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Atomic Swaps Enabling Token Trades Across Blockchains

Atomic Swaps Enabling Token Trades Across Blockchains

Rate this post Blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others are decentralized systems to maintain crypto tokens. But when you own some BTC and want to buy some ETH with it, you do this through an exchange. The common exchanges in the market are Coinbase and Binance or if we look at Indian crypto exchanges, there are WazirX, CoinSwitch, CoinDCX, etc. The majority of these exchanges are centralized, maintained by individual companies. Many are custodial wallets, owning your funds, and are vulnerable to security attacks. These are limited by their centralized infrastructure and often unable to handle some heavy influx of user activities. Most importantly, they defy the whole concept of introducing blockchain in the ecosystem in the first place, by bringing in elements of centralization. As per the government norms, in most countries they require government-issued provable identities of the users, making the reach of crypto difficult to each one. This also curtails the anonymization claims of blockchain, putting at risk user privacy. Atomic swap is the way to decentralize the cross-chain exchange. It brings in the required trust in the process by using cryptographic constructs. You no longer need to send your tokens and trust any individual or any centralized service to exchange them or return them to you in case of failure. This is all possible using the technology behind atomic swaps. In the following section, let’s review how this is done. A Direct Way to Exchange Your Tokens Let Alice and Bob be two parties who want to exchange their tokens. Alice has A BTCs and wants to exchange them with B ETHs owned by Bob. As the funds are on different blockchains, there can’t be a direct transaction. Now, in order to exchange funds, Alice and Bob exchange the addresses they want to receive funds on and an exchange rate. Alice initiates the transfer and sends her money to Bob. Bob claims the A BTCs on his Bitcoin address. Now it’s his turn to send the ETHs to Alice, but he may choose not to. There is no contract binding them, and they merely trusted each other. The transactions are non-refundable, so Alice would not be able to do anything in this case.  Another way could be to use an exchange that supports the desired trading pair. This also exposes both users to significant risks. Atomic Swap This is a way to support cross-blockchain operability, secured by cryptography. The participants do not have to trust each other or any third party with their funds. It is supported by the use of smart contracts. When done, an atomic swap results in either successfully swapping the funds, or it fails with both participants keeping their original tokens. It either happens completely or none at all. The atomic swaps are the peer-to-peer exchange of funds across blockchains achieved by the use of programmable escrows called Hash Time-Locked Contracts (HTLCs). These are hash and time-bound conditional payments and do not require any third party. There are two types of conditions enforced through these locks, which are defined using the scripting language: Hash Lock- a hash lock prevents spending locked funds until the preimage for a specified hash which is used to put a lock on the funds is provided by the claiming party. Time Lock- a time lock prevents spending funds until a certain time. When put together in a transaction using scripts, this contract ensures that the funds are transferred if a specific preimage is provided within a deadline, otherwise funds are refunded. The typical scenario of an HTLC is as follows: Alice and Bob exchange information and agree on token amounts to be exchanged and their respective addresses they want to receive funds on. This interaction is done off-chain, generally using a side-channel. Alice puts her BTCs in an HTLC on the bitcoin blockchain. She puts a lock on it using a secret phase and Bob’s public key, which is a hash lock. The use of Bob’s public key ensures that it can only be claimed by Bob. She also sets an expiry (ex. 6 blocks). Bob also puts his ETHs in an HTLC on Ethereum blockchain using Alice’s public key and the hash value of the same secret used by Alice. A shorter deadline for Alice is set here to claim ETHs. To claim ETHs, Alice reveals the preimage (secret phrase) to Bob. Using this disclosed secret, Bob can now unlock his BTCs. Bob enters the correct secret phrase, unlocking and claiming the funds within the expiry period. In case, Bob does not enter the correct secret phase, and/or does not claim the funds within the expiry, the BTCs become available for Alice to claim a refund. HTLCs are supported by blockchains that have the Segregated Witness (SegWit) capability, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc. The first atomic … Continued

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Blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others are decentralized systems to maintain crypto tokens. But when you own some BTC and want to buy some ETH with it, you do this through an exchange. The common exchanges in the market are Coinbase and Binance or if we look at Indian crypto exchanges, there are WazirX, CoinSwitch, CoinDCX, etc. The majority of these exchanges are centralized, maintained by individual companies. Many are custodial wallets, owning your funds, and are vulnerable to security attacks. These are limited by their centralized infrastructure and often unable to handle some heavy influx of user activities.

Most importantly, they defy the whole concept of introducing blockchain in the ecosystem in the first place, by bringing in elements of centralization. As per the government norms, in most countries they require government-issued provable identities of the users, making the reach of crypto difficult to each one. This also curtails the anonymization claims of blockchain, putting at risk user privacy.

Atomic swap is the way to decentralize the cross-chain exchange. It brings in the required trust in the process by using cryptographic constructs. You no longer need to send your tokens and trust any individual or any centralized service to exchange them or return them to you in case of failure. This is all possible using the technology behind atomic swaps. In the following section, let’s review how this is done.

A Direct Way to Exchange Your Tokens

Let Alice and Bob be two parties who want to exchange their tokens. Alice has A BTCs and wants to exchange them with B ETHs owned by Bob. As the funds are on different blockchains, there can’t be a direct transaction. Now, in order to exchange funds, Alice and Bob exchange the addresses they want to receive funds on and an exchange rate. Alice initiates the transfer and sends her money to Bob. Bob claims the A BTCs on his Bitcoin address. Now it’s his turn to send the ETHs to Alice, but he may choose not to. There is no contract binding them, and they merely trusted each other. The transactions are non-refundable, so Alice would not be able to do anything in this case. 

Another way could be to use an exchange that supports the desired trading pair. This also exposes both users to significant risks.

Atomic Swap

This is a way to support cross-blockchain operability, secured by cryptography. The participants do not have to trust each other or any third party with their funds. It is supported by the use of smart contracts. When done, an atomic swap results in either successfully swapping the funds, or it fails with both participants keeping their original tokens. It either happens completely or none at all.

The atomic swaps are the peer-to-peer exchange of funds across blockchains achieved by the use of programmable escrows called Hash Time-Locked Contracts (HTLCs). These are hash and time-bound conditional payments and do not require any third party. There are two types of conditions enforced through these locks, which are defined using the scripting language:

  • Hash Lock- a hash lock prevents spending locked funds until the preimage for a specified hash which is used to put a lock on the funds is provided by the claiming party.
  • Time Lock- a time lock prevents spending funds until a certain time.

When put together in a transaction using scripts, this contract ensures that the funds are transferred if a specific preimage is provided within a deadline, otherwise funds are refunded.

The typical scenario of an HTLC is as follows:

  1. Alice and Bob exchange information and agree on token amounts to be exchanged and their respective addresses they want to receive funds on. This interaction is done off-chain, generally using a side-channel.
  2. Alice puts her BTCs in an HTLC on the bitcoin blockchain. She puts a lock on it using a secret phase and Bob’s public key, which is a hash lock. The use of Bob’s public key ensures that it can only be claimed by Bob. She also sets an expiry (ex. 6 blocks).
  3. Bob also puts his ETHs in an HTLC on Ethereum blockchain using Alice’s public key and the hash value of the same secret used by Alice. A shorter deadline for Alice is set here to claim ETHs.
  4. To claim ETHs, Alice reveals the preimage (secret phrase) to Bob. Using this disclosed secret, Bob can now unlock his BTCs.
  5. Bob enters the correct secret phrase, unlocking and claiming the funds within the expiry period.
  6. In case, Bob does not enter the correct secret phase, and/or does not claim the funds within the expiry, the BTCs become available for Alice to claim a refund.

HTLCs are supported by blockchains that have the Segregated Witness (SegWit) capability, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc.

The first atomic swap was done between Decred coin and Litecoin on Sept 20, 2017. Both cryptocurrencies are forks of the Bitcoin blockchain. Since then, many decentralized exchanges have been set up using atomic swap technology to achieve cross-chain interoperability. 

Exchanges Using Atomic Swaps

    • Atomex: it is a multi-currency crypto wallet with a built-in atomic swap decentralized exchange. It supports trading between bitcoin, ethereum, tezos, litecoin, tether, tzBTC, tBTC and wBTC. During the entire duration of exchanges, the keys are encrypted and saved on the users’ devices.
    • Liquality: this one is a ConsenSys-incubated startup. It is a multi-crypto wallet that also supports atomic swaps. It provides one-click atomic swaps. There is no need to trust a custodian or any counterparty. Users can swap cryptocurrencies using their Liquality, Metamask, or Ledger wallet. Compatible blockchains are bitcoin, ethereum, RSK, and NEAR. Some dApps also use Liquality to facilitate cross-chain swaps, ex. Sovryn, Uniswap and Maker. 
    • DogeDEX: it is a decentralized exchange from the Komodo platform used for P2P trading of Dogecoin. Atomic swaps of dogecoins with bitcoins, litecoins, ethereum, and many other cryptocurrencies can be carried out. It is also compatible with Binance smart chain.
    • Bitcoin<>Monero Atomic Swap: Monero is building a technology to be used for exchanging it with other major cryptocurrencies, like BTC. This is implemented in Monero ecosystem by a project called Farcaster and developed by COMIT team. The HTLC smart contracts used in other exchanges cannot be used in Monero because of incompatibility. It uses Adapter signatures which will be compatible with the bitcoin Taproot upgrade.

Conclusion

As the number of networks increases, there arises a need for operability between them to exchange tokens and data. Today, the DeFi sector is completely built on the exchange of different crypto tokens. Atomic swaps provide a secure and trustless way to easily trade using these applications. They use complex algorithms but provide a cryptographically secure method to trade between blockchains.

READ  U.S. Federal Reserve Publishes Preconditions for Its CBDC

#Atomex #Atomic Swap #Cross-Chain Interoperability #Decentralized exchanges #HTLCs #Liquality

Source: https://www.cryptoknowmics.com/news/atomic-swaps-enabling-token-trades-across-blockchains/

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“Bad For Bitcoin”: Congressman Warren Davidson Blasts Last-Minute Crypto Tax Insertion In Infrastructure Bill

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Biden's Tax Plan Could be Bullish for Ethereum but Bearish for Bitcoin

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As the U.S. Senate plans to hold a popular vote on the proposed infrastructure bill under which a last-minute cryptocurrency tax law was introduced, some believe that the whole bill is ill-fitted due to its vagueness and could prove colossal to the industry and by large, the U.S. economy.

Privacy Concerns

The law, which seeks to subject players in the crypto space to the same regulatory rules placed on various securities such as stocks has disgruntled some industry players as well as legislators who feel that its language is detrimental to the crypto industry. In essence, the government aims at individuals and institutions not only reporting on gains and losses but also any activity associated with crypto, such as the sale of mining equipment.

Congressman Warren Davidson who coined the cryptocurrency language in the proposed infrastructure bill as “the big bank protection act” particularly believes that if passed, it could spell adverse problems on a big chunk of crypto-related activities that might not even need to be taxed. 

The congressman who is an ardent supporter of bitcoin speaking to Bitcoin magazine added that he was not a fan of governments spying on virtually all individual activities with one’s money, especially using the 16th amendment.

“The government just seeks to know too much about you. It really is not the government’s business as to whether you got paid or you ended up paying somebody, did you buy or sell something, gain or lose money – this extends that logic way beyond just collecting taxes, it collects all kinds of information.”  

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Sloppy Language

Davidson further criticized the language in the 16th amendment now inserted to serve in taxing crypto-related activities, terming it as sloppy, dangerous, and must have been advanced by people who were ignorant about the cryptocurrency industry or by people intending to only destroy it.

“Either this language was skilfully crafted to completely new crypto in America or it was willfully ignorant, I mean you would have to work hard to be that ignorant about how much collateral damage this kind of sloppy language would cause ” he added.

He called on Bitcoiners to raise their voices to their senators on the colossal harm the proposed bill could cause to them, and for the country as it threatened not only financial stability but also innovation.

Jerry Brito, the executive director of Coincentre had also raised alarm over the proposed infrastructure bill seeing that it has a provision that could be very bad for crypto, forcing non-custodial actors including miners to comply with IRS tax reporting obligations. He echoed Davidson’s concerns over the broadness in wording which potentially covers miners and DEXs. 

He was however relieved at the fact that arguably miners and DEXs did not have “customers” as defined in the tax code. He posited that despite the last-minute addition to a must-pass bill, he and other stakeholders were working around the clock to make sure that the bill was not passed in its current form ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Portman spokesperson however sought to clarify the language on crypto in the infrastructure bill stating that the language did not redefine digital assets or cryptocurrency as security for tax purposes.

“It simply clarifies that any person or entity acting as a broker by facilitating trades for clients and receiving cash must comply with a standard information reporting obligation.” he said.

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Source: https://zycrypto.com/bad-for-bitcoin-congressman-warren-davidson-blasts-last-minute-crypto-tax-insertion-in-infrastructure-bill/

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Ethereum: Are you wrong to expect ‘changes’ from London

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Ethereum is days away from one of the most important system upgrades since its inception. The London hard fork, the implementation of EIP-1559, is expected to completely change the monetary and economic model of Ether and its network.

These changes are expected to take place after the commencement of the hard fork on 4 August. However, there have been other changes too, each of which has transpired over time for the altcoin.

The issue of transaction fees

One of the most discussed changes expected out of EIP-1559 is that ETH’s transaction fees will become relatively stable. Any entity wanting to conduct a transaction on the Ethereum network is required to pay a “gas fee.” The same is to be paid in Ether, to miners, to process these transactions. During the 2020-2021 bull run, these fees skyrocketed.

Source: Ycharts

In fact, according to the attached chart, the transaction fee was as high as $71 at one point. However, that aspect might end up being tackled before the hard fork itself.

Over the past few weeks, the gas fees for ETH transactions have drastically dropped on the charts. Now, many have suggested that this was due to the bearish market.

Source: Spencer Noon

However, a contradictory argument is that DeFi applications are still rampant. UNI and AAVE registered strong on-chain performances over the past few weeks, and major functionality within these assets rely on the utility of Ether. For both June and July, the Ethereum network’s fees were already under the yearly average. Such a healthy fee market allows for a stronger security budget for Ethereum.

Investment and trading are not the only ways to profit from Ethereum anymore

ETH held on Exchanges

Source: Glassnode

A common bullish argument for Ethereum in 2020-2021 was the fact that it registered massive exchange outflows. Here, the inference was that hodlers were taking the asset out of centralized platforms and simply holding their allocation. It might have been true in late 2019 and early 2020, but right now, the playing field has evolved.

According to data, exchange outflows have definitely increased but the key point remains that more and more Ethereum is flowing into smart contracts. Further, ETH users are pursuing other opportunities to earn interest and yields.

The rise of yield farming and interest lending platforms has opened new avenues for ETH users. The reason being that they are able to earn capital without depending too much on a bullish or bearish cycle.

Changes are coming but, “change” is already here

The industry is evolving at a break-neck speed and Ethereum is gunning towards its massive upgrade. And yet, users should not be expecting ground-breaking changes. In fact, those who are might as well be ‘wrong’ to some extent.

Over the past few weeks, Ethereum has already been incorporating changes that may define its functionality and usage going forward.

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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/ethereum-are-you-wrong-to-expect-changes-from-london

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Bitcoin Cash, Cosmos, VeChain Price Analysis: 01 August

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With Bitcoin soaring up to $42,000 today, other altcoins pumped too. BCH was preparing to test its immediate resistance, ATOM hiked by 8% overnight, and VET flashed signs of an uptrend. 

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash, Cosmos and VeChain Price Analysis: August 1

BCH/USD, TradingView

Bitcoin Cash was trading at $554 on the back of a 2.1% gain over the last 24 hours. From the 4-hour chart, BCH depicted an upward movement towards its immediate resistance of $566. On failing to test the same, the prices could land near the $544 mark and then subsequently rest on $528. 

The Relative Strength Index despite noting a slight fall in buying pressure stayed well within the bullish territory. The green signal bars on the Awesome Oscillator depicted the presence of the bulls in the market.

Conversely, however, the MACD flashed red bars on the histogram at press time after a bearish crossover yesterday, although it was declining in size marking a reversal of the bearish sentiment on the indicator. 

Cosmos (ATOM)

Bitcoin Cash, Cosmos and VeChain Price Analysis: August 1

ATOM/USD, TradingView

ATOM displayed a considerable hike of almost 8% within a day. It alt was priced at $12.88 at press time. If it continued moving on the upside, the token might cross the immediate price ceiling of $12.96. 

If ATOM reaches the $12.96 mark over the upcoming trading sessions, it could expect strong resistance at $13.60. If the coin dips below its current price level, the support region lies at $12.00 and then eventually at $11.53. 

Overall technical outlook of ATOM remained quite bullish with the Relative Strength Index spotted above 60 despite a minor fall. Awesome Oscillator showed amplified green signals bars validating the same. 

Bollinger Bands widened suggesting chances of market volatility as prices kept touching the upper band. 

VeChain (VET)

Bitcoin Cash, Cosmos and VeChain Price Analysis: August 1

VET/USD, TradingView

VET had seen a period of consolidation a few days back, however, it rebounded from that and registered steady gains over the last few days. VET’s price at press time stood at $0.0913 as it recorded a 5.2% gain overnight. 

The technical analysis chart showed that VET witnessed a bullish trade, with the Relative Strength Index touching the overbought zone just 24 hours ago. At press time, however, the indicator fell below the overbought territory.

Chaikin Money Flow, over the last few days, registered increased capital inflows and was pictured in the bullish zone despite the minor fall in capital inflows at press time. 

Bollinger Bands opened up in anticipation of increased market volatility. With prices touching the upper band, the bulls might push the prices higher. The immediate resistance for VET lay at $0.93, failing to test that, the support region awaited at $0.0870 and then at $0.801.

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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-cash-cosmos-vechain-price-analysis-1-august

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