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

The XRP Ledger Foundation Launches To Accelerate XRPL Adoption And Development

The XRP Ledger Foundation, a non-profit, announced its official launch on September 24. The Ledger Foundation would be responsible for supporting the development as well as accelerate the adoption of the XRP Ledger across the globe.

The non-profit organization has received multiple grants from several organizations, including the remittance firm, Ripple and content moderation firm, Coil, and the crypto wallet service provider GateHub. The XRP Ledger Foundation also hopes to raise more funds in the near future from other stakeholders of the decentralized space.

The XRP Ledger has grown in popularity within the banking and financial industries, which make use of the ledger for facilitating instant cross-border transactions at a minimal fee.

The XRP Ledger Foundation aims to expand and accelerate the adoption of its dedicated ledger while also improving the underlying technology behind it. Apart from working on the XRP ledger, the foundation would also create a unique node list, support community-based initiatives, and help the developers to strengthen the ecosystem.

The key role of the foundation also includes securing capital for its developers. Wietse Wind, one of the most prominent XRP developers, which is also a member of the Fund’s board, suggested that they have already paid developers who would exclusively work for the XRPL.

The foundation would also work to create a dedicated XRP community fund, with the sole purpose would be to bring formal engagement to the community.

The announcements made by the foundation met with great enthusiasm from the community. David Schwarz, Ripple’s CTO, commented that Ripple is committed to supporting the growth of XRP ledger, and the foundation would further their goal in enhancing the ecosystem.

David Schwarz said:

“We and the community have worked over the past 8 years to dramatically increase the decentralization, performance, and feature set of the XRP Ledger and remain committed to its future growth and innovation.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Tezos Foundation to Pay XTZ Token Sale Investors $25M to Settle Class Action Lawsuit

After three years, a long-running class-action lawsuit against Tezos Foundation has come to a close. A U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg from the Northern District of California approved a $25 million payment by Tezos Foundation to aggrieved investors.

The class-action lawsuit alleged that Tezos Foundation conducted an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017.

According to the court documents filed last week, Tezos, as well as its founders Arthur and Kathleen Breitman, will part with $25 million to the aggrieved investors. The settlement was first put on the table in March earlier this year but was settled last week.

According to the settlement agreement, the attorneys will be paid about $8.5 million of the total sum. The investors who underwent a loss after taking part in the Tezos ICO will share the remaining $16.5 million. However, the investors who gained after participating in the ICO will not be included in the sharing of the funds.

Tezos Foundation, in March, resolved to settle the class action lawsuit since it was expensive as well as time-consuming. However, the firm maintained that the case lacked merit.

In 2017, Tezos conducted one of the most successful ICOs of the year, raising more than $232 million through the sale of its XTZ governance token. However, before the firm could celebrate the success, a California based law firm filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Tezos sold unregistered security to US-based investors.

According to the Federal Securities Law, a company should not sell security tokens before registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These types of tokens must pass the Howey Test, and XTZ failed.

Following the filing of a class-action lawsuit, Tezos asked the court to dismiss the case as it lacked merit, but Judge Seeborg dismissed the lawsuit filed by Tezos attorneys.

Judge Seeborg’s order also states that the plaintiffs cannot make a future claim against Tezos as well as other defendants.

Although the class lawsuit has been settled, the issue of whether XTZ is a security or not remains unresolved.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Zcash Foundation to Elect 5 Members to ZCAP to Control its 420,000 ZEC ($34M) Treasury

The Zcash Foundation has decided to select a new five-member board for Community Advisory Panel (CAP), who would be responsible for the to look after the deployment of 420,000 ZEC worth $36 million.

The selection of 5 member team would be based on the merit where the foundation would look for those people who have a broader understanding of the Zcash ecosystem and its applications. Zooko Wilcox, the founder of Zcash, said that the five-member team would responsible for managing one of the most significant controllers of the funds in the foreseeable future. He tweeted,

“Whoa! Major news! The Zcash Community Advisory Panel is open to new members! The ZCAP is about to elect the new five-person committee that is going to be the largest controller of funds in the Zcash ecosystem for the foreseeable future.”

CAP is the Zcash-powered community responsible for the governance decision on the Zcash blockchain. However, it is essential to note that the CAP community won’t have any unopposed say in any matter, and they cannot determine any significant technical changes such as a hard fork either.

How did the Idea of a new 5-Member CAP Community Come up?

The decision to bring in a 5-member new governance team arose from the community Zcash governance forum, where many demanded that the ZCash foundation must bring in a new 5-member team for CAP. After this, almost 35 members shared their interest in joining the new board.

After the demand surfaced in the community forum, the Zcash Foundation, along with Electric Coin Company, the Zcash code maintainer agreed upon the community demand. The foundation released an official statement after that which read,

“The Foundation wholeheartedly agrees with this sentiment and believes we can more broadly increase participation legitimately before the September 1 candidacy deadline. We believe opening up the CAP with this process is completely aligned with the community interest, and would result in a more effective and legitimate outcome based on experience similarly collecting community sentiment for the dev fund Zcash Implementation Proposals.”

New members can join the CAP can either participate by an official invite or any member from the existing 62 members from the Community Advisory Panel can join in the new board by September 1.

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Author: Silvia A

Qtum Foundation Opens Up A $1 Million DeFi Fund to Lure App Developers Away From Rival Ethereum

Qtum Foundation announced on Monday that it would rolling out a DeFi fund worth $1 million as part of its effort to accelerate on-chain development within its smart contract ecosystem. The company’s founder, Peter Dai, further highlighted that the fund could be bootstrapped up to $5 million depending on the underlying needs of the Qtum DeFi network and contributing community.

The $1 million, allocated to Qtum’s DeFi fund, will be distributed to teams and solo developers looking to create efficient decentralized finance applications on Qtum’s blockchain. Notably, Qtum stakeholders are optimistic about disrupting Ethereum’s market share in DeFi, given the blockchain’s shortcomings in scalability and network fees.

Currently, Ethereum leads the pack for DeFi applications; recent months have seen the price of ETH surged significantly as a result. The coin has reached 2017 highs, given a prevailing rate of $430 according to metrics from CoinMarketCap. While this is the case, the lucrative DeFi market whose current TVL stands at $6.42 billion might soon find a platform in other networks as well.

That said, Qtum is one of the blockchain platforms that has since risen to the occasion in terms of challenging Ethereum’s DeFi dominance. The two blockchain platforms share some fundamentals, including the same smart contract and EVM languages. With this at the core, ETH DeFi developers have the option to transfer their projects on to the Qtum blockchain simply.

The Real Cutting Edge in DeFi

Qtum’s Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network boasts greater efficiency compared to Ethereum’s Proof-of-work (PoW) for scalability and network fees. As it stands, gas fees on the Ethereum network have been rising significantly, making it costly and often impossible to see promising projects through. The Buterin-led blockchain, however, plans to shift to a PoS network, however. This remains uncertain though, as the team has yet to signal on a possible mainnet launch date for ETH 2.0.

Qtum, on the other hand, is already proposing value in scaling DeFi ecosystems, the platform’s UTXO model and Decentralized Governance Protocol (DGP) enable developers to customize blockchain settings for smart contract compatibility. Also, this ecosystem features advanced privacy functions based on a zk-snarks on-chain protocol as well its own stablecoin ‘QCash,’ which debuted in 2017.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

ZEC Breaks Out of 3-Year Bear Market as Executive Director Bids Adieu to Zcash Foundation

The inaugural executive director of Zcash Foundation, the company behind the 24th largest cryptocurrency by market cap $845 million ZEC, has left the Foundation. Josh Cincinnati in his farewell statement said,

“It was the best team I’ve ever had the honor of working with, and I will miss them terribly.”

Cincinnati believes that after leading the Foundation for over three years, he isn’t the right person to do it anymore and that he shouldn’t do so indefinitely either. Moreover,

“whatever power that has vested to the Foundation should stay in check institutionally, and not accrue to a single leader,” he said, adding that he is “ready for a break and a change of pace.”

Another reason for his departure is that the negotiation and successful conclusion of the dev fund has taken a toll on his “relationship with ECC leadership and damaged my ability to collaborate with them effectively.” Because the Electric Coin Company is unlikely to change its leadership “ever,” “I instead chose to leave.” Before leaving, he shared his prediction that the,

“prospects for private digital cash are bright,” and “the Foundation’s technical efforts will make a big splash this year.”

On Cincinnati’s departure, Analyst Qiao Wang shared some bullish facets about ZEC. He noted how the digital asset has broken out of the 3-year bear market. Up 20% in the past 24 hours, ZEC is currently trading at $87.27.

Zcash started surging this week after bitcoin broke its key levels to make new 2020 highs. ZEC has recorded 205% returns YTD but is still 99% down from its all-time high hit during the last bull market.

Textbook W-shaped bottom, coinciding with governance crisis, usable shielded clients, imminent 1st halving, increasing awareness on privacy, and global return of socialism, Wang pointed out all the reason to be bullish on this digital currency, He said,

“if this isn’t a generational buying opportunity Iono what is.”

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Author: AnTy

Human Rights Foundation and Crypto Custody, Casa, Partner to Help Activists Use & Secure BTC

The Human Rights Foundation has partnered with Bitcoin security firm Casa to help activists protect their bitcoin holdings and donations used in the fight against human rights abuses around the world. Casa would offer its multi-signature self custody solution to help the foundation save donations in Bitcoin.

Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at Human Rights Foundation, in a release stated that Bitcoin could help the activists raise the necessary funds to help people around the world, especially in these troubled political climates. He said:

“Bitcoin has enormous potential to help activists raise funds to fight human rights abuses in difficult political environments, but storing it in a safe yet accessible way has always been a challenge.”

He added:

“With software like Casa, organizations can keep their Bitcoin secure while maintaining full control, without the risk of losing funds due to a mistake. Activists must control the private keys to their Bitcoin, so they can always get their funds to where it’s needed when it’s needed.”

Casa Would Offer Educational Resources For Activists to Understand Bitcoin Better

The partnership between Casa and Human Rights Foundation would see the bitcoin security company offering educational resources to activists and non-profit organizations to help them understand different aspects and potential of Bitcoin, and how they can use it in their fight against human rights abuses.

The partnership would also conduct various workshops where Casa will be offering its insight and expertise in the field of cybersecurity and bitcoin security to help activists protect their funds and use it efficiently.

Casa combines proven technologies with hardware wallets and risk diversification to ensure the safety of one’s bitcoin. The partnership between the two firms can also pave the way for future use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for social welfare work. If this partnership turns into a success story, other organizations would even fancy their chances of incorporating bitcoin into their operations.

Nick Neuman, CEO at Casa, commented on how Bitcoin could prove to be a great aid over fiat in the current system and explained:

“Sadly, human rights organizations face unique challenges when it comes to managing their funds, including having their bank accounts frozen, as we saw in 2019 when HSBC froze the account of Hong Kong pro-democracy group Spark Alliance due to political pressure.”

He concluded:

“But Bitcoin changes the game. As long as it is protected within a highly secure self-custody solution, Bitcoin enables activists to receive and spend funds in a way that governments and corporations can’t control. Bitcoin also provides significantly more freedom for moving funds around the world and, since it’s not subject to the fees and friction of international transfers, more money is available more quickly to fund projects that make a real difference.”

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Author: James W

Goodbye Stellar, Kin Project Approves Switch To Solana Blockchain Due To Scalability Issues

In a move to increase the scalability and speed of its platform, Kin Foundation, the lead development team of the Kin crypto, voted to move from its Stellar blockchain fork to Solana blockchain.

The Kin Foundation lead team voted on the proposal to move to Solana blockchain to solve the scalability constraints on the Stellar blockchain. According to a the KIN community, the company has been exploring the possibility of the move for the past month, raising the proposed move to Solana.

The proposal on GitHub, raised by Kik Interactive Inc., was overwhelmingly supported by the board and community of the project set off plans to start the move in the coming weeks.

The journey of Kin crypto started in mid-2018, with the founder of the Kik messaging app, Ted Livingstone, building it on the Ethereum network. Scalability issues on ETH caused Kin to move its transactions to Stellar’s blockchain and successively create its fork on the blockchain.

The trouble with Stellar

Stellar’s latency times of five seconds and the scalability constraint of only 100 transactions per second is “not great consumer experience,” the report on GitHub reads. With a growing customer base, currently, at 3 million and over 50+ partnering applications, Kin Foundation turned to Solana for solutions.

Solana’s co-founder, Anatoly Yakovenko, says the platform can settle over 6000 times more transactions per second and 400ms block times. This will boost the overall transaction speeds while reducing latency times on the Kin platform. Anatoly further said,

“In addition to speed, Solana’s natural ability to scale turned out to be a major determining factor in their (Kin’s) decision.”

Despite the progress of the Kin crypto project, the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is on the company’s neck challenging its ICO process. These recent troubles with the SEC are causing a slow growth to Kin’s project, one analyst argued.

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Author: Lujan Odera

U.S Federal Government Subsidiary Releases A $255k Funding For “Crypto Dollar” Development

  • The U.S. National Science Foundation is funding a blockchain project aiming to introduce a “Proof-of-Balance (PoB) consensus mechanism platform.
  • The project aims to directly convert the current supply of circulating dollars into a scarce cryptocurrency allowing users to divert from the volatile cryptocurrencies to the dollar-based digital coin.

In an official announcement by the Key Retroactivity Network Consensus (KRNC), the National Science Foundation, an independent organization under the U.S Federal government is awarding the blockchain project a $225,000 funding from the American Seed Fund to develop a crypto dollar. The American Seed Fund disburses over $200 million to financial and technology startups showing potential in the technical and commercial field.

The crypto dollar will be very much alike to Bitcoin (BTC), given it is scarce, secure and quick to send between peers. However, the project aims to replace the whole crypto market by allowing holders of the dollar to transact on blockchains without the need for BTC, ETH, and other altcoins.

‘A Bitcoin-like platform’

The blockchain will employ a new consensus mechanism, the proof-of-balance (PoB) to replace the ‘wasteful” proof of work (PoW) used on Bitcoin and also the proof of stake set to be implemented on Ethereum 2.0, KRNC CEO and chief scientist Clint Ehrlich said.

According to Ehrlich’s statement, the KRNC’s proof of balance system will enhance the security and management of the platform. Here’s how it works;

The proof of balance system calculates the current wealth of dollars circulating in the global economy and transforming it into a scarce digital asset. Ehrlich explains,

“If today, there is $15 trillion when the currency is launched, it will be possible to only ever unlock 15 trillion [crypto] dollars.”

To ease the transition to the crypto dollar standard users will be able to deposit fiat cash and receive these crypto dollars in return. Users will then be able to use these dollars digitally in a similar way to fiat/ physical dollar that they hold.

Transfer of power to the rich?

The need for blockchains has always been a transfer of power from the centralized rich entities, corporations and governments. However, the proof of balance employed by the KRNC may see the control remain to whoever can pay the most on mining costs.

“Currency is asymmetric so even if an adversary tries to purchase a larger stake, as long as the initial majority of all the fiat money is owned by honest agents the system can remain secure. It’s a way to provide superior security at zero cost.”

Ehrlich believes the current system offers a fairer market giving the billions of people able to access dollars, a voice on the direction of platform. He concludes,

“The playing field is not limited to a few buyers and minors but the billions of people who own fiat money.”

Despite the funding, the National Science Foundation program manager in charge of the grant, Anna Brady-Estevez, emphasized that the National Science Foundation does not endorse the transformation of the dollar into cryptocurrency.

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Author: Lujan Odera

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