According to the official Bitcoin protocol, the number of BTC (the Bitcoin currency symbol) that can ever be mined into existence is capped at 21 million BTC. That’s it. Currently, just under 13 million are in circulation. Because of its finite supply, Bitcoin proponents believe that each BTC can only rise in value – perhaps to as high as $1 million. Bitcoin’s critics, on the other hand, worry that Bitcoin’s borderless nature make it the perfect vehicle for shady business ventures to flout international trade law and embargoes. To help shed light on the matter, Investopedia interviewed Gil Luria, Managing Director at the Los Angeles, Ca.-based investment bank Wedbush Securities, the first investment bank in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin as payment for fees. (Need a basic Bitcoin explainer? See our video, “What is Bitcoin?”) Q: I’ve heard you say that one day 1 BTC could be worth $1 million. Do you want to expound on that? A: Haha, I’ve qualified that statement a number of times. If Bitcoin lives up to its potential and becomes the working capital of international trade, instead of countries and companies sitting on yen, U.S. dollars, Swiss francs, they could just use Bitcoin for cross-border transactions. It would be far more efficient. If that were to happen, Bitcoin would be taking $10 trillion of foreign currency that sits in multinational companies. If that were the case, each Bitcoin could be worth $1 million
Cognitive biases that make people skeptical towards Bitcoin.
A number of cognitive biases are likely responsible for people's hesitance to invest a small amount of money in Bitcoin. Humans suffer from such biases as a result of our tendency to use mental shortcuts to interact with our world on a day to day basis. In a paper entitled Cognitive Biases Potentially Affecting Judgment of Global Risks, Elizier Yudkowsky addressed a number of biases that cause humans to underestimate the risk of globally disruptive events. My perspective is that Bitcoin is such a globally disruptive event. I'm going to list some of the biases mentioned by Yudkowsky and discuss whether they apply to people's attitude towards Bitcoin as well.
Explanation: People naturally consider an event unlikely to happen if they can't think of an example of the event happening. This is what causes people to underestimate the risk of severe disasters. Relevance to Bitcoin: Humans underestimate the risk of losing their wealth in a disaster (stock market crash, rapid inflation, bank collapse), because most of us in developed countries have never experienced such an event before. This explains why the Chinese are more enthusiastic about Bitcoin, because older Chinese people remember the high inflation of the 80's and 90's in their country. To a more extreme degree the bias applies to new technology. If asked whether they would want a cell phone, people in the late 90's generally responded with skepticism, proclaiming that they saw no reason to be available for contact all the time. Similarly, people consider the need for digital currency unimaginable because it has never occurred before.
Explanation: People generally judge unforeseeable events to be foreseeable after they have happened. Worse, Yudkowsky explains that people even judge unforeseeable events to be foreseeable, when instructed to avoid falling victim to hindsight bias. This is why governments and corporations often receive accusations of incompetence after large disasters. Relevance to Bitcoin: Hindsight bias causes people to assume that disastrous events could be foreseen. It's all to easy to point out the factors that would lead to disaster, after the disaster has happened. One way in which this is relevant to us is that people may assume that they will have enough time to adapt to changes to the financial system, as they expect that any signs of disaster can be seen in advance. A second form of hindsight bias may be seen in people's response to Bitcoin after its success. People will accuse their government of incompetence or malicious negligence in its failure to protect them against inflation.
Explanation: Hindsight bias and and the availability heuristic combine to make us vulnerable to black swans: Events that are very rare, but have a massive impact. Financial crisis can be caused by traders who make small but steady profits, but lose massive amounts of money when the market behaves in an unprecedented manner. It's difficult to take care of black swans, because large investments may be needed to protect us against something which may never happen. How do you defend abandoning a trading strategy that consistently brings in money, but is vulnerable to an event that has never happened before in history? Relevance to Bitcoin: Bitcoin can be seen as another black swan type event, with purchase of Bitcoin seen as an insurance against a Bitcoin black swan. A small chance of Bitcoin's success can be contrasted with a large chance of its failure due to some conditions we failed to anticipate. How should pension funds and banks respond to this? If Bitcoin fails they face the problem of explaining to their clients that they wasted a portion of their money on something everyone was sure was going to fail. Thus in practice, large investment funds will lag behind.
The Conjunction Fallacy
Explanation: Humans consider more detailed explanations of events to be more likely to be accurate than less detailed explanations. Yudkowsky applies this to people's assumed protection against disastrous events. If we tell people that event A will not happen because of a combination of measures B, C, D and E, people fell more safe than when we tell them event A will not happen because of measure B, even when measures B, C, D, and E are all necessary for the disaster to be prevented. This causes a false feeling of safety. Relevance to Bitcoin: Many people believe Bitcoin won't succeed because the government would ban it if it does succeed. If you explain to them a condition whereby such a ban would be ineffective, people propose a response to such a condition, causing them to feel more certain that a ban would be effective, because they now have a more detailed reassurance in their head.
Explanation: Confirmation bias is one of the most well known of human biases. We look for evidence that confirms our hypothesis, rather than evidence that contradicts it. This causes us to make mistakes, because we prefer looking at evidence that confirms our belief, rather than evidence that disputes it. Relevance: Looking at the frontpage of /worldnews and international media in general shows that people pay more attention when Bitcoin rapidly crashes, than when it slowly but consistently grows in value. A crash that halves the value of Bitcoin is enough to encourage people in their conviction to refrain from buying Bitcoin, even though they ignore the 10-fold increase in value that may have preceded it.
Explanation: The first piece of evidence we receive to make a decision has an overly strong effect on our decision making. Important to note is that anchoring bias seems to have its strongest effect when we have no real idea of what the right decision is. Worst of all is that even ridiculous information contaminates our judgement. People asked whether Einstein first visited the United States before or after the 13th century still judge his visit to have occurred much earlier than others when asked for a precise year. Relevance: This is very relevant, because it causes people to underestimate the value of Bitcoin. The first time we really hear of Bitcoin, we hear of its price. This price becomes an anchoring point for its potential future value, something every person who hears of Bitcoin is forced to make a judgment on. Because all of us hear of Bitcoin at a low price, we treat this as an anchoring point. It may seem ignorant of people who sold their Bitcoin at 25 dollar in February, but their anchoring point was different than ours. Similarly, people who first heard of Bitcoin when its value was 25 cent may consider anything above ten dollar to be a bubble. In hindsight, 25 cent may be judged a ridiculously low price for a Bitcoin. Yet, despite being ridiculous, it still has a psychological effect on people exposed to Bitcoin. We find it difficult to imagine Bitcoin could be worth 1 million dollar one day, because we remember when it was worth 25 cent.
Explanation: People are poor at handling large numbers. Tell people that 2.000 birds or 200.000 birds die yearly in oil ponds, and they're still willing to pay the same amount of money to prevent it: Around 80 dollar. Relevance: People are likely not very vulnerable to long term predictions. Proclaiming that the market cap of Bitcoin will rise to 4 trillion dollar will not affect Bitcoin enthusiasm significantly more than proclaiming that it could rise to 400 billion dollar.
Explanation: People tend to be overly confident in their answers. Studies show that events to which people assign a probability of 2% happen 42.6% of the time. Relevance: People may feel no sense of urgency around Bitcoin, because they may be overly confident in their own judgement in regards to its future value.
Explanation: You've all heard of stories where a person dies while people stand around and do nothing. This is because we adjust our reaction, based on how people around us react. Relevance: People do not feel a sense of urgency in relation to Bitcoin, because they notice no sense of urgency in people around them. Important to note is that bystander apathy also works in reverse. When people believe that their peer group is urgently buying Bitcoin, they are likely to follow suit. This is why a global adaptation of Bitcoin is likely to happen more rapidly than we expect it to happen, as an attitude is likely to change very suddenly when critical mass has been reached.
So, last wipe, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I struggled until I got to about level 35ish, but eventually I got my bitcoin farm going (not full 50 GPU) and my booze generator going, and I was making some decent rubles. I could buy decent gear, the scopes I wanted, the ammo I liked (which was rarely m995,7n37, or m61, btw). And then I could go in raid, do my quests, find items, kill players, take their stuff and leave. Or, I could die and lose all my gear, and it would sting, but not break me. But when I did raids, I almost ALWAYS stayed until <10 minutes remaining, sometimes even getting out with spare seconds left. Yes, by about level 45, I eventually started making more money than I could spend, but ONLY after 50 GPU's in the BC farm and booze generator combined. Now this wipe, instead of enjoying the raids, I'm getting frustrated trying to find progression halting items. Then, when I do find them, I'm STRONGLY encouraged to turtle up, hide until the coast is clear behind counters or in bushes, then extract at 10:01. I'm also having to buy expensive weapons like SVD's to finish quests, which I had to do last wipe too, but my rouble flow was much much higher. I can kill a 3 man squad, and make 200k, because their armor was zero'd out and too high cost to repair and their guns with all their fancy attachments are worth 75k. Or, I can die and lose about that much. There is no real risk/reward any more. Then, when I'm having a particularly bad day dying, I can't even lean back on looting stuff like factory keys and fuel conditioners now, AND WHAT LITTLE BIT OF FIR I SELL HAS ATROCIOUS FEES. I sold 3 packs of bolts for 14k ea and the fee was 12k. It's like BSG isn't even trying to micro adjust the game to dial back the ruble flow. Instead it's full on scorched earth. Only the people with the absolute best combat skills or the most time to rat around have the ability to make any decent money. On top of that, I'm level 33 and JUST got my last FIR flash drive. I have crashed against the rocks to the tune of MILLIONS trying to get a LEDX and 3 FIR graphics cards from Interchange, thanks to RNG. I can't even start Shooter Born In Heaven, and I would be 3/4 done with it by now if I had it 10 levels ago. I'm sure* 3/4 of the subreddit will come by to tell me to quit crying, git gud, it's hardcore, roubles are easy to make, its a BETA, etc.. Well here's my Beta feedback. The game isn't fun when I lose every ruble I scrape up trying to do quests with specific gun/armor requirements and finding FIR items in hotspots, and hiding to avoid losing those items, all while BSG -heavily- deflates the economy and punishes rule obeying players in the name of stamping out RMT. *Left out a word. Edit: let me just say, I don’t mean this as a personal attack towards Nikita or the other devs. It’s simply just my experience, and my thoughts. I don’t have answers on how to make the perfect balances and compromises, or fixes on RMT etc. I just wish it had been publicized ahead of time, something like “Okay guys, next wipe we’re gonna experiment with making it real hard.” Also I’ve gotten a lot of responses saying “you’re not supposed to run the best gear every raid.” And my reply is, my standard kit is a Vepr KM, 6B23 armor, a Ratnik helmet, and comtacs, with self made BP ammo from the hideout. I’ve just recently started adding TV10 armor rigs into the mix. I’m not a META player who has to have iglonik or M995 every raid. I’m not trying to say I want to do that either. For one CONSTRUCTIVE bit, I feel like items should have two different FIR tags. One for flea/resell, one for quests, and the quest one staying if you died with it. That would make life better to me and to a very large population of power players. Also, between FIR changes, reduced loot spawns, increased flea fees, reduced trader sell prices, any 1-2 of those are survivable but all of them together, with more to come I'm sure, are crushing. That's all I'm saying. EDIT Again : I just saw what Jaegers giving for guns. THAT is nice. That makes up a little bit for the stuff like fuel conditioners.
My suggestion to slow down RMT would be to implement a spending limit on the flea market. For example, each player can BUY up to 10 million rubles worth of items from the flea per day, to increase this number there should be specific quests and/or by increasing your flea market reputation. Cheaters spend a minimum of $35 on a standard edition account and roughly $100-150 a month on cheats. Most accounts that they buy last 48-60 hours. The lowest price for rubles I could find on RMT sites are $1.6 per million. If cheaters are limited to 10 million rubles per day, they would be able to spend 20-25 million per account which would give them $40 per account. This would no longer be profitable for them, unless they increase their prices, Which would lower the demand, and ultimately lower the amount of cheaters (in theory). Disclaimer, Cheaters may be able to get cheaper accounts, cheaper cheats and may be able to cheat for longer than 60 hours. This is a rough estimation based on people I've spoken to and while browsing various cheating related forums and discord servers, take this with a grain of salt. Potential issues 1) Cheaters would barter, for example Graphics cards and because one graphics card has an estimated price on the flea market of 46,000 rubles, they would be able to trade up to 220 graphics cards a day. Solution, fix the estimated price of barters on the flea market by making the estimated price the average price of all items sold in the last 24 hours. 2) Some legitimate players do spend more than 10 million rubles a day Solution, be able to increase the 10 million limit by doing quests, increasing flea market trading rep, as well as phone verification. Re-uploaded because I forgot to add a flair EDIT: Many people pointed out the fact the some items are worth over 10 million and would be impossible to buy. My solution: make an exemption for items with a 24 hour average sell price of over 10 million, such as red key card, thicc items case, red rebel, t-7, etc. People also pointed out that cheaters move money in raid. My solution: Limit the amount of Bitcoin and gp coins you can bring into raid to 0. Limit the amount of LEDXs you can bring into raid to 0. Allow only one of each key to be able to bring into raid, however if you were to find more than one in raid, you can extract with it.
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
Technology and some more:
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
Down the rabbit hole
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here. Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017. Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand. Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”.Scilla design story part 1
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
“Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
Business & Partnerships
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
Marketing & Community
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
I didn't realize what people meant when they said "When the time comes, you won't have to sell your Bitcoin", Until Now:
The one thing people don't realize Bitcoin is for. You can take out loans on it. So in 10 years when you want a house, or duplex, or triplex, or apartment, or business; you can take out low interest rate loans for them with your Bitcoin, and buy that house, or rental property, or business you want. Something you could never do before any other way. This is what Bitcoin does for you. It grants you the net-worth and financial access so you can have the ability to get loans you could never get approval for before. Something as small as 20$ a month for 1 year or more, 10 years from now, can get you a loan for that house, or business you want but could never afford, or get an approved loan for. This is also better than selling your bitcoin for a property too. Because chances are, the Bitcoin will be a better investment value wise in the long run, so collateralizing it let's you keep your coin, and get your property, or business. Preferably a rental property, or solid proven business so it pays itself off. >Edit: A little example of how I realized this lesson the hard way. I lost a bit over 100 million dollars worth of Bitcoins in today's value by selling off almost 1.5 times the value of my first rental property that I'll most likely never recoup. The rental property was 3.87 million at the time, and I had to sell over 5 million dollars worth in Bitcoins at an average of 500$ a coin price in 2015 to acquire it. That was a little over 11 thousand Bitcoins I had to sell for the property. I had to sell off that much because I had to pay off the capital gains tax for selling the Bitcoins in the first place, and still have enough left over to pay for the rental property after capital gains taxes were paid. Since then, I learned my lesson seeing what my coins would've been worth today, and am never making that same mistake again. On my second rental property, I used some of my remaining Bitcoins as collateral to take out a low interest rate loan for it, and sold a smaller amount of Bitcoins so I could make a down-payment on the property. I've already recouped the small amount I sold off in Bitcoins for my down-payment on the second property too with the rental income from both properties. >The rental income on the second property is 4 times the cost of the mortgage payment every month, so I keep 75% of the rent as profit, and the other 25% that pays off the mortgage. That 25% that pays off the mortgage is a write off too, a perpetual write off at that. It's a write off I get to use on every years taxes that I have to pay on the first property's, and second property's rental income since they're owned under the same entity. And best of all, I still own all my Bitcoins used for the second property, and more now. Unlike the huge loss in Bitcoins I have for the first property's flat out purchase that I'll probably regret for the rest of my life. Learn from me. Edit 2: A great resource explaining this thanks too u/statoshi's comment: "Check out Chamath Palihapitiya's spin on this from 2014": https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=NV5ubkGQUes#t=81
I'll be quick. A idea. Pewdiepie reviews memes. What if we just head to his subreddit PewdiepieSubmissions and upvote a dogecoin meme of ours he would review it on LWIAY guranteed to hit millions of screens. The media also watches him like a hawk so they would catch wind aswell... then you got the pewdiepie clones on youtube that would just copy him.. we know mr beast watches him he would probably do something idk.. and yeah closer to moon.. if you guys think its worth a shot just comment some memes and we post the one with most upvotes... yea? We could even take one of his templates from the Tseries days and put dogecoin over his face and bitcoin over Tseries'... yeah im rambling srry. Ohhh snap we about to hit .0050 again!!!
Good news, your request has been approved! One of the Salespeople is willing have you as a customer! Alas, due to union rules, only one of the Salespeople can work with each customer, so you’ll have to choose one. Once you’ve chosen, you can contact them anytime- just ask and they’ll step from the air wherever you are. The Salespeople will haggle, but they’re pretty good at it- you’re unlikely to get more then a small decrease in cost, and will probably be haggled up. They won't be your friend, they won’t help you in any way other then making a sale, and will avoid answering any questions about what they are or where they came from (except the Knowledge Broker, but you’ll have to pay through the nose for that one). They are also much more powerful then they seem, and have access to abilities far beyond those obviously visible- any attempt to attack, rob, scam or coerce them will fail at best. Anyway! Here they are! Choose one to work with!
The Death Merchant: She’s young and thin. 20 at most, with the nervous, overly friendly look of someone trying to make their first sale. In a bright suit and bright smile, she explains. She makes people die. She’s not a hitman, you understand. She just makes people die. Give her a name and description and they’ll die the next day. Default is a stroke but if you want to pay a bit more you can choose a preferred method of death. Can’t be traced back to you, can’t be protected against, can't be survived. No she’s not heard of “Death Note”, she’s never really been much of a reader. What does she want in exchange? Time. Specifically, yours. Kill off some randomer with a stroke, you’ll only age a few months. But the more “important” someone is (that is, the bigger knock-on effects their death will have) and the more elaborate the cause of death, the more time is lost. Killing a world leader is about a decade. She notices you don’t have a lot of years, so she’ll inform you that her branch is looking for freelancers. That is, if you personally kill someone, she can give you some time for it! Same rules. Kill some nobody on the street and gain three months, kill a world leader and you’ll become a decade younger. She grins that bright smile as you notice the grass she stood on has withered away. Kill anyone you want and live forever! What a bargain, huh? Shake her hand and let’s get started!
The Body Crafter: He’s in his 50s. Dressed casually, blunt and straightforward. He’s not going to give you his sales pitch. He’s just going to tell you what he makes. Bodies. He looks over yours and sighs. You got one of those evolution-designed ones, didn’t you? They seem cheap but they’ll give out on you. Here, he’ll fix it. He can make you a new body. All the way up from simply cosmetically different to superhuman. He’s very good at your job and honestly, given the junker you’re in now, he’ll only bill you raw materials. Compassionate reasons, you see. All you have to do bring him some flesh. A minor change- skin or eye or hair color, a bit smaller or taller? That’ll be maybe a small animal. A dog or pig for something like healing a chronic disease or a true sex change. Something like a cow or horse for making you younger, or improving your strength or speed or intelligence or something a reasonable amount. If you want peak human abilities, or an ability an animal has? That’ll be a person. Maybe 2, if it’s a really rare trait. You want something superhuman? That’ll be a lot of people. Depends on how powerful you want to be. Try and get some kind of kryptonian bullshit and you’ll need to depopulate a large city. He won’t lie to you: these animals and people are gonna die. Horribly. He’ll want them restrained when you’re giving them to him- he’s already doing you a favor, he’s not going to beat them into submission for you. Just give him the design of your new body and he’ll tell you what he needs.
The Knowledge Broker: Sometimes, she’s so old she’s barely breathing. Sometimes, she’s so young she needs help talking. Sometimes she’s a teen, sometimes a young woman, sometimes middle aged. But always she has that faint smile and piercing gaze. She leads with the point. She knows everything. Any secret, any knowledge, any fact. She knows it. But she won’t give it for free. You see, there’s only one thing she doesn’t know. And that’s experiences. She can look at two lovers and tell you every opinion they have on the relationship, tell you what neurons are firing and what hormones are being released. But she doesn’t know what it’s like to be in love. So she wants your memories. She’ll just pluck them out of your head. The harder to obtain your knowledge is, the more important the memory has to be. Trivia you could get away with your trip to the supermarket. Classified information you might need to give up the memory of your first kiss. Grand secrets of the universe might need an entire childhood. She’ll take traumatic experiences- after experiencing nothing, even pain is better- but she prefers pleasant memories. Incredibly happy memories are worth much more, while miserable ones are worth less. A truly horrific experience will be near worthless, I’m afraid. She looks at you. Well? She’s an old woman (for now). She’s waiting. Are you in or not?
The Money Giver: You'd barely notice this person. You can’t tell their sex, their race, their age. They’re average height, average weight, neither ugly or attractive. They talk in a voice utterly lacking emotion or accent, and explain that they have realized what humans really value. “Money”. They will give you “money”. They will give you a lot of money, if you ask. Direct to your bank account, by default, but it you want it in cash or cheque or gold or bitcoin or something they’ll provide. They almost show a hint of smugness when they confirm the taxmen of your world have no hope of exposing them. It’ll be fully laundered. What they want is control. They’ll take control of your body for a bit. They promise not to kill anyone directly or harm your body. For a few hundred, it may only be for an hour. A thousand might get them a day. A million will get them six months. A billion will get them a decade. Of course, richer you are, the better your odds of dealing with the aftermath once you get your body back. You have traded control of your life for money before. Do so again. Sign the contract.
The Dream Author: he’s rail thin, heavily scarred, scribbling in a book as you speak. It takes him clear effort to stop and look up at you to begin his pitch. How would you like to visit one of his stories? It’ll be perfectly realistic, and it can feel like up to a decade. And he can write you however you want. He doesn’t judge, he’s written stories for all kinds of people. You wanna be a brutal god-king, crushing all opposition? You wanna be a hero who saves millions? You wanna just fuck? He prides himself on being a multi-genre writer. Whatever you provide, he can work with. It’s not real, of course. After the decade, you’ll wake where you were, only a few seconds having passed, as if it never happened. You’ll remember it all, don’t worry. All it costs is something you significantly emotionally value. Maybe an precious photo or something. Artists can’t be choosers. How long does it take to go onto pets or people? Well, depends on how often you enter a story, and how long it takes you to run out. If you're scared of spiraling, he’ll offer you a deal. Pay up front- destroy every object, kill every person, burn everything you care about- and he’ll put you in a story permanently. For as long as you subjectively like, in whatever world you like. If the cost really upsets you, he’ll make you imaginary versions of the people you love. You can do that, in his stories. You can do anything in his stories.
The Luck Trader. They’re androgynous and beautiful, dressed delicately. They’re always grinning, and never still. They talk musically and never touch iron. They have a sack, and inside are tokens. Tokens of luck. Lucky in love? Lucky in money? Lucky in health? Whatever area you want, they can give it to you. Just have the token on you, and watch the luck flow towards you. It’s not perfect- this isn’t “winning lottery ticket rains down from the sky” luck- but things will go your way far more often then would otherwise be the case. It’s a boost, but it’s a hefty boost. If you take advantage, you could go very far in life. Of course, the tokens need activating. Just choose someone to activate it. It has to be someone you know personally- not necessarily someone you like, or know well, but you need to have had at least one genuine conversation with them. And the Trader will take them away. They’ll just be gone. No-one will ever find them. And you will get your token. Buy as many tokens as you like! You just need to keep offering up people, and you’ll get as many lucky breaks as you want. Their eyes glitter with hunger as they speak. Just give them people and watch the doors of the world open before you. It's a bargain.
Chamath Palihapitiya, Chairman of Virgin Galactic and founder of investment firm Social Capital, believes that bitcoin could be worth $1 million a coin. He bought a bunch when they were about $80 In fact, $100 worth of bitcoin purchased seven years ago, when a bitcoin was worth approximately $0.003, would be worth roughly $633 million today, a gain of about 6,300,000%. “Put 1% of your net worth in Bitcoin and forget about it for 10 years” Casares added, baiting new investors to adopt the cryptocurrency. His speech also included a prediction for the cryptocurrency, where one bitcoin would hit $1 million before the next ten years. A former Facebook executive explains how the Bitcoin price could climb into the millions. Makes The Case For A $1 Million Bitcoin Price. where a single Bitcoin is worth $1 million or more But if Bitcoin succeeds, in 7 to 10 years those $100,000 may be worth more than $25 million, more than twice the value of the entire initial portfolio. He further added that with more than 60 million holders moving over $1 billion per day globally using bitcoin, the dominant cryptocurrency has a solid chance of succeding.
"One Bitcoin Is Going To Be Worth $1 MILLION" - PayPal Director
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