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New England New England 6 States Songs: https://www.reddit.com/newengland/comments/er8wxd/new_england_6_states_songs/ NewEnglandcoin Symbol: NENG NewEnglandcoin is a clone of Bitcoin using scrypt as a proof-of-work algorithm with enhanced features to protect against 51% attack and decentralize on mining to allow diversified mining rigs across CPUs, GPUs, ASICs and Android phones. Mining Algorithm: Scrypt with RandomSpike. RandomSpike is 3rd generation of Dynamic Difficulty (DynDiff) algorithm on top of scrypt. 1 minute block targets base difficulty reset: every 1440 blocks subsidy halves in 2.1m blocks (~ 2 to 4 years) 84,000,000,000 total maximum NENG 20000 NENG per block Pre-mine: 1% - reserved for dev fund ICO: None RPCPort: 6376 Port: 6377 NewEnglandcoin has dogecoin like supply at 84 billion maximum NENG. This huge supply insures that NENG is suitable for retail transactions and daily use. The inflation schedule of NengEnglandcoin is actually identical to that of Litecoin. Bitcoin and Litecoin are already proven to be great long term store of value. The Litecoin-like NENG inflation schedule will make NewEnglandcoin ideal for long term investment appreciation as the supply is limited and capped at a fixed number Bitcoin Fork - Suitable for Home Hobbyists NewEnglandcoin core wallet continues to maintain version tag of "Satoshi v0.8.7.5" because NewEnglandcoin is very much an exact clone of bitcoin plus some mining feature changes with DynDiff algorithm. NewEnglandcoin is very suitable as lite version of bitcoin for educational purpose on desktop mining, full node running and bitcoin programming using bitcoin-json APIs. The NewEnglandcoin (NENG) mining algorithm original upgrade ideas were mainly designed for decentralization of mining rigs on scrypt, which is same algo as litecoin/dogecoin. The way it is going now is that NENG is very suitable for bitcoin/litecoin/dogecoin hobbyists who can not , will not spend huge money to run noisy ASIC/GPU mining equipments, but still want to mine NENG at home with quiet simple CPU/GPU or with a cheap ASIC like FutureBit Moonlander 2 USB or Apollo pod on solo mining setup to obtain very decent profitable results. NENG allows bitcoin litecoin hobbyists to experience full node running, solo mining, CPU/GPU/ASIC for a fun experience at home at cheap cost without breaking bank on equipment or electricity. MIT Free Course - 23 lectures about Bitcoin, Blockchain and Finance (Fall,2018) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUl4u3cNGP63UUkfL0onkxF6MYgVa04Fn CPU Minable Coin Because of dynamic difficulty algorithm on top of scrypt, NewEnglandcoin is CPU Minable. Users can easily set up full node for mining at Home PC or Mac using our dedicated cheetah software. Research on the first forked 50 blocks on v1.2.0 core confirmed that ASIC/GPU miners mined 66% of 50 blocks, CPU miners mined the remaining 34%. NENG v1.4.0 release enabled CPU mining inside android phones. Youtube Video Tutorial How to CPU Mine NewEnglandcoin (NENG) in Windows 10 Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdOoPvAjzlE How to CPU Mine NewEnglandcoin (NENG) in Windows 10 Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHnRJvJRzZg How to CPU Mine NewEnglandcoin (NENG) in macOS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj7NLMeNSOQ Decentralization and Community Driven NewEnglandcoin is a decentralized coin just like bitcoin. There is no boss on NewEnglandcoin. Nobody nor the dev owns NENG. We know a coin is worth nothing if there is no backing from community. Therefore, we as dev do not intend to make decision on this coin solely by ourselves. It is our expectation that NewEnglandcoin community will make majority of decisions on direction of this coin from now on. We as dev merely view our-self as coin creater and technical support of this coin while providing NENG a permanent home at ShorelineCrypto Exchange. Twitter Airdrop Follow NENG twitter and receive 100,000 NENG on Twitter Airdrop to up to 1000 winners Graphic Redesign Bounty Top one award: 90.9 million NENG Top 10 Winners: 500,000 NENG / person Event Timing: March 25, 2019 - Present Event Address: NewEnglandcoin DISCORD at: https://discord.gg/UPeBwgs Please complete above Twitter Bounty requirement first. Then follow Below Steps to qualify for the Bounty: (1) Required: submit your own designed NENG logo picture in gif, png jpg or any other common graphic file format into DISCORD "bounty-submission" board (2) Optional: submit a second graphic for logo or any other marketing purposes into "bounty-submission" board. (3) Complete below form. Please limit your submission to no more than two total. Delete any wrongly submitted or undesired graphics in the board. Contact DISCORD u/honglu69#5911 or u/krypton#6139 if you have any issues. Twitter Airdrop/Graphic Redesign bounty sign up: https://goo.gl/forms/L0vcwmVi8c76cR7m1 Milestones
Sep 3, 2018 - Genesis block was mined, NewEnglandcoin created
Sep 8, 2018 - github source uploaded, Window wallet development work started
Sep 11,2018 - Window Qt Graphic wallet completed
Sep 12,2018 - NewEnglandcoin Launched in both Bitcointalk forum and Marinecoin forum
Sep 14,2018 - NewEnglandcoin is listed at ShorelineCrypto Exchange
Sep 17,2018 - Block Explorer is up
Nov 23,2018 - New Source/Wallet Release v1.1.1 - Enabled Dynamic Addjustment on Mining Hashing Difficulty
Nov 28,2018 - NewEnglandcoin became CPU minable coin
Nov 30,2018 - First Retail Real Life usage for NewEnglandcoin Announced
Dec 28,2018 - Cheetah_Cpuminer under Linux is released
Dec 31,2018 - NENG Technical Whitepaper is released
Jan 2,2019 - Cheetah_Cpuminer under Windows is released
Jan 12,2019 - NENG v1.1.2 is released to support MacOS GUI CLI Wallet
Jan 13,2019 - Cheetah_CpuMiner under Mac is released
Feb 11,2019 - NewEnglandcoin v1.2.0 Released, Anti-51% Attack, Anti-instant Mining after Hard Fork
Mar 16,2019 - NewEnglandcoin v22.214.171.124 Released - Ubuntu 18.04 Wallet Binary Files
Apr 7, 2019 - NENG Report on Security, Decentralization, Valuation
Apr 21, 2019 - NENG Fiat Project is Launched by ShorelineCrypto
Sep 1, 2019 - Shoreline Tradingbot project is Launched by ShorelineCrypto
Dec 19, 2019 - Shoreline Tradingbot v1.0 is Released by ShorelineCrypto
Jan 30, 2020 - Scrypt RandomSpike - NENG v1.3.0 Hardfork Proposed
Feb 24, 2020 - Scrypt RandomSpike - NENG core v1.3.0 Released
Jun 19, 2020 - Linux scripts for Futurebit Moonlander2 USB ASIC on solo mining Released
Jul 15, 2020 - NENG v1.4.0 Released for Android Mining and Ubuntu 20.04 support
Jul 21, 2020 - NENG v126.96.36.199 Released for MacOS Wallet Upgrade with Catalina
Jul 30, 2020 - NENG v188.8.131.52 Released for Linux Wallet Upgrade with 8 Distros
Aug 11, 2020 - NENG v184.108.40.206 Released for Android arm64 Upgrade, Chromebook Support
Aug 30, 2020 - NENG v220.127.116.11 Released for Android/Chromebook with armhf, better hardware support
2018 Q3 - Birth of NewEnglandcoin, window/linux wallet - Done
2018 Q4 - Decentralization Phase I
Blockchain Upgrade - Dynamic hashing algorithm I - Done
Cheetah Version I- CPU Mining Automation Tool on Linux - Done
2019 Q1 - Decentralization Phase II
Cheetah Version II- CPU Mining Automation Tool on Window/Linux - Done
Blockchain Upgrade Dynamic hashing algorithm II - Done
2019 Q2 - Fiat Phase I
Assessment of Risk of 51% Attack on NENG - done
Launch of Fiat USD/NENG offering for U.S. residents - done
Initiation of Mobile Miner Project - Done
2019 Q3 - Shoreline Tradingbot, Mobile Project
Evaluation and planning of Mobile Miner Project - on Hold
Initiation of Trading Bot Project - Done
2019 Q4 - Shoreline Tradingbot
Shoreline tradingbot Release v1.0 - Done
2020 Q1 - Evaluate NENG core, Mobile Wallet Phase I
NENG core Decentralization Security Evaluation for v1.3.x - Done
Light Mobile Wallet Project Initiation, Evaluation
2020 Q2 - NENG Core, Mobile Wallet Phase II
NENG core Decentralization Security Hardfork on v1.3.x - Scrypt RandomSpike
Light Mobile Wallet Project Design, Coding
2020 Q3 - NENG core, NENG Mobile Wallet Phase II
Review on results of v1.3.x, NENG core Dev Decision on v1.4.x, Hardfork If needed
Light Mobile Wallet Project testing, alpha Release
2020 Q4 - Mobile Wallet Phase III
Light Mobile Wallet Project Beta Release
Light Mobile Wallet Server Deployment Evaluation and Decision
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Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
Technology and some more:
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
Down the rabbit hole
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here. Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017. Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand. Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”.Scilla design story part 1
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
“Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
Business & Partnerships
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
Marketing & Community
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation
In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.
Typical securities frameworks will cost Canadians millions of dollars (ie Sarbanes-Oxley estimated at $5m USD/yr per firm). Implementation costs of this proposal are significantly cheaper.
Canadians can maintain a diverse set of exchanges, multiple viable business models are still fully supported, and innovation is encouraged while keeping Canadians safe.
Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:
Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.
Regular Transparent Audits
Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.
Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.
Background and Justifications
Cold Storage Custody/Management After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems: • Funds stored online or in a smart contract, • Access controlled by one person or one system, • 51% attacks (rare), • Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or • Some combination of the above. For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program. The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms. • 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective. • The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated. The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II. On The Subject of Third Party Custodians Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems. However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies. There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both. On The Subject Of Insurance ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC. However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.” ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance. In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework. A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians. On The Subject of Fractional Reserve There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds. There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past. Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis. The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users. Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit. The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided. Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense. Hot Wallet Management The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets. However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process. A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage. Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.
Current Draft Proposal
(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage. (a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet. (b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time). (c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. (d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds. (e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers. (2) Regular and transparent solvency audits. (a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row. (b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored. (c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process. (d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify. (e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible. (3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions. (a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets. (b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy. (c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage. (d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange. (e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.
Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized. The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges. The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
When a user navigates from Google to a piece of content Google has recommended (or when a user clicks on a shared cached AMP link), they are, unwittingly, remaining within Google’s ecosystem and the publisher’s domain is obscured by the google.com/amp prefix. To work around this Google introduced Signed HTTP Exchanges ([Draft], , ), a web-standard that allows the browser to display the original site's URL, instead of the actual one (the one with the google.com/prefix). This would solve the original issue, but while doing so it introduced new ones (e.g. it obfuscates the fact that they're delivering the AMP page you're visiting). Interestingly enough, Google's Chrome already has support for this technology, but parties not involved with AMP are not so enthusiastic: Mozilla has deemed it a harmful web standard, and Apple has taken a similar stance.
Google’s entire business model is about collecting as much personal data as possible, AMP is just another tool to do so. As described in Google’s Support article:
“When you use the Google AMP Viewer, Google and the publisher that made the AMP page may each collect data about you.”
The controversies with non-cached AMP pages To be clear, the above flaws are only with AMP pages cached by Google (or another party like Bing or Cloudflare) but there are also plenty of pages simply utilizing the AMP framework, recognized by URLs such as bbc.com/news/amp/. However, these are also problematic, mainly because there's only a small performance improvement when AMP pages aren't cached and AMP pages tend to be less feature-rich and less diverse than their originals. And in some edge cases, it breaks stuff. One could argue that the more popular the AMP framework becomes, the more AMP threatens the open web. That said, it should be clear that the biggest problem lies with the cached AMP pages. AMP is open source, but that doesn't make it holy. Or as Ferdy Christant puts it quite nicely in his blog:
Google’s main defense is that AMP is open source. Which isn’t just a weak defense, it’s no defense at all. I can open source a plan for genocide. The term “open source” is meaningless if the thing that is open source is harmful.
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Check out this browser-extension by Daniel Aleksandersen: 'Redirect AMP to HTML', it makes it that every time you click an AMP page, you will be redirected to the canonical page instead. In other words, it does the the same as u/AmputatorBot and AmputatorBot.com, but fully automatic. I can't recommend this one enough!
Dieter Fishbein, Ecosystem Development Lead, Web3 Foundation
Dan: Hey everyone, thanks for joining us for the Polkadot Launch AMA. We have Dieter Fishbein (Head of Ecosystem Development, our business development team), Logan Saether (Technical Education), and Will Pankiewicz (Master of Validators) joining us today. We had some great questions submitted in advance, and we’ll start by answering those and learning a bit about each of our guests. After we go through the pre-submitted questions, then we’ll open up the chat to live Q&A and the hosts will answer as many questions as they can. We’ll start off with Dieter and ask him a set of some business-related questions.
Dieter could you introduce yourself, your background, and your role within the Polkadot ecosystem?
Dieter: I got my start in the space as a cryptography researcher at the University of Waterloo. This is where I first learned about Bitcoin and started following the space. I spent the next four years or so on the investment team for a large asset manager where I primarily focused on emerging markets. In 2017 I decided to take the plunge and join the space full-time. I worked at a small blockchain-focused VC fund and then joined the Polkadot team just over a year ago. My role at Polkadot is mainly focused on ensuring there is a vibrant community of projects building on our technology.
Q: Adoption of Polkadot of the important factors that all projects need to focus on to become more attractive to the industry. So, what is Polkadot's plan to gain more Adoption? [sic]
A (Dieter): Polkadot is fundamentally a developer-focused product so much of our adoption strategy is focused around making Polkadot an attractive product for developers. This has many elements. Right now the path for most developers to build on Polkadot is by creating a blockchain using the Substrate framework which they will later connect to Polkadot when parachains are enabled. This means that much of our adoption strategy comes down to making Substrate an attractive tool and framework. However, it’s not just enough to make building on Substrate attractive, we must also provide an incentive to these developers to actually connect their Substrate-based chain to Polkadot. Part of this incentive is the security that the Polkadot relay chain provides but another key incentive is becoming interoperable with a rich ecosystem of other projects that connect to Polkadot. This means that a key part of our adoption strategy is outreach focused. We go out there and try to convince the best projects in the space that building on our technology will provide them with significant value-add. This is not a purely technical argument. We provide significant support to projects building in our ecosystem through grants, technical support, incubatoaccelerator programs and other structured support programs such as the Substrate Builders Program (https://www.substrate.io/builders-program). I do think we really stand out in the significant, continued support that we provide to builders in our ecosystem. You can also take a look at the over 100 Grants that we’ve given from the Web3 Foundation: https://medium.com/web3foundation/web3-foundation-grants-program-reaches-100-projects-milestone-8fd2a775fd6b
Q: On moving forward through your roadmap, what are your most important next priorities? Does the Polkadot team have enough fundamentals (Funds, Community, etc.) to achieve those milestones?
A (Dieter): I would say the top priority by far is to ensure a smooth roll-out of key Polkadot features such as parachains, XCMP and other key parts of the protocol. Our recent Proof of Authority network launch was only just the beginning, it’s crucial that we carefully and successfully deploy features that allow builders to build meaningful technology. Second to that, we want to promote adoption by making more teams aware of Polkadot and how they can leverage it to build their product. Part of this comes down to the outreach that I discussed before but a major part of it is much more community-driven and many members of the team focus on this. We are also blessed to have an awesome community to make this process easier 🙂
Q: Where can a list of Polkadot's application-specific chains can be found?
A (Dieter): The best list right now is http://www.polkaproject.com/. This is a community-led effort and the team behind it has done a terrific job. We’re also working on providing our own resource for this and we’ll share that with the community when it’s ready.
Q: Could you explain the differences and similarities between Kusama and Polkadot?
A (Dieter): Kusama is fundamentally a less robust, faster-moving version of Polkadot with less economic backing by validators. It is less robust since we will be deploying new technology to Kusama before Polkadot so it may break more frequently. It has less economic backing than Polkadot, so a network takeover is easier on Kusama than on Polkadot, lending itself more to use cases without the need for bank-like security. In exchange for lower security and robustness, we expect the cost of a parachain lease to be lower on Kusama than Polkadot. Polkadot will always be 100% focused on security and robustness and I expect that applications that deal with high-value transactions such as those in the DeFi space will always want a Polkadot deployment, I think there will be a market for applications that are willing to trade cheap, high throughput for lower security and robustness such as those in the gaming, content distribution or social networking sectors. Check out - https://polkadot.network/kusama-polkadot-comparing-the-cousins/ for more detailed info!
Q: and for what reasons would a developer choose one over the other?
A (Dieter): Firstly, I see some earlier stage teams who are still iterating on their technology choosing to deploy to Kusama exclusively because of its lower-stakes, faster moving environment where it will be easier for them to iterate on their technology and build their user base. These will likely encompass the above sectors I identified earlier. To these teams, Polkadot becomes an eventual upgrade path for them if, and when, they are able to perfect their product, build a larger community of users and start to need the increased stability and security that Polkadot will provide. Secondly, I suspect many teams who have their main deployment on Polkadot will also have an additional deployment on Kusama to allow them to test new features, either their tech or changes to the network, before these are deployed to Polkadot mainnet.
Logan Saether, Technical Education, Web3 Foundation
Q: Sweet, let's move over to Logan. Logan - could you introduce yourself, your background, and your role within the Polkadot ecosystem?
A (Logan): My initial involvement in the industry was as a smart contract engineer. During this time I worked on a few projects, including a reboot of the Ethereum Alarm Clock project originally by Piper Merriam. However, I had some frustrations at the time with the limitations of the EVM environment and began to look at other tools which could help me build the projects that I envisioned. This led to me looking at Substrate and completing a bounty for Web3 Foundation, after which I applied and joined the Technical Education team. My responsibilities at the Technical Education team include maintaining the Polkadot Wiki as a source of truth on the Polkadot ecosystem, creating example applications, writing technical documentation, giving talks and workshops, as well as helping initiatives such as the Thousand Validator Programme.
Q: The first technical question submitted for you was: "When will an official Polkadot mobile wallet appear?"
A (Logan): There is already an “official” wallet from Parity Technologies called the Parity Signer. Parity Signer allows you to keep your private keys on an air-gapped mobile device and to interactively sign messages using web interfaces such as Polkadot JS Apps. If you’re looking for something that is more of an interface to the blockchain as well as a wallet, you might be interested in PolkaWallet which is a community team that is building a full mobile interface for Polkadot. For more information on Parity Signer check out the website: https://www.parity.io/signe
Q: Great thanks...our next question is: If someone already developed an application to run on Ethereum, but wants the interoperability that Polkadot will offer, are there any advantages to rebuilding with Substrate to run as a parachain on the Polkadot network instead of just keeping it on Ethereum and using the Ethereum bridge for use with Polkadot?
A (Logan): Yes, the advantage you would get from building on Substrate is more control over how your application will interact with the greater Polkadot ecosystem, as well as a larger design canvas for future iterations of your application. Using an Ethereum bridge will probably have more cross chain latency than using a Polkadot parachain directly. The reason for this is due to the nature of Ethereum’s separate consensus protocol from Polkadot. For parachains, messages can be sent to be included in the next block with guarantees that they will be delivered. On bridged chains, your application will need to go through more routes in order to execute on the desired destination. It must first route from your application on Ethereum to the Ethereum bridge parachain, and afterward dispatch the XCMP message from the Polkadot side of the parachain. In other words, an application on Ethereum would first need to cross the bridge then send a message, while an application as a parachain would only need to send the message without needing to route across an external bridge.
Q: DOT transfers won't go live until Web3 removes the Sudo module and token holders approve the proposal to unlock them. But when will staking rewards start to be distributed? Will it have to after token transfers unlock? Or will accounts be able to accumulate rewards (still locked) once the network transitions to NPoS?
A (Logan): Staking rewards will be distributed starting with the transition to NPoS. Transfers will still be locked during the beginning of this phase, but reward payments are technically different from the normal transfer mechanism. You can read more about the launch process and steps at http://polkadot.network/launch-roadmap
Q: Next question is: I'm interested in how Cumulus/parachain development is going. ETA for when we will see the first parachain registered working on Kusama or some other public testnet like Westend maybe?
A (Logan): Parachains and Cumulus is a current high priority development objective of the Parity team. There have already been PoC parachains running with Cumulus on local testnets for months. The current work now is making the availability and validity subprotocols production ready in the Polkadot client. The best way to stay up to date would be to follow the project boards on GitHub that have delineated all of the tasks that should be done. Ideally, we can start seeing parachains on Westend soon with the first real parachains being deployed on Kusama thereafter. The projects board can be viewed here: https://github.com/paritytech/polkadot/projects Dan: Also...check out Basti's tweet from yesterday on the Cumulus topic: https://twitter.com/bkchstatus/1270479898696695808?s=20
Q: In what ways does Polkadot support smart contracts?
A (Logan): The philosophy behind the Polkadot Relay Chain is to be as minimal as possible, but allow arbitrary logic at the edges in the parachains. For this reason, Polkadot does not support smart contracts natively on the Relay Chain. However, it will support smart contracts on parachains. There are already a couple major initiatives out there. One initiative is to allow EVM contracts to be deployed on parachains, this includes the Substrate EVM module, Parity’s Frontier, and projects such as Moonbeam. Another initiative is to create a completely new smart contract stack that is native to Substrate. This includes the Substrate Contracts pallet, and the ink! DSL for writing smart contracts. Learn more about Substrate's compatibility layer with Ethereum smart contracts here: https://github.com/paritytech/frontier
Will Pankiewicz, Master of Validators, Parity Technologies
Q: (Dan) Thanks for all the answers. Now we’ll start going through some staking questions with Will related to validating and nominating on Polkadot. Will - could you introduce yourself, your background, and your role within the Polkadot ecosystem?
A (Will): Sure thing. Like many others, Bitcoin drew me in back in 2013, but it wasn't until Ethereum came that I took the deep dive into working in the space full time. It was the financial infrastructure aspects of cryptocurrencies I was initially interested in, and first worked on dexes, algorithmic trading, and crypto funds. I really liked the idea of "Generalized Mining" that CoinFund came up with, and started to explore the whacky ways the crypto funds and others can both support ecosystems and be self-sustaining at the same time. This drew me to a lot of interesting experiments in what later became DeFi, as well as running validators on Proof of Stake networks. My role in the Polkadot ecosystem as “Master of Validators” is ensuring the needs of our validator community get met.
Q: Cool thanks. Our first community question was "Is it still more profitable to nominate the validators with lesser stake?"
A (Will): It depends on their commission, but generally yes it is more profitable to nominate validators with lesser stake. When validators have lesser stake, when you nominate them this makes your nomination stake a higher percentage of total stake. This means when rewards get distributed, it will be split more favorably toward you, as rewards are split by total stake percentage. Our entire rewards scheme is that every era (6 hours in Kusama, 24 hours in Polkadot), a certain amount of rewards get distributed, where that amount of rewards is dependent on the total amount of tokens staked for the entire network (50% of all tokens staked is currently optimal). These rewards from the end of an era get distributed roughly equally to all validators active in the validator set. The reward given to each validator is then split between the validators and all their nominators, determined by the total stake that each entity contributes. So if you contribute to a higher percentage of the total stake, you will earn more rewards.
Q: What does priority ranking under nominator addresses mean? For example, what does it mean that nominator A has priority 1 and nominator B has priority 6?
A (Will): Priority ranking is just the index of the nomination that gets stored on chain. It has no effect on how stake gets distributed in Phragmen or how rewards get calculated. This is only the order that the nominator chose their validators. The way that stake from a nominator gets distributed from a nominator to validators is via Phragmen, which is an algorithm that will optimally put stake behind validators so that distribution is roughly equal to those that will get in the validator set. It will try to maximize the total amount at stake in the network and maximize the stake behind minimally staked validators.
Q: On Polkadot.js, what does it mean when there are nodes waiting on Polkadot?
**A (Will):**In Polkadot there is a fixed validator set size that is determined by governance. The way validators get in the active set is by having the highest amount of total stake relative to other validators. So if the validator set size is 100, the top 100 validators by total stake will be in the validator set. Those not active in the validator set will be considered “waiting”.
Q: Another question...Is it necessary to become a waiting validator node right now?
A (Will): It's not necessary, but highly encouraged if you actively want to validate on Polkadot. The longer you are in the waiting tab, the longer you get exposure to nominators that may nominate you.
Q: Will current validators for Kusama also validate for Polkadot? How strongly should I consider their history (with Kusama) when looking to nominate a good validator for DOTs?
A (Will): A lot of Kusama validators will also be validators for Polkadot, as KSM was initially distributed to DOT holders. The early Kusama Validators will also likely be the first Polkadot validators. Being a Kusama validator should be a strong indicator for who to nominate on Polkadot, as the chaos that has ensued with Kusama has allowed validators to battle test their infrastructure. Kusama validators by now are very familiar with tooling, block explorers, terminology, common errors, log formats, upgrades, backups, and other aspects of node operation. This gives them an edge against Polkadot validators that may be new to the ecosystem. You should strongly consider well known Kusama validators when making your choices as a nominator on Polkadot.
Q: Can you go into more details about the process for becoming a DOT validator? Is it similar as the KSM 1000 validators program?
A (Will): The Process for becoming a DOT validators is first to have DOTs. You cannot be a validator without DOTs, as DOTs are used to pay transaction fees, and the minimum amount of DOTs you need is enough to create a validate transaction. After obtaining enough DOTs, you will need to set up your validator infrastructure. Ideally you should have a validator node with specs that match what we call standard hardware, as well as one or more sentry nodes to help isolate the validator node from attacks. After the infrastructure is up and running, you should have your Polkadot accounts set up right with a stash bonded to a controller account, and then submit a validate transaction, which will tell the network your nodes are ready to be a part of the network. You should then try and build a community around your validator to let others know you are trustworthy so that they will nominate you. The 1000 validators programme for Kusama is a programme that gives a certain amount of nominations from the Web3 Foundation and Parity to help bootstrap a community and reputation for validators. There may eventually be a similar type of programme for Polkadot as well. Dan: Thanks a lot for all the answers, Will. That’s the end of the pre-submitted questions and now we’ll open the chat up to live Q&A, and our three team members will get through as many of your questions as possible. We will take questions related to business development, technology, validating, and staking. For those wondering about DOT: DOT tokens do not exist yet. Allocations of Polkadot's native DOT token are technically and legally non-transferable. Hence any publicized sale of DOTs is unsanctioned by Web3 Foundation and possibly fraudulent. Any official public sale of DOTs will be announced on the Web3 Foundation website. Polkadot’s launch process started in May and full network decentralization later this year, holders of DOT allocations will determine issuance and transferability. For those who participated in previous DOT sales, you can learn how to claim your DOTs here (https://wiki.polkadot.network/docs/en/claims).
Telegram Community Follow-up Questions Addressed Below
Q: Polkadot looks good but it confuses me that there are so many other Blockchain projects. What should I pay attention in Polkadot to give it the importance it deserves? What are your planning to achieve with your project?
A (Will): Personally, what I think differentiates it is the governance process. Coordinating forkless upgrades and social coordination helps stand it apart. A (Dieter): The wiki is awesome - https://wiki.polkadot.network/
Q: Over 10,000 ETH paid as a transaction fee , what if this happens on Polkadot? Is it possible we can go through governance to return it to the owner?
Q: What is the minimum ideal amount of DOT and KSM to have if you want to become a validator and how much technical knowledge do you need aside from following the docs?
A (Will): It depends on what the other validators in the ecosystem are staking as well as the validator set size. You just need to be in the top staking amount of the validator set size. So if its 100 validators, you need to be in the top 100 validators by stake.
Q: Will Web3 nominate validators? If yes, which criteria to be elected?
Q: How did you manage to prove that the consensus protocol is safe and unbreakable mathematically?
A (Dieter): We have a research teams of over a dozen scientists with PhDs and post-docs in cryptography and distributed computing who do thorough theoretical analyses on all the protocols used in Polkadot
Q: What are the prospects for NFT?
A: Already being built 🙂
Q: What will be Polkadot next roadmap for 2020 ?
A (Dieter): Building. But seriously - we will continue to add many more features and upgrades to Polkadot as well as continue to strongly focus on adoption from other builders in the ecosystem 🙂 A (Will): https://polkadot.network/launch-roadmap/ This is the launch roadmap. Ideally adding parachains and xcmp towards the end of the year
Q: How Do you stay active in terms of marketing developments during this PANDEMIC? Because I'm sure you're very excited to promote more after this settles down.
A (Dan): The main impact of covid was the impact on in-person events. We have been very active on Crowdcast for webinars since 2019, so it was quite the smooth transition to all-online events. You can see our 40+ past event recordings and follow us on Crowdcast here: https://www.crowdcast.io/polkadot. If you're interested in following our emails for updates (including online events), subscribe here: https://info.polkadot.network/subscribe
Q: Hi, who do you think is your biggest competitor in the space?
A (Dan): Polkadot is a metaprotocol that hasn't been seen in the industry up until this point. We hope to elevate the industry by providing interoperability between all major public networks as well as private blockchains.
Q: Is Polkadot a friend or competitor of Ethereum?
A: Polkadot aims to elevate the whole blockchain space with serious advancements in interoperability, governance and beyond :)
Q: When will there be hardware wallet support?
A (Will): Parity Signer works well for now. Other hardware wallets will be added pretty soon
Q: What are the attractive feature of DOT project that can attract any new users ?
A: We are working on integrations on all the biggest and best wallet providers. ;)
Q: What event/call can we track to catch a switch to nPOS? Is it only force_new_era call? Thanks.
A (Will): If you're on riot, useful channels to follow for updates like this are #polkabot:matrix.org and #polkadot-announcements:matrix.parity.io A (Logan): Yes this is the trigger for initiating the switch to NPoS. You can also poll the ForceEra storage for when it changes to ForceNew.
Q: What strategy will the Polkadot Team use to make new users trust its platform and be part of it?
Q: What problems do you see occurring in the blockchain industry nowadays and how does your project aims to solve these problems?
A (Will): Governance I see as a huge problem. For example upgrading Bitcoin and making decisions for changing things is a very challenging process. We have robust systems of on-chain governance to help solve these coordination problems
Q: How involved are the Polkadot partners? Are they helping with the development?
Q: Can you explain the role of the treasury in Polkadot?
A (Will): The treasury is for projects or people that want to build things, but don't want to go through the formal legal process of raising funds from VCs or grants or what have you. You can get paid by the community to build projects for the community. A: There’s a whole section on the wiki about the treasury and how it functions here https://wiki.polkadot.network/docs/en/mirror-learn-treasury#docsNav
Q: Any plan to introduce Polkadot on Asia, or rising market on Asia?
**A (Will):**We're globally focused
Q: What kind of impact do you expect from the Council? Although it would be elected by token holders, what kind of people you wish to see there?
A (Will): Community focused individuals like u/jam10o that want to see cool things get built and cool communities form If you have further questions, please ask in the official Polkadot Telegram channel.
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