New Mimblewimble Code & Community-wide Testnet Launch Might Come in Q1 2021

Implementation of privacy features on Litecoin while other privacy coins getting delisted have people bullish on LTC.

“The first implementation of non-interactive txs is finally ready for testing!” said David Burkett while sharing the update on implementing Mimblewimble to bring privacy to the network.

In the month of December, the first-ever implementation of one-sided txs on Mimblewimble is completed and ready for testing and review and MWEB components have also been added to the GUI.

Going forward, one more week would take to prep Grin++for the final planned hard fork of Grin. And once the new version is released, Burkett will get the new MWEB code ready and launch the new community-wide testnet. This will allow everyone, regardless of technical abilities, to test out the MWEB and provide feedback.

However, there is still no exact date ready for when the code will be finished, but Burkett did ensure that he is “getting very close” but with a lot of automated tests to backfill still, a few outstanding questions about max weight for the EBs & peg-in/peg-out maturity, and lots of small cleanup tasks remaining. He said,

“I’m still expecting to have the code finished sometime this quarter (Q1 2021) though, so it won’t be long.”

Making it a Reality

As per the original plan, the MWEB was to be completed in a year but the team is already two months behind. Burkett said,

“While we didn’t quite meet our original timeline, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I’ve put in countless late-night hours working to make MWEB a reality.”

“But there’s simply too much at stake to release anything less than perfection. LTC deserves it, and we’re all doing everything we can to deliver on that.”

The delay has been because of completely rewriting the code from scratch, while initially it was thought that Grin++’s code would be reused but it didn’t mesh well with the LTC codebase.

Additionally, the original plan included only interactive transactions but that meant users had to be online to receive funds, which would’ve been a whole lot worse for usability, noted the developer who further shared that “at the time, non-interactive txs were not even considered possible in MW, but we figured out a way to do it.”

Enjoying the Greens

During the update, Burkett also urged the community to continue with more donations as he said, “despite huge LTC gains, only 0.25 LTC were donated this month.” Every donation would be matched to litoshi-for-litoshi by Bitcoin creator Charlie Lee.

The price of LTC has been enjoying a rally since 4Q20, moving in tandem with Bitcoin. While Bitcoin went crazy with its over 315% gains in 2020, Litecoin surged just over 220%.

The fourth-largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $10.21 billion is currently trading above $153, up 190% since Oct.

Amidst the ongoing delisting of privacy featured coins, like Zcash (ZEC), Monero (XMR), and DASH from crypto exchanges, some speculate it could make LTC more valuable. Crypto analyst Alex Saunders said,

“More privacy coin delisting news today. My thesis & narrative around Litecoin’s 2nd coming strengthens. With XRP out of the picture & LTC’s regulatory certainty (age, distribution, decentralization, Grayscale Trust) it could regain #3 as it implements privacy features.

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Author: AnTy

Over 20% Of Central Banks Are Looking to Launch A CBDC In The Next 1-6 Years: BIS Report

  • There’s a growing interest in central banks looking at the possible implementation of digital currency in 2020 than the hype on Bitcoin (BTC), the Bank of International Settlement (BIS) reports.

In research published over the weekend, the Swiss-based BIS reports the growing attention by global central banks on research and development of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in 2020. The paper states the motivations, technical developments and policy approaches towards the launch of CBDCs vary across the central banks with the more innovative countries taking a step ahead.

According to the report, there is an increasing consideration of retail CBDCs across the central banks to provide a publicly usable currency while some consider a wholesale CBDC which “could become a new instrument for settlement between financial institutions.”

The comprehensive 39-page research focuses on over 175 central banks and over 16,000 speeches from recent years. The findings of the report state that central banks controlling a fifth of the world’s population are considering to launch a digital currency. Additionally, over 20% of the banks are fast-tracking their CBDC to launch in the next 1-6 years.

The report further reads,

“A full 80% of surveyed central banks are engaging in research, experimentation or development of CBDCs.”

The tipping point

Per the report, the number of speeches positively talking about digital currencies has surged since the end of 2018. As of July 2020, there were more central bank governors speaking positively about retail and wholesale CBDCs than having negative stances.

The tide seems to have switched with the launch of Facebook-led digital currency, Libra, and the global COVID 19 pandemic, the report states.

“A tipping point was the announcement of Facebook’s Libra and the ensuing public sector response.”

As for COVID 19 pandemic role in implementing CBDCs, several governments are accelerating their research and developments on CBDCs to ease payment systems and curb the spread of the virus through cash payments. The U.S. recently enhanced its efforts to offer a digital dollar “as a means of quickly executing government-to-person payments (CARE package), as an alternative to credit transfers and slow and costly cheques.”

These efforts by central banks have seen the public become more attentive to CBDCs over time. In 2020, BIS reports that internet searches across the world for CBDCs are massively overshadowing searches of Facebook’s Libra and Bitcoin (BTC) – which crossed the $12,000 mark earlier this month.

Central banks entering the digital era

As mentioned above, the technical decisions, method of implementation, and reasons for the launch of a CBDC vary across states and countries. According to the BIS report, countries with higher mobile phone usage and higher innovation capacity are associated with a higher likelihood of developing a digital currency.

So far, three countries, China, Sweden, and Canada, have completed tests on a retail CBDC and 13 countries are actively researching on the launch of a wholesale CBDC. Another 18 countries have published reports on the impact and effects of digital currencies on their economies.

BEG reported this July, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) is extending its efforts to launch a CBDC division that will work in cooperation with the U.S. and European governments. The project aims to compete with China’s launch of its digital renminbi (RMB). Other states actively focusing on CBDC include Lithuania, Canada, Cambodia, Thailand, among others.

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Author: Lujan Odera

FINTRAC to Enforce Stricter Rules for Crypto Companies to Comply with FATF’s Regulations

The Canadian financial crimes watchdog is making preparations for the implementation of its new powers on virtual currency oversight before the June 2020 deadline set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

This means the Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) is going to be more strict when it comes to regulating companies that use virtual currency, also the activities and transactions taking place after June 1, when the new rules will start to take effect. Here’s what a FINTRAC report from early March reads:

“A major priority in the near term will be the implementation of new regulations arising from recent legislative change.”

Sweeping Powers Are an Amendment to Criminal Finance Framework

The sweeping powers are an amendment to the Canadian criminal finance report and passed in June 2019. They’re expected to enhance the AML/ATF regime in the country, says the FINTRAC. FINTRAC is for Canada what the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is for the US.

Canadian companies registered as money services businesses and that have at least $10,000 CAD in crypto will have to comply with the new regulations and provide documentation for their crypto transactions of more than $1,000 CAD, in some cases. This information will include the names, addresses, birth dates and phone numbers of the sender and the receiver of transactions. The transactions of $10,000 CAD or above will require even more documentation. The amendments classify the violations of regulations as minor infractions.

FINTRAC Responds to FATF’s 2015-2016 Assessment

Canada imposes new amendments of virtual currencies after the FATF made in 2015 – 2016 an assessment of its AML and CFT frameworks and deemed them as deficient. Being a FATF member, the country should meet some specific thresholds. In its report from March, the FINTRAC said Canada’s interests should be served by the legislative and policy framework while international expectations are being met. Other countries are also hurrying to comply with FATF’s demands until the June deadline.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Ethereum Community Divided Over ProgPoW Implementation; Petition Launched On GitHub

  • The Ethereum community continues its debates on the ProgPoW implementation as the community prepares to welcome the proof of stake (PoS) consensus mechanism later in the year.

ProgPoW is a hashing system touted to replace the ETHash function, which currently mines Ether in a bid to kill off the Application-Specific Integrated Computing (ASIC) miners and turn mining back to Graphic Processing Units (GPUs). This will reduce the gap efficiency between the two mining systems to reduce the dominance and possible centralized control of ASIC hardware miners.

According to the proponents, the change will help avoid any types of miner-led forks in preparation for the upcoming ETH 2.0 launch. The petition reads,

“A stated goal of ProgPoW is to avoid contentious forks while transitioning to proof-of-stake, yet it is at odds with its own aims if activation increases the likelihood of that undesired outcome.”

Opposition file petition to stop ProgPoW upgrade

The idea first launched in 2018 as the community planned for the possible move to PoS consensus algorithm. Despite accelerated plans from the proponents of the idea, the decision to upgrade the system to ProgPoW has faced a petition on GitHub by some sections of the community who believe a consensus must be reached before any changes are made.

The lead opposition on the ProgPoW, ETHBoston Organizer Justin Leroux, said,

“Because Ethereum is a global platform with a large and diverse group of stakeholders, it is critical that major changes to the protocol have a clear purpose and broad support. EIP-1057 clearly lacks that support, yet activation is still being considered.”

A number of top personalities in the ETH community have signed up including Uniswap, Triffle Keys, DARMA Capital leaders.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitfinex Becomes First Major Exchange to Add Lightning Network Deposits and Withdrawals

  • A linking page for the implementation will be live tomorrow, December 3rd.
  • Paolo Ardoino and Jameson Loop weighed in on the integration with Bitfinex.

The Lightning Network has promoted itself through the last year or so, as cryptocurrency proponents pushed a Bitcoin train through the social media platform, adding more BTC as it went along. Promoting the expediency of this network, it seems that the Lightning Network has officially gained the attention and the collaboration of its first exchange. This afternoon, Jameson Lopp took to Twitter to announce the implementation of the Lightning Network on Bitfinex.

Paolo Ardoino, the CTO of Bitfinex, as well as the CTO to Tether, was tagged in the post, as he replied that he was hoping that new users would be opening channels, promising a live linking page tomorrow.

The new opportunity has caught the attention of quite a few Crypto Twitter accounts, like that of Charlie Shrem (founder of BitInstant and the Bitcoin Foundation), and has already been retweeted over 50 times.

WhalePanda also announced that the news on Twitter, linking to the Bitfinex website.

Back in June, Crypto Ticket reported that Ardoino confirmed plans for Tether to be launched on the Lightning Network by the end of the year. At the time, Bitfinex’s team was working to mount Tether on Liquid, with the help of Blockstream, for asset delivery on the Lightning Network.

Speaking with The Block in March 2019, Ardoino said,

“We really love [Lightning Network] (I personally do a lot), so we want to make sure we learn and contribute to it with our resources.”

His remarks were made regarding Bitfinex’s involvement with the Tether launch, but it seems that his appreciation for the fast-moving network has not changed.

The Lightning Network a second-layer payment protocol, operating on top of a cryptocurrency based in blockchain, like Bitcoin. The purpose of this protocol is to speed up transactions between participating nodes. It is primarily advertised as a solution for the scalability issues that Bitcoin has faced.

Along with the launch of Lightning Network integration, Bitfinex recently announced their upgrade of Multi-Collateral DAI, which replaces the former “single-collateral” DAI token, which has been renamed SAI. Deposits and withdrawals of DAI is now available on the platform.

Bitfinex teased about “two exceptional integrations” earlier this morning on Twitter, and it might be safe to say that the integration of the Lightning Network is one of those two. However, no information has been confirmed or promoted on the official Twitter account for Bitfinex, so maybe there is more to come.

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Author: Krystle M

Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity Accounts for 10% of MoneyGram Payments from the US and Mexico

  • Ripple previously purchased a large stake in MoneyGram before the implementation of xRapid.
  • Industry players want efficient and inexpensive options for their transactions.

Earlier in the summer of 2019, MoneyGram decided to implement xRapid, which is the On-Demand Liquidity product available through Ripple. Ripple had preceded the implementation by purchasing a large stake in MoneyGram, and recent comments by chief executive Alex Holmes reveal that remittances using ODL and XRP have already started being sent from Mexico. Of these transactions, 10% are using Ripple’s product.

Holmes made his remarks during Swell 2019, speaking with Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse. The former expressed how he feels about the present current remittance industry, as well as the way that MoneyGram contributes to the leveraging of blockchain and digital assets.

Through the last decade, additional competition in the industry has allowed remittance to evolve.

Holmes stated,

“What has amazed me the most is the amount of pressure that legacy players face. The fundamental challenge of moving money around the work is that there isn’t a lot of coordination between financial institutions and there should be more solutions to connect all these pieces. More and more companies are looking to make the economy move like it should.”

Holmes continued, saying that money will continue to move around the world, regardless of the challenges that it faces in political or economic struggles. He stated, “Every industry must be omnipresent and understand what their customers want.” Technology is one way that industry players are working to remedy these demands for low-cost, fast, and transparent transactions. Discussing the new product from Ripple, Holmes expressed that the project positions them “at the forefront of this technology.”

Brad Garlinghouse said, during an interview, that Holmes had previously complained that Ripple was moving too slowly with their progress on ODL. While both Ripple and MoneyGram were happy with the 10% use, both companies hope to expand the use of ODL to four global directions. The companies also use a cloud service to benefit customers with their transactions.

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Author: Krystle M