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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!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Bitcoin will likely never be private, but BOSAGORA is building this as a crucial aspect of our platform!

Famed Bitcoin academic and educator Andreas Antonopoulos says he would like to see more privacy features on Bitcoin, but also that this may not be likely to happen in the near future.
At BOSAGORA, we're building privacy into our protocol from the start!
He says: "I think what we’re going to see soon is Schnorr, Taproot, and Tapscript, which open the door to a lot of improvements".
What do you think? Article is here: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-will-never-be-truly-private-says-andreas-antonopoulos
submitted by buwaytress to BOSAGORA_BOA [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]

Social justice convergence in the cryptosphere

Has anyone else noticed a heavy dose of recent SJW infiltration of the crypto community? I've followed and held cryptos from the very beginning but the last two years or so, I've noticed social justice ideology infiltrate the crypto press to the point that I have to wade through 50 articles about "strong women in crypto" or "how bitcoin can further racial justice" to get to anything that actually has to do with the tech or even trading.
I see the blogs that I used to rely on for crypto news suddenly diss the libertarian origins of bitcoin and completely throw the concept of decentralization under the bus. Some even seem hostile to the concept of cryptocurrencies in general and outright give them consistent negative press.
Given the fact that every industry under SJW convergence fails to fulfill its primary purpose and ultimately dies (see comics, movies, videogames, science, academics,...), I have to ask: is our community at risk? And how can we better defend ourselves against this?
submitted by GrapeSodaBanked to CryptoCurrencies [link] [comments]

Officials arrest 338 worldwide in dark web child porn bust [Resolved]

This may not be tied to a specific mystery or case discussed on this sub, but it goes along with several posts about the FBI's ECAP (Endangered Child Alert Program) (https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/ecap) and other efforts to identify perpetrators, abusers, and locations/items that have been posted here over the years. (I won't link to them, but you can find them by searching for "ECAP" in this sub. Be warned that, while the images on the ECAP website have been censored and not all are of images of perpetrators in child abuse situations, some are still very suggestive and disturbing to view.)
While the subject matter is horrible to think about, some suspects/persons of interest and other adults whose faces appear in pornographic materials with children or associated with such materials have been identified as a result of the ECAP program, so I think it's worth discussing and, for those who are able, reviewing the images to see if any individuals or locations/items look familiar.
I found the process cited in the article below interesting and the arrests and recovery of some children hopeful. I thought some of you might be interested, too.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/officials-arrest-338-worldwide-dark-web-child-porn-bust-191016191314375.html
The article text below is directly lifted from the article linked above.

Officials arrest 338 worldwide in dark web child porn bust

The website relied on the bitcoin cryptocurrency to sell access to videos depicting child sexual abuse.
Law enforcement officials said on Wednesday they had arrested hundreds of people worldwide after knocking out a South Korea-based dark web child pornography site that sold gruesome videos for digital cash.
Officials from the United States, the UK and South Korea described the network as one of the largest child pornography operations they had encountered to date.
Called Welcome To Video, the website relied on the bitcoin cryptocurrency to sell access to 250,000 videos depicting child sexual abuse, authorities said.
Officials have rescued at least 23 underage victims in the US, the UK and Spain who were being actively abused by users of the site, the US Justice Department said. Many children in the videos have not yet been identified.
The site's vast library - nearly half of it consisting of images never seen before by law enforcement - is an illustration of what authorities say is an explosion of sexual abuse content online. In a statement, the UK's National Crime Agency said officials were seeing "increases in severity, scale and complexity".
Welcome To Video's operator, a South Korean named Jong Woo Son, and 337 users in 12 different countries, have been charged so far, authorities said.
Son, currently serving an 18-month sentence in South Korea, was also indicted on federal charges in Washington, DC.
Several other people charged in the case have already been convicted and are serving prison sentences of up to 15 years, according to the US Justice Department.
Welcome To Video is one of the first websites to monetise child pornography using bitcoin, which allows users to hide their identities during financial transactions.
Users were able to redeem the digital currency in return for "points" that they could spend downloading videos or buying all-you-can watch "VIP" accounts. Points could also be earned by uploading fresh child pornography.
"These are the bottom feeders of the criminal world," said Don Fort, chief of criminal investigation at the US Internal Revenue Service, which initiated the investigation.
The US Justice Department said the site collected at least $370,000 worth of bitcoin before it was taken down in March 2018 and that the currency was laundered through three unnamed digital currency exchanges.
Darknet websites are designed to be all-but-impossible to locate online. How authorities managed to locate and bring down the site is not clear, with differing narratives by different law enforcement organisations on the matter.
Fort said the investigation was triggered by a tip to the IRS from a confidential source. However, the UK's National Crime Agency said they came across the site during an investigation into a British academic who in October 2017 pleaded guilty here to blackmailing more than 50 people, including teenagers, into sending him depraved images that he shared online.
In a statement, British authorities said the National Crime Agency's cybercrime unit deployed "specialist capabilities" to identify the server's location. The NCA did not immediately return an email seeking clarification on the term, which is sometimes used as a euphemism for hacking.
The US Justice Department gave a different explanation, saying that Welcome To Video's site was leaking its server's South Korean internet protocol address to the open internet.
Experts pointed to the bust as evidence that the trade in child abuse imagery could be tackled without subverting the encryption that keeps the rest of the internet safe.
Officials in the US and elsewhere have recently started prodding major technology firms here to come up with solutions that could allow law enforcement to bypass the encryption that protects messaging apps such as WhatsApp or iMessage, citing the fight against child pornography as a major reason.
Welcome to Video's demise "is a clear indication that in cases like this, where there's very low-hanging fruit, breaking encryption is not required," said Christopher Parsons, a senior research associate at Citizen Lab, based at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs.
He said the bust showed that law enforcement could also track criminal activity that employs cryptocurrency transactions.
"There's a lot of a people who have this perception that bitcoin is totally anonymous," Parsons said, "and it's been the downfall of many people in many investigations."

Edited to add: This is a great informative page about sexual abuse imagery of children, including statistics and information about what the NCMEC is doing to help combat it: http://www.missingkids.com/theissues/sexualabuseimagery
submitted by lisagreenhouse to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

Webcast Insights — Blockchain for the Educational Industry: Remote Learning, Social Distancing, and the Certification Case

Webcast Insights — Blockchain for the Educational Industry: Remote Learning, Social Distancing, and the Certification Case
Every industry is typically disrupted by technology. From financial to legal services, retail to manufacturing, they all experience an economic and systematic impact due to innovation at some point. With a global edu-tech market expected to grow to $93.76 billion by the end of 2020, education is no exception to the rule.
Along with blockchain, technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Augmented and Virtual reality, Machine Learning, and Data Forecasting, will all play a major role in the educational system of the future.
Recently, South Korea’s Suseong University announced a plan to create a blockchain and AI campus in Daegu, an indication that the world is rapidly changing due to the global Covid-19 crisis and that a blockchain and AI-based society could be materializing quickly.
In addition to smart working, smart cities, and everything else that can be identified as a technology-driven system, smart classrooms are also not too far-off from being accepted as a new standard, and blockchain will help develop that new model by facilitating transactions, issuance of documentation and enhancing online security.
In a previous article, Block.co had already illustrated the benefits of blockchain technology for universities and all academic institutions. Cost-saving and anti-fraud support are only a couple of the advantages offered by the innovative solution.
A few months on, since that article, blockchain and other disruptive technologies have acquired a completely new significance in light of the current Covid-19 emergency. Remote working and learning have forced a re-evaluation of the existing technologies that turned out to be essential in easing the transition to a new performing method.
In most cases, due to the urgency, institutions were under pressure to accelerate their remote working adoption process at the same time as facing all the difficulties and major issues presented by critical situations. Those who were already using advanced digital tools like blockchain and Artificial Intelligence instead turned out to be better prepared and in many cases even more productive than in the pre-covid era.

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Professor George Giaglis, Executive Director of the Institute For the Future at the University of Nicosia declared during the last Block.co webcast that “In order for a technology to be highly effective, an organization needs to invest in the right people first or the tech is wasted and useless. At the University of Nicosia, we were well prepared and our people were educated to cope easily with the new Covid-19 working from home situation. This helped them being even more productive since they did not have to spend any time adapting to a new working model”
In 2015, the University of Nicosia became the first to use blockchain to issue verified academic credentials on the Bitcoin blockchain. Professor Giaglis believes that blockchain for universities represents a basket of different technologies, all converging together to build a future with no limits. In particular, the way blockchain can and will be combined with AI or IoT.
Academic institutions that adopted blockchain early opened opportunities to commercial markets too, since any type of certification that requires tamper-proof against fraud finds a great help in the blockchain.
Similarly, the British University of Dubai was an early adopter of disruptive technologies and found it easy to adjust to the new working model. As explained by the other prominent guest of the webcast, Dr. Maria Papadaki, Managing Director at the BUiD Dubai Center for Risk and Innovation, “Remote working is here to stay because we have the digital tools that allow it”.
Yet, she also highlighted a different perspective: “Yes, it’s here to stay but not here to take the human being out of the system. We need to find a balance between what technology can offer in terms of improving our learning or working experiences and the everlasting need for the personal exchange of feelings and energy. We do not have to encourage a distance between students and professors, employers, and their staff, by allowing digital technology to overtake all aspects of relationships”.
Blockchain has helped both universities tackle fraud issues as well as certify students digitally on the bitcoin network, thus avoiding physical presence and even direct contact with the institution. In the coronavirus era, this turned out to be vital.
Decentralizing finance was the first original intent of blockchain, therefore it should not come as a surprise that also academic institutions might want to try that route. Tokenization via blockchain is an experimental use that academic institutions are attempting to facilitate payments. Smart contracts can be used to assign a reputation to users based on feedback from others, who will be initially verified by a blockchain-based ID system. Another model conceives blockchain to tokenize talent in a private tutoring environment. They are all experiments at present but give us the idea of what future directions might be for universities.
In this regard, Prof. George Giaglis reminds us that central banks will likely issue their own digital currencies in the next two years. This means that also all other digital currencies and tokens already in existence will be legitimized as a result.
One essential aspect of the adoption process of technologies like blockchain will certainly be a desirable collaboration between universities. Dr. Maria Papadaki has always been an advocate of creating a network between academic institutions in order to share and obtain the best results by technology. “BUiD is working closely with UNIC, Block.co, and the Dubai Blockchain center. It is a way of showing our commitment to both Emirates Blockchain strategy and Dubai Strategy to make Dubai the happiest city on Earth.”

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There’s plenty of space for further technological innovation in the industry and one of the issues that will have to be resolved in the future is the possibility to mimic remote examinations.
During the Block.co webcast, Prof. George Giaglis launched a challenge to developers who would like to take the entrepreneurial way and could assist in building an application or software that will make remote examinations possible and trustworthy.
If anyone is interested in taking up the challenge, the University of Nicosia and Block.co would like to hear from them!
For more info, contact Block.co directly or email at [email protected].
Tel +357 70007828
Get the latest from Block.co, like and follow us on social media:
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Review and Prospect of Crypto Economy-Development and Evolution of Consensus Mechanism (1)

Review and Prospect of Crypto Economy-Development and Evolution of Consensus Mechanism (1)

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Table 1 Classification of consensus system
Source: Yuan Yong, Ni Xiaochun, Zeng Shuai, Wang Feiyue, "Development Status and Prospect of Blockchain Consensus Algorithm"
Figure 4 Evolution of consensus algorithm

Figure 4 Evolution of consensus algorithm
Source: Network data

Foreword
The consensus mechanism is one of the important elements of the blockchain and the core rule of the normal operation of the distributed ledger. It is mainly used to solve the trust problem between people and determine who is responsible for generating new blocks and maintaining the effective unification of the system in the blockchain system. Thus, it has become an everlasting research hot topic in blockchain.
This article starts with the concept and role of the consensus mechanism. First, it enables the reader to have a preliminary understanding of the consensus mechanism as a whole; then starting with the two armies and the Byzantine general problem, the evolution of the consensus mechanism is introduced in the order of the time when the consensus mechanism is proposed; Then, it briefly introduces the current mainstream consensus mechanism from three aspects of concept, working principle and representative project, and compares the advantages and disadvantages of the mainstream consensus mechanism; finally, it gives suggestions on how to choose a consensus mechanism for blockchain projects and pointed out the possibility of the future development of the consensus mechanism.
Contents
First, concept and function of the consensus mechanism
1.1 Concept: The core rules for the normal operation of distributed ledgers
1.2 Role: Solve the trust problem and decide the generation and maintenance of new blocks
1.2.1 Used to solve the trust problem between people
1.2.2 Used to decide who is responsible for generating new blocks and maintaining effective unity in the blockchain system
1.3 Mainstream model of consensus algorithm
Second, the origin of the consensus mechanism
2.1 The two armies and the Byzantine generals
2.1.1 The two armies problem
2.1.2 The Byzantine generals problem
2.2 Development history of consensus mechanism
2.2.1 Classification of consensus mechanism
2.2.2 Development frontier of consensus mechanism
Third, Common Consensus System
Fourth, Selection of consensus mechanism and summary of current situation
4.1 How to choose a consensus mechanism that suits you
4.1.1 Determine whether the final result is important
4.1.2 Determine how fast the application process needs to be
4.1.2 Determining the degree to which the application requires for decentralization
4.1.3 Determine whether the system can be terminated
4.1.4 Select a suitable consensus algorithm after weighing the advantages and disadvantages
4.2 Future development of consensus mechanism
Chapter 1 Concept and Function of Consensus Mechanism
1.1 Concept: The core rules for the normal operation of distributed ledgers
Since most cryptocurrencies use decentralized blockchain design, nodes are scattered and parallel everywhere, so a system must be designed to maintain the order and fairness of the system's operation, unify the version of the blockchain, and reward users maintaining the blockchain and punish malicious harmers. Such a system must rely on some way to prove that who has obtained the packaging rights (or accounting rights) of a blockchain and can obtain the reward for packaging this block; or who intends to harm , and will receive certain penalty. Such system is consensus mechanism.
1.2 Role: Solve the trust problem and decide the generation and maintenance of new blocks
1.2.1 Used to solve the trust problem between people
The reason why the consensus mechanism can be at the core of the blockchain technology is that it has formulated a set of rules from the perspective of cryptographic technologies such as asymmetric encryption and time stamping. All participants must comply with this rules. And theese rules are transparent, and cannot be modified artificially. Therefore, without the endorsement of a third-party authority, it can also mobilize nodes across the network to jointly monitor, record all transactions, and publish them in the form of codes, effectively achieving valuable information transfer, solving or more precisely, greatly improving the trust problem between two unrelated strangers who do not trust each other. After all, trusting the objective technology is less risky than trusting a subjective individual.
1.2.2 Used to decide who is responsible for generating new blocks and maintaining effective unity in the blockchain system
On the other hand, in the blockchain system, due to the high network latency of the peer-to-peer network, the sequence of transactions observed by each node is different. To solve this, the consensus mechanism can be used to reach consensus on transactions order within a short period of time to decide who is responsible for generating new blocks in the blockchain system, and to maintain the effective unity of the blockchain.
1.3 The mainstream model of consensus algorithm
The blockchain system is built on the P2P network, and the set of all nodes can be recorded as PP, generally divided into ordinary nodes that produce data or transactions, and"miner" nodes (denoted as M) responsible for mining operations, like verifying, packaging, and updating the data generated by ordinary nodes or transactions. The functions of the two types of nodes may be overlapped; miner nodes usually participate in the consensus competition process in general, and will select certain representative nodes and replace them to participant in the consensus process and compete for accounting rights in specific algorithms. The collection of these representative nodes is recorded as DD; the accounting nodes selected through the consensus process are recorded as AA. The consensus process is repeated in accordance with the round, and each round of the consensus process generally reselects the accounting node for the round . The core of the consensus process is the "select leader" and "accounting" two parts. In the specific operation process, each round can be divided into four stages: Leader election, Block generation, Data validation and Chain updating namely accounting). As shown in Figure 1, the input of the consensus process is the transaction or data generated and verified by the data node, and the output is the encapsulated data block and updated blockchain. The four stages are executed repeatedly, and each execution round will generate a new block.
Stage 1: Leader election
The election is the core of the consensus process, that is, the process of selecting the accounting node AA from all the miner node sets MM: we can use the formula f(M)→f(M)→AA to represent the election process, where the function ff represents the specific implementation of the consensus algorithm. Generally speaking, |A|=1,|A|=1, that is, the only miner node is finally selected to keep accounts.
Stage 2: Block generation
The accounting node selected in the first stage packages the transactions or data generated by all nodes PP in the current time period into a block according to a specific strategy, and broadcasts the generated new block to all miner nodes MM or their representative nodes DD. These transactions or data are usually sorted according to various factors such as block capacity, transaction fees, transaction waiting time, etc., and then packaged into new blocks in sequence. The block generation strategy is a key factor in the performance of the blockchain system, and it also exposes the strategic behavior of miners such as greedy transactions packaging and selfish mining.
Stage 3: Verification
After receiving the broadcasted new block, the miner node MM or the representative node DD will verify the correctness and rationality of the transactions or data encapsulated in the block. If the new block is approved by most verification/representative nodes, the block will be updated to the blockchain as the next block.
Stage 4: On-Chain
The accounting node adds new blocks to the main chain to form a complete and longer chain from the genesis block to the latest block. If there are multiple fork chains on the main chain, the main chain needs to be based on the consensus algorithm judging criteria to choose one of the appropriate fork chain as the main chain.
Chapter 2 The Origin of Consensus Mechanism
2.1 The two armies problems and the Byzantium generals problem
2.1.1 The two armies


Figure 2 Schematic diagram of the two armed forces
Selected from Yuan Yong, Ni Xiaochun, Zeng Shuai, Wang Feiyue, "Development Status and Prospect of Blockchain Consensus Algorithm", Journal of Automation, 2018, 44(11): 2011-2022
As shown in the figure, the 1st and 2nd units of the Blue Army are stationed on two sides of the slope, and cannot communicate remotely between each other. While the White Army is just stationed in the middle of the two Blue Army units. Suppose that the White Army is stronger than either of the two Blue Army units, but it is not as strong as the two Blue Army units combined. If the two units of the Blue Army want to jointly attack the White Army at the same time, they need to communicate with each other, but the White Army is stationed in the middle of them. It is impossible to confirm whether the messengers of two Blue Army units have sent the attack signal to each other, let alone the tampering of the messages. In this case, due to the inability to fully confirm with each other, ultimately no effective consensus can be reached between the two Blue Army units, rendering the "paradox of the two armies".
2.1.2 The Byzantine generals problem


Figure 3 Diagram of the Byzantine generals' problem
Due to the vast territory of the Byzantine roman empire at that time, in order to better achieve the purpose of defense, troops were scattered around the empire, and each army was far apart, and only messengers could deliver messages. During the war, all generals must reach an agreement, or decide whether to attack the enemy based on the majority principle. However, since it is completely dependent on people, if there is a situation where the general rebels or the messenger delivers the wrong message, how can it ensure that the loyal generals can reach agreement without being influenced by the rebels is a problem which was called the Byzantine problem.
The two armies problems and the Byzantine generals problem are all elaborating the same problem: in the case of unreliable information exchange, it is very difficult to reach consensus and coordinate action. The Byzantine general problem is more like a generalization of the "paradox of the two armies".
From the perspective of the computer network, the two armies problem and the Byzantine problem are common contents of computer network courses: the direct communication between two nodes on the network may fail, so the TCP protocol cannot completely guarantee the consistence between the two terminal networks. However, the consensus mechanism can use economic incentives and other methods to reduce this uncertainty to a level acceptable to most people.
It is precisely because of the two armies problem and the Byzantine problem that the consensus mechanism has begun to show its value.
2.2 Development history of consensus mechanism
2.2.1 Classification of consensus mechanism
Because different types of blockchain projects have different requirements for information recording and block generation, and as the consensus mechanism improves due to the development of blockchain technology, there are currently more than 30 consensus mechanisms. These consensus mechanisms can be divided into two categories according to their Byzantine fault tolerance performance: Byzantine fault tolerance system and non-Byzantine fault tolerance system.

Table 1 Classification of consensus mechanism
Source: Yuan Yong, Ni Xiaochun, Zeng Shuai, Wang Feiyue, "Development Status and Prospect of Blockchain Consensus Algorithm"
2.2.2 Development frontier of consensus mechanism
-Development of consensus algorithm
According to the proposed time of the consensus algorithm, we can see relatively clearly the development of the consensus algorithm.
Source: Network data

Figure 4 Development frontier of consensus algorithm

Figure 5 Historical evolution of blockchain consensus algorithm
Source: Yuan Yong, Ni Xiaochun, Zeng Shuai, Wang Feiyue, "Development Status and Prospect of Blockchain Consensus Algorithm"
The consensus algorithm has laid the foundation for the blockchain consensus mechanism. Initially, the research of consensus algorithms was mainly used by computer scientists and computer professors to improve the spam problem or conduct academic discussions.
For example, in 1993, American computer scientist and Harvard professor Cynthia Dwork first proposed the idea of proof of work in order to solve the spam problem; in 1997, the British cryptographer Adam Back also independently proposed to solve the spam problem by use of the mechanism of proof of work for hashing cash and published officially in 2002; in 1999, Markus Jakobsson officially proposed the concept of "proof of work", which laid the foundation for the subsequent design of Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin consensus mechanism.
Next lecture: Chapter 3 Detailed Explanation of Consensus Mechanism Technology
CelesOS
As the first DPOW financial blockchain operating system, CelesOS adopts consensus mechanism 3.0 to break through the "impossible triangle". It provides both high TPS and decentralization. Committed to creating a financial blockchain operating system that embraces regulation, providing services for financial institutions and the development of applications on the regulation chain, and developing a role and consensus eco-system regulation level agreement for regulation.
The CelesOS team is committed to building a bridge between blockchain and regulatory agencies / finance industry. We believe that only blockchain technology that cooperates with regulators will have a bright future and strive to achieve this goal.
📷Website
https://www.celesos.com/
📷 Telegram
https://t.me/celeschain
📷 Twitter
https://twitter.com/CelesChain
📷 Reddit
https://www.reddit.com/useCelesOS
📷 Medium
https://medium.com/@celesos
📷 Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/CelesOS1
📷 Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1Xsd8wU957D-R8RQVZPfGA
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The Network of Networks, Scalable Interoperability to Unleash the True Potential of Blockchain

The Network of Networks, Scalable Interoperability to Unleash the True Potential of Blockchain
There is not going to be one blockchain to rule them all, each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Interoperability is key to unlocking the true potential of blockchain, where it will have a profound effect across all industries, creating a secure, trusted and hyper-connected world.
The rise of The Networks of Networks, interconnecting all DLT Networks, existing off-chain networks and even the Internet itself. Where true, scalable interoperability can be achieved without requiring connected chains to fork their code and imposing limitations, without the overhead, bottleneck and single point of failure of adding another blockchain in the middle. Where it will be quick, easy and free to participate.
It’s time to stop the childish tribalism that’s plagued this space for so long and realise the bigger picture. Tribes fighting amongst themselves over a tiny insignificant island where there is a whole world out there to conquer if they work together. A rising tide lifts all boats and with the birth of The Network of Networks all connected projects can benefit from the efforts of each other, to usher in Mass adoption of Blockchain.
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In this article I will discuss the foundations that are being laid in preparation for the release of Overledger Network, The Network of Networks to make all of this possible and to unleash the true potential of blockchain with a secure, hyper-connected decentralised ecosystem. Table of Contents:
  1. Overledger SDK Update
  2. Standards
  3. Security
  4. Regulation
  5. Overledger Network
  6. The Five Ingredients of Interoperability
  7. Connecting Blockchain and Non-DLT Applications / Networks to Overledger
  8. Connecting the Internet directly to blockchain
  9. Join your favourite Blockchain project to the Overledger Network Ecosystem

Overledger SDK Update

Quant have just released their Overledger SDK update which has enabled standardisation of objects to abstract and simplify how to interact with different types of blockchains (UXTO and Account-based) in a common model. As well as the ability to directly deploy, invoke and query smart contracts directly through Overledger. I strongly recommend reading the teams Overledger SDK Update which explains it in more detail and includes example use cases of how Overledger is being used and the benefits it brings. Dr Luke Riley also did a fantastic job providing an in-depth demo of the Overledger SDK Update via Video as well.
https://youtu.be/PbpaZpe4mTQ

“This update sets the foundations to build the ecosystem for Overleger Network, allowing stakeholders other than Quant to write any type (DLT and non-DLT) Overledger connectors and sets up the ecosystem with multiple entry points for Overledger Gateways. These updates open up the integration capabilities of Overledger to 3rd parties and create the foundations for the Overledger Network”

Standards

“Trusted standards mean that industry doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, that innovations will be compatible and work with existing technology, and that products and services will be trusted too. Governments use standards as trusted solutions to complement regulation, and they give peace of mind to consumers who know they are not putting themselves or their families at risk.” — Acting ISO Secretary-General Kevin McKinley
The foundations need to align with internationally recognised standards as they play a crucial role in ensuring interoperability with new and existing technology and validates a product meets the best practices / regulation required to ensure Enterprises remains in compliance. CEO of Quant, Gilbert Verdian, founded the ISO TC 307 standard covering blockchain as a whole, which 56 countries are working towards today.
Countries involved with ISO TC 307 — https://www.iso.org/committee/6266604.html?view=participation
Gilbert Verdian is the chairman for the ISO TC 307 working group for interoperability of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems as well as being chairman for Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology for BSI (British Standards Institution) which represent the UK and includes companies such as Quant, IBM, Microsoft, HSBC, BAE Systems, Huawei as well as a number of UK Government bodies such as BEIS — Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Defence Science and Technology and the National Cyber Security Centre.
The standardisation updates to the Overledger SDK aligns with the work in ISO TC 307 and academic work from Dr Paolo Tasca and Dr Claudio Tessone to provide users with a clear distributed ledger data standard. This will enable everyone to easily create connectors in a standard way, facilitating interoperability with all of the connected blockchains / non-DLT networks that are already connected to Overledger through Overledger Gateways.

Security

Cybersecurity is in Quant’s DNA. The team have a rich heritage of working for Governments, banks and industry for over 20 years protecting organisations and people from security threats. Before Quant, Gilbert Verdian was the Chief Information Security Officer for Vocalink (Mastercard) where he was in charge of security for the entire payments infrastructure in the UK (£6 Trillion per year).
Gilbert has led a team determined to take security to another level, protecting a critical part of the UK’s infrastructure, protecting UK citizens and businesses from fraud and risk and, by extension, allowing them to live as they want to. Under Gilbert’s guidance, Vocalink security is not merely best-in-class, but setting a new standard. — https://connect.vocalink.com/2017/july/a-winning-streak/
In addition to Quant being selected as a Guarantor for Pay.UK, Gilbert has also been appointed to the Cybersecurity Advisory Board (Pay.UK is the UK’s leading retail payments authority and runs the UK’s retail payments operations, which includes Bacs, Faster Payments and Cheques.)
The pillars of security are Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability. As such, they have used their experience in running payment and financial infrastructure and critical national infrastructure for nations and embedded these principles into every aspect of Overledger.

Regulation

Regulation is playing an ever increasing role for blockchain. Standards and Security naturally complement and help define regulation. The verticals Quant are involved in with regards to regulation span the globe. Gilbert helped shape the conversation about consumer data protection rights during his time as CISO of NSW Health, and is continuing to serve as a cornerstone for policy within the adoption of blockchain in public infrastructure. Quant serves as a founding member of INATBA (The International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications), which is the formal governing body of the European Blockchain Partnership, all of which is overseen in Brussels by the EU. More locally, Gilbert and team are in consistent contact with the House of Lords within the UK, and advises the FCA in matters regarding cryptoassets.
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As recently seen in the SDK update, Overledger can serve as a key component of automatic compliance of governance bodies’ financial regulation, shown here by an Overledger instance reporting to the BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority. Project BARAC, stewarded by University College London, is a project examining the impact Automatic Regulation as administered by Blockchain can have on the Federal Government. Most notably, the FCA and R3, the developers of Corda, are involved here. Gilbert’s recent engagements with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston also seem to revolve around this very topic, with the Boston Fed pilot-testing a Supervisor Node for automatic regulatory compliance. While at P2PFISY 2019, it was noted by Gilbert that Raphael Auer’s “Regulation Automata” aligns very well with the vision of Overledger, with Paolo Tasca, former CSO of Quant, more recently co-hosting a recent blockchain panel with him. Raphael’s ideas will most likely be taken into consideration by the BIS, as they recently announced a trial of a 6 central banks collaboration centered around exploring CBDC, and are in the early stages of installing Innovation Hubs in Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Singapore.
Gilbert Verdian with Guy Dietrich (Managing Director at Rockefeller Capital who is also on the Board at Quant) attending a meeting with the Financial Conduct Authority

Overledger Network

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The Overledger Network is a network of networks, which allows enterprise and communities stakeholders to access and participate in a growing hyper-connected decentralised ecosystem. Enterprises, banks, central banks, trading venues, etc will be able to host their own secure dedicated gateways, enabling secure connectivity to permissioned networks, permissionless networks, ecosystems, consortia and other distributed technologies. Community members will also be able to run an Overledger gateway to further enhance the scalability, decentralisation and optimise network latency, providing enterprises, developers and users choice to use the closest gateway when accessing permissionless blockchains. The Overledger gateways will create a scalable p2p network that shares the transaction and volume between participants and chooses the closest or largest node to transact with.
As per the example use case in the recent update a Bank can run an Overledger Gateway to provide access to the various consortiums hosted on a variety of blockchains including Corda, Hyperledger Fabric and JP Morgan’s Quorum as well as access to the legacy / non-DLT platforms. Should they want to utilise a public blockchain as well in a hybrid scenario then they also have the option of using a Overledger Gateway hosted by a community member.
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The Overledger Gateways contain several layers which we will explore some of their features below:

Overledger Operating System

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Overledger allows connection to any blockchain / DAG as well as easily integrating with existing non-DLT environments. It does this without adding the overhead of yet another blockchain / consensus in the middle, ensuring that it’s scalable and doesn’t contain a single point of failure. Nor does it require the connected blockchains to fork their code to integrate and place restrictions on what can be implemented going forward. All of this is done in a secure, trustless manner where transactions are signed and encrypted client side so the contents can’t be viewed / modified as they pass through Overledger. It currently connects all of the leading permissioned and permissionless blockchains used by enterprises today. This article explains the differences between other interoperability solutions and the benefits of Quant’s approach

The Five Ingredients of Interoperability:

Recently there was an interoperability webinar with Fintech connect with speakers such as R3’s CTO Richard Gendal Brown, along with representatives from the Bank of England, Deutsche Boerse, Nasdaq, ArchaxEx and SwissRe. Richard Gendal Brown from R3 wrote about the Five key Ingredients of Interoperability:
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  1. INTEGRATE with existing business systems — Businesses aren’t going to replace their existing applications for new blockchain ones, they need to integrate with their existing systems.
  2. INITIATE Payments on existing rails or blockchain rails — Needs to be able to make a payment / settlement using a wide variety of existing payment rails (off chain) as well as blockchain rails, ensuring delivery vs payment can be achieved with certainty that they have happened.
  3. INTERCHAIN applications and smart contracts that can be deployed / executed across protocols — Enabling a solution built on Corda such as Marco Polo to easily connect to a solution on another platform such as Vakt on Ethereum or CargoSmart on Hyperledger Fabric etc
  4. INTRACHAIN applications that benefit from value add of same underlying protocol — What happens when networks such as Marco Polo and Contour both running on Corda want to interoperate and the additional value and benefit that can be achieved.
  5. INTERCHANGE applications to switch platforms — What happens if you want to interchange one platform for another. Can you achieve that holy grail of interoperability by being able to be completely agnostic to the underlying platform?
Overledger meets all of these key ingredients in performing interoperability. Overledger enables existing business systems to benefit from blockchain connectivity by adding as little as 3 lines of code to their existing applications. No need to completely rewrite / replace their existing systems and all done in the most common programming languages such as Java and JavaScript.
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At QuantX in December they announced Overledger Interchange which enables settlement on a variety of existing non-dlt payment rails such as Faster Payments, BACS, CHAPS, SEPA, SWIFT as well as on DLT payment rails such as with Central Bank Digital Currencies, Stablecoins and XRP. It also facilitates Cross Chain Atomic Swaps using Hash Time Locked Contracts ensuring Delivery vs Payment is achieved. Interchange is at the centre of the discussions Quant has had with traditional exchanges in capital markets and central banks and is a technology financial services have been missing and was built it address client needs.
Overledger enables interoperability within the same ecosystem such as Corda DAPP to another Corda DAPP etc as well as interoperability between any of the connected permissionless and permissioned blockchains.
Quants blockchain agnostic Operating System enables users to benefit from using the best features from different chains in combination and migrate between them, preventing Vendor or Tech Lock in without having to completely rewrite existing applications, achieving the holy grail of interoperability. It enables developers to quickly test a variety of connected blockchains in a sandbox environment to see which is best suited for their requirements, starting with just 3 lines of code.

Transactions Services Layer

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The Transaction Services layer handles more complex features of Overledger. Allowing for applications to request services such as cross-chain atomic swaps, treaty contracts (Multi Chain Smart Contracts as well as enabling smart contract functionality even on blockchains that don’t support smart contracts natively such as Bitcoin) and transaction brokering (using heuristic analysis to determine which method is the fastest / cheapest out of the various payment rails)

Financial Services Layer

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Financial services features can be called upon by participants and applications to use crosschain and cross-platform. Financial Services specific use cases can use the features in Overledger to operate across networks. This layer provides enhanced privacy and security to regulated entities and institutions who require additional controls to maintain compliance to regulation and security policy. The features of Zero-knowledge Proof and privacy can be mandated for all transactions.

Channels Layer

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Channels provide interoperability of services related to digital assets, payments and tokenisation. The Overledger Network allows for participants to transfer interoperate enterprise and institutional issued tokens and assets. Connect to many existing payment rails such as SWIFT, SEPA, Faster Payments etc.
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Connecting Blockchain and Non-DLT Applications / Networks to Overledger

The connectors to Overledger which grant access to Overledger Network will be open source and soon be made available, allowing for anyone to create a connector and benefit from being part of the ecosystem. Currently the permissionless blockchain space is mostly speculation with little adoption, mainly due to issues that need to be resolved such as scalability, privacy and regulation with permissionless blockchains, however there are some extremely large Enterprises, Banks, Governments, even Central Banks getting heavily involved and going into production albeit mostly in the permissioned blockchain space where such issues are not a problem. Just as each Blockchain has its advantages and disadvantages, parts of Enterprise applications are better suited to Permissioned blockchains (such as more sensitive parts) and permissionless blockchains suited for a higher degree of immutability, thus a Hybrid model requiring interoperability between permissioned, permissionless as well as existing non-DLT applications is required arguably for many years ahead. Just as with cloud computing where everything didn’t suddenly just move up into the cloud, well over a decade later since the birth of the likes of Amazon AWS, hybrid is still very prevalent today with only recently the likes of central banks, banks, governments discussing moving more sensitive workloads to public clouds such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud etc.

SIA, Central Banks, Banks, Trading Venues

Quant Network partnered with SIA, a game changer for mass blockchain adoption by Financial Institutions. SIA is the leading financial network provider in Europe that connects over 570 Banks, Central Banks, Trading Venues (stock exchanges etc) to their infrastructure. They provide a dedicated private network / infrastructure for financial institutions. Every European financial institution will either connect via SIA, in partnership with Colt or via SWIFT (and in many cases they will have connectivity with both) in order to access the Eurosystem Single Market Infrastructure Gateway, granting access to all RTGS, Securities and Instant Payment transactions for Europe.
SIA have integrated Overledger into their private infrastructure covering Europe consisting of 570 supernodes called SIAChain which enables each bank, central Bank, trading venue etc to utilise Overledger for interoperability. Some of the largest deployments of blockchain are happening on SIAChain such as the Spunta project where the entire Italian Banking Sector will be using blockchain and due to go live next month. As well as the “Fideiussioni Digitali” initiative (Digital Sureties) to digitize the management of sureties using blockchain technology with the Central Bank of Italy involved.
Central Bank Digital Currencies are going to play a hugely significant role in the future and there is one central Bank currently testing Overledger and Quant are in discussions with 4 others.
Connecting your blockchain / legacy network to Overledger enables the possibility that it could be used by any of these connected Banks, Central Banks, Trading venues etc in their private network (obviously due to the amount of regulation and critical financial infrastructure the options are going to be limited on what they want to connect).
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Oracle

Quant are a Fintech Partner with Oracle, the 2nd largest software company in the world and Oracle are taking Quant’s tech to their clients directly. They have 480,000 clients globally and towards the end of last year Oracle invited Quant to attend Sibos (SWIFT) where they met existing financial services and banking clients and introduced to new ones. By connecting to Overledger this also enables your solution to potentially be used by those 480,000 of Oracle’s global clients.
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SIMBA Chain

SIMBA Chain is a cloud-based, smart-contract-as-a-service (SCaaS) platform, enabling users across a variety of skill sets to implement dapps (decentralized applications). The easy-to-use platform is tailored for users, developers, government, and enterprises to quickly deploy blockchain dapps for their enterprise. SIMBA Chain are developing on Quant’s Overledger Blockchain OS to allow them to deploy DAPPs across multiple connected blockchains.
SIMBA Chain have recently been awared a $9.5 million contract with the US Navy, they are also working with the US Air Force. They have a thriving ecosystem with over 1100 Organizations and 650+ Applications developed. Partners include Microsoft, Government Blockchain Association, Air Force Research Laboratory, Caterpillar, SAP and EY. Recently they also integrated Unity 3D plugin for Gaming to enable owning, storing, and managing all personal gaming assets across a variety of blockchains.
These are just a few of the companies that Quant have partnered with directly, but the ecosystem for Overledger Network is the Network of Networks. Every connected blockchain (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple (XRPL), EOS, Stellar, IOTA, DAG, R3’s Corda, Hyperledger Fabric, JP Morgan’s Quorum and other Permissioned Variants of Ethereum) and their associated partners / applications built on them have the ability to connect and interoperate with the other blockchains connected as well as non-DLT networks such as existing payment rails like SWIFT, Faster Payments, SEPA etc. This Network of Network’s effects will grow exponentially as more and more join the ecosystem.
https://preview.redd.it/fd1m5uvezoi41.png?width=590&format=png&auto=webp&s=99c5b1893d851ba1effe7b5e73480c27f3f7973e

Connecting the Internet directly to blockchain

Quant Network are also developing the ability to allow developers to build MAPPs that integrate directly with the internet as well as blockchain data. They will enable this via creating a new IP address for blockchains which they are calling Quant IP which will enable traffic to be routed from an IP connection from the Internet through Overledger to the connected blockchains.
Another Quant product called Seeq is a distributed search engine that is able to search and retrieve data from multiple blockchains and display them via html directly from the blockchain. More details will be released about Seeq later this year.
Connecting the Internet directly to blockchain will allow websites to be natively created and served directly from blockchains, without the need to have, run and maintain web servers, web services, SSL certificates etc and all running in a completely trusted, extremely resilient / tamperproof environment. The implications of this are enormous and more details will be released by the team later on this exciting prospect. By connecting your blockchain to Overledger you will also be able to benefit from this.

Join your favourite Blockchain project to the Overledger Network Ecosystem

Instead of the current mentality of having the main focus for many projects of listing on exchanges for vast sums of money, why not spend a little time (connectors can be created in as little as a week of development and don’t necessarily even need to be created by the team themselves) and make your blockchain / non-DLT application available to be used by all existing enterprises / members. Not only that but if you also run an Overledger Gateway connecting your blockchain node you also benefit from the transaction fees of the traffic going to it. The connectors are open source and completely free to connect and now with the standardisation of Objects in the recent SDK update the foundations are in place for the launch of Overledger Network with an ETA of Q2 2020. If you would like your favourite blockchain project to interoperate and be part of the ecosystem to further adoption then make the relevant people aware and keep an eye out for further details released in the future.

https://medium.com/@CryptoSeq/the-network-of-networks-scalable-interoperability-to-unleash-the-true-potential-of-blockchain-c54e7d373d2d

Thanks to community member Ghost of St. Miklos for contributing the section about regulation as well as Sonic for proofreading.
You can find more about Overledger Network as well as the token utility — here and community member David W. wrote an excellent article “A deeper look into the Quant Network Utility Token (QNT) valuation dynamics and fundamentals”
What is a blockchain operating system and what are the benefits? Introducing Overledger from Quant Network.
Wall Street 2.0: How Blockchain will revolutionise Wall Street and a closer look at Quant Network’s Partnership with AX Trading
Large Enterprise Adoption of Blockchain is happening, enabled by Quant Network’s Overledger
As well as an 8 Part Series taking an indepth look at Overledger starting with Part 1
submitted by xSeq22x to QuantNetwork [link] [comments]

06-12 20:24 - 'Am I the Only One Concerned about Bitcoin’s Relationship with Tether?' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/Rusty_Shacklefurd69 removed from /r/Bitcoin within 27-37min

'''
From a macro perspective, I am bullish on the long term acceptance and growth of bitcoin as a “digital gold”, a store of value, a means of speculation, and maybe even one day a better medium of exchange. I purchase btc regularly with conviction for these reasons. But, from time to time the HODL gets slow and I “stress test” my conviction- I ask myself “What’re the long term bearish cases against Bitcoin?” “What could go wrong?” And lately, my biggest, most significant bearish fear about Bitcoin is Tether.
I realize there are other bearish cases that can be argued for Bitcoin, but I want to focus on Tether right now because it I think it is the most significant and under-reported. What if Tether is really (for lack of better wording) a scam? What if each USDT isn’t backed by $1? What is the creators of Tether are creating unbacked USDT and using it to buy and even manipulate the price of Bitcoin? I’m sure most of us have seen the articles about Tether being unable to supply concrete evidence of a reputable audit. Tether has less than desirable business linkings to shady exchanges. The company that created Tether is incorporated somewhere in the Caribbean where there’s less financial oversight. They are engaged in a legal conflict through the state of New York (can’t remember the exact suit and I don’t know the right legal jargon but they are being investigated for shady dealings basically, just google it). And even more there’s been published academic papers arguing the 2017 Super Bull Run to 20k was partially fueled by massive Tether creation and false volume on Bitcoin exchanges (I think Bloomberg has a couple articles about this).
So I ask you fellow Hodlers and brave BTC Bulls, with all the FUD out there against Tether, are you worried about Tether ultimately creating downside for Bitcoin? Do you think if it came out that Tether was fraudulent and insolvent and being used to manipulate Bitcoin, that Bitcoin’s price and reputation would be significantly hurt? Do you think Bitcoin’s ties to past shady organizations (and if you think back, there really has been a lot of fraudulent exchanges and scams in Bitcoin’s adolescence) such as Tether are in part holding it back from greater adoption (see SEC ETF approval, your coworkers or family who call it a scam, etc)?
Really would like some genuine opinions. Please keep the topic to Tether. CHEERS!
'''
Am I the Only One Concerned about Bitcoin’s Relationship with Tether?
Go1dfish undelete link
unreddit undelete link
Author: Rusty_Shacklefurd69
submitted by removalbot to removalbot [link] [comments]

Cardano: Blockchain 3.0 (Introductory article; Not a piece of investment advice)

Cardano: Blockchain 3.0 (Introductory article; Not a piece of investment advice)
Hey, all!
We have compiled an article about Cardano. The main motto of this post is to give a quick summary of Cardano to the users. Please feel free to comment your opinions, views and spark a discussion. It would help us in delivering better content. Thanks in advance.

Cardano: Blockchain 3.0

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Cryptocurrencies came into existence to eliminate the need for middlemen while transacting value from one to another. Satoshi Nakamoto was able to achieve this with the help of Blockchain technology. Though it gave the world Bitcoin, it was confined just to payments and hasn’t evolved to a greater extent. Ethereum exploited the blockchain technology and introduced the revolutionary smart contracts. Though this marked the beginning of the second generation of the blockchain, some challenges were left unsettled. Cardano took a distinctive approach in fixing the persisting issues by building on the already existing things that made sense and adding sustainable features with the help of new technology and innovation. In this post, ChangeHero will introduce give you a quick summary of Cardano.
Genesis
Cardano is a decentralized blockchain aiming to build a platform for the development of DApps and verifiable smart contracts. Dubbed as the third generation of the blockchain, Cardano aims to fix the pestering problems like scalability, interoperability and sustainability. Charles Hoskinson, Ethereum’s co-founder launched Cardano in the year 2015. Additionally, three organizations support and contribute to the development of the ecosystem. Cardano Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Switzerland, oversees and supervises the development of the ecosystem. Input Output HK (IOHK) is an independent firm contracted to carry out the designing and building of the network. Finally, Emurgo is employed to boost adoption through its commercial ventures.
It is the first blockchain which is based on scientific philosophy and developed by academics and engineers around the world. Unlike the traditional cryptocurrency projects, Cardano did not start with a whitepaper, instead, it began with a set of principles.