Bitcoin Cash Pre-Fork Trading Sees Dislike for Craig Wright’s Chain

Bitcoin cash

The upcoming Bitcoin Cash hard-fork triggers some interesting opportunities. Numerous exchanges offer pre-fork trading of BCHSV and BCHABC. Both Poloniex and HitBTC are in the process of trading these “futures” at this time.


Pre-fork Trading Underway

Numerous cryptocurrency exchanges plan to support the upcoming Bitcoin Cash hard fork. It is expected the network will split into two parts. One chain follows the vision of Craig Wright (who claims to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto) known as Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision).

The other half follows the current developers, who rely on Bitcoin ABC’s software. Until the network sorts itself out, it remains unclear if there will one, two, or three forms of Bitcoin Cash 00 moving forward.

For exchanges, this creates interesting opportunities. Both Poloniex and HitBTC offer pre-fork trading at this time. They are both trading “futures” for both BCHSV and BCHABC. This does not replace the traditional BCH market, which is still in place. Instead, users can trade IOU’s for the two potential new tokens coming to market after the fork.

A Multi-Pronged Solution

Seemingly, the three versions of Bitcoin Cash trade at different values. Poloniex’s platform indicates support for BCHSV is significantly lower than BCHABC. Additionally, BCHSV is currently trading at a far lower value compared to Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as well.

That seems to indicate a lot of speculators have a certain bias toward Craig Wright’s take on this chain. BCHABC’s value, on the other hand, is trading over 10% lower compared to BCH.

Once the fork happens, the ongoing “spat” between Roger Ver and Craig Wright can be settled once and for all. Both individuals have conflicting views, albeit the community has to decide if either idea proves to be viable for the long run.

What To Expect on November 15th

Speculative prices associated with non-existing coins are never an official market indicator. This current trend shows the Bitcoin SV chain will plummet in value compared to Bitcoin Cash itself. Not an impossible scenario, but things can play out differently when everything is said and done.

Last year, for example, speculators indicated the value of Bitcoin Cash would be half of Bitcoin’s prior to the currency being released. That scenario never came to fruition.

Volume-wise, Bitcoin Cash still maintains the highest volume. On Poloniex, it is over twice as popular as BCHSV trading. Additionally, it generates over 8 times the volume of BCHABC.

HitBTC, the other exchange allowing pre-fork trading, shows a similar sentiment. Its value of BCHSV is even higher compared to Poloniex, whereas BCHABC is valued the same. Neither market generates any real volume at this time.

Users interested in the fork will need to split their coins accordingly. This can be done by using the eligible exchange or third-party tools. The fork is set to go into effect on November 15 of 2018. The pre-fork traded balances will be made available to users after that date on both Poloniex and HitBTC.

Do keep in mind there is no official replay protection for the viable chains after the fork, assuming there is more than one. Users need to take ample precautions to keep their funds safe.

Will it be winner takes all in the Bitcoin Cash civil war? Share your thoughts below!


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New ERC-1155 Standard Brings Ethereum Technology to the Gaming Industry

A lot of things continue to happen behind the scenes of Ethereum. Another new token standard is about to be introduced in the coming weeks. Known as ERC-1155, this new standard is mainly designed for the video gaming industry.  Merging that industry with blockchain can lead to some intriguing developments down the line.

Tackling Gaming With Ethereum

There has been a visible increase in the world of blockchain assets. It is only a matter of time until more industries take notice of this technology as well. For video gamers, it seems blockchain-based assets can play a vital role of importance. The newly introduced ERC-721 token standard is one of the ways to reshape this growing industry as more time progresses.

It now seems another new standard is trying to make inroads in the gaming industry. Known as ERC-1155, it is designed to become an “evolved token”. Unlike previous models, the new token standard stores items in a single contract. Moreover, this is done in such a way it requires very little data to distinguish the tokens from others.

Furthermore, this token is proposed as a means of convenience. Exchanging these tokens can be done very easily and without big intermediary steps. Instead, everything is handled by the crypto items contract itself. It makes the process of swapping assets or having them change ownership a lot more straightforward moving forward.

Can ERC-1155 Succeed?

With a very strong focus on efficiency, it is evident ERC-1155 has a leg up over other standards. It appears to be a lot more straightforward. Gone are the days in which individual assets need to be swapped one at a time. This new standard allows for the instant transfer and conversion of any number of items through one process.

According to the accompanying blog post, up to 200 operations can be performed per transaction. That is quite a milestone in terms of scalability. More importantly, this system will work with both fungible and non-fungible items. That gives ERC-1155 a leg up over other standards as well. For video gaming enthusiasts, this solution is easily the most straightforward option

The big question is whether or not game developers will embrace this concept. After all, they need to incorporate this technology in order to make it more accessible. Bigger game titles may not necessarily see the merit of ERC-1155 right away. For the time being, the standard has been submitted to the Ethereum GitHub repository where it awaits feedback.

 

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Can a New Blockchain Counter the Quantum Computing Threat

There has been a strong focus on the effects of quantum computing on blockchain technology. More specifically, there is a strong belief these developments in computing can effectively “break” the cryptography underpinning distributed ledgers. The QRL Foundation has come up with a potential solution in this regard, which is well worth keeping an eye on.

Quantum Computing is a Threat

While not everyone may be aware of it, blockchains and quantum computing don’t mix well. Every blockchain is powered by mathematics and cryptography. To most people, that latter part seems unbreakable, but the reality is very different. Standard cryptographic functions cannot be broken by regular computers all that easily, but quantum devices are a different matter altogether.

When this “break” will happen exactly, remains to be seen. Powerful quantum computers are still in active development as of right now. Moreover, they may not necessarily be used to break standard cryptography anytime soon either. However, it seems inevitable things will head in such a direction sooner or later.

As such, it is important to protect existing blockchains from this looming threat. Quantum blockchains are one way to go, although the research is still in the very early stages right now. Another option is to develop other solutions which can negate this threat for the foreseeable future. It appears that is exactly what the QRL Foundation has been working on behind the scenes.

QRL Foundation has a Plan

According to a new blog post, the QRL Foundation has come up with a solution to counter quantum computing. Its Quantum Resistant Ledger is resistant to quantum and traditional computing attacks. This entire ecosystem has been thoroughly audited by Red4Sec, a well-known cyber-security company. Adam Koltun comments on this project;

“At our core, we are a quantum-resistant blockchain; more secure and future-oriented than other blockchains out there today. If a person or organization wants to build a secondary-layer application on top of a blockchain, then QRL’s rock-solid security and open source orientation makes us an ideal platform.”

Under the hood, QRL utilizes the Extended Merkle signature scheme. This will prevent most quantum computing attacks from breaking its cryptography. Additionally, this new ledger will also support smart contract functionality in the future. Surprisingly, it seems the developers also contemplate switching to Proof-of-Stake in the future. This latter approach should be finalized in the coming twelve months.

 

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Zcash (ZEC) Overwinter Upgrade Introduces Democratic Development Path

It is pertinent for all cryptocurrencies to continue evolving. In the case of ZCash, some major network upgrades have been introduced this week. Known as the Overwinter upgrade, it will bring more positive attention to this altcoin as a whole.

The Zcash Upgrade in a Nutshell

For a currency which has been around a while now, ZCash has not seen that many big upgrades. Rushing proper developments is not the right course of action, as a lot of decision-making is involved in the process. When the network hit block 47500 this week, the Overwinter protocol upgrade was officially introduced. It is comprised of a few different aspects which help shape the future of ZCash as a whole.

First of all, there is an opt-in upgrade. This opt-in option is part of the two-tiered governance model introduced for future ZCash upgrades. Network nodes are not required to adhere to the latest rules, although it is still advised to do so regardless. This approach is an interesting social experiment. Very few – if any – other cryptocurrencies offer users a choice, as they usually have to adhere to the choice of the developers at all times.

Secondly, there is an “educational” aspect to this new governance system. Anyone operating a node will receive all of the necessary information regarding the network and its future direction at all times. Ensuring users can make the right and informed decision is what the ZCash team strives to achieve moving forward. This should also reduce further issues regarding service providers not upgrading to a new set of protocol rules in the future.

Paving the Future

All of these upgrades may seem insignificant to novice users. Even so, they present a completely different ecosystem for ZCash as a whole. A two-tiered governance model for protocol upgrades seems to be the right way to go at this time. There have been growing concerns among cryptocurrency users over how they are forced in a certain direction by developers. That is never the correct approach, for rather obvious reasons.

Additionally, this new upgrade also means legacy nodes will run out of “support” in the near future. While this will not affect funds or private keys created by these nodes, it is pertinent those users upgrade to the new client as soon as possible. This is a completely new era for the ZCash cryptocurrency and its underpinning technology. Whether or not any further major changes are to be expected, remains a bit unclear at this time.

It will be interesting to see how other developers perceive these protocol changes. Considering cryptocurrency is all about empowering the end user, such a governance model may make its way to different projects over time. In the case of Bitcoin, it seems unlikely any changes will occur anytime soon. However, for some of the more prominent altcoins, this may very well be an option worth looking into.

 

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Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Capacity Problems Addressed with New Client

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is considered to be a major development. Scaling the world’s leading cryptocurrency to new levels is not easy. Although significant progress has been made already, there are still some concerns to contend with. Big payments remain a problem, and it seems just a handful of node operators provide over 50% of the capacity.

The Lightning Network Concerns

It is safe to say people have high expectations for the Lightning Network. It is designed to make Bitcoin scale and provide lightning fast transactions. That will only happen when enough people use this technology, which is still in the beta testing phase. The initial response has been pretty positive, albeit some key flaws remain in place.

First of all, sending large payments over LN will be difficult, if not impossible. Most payment channels do not have the necessary capacity – in USD – to conduct large transactions. Despite there being over 7,800 channels, the average capacity is still just $20. As such, routing a bigger payment on the Lightning Network is a challenge and one that won’t be easy to solve. Anything over $5 will be subject to a rather high fail rate.

Furthermore, the majority of LN’s capacity is provided by just ten nodes. More specifically, those top Lightning Network nodes hold over 50% of the current funds presiding on this additional layer. It is a figure which will be subject to change. It is evident more users need to test this technology and begin conducting payments. That can only happen if new software is released to make this process easier.

A new C-Lightning Client Emerges

Thankfully, it would appear that is exactly what is happening. Blockstream unveiled a new client for the Lightning Network this week. C-Lightning 0.6 is a modular and extensible client which will suit the needs of more users accordingly. Giving users more customization options in this regard will always be appreciated. This may be the solution to improve overall adoption of LN technology among Bitcoin users as well.

New features provided by C-Lightning are well worth keeping an eye on. The lightweight nodes feature makes it easier to set up a LN node. Being able to communicate to remote nodes is a pretty big development for this relatively new protocol. Additionally, the new client has a built-in wallet for both on-chain and off-chain funds. Another more than welcome update for LN enthusiasts.

All of this shows there is still a bright future ahead for the Lightning Network. Until Bitcoin users embrace this solution, there will not be any major challenges. However, it would appear the software clients make it significantly easier to embrace this new technology. When that happens, overall network liquidity will improve and the payment layer can be put through its paces properly.

 

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Can Ethereum’s ERC721 Standard Reshape the Blockchain Gaming Industry

A lot of developments are taking place in the world of cryptocurrency right now. In the Ethereum space, for example, scaling changes will be welcomed with open arms. Additionally, there is the shift to ERC721 tokens, which are considered to be a major improvement.

The ERC721 Token Standard

Most Ethereum users are familiar with ERC20 tokens by now. It is the form of digital asset one can come across while investing in initial coin offerings, for example. However, there are some limitations as to how useful this token standard is when it comes to completely different types of assets. Especially with blockchain-based collectibles, it seems ERC721 will offer many advantages.

One of the main aspects of ERC721 is it can be used for non-fungible, or cryptographically unique and non-interchangeable, tokens (NFTs). A good example is the CryptoKitties project, which issued digital assets on top of the Ethereum blockchain a while ago. Although those are issued as ERC20 tokens, it is technically not the best solution. Since these assets are all unique in their own way, their fungibility is completely different from ICO tokens.

The exchange of such assets is also different from ERC20 tokens. Since they can’t be freely exchanged while retaining the same value, they behave in a completely different and non-fungible manner. While CryptoKitties are just one example, there have been several copycat projects over the past few months following the same train of thought.

A Game Changer

The bigger question is how people will respond to the ERC721 standard. It is not the first time a new token standard is presented. Both ERC725 and ERC735 are also interesting, albeit for different purposes. Those two standards mainly focus on verifying one’s credentials or identity.  ERC721 is a completely different creature in this regard, and a definite step-up from ERC20.

Additionally, it depends on how many non-fungible assets will be created moving forward. It is still a bit of a niche market within cryptocurrency and blockchain as of right now. That doesn’t mean there won’t be more projects in this regard, though. Even so, the ERC721 standard is still in the early stages of development, and nothing has been officially finalized.

With blockchain making inroads in the gaming industry, interesting changes may be on the horizon. Tokenizing in-game items and assets can result in wider adoption of ERC721. It will also highlight the potential of this underlying technology in terms of digital assets. Blockchain games may not take off anytime soon, but they are attracting a lot of interest.

 

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Abundant Renewable Energy Makes Iceland a Crypto Mining Powerhouse

Few countries around the world lend themselves to cryptocurrency mining. Iceland has always been a key region in this regard. Although it was never designed to become a hub for cryptocurrency mining, this new business model has introduced a few changes in the country over the years. It is expected the number of Icelandic cryptocurrency mining operations will increase in the future.

Iceland Becomes an Unexpected Mining Hub

Cryptocurrency mining requires various key factors to be both successful and profitable. A cold climate will certainly help to cool the necessary hardware. However, it is more important to have access to cheap and abundant electricity. Iceland checks all of these boxes and more. It also explains why this European country has become of the biggest Bitcoin mining hotbeds in the world today.

With the Bitcoin network hashrate growing steadily over the years, it is evident the concept of mining is still popular. That is a good sign, even though setting up such operations isn’t cheap. Thanks to Iceland’s cheap renewable energy, however, recovering the initial investment can occur relatively quickly. Additionally, most existing mining operations continue to expand to accommodate more ASIC mining hardware. Generating Bitcoins becomes more competitive and difficult as time progresses.

Iceland has all of the accommodations Bitcoin mining firms need. There’s a reliable power grid,  a strong focus on renewable energy, and plenty of locations to set up shop. As long as there are both internet and electricity, setting up a mining operation can be considered worthwhile. This doesn’t just apply to mining Bitcoin either, as a fair few firms are actively mining altcoins such as Ethereum and ZCash.

A Growing Industry Raises Concerns

As has been well-documented in the past, cryptocurrency mining requires a lot of electricity. That situation is no different in Iceland. In fact, some experts claim the domestic mining firms will use more electricity compared to all homes in Iceland by late 2018. It is not a positive development on paper, although it is not such a big problem in this country.

Unlike other regions, Iceland seemingly has a limitless supply of renewable energy. There will be a time at which converting natural resources to power will no longer suffice. Until then, however, the impact on cryptocurrency mining operations will be minimal. That doesn’t mean these firms can double or triple their energy usage overnight either.

All of this shows cryptocurrency mining firms can transform local economies. For Iceland, it has led to the creation of a few new jobs. In other countries, it can cause additional load for a power grid which may not be capable of handling it. It is a very interesting business, but one that also comes with a few caveats. Mining will remain rather profitable in Iceland for some time to come. However, other options will need to be explored prior to depleting this European country’s energy production altogether.

 

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HIVE Blockchain Aims to Become the Backbone of a Decentralized World

Cryptocurrency mining is an integral part of the ecosystem. Without mining, most currencies would not be able to have network transactions confirmed in a secure manner. HIVE Blockchain is one of the companies keeping fingers in many different pies. There’s a lot more to cryptocurrency than just Bitcoin.

The Story of HIVE Blockchain

Most people in the world of cloud mining have come across a company called Genesis Mining. The company has over 1 million customers and primarily focuses on mining some of the top cryptocurrencies. Being one of the market leaders is only part of the company’s plan in this regard. Their partnership with Foire Group to launch HIVE Blockchain a year ago has shaken things up considerably.

Unlike what one might expect, HIVE Blockchain isn’t just about cloud mining. This relatively new venture is a blockchain infrastructure company. More importantly, it is also a publicly traded entity on the TSX Venture Exchange. It’s a good example of how cryptocurrency and all of its aspects are slowly being embraced by the mainstream.

Among the currencies being mined by this company are ZCash, Ethereum, Bitcoin, and a few others. Expanding the reach of this somewhat niche market to more traditional investors has been quite challenging. Investors can gain exposure to cryptocurrencies by directly contributing to the mining process of specific currencies. It is also one of the only ways of directly investing in proven blockchain technology.

Shaping the Future of Blockchain

While everything has seemingly fallen into place the company, there’s no time to stand still. Mounting comments regarding crypto mining’s electricity usage can also affect HIVE Blockchain. For the company, no immediate concerns are raised, although the team confirms not all mining operations are equal. HIVE CEO Harry Pokrandt commented in a recent interview:

“There are certainly a lot of reports highlighting energy consumption. But, we believe it’s extremely important to understand that not all mining is created equal. China, for example, is the largest country for cryptocurrency mining. However, they are also the largest consumer of coal-powered energy in the world. We believe there needs to be a distinct line drawn between mining companies operating their facilities on clean energy and those who are not. At HIVE, we are proudly powered by 100% clean energy at both of our locations.”

For the foreseeable future, HIVE is confident blockchain will continue to make inroads. Whether it is in finance or a completely different sector, numerous opportunities are abound. HIVE Blockchain wants to become the backbone of this decentralized world, but hey will face competition in doing so. At the same time, fair competition can only mean accelerated innovation and a better ecosystem for consumers all over the world.

 

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Upcoming Tron (TRX) Token Swap Supported by Over 30 Exchanges

There are very exciting times for the TRON community. With the token migration almost on the horizon, some important information needs to be highlighted. This switch from an ERC20-based token to the official mainnet TRX is expected to complete without any major issues. Even so, TRON holders need to take some basic guidelines into consideration at all times.

The Upcoming TRX Token Swap

Similar to how EOS fared in the past month, TRON is preparing to launch its mainnet shortly. Even though EOS ran into a fair few issues, it seems the TRX migration will be a bit smoother in this regard. As such, the first order of business is to convert all ERC20 tokens to the TRON20 standard. Any tokens not exchanges will become completely unusable and have no further value.

Whenever such an important change is happening, the tokens need to be converted through participating exchanges. Anyone who holds the ERC20 token will receive the same amount of TRON20 tokens. There will be no reduction of the available token supply, although it remains to be seen if everyone converts their tokens accordingly. As has happened with EOS, a minor fraction of tokens was not swapped in time, causing some minor issues.

The positive news is how swapping these tokens will not be much of a problem. According to a Medium post, several dozen exchanges will support the TRX token migration. This swap is expected to take place on June 24th, which means time is of the essence. Different platforms will maintain their own “cut off” data for swapping the tokens. Getting this process out of the way as soon as possible is always the best course of action.

The Future of TRON

Once users convert to the new token, their old tokens are no longer ERC20 compatible. As such, anyone relying on services such as MyEtherWallet to store TRX tokens will have to look for alternative solutions. Sending the new tokens to an ERC20 wallet may result in a loss of funds and needs to be avoided at all costs.

Several TRON20 compatible wallet solutions will be coming to market in the coming months. For the time being, the official TRON wallet is the best option to avoid any issues. It is a big milestone for this project, which has been hyped up quite a bit recently. Building a decentralized internet is still a tall order, but nothing is impossible in the cryptocurrency world.

It is evident a lot of things will change for TRON moving forward. Unshackling itself from the Ethereum network is an interesting choice. Building a new blockchain which doesn’t run into major issues is no easy feat as we have seen with the EOS fiasco. Even so, the project and its founder Justin Sun seem convinced the project is ready to stand on its own. Only time will tell if that is the right call.

 

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Europol Taps Exchanges to Crack Down on Crypto Crimes

There has been an obvious correlation between cryptocurrency and online crime. Nipping this trend in the bud has proven to be extremely challenging as of late. To counter this ongoing threat, Europol is sitting down with European cryptocurrency exchanges. The goal is to crack down on further illicit activity in a more aggressive manner.

Europol Flexes its Muscles

Even though currencies such as Bitcoin are ill-equipped to hide one’s tracks, it remains a favorite tool among criminals. For several years now, there have been online crime incidents involving Bitcoin. Over the past year, however, the attention has slowly shifted to more anonymous currencies such as Monero. Regardless of which currency is being used, the online crime involving cryptocurrencies needs to be brought to a halt.

Cracking down on this illegal activity proves to be extremely difficult. While blockchain analysis firms can help in some regards, it can only be done after the facts. Europol acknowledges these challenges and is trying a completely different tactic. This week, the agency will meet with over a dozen major cryptocurrency exchanges in Europe. The goal of this venture is to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering. Additionally, the agency wants to find ways to enhance its capabilities in the world of Bitcoin and altcoins.

This three-day conference will solely revolve around digital currencies and cybercrime. With all of these exchange operators present, engaging in an open dialog seems to be the right idea. Ever since Europol warned about money laundering through cryptocurrency in Europe, the agency has been looking for ways to clamp down on such activity. It is evident they cannot do so alone, at this time.

Will it Impact Bitcoin Activity?

It is evident this conference can have some consequences for the cryptocurrency industry. Those who get involved in Bitcoin or altcoins for nefarious reasons will have plenty to worry about, by the look of things. Europol is especially interested in the “tracing and attribution” of digital coins. Moreover, the agency wants to erode the use of mixing services and other services which hide a cryptocurrency’s origins.

One thing that can prove to be a hindrance is how cryptocurrencies cannot be frozen. More specifically, they cannot be frozen on the blockchain directly. It seems this is where the help from the various exchanges comes into the picture. Those entities are custodians over users’ funds, and they can effectively freeze individual accounts or wallet addresses. Whether or not that option will be explored, remains a bit unclear at this time.

Another option to explore is building a centralized system to flag cryptocurrency wallets. Whether or not that is a viable option for Europol, remains to be determined. With the help of the various blockchain analysis firms, building such a tool would be relatively easy. All of these measures are designed to bring more legitimacy to the cryptocurrency industry. That in itself can only be considered to be a good thing.

 

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