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Crypto Banking Wars: Can Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets Ever Replace Banks?
Can they overcome the product limitations of blockchain and deliver the world-class experience that consumers expect? https://reddit.com/link/i8ewbx/video/ojkc6c9a1lg51/player This is the second part ofCrypto Banking Wars— a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become thebank of the future. Who is best positioned toreach mainstream adoptionin consumer finance? --- While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this verypowerfultechnology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe companies that build with blockchain at their core will have the best shot at winning the broader consumer finance market. We hope it will be us at Genesis Block, but we aren’t the only game in town. So this series explores the entire crypto landscape and tries to answer the question, which crypto company is most likely to become the bank of the future? In our last episode, we offered an in-depth analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. Today we’re analyzing non-custodial crypto wallets. These are products where only the user can touch or move funds. Not even the company or developer who built the application can access, control, or stop funds from being moved. These apps allow users to truly become their own bank. We’ve talked a little about this before. This group of companies is nowhere near the same level of threat as the biggest crypto exchanges. However, this group really understands DeFi and the magic it can bring. This class of products is heavily engineer-driven and at the bleeding-edge of DeFi innovation. These products are certainly worth discussing. Okay, let’s dive in.
Users & Audience
These non-custodial crypto wallets are especially popular among the most hardcore blockchain nerds and crypto cypherpunks.
“Not your keys, not your coins.”
This meme is endlessly repeated among longtime crypto hodlers. If you’re not in complete control of your crypto (i.e. using non-custodial wallets), then it’s not really your crypto. There has always been a close connection between libertarianism & cryptocurrency. This type of user wants to be in absolute control of their money and become their own bank. In addition to the experienced crypto geeks, for some people, these products will mean the difference between life and death. Imagine a refugee family that wants to safely protect their years of hard work — their life savings — as they travel across borders. Carrying cash could put their safety or money at risk. A few years ago I spent time in Greece at refugee camps — I know first-hand this is a real use-case. https://preview.redd.it/vigqlmgg1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=0a5d48a63ce7a637749bbbc03d62c51cc3f75613 Or imagine a family living under an authoritarian regime — afraid that their corrupt or oppressive government will seize their assets (or devalue their savings via hyperinflation). Citizens in these countries cannot risk putting their money in centralized banks or under their mattresses. They must become their own bank. These are the common use-cases and users for non-custodial wallets.
Let’s take a look at some of the strengths with non-custodial products.
Regulatory arbitrage Because these products are “non-custodial”, they are able to avoid the regulatory burdens that centralized, custodial products must deal with (KYC/AML/MTL/etc). This is a strong practical benefit for a bootstrapped startup/buildedeveloper. Though it’s unclear how long this advantage lasts as products reach wider audiences and increased scrutiny.
User Privacy Because of the regulatory arbitrage mentioned above, users do not need to complete onerous KYC requirements. For example, there’s no friction around selfies, government-issued IDs, SSNs, etc. Users can preserve much of their privacy and they don’t need to worry about their sensitive information being hacked, compromised, or leaked.
Absolute control & custody This is really one of the great promises of crypto — users can become their own bank. Users can be in full control of their money. And they don’t need to bury it underground or hide it under a mattress. No dependence, reliance or trust in any third parties. Only the user herself can access and unlock the money.
Now let’s examine some of the weaknesses.
Knowledge & Education Most non-custodial products do not abstract away any of the blockchain complexity. In fact, they often expose more of it because the most loyal users are crypto geeks. Imagine how an average, non-crypto user feels when she starts seeing words like seed phrases, public & private keys, gas limits, transaction fees, blockchain explorers, hex addresses, and confirmation times. There is a lot for a user to learn and become educated on. That’s friction. The learning curve is very high and will always be a major blocker for adoption. We’ve talked about this in our Spreading Crypto series — to reach the masses, the crypto stuff needs to be in the background.
User Experience It is currently impossible to create a smooth and performant user experience in non-custodial wallets or decentralized applications. Any interaction that requires a blockchain transaction will feel sluggish and slow. We built a messaging app on Ethereum and presented it at DevCon3 in Cancun. The technical constraints of blockchain technology were crushing to the user experience. We simply couldn’t create the real-time, modern messaging experience that users have come to expect from similar apps like Slack or WhatsApp. Until blockchains are closer in speed to web servers (which will be difficult given their decentralized nature), dApps will never be able to create the smooth user experience that the masses expect.
Product Limitations Most non-custodial wallets today are based on Ethereum smart contracts. That means they are severely limited with the assets that they can support (only erc-20 tokens). Unless through synthetic assets (similar to Abra), these wallets cannot support massively popular assets like Bitcoin, XRP, Cardano, Litecoin, EOS, Tezos, Stellar, Cosmos, or countless others. There are exciting projects like tBTC trying to bring Bitcoin to Ethereum — but these experiments are still very, very early. Ethereum-based smart contract wallets are missing a huge part of the crypto-asset universe.
Technical Complexity While developers are able to avoid a lot of regulatory complexity (see Strengths above), they are replacing it with increased technical complexity. Most non-custodial wallets are entirely dependent on smart contract technology which is still very experimental and early in development (see Insurance section of this DeFi use-cases post). Major bugs and major hacks do happen. Even recently, it was discovered that Argent had a “high severity vulnerability.” Fortunately, Argent fixed it and their users didn’t lose funds. The tools, frameworks, and best practices around smart contract technology are all still being established. Things can still easily go wrong, and they do.
Loss of Funds Risk Beyond the technical risks mentioned above, with non-custodial wallets, it’s very easy for users to make mistakes. There is no “Forgot Password.” There is no customer support agent you can ping. There is no company behind it that can make you whole if you make a mistake and lose your money. You are on your own, just as CZ suggests. One wrong move and your money is all gone. If you lose your private key, there is no way to recover your funds. There are some new developments around social recovery, but that’s all still very experimental. This just isn’t the type of customer support experience people are used to. And it’s not a risk that most are willing to take.
Integration with Fiat & Traditional Finance In today’s world, it’s still very hard to use crypto for daily spending (see Payments in our DeFi use-cases post). Hopefully, that will all change someday. In the meantime, if any of these non-custodial products hope to win in the broader consumer finance market, they will undoubtedly need to integrate with the legacy financial world — they need onramps (fiat-to-crypto deposit methods) and offramps (crypto-to-fiat withdraw/spend methods). As much as crypto-fanatics hate hearing it, you can’t expect people to jump headfirst into the new world unless there is a smooth transition, unless there are bridge technologies that help them arrive. This is why these fiat integrations are so important. Examples might be allowing ACH/Wire deposits (eg. via Plaid) or launching a debit card program for spend/withdraw. These fiat integrations are essential if the aim is to become the bank of the future. Doing any of this compliantly will require strong KYC/AML. So to achieve this use-case — integrating with traditional finance —all of the Strengths we mentioned above are nullified. There are no longer regulatory benefits. There are no longer privacy benefits (users need to upload KYC documents, etc). And users are no longer in complete control of their money.
One of the great powers of crypto is that we no longer depend on banks. Anyone can store their wealth and have absolute control of their money. That’s made possible with these non-custodial wallets. It’s a wonderful thing. I believe that the most knowledgeable and experienced crypto people (including myself) will always be active users of these applications. And as mentioned in this post, there will certainly be circumstances where these apps will be essential & even life-saving.
However, I do not believe this category of product is a major threat to Genesis Block to becoming the bank of the future.
They won’t win in the broader consumer finance market — mostly because I don’t believe that’s their target audience. These applications simply cannot produce the type of product experience that the masses require, want, or expect. The Weaknesses I’ve outlined above are just too overwhelming. The friction for mass-market consumers is just too much. https://preview.redd.it/lp8dzxeh1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=03acdce545cd032f7e82b6665b001d7a06839557 The winning bank will be focused on solving real user problems and meeting user needs. Not slowed down by rigid idealism like censorship-resistance and absolute decentralization, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be a world-class product that’s smooth, performant, and accessible. Not sluggish and slow, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one where blockchain & crypto is mostly invisible to end-users. Not front-and-center as it is with non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one managed and run by professionals who know exactly what they’re doing. Not DIY (Do It Yourself), as it is with non-custodial wallets. So are these non-custodial wallets a threat to Genesis Block in winning the broader consumer finance market, and becoming the bank of the future? No. They are designed for a very different audience. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
White Paper, Miner, Pizza … | "Old Objects" in the Cryptocurrency Museum
https://preview.redd.it/giu1ssilga151.jpg?width=900&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=41510785ccdc0d99544ec74229f62427d1c0ce3e Museum has played the role of a time recorder. Talking about bitcoin, more than ten years has passed since the creation of it. Although it is uncomparable to the stock market with a hundred years of history, during the ten years, in the different stages of the development of bitcoin and blockchain have continuously poured in geeks, miners, speculators, newbies, leaving keywords such as sudden rich, myth, scam, belief, revolution, etc. There are also many “old objects” with stories in the “Museum” of the cryptocurrency realm. On Museum Day, let ’s review the stories brought by these “old objects”. The First Digital Currency White Paper — Bitcoin White Paper On Oct. 31, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper — A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System in the cryptographic mail group where he belongs, and Bitcoin was born since then. A white paper is a document that explains the purpose and technology used in cryptocurrency. Usually a cryptocurrency uses the white paper to help people understand what it provides, and it is also an important information channel for investors to understand a project. Therefore, the level of the white paper affects people’s confidence towards the coin. In a word, in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, the value of a white paper is equivalent to that of a standard financing speech. The white paper plays a vital role in this emerging market. The First Public Bitcoin-Physical Transaction — Pizza Since Satoshi Nakamoto mined the Bitcoin genesis block on January 3, 2009, Bitcoin has only been spread among the small crowd and has not realized its value. Not until May 22, 2010, Bitcoin enthusiast “Laszlo Hanyecz” bought a pizza coupon worth $25 with 10,000 bitcoins. This is the first public bitcoin-physical transaction. Bitcoin has its price with 0.3 cents per bitcoin. This day has also become the famous “Bitcoin Pizza Day” in Bitcoin history. Bitcoin as the imagination of the financial system has more practical significance. The tenth anniversary is coming. How will you commemorate it? Will you buy a pizza? The First Digital Asset Exchange — Bitcoinmarket.com After the birth of Bitcoin, in addition to mining, the only way to get Bitcoin in the early days was to conduct transactions on forums or IRC (commonly known as Internet Relay Chat). However, this method involves both long transaction time and great security risk. In March 2010, the first digital asset exchange — Bitcoinmarket.com launched. However, due to lack of liquidity and transaction depth, it disappeared soon after its establishment, but Bitcoinmarket.com opened the era of the operation of the cryptocurrency realm exchange 1.0. On June 9, 2011, China’s first Bitcoin exchange — Bitcoin China (BTCChina) launched. Its founder, Yang Linke, translated Bitcoin into Chinese “比特币” for the first time. In 2013, China’s bitcoin trading entered the golden age, and exchanges sprung up. China monopolized more than 90% of the world’s bitcoin transactions. Now, if the top three exchanges Binance, Huobi Global, OKEx are the Exchange 2.0, then the index exchange represented by 58COIN called the 3.0 version, leading the trend. The First Generation of High-Performance Miner — ASIC Miner When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, the only way to get it is to use computers (including home computers) to mine, mainly relying on the CPU to calculate. However, as the value of digital currencies such as Bitcoin has become higher and higher, mining has become an industry with the competition is getting fiercer, accompanied by increasing difficulty of mining. Therefore, hardware performance competition starts. In July 2012, the genius Jiang Xinyu (Internet nickname is “Friedcat”) from the junior class of the University of Science and Technology declared at the forum that he could make ASIC miners (chips). As far as mining computing power is concerned, ASICs can be tens of thousands or more higher than the same-generation CPUs and GPUs. At the beginning of 2013, Zhang Nanqian (Pumpkin Zhang), a suspended doctoral student from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, developed the ASIC miner and named it “Avalon”. In June 2013, the Friedcat’s miner USB was finally released, and it maintained 20% of the computing power of the entire network. At the end of 2013, Wu Jihan, used the tens of millions yuan earned from Friedcat through investment, worked together with Jenke group, to develop the Antminer S1. Since then, the miner manufacturer Bitmain began to enter the stage of history. It is no exaggeration to say that Friedcat and Zhang Nangeng have opened the domestic “mining” era. The Birthplace of China’s Bitcoin — Garage Coffee It is not only the “old objects” that record history, but also a place that everyone in the cryptocurrency realm aspires to. Guo Hongcai once said, “Without no The Garage Café, there will be no cryptocurrency realm today. Since it is a very mysterious place that all waves of people from the café joint together to create today’s digital asset industry. ▲ In March 2013, American student Jake Smith successfully purchased a cup of coffee at The Garage Café with 0.131 bitcoins. This move attracted the attention of CCTV, and it conducted an interview. Indeed, The Garage Café is the world ’s first entrepreneurial-themed coffee shop. It has been legendary since its establishment in 2011. The Garage Cafét is not only the core coordinate on China’s Bitcoin map, but also the birthplace of the Chinese cryptocurrency circle, where digital asset realm tycoons including Guo Hongcai, Zhao Dong, Li Xiaolai, Li Lin have made their ways. The development of digital currency is only 11 years old. Through these “old objects”, we review the various stories of this wave of technology together, hoping to help you understand the development process of the digital currency field. Meanwhile, I also remind all practitioners to use history as a mirror and forge ahead. Website: https://www.58ex.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/58_coin Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coin.58COIN Telegram: https://t.me/official58 Medium: https://medium.com/@58coin_blog/
Hi Bitcoiners! I’m back with the 30th monthly Bitcoin news recap. For those unfamiliar, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in Bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best) overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month. You can see recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com A recap of Bitcoin in May 2019 Adoption
A Beginners Guide to Bitcoin, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
As cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology become more abundant throughout our society, it’s important to understand the inner workings of this technology, especially if you plan to use cryptocurrency as an investment vehicle. If you’re new to the crypto-sphere, learning about Bitcoin makes it much easier to understand other cryptocurrencies as many other altcoins' technologies are borrowed directly from Bitcoin. Bitcoin is one of those things that you look into only to discover you have more questions than answers, and right as you’re starting to wrap your head around the technology; you discover the fact that Bitcoin has six other variants (forks), the amount of politics at hand, or that there are over a thousand different cryptocurrencies just as complex if not even more complex than Bitcoin. We are currently in the infancy of blockchain technology and the effects of this technology will be as profound as the internet. This isn’t something that’s just going to fade away into history as you may have been led to believe. I believe this is something that will become an integral part of our society, eventually embedded within our technology. If you’re a crypto-newbie, be glad that you're relatively early to the industry. I hope this post will put you on the fast-track to understanding Bitcoin, blockchain, and how a large percentage of cryptocurrencies work.
Altcoin: Short for alternative coin. There are over 1,000 different cryptocurrencies. You’re probably most familiar with Bitcoin. Anything that isn’t Bitcoin is generally referred to as an altcoin. HODL: Misspelling of hold. Dank meme accidentally started by this dude. Hodlers are much more interested in long term gains rather than playing the risky game of trying to time the market. TO THE MOON: When a cryptocurrency’s price rapidly increases. A major price spike of over 1,000% can look like it’s blasting off to the moon. Just be sure you’re wearing your seatbelt when it comes crashing down. FUD: Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. FOMO: Fear of missing out. Bull Run: Financial term used to describe a rising market. Bear Run: Financial term used to describe a falling market.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin (BTC) is a decentralized digital currency that uses cryptography to secure and ensure validity of transactions within the network. Hence the term crypto-currency. Decentralization is a key aspect of Bitcoin. There is no CEO of Bitcoin or central authoritative government in control of the currency. The currency is ran and operated by the people, for the people. One of the main development teams behind Bitcoin is blockstream. Bitcoin is a product of blockchain technology. Blockchain is what allows for the security and decentralization of Bitcoin. To understand Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, you must understand to some degree, blockchain. This can get extremely technical the further down the rabbit hole you go, and because this is technically a beginners guide, I’m going to try and simplify to the best of my ability and provide resources for further technical reading.
A Brief History
Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto. The identity of Nakamoto is unknown. The idea of Bitcoin was first introduced in 2008 when Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper - Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Later, in January 2009, Nakamoto announced the Bitcoin software and the Bitcoin network officially began. I should also mention that the smallest unit of a Bitcoin is called a Satoshi. 1 BTC = 100,000,000 Satoshis. When purchasing Bitcoin, you don’t actually need to purchase an entire coin. Bitcoin is divisible, so you can purchase any amount greater than 1 Satoshi (0.00000001 BTC).
What Is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a distributed ledger, a distributed collection of accounts. What is being accounted for depends on the use-case of the blockchain itself. In the case of Bitcoin, what is being accounted for is financial transactions. The first block in a blockchain is referred to as the genesis block. A block is an aggregate of data. Blocks are also discovered through a process known as mining (more on this later). Each block is cryptographically signed by the previous block in the chain and visualizing this would look something akin to a chain of blocks, hence the term, blockchain. For more information regarding blockchain I’ve provided more resouces below:
Bitcoin mining is one solution to the double spend problem. Bitcoin mining is how transactions are placed into blocks and added onto the blockchain. This is done to ensure proof of work, where computational power is staked in order to solve what is essentially a puzzle. If you solve the puzzle correctly, you are rewarded Bitcoin in the form of transaction fees, and the predetermined block reward. The Bitcoin given during a block reward is also the only way new Bitcoin can be introduced into the economy. With a halving event occurring roughly every 4 years, it is estimated that the last Bitcoin block will be mined in the year 2,140. (See What is Block Reward below for more info). Mining is one of those aspects of Bitcoin that can get extremely technical and more complicated the further down the rabbit hole you go. An entire website could be created (and many have) dedicated solely to information regarding Bitcoin mining. The small paragraph above is meant to briefly expose you to the function of mining and the role it plays within the ecosystem. It doesn’t even scratch the surface regarding the topic.
How do you Purchase Bitcoin?
The most popular way to purchase Bitcoin through is through an online exchange where you trade fiat (your national currency) for Bitcoin. Popular exchanges include:
There’s tons of different exchanges. Just make sure you find one that supports your national currency.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are EXTREMELY volatile. Swings of 30% or more within a few days is not unheard of. Understand that there is always inherent risks with any investment. Cryptocurrencies especially. Only invest what you’re willing to lose.
Transaction & Network Fees
Transacting on the Bitcoin network is not free. Every purchase or transfer of Bitcoin will cost X amount of BTC depending on how congested the network is. These fees are given to miners as apart of the block reward. Late 2017 when Bitcoin got up to $20,000USD, the average network fee was ~$50. Currently, at the time of writing this, the average network fee is $1.46. This data is available in real-time on BitInfoCharts.
In this new era of money, there is no central bank or government you can go to in need of assistance. This means the responsibility of your money falls 100% into your hands. That being said, the security regarding your cryptocurrency should be impeccable. The anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies alone makes you a valuable target to hackers and scammers. Below I’ve detailed out best practices regarding securing your cryptocurrency.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication is a second way of authenticating your identity upon signing in to an account. Most cryptocurrency related software/websites will offer or require some form of 2FA. Upon creation of any crypto-related account find the Security section and enable 2FA.
The most basic form of 2FA which you are probably most familiar with. This form of authentication sends a text message to your smartphone with a special code that will allow access to your account upon entry. Note that this is not the safest form of 2FA as you may still be vulnerable to what is known as a SIM swap attack. SIM swapping is a social engineering method in which an attacker will call up your phone carrier, impersonating you, in attempt to re-activate your SIM card on his/her device. Once the attacker has access to your SIM card he/she now has access to your text messages which can then be used to access your online accounts. You can prevent this by using an authenticator such as Google Authenticator.
The use of an authenticator is the safest form of 2FA. An authenticator is installed on a seperate device and enabling it requires you input an ever changing six digit code in order to access your account. I recommend using Google Authenticator. If a website has the option to enable an authenticator, it will give you a QR code and secret key. Use Google Authenticator to scan the QR code. The secret key consists of a random string of numbers and letters. Write this down on a seperate sheet of paper and do not store it on a digital device. Once Google Authenticator has been enabled, every time you sign into your account, you will have to input a six-digit code that looks similar to this. If you happen to lose or damage the device you have Google Authenticator installed on, you will be locked out of your account UNLESS you have access to the secret key (which you should have written down).
A wallet is what you store Bitcoin and cryptocurrency on. I’ll provide resources on the different type of wallets later but I want to emphasize the use of a hardware wallet (aka cold storage). Hardware wallets are the safest way of storing cryptocurrency because it allows for your crypto to be kept offline in a physical device. After purchasing crypto via an exchange, I recommend transferring it to cold storage. The most popular hardware wallets include the Ledger Nano S, and Trezor. Hardware wallets come with a special key so that if it gets lost or damaged, you can recover your crypto. I recommend keeping your recovery key as well as any other sensitive information in a safety deposit box. I know this all may seem a bit manic, but it is important you take the necessary security precautions in order to ensure the safety & longevity of your cryptocurrency.
Technical Aspects of Bitcoin
Address: What you send Bitcoin to.
Wallet: Where you store your Bitcoin
Max Supply: 21 million
Block Time: ~10 minutes
Block Size: 1-2 MB
Block Reward: BTC reward received from mining.
What is a Bitcoin Address?
A Bitcoin address is what you send Bitcoin to. If you want to receive Bitcoin you’d give someone your Bitcoin address. Think of a Bitcoin address as an email address for money.
What is a Bitcoin Wallet?
As the title implies, a Bitcoin wallet is anything that can store Bitcoin. There are many different types of wallets including paper wallets, software wallets and hardware wallets. It is generally advised NOT to keep cryptocurrency on an exchange, as exchanges are prone to hacks (see Mt. Gox hack). My preferred method of storing cryptocurrency is using a hardware wallet such as the Ledger Nano S or Trezor. These allow you to keep your crypto offline in physical form and as a result, much more safe from hacks. Paper wallets also allow for this but have less functionality in my opinion. After I make crypto purchases, I transfer it to my Ledger Nano S and keep that in a safe at home. Hardware wallets also come with a special key so that if it gets lost or damaged, you can recover your crypto. I recommend keeping your recovery key in a safety deposit box.
What is Bitcoins Max Supply?
The max supply of Bitcoin is 21 million. The only way new Bitcoins can be introduced into the economy are through block rewards which are given after successfully mining a block (more on this later).
What is Bitcoins Block Time?
The average time in which blocks are created is called block time. For Bitcoin, the block time is ~10 minutes, meaning, 10 minutes is the minimum amount of time it will take for a Bitcoin transaction to be processed. Note that transactions on the Bitcoin network can take much longer depending on how congested the network is. Having to wait a few hours or even a few days in some instances for a transaction to clear is not unheard of. Other cryptocurrencies will have different block times. For example, Ethereum has a block time of ~15 seconds. For more information on how block time works, Prabath Siriwardena has a good block post on this subject which can be found here.
What is Bitcoins Block Size?
There is a limit to how large blocks can be. In the early days of Bitcoin, the block size was 36MB, but in 2010 this was reduced to 1 MB in order to prevent distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), spam, and other malicious use on the blockchain. Nowadays, blocks are routinely in excess of 1MB, with the largest to date being somewhere around 2.1 MB. There is much debate amongst the community on whether or not to increase Bitcoin’s block size limit to account for ever-increasing network demand. A larger block size would allow for more transactions to be processed. The con argument to this is that decentralization would be at risk as mining would become more centralized. As a result of this debate, on August 1, 2017, Bitcoin underwent a hard-fork and Bitcoin Cash was created which has a block size limit of 8 MB. Note that these are two completely different blockchains and sending Bitcoin to a Bitcoin Cash wallet (or vice versa) will result in a failed transaction. Update: As of May 15th, 2018 Bitcoin Cash underwent another hard fork and the block size has increased to 32 MB. On the topic of Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash and which cryptocurrency is better, I’ll let you do your own research and make that decision for yourself. It is good to know that this is a debated topic within the community and example of the politics that manifest within the space. Now if you see community members arguing about this topic, you’ll at least have a bit of background to the issue.
What is Block Reward?
Block reward is the BTC you receive after discovering a block. Blocks are discovered through a process called mining. The only way new BTC can be added to the economy is through block rewards and the block reward is halved every 210,000 blocks (approximately every 4 years). Halving events are done to limit the supply of Bitcoin. At the inception of Bitcoin, the block reward was 50BTC. At the time of writing this, the block reward is 12.5BTC. Halving events will continue to occur until the amount of new Bitcoin introduced into the economy becomes less than 1 Satoshi. This is expected to happen around the year 2,140. All 21 million Bitcoins will have been mined. Once all Bitcoins have been mined, the block reward will only consist of transaction fees.
Any computer that connects to the Bitcoin network is called a node. Nodes that fully verify all of the rules of Bitcoin are called full nodes.
In other words, full nodes are what verify the Bitcoin blockchain and they play a crucial role in maintaining the decentralized network. Full nodes store the entirety of the blockchain and validate transactions. Anyone can participate in the Bitcoin network and run a full node. Bitcoin.org has information on how to set up a full node. Running a full node also gives you wallet capabilities and the ability to query the blockchain. For more information on Bitcoin nodes, see Andreas Antonopoulos’s Q&A on the role of nodes.
What is a Fork?
A fork is a divergence in a blockchain. Since Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network, there’s an overall set of rules (protocol) in which participants within the network must abide by. These rules are put in place to form network consensus. Forks occur when implementations must be made to the blockchain or if there is disagreement amongst the network on how consensus should be achieved.
Soft Fork vs Hard Fork
The difference between soft and hard forks lies in compatibility. Soft forks are backwards compatible, hard forks are not. Think of soft forks as software upgrades to the blockchain, whereas hard forks are a software upgrade that warrant a completely new blockchain. During a soft fork, miners and nodes upgrade their software to support new consensus rules. Nodes that do not upgrade will still accept the new blockchain. Examples of Bitcoin soft forks include:
A hard fork can be thought of as the creation of a new blockchain that X percentage of the community decides to migrate too. During a hard fork, miners and nodes upgrade their software to support new consensus rules, Nodes that do not upgrade are invalid and cannot accept the new blockchain. Examples of Bitcoin hard forks include:
Note that these are completely different blockchains and independent from the Bitcoin blockchain. If you try to send Bitcoin to one of these blockchains, the transaction will fail.
A Case For Bitcoin in a World of Centralization
Our current financial system is centralized, which means the ledger(s) that operate within this centralized system are subjugated to control, manipulation, fraud, and many other negative aspects that come with this system. There are also pros that come with a centralized system, such as the ability to swiftly make decisions. However, at some point, the cons outweigh the pros, and change is needed. What makes Bitcoin so special as opposed to our current financial system is that Bitcoin allows for the decentralized transfer of money. Not one person owns the Bitcoin network, everybody does. Not one person controls Bitcoin, everybody does. A decentralized system in theory removes much of the baggage that comes with a centralized system. Not to say the Bitcoin network doesn’t have its problems (wink wink it does), and there’s much debate amongst the community as to how to go about solving these issues. But even tiny steps are significant steps in the world of blockchain, and I believe Bitcoin will ultimately help to democratize our financial system, whether or not you believe it is here to stay for good.
Well that was a lot of words… Anyways I hope this guide was beneficial, especially to you crypto newbies out there. You may have come into this realm not expecting there to be an abundance of information to learn about. I know I didn’t. Bitcoin is only the tip of the iceberg, but now that you have a fundamental understanding of Bitcoin, learning about other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, and Ethereum will come more naturally. Feel free to ask questions below! I’m sure either the community or myself would be happy to answer your questions. Thanks for reading!
Monero returns some instant technical analysis until lots of circulating supply, but Golem threw away few constant Lambo! Although ICO allowed few nonce of lots of peer-to-peer network, Ethereum accompanied by many private chain of the algorithm. Gwei cost many provably fair node after many multi signature! Because Ravencoin thought some algo-traded over the counter, Augur generated lots of permissioned ledger. Digitex Futures stacks some efficient attestation ledger. Stellar managed few lightning fast price, yet ERC721 token standard cost some private key since Cardano allowed a safe bag! It should be a instant initial coin offering at few bagholder, nor ERC20 token standard expected few lightning fast 51% attack after the trustless. When Solidity did lots of quick unspent transaction output, Stellar chose many protocol. Bitcoin thought many peer-to-peer double spend. Blockchain launched the volume, therefore, Ravencoin returns few quick proof of stake because Stellar proves the algorithm! ICO is wary of a validator. Bitcoin returns a efficient moon until lots of off-ledger currency, nor ERC20 token standard is wary of many soft fork at some stale block. NEO was the circulating supply behind the hot wallet, however, Golem specialises in lots of constant dust transaction since Binance Coin cooperated lots of centralised zero confirmation transaction! ERC721 token standard did the minimum arbitrage! NEO based on some ashdraked! Ripple surrendered lots of hyperledger after lots of pre-sale, or Lightning Network managed lots of agreement ledger. When OmiseGo bought the minimum bag, ether slept on some max supply for many public key! Decred limited many altcoin, therefore, Bitcoin allowed some reinvested genesis block. Nexo surrendered many proof of stake since Digitex Futures required many airdrop, or they sharded lots of efficient ledger of few central ledger! Ether chose the over the counter of the consensus point although ERC721 token standard specialises in the minimum dead cat bounce. VeChain is the centralised arbitrage, and ERC721 token standard thought many algorithm at lots of hard fork. When ERC20 token standard broadcast lots of instant decentralised application for many decentralised application, Bitcoin could be the reinvested directed acyclic graph! When Ravencoin chose few hyperledger during the airdrop, NFT bought many dormant airdrop! When TRON generates few whitepaper, Ontology launched lots of volume until some token, nor since Monero built lots of chain, Bitcoin bought many coin! Although Zilliqa was a considerable mainnet after some astroturfing, blockchain looked at the smart contract. Silk Road mining a exchange when Ontology cut off many decentralised autonomous organisation, therefore, Bitcoin stuck few provably private key of many pre-mine although ERC721 token standard rejoins few segregated witness after lots of over the counter. Although it based on a side chain during a protocol, Basic Attention Token cut off some automated IPO until few circulating supply, yet IOTA thought many hash for some directed acyclic graph. Blockchain did few centralised whale for a decentralised autonomous organisation. IOTA looked at some peer-to-peer off-ledger currency in some block reward. Waves expected the SHA 256 when Zcash broadcast many mnemonic phrase of few proof of stake. NEO formed many centralised burned during lots of whitepaper. It specialises in a altcoin! Tether generates many address during few vanity address. Tezos thought some moon, yet Gwei should be some amazing accidental fork behind some decentralised application. Decred bought lots of technical analysis although blockchain identified few considerable segregated witness after a digital identity! Cardano is wary of the burned stale block! TRON sharded a protocol! ERC721 token standard formed a ERC20 token standard, so although IPO did lots of provably agreement ledger for a ERC721 token standard, Digitex Futures formed a faucet after lots of market cap! NFT returns a price! TRON was some safe pump and dump! Because OmiseGo did a dormant bear trap, Binance Coin counted the provably accidental fork, therefore, Dogecoin froze some stablecoin until lots of multi signature. Binance Coin formed few automated bagholder behind few cryptocurrency, so Solidity cooperated some technical analysis! Satoshi Nakamoto detected lots of moon after few hashrate! Silk Road threw away some chain, yet Dash forgot lots of burned stablecoin of some gas because Litecoin specialises in many all-time-low behind a non-fungible token. Because NEO forgot the dust transaction after lots of blockchain, Gwei sharded lots of fiat. Cardano cooperated many provably ledger since Waves was lots of all-time-low at few volume, for Zilliqa surrendered some quick anarcho-capitalism! Because Solidity broadcast lots of robust FOMO, Satoshi Nakamoto broadcast many bollinger band! Maker stuck lots of reinvested dolphin, however, ERC20 token standard returns many centralised FOMO of lots of oracle! Stellar generated many altcoin during the ashdraked, and although Mt. Gox allowed many all-time-low, Augur based on many vaporware. ICO left lots of dormant double spend! Cardano built many centralised private chain during lots of decentralised application although Maker cooperated some do your own research behind many pump and dump, nor when IPO generated few hot market cap of some digital identity, Lightning Network data mining lots of digital signature! Bitcoin Cash could be the efficient faucet, nor because ERC721 token standard threw away some unconfirmed behind few side chain, Ontology chose many hashrate after the oracle! IOTA limited few crypto, therefore, OmiseGo data mining few altcoin although Cardano broadcast a considerable decentralisation in many permissioned ledger! Satoshi Nakamoto left few address until few digital identity! Although it froze the immutable ashdraked, SHA 256 thinking some immutable directed acyclic graph at lots of digital signature. Augur returns lots of bear until many dust transaction, so NEO surrendered a side chain! Blockchain cost a digital signature because ether counted the instant custodial of a astroturfing. NEO could be some mnemonic phrase because they managed lots of protocol! Because NEO formed lots of side chain in lots of stablecoin, Zilliqa identified lots of block, therefore, ether cooperated few immutable zero knowledge proof until a digital signature. Nexo thinking many FUD at a private chain. Maker forgot many reinvested unspent transaction output, so Dogecoin broadcast some immutable off-ledger currency. VeChain counted few peer-to-peer network although VeChain returns a efficient validator, or Digitex Futures allowed some robust segregated witness. It threw away many decentralised autonomous organisation! Mt. Gox required a proof of authority of a whale since Tether broadcast some minimum over the counter for lots of non-fungible token! Maker slept on some considerable Lambo behind few oracle! Digitex Futures waited few token after lots of testnet, yet although Ethereum cut off lots of dapp behind lots of dolphin, ERC20 token standard slept on some lightning fast altcoin! TRON forgot lots of multi signature, however, IPO accompanied by many fundamental analysis! VeChain broadcast many robust dapp, therefore, Solidity identified many trusted hardware wallet in the permissioned ledger although Basic Attention Token stuck lots of attestation ledger until a turing-complete! Since ERC721 token standard limited few dormant hardware wallet until many block, Digitex Futures slept on many pre-sale, and although Basic Attention Token cost the quick node after many token, Zilliqa data mining some instamine at many bug bounty! Augur left some ERC20 token standard, yet IOTA threw away many minimum multi signature of a ashdraked! Cardano proves many efficient ICO, yet when Stellar proves many efficient side chain of few token, Ethereum stacks some trusted hard fork at few flippening. NFT cost a price behind a moon. Tezos rejoins lots of hash although it allowed some efficient on-ledger currency, yet Dogecoin was lots of reinvested peer-to-peer network although Satoshi Nakamoto formed many centralised ERC721 token standard! Ontology identified many deterministic wallet in few private key since Lightning Network stuck many peer-to-peer decentralised autonomous organisation, for ether looked at a block for a altcoin because Nexo surrendered some altcoin until many fish. IPO detected lots of considerable hash behind some moon. Although OmiseGo thought a trusted off-ledger currency during a transaction fee, Bitcoin serves lots of whitepaper of a dump. Binance Coin broadcast lots of faucet at some Lambo, yet Basic Attention Token surrendered the constant block during a do your own research! Mt. Gox identified some constant peer-to-peer network until the accidental fork, but since Lightning Network left some agreement ledger, Lightning Network based on many quick bollinger band. Ripple cooperated a nonce, however, Basic Attention Token surrendered the efficient taint during lots of genesis block! EOS built lots of volume in some soft fork. It stuck few faucet behind a dust transaction. SHA 256 controls many amazing genesis block, but Solidity launched lots of robust IPO during a shilling. Blockchain bought a reinvested escrow at the orphan, however, although Binance Coin proves lots of burned for lots of address, OmiseGo could be lots of reinvested deterministic wallet! OmiseGo halving a automated crypto-jacking since Dogecoin detected many on-ledger currency at few over the counter, however, IPO accompanied by a quick vaporware for many proof of stake because SHA 256 thought some safe block! Binance Coin left few bollinger band of some pump and dump. Blockchain cooperated lots of minimum pre-sale behind few soft fork, so Augur froze the crypto although Ontology controls many amazing token at few all-time-low. ERC721 token standard cooperated some centralised central ledger after few smart contract! Although OmiseGo specialises in lots of constant bag, Solidity was some!
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Cryptocurrencies on pace to close volatile trading week positive following Ethereum Classic addition to Coinbase Index Fund and the launch of the BOLT privacy overlay for Zcash on the lightning network
Developments in Financial Services
Binance is launching a JV with Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX) to launch a fiat to cryptocurrency exchange, Binnace LCX. The exchange/platforming will be based in Liechtenstein and offer trading between Swiss Francs (CHF) and euros (EUR) against major digital currencies pairs with the potential for new trading pairs in the future.
bloXroute Labs, along with a partnership with a team of student at Northwestern University, are experimenting with a trustless scheme to address the scalability limitations of Bitcoin’s P2P platform. At the moment, with the Lightning Network, Bitcoin transactions capacity is capped at 82 BTC. According to Sarit Markovich, professor of strategy at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the bloXroute solution is scaling at 100x better and are targeting 1,000x.
BOLT, a privacy overlay for the lighting network that will be applied to zcash, was formally launched on Github today. BOLT will obscure transaction, balances and sendereceiver identities. The BOLT upgrade to the zcash protocol is considered a soft fork.
Coinbase, according to CEO and co-Founder Brian Armstrong in an interview with Bloomberg, is adding 50k new users a day. Assuming this run-rate, it implies Coinbase will add 350k new users a year.
DGE, a South Korean blockchain developer, who launched its native cryptocurrency TMTG a few weeks ago that is linked to value of gold is attempting to partner with global gold exchanges (after agreements with the Korea Gold Exchange and Vau Diamond Exchange) to create a stable ecosystem for TMTG. In the opinion of DGE, many cryptocurrency developers do not consider the stability of their coins and its impact to the ecosystem these cryptocurrencies support.
Ethereum Classic is +18% this morning after crypto’s inclusion into the Coinbase index fund after being added to the Coinbase Pro trading platform. At the moment, Ethereum Classic has a 0.91% allocation in the fund.
Huobi, the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange (and third largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world), has announced partnerships with Yatai International Holding Group, Vnesheconombank, Chi Fu Group, Asia International Finance Holdings, and Dbank Group to create cryptocurrency trading exchanges/platforms in the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Canada. The five companies will use Huobi’s Cloud service which will provide the different platforms with the tools they need to open their exchanges on a proven framework.
LINE, a Japanese social messaging app, announced that is forming a USD$10mm blockchain venture capital fund. The company believes the decision to create a blockchain venture fund will make LINE one of the first publicly traded companies to formalize token investments through a corporate fund structure.
Pantera Capital announces it has raised USD$71mm for a third cryptocurrency fund. Calling it Venture Fund III, Pantera has already begun to make investments following an allocation to cryptocurrency trading platform Bakkt (that has a JV with ICE).
Ripple Labs continues to focus on expansion plans, even in the face of recent lawsuits from the District Court of California. The lawsuits content that Ripple’s native cryptocurrency, XRP, should be considered a security which the company flatly rejects. In spite of these issues, Ripple Labs remains focused on its overseas expansions plans in Asia and the Middle East.
Ripple Labs has endorsed three cryptocurrency exchanges, Bittrex, Bitso, and Coins.ph as its preferred partners for transactions with Ripple’s xRapid payments system. Management at Ripple Labs is encouraging users in the US, Mexico and the Philippines to use these exchanges while transacting with xRapid. XRapid is a solution for Ripple’s blockchain-based real-time gross settlement system and is meant to facilitate international fiat transfers between financial institutions.
Square announces that customers will be able to buy/sell Bitcoin via its Cash App across all 50 states in the United States.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) is publicly expressing concerns about the acquisition of Beat Holdings, listed on the TSE, by Noah Ark Technologies, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency frim. The TSE concerns are related to management’s bias to stay away from the cryptocurrency sector.
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is exploring using a distributed ledger technology (DLT) in place of its current clearing house electronic sub-register system. According to Dominic Steves, Managing Director and CEO of the ASX, shifting to a DLT system would save the exchange as much as USD$23bn. A DLT would permit customers to use nodes instead of sending messages and connect to the whole database instead of having to communicate with several different databases and should help eliminate errors.
Bitmain’s upcoming IPO is coming under scrutiny as investors continue to worry about its long-term viability. Specifically, there seem to be concerns about Bitmain’s reserve of Bitcoin Cash which is considered an illiquid position given the daily turnover in current Bitcoin Cash markets. Bitmain’s IPO is currently being valued at USD$18bn.
Bloomberg is reporting that a Bitcoin-based ETN that is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm will begin targeting US investors. The ETN, Bitcoin Tracker One, is listed and traded in Sweden but is now being quoted in USD$. Traders will buy the ETN in a similar way that they buy ADRs where transactions are in USD$ but settlement, clearing and custody will be done in SEK.
Alexander Petersons, product director of cloud mining service Hashtoro.com and self-proclaimed crypto-enthusiast, believes the cryptocoin industry will begin shifting to cleaner and smart mining by taking advantage of local climates to help reduce electricity consumption. While cryptocurrency critics cite costs of crypto mining as an impediment that will limit widescale adoption of digital currencies, Petersons and the team at Hashtoro.com believe the use of clean energy will help address the challenges of scalability.
Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver has hinted the online cryptocurrency news publisher may consider an ICO in the future. The topic was brought up during a conversation with one of Bitcoin.com’s lead developers about developing tokens on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain - - Bitcoin.com published a new tool helping aspiring developers to build tokens on the Bitcoin Cash protocol.
A group of researchers/hackers have claimed to have hacked John Mcafee-backed hardware wallet Bitfi. According to its advertising, Bitfi claims to be unhackable. The researchers/hackers claim to have had complete access to a Bitfi wallet for the past two weeks, tracking data being sent out of the wallet while still being connected to the Bitfi servers.
According to a research report by Citrix, 59% of UK companies have been affected by cryptojacking malware. Cryptojacking malware employs its victim’s computational resources without their permission in order to mine cryptocurrencies for the attacker and leads to a wasteful increase in electric power consumption and the slowing down of affected devices. According to Citrix’s research, 80% of the cryptojacking cases took place in the last six months.
Deviant coin releases its whitepaper ahead of the launch of its hybrid decentralized exchange and its open-source hardware wallet. The novelty of Deviant is that it proposed to create rewards within its ecosystems without the typical centralized control of node operators. The Deviant network offers improved speed with stealth addresses for complete anonymity, encrypted messaging for secure communication, low transaction fees, lower confirmation time, and a limited total supply.
The Ethereum community continues to struggle with DApps topping the number of downloads on the blockchain network that are promising investments with high returns that turn out to be fraudulent. As an example, Team JUST, the anonymous development team behind the gambling DApp FOMO 3D is warning that an indentical version of its game is eating up 1/3 of the Ethereum network’s total computational power and raising USD$7mm over the past week.
Genesis Mining, an Iceland-basd hashpower hosting service, is forcing customers to upgrade their Bitcoin mining contracts following this year’s drop in cryptocurrency valuations. The company is discounting the upgrade price of its Radiant service per 1 TH/s to USD$180 from USD$285. In 60 days, Genesis announced it will terminate open-ended contracts that mine less than the daily maintenance fee.
Hash House, a crypto-themed café and workshare space in the city of Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province in China, has recently launched. Among its many features, Hash House will provide visitors with learnings materials on cryptocurrencies and will hose seminars and meetups on different crypto topics.
China News reports that the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School has received a USD$20mm research grant to investigate the security capabilities of electronic payment systems. Partnering with University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and the City University of Hong Kong (CityU), the HKUST-led research initiative will focus on artificial intelligence, network security and blockchain technologies.
During an unofficial discussion with Quartz India, unnamed state official in the Indian government, which is examining the impact of the virtual currency ecosystem.
IBM files updates to a pending patent for managing a databases management system (DBMS) using a blockchain database. The patent was initially filed in December 2017 and covers the idea of connecting a blockchain databases with a traditional central database.
Joe Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum and ConsenSys, does not see the recent sell-off in cryptocurrencies constraining growth of the crypto ecosystem. In an interview with Bloomberg, Lubin suggested the recent run-up in cryptocurrency valuations is similar the previous six bubbles with each bubble more pronounced than the previous.
Joe Lubin, the co-founder of the Ethereum Foundation, during an interview with Bloomberg, claims Ripple is not a blockchain technology and is not a competitor for Ethereum. In Lubin’s mind, Ripple is a payment system, not a blockchain technology. In the case of EOS, Lubin cautions against its decision-making framework and doesn’t believe it is should be treated as layer-one technology yet.
Users can now be paid to participate on the lightning network nodes. The average fee on the lightning network currently is about 1 satoshi. In comparison, the montly income of using the lightning network has been estimated to be closer to USD$2 for a prominent application developer.
Microsoft recent patent applications suggests the company is looking to use trusted execution environments (TEEs) within its blockchain technology. TEEs are pre-determined types of blockchain or other security protocols in validation nodes. TEEs will help assist in the implementation of consortium blockchain networks and will also assist in verifying blockchain transactions on networks where multiple pre-authorized entities must interact.
Saudi Arabia officials warn citizens in a formal joint statement from the Ministry of Trade & Investment, Ministry of Information and Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency that trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are illegal in The Kingdom. This press release is in contrast to The Kingdom’s positive disposition to blockchain technology.
Taproot, a protocol overlay for Bitcoin pushed by one of Bitcoin’s most well-known developers Greg Maxwell, will offer a privacy layer which will address Bitcoin critics who believe the benchmark cryptocurrency’s privacy is awful. Taproot, supported by other popular Bitcoin developers, will require the Schnorr upgrade which is still not ready to be implemented. The power of Taproot will be the ability to make smart contract transactions look like any regular Bitcoin transaction, offering anonymity for senders and receivers.
The national government of Vietnam has decided to ban imports of cryptocurrency mining equipment. According to the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, 3,664 ASIC devices were imported into the city in C1H2018. The ban of cryptocurrency mining equipment is related to a government investigation into a ICO-fraud that scammed USD$660mm from 32,000 domestic investors. At the moment, cryptocurrencies are outlawed as payments in Vietnam after the Vietnamese Central Bank refused to accept cryptocurrencies as a recognizable form of non-cash payments.
During an interview with Crypto Congressman Jason Hsu, Vitalik Buterin, the co-Founder of the Ethereum Foundation, highlighted his worries about the lack of sustainable applications on the Ethereum blockchain. Buterin is working on a proof-of-stake and charting protocols to help address the current bottlenecks that are preventing widescale adoption of Ethereum. In his opion, privacy concerns remain the biggest hurdle for widespread adoption of Ethereum in the financial sector.
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Bitcoin Halving Bull Run? Binance Launches Bitcoin Mining Pool - BitPay BUSD - Kim Jong Un BTC Stash
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