Schnorr Signatures Await Bitcoin Cash as the Next Fork Draws Near

Schnorr Signatures Await Bitcoin Cash as the Next Fork Draws Near

           

The Bitcoin Cash network is scheduled to fork on May 15
and the community has been steadily preparing for the next upgrade, which will entail the addition of Schnorr signatures and Segwit recovery exemption.

Bitcoin Cash Upgrade Time: May 15, 2019, Shortly After 12 pm

Every six months the BCH chain upgrades the protocol in order to add new features that benefit scaling, privacy, and overall network performance. The upcoming hard fork scheduled for May 15 is a change that requires all participants to upgrade their software. The compatible full node implementations for the BCH fork next slated for next Wednesday include Bitcoin ABC 0.19.4, Bchd 0.14.2, Bitprim 0.19.0, and the Bitcoin Unlimited Cash Edition 1.6.0.0. There are two protocol features that will be added to the chain: Segwit recovery and the highly anticipated Schnorr signatures.

The Upgrades: Segwit Recovery Exemption and the Benefits of Schnorr Signatures

Segwit recovery is basically an add-on to the last protocol upgrade implementation of a new CLEANSTACK rule which made it impossible for miners to recover BCH from Segwit addresses. Essentially, after May 15 the upgrade will make an exemption for these unrecoverable coins and make them spendable. “This means that once the P2SH redeem script pre-image is revealed (for example by spending coins from the corresponding BTC address), any miner can take the coins,” explains the hard fork specifications on Github.

The high profile feature being added to the chain which has garnered the most attention is the addition of Schnorr signatures. The digital signature scheme invented by Claus Schnorr will allow BCH users the ability to build cryptographic keys in extraordinary ways. For example, using Schnorr signatures in place of ECDSA signatures allows for future concepts like multisignature aggregation. To the layman, the concept basically reduces transaction size by utilizing an aggregated signature in contrast to using multiple signatures. Essentially, the grouping produces the same cryptographic proof which in turn will reduce blockchain storage and bandwidth. Another advantage Schnorr signatures can offer is privacy when users and developers combine one batched pubkey scheme with different protocols like OP_CHECKSIG and pay-to-public-key-hash (P2PKH) addresses.

BCH developers have added the Schnorr signatures scheme as an optional replacement for traditional ECDSA signatures. The engineers will introduce Schnorr by using the same curve as ECDSA so regular users will not notice the upgrade as much as with prior forks, such as when the block size was raised. On the development side, however, Schnorr signatures only use 64 bytes which is lower than the typical 70-byte ECDSA signature. Basically, programmers who implement the upgraded feature can reduce transaction sizes by roughly 4%. But again, the switch from ECDSA to Schnorr is completely optional, but there are encouraging benefits of implementing the change. Besides a mixture of scaling and privacy, one attribute Schnorr will give to wallet platforms that use the protocol is replay protection. Other benefits of Schnorr that BCH developers will be able to utilize after May 15 include:

  • Payment channels hidden as ordinary payments.
  • Atomic swaps hidden as ordinary payments.
  • Lightning-style payment channel networks too, if desired.
  • Secure chains of unconfirmed transactions involving multiple parties (layer 2).

Future Schnorr Related Upgrades Could Bolster Public Signature Aggregation, Reduce Blockchain Storage and Bandwidth by 25% and Design Complex Smart Contracts

In the past, many cryptographers have recognized Schnorr for being a more polished scheme than ECDSA, but blockchain programmers could not use the concept because it was patented. Now that the patent has expired, BCH programmers can use Schnorr signatures and build a myriad of improvements going forward. After the May 15 fork, the new features will bring the very basics of Schnorr signatures at first which in turn will set the protocol up for future Schnorr related forks. For instance, further upgrades will be able to bolster public signature aggregation which could reduce blockchain storage and bandwidth by 20-25%. Another upgrade could help eliminate signature malleability so programmers can design complex smart contracts.

Further upgrades could introduce public signature aggregation which could reduce storage and bandwidth alongside the introduction of more complex concepts.

As mentioned above, the fork will take place next Wednesday, shortly after 12:00 p.m. UTC on May 15 and the protocol will lock in at a certain block height. After that takes place, there will be another 11 blocks and the BCH chain will have executed the upgrade and rule changes will take effect. BCH fans will be able to watch the fork in real time on data websites like Coin Dance in order to see that the consensus rule changes have been implemented as planned.

Moreover, existing wallets using ESDSA will be functioning in the same manner as before so regular users probably won’t notice much of a difference right away. Developers will find the feature appealing due to the 4% size decrease and the ability to build in new ways. There’s a wide variety of complex schemes that can be introduced in the future and the upgrade on May 15 will be the foundation for all types of innovative concepts. More information about the Bitcoin Cash development process and scheduled hard fork can be found here and here, and users can watch the countdown in real-time here.

Article Produced By
Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

https://news.bitcoin.com/schnorr-signatures-await-bitcoin-cash-as-the-next-fork-draws-near/


Chris Corey

What’s the Difference Between Bitcoin BTC and Ethereum ETH?

What’s the Difference Between Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH)?

           

Bitcoin (BTC) is a peer-to-peer (P2P) digital asset system which has been implemented

on an immutable and distributed ledger, which allows users to view transaction details including the amount of funds transferred and the addresses of the recipient and sender. In a way that’s somewhat similar, Ethereum (ETH) is also a public blockchain-based network that allows users to build and deploy decentralized applications on its platform.

Because there’s no central authority which is responsible for determining how the ongoing development of both Bitcoin and Ethereum should be carried out, individuals and organizations are allowed to submit Improvement Proposals in order to further enhance both decentralized protocols.

Bitcoin Proposed As “Experiment In Monetary Theory”

Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys, a Brooklyn, New York-based organization focused on the ongoing development of Ethereum, the world’s first blockchain-based platform for building smart contract-based dApps, has explained why the Bitcoin (BTC) protocol was developed. Lubin, a crypto pioneer and also one of the co-founders of Ethereum, delivered a short explanation in the form of a comparison between Bitcoin’s and Ethereum’s use cases. He explained: “Ethereum is different from Bitcoin in that it was realized as a platform for decentralized applications (dApps) – whereas Bitcoin was proposed as a sort of an experiment in monetary theory.”

Ethereum Co-Founder: Bitcoin’s “Experiment In Monetary Theory” Has “Caught On”

Lubin has acknowledged that the Bitcoin protocol, which provided the specification for the very first blockchain-enabled, P2P “electronic cash system”, has “caught on” and has become “quite successful.” He added that the “Bitcoin network exists in support of the bitcoin token whereas the Ethereum token (Ether) exists in support of the Ethereum platform.”

According to Lubin, “Ethereum’s really all about developers building applications on a new kind of platform … [and] on a new kind of world wide web.” He pointed out that “many of us” have been referring to the new web, or internet, as “Web 3.0” or the “decentralized world wide web.” Lubin argued that “Ethereum is one of the foundational protocols that will be part of” Web 3.0 – as the smart contract-enabled platform “brings trusted transactions, automated agreements, [and] smart software objects.”

“Heavy Compute Platforms” Being Built On Ethereum

Per the former Goldman Sachs executive, Ethereum “already interoperates with other decentralized protocols” such as those currently being used for “storage, bandwidth,” and “heavy compute” tasks. Lubin also revealed that “heavy compute platforms” have already been “built on top of Ethereum.” These include “decentralized identity” and “decentralized proof of location” software solutions, Lubin noted.

Ethereum Full-Node Operators Will Significantly Increase As It Moves From PoW To PoS

As Ethereum’s ongoing development continues, Lubin believes “hundreds of other protocols will either be built on Ethereum or adjacent to” it. These protocols will also “enable interoperation” – which puts “Ethereum in a special position,” Lubin stated. He argued that Ethereum “is the most decentralized of all these platforms” because it has “about 20,000 nodes worldwide.” The number of full-node transaction validators for the Ethereum network are “likely to grow quite dramatically when we move from the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm to the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus” mechanism, Lubin predicted.

Proof-of-Stake (PoS)-Based Ethereum Will Be Even “More Decentralized”

Assuming the Ethereum network successfully transitions from PoW to a PoS-based blockchain, Lubin believes the smart contract platform will become even more decentralized “because the barrier to entry to participating, to validating transactions on the system, and securing the network … [will] drop quite dramatically.” He noted that “you get trust from decentralization, you get greater trust from greater decentralization.”

Lubin also explained that “if you have many of these different nodes that everybody can access, everybody can inspect, everybody can ensure that there isn’t improper manipulation … and the Ethereum platform resists manipulation if [at least] half of the actors of the system are honest in that sort of world.” He continued: “We can envision Ethereum as essentially the base layer, [or] the layer one trust infrastructure and upon that we’re already seeing many layer two technologies, state channels, different kinds of sidechains, plasma mechanisms … those are all being built and sort of anchored into Ethereum to garner that trust property from the base layer of Ethereum,”

Owning Bitcoins Is One Of The “Few Asymmetric Bets”

Although Lubin’s brief discussion about Bitcoin and Ethereum did not provide detailed insights into how the Bitcoin protocol has managed to achieve increased adoption, there have been many recent developments which suggest that Bitcoin is increasingly being used as a medium-of-exchange (MoE) and store-of-value (SoV). Vijay Boyapti, a former software engineer at Google and a widely-followed crypto analyst, has argued: “Owning bitcoins is one of the few asymmetric bets that people across the entire world can participate in.”  

In a detailed Medium blog post (published in March 2018), Boyapati wrote that “the bullish case for investors might seem so obvious it does not need stating.” Although the bitcoin price has dropped considerably after reaching its all-time high of nearly $20,000 on December 17th, 2017, Boyapati has noted in many different Twitter threads that Bitcoin is arguably one of the most important inventions in modern history. In his blog, Boyapti mentioned: “Never in the history of the world had it been possible to transfer value between distant peoples without relying on a trusted intermediary, such as a bank or government.”

Lightning Network (LN) Adoption Growing Steadily

While the Bitcoin blockchain has been plagued with scalability problems – as the distributed ledger can only handle around 7 transactions per second (TPS), second-layer payment solutions such as the Lightning Network (LN) protocol have been increasingly adopted. Blockchain developers are working on many different implementations of the LN and there are currently 7,979 nodes on the layer-two network.

Although the LN is only able to process relatively smaller bitcoin payments, there are many development teams throughout the world that are focused on improving the second-layer network. LN’s main design goals include enabling faster and more cost-effective cryptocurrency payments. At the time of writing, the LN’s capacity is only around 1,067 BTC, an amount valued at approximately $5,430,000 at press time – according CryptoCompare data. However, development has been steady as at the time of writing, in the past 30 days, the LN’s capacity has increased by 29% and there are now 38,707 active LN channels – which represents an increase of about 6.6% in the past month.

Bitcoin Adoption Has Increased 700% In Past 6 Years

In addition to software architects working consistently to improve the Bitcoin protocol, reports have revealed that Bitcoin adoption has increased by over 700% in the past 6 years (worldwide). This, according to Coinma’s data, which is a Bitcoin directory service provider. Meanwhile, Kaspersky Labs, a leading Russia-based cybersecurity firm, conducted a survey a few months back in which it asked shoppers whether they had used bitcoin to pay for goods and services online. Notably, about 10% of those who responded to Kaspersky’s survey said they had used BTC or another cryptocurrency to make purchases through e-commerce websites.

Founded in Moscow in 1997, Kaspersky Labs’ recent crypto survey was performed by gathering responses from more than 13,000 online shoppers based in 22 different countries. Significantly, 81% of survey respondents said they prefer using a bank-issued credit card to pay for items online. This suggests that cryptocurrencies are still not a widely used payment method, however an increasing number of merchants worldwide have started taking crypto payments.

Increasing Number Of Merchants Accept Bitcoin

According to Cointelegraph en Español, Paraguay paid for a shipment from Argentina with bitcoin on February 16th, 2019. The BTC transaction involved Paraguay purchasing pesticides and fumigation products worth around $7,000 from Argentina. Bitex, a Latin American financial services company, helped process the crypto transaction. In early February 2019, the management at Argentina’s public transport system announced that it would start accepting bitcoin payments. Passengers in 37 different localities throughout the South American nation are now able to use bitcoin to add credit balance to their SUBE (Sistema Único de Boleto Electrónico) travel cards. Bitex also helped in the integration of bitcoin payments into the SUBE travelcards.

In December 2018, Hungry.dk, a Denmark-based online food takeaway portal which helps process orders from more than 1,500 restaurants in the European nation, started accepting bitcoin payments again. Representatives from Hungry.dk told the Bitcoinist that they had first started taking crypto payments in 2016. However, they briefly stopped accepting bitcoin when “average transaction times took too long” towards the end of 2017 – which was during the time that digital asset prices recorded all-time highs.

Ethereum Still In Early Stages Of Development & Adoption

Compared to Bitcoin, Ethereum’s adoption or usage rate does not appear to be that high. On February 9th, 2019, Twitter user Kevin Rooke pointed out (while referencing DAppRadar.com) that “there [were] 1375 live [Ethereum-based] dApps” and “86% of them had 0 users” that day. Moreover, 93% of dApps on Ethereum did not record any transactions that day. Competing dApp creation platforms such as EOS and Tron were not much better – as out of 1828 live dApps that day, “77% of them had 0 users” and “85% of them had 0 [transaction] volume” on the same day. Ethereum Already Has Legitimate Use Cases Being Built On Top Of It

Anthony Sassano, a cybersecurity professional and the co-founder of EthHub, an organization focused on Ethereum-related research, has argued via Twitter that there are already several legitimate use cases for the smart contract platform. According to Sassano’s assessment, “people are putting too much emphasis on scale as a ‘make or break’ for Ethereum.” While he acknowledged that Ethereum must be able to scale effectively in the long-term, he listed the following platforms (which have already been launched on Ethereum):

  • Augur: an Ethereum-based decentralized predictions market platform,
  • Burner Wallet: a tool that allows users to transact in “an intuitive currency like DAI” through an easy-to-use UX/UI. It’s ideal in situations “where it's hard to find important goods with the traditional currency or the currency may fluctuate immensely in value due to inflation.”
  • Compound: an “Ethereum protocol that establishes money markets with algorithmically set interest rates”,
  • Dharma: a “suite of smart contracts and developer tools that make it possible to borrow and lend cryptoassets on blockchains like Ethereum”,
  • dYdX: a protocol designed to enable “decentralized margin trading and derivatives”,
  • Gnosis: a predictions market platform developed on Ethereum,
  • MakerDAO: a platform that utilizes a stablecoin called Dai to issue “collateralized loans” – which are part of an ecosystem managed by “decentralized governance”,
  • Stablecoins (a few examples):
    • Gemini Dollar (GUSD) – ERC-20-based token backed 1-to-1 with USD;
    • USD Coin (USDC) – “an Ethereum token, so you can store it in an Ethereum-compatible wallet, like Coinbase Wallet.”
  • Uniswap: a protocol for “automated token exchange” on Ethereum,

Looking Forward

Bitcoin is intended to function as decentralized means of value transfer whereas Ethereum is a protocol that allows users to develop decentralized applications on top of a blockchain network. As prominent Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir has confirmed on several occasions, Ethereum is “not money.” Ethereum’s native token, Ether (ETH) exists in order to facilitate the process of building and deploying distributed applications. Meanwhile, the bitcoin currency exists on the Bitcoin blockchain to facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange of uncensorable, non-confiscatable money.

Because both Bitcoin and Ethereum are open-source protocols, their standard accepted definition and use cases are continuously evolving. Developers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, traders, individuals and organizations throughout the world expect different things from both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Due to different expectations and perceptions, Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) and Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) are used to manage the ongoing development of both blockchain networks.

Hard forks (backwards incompatible upgrades) and soft forks (backwards compatible upgrades) are used to make codebase modifications to both the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchain networks. In principle, these changes are only made after a BIP or EIP are approved through distributed consensus by active members of the Bitcoin and Ethereum community, respectively.

A decade after the launch of Bitcoin and about five years after the introduction of Ethereum, there are thousands of businesses and various other decentralized application layers being developed on top of both Bitcoin and Ethereum. In the words of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin: “Cryptocurrency Protocols Are Like Onions… One common design philosophy among many cryptocurrency 2.0 protocols is the idea that, just like the internet, cryptocurrency design would work best if protocols split off into different layers. Under this strain of thought, Bitcoin is to be thought of as a sort of TCP/IP of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and other next-generation protocols can be built on top of Bitcoin much like we have SMTP for email, HTTP for webpages and XMPP for chat all on top of TCP as a common underlying data layer.”

Article Produced By
CryptoCompare

https://www.cryptocompare.com/coins/guides/what-s-the-difference-between-bitcoin-btc-and-ethereum-eth/

Chris Corey

Regulators Ready to Approve Ethereum Futures CFTC Insider Says

Regulators Ready to Approve Ethereum Futures, CFTC Insider Says

The Takeaway

  • The CFTC is willing to let an ether futures contract go to market after soliciting market feedback last year
  • A futures contract might bring in fresh institutional funding to the crypto space
  • This, in turn, might reassure retail traders looking at the cryptocurrency
  • Futures might also cement the CFTC’s jurisdiction over ether, which at present is limited to enforcement actions

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is willing to approve an ether futures contract – provided it ticks all the right boxes, a senior official has told CoinDesk. The CFTC, which oversees derivatives markets in the U.S., has already allowed bitcoin futures markets to launch, with both CME Group and Cboe Global Exchange offering cash-settled contracts at the end of 2017.

Now, the regulator is willing to oversee a similar product for ether, currently the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, said the official. “I think we can get comfortable with an ether derivative being under our jurisdiction,” said the person, who did not want to be identified because the regulator does not typically publicize decisions to adopt new products. “We don’t do bold pronouncements, what we do is we look at applications before us,” the official said,

explaining:

“A derivatives exchange comes to us and says ‘we want to launch this particular product.’ … If they came to us with a particular derivative that met our requirements, I think that there’s a good chance that it would be [allowed to be] self-certified by us.”

However, the CFTC would only respond to a specific application put before the regulator, rather than volunteer an opinion, the individual said. If proposed and approved, a regulated futures product would open up the ether market to broad institutional investment. “Many funds have mandates that do not allow them to buy the digital currency underlying,” said John Todaro, director of digital currency research at financial software provider Tradeblock. Further, a cash-settled futures contract, paid out in fiat rather than the underlying crypto, would allow hedge funds and the like “to gain exposure to ether without worrying about custody (which has been a bottleneck to institutional investment),” he said.

In the long run, Todaro added, a CFTC-supervised futures market “could usher in confidence among regulators such as the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] which could pave the way for an ETF,” an exchange-traded fund bringing additional liquidity to ether. An increase in institutional investment would, in turn, bolster retail investors’ confidence in ether, Todaro said.

CME and Cboe’s bitcoin futures, when they first launched, saw an immediate positive response, with enough traders trying to purchase Cboe’s contracts that the firm’s website crashed. The introduction of these futures contracts may also have contributed to bitcoin’s price skyrocketing to its all-time high of nearly $20,000. To be sure, some have argued that futures may also have hurt bitcoin’s price, though Todaro said that it is more likely that bitcoin’s price had already reached its peak and the approval of futures just happened to coincide with that time.

Learning process

The CFTC first indicated it was looking at ethereum in December when the regulator published a “Request for Input” (RFI) asking a number of questions about the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, the market around it and the underlying technology.

These questions ranged from asking about proof-of-stake (the consensus mechanism that ethereum is expected to eventually adopt to replace bitcoin-style mining) to how ether deposits may be audited. The agency explicitly asked what impact the introduction of derivatives contracts might have on the cryptocurrency. George Pullen, a senior economist with the CFTC Division of Market Oversight, told CoinDesk at the end of March that the RFI sought industry and market input on the risks, mechanics and use cases for ether. In particular, the CFTC was looking to contrast ether with bitcoin, he said,

explaining:

“After our initial public white papers, primers, on virtual currencies, bitcoin, and smart contracts it was clear that a one-size fits all approach to crypto was not appropriate and we needed to know more.”

The CFTC’s RFI will help the regulator to understand “the range of issues that might exist” around the ether space, as well as develop better relationships with the crypto community at large, he added. “It’s critically important for us to engage in outreach to understand the variety in technologies, markets, and the differences in the community; if we’re just listening to our own voices inside the building, the loudest voices in business, or just the voices in D.C. we could miss out on the bigger picture,” Pullen explained at the time.

A total of 35 comments were submitted to the CFTC’s RFI by trade associations like the Chamber of Digital Commerce, think tank Coin Center, startups Blockchains LLC and Circle, exchanges like Coinbase and self-proclaimed bitcoin creator Craig Wright, among others. The CFTC, or at least its Chairman, J. Christopher Giancarlo, is already pretty popular within the community, which has dubbed him “Crypto Dad” after he called for light-touch regulation around the space.

Power grab?

In addition to giving investors access to a new derivatives product, approving an ether futures contract may cement the CFTC’s regulatory authority over the underlying spot market. Notably, ErisX, a digital assets and futures trading platform (which wants to offer bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin and ethereum futures when its derivatives clearing organization license is approved), believes that regulating a futures contract on ethereum would grant the CFTC some additional oversight on the ethereum spot market.

Thomas Chippas, the exchange’s CEO, wrote in his response to the RFI that a futures contract that “includes a settlement price set by a physically settled cash market” in the U.S. may improve the CFTC’s “ability to properly oversee or monitor the cash market for fraud and manipulation.” ErisX declined to comment for this article.

The CFTC likely already has some jurisdiction over the ether cash market, several lawyers CoinDesk spoke to said. However, this authority is limited. Anne Termine, who leads the futures and derivatives practice group at Covington & Burling LLP and was previously a chief trial attorney with the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement, told CoinDesk that the regulator has already clearly said cryptocurrencies are commodities.

“As such, the CFTC has limited regulatory oversight over cryptocurrency spot markets, namely the ability to take enforcement action whenever there is fraud or manipulation in these spot markets,” Termine said. Amy Davine Kim, chief policy officer with the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a D.C.-based blockchain advocacy group, noted that the regulator has “after-the-fact” enforcement jurisdiction over crypto spot markets in terms of fraud or manipulation, but no jurisdiction over exchanges simply conducting spot transactions.

Moreover, anything that is not a security is usually broadly defined as a commodity, she said. The question of whether ether is a security has not been officially resolved, but officials at the SEC seem to believe it isn’t. William Hinman, the agency’s director of corporation finance, said at a conference in 2018 that he does not see ether as a security.

His comments were seemingly affirmed by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in March, who wrote that he agreed with Hinman’s analysis of when a crypto asset might not be a security, though he did not specifically name ethereum. Introducing a “futures contract would implicate the CFTC’s jurisdiction beyond anti-fraud and manipulation provisions,” Termine explained. The contract would have to trade on a CFTC-regulated futures exchange, meaning it would be subject to the regulator’s direct oversight.

Termine concluded:

“The implications for the broader community would be enhanced CFTC oversight over [ether] but potentially a legitimization of the cryptocurrency.”

Article Produced By
Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De

Nik is a news, regulation and institution reporter at CoinDesk. He was previously a news, science, technology and community reporter and editor with The Daily Targum. His work has been featured in The Nation and referenced by The Washington Post, ZDNet, Gizmodo, NJ Advance Media and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He owns 0.002507 BTC.

https://www.coindesk.com/cftc-would-approve-ether-futures-if-asked-insider-says

Chris Corey

Blockchain Firm SETL Sidesteps Insolvency to Return as Leaner New Entity

Blockchain Firm SETL Sidesteps Insolvency to Return as Leaner New Entity

Blockchain infrastructure firm SETL Development Ltd.,

which filed for insolvency in March, is back as a trimmed-down new entity formed by its management team.The new company, SETL Ltd., said Friday that it has now acquired the operating assets, staff and intellectual property (IP) rights of the old entity. Further, the company has reached an agreement with “all major clients” to continue the firm’s previous support and development activities. SETL Development Ltd, which went into administration in March, is now being wound down.

At the time, the the firm said it had filed for insolvency because its finances were not adequate to meet the regulatory requirements for both SETL and its ID2S central securities depository (CSD) initiative. It added it was seeking to place ID2S with “a larger financial services firm.” Sir David Walker, chairman of SETL Ltd., said today that the two objectives of appointing its administrator, Quantuma LLP, “to help shape the future structure to enable the firm to balance its strategic infrastructure holdings and continue its software development activities” have been met within the expected timeline.

The new entity said it has also restructured its balance sheet and simplified its business model, and will now offer blockchain-based solutions across different areas to deliver “robust” financial performance for its shareholders. Executives from the first iteration of the company now occupy positions in SETL Ltd. including Philippe Morel as CEO (formerly also CEO), and Peter Randall (who founded the original firm in 2015) as president. Sir Walker was also chairman of the old SETL.

The firm’s also appointed Philip Bond, professor at Manchester University, to its board. Bond previously headed SETL’s cryptography and cyber security committee and will direct the same activities at SETL Ltd. going forward. SETL notably received a license from France’s securities regulator to operate its ID2S CSD last October.The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Article Produced By
Yogita Khatri
Yogita Khatri

https://www.coindesk.com/blockchain-firm-setl-sidesteps-insolvency-to-return-as-leaner-new-entity

Chris Corey

Mysterious Crypto Whale Unveils Meteoric Bitcoin Price Target

            bitcoin price target

A mysterious crypto whale worth more than $35 million revealed his meteoric Bitcoin price target.

The anonymous Bitcoin whale, known only by his crypto addresses, has accumulated a fortune of more than 7,000 BTC. The crypto holdings are worth $35 million USD at the time of writing, and they’re mostly held in this wallet. He let CCN in on some seasoned technical analysis insights that suggest the Bitcoin price is well on its way to eclipsing the $50,000 mark.

Mystery Whale Caught the Crypto Big During the Early Days

This anonymous Bitcoin whale caught the crypto bug early on.The Bitcoin giant invested in the world’s leading cryptocurrency back in the early days. From there he picked a number of solid investments – Binance and Ethereum among them –

growing a substantial fortune

“I actively invested in Bitcoin back in those years when only in small circles knew about it. Before investing, I conducted a personal analysis of Bitcoin technology. I saw a great prospect for society in him and the financial system as a whole, which had already begun to change. We are still in the beginning and I see a huge potential in the cryptocurrency market and the blockchain technology.

Despite maintaining a positive outlook, the investor states that “not everybody will survive the crypto winter,” indicating that it may not yet be over in his eyes.

$50,000 Bitcoin Price Waits on the Horizon

While macroeconomic predictions should always be taken with a pinch of salt, the people who have made millions trading are perhaps the best ones to ask, and the enigmatic crypto investor had a lot to say on

future price action.

“I think we will see $50,000 Bitcoin in the next three to five years.”

The Bitcoin investor is not fully convinced that we have re-entered the bull market. However, he did state the market is

likely headed that way soon.

“I believe that we are either already seeing a bull market return. If not, we’ll see it in the coming months. One key indicator is the increase in exchange and OTC trading. Bitcoin consolidation above the 200-day moving average and the approximation of halving are also bullish.”

Anonymously Investing in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

After becoming an early BTC adopter and investing in Binance tokens within months of launch, the anonymous Bitcoin investor said he turned his gaze to Roobee, an AI-based investment service, following in the footsteps of the anonymous trader who made over $200 million trading Ethereum.He said he transferred over 200 bitcoins to Roobee with a message saying, “In Roobee I trust,” and did it all without disclosing his identity.

An aspect of cryptocurrency technology which is both feared and lauded is privacy. Pseudonymity or anonymity is available to crypto users when transacting, a hotly-debated topic. Indeed, transferring vast amounts in total secrecy can often conjure images of illicit activity. However, the potential to make major anonymous investments highlights, once again, an important use case for crypto. The new technology can shield users from would-be attackers seeking to target high-value victims. While grassroots support is inarguably the driving force for cryptocurrency adoption, it never hurts to appeal to influential multi-millionaires at the same time.

Article Produced By
CCN

https://www.ccn.com/mysterious-crypto-whale-unveils-meteoric-bitcoin-price-target

 

Chris Corey

Singapore Regulator Recognizes Potential of Blockchain for Cross-Border Payments

 
Singapore Regulator Recognizes Potential of Blockchain for Cross-Border Payments
            

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS),

said that blockchain has potential for cross-border payments but the agency “does not see much” in retail bank digital currencies. Mohanty delivered his comments at the Blockchain in Business event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on May 2.

Mohanty revealed that back in 2016, policy makers did not have a clear understanding of what blockchain is, so the MSA — Singapore’s central bank — decided to experiment with the technology to better understand it. The  MSA has since learned a variety of blockchain-related use cases, including how to deploy the technology to organize payments in the banking system, settle payments against securities, as well as how to conduct cross-border payments, said Mohanty.

He continued that, while the agency came to recognize the efficiency gains the technology could bring, it did not see a compelling future for retail bank digital currencies. As an example, Mohanty referenced the central banks of Singapore and Canada having successfully used their blockchain networks to send each other digital currency. Commenting on the development,

Mohanty said then:

“The next wave of central bank blockchain projects can make further progress by bringing technology exploration together with policy questions about the future of cross-border payments.”

In January, the MAS warned the public against an alleged scam, which claimed a cryptocurrency was officially adopted by the government. Apart from reporting on the new crypto scam, the MAS also warned the public in the statement about common problems in investing in cryptocurrencies or digital tokens, emphasizing that such investments are associated with high risk.

Article Produced By
Ana Alexandre

Total change in her career took Anastasia into the world of analytics and business information as a researcher and translator in 2010. Some time later she got into FinTech, a dynamically developing segment at the intersection of the financial services and technology. Ana joined Cointelegraph in September 2017.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/singapore-regulator-recognizes-potential-of-blockchain-for-cross-border-payments

Chris Corey

Blockchain-for-Land: What We Are Getting Wrong and How to fix it

Blockchain-for-Land: What We Are Getting Wrong and How to fix it
            

The flurry of activity related to blockchain-for-land

over the past few years is impressive, with a num ber of firms working with land registries worldwide. Yet, skepticism is growing around the technology’s potential for land administration due to the fitful growth of various pilots. Some projects, notably those in Georgia and Dubai, do continue to grow. But other blockchain-for-land efforts — such as those in Vermont, Brazil and Ukraine — have succumbed to “pilot-itis.” These projects worked on a small scale, and were even replicated, but haven’t been able to reach larger populations.

There are a few noticeable trends behind why some projects scaled and others didn’t. Pilots that struggled to expand ignored influential stakeholders in the early stages. Or, projects tried to address problems for which blockchain was an ill-suited solution. There were frequently unrealistic expectations concerning outcomes, partially due to a lack of blockchain education. Projects are too often undertaken by governments enthusiastic about the technology, but fuzzy on how it works and what it can deliver. Sometimes, a project was implemented under the wrong bureaucratic or legal conditions.

A land registry should first think more critically about its capabilities, needs and ecosystem before implementing a blockchain-based solution. A set of recommendations to assist land officials during their exploration and implementation of blockchain is below:

Get tech experts and land experts in the same room

Blockchain is a database technology at its most basic, while land administration is a public issue with wide-ranging political, social and economic impacts. So, the stakeholders in the room need to understand both technology and land. Those are usually two different sets of people.

A blockchain-for-land project should engage with political, technical and socioeconomic stakeholders from the very beginning. For example, senior land officials can provide long-term strategic vision, and also possess the experience to spot unintended consequences and risks related to blockchain. IT professionals understand technological nuances and can better evaluate blockchain as a back-end technology. Finally, outreach to the broader real estate community can help to promote blockchain as a tool to improve business operations.

Identify the problem and determine whether blockchain can actually solve that problem

Stakeholders must work together to answer the following question: What is limiting the everyday functionality of the land registry? There are many possible responses, ranging from undocumented land rights to record manipulation, poor service delivery and sloppy paper-based storage. But blockchain can’t solve every problem, and identifying the specific issue to be solved will help determine whether blockchain is an appropriate answer.

Blockchain will not address problems related to inaccurate, outdated or nonexistent records. Nor is the technology particularly helpful in cases in which records aren’t digitized. It can’t rewrite land laws or improve the institutional capacity of a registry, either. Blockchain is useful for solving issues concerning corruption, lack of trust, inefficient services and secure data. Still, the technology isn’t a cure-all, and stakeholders must be realistic about the potential of blockchain:

  • Blockchain replicates data across many computers or servers, increasing the resiliency of a land registry database.
  • A blockchain-based system allows users to view the same data and track processes in real time, fostering greater transparency in land administration and real estate.
  • It’s more difficult to attack a blockchain-based solution because, in part, it lacks a sensitive central point to target, leading to greater protection against hacks.
  • Land records are more tamper-resistant in a blockchain because control is distributed, all users verify new data through consensus and all data is paired with a unique fingerprint — or hash — to ensure integrity.
  • Data sharing, combined with smart contracts and digital signatures, can help to streamline workflows, remove non-value-add intermediaries and decrease transaction times for registries, real estate firms and customers.

Check if blockchain can scale in your environment

Pilot projects are a good first step to test a solution, but many struggle to expand. A big reason is that the enabling environment — the legal, bureaucratic, financial and political conditions — doesn’t facilitate scaling. For example, it’s difficult to scale a blockchain-for-land project in a fragmented land administration system, such as the county-based system in the United States. It’s likely more efficient to deploy a blockchain on a nation-wide registry, or in a system within which local offices maintain technical interoperability and follow the same rules.

Pertinent laws and regulations must also change. No project exists in a vacuum; it’s subject to the rules of a particular jurisdiction. Governments may need to adapt or pass legislation that allows for land administration and/or real estate transactions to take place in the digital realm. Last, buy-in from entrenched stakeholders profiting from the current system is usually critical if any reform project is to succeed. This process can be very difficult, but it’s sometimes possible through demonstrating the long-term benefits of the reforms.

As with most solutions to complex problems, technology alone is insufficient. Land registries must also consider the people and processes involved in reform efforts. After all, it’s individuals and institutions that are behind the ways in which technology is developed and deployed. In order to better insure innovation and reform, land officials must think more critically about their capabilities, needs and ecosystems. Blockchain-for-land can positively affect populations around the world — if implemented correctly.

Article Produced By
Tim Robustelli

Tim Robustelli is a Program Associate with the Future of Property Rights Program at New America, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-for-land-what-we-are-getting-wrong-and-how-to-fix-it

Chris Corey

Social Security Number Scams

“She then proceeded to tell me that drugs were found in the car and that the addresses were already under investigation for drug trafficking.”

by Prince Of Petworth  October 4, 2018 at 1:45 pm71 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rich Renomeron

Ed. Note: At this point I assume every single phone call is a scam. When my mom calls, I’m like “Oh yeah mom, what’d you buy me for my 12th birthday? Faster, faster. SCAMMER.” Click. But that’s just me.

“Dear PoPville,

I just wanted to submit a warning to fellow DCers. Today, I received a phone call from a legitimate 202 number (I didn’t know the number and normally wouldn’t answer, but did in case it was a work call). When I answered, they asked me to verify my name (I did), told me that I was under criminal investigation, and asked if I knew anything about it. I said no.

I will preface the rest of the story by saying that I have a very common name and am a bit paranoid about identity theft (it’s happened to several of my family members). I only stayed on the phone as long as I did (12 minutes!) so that I could confirm that my identity was not actually stolen.

Anyway, the woman on the phone told me that they found an abandoned car that was registered under my name. She described the car, gave me two addresses that were associated with it, and asked if I was familiar with any of these. I said no. She then proceeded to tell me that drugs were found in the car and that the addresses were already under investigation for drug trafficking.

At this point, I asked how I could verify that she was calling from a government agency. She told me to type the number into google, and it came up as a DC MPD number. So she “confirmed” that she was legitimate.

She then told me that my information was also used to open several bank accounts and wire money overseas. She gave the names of the supposed recipients and asked if I knew them. I said no. She told me that, due to this activity, my social security number was frozen and that I would be issued a new social security number in 1-2 days. I asked her when these accounts were opened. (I just had a thorough background/credit check done this past month when applying for a lease). She said five months ago. I told her none of these came up during my recent background check.

I then requested to hang up and call the number back to verify that she was calling from the police number, and that I would be happy to talk to her more when I called her back. This is when she started to get really hostile. She told me I was behaving like a drug dealer and asked why I wasn’t willing to cooperate. I told her I was happy to cooperate, but to make sure this was real, I wanted to call her through that number. She proceeded to yell at me, feigning disbelief that I was “accusing” her of not providing real information when I was the one acting like a drug dealer. Then, she somehow called me using 911. I ignored the 911 call, and she said, “Are you getting another call? Because you’re breaking up.” I said yes, but that I wasn’t going to answer it. She asked who was calling (which I was another scammer red flag) and I said “911 but that doesn’t make sense.” So she said, “Now you’re getting a call from 911 and you’re not answering it?!” …and, again, told me I was behaving like a drug dealer. We went back and forth a few more times, with 2 more attempted calls from 911. By the end of the call, she told me that if I didn’t cooperate, the police were coming to my house right now to arrest me. She hung up, and the calls from 911 “magically” stopped.

Just to be sure, I called the number back right away. I told the woman who answered that I had received a call from this number, gave a brief description of what happened, and asked to confirm that the call was a scam. She was very nice, and said that yes, that it was in fact scammers. She said that scammers often call masked as their number to try to get information from people. After verifying that I hadn’t actually given them my information, she said that any official information would come through the mail and that the police would never call and say they were coming before they actually were.

If this happens to any others, I hope my story saves you 10 minutes or so and a morning of stress. Offer to hang up and call them back. If it’s real, they won’t care if you do. If they push back, just hang up so you don’t repeatedly get accused of being a drug dealer!”

Chris Corey

Chris Corey

Microsoft Releases Blockchain Manager App

Microsoft Releases Blockchain Manager App
           

Microsoft announced its fully managed Azure Blockchain Service

in a press release on May 2. The new blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform will purportedly allow users to build blockchain applications on preconfigured network. According to Microsoft’s head of corporate communications, Frank Shaw, this service “simplifies the formation, management, and governance of consortium blockchain networks.”

Shaw further noted that Azure Blockchain Service can create a new consortium network “in a few simple clicks,” or let the user perform basic operations like adding new members to the network. Quorum, an open source blockchain platform backed by JPMorgan Chase, is the first platform that can be managed via Azure Blockchain Service. Azure CTO Mark Russinovich

explained the choice:

“Because it’s built on the popular Ethereum protocol, which has the world’s largest blockchain developer community, Quorum is a natural choice.”

Microsoft Azure released its blockchain app creation service Azure Blockchain Workbench in May 2018. This platform was also designed to automate aspects of blockchain-related work — in this case to streamline blockchain app development by providing readily available infrastructure for the developer.

In October 2018, Microsoft Azure joined forces with Nasdaq. Nasdaq opted to integrate Azure blockchain technology into its financial framework with the expectation that it would speed up transactions. On April 30, Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing wing of retail giant Amazon, released its own BaaS platform dubbed Amazon Managed Blockchain

Article Produced By
Max Boddy

Max Boddy is a reporter with a background in philosophy. When he’s not covering crypto news, Max can often be found experimenting in the kitchen or writing about League of Legends.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/microsoft-releases-blockchain-manager-app

Chris Corey

Upgraded Hyperledger Fabric Sees 7-Fold Increase in Transaction Speed

Upgraded Hyperledger Fabric Sees 7-Fold Increase in Transaction Speed
           

Researchers have re-engineered the Hyperledger Fabric

to support almost seven times more transactions per second (TPS), according to a May 2 news release from Canada’s University of Waterloo. A new series of optimizations increased the volume of data that the blockchain — used by financial institutions, IT giants and engineering companies — can process. Where it formerly maxed out around 3,000 TPS, the researchers claim they managed to achieve 20,000 TPS.

The university’s work focused on improving “end-to-end transaction throughput” by redesigning Fabric’s ordering service, transaction service and data management layer. This means that the blockchain is more practical for “fast-paced sectors such as e-commerce.” Christian Gorenflo, one of its PhD candidates,

explained:

“Our modifications are completely under-the-hood. Fabric’s application programming interfaces and modularity stay intact, so existing applications work just as before.”

Professor Lukasz Golab said the researchers are now in discussions with major Fabric contributors who want to adopt their optimizations in future releases. Golab described the reception so far as very positive. Professor Srinivasan Keshav explained that the team is now determined to pursue further optimizations, which they believe could take Hyperledger Fabric’s capacity to 50,000 TPS.

The Hyperledger community has been expanding apace. In February, Intel launched a commercial package through the ecosystem. The package is designed for businesses that want to launch their own blockchain quickly and efficiently. Italy’s postal service, Poste Italiane, joined in January, following in the footsteps of America’s FedEx, which claimed the technology has “big, big implications” for supply chains and transportation. IBM is using its Hyperledger-based blockchain platform to improve supply chain management in the mining industry and ensure commodities such as cobalt are sourced responsibly.

Article Produced By
Thomas Simms

Thomas is a British reporter who loves all things breaking news and crypto. When out of the office, he also likes backgammon and gin.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/upgraded-hyperledger-fabric-sees-7-fold-increase-in-transaction-speed

Chris Corey