of USDC, a stablecoin pegged on the US dollar, aims at enhancing Stellar’s position as a prominent international payments network. The support is set to take place during the second quarter of next year.

Denelle Dixon, Stellar Foundation CEO, explained that supporting USDC will help the platform reach a wide array of clients worldwide. Dixon explained:

“We are focused on creating equitable access to the financial system by building a global network that delivers services to users regardless of their geography.”

Dixon also explained that support of USDC would enable Stellar to expand its global reach and, at the same time, provide different chances of growth as well as innovation for developers and enterprises developing different projects within the network.

USDC is managed by CENTRE, which is a consortium that is led by Coinbase and Circle. The consortium states that the amount of USDC in circulation is approximately 2.8 billion. On the other hand, Stellar, mostly utilized by financial enterprises for international payments, boasts about 4.6 million accounts.

USDC was released in 2018 and is currently the second biggest stablecoin with a $2.75 billion market capitalization. USDC trails Tether’s USDT, which has a market capitalization of $16.17 billion.

CENTRE has stated that Stellar addition is evidence that its multi-chain approach is on course. Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s CEO, explained that Stellar addition would enhance interoperability. Allaire explained:

“We value the increased interoperability and wide range of developers that the Stellar network brings to the table, and look forward to seeing how adding a strong and stable USD anchor to Stellar grows its ecosystem and its importance as a platform driving global financial inclusion.”

Dixon explained that the partnership between USDC and Stellar is set to open numerous opportunities and corridors.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Ethereum Gets A New Smart Contract Language Dubbed ‘Fe’ Aiming to Attract More Developers

The Ethereum Foundation has announced a new smart contract language dubbed ‘Fe’ which is currently in development. This language derives its fundamentals from an Ethereum compiler known as ‘Vyper’; its code is written on Ethereum’s Virtual Machine (EVM) Rust programming language.

According to Ethereum software engineer Christoph Burgdorf, the development of Fe comes as a complement to solidity and will have a net positive effect on the ecosystem,

“The majority of applications deployed on the Ethereum network these days are written in Solidity. We believe the Solidity team is doing a great job and are clearly doing a lot of things right to maintain their current market share.

However, we also believe that more choices for developers will be a net positive for the ecosystem,”

Fe, which is named after the periodic table element Ferrum or Iron, pivots more towards the python programming language. Christoph said that this new language results from the demand for a simpler and more python-friendly alternative to solidity.

This new smart contract language is set to push forward the goals set out by Vyper compiler; they include accurate gas and transaction cost estimations. According to Christoph, the initial goal was to create a Vyper alternative, but the languages ended up taking different syntaxes. He added that,

“At this early stage in development, the differences between Fe and Vyper are still limited. For now, one will notice that Fe borrows a few syntactic properties from Rust.

It’s likely that Fe will begin to more closely resemble Rust as we continue to add new features.”

With Fe’s development ramping up in the recent past, the Ethereum Foundation has expressed optimism in integrating support functions to complete this new smart contract language. Christoph noted that it could be as early as this year, although the compiler will not yet be ready for production at the time,

“To be clear, the compiler will in no way be a suitable choice for a production ERC20 by that time, but we look forward to demonstrating the capabilities of Fe with such a well understood working example.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) Beats Aave & Curve to Become the Third Largest DeFi Project

Bitcoin on Ethereum continues to grow at warp speed, reaching above $1.6 billion, on pace with 145k BTC.

Several projects like renBTC, imBTC, HBTC, TBTC, pBTC, and sBTC are putting BTC on the second largest network. Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) dominates this growth by accounting for 73.6% of the BTC on Ethereum.

105,132 WBTC worth $1.2 billion has been minted so far, which has increased a whopping 9,380% since the beginning of 2020.

With this, WBTC has jumped past the likes of Yearn.Finance, Synthetix, Compound, Curve Finance, and Aave to become the third-largest DeFi project.

Uniswap, with a record of $2.73 billion in total value locked (TVL) and dominance of 24.12%, and Maker with nearly $2 billion of crypto funds locked are the only ones bigger than Wrapped Bitcoin.

wbtc
Source: DeFiPulse

WBTC is one of the fastest-growing DeFi projects, much like the overall sector, which is hitting new highs of $11.4 billion in TVL.

Interestingly, yesterday, the largest WBTC was minted in a single day by CoinList. This largest mint of 5,000 WBTC was made in two separate transactions — the first one involved 1,299.48 WBTC while the second transaction involved 3,697.5 WBTC.

This record breaks the last one made by FTX CEO Sam Bakman-Fried’s crypto trading firm Almeda Research that one-upped the previous record with 2,316.5 WBTC.

WBTC is an ERC-20 token backed by bitcoin in a 1:1 ratio, where the BTC is held in the custody of BitGo.

With this, DeFi users can participate in various applications without actually using their Bitcoin. It further brings Bitcoin’s vast liquidity, with a $210 billion market, to the $42 billion market cap Ethereum network.

Demand for WBTC continues to soar, as seen in its growth as this allows Bitcoin holders to take part in exciting DeFi apps like yield farming and earn income on their BTC without giving it up.

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Author: AnTy

Aztec 2.0 Launches Ethereum Layer 2 Scaling Solution for Privacy Using zkSNARKs

Aztec, an Ethereum based protocol, has released its L2 scaling solution coupled with the project’s fundamental aspect of privacy. The startup announced this news in a Medium post earlier today, noting that Aztec 2.0 is now live on the Ropsten testnet. This comes as one of the many reliefs to an ailing Ethereum ecosystem due to network congestion and high gas costs.

According to the post, Aztec’s L2 scaling solution has been derived from the zero-knowledge (zk) rollup tech. This infrastructure is basically part of Ethereum’s zero-knowledge proofs that have come up to make transactions private. Based on the PLONK research, Aztec claims that its newly debuted L2 scaling network enables the protocol to leverage zkSNARKS tech in two distinct ways.

For starters, zkSNARKS is used to encode every transaction as part of protecting Aztec users’ data. It also plays a role in the ‘roll-up’ of these transactions, hence the batching into one proof that is, in turn, sent to Ethereum’s on-chain. Aztec has since said that this approach could scale its network throughput up to 300 TP/s and preserve on-chain data simultaneously.

“Using this technique, the network can scale on-demand up to a hard limit of ~300 TX/S, while preserving on-chain data availability.”

The firm further claims that gas costs will be slashed by 200x in Aztec 2.0 compared to prevailing costs within its 1.0 ecosystem. Other than scalability solutions, Aztec has also introduced an open-source scripting language dubbed ‘Noir.’ This will allow developers to easily compose the zkSNARKS transactions code compatible with the new L2 scaling solution by Aztec.

Aztec plans to upgrade this innovation in November to integrate DeFi access while maintaining scalability and privacy. The post reads,

“This upgrade allows users to anonymously access DeFi transactions at a fraction of the gas price. And, without having to port DeFi protocols to layer 2.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui