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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]

How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation


In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.



Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:

Offline Multi-Signature

Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.

Regular Transparent Audits

Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.

Insurance Requirements

Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.


Background and Justifications


Cold Storage Custody/Management
After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems:
• Funds stored online or in a smart contract,
• Access controlled by one person or one system,
• 51% attacks (rare),
• Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or
• Some combination of the above.
For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program.
The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms.
• 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective.
• The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated.
The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II.

On The Subject of Third Party Custodians
Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems.
However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies.
There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both.

On The Subject Of Insurance
ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC.
However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline[] to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance.
In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework.
A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians.

On The Subject of Fractional Reserve
There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds.
There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past.

Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability
Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis.
The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users.
Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit.
The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided.
Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense.

Hot Wallet Management
The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets.
However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process.
A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage.
Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.

Current Draft Proposal

(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage.
(a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet.
(b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time).
(c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7.
(d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds.
(e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers.
(2) Regular and transparent solvency audits.
(a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row.
(b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored.
(c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process.
(d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify.
(e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible.
(3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions.
(a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets.
(b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy.
(c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage.
(d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange.
(e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.

Steps Forward

Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized.
The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges.
The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
submitted by azoundria2 to QuadrigaInitiative [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!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Enfin des infos sur la monnaie (Ca)Libra de facebook. Vos avis/analyses ?

monnaie Libra
Facebook announces Libra cryptocurrency: All you need to know | TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/18/facebook-libra/
Facebook confirms it will launch a cryptocurrency called Libra in 2020 - The Verge https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/18/18682290/facebook-libra-cryptocurrency-visa-mastercard-digital-currency-calibra-wallet-announce
Facebook Cryptocurrency: Calibra’s Privacy Implications | Fortune http://fortune.com/2019/06/18/facebook-cryptocurrency-libra-privacy/
Facebook’s Libra ‘cryptocurrency’ is missing one thing: monetary policy https://thenextweb.com/hardfork/2019/06/18/facebooks-libra-cryptocurrency-monetary-policy-calibra-blockchain/
Facebook's New Coin: 5 Things to Know About Project Libra | Fortune http://fortune.com/2019/06/18/facebook-project-libra-crypto-coin-cryptocurrency-how-it-works/
Libra White Paper | Blockchain, Association, Reserve https://libra.org/en-US/white-pape Factbox: Facebook's new cryptocurrency Libra and digital wallet Calibra - Reuters https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-crypto-facts/factbox-facebooks-new-cryptocurrency-libra-and-digital-wallet-calibra-idUSKCN1TJ0U3?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews
Calibra | Digital Wallet for Libra Cryptocurrency https://calibra.com/#newsletter
Cryptomonnaie Libra : Bruno le Maire a des questions, voici des réponses https://www.numerama.com/politique/527114-cryptomonnaie-libra-bruno-le-maire-a-des-questions-voici-des-reponses.html
Chair of the House Financial Services Committee says Facebook should halt development of Libra until Congress investigates, calls on Facebook execs to testify (Makena Kelly/The Verge) https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/18/18684268/facebook-libra-cryptocurrency-stop-congress-house-democrat-maxine-waters-regulation
While Facebook's Libra plays at decentralization, it is still entrenched in Facebook, and using it means trusting Facebook, which is a hard sell in 2019 (Russell Brandom/The Verge) https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/18/18683867/facebook-cryptocurrency-libra-calibra-trust-banking
The Facebook-backed Libra Association contains no major banks in its initially announced group of partners (Mike Dudas/The Block) https://www.theblockcrypto.com/2019/06/18/where_are_the_banks/
Details and explanations from Daily Tech News Show 3555 """WHAT IS IT Facebook announced that it will launch its Libra cryptocurrency in first half of 2020.
Facebook is running it and building it through end of the year. Plans to hand it over to the nonprofit Libra Association."""
"""WHO'S RUNNING IT Libra Association - 28 partners Headquarters in Geneva, Sitzerland Includes Facebook's Calibra, Coinbase, Mastercard, Visa, eBay, PayPal, Stripe, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, Vodafone, Womens World Banking, and Kiva.
"""WHAT DOES FACEBOOK GET OUT OF IT? Facebook's Part - Calibra
AND?
Facebook’s VP of blockchain, David Marcus “If more commerce happens, then more small businesses will sell more on and off platform, and they’ll want to buy more ads on the platform so it will be good for our ads business.”
"""How PRIVATE IS IT? PRIVACY
-- anyone who signs up must share a government ID and other personal information.
CHALLENGES
"Avis de Patrick Beja: Ce n'est pas un produit Facebook. Totalement Open Source, FB n'a pas plus de contrôle sur le projet que les dizaines d'autres membres. Une monnaie virtuelle est une composante nécessaire de la prochaine évolution de Facebook déjà détaillée par Zuck : les ""super apps""."
Quels sont vos avis & analyses ?
Merci,
submitted by GrenobleLyon to vosfinances [link] [comments]

I read the Telegram Open Network ICO technical white paper so you don't have to

edit: Blog post version of the below. 2800 words of elegance.
nobody else will read this f'n Telegram ICO Technical White Paper for me, so I guess I gotta myself. Currently on my third drink to cope with this thing.
"The Telegram Open Network (TON) is a fast, secure and scalable blockchain and network project, capable of handling millions of transactions per second if necessary, ... We aim for it to be able to host all reasonable applications currently proposed and conceived."
Well, that's certainly audacious. TON posits to solve every problem that present-day blockchains show in practice. Fast, secure and decentralised!
But I have doubts as to its decentralised security.
psst quite a lot of this is stuff that Ethereum already rejected - it's like Nikolai Durov went through Vitalik's "Prehistory of the Ethereum Protocol" and went "ha, that'll be easy" https://vitalik.ca/general/2017/09/14/prehistory.html
TON Blockchain as a Collection of 2-Blockchains. A network of sidechains: a master blockchain, and up to 232 "workchains" hanging off it. These are "sidechains" in conventional Bitcoin parlance. Each workchain can have 260 "shardchains" hanging off it.
Each shardchain is responsible for a subset of addresses. Each block in a shardchain can be replaced if found to be incorrect - thus, each block is a blockchain. The masterchain contains hashes of all blocks of all shardchains.
TON is designed as a pile of shards from the ground up - start with one shardchain per account, then work out how to reconcile all of these. This is the "infinite sharding paradigm".
This all just assumes the validity of shardchain block generation, against financially-interested outside attackers. Anyone can assemble indefinite subchains like Lego - but each of those sidechains must be secure. The word "security" appears once in the entire paper.
It's absolutely key to remember: none of this exists. This is not a detailed explanation of a live working system - this is all hypothetical, despite consistently using the present tense as if this is a thing. It is not a thing, and certainly wasn't then.
At best, this is how Durov thinks his unimplemented system will work - there are bursts of ridiculously low-level detail, and other bits are handwaved, or conspicuously absent.
Section 2.6 is how the Proof-of-Stake system works. This is key to TON solving the Blockchain Trilemma. I'd love PoS nerds to comment on this bit https://docdro.id/zGNtmKk as it looks to me like it skims over the really obvious "yes, but" questions pretty egregiously.
"The TON Blockchain ultimately consists of shardchain and masterchain blocks. These blocks must be created, validated and propagated through the network to all parties concerned, in order for the system to function smoothly and correctly." good, this asks the right question.
There are 100 validators in any given month, elected according to stake. Nominators can lend capital to validators to achieve stake.
this nominating or lending system enables one to become a validator without investing a large amount of money into Grams (TON coins) first. In other words, it prevents those keeping large amounts of Grams from monopolizing the supply of validators.
So, they just state that last sentence - it's the end of the section. Presumably this is their answer to "thems what has, gets." But they don't show how that follows, at all.
a ton of detail here on how they anticipate it to work. But none of t his existed when it was written. Why? Why any of this? What are the alternatives? Why is this a good system? Why is it more than just you making up a PoS system off the top of your head?
2.6.25. Decentralization of the system. this section explicitly compares TON to Bitcoin and Ethereum, which run PoW, which has centralised due to economies of scale. this is because of the nominator system:
In fact, the parameter L of 2.6.7 will force nominators not to join the largest “mining pool” (i.e., the validator that has amassed the largest stake), but rather to look for smaller validators currently accepting funds from nominators, or even to create new validators, because this would allow a higher proportion s'-i/s-i of the validator’s — and by extension also the nominator’s — stake to be used, hence yielding larger rewards from mining. In this way, the TON Proof-of-Stake system actually encourages decentralization (creating and using more validators) and punishes centralization.
... and that's it. No evidence presented it will work in practice how Durov hopes. No possible failure modes, nor anything that might have become obvious in Ethereum's attempts at a PoS system. I'd love to hear what those who know PoS make of section 2.6.
e.g. obvious: what stops large nominators backing a huge percentage of validators? As we see with Bitmain running multiple "separate" bitcoin mining pools. Read section 2.6 and add your own!
Section 2.8 discusses types of blockchains. This sort of answers a bit of "why", but only on the broadest level, not why their particular decisions - and that detailed "why" begs for answers.
Section 2.9 TON is "the first fifth-generation blockchain project" in their own specially-constructed hierarchy of blockchain projects. I would say TON is 0th generation, because it doesn't fucking exist yet.
2.9.13. Is it possible to “upload Facebook into a blockchain”? - this is the worst section heading I have ever seen in a white paper, and I've seen some doozys.
so the rest of the paper is a blend of low-level querulous detail and high-level handwaving. I'm pretty sure Durov is confident nobody could be smarter than him, he's thought about it really hard and all.
investors spent one point fucking seven fucking billion actual fucking U S dollars on this thing
submitted by dgerard to Buttcoin [link] [comments]

The Exhaustive EOS FAQ

The Exhaustive EOS FAQ

 
With the large number of new readers coming to this sub we need to make information easy to access so those readers can make informed decisions. We all know there is an unusually large amount of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) surrounding EOS. Frankly, when clear evidence is provided it’s not that difficult to see EOS for the extremely valuable project it is. This post hopes to begin to put an end to all the misinformation by doing the following:  
  • Giving a clear and concise answer to the most frequently asked questions in regards to EOS.
  • Giving a more in-depth answer for those who want to read more.
  • Allowing readers to make informed decisions by making credible information easy to access.
 
As EOS climbs the ranks we need to recognise there are going to be a lot of skeptical readers coming over and posting their questions. Sometimes they will be irrational, hostile and often just looking for a reaction. We should make it our responsibility to welcome everyone and refrain from responding emotionally to provocative posts, instead providing factual and rational answers.
I will add to this post as and when I can, if you have any ideas or spot any mistakes let me know and I'll get them fixed ASAP. Im planning to add a bit on the team, centralisation and DPOS, governance and EOS VC shortly but please let me hear your suggestions!
 

FAQ

1. How do you registeclaim your EOS tokens before June 2018?

 
Answer courtesy of endless. If you have not done so, you will need to create a new pair of EOS public and private keys and register them with an Ethereum address. This only needs to be done once.
On or around June 1, 2018 all EOS Tokens will become frozen and non-transferable on the Ethereum blockchain. Not long after, I suspect that EOS community members will create a snapshot of token balances that carry over onto a new community generated and selected EOS blockchain. block.one will not be launching EOS blockchains or operating any of their nodes. Additionally, this is a community subreddit unaffiliated in an official capacity with block.one
Method #1: MetaMask (recommended)
Video guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K1Q5hX_4-o
steemit tutorial: https://steemit.com/eos/@ash/full-walkthrough-how-to-join-eos-ico
Method #2: MyEtherWallet
steemit tutorial: https://steemit.com/eos/@sandwich/contributing-to-eos-token-sale-with-myetherwallet-and-contract-inner-workings
Method #3: Exodus Wallet
Official website tutorial: http://support.exodus.io/article/65-i-ve-received-eos-tokens-in-exodus-how-do-i-register-them
Important note courtesy of dskvry bka Sandwich, the author of Method #2's steemit tutorial:
claimAll will not work for most users. When you get to the claim step, please use the following tutorial: https://steemit.com/eos/@koyn/minimizing-the-cost-of-gas-when-claiming-eos-using-myetherwallet
Did you buy your EOS tokens on an exchange? (Courtesy of IQOptionCoin)
REMEMBER YOU ONLY NEED TO REGISTER YOUR TOKENS IF YOU BOUGHT THEM ON AN EXCHANGE. YOU DON'T NEED TO CLAIM THEM.
  1. Go to the EOS website https://eos.io
  2. Scroll down and select "GET EOS"
  3. Tick all the required boxes and click "Continue"
  4. Scroll down and click "Register"
  5. Select Metamask, MyEtherWallet, or Ethereum Wallet
  6. Follow the guide.
  7. Remember that the reason you need to register your Ethereum ERC-20 address is to include your EOS tokens in order for the balance of your EOS Tokens to be included in the Snapshot if a Snapshot is created, you must register your Ethereum address with an EOS public key. The EOS snapshot will take place prior to the 1 June 2018. After this point your ERC-20 EOS tokens will be frozen. And you will be issued EOS tokens on the EOS blockchain.
So PLEASE REGISTER your Ethereum address NOW, don't forget about it, or plan on doing it some time in the near future.
There are a lot of submissions about this in /eos, so rather than making a new one please reply to this thread with any questions you may have. Don't forget to join the EOS mailing list: https://eos.io/#subscribe and join the EOS community on your platform(s) of choice: Telegram, Discord and/or Facebook.
And remember, if anyone instructs you to transfer ETH to an EOS contract address that doesn't match the address found on https://eos.io you are being scammed.
 

Sources:

How to registeclaim your EOS tokens before June 2018 by endless
Official EOS FAQ
 

2. How will the token the ERC-20 EOS tokens be transferred to the native blockchain?

 

Quick answer:

There isn't one! Read the long answer then read it again, registering your Ethereum wallet is mandatory!
 

Long answer:

Within 23 hours after the end of the final period on June 1, 2018 at 22:59:59 UTC, all EOS Tokens will become fixed (ie. frozen) and will become non-transferrable on the Ethereum blockchain.
In order to ensure your tokens are transferred over to the native blockchain you must register your Ethereum address with an EOS public key, if you do not you will lose all your tokens! I am not going to link any tutorials as there are many that can be found by searching Google and YouTube.
block.one is helping with the development of snapshot software that can be used to capture the EOS token balance and registered EOS public key of wallets on the Ethereum blockchain. It is then down to the community to create the snapshot. This snapshot can be used when generating a genesis block for a blockchain implementing eos.io software. block.one will not be launching EOS blockchains or operating any of their nodes.
 
Exchange Support
Some exchanges have announced that they will support the token swap. Although using this method will undoubtedly be much simpler than registering the tokens yourself it also comes with its pitfalls.
  • It is highly likely there are going to be multiple networks running on the eos.io software that use the snapshot. It is highly unlikely that exchanges will support them all.
  • It is highly likely that exchanges will not support airdrops that use the snapshot.
Exchanges that have announced support for the token swap include:
 

Sources:

EOS.io
 

3. What does EOS aim to achieve?

 

Quick answer:

EOS.IO software is aiming to provide a decentralized operating system which can support thousands of industrial scale DApps by enabling vertical and horizontal scaling.
 

Long answer:

EOS.IO is software that introduces a blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications. This is achieved through an operating system-like construct upon which applications can be built. The software provides accounts, authentication, databases, asynchronous communication and the scheduling of applications across multiple CPU cores and/or clusters. The resulting technology is a blockchain architecture that has the potential to scale to millions of transactions per second, eliminates user fees and allows for quick and easy deployment of decentralized applications.
 

Sources:

Official EOS FAQ
 

4. Who are the key team figures behind EOS?

 
  • CEO Brendan Blumer - Founder of ii5 (1group) and okay.com. He has been in the blockchain industry since 2014 and started selling virtual assets at the age of 15. Brenden can be found on the Forbes Cypto Rich List. Brendan can be found on Twitter.
  • CTO Dan Larimer - Dan's the visionary industry leader who built BitShares, Graphene and Steemit as well as the increasingly popular Proof of Stake Governance and Decentralised Autonomous Organization Concept. He states his mission in life is “to find free market solutions to secure life, liberty, and property for all.”. Dan can also be found on the Forbes Cypto Rich List. Dan can be found on Twitter and Medium.
  • Partner Ian Grigg - Financial cryptographer who's been building cryptographic ledger platforms for 2+ decades. Inventor of the Ricardian Contract and Triple-Entry Accounting.
 

Sources:

Forbes Crypto Rich List
 

5. Where can the latest EOS news be found?

 
Official:
Community:
Developers:
 

6. Which consensus mechanism does EOS use and what are Block Producers?

 

Quick answer:

Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) with Byzantine Fault Tolerance. Block Producers (BPs) produce the blocks of the blockchain and are elected by token holders that vote for them. BPs will earn block rewards for their service, these block rewards come in the form of EOS tokens produced by token inflation.
 

Long answer:

Taken from the EOS.IO Technical White Paper v2:
“EOS.IO software utilizes the only known decentralized consensus algorithm proven capable of meeting the performance requirements of applications on the blockchain, Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS). Under this algorithm, those who hold tokens on a blockchain adopting the EOS.IO software may select block producers through a continuous approval voting system. Anyone may choose to participate in block production and will be given an opportunity to produce blocks, provided they can persuade token holders to vote for them.
The EOS.IO software enables blocks to be produced exactly every 0.5 second and exactly one producer is authorized to produce a block at any given point in time. If the block is not produced at the scheduled time, then the block for that time slot is skipped. When one or more blocks are skipped, there is a 0.5 or more second gap in the blockchain.
Using the EOS.IO software, blocks are produced in rounds of 126 (6 blocks each, times 21 producers). At the start of each round 21 unique block producers are chosen by preference of votes cast by token holders. The selected producers are scheduled in an order agreed upon by 15 or more producers.
Byzantine Fault Tolerance is added to traditional DPOS by allowing all producers to sign all blocks so long as no producer signs two blocks with the same timestamp or the same block height. Once 15 producers have signed a block the block is deemed irreversible. Any byzantine producer would have to generate cryptographic evidence of their treason by signing two blocks with the same timestamp or blockheight. Under this model a irreversible consensus should be reachable within 1 second."
 

7. How does the voting process work?

 
The voting process will begin once the Block Producer community releases a joint statement ensuring that it is safe to import private keys and vote.
Broadly speaking there will be two methods of voting:
  1. Command Line Interface (CLI) tools
  2. Web portals
EOS Canada has created eosc, a CLI tool that supports Block Producer voting. Other Block Producer candidates such as LibertyBlock are a releasing web portal that will be ready for main net launch. There will be many more options over the coming weeks, please make sure you are always using a service from a trusted entity.
Remember: Do not import your private key until you have seen a joint statement released from at least five Block Producers that you trust which states when it is safe to do so. Ignoring this warning could result in tokens lost.
 

8. What makes EOS a good investment?

 
  • Team - EOS is spearheaded by the visionary that brought us the hugely successful Bitshares and Steem - arguably with two projects already under his belt there is no one more accomplished in the space.
  • Funding - EOS is one of the best funded projects in the space. The block.one team has committed $1B to investing in funds that grow the EOS echo system. EOS VC funds are managed by venture leaders distributed around the world to insure founders in all markets have the ability to work directly with local investors. Incentives such as the EOS hackathon are also in place with $1,500,000 USD in Prizes Across 4 Events.
  • Community Focus - The team is aware that the a projects success depends almost entirely on its adoption. For this reason there has been a huge push to develop a strong world wide community. There is already a surplus number of block producers that have registered their interest and started to ready themselves for the launch and incentives the EOS hackathon are being used to grow the community. A index of projects using EOS can be found at https://eosindex.io/posts.
  • Technical Advantages - See point 9!
 

9. What are the unique selling points of EOS?

 
  • Scaleability
    • Potential to scale to millions of transactions per second
    • Inter-blockchain communication
    • Separates authentication from execution
  • Flexibility
    • Freeze and fix broken applications
    • Generalised role based permissions
    • Web Assembly
  • Usability
    • Elimination of transaction fees
    • True user accounts with usernames, passwords and account recovery (no more having to remember long cryptographic keys)
    • Web toolkit for interface development
 

Sources:

eos.io
EOS Whitepaper
 

10. Is there currently a working product?

 

Quick answer:

This depends entirely on your definition of working product. If a fully featured developer release meets your definition then yes!. Otherwise the public release will be June 2018.
 

Long answer:

EOS differs from other projects in that it aims to deliver a fully featured version of the software on launch. The Dawn 3.0 RC1 feature complete pre-release became available on April 5th. This version has all the features of the final release that is due June 2018. Further development will involve preparing the final system contract which implements all of the staking, voting, and governance mechanics. The common notion that there is no viewable code published is wrong and the initial Dawn 1.0 release has been available from September 14th 2017.
 
EOSIO V1 - June 2nd 2018
Dawn 3.0 RC1 - April 5th 2018
Dawn 3.0 Alpha - January 23rd 2018
Dawn 2.0 - December 4th 2017
Dawn 1.0 - September 14th 2017
 

Sources:

 

11. EOS is an ERC-20 token, how can it possibly be a competitor to other platforms?

 

Quick answer:

The ERC-20 token is used only for raising funds during the token distribution; all tokens will be transferred to the native blockchain once launched.
 

Long answer:

EOS team has clearly stated their reason for choosing the Ethereum network when they described the rationale behind the ICO model. Specifically, the ICO should be a fair and auditable process, with as little trust required as possible. If you believe that an ICO should be fair, auditable, and trustless, you have no choice but to use a decentralized smart contract blockchain to run the ICO, the largest, and by-far most popular of which is Ethereum. Since EOS is intended to be a major competitor for Ethereum, some have seen this as a hypocritical choice. - Stolen from trogdor on Steam (I couldn’t word it any better myself).  

Sources:

The EOS ico for dummies by trogdor
Official EOS FAQ
 

12. Why do the eos.io T&C’s say the ERC-20 token has no value?

 
The EOS T&C’s famously state:
"The EOS Tokens do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features, express or implied, including, without limitation, any uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features on the EOS Platform."
 

Quick answer:

This is legal wording to avoid all the legal complications in this emerging space, block.one do not want to find themselves in a lawsuit as we are seeing with an increasing amount of other ICOs. Most notably Tezos (links below).
 

Long answer:

This all comes down to legal issues. Anyone who’s been into crypto for 5 minuets knows that government bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are now paying attention to crypto in a big way. This legal wording is to avoid all the legal complications in this emerging space, block.one do not want to find themselves in a lawsuit as we are seeing with an increasing amount of other ICOs. Many token creators that launched ICOs are now in deep water for selling unregistered securities.
 
A filing from the Tezos lawsuit:
"In sum, Defendants capitalized on the recent enthusiasm for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to raise funds through the ICO, illegally sold unqualified and unregistered securities, used a Swiss-based entity in an unsuccessful attempt to evade U.S. securities laws, and are now admittedly engaged in the conversion, selling, and possible dissipation of the proceeds that they collected from the Class through their unregistered offering."
 
To ensure EOS tokens are not classed as a unregistered security block.one has made it clear that they are creating the EOS software only and won’t launching a public blockchain themselves. This task is left down to the community, or more precisely, the Block Producers (BPs). The following disclaimer is seen after posts from block.one:
 
"block.one is a software company and is producing the EOS.IO software as free, open source software. This software may enable those who deploy it to launch a blockchain or decentralized applications with the features described above. block.one will not be launching a public blockchain based on the EOS.IO software. It will be the sole responsibility of third parties and the community and those who wish to become block producers to implement the features and/or provide the services described above as they see fit. block.one does not guarantee that anyone will implement such features or provide such services or that the EOS.IO software will be adopted and deployed in any way.”
 
It is expected that many blockchains using eos.io software will emerge. To ensure DAPPs are created on an ecosystem that aligns with the interests of block.one a $1bn fund will be has been created to incentivise projects to use this blockchain.
 

Sources:

EOS.io FAQ Great video on this topic by The Awakenment EOS $1bn Fund Announcement Article on the Tezos lawsuit Article on the Gigawatt lawsuit An official block.one post featuring disclaimer
 

13. Why is the token distribution one year long?

 
Official statement from block.one:
“A lot of token distributions only allow a small amount of people to participate. The EOS Token distribution structure was created to provide a sufficient period of time for people to participate if they so choose, as well as give people the opportunity to see the development of the EOS.IO Software prior to making a decision to purchase EOS Tokens.”
 
It is also worth noting that block.one had no knowledge how much the the token distribution would raise as it is determined by the free market and the length of the token distribution is coded into the Ethereum smart contract, which cannot be changed.
 

Sources:

EOS.io FAQ
 

14. Where is the money going from the token distribution?

 

Quick answer:

Funding for the project was raised before EOS was announced, the additional money raised from the token distribution is largely going to fund projects on EOS.
 

Long answer:

A large portion of the money raised is getting put back into the community to incentivise projects using eos.io software. block.one raised all the money they needed to develop the software before the ERC-20 tokens went on sale. There are some conspiracies that block.one are pumping the price of EOS using the funds raised. The good thing about blockchain is you can trace all the transactions, which show nothing of the sort. Not only this but the EOS team are going to have an independent audit after the funding is complete for piece of mind.
 
From eos.io FAQ:
“block.one intends to engage an independent third party auditor who will release an independent audit report providing further assurances that block.one has not purchased EOS Tokens during the EOS Token distribution period or traded EOS Tokens (including using proceeds from the EOS Token distribution for these purposes). This report will be made available to the public on the eos.io website.”
 

Sources:

EOS.io FAQ EOS $1bn Fund Announcement
 

15. Who's using EOS?

 
With 2 months from launch left there is a vibrant community forming around EOS. Some of the most notable projects that EOS software will support are:
A more complete list of EOS projects can be found at eosindex.io.
 

16. Dan left his previous projects, will he leave EOS?

 

Quick answer:

When EOS has been created Dan will move onto creating projects for EOS with block.one.
 

Long answer:

When a blockchain project has gained momentum and a strong community has formed the project takes on a life of its own and the communities often have ideas that differ from the creators. As we have seen with the Bitcoin and Ethereum hark forks you cant pivot a community too much in a different direction, especially if its changing the fundamentals of the blockchain. Instead of acting like a tyrant Dan has let the communities do what they want and gone a different way. Both the Bitshares and Steem were left in a great position and with Dans help turned out to be two of the most successful blockchain projects to date. Some would argue the most successful projects that are actually useable and have a real use case.
What Dan does best is build the architecture and show whats possible. Anyone can then go on to do the upgrades. He is creating EOS to build his future projects upon it. He has stated he loves working at block.one with Brendan and the team and there is far too much momentum behind EOS for him to possibly leave.
 

Sources:

Dans future beyond EOS
Why Dan left Bitshares
Why Dan left Steem
 

17. Is EOS susceptible to DDoS attacks?

 
No one could have better knowledge on this subject than our Block Producer candidates, I have chosen to look to EOS New York for this answer:
"DDoS'ing a block producing is not as simple as knowing their IP address and hitting "go". We have distributed systems engineers in each of our candidate groups that have worked to defend DDoS systems in their careers. Infrastructure can be built in a way to minimize the exposure of the Block Producing node itself and to prevent a DDoS attack. We haven't published our full architecture yet but let's take a look at fellow candidate EOSphere to see what we mean. As for the launch of the network, we are assuming there will be attacks on the network as we launch. It is being built into the network launch plans. I will reach out to our engineers to get a more detailed answer for you. What also must be considered is that there will be 121 total producing and non-producing nodes on the network. To DDoS all 121 which are located all around the world with different security configurations at the exact same time would be a monumental achievement."
 

Sources:

eosnewyork on DDoS attackd
EOSSphere Architecture
 

18. If block producers can alter code how do we know they will not do so maliciously?

 

Quick answer:

  • Block producers are voted in by stake holders.
  • Changes to the protocol, constitution or other updates are proposed to the community by block producers.
  • Changes takes 2 to 3 months due to the fact block producers must maintain 15/21 approval for a set amount of time while for changes to be processed.
  • To ensure bad actors can be identified and expelled the block.one backed community will not back an open-entry system built around anonymous participation.
 

Long answer:

For this question we must understand the following.
  • Governance and why it is used.
  • The process of upgrading the protocol, constitution & other updates.
  • Dan’s view on open-entry systems built around anonymous participation.
 
Governance
Cryptography can only be used to prove logical consistency. It cannot be used to make subjective judgment calls, determine right or wrong, or even identify truth or falsehood (outside of consistency). We need humans to perform these tasks and therefore we need governance!
Governance is the process by which people in a community:
  1. Reach consensus on subjective matters of collective action that cannot be captured entirely by software algorithms;
  2. Carry out the decisions they reach; and
  3. Alter the governance rules themselves via Constitutional amendments.
Embedded into the EOS.IO software is the election of block producers. Before any change can be made to the blockchain these block producers must approve it. If the block producers refuse to make changes desired by the token holders then they can be voted out. If the block producers make changes without permission of the token holders then all other non-producing full-node validators (exchanges, etc) will reject the change.
 
Upgrade process
The EOS.IO software defines the following process by which the protocol, as defined by the canonical source code and its constitution, can be updated:
  1. Block producers propose a change to the constitution and obtains 15/21 approval.
  2. Block producers maintain 15/21 approval of the new constitution for 30 consecutive days.
  3. All users are required to indicate acceptance of the new constitution as a condition of future transactions being processed.
  4. Block producers adopt changes to the source code to reflect the change in the constitution and propose it to the blockchain using the hash of the new constitution.
  5. Block producers maintain 15/21 approval of the new code for 30 consecutive days.
  6. Changes to the code take effect 7 days later, giving all non-producing full nodes 1 week to upgrade after ratification of the source code.
  7. All nodes that do not upgrade to the new code shut down automatically.
By default, configuration of the EOS.IO software, the process of updating the blockchain to add new features takes 2 to 3 months, while updates to fix non-critical bugs that do not require changes to the constitution can take 1 to 2 months.
 
Open-entry systems built around anonymous participation
To ensure bad actors can be identified and expelled the block.one backed community will not back an open-entry system built around anonymous participation.
Dan's quote:
"The only way to maintain the integrity of a community is for the community to have control over its own composition. This means that open-entry systems built around anonymous participation will have no means expelling bad actors and will eventually succumb to profit-driven corruption. You cannot use stake as a proxy for goodness whether that stake is held in a bond or a shareholder’s vote. Goodness is subjective and it is up to each community to define what values they hold as good and to actively expel people they hold has bad.
The community I want to participate in will expel the rent-seeking vote-buyers and reward those who use their elected broadcasting power for the benefit of all community members rather than special interest groups (such as vote-buyers). I have faith that such a community will be far more competitive in a market competition for mindshare than one that elects vote buyers."
 

Sources:

The Limits of Crypto-economic Governance
EOS.IO Technical White Paper v2
 

19. What is the most secure way to generate EOS key pairs?

 
Block producer candidates EOS Cafe and EOS New York have come forward to help the community with this topic.
The block producer candidate eosnewyork has kindly posted a tutorial on steemit detailing the steps that need to be taken to generate key pairs using the official code on the EOS.IO Github.
The block producer candidate eoscafe has gone a step further and released an Offline EOS Key Generator application complete with GUI for Windows, Linux & Mac. Not only can this application generate key pairs but it can also validate key pairs and resolve public keys from private keys. This application has also been vouched for by EOS New York
 

Sources:

EOS.IO Github
eosnewyork's key pair generation tutorial
eoscafe's offline key par generation application  
submitted by Techno-Tech to eos [link] [comments]

FUD Copy Pastas

**Last updated: May 30, 2018: Updated wallet info with release of Trinity.
This 4 part series from the IOTA foundation covers most of the technical FUD centered at IOTA.
https://blog.iota.org/official-iota-foundation-response-to-the-digital-currency-initiative-at-the-mit-media-lab-part-1-72434583a2
Also the official IOTA faq on iota.org answers nearly all of these questions if you want to hear the answers directly.
Purpose of Writing
Since posting FUD is so ridiculously low-effort in comparison to setting the record straight, I felt it necessary to put a log of copy-pastas together to balance the scales so its just as easy to answer the FUD as it was to generate it. So next time you hear someone say "IOTA is centralized", you no longer have to take an hour out of your day and spin your wheels with someone who likely had an agenda to begin with. You just copy-paste away and move on.
It's also worth mentioning IOTA devs are too damn busy working on the protocol and doing their job to answer FUD. So I felt a semblance of responsibility.
Here they are. These answers are too my understanding so if you see something that doesn't look right let me know! They are divided into the following categories so if you are interested in a specific aspect of IOTA you can scroll to that section.
1) WALLET
2) COMMUNITY
3) INVESTING
4) TECHNICAL

WALLET

IOTA was hacked and users funds were stolen!

First, IOTA was not hacked. The term “hacked” is thrown around way too brazingly nowadays and often used to describe events that weren’t hacks to begin with. Its a symptom of this space growing way too fast creating situations of the blind leading the blind and causing hysteria.
What happened:
Many IOTA users trusted a certain 3rd party website to create their seed for their wallets. This website silently sent copies of all the seeds generated to an email address and waited till it felt it had enough funds, then it took everyones money simultaneously. That was the ”hack”.
https://blog.iota.org/the-secret-to-security-is-secrecy-d32b5b7f25ef
The lesson:
The absolute #1 marketed feature of crypto is that you are your own bank. Of everything that is common knowledge about crypto, this is at the top. But being your own bank means you are responsible for the security of your own funds. There is no safety net or centralized system in place that is going to bail you out.
For those that don’t know (and you really should if you’ve invested in anything crypto), your seed is your username-pw-security question-backup email all rolled into one. Would you trust a no-name 3rd party website to produce your username+pw for your bank account? Because thats essentially what users did.
The fix:
Make your seed offline with the generators in the sidebar or use dice. This is outlined in the “how to generate wallet and seed” directly following.
The trinity and carriota wallets will have seed generators within them upon their release.

How to generate wallet and seed

1) Download official trinity wallet here
2) follow the instructions on the app.
3) Do not run any apps in conjunction with the trinity app. Make sure all other apps are completely closed out on your device.

Are you sure a computer can’t just guess my seed?

An IOTA seed is 81 characters long. There are more IOTA seed combinations than atoms in the universe. All the computers in the world combined would take millions billions of years just to find your randomly generated one that’s located somewhere between the 0th and the 2781st combination. The chance for someone to randomly generate the exact same seed as yours is 1 / (2781).
If you can’t fathom the number 27 ^ 81, this video should help:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8YIdmwcubc

Why is Trinity wallet taking so long!!??

Trinity is out. https://trinity.iota.org/

COMMUNITY

IOTA introduction video to share with family

https://youtu.be/LyC04NrJ3yA

Tangle visualizers

http://tangle.glumb.de/

How to setup a full node

Download Bolero and run! Bolero is an all-in-one full node install package with the latest IOTA IRI and Nelson all under a one-click install!
https://github.com/SemkoDev/bolero.fun/releases
"If you want to help the network then spam the network. If you really want to help the network then create a full node and let others spam you!"

No questions or concerns get upvoted, only downvoted!

That’s just the nature of this business. Everyone in these communities has money at stake and are extremely incentivized to keep only positive news at the top of the front page. There is nothing you're going to do about that on this subreddit or any crypto subreddit. It's just a reddit fact of life we have to deal with. Everyone has a downvote and everyone has an upvote. But what can be done is just simply answer the questions even if they are downvoted to hell. Yea most people wont' see the answers or discussion but that one person will. every little bit counts.
I will say that there are most certainly answers to nearly every FUD topic out there. Every single one. A lot of the posts I'm seeing as of late especially since the price spike are rehashed from months ago. They are often not answered not because there isn't an answeexplanation, but because regulars who have the answers simply don't see them (for the reason listed above). I can see how it's easy for this to be interpreted (especially by new users) as there not being an answer or "the FUDsters are on to something" but thats just not the case.

Developer's candidness (aka dev's are assholes!)

http://www.reddit.com/Iota/comments/7obyyx/serious_talk_about_pr_system_iota_and_david/ds8ouvc
http://www.reddit.com/Iota/comments/7obyyx/serious_talk_about_pr_system_iota_and_david/ds8rega
http://www.reddit.com/Iota/comments/7oi9g8/why_is_everyone_so_critical_of_david_this_has_to/ds9rtbb
https://i.redd.it/qb0ik4tgny401.jpg
Lastly and to no surprise, David conducts himself very professionally in this interview even when asked several tough questions about the coordinator and MIT criticism.

IOTA Devs do not respond appropriately to criticism

When critiquers provide feedback that is ACTUALLY useful to the devs, then sure they'll be glad to hear it. So far not once has an outside dev brought up something that the IOTA devs found useful. Every single time it ends up being something that was already taken into consideration with the design and if the critiquer did an ounce of research they would know that. Thus you often find the IOTA devs dismissing their opinion as FUD and responding with hostility because all their critique is really doing is sending the message to their supporters that they are not supposed to like IOTA anymore.
Nick Johnson was a perfect example of this. The Ethereum community was co-existing [peacefully]with IOTA’s community (as they do with nearly all alt coins) until Nick wrote his infamous article. Then almost overnight Ethereum decided it didn’t like IOTA anymore and we’ve been dealing with that shit since. As of today, add LTC to that list with Charlie’s (even admitting) ignorant judgement of IOTA.
12/17/2017: Add John McAfee (bitcoin cash) and Peter Todd (bitcoin) to the list of public figures who have posted ignorantly on IOTA.

A lot of crypto communities certainly like to hate on IOTA...

IOTA is disrupting the disrupters. It invented a completely new distributed ledger infrastructure (the tangle) that replaces the blockchain and solves all of its fundamental problems (namely fees and scaling). To give you an idea of this significance, 99% of the cryptocurrencies that exist are built on a block chain. These projects have billions of dollars invested into them meaning everyone in their communities are incentivized to see IOTA fail and spread as much FUD about it as possible. This includes well known organizations, public figures, and brands. Everyone commenting in these subreddits and crypto communities have their own personal money at stake and skin in the game. Misinformation campaigns, paid reddit posters, upvote/downvote bots, and corrupt moderators are all very real in this space.

INVESTING

How do I buy IOTA

https://medium.com/@fuo213/how-to-buy-iota-the-complete-guide-for-crypto-dummies-e63560caf921

What is the IOTA foundation?

IOTA foundation is a non-profit established in Germany and recognized by the European Union. Blog post here: https://blog.iota.org/iota-foundation-fb61937c9a7e

How many companies and organizations are interested, partnered or actively using IOTA?

A lot, and often too many to keep up with.
https://reddit.com/Iota/comments/7f3dmx/list_of_known_iota_partnerships_corporate/

How was IOTA distributed?

All IOTAs that will ever exist were sold at the ICO in 2015. There was no % reserved for development. Devs had to buy in with their personal money. Community donated back 5% of all IOTA so the IOTA foundation could be setup.

No inflation schedule? No additional coins? How is this sustainable?

Interestingly enough, IOTA is actually the only crypto that does not run into any problems with a currency cap and deflationaryism. Because there are zero fees, you will always be able to pay for something for exactly what it's worth using IOTA, no matter how small the value. If by chance in the future a single iota grows so large in value that it no longer allows someone to pay for something in fractions of a penny, the foundation would just add decimal points allowing for a tenth or a hundreth or a thousandth of an iota to be transacted with.
To give you some perspective, if a single IOTA equals 1 penny, IOTA would have a 27 trillion dollar market cap (100x that of Bitcoin's today)

IOTA is not for P2P, only for M2M

With the release of the trinity wallet, it's now dead simple for anyone to use IOTA funds for P2P. Try it out.

Companies technically don’t have to use the IOTA token

Yes they do
Worth clarifying that 0 iota data transactions are perfectly fine and are welcomed since they still provide pow for 2 other transactions and help secure the network. In the early stages, these types of transactions will probably be what give us the tps/pow needed to remove the coordinator and allow the network defend 34% attacks organically.
But... if someone does not want to sell or exchange their data for free (0 IOTA transaction), then Dominic is saying that the IOTA token must be used for that or any exchange in value on the network.
This is inherently healthy for the ecosystem since it provides a neutral and non-profit middle ground that all parties/companies can trust. If one company made their own token it wouldn’t be trusted since companies are incentivized by profits and nothing is stopping them from manipulating their token to make them more money. Thus, the IOTA foundation will not partner with anyone who refuses to take this option off the table.

All these companies are going to influence IOTA development!!

These companies have no influence on the development of IOTA. They either choose to use it or they don’t.

Internet of things is cheap and will stay cheap

Internet of things is one application of IOTA and considered by many to be the 4th industrial revolution. Go do some googling. IOTA having zero fees enables M2M for the first time in history. Also, if a crypto can do M2M it sure as shit can do M2P and P2P. M2M is hard mode.

IOTA surpassing speculation

IOTA, through the data marketplace and [qubic](qubic.iota.org), will be the first crypto to surpass speculation and actually be used in the real world for something. From there, it will branch out into other use cases, such as P2P. Or maybe P2P use of IOTA will grow in parallel with M2M, because why not?
https://blog.iota.org/iota-data-marketplace-cb6be463ac7f
12/19/17 update: Bosch reinforces IOTA's break-out from speculation by buying IOTA tokens for its future use in the data marketplace. https://i.redd.it/8e5b8bi9ov401.png
http://www.bosch-presse.de/pressportal/de/en/robert-bosch-venture-capital-makes-first-investment-in-distributed-ledger-technology-137411.html

Investing in a new project barely off the ground

Investing in a project in its early stages was something typically reserved for wealthy individuals/organizations before ICO’s became a thing. With early investing comes much less hand holding and more responsibility on the user to know what they are doing. If you have a hard time accepting this responsibility, don’t invest and wait for the technology to get easier for you. How many people actually knew how to use and mine bitcoin in 2009 before it had all its gui infrastructure?
IOTA is a tangle, the first of its kind. NOT a copy paste blockchain. As a result wallets and applications for IOTA are the first of their kind and translating the tangle into a nice clean user-friendly blockchain experience for the masses is even more taxing.

Why is the price of my coin falling?!

This may be the most asked question on any crypto subreddit but it's also the easiest to explain. The price typically falls when bad things happen to a coin or media fabricates bad news about a coin and a portion of investors take it seriously. The price increases when good things happen to a coin, such as a new exchange listing or a partnership announced etc.. The one piece that is often forgotten but trumps all these effects is something called "market forces".
Market forces is what happens to your coin when another coin gets a big news hit or a group of other coins get big news hits together. For example, when IOTA data marketplace released, IOTA hit a x5 bull run in a single week. But did you notice all the other alt coins in the red? There are a LOT of traders that are looking at the space as a whole and looking to get in on ANY bull action and will sell their other coins to do so. This effect can also be compounded over a long period of time such as what we witnessed when the bitcoin fork FOMO was going on and alt coins were squeezed continuously to feed it for weeks/months.
These examples really just scratch the surface of market forces but the big takeaway is that your coin or any coin will most certainly fall (or rise) in price at the result of what other coins are doing, with the most well known example being bitcoin’s correlation to every coin on the market. If you don't want to play the market-force game or don't have time for it, then you can never go wrong buying and holding.
It's also important to note that there are layers of investors. There's a top layer of light-stepping investors that are a mixture of day traders and gamblers trying to jump in and jump out to make quick money then look for the next buying (or shorting) opportunity at another coin. There's a middle layer of buyers and holders who did their research, believe in the tech and placing their bets it will win out in the long run. And the bottom layer are the founders and devs that are in it till the bitter end and there to see the vision realized. When a coin goes on a bull run, always expect that any day the top layer is going to pack up and leave to the next coin. But the long game is all about that middle layer. That is the layer that will be giving the bear markets their price-drop resistance. That is why the meme "HODL" is so effective because it very elegantly simplifies this whole concept for the common joe and makes them a part of that middle layer regardless if they understand whats going on or not.

TECHNICAL

How is IOTA free and how does it scale

IOTA is an altruistic system. Proof of work is done in IOTA just like bitcoin. Only a user’s device/phone must do pow for 2 other transactions before issuing one of its own. Therefore no miners and no fees. And the network becomes faster the more transactions are posted. Because of this, spamming the network is encouraged since they provide pow for 2 other transactions and speed up the network.

IOTA is centralized

IOTA is more decentralized than any blockchain crypto that relies on 5 pools of miners, all largely based in China. Furthermore, the coordinator is not a server in the dev’s basement that secretly processes all the transactions. It’s several nodes all around the globe that add milestone transactions to show the direction of the IF’s tangle within the DAG so people don’t accidentally follow a fork from a malicious actor. Anyone with the know-how can fork the tangle right now with a double-spend. But no one would follow their fork because the coordinator reveals which tangle is the legit IF one. If the coordinator wasn’t there (assuming low honest-transaction volume), there would be no way to discern which path to follow especially after the tangle diverges into forks of forks. Once throughout of honest transactions is significant enough, the “honest tangle” will replace the coordinated one and people will know which one to follow simply because it’s the biggest one in the room.
Referencing the coordinator is also optional.
Also, if you research and understand how IOTA intends to work without the coordinator, it’s easier to accept it for now as training wheels. I suggest reading pg 15 and on of the white paper analyzing in great depth how the network will defend different attack scenarios without a coordinator. For the past several months, IOTA foundation has been using St Petersburg college’s super computer to stress test IOTA and learn when they can turn the coordinator off. There will likely be a blog about the results soon.
This is another great read covering double spends on IOTA without a coordinator: www.tangleblog.com/2017/07/10/is-double-spending-possible-with-iota/
This too: http://www.reddit.com/Iota/comments/7eix4a/any_iota_guru_that_can_explain_what_this_guy_is/dq5ijrm
Also this correspondence with Vitalik and Come_from_Beyond https://twitter.com/DavidSonstebo/status/932510087301779456
At the end of the day, outstanding claims require outstanding evidence and folks approaching IOTA with a “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude is completely understandable. It’s all about your risk tolerance.

Can IOTA defend double spend attacks?

99% of these “but did they think about double spend attacks?” type questions could just be answered if people went and did their own research. Yes of course they thought about that. That’s like crypto101…
www.tangleblog.com/2017/07/10/is-double-spending-possible-with-iota/

Will IOTA have smart contracts?

Yes - qubic.iota.org

Trinary vs binary?

"By using a ternary number system, the amount of devices and cycles can be reduced significantly. In contrast to two-state devices, multistate devices provide better radix economy with the option for further scaling"
https://www.nature.com/articles/srep36652
https://www.reddit.com/CryptoCurrency/comments/6jgbvb/iota_isnt_it_the_perfect_cryptocurrency/dje8os2/

Bitcoin with lightning network will make IOTA obsolete.

If you want lightning network, IOTA already released it. Called flash channels.
https://blog.iota.org/instant-feeless-flash-channels-88572d9a4385

IOTA rolled its own crypto!

https://blog.iota.org/official-iota-foundation-response-to-the-digital-currency-initiative-at-the-mit-media-lab-part-1-72434583a2
This is why: https://blog.iota.org/the-transparency-compendium-26aa5bb8e260
Cybercrypt has been hired to review and audit it. IOTA is currently running SHA-3/KECCAK now until Curl is ready.

MIT said bad things about IOTA

https://blog.iota.org/official-iota-foundation-response-to-the-digital-currency-initiative-at-the-mit-media-lab-part-1-72434583a2
And for official formal closure that MIT was completely wrong:
https://www.reddit.com/CryptoCurrency/comments/7svr8mit_media_lab_dci_allegations_proven_wrong_iotas/
https://blog.iota.org/curl-disclosure-beyond-the-headline-1814048d08ef
https://medium.com/@comefrombeyond/cfbs-comments-on-https-www-media-mit-edu-posts-iota-response-5834c7f8172d

Nick Johnson says IOTA is bad!

Nick Johnson is an ethereum dev who is incentivized to see IOTA fail, see CFBs twitter responses here.
https://mobile.twitter.com/nicksdjohnson/status/912676954184323073?lang=en
And this
https://t.co/1HgfPhg2lP
And this
https://www.reddit.com/Iota/comments/72lly0/comment/dnjk9f5?st=JB2VKUBB&sh=a2892548
And this
https://blog.iota.org/official-iota-foundation-response-to-the-digital-currency-initiative-at-the-mit-media-lab-part-1-72434583a2

IOTA is not private!

Masked authenticated messages exist right now so data can be transferred privately. Very important for businesses.

Coin privacy

Centralized coin mixer is out that foundation runs. Logs are kept so they can collect data and improve it Folks can copy the coin mixer code and run it themselves. Goal is for mixer to be decentralized and ran by any node.

How do nodes scale? How on earth can all that data be stored?

Full nodes store, update and verify from the last snapshot, which happens roughly every month. Its on the roadmap to make snapshotting automatic and up to each full node’s discretion.With automatic snapshots, each full node will act as a partial perma-node and choose when to snapshot its tangle data. If someone wants to keep their tangle data for several months or even years, they could just choose not to snapshot. Or if they are limited on hard drive space, they could snapshot every week.
Perma-nodes would store the entire history of the tangle from the genesis. These are optional and would likely only be created by companies who wish to sell historical access of the tangle as a service or companies who heavily use the tangle for their own data and want to have quick, convenient access to their data’s history.
Swarm nodes are also in development which will ease the burden on full nodes. https://blog.iota.org/iota-development-roadmap-74741f37ed01

Node discovery is manual? Wtf?

Nelson is fixing has fixed this:
https://medium.com/deviota/carriota-nelson-automatic-peer-discovery-for-iota-bdca9b8b8750
https://medium.com/deviota/carriota-nelson-in-a-nutshell-1ee5317d8f19
https://github.com/SemkoDev/nelson.cli

IOTA open source?

https://blog.iota.org/official-iota-foundation-response-to-the-digital-currency-initiative-at-the-mit-media-lab-part-1-72434583a2
IOTA protocol is open source. The coordinator is closed source open source.
https://imgur.com/a/xWQUp

Foundation moved user's funds?

https://blog.iota.org/official-iota-foundation-response-to-the-digital-currency-initiative-at-the-mit-media-lab-part-1-72434583a2
https://blog.iota.org/claims-and-reclaims-finalization-e692844c505a
https://www.reddit.com/Iota/comments/7mmimu/claims_and_reclaims_is_processing/drv63d5/

My IOTA donation address:

9PZFQNPLVDUNGAOYYMMXFWMGNPMNAJWZKTYOOMCYQTZQA9RPVVN9SE9KGOL9HWZFJBXKQGEOY9JJYDXB9TY9FLQPXB
submitted by mufinz2 to Iota [link] [comments]

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