$160+ million in Ethereum could flood the market from Plus Token Ponzi

History’s third largest Ponzi, Plus Token, took in nearly 10 million Ethereum—worth $1.9 billion—from over 800,000 victims, according to analysis conducted by Elementus. These coins have the potential to flood the ETH market should the perpetrators cash out.

Background on the Plus Token Wallet Ponzi

Plus Token Wallet, a mobile app promoted across China, South Korea, and South East Asia promising monthly returns upward of 10 percent, collapsed late June—leaving its mark as the world’s third largest Ponzi scam.

Yet, only recently have researchers uncovered the magnitude of the scheme. A few days ago, evidence showed that over $2.1 billion Bitcoin was sitting in Plus Token wallets. These coins may find their way back on to the market, shocking prices with a glut of supply.

Today, an analytics firm released details behind an additional $1.9 billion Ethereum that were taken in by the scam.

Deeper analysis on the Ponzi’s damages

Elementus, a company which indexes and organizes blockchain data, released an analysis showing that the Ponzi collected 9.9 million ETH—worth roughly $1.9 billion at current prices. Of that Ethereum, over 9 million of that seems to have been paid out to “winners” of the pyramid scam.

What remains is 830,000 ETH (~$160 million), which has seen no movement since the end of June. The halt in activity coincides with the arrest of ringleaders from the scam, meaning these coins may be stuck in limbo. Deposits into these Plus Token wallets stopped around June 27, the same time the supposed scam organizers were arrested by Chinese authorities on the island of Vanuatu.

AddressETHUSD
0xf4a2eff88a408ff4c4550148151c33c93442619e790,000$154 million
0xef13a2c29f7a433aff08c60007bc276a64c7bdf520,000$3.9 million
0x32b0ccd7fd17f2a03fd0346378e750fe1c5e219411,300$2.2 million
Total829,833$160.1 million

Pessimistically, other second-level ringleaders may have access to these wallets and find ways to dump the coins on exchanges. Optimistically, the arrest of the top-level organizers may mean these coins are lost forever, taking the coins out of circulation and improving the scarcity of Ether.

Given this new data, cumulatively, the Plus Token scam caused at least $4 billion in damages. This astronomical figure cements Plus Token as the third largest Ponzi scheme of all-time, handily placing it ahead of other multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency scams such as BitConnect and OneCoin.

Are the scammers cashing out?

What’s still unclear is whether large transfers out of Plus Token-related wallets are going to “winners” or other second-level organizers inside the scheme. So far, the top 1 percent of participants were able to make-off with millions in Ethereum, each.

Below is a list of the top payout recipients and the associated Ethereum addresses.

Elementus table of top recipient Ethereum addresses
Source: Elementus

Of these withdrawals, 48 percent of payouts went to the mainly Chinese exchange Huobi (now based in Singapore after China’s exchange ban). Other exchanges that were used for liquidating illicit funds include ZB.com at 8.0 percent and Upbit at 5.8 percent.

Bubble graph of recipient addresses grouped by exchange
Source: Elementus

Depending on the nature of these withdrawals, the recipients of these funds may also be putting downward pressure on the price of ETH. If so, much more than $160 million could enter the Ethereum markets.

Watch out for scams

Cryptocurrency is still poorly understood by the public. This, when combined with the brain-melting gains seen during the bull market of 2017 and Bitcoin’s ascent to a $180 billion dollar asset class, means crypto is the perfect breeding grounds for ‘believable’ cash grabs and exit scams.

Investors need to remain vigilant. It’s easy for a company to make claims that it’s creating a “new paradigm” or “reinventing an industry.” Building a profitable startup, however, is much harder.

Additionally, firms promising retail investors returns via crypto mining, arbitrage, or algorithmic trading are likely scams. Legitimate ventures into these areas seldom solicit funding from retail investors (if they were truly profitable they wouldn’t need money from small-time investors). Ultimately, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Even Bitcoin, the safe haven among crypto veterans, is fraught with risk and volatility. Do your own research, and don’t play with money you can’t risk losing.

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0+ million in Ethereum could flood the market from Plus Token Ponzi

Layer 2 protocol nahmii announces partnership with a Norweign crypto exchange

Nahmii, a second-layer scaling solution built for the Ethereum blockchain, recently announced that Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX) will become the first member of the nahmii’s Foundation governing association.

The goal of the project is to improve Ethereum’s capabilities for small and large-scale commercial use. It aims to increase Ethereum’s transactions per second from 15 to beyond the scalability of fiat payment processors like Visa. The team at nahmii also plans to launch commercially-viable scaling to other blockchains, such as Bitcoin (via RSK) and Libra.

In order to move the adoption of the nahmii protocol forward, hubii AS (the creators of nahmii) established the nahmii Foundation. This organization is responsible for key activities related to nahmii protocol governance, including determining transaction fees.,The nahmii Foundation will also hold 20 percent of the nahmii (NII) token supply.

Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavia’s largest airline and Europe’s third-largest budget airline, is launching NBX to provide customers with new payment processing services. With every trade on NBX, users will be able to earn CashPoints that can be redeemed for flight discounts as part of Norwegian Air Shuttle’s loyalty program.

Bjørn Kjos, founder of Norwegian Air Shuttle, views crypto as much more than a novelty. Kjos envisions cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as potential disruptors of legacy financial systems as well as sources of innovation for the air travel sector and the travel industry as a whole.

Currently, the NBX website has a signup list for those interested in becoming the exchange’s first users. At launch, NBX will provide a means of trading crypto-to-crypto. Later on, it will introduce fiat-crypto trading.

NBX and nahmii Partnership

Stig Aleksander Kjos-Mathison, Managing Director of NBX, said the exchange is excited to be a founding member of the nahmii Foundation and that NBX shares the same vision as hubii AS.

“Our aim is to make cryptocurrency a part of daily life, which isn’t possible without innovations to the scalability and speed of blockchain transactions. What hubii have built makes the Ethereum network viable for the kind of volume needed for crypto trading and, even more importantly, accepting and settling payments. The potential for commercial application is finally realizable. We look forward to helping hubii realize their — and our — shared vision, and making nahmii a success.”

Jacobo Toll-Messia, CEO of hubii AS, also commented on the partnership:

“We’re delighted to welcome NBX to the nahmii Foundation. They are a forward-looking, pioneering business that is already making some impressive connections.”

Toll-Messia said that, while NBX is the first partner to join the nahmii Foundation, hubii AS has other new partners already lined up. Information regarding additional foundation members will be released soon.

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Source: Crypto Slate
Layer 2 protocol nahmii announces partnership with a Norweign crypto exchange

What’s next for Ethereum, XRP and Litecoin after the recent plunge ?

Bitcoin is in the spotlight once again after Bakkt was granted the first approval from the CFTC for physically-settled Bitcoin futures. As the pioneer cryptocurrency takes the attention from the market, most of the altcoins have been left behind even plummeting to new yearly lows. The following technical analysis will explore how Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin could perform in the short term future now that they have recently taken a nosedive.

Ethereum

Ethereum retracted more than 50 percent over the last few weeks to reach a low of $174, for the first time since mid-May. The correction comes after ETH peaked at $366 on June 26. This is the steepest pullback that Ethereum has had since the bull run started in December 15, 2018. As a matter of fact, throughout the year every time this cryptocurrency reached a new yearly high, it retraced 28.40 percent on average.

eth price

By measuring the Fibonacci retracement indicator from the low of $80.70 on December 15 to the high of $366 on June 26, it appears that Ethereum retraced to the 61.8 to 65 percent Fibonacci retracement zone. This Fibonacci retracement area is considered by many traders as the ‘golden’ retracement zone due to the high probability of a rebound.

If Ethereum is indeed likely to rebound from the current price level, it could find resistance on its way up around the 50 and 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement levels, which are sitting at $223 and $256, respectively. However, a break below the 65 percent Fibonacci retracement level could take it down to $143, where the 78.6 percent Fibonacci retracement level sits at.

eth priceBased on the 1-day chart, Ethereum recently broke out of an ascending triangle. As a result, this cryptocurrency went down to $174 to reach the target given by the bearish formation. Now that the ascending triangle can be considered complete, the TD sequential indicator is giving two different buy signals.

The first one is an aggressive thirteen that formed on August 15. The second one is a red nine candlestick that predicts a one-to-four day upswing or the beginning of a new upward countdown. These bullish signals align with the potential rebound that the Fibonacci retracement indicator presents on the 3-day chart. Therefore, there is a high probability for a rebound that could take Ethereum to the 50 percent Fibonacci retracement level.

ethereum technical analysis

XRP

After going through a consolidation period that lasted more than a month, XRP broke below the $0.30 support level for the first time since October 2018. The result was a 21 percent plunge that took this cryptocurrency to reach a new yearly low of $0.24. This price level represents a pivotal point for XRP’s trend, according to 40-year trading veteran Peter Brandt.

The author of Diary of a Professional Commodity Trader believes that if the $0.24 support level is not able to hold the price of XRP, then this cryptocurrency could be bound for a major drop that takes its market valuation to around $0.021, representing a 90 percent retracement from current levels.

Fundamentally, such a steep decline could occur if the complaint filed against Ripple—arguing that the startup illegally sold unregistered securities—is pursued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. If the motion is taken into consideration by the regulatory agency, XRP’s market valuation could suffer severe consequences. The recent legal actions taken by the SEC against Veritaseum, which took its price down more than 60 percent within a few hours, could be taken as an example of the impact that such news could pose for XRP.

In the meantime, while the SEC responds to the recent complaint filed against Ripple it will be wiser to remain out of XRP. Based on the 1-week chart, this cryptocurrency could soon drop down to the next level of support that sits around $0.19 if the selling pressure behind it increases.

xrp price

Litecoin

Based on the Fibonacci retracement indicator (which is composed of horizontal lines that refer to areas of support and resistance associated with a percentage based on how much of a prior move the price has retraced) Litecoin spent over a month consolidating between the 38.2 and 50 percent Fibonacci retracement area.

Since the consolidation phase took place after a 48 percent pullback that took this cryptocurrency from $147 to $76, a bear pennant developed on the 3-day chart. This is considered a continuation pattern that leads to a breakout in the same direction as the initial movement. As a result, this bearish formation forecasts a 25 percent drop to around $66, which is taken by measuring the height of the flagpole.

So far, Litecoin dropped 22 percent to reach the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement zone, which can be taken as a completion of the bear pennant. Now that LTC is trading around the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level, it could be bound to rebound since this area is considered as the ‘golden’ retracement zone.

If Litecoin indeed rebounds from the current price levels, it could find some level of resistance around $85, which is where the 50 percent Fibonacci retracement zone is at. However, a break below the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level is a strong signal of a trend reversal from bullish to bearish.

litecoin priceThe 12-hour chart indicates that the ‘golden’ retracement zone will indeed allow LTC to rebound. Under this time frame, a bullish divergence between the relative strength index (RSI) and the price of LTC can be seen forming.

Divergences occur when an oscillator such as the RSI disagrees with the actual price movement. Thus, an RSI making a series of higher lows while prices are declining is indicative of an improving trend and the probability for a trend change increases.

In addition, the TD sequential indicator could soon give a buy signal in the form of a red nine. If validated, this bullish signal forecasts a twelve to forty-eight hours upswing or the beginning of a new upward countdown. An increase in the buying pressure behind this cryptocurrency could validate all the bullish signals previously mentioned taking it up to the 50 or even the 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement, as seen on the 3-day chart.

ltc price

Overall Sentiment

Despite the recent correction seen across the entire cryptocurrency market, it seems that Ethereum and Litecoin could soon resume their bullish trend. As a matter of fact, the Crypto Fear and Greed Index (CFGI) hit its highest levels of pessimism since December 2018, which is a strong bullish sign.

The last time this technical index reached the “extremely fear” level was in mid-December 2018 and was succeeded by a 35 percent upswing in the market cap on the entire cryptocurrency market. Although the GFGI only analyses the daily emotions and sentiments around Bitcoin, it serves to determine the direction of the industry as a whole.

On the other hand, due to the regulatory uncertainty that surrounds XRP investors should remain cautious on whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will classify this cryptocurrency as an unregistered security or not. Until then, it will be wiser to stay out of it.

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What’s next for Ethereum, XRP and Litecoin after the recent plunge ?

Is TRON’s Sun Network a marketing gimmick? Comparisons with Ethereum and EOS metrics

TRON announced the latest release of its side chain solution—Sun Network. The upgrade promises “unlimited scaling capacity,” similar to the optimism around Lightning Network for Bitcoin. Yet, the data suggests these bold claims could be more marketing-speak than anything else.

On Aug. 11, TRON announced a new version for the Sun Network, a scaling solution that would expand the network’s transaction capacity. The upgrade incorporates a series of scaling upgrades, such as “DAppChain,” which the TRON Foundation claims will improve the transactions-per-second (TPS) for smart contracts while lowering transaction fees. The upgrade also includes a cross-chain communication feature.

DAppChain would allegedly provide “unlimited scaling capacity” for the TRON MainNet, allowing dApps to run with “lower energy consumption, higher security, and greater efficiency on TRON.”  According to TRON and BitTorrent CEO Justin Sun:

“Sun Network will contribute to a more active ecosystem of TRON… In addition, a series of scaling projects such as DAppChain and cross-chain communications will further expand the overall capacity of the TRON network, as well as improving the TPS and smart contract execution efficiency on TRON.”

In addition to the claims around Sun Network, Justin Sun also promotes several selected metrics for TRON:

“TRON’s total account number reached 3,000,000. A total of 410 million secure transactions took place since the MainNet launch.”

Considering how often these metrics are used to promote TRON and the Sun Network it’s important to look at the hard data.

Evaluating TRON based on the numbers

For marketing purposes, Justin Sun and the TRON Foundation have a history of making comparisons to the leading smart contract protocol, Ethereum. Consequently, it’s important to take an objective look at a few important metrics to objectively evaluate these claims.

For reference, Ethereum has a 62 percent market share of the smart contract market-segment capitalization. EOS and TRON have an 11 percent and 4 percent market share, respectively.

24-Hour Transaction Count — Teal (TRX), Gray (EOS), Purple (ETH). Charts by Coin Metrics

In terms of total transactions, EOS is by far in the lead—recording 4.5 million daily transactions. This is followed by TRON at 2.8 million. Finally, Ethereum comes in last with just 710,000 transactions.

Looking at this chart alone, an investor may think that TRON and EOS are superior networks because they have larger transactions counts. This, however, isn’t the full picture.

Both TRON and EOS offer free, near-free, and subsidized transactions, especially for end-users. Meanwhile, the median Ethereum transaction fee costs about $0.05. As a result, it’s expected that lower transaction costs translate into a larger number of transactions (though this raises the risk of network resources being abused for low-value purposes).

One metric that is supposedly effective at estimating the value of a payments network (not a smart contract network) is the dollar value of transactions conducted over that network. This is one measure by which Bitcoin advocates compare different payment-focused cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Monero, and Zcash.

Tron, EOS, Ethereum 24-Hour Total Dollar Value of Transactions
Total Dollar Value of Transactions

Using this metric, Ethereum is clearly in the lead. The pioneer smart contract platform recently clocked-in $229 million in 24-hour blockchain-transacted dollar value. For comparison, EOS and TRON had $40 million and $8 million in value transferred over their networks.

To clarify, this metric only counts transactions that move on-chain. On-exchange volume, where coins do not actually move on the blockchain, are intentionally not counted in this metric.

When looking at these values, Ethereum has 28 times the value transferred over its network compared to TRON, even with the much higher transaction costs. This suggests that as a payment network, ETH dwarfs TRX.

The final metric is not total addresses, as Sun would suggest, but daily active addresses, a measure of the number of addresses which sent or received a transaction in the last 24-hours.

Tron, EOS, Ethereum Daily Active Addresses
Daily Active Addresses

Based on this metric, Ethereum has consistently outperformed the other two networks in daily active addresses, reporting 293,000 active addresses most recently. Comparatively, EOS and TRON had 35,000 and 175,000.

This number may be a better gauge for how many individuals are using each network. That said, here it seems the TRON network is fairly active relative to the project’s size and market capitalization. This could potentially be attributed to TRON’s relatively strong dApp ecosystem, with highly popular TRX gambling dApps, like TronBet, potentially pushing up active user counts.

Will the Sun Network make a difference?

In July 2018, Justin Sun boasted that the TRON network is 80 times faster than Ethereum, implying a network speed of 1,200 TPS. In June, TRON claimed to have a TPS of 2,000. These figures would give TRON a network capacity of approximately 100 to 170 million transactions per day.

Meanwhile, at its peak, the TRON network was using conducting less than 6 million transactions in a 24-hour interval—just 6 percent of the network’s maximum capacity. This could mean the additional TPS from the Sun Network may go largely unused, although it could make more resource-intensive applications possible.

Most would also agree that lower fees are better for the adoption of a blockchain network. And, they are, in terms of stimulating usage.

But, the TRON network already charges near-zero fees for most users. Although, there are fees associated with bandwidth usage and other types of computer resources, but projects can also earn credits for these resources for free by locking-up TRX.

This kind of resource allocation is similar to how EOS.IO is set up, where users are not required to pay for transaction fees under a certain threshold. By centralizing computer resource providers to a few dozen super representatives (or block producers in EOS’s case), both of these blockchain protocols are able to achieve higher levels of transaction throughput at the cost of decentralization.

Active developers

Arguably, one of the best metrics for evaluating the efficacy of an open-source smart contract platform is the number of monthly active developers it can attract and retain, suggests Electric Capital.

Here, both EOS and TRON have tiny developer communities compared to Ethereum. Ethereum has over 1,200 monthly active developers working on its main code repository compared to EOS’s 225 and TRON’s 65.

Overall, it seems that the metrics the TRON Foundation selects and presents, along with its protocol upgrades, are—as expected—more marketing hype than anything else. Ethereum is still clearly in the lead in terms of active development and industry adoption based on observable numbers, as much as Justin Sun would like investors to think otherwise.

Evaluating the metrics

In terms of total transactions, it’s unlikely that Ethereum will outperform more centralized systems like TRON and EOS, which can drive down costs by centralizing computer resources— even with sharding—by nature of how distributed networks are bottlenecked by the number of participating nodes.

Yet, it seems disingenuous to claim TRON is outperforming Ethereum, especially when the metrics appear cherry-picked to push the pro-TRX narrative. Justin Sun himself has even admitted—and apologized for—using “vulgar hype and marketing behavior” and utilizing “marketing gimmicks” in a letter meant for his Chinese audience.

Justin Sun’s “darkest moment”: apologizes for “over-marketing” TRON to Chinese authorities, then deletes apology
Related: Justin Sun’s “darkest moment”: apologizes for “over-marketing” TRON to Chinese authorities, then deletes apology

Back to the Sun Network, the upgrade seems unlikely to live up to its hype of “unlimited scaling.” Even if it could bring about unlimited transaction throughput, the metric is largely irrelevant if there aren’t enough users and developers on the network.

Recently, the Tron CEO promised to limit the “overmarketing” of Tron in a now-deleted apology.

Unsurprisingly, Sun is back to relentlessly marketing Tron platform with his latest tweet claiming that his first priority is to get Tron back into the top 10 on CoinMarketCap and BitTorrent into the top 30.

More than anything else, Justin Sun’s eponymous scaling solution seems like another piece of marketing meant to position TRON as a viable alternative to Ethereum and Bitcoin.

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Is TRON’s Sun Network a marketing gimmick? Comparisons with Ethereum and EOS metrics

Director of MTG Arena is joining Ethereum’s Gods Unchained [Interview]

The former director of Magic the Gathering: Arena, Chris Clay, is joining the Ethereum-based TCG Gods Unchained. Clay worked with Wizards of the Coast, the makers of MTG, since 2016. Just two months after leaving Clay is joining the highly anticipated blockchain game.

The fantasy-themed card game which takes inspiration from Hearthstone and Magic: the Gathering (MTG), is picking up an industry insider to help it continue to gain traction. The company behind the game, Immutable (previously Fuel Games) is currently conducting its “genesis sale,” where players can purchase the first edition of cards before the game’s release.

According to a representative at the company, the game is the “top grossing blockchain game this year,” raising over $1.2 million from its initial card sale. CryptoSlate had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Clay and co-founder Robbie Ferguson for an interview about their plans for the company.

What lead you to work on MTG and now Gods Unchained?

“I first played Magic the Gathering in the back of my mom’s minivan during a break in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament back in the summer of ‘94. My love of gaming eventually led me to Turbine Inc. where I spent the first 15 years of my career working on MMOs such as Asheron’s Call 1 and 2 and Lord of the Rings Online,” Said Clay.

“Throughout that time, I still played card games, and with the advent of Magic Online, I always said I could make a better digital client, and when given the chance I jumped at it. MTG: Arena was the result.”

He continued:

“Leaving was a deeply personal and difficult decision, but I knew I needed a new environment to be my best self and so I made the decision to resign. With no intention of working on a CCG anytime soon, I initially just focused on dropping the crunch weight and getting back in shape. When Robbie reached out I was interested to learn more about what they were doing, and after talking with him and then James it was clear that I had found some kindred spirits. The world of possibilities they showed me for where we could take Gods Unchained and gaming with this new technology blew my mind, and so here we are.”

How would you describe the gaming experience for Gods Unchained?

“I believe anyone familiar with digital CCGs or TCGs will be able to quickly adapt to and enjoy Gods Unchained,” responded Clay.

“There are new mechanics and keywords to learn and a brand new meta to explore with our take on the genre. A huge difference is because the cards are on the blockchain, you won’t find the typical loot crate and microtransaction gotchas that have come to be the industry norm,” he emphasized.

“We don’t succeed by getting people in, monetizing them as heavily as we can, and then looking for a new user when they leave. With the player base in control of the majority of cards, we succeed by bringing them to the game and integrating them into the community so they stay and enjoy the game for a long time to come,” he concluded.

What can Gods Unchained offer that MTG Arena cannot?

“I’ve believed for a long time that the community is key to an online game’s success, and so I’ve often spent much of my own time interacting with the community for games I’ve worked on,” Clay said.

“I’ve also seen some of the most successful new genres from Battle Royales, to Auto Battlers, to MOBAs all evolve from the communities around successful games. With our approach to items on the blockchain I believe we can empower the modders, website builders, streamers and content creators to share in the success of the game in a way that has never been done before,” he added.

What do you mean by “share in the success” of the game?

“If someone wants to create a four player version of our client using the blockchain cards, then they can. Without our permission,” Clay said emphatically. “If someone wants to create an auto battler based on the blockchain cards they can. If another developer wants to let players trade our blockchain cards in for assets in their game—they once again can, without our permission.”

“This is one part terrifying and three parts exhilaration because we have released the trapped value that almost all game economies currently rely on. I believe this also brings a layer of accountability to the industry that has been missing.”

Can you describe when and how Gods Unchained uses the blockchain and when it does not?

“Everything to do with trading and asset ownership is on the blockchain. The details of every tradable card, including their stats, is on there, and the card pack contracts are fully transparent and unchangeable—you can see the probabilities for the different cards and qualities and have a full guarantee we can’t change them,” responded co-founder Robbie Ferguson.

“The games themselves run in Unity on centralised servers, as it’s essentially impossible to run the logic of a game as complex as Gods Unchained fully decentralized (not to mention tremendously expensive),” he continued.

How will ‘blockchain provenance’ impact gaming and the esports industry in particular?

“The champion of an esports event will not only be the victory and enjoy the prize money, but the items they used know they were used by the champion. They can digitally sign in game assets and then sell them onto fans,” said Clay.

“Not only can you copy a championship winning deck of cards, you can now own the actual championship winning deck. Provenance brings a level of collectibility that we haven’t seen before in games, and lead to unexpected surprises when you see that the card you bought was previously owned by one of your favorite personalities. I can’t wait to see what streamers, content creators, and e-sports stars and teams do with it.”

What solutions are you planning to help attract gamers who are not currently cryptocollectable enthusiasts and are intimidated by the technology hurdle?

Chris Clay responded, saying:

“As with any new technology adoption comes in waves, and we’re looking to facilitate the next wave of adoption around blockchain by removing the technical hurdles to interact with it. By enabling debit and credit card purchases we can streamline the acquisition of NTFs [non-fungible tokens], and allow gamers to enjoy the game first.”

He continued:

“When they’re ready to engage with the trading economy we’ll be there guiding them along the path to marketplaces and being there to help remove any concerns they have. I also believe that the technology will allow the community itself to create digital game stores and the like to give players a true choice on where they want to shop and trade.”

Gods Unchained is currently in balancing beta and is open for public play. The game is expected to fully launch in October of 2019.

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Director of MTG Arena is joining Ethereum’s Gods Unchained [Interview]

Truffle adding support for Tezos, Hyperledger Fabric, and R3 Corda

Truffle, one of the leading providers for open-source blockchain development tools, is expanding beyond just supporting Ethereum as it makes its push toward profitability. The ConsenSys-funded company announced support for Tezos, Hyperledger Fabric, and R3’s Corda.

Truffle will soon be available to developers building across some of the most popular enterprise blockchain protocols, said Tim Coulter at TruffleCon at the Microsoft campus in Washington. Originally launched in 2015 within ConsenSys for internal use for building on Ethereum, the tools quickly expanded in popularity. Now, the company is adding support for Tezos, Hyperledger Fabric, and R3’s Corda.

The company’s main offerings include Truffle, an Ethereum smart contract development environment; Ganache, a personal “one-click” blockchain for Ethereum; and Drizzle, a collection of front-end libraries for dApps. So far, these tools have earned three million downloads and boasts over 10,000 GitHub stars.

“As enterprises increasingly build decentralized protocols into their IT stack, Truffle is meeting the needs of developers by standardizing tooling, easing friction and promoting interoperability,” said Coulter. “By integrating with Corda, Hyperledger, and Tezos, we can extend our reach and make the lives of thousands of developers easier in the process.

Support for Tezos

The announcement that generated the most excitement is Truffle’s partnership with the Tezos Foundation and TQ Tezos. Truffle plans to extend its support to Tezos smart contract languages including Michelson, LIGO, and SmartPy.

“Integration into Truffle Suite expands accessibility and lowers the barrier to entry for developers to build on Tezos,” said Alison Mangiero, President of TQ Tezos.

These tools will make automating tests and building decentralized applications on the network easier and more secure, potentially resulting in better applications on Tezos.

“Tezos gets stronger and stronger as the ecosystem of developers building on the platform grows. We see this integration and the related materials as an important step in growing the Tezos developer community and look forward to seeing the new projects and ideas which emerge as a result,” added Ryan Jesperson, president of the Tezos Foundation.

Joining Hyperledger

Truffle Suite recently became a corporate member of Hyperledger and the Linux Foundation alongside announcing its support for Hyperledger Fabric’s EVM chaincode within Truffle. By replicating the experience provided to Ethereum developers, the company aims to make the Hyperledger EVM development experience “sweeter.”

“This integration marks another step towards compatibility and interoperability in blockchain and smart contract development,” said Brian Behlendorf, executive director at Hyperledger. “We believe the Truffle integration will bring even more energy and ideas from the Ethereum developer community into Hyperledger.”

One of the ConsenSys success stories

During TruffleCon, employees privately described Truffle as one of the “success stories” of the dozens of ConsenSys spinouts. In 2019, the company received a $3 million investment from ConsenSys. And now, the company is already making its push to profitability with training, advisory, support, and contract development services said Wesley McVay, vice president of global strategic partnerships, in a conversation with CryptoSlate. Alongside MetaMask and Gitcoin, Truffle is one of the several ConsenSys “spokes” that have gained meaningful real-world use.

Meanwhile, companies such as Augur-competitor Gnosis, decentralized trading platform AirSwap, and media and entertainment project SingularDTV have all seen underwhelming engagement even after multi-million dollar ICOs.

As tools like Truffle make blockchain development more accessible, decentralized applications and protocols like Ethereum and Tezos can hopefully flourish and begin bringing real-world value to the mainstream.

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Truffle adding support for Tezos, Hyperledger Fabric, and R3 Corda

Ethereum celebrates fifth anniversary with impressive network stats

On the fifth anniversary of Ethereum’s 2014 pre-sale, ConsenSys took a look back at the network’s history. This year has proved to be critical for Ethereum with data showing that it managed to rise from the 2018 crypto crash better and more popular than ever.

World’s second-largest cryptocurrency boasts with better-than-ever stats

Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency and one of the most popular blockchain networks on the market, is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary. Its pre-sale started in mid-2014 and saw a whirlwind of activity in its lifetime. Ethereum incubator ConsenSys took a look back at Ethereum’s history and highlighted the success the network has seen in 2019.

According to the company’s post, the Ethereum mainnet has processed over 500 million transactions since its inception. Over 130 million transactions have been processed in this year alone and the network utilization currently hovers around 90 percent. Around 16 million Ethereum addresses have been created since the beginning of the year—a testament to the network’s rising popularity. There are currently over 70 million unique addresses on Ethereum, but only 616,000 of them were active and engaged in transactions on the network.

The network is also slowly transitioning towards proof-of-stake. After undergoing the Constantinople hard fork back in February, Ethereum is now inching closer to its much-anticipated Serenity update.

Such a huge increase in popularity and usage isn’t accidental—Deloitte’s 2018 report found that 95 percent of companies plan to invest in blockchain technology in 2019, while 84 percent believe blockchain is eventually scalable and will achieve mainstream adoption. With Ethereum being the world’s largest blockchain platform, it could become the go-to network for companies looking to enter into blockchain.

Ethereum has the highest number of developers working on the core protocol

To support the ever-increasing number of users and transactions, the Ethereum network needs constant upkeep. An Electric Capital Dev Report from March showed that Ethereum had the highest number of developers working on core protocol. It outranked Bitcoin, which has a much larger market cap, and research-oriented Cardano.

The study found that Ethereum had the most robust and consistent developer growth, with an average of 240 active developers in January 2019. This represented an increase of 23 percent from the 190 developers that worked on the network in 2018.

Ethereum user growth
(Source: Electric Capital)

With hundreds of developers working on the network, it’s no wonder that Ethereum is also the network with the highest number of code commits. According to Electric Capital, Ethereum has 8 times more commits than Bitcoin and 20 times more commits than XRP.

Ethereum total code commits
(Source: Electric Capital)

The work put into Ethereum is what gives companies the confidence to build and host their dApps on the network. ConsenSys said that of the top 50 dapps as ranked by State of the Dapps, 29 of them are built on Ethereum.

However, looking into use case-specific dApps, Ethereum becomes much more prominent. Out of the top 50 finance dApps, 42 percent are built on Ethereum. Out of the top 50, 44 exchange dapps and 42 security dapps are built on Ethereum.

All of this could point to a hugely successful year for Ethereum. While ETH seems to have hit a few bumps in the past couple of weeks, it seems that it has entered a consolidation phase. We are yet to see how its price holds out when many altcoins appear to be struggling against Bitcoin’s rising dominance.

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Ethereum celebrates fifth anniversary with impressive network stats

Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin appear to be consolidating before their next big move

After the recent correction, a significant reduction in volume has tamed volatility in the crypto markets. Most coins appear staggered with limited action, but this could be build up to a major move. This technical analysis will evaluate where Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin could be headed.

Ethereum

Over two weeks ago, Ethereum broke below the 7-week moving average followed by a significant correction down to the 50-week moving average sitting around $190. It appears the 50-week moving average is now acting as support, preventing the price of ETH from a further drop. Watching whether this support holds or breaks will be critical.

Based on the 1-week chart, a move above the 7-week moving average could signal a continuation of the bullish trend. But, a move below the 50 and 30-week moving average would indicate a further decline.

Ethereum USD
ETH/USD by TradingView

On the 1-day chart, it is clear that after reaching a high of $363.30 on June 26, Ethereum has gone down to its 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level—which is considered the ‘golden’ retracement area.

This Fibonacci retracement level represent a pivotal point for ETH’s trend. Usually, a pullback to this zone is an indication of an exhaustion point. A correction, like the one just experienced, to these levels suggests a rebound. However, a break below the golden retracement level is a signal of trend reversal from bullish to bearish, once again.

ETH USD

The Bollinger bands on the 12-hour chart could help clarify what will happen next. Under this timeframe, the Bollinger bands are squeezing which indicates Ethereum has entered a consolidation phase. Squeezes are typically followed by periods of high volatility. The longer the squeeze the higher the probability of a strong breakout. Thus, the range between $199 and $235 is a reasonable no-trade zone.

A break above $235 could lead to an upswing to the 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement level. Meanwhile, a break below $199 could take ETH to retest the support given by the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level. If that support fails the crypto could fall to the 78.6 percent Fibonacci retracement level.

ETH USD

XRP

XRP has been limping. The majority Rippleowned cryptocurrency has experienced weak price action compared to the other top five cryptocurrencies. While Bitcoin rose 326 percent since mid-December 2018, XRP only went up 77 percent. Recently, the crypto even dropped back to $0.30, which is the same price price it was trading at from the end of last year.

According to Ripple’s quarterly report, XRP’s global trading volume dropped 28 percent from $595 million to $429.5 million since Q1. This could be one of the reasons XRP’s volatility has been low: lack of trading volume.

Despite the lackluster YTD price movement XRP, it’s reasonable to expect that a breakout will happen. Based on the 1-week chart, a triple bottom might be the right signal.

According to Investopedia, this is a bullish technical formation that indicates that there is strong support around the $0.30 level and bears may capitulate when the price breaks through the $0.38 and $0.47 resistance levels, usually resulting in eye-catching gains from liquidated shorts.

Nonetheless, different technical analysts, such as Tone Vays, tend to see triple bottoms as a bearish formations. They believe that the more times a support level is tested the weaker it becomes, and the higher the probability that it will break.

Now that XRP has tested the $0.30 support level for the third time, it could actually be a sign that it will soon break below it and reach $0.16, as 40-years trading veteran Peter Brandt pointed out. It would be wise to remain out of XRP until it has broken above resistance or below support.

XRP USD
XRP/USD by TradingView

Litecoin

Litecoin’s market valuation plummeted nearly 50 percent from its high of $147 on June 22. It then rebounded quickly to find support around $93.5. Notably, it seems like the $93.5 support level has been holding the price of LTC from a further decline for the last 3 weeks. It remains to be seen if it will continue to do so.

Levels on the 1-week chart show that there are price points acting as barriers to LTC price movement. If this cryptocurrency continues declining it will find support around $70, $57, or $47.5. If volume starts picking up and the bullish trend resumes then Litecoin could find resistance around $115, $145, or $173.

LTC USD
LTC/USD by TradingView

For additional clues for where Litecoin is heading, we take a look at the 3-day chart.

Recently, the TD Sequential Indicator presented a bullish signal in the form of a red nine, indicating that the bullish trend could resume. And now, there is a green one candlestick. The bullish signal will be confirmed if the next candlestick is a green two candlestick trading above current green one, which could have the potential to take LTC up to test the resistance levels previously mentioned.

The bullish signal given by the TD Sequential Indicator will be invalidated if a candlestick closes and another opens below $87, which would signal a continuation of the correction.

LTC USD

Breaking below $87 will signal a retest of the 200-day moving average on the 1-day chart, which would align with what happened in 2015 after the first Litecoin halving (a fixed event that occurs every four years after 840,000 blocks are mined, which reduces the mining reward by 50 percent). At the moment, it seems like history is repeating itself because LTC seems to be mimicking its behavior from 2015, so a break below the $87 may happen again (which was previously followed by a long consolidation period).

LTC USD

Overall Sentiment

Currently, it seems like all the cryptocurrencies analyzed are consolidating after the recent correction. Most of these coins are sitting in no-trade zones with no clear indication of whether support or resistance will break first.

Although most of the cryptocurrencies in the market look bullish based on the 1-month charts, Peter Brandt warned of a possible 80 percent doomsday correction to the total market capitalization, mainly impact altcoins.

If such a scenario where to occur, the losses would be catastrophic for altcoin holders. Although most traders are not that pessimistic, with such high levels of uncertainty in the market,waiting for confirmation with a clear break of the trend seems to be the best course of action.

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Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin appear to be consolidating before their next big move

Microsoft using Ethereum blockchain to democratize machine learning and AI

The Ethereum blockchain is being used by engineers at Microsoft to “democratize” AI and machine learning, making these typically centralized and costly systems more accessible to everyone.

Smart contracts have the potential to profoundly impact how data is managed. They are immutable and allow developers to reward users for participation and contributions. And, for a blockchain like Ethereum, thousands of decentralized nodes all over the world ensure that the code is always available, practically eliminating issues with downtime.

Smart contracts and AI

Justin Harris, a senior software development engineer at Microsoft, saw that Ethereum smart contracts have the potential to fundamentally change how machine learning and AI models are designed.

Access to well-designed machine learning algorithms can be problematic, according to Harris. These algorithms tend to be centralized, sold on a per-query basis, and trained using proprietary and expensive data, he wrote.

He envisions a new paradigm.

“One in which people will be able to easily and cost-effectively run machine learning models with technology they already have, such as browsers and apps on their phones and other devices.”

In the “spirit of democratizing AI,” Harris introduced a new open-source initiative from Microsoft: Decentralized & Collaborative AI on Blockchain.

The new paradigm

In the new paradigm, Harris envision incentives and rewards for people interacting with—and improving—these machine learning algorithms. These algorithms would be free to use for evaluating predictions, which is ideal for things like building personal assistants or making systems that produce user recommendations.

Some potential ways to crowdsource such a system, Harris suggests, include gamification—like what is seen on Reddit. Or, building in prediction markets similar to what Augur is pioneering. Or, even creating “self assessment,” where users pay a deposit and those who make good contributions are rewarded at the expense of bad contributions.

As a test, the Microsoft developers successfully set up a model which could classify the sentiment of a movie review (either as positive or negative). At the time, updating the model only cost $0.25 on the Ethereum blockchain in fees.

Overcoming blockchain’s limitations

That isn’t to say blockchain doesn’t have limitations. Transaction speeds (throughput) is a major bottleneck. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are notoriously hungry for computation. Developers need to work around this by using models which are efficient to train, or by doing the hard data-crunching off-chain; they could even be integrated using oracles through a service like Chainlink.

Nevertheless, Harris is optimistic about the future of blockchain’s role in artificial intelligence.

“As blockchain technology advances, we anticipate that more applications for collaboration between people and machine learning models will become available, and we hope to see future research in scaling to more complex models along with new incentive mechanisms.”

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Microsoft using Ethereum blockchain to democratize machine learning and AI

Ethereum improvement proposal 2025 increases block reward, community opposed to maintain ETH as store-of-value

Several Ethereum developers voiced concerns about Ethereum improvement proposal (EIP) 2025, which recommends creating more Ether per block for the next 18 months. Authored by James Hancock, a Berlin-based developer, the proposal suggests adding an extra 0.044 Ether per block in order to broadly fund Ethereum’s ongoing development.

Published last month, EIP-2025 was discussed briefly during a bi-weekly meeting between Ethereum’s core developers on July 18. The extra ETH generated would be used by a funding organization to allocate capital toward Ethereum’s development, said the proposal.

EIP-2025 is “absolutely absurd”

According to Ethereum developer Eric Conner, the suggestions made in EIP-2025 are “absolutely absurd.” Conner estimated that an extra 136,400 ETH ($28.6 million at current prices) would be generated if the proposal was approved.

Anthony Sassano, the co-founder of EthHub, an informational resource for blockchain development, clarified that he supports initiatives that involve funding Ethereum’s development. However, he suggested alternative funding options outside of increasing the block reward.

Increasing block rewards would weaken Ether as a store-of-value

Meanwhile, Ameen Soleimani, the CEO of adult blockchain platform SpankChain, argued that increasing block rewards for funding purposes would weaken Ether’s capability to function as a legitimate store-of-value.

Other prominent members of the crypto community including David Hoffman, CTO at RealT, a platform for tokenizing real estate, and Ryan Sean Adams, Founder of the cryptocurrency investment firm, Mythos Capital, also opposed the funding model suggested in EIP-2025.

Not clear how funds will be managed

Andrew Redden, CTO at Groundhog Pay, an Ethereum-based e-commerce platform, referred to the fundraising proposal as a “disaster.”

According to discussions between Ethereum community members, EIP-2025 did not clearly specify who would receive the rewards or who will be responsible for allocating the funds. As stated in EIP-2025’s specification document, the extra ETH rewards would only be produced for an 18-month period.

However, the additional ETH generated would not be awarded to the cryptocurrency’s miners. Instead, it would be transferred to a separate entity—but it remains unclear as to who exactly would manage the funds.

Acknowledging that he did not know how to allocate the extra ETH, Hancock remarked:

“I do not profess to know the best way to organize these funds.”

He recommended establishing a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, that would distribute the funds to various projects. Hancock believes that it doesn’t really matter how the capital is allocated as long as the process is transparent.

Commenting on the fundraising idea, Udi Wertheimer, a popular Bitcoin advocate and coder, said:

“There’s nothing in the notes to suggest this is seriously considered. The only reference to it at all is neutral, and made by the proposal author.”

Wertheimer also mentioned that he thinks there’s “no chance” EIP-2025 will be accepted.

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Ethereum improvement proposal 2025 increases block reward, community opposed to maintain ETH as store-of-value