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  2. By CCN: Within one month, the share price of the Tesla stock has dropped by a staggering 27 percent as it plunged below the $200 level for the first time since 2016. The intensifying downtrend of the Tesla stock is said to have been triggered by a barrage of negative factors including CEO Elon Musk’s admittance of a cash flow issue at the company and the decline in the exports of its flagship models further fueled by the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. Can Tesla Survive “Code Red” Situation? Last week, Daniel Ives at Wedbush suggested Tesla, Musk & Co. are The post ‘Code Red’ for Tesla: 80% Drop Forecasted as Stock Sinks to $192, a 30-Month Low appeared first on CCN View the full article
  3. Again, this guy Craig Wright spread lies about being Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. This time he simply filed for copyright stuff, which anybody can do, and used it as a "proof" that he's Satoshi. Craig Wright: Copyright Registration Proves I’m Bitcoin's Satoshi; Copyright Office: Nope! - AllStocks Network The crypto world was thrown into somewhat of a pandemonium earlier this week after a spokesman for Craig Wright stated categorically that the recent regist This is exactly why many legitimate investors stay away from crypto, because of charlatans like Wright. The cryptocurrency community needs to denounce him because this is already getting too ridiculous.
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  5. In what Europol has hailed as the “first law enforcement action of its kind,” officials from the E.U.’s top police agency, in conjunction with authorities and investigators in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, have announced the takedown of a bitcoin mixer service. The mixer, Bestmixer, worked by tumbling users’ pooled bitcoin in order to preserve participants’ privacy. The takedown’s coordinating agencies, which declared on May 22nd their seizure of six servers underpinning the platform, launched the enforcement action after determining the mixer had become a popular resource for money launderers. In an associated press release, Europol noted the mixer had obfuscated thousands of bitcoin while the service was still operational: “Bestmixer.io was one of the three largest mixing services for cryptocurrencies and offered services for mixing the cryptocurrencies bitcoins, bitcoin cash and litecoins. The service started in May 2018 and achieved a turnover of at least $200 million (approx. 27,000 bitcoins) in a year’s time and guaranteed that the customers would remain anonymous.” Ironically, the privacy-focused service didn’t avoid bringing attention to itself. Dave Jevans, chief executive officer of blockchain investigative firm CipherTrace, has since noted that mixer’s operators openly marketed the platform to money launderers. On the news, Jevans said: “Bestmixer has blatantly advertised money laundering services, and falsely claimed to be domiciled in Curacao where they claimed it was a legal service. The reality is that they were operating in Europe and services customers from many countries around the world.” Accordingly, Bestmixer was a rather flagrant bad actor, and the episode has brought cryptocurrency mixers back into the fore once more. Some prominent bitcoiners have pushed back against demonizing mixers in general, arguing that many users of the services simply want to protect their privacy rather than hide crimes. Coinjoin is fundamentally different – both from legal and enforcement perspectives – than a centralized custodial mixing service, which advertised itself directly to criminals as a laundering service. Privacy isn't illegal. Using bitcoin privately doesn't make you a criminal. pic.twitter.com/4S3CWipLxR — Matt Odell (@matt_odell) May 22, 2019 BestMixer Previously Posed a “Crypto Dusting” Problem BestMixer’s bust isn’t the first time the service has garnered unflattering headlines in the cryptoverse. Last fall, the mixer’s operators temporarily sent out small transactions en masse to select bitcoin addresses. The purpose? To generate interest in the platform from potential new users. The problem with such a marketing maneuver is that it tainted users’ BTC addresses without their consent. That’s because cryptocurrency exchanges’ anti-money laundering (AML) systems typically monitor for transactions facilitated by mixers. That means the affected addresses may be at risk of facing de facto blacklistings. As CipherTrace noted at the time in a post-mortem report, this kind of crypto dusting may be used in the future to intentionally spike users’ addresses: “As time progresses in the cryptocurrency world, this form of spam may soon become a primary technique for bad actors to spread taint and contaminate legitimate users in massive dusting campaigns.” However, in light of Europol’s new enforcement action, it’s clear that BestMixer won’t be responsible for any more crypto dusting going forward. Of Course, Mixers Aren’t Just for Criminals In the cryptoeconomy, there is genuine demand for mixer services from users who want their main wallets to be usable but not publicly known. That reality revealed itself in the Ethereum ecosystem on Wednesday, as Gnosis team member and Into the Ether host Eric Conner called for the creation of a “basic mixing service” for Ethereum that would boost the privacy of the blockchain project’s users. Ethereum needs a basic mixing service that can be seamlessly integrated into wallets for privacy. I'm so tired of having to be cautious about sending txs to people. I'm going to embark on trying to make this happen. — Eric Conner (@econoar) May 22, 2019 Notably, within mere minutes of Conner’s call to action, Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin had published a minimal design spec for such a mixer. When @econoar points out that we need an easy-to-integrate Ethereum mixing service, and @VitalikButerin replies with a fresh spec 10 minutes later. https://t.co/iwnIKGpqY3 — Mihailo Bjelic (@MihailoBjelic) May 22, 2019 The concept quickly gained traction. Before long, SpankChain chief executive officer and MolochDAO creator Ameen Soleimani had floated the idea of launching a MolochDAO proposal to fund the creation of Buterin’s mixer design. Who wants me to submit a @MolochDAO proposal for them to build an onchain mixer designed by @VitalikButerin? We need a privacy champion! Please RT! https://t.co/iMGnZAdk9g — Darth Meme (@ameensol) May 22, 2019 As such, Conner’s proposed “basic mixing service” may be coming sooner rather than later. The post European Authorities Launch Unprecedented Takedown of Bitcoin Mixer appeared first on Blockonomi. View the full article
  6. Many of Ethereum’s doubters have argued the project’s forthcoming “2.0” Serenity upgrade — wherein developers are aiming sharding, Casper, and Plasma tech to bring the blockchain’s infrastructure to full maturity — is unrealistic, or in the very least isn’t arriving any time soon. However, this week Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin once again suggested progress on Serenity is tangible and the upgrade’s fruition is closer than skeptics realize. Buterin’s remarks came as a reply to a May 21st tweet from respected bitcoin investor and analyst Tuur Demeester, who asked “Can money buy a scientific breakthrough?” in response to the Ethereum Foundation (EF) announcement of $19 million USD in ETH 2.0 development spending on the same day. Countering the suggestion that another scientific breakthrough was necessary for Serenity’s actualization, Buterin said the relevant preliminary research for a “full implementation” of the upgrade had been completed since last year: “We’ve actually already had all the research breakthroughs we need for a full implementation of eth2. This has been the case for about a year now.” We've actually already had all the research breakthroughs we need for a full implementation of eth2. This has been the case for about a year now. — Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) May 22, 2019 Alas, the Ethereum ecosystem has found itself in a period dominated by building and preparation as of late. Earlier this month, EF researcher Justin Drake confirmed that the code specification for ETH 2.0’s “Phase Zero” — which will implement a shift to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus — is expected to be finalized by June 30th. This month also saw Prysmatic Labs, the minds behind the “Prysm” Ethereum sharding client, release the second ETH 2.0 testnet published so far this year. The testnet allows users to trial validating via staking test ether. Amid the preparatory period has also come an important audit. The code of the ASIC-resistant ProgPoW consensus algorithm, which has been proposed for the ETH 1.0 chain ahead of Serenity’s shift to PoS consensus, is currently in the process of being reviewed for critical bugs. Looking Closer at the Ethereum Foundation Announcement The EF’s May 21st announcement of its plans for the next year quickly generated buzz throughout the wider Ethereum ecosystem — not only for the plan’s content but also because influential Ethereum community stakeholders generally champion transparency and communication from the at-times insular foundation. The #Ethereum Foundation is excited to share our plans for the next year, and more.https://t.co/FxJTMsFWGQ — Ethereum (@ethereum) May 21, 2019 Accordingly, the EF declared it would be spending $30 million altogether over the next 12 months, with $19 million of that sum going to ETH 2.0 development efforts, $8 million going to ETH 1.0 initiatives, and $3 million going to developer growth and awareness programs. The foundation also highlighted that it wouldn’t be emphasizing in-house projects over external teams in its funding activities going forward: “Today, it shouldn’t matter to the Foundation whether a project is ‘internal’ or ‘external.’ What matters is that we’re spending resources effectively, and that Ethereum’s goals are accomplished. This is why we are moving toward an “ecosystem level view” when allocating resources by looking at the whole picture rather than at a subset of it.” So, as it pertains to efforts to boost the well-being of Ethereum as public infrastructure, if you build it, the EF may come happily with their purse. Forward, Onward 2019 has been good to Ethereum so far, with its popularity and prospects trending up. The blockchain’s daily transaction counts have spiked recently, and there’s been a fresh trading boon. Last week, Coinbase oversaw more than $900 million worth of ether trades, a new record for the cryptocurrency exchange powerhouse. The project’s also the biggest home for decentralized finance at present. This month, the amount of outstanding DeFi loans underpinned by projects atop Ethereum crossed the $100 million milestone for the first time. Moreover, major enterprises and institutions like “Big Four” accounting firm EY and French bank Societe Generale are increasingly pivoting to Ethereum for building out tools and products. If Ethereum proponents have their way, these organizations will be the first of many more to come. The post Vitalik Buterin: Breakthroughs Needed to Implement Ethereum 2.0 Already Done appeared first on Blockonomi. View the full article
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  8. Financial service provider SIX is developing a stablecoin pegged to the Swiss franc View the full article
  9. Swiss luxury watchmaker Franck Muller has launched a limited-edition bitcoin timepiece dubbed “Encrypto” that comes with a cold wallet. View the full article
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  13. Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex has secured a temporary reprieve in its ongoing legal tussle against the New York Attorney General’s (NYAG) office. NY Judge Grants Stay of Document In a press release issued on Wednesday (May 22, 2019), Bitfinex announced that Hon Joel M. Cohen on the New York Supreme Court granted its motion for an immediate stay of documents. An excerpt from the statement reads: This order is another victory in the ongoing defense of our businesses against the New York Attorney General’s overreach, and it comes on the heels of Justice Cohen’s ruling last week granting our motion to significantly narrow the injunction against our businesses obtained by the Attorney General. This temporary hold means the NYAG will only have access to topics relating specifically to whether the court has the jurisdiction to hear the case. Thursday’s ruling is the latest in the legal tussle between the NYAG and Bitfinex/Tether. Back in April 2019, Bitcoinist reported that NYAG Letitia James accused both companies of covering up losses of about $850 million belonging to their clients. At the time, the Hong-Kong based bitcoin exchange denied the NYAG’s claims characterizing them a being false and asserting that the funds in question weren’t lost. Bitfinex Wants Case Dismissed Outright The temporary stay of documents is only a minor victory for both Bitfinex and Tether as both companies want the case dismissed outright. According to both companies, the NYAG’s actions constitute an overreach seeing as the two companies do not operate in the state of New York. Bitfinex also highlighted the fact that New York’s Martin Act – which deals with financial fraud, cannot be used to compel foreign establishments to produce documents held outside the U.S. Justice Cohen adjourned the case to July 2019 at which time both parties will also have the opportunity to present their arguments. Since the news of the alleged $850 million coverup broke out, Bitfinex has announced raising $1 billion from private investors followed by the LEO token distribution event. Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer (CTO) of Bitfinex at the time of $1 billion fundraising declared that the company still commanded the trust and respect of investors within and outside the bitcoin and cryptocurrency space. Good things happen to good people @bitfinex https://t.co/grg1wX2qSN — Paolo Ardoino (@paoloardoino) May 22, 2019 Commenting on Thursday’s decision by the court, Ardoino quipped: Good things happen to good people. All the attention now shifts to the outcome of the July 29 hearing on the matter. Do you think the NYAG’s actions constitute a legal overreach? Let us know in the comments below. Images via Twitter @paoloardoino The post Bitcoin Exchange Bitfinex Scores Win Against NY Attorney General appeared first on Bitcoinist.com. View the full article
  14. By CCN: British politics is turning into a Game of Thrones massacre as vicious power battles are set to force Prime Minister Theresa May off her Iron Throne. May is widely expected to resign on Friday as her Brexit strategy descends into shambolic chaos. May was seen leaving her Downing Street office last night in tears after a day of fatal blows to her position as leader. As support for her latest Brexit deal crumbles, a senior cabinet minister stabbed her in the back by resigning in anger. More than two years after UK voters elected to leave the European The post Theresa May to Quit as Brexit Disaster Turns into Game of Thrones Clusterf**k appeared first on CCN View the full article
  15. Today
  16. Following a mild correction which began yesterday, crypto markets have today tipped into deeper red with bitcoin (BTC) today dropping below the $7,600 mark View the full article
  17. About the author: Ali is an independent cryptocurrency researcher based in Iran. By CCN: LocalBitcoins.com, the world’s most-popular peer-to-peer bitcoin trading platform, has begun restricting its service for Iranian users this week. As of now, creating new ads for buying or selling or updating old ads are restricted to Iranian traders. In the near future, there might be a possibility of locking users’ accounts and their bitcoins on the platform’s wallet. LocalBitcoins was the last inclusive crypto trading stop Big centralized exchange services like Coinbase, Binance, and many others have previously restricted Iranian users, either with the seizure of their The post P2P Bitcoin Trading Platform LocalBitcoins Leaves Iranian Crypto Traders Dry appeared first on CCN View the full article
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  21. At long last, Galaxy Digital, the so-called “crypto merchant bank” backed by former Goldman Sachs partner Mike Novogratz, has experienced some reprieve from a bear market trend. A press release obtained by Blockonomi has revealed that the company, which was launched near the peak of the previous Bitcoin bull market, has netted a substantial gain on one of its major blockchain-related investments. Galaxy Sees 123% Return On Crypto Investment The release, published Tuesday, revealed that Galaxy has liquidated most of its shares in Block.one, the blockchain development startup and fund behind the EOS protocol, for $71.2 million. The company registers a realized return of 123% on the investment. While the merchant bank will only hold a minimal amount of shares of Block.one, they still will work with the startup in a number of capacities, like through Galaxy’s EOS-centric venture fund, and as a proponent of the blockchain in general. Novogratz then explained this recent decision: “The acceptance of Block.one’s tender offer reflected a decision to rebalance the portfolio to maintain an appropriate level of diversification after the position increased due to its substantial outperformance relative to the remainder of the portfolio.” As alluded to earlier, this is one of Galaxy’s biggest successes to date, as 2018 wasn’t all too pretty for the firm. Per previous reports from Blockonomi, Galaxy lost $97 million In Q4 of 2018, up from the $76.7 million loss registered in Q3. Per the filing, much of this loss can be attributed to its principal investing and trading businesses, presumably due to the fact that November and December saw Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fall to fresh lows, far below what most analysts suspected. In summation, the firm, seemingly primarily funded by Novogratz’s wealth, 20% of which is purportedly in Bitcoin and Ethereum, lost $272.7 million in all of 2018. Ouch. As the filing notes, much of these losses were incurred as a result of either the sale of cryptocurrency. Analysis completed by Three Arrows Capital’s Su Zhu seemingly confirms this, as he notes that the company sold WAX and Ethereum in late-2018, which had then fallen dramatically since Galaxy acquired them. Looking at Galaxy Digital's yearend filing for 2018, some observations: 1) $BTC now 63%, $ETH 21%, $EOS 11%, $XMR 5%. Exited $WAX. 2) Looking like they bought ETHBTC in Q1, bought ETHUSD and BTCUSD in Q3, sold WAXEOS in Q4, sold ETHBTC Q4https://t.co/Fzc7Ld34xj pic.twitter.com/G0DInou0KX — Su Zhu (@zhusu) May 9, 2019 This isn’t the end for Novogratz & Co. though. The report revealed that as of the end of fiscal 2018, Galaxy owned $350 million of assets, 50% of which constituted equity/stake in prominent industry startups. Novogratz also tried to reassure investors, stating that the financials have not shown the “notable increase in activity across” Galaxy’s businesses in the first portion of 2019, likely as a result of investors coming to the conclusion that the market is poised for a rally, and have thus started to shovel money back into crypto. More importantly, Galaxy has (or is expected to) launched another fund (rumored to have hundreds of millions in funding), which will loan out capital to cryptocurrency firms, a business that has boomed during 2018’s bear market. Not The Only Block.one Beneficiary Sure, a 123% return in around a year’s time is nothing to sneeze at, but another Block.one investor was recently revealed to be doing much better. Much, much better. Reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday, Block.one will be paying its earliest investors up to 6,567% on their initial investment through a share buyback. This means that for a $100,000 investment, $6.6 million can be obtained. This performance is so legendary that Tom Shaughnessy, the co-founder of market analysis firm Delphi Digital, told reporters that Block.one is “very much the odd one out in the crypto market.” It isn’t clear who the Cayman Islands-registered firm will be paying out those jaw-dropping gains to, but they’re probably popping champagne right now. The report revealed that Block.one is currently valued at $2.3 billion, with a $500 million cryptocurrency portfolio and a $2.2 billion “liquid fiat asset” stash, and is purportedly in a good position to continue to perform well as the bull market seemingly returns. The post Crypto Bank Galaxy Digital Cashes Out Of Block.one Investment, Bags 123% Gain appeared first on Blockonomi. View the full article
  22. Ahead of next month’s G20 summit, host Japan looks to tighten money laundering regulations, specifically targeting Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is also due to inspect Japan’s anti-money laundering regime in the Autumn. International Spotlight Prompts Japanese Action According to media outlet Nikkei, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) is desperate for a good review from the FATF. Japan received the lowest possible rating for Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures during the last FATF inspection in 2008. Although, of course, Bitcoin was little more than an idea at this point. In the hope of redemption, Japan is stepping up its on-site inspections of all financial institutions, though Nikkei suggests a focus on cryptocurrency exchanges. The Japan-hosted G20 summit is also likely to discuss international regulations for digital currency, and potentially ICOs. The hosts certainly don’t want to appear behind the curve on implementing policies. Japan’s Usual Hands-Off Approach To Bitcoin Regulation Japan was the first country to introduce registration for crypto-exchanges in April 2017, but has traditionally been fairly hands-off. While strengthening guidelines following the 2018 Coincheck hack, the FSA has stated that it does not intend to ‘excessively regulate‘. Instead, it seems happy to let the industry regulate itself, stating: It’s a very fast-moving industry. It’s better for experts to make rules in a timely manner than bureaucrats do. The FSA is not afraid to step in where necessary though, introducing bills to regulate ICOs earlier this year. G20 And FATF Looking In The Wrong Direction? At last year’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires, nations decided that cryptocurrency regulation should follow FATF standards for anti-money laundering. Following this FATF called for even stricter regulation of Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASP). But is this focus on cryptocurrency really the most beneficial way to combat money laundering? The Japanese Yen recently overtook the dollar as the most used fiat currency for bitcoin trading. However, cryptocurrency is still not the tool of choice in the vast majority of money laundering cases. According to Japanese police, despite crypto-linked cases going up 900% in 2018, this still comprised only 1.7% of total investigations. A massive 98.3% of money laundering cases in Japan had nothing to do with cryptocurrency at all. Will Japan’s new anti-money laudnering initiative be effective? Share your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock The post Japan Targets Bitcoin In G20 Anti-Money Laundering Push appeared first on Bitcoinist.com. View the full article
  23. Kiosk network Coinstar has expanded its bitcoin-buying service, adding around 100 new outlets and growing U.S. coverage to 21 states. View the full article
  24. Bitcoin (BTC) has had a crazy seven weeks. After feigning death for upwards of three months, with there being little price action and scant volumes to speak of, the cryptocurrency market returned. In fact, as of the time of writing this, the 24-hour volume figure on Bitwise’s BitcoinTradeVolume indicator reads at $917 million, much higher than the $500 million seen prior to all this price action. (Just last week, this read at a jaw-dropping $2.38 billion). As cryptocurrency interest in spot markets, often dominated by retail investors, has surged, derivatives platforms have seen massive upticks too. While many see this as a sign that the “crypto winter” has ended, some are worried that derivatives could hamper Bitcoin’s long-term success and underlying value proposition. Bitcoin Derivatives See Jaw-Dropping Volumes Last week, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Bitcoin futures contract saw its biggest day, well, ever. According to exact data compiled by the CME itself, 33,677 contracts were traded on May the 13th, amounting to 168,385 paper BTC. This is absolutely staggering, especially considering that the last record, set in February, was a relatively mere 91,690 BTC. While volume died down after that trading session, data shows that money on derivatives platforms is still flooding in and out of the cryptocurrency market. On Tuesday, cryptocurrency publication Diar released its latest newsletter. In the edition, it was revealed that Bitcoin derivatives volumes have grown alongside volumes seen on spot markets. Citing data from analytics startup Skew, Diar notes that on platforms like CME, Deribit, BitMEX, and the Kraken-owned CryptoFacilities, Bitcoin vehicle volumes are reaching multi-month, even all-time highs. Indeed, according to a CME-stamped email from The Block, “May is shaping up to be the strongest month ever for CME Bitcoin Futures.” The Chicago-based market looked to the fact that on May 13th, $1.3 billion worth of paper BTC changed hands, and the number of accounts trading the product has grown well above 2,500. The exchange explains this statistic: “The number of unique accounts continues to grow showing that the marketplace is increasingly using BTC futures to hedge bitcoin risk and/or access exposure.” It’s a similar sight on the more cryptocurrency-specific platforms. In May (so far), BitMEX has seen $78.6 billion worth of volume, around half of Bitcoin’s market capitalization, while Deribit has seen nearly $600 million worth of volume for its array of options contracts. Could Financialization Of Crypto Be Bad? Although many see a growing derivatives ecosystem is a sign of a maturing market, some have postulated that for BTC and other cryptocurrencies, this could be detrimental in the long term. Wall Street banker turned blockchain advocate Caitlin Long wrote last year that the financialization of cryptocurrency might be a “double-edged sword”. She wrote that cryptocurrencies are inherently equity-based, meaning that they are nothing like stocks, bonds, and its ilk. This makes futures markets, especially those that allow for margin/leverage, for this new asset class somewhat controversial in that they allow for the “issuance of more assets out of thin air to dilute existing holders, or from the creation of more claims to the asset than there are assets.” With Bitcoin’s premise being one of scarcity and one of “holding one’s own keys”, the introduction of institutionally-centric leverage futures markets could artificially dilute the cryptocurrency’s market, despite the fact that there aren’t coins to back those vehicles. Even if this isn’t true, futures, especially those that are margin-enabled, have been proven to cause inorganic price discovery in the cryptocurrency market. Researcher Willy Woo recently noted that Bitcoin’s recent foray past $8,000 was most likely a result of “pros” trading and playing this nascent market to their advantage. He accentuates that blockchain data, which should show money flowing from “HODLers” to exchanges and exchanges to exchanges in rallies, showed minimal capital movement. Woo thus confirms that much of the recent rally was an “orchestrated short squeeze to milk profits”, likely done through the medium of a non-KYC, easily-accessible, high-volume derivatives platforms like BitMEX. The post Bitcoin Derivatives See A Massive May: Why This Could Be Worrisome appeared first on Blockonomi. View the full article
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  26. The scaling discussion for public blockchains has dominated cryptocurrency debate forums for the last several years. Scaling woes of smart contracts platforms are often alluded to as their primary limiting factor in attracting more mainstream adoption, but several other factors contribute significantly as well. Fluence highlighted how the leading problems in developing dapps and attracting users to them are the small number of crypto users, bad UX of crypto, financing problems, and scalability. The small subset of crypto users is mostly a product of limited knowledge of crypto, bad UX, and poor scalability, which often translates to distinct points of friction, such as high gas costs and delays in interacting with dapps. Surveying the crypto landscape today you will find numerous projects pledging to be the ‘next-generation’ blockchain that can scale to millions (sometimes billions) of users and spark mass adoption. Many of these platforms should be viewed through a cautious lens, and many of them focus on layer one scaling, such as sharding or PoS consensus for higher throughput and are not even live yet. However, others take the layer two approach — like Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (LN). One of the overlooked aspects of the scaling race is projects that supplement major platforms with layer two solutions, such as Matic Network. Rather than attempting to revolutionize the industry from a catch-all perspective, layer two projects like Matic and Loom’s dappchains refine their focus on complementing an existing network. In the case of Matic, that network is Ethereum. Rather than solely emphasizing scalability — which Matic strives for with Plasma and PoS sidechains — the project also hones in on UX, which is one of the most subtly enticing characteristics of traditional applications, and is correlated to scalability in public blockchains. Tackling Ethereum Scaling As the first major, Turing-complete smart contracts platform to go live, Ethereum has gathered one of the fastest growing projects on Github and has been a lightning rod for the scalability debate. The scaling woes of Ethereum are well-documented and came to a head when transaction costs soared in GAS fees, and many dapps became prohibitively cumbersome to use — and remain so today. The broader initiative by the Ethereum community has been to scale at the protocol layer, slowly rolling out Serenity — a scalable, sharded PoS blockchain network. It is impossible to predict precisely how Etheruem’s on-chain scaling endeavor will pay out, but that has not stopped other projects from working on complementary solutions to the network. Often focusing on niche areas such as gaming, DeFi, or better UX, these projects are the ones that should garner more attention than the next ‘blockchain 5.0.’ One of those projects is Matic Network, whose focus is on scalable Plasma and PoS sidechains that can not only complement Ethereum’s scaling but also bring UX of dapps closer to what mainstream users are accustomed to. Matic — Plasma and PoS Sidechains Matic uses an optimized form of Plasma, which is basically a child chain design for scaling Ethereum on its second layer. Conceptually, Plasma is easy to think of as the branches on a tree, with the tree trunk being the primary chain — Ethereum — and the branches as the child chains that use their own consensus and are pegged to the primary chain. So, each child chain — which is pegged to the root chain — is part of the Matic Network and operates under the umbrella of its consensus. Matic slightly changes the approach of Plasma by implementing a dual PoS and block producer ‘checkpointing’ system. Block producers are selected by the PoS stakers and encompass the base layer of the Matic child chains. Block producers are few in number, which is designed to expedite settlement and block production speeds. Blocks furnished by the producers are tethered to the checkpointing mechanism via the Merkle root of the block, where PoS validators approve random groups of blocks that are produced. Anyone can stake Matic tokens to participate in the PoS checkpointing validation, and validators sign the Merkle root of the subset of blocks from the block producers. Validators also verify the proof of the blocks before approval of the proposed block. According to Matic, the mechanism is pegged to the Ethereum chain as follows: “The system needs the approval of ⅔ of the stakeholders to propose a “header block” to the root contract. Once the checkpoint is proposed on the mainchain, anyone on the Ethereum mainchain can challenge the proposed checkpoint within a specified period of time. If no one challenges it and the challenge period ends, the checkpoint is formally included as a valid checkpoint on the main chain.” The checkpointing system also provides a critical role in cross-referencing the withdrawal of tokens with the smart contract on the root chain — Ethereum. To better understand how users interact with this aspect of Matic, it is best to iterate through the user experience. Alice wants to use a gaming dapp ABC on the Matic Network. ABC has its own token Game Coin. Alice deposits the ERC-20 token Game Coins into the Ethereum mainchain Matic contract corresponding to the amount of Game Coin she wants. The Game Coin tokens are released on the Matic chain, and Alice’s Game Coins are locked on the Ethereum chain. This process uses Matic’s proprietary tool Dagger for reading Ethereum transactions, contracts, blocks, and events triggered by the Ethereum blockchain. Dagger functions within the Matic ‘Deposit Bridge’ where users lock in Ethereum blockchain assets that are consequently unlocked on the Matic chain. Since Matic has significantly faster blocks and lower fees from is hybrid Plasma/PoS sidechain design, Alice can exchange Game Coins very rapidly with other users or spend them in the dapp itself at lower transaction costs — removing much of the friction in the current dapp experience. Alice can also redeem her Game Coins on the main Ethereum chain at any time by using a ‘proof-of-remaining’ tokens on the Etheruem chain Matic contract. The process works for any ERC-20 compatible token. Ethereum’s blockchain acts as the final settlement layer for transactions pegging in and out of the Matic Network. Advantages and Future Plans The advantages of Plasma and Matic’s dual PoS checkpointing design are primarily that the throughput capacity and UX of dapps are much better suited to mainstream requirements. Instead of relying on transactions to settle on the Ethereum main chain with higher transaction costs, developers can build more seamless dapp experiences that do not have lag times or MetaMask transactions popping up for every interaction of the user. Matic cites this ability as smoothing the UX abstraction from the main chain to the Matic Chain, reducing the overall complexity and making interacting with dapps more straightforward. Matic will provide SDKs, APIs, and documentation for developers to create dapps on Matic, and Dagger is a highly practical tool for retrieving real-time events from the Ethereum blockchain. The Matic team cites numerous potential use cases, including P2P payments, liquidity pools, DEXs, lending and credit platforms, identity verification, and games. In particular, the use of NFTs and their potential within gaming on sidechains is an important consideration. Functional gaming dapps are much better suited to sidechains than on-chain processing for a variety of reasons, most importantly being that they don’t need the consistent transaction finality of the Ethereum root chain. However, Matic would also empower games to save progress (i.e., game state), a downstream effect of Plasma’s design. There are still several hurdles facing Plasma and Matic, however. The best practice wait time for Plasma exits — the finalization of off-chain computations — is roughly seven days and results in poor user experiences. Matic is addressing this issue with Nuo to reduce exit times, but Plasma’s complexity breeds other problems as well. Matic is still in its Mainnet Alpha stage, with the Mainnet Beta scheduled for July 2019. Several Ethereum projects are already partnered with Matic, including Decentraland and MakerDAO. CryptoSaw — a P2P payments application for dapps — is also integrating with Matic. Looking forward, Matic seeks to tackle generalized state scaling as its next major development frontier. However, the topic is highly sophisticated with numerous avenues for development, and Plasma has received criticism even from some of its core developers in reconciling its complexity with UX/UI. A growing sentiment among Plasma developers is that generalized state transitions may be verified using zk-SNARKs — the privacy-preserving technology that can also aggregate transactions into batches. With an emerging class of ‘blockchain 4.0 or 5.0’ platforms cropping up everywhere, it is unlikely that they will all garner the ubiquitous adoption or legitimacy that pushes crypto into the mainstream. Ultimately, it is likely that more users will gradually gravitate towards a few platforms that have large developer communities and projects like Matic that supplement their scalability and UX. The post What is Matic Network? Guide to This Blockchain Scaling Platform appeared first on Blockonomi. View the full article
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