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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
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:
 
Introduction
 
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.
 
Decentralisation
 
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.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
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.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
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!
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Chat exclusivo de LATAM_PersonalFiance – Keybase.io

Chat exclusivo de LATAM_PersonalFiance – Keybase.io
La comunidad cuenta con un chat. Los que han seguido la serie de posts sobre Banca Internacional saben que hubo un intento fallido vía un software bastante beta. Genero problemas para los usuarios y para mi personal a coto/mediano plazo y dejo de existir.
Esta vez, con un betatest más extenso, creo que hemos dado con la plataforma que cumple con la plataforma perfecta o que mas se acerca a lo que tenía en mente.
Anónima, sin requerimientos al momento de registrar usuarios, basada en blockchain y con un servicio de crypto reconocido dentro sin KYC, con un cloud, multiplataforma, encriptada y open source.

Keybase.io

Es similar a slack, pero gratuita, encriptada, open source y anónima.
Keybase no requiere email o número de teléfono para registrarse. Si el usuario pierde su contraseña y su artículo key, pierde acceso a su cuenta, el cloud y sus crypto assets. Tengan cuidado.
Tiene una wallet de crypto asignada a cada usuario, no requiere KYC (se pueden tener mas de una y se tiene directo acceso a las keys). La red que utiliza es Stellar Lumens, XLM.
Corre en Windows/Android/Mac/iOS/Linux. Fue probado en todas las plataformas, la funcionalidad es la misma, inclusive el acceso al wallet y el cloud.
La plataforma ofrece un cloud service, que se monta como KBFS. En Windows requiere FureFS para poder navegarla vía el explorer, en Linux (si tenes instalado fusefs) podes hacer lo mismo.
Se puede navegar como una unidad de disco en Windows/Linux/Mac. Existen carpetas publicas y privadas entre usuarios de la misma manera que existen carpetas publicas de los canales de chat o grupos.
La cuenta de Keybase se puede conectar con cuentas de twitter, bitcoin, Reddit, PGP, slack y varios servicios más.
En este momento solo hay un par de usuarios que han probado la plataforma y una gran cantidad de documentación impositiva en PDF que cubren no solo Latinoamérica sino todas las jurisdicciones por los últimos tres años a nivel personal y corporativo.
Hay información actualizada sobre CRS y AEOI y se siguen agregando documentos de manera diaria.
Ahora, visto y considerando los acontecimientos en el subreddit de Argentina y las sospechas de los usuarios de Merval sobre individuos que se encuentran en la comunidad con el fin de hacer data mining o los casos legales en los que Reddit se ha utilizado como pruebas en un juicio. Tal como el caso Smaldone, que la comunidad sea segura o encriptada no es suficiente.

Como acceder a la comunidad y subscribirse de por vida

El software está disponible en https://keybase.io/

Una vez creado usuario y contraseña deben crear una paper key. Esto es importante ya que les va a permitir recuperar su cuenta inclusive sus crypto activos. XLM en este caso.
Pueden agregar otros dispositivos si quieren, tengan en cuenta que van a necesitar su paper key y posiblemente el primer dispositivo en el que crearon su cuenta para hacer pairing al nuevo dispositivo.
Las secciones que importan en este momento son Teams y Wallet
Para pedir acceso a la comunidad hay dos pasos.

  1. En la sección Teams, hay un botón “Join a team”
Buscar el team latam_recepcion

https://preview.redd.it/03z8c4o0fo751.jpg?width=455&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e4b318e3091ea4c826dbdecc834ae0dd96253c3c

  1. En la sección Wallet

https://preview.redd.it/es5ph8z2fo751.jpg?width=455&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=42e6136680b6f0a0d0b93a8b1eb94836c3a7e6a7
Transferir 500 XLM a la siguiente dirección, la subscripcion es de por vida.
GBCD4PLGVVNZAK7FHWTXBEC5DH4PXRSE6WQMUYGF2KF5DM7DNGVPGHKW 
Al momento de transferir existen dos campos para dejar mensajes en la transferencia, uno privado y uno público.
En el campo público, agregar el nombre de usuario de keybase, pueden adjuntar el username de Reddit aunque esto este es a elección.
Es importante que no se olviden de este paso porque los transfers son privados y no habría manera de saber de usuario viene esto.
El campo privado, esta encriptado, y no aparece en el blockchain (de manera publica). Funciona bien, pero solo entre wallets de dos usuarios. Esta wallet es del canal, consecuentemente ese esta deshabilitado desde Keybase.

Cosas a tener en cuenta
Si no pueden ver su wallet es posible que sea porque no han terminado el set-up de su cuenta, ya sea del password o del paper key.
Es más practico fondear su wallet personal asociada a su user primero y luego hacer la transferencia desde Keybase a la direccion del canal.
Activar los wallets de XLM tienen un network fee de 1 XLM. Al momento de publicar este post es un valor de € 0.05. Los transfers de XLM son economicos, su exchange de crypto puede cobrar un poco mas pero dentro de keybase se utiliza el network fee minimo 0.00001 XLM lo que implica un costo de € 0.0000005.
Una vez dentro de la comunidad, en este momento existe un cloud con suficiente documentacionn documentación sobre impuestos de Latinoamérica y el resto del mundo. Esto sigue creciendo ya que sigo agregando segun haya nuevo contenido. Es accesible vía KBFS vía su browser local como si fuese una unidad extra o tambien vía la app en todos sus sabores.
También hay canales dedicados a algunos topics particulares como crypto e inversiones.
En un futuro breve van a estar disponibles los posts de Banca Internacional en PDF y contenido extra solo disponible dentro de la comunidad.
Tengan en cuenta que la regla desde mi primer post sigue vigente. Los privados estan reservados en el caso que yo quiera contactarme con ustedes de manera directa o agregarlos a teams segregados.
En los chats públicos podemos discutir todos juntos de manera mas eficiente ya que quizás otros usuarios tengan las mismas dudas o problemas que ustedes.
Las reglas de keybase son las mismas que las de esta communidad, la privacidad es el epitome indiscutible, sin embargo la promocion de servicios que sean o rozen la ilegalidad no seran tolerados.
El bien comun es el objetivo principal y quien defraude el mismo o a los usuarios no tiene lugar entre nosotros.
Nos vemos en Keybase.
submitted by diyexageh to LATAM_PersonalFinance [link] [comments]

Upcoming Major Riecoin 0.20 Upgrade

Upcoming Major Riecoin 0.20 Upgrade
A new major Riecoin upgrade is planned, and includes a hard fork. Below is a summary of the changes so far and the hard fork improvements. More details can be found on BitcoinTalk. Feel free to ask Pttn there or on Discord if you have questions regarding the update.
The first step of this upgrade was to update the base code to Bitcoin’s 0.20, which is done. You can find the experimental code at the Github repository. Experimental binaries can also be downloaded here. Despite their prerelease status, they should work fine, though please backup your wallets if you plan to use 0.20, just in case.
Pool operators and other advanced Riecoin users should start looking into the changes and update their software accordingly, as well as closely follow the Riecoin Core development.
Here is a list of notable changes from 0.16.3.1.
The next step will be the hard fork, in order to improve Riecoin in multiple ways. Here is the list of planned changes.
Once the development is advanced enough, a date will be chosen for the hard fork. Testnet will be hardforked first to ensure the well functioning of the implementation. Stay tuned!
submitted by PttnMe to RieCoin [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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, analysed 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, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis 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:
 
Introduction 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 end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, 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 amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. 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 disecting 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 synchronise 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, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation 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 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 decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
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 (centralised 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 their 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% translates 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 decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours 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 behaviour 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 recognised 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 safety 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 for 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.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
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 organisations 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 suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking 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 build 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 dont 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 initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest 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 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!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Pi Network [italian]

Pi Network [italian]
Pi Network è un progetto, ancora in fase iniziale (Fase I), nato a marzo 2019 da un'idea di alcuni dottorandi dell’Università di Stanford. L'idea dietro Pi Network è quella di permettere a qualsiasi persona con un cellulare di poter minare (ovvero “costruire”) questa cripto valuta. L'applicazione non usa batteria né dati del cellulare.
Per far ciò, basta scaricare gratuitamente l'app Pi Network dallo store, inserire solo alcune informazioni personali e, dopo aver obbligatoriamente inserito un codice di invito (il mio codice è uguale al mio username di Reddit, se volete usarlo), seguire dei semplici passaggi di introduzione ed infine cliccare sul pulsante con il fulmine ed iniziare a costruire la moneta.
Una volta registrati, ognuno avrà il suo codice da poter passare ad altre persone e per ogni nuovo utente che si iscrive tramite il vostro codice vedrete aumentare la vostra produzione di moneta. È importante ricordarsi di entrare nell'applicazione e cliccare il pulsante con il fulmine ogni 24h dall'ultima volta in cui lo si ha cliccato, altrimenti il processo di costruzione della moneta si interrompe e non si produrrà moneta fino a quando non avrete ri-cliccato quel pulsante.
Ad oggi, dopo solo 8 mesi, Pi Network ha più di 1 milione di utente attivi. Bitcoin, per fare un esempio, prima di arrivare ad 1 Milione di utenti ha impiegato 3 anni.

All'interno dell'app di Pi Network si possono avere diversi ruoli:
- Pioneer: al fine di evitare i bot e i fake account, bisogna aprire l'applicazione ogni 24h e ri-cliccare sul pulsante con il fulmine per ricominciare il mining, altrimenti questo viene interrotto, come vi spiegavo precedentemente;
- Contributor: si diventa contributor dopo aver effettuato con successo tre sessioni di mining, da cui ne consegue un aumento della velocità di costruzione della moneta e la possibilità di creare un proprio "security circle" con altre persone fidate che potrete aggiungere o dal vostro earning team (ovvero colori i quali si sono iscritti con il vostro codice) o dai contatti della vostra rubrica;
- Ambassador: si diventa ambassador invitando altre persone attraverso il proprio codice personale (che non è altro che il proprio username) aumentando anche qui la potenza di mining.
Al momento il Pi Coin non ha un valore sul mercato poiché non è stata ancora rilasciata ufficialmente come criptovaluta scambiabile. Per far ciò, bisognerà aspettare la l'ultima fase del progetto, ovvero la Fase III, dalla quale in poi non si potrà più accedere gratuitamente al mining della moneta, ma la si potrà solo acquistare o scambiare.
Ora è infatti l'occasione migliore per iniziare ad entrare nel vivo del progetto e, con un po' di pazienza, forse, ottenere dei risultati. Le basi ci sono tutte !

PI Network si sviluppa in tre fasi:
- La Prima fase comprende il design, lo sviluppo, la distribuzione e la verifica dell'applicazione.
Durante questa fase, l'applicazione emula il mining della moneta, ricompensando gli utenti con monete chiamate per l'appunto "Pi". Il mining, come vi spiegavo, dura 24 ore dopodiché dovrete nuovamente premere il pulsante con il fulmine nuovo per poter minare altre 24 ore, e così via.
- La Seconda fase è attualmente programmata entro il primo trimestre 2020 e riguarderà il "testnet" ossia, per semplicità, la dimostrazione delle potenziali capacità del progetto al fine di poter preparare il lancio della criptovaluta sul mercato.
La fase di testnet può essere intrapresa da ogni utente che vorrà parteciparvi utilizzando un PC e un software che sarà distribuito dagli sviluppatori. In questo modo si farà parte della rete di utenti che verificano le transazioni di scambio, ottenendo una ulteriore ricompensa per il lavoro svolto.
La Fase I e la Fase II saranno parallele, perciò anche durante la Fase II l'applicazione continuerà a ricompensarvi con il vostro mining e allo stesso tempo consentirà agli sviluppatori del Network di trovare errori e attuare tutte le modifiche necessarie per passare alla Fase III.
- La Terza fase sarà la fase finale dove la moneta avrà un valore che dipenderà dal mercato.
In questa ultima fase l'applicazione smetterà di ricompensare gli utenti, ma le monete che avete accumulato saranno scambiabili per qualsiasi altra moneta o vendute ad altri utenti usando i canali predisposti ad accettare la moneta.

Dal momento che il progetto è ancora in una fase iniziale, ovviamente non si sa se questo avrà più o meno successo, ma, non dovendo, ad oggi, investire soldi reali penso sia un buon "investimento" cliccare una volta al giorno un pulsante 😎

Allego inoltre il link del sito ufficiale di Pi Network dove potrete trovare altre informazioni più dettagliate: https://minepi.com/

https://preview.redd.it/tiemxr6ibl141.jpg?width=225&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d91f9da9a8211130fd970a9f2b80469efd836a5c
submitted by Fradepa7 to PiNetwork [link] [comments]

asic operator vs miner

Running an bitcoin asic and pointing it to a pool does not make you a miner. It does not add significantly to decentralization and is basically equivalent to the difference between SPV ( light node ) and a full node. Furthermore when most people do this they get complacent - set and forget.
In this setup the pool admin is the miner, they are creating the block template using software in their control - using some of their own asics to mine on that block and outsourcing some of the hashing to ASIC operators.
Therefore in order to be a real miner, you need to at minimum verify the block template you are working on using software you control and if its invalid you should be able to revert to mining somewhere else ( another pool or solo mining)
By the above definition the current bitcoin network is quite centralized ( obviously not as bad as bcash). However a network can be centralized and continue to 'woRk' until their is a political issue or incentive ( outside bitcoins incentive model ) for an individual to do dishonest things. This exact thing happened in the bcash network, when three mining pools fought over the ability to claim unlocked segit coins - two pools performed a reorg against another pool and a small pool. The two pool admins obviously had some communication channel with each other or are controlled by the same entity. With centralization the organizational cost of doing attacks is reduced so far that the incentive model that is fundamental to bitcoin no longer works. At this point you are no longer bitcoin - and the bcash dev realized this and implemented reorg protection making it a quasi proof of stake - proof of work coin.
We must address the effects of the stratum protocol it has done more harm to bitcoin that large blocks. An innovation in this area will help other POW projects like monero that actually care about decentralization.

Blockstream pool already implements betterhash

https://blockstream.com/mining/
but i dont see a way to mine with them yet?
submitted by Spartan3123 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Rhodium Mining Guide

Bitcoin Rhodium Mining Guide
Happy Mining!

All available XRC pools can be found on MiningPoolStats

Bitcoin Rhodium Mining Hardware

Baikal Giant+: 1.6 GH/s
Baikal Quad Cube: 1.2 GH/s
Baikal Giant: 900 MH/s
Baikal Quadruple Mini Miner: 600 MH/s
Baikal Miner Cube: 300 MH/s
Baikal Mini Miner: 150 MH/s

Mining Setup

To mine Bitcoin Rhodium you need to set up an XRC wallet and configure your miner of choice. You can choose between Web wallet, Electrum-XRC or Magnum wallet. To set up a web wallet please visit wallet.bitcoinrh.org. Or download and install Electrum-XRC wallet (recommended) for Windows, Linux and MacOS.
Web wallet: wallet.bitcoinrh.org
Electrum-XRC wallet: electrum.bitcoinrh.org
Magnum wallet: https://magnumwallet.co

Sign up for XRC web wallet if not yet done so

  1. Create an account, with your username, password and secure question.
  2. Sign in and click “Create Wallet”.
  3. Set up a strong transaction password. Make sure you store it securely in a secure password manager of choice.
  4. Copy the seed somewhere safe. It’d be a good idea to write seed on a hardcopy and keep it safe.
  5. Paste it to confirm you got it right.
  6. Grab an address for the mining step. Your wallet is now ready to mine XRC.

Instructions for mining XRC on the official pool

Pool link: poolcore.bitcoinrh.org
  1. Any miner that supports X13 will be able to mine XRC. We have a few examples below of miners that are well tested with Bitcoin Rhodium network.
  2. For any miner, configure the miner to point to:
(0–0.8 GH/s) stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org:3061
(0.8–2 GH/s) stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org:3062
(3–4 GH/s) stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org:3063
(5+ GH/s) stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org:3064
with your XRC address as username and x as password. You don’t need to open an account on pool. You will be mining to XRC address and mined coins will be transferred to your wallet
after blocks reach 10 block maturity
after you mined up minimal amount of coins (currently 0.1 XRC)
sometimes mined blocks could get rejected by network (orphaned) after they were counted as valid blocks. This is normal network behavior to follow longest chain
  1. http://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org is used to follow your miner and network statistics.

CPU Miner-Multi

Source: https://github.com/tpruvot/cpuminer-multi
Sample configuration with CPU Miner tested on UBUNTU.
{
“url” : “stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org:3061”, “user” : “YOUR XRC ADDRESS”,
“pass” : “x”,
“algo” : “x13”, “threads” : 1,
“cpu-priority” : 5,
“cpu-affinity” : 1, “benchmark” : false, “debug” : true, “protocol”: true, “show-diff”: true, “quiet” : false
}
Command to run your CPUMiner: cpuminer -c cpuminer.json

SGMiner (ATI GPU)

SGMiner is a GPU-based mine: https://github.com/nicehash/sgminereleases
The configuration below was tested on Windows:
setx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0
setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100
setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1
setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
cd C:\Software\sgminer-5.6.1-nicehash-51-windowsamd64 sgminer.exe
— gpu-platform 1 — algorithm x13mod -url stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh. org:3062 — pool-user — userpass :x — auto-fan — temp-target 70 — temp-over- heat 82 — temp-cutoff 85 — gpu-fan 65–85 — log-file log.txt — no-adl — no-extra- nonce -P –T

CCMiner (NVIDIA GPU)

CCMiner is a GPU-based miner (NVIDIA)
Command to run your CCMINER:
ccminer-x64.exe -a x13 -o stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org:3062 -O :without -D — show-diff

Baikal miner

Settings: Url:
(0–2 GH/s) stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org:3062
(3–4 GH/s) stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org:3063
(5+ GH/s) stratum+tcp://poolcore.bitcoinrh.org:3064
Algo: x13User: your XRC receiving address (make sure you set 2 distinct addresses for each hashing board)
Pass: x
Extranonce: leave off Priority set to 0 and 1
Once pool stratum address and your wallet as user are set up you should see your miner mining against XRC pool. When miner is working the status column is green. The pool and miner are incorrectly configured now as status says “Dead” highlighted in red.

Instructions for mining XRC on BSOD pool

Pool link: bsod.pw/en/pool/dashboard/XRC/
Use this code for your miner: -a x13 -o stratum+tcp://pool.bsod.pw:2582 -u WALLET.rig
BSOD pool allows both solo and party mining.
For solo mining use code: -a x13 -o stratum+tcp://pool.bsod.pw:2582 -u WALLET.rig -p m=solo And for party mining use: -a x13 -o stratum+tcp://pool.bsod.pw:2582 -u WALLET.rig -p m=party.yourpassword
NOTICE: You can use us for North America and asia for Asia instead of euin your .bat file or config.
You can also use BSOD pool’s monitor app for Android and iOS.

Instructions for mining XRC on ZERGPOOL

Zergpool offers low fees (just 0.5%) and also SOLO and PARTY mining with no extra fees.
To mine XRC on Zergpool use this command lines for your miner:
Regular: -a x13 -o stratum+tcp://x13.mine.zergpool.com:3633 -u -p c=XRC,mc=XRC Solo: -a x13 -o stratum+tcp://x13.mine.zergpool.com:3633 -u -p c=XRC,mc=XRC,m=solo Party: -a x13 -o stratum+tcp://x13.mine.zergpool.com:3633 -u -p c=XRC,mc=XRC,m=party
Use your coin wallet address as username in mining software. Specify c=SYMBOL as password to identify payout wallet coin, and the same coin in mc=SYMBOL to specify mining coin.
For more information and support please visit http://zergpool.com
Notice that when there are more pools mining XRC in different geographic/availability locations choose the nearest to you as lowest priority and then add desirable fall back pool options in different geographic locations or pools. This is useful when one pool experiences issues, to fall back to different pool in Bitcoin Rhodium network.

Calculate your Bitcoin Rhodium mining profitability

WhatToMine: https://whattomine.com/coins/317-xrc-x13
CoinCalculators: https://www.coincalculators.io/coin/bitcoin-rhodium

Feel free to ask questions in Discord community. There are lots of helpful people around the world watching XRC 24x7.

Bitcoin Rhodium Dev Team
submitted by BitcoinRh to BitcoinRhodium [link] [comments]

The importance of being mindful of security at all times - nearly everyone is one breach away from total disaster

This is a long one - TL;DR at the end!

If you haven't heard yet: BlankMediaGames, makers of Town of Salem, have been breached which resulted in almost 8 million accounts being leaked. For most people, the first reaction is "lol so what it's just a game, why should I really care?" and that is the wrong way to look at it. I'd like to explain why everyone should always care whenever they are part of a breach. I'd also like to talk about some ways game developers - whether they work solo or on a team - can take easy steps to help protect themselves and their customers/players.
First I'd like to state that there is no practical way to achieve 100% solid security to guarantee you'll never be breached or part of a breach. The goal here will be to get as close as possible, or comfortable, so that you can rest easy knowing you can deal with problems when they occur (not if, when).

Why You Should Care About Breaches

The sad reality is most people re-use the same password everywhere. Your email account, your bank account, your steam account, your reddit account, random forums and game websites - you get the idea. If you haven't pieced it together yet the implication is that if anyone gets your one password you use everywhere, it's game over for you - they now own all of your accounts (whether or not they know it yet). Keep in mind that your email account is basically the holy grail of passwords to have. Most websites handle password changes/resets through your email; thus anyone who can login to your email account can get access to pretty much any of your accounts anywhere. Game over, you lose.

But wait, why would anyone want to use my password? I'm nobody!

It doesn't matter, the bad guys sell this information to other bad guys. Bots are used to make as much use of these passwords as possible. If they can get into your bank they might try money transfers. If they get into your Amazon account they might spin up $80,000 worth of servers to mine Bitcoin (or whatever coin is popular at the time). They don't care who you are; it's all automated.
By the way, according to this post (which looks believable enough to be real) this is pretty much how they got into the BMG servers initially. They checked for usernames/emails of admins on the BMG website(s) in previous breach dumps (of which there are many) and found at least one that used the same password on other sites - for their admin account!
If you want to see how many of your accounts are already breached check out Have I Been Pwned - I recommend registering all of your email addresses as well so you get notified of future breaches. This is how I found out about the Town of Salem breach, myself.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Before I go into all the steps you can (and should) take to protect yourself I should note that security is in a constant tug of war with convenience. What this means is that the more security measures you apply the more inconvenienced you become for many tasks. It's up to you to decide how much is too much either way.
First of all I strongly recommend registering your email(s) on https://haveibeenpwned.com/ - this is especially important if your email address is associated to important things like AWS, Steam developer account, bank accounts, social media, etc. You want to know ASAP when an account of yours is compromised so you can take steps to prevent or undo damage. Note that the bad guys have a head start on this!

Passwords

You probably need to have better password hygiene. If you don't already, you need to make sure every account you have uses a different, unique, secure password. You should change these passwords at least once a year. Depending on how many accounts you have and how good your memory is, this is your first big security vs convenience trade-off battle. That's easily solved, though, by using a password manager. You can find a list of password managers on Wikipedia here or you can search around for some comparison articles.
Some notable choices to consider:
Regardless of which one you choose, any of them is 100x better than not using one at all.

Multi-Factor Authentication / Two-Factor Authentication (aka MFA / 2FA)

The problem with all these passwords is that someone can still use them if they are found in a breach. Your passwords are only as strong as the website you use them on. In the case of the BMG breach mentioned above - all passwords were stored in an ancient format which has been insecure for years. It's likely that every single password in the breach can be reversed/cracked, or already have been. The next step you need to take is to make it harder for someone else to login with your password. This is done using Multi-Factor Authentication (or Two-Factor Authentication).
Unfortunately not every website/service supports MFA/2FA, but you should still use it on every single one that does support it. You can check which sites support MFA/2FA here or dig around in account options on any particular site. You should setup MFA/2FA on your email account ASAP! If it's not supported, you need to switch to a provider that does support it. This is more important than your bank account! All of the big email providers support it: GMail, Outlook.com, Yahoo Mail, etc.
The type of MFA/2FA you use depends on what is supported by each site/service, but there is a common approach that is compatible on many of them. Most of them involve phone apps because a phone is the most common and convenient "thing you have" that bad guys (or anyone, really) can't access easily. Time-based One-time Password or TOTP is probably the most commonly used method because it's easy to implement and can be used with many different apps. Google Authenticator was the first popular one, but it has some limitations which continue the security vs convenience battle - namely that getting a new phone is a super huge chore (no backup/restore option - you have to disable and setup each site all over again). Many alternatives support cloud backup which is really convenient, though obviously less secure by some measure.
Notable choices to consider:
Some sites/services use their own app, like Blizzard (battle.net) and Steam, and don't allow you to use other ones. You will probably have a few apps on your phone when all your accounts are setup, but it's worth it. You'll definitely want to enable it on your password manager as well if you chose a cloud-based one.
Don't forget to save backup codes in an actual secure location! If you lose your backup codes and your auth app/physical key you will be locked out of accounts. It's really not fun recovering in that situation. Most recommendations are to print them and put in a fireproof safe, but using some other secure encrypted storage is fine.
There is such a thing as bad MFA/2FA! However, anything is at least better than nothing. A lot of places still use SMS (text messaging) or e-mail for their MFA/2FA implementation. The e-mail one has the most obvious flaw: If someone gets into your email account they have defeated that security measure. The SMS flaws are less obvious and much less likely to affect you, but still a risk: SMS is trivial to intercept (capture data over the air (literally), clone your SIM card data, and some other methods). Still, if you're not a person of interest already, it's still better than nothing.

What Does This Have To Do With GameDev?

Yeah, I do know which subreddit I'm posting in! Here's the section that gets more into things specific to game development (or software development in general).

Secure Your Code

Securing your code actually has multiple meanings here: Securing access to your code, and ensuring your code itself is secure against exploitation. Let's start with access since that's the easier topic to cover!
If you're not already using some form of Source Control Management (SCM) you really need to get on board! I'm not going to go in depth on that as it's a whole other topic to itself, but I'll assume you are using Git or Mercurial (hg) already and hosting it on one of these sites (or a similar one):
First, ensure that you have locked down who can access this code already. If you are using private repositories you need to make sure that the only people who have access are the people who need access (i.e. yourself and your team). Second, everyone should have strong passwords and MFA/2FA enabled on their accounts. If 1 person on the team does not follow good security practices it puts your whole project at risk! So make sure everyone on the team is following along. You can also look into tools to do some auditing and even automate it so that if anyone's account becomes less secure over time (say they turned off MFA one day) they would automatically lose their access.
Additionally you should never commit secrets (passwords, API keys, tokens, social security numbers, etc) to your code repository. Probably 90% of cases where people have their AWS/Google Cloud/Azure accounts compromised and racking up huge bills for bitcoin mining is due to having their passwords/keys stored in their git repo. They either accidentally made it public or someone got access to the private repo through a compromised account. Never store sensitive information in your code repository!
Next topic: Securing your code from vulnerabilities. This one is harder to talk about for game dev as most engines/frameworks are not as susceptible (for lack of a better word) to these situations as others. In a nutshell, you need to keep track of the following:
A lot of these things cannot be solved automatically, unfortunately, but some of it can. If you are using Javascript for your game you likely will be using packages from npm - luckily they (recently) added security auditing for packages. For other languages you can look at tools like Snyk or some other alternatives to audit the libraries you use in your project. Unfortunately none that I know of are aimed at game dev in particular, but it's still important to use these tools when you can. In general, be aware of all of your code dependencies and what impact they can have on your game or your customers if there are security bugs. Impact can range from "can cheat in multiplayer" to "can get IP addresses of all players in the world" or even "can get all information I ever put on my server", etc.
In general you'll want to look into Secure Software Development Lifecycle (commonly SDLC) practices. Microsoft has some information on how they do it.

Secure Your Computer

I'm not going to go in depth on this one because at this point everyone should have a handle on this; if not there are limitless articles, blogs, and videos about the how/what/why. In summary: Keep everything updated, and don't open suspicious links.

Secure Your Website

I will have to add more to this later probably, but again there are tons of good articles, blogs, and videos on these topics. Hopefully the information in this section is enough to get you on the right track - if not feel free to ask for more info. Lots of guides can be found on Digital Ocean's site and they are relevant even if you don't use DO for your servers.
A lot of this will apply to your game servers as well - really any kind of server you expect to setup.

That's it, for now

I ran out of steam while typing this all up after a couple hours, but I may revisit it later to add more info. Feel free to ask any questions about any of these topics and I'll do my best to answer them all.

TL;DR (y u words so much??)

... in general... in general... in general... I sure wrote those 2 words a lot.

Why Should I Trust This Post?

Hopefully I have provided enough information and good links in this post that you can trust the contents to be accurate (or mostly accurate). There is certainly enough information to do some searches on your own to find out how right or wrong I might be about these things.
If you want my appeal to authority answer: I've been working at a major (network/computer) security company for almost 7 years as a software developer, and I've had to put up with pretty much every inconvenience brought on by security. I've also witnessed the aftermath of nearly every type of security failure covered in this post, via customers and the industry at large. None of the links I used are related to my employer or its products.
Edit: Fixed some typos and added some more links
More edit: added a few more points and links
submitted by exoplasm to gamedev [link] [comments]

Pi Network Italia: quello che c'è da sapere

Pi Network Italia: quello che c'è da sapere
Pi Network è un progetto, ancora in fase iniziale (Fase I), nato a marzo 2019 da un'idea di alcuni dottorandi dell’Università di Stanford. L'idea dietro Pi Network è quella di permettere a qualsiasi persona con un cellulare di poter minare (ovvero “costruire”) questa cripto valuta. L'applicazione non usa batteria né dati del cellulare.
Per far ciò, basta scaricare gratuitamente l'app Pi Network dallo store, inserire solo alcune informazioni personali e, dopo aver obbligatoriamente inserito un codice di invito ( Fradepa7 , ossia il mio codice), seguire dei semplici passaggi di introduzione ed infine cliccare sul pulsante con il fulmine ed iniziare a costruire la moneta.
Una volta registrati, ognuno avrà il suo codice da poter passare ad altre persone e per ogni nuovo utente che si iscrive tramite il vostro codice vedrete aumentare la vostra produzione di moneta. È importante ricordarsi di entrare nell'applicazione e cliccare il pulsante con il fulmine ogni 24h dall'ultima volta in cui lo si ha cliccato, altrimenti il processo di costruzione della moneta si interrompe e non si produrrà moneta fino a quando non avrete ri-cliccato quel pulsante.
Ad oggi, dopo solo 8 mesi, Pi Network ha più di 1 milione di utente attivi. Bitcoin, per fare un esempio, prima di arrivare ad 1 Milione di utenti ha impiegato 3 anni.

All'interno dell'app di Pi Network si possono avere diversi ruoli:
- Pioneer: al fine di evitare i bot e i fake account, bisogna aprire l'applicazione ogni 24h e ri-cliccare sul pulsante con il fulmine per ricominciare il mining, altrimenti questo viene interrotto, come vi spiegavo precedentemente;
- Contributor: si diventa contributor dopo aver effettuato con successo tre sessioni di mining, da cui ne consegue un aumento della velocità di costruzione della moneta e la possibilità di creare un proprio "security circle" con altre persone fidate che potrete aggiungere o dal vostro earning team (ovvero colori i quali si sono iscritti con il vostro codice) o dai contatti della vostra rubrica;
- Ambassador: si diventa ambassador invitando altre persone attraverso il proprio codice personale (che non è altro che il proprio username) aumentando anche qui la potenza di mining.
Al momento il Pi Coin non ha un valore sul mercato poiché non è stata ancora rilasciata ufficialmente come criptovaluta scambiabile. Per far ciò, bisognerà aspettare la l'ultima fase del progetto, ovvero la Fase III, dalla quale in poi non si potrà più accedere gratuitamente al mining della moneta, ma la si potrà solo acquistare o scambiare.
Ora è infatti l'occasione migliore per iniziare ad entrare nel vivo del progetto e, con un po' di pazienza, forse, ottenere dei risultati. Le basi ci sono tutte !

PI Network si sviluppa in tre fasi:
- La Prima fase comprende il design, lo sviluppo, la distribuzione e la verifica dell'applicazione.
Durante questa fase, l'applicazione emula il mining della moneta, ricompensando gli utenti con monete chiamate per l'appunto "Pi". Il mining, come vi spiegavo, dura 24 ore dopodiché dovrete nuovamente premere il pulsante con il fulmine nuovo per poter minare altre 24 ore, e così via.
- La Seconda fase è attualmente programmata entro il primo trimestre 2020 e riguarderà il "testnet" ossia, per semplicità, la dimostrazione delle potenziali capacità del progetto al fine di poter preparare il lancio della criptovaluta sul mercato.
La fase di testnet può essere intrapresa da ogni utente che vorrà parteciparvi utilizzando un PC e un software che sarà distribuito dagli sviluppatori. In questo modo si farà parte della rete di utenti che verificano le transazioni di scambio, ottenendo una ulteriore ricompensa per il lavoro svolto.
La Fase I e la Fase II saranno parallele, perciò anche durante la Fase II l'applicazione continuerà a ricompensarvi con il vostro mining e allo stesso tempo consentirà agli sviluppatori del Network di trovare errori e attuare tutte le modifiche necessarie per passare alla Fase III.
- La Terza fase sarà la fase finale dove la moneta avrà un valore che dipenderà dal mercato.
In questa ultima fase l'applicazione smetterà di ricompensare gli utenti, ma le monete che avete accumulato saranno scambiabili per qualsiasi altra moneta o vendute ad altri utenti usando i canali predisposti ad accettare la moneta.

Dal momento che il progetto è ancora in una fase iniziale, ovviamente non si sa se questo avrà più o meno successo, ma, non dovendo, ad oggi, investire soldi reali penso sia un buon "investimento" cliccare una volta al giorno un pulsante 😎
Fatemi sapere cosa ne pensate e, se vi va, utilizzate il mio codice. Grazie 😁

Allego inoltre il link del sito ufficiale di Pi Network dove potrete trovare altre informazioni più dettagliate: https://minepi.com/

https://preview.redd.it/7rmamukq5l141.jpg?width=225&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=84024682456fc5a9e8f78bff9e388eedc0c039a9
submitted by Fradepa7 to Italia [link] [comments]

Searching for the Unicorn Cryptocurrency

Searching for the Unicorn Cryptocurrency
For someone first starting out as a cryptocurrency investor, finding a trustworthy manual for screening a cryptocurrency’s merits is nonexistent as we are still in the early, Wild West days of the cryptocurrency market. One would need to become deeply familiar with the inner workings of blockchain to be able to perform the bare minimum due diligence.
One might believe, over time, that finding the perfect cryptocurrency may be nothing short of futile. If a cryptocurrency purports infinite scalability, then it is probably either lightweight with limited features or it is highly centralized among a limited number of nodes that perform consensus services especially Proof of Stake or Delegated Proof of Stake. Similarly, a cryptocurrency that purports comprehensive privacy may have technical obstacles to overcome if it aims to expand its applications such as in smart contracts. The bottom line is that it is extremely difficult for a cryptocurrency to have all important features jam-packed into itself.
The cryptocurrency space is stuck in the era of the “dial-up internet” in a manner of speaking. Currently blockchain can’t scale – not without certain tradeoffs – and it hasn’t fully resolved certain intractable issues such as user-unfriendly long addresses and how the blockchain size is forever increasing to name two.
In other words, we haven’t found the ultimate cryptocurrency. That is, we haven’t found the mystical unicorn cryptocurrency that ushers the era of decentralization while eschewing all the limitations of traditional blockchain systems.
“But wait – what about Ethereum once it implements sharding?”
“Wouldn’t IOTA be able to scale infinitely with smart contracts through its Qubic offering?”
“Isn’t Dash capable of having privacy, smart contracts, and instantaneous transactions?”
Those thoughts and comments may come from cryptocurrency investors who have done their research. It is natural for the informed investors to invest in projects that are believed to bring cutting edge technological transformation to blockchain. Sooner or later, the sinking realization will hit that any variation of the current blockchain technology will always likely have certain limitations.
Let us pretend that there indeed exists a unicorn cryptocurrency somewhere that may or may not be here yet. What would it look like, exactly? Let us set the 5 criteria of the unicorn cryptocurrency:
Unicorn Criteria
(1) Perfectly solves the blockchain trilemma:
o Infinite scalability
o Full security
o Full decentralization
(2) Zero or minimal transaction fee
(3) Full privacy
(4) Full smart contract capabilities
(5) Fair distribution and fair governance
For each of the above 5 criteria, there would not be any middle ground. For example, a cryptocurrency with just an in-protocol mixer would not be considered as having full privacy. As another example, an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) may possibly violate criterion (5) since with an ICO the distribution and governance are often heavily favored towards an oligarchy – this in turn would defy the spirit of decentralization that Bitcoin was found on.
There is no cryptocurrency currently that fits the above profile of the unicorn cryptocurrency. Let us examine an arbitrary list of highly hyped cryptocurrencies that meet the above list at least partially. The following list is by no means comprehensive but may be a sufficient sampling of various blockchain implementations:
Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin is the very first and the best known cryptocurrency that started it all. While Bitcoin is generally considered extremely secure, it suffers from mining centralization to a degree. Bitcoin is not anonymous, lacks smart contracts, and most worrisomely, can only do about 7 transactions per seconds (TPS). Bitcoin is not the unicorn notwithstanding all the Bitcoin maximalists.
Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum is widely considered the gold standard of smart contracts aside from its scalability problem. Sharding as part of Casper’s release is generally considered to be the solution to Ethereum’s scalability problem.
The goal of sharding is to split up validating responsibilities among various groups or shards. Ethereum’s sharding comes down to duplicating the existing blockchain architecture and sharing a token. This does not solve the core issue and simply kicks the can further down the road. After all, full nodes still need to exist one way or another.
Ethereum’s blockchain size problem is also an issue as will be explained more later in this article.
As a result, Ethereum is not the unicorn due to its incomplete approach to scalability and, to a degree, security.
Dash
Dash’s masternodes are widely considered to be centralized due to their high funding requirements, and there are accounts of a pre-mine in the beginning. Dash is not the unicorn due to its questionable decentralization.
Nano
Nano boasts rightfully for its instant, free transactions. But it lacks smart contracts and privacy, and it may be exposed to well orchestrated DDOS attacks. Therefore, it goes without saying that Nano is not the unicorn.
EOS
While EOS claims to execute millions of transactions per seconds, a quick glance reveals centralized parameters with 21 nodes and a questionable governance system. Therefore, EOS fails to achieve the unicorn status.
Monero (XMR)
One of the best known and respected privacy coins, Monero lacks smart contracts and may fall short of infinite scalability due to CryptoNote’s design. The unicorn rank is out of Monero’s reach.
IOTA
IOTA’s scalability is based on the number of transactions the network processes, and so its supposedly infinite scalability would fluctuate and is subject to the whims of the underlying transactions. While IOTA’s scalability approach is innovative and may work in the long term, it should be reminded that the unicorn cryptocurrency has no middle ground. The unicorn cryptocurrency would be expected to scale infinitely on a consistent basis from the beginning.
In addition, IOTA’s Masked Authenticated Messaging (MAM) feature does not bring privacy to the masses in a highly convenient manner. Consequently, the unicorn is not found with IOTA.

PascalCoin as a Candidate for the Unicorn Cryptocurrency
Please allow me to present a candidate for the cryptocurrency unicorn: PascalCoin.
According to the website, PascalCoin claims the following:
“PascalCoin is an instant, zero-fee, infinitely scalable, and decentralized cryptocurrency with advanced privacy and smart contract capabilities. Enabled by the SafeBox technology to become the world’s first blockchain independent of historical operations, PascalCoin possesses unlimited potential.”
The above summary is a mouthful to be sure, but let’s take a deep dive on how PascalCoin innovates with the SafeBox and more. Before we do this, I encourage you to first become acquainted with PascalCoin by watching the following video introduction:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=F25UU-0W9Dk
The rest of this section will be split into 10 parts in order to illustrate most of the notable features of PascalCoin. Naturally, let’s start off with the SafeBox.
Part #1: The SafeBox
Unlike traditional UTXO-based cryptocurrencies in which the blockchain records the specifics of each transaction (address, sender address, amount of funds transferred, etc.), the blockchain in PascalCoin is only used to mutate the SafeBox. The SafeBox is a separate but equivalent cryptographic data structure that snapshots account balances. PascalCoin’s blockchain is comparable to a machine that feeds the most important data – namely, the state of an account – into the SafeBox. Any node can still independently compute and verify the cumulative Proof-of-Work required to construct the SafeBox.
The PascalCoin whitepaper elegantly highlights the unique historical independence that the SafeBox possesses:
“While there are approaches that cryptocurrencies could use such as pruning, warp-sync, "finality checkpoints", UTXO-snapshotting, etc, there is a fundamental difference with PascalCoin. Their new nodes can only prove they are on most-work-chain using the infinite history whereas in PascalCoin, new nodes can prove they are on the most-work chain without the infinite history.”
Some cryptocurrency old-timers might instinctively balk at the idea of full nodes eschewing the entire history for security, but such a reaction would showcase a lack of understanding on what the SafeBox really does.
A concrete example would go a long way to best illustrate what the SafeBox does. Let’s say I input the following operations in my calculator:
5 * 5 – 10 / 2 + 5
It does not take a genius to calculate the answer, 25. Now, the expression “5 \ 5 – 10 / 2 + 5”* would be forever imbued on a traditional blockchain’s history. But the SafeBox begs to differ. It says that the expression “5 \ 5 – 10 / 2 + 5”* should instead be simply “25” so as preserve simplicity, time, and space. In other words, the SafeBox simply preserves the account balance.
But some might still be unsatisfied and claim that if one cannot trace the series of operations (transactions) that lead to the final number (balance) of 25, the blockchain is inherently insecure.
Here are four important security aspects of the SafeBox that some people fail to realize:
(1) SafeBox Follows the Longest Chain of Proof-of-Work
The SafeBox mutates itself per 100 blocks. Each new SafeBox mutation must reference both to the previous SafeBox mutation and the preceding 100 blocks in order to be valid, and the resultant hash of the new mutated SafeBox must then be referenced by each of the new subsequent blocks, and the process repeats itself forever.
The fact that each new SafeBox mutation must reference to the previous SafeBox mutation is comparable to relying on the entire history. This is because the previous SafeBox mutation encapsulates the result of cumulative entire history except for the 100 blocks which is why each new SafeBox mutation requires both the previous SafeBox mutation and the preceding 100 blocks.
So in a sense, there is a single interconnected chain of inflows and outflows, supported by Byzantine Proof-of-Work consensus, instead of the entire history of transactions.
More concretely, the SafeBox follows the path of the longest chain of Proof-of-Work simply by design, and is thus cryptographically equivalent to the entire history even without tracing specific operations in the past. If the chain is rolled back with a 51% attack, only the attacker’s own account(s) in the SafeBox can be manipulated as is explained in the next part.
(2) A 51% Attack on PascalCoin Functions the Same as Others
A 51% attack on PascalCoin would work in a similar way as with other Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies. An attacker cannot modify a transaction in the past without affecting the current SafeBox hash which is accepted by all honest nodes.
Someone might claim that if you roll back all the current blocks plus the 100 blocks prior to the SafeBox’s mutation, one could create a forged SafeBox with different balances for all accounts. This would be incorrect as one would be able to manipulate only his or her own account(s) in the SafeBox with a 51% attack – just as is the case with other UTXO cryptocurrencies. The SafeBox stores the balances of all accounts which are in turn irreversibly linked only to their respective owners’ private keys.
(3) One Could Preserve the Entire History of the PascalCoin Blockchain
No blockchain data in PascalCoin is ever deleted even in the presence of the SafeBox. Since the SafeBox is cryptographically equivalent to a full node with the entire history as explained above, PascalCoin full nodes are not expected to contain infinite history. But for whatever reason(s) one may have, one could still keep all the PascalCoin blockchain history as well along with the SafeBox as an option even though it would be redundant.
Without storing the entire history of the PascalCoin blockchain, you can still trace the specific operations of the 100 blocks prior to when the SafeBox absorbs and reflects the net result (a single balance for each account) from those 100 blocks. But if you’re interested in tracing operations over a longer period in the past – as redundant as that may be – you’d have the option to do so by storing the entire history of the PascalCoin blockchain.
(4) The SafeBox is Equivalent to the Entire Blockchain History
Some skeptics may ask this question: “What if the SafeBox is forever lost? How would you be able to verify your accounts?” Asking this question is tantamount to asking to what would happen to Bitcoin if all of its entire history was erased. The result would be chaos, of course, but the SafeBox is still in line with the general security model of a traditional blockchain with respect to black swans.
Now that we know the security of the SafeBox is not compromised, what are the implications of this new blockchain paradigm? A colorful illustration as follows still wouldn’t do justice to the subtle revolution that the SafeBox ushers. The automobiles we see on the street are the cookie-and-butter representation of traditional blockchain systems. The SafeBox, on the other hand, supercharges those traditional cars to become the Transformers from Michael Bay’s films.
The SafeBox is an entirely different blockchain architecture that is impressive in its simplicity and ingenuity. The SafeBox’s design is only the opening act for PascalCoin’s vast nuclear arsenal. If the above was all that PascalCoin offers, it still wouldn’t come close to achieving the unicorn status but luckily, we have just scratched the surface. Please keep on reading on if you want to learn how PascalCoin is going to shatter the cryptocurrency industry into pieces. Buckle down as this is going to be a long read as we explore further about the SafeBox’s implications.
Part #2: 0-Confirmation Transactions
To begin, 0-confirmation transactions are secure in PascalCoin thanks to the SafeBox.
The following paraphrases an explanation of PascalCoin’s 0-confirmations from the whitepaper:
“Since PascalCoin is not a UTXO-based currency but rather a State-based currency thanks to the SafeBox, the security guarantee of 0-confirmation transactions are much stronger than in UTXO-based currencies. For example, in Bitcoin if a merchant accepts a 0-confirmation transaction for a coffee, the buyer can simply roll that transaction back after receiving the coffee but before the transaction is confirmed in a block. The way the buyer does this is by re-spending those UTXOs to himself in a new transaction (with a higher fee) thus invalidating them for the merchant. In PascalCoin, this is virtually impossible since the buyer's transaction to the merchant is simply a delta-operation to debit/credit a quantity from/to accounts respectively. The buyer is unable to erase or pre-empt this two-sided, debit/credit-based transaction from the network’s pending pool until it either enters a block for confirmation or is discarded with respect to both sender and receiver ends. If the buyer tries to double-spend the coffee funds after receiving the coffee but before they clear, the double-spend transaction will not propagate the network since nodes cannot propagate a double-spending transaction thanks to the debit/credit nature of the transaction. A UTXO-based transaction is initially one-sided before confirmation and therefore is more exposed to one-sided malicious schemes of double spending.”
Phew, that explanation was technical but it had to be done. In summary, PascalCoin possesses the only secure 0-confirmation transactions in the cryptocurrency industry, and it goes without saying that this means PascalCoin is extremely fast. In fact, PascalCoin is capable of 72,000 TPS even prior to any additional extensive optimizations down the road. In other words, PascalCoin is as instant as it gets and gives Nano a run for its money.
Part #3: Zero Fee
Let’s circle back to our discussion of PascalCoin’s 0-confirmation capability. Here’s a little fun magical twist to PascalCoin’s 0-confirmation magic: 0-confirmation transactions are zero-fee. As in you don’t pay a single cent in fee for each 0-confirmation! There is just a tiny downside: if you create a second transaction in a 5-minute block window then you’d need to pay a minimal fee. Imagine using Nano but with a significantly stronger anti-DDOS protection for spam! But there shouldn’t be any complaint as this fee would amount to 0.0001 Pascal or $0.00002 based on the current price of a Pascal at the time of this writing.
So, how come the fee for blazingly fast transactions is nonexistent? This is where the magic of the SafeBox arises in three ways:
(1) PascalCoin possesses the secure 0-confirmation feature as discussed above that enables this speed.
(2) There is no fee bidding competition of transaction priority typical in UTXO cryptocurrencies since, once again, PascalCoin operates on secure 0-confirmations.
(3) There is no fee incentive needed to run full nodes on behalf of the network’s security beyond the consensus rewards.
Part #4: Blockchain Size
Let’s expand more on the third point above, using Ethereum as an example. Since Ethereum’s launch in 2015, its full blockchain size is currently around 2 TB, give or take, but let’s just say its blockchain size is 100 GB for now to avoid offending the Ethereum elitists who insist there are different types of full nodes that are lighter. Whoever runs Ethereum’s full nodes would expect storage fees on top of the typical consensus fees as it takes significant resources to shoulder Ethereum’s full blockchain size and in turn secure the network. What if I told you that PascalCoin’s full blockchain size will never exceed few GBs after thousands of years? That is just what the SafeBox enables PascalCoin to do so. It is estimated that by 2072, PascalCoin’s full nodes will only be 6 GB which is low enough not to warrant any fee incentives for hosting full nodes. Remember, the SafeBox is an ultra-light cryptographic data structure that is cryptographically equivalent to a blockchain with the entire transaction history. In other words, the SafeBox is a compact spreadsheet of all account balances that functions as PascalCoin’s full node!
Not only does the SafeBox’s infinitesimal memory size helps to reduce transaction fees by phasing out any storage fees, but it also paves the way for true decentralization. It would be trivial for every PascalCoin user to opt a full node in the form of a wallet. This is extreme decentralization at its finest since the majority of users of other cryptocurrencies ditch full nodes due to their burdensome sizes. It is naïve to believe that storage costs would reduce enough to the point where hosting full nodes are trivial. Take a look at the following chart outlining the trend of storage cost.

* https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-cost-per-gigabyte/
As we can see, storage costs continue to decrease but the descent is slowing down as is the norm with technological improvements. In the meantime, blockchain sizes of other cryptocurrencies are increasing linearly or, in the case of smart contract engines like Ethereum, parabolically. Imagine a cryptocurrency smart contract engine like Ethereum garnering worldwide adoption; how do you think Ethereum’s size would look like in the far future based on the following chart?


https://i.redd.it/k57nimdjmo621.png

Ethereum’s future blockchain size is not looking pretty in terms of sustainable security. Sharding is not a fix for this issue since there still needs to be full nodes but that is a different topic for another time.
It is astonishing that the cryptocurrency community as a whole has passively accepted this forever-expanding-blockchain-size problem as an inescapable fate.
PascalCoin is the only cryptocurrency that has fully escaped the death vortex of forever expanding blockchain size. Its blockchain size wouldn’t exceed 10 GB even after many hundreds of years of worldwide adoption. Ethereum’s blockchain size after hundreds of years of worldwide adoption would make fine comedy.
Part #5: Simple, Short, and Ordinal Addresses
Remember how the SafeBox works by snapshotting all account balances? As it turns out, the account address system is almost as cool as the SafeBox itself.
Imagine yourself in this situation: on a very hot and sunny day, you’re wandering down the street across from your house and ran into a lemonade stand – the old-fashioned kind without any QR code or credit card terminal. The kid across you is selling a lemonade cup for 1 Pascal with a poster outlining the payment address as 5471-55. You flip out your phone and click “Send” with 1 Pascal to the address 5471-55; viola, exactly one second later you’re drinking your lemonade without paying a cent for the transaction fee!
The last thing one wants to do is to figure out how to copy/paste to, say, the following address 1BoatSLRHtKNngkdXEeobR76b53LETtpyT on the spot wouldn’t it? Gone are the obnoxiously long addresses that plague all cryptocurrencies. The days of those unreadable addresses will be long gone – it has to be if blockchain is to innovate itself for the general public. EOS has a similar feature for readable addresses but in a very limited manner in comparison, and nicknames attached to addresses in GUIs don’t count since blockchain-wide compatibility wouldn’t hold.
Not only does PascalCoin has the neat feature of having addresses (called PASAs) that amount to up to 6 or 7 digits, but PascalCoin can also incorporate in-protocol address naming as opposed to GUI address nicknames. Suppose I want to order something from Amazon using Pascal; I simply search the word “Amazon” then the corresponding account number shows up. Pretty neat, right?
The astute reader may gather that PascalCoin’s address system makes it necessary to commoditize addresses, and he/she would be correct. Some view this as a weakness; part #10 later in this segment addresses this incorrect perception.
Part #6: Privacy
As if the above wasn’t enough, here’s another secret that PascalCoin has: it is a full-blown privacy coin. It uses two separate foundations to achieve comprehensive anonymity: in-protocol mixer for transfer amounts and zn-SNARKs for private balances. The former has been implemented and the latter is on the roadmap. Both the 0-confirmation transaction and the negligible transaction fee would make PascalCoin the most scalable privacy coin of any other cryptocurrencies pending the zk-SNARKs implementation.
Part #7: Smart Contracts
Next, PascalCoin will take smart contracts to the next level with a layer-2 overlay consensus system that pioneers sidechains and other smart contract implementations.
In formal terms, this layer-2 architecture will facilitate the transfer of data between PASAs which in turn allows clean enveloping of layer-2 protocols inside layer-1 much in the same way that HTTP lives inside TCP.
To summarize:
· The layer-2 consensus method is separate from the layer-1 Proof-of-Work. This layer-2 consensus method is independent and flexible. A sidechain – based on a single encompassing PASA – could apply Proof-of-Stake (POS), Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPOS), or Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) as the consensus system of its choice.
· Such a layer-2 smart contract platform can be written in any languages.
· Layer-2 sidechains will also provide very strong anonymity since funds are all pooled and keys are not used to unlock them.
· This layer-2 architecture is ingenious in which the computation is separate from layer-2 consensus, in effect removing any bottleneck.
· Horizontal scaling exists in this paradigm as there is no interdependence between smart contracts and states are not managed by slow sidechains.
· Speed and scalability are fully independent of PascalCoin.
One would be able to run the entire global financial system on PascalCoin’s infinitely scalable smart contract platform and it would still scale infinitely. In fact, this layer-2 architecture would be exponentially faster than Ethereum even after its sharding is implemented.
All this is the main focus of PascalCoin’s upcoming version 5 in 2019. A whitepaper add-on for this major upgrade will be released in early 2019.
Part #8: RandomHash Algorithm
Surely there must be some tradeoffs to PascalCoin’s impressive capabilities, you might be asking yourself. One might bring up the fact that PascalCoin’s layer-1 is based on Proof-of-Work and is thus susceptible to mining centralization. This would be a fallacy as PascalCoin has pioneered the very first true ASIC, GPU, and dual-mining resistant algorithm known as RandomHash that obliterates anything that is not CPU based and gives all the power back to solo miners.
Here is the official description of RandomHash:
“RandomHash is a high-level cryptographic hash algorithm that combines other well-known hash primitives in a highly serial manner. The distinguishing feature is that calculations for a nonce are dependent on partial calculations of other nonces, selected at random. This allows a serial hasher (CPU) to re-use these partial calculations in subsequent mining saving 50% or more of the work-load. Parallel hashers (GPU) cannot benefit from this optimization since the optimal nonce-set cannot be pre-calculated as it is determined on-the-fly. As a result, parallel hashers (GPU) are required to perform the full workload for every nonce. Also, the algorithm results in 10x memory bloat for a parallel implementation. In addition to its serial nature, it is branch-heavy and recursive making in optimal for CPU-only mining.”
One might be understandably skeptical of any Proof-of-Work algorithm that solves ASIC and GPU centralization once for all because there have been countless proposals being thrown around for various algorithms since the dawn of Bitcoin. Is RandomHash truly the ASIC & GPU killer that it claims to be?
Herman Schoenfeld, the inventor behind RandomHash, described his algorithm in the following:
“RandomHash offers endless ASIC-design breaking surface due to its use of recursion, hash algo selection, memory hardness and random number generation.
For example, changing how round hash selection is made and/or random number generator algo and/or checksum algo and/or their sequencing will totally break an ASIC design. Conceptually if you can significantly change the structure of the output assembly whilst keeping the high-level algorithm as invariant as possible, the ASIC design will necessarily require proportional restructuring. This results from the fact that ASIC designs mirror the ASM of the algorithm rather than the algorithm itself.”
Polyminer1 (pseudonym), one of the members of the PascalCoin core team who developed RHMiner (official software for mining RandomHash), claimed as follows:
“The design of RandomHash is, to my experience, a genuine innovation. I’ve been 30 years in the field. I’ve rarely been surprised by anything. RandomHash was one of my rare surprises. It’s elegant, simple, and achieves resistance in all fronts.”
PascalCoin may have been the first party to achieve the race of what could possibly be described as the “God algorithm” for Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies. Look no further than one of Monero’s core developers since 2015, Howard Chu. In September 2018, Howard declared that he has found a solution, called RandomJS, to permanently keep ASICs off the network without repetitive algorithm changes. This solution actually closely mirrors RandomHash’s algorithm. Discussing about his algorithm, Howard asserted that “RandomJS is coming at the problem from a direction that nobody else is.”
Link to Howard Chu’s article on RandomJS:
https://www.coindesk.com/one-musicians-creative-solution-to-drive-asics-off-monero
Yet when Herman was asked about Howard’s approach, he responded:
“Yes, looks like it may work although using Javascript was a bit much. They should’ve just used an assembly subset and generated random ASM programs. In a way, RandomHash does this with its repeated use of random mem-transforms during expansion phase.”
In the end, PascalCoin may have successfully implemented the most revolutionary Proof-of-Work algorithm, one that eclipses Howard’s burgeoning vision, to date that almost nobody knows about. To learn more about RandomHash, refer to the following resources:
RandomHash whitepaper:
https://www.pascalcoin.org/storage/whitepapers/RandomHash_Whitepaper.pdf
Technical proposal for RandomHash:
https://github.com/PascalCoin/PascalCoin/blob/mastePIP/PIP-0009.md
Someone might claim that PascalCoin still suffers from mining centralization after RandomHash, and this is somewhat misleading as will be explained in part #10.
Part #9: Fair Distribution and Governance
Not only does PascalCoin rest on superior technology, but it also has its roots in the correct philosophy of decentralized distribution and governance. There was no ICO or pre-mine, and the developer fund exists as a percentage of mining rewards as voted by the community. This developer fund is 100% governed by a decentralized autonomous organization – currently facilitated by the PascalCoin Foundation – that will eventually be transformed into an autonomous smart contract platform. Not only is the developer fund voted upon by the community, but PascalCoin’s development roadmap is also voted upon the community via the Protocol Improvement Proposals (PIPs).
This decentralized governance also serves an important benefit as a powerful deterrent to unseemly fork wars that befall many cryptocurrencies.
Part #10: Common Misconceptions of PascalCoin
“The branding is terrible”
PascalCoin is currently working very hard on its image and is preparing for several branding and marketing initiatives in the short term. For example, two of the core developers of the PascalCoin recently interviewed with the Fox Business Network. A YouTube replay of this interview will be heavily promoted.
Some people object to the name PascalCoin. First, it’s worth noting that PascalCoin is the name of the project while Pascal is the name of the underlying currency. Secondly, Google and YouTube received excessive criticisms back then in the beginning with their name choices. Look at where those companies are nowadays – surely a somewhat similar situation faces PascalCoin until the name’s familiarity percolates into the public.
“The wallet GUI is terrible”
As the team is run by a small yet extremely dedicated developers, multiple priorities can be challenging to juggle. The lack of funding through an ICO or a pre-mine also makes it challenging to accelerate development. The top priority of the core developers is to continue developing full-time on the groundbreaking technology that PascalCoin offers. In the meantime, an updated and user-friendly wallet GUI has been worked upon for some time and will be released in due time. Rome wasn’t built in one day.
“One would need to purchase a PASA in the first place”
This is a complicated topic since PASAs need to be commoditized by the SafeBox’s design, meaning that PASAs cannot be obtained at no charge to prevent systematic abuse. This raises two seemingly valid concerns:
· As a chicken and egg problem, how would one purchase a PASA using Pascal in the first place if one cannot obtain Pascal without a PASA?
· How would the price of PASAs stay low and affordable in the face of significant demand?
With regards to the chicken and egg problem, there are many ways – some finished and some unfinished – to obtain your first PASA as explained on the “Get Started” page on the PascalCoin website:
https://www.pascalcoin.org/get_started
More importantly, however, is the fact that there are few methods that can get your first PASA for free. The team will also release another method soon in which you could obtain your first PASA for free via a single SMS message. This would probably become by far the simplest and the easiest way to obtain your first PASA for free. There will be more new ways to easily obtain your first PASA for free down the road.
What about ensuring the PASA market at large remains inexpensive and affordable following your first (and probably free) PASA acquisition? This would be achieved in two ways:
· Decentralized governance of the PASA economics per the explanation in the FAQ section on the bottom of the PascalCoin website (https://www.pascalcoin.org/)
· Unlimited and free pseudo-PASAs based on layer-2 in the next version release.
“PascalCoin is still centralized after the release of RandomHash”
Did the implementation of RandomHash from version 4 live up to its promise?
The official goals of RandomHash were as follow:
(1) Implement a GPU & ASIC resistant hash algorithm
(2) Eliminate dual mining
The two goals above were achieved by every possible measure.
Yet a mining pool, Nanopool, was able to regain its hash majority after a significant but a temporary dip.
The official conclusion is that, from a probabilistic viewpoint, solo miners are more profitable than pool miners. However, pool mining is enticing for solo miners who 1) have limited hardware as it ensures a steady income instead of highly profitable but probabilistic income via solo mining, and 2) who prefer convenient software and/or GUI.
What is the next step, then? While the barrier of entry for solo miners has successfully been put down, additional work needs to be done. The PascalCoin team and the community are earnestly investigating additional steps to improve mining decentralization with respect to pool mining specifically to add on top of RandomHash’s successful elimination of GPU, ASIC, and dual-mining dominance.
It is likely that the PascalCoin community will promote the following two initiatives in the near future:
(1) Establish a community-driven, nonprofit mining pool with attractive incentives.
(2) Optimize RHMiner, PascalCoin’s official solo mining software, for performance upgrades.
A single pool dominance is likely short lived once more options emerge for individual CPU miners who want to avoid solo mining for whatever reason(s).
Let us use Bitcoin as an example. Bitcoin mining is dominated by ASICs and mining pools but no single pool is – at the time of this writing – even close on obtaining the hash majority. With CPU solo mining being a feasible option in conjunction with ASIC and GPU mining eradication with RandomHash, the future hash rate distribution of PascalCoin would be far more promising than Bitcoin’s hash rate distribution.
PascalCoin is the Unicorn Cryptocurrency
If you’ve read this far, let’s cut straight to the point: PascalCoin IS the unicorn cryptocurrency.
It is worth noting that PascalCoin is still a young cryptocurrency as it was launched at the end of 2016. This means that many features are still work in progress such as zn-SNARKs, smart contracts, and pool decentralization to name few. However, it appears that all of the unicorn criteria are within PascalCoin’s reach once PascalCoin’s technical roadmap is mostly completed.
Based on this expository on PascalCoin’s technology, there is every reason to believe that PascalCoin is the unicorn cryptocurrency. PascalCoin also solves two fundamental blockchain problems beyond the unicorn criteria that were previously considered unsolvable: blockchain size and simple address system. The SafeBox pushes PascalCoin to the forefront of cryptocurrency zeitgeist since it is a superior solution compared to UTXO, Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), Block Lattice, Tangle, and any other blockchain innovations.


THE UNICORN

Author: Tyler Swob
submitted by Kosass to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

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DiabloMiner is another Bitcoin mining program. It shows excellent results on high power GPU equipment. This software is designed primarily for experienced miners, as it has a console client, without the ability to connect to third-party graphical interfaces. EasyMiner is mostly a graphical frontend for mining Bitcoin,Litecoin,Dogeecoin and other various altcoins by providing a handy way to perform cryptocurrency mining using a graphical interface. It supports both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs, and also CPU mining.You are able to select from pooled mining and solo mining – the software program embeds some mining pools to choose from. In this post I’ll review the top Bitcoin mining software available on the market. Bitcoin Mining Software Summary. Whether if you’re joining a mining pool or mining solo, you will need to get familiar with the most up-to-date mining software. The different software options out there vary by the miner types they support (GPU/ASIC/FPGA Bitcoin Mining Software Importance. The actual process of Bitcoin mining is to connect both mining hardware and mining software. Hence, the Bitcoin mining software will take care of the distribution of digital data into the network and process them into a complete information for you to be able to understand the statistics. What is Bitcoin Mining Software? Bitcoin mining hardware handles the actual Bitcoin mining process, but: Bitcoin mining software is equally as important. If you are a solo miner: the mining software connects your Bitcoin miner to the blockchain. If you mine with a pool: the software will connect you to your mining pool. If you are cloud mining:

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You can choose between pooled mining and solo mining – the software embeds a list of mining pools to choose from. Bitcoin Miner Machine is the premier Bitcoin Mining tool for Windows and is one ... 🍓 Best Bitcoin Mining Software That Work in 2020 🍓 - Duration: 5:34. Step-By-Step Guide Clicksure 121,739 views. ... USB miner solo mining profitability - Duration: 5:49. You can choose between pooled mining and solo mining – the software embeds a list of mining pools to choose from. Bitcoin Miner Machine is the premier Bitcoin Mining tool for Windows and is one ... You can choose between pooled mining and solo mining – the software embeds a list of mining pools to choose from. Bitcoin Miner Machine is the premier Bitcoin Mining tool for Windows and is one ... You can choose between pooled mining and solo mining – the software embeds a list of mining pools to choose from. Bitcoin Miner Machine is the premier Bitcoin Mining tool for Windows and is one ...

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