OTHER REVIEWED AIRDROPS:COINBASE — NR 1, DXCHAIN, ENERGI, AERUM, PRESEARCH, WINDHAN, QUARKCHAIN, DIGITEX FUTURES, BLOCKSTAMP, LATOKEN, SYNAPSE AI, CURVEBLOCK, FARM2KITCHEN, CYBERGAME, HYPERIONX, GRIFFEX, and many more…
SOCIALREMIT — Quick Guide to Airdrop.
SocialRemit is a new platform designed to provide emerging projects with financial and technological tools based on blockchain and impact in a positive way on society through the collaborative economy that aims to build decentralized autonomous platforms of high efficiency, betting that the participating community gets involved in the projects it finances, which will also serve to establish a structure for social marketing and promotion, where each project can be spread in the media, to take advantage over the competition between the highlighted projects and obtain financing from other users.
Visit the SocialRemit website and click on Airdrop.
Register and verify your mail.
Join their Telegram group and rest of social activities.
Submit and save all your social media links to your profile.
Talk to theTelegram Bot for even more CSR Tokens.
Earn CSR tokens for each referral.
~Please Clap 50 times if You like our articles, Like our Facebook Page, follow us on Reddit and Telegram
Over the past year, Bitcoin has blown beyond proportion and have become one facet of online trading and investments that individuals have been looking towards. While Bitcoin is an online currency that only a select few knew how to mine, this cryptocurrency has turned into something entirely viable for good investments. In spite of its growing popularity, there is still a lot of mystery and uncertainness surrounding this cryptocurrency.
What Are Bitcoins?
If you are thinking of investing in Bitcoin, or are planning to pay for something using Bitcoin, it is important for you to understand the intricacies of this currency. The fact that Bitcoin is an online currency is well known, but how does something that exists only in the virtual world function in our society?
To be able to properly understand this, we must trace back to the roots of Bitcoin and how they came into existence. A man named Santoshi Nakamoto first came up with the idea of creating an online currency back in 2009. During that time, the only currencies being used were the ones that were regulated by the government. This meant that there was a certain amount of government intervention with every transaction that was being undertaken. The inventor decided to create a software that would generate these coins through specific processes, that could then be used for transactions across the web.
At the time, the concept seemed so foreign that it only caught on in circles that were familiar with software development and networking. However, in the past two years, the thought of owning Bitcoin has spread even to those whose internet use is limited to Facebook and Youtube.
There are two main methods through which people are able to acquire Bitcoin. One of these is through Bitcoin mining, and the other is from Bitcoin trading. Bitcoin mining entails using a computer software to solve a series of algorithms and codes to be able to unveil Bitcoin. The second method of acquiring Bitcoin and the easier option for the common person is through trading.
There are a number of trading platforms that allow individuals to put in real-world currency and then convert that to Bitcoin. This is a form of trading that functions similar to that of the real world stock market and tends to see similar trends across different cryptocurrency options.
The main reason why Bitcoin can be traded with on a stock market-like platform is because of the way they are supposed to mimic real world or physical currency. Just like currency like dollars, yen, rupees, etc., Bitcoin has a certain transactional value that is held against it. Because they need to be bought, they need to have a certain conversion value that people can turn to when trying to convert one currency to another. If you log onto any trading platform, you will see the value of Bitcoin, which is generally shown in the form of dollars. This enables individuals to convert their government-issued currency to digital currency.
The method of mining Bitcoin is a bit more complex than stock market interactions. The main terminology that one needs to be familiar in this regard is blockchains. Contrary to popular belief, a blockchain isn’t a cryptocurrency by itself. It functions as a database that contains the information needed to be able to acquire Bitcoin. This is considered to central technology surrounding the concept of Bitcoin and is something that you should be familiar with.
The blockchain is one of the main reasons why Bitcoin has become viable in the first place. The importance of this is because of the very principles that Bitcoin was based on. Bitcoin isn’t regulated by anyone, or any government like real-world currencies are. There is no gatekeeper protecting the number of Bitcoin that are present in the world, which can make processing this increasingly tricky. A blockchain, in this instance, works as a decentralized database and tracks all of the information concerning Bitcoin transactions. The record that is created of this tends to be permanent, and cannot be altered by an external party in any manner.
The blockchain is also one of the reasons why Bitcoin isnot a hackable currency. Even though there are stills security risks that individuals face when using trading platforms and cryptocurrency wallets, the main centralized system cannot be compromised. It is an incredibly well-known fact that some of the biggest companies, organizations, and banks have been compromised by hackers in the past, and this is something that has had a significant impact on the workings of these institutions.
However, hacking a blockchain is an incredibly difficult task because of all that it entails. If a hacker wants to get information from a blockchain, they have to identify hundreds of computers and compromise them at the same kind, only to find one string of transaction data, which in most instances would provide them with information regarding an amount that is less than one Bitcoin. While there is no such thing as a completely secure system that is free from any kind of external hacking or intervention, blockchains do provide a layer of security that is not commonly found among banks and traditional institutions.
Uses For Bitcoin
Ever since Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies first started to make their way to the public, one of the biggest questions commonly asked was regarding what cryptocurrencies could be used for. While the concept of a cryptocurrency might be cool and intriguing to some, it wouldn’t be of much worth if it couldn’t be used for anything. Because cryptocurrencies are a digital currency, the manner in which one can use them tends to be limited in nature, at least till more avenues and applications for its use pop up.
As it stands, the retail and e-commerce industry is one of the biggest prospects where Bitcoin can actually be used. When the currency was first created, Nakamoto wanted to create a currency that could be used for a varied range of monetary transactions on a peer to peer level. The vision was to create a currency that could be applied to a host of different transactions, particularly when it came to the buying and selling of goods and services online. Since then, more and more retailers have been turning to cryptocurrencies and including these in the forms of payment that people can use.
If Bitcoin does want to evolve as a more well-used currency, their application needs to be prominent on a much wider scale than what it currently is. The retail industry is probably the best avenue for the growth of cryptocurrency, which is why analysts believe that this is the one sector that cryptocurrencies should be applied in is within the e-commerce industry. For cryptocurrencies to reach their true potential, they need to be used on a much wider scale, and the best way to do that is through e-commerce. The reasons why the retail industry is the perfect avenue for the growth of cryptocurrencies is because of the following:
1. Wider Acceptance
The reason why Bitcoin can flourish in the e-commerce industry is because of the inclusiveness that websites want to incorporate. When a brand starts up its e-commerce website, they want to be able to offer their customers with every possible payment option. This attracts a wider audience, thereby helping the brand as a whole.
Because of this, many e-commerce sites have already added Bitcoin as one of their options, thereby allowing customers to pay for goods in this form. This, in turn, leads to greater demand for Bitcoin, leading to it becoming one of the more prominent manners in which people can pay for goods and services.
2. E-Commerce Industries Rely On Innovation
Being innovative is essential for any company that wants to stand out on an online space. Because of the reduction of geographical borders, companies have to compete with others from around the world. The need to evolve and stay on top is a must, and therefore implementing Bitcoin in payment systems is one way to ensure that they are never left behind.
3. Fewer Transaction Fees Are Incurred
At the end of the day, an online site wants to make as much money as they can through their sales. Customers, on the other hand, want to pay as less as possible for the goods that they buy. When using traditional currency, there is a certain amount that has to be incurred as taxes on the amount that is paid and received. Because there are reduced transaction fees when using Bitcoin, it is something that can prove to be beneficial for the brand as well as the customers. This single factor has led to a much wider implementation of Bitcoin as a whole.
4. The Need For Easier Fund Transfers Is Prominent
The e-commerce industry has always wanted to make transactions and transfers as easy as possible. More often than not, fund transfers can take a long period to end up in a person’s account, especially if there is a certain amount of currency conversion involved in this process. Using Bitcoin is incredibly fast and lets the brand or seller get the money faster than they otherwise would. This has encouraged the use of Bitcoin on a much larger scale, thereby contributing to the growth of the cryptocurrency industry.
5. Growing International Markets
As we move towards more digitalized institutions, people and brands from all over the world can easily connect with each other without even moving from the comfort of their homes. For example, in the 1980s, if a person living in the United States wanted to get something from London, they would need to ask someone who was traveling there, or call up the store and wait several weeks or months for their package to arrive. With the internet and e-commerce industry, a person living in the United States can easily shop in a London based store and have the goods delivered to them in no time.
This, however, gives rise to a more pressing issue of currency conversion. The values of currencies differ based on the country that one lives in, which means that the amounts that they would have to pay are also dependent on those factors. Bitcoin eliminate the need to consider international currencies and provide one uniform rate, no matter which part of the world you live in. This has caused more people to turn towards these digital currencies, thereby pushing for the growth of the cryptocurrency market.
Crypto Token Talk, a podcast focused on innovations in blockchain and cryptocurrency, announces media partnership with CIS, the largest cryptocurrency event of 2019 in North America.
LOS ANGELES (as seen on PRWEB) FEBRUARY 28, 2019
Crypto Token Talk (CTT) announces a media partnership with Crypto Invest Summit (CIS) to speak with the event’s robust lineup of speakers and sponsors. Hosted by Kelley Weaver, CEO of Melrose PR, Crypto Token Talk is an educational on-ramp to cryptocurrency and blockchain innovations through interviews and conversations with leaders in the space.
CIS, one of the largest cryptocurrency events, will be returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center on April 9th and 10th. With a powerful lineup of top-tier figures in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, the two-day summit will be covering a wide range of topics touching on the trends, insights, developments, and strategies. Previous CIS industry experts include Steve Wozniak, Tim Draper, David Bleznak, David Siemer, Crystal Rose, and more.
“CIS has proven to be a top event in the space, with prominent thought leaders discussing important trends, issues, debates, and developments,” said Kelley Weaver. “Crypto Token Talk is really excited to take part in these meaningful conversations and help further the education and learning of cryptocurrency and blockchain.”
About Crypto Token Talk: Crypto Token Talk is a podcast focused on innovations in blockchain and cryptocurrency hosted by Kelley Weaver, CEO of Melrose PR. Each episode features an interview with an industry insider, expert, or project founder. Guests discuss everything from their journey into crypto to best use cases for the technology and predictions for the future. Appealing to newbies and seasoned veterans alike, Crypto Token Talk is an entertaining resource for all things crypto and blockchain.
About Goren Holm Group Goren Holm Group, led by Josef Holm and Alon Goren are industry pioneers, investors and producers of some of the top blockchain and cryptocurrency conferences in the world. Their backgrounds in venture capital, crowdfunding and online investment marketing technology make them uniquely equipped to service the digital securities revolution. Goren Holm Group, LLC and its principals manage Goren Holm Ventures (GHV) and also produce CIS, the world’s largest blockchain summit and expo as well as Security Token Summit, one of the top, most exclusive digital securities events.
Space is fascinating! The countless number of movies, series, and works of fiction that cover interstellar travels have a massive fanbase. Why would gaming be any exception? More galaxies mean more fun and more opportunities for you to become the Master of the Universe. So if your gaming heart skips a beat when you think about planets and spaceships, you may want to give ExoPlanets a try.
ExoPlanets is a blockchain game that revolves around scientifically accurate planets outside of our solar system. Players can own, sell and play with beautiful 3D planets that are taken directly from NASA’s database of confirmed known exoplanets — A treat for all space geeks and enthusiast, as the game is not only extremely fun, but educational as well! Each planet contains links to wikipedia articles and official confirmation forms on NASA’s database! This database currently contains around 3800 confirmed planets, which the game is bound to, meaning that only 3800 exoplanets will ever be created in the game (and on the blockchain), making every planet extremely unique, rare and valuable. Check out this quick introduction video of the game.
The purpose of the game is to dominate the galaxy by owning as many ExoPlanets as possible, evolving life on them from tiny organisms and all the way to intelligent civilizations capable of space exploration, upgrading tech bonuses, expanding your grasp of the galaxy, and mining resources in the form of the game’s ERC20 tokens — ExoTokens, which will allow you to further your galactic expansion.
Every ExoPlanet has 7 evolutionary levels, starting from a barren rock planet, evolving through water formation, photosynthesis-based life forms and all the way to an intelligent civilization with space exploration abilities. You will be able to see your ExoPlanet’s surface whenever you want and check how it looks in each evolutionary stage! The speed in which a planet evolves depends on a “Life Rate”, a basic stat that each ExoPlanet holds. The higher the life rate of an ExoPlanet, the faster it will evolve, and the more valuable it is.
The life rate of an ExoPlanet has a lot to do with CryptoMatch, the game’s special feature.
CryptoMatch is an in-game mechanism that matches an actual cryptocurrency from CoinMarketCap to your ExoPlanet. It will affect your ExoPlanet’s life rate in a good or bad way, depending on how your coin is performing on the real live cryptomarket that day. An exciting detail for adventurous souls.
Moreover, CryptoMatch can generate ExoTokens for you. For every 1% your matched cryptocoin gains, you earn 1 ExoToken. ExoTokens will drive the entire game’s ecosystem and you will need them to advance further in the game.
You can check out all the planets currently in the game here.
After you’re done with the evolution process and reach the space technology age, you can start launching spaceships in the game’s amazing and unique multiplayer. ExoPlanets is the first ever browser-based live 3D multiplayer game that is fully playable (heads up — it requires a mouse and keyboard to play). You will be able to control the spaceship that you launched from your ExoPlanet, explore space and land on small asteroids or resource planets and mine resources, which will then be converted to ExoTokens! Check out this gameplay video.
By mining resources daily you are proving that you are playing actively and working hard towards galactic domination. That is the game’s special Proof-Of-Gaming mechanism for balancing the game and its mining engine.
There are some other ways to generate ExoTokens, and you can read all about them here.
ExoPlanets in Lumi Collect
Lumi Collect has partnered up with ExoPlanets so you can now easily play the game and manage your planets on your mobile phone, explore the galaxy, check how your planet’s evolution is going, how many ExoTokens you have and more. Just download the app (available for iOS and Android), import your existing Ethereum wallet or create a new one (don’t forget about saving your mnemonic then), look for the game in the ‘Explore’ section, tap on it, and go on with your journey!
With Lumi Collect you can play Ethereum-powered blockchain games directly on your phone. The collection supports a variety of non-fungible tokens, so you can save them in one place. And of course, Lumi users can buy and sell their collectibles in a safe and easy way.
If you have questions/problems/suggestions, feel free to ping us on Telegram. To get more gaming news, recent updates, and other useful info follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit.
We are extremely humbled to share that we’ve received the green light from the BitMax team to publicly announce our impending listing on their platform. Our FTM token will be trade able in two markets, FTM/BTC and FTM/USDT.
⚠️ Only the exchange listings announced by the FANTOM team are official. We are not responsible for any issues in regards to unofficial exchange listings.
Aside from sharing our excitement about our listing on BitMax, we want to credit this listing to our loyal community member Sean (@NamasteCryptocurrency on telegram), Sean has helped us through the listing trajectory at BitMax from A to Z, leading to us being listed on BitMax for free. To incentivize Sean, we would like to publicly disclose that we will be providing the initial stake for a validator node which will be governed by Sean. Sean will be eligible for all the rewards of said validator node.
With this incentive we want to signal a shift in our view on community empowerment, we believe that the community could potentially turn out to be our strongest ecosystem partner and we want to leverage your skills and talents to bring Fantom more exchange listings and awareness.
Add the FTM token to your wallet
The process of adding the FTM token to your wallet is described in the following medium post:
Monero has a long and interesting history, intertwined with other blockchains that are still operating to this very day. It all started with a bitcointalk.org thread by user DStrange on the 12th of March 2014. The post brought up a secretive cryptocurrency named Bytecoin, and BD Ratings has previously written extensively about that project. In short, the coin was based on the new, privacy focused CryptoNote technology. Using the memory-bound CryptoNight Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm made the mining process CPU-friendly and thus ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) resistant. Anyone interested in a more detailed write-up on Bytecoin’s beginnings should read the mentioned articles, as well as the famous investigation by BCT user rethink-your-strategy.
As DStrange posted and interacted in his new BCT thread, around 82% of all Bytecoin had already been mined. That was what prompted other interested thread participants to question the legitimacy of Bytecoin and suggest cloning the code base in order to re-set the coin distribution in a new blockchain. With Bitcoin, anyone could more or less decide to mine early since the project was public from the very first block. With Bytecoin, the public could only take note once a large majority of all BCN had already been mined. User thankful_for_today started a new BCT thread that announced Bitmonero — a CryptoNote based copy of Bytecoin with a complete chain reset in order to achieve the sought after fair coin distribution. This occurred 9th of April 2014, less than a month after DStrange made the public aware of Bytecoin.
A Bitmonero genesis block got published on April 18th, 2014. Some tweaks had been made in the utilized Bytecoin code, resulting in a much lower supply than Bytecoin’s ~185B coins. As the rushed launch proceeded, voices were raised over multiple issues with how it was done. The network launched without any GUI, meaning less tech-savvy miners were excluded. There was no vote on the name Bitmonero either which was not well received by some. And lastly, the reduced block time from two minutes to one minute was an initial subject of discussion as well, yet thankful_for_today ignored that and went ahead with the parameter change without fully elaborating on his choice.
After only operating for a couple of days, the Bitmonero blockchain came to a halt as a bug in the block generation code prohibited a specific block to get accepted by the network. The Bitmonero client was promptly patched and the transaction causing the problems could be confirmed. A small, growing community initiated the first Bitmonero OTC trades while setting its eyes on plans for open source pool software, a GUI wallet, a faucet and exchange listings. Hash rate slowly came trickling from Bytecoin miners.
On April 20th 2014, the Bitmonero fork HoneyPenny was announced by crypto_zoidberg. The project, later renamed Boolberry, made changes to the PoW mechanism as well as included a developer tax. Only 4 days later, a new thread showed up with a proposal to rename Bitmonero to simply Monero — Esperanto for the word money. As thankful_for_today barely interacted with the Bitmonero thread participants anymore, early supporters and contributors like smooth, tacotime and eizh converged on the new Monero thread instead. A while later, the break with thankful_for_today became apparent for everyone. The small mutiny was over with barely a fight.
As soon as consensus formed around the name Monero (XMR), an emission curve bug was found. The main implication of the bug was that XMR coins were minted at twice the planned pace, which in practice caused the emission curve to get more skewed than for example Bitcoin’s. As the main rationale for ‘re-starting’ a chain with essentially Bytecoin’s code base was the large premine, this bug had the initial unfortunate effect of casting small doubts on the initial mining of Monero as well, even though total mintage at the time was minuscule compared to future supply. Developers started thinking about fair solutions to the unwanted emission curve change while yet another Monero thread was posted, in the proper place on BCT this time.
Only 2 days later on the 26th of April 2014, JointEffort Coin, later renamed FantomCoin, was announced as a CryptoNote coin with Bytecoin and Monero merge mining capabilities. The launch was supported by thankful_for_today, as well as multiple sock puppets that BD Ratings previously mapped in its Bytecoin research. It was now evident that there was a struggle going on for the vacuum created from Bytecoin’s premine failure. Around this time, Monero total hashrate overtook that of its tainted mother chain. Monero was also listed on an exchange for the first time.
In June 2014, updates to the Monero client made deterministic wallets based on a mnemonic seed possible. That meant a user, when creating a new wallet, also got 24 words that could be used to fully restore it. In yet another update, the Monero team announced the first professional peer review of the whitepaper. Some new features on the Boolberry chain was integrated to Monero as well.
Attacks, Sockpuppets and Governance
The late summer saw spam attacks on Monero. On 4th of September 2014, a bug in the Monero code base was exploited by an attacker and caused the blockchain to unintentionally fork into two. Exchanges quickly halted XMR trading while Monero core developers started an investigation in what had happened. Blockchain security expert Peter Todd came out criticizing the CryptoNote code base for being messy. One interesting aspect of the exploit is that it was perceived by many to be advanced enough to come from the anonymous CryptoNote creators themselves, or at least from a team extremely well versed with the code base. There were no evidence of this however. The 0.8.8.3 emergency release countered the attack. On September 20th, BCT user BitcoinEXpress threatened to exploit a fatal bug in the Monero code base, which resulted in an immediate price crash. Panic spread among some Monero supporters while core developers demanded evidence of the threat actually being real. The attack never happened.
A couple of months later, a per-kb feature was implemented with the 0.8.8.5 release, making Monero transaction fees less static. In May 2015, fluffypony and the rest of the teamstarted to formalize aspects of Monero governance. In July 2015, unknown miners obtained more than 50% of current hash rate, which caused alarm for some. Yet, ‘unknown’ did not equal a single miner or mining pool so no real threat was actually proven to be true. 2015 also saw progress with Kovri, a project aiming to sever the link of nodes broadcasting transactions and their IP addresses. Other than these developments, 2015 was a somewhat quiet year for Monero. No new release came out.
2015 was however, as indicated above, the year when Monero developers started to think hard about what type of governance — if any — they ought to apply to the project. The idea was that since it was common knowledge that the Monero blockchain had to hardfork in the future to achieve stronger fungibility (for example through RingCT implementation), the community might as well set up some structure. Main scenario was a hardfork every 6 months, either around 15th of March or 15th of September. Consensus among the developers landed on a balance between community consensus on the one hand, and core developers acting as “benevolent dictators for life” on the other. In other words, something in between “design by committee”, and “design by Wikipedia”, as the team put it in the year-in-review missive. A process for implementing new ideas or features was implemented, and included community discussions as well as core team meetings with a formalized internal voting system.
The Code Base gets Molded
On 1st of January 2016, version 0.9 (nicknamed Hydrogen Helix) was released. Major completed milestones were for example the move from an in-RAM database to a backend-agnostic blockchain database of the type that most full node operators have gotten used to today. Support was added for OpenAlias, a project aimed at decreasing the distance between complicated cryptocurrencies and new users by aliasing public addresses. A hard fork mechanism was implemented, and block time changed to 2 minutes —the setting the original CryptoNote developers had originally chosen. Lastly, two Monero Research Labs recommendations, MLR-0001 and MLR-0004 were implemented, strengthening defenses against untraceability degradation. In total, 922 commits worth of work by 9 contributors were implemented, resulting in probably the biggest release in Monero’s history up until then.
Just two weeks after the major release, on January 15th 2016, Monero was attacked yet again. A specific check had been omitted that allowed for new-version blocks to be added to the network prior to the actual hard fork block height (which were to occur in March 2016). As the attacker intentionally published a new type of block (by tweaking client software) instead of waiting for the hardfork block height, the chain split in two: one where miners ran 0.9 and one where miners ran older software versions. A mandatory 0.9.1 release quickly got published, and seems to have included checkpoints.
As the planned March 2016 hardfork approached, vulnerabilities in 0.9.1 were discovered, which prompted the hasty release of 0.9.2 on March 17th. 5 days later, 0.9.3. was released to fix database corruption issues. Finally, the fourth bug fix release, 0.9.4, was released on April 2nd.
On September 19th 2016, the much anticipated 0.10.0 Wolfram Warptangent version of Monero was released. The major feature of the release was Ring Confidential Transactions (or RingCT), which not only hid the destination and origin of transactions but also the amount sent. Hardfork date was scheduled to January 2017 and would activate RingCT on mainnet. Such transactions would however not be enforced until another future upgrade. The release also included bug fixes, performance improvements and smarter packaging of the blockchain database.
In preparation for the RingCT hardfork, a 0.10.1 version was released on 13th of December 2016. Added features were paving way for GUI support, fully dynamic fees, as well as general RingCT performance improvements. The first beta of the Monero Core GUI was released soon thereafter, causing the threshold to join the network to shrink considerably. Since Monero was not simply a clone of Bitcoin, a GUI had to be built from scratch.
Further bug fixes and RingCT performance improvements was introduced in 0.10.2 on 23rd February, 2017. Preparing for a hardfork on April 15th, the Monero team released 0.10.3 less than a month prior to that event. The hardfork, including a modification of the dynamic block size limiter algorithm, became necessary after adoption of the optional RingCT feature had been higher than anticipated. Such transactions were large in size and therefore bloated blocks quicker.
In what has to be one of the most questionable timings in cryptocurrency history, Zcash and non-Zcash researchers released a Monero de-anonymization paper just hours before the planned April hardfork. This research seems to have built upon findings already known to and published by Monero core developers, who disagreed with the sensational spin put on the whole issue by cryptocurrency news outlets. An unofficial response to the published research can be found here.
Hyper-Inflation Threats and Better Anonymity
On May 17th 2017, a major CryptoNote bug was disclosed by Monero developers, affecting all coins built on that code base. It was discovered and patched in secret long before the disclosure in order to reduce the risk of having a bad actor exploiting it. The implications of the bug were every cryptocurrency project’s worst nightmare — the possibility of undetected issuance of unlimited coins. Luckily, knowledge of the bug’s nature made it possible to at least run retroactive checks on whether it had actually been exploited or not, and it hadn’t. This event cast light on an issue that is especially relevant for privacy-focused cryptocurrencies; the way these blockchains are constructed makes it much harder to in a short period of time discover new, unplanned coin issuance. It has historically affected both Zcash and Monero.
On 7th of September 2017, the 0.11.0 release — nicknamed Helium Hydra — was released, paving the way for the planned hardfork on 15th of September. This hardfork made RingCT transactions mandatory, which practically enforced network anonymity for all participants. It also changed certain RingCT parameters (like minimum number of mixins/ring size) in an attempt to increase anonymity further, and added a Vulnerability Response Process with belonging bug bounties. 2017 ended with a clear goal in mind — the integration of Bulletproofs on Monero, with intended result of getting a much more efficient way to handle range proofs which at that time made up the bulk of a Monero transaction’s size.
Bulletproofs and ASIC Threats
The stance of Monero core developers on ASIC resistance further formalized in early 2018. As the original CryptoNote developers early on understood that PoW networks could be vulnerable to centralization through the manufacture and use of ASIC’s, they decided to code the memory bound CryptoNight algorithm to accompany the code base. By making the mining algorithm memory bound instead of just demanding SHA256 hashes, they inherently made it much harder (i.e. expensive) to create the application specific hardware, which practically resulted in a longer time frame where regular CPU and GPU mining could earn users coins. By continuing on this ‘egalitarian’ path of mining, Monero developers entrenched a type of decentralization (through a multitude of solo miners) where no single mining entity could too easily be ordered to stop or revert certain transactions. Furthermore, Monero developers also laid out a clear doctrine of emergency hardforks to curb any potential ASIC threat. This signaled to mining hardware manufacturers that their R&D might be better spent with focus on other cryptocurrencies in mind.
Another aspect of the Monero blockchain that in 2018 continued in its formalization was governance. It was argued that utter and complete decentralization was so far unfeasible, given factors such as Monero domains, management of the code base, stewarding donation funds, and having a coherent plan for the project going forward. With that said, the formalization also laid out general points on what power the Monero core developers ought not have. It was not diverting from how the project had been run earlier; the attempted balance between a committee of technical experts and a broader stakeholder community was still kept intact.
In March, follow-up research on Monero traceability was published. This research empirically detailed weaknesses mainly with how Monero mixin/decoy selection worked. In a response, Monero developers agreed with most findings. By including very old inputs as decoys, it became easier to guess which of the ring signature inputs were the real transaction (the newest one). Also, the inclusion of publicly de-anonymized outputs as decoys increased traceability probabilities as well. What Monero developers found puzzling however was the fact that the authors failed to report that most of found weaknesses had already been acknowledged, though maybe not yet accounted for in code.
In preparation for an April fork, Lithium Luna 0.12.0 was released to the public on March 24th, 2018. The version increases the minimum ring signature size from 5 to 7 (meaning 6 mixins/decoys) while also tweaking the PoW algorithm slightly to counter ASIC’s. The PoW tweak can be considered the first fruit of the earlier mentioned Monero doctrine of ASIC resistance focus. Other welcomed additions were multisig support, initial support for Ledger Nano S and an initial Bulletproofs implementation on testnet. Bulletproofs did not only reduce general transaction size; by utilizing Non-Interactive Zero Knowledge Proofs, the scheme could also mitigate the need for a trusted setup akin to Zcash’s Powers of Tao ceremony. The main trade-off for Monero in the case of Bulletproofs seems to have been a more time consuming verification of transactions. In any case, as the fork activated, Monero hashrate drastically decreased, indicating that the chain shook of a number of ASIC miners.
After Lithium Luna, the Monero developers and community continued their focus on ASIC’s and their implications on the integrity of Monero’s CryptoNight consensus mechanism. Bulletproofs were also finally pushed towards mainnet with the Beryllium Bullet 0.13.0 release, published on October 11th, 2018. Due to this change, transaction size were estimated to decrease by 80%. The actual fork activated 7 days later, as planned. Additional improvements were a global increase of ringsize to 11, a second PoW algorithm update to counter ASIC’s, as well as a number of bug fixes. 58 people contributed to the release.
2019 began with more concerns regarding mining pools and ASIC’s. In a short period of time, the amount of ‘unknown’ (not known, public pools) hashrate on the network climbed considerably. More and more research pointed to ASIC’s or so called FPGA’s.
The Monero team also discussed the future implementation of optional pruning. Blockchain pruning is the mitigation of supposedly unnecessary data from local storage. The effect on Monero would be a blockchain size decrease from, in one given example, around 65GB of data to 25GB of data. Pruned nodes would still contribute to the total security and decentralization of the blockchain.
On the 25th of February 2019, Boron Butterfly 0.14.0 was released, preparing the network for an upgrade/hardfork on 9th of March. This major version included a third PoW change to CryptoNight-R, a new block weight algorithm to counter a ‘big bang attack’ vulnerability, more efficient RingCT signatures as well as bug fixes. Closely after the new software release, the Monero Vulnerability Response group received a disclosure of a wallet bug affecting mainly exchanges and other service providers. This vulnerability was quickly patched and are now included in the latest release. Finally, the FFS (Forum Funding System) got an upgrade and rebranded to Community Crowdfunding System (CCS).
At the time this article is published, Monero is just a day from hard forking. BD Ratings expects to see a sharp drop in total hashrate as ASIC’s are temporarily bricked from the network.
The Monero network currently processes around 3000 transactions per day — a decline of around 70% from 2017 top levels. This is not indicative of Monero but a result of cold cryptocurrency markets in general. In any case, 3000 transactions per day is not that much considering the value of the project as a whole. Due to the untraceable nature of transactions, they are also larger and more expensive, which hinders total economic activity. It is possible to have second layer solutions on top of Monero, but they are so far no where in sight.
Stretching over 2000 pages, the Monero bitcointalk.org thread is a testimony to the level of awareness cryptocurrency enthusiasts share when it comes to the project. People even remotely interested in cryptocurrencies know about it, which is why it needs no marketing. Looking at the Monero subreddit, it is evidently very active, with a very high standard of what type of discussions are going on; there seems to be little of price discussion (relegated to other subreddits) and marketing in general, and more about future forks, client issues and ecosystem implications with regards to external events. Deeper research on the subject placed Monero at #4 most active cryptocurrency community. The relatively new tradition of having ‘Skepticism Sundays’ threads — places to discuss what is not great with Monero — is a welcome addition to the space.
As discussions on dishonesty usually falls under the Ecology section, BD Ratings wants to elaborate on a few things here. First off, Monero was born in the shadow of the probable 82% ‘ninjamine’ Bytecoin scam. The very logic of taking the CryptoNote codebase and restart with a new genesis block was to counter dishonesty and greed. A long red line of above-average ethical conduct has imprinted itself in the Monero ecosystem and there are few, if any, noteworthy examples of unsound developer behavior. For example, early on in the project’s history, discussions were had about a small developer tax to fund core developers. No such schemes were ever implemented, and Monero developers in a vast majority of cases instead got funded by community members on a voluntary basis via the FFS. Additionally, the emission curve of Monero was early on modeled after Bitcoin, meaning early miners (and developers) did not see an abundance of supply hitting their addresses the first months following genesis block. This emission curve changed slightly due to a bug, suddenly causing XMR to be mined quicker than Bitcoin, but it still was not enough to alone concentrate XMR tokens in too few hands. Monero developers had a discussion how the issuance could be adjusted to the old, more conservative model, but as no consensus formed on the issue, they left it.
What are the chances that the Bitcoin ecosystem is to absorb economic activity from Monero after hypothetically implementing anonymity features? They are probably slim, as adding full fungibility for layer one Bitcoin transactions would demand large changes to the code base. Any large changes would likely cause a rift among the conservative Bitcoin stakeholders and consensus would be a very hard goal to achieve. No, BD Ratings is of the opinion that Monero will continue to be the leading initiative of privacy coins.
Reasons: Active community. Not a considerable number of on-chain transaction. Extremely good culture with regards to ethical development and conduct.
The number of active GitHub contributors is just one of many measurements on the technical capabilities of a cryptocurrency, but it is a start. It is evident that Monero has a large team, with as many as 40 active contributors interacting with the GitHub repositories. All GitHub contributors throughout the years number over 200. Worth mentioning is that these number ought to be in the lower end as some contributors are ‘invisible’ with regards to GitHub, and publish their contributions elsewhere. A longer list of Monero contributors can be found here. The number of commits seems stable enough as well.
Not only does Monero attract a large number of developers; already from its early years, focus has been on peer review by external academics. One version of the annotated CryptoNote whitepaper can be found here. The independent body of work by Monero Research Lab additionally strengthens the technical capabilities of the blockchain. Looking at Monero’s history, it is evident that core developers accept logic and the scientific method in that they are quick to implement research recommendations, even when they come with a somewhat hostile delivery.
As the Monero codebase is around 5 years old at time of writing, it can be considered way above average battle tested. BD Ratings detailed multiple historical occurrences of attacks on the network — all of which has so far been thwarted. Further strengthening efforts have been made with smaller, voluntary bug bounties that have paid out regularly.
As the project was wrestled from thankful_for_today, the Monero developers inherited a never ending supply issuance. From a technical blockchain construction perspective, this may very well be necessary, especially for a blockchain that is currently nowhere near Bitcoin in its popularity and utilization. A constant block reward does come with the necessary planning for decades ahead, not just months or a few years.
The first technical issue BD Ratings has with Monero is the implications of its ASIC resistance doctrine. It should be underlined that from a decentralization point of view, the regularly scheduled hardforks including PoW changes is most probably a large net positive — something that is discussed later on in the article. From a technical standpoint however, each tweak of the PoW algorithm ought to come with a probability of unintended consequences. These tweaks are obviously conducted on a testnet first, but lacking enough economical incentives to seriously attack such a testnet, bugs might transfer over to mainnet and ultimately disrupt the network in a number of ways. The choice of how PoW should be tweaked might also become an issue of contention in the future, where a network split would be one worst case scenario.
Reasons: Active GitHub. Many active developers, among them academics. Peer review of certain code. Sound financial incentive plan for miners. Risk of unintended consequences with PoW changes.
The large number of code contributors effectively decentralizes Monero. It reduces the risk that a few good developers choosing to leave the project would result in a much weaker code base maintenance. Additionally, the fact that some of the core developers are anonymous counters legal attack surfaces as well where jurisdictions go after certain individuals.
Known mining pool hashrate distribution currently looks non-threatening. The worrying fact is however the 69% hashrate block that origins from unknown miners, which could consist of very few or many entities. This number can be confirmed through a second source.
If anyone doubted the initial effectiveness of the Monero ASIC resistance doctrine, that doubt should have eased as the first PoW tweak occurred in April 2018. As already mentioned earlier, total network hashrate quickly decreased by around 50%, which is both impressive and scary at the same time. The ASIC hash that disappeared was clearly powerful and possibly a threat to Monero’s integrity. From a decentralization point of view, the formalization of these ‘shake-offs’ are increasing decentralization by protecting the chain against large ASIC manufacturing companies or their wealthy customers. But there are strong indications the strategy is not keeping up with reality, and that ASIC manufacturers recapture hashrate share quickly.
Well-known cryptocurrency researcher Emin Gun Sirer is of the opinion that ASIC resistance is undesirable, and he is not alone in viewing an ASIC resistance doctrine as a futile attempt. If said ASIC’s have nowhere else to go than the chain they were built for, it can obviously make sense to accommodate them, but if they do, PoW changes can very well be the only option. BD Ratings is still of the opinion that far too little time has passed for the algo-change strategy to be deemed long term feasible. ASIC manufacturers might guess where the PoW tweaks are headed, they might try to bribe developers involved with PoW selection, or future PoW tweakers themselves might adjust the algorithm in a way that maximize own personal gain. The constant state of readiness the Monero core developers are in with regards to PoW changes is absolutely sub-optimal. It will be very interesting to see if the Autumn hardfork can apply a new PoW algorithm family to the network — RandomX being one example often mentioned.
Well-known cryptographer Greg Maxwell had, from a scaling point of view, early critique against Monero’s ring signature scheme. His main point was that transactions utilizing ring signatures to mask the sender’s identity had the obvious drawback of getting large in size, which is true. This was however long before Bulletproofs were implemented on Monero, and also long before blockchain pruning features were worked on. As with many concerns over blockchain scaling, innovativeness of smart developers have time and time again surprised us all with solutions. Obviously, BD Ratings is tracking the size of the Monero blockchain and how easy it is to run a full node (also non-pruned) in general. And so far, it should not concern us more than future possibilities of other aspects of centralization that are already more prevalent in the space.
On the issue of having just one implementation of Monero, BD Ratings does not come to the exact same conclusions as Monero developers. By having only one implementation, Monero favors blockchain security and reliability — both aspects that Peter Todd argued for as well when commenting on Ethereum’s multi-implementation approach. It is certainly logical that multiple implementations increase the risk of unintentional consensus failures (forks). But from a decentralization point of view, having multiple, separate developer teams maintaining their own clients are favorable since it partly distributes the power that goes with socially delegated blockchain code base development and maintenance. In other words, the chosen setup makes Monero slightly more centralized to the benefit of blockchain stability and reliability.
Monero’s continuous formalization of what can be considered ‘weak governance’ is in line with what BD Ratings deems a feasible model that strikes a balance between efficiency and decentralization. The Monero core developers have explicitly stated that they should not be seen as a central point of failure for the project, and that the community always ought to consider the possibility of ‘taking’ the project from them should they have gone rogue. In one recent post about governance, they clearly outline this option and likens it to an event from the project’s inception, where thankful_for_today was ousted by the broader community.
In line with the weak governance model, developers have historically been self funded through FFS, which is an impressive feat in a sea of currencies with large pre-mines, mining taxes and top-down decisions of seignorage. By keeping funding separate from the inherent blockchain structure itself, Monero has managed to dispose of such points of possible future failures where entities systemically solidify control over funding channels.
Reasons: Large developer team with weak governance model. ASIC resistance doctrine. Project self funding through community efforts. Large, unknown hash.
Monero has no maximum supply like Bitcoin’s 21 million. In practice however it makes no sense to focus on the ‘infinite supply’ property itself, but to instead look at the emission curve. Currently, almost 17 million XMR have been minted, and total new issuance is heading down towards very low numbers such as 1% of total supply, far below that of gold — by far the worlds most valuable decentralized value protocol. The continuous, disinflationary emission is not to be confused with a Keynesian setup, but should instead be seen as a pragmatic approach to uncertainties concerning a future fee market around empty block space. By having a continuous block reward, the mining subsidy is made permanent, ensuring some long term security for the blockchain at the expense of stakeholders storing value on the Monero value protocol. BD Ratings is very open to the possibility that this might be a better emission scheme than Bitcoin’s, which is slightly more of a shot in the dark. No one can really predict all implications of a finite supply since there is no way to know how fast cryptocurrency adoption is coming.
With the above said, total Monero market cap at time of writing is around USD 854M. Accounting for supply issuance in the coming years, the total valuation is rounded up to around USD 1B, which puts Monero on approximately #13 on coinmarketcap.com. This is a slightly lower valuation than total Zcash valuation. Compared to Bitcoin, Monero marketcap amounts to around 1.5%, which still is a considerable value.
Unlike many, if not all, other major privacy coins, Monero transactions are mandatory private through the enforced RingCT scheme. This causes network participants to give up a small degree of freedom to the benefit of general privacy. The reason why this is accepted by the community is that public transactions with zero decoys decrease the untraceability also for transactions with decoys. So, by forcing all transactions to be private, Monero has, unlike most other coins, carved out a space for itself in the competition to become the go-to private value protocol.
There are not only positives with how Monero is attempting to create untraceable money. Should a bug cause someone to be able to issue new XMR from nowhere, the untraceability is obviously of great concern since it makes the whole affair much harder to deal with and then patch. These scenarios are referred to as infinite inflation bugs and would erode all value of the network should one be exploited undetected for too long. The risk is very real and intertwines with Technology factors as well as it would destroy all incentives for miners to continue looking for new blocks.
The self-funding of developer efforts instead of establishing some kind of developer tax through pre-mining or block taxes has the effect that the XMR token is not diluted in this way. Whether such schemes are always negative or not can be debated (they might not always be if they are limited in scope, and funds are put to good use through bug bounties, audits and developer recruitment), but all else being equal, they certainly captures value from other network participants at that given time.
Reasons: Not very low valuation compared to Bitcoin. Risk of infinite inflation bugs. No premines, block taxes or or seignorage. Competitive inflation.
Leading Social Investing Platform EToro Launches Crypto Services in 31 US States
[CoinTelegraph] Exchange and social network for investors and traders eToro has launched its cryptocurrency trading services in the United States, according to a press release shared by the company with Cointelegraph on March 7.
The exchange, which — per the release — has over 10 million registered users, will start facilitating the trade of 13 unspecified crypto assets and release a cryptocurrency multisignature wallet to customers in 31 U.S. states and territories.
The wallet will support Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Stellar (XLM) and Ripple (XRP), and will enable users to send and receive the supported assets. According to the release, support for more cryptocurrencies will be added to the wallet in the future.
Bitcoin (BTC) Price Watch: Bullish Break Above $4,000 Looming
[newsbtc.com] After a strong upward move above the $3,850 level, bitcoin price started consolidating gains against the US Dollar. The BTC/USD pair tested the $3,900 resistance on a couple occasions and later corrected lower. It declined below the $3,850 level, but downside were limited. The last swing low was formed at $3,831 before the price recovered above $3,840. There was a break above the 50% Fib retracement level of the recent slide from the $3,892 high to $3,831 low.
However, the price is currently facing a strong resistance near the $3,880 and $3,890 levels. Besides, the 76.4% Fib retracement level of the recent slide from the $3,892 high to $3,831 low is acting as a resistance. More importantly, there is a symmetrical triangle pattern formed with resistance at $3,880 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair. Therefore, it seems like the pair is setting up for the next break, which could be above $3,880. If there is a successful close above $3,880 and $3,900, the price may surge higher towards the $4,000 resistance level.
Antalya Homes accepts Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ethereum (ETH) as payment for property sales in Turkey
[bitcoinist.com] All over the world, the real estate industry is taking note of how profitable it is to sell real estate with Bitcoin. For example, leading Turkish real estate agency Antalya Homes reports that it sold nine properties using Bitcoin as payment in 2018.
Accepting cryptocurrencies reflects Antalya Homes’ mission of embracing global trends by offering buyers “more flexibility for ease of purchase.” In the press release of March 5, 2019, Bayram Tekce, Chairman of Antalya Homes stated:
“Payment with cryptocurrency enables a more reliable and faster transaction performance such as money transfer between bank accounts without any exchange loss. It is very profitable to purchase real estate for those who want to utilize their cryptocurrency investments in the real estate sector.”
Fidelity announces Bitcoin (BTC) custody service live with select group of eligible clients
[ambcrypto.com] Fidelity Digital Assets, digital asset solution branch of the largest asset management firm, Fidelity Investments, announced that its Bitcoin custody service has gone live with “a select group of eligible clients”, earlier today on their official Twitter handle. The firm, aiming at providing custodial services to institutional investors, first made an announcement regarding this news in late January. Here, they stated that have selected clients to whom they will be serving their initial solutions.
The announcement on Twitter read:
“We are live with a select group of eligible clients and will continue rolling out slowly. Our solutions are focused on the needs of hedge funds, family offices, pensions, endowments, other institutional investors.”
BookMauritiusHotels Now Accepts Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash for Payments Through BitPay: XRP, ETH and LTC Coming Soon
[Dailyhodl.com] BookMauritiusHotels, an online travel agency specializing in reservation and booking of hotels, luxury villas, luxury serviced apartments, guest houses and self-catering properties in Mauritius (a major up-market tourist destination), announced the company is accepting Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash for payment for travel services from BitPay, the largest global blockchain payments provider.
The ability to accept Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash expands BookMauritiusHotels into international markets where accepting credit cards is not practical. The company benefits by adding Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash to the payment options while reducing high fees and increasing payment transparency and efficiency.
Imperative to the products we are building is the user adoption of the RISE collection of API libraries. This would be achieved through rolling out optimized versions of our existing APIs with comprehensive documentation, guides and user resources. With this in mind, we are also looking to explore how to make these available for educational institutions to appeal to aspiring blockchain developers. One objective would be for teachers to include RISE APIs in their curriculum and for students to start engaging with the RISE blockchain. As a whole we strive to build an exclusive developers community within the RISE ecosystem.
The team started working on taking the RISE platform and network to a new level of advanced scalability. This is directly tied to the objective for RISE to be able to accommodate the high volume of transactions expected to be generated by mobile decentralized applications (DAPPs) found in the upcoming Rise Mobile App Store. An important step in the right direction has been made by our entire RISE Core Code Base being rewritten in TypeScript. A key element to the expansion of RISE ensuring we will be able to accommodate new businesses to be built on the RISE blockchain is to develop Side-Chain technology.
Furthermore, we are working on releasing Ledger support for RISE, which is a hardware wallet solution: https://www.ledgerwallet.com/
A key milestone for RISE Vision PLC in 2017 was the official incorporation as a business in blockchain friendly Gibraltar. This allows for RISE to move forward into 2018 with a solid foundation and under governance for distributed ledger technology putting consumer protection at the forefront of the business.
This year RISE grew the team with people who will be the driving force to take the business into 2018. RISE expanded in the areas of technology and product development, marketing and community.
The core RISE development team has a diverse range of skills and experience in various code languages, mobile apps and Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) blockchain technology. This background will help accelerate development in key areas for the RISE platform in 2018.
In marketing, RISE will be focusing on educating users and the wider ecosystem about its vision for offering incubator projects together with creating and executing a longer term marketing strategy for 2018.
The RISE community managers continue to focus on user engagement and listening to our existing community, whilst trying to grow members in new regions through networks, social media and marketing channels. We thank our entire team for all their hard work in 2017.
One of the most exciting additions to the business for 2018, will be MJ DeMarco as a Strategic Business Advisor to RISE Vision. MJ is an entrepreneur and author of international bestsellers ‘the Millionaire Fastlane’ and ‘Unscripted’. MJ will be a major asset for future RISE projects, as we begin to build businesses on top of the RISE blockchain.
RISE took part in several meetups, such as CryptoCamp with our friends from PIVX, and this was a great opportunity to share with people what RISE is building. These informal meetups are a great forum for collaboration and learning, therefore we hope to organize and attend more in 2018. We also attended conferences, such as WebSummit, the largest technology conference in the world and this allowed us to network with people who will be able to support in executing our vision. To kick off 2018 we will be sponsoring London Blockchain Week in January and many more events throughout the year.
We at RISE recognise that we need to be both more visual and participate in the plethora of tech, blockchain and cryptocurrency events worldwide in 2018. As RISE gains momentum and achieves business objectives we look forward to telling our vision to the masses.
Thank you RISE community for a great 2017 and we are excited to have you along for the journey in 2018!
The world wide web — the internet you, I and billions of others rely on — is broken. Defunct. If it were an elevator, there would be an Out of Order sign swinging from its doors. And yet we doggedly persevere, convincing ourselves that the internet we’ve got is just fine.
We didn’t listen when the fathers of the internet declared their creation to be broken. It’s not that we didn’t respect Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf; it’s just that the truth hurts, even when it comes from such luminaries. So instead we buried our heads in the sand and our faces in Facebook and tried to carry on as normal.
A short, sharp shock
Oh, the warning signs were there alright, that everything wasn’t quite right in Internet Land. May 2013, when NSA contractor Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong with a trove of classified documents which revealed the reach of the global surveillance industry. That was a wake-up call alright. For months, we were glued to those headlines as dragnet operation after dragnet operation came to light, each eroding a little more of our privacy and personal freedom. The revelations have scarcely stopped since, with 2017 seeing the release of Vault 7, Wikileaks files revealing the extent of the CIA’s cyber warfare capacity.
We were going to stop using Yahoo, we averred, after it emerged that one billion accounts had been compromised. Google too, after reports emerged of the NSA tapping into their data hubs. Switch to an encrypted email provider. Petition our congressman for a repeal of warrantless surveillance. We had such good intentions. Empowered and incensed, we were going to take back our freedom and make the web a safer and more discreet place for all.
But then…but then nothing. Everything just petered out and went back to normal. It was as if nothing had ever happened. It’s not that we were lazy or brainwashed or incapable. It’s just that change is uncomfortable. Disruption is — wait for it — disruptive and requires new behaviors that feel alien at first. The status quo, on the other hand, is warm and comfortable. It’s what we’ve always known and, for all its flaws, it works. Sort of. Some of the time.
Sure, we’re forced to endure untrustworthy corporations selling our data to governments, and governments spying on our every action, and centralized databases containing our personal details being hacked on a regular basis, but that’s just the trade-off we make for the sake of progress, right?
Dear citizens of the internet, what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? That there’s a better way of doing business, one which doesn’t call for sacrificing your security or the convenience you’ve become accustomed to? There’s a new paradigm that has the potential to save us all and restore our right to privacy and security.
Yeah, you’ve heard that word before and you might even have experienced decentralization in action, whether it was purchasing a decentralized cryptocurrency or acquiring goods on a P2P marketplace. But when I invoke the D-word, I’m not talking explicitly about distributed ledgers. Nor am I talking about P2P platforms with a UX that looks like a command line and a 9,000-page manual to master. Decentralization doesn’t have to mean forgoing the comforts you’re accustomed to.
Rebuilding the web, one block at a time
If dentralization is to wrestle control from the oligarchies that run our internet, it needs to be workable. Nimble. Accessible. And understandable to the average layman or woman on the web. It’s a big ask, but it’s one I firmly believe to be within our reach. I believe it’s possible to leverage decentralization to create a better internet, one where the power resides with the many and not just the few. The decentralized web is all about handing data back to its rightful owner — the end user.
A place where everyone controls their own data and no one is beholden to monopolies, despotic regimes, careless and faceless corporations, hackers, scammers, and bad actors. Everyone who would like to steal, surveil, and sell your data in other words. Centralization also raises the question of who owns your data and the services you pay for. Do you truly own your smartphone, for example, or are you effectively leasing it from a company who can withdraw the service at a moment’s notice? As demonstrated by the case of Apple slowing the performance of its older iPhones, there are dangers with being beholden to a single service provider who calls the shots.
That’s not to say that organizations possessing your data is necessarily a bad thing; in fact it’s a basic requisite to doing business on the web. Suppose you decided to allow a charitable foundation to access your data for the purposes of making a donation, for example. On the centralized web, you are largely powerless to dictate what third parties do with this information. On the decentralized web, you’re able to consent to your data being used while still retaining control of it.
The difference is that decentralization allows you to retain control of your personal information, right down to determining where it is stored. Think Siacoin instead of Dropbox in other words: the same basic concept — cloud storage — but very different solutions. On the decentralized web, options such as Storj or Sia split apart, encrypt, and distribute your files across the network. Since you hold the keys, you own your data. No outside company can access or control your files, unlike traditional cloud storage providers. Other solutions include IPFS, a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol to make the web faster, safer, and more open.
Nevertheless, it is imperative to be granted enough privacy to go about your business on the web, in confidence that eyes aren’t prying and spies aren’t spying. If the internet is your digital home then your data is your possessions in that home: yours and yours only, and certainly not be the property of ISPs, social networks, hackers, and governments to extract and freely trade.
Campaigning for better online security is one thing of course. Implementing it in a manner that is accessible and usable for the world at large is quite another. Developers and hackers possess the skills to use complex privacy tools, but these are off-limits for less tech-savvy individuals. What’s required is a decentralized set of tools that emulates the best aspects of the centralized tools we already have. Keep the UX, ditch the backdoors and sloppy security. Is it too much to ask?
Decentralized open source software can be vetted by anyone and used by anyone. It comes with no hidden surprises or privileged access. By encrypting and storing data on the blockchain, the reliance on a single point of failure — centralized databases under the control of one entity — is removed. Once we embrace decentralization, and start working together to make this model our default web setting, the rest will follow: the user-friendly OS, the users themselves, and with it the heightened privacy and security.
Ethereum is the obvious success story to date in decentralized computing, but it’s just the beginning, Web 3.0. The technical details will get ironed out over time, and each subsequent iteration will bring a series of competing and ever-improving platforms, each clamoring to achieve the same objective — to make the web safer for you.
Everyone has their own concept of privacy. Mine involves a web where I get to decide what information I share with whom. One where I control my data and my own sense of identity. A place where I can be sure my conversations are private and my email secure. Your own idea of private may differ, but I’ll wager the fundamentals remain the same.
The transition to decentralization won’t happen overnight. It will take time, technology and education. To become free, first we must want to be free, and to yearn for a better way of your decentralize life. Web 2.0 might be broken, but the next iteration doesn’t have to be. There will be false starts and setbacks, but what there won’t be — can’t be — is any going back. The decentralized computing era has already started.
Join it and together let’s make the web a better place.
Personal Bio, Twitter, Facebook
Don’t miss the latest updates about our projects by subscribing to the newsletter.