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Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
Atomic Wallet Coin is SHOCKINGLY Undervalued ~750k Market Cap
Hey, /cryptomoonshots! Its my first post here (woo!) I’ve been lucky enough to have found QNT and LTO from this subreddit. I’ve found a third project that looks extremely interesting and I’d like to share my research here. My background is in digital marketing and this project stood out to me, especially from a marketing and biz dev perspective, which I’ll share below. Feel free to correct the record if I’ve posted anything incorrect and I will update it (I’m a human being, I make mistakes, okay!) Additionally, the CEO is constantly answering questions on Telegram!
The project is Atomic Wallet Coin. $AWC
Market cap is ~750k at the time of writing this
1 AWC = $0.075
Circulating supply is ~10M
40k active users
Currently only available to trade on IDEX
TL;DR IS AT THE BOTTOM. ALWAYS DYOR. NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE.
WHAT IS ATOMIC WALLET?
Atomic Wallet is a non custodial crypto wallet for desktop and mobile. Users can exchange and buy 300+ cryptocurrencies from a single interface. The wallet can perform cross-chain atomic swaps. It’s an exchange built into a wallet. Shapeshift and Changelly are partnered with Atomic to add additional currency swap pairs + fair rates. Fiat/crypto gateway is supported directly through the app. Atomic has over 40,000 monthly active users and boasts 150k+ downloads. The project is one of the first to migrate over to Binance chain. They are currently in the process of getting listed on Binance DEX. Half of their supply will remain ERC-20 and the other half migrated to BEP-2. https://twitter.com/cz_binance/status/1119047237076541440 https://twitter.com/atomicwallet/status/1119242545706434560 https://github.com/Atomicwallet http://atomicwallet.io
20 FULL TIME EMPLOYEES AND CEO WITH PREVIOUS TRACK RECORD
traffic statistics for atomicwallet.io [pic] Atomic Wallet has an A+ marketing team. Here’s a quick snapshot of how well atomicwallet.io is performing (see above). They’ve gone from 0 to 95k unique visitors per month in well under one year. Purely from Google search traffic. This doesn’t include traffic from Twitter, Facebook, and other sources. It also was during the worst bear market in crypto history, when these search terms would be at a low. Let’s see how Atomic Wallet measures up against some well-known sites: myetherwallet.com 802k/mo Ripple.com 580k/mo Ledger.com 401k/mo Exodus.io 172k/mo Coinmama.com 165k/mo Shapeshift.io 149k/mo Electrum.org 125k/mo Atomicwallet.io 95k/mo Freewallet.org 70.9k/mo Trustwallet.com (Binance owned) 24k/mo Atomic Wallet has virtually caught up to or exceeded many of it’s competitors in terms of traffic in well under a year. Turning this traffic into downloads/new users is child’s play. It’s one of the reasons this company with 20+ employees is already profitable in just a few short months. So, how is this site getting so many visitors? Here are a few search terms that Atomicwallet.io ranks on page 1 for on Google. Open up a new tab, visit Google.com and see for yourself! “EOS wallet” “ETH wallet” “BNB wallet” “Buy Bitcoin” “Ethereum wallet” “XRP wallet” “Ripple wallet” “DASH wallet” +27,100+ additional search terms that bring in a total of 94,700 visitors per month. Purely. from. Google. Search. traffic statistics for atomicwallet.io [pic]
Atomic’s website does a thorough job of explaining the tokenomic details of the $AWC coin. The tokenomics mirror the standard use-cases you would expect from an exchange token (Bibox, KCS, etc.) The CEO recently expressed his interest in adding staking rewards for AWC holders. He is also exploring the idea of having IEO-type listings for Atomic Wallet users/holders in the future. New projects could theoretically debut directly on their platform and be traded against $AWC, similar to how Bitmax runs IEOs. Currently, 90% of the circulating supply is locked up and Konstantin has announced his intention to buy back and burn tokens with company profits. Here are a few of the use cases for $AWC:
Staking rewards for holders
Discount on exchange services
Discount on buying crypto with bank card
Extra features for trading desk service
Dedicated support managers
Payment for coin listings
Affiliate and bounty rewards
The team is looking to make $AWC directly tradeable from the app in the future. With thousands of new Atomic Wallet users per month, this is an incredibly exciting feature. https://atomicwallet.io/token
Atomic Wallet will grow to an active user base in the millions. Every crypto holder needs a wallet. Atomic provides a user-friendly wallet for newbies getting their feet wet in crypto. Most newbs aren’t going out and buying a LedgeTrezor right away. Building an exchange directly into the wallet provides a safe and easy way to trade crypto assets. The number of cryptocurrency users and addresses are growing exponentially. Atomic wallet was created during the bear market. They are perfectly positioned to take a massive share of the increasingly competitive crypto wallet market during a bull market/alt coin season. In my opinion, they’re on track to be the #1 desktop/mobile multi-crypto wallet. As someone who is experienced in search engine/digital marketing, these guys have an ace marketing team. Even beating or ranking just below Coinbase for many competitive Google search terms in just a few short months. I have zero doubts that they will blow past every single one of their roadmap goals, especially as Bitcoin continues to climb in value and more people start buying crypto. Despite short term fluctuations in price, Atomic will continue to onboard thousands of new users every single month. The traffic numbers don’t lie. The Google search rankings don’t lie. Atomic will need to be wise about how they monetize this traffic. The company is already profitable. The CEO is well connected and has proved he is highly competent in creating and successfully running a crypto exchange. I have a lot more info to share about this project if there is interest, I’ll post a part 2 or a follow-up in the comments. A profitable company of this caliber with 20 full-time employees isn’t justified at a ~$750k market cap. https://atomicwallet.io/roadmap-for-2019 https://medium.com/@mccannatron/12-graphs-that-show-just-how-early-the-cryptocurrency-market-is-653a4b8b2720
An in-depth interview with Coss founder, Rune Evensen:
Hey guys! About two weeks ago I decided to book tickets to Singapore to pay a visit to the COSS team. I was and still am heavily invested in COSS and I thought it was my duty to push the do your own research idea to the maximum and actually go there and meet them! So, today was my first day in Singapore and it's been very busy! I spent the morning preparing my first official meeting with Rune and I headed to their offices around 2pm. They are a little bit outside of the city center, about 10 minutes drive. They look quite nice and leave a lot of room for growth, which is good cause a lot of people are coming in house in the next few weeks. The meeting went for about 2 hours and we talked about almost everything regarding COSS. Rune has been incredibly welcoming so far, I landed yesterday night and as soon as he knew I was in town he invited me to have dinner with him, so today was our second meeting, first official one. After the meeting, I headed back to my hotel caught a bit of sleep and started redacting the interview. Tomorrow I have a meeting with their head of compliance and will do the same thing, only much shorter. I'll also start vloging my adventures in Singapore :) Here is the 1st part of the interview: *Hi Rune, thanks for having me, how did you come up with the COSS idea? * Rune Evensen: Originally, back in 2013, I to develop a one stop solution for social media. I was looking at the current platforms and realized twitter is undersharing, facebook is oversharing and LinkedIn is for professionals. You needed a different account for everything so I started building a solution. Unfortunately it was all 3d rendered and way too heavy. It was designed like a house with different rooms. I spent two years on that project and we were supposed to build-in something like facebook credits as an internal currency, but not a cryptocurrency because at that time I did not know about them. But when I showed my idea to people, especially here in Singapore, more and more of them asked me why don’t you make it as a cryptocurrency instead of credits? Then I started to look into it, that was in 2015 but I found it quite complicated with a lot of hurdles especially for a beginner. So instead of working on a one-stop solution for social medias I figured I should build one for cryptos, because everybody talks about mass-adoption, but it is mostly IT guys, nerds and traders who are into cryptos. It is still way too complicated for people to get into it. So I started to plan my one stop solutions, many long nights of work. To get a better understanding I signed up for a FinTech course at MIT. During one of the weekly sessions there, we were supposed to submit a business idea that we had and could implement into blockchain. That was the first time I publicly presented my idea. We 1200 people in this course, and the average score for the assignment was 25, my project got the best rating, 100. They described it as a great business idea with real potential to take COSS to the masses. That was quite an endorsement! I needed this endorsement to actually build this idea. I had a consultancy company in Singapore with some staff. First I brought some of them in the project, then I met Dan from Romania and some months later we had the first drafts of the white paper. In November 2016 we moved to our offices in Singapore, in April 2017 we went live with the beta. Until then we were 100% self-funded, and that was the time all the ICOs were popping up. At first we started looking at institutional investors, but they wanted too many shares of the company for money that would last us a year at best. I did not want sell a majority stake of my company in which I already put so much time, efforts and money. The next natural step was to do an ICO and this is why we created our COSS token and came-up with the idea of the fee split allocation. We had to come-up with a clear use case. We then built our advisory board, we picked our advisory board according to our road map and not specifically for the ICO. For example Anson Zeall who is the president of ACCESS, Singapore’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association. So we chose them so that they could help us to complete our roadmap. We did every possible mistake during the ICO because we had no experience in it, none of us had done it before. We did not realize the power of community at the time, we did not even have Telegram at the time! You need to start building a community months before the ICO, you need thousands of people on Telegram and people being active in the community. This is the key to a successful ICO. Nowadays we are actually asked for advices by companies doing their own ICOs because we did everything ourselves during ours. We did not do proper marketing too, we thought we could push it through social medias, that was a big mistake. Nowadays, you need at least half a million to start your ICO for marketing budgets etc… Some companies even offer funding to ICOs! I remember we were approached at the time by TokenMarket and they offered us to take care of everything in our ICO. For 4 months of their work we were asked between 30 and 40k USD. Nowadays they do not work for less than a million. It’s been a bumpy road, that’s why we call it the RollerCOSSter! We raised 3.2M during our ICO. How much did you estimate you needed? Rune Evensen: We were very ambitious because we made an audit through ICO ranker and at that time they scored us the highest they had ever done. So we thought we would reach our 50M hardcap really easily. We were asked by the community what we were going to do with the unsold tokens, we did a community vote and the result was that everybody that joined the token sale would get 10x more token than expected. We decided to stay on Ether with the ICO money as opposed to go to FIAT. We only convert as we go and we still have two third of ETH we raised, which at today’s market price are worth 6M USD. For those who believe we have not hired more staff yet because of financial reasons, that is absolutely not true. We are very careful with the way we use our money, yes we have a big office but we decided to rent it a little bit outside of Singapore’s center cause it is a lot cheaper. We got a big office because we know we want to hire a lot. We are 7 persons working at the office at the moment and 4 more will arrive in February. Three persons for compliance and one developer, Jay. That was actually my follow-up question, how many people are on the current staff? Rune Evensen: We have a very decentralized team. We currently have 7 people in house, then we have the core dev team in Romania, which is Dan’s (one of COSS shareholders) team. It’s a 20 people team but only two of them are working a 100% on COSS. Then we have the UI team in Amsterdam, with 5 people working on COSS. We have our content manager also in Europe, we have our graphic designer in Indonesia, we have our internal security expert and our lawyer (also a shareholder) here in Singapore. So we have a big team, but people need to understand the difference between team and staff. For instance we have Gary here in house for support but he’s managing a four people team that we outsource. They all came here for training but do not work here. We are also planning to add 6 or 7 more in house developers. Mong (COSS’s 1st in house dev) has determined what kind of team she needs and she has free hands to hire and build the team. Just to clarify, if she finds someone that would fit the team, she is allowed to hire him/her immediately? Rune Evensen: Of course, we still need to discuss it together. She cannot sign the contract all alone. But yes, she is free to hire! We want it to be as quick as possible. The very good ones often have a job, then we need to make good offers to convince them and once they accept they need to give notice to their former employers so that takes a bit more time. If there are some devs out there that can start immediately and fit our needs, then we will bring them in immediately. Is it fair to say that Mong is COSS’ CTO? Rune Evensen: Yes, her contract does not say CTO but she is definitely acting CTO. It’s the same for me, I am leading the company but I do not have the CEO title. What does your typical day look like? Rune Evensen: I’m normally at the office between 8 and 9, sometimes I try to hit the gym before coming there, not too much lately. At the office I spend a lot of my time acting as support role on Slack and Telegram, I help everybody that DMs me with issues. Maybe I made myself too available because now I am getting a lot of them everyday. Of course we have meetups with compliance team and the devs. Mong has taken over a lot of communications with the dev teams oversea. She is coordinating and leading the Amsterdam and Romania team. Before she came on board that was also part of my job. I also took part on the KYC process, which is now the compliance team’s responsibility. I’m also the one negotiating when a coin wants to be listed. The priority is to get off your support role? Rune Evensen: Yes, as soon as support is up to speed, and can handle all the issues as fast I as I want to I will get off this role and go back to only leading the company. You announced FIAT will be introduced by the end of Q1 can you give us more details? Rune Evensen: We will introduce FIAT through credit card for Bitcoin and ETH. We will add more FIAT pairs as soon as the engine is up and running. I do not have an exact date for the engine. We are in the process of designing the architecture we need and want to use. Once that is done I will be able to give a more precise timeline. This should happen by the end of the week or next week. One question that comes up a lot, why don’t you buy the same engine as Binance? Rune Evensen: We want to build something from scratch for a few reasons. One reason is security, we want to have full control of the code. But mostly we want the engine to fit our business model, that requires different solutions than a standard exchange. So even if we bought Binance’s engine we would need to build a lot on top. We will speed up as much as possible the release of the engine, as long as that does not jeopardize security or quality. There are now over 80 devs on the Trello board, what is their role? Rune Evensen: They are giving us feedbacks and come up with solutions. For instance what can be done to increase the speed of the site. Some of them are working for Microsoft, Facebook and other Fortune 500 companies. Of course they are already very busy with their job and they are only helping us because they have an interest in COSS. Some of them reached out and sent their CVs to us. That’s something I always rejected before because we did not have in house devs. I did not want to get more outsourced devs and put them under an already outsourced dev team. Now that we have a leading team in Singapore, I’m passing those CVs, of highly qualified people looking to contribute more, to Mong. Some of them will become COSS team members. That’s really the true power of community that I talked about in my Medium update. Yes we have the FUD, from time to time, but to see the activity we have on Telegram and Slack, I really believe we have an amazing community. I know you guys also have a huge french community. France is actually our second biggest market behind USA. Let’s talk about security, it’s always an important concern from users. How do you improve and assess the exchange’s security? Rune Evensen: We are doing regular penetration testing, you can never say that something is 100% hack proof. My personal recommendation is to leave on exchanges only what you intend to trade and send the rest to your hardware wallet. You can get your fee split allocation on Ledger very easily. We do our due diligence and have never been breached, but some users have through their emails. I’m also amazed by how many people have not yet set-up 2FA. We might make it mandatory. You mentioned earlier that you still have 6M worth of ETH from your ICO. How much volume does the exchange need to cover your costs? Rune Evensen: Right now, when we have 2 to 3M daily volume, we are paying weekly to COSS holders between 70 and 100k. That means we get the same amount for ourselves and that’s almost enough to cover our expenses. If we reach 10M daily volume we should be very healthy financially.
Retailers Around The World That Accept Crypto, From Pizza to Travel
News by Cointelegraph: Jinia Shawdagor Earlier on, when Bitcoin (BTC) arrived on the scene, most cryptocurrency enthusiasts held on to their coins, as there were only so many places they could be spent. Nowadays, the list of marketplaces and retailers accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is significantly larger, providing crypto enthusiasts with more options for making real-world purchases. After all, with recognizable organizations like Microsoft and Wikipedia now accepting Bitcoin as payment, conversations about Bitcoin and the power of cryptocurrencies are becoming more prominent. Currently, several fast-food restaurants and coffee shops have started accepting Bitcoin as payment. This will likely provide traction for mass adoption as cryptocurrency payments become increasingly commonplace in day-to-day purchases. Granted, there are some jurisdictions that do not consider Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency as legal tender. Despite this set back, even big tech companies like Facebook are coming up with payment systems that mimic cryptocurrencies. Here are some of the leading retailers, merchants and companies that will let you book flights and hotels, buy coffee or pizza, or even go to space with crypto.
Pay for a burger in Germany with crypto
The German branch of fast-food restaurant chain Burger King now claims to accept Bitcoin as payment for its online orders and deliveries, but this is not the first time Burger King has warmed up to Bitcoin as a form of payment. The company, headquartered in Florida in the United States, had its Russian branch announce in 2017 that it would start accepting Bitcoin payments, but it ultimately did not take off. The global fast-food retailer reports an annual revenue of about $20 billion and serves about 11 million customers around the world. If all its outlets move to accept Bitcoin as payment, cryptocurrency adoption would inevitably spread.
Spend crypto at Starbucks and other places
For crypto payments to gain traction, merchants need to implement systems that enable swift and easy cryptocurrency spending. Starbucks is one of the companies taking advantage of this concept through Flexa, a U.S.-based payment startup that is helping the cafe giant, as well as dozens of other companies, accept cryptocurrency payments. The company developed an app called Spedn that enables crypto holders to make purchases with merchants like Starbucks. The company’s CEO believes that by making cryptocurrencies spendable in the mainstream, commerce will realize the full benefit of blockchain technology all over the world. Crypto enthusiasts in Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto might already be familiar with Coupa Cafe for other reasons apart from its coffee and food. Through its partnership with a Facebook software developer, Coupa Cafe has been accepting Bitcoin as payment since 2013. Reports show that the cafe received a steady stream of Bitcoin revenue as soon as they started implementing crypto payments — a clear sign of how eager its customers were to pay in Bitcoin. Coupa Cafe is among the few physical businesses in Palo Alto that accept Bitcoin at the moment. The cafe owners believe that their collaboration with the Facebook software engineer will create more traction in terms of Bitcoin adoption.
Buy food with crypto
With over 50,000 takeaway restaurants listed on its United Kingdom-based site, OrderTakeaways is one of the surest ways to get a pizza paid for with crypto delivered to your doorstep. The company has been accepting Bitcoin payments for online takeout orders since 2018. And other similar services include the Korean platform Shuttledelivery as well as German-based service Lieferando and its subsidiaries in several other countries. Apart from online orders, crypto can also be spent at a regular Subway restaurants. As early as 2013, several Subway branches started accepting Bitcoin as payment. Now, for a fraction of a Bitcoin, a Subway sandwich can be purchased at select restaurants.
Pay with Bitcoin to tour space
Besides buying food and inexpensive, day-to-day items with crypto, a trip to space can now be bought with Bitcoin. That’s right. Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, started accepting Bitcoin as payment as far back as 2013. Although Branson’s predicted date for the first commercial flight has been pushed back several times, the company achieved its first suborbital space flight last year. Perhaps soon, people will be able to tour the moon on crypto’s dime.
Buy jewelry with Bitcoin
A brick-and-mortar American jewelry company called Reeds Jewelers accepts Bitcoin for both its physical and online stores. What’s more, if a purchase is worth more than $25,000, the company provides free armored delivery for safety. Other jewelry companies accepting Bitcoin include Blue Nile Jewelry, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and Coaex Jewelry, to name a few. A big advantage of purchasing large ticket items — like a diamond — with crypto is that it makes moving around large amounts of money cheap and effortless. Reports show that more Silicon Valley investors are buying jewelry with Bitcoin. Last year, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry reported a 20% growth in crypto transactions, leading to a boost in the company’s sales. The company has been accepting Bitcoin since 2014.
Send and redeem gift cards with Bitcoin
Gyft, a digital platform that allows users to buy, send and redeem gift cards, was one of the first merchants enabling cryptocurrency adoption to gain traction in the real world. The mobile gift card app allows Bitcoin to be used to purchase gift cards from several retailers, some of which include Burger King, Subway, Amazon and Starbucks. The company has also partnered with popular crypto exchange Coinbase to enable users to buy gift cards from their Coinbase wallets.
Travel and pay in Bitcoin
If a traveler only has Bitcoin at their disposal, the following merchants will gladly offer services in exchange for it. TravelbyBit, a flight and hotel booking service, accepts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Binance Coin and Litecoin (LTC) as payment. With a network of over 300 crypto-friendly merchants, the platform is one of the biggest supporters of crypto adoption. TravelbyBit can also alert you to upcoming blockchain events in order to interact with other crypto enthusiasts from around the globe. Other platforms to book flights with crypto include Destinia, CheapBizClass, CheapAir, AirBaltic, Bitcoin.Travel and ABitSky, among others.
Use crypto to book a five-star hotel in Zurich
If ever one finds themselves traveling to Zurich Switzerland, either BTC or Ether (ETH) can be used to pay for a stay in a five-star hotel in Zurich. In May 2019, five-star hotel and spa Dodler Grand announced that it will start accepting Bitcoin and Ether as payment. The hotel has partnered with a fintech firm Inacta as well as Bity (a Swiss-based crypto exchange) to facilitate the payment and conversion of crypto to fiat money. The hotel boasts an amazing view of the Swiss landscape among other enticing amenities that come with a five-star hotel.
Pay for electronics and more with crypto
For all the gadget lovers, there are a bunch of platforms that allow electronic purchases with cryptocurrency. Newegg, for instance, is an electronic retail giant that uses BitPay to process payments made with digital currencies. Even though one cannot get refunds for Bitcoin purchases, Newegg has a good reputation for quality items. Plus, the company boasts its being among the first merchants to support cryptocurrency adoption. Other platforms for gadget junkies include Eyeboot (a platform that sells crypto mining rigs in exchange for crypto), Microsoft, FastTech and Alza (a U.K.-based online store that sells phones and beauty products).
An ever-expanding list
It seems clear that more retailers are warming up to the idea of accepting cryptocurrencies. There is still a long way to go before full adoption can be achieved, but many companies have nevertheless benefited from being early adopters. Despite the volatile price movements of cryptocurrencies, all evidence points to a future cashless society that uses digital currencies, and crypto is leading the way.
Introduction: Greetings, cryptax! Tax season is upon us, and in the next couple of months, taxpayers across the US will be filing their 2017 tax returns. As a tax professional, an Enrolled Agent, and a cryptocurrency investor and enthusiast, I wanted to write up a brief guide on how your investments in cryptocurrencies are taxed in the US.
1. Are cryptocurrency realized gains taxable? Yes. The IRS treats virtual currency (such as cryptocurrency) as property. That means if you sell BTC, ETH, or any other cryptocurrency that has appreciated in value, you have realized a capital gain and must pay taxes on this income. If you held the position for one year or less, it is a short-term capital gain which is taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. If you held the position for more than one year, it is a long-term capital gain which is taxed at your long-term capital gains tax rate. In most cases, this is 15%, but could also be 0% or 20% depending on your specific ordinary income tax bracket.
2. If I sell my BTC for USD on Coinbase but do not transfer the USD from Coinbase to my bank account, am I still taxed? Yes. The only thing that matters is that you sold the BTC, which creates a taxable transaction. Whether you transfer the USD to your bank account or not does not matter.
3. If I use my BTC to buy another cryptocurrency (XMR for example), is this a taxable transaction? Most likely yes. See #4 below for a more detailed explanation. If assuming crypto to crypto trades are not able to be like-kind exchanged, then continue on to the next paragraph here. This is actually two different transactions. The first transaction is selling your BTC for USD. The second transaction is buying the XMR with your USD. You must manually calculate these amounts (or use a website such as bitcoin.tax or software to calculate it for you). For example, I buy 1 BTC for $8,000 on Coinbase. Later on, the price of 1 BTC rises to $9,000. I transfer that 1 BTC to Bittrex and use it to buy 38 XMR. I have to report a capital gain of $1,000 because of this transaction. My total cost basis for the 38 XMR I purchased is $9,000.
5. How do I calculate the realized capital gain or loss on the sale of my cryptocurrency? The realized gain or loss is your total proceeds from the sale minus what you purchased those positions for (your cost basis). For example, you bought 1 BTC for $3,000 in June of 2017. In December of 2017, you sold that 1 BTC for $18,000. Your realized gain would be $18,000 - $3,000 = $15,000. Since you held it for one year or less, the $15,000 would be a short-term capital gain taxed at your ordinary income tax rate.
6. Which BTC's cost basis do I use if I have multiple purchases? The cost basis reporting method is up to you. For example, I buy my first BTC at $3,000, a second BTC at $5,300, and a third BTC at $4,000. Later on, I sell one BTC for $8,000. I can use: FIFO (first in first out) - cost basis would the first BTC, $3,000, which would result in a gain of $5,000. LIFO (last in first out) - cost basis would be the third BTC, $4,000, which would result in a gain of $4,000. Average cost - cost basis would be the average of the three BTC, $4,100, which would result in a gain of $3,900. Specific identification - I can choose which coin's cost basis to use. For example, I can choose the second BTC's cost basis, $5,300, which would result in the lowest capital gains possible of $2,700. The IRS has not given any guidance on cost basis accounting methods for cryptocurrency, but I am taking the position that any method can be used, and that you can change your method at any time as you please (e.g. FIFO for one year, LIFO for another. Or, FIFO for the sale of a specific lot, then LIFO for the sale of another lot on the same day).
7. If I end up with a net capital loss, can I claim this on my tax return? Capital gains and capital losses are netted on your tax return. If the net result of this is a capital loss, you may offset it against ordinary income on your tax return, but only at a maximum of $3,000 per year. The remaining losses are carried forward until you use them up.
9. If I mine BTC or any other cryptocurrency, is this taxable? Yes. IRS Notice 2014-21 states that mining cryptocurrency is taxable. For example, if you mined $8,000 worth of BTC in 2017, you must report $8,000 of ordinary income on your 2017 tax return. For many taxpayers, this will be reported on your Schedule C, and you will most likely owe self-employment taxes on this income as well. The $8,000 becomes the cost basis in your BTC position.
10. How do I calculate income for the cryptocurrency I mined? This is the approach I would take. Say I mined 0.01 BTC on December 31, 2017. I would look up the daily historical prices for BTC and average the high and low prices for BTC on December 31, 2017, which is ($14,377.40 + $12,755.60) / 2 = $13,566.50. I would report $13,566.50 * 0.01 = $135.67 of income on my tax return. This would also be the cost basis of the 0.01 BTC I mined.
11. Can I deduct mining expenses on my tax return? If you are reporting the income from mining on Schedule C, then you can deduct expenses on Schedule C as well. You can deduct the portion of your electricity costs allocated to mining, and then you depreciate the cost of your mining rig over time (probably over five years). Section 179 also allows for the full deduction of the cost of certain equipment in year 1, so you could choose to do that if you wanted to instead.
12. If I receive BTC or other cryptocurrency as a payment for my business, is this taxable? Yes. Similar to mining, your income would be what the value of the coins you received was. This would also be your cost basis in the coins.
13. If I received Bitcoin Cash as a result of the hard fork on August 1, 2017, is this taxable? Most likely yes. For example, if you owned 1 Bitcoin and received 1 Bitcoin Cash on August 1, 2017 as a result of the hard fork, your income would be the value of 1 Bitcoin Cash on that date. Bitcoin.tax uses a value of $277. This value would also be your cost basis in the position. Any other hard forks would probably be treated similarly. Airdrops may be treated similarly as well, in the IRS' view. Here are a couple more good articles about reporting the Bitcoin Cash fork as taxable ordinary income. The second one goes into depth and cites a US Supreme Court decision as precedent: one, two
14. If I use BTC or other cryptocurrency to purchase goods or services, is this a taxable transaction? Yes. It would be treated as selling your cryptocurrency for USD, and then using that USD to purchase those goods or services. This is because the IRS treats cryptocurrency as property and not currency.
15. Are cryptocurrencies subject to the wash sale rule? Probably not. Section 1091 only applies to stock or securities. Cryptocurrencies are not classified as stocks or securities. Therefore, you could sell your BTC at a loss, repurchase it immediately, and still realize this loss on your tax return, whereas you cannot do the same with a stock. Please see this link for more information.
16. What if I hold cryptocurrency on an exchange based outside of the US? There are two separate foreign account reporting requirements: FBAR and FATCA. A FBAR must be filed if you held more than $10,000 on an exchange based outside of the US at any point during the tax year. A Form 8938 (FATCA) must be filed if you held more than $75,000 on an exchange based outside of the US at any point during the tax year, or more than $50,000 on the last day of the tax year. The penalties are severe for not filing these two forms if you are required to. Please see the second half of this post for more information on foreign account reporting.
17. What are the tax implications of gifting cryptocurrency? Small gifts of cryptocurrency do not have a tax implication for the gift giver or for the recipient. The recipient would retain the gift giver's old cost basis, so it could be a good idea for the gift giver to provide records of the original cost basis to the recipient as well (or else the recipient would have to assume a cost basis of $0 if the recipient ever sells the cryptocurrency). Large gifts of cryptocurrency could start having gift and estate tax implications on the giver if the value exceeds more than $14,000 (in 2017) or $15,000 (in 2018) per year per recipient. Here's a good article on Investopedia on this issue. An important exception applies if the gift giver gives cryptocurrency that has a cost basis that is higher than the market value at the time of the gift. Please see the middle of this post for more information on that.
19. Are there any websites that you recommend in helping me with all of this? Yes - I have used bitcoin.tax and highly recommend it. You can import directly from an exchange to the website using API, and/or export a .csv/excel file from the exchange and import it into the website. The exchanges I successfully imported from were Coinbase, GDAX, Bittrex, and Binance. The result is a .csv or other file that you can import into your tax software. I have also heard good things about cointracking.info but have not personally used it myself.
20. If I move my BTC from one exchange to another, or into a hard wallet, is this a taxable event? No - you are not selling anything, so no gains are realized.
21. Where do I report cryptocurrency sales on my tax return? The summary of your sales would reported on Schedule D on line 3 and/or line 10 depending on short-term or long-term. Supplemental Form 8949 must also be included with Box C or Box F checked depending on short-term or long-term. Form 8949 is where you must list each individual sale.
22. If coins become lost or inaccessible (e.g. lost or forgotten passphrase or thrown away hard drive), can I claim that as a loss? What about coins that have gotten stolen? What about losing money in investment or ICO scams (e.g. Bitconnect or Confido)? These are really tricky questions. Unfortunately, the potential to claim such a loss against ordinary income is very low, especially with the new tax law. At the very least, capital losses can be claimed, but the deduction is capped at $3,000 per year against ordinary income with the rest carrying forward indefinitely. The new tax law changed the casualty and theft loss to only apply to presidential disaster areas, so at least in the case of a loss passphrase, I think the answer is no for 2018 and going forward. For 2017, the answer is possibly yes. Here is an article on the subject if you are interested in reading more.
23. Taxation is theft! Sorry, I can't help you there.
That is the summary I have for now. There have been a lot of excellent cryptocurrency tax guides on reddit, such as this one and this one, but I wanted to post my guide on cryptax which hopefully answers some of the questions you all may have about US taxation of cryptocurrencies. Please let me know if you have any more questions, and I’d be happy to answer them to the best of my ability. Thank you! Regarding edits: I may make many edits to my post after I originally post it. Please refresh to see the latest edits to my guide. Thank you.
Disclaimer: The information contained within this post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining tax, accounting, or financial advice from a professional. Any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this post is not intended to be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under U.S. federal tax law. Presentation of the information via the Internet is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an advisor-client relationship. Internet users are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a tax professional.
Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange with CEO Mr. Changpeng Zhao, who previously founded the Fusion Systems in 2005, in Shanghai. In 2013, Changpeng Zhao joined Blockchain.info to be the third member of the wallet team of the cryptocurrency. He has also worked at OKCoin as a CTO for about a year. OKCoin is a cash trading platform between digital assets and fiat and. The company, Binance was founded in China, but after its servers and the head office were moved out of China and Japan before the Chinese government banned the cryptocurrency trade in Sept. 2017. The company had established some offices in Taiwan by March 2018. In January 2018, Binance was the largest encrypted exchange platform with a great market capitalization of the NBB worth $ 1.3 billion. In August 2018, Binance and three other major exchanges raised $ 32 million for a certain stable coin project. This idea of stable coins is really to provide cryptocurrency with the absence of the notorious volatility of well-known digital assets or Bitcoin. How advantageous is it to use the Binance Trading Bot? Before using a product or service, you have to make you what they offer will tie with your personal desires and wants. That is why we are looking at the strong holds of the Binance Trading Bot. " Strong Team: Led by Changpeng Zhao, The Binance Trading Bot team have experience in both wall-street and crypto finance. The team also have a reputation or track record of successful startups under the company's belt. " Proven Products: The underlying Binance platform has been deployed on 30+ exchanges already. The platform supports all devices and has multiple languages, which offers an amazing user experience. " Superior Technology: As seen in the preceding paragraphs, the matching engine (certified) of the platform is capable of processing 1,400,000 orders per second, making Binance one of the fastest exchange in the market today. " Industry Resources: Binance has solid relationships with industry leaders. If you simply look at the list of investors and advisors who are willing to stand behind the platform, you will be amazed. Most of their partners have assets with Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, GoChain, POA Network, VeChain, Tron, Wanchain, Callisto, ICON, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, TomoChain, etc. " In the Binance Academy, there is a course entitled "Crypto. Made Simple". Here you are offered the possibility to learn blockchain and cryptocurrency on your schedule and completely free. How to transfer Bitcoin to your Bittrex account from another platform? Here we will explain how to perform Bittrex trading, transferring bitcoins into your e-wallet and How to Buy Bitcoin on Bittrex. However, it is important to mention that this operation is only possible for crypto-currencies available on the Bittrex platform. " To begin, you will first need to create your account on the Bittrex website. Therefore, this part assumes that you have 1 at your disposal, and that it is provided in bitcoins on another platform of your choice. " Thereafter, you will need to connect to Bittrex, then go into your wallet, by clicking in particular on the menu Wallet. Then you will need to click on the "+" icon to the left of the bitcoin. This maneuver allows you to note the address of your electronic wallet. You will need to enter this address in the window that will appear on your screen, under Bittrex. After this transaction, the amount transferred should appear in the "pending" column of your wallet. This simply means that the transfer is not instantaneous. However, you do not have to worry because the site is reliable. " Before going there, you have to first of all buy Bitcoin/Ethereum. Make sure that you have already bought Bitcoin or ETH from your crypto exchange locality that accepts your currency. In the crypto world, Ether and Bitcoin are the biggest coins that are represented in local currency; Even buying the available 1,300+ altcoins requires the use of either BTC or ETH, and most often you cannot buy altcoins using your own local currency. A popular exchange might be Coinbase. Beginners easily use this, but it has relatively higher fees. On the other hand, you can look for Local Bitcoin- that is a peer-to-peer marketplace. Know more about Altcoin trading Bot. " Now, with the transfer now complete, you will be able to use your bitcoins to invest in the altcoins available on Bittrex. However, be careful to indicate the address that will be provided by the platform, without making mistakes. In addition, it is not possible for you to transfer a currency other than the one that corresponds to the address you created. For example, you will not be able to make an ETH deposit on your BTC wallet. Ethereum can handle many more transactions than Bitcoin, which significantly speeds up transfer and confirmation times. On average, you usually wait for some minutes for your Ethereum transfer to process, but the Bitcoin transfers usually take hours. Moreover, transfer fees might be much lower with ETH than with BTC. " Next step, you make a deposit of your base currency. You can presently deposit the BTC or ETH you purchased from your local switch into your new Bittrex account. You will now use the base currency to get the altcoins you want. Wondering how to deposit your coins on Bittrex? Please do follow these steps.
Log in and click on Wallet in the upper right corner of the website.
Find the wallet in which you will be depositing.
Click on the arrow beside the wallet.
Click on "new address" to generate your address.
Be sure to read the deposit instructions if available. Some coins require the sending of a minimum amount before being credited. Some coins will require a memo / message / tag /payment. This means that you must send the coins to the certain address provided and attach this memo / message / tag / payment to the deposit area so that the coins can be routed or directed to your account. If you fail to attach this, you risk losing these funds.
You can send your coins to the web address provided. Be sure to send only the same type of coins to the address. This means that if you have generated a BTC address, you drop BTC there and not another type of coin. If you deposit another type of coin, the address you generated may permanently lose these coins.
You will find more tips on How to Trade on Bittrex. " The fourth step in performing an exchange on Bittrex is to choose the market in yourbase currency. There are 3 markets in Bittrex:
These markets are represented by the common base currencies used to purchase a wide variety of available altcoins. If you have deposited the BTC as the base currency, go to the Bitcoin market and choose an altcoin of your choice to buy using Bitcoin. If you instead deposited ETH, choose the altcoins of your choice on the Ethereum market. Note that the same rules might apply with Cryptocurrency Trade Bot. " The fifth step is, you define Purchase Orders. Enter the details of your purchase orders in the "Buy" box under the trading section. It is not mandatory to buy exactly 1 unit of Cryptocurrency because they are very divisible. You can buy / sell all the amounts you want, depending on your budget. So you can even buy 0.000001 Bitcoin without worrying! Assume you are selling Aragon and being paid in Bitcoin. o Units: The amount / quantity of coins you're willing to buy. Here, the amount of Monero to buy is 2.50. o Bid: The price you want to pay on a Monero unit. In this example, the price you are willing to pay for 1 Monero is 0.42100972. o Type: This type consists of a called "limit" or "conditional" order. The "Limit" order defines the maximum price (as indicated in "Bid") that you are ready to buy. This ensures that you will not pay more than 0.42100972 ETH for 1 Monero. o Total: The overall amount of the base currency (the ETH) that you will give up in exchange for the total number of altcoins you wish to purchase. Otherwise, this is the total cost of getting Monero in your reference currency, ETH. " Last step: store all the coins in a wallet The safest way to store your coins is to have your personal wallet. Although you automatically have a wallet when you open an Exchange account (wallet hosted by Exchange), you will not have control over the private and public keys. Having control of your keys means having control over your coins. The exchanges work as a bank; you trust a third party service provider for the security of your coins. But, there is a probability that the exchange will close or be pirated, leading in a loss of coins (typical example: Mount Gox exchange). Given the lack of regulatory frameworks on stock exchanges and cryptocurrencies as a whole, as well as the early childhood of the sector, the best way to protect your coins is to have total control over your coins. You can only have total control by having your personal wallet. Additional information: Under the "Bid" price, there are 3 types of Offers: o Last: Last price at which the last exchange took place o Bid: The highest price that a buyer is willing to pay for the coin, which is considered the first order in the "Order Book" section under "Bid". o Ask: The lowest price a seller will want to sell, the first order in the "Order Book" section, under "Ask". If you had to create your own orders by entering the "Bid" amount, this will not apply to you. Strong affiliates of Bittrex With Bittrex, you will have the possibility to trade on one of the world's most active crypto exchanges. That is the Poloniex Trading Bot. The USD Coin is now trading on Poloniex. To throw more light on this, USDC is a fully supportive US dollar stablecoin. USDC is the bridge between trading on cryptocurrency exchanges and dollars. It is possible to get the USDC using dolla rs via the Circle web app and then transfer it into Poloniex. Plus, trading in ETH, BTC, and USDT pairs is now available, and new trading pairs will soon be added! But is it the best free crypto trading bot? There are a lot of trading ideas and platforms online, but the one thing to note is that, there are a lot of risks in online trading in general. The crypto market is unstable and highly volatile; sometimes prices or values go up and other times, they do down. This happens all the time, and it is a matter of hours. The prices alternate every day and night, and so as humans, it is difficult to keep up with all the fluctuations. That is why is necessary to have Automated Cryptocurrency Trading on Poloniex. Poloniex is a very large exchange platform which provides a solid, reliable and secure space to exchange cryptocurrencies. A Poloniex trading bot is a mechanism to automatically trade on the Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange. Digital currency trading that has been automated will save you both time and money. As Peter Cochrane once said, "The world is divided into two kinds of people, those who spend a great deal of time saving money, and those who spend a great deal of money saving time." Cryptocurrency exchanges on the Poloniex platform is a great deal for real-time results. The service is fashioned to automate trade on diverse cryptocurrency exchanges. It also has a user-friendly interface that will help create and configure trading bots. . Selecting a Bittrex Trading Bot There are some things to look for when a Bittrex trading bot. This is said because there might be imposters or unreliable systems who might pretend they offer Bittrex. So, here are the facts to look into to know the Best Bittrex Trading Bot. They are what makes the Bittrex platform unique. " A good Bittrex trading bot is supposed to have a custom-built good trading engine. This engine should be designed as one that can be scalable and ensures that orders given are executed in real-time. " We have spoken extensively on how Bittrex is more secured. But one thing not to leave out is the fact that it must have fast deposits and withdrawals. Here, we look at efficiency and how those working on the platform allow automated monitoring. This is generally to provide users with the fastest experience in transactions available nowadays. For this to be concrete, the platform does regular updates on trade, the balance and wallet information. " Driving Innovation. Bittrex is also committed to supporting users of both new and established blockchains. In a bit to help drive innovation in the unbeatable blockchain industry, the Bittrex system provides its users with a growing selection of digital tokens and blockchain technologies. Also, a rigorous review process is done to all new digital tokens that are listed on the Bittrex trading platform. " Bittrex is also committed to complying with all the current U.S. regulations that ensure the prevention, detection and remediation of unlawful behavior by some customers. The same commitment to compliance is force upon virtual currency developers when using the services of other companies or even the Bittrex trading platform. Characteristics of the Bittrex Trading Platform ¢ Intellectual approach: The platform uses a built-in strategy to configure actions of bots. Bots will decide themselves when they can buy or sell your coins. And when you compare the decision taken by the platform, you will see that you would have either taken the same decisions or even taken more likely to fail decisions. Also get to know more about Bittrex bot github. ¢ Works with no limits: Since we are talking here about artificial intelligence, the number of trade bots are limited only by the number of cryptocurrency pairs on the exchange. But there are flexible settings that allow you to plan the necessary actions you need. Plus, there is the ability to be connected by the API. Who should get into Trading Bots? " Trading bots can help people ensure that they are always interacting with the market, even in times when they are physically or emotionally unable to do so. That is the beauty of using this artificial intelligence, but be sure to use the Best Crypto Trader Bot, so as not to get into the hands of fraudsters. " They can also help remove some of the stress and emotions often found in financial markets, including the crypto market. Nonetheless, Trading bots are really not for everyone, and it is not everyone that needs them. Casual investors for instance are not the first target of trading bots and especially if your intention is just to buy and keep Bitcoins, then, trading bots are probably not the right investment for you. " Moreover, if you are not familiar with creating real financial strategies or a competent programmer, then trading bots may not be for you, or learn more about Best Automated Crypto Trading Bot. However, if you have some knowledge on the issue with some ability to overcome these above obstacles, a trading bot can be a valuable tool to monitor and gain traction in the Bitcoin market. As seen in this article, we have taken a tour to Trading Bot, Bittrex trading bot, Binance Trading Bot, we have taken a concrete example of having a transaction on Bittrex with BTC and ETH, and finally, how artificial intelligence could be more efficient than humans when it comes to trading online. Bittrex Bots
https://preview.redd.it/v8e2ct1inqd11.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=6939535727b1538eafaf819d15f365d84a5ab678 Cryptoindex is a tool for exposure to the cryptomarket and serves as a smart benchmark for all cryptocurrencies. The AI-based Cryptoindex algorithm is continuously analyzing more than 1000 coins applying over 170 factors, processing more than 1 million signals per second to provide a highly sophisticated index of the top 100 coins. You can find our previous reviews here: Cardano - review. Future plans.Ripple - review. Further PerspectivesLitecoin. June'18 overviewThe Dow Jones index. From where did it come to us?Bitcoin Cash. June 2018 overviewAre cryptocurrency indices a new crypto market trend?EOS. End of May'18 overviewEthereum. May 2018 overview Here on our Cryptoindex blog, we will be posting 100 articles about each of the top performing coins selected by our powerful AI algorithm#CIX100coinreview. Today’s review: TRON and their prospects. What is TRON? And who was created this? First, let's start with what the ‘Throne’ is. This platform was developed for the creation of digital content. Each person has their own "intellectual property," be it music, a book or any other content. The platform itself is created on the Ethereum blockchain. The TRON ecosystem was founded in September last year, by the Singapore non-profit organization Tron Foundation. The company is headed by Justin Sun. Before creating TRON (TRX), he created the social application ‘Peiwo’, which gained more than one million users. Prior to this, Justin Sun acted as an advisor and representative for Ripple in China from December 2013 until 2016. In 2015 and 2017 he was nominated in Forbes ‘30 most successful people under the age of 30’ list. Key targets of the project Everyone is interested in reading good quality content. The TRON project encourages individuals to become they’re own creators with protected rights, a "Paradise to combat piracy," where there is no Torrent. Most of the content on the Internet passes through large sites such as Yahoo, Google, Yandex, etc. Due to this, they can dictate any prices in the market, more importantly, subject it to censorship and transmit data about each user to the Special Services. How does this platform work? The throne synchronizes the work of original information and entertainment portals in the public network. The uniqueness of the platform is that it can be used to remove the "mediator" between the creator of the content and its consumer using blocking and peer-to-peer networking (P2P) technology. Each user, regardless of whether the individual is a blogger or journalist, can post content in their network. The audience must approach the author for access to the content and pay them directly.. For users, this is an excellent opportunity to receive unique content without advertising from the "intermediary." TRON[TRX] cryptocurrency For the convenience of users, all services on the platform are paid exclusively by their cryptocurrency called Tronix [TRX]. After the successful ICO in August 2017, Tron was listed on many major exchanges such as Bitfinex, Bittrex, Binance. TRON can be used and stored on the MyEtherWallet purse. The increased popularity of TRON was noticed and Coinmarketcap.com rated it within the TOP-15. The price of TRX changed from $ 0.0015 to $ 0.30 at the peak in January of this year. Further perspectives of the project The developers stated in the Roadmap project that TRON would be split into several stages, to help the project take the lead position in the world. Exodus A platform for peer-to-peer distribution and storage of content, through which it will be possible to free up data. The platform will be able to provide free publication and storage of user data. This stage does not provide for the use of a block but uses a network file protocol that supports a distributed file system. Odyssey This stage according to the Roadmap is scheduled for January 2019. With the launch of Odyssey, the platform will increase the content rights expansion, as well as complement new features, such as the introduction of locking technology and monetary incentives to host content on the platform. The system will include bonuses for a user response to content, as demonstrated at such venues as Steemit, Golos, Medium. Sample content is free, to give you a taster, full access is granted only when you pay TRX for their services. Great Voyage and Apollo These two steps will allow users to create their brand and generate their tokens. This should increase the attractiveness of the project and improve its economy. Star Trek(2023 г.) and Eternity( 2025 г.) This phase will create online gaming platforms enabling users to maximise their game process, invest in new gaming projects and offer their ideas to their developers. For game developers themselves, this is an excellent opportunity to be one step closer to your community. The developers themselves expect that the whole process will take no more than ten years to implement all the plans fully. Criticism and disadvantages of the project A significant disadvantage of TRON is that it does not conform to generally accepted copyright standards. For example, the person who first places the content on the TRON blockbuster will automatically become its author, although, in fact, it may not be it. TRON generated some controversial media over accusations of plagiarism. Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum Founder) accused Justin San of plagiarism when drafting the project documentation. First, Sun on Twitter listed seven advantages of Tron before Ethereum, and then Buterin added the eighth paragraph, which said: "The art of writing documentation (Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V is much more effective than writing by yourself)." Many users expressed their non-transparent work with the tokens of the project themselves. The first transactions that have taken place since the launch of the project are not entirely clean for users, but only add distrust to the team. Several packages of tokens that have been sold. 41% of the tokens of 100 billion, were withdrawn on October 1, 2017, and then distributed to other purses of the "B" series. Some of them may have fallen into the hands of the state or more, be used to inflate the price artificially. Conclusion Despite such harsh criticism from experts and the community, the project successfully took the TOP-15 on the Coinmarketcap. With competition such as Ripple, Stellar or Cardano, TRON is unlikely to achieve its desired effect, but the project has followed its Roadmap, and for their investors that is a good sign. Also positive on the token rate is the fact that Justin San co-operates with Jack Ma and his project Alibaba. Perhaps their close merger could lead to an even greater token growth. At the time of writing, TRON[TRX] is 0.928% of the total of CryptoIndex portfolio.You can always check the current CIX100 composition at our MVP platform:http://cryptoindex.ai/ Stay updated on our channels:Follow CRYPTOINDEX onTelegramFollow CRYPTOINDEX onMediumFollow CRYPTOINDEX onTwitterFollow CRYPTOINDEX onFacebookFollow CRYPTOINDEX onLinkedinFollow CRYPTOINDEX onReddit
A Brief History of People Losing their Cryptocurrency
The history of cryptocurrency is fraught with people losing their coins, whether through carelessness, greed, bad luck, or some combination of the above. Some ignored the first rule of crypto: “never leave your crypto on an exchange.” When their exchange failed, their crypto went with it. Others were negligent with their storage solutions, misplacing old hard drives, using software wallets on malware-ridden PCs, forgetting the passwords to hardware wallets. Some were greedy and lost their coins to a Nigerian Crypto Prince or a Ponzi scheme. And some were just plain unlucky. These unfortunate tales remind us to be careful with our crypto, and underscore the need for new solutions to storing crypto safely. Buying cryptocurrency used to be a risky prospect. There weren’t many exchanges, they often required you to deposit fiat via a third party, you certainly couldn’t use your credit card, and there was hardly any regulation. It was considered unwise to leave your cryptocurrency on the exchange after you bought it. Many people today feel safe buying some crypto on Coinbase or Binance, without transferring it to a personal wallet, but in those wild years you absolutely wanted control of your private keys. If the exchange had the keys, you were trusting your crypto to the reputation of a small company, located who-knows-where, that made its revenue by exchanging speculative, unregulated digital currencies between anonymous traders. One such company was Mt. Gox. Mt Gox was a Tokyo based Bitcoin exchange. Led by CEO Mark Karpelès, who was also majority shareholder and lead developer, Mt Gox expanded quickly. Founded in 2010 and bought by Karpelès in 2011, Mt. Gox quickly dominated the Bitcoin market, responsible for 70% of BTC volume in 2013, with 1.1 million active accounts. But despite the outwards success, there were some signs that all was not well internally. Karpelès refused to allow any updates to the exchange software, without approving changes to the source code, meaning needed updates could languish for weeks. In June, 2011 the exchange lost $8.75 million in Bitcoin to a cyberattack, and the site went offline. According to friends of Karpelès who flew in to help get Mt. Gox back online, Karpelès seemed surprisingly relaxed about the affair, even taking the weekend off. Mt. Gox was brought back online, but soon after US Federal agents seized $5 million from the company’s US account, and former business partner CoinLab sued for $75 million. Karpelès seemed more focused on creating a Bitcoin Cafe in the Mt. Gox building than on addressing these many issues. After an internal memo was leaked disclosing the disappearance of 850,000 BTC (worth about $460 million at the time), Mt. Gox collapsed into bankruptcy. It is still in bankruptcy proceedings today. https://preview.redd.it/ycurk9dlnj611.jpg?width=800&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=7b8199c3dc1e58536f9813918b46cca43a4edec4 One might be tempted to dismiss the failure of Mt. Gox as a lesson learned by the crypto community, a mistake that wouldn’t be repeated. Sadly, exchanges continue to lose their customers’ crypto with startling regularity. A less spectacular but much more recent loss was $150 million of Nano stolen from exchange Bitgrail in February. Bitgrail’s management blamed the Nano blockchain software for the theft, but has refused to release any evidence. Nano, for its part, has vigorously defended itself against Bitgrail’s claims, showing that the missing Nano was stored in a hot wallet (one that is accessible online) instead of a cold wallet, which would have been more protected. Whoever’s to blame, if you had Nano on Bitgrail, it’s gone. Similarly, if you had any crypto on Korean exchange Youbit, you’re down 17%, which was stolen in a hack in December. Or if you used Bitconnect, you’ll find your Bitconnect tokens became nearly worthless after the company shuttered in January. https://preview.redd.it/c9yvtynqnj611.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=907e45703cc7e3e9e823f1cce1700a68c54075f6 “Dozens of exchanges have failed since the creation of Bitcoin, taking many small fortunes with them. This should serve as a reminder to never leave your cryptocurrency on an exchange; however there are other ways to lose your coins,” according to Saifu co-founder Evgeny Vigovsky. In October of 2017, a new cryptocurrency was created called Bitcoin Gold. Bitcoin Gold is a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. This meant that anyone who owned Bitcoin was now entitled to an equivalent amount of Bitcoin Gold. Many were eager to claim their share, and some found a Bitcoin Gold online wallet called mybtgwallet.com. This helpful site offered to assist users claim their Bitcoin Gold, instructing them to enter their wallet’s seed or private key. The seed is a series of words, usually 24, that can be used to recreate a wallet if it’s lost or corrupted. Giving someone your wallet seed or private keys is akin to giving them the keys to your safe deposit box, and the victims of mybtgwallet found their wallets were quickly emptied of whatever cryptocurrencies they held. More than $3 million in Bitcoin was stolen. https://preview.redd.it/e5btpnfunj611.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=e2fa9a011de23e4f223d815567b061e3d2bc7625 MyEtherWallet is a popular online wallet for Ethereum and other tokens built on the Ethereum blockchain. The wallet is free to use, and as far as online wallets go, it’s secure, requiring users to take steps to protect themselves. In December, the MyEtherWallet iOS app hit the #3 spot on the App Store in the finance category. Unfortunately for the thousands of users who bought the app for $4.99, this app was just another scam. MyEtherWallet doesn’t have an app (and Apple doesn’t allow wallet apps on the App Store). Suspicious users alerted the MyEtherWallet team, who alerted Apple. Two days later, Apple responded and removed the app from the app store. https://preview.redd.it/jcokfj6ynj611.png?width=519&format=png&auto=webp&s=903ea36e5e749a1854ae8fcacabc19032276ed04 Less colorful but more insidious, there are a plethora of malware that targets cryptocurrency wallets. These programs run quietly in the background, searching for wallet software on your computer and uploading your credentials. A particularly nasty bit of malware was the Pony botnet, discovered in September 2014. The Pony botnet used a trojan virus to compromise about 700,000 accounts, including email accounts, website login credentials, and other sensitive information. Bitcoin totalling 335 were stolen from 85 different wallets; those Bitcoin are worth about $2.7 million today. Some classic scams have been updated for cryptocurrencies, including a variation on the Nigerian prince con, harnessing social media to attract victims. In the classic Nigerian prince scam, the victim would receive an email from a Nigerian prince who needs help to move his wealth to the United States. The prince needs someone to deposit a check for him, then wire out the funds. They pay the wire fee but get to keep part of the funds from the deposited check. Typically the victim’s bank informs them that they’ve deposited a bad check well after they’ve wired out the funds for the “Prince.” In the new variation, scammers impersonate well-known figures of the tech world like Elon Musk or John McAfee, often on Twitter. They use a name similar to the celebrity, and their picture. They claim to be giving away cryptocurrency to the first 100 people to respond to the tweet, but there’s a catch; respondents need to send a small amount of crypto to pay for the “fees.” Naturally, the scammer just keeps these small bits of crypto and does not send anything in return. Here’s “Elon Msk” giving away some free Bitcoin: https://preview.redd.it/jwasx3v3oj611.png?width=622&format=png&auto=webp&s=d1a9da3a2cc9859527e3b7939c61c61428a71a85 Thankfully, crypto security is steadily improving. The rise in value and mainstream adoption have attracted established cybersecurity players, and innovative new storage solutions are being created with increasing frequency. Our firm Saifu has developed its own crypto storage hardware in partnership with Thales. “Users’ crypto keys are stored in Thales hardware security modules, which cannot be accessed remotely. Even if we were ever hacked, our customers’ cryptocurrencies are protected. As it becomes safer and easier to buy and use cryptocurrencies, we believe mainstream adoption will skyrocket. The crypto revolution is just beginning,” Vigovsky, the Saifu co-founder, says.
Top 50 Cryptocurrencies I thought this might be of real help for the ones that are just joining crypto and still want to read. Let’s face it: there are a lot of cryptocurrencies out there, with new ones coming out almost daily and old ones disappearing seemingly just as fast as they appeared. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you are new to cryptocurrencies, this is an excellent starting point to learn about each of the top 50 cryptocurrencies (by market cap). Even if you’re a crypto veteran, this is a great resource to reference if you ever get any of the top 50 confused, or if you want to read more about a new coin which has joined the ranks. Our hope is to point you in the right direction, spur your interest to do more research, and steer you away from the potential scams out there (And yes, there are potential scam coins in the top 50!) Here at Invest In Blockchain, we are obsessed with researching the internet for all things crypto. The information found in this post is the result of hundreds of hours of painstaking research by me and other writers on our team. Note that this list is constantly changing and I will do my best to keep it up-to-date, but the top 50 moves almost daily! Please refer to coinmarketcap.com for the latest information on the top 50 cryptocurrencies and their prices. Let’s get started! (Information accurate as of May 23, 2018)
#1 – Bitcoin (BTC)
📷 The king of the crypto world, Bitcoin is now a household name; to many, it is synonymous with “cryptocurrency”. Its purpose is to provide a peer-to-peer electronic version of cash to allow payments to be sent online without the need for a third party (such as Mastercard). The rapid rise in Bitcoin’s price has brought about an explosion of new Bitcoin investors. With the huge increase in interest has come a rise in merchants accepting Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment. Bitcoin is fast moving towards its goal of becoming a currency accepted worldwide. Bitcoin’s development is led by Bitcoin Core developer Wladimir J. van der Laan, who took over the role on April 8, 2014. Bitcoin’s changes are decided democratically by the community. For an in-depth look at Bitcoin, including an explanation of Bitcoin mining, Bitcoin’s history, an analysis of Bitcoins’ value and a description on how bitcoin actually works, see our comprehensive guide “What is Bitcoin? Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin, Explained“. For a more detailed description of Bitcoin’s economics, what makes money and how Bitcoin works in the economy as a whole see: “Bitcoin Explained” and “Bitcoin is a Deflationary Currency”.
#2 – Ethereum (ETH)
📷 Ethereum is the revolutionary platform which brought the concept of “smart contracts” to the blockchain. First released to the world in July 2015 by then 21-year-old Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum has quickly risen from obscurity to cryptocurrency celebrity status. Buterin has a full team of developers working behind him to further develop the Ethereum platform. For more background information on Buterin, read our article, “Vitalik Buterin: The Face of Blockchain”. Ethereum has the ability to process transactions quickly and cheaply over the blockchain similar to Bitcoin, but also has the ability to run smart contracts. For future reading on smart contracts, see “What’s the Difference Between Bitcoin and Ethereum”; but for now, think automated processes which can do just about anything. For further reading on Ethereum, including an analysis of the platform’s strengths and future prospects, read “What is Ethereum, Everything You Need to Know Explained“.
#3 – Ripple (XRP)
📷 Ripple aims to improve the speed of financial transactions, specifically international banking transactions. Anyone who has ever sent money internationally knows that today it currently takes anywhere from 3-5 business days for a transaction to clear. It is faster to withdraw money, get on a plane, and fly it to your destination than it is to send it electronically! Not to mention you will be paying exorbitant transaction fees — usually somewhere around 6% but it can vary depending on the financial institution. Ripple’s goal is to make these transactions fast (it only takes around 4 seconds for a transaction to clear) and cheap. The Ripple team currently comprises over 150 people, making it one of the biggest in the cryptocurrency world. They are led by CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who has an impressive resume which includes high positions in other organizations such as Yahoo and Hightail. Check out “What is Ripple” for more information, including a closer look at what they do, controversies and future prospects.
#4 – Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
📷 Bitcoin Cash was created on August 1, 2017 after a “hard fork” of the Bitcoin blockchain. For years, a debate has been raging in the Bitcoin community on whether to increase the block size in the hope of alleviating some of the network bottleneck which has plagued Bitcoin due to its increased popularity. Because no agreement could be reached, the original Bitcoin blockchain was forked, leaving the Bitcoin chain untouched and in effect creating a new blockchain which would allow developers to modify some of Bitcoin’s original programmed features. Generally speaking, the argument for Bitcoin Cash is that by allowing the block size to increase, more transactions can be processed in the same amount of time. Those opposed to Bitcoin Cash argue that increasing the block size will increase the storage and bandwidth requirement, and in effect will price out normal users. This could lead to increased centralization, the exact thing Bitcoin set out to avoid. Bitcoin Cash does not have one single development team like Bitcoin. There are now multiple independent teams of developers. Read “What is Bitcoin Cash” for more information. You can also check out their reddit and official webpage.
#5 – EOS (EOS)
📷 Billed as a potential “Ethereum Killer”, EOS proposes improvements that can challenge Ethereum as the dominant smart contract platform. One main issue EOS looks to improve is the scalability problems which has plagued the Ethereum network during times of high transaction volume, specifically during popular ICOs. A perhaps more profound difference EOS has, compared to Ethereum, is the way in which you use the EOS network. With Ethereum, every time you make modifications or interact with the network, you need to pay a fee. With EOS, the creator of the DAPP (decentralized app) can foot the bill, while the user pays nothing. And if you think about it, this makes sense. Would you want to have to pay every time you post something on social media? No, of course not! In addition to this, EOS has a few other technical advantages over Ethereum such as delegated proof of stake and other protocol changes. Just know that EOS has some serious power under the hood to back up the claim of “Ethereum Killer”. EOS was created by Dan Larrimer who is no stranger to blockchain or start ups. He has been the driving force behind multiple successful projects in the past such as BitShares, Graphene and Steem. For more information on EOS such as how and where to buy EOS tokens, EOS’s vision and potential challenges, see “What is EOS”.
#6 – Litecoin (LTC)
📷 Similar to Bitcoin, Litecoin is a peer-to-peer transaction platform designed to be used as a digital currency. Due to some notable technical improvements, Litecoin is able to handle more transactions at lower costs. Litecoin has been designed to process the small transactions we make daily. Litecoin is sometimes referred to “digital silver” while Bitcoin is known as “digital gold”. This is because traditionally silver was used for small daily transactions while gold was used as a store of wealth and was not used in everyday life. The Litecoin blockchain is a fork from the Bitcoin chain. It was initially launched in 2011 when its founder, Charlie Lee, was still working for Google. Well-known as a cryptocurrency expert, Charlie Lee is backed by a strong development team who appear to be achieving what they set out to do. They have recently achieved a very notable accomplishment with the first successful atomic swap. For an in-depth discussion on what Litecoin does, how it is different than Bitcoin and the team backing up the development, see “What is Litecoin”.
#7 – Cardano (ADA)
📷 Cardano is a smart contract-focused blockchain. It was originally released under the name Input Output Hong Kong by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, a few of the early team members of Ethereum, and later rebranded into Cardano. Cardano is trying to fix some of the largest problems the cryptocurrency world which have been causing ongoing issues for years such as scalability issues and democratized voting. They have the potential to challenge Ethereum’s dominance in the smart contract world. Cardano is developing their own programing language similar to Ethereum; however, they are focusing more heavily on being interoperable between other cryptocurrencies. While some cryptocurrencies are all bite but no bark, Cardano is quite the opposite. They are quietly focusing on a strong software which will be completely open-source. Cardano’s team comprises some of the best minds in the industry, and they seek to create a strong foundation which others can build upon for years to come. For up-to-date information on Cardano’s status see their Reddit page or official website. You can also read our article “What is Cardano” to learn more about them.
#8 – Stellar Lumens (XLM)
📷 In a nutshell, Stellar Lumens seeks to use blockchain to make very fast international payments with small fees. The network can handle thousands of transactions a second with only a 3-5 second confirmation time. As you may know, Bitcoin can sometimes take 10-15 minutes for a transaction to confirm, can only handle a few transactions a second and, in turn, has very high transaction fees. If this sounds a lot like Ripple, you’re right! Stellar Lumens was based off of the Ripple protocol) and is attempting to do similar things. Some of Stellar Lumens’ main uses will be for making small daily payments (micropayments), sending money internationally, and mobile payments. Stellar Lumens is focusing on the developing world and, more specifically, the multi-billion dollar industry of migrant workers who send money back to their family in impoverished countries. The Stellar Lumens team is led by Jed McCaleb, who has worked in numerous successful startups in the past such as eDonkey, Overnet, Ripple, and the infamous Mt. Gox. For more information on Stellar Lumens, including the history and what sets Stellar Lumens apart, see “What are Stellar Lumens”. You can also learn about the differences between Stellar Lumens and Ripple.
#9 – TRON (TRX)
📷 As stated in TRON’s whitepaper, “TRON is an attempt to heal the internet”. The TRON founders believe that the internet has deviated from its original intention of allowing people to freely create content and post as they please; instead, the internet has been taken over by huge corporations like Amazon, Google, Alibaba and others. TRON is attempting to take the internet back from these companies by constructing a free content entertainment system. This will enable users to freely store, publish and own data, giving them the power to decide where and how to share. The project is led by founder Justin Sun, who has been listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list twice (in 2015 and 2017). In addition, Sun is a protégé of Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, China’s former Ripple representative and the founder of Peiwo APP. Sun has assembled a strong team with heavy hitters including Binshen Tang (founder of Clash of King), Wei Dai (founder of ofo, the biggest shared bicycles provider in China), and Chaoyong Wang (founder of ChinaEquity Group). Sun has also secured the support of a few notable angel investors such as Xue Manzi. For up-to-date information on Tron and further discussion of the technology and team, see “What is Tron” and their website.
#10 – IOTA (MIOTA)
📷 IOTA has seen many of the issues Bitcoin and Ethereum have with the POW (proof-of-work) and POI (proof-of-importance) models and looks to improve them with their revolutionary transaction validation network simply called “tangle”. When issuing a transaction in IOTA, you validate 2 previous transactions. This means you no longer outsource validation to miners which requires wasteful amounts of computing power and usually a large stake of coins. These required resources are, in effect, centralizing the currencies which many believe were created to be decentralized in the first place. With IOTA, the more active a ledger is, the more validation there is. In other words, the more people who use it, the faster it gets. You don’t have to subsidize miners, so there are no fees on transactions. That’s right: zero. The IOTA team has been actively developing blockchain technology since 2011, and created the IOTA foundation and company in 2016. Since its emergence, the team has been continuously growing, attracting exceptional talent from around the world. For more information on IOTA’s team and their revolutionary“tangle” technology, check out “What is IOTA”.
#11 – NEO (NEO)
📷 A leading platform for smart contracts and sometimes referred to as “China’s Ethereum”. NEO (formally Antshares) hopes to digitize many types of assets which were formerly kept in more traditional means, and therefore make it possible to use them in smart contracts. To imagine a potential use case of NEO, think digitizing the title to a house into a smart asset, and then setting up that asset to automatically transfer to another person after payment for the house has been received. This would be, in effect, a simple smart contract. NEO founder Da Hongfei is a leading figure in the cryptocurrency world and has worked on numerous blockchain projects in the past. The development team consists of 6 in-house investors and a large community of third-party developers. For a complete overview of NEO, including the team, history and competitive analysis, check out “What is NEO”.
#12 – Dash (DASH)
📷 Dash (which comes from ‘digital cash’) aims to be the most user-friendly and scalable cryptocurrency in the world. It has the ability to send funds instantly confirmed by “double-send-proof” security with the added functionality of erasable transaction history and the ability to send transactions anonymously. Like Bitcoin, Dash is meant to be used as a digital currency but has some added values such as much faster transaction times and lower fees. For a slightly higher fee, Dash has the added function of “instant send” which allows transactions to be confirmed almost instantly. This is one of the main selling points of Dash because many believe that this feature would allow it to be used in brick and mortar establishments. The Dash development team consists of over 50 members and is led by former financial services professional Evan Duffield. For the latest on Dash, see their official website and reddit page. You can also read “What is Dash” to learn more about the project.
#13 – Monero (XMR)
📷 Monero is a digital currency designed to be used as a completely anonymous payment system. A common misconception with Bitcoin is that it is completely anonymous. In reality, all payments processed on the Bitcoin network are recorded on a public ledger (blockchain), so Bitcoin is actually only partially anonymous or “pseudonymous”. This means that you can, in theory, trace back every transaction a coin has been involved with from its creation. Though users aren’t able to inherently link the public key on the blockchain with the private keys used to store the coins themselves, there will always exist a correlation between the two. Monero has solved this problem by implementing cryptonic hashing of receiving addresses, therefore separating the coin from the address it is going to. This can be hugely valuable for anyone wishing to conceal their purchases. The Monero development team consists of 7 core developers, only two of which are publicly known. There have been over 200 additional contributors to the project and software updates are implemented every six months or so. To learn more about Monero including its competitors and challenges, read “What is Monero”. If you’re thinking about investing in Monero, check out our opinion piece “Should You Invest In Monero?“.
#14 – Tether (UDST)
📷 Tether is a cryptocurrency token issued on the Bitcoin blockchain. Each Tether coin is allegedly backed by one US Dollar. The goal is to facilitate transactions with a rate fixed to the USD. Amongst other things, Tether looks to fix some of the legal issues which can arise when trading cryptocurrencies and it aims to protect people from market volatility. Tether has faced controversy regarding their business model, and some consider it a scam. More info can be seen on reddit posts such as this.
#15 – NEM (XEM)
📷 NEM (New Economy Movement) is the world’s first proof-of-importance (POI) enterprise based on blockchain technology. With a focus on business use cases, the software was built from the ground up with adaptability in mind. NEM’s goal is for companies to use their “smart asset system” to implement customizable blockchains. A smart asset can be almost anything: a cryptocurrency token, a business’s stock or a company’s invoicing and records. Some potential use cases for NEM’s technology include: voting, crowdfunding, stock ownership, keeping secure records, loyalty rewards point programs, mobile payments and escrow services. A list of NEM’s use cases can be found here. The development of NEM is monitored by the Singapore-based NEM Foundation. For more information on what NEM does and what sets NEM apart from its competitors, see “What is NEM”.
#16 – VeChain (VEN)
📷 As described in VeChain’s development plan, the organization’s purpose is to build “a trustfree and distributed business ecosystem based on the Blockchain technology self-circulated and expanding”. They plan to do this by creating an efficient trustless business ecosystem to significantly reduce the wasteful information transfer systems of today. Some of the areas and industries the VeChain platform is focusing on include eliminating counterfeiting in the fashion and luxury industry, food safety tracking systems, digitizing maintenance in the car industry and many other global supply chain processes. For more information on VeChain, see their reddit and website. Read “What is Vechain” to learn about the project, and our investment opinion piece “5 Reasons to Invest in Vechain“.
#17 – Ethereum Classic (ETC)
📷 Ethereum Classic came about after a hard fork of Ethereum in 2016. The fork was a result of the infamous DOA hack where around 50 million dollars worth of Ethereum was stolen due to what was considered an oversight in the code. The blockchain was forked in order to recoup the losses from this attack, but a small portion of the community did not wish to go back and change the original blockchain. Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, and subsequently the development team chose to go with the hard fork and work on what is now “Ethereum” today. There is a lot of ongoing controversy with Ethereum Classic which can be better described on this reddit thread. For an in-depth discussion of Ethereum Classic, see”What is Ethereum Classic“.
#18 – Binance Coin (BNB)
📷 Binance Coin is the coin used to facilitate operations on the Binance platform, a cryptocurrency exchange that is capable of processing 1.4 million orders per second. The name “Binance” is derived from the combination of the terms “binary” and “finance”, referring to the integration of digital technology and finance. The BNB coin is used to pay exchange fees, withdrawal fees, listing fees, and all other possible transaction expenses on the Binance platform. In order to incentivize new users to do their cryptocurrency trading on Binance, the team is offering discounts when BNB is used to pay fees. The discount will be 50% in the first year, 25% in the second, 12.5% in the third, and 6.25% in the fourth year before the discount ends. Binance was primarily marketed to Chinese cryptocurrency investors at first, but they also have English, Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Russian versions of the platform. For a deeper look into Binance, you can read the whitepaper or check out the trading platform here.
#19 – Bytecoin (BCN)
📷 Bytecoindescribes itself as “a private, decentralized cryptocurrency with with open source code that allows everyone to take part in the Bytecoin network development”. It is the first coin to offer untraceable payments, unlinkable transactions and resistance to blockchain analysis. With Bytecoin, it is possible to send instant transactions anywhere around the world, which are totally untraceable and don’t require additional fees. Bytecoin’s development is community-driven and a list of all of the different community websites can be found here. For more information on Bytecoin, see: “What is Bytecoin“.
#20 – QTUM (QTUM)
📷 QTUM (pronounced Quantum) is an open-source value transfer platform which focuses on mobile decentralized apps or Dapps. QTUM is the world’s first proof-of-stake smart contracts platform. QTUM is meant to be used as both a value transfer protocol, like Bitcoin, and a smart contract platform, like Ethereum. They have a number of technical innovations which some consider to make it superior to Ethereum, and they are focusing on mobile applications. The platform itself is very new. It came about in March 2017, after a highly successful crowdfunding campaign raised them nearly 16 million dollars in only 5 days. QTUM has a small but strong development team and an impressive list of investors backing their ideas. QTUM’s development is lead by the Singapore based QTUM Foundation. For further reading on the background of QTUM and what sets them apart, see “What is QTUM”.
#21 – Zcash (ZEC)
📷 ZCash is a value transfer protocol forked off of the Bitcoin blockchain. ZCash can be used like Bitcoin, with a few added improvements. With “zero cash technology”, ZCash shields both the amount transferred and the senders, making transactions truly anonymous. ZCash is one of the new kids on the block in the world of “private transactions”. An interesting note is that Ethereum is in the process of implementing some of ZCash’s technologies to enable transactions on the Ethereum network to be anonymous as well. ZCash is being developed by the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company. They’ve had some great successes, most notably JP Morgan’s announcement that they would implement Zcash’s privacy technology to Quarum, a technology JP built on Ethereum. Interested in investing in ZCash? Here’s the opinion of one of our writers: Should You Invest In ZCash? ZCash was recently featured on the Radiolab episode The Ceremony.
#22 – OmiseGO (OMG)
📷 “Unbank the Banked” is the slogan of Omise’s online platform OmiseGo and that’s exactly what Omise has set out to do. Founded in 2013 off of the Ethereum blockchain, Omise aims to revolutionize the financial dynamics in Southeast Asia. Omise is targeting individuals and businesses of all sizes by improving the current financial system which is slow, outdated, and inaccessible to most “everyday” people in these countries. With their planned online exchange OmiseGO, Omise seeks to speed up the way money is spent and sent, both domestically and internationally in Southeast Asia and beyond. They have a lot to celebrate too. OmiseGo has been building partnerships in the region and recently partnered with McDonald’s and Credit Saison. Omise has established a strong team of over 130 staff members located in different countries. CEO and founder of Omise, Jun Hasegawa, has been involved in multiple startups and worked for Google for over 16 years. The OmiseGO platform has been endorsed by some of the heavy hitters in the cryptocurrency world such as Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood, the co-founders of Ethereum. For more information on what OmiseGO aims to do, see “What is OmiseGo”.
#23 – ICON (ICX)
📷 Fresh off a successful ICO, the Korea-based startup ICON is looking to provide a medium to connect all the different blockchains together. This puts ICON in the same field as Ark, which is attempting to accomplish similar goals. The main concept of ICON is their idea of a “loopchain”. As stated in their whitepaper, a loopchain can be described as a “high-performance blockchain that can provide real-time transaction, which is based on enhanced Smart Contract.” Through ICON, participants will be able to connect to any blockchain without relying on the current centralized exchanges. ICON has a relatively large team from various backgrounds. They have also secured the help of a few notable advisors such as Jason Best and Don Tapscott. For more information on ICON and the work they’re doing, see “What is ICON“.
#24 – Lisk (LSK)
📷 Lisk is a decentralized network, like Bitcoin and Litecoin, which enables developers to deploy their own side chains off the main Lisk blockchain. These side chains are fully customizable blockchains which enable you to change the parameters you want to fit your own blockchain application. This is similar to Ethereum and QTUM in some ways. With Lisk, the main difference is that the customizable blockchains split into their own separate side chains. This saves developers the grueling legwork of designing something from scratch. At the end of the day, side chains are only decentralized databases of blockchain applications. Lisk is being developed by a small but quickly growing Berlin-based team. They are led by co-founders Max Kordek and Olivier Beddows who are veterans in the cryptocurrency and development world. For a thorough look into Lisk including more on what Lisk does, its competitors, challenges and teams, see “What is Lisk”. You can also check out our case study of an accountant who invested all his life savings in Lisk: “Accountant Invests All in Lisk”.
#25 – Zilliqa – (ZIL)
📷 Zilliqa is a blockchain platform which focuses on solving the problem of scaling on public blockchains. With Zilliqa’s network, the number of transactions increases at a linear rate to the number of nodes. This means that as nodes increase, so will its ability to handle high transaction volume. Zilliqa has already run a successfultest on their network, where they were able to achieve 1,200 transactions per second with only 2,400 nodes. Zilliqa also is the first blockchain to successfully integrate “sharding” into a public blockchain. This concept is extremely useful in improving the rate of scalability, bandwidth and performance in blockchains. Sharding, in effect, splits nodes into “shards” which can then conduct micro-transactions in each blockchain block. In addition to this, Zilliqa claims to be more energy-efficient to mine. They also plan to implement dapps into their platform in the future. For more information on Zilliqa, see their website and reddit. Our article “What is Zilliqa” can provide you with an overview of the project.
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