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VPN Protocol Wars in the Blockchain World

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Placeholder VC partner Joel Monegro, in his formative article on value captured by protocols, explained that shared data layers in decentralized networks and limited supply cryptographic access tokens (i.e., cryptocurrencies) make blockchain protocols valuable and accessible for all.

The proliferation of blockchains has led to an influx of these “fat” protocols, which are capturing more value than the leaner application layers on top vis-à-vis thin ones in traditional internet stacks such as TCP/IP. As a result, decentralized protocol solutions looking to solve various problems have come to the fore.

Some of these problems being the disadvantages in traditional internet communication, centralized control over web accessibility, and mass surveillance. Blockchain-based VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are a solution to this problem. Two major companies that are working on products in this space are Orchid and Tachyon Protocol. With their VPN services going live this month, let’s compare how the two match up.

Web vs. Web 3.0 (source)

An Introduction to Orchid and Tachyon

Orchid is building an open-source internet protocol on top of the internet stack to allow anonymous web access in order to circumvent surveillance states.

It does so by incentivizing users to share bandwidth with others in a marketplace setting. This breaks up traffic and directs it over Orchid’s network of distributed nodes. Kind of a decentralized alternative to TOR (The Onion Router). Launched back in 2017, Orchid has so far raised USD 48M from marquee investors such as Sequoia, DFJ, Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, Box Group, Blockchain Capital, etc.

Tachyon Protocol is building an alternate stack to disrupt traditional communication protocols over the internet in order to eliminate drawbacks in TCP/IP. It is a collaboration between X-VPN and V Systems. X-VPN is a renowned VPN service provider used by 50 million + people worldwide. V Systems is a blockchain database cloud project that uses a unique Supernode-Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism for security. Tachyon brings to fruition years of experience and research by Sunny King (inventor of Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism), Peerchemist (Peercoin Project Leader, and President of the Peercoin Foundation) and FinTech investor Alex Yang. More on the collaborators and team members later.

With a focus on VPN, both platforms are built on public blockchains (Ethereum and V Systems). Nodes on each network need to stake tokens for verification before they can offer traffic to users. In return, they receive crypto payments (in the respective tokens) through smart contracts. However, there are major differences between the two projects that set them apart.

Orchid vs. Tachyon Protocol

Orchid Protocol works on top of traditional internet protocols and creates a privacy layer using blockchain. This is done by using the open-source WebRTC for transmission to perform preliminary data obfuscation and multi-hop to reduce the chances of data theft. Data obfuscation makes Orchid traffic look like normal internet traffic with no identifier to detect that Orchid is being used.

However, this also leads to the possibility of deterioration in the transmission quality of data being moved. In normal practice, data obfuscation has been seen to have adverse impacts on network security and firewall identification. Similarly, multi-hop, while hiding original nodes, does not mask individual node activity in a P2P network. As a result, source nodes can be tracked using traffic analysis. For storage and routing, Orchid uses IPFS and Ethereum’s DHT, respectively.

The Orchid Protocol acts as a layer on top of the normal Internet stack

In comparison, Tachyon Protocol’s approach has been to disrupt the core transmission protocols themselves, thereby providing a more comprehensive solution. It is reconstructing the TCP/IP model using its own iterations of proven P2P technologies – DHT, blockchain, UDP, and encryption.

As opposed to WebRTC, it uses its own Booster UDP to improve network connection success rates and transmission quality. The Tachyon Security Protocol is designed for end-to-end encryption and protocol imitation. With respect to multi-hop, the Tachyon Anti-analysis helps multi-relay forwarding to reduce the risk of information exposure after a single node is attacked. Tachyon also uses its own DHT for routing.

Tachyon Protocol replaces traditional Internet Protocols with distributed technologies

Orchid is built on Ethereum, which is a mature ecosystem with thousands of dApps and platforms built over it. However, in its current state, the Ethereum chain is limited in terms of TPS (transactions per second) and hence leads to performance bottlenecks during times of high traffic.

Orchid Protocol’s whitepaper mentions that if it were to rely on Ethereum solely, the network would allow up to 7 million users only. Comparatively, V Systems, the blockchain on which Tachyon is based, has much higher TPS and hence can theoretically support a billion users. However, it is a smaller ecosystem compared to Ethereum and is relatively newer.

For verification, Orchid Protocol uses a stake weighting plan for nodes with staking time as the adjustable parameter. The initial staking period is set at 30 days, which is good for network security but increases the barrier to entry for user participation since they need to bear more opportunity costs from higher risks of price fluctuations. To solve this issue, Orchid lets nodes with higher/longer stakes to get more traffic.

This, however, runs the risk of Matthew effect: “rich get richer, poor get poorer.” In Tachyon Protocol, staking amounts and staking periods are both adjustable parameters, thereby allowing more parameters to be tweaked in the event of an early-stage attack. The initial staking time is set to 7 days in Tachyon. In order to make up for the opportunity costs of users, the system provides fixed staking rewards to participants.

Key team members of Orchid Protocol are:

  • CEO Dr. Steven “Seven” Waterhouse who co-founded RPX Corp and was a project lead at Fortress, Pantera Capital and Sun Microsystems. Steven has extensive experience in the blockchain industry, with key connections in the VC investment space.
  • Co-Founder Brian J. Fox who was the first employee of the Free Software Foundation and is the author of the GNU Bash shell. Brian has a rich experience in open source community development.
  • Co-Founder Jay Freeman who developed the popular Cydia software.
  • Co-Founder Gustav Simonsson, who helped launch Ethereum and is an authority figure in blockchain security.

Key Tachyon people include:

  • Founding Member Sunny King who invented the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism and is the founder of V Systems blockchain project. Sunny is a cult hero figure in the cryptocurrency space making rare appearances in public to maintain his anonymity.
  • Founding Member Peerchemist who is a project leader at Peercoin. As an OG crypto developer, he is highly regarded in the developer community and maintains a global developer network influence.
  • Founding Member Alex Yang who is a FinTech investor and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience in banking and finance including Nomura as an Executive Director and UBS as a VP. He is also a Co-Founder of Beam Capital.
Sunny King’s first “public appearance” at The Capital event by CoinMarketCap (source)

For making settlements, Orchid uses nano payments, which is also one of its major points of focus. Nano payments allow for a large number of small transactions at low transaction costs. However, nano payments aren’t completely untraceable, and as mentioned earlier, individual node traffic can be tracked to identify source nodes.

In comparison, Tachyon has a unique mainchain payment channel. In addition to allowing for a large number of small transactions, the transaction fees in the sidechain are nil. Payments using this sidechain method are anonymous since they use payment pools. But the implementation complexity is high.

Having analyzed both projects at length, there are certainly pros and cons to both platforms. However, one major advantage that Tachyon has over Orchid is that it is backed by established brands like X-VPN and V Systems, which have been battle-tested by millions of users. As the war of the VPN protocols heats up, it will be interesting to see how these two platforms grow and influence the segment and each other over time.

Blokt is a leading independent privacy resource that maintains the highest possible professional and ethical journalistic standards.

Source: https://blokt.com/blockchain-blog/vpn-protocol-wars-in-the-blockchain-world

Blockchain

Binance to cease these crypto-derivative offerings in Australia

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Once upon a time, regulators around the world weren’t confident about handling the crypto-ecosystem. This attitude, however, has changed of late thanks to the industry’s growth and the interest it has seen from traditional institutions and major investors.

The aforementioned change isn’t universal, alas, with some crypto-entities still coming under a lot of regulatory fire. Binance is a case in point. The platform has come under increased scrutiny from a growing number of regulators worldwide, including regulatory authorities from the U.K, the U.S, the Netherlands, and Canada.

Australia too has now been added to this ignominious list.

According to an official announcement made by the exchange, Binance will no longer offer Futures and Options trading in Australia. It read,

“As Binance constantly evaluates its product and service offerings to comply with local regulations, we will cease offering the following products to existing Australian users: Futures, Options, Leveraged Tokens”

Moreover, it revealed that ‘existing Australian users will have 90 days to reduce and close their positions for these products.’ Post 23 December, users will no longer be able to manually reduce their positions, and all remaining open positions will cease.

What does this mean for Binance and its executives?

Well, the aforementioned step is in alignment with its executives’ aim – To create a sustainable ecosystem around blockchain technology and digital assets. In fact, according to one of its executives,

“Binance welcomes developments to our industry’s regulatory framework as they pose opportunities for the market players to have greater collaboration with the regulators. We are committed to working constructively in policy-making that seeks to benefit every user.”

This move followed last month’s restrictions on Options, margin products, and leveraged tokens (New accounts were barred from engaging in).

And the “nightmare” continues… 

Binance took a similar hit in a different part of the world less than two weeks ago. It discontinued support for trading pairs in the Singapore dollar (SGD), again due to regulatory crackdown(s).
Binance found itself in troubled waters earlier this year, with regulators around the world zeroing in on the top exchange. The regulatory pressure forced the leading crypto-company to adopt a proactive approach to compliance. That being said, the jury is still out on whether these steps have been making any difference?
Moreover, US authorities are probing possible insider trading and market manipulation allegations involving Binance. The exchange, for its part, has denied these speculations. Binance has a “zero-tolerance policy for insider trading,” a statement said.
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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/binance-to-cease-crypto-derivative-offerings-in-australia

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Robinhood Testing New Cryptocurrency Wallet as Demand Rises

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The millennial-focused trading portal is edging closer to launching a long-awaited app that will enable its growing user-base to send and receive cryptocurrencies.

A beta version of Robinhood’s iPhone app showed the company’s latest upgrades on the new digital asset features, according to Bloomberg.

There is a hidden image showing a waiting list for users eager to get their hands on the app and code referring to crypto transfers, it added.

Delving Deeper into Crypto

Robinhood users can already buy and sell cryptocurrencies on the platform but they need to convert them to and from USD. With a native app, users will be able to send crypto assets to each other directly and set up two-factor authentication for additional security.

Robinhood Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev stated that adding crypto wallets is a priority for the company’s developers and they are actively working on such.


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“The ability to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies is tricky to do with scale, and we want to make sure it’s done correctly and properly.”

He did not specify a launch date, but the beta app leak suggests it is not too far away. Users of the new functions will need to activate crypto sending and receiving and the registration page will require an identity check, the report added.

On Sept. 11, CryptoPotato reported that Robinhood had launched incentives to promote longer-term cryptocurrency investing. The zero-fee recurring purchase feature enables users to schedule digital asset purchases for regular intervals with buys as low as a dollar.

This will encourage customers to build their cryptocurrency portfolios over time and “become a whole coiner,” stated Robinhood.

Robinhood Users Hungry For Crypto

Cryptocurrency trading has been one of the biggest drivers of revenue for Robinhood this year. Dogecoin has been the crown jewel, according to the company. It reported that 62% of its $233 million in second-quarter crypto income came from DOGE trading.

It added that more than half of all transaction-based revenue on the platform came from digital asset trading. The firm did warn that Q3 would not be as prosperous due to “seasonal headwinds and lower trading activity across the industry.”

Robinhood share prices have already fallen 43% since their all-time high of a little over $70 in early August. They are currently trading down 1.68% since Monday’s open at $40.70 according to Yahoo! Finance.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/robinhood-testing-new-cryptocurrency-wallet-as-demand-rises/

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Snoop Dogg Reveals His Connection With Twitter Account on NFTs

Snoop Dogg Twitter

Rate this post American rapper Snoop Dogg tweeted on Monday that he’s the owner of a Twitter account that talks about nonfungible tokens (NFTs). The account, named @CozomoMedici, shares “insights and tales from the wild world of NFTs” and has 27.7K followers at the moment. Snoop Dog Claims to Be Popular NFT Advocate on Twitter Snoop Dogg left the crypto community stunned this week after he revealed himself as the owner of a Twitter account dedicated to NFTs.  The account Cozomo de’ Medici, named after an Italian banker, is only a month old. However, it has already garnered attention from industry watchers and even a mention from crypto-focused news outlet The Block.   According to The Verge, the person behind the Medici account had been creating hype around their real identity for “at least a few days” and even conducted a poll for their followers to take a guess. The poll featured Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Matt Bellamy, the lead singer of the rock band Muse. Snoop, however, was not mentioned in the poll. On September 20, @CozomoMedici tweeted that they were about to reveal their identity from their account. Shortly after, Snoop Dogg tweeted “I am @CozomoMedici.”   Interestingly, after making this revelation, the Medici account bought two weed-themed collectibles from an artist named NyanDogg, The Verge reported. Additionally, Snoop’s alleged OpenSea account has been sent  “a cloud of blunt and Snoop-themed NFTs” following the reveal. Is Medici Account an Elaborate Prank? The Medici account could likely turn out to be an elaborate prank, one that Snoop might have engineered himself or just participated in. Many reactions to Medici’s reveal have also expressed skepticism about Snoop’s involvement. “I have a hard time accepting that this account is Snoop Dogg. Like seriously Snoop Dogg muted his live stream for a week (?) by accident. And he is that deep into NFTs out here owning crypto punks… Owning Eth using OpenSea. Would love that to be true but I can’t believe it,” Twitter user @Brandolf485 wrote in the comments. Nonetheless, the crypto community will have to continue looking for concrete proof till Snoop’s involvement with the account is confirmed. 

The post Snoop Dogg Reveals His Connection With Twitter Account on NFTs appeared first on Cryptoknowmics-Crypto News and Media Platform.

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American rapper Snoop Dogg tweeted on Monday that he’s the owner of a Twitter account that talks about nonfungible tokens (NFTs). The account, named @CozomoMedici, shares “insights and tales from the wild world of NFTs” and has 27.7K followers at the moment.

Snoop Dog Claims to Be Popular NFT Advocate on Twitter

Snoop Dogg left the crypto community stunned this week after he revealed himself as the owner of a Twitter account dedicated to NFTs. 

The account Cozomo de’ Medici, named after an Italian banker, is only a month old. However, it has already garnered attention from industry watchers and even a mention from crypto-focused news outlet The Block.  

According to The Verge, the person behind the Medici account had been creating hype around their real identity for “at least a few days” and even conducted a poll for their followers to take a guess. The poll featured Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Matt Bellamy, the lead singer of the rock band Muse. Snoop, however, was not mentioned in the poll.

On September 20, @CozomoMedici tweeted that they were about to reveal their identity from their account. Shortly after, Snoop Dogg tweeted “I am @CozomoMedici.”

Interestingly, after making this revelation, the Medici account bought two weed-themed collectibles from an artist named NyanDogg, The Verge reported. Additionally, Snoop’s alleged OpenSea account has been sent  “a cloud of blunt and Snoop-themed NFTs” following the reveal.

Is Medici Account an Elaborate Prank?

The Medici account could likely turn out to be an elaborate prank, one that Snoop might have engineered himself or just participated in. Many reactions to Medici’s reveal have also expressed skepticism about Snoop’s involvement.

“I have a hard time accepting that this account is Snoop Dogg. Like seriously Snoop Dogg muted his live stream for a week (?) by accident. And he is that deep into NFTs out here owning crypto punks… Owning Eth using OpenSea. Would love that to be true but I can’t believe it,” Twitter user @Brandolf485 wrote in the comments.

Nonetheless, the crypto community will have to continue looking for concrete proof till Snoop’s involvement with the account is confirmed. 

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Source: https://www.cryptoknowmics.com/news/snoop-dogg-reveals-his-connection-with-twitter-account-on-nfts/

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