Bitcoin breaks through $7000 USD as cryptocurrency markets resurge

After a month of pressure, cryptocurrency markets appear to have broken a stranglehold invoked by the  US Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to reject (and later re-evaluate) several Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund proposals.

While the middle of August saw a minor rally, Bitcoin has largely struggled to surpass the $6500 USD mark, while Ethereum has remained deflated below $300 USD.

As of today, Bitcoin has powered through the $7000 USD mark to reach $7,061.28 USD – while Ethereum has flirted with positive gains to touch $293.32 USD at press time.

Leading the charge are several prominent altcoins – Holo has climbed some 27.31% to reach $0.000836 USD, while Bytecoin, MaidSafeCoin, and EOS have climbed by 13.68%, 10.03%, and 9.93% to reach $0.002249 USD, $0.276411 USD, and $5.89 USD, respectively.

A notable return to form is Dash, which has now climbed by 9.44% to reach $194.16 USD.

Among the cryptocurrencies seeing losses, Substratum leads the pack with a -7.34 decline, while Aion and VeChain follow closely by posting losses at -5.53% and -4.67% respectively.

Bitcoin dominance itself presently hovers at around 52.8%, while the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies is presently valued at $230,548,537,071 USD.

As our technical analyst Graeme Tennant noted last week, cryptocurrency markets remained stagnant ahead of what appeared to be imminent volatility – noting a clear reversal signal above Bitcoin’s $5800 USD support zone.

Our sentiment analysis, courtesy of Remy Stephens, noted that while sentiment on Bitcoin itself remained neutral, the altcoin market had taken a bullish term with support rallying for Basic Attention Token, Wanchain, and Bulwark – among other projects.

The US SEC is expected to resume its course and offer a verdict on yet another Bitcoin ETF proposal by the 30th of September. More broadly, US regulators have announced the continuation of ‘Operation Cryptosweep’ – a joint endeavor that has probed some 200 ICOs and cryptocurrency firms.

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Xapo president claims that 90% of cryptocurrencies will disappear

Ted Rogers, the president of Xapo – a Hong Kong-based company dealing with Bitcoin wallets – has claimed that a shocking portion of the cryptocurrencies currently listed will be wiped out.

Rogers believes that 90% of the tokens currently listed on CoinMarketCap are facing “extinction” if they are not the heavyweight cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Rogers further stated that now, when the market is down, is a good time to invest in more Bitcoin before it starts peaking again.

In response, Erik Voorhees of Shapesift.io, a company which offers global trading in digital assets, suggested that perhaps the market movements have more to do with the “extinction”.

The idea of Bitcoin dominance – whereby Bitcoin holds more than 50% of the cryptocurrency market trading volume –  has been a topic that investors are not shy about. Tom Lee, CEO of Fundstrat, believes that Bitcoin dominance will make a huge improvement in the cryptocurrency space, saying that “Bitcoin is the best house in a tough neighborhood” and suggesting that investors should focus on the original cryptocurrency and ignore other altcoins.

At the time of writing, almost half of the 15 leading cryptocurrencies including Ripple, Cardano, IOTA, TRON, Dash, NEO, and NEM while Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Monero have seen 80% or more dips.

Whether Bitcoin will naturally emerge as dominant over falling altcoins will be evident quickly within the market movers and we can only wait to see what will happen.

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Technical Analysis โ€“ Buy when there is blood in the streets

After a strong rally peaking at $8500 during the month of July, Bitcoin fell over 30% to a low of $6250 on Tuesday this week. As brutal as this sell-off was for Bitcoin, major altcoins were punished even more severely over the same period.

Approximate return from 24 Jul – 14 Aug for major Alts:

Bitcoin

Ethereum

Bitcoin Cash

XRP

Bitcoin’s relative resilience in this latest crypto market bloodbath has shown without a doubt that Bitcoin is still the boss! Whilst all major alts have broken below their previous low points for the year, the Bitcoin support level at $5825 has held firm. Furthermore, for the first time this year Bitcoin market dominance is back over 50% (i.e. the value of Bitcoin is greater than the value of all the altcoins combined).

Looking forward, it is critical that the support zone (orange area) between $6020 and $5750 holds. If there is a clean break of this level then it is likely that Bitcoin will suffer the same fate as the rest of the altcoins. There is a support trendline (blue line) which may offer some respite on the way down, but on the back up the recovery will likely be halted by the previous support zone (orange area) which will now act as resistance. This is the bearish scenario (red arrows).



Crypto Bloodbath – Buy When There Is blood In The Streets by tennant.graeme on TradingView.com

The bullish scenario (green arrows) would see the price hold above the support zone and form a reversal pattern of some kind. It is possible we may see an inverse head-and-shoulders forming as indicated on the chart. Should it develop further it could signal the beginning of some sort of recovery. I will be waiting for confirmation of either a break below support (bearish scenario) or a reversal pattern above support (bullish scenario) before placing any trades.

Whilst it is tempting to apply the adage “Buy when there is blood in the streets” and load up on Bitcoin and some unloved Alts, I feel it is prudent to wait until there is reason to believe that the bleeding has stopped before jumping back into the market.

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Google temporarily removes popular Metamask from the Chrome Extension Store

In a shock move, Google abruptly made the decision to delist MetaMask from the Chrome Extension Store yesterday for a period of five hours.

MetaMask itself, a popular interface extension that connects many web browsers to networks such as Ethereum, enjoys a presence on not only Google Chrome but further other popular web browsers such as Firefox and Opera.

MetaMask enjoys pride of place for the fact that the extension enables users to access decentralized networks and other decentralized applications from the comfort of most conventional web browsers.

In a public service announcement, Metamask clarified that it had not been provided with any reasons why the service had been delisted and was seeking clarity from Google.

The extension was spontaneously listed again some five hours later, though word from Google has been forthcoming as to why the change took place.

During the interleading hours while MetaMask was unavailable, several fraudulent copies of the software debuted in its place on the Chrome Extension Store – with Ethereum users warning that the malicious copies were merely phishing services.

While MetaMask users employing Chrome were unaffected by the move had they already installed the extension, it remains unclear as to why Google proceeded to delist the popular service.

Earlier this year, Google made the decision to ban cryptocurrency mining extensions from the Chrome Extension Store – previously, the company had allowed mining extensions so long as their use was expressly limited to mining and that users were informed of their purpose.

The Mountain View company may have accidentally removed MetaMask in line with this policy – though until the Google itself issues formal comment, that remains supposition.

In the event Google proceeds to delist the service once more, MetaMask outlined steps to install the extension on Chrome manually.

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Binance and Neufund collaborate to build a decentralized stock exchange

Decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges themselves might have some way to go in garnering both sufficient liquidity and popularity, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Binance and Neufund from collaborating with the view of producing a decentralized stock exchange.

In what’s tipped to be the first “regulated and decentralized, global stock exchange for listing and trading tokenized securities alongside crypto-assets”, Binance, Neufund, and MSX (a subsidiary of the Malta Stock Exchange) will work to launch a pilot decentralized exchange by the close of the year.

According to early reports, Binance will endeavor to build the platform’s underlying architecture.

In a statement on Neufund’s blog, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao offered that “We are glad to partner with Neufund over the pioneering idea to create a complete ecosystem for issuing and trading securities on Blockchain. Today’s announcement marks a new chapter for Binance’s development, with the goal to tokenize traditional financial assets.”

A Neufund spokesperson similarly quipped that “We are thrilled to announce the partnerships with Malta Stock Exchange and Binance, that will ensure high liquidity to equity tokens issued on Neufund. It is the first time in history, that security tokens can be offered and traded in a legally binding way.”

Neufund has set the self-goal of becoming the ‘first end-to-end primary issuance platform for security tokens’, and aims to offer secondary trading of equity tokens. The view may one day enable firms around the world to raise funds through blockchain technology.

According to the release, seven companies have thus far decided to conduct an Equity Token Offering with Neufund, including Founders Bank, Brille24, Uniti, MySwooop, Next Big Thing, Blockstate and Emflux Motors.

Speaking more broadly, the move is not the only decentralized exchange Binance plans to flirt with. Earlier this year, Binance announced a new pivot that will see the launch of a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange dubbed Binance Chain.

Explaining the move as part of a wider bid to transition its services from ‘a company to a community’, the firm has now announced that Binance Chain would be used to transfer different blockchain assets and would re-appropriate the company’s Binance Coin token to its own native blockchain, rather than leverage Ethereum’s ERC20 standard.

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How the biggest proof-of-work algorithms for cryptocurrencies compare

Not all coins are created equal.

Some cryptocurrencies require the equivalent of hours of computing time and energy to mine, while others are produced in a matter of minutes.

The term “mining” in cryptocurrencies refers to a collection of techniques to validate transactions known as proof of work (PoW). This is when a computer performs many calculations to try and solve a mathematical puzzle.

These puzzles use are typically based on cryptographic hash functions, which are designed to be one-way. The nature of these functions is exploited so that a miner must make many millions or even trillions of guesses per second to find a solution. It is then usually possible for any other computer to easily check that the solution is true.

In the case of distributed ledger systems like Bitcoin, other computers on the network can easily check someone else’s calculation, and must then build upon it to generate solutions for the next block of transactions.

Each block of transactions is its own mathematically difficult puzzle to solve, and becomes part of the puzzle for the next block of transactions, creating a chain. Hence the term “blockchain”.

By building the next block of transactions on one which came before, a network is able to come to a consensus of which transactions are valid. Proof-of-work algorithms are therefore also referred to as a consensus mechanism.

Other examples of consensus mechanisms is proof-of-stake and Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerance, but this article is only going to look only at proof-of-work algorithms, and how they compare.

Among the factors mentioned below will be resistance to mining hardware based on application specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

Application-specific integrated circuits, as the name implies, are chips designed for a specific use, as opposed to general-purpose computers. In the case of blockchains, they are chips designed to perform the calculations of a particular proof-of-work algorithm as efficiently as possible.

Criticism of ASICs is that they are expensive and make it difficult for people to participate in mining a blockchain without a significant capital investment. They also skew the ability mine a particular coin in favour of companies who can develop their own ASICs.

While some mining algorithms are designed with ASIC resistance in mind, it is worth keeping in mind the comments the lead developer of Sia made earlier this year: “At the end of the day, you will always be able to create custom hardware that can outperform general purpose hardware.”

SHA–256 — Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash

What better place to start with a comparison of algorithms than where the cryptocurrency craze all began — Bitcoin.

The Secure Hash Algorithms are a family of cryptographic hashing functions published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Short for Secure Hash Algorithm, the first variants of the SHA family, SHA–0, SHA–1 and SHA–2, were developed by the U.S. National Security Agency. SHA–256 and its bigger brother, SHA–512, are part of the SHA–2 family.

SHA–256 is not designed to be ASIC resistant, and ASICs to mine Bitcoin are readily available.

Scrypt — Litecoin, Dogecoin, Neo

Scrypt was designed to make it more difficult for specialised hardware like ASICs to be used to crack passwords that were hashed using the algorithm.

It did this by using a large amount of memory compared to similar functions, making it more expensive for an attacker to target.

However ASIC-based miners for cryptocurrencies which use Scrypt, like Litecoin, have been available since at least 2014.

Ethash — Ethereum, Ethereum Classic

Ethereum’s proof-of-work algorithm is a modified version of Dagger-Hashimoto, which was designed to be memory hard and ASIC resistant.

This means it tends to favour graphics cards with higher memory bandwidth, and has been the domain of people who want to mine a cryptocurrency with standard computer hardware (like high-end graphics cards) rather than specialised components.

Bitmain has produced a specialised Ethereum miner, but the creator of the platform, Vitalik Buterin, surmises that the “ASIC” is just an optimised regular computer with non-essential components stripped out.

Equihash — Zcash, ZenCash, Bitcoin Gold

Similar to Ethereum, the developers of Zcash created a memory-oriented proof-of-work algorithm for their cryptocurrency to make it ASIC resistant.

It uses Blake2b in the proof-of-work, and as a key-derivation function.

Bitmain has sold ASICs for Equihash, defeating its originally stated goal of democratising mining, rather than having it limited to only those who could afford specialised gear.

Blake, Blake2, and Blake2b — Siacoin, Decred

Blake was an entry into the competition by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology for a new SHA algorithm to complement its older SHA-1 and SHA-2 standards.

It made it to the final round, but ultimately lost to Keccak.

The algorithm is fast, and was not designed specifically with resistance to ASIC mining in mind.

Bitmain has released as ASIC miner for Blake2b-based coins. The developers of Siacoin themselves also launched an ASIC project called Obelisk about a year ago, and reported in detail about their findings of the state of the mining space.

Keccak — SmartCash, MaxCoin

Keccak won a competition in 2012 to become SHA–3, the next variant of the Secure Hash Algorithms family.

It proved to be faster than all other entrants to the competition, and faster than SHA–2 and SHA–1.

While Keccak was not designed to resist ASIC mining, it was built to resist cryptanalysis and brute-force attacks with specialised hardware like ASICs.

Keccak is therefore currently considered ASIC resistant, and there are no ASICs on the open market which target the algorithm.

CryptoNight — Monero, Bytecoin

CryptoNight was designed to be ASIC-resistant, and accessible. The aim was to close the gap between miners who only have access to consumer CPUs and can’t afford hardware like graphics cards and ASICs.

This is to foster more egalitarian mining, and greater decentralisation.

However, Bitmain announced in March that it developed an ASIC for the algorithm and was going to sell a specialised miner called the Antminer X3.

In response, the developers of Monero announced an emergency fork to update its hashing algorithm. They also announced that they will be forking Monero twice a year to try and ensure that it remains ASIC resistant for as long as possible.

X11 — Dash

X11 is an algorithm originally built for Dash which uses multiple rounds of 11 different hashes: Blake, BMW, Groestl, JH, Keccak, Skein, Luffa, Cubehash, Shavite, SIMD, Echo.

It was not designed to be ASIC resistant, and ASICs for X11 are available from several manufacturers including Bitmain, Baikal, iBelink, Innosilicon, and Pinidea.

Variants of this idea—in the form of X13, X15 and X17—are used by several other cryptocurrencies.

Multi-algorithm coins — Verge, Myriad

Where X11 uses multiple rounds of a number of different hashing algorithms to mine a coin, there are also coins which allow many different algorithms to be used to mine them.

The aim is to allow CPU, GPU, and ASIC miners a fair opportunity to mine the coin, and enhance the security of the cryptocurrency.

Essentially, multi-algorthm cryptocurrencies adjust the difficulty of mining their tokens for each algorithm independently to prevent one algorithm from becoming dominant.

In theory, this should also make “51% attacks” more difficult. Such attacks are possible when one person or group control the majority of the hashing power for a coin, allowing them to rewrite the blockchain as they see fit.

Verge supports Scrypt, X17, Lyra2rev2, Myr-Groestl, and Blake2s.

Myriad supports SHA256-D, Scrypt, Myr-Groestl, Skein, and Yescrypt.

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Ethereum mining is changing. What is your action plan?

Between March and April last year a sudden rise in the price of Ethereum sparked the equivalent of a crypto gold rush. After Googling how to build a computer with six graphics cards and doing a quick return-on-investment calculation, people started buying up powerful GPUs en masse.

If you ran the numbers on sites like CryptoCompare and WhatToMine, the result was that you would make the money back you spent on your mining rig within a few months. From there on, everything you mined would be clean profit.

Those who jumped in and were able to secure hardware quickly managed to achieve good returns before reality set in. However, those who ran afoul of the graphics card stock shortages caused by the rush and only got hardware in May or June, soon found that their earliest return on investment would be in a year.

What many of these gold rush miners didn’t know that they didn’t know about Ethereum was that—like most proof-of-work distributed ledger systems—it has a built-in mechanism to increase the difficulty of mining depending on the amount of computational power on the network.

Referred to as your hash rate, or hash power when you’re talking about the whole network, your mining rig’s effectiveness is measured in the number of solutions it can produce to mathematical problem Ethereum requires that miners solve to validate transactions on the network.

Ethereum attempts to adjust its mining difficulty so that, on average, one block is produced by the network every 12 seconds. (In reality, the average block time is currently between 14 and 15 seconds.)

Another factor budding Ethereum miners didn’t take into account when they bought their hardware was the directed acyclic graph (DAG) file the network generates every 30,000 blocks.

The larger the DAG gets, the slower the hash rate of your graphics cards becomes. While the DAG affects all miners on the platform, it impacts some graphics cards more than others as it reaches certain size thresholds.

The Ethereum Ice Age

One thing any half-informed Ethereum miner knew was coming is the platform’s move away from using Ethash, the modified Dagger-Hashimoto proof-of-work consensus mechanism it has been using so far.

Ethereum’s developers are working on a proof-of-stake system called Casper which will not only be more energy-efficient, but, according to the project’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin, also hopefully make it easier to defend the integrity of the system than it would be to attack it.

To “encourage” the switch to proof-of-stake, Ethereum’s developers have built a difficulty bomb into the platform, which will be activated when Casper is ready.

ASICs for GPU-focused algorithms

Another concern for miners who may not have made back their returns, or who do not want to retire their mining rigs just yet, is that specialised hardware for algorithms which used to favour graphics cards is starting to appear.

These specialised miners use a technology called Application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) which are chips designed for a specific use, as opposed to general-purpose computers.

Outside of the world of cryptocurrencies, examples of ASICs might be chips used in satellites and the transceivers used in cell phones for wireless connectivity.

Algorithms like Ethash, and those used by coins like Zcash (Equihash) and Monero (CryptoNight) were designed to be ASIC-resistant, but manufacturers appear to have found a way to build hardware that could make GPU miners obsolete.

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency ASIC manufacturer, Bitmain, has produced ASICs for Ethash, Equihash, and CryptoNight, causing concern among GPU miners.

While Buterin indicated that he is not too concerned about Bitmain’s Ethash miner, Monero’s developers responded with a plan to maintain the coin’s ASIC-resistance.

Monero forked its blockchain and updated the version of CryptoNight it uses to make Bitmain’s miner useless for mining its coin. It also announced a plan to update its algorithm twice a year to try and make it difficult for ASIC developers.

However, this may only be delaying the inevitable.

Sia’s lead developer, David Vorick, recently wrote in a post summarising the state of cryptocurrency mining and said that ASIC manufacturers will always be able to create custom hardware that can outperform general purpose hardware.

Vorick also predicted that ASIC makers will come up with ways to ensure that their miners can adapt to remain effective even if blockchains decide to fork to try and maintain their ASIC-resistance.

Monero’s lead developer, Riccardo Spagni, agreed with Vorick’s assessment, saying that maintaining Monero’s anti-ASIC stance is unworkable long-term.

Spagni said that they are basically just going to stall for time until the ASICs for some algorithm have been commoditized.

He clarified in a later tweet: “I consider ASICs sufficiently commoditized when they’re giving them out as swag at conferences.”

Where does this leave Ethereum miners?

Where does this leave Ethereum miners specifically, and GPU miners in general?

Effectively we have two choices:

  1. Dismantle your miners, build a sweet gaming PC or two and sell the card you won’t be using.
  2. Keep mining until ASICs take over.

If you choose to keep mining, you will need to select a new coin to mine when Ethereum makes the switch to proof-of-stake.

Depending on which graphics cards you have, Equihash-based cryptocurrencies like Zcash or coins using the updated CryptoNight algorithm like Monero may be a good place to start looking. You could also continue to mine Ethereum Classic after Ethereum switches to Casper.

Those who are willing to shoulder more risk can instead use their hash power on promising coins that are easier to mine. If you’re lucky, the coin might see a hundred-fold surge in price like Ethereum did and make you rich. However, it could also end up going nowhere and leave you in the red.

For those who don’t want to place bets on what the next big crypto will be, you can use multi-algorithm software like Nicehash to help you mine whatever is most profitable at any given time.

There are other options for multipool mining, such as MultiPoolMiner and Awesome Miner, but Nicehash has provided us with the best results, despite its hack last year. Nicehash has agreed to repay all money lost due to the hack in instalments, and five waves of reimbursements already made.

Unlike systems where you mine coins from a pool directly and automatically convert them to a coin of your choosing, Nicehash allows people to buy mining power from its distributed pool of miners, then pays those miners a share based on the work they contributed.

For now that is what I am using, as it is a great way to get relatively consistent returns.

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Cryptokitties are so last blockchain โ€“ Here are the new cryptogames to check out

Who needs money when you’ve got games to play?

CryptoKitties did it first by offering users a chance to look after digital kittens on Ethereum’s blockchain networks and since then others have tagged onto the idea. The thought must be that blockchain is great and games are great, so together, cryptogames must be a million dollar idea and so a whole new virtual world is launching.

Here are our picks for the most unusual blockchain games you can find online.

CryptoCelebrities

A not-so-cryptic card trading game with the hotness of A-List celebrities.

This blockchain game allows users to trade and collect crypto-celebrity cards and is receiving massive amounts of attention and money for it.

The game has caused the trading of nearly $23 million USD worth of Ethereum during the Beta phase. Investors and traders are plugging resources into collecting different cards and are going berserk over it. Different celebrity cards have different values with the highest currently sitting on an impressive worth of 152 ETH which is approximately a ludicrous $126,000 USD.

Not only do different celebrities hold different values, the game also has a design where each time a card is traded, its value increases. The more attention card gets, the more it goes for.

EtherGarden

Plant a tree, make it grown and be the tallest!”

Think this one sounds zen and tranquil, don’t you?

Think again.

While EtherGarden has the magical appeal of designing and crafting a garden and watching it grow to become strong and beautiful, it couples this peaceful richness with a tidy bit of malicious competition.

Essentially, one pays in Ether tokens to make their trees grow while cutting down the plants of other users.

To be the tallest, you must destroy the tallest by ruthlessly cutting them down.

CryptoPets (Unreleased)

A Blockchain-based video game for collecting, trading and raising your digital pets.

Plush toys are way too analog.

The next adorable collection craze obviously has to be applicable on a technological platform – hence the concept of CryptoPets. The blockchain-based game promises to offer unique and personal pets which cannot be modified, copied or taken away. The digital pets will be owned by individual users who will be able to feed, play with and look after them as well as play in mini sub-games to gain extra features to make the pets digital existence a little more comfortable.

Almost like CryptoKitties, but with more than just kitties.

CryptoZombies

A free, interactive code school that teaches you to build games on Ethereum.”

A blockchain educational game is not quite what one imagines when they hear the title “CryptoZombies” but that’s, in essence, what this game is.

CryptoZombies is an interactive game which offers different courses designed for beginners to learn ‘Solidity’ code from scratch in a simple, step-by-step method. The zombies come into play in the different lessons. Step one sees users build a zombie factory so that they can build their zombie armies. Certain zombies are stronger and can only be earned by completing particular tasks.

As a free app on the blockchain, the initiative is to teach users the very basics of using code to build games and the concept is fairly simple. Complete tasks, and learn development skills while you do it and create an epic zombie army as a neat bonus.

Brains for you. Brains for the zombies.

And as a bonus for our top pick for most arbitrary:

Ether Rock

Connect to the Ethereum main network and collect different rocks. There are one hundred different rocks available and all of them come in a different color! Well, a different shade of grey, that is.

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Three Ethereum forks you should know about

In cryptocurrency, a fork is created when a development team duplicates a blockchain, making specific changes in different aspects with the hope of offering a better version. In some cases, this change might be a divergence (known as a soft fork), or a permanent split (a hard fork) which would ultimately create a new digital currency.

Most digital currencies rely on open-sourced technology, meaning that any project can copy the code and modify it with different levels of change and varying scales of success.

There are several reasons why a fork might happen, such as a proposed change to protocol because a pioneer might perceive a flaw in the algorithm or system of a particular blockchain and might think they have a potential solution.

Ethereum, as the leading ‘second generation’ blockchain, is little different from Bitcoin in the regard that community frictions, divergent ideas, and even get-rich-quick-schemes have been borne on the back of hard forks undertaken on the digital platform.

Ethereum Classic

The story of Ethereum Classic begins with the DAO.

One of the most notable Ethereum projects, The DAO, short for Distributed Autonomous Organization, raised $150m in Ether – during a public crowdsale.

The DAO, in principle, was designed to operate as a form of decentralized venture capital fund. Investors would send Ether to the DAO to receive voting rights, whereafter those had invested (and voted) would democratically decide on which projects to which the DAO should disperse those funds.

Ultimately, the DAO was unable to complete its vision – the project was hacked, and millions of Ether subsequently vanished.

In the wake of the attack, Ethereum’s community voted on a controversial proposal that would change Ethereum’s baseline code to recover the lost funds and reimburse investors. A majority voted in favor of this proposal, which in turn created a hard fork and two separate blockchains.

While Ethereum, as we know it today, proceeded to introduce the change and reimburse investors, a key team of developers remained to back the original Ethereum blockchain.

Known today as Ethereum Classic (ETC), the platform enjoys an active development and trading community and supports new advances distinct from the now primary Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

Chief among the principles of Ethereum Classic supporters is that blockchains should remain immutable, and that fund-recovery proposals should not be made possible thanks to the ‘slippery slope’ of precedent that they invite.

As the Ethereum Classic website reads, “We believe in the original vision of Ethereum as a world computer you can’t shut down, running irreversible smart contracts.”

Expanse

Touting itself as the second Ethereum hard fork, Expanse (EXP) is a decentralized cryptographic information, application, and contract platform based on the Ethereum codebase.

Expanse arrived as an Ethereum hard fork instead of an ICO. Expanse’s purview is to develop applications using its own DAO in a self-funded design that rewards its holders, partners, and investors.

Principally, Expanse is designed to be organized, managed, and operated through a decentralized organization, with the view of being fairly distributed, democratically controlled, and community managed.

Expanse’s DAO enables new development projects to be nominated, voted on, and implemented according to the collective opinion in a manner reminiscent of the intent for Ethereum’s failed DAO.

Expanse’s backend is based on the Ethereum Go client, and can be similarly mined through GPU cards.

Quorum

Touting itself as the ‘enterprised-focused version of Ethereum’, Quorum is a permissioned blockchain platform designed for high speed and high throughput processing of private transactions.

Quorum more specifically a ‘private’ fork of Ethereum, as the project’s codebase was initially based (and still partially runs) on the latter open-source digital platform to begin with.

Quorum is presently being developed in an open-source initiative by JPMorgan Chase – one of the largest investment banks in the world.

Quorum is designed to facilitate both functions in the private and public sections – specifically within the ambit of derivatives and payments. Unlike Ethereum, Quorum is not specifically public – the platform uses zero-knowledge proofs to protect the privacy of parties who would prefer not to reveal their identities nor the details of their transactions to the public.

Designed to become the “standard of Wall Street”, Quorum was intended to be used for the clearing, settlement and cross-border payments, affording participants both with privacy and the efficiency of a blockchain-based platform.

Rumours have circulated indicating that JPMorgan Chase may relocate Quorum into a gestalt company on its own, rather than leaving the initiative to serve as a development project.

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SEC mock fake ICO, Jack Dorsey advocates Bitcoin, CCID reveals blockchain ratings โ€“ Daily News Roundup

The SEC exchange their usual security tone for a mocking one

The US Securities and Exchange (SEC) has released an announcement which explicitly mocks fraudulent initial coin offerings’ websites.

In the press release, the SEC announced that they have set up a website, HoweyCoins.com, with the sole function to emulate a fake coin offering site. The purpose of the mockery is to show investors what it is to watch out for in scam coin offerings – the organization’s page has a link to a “Buy Coins Now” page which automatically leads to tools and tips from regulatory officials in order to equip investors in ways to avoid being scammed.

Who knew regulatory authorities could have such a delightfully malicious sense of humor?

Jack Dorsey thinks Bitcoin is a well-rounded way to the future of Square

The CEO of Square Jack Dorsey hopes to see Bitcoin as the Internet’s default currency.

In March, Dorsey expressed his opinion that bitcoin would dominate the web and he still maintains this belief. The CEO has offered that he is very interested to see how this will affect Square and the direction his company will ultimately take.

He also admitted that the topic is a point of debate at the company, but holds that bitcoin – and open sourced blockchain technology – has inspired some of the fundamental ways in which Square look at the market.

[There’s] still a lot of skepticism and a lot of debate and a lot of fights. But that’s where the magic happens, where creativity happens”.

Rated! The CCID reveals the first-ever blockchain evaluation index

China’s Center for Information Industry Development has released the first-ever international blockchain technology ranking index.

The results are in and they show the index of the second-generation blockchain technologies, showing the companies assessment based on basic technology, applicability, creativity and total index which tallies up to reveal the total position in rank.

The first released results place the top five second-generation blockchain as follows:

  1. Ethereum
  2. Steem
  3. Lisk
  4. NEO
  5. Komodo

It is reported that new findings on the index will be issued on a monthly basis and will be able to track the direction in blockchain technology’s development and growth in innovation.

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Is Ethereum money?

Ethereum is often touted as Bitcoin’s foremost ‘rival’, but in reality the two digital currency platforms serve two different purposes. While Bitcoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer payments network, Ethereum is a platform that uses blockchain technology to replace ‘third party’ internet vendors that store data or keep track of complex financial instruments.

Ethereum, in itself, relies on a currency called Ether. Given the fact that Ether has seen massive price increases in recent months, and the fact it is frequently accepted as tender in new Initial Coin Offering (ICO) projects, Ether is frequently labeled as a financial asset that might one day eclipse Bitcoin’s supremacy. However, while Ether is a digital bearer asset similar to Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency is instead designed to serve as a token necessary to pay for computational resources necessary to process an application or program built on the Ethereum platform.

In the same manner that Bitcoin has been called ‘digital gold’, Ether has been similarly labeled ‘digital oil’.

What does Ether do?

The vision of the Ethereum platform is to accommodate users around the world with control over their own data through a distributed computing platform wherein new projects could build services atop of the platform itself. In the Ethereum network, thousands of servers and clouds are replaced by ‘nodes’ – computing power offered by committed volunteers – which weave together to serve as a decentralized ‘world computer’.

Requests made on this network are calculated in GAS – a unit of computation used in transactions – and are paid for in Ether.

The amount of GAS necessary to complete a transaction is determined by the cost of computation. Essentially, all smart contracts and decentralized applications running on the Ethereum platform cost GAS.

What is Ether’s relationship to GAS?

Essentially, GAS is pegged to the supply and demand of computational power available on the Ethereum network. Ether is used to pay for GAS rather than facilitate computational requests directly due to the fact that a volatile market could easily render ordinary requests on the Ethereum network far too costly for the average developer.

Could Ether be used as a currency?

Presently, Ether does not have a fixed supply despite the fact that no more than 18 million Ether are minted each year. Proposals from Ethereum’s developers have indicated that the platform may shift from proof-of-work mechanics (mining) to proof-of-stake mechanics in the near future, meaning that the platform may introduce a hard cap at some juncture.

While Ether is the currency of the Ethereum platform, it has not been expressly designed to be used as a means of exchange or a unit of account for general goods in the same way Bitcoin has. However, vendors may at some point in the future choose to adopt Ether as tender, given that the currency generally fulfills the properties of being good money despite its original intent and its present lack of a hard cap.

What is the relationship between Ether and ICOs?

Ether’s role as the currency of the Ethereum platform and the possibility of it being used as a means of exchange have been conflated by the emergence of several ICOs running on Ethereum’s mainnet, which appealed for the donation of Ether in exchange for new ERC-20 (Ethereum compliant) tokens.

Given that new ICO projects have requested Ether as payment from interested investors, the price of Ether has soared in recent months – outstripping even Bitcoin’s growth. This reflexive relationship has lead to the saying that ‘ICOs are Ethereum’s killer app.’

Is Ether better money than Bitcoin?

Bitcoin enjoys primacy in cryptocurrency markets given its status as the original digital currency outlined by Satoshi Nakamoto, as well as the fact that – unlike Ethereum – Bitcoin is limited to a 21 million-hard cap.

Ethereum as a platform, however, generates several appealing qualities that Bitcoin does not possess.

Ether’s block time is typically between fourteen and fifteen seconds – as opposed to ten minutes on the Bitcoin network – and the mining of Ether generates new tokens at a consistent rate. This means that transactions in Ether complete more rapidly, while new Ether enters the system more quickly.

Ether’s transaction fees differ by the varying complexity of the computations required to facilitate a smart contract – meaning that developers, in principle, pay for what they require. Bitcoin’s transaction fees are instead determined by the relevant size of a transaction.

The development of smart contracts, specifically, can craft complicated and autonomous agreements that can execute when certain premises are met – meaning that Ethereum may represent a compelling platform to create payment agreements.

Given its prevalence as a decentralized platform, Ethereum has also birthed a number of projects designed to leverage the platform’s finer qualities for the purpose of serving as a general currency. Among these are Dai – a ‘stablecoin’ pegged to the US dollar, and Digix -a token pegged to the price of gold.

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