Diem’s New Payment Solution With FireBlocks & First DAG Hints at a Possible Late 2021 Launch

Diem’s New Payment Solution With FireBlocks & First DAG Hints at a Possible Late 2021 Launch

Diem, formerly known as the Libra Association, announces a partnership with Fireblocks and the Israeli-based First Digital Asset Group (DAG) to launch a payment solution for institutions, merchants, and payment networks. The network is expected to power Diem into the largest payment network, allowing global financial institutions to connect to the system directly.

In a joint release from a crypto custodian, Fireblocks and First DAG, the new payment solution will be launched in the coming six months. It will allow financial institutions, banks, PSPs, merchants, and e-wallets to connect and facilitate transactions on the Diem network as soon as it launches.

The Facebook-led Diem Network was unveiled back in 2019, offering a multi-currency-backed stablecoin and global payment system. However, regulators worldwide are skeptical of Diem’s role in the global monetary policies – given the 2.8 billion customers that Facebook and WhatsApp have on their platforms.

The new project will be integrated on First DAG and Fireblocks, giving access to payment stations and merchants who will use Diem. According to First CEO, Ran Goldi the payment solution will allow merchants to accept stablecoins and Diem without ever interacting with the tokens. First will deal with the payment backstage details while the merchant receives their payment in their local currency. Goldi said,

“So if you are a merchant and you are already working with a payment service provider (PSP) that we have integrated with, you will able to accept Diem without any integrations.”

Notwithstanding, the platform will be fully compliant and collect any customer information needed – similar to regulated payment services such as PayPal and Visa. The platform will follow a strict onboarding process for custodians, wallets, exchanges, PSPs, and other VASPs operating on Diem, Michael Shaulov, Fireblocks’ CEO, said.

Spotify, a member of the Diem Network, moves to integrate the Diem payment solution in the near future. In December, the popular streaming app announced a vacant position of “Payment Strategist” in the Diem and Crypto space.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Blockstream Reveals MuSig2; An Easy & Privacy-Focused 2-Round Schnorr Multisignature Scheme

As the Bitcoin Taproot upgrade approaches, a multi-signature solution is in development by Blockstream engineers, according to a medium blog post on Nov 4. Two engineers, Tim Ruffing and Jonas Nick said that they have already published a blueprint for MuSig2, an advanced version of the MuSig multi-signature scheme built to facilitate collective ownership of some Bitcoin and the creation of a single authorization signature.

Notably, Blockstream had debuted MuSig1 back in 2018 but is now seeking to solve communication shortcomings in the MuSig scheme’s initial version. MuSig1 brought in a privacy aspect that previously did not exist in the CHECKMULTISIG code; this version also reduced the transaction fees. However, this particular version had implemented multiple backs and forth signing process; something that Musig2 is designed to solve.

MuSig2 Non-Interactivity Signature

As highlighted, this MuSig scheme version introduces a less interactive signing process; to be precise, only two communication rounds are required. The initiative, which is currently undergoing a peer review, is set for presentation at the Real World Crypto Conference scheduled for next year. Per the blog, MuSig2 leverages a non-interactive signing approach to enhance the utility in MuSig1. It reads,

“As the name suggests, MuSig2 is intended to be the successor of MuSig1.

It offers the same functionality and security as MuSig1 but makes it possible to eliminate almost all interaction between signers.”

Basically, MuSig2 combines the best of MuSig1 and CHECKMULTISIG functionalities to provide an ecosystem with both privacy and efficient communication. With the Taproot integration around the corner, Blockstream is set to update the Schnorr signature code library by replacing MuSig1 with MuSig2. The blog also hinted that they might test MuSig2 on Taproot code earlier, in preparation for deployment on the Bitcoin Mainnet.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Block.One to Offer Enterprise Blockchain Service Via It’s New ‘EOSIO for Business’ Platform

Block.one, the developer platform behind the EOS network, has launched an Enterprise-grade blockchain solution called EOSIO for Business. The new enterprise platform would allow businesses to leverage their offering on the decentralized tech.

The business platform offers four modes to its clients, which can be utilized to build and maintain blockchain-based infrastructure. The four modes include Blockchain-as-a-Service (BAAS), training businesses on utilizing the platform, technical support, and a certification program.

Ted Cahall, Block.one’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) commented on the launch of the enterprise-grade blockchain solution and said,

“Despite knowing the inherent benefits that blockchain will deliver to their business operations, many in-house product engineering teams are wary of the complexity involved in setting up and administering their blockchain.”

“Our EOSIO for Business customers will be able to work directly with EOSIO experts to ensure that their implementations seamlessly integrate with existing technology, and they will also have exclusive access to the newest EOSIO features and upgrades.”

How EOSIO Promises To Help Enterprises Scale?

The new enterprise-grade blockchain solution from Block.one promises to help businesses grow and scale via its platform without worrying about the technical aspect and maintenance of the services. This part would be taken care of by Block.one itself whose BaaS service would include complete technical support along with maintenance of the EOSIO network

The consulting and certification part of the platform would make it more interactive and help the businesses utilize the decentralized tech as per their business model. The EOS engineers promise to help these enterprises to grow without worrying about maintenance or technical complexities.

Mythical Games is one of the first business rosters for the EOSIO platform. Rudy Koch, co-founder and SVP of Business Development at Mythical Games, said that their association with the EOSIO platform had enabled them to meet their goals. He said,

“At Mythical, we are redefining game economies and creating new revenue opportunities by putting more power and ownership in the hands of players and content creators. EOSIO is an integral part of our efforts.

Leveraging Block.one’s EOSIO BaaS service enables us to continue delivering world-class game technology products to our players and partners.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Aztec 2.0 Launches Ethereum Layer 2 Scaling Solution for Privacy Using zkSNARKs

Aztec, an Ethereum based protocol, has released its L2 scaling solution coupled with the project’s fundamental aspect of privacy. The startup announced this news in a Medium post earlier today, noting that Aztec 2.0 is now live on the Ropsten testnet. This comes as one of the many reliefs to an ailing Ethereum ecosystem due to network congestion and high gas costs.

According to the post, Aztec’s L2 scaling solution has been derived from the zero-knowledge (zk) rollup tech. This infrastructure is basically part of Ethereum’s zero-knowledge proofs that have come up to make transactions private. Based on the PLONK research, Aztec claims that its newly debuted L2 scaling network enables the protocol to leverage zkSNARKS tech in two distinct ways.

For starters, zkSNARKS is used to encode every transaction as part of protecting Aztec users’ data. It also plays a role in the ‘roll-up’ of these transactions, hence the batching into one proof that is, in turn, sent to Ethereum’s on-chain. Aztec has since said that this approach could scale its network throughput up to 300 TP/s and preserve on-chain data simultaneously.

“Using this technique, the network can scale on-demand up to a hard limit of ~300 TX/S, while preserving on-chain data availability.”

The firm further claims that gas costs will be slashed by 200x in Aztec 2.0 compared to prevailing costs within its 1.0 ecosystem. Other than scalability solutions, Aztec has also introduced an open-source scripting language dubbed ‘Noir.’ This will allow developers to easily compose the zkSNARKS transactions code compatible with the new L2 scaling solution by Aztec.

Aztec plans to upgrade this innovation in November to integrate DeFi access while maintaining scalability and privacy. The post reads,

“This upgrade allows users to anonymously access DeFi transactions at a fraction of the gas price. And, without having to port DeFi protocols to layer 2.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

KPMG Reveals Blockchain-Based Climate Accounting Infrastructure for Greenhouse Gas Reporting

KPMG, an international accounting giant, has launched a blockchain-based solution for tracking climate emissions. The new blockchain-based system is called Climate Accounting Infrastructure (CAI), which would enable big organizations and companies to monitor their carbon emission and offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change has been one of the most critical issues in recent times. Major firms and organizations have come together to monitor and decrease their respective organizations’ carbon footprint.

The CAI blockchain solution would store environmental data in a financial system that could be utilized by the partner firms to meet their Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) targets.

CAI can be integrated with a company’s existing systems with external data sources, which would record its emissions. The data would be recorded on the blockchain system to ensure secure storage.

KPMG partnered with data provenance and tracking providers Context Labs and Prescriptive Data, and the blockchain firm Allinfra, on the product side. Context Labs is responsible for enriching organizations’ emission data, matching it with environmental context, and later recording and certifying the data on the blockchain system.

Arun Ghosh, the head of KPMG’s U.S. blockchain, commented on the launch of their new blockchain-based system and how it would ensure greater transparency. He said,

“As investors broaden their focus beyond financial factors to include ESG practices, organizations are increasing efforts to reducing carbon footprints, alongside transparent disclosure of progress.”

How Would CAI Help Organizations Become More Environment Friendly?

The blockchain-based CAI solution would help organizations comply with the latest environmental regulations and model the impacts and risks based on their business model with real-time data.

Climate change is real, and many big tech firms with large carbon footprints have pledged to bring it down to zero in the near future. With the rising earth’s temperature and melting glaciers, discussions around climate change have become the need of the hour. And Blockchain is definitely going to help in enhancing and furthering that goal with properties such as transparency and accountability.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

EY Debuts First ERP Solution on Ethereum and Enhances On-Chain Analytics Explorer

Consulting giant Ernest & Young (EY) has launched an enterprise procurement solution based on the Ethereum public blockchain. This initiative will leverage smart contract capabilities to enable participants to design and implement procurement contracts on a public blockchain. Dubbed the EY OpsChain Network, it will oversee a shift of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) into decentralized networks instead of the current frameworks, which are fundamentally centralized.

EY announced this development on September 27, noting that it will be the first of its kind to facilitate day-to-day ERP activities while benefiting from Ethereum’s decentralized architecture; interested prospects can try out the beta version for free. The press release further highlights that building on Ethereum’s public blockchain will increase efficiency through the automation of figures in procurement pipelines,

“It has become difficult to manage network-level agreements from inside a single enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The solution allows buyers and sellers to operate as networks, automatically keeping track of total volumes and spend, and using globally agreed terms and pricing.”

The EY OpsChain Network is built on Baseline protocol, an open-source initiative developed by EY earlier in the year. This protocol is the base of fundamental core features given that it leverages zero-knowledge proofs, distributed identity tech, and off-chain storage. This will allow firms to interact with each other on the EY OpsChain Network without exposing sensitive or private data on the public blockchain.

EY’s global blockchain leader, Paul Brody, has since expressed bullish sentiments on adopting enterprise blockchain solutions. He had previously informed Decrypt that EY believes that more than half of all business contracts will be made on the blockchain by 2030. Brody said,

“Competition is increasing between networks of companies, their partners, and suppliers. The ability to work as a network, above the level of any single ERP system, is crucial. Doing so on a public blockchain means not having to persuade a company or supplier to join a costly, closed proprietary network.”

EY Blockchain Analyzer

Apart from the OpsChain Network, EY also made some new enhancements to its blockchain analyzer and explorer product suite. The newly integrated functions will enable clients to analyze on-chain crypto activity in-depth, an approach that could improve the management of compliance, legal, and fraud risks. Currently, the beta release supports only BTC, although plans are underway to feature Ethereum as well,

“The Explorer & Visualizer solution makes it possible for internal audit teams and forensics accountants to search for specific transactions, addresses, and blocks to gather relevant information.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

More Urgent than Ever – Ethereum Layer 2 Solution Goes in its First Phase of Testnet Launch

Ethereum layer 2 solution Optimism is welcoming the first phase of the Optimistic Ethereum Testnet.

This development has become a necessity of the market thanks to DeFi mania, which has sent fee on the second-largest network through the roof.

The airdrop of Uniswap’s governance token UNI last week actually sent Ethereum’s hourly fees 10x up, from just over $100k to more than $900k, the highest ever Ethereum fees on a per hour basis.

Over the past few months, the Ethereum network has been facing unprecedented congestion, which means waiting for hours to get your transaction confirmed. The prohibitive fees and stifling congestion calls for Ethereum scalability.

While ETH 2.0 is still not here and even then, it’s hard to say if it would be able to handle the fast-growing DeFi space, the market is turning to layer 2 solutions, and Optimistic is one of them.

As the team noted itself, “Our mission has felt more urgent than ever, and our path forward clear.”

The First Phase

After 4 “exhausting” months since their last update, Optimistic has achieved the milestone of reaching the first phase of its testnet launch.

This launch would be a gradual process, which is currently open for public use but not for public contract deployment.

“As we gain confidence in the stability of the testnet, we will progress through each phase until the full Optimistic Ethereum system is up and running,” said the team.

Top DeFi projects like Synthetix, Uniswap, and Chainlink have already shared their intention to be early adopters.

Synthetix has officially announced that they are starting the first phase of its transition to Optimistic Ethereum, which involves incentivized testnet with 200k SNX in rewards for participating users.

“This is a huge milestone for Synthetix, Optimistic Ethereum, and indeed the entire Ethereum space,” said Synthetix in its official announcement. “Launching SNX staking on OE is a crucial step towards full scalability for the burgeoning DeFi ecosystem, truly allowing anyone around the world access to open financial infrastructure without the friction of high gas costs.”

In phase one, there will be no deposits or withdrawals, but tokens airdropped into L2 for staking reward. It would be in the second phase that deposits will be enabled, and staked assets can be increased, and in the next phase, withdrawals are enabled.

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Author: AnTy

Lightning Network’s Ready for the Next Step in its Evolution; Bitcoin Capacity Across Channels Hits Peak

The cumulative capacity across all channels on the layer 2 solution of bitcoin Lightning Network has hit an all-time high at 1,106 BTC, worth about $11.8 million at current bitcoin prices, as per 1ML.

The previous high was in early May 2019 at 1,099.7 BTC, worth about $6.5 million at that time.

Source: Bitcoin Visuals

The number of channels is also approaching the peak of 40k from mid-March 2019, as it currently hovers around 37,600. As for the number of nodes that open payment channels with each other funded with BTC, it is above 7,600.

Amidst this, Lightning Labs, which maintains the Lightning Network Daemon (LND) implementation of the Lightning Network, started supporting Wumbo with the release of Ind 0.11-beta — channels over the 0.1677 BTC limit originally imposed to discourage users from putting too much money into the early software.

This latest development means “the software has progressed to a point where advanced users, companies, and node operators can opt into larger channels.”

“Enabling Wumbo was our signal to the rest of the world that the Lightning Network is ready for the next step in its evolution,” states Lightning Labs.

This evolution involves a world where Lightning nodes are as “ubiquitous as the TCP/IP driver,” and every device from the mobile phone, laptop, desktop, router, and network switch can send/receive payments, authenticate themselves, and send end-to-end encrypted messages without a trusted third party.

Just last week, Lightning Labs also added accounting reports to the suite of tools for Ind to help users track sats. And with Wumbo and Faraday, it expects more and more companies to enable Lightning for its users.

Blockstream, which maintains the c-lightning implementation, also updated its tech stack in the form of channel management and routing tools.

The latest version 0.9.1 of c-lightning improves the likelihood of larger transactions to find a route between the sender and receiver while removing the bugs to make the process more efficient.

Additionally, with multifundchannel plugin, it is now possible to open multiple channels with a single transaction.

Also Read: Bitfinex Launches Wumbo Lightning Network Channels

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Author: AnTy

Tether to Add Layer 2 Solution, ZK-Rollups, to Reduce Congestion On Ethereum’s Network

Tether announces plans to integrate ZK-Rollups, a second layer solution using zero knowledge proofs to bundle up transactions as one to reduce the burden on Ethereum-based USDt transactions. Integration of Layer 2 solutions is becoming an ever growing concern for Ethereum users after the recent spike in gas fees in tandem with DeFi market growth.

ZK Rollups is an implementation built on top of the Ethereum network, leveraging zero knowledge proofs to bundle up transactions and send them, improving scalability on the blockchain. ZK, or zero knowledge is required of the transactions. This hence reduces computing and storage resources for validating the block by reducing the amount of data held in a transaction.

Speaking on the integration, CTO of Tether, Paolo Ardoino, named ZK-Rollups as the most comprehensive and most preferred second layer solution on Ethereum as it works on-chain.

Tether is working on reducing the amount of transactions conducted on the Ethereum blockchain in a bid to decongest and probably reduce the fees. Recently, the stablecoin was added on OMG Network, also a layer 2 solution, as a sidechain to help in scaling Ethereum and reduce the skyrocketing transaction fees.

The growth of Tether’s demand has been majestic over 2020 as Tron and Ethereum both hold more USDt than the Bitcoin network. The token set an all-time high market capitalization as reported by BEG after a frenzy across the DeFi space caused a spike in demand.

The demand of USDt – as the largest stablecoin – has seen it flip the number of transfers and transactions made on the largest blockchain, Bitcoin. According to a Coinmetrics report, the 7-day average adjusted transfer value of Tether broke the $3 billion mark, finally reaching $3.55 billion compared to Bitcoin’s $2.94 billion as of Aug 25.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum Layer 2 Solution, SKALE Network, Launches Its First Phase On Mainnet

SKALE – an open-source scaling solution backed by Gemini exchange founders Winklevoss brothers for scaling the Ethereum network – has started to roll out the first phase of its mainnet.

The Web 3.0 centered startup has been in the development mode for years with backing from the likes of Arrington Capital, Winklevoss Capital, Consensys, and more.

The main goal of the startup is to help decentralized applications (DApps) on the Ethereum network to scale better. The startup offers an elastic validator which can be utilized by developers and is fully compatible with the second-largest blockchain by market cap. In the first phase of the rollout, SKALE promises 2,000 transactions per second along with sub-second block time and also offers smart contract compatibility.

The second-phase rollout would see the addition of new features such as bounty and staking rewards facilitated via the Consensys Activate Platform. In contrast, the third and final phase rollout would see the removal of all kinds of transfer and exchange restrictions.

Jack O’Holleran, CEO of SKALE labs, commented on the first-phase rollout of SKALE protocol and how it would save a ton of cost and time by offering dapp scaling solutions. He said:

“SKALE pricing supports Ethereum by giving dapps their blockchain with a charge for the amount of server space over some time, rather than by transaction. On SKALE, it will be thousands of times less expensive to run transactions while not losing sync with Ethereum.”

The Second and Third Phase Rollout Will Coincide With Consensys Activate Platform Launch

Consensys is all set to launch a token sale platform called Consensys Activate which, would be a more structured and secure form of fundraising platform as an alternative to the scam ridden ICO boom in 2017. The phase two and three rollouts of SKALE protocol will coincide with the launch of the Consensys fundraising platform.

The ICO boom of 2017 saw many new projects and tokens being launched with millions and billions in raised funds. However, a majority of those projects turned out to be a scam that never made it to any exchange.

Consensys Activate platform would eliminate the fraudulent factor associated with the ICOs, where the platform would require strict identity verification and would require investors to have at least a basic knowledge of the project they are investing in.

Consensys Activate also aims to eradicate the technical complexities involved with buying and managing a new token. The platform promises to bring a simplified user interface for its platform allowing users to stake tokens and interact with the protocol easily.

O’Holleran while talking about the upcoming Activate platform explained what would be new with the platform saying:

“We have been working towards this moment for over two and a half years and, we could not have gotten to this point without such an amazing team, community, and supporters. The best thing about a network launch is that it marks not the end, but the end of the beginning.”

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Author: Hank Klinger