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Bitcoin Miners, Developers Narrow Down How Taproot Will Be Activated

We know it’s going to happen – the question is when and how.

Republished by Plato

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  • Bitcoin miners representing roughly 91% of the network’s hashpower have demonstrated support for Bitcoin’s biggest upgrade in years, Taproot.
  • These activation methods vary the length of time required and whether or not to include a measure that would force the upgrade through full nodes with a “user activated soft fork.”
  • Given miner support, Bitcoin developers believe the upgrade should activate without issue, regardless of the specific proposal chosen.

Now that most all major mining pools have pledged support for Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade, all that’s left is the actual activation – but the members of Bitcoin’s open-source community have to pick the method first. 

There are currently a handful of proposals vying for attention among Bitcoin’s stakeholders. Summing up the differences between them, some of these allot longer activation times than others, and some would allow the upgrade to be “forced” through full node activation if miners don’t put their hashrate where their mouth is when the time comes.

Bitcoin upgrade: multiple paths to one destination

Bitcoin’s biggest upgrade in half a decade, Taproot will enrich Bitcoin’s smart contract scripts, making it easier to execute highly complex transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. Among other things, this will improve multi-signature software and privacy for the network.

(Anna_Ieni/iStock/Getty Images Plus, modified by CoinDesk)

Bitcoin developers have proposed multiple ways to bootstrap the upgrade, but they all rely on some version of Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 8 or Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 9 (BIP8 and BIP9, for short). Each proposal is similar but offers slightly differing approaches to activating the upgrade, which will require cooperation from both Bitcoin miners and node operators to go smoothly.

There are two primary versions of BIP8 vying for attention: one version, called BIP8 (true) includes a “flag day,” at which point the update will be forced via full node activation, even if miners fail to adopt it; and one version, called BIP8 (false), wherein the upgrade simply fails if miners don’t adopt it. “True” designates that the BIP includes forced activation, whereas “false” designates a version of the BIP that doesn’t have forced activation.

Why the addition of the forced activation, you might be wondering? One apprehension going into activation discussions has been whether or not mining pools would adopt the upgrade, considering miner reluctance stymied SegWit’s activation in 2016 and 2017. 

Mining pools that represent roughly 91% of Bitcoin’s hashrate, though, have announced their support for the upgrade as part of an initiative spearheaded by Alejandro De La Torre, a VP at bitcoin mining firm Poolin. Torre said Poolin’s takeaway from the survey is that “BIP9 is the most favorable choice” for activation. 

Bitcoin cannot tell time, so BIP9 allots a signaling period that is gauged by Bitcoin’s block time (whereby a pre-defined period of time is measured via Bitcoin’s block schedule, which can be erratic). If enough miners adopt the upgrade during this timeframe, it is locked in and considered successful; if this threshold is not reached, then the upgrade fails.

Bitcoin miner support could mean easier activation

With miners behind the upgrade, BIP9 could provide the quickest and easiest route to activation, Ben Carman, a Bitcoin developer who has helped review Taproot’s code, told CoinDesk.  

“In the beginning I was in favor of BIP8 because I was worried about miners being able to block the upgrade. However, with things like taprootactivation.com I have moved to being in favor of BIP9. It seems we have basically everyone on board to do the upgrade and BIP9 would be the simplest, as well as only require a couple lines of code to be started. Other methods would require larger code changes to implement new activation logic.”

The other activation methods Carman mentions, BIP8’s differing versions, are similar to BIP9 sans a crucial tweak: BIP8 includes an option to force the update through a “flag day” if miner signaling fails (this option would be employed with the BIP8 [true] activation method). Additionally, a smaller change measures activation time by block height instead of BIP9’s use of block times. 

This change means that if miners don’t adopt Taproot, the update can be forced through full node activation at a certain date with BIP8 (true), or the upgrade can be paused per BIP8 (false) and resumed later. 

If enough miners don’t adopt the upgrade during the signaling period for BIP9, though,  the process fails and must be started over from the beginning.

‘BIP9-style activation’ could come from BIP8

BIP9 has been used in the past for Bitcoin soft forks (upgrades that are compatible with previous software versions). It was originally used to activate the SegWit upgrade, but not enough miners signaled for the update so other means were required. Under this scheme, if not enough miners support an upgrade the signaling period for it merely expires and the process can be repeated.

Jonas Nick, a Bitcoin Core developer who has been one of the leads on Taproot, told CoinDesk that “BIP9 style activation is the least disruptive path and therefore a reasonable choice,” but that it would most likely come from BIP8, hence why this route is called the “BIP9 equivalent.”

Assuming the upgrade will be adopted during the signaling period, the upgrade would be adopted as outlined in BIP9 (i.e., via complete miner support), but using BIP8’s activation logic, which measures the activation window through block times and which can easily be tried again if the upgrade fails.

That’s why, while “no one can say for sure,” Nick believes that fellow Taproot development lead AJ Townes’ proposal (a slight modification of the so-called “gently discourage apathy” route), could win out.

The specifics and timelines of Taproot’s competing activation proposals.
(Alejandro De La Torre/Screenshot/Github)

Taproot ‘flag day’

Under this scheme, miners would have a year to signal for the upgrade. If miners representing 95% of Bitcoin’s hash power signals for the upgrade during this period, Taproot activates without further action. If not, the update undergoes a reviewal period during which developers and miners cooperate to iron out the kinks.

After this period ends, a “flag day” would be coded into the update to force the upgrade through mandatory signalling, whereby node operators would only accept blocks from miners who support Taproot. This would effectively be a “user-activated soft fork” (UASF), the same method proposed to activate SegWit, though the method proved unnecessary because miners adopted the update after the UASF proposal gained traction. This method is known as “forced activation.”

By giving miners plenty of time to upgrade but also maintaining a flag day just in case, the proposal is meant to discourage miners from “not updating out of laziness,” KoinKeep Bitcoin wallet developer Dustin Dettmer told CoinDesk. 

Townes has sketched out what this proposal would look like, but the code for it has not been included into Bitcoin’s software. The method includes BIP8 (false), so this code would need to be reviewed and inserted into Bitcoin Core first, Nick said.

Taproot: Rooted in risk?

Even as Nick and Townes put their weight behind the modified BIP8 implementation, Matt Corallo, another reviewer of the Taproot code, believes the activation method is too risky, even if miners are largely on board.

“The forks in Bitcoin, for better or for worse, define the process and benchmark by which future changes are made and evaluated,” he told CoinDesk. The SegWit block size wars, he continued, set “an incredibly high standard” for how “on-its-face simple change[s]” are made to Bitcoin’s software – namely, with conservative deliberation that takes as few risks as possible.

Corallo believes the mandatory flag day activation method proposed in other methods is unnecessarily brazen and indicates too much influence from Bitcoin’s developer community, unless all other activation methods have been exhausted.

“Some of the proposed activation methods being discussed throw [the lessons learned from SegWit] away, setting a visible precedent that Bitcoin can be changed with almost only developer buy-in and with coercive and marginally riskier activation, opening the door to re-litigating years-settled debates.”

Corallo “doubts activation [will] be an issue,” but he concluded by saying, “I see no reason to take that risk unless all other options have been tried.”

Offering his alternative, Corallo’s own Modern Activated Soft Fork (MASF) takes bits and pieces of both BIP8s. This activation path involves a year-long signaling period for miners. If enough miners do not update during this timeframe, then the upgrade would pause per BIP8 (false) to be subject to a six-month review to make changes (if any) to the proposal. 

If, after this point, Taproot still doesn’t have enough support, then a two-year period begins wherein node operators can push the update through an opt-in, non-mandatory flag day. As opposed to a mandatory option, which would force activate Taproot on all nodes running the latest version of Bitcoin on the flag day, this opt-in flag day would get Taproot up and running only on nodes whose operators chose to upgrade, not the entire network.

Opponents of the MASF proposal say the long activation timeline could result in apathy among users, where the time-lapse has them losing interest in the upgrade so they don’t adopt the code. Still others say that it’s an unnecessarily lengthy process, especially for an upgrade that would benefit multi-signature and privacy technologies waiting for Taproot to bring their projects to fruition.

Bitcoin miners’ preferences

Only one of the respondents to Poolin’s miner poll, BTC.com, favors Corallo’s method. Slush Pool and Ant Pool both responded in favor of the original BIP 8. Poolin itself and NovaBlock want the BIP9 equivalent wherein BIP8 (false) is used sans the flag day, while Luxor is putting its chips on BIP9.

Regardless of which proposal wins out, Jonas Nick conservatively estimates that Taproot’s activation will kick off sometime this year. Given that the upgrade is non-controversial and miners support it, the actual difference between each activation method could be of little consequence, Nick said.

“In my perception, because Taproot has overwhelming support many developers would be fine with any reasonable proposal,” he concluded.

Thank you to Dustin Dettmer for review and feedback.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-miners-developers-narrow-down-how-taproot-will-be-activated

Blockchain

Dogecoin is Everywhere: from Elon Musk to Mark Cuban to John McAfee

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Dogecoin has become the center of attention of famous individuals once again. Mark Cuban said that his NBA team had become the largest DOGE merchant, Elon Musk made an electronic-god reference, while John McAfee used its growing popularity to defend his alleged pump and dump schemes.

McAfee Touted DOGE Before Musk

The love story between the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and the popular meme coin is well-known within the cryptocurrency space. Musk has outlined his support for the asset on multiple occasions.

While some believed that the positive engagements with DOGE came from his trolling nature on social media platforms, Musk has repeatedly found different ways to promote the token. The latest one came on Saturday, as he said that “Doge spelled backwards is Egod.”

His support brought more famous individuals to the scene as well – names such as Snoop Dogg and Gene Simmons. Despite the long-term relationship between Musk and Doge, though, John McAfee recently highlighted that he touted the asset long before Tesla’s CEO.

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McAfee was indicted days ago from the US DOJ for multiple criminal offenses, including his alleged involvement in pump and dump schemes with his “Coin of the Day” campaign. Several years ago, the former antivirus tycoon promoted small-cap altcoins that he supposedly believed were undervalued, but US authorities claimed that he made more than $13 million from illicit schemes.

McAfee argued that the allegations are “overblown” and that he indeed considered those coins to have immense potential. One of them was Dogecoin, which, in his words, “has increased well over 1,000% since I chose it.” Ultimately, he concluded that this was “not a pump and dump.”

Mavs Are the Biggest DOGE Merchant

Another Doge-related engagement from high-net-worth individuals came from the owner of the Dallas Mavericks – Mark Cuban. The billionaire and his NBA team recently announced that they had started accepting Dogecoin payments for game tickets and merchandise on the online store.

A few days later, Cuban updated the community on the performance of this new initiative. He said that the Mavs had received more than 20,000 DOGE in transactions, making them “the largest Dogecoin merchant in the world.”

Furthermore, the start of the reality TV series Shark Tank predicted that DOGE will “definitely” reach $1. With a current price of $0.056, the asset would need a 1,700% increase to reach that milestone.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/dogecoin-is-everywhere-from-elon-musk-to-mark-cuban-to-john-mcafee/

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Brad Garlinghouse: XRP Will Continue Trading Even if Ripple Goes Away

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With the impending legal battle between the SEC and Ripple, the CEO of the payment processor said that XRP will endure even if the company doesn’t.

Simultaneously, Jesse Powell, the CEO of the veteran US exchange, Kraken, believes that offering XRP trading carries “huge asymmetrical risk.”

XRP Will Endure, Says Ripple CEO

Ever since the US Securities and Exchange Commission brought charges against Ripple for conducting an unregistered security offering, the company’s executives have tried to defend their position multiple times.

During the latest such attempt, the CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, called the lawsuit “misguided” and noted that XRP had traded in the US for eight years before the allegations emerged.

Furthermore, he laid his case on why Ripple’s native token is not a security and promised that the asset will survive even if Ripple ceases to exist.

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“If you own a security, it gives you ownership of a company. If Ripple goes away, XRP will continue trading.”

Garlinghouse explained that numerous other countries, such as Singapore, Switzerland, and Japan, all have “clarity and certainty” that XRP is not a security. In contrast, the US is “the only country on the planet that has suggested that XRP is a security.”

Consequently, the executive doubled-down on a previous narrative stating that the lawsuit against Ripple is “bad” for the entire cryptocurrency industry, not just the payment processor. This is pushing entrepreneurs to seek other options as they plan to leave the US.

It’s worth noting that Ripple is one of those companies that contemplated moving outside the US even before the SEC’s charges became official.

Trading XRP Carries Asymmetrical Risk

While Garlinghouse believes that XRP will continue trading even if Ripple is no more, Kraken’s CEO recently highlighted the potential “asymmetrical” risks for exchanges during these uncertain times for the token.

He assumed that the Commission has acted in “good faith” when bringing the charges and believes that judges ultimately “tend to side with agencies.”

As such, Powell asserted that if the SEC wins, then the watchdog would “say that exchanges should have known.”

Although Kraken took its time before making it official, the veteran US exchange joined the list of trading venues that removed XRP in January this year.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/brad-garlinghouse-xrp-will-continue-trading-even-if-ripple-goes-away/

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Ultra (UOS) hits a new all-time high as blockchain gaming and NFTs boom

Republished by Plato

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Video games and online gaming have become some of the largest industries on the planet over the past thirty years as digital technology and the internet have interconnected people from around the world and transformed us into a global society. 

Decentralization and blockchain technology are gathering steam as a transformative new way to operate and build an ecosystem, and Ultra (UOS) is one gaming-focused project that has been gaining momentum in recent months.

Ultra, a blockchain-based PC game distribution platform, is created for gamers and game developers and it allows users to develop multiple revenue streams, including the ability to resell games and in-game items.

Developers for the project have created a customized version of the EOSIO blockchain designed to offer free user account creation and higher transaction throughput through better resource allocation.

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that UOS surged 225% over the past month as the price rallied from $0.132 on Feb. 1 to an all-time high of $0.42 on Feb. 22.

UOS/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

As seen on the chart above, UOS trading volume hit a record $31 million on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22 following its listing on Bithumb.

NFT popularity provides a boost to Ultra

Non-fungible tokens are one of the fastest-growing trends in cryptocurrency currently and UOS has benefited from their growth. The developers at Ultra have been focused on the technology underlying NFTs as they can enable unique in-game items to be resold in multiple marketplaces and eventually on decentralized exchanges. 

Interoperability between blockchain platforms is also a major topic in the crypto ecosystem, and the team at Ultra is developing and beta testing a new mainnet that will retain the ability to operate on Ethereum.

While UOS is interoperable with the EOSIO blockchain, Ultra developers are also exploring NFT interoperability with several other blockchains including The Sandbox (SAND) and Elrond (EGLD). The project also has an evolving partnership withTheta that will enable live streaming gameplay and cross-chain NFT transfers.

Aside from its main association with the gaming giant Ubisoft, recent partnerships with globally recognized companies like semiconductor manufacturer AMD and Atari have also helped propel UOS price higher in 2021.

Big-name partnerships, cross-chain interoperability and the growth of the NFT sector have Ultra well-positioned to benefit from the bullish momentum in the cryptocurrency market.

The games sector is expected to continue its exponential growth for the foreseeable future and as blockchain gaming becomes more popular, UOS could benefit from having the first-mover advantage. 

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/ultra-uos-hits-a-new-all-time-high-as-blockchain-gaming-and-nfts-boom

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