Proof of Stake Alliance Proposes New Guidelines That PoS Networks Should Follow

Industry advocacy alliance, Proof of Stake Alliance (POSA), is set to release a number of recommended standards that firms involved in proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus will follow in order to lessen the regulatory hurdles posed to various networks.

According to the alliance, they held consultative talks with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the start of the year to talk more candidly in regards to their proposals and also give out their white paper that contains various industry recommendations.

The alliance brings together some of the major industry players such as Polychain, Cardano Foundation, Tezos, Coinbase as well as Bison Trails.

The alliance is seeking to enhance the use of proof-of-stake (PoS) protocols which succeeded Bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW), as it is perceived as highly scalable and efficient.

The meetings with the SEC were conducted in February and were meant to explain to the regulator how PoS technology works and how the regulatory framework could work.

According to POSA founder and President, Evan Weiss, the members were extremely impressed that the SEC took the time to understand the concept of staking and how it can be successful in the US. Weiss stated that the discussion brings an opportunity for the alliance and the regulator to learn from one other.

Weiss explained:

“We’re coming out with some industry-driven solutions around staking as a service which we believe will really help push the ecosystem forward and ensure that staking as a service and staking can grow in the U.S. without being subject to some regulatory landmines and hurdle.”

According to Coinbase’s product manager, Bryce Ferguson, it is essential that industry players engage in an open discussion with the relevant authorities and regulators. He also stated that it is imperative that staking service providers adhere to various standards. He added that it is only through acting as a group that Proof of Stake will succeed.

According to the announcement, Cosmos (ATOM), as well as Tezos (XTZ), were used as proof of stake examples that are already live.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

New Messaging Standard Pushes Crypto Industry Closer to FATF ‘Travel Rule’ Compliance

Crypto firms have made a step towards FATF compliance following the release of a messaging data standard for the Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs).

The initiative has been dubbed ‘IVMS101’ and was pioneered by the Joint Working Group on InterVASP messaging standards (JWG).

This milestone is set to revolutionize how crypto firms will be sharing data with regulators like FCA, FinCEN, MAS, JFSA, and the FATF.

According to the IVSMS101 whitepaper, adopting this standard will facilitate the exchange of KYC/AML information by VASPs in a harmonized manner.

Notably, the project is a product of three key stakeholders with interests in VASPs: International Digital Asset Exchange Association, Global Digital Finance, and the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

Sian Jones, the convener of JWG, has since confirmed that the team’s vision of a standard data model is now a reality:

“I’m pleased to confirm that the working group approved the final text and that the IVSMS101 data model standard now exists,”

InterVASP Messaging Standard, IVSMS101

With this tech in place, all VASPs will be required to integrate the IVSMS101 standard for interoperability and efficient communication.

Basically, the IVSMS101 pegs its underlying design on a universal language that will simplify the process of decoding information shared by ecosystem participants. The paper notes that such an approach, not only enhances regulation but also minimizes the cost of sharing information.

The International Digital Asset Exchange Association (IDAXA) said through an email to Coindesk that the launch of a common standard is a step in the right way since the Virtual Asset guidelines were published by FATF back in June 2019,

“Coming up with the Intervasp Messaging Standard 101 (IVMS101) as a common standard is definitely the first step in the right direction.”

As we approach FATF’s one-year progress review, the IVSMS101 standard will be a key topic. Sian Jones has been commended by the Chamber of Digital Commerce for steering and delivering on the project in good time:

“Our members have worked hard to create this standard and achieve consensus in advance of FATF timelines – a real achievement in such a complex area.”

Currently, the standard has already gained traction amongst crypto industry stakeholders with notable firms like TRISA and Sygna Bridge backing the initiative.

Despite the strong value proposition, IVSMS101 has yet to clear the air on how entities in regulated jurisdictions will communicate with those in less strict environments. What is, however, evident is the shift towards the sunrise phase where the industry is seeing more execution based on the plans and designs laid out earlier on.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

IOHK Reboots Byron Codebase, A Big Step Towards Cardano’s Shelley Blockchain Upgrade

IOHK Team has released a statement that the Byron upgrade is now complete. As per a press release, the upgrade will allow a seamless changeover to the Shelley mainnet. The upgrade will now make Cardano (ADA) be fully decentralized.

The new Byron upgrade or reboot that is set to be rolled on Mar. 31, 2020. This is the most significant software upgrade on Cardano since it was launched back in 2017.

IOHK Team explained that the new release means the entire design of all elements within the Cardano (ADA) blockchain. The upgrade will enhance various elements such as the Cardano’s node performance, the wallet backend, the Cardano wallet as well as Daedalus wallet itself.

The team stated that one of the most significant aspects that come with the Byron reboot is the reorganization of all the logics of the interaction among the blockchain components. The fresh release will make the codebase modular, which will separate the ledger, components of the network node as well as consensus. As a result, this will allow “any one of them to be changed, tweaked, and upgraded without affecting the others.”

The new release means that Cardano (ADA) network is increasingly moving just inches to the launching of the Shelley mainnet. The upgraded Byron network, the system will now have the capacity to support every Shelley feature in addition to various future developments.

The fresh node update is set to be launched to more cores as well as relay nodes on top of the Cardano mainnet for the coming few weeks. This will be followed by more reboot improvements as well as a Daedalus beta in the future.

[Also Read: IOHK Releases Ouroboros Hydra Protocol to Improve Micropayments on Cardano Network]

IOHK CEO, Charles Hoskinson, explained that the release of an upgraded Byron will enhance the overall performance of the Cardano network. He also explained that the upgrade will also improve the transaction throughput capacity. The network is also going to handle an increased demand as well as more transactions every second.

Hoskinson also expounded that the new codebase will allow the Cardano system to be operated using less costly computational equipment that has a weak internet connection. Hoskinson also said,

“I am extremely proud of the IOHK developer team’s endeavours to rewrite the Byron era node from the ground up. Their work represents a significant investment in the network-critical infrastructure required to support the Shelley era of Cardano as we move forward on our mission to build a global-scale financial and social operating system.”

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitmain Rolls Out Antminer S19 Miner Sales; Already Sold Out, Won’t Ship Until Halving

Only a month after making the announcement that it’s going to release the crypto mining hardware Antminer S19 Series, Bitmain has put the product on sale.

The sales are to be made domestically first and internationally very soon after. The S19 was called the “future of mining.” It’s the latest ASIC model and available in 2 different versions: the 95 TH/Ss and the 90 TH/s functioning at 34.5±%5 J/TH, and the S19 Pro that comes as the 110 TH/S and 105 TH/S models, both which have a 29.5±%5 J/TH power efficiency.

Unfortunately, stock didn’t last long. They completely sold out within 24 hours.

How’s the S19 Different from Previous Models?

The Antminer S19 surely makes the previous models seem obsolete. Its Pro version functions at the 110 TH/s hashrate, whereas the Antminter S9 at the 15 TH/s one. The S17 version reaches only 55 TH/s.

All this means S19 is the most powerful Bitmain mining rig at the moment. Both the S19 and the S19 Pro models offer the best energy efficiency, which will be very helpful for miners when the hashrate drops together with the Bitcoin (BTC) price.

Bitmain Is Trying to Change Crypto Mining Altogether

Seeing the Bitcoin Halving is very close, Bitmain couldn’t have made a better decision than to announce the S19 at the end of last month, as miners need to compete for a smaller reward. Besides, since the rigs’ hashrate is by far higher, not too many of them are needed for mining only one BTC.

Some people on Crypto Twitter question the date of the release, beliving that Bitmain is trying to hold back the competition, allowing themselves to use them first before releasing them to the public.

Because the price is going too low even for some, many of the miners will have to give up the network, meaning only big players will want to invest in expensive mining equipment at the moment, especially since the prices are continuing to go down. The S19’s price and shipping date haven’t been yet revealed by Bitmain, even if all the specs have been presented.

While 2019 hasn’t been at all easy for BTC miners, it seems like 2020 isn’t going in a good direction either.

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Author: Oana Ularu

South Korea Remittance Firm, Coinone Transfer, Attributes 50% Monthly Growth to RippleNet

  • A South Korean firm leveraging Ripple’s technology has grown exponentially according to a release on March 4.
  • Coinone Transfer operates as a financial services firm leveraging RippleNet to solve the shortcomings in Korea’s International remittances.
  • The firm has attributed its success to Ripple’s blockchain as per a recent Swell discussion.

Coinone began product development on RippleNet back in 2018; immediately after South Korea lifted a ban which earlier sidelined non-bank institutions. With new rules in place, Coinone aimed at using Ripple’s blockchain to tap into the S.Korea’s $33 billion remittance market. This partnership was initiated through SBI Ripple Asia in the same year.

According to the Coinone’s Business Development Manager for Transfers, Camille Jeong, Ripple’s involvement has been more beneficial than they had imagined.

Speaking at the Swell discussion, Camille said that volumes have grown 50% every month since integrating RippleNet. In addition, the International remittances services provider has managed to retain over 80% of its clientele.

Behind the Success

Ripple’s blockchain has featured in a number of discussions on how to answer the questions of lag time and cost in sending payments/remittances across borders. Coinone attributed its success to RippleNet’s ecosystem, which consists of other financial services leveraging its blockchain.

With such a network, the South Korean firm has been able to settle its transactions far faster than conventional banks. It’s this, coupled with the country’s real-time settlement on domestic transactions that have made Coinone Transfer’s remittance product Cross a truly niche enterprise.

Another factor that accelerated Coinone’s adoption is Ripple’s tracking feature. Basically, users get live updates on the progress of their transactions; this has been a strong marketing point for Coinone.

Looking at this development, both Ripple and Coinone are set to achieve greater things in 2020. However, this is only a mere projection that can significantly change given the crypto market volatility.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Cred and Litecoin Foundation Partner To Offer Up To 10% Interest on LTC Collateral

A press release from February 10th announces that the Litecoin Foundation and Cred have closed a partnership to offer interest on Litecoin (LTC) collateral.

This means Cred customers will be able to stake their coins and this way, earn an annual percentage rate of up to 10%. The partnership also enables holders of LTC to lend the cryptocurrency they’re holding at lucrative rates, just like it’s happening with decentralized finance (DeFi) Ethereum solutions.

See Benefits after a Six Month Commitment

In order to benefit from the interest, customers will have to be with Cred for a period of 6 months. The monthly interest will be paid in either crypto or a fiat currency. The other Cred partners are BitBuy, Uphold and Bitcoin.com. They will facilitate the credit as well. The Litecoin Foundation’s director Alan Austin explained why the partnership is so important for Litecoin by saying:

“Strong use cases should be one of the most important considerations when evaluating cryptocurrency. In addition to Litecoin’s reliability, use for payments and excellent liquidity, the ability to earn interest at attractive rates through Cred’s platform further strengthens this use case.”

Some Partnership Funds will Support the Development of Litecoin

Some of the funds obtained after the joint initiative are going to be used to support the development of Litecoin. Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin has already volunteered to make a 1% donation for the Foundation. As for Cred, the company has a crypto-based borrowing and lending platform. It’s also trying to create a credit accessing and maintaining history that’s available worldwide, by using the LBA token in order to supply the interest rate premiums. Cred was founded by Dan Schatt, the former executive at PayPal.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Australia Releases Roadmap To A ‘Blockchain-Empowered Future’

The Australian government will release its national blockchain roadmap on Friday, February 7, after almost a year of preparations.

It’s been about a year since the Ministry for Trade, Tourism and Investment and the Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology in Australia have made the announcement for the country’s national blockchain strategy that aims for global leadership and focuses on the wine, finance and banking sectors.

Domestic Wine to Receive Special Attention

Talking about the development of the program, Karen Andrews from the Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology mentioned the 5-year blockchain will highlight the work of researchers, startups, and regulators.

Since the wine sector in the country is set to have the AU$259.4 billion ($175 billion) worth, Andrews said blockchain technology is capable of strengthening export opportunities, seeing manufacturers will be able to trace their goods, especially when it comes to wine labeling and exports. 2,000 wine exporters in Australia ship to 123 destinations all over the world.

How Much Did Australia Spent on Blockchain?

The Australian government hasn’t yet allocated funds for the blockchain roadmap implementation. As it was noted in March 2019, some previous investments made by the liberal national government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison helped fund the Digital Transformation Agency in 2018-2019 with AU$700,000 (approx. $500,000) to explore what benefits the use of blockchain would bring to government payments.

It also funded Standards Australia with AU$350,000 (approx. $250,000) to create a set of guidenance for international and standardized blockchain standards.

How Much Other Countries Spent on Blockchain

The science and technology multi-stakeholder operation Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE, together with the World Economic Forum and the Dubai Future Foundation, has released in January this year a paper that says deploying blockchain technology can save the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over $3 billion.

In the meantime, an important firm in Russia has recently decided to cut the country’s spending on blockchain development by half. The government-backed company Rostec wants to spend only 28.4 billion Rubles ($453.2 million) for developing blockchain technology by 2024, and not 55 billion ($877.8 million) or 85 billion Rubles ($1.3 billion), as it initially said it would.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Refundo Rolls Out Federal, State Tax Refund Payouts in BTC, BCH, ETH, and XRP

According to a press release from tax service provider Refundo, American taxpayers will be able to receive their federal tax refunds in Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and XRP, aside from Bitcoin (BTC).

Before these cryptocurrencies were added, 141 million Americans could receive their tax refund only in Bitcoin (BTC), so Refundo thought, it’s time to make some additions. In May 2019, it launched the CoinRT product that allows people to receive tax refunds in BTC, the product that was created in partnership with BitPay, the crypto payment processor.

CoinRT Is Very Easy to Use

Taxpayers just need to create their RefundoCoinRT account, after which they’re being given a unique account and routing number that they have to put on their tax return, together with the background details of the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) regulations and their BTC, XRP, BCH or ETH wallet address.

As soon as the IRS or the state makes a direct deposit of the tax refund into their account, Refundo takes over to process the refund and to deposit cryptocurrency in the designated crypto wallet. This service costs only $34.95 and only needs to be paid once.

Refundo Customers Will Be Allowed to Access Their Refunds Seamlessly

The CEO of Refundo, Roger Chinchilla, says customers of his company will be able to access their refunds seamlessly. These were his exact words, as outlined in the press release:

“We love new technology and we’re always looking for opportunities to help our customers get access to their tax refund in a seamless manner and however they see fit. When we launched support for Bitcoin last year, we knew we were just getting started. Cryptocurrencies are increasingly faster, lower cost, and fit the need of the underbanked. We are pleased to be able to support BCH, ETC, and XRP and look forward to adding other cryptocurrencies in the near future.”

The other great news here is that other cryptocurrencies are going to be soon added to Refundo.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Ethereum Foundation Grants Nimbus $650,000 To Help Develop ETH 2.0

A press release sent out to the public on January 28th indicates that Nimbus was recently awarded a grant of $650,000 by the Ethereum Foundation that would enable it to continue working on the Light ETH 2.0 Client. The main goal of this project is to enable embedded devices and smartphones to operate nodes that are smart contracts capable.

Nimbus was launched by Status in March 2018 as an infrastructure project. In the beginning, it had been imagined as a project that would provide better admittance to the Status application that is installed on all modern smartphones. But as time progressed, the scope of the project was stretched out with the aim of transforming it into something that would be good for the entire Ethereum community.

Jacek Sieka, the current Nimbus Head of Research had a one-on-one with Cointelegraph and stated that:

“The R&D performed by the Nimbus team is not specific to Status or The Status Network, but rather designed as a public good for anyone to use, change, and benefit from.”

Nimbus was started as a collaborative effort between Gitcoin, the Ethereum Foundation, and is co-funded by Status. The money awarded to Nimbus as a grant is set to be used into getting it ready into a state where it can start being produced.

The upcoming project milestones, according to the project map indicate that testing is the next phase, which will then be followed by the final release of a client that will be capable of supporting the beacon chain from Ethereum.

About Nimbus

As is the case with the already existing ETH clients such as Parity and Mist, Nimbus is expected to enable its users to link to the Serenity network that is about to be released by Ethereum.

The main difference between Nimbus and the existing clients lies in the form of support that it will provide to all devices. It’s a client that intends to provide support to a broad range of devices, and not just servers and computers.

As things stand at the moment, the ETH blockchain has been seen to take up too many resources, making it unfriendly for use in smartphones.

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Author: Daniel W

Block.one Set to Launch its Social Media Network ‘Voice’ on February 14, 2020

  • Voice, a social media platform built on the EOS blockchain, is set for release on February 14, 2020. Block.one, the firm behind its design, is optimistic that Voice will compete favorably against the likes of Facebook and Twitter. This innovation will mainly use tokenization to promote activity within the network and leverage its authentication features to eliminate bots which are a menace in existing social media networks.

The premier Voice version has integrated only English as the communication language for its beta. This test release scheduled for early next year will only be accessible to the users who are granted access. Its fundamental goal is to identify any weaknesses within the platform’s security and possible improvements on user experience.

It is notable that Block.one has invested over $30 million in funds for the social media network project. Earlier in the year, the firm spent a significant amount in building its brand through investment on Voice.com as the platform’s domain. Block.one plans to recover its capital by implementing an inflation tax for its native tokens on the EOS blockchain.

Voice will be an open-source project as per its protocol design by Block.one. EOS built tokens will fuel the network whereby participants like content creators will receive Voice tokens as a reward in place for likes on their creativity. Basically, this value creation by the Voice ecosystem is designed to promote a fair compensation for adverts.

So far, the Voice network has received an overwhelming subscription for its beta test according to Block.one. The platform is still accepting applications for on-boarding but noted that some features might be limited depending on the country of operation. In addition, the Voice team has assured that compliance oversight has been prudent to ensure they deliver a product within the scope of regulations.

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Author: Lujan Odera