The value of Cardano’s treasury reaches $100 million

As the price of ADA reached $0.38, the value of the tokens locked in Cardano’s treasury briefly surpassed $100 million. But what does this mean for the Cardano ecosystem and how can the Cardano community benefit from the growing amount of funds locked inside it?

There’s almost $100 million currently locked in Cardano’s treasury

The price of ADA, the native cryptocurrency of the Cardano blockchain, recently reached its two-year high, surpassing $0.39 on Jan. 18. And while many have dismissed ADA’s significant growth as a side effect of the market-wide rally we’ve been seeing this past month, there is significant growth within Cardano pushing its price up.

Graph showing ADA’s price from Jan. 18 to Jan. 21
Graph showing ADA’s price from Jan. 18 to Jan. 21 (Source: CryptoSlate ADA)

The huge growth ADA has seen affected more than the coin’s price.

The Cardano Treasury saw the value of all of the locked ADA briefly surpass $100 million on Jan. 18, making it one of the largest decentralized blockchain treasuries on the market. According to data from Project Catalyst, at the beginning of the latest epoch on the blockchain, there was 261,254,564.02 ADA locked in the treasury. At press time, ADA’s price of $0.34 puts the value of the Cardano Treasury at $88.82 million.

Why is the Cardano Treasury important to the community?

The goal of the Cardano Treasury is to provide funds to develop the Cardano blockchain through a voting process. Its core component is a decision-making system that enables members of the community to collectively reach decisions that essentially run the network.

Cardano’s treasury is funded through several different channels, which include taking a percentage of stake pool rewards and transaction fees, holding back a portion of newly-minted coins, and accepting occasional donations or charity.

The funds held in the treasury are meant to finance various projects and proposals for improving the blockchain, which are chosen through community votes.

This is where Project Catalyst comes in. Launched as the core component of Cardano’s Voltaire governance era, the platform provides the infrastructure necessary to facilitate this voting process.

Launched late last year, Project Catalyst has so far shown that it’s extremely efficient when it comes to allocating funds from the treasury. Earlier this week, the second treasury fund, Fund2, was successfully completed and $250,000 worth of ADA was given out to 11 different projects building on Cardano. Fund3, which will be launched in the following weeks, will see $500,000 worth of ADA distributed to a select group of projects.

The fact that the Cardano Treasury holds over 261 million ADA will provide the Cardano community with a safety net, allowing them to explore different projects and ideas related to the Cardano network. With the amount of ADA in the treasury steadily replenishing, developers will continuously be able to access funding for their projects.

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DeFi on Cardano will enable users to earn yield on staked ADA

Once Cardano’s Goguen era is launched, users will be able to earn additional yield on their ADA without having to unstake their funds. Liqwid Finance, a DeFi solution built on Cardano, will enable users to earn governance tokens by providing liquidity to the ADA market on Liqwid—all the while their tokens remain staked on the mainnet.

Goguen set to unlock vas new DeFi capabilities on Cardano

Most of the conversation focusing on Cardano’s upcoming Goguen era seems to be analyzing the steps needed to unlock the smart contract functionality. However, the concrete things Goguen will bring to the blockchain seem to be seldom, if ever, discussed.

Liqwid Finance, a DeFi project built on Cardano, highlighted some of the upcoming features Goguen will enable, giving the Cardano community a rare glimpse into what the future will look like on Cardano.

Namely, the project, which won the first prize on IOHK’s Wyoming Hackathon in October, said that they received a lot of inquiries from the Cardano community about their upcoming Liqwid tokens. The DeFi platform focuses on peer-to-peer lending and is set to launch governance tokens that will be distributed as rewards for users providing liquidity.

The company said that the tokens will launch through user distribution and yield farming contracts just as the first HFC event for Goguen unrolls in February.

Yield farming rewards on top of standard staking rewards

While many members of the Cardano community seemed excited for the opportunity to provide liquidity to lending markets on the blockchain, some seemed worried that liquidity pools would drain the ADA delegated to stake pool operators.

However, Liqwid quickly disproved these claims by revealing that users who want to supply liquidity to lending pools on their platforms won’t have to give up delegating their tokens to stake pools.

The token locking functionality released last year, when combined with other features of smart contracts on Cardano, will enable users to earn additional funds on top of the standard staking rewards they get for delegating. Providing liquidity to a lending pool, such as the ones offered by Liqwid Finance, will not affect the funds delegated to stake pools.

The company also revealed that Liqwid’s core developers are currently exploring the option of having a hardware wallet connection to its platform. This would enable users to hold their ADA in a hardware wallet such as Trezor or Ledger and still provide liquidity to any lending pool on Cardano.

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What the first half of 2021 will look like for Cardano (ADA)

In his latest YouTube video, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, shared some of the updates scheduled to take place in the following weeks and months at Cardano, as well as the current state of development of the blockchain’s most important features and functionalities.

Take a look at what’s been going on behind the curtains at Cardano

Few projects have managed to maintain the level of successful output Cardano did last year. The ambitious third-generation blockchain finally introduced its staking era after almost five whole years of development—an event that put IOHK into overdrive when it comes to releasing new functionalities of the blockchain.

With the first month of 2021 almost over, the company doesn’t seem to show any signs of stopping. The extended holiday season and unfavorable work conditions due to the ongoing pandemic haven’t slowed down IOHK and the teams working on Cardano, with a significant amount of work regarding Cardano’s smart contract era almost entirely done.

Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, shared details about the progress made in the past several weeks in his latest YouTube video.

The biggest developments in the past few weeks have certainly been the release of the Cardano devnet and the launch of Fund3. Hoskinson focused more on the news about the new Project Catalyst fund in the video, saying that all information about the devnets will be covered in weekly or bi-weekly videos coming directly from IOHK.

The launch of Fund3 followed a hugely successful lifespan of Fund2, which saw 12 different entities receive funding for various projects on Project Catalyst. While the new fund will work exactly the same as the two previous ones, it will be much larger in scope—both in terms of the funds offered and community participation rate.

Testnets have always been a cornerstone of Cardano’s development, which is why IOHK is working on releasing the Plutus testnet very soon. Hoskinson said that Plutus will be the last of the testnets released for Cardano, which include the KEVM and IELE testnets. He also revealed his unorthodox plans for the testnet—namely, he plans on bringing aboard companies that would focus only on writing Plutus contracts. These companies, he explained, will receive no guidelines from IOHK or any of its partners and will be left to their own devices.

Hoskinson explained that this approach will be very effective at exposing any problems with the Plutus tooling. This way, the companies writing the Plutus contracts would be performing double duty—implementing the language and doing a security audit of the devnet.

When it comes to Prism, Cardano’s identity solution, Hoskinson said that the teams were currently busy doing compliance work. While he noted that this wasn’t necessary to ensure Prism was functional, it will enable business owners looking to utilize the solution to comply both with financial and security regulation in an easy and streamlined way.

The problem with scheduling the Goguen launch

Goguen, the era of the Cardano blockchain set to unlock smart contract functionality, has been the focus of most of the company’s work since the launch of Shelley in July 2020.

However, launching Goguen is set to be a much more technically challenging feat for IOHK.

While Shelley represented a much more aggressive update to the protocol, Goguen will affect a significantly larger number of shareholders in the Cardano ecosystem. Aside from the people holding ADA, the update will bring massive changes to everyone from stake pool operators to partners utilizing the network and exchanges listing its native token.

“We have a lot of stuff we need to test,” Hoskinson said.

He explained that Goguen will be physically changing every transaction on the network, which is why the blockchain’s entire infrastructure needs to be carefully and thoroughly tested. Aside from providing the teams with the assurance of security and stability, the extensive testing is also set to appease Cardano’s many partners.

That’s why Goguen will be implemented through three different Hard Fork Combinator (HFC) events. The first event, called Allegra, took place on 16. Dec last year and saw the introduction of token locking. The second HFC event, according to Hoskinson, is scheduled for February this year and has most of the details behind it largely sorted out.

The third and final event set to bring Goguen live is yet to be scheduled.

Hoskinson said that he hopes the update will be able to go through sometime in the second quarter of the year, but added that he wasn’t sure whether this would be at the beginning or at the end of the quarter.

The very last chance IOHK will have to make sure everything is okay with Goguen is during the Plutus devnet, which is why it puts so much emphasis on the network. And it’s not just IOHK giving importance to the devnets—the Cardano community also seems to value the isolated developer playgrounds the company puts out.

During the AMA, dozens of questions about the technicalities of these devnets were asked, with the most popular topic by far being the KEVM. The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) running on Cardano implements the K-verification process, making it possible for developers in Cardano to write dApps in Solidity, Ethereum’s native programming language.

According to Hoskinson, KEVM is currently running on the devnet, but there are plans to release it as a full chain that runs alongside Cardano. However, the network will need to launch a CIP to decide on when to go through with this process as it requires a fair amount of preparation. Hoskinson’s goal is to launch KEVM in the second quarter of the year as well. He did note, however, that the exact launch date will depend on how fast the work on Plutus integration is being done. This makes it more likely that KEVM will launch after the third HFC event.

A positive outlook on the future of crypto regulation

The massive structural change coming to U.S. politics with the arrival of the Biden administration has left a large part of the crypto industry worried. With the heads of most regulatory agencies set to change with the new administration, the future of crypto regulation seems rather blurry at the moment.

Hoskinson, however, doesn’t seem worried about it.

When asked what he thought of the newly appointed head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, he gave a refreshingly positive outlook. He explained:

“The way that the SEC is currently structured, I honestly believe that it is probably in a productive positive dialogue with the entire industry.”

He believes that there is currently no indication that the new establishment will bring about an anti-crypto SEC, especially given Gensler’s background. A former MIT professor on crypto and blockchain technology, Gensler is hugely competent and has a deep understanding of the industry, Hoskinson said.

His worries about the future of the industry lie with the structure of SEC’s laws, not the people running the agency. He explained that the biggest problem the Commission has is having “too large of a hammer.”

Current securities laws are too broad and force the Commission to punish entire networks and their user bases instead of the individuals that have facilitated behaviors it sees as illegal. He illustrated this with the example of Ripple, which recently found itself at the receiving end of SEC’s many lawsuits.

“If securities laws were slightly different, there could have been a reality where they could have punished Chris [Larsen] and Brad [Garlinghouse] at XRP without trying to say that XRP is a security.”

According to Hoskinson, this approach would accomplish two important things—it would be much easier for the SEC to implement and would not harm XRP investors overall.

Gensler’s arrival at the Commission has the potential to change this, he said, as he believes that he’ll be more capable of working with the administration to find a healthy compromise when regulating the crypto industry.

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This company is bringing DeFi to 140 million users thanks to a $50 million round of venture capital

Alameda Research, the company behind the FTX exchange, has led a funding round that raised $50 million to create a DeFi ecosystem on Maps.me, an offline mapping application. The funding will enable a multi-currency wallet to be launched on the Maps.me platform, unlocking decentralized payments for the app’s 140 million users.

Popular offline mapping app receives $50 million in funding from major investors

A hugely popular offline mapping app Maps.me has just raised $50 million in funding to bring decentralized finance to its 140 million users. According to a press release shared with CryptoSlate, the funding round was led by Alameda Research, the company behind the FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

Genesis Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment firm, and CMS Holdings, a principal investment firm focused on the crypto industry, also participated in the round.

The funding will be used to introduce an embedded multi-currency wallet on the Maps.me mobile app, effectively unlocking the world of decentralized finance to tens of millions of new users. Maps.me said that the wallet will be able to provide access to turn-by-turn routing, travel guides, and hotel bookings, as well as process “a wide range of payment and investment tools in the Maps.me ecosystem.”

Introducing the world of decentralized finance to Maps.me users

The wallet embedded in the app will allow users to store value and earn yields of up to 8 percent. Users can also use the wallet to exchange funds, send money, and get cash back on transactions made through the app.

One of the biggest goals of Maps.me is to use the funding to combat the high fees seen on foreign exchanges. The company said that banks and third-party travel booking platforms also have extremely high commissions that make travel bookings a burden. The goal of the wallet, representatives from the company said, is to enable users to make direct bookings with near-zero fees.

Alex Grebnev, the co-founder of Maps.me, said that the company was looking forward to working with Alameda Research as the company has achieved significant scale in terms of its number of users.

Alameda Research noted that the main reason behind investing in Maps.me was the potential the platform has to bring about new users to the world of decentralized finance. Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and CEO of Alameda and FTX, said:

“By embedding and democratizing access to yield-earning finance to millions of users via an everyday app, Maps.me has the potential to really propel DeFi mainstream adoption and bring a groundbreaking technology to the masses.”

Users of the FTX exchange can participate in the IEO of the MAPS token on the FTX platform. The token will be issued both on the Solana blockchain as an SPL token and on Ethereum as an ERC-20 token. The exchange limited the IEO to users whose accounts are KYC2 and ve either 1,000 FTT staked or a 30-day trading volume of at least $50,000.

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Charles Hoskinson tells Jack Dorsey that Cardano is working on a decentralized social media initiative

Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, called on Jack Dorsey not to create a decentralized social media standard within Twitter. He said that Dorsey’s Blue Sky project should be made open-source so that the entire crypto industry can contribute to it. In the exchange, Hoskinson revealed that IOHK was working on a mysterious project that could solve Twitter’s decentralization problem.

Dorsey’s Twitter rand prompts conversation about social media decentralization

After Twitter removed standing U.S. President Donald Trump from its platform, the move sparked a worldwide conversation about censorship and centralization. Many have seen the cross-platform removal of conservative and republican voices as a coordinated attack that could only be solved through decentralization.

Surprisingly enough, Jack Dorsey, the founder, and CEO of Twitter was among a few tech leaders to agree with this.

In a Twitter thread explaining the company’s reasoning behind Trump’s removal, he said that his passion for Bitcoin stems from his appreciation of its foundations—a lack of control and influence by any single individual or entity.

This, he explained, was why he started Blue Sky in 2019, an initiative focused on creating a decentralized standard for social media. Twitter’s goal, he explained, was to ultimately become a client of that standard and facilitate public conversation on the internet.

Hoskinson believes the crypto industry should participate in Dorsey’s push for decentralization

Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, chimed in the discussion to address the issues behind Dorsey’s proposed decentralization model.

Hoskinson said that a decentralized standard for social media shouldn’t be developed within the same company that runs Twitter. A vocal proponent of decentralized systems governed by the community, Hoskinson called on Dorsey to make Blue Sky and other decentralization efforts coming from Twitter open-source. This way, he tweeted, the entire crypto industry will be able to contribute.

His brief comment on the tweet also revealed that IOHK, the company behind the Cardano blockchain, was working on something similar to what Dorsey was trying to achieve with Blue Sky. While Hoskinson only said that the company was “working on something,” the broader crypto community immediately assumed that IOHK was developing a decentralized social media platform based on the Cardano blockchain.

Neither Dorsey nor anyone associated with Twitter has addressed this yet. At least two dozen comments on Hoskinson’s original tweet have been removed from Twitter, despite the post garnering hundreds of likes.

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Staking Polkadot (DOT) just became easier for institutions

Crypto custodian Fireblocks has announced the launch of new proof-of-stake capabilities on its platform, enabling its 165 enterprise and institutional clients to stake cryptocurrencies. The service rolled out with support for Polkadot (DOT), Tezos (XTZ), and Ethereum 2.0 (ETH) and promises a yield increase ranging between 5 and 15 percent.

Fireblocks users can now stake three cryptocurrencies, including Polkadot

While cryptocurrency staking is considered a relatively new thing in the industry, an increasing number of institutions and enterprises have been expressing their interest in the service.

Fireblocks, an enterprise-grade platform for moving, storing, and issuing digital assets, said that the significant demand from customers pushed them to introduce the service to its platform.

In a press release published on Jan. 14, the platform announced the launch of hosted proof-of-stake (PoS) services for Polkadot (DOT), Tezos (XTZ), and Ethereum 2.0 (ETH). To enable staking to their 165 enterprise and institutional clients, the platform partnered with infrastructure providers Staked and Blockdaemon.

“We are launching staking wallets to Fireblocks customers who collectively hold a significant balance of crypto assets,” Fireblocks CEO Michael Shaulov said. While he noted that the majority of Fireblocks’ clients hold bitcoin, the company has over $1 billion in assets between DOT, XTZ, and ETH.

This comes as no surprise considering the fact that some of its largest customers include major players in DeFi lending—BlockFi, Celsius, Nexo, and Salt. Revolut, B2C2, Coinflex, and Galaxy Digital are also some of its clients.

Hands-free delegation for institutions

Michael Shaulov, the CEO of Fireblocks, said that setting up staking requires the highest degree of security in storing the asset and delegating it to staking nodes or operators. According to him, this has been one of the biggest obstacles for institutions looking to diversify their portfolio and dip their fingers into staking.

The new service, which utilizes Fireblocks’ MPC-based wallets and monitoring infrastructure provided by Staked and Blockdaemon, managed to effectively solve this problem. The company claims that all of the assets staked on its platform will be protected from cyber attacks, internal collusion, and human error.

All of this could bode incredibly well for Polkadot, whose massive price growth could make it interesting to institutions looking to access blockchain technology. With a stable 13.78 percent annualized staking reward rate and a growing ecosystem, Polkadot has the potential to become a go-to platform for enterprises.

The same goes for Tezos and Ethereum 2.0, which could also see a rising interest in staking in the following months.

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Exploring the idea of interoperability between Cardano and Litecoin

During the latest Litening Series webinar, the heads of the Litecoin Foundation explored the idea of introducing interoperability between Cardano and Litecoin. David Schwartz, the project director of the Litecoin Foundation, said that it was important to generate as much talk about this idea as possible, as having a bridge between Litecoin and Cardano wouldn’t benefit just the two blockchains, but the entire crypto industry.

A strong initiative to make Litecoin the first blockchain Cardano can interact with

Set to introduce native token functionality with Goguen, Cardano has already made great strides in becoming one of the first blockchains in the crypto industry to actively push for cross-chain interoperability. However, a much stronger current pushing in the direction of introducing blockchain bridges seems to be coming from Litecoin.

Due to its relatively stable price and a mostly drama-free development process, Litecoin is often left out of the conversation when talking about breaking boundaries in the industry. But, if the latest push coming from the community’s most influential voices does come true, it will put Litecoin at the forefront of crypto innovation.

The idea of creating a cross-chain bridge between Litecoin and another blockchain isn’t a new one—several independent research teams have implemented such bridges in testnets. However, there wasn’t a unified idea of what these bridges would connect until recently, when the idea of a partnership with Cardano popped up.

According to David Schwartz, the project director at the Litecoin Foundation, the idea of introducing a bridge between Cardano and Litecoin was discussed as early as July, when Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, reached out to Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin. At the time they contemplated implementing a velvet fork as a way to connect the two blockchains, which both founders seemed to have supported.

After Hoskinson and Lee set up a strong foundation, the rest of the Litecoin community, led by the Litecoin Foundation, could then go on to further develop the idea. Schwartz discussed this process during the Litening Series webinar last week, when he sat down with Jay Milla, the director of marketing at the Litecoin Foundation, and Dionysis Zindros, a blockchain researcher at the University of Athens.

He said that it’s been a month since the Litecoin Foundation began pushing the idea of cross-chain interoperability with Cardano to the Litecoin community. And while the idea is still in its infancy, Schwartz noted that it was important to “generate as much talk about this as possible,” as a community-driven project like this needs significant community participation.

Bridging Litecoin and Cardano with a velvet fork

The fact that the idea about a Cardano-Litecoin partnership is still in its infancy doesn’t mean it isn’t backed by cold hard science. Zindros explained that most, if not all of the technical details about the cross-chain bridge are already there, tried and tested on other systems and ready to be deployed.

He said that Cardano and Litecoin can connect by implementing a velvet fork to Litecoin so that the blockchain can adopt NIPoPoWs. While the concept of NIPoPoWs is a well-known one in the crypto industry, velvet forks are yet to make their way into blockchain mainstream.

According to Zindros, in terms of fork intensity, a velvet fork is much softer and more nuanced than a soft fork. A slight variation in blocks produced by miners, velvet forks are used to introduce new features to a blockchain that doesn’t want to go through a massive change brought on by both hard and soft forks.

Convincing any mining community to adopt a new fork is hard enough, especially if that community is as cooperative and tight-knit as the Litecoin one is. When a hard fork is implemented, it brings a drastic consensus change to the blockchain, where some population of the miners have upgraded and some have not. This means that the two groups essentially run two versions of the protocol, refusing to recognize each other’s blocks.

A velvet fork, he explained, allows miners to adopt a new feature without having the supermajority, or even just the majority of the miners to agree on it. It changes the protocol in a way that allows miners that have upgraded to create blocks that are backward compatible with miners that haven’t upgraded.

That way, the set of valid blocks in the blockchain remains the same as it would have been if the velvet fork wasn’t introduced. The blockchain ends up with a certain number of blocks that have additional information in them from the velvet fork and a certain number of regular blocks. Nonetheless, all of those blocks are adopted and added to the blockchain.

However, it’s not the velvet fork itself that creates the bridge to another blockchain. For two networks to be able to communicate with each other, one of them needs to implement NIPoPoWs.

NIPoPoWs, or Non-Interactive Proofs of Proof-of-Work, are cryptographical structures that are applied to Proof-of-Work blockchains as a way to apply some compression to the blockchain’s consensus layer. They are short, stand-alone strings of information that a blockchain can inspect to verify that an event happened without actually having to connect to the blockchain and download all block headers. NIPoPoWs contain only a small sample of block headers—they are, however, enough for the network to verify that a transaction or any other event actually happened.

Schwartz compared NIPoPoWs with a table of content found at the beginning of a book—instead of having to go through the entire book to find a certain piece of information, a reader turns to the table of content to verify that it is, indeed, contained in the book.

When it comes to the concrete velvet fork that would connect Litecoin and Cardano, Zindros said that it would happen on the Litecoin side. He and his team at the University of Athens have already tried implementing a velvet fork on the Bitcoin Cash testnet and had no major technical issues.

If a velvet fork was implemented, there shouldn’t be any problems on Cardano’s side either. Ergo, a Proof-of-Work DeFi blockchain, also implemented a velvet fork to adopt NIPoPoWs that would enable the platform to provide oracle services to Cardano.

Once a NIPoPoW is implemented to Litecoin, it will open up a whole new world of cross-chain interoperability that is much greater in scope than just Cardano. Zindros said that all blockchain platforms that have smart contract functionality will be able to process NIPoPoWs without going through a velvet fork.

On Litcoin’s side, a velvet fork won’t have any noticeable impact on the network’s hashrate. This is because, unlike that of Bitcoin, Litecoin mining works by first hashing the block data and then looking for Proof-of-Work. The impact the velvet fork will have on Litecoin can only be measured in relatively abstract terms such as the network effect, Zindros said.

Cross-chain interoperability means that everyone’s a winner

All of this presents no technical challenge. Zindros said that technically speaking, a velvet fork would be extremely quick to implement to Litecoin.

However, this doesn’t mean that it’ll be smooth sailing.

He noted that the timeline of introducing such a fork to any system is more a political question than a technical one, adding that, with a community the size of Litecoin’s, many people need to agree on how to proceed.

However, both Schwartz and Zindros are extremely optimistic in the long term. Zindros said that the reason why his research team chose Litecoin as the perfect platform to connect to Cardano is the openness of its community. Litecoin’s close-knit community has kept an open mind for years and was quick to adopt ideas and concepts that would have been considered as too forward by many other platforms.

And with a mentality that doesn’t exclude other players and ecosystems in the industry, Litecoin is a perfect pair for Cardano, whose ambitious goals to decentralize global governance weren’t made at the expense of other projects. The easiness with which the Litecoin Foundation can reach out to the community and discuss novel ideas like this one is what makes Schwartz believe that this is a success story waiting to happen.

Cross-chain interoperability is a trend that’s yet to become big in the industry, with Zindros expecting the concept to gain popularity in the next few years. Both Cardano and Litecoin want to become pioneers leading the wave, and both are likely to see a slew of long-standing benefits that are still hard to quantify.

The benefit Cardano will be able to see almost immediately is access to the entire Litecoin user base. Namely, if the platform goes through a velvet fork, all users that use and hold Litecoin will be able to interact with Cardano. All of the capital locked into Litecoin will suddenly become accessible to Cardano—those holding LTC will be able to use it to pay for anything happening on Cardano, and vice-versa.

The value of this effort doesn’t lie in the fact that it will increase one platform’s access to money, despite it being a clear and obvious benefit. Instead, the value of this cross-chain bridge lies in the fact that it drastically improves the value of money stored on both blockchains. And this is something that is set to go far beyond just Litecoin and Cardano—a concept with the potential to move the entire crypto industry.

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Ethereum 2.0 Guide: Everything you need to know about ETH2 – launch phases, rewards, deposits, VMs, and testnets debunked

While the second iteration of Ethereum is becoming more tangible each day, some of the technical aspects of Eth 2.0 remain largely unknown. To bring the community up to date with what’s been accomplished and what’s yet to come, Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, and some of the network’s lead developers took to Reddit to answer user questions.

The team didn’t hold back when it came to giving out their honest thoughts on the progress made with the development of Ethereum 2.0, revealing that some aspects of the network’s roadmap still require serious work. However, the takeaway from the AMA is that the team seems to have adopted a slow and steady approach to development and is looking both to de-risk and simplify each phase of the rollout.

Deconstructing the roadmap for Ethereum’s second iteration

The sheer size and market domination Ethereum has often tends to overshadow some of its more technical aspects. As the foundation of the blooming DeFi sector and the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, it certainly doesn’t get as much deep thought as some of the more novel projects do.

But now, with the network’s second iteration getting closer, diving deep into Ethereum seems to be more important than ever. It’s set to transition to a fully proof-of-stake system, completely run and governed by the community.

Ethereum 2.0 brought a fair share of controversy this year. The sheer size of Ethereum meant that any deviation from the original idea of Eth 2.0 and every missed deadline caused a frenzy both in the media and in the market. Looking to give some clarity into the process that is designing Ethereum 2.0 was the network’s main engineering team, led by Vitalik Buterin.

The team took to Reddit and held an almost two-hour-long, no-questions-bared AMA, where they touched both on the technical and the controversial topics surrounding Ethereum 2.0.

One of the most frequently asked questions, and the questions that got the most traction among the community, was about the Ethereum 2.0 roadmap. While most of the community seems to have been acquainted with the network’s more technical aspects, they lacked a clear understanding of its practical delivery.

With relatively high confidence, the team revealed that Ethereum 2.0 will be delivered in this order:

  • Phase 0 — Proof-of-stake
  • Phase 0.5 — Light client
  • Phase 1 — Data sharding
  • Phase 1.5 — Merger
  • Phase 2 — Enshrined VM

Phase 0, according to Buterin, will most likely happen in 2021. Phase 1, however, could be delivered in 2021 only “in the best-case scenario.”

After much back and forth with the community, a member of the team noted that they were still experimenting with new names and terminology for the various phases of launch.

“After Phase 0, none of them are necessarily sequential,” they wrote, adding that using the term “docking” to describe Phase 1.5 provides a much better analogy of what the phase is about. Namely, the current Ethereum rocket powered by proof-of-work will eventually “dock” into the beacon chain, not literally merge with it.

Removing references to phase numbers will also help show that all of these phases aren’t necessarily sequential, but independent parallel work efforts.

“You can dock Eth1 to Eth2 before you add sharded data availability, and vice versa. The independence is allowing both of these efforts to be developed at the same time. We might even see an Eth1/Eth2 testnet in the relatively near future,” the team wrote on Reddit.

Analyzing the progress of each piece of Ethereum’s roadmap

And while the first several answers that came from the team delivered rather formal information, as the AMA went on they began hitting some of the harder questions.

When asked whether there was any piece of the roadmap that they still had no idea how to do, the team gave out a rather somber answer.

From a research point of view, each order of delivery where concrete plans were laid out, which include phases 0, 1, and 2, are pretty much crystal clear to the developers. What they did note was that most of the problems they expect to encounter will come from the practical, or execution side of things. For Phase 1 that’s data availability and for Phase 2 stateless execution and using a new virtual machine (VM) like the eWASM. Zooming out of these relatively thought-out phases brings about the problem of quantum security, which the team believes is something that still needs a lot of research to make it both practical and performant.

Buterin said that the research was either done or at least low-risk on everything to data sharding and the Eth1/Eth2 merge.

“It’s mostly engineering and coordination now,” he explained.

However, he believes that Eth2 will eventually need a new enshrined VM to replace the EVM. And while he would like that the enshrined VM was a zkVM, i.e. a SNARK-friendly alternative to EVM, he noted that there were significant open problems at the intersection of research and engineering for an Eth2 zkVM.

Buterin’s ambitious VM ideas might not come to fruition, though.

A member of the team revealed that he wasn’t certain whether Ethereum WebAssembly (eWASM) will ever make it to the mainnet. While eWASM was always discussed in the realm of possibility, this is the first time someone from the close-knit circle of Ethereum’s research team has doubted its rollout. Danny Ryan, the core researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, said that the amount of existing contracts, tools, languages, and optimizations for the EVM is becoming “quite staggering.” As the EVM is becoming somewhat of a blockchain standard in and of itself, the promised efficiency gains of interpreted eWASM might be minimal on top of what they already have with the EVM. It also turned out that it was possible to implement many new things into the existing EVM.

It’s unclear if the layer of abstraction provided by the eWASM provides substantial value for the complexity cost and if it could be efficient and practical enough to write these environments in the eWASM/EVM in the first place.

Buterin echoed Ryan’s statement, saying that going from one virtual machine to two doubles the consensus complexity. Aside from that, he noted that the research team already has a lot on its plate and switching the VM has a far lower benefit than “pretty much any other piece of comparable difficulty in the proof-of-stake and sharding roadmap. Many of the benefits that were originally envisioned for the eWASM, such as near-native-speed execution that removes the need for precompilers, have also not transpired. In particular, it turned out that it was extremely hard to make compilers that are safe at runtime and safe on adversarial code at compilation time.

This, however, doesn’t mean that it’s the end of eWASM. Buterin said that it will primarily have a future as an execution engine inside rollups, as they can include any state transition function as long as they’re provided with a fraud prover. In the long-term, there is both a good momentum and good rationale to upgrade the EVM. Buterin explained that they want to enable ZK-SNARK VM execution, adding that WASM was far more efficient for this than the current EVM.

When it comes to other aspects of the roadmap, the team seemed much more optimistic. Research for data sharding is now essentially done and speccing is currently underway.

While there are engineering challenges with data availability sampling still to be solved, the team is confident on how to do simpler data sharding with committees only. Execution environments most likely won’t require too much work, as the team said that rollup VM is a good enough substitute for EEs both in the medium-term and in the long-term. Rollups, on the other hand, aren’t part of Eth2’s consensus, but are emergent pieces of the layer-2 infrastructure. Therefore, they’re largely out of the remit of both the Ethereum Foundation and any other research team focused on Eth2.

The research and speccing for light clients is also largely done—the team doesn’t expect any further problems with the matter as the implementation is relatively easy and won’t require any special effort.

A rough launch timeline, the introduction of testnets, wallets, and rollups

Concrete launch dates tend to be something that the crypto community is very passionate about, so it comes as no surprise that a significant number of questions directed at Ethereum’s research team were about the Eth2 launch timeline. While the scope of the work still needed to bring Eth2 live makes it very hard to set a date in stone, the fact that most of the phases are being worked on in parallel makes it almost impossible.

However, the team did do their best at estimating when most of the phases will roll out, revealing to the community that it will, quite literally, take years before Eth2 is fully done.

When asked whether there was a minimum runtime required for a phase before the following one is launched, Buterin said that there was a significant difference between the questions “what is the minimum runtime until sharding” and “what is the minimum runtime until the merge.” Both Buterin and Ryan said that sharding can be implemented as soon as it’s ready and reasonably stable, with both agreeing that it wouldn’t be good to wait too long to get it out.

Ryan said that the merge, or Phase 1.5, will require the beacon chain stable in production for at least 9 months. “We really need to vet the beacon chain in production for an extended period of time before we deem it stable and safe enough to be Ethereum’s new home,” he explained.

As far as the merge goes, Buterin was much more conservative in his estimate. He said that it was largely the community’s decision, not his or the Ethereum Foundation’s, which means that it’s a tougher decision that will take a lot more time. The broader Ethereum community, which includes the Eth1 core developers, block explorers, exchanges, and all other network participants, needs to be convinced that proof-of-stake has been sufficiently de-risked. Until most of them are convinced that it’s safe to make the full switch to Eth2 the merge won’t happen, he said.

According to Buterin, implementing the merge will require Phase 1 to run for at least a year:

“Even if a complete merge implementation fell out of the sky in February, I would recommend we sit on our butts until November or so to convince people that PoS is safe, so that people are comfortable with flipping the switch to let the entire $50B ecosystem really and truly become dependent on the beacon chain.”

The fact that deposits have so far been rather slow for Phase 0 can only prolong the rollout of Phase 1.5. According to many Redditors, most users are still a bit hesitant to deposit their funds and begin staking knowing that their funds will remain locked for an unknown period of time. However, the team said that they aren’t currently considering prioritizing the merge over sharding but are working on a bridge that will also take a bit of time to roll out.

The current separation of Eth1 and Eth2 comes with an equally long list of pros and cons, Buterin said, so there’s a trade-off to be made at each step. The large amount of value that’s exchanged and held on Eth1 memes that the network changes at a significantly slower rate than Eth2. Merging Eth1 with Eth2 quickly will encumber Eth2 with the development schedule of Eth1, which will dramatically slow down how quickly Eth2 can reach its final form.

On the other side, building a bridge also isn’t that straightforward of a process. There’s still a lot of development required before Eth1 is even ready to be connected to Eth2 via a bridge, Carl Beekhuizen explained. The Ethereum Foundation researcher explained that, at the very least, Eth1 nodes need to follow the finalized epochs from Eth2.

Completing any one of these things will open up a whole new world of possibilities for the network.

Buterin said he hopes once a testnet for Eth1 is established inside of Eth2, it can end up replacing some of the existing Ethereum testnets. This, he explained, would serve two purposes simultaneously—firstly, it would satisfy the growing need for an Ethereum testing environment. Secondly, it would enable the team to test many parts of the merge implementation with very low risk. He also said that the entire merge procedure could be performed on Ropsten or another testnet.

Once the merge is complete and Phase 1.5 matures, the question of sharding arises.

Buterin said that, in the long run, most of the ecosystem’s users will live on rollups. Even if the team was able to push the base chain up to 100 transactions per second, it would only enable around 3.1 billion transactions per year. No one from the Ethereum Foundation seems to believe that this will be enough to allow a global-scale audience to make too many transactions.

Having your entire presence on Ethereum inside of a rollup, however, would let you avoid high transaction fees and offer a lot more convenience than the shard. Buterin also noted that the majority of the AMM liquidity will live either at the Eth1.x base layer or inside a single rollup that gets a large DeFi network effect in itself.

For more information:

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This shift in the k-parameter marks the next phase of Cardano’s decentralization

Cardano’s k-parameter is set to increase to 500 on Dec. 6, drastically diminishing rewards for large, oversaturated stake pools. The sharp rise in the parameter will mean that the top 100 stake pools on the network will all become saturated, with IOHK advising users to slowly begin re-delegating their stake to smaller pools to increase their rewards.

Stakers should redelegate their ADA to less saturated pools as k moves to 500

With four months gone by since the launch of Shelley, the Cardano network is set to undergo another massive shift towards decentralization. The k-parameter, a metric used to describe the soft cap on the amount of saturation stake pools on the network has, is set to increase to k=500 on Dec. 6.

This means that the threshold for stake pool saturation will decrease from 210 million ADA to just 64 million ADA, rendering the top 100 stake pools on the network saturated.

However, k’s decrease doesn’t mean that all ADA delegated to the top 100 pools will be lost—it’s the staking rewards that will be decreased. IOHK, the company behind Cardano, advised users that want to retain high staking rewards to re-delegate their stake to another, less saturated pool. The company also said that all re-delegation should be done before the end of epoch 233—it ensures that the user will reap the maximum amount of rewards immediately after the k-parameter shifts.

A low k-parameter brings Cardano closer to full decentralization

The goal of staking on the Cardano network has always been to reward long-term ADA holders and incentivize the participation of the largest number of people in the network. A wide range of stake pools, both in terms of location and size, creates the diversity that keeps the network secure.

Cardano’s way of moving away from power consolidation is the k-parameter, which acts as a built-in mechanism that decreases the rewards for stake pools once it passes a certain threshold for saturation.

And while this encourages delegators to move to less saturated pools, keeping the network decentralized, it can’t be changed in small increments like the d-parameter, which shows the number of blocks produced by the stake pool operators. The d-parameter is set to hit 0 in March 2021, which means that 0 blocks on the Cardano network will be produced by IOHK—stake pools be the ones that carry the entire network on their backs.

According to the company, k decreasing to 500 is just another stop before it reaches 1000 in March next year. Timing the decrease of both the d and k parameters to happen at the same time will spread the responsibility for the network to a large number of participants. At the time, IOHK will be retiring all but one of their stake pools, with all of the ADA owned by the company, delegated to a number of community pools

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ConsenSys acquires Truffle Suite, the world’s most used blockchain developer tools

ConsenSys, the largest Ethereum venture production studio, has acquired Truffle Suite, the company behind one of the most widely used blockchain developer tools. In a press release shared with CryptoSlate, the company said that the addition of Truffle to ConsenSys will provide enterprise customers with a wider array of services and a slew of high-quality, enterprise-grade development tools.

Truffle joins a slew of products acquired by Ethereum development studio ConsenSys

ConsenSys, a leading Ethereum development studio, has announced that it has acquired Truffle Suite. According to a press release shared with CryptoSlate, the company has acquired both the team and the technology of Truffle, adding it to a slew of other products behind its name, which includes Quorum, Codefi, MetaMask, and Infura.

Truffle is the company behind one of the most widely used blockchain developer tools in the industry—it offers a development environment, testing framework, and asset pipeline all rolled into one. With estimates showing that over 1.3 million developers actively use Truffle Suite, ConsenSys has certainly expanded its user base with the acquisition.

“The Truffle Suite is essential for developers to get started on Ethereum and Web3, and is invaluable for increasing adoption of applications and enterprise blockchain solutions,” said Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys.

ConsenSys now gets more features and a huge developer community

With Truffle, users were able to access built-in smart contract compilation, linking, deployment, and binary management. This attracted a huge, vibrant developer community that has been responsible for over 8.5 million downloads of the Truffle Suite, which includes Truffle Boxes and its helpful modules, the Solidity library, and the Truffle Teams collaboration environment.

ConsenSys’ acquisition is the perfect conclusion to a long relationship the company built with Truffle. Namely, Truffle Suites was one of the first projects incubated by ConsenSys and is successfully integrated with other protocols from the company, which includes the ConsenSys Quorum and Filecoin.

“Truffle is the top-of-the-funnel for all our products since nearly all developers begin their smart contract development journey with the Truffle Suite,” Lubin said in the press release.

Tim Coulter, the founder of Truffle, said that being part of the ConsenSys product stack is a natural fit for Truffle and added that the company looks forward to delivering enterprise-grade solutions that enable developers to build systems on Ethereum.

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Cardano’s Goguen update brings native tokens implementation and better dev tools

Cardano’s Goguen team has spent the first two weeks of November working on bringing native token and token locking functionalities to the Ledger hardware wallet. In the latest Goguen rollout development update, the team revealed that they kicked off the Marlowe Alpha grogram and gave the community a glimpse of the work that’s set to be done in the following weeks.

Cardano team rolls out new Goguen features and functionalities

Goguen, the era of Cardano that is set to bring about smart contract functionality to the blockchain, is getting closer to release each day. With several teams working in parallel on various aspects of Goguen, we’ve begun seeing more frequent updates about the progress of its development.

In the first of a series of Goguen rollout updates, two Cardano project managers have shared the progress that’s been made in the past two weeks. Dimitris Poulpoulous, the project manager at Goguen, and Volodymyr Hulchenko, the project manager at Cardano, revealed that the biggest progress was made with native token functionality.

According to Poulpoulos, the token locking functionality has been added to the Ledger hardware wallet, allowing users to find both the earliest and the latest time at which funds from an address can be sent. The Ledger team then implemented the native token feature to the hardware wallet, followed by an effort from the consensus team to switch the support for native tokens and token locking on.

After a successful launch of the Plutus Playground last month, the Goguen team spent the past two weeks focusing on developing the Plutus Foundation and rolling out a Playground refresh.

Improved dev tools and a better Marlowe library

The end of October saw the beginning of the Marlowe Alpha program, essentially a Marlowe version of the Plutus Playground. The team under Hulchenko spend most of November working on further changes to its UI, consolidating the changes introduced in the alpha rollout.

A significant amount of effort was also spent updating the Marlowe videos on the Cardano YouTube playlist, which left the team free to spend the next two weeks planning the following releases in line with the Plutus Application Framework readiness.

Those looking to develop applications either in Marlowe or Plutus will benefit from the significantly updated dev tools. The team produced a PoC for the Plutus Core section using the extensible interface file format. It will use serialization to enable top-level round-trip bindings and IfL monadic “type-check” retyping. While the update is still in review by the Plutus team, it’s expected that it will be approved in the following days.

The GHC version 8.10 is now also integrated into haskell.nix, enabling developers to use it for Cardano nodes, Plutus, etc.

What comes next?

All of this is just the beginning of a massive undertaking that lies ahead of the Goguen teams. Poulpoulous noted that the teams will spend the following weeks finalizing the details of serialization, writing more conformance, property, and system tests for the native token and token locking functionalities. The Cardano API changes should also be completed and an integrated Node should be ready around the same time.

A rough restyling of the Plutus Playground is also planned for this month, as is the Plutus chain index modification that will deal with rollbacks.

When it comes to Marlowe, a dedicated team will investigate the use of the Haskell version of the Marlowe interpreter and finalize the automation of contract execution. After that, work should be done on completing the Foreign Export for Haskell to JavaScript compiler, Poulpoulus revealed.

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Introducing BeefChain, a rancher-to-retail supply chain traceability solution using Cardano

BeefChain is a Wyoming-based traceability solution on a quest to track the origin of cattle and sheep using Cardano. Aside from its strong Wyoming connections, it was Atala TRACE, a traceability solution built on top of Cardano, that made the blockchain a perfect choice for BeefTrace, which aims to promote more sustainable farming practices by making it easy for end customers to track the quality and origin of the products they buy.

Blockchain as an unexpected solution to sustainable farming

The global conversation about sustainability has put farming under the spotlight, with many highlighting cattle farming as one of the biggest polluters in the world. Reducing the global consumption of meat is believed to be one of the easiest ways to fight climate change and protect the environment in the short-term. However, as wiping out all farming isn’t and probably won’t be a viable option, many have focused on promoting sustainable practices that reduce the environmental impact farming has.

One of those projects is BeefChain, a blockchain traceability solution that enables unique animal identification and ensures the origin of cattle and sheep. Based in Wyoming, the project is currently trialing its technology on around 1,600 calves from six family-owned ranches in the country.

While the idea behind BeefChain isn’t all that novel, using blockchain to track and store unique information about individual cattle certainly is. According to the company, blockchain allows customers to easily scan a product and track its origin back to the farm where the cattle were raised.

Cardano’s Atala TRACE is a cherry on top of various traceability solutions employed by BeefChain

Enabling consumers to track the origin of the meat they consume will help increase the market share of sustainable farmers and give them access to fairer prices, the company explained. However, for this to work, BeefChain’s tracing solution needs to be scalable, easy-to-use, and widely available to end consumers.

That’s why the company decided to build its platform on top of Cardano.

Aside from Cardano’s strong Wyoming connections, where several labs are currently knee-deep in developing Cardano-based products, it was the traceability solution available on the blockchain that made it attractive to BeefChain—Atala TRACE is a supply-chain traceability solution built on top of Cardano the company plans on leveraging.

“Atala TRACE empowers product owners to improve the visibility of their supply chain, bringing transparency to the end customer — rewarding primary producers who are committed to quality,” the company said in a Medium post.

When combined with other tracing solutions such as QR-codes and RFID chips, connecting BeefChain to a blockchain solution makes it incredibly difficult for bad actors to forge the credentials of a product. And with over 40 percent of all beef fraud being counterfeiting—passing lower-grade meat as high-value—it’s not a problem that should be looked over.

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FTX has listed quarterly futures on stocks with 100x leverage

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX has announced the launch of quarterly futures on stocks, allowing users to trade with up to 100x leverage on Tesla, Google, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Pfizer, and Alibaba stock futures. The exchange partnered with CM-Equity, a German financial services provider, to offer the service, and will require users to submit their KYC information to the company.

Users can now trade quarterly futures on stocks with 100x leverage

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which gained prominence earlier this year with its leveraged token offering, has listed quarterly futures on tokenized stocks. Enabling users to trade tokenized futures comes just two weeks after the exchange first ventured into the world of tokenized stock trading.

According to the company’s announcement, the tokenized stock futures will track FTX spot markets as their index and will work the same as futures on other FTX products. However, there are several exceptions to this rule, the first of which being that the futures won’t have any adjustments in the case of an ordinary dividend. The company also said that any corporate actions such as stock splits and spinoffs will see the futures adjust, either by changing denominators or by turning into a future on the whole basket in the case of spinoffs.

How trading tokenized stocks will work

To provide brokerage services for tokenized stock trading, FTX partnered with CM-Equity AG, a financial service provider registered in Germany, and Digital Assets AG, a tokenization solutions provider based in Switzerland. As the company is a licensed financial institution permitted to offer these products, FTX users who trade tokenized stocks might be required to come customers of CM-Equity.

This means that users will have to pass through the company’s own KYC and compliance measures, as well as have their trading activity monitored by CM-Equity. However, it’s important to note that CM-Equity doesn’t custody the equities being traded as tokens itself, but keeps it at a third-party brokerage firm. It’s CM-Equity, not FTX, that then goes on to provide those brokerage services.

The exchange said that FTX and CM-Equity may also collect further information from prospective users, and may require passing a test in order to trade. Further compliance measures may also be applied to trading at a later date, FTX noted in its announcement.

Users that want to trade both tokenized stocks and futures on tokenized stocks must be at least KYC level 2, the exchange said, adding that the service will not be available in certain jurisdictions, which includes the United States.

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Hoskinson says building a system as complex as Cardano requires a lot of time

In an interview with the KiBloc Show, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, laid out some of the reasons behind a lack of concrete dates for Cardano’s future launches. Discussing the progress made with Goguen, Hoskinson said that every update and launch is challenging due to the amount of work being done in parallel.

Why Cardano’s product updates take so long to complete

The Oct. 29 product update from IOHK was a long-expected one, where the company laid out the massive work it had undertaken on Cardano. Speaking on the KiBloc Show earlier this week, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, commented on the progress made so far and shared some thoughts on the timeline for future updates.

While he was essentially satisfied with the progress made with Goguen but noted that there was still a huge amount of work that needed to be done. There are, he explained, multiple teams working in parallel on everything from Basho to the Catalyst Project, which makes the entire process much more time and labor-intensive than industry standards.

Goguen is especially tricky for the company as it needs to be delivered not just with technical perfection, but with adoption and commercial strategies as well. The point of IOHK’s monthly product updates is to present all of these dimensions to each product that’s being worked on and demonstrate the progress made, he explained.

However, this slow and steady development pace doesn’t always sit well with the public.

Hoskinson said that he was “a bit dismayed” with the expectations from the Cardano community. As the public always seems to expect bombastic announcements, IOHK’s three-hour-long detailed product updates sometimes don’t sit well with the crypto media.

“You can’t evolve the system too much,” he said later in the interview, adding that every large platform, from Microsoft to Ethereum, suffered serious consequences from fast updates. For example, the minuscule vulnerability in the system that led to the 2016 DAO hack left a deep scar on Ethereum—a scar that took years to heal, and that overshadowed the network’s ambitious development.

Cardano, on the other hand, never had to face any big issues in its history. According to Hoskinson, this is a direct consequence of a careful approach to development—balancing the needs of everyone that’s using the system.

The slow and steady development process that took over six months to complete is what allowed IOHK to make an incredibly complex transition with a switch of a button. Updating Byron to Shelley was a tedious undertaking, Hoskinson said, which is exactly why the company continues on applying the same approach with Cardano’s upcoming eras—Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire.

Cardano is set to see a very exciting six months

While most of the interview was spent discussing the more abstract side of Cardano related to its industry impact and plans for the future, Hoskinson did share a rough timeline of some of the blockchain’s most important updates.

The d parameter, a metric that measures the decentralization of the blockchain, is set to reach 0 around March, Hoskinson revealed. In an AMA streamed last week, Hoskinson revealed that the d parameter was lowered from 0.52 to 0.5, which means that 50 percent of all of the blocks on the Cardano network is produced by stake pool operators, instead of by IOHK.

The k parameter, which represents the number of desired pools on the network used to calculate pool saturation, is also set to increase. Hoskinson said that the company plans on increasing the parameter to k 500 in November, and then again to k 1000 in the first quarter of next year.

For the Cardano community, this means that there is going to be a drastic increase in the number of stake pools running the network. This represents a huge opportunity both for the pool operators, as they will enter into a more competitive environment, and for those looking to stake their funds, as they’ll be able to choose from a much wider array of stake pools.

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Binance could be behind over a dozen stake pools on the Cardano blockchain

Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, might be behind around a dozen stake pools on the Cardano network. The latest information from the Daedalus wallet shows that there are 18 stake pools whose metadata pages indicate that they may have been founded by the exchange. While some members of the Cardano community celebrated the move, others feared that it may bring more centralization to the platform.

More than a dozen Binance stake pools pop up on Cardano

With more than 1,000 stake pools currently operating on the Cardano blockchain, it was only a matter of time before some of the industry’s largest players began entering the space. According to the data available on the Daedalus Wallet, the first to start not one, but 18 stake pools on the Cardano network was Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

Rick McCracken, the host of The Cardano Effect podcast, was the first to share the emergence of at least a dozen Binance stake pools on Cardano, tweeting screengrabs of all of the pools titled “BNP.”

Screengrab showing Binance stake pools on the Cardano network (Source: Twitter)
Screengrab showing Binance stake pools on the Cardano network (Source: Twitter)

However, despite the metadata of most of the stake pools listing the official Binance website, neither the exchange nor any of its representatives confirmed their authenticity.

“Dear friends at @binance and @cz_binance are the pools on the Cardano blockchain really yours? This is an exciting and interesting development, yet ominous at the same time, so I ask out of pure curiosity. Thank you!” McCracken wrote on Twitter.

The impact Binance’s stake pools could have on Cardano

While we’re yet to see Binance officially confirm the existence of these pools, many members of the Cardano community seem sure that the exchange is already knee-deep in Cardano. Many have also celebrated the move, saying that it could be a potential driver both for price appreciation and the increase of the k-parameter.

However, not everyone believes that this is a positive development for the network.

A large portion of the Cardano community seems wary of large players such as Binance getting involved with staking. Some have also warned that allowing multiple pools from single sources, especially sources as big as Binance, could have a detrimental effect on ADA, comparing the situation to the cartel block producers on the EOS blockchain.

With a lower tax than most stake pools, Binance could attract a significant number of newcomers who want to pledge their ADA to a trusted name—a move that many believe will increase the centralization Cardano was built to combat.

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How Marlowe Playground rounds up all of the work being done on Cardano’s Goguen

Today’s release of Marlowe Playground marks an important milestone for Cardano—the beginning of its Goguen era. Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, looked back at why introducing semantic clarity between various users of a blockchain’s infrastructure took so long and the impact it will have on the future—both Cardano’s and the global one.

Cardano’s complexity reflects the huge expectations from blockchains in 2020

Cardano’s product updates, which became a regular occurrence for the company after Shelley’s July launch, have started to become exponentially longer and more complicated as time goes by. The company’s October product update was its longest yet, with heads of Cardano’s multiple development teams laying out the progress they made throughout one of the company’s busiest months.

The enormous complexity in Cardano, which was more than evident from the product update, is a result of high expectations the market has for blockchains in 2020, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, said in his latest video.

Addressing the latest development from Goguen, Hoskinson said that the volume of things going on simultaneously behind the scenes at Cardano shows both the quality of the teams working on it and the reality of running a commercial blockchain in 2020. In 2013, when Hoskison was involved in co-founding Ethereum, expectations were very different—all effort was put into writing and reviewing code on paper. Hoskinson said that while the notion of native assets and extended smart contract functionalities were certainly discussed, tailoring the platform for the emergence of DeFi and the rise of the ERC-20 standard was something nobody thought about at the time.

In 2020, however, if a platform wants to be competitive, it needs to think about even more complex factors, he explained. To be competitive and invite real use and utility at a scale of millions and billions of users, which include both people and organizations, a platform needs to have unparalleled functionality and answers to almost all of the pervasive questions regarding governance and security.

An important step towards achieving this functionality was taken by releasing Marlowe Playground earlier today. Hoskinson said that the platform, which enables those without programming experience to write and test out smart contracts on Cardano, leverages more than 30 years of history in domain-specific language design. While the release might look low-key to those not familiar with the smart contract system, the Marlowe Playground is actually the first time in history that semantical clarity was established between all participants of a complex system.

In practice, this means that the developers building applications, the people writing smart contracts, the entrepreneurs leveraging the applications, and the financial infrastructure services utilizing them all speak the same language. Aside from drastically shortening the time needed to build and deploy complex systems, this will also open up a whole new world of possibilities to everyone using Cardano.

To get to this state, Marlowe needed to go through four years of evolution. That evolution, however, is what will enable it to grow as time goes by. Hoskinson said that the Marlowe Playground will go through a huge evolution over the next six months, with the number and quality of the templates available on the platform drastically increasing. This will enable applications to be built on the platform that will, once deployed on Cardano, support cross-chain communication.

The ramifications of a unifying programming language

The importance of Marlowe Playground lies in its design—it was built in a way that enables those using it to prove that the applications they’re working on are correct. And while this might look like overkill in a world where projects like Sushi, Kimchi, and the likes dominate the crypto space, Hoskinson believes that the slow and steady approach adopted by Cardano is the only way to ensure stability in the future.

The point of a domain-specific language (DSL) such as Marlowe is to give clarity to people in the industry, he said. It has a wide array of uses in various industries—for example, the benefits of a unifying programming language can be felt the most in the healthcare industry. With a DSL brokering their movement and storage, medical records will no longer be such a burden on the system. Semantical unification will be created between doctors, patients, hospitals, insurance providers, and all other participants of the system.

Giving more weight to Marlowe is the fact that IOHK seems to be looking way, way ahead into the future. Hoskinson said that what DSLs lack in importance right now will be replaced tenfold in the following years.

“What happens when Bitcoin gets smart contract functionality?” he asked. “What happens when Eth 2.0 comes out? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a unification language connecting them?”

Establishing solid foundations for a unification language right now ensures that Cardano won’t be left aside when cross-chain communication becomes the industry standard.

It seems almost incredible that the teams behind Cardano had the foresight to create Plutus, a programming language, at a time when Ethereum was in its infancy and a lot of today’s design requirements were incredibly difficult to visualize.

“We wanted to make sure it was as predictable as it can be to know how much it costs to build things,” Hoskinson said.

He said that back in 2013 when Ethereum was nothing more than letters on paper, they were lucky to be able to test out its functionalities without worrying about the cost. In 2020, however, the situation is much different, and the ability to know the cost of a project beforehand is slowly becoming an industry standard.

Plutus was designed with all of those things in mind—it was built to manipulate many different objects in Cardano’s ecosystem, from identity and DAOs to smart contracts and off-chain infrastructure. In a way, Plutus is the conductor of the orchestra, he explained, making sure that all of the little bits and pieces that make Cardano what it is function properly.

Why Goguen makes Cardano more competitive than Ethereum

The coming months will see more time dedicated to discussing the k-parameter and Yella. Yella, or alternatively IELE, is an improvement of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) developed by Runtime Verification. The virtual machine will enable developers to write applications in any programming language and convert them so that they can be executed. Hoskinson believes that having Yella is important as it allows developers that don’t want to use Haskell to have an option that has the same principles.

One of the most important things behind all of this is the native asset standard, Hoskinson said. He noted that both he and the company didn’t anticipate the interest developers and applications had in transitioning to Cardano.

“What we didn’t anticipate with Ethereum is how pervasive the users’ ability to issue an asset will be,” he said.

The point of the highly-anticipated ERC-20 converter is to establish the technology and the commercialization of technology needed to transfer and issue assets on the Cardano network. With numerous conversation being led with those that want to migrate to Cardano, Hoskinson noted that it was extremely important to create a solid set of standards with native assets on Cardano.

Aside from employing a drastically faster virtual machine, Cardano has another important advantage over Ethereum—the fact that all assets on Cardano are treated the same as ADA. This “first-class citizen” approach means that all of the projects on Cardano will have access to the same governance, layer-two solutions, listing options, user experience, speed, and cost ADA does.

He also said that higher-value cryptocurrencies issued on Cardano might also have the ability to cover their transaction fees in their own token, which is something neither Ethereum nor Ethereum 2.0 will enable them to do.

This launch agenda has already begun with Goguen, with the rest of its rollout set to happen over a series of three hardfork combinator events, the first one taking place between November and December this year. This hardfork combinator will layout the foundation for the second combinator event, set to take place in the first quarter of 2021. The exact date of the second event will be announced at the November product update, Hoskinson revealed, adding that the third combinator event will be a bit more spaced out as it would be “too cumbersome” both for developers and Cardano’s partners.

What Marlowe Playground will enable the company to do is to populate the Goguen infrastructure. He explained that the platform will give people time to start building and playing with the ecosystem in a sandbox environment so that when deployment actually comes, all of the projects built in the Playground will work.

This is incredibly important as we can expect the number of people using the Playground to increase in the coming weeks. As IOHK’s developer acquisition strategy is focused on the DC Fund and showing people that there’s money to be made in building for Cardano, the fact that the fund is set to increase every 6-8 weeks is bound to attract more users.

Hoskinson ended the update by saying that Cardano has started to evolve into a mature ecosystem in 2020.

“Instead of showing people what can be done, we’re showing them what has been done.”

When it comes to the future, what we can expect is for IOHK to continue the steady, systematic, and relentless march of updates we’ve seen in the past month. Hoskinson believes that October’s massive product update will be overshadowed by the upcoming November update, adding that he expects the velocity of developments to increase exponentially every month.

The post How Marlowe Playground rounds up all of the work being done on Cardano’s Goguen appeared first on CryptoSlate.

IOHK rolls out Marlowe Playground and announces winners of $10,000 Cardano hackathon

IOHK, the company behind the Cardano blockchain, has officially rolled out Marlowe Playground, an application-building platform that allows non-programmers to build financial smart contracts on Cardano. Alongside the news about the new platform, the company also announced the winners of its Wyoming hackathon, listing three projects that presented the best use cases for Cardano that could accelerate the United Nations’ sustainability goals.

IOHK lowers barriers to entry for smart contracts with Marlowe Playground

IOHK, the company behind the Cardano blockchain, has made a major stride towards bringing smart contract functionality to the platform. In a press release shared with CryptoSlate, the company announced the launch of Marlowe Playground, an easy-to-use application building platform for Cardano.

What makes Marlowe Playground special is the fact that the platform is aimed at those with little programming experience, allowing almost anyone to build and test financial smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain. Aside from allowing users to write smart contracts, Marlowe Playground will also enable them to perform simulations and formally verify and test smart contracts.

The company said that the rollout of Marlowe Playground’s Alpha version is the key part of the ongoing delivery of smart contract functionality on Cardano, with the entire process set to take place within the next few months.

Aparna Jue, the product director at IOHK, said that the company hopes to empower a new generation of developers to create game-changing financial applications by lowering the barrier for entry to Cardano.

Three innovative financial applications split IOHK’s $10,000 hackathon prize

Parallel to the launch of Marlowe Playground, IOHK also announced the winners of its $10,000 hackathon. The Wyoming Blockchain Stampede’s social impact challenge was designed to explore potential use cases for Cardano that could accelerate the United Nations Development Goals (SDGs), which include providing financial inclusion for the world’s 1.7 billion unbanked people.

The first prize went to Liqwid Finance, whose project focuses primarily on peer-to-peer lending, cutting out the “middleman” and opening up financial services such as credit, loans, and savings to everyone. Liqwid’s solution includes creating lending markets or pools using Cardano’s smart contract functionality, the company told CryptoSlate.

A sustainable solution to industrial and hazardous waste took the second prize on the hackathon. Wavachain proposed a digital marketplace based on Cardano that would prevent waste by matching companies that create it with possible users or recyclers. Yannick Gendre from Wavachain said that the project wanted to make it profitable for companies to manage their waste in a sustainable way.

FundTrack, the third prize winner, proposed an innovative shift in the infrastructure underpinning sustainable projects. According to Leonard Delunas, a member of the FundTrack team, the project was designed to combat the inability of organizations to properly track effort and cost during various projects, as poor coordination can ultimately affect everything from governance to financial allocation decisions.

Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, said that the company was “floored” by both the number and the quality of the projects proposed during the hackathon.

“Supporting grassroots innovation like this  is part of the reason we founded IOHK, and we’re thrilled to be able to support these ideas on their journey to real-world adoption.”

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Harvest still has over $300M in deposits after a massive $24M exploit

After seeing its native token lose 65 percent of its value during the weekend following a massive exploit, Harvest Finance seems to have entered into a consolidation period. At press time, deposits in Harvest have surpassed $311 million. While this is a far cry from the $1 billion in TVL the protocol saw last week, the quick recovery led many to believe that Harvest still has a chance to recover.

Deposits on Harvest are increasing after the protocol dropped over 60% of its TVL

Harvest Finance, the newest darling of the DeFi ecosystem, has suffered the “live fast, die young” motto of the industry. After rising to fame in mere days and accumulating over $1 billion in total value locked (TVL), the decentralized yield farming protocol fell victim to a massive hack that devastated both its token value and the entire protocol’s security.

The “hack” took place last weekend when a skilled trader took advantage of shortcomings of Harvest’s smart contracts and siphoned around $24 million worth of stablecoins from the system. FARM, the protocol’s native token, dropped from around $232 in the early hours of Oct. 24 to $96 in a matter of minutes, losing almost 60 percent of its value in a blink.

However, it seems that the security flaws or possible attack vectors in Harvest’s smart contracts haven’t stopped dedicated yield farmers from completely withdrawing from Harvest.

Data has shown that there is currently around $311.7 million worth of deposits in Harvest.

Screengrab showing deposits in Harvest at press time
Screengrab showing deposits in Harvest at press time. (Source: Harvest.finance)

Crazy APYs keep yield farmers flocking to Harvest

Despite currently holding only 30 percent of its value from two days ago, the platform’s native FARM token is being heavily utilized. Around 78 percent of all the circulating supply has been staked on Harvest, with the coin currently holding a market cap of just under $25.4 million.

Screengrab showing the total value locked (TVL) in Harvest finance from Oct. 1 to Oct. 28
Screengrab showing the total value locked (TVL) in Harvest finance from Oct. 1 to Oct. 28. (Source: DeFi Pulse)

While it’s still too early to predict whether Harvest will be able to pull out from the rut and get back to its pre-hack TVL, one thing remains certain—the protocol’s attractive APYs on farming various DeFi assets keep traders coming back for more.

Screengrab showing APYs on Harvest
Screengrab showing APYs on Harvest. (Source: Harvest.finance)

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How IOHK built Cardano from the ground up

Speaking at the third BlockDown conference, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, looked back at the way his company approached designing Cardano. Noting that IOHK, despite what many may think, is first and foremost a research and development company, he explained that they saw Cardano as a blank slate and began by asking the most fundamental questions first and using the answers to create a solid mathematical foundation for a secure and scalable network.

Looking back at IOHK

Riding on the wave of the incredible popularity it saw last year, Block Down started off its third annual conference on Oct. 22, hosting a slew of high-profile guests from every end of the crypto industry. The two-day virtual event opened with an interview with Carles Hoksinon, the founder and CEO of IOHK, the company behind Cardano.

With the work on Voltaire, Cardano’s governance era, now in full motion, and Shelley being out almost five months, Hoskinson had a lot to discuss regarding Cardano’s technical updates and the behind-the-scenes work the teams have been doing in the past several months. However, with the regular updates from IOHK covering all of the technical details regarding the blockchain, Hoskinson used the time to present the long and tiresome process that went into designing Cardano.

The first mystery debunked during the interview was IOHK itself and what it does.

Hoskinson made it very clear at the very beginning that defining IOHK as a “crypto” company was a mistake. IOHK, first and foremost, is a philosophy-based and mission-oriented research and development company. The goal of the company is to create decentralized systems and set them up in a way so that they can become self-sustaining in time.

While IOHK’s flagship product is Cardano, the company also does a lot of contracting on the enterprise side—everything from management systems to supply chain systems.

Most of the work the company does, Hoskinson explained, tends to be agnostic. This means that while the ultimate goal of anyone of its products isn’t to exist on Cardano, a part of them will be deployed on the network. This doesn’t mean that the company is patting itself on the back, though—Hoskinson noted that the only reason this is done is that few other networks exist that can support the products it launches.

“I never thought we’d come so far,” Hoskinson said in the interview.

What started as an experiment with two people has turned into a global company with 250 employees across 40 different countries, 4 research labs, and over a million lines of code behind it. As of 2020, the entirety of IOHK’s work is open-source and the company has no intellectual property monetized and no patents filed.

How a company like this gets funded was one of the questions that popped up during the interview, as many compare Cardano’s open-source nature to that of Linux.

“My company is 100 percent revenue-driven,” Hoskinson said, adding that they explore “many different forms” of currency. “We have a whole division in the company that thinks about that.”

Aside from the commercial contracts the company has with various enterprises, IOHK is also partly funded by government grants. For example, the company acquired funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program at the beginning of the year to explore uses for distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Why a blockchain like Cardano needed a company like IOHK

Hoskinson believes that his careful and calculated approach to building things as complex and new as blockchains is one of the things that made Cardano what it is today.

He explained that IOHK tends to look at the things it builds in generations. Bitcoin, for example, is considered to be a first-generation blockchain that sought out to find out will decentralized technology work at all. There were no grand illusions behind the project, just lines of code trying to prove a theory that digital money can actually exist.

The minute that Bitcoin got big, Hoskinson went on to explain, people realized they wanted more from blockchains—things like programmability and scalability. This is where Ethereum, or the second-generation of the technology, came in and made a revolution in the industry.

However, even the more advanced iteration of the technology came with a set of flaws.

Hoskinson explained that Ethereum suffers from a problem that’s very hard to resolve, which is that it hosts thousands of decentralized applications whose systems are all replicated. This means that if Ethereum can’t scale, none of its dApps can. What he believes the industry needs is a system that gains resources as it gains users and performs at the same level regardless of the number of people using it. Interoperability will also be one of the defining characteristics of a decentralized system that services into the future.

And most importantly, this system needs to be sustainable in the sense that it needs to be crystal clear who pays and who decides to everyone using it. A big decentralized system that nobody’s accountable for makes for a poor pitch both to enterprises and governments.

But, creating an infinitely scalable system isn’t the only solution to this.

Hoskinson noted that history has shown that once a network scales enough, disagreements on where it should go are bound to occur. In the past, this has led to forks, with the likes of Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic separating from the much bigger Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Problems like these can’t plague a real-life system that plans on becoming an actual alternative for an economy, he said.

That’s why, back in 2015, IOHK took a blank slate approach to Cardano’s design and began by disassembling the system to its most basic components. The process began with a simple, yet wildly underrated question—what is a blockchain? The company hired a handful of scientist that used complex mathematics and formal methods to define this and hundreds of other fundamental definitions of the technology.

After spending a few years implementing the solutions derived from these methods, IOHK launched Byron, the first phase of Cardano. Shelley, the era of Cardano that brought about staking, was launched earlier this summer, which means that the company is now knee-deep in Voltaire, the blockchain’s governance era.

The importance of doing blockchain interoperability the right way

All of this, according to Hoskinson’s interviewer, sounds like Cardano is trying to have the best of both worlds—create a self-sustainable, future-proof decentralized system that other systems can use as a foundation while staying flexible.

Hoskinson agreed with this, adding that IOHK believes that it’s of the utmost importance that a blockchain needs to be done right the first time. A strong foundation with an elastic structure means that both the company and the end-users will end up with a much stronger suite of tools to use. It also enables the company to focus on its business model instead of maintaining the network.

To further explain the importance of strong foundations, Hoskinson used the example of the Lightning Network. The second-layer solution to scaling the Bitcoin network is considered by many to be the best of both worlds, bundling up transactions to increase Bitcoin’s throughput.

“Lightning is a beautiful idea,” Hoskinson said. “But Bitcoin doesn’t accommodate it.”

He explained that a huge problem arises at the very core of the network, as Bitcoin as a protocol isn’t aware that a Layer-2 solution exists. When it was being designed, no mechanism was built into Bitcoin that would even acknowledge the existence of another layer on top of it, let alone be able to interact with it more smoothly.

Cardano, on the other hand, has a built-in protocol that effectively solves this problem—Ouroboros Hydra. The off-chain scalability architecture addresses three key scalability challenges—high-transaction output, low latency, and minimal storage per node. Aside from enabling the network to handle up to 1000 transactions per second, it can also be used to talk to other networks. This means that by utilizing Ouroboros Hydra, Cardano can easily communicate with Bitcoin through its Layer-2 solution.

At the practical level, IOHK has already begun talking to developers from all ends of the crypto industry. Hoskinson noted that a large number of developers have begun moving away from a “single-chain” mentality and are embracing a multichain mentality. This is especially true when it comes to Ethereum, with Hoskinson revealing that the company has talked to many people that want to transition their projects to Cardano.

Cardano’s ERC-20 converter is set to see its first demonstration in the weeks to come, Hoskinson revealed.

In a bid to tone down the animosity that tends to spring when it comes to chain migration, Hoskinson ended the interview on a rather positive note. He said that he was looking forward to the industry coming together to define a set of standards that can be implemented across a wide array of projects and give the industry the maturity and recognition it deserves.

The post How IOHK built Cardano from the ground up appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Vitalik Buterin discusses the values and ideas that formed Ethereum 2.0

With Ethereum 2.0 expected to ship in the near future, the values that underlie the world’s second-largest blockchain have become increasingly important. Vitalik Buterin, one of the creators of Ethereum, discussed both the abstract and the technical aspects of the values that went into designing Ethereum over six years ago and how they are going to shape the network’s upcoming iteration.

The political values that shaped Ethereum 2.0

Those not familiar with the depths of the crypto industry might not be aware of what goes behind the scenes of the industry’s biggest projects. Ethereum, as the foundation of the DeFi sector and the second-largest network in terms of market cap, tends to reveal unexpected depths when its surface is scratched.

Aside from being based on a very serious mathematical and cryptographical foundation, the network is also supported by a strong pillar of philosophical ideas and values—some of which managed to translate very well into other projects built upon Ethereum.

Vitalik Buterin, one of the creators of Ethereum, took a look back at the values that shaped the design of Ethereum over six years ago and their effect on the network’s upcoming iteration. Buterin spoke on the Bankless podcast earlier this week, giving a mix of highly technical and very abstract answers to some of the most prevailing questions regarding Ethereum.

One of the biggest questions regarding Ethereum was checked off the list at the very beginning of the interview. Buterin addressed the increased skepticism a part of the community had regarding the launch of Ethereum 2.0, saying that it is “going to be shipped as advertised.” Phase 0 of the launch will come by the end of the year, offering almost every functionality of Ethereum 2.0 aside from sharding, he explained, adding that the following phase, phase 1, will ship much sooner than people think.

Building Ethereum 2.0 from the ground up wasn’t an easy task. Buterin discussed, in length, the political values that went into designing Ethereum 2.0 and how they will affect the final functionality and design of the product.

“Proof-of-stake is a philosophically complex thing that binds multiple objectives,” he said.

The first and most important one of these objectives is combating the incredible amounts of waste and inefficiencies seen in the proof-of-work model that Bitcoin pioneered. By moving away from proof-of-work and transitioning into a proof-of-stake model, the network will also be able to address the growing concern of centralization.

Proof-of-stake, Buterin explained, tries to be “maximally democratic” and open for participation. He believes that Ethereum should be seen as a publicly accessible global architecture that people can easily interact with without any intermediaries and with a low barrier of entry. Proof-of-stake, he went on, encourages this culture of participation.

Choosing decentralization is the best long-term solution for blockchain technology

While proof-of-stake might seem like an obvious solution for Ethereum now, choosing a decentralized model when working with a blank slate isn’t always an easy decision. When asked why a decentralized model was chosen for Ethereum back in 2014 when the idea about a programmable blockchain first occurred to Buterin, he said that it wasn’t an easy decision.

Taking a more centralized approach towards building a network is bound to yield great results in the short-term, he said. However, it tends to end up “really biting you in the long-term.” One of the best examples of a road to hell paved with good intentions is Steem, whose highly centralized model led to a huge crisis after the project got acquired by Tron. A crisis which, despite the community’s best effort, led to a chaotic fork and complete devaluation of Steem’s native asset. Buterin also mentioned EOS as an example of a project’s centralized model turning out to be a bad decision in the long-term, saying that the small number of delegates on the network lead to bribing attacks.

In the long-term, he said, users will always value permisionlessness and decentralization, which is why Ethereum chose the road less traveled.

However, Buterin was clear that there were other projects that wholeheartedly embraced these values as well. He noted that a lot of smaller chains in the Bitcoin Core expanded universe are currently trying to implement these values to various extents. Ethereum Classic, Ethereum’s first fork, is also a chain that values these ideas, Buterin admitted but added that it was taking a more purist approach than Ethereum was.

The issue of chain relativism

The relatively high number of projects aiming for the amount of decentralization Ethereum 2.0 is isn’t a totally positive development for the market. Buterin believes that the number of projects going in this direction is much larger than the number of projects the market can realistically support. This means that while many chains will most likely fail, the ones that do survive will certainly impact the market for many years.

But, the values propagated by Ethereum 2.0 aren’t reserved only for future projects. Buterin noted that the streamlined vision of decentralization has already managed to translate very well to various projects, with the best example of this being Uniswap.

Uniswap, according to Buterin, is a very value-driven project that succeeded in building a simple and easy to use decentralized exchange at a time when most other similar projects were going for complexity. With a minimal interface and a lack of things considered by many to be crucial for exchanges, such as order books, Uniswap continues to cement the things Ethereum holds as the most important—availability, simplicity, and decentralization.

However, the number of projects embracing the core values of Ethereum and Ethereum 2.0 doesn’t mean that they will be the ones that prevail on the market. Asked about chain relativism and whether all chains should be seen as equal, Buterin noted that the risk didn’t come from having many projects sharing the same values, but having projects that have none. Having chains that market the idea that core values behind a blockchain aren’t important is something that could have serious consequences on the market and should be something users focus on.

The post Vitalik Buterin discusses the values and ideas that formed Ethereum 2.0 appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Rampant DeFi speculation makes DEXs the undisputed winners of Q3 2020

While it might seem that DeFi reached its bottom during Q3 2020, the sector still closed the last quarter with incredible performance. However, few of its aspects did as well as decentralized exchanges (DEXs) did, according to the latest report form Messari, which saw a significant increase in on-chain trading due to heightened speculation around yield farming DeFi projects.

People were making money hand over fist in Q3 2020

The newest darling of the crypto industry, DeFi, has seen a fair share of ups and downs in its lifetime, but few of them could even come close to the turmoil the sector experienced this summer. While at certain points it seemed that DeFi simultaneously reached both its top and its bottom, the latest report from crypto analytics company Messari showed that DeFi had actually seen its heyday last quarter.

Messari’s report, analyzing the DeFi sector in Q3 2020, noted that the farming craze and rampant speculation on governance tokens recorded in the past few months meant that “people were making money hand over fist.”

However, with most DeFi tokens now down around 50 percent from their Q3 highs, Messari’s report begs the question—who profited the most from the craze?

The answer is simple and rather unsurprising—decentralized exchanges.

According to the report, DEXs that were trading in the single-digit millions at the start of the year managed to surpass $1 billion in a single day, leaving much larger and much more established centralized exchanges in the dust.

The DeFi craze essentially left centralized exchanges obsolete

The incredible performance decentralized exchanges recorded in the past quarter doesn’t reflect the chaos that went on in terms of prices. This massive growth began in Q2 when the average daily trading volume on decentralized exchanges increased 500 percent, reaching $80 million. And while the 500 percent growth came as quite a shock back then, it seems like an anomaly when compared to the $1 billion in trading volume DEXs recorded at one point last quarter.

Volume of DEXs in Q3, represented as percentages of the total recorded volume
Volume of DEXs in Q3, represented as percentages of the total recorded volume (Source: Messari)

According to Messari’s report, there are a few factors that contributed to this huge increase in performance.

Last quarter the industry saw a huge increase in the use of automated market makers (AMMs) and lending pools. Protocols like Uniswap accounted for more than 90 percent of all DEX volume last quarter, up 60 percent from the start of the quarter and 20 percent from the beginning of the year. The rise in popularity protocols like Uniswap saw meant most users gravitated towards DEXs rather than centralized exchanges, as they enabled a faster and more streamlined way to interact with DeFi.

A large number of governance tokens that popped up during the summer were launched on DEXs, pushing their volumes even further.

While it contributed less to the overall growth DEXs saw, lending pools also saw a dramatic increase in popularity. The massive growth in the amount of outstanding loans we saw in Q2 continued in Q3, but happened almost entirely on protocols that don’t offer token-backed incentives. While loans on the hugely popular Compound stagnated during the quarter, outstanding loans on Maker grew from $140 million to $850 million while Aave increased theirs from $20 million to $250 million.

Total debt outstanding for Maker and Aave protocols (Source: Messari)  
Total debt outstanding for Maker and Aave protocols (Source: Messari)

And while some might dismiss DeFi’s dizzying ups and downs as nothing more than speculation fueled by hype, Messari noted that dismissing the sector altogether is a shortsighted mistake. The “DeFi summer” saw a significant number of innovative projects launched that are bound to survive DeFi’s tumultuous hype cycles, no matter how many of them they encounter.

The post Rampant DeFi speculation makes DEXs the undisputed winners of Q3 2020 appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Cardano’s Ouroboros paper is the 2nd most cited academic paper about cryptocurrencies and blockchain

“Ouroboros: A Provably Secure Proof-of-Stake Blockchain Protocol” has made it to the topmost cited security papers list. According to the latest ranking from Google Scholar, the paper, outlining the proof-of-stake mechanism that underlies Cardano, is the second most cited paper in the cryptocurrencies and blockchain category with 183 citations.

Ouroboros among the most cited academic papers about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology

While few of the platform’s critics have ever disputed its strong academic underpinnings, most of Cardano’s recent success was attributed to the fast development pace it took on in the past several months.

However, the recent ranking published by Google Scholar, measuring the number of citations academic papers in various categories got, highlighted Cardano’s academic and scientific roots.

Ouroboros: A Provably Secure Proof-of-Stake Blockchain Protocol” written by Aggelos Kiayias, the chief scientist at IOHK, and others, found itself among a selection of the most cited papers from ACM CCS, IEEE Security & Privacy, NDSS, Usenix Security, Crypto, and Eurocrypt between the years 2015 and 2019.

To ensure a fair ranking, the papers were grouped into five different categories, which include cryptography, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, machine learning security and privacy, architecture, and side-channel attacks, as well as real-world attacks and case studies.

The academic community recognizes the value of Ouroboros

Grouped into the ‘cryptocurrencies and blockchains’ category, IOHK’s Ouroboros paper has gotten a lot of academic attention. While it was certainly not the first academic paper to propose proof-of-stake as an alternative to the proof-of-work’s insane energy demands, it was the first one to present PoS with rigorous security guarantees.

Ouroboros also presented another novel mechanism enabled by proof-of-stake—rewards for incentivizing honest behavior on the network.

All of this has led to the paper being cited a total of 183 times, according to data from Google Scholar.

The paper outranking Ouroboros, “Hawk: The Blockchain Model of Cryptography and Privacy-Preserving Smart Contracts” with 559 citations, presented a decentralized smart contract system that doesn’t store financial transactions on the blockchain.

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UNI jumps 15% after OKEx suspends withdrawals due to police investigation

Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has suspended withdrawals from its platform indefinitely, as one of its multisig key holders has been held in police custody. The news about hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies being trapped on the exchange shaved off around 3 percent off of Bitcoin’s price but sent UNI, Uniswap’s native token, up by almost 15 percent.

Missing key holder forces OKEx to suspend withdrawals “indefinitely”

OKEx, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges on the market, has announced that it will be suspending cryptocurrency withdrawals from its platform “indefinitely.” According to the company’s announcement, one of the private key holders of the exchange is currently “cooperating with a public security bureau” in an investigation and has been out of touch with the exchange.

With the key holder being “out of touch,” the exchange was prevented from completing the withdrawal authorization earlier this morning and decided to suspend all withdrawals to protect the interest of its customers. Other functions of the exchange, as noted in the announcement, remain normal and stable.

Jay Hao, the CEO of OKEx, confirmed on Twitter that fiat withdrawals from the exchange are unaffected by the suspension.

The company’s announcement caused shockwaves throughout the crypto industry, leaving many worried that the situation might be direr than it looks. Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and CEO of Alameda Research, commented that exchange as big as OKEx would have announced that it was going through a period of “optimization” if a single point of failure occurred in its multisig process to avoid tanking the markets.

And while the exchange later noted that the investigation was made into the key holder’s “personal issue,” most of the top-performing cryptocurrencies on the exchange quickly sold off following the news.

Single point of failure in CEXs shake BTC and push DEX coins up

Bitcoin, which accounts for almost 20 percent of OKEx’s daily trading volume, dropped around 3 percent in less than half an hour following the news, while other top performing coins only dipped slightly into the red.

Graph showing Bitcoin’s price from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16. (Source: Cryptoslate BTC)
Graph showing Bitcoin’s price from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16.

This could have been further fueled by the fact that hours before the announcement, several large withdrawals of BTC, ETH, and TRX were spotted by Whale Alert, a transaction monitoring service on Twitter.

OKEx’s announcement only seems to have exacerbated the schism between centralized and decentralized crypto services, with many pointing out failures like this will only serve to push more people into decentralized exchanges. UNI, the native token of Uniswap, one of the most popular DEXs on the market, further proved this point by skyrocketing in the hours after the announcement.

Data from CoinGecko showed that the token jumped from $2.90 to $3.33 in less than an hour, recording an increase of almost 15 percent.

Graph showing UNI’s price on Oct. 16
Graph showing UNI’s price on Oct. 16.

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A first look at the projects competing for Cardano’s Fund2

The second-ever Cardano fund is in full effect, with three of the dozens of projects now competing for a part of the 2 million ADA fund presented on the Cardano Effect podcast. We take a look at the proposals, which range from e-commerce payment solutions to educational hubs, and how they plan on using the $250,000 fund to improve and build on Cardano.

Free Commerce: An ecommerce extension for ADA payments, without an intermediary

The first project highlighted on the Cardano Effect podcast was Free Commerce, an open source, commission-free payment integration for ecommerce stores. The payment integration system will first be implemented to Shopify, as it’s one of the largest and most well-known online platforms of its kind.

Free Commerce’s developer, a Brazilian native named Jeronimo, explained that the system will work as a straight “wallet-to-wallet” payment solution, requiring no intermediaries to process the transactions sent in ADA. Instead, it will function as an open-source server that works as an observer of transactions made from the wallets of Shopify buyers to the wallets of Shopify store owners. Neither the Shopify platform nor the server will hold anyone’s private keys—to enable ADA payments, the shops will have to provide only their root key.

Said root key would then be used to generate a new receiving address every time a customer of the store makes a purchase. Creating a separate address per every order makes it easier to determine that the right amount of money was paid without having to look through mixed funds in the shop’s main wallet. Once the total amount of the order is paid to the receiving address, the owner of the store will receive the funds directly in their own wallets—the server will verify the validity of the transaction.

This approach will maintain the privacy of the online store, as no customer will be able to track the store’s main wallet and see other payments sent to it.

The de-risking and risk assessment processes have already been done, but the developer noted that the bulk of the work still lies ahead. The original proposal highlights some of the challenges found on the way, which include a slew of limitations on existing ADA wallets that will require the creation of an ecommerce-friendly wallet for Cardano.

Free Commerce seeks funding of around 725,000 ADA for the first year, which represents approximately 37 percent of the total amount allocated to the Fund2.

Lovelace Academy: An educational YouTube series about writing smart contracts on Cardano

Presented by a veteran YouTube educator, the second project seeking funding was Lovelace Academy, a series of video courses on writing smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain.

The project, which will consist of two separate courses, will be led by a three-strong team with Brazilian and Indian roots and focus on attracting and educating developers to build various dApps on the blockchain.

Lovelace Academy’s main platform will be YouTube, where the team plans on delivering 25 episodes in a period of 6 months, with the estimated cadence being one episode every week. The “Making sense of Cardano” series will consist of around 10 episodes, each one lasting between 10 and 30 minutes, featuring guest interviews, news, and updates focused on exploring real-world uses for Cardano. “Cardano’s Sart Contracts” series, however, will feature slightly longer episodes, lasting for up to 60 minutes, presenting practical and easy to understand tutorials on Marlowe and Plutus programming languages. Each episode will be followed by GitHub tutorials and various other repositories to enable easier access to viewers.

If there’s sufficient interest from the community, all of the episodes could be easily replicated in Portugese or Hindi, the team said in the original proposal.

The Lovelace Academy seeks funding of around 120,000 ADA for the six months, which represents approximately 6 percent of the total amount allocated to the Fund2.

Cardano Hub: An outpost for everything Cardano-related in Kiev

The third project presented on the Cardano Effect podcast represents a foray into brick-and-mortar rarely seen in the crypto industry. Andrii Voloshyn, the name behind the Cardano Hub, believes that creating a physical location where people will be able to access everything Cardano-related will be a huge benefit for the entire community.

With previous experience in running a cryptocurrency hub spot, Voloshyn wants to create a coworking and meetup space that will feature a library, a bookstore, and a cafe, essentially functioning as an all-in-one hub both for those deeply involved with Cardano and those new to the ecosystem.

The hub, however, won’t be passive—the space will have a structured working plan broken down into phases that correspond to the launches of Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire. The hub’s Goguen phase will be spent doing meetups to popularize Plutus and Marlowe scripting languages. Through the meetups, the space should be able to acquire high-quality developers working on Haskell, and provide various courses to companies and individuals looking to use smart contracts on Cardano.

The hub’s Basho phase will follow the CATO (Cardano Adoption Through Outreach) tactics and work on developing interoperability with other blockchains. In practice, this means opening its doors to other projects, either to cooperate or assimilate them into Cardano. Come Voltaire, the hub will focus on promoting the study of philosophy, political sciences, and economics. This, Voloshyn explained, will create a good foundation for ideas that could be used in Cardano’s governance.

While Kiev was proposed as the first location for the hub, the proposal noted that other locations were also in play—the hub could be located in Washington State of Wyoming and functions as Cardano headquarters for the Northwestern part of the U.S. Italy’s Milan was mentioned as a possible location, too.

When it comes to the project’s profitability, the proposal outlines tokenization of the hub as an option—ownership of the entire space could be turned into tokens that would provide profit for all of its users.

The Cardano Hub seeks funding of around 888,000 ADA for the first year, which represents approximately 44 percent of the total amount allocated to the Fund2.

More projects to come

While each of the presented projects was ambitious and unique in its own way, they’re not the only ones competing for a part of the $250,000 fund. With ample time for the community to explore various proposals presented on the IdeaScale platform, we can expect more of them to be presented both on the Cardano Effect podcast and on various other Cardano-related media channels.

The post A first look at the projects competing for Cardano’s Fund2 appeared first on CryptoSlate.

A first look at the projects competing for Cardano’s Fund2

The second-ever Cardano fund is in full effect, with three of the dozens of projects now competing for a part of the 2 million ADA fund presented on the Cardano Effect podcast. We take a look at the proposals, which range from e-commerce payment solutions to educational hubs, and how they plan on using the $250,000 fund to improve and build on Cardano.

Free Commerce: An ecommerce extension for ADA payments, without an intermediary

The first project highlighted on the Cardano Effect podcast was Free Commerce, an open source, commission-free payment integration for ecommerce stores. The payment integration system will first be implemented to Shopify, as it’s one of the largest and most well-known online platforms of its kind.

Free Commerce’s developer, a Brazilian native named Jeronimo, explained that the system will work as a straight “wallet-to-wallet” payment solution, requiring no intermediaries to process the transactions sent in ADA. Instead, it will function as an open-source server that works as an observer of transactions made from the wallets of Shopify buyers to the wallets of Shopify store owners. Neither the Shopify platform nor the server will hold anyone’s private keys—to enable ADA payments, the shops will have to provide only their root key.

Said root key would then be used to generate a new receiving address every time a customer of the store makes a purchase. Creating a separate address per every order makes it easier to determine that the right amount of money was paid without having to look through mixed funds in the shop’s main wallet. Once the total amount of the order is paid to the receiving address, the owner of the store will receive the funds directly in their own wallets—the server will verify the validity of the transaction.

This approach will maintain the privacy of the online store, as no customer will be able to track the store’s main wallet and see other payments sent to it.

The de-risking and risk assessment processes have already been done, but the developer noted that the bulk of the work still lies ahead. The original proposal highlights some of the challenges found on the way, which include a slew of limitations on existing ADA wallets that will require the creation of an ecommerce-friendly wallet for Cardano.

Free Commerce seeks funding of around 725,000 ADA for the first year, which represents approximately 37 percent of the total amount allocated to the Fund2.

Lovelace Academy: An educational YouTube series about writing smart contracts on Cardano

Presented by a veteran YouTube educator, the second project seeking funding was Lovelace Academy, a series of video courses on writing smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain.

The project, which will consist of two separate courses, will be led by a three-strong team with Brazilian and Indian roots and focus on attracting and educating developers to build various dApps on the blockchain.

Lovelace Academy’s main platform will be YouTube, where the team plans on delivering 25 episodes in a period of 6 months, with the estimated cadence being one episode every week. The “Making sense of Cardano” series will consist of around 10 episodes, each one lasting between 10 and 30 minutes, featuring guest interviews, news, and updates focused on exploring real-world uses for Cardano. “Cardano’s Sart Contracts” series, however, will feature slightly longer episodes, lasting for up to 60 minutes, presenting practical and easy to understand tutorials on Marlowe and Plutus programming languages. Each episode will be followed by GitHub tutorials and various other repositories to enable easier access to viewers.

If there’s sufficient interest from the community, all of the episodes could be easily replicated in Portugese or Hindi, the team said in the original proposal.

The Lovelace Academy seeks funding of around 120,000 ADA for the six months, which represents approximately 6 percent of the total amount allocated to the Fund2.

Cardano Hub: An outpost for everything Cardano-related in Kiev

The third project presented on the Cardano Effect podcast represents a foray into brick-and-mortar rarely seen in the crypto industry. Andrii Voloshyn, the name behind the Cardano Hub, believes that creating a physical location where people will be able to access everything Cardano-related will be a huge benefit for the entire community.

With previous experience in running a cryptocurrency hub spot, Voloshyn wants to create a coworking and meetup space that will feature a library, a bookstore, and a cafe, essentially functioning as an all-in-one hub both for those deeply involved with Cardano and those new to the ecosystem.

The hub, however, won’t be passive—the space will have a structured working plan broken down into phases that correspond to the launches of Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire. The hub’s Goguen phase will be spent doing meetups to popularize Plutus and Marlowe scripting languages. Through the meetups, the space should be able to acquire high-quality developers working on Haskell, and provide various courses to companies and individuals looking to use smart contracts on Cardano.

The hub’s Basho phase will follow the CATO (Cardano Adoption Through Outreach) tactics and work on developing interoperability with other blockchains. In practice, this means opening its doors to other projects, either to cooperate or assimilate them into Cardano. Come Voltaire, the hub will focus on promoting the study of philosophy, political sciences, and economics. This, Voloshyn explained, will create a good foundation for ideas that could be used in Cardano’s governance.

While Kiev was proposed as the first location for the hub, the proposal noted that other locations were also in play—the hub could be located in Washington State of Wyoming and functions as Cardano headquarters for the Northwestern part of the U.S. Italy’s Milan was mentioned as a possible location, too.

When it comes to the project’s profitability, the proposal outlines tokenization of the hub as an option—ownership of the entire space could be turned into tokens that would provide profit for all of its users.

The Cardano Hub seeks funding of around 888,000 ADA for the first year, which represents approximately 44 percent of the total amount allocated to the Fund2.

More projects to come

While each of the presented projects was ambitious and unique in its own way, they’re not the only ones competing for a part of the $250,000 fund. With ample time for the community to explore various proposals presented on the IdeaScale platform, we can expect more of them to be presented both on the Cardano Effect podcast and on various other Cardano-related media channels.

The post A first look at the projects competing for Cardano’s Fund2 appeared first on CryptoSlate.

A first look at the projects competing for Cardano’s Fund2

The second-ever Cardano fund is in full effect, with three of the dozens of projects now competing for a part of the 2 million ADA fund presented on the Cardano Effect podcast. We take a look at the proposals, which range from e-commerce payment solutions to educational hubs, and how they plan on using the $250,000 fund to improve and build on Cardano.

Free Commerce: An ecommerce extension for ADA payments, without an intermediary

The first project highlighted on the Cardano Effect podcast was Free Commerce, an open source, commission-free payment integration for ecommerce stores. The payment integration system will first be implemented to Shopify, as it’s one of the largest and most well-known online platforms of its kind.

Free Commerce’s developer, a Brazilian native named Jeronimo, explained that the system will work as a straight “wallet-to-wallet” payment solution, requiring no intermediaries to process the transactions sent in ADA. Instead, it will function as an open-source server that works as an observer of transactions made from the wallets of Shopify buyers to the wallets of Shopify store owners. Neither the Shopify platform nor the server will hold anyone’s private keys—to enable ADA payments, the shops will have to provide only their root key.

Said root key would then be used to generate a new receiving address every time a customer of the store makes a purchase. Creating a separate address per every order makes it easier to determine that the right amount of money was paid without having to look through mixed funds in the shop’s main wallet. Once the total amount of the order is paid to the receiving address, the owner of the store will receive the funds directly in their own wallets—the server will verify the validity of the transaction.

This approach will maintain the privacy of the online store, as no customer will be able to track the store’s main wallet and see other payments sent to it.

The de-risking and risk assessment processes have already been done, but the developer noted that the bulk of the work still lies ahead. The original proposal highlights some of the challenges found on the way, which include a slew of limitations on existing ADA wallets that will require the creation of an ecommerce-friendly wallet for Cardano.

Free Commerce seeks funding of around 725,000 ADA for the first year, which represents approximately 37 percent of the total amount allocated to the Fund2.

Lovelace Academy: An educational YouTube series about writing smart contracts on Cardano

Presented by a veteran YouTube educator, the second project seeking funding was Lovelace Academy, a series of video courses on writing smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain.

The project, which will consist of two separate courses, will be led by a three-strong team with Brazilian and Indian roots and focus on attracting and educating developers to build various dApps on the blockchain.

Lovelace Academy’s main platform will be YouTube, where the team plans on delivering 25 episodes in a period of 6 months, with the estimated cadence being one episode every week. The “Making sense of Cardano” series will consist of around 10 episodes, each one lasting between 10 and 30 minutes, featuring guest interviews, news, and updates focused on exploring real-world uses for Cardano. “Cardano’s Sart Contracts” series, however, will feature slightly longer episodes, lasting for up to 60 minutes, presenting practical and easy to understand tutorials on Marlowe and Plutus programming languages. Each episode will be followed by GitHub tutorials and various other repositories to enable easier access to viewers.

If there’s sufficient interest from the community, all of the episodes could be easily replicated in Portugese or Hindi, the team said in the original proposal.

The Lovelace Academy seeks funding of around 120,000 ADA for the six months, which represents approximately 6 percent of the total amount allocated to the Fund2.

Cardano Hub: An outpost for everything Cardano-related in Kiev

The third project presented on the Cardano Effect podcast represents a foray into brick-and-mortar rarely seen in the crypto industry. Andrii Voloshyn, the name behind the Cardano Hub, believes that creating a physical location where people will be able to access everything Cardano-related will be a huge benefit for the entire community.

With previous experience in running a cryptocurrency hub spot, Voloshyn wants to create a coworking and meetup space that will feature a library, a bookstore, and a cafe, essentially functioning as an all-in-one hub both for those deeply involved with Cardano and those new to the ecosystem.

The hub, however, won’t be passive—the space will have a structured working plan broken down into phases that correspond to the launches of Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire. The hub’s Goguen phase will be spent doing meetups to popularize Plutus and Marlowe scripting languages. Through the meetups, the space should be able to acquire high-quality developers working on Haskell, and provide various courses to companies and individuals looking to use smart contracts on Cardano.

The hub’s Basho phase will follow the CATO (Cardano Adoption Through Outreach) tactics and work on developing interoperability with other blockchains. In practice, this means opening its doors to other projects, either to cooperate or assimilate them into Cardano. Come Voltaire, the hub will focus on promoting the study of philosophy, political sciences, and economics. This, Voloshyn explained, will create a good foundation for ideas that could be used in Cardano’s governance.

While Kiev was proposed as the first location for the hub, the proposal noted that other locations were also in play—the hub could be located in Washington State of Wyoming and functions as Cardano headquarters for the Northwestern part of the U.S. Italy’s Milan was mentioned as a possible location, too.

When it comes to the project’s profitability, the proposal outlines tokenization of the hub as an option—ownership of the entire space could be turned into tokens that would provide profit for all of its users.

The Cardano Hub seeks funding of around 888,000 ADA for the first year, which represents approximately 44 percent of the total amount allocated to the Fund2.

More projects to come

While each of the presented projects was ambitious and unique in its own way, they’re not the only ones competing for a part of the $250,000 fund. With ample time for the community to explore various proposals presented on the IdeaScale platform, we can expect more of them to be presented both on the Cardano Effect podcast and on various other Cardano-related media channels.

The post A first look at the projects competing for Cardano’s Fund2 appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Blockchain at the center of Korean island’s $5 billion development plan

Won Hee-ryong, the governor of Korea’s Jeju island, has announced a $5 billion government investment plan focused on developing blockchain and IoT technologies. According to a report from BlockMedia, the plan will focus on solving various public welfare problems the province faces and expected to create 44,000 jobs in the next five years.

Major Korean province initiatives five-year technology development plan

Korea’s island province of Jeju has embarked on a massive, five-year journey to utilize emerging technologies in the public sector. Won Hee-ryong, the governor of Jeju, announced earlier today the province’s plan to spend more than $5 billion dollars on the development of blockchain, IoT, and big data technologies.

According to a report from BlockMedia, a Korean blockchain news outlet, the program will be called the “Digital & Green New Deal,” and is set to bring around 44,000 jobs to the southern region.

Through the deal, Jeju’s government plans on digitizing the island’s government. In an announcement earlier today, Governor Won said that the key tasks in the program include establishing a “smart city” infrastructure for disaster relief and traffic safety, a region-wide plan for the management of agricultural, seafood, and livestock products, as well as establishing a 5G drone hub.

However, the biggest move from the government will certainly be turning Jeju island into a special blockchain zone that would nurture and support companies working on the emerging new technology.

Jeju Island is setting the foundation for a digital future

The plan, which is set to last until 2025, will see the establishment of a so-called “DB-Solution”—a model that utilizes integrated data management to solve various welfare problems in the region.

According to the governor, the deal was initiated as a response to the “New Deal” announced by South Korea’s central government in July, which sets the foundation for economic recovery. Jeju’s own program has been in the works since August, with the local government spending the past two months employing various researchers, establishing a dedicated task force, and discussing the project with the provincial council.

One of the first orders of business under the new deal will be to create a blockchain-based smart quarantine system in the region. The system, according to BlockMedia, will minimize the amount of personal information the government collects from its citizens by utilizing a blockchain decentralized identity authentication (DID) system. Back in August, the government of Jeju signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Iconloop, a local blockchain company, to develop a tracking app that could be used both for tourism and safety tracking in the region.

The post Blockchain at the center of Korean island’s $5 billion development plan appeared first on CryptoSlate.

How Voltaire will bring accountability to funding on Cardano

In his latest YouTube video, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, explained the lengthy process behind ensuring accountability to funding on Cardano. Voltaire, the blockchain’s governance era, will eventually evolve Cardano into one of the best innovation management platforms on the market, with tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people participating in the blockchain’s accountability process.

Breaking down the process behind introducing accountability management to Voltaire

Voltaire, the upcoming installation of Cardano that’s set to bring about governance to the blockchain, will introduce some of the most thought-out and complex management processes in the industry. Until recently, most of these processes remained rather abstract and something that was discussed almost entirely in the developer circles.

In a recent YouTube video, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, Cardano’s parent company, dove deep into the matter of accountability that will come with Voltaire. The outspoken CEO was characteristically optimistic about the future that awaits Cardano but kept his predictions reserved, saying there was a chance that the process could take up to twenty years to complete.

Hoskinson began by explaining why Voltaire was so important to Cardano’s development. Namely, in its current instantiation, the blockchain doesn’t have the ability to judge whether or not a good return on intention (ROI) on the grants allocated to community members. For the blockchain to gain a tighter grip on the community fund distribution, there’s no need to centralize its governance, Hoskinson said. Instead, what the network needs is to have a set of processes in place that will create a very easily controlled, but still decentralized accountability management.

To accomplish this, the company started by breaking everything into processes, beginning with the process of submission and discussion.

This, he explained, is the process IOHK is currently involved in with the IdeaScale platform. With around 3,000 people currently involved in various conversations about the blockchain’s structure and future, Hoskinson said that he had no doubts that some very good ideas and suggestions will come from it.

At a certain point, the submission and discussion process will evolve into the final shape of the ballot, which will introduce voting to the blockchain. And while the introduction of voting is set to be one of the final steps in Cardano’s lengthy evolution, it will bring about a new set of problems.

Namely, once voting begins and the community gets to cast their own votes to the final approved ballots, the question of who holds those that receive funds accountable arises. While the community will be in charge of who is given the money from Cardano’s treasury fund, there is currently no entity in place that will keep track of what they actually do with the money they receive.

According to Hoskinson, the system doesn’t need to centralize for this to be possible. He believes that various entities can be introduced into the process that will provide oversight of both who gets the funding and how they spend it. These entities, which can range from influential community members to third-party companies, will act as the eyes and ears of the community, providing weekly or monthly reports, auditing code, verifying claims, and provide general oversight of spending.

Hoskinson envisions a future where a large number of companies pop up offering oversight of the network as a professional service.

These “professional services” probably won’t be necessary when dealing with smaller funds, like the ongoing $250,000 DC fund. As these smaller funds will most likely be used to fund things whose accomplishments can be easily tracked by the community, there won’t be a need to employ any additional oversight.

Larger million-dollar funds, however, will most definitely need a lot more oversight.

An essential mechanism that holds everyone accountable

With every single ADA held in Cardano’s treasury belonging to its community, the community will want to know how their millions are spent.

Part of the Voltaire experiment, Hoskinson said, is to create a network of people and entities that keep the people receiving funds accountable. And this, he added, is something that isn’t inherently hard to do.

Firstly, it might be a good idea for a portion of the money held in the DC fund to be allocated to those providing oversight. As the complexity of the projects that get funded increases, the number of entities providing oversight will increase as well—some might be tasked with keeping track of spending, while others will be focused on the project’s performance and analyzing its results.

“There are all types of contractual pairings and relationships that can exist here,” Hoskinson said, explaining that it will be easy to divide the auditing process between various third-party auditors.

IOHK, Cardano’s parent company, is taking this matter very seriously. So much so, that it is currently hiring a dedicated product manager that will ensure that all of the business and social structures that need to exist for this to be possible are there.

For a company whose mandate to run and operate the Cardano blockchain is set to expire, IOHK is certainly investing a huge amount of resources, both in time and money, into coming up with governance solutions for Voltaire. Hoskinson acknowledged this, saying that this was done with a clear goal in mind—when IOHK’s contract expires, the company wants to come to the community with an established group of organizations and entities tasked with oversight and a well-structured plan for governance if their contract is renewed.

This also isn’t the end of IOHK’s involvement with defining accountability processes on Cardano. The company is exploring various other structures of accountability with the Catalyst Project. Hoskinson said that their work on the concept goes beyond thinking about how to transform ideas into ballots, and involves creating a system that will ensure good outcomes for most, if not all of the funds allocated to the community.

Complex, well-thought-out, but still experimental

However, he noted that despite the amount of effort and resources spent on accountability structures and auditors, there will be a significant amount of failures and issues Cardano will have to face.

That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to set up a working feedback loop that will ensure that failures, no matter how big they might be, get a chance to turn into lessons.

The last part of the long list of processes behind Voltaire will be to establish this feedback loop. This means that the results of all projects that receive any one of Cardano’s funds will all be funneled back to the beginning, to the submission and discussion phase. Aside from providing the community with the experience they need, it will also strengthen the very foundation of the structure of accountability that keeps Cardano going.

In time, this feedback loop will be able to get rid of ballots that have historically failed to produce results and allow the community to build relationships with accountability managers and auditors over time.

Starting with relatively smaller funds, like the current $250,000 DC fund, will make this process much easier, Hoskinson noted. Working like a reverse funnel, the feedback loop will refine the process before the funds get larger and hold millions of dollars.

Hoskinson went on to assert the fact that all of this, no matter how well-thought-out it might look now, is still the learning beta phase. This, he said, is learning how to talk, write ballots, and take responsibilities. If IOHK contract with Cardano gets renewed for another five years, the company said it will bring about a dedicated firm to study the management of accountability. Various experts and consultants from all kinds of backgrounds will be brought on to examine the structures of accountability and ensure that the quality of the feedback loop is always in check. He anticipates tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people to participate in the accountability process in the next ten to twenty years.

While the system will take years before it’s stable enough to be called “done,” Hoskinson considers the things he described as being “good enough” to get Cardano to the next stage of its evolution.

“By the time we are done with this, we will have the single best innovation management platform in the world.”

The post How Voltaire will bring accountability to funding on Cardano appeared first on CryptoSlate.

How Voltaire will bring accountability to funding on Cardano

In his latest YouTube video, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, explained the lengthy process behind ensuring accountability to funding on Cardano. Voltaire, the blockchain’s governance era, will eventually evolve Cardano into one of the best innovation management platforms on the market, with tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people participating in the blockchain’s accountability process.

Breaking down the process behind introducing accountability management to Voltaire

Voltaire, the upcoming installation of Cardano that’s set to bring about governance to the blockchain, will introduce some of the most thought-out and complex management processes in the industry. Until recently, most of these processes remained rather abstract and something that was discussed almost entirely in the developer circles.

In a recent YouTube video, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, Cardano’s parent company, dove deep into the matter of accountability that will come with Voltaire. The outspoken CEO was characteristically optimistic about the future that awaits Cardano but kept his predictions reserved, saying there was a chance that the process could take up to twenty years to complete.

Hoskinson began by explaining why Voltaire was so important to Cardano’s development. Namely, in its current instantiation, the blockchain doesn’t have the ability to judge whether or not a good return on intention (ROI) on the grants allocated to community members. For the blockchain to gain a tighter grip on the community fund distribution, there’s no need to centralize its governance, Hoskinson said. Instead, what the network needs is to have a set of processes in place that will create a very easily controlled, but still decentralized accountability management.

To accomplish this, the company started by breaking everything into processes, beginning with the process of submission and discussion.

This, he explained, is the process IOHK is currently involved in with the IdeaScale platform. With around 3,000 people currently involved in various conversations about the blockchain’s structure and future, Hoskinson said that he had no doubts that some very good ideas and suggestions will come from it.

At a certain point, the submission and discussion process will evolve into the final shape of the ballot, which will introduce voting to the blockchain. And while the introduction of voting is set to be one of the final steps in Cardano’s lengthy evolution, it will bring about a new set of problems.

Namely, once voting begins and the community gets to cast their own votes to the final approved ballots, the question of who holds those that receive funds accountable arises. While the community will be in charge of who is given the money from Cardano’s treasury fund, there is currently no entity in place that will keep track of what they actually do with the money they receive.

According to Hoskinson, the system doesn’t need to centralize for this to be possible. He believes that various entities can be introduced into the process that will provide oversight of both who gets the funding and how they spend it. These entities, which can range from influential community members to third-party companies, will act as the eyes and ears of the community, providing weekly or monthly reports, auditing code, verifying claims, and provide general oversight of spending.

Hoskinson envisions a future where a large number of companies pop up offering oversight of the network as a professional service.

These “professional services” probably won’t be necessary when dealing with smaller funds, like the ongoing $250,000 DC fund. As these smaller funds will most likely be used to fund things whose accomplishments can be easily tracked by the community, there won’t be a need to employ any additional oversight.

Larger million-dollar funds, however, will most definitely need a lot more oversight.

An essential mechanism that holds everyone accountable

With every single ADA held in Cardano’s treasury belonging to its community, the community will want to know how their millions are spent.

Part of the Voltaire experiment, Hoskinson said, is to create a network of people and entities that keep the people receiving funds accountable. And this, he added, is something that isn’t inherently hard to do.

Firstly, it might be a good idea for a portion of the money held in the DC fund to be allocated to those providing oversight. As the complexity of the projects that get funded increases, the number of entities providing oversight will increase as well—some might be tasked with keeping track of spending, while others will be focused on the project’s performance and analyzing its results.

“There are all types of contractual pairings and relationships that can exist here,” Hoskinson said, explaining that it will be easy to divide the auditing process between various third-party auditors.

IOHK, Cardano’s parent company, is taking this matter very seriously. So much so, that it is currently hiring a dedicated product manager that will ensure that all of the business and social structures that need to exist for this to be possible are there.

For a company whose mandate to run and operate the Cardano blockchain is set to expire, IOHK is certainly investing a huge amount of resources, both in time and money, into coming up with governance solutions for Voltaire. Hoskinson acknowledged this, saying that this was done with a clear goal in mind—when IOHK’s contract expires, the company wants to come to the community with an established group of organizations and entities tasked with oversight and a well-structured plan for governance if their contract is renewed.

This also isn’t the end of IOHK’s involvement with defining accountability processes on Cardano. The company is exploring various other structures of accountability with the Catalyst Project. Hoskinson said that their work on the concept goes beyond thinking about how to transform ideas into ballots, and involves creating a system that will ensure good outcomes for most, if not all of the funds allocated to the community.

Complex, well-thought-out, but still experimental

However, he noted that despite the amount of effort and resources spent on accountability structures and auditors, there will be a significant amount of failures and issues Cardano will have to face.

That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to set up a working feedback loop that will ensure that failures, no matter how big they might be, get a chance to turn into lessons.

The last part of the long list of processes behind Voltaire will be to establish this feedback loop. This means that the results of all projects that receive any one of Cardano’s funds will all be funneled back to the beginning, to the submission and discussion phase. Aside from providing the community with the experience they need, it will also strengthen the very foundation of the structure of accountability that keeps Cardano going.

In time, this feedback loop will be able to get rid of ballots that have historically failed to produce results and allow the community to build relationships with accountability managers and auditors over time.

Starting with relatively smaller funds, like the current $250,000 DC fund, will make this process much easier, Hoskinson noted. Working like a reverse funnel, the feedback loop will refine the process before the funds get larger and hold millions of dollars.

Hoskinson went on to assert the fact that all of this, no matter how well-thought-out it might look now, is still the learning beta phase. This, he said, is learning how to talk, write ballots, and take responsibilities. If IOHK contract with Cardano gets renewed for another five years, the company said it will bring about a dedicated firm to study the management of accountability. Various experts and consultants from all kinds of backgrounds will be brought on to examine the structures of accountability and ensure that the quality of the feedback loop is always in check. He anticipates tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people to participate in the accountability process in the next ten to twenty years.

While the system will take years before it’s stable enough to be called “done,” Hoskinson considers the things he described as being “good enough” to get Cardano to the next stage of its evolution.

“By the time we are done with this, we will have the single best innovation management platform in the world.”

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Square allocates one percent of it’s total assets to Bitcoin

Square Inc. has announced today that it has purchased 4,709 BTC for approximately $50 million, allocating around 1 percent of its total assets as of Q2 2020 to Bitcoin. The payments company, founded by Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey, said that it intends to participate in growing Bitcoin’s adoption.

CashApp’s parent company Square invests $50 million in Bitcoin

Square, a payments company founded by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has announced today that it has purchased approximately 4,709 bitcoins. In an announcement published on its official website, the company said that the bitcoins were acquired at an aggregate purchase price of $50 million.

Square’s chief financial officer Amrita Ahuja said that the investment was a result of the company’s belief that Bitcoin has the potential to become a more ubiquitous currency in the future.

“As it grows in adoption, we intend to learn and participate in a disciplined way. For a company that is building products based on a more inclusive future, this investment is a step on that journey,” she said in the company’s announcement.

Not the first time Square dabbles in Bitcoin

While buying $50 million worth of bitcoins is a huge step for a company involved in traditional finance, Square has acquired quite a reputation in the crypto industry due to its continuous investments in cryptocurrencies.

The company said that it has previously invested in Bitcoin “from a product, leadership, and legal innovation perspective,” but that today’s announcement will be adding a “financial investment” to the list.

But, despite the huge investment, Square hasn’t actually allocated that much of its resources to Bitcoin. According to the company’s blog post, the investment represents approximately 1 percent of Square’s total assets as of the end of the second quarter of 2020.

As of press time, the company hasn’t disclosed its plans for the investment. In 2018, the company enabled bitcoin trading in its CashApp, formed an independent crypto team a year later, and launched the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) earlier this year.

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