At 3M Monthly Users, KIN Has Outgrown the Forked Stellar Blockchain, Proposes Move to Solana

The Kin token, launched by the popular social messaging app – Kik – has been embroiled in controversy since its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017.

While the crypto token has been dealing with a protracted legal battle with the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), there have been several technical issues at its core.

Kin conducted its ICO on the Ethereum blockchain but clarified that it would make use of Ethereum for security purposes while the transactions would be validated on Stellar blockchain.

Later, they forked the Stellar blockchain to create a modified chain of their own. However, the hard-forked stellar chain is now proving inadequate for the Kin cryptocurrency. As a result, the digital currency would migrate to Solana blockchain in the coming month.

Kin also shared an improvement proposal regarding its move to the Solana blockchain, suggesting that while its operations saw great scalability on the forked stellar chain. There are certain limitations that have caused the disruption in running the network operations smoothly and thus they have decided to make a move to Solana.

Pointing to the issues they are facing on the forked stellar chain, the proposal read:

“While Stellar offers most of the features needed to do basic functions like sending Kin between accounts, there is a limited amount of space for metadata on transactions.

Stellar allows up to 30 bytes of metadata (called a ‘memo’) per transaction, which is far short of what Kin needs to perform its basic functions”

Talking about the benefits of the Solana blockchain, the proposal read:

“Solana solves both the latency and the feature set problems. Solana uses a Proof of History consensus model, along with a number of other novel innovations that unlock significant improvement in throughput and latency.

Additionally, Solana would allow significantly more metadata in transactions since it has a Virtual Machine implementation, offering more flexibility.”

The Proposed Transition

In order for the transition to be possible, the majority of the Kin developers have to agree with the move. If enough developers agree, Solana could facilitate the transition in a matter of months. This transition could be completed by Jan. 7, 2021.

Tanner Philp, head of corporate development at Kik said that Kin ecosystem has registered a massive uptick in the number of users in the past 6 months, and a significant rise in the core metrics during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has lead to severe lockdowns across the globe.

During the beginning of March when the world started to realize the severity of the COVID-19, the total users who have spent Kin token were evaluated to be around 1.5 million, however, the number jumped almost three times to 4.4 million by April 20th.

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Author: James W

DapperLabs’ CryptoKitties Moves From Ethereum To Its Custom Made Flow Blockchain

  • CryptoKitties, one of the most popular crypto collectable games developed by Dapper labs is all set to make its move to the Flow blockchain from its current platform Ethereum.

CryptoKitties made headlines when it partnered with the NBA to create digital collectables for the NBA and players. It also crashed the Ethereum network when it was launched back in 2017. The game would remain interoperable with Ethereum but it would move to flow with new upgrades and game features.

The new features would include animated 3D attributes, scalable nature due to the custom-built blockchain and users could also use the digital assets of the game in other games on the Flow blockchain.

While scalability was one of the key reasons behind the move to Flow, the CEO of Dapper Labs, Roham Gharegozlou, also mentioned that the platform was getting costlier for generating new cats in the game. The CEO further explained:

“Everyone on Ethereum will be able to take their cat to Flow. They’ll get upgraded powers, and will be able to be used on all kinds of Flow applications. The vision we had with KittyVerse: Hats on Cats, Kitty Races…will be much easier to be created around the kitties, in a way that millions of people, hundreds of millions of people can actually play with.”

DapperLabs Aims to Make Digital Collectables A Valuable Asset

The move to Flow is seen as a small step towards a long term goal of making digital collectables mainstream and valuable. Dapper Labs aims to continue in its aim of providing its users with true in-game ownership, thanks to its underlying Non-fungible tokens. All of which can be traded, exchanged and used to play within the game and community.

Dapper Labs hopes that as development progresses, and people and developer communities realize the potential, more games with similar digital collectables will be launched on Flow, making it a complete ecosystem and a marketplace of its own.

In the past couple of months; in the run-up to the Flow launch, Dapper Labs made several new announcements and promotional events.

It also invited developers to its new platform PlayGround and created a new programming language called Cadence specifically meant to ease the process of developing new smart contracts for creating Non-Fungible Tokens on the Flow blockchain.

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Author: Silvia A

a16z Analyzes Crypto Price-Innovation Cycle; Appears ‘Chaotic’ But Showing Steady Growth

Popular crypto oriented VC, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), has released an analysis on the ‘crypto price-innovation cycle’. According to this report, the crypto market moves in cycles alternating between high and low activity. Based on the stats gathered, there have been three cycles since Bitcoin was launched.

The very first market peak was in 2011 followed by 2013 and finally 2017 when BTC rallied to its all-time high. Andreessen Horowitz noted that these cycles are influenced by an underlying order which starts with a surge in Bitcoin’s price. Consequently, the activity on social media spikes together with a general interest leading to more contribution in the crypto space. Startups then join the market resulting to new products which in turn inspire new people.

Notably the Compound annual growth rates (CAGR) for all metrics have consistently increased despite the up and down trends within the cycles.

Source; Andreessen Horowitz

The Three Crypto Market Cycles

As highlighted earlier, Andreessen Horowitz found the crypto market to have lived through three cycles given the above analogy. During the first one (2009-2012), stakeholders were still intrigued on Bitcoin’s value proposition although it didn’t seem to have any practical use. This cycle peaked in 2011 which saw some of the largest wallet providers, miners and exchanges make a debut in the crypto market.

In the second cycle (2012-2016), Bitcoin became known past the tech world. The cycle peaked in 2013 and is characterized by startups joining the crypto industry and the launch of Ethereum blockchain.

As for the final cycle (2016-2019), crypto implications captured the attention of mainstream media. Since BTC rallied in 2017, the space has seen more developers, startups and exciting projects featuring games, finance and payments amongst others.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

ETH From UpBit’s 2019 Hack on the Move As Scammers Dump it on Different Exchanges

UpBit, a popular Korean exchange fell victim to one of the largest Ethereum hacks back in 2019 when hackers managed to steal $50 million worth of ETH from its hot wallet. There have been several attempts to reclaim the stolen amount but nothing worthwhile was achieved and a significant portion of the stolen amount is still being dumped in the market.

There have been emerging reports lately that the hackers behind the crime are now trying to exchange the stolen ETH for Fiat or other cryptocurrencies via different exchanges. Whale Alert, a popular Twitter account known for tracking significant crypto transactions has managed to trace the stolen UpBit ETH being dumped on an exchange called BYEX.

While the exact amount of the dumped ETH was not traced, Whale Alert found that the account associated with the dump managed to cash out in batches of $25,000. The suspected account made several transactions of $25k to various accounts within a week.

Whale Alert found that a majority of the stolen ETH was dumped on BYEX, however, a closer look at the blockchain data suggests there are at least three other accounts with 3,000 ETH each associated with the hacker’s account waiting to dump the remaining Etherum. While cryptocurrencies are known to offer the privacy of transactions, however, modern-day analytical tools manage to trace hacked funds despite scammers taking precautionary measures.

Similar to the ongoing ETH dump from the UpBit hack, last year Binance lost a significant portion of Bitcoin to a hacking attack, and with the help of analytical tools, researchers managed to identify and trace a majority of those lost Bitcoin.

At the time of UpBit hack, many exchanges including Binance pledged to work with UpBit and freeze any accounts that suggested suspicious activities associated with the hacked ETH coins.

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Author: Silvia A

What’s the Issue with S2F’s $288,000 Bitcoin Price Prediction?

Popular analyst PlanB who is known for his scarcity-based stock-to-flow model recently in an interview on Peter McCormack’s podcast What Bitcoin Did talk about how Bitcoin is “not a toy anymore.” From a toy, the digital asset has evolved into magical internet money and now to dollar parity.

Reflecting on the world’s leading cryptocurrency’s past ten years, the analyst said bitcoin may not even be an asset anymore as “it’s gonna be much bigger than that.”

Further moving onto his model, he points out a very famous quote about models that says, ‘“all models are wrong but some are useful’ and that’s very true.” As for his updated S2FX model,

“it’s more useful (than the original S2F) because it forces you to think in phases, in big steps – in this case, a hundred billion dollar Bitcoin into a multiple trillion-dollar Bitcoin market value. That’s a huge leap and it’s not gonna be a gradual thing that something is going to change in the next couple of years.”

If it doesn’t then all bets are off which means the model will break.

“I would be very happy if it would only forecast the next halving or maybe two halvings correct that would be very useful right now,” said the analyst.

Reciting another famous quote, “I’d rather be roughly right than exactly wrong.” PlanB said “that’s why I always talk about orders of magnitude right with this model It’s not about the exact dollar value of Bitcoin.”

The S2FX model doesn’t provide precise targets rather rough ones. The actual Bitcoin will be above or below, scattered around that target.

Instead of getting married to the model and putting all the belief and money into it, which is “so stupid,” the model should be seen as a way of structuring thinking about something and maybe get some rough direction from it, he added.

Issue with the $288,000 in 2021

As we have reported, this model has a number of critics. Bitfinex bitcoin whale Joe007 is one of those who had said,

“One problem with the S2F model is that it’s divergent, predicting a ridiculous price of $1 trillion BTC by 2050 and infinity after 2140. An alternative FSM model is convergent and more realistic. But if you expect $1M BTC any time soon you may be disappointed.”

The bitcoin whale, however, does believe in Bitcoin which he said is “much more than just a currency.” He said earlier this year,

“It’s a completely new social technology: non-political non-confiscatable self-sovereign extra-hard money. I expect it to precipitate a transition of humanity to a completely new economic and social order that will slowly emerge over time.”

This latest model meanwhile also puts the bitcoin price at $288k, up from $100k projected by the original S2F model. This means the price could be both over and below this fixed price line from 2020-2024.

However, not everyone believes in these numbers.

Crypto enthusiast Tyler Durden said the problem with this new high is the daily volume required to take bitcoin to $288,000. This can’t happen in a single daily candle and as such needs “sustained volume over a fairly medium-term time frame.”

Analyst Bob Loukas counters the view with, “Think of the hysteria in 2017….now multiple many times. Would be a different animal on a massive scale. And a liquidity crisis won’t last years.”

The “real” bitcoin volume has been seeing a solid boost lately, with the daily volume (7-day average) once again above $2 billion.

You can listen to the full podcast here:

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Author: AnTy

Economist Alex Krüger Strikes at Bitcoin Stock-To-Flow (S2F) Model Again

PlanB’s Stock-to-Flow is one of the most popular models in the bitcoin market. Much of the popularity and devotion to the model could be attributed to its price target. This scarcity-based model predicts bitcoin’s value over $100,000 before December 2021.

And the opposers of this model have voiced the “cult around S2F” the very reason for their disagreement.

“Selling S2F as having absolute predictive power is not only ‘waste of time’, it’s dangerous for tens (hundreds?) of thousands of retail crypto traders who don’t understand statistics and substitute DYOR by varied guru dictums,” previously said Bitfinex Bitcoin whale Joe007 who has long been criticizing the model.

In PlanB’s defense, he does acknowledge the opposing views and encourages the community to read the analysis of those who have contending views.

But given that the bitcoin market is still a speculative one, people remain more interested in the information pieces that talk about prices mooning to million dollars.

Recently, the quant analyst updated his model to include the BTC S2F cross-asset (S2FX) model that takes phases of an asset into account and enables valuation of different assets like silver, gold, and BTC with one formula.

“S2FX model shows a significant relationship between S2F and market value of these six assets (low p-Values F-test and low p-Values coefficients) with a perfect fit (99.7% R2),” wrote PlanB.

Notably, it also projects a higher Bitcoin value in the next bull cycle at $288,000.

May as well use Moon Cycles to Predict BTC Price

Economist and trader Alex Kruger, who is also an S2F model critic and believes it to be “massively overhyped” yet again took to Twitter to share his opposing views including this model cannot be used to predict BTC price.

Those using S2F to predict bitcoin may as well be using the moon cycles to predict BTC, he said.

He pointed to Sebastian Kripfganz, Assistant Professor in Econometrics at the University of Exeter who “debunked” the cointegration by arguing that considerations can only be among non-stationary variables and S2F is a stationary variable.

Kruger’s personal arguments are based on the S2F not being a stochastic process, “not random, but rather deterministic.” It is rather based on a spurious regression with a high r-squared.

However, PlanB mentions in his article that “many have verified the non-spurious relationship between S2F and BTC price.”

“The S2F analysis is interesting. But the S2F model is useless for predicting price, as the underlying assumptions of the model are not met. Now and always,” concluded Kruger.

But according to PlanB, the economist is “jumping to conclusions too fast” that involves “zero analysis.”

What the analyst is interested in is an article with his analysis, data, and reasoning. As per Kruger, “Stock to Flow and Price are NOT cointegrated because Stock to Flow is not a unit root process, i.e. not random” will be here before the halving.

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Author: AnTy

KFC Rolls Out Blockchain Pilot to Improve Digital Ad Transparency in Advertising Supply Chain

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the popular fast-food chain, has turned to blockchain to manage its digital advertising supply chain.

KFC launched its blockchain pilot program in the Middle East in a bid to improve its digital advertising and media purchases. The company hopes that this decentralization will bring much-needed transparency to the digital advertising market, reported a local media publication.

KFC is hoping that the blockchain initiative will not only bring more transparency to data processing but also increase its brand visibility and penetration, which is currently dominated by local fast food joints. The use of blockchain would also offer publishers, advertisers and consumers a higher level of privacy and security.

Experimentation with Blockchain and cryptocurrencies has been on the rise recently with several beverage and food companies. While Blockchain is slowly becoming a choice for supply chain management by various firms, cryptocurrency as a form of payment is also gaining traction.

Starbucks is a prominent brand that’s been testing crypto payments in certain parts of the world, recently it also started testing for China’s national digital currency along with McDonald’s and other universal fast food joints.

Even KFC has experimented with cryptocurrency payments back in 2018 when its Canada based food joints started offering ‘Bitcoin Bucket.’ in an updated menu. And as the name suggests users can buy this bucket by paying in Bitcoin.

In early 2016, the fast-food franchise, Burger King was another company that started accepting Bitcoin payments from their customers. A Burger King in the Netherland’s was the first to begin the initiative, Germany then made paying with an app and website available for payments with BTC as well.

KFC Aims to Revamp its Digital Advertising With Blockchain

KFC is hoping to cut down cases of fraud in its digital advertising domain by using a shared blockchain-based database with its partners which would allow media partners to keep track of all ads delivery and placement with authorized parties.

This shared common database would be updated in real-time which would allow the firm the resolve any cases of fraud associated with advertising. KFC’s Yum! Brands Ozge Zoralioglu, chief marketing officer stating:

“KFC can now benefit from enhanced visibility of real-time data and the most updated insights – all with full confidence that information is authenticated, tamper-proof and hence credible.”

Blockchain offers a non-mutable form of data recording without the need for human intervention and that is what makes it such a lucrative form of data management tool.

The other factor which makes Blockchain such a favourite is its versatility and scope for improvements, and this is one of the prominent reasons that many mainstream tech firms like IBM and Accenture are investing heavily in the technology, while other consumer-based service providers are integrating the technology in their business model.

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Author: James W

Binance Burns Biggest Volume of BNB Supply After Registering Highest Quarterly Volume

Binance, one of the largest and most popular crypto exchanges in the world has revealed that the first quarter of 2020 brought in the highest volume that the exchange has recorded since its inception.

Binance also went through its quarterly exercise of burning a portion of the BNB supply which has been a regular task as mentioned in their white paper. However, there was a slight change in the burning process where instead of 20% of the total profit, the amount of BNB is now decided with respect to the trading volume.

Binance burnt a total of 3,373,988 BNB, worth $52.4 million in its 11th quarter which is the highest amount of BNB burned to date and represented 1.69% of the total supply. For comparison, it burned 2.2M BNB worth $38M for its 10th BNB Burn. Binance has now burned 20.12 million BNB in total for 11 quarters which is estimated to be worth $298 million or 10.1% of its total supply of 200 million.

Binance BNB Burn q1
Source: Binance

Binance Has Been Dominating All Sectors of Crypto Verse

Binance has grown in leaps and bounds and that has been possible mainly because of its dominance in almost any sector it sets its foot into. The crypto exchange has grown to become the number one player in the futures market in terms of trading volume with 24 perpetual contracts. The exchange is also leading the spot trading market with over 600 trading pairs.

The platform has added fiat-to-crypto gateway for over 42 fiat currencies thus making it easier for traders of these countries to directly trade crypto using their native fiat. The platform has also developed a great acquisition model where a significant portion of their profit is dedicated to the acquisition of new ventures.

Binance Ecosystem is Growing

The coronavirus pandemic has crippled most of the financial institutions and has started to show its effect on the crypto ecosystem as well, where many firms have resorted to cost-cutting and staff layoffs. However, Binance, on the other hand, has made several significant acquisitions in the past couple of months including one of the prominent crypto data provider CoinMarketCap.

Prior to that Binance managed to fulfill its dream of opening a physical office in China where the educational subsidiary Binance Academy partnered with Blockchain Technology and Industry Research Institute (Lingang Research Institute) with Lingang Group. The exchange also launched its Binance smart chain which would run on top of Ethereum blockchain and offer a truly decentralized experience

The exchange also launched a global peer-to-peer.platform with 12 fiat currencies making it easier for anyone to buy or sell crypto.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

HackerOne Cut Ties With Blockchain Voting App Voatz Over Breach of Partnership Standards

HackerOne, a bug bounty platform has severed all ties with popular blockchain voting application Voatz. The cutting of ties is first of its kind for HackerOne which has over 1800 partners across various business ventures, not once before it has come down to cutting off ties.

HackerOne is known for helping different corporations to find any security vulnerabilities in their system or software. Samantha Spielman, a representative for HackerOne noted that the breach of partnership terms made it impossible for them to continue working with Voatz, despite them not doing this ever in their 18 years of existence. However, Spielman declined to elaborate on what standards Voatz breached which led to the decision.

Voatz Reveal What Led HackerOne Cut Ties

Voatz in their statement noted that they regret the hindrance that has arisen in the partnership and was working to mend their ways. On the question of what led to the cutting off ties between the two firms, they revealed that a small team of researchers at HackerOne along with few other community members believe that Voatz reported some of their research to the FBI. The statement read,

“This falsehood and misinformation has been a source of animosity toward Voatz and our partners, who face consistent attacks from these researchers,”

Back in October 2019, it was reported that the FBI was investigating a possible breach on the Voatz app during pilot program run of 2018. West Virginia has been testing the Voatz app for their various pilot projects and Secretary of State Mac Warner said that there has been no problem with the application whatsoever and maintained that not a single vote cast through the app has been altered.

However, an independent group of MIT researchers has recently contradicted Warner’s claims and started a scathing attack on the Voatz app for a range of issues. The researchers pointed out that the blockchain voting app has a several security flaws, lack transparency and even warned election commission for giving a second thought before using it in any election.

Voatz responded to the attack in a sarcastic manner calling the research report unfair and even assigned Trail of Bits to analyze their platform. However, the move backfired on them as Trail of Bits found the claims made by MIT researchers to be valid. Later West Virginia also secured ties with the blockchain voting application.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Binance’s Educational Platform Opens Up Government Approved Office in Shanghai

Binance, one of the most popular crypto exchanges in the crypto-verse which also has many subsidiaries including Binance Academy (a blockchain and crypto-centred educational portal) is all set to open its first office in Shanghai, China. Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the CEO of the exchange confirmed the same on Twitter.

This can be seen as a major milestone for Binance given there have been many rumors of them unofficially running an office and even some reports of them being investigated by the authorities (which the exchange has denied time and again). CZ has been trying to strike balance with the authorities for quite some time now, but given China’s stance on crypto exchanges forced Binance to shift their operating base outside the country.

The Begining of a New Chapter for Binance

According to the local news report, the major milestone would see Binance Chain’s core team working with Lingang Xinyefang and Lingang Innovation Management College in order to set up a research institute in Shanghai province. The focus of the research institute would be to develop various use cases for blockchain technology, for which China seems to be really bullish.

Today marked the official signing ceremony where the local authority seal of approval took place and the possession of the office was handed over to Binance. While CZ has often propagated that in modern times physical headquarters and office does not make much of a difference given the technology has made it possible to function without the need of one. However, given China’s notorious and passive stance towards crypto service providers despite being bullish on blockchain make this event indeed historical for Binance.

Does Binance’s Office Approval Suggest China’s Softening Stance on Crypto?

The answer is a hard NO. China has been tip-toeing about their approval for crypto for quite some time, but it seems it would be quite difficult to see China’s softening regulatory stance on cryptocurrency. This has been evident on many occasions in the past, be it them calling Bitcoin the best use case of blockchain, in the wake of PM’s call for accelerated blockchain adoption, but the very next day they took a U-turn and said that Bitcoin still has many flaws which would be overcome by their national CBDC.

Very recently they have blasted cryptocurrencies for being volatile and how it could never become an instrument of finance. Even the recent Binance approval for research is strictly for blockchain purposes only. While there is still no confirmation on the launch date of national digital currency, which many speculated to be in line for launch since October 2019.

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Author: James W