Ethereum Classic & IOHK Team Up to Find Solutions to Prevent 51% Attacks On The Blockchain

  • The Ethereum Classic Cooperative development team partners with Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) to counter the numerous 51% attacks on the Ethereum Classic (ETC) blockchain.

An announcement from the ETC lead development team, ETC Coop, the company has collaborated with IOHK “to provide Ethereum Classic stakeholders and the broader community with the knowledge and understanding of how to resist issues” these 51% hack attempts.

Since the start of 2020, the Ethereum Classic blockchain has faced three 51% attacks in successive weeks, leading to a loss of users’ funds from network disruptions and double-spending. In total, from 2019, ETC has faced four 51% attack attempts, leading to the community setting up upgraded Ethereum Classic Improvement Proposals (ECIPs) in the near past.

Some of the recent changes to prevent 51% attacks include defensive mining and implementing the ‘Permapoint’ finality arbitration system to curb chain reorganizations. Now the IOHK, ETC Coop teams have released a report highlighting six possible solutions to the risk of 51% attacks.

The solutions include the ECIP 1100, or Modified Exponential Subjective Scoring (MESS) proposal close to implementation. This aims to implement Vitalik Buterin’s idea of making chain reorganizations harder and more expensive. However, the two teams are not fully convinced that MESS will solve its problems, and further 51% attacks could still occur.

The teams have released five more solutions to 51% of attacks, including proven methods such as Checkpointing and Timestamping, and other unproven methods such as Rootstock (RSK) sidechain, PirlGuard, and Veriblock.

Checkpointing aims at making mined blocks irreversible on the blockchain by establishing checkpoints. On the other hand, Timestamping will leverage the security of Bitcoin to creating a new timestamp on every block and recording it as a transaction on Bitcoin (BTC).

Implementing the RSK proposal will also require developers to timestamp ETC block data such as block height and hash on the Bitcoin network but connect it to sidechains. The blockchain will need to be connected to the Rootstock network, own RBTC, and participate in auctions on UMM times every day.

PirlGuard aims at making 51% of attacks more expensive for the attacker to stop them. However, there remain concerns that a good enough incentive could lead to a future attack.

Despite the changes, the ETC Coop team is working on longer-term solutions to avoid the increasing attacks on the platform to build a sustainable network.

“But let’s also ensure we remember the longer-term goal – the health and sustainable success of Ethereum Classic.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

First UK Public Listed Company, Mode Global Holdings, Converts 10% of Cash Reserves into Bitcoin

What started with public listed company MicroStrategy has now become a movement as more and more companies continue to join the ranks.

This month, after Square, now comes the London stock exchange-listed company Mode Global Holdings that is making an investment into Bitcoin.

In its press release, Mode announces it to be “the first publicly listed company in the UK” to make a “significant purchase of Bitcoin as part of its treasury investment strategy.”

The company allocates 10% of its cash reserves into Bitcoin and adopts the leading digital asset as a “treasury reserve asset” as part of its long-term goal to protect its investors’ assets from currency debasement.

However, the company didn’t disclose how much Bitcoin it is exactly planning to buy. While as per the company’s cash balance, by the end of June, the allocation only amounts to less than 7 BTC, the company raised £7.5 million on IPO (pre expenses), which puts it at about 75 BTC.

“As Mode Global Holdings is a PLC, the allocation should be transparent on the balance sheet, so it’s odd that specific amount is withheld at this stage,” noted Jason Deane, an analyst at Quantum Economics.

Bitcoin is the Way to Diversify

With the UK’s interest rates falling to a record low of 0.1%, the company was looking to diversify, which brought them to Bitcoin.

According to Mode, it always recognized Bitcoins’ potential as a reliable store of value and an attractive investment because of its safe-haven status and asymmetric risk/reward attributes. Jonathan Rowland, Executive Chairman at Mode said,

“This decision to allocate part of our cash reserves to Bitcoin is a further step in our mission to build a truly digital financial services business, combining the best of digital assets, payments, loyalty, and investment.”

Rowland sees Bitcoin as a vehicle for “financial empowerment,” in which his confidence only increased after facing the challenges of COVID-19. He said,

“Today’s allocation is executed through a modern, forward-looking but prudent treasury management strategy.”

The company further shared that their mission is to bring transparency and credibility to the digital asset space. It has also built a mobile app to buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin.

Also Read: BTC Price & PYPL Stocks Rejoice as PayPal Announces Support for Bitcoin, Ether, BCH & LTC

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Author: AnTy

Privacy Browser Brave Partners With Top Blockchain Game, Splinterlands; Will Accept BAT

Brave, the privacy-centric browser, has partnered with one of the top crypto card games, Splinterlands. The partnership would see both the companies advertise for each other and collaborate on marketing initiatives. Splinterlands game would integrate Brave’s native token allowing players on its platform to earn credit using BAT tokens while Brave will promote the crypto game on its browser.

Brave will become the official browser for the crypto card game Splinterlands, which is a blockchain-based game built on the Hive Network (moved from Steem). The marketing campaign would also suggest Brave users try the popular card game. Along with becoming the official web browser for the game, the privacy-centric browser will also advertise the crypto game showing ads to users who have opted for the option.

Brave made the partnership official and tweeted about the same from it’s Twitter handle, saying,

Brave Boasts of 19 Million Active Monthly Users

Brave browser has gained both in popularity and user growth over the years and especially in 2020. The privacy browser reported 15 million active monthly users in June, which has grown to 19 million today. The leap is quite significant given it’s comparatively new, and in just 10 months, it has almost doubled the number of active monthly users from 10 million reported in December 2019.

The privacy-centric browser has not just seen a significant bump in the number of active users, but also partners. Today, it boasts of some of the top crypto firms as its partner, which include Gemini and Binance, the top crypto exchanges. Along with crypto partners, its popularity saw a bump when Joe Rogan, the most successful podcaster, announced that he has been using Brave for quite some time now, a couple of months ago.

Brave’s soaring popularity could be attributed to its product design. It blocks any third-party advertisement, which keeps all the users browsing data safe and secure. On the other hand, those who opt-in for the Brave’s advertisement are rewarded in the native token BAT.

Splinterlands is rated as the top blockchain collectible game by DappRadar, with the highest number of players playing the game in the past 24 hours.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Interest in DeFi Falls to Pre-Mania Level, Uniswap Volume on a Decline Despite CEX’s Issue

The DeFi market continues to see strong growth, with the total value locked (TVL) in the sector above $11 billion. While a record of almost 160k BTC is locked in DeFi, the locked Ether is also approaching the peak at 8.7 million ETH.

The mid of June was the “turning point” for DeFi finance, as per LunarCRUSH’s report confirmed by Google Trends when a steady upward trend in the US searches for the term DeFi was seen, which peaked in August only to fall sharply in September.

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Interest in term DeFi over time, Source: GoogleTrends

But the current scenario could further accelerate this growth.

The ongoing investigation into popular crypto derivatives platform BitMEX, and now issues at OKEx is likely to spur on further flow out of CEX and into DEX venues.

Already, as we reported, the trading volume on decentralized exchanges has rushed to new high thanks to DeFi and yield farming hype in Q3.

Monthly trading volumes for top 10 DEX increased 700% from July to $30.4 billion in Sept. while CEXs recorded $300 billion, the same as the previous month. The market share of DEXs that continues to increase is expected to grow further, that too, at the expense of CEXs.

The most popular DEX, which accounts for more than 60% of the volume, is Uniswap. The hottest trading platform was launched less than two years back and raised millions from venture capitalists, including Paradigm, Andreessen Horowitz, and Union Square Ventures LLC.

In the overall crypto space, it is the fourth-biggest exchange after Binance, OKEx, and Huobi. Paul Veradittakit, a partner at California-based Pantera Capital Management LP, which is considering investing in Uniswap’s governance tokens UNI said,

”It’s just phenomenal. We can really see decentralized exchanges make a huge dent in the market and potentially overtake centralized exchanges.”

Since dropping to half a billion dollars after its clone SushiSwap sucked the liquidity, the liquidity on Uniswap has been surging, surpassing $3 billion on Thursday. However, it is currently averaging a daily trading volume of $220 million, on a constant decline from Sept. 1st’s ATH of nearly a billion dollars.

Uniswap Volume
Source: Uniswap Info

It is rather a blessing for crypto projects as Uniswap, which generates revenue through transaction fees, doesn’t charge the issuers to list new tokens. Users don’t have to provide documents for KYC or AML measures as required by traditional crypto exchanges because of regulatory pressure.

Trading on Uniswap also means a bigger market to trade as it currently has 845 tokens listed while the leading spot exchange Binance only has 820 coins.

However, while Binance had over 15 million users at the end of last year, Uniswap is used by only 50k to 100k people, Kyle Samani, co-founder of crypto hedge fund Austin, Texas-based Multicoin Capital Management told Bloomberg. He said,

“This competition is just getting started. We are in the first inning.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitfinex and Celsius Partner to Let Users Earn Rewards for Holding Bitcoin & Ethereum

Celsius Network, a crypto lending, and borrowing platform partners with Bitfinex exchange to offer yield services to over 100,000 Bitfinex users. Celsius, which already offers its Ethereum holders a 9.65% interest rate and 6.2% for bitcoin users, would now offer its services to Bitfinex customers under the new collaboration.

The partnership would allow Bitfinex users to create a wallet with the Celsius Network and manage it without a need to switch between two platforms. This partnership would also allow Bitfinex users to withdraw their digital assets from the Celsius wallet at any given time without any additional fees for withdrawal or deposit.

The partnership would see interests being generated daily and later compounded for the next day, and the payout would be made by Celsius every week. The yield contract would also have the provision for auto-renewals for extending the custody beyond the set period or when the term expires.

Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius Network, commented on their association with Celsius and believed that the partnership would help both the firms extend their services to a new set of users. He said,

“Our integration with Bitfinex extends the mission and focus of both companies to bring the next 100 million people into the crypto community and do it while we do good before we all do well.

Celsius’s commitment to reward our users with 80% of the value we create is now available to all Bitfinex customers.”

Celsius to Bring More Liquidity For Bitfinex

The partnership between Celsius and Bitfinex is expected to help the exchange to bring in more liquidity for both the platforms. This would be possible because of Celsius’s lending policy, where the startup lends its digital assets to miners, investment funds, retail investors, and other digital asset companies ‘on a guaranteed and collateralized basis.’

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Author: Hank Klinger

Interlay to Bring Tokenized Bitcoin to Polkadot Via PolkaBTC in 2021

A tokenized BTC coming to Polkadot as it is integrated with blockchain through a cross-chain bridge to Bitcoin that will go live in the Q1 of 2021. It would enable users to transact BTC as PolkaBTC on various platforms falling under the umbrella of decentralized finance (DeFi).

Interlay is behind the development of PolkaBTC, backed by Parity Technologies, and funded by the Web3 Foundation. Integration aims to accelerate Polkadot’s young DeFi ecosystem.

In the case of transferring a tokenized BTC (as like BitGo’s WBTC) out of its native blockchain, a copy of the underlying token is declared, where real BTC gets locked. And these copies of BTC are burned whenever a user shifts back to the Bitcoin blockchain.

On the contrary, PolkaBTC would get labeled in a 1:1 ratio and supported in many decentralized exchanges, lending protocols, and stablecoins.

Moreover, Interlay revealed that the permissionless and trustless nature of the ecosystem makes users have more control over their money as its working infrastructure doesn’t include any central or monitoring sector.

BTC-Parachain, since its initiation, is run by multiple nodes around the world, including community members and various companies, as a decentralized platform.

To use PolkaBTC at decentralized apps, you need to have some DOTs (Polkadot’s native token) used as collateral to mint the PolkaBTC. Three things you must have to mint are BTC wallet, Polkadot’s Wallet, and some DOTs. Interlay stated:

“In the case that a vault misbehaves, you will be reimbursed from the Vault’s collateral and will make a very profitable trade between BTC and DOT. At launch, collateral will be put down in DOT. In the mid/long run, this may be extended to stablecoins or token-sets to improve stability.”

If one wants to redeem the PolkaBTCs equivalent to a whole bitcoin, he needs to burn the tokens on the BTC-Parachain first. Interlay added,

“PolkaBTC can remain on Polkadot indefinitely (no expiry date) and can be redeemed for BTC at any point in time.”

The first Alpha testnet will be held next month for PolkaBTC, and Beta tesnet is expected in January 2021, and the mainnet launch is scheduled in the first quarter of 2021.

Also, the projects based on Polkadot would be integrated with PolkaBTC. Some of them include Moonbeam, Equilibrium, and Polkaswap.

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Author: Hank Klinger

China’s Digital Yuan Trial in Full Force, DCEP Lottery Winners Using Digital RMB at 3,300 Stores

While other countries are still busy studying the opportunities and risks associated with central bank digital currencies (CBDC), like the US, China’s digital yuan trial is in full force.

People have already received the DCEP and started using it at convenience stores. Shenzhen metro ticket machine also has features to top-up metro cards with the digital yuan along with “DCEP accepted here” signs.

According to BlockBeat, nearly 2 million people in Shenzhen applied for the “Luohu Digital RMB Red Packet” lottery on the blockchain-based public services app operated by the Shenzhen government.

However, the lottery’s winning rate has been only 2.61%, as only 50,000 received 200 RMB ($30) from the government through the lottery, which brings the total DC/EP giveaway to RMB 10 million ($1.47 million).

The red envelope is basically the “digital renminbi,” which is under development. The wallet, meanwhile, has been already launched by China Construction bank at the end of August.

The idea here is to promote the demand for the new digital yuan as Dan Wang, the chief economist at Hang Seng Bank, told the South China Morning Post, the program is predicted to generate 50 million yuan in total demand.

These DC/EP will be spendable at 3,389 designated shops in Luohu this week, from 12th to 18th October 2020.

“China is doing blockchain airdrops using central bank digital currency. Technology moves forward. Don’t get left behind,” tweeted Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.

According to him, although “Nothing beats bitcoin in terms of decentralization,” despite the being “fairly restrictive/centralized,” these CBDCs will “get the masses exposed to and comfortable with blockchain technologies.”

However, these centralized digital versions of fiat cryptos only give governments more power and control over their citizens.

While for cashless societies, the latest change of payment channel is just another way to move money around, what they miss is targeted stimulus policy, and helicopter money will be at a “much more granular level” in the future, said Dovey Wan of Primitive Crypto.

This further means easy seizure of personal wealth, all with just a few lines of codes.

“When retail has been so spoiled by the convenience of digitalization of fiat, and now into digital fiat, they can easily trade self-sovereignty and enslaved by the ultimate efficiency those central servers offer It’s more critical than ever for everyone to really own their keys,” she added.

Amidst this, the Ministry of Public Security of China has announced a nationwide “Card Breaking Campaign,” that could affect Chinese crypto OTC because while criminals in China use crypto to launder money, merchants also borrow and buy bank cards.

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Author: AnTy

Blockchain Technology to Grow the Global GDP by $1.76T In the Next Decade: PwC Report

  • China set to benefit the most from blockchain technology growth in the next decade with a protracted $440 billion boost in its GDP during this period.
  • This represents 25% of the total protracted global GDP boost from the innovative technology – set at $1.76 trillion by 2030.

A research report from a ‘big 4′ accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), “Time for Trust,” explores blockchain technology’s global socio-economic impact in the next decade. Targeting 2025 as the tipping point for the technology. If adopted at scale, PwC experts and researchers see a $1.76 trillion impact from the technology by 2030. This represents 1.4% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the world.

The report focuses on blockchain’s practical use in five key areas – provenance, payments and financial instruments, identity, contracts, dispute resolution, customer engagement – and how they deliver value in building transparent and efficient solutions across all industries.

According to the report, Asia is set to witness blockchain technology’s greatest impact, China leading the growth with a $440.4 billion projection. Japan and India expected to witness a $72.3 billion and $62.2 billion increase, respectively.

The United States is expected to witness a $407.2 billion increase in GDP from blockchain innovation growth in the next decade.

PwC report further states blockchain’s role in enhancing transparency and traceability as the sector with the most growth potential – projected to grow by $$961.6 billion by 2030. Anthony Bruce, Partner, and Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Leader, PwC U.K, praised the potential of blockchain innovation in providence and traceability in the healthcare industry, stating,

“For healthcare organizations, blockchain can ensure patient safety is at the heart of the pharmaceutical supply chain. It has the potential to give patients confidence in the authenticity and origin of drugs.”

Payments and securitization of wallets are also picking up the pace and is expected to grow by $433.2 billion in the next decade. The U.S is expected to lead global growth in this period and is expected to experience a $136.3 billion GDP growth from blockchain-based payment systems, with China coming in a close second at $104.6 billion.

“Blockchain has the potential to cut costs, speed up transactions and promote greater financial inclusion by streamlining cross-border and remittance payments,” Lucy Gazmararian, Crypto, and FinTech Advisory, PwC Hong Kong said.

“These powerful innovations will transform the payments infrastructure.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

An Erosion of Centralized Power: DEX’s Steal Trading Volume & Web Traffic from CEX’s

While Bitcoin ended the quarter 3 of 2020 with positive 18% gains, it was the quarter of decentralized finance (DeFi).

The DeFi explosion also saw Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) growing substantially with nearly $1 billion flowing in, representing a 1766% growth.

As per the latest CoinGecko report, more than $9 billion flowed into the crypto space in Q3 alone, with Tether (USDT) accounting for about two-thirds of this total inflow. However, the overall growth of the stablecoin market has slowed down in this quarter.

Capital inflow accelerated as yield farming gained steam
Capital inflow accelerated as yield farming gained steam

As the DeFi hype and yield farming frenzy took over, so did the volume, making it a vibrant quarter for cryptocurrency exchanges.

The total trading volume in the quarter surged 88%, a $155 billion increase, thanks to the month of August when the DeFi mania was at its peak, and many decentralized exchanges (DEX) like Serum and SushiSwap got into the picture.

Towards the end of Q3, the capital flow also appears to be slowing down as yield farming returns got reduced, but it is likely to continue to outperform traditional markets.

The Shift

Centralized exchanges are still very much the ones with the bulk of the trading volume, recording $171 billion in July, followed by $314 billion in August.

However, in the month of September, CEXs volume dropped to $300 billion, while DEXs recorded $30.46 billion, a 700% increase from the previous month. Compared to CEX’s 35% growth, the monthly average DEX trading volume grew by 197% in Q3.

While CEX’s decline was dragged by Coinbase and OKEx, both contributing 60% of the decline in the DeFi space, Uniswap is the leader that contributed 60% to the growth and, combined with Curve, account for 80% of the market share.

This obvious erosion of market share by DEXs could also be seen in web traffic.

In the last month of the quarter, September, the traffic on centralized exchanges took a hit while Uniswap’s almost doubled to become the world’s sixth-largest exchange.

Crypto-Exchange-Web-Traffic
Source: SimilarWeb.com

“This is likely fueled by investor’s appetite to trade on newly created coins, yield farming coins, as well as the subsequent flight towards stablecoins during September’s market dip,” notes the report.

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Author: AnTy

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