Ripple Cryptocurrency Aims to Make Global Assets Liquid

Ripple Cryptocurrency Aims to Make Global Assets Liquid

Ripple Cryptocurrency Aims to Make Global Assets Liquid

 

One one level, Ripple is another cryptocurrency in an ever-growing list of fledgling products, hoping to earn a place in the wider world of business and finance. While the value of Ripple's currency, XRP, is well below $1 per unit, making it a mere fraction of the value of Ethereum or Bitcoin, Ripple nonetheless sports the third-largest portion of market capitalization as compared with the rest of the cryptocurrency industry. But aside from its growing position as a currency, Ripple is drawing more and more attention from banks and financial institutions around the world for another crucial reason, too: the blockchain technology behind the currency itself.

Ripple Aims to Build an "Internet of Value"

A recent profile on Ripple by American Banker reveals that the San Francisco-based startup has its sights set on creating an "internet of value," a worldwide network system for financial transactions. Ripple's goal is nothing less than the ultimate freeing of monetary value, allowing assets to flow instantly and seamlessly between mobile systems, public blockchains, and bank ledgers. The goal is a massive one, and yet Stefan Thomas, Ripple's chief technology officer, stands behind his company's ability to enhance banking around the world. "We're not the disruptors, we're not the guys who come in and tear everything down," he stresses.

But in the Meantime…

For the time being, though, Ripple seems to occupy at least two different spaces. First comes the chryptocurrency side, and success in that area has not come as quickly as some would have liked. John Light, a consultant working with multiple startups that have integrated Ripple's technology into their systems, indicated that Ripple has "had something of an identity crisis about who their customer is, and what problem they are trying to solve."

First, the company aimed to build a new currency that would improve upon Bitcoin. This was a key component of the instantaneous transactions goal, as Bitcoin has been racked with problems relating to the system's processing capacity which has left some users waiting for days for their transactions to clear. Beyond that, though, Ripple differed from Bitcoin and other digital currencies further, even at its earliest stages. Ripple's leaders disagreed with other chryptocurrency enthusiasts who suggested that the new currencies could replace banks or even government currencies. Rather, Ripple aimed from the beginning to work with banks to make global assets even more liquid.

With roughly 60 financial institutions around the world sporting Ripple technology, the company is seeing its vision begin to take shape. However, the fact that the currency itself has not gone away makes the list of offerings that Ripple presents somewhat confusing. If banks and investors around the world are to continue to gain interest in Ripple, it seems that the company will be best served by streamlining its offerings further into the future.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Nathan Reiff

 

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Crypto Asset Fund looks to raise $400 million to buy into blockchain frenzy

Crypto Asset Fund looks to raise $400 million to buy into blockchain frenzy

Crypto Asset Fund looks to raise $400 million to buy into blockchain frenzy

 

Timothy Enneking started a cryptocurrency fund in 2014, when the market was almost exclusively bitcoin. That's no longer the case.

The 58-year-old money manager is now aiming to raise up to $400 million for the Crypto Asset Fund, a diversified pool of digital currencies and assets that he expects to be in the tens of millions of dollars by the end of this year. Enneking filed with the SEC on Monday.

With the soaring value of ethereum, Ripple XRP and NEM, the top 100 cryptocurrencies combined are now worth more than $98 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin accounts for 46 percent of the total. Enneking said just six to eight months ago, the total value was in the low teens and 85 to 95 percent was bitcoin.

"We can actually now apply much more sophisticated tools to a portfolio of investments," said Enneking, who started managing money in Russia in 2002 and is now based in San Diego. "I don't think the world has seen but the pointy end of the spear in terms of what's going to happen in cryptocurrencies."

Crypto Asset is a trading fund, so it's not for the buy-and-hold investor. Enneking said that the minimum investment for the fund is $25,000 and that most of the institutions that are approaching him have between $100 million and $2 billion under management.

What Is Blockchain

The craze around cryptocurrencies stems from growing adoption of blockchain, a distributed electronic ledger that makes all transactions trackable. Banks are using it for payments and back-office functions, while companies in digital music, ride-sharing and cybersecurity are starting to use blockchain for tracking, sharing or protecting assets.

It's still very early and speculators abound. Start-ups built on blockchain are creating their own crypto-tokens and selling them to investors and prospective customers in initial coin offerings (ICOs). Buyers can hold the tokens in the hopes of price appreciation or, in some cases, use them as currency in the company's ecosystem. For example, a cloud storage company called Storj sold tokens that customers can use to buy digital storage space.

Enneking said he participated in an ICO for INTCoin, which calls itself "a next-generation decentralized currency that takes advantage of blockchain capabilities for instant transactions with a minimum fee."

'Less regulation'

As for the Crypto Asset Fund's strategy, Enneking said he's broken the market up into six pieces, ranging from the "blue chips" valued at above $2 billion all the way down to the currencies with so little value that they don't trade. There are currently four cryptocurrencies that fall into the blue chips category — bitcoin, ethereum, XRP and NEM — and another 22 in his large-cap group with coins outstanding valued at $200 million or more, according to CoinMarketCap.

Enneking spends much of his time educating investors about the market and trying to get them comfortable with the idea that crypto is just like any other asset, except it's moving much more quickly and the regulators have yet to become a presence.

That's a big part of the risk.

"It's not nearly as different as the average fiat investor thinks it is," Enneking said. "It's better, faster and with less regulation, which isn't always good."

Ari Levy

Senior Tech Reporter CNBC

 

If you do not have $25,000 to invest, you could go to Trade Coin Club where minimum starting investment is 0.35 Bitcoin

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Move Over Bitcoin, These 4 Cryptocurrencies are Making Their Mark

Move Over Bitcoin, These 4 Cryptocurrencies are Making Their Mark

Move Over Bitcoin, These 4 Cryptocurrencies are Making Their Mark

 

Just a few years ago if you thought of cryptocurrency you thought of Bitcoin and Bitcoin only.

Bitcoin was propelled into the limelight back in 2013. Around that time The Silk Road was taken down and the U.S. government confiscated hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin. Back then, cryptocurrency and Bitcoin was more of an underground thing used mostly for dodgy purposes. But today, the tech and entrepreneurial community has gotten their hands on blockchain and cryptocurrency with the creation of other coins and technology. And now cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum are being used and backed by the biggest companies in the world such as Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase and Samsung to name a few.

Ethereum is leading the pack of the new age cryptocurrencies. The big difference is that these 2.0 and 3.0 versions of digital currencies actually do quite a bit on top of the basic technology that Bitcoin introduced to the world via blockchain. Bitcoin was just the beginning.

Here are 4 cryptocurrencies worth watching this year:

Ethereum (ETH) got popular just a few months ago when the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was announced. The biggest companies in the world are officially backing and utilizing the new blockchain technology that Ethereum provides, specifically their smart contracts, decentralized applications on the blockchain, the creation of decentralized autonomous organizations and so much more. Ethereum does for code, apps and programming what Bitcion did for peer to peer transactions. Ethereum could eventually, starting with the launch of it’s new web browser Mist, become a complete decentralized internet.

Stratis (STRAT) is a powerful blockchain development platform. They recently got the highest level support from companies like Microsoft. Their aim is to be the one-stop shop for all things blockchain, essentially becoming a Blockchain As A Service (BAAS) platform. They are similar to Ethereum in concept but also very different. Stratis runs on the Bitcoin blockchain. But, where Stratis makes itself unique is that it offers developers the ability to code in C# which opens up a ton of possibilities for app and other developers. Additionally, Stratis is soon to launch their breeze wallet that could revolutionize and redefine transactional privacy. Stratis has a very similar number of circulating supply as Ethereum. So if you wanted to guess where Stratis (STRAT) could be price wise in a short while then look at today’s Ethereum prices.

Ripple (XRP) is a very interesting technology that allows banks to interact with eachother directly without any central point of control or middleman. This could (and is) revolutionize banking. Ripple and it’s token XRP have been critized for not having the technology and the currency truly connected. They also do not currently have their own currency wallet so storing it becomes complicated. But if they were to solve those 2 problems it could be doing very well this year.

Siacoin (SC) is a cryptocurrency and technology that was innovated at MIT at a hackathon in 2013. Siacoin’s blockchain has a technology that allows smart contracts to be created for digital storage. Essentially this could spawn the next Dropbox or Amazon AWS. But instead of Siacoin doing that directly they allow other partners like hosts to connect and compete for the business of consumers via their technology. It is a little early for Siacoin but big developments are already happening. Once they have a few more big use cases things could really take off. Their technology could be backing the next Dropbox or Amazon AWS. And if you have ever paid Amazon AWS hosting or storage costs, you know that needs to be distrupted and made cheaper. Siacoin’s blockchain technology could be the solution.

 

There you have it. These are the 4 cryptocurrencies that I and many others in the community have their eyes on to make big movement in 2017.

Author: Brian D. Evans

 

There is another coin Infinity(XIN) standing in the wings which you will be hearing more about this month so watch this space.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Billion Dollar Cryptocurrency Club Swells to Six Members

Billion Dollar Cryptocurrency Club Swells to Six Members

Billion Dollar Cryptocurrency Club Swells to Six Members

Bitcoin’s market cap surpassed $37 billion today when the price hit $2271.16, commanding more than a billion in trade volume in a 24-hour period, according to coinmarket.com. The total value of the coin market is now at $81.3 billion, as the last two days added more than $10 billion to the capitalization.

Bitcoin’s value has almost doubled in the last month, even while its market share has fallen below 50%, thanks to the gains of other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s gains have been steadier than most of the altcoins, but collectively, altcoins are rising at a faster pace.

Asian Trading Remains Key

Rising demand for bitcoin by Chinese and Japanese investors combined with falling stocks and other factors to push bitcoin to new heights. Because the Japanese yen holds the largest share of bitcoin trading, Asian trading pushes the prices higher.

The Nikkei Asian Review today reported, “Bitcoin going mainstream as Japanese business signs on,” signaling bitcoin’s growing popularity in Japan, which recently recognized bitcoin as a method of payment.

Asian interest in bitcoin increasingly carries over to other currencies, as indicated by the gains for Ripple and NEM, the two most popular altcoins in Japan in terms of demand and trading volumes.

Japanese regulators also decided to abolish the 8% consumption tax on transactions of bitcoin bought from exchanges, which is set to go into effect in July this year.

Progress On Scaling Continues

Today’s announcement that a majority of bitcoin miners have reached a consensus to deploy the Segwit2Mb protocol upgrade for bitcoin also bodes well. Bitcoin’s rise has benefited from an alleviation of the fear that a “hard fork” will be needed – dividing bitcoin into two currencies – to improve bitcoin transaction times. A successful deployment of an alternative scaling solution indicates the hard fork that would have resulted in two separate currencies in order to speed up bitcoin transactions may not be required.

Wences Casares, CEO of bitcoin wallet Xapo and a member of PayPal’s board of directors one bitcoin would hit $1 million before the next ten years while speaking at the Consensus 2017 conference in New York.

Ethereum Continues To Amaze

Ethereum, the largest altcoin, hit more than $16 billion market capitalization with a $179.68 price, followed by Ripple at more than $13 billion. The top three cryptocurrencies — bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple — are the only players to boast more than $10 billion market cap.

Ethereum has witnessed the fastest growth of any digital currency ever. Not even two years old, the platform is now worth more than $16 billion with its trading spaces consistently attracting more online active users than even bitcoin’s.

Ripple, designed for enterprise use and can be used by institutions for on-demand liquidity for cross-border payments, also continues to post rapid gains. Banks and payment providers that use XRP will secure better access to emerging markets at lower settlement costs.

Ripple recently committed to placing 55 billion XRP in a cryptographically secure escrow account at the end of the year, addressing concerns that it will eventually sell its 61.68 XRP as it seeks to strengthen XRP’s exchange rate against other currencies.

NEM, number four commands a $2.299 billion cap, followed by Litecoin at $1.575 billion and Ethereum Classic at $1.02 billion.

There are now six cryptocurrencies with more than $1 billion market caps.

Altcoins Keep Shifting Position

Aside from bitcoin, the rotation shifts fairly frequently among the billion dollar players. A day ago, Litecoin, Monero, and Dash displaced Ethereum and NEM, with gains of 15%, 20%, 25%, respectively.

NEM, number four, commands a $2.299 billion cap, followed by Litecoin at $1.575 billion and Ethereum Classic at $1.02 billion. There are now six cryptocurrencies with more than $1 billion market caps.

NEM has also made significant gains over the past few months. A major factor that has allowed NEM to transform into one of the most popular altcoins in Japan is its development team and company composed of Japanese founders and talents. NEM was initially developed and introduced in Japan by Makoto Takemiya, the co-founder and CEO of Soramitsu, the company that has also introduced the Iroha blockchain project to the Linux foundation’s Hyperledger Project.

Litecoin, one of the oldest altcoins, gained visibility this month because of its successful activation of SegWit, a scaling solution that circumvents the need for a hard fork.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author Lester Coleman

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Ripple Market Capitalization Soars, Surges Past Ethereum

Ripple Market Capitalization Soars, Surges Past Ethereum

Ripple Market Capitalization Soars, Surges Past Ethereum

 

Ripple tokens have hit a massive upswing in market capitalization over the last day, surging past Ethereum and nipping at bitcoin’s heels.

At end of day May 14, Ripple’s market capitalization was at about $8,345,000,000. Ripple continued surging well into the next day at about $11,500,000,000, continuing to climb. This has occurred in an oscillating fashion over the last few weeks, as Ethereum and the blockchain transfer token duke it out for supremacy.

Several news sites and other sources suggest this upswing in market capitalization was spurred by recent partnerships in the ripple network. These partnerships include large banking conglomerates and other banking organizations opting to work with or adopt the Ripple network.
 

An April 26 Ripple press announcement said,

Ripple is proud to announce the addition of 10 new customers to our growing global network. These financial institutions include MUFG, BBVA, SEB, Akbank, Axis Bank, YES BANK, SBI Remit, Cambridge Global Payments, Star One Credit Union and eZforex.com, representing some of the world’s largest banks, innovative smaller banks, and payment service providers (PSPs).

Differences Between Ripple tokens and Bitcoin: Ripple is a “Bank Coin”

Even though Ripple is gaining ground on market capitalization, there are distinctions between Ripple tokens and currencies like bitcoin and Ethereum. For instance, Ripple has enjoyed its market capitalization skyrocket as a result of gaining the aforesaid partnerships.

This happened because Ripple is a “bank coin.”Ripple Market Capitalization Soars, Surges Past Ethereum Several commentators pointed out ripple is not a decentralized cryptocurrency. It is a centralized bank-to-bank transfer coin. Ripple’s own commentary from their labs suggested the same when they mentioned being able to use a global freeze feature.

“The freeze protocol extension gives gateways the ability to 1) globally freeze all their issued funds, or 2) freeze funds issued to a particular user. Frozen funds may only be sent back to the gateway who issued them.”

This ability to freeze funds means that Ripple is not a decentralized blockchain protocol, but instead a distributed database that maintains control of the network from a central hub. This is a feature that would be impossible to execute if the coin was founded on decentralized algorithms.

This comes to no surprise to many, though, because this fact is not a hidden agenda. Ripple’s website explained the purpose of their technology: Its purpose is to be an inter-bank transfer protocol to smooth out the financial interactions between banks.

Conclusion: Ripple’s Market Position

In this regard, Ripple’s market cap has increased as a result of their partnerships. These alliances caused the market capitalization to swell beyond Ethereum, even though Ripple is not in the same category of coin.

It happened as a result of their positioning in the market. It happened because of a business alliance. By definition and design, Ripple is not meant to be a cryptocurrency. It is a “database coin” that is controlled via centralization and economic engineers.

Will Ripple’s token continue to grow on into the future? Can it maintain the second position in terms of market capitalization?

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

By Sterlin Lujan

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Cryptocurrency Bubble?

Cryptocurrency bubble ?

Cryptocurrency Bubble ?
 

Some credible sources are citing a possible "cryptocurrency bubble", as the prices of coins and tokens rocket and the fever for initial coin offerings (ICOs) continues unabated. All this stuff involves the technology known as blockchain, so it's all broadly related, but there are also certain distinct phenomena to consider.

On the one hand, we are seeing a massive increase in the price of Bitcoin, ether, Dash, Z-Cash, Monero, what have you.

Also surging is the ICO trend, which involves many new startups issuing and selling their own tokens (often oversubscribed with speculative buyers) as a way to crowdfund the building of yet another use-case focused blockchain system.

One theory behind the dramatic increase in the value of existing "altcoins", as in alternatives to Bitcoin, such as Dash or Litecoin, is that Bitcoin is approaching its limit and as a result users are now forced to pay increasingly high fees to use the Bitcoin network. Indeed, users are paying transaction processors additional Bitcoins to prioritise their transactions among the many thousands that are queued in a backlog, termed the 'mempool'.

Preston Byrne, COO of Monax and a fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, recently wrote about this: "The cryptocurrency market as a whole is interesting from an economic perspective in that it provides a perfectly transparent sandbox to see what happens when perfectly substitutable goods (Bitcoin clones) that accomplish the exact same thing (unregulated value transfer) in a fully automatic way (distributed state machines which require no human oversight) are placed in a position to compete.

"As far as an end-user of cryptocurrency software is concerned, whether a c-currency is $3000 in Dogecoin or $3000 in Bitcoin is immaterial; the shop round the corner prices its goods in USD/GBP/EUR, so as long as one coin or the other has sufficient liquidity to cash out, this means competition can occur on the basis of speed and transaction fees."

According to trading experts, the crypto ecosystem has been fleshed out lately with more cross pairs and on-ramps from the fiat world. There is a roll in roll out trade from Bitcoin to crypto and back as the markets inflate on both sides of the trade.

Charles Hayter, CEO, CryptoCompare, said: "Last year it was fairly easy to predict buying of Bitcoin through fiat and then into crypto. The cross pairs and markets have matured to offer direct Ethereum and Litecoin buying in a number of fiat pairs and this is increasing the options for traders to enter and exit positions. That said, Bitcoin is still the direct port in a storm for the entire industry.

"You are also seeing the arrival of new nations to the crypto sphere with their own bespoke approach to local regulatory issues et al – South Korea is a perfect case in point as they have taken the number three spot in terms on direct fiat to Ethereum trading.

Hayter said another interesting trend has been the dislocation of markets premia / discounts across pairs have widened. "This has been exacerbated by the Chinese regulatory issues as well as Wells Fargos hiatus on international transfers connected to Bitfinex and USDT. New markets tend to sit at premiums, as direct fiat flow spikes prices with exit routes from dead pools of money trading at a premium for exiting the exchange," he said, adding, "bubble – to an extent."

However, as far as ICOs are concerned, many prominent people in the industry believe this is fast becoming pure bubble territory and will end in tears (and probably some actions by the SEC). Someone who would go the record about token sales is angel investor and author William Mougayar, who is organising the Token Summit in New York on May 25.

He said: "In the history of technological cycles, if you follow economist Carlota Perez's thinking, nothing great happens without overshooting during the installation phase of a given technology, before moving into the adoption phase.

"We are clearly in the installation phase of cryptotech, and there is nothing we can do to prevent this overshooting from happening. It's just human nature at play.

"Of course there are ideas, protocols, start-ups and applications currently being launched that will not make it long term, but out of all this activity, some great ones will emerge."

Byrne of Monax has been as staunch a critic of ICOs as anyone ("the equivalent of selling people rows in a database"). But he concluded by saying that, amid all the froth, the way blockchains perform is truly impressive.

"Even relatively obscure systems with a fairly low level of developer input, such as Dogecoin, continue to survive and thrive under the circumstances. This is a ringing endorsement of blockchain technology as a very capable way of automating financial process flows with maximal security and minimal supervision.

"In the enterprise blockchain space we benefit directly from observing the failings and successes of public blockchain systems, which allows us to deliver more value to our clients in the permissioned/regulated applications they ask us to build. All in all, it's great," he said.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 


 

By Ian Allison

 

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Cryptocurrency – Looking Forward from May 2017

Cryptocurrency – Looking Forward from May 2017

Cryptocurrency – Looking Forward from May 2017

For cryptocurrency enthusiasts, developers and investors, the first half of 2017 has been nothing but exciting. Very few people would have predicted the trends that we are now seeing today: a vibrant and rapidly growing altcoin market, massive all time highs for both Bitcoin and Ethereum and an initial coin offering (ICO) crowdfunding mechanism that is creating enormous investor hype.

Among all of this noise are a number of very interesting developments. These developments could indicate what’s to come in the second half of 2017, and this article aims to summarize events so far and what may be to come. Whatever your role in the cryptocurrency space, this piece should serve as some inspiration as to where to look next.
 

RIPPLE – BITCOIN FOR BANKS

The popularity of Bitcoin’s blockchain stems from its ability to circumvent banks and allow users to engage in peer to peer transactions without authority; creating an enormous array of applications for Bitcoin gambling and dark net markets, as well as limitless “white hat” models. This ideology is more powerful than ever today, but the introduction of Ripple in 2013 has demonstrated that banks themselves can be revolutionized by overhauling their systems to use blockchain-based payments.

Ripple is unlike most other cryptocurrencies, in that it operates on a private or “consortium” blockchain, whereby the nodes (transaction verifiers) are controlled by trusted financial institutions that have been vetted to join the network – on the contrary, anyone in the world is free to join and use the Bitcoin network. The Ripple tokens (XRP) power international transactions on the network, whether that’s fiat to fiat, crypto to crypto or a mix of the two – with currency exchange conversions happening on the fly. Ripple allows banks to reduce global (and domestic) payment times from days and weeks down to seconds, with layers of transparency that are unprecedented in the traditional banking sector.

Despite being a private blockchain, anyone in the world is able to purchase XRP, and with a fixed supply of 100bn, scarcity may play an important role in the future price of XRP. This scarcity has also been compounded by the founding team of Ripple agreeing to verifiably “lock up” well over half of that total supply – adding some predictability to the XRP price. This lock up time is possibly planned for extension, which – combined with the listing of XRP on major exchanges like Bitstamp, and Ripple’s partnership with Japan’s largest bank – has led to a meteoric rise in the value of XRP from $0.01 to $0.18 in a matter of weeks.

Over the past several months, it has become apparent that large financial institutions are leaning towards consortium based blockchains as opposed to the public ones offered by Bitcoin – although Ethereum may buck that trend as discussed below.
 

ETHEREUM – EEA AND DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP

Ethereum was the first blockchain to successfully convince investors that altcoins had a viable place in what was largely considered a Bitcoin-only ecosystem. Popular due to its built-in smart contract protocol, Ethereum is able to run computations that can transact value without middlemen. As a result, the project has led to the formation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) which connects dozens of businesses and academics who are rapidly researching and developing smart contract technology.

While a number of the projects being worked on are private forks of Ethereum – such as JP Morgan’s Quorum protocol – the interoperability with the main Ethereum chain, as well as the lessons being learned (and shared among EEA members and the open source community), is having profound effects on Ethereum as a whole.

The EEA is just one offshoot of Ethereum that has attracted enormous investment, however there are other developments which have led to a recent upsurge in the price of Ether, from $10 to roughly $90 at the time of writing.

ETHEREUM NAME SERVICE

In May 2017, the Ethereum Foundation (EF) launched the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). This protocol is analogous to the separate Domain Name Service (DNS), which ties domain names to i.p. addresses – making them more readable to human users. In a similar way, the ENS will tie long and unreadable smart contract or personal wallet addresses to a memorable “name” such as mywallet.eth. These names are currently at auction, and there has so far been $7m worth of bids, with exchange.eth receiving a massive $600,000 bid. Note that this is a proxy bid, meaning the winner would only ever pay a trivial amount more than the next highest bidder.

REDUCING MINER REWARD

A poll taking place on carbonvote.com has indicated that an overwhelming 99.73% are in agreement with a move to reduce the miner reward from 5 ETH per block to 2 ETH (with blocks continuing to be mined at roughly 15 second intervals). The motivation behind such a change is to reduce uncertainty about the future total ETH token supply, helping to drop ETH inflation from 13% to a figure that is more inline with Bitcoin’s 4% inflation.

PROOF OF STAKE

Proof of Stake (PoS) is an alternative consensus protocol to the Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism that was made famous by Bitcoin’s blockchain. In order to secure a blockchain, miners must be rewarded by processing valid transactions, and ignoring invalid transactions. In a PoW system, a miner must expend enormous amounts of energy (with a significant cost in doing so) to process a “block” of transactions and to earn their reward. PoW protocols are enormously inefficient, with huge energy requirements that are not inline with modern day environmental considerations.

Proof of Stake serves as an alternative consensus protocol that achieves similar levels of security, but requires “miners” (called validators) to stake value in the form of cryptocurrency – expending little to no energy at all. If the validator tries to game the system for their own advantage, they lose all of their staked value. Validators that act honestly are rewarded by receiving what is analogous to interest payments.

Ethereum plans to move from their PoW structure to a PoS one, and this move is pegged for the end of 2017/start of 2018. Such a change in protocol would lock enormous amounts of Ether in staking contracts, removing said Ether from the ecosystem and reducing circulating supply.

 

BITCOIN – SEGREGATED WITNESS AND THE LITECOIN TEST BED

Bitcoin has been unswayed by the incredible rise in altcoin market caps over the past 6 months and remains one of the best performing cryptocurrencies in the market. Having matured beyond the “pump and dump” phase, the currency has now established itself as the gateway into the world of crypto. Bitcoin is, in its current form, the ultimate store of value and medium for exchange when dealing with other currencies. All of this is despite major concerns over the currency’s ability to scale. Transaction fees have increased several fold, and the mempool (unconfirmed transactions) has seen enormous growth – leading to delays of several hours or even days.

Thankfully, Bitcoin’s little cousin – Litecoin – has played a vital role in abating fear amongst Bitcoin investors. Litecoin, whose market cap is a fraction of Bitcoin’s, has acted as a test bed for introducing Segregated Witness (SegWit) – a code change to help mitigate some of the scaling problems mentioned above. Litecoin’s activation of SegWit has given developers, users and miners renewed confidence in what this code change can do for Bitcoin, providing a “light at the end of the tunnel” on a 3 year long debate.
 

WHERE DO CRYPTOCURRENCIES GO FROM HERE?

Many early adopters have hailed blockchain technology as “the internet 2.0”. In past years, a number of key figures in the industry analogized the current state of blockchain to that of email in the 1990s, suggesting that what we see today is a fraction of what can be achieved with the protocol in the years ahead. That analogy, which was (and still is) heavily criticized by skeptics, is now becoming too obvious to ignore.

Rather than blockchains competing with one another, we are seeing interoperability take hold, and growth is practically ubiquitous amongst all majro cryptocurrencies. Smart contract technology is destined to have an enormous impact on a broad range of markets in the years to come, and the impact that blockchain-based banking will have on global economics is undeniable.

It is likely that cryptocurrencies will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate until, in the same analogous way to the Internet, we experience a gigantic bubble. At what point the bubble bursts is an unknown, however – sticking with the analogy – it wasn’t until the Internet reached a value well into the trillions that the market crashed. Compare this figure with that of the blockchain market which is worth no more than $100bn and it seems that we may still be some way off. Despite what seems like an inevitable bubble, the very long-term outlook for blockchain users, investors and developers could not be brighter.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Author: Mark

 

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

How Ripple is Targeting an Entirely Different Market to Bitcoin

How Ripple is Targeting an Entirely Different Market to Bitcoin

Bitcoin was introduced in 2009 as an alternative network to the global financial system monopolized by centralized institutions and strictly regulated financial service providers. By providing a peer to peer protocol wherein users can send and receive transactions with the absence of intermediaries, Bitcoin essentially became the first decentralized financial platform.

Replicating or being inspired by Bitcoin’s structure, alternative cryptocurrencies or altcoins emerged. One of the most successful cryptocurrencies that has maintained its market cap and client base over a relatively long period of time is Ripple. It consistently has ranked in the top three altcoin, falling behind Bitcoin and Ethereum. Ripple’s vision was to provide a more efficient infrastructure for the centralized institutions and the conventional finance industry.

Ripple is significantly different to Bitcoin philosophically and structurally. If bitcoin is described as a decentralized peer to peer network developed to operate as an alternative financial network to that of the existing global financial system, Ripple can be explained as a protocol structured to serve and enhance the existing global financial system. It has partnered with leading banks and major financial institutions to settle cross-border and cross-bank transactions transparently, with strong security measures in real time.

The current global financial system operates on top of an outdated and inefficient IT infrastructure and system. For a transaction to become fully verified and settled, it could take days to weeks with a substantial fee, usually in the range of $30 to $50 per transaction. Often times, transactions initiated by banks through an international financial network such as SWIFT get lost within the system, requiring manual confirmation and a period of weeks for the transaction to be recovered and settled.

Essentially, Ripple utilizes blockchain technology and the concept of digital tokens to simplify global banking. Major banks and financial institutions are in agreement with Ripple’s vision and strategy and have adopted Ripple’s system. Most recently, CryptoCoinsNews reported that Spanish banking giant BBVA began to utilize Ripple blockchain for Spain-Mexico money transfers.

“This pioneer initiative is a clear demonstration of how payment processes can be vastly improved through the implementation of emerging technologies. These improvements will benefit our clients’ transnationality,” head of digital transformation in investment banking at BBVA stated.

However, an ambiguous component of Ripple’s services is the necessity of intermediaries. In an email, Ripple representative told CryptoCoinsNews that Ripple executives believe “bank’s aren’t going away” and that “bitcoin is getting it wrong.” Yet, by growth, bitcoin has evidently appealed to a wider range of users, businesses and investors as it is valued at $23.7 billion at the time of reporting. Ripple’s market cap is below 10 percent of bitcoin’s.

`An intermediary such as BBVA utilizing the Ripple network for a customer can be understood as an intermediary using another intermediary to process transactions. Thus, in the long run, one of the two intermediaries could be rendered ineffective. Either users will solely rely on the Ripple network and utilize XRP to make transactions with each other or banks will develop their own blockchain network similar to SWIFT and simply discard its partnership with Ripple.

The issue with banks developing their independent blockchain networks is the necessity of cooperation and collaboration. Hence, by relying on an existing blockchain network structured to serve financial institutions, banks can cut development costs.
 

Three advantages Ripple offers to its banks is speed, certainty and cost. By utilizing a decentralized blockchain in Ripple, banks can potentially see a reduction of billions of dollars in operating costs. Whether banks will remain with Ripple and work on the development of a cross-bank network or form their own blockchain network like JP Morgan is still difficult to speculate.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Source: CryptoCoinNews

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Top 10 Alternatives to Bitcoin

top 10 alteratives to Bitcoin

Top 10 Altenatives to Bitcoin

Blockchain currency is revolutionizing money. Since Satoshi Nakamoto unveiled his cryptocurrency in 2008, we’ve witnessed a proliferation of digital cash companies and codebases. Utilizing his public, distributed ledger, dozens of promising currencies have emerged. Only a select few have proven themselves as true contenders to Bitcoin, however.

Here are the top 10 altcoins on CoinMarketCap (note that the list is changing constantly, especially in the tail part, with other altcoins like MaidSafeCoin, Golem and Augur playing musical chairs with others):

ETHEREUM

J.P Morgan Chase, Microsoft and Intel allied in order to create the fiercest rival to Bitcoin in circulation today: Ethereum. The main purpose of the endeavor was to program binding agreements into the Blockchain itself. This incarnated into the now-popular smart contract feature.

Interestingly, Ethereum is not just a currency. It’s a Blockchain platform powered by the Ether cryptocurrency. The New York Times describes the technology as “a single shared computer that is run by the network of users and on which resources are parceled out and paid for by Ether.”

RIPPLE

Ripple attracted a great deal of venture capital during its inception. The Google-backed altcoin startup managed to pull in upwards of $50 mln from banking institutions, gathering an impressive $90 mln in total funding. Ripple is unique in that it allows for transacting with any unit of value, from fiat currency to frequent flier miles.

“Ripple provides global financial settlement solutions to enable the world to exchange value like it already exchanges information giving rise to an Internet of Value (IoV). Ripple solutions lower the total cost of settlement by enabling banks to transact directly, instantly and with certainty of settlement,” reads the company’s copy on their official website.

Initially a middling contender, Ripple has gained momentum in the cryptocurrency market, seeing a marked surge earlier this year. In fact, Ripple experienced a 100 percent increase in value within a 24-hour period in late March.

LITECOIN

Former Google engineer Charles Lee created this altcoin in an effort to improve upon Bitcoin. Namely, the speed to generate a new block is improved dramatically. Transactions are much faster. By the same token, however, this speed makes Litecoin’s Blockchain larger and more prone to producing orphaned blocks.

DASH

Dash, a combination of the words “digital” and “cash,” is the Internet’s cash-in-hand. Dash is quick. Its transactions are instant. “Your time is valuable. InstantSend payments confirm in less than a second,” Dash claims. By comparison, Bitcoin’s transactions can take up to an hour to process.

GPU/CPU mining is no longer cost effective. In order to mine, you’ll need specific hardware, computers known as ASICs to complete Dash’s proof-of-work puzzles.

NEM

NEM is written in Java; built on an entirely new codebase separate and apart from Bitcoin’s open-source code. There are a few other intriguing differences from Bitcoin as well. In NEM, you harvest rather than mine. It’s essentially the same as mining in Bitcoin, only that multiple people profit – albeit in much smaller quantities – from a generated block.

NEM introduced the proof-of-importance algorithm to the digital ledger. A user’s wealth and number of transactions are used to timestamp transactions.

NEM has seen rapid growth in its valuation since the beginning of 2017 as the altcoin is currently being embraced in Japan.

ETHEREUM CLASSIC

A parallel Ethereum platform exists and sustains a sizeable usership with a market cap hovering just below $430 mln.

Why do two versions of the same platform exist?

The Ethereum community fractured when a disagreement over how a technically legal theft of funds should be handled. The majority of users wished to change Ethereum’s code in order to get the lost funds back. A minority believed that Ethereum should not be tampered with or altered by third parties. Even in cases of users exploiting the smart contract feature to trick others, the Blockchain must remain “immutable.” Thus, the minority created the Classic version of Ethereum, which still survives and thrives.

MONERO

Monero is geared toward those who desire greater anonymity. The cryptocurrency allows you to “send and receive funds without your transactions being publically visible on the Blockchain.” Transactions are completely untraceable due to Monero’s leveraging of ring signatures. Unfortunately, because of Monero’s emphasis on privacy, it has seen adoption by the darknet and other criminal organizations.

ZCASH

Zcash, like Monero, offers greater privacy to users. Unlike Monero, transactions are shielded rather than made completely private. Meaning, the details of the transaction itself, such as the users involved and the amount traded, are hidden. Zcash does this by using a “zero-knowledge” proof that allows for parties to exchange funds without revealing each other’s identity.

DECRED

Decred’s primary aim is to focus on “community input, open governance and sustainable funding and development.” The currency melds proof-of-work and proof-of-stake mining algorithms to ensure a minority of users do not own the majority of the funds and that decisions are led by the community rather than a handful of developers or early investors.

PIVX

PIVX stands for Private Instant Verified Transactions. Another open-source decentralized Blockchain currency, it is built upon Bitcoin Core. Like Zcash and Monero, PIVX boasts its heightened privacy and security.

“We believe that you have the right to exchange privately and securely, without interference from corporatocracy pressures, governmental influences, prying eyes, and nefarious individuals and movements,” PIVX contends.

PIVX is highly volatile, experiencing massive spikes in trading volume and valuation as of March of this year. Again, because of the currency’s emphasis on privacy, PIVX is susceptible to criminal activities.

Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and the altcoins it has spawned, may bring about a new global economy. They allow us to transact in a peer-to-peer fashion, without third-party bodies governing us. Bitcoin introduced the Blockchain, but other developers are quickly improving upon Nakamoto’s idea. Some currencies have focused on speed, as is the case with both Ripple and Litecoin. Others have honed in on privacy, currencies like Zcash going so far as making all transactions private and untraceable. Each altcoin comes with its own strengths and weakness. Surely, we’ll discover more as time goes on. For now, these 10 currencies are at the top. Their fate could turn, however, at a flip of a coin.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Source: cointelegraph.com

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Poloniex-Traders-Panic-and-Suffer-Losses-Due-to-System-issues

Poloniex-Traders-Panic-and-Suffer-Losses-Due-to-System-issues

Poloniex – Traders Panic and Suffer Losses Due to System issues

Plenty of cryptocurrency traders are not too amused with Poloniex right now. The popular altcoin exchange suffered from several brief outages yesterday. During the panic, the Ripple price crashed hard and Ethereum lost US$1bn in market cap. It is unclear what occurred exactly, but we do know traders lost a lot of money in the process. It is unclear what will happen to the people who lost money, though.

Trading cryptocurrencies is always a risky business. Money can be earned and lost in a matter of mere seconds. However, if a popular exchange goes down and traders can’t execute orders, something is definitely amiss. Poloniex had a lot of issues last night after Ripple reached a new all-time high. Shortly after this happened, the platform became unresponsive.

Poloniex Suffers From Brief Outages Once Again

It was not just the web frontend suffering from these problems. The Poloniex API, used in tools such as TabTrader, became unresponsive as well. The company acknowledged the outage and trading resumed back to normal relatively quickly. However, a lot of users have suffered from spotty accessibility for several hours. During that time, trading just continued as normal, allowing some people to take advantage of the situation.

To be more specific, Ethereum lost close to US$1bn of its market cap during the trading frenzy. Events like these should not occur in the first place. Moreover, some people feel Poloniex should have halted all trading until the platform was operational again. This goes to show the platform cannot handle increased trading volume for an extended period of time. That is quite disconcerting, to say the least, given Poloniex’s position in the market.

One thing is certain: a lot of people have lost faith in Poloniex for the time being. One Reddit user even calls it an ‘organized scam crime website”, although that may be a too strong sentiment. It is true this is not the first time the exchange suffers from such outages, though. If these problems continue, Poloniex will quickly lose its market position. After all, the company has to provide exchange services around the clock, yet appears incapable of doing so.

It is unclear how much money people lost due to these issues, though. Ethereum’s market crashing and the unexpected Ripple dump raise a lot more questions than answers right now. Poloniex has some explaining to do, albeit it is safe to assume no one will be reimbursed for their losses. Centralized exchanges continue to pose a problem for traders. No exchange is always reliable or accessible, that much is certain.

Many years ago I suffered a significant loss when fiat currency trading, when I loss Internet access to my trading site at a crucial time. These outages underline the importance of setting stop losses.

David Ogden
Entrepeneur

 

Author JP Buntinx

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden