Goodbye Bitcoin Cash? Microsoft: On-Chain Scaling ‘Degrades Decentralization’

Microsoft has concluded that so-called ‘layer 2’ solutions are necessary for Bitcoin to scale and is “collaborating” on the technology.


Microsoft: On-Chain Fails To Meet Capacity Needs

In a blog post on Monday, Director of Program Management at Microsoft’s Identity Division Alex Simons said that layer 2 scaling solutions, which principally involve the Lightning Network, are superior to on-chain scaling.

Simons writes:

While some blockchain communities have increased on-chain transaction capacity (e.g. blocksize increases), this approach generally degrades the decentralized state of the network and cannot reach the millions of transactions per second the system would generate at world-scale.

He later continues:

To overcome these technical barriers, we are collaborating on decentralized Layer 2 protocols that run atop these public blockchains to achieve global scale, while preserving the attributes of a world class DID (decentralized identity) system.

The post marks what is likely Microsoft’s most direct pledge yet on the future of public blockchains, including Bitcoin.

The computer giant’s description of on-chain scaling options as “degrading decentralization” in particular places it in opposition to Bitcoin hard forks offering bigger block sizes, specifically Bitcoin Cash.

The fork has long attracted criticism from some of Bitcoin’s earliest proponents, with computer scientist Nick Szabo calling the network “centralized sock puppetry” last year.

The resources it will now employ to further development of layer 2 remains unknown.

Lightning Network Passes Bitcoin Cash Node Count

Lightning Network Passes Bitcoin Cash Node Count

“We are humbled and excited to take on such a massive challenge, but also know it can’t be accomplished alone,” Simons continues.

“We are counting on the support and input of our alliance partners, members of the Decentralized Identity Foundation, and the diverse Microsoft ecosystem of designers, policy makers, business partners, hardware and software builders.”

The Lightning Network had already made considerable advances this year, debuting its first mainnet release and growing rapidly to incorporate almost 2000 nodes as of February 13 – more than the Bitcoin Cash network.

The highly-anticipated layer 2 technology would serve to make Bitcoin transactions cost fractions of a US dollar cent and complete almost instantaneously.

What do you think about Microsoft’s appraisal of layer 2 scaling solutions? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Lightning Network Explorer, Pexels

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Crypto Olympics: TRON (TRX) vs. Litecoin (LTC)

Welcome to the Crypto Olympics: Day 3!

Check out Day 2 of the Crypto Olympics

Coin vs. Coin – who will be crowned the Crypto Olympics Champ?

It’s been a great first couple of rounds of the Crypto Olympics. On Day 1, TRON came away the winner; Day 2 crowned Litecoin as the winner. Today, we’ll be seeing our first two winners face off with each other!

In case you’ve missed the rules, here’s a quick rundown: we start with two coins and measure their gains and losses between 9:00am and 4:00pm …

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European Supervisory Authorities “Concerned” About Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have shown clear signs of a pricing bubble and consumers could lose all of their money, the European Union’s banking, securities, and insurance watchdogs said today, February 12th.

The European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) for securities, banking, and insurance and pensions said in a joint statement that they were “concerned” about an increasing number of people buying virtual currencies without being aware of the risks involved.

The warning was requested by European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, who said last month that the agencies must prevent cryptocurrencies from becoming a “token for unlawful behavior.” There will be a meeting of key authorities and the private sector soon to assess the longer-term situation for cryptocurrencies beyond current market swings, he said.

“The ESAs warn consumers that VCs (virtual currencies) are highly risky and unregulated products and are unsuitable as investment, savings, or retirement planning products,” the group of watch dogs said. The agency went further, arguing that cryptocurrencies can be volatile and show “clear signs of a pricing bubble.” They added that people investing in them should be conscious of the high risk that they could “lose a large amount, or even all, of the money invested.”

Markus Ferber, Vice Chair of the European Parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee, said the warning was overdue and “Wild West” virtual currencies should be regulated like other financial instruments. “I expect the Commission to take the warnings by the three supervisory authorities seriously and issue a legislative proposal in this regard as soon as possible,” Ferber said.

As virtual currencies and the exchanges used to trade them are not regulated under EU law, the regulators warned that cryptocurrency investors are not protected in the event of an exchange going out of business or a cyber-attack.

The EU joins a number of government authorities in raising concern over cryptocurrencies. Last week Germany and France asked the Group of 20 Economies (G20) to discuss possible regulation for cryptocurrencies at its next meeting. South Korea recently introduced measures to tackle speculation in the sector, banning the use of anonymous bank accounts in cryptocurrency trading. And Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said recently that his government will take measures to “eliminate” the use of cryptocurrencies in “illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.”

Looking outside these recent announcements from governmental bodies and agencies, it’s not all doom and gloom. Across Europe smaller banks are looking forward to giving investors access to cryptocurrencies without any major hurdles, and some are even offering advice on initial coin offerings as well. Two stand-outs are Falcon Bank and Vontobel, you can read more about them here.

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IMF: Cryptocurrency Regulation is ‘Inevitable’

The cryptocurrency market has largely operated free from regulation since Bitcoin first came about in 2009. With crypto on everyone’s minds these days, however, the IMF says Bitcoin regulation is an unavoidable eventuality.


“It’s Inevitable”

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde, it’s not a matter of “if” cryptocurrencies will be regulated by world governments, but rather “when.” Explained Lagarde to CNNMoney:

It’s inevitable. It’s clearly a domain where we need international regulation and proper supervision.

Lagarde also joined in on the rhetoric that cryptocurrencies are largely utilized by criminals, claiming at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday that “there is probably quite a bit of dark activity [in cryptocurrencies].” Thus, it is her belief that Bitcoin regulation should be focused less on individual or collective entities and more on fraudulent or criminal activities.

Echo Chamber

Lagarde is not alone in thinking government regulation is on the horizon.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Brian Quintenz agrees and has called upon the cryptocurrency industry and advocates to form their own self-regulatory organization (SRO) before governments get more involved.

CFTC

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also believes stricter regulatory measures must be taken against those utilizing cryptocurrency for illegal purposes, stating:

We encourage fintech, we encourage innovation, but we want to make sure that all of our financial markets are safe and aren’t being used for illicit activities.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has also expressed concerns over cryptocurrency’s criminal usage, stating that she is looking “very seriously” at cryptocurrencies “because of the way they are used, particularly by criminals.”

Bitcoin Germany

French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire and interim German Finance Minister Peter Altmaier are also calling for cryptocurrency regulation, but for a different reason. Rather than fearing criminal usage of virtual currencies, they’re afraid that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could disrupt traditional financial structures, writing:

Given the fast increase in the capitalization of tokens and the emergence of new financial instruments … these developments should be closely monitored.

The World Gold Council believes Bitcoin could undermine central banks, and many major banks themselves have already taken measures to discourage or outright prevent cryptocurrency purchases.

Thus far, however, regulation has largely been confined to discussions in echo chambers and law enforcement operations against cybercriminals.

Will 2018 be the year of regulation for cryptocurrency? If so, what type of measures do you see being taken in your country? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock.

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New Technology Records Global Marriages on Blockchain

Distributed ledgers can be used to record different kinds of data. While most efforts focus on the financial sector right now, there are plenty of other use cases for blockchain as well. Recording marriages on a distributed ledger is an option well worth exploring as of right now. Especially given the current marriage laws in the world, it is only normal better solutions have to be found.

Blockchain technology will transform most business models as we know them today. That is a positive situation, as a lot of business aspects can be streamlined and made cheaper. It now seems this same technology impacts our society as a whole in different ways as well. In the future, we may see more marriages being recorded on a blockchain. While that may sound strange, there’s a lot of merit to this concept as well.

Recording Global Marriages on the Blockchain

Most marriage laws have not been changed in the past few decades. While that is only normal, it also shows the time for innovation is right now. There are some ridiculous requirements to deem a marriage valid these days. It can depend on location, the certificate issues, and so forth. A unified system to record all of these ceremonies once and for all simply makes a lot more sense. Up until now, there has been no viable solution in this regard, but that will change in the near future. After all, an invalid marriage can also affect people’s immigration status and inheritance rights.

With blockchain technology, it effectively becomes possible to address most problems. A transparent global marriage registry will open up a lot of new opportunities, assuming it will be developed in the future. Such a solution provides a permanent record of couples’ intentions regardless of international boundaries. Not only does it offer protection, but it would transform the concept of marriage altogether. Decentralizing marriages will certainly introduce a lot of interesting changes in the future.

It is only a matter of time until technology affects this particular industry in a positive manner. On paper, it changes nothing in the way a marriage is conducted officially. On the administrative site, however, it certainly introduces a few interesting changes. It effectively allows for all types of marriages to be formed, assuming they are legally acceptable. A lot of new opportunities will be created, especially when it comes to same-sex marriages and polyamorous relationships. The big question is when such a platform will be built.

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4New: Blockchain Powered by Free Energy

The first law of Thermodynamics states “Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It simply transforms itself from one form to another.” No where is this law better applied than in the case of 4NEW, the world’s first waste to energy power plant entirely integrated on the blockchain.


When interviewing for this story with the founder, Mr. Varun Datta, the elegant architecture of the 4NEW vision became crystal clear. Most companies tend to take a two dimensional view at solving a problem. For example, if there are energy inefficiencies within the marketplace, as is the case with our world today, then exchanges prop up to help alleviate inefficiencies by matching buyers to sellers and acting as an intermediary.

While there is great scalability in this business model, nevertheless, its impact is limited to creating efficiency. This business model is similar to that of Dell Inc., whereby inventory is matched with a real time order book thereby limiting the need for inventory management or storage. Nevertheless, while scalability is the strength of this business model, lack of long term retention of customer base is its weakness.

In contrast, 4NEW’s view is that of building an ecosystem. 4NEW’s business model resembles that of Apple Inc, where you have the ability to avail numerous services all powered and sustained by the 4NEW power plant entirely dedicated to its blockchain. This comprehensive, encompassing approach to sustaining the blockchain was exactly why the blockchain came into existence in the first place.

Armed with the ability to provide free energy though its Waste to Energy power plant, 4NEW is equipped not only with the first mover advantage but also an unmatchable competitive edge that will propel the company into cementing itself as one of the dominant players within the crypto-community.

4NEW’s coin, KWATT, which is currently undergoing an ICO, will be in utilization by healthcare companies, money transfer companies and telecommunication companies all slated for active operations upon completion of 4NEW’s blockchain this spring. Moreover, there is significant interest from other industry actors that don’t care for ICOs but rather be integrated on a blockchain that is truly energy efficient for long term sustenance. This comprehensive, encompassing, energy efficient blockchain solution is what will catapult 4NEW to become a one stop shop just as Apple Inc has become in our lives.

4NEW’s waste to energy power plant will be installed and in operational use by summer this year. As we are all aware, energy consumption is at the heart of all problems related to cryptocurrencies. Revenue generated from the collection of waste truly allows 4NEW to not only generate and produce free energy but also solve two global crisis’, Waste Surplus and Energy Shortfall.

Since 4NEW acts as a producer of energy, they own the energy they produce unlike other players who may rely on power plants like 4NEW to provide them with energy. In this capacity, 4NEW is not only a pioneer at tokenizing electricity, however, they are also the first infrastructure project dedicated to the blockchain.

In the evolution of cryptography, it is finally refreshing to see the next leap forward, whereby free energy will power the next wave of blockchains which will inherently enable widespread and mainstream adoption of the blockchain at a nominal cost.

Will ‘free energy’ became a viable method for powering blockchains in the future? Share your thoughts below! 


Images courtesy of  Shutterstock

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Gibraltar Government to Launch ICO Regulations

ICO regulations

Last month, the world was informed that the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange will roll out its very own initial coin offering (ICO). The ICO offering commenced on February 7 and will close three days from now. Two days after the ICO offering began, Reuters reported that the public should expect in the coming weeks to see a draft law surface from both the Gibraltar government and Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. Reportedly, the draft law will put forth the ICO regulations in the British overseas territory.

For those who don’t know, the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange is a subsidiary …

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Few Days Left to Get Whitelisted for BnkToTheFuture BFT Token Sale

BnkToTheFuture, the world’s largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies has been facilitating investments in Bitcoin and Blockchain companies with securities law in mind since before ICO’s were born. The platform has so far witnessed investments worth over US$270mln from over 50,000 global professional investors who are very much interested in funding the future of finance and technology. Through BnkToTheFuture, they are investing in the equity of the most valuable FinTech, Blockchain and Bitcoin companies.

Their next challenge for the platform aims to develop a marketplace for trading securities tokens on their compliance-driven platform.  The BFT token sale is now whitelisting for their main sale for those that want to use the BF Token on their new due diligence and investor relations portal. After being whitelisted, members can purchase the BF tokens during its public sale starting February 16, 2018.

What’s so special about BF Token Team?

BnkToTheFuture started investing in the equity of entities some of which have become the most valuable companies in their respective verticals. Some of the familiar companies on the list include the likes of Kraken, BitFinex, ShapeShift, BitStamp and over 100 others. The company has been the early backer of a number of early tokens like Ethereum, MaidSafe, Storj and various other early ICOs or token sales.

The experienced BnkToTheFuture team stayed ahead of regulations, registration and licensing requirements while the rest of the players are sensing the pressure of regulatory enforcement actions. The token is designed to unlock priority access to deals for qualifying members of their platform as well as open up a new due diligence and BFT rewards platform for those that wish to be involved in improving deal selection, due diligence and investor relations with the goal of creating a more transparent market for securities tokens.

Get Whitelisted Now

If you want to participate in the BF token sale, starting from February 16, 2018, you must get whitelisted by 10pm UTC on February 13, 2018. Only whitelisted purchasers are able to take part in the BFT main sale.

How to Get Whitelisted?

Users can get their ETH address whitelisted here, until February 13, 2018. Non-whitelisted addresses transactions will fail if they try to purchase in the main sale. Users are also required to enter the details of their BnkToTheFuture.com account. If you have not yet made an account, you can create one here and upload your identity documents.

Once users complete this step, they can come back to the platform on February 16, 2018, and all whitelisted addresses having BnkToTheFuture Accounts can purchase between 10,000 to 100,000 BF tokens out of total 30,000,000 BF tokens, based on “First Come-First Serve” basis.

The Bottom line

The BFT Public Sale is already anticipating a huge demand. If you want to purchase BFT, you must be ready by the time the public sale starts. Visit https://bf-token.bnktothefuture.com/ to get yourself whitelisted before the time runs out.

 

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Bankera ICO Raises Over 100 Million Euros From Record-Breaking Number of Contributors

Vilnius, Lithuania, February 2018 – Bankera (https://bankera.com/) aims to become the bank for the blockchain era and is already making splashes in the ICO world. To date, their ICO has collected over 100 million euros from over 80,000 contributors making Bankera’s ICO the biggest in regard to the number of contributors.


ICO with a Working Product

A large driving force behind the success of Bankera’s ICO is the well-established company SpectroCoin (https://spectrocoin.com/). SpectroCoin is Bankera’s MVP, or minimum viable product. With SpectroCoin, investors can already see results and reap the benefits of the technology in which they are investing. Currently, more than 750,000 clients are using the SpectroCoin platform for services such as fiat and cryptocurrency wallets, free and instant peer-to-peer transfers, debit cards, exchange, and payment processing services, but, uniquely, clients can also claim IBANs for SpectroCoin accounts. An MVP like SpectroCoin not only makes Bankera less risky and different from any other ICO, but it also allows investors to use the technology they are financing in a fashion that is unprecedented in the ICO world. However, Bankera plans to go beyond payment processing and offer an array of banking services, such as savings and loans accounts, as well as low-cost investment products, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and crypto funds.

A Team of Experts

Bankera has only gotten this far due to its unparalleled team and an advisory board that includes notable figures as Lon Wong, president of the NEM.io foundation, and Eva Kaili, a member of the European Parliament. With industry experts in fields from IT to Banking to UX/UI, Bankera has only the best of the best working to take Bankera to the next level.

Bankera’s Own Exchange Platform

On top of a functional MVP, Bankera is now offering clients and investors the ability to try out Bankera’s exchange platform (https://exchange.bankera.com/), which is currently still in the demo phase. After Bankera’s exchange service is fully launched, it will support most cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, DASH, Ethereum, NEM, Litecoin, as well as ERC20 and NEM mosaic tokens). For Bankera, this exchange platform will also ensure that BNK tokens will be listed on a world-class trading platform.

How to Join the ICO

To raise funds for the project, Bankera has organized an ICO. The ICO is still live and is taking place on the SpectroCoin platform. Contributors can choose from more than 20 different payment methods when purchasing BNK tokens. These include a variety of cryptocurrencies, such as ETH, BTC, DASH and XEM, and fiat currencies like EUR, GBP, and USD. The current token price is 0.021 EUR per BNK with soft-caps of 0.001 EUR added for every billion tokens sold.

All BNK owners are entitled to a weekly commission constituted of 20% of both: SpectroCoin’s and Bankera’s net transactional revenue. Bankera has been paying this commission since the beginning of its Pre-ICO. Once Bankera is fully operational, token holders will be able to use BNK to pay for Bankera’s services at a discounted rate.

A detailed discussion on the Bankera ICO can be viewed in their Whitepaper here. For complete information on the Bankera Platform, please visit https://bankera.com/.

Media Contact:

Bankera.com
Attn: Media Relations
Vilnius, Lithuania
+370 52 595999
ruta@bankera.com


Images courtesy of Bankera

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NANO (XRB) Plummets after $170 Million Stolen on BitGrail

NANO (XRB)

It was announced yesterday that BitGrail, the Italian cryptocurrency exchange, lost 17 million of the cryptocurrency NANO (XRB). To date, the hack is worth over $170 million USD.

A week ago, RaiBlocks rebranded to Nano and jumped in price nearly 40% in 24 just hours.The rebranding was highly anticipated by most in the project’s community but not all were certain it would be the best move. Non-the-less, it seemed to have been a positive move until now.

Nano provides fast, easy and free transactions on its blockchain. These transactions can be done on an …

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