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Blockchain Bites: Goldman Sachs Investigates Crypto Custody, Solving the Blockchain ‘Trilemma’

Republished by Plato

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Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to our U.S. readers! A former Canadian prime minister said bitcoin could become a global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs is reportedly looking to get into the crypto custody business and MetLife is bullish on CBDCs. 

Top shelf

Goldman Sachs jumping in?
Its crypto custody plans will be “evident soon,” according to an internal source. CoinDesk’s Ian Allison reported the major investment bank has issued a request for information to explore digital asset custody, though it is not interested in becoming a prime broker. Last week crypto-native Anchorage attained conditional approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to become a national digital bank.

Updating the base
Coinbase, a bellwether for bull runs because the exchange is likely to go down during periods of heavy volatility, is updating its infrastructure to prevent outages. It will also bring on more customer support. Coinbase has sent smoke signals about going public this year, though it has not yet filed.

Digital “belt and road”
China’s Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) – a permissioned blockchain network for building decentralized applications and tokens – will test a central bank digital currency (CBDC) as early as the second half of 2021, according to a Jan. 15 blog post. Moreover, the network looks to become a blockchain of blockchains with a total of 30 public blockchain integrations slated for this year.

Quick bites

  • NFTs & DEFI: Cointelegraph’s Andrew Thurman speaks to with Aavegotchi’s Jesse Johnson. (Cointelegraph)
  • BITCOIN BUBBLE? Nope! (CoinDesk opinion)
  • RESERVE CURRENCY: Former Canadian prime minister lists bitcoin as possible reserve currency. (CoinDesk)
  • VOLATILITY FEARS: Bloomberg reports bitcoin price swings are keeping CFOs from the market. (CoinDesk)
  • WHAT’S MONEY? Not CBDCs, IMF survey respondents seem to think. (Decrypt)
  • BITCOIN RESURGENCE: Nic Carter explains. (New York)

Market intel

Linked to bitcoin?
LINK, the native token of the Chainlink oracle system, has hit a fresh all-time high as bitcoin trades sideways. CoinDesk’s Omkar Godbole called LINK’s new high at $23.68 (the previous lifetime high of $19.90 was reached in August,) set in overnight trading. Link is just one of many altcoins that are benefiting from consolidation in bitcoin markets and a rotation of capital into more speculative bets, Godbole reports.

At stake

Trilemma dilemma?
MetLife is the latest legacy financial institution to take a hard look at crypto. In a primer titled “The Blockchain Blockbuster,” MetLife Investment Management (MIM), the life insurance giant’s investment wing, examined the nature of money from “Yapese stones to central bank digital currencies.”

My colleague Will Foxley reported that MIM thinks CBDCs are anything but “a passing fad,” (MIM’s words) and represent the “logical progression of money and technology” (Foxley’s words). “[J]ust as the dreams of cryptocurrency developers tend to be rather lofty, so are those of various CBDC initiatives,” the document states.

The 18-page report, published Jan. 8, honestly didn’t say much more than that. It argued that interest in CBDC development was spurred by the explosion of digital assets unleashed after Bitcoin came on the scene. And concluded by saying “western countries” could potentially look towards China’s digital yuan experiment as a guide. Neither points are really debatable, but debate we must!

There is one smaller point worth examining. While Alexander Villacampa and Jun Jiang, the paper’s authors, appear to think CBDCs and cryptocurrencies can (and will) exist side-by-side, there was a moment of existential conflict. I quote:

“Bitcoin and its ilk are constantly battling to maintain a balance between three key concerns known as the ‘Blockchain Trilemma.’ The trilemma, often visualized as a triangle, consists of three issues related to sustainable public blockchain development: scalability, decentralization, and security. It is assumed in the trilemma that by strengthening any one of the triangle’s vertices, at least one of the others must weaken.”

The “scalability trilemma,” attributed to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, is a (often constructive) criticism of blockchain networks. Although it’s fallen out of “the discourse” in recent years – a quick Google search showed that the problem was often used as a marketing tool for blockchains that supposedly solved the issue in 2018 – plenty of smart people are still thinking about it.

Called the trilemma, the concept can actually be reduced even further to a sliding scale of decentralization and centralization, with pros and cons of moving between the two. It posits developers can’t have everything when it comes to efficiency and security. Optimizing for decentralization naturally makes the network slower, though more secure. Centralization reduces security, by introducing a single entity that can be attacked, but improves transaction throughput. Simple enough!

But is it right? In 2018, in the heyday of the trilemma, most people cited Bitcoin and Ethereum’s proof-of-work consensus algorithm (the networks’ security design) as prime examples of how decentralization reduces transaction throughput. Thousands of miners create a secure, but slow, network.

Bitcoin developers are looking at layer 2 solutions, like Lightning, to create a usable payments system out of a secure base, while Ethereum developers are exploring layer 2s and a network overhaul. In many of these instances the solution is moving and processing some transactions off-chain, limiting how much a decentralized blockchain can get in the way.

While it’s clear that the contours of the trilemma are real and should be addressed, the real solution is probably to ignore the framing. The tradeoff between scalability and security is a problem that exists across the payments universe. Bitcoin is cumbersome though accessible to anyone, and Visa is lightning-fast but entirely prone to “financial censorship.”

This isn’t to take the Bitcoin Maximalist view that bitcoin is a store of value and doesn’t need to be a payments system, but it is an admission that there’s room in the world for multiple types of systems that all optimize for different things.

Circling back to CBDCs, as Villacampa and Jiang note, the “expansion of electronic payment systems via blockchain technology that has captured the interest of central banks who believe they are uniquely capable of providing not only a better alternative but also able to lay the foundation for an officially-sanctioned global electronic payments regime.” If that includes researchers that think they’ve solved the “scalability trilemma,” more power to them.

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Source: https://www.coindesk.com/blockchain-bites-goldman-sachs-crypto-coinbase

Blockchain

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

Republished by Plato

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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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