Binance Research Examines What China ... - Bitcoin Exchange
A word of caution about exchanges, privacy and your permanent history on the blockchain
I had an account restricted on a major exchange this year and it's not a pleasant experience. Just wanted to share my experience, since I see so many have been through something similar in several exchange-related subreddits. My case happened at Bittrex but I think it's important to note that this may happen on any exchange, not just Bittrex. People are depositing way too much trust in these exchanges and it may come back to bite them. Here's my experience as honestly as I'm able to put it. Bittrex is technically great, contrary to what many say the system just works. Works great in fact, fast and very few glitches in many many years. I think I must've been a very early customer back when things were very informal and until 2020 I had absolutely zero problems with Bittrex. I always thought they were above the pack when it came to system security design and reliability. Despite joining when it was very early, I did full KYC and had the top tier withdrawal limit even though KYC wasn't obligatory back when I joined. I did it all formally because I wanted to have a sort of bank account I could trust, I didn't want to be jumping from exchange to exchange like some crypto traders did. I never used as much as 0.01% of this withdrawal limit, I'm small fish but it was nice to know I could move tons of BTC like the whales if I ever needed to. So I sent them all my real data, work address and so forth. Then Bittrex got moved out of USA and into some country, don't know where. Which was fine by me, I thought it was the same people behind it, doing some formality. Then one day a person with a drawing for a profile pic and some strange username decides to contact me out of nowhere using the Bittrex tech support interface. They know everything about me, but I don't know anything about them. No contact info visible, nothing. This support person sends you a statement you must sign and then based on that they begin to ask for specific documents. I wanted to keep my relationship with Bittrex, so I filled signed and returned it. Then they dived into each item in the thing requesting more documents based on each. So if you said you previously worked for ACME, they'll ask to see ACME related stuff. I said I bought Bitcoin using Bank X, so they wanted to see Bank X statements. And so on. They begin to dig into each specific item you inform. Then it downed on me that maybe I was under some formal audit, in which case I'd have the right to know so I could hire an accountant or lawyer. So I politely asked. They don't tell you anything. You don't even know who the person is on the other side, there is no identification at all of who's contacting you. You're sending all your personal informations to someone who, as far as you know, could be a cat or a dog typing on a random keyboard. So I then asked them why so much detail was needed, since I'd provided lots already. They ignore and just say thank you for your cooperation and proceded to ask for more stuff. I said fine let's do this and went along. Then they asked for specific crypto addresses for the tokens I'd used in the past. Like the address of whoever sent me some XXXX token years ago. I then thought hey man this is too much, do you need me to fax or mail you my ID or something, I'd do it but whatever I enter in there could spell trouble for me. For example, if some guy whose ETH address did something nasty, but coincidentally paid me years ago using that same address, if I gave them my address from the past, in those several years it could mean this person is now a wanted criminal and it'd spell trouble for me, who knows what the person did afterwards, then my account would be forever linked to that rogue address. I began to reflect on this and thought wait, this is not good, I could put myself into a 'bad address' database for no reason. Then I told them I would not send the crypto addresses. They said thanks let's continue the process. It felt weird overall, it just keeps going and demanding more information. I then asked for someone to speak to or somewhere physical I could go to, to talk and show that I'm a real person, they never reply anything, they just ask for more. So I finally gave up and stopped replying and they apparently restricted my account or something. I'll have to go back and reopen the ticket and request account reactivation but then they'll probably restart the same process again. I'm not really that much of a fan of crypto these days, so I'm thinking maybe it's time to call it quits. The reason I'm writing this is to let everyone know that whatever you do in crypto gets forever linked to you. You begin thinking it's some informal thing and that there's some freedom but there really isn't. You may fool around with crypto but then someone is recording everything and will demand you make everything formal in the future. When I joined Bittrex everything was more informal in crypto, even shapeshift and others allowed you to trade crypto with no ID at all, 100% anonymous. Heck even faucets gave out free Bitcoin back in the day. Then all of a sudden everything you do in these exchanges will be audited and you'll need to provide formal documents for everything you did in the past 10 years. Some anonymous operator (this isn't specific to Bittrex, all of them do it that way) with no office has all your info but you know nothing about them in return. You don't even know where these exchanges are located at all. I saw a Facebook post about Binance not even having a formal country, they're "all over t he place". Sure that sounds cool but...who do you turn to when they demand legal stuff from you? Someone out there has all your financial information but you have nothing, you have no security, no legal protection, nothing and they have everything. So, be careful. This isn't all specific to Bittrex, any exchange can and probably will do the same. Point is crypto is a formal thing and will spell trouble for you in the future. Especially since blockchain analysis is way too primitive still, your addresses could somehow end up in a bad neightborhood. The pandemic kinda reminded me of blockchain transactions, you may end up infected because you have no way to know what others have been doing while you were doing everything right.
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
https://preview.redd.it/6w93e0afttx41.png?width=1400&format=png&auto=webp&s=c00989612ec2d52eb522405e6b6a98bf875e08bb Version 1.3.0 is a powerful update to TkeySpace that our team has been carefully preparing. since version 1.2.0, we have been laying the foundation for implementing new features that are already available in the current version. Who cares about the security and privacy of their assets is an update for you. TkeySpace — was designed to give You full control over your digital assets while maintaining an exceptional level of security, which is why there is no personal data in the wallet: phone number, the email address that could be compromised by hackers — no identity checks and other hassles, just securely save the backup phrase consisting of 12 words.
Briefly about the TkeySpace 1.3.0 update :
Code optimization and switching to AndroidX;
Selecting the privacy mode;
Selecting the recovery method for each currency;
Choosing the address format for Litecoin;
Enhanced validation of transactions and blocks in the network;
Starting with the current update, the TkeySpace wallet can communicate via the TOR network, includes new privacy algorithms, and supports 59 different currencies. https://i.redd.it/kn5waeskttx41.gif Tor is a powerful privacy feature for those who own large assets or live in places where the Internet is heavily censored.
Tor technology provides protection against traffic analysis mechanisms that compromise not only Internet privacy, but also the confidentiality of trade secrets, business contacts, and communications in General.
When you enable TOR settings, all outgoing traffic from the wallet will be encrypted and routed through an anonymous network of servers, periodically forming a chain through the Tor network, which uses multi-level encryption, effectively hiding any information about the sender: location, IP address, and other data. This means that if your provider blocks the connection, you can rest easy — after all, by running this function, you will get an encrypted connection to the network without restrictions. https://preview.redd.it/w9y3ax4mttx41.png?width=960&format=png&auto=webp&s=972e375fc26d479e8b8d2999f7659ec332e2af55 In TOR mode, the wallet may work noticeably slower and in some cases, there may be problems with the network, due to encryption, some blockchain browsers may temporarily not work. However, TOR encryption is very important when Internet providers completely block traffic and switching to this mode, you get complete freedom and no blocks for transactions.
Confidentiality of transactions (the Blockchain transaction)
The wallet can change the model of a standard transaction, mixing inputs and outputs, making it difficult to identify certain cryptocurrencies. In the current update, you can select one of several modes for the transaction privacy level: deterministic lexicographic sorting or shuffle mode.
Mode: Lexicographic indexing
Implemented deterministic lexicographic sorting using hashes of previous transactions and output indexes for sorting transaction input data, as well as values and scriptPubKeys for sorting transaction output data; We understand that information must remain confidential not only in the interests of consumers but also in higher orders, financial systems must be kept secret to prevent fraud. One way to address these privacy shortcomings is to randomize the order of inputs and outputs.
Lexicographic orderingis a comparison algorithm used to sort two sets based on their Cartesian order within their common superset. Lexicographic order is also often referred to as alphabetical order or dictionary order. The hashes of previous transactions (in reverse byte order) are sorted in ascending order, lexicographically.
In the case of two matching transaction hashes, the corresponding previous output indexes will be compared by their integer value in ascending order. If the previous output indexes match, the input data is considered equal.
Shuffle Mode: mixing (random indexing)
To learn more about how “shuffle mode” works, we will first analyze the mechanisms using the example of a classic transaction. Current balance Of your wallet: 100 TKEY, coins are stored at different addresses: x1. Address-contains 10 TKEY. x2. Address-contains 20 TKEY. x3. Address-contains 30 TKEY. x4. Address-contains 15 TKEY. x5. Address-contains 25 TKEY.
Addresses in the blockchain are identifiers that you use to send cryptocurrency to another person or to receive digital currency.
Let’s look at a similar example: you have 100 TKEY on your balance, and you need to send 19 TKEY. x1. Address-contains 10 TKEY. x2. Address-contains 20 TKEY. x3. Address-contains 30 TKEY. x4. Address-contains 15 TKEY. x5. Address-contains 25 TKEY. You send 19 TKEY, the system analyzes all your addresses and balances on them and selects the most suitable ones for the transaction. To send 19 TKEY, the miners will be given coins with x2. Addresses, for a total of 20 TKEY. Of these, 19 TKEY will be sent to the recipient, and 0.99999679 TKEY will be returned to Your new address as change minus the transaction fee. https://preview.redd.it/doxmqffqttx41.png?width=1400&format=png&auto=webp&s=5c99ec41363fe50cd651dc0acab05e175416006a In the blockchain explorer, you will see the transaction amount in the amount of 20 TKEY, where 0.99999679 TKEY is Your change, 19 TKEY is the amount you sent and 0.00000321 is the transaction fee. The shuffle mode has a cumulative effect. with each new transaction, delivery Addresses will be created and the selection of debit addresses/s that are most suitable for the transaction will change. Thus, if you store 1,000,000 TKEY in your wallet and want to send 1 TKEY to the recipient, the transaction amount will not display most of your balance but will select 1 or more addresses for the transaction.
Selecting the recovery method for each digital currency (Blockchain restore)
Now you can choose the recovery method for each currency: API + Blockchain or blockchain.
Note: This is not a syncing process, but rather the choice of a recovery method for your wallet. Syncing takes place with the blockchain — regardless of the method you choose.
What are the differences between recovery methods?
API + Blockchain
In order not to load the entire history of the blockchain, i.e. block and transaction headers, the API helps you quickly get point information about previous transactions. For example, If your transactions are located in block 67325 and block 71775, the API will indicate to the node the necessary points for restoring Your balance, which will speed up the “recovery” process. As soon as the information is received, communication with the peers takes place and synchronization begins from the control point, then from this moment, all subsequent block loading is carried out through the blockchain. This method allows you to quickly restore Your existing wallet. ‘’+’’ Speed. ‘’-’’ The API server may fail.
This method loads all block headers (block headers + Merkle) starting from the BIP44 checkpoint and manually validates transactions. ‘’+’’ It always works and is decentralized. ‘’-’’ Loading the entire blockchain may take a long time.
Why do I need to switch the recovery method?
If when creating a wallet or restoring it, a notification (!) lights up in red near the selected cryptocurrency, then most likely the API has failed, so go to Settings — Security Center — Privacy — Blockchain Restore — switch to Blockchain. Syncing will be successful.
Enhanced validation of transactions and blocks in the network
Due to the increased complexity in the Tkeycoin network, we have implemented enhanced validation of the tkeycoin consensus algorithm, and this algorithm is also available for other cryptocurrencies.
What is the advantage of the enhanced validation algorithm for the user
First, the name itself speaks for itself — it increases the security of the network, and second, by implementing the function — we have accelerated the work of the TkeySpace blockchain node, the application consumes even fewer resources than before.
High complexity is converted to 3 bytes, which ensures fast code processing and the least resource consumption on your device.
The synchronization process has been upgraded. Node addresses are added to the local storage, and instant synchronization with nodes occurs when you log in again.
Checking for double-spending
TkeySpace eliminates “double-spending” in blockchains, which is very valuable in the Bitcoin and Litecoin networks.
For example, using another application, you may be sent a fake transaction, and the funds will eventually disappear from the network and your wallet because this feature is almost absent in most applications.
Using TkeySpace — you are 100% sure that your funds are safe and protected from fraudulent transactions in the form of “fake” transactions.
The bloom filter to check for nodes
All nodes are checked through the bloom filter. This allows you to exclude fraudulent nodes that try to connect to the network as real nodes of a particular blockchain. In practice, this verification is not available in applications, Tkeycoin — decided to follow a new trend and change the stereotypes, so new features such as node verification using the bloom filter and double-spending verification are a kind of innovation in applications that work with cryptocurrencies.
Updating the Binance and Ethereum libraries
Updated Binance and Ethereum libraries for interaction with the TOR network.
Function — to hide the balance
This function allows you to hide the entire balance from the main screen.
Advanced currency charts and charts without authentication
Detailed market statistics are available, including volumes, both for 1 day and several years. Select the period of interest: 1 day, 7 days, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years.
In version 1.3.0, you can access charts without authentication. You can monitor the cryptocurrency exchange rate without even logging in to the app. If you have a pin code for logging in, when you open the app, swipe to the left and you will see a list of currencies.
Transaction verification for Tkeycoin is now available directly in the app.
Independent Commission entry for Bitcoin
Taking into account the large volume of the Bitcoin network, we have implemented independent Commission entry — you can specify any Commission amount. For other currencies, smart Commission calculation is enabled based on data from the network. The network independently regulates the most profitable Commission for the sender.
New digital currencies
The TkeySpace wallet supports +59 cryptocurrencies and tokens.
Last year Bitfury’s multidisciplinary Blockchain specialists announced the possibility of revealing the identities of more than 16% of all owners of Bitcoin addresses. Several years ago, a team of CryptoLux developers, having conducted a study of transaction privacy on the Bitcoin network, concluded that 60% of all addresses can be deanonymized. Summarizing all this, it’s worth highlighting three existing methods that can successfully deanonymize private transactions.
The easiest way to cluster (link Bitcoin addresses) is by analyzing transactional networks. In other words, this is a method that allows finding several inputs combined in one transaction. The second clustering method is “distribution analysis”. It allows calculation the percentage of cryptocurrency at the certain address that comes from another specific address and it becomes clear whether these addresses are connected by one direct transaction or a chain of transactions or not.
It consists of quantitative and temporal analyzes. Quantitative analysis studies not certain transactions, but amounts. Time analysis tracks specific periods.
Memory Pool Method
When a transaction is made through the user’s wallet, the input nodes send information about the transaction to the Blockchain network. The purpose of this method is to identify the set of input nodes through the wallet and the user. In this case, the IP address of the client can be associated with its transactions. There are certain private cryptocurrency-leaders which are popular and trusted among users. Using one feature-privacy, they have different ways of functioning.
Basic principles of work: anonymous cryptocurrencies (Monero, Dash, Zcash)
The platform focuses on privacy and decentralization. The coin uses three levels of protection: • Ring signatures, that hide the origin of the sender by mixing the user’s address with the addresses of other group members. • Ring confidential transactions, which hide the amount of the transaction. • Stealth addresses, that allow a user to hide the recipient’s address. Such way guarantees the privacy of the sender and the recipient. Monero can be bought on Poloniex, Bitfinex, Livecoin, and Kraken crypto exchanges. It is possible to store Monero via an online wallet. More secure is its computer wallet. Due to its privacy, the popularity of the coin is expected to grow, so it makes sense to add a coin to an investment portfolio. Advantages • Increased privacy. Cryptocurrency is suitable for those who are afraid of deanonymizing network transactions. • Unlimited and difficult mining. • It takes less time to find blocks. • Resistance to the centralization of mining capacities. Disadvantages • Resources. All currency protection technologies require impressive machine performance for normal operation. The Monero block size is constantly growing, and this requires additional resources of network participants. • The popularity in the dark web leads to problems in working with regulatory authorities, exchanges often delist it. Speaking of reputation, Monero’s reputation is far from the best. The coin is often used on the dark web as payment for various illegal services. It happens to almost all crypto coins that provide privacy. • Large transaction sizes. Since Monero Blockchain is five times larger than the Bitcoin Blockchain in terms of one transaction. • Problems with scalability.
The Dash platform is a classic decentralized Blockchain-based payment system and the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. It implements multi-off-chain money transfers without loss of reliability and overall security of the Blockchain. Its confidentiality is rather an additional option that can be used optionally. In the case of anonymity, it is possible to send a hidden transaction, but at a more expensive cost, which also requires additional time. Dash developed a hashing algorithm with eleven cryptographic functions-X 11 for the first time. The coin developers have released apps for other platforms. Today it is possible to use Dash for IOS, Zeal for Linux, LovelyDocs for Android and Velocity for Windows. As well known, the CoinJoin is an anonymization method for crypto transactions, which is used by Dash as an improved version called the PrivateSend. Its mixing sessions are limited to 1,000 DASH for each session and will require multiple mixing sessions to anonymize a large amount of money. Advantages • High transaction speed. It is achieved via InstantX technology, which enables the confirmation of operations in less than 4 seconds. • Law transaction fees. • Energy consumption. Unlike Monero, it does not require a lot of power or high commission costs. Disadvantages • “Transparency” of the network. Without triggering the “mixing” mechanism, the directions of transactions and their balances are publicly visible to everyone. • Lack of proper cryptographic technologies that provide privacy, but can provide a sufficiently high level of protection. • Transaction visibility to the founders and the team.
An open-source decentralized cryptocurrency that provides users with maximum privacy. Zcash is the first private cryptocurrency, using cryptographic protocol zk-SNARKS, a zero-knowledge security layer. It allows users to make hidden and open transactions. Mathematically guaranteed privacy is something cryptocurrency can not be proud of. This fact makes the currency specific. All Zcash coins are identical, it means that interchangeable coins do not contain information about past use created. In this regard, the connection of coins with their history on the Blockchain is broken, which makes them universal and identical to each other. Zcash blocks are generated 4 times faster than Bitcoin. The currency trades on Huobi, Bitfinex and Binance exchanges, and after purchase, it can be stored on the exchange’s internal wallet, as well as transferred to Jaxx, Cryptonator and Coinomi multi-currency wallets. Coins can also be stored on hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor. Advantages • Privacy. Since no information except the time stamp, is recorded in the Blockchain, transactions cannot be tracked, and the identity of the sender and recipient is almost impossible to establish. • Interchangeability. Due to interchangeability, all coins have a “clean” history. This means that it is practically impossible to determine which transactions coin was used. • Security. Lack of information about user keys, which protects user wallets and the network.Mining energy efficiency. Zcash mining hardware consumes less electricity than Bitcoin mining ASICs. • The difficulty of mining. Zcash is beneficial for those who want to get coins for block creation. Bitcoin mining becomes more and more complicated, so miners cannot earn enough money via their computers with high capacity. Disadvantages • 6 users can decide to leave the transferred data completely open. • It takes a lot of calculations to complete a transaction. • Insecurity. There are fears that the system could be hacked, or users may accidentally open the data. • Legally ZCash is supported only by Linux, however, it provides users with wallets for other platforms: Jaxx, Ledger, Trezor, Trust, Zecwallet, Ibitcome, Exodus, Guarda, Coinomi, Cobowallet, and Bitgo. Private cryptocurrencies are necessary for anyone who values the privacy and confidentiality of financial transactions. Privacy can generate more value, than danger, as Eric Hughes says: “Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn’t want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn’t want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world”.
Anonymity & Cryptocurrency: A Few Tips On How To Keep Your Privacy
Unfortunately, anonymity isn’t something that you think about as being valuable. But as Edward Snowden points out in one of his interviews, “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” https://preview.redd.it/a2t5wii1wnj41.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=df6889e510a2a0b231614636d0b6c1ac7be7e2c4 Many people are going up against online anonymity, mainly because it has the potential to enable and encourage undesirable behavior or illegal activity. State institutions and corporations are trying to limit the ability to use networks without authorization, allegedly in an attempt to increase security. Meanwhile, there is no doubt that private information that falls into the wrong hands can be used for mean purposes in many ways. Dozens of examples truly highlight the need for online anonymity today. Without it, people’s lives can easily be ruined forever. Financial and personal freedom are the main reasons why people started using cryptocurrencies. But using Bitcoin itself can not guaranty anonymity. They are not linked to a person or identity, so the name, e-mail or physical address can’t be found in the transaction. But public addresses we use publically recorded on the blockchain, so a person can be tracked down using this information and ID. Here are some methods to keep your identity safe. Use logless VPN Virtual Private Network encrypts all of your Internet traffic and routes it through multiple servers at different locations before arriving at the final location. Using a VPN is one of the simplest ways to cover your digital tracks. Logless VPN services don’t store the history of your activities, some of them provide one IP address for several users, making it difficult to isolate one person among them. It is highly recommended to avoid US/UK-based VPN services due to strict surveillance regimes in these countries. Also, you should keep in mind that some exchangers’ security systems treating logging into an account with numerous different country IPs as suspicious which can lead to blocking your account. Register a separate email Never use personal or working email for the needs of the crypto. If hackers gain access to it that can ruin your life in many aspects at once. A significant advantage will be the use of burner emails such as Guerrilla Mail and Temp Mail, or highly protected services like ProtonMail or Tutanota. Don’t forget about common security rules such as using a strong password that contains different case letters, numbers and symbols. Keeping passwords and keys on your devices is definitely not safe, better write it down in an old-fashioned pen-paper way. Create new blockchain address Make new addresses for every single transaction you make. More than half of all transactions in the BTC network go through wallets that have been in use at least once. Over time this practice will build up a list of transactions associated with one wallet. Using some manipulations those transactions could be easily associated with a real-world identity as well as your wallet could be simply hacked and robbed. Avoid KYC and AML using services Know Your Client is a policy used by many companies in which each client is required to provide credentials such as ID documents to use a company’s service. Anti-Money Laundry consists of KYC procedures and ongoing risk assessment and monitoring of transactions. Such actions are implemented in the best interest of protecting users of cryptocurrency platforms but left no chance to stay anonymous. Nowadays most of the crypto markets and exchanges require passing identity verification due to the growing control from the state institutions. However, there are some that allow you to remain anonymous unless you are withdrawing a large amount (Binance, Bitfinex, KuCoin, etc.). In such circumstances, decentralized exchanges seem like a good option. Use Anonymity-Centric Cryptocurrencies As mentioned earlier, blockchain analysis based on knowledge of the amount and time of the sent transaction allows hackers to attack user’s wallets and gain access to their data. As a reaction to this was developing coins with anonymity as the main priority. At the moment, Monero is the most popular of the anonymity-centric cryptocurrencies. It has a complex of cryptographical tools for obfuscating traces of the original transaction. Its RingCT Protocol hides the sender, recipient and transfers amounts. After the transaction is completed, it is signed and receives a time-stamp using a ring signature, where collected group’s public keys, but the private key of the specific sender is not displayed. Another private currency’s Dash work is based on the CoinJoin technology. The idea of the process is very simple: several transactions are mixed into one, so it is impossible to determine what amounts were transferred and by whom. Zcash currency uses the Zero-Knowledge Proof commitment scheme to validate transactions without revealing information about them. Protocol, called Zk-SNARKs, comprises three algorithms that generate proof and verification keys, calculate the proof and verify the authenticity of the secret information. The obvious drawback of this mechanism is extremely massive complex calculations that require enormous capacity. Even if complete anonymity seems not possible, following the above rules will help you avoid a lot of trouble. You should be extra meticulous in the process of choosing currency and an exchanger, keeping in mind where and what personal information you provide. If you need to exchange your coins private and without registration – StealthEX is here for you. Just go to http://stealthex.io and choose the pair and the amount for your exchange. Then follow these easy steps: ✔ Choose the pair and the amount for your exchange. For example ETH to BTC. ✔ Press the “Start exchange” button. ✔ Provide the recipient address to which the coins will be transferred. ✔ Move your cryptocurrency for the exchange. ✔ Receive your coins. Follow us onMedium,Twitter,Facebook, andRedditto getStealthEX.ioupdates and the latest news about the crypto world. For all requests message us via [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
Want to learn more about Binance Exchange? Read on!
Digital currency exchange market has a wide variety of choices. It is a hectic task to choose an exchange platform. This article will give you a walkthrough Binance Exchange platform. Also, it explains whether to use it to buy Crypto. Binance is one of the most popular and fast growing exchanges in the cryptocurrency market. Every crypto trader has once heard about this exchange platform. Many users recommend using this trading exchange platform. What is Binance Exchange? Binance is a global cryptocurrency exchange. It provides a platform for trading mover100 cryptocurrencies. The list includes Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Binance Coin (BNB). Many are still being added regularly. The name "Binance" is made up of a combination of the words binary and finance. Earlier it was termed as crypto-to-crypto trading platform. Binance exchange has gained immense popularity because it is a credible, reliable, secure and growing exchange. The platform provides low transaction fees, high liquidity, and additional discounts if users pay in the native BNB cryptocurrency tokens. Just getting listed on Binance can provide a cryptocurrency with a temporary boost of 80 percent in market value. And being delisted from Binance is a black mark felt throughout the industry. Binance trades in crypto-only exchange,and does not cater to fiat deposits. Binance History Binance is a Chinese company, founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao and Yi He. But since there were possibilities of China banning crypto transactions, the company shifted servers to Tokyo, Japan. Following a successful initial coin offering (ICO), Binance began live trading in July 2017. Binance now has offices in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Malta. Binance also created its native token BNB. TBinanc created bBNB efore ICO and were sold instantly raising $15 million approx. The ICO also gained 20,000 registered users as part of the raise. Binance introduced a Tiered Trading Fee Discount Program on July 21, 2018 that provides a bigger discount based on a user’s BNB coin balance It also launched its own mainnet, called Binance Chain, on April 18, 2019, making it an all-purpose crypto and blockchain company. Binance-X, an initiative for developers was launched in August 2019. This program will assist developers to develop applications on Binance blockchain. As we write, Binance is all set to launch physically settled Futures trading in September 2019. Why Should I Open A Binance Exchange Account? Like any other standard exchange, it offers services around trading, listing, fundraising and delisting or withdrawal of cryptocurrencies. As said earlier, the platform provides low transaction fees with trading support for mover100 currencies. Also, Binance provides a crypto wallet for their traders, where they can store their electronic funds. Binance has their own token currency, Binance Coin. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts willing to launch their own tokens use Binance for raising funds through initial coin offerings (ICO). Binance is used by many traders and participants for exchanging various cryptocurrencies, and for investments in the same. How it works? Binance comes with a Basic and Advanced view of the trading data. This helps novice as well as experienced traders to trade easily in cryptocurrencies. The main difference between the basic and the advanced version is that the advanced one offers detailed technical analysis of digital currency value Binance Account and transactions To trade, users have to complete the necessary KYC requirements. This provides a complete security to other users and gain their trust. After trading account creation, users can add cryptocurrency funds to the public wallet address provided by Binance to start trading. Time for verification may vary depending on the availability of the site support staff. Once account is created, funds need to be added in the wallet. Users can visit the “Funds” > “Deposits / Withdrawals” link at the top of the site and find the currency they wish to send, then click the “Deposit” button. Once funds are added to the account, users can start trading - sending, receiving, exchanging cryptos in their Binance account. Binance supports three types of orders: limit, market, and stop limit orders. Limit orders are executed only at the specific price set by the trader, market orders are executed at the best market price, while stop limit orders become valid orders only when the price reaches a specified level. Binance does not charge for fund deposits but withdrawals come with a transaction fee. Trading fee is 0.1% but 25% will be discounted further if traded in BNB tokens. How to access Binance? Binance can be accessed using a web browser and Mobile applications. Applications are available for both Android and iOS platform. Pros and cons Pros
Basic and Advanced exchange views
Support for close to 100 cryptocurrencies
Offers the Binance in-house BNB token for reduced trading fees
Capable of processing 1.4 million transactions per second
Backed by an efficient team with a proven track record in crypto and finance
Low fees on transactions and withdrawals
Bounty and reward programs for the community
Users have complained about the difficulty with the Android mobile app.
Some users have reported delays when withdrawing certain coins from Binance.
Because it’s a new platform, it’s hard to assess its long-term viability.
Binance collects and store some user data, such as logging IP addresses.
Binance trades crypto-to-crypto primarily. While you can buy some crypto with credit card, you can’t cash out through them.
Customer service is slow, although decent.
While simple to use, Binance only trades crypto makes it seem like they designed with experienced users in mind.
How secure is Binance? The exchange does not provide users with enough information on how the funds are being secured, yet officials claim that security is taken seriously. Two-factor authentication and a Google Authenticator are available to verify withdrawals and security modifications. the platform also offers a multi-tier and multi-tier system architecture for better security. On May 7, 2019, Binance revealed that it had been the victim of a “large scale security breach” in which hackers had stolen 7,000 Bitcoin worth around U.S.$ 40 million Binance took instant action and halted further withdrawals and deposits but allowed trading to continue. The site granted all the hacked accounts a VIP status with added benefits. Binance Plans Binance’s white paper includes plans for the rollout of several additional features. While there’s no official timeline listed concerning these features, the vision for Binance eventually includes support for:
A little-known fact about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and others, is that, contrary to popular belief, they aren't anonymous. Perhaps the belief that they are anonymous persists because rather than using real names in transactions, crypto transactions such as sending bitcoin from one wallet to another only require a string of text and numbers known as public addresses. Public addresses, however, are pseudonymous, and still provide anyone with the sophistication and resources the ability to track down the personal details of the actors within an exchange. Within the last year, several well-known and popular figures within the cryptocurrency industry have had their identities and funds compromised, with millions of dollars lost. Pseudonymity is not Anonymity Just because your name, birthdate, and geographic location are not apparently tied to your cryptocurrency wallet doesn't mean that they can't be found out using your public address alone. The reason for this is simple: blockchain analysis. What is blockchain analysis? There are two forms of it; one is simple, the other much more sophisticated. The simple version of blockchain analysis is one that anyone with access to the internet can perform. On any block explorer, whether it's for Bitcoin, Qtum, Neo, Ethereum, or Icon, you will find a search field into which any wallet address can be looked up. If you input your own public address, you will see the entire history of your financial activity on the blockchain laid bare. Who you've sent to, who you've received from, and what you own on the blockchain are all part of the public domain of blockchain information that is viewable by the world. If you're thinking that it's not a problem since you've got your public address shielding your real identity, then think again. The sophisticated method of blockchain analysis aims to make connections and uncover a logic between different entities on blockchains. Essentially, this type of blockchain analysis views blockchains as massive Sudoku puzzles -- and with enough computer power and effective enough algorithms, patterns can be easily found on blockchains that lead hackers, blockchain analysis startups working for government organizations, and others straight to your actual identity. Consider the way you entered into the cryptocurrency market in the first place. You had to buy bitcoin using Coinbase, Kraken, Bithumb, or another exchange with a fiat to crypto gateway. Doing so required your personal and bank details owing to the fact that regulated exchanges must comply with KYC (know-your-customer) and AML (anti-money-laundering) laws. After entering all of the required personal information, the exchange set about to confirm your details by sharing them with other third-party KYC organizations. Finally, your documents and details were verified, allowing the chance to enter the market. After your you bought bitcoin, the natural thing to do was send it away from the exchange wallet and into your own software or hardware wallet. Then, perhaps you sent some bitcoin to Binance in order to buy a cryptocurrency asset such as ethereum. After purchasing ETH, perhaps you sent it back to your wallet before using it to participate in an ICO. This entire web of financial activity may seem disconnected and hard to trace, yet to a powerful enough blockchain analysis engine tracing all the way back to your initial exchange of purchase would have no problem at all uncovering your IP address and, eventually, your identity. Using Anonymity to Protect your Digital Assets The above scenario is in large part why privacy tokens such as Apollo Currency, Monero, Verge, and Dash have found popularity and value within cryptocurrency markets. Essentially, users are looking for a cryptocurrency asset which gives them the private, financial autonomy blockchain seemed to promise in its early days without being exposed to the possibility of being hacked, monitored, or otherwise controlled by outside parties. Which Are the Best Coin for Anonymity? The top contenders in the cryptocurrency marketplace for taking best privacy coin honors are Monero, Verge, and Dash, and Apollo Currency. Despite having some similarities, they are all in fact quite different. After the comparison, we'll share the reasons why three of these coins fail to provide adequate privacy while only one of them provides true anonymity and more. Dash Dash is a digital currency and payment network that places its privacy feature as an option rather than as the main feature. For this alone, it is already on the backfoot. Rather than have privacy built into every transaction as a standard, the Dash development team instead opted to give users the option to make transactions private using a feature called PrivateSend. Despite having started out as Darkcoin, Dash changed paths and began focusing on mass-adoption and placed it's anonymity features to the side. As such, there are concerns around the centralization of Dash masternodes which are largely hosted by cloud AWS services leading to legitimate worry that government agencies could one day demand, and have access to, transaction logs. Beyond this, Dash does not feature stealth addresses, encrypted messaging, IP masking, or a secure form of coin shuffling. Dash relies on CoinJoin for its PrivateSend feature which requires users to negotiate with each other during the transaction process. Monero Monero has the largest reputation when it comes to anonymous cryptocurrency. Apart from enjoying wide adoption and a stellar market capitalization, Monero is open-source and uses a proof-of-work algorithm for consensus along with RingCT signatures for privacy. In sharp contrast to Dash, Monero is not a privacy-optional coin. Every transaction uses RingCT (confidential-transactions) to hide the sources of transactions in a given set. In theory, this should shield every transaction with anonymity, yet in practice, quite the opposite has been found. Researchers from MIT published a report titled "An Empirical Analysis of Traceability in the Monero Blockchain" wherein they revealed that they were able to trace 80% of Monero transactions prior to the integration of RingCT and 45% of transactions after its integration. Beyond this, Monero lacks an encrypted messaging platform, does not mask IP addresses, does not function as a bitcoin mixer, and its proof-of-work consensus algorithm has significant negative effects on the environment. Verge Verge deserves a mention if only because of its bold claims. Prior to their Wraith update, Verge developers claimed that they would use Tor and I2P networks to anonymize user IP addresses. Unfortunately, not long after the Wraith update was announced, it appeared that Tor had not been integrated at all and several cryptocurrency whistleblower websites were able to track IP addresses involved in Verge transactions. Initially called DogeCoinDark, Verge also uses two ledgers -- a private and a public ledger. This is to allow users the option of switching between ledgers depending on the type of transaction made and the level of disclosure the user prefers for that transaction. Like Monero, Verge lacks a coin shuffling function, claims to mask IP addresses but fails in practice, does not offer an alias system (meaning users can not encrypt text), and relies on a slow proof-of-work algorithm for consensus. Apollo Currency Apollo Currency picks up where privacy coins prior to it have left off and then goes several leaps further. Rather than offer a cut-rate privacy coin, Apollo has taken the strengths of other privacy coins and made them stronger, while also containing what they lack -- namely, real anonymity and financial freedom on the blockchain. Apollo's Olympus Protocol ushers forth a new paradigm of anonymous transactions using a host of innovations. IP masking via Tor will allow for untraceable transactions directly from the Apollo wallet without the risk of having a compromised IP address somewhere down the line. Apollo also features coin-shuffling which, like bitcoin mixing, is a process for coin anonymization that makes shuffled coins resistant to tracing and blockchain analysis. The way this works is simple - Apollo users simply send their coins through the shuffling mechanism which then pools user coins together, mixes them, then sends each user their specified amount of coins back from different sources than they started with. The result is complete anonymity and a break in the connection between sending and receiving addresses. Apollo's encrypted messaging platform furthers the total anonymity offered by the currency. Users can communicate and transfer files without a trace, all the while having their IP addresses masked by Olympus Protocol. Conclusion Until Monero and Verge clear up the allegations made by researchers from MIT and other institutions that users are vulnerable to having their IP addresses exposed, I would steer clear of them. Dash and Apollo Currency are proven and both offer coin shuffling which is a real, proven coin anonymization technique that offers the best of privacy. As always, it's best to DYOR (do your own research).
Hiya folks! Happy Diwali to everyone. Here’s your week at Parachute + partners (20 Sep - 26 Sep'19): Tons of quizzes and contests this week at Parachute + TTR. Doc Vic hosted a trivia on medicine and another one on WW2 this week in TTR. A total of 50k $PAR given away. Victor hosted another trivia there too for 25k $PAR. Sweet! The Big Brother contest came to a close with the finale this week. The winner of Big Brother was Michie, who sadly no one picked. So all 21 participants won 5K $PAR each! Another 70k $PAR was given out to other winners. Plus, $202,500 PAR have been awarded in the various Big Brother contests earlier. Huge! Thank you Gian for doing all of this. And did you get a chance to partake in Tiproom’s Mememania? 50k $PAR in prizes – 25k for top 10 winners and another 25k for 100 memes. Next week’s update will feature some of the funniest memes from the contest. Richi hosted a Movie Trivia in Tiproom for a 25k $PAR prize pot for 10 questions. Woot! Looking good Alexis! Catch up on the latest at aXpire from the weekly update video compiled by Joakim. This week’s 20k $AXPR burn can be tracked here. CEO Gary Markham, who sits on the board of Hedge Fund Association, travelled to an HFA event to spread the word on the project. In the last update, we shared that 2gether was hosting a blockchain and tokenization based contest named Crypto Talent in partnership with IEB Spain for students and professionals. Read more about it here. News of the competition was shared on Cointelegraph as well. You can also listen in to Founder Salvador talk about the contest here and here. Check out the 2gether T-shirt that the team wore to the South Summit next week. Neat! CEO Ramon spoke at the Finnovista Pitch Day about FinTech innovation. Salvador’s interview along with a profile of 2gether was published in The Blockchain Land. The winner of the Birdchain Art Contest was announced this week. Congratulations! Plus, some news updates on the app were shared as well. Birdchain Art Contest winner. Wicked! Last week we shared that the $XIO ERC20:BEP2 bridge testnet trials have gone well. Here’s a sneak peek into how it looks. Once activated (condition to the acceptance of the Binance Dex listing application), the bridge will be open for roughly a month*. Dash also talked about 3 marketing mistakes that crypto startups make commonly – paying for PR (earned media > paid media), focus on follower count (organic reach > vanity metrics), airdrops (unless done strategically). If you had questions on how the XIO system will work and help startups scale, then fret not. Zachary wrote an article and video explaining it all. The community also voted this week to opt in for an SMS update option if there were ever one. The $BOMB community survey results are also out. This set the basis for a detailed SWOT analysis of the token. An excerpt from Benjamin’s 4% burn report was published on Coinbeat as well. In this week’s discussion series, Zachary reflects on market movements and the nature of the XIO incubator program. \*[As of today, the switch to Binance Chain has been shelved. $XIO will stay on Ethereum. But there will still be a token swap. Details will be shared in a later update] BOMB survey results show that the community is well distributed across the globe Fantom’s Statheros stablecoin project will be partnering with a South African bank working on a mainnet launch. Initial details of the tie-up were released. The news was covered by CFN as well. CMO Michael travelled to a CFN event in London. Click here for pics. Technical Update #14 came out too. The big exclusive at Uptrennd this week was bagging an interview Andreas Antonopoulos. Awesomeness! Loopring CMO Jay sat down with founder Jeff to talk about the road ahead for the company. In this week’s public vote, the community voted to get TomoChain a free review from Altcoin Buzz. Community member Jackson Jerry took the initiative to deliver a presentation on the platform to thousands of students during a University Blockchain Awareness tour. Writers were in for a treat with the start of an article writing challenge with a 1,750 $1UP prize pool. Say what! Like last week, this week’s Meme Monday event saw some hilarious submissions. Uptrennd also got coverage on Micky News’ PR piece. Noice! Welcome to the Sentivate crew Jack! Learn about domain extensions and universal domain systems in this detailed article and thread by Sentivate founder Thomas. Tech enthusiasts were in for a treat this week with discussion threads on 5G and packet puzzles. The latest District Weekly from District0x covers mostly dev updates from the past week. Classic memes was the theme for this week’s Meme contest :p Old school memes FTW! Lmao Hydro got nominated for the Florin Asia Innovation Award. Good Luck! The Hydrogen dApp store was opened up for beta testers. The store is also open source. Great! Click here to read up on the structure of the dApp store and how it was built. A number of third party partners joined the store this week including 3Box, TotleCrypto and Carbon. General Operations Manager Marcco Paez sat down for an AMA with Crypto Nation to talk about Hydro. Hope you got a chance to get your questions answered. The team was at InsureTech Connect to represent the project. Want to check out an awesome spectacle? Hydro’s article on visualising code activity in decentralised projects has some uber cool visualisations. You could create one too using Gource. The latest developer update summarises all work done in the past week on the dev front. Silent Notary announced the launch of a Consilium system which will be using its own blockchain network (IDL) for legal actions on the platform. This was necessary since the Ethereum chain is anonymous and legal proceedings require identifiable actors. The $SNTR token will continue to exist on both chains (Ethereum and IDL). For more titbits on the update click here, here, here and here. For updates on Ubikiri, make sure to join the ann channel on Telegram started recently. Full list of socials can be found here. The $LAW referral bonus started last week has seen 4000+ wallets receiving the tokens so far with more on the way. Plus, the presale details are now available on the IDL site. Hydro dApp store dev visualisation. Beautiful Last week, the Arena Match community voted to decide which exchange to pursue for a listing of the $AMGO token. DDEX emerged as the winner of the vote. This week, $AMGO got listed on DDEX. Also, the much awaited review of the project by the Uptrennd team was published in two parts (Part I, Part II). Blockfolio and Delta accepted $AMGO for listing on their platforms. Woohoo! Job opening alert on OST: the team is looking for a Product Lead. Apply if you’re up for it. CEO Jason explained how adding friction in early onboarding process helps achieve product-market fit in this tweet thread. Congratulations to SelfKey for becoming an official member of CryptoUK, a self-regulatory trade association based in UK. If you have considered opening an offshore bank account, check out this article on the best countries to choose from. You can make your first move using the Wallet marketplace as well. Hope you took some time out to vote for SelfKey for the Blockchain Identity Management Use Case Award. Constellation’s partnership with the US Air Force was covered by Forbes this week. The team also announced a partnership with StackPath to make node deployment scalable for enterprise clients. Co-Founder Wyatt travelled to USC, Los Angeles, to a Hyperledger meetup to talk about how blockchain protocols can achieve elasticity. Click here to watch his presentation. Bags token launched a 10k $BAGS giveaway contest for helping spread the word on the project. Sweet! The first promo video is up on the BAGS TV YouTube channel. Check it out! An Upcycle Event in the BAGS Bazaar allows you to exchange some of your tokens for $BAGS. This week, they held their 4th Bazaar Upcycle event. And with that, it's a wrap for this week at Parachute + partners. Ciao!
https://preview.redd.it/hixbz9f3lxm31.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=43896de84a3693d840c84057c0314af71718f0a3 What is Zcoin? Zcoin, also referred to as XZC or Zerocoin, is an open source decentralized cryptocurrency that provides privacy and anonymity for its users when making transactions. To achieve its privacy and anonymity, Zcoin uses zero-knowledge proofs via the Zerocoin protocol, which is at this moment in time one of the most cited cryptography papers. According to Wikipedia, in cryptography, a zero-knowledge proof or zero-knowledge protocol is a method in which one party proves to another party (the verifier) that a given statement is actually true. In other words, in a transaction with Bitcoin or Ethereum or something similar, your transaction history is always linked to your coins by default, leaving you vulnerable. All it takes is one link to your personal information or IP to find out the origin of the coins. However, when you trade with Zcoin’s Zercoin feature, your transaction history is not linked to the actual coins. Only the receiver and sender know that the funds have actually been exchanged.
How Does Zcoin Work?
Zcoin works on the Zerocoin protocol by enforcing Zero-knowledge proofs. Here are the components of Zcoin to explain how it works. Mint: When sending a private transaction with Zcoin, all you need to do is select the number of coins you want to mint. Post that your normal Zcoin balance would reduce automatically and you will be credited with new coins and no transaction history. In essence, your old coins are burned cryptographically, which prevents anyone else from using them again and being directed to your transaction history. You get credited with new coins with no history, while the total supply is maintained. For now, you can only mint in denominations of 1, 10, 25, 50 and 100. If you choose ‘100’ coins to be minted, for instance, you will instantly be credited with 100 new Zcoins with no history attached to them.
Spend: When you want to make a private transaction, you will be required to use these ‘100’ newly minted coins. From this pool of funds, you can now send any amount in any denomination to anyone anonymously because no history is attached to it.
Repeat: You can ‘mint’ and ‘send’ Zcoins any number of times at anytime with your privacy intact.
Zcoin seeks to improve things that Bitcoin hasn’t been able to so far, some of which include fungibility, privacy and miner’s centralization. Users of Zcoin can enjoy full fungibility and privacy along with demolishing miner’s centralization by implementing a better proof of work algorithm called MTP. Total Zcoin supply Only 21 million units of Zcoin will ever be produced. Currently, there are about 3.4 million units in circulation, with the rest yet to be mined. But the total supply has increased by 388450 XZC units after a Zcoin code bug, which the team refused to roll back due to economic reasons, which is why the total supply stands at approximately 21.4 million. Every 10 minutes, a Zcoin block is mined and 50 coins are generated, making 72,000 Zcoins per day. Market cap of Zcoin According to CoinMarketCap, the total circulating supply of Zcoin is 5,757,841 XZC and the current unit price is $9.6. That makes the market cap approximately $55 million*.* https://preview.redd.it/qw2igvupoxm31.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=cfaa195d5d75ba8f20e5894d0351b2eabf76825a
How To Buy Zcoin Cryptocurrency
If you are looking to get some Zcoin, here is a list of resources where it can be bought from.
Atomars – Supported pairs are XZC/BTC, XZC/ETH, XZC/USDT
Binance - Supported pairs are XZC/BTC, XZC/ETH, XZC/BNB
Note: At the moment, buying XZC in fiat currencies such as USD, EUR, or GBP is quite difficult. https://preview.redd.it/rrwao97woxm31.png?width=1460&format=png&auto=webp&s=442bf152f86a63300c5c4a029bb07369a69e6f70 Zcash: Zcash is a decentralized and open-source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that provides strong privacy protections. It was created as a fork of Bitcoin and, like bitcoin, it also has a hard limit of 21 million coins. Unlike bitcoin, however, Zcash offers total privacy for its users maintaining the absolute anonymity behind each transaction along with the parties and the amounts involved in it. PIVX: PIVX, which stands for Private Instant Verified Transaction, is an open-source, decentralized form of digital online money that uses blockchain technology. This makes it easy to transfer all around the world in an instant with low transaction fees with market leading security & privacy. PIVX focuses on privacy, security, anonymity, and instant transactions. Monero: Monero is a fast, private, secure and untraceable digital currency system that uses a special kind of cryptography to keep all its transactions 100% unlinkable and untraceable. With Monero, you are your own bank. You can spend safely, knowing that others cannot see your balances or track your activity. Some Zcoin misconceptions There are some misconceptions regarding Zcoin:
Some believe that, since Zcoin has a trusted setup that allows indefinite minting of coins, it is not safe. This is untrue. Of course, to start with they had to use a trusted setup because they have an auditable total coin supply that prevents any form of cheating. This downside however, is being taken care of by removing this trusted setup in the near future and when that happens, Zcoin will be one of the serious coins to count on for privacy.
Zcoin has been considered as Zcash’s fork but that is also not true because Zcash is based on the Zerocash protocol whereas Zcoin was started from scratch by applying Zerocoin tech.
Now that some of the Zcoin’s misconceptions have been cleared, here’s a look into its future.
Zcoin’s Future & Roadmap
Zcoin’s future is quite promising and worth watching based on these interesting milestones on their roadmap:
Zcoin is the first coin to implement MTP proof of work, which makes it possible for general masses to mine Zcoin with GPUs and CPUs. MTP doesn’t allow costly ASIC-like miners to mine XZC coins.
Zcoin is also implementing Znodes to make their cryptocurrency more decentralized and anonymous. These Znodes will be like masternodes and facilitate anonymous transactions as making an anonymous transaction single-handedly is quite computational.
Znodes will be incentivized by reducing some portion of the founder’s reward. Also, the surplus funds that get generated from the founder’s reward reduction would be used for hiring new developers and increased marketing efforts.
Another agenda on their roadmap is to bring inbuilt Tor or some IP obfuscation mechanism that will make it completely anonymous.
Apart from these, some innovative and exciting things like sigma protocol, decentralized anonymous voting and Zcoin Labs are on their roadmap, making this project worth checking out.
Last but not least, its recent price is a good indicator of its healthy market sentiment and shows that there are people who understand this project’s worth. Just to put things into perspective – a unit of Zcoin was priced $2 in March 2017 and now it is $37*.*
Zcoin Team & Progress
Zerocoin is a cryptocurrency proposed by professor Matthew D. Green, a professor of Johns Hopkins University, and graduate students Ian Miers and Christina Garman. It was proposed as an extension to the Bitcoin protocol that would add true cryptographic anonymity to Bitcoin transactions. Zerocoin was first implemented into a fully functional cryptocurrency and released to the public by Poramin Insom, the lead developer, as Zcoin in September 2016. Some of the notable dev members of the team are listed below. Poramin Insom Founder and Core Developer Poramin Insom created what was the world's 4th most valuable cryptocurrency in February 2014. He is also the world's first person to implement stealth addresses in QT-Wallets, improving cryptocurrency anonymity. He earned a master’s degree in Information Security from Johns Hopkins University, where he wrote a paper on a proposed practical implementation of the Zerocoin protocol. Alexander N. Developer Alexander N. aka Aizensou is a full-stack developer who has experience in many programming languages (C++, C#, Python, Perl, Java etc.) and has been involved in the cryptocurrency space since 2013. He has a broad development portfolio from low level APIs in Python and C++ to Android native applications in Java. In addition to his involvement in cryptocurrencies, Alexander was doing his P.h.D. in machine learning at a German university from 2012 to 2016. Saran Siriphantnon Developer Saran Siriphantnon is the CTO of Satang.co/Satoshift, a fintech company focusing on creating an open financial system for Southeast Asia. He served as President of the Computer System Administrator Group at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang. Tadhg Riordan Solidity Developer Tadhg Riordan is a 24 year old Software Developer from Wexford, Ireland. He recently completed his MSc from Trinity College Dublin, where he worked with Blockchain privacy mechanisms, focusing particularly on Zero-Knowledge Proofs and the Ethereum platform. He is a strong advocate for the adoption of cryptocurrency and for complete financial privacy. Apart from these, their team comprises of other developers, community managers, support personnel and advisors who maintain the required balance.
Aram Jivanyan (Cryptography Advisor): Co-Founder at Skycryptor & KMSchai Torphop Korgtadam (It Security Consultant): Senior Vice President, Head Of Internal Audit Strategy, Innovation and Decision Science at United Overseas Bank Limited Alexander N. aka Aizensou (Advisor)
Unique/Key Features Against Its Competitors:
Anonymous transactions. The project establishes a notably higher level of anonymity and seeks to bypass current analysis techniques which governments use to reveal the identity of users.
Not subject to transaction graph analysis. Zcoin has an anonymity set that encompasses all minted coins in a particular RSA accumulator that can scale to many thousands.
Innovative process. Tokens are burned cryptographically and replaced with new coins without a transaction history. This actively prevents anyone else from using the tokens again and stops the public from being directed to a user's transaction history.
Transparency focused. Zcoin's main advantage is its auditable money supply.
Hi Bitcoiners! I’m back with the fifteenth monthly Bitcoin news recap. For those unfamiliar, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in Bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best) overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month. And a lot has happened. It's easy to forget with so much focus on the price. Take a moment and scroll through the list below. You'll find an incredibly eventful month. You can see recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com A recap of Bitcoin in March 2018
INTRODUCTION Since Bitcoin was invented by Satoshi Nakamato, the master of cryptocurrency, there has been a considerable increase in adoption of blockchain technology, which is evident through various coins and other available subcoins. Furthermore, various projects are supported using Blockchain technology. Gaming, banking, tourism, social media and almost many industries have started to use blockchain technology to facilitate their daily activities. There are problems with the operation carried out in the ecosystem in spite of the recommendations that Blockchain technology offers to its adopters. In the block chain, we don't have to go into too much stress before the fraudulent cases are concluded, and this is largely due to the low level of security. MEET THE COLLECTIVE The Collective Community is the technology company of a small island country in the UK called Guernsey in Europe and has several projects at the same time. The main objective of the project is the construction of a community that is dedicated to the technology of Blockchain, from the very beginning to the end, to follow-up, analysis and sustainability of a system dedicated to Blockchain technology, in the management and support of ICOs and market-emerging coins in the incubation period. The Collective Exchange is another product offered by The Collective Community. The major feature of this stock market is that some of the major stock exchanges (Binance, Bittrex, Bitfinex, Poloniex) are not one of the decentralized exchanges. Justification is important because one of the most important phenomena in the emergence of Blockchain technology is decentralization, which cannot be traced in a peer-to-peer manner and cannot be pursued. The fact that Binance and other major stock exchanges do not have this important fact of the Blockchain, in contradiction to its philosophy, The Collective wishes to be a part of a large community, compatible with its philosophy, aiming to be like the other masses (Bitshare, Waves, 0x Protocol). The Decentralized stock market is much safer, independent of third-party applications and units, as it is freely constructed from the control of countries, demanding lower transaction fees, and allows you to remain more anonymous while you run your money in the market. In addition, $ 470 million of money has been stolen from crypto exchanges, and one of the main reasons for this is the control of the unregistered units by a single hand and a single heart. In this way, hackers who want to defraud the market simply take over the center and hack all the cash funds here, damaging Blockchain technology and investors. The CDEX stock exchange is also an important step for implementing one of Blockchain's biggest philosophies. He also believes he can list his own stock exchanges without charge. As you know, exchanges like Binance demand millions of dollars to list any coin in their stock exchanges and try to use the power they have as a means of exploitation. In order to support the Blockchain community more, CDEX wants to make the project much larger and more useful by offering the project the possibilities of free listing for the coins it believes in. CONCLUSION CDEX's intention is to return the list and liquidity to the hands of the community, rather than just making a decision based on their own interests. It aims to achieve this by giving loyalty rewards to the CDEX users to trade on the platform. It will provide a discounted fee structure for qualified users and will give members of the Community an opportunity to review the companies they intend to trade on the stock exchange. Bounty0x username: Nuxxorcoin1
Crypto and the Latency Arms Race: Crypto Exchanges and the HFT Crowd
News by Coindesk: Max Boonen Carrying on from an earlier post about the evolution of high frequency trading (HFT), how it can harm markets and how crypto exchanges are responding, here we focus on the potential longer-term impact on the crypto ecosystem. First, though, we need to focus on the state of HFT in a broader context.
Conventional markets are adopting anti-latency arbitrage mechanisms
In conventional markets, latency arbitrage has increased toxicity on lit venues and pushed trading volumes over-the-counter or into dark pools. In Europe, dark liquidity has increased in spite of efforts by regulators to clamp down on it. In some markets, regulation has actually contributed to this. Per the SEC:
“Using the Nasdaq market as a proxy, [Regulation] NMS did not seem to succeed in its mission to increase the display of limit orders in the marketplace. We have seen an increase in dark liquidity, smaller trade sizes, similar trading volumes, and a larger number of “small” venues.”
Why is non-lit execution remaining or becoming more successful in spite of its lower transparency? In its 2014 paper, BlackRock came out in favour of dark pools in the context of best execution requirements. It also lamented message congestion and cautioned against increasing tick sizes, features that advantage latency arbitrageurs. (This echoes the comment to CoinDesk of David Weisberger, CEO of Coinroutes, who explained that the tick sizes typical of the crypto market are small and therefore do not put slower traders at much of a disadvantage.) Major venues now recognize that the speed race threatens their business model in some markets, as it pushes those “slow” market makers with risk-absorbing capacity to provide liquidity to the likes of BlackRock off-exchange. Eurex has responded by implementing anti-latency arbitrage (ALA) mechanisms in options: “Right now, a lot of liquidity providers need to invest more into technology in order to protect themselves against other, very fast liquidity providers, than they can invest in their pricing for the end client. The end result of this is a certain imbalance, where we have a few very sophisticated liquidity providers that are very active in the order book and then a lot of liquidity providers that have the ability to provide prices to end clients, but are tending to do so more away from the order book”, commented Jonas Ullmann, Eurex’s head of market functionality. Such views are increasingly supported by academic research. XTX identifies two categories of ALA mechanisms: policy-based and technology-based. Policy-based ALA refers to a venue simply deciding that latency arbitrageurs are not allowed to trade on it. Alternative venues to exchanges (going under various acronyms such as ECN, ATS or MTF) can allow traders to either take or make, but not engage in both activities. Others can purposefully select — and advertise — their mix of market participants, or allow users to trade in separate “rooms” where undesired firms are excluded. The rise of “alternative microstructures” is mostly evidenced in crypto by the surge in electronic OTC trading, where traders can receive better prices than on exchange. Technology-based ALA encompasses delays, random or deterministic, added to an exchange’s matching engine to reduce the viability of latency arbitrage strategies. The classic example is a speed bump where new orders are delayed by a few milliseconds, but the cancellation of existing orders is not. This lets market makers place fresh quotes at the new prevailing market price without being run over by latency arbitrageurs. As a practical example, the London Metal Exchange recently announced an eight-millisecond speed bump on some contracts that are prime candidates for latency arbitrageurs due to their similarity to products trading on the much bigger CME in Chicago. Why 8 milliseconds? First, microwave transmission between Chicago and the US East Coast is 3 milliseconds faster than fibre optic lines. From there, the $250,000 a month Hibernia Express transatlantic cable helps you get to London another 4 milliseconds faster than cheaper alternatives. Add a millisecond for internal latencies such as not using FPGAs and 8 milliseconds is the difference for a liquidity provider between investing tens of millions in speed technology or being priced out of the market by latency arbitrage. With this in mind, let’s consider what the future holds for crypto.
Crypto exchanges must not forget their retail roots
We learn from conventional markets that liquidity benefits from a diverse base of market makers with risk-absorption capacity. Some have claimed that the spread compression witnessed in the bitcoin market since 2017 is due to electronification. Instead, I posit that it is greater risk-absorbing capacity and capital allocation that has improved the liquidity of the bitcoin market, not an increase in speed, as in fact being a fast exchange with colocation such as Gemini has not supported higher volumes. Old-timers will remember Coinsetter, a company that, per the Bitcoin Wiki , “was created in 2012, and operates a bitcoin exchange and ECN. Coinsetter’s CSX trading technology enables millisecond trade execution times and offers one of the fastest API data streams in the industry.” The Wiki page should use the past tense as Coinsetter failed to gain traction, was acquired in 2016 and subsequently closed. Exchanges that invest in scalability and user experience will thrive (BitMEX comes to mind). Crypto exchanges that favour the fastest traders (by reducing jitter, etc.) will find that winner-takes-all latency strategies do not improve liquidity. Furthermore, they risk antagonising the majority of their users, who are naturally suspicious of platforms that sell preferential treatment. It is baffling that the head of Russia for Huobi vaunted to CoinDesk that: “The option [of co-location] allows [selected clients] to make trades 70 to 100 times faster than other users”. The article notes that Huobi doesn’t charge — but of course, not everyone can sign up. Contrast this with one of the most successful exchanges today: Binance. It actively discourages some HFT strategies by tracking metrics such as order-to-trade ratios and temporarily blocking users that breach certain limits. Market experts know that Binance remains extremely relevant to price discovery, irrespective of its focus on a less professional user base. Other exchanges, take heed. Coinbase closed its entire Chicago office where 30 engineers had worked on a faster matching engine, an exercise that is rumoured to have cost $50mm. After much internal debate, I bet that the company finally realised that it wouldn’t recoup its investment and that its value derived from having onboarded 20 million users, not from upgrading systems that are already fast and reliable by the standards of crypto. It is also unsurprising that Kraken’s Steve Hunt, a veteran of low-latency torchbearer Jump Trading, commented to CoinDesk that: “We want all customers regardless of size or scale to have equal access to our marketplace”. Experience speaks. In a recent article on CoinDesk , Matt Trudeau of ErisX points to the lower reliability of cloud-based services compared to dedicated, co-located and cross-connected gateways. That much is true. Web-based technology puts the emphasis on serving the greatest number of users concurrently, not on serving a subset of users deterministically and at the lowest latency possible. That is the point. Crypto might be the only asset class that is accessible directly to end users with a low number of intermediaries, precisely because of the crypto ethos and how the industry evolved. It is cheaper to buy $500 of bitcoin than it is to buy $500 of Microsoft shares. Trudeau further remarks that official, paid-for co-location is better than what he pejoratively calls “unsanctioned colocation,” the fact that crypto traders can place their servers in the same cloud providers as the exchanges. The fairness argument is dubious: anyone with $50 can set up an Amazon AWS account and run next to the major crypto exchanges, whereas cheap co-location starts at $1,000 a month in the real world. No wonder “speed technology revenues” are estimated at $1 billion for the major U.S. equity exchanges. For a crypto exchange, to reside in a financial, non-cloud data centre with state-of-the-art network latencies might ironically impair the likelihood of success. The risk is that such an exchange becomes dominated on the taker side by the handful of players that already own or pay for the fastest communication routes between major financial data centres such as Equinix and the CME in Chicago, where bitcoin futures are traded. This might reduce liquidity on the exchange because a significant proportion of the crypto market’s risk-absorption capacity is coming from crypto-centric funds that do not have the scale to operate low-latency strategies, but might make up the bulk of the liquidity on, say, Binance. Such mom-and-pop liquidity providers might therefore shun an exchange that caters to larger players as a priority.
Exchanges risk losing market share to OTC liquidity providers
While voice trading in crypto has run its course, a major contribution to the market’s increase in liquidity circa 2017–2018 was the risk appetite of the original OTC voice desks such as Cumberland Mining and Circle. Automation really shines in bringing together risk-absorbing capacity tailored to each client (which is impossible on anonymous exchanges) with seamless electronic execution. In contrast, latency-sensitive venues can see liquidity evaporate in periods of stress, as happened to a well-known and otherwise successful exchange on 26 June which saw its bitcoin order book become $1,000 wide for an extended period of time as liquidity providers turned their systems off. The problem is compounded by the general unavailability of credit on cash exchanges, an issue that the OTC market’s settlement model avoids. As the crypto market matures, the business model of today’s major cash exchanges will come under pressure. In the past decade, the FX market has shown that retail traders benefit from better liquidity when they trade through different channels than institutional speculators. Systematic internalizers demonstrate the same in equities. This fact of life will apply to crypto. Exchanges have to pick a side: either cater to retail (or retail-driven intermediaries) or court HFTs. Now that an aggregator like Tagomi runs transaction cost analysis for their clients, it will become plainly obvious to investors with medium-term and long-term horizons (i.e. anyone not looking at the next 2 seconds) that their price impact on exchange is worse than against electronic OTC liquidity providers. Today, exchange fee structures are awkward because they must charge small users a lot to make up for crypto’s exceptionally high compliance and onboarding costs. Onboarding a single, small value user simply does not make sense unless fees are quite elevated. Exchanges end up over-charging large volume traders such as B2C2’s clients, another incentive to switch to OTC execution. In the alternative, what if crypto exchanges focus on HFT traders? In my opinion, the CME is a much better venue for institutional takers as fees are much lower and conventional trading firms will already be connected to it. My hypothesis is that most exchanges will not be able to compete with the CME for fast traders (after all, the CBOE itself gave up), and must cater to their retail user base instead. In a future post, we will explore other microstructures beyond all-to-all exchanges and bilateral OTC trading. Fiber threads image via Shutterstock
InvestInBlockchain - Cryptocurrencies in the Top 100 With Working Products
📷 Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that started it all back in 2009, after the global financial crisis and subsequent bailouts of banks left many people disenfranchised with fiat currency and outdated, insecure financial infrastructure. Today, Bitcoin is being used for peer-to-peer payments across the globe. More than that, though, it is leading the way towards a future in which financial technology is trustless, secure, resilient, and censorship resistant. Without Bitcoin, this list would not exist.
📷 The platform that brought smart contracts to the blockchain, spurring a minor revolution in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Before Ethereum, Bitcoin and its transaction-oriented design was the central focus of most blockchain projects. After Ethereum, teams saw the value of decentralized apps (dapps) and smart contracts, and shifted their focus to compensate. Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum whitepaper was released in late 2013. The project itself was announced January 2014, with a crowdsale the following July. The system officially went live in July 2015. Since then, hundreds of businesses, individuals, and blockchain projects have adopted Ethereum as their main smart contracts platform.
📷 Ripple is focused primarily on one thing: fast and cheap international transactions. Current banking infrastructure has failed to evolve in the 21st century, such that it still takes 3-5 business days on average for an international transfer to be processed. With just 4 second transaction times and at a fraction of the cost of a wire transfer, Ripple’s working product is already impacting the banking sector. The big knock against Ripple is that its native token, XRP, is completely unnecessary. Indeed, driving adoption of Ripple’s banking solutions is far easier than getting real-world adoption for XRP. If you’re interested in seeing a discussion about how XRP adoption will occur, you might find this reddit thread worth a read. Meanwhile, all of us will just have to wait and see whether XRP adoption strategies ultimately come to fruition.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
📷 Bitcoin Cash was created in 2017 when the first ever hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain took place. The split was the result of Bitcoin’s 1MB blocks filling up. Transaction speeds were declining, fees were increasing, and it became clear to the community that the current model wasn’t sustainable for scaling. In a move that still causes cryptocurrency fights to this day, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash soon emerged as separate but similar projects. BCH has 8x the block size of BTC, giving it roughly 8x the transaction throughput. Its fees and transaction times are much faster, as predicted. Learn more about Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash.
📷 The Stellar project and its associated Lumens (XLM) token was forked from the Ripple protocol in 2014. Stellar has come into its own since then, providing a blockchain connection service for fiat transactions between banks, payment systems, and people. Stellar is fast and reliable, and it works with practically no fees for the end-user. Stellar is a payments system, meaning its job is to move money as efficiently as possible. Partnerships with banks and financial institutions were key in evaluating its status, as was the ability to actually send money using the network. Several non-profits and commercial entities have agreed to use Stellar as part of their financial infrastructure. Recently, the team partnered with IBM and KlickEx to facilitate cross-border transactions in the South Pacific and announced an affiliate with Keybase to streamline international transactions. Stellar also has projects being builton its network by major established entities. IBM’s blockchain division is using XLM for their payments infrastructure, for example, and the Veridium startup is working with both organizations to tokenize its carbon credits market.
📷 Litecoin is a Bitcoin fork that was created in 2011 by Charlie Lee as a cheaper and faster (2.5 minute block time instead of 10) alternative to Bitcoin. This is accomplished predominantly because Litecoin uses a Scrypt hashing algorithm instead of the SHA-256 algorithm used by Bitcoin. It’s common to hear Litecoin called “digital silver” to Bitcoin’s “digital gold,” and in reality Litecoin does not really expand upon the functionality of Bitcoin in a significant way so much as it makes different tradeoffs. That being said, it does succeed in being cheaper and faster to use than BTC, which has led to it being accepted by hundreds of merchants and thus making Litecoin one of the most widely used cryptocurrencies for digital payments.
📷 Tether is an unusual project. Whereas most cryptocurrencies rise and fall in value, Tether was designed to stay the same, fixed at a 1:1 ratio with the U.S. dollar. This allows users to store, send, and receive digital currencies across platforms without incurring significant losses due to value fluctuations. The Tether stable coin sounds straightforward, but the project isn’t without controversy. USDT is supposedly backed by real USD sitting in a bank account. But in which account? Who controls it? And is Tether being used to manipulate the value of Bitcoin? It’s all part of the Tether controversy.
📷 Released in 2014 as a fork of Bytecoin, Monero has since made a name for itself as the most popular privacy coin on the market. Most cryptocurrencies offer little in the form of anonymity. Monero was built for privacy from the ground-up, featuring stealth addresses, ring signatures, and complete coin fungibility. All of this adds up to a near-perfect cloak of anonymity, allowing Monero users to conduct transactions without exposing their identity. Monero has had steady growth over the years thanks to a dedicated team of developers and an active community. The project continues to evolve with new privacy features and improved transaction security.
📷 NEO was founded in 2014 as one of the earliest smart contract platforms, giving it a wide breadth of possible functionality. The platform’s strongest use case is digitizing traditional assets so that they can be easily tracked and exchanged on the blockchain. NEO is also well-known as the “Chinese Ethereum,” and the fact that it is a Chinese-based project does seem to make Chinese dapp developers somewhat more likely to build on top of it than other platforms. In fact, NEO has already supported dozens of ICOs and remains one of the predominant platforms for supporting smart contracts and dapps.
Binance Coin (BNB)
📷 Binance Coin is an exchange token used to reduce trading fees on the Binance platform. Users can opt to pay exchange, listing, and withdrawal fees using BNB and enjoy as much as a 50% discount on all charges. This turns out to be a powerful incentive for purchasing and holding BNB, as what trader doesn’t enjoy saving money on transactions? Binance Coin is an ERC-20 token that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. Its purpose is extremely limited, but because such a vast number of Binance users transact with it every day, it qualifies as a working and active product.
📷 Zcash is another immensely popular privacy coin that often cracks the top 20 cryptocurrencies. It uses the tagline “internet money” and promises to fully protect the privacy of transactions with zero-knowledge cryptography. Zcash provides anonymity by shielding transactions on the blockchain, preventing anyone from seeing the sender, recipient, or value of each transaction. The technology is so effective the Ethereum team is investigating it to enable anonymous transactions on their network. Zcash has grown in leaps and bounds in 2018. The dev team published a roadmap through the year 2020, which includes a major features upgrade in the October 2018 Sapling release. Coinbase is also considering listing Zcash, which is a huge boost for any cryptocurrency.
📷 Qtum is a smart contracts platform similar to Ethereum, only with a stronger focus on value transfers and decentralized apps. It’s meant to be something of a hybrid between Bitcoin and Ethereum, allowing businesses to build smart contracts on the platform or just focus on cryptocurrency transactions. Qtum launched in March 2017, and dashed straight to the top. The initial offering sold over $10 million in tokens after just 90 minutes. The project differentiated itself by providing a rare Proof-of-Stake smart contracts platform designed to compensate for some of Ethereum’s shortcomings, including lack of compatibility for mobile devices. Qtum released its mainnet in September 2017, opening the doors to a fully functional smart contract and dapps platform. Several projects already have an established presenceon the network. One of the more exciting ones is Space Chain, which aims to create an open-source satellite network anyone can use for data transmission, storage, and development.
0x Protocol (ZRX)
📷 0x Protocol has one of the most important working products in the entire Ethereum ecosystem. It is a permissionless, open-source protocol that facilitates trustless exchanges of Ethereum tokens through relayers and dapps that build on top of the protocol. Not only has 0x been providing this functionality for over a year now, but they’ve been working to expand the protocol functionality significantly since that initial launch. In 0x protocol 2.0 and beyond, it will be possible to trade tokens built on standards besides ERC-20, including non-fungible ERC-721 tokens. In a market full of scams and vaporware, 0x’s valuable contributions to the Ethereum ecosystem have made it one of the best performing cryptocurrencies of 2018.
📷 Bytecoin is another popular privacy-focused cryptocurrency with a strong community and user base. Transactions on the Bytecoin blockchain are instantaneous, untraceable, unlinkabe, and resistant to blockchain analysis. Bytecoin has been around for a long time now, with contributions to the project beginning in 2012. However, that hasn’t stopped the project’s developers from continuously improving the product. The recently updated Bytecoin roadmap has a hard fork for a consensus update scheduled for August 31, as well as numerous initiatives for community growth constantly in the works.
📷 Founded in 2015 by former Bitcoin developers, Decred’s most important working product is its solution to Bitcoin’s biggest problem. No, not scalability… blockchain governance. You see, early Bitcoiners have been debating block size limitations and the efficacy of other scalability solutions like the Lightning Network for years, even though the problem of scalability really only became discussed in the mainstream in 2017. With its community-based governance model and strong adherence to the core ethos of decentralization, Decred is built to evolve and improve rapidly. That means that it’s equipped to handle not only the scalability problem today, but other big problems that might arise down the line. When you have poor governance, it is an arduous process making any upgrades to a project, no matter how necessary they may seem to the majority of coin holders. Decred’s best-in-class and still improving governance model give it an intriguing case to be a leader in digital payments for a long time to come.
📷 BitShares aims to improve worldwide access to financial services via blockchain. The tagline “assist the unbanked” summarizes the project nicely. In practice, this translates to BitShares operating as a decentralized exchange, one that was built from the ground-up to avoid scalability issues and keep transaction fees low. BitShares was launched in 2014 by Dan Larimer, who would then go on to take a lead development role in both EOS and Steem. The current state of the project offers decentralized asset exchange, price-stable cryptocurrencies, recurring and scheduled payments, user-issued assets, and more, all available through a decentralized system powered by delegated PoS consensus.
📷 Steem is the cryptocurrency that powers Steemit, a decentralized social media platform that incentivizes user participation through micropayments. Think of it like Reddit, only instead of just upvoting or downvoting posts, users can actually reward creators for their effort. Steem is a functional cryptocurrency used exclusively on the Steemit platform. That gives it something of a limited use, but seeing as how Steemit is live and boasts a few hundred thousand users, it’s hard to argue it isn’t a working product. Some people may even beearning money using Steemit.
📷 Siacoin is one of the leaders in decentralized cloud storage, a more secure and affordable alternative to centralized cloud storage solutions like Amazon S3, Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, and others. Sia 1.0 was launched in June 2016, and has achieved considerable adoption since then. With the $200 billion cloud storage market widely seen as one of the spaces most ripe for blockchain disruption, Sia has gotten off to a nice start by offering a functional decentralized cloud storage platform for over 2 years.
📷 Augur is one of the most recently launched products on this list. The platform mainnet went live in early July 2018, bringing to fruition almost 4 years of post-ICO work. Augur is a decentralized prediction market that uses game theory to generate crowd-sourced insights. Essentially, thousands of people working together have shown the remarkable ability to forecast outcomes. With Augur, users can put REP tokens as bets on these predictions, essentially creating a form of “useful social gambling.” Augur’s release was a long time coming. The project started as far back as 2014, nearly a year before the ICO. The creators cite the complexity of Augur’s smart contracts as the chief cause of the lengthy development time. Regardless of its past, Augur is now a live product with a bright future. Over 300 predictions have already been made, with the largest winning payout hitting $20,000. Betting volume even exceeded $1 million within the first weeks of launch.
Basic Attention Token (BAT)
📷 Basic Attention Token was one of the easiest projects to include on this list. That’s because its working product, Brave Browser, has more than 3 million active usersbetween its mobile and desktop platforms, making it one of the most widely-used working products in the blockchain space. Not only is Brave Browser functional, it’s the only browser on the market that has built-in ad-blocking and tracker blocking, making the browsing experience both cleaner and faster than what you get with other popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox. The future remains uncertain for the BAT token itself, as its adoption depends heavily on whether or not advertisers buy-in to the Brave model, as well as how willing Brave users are to be shown relevant ads and to pass along the BAT they earn to content publishers. Given Brave’s success in just a short time since being launched, though, the future does appear promising for BAT.
📷 Nano (formerly RaiBlocks) is all about scalability. The coin has nearly instant transactions with a completely fee-less structure. The platform accomplishes this by creating a unique blockchain for every account, preventing bloat and allowing for practically infinite scalability. Nano’s motto of “do one thing and do it well” has gotten them a long way. The team doesn’t have to deal with scaling or slowdown issues thanks to the underlying structure of the project, allowing its roadmap to focus on wallet updates and outreach. This is one cryptocurrency that’s essentially feature complete, and it has been for some time.
📷 Golem has set out to be the Airbnb of computing resources. Have you ever needed extra GPU power to finish up a render? How about processing scientific data similar to the [email protected] project? Even if you don’t have those needs, a lot of groups do. Golem aims to provide easy access to those resources, all of which are rentable for a small cryptocurrency fee. Golem hit the mainnet launch button in April 2018, and was met with a fair amount of fanfare. One of the main goals for the feature-incomplete launch was to push the product out so real users could put it to work. The team was interested in strengthening their interactions with end users to help guide the future of the platform. The team has several major milestones planned for the coming months, so the mainnet release is only just the beginning.
Pundi X (NPXS)
📷 Pundi X has been shooting up the market cap rankings so far in Q3 2018, and they also happen to have a working product that just recently became available to retailers. The primary Pundi X product is a point-of-sale (POS) device that enables quick and easy mobile transactions for both fiat and cryptocurrencies. 500 POS devices are already being used by retailers in Asia, and there are thousands more scheduled to be distributed in the coming months. In addition, Pundi X also offers XPASS cards, cryptocurrency credit cards that can work in place of mobile apps for making digital payments. What makes the Pundi X project noteworthy is that it enables consumers to pay retailers in cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH, and it immediately converts the payments into local fiat currencies so that retailers don’t need to worry about price volatility of the cryptocurrencies. This makes it significantly easier for people to use cryptocurrencies in their daily lives, making Pundi X an exciting project for blockchain enthusiasts who are looking for signs of future mass adoption.
📷 Waves was the first ever blockchain platform that made it possible for anybody — regardless of their programming experience — to create blockchain tokens. Additionally, Waves has a decentralized exchange where tokens can be traded and exchanged with fiat currencies. Since the project’s first releases in 2016, Waves has gone on to make their DEX accessible from mobile phones and expanded its functionality significantly, while also building several strategic partnerships to help grow the Waves community and user base. Ultimately, though, the Waves Client is the project’s most important working product, as it is what allows tokens to be issued, stored, sent, and exchanged among users.
KuCoin Shares (KCS)
📷 Similar to Binance Coin, KuCoin Shares is an exchange token that can be used to pay reduced fees on cryptocurrency trades. KCS has the added bonus of paying dividends to long-term hodlers, as well, paying out a 5% ROI for most users. The nature of KuCoin Shares is one of the reasons the KuCoin exchange has gotten so much attention since it appeared on the scene. The tokens themselves are limited in scope, of course, but the sheer number of people using them for trades and buying them for passive income is enormous.
📷 Wanchain aims to build new and improved financial infrastructure to seamlessly connect the digital economy through blockchain interoperability. The use cases for Wanchain’s network are vast, and they include decentralized financial services, supply chain logistics, medical data sharing and security, digital ID management, and more. With the recently released Wanchain 2.0, it is now possible to transfer Ether cross-chain using Wanchain’s Ethereum Mapping Token, WETH. Ethereum interoperability is just the start, though, and it’s expected that cross-chain support for Bitcoin and a couple of ERC-20 tokens will follow before the end of 2018.
📷 Komodo is a fork of Zcash that uses the same zk-snark cryptography to hide information about transaction participants and amounts being sent. Functional privacy coins aren’t unique (there are a handful on this list) but Komodo does have some unique features. For one, Komodo was the first ever decentralized initial coin offering. Moreover, Komodo helps other developers to build their own customizable blockchain solutions, from building and securing independent blockchains and launching decentralized ICOs, to integrating projects into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. KMD would already qualify as a working product for its anonymity features on digital payments, but add the end-to-end blockchain building solution and it’s clear that Komodo is making meaningful contributions to the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
📷 Ardor is a scalable blockchain platform that allows businesses to create their own child chains and tokens with relative ease. This helps keep blockchain bloat to a minimum and provides multiple transactional tokens without sacrificing core chain transactions. It’s also a remarkably energy efficient platform that uses Proof-of-Stake to power consensus. Ardor launched its mainnet on January 1, 2018 after a full year in testnet status. Its core features are largely in place, with the roadmap set to improve things like scalability and snapshotting. The Blockchain-as-a-Service-platform hosts a few projects of its own, including the Ignis ICO, which was the first child chain on the mainnet.
Huobi Token (HT)
📷 Huobi is a digital asset exchange platform founded back in 2013, now offering well over 250 different trading pairs. The Huobi Token, meanwhile, is an ERC-20 token that is used on the exchange for discounts on trading fees of up to 50%. In addition, 20% of the income generated on the Huboi Pro trading platform is used to buy back HT on the open market. Unlike most buyback programs, the main purpose of Huobi’s program isn’t to reduce the circulating supply of HT. Rather, the HT that is bought back goes into a Huobi Investor Protection Fund, which is used to compensate Huobi users if they lose coins or tokens on the platform, as well as to ensure market stability and protect investor interests.
📷 ZenCash is yet another privacy coin with a working product in the Top 100, originally launched in the first half of 2017. What makes ZenCash unique is that it’s the first blockchain with Transport Layer Security (TLS) integration for node encryption, making communication on the ZenCash network both private and highly secure. Some other interesting parts of the ZenCash product include Tor nodes and built-in chat messaging services. In the future, the ZenCash team will deliver a DAO Treasury Protocol-level Voting System as well as a scalability solution to handle greater transaction volume.
📷 PIVX is another privacy coin that focuses on keeping users and their associated transactions hidden under a cloak of secrecy. The project also tries to keep transactions as fast and fee-less as possible, something not all privacy platforms can boast about. PIVX launched in January 2016. The coin is currently spendable and delivers the privacy features it promises, though it’s not yet a widely accepted currency by merchants. Future plans for PIVX include governance functions to engage the community, wallet voting, and its own zPIV decentralized exchange.
Kyber Network (KNC)
📷 Kyber Network launched their mainnet in Q1 2018, enabling instantaneous and secure inter-token settlements through a Decentralized Liquidity Network. It’s currently possible to swap ERC-20 tokens on the network with just a few mouse clicks, giving it some basic functionality that is already being used to improve liquidity for Ethereum tokens. In the future, however, Kyber Network will expand its functionality significantly in an effort to seamlessly connect dapps, DEXes, protocols, payment systems, token teams, investors, fund managers, and digital wallets.
📷 Bancor is a liquidity provider that enables users to exchange tokens without the need for a third-party to be involved in financing the transaction. Gaining liquidity is incredibly important for young cryptocurrency projects, as a lack of liquidity makes it risky for investors to buy a considerable amount of a given coin or token, knowing that it might be exceedingly difficult to sell should they wish to. Bancor’s technology makes it possible to convert one token to another, so that investors can be confident that they won’t be stuck involuntarily holding a cryptocurrency that they want to sell. This functionality makes the Bancor Liquidity Network one of the most promising working products on this list, and one that has already achieved a good deal of adoption.
Loom Network (LOOM)
📷 Loom Network is still less than a year old, having been founded in October 2017. However, they have accomplished a lot in that short time span, including having launched numerous tools to help software developers learn how to build blockchain solutions. The most important of these tools — and Loom’s biggest working product — is the Loom software development kit (SDK). However, Loom Network is far more than just a simple blockchain coding academy. It is also a production-ready scalability solution for Ethereum, as the Loom developer toolkit helps programmers to build highly scalable dapps which connect to the Ethereum blockchain through special side chains called DappChains. The project may still be in its infancy, but Loom Network is already contributing more utility to the cryptocurrency ecosystem than the vast majority of other cryptocurrency projects.
📷 Polymath wants to be the world’s go-to resource for security tokens on the blockchain. What Ethereum did for tokens, Polymath will do for securities. The advantages of this are enormous, but the Polymath team likes to point to 24/7 market access, the elimination of middlemen, and trading access for 2 billion unbanked people around the world as the chief benefits of their efforts. The Polymath platform launched in October 2017, and has since released a new security token every week, attracting investors and traders alike. It’s not as exciting of a project as some other blockchain tech, but it’s delivering on its promises with a working product.
Bibox Token (BIX)
📷 Bibox is a encrypted digital asset exchange whose primary differentiator from other crypto exchanges is that it integrates AI technology. The purpose of the AI is to help Bibox’s traders, which it does by providing quantitative computation and analysis of trading activity, personalized risk allocation strategy, speech recognition, and objective analysis of the various coins and tokens listed on the exchange. The Bibox exchange first launched back in November 2017. It has operation centers in the US, Canada, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Estonia. BIX token holders receive 20% of the exchange profits, and also get discounts on trading fees, similar to Binance. https://www.investinblockchain.com/top-cryptocurrencies-working-products/
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