Huobi, cryptocurrency exchange partners with five firms to launch Trading Platform

Huobi one of the longest running exchange platforms, who recently shifted their operations to Singapore has colloborated with five firms to launch trading platform in the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Canada. With a decline in digitial assets prices less people are interested in trading. In fact Huobi Exchange saw a decline in number of visits on to their platform this Februrary.

Read more at newsbtc

Nuo is a decentralised and transparent crypto banking platform. It acts as a blockchain powered financial control centre to store, spend, borrow and grow your crypto-currencies. Install the android app or try out our crypto backed loans platform.

BITCOIN PRICE 2018– HISTORY AND PREDICTIONS?

The year 2018 for Bitcoin had been nothing less than a roller coaster ride, where the market participant had witnessed a significant decline and only hope for it to rise again. Even if we compare the current price[as [ I write this article, the Bitcoin(USD) price is $6,300.44] to the time when new year knocked our doors[trading at 13,542.55 ], we have witnessed a significant plunge.

What could be the possible reasons for Bitcoin to get miscued? Let’s look at some of the major events that happened this year and resulted in Bitcoin price decline.

Major Events that Affected the Bitcoin Price This Year

 

Dec 28, 2017 – South Korea eyeing potential shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges

According to a statement from the Office for Government Policy Coordination – South Korea will require real-name cryptocurrency transactions and impose a ban on the offering of virtual accounts by banks to crypto-exchanges. Releasing a statement, the government said Cryptocurrency speculation had been irrationally overheated in Korea. The government can’t leave the abnormal situation of speculation any longer.”

Bitcoin Price on 28-Dec-2017 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$16064.44 $14621.88

 

Jan 8, 2018 – CoinMarketCap hashed prices from South Korean exchanges

The Market in the second week of January 2018 witnessed a drop in Bitcoin price after a website CoinMarketCap removed prices from South Korean exchanges from its calculations of digital currency rates without any warning.

CoinMarketCap, a widely followed website by market participants that shows real-time prices for around 1300 + cryptocurrencies. With a sudden movement of exclusion of data from the South Korean exchange, it confused market participants and triggered a selloff.

Bitcoin Price on 08-Jan-2018 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$16834.12 $15546.07

 

Jan 30, 2018 – Facebook bans cryptocurrency ads

As per Facebook new policy, it prohibits advertisements that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, and cryptocurrency. The move was triggered due to persistent complaints about spammy and fraudulent cryptocurrency ads; Facebook has issued an outright ban. However, the new policy is sure to be welcomed by Facebook users and bitcoin enthusiasts alike, who recognize that these adverts do little to promote the benefits of cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Price on 30-Jan-2018 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$11400.77 $10788.89

 March 7, 2018 – SEC says crypto exchanges must register with the agency

In a statement on Wednesday SEC noted – that online platforms trading digital assets that are considered securities need to register with the agency. Bitcoin price slashed, fearing that tightening regulation could restrict future trading.

Bitcoin Price on 07-Mar-2018 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$11091.64 $10474.36

 

March 14, 2018 – Google Bans cryptocurrency ads

As per Googles new financial products policy effective from June 2018, Google would no longer be serving as an ad platform to binary options, cryptocurrencies, ICO’s cryptocurrency wallets, trading advice.  Google in a statement to CNBC said – we want our ecosystem to be safe and effective, and as the cryptocurrency market is unregulated and has been hit by a lot of scams, we need to take some measures.

Bitcoin Price on 14-Mar-2018 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$9208.96 $8832.15

 

March 26, 2018 – Twitter bands cryptocurrency ads

Following Facebook and Google, Twitter also amended its policy in banning cryptocurrency ads. As per Twitter spokesperson – Under this new policy, the advertisement of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales will be prohibited globally.

Bitcoin Price on 26-Mar-2018 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$8676.53 $8256.81

 

April 01, 2018 Bitcoin  close to Death Cross chart pattern

Chart analysts saw an alarming trend in bitcoin’s pricing pattern; the one termed as Death Cross. Although experts were arguing if Death cross would be good or bad, it was undoubtedly a signal of bearish market leading to more decline in bitcoin prices.

Bitcoin Price on 01-Apr-2018 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$7041.48 $6842.43

 

May 11, 2018, South Korea’s exchange Upbit is suspected of fraud.

As reports surfaced that one of the largest executors in South Africa Upbit is suspected of fraud, the bitcoin price dropped below $9000 mark.

Bitcoin Price on 11-May-2018 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$9289.09 $8728.95

 

May 23, 2018, India proposes 18% tax on cryptocurrency trading and Regulatory Uncertainty pushed by US and Canada

As per a proposal under discussion by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs India, cryptocurrency trading that would be classified as intangible goods may attract 18%  Goods and Services Tax (GST).

On the same day, the financial authorities in the US and Canada declared a cooperative crackdown on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other cryptocurrency investment schemes, led by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

The two roller coaster news triggered a decline in Bitcoin pricing further.

Bitcoin Price on 23-May-2018 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$8262.65 $7818.21

 

June 11, 2018, South Korean Exchange Coinrail hacked

Although experts believe that the price plunge has nothing to do with the exchange being hacked, some people had a different opinion. Overall, there was a dip in the Bitcoin price, and market participants were hoping the next trading day would help them to revamp.

Bitcoin Price on 11-June-2018 Bitcoin Price Next Trading day
$7158.95 $6786.98

 

The Bitcoin Price Trend Predictions

Though Bitcoin prices have declined this year, many experts believe a correction to be made in coming months.

Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX stated:

Well, I think that something that goes up to $20,000 in one year can have a correction down to around $6,000.” Later on, adding about the cryptocurrency, he says – one positive regulatory decision away, maybe an ETF approved by the SEC, to climbing through $20,000 or even $50,000 by the end of the year.”

On the other hand, Clem Chambers, Founder of ADVFN says – “It will probably hit $2,000 before it hits $20,000.” Later he also added that Bitcoin “is quite likely’ to eventually hit the $100,000 price level.

Another crucial statement was stated by The Founder of Fundtsrat Tom Lee, he says – Bitcoin can reach $25,000 by the end of the year or something like that.”And his predictions are based on future Bitcoin mining costs.

Canaccord – Approval for Bitcoin ETF likely in 2019

Canaccord the largest independent investment dealer in Canada, in its quarterly updates on cryptocurrencies, dives into a range of categories that includes security tokens and recent developments in cryptocurrency spot prices. It also provided insights to its favorite category Bitcoin ETF which the crypto-community has viewed with renewed fervor following a proposed rule change by CBOE, which is seeking to list such a product in conjunction with money manager VanEck and crypto startup SolidX.

While Canaccord acknowledges the interest of those backing up ETF, they have put forward the viewpoint that SEC may extend its decision as long as it can. In theory, the SEC could make a decision as early as Friday, August 10.

Read more at coindesk

Nuo is a decentralised and transparent crypto banking platform. It acts as a blockchain powered financial control centre to store, spend, borrow and grow your crypto-currencies. Install the android app or try out our crypto backed loans platform.

How Could Plasma Help Ethereum Scale Up?

PLASMA HELP ETHEREUM SCALE UP
PLASMA HELP ETHEREUM SCALE UP?

Let’s start with some good news about Ethereum

100,000. The number of refugees served by the World Food Programme’s Ethereum Experiment in Jordan.

16,678. The number of live Ethereum nodes.

1,000,000+. The number of downloaded MetaMask Ethereum browser extensions.

1,552 decentralized applications currently launched on Ethereum.

35,000,000+ unique addresses on the Ethereum blockchain.

30x more Ethereum developers than the next blockchain community.

And now some bad news –

May 20, 2018– Ethereum Network Congestion Doubles Gas Fees as Game dApps Capture $7.5M in 24 Hours

July 03, 2018 – Ethereum (ETH) Network Congested Again, As Market Prices Revive

While good news points to the fact that Ethereum is a treasured network, helping people and snowballing, the bad news highlights the fact that an increase in user base, leads to congestion resulting in price hikes. A quick glance, on major Ethereum congestion issues, in last six months we would find it was mostly because of the transaction of Ethereum based Dapps that affected the transaction throughput hence caused congestion. Bottomline – Ethereum is facing scalability issue.  Fortunately, the community is working hard to launch two new improvements Plasma and Sharding that could scale up Ethereum network to support tens of thousands of transactions per second. Let’s explore it in detail –

What is Ethereum Scalability Problem?

Every website/software or network intends to support as many users as it can, but unfortunately, the architecture does not support infinite users, Ethereum also faces the same issue. Due to a hard-coded limit on computation per block, the Ethereum blockchain network supports ~ 15 tps[transaction per second]. Now when a new release of Dapps is initiated, the network is flooded with transactions, but due to its architecture, it could only process handful, thereby causing delays and congestion on the network. The technical glitch has been under discussion by community and researchers.

Why is scaling so difficult?

Ethereum blockchain by design uses a combination of software tricks and incentives, which ensures to precisely record who owns what with a central authority. Ethereum is also dependent on a network of nodes, where each node stores the transaction history [entire], the current account balances, storage, and contracts. Overall it is a cumbersome task, leading to an increase in transactions and size with each new block.

Now, the concern is, to strike a balance in finding the key[to validate the transcation] and also grow the number of users [like to purchase stuff online or play games]

Rising the block size could be an option, but then it would throw individuals off the network as not many individuals could fund to facilitate large data nodes. However, the irony is that running a full is the best way to achieve benefits of security and privacy.  But full nodes would limit the number of people that could validate the transactions.

What is Plasma?

In our last post, we mentioned how Bitcoin Scalability Problem could be resolved by a concept called as Bitcoin Lightning Network, similar to the technique is Plasma where the transaction is carried off-chain, and root-chain is responsible for maintaining security and privacy. In the current state, Ethereum, chain of blocks performs computation, storing, transferring and even processing of data, channeling some of the tasks onto a different channel, i.e., off-chaining could help to reduce the load but assures the pros of a decentralized, immutable and distributed network.

Plasma blockchains are a chain within a blockchain. So there would be a root chain[e.g., Ethereum], linked to it would be a child-chain [off-chain, Plasma] that could again spawn its child-chain and this process could continue. So Plasma is many branching blockchains linked to one root blockchain. Plasma is also known as Layer 2 solutions because it is built “on top of” the Ethereum main-chain. It does not require changes to the base level protocol — instead, it exists merely as smart contracts on Ethereum that interact with off-chain software.

a Custom Plasma chain
Ref – https://plasma.io/plasma.pdf

The smart contracts are still handled by Ethereum network, the only change that would be seen is the broadcasting of the completed transactions to the public Ethereum chain. So, for example, there are two parties

A

B

Transferring 5$ to B

 

Transferring 10$ to A

Transferring 25$ to B

Broadcast Message

Transferred 20$ to A

 

One could think of a TREE structure that at a set frequency communicates/transfers information with its root-chain.

With off-loading the child-chain gets an added advantage to performing complex computation, helping developers to launch innovative dapps and get more users. One of the most significant advantages of the Plasma chain is that it could run a faster speed, lower cost and all of the data need not be replicated across the entire network.

How does Plasma work?

Let’s pick a conceptual example to know How Plasma works?

Suppose Mike and Alan are keen on playing chess, where the winner receives 5ETH. There could be two possible ways to implement it on a blockchain network –

Traditional Way

The plain and simple way of implementing this would be to create a smart contract on root chain[i.e., ethereum], feed the rules, logic, and a track of players moves. Every time Mike and Alan make a move, a transaction is sent out to the contract. And when one of them wins, the contract pays 5ETH to the winner.

By design and execution, this method would work but would be slow and inefficient. For each transaction made they need to pay the gas cost and wait before making the next move until the blocks are mined. Also, imagine if the number of players increases just recently when crypto kitties was launched, and it caused congestion to the network.

Going Plasma Way

On the root-chain, i.e., Ethereum main chain we create a set of smart contracts of our Plasma child-chain. The Plasma root contains the state transition rules [rules, logic, and track of players move, records hashes] and acts as a bridge, which allows players to move assets between the root-chain and the child chain.

Now, is the time to create child-chain. The child chain could have its consensus algorithm and depending upon the consensus it would have validators [i.e., one who validates blocks that the transaction is true or not]. Once the child-chain is active, the validators could schedule a periodic commitment to the root. That means I commit that the most recent block in the child-chain is X”. These commitments are recorded on-chain in the Plasma root as a proof of what has happened in the child-chain.

We have in place the Plasma root; the child chain,  now is the time to create the essential components of our game. Here is the twist – the basic components of the game could be built on the Ethereum main chain, and via the Plasma root could be moved onto the child chain, which means Plasma allows you to scale interactions with blockchain-based digital assets, but those assets should be created first on the Ethereum-main chain. Once that is done, you could deploy them onto the child chain that would have the components, logic, rules.

While players interact over a child chain, without even interacting with the main chain that leads to a much smaller node to process transactions, lowering fees and faster processing.

Has Plasma been Implemented?

Plasma is in a very nascent phase, while Vitalik research of Minimum viable product [MVP] has the details, the work is still in progress. One of firm OmiseGo in Jan 2018 did launch the information on how they are building Plasma. You can explore them here.

Plasma – The Questions Unanswered

  1. Could implementation of Plasma delay a vital transaction to be added to Ethereum main network
  2. The cost involved in running a sidechain? Could this have any effect of the gas price?
  3. The deployment and execution plan of Plasma onto Ethereum network?
  4. Would Dapps start with Plasma initiative or is it Ethereum?
  5. The role of miners in case of child chain floating around?

With some unanswered question, we do hope Plasma helps Ethereum in scaling up. However, only time will tell….

Our next article would talk about Sharding and the benefits it has for Ethereum. Stay tuned.

References

L4Media, plasma.io, dappsguru,

Ethereum Roadmap Explained

Ethereum Roadmap Metropolis
Ethereum Roadmap Metropolis

Ethereum with its exceptional features like programmability, flexibility, synergy, modularity, and philosophy of humility is aiming to rule the decentralized world. While the founder Vitalik Buterin has an ambitious roadmap to strengthen the community further, let’s take a closer look and explore what’s in store with Ethereum roadmap  –

Ethereum Roadmap

Vitalik Buterin, the Founder of Ethereum, stresses that to push Ethereum to the next level – four issues need to be resolved – consensus safety, smart contract safety, privacy and the most important of all – SCALABILITY.

Here are the different stages worked on to make Ethereum robust, secure and scalable.

ETHEREUM ROADMAP
ETHEREUM ROADMAP

Metropolis:

Metropolis claims to be a faster, lighter and more secure version of Ethereum. It would also provide enhanced flexibility to developers. The Metropolis phase is split into two releases- Byzantine and Constantinople

Byzantine – Executed in October 2017

Byzantine has a total of nine Ethereum Improvement Proposals [EIP] that once implemented results in enhanced security, scalability and privacy. It would also help in lowering fees for users and faster blocks. Some of the significant changes are –

Privacy

With Metropolis phase, the users would have the ability to perform anonymous transactions, with the new privacy tool – zk-SNARKs Or zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge. This zero-knowledge proof would help Ethereum to store some of the contact variables [that are private to users] with them instead of floating them onto blockchain network.

What is A Zero Knowledge Proof?

In laymen terms, a zero-knowledge proof is the ability to prove the truth of a statement, without passing on any other additional information beyond the statement under evaluation

Let’s take an example – If you have a bunch of keys and want to make a statement “it has a key to your house,” you can prove that by just unlocking the house with the designated key, with revealing which key the key that belongs to your house.

Ethereum, in addition to zk-SNARKS, would also get ring signatures, just to provide the best of both the world to its loyal community.

Account abstraction

As mentioned earlier, Metropolis would help in providing flexibility to smart contracts developers, to support that Ethereum would now support a concept called as Abstraction. The technique improves the programmers to provide only high-level concepts and to avoid overloading the user with details.

This would help the end users to have more control over their private keys, with an added ability for contracts to pay mining fees. Abstraction technique would also help in reducing the risk of getting hacked by quantum computing.

Mining difficulty

The phase would also target to initiate the movement of moving from a miner-based PoW to a validator-based PoS system, i.e., Ethereum to work on Proof of Stake rather than Proof of Work. This move would be challenging for miners and make it less profitable for them.

Constantinople – Not set date, but expected in 2018

The release Constantinople with no set timeline will be an introductory phase for upgrading Ethereum from Proof of Work [PoW] to Proof of Stake[PoS] to be called as Casper Protocol. During the upgrade process majority of the transaction would remain as PoW on Ethereum network, but every 100th transaction would be PoS with Constantinople release. Eventually, the entire Ethereum network would have a PoS protocol.

Casper protocol has two versions-

  1. Vlad Zamfir leads one
  2. FFG [ friendly finality gadget] that is being driven by Vitalik Buterin.

There would also be “STAKERS” – one who stake/stick their coins in special wallets and lock them. There is also a reward associated for stakers as an annual dividend of ether, so the more you stake, the larger the dividend.

Pow vs PoS
Proof Of Work vs Proof Of Stake Image Courtesy – Hackernoon

Why is Ethereum Upgrading to PoS?

Following problems that could be Solved with PoS, but not with PoW

  1. Bad Actors are Punished for supporting invalid blocks
  2. Individuals have more incentive to act honestly than they do in a PoW system.
  3. Difficult to conduct a 51% attack as with PoS an individual need to purchase Ethereum market cap[ that amount is tremendous, may not be possible for individuals]. Real life example when on the Bitcoin network in July 2014, a bitcoin mining pool named Ghash controlled 51% of the mining power for 12 hours.

Serenity

The last phase of the Ethereum Roadmap that will upgrade the entire network from PoW to PoS. At this phase, Ethereum with a built-in Turing-complete programming language can be used by other companies, developers,  and entities to create applications, contracts,  and systems.

Ethereum is still a nascent technology, but many promising scaling features will allow reaching the mainstream. If Ethereum can achieve its ambitious multi-year vision, then it will lay down the foundation and backbone of the blockchain ecosystem!

Our next post would talk about How Plasma and Sharding would help in Ethereum Scalability Problem. Stay tuned.

Hackernoon, Coindesk, Cryptograph

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