Qtum Completes Testnet Hard Fork Prior to the Real Event in August; Adds Offline Staking

The Qtum network has completed a hard fork on its testnet in the run-up to its mainnet hard fork, which is scheduled to take place on August 28, 2020, on block height 680,000. The testnet hard fork – initiated on June 29 at block no 625,000 and the last phase of the testnet – are scheduled to start on July 6 before the mainnet upgrade undertaking.

This hard fork would introduce offline staking on the Qtum network. The firm also confirmed that, during the testnet phase, more than 300 network participants managed to gain 1000 Qtum through staking. The firm released a statement on the addition of offline staking and said:

“Offline staking is one of the biggest changes to the Qtum protocol to date. Up until now, Qtum has allowed Proof-of-Stake consensus staking only from online nodes that secure and operate the blockchain. As a result, QTUM holders who did not want to run a full node had security concerns, or struggled to meet the resource and power requirements were unable to participate in staking.”

The founder of the Qtum network believes that testnet staking would help users become familiar with its staking ecosystem, and help clients understand how easy it can be to stake your token and earn passive income on top of it. He said:

“This will empower the community to undertake the same tasks in a realistic setting when the mainnet hard fork goes live in late August, bringing offline staking to the Qtum ecosystem.”

Offline Staking Would Make Qtum More Decentralized

Qtum believes the offline staking service would make the network more decentralized than ever as it would attract more traders towards the staking. The staking will be the second hard-fork for the blockchain network; the first one took place back in October 2019 at block number 466,000.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Celo Dollar (cUSD) Stablecoin Launches as the Libra Rival Eyes Digital Ecosystem Dominance

Celo Dollars (cUSD) stablecoins are now live on the platform’s mainnet according to a medium post by the foundation on June 29. This comes barely two months since Celo’s mainnet went live; the project has been making aggressive moves in both development and community growth. With Celo’s stablecoin (cUSD) now accessible, the foundation is optimistic that its vision of an all-inclusive financial ecosystem will be realized.

Notably, Celo’s infrastructure has been gaining popularity as its Alliance membership surged following its debut in March with an initial 50 members. Two months in, the number had grown to 75 as more players collaborate to expand Celo’s ecosystem. Prominent names contributing to this project include Bison Trails, Alpha Wallet, Paxful, Polychain, and Mercy Corps, to mention a few. Currently, the Alliance’s focus is in four areas; communications, policy, remittances, and international aid.

The Celo Dollar (cUSD)

As cryptocurrencies take the center stage of digital asset innovation, programmable money is a no brainer for today’s economy. It is, therefore, not surprising that the digital currency trend has been resilient since Bitcoin recorded ATH back in 2017. Consequently, crypto market players have come up with ways to eliminate some aspects of volatility hence the rise of stablecoins over the course of 2019.

Celo Dollar (cUSD) is designed to further enhance the grown of $34 billion P2P markets, $1.4 trillion PoS market, $248 billion gig economy, and $87 billion remittance market. Users can leverage the cUSD to make touchless merchant payments in the wake of COVID-19 preventive measures. They can also send or receive Celo Dollars locally and internationally at friendly fees that are as low as $0.01.

Finally, this Celo based stablecoin can be used to access financing by borrowing at interest. This is especially valuable in economies with a high unbanked population given the increase in smartphone accessibility hence the opportunity to operate on Celo’s network instead.

Celo’s Prospects

The Celo Alliance is considered a Libra rival in the digital currency space but may soon be in the clear should regulatory pressures favor its existence. It has been making significant milestones since we began 2020, including a $700k grant allocation to startups building on the Celo blockchain network. cLabs, Celo’s founding company, also raised $10 million in the Celo Gold (cGLD) token sale on CoinList in which around 509 global investors participated.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Cardano (ADA) Staking Will Offer ROI of 6%-6.5%, IOHK Releases the Details for CIP

Cardano has released the details of the parameters that are set before the Shelley mainnet is launched. The goal behind these parameters is to be “truly decentralized,” have stake pool operators incentivized, and that they can remain unchanged.

These parameters and values will be issued via a Cardano improvement proposal (CIP), said Lars Brünjes, Education Director.

The number of pools has been decided at 150 which reportedly “makes Cardano an order of magnitude more decentralized than any other blockchain.” Over time, they could be gradually increased. The update reads,

“Based on what we have learned from both the Incentivized Testnet (ITN) and the Haskell Shelley testnet, we know that our community is highly motivated to set up pools and support the chain with hundreds within a matter of weeks.”

Coming onto the staking rewards, they will be taken from two sources; transaction fees and monetary expansion.

All the transaction fees will be basically put into a virtual “pot” and a fixed percentage (0.22%) of remaining ADA will be added to that pot. Basically, every four to five years, half of the remaining reserve will be used which mean,

“Cardano reserves will deplete at about the same rate as bitcoin reserves.”

A certain percentage of this pot will be then sent to the treasury and the rest will be used as rewards.

Initially, the portion of reward taken from the reserves will be high because transactions will be low and over time additional fees will compensate for dwindling reserves as transaction volume increases.

The cost to operate the pool has taken at $2,000 for the minimum operational cost out of the typical range of $2,000-$15,000. This is to ensure that “the pledge influence factor is effective, by avoiding a ‘race to the bottom’.”

This brings the ROI of the stake pools at 6%-6.5% on average.

More to Come

Besides the upcoming Shelley mainnet release, the Cardano Virtual summit is taking place next week that will have the likes of Vint Cerf “fathers of the internet” as the key speaker.

The two-day summit will also involve keynotes from mathematician Stephen Wolfram; Mark Gordon, Governor of Wyoming; Mamuka Bakhtadze, former Prime Minister of Georgia; and of course Cardano founder and IOHK CEO Charles Hoskinson.

Amidst all this excitement, ADA prices are currently dull along with the rest of the market, trading at $0.0821. However, the cryptocurrency is up 143% YTD which has it climbing at the 9th spot as per its $2.3 million market cap.

According to Ryan Selkis, co-founder of Messari, Cardano can become the 5th largest cryptocurrency in the next year.

The cryptocurrency still has a long way to go as ADA is down 94% from its all-time high of $1.33.

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Author: AnTy

New Theory Claims ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ Helped Run Drugs for Kingpin Pablo Escobar

Since the launch of the Bitcoin mainnet back in 2009, the most intriguing aspect of the top cryptocurrency has been its pseudo-anonymous founder, Satoshi Nakamoto.

The creator of Bitcoin has remained anonymous even after Bitcoin peaked at its highest back in 2017, which has given rise to speculation, conspiracy theories, and of course, impersonators. Many Bitcoin pundits and crypto veterans have claimed to know the real identity of the Satoshi Nakamoto, but none have yet revealed his true identity.

There are several theories behind who could be the actual creator of Bitcoin and people have pinpointed several individuals, but none have been convincingly proven to be the original creator. However, a new theory has hit the market which could link the anonymous Bitcoin creator to one of the most infamous drug lords Pablo Escobar.

The theory suggests that one Yasutaka Nakamoto who held a high-ranking engineer post for Pacific West Airlines before going on to work for the notorious drug kingpin Escobar himself. The theory suggests that Yasutaka first disappeared from public life back in 1992 after an assassination attempt, and later emerged towards the second half of the 2000s to create Bitcoin. The theory was put forward by Olof Gustaffson, CEO of Escobar Inc.

Apart from running a multinational company associated with the former drug kingpin, Gustaffson also worked as a right-hand man to the brother of Pablo Escobar. When inquiring about the motivation behind this absurd Satoshi Nakamoto theory, he said that he was revealing all this now because of the self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Craig Wright’s continuous lies and failed attempts to prove he is the original creator of Bitcoin.

Gustaffson further claimed that Yasutaka could be a perfect fit for the role of Satoshi Nakamoto since he agreed to help Escobar smuggle drugs through the airline he was working with, but never pledged his loyalty. Gustaffson also claimed that being an engineer, Yasutaka had access to microprocessors and semiconductors which acted as a building block for him and apply his knowledge for the creation of Bitcoin.

The Dorian Nakamoto Connection

The only publically available profile for Yasutaka Nakamoto that matches Gustaffson’s story is that from a 1992 Los Angeles Times article which talks about the probable Nakamoto working for Hughes Aircraft, managing to escape unscratched from a pipe bomb found in his car and possibly planted on a directive from Escobar. Since that incident, Yasutaka disappeared from the public eye.

The probable Satoshi Nakamoto also has a connection with another personality whose face is still used as a representation for Bitcoin creator in numerous articles and publications, Dorian Nakamoto.

Dorian Nakamoto was subjected to intense media exposure in 2014 when an article back in 2014 claimed that he could be the actual Bitcoin creator. Dorian denied being involved in the creation of Bitcoin and asked for privacy.

However, Gustaffson pointed towards Dorian’s white page entry which mentions his age, area of residence along with six relatives one of whom is Yasutaka A. Nakamoto. Gustaffson claims that the Nakamoto listed by Dorian and the one he has been talking about are the same person and the actual Bitcoin creator the world has been looking for. He commented:

“We believe his middle name is Akiko, and that he later went by the name Akiko. A man by the name Akiko was registered at the address of Dorian in California.”

The likelihood deepens when one goes through a US phonebook search for the same name, which lists four of Dorian’s relatives for one Akiko Nakamoto and both Dorian and Yasutaka lived at the same listed address. Gustaffson claimed that Dorian knew about bitcoin all along and has even come to Colombia to do business with Roberto Escobar in 2014.

While a majority of conspiracies about Satoshi’s identity looks quite close and this one is no different, but there is no conclusive evidence to verify the claims or negate any doubts.

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Author: Silvia A

Polkadot’s Chain Candidate Goes Live in Anticipation for the Proof of Stake (PoS) Version

Polkadot’s initial mainnet has been launched by Web3 Foundation and Parity Technologies according to a blog post on May 26. This much anticipated sharding protocol has been in the works for around three years and is expected to facilitate the integration of blockchain networks.

The recently released live version is, however, centralized as it’s limited to some agents; Polkadot plans to hand over governance to its community once the testing period is over.

According to the announcement, Polkadot’s genesis block has already been mined marking the commencement of its first Chain Candidate (CC1). Notably, this platform was spearheaded by Gavin Wood, an Ethereum co-founder, who branched out to start Polkadot back in 2016 with Web3 Foundation as the lead developers. Wood now says the CC1 might as well be the mainnet,

“Polkadot’s first chain candidate (‘CC1’), which may well become the Polkadot mainnet, has been launched.”

Polkadot’s Mainnet Underlying Value

As highlighted earlier, the Polkadot initiative aims to link chains in a more seamless way for interoperability. Polkadot has, therefore, leveraged a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm in order to eliminate scalability challenges within its ecosystem through sharding. The blog reads,

“[Polkadot] connects several chains together in a unified network, allowing them to process in parallel and exchange data with strong security guarantees between chains. By parallelizing the workload, Polkadot solves major throughput issues.”

However, the CC1 which went live is currently under a Proof-of-Authority (PoA) consensus as Web3 foundation is in control of the network. As of now, the mainnet client users can receive DOT tokens and stake them to become or nominate validators within Polkadot’s network. Notably, the DOT digital assets were already in the secondary market as Simple Agreements for Future Tokens (SAFT) but will not be transferred within Polkadot’s live mainnet until its community votes to initiate a token transfer feature. Wood echoed that,

“During this phase, nothing will actually become at stake and no rewards will be paid, however once we move to the next stage, the community validators will be selected to maintain the network according to their overall DOT backing and our Proof-of-Stake system (NPoS) will be live. If you want to be in it from the start, then you’ll need to stake now.”

Polkadot’s Prospects

This project kicked off on a good note by issuing 5 million DOT tokens at $144 million back in 2016. By early 2019, the Polkadot was valued at $1.2 billion as per a Wall Street Journal Report. The company later sold another 500,000 DOT tokens towards the end of 2019 and is now making headlines with its much-awaited mainnet. Wood touts the project as a long-term player in the crypto industry,

“Polkadot is, in many respects, the biggest bet in this ecosystem against chain maximalism. Even if there were one perfect chain, I don’t think it would stay perfect for very long.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Trustless Bridge Between BTC & ETH Remains a Pipe Dream; tBTC Paused Two Days After Mainnet

“tBTC lasted on mainnet two days.” That’s right, the Ethereum-based token tBTC which was backed 1:1 by bitcoin has been paused just two days after its public launch.

A sidechain, tBTC allows to move BTC in and out of Ethereum without a trusted counterparty. As the project lead Matt Luongo explained, “think cool dApps and new privacy tools for BTC.”

Luongo shared the news via Twitter earlier today that they have pulled the stop and are not helping the users with their funds.

But the team lead was “glad” that they caught it this early as it means the depositors’ funds are saved. The smart contract bug was found by Antonino Salazar Cardozo, Thesis’ head of engineering and confirmed by James Prestwich of Summa. “It’s not so bad. Finding things early means protecting users,” said Luongo.

As for what happened, the team will be posting a deep post-mortem once everything is cleaned up but in short, “Smart contracts are very hard.”

They have taken down the dapp and are now helping users recover funds in Discord. From a maximum of 11 BTC, 7 are pegged in, shared Luongo. Those holding tBTC are asked to visit here.

On May 16, Luongo was the “proud” first tBTC minter on mainnet. Because the system is young and most of the minters were active community members, they are expecting to get this all sorted out in a couple of days only.

“All depositor funds are safe now- but they might not be if they aren’t withdrawn within the 10-day new deposit pause,” warned Luongo.

An ambitious attempt failed

The idea with tBTC was to bring BTC over to ETH network via decentralized custodians.

Keep Network, an Ethereum-based system for storing data off-chain and Summa that provides tools for cross-chain communication are the team behind this project.

Unlike BitGo’s Wrapped BTC (WBTC), tBTC took a unique approach to bring a decentralized version of pegged BTC to Ethereum’s DeFi. As we reported, its launch also saw double the amount of BTC locked in DeFi last week while the amount of Ether locked in DeFi continues to drop since February.

With tBTC, it was possible to mint tBTC directly on the Ethereum blockchain in a trustless manner and use their held BTC to generate yield in DeFi.

If tBTC had succeeded “in bringing significant BTC liquidity into DeFi, DeFi could grow significantly” given bitcoin’s market cap, noted Token Daily. It had hoped to reflect in Ether’s price and benefitted in the form of having its interoperability capabilities enforced with other chains.

But it would have also threatened to replace ETH as the main collateral for DeFi protocols.

But now that tBTC isn’t running anymore, its advantages and risks are all fruitless, for now.

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Author: AnTy

Beam Privacy Cryptocurrency to Undergo Second Hard Fork at Block 777,777 in June 2020

Beam, a privacy centered altcoin which was launched on top of the Bitcoin mainnet on January 3rd, 2019, has announced the date and timeline for its second hard-fork which would be executed on June 28, 2020 on the 777,777th Block of the network. The announcement was made via a blog post,which was published on April 22nd, detailed that the new hard-fork would see the Proof-of-Work based mining consensus change from BeamHash II to BeamHash III.

Some of the major changes that would be implemented with the second hard-fork would include,

  • PoW algorithm will change from BeamHash II to BeamHash III. More details on BeamHash III will be shared closer to the time.
  • Activate support for Confidential Assets
  • Activate support for Lelantus Mimblewimble
  • Activate support for One-Sided Payment

The upgrade to the PoW mining consensus is expected to bring significant improvement to the present mining network and enhance the GPU card capabilities along with it.

The beam would also avail a testnet a few weeks prior to the scheduled hardfork and the launch of the testnet would depend on the block time. The hardfork would only require users to make a software upgrade. The platform is planning to release the node and desktop wallet binaries a month in advance to give necessary amount of time to its users to upgrade to the latest version.

The users would be required to upgrade to the latest version of the wallet called Eager Electron 5.0 prior to the hardfork as the upgrade won’t support the earlier versions and that is one of the key reasons for releasing it a month prior. The firm also assured that the funds will remain safe even if some people forget to upgrade in the given time frame.

The Second Hard-Fork Comes Within a Year of the First One

Beam network’s first hard fork came in August 2019 which also saw major upgrades in the mining consensus software changing from Beam Hash I to Beam Hash II at block 321,321. The first hard fork resulted in the decline of the mining difficulty, which was found because some miners forget to upgrade their software on time.

Beam being a privacy-focused altcoin uses Mimblewimble privacy protocol. Although a research study from Dragonfly Research analyst, Ivan Bogatyy claimed that the protocol in question cannot be seen as an alternative to Monero or Zcash, due to certain privacy breaches in the past, Beam challenged the study claiming their implementation of the protocol was not used in the study.

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Author: James W

It’s the Final Deadline of Zilliqa (ZIL) Token Swap Before they get Frozen

Today is the deadline for the final token swap of ERC20 ZIL tokens to Mainnet ZIL tokens after which you can lose your coins forever.

The token swap is the mechanism to convert your ERC20 ZILs from the Ethereum network to the native ZILs on the Zilliqa network at a ratio of 1:1. After today, the trading of ERC20 ZILs will be frozen and they will become obsolete.

This means you won’t be able to use various decentralized applications (Dapps) in the Zilliqa ecosystem as the native tokens are needed as gas just like ETH tokens in the Ethereum network.

Make the Swap Today

In order to swap, you can deposit your ERC20 ZILs on the supported exchanges including Binance, Huobi, KuCoin, and Coinhako and get native ZILs in return when withdrawing from the exchange.

As per the official announcement, 94 percent of tokens have been swapped and the Zilliqa team has also completed swapping their tokens.

Price Sees Action

A permissionless distributed network, Zilliqa aims to increase the transaction rates as its network expands through sharding. It’s latest throughput is over 2,800 transactions per second (TPS).

Back in January 2019, the network announced its transition to mainnet becoming the “first public blockchain platform to successfully implement sharding.”

Then in December, they launched Zilliqa 6.0.0 to improve the user interface along with faster block times, decreasing the generation of Tx blocks from 75 seconds to 45 seconds, easier data access, and support for smart contracts with multiple messages.

In the price realm, ZIL registered a jump of over 13% in the past 24 hours while trading at $0.0095. The cryptocurrency is up 100% in the past month alone but still down 96% from its all-time high of $0.23.

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Author: AnTy