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Technical: The Path to Taproot Activation

Taproot! Everybody wants to have it, somebody wants to make it, nobody knows how to get it!
(If you are asking why everybody wants it, see: Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?)
(Pedants: I mostly elide over lockin times)
Briefly, Taproot is that neat new thing that gets us:
So yes, let's activate taproot!

The SegWit Wars

The biggest problem with activating Taproot is PTSD from the previous softfork, SegWit. Pieter Wuille, one of the authors of the current Taproot proposal, has consistently held the position that he will not discuss activation, and will accept whatever activation process is imposed on Taproot. Other developers have expressed similar opinions.
So what happened with SegWit activation that was so traumatic? SegWit used the BIP9 activation method. Let's dive into BIP9!

BIP9 Miner-Activated Soft Fork

Basically, BIP9 has a bunch of parameters:
Now there are other parameters (name, starttime) but they are not anywhere near as important as the above two.
A number that is not a parameter, is 95%. Basically, activation of a BIP9 softfork is considered as actually succeeding if at least 95% of blocks in the last 2 weeks had the specified bit in the nVersion set. If less than 95% had this bit set before the timeout, then the upgrade fails and never goes into the network. This is not a parameter: it is a constant defined by BIP9, and developers using BIP9 activation cannot change this.
So, first some simple questions and their answers:

The Great Battles of the SegWit Wars

SegWit not only fixed transaction malleability, it also created a practical softforkable blocksize increase that also rebalanced weights so that the cost of spending a UTXO is about the same as the cost of creating UTXOs (and spending UTXOs is "better" since it limits the size of the UTXO set that every fullnode has to maintain).
So SegWit was written, the activation was decided to be BIP9, and then.... miner signalling stalled at below 75%.
Thus were the Great SegWit Wars started.

BIP9 Feature Hostage

If you are a miner with at least 5% global hashpower, you can hold a BIP9-activated softfork hostage.
You might even secretly want the softfork to actually push through. But you might want to extract concession from the users and the developers. Like removing the halvening. Or raising or even removing the block size caps (which helps larger miners more than smaller miners, making it easier to become a bigger fish that eats all the smaller fishes). Or whatever.
With BIP9, you can hold the softfork hostage. You just hold out and refuse to signal. You tell everyone you will signal, if and only if certain concessions are given to you.
This ability by miners to hold a feature hostage was enabled because of the miner-exit allowed by the timeout on BIP9. Prior to that, miners were considered little more than expendable security guards, paid for the risk they take to secure the network, but not special in the grand scheme of Bitcoin.

Covert ASICBoost

ASICBoost was a novel way of optimizing SHA256 mining, by taking advantage of the structure of the 80-byte header that is hashed in order to perform proof-of-work. The details of ASICBoost are out-of-scope here but you can read about it elsewhere
Here is a short summary of the two types of ASICBoost, relevant to the activation discussion.
Now, "overt" means "obvious", while "covert" means hidden. Overt ASICBoost is obvious because nVersion bits that are not currently in use for BIP9 activations are usually 0 by default, so setting those bits to 1 makes it obvious that you are doing something weird (namely, Overt ASICBoost). Covert ASICBoost is non-obvious because the order of transactions in a block are up to the miner anyway, so the miner rearranging the transactions in order to get lower power consumption is not going to be detected.
Unfortunately, while Overt ASICBoost was compatible with SegWit, Covert ASICBoost was not. This is because, pre-SegWit, only the block header Merkle tree committed to the transaction ordering. However, with SegWit, another Merkle tree exists, which commits to transaction ordering as well. Covert ASICBoost would require more computation to manipulate two Merkle trees, obviating the power benefits of Covert ASICBoost anyway.
Now, miners want to use ASICBoost (indeed, about 60->70% of current miners probably use the Overt ASICBoost nowadays; if you have a Bitcoin fullnode running you will see the logs with lots of "60 of last 100 blocks had unexpected versions" which is exactly what you would see with the nVersion manipulation that Overt ASICBoost does). But remember: ASICBoost was, at around the time, a novel improvement. Not all miners had ASICBoost hardware. Those who did, did not want it known that they had ASICBoost hardware, and wanted to do Covert ASICBoost!
But Covert ASICBoost is incompatible with SegWit, because SegWit actually has two Merkle trees of transaction data, and Covert ASICBoost works by fudging around with transaction ordering in a block, and recomputing two Merkle Trees is more expensive than recomputing just one (and loses the ASICBoost advantage).
Of course, those miners that wanted Covert ASICBoost did not want to openly admit that they had ASICBoost hardware, they wanted to keep their advantage secret because miners are strongly competitive in a very tight market. And doing ASICBoost Covertly was just the ticket, but they could not work post-SegWit.
Fortunately, due to the BIP9 activation process, they could hold SegWit hostage while covertly taking advantage of Covert ASICBoost!

UASF: BIP148 and BIP8

When the incompatibility between Covert ASICBoost and SegWit was realized, still, activation of SegWit stalled, and miners were still not openly claiming that ASICBoost was related to non-activation of SegWit.
Eventually, a new proposal was created: BIP148. With this rule, 3 months before the end of the SegWit timeout, nodes would reject blocks that did not signal SegWit. Thus, 3 months before SegWit timeout, BIP148 would force activation of SegWit.
This proposal was not accepted by Bitcoin Core, due to the shortening of the timeout (it effectively times out 3 months before the initial SegWit timeout). Instead, a fork of Bitcoin Core was created which added the patch to comply with BIP148. This was claimed as a User Activated Soft Fork, UASF, since users could freely download the alternate fork rather than sticking with the developers of Bitcoin Core.
Now, BIP148 effectively is just a BIP9 activation, except at its (earlier) timeout, the new rules would be activated anyway (instead of the BIP9-mandated behavior that the upgrade is cancelled at the end of the timeout).
BIP148 was actually inspired by the BIP8 proposal (the link here is a historical version; BIP8 has been updated recently, precisely in preparation for Taproot activation). BIP8 is basically BIP9, but at the end of timeout, the softfork is activated anyway rather than cancelled.
This removed the ability of miners to hold the softfork hostage. At best, they can delay the activation, but not stop it entirely by holding out as in BIP9.
Of course, this implies risk that not all miners have upgraded before activation, leading to possible losses for SPV users, as well as again re-pressuring miners to signal activation, possibly without the miners actually upgrading their software to properly impose the new softfork rules.

BIP91, SegWit2X, and The Aftermath

BIP148 inspired countermeasures, possibly from the Covert ASiCBoost miners, possibly from concerned users who wanted to offer concessions to miners. To this day, the common name for BIP148 - UASF - remains an emotionally-charged rallying cry for parts of the Bitcoin community.
One of these was SegWit2X. This was brokered in a deal between some Bitcoin personalities at a conference in New York, and thus part of the so-called "New York Agreement" or NYA, another emotionally-charged acronym.
The text of the NYA was basically:
  1. Set up a new activation threshold at 80% signalled at bit 4 (vs bit 1 for SegWit).
    • When this 80% signalling was reached, miners would require that bit 1 for SegWit be signalled to achive the 95% activation needed for SegWit.
  2. If the bit 4 signalling reached 80%, increase the block weight limit from the SegWit 4000000 to the SegWit2X 8000000, 6 months after bit 1 activation.
The first item above was coded in BIP91.
Unfortunately, if you read the BIP91, independently of NYA, you might come to the conclusion that BIP91 was only about lowering the threshold to 80%. In particular, BIP91 never mentions anything about the second point above, it never mentions that bit 4 80% threshold would also signal for a later hardfork increase in weight limit.
Because of this, even though there are claims that NYA (SegWit2X) reached 80% dominance, a close reading of BIP91 shows that the 80% dominance was only for SegWit activation, without necessarily a later 2x capacity hardfork (SegWit2X).
This ambiguity of bit 4 (NYA says it includes a 2x capacity hardfork, BIP91 says it does not) has continued to be a thorn in blocksize debates later. Economically speaking, Bitcoin futures between SegWit and SegWit2X showed strong economic dominance in favor of SegWit (SegWit2X futures were traded at a fraction in value of SegWit futures: I personally made a tidy but small amount of money betting against SegWit2X in the futures market), so suggesting that NYA achieved 80% dominance even in mining is laughable, but the NYA text that ties bit 4 to SegWit2X still exists.
Historically, BIP91 triggered which caused SegWit to activate before the BIP148 shorter timeout. BIP148 proponents continue to hold this day that it was the BIP148 shorter timeout and no-compromises-activate-on-August-1 that made miners flock to BIP91 as a face-saving tactic that actually removed the second clause of NYA. NYA supporters keep pointing to the bit 4 text in the NYA and the historical activation of BIP91 as a failed promise by Bitcoin developers.

Taproot Activation Proposals

There are two primary proposals I can see for Taproot activation:
  1. BIP8.
  2. Modern Softfork Activation.
We have discussed BIP8: roughly, it has bit and timeout, if 95% of miners signal bit it activates, at the end of timeout it activates. (EDIT: BIP8 has had recent updates: at the end of timeout it can now activate or fail. For the most part, in the below text "BIP8", means BIP8-and-activate-at-timeout, and "BIP9" means BIP8-and-fail-at-timeout)
So let's take a look at Modern Softfork Activation!

Modern Softfork Activation

This is a more complex activation method, composed of BIP9 and BIP8 as supcomponents.
  1. First have a 12-month BIP9 (fail at timeout).
  2. If the above fails to activate, have a 6-month discussion period during which users and developers and miners discuss whether to continue to step 3.
  3. Have a 24-month BIP8 (activate at timeout).
The total above is 42 months, if you are counting: 3.5 years worst-case activation.
The logic here is that if there are no problems, BIP9 will work just fine anyway. And if there are problems, the 6-month period should weed it out. Finally, miners cannot hold the feature hostage since the 24-month BIP8 period will exist anyway.

PSA: Being Resilient to Upgrades

Software is very birttle.
Anyone who has been using software for a long time has experienced something like this:
  1. You hear a new version of your favorite software has a nice new feature.
  2. Excited, you install the new version.
  3. You find that the new version has subtle incompatibilities with your current workflow.
  4. You are sad and downgrade to the older version.
  5. You find out that the new version has changed your files in incompatible ways that the old version cannot work with anymore.
  6. You tearfully reinstall the newer version and figure out how to get your lost productivity now that you have to adapt to a new workflow
If you are a technically-competent user, you might codify your workflow into a bunch of programs. And then you upgrade one of the external pieces of software you are using, and find that it has a subtle incompatibility with your current workflow which is based on a bunch of simple programs you wrote yourself. And if those simple programs are used as the basis of some important production system, you hve just screwed up because you upgraded software on an important production system.
And well, one of the issues with new softfork activation is that if not enough people (users and miners) upgrade to the newest Bitcoin software, the security of the new softfork rules are at risk.
Upgrading software of any kind is always a risk, and the more software you build on top of the software-being-upgraded, the greater you risk your tower of software collapsing while you change its foundations.
So if you have some complex Bitcoin-manipulating system with Bitcoin somewhere at the foundations, consider running two Bitcoin nodes:
  1. One is a "stable-version" Bitcoin node. Once it has synced, set it up to connect=x.x.x.x to the second node below (so that your ISP bandwidth is only spent on the second node). Use this node to run all your software: it's a stable version that you don't change for long periods of time. Enable txiindex, disable pruning, whatever your software needs.
  2. The other is an "always-up-to-date" Bitcoin Node. Keep its stoarge down with pruning (initially sync it off the "stable-version" node). You can't use blocksonly if your "stable-version" node needs to send transactions, but otherwise this "always-up-to-date" Bitcoin node can be kept as a low-resource node, so you can run both nodes in the same machine.
When a new Bitcoin version comes up, you just upgrade the "always-up-to-date" Bitcoin node. This protects you if a future softfork activates, you will only receive valid Bitcoin blocks and transactions. Since this node has nothing running on top of it, it is just a special peer of the "stable-version" node, any software incompatibilities with your system software do not exist.
Your "stable-version" Bitcoin node remains the same version until you are ready to actually upgrade this node and are prepared to rewrite most of the software you have running on top of it due to version compatibility problems.
When upgrading the "always-up-to-date", you can bring it down safely and then start it later. Your "stable-version" wil keep running, disconnected from the network, but otherwise still available for whatever queries. You do need some system to stop the "always-up-to-date" node if for any reason the "stable-version" goes down (otherwisee if the "always-up-to-date" advances its pruning window past what your "stable-version" has, the "stable-version" cannot sync afterwards), but if you are technically competent enough that you need to do this, you are technically competent enough to write such a trivial monitor program (EDIT: gmax notes you can adjust the pruning window by RPC commands to help with this as well).
This recommendation is from gmaxwell on IRC, by the way.
submitted by almkglor to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

ColossusXT Q2 2020 AMA Ends!

Thank you for being a part of the ColossusXT Q2 2020 AMA! Below we will summarize the questions and answers. The team responded to 46 questions! If your question was not included, it may have been answered in a previous question or AMA. The ColossusXT team will do a Reddit AMA at the end of every quarter.
The winner of the AMA contest is: ookhimself
Congratulations. I will send you a DM on Reddit.
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Q: Why does your blockchain exist and what makes it unique?
A: ColossusXT exists to provide an energy-efficient method of supercomputing. ColossusXT is unique in many ways. Some coins have 1 layer of privacy. ColossusXT and the Colossus Grid will utilize 2 layers of privacy through Obfuscation Zerocoin Protocol, and I2P and these will protect users of the Colossus Grid as they utilize the grid resources. There are also Masternodes and Proof of Stake which both can contribute to reducing 51% attacks, along with instant transactions and zero-fee transactions. This protection is paramount as ColossusXT evolves into the Colossus Grid. Grid Computing will have a pivotal role throughout the world, and what this means is that users will begin to experience the Internet as a seamless computational universe. Software applications, databases, sensors, video, and audio streams-all will be reborn as services that live in cyberspace, assembling, and reassembling themselves on the fly to meet the tasks at hand. Once plugged into the grid, a desktop machine will draw computational horsepower from all the other computers on the grid.
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Q: What is the Colossus Grid?
A: ColossusXT is an anonymous blockchain through obfuscation, along with utilization of I2P (Armis). These features will protect end-user privacy as ColossusXT evolves into the Colossus Grid. The Colossus Grid will connect devices in a peer-to-peer network enabling users and applications to rent the cycles and storage of other users’ machines. This marketplace of computing power and storage will exclusively run on COLX currency. These resources will be used to complete tasks requiring any amount of computation time and capacity, or allow end-users to store data anonymously across the COLX decentralized network. Today, such resources are supplied by entities such as centralized cloud providers which are constrained by closed networks, proprietary payment systems, and hard-coded provisioning operations. Any user ranging from a single PC owner to a large data center can share resources through Colossus Grid and get paid in COLX for their contributions. Renters of computing power or storage space, on the other hand, may do so at low prices compared to the usual market prices because they are only using resources that already exist.
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Q: Is there any estimated date for the grid? What will set you apart from the opposition?
A: We are hoping to have something released for the community in Q4 this year. The difference between other competitors is that ColossusXT is putting consumer privacy first and we’re actively in the process of working with federal and state agencies in the United States.
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Q: How do you plan to get people to implement the technology? At your current rate of development, when do you foresee a minimum viable product being available?
A: We have been strategically networking with businesses, and we are currently undergoing the verification process in the United States to make bids on federal and state projects. We are working on an MVP and our goal is to have at least a portion of the Colossus Grid ready by Q4 2020.
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Q: When we can expect any use-case for COLX? A company or service that uses COLX for its activities/tasks.
A: We’re aiming for Q4 of this year to have an MVP, throughout 2021 we will be strategically making bids on federal and state contracts in the United States with a goal to expand operations exponentially.
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Q: Are there any plans to be listed on the more prominent exchanges e.g binance, kraken?
A: Yes, we have applied to some of these exchanges that are considered Tier 1 or Tier 2 exchanges. Many of them upfront will tell you there are no fees associated with the listing, that is not entirely true most of the time. Regardless, have applied and are awaiting more responses as we move forward. Listing on these exchanges often requires that we cannot announce this information until ColossusXT is live on its platform.
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Q: Partnerships are the norm these days in crypto world. Which partnership would you consider feasible, if any, in order to grow the Colossus Grid project?
A: The Colossus Grid is a huge undertaking both in development and business partnerships. We are moving in both these directions strategically. One of the most important partnerships is not really a partnership but approval to bid on state and federal contracts. Working with the governments around the world will be a big part of the Colossus Grid use-case.
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Q: If the ability to annonymise coins is turned off, can CLX still be marketed as a privacy coin? Do we have a date we can start using this feature again?
A: Yes and No. It’s frustrating right now having a lack of privacy for consumers as we don’t see privacy as a feature but a right. EVERY platform online should have some levels of privacy for their consumers, especially as technology continues to evolve and bad actors continue to use your personal information for their own nefarious purposes. Obfuscation will be implemented in the coming weeks, and Armis will follow suit shortly thereafter.
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Q: When can we expect the grid to come out?
A: We are looking at releasing an MVP towards the end of the year. Stay tuned during Q3 and Q4 as we ramp on technical and business developments.
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Q: Can you tell the current budget for development work?
A: Much of the development work budget comes from Core team member's disposable income, we also use the self-funding treasury that Masternode owners vote on each month.
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Q: Will cold staking be implemented somedays? I like the model of Cardano. Hope you will implement kind of Cardano staking in our wallet. I would love the easiness.
A: ColossusXT staking has been enabled since 2017. We have calculators on the website that will estimate your average staking returns and you can join numerous pools to increase your staking power within the pools. Cold staking is on our radar and will make it into the roadmap when our budget allows us.
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Q: Which part of grid technology are you planning first to go live? Storage/RAM/CPU/GPU/all at once? Separately?
A: We will be rolling the Colossus Grid out in two phases. The first phase will be storage, and then we will roll out computing power (RAM/CPU/GPU).
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Q: Is Armis I2P technology in development testphase I mean, I have read something like that… If Armis goes live, will there be some kind of option in deskopt wallet to transfer anonymous or will every transaction be fully anonymous like e.g. monero?
A: We recently had a testing phase with the community earlier this year, there will be another test phase with community participants who sign up. If you’re interested in this stay tuned on our socials and apply when the next testing phase happens All transactions will be fully anonymous behind Armis.
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Q: What programming languate is being used for developing COLX? How well this programming language do you think is more suitable for developing crypto, in comparison with other programing languages?
A: C++ is what we’re using at ColossusXT. Each crypto project is different but with what we're developing at ColossusXT. We are best suited to utilize C++.
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Q: What is the second biggest milestone other than launching the grid network for the team. What do you think of your competition like Golem network?
A: Armis will be a big milestone, and I don’t think we go back to our Polis partnership which allows users in Europe and Mexico (they do plan to expand to the US and other countries) the ability to spend their ColossusXT (COLX) wherever Mastercard is accepted. I don’t think the Golem network is taking consumer privacy far enough, in the blockchain industry I also see a lack of drive to push adoption within the United States. This is likely due to unclear regulations right now. ColossusXT is at the forefront of these issues and we intend to lead blockchain through these somewhat murky waters.
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Q: I don’t have a lot of knowledge about crypto-technology… but are there any risks of sensitive data-hijacks through Colx infrastructure? Will the Colx-grid be available for individuals or only larger corporations, and how would one get access to the computing power?
A: There are always risks with technology. We are doing extensive testing and more testing prior to releasing anything. Consumer privacy is apart of the foundation of what we’re building at ColossusXT and we want to ensure any and all of your personal information is secure and private. As technology evolves, we will be right here evolving with it to ensure that consumer privacy protections are always in place.
The Colossus Grid will be available to anyone with a computer. You will access it through the desktop wallet.
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Q: Do you have any new exchange listings planned in the near future?
A: Yes, but unfortunately with these things, every day it’s not something we can often say before the exchange makes their own announcements. If you have certain exchanges that you prefer, do not be shy and tag us on Twitter letting us and the exchange know. You can also reach us everyday at all hours of the day and night on Discord and Telegram.
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Q: Given that Colx had no ICO, are we able to ramp development efforts in case we have potential partnership deal on the table?
A: It really depends. We strategically spend every dime we spend on development. We do not like even a single penny to be waisted, so we don’t move as fast as the projects that raised millions of dollars, but we continue moving none the less. Ramping up our development is something we are working on by securing additional funding and we’re currently working on securing funding. 😊
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Q: How is the project development advancing? What are your plans for the next 5 years and what more can we expect from ColossusXT?
A: Our development is continuing on at a steady pace, we’re looking to ramp this up over the next year as the Colossus Grid will take much of our time but we’re excited. Over the next 5 years, you can expect the Colossus Grid to be live in all forms (storage and computing power), Armis will be released and we will share many technical details on how this consumer privacy protection rivals some of the other privacy protections in the blockchain industry. We expect to be verified and approved to work with the agencies in the United States long before then as well and will be aggressively pursuing federal contracts to utilize the computing power of the Colossus Grid. In 5 years, we plan to be a key player not just in the blockchain industry, but throughout the world. If you do not know ColossusXT now, expect to in 5 years or less.
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Q: Users often care less about technology, but rather the value of the token. How do you manage to strike a balance between developing the technology and also improving the value of COLX? There are so many privacy coins now, all of them claiming to have better features that ColossusXT. Moving forward, what do the next 10 years look like for ColossusXT in navigating the wave of privacy projects coming. How can ColossusXT continue to shine in the midst of seemingly legit projects that have come to challenge ColossusXT like mimblewimble projects and Monero, Zcoin, ect.?

A: The Colossus Grid and Masternodes will have a strong relationship with each other. When the Colossus Grid goes live we expect the masternode demand to continue to rise. Masternodes are a great incentive mechanism to increase network strength and will play an important role within the Colossus Grid. The more masternodes online, the less available coins in the circulating supply; which we expect will eventually reflect ColossusXT (COLX) coin value.
Over the next 10 years, ColossusXT (COLX) will solidify itself as a key player in the blockchain industry, and outside the blockchain industry. Following our strategic business plans, we intend to be one of the first, if not the first to truly bring government and other businesses into the blockchain industry through the Colossus Grid. Armis will be our defining privacy feature, which we expect in time will begin to be adopted by other projects. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How have the number of Masternodes (MNs) increased/decreased over time/in the past few years? What proportion (%) of MNs actively take part in Governance? How do you see the number of MNs increasing/decreasing in the next couple of years? Is there a trend upwards or downwards?
Is there a specific number (or range) of MNs the team would like to attain ideally? Is it better to have as many MNs as possible or is there a point at which too many MNs start to have an adverse effect on the performance of the blockchain?
Hope this wasn’t too many questions in one :), Ahmed

A: The number of masternodes in the active network is more or less the same, fluctuating around 200-220. About 40% - 50% of masternodes participate actively in governance (see https://governance.colossusxt.io). We expect a number of masternodes to grow as they will have additional benefits with Colossus Grid (see business plan: http://bit.ly/COLXBPLive).
As the team had no premines, only the dev fund can be used for masternodes which is hard to maintain due to actual budget flow. It’s better to have as many masternodes as possible for the network, there is no adverse effect.
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Q: Of all the milestones that $COLX has achieved since your humble beginnings, which do you consider to be the best of it all? What achievements do you feel proud most?
A: It’s often not mentioned but I’m very proud of our partnership with PolisPay, which allows ColossusXT community members to purchase Amazon, Spotify, and other gift cards with ColossusXT (COLX) through the Polis platform. You are also able to spend your COLX anywhere Mastercard is accepted, the card is available only for EU citizens right now and the Polis team hopes to bring in other countries in the future.
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Q: There are problems that can slow down the course of a project such as the emergence of globalization, given the tighter budget, shorter implementation time requirements. My question is, How does $COLX resolve the issue?

A: Given the current situations around the world the Colossus Grid has more value than it ever has, and that value will continue to grow once we have released the Colossus Grid for consumers to share and utilize resources. You can already see from the [email protected] initiative that people are eager to share their computing resources to help researchers simulate different COVID19 simulations. We’ve always worked on a very small budget at ColossusXT starting with 0$ in funding and no pre-mine or ICO/IEO. This project was built for the community by the community, and as of lately we’ve actually been ramping up our business strategies and developments. Since we have all already worked remotely before the COVID19 pandemic, it interestingly allowed us more time to focus and achieve these goals as our day jobs allowed us to spend more time on ColossusXT.
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Q: How will you fight with regulators who are trying to stop privacy coins?

A: We have an amazing legal team at ColossusXT, and they are on top of any new law or regulation that comes out. We’re not afraid of regulators and our legal team makes sure that everything we do for ColossusXT is law-abiding. It's time the world stops looking at privacy as a feature and as a right, especially when you read about different applications and platforms using your personal DATA for their benefit. ColossusXT will continue to push this, and we're prepared to lobby this to lawmakers. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What type of utilities can $COLX give to users over its competitors like GOLM (computation) or STORJ (Data)?

A: The Colossus Grid has some major differences between Golem and Storj. One we’re a privacy-focused project. If you take a look at many of these applications and platforms today, in some way or another you’re giving up personal information, and/or geographic information. ColossusXT is focused on protecting consumer information, we do not look at privacy as a feature, we see privacy as a right, especially in the tech world today.
The second part of this question is that we’re currently in the verification process of registering with the United States federal and state governments so that we can legally bid on federal and state projects and work with different agencies. This will ensure that as the community members are sharing their idle resources, large corporations and businesses are using it. I’m not aware of the mentioned projects being registered in the United States or taking steps to work with the United States government.
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Q: How will computing power and storage sharing look like, for an average user (marketplace, program download)? What are you currently working on, when can we expect MVP? TY
A: The marketplace and Colossus Grid will be inside the ColossusXT desktop wallet that you currently have now. The UI/UX will change some to allow the additional settings and tabs that will become available and we’re preparing an MVP right now and we hope to share those details with you over the next few months, ask us again in the Q3 AMA if you haven’t seen anything yet :)
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Q: What would you say is the $COLX killer feature that sets it apart from the rest of the competition.
A: We believe that Armis is our killer feature. We recently had a beta this year with the community and will be moving forward later this year with Armis. ColossusXT consumers will have their geographic location and IP fully hidden behind the Armis layer for further security and anonymity for the transactions which will also take place in the Colossus Grid resource marketplace in the future.
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Q: I have been a silent follower of $COLX and I must say that I'm truly impressed with how the team has been diligently working on the project. It'd be nice to have the community be part of something like a bounty or a social awareness contest. As this will not only attract more users to the platform but would also strengthen the bond within the community. When can we possibly expect a community project of this level? #spreadthegrid
A: We currently have a Gleam competition ongoing for social awareness, and we just hired a community manager to spread more community awareness and will be rolling on competitions more regularly. Every quarter we have an AMA on Reddit for the community to ask questions, or just gripe at us, and one person each quarter is awarded 100,000 COLX for participating in the AMA. As we deliver our targets and grow, we will shift more funds from development funds to marketing funds to raise further awareness.
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Q: "Our main competitor is crypto adoption. We are all here to make it happen together.", this is quoted from a founder of a known crypto wallet. Do you see competition as something that strengthens the project as a whole or as a possible distraction due to pressure to be at the top of the crypto ecosystem?

A: This is a two scenario situation. Competition is good for ColossusXT, and we look at our main competitor in blockchain as Golem (GNT), having said that though too much competition or sometimes maximalist behavior isn’t good for crypto, many of these projects should be coming together to lobby lawmakers for laws and regulations that are good for the blockchain industry, as this is still an emerging market and the laws and regulations aren’t exactly in place at this time.
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Q: "For people to believe in crypto, they need to understand the tangible benefits it offers to our society.", a remark made by a crypto project in the past. What exactly would be $COLX real life global benefits? And how do you plan on achieving this?
A: ColossusXT vision will be achievable when the Colossus Grid is released. We are currently in the process of registering with state and federal agencies in the United States, once we are registered to work with these agencies we will pursue contracts with the government, cybersecurity firms and colleges all around the United States, and the world to utilize the resources on the Colossus Grid. We’ve already started building business relationships for this very purpose.
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Q: According to you how much time will it take for $COLX to get into mainstream adoption and execute all the plans set for this project?
A: It’s almost impossible to set a timeline on when the world/people will begin to adopt ColossusXT (COLX) and the Colossus Grid. We don’t believe that adoption for ColossusXT will happen before the Colossus Grid is live, and if I gave you an exact timeline for when or how long it will take you for the Colossus Grid to be adopted I would be lying to you, but we are already forming business relationships and making strategic moves to be able to bid, and work with state and federal agencies in the United States.
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Q: Does Tokens.net plan any kind of staking ($COLX or other coins)?
A: We will reach out to the tokens.net team and see if they have any plans to allow staking.
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Q: How will you try to boost adoption of #COLX, how do you think you will motivate programmers to join opensource project?
A: The Colossus Grid will be available for anyone to use, or share their idle resources for other consumers to use. We will be focusing on providing these resources to state and federal governments, cybersecurity firms, and researchers all across the world. Certainly, we expect some community members to use these resources to mine different PoW cryptocurrencies, but the team at ColossusXT will be focused on bringing in large colleges and universities as well as big cybersecurity businesses that may need supercomputing power at 1/10th of the current prices. Our programmers are our only paid team members, and we pay them at a competitive rate. We’re looking to bring in some more programmers later this year.
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Q: Do you have any special development funds for programmers?
A: Sometimes we pay our programmers out of our own pocket, sometimes we pay them in ColossusXT. It really depends on what kind of agreements have been made. We have been aggressively pursuing different funding opportunities throughout 2020 so that we can expand our development team and in the future, we may have incentives to drive programmers into joining our team. Right now we just stick to a competitive pay scale within the industry.
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Q: Why Android Wallet Revision hasn't been done? Any problems?
A: The Android wallet revision took some time to be approved in the Google Playstore, but it has been released and live since June 15, 2020.
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Q: Whats the second biggest milestone other than the grid network for COLX team?
A: Armis is likely to be considered our second biggest milestone this year, although as I mentioned above this can easily be overshadowed by our Polis partnership which allows you to spend ColossusXT (COLX) anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Although the epay debit card ownership is currently restricted to certain countries (EU zone only), these restrictions will lift in time.
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Q: How is COLX team going to contribute to crypto adoption, other than building a robust network?
A: We’re already in the process of verification to work with state and federal agencies. Adoption for blockchain projects isn’t going to move fast. I read a report just a few days ago about how scammers in the crypto industry stole over 2 million dollars worth of crypto just from the “Elon Musk” impersonations on Twitter.
We will continue to build our network, and seek out state and federal agencies as well as private cybersecurity firms that can utilize the Colossus Grid, we’re not just focused on making noise on social media, we intend to make noise throughout the entire world.
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Q: Are their industry partners to COLX that are awaiting your network to go live?
A: Yes, although I hesitate to go into too much detail here. We are talking with business leaders.
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Q: The ongoing crisis affected the market badly, making many projects far from their targets. What is $COLX strategy in order to survive and pass through this crisis?
A: I agree it affected the market badly, especially the projects that raised hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto and held it through the entire market correction. ColossusXT strategy is different from those affected, we’ve always had a smaller budget than these large projects. We spend the money we have available very wisely, and we’re not in a hurry to grab something that sounds good without doing our due diligence. We make our moves very strategically.
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Q: I gotta ask, what made $COLX decide to get listed on Tokens.net? What beneficial advantage does $COLX get in doing so? How about Tokens.net?
A: Tokens.Net is one of the best exchanges ColossusXT is listed at the moment in comparison to others in terms of volume.
  1. Tokens.net is one of the most secure and transparent exchanges out there, registered in the UK.
  2. The team behind the exchange has deep roots in the crypto/blockchain space, it was co-founded by Damian Merlak, a crypto-pioneer and co-founder of Bitstamp.
  3. Tokens.net provides free auto-trading tool / Market Making Bot. Their Dynamic Trading Rights concept adds transparency to trading volumes.
  4. They allow the community voting option of only truly decentralized projects after a thorough screening.
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Q: Hey everyone! What is the main purpose of the coin $COLX, does it have its own chain or is it some sort of an ERC-20 token? Thank you for the answers.
A: ColossusXT has never been an ERC-20 coin. We have been operating on our own mainnet since 2017. The purpose of ColossusXT (COLX) is to be the native currency of the Colossus Grid. This will allow users to share their idle resources on their computers, and consumers will rent/buy those resources to complete whatever they intend to use them for, from processing large DATA to running scientific simulations, to even mining PoW cryptocurrencies.
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Q: When we can expect any usecase for COLX? A company or service that uses colx for its activities / tasks.
A: There are currently use cases now if your location allows you to utilize the Polis Pay app, or if you have a Polis Pay card you can buy things with ColossusXT (COLX). I myself have tested the card buying gas at a gas station. These are not ColossusXT’s primary focus though and much of our use case will not start until the Colossus Grid is live.
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Q: What pairs will colx have to trade with on tokens.net // Will you connect #COLX with USDT EURS or BTC?
A: ColossusXT will be initially paired with Bitcoin (BTC). If the community would like different pairs, they can certainly request them and we will reach out to tokens.net and work to facilitate requests.
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Q: Will you try to convince users to trade on tokens.net if so how will you do it?
A: There is currently a gleam competition for users to sign up and trade on tokens.net. We “shill” tokens.net accordingly through social media to the ColossusXT community, but can’t really convince anyone to use a certain exchange, although we will try to push as many members to tokens.net as we can. We have many masternode holders who reside in the United States and they are not yet allowed to trade on tokens.net.
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Q: How will you try to create liquidity for your pairs?
A: We would like to increase the adoption rate with real-world partnerships such as our partnership with PolisPay for the use of gift/debit cards. As the liquidity is linked with the use cases, supply/demand mechanics, we are also preparing to provide additional use cases of COLX for the crypto world in an innovative & pioneering way; for the time being, we can hint this as a side business till we deliver fully operational Colossus Grid.
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Q: How big is a development team of #COLX?
A: The ColossusXT team is probably bigger than some people realize, partly because many of the team members are very private. We have 9 core members, 2 in-house developers, 3 Colossus Grid architects, and 2 Colossus Grid developers.
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Q: Do you have some security guys in the team?
A: Yes, although I’m hesitant to share too many personal details about team members. We have core team members who have been working in different fields of IT security for several years.
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Q: Since #COLX is planning on having some sort of a marketplace where you can take advantage of computing resources and the blockchain as well, are there any plans on introducing smart contracts? Will it help the grid? Is there a place for it?
A: This has been mentioned a few times in the past so it’s something on our radar, it’s currently not in the development timeline as the Colossus Grid is a massive amount of work. There may be a place for it as the blockchain industry evolves, and I can certainly see some cases where a smart contract can add some value to the Colossus Grid.
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Important Information:
Website
Whitepaper
Roadmap
Business Plan
Wiki
Governance
Partners
GitHub
What is ColossusXT? (YouTube)
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Follow ColossusXT on:
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AMA History:
2018 Q1 2018 Q2 2018 Q3 2018 Q4
2019 Q1 2019 Q2 2019 Q3 2019 Q4
2020 Q1
submitted by PioyPioyPioy to ColossuscoinX [link] [comments]

So, I have a bit of a quandary....Can I get some objective insight, please?

This got much longer than I thought it would....
I'm applying for a job with an international NPO in the tech industry. To call them "privacy focused" would not be overstating things. It's entirely what they do. I found out about them because it's entirely what they do. Their work is used extensively, although by no means exclusively, by criminals. It's designed for political activists, dissidents, anyone who might have need of tech that comes pre-loaded with all the right tools, can run on damn near any machine and is basically impervious to forensic analysis. It's just been sort of hijacked by people who use it to buy and sell real and counterfeit drugs, both outright illicit and pharmaceutically manufactured; people who steal and sell identities, forged identity documents, social security numbers, credit card data, RFID skimmers in every flavor to steal said data, credit histories, tax returns, counterfeit cash in all the major denominations, stolen/cracked/keygen'd software, hardware, you name it. There are people who will no shit use stolen credit cards to buy you whatever you want and have it delivered to your front door - or wherever else you want it to go - for a fraction of what it costs. If it has value somewhere or is worth something to someone, there are circles in which it's available to buy, sell, trade, or steal. And a large chunk of the people buying and selling these insanely illegal and illicit products are using this NPO's tech to do it.
I have no way of knowing how they feel about that fact. They can't possibly Not know....right?? A simple reddit search of their name immediately brings up like 7 different subreddits that all revolve around these illegal activities. Only one of which contains their name in the . It's super popular. Which brings me to my issue.
Those activities are precisely how I know about their existence. Those criminals are my friends and cohorts. I'm not one for fraud, frankly, but I'm hardly a passive observer in those spaces. I regularly teach people who stumble into those spaces how to more effectively use these tools to stay under the radar.
How do I explain to these people that I know their work and am familiar enough with it's bugs and glitches to be worth investing in, first of all, despite having zero technical qualifications. But more importantly, how do I sidestep the question, "So, how did you come to be so proficient in this particular collection of tools, given your complete and total lack of technical qualifications?" I'm sure they'll ask it more politely than that. But they Will ask it. They can't Not. It's not something people just randomly stumble across and then spend the next several years of their life playing with just for kicks. It's too specific for that. People who use it, need it. And I do not live in a place where it makes sense for me to know it as well as I do unless I'm doing something illegal with it. Which, as it happens, I am. Not to mention...I have zero paper trail for the years I've been paying my bills in cash (because ComEd and the mortgage company don't take bitcoin...yet).
It's crossed my mind to just disclose my activities.
Don't worry. I immediately remembered how many felonies I've committed or been privy to others committing and promptly discarded that plan. Or more accurately, I remembered that I actually Can't remember how many felonies I've committed or been privy to others committing thanks entirely to this tech. Like I said, I have no idea how they feel about people using their work like we do. They may find it reprehensible and disgraceful and call the Feds. I doubt it. Remember, privacy-focused. I'm disinclined to think they'd be very big fans of the Feds, just sort of on principle. Even still. I worry they won't respond well to the truth.
It's also occurred to me to simply point out that they are, in fact, actively developing tech designed for those who have a rather extreme need for privacy, and that while I have very much appreciated the time and dedication they've put into their work, so much so that the opportunity to work for them has very much been the reason I've been pulling myself together and actively working on such professional things as a resume and a portfolio, I feel that to disclose what it was I needed to go to such lengths to secure my privacy for would effectively render such measures obsolete.
I figure if I can get this out of the way in my cover letter and supply a small portfolio of my work showing my competence, if nothing else, that might be the best way to come at it. I don't think I could handle it if they showed an interest in me and interviewed me and then told me they couldn't hire me because I've been abusing their work for years. At least if they just don't respond at all to my submission, I can pretend it was my portfolio and lack of technical qualifications that prevented me from getting the job, you know?
Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice? Help?
submitted by AltruisticMzAnthrope to CoverLetters [link] [comments]

Diamond in the rough forks to Blockcore tech. Solid 10x short term.

Meet x42 Protocol, the feeless blockchain that will allow anyone to host decentralized applications the easy way.
X42 Protocol Price $0.01275764
Market Cap $247,173 (May 27, 2020)
Explorer: https://explorer.x42.tech/
Website: https://www.x42.tech/
x42 is a decentralized cryptocurrency based on the Blockcore technology designed to be a multi-chain solution for DApps (decentralized applications) that allows for a range that goes anywhere from small indie developed games to large entrepreneurial projects that span dozens of facilities.
The main idea behind x42 is to be a scalable, on-chain solution for any developer that wants to launch games and applications in general with minimal initial investment, zero transaction fees and near infinite scalability.
The protocol works around a main blockchain which hosts all the x42 coins and three types of nodes. Side blockchains can be created at will by the developers that decide to use the x42 protocol to launch their projects, side blockchains are very flexible and allow for a great deal of customization.
The main blockchain of the x42 protocol will have a maximum total of forty-two million coins mined into existence by the year 2030. The coins follow the same rules as most cryptocurrencies, every transaction is final, timestamped and will be registered to the blockchain ledger, blockchain explorers can be used to browse any and all transactions
Every project can have its own side blockchain, in which the development team can fully test and experiment on before going live to the store, because of that need all side blockchains have access to individual testnets.
FM Interview with developer:
The workpaper talks about using Stratis technology - Many say this is soon to be defunct?
It does, the current WP is the 1st itteration, we have a 2.0 that will be released when the servers go online.
However in Dec 2019, we have switched to Blockcore as Stratis had too many limitations that didn't meet our needs without heavy modifications. We did start with stratis as the basic framework, but we modified all of the code thus far to meet the needs we have. x42 is not stratis, but did start with some of their code.
The switch to blockcore is really more of a code thing and not otherwise noticed on the user end. There has been some but not a significant amount of discussion about it. Anyone that does access the new beta will be able to notice the difference as it nolonger will say stratis anywhere. On the user end, some file structures may change with mention of blockcore.
Blockcore is a fork of Stratis, however the cool thing is that it isnt its own project.
More details:
https://www.blockcore.net/ is an open source project started by a group of blockchain developers and engineers to realize a fully integrated platform for building custom blockchains.
Blockcore is the foundation for realizing blockchains and includes core functionality to create your own custom blockchain with a lot of tooling supporting your blockchain.
So its been 18 months of development? When will we say a mainnet?
We are currently in testnet and close to 90% ready. Xservers should be released this year. However we are not working on a timeline for mainnet with dates at the moment. Deadlines produce inferior products. The new wallet (xCore) has passed and is ready, it will work alongside the xServer. The switch to blockcore did require some code changes and we are still working with blockcore to fine tune some issues in their code as well. Security and ease of use for the end user are required.
What about use of dapps in beta?
We have a few in progress, but there are not many as the parameters can be changing. Although, anyone that can code a dapp in c# could drop it into their app folder and have one right now. There just won't be the user interface on the current wallet or the server support yet.
Why did you call it x42?
X has always been the universal unknown in mathematics, which can also mean ‘anything.’
X is believed to have come from the arab letter shin (ش),
that was initially used by spanish scholars because of their inability to translate certain arabic sounds into the spanish language, so it became a synonym for an unknown thing. From there on it was noticed that the spanish language didn’t have an appropriate sound for the arabic ‘sh.’ As time passed it was adapted into the ‘ck’ sound, which in classic greek is written down with a symbol known as chi (X). 42 is known to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy readers as the ‘answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything’. We believe that x42 can offer a great answer to most questions plaguing the cryptocurrency space at the moment and in the future. That mix of an unknown and an answer is where our name got its origin.
The techy Details:
The two main levels of the x42 architecture are:
xCore – This is responsible for interacting with the infrastructure and the interface layers in addition to the node policy layers. An x42 xCore full node handles all the APIs and user interfaces.
NBitcoin – This is responsible for handling messages between nodes in the Network Layer. It also bridges the gap between various Consensus Layer functions.
Higher Transaction Speed: Transaction on the x42 blockchain platform happens almost instantly under 60 seconds. Also, the main x42 blockchain supports around 70 transactions per second. This is nearly 10 times the transactions supported by the Bitcoin blockchain network. Additionally, the good thing is the x42 side blockchains can be edited to hold as many transactions-per-second (TPS) as the developers want.
Understanding xCore, xServer, and Wallets
xCore – An xCore node is basically a device with software that has the entire x42 blockchain saved and connects the main blockchain to the side blockchains. This node seeds the main and side blockchain to all users and also has all the functionalities of a client node. Client node is any client running a wallet connected to the x42 main blockchain network.
As explained in the white-paper, “The xCore can stake coins on the main blockchain, it can also run decentralised applications hosted on xServers all across the network after having it installed on the local machine”.
xServer – The x42 blockchain supports several different types of servers. xServer is a special sort of wallet that runs on dedicated hardware facilitates decentralisation of applications (DApps), processing and data storage.
xServers are also tasked with other activities on the network like propagating smart contracts and signing transactions. It also allows the server owner (the Gatekeeper) to get paid for hosting diverse applications.
Besides, xServers can choose to host the projects launched on any of the non-private side blockchains. Projects that share a considerable part of their revenues with the xServer owners are likely to get hosted quickly and maintained by the same servers for a longer period of time.
Before we understand xServer wallets, let’s brief about the Hot Wallet and Cold Wallets.
A hot wallet is an online wallet always connected to the internet. This is an instant point-of-contact for receiving and sending payments. The hot wallets receive the staking rewards along with payouts from DApps, side blockchain, smart contracts, and private transactions.
A cold wallet is an offline wallet and more secure from the hot wallet as it is less susceptible to online attacks. This wallet holds the collateral for the server. All the server rewards are paid out to the cold storage wallet.
Coming to the xServer wallets, these are basically software holding information for both hot and cold storage wallets. The xServer wallets can run on almost any operating system. They can also host and launch decentralised applications (DApps) and generate passive income by DApp hosting.
Nice article..
https://medium.com/the-consensus/x42-protocol-not-just-another-pos-mn-project-d8dd73e8846d
submitted by AlfredGemLord to CryptoMoonShots [link] [comments]

Money is a lot more complex than authors realize (40k, Metro, WoW, D&D, IRL)

One of the “easier” ways to create a unique world is to choose a different form of currency. It’s something people notice, since money is ubiquitous. The issue is that money is fairly well developed. It needs to have certain features, or else it flat out doesn’t work.
Examples
In Warhammer 40k, orks use their own teeth as currency. Since every ork has access to teeth, there isn't absolute poverty. Since the teeth decay, hoarding teeth isn't feasible, and it means that orks need to constantly try to expand to get more teeth. Since every ork gives teeth in a tax to their boss, it means that war bands constantly expand and fight, giving the combat happy bastards yet another reason to go to war.
A huge amount of fantasy universes use copper, silver, and gold as currencies.
Metro uses ammo.
In real life, we see many alternative, and ineffective, currencies, ranging from company script, to cryptocurrency, to hyperinflationary national fiat currency, to precious metal based money.
Background
The issue is that all of these are fundamentally flawed in some way as a currency, rendering the economy of that location extremely vulnerable to various shocks that would rightfully upend the entire economy.
A currency fills three major roles 1. A medium of exchange. 2. A store of value. 3. A unit of account.
A medium of exchange means that it is accepted by enough people as having value to be used for trade. Rather than needing to find someone who wants your goods to trade in a chain for something you want (like in every Zelda trading questline), you just give them money and they give you the item. This is why money is more efficient pure barter. It acts to lubricate transactions between peoples.
A store of value means that you won't see all your wealth disappear if you don't spend it now. Which means that you can save up for major purchases, you can make deals that last for years (like mortgages), and people can actually retire on what they’ve earned over the course of their life.
A unit of account means that you know the value of the money and it is standardized. Imagine if the only form of money was in fine art. You could exchange a Van Gogh for a house, and a large spiky suspended ball for a car. Art could fit as a medium of exchange and a store of value, but actually trying to compare artwork to artwork would drive people insane quickly. You'd be in the situation that a dollar isn't worth a dollar, or one Van Gogh isn't worth another Van Gogh. There is no way to convert between lesser and more valuable pieces in a logical manner.
Now, why is that relevant? Because a huge amount of monetary systems in fiction fail these requirements and allow for overt exploitation or unduly hamper the government's ability to respond to threats.
Problems
With regards to the ork teeth, what is functionally happening is constant hyperinflation. Since the teeth decay, there is explicitly no store of value. Which means that the only orks who can afford the best and most fun toys are the warbosses and WAAGH! leaders. There are probably billions of orks who just want to save up for a spaceship or motorcycle or set up a Squig farm of their own, but will never be able to because their money falls apart before their eyes.
Somewhat more seriously, for a race dedicated to war, constantly decaying teeth means that the number of war bands that can attack space based shipping or otherwise need more complex and expensive equipment is limited, reducing the race's overall effectiveness in combat. By attempting to be clever with inflation, by making it so that it couldn't happen, they created the effects of hyperinflation. And, since it is still a money based system, that means that a race designed to go to war can't do it as effectively as they should.
In WoW or D&D or any of a dozen universes where wealth is metal based, using multiple metals as various values of currency would have a similarly debilitating problem. It destroys the unit of account. Basically, the government sets an exchange rate between the chunks of metal, making gold 10x as expensive as silver which is 10x as expensive as copper. But the rarity and expense of gold isn't 100x as much as copper. It is usually much much more. So, it makes counterfeiting extremely attractive, since you can produce 100 small value coins, of the actual metal, and exchange them for a coin of much higher value. Or if it is in the other direction, where you can exchange something where the face value is less than the value of the metal, all the government is doing is funding a small extremely active and profitable metal reclamation industry. This would be an ongoing and unavoidable issue, one that could cripple a government attempting to keep enough money in circulation, or cripple business if the government failed to intervene in an ongoing manner.
Metro has the same issue of lacking a unit of account. The value of a bullet depends on what you're facing and what weapons you have. Even if the nominal value of a .50 cal armor piercing round is high, the number of people who can use it is very low. Consequently, you'll see the value change and possibly invert, as use brings more common rounds out of circulation and makes the more expensive rounds increasingly obviously useless. Without a set value across the board, or something interchangeable and universal, the currency itself will always be in flux, making for a really really shitty form of money.
And a fairly cursory read of human history reveals why being inventive with money is a bad idea.
Company script is money that doesn't function as a medium of exchange. It acts to tie people to a small location and punishes merchants, intentionally gimping economic power of consumers.
Bitcoin, aside from arguably not working as a medium of exchange, fails as a store of value. It is inconsistent and disconnected from reality, making any long term contract in it unfeasible. It has many of the same problems as hyperinflation, except you don't know which direction the value will go.
Less common now, but currencies that are based on the weight of an amount of precious metal suffered from failing as a unit of account. As gold coins were chipped, sweated, plugged, adulterated, or otherwise debased, the value of the coin and the face value became disconnected, and a buyer was dependent on merchants being trustworthy with their scales.
Functionally, money is the way it is because it works fairly well, and the obvious alternatives tend to fail in overt ways. Attempting to be clever with monetary solutions isn't really feasible most of the time.
Solutions
So, are there any currencies that actually make some degree of sense in world, and aren't just "GOLD FOR ALL"?
Surprisingly, yes.
Fallout's bottle caps have surprisingly good arguments around why they are used beyond the water traders of the Hub.
Basically, becoming a medium of exchange is more based on mutual consent than it is on logic.. Shells, pieces of wood, large rocks, feathers, and shiny metals have all been used. Ragnar Benson, of the survivalist fame, claims to have found isolated African tribes that were using Austro-Hungarian bills in the 70s. Unless there's a government that forces something, pretty much anything can and will be used.
By selecting it as a currency, the water traders turned bottle caps into a representative currency, each cap was a certain amount of pure water. They gave it some base level of value that was universally accepted. Outside the Hub, people were willing to trade for them since they had value, prompting other people to accept them on since they could be used in trade, gradually shifting it to something like fiat, abet unbacked by a government. Fallout has a surprising amount of trade across the US, where jet reached the East Coast and the Wasteland Survival Guide reached the West in a couple decades. Over 100 years, it's completely reasonable for bottle caps to become an accepted medium of exchange, valued because people value them.
With regards to unit of account, bottle cap or not is pretty effective. And, since it doesn't have higher denominations, which could introduce the potential for arbitrage, it works. Abet annoying to count out hundreds or thousands of caps of you had to do it manually.
For a store of value, after 100 years as an accepted currency, most large stashes would have been found, and the only input would be through Nuka cola, which is more valuable as soda than caps. And, as described in game, without a press and marking machine, counterfeiting is difficult; labor intensive and involved. There really isn't much way for more caps to come in, which preserves its value. The greatest issue with bottle caps is long term deflation as the population expands, but, while the wasteland continues, population growth will be muted.
Consequently, caps in the Fallout universe ought to provide a stable bedrock for longer term business and functioning governance. Assuming that the world’s inability to actually rebuild despite that being the story for hundreds of years gets resolved.
So what?
So, what makes a good fictional currency? Well, that’s mostly fulfilling the functions of a currency.
  1. Medium of Exchange – that can be nearly anything, as long as it is universally accepted. Attempting to create a new currency for each trader, like some sort of munted script, would be horrible and useless.
  2. Store of Value – The currency should not be easy to counterfeit, which implies 2 things. Either that it is nearly worthless on its’ own (like paper currency) or that the value is derived from a hard to fake commodity, like gold. At the same time, making this needs to be difficult, or else you have the issue of the Elder Scrolls with Transmutation and turning iron into gold, which is also the foundation of their currency. Hyperinflation means broken economies.
  3. Unit of Account – If you’re going to have more than one currency, you need to directly tie them together. More money should be based on the same features as the Store of Value, either just a bigger number on the front, or a larger chunk of hard to adulterate or change money.
And, if you think you’ve solved a major problem, you really really should talk to an economist before designing your world around a special feature.
submitted by Draco_Ranger to CharacterRant [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analysed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, secure and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue disecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as:
“A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next he states that: >“blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”.* For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (>66%) double spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralised nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching their transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public.They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers.The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translates to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS & shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behaviour are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.”
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: > OCaml is a general purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognised by academics and won a so called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities safety is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa for Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships  
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organisations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, AirBnB, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are build on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”*
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They dont just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities) also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures & Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
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