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Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential

/////Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential/////

Marketing.
It's a dirty word for most members of the Monero community.
It is also one of the most divisive words in the Monero community. Yet, the lack of marketing is one of the most frustrating things for many newcomers.
This is what makes this an unusual post from a member of the Monero community.
This post is an unabashed and unsolicited analyzation of why I believe Monero to have great potential.
Below I have attempted to outline different reasons why Monero has great potential, beginning with upcoming developments and use cases, to broader economic motives, speculation, and key issues for it to overcome.
I encourage you to discuss and criticise my musings, commenting below if you feel necessary to do so.

///Upcoming Developments///

Bulletproofs - A Reduction in Transaction Sizes and Fees
Since the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT), transaction amounts have been hidden in Monero, albeit at the cost of increased transaction fees and sizes. In order to mitigate this issue, Bulletproofs will soon be added to reduce both fees and transaction size by 80% to 90%. This is great news for those transacting smaller USD amounts as people commonly complained Monero's fees were too high! Not any longer though! More information can be found here. Bulletproofs are already working on the Monero testnet, and developers were aiming to introduce them in March 2018, however it could be delayed in order to ensure everything is tried and tested.
Multisig
Multisig has recently been merged! Mulitsig, also called multisignature, is the requirement for a transaction to have two or more signatures before it can be executed. Multisig transactions and addresses are indistinguishable from normal transactions and addresses in Monero, and provide more security than single-signature transactions. It is believed this will lead to additional marketplaces and exchanges to supporting Monero.
Kovri
Kovri is an implementation of the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Kovri uses both garlic encryption and garlic routing to create a private, protected overlay-network across the internet. This overlay-network provides users with the ability to effectively hide their geographical location and internet IP address. The good news is Kovri is under heavy development and will be available soon. Unlike other coins' false privacy claims, Kovri is a game changer as it will further elevate Monero as the king of privacy.
Mobile Wallets
There is already a working Android Wallet called Monerujo available in the Google Play Store. X Wallet is an IOS mobile wallet. One of the X Wallet developers recently announced they are very, very close to being listed in the Apple App Store, however are having some issues with getting it approved. The official Monero IOS and Android wallets, along with the MyMonero IOS and Android wallets, are also almost ready to be released, and can be expected very soon.
Hardware Wallets
Hardware wallets are currently being developed and nearing completion. Because Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, it means it requires unique development in order to allow hardware wallet integration. The Ledger Nano S will be adding Monero support by the end of Q1 2018. There is a recent update here too. Even better, for the first time ever in cryptocurrency history, the Monero community banded together to fund the development of an exclusive Monero Hardware Wallet, and will be available in Q2 2018, costing only about $20! In addition, the CEO of Trezor has offered a 10BTC bounty to whoever can provide the software to allow Monero integration. Someone can be seen to already be working on that here.
TAILS Operating System Integration
Monero is in the progress of being packaged in order for it to be integrated into TAILS and ready to use upon install. TAILS is the operating system popularised by Edward Snowden and is commonly used by those requiring privacy such as journalists wanting to protect themselves and sources, human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts, citizens facing national emergencies, domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers, and consequently, darknet market users.
In the meantime, for those users who wish to use TAILS with Monero, u/Electric_sheep01 has provided Sheep's Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails 3.2, which is a step-by-step guide with screenshots explaining how to setup Monero in TAILS, and is very easy to follow.
Mandatory Hardforks
Unlike other coins, Monero receives a protocol upgrade every 6 months in March and September. Think of it as a Consensus Protocol Update. Monero's hard forks ensure quality development takes place, while preventing political or ideological issues from hindering progress. When a hardfork occurs, you simply download and use the new daemon version, and your existing wallet files and copy of the blockchain remain compatible. This reddit post provides more information.
Dynamic fees
Many cryptocurrencies have an arbitrary block size limit. Although Monero has a limit, it is adaptive based on the past 100 blocks. Similarly, fees change based on transaction volume. As more transactions are processed on the Monero network, the block size limit slowly increases and the fees slowly decrease. The opposite effect also holds true. This means that the more transactions that take place, the cheaper the fees!
Tail Emission and Inflation
There will be around 18.4 million Monero mined at the end of May 2022. However, tail emission will kick in after that which is 0.6 XMR, so it has no fixed limit. Gundamlancer explains that Monero's "main emission curve will issue about 18.4 million coins to be mined in approximately 8 years. (more precisely 18.132 Million coins by ca. end of May 2022) After that, a constant "tail emission" of 0.6 XMR per 2-minutes block (modified from initially equivalent 0.3 XMR per 1-minute block) will create a sub-1% perpetual inflatio starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore.
Monero Research Lab
Monero has a group of anonymous/pseudo-anonymous university academics actively researching, developing, and publishing academic papers in order to improve Monero. See here and here. The Monero Research Lab are acquainted with other members of cryptocurrency academic community to ensure when new research or technology is uncovered, it can be reviewed and decided upon whether it would be beneficial to Monero. This ensures Monero will always remain a leading cryptocurrency. A recent end of 2017 update from a MRL researcher can be found here.

///Monero's Technology - Rising Above The Rest///

Monero Has Already Proven Itself To Be Private, Secure, Untraceable, and Trustless
Monero is the only private, untraceable, trustless, secure and fungible cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are TRACEABLE through the use of blockchain analytics, and has lead to the prosecution of numerous individuals, such as the alleged Alphabay administrator Alexandre Cazes. In the Forfeiture Complaint which detailed the asset seizure of Alexandre Cazes, the anonymity capabilities of Monero were self-demonstrated by the following statement of the officials after the AlphaBay shutdown: "In total, from CAZES' wallets and computer agents took control of approximately $8,800,000 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash, broken down as follows: 1,605.0503851 Bitcoin, 8,309.271639 Ethereum, 3,691.98 Zcash, and an unknown amount of Monero".
Privacy CANNOT BE OPTIONAL and must be at a PROTOCOL LEVEL. With Monero, privacy is mandatory, so that everyone gets the benefits of privacy without any transactions standing out as suspicious. This is the reason Darknet Market places are moving to Monero, and will never use Verge, Zcash, Dash, Pivx, Sumo, Spectre, Hush or any other coins that lack good privacy. Peter Todd (who was involved in the Zcash trusted setup ceremony) recently reiterated his concerns of optional privacy after Jeffrey Quesnelle published his recent paper stating 31.5% of Zcash transactions may be traceable, and that only ~1% of the transactions are pure privacy transactions (i.e., z -> z transactions). When the attempted private transactions stand out like a sore thumb there is no privacy, hence why privacy cannot be optional. In addition, in order for a cryptocurrency to truly be private, it must not be controlled by a centralised body, such as a company or organisation, because it opens it up to government control and restrictions. This is no joke, but Zcash is supported by DARPA and the Israeli government!.
Monero provides a stark contrast compared to other supposed privacy coins, in that Monero does not have a rich list! With all other coins, you can view wallet balances on the blockexplorers. You can view Monero's non-existent rich list here to see for yourself.
I will reiterate here that Monero is TRUSTLESS. You don't need to rely on anyone else to protect your privacy, or worry about others colluding to learn more about you. No one can censor your transaction or decide to intervene. Monero is immutable, unlike Zcash, in which the lead developer Zooko publicly tweeted the possibility of providing a backdoor for authorities to trace transactions. To Zcash's demise, Zooko famously tweeted:
" And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. …"
Ethereum's track record of immutability is also poor. Ethereum was supposed to be an immutable blockchain ledger, however after the DAO hack this proved to not be the case. A 2016 article on Saintly Law summarised the problematic nature of Ethereum's leadership and blockchain intervention:
" Many ethereum and blockchain advocates believe that the intervention was the wrong move to make in this situation. Smart contracts are meant to be self-executing, immutable and free from disturbance by organisations and intermediaries. Yet the building block of all smart contracts, the code, is inherently imperfect. This means that the technology is vulnerable to the same malicious hackers that are targeting businesses and governments. It is also clear that the large scale intervention after the DAO hack could not and would not likely be taken in smaller transactions, as they greatly undermine the viability of the cryptocurrency and the technology."
Monero provides Fungibility and Privacy in a Cashless World
As outlined on GetMonero.org, fungibility is the property of a currency whereby two units can be substituted in place of one another. Fungibility means that two units of a currency can be mutually substituted and the substituted currency is equal to another unit of the same size. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged and they are functionally identical to any other $10 bill in circulation (although $10 bills have unique ID numbers and are therefore not completely fungible). Gold is probably a closer example of true fungibility, where any 1 oz. of gold of the same grade is worth the same as another 1 oz. of gold. Monero is fungible due to the nature of the currency which provides no way to link transactions together nor trace the history of any particular XMR. 1 XMR is functionally identical to any other 1 XMR. Fungibility is an advantage Monero has over Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency, due to the privacy inherent in the Monero blockchain and the permanently traceable nature of the Bitcoin blockchain. With Bitcoin, any BTC can be tracked by anyone back to its creation coinbase transaction. Therefore, if a coin has been used for an illegal purpose in the past, this history will be contained in the blockchain in perpetuity.
A great example of Bitcoin's lack of fungibility was reposted by u/ViolentlyPeaceful:
"Imagine you sell cupcakes and receive Bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that Bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain Bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment."
This lack of fungibility means that certain businesses will be obligated to avoid accepting BTC that have been previously used for purposes which are illegal, or simply run afoul of their Terms of Service. Currently some large Bitcoin companies are blocking, suspending, or closing accounts that have received Bitcoin used in online gambling or other purposes deemed unsavory by said companies. Monero has been built specifically to address the problem of traceability and non-fungibility inherent in other cryptocurrencies. By having completely private transactions Monero is truly fungible and there can be no blacklisting of certain XMR, while at the same time providing all the benefits of a secure, decentralized, permanent blockchain.
The world is moving cashless. Fact. The ramifications of this are enormous as we move into a cashless world in which transactions will be tracked and there is a potential for data to be used by third parties for adverse purposes. While most new cryptocurrency investors speculate upon vaporware ICO tokens in the hope of generating wealth, Monero provides salvation for those in which financial privacy is paramount. Too often people equate Monero's features with criminal endeavors. Privacy is not a crime, and is necessary for good money. Transparency in Monero is possible OFF-CHAIN, which offers greater transparency and flexibility. For example, a Monero user may share their Private View Key with their accountant for tax purposes.
Monero aims to be adopted by more than just those with nefarious use cases. For example, if you lived in an oppressive religious regime and wanted to buy a certain item, using Monero would allow you to exchange value privately and across borders if needed. Another example is that if everybody can see how much cryptocurrency you have in your wallet, then a certain service might decide to charge you more, and bad actors could even use knowledge of your wallet balance to target you for extortion purposes. For example, a Russian cryptocurrency blogger was recently beaten and robbed of $425k. This is why FUNGIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL. To summarise this in a nutshell:
"A lack of fungibility means that when sending or receiving funds, if the other person personally knows you during a transaction, or can get any sort of information on you, or if you provide a residential address for shipping etc. – you could quite potentially have them use this against you for personal gain"
For those that wish to seek more information about why Monero is a superior form of money, read The Merits of Monero: Why Monero Vs Bitcoin over on the Monero.how website.
Monero's Humble Origins
Something that still rings true today despite the great influx of money into cryptocurrencies was outlined in Nick Tomaino's early 2016 opinion piece. The author claimed that "one of the most interesting aspects of Monero is that the project has gained traction without a crowd sale pre-launch, without VC funding and any company or well-known investors and without a pre-mine. Like Bitcoin in the early days, Monero has been a purely grassroots movement that was bootstrapped by the creator and adopted organically without any institutional buy-in. The creator and most of the core developers serve the community pseudonymously and the project was launched on a message board (similar to the way Bitcoin was launched on an email newsletter)."
The Organic Growth of the Monero Community
The Monero community over at monero is exponentially growing. You can view the Monero reddit metrics here and see that the Monero subreddit currently gains more than 10,000 (yes, ten thousand!) new subscribers every 10 days! Compare this to most of the other coins out there, and it proves to be one of the only projects with real organic growth. In addition to this, the community subreddits are specifically divided to ensure the main subreddit remains unbiased, tech focused, with no shilling or hype. All trading talk is designated to xmrtrader, and all memes at moonero.
Forum Funding System
While most contributors have gratefully volunteered their time to the project, Monero also has a Forum Funding System in which money is donated by community members to ensure it attracts and retains the brightest minds and most skilled developers. Unlike ICOs and other cryptocurrencies, Monero never had a premine, and does not have a developer tax. If ANYONE requires funding for a Monero related project, then they can simply request funding from the community, and if the community sees it as beneficial, they will donate. Types of projects range from Monero funding for local meet ups, to paying developers for their work.
Monero For Goods, Services, and Market Places
There is a growing number of online goods and services that you can now pay for with Monero. Globee is a service that allows online merchants to accept payments through credit cards and a host of cryptocurrencies, while being settled in Bitcoin, Monero or fiat currency. Merchants can reach a wider variety of customers, while not needing to invest in additional hardware to run cryptocurrency wallets or accept the current instability of the cryptocurrency market. Globee uses all of the open source API's that BitPay does making integrations much easier!
Project Coral Reef is a service which allows you to shop and pay for popular music band products and services using Monero.
Linux, Veracrypt, and a whole array of VPNs now accept Monero.
There is a new Monero only marketplace called Annularis currently being developed which has been created for those who value financial privacy and economic freedom, and there are rumours Open Bazaar is likely to support Monero once Multisig is implemented.
In addition, Monero is also supported by The Living Room of Satoshi so you can pay bills or credit cards directly using Monero.
Monero can be found on a growing number of cryptocurrency exchange services such as Bittrex, Poloniex, Cryptopia, Shapeshift, Changelly, Bitfinex, Kraken, Bisq, Tux, and many others.
For those wishing to purchase Monero anonymously, there are services such as LocalMonero.co and Moneroforcash.com.
With XMR.TO you can pay Bitcoin addresses directly with Monero. There are no other fees than the miner ones. All user records are purged after 48 hours. XMR.TO has also been added as an embedded feature into the Monerujo android wallet.
Coinhive Browser-Based Mining
Unlike Bitcoin, Monero can be mined using CPUs and GPUs. Not only does this encourage decentralisation, it also opens the door to browser based mining. Enter side of stage, Coinhive browser-based mining. As described by Hon Lau on the Symnatec Blog Browser-based mining, as its name suggests, is a method of cryptocurrency mining that happens inside a browser and is implemented using Javascript. Coinhive is marketed as an alternative to browser ad revenue. The motivation behind this is simple: users pay for the content indirectly by coin mining when they visit the site and website owners don't have to bother users with sites laden with ads, trackers, and all the associated paraphern. This is great, provided that the websites are transparent with site visitors and notify users of the mining that will be taking place, or better still, offer users a way to opt in, although this hasn't always been the case thus far.
Skepticism Sunday
The main Monero subreddit has weekly Skepticism Sundays which was created with the purpose of installing "a culture of being scientific, skeptical, and rational". This is used to have open, critical discussions about monero as a technology, it's economics, and so on.

///Speculation///

Major Investors And Crypto Figureheads Are Interested
Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago's $8 billion endowment, and a derivatives market maker and proprietary trader for Susquehanna International Group. Paul was interviewed on CNBC on the 26th of December and when asked what was his favourite coin was, he stated "One that has real fundamental value besides from Bitcoin is Monero" and said it has "very strong engineering". In addition, when he was asked if that was the one used by criminals, he replied "Everything is used by criminals including the US dollar and the Euro". Paul later supported these claims on Twitter, recommending only Bitcoin and Monero as long-term investments.
There are reports that "Roger Ver, earlier known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' for his evangelical support of the Bitcoin during its early years, said his investment in Monero is 'substantial' and his biggest in any virtual currency since Bitcoin.
Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has publicly stated his appreciation of Monero. In a September 2017 tweet directed to Edward Snowden explaining why Monero is superior to Zcash, Charlie Lee tweeted:
All private transactions, More tested privacy tech, No tax on miners to pay investors, No high inflation... better investment.
John McAfee, arguably cryptocurrency's most controversial character at the moment, has publicly supported Monero numerous times over the last twelve months(before he started shilling ICOs), and has even claimed it will overtake Bitcoin.
Playboy instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian is a Monero investor, with 15% of his portfolio made up of Monero.
Finally, while he may not be considered a major investor or figurehead, Erik Finman, a young early Bitcoin investor and multimillionaire, recently appeared in a CNBC Crypto video interview, explaining why he isn't entirely sold on Bitcoin anymore, and expresses his interest in Monero, stating:
"Monero is a really good one. Monero is an incredible currency, it's completely private."
There is a common belief that most of the money in cryptocurrency is still chasing the quick pump and dumps, however as the market matures, more money will flow into legitimate projects such as Monero. Monero's organic growth in price is evidence smart money is aware of Monero and gradually filtering in.
The Bitcoin Flaw
A relatively unknown blogger named CryptoIzzy posted three poignant pieces regarding Monero and its place in the world. The Bitcoin Flaw: Monero Rising provides an intellectual comparison of Monero to other cryptocurrencies, and Valuing Cryptocurrencies: An Approach outlines methods of valuing different coins.
CryptoIzzy's most recent blog published only yesterday titled Monero Valuation - Update and Refocus is a highly recommended read. It touches on why Monero is much more than just a coin for the Darknet Markets, and provides a calculated future price of Monero.
CryptoIzzy also published The Power of Money: A Case for Bitcoin, which is an exploration of our monetary system, and the impact decentralised cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero will have on the world. In the epilogue the author also provides a positive and detailed future valuation based on empirical evidence. CryptoIzzy predicts Monero to easily progress well into the four figure range.
Monero Has a Relatively Small Marketcap
Recently we have witnessed many newcomers to cryptocurrency neglecting to take into account coins' marketcap and circulating supply, blindly throwing money at coins under $5 with inflated marketcaps and large circulating supplies, and then believing it's possible for them to reach $100 because someone posted about it on Facebook or Reddit.
Compared to other cryptocurrencies, Monero still has a low marketcap, which means there is great potential for the price to multiply. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap, Monero's marketcap is only a little over $5 billion, with a circulating supply of 15.6 million Monero, at a price of $322 per coin.
For this reason, I would argue that this is evidence Monero is grossly undervalued. Just a few billion dollars of new money invested in Monero can cause significant price increases. Monero's marketcap only needs to increase to ~$16 billion and the price will triple to over $1000. If Monero's marketcap simply reached ~$35 billion (just over half of Ripple's $55 billion marketcap), Monero's price will increase 600% to over $2000 per coin.
Another way of looking at this is Monero's marketcap only requires ~$30 billion of new investor money to see the price per Monero reach $2000, while for Ethereum to reach $2000, Ethereum's marketcap requires a whopping ~$100 billion of new investor money.
Technical Analysis
There are numerous Monero technical analysts, however none more eerily on point than the crowd-pleasing Ero23. Ero23's charts and analysis can be found on Trading View. Ero23 gained notoriety for his long-term Bitcoin bull chart published in February, which is still in play today. Head over to his Trading View page to see his chart: Monero's dwindling supply. $10k in 2019 scenario, in which Ero23 predicts Monero to reach $10,000 in 2019. There is also this chart which appears to be freakishly accurate and is tracking along perfectly today.
Coinbase Rumours
Over the past 12 months there have been ongoing rumours that Monero will be one of the next cryptocurrencies to be added to Coinbase. In January 2017, Monero Core team member Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni presented a talk at Coinbase HQ. In addition, in November 2017 GDAX announced the GDAX Digit Asset Framework outlining specific parameters cryptocurrencies must meet in order to be added to the exchange. There is speculation that when Monero has numerous mobile and hardware wallets available, and multisig is working, then it will be added. This would enable public accessibility to Monero to increase dramatically as Coinbase had in excess of 13 million users as of December, and is only going to grow as demand for cryptocurrencies increases. Many users argue that due to KYC/AML regulations, Coinbase will never be able to add Monero, however the Kraken exchange already operates in the US and has XMfiat pairs, so this is unlikely to be the reason Coinbase is yet to implement XMfiat trading.
Monero Is Not an ICO Scam
It is likely most of the ICOs which newcomers invest in, hoping to get rich quick, won't even be in the Top 100 cryptocurrencies next year. A large portion are most likely to be pumps and dumps, and we have already seen numerous instances of ICO exit scams. Once an ICO raises millions of dollars, the developers or CEO of the company have little incentive to bother rolling out their product or service when they can just cash out and leave. The majority of people who create a company to provide a service or product, do so in order to generate wealth. Unless these developers and CEOs are committed and believed in their product or service, it's likely that the funds raised during the ICO will far exceed any revenue generated from real world use cases.
Monero is a Working Currency, Today
Monero is a working currency, here today.
The majority of so called cryptocurrencies that exist today are not true currencies, and do not aim to be. They are a token of exchange. They are like a share in a start-up company hoping to use blockchain technology to succeed in business. A crypto-assest is a more accurate name for coins such as Ethereum, Neo, Cardano, Vechain, etc.
Monero isn't just a vaporware ICO token that promises to provide a blockchain service in the future. It is not a platform for apps. It is not a pump and dump coin.
Monero is the only coin with all the necessary properties to be called true money.
Monero is private internet money.
Some even describe Monero as an online Swiss Bank Account or Bitcoin 2.0, and it is here to continue on from Bitcoin's legacy.
Monero is alleviating the public from the grips of banks, and protests the monetary system forced upon us.
Monero only achieved this because it is the heart and soul, and blood, sweat, and tears of the contributors to this project. Monero supporters are passionate, and Monero has gotten to where it is today thanks to its contributors and users.

///Key Issues for Monero to Overcome///

Scalability
While Bulletproofs are soon to be implemented in order to improve Monero's transaction sizes and fees, scalability is an issue for Monero that is continuously being assessed by Monero's researchers and developers to find the most appropriate solution. Ricardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni recently appeared on CNBC's Crypto Trader, and when asked whether Monero is scalable as it stands today, Spagni stated that presently, Monero's on-chain scaling is horrible and transactions are larger than Bitcoin's (because of Monero's privacy features), so side-chain scaling may be more efficient. Spagni elaborated that the Monero team is, and will always be, looking for solutions to an array of different on-chain and off-chain scaling options, such as developing a Mimblewimble side-chain, exploring the possibility of Lightning Network so atomic swaps can be performed, and Tumblebit.
In a post on the Monero subreddit from roughly a month ago, monero moderator u/dEBRUYNE_1 supports Spagni's statements. dEBRUYNE_1 clarifies the issue of scalability:
"In Bitcoin, the main chain is constrained and fees are ludicrous. This results in users being pushed to second layer stuff (e.g. sidechains, lightning network). Users do not have optionality in Bitcoin. In Monero, the goal is to make the main-chain accessible to everyone by keeping fees reasonable. We want users to have optionality, i.e., let them choose whether they'd like to use the main chain or second layer stuff. We don't want to take that optionality away from them."
When the Spagni CNBC video was recently linked to the Monero subreddit, it was met with lengthy debate and discussion from both users and developers. u/ferretinjapan summarised the issue explaining:
"Monero has all the mechanisms it needs to find the balance between transaction load, and offsetting the costs of miner infrastructure/profits, while making sure the network is useful for users. But like the interviewer said, the question is directed at "right now", and Fluffys right to a certain extent, Monero's transactions are huge, and compromises in blockchain security will help facilitate less burdensome transactional activity in the future. But to compare Monero to Bitcoin's transaction sizes is somewhat silly as Bitcoin is nowhere near as useful as monero, and utility will facilitate infrastructure building that may eventually utterly dwarf Bitcoin. And to equate scaling based on a node being run on a desktop being the only option for what classifies as "scalable" is also an incredibly narrow interpretation of the network being able to scale, or not. Given the extremely narrow definition of scaling people love to (incorrectly) use, I consider that a pretty crap question to put to Fluffy in the first place, but... ¯_(ツ)_/¯"
u/xmrusher also contributed to the discussion, comparing Bitcoin to Monero using this analogous description:
"While John is much heavier than Henry, he's still able to run faster, because, unlike Henry, he didn't chop off his own legs just so the local wheelchair manufacturer can make money. While Morono has much larger transactions then Bitcoin, it still scales better, because, unlike Bitcoin, it hasn't limited itself to a cripplingly tiny blocksize just to allow Blockstream to make money."
Setting up a wallet can still be time consuming
It's time consuming and can be somewhat difficult for new cryptocurrency users to set up their own wallet using the GUI wallet or the Command Line Wallet. In order to strengthen and further decentralize the Monero network, users are encouraged to run a full node for their wallet, however this can be an issue because it can take up to 24-48 hours for some users depending on their hard-drive and internet speeds. To mitigate this issue, users can run a remote node, meaning they can remotely connect their wallet to another node in order to perform transactions, and in the meantime continue to sync the daemon so in the future they can then use their own node.
For users that do run into wallet setup issues, or any other problems for that matter, there is an extremely helpful troubleshooting thread on the Monero subreddit which can be found here. And not only that, unlike some other cryptocurrency subreddits, if you ask a question, there is always a friendly community member who will happily assist you. Monero.how is a fantastic resource too!
Despite still being difficult to use, the user-base and price may increase dramatically once it is easier to use. In addition, others believe that when hardware wallets are available more users will shift to Monero.

///Conclusion///

I actually still feel a little shameful for promoting Monero here, but feel a sense of duty to do so.
Monero is transitioning into an unstoppable altruistic beast. This year offers the implementation of many great developments, accompanied by the likelihood of a dramatic increase in price.
I request you discuss this post, point out any errors I have made, or any information I may have neglected to include. Also, if you believe in the Monero project, I encourage you to join your local Facebook or Reddit cryptocurrency group and spread the word of Monero. You could even link this post there to bring awareness to new cryptocurrency users and investors.
I will leave you with an old on-going joke within the Monero community - Don't buy Monero - unless you have a use case for it of course :-) Just think to yourself though - Do I have a use case for Monero in our unpredictable Huxleyan society? Hint: The answer is ?
Edit: Added in the Tail Emission section, and noted Dan Bilzerian as a Monero investor. Also added information regarding the XMR.TO payment service. Added info about hardfork
submitted by johnfoss69 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Lightning Network Will Likely Fail Due To Several Possible Reasons

ECONOMIC CASE IS ABSENT FOR MANY TRANSACTIONS
The median Bitcoin (BTC) fee is $14.41 currently. This has gone parabolic in the past few days. So, let’s use a number before this parabolic rise, which was $3.80. Using this number, opening and closing a Lightning Network (LN) channel means that you will pay $7.60 in fees. Most likely, the fee will be much higher for two reasons:
  1. BTC fees have been trending higher all year and will be higher by the time LN is ready
  2. When you are in the shoe store or restaurant, you will likely pay a higher fee so that you are not waiting there for one or more hours for confirmation.
Let’s say hypothetically that Visa or Paypal charges $1 per transaction. This means that Alice and Carol would need to do 8 or more LN transactions, otherwise it would be cheaper to use Visa or Paypal.
But it gets worse. Visa doesn’t charge the customer. To you, Visa and Cash are free. You would have no economic incentive to use BTC and LN.
Also, Visa does not charge $1 per transaction. They charge 3%, which is 60 cents on a $20 widget. Let’s say that merchants discount their widgets by 60 cents for non-Visa purchases, to pass the savings onto the customer. Nevertheless, no one is going to use BTC and LN to buy the widget unless 2 things happen:
  1. they buy more than 13 widgets from the same store ($7.60 divided by 60 cents)
  2. they know ahead of time that they will do this with that same store
This means that if you’re traveling, or want to tip content producers on the internet, you will likely not use BTC and LN. If you and your spouse want to try out a new restaurant, you will not use BTC and LN. If you buy shoes, you will not use BTC and LN.
ROAD BLOCKS FROM INSUFFICIENT FUNDS
Some argue that you do not need to open a channel to everyone, if there’s a route to that merchant. This article explains that if LN is a like a distributed mesh network, then another problem exists:
"third party needs to possess the necessary capital to process the transaction. If Alice and Bob do not have an open channel, and Alice wants to send Bob .5 BTC, they'll both need to be connected to a third party (or a series of 3rd parties). Say if Charles (the third party) only possesses .4 BTC in his respective payment channels with the other users, the transaction will not be able to go through that route. The longer the route, the more likely that a third party does not possess the requisite amount of BTC, thereby making it a useless connection.”
CENTRALIZATION
According to this visualization of LN on testnet, LN will be centralized around major hubs. It might be even more centralized than this visualization if the following are true:
  1. Users will want to connect to large hubs to minimize the number of times they need to open/close channels, which incur fees
  2. LN’s security and usability relies on 100% uptime of relaying parties
  3. Only large hubs with a lot of liquidity will be able to make money
  4. Hubs or intermediary nodes will need to be licensed as money transmitters, centralizing LN to exchanges and banks as large hubs
What will the impact be on censorship-resistance, trust-less and permission-less?
NEED TO BE LICENSED AS MONEY TRANSMITTER
Advocates for LN seem to talk a lot about the technology, but ignore the legalities.
FinCEN defines money transmitters. LN hubs and intermediary nodes seem to satisfy this definition.
Application of FinCEN's Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies
“…applicability of the regulations … to persons creating, obtaining, distributing, exchanging, accepting, or transmitting virtual currencies.”
“…an administrator or exchanger is an MSB under FinCEN's regulations, specifically, a money transmitter…”
"An administrator or exchanger that (1) accepts and transmits a convertible virtual currency or (2) buys or sells convertible virtual currency for any reason is a money transmitter under FinCEN's regulations…”
"FinCEN's regulations define the term "money transmitter" as a person that provides money transmission services, or any other person engaged in the transfer of funds. The term "money transmission services" means "the acceptance of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency from one person and the transmission of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency to another location or person by any means.””
"The definition of a money transmitter does not differentiate between real currencies and convertible virtual currencies.”
FinCEN’s regulations for IVTS:
"An “informal value transfer system” refers to any system, mechanism, or network of people that receives money for the purpose of making the funds or an equivalent value payable to a third party in another geographic location, whether or not in the same form.”
“…IVTS… must comply with all BSA registration, recordkeeping, reporting and AML program requirements.
“Money transmitting” occurs when funds are transferred on behalf of the public by any and all means including, but not limited to, transfers within the United States or to locations abroad…regulations require all money transmitting businesses…to register with FinCEN."
Mike Caldwell used to accept and mail bitcoins. Customers sent him bitcoins and he mailed physical bitcoins back or to a designated recipient. There is no exchange from one type of currency to another. FinCEN told him that he needed to be licensed as money transmitter, after which Caldwell stopped mailing out bitcoins.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST NEED FOR LICENSING
Some have argued that LN does not transfer BTC until the channel is closed on the blockchain. This is not a defence, since channels will close on the blockchain.
Some have argued that LN nodes do not take ownership of funds. Is this really true? Is this argument based on a technicality or hoping for a loophole? It seems intuitive that a good prosecutor can easily defeat this argument. Even if this loophole exists, can we count on the government to never close this loophole?
So, will LN hubs and intermediary nodes need to be licensed as money transmitters? If so, then Bob, who is the intermediary between Alice and Carol, will need a license. But Bob won’t have the money nor qualifications. Money transmitters need to pay $25,000 to $1 million, maintain capital levels and are subject to KYC/AML regulations1. In which case, LN will have mainly large hubs, run by financial firms, such as banks and exchanges.
Will the banks want this? Likely. Will they lobby the government to get it? Likely.
Some may be wondering about miners. FinCEN has declared that miners are not money transmitters:
https://coincenter.org/entry/aml-kyc-tokens :
"Subsequent administrative rulings clarified several remaining ambiguities: miners are not money transmitters…"
FinCEN Declares Bitcoin Miners, Investors Aren't Money Transmitters
Some argue that LN nodes will go through Tor and be anonymous. For this to work, will all of the nodes connecting to it, need to run Tor? If so, then how likely will this happen and will all of these people need to run Tor on every device (laptop, phone and tablet)? Furthermore, everyone of these people will be need to be sufficiently tech savvy to download, install and set up Tor. Will the common person be able to do this? Also, will law-abiding nodes, such as retailers or banks, risk their own livelihood by connecting to an illegal node? What is the likelihood of this?
Some argue that unlicensed LN hubs can run in foreign countries. Not true. According to FinCEN: "“Money transmitting” occurs when funds are…transfers within the United States or to locations abroad…” Also, foreign companies are not immune from the laws of other countries which have extradition agreements. The U.S. government has sued European banks over the LIBOR scandal. The U.S. government has charged foreign banks for money laundering and two of those banks pleaded guilty. Furthermore, most countries have similar laws. It is no coincidence that European exchanges comply with KYC/AML.
Will licensed, regulated LN hubs connect to LN nodes behind Tor or in foreign countries? Unlikely. Will Amazon or eBay connect to LN nodes behind Tor or in foreign countries? Unlikely. If you want to buy from Amazon, you’ll likely need to register yourself at a licensed, regulated LN hub, which means you’ll need to provide your identification photo.
Say goodbye to a censorship-resistant, trust-less and permission-less coin.
For a preview of what LN will probably look like, look at Coinbase or other large exchanges. It’s a centralized, regulated and censored hub. Coinbase allows users to send to each other off-chain. Coinbase provides user data to the IRS and disallows users from certain countries to sell BTC. You need to trust that no rogue employee in the exchange will steal your funds, or that a bank will not confiscate your funds as banks did in Cyprus. What if the government provides a list of users, who are late with their tax returns, to Coinbase and tells Coinbase to block those users from making transactions? You need Coinbase’s permission.
This would be the antithesis of why Satoshi created Bitcoin.
NEED TO REPORT TO IRS
The IRS has a definition for “third party settlement organization” and these need to report transactions to the IRS.
Though we do not know for sure yet, it can be argued that LN hubs satisfies this definition. If this is the case, who will be willing to be LN hubs, other than banks and exchanges?
To read about the discussion, go to:
Lightning Hubs Will Need To Report To IRS
COMPLEXITY
All cryptocurrencies are complicated for the common person. You may be tech savvy enough to find a secure wallet and use cryptocurrencies, but the masses are not as tech savvy as you.
LN adds a very complicated and convoluted layer to cryptocurrencies. It is bound to have bugs for years to come and it’s complicated to use. This article provides a good explanation of the complexity. Just from the screenshot of the app, the user now needs to learn additional terms and commands:
“On Chain”
“In Channels”
“In Limbo”
“Your Channel”
“Create Channel”
“CID”
“OPENING”
“PENDING-OPEN”
“Available to Receive”
“PENDING-FORCE-CLOSE”
There are also other things to learn, such as how funds need to be allocated to channels and time locks. Compare this to using your current wallet.
Recently, LN became even more complicated and convoluted. It needs a 3rd layer as well:
Scaling Bitcoin Might Require A Whole 'Nother Layer
How many additional steps does a user need to learn?
ALL COINS PLANNING OFF-CHAIN SCALING ARE AT RISK
Bitcoin Segwit, Litecoin, Vertcoin and possibly others (including Bitcoin Cash) are planning to implement LN or layer 2 scaling. Ethereum is planning to use Raiden Network, which is very similar to LN. If the above is true about LN, then the scaling roadmap for these coins is questionable at best, nullified at worst.
BLOCKSTREAM'S GAME PLAN IS ON TRACK
Blockstream employs several of the lead Bitcoin Core developers. Blockstream has said repeatedly that they want high fees. Quotes and source links can be found here.
Why is Blockstream so adamant on small blocks, high fees and off-chain scaling?
Small blocks, high fees and slow confirmations create demand for off-chain solutions, such as Liquid. Blockstream sells Liquid to exchanges to move Bitcoin quickly on a side-chain. LN will create liquidity hubs, such as exchanges, which will generate traffic and fees for exchanges. With this, exchanges will have a higher need for Liquid. This will be the main way that Blockstream will generate revenue for its investors, who invested $76 million. Otherwise, they can go bankrupt and die.
One of Blockstream’s investors/owners is AXA. AXA’s CEO and Chairman until 2016 was also the Chairman of Bilderberg Group. The Bilderberg Group is run by bankers and politicians (former prime ministers and nation leaders). According to GlobalResearch, Bilderberg Group wants “a One World Government (World Company) with a single, global marketplace…and financially regulated by one ‘World (Central) Bank’ using one global currency.” LN helps Bilderberg Group get one step closer to its goal.
Luke-Jr is one of the lead BTC developers in Core/Blockstream. Regulation of BTC is in-line with his beliefs. He is a big believer in the government, as he believes that the government should tax you and the “State has authority from God”. In fact, he has other radical beliefs as well:
So, having only large, regulated LN hubs is not a failure for Blockstream/Bilderberg. It’s a success. The title of this article should be changed to: "Lightning Will Fail Or Succeed, Depending On Whether You Are Satoshi Or Blockstream/Bilderberg".
SIGNIFICANT ADVANCEMENTS WITH ON-CHAIN SCALING
Meanwhile, some coins such as Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash are pushing ahead with on-chain scaling. Both are looking at Sharding.
Visa handles 2,000 transactions per second on average. Blockstream said that on-chain scaling will not work. The development teams for Bitcoin Cash have shown significant on-chain scaling:
1 GB block running on testnet demonstrates over 10,000 transactions per second:
"we are not going from 1MB to 1GB tomorrow — The purpose of going so high is to prove that it can be done — no second layer is necessary”
"Preliminary Findings Demonstrate Over 10,000 Transactions Per Second"
"Gigablock testnet initiative will likely be implemented first on Bitcoin Cash”
Peter Rizun, Andrew Stone -- 1 GB Block Tests -- Scaling Bitcoin Stanford At 13:55 in this video, Rizun said that he thinks that Visa level can be achieved with a 4-core/16GB machine with better implementations (modifying the code to take advantage of parallelization.)
Bitcoin Cash plans to fix malleability and enable layer 2 solutions:
The Future of “Bitcoin Cash:” An Interview with Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet:
"fixing malleability and enabling Layer 2 solutions will happen”
However, it is questionable if layer 2 will work or is needed.
GOING FORWARD
The four year scaling debate and in-fighting is what caused small blockers (Blockstream) to fork Bitcoin by adding Segwit and big blockers to fork Bitcoin into Bitcoin Cash. Read:
Bitcoin Divorce - Bitcoin [Legacy] vs Bitcoin Cash Explained
It will be interesting to see how they scale going forward.
Scaling will be instrumental in getting network effect and to be widely adopted as a currency. Whichever Coin Has The Most Network Effect Will Take All (Or Most) (BTC has little network effect, and it's shrinking.)
The ability to scale will be key to the long term success of any coin.
submitted by curt00 to btc [link] [comments]

My Intern Experience

My Intern Experience
Shreemoon Rajbhandari
My Intern Experience
During my time as an undergraduate, one of the key experiences recommended is to do an internship. Gaining work experience as an intern overseas will improve a skill set in my area of interest. Working somewhere as culturally different and economically significant as China is a talking point in any interviews. There are many reasons that made me choose to do an internship in China. Definitively the best part of the experience has been living out of your comfort zone. Encountering new situations and experiences, that increase my self awareness, my capabilities and also to discover my weaknesses.
Over the past 2 years, we have seen many digital currencies/cryptocurrencies being introduced globally.These have added the aspect of using this financial ecosystem to eventually solve social issues. This could be the application of Blockchain technology in areas like logistics/supply chain to food security. Eventually, there would be many more areas where blockchain and related technology developers would be needed. It's emerging to change the way we solve the many roadblocks that we face.
Blockchain is considered to be one of the most trending topics. This is the right time for me to learn about the technology and start implementing. Blockchain is a notion that can be implemented directly or indirectly to any sector as such. Only two months prior, I had a minimal amount of knowledge about blockchain innovation, and my insight into blockchain comprised distinctly of an obscure comprehension of bitcoin and cryptographic money all in all.
During my internship, I was given investigation material to help assemble my base comprehension of Loopring and the blockchain innovation that it depends on. In the wake of beginning at Loopring, I have been given significantly more prominent chance to learn. While my comprehension of blockchain is still new, it has improved extensively since my first day at the organisation.
In this post, I would like to talk about two cryptographic methods aiming to give privacy to blockchain technology ; the zk-SNARKS and zk-STARKS protocols are two significant examples. We will look into their advantages and disadvantages, comparison between two protocols, and conclusion.
ZK-SNARKS vs ZK-STARKS
Along with the countless benefits of the Internet from which we can benefit, when we use it for social media or business company purposes, privacy is at greater risk. Approximately 90 million of Facebook users information were damaged by Cambridge Analytical data. The Wall Street stated that “ this is just the beginning, and the results are expected to grow”. The Equifax data breach revealed information on social media channels from private users. Thus, birth dates were exposed to the majority of the populations. Due to the Uber hack, data from over 55 million customers were also shared and exposed.
Privacy has consistently been seen as a valuable element within the cryptocurrency community. There is always a growing focus on improving privacy within the cryptocurrency space. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and many other cryptocurrencies are all actively searching for the most convenient approaches to increase their security. It is the antecedent to fungibility, which is vital for a broadly used form of money. Additionally, most crypto-asset holders do not want their transaction history to be completely public to the world. Among the different cryptographic methods aiming to give privacy to blockchain technology; the zk-SNARK and zk-STARKS protocols are two main significant examples.
Two leading technologies today offer their cryptocurrencies - Monero and zcash— and strive to address protection issues. Monero uses the technology of Ring Confidential Signature. By contrast, Z-Cash uses zk-SNARK( Zero-Knowledge transparent knowledge argument), a technology that provides the ability to conduct anonymous transactions.
In recent years, zk-SNARKS has exploded as the most promising technology to solve blockchain privacy. It is a technology derived from proofs of zero-knowledge, a type of proof that anyone with a verification key can check this “proof” without disclosing the information itself. If the statement holds, a verifier will be convinced by a correct proof. If the statement is false, it is true that no prover can convince a verified statement.
zk-SNARK stands for :
- Zero-knowledge : if the statement is true, there is nothing the verifier learns beyond the fact that the statement is true.
- Succinct : The proof size needs to be small enough in a few milliseconds to be verified.
- Non-interactive :Only one set of information is sent to the verifier for verification, therefore there is no back and forth communication between the prover and verifier.
- Argument of Knowledge : A computationally soundproof: soundness runs counter to a prover leveraging polynomial-time, i.e. limited computing. Also, Without access to the witness (the private input needed to prove the statement), the evidence can not be constructed.
zk-SNARKS aims to provide fast, scalable solutions to ensure financial security. Therefore, transaction encryption is possible.When zk-SNARK is applied to a cryptocurrency, it implies you can conceal the majority of the transaction data information. This incorporates the sender address, collector address, just as the transaction sum amount. zk-SNARKS enables us to shroud the majority of this data information, while likewise enabling the system to affirm and verify the transactions. It amplifies security while maintaining consensus. In the realm of blockchain, it is one of the most exceptional blockchain level protection innovation being used.
With the launch of version 3.0, Loopring’s decentralised protocol solution struck a noteworthy milestone in early May- adding off-chain scaling and fee optimisation using zk-SNARKs. Low fees, liquidity, transparency and security are the key goal of the loopring solution. Loopring says the new Loopring 3.0 based zk-SNARK will increase trade speeds and on-chain activity efficiency tenfold. The data previously stored on-chain in Loopring 3.0 is now stored off-chain in a Merkle tree and then used as required in zk-SNARKS, updating the tree.
Be that as it may, there are a few issues with zk-SNARKS. The main problem has been the need for a trusted setup. zk-SNARKS rely on a permission private key. This essentially undermines the entire purpose of decentralised public blockchain. By introducing the need to trust a person rather than code, you threaten the entire concept of trustlessness. In theory, a prover with sufficient computational power could create fake proofs, and this is one of the reasons why many consider quantum computers as a threat to zk-SNARKs (and blockchain systems).
Last year zk-SNARKS were incorporated on a MIT Tech Review list of the top 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2018 among AI advancements. zk-SNARKS allows both a tremendous speedup in verifying the correctness of a computation while at the same time it hides the private details from prying eyes. Some of the potential uses citied in MIT article were verifying you’re over 18 without having to share your date of birth, and providing you have a enough money in your back account as collateral without having to give away account details like your exact balance. It establishes trust which you need to interact on the blockchain. Zk-SNARK proofs are as of now being used on Zcash, on JP Morgan Pursue's blockchain-based payment system, and as an approach to safely validate customers to servers.
The more developed version of zk-SNARKS is called zk-STARKS which stands for :
Zero-Knowledge
Scalable
Transparent
Argument of Knowledge
zk-STARKS verifications are currently being touted as the better than ever form of the convention, tending to a considerable lot of the past disadvantages of zk-SNARKs. It has demonstrated an approach to accomplish a similar degree of privacy as zk-SNARKS without the requirement for the trusted setup. Starks are practically superior to Snarks as they require weaker crypto suppositions, they don't require a trusted setup and are post-quantum resistant. zk-SNARKs are based on Elliptic-Curve Cryptography, which is susceptible to advances in Quantum-Computers. zk-STARKs, on the other hand are Post-Quantum system meaning that even if Quantum-computers become powerful and ubiquitous they will not have an advantage, compared to classical computers, in breaking zk-STARKs. Anyway they have a noteworthy downside, as in the proof being too enormous. Their problem is their storage requirements. STARKs are doubly scalable, which means the proof verification is exponentially faster than the original computation’s time but the drawback is the size of the proof they create being too large, possibly 2 or 3 orders of magnitude more than those produced by zk-SNARKs. One example : StarkWare solves the inherent problems of scalability and privacy of blockchains. Using STARK technology, they generate a full proof-stack to produce and verify computer integrity tests. They utilise STARKs to batch transactions into a single proof that is verified on Ethereum. Matt Taylor states that the present iteration of StarkDEX demonstrates the viability of using STARKs for the scalability of Layer-2 by showing a substantial rise in the amount of blockchain transaction.
The idea of zk-STARKS was proposed by Eli-Ben Sasson, a professor at the Technion-Israel institute of Technology. zk-STARKS provide proofs that can be verified a lot quicker than zk-SNARKS. At the present time, Z-cash and Ethereum are on the whole considering to utilize zk-STARKS. zk-STARKS have solved the trusted setup issue. They have totally expel the requirement for multiple parties to create the private key required for the string. Rather everything needed to produce the proofs is public and the verifications are generated from arbitrary numbers. zk-STARKS actually removed the necessity in zk-SNARKS for unbalanced cryptography and rather utilizes the hash fuctions like those found in Bitcoin mining. In addition, they ought to have longer timeframe of realistic usability as far as their crytographic resilience than zk-SNARKS. However, there are some impediment of zk-STARKS, the main issue with zk-STARKS is their size. The verifications it uses are basically too enormous to use in many blockchains as they stand. As indicated by Vitalik Buterin, zk-STARKS will result in proofs of a couple of hundreds kilobytes versus the 288 bytes seen in zk-SNARKS.

The Difference Between zk-STARKS and zk-SNARKS.

https://preview.redd.it/k1fap29yd4m31.png?width=411&format=png&auto=webp&s=769ef7be2646a2d0ac31a5334f7e7249e2e2e246

Source : The Medium - Coinmonks
The complexity of communication : With the computation’s expanded complexity, the zk-SNARKS communication complexity also increases linearly, whereas zk-STARKs develops in the opposite direction and grows slowly as the computation size grows.The graph above shows that the communication required by the zk-STARKs to complete the calculation rises much slower than zk-snarks as the underlying evidence increases in complexity.

Source : The Medium - Coinmonks
The complexity of the verifier : zk-STARKs slightly widening with the development in computation size. On the other side, for confirmation evidence, zk-SNARKs requires less time than zk-STARKs. zk-STARKs, for instance need up to 100 ms to verify and zk-SNARKs need only up to 10ms. The graph above illustrates the the time taken by the zk-STARK to verify an evidence rises very slowly compared to the zk-SNARK as the underlying evidence increases in complexity.

Overall these two protocols have excellent potential in the cryptocurrency globe and can be a breakthrough avenue for mainstream implementation. Both conventions are truly needed steps to protect our privacy.


Reference
https://www.technologyreview.com/lists/technologies/2018/
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/themerkle.com/mit-review-acclaims-zk-snarks-but-zk-starks-may-steal-the-show/amp/
https://ethereum.stackexchange.com/questions/59145/zk-snarks-vs-zk-starks-vs-bulletproofs-updated
https://www.binance.vision/blockchain/zk-snarks-and-zk-starks-explained?amp=1
https://applicature.com/blog/blockchain-technology/can-zk-snarks-and-zk-starks-solve-privacy-issues
https://eprint.iacr.org/2018/046.pdf
https://medium.com/coinmonks/zk-starks-create-verifiable-trust-even-against-quantum-computers-dd9c6a2bb13d
https://blog.0xproject.com/starkdex-bringing-starks-to-ethereum-6a03fffc0eb7
submitted by Shreemoon to loopringorg [link] [comments]

Lightning Network Will Likely Fail Due To Several Possible Reasons

ECONOMIC CASE IS ABSENT FOR MANY TRANSACTIONS
The median Bitcoin (BTC) fee is $14.41 currently. This has gone parabolic in the past few days. So, let’s use a number before this parabolic rise, which was $3.80. Using this number, opening and closing a Lightning Network (LN) channel means that you will pay $7.60 in fees. Most likely, the fee will be much higher for two reasons:
  1. BTC fees have been trending higher all year and will be higher by the time LN is ready
  2. When you are in the shoe store or restaurant, you will likely pay a higher fee so that you are not waiting there for one or more hours for confirmation.
Let’s say hypothetically that Visa or Paypal charges $1 per transaction. This means that Alice and Carol would need to do 8 or more LN transactions, otherwise it would be cheaper to use Visa or Paypal.
But it gets worse. Visa doesn’t charge the customer. To you, Visa and Cash are free. You would have no economic incentive to use BTC and LN.
Also, Visa does not charge $1 per transaction. They charge 3%, which is 60 cents on a $20 widget. Let’s say that merchants discount their widgets by 60 cents for non-Visa purchases, to pass the savings onto the customer. Nevertheless, no one is going to use BTC and LN to buy the widget unless 2 things happen:
  1. they buy more than 13 widgets from the same store ($7.60 divided by 60 cents)
  2. they know ahead of time that they will do this with that same store
This means that if you’re traveling, or want to tip content producers on the internet, you will likely not use BTC and LN. If you and your spouse want to try out a new restaurant, you will not use BTC and LN. If you buy shoes, you will not use BTC and LN.
ROAD BLOCKS FROM INSUFFICIENT FUNDS
Some argue that you do not need to open a channel to everyone, if there’s a route to that merchant. This article explains that if LN is like a distributed mesh network, then another problem exists:
"third party needs to possess the necessary capital to process the transaction. If Alice and Bob do not have an open channel, and Alice wants to send Bob .5 BTC, they'll both need to be connected to a third party (or a series of 3rd parties). Say if Charles (the third party) only possesses .4 BTC in his respective payment channels with the other users, the transaction will not be able to go through that route. The longer the route, the more likely that a third party does not possess the requisite amount of BTC, thereby making it a useless connection.”
CENTRALIZATION
According to this visualization of LN on testnet, LN will be centralized around major hubs. It might be even more centralized than this visualization if the following are true:
  1. Users will want to connect to large hubs to minimize the number of times they need to open/close channels, which incur fees
  2. LN’s security and usability relies on 100% uptime of relaying parties
  3. Only large hubs with a lot of liquidity will be able to make money
  4. Hubs or intermediary nodes will need to be licensed as money transmitters, centralizing LN to exchanges and banks as large hubs
What will the impact be on censorship-resistance, trust-less and permission-less?
NEED TO BE LICENSED AS MONEY TRANSMITTER
Advocates for LN seem to talk a lot about the technology, but ignore the legalities.
FinCEN defines money transmitters. LN hubs and intermediary nodes seem to satisfy this definition.
Application of FinCEN's Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies
“…applicability of the regulations … to persons creating, obtaining, distributing, exchanging, accepting, or transmitting virtual currencies.”
“…an administrator or exchanger is an MSB under FinCEN's regulations, specifically, a money transmitter…”
"An administrator or exchanger that (1) accepts and transmits a convertible virtual currency or (2) buys or sells convertible virtual currency for any reason is a money transmitter under FinCEN's regulations…”
"FinCEN's regulations define the term "money transmitter" as a person that provides money transmission services, or any other person engaged in the transfer of funds. The term "money transmission services" means "the acceptance of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency from one person and the transmission of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency to another location or person by any means.””
"The definition of a money transmitter does not differentiate between real currencies and convertible virtual currencies.”
FinCEN’s regulations for IVTS:
"An “informal value transfer system” refers to any system, mechanism, or network of people that receives money for the purpose of making the funds or an equivalent value payable to a third party in another geographic location, whether or not in the same form.”
“…IVTS… must comply with all BSA registration, recordkeeping, reporting and AML program requirements.
“Money transmitting” occurs when funds are transferred on behalf of the public by any and all means including, but not limited to, transfers within the United States or to locations abroad…regulations require all money transmitting businesses…to register with FinCEN."
Mike Caldwell used to accept and mail bitcoins. Customers sent him bitcoins and he mailed physical bitcoins back or to a designated recipient. There is no exchange from one type of currency to another. FinCEN told him that he needed to be licensed as money transmitter, after which Caldwell stopped mailing out bitcoins.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST NEED FOR LICENSING
Some have argued that LN does not transfer BTC until the channel is closed on the blockchain. This is not a defence, since channels will close on the blockchain.
Some have argued that LN nodes do not take ownership of funds. Is this really true? Is this argument based on a technicality or hoping for a loophole? It seems intuitive that a good prosecutor can easily defeat this argument. Even if this loophole exists, can we count on the government to never close this loophole?
So, will LN hubs and intermediary nodes need to be licensed as money transmitters? If so, then Bob, who is the intermediary between Alice and Carol, will need a license. But Bob won’t have the money nor qualifications. Money transmitters need to pay $25,000 to $1 million, maintain capital levels and are subject to KYC/AML regulations1. In which case, LN will have mainly large hubs, run by financial firms, such as banks and exchanges.
Will the banks want this? Likely. Will they lobby the government to get it? Likely.
Some may be wondering about miners. FinCEN has declared that miners are not money transmitters:
https://coincenter.org/entry/aml-kyc-tokens :
"Subsequent administrative rulings clarified several remaining ambiguities: miners are not money transmitters…"
FinCEN Declares Bitcoin Miners, Investors Aren't Money Transmitters
Some argue that LN nodes will go through Tor and be anonymous. For this to work, will all of the nodes connecting to it, need to run Tor? If so, then how likely will this happen and will all of these people need to run Tor on every device (laptop, phone and tablet)? Furthermore, everyone of these people will be need to be sufficiently tech savvy to download, install and set up Tor. Will the common person be able to do this? Also, will law-abiding nodes, such as retailers or banks, risk their own livelihood by connecting to an illegal node? What is the likelihood of this?
Some argue that unlicensed LN hubs can run in foreign countries. Not true. According to FinCEN: "“Money transmitting” occurs when funds are…transfers within the United States or to locations abroad…” Also, foreign companies are not immune from the laws of other countries which have extradition agreements. The U.S. government has sued European banks over the LIBOR scandal. The U.S. government has charged foreign banks for money laundering and two of those banks pleaded guilty. Furthermore, most countries have similar laws. It is no coincidence that European exchanges comply with KYC/AML.
Will licensed, regulated LN hubs connect to LN nodes behind Tor or in foreign countries? Unlikely. Will Amazon or eBay connect to LN nodes behind Tor or in foreign countries? Unlikely. If you want to buy from Amazon, you’ll likely need to register yourself at a licensed, regulated LN hub, which means you’ll need to provide your identification photo.
Say goodbye to a censorship-resistant, trust-less and permission-less coin.
For a preview of what LN will probably look like, look at Coinbase or other large exchanges. It’s a centralized, regulated and censored hub. Coinbase allows users to send to each other off-chain. Coinbase provides user data to the IRS and disallows users from certain countries to sell BTC. You need to trust that no rogue employee in the exchange will steal your funds, or that a bank will not confiscate your funds as banks did in Cyprus. What if the government provides a list of users, who are late with their tax returns, to Coinbase and tells Coinbase to block those users from making transactions? You need Coinbase’s permission.
This would be the antithesis of why Satoshi created Bitcoin.
NEED TO REPORT TO IRS
The IRS has a definition for “third party settlement organization” and these need to report transactions to the IRS.
Though we do not know for sure yet, it can be argued that LN hubs satisfies this definition. If this is the case, who will be willing to be LN hubs, other than banks and exchanges?
To read about the discussion, go to:
Lightning Hubs Will Need To Report To IRS
COMPLEXITY
All cryptocurrencies are complicated for the common person. You may be tech savvy enough to find a secure wallet and use cryptocurrencies, but the masses are not as tech savvy as you.
LN adds a very complicated and convoluted layer to cryptocurrencies. It is bound to have bugs for years to come and it’s complicated to use. This article provides a good explanation of the complexity. Just from the screenshot of the app, the user now needs to learn additional terms and commands:
“On Chain”
“In Channels”
“In Limbo”
“Your Channel”
“Create Channel”
“CID”
“OPENING”
“PENDING-OPEN”
“Available to Receive”
“PENDING-FORCE-CLOSE”
There are also other things to learn, such as how funds need to be allocated to channels and time locks. Compare this to using your current wallet.
Recently, LN became even more complicated and convoluted. It needs a 3rd layer as well:
Scaling Bitcoin Might Require A Whole 'Nother Layer
How many additional steps does a user need to learn?
ALL COINS PLANNING OFF-CHAIN SCALING ARE AT RISK
Bitcoin Segwit, Litecoin, Vertcoin and possibly others (including Bitcoin Cash) are planning to implement LN or layer 2 scaling. Ethereum is planning to use Raiden Network, which is very similar to LN. If the above is true about LN, then the scaling roadmap for these coins is questionable at best, nullified at worst.
BLOCKSTREAM'S GAME PLAN IS ON TRACK
Blockstream employs several of the lead Bitcoin Core developers. Blockstream has said repeatedly that they want high fees. Quotes and source links can be found here.
Why is Blockstream so adamant on small blocks, high fees and off-chain scaling?
Small blocks, high fees and slow confirmations create demand for off-chain solutions, such as Liquid. Blockstream sells Liquid to exchanges to move Bitcoin quickly on a side-chain. LN will create liquidity hubs, such as exchanges, which will generate traffic and fees for exchanges. With this, exchanges will have a higher need for Liquid. This will be the main way that Blockstream will generate revenue for its investors, who invested $76 million. Otherwise, they can go bankrupt and die.
One of Blockstream’s investors/owners is AXA. AXA’s CEO and Chairman until 2016 was also the Chairman of Bilderberg Group. The Bilderberg Group is run by bankers and politicians (former prime ministers and nation leaders). According to GlobalResearch, Bilderberg Group wants “a One World Government (World Company) with a single, global marketplace…and financially regulated by one ‘World (Central) Bank’ using one global currency.” LN helps Bilderberg Group get one step closer to its goal.
Luke-Jr is one of the lead BTC developers in Core/Blockstream. Regulation of BTC is in-line with his beliefs. He is a big believer in the government, as he believes that the government should tax you and the “State has authority from God”. In fact, he has other radical beliefs as well:
So, having only large, regulated LN hubs is not a failure for Blockstream/Bilderberg. It’s a success. The title of this article should be changed to: "Lightning Will Fail Or Succeed, Depending On Whether You Are Satoshi Or Blockstream/Bilderberg".
SIGNIFICANT ADVANCEMENTS WITH ON-CHAIN SCALING
Meanwhile, some coins such as Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash are pushing ahead with on-chain scaling. Both are looking at Sharding.
Visa handles 2,000 transactions per second on average. Blockstream said that on-chain scaling will not work. The development teams for Bitcoin Cash have shown significant on-chain scaling:
1 GB block running on testnet demonstrates over 10,000 transactions per second:
"we are not going from 1MB to 1GB tomorrow — The purpose of going so high is to prove that it can be done — no second layer is necessary”
"Preliminary Findings Demonstrate Over 10,000 Transactions Per Second"
"Gigablock testnet initiative will likely be implemented first on Bitcoin Cash”
Peter Rizun, Andrew Stone -- 1 GB Block Tests -- Scaling Bitcoin Stanford At 13:55 in this video, Rizun said that he thinks that Visa level can be achieved with a 4-core/16GB machine with better implementations (modifying the code to take advantage of parallelization.)
Bitcoin Cash plans to fix malleability and enable layer 2 solutions:
The Future of “Bitcoin Cash:” An Interview with Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet:
"fixing malleability and enabling Layer 2 solutions will happen”
However, it is questionable if layer 2 will work or is needed.
GOING FORWARD
The four year scaling debate and in-fighting is what caused small blockers (Blockstream) to fork Bitcoin by adding Segwit and big blockers to fork Bitcoin into Bitcoin Cash. Read:
Bitcoin Divorce - Bitcoin [Legacy] vs Bitcoin Cash Explained
It will be interesting to see how they scale going forward.
Scaling will be instrumental in getting network effect and to be widely adopted as a currency. Whichever Coin Has The Most Network Effect Will Take All (Or Most) (BTC has little network effect, and it's shrinking.)
The ability to scale will be key to the long term success of any coin.
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Trading Cryptocurrency Markets

Hello! My name is Slava Mikhalkin, I am a Project Owner of Crowdsale platform at Platinum, the company that knows how to start any ICO or STO in 2019.
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Major Exchanges
In finance, an exchange is a forum or platform for trading commodities, derivatives, securities or other financial instruments. The principle concern of an exchange is to allow trading between parties to take place in a fair and legally compliant manner, as well as to ensure that pricing information for any instrument traded on the exchange is reliable and coherently delivered to exchange participants. In the cryptocurrency space exchanges are online platforms that allow users to trade cryptocurrencies or digital currencies for fiat money or other cryptocurrencies. They can be centralized exchanges such a Binance, or decentralized exchanges such as IDEX. Most cryptocurrency exchanges allow users to trade different crypto assets with BTC or ETH after having already exchanged fiat currency for one of those cryptocurrencies. Coinbase and Kraken are the main avenue for fiat money to enter into the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Function and History
Crypto exchanges can be market-makers that take bid/ask spreads as a commission on the transaction for facilitating the trade, or more often charge a small percentage fee for operating the forum in which the trade was made. Most crypto exchanges operate outside of Western countries, enabling them to avoid stringent financial regulations and the potential for costly and lengthy legal proceedings. These entities will often maintain bank accounts in multiple jurisdictions, allowing the exchange to accept fiat currency and process transactions from customers all over the globe.
The concept of a digital asset exchange has been around since the late 2000s and the following initial attempts at running digital asset exchanges foreshadows the trouble involved in attempting to disrupt the operation of the fiat currency baking system. The trading of digital or electronic assets predate Bitcoin’s creation by several years, with the first electronic trading entities running afoul of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in late 2004. Companies such as Goldex, SydneyGoldSales, and Ozzigold, shut down voluntarily after ASIC found that they were operating without an Australian Financial Services License. E-Gold, which exchanged fiat USD for grams of precious metals in digital form, was possibly the first digital currency exchange as we know it, allowing users to make instant transfers to the accounts of other E-Gold members. At its peak in 2006 E-Gold processed $2 billion worth of transactions and boasted a user base of over 5 million people.
Popular Exchanges
Here we will give a brief overview of the features and operational history of the more popular and higher volume exchanges because these are the platforms to which newer traders will be exposed. These exchanges are recommended to use because they are the industry standard and they inspire the most confidence.
Bitfinex
Owned and operated by iFinex Inc, the cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex was the largest Bitcoin exchange on the planet until late 2017. Headquartered in Hong Kong and based in the US Virgin Island, Bitfinex was one of the first exchanges to offer leveraged trading (“Margin trading allows a trader to open a position with leverage. For example — we opened a margin position with 2X leverage. Our base assets had increased by 10%. Our position yielded 20% because of the 2X leverage. Standard trades are traded with leverage of 1:1”) and also pioneered the use of the somewhat controversial, so-called “stable coin” Tether (USDT).
Binance
Binance is an international multi-language cryptocurrency exchange that rose from the mid-rank of cryptocurrency exchanges to become the market dominating behemoth we see today. At the height of the late 2017/early 2018 bull run, Binance was adding around 2 million new users per week! The exchange had to temporarily disallow new registrations because its servers simply could not keep up with that volume of business. After the temporary ban on new users was lifted the exchange added 240,000 new accounts within two hours.
Have you ever thought whats the role of the cypto exchanges? The answer is simple! There are several different types of exchanges that cater to different needs within the ecosystem, but their functions can be described by one or more of the following: To allow users to convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency. To trade BTC or ETH for alt coins. To facilitate the setting of prices for all crypto assets through an auction market mechanism. Simply put, you can either mine cryptocurrencies or purchase them, and seeing as the mining process requires the purchase of expensive mining equipment, Cryptocurrency exchanges can be loosely grouped into one of the 3 following exchange types, each with a slightly different role or combination of roles.
Have you ever thought about what are the types of Crypto exchanges?
  1. Traditional Cryptocurrency Exchange: These are the type that most closely mimic traditional stock exchanges where buyers and sellers trade at the current market price of whichever asset they want, with the exchange acting as the intermediary and charging a small fee for facilitating the trade. Kraken and GDAX are examples of this kind of cryptocurrency exchange. Fully peer-to-peer exchanges that operate without a middleman include EtherDelta, and IDEX, which are also examples of decentralized exchanges.
  2. Cryptocurrency Brokers: These are website or app based exchanges that act like a Travelex or other bureau-de-change. They allow customers to buy or sell crypto assets at a price set by the broker (usually market price plus a small premium). Coinbase is an example of this kind of exchange.
  3. Direct Trading Platform: These platforms offer direct peer-to-peer trading between buyers and sellers, but don’t use an exchange platform in doing so. These types of exchanges do not use a set market rate; rather, sellers set their own rates. This is a highly risky form of trading, from which new users should shy away.
To understand how an exchange functions we need only look as far as a traditional stock exchange. Most all the features of a cryptocurrency exchange are analogous to features of trading on a traditional stock exchange. In the simplest terms, the exchanges fulfil their role as the main marketplace for crypto assets of all kinds by catering to buyers or sellers. These are some definitions for the basic functions and features to know: Market Orders: Orders that are executed instantly at the current market price. Limit Order: This is an order that will only be executed if and when the price has risen to or dropped to that price specified by the trader and is also within the specified period of time. Transaction fees: Exchanges will charge transactions fees, usually levied on both the buyer and the seller, but sometimes only the seller is charged a fee. Fees vary on different exchanges though the norm is usually below 0.75%. Transfer charges: The exchange is in effect acting as a sort of escrow agent, to ensure there is no foul play, so it might also charge a small fee when you want to withdraw cryptocurrency to your own wallet.
Regulatory Environment and Evolution
Cryptocurrency has come a long way since the closing down of the Silk Road darknet market. The idea of crypto currency being primarily for criminals, has largely been seen as totally inaccurate and outdated. In this section we focus on the developing regulations surrounding the cryptocurrency asset class by region, and we also look at what the future may hold.
The United States of America
A coherent uniform approach at Federal or State level has yet to be implemented in the United States. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network published guidelines as early as 2013 suggesting that BTC and other cryptos may fall under the label of “money transmitters” and thus would be required to take part in the same Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Know your Client (KYC) procedures as other money service businesses. At the state level, Texas applies its existing finance laws. And New York has instituted an entirely new licensing system.
The European Union
The EU’s approach to cryptocurrency has generally been far more accommodating overall than the United States, partly due to the adaptable nature of pre-existing laws governing electronic money that predated the creation of Bitcoin. As with the USA, the EU’s main fear is money laundering and criminality. The European Central Bank (ECB) categorized BTC as a “convertible decentralized currency” and advised all central banks in the EU to refrain from trading any cryptocurrencies until the proper regulatory framework was put in place. A task force was then set up by the European Parliament in order to prevent and investigate any potential money laundering that was making use of the new technology.
Likely future regulations for cryptocurrency traders within the European Union and North America will probably consist of the following proposals: The initiation of full KYC procedures so that users cannot remain fully anonymous, in order to prevent tax evasion and curtail money laundering. Caps on payments that can be made in cryptocurrency, similar to caps on traditional cash transactions. A set of rules governing tax obligations regarding cryptocurrencies Regulation by the ECB of any companies that offer exchanges between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies It is less likely for other countries to follow the Chinese approach and completely ban certain aspects of cryptocurrency trading. It is widely considered more progressive and wiser to allow the technology to grow within a balanced accommodative regulatory framework that takes all interests and factors into consideration. It is probable that the most severe form of regulation will be the formation of new governmental bodies specifically to form laws and exercise regulatory control over the cryptocurrency space. But perhaps that is easier said than done. It may, in certain cases, be incredibly difficult to implement particular regulations due to the anonymous and decentralized nature of crypto.
Behavior of Cryptocurrency Investors by Demographic
Due to the fact that cryptocurrency has its roots firmly planted in the cryptography community, the vast majority of early adopters are representative of that group. In this section we cover the basic structure of the cryptocurrency market cycle and the makeup of the community at large, as well as the reasons behind different trading decisions.
The Cryptocurrency Market Cycle
Bitcoin leads the bull rally. FOMO (Fear of missing out) occurs, the price surge is a constant topic of mainstream news, business programs cover the story, and social media is abuzz with cryptocurrency chatter. Bitcoin reaches new All Timehigh (ATH) Market euphoria is fueled with even more hype and the cycle is in full force. There is a constant stream of news articles and commentary on the meteoric, seemingly unstoppable rise of Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s price “stabilizes”, In the 2017 bull run this was at or around $14,000. A number of solid, large market cap altcoins rise along with Bitcoin; ETH & LTC leading the altcoins at this time. FOMO comes into play, as the new ATH in market cap is reached by pumping of a huge number of alt coins.
Top altcoins “somewhat” stabilize, after reaching new all-time highs. The frenzy continues with crypto success stories, notable figures and famous people in the news. A majority of lesser known cryptocurrencies follow along on the upward momentum. Newcomers are drawn deeper into crypto and sign up for exchanges other than the main entry points like Coinbase and Kraken. In 2017 this saw Binance inundated with new registrations. Some of the cheapest coins are subject to massive pumping, such as Tron TRX which saw a rise in market cap from $150 million at the start of December 2017 to a peak of $16 billion! At this stage, even dead coins or known scams will get pumped. The price of the majority of cryptocurrencies stabilize, and some begin to retract. When the hype is subsiding after a huge crypto bull run, it is a massive sell signal. Traditional investors will begin to give interviews about how people need to be careful putting money into such a highly volatile asset class. Massive violent correction begins and the market starts to collapse. BTC begins to fall consistently on a daily basis, wiping out the insane gains of many medium to small cap cryptos with it. Panic selling sweeps through the market. Depression sets in, both in the markets, and in the minds of individual investors who failed to take profits, or heed the signs of imminent collapse. The price stagnation can last for months, or even years.
The Influence of Age upon Trading
Did you know? Cryptocurrencies have been called “stocks for millennials” According to a survey conducted by the Global Blockchain Business Council, only 5% of the American public own any bitcoin, but of those that do, an overwhelming majority of 71% are men, 58% of them are between the ages of 18 and 35, and over half of them are minorities. The same survey gauged public attitude toward the high risk/high return nature of cryptocurrency, in comparison to more secure guaranteed small percentage gains offered by government bonds or stocks, and found that 30% would rather invest $1,000 in crypto. Over 42% of millennials were aware of cryptocurrencies as opposed to only 15% of those ages 65 and over. In George M. Korniotis and Alok Kumar’s study into the effects of aging on portfolio management and the quality of decisions made by older investors, they found “that older and experienced investors are more likely to follow “rules of thumb” that reflect greater investment knowledge. However, older investors are less effective in applying their investment knowledge and exhibit worse investment skill, especially if they are less educated and earn lower income.”
Geographic Influence upon Trading
One of the main drivers of the apparent seasonal ebb and flow of cryptocurrency prices is the tax situation in the various territories that have the highest concentrations of cryptocurrency holders. Every year we see an overall market pull back beginning in mid to late January, with a recovery beginning usually after April. This is because “Tax Season” is roughly the same across Europe and the United States, with the deadline for Income tax returns being April 15th in the United States, and the tax year officially ending the UK on the 6th of April. All capital gains must be declared before the window closes or an American trader will face the powerful and long arm of the IRS with the consequent legal proceedings and possible jail time. Capital gains taxes around the world vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but there are often incentives for cryptocurrency holders to refrain from trading for over a year to qualify their profits as long term gain when they finally sell. In the US and Australia, for example, capital gains are reduced if you bought cryptocurrency for investment purposes and held it for over a year. In Germany if crypto assets are held for over a year then the gains derived from their sale are not taxed. Advantages like this apply to individual tax returns, on a case by case basis, and it is up to the investor to keep up to date with the tax codes of the territory in which they reside.
2013 Bull run vs 2017 Bull run price Analysis
In late 2016 cryptocurrency traders were faced with the task of distinguishing between the beginnings of a genuine bull run and what might colorfully be called a “dead cat bounce” (in traditional market terminology). Stagnation had gripped the market since the pull-back of early 2014. The meteoric rise of Bitcoin’s price in 2013 peaked with a price of $1,100 in November 2013, after a year of fantastic news on the adoption front with both Microsoft and PayPal offering BTC payment options. It is easy to look at a line going up on a chart and speak after the fact, but at the time, it is exceeding difficult to say whether the cat is actually climbing up the wall, or just bouncing off the ground. Here, we will discuss the factors that gave savvy investors clues as to why the 2017 bull run was going to outstrip the 2013 rally. Hopefully this will help give insight into how to differentiate between the signs of a small price increase and the start of a full scale bull run. Most importantly, Volume was far higher in 2017. As we can see in the graphic below, the 2017 volume far exceeds the volume of BTC trading during the 2013 price increase. The stranglehold MtGox held on trading made a huge bull run very difficult and unlikely.
Fraud & Immoral Activity in the Private Market
Ponzi Schemes Cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes will be covered in greater detail in Lesson 7, but we need to get a quick overview of the main features of Ponzi schemes and how to spot them at this point in our discussion. Here are some key indicators of a Ponzi scheme, both in cryptocurrencies and traditional investments: A guaranteed promise of high returns with little risk. Consistentflow of returns regardless of market conditions. Investments that have not been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Investment strategies that are a secret, or described as too complex. Clients not allowed to view official paperwork for their investment. Clients have difficulties trying to get their money back. The initial members of the scheme, most likely unbeknownst to the later investors, are paid their “dividends” or “profits” with new investor cash. The most famous modern-day example of a Ponzi scheme in the traditional world, is Bernie Madoff’s $100 billion fraudulent enterprise, officially titled Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. And in the crypto world, BitConnect is the most infamous case of an entirely fraudulent project which boasted a market cap of $2 billion at its peak.
What are the Exchange Hacks?
The history of cryptocurrency is littered with examples of hacked exchanges, some of them so severe that the operation had to be wound up forever. As we have already discussed, incredibly tech savvy and intelligent computer hackers led by Alexander Vinnik stole 850000 BTC from the MtGox exchange over a period from 2012–2014 resulting in the collapse of the exchange and a near-crippling hammer blow to the emerging asset class that is still being felt to this day. The BitGrail exchange suffered a similar style of attack in late 2017 and early 2018, in which Nano (XRB) was stolen that was at one point was worth almost $195 million. Even Bitfinex, one of the most famous and prestigious exchanges, has suffered a hack in 2016 where $72 million worth of BTC was stolen directly from customer accounts.
Hardware Wallet Scam Case Study
In late 2017, an unfortunate character on Reddit, going by the name of “moody rocket” relayed his story of an intricate scam in which his newly acquired hardware wallet was compromised, and his $34,000 life savings were stolen. He bought a second hand Nano ledger into which the scammers own recover seed had already been inserted. He began using the ledger without knowing that the default seed being used was not a randomly assigned seed. After a few weeks the scammer struck, and withdrew all the poor HODLer’s XRP, Dash and Litecoin into their own wallet (likely through a few intermediary wallets to lessen the very slim chances of being identified).
Hardware Wallet Scam Case Study Social Media Fraud
Many gullible and hapless twitter users have fallen victim to the recent phenomenon of scammers using a combination of convincing fake celebrity twitter profiles and numerous amounts of bots to swindle them of ETH or BTC. The scammers would set up a profile with a near identical handle to a famous figure in the tech sphere, such as Vitalik Buterin or Elon Musk. And then in the tweet, immediately following a genuine message, follow up with a variation of “Bonus give away for the next 100 lucky people, send me 0.1 ETH and I will send you 1 ETH back”, followed by the scammers ether wallet address. The next 20 or so responses will be so-called sockpuppet bots, thanking the fake account for their generosity. Thus, the pot is baited and the scammers can expect to receive potentially hundreds of donations of 0.1 Ether into their wallet. Many twitter users with a large follower base such as Vitalik Buterin have taken to adding “Not giving away ETH” to their username to save careless users from being scammed.
Market Manipulation
It also must be recognized that market manipulation is taking place in cryptocurrency. For those with the financial means i.e. whales, there are many ways in which to control the market in a totally immoral and underhanded way for your own profit. It is especially easy to manipulate cryptos that have a very low trading volume. The manipulator places large buy orders or sell walls to discourage price action in one way or the other. Insider trading is also a significant problem in cryptocurrency, as we saw with the example of blatant insider trading when Bitcoin Cash was listed on Coinbase.
Examples of ICO Fraudulent Company Behavior
In the past 2 years an astronomical amount of money has been lost in fraudulent Initial Coin Offerings. The utmost care and attention must be employed before you invest. We will cover this area in greater detail with a whole lesson devoted to the topic. However, at this point, it is useful to look at the main instances of ICO fraud. Among recent instances of fraudulent ICOs resulting in exit scams, 2 of the most infamous are the Benebit and PlexCoin ICOs which raised $4 million for the former and $15 million for the latter. Perhaps the most brazen and damaging ICO scam of all time was the Vietnamese Pincoin ICO operation, where $660million was raised from 32,000 investors before the scammer disappeared with the funds. In case of smaller ICO “exit scamming” there is usually zero chance of the scammers being found. Investors must just take the hit. We will cover these as well as others in Lesson 7 “Scam Projects”.
Signposts of Fraudulent Actors
The following factors are considered red flags when investigating a certain project or ICO, and all of them should be considered when deciding whether or not you want to invest. Whitepaper is a buzzword Salad: If the whitepaper is nothing more than a collection of buzzwords with little clarity of purpose and not much discussion of the tech involved, it is overwhelmingly likely you are reading a scam whitepaper.
Signposts of Fraudulent Actors §2
No Code Repository: With the vast majority of cryptocurrency projects employing open source code, your due diligence investigation should start at GitHub or Sourceforge. If the project has no entries, or nothing but cloned code, you should avoid it at all costs. Anonymous Team: If the team members are hard to find, or if you see they are exaggerating or lying about their experience, you should steer clear. And do not forget, in addition to taking proper precautions when investing in ICOs, you must always make sure that you are visiting authentic web pages, especially for web wallets. If, for example, you are on a spoof MyEtherWallet web page you could divulge your private key without realizing it and have your entire portfolio of Ether and ERC-20 tokens cleaned out.
Methods to Avoid falling Victim
Avoiding scammers and the traps they set for you is all about asking yourself the right questions, starting with: Is there a need for a Blockchain solution for the particular problem that a particular ICO is attempting to solve? The existing solution may be less costly, less time consuming, and more effective than the proposals of a team attempting to fill up their soft cap in an ICO. The following quote from Mihai Ivascu, the CEO of Modex, should be kept in mind every time you are grading an ICO’s chances of success: “I’m pretty sure that 95% of ICOswill not last, and many will go bankrupt. ….. not everything needs to be decentralized and put on an open source ledger.”
Methods to Avoid falling Victim §2 Do I Trust These People with My Money, or Not?
If you continue to feel uneasy about investing in the project, more due diligence is needed. The developers must be qualified and competent enough to complete the objectives that they have set out in the whitepaper.
Is this too good to be true?
All victims of the well-known social media scams using fake profiles of Vitalik Buterin, or Bitconnect investors for that matter, should have asked themselves this simple question, and their investment would have been saved. In the case of Bitconnect, huge guaranteed gains proportional to the amount of people you can get to sign up was a blatant pyramid scheme, obviously too good to be true. The same goes for Fake Vitalik’s offer of 1 ether in exchange for 0.1 ETH.
Selling Cryptocurrencies, Several reasons for selling with the appropriate actions to take:
If you are selling to buy into an ICO, or maybe believe Ether is a safer currency to hold for a certain period of time, it is likely you will want to make use of the Ether pair and receive Ether in return. Obviously if the ICO is on the NEO or WANchain blockchain for example, you will use the appropriate pair. -Trading to buy into another promising project that is listing on the exchange on which you are selling (or you think the exchange will experience a large amount of volume and become a larger exchange), you may want to trade your cryptocurrency for that exchange token. -If you believe that BTC stands a good chance of experiencing a bull run then using the BTC trading pair is the suitable choice. -If you believe that the market is about to experience a correction but you do not want to take your gains out of the market yet, selling for Tether or “tethering up” is the best play. This allows you to keep your locked-in profits on the exchange, unaffected by the price movements in the cryptocurrency markets,so that you can buy back in at the most profitable moment. -If you wish to “cash out” i.e. sell your cryptocurrency for fiat currency and have those funds in your bank account, the best pair to use is ETH or BTC because you will likely have to transfer to an exchange like Kraken or Coinbase to convert them into fiat. If the exchange offers Litecoin or Bitcoin Cash pairs it could be a good idea to use these for their fast transaction time and low fees.
Selling Cryptocurrencies
Knowing when and how to sell, as well as strategies to inflate the value of your trade before sale, are important skills as a trader of any product or financial instrument. If you are satisfied that the sale itself of the particular amount of a token or coin you are trading away is the right one, then you must decide at what price you are going to sell. Exchanges exercise their own discretion as to which trading “pairs” they will offer, but the most common ones are BTC, ETH, BNB for Binance, BIX for Bibox etc., and sometimes Tether (USDT) or NEO. As a trader, you decide which particular cryptocurrency to exchange depending on your reason for making that specific trade at that time.
Methods of Sale
Market sell/Limit sell on exchange: A limit sell is an order placed on an exchange to sell as soon as (also specifically only if and when) the price you specified has been hit within the time limit you select. A market order executes the sale immediately at the best possible price offered by the market at that exact time. OTC (or Over the Counter) selling refers to sale of securities or cryptocurrencies in any method without using an exchange to intermediate the trade and set the price. The most common way of conducting sales in this manner is through LocalBitcoins.com. This method of cryptocurrency selling is far riskier than using an exchange, for obvious reasons.
The influence and value of your Trade
There are a number of strategies you can use to appreciate the value of your trade and thus increase the Bitcoin or Ether value of your portfolio. It is important to disassociate yourself from the dollar value of your portfolio early on in your cryptocurrency trading career simply because the crypto market is so volatile you will end up pulling your hair out in frustration following the real dollar money value of your holdings. Once your funds have been converted into BTC and ETH they are completely in the crypto sphere. (Some crypto investors find it more appropriate to monitor the value of their portfolio in satoshi or gwei.) Certainly not limited to, but especially good for beginners, the most reliable way to increase your trading profits, and thus the overall value and health of your portfolio, is to buy into promising projects, hold them for 6 months to a year, and then reevaluate. This is called Long term holding and is the tactic that served Bitcoin HODLers quite well, from 2013 to the present day. Obviously, if something comes to light about the project that indicates a lengthy set back is likely, it is often better to cut your losses and sell. You are better off starting over and researching other projects. Also, you should set initial Price Points at which you first take out your original investment, and then later, at which you take out all your profits and exit the project. That should be after you believe the potential for growth has been exhausted for that particular project.
Another method of increasing the value of your trades is ICO flipping. This is the exact opposite of long term holding. This is a technique in which you aim for fast profits taking advantage of initial enthusiasm in the market that may double or triple the value of ICO projects when they first come to market. This method requires some experience using smaller exchanges like IDEX, on which project tokens can be bought and sold before listing on mainstream exchanges. “Tethering up” means to exchange tokens or coins for the USDT stable coin, the value of which is tethered to the US Dollar. If you learn, or know how to use, technical analysis, it is possible to predict when a market retreatment is likely by looking at the price movements of BTC. If you decide a market pull back is likely, you can tether up and maintain the dollar value of your portfolio in tether while other tokens and coins decrease in value. The you wait for an opportune moment to reenter the market.
Market Behavior in Different Time Periods
The main descriptors used for overall market sentiment are “Bull Market” and “Bear Market”. The former describes a market where people are buying on optimism. The latter describes a market where people are selling on pessimism. Fun (or maybe not) fact: The California grizzly bear was brought to extinction by the love of bear baiting as a sport in the mid 1800s. Bears were highly sought after for their intrinsic fighting qualities, and were forced into fighting bulls as Sunday morning entertainment for Californians. What has this got to do with trading and financial markets? The downward swipe of the bear’s paws gives a “Bear market” its name and the upward thrust of a Bull’s horns give the “Bull Market” its name. Most unfortunately for traders, the bear won over 80% of the bouts. During a Bull market, optimism can sometimes grow to be seemingly boundless, volume is rising, and prices are ascending. It can be a good idea to sell or rebalance your portfolio at such a time, especially if you have a particularly large position in one holding or another. This is especially applicable if you need to sell a large amount of a relatively low-volume holding, because you can then do so without dragging the price down by the large size of your own sell order.
Learn more on common behavioral patterns observed so far in the cryptocurrency space for different coins and ICO tokens.
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Tangle (DAG), The Phenomenal Solution Oriented Approach to all Blockchain Cryptocurrencies woes

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Tangle (DAG) for some is a just a buzzword, while for others, it has become the best way of crypto financing or may be, a way of living. There are a number of different cryptocurrencies flourishing in the market such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, ETH, NEM, Ripple, IOTA and Litecoin etc. All these cryptocurrencies have multi-billion dollar worth in the financial market but still, there are some technology related shortcomings Let us first look at the evolution of Tangle (DAG), what it is actually and how it has become, what it is today.
Evolution of Tangle (DAG):
DAG in Tangle stands for Directed Acyclic Graph. So, it is a kind of a directed graph type which employs such data structure which brings into use the topological ordering as well. The system is designed in such a way that the sequence could only possibly move from the earlier to the later point and not otherwise. Briefly, it has application where there are issues related to the processing of data, looking for the optimized navigation path, scheduling and data compression. In order to understand the evolution of Tangle (DAG), we need to connect dots back in the year 2015, when the blockchain was the standalone ruling technology. Before this enormous popularity of blockchain was achieved, it was just known as a conventional data structure that is using the Bitcoin technology. So, the transition from just being an ordinary technology to a popular one helped it gain the title of Blockchain 1.0, the pioneer and the first of its kind.
That was the time when Ethereum based model (also used by CyBitTM) was creating great waves in the crypto circle as a much loved decentralized platform which was preferred for running just as it is programmed. Soon, with time, Ethereum model became to be known as the Blockchain 2.0. This is the time when there are many speculations about what would become the Blockchain 3.0. This could probably be the Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) for a number of its good characteristics which might not be possessed by all of its predecessors or other related technologies.
Bitcoin VS Tangle (DAG):
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is the pioneer in the decentralized digital currency, where their worldwide payment system is made to work without having any central authority, single administrator or a central bank. Unlike the fiat currencies, Bitcoin has got limited supply which is tightly scrutinized by the underlying algortithm.it is an open source platform whose code is readily available over the web in order to be manipulated by the project developers as per their needs in the projects.
Pros:
· It comes with a minimal transaction cost.
· The digital nature provides immense protection against possible payment fraud.
· Bitcoin just on its own made over $8 billion in transactions as compared to a total of $132 million done altogether by Fedwire