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

Bitwise Plans To Target Retail Investors With Its Crypto Index Fund

Bitwise has revealed that plans are underway to allow the retail market to participate in its large-cap index service.

According to CoinDesk, Bitwise is working closely with the relevant regulatory bodies to list its Bitwise 10 Index Fund shares on OTCQX, which provides an alternative trading system and is licensed by the SEC. According to Hunter Horsley, Bitwise’s CEO, if the plans are okayed, retail investors will have a chance to trade the fund on various renowned platforms such as TD Ameritrade as well as Charles Schwab.

The firm has various steps before trading can kick-off. The firm will start with an announcement to all the shareholders and Horsley revealed that this was done on Friday. The firm will also need to publish all the public disclosures to comply with the ATS reporting rules. The firm will also need to prepare a market maker and file Form 211 as per FINRA requirements. Trading will only kick-off after the approval of Form 211 by FINRA. Horsley explained:

“We expect approval for trading in the second half of 2020. It’ll take a number of months for trading to commence.”

Horsley compared the process to that of Grayscale Investments’ Bitcoin Trust offering that is currently trading on OTCQX. At the moment Grayscale has listed various shares on OTCQX such as Digital Large Cap Fund, Ethereum Classic Trust as well as Ethereum Trust.

The Bitwise 10 Index Fund is highly diversified just as the Grayscale large-cap fund. As Horsley explained, it holds assets that are representative of about 85% of the whole crypto market capitalization.

Horsley stated that the fund comprises Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Stellar Lumens, EOS, Tezos, and ADA.

There has been a growing interest in such types of products, Horsley stated. He added that his firm has been holding about 2,000 calls every month with advisors. A recent survey revealed that about 72 percent of advisors stated that their clients have been inquiring about crypto products.

Horsley also stated that plans are underway to launch a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the near future.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Former CFTC Chairman Giancarlo’s Digital Dollar Project Adds 22 Members to Advisory Board

Digital Dollar Foundation, an outfit that is pushing for the creation of a digital dollar in the US, has now announced its board of advisors. The foundation is led by ex-CFTC executives Chris Giancarlo (aka Crypto Dad) as well as Daniel Gorfine who has also roped in Accenture.

According to a press release, the new board of advisors was unveiled on Thursday and consists of 24 people who will work together towards the development of a US CBDC.

The advisory board brings together experts with broad backgrounds in both the finance industry as well as payment technologies. Some of the members include exCFTC commissioner Sharon Bowen, Usman Ahmed who is PayPal’s policy official, fintech law professor Chris Brummer, Sheila Warren who is the head of blockchain efforts in the World Economic Forum (WEF), as well as DRW’s CEO Don Wilson. As well as the former Treasury Undersecretary in charge of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Sigal Mandelkar and former President Trump’s adviser Tim Morrison.

The Digital Dollar Foundation looks forward to advocating for research as well as discussion on the possible benefits that comes with the use of a US CBDC. The new board will explore how a digital dollar will operate as well as scale. The group will also explore if a digital dollar can be utilized in private transactions.

Giancarlo explained that the board consists of individuals from different sectors who are experts in monetary policy, commercial and central banking, privacy law, KYC/AML, economics, tax and other relevant disciplines that are crucial in the exploration of how a digital dollar will be used and its impact on the US and the global economy. Giancarlo explained:

“The insights and expertise of the new advisory group members will be invaluable as we work together to help make the dollar a more effective and smarter currency in an increasingly digital global economy.”

The developments come as legislators are haggling on how a digital dollar which is non-crypto can help in the distribution of funds to US citizens at a time when the world is fighting the Corona pandemic.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

European Commission to Offer Grants for Creating Digital Twins Using Blockchain for Defense

Blockchain developers and specialists are being given grants by the European Commission (EC) so that they adapt civil tech to defense applications.

The European Defense Industrial Development was published by the EC on March 24. It calls on small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to come with solutions in the defense sector using new technologies that are quick to deploy and are cost-effective.

How To Be Considered For The Blockchain Grants?

The EC has provided an outline that offers guidance for the program, which may benefit from the 254 million Euros budgeted in 2019-2020 that were designated for grants to successful projects. The proposals should fall within these guidelines:

“Based on real-time cloud and on-premise digital twin benefiting from blockchain technologies’ robustness, able to channel all currently optimized logistics needs, such as chain of spare parts, maintenance, energy consumables.”

What Is a Digital Twin?

Digital twins are virtual representations or mirrors of physical entities, assets, and processes such as human beings, pieces of infrastructure, machines or objects. The blockchain is capable of strengthening the digital twins’ integrity because it allows tamper-proof cryptographic tags for validating provenance, ownership, and states of either objects or products, to be used.

What Can a Blockchain – Digital Twins Combination Offer?

The 2018 Deloitte report says the combination between blockchain and digital twins can bring benefits for the internet of things (IoT) sector and other applications that are very useful for production environments’ predictive maintenance.

According to Deloitte, blockchain is efficient at offering secure identity management and transparency in data analytics and ownership models. The EC admits that combining blockchain and digital twins is efficient in the energy, supply chains, and equipment maintenance sectors for defense. The submissions for the program will take place between April 15 and December 1, 2020, according to how the COVID-10 pandemic dictates.

Blockchain and Defense

As it has been reported of late, BAE Systems, the US-based contractor providing defense service solutions and support together with civilian systems and intelligence, has a cryptocurrency exploiter open position for supporting operations. Back in July last year, the US Department of Defense also released its blockchain technology plan for digital modernization.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Cardano’s Hoskinson Warns About The Unfair Representation on Wikipedia From An Editor

Charles Hoskinson, the founder of 14the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, that has lost 98% of its value since its ATH in January 2018, took to YouTube to complain about getting a fair representation on Wikipedia.

In his video, he talks about the community members having issues with editing the proof-of-stake (PoS) articles on the online encyclopedia. Hoskinson said,

“Cardano, in particular, has been having a tremendously difficult time getting a fair representation on Wikipedia. Anything we do whether it be Plutus, the extended UT XL model, Oroboros – the Cardano project itself or people affiliated with the project there is broad-scale commercial censorship occurring by the editors at Wikipedia.”

Currently, the Wikipedia page says, “The article Proof of stake, along with other articles relating to blockchains and cryptocurrencies, is currently subject to active community-authorized general sanctions.”

“Existential danger to an industry”

Hoskinson, who also co-founded the second largest network Ethereum, said it is just another example of “existential danger to an industry,” which is “controlled by a few people who are “incredibly biased” and “not accountable to anyone else.”

He has been referring here to David Gerard specifically whose anti-crypto behavior Hoskinson said is “going on for years,” since the Ethereum days.

Hoskinson might be the latest one to complain about the “non-coiner” but not the only one, as in the past Decred had a similar issue.

Hoskinson says it’s unfair when they have been mentioned by the US Congress, as the “most cited of all the peer views,” and “historically have had a market cap larger than SpaceX.”

Just warning about “ridiculous steaming shitpile”

While replying to a Twitter user, Hoskinson argues that Cardano’s competitors that are much smaller in size, have pages while they are not allowed to have is “censorship.”

He further said Wikipedia “won’t explain the standard,” but Gerard refuted these claims by saying, “The problem is not that nobody told you, it’s that you didn’t like the answer.”

“These are comments directly from a Wikipedia editor commercially censoring us. He also wrote an anti-crypto book. But I’m sure he’s being fair and balanced about Cardano content,” pointed out Hoskinson on Gerard’s comment that “the (crypto) space would best be advanced by not existing,” and as such he is “warning others about the ridiculous steaming shitpile.”

Meanwhile, Wikipedia highlights that individuals with a conflict of interest are “strongly advised not to directly edit the article.”

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Author: AnTy

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

Telegram’s Open-Sourced Blockchain Network (TON) Might Launch Without The Company

  • Telegram’s blockchain platform, TON, might be launched despite a court order that allowed the SEC to halt its $1.7 billion token sale.
  • A US court on March 24 ruled that Telegram tokens (grams) be deemed as securities as per an earlier request by the SEC.
  • Till then, the messaging company will not be able to proceed with its blockchain network launch.

The Telegram community, however, is determined to roll out TON and have since come up with suggestions to pioneer this network either way. Fedor Skuratov, who is the founder and previously TON Labs communications manager, is leading over 25 developers within this ecosystem. So far, one of the tabled possibilities is launching TON without the involvement of Telegram’s team or the firm as an entity. Skuratov noted that this strategy is among those in serious consideration, given TON’s open-source nature.

Technicality Aspects

Assuming the Telegram Community Devs proceed with this launch, some technical and legal aspects might present unexpected challenges. Skuratov is however optimistic that developers will be able to form a consensus as soon as the platform goes live. This is because the only requirements are the generation of a genesis block and 13 validators within TON’s network;

“Strictly speaking, no additional measures are required to launch TON by the community, except for a consensus within the community.

But in order to get recognized, we will need to come to an agreement with investors (at least, with a majority of them),”

Ideally, this approach is similar to hard forks with the only difference being TON’s main version has yet to go live. On the upside, Telegram had already published the nodes to facilitate TON’s launch. Furthermore, TON Labs, has been running its own similar testnet whose value is pegged to a consensus amongst the investors.

TON Investors Sentiments and Legality

This proposed path might sound like a good option but will be hard to implement given the unsettled atmosphere since September 2019. Investors who were expecting gram tokens based on their acquired TON ownership have become increasingly impatient. They had agreed to a postponement launch from October 2019 to April this year; it is now uncertain although Telegram filed a notice to appeal the latest court decision.

Given this development, TON investors are likely to be proposed an extension of the gram token allocation. Alternatively, they might be compensated up to a certain percentage of their investment.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

FDIC Urges People to Not Pull Money Out in a Desperate Attempt to Avoid A Bank Run

In the past weeks, investors have fled out of risky assets that resulted in equities, oil, cryptos to even gold and bonds falling in prices. The risky assets along with traditional safe haven assets were left out in favor of cash.

As usually happens in times of crisis, investors turn to hoard cash by selling everything they can get their hands on. However, people stockpiling indicates a cash crisis might be brewing. Interest rate cuts to zero percent and even in negative territory isn’t helping the case for banks either.

Yesterday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took to Twitter to advise people against withdrawing money and hoarding, cash emphasizing that “the safest place to keep your money is in the bank.”

In this less than a minute long video, FDIC talks about how in the current unprecedented times of novel coronavirus, people are fearful about what they should be doing with their money when they needn’t be because “your money is safe at the banks.” FDIC said,

“The last thing you should be doing is pulling your money out of the banks now thinking it is going to be safer someplace else. You don’t want to be walking around with large wads of cash and you certainly don’t want to be hoarding cash in your mattress. It didn’t pan out well for so many people.”

The corporation said, “no depositor has lost a penny of their insured deposits since 1933 when the FDIC was created,” as such “if you’re talking about having your money in a safe place, please keep it in an FDIC-insured bank.”

“You nervous about something?” is what Nik Carter of Coin Metrics responded with.

Bank Runs

In times of economic hardship, everyone makes a dash for cash and this time as it is happening, banks are struggling to provide liquidity.

According to reports, the likes of Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Chase are limiting the withdrawals. These banks have capped the limit between $3,000 to $10,000 in some of the areas.

“We don’t keep large amounts of cash in big bills in the branches because it’s dangerous for our employees and there is low demand,” said BoA.

However, there are no such limits on withdrawing crypto, as long as you are the one that owns your keys. But during the recent market carnage, the fact that cryptos also crashed hard has some in doubt.

However, it must be noted that so did gold just like it fell in 2008 during the financial crisis but only to emerge as the winner. And the same is expected of the deflationary Bitcoin with a hard cap of 21 million, unlike the US Dollar, that the Federal Reserve keeps on printing more and more.

As BitMEX in its recent report noted, “Where the Bitcoin price may shine is in the volatile inflationary aftermath of the response to the crash.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Demand to Rocket as Fed Pumps $6 Trillion Stimulus to “Bolster” the Economy

US stocks are swinging between gains and losses today after the announcement that White House and lawmakers have reached an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus package to combat the novel coronavirus. Over 400,00 cases have been reported globally with more than 55,000 in the US and over 69,000 confirmed cases in Italy.

After yesterday’s historic surge of 11%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3% Wednesday. The S&P 500 meanwhile slid 0.7% along with Nasdaq Composite that dropped 1.2%.

Bitcoin mirrored the stocks and surged to $6,990, only to come back down to about $6,600 level which economist and trader Alex Kruger said, “is not a coincidence.”

$6 Trillion needed to “bolster the economy”

The legislation that is to be enacted within days involves $350 billion in loans for small businesses and $500 billion to aid airlines and other large corporations. This biggest fiscal stimulus package in American history is double the one passed in 2009 to fight the Great Recession that further involves $1,200 payment for each adult and $500 per child, for households earning up to $75,000 per year or $150,000 for couples.

The emergency package to bail out the US economy amidst the coronavirus pandemic totals at $6 trillion, said Trump administration economist Larry Kudlow.

This package includes a $2 trillion aid from Congress and $4 trillion in lending from the Federal Reserve.

“This package will be the single largest Main Street assistance program in the history of the United States,” said Kudlow adding it was “urgently” necessary to “bolster the economy.”

“No way your dollars can keep their value”

The crypto community took this money printing by the Fed as an opportunity to point out how this won’t help with the pandemic that has taken over 790 lives in the US.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, Zimbabwe went through money printing madness and ended up printing one hundred trillion dollar note that is worth about $60 USD only for them to abandon their own currency to go for the US Dollar.

Interestingly, Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s recent proposal talked about minting 2 one-trillion dollar coins.

Now, the crypto community is pointing out how the stimulus means, “creation of nearly 50 Bitcoins worth of dollars out of thin air. Not 50 BTC, but 50 Bitcoin networks.”

According to the community, this bazooka means demand for Bitcoin. “There is no way your dollars can keep their value after pumping $6 trillion into the system. It’s time to move your fiat into hard money. Bitcoin,” said blockchain consultant Luke Dash.

Bitcoiner Mike Novogratz also pointed out that in the event of “debasement of fiat currencies, monetization of trillions of dollars of debt,” it would be the time for bitcoin.

And if even a portion of this makes it way into Bitcoin, the world’s leading cryptocurrency could easily reach about $100k peak this time.

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Author: AnTy

Russian Economic Ministry To Create Crypto And Blockchain Regulatory Sandboxes In New Bill

The Russian Federal Ministry of Economic Development has proposed new legislation that seeks to legalize crypto as well as blockchain-based initiatives through a special regulatory framework.

The Ministry of Economic Development has already crafted and introduced a draft legislation to the State Duma, Russian Parliament, in a bid to enable the testing of blockchain and crypto initiatives in a specified regulatory sandbox.

The draft law will apply to digital technologies that will be incorporated into eight sectors ranging from financial markets, government services, trade, healthcare, distance learning, transport, manufacturing to construction.

The proposed legislation will be vital in unlocking experimental testing for projects such as unmanned automobiles, use of data without prior consent as well as diagnostics.

As per the local reports, partakers of the regulatory sandbox from the blockchain and crypto sector will enjoy regulatory relief in different fronts such as the minimum capital size, reporting as well as reserve funds. Those using the sandbox will also be exempted from the nation’s foreign exchange law.

According to the Economic Ministry, Russia’s central bank, Bank of Russia, will be solo financial market regulator in the regulatory sandbox. However, it is still not clear if the bank is supportive of the ministry’s initiative.

The latest news comes just hours after a top Bank of Russia official stated that the nation’s virtual assets law is set to ban the issuance as well as circulation of cryptocurrency. As per the official, the Digital Financial Assets bill is set to ban almost all crypto-based aspects apart from holding. The bill has been delayed various times after it was introduced to parliament back in January 2018. Not even an order from President Putin could see the bill sail through.

[Also Read: Russian Govt Looks To Block Censorship-Resistant Tech; IoT, TOR, and Telegram’s TON]

Push For Digital Payments

Meanwhile, Russia’s central bank is urging the citizens as well as merchants to utilize digital payments and cut on the use of cash, Reuters reports. The bank is pushing for the adoption of digital payments in efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus through banknotes.

The central bank is also urging banks to encourage their customers to use cashless means.

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Author: Joseph Kibe