You Cannot Shill Bitcoin Enough, Touts Binance CEO ...

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
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Who the DeFi leaders are and how to earn on Maker, Compound, Aave, Curve, Synthetix and QDAO DeFi

Who the DeFi leaders are and how to earn on Maker, Compound, Aave, Curve, Synthetix and QDAO DeFi
The DeFi ecosystem has already recreated traditional financial instruments in a new ‘unchained’ decentralized structure. This year, a huge number of DeFi-related projects gained the attention of crypto enthusiasts. The leaders of the race are Maker, Compound, Aave, Curve, Synthetix and QDAO DeFi. These projects provide a significant number of opportunities to earn money. So let’s find out what the DeFi market mood is right now and how you can increase your holdings in 2020.

DeFi market 2020

According to data provider DeFiPulse, the total value locked in USD right now is $6.7 billion. And it is best to check the data regularly because it is growing rapidly.

https://preview.redd.it/2o5jhuly02m51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=9a4027b15afcfcbc6316aadf508da445b2b0b8f2
For instance, the value was $4.21 billion at the beginning of August 2020. It rose by one third in just 3 weeks.
Taha Zafar, a crypto analyst, shared data that illustrates how DeFi tokens performed within the past 90 days. As you see, they are doing even better than Bitcoin.

https://preview.redd.it/9fqxp3t012m51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=958b53a5ba71eac4b8e5d3f5b71c5aa4f5fdcc0c

https://preview.redd.it/umw6ffu112m51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=d39eb0d82e171eff7cafd363039171169240408e
So while the market is soaring, there are already a number of DeFi leaders that stand out among others.
They are:
  • Maker
  • Compound
  • Aave
  • Curve
  • Synthetix
  • QDAO DeFi
Maker remained the one and only serious market player for a long time.
However, 2020 introduced some new figures on this chessboard. Compound competes with Maker in the lending sector and is not yielding its position. At the moment, the Compound credit portfolio is $820 million, when at the beginning of the year, it was $100 million.

https://preview.redd.it/4wpiibw312m51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=f34a8e5f77f3dd9e028a201ee1e46dcdf54f7078
With Aave, Curve and Synthetix breaking into the top 10 most successful projects in DeFiPulse and QDAO DeFi being the most promising one, the DeFi market is emerging as a real alternative to the traditional finance sector.
Recently, the DeFi Overview Twitter account posted an illustrative map that demonstrates how fast all the main market players are growing: https://twitter.com/DefiOverview/status/1297829568271642624

https://preview.redd.it/sw50ilr512m51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=c96ebe2afdd2d1df3a2bd3f5024ff578638584f8

https://preview.redd.it/v3c9yxi612m51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=8d9e247eec017826238d6a0d91a8efa47d0e2688
While Binance has already listed some DeFi projects like Compound, Synthetix, YFI and Curve, the u/top7ico posted a forecast list of other promising DeFi projects. https://twitter.com/top7ico/status/1297540483913093120

https://preview.redd.it/5dv2iur812m51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=09548cb7b1f738d98abaa84d089b266c5370e49d

What DeFi projects are aiming to get in TOPs

DeFiPulse is the world’s leading resource for providing its audience with fresh-from-the-oven, comprehensive information concerning DeFi. Here you can find all the latest analytics and rankings for DeFi protocols. Moreover, this resource provides you with a list of the best resources on the topic.
The information is being refreshed every hour. The Total Value Locked is calculated by multiplying the total balance of Ether (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens by their price in USD.
To sum up, it is the most interactive platform that maintains the upper hand and provides you with the freshest information about the DeFi market.
Besides, DeFi Pulse has a handy calculator that shows how much money you can earn by locking specific assets.

https://preview.redd.it/edejp4oa12m51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=235a1b0364db63e98c700ad3ffbf299976c572a3
The calculator also shows how much you can get in Compound, dYdX and Maker.

https://preview.redd.it/y3exhz6c12m51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=5abef199edea8dcd2e2c32cde6ac09819e87302b
The platform offers a full range of services just like any usual bank:
  • yields on digital assets
  • cash loans
  • the purchase of tokenized stocks of popular listed companies (e.g. Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc.).
On top of that, QDAO DeFi has its own native cryptocurrencies: USDQ stablecoin (tied to the US dollar). It is also used on the platform and QDAO. QDAO is a cryptocurrency that provides significant bonuses for Deposits, Crypto Loans and other services inside QDAO DeFi. Additional features such as governance of the ecosystem and fee payments within the ecosystem are in the long-term development roadmap.
QDAO DeFi offers 17 currencies and the interface is user-friendly and convenient.
You can open a Secure Personal QDAO DeFi Account and start earning passive income from the very first day. The interest is paid out daily with no fees.
Users can withdraw funds after they reach the minimum withdrawal amount in a specific cryptocurrency.
You can open a deposit in just a few minutes, click the link to find out how.

What’s next for DeFi projects?

Earning on DeFi platforms is easy and convenient. The major players offer a great variety of services to help you find the best way to trade, mint and stake.
Billionaire Bitcoin bull, Tim Draper says, “The DeFi world is almost as technologically advanced as the dollar and when it is, there will be no one who will want to accept a politically manipulable currency like dollars anymore.”
Will DeFi fully replace all the traditional financial instruments? Opinions are divided. However, it can become the basis of a new digital banking system and return the trust to the financial system.
Want to be the first to hear QDAO DeFi news and updates? Visit our website and stay in touch with us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and LINE (for the Japanese-speaking community).
submitted by QDAODeFi to u/QDAODeFi [link] [comments]

The United Partnership Of The Sports Industry With Cryptocurrency | CoinsCapture

The United Partnership Of The Sports Industry With Cryptocurrency | CoinsCapture


The United Partnership Of The Sports Industry With Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology is proliferating in various industries - one such industry is ‘Sports’. Sports and the aura that it creates is so vibrant and energetic - sports fans are passionate about the teams they support. The market in the sports industry is massive too - from partnerships to tickets, merchandise, collectibles, and much more that could benefit everyone associated.
When every industry is trying to attempt to be innovative and adapt to the new digital currency technology - the sports industry isn’t the one to be left behind too! The sports industry and related organizations have started to adopt and embrace the world of cryptocurrency and digital tokens. In many of such forms, they also provide exclusive merchandise, items, or content with the help of the technology. The use of cryptocurrency in the sports industry does not only upgrade the game of transactions and payments but it also helps to be connected and engaged with its fans.
For instance, in the year 2014, the NBA team - Sacramento Kings - was believed to be the first in the sports industry that started accepting Bitcoin as a method for payment and transactions for ticketing and merchandise.
In this blog, we are going to talk about the United Partnership of the Sports Industry with Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology.
The Sport That Brings Billions Together
Football is the most popular and loved sport in the world, it's even called soccer in the United States. As per FIFA - football organization, over 3.5 billion people tuned in to watch the 2018 World Cup in Russia - that means almost half of the world’s population watched the global showpiece. A sport that big merely means the people, businesses, brands, advertisers, products, basically anything associated is in for huge benefits.
Also Read, Online Gaming and Bitcoin: The Crypto-play
Various teams in Europe have adopted a solution with blockchain technology that facilitates its fans in order to interact with the team, several powered utilities based on the token. West Ham, Paris Saint Germaine, and Juventus are involved in partnerships with its blockchain-based fan platform - Socios for engagement.
It enables the teams to be engaged and be involved with the fans and also the platform lets the fans have their favorite team’s fan token. With the use of these tokens, the fans can participate to place votes for things like changes in the jersey of the club, access to exclusive content and memorabilia.
Socios has two types of the voting process - binding and nonbinding. A binding set of the vote means that the club has to carry out and abide by the outcome of the vote, so for instance, if the fans have voted to change per se the color of the jersey, the club will have to carry out the vote’s request and since the process is done on blockchain technology, it cannot be manipulated or be tampered with.
Clubs have also utilized blockchain technology for endorsements, the system on Socios uses cryptocurrency token named - Chiliz. The company had also announced a partnership with Binance - a popular cryptocurrency exchange.
As Alex Dreyfus, the CEO of Socios noted how the untapped people can be connected too through the sector - given the global sports audience being estimated to be around 3.5 billion people.
The Portuguese Football Club - Benfica also accepts payments and transactions with cryptocurrency for ticketing and merchandise through Utrust - a cryptocurrency platform in June 2019. The supporters could make transactions by using ETH, BTC, and Utrust tokens, while the motive of the move was to meet the demands of over 7 million fans on social media.
Also, Lionel Messi - the Barcelona star has promoted cryptocurrency and blockchain projects on various occasions.
To continue reading visit: https://coinscapture.com/blog/the-united-partnership-of-the-sports-industry-with-cryptocurrency
submitted by coinscapturecom to u/coinscapturecom [link] [comments]

Crypto Banking Wars: Can Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets Ever Replace Banks?

Crypto Banking Wars: Can Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets Ever Replace Banks?
Can they overcome the product limitations of blockchain and deliver the world-class experience that consumers expect?
https://reddit.com/link/i8ewbx/video/ojkc6c9a1lg51/player
This is the second part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
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While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this very powerful technology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe companies that build with blockchain at their core will have the best shot at winning the broader consumer finance market. We hope it will be us at Genesis Block, but we aren’t the only game in town.
So this series explores the entire crypto landscape and tries to answer the question, which crypto company is most likely to become the bank of the future?
In our last episode, we offered an in-depth analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. Today we’re analyzing non-custodial crypto wallets. These are products where only the user can touch or move funds. Not even the company or developer who built the application can access, control, or stop funds from being moved. These apps allow users to truly become their own bank.
We’ve talked a little about this before. This group of companies is nowhere near the same level of threat as the biggest crypto exchanges. However, this group really understands DeFi and the magic it can bring. This class of products is heavily engineer-driven and at the bleeding-edge of DeFi innovation. These products are certainly worth discussing. Okay, let’s dive in.

Users & Audience

These non-custodial crypto wallets are especially popular among the most hardcore blockchain nerds and crypto cypherpunks.
“Not your keys, not your coins.”
This meme is endlessly repeated among longtime crypto hodlers. If you’re not in complete control of your crypto (i.e. using non-custodial wallets), then it’s not really your crypto. There has always been a close connection between libertarianism & cryptocurrency. This type of user wants to be in absolute control of their money and become their own bank.
In addition to the experienced crypto geeks, for some people, these products will mean the difference between life and death. Imagine a refugee family that wants to safely protect their years of hard work — their life savings — as they travel across borders. Carrying cash could put their safety or money at risk. A few years ago I spent time in Greece at refugee camps — I know first-hand this is a real use-case.

https://preview.redd.it/vigqlmgg1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=0a5d48a63ce7a637749bbbc03d62c51cc3f75613
Or imagine a family living under an authoritarian regime — afraid that their corrupt or oppressive government will seize their assets (or devalue their savings via hyperinflation). Citizens in these countries cannot risk putting their money in centralized banks or under their mattresses. They must become their own bank.
These are the common use-cases and users for non-custodial wallets.

Products in Market

Let’s do a quick round-up of some of the more popular products already in the market.
Web/Desktop The most popular web wallet is MetaMask. Though it doesn’t have any specific integration with DeFi protocols yet, it has more than a million users (which is a lot in crypto land!). Web wallets that are more deeply integrated with DeFi include InstaDapp, Zerion, DeFi Saver, Zapper, and MyCrypto (disclosure: I’m an investor and a big fan of Taylor). For the mass market, mobile will be a much more important form-factor. I don’t view these web products as much of a threat to Genesis Block.
https://preview.redd.it/gbpi2ijj1lg51.png?width=1050&format=png&auto=webp&s=c039887484bf8a3d3438fb02a384d0b9ef894e1f
Mobile The more serious threats to Genesis Block are the mobile products that (A) are leveraging some of the powerful DeFi protocols and (B) abstracting away a lot of the blockchain/DeFi UX complexity. While none get close to us on (B), the products attempting this are Argent and Dharma. To the extent they can, both are trying to make interacting with blockchain technology as simple as possible.
A few of the bigger exchanges have also entered this mobile non-custodial market. Coinbase has Wallet (via Cipher Browser acquisition). Binance has Trust Wallet (also via acquisition). And speaking of acquisitions, MyCrypto acquired Ambo, which is a solid product and has brought MyCrypto into the mobile space. Others worth mentioning include Rainbow — well-designed and built by a small indy-team with strong DeFi experience (former Balance team). And ZenGo which has a cool feature around keyless security (their CEO is a friend).
There are dozens of other mobile crypto wallets that do very little beyond showing your balances. They are not serious threats.
https://preview.redd.it/6x4lxsdk1lg51.png?width=1009&format=png&auto=webp&s=fab3280491b75fe394aebc8dd69926b6962dcf5d
Hardware Wallets Holding crypto on your own hardware wallet is widely considered to be “best practice” from a security standpoint. The most popular hardware wallets are Ledger, Trezor, and KeepKey (by our friends at ShapeShift). Ledger Nano X is the only product that has Bluetooth — thus, the only one that can connect to a mobile app. While exciting and innovative, these hardware wallets are not yet integrated with any DeFi protocols.
https://preview.redd.it/yotmvtsl1lg51.png?width=1025&format=png&auto=webp&s=c8567b42839d9cec8dbc6c78d2f953b688886026

Strengths

Let’s take a look at some of the strengths with non-custodial products.
  1. Regulatory arbitrage Because these products are “non-custodial”, they are able to avoid the regulatory burdens that centralized, custodial products must deal with (KYC/AML/MTL/etc). This is a strong practical benefit for a bootstrapped startup/buildedeveloper. Though it’s unclear how long this advantage lasts as products reach wider audiences and increased scrutiny.
  2. User Privacy Because of the regulatory arbitrage mentioned above, users do not need to complete onerous KYC requirements. For example, there’s no friction around selfies, government-issued IDs, SSNs, etc. Users can preserve much of their privacy and they don’t need to worry about their sensitive information being hacked, compromised, or leaked.
  3. Absolute control & custody This is really one of the great promises of crypto — users can become their own bank. Users can be in full control of their money. And they don’t need to bury it underground or hide it under a mattress. No dependence, reliance or trust in any third parties. Only the user herself can access and unlock the money.

Weaknesses

Now let’s examine some of the weaknesses.
  1. Knowledge & Education Most non-custodial products do not abstract away any of the blockchain complexity. In fact, they often expose more of it because the most loyal users are crypto geeks. Imagine how an average, non-crypto user feels when she starts seeing words like seed phrases, public & private keys, gas limits, transaction fees, blockchain explorers, hex addresses, and confirmation times. There is a lot for a user to learn and become educated on. That’s friction. The learning curve is very high and will always be a major blocker for adoption. We’ve talked about this in our Spreading Crypto series — to reach the masses, the crypto stuff needs to be in the background.
  2. User Experience It is currently impossible to create a smooth and performant user experience in non-custodial wallets or decentralized applications. Any interaction that requires a blockchain transaction will feel sluggish and slow. We built a messaging app on Ethereum and presented it at DevCon3 in Cancun. The technical constraints of blockchain technology were crushing to the user experience. We simply couldn’t create the real-time, modern messaging experience that users have come to expect from similar apps like Slack or WhatsApp. Until blockchains are closer in speed to web servers (which will be difficult given their decentralized nature), dApps will never be able to create the smooth user experience that the masses expect.
  3. Product Limitations Most non-custodial wallets today are based on Ethereum smart contracts. That means they are severely limited with the assets that they can support (only erc-20 tokens). Unless through synthetic assets (similar to Abra), these wallets cannot support massively popular assets like Bitcoin, XRP, Cardano, Litecoin, EOS, Tezos, Stellar, Cosmos, or countless others. There are exciting projects like tBTC trying to bring Bitcoin to Ethereum — but these experiments are still very, very early. Ethereum-based smart contract wallets are missing a huge part of the crypto-asset universe.
  4. Technical Complexity While developers are able to avoid a lot of regulatory complexity (see Strengths above), they are replacing it with increased technical complexity. Most non-custodial wallets are entirely dependent on smart contract technology which is still very experimental and early in development (see Insurance section of this DeFi use-cases post). Major bugs and major hacks do happen. Even recently, it was discovered that Argent had a “high severity vulnerability.” Fortunately, Argent fixed it and their users didn’t lose funds. The tools, frameworks, and best practices around smart contract technology are all still being established. Things can still easily go wrong, and they do.
  5. Loss of Funds Risk Beyond the technical risks mentioned above, with non-custodial wallets, it’s very easy for users to make mistakes. There is no “Forgot Password.” There is no customer support agent you can ping. There is no company behind it that can make you whole if you make a mistake and lose your money. You are on your own, just as CZ suggests. One wrong move and your money is all gone. If you lose your private key, there is no way to recover your funds. There are some new developments around social recovery, but that’s all still very experimental. This just isn’t the type of customer support experience people are used to. And it’s not a risk that most are willing to take.
  6. Integration with Fiat & Traditional Finance In today’s world, it’s still very hard to use crypto for daily spending (see Payments in our DeFi use-cases post). Hopefully, that will all change someday. In the meantime, if any of these non-custodial products hope to win in the broader consumer finance market, they will undoubtedly need to integrate with the legacy financial world — they need onramps (fiat-to-crypto deposit methods) and offramps (crypto-to-fiat withdraw/spend methods). As much as crypto-fanatics hate hearing it, you can’t expect people to jump headfirst into the new world unless there is a smooth transition, unless there are bridge technologies that help them arrive. This is why these fiat integrations are so important. Examples might be allowing ACH/Wire deposits (eg. via Plaid) or launching a debit card program for spend/withdraw. These fiat integrations are essential if the aim is to become the bank of the future. Doing any of this compliantly will require strong KYC/AML. So to achieve this use-case — integrating with traditional finance —all of the Strengths we mentioned above are nullified. There are no longer regulatory benefits. There are no longer privacy benefits (users need to upload KYC documents, etc). And users are no longer in complete control of their money.

Wrap Up

One of the great powers of crypto is that we no longer depend on banks. Anyone can store their wealth and have absolute control of their money. That’s made possible with these non-custodial wallets. It’s a wonderful thing.
I believe that the most knowledgeable and experienced crypto people (including myself) will always be active users of these applications. And as mentioned in this post, there will certainly be circumstances where these apps will be essential & even life-saving.
However, I do not believe this category of product is a major threat to Genesis Block to becoming the bank of the future.
They won’t win in the broader consumer finance market — mostly because I don’t believe that’s their target audience. These applications simply cannot produce the type of product experience that the masses require, want, or expect. The Weaknesses I’ve outlined above are just too overwhelming. The friction for mass-market consumers is just too much.

https://preview.redd.it/lp8dzxeh1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=03acdce545cd032f7e82b6665b001d7a06839557
The winning bank will be focused on solving real user problems and meeting user needs. Not slowed down by rigid idealism like censorship-resistance and absolute decentralization, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be a world-class product that’s smooth, performant, and accessible. Not sluggish and slow, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one where blockchain & crypto is mostly invisible to end-users. Not front-and-center as it is with non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one managed and run by professionals who know exactly what they’re doing. Not DIY (Do It Yourself), as it is with non-custodial wallets.
So are these non-custodial wallets a threat to Genesis Block in winning the broader consumer finance market, and becoming the bank of the future?
No. They are designed for a very different audience.
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Crypto Banking Wars: Will Coinbase or Binance Become The Bank of The Future?

Crypto Banking Wars: Will Coinbase or Binance Become The Bank of The Future?
Can the early success of major crypto exchanges propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market?
https://reddit.com/link/i48t4q/video/v4eo10gom7f51/player
This is the first part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this powerful technology to reach the masses. We believe a crypto-native company, like Genesis Block, will become the bank of the future.
In an earlier series, Crypto-Powered, we laid out arguments for why crypto-native companies have a huge edge in the market. When you consider both the broad spectrum of financial use-cases and the enormous value unlocked through these DeFi protocols, you can see just how big of an unfair advantage blockchain tech becomes for companies who truly understand and leverage it. Traditional banks and fintech unicorns simply won’t be able to keep up.
The power players of consumer finance in the 21st century will be crypto-native companies who build with blockchain technology at their core.
The crypto landscape is still nascent. We’re still very much in the fragmented, unbundled phase of the industry lifecycle. Beyond what Genesis Block is doing, there are signs of other companies slowly starting to bundle financial services into what could be an all-in-one bank replacement.
So the key question that this series hopes to answer:
Which crypto-native company will successfully become the bank of the future?
We obviously think Genesis Block is well-positioned to win. But we certainly aren’t the only game in town. In this series, we’ll be doing an analysis of who is most capable of thwarting our efforts. We’ll look at categories like crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, centralized lending & borrowing services, and crypto debit card companies. Each category will have its own dedicated post.
Today we’re analyzing big crypto exchanges. The two companies we’ll focus on today are Coinbase (biggest American exchange) and Binance (biggest global exchange). They are the top two exchanges in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. They are in pole position to winning this market — they have a huge existing userbase and strong financial resources.
Will Coinbase or Binance become the bank of the future? Can their early success propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market? Is their growth too far ahead for anyone else to catch up? Let’s dive in.
https://preview.redd.it/lau4hevpm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c5de1ba497199f36aa194e5809bd86e5ab533d8

Binance

The most formidable exchange on the global stage is Binance (Crunchbase). All signs suggest they have significantly more users and a stronger balance sheet than Coinbase. No other exchange is executing as aggressively and relentlessly as Binance is. The cadence at which they are shipping and launching new products is nothing short of impressive. As Tushar Jain from Multicoin argues, Binance is Blitzscaling.
Here are some of the products that they’ve launched in the last 18 months. Only a few are announced but still pre-launch.
Binance is well-positioned to become the crypto-powered, all-in-one, bundled solution for financial services. They already have so many of the pieces. But the key question is:
Can they create a cohesive & united product experience?

Binance Weaknesses

Binance is strong, but they do have a few major weaknesses that could slow them down.
  1. Traders & Speculators Binance is currently very geared for speculators, traders, and financial professionals. Their bread-and-butter is trading (spot, margin, options, futures). Their UI is littered with depth charts, order books, candlesticks, and other financial concepts that are beyond the reach of most normal consumers. Their product today is not at all tailored for the broader consumer market. Given Binance’s popularity and strength among the pro audience, it’s unlikely that they will dumb down or simplify their product any time soon. That would jeopardize their core business. Binance will likely need an entirely new product/brand to go beyond the pro user crowd. That will take time (or an acquisition). So the question remains, is Binance even interested in the broader consumer market? Or will they continue to focus on their core product, the one-stop-shop for pro crypto traders?
  2. Controversies & Hot Water Binance has had a number of controversies. No one seems to know where they are based — so what regulatory agencies can hold them accountable? Last year, some sensitive, private user data got leaked. When they announced their debit card program, they had to remove mentions of Visa quickly after. And though the “police raid” story proved to be untrue, there are still a lot of questions about what happened with their Shanghai office shut down (where there is smoke, there is fire). If any company has had a “move fast and break things” attitude, it is Binance. That attitude has served them well so far but as they try to do business in more regulated countries like America, this will make their road much more difficult — especially in the consumer market where trust takes a long time to earn, but can be destroyed in an instant. This is perhaps why the Binance US product is an empty shell when compared to their main global product.
  3. Disjointed Product Experience Because Binance has so many different teams launching so many different services, their core product is increasingly feeling disjointed and disconnected. Many of the new features are sloppily integrated with each other. There’s no cohesive product experience. This is one of the downsides of executing and shipping at their relentless pace. For example, users don’t have a single wallet that shows their balances. Depending on if the user wants to do spot trading, margin, futures, or savings… the user needs to constantly be transferring their assets from one wallet to another. It’s not a unified, frictionless, simple user experience. This is one major downside of the “move fast and break things” approach.
  4. BNB token Binance raised $15M in a 2017 ICO by selling their $BNB token. The current market cap of $BNB is worth more than $2.6B. Financially this token has served them well. However, given how BNB works (for example, their token burn), there are a lot of open questions as to how BNB will be treated with US security laws. Their Binance US product so far is treading very lightly with its use of BNB. Their token could become a liability for Binance as it enters more regulated markets. Whether the crypto community likes it or not, until regulators get caught up and understand the power of decentralized technology, tokens will still be a regulatory burden — especially for anything that touches consumers.
  5. Binance Chain & Smart Contract Platform Binance is launching its own smart contract platform soon. Based on compatibility choices, they have their sights aimed at the Ethereum developer community. It’s unclear how easy it’ll be to convince developers to move to Binance chain. Most of the current developer energy and momentum around smart contracts is with Ethereum. Because Binance now has their own horse in the race, it’s unlikely they will ever decide to leverage Ethereum’s DeFi protocols. This could likely be a major strategic mistake — and hubris that goes a step too far. Binance will be pushing and promoting protocols on their own platform. The major risk of being all-in on their own platform is that they miss having a seat on the Ethereum rocket ship — specifically the growth of DeFi use-cases and the enormous value that can be unlocked. Integrating with Ethereum’s protocols would be either admitting defeat of their own platform or competing directly against themselves.

Binance Wrap Up

I don’t believe Binance is likely to succeed with a homegrown product aimed at the consumer finance market. Their current product — which is focused heavily on professional traders and speculators — is unlikely to become the bank of the future. If they wanted to enter the broader consumer market, I believe it’s much more likely that they will acquire a company that is getting early traction. They are not afraid to make acquisitions (Trust, JEX, WazirX, DappReview, BxB, CoinMarketCap, Swipe).
However, never count CZ out. He is a hustler. Binance is executing so aggressively and relentlessly that they will always be on the shortlist of major contenders.
https://preview.redd.it/mxmlg1zqm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2d900dd5ff7f3b00df5fe5a48305d57ebeffaa9a

Coinbase

The crypto-native company that I believe is more likely to become the bank of the future is Coinbase (crunchbase). Their dominance in America could serve as a springboard to winning the West (Binance has a stronger foothold in Asia). Coinbase has more than 30M users. Their exchange business is a money-printing machine. They have a solid reputation as it relates to compliance and working with regulators. Their CEO is a longtime member of the crypto community. They are rumored to be going public soon.

Coinbase Strengths

Let’s look at what makes them strong and a likely contender for winning the broader consumer finance market.
  1. Different Audience, Different Experience Coinbase has been smart to create a unique product experience for each audience — the pro speculator crowd and the common retail user. Their simple consumer version is at Coinbase.com. That’s the default. Their product for the more sophisticated traders and speculators is at Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX). Unlike Binance, Coinbase can slowly build out the bank of the future for the broad consumer market while still having a home for their hardcore crypto traders. They aren’t afraid to have different experiences for different audiences.
  2. Brand & Design Coinbase has a strong product design team. Their brand is capable of going beyond the male-dominated crypto audience. Their product is clean and simple — much more consumer-friendly than Binance. It’s clear they spend a lot of time thinking about their user experience. Interacting directly with crypto can sometimes be rough and raw (especially for n00bs). When I was at Mainframe we hosted a panel about Crypto UX challenges at the DevCon4 Dapp Awards. Connie Yang (Head of Design at Coinbase) was on the panel. She was impressive. Some of their design philosophies will bode well as they push to reach the broader consumer finance market.
  3. USDC Stablecoin Coinbase (along with Circle) launched USDC. We’ve shared some stats about its impressive growth when we discussed DeFi use-cases. USDC is quickly becoming integrated with most DeFi protocols. As a result, Coinbase is getting a front-row seat at some of the most exciting things happening in decentralized finance. As Coinbase builds its knowledge and networks around these protocols, it could put them in a favorable position to unlock incredible value for their users.
  4. Early Signs of Bundling Though Coinbase has nowhere near as many products & services as Binance, they are slowly starting to add more financial services that may appeal to the broader market. They are now letting depositors earn interest on USDC (also DAI & Tezos). In the UK they are piloting a debit card. Users can now invest in crypto with dollar-cost-averaging. It’s not much, but it’s a start. You can start to see hints of a more bundled solution around financial services.

Coinbase Weaknesses

Let’s now look at some things that could hold them back.
  1. Slow Cadence In the fast-paced world of crypto, and especially when compared to Binance, Coinbase does not ship very many new products very often. This is perhaps their greatest weakness. Smaller, more nimble startups may run circles around them. They were smart to launch Coinbase Ventures where tey invest in early-stage startups. They can now keep an ear to the ground on innovation. Perhaps their cadence is normal for a company of their size — but the Binance pace creates quite the contrast.
  2. Lack of Innovation When you consider the previous point (slow cadence), it’s unclear if Coinbase is capable of building and launching new products that are built internally. Most of their new products have come through acquisitions. Their Earn.com acquisition is what led to their Earn educational product. Their acquisition of Xapo helped bolster their institutional custody offering. They acqui-hired a team to help launch their staking infrastructure. Their acquisition of Cipher Browser became an important part of Coinbase Wallet. And recently, they acquired Tagomi — a crypto prime brokerage. Perhaps most of Coinbase’s team is just focused on improving their golden goose, their exchange business. It’s unclear. But the jury is still out on if they can successfully innovate internally and launch any homegrown products.
  3. Talent Exodus There have been numerous reports of executive turmoil at Coinbase. It raises a lot of questions about company culture and vision. Some of the executives who departed include COO Asiff Hirji, CTO Balaji Srinivasan, VP & GM Adam White, VP Eng Tim Wagner, VP Product Jeremy Henrickson, Sr Dir of Eng Namrata Ganatra, VP of Intl Biz Dan Romero, Dir of Inst Sales Christine Sandler, Head of Trading Hunter Merghart, Dir Data Science Soups Ranjan, Policy Lead Mike Lempres, Sr Compliance Vaishali Mehta. Many of these folks didn’t stay with Coinbase very long. We don’t know exactly why it’s happening —but when you consider a few of my first points (slow cadence, lack of innovation), you have to wonder if it’s all related.
  4. Institutional Focus As a company, we are a Coinbase client. We love their institutional offering. It’s clear they’ve been investing a lot in this area. A recent Coinbase blog post made it clear that this has been a focus: “Over the past 12 months, Coinbase has been laser-focused on building out the types of features and services that our institutional customers need.” Their Tagomi acquisition only re-enforced this focus. Perhaps this is why their consumer product has felt so neglected. They’ve been heavily investing in their institutional services since May 2018. For a company that’s getting very close to an IPO, it makes sense that they’d focus on areas that present strong revenue opportunities — as they do with institutional clients. Even for big companies like Coinbase, it’s hard to have a split focus. If they are “laser-focused” on the institutional audience, it’s unlikely they’ll be launching any major consumer products anytime soon.

Coinbase Wrap Up

At Genesis Block, we‘re proud to be working with Coinbase. They are a fantastic company. However, I don’t believe that they’ll succeed in building their own product for the broader consumer finance market. While they have incredible design, there are no signs that they are focused on or capable of internally building this type of product.
Similar to Binance, I think it’s far more likely that Coinbase acquires a promising young startup with strong growth.

Honorable Mentions

Other US-based exchanges worth mentioning are Kraken, Gemini, and Bittrex. So far we’ve seen very few signs that any of them will aggressively attack broader consumer finance. Most are going in the way of Binance — listing more assets and adding more pro tools like margin and futures trading. And many, like Coinbase, are trying to attract more institutional customers. For example, Gemini with their custody product.

Wrap Up

Coinbase and Binance have huge war chests and massive reach. For that alone, they should always be considered threats to Genesis Block. However, their products are very, very different than the product we’re building. And their approach is very different as well. They are trying to educate and onboard people into crypto. At Genesis Block, we believe the masses shouldn’t need to know or care about it. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
Most everyone needs banking — whether it be to borrow, spend, invest, earn interest, etc. Not everyone needs a crypto exchange. For non-crypto consumers (the mass market), the differences between a bank and a crypto exchange are immense. Companies like Binance and Coinbase make a lot of money on their crypto exchange business. It would be really difficult, gutsy, and risky for any of them to completely change their narrative, messaging, and product to focus on the broader consumer market. I don’t believe they would ever risk biting the hand that feeds them.
In summary, as it relates to a digital bank aimed at the mass market, I believe both Coinbase and Binance are much more likely to acquire a startup in this space than they are to build it themselves. And I think they would want to keep the brand/product distinct and separate from their core crypto exchange business.
So back to the original question, is Coinbase and Binance a threat to Genesis Block? Not really. Not today. But they could be, and for that, we want to stay close to them.
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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analysed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, secure and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue disecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as:
“A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next he states that: >“blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”.* For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (>66%) double spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralised nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching their transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public.They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers.The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translates to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS & shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behaviour are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.”
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: > OCaml is a general purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognised by academics and won a so called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities safety is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa for Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships  
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organisations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, AirBnB, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are build on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”*
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They dont just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities) also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures & Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

[Part 1] KAVA Historical AMA Tracker! (Questions & Answers)

ATTN: These AMA questions are from Autumn 2019 - before the official launch of the Kava Mainnet, and it's fungible Kava Token.
These questions may no longer be relevant to the current Kava landscape, however, they do provide important historical background on the early origins of Kava Labs.
Please note, that there are several repeat questions/answers.

Q1:

Kava is a decentralized DEFI project, why did you implement the countries restrictions to run the node? Will there be such restrictions by the time of the mainnet?

Q2:

According to the project description it has been indicated that staking reward (in KAVA tokens) varies from 3 to 20% per annum. But how will you fight with inflation?

We all know how altcoins prices are falling, and their bottom is not visible. And in fact, we can get an increase in the number of tokens for staking, but not an increase in the price of the token itself and become a long-term investor.

  • Answer: Kava is both inflationary with block rewards, but deflationary when we burn CDP fees. Only stakers who bond their Kava receive inflationary rewards - users and traders on exchanges do not get this. In this way, rewards are inflated, but given to stakers and removed value from the traders who are speculating like a tax. The Deflationary structure of fees should help counterbalance the price drops from inflation if any. In the long-term as more CDPs are used, Kava should be a deflationary asset by design if all things go well

Q3:

In your allocation it is indicated that 28.48% of the tokens are in the "Token treasury" - where will these tokens be directed?

  • Answer: Investors in financing rounds prior to the IEO have entered into long-term lock-up agreements in-line with their belief in Kava’s exciting long-term growth potential and to allow the projects token price to find stability. Following the IEO, the only tokens in circulation will be those sold through the IEO on Binance and the initial Treasury tokens released.
  • No private sale investor tokens are in circulation until the initial release at the end of Q1 2020 and then gradually over the [36] months The initial Treasury tokens in circulation will be used for a mixture of ecosystem grants, the expenses associated with the IEO as well as initial market making requirements as is typical with a listing of this size. Kava remains well financed to execute our roadmap following the IEO and do not envisage any need for any material financings or token sales for the foreseeable future.

Q4:

Such a platform (with loans and stable coins) is just the beginning since these aspects are a small part of many Defi components. Will your team have a plan to implement other functions, such as derivatives, the dex platform once the platform is successfully launched?

  • Answer: We believe Kava is the foundation for many future defi products. We need stable coins, oracles, and other infrastructure first that Kava provides. Once we have that, we can apply these to derivatives and other synthetics more easily. For example, we can use the price feeds and USDX to enable users to place 100x leverage bets with each other. If they both lock funds into payment channels, then they can use a smart contract based on the price feed to do the 100x trade/bet automatically without counter party risk. In this way, Kava can expand its financial product offerings far beyond loans and stable coins in the future.

Q5:

There are several options for using USDX on the KAVA platform, one of which is Margin Trading / Leverage. Is this a selection function or a compulsory function? Wondering since there are some investors who don`t like margin. What is the level of leverage and how does a CDP auction work?

  • Answer: This is a good #Q . Kava simply provides loans to users in USDX stable coins. What the users do is completely up to them. They can use the loans for everyday payments if they like. Leverage and hedging are just the main use cases we foresee - there are many ways people can use the CDP platform and USDX.

Q6:

Most credit platforms do not work well in the current market. What will you do to attract more people to use your platform and the services you provide? Thank you

  • Answer: Most credit platforms do not work well in the current market? I think that isn't correct at least for DeFi. Even in the bear market, MakerDao and Compound saw good user growth. Regardless, our efforts at Kava to build the market are fairly product and BD focused. 1) we build more integrations of assets and expand financial services to attract new communities and users. 2) we focus on building partnerships with high quality teams to promote and build Kava's core user base. Kava is just the developer. Our great partners like Ripple, Stakewith.Us, P2P, Binance - they have the real users that demand Kava. They are like our system integrators that package Kava up nicely and present it to their users. In order to grow, we need to deepen our partnerships and bring in new ones around the world.

Q7:

KAVA functions as a reserve currency in situations where the system is undercollateralized. In such cases new KAVA is minted and used to buy USDX off the market until USDX becomes safely overcollateralized.

Meaning, there will be no max supply of KAVA?

  • Answer: Yes, there is no max supply of Kava.

Q8:

Why Kava?

  • Answer: ...because people are long BTC and the best way to go long BTC without giving up custody is Kava's platform. Because it is MakerDao for bitcoin. Bitcoin has a 10x market cap of ETH and Maker is 10x the size of Kava. I think we're pretty undervalued right now.

Q9:

How do you plan to make liquidity in Kava?

  • Answer: Working with Binance for the IEO and as the first exchange for KAVA to trade on will be a huge boost in increasing the liquidity of trading KAVA.

Q10:

Most crypto investors or crypto users prefer easy transaction and low fees, what can we expect from KAVA about this?

  • Answer: Transaction fees are very low and confirm if seconds. The user experience is quite good on Tendermint-based blockchains.

Q11:

How do I become a note validator on KavA?

Q12:

It is great to know that KAVA is the first DEFI-supported project sponsored by Binance Launchpad, do you think this is the meaning that CZ brings: Opening the DEFI era, as a leader, you feel like how ?

  • Answer: We are the first DeFi platform that Launchpad has supported. We are a very strategic blockchain for major crypto like BNB. Kava's platform will bring more utility to the users of BNB and the Binance DEX. It feels good of course to have validation from the biggest players in the space like Cosmos, Ripple, CZ/Binance, etc.

Q13:

Since decentralized finance applications is already dominating, how do you intend to surpass those leading in the market?

  • Answer: The leaders are only addressing ethereum. BTC, XRP, BNB, ATOM is a much larger set to go after that current players cannot.

Q14:

What does Ripple play in the Kava's ecosystem, since Ripple is like a top tier company and it’s impressive that you are partnered with them?

  • Answer: Ripple is an equity investor in Kava and a big supporter of our work in cross-chain settlement research and implementations. Ripple's XRP is a great asset in terms of users and liquidity that the Kava platform can use. In addition, Ripple's money service business customers are asking for a stable coin for remittances to avoid the currency heading risk that XRP presents. Ripple will not use USDC or other stable coins, but they are open to using USDX as it can be XRP-backed.

Q15:

Considering the connectivity, Libra could be the biggest competitor if KAVA leverages interchain for efficiency.

  • Answer: With regard to USDX, it is important to understand the users interacting with the Kava blockchain have no counterparty that people could go after for legal actions. A user getting a USDX loan has no counterparty. The software holds the collateral and creates the loan. The only laws that would apply are to the very users that are using the system.

Q16:

Wonder how KAVA will compete with the tech giants

  • Answer: Libra is running into extreme issues with the US Senate and regulators. Even the G7-G20 groups are worried. Its important to understand that Libra is effectively a permissioned system. Only big companies that law makers can go after are able to run nodes. In Kava, nodes can be run by anyway and our nodes are based all over the world. It's incredibly hard for a law maker to take down Kava because they would need to find and legally enforce hundreds of business in different jurisdictions to comply. We have an advantage in this way over the larger projects like Libra or Clayton.

Q17:

In long-term, what's the strategy that KAVA has for covering the traditional finance users as well? Especially regarding the "stability"

  • Answer: Technical risk is unavoidable for DeFi. Only time will tell if a system is trustworthy and its never 100% that it will not fail or be hacked. This is true with banks and other financial systems as well. I think for DeFi, the technical risk needs to be priced in to the expected returns to compensate the market. DeFi does have a better user experience - requiring no credit score, identity, or KYC over centralized solutions.
  • With our multi-collateral CDP system, even with it overcollateralized, people can get up to 3x leverage on assets. Take 100 USD in BTC, get a USDX loan for 66 USDX, then buy $66 BTC and do another loan - you can do this with a program to get 3x leverage with the same risk profile. This is enough for most people.
  • However, it will be possible once we have Kava's CDP platform to extend it into products that offer undercollateralized financial products. For example, if USER 1 + USER 2 use payment channels to lock up their USDX, they can use Kava's price feeds to place bets between each other using their locked assets. They can bet that for every $1 BTC/USD moves, the other party owes 3x. In this way we can even do 100x leverage or 1000x leverage and create very fun products for people to trade with. Importantly, even in places where margin trading is regulated and forbidden, Kava's platform will remain open access and available.

Q18:

In long-term, what's the strategy that KAVA has for covering the traditional finance users as well? Especially regarding the "stability"

  • Answer: Kava believes that stable coins should be backed not just by crypto or fiat, but any widely used, highly liquid asset. We think in the future the best stablecoin would be backed by a basket of very stable currencies that include crypto and fiat or whatever the market demands.

Q19:

Compound, maker they're trying to increase their size via the competitive interests rates. THough it shows good return in terms of growth rate, still it's for short-term. Wonder other than financial advantage, KAVA has more for the users' needs?

  • Answer: Robert, the CEO of Compound is an investor and advisor to Kava. We think what Compound does with money markets is amazing and hope to integrate when they support more than just Ethereum assets. Kava's advantage vs others is to provide basic DeFi services like returns on crypto and stable coins today when no other platform offers that. Many platforms support ETH, but no platform can support BTC, XRP, BNB, and ATOM in a decentralized way without requiring centralized custody of these assets.

Q20:

The vast majority of the cryptocurrency community's priorities is symbolic pricing. When prices rise, the community rejoices and grows. When they fall, many people begin to cast in a negative way. How will KAVA solve the negative problem when the price goes down? What is your plan to strengthen and develop the community to persuade more people to look at the product than the price?

  • Answer: We believe price is an important factor for faith in the market. One of Kava's key initiatives was selecting only long-term partners that are willing to work with kava for 2 years. That is why even after 6 months, 0 private investor or kava team tokens will be liquid on the market.
  • We believe not in fast pumps and then dumps that destroy faith, but rather we try and operate the best we can for long-term sustainable growth over time. It's always hard to control factors in the market, and some factors are out of our control such as BTC price correlations, etc - however, we treat this like a public company stock - we want long-term growth of Kava and try to make sure our whole community of Kava holders is aligned with that the best we can.

Q21:

Do you have any plans to attract non-crypto investors to Kava and how? What are the measures to increase awareness of kava in non-crypto space?

  • Answer: We are 100% focused on crypto, not the general market. We solve the problems of crypto traders and investors - not the average grandma who needs a payment solution. Kava is geared for decentralized leverage and hedging.

Q22:

Adoption is crucial for all projects and crypto companies, what strategy are you gonna use/follow or u are now following to get Kava adopted and used by many people all over the world?

Revenue is an important aspect for all projects in order to survive and keep the project/company up and running for long term, what are the ways that Kava generates profits/revenue and what is its revenue model?

  • Answer: We have already partnered with several large exchanges, long-term VCs, and large projects like Ripple and Cosmos. These are key ways for us to grow our community. As we build support for more assets, we plan to promote Kava's services to those new communities of traders.
  • Kava generates revenue as more people use the platform. As the platform is used, KAVA tokens are burned when users pay stability fees. This deflates the total supply of Kava and should in most cases give rise to the value of KAVA like a stock-buyback in the public markets.

Q23:

In order to be success in Loan project of Cryptocurrency, I think marketing is very important to make people using this service without any registration. What is main strategy for marketing?

  • Answer: Our main strategy is to build a great experience and offer products that are not available to communities with demand. Currently no DeFi products can serve BTC users for example. Centralized exchanges can, but nothing truly trustless. Kava's platform can finally give the vast audiences of BTC, BNB, and ATOM holders access to core DeFi services they cannot get on their own due to the smart contract limitations of those platforms.

Q24:

Currently, some project have policies for their ambassadors to create a contribution and attract recognition for the project! So the KAVA team plans to implement policies and incentives for KAVA ambassadors?

  • Answer: Yes, we will be creating a KAVA ambassador program and releasing that soon. Please follow our social media channels to learn about it in the coming weeks.

Q25:

Currently there are so many KAVA tokens sold on exchanges, why is this happening while KAVA is going to IEO on Binance? Are those KAVA codes fake or not?

  • Answer: For everyone's safety, please understand Kava tokens do not exist yet and they will only exist starting with the Binance IEO. Any other token listings or offerings of Kava are not supported by Kava Labs and I highly discourage you all from trying to get them there. It is most likely a big scam. Please only trust Binance for this.

Q26:

KAVA have two tokens, the first is called Kava - a governance and staking token; the second is called USDX - an algorithmically managed crypto-backed stable coin. What are the advantages of USDX compared to other stablecoins such as: USDT, USDC, TUSD, GUSD, ...?

  • Answer: USDX is one of the few stablecoins to be fully backed by crypto-assets. This means that we do not deal with fiat to back the value, and thus we don't have some of the issues when it comes to storing fiat funds with banks and custodians. This also makes our product fully digital and built for the future of crypto growth.

Q27:

As a CEO, does your background in Esports and Gaming industry help anything to your management and development of KAVA Labs?

  • Answer: Esports no. But having been a multi-time venture-backed foundeCEO and have gone through the start-up phase before has made creating and running a 2nd company easier. Right now Kava is still small, Fnatic had over 80 employees. It was at a larger scale. I would say developing software is much more than doing the hardware at fnaticgear.com

Q28:

Why did Kava choose to launch IEO on Binance and not other exchanges like: Kucoin, Houbi, Gate, ....?

  • Answer: Kava had a lot of interest from exchanges to partner with for IEO. We decided based on a lot of factors such as userbase, diverse exposure across multiple regions and countries, and an amazing team that provides so much insight into so many communities such as this one. Binance has been a tremendous partner and we also look forward to continuing our partnership far into the future.

Q29:

Currently if Search on coinmarketcap has 3 types of stablecoins bearing the USDX symbol (but these 3 stablecoins are no information). So, what will KAVA do to let users know that Kava's USDX is another stablecoin?

  • Answer: All these USDX have no volume or listings. We will be on Binance. I am not worried.

Q30:

In addition to the Token Allocation for Binance Launchpad, what is the Token Treasury in the Initial Circulating Supply?

  • Answer: This is controlled by Kava Labs, but with the big cash we have saved from fundraising, we see no reason why these tokens would be sold on the market. The treasury tokens are for use in grants, ecosystem growth initiatives, development, and other incentive programs to drive adoption of the platform.

Q31:

How you will compete with your competitors? Currently i don't see much but for future how you will maintain this consistency ? No doubt it is Great and Unique project, what is the main problem that #KAVA is currently facing?

  • Answer: Because our industry is just starting out, I don't like to think of them as our direct competitors. We are all working to grow the size of the pie rather than get a larger slice from a small pie. The one thing that we believe will allow us to stand apart is the community we are building. Being able to utilize our own community along with Cosmos and our other partners like Binance for the IEO, we have a strong footing to get a lot of early users onto our platform. Also, we are also focusing on growing Kava internationally particularly Asia. We hope to build our platform for an even larger userbase than just the west.

Q32:

How do you explain your project to a random person who has never heard of your project?

  • Answer: non-crypto = Kava is a lending platform for users of cryptocurrencies.
  • crypto = Kava is a cross-chain DeFi platform for loans and stablecoins backed by BTC, BNB, XRP, ATOM and other major cryptocurrencies.

Q33:

Will KAVA team have a plan on implementing DAO module on your platform since its efficiency on autonomy, decentralization and transparency?

  • Answer: All voting is already transparent on the Kava blockchain. We approved a number of proposals on our test net.

Q34:

how to use usdx token :only for your platform or you have plan to use usdx for payment ?

  • Answer: Payments is a nice use case, but demand for crypto payments is still small. We may choose to focus here later if demand for crypto payments increases. Currently it is quite small with the bulk of use remaining in trading and speculative use cases.

Q35:

Do you have plans to spread KAVA ecosystem across other continents. if yes, what are the strategies and how can I as a community member contribute to making it possible?

  • Answer: We are already across many continents - I don't think we are in antarctica yet. Africa might be light on nodes as well. I think as we grow on major exchanges like Binance, new node operators will get interested and help decentralize Kava further.

Q36:

Maker's CDP lending system is on top in this market and its Dominance is currently sitting on 64.90 % , how kava will compete will maker and compound?

  • Answer: adding assets like bitcoin which have more value and more users than ETH. It's a bigger market that Maker cannot compete with Kava in.

Q37:

Currently, the community is too concerned about the price. As prices rise, the community rejoice and grow, when falling, many people start throwing negatively. So what is KAVA's solution to getting people to focus on the project rather than the price of the token?

What is your plan to strengthen and grow the community to persuade more individuals to look at the product than the price?

  • Answer: We also share similar concerns as price and price direction is always a huge factor in the crypto industry. A lot of people of course are very short-term focused on flipping for bigger profits. One of the solutions, and what Kava has done, is to make sure that everything structured is for the long-term. So that makes sure that our investors and employees are all focused on long-term gains and growth. Locking vesting periods are part of that alignment. Another thing is that we at Kava are very transparent in our progress and development. We will be regularly posting updates within our own communities to allow our users and followers to keep up with everything we're up to. Please follow us or look at our github if you're interested!

Q38:

How did Kava get on Piexgo?

  • Answer: We did not work with Piexgo. We have not distributed tokens to any exchange other than Binance. I cannot speak to what is going on there, but I would be very wary of what is happening there.

Q39:

Why was the 1st round price so much lower than the current price

  • Answer: It is natural to worry that early investors got better pricing and could dump on the market. I can assure you that our investors are in this for the long-term. All private sale rounds signed 2 year contracts to run validators - and if they don't they forfeit their tokens. You can compare our release schedule to any other project. We have one of the most restricted circulating supply schedules of any project EVER and its because all our investors are commiting to the long-term success of the project and believe in Kava.
  • About the pricing itself - it is always a function of traction like for any start-up. When we made our public announcement about the project in June, we were only a 4 man team with just some github code. We could basically run a network with a single node, our own. Which is relatively worthless. I think our pricing of Kava at this time was justified. We were effectively a seed-stage company without a product or working network.
  • By July we made severe progress on the development side and the business side. We successful launched our first test net with the help of over 70 validator business partners around the world. We had a world-wide network of hundreds of people supporting us with people and resources at this point and the risk we would fail in launching a working product was much lower. At this point, the Kava project was valued at $25M. At this point, we had many VCs and investors asking for Kava tokens that we turned away. We only accepted validators that would help us launch the network. It was our one and only goal.
  • Fast forward to today, the IEO price simply reflects the traction and market demand for Kava. Our ecosystem is much larger than it was even a month ago. We have support from Ripple, Cosmos, and Binance amongst other large crypto projects. We have 100+ validators securing our network with very sophisticated high-availability set-ups. In addition, our ecosystem partners have built products for Kava - such as block explorers and others are working on native integrations to wallets and exchanges. Launchpad will be very big for us. Kava is a system designed to cater to crypto traders and investors and in a matter of days we distributed via Binance Launchpad and put in the hands of 130+ countries and tens of thousands of users overnight. It doesn't get more DeFi than that.

Q40:

What is the treasury used for?

  • Answer: Kava's treasury is for ecosystem growth activities.
  • Investors in financing rounds prior to the IEO have entered into long-term lock-up agreements in-line with their belief in Kava’s exciting long-term growth potential and to allow the projects token price to find stability. Following the IEO, the only tokens in circulation will be those sold through the IEO on Binance and the initial Treasury tokens released. No private sale investor tokens are in circulation until the initial release at the end of Q1 2020 and then gradually over the [36] months The initial Treasury tokens in circulation will be used for a mixture of ecosystem grants, the expenses associated with the IEO as well as initial market making requirements as is typical with a listing of this size. Kava remains well financed to execute our roadmap following the IEO and do not envisage any need for any material financings or token sales for the foreseeable future.

Q41:

Everyone have heard about the KAVA token, and read about it. But it would be great to hear your explanation about it. What is the Kava token, what is it's utility? :)

  • Answer: The Kava token plays many roles. KAVA is the native staking token of the Kava blockchain and is used for securing the network. KAVA is delegated to validators, basically professional node operators that run highly-available servers to secure the Kava blockchain. The top 100 validators by weight of staked KAVA earn block rewards that range from 3-20% APR based on the total amount staked in the network. These rewards are split between the validators and the KAVA holders.
  • When users of the platform repay their loans, they must a stability fee (a percentage of the loan) in KAVA tokens. These tokens are burned by the system, effectively deflating the total supply overtime as more users use the CDP system.
  • KAVA is also the primary token used in governance of the platform. KAVA token holders can vote on key system parameter changes and upgrades such as what assets to support, how much USDX in total can be loaned by the system, what the debt-to-collateral ratio needs to be, the stability fees, etc. KAVA holders have a very important responsibility to govern the system well.
  • Lastly, Kava functions as a "Lender of Last Resort" meaning if USDX ever gets undercollateralized because the underlying asset prices drop suddenly and the system manages it poorly, KAVA is inflated in these emergency situations and used to purchase USDX off the market until USDX reaches a state of being over collateralized again. KAVA holders have incentive to only support the good high quality assets so risk of the system is managed responsibly.

Q42:

No matter how perfect and technically thought-out a DeFi protocol is, it cannot be completely protected from any unplanned situations (such as extreme market fluctuations, some legal issues, etc.)

Ecosystem members, in particular the validators on whom KAVA relies on fundamental decision-making rights, should be prepared in advance for any "critical" scenario. Considering that, unlike the same single-collateral MakerDAO, KAVA will be a multi-collateral CDP system, this point is probably even more relevant here.

In this regard, please answer the following question: Does KAVA have a clear risk management model or strategy and how decentralized is / will it be?

  • Answer: Simialar to other CDP systems and MakerDAO we do have a system freeze function where in cases of extreme issues, we can stop the auction mechanisms and return all collateral.

Q43:

Did you know that "Kava" is translated into Ukrainian like "Coffee"? I personally do love drinking coffee. I plunge into the fantasy world. Why did you name your project "Kava" What is the story behind it? What idea / fantasy did your project originate from, which inspired you to create it?

  • Answer: Kava is coffee to you.
  • Kava is Hippopotamus to Japanese.
  • Cava is a region in Spain
  • Kava is also a root that is used in tea which makes your mouth numb.
  • Kava is also crow in Hindi.
  • Kava last but not least is a DeFi platform launching on Binance :)
  • We liked the sound of Kava it was as simple as that. It doesn't have much meaning in the USA where I am from. But it's short sweet and when we were just starting, Kava.io was available for a reasonable price

Q44:

What incentives does a lender get if a person chooses to pay with KAVA? Is there a discount on interest rates on the loan amount if you pay with KAVA? Do I have to pass the KYC procedure to apply for a small loan?

  • Answer: There is no KYC for Kava. Its an open blockchain software platform where anyone with a computer can connect to it and use it.

Q45:

Let's say, I decided to bond my cryptocurrency and got USDX stable coins. For now, it`s an unknown stable coin (let's be honest). Do you plan to add USDX to other famous exchanges? Also, you have spoken about the USDX staking and that the percentage would be higher than for other stable coins. Please be so kind to tell us what is the average annual interest rate and what are the conditions of staking?

  • Answer: Yes we have several large exchanges willing to support USDX from the start. Binance/Binance-DEX is one you should all know ;)
  • The average annual rates for USDX will depend on market conditions. The rate is actually provided by the CDP fees users pay. The system reallocates a portion of those fees to USDX users. In times when USDX use needs to grow, the rates will be higher to incentivize use. When demand is strong, we can reduce the rates.

Q46:

Why should i use and choose Kava's loan if i can use the similar margin trade on Binance?

  • Answer: If margin is available to you and you trust the exchange then you should do whatever is cheaper. For a US citizen and others, margin is often not available and if it is, only for a few asset types as collateral. Kava aims to address this and offer this to everyone.

Q47:

The IEO price is $ 0.46 while the price of the first private sale is $ 0.075. Don't you think that such price gap can negatively affect the liquidity of the token and take away the desire to buy a token on the exchange?

  • Answer: It is natural to worry that early investors got better pricing and could dump on the market. I can assure you that our investors are in this for the long-term. All private sale rounds signed 2 year contracts to run validators - and if they don't they forfeit their tokens. You can compare our release schedule to any other project. We have one of the most restricted circulating supply schedules of any project EVER and its because all our investors are commiting to the long-term success of the project and believe in Kava.
  • About the pricing itself - it is always a function of traction like for any start-up. When we made our public announcement about the project in June, we were only a 4 man team with just some github code. We could basically run a network with a single node, our own. Which is relatively worthless. I think our pricing of Kava at this time was justified. We were effectively a seed-stage company without a product or working network.
  • By July we made severe progress on the development side and the business side. We successful launched our first test net with the help of over 70 validator business partners around the world. We had a world-wide network of hundreds of people supporting us with people and resources at this point and the risk we would fail in launching a working product was much lower. At this point, the Kava project was valued at $25M. At this point, we had many VCs and investors asking for Kava tokens that we turned away. We only accepted validators that would help us launch the network. It was our one and only goal.
  • Fast forward to today, the IEO price simply reflects the traction and market demand for Kava. Our ecosystem is much larger than it was even a month ago. We have support from Ripple, Cosmos, and Binance amongst other large crypto projects. We have 100+ validators securing our network with very sophisticated high-availability set-ups. In addition, our ecosystem partners have built products for Kava - such as block explorers and others are working on native integrations to wallets and exchanges. Launchpad will be very big for us. Kava is a system designed to cater to crypto traders and investors and in a matter of days we distributed via Binance Launchpad and put in the hands of 130+ countries and tens of thousands of users overnight. It doesn't get more DeFi than that.
  • TLDR - I think KAVA is undervalued and the liquid supply of tokens is primarily from the IEO so its a safer bet than other IEOs. If the price drops, it will be from the overall market conditions or fellow IEO users not due private sale investors or team sell-offs.

Q48:

Can you introduce some information abouts KAVA Deflationary Fee Structure? With the burning mechanism, does it mean KAVA will never reach its max supply?

  • Answer: When loans are repaid, users pay a fee in Kava. This is burned. However, Kava does not have a max supply. It has a starting supply of 100M. It inflates for block rewards 3-20% APR AND it inflates when the system is at risk of under collateralization. At this time, more Kava is minted and used to purchase USDX off the market until it reaches full collateralization again.
  • TLDR: If things go well, and governance is good, Kava deflates and hopefully appreciates in value. If things go wrong, Kava holders get inflated.

Q49:

In your opinion what are advantage of decentralized finance over centralized?

  • Answer: One of the main advantages is not needing to pay the costs of regulation and compliance. Open financial software that is usable by anyone removes middle men fees and reduces the barrier for new entrants to enter and make new products. Also DeFI has an edge in terms of onboarding - to get a bank account or an exchange account you need to do lots of KYC and give private info. That takes time and is troublesome. With DeFi you just load up your funds and transact. Very fast user flows.

Q50:

Plan, KAVA how to raise capital? Kava is being supported by more than 100 business entities around the world, including major cryptocurrency investment funds like Ripple and Cosmos, so what did kava do to convince investors to join the project?

  • Answer: We have been doing crypto research and development for years. Ripple and Cosmos were partners before we even started this blockchain with Kava Labs. When we announced Kava the DeFi platform they knew us already to do good work and they liked the idea so they support us.
submitted by Kava_Mod to KavaUSDX [link] [comments]

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