UMA Project Launches Synthetic Token ETHBTC Which Tracks Relative Value of ETH to BTC

UMA Protocol, a decentralized finance (DeFi) project, has approved an innovative contract to create a synthetic token called ETHBTC which would track the relative value of Ether concerning BTC.

This synthetic token would allow users to bet on the relative value of the second largest token concerning Bitcoin. However, the synthetic ETHBTC token would not involve either ETH or BTC for minting.

While introducing Bitcoin’s synthetic value (tBTC being the latest project) on the Ethereum network as a collateralized asset has been the trend in 2020, the idea of creating a synthetic token that is pegged against the value of bitcoin and Ether is one of a kind.

This synthetic token would be the first deployment of the UMA project, and they are calling it a priceless token model since it will be built from scratch without the need for any oracle.

Hart Lambu, the co-founder of UMA, commented on the reason behind going for an unconventional defi project model despite it being their first deployment, to which he responded:

“ETHBTC was selected as the first test for UMA’s priceless synthetic design because it’s DeFi-centric but not too serious.

This first token is still experimental, so it felt wise to choose a product that appeals to hardcore DeFi natives – the type of people that might want to bet on this rate, and who best understand the risks of ‘new’ things.”

The UMA team has, however, cautioned users who were enthusiastic about buying tokens to be careful. According to them, not only is the token quite new, but even the concept behind it hasn’t been widely tested, and thus users must proceed with great caution.

How ETHBTC Works?

In order to mint ETHBTC, a user needs to deposit DAI in a smart contract, allowing them to withdraw ETHBTC against it. The user can then either trade it in the open market like any other Ethereum based token until the contract expires or increase the liquidity of the ETHBTC pool.

When the contract expires, the collateralized DAI is split between holders and stakers, and if the relative value of the ETH against BTC is higher, the token holder receives a profit and if the value has declined the token staker receives a profit. This means ETHBTC holders would go long while the stakers go short on the synthetic token.

The other interesting aspect of this priceless synthetic token is that it doesn’t require any oracle to track the price, unlike many other token systems (see chainlink’s decentralized price oracles). Primarily because there is no on-chain activity required to keep this model flowing, and Lambur believes this could be a perfect way to scale the DeFi platform.

In case of any dispute, the involved parties can settle the issue through a vote, and the decision-makers who vote for the winning side would receive the same UMA tokens.

Lambur also explained that the voting would be unbiased since the UMA’s economy has been designed in a way that people buying tokens to gain an advantage in the voting process would remain unprofitable. As of now, the ETHBTC can be purchased on Uniswap, which just launched v2.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Fintech Startup Yield To Roll Out Tokenized Zero-Coupon Bonds Using ERC20-Based yTokens

Yield, a fintech startup is developing a new protocol for the Ethereum network on the issuance of fixed-rate lending and borrowing. In traditional finance, such issuance is called a zero-coupon bond, where the buyer can only cash out once the bond reaches its maturity stage and they are guaranteed to receive a higher amount than what they invested.

Yield’s first product would be called yTokens or yDAI, an ERC-20 token which would be used to issue tokenized zero-coupon bonds. Yield’s CEO Allen Niemerg believes zero-coupon bonds is the need of the hour for Ethereum and it would be a novel primitive which can be further implemented in other systems too.

The Defi ecosystem has emerged as a viable lending and borrowing option for many where people put their crypto in collateral using smart contracts and withdraw loans in stablecoins. The borrower can always take out their collectivized crypto asset, but they are required to return the borrowed loan along with the interest rates. As the popularity and demand for the collectivized loan in defi soared, so did the interest rates.

For example, MakerDAO’s stability fee was at 0.5%at the start of the year and it has peaked to 20.5% by now. Thus, something like fixed-rate borrowing and lending would really help the ecosystem become more accessible and viable.

The zero-coupon bonds would provide the exact future projection about the cost of capital for investors. Niemerg described Yield as,

“a standard for a token that settles based on the value of a target asset on a specified future date, and which is backed by some quantity of a collateral asset.”

Yield became the first company to be incubated by blockchain research firm Paradigm and they also announced a seed funding which will be utilized by the startup to develop their first product called YTokens.

How Do yTokens Work?

yTokens will be an ERC-20 token which would act as a bridge currency for people to access zero-coupon bonds. Users can deposit their collateral in a vault governed by smart contracts and in return mint the yTokens. During the starting phase, users can deposit Ether as collateral and the borrowers can issue these tokens with different redeemable time periods ranging from a week to a month and even a year. These tokens will be fungible and would trade at a floating price.

Once the maturity period of the bond expires the collateralized ETH would be automatically transferred to the vault of the user. The CEO also revealed that they are developing a mechanism that can liquidate uncollateralized vault which could occur due to a sudden drop in the price of the collateralized asset.

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Author: James W

Facebook Calibra Wallet Devs Reveal Distributed Auditing Proofs of Liabilities (DAPOL)

  • Facebook has recently introduced a new audit protocol on its Calibra wallet app for auditing of its assets.
  • In a bid to improve the already existing distributed audit process, Calibra’s research team brought forward the Distributed Auditing Proofs of Liabilities (DAPOL) onto the platform.

Dating back to April 2014, the cryptocurrency world witnessed one of its biggest heists when a hacker managed to illegally transfer a large number of Bitcoins to himself. This was after allegedly getting hold of an Mt. Gox auditor’s credentials. In April 2014 Mt. Gox announced that Bitcoins, worth $450 million, had been stolen from customers. This ultimately led to the company’s liquidation. The company, however, would have survived had it adopted a legit protocol for asset auditing.

Calibra team leader and blockchain engineer Konstantinos Chalkias recently told the public that DAPOL protocol was setting a platform to improve on the already existing auditing methods. Most importantly to enhance privacy. The protocol allows a distributed audit of liabilities to be undertaken on entities.

DAPOL’S Main Advantage Over The Old Auditing Techniques

Arguably the main advantage brought to the table by DAPOL is its enhanced privacy, where a third party is combined together with a decentralized audit. This typically means that during an audit, all accounts are focused on and none is overlooked. In his statement, Konstantinos Chalkias explained that in the Distributed Auditing Proofs of Liabilities (DAPOL), it does not expose the number of people who verify their inclusion in the totals. He said,

“The Distributed Auditing Proofs of Liabilities (DAPOL) are schemes designed to let companies that accept a) monetary deposits from consumers (i.e., custodial wallets, blockchain exchanges, banks, gambling industry etc.) or b) fungible obligations and report claims from users (i.e., fake news and hate speech reporting, disapproval voting etc.) to prove their total amount of liabilities or obligations without compromising the privacy of both users’ identity and individual amounts.”

He gave an example of the Enron corporation scandal case which ran bankrupt and collapsed some years back after the company in an attempt to cover up its illegal dealings paid an auditor Arthur Andersen to tamper with the information. He added that the corporation’s downfall would have been avoided had it adopted a more private and transparent auditing process.

Full Transparency For Everyone

DAPOL has proved to be an improvement from old distributed auditing processes in that it comes with new features. One of the features is that it allows everyone to take part in processes like proof verification and offers a more sophisticated validation tool than was not offered before. Calibra’s team is not fully sure but is quite optimistic that DAPOL can be integrated onto Facebook’s Libra project to have an impact on such domains as economic data, crypto blockchain wallets, and public health.

The team is open to inviting any player that shares the same development enthusiasm on DAPOL’S project as them. This is after they released their plans to make the code open-source soon. It is their hope that with time this new DAPOL distributed audit process will be adopted widely by crypto firms globally.

“The backbone of this proposal is based on the enhanced Maxwell’s Merkle-tree construction and is extended using balance splitting tricks, efficient padding, verifiable random functions, deterministic key derivation functions, and the range proof techniques from Provisions and ZeroLedge solvency protocols, respectively.

Because Bulletproofs, Gro16, Ligero, Plonk, Halo and other efficient zkSNARK or zkSTARK constructions were not available or mature when the above solvency protocols were published, we will assume that any efficient zero knowledge scheme for set membership in summation structures can be a good candidate.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Gnosis Launches A Decentralized Exchange, Enabling Ring Trades for Maximum Liquidity

Gnosis launched their decentralized exchange Gnosis Protocol with a promise to offer better liquidity and price execution. Gnosis is a Consensys spin-off which is focusing on the best execution of all trading pairs. The beta version of the decentralized exchange had a successful run where the exchange handled over two million in funds.

Gnosis started out as a Decentralized Finance (DeFi) platform and managed to raise $12.5 million in the token sale. As of today, users can trade any crypto token on the platform with minimum slippage which is its selling point as the exchange promises to offer the least slippage among the available platforms even for tokens which have very low trading volume.

How Does the Gnosis Protocol Work

A trader places an order for a particular trading pair on the decentralized exchange along with the price limit until which the trade can be executed. The platform then compiles these trades in different groups, and then “solvers” find the most ideal way to accomplish these batches of trades. Those solvers who come up with the most efficient way of executing these trades get rewarded with 50% of the trading fee that the traders pay.

Each batch of trades are first auctioned to decide which Solver would execute that particular batch and it lasts for five minutes per batch. If a trade order is not settled with its batch then it is moved to the next batch.

This trade execution method makes it clear that the traders have to wait a minimum of five minutes for a trade to executed, after that there is still no guarantee of when the actual trade would be settled in case it misses execution in its batch. This also sheds light on the Gnosis trading model that they are not trying to compete on the basis of time or become the fastest trade execution platform, rather their niche is more towards better pricing and liquidity. CEO Martin Köppelmann, Co-founder of Gnosis stated,

“It’s probably only interesting if you trade larger amounts because the thing we want to compete on is the price. If you trade a small amount then. even if we could be slightly better in price, the kind of extra effort of the five-minute delay is probably not worth it.”

Batching of Trades Can Help in Executing Ring trades

The batching of trades by Gnosis can also pave the way for ring trading where more than two traders with two or more different assets can simultaneously execute the trade. The ring trading also helps in solving a liquidity crisis, since two or more than two traders can simultaneously execute the trade, it’s easier to match at least one buyer and the seller even for the assets with low liquidity,

The CEO of the exchange believes that their batching model is quite revolutionary and can be combined with other DeFi protocols that deal in liquidity. He explained,

“Ideally we would want to be integrated into some protocols that need liquidations…We have these kinds of offerings so that every token can be traded against any other token. And that is something that sometimes could be very useful for a protocol like Compound. Because you have different tokens that you can use as collateral and then different tokens you’re lending. So you might trade some tokens against another where usually maybe a direct market would not exist.“

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Block.One Injects $150M Into Voice Social Media Platform to Fund Independent Operations

EOS blockchain protocol publisher that ran a $4 Billion ICO, Block.one, is injecting $150 million to enhance independent operations of its Voice social media platform that was introduced in June 2019.

According to a press statement released on Thursday, the money will be used to kick off Voice’s independent operations away from its parent company, Block.one. Voice has already started the process of independent operations as it hired Salah Zelatimo as the CEO in January who previously worked as the global digital head in Forbes. Following Zelatimo’s hiring, a public beta was launched last month.

According to the press release, Selah will lead the initiative to establish Voice as a separate enterprise and the $150 million will be used in the expansion of operations and building up of the firm’s workforce. Block.One had already spent roughly $150M last year getting the platform ready to go live. This doesn’t include the $30M they spent buying Voice.com.

Voice debuted in summer last year and at that time, it was hyped as the social media platform which gets rid of bots. During the launching time, it was touted as the social media network where real people rather than bots will post as well as share content in order to be rewarded with tokens.

The app aims at enhancing authenticity in the social media space which has been elusive in the recent past. Users will have to produce their identity details for verification. After verification, users will then be awarded Voice tokens every day which they then use to push certain posts. Users can also win extra tokens when they create original content on the platform.

Zalatimo stated that Voice is set to be a true content marketplace and the user will be in total control of the content which will be promoted. Members will also not be afraid of being wrong as the community can hold each other accountable. Zalatimo said:

“By designing a platform where every user has gone through Know Your Customer (KYC) verification and real identities are attached to the original content being shared, we are empowering users to hold each other accountable.”

Through the use of tokens, Voice aims at enhancing transparency in the content promotion process.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Startup Solana Seeks A $2-$10M Raise; DISH and KIN Jumping To A New Blockchain?

U.S television network provider, DISH, is allegedly looking to leverage the Solana protocol for a 5G tokenization project. This blockchain’s fundamentals have also attracted Kin, a payment platform built by Kik and currently runs on the stellar network.

Both DISH and Kin are set use Solana as the building blockchain network in a bid to maximize its scalability feature. The network boasts of a 50,000 TPS according to tests conducted so far; slightly lower than Visa’s 60,000 TPS.

Solana has since set out to seek more development funds with a recent pitch deck (first found by Coindesk) revealing the target amounts between $2 million and $12 million. However, this is yet to be clarified as some other sources point to a strategic $10 million round which will raise the company’s valuation to $125 million.

While DISH creates tokenized on-chain hiring spaces, Kin is running a platform that handles over $1 billion transactions a day. The two entities could benefit greatly from a scalable blockchain network; Kin which was to run on Ethereum ended up on Stellar as a result of this inefficiency. Given the recent developments with Solana, Kin might now move its operations from stellar. The company’s technical advisor, Tanner Philp, noted that they are considering Solana’s protocol to enhance more development;

“Solana is one option we thought could be interesting for Kin so we have been doing some initial evaluations, but right now we have nothing to announce.”

Solana’s pitch deck however claims that Kik will join its network as soon as March, 2020. Despite this success, Solana is currently at legal cross paths with the SEC. The company’s ICO back in 2017 amounted to $100 million worth of Kin tokens and would later raise $20 million in a 2019 Series A funding.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

EY, ConsenSys, Microsoft Launch Baseline Protocol; Enterprise Data On Ethereum Mainnet

ConsenSys and EY have commenced the formation of a blockchain protocol suited for enterprise clients. According to a press release on March 4, ConsenSyns said that the ‘Baseline protocol’ will leverage Ethereum’s Mainnet to deliver its distributed services.

This new innovation is meant to increase corporate efficiency especially in communication systems. As it stands, companies spend a fortune to integrate systems like ERP and CRM without a proper guarantee for functionality in their projected life time. Blockchain on the other hand offers an opportunity to create a common frame of reference although it is yet to gain the market’s confidence in terms of data security and privacy.

ConsenSys Group Executive for Mainnet, John Wolpert, is however optimistic that Baseline protocol will change the narrative in blockchain and attract enterprises to the market;

“A lot of people think of blockchains as the place to record transactions. But what if we thought of the Mainnet as middleware? This approach takes advantage of what the Mainnet is good at while avoiding what it’s not good at.”

Baseline Protocol in Detail

The whole idea is tokenization of financial services with blockchain as the underlying tech to facilitate these operations. Given the sensitivity on information sharing, Baseline implemented an open-source using the Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) consensus within its ecosystem. Basically, enterprises can be mathematically recognized as network participants without the hustle of sharing private information.

This platform will further leverage smart contracts to create digital agreements on Ethereum. It is also designed in a compartmental manner such that enterprises can only access information from a permissioned chain. Despite its potential, Baseline protocol is not very scalable given the fundamental ZKP consensus. This algorithm is highly computational which in turn increases the amount of gas to be spent on Ethereum.

The Opportunity!

Notably, this decentralized project has attracted Microsoft which is set to contribute to its development. A technical steering committee is also being established with over 10 members confirming so far. Other significant players who are onboard include; Duke University, ChainLink, MakerDAO, Envision Blockchain and Splunk.

The Baseline protocol code is currently available for testing although this has been limited to a specific group. Plans are however underway to make it open to the general public over the course of March. EY’s Global Blockchain leader, Paul Brody, was keen to highlight this journey;

“Over the last two years, we have been advancing the state of the art for private, secure transactions on public blockchains. This takes the groundwork we have built and starts filling in gaps such as enterprise directories and private business logic, so companies will be able to run end-to-end processes like procurement with strong security.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Contents Protocol Refunds $8M ICO, Shuts Down Due To Crypto’s Negative Perceptions

Content-sharing platform, Contents Protocol has announced on Wednesday that is shutting down and will refund investors the $7.5 million worth of Ether (ETH) that were raised in the initial coin offering (ICO). Here’s what the Contents Protocol announcement from the official website reads:

“We inform you that due to continued regulatory uncertainties in cryptocurrency and lack of business prospects, we have decided to end our project.”

A WATCHA Play Subsidiary

Contents Protocol became an ICO market player later, completing its crowd sale in December 2018. As a subsidiary of the Korean streaming service WATCHA Play, it was designed for incentivizing content sharing by offering its reviewers of show and films rewards in its native token, the CPT. However, it had to shut down, explaining that it had too few users because people have a negative perception when it comes to cryptocurrencies. It also said that it doesn’t expect the anti-crypto attitudes to change very soon either.

$7.5 Million Worth of Assets Converted Back into ETH

In its public and private ICOs from 2018, Contents Protocol managed to raise 29,333 ETH (worth $8.1 million). The remaining assets, valued at about $7.5 million, have been converted back into ETH after the shutdown, remaining to be redistributed to investors who made requests for refunds. The company said the collected CPTs are going to be destroyed as soon as the liquidation process begins, so the users holding the tokens will be able to exchange them at the $0.002 worth of ETH until then.

According to the asset records provided by the firm, about 3,800 ETH were exchanged into $1.45 million for funding business operations. While a part of the funds has been converted into Bitcoin (BTC), most of the assets remained in Ethereum (ETH).

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Author: Oana Ularu

Analyst Says Tezos Could ‘Get Pretty Ugly’ While XTZ Shorts Climb To An All-Time High

  • XTZ up 778% in the past year, surging to a new high of $3.40
  • Baking and stable protocol pushing the prices up but more people entering the market creating a “snowball effect”
  • Baked XTZ has no lock-up period and shorts are climbing to ATH, so a reversal expected that has the potential to get ugly

Tezos has been a hot cryptocurrency since last year where it jumped 778%. So far in 2020, we are up 140% leaving bitcoin’s gains in the dust.

Today has turned out to be yet another amazing day for XTZ as the digital asset jumps over 20%, making a new high at $3.40. In the past month, XTZ surged 94% against BTC and 40% against ETH.

The record ICO making record gains

A record-breaking initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017, the project collected $232 million and officially launched in Sept. 2018. The Tezos blockchain uses a native-middleware called “Network Shell” allowing them to develop a self-amending ledger.

Its blockchain protocol is divided into three layers; the network protocol is responsible for peer broadcasting between nodes, transaction protocol defines the accounting model implemented by the blockchain, and the consensus protocol helps the chain reach agreements on the state of transactions.

Tezos is a Liquid Proof of Stake system which unlike Delegated proof of stake (DPoS) has no hard and fast rule that delegates the selection. The system requires one to stake a certain number of XTZ to participate in the consensus, a process called baking. The bakers or token holders can delegate their validation rights to other token holders as well without transferring ownership but is optional.

Bakers get the block publishing rights based on their stake and successful bakers get a block reward and get to charge transaction fees for all the transactions inside the block.

Stable Protocol and Baking Pushing XTZ Up

Currently, nearly 80% of XTZ is baked with 15% of all XTZ circulating supply held in exchange bakeries. Coinbase is leading this with over 44% share followed by Kraken (22%), and Binance (15%).

Baking has put a constraint on the supply while demand keeps on rising as the operator “needs to continue to buy more as they go.” This has the XTZ price soaring. However, they have no lockup period so these staked XTZ tokens “can be pulled at a moment’s notice.”

Also, with people starting to enter into Tezos due to the appreciating price and the additional stake reward are creating a “snowball effect,” which Mati Greenspan, founder of Quantum Economics notes, says “causing even further momentum on the price.”

While one reason behind this surge is the staking mechanism, the other reason is it protocol that is looking more stable and scalable than some of its competitors, said, former eToro analyst.

But Things Could get Ugly

The price of XTZ can certainly push higher but investor and trader Josh Rager says “based on the chart, I’m not going to FOMO into this (at this point in time). Certainly an asset I’m willing to buy on pullbacks for swing trades.”

Greenspan also issues a word of caution,

“There’s no telling just how high this might go but I have a feeling that when we do finally see a reversal it does have the potential to get pretty ugly.”

Just like Greenspan, these highs certainly had the traders anticipating a pullback as XTZ shorts reached an all-time high. However, trader, Crypto Michaël wishes “everyone all the best shorting this.”

However, the google trends for search term Tezos are looking for another big uptrend which is a bullish signal.

Source: Google Trends

XTZ is currently fast approaching $3.50 while leading the market gains. But while the shorts are on the rise, so is the trend for the cryptocurrency, now it’s to be known if we will continue this climb or take a break.

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Author: AnTy

TRON Dev Team, TRONZ, Forks ZCash’s Privacy Tech, Zk-SNARKs To Add to MainNet

TRONZ team is set to implement privacy protocol which is poised to be the biggest Multi-party Computation in blockchain’s history. Tron states that a setup ceremony will be held soon claiming that it will become a Guinness World Record.

TRONZ is made up of community developers who have come up with the anonymity protocol found in TRON’s main chain. Now, the team is finally through with public testing as well as testnet and is now set to introduce anonymous transaction in the TRON MainNet. Currently the TRONZ team is looking at the MainNet MPC process and in the coming days it will roll on MPC Torch Project based on the MPC process.

Cointelegraph reports that the project aims at integrating Zk-SNARKs which is the main privacy protocol found in Zcash (ZEC), within the Tron blockchain. Although the team boasted that the implementation of the new technology is the most efficient, there were no technical details given about the protocol.

The main aim of the TRONZ is to launch the privacy protocol to enhance Tron smart contracts which will enable developers to roll on private data within the smart contracts. Also, the team looks forward to provide blockchain-based MPC solution to enhance private computing needs.

An analysis of Tron GitHub page indicates that different repositories were directly forked or copied from the source code of Zcash. Most of the repositories meant for privacy looks like they have not been updated for a couple of months. The MPC code was also directly copied from Zcash. However it is probable that the TRONZ team was more concerned with the original Tron repositories meant to integrate the privacy protocol.

Meanwhile, according to Utoday, Tron has surged into the top ten following the announcement of the new developments. In addition, Tron’s founder Justin Sun has also said that the firm is working on a decentralized stablecoin which will be based both on TRX and BTT.

The surge could also have been brought by the recent rallying of cryptos where TRX is now back to top 10 as per the CoinMarketCap scale having being absent for almost a year.

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Author: Joseph Kibe