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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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

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

Blockchain in Healthcare – Webcast Q&A
On our website, you can find the original article: https://block.co/webcastqa-blockchain-in-healthcare/
Block.co third webcast ” Blockchain in Healthcare: Bridging Trust in response to COVID-19“ received amazing feedback! We gathered some of the best experts in the field, Georgina Kyriakoudes, Ahmed Abdulla, Dimitri Neocleous, Dr. Alice Loveys to share their experience in the industry and discuss with us the latest updates in the sphere of Healthcare! In its third series of webcasts, Block.co gathered 253 people watching the event from 59 different countries, for a 90-minute webcast where guests answered participants’ questions.
Below is a list of the questions that were made and were not answered due to time constraints during the Blockchain in Healthcare webcast. Please note that the below information is only for educational purposes!
Question 1: I like what Dimitrios was saying regarding ownership and transfer. Health and social care have invested much in Information Management systems and processes. Transfer between NHS and social care is a typical block. Can you elaborate on how the blockchain sits across that – leapfrogs yet goes with the grain of what is already there in terms of shared records protocols, the exponentially growing types of professionals, pharmacists, careers, etc. that need early access to these records for better decision making.
Block.co Team Answer: Blockchain technology has the potential to improve healthcare, placing the patient at the center of the health care ecosystem, while providing security, privacy, and interoperability of health data. Blockchain could provide a new model for health information exchanges and transform electronic medical records to be more efficient, disintermediated, and secure. While it is not a cure, this new, Blockchain in Healthcare rapidly evolving field provides a sandbox for experimentation, investment, and proof-of-concept testing.
Healthcare systems around the world are preparing road maps that define critical policy and technical components needed for nationwide interoperability, including:
  • Ubiquitous, secure network infrastructure
  • Verifiable identity and authentication of all participants
  • Consistent illustration of authorization to access electronic health data, and several other requirements.
However, current technologies don’t totally address these necessities, and as a result, they face limitations associated with security, privacy, and full ecosystem interoperability.
Blockchain technology creates distinctive opportunities to scale back complexity, improve trustless collaboration, and create secure and immutable data. National Healthcare Systems need to track this rapidly evolving field to identify trends and sense the areas where government support may be needed for the technology to realize its full potential in health care. To form blockchain’s future, they ought to take into account mapping and gathering the blockchain ecosystem, establishing a blockchain framework to coordinate early-adopters, and supporting a pool for dialogue and discovery.
https://preview.redd.it/p17us55i6f851.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=80570ea170e78a728d69abb1602effeed1a50116
Question 2: What about the “compatibility” of blockchain solutions in healthcare with GDPR and/or other regulations about personal data protection.
Block.co Team Answer: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Europe’s new framework for data protection laws, has a vital impact on healthcare organizations. During this more and more patient-centric world where global healthcare organizations collect a large set of data on patients to produce improved health outcomes, this increased regulation has an even larger impact.
GDPR presents challenges across all industries and includes language that has a special impact on healthcare. The regulation defines “personal” data as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (data subject); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.” On top of this definition, GDPR contains three extra, important definitions that pertain to health data:
  1. “Data concerning health” is defined by the GDPR as “personal data related to the physical or mental health of a natural person, including the provision of health care services, which reveal information about his or her health status.”
  2. “Genetic data” is outlined by the GDPR as “personal data relating to inherited or acquired genetic characteristics of a natural person which give unique information about the physiology or the health of that natural person and which result, in particular, from an analysis of a biological sample from the natural person in question.”
  3. “Biometric data” is “personal data resulting from specific technical processing relating to the physical, physiological, or behavioral characteristics of a natural person, which allows or confirms the unique identification of that natural person, such as facial images or dactyloscopic data.”
As described in Article 6 of GDPR, processing of personal data is considered lawful if: (1) the data subject has given consent; (2) it is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is a party; (3) it is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation; (4) it is necessary to protect the vital interest of the data subject or another natural person; (5) it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest; (6) it is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or third party.
However, healthcare organizations that usually manage health data, have an added responsibility to take care of “data concerning health,” “genetic data,” and “biometric data” to a higher standard of protection than personal data, in general. GDPR prohibits the processing of these forms of health data unless one of the three conditions below would apply as per Article 9.
a. The data subject must have given “explicit consent.”
b. “Processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services …”
c. “Processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of health care and of medicinal products or medical devices …”
Consent VS Explicit Consent – If one pays attention, there’s a difference in the GDPR’s health data use conditions (calls for “explicit consent”) and the general definition (calls for “consent”). Thus, there’s an ongoing debate as to what constitutes the difference between “unambiguous” and “explicit” consent. Despite the debate and the final legal clarifications, there is no doubt that in the purposes of the healthcare the “explicit consent” must have the strongest agreement form listing in detail the use(s) of data and covering the cases of data transfers and storage.
Question 3: How can we use blockchain technology by the government in Africanflavored government, say by Ministry of health to have patient autonomy of medical records that can be accessed by any government hospital irrespective of the ailment and record printed by the previous hospital and doctor, such as referral cases without having to open a new file in the referred hospital.
Block.co Team Answer: Perhaps that would be an ideal implementation of the Block.co solution issuing a digital certificate of medical examination on an Open Public Blockchain such as the Bitcoin blockchain, that would be decentralized in nature, easy to validate online without any special wallets, and would be provided by the patient on-demand, to refer to treatments received in other hospitals or areas. But this would require that the practitioner is aware and can use the open-source code or use Block.co services to issue these certificates. Alternatively, there could be the use of a wallet to store these medical credentials to be submitted on demand to health practitioners. Moreover, there would need to be an alignment of regulation in the matter as decentralized repositories are not recognized at the moment.

Question 4: Is there any data breach threat in the blockchain using a poorly protected private key at communication?
Block.co Team Answer: Millions of health care records have already been breached, and in attempts to combat this issue, solutions often result in the inaccessibility of health records. Health providers often send information to other providers, and this often ends up in mishandling of data, losing records, or passing on inaccurate and old data. In some cases, only one copy of an updated health record exists, and this may result in the loss of information. Health records often contain personal information such as names, social security numbers, and home addresses. When it comes to Blockchain in Healthcare, a poorly protected private key is always a factor to consider. A private key allows us to sign a transaction and spend funds residing in an address (public key) by providing ownership with the signature. It is a unique string of information that represents proof of identification inside the blockchain, which includes the right to access and control the participant’s wallet. It must be kept secret, as it is effectively a personal password. In the case that that private key is poorly protected, there is always a data breach threat.
Question 5: The medical record of a patient is owned by the patient. What happens if a doctor accesses the record without the consent of the patient? Using the smart contract, could there be a governing body, say a legal system that can call the doctor to order?
Block.co Team Answer: Rather than having each physical and electronic copies of records, blockchains may enable the shift to electronic health records (EHR). When looking at Blockchain in Healthcare, medical records on the blockchain would be within the management of the patient rather than a third party, through the patients’ private and public keys. Patients may then control access to their health records, making transferring information less cumbersome. Because blockchain ledgers are immutable, health information may not be deleted or tampered with. Blockchain transactions would be accompanied by a timestamp, permitting those with access to maintain updated information. The doctor would not be able to access the record without the consent of the patient. A patient would need to sign the transaction in a smart contract in order to transfer patient details to the doctor.
Question 6: So, how are private data protected when the patient is simply notified that unauthorized access just took place on her medical record? and, how are the negative results of this breach rectified towards the patient?
Block.co Team Answer: The patient would be notified to sign a transaction enabling access to the party requesting access to the specific medical record. In other cases, there could be a multi-signature wallet requiring multiple transactions in the cases where the patient may need assistance, for example, when underage or when not in a healthy state of mind, or being non-responsive or in critical condition. The patient needs to be responsible for his own data and be empowered through awareness and know-how of this technology. With great power, comes also great responsibility, although it is yet a challenge to enable computer illiterate people to interact with this technology.
Question 7: Can the same record of a patient still be shared with private hospitals and say another government/private hospital abroad on the same blockchain?
Block.co Team Answer: Depending on whether the information is on a public blockchain or a private blockchain. When on a private blockchain, they will need to be granted permission to access the blockchain accordingly.
Question 8: No one has directly spoken about ownership where a large research institution/ consortium is working with the data – it is not solely the person who has said so…
Block.co Team Answer: Indeed, it is solely not the person who has a say so. Technology may be used in both evil and good ways and it is still the obligation and responsibility of people within governments to ensure human liberties and rights are preserved when utilizing such powerful technologies such as blockchain and sometimes the combination of blockchain with AI, IoT, and biometrics. Blockchain in Healthcare, in the same way, that it can empower individuals and increase their standard of living and prosperity, at the same time, it can also empower corrupt governments with alternative agendas and totalitarian states. Block.co believes it is most important for people to be educated around the matter and be able to form a voice and movement to safeguard their human liberties and rights, hence our continuous effort on discussing these matters with our community and providing education, powered by the pioneers in the space, the University of Nicosia.
We would like to thank everyone for attending our webcast and hoping to interact with you in future webinars. If you would like to watch the webinar again, then click here!
For more info, contact Block.co directly or email at [email protected].
Tel +357 70007828
Get the latest from Block.co, like and follow us on social media:
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submitted by BlockDotCo to u/BlockDotCo [link] [comments]

Newdex's USDT Cross-Chain Conversion Gateway

Newdex's USDT Cross-Chain Conversion Gateway
Image Source
Unbeknown to most cryptocurrency community members, bitcoin is not the most widely traded cryptocurrency in the world. That honor goes to Tether (USDT) which continues to dominate the stablecoin market. Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies whose value is pegged to an asset that has a relatively more stable price. To keep USDT’s price pegged to the USD each USDT issued is backed with real US dollars. The popularity of USDT exploded since its initial release and has been attributed as one of the primary catalysts that have propelled bitcoin (BTC) to new all-time-highs.

Compliance

As an effort to maintain its leadership position in the industry Tether inc., the company behind USDT has recently tapped the services of Chainalysis, a blockchain forensics company to augment its anti-money laundering capabilities. This is a timely decision for the company as it has become the top cryptocurrency in terms of the trading volume. Moreover, it has been expanding the number of supported blockchains which include Omni, ethereum, EOS, liquid, tron, and algorand. According to Tether Chief Technology officer Paolo Ardoino, this will ensure a secure compliance program to regulators, law enforcers, and users.

Cross-chain Challenges

While supporting multiple chains is a great initiative from the leading stablecoin, it presents some challenges to users especially to those who are new to blockhain technology and do not understand the differences or incompatibilities of these different types of Tether. This adds another layer of complexity in using the said digital asset. More importantly, it puts new Tether users the risk as they might send Tether to incompatible blockchain types. Fortunately, some of the leading crypto exchanges in the industry have taken the steps to enable its users to convert their Tether to a blockchain that they prefer.
https://preview.redd.it/acbe8mm7fnh41.png?width=638&format=png&auto=webp&s=9f7f121b1671155f1be5af3e892657ed52ee1f15

Newdex USDT Cross Chain Conversion Function

To mitigate this risk and to add more value to its platform, leading decentralized exchange, Newdex has launched the USDT cross-chain gateway. With this new initiative, it effectively addresses the heart of the problem and has given unprecedented flexibility to its users. This feature was launched on December 25, 2019, and is available on the desktop through the webs portal or Dapp embedded in Wallet. For easier access to this feature, they have meticulously positioned its links on both PC and mobile. This gives users the convenience of conversion without having to leave the window or page they are working at.
The only requirement to be able to use this feature is that you have your own noncustodial wallet or personal account in EOS, TRON, and Ethereum. Most of Newdex's partner crypto wallets allow the creation of these accounts easily and free for TRON and Ethereum. EOS, on the other hand, needs initial EOS staked for resource allocation to enable feeless transactions. There are however ways how to get them for free as many of its partner dapps offer free EOS accounts creation, a quick google search will point you where to find them.
The USDT Cross-chain Conversion function currently supports four types of conversion. The first one is USDT EOS to USDT TRON. This type of conversion does not require any type of conversion or processing fee. This is also the same when doing the second type which going in the opposite direction. No fees are required when converting USDT TRON to USDT EOS. The third type of conversion of USDT EOS to USDT ETH. This requires a miner fee and a minimal conversion fee of 0.5 USDT. This is the same as the fourth type which is USDT ETH to USDT EOS.
Transaction Fees

This new feature is a nice compliment to the services of Newdex which has positioned itself as a one-stop-shop for cryptocurrency-related services having a multi-chain decentralized exchange, Over-the-counter OTC services and a partnership with third party next-generation staking pool Newpool. Only time will tell if the Newdex will support the other types of USDT, but, for the time being it supports the most relevant and active USDT versions — EOS, ETH and TRON USDTs. Now users of Newdex can seamlessly transfer their USDT to the different supported blockchains.

How to access the USDT Cross-chain Conversion Functionality

Accessing via PC

Accessing this feature is quite straight forward. For PC, all you have to do is go to the USDT market of the DEX. Once you are there you can see the “Convert USDT” link just below the right corner bottom of the graph or just above the sell order box as shown on the screenshot shown below.

![img](lwasplrcfnh41 " Image Source ")
It can also be accessed by clicking on your account name (Located on the upper hand right corner of the screen) to bring you to the personal asset center page as shown below. The “Convert USDT” link should be located just beside the search field.

![img](q197fm8kfnh41 " Image Source ")
The “Convert USDT” link in the USDT market and in the personal asset center page brings us to the same pop-out window where we are given the options to choose which blockchains we want to use and to what blockchain we want to convert the USDT into.

![img](9w7lu1emfnh41 "Image Source ")
As you can see we have four types of USDT conversion. USDT EOS to USDT TRON, USDT TRON to EOS, USDT EOS to USDT ETH, and USDT ETH to USDT EOS.

Accessing Via Mobile DApp

This feature can also be accessed via the DApp explorer of the various supported cryptocurrency wallets in both EOS and TRON. The location of the “Convert USDT” link is a little different from the PC version due to the size constraints of mobile devices. To access this you will have to access Newdex using the DApp explorer function of a supported wallet. Once you are in Newdex find the USDT market trading page and click on any of the trading pairs on that market. In our case we chose EOS/USDT, however, this can be any pair. Once clicked you will be able to find the “Convert USDT” beside the “Sell” red button as shown below.

![img](7fuistqofnh41 " Image Source ")
Like in the PC version the “Convert USDT” link can also be accessed via the personal asset center, as shown in the screenshot below.

![img](798kp24qfnh41 " Image Source ")
Both of these links go to the same pop-out window where users will be able to choose which USDT type to change and to what blockchain they want to change it to. A sample of the pop-out window screenshot is shown below.

![img](72ta06yrfnh41 " Image Source ")
As you can see from our screenshots operating the new feature is quite simple and best of all, there is no need to deposit or withdraw your tokens. Your USDTs are deposited and withdrawn directly to the user’s specified wallet. This is another awesome feature of Newdex as they continue to innovate and create value-adding features into their platform to benefit their users. No wonder Newdex has become the leading decentralized exchange worldwide, but don’t take our word for it check it out yourself.

You can know more about Newdex’s USDT cross-chain conversion feature in the following links below:

Website: https://newdex.io/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/NewdexOfficial Medium: https://medium.com/@marketing_27690
submitted by ankarlie to Tether [link] [comments]

MeWe: A trip report

Among the more frequently mentioned G+ alternatives at the Google+ Mass Migration community, and others, is MeWe with over 250 mentions. The site bills itself as "The Next-Gen Social Network" and the "anti-Facebook": "No Ads, No Political Bias, No Spyware. NO BS. It is headed by professed Libertarian CEO Mark Weinstein.
As the site reveals no public user-generated content to non-members, it's necessary to create an account in order to get a full impression. I thought I'd provide an overview based on recent explorations.
This report leads of with background on the company, though readers may find the report and analysis of specific groups on the site of interest.

Leadership

Founder & CEO Mark Weinstein.
Co-Founder & Chief Scientist, Jonathan Wolfe (no longer with company).
Weinstein previously founded SuperFamily and SuperFriends, "at the turn of the millennium". Weinstein's MeWe biography lists articles published by The Mirror (UK), Huffington Post, USA Today, InfoSecurity Magazine, Dark Reading, and the Nation. His media appearances include MarketWatch, PBS, Fox News, and CNN. He's also the author of several personal-success books.
His Crunchbase bio is a repeat of the MeWe content.

Advisory Board

Ownership & Investment

MeWe is the dba of Sgrouples, a private for-profit early-stage venture company based in Los Angeles, though with a Mountain View HQ and mailing address, 11-50 employees, with $10m in funding over five rounds, and a $20m valuation as of 2016.
Sgrouples, Inc., dba MeWe Trust & Safety - Legal Policy c/o Fenwick West 801 California Street Mountain View, CA 94041
Crunchbase Profile.
Founded: 2012 (source)
Secured $1.2M in seed funding in 2014.
2016 valuation: $20m (source]
Backers:
Despite the business address, the company claims to be based in Los Angeles County, California and is described by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a Culver City, CA, company.

Business

Policy

In an August 6, 2018 Twitter post, Weinstein promotes MeWe writing:
Do you have friends still on Facebook? Share this link with them about Facebook wanting their banking information - tell them to move to MeWe now! No Ads. No Spyware. No Political Agenda. No Bias Algorithms. No Shadow Banning. No Facial Recognition.
MeWe provide several policy-related links on the site:
Highlights of these follow.

Privacy

The privacy policy addresses:

Terms of Service

The ToS addresses:
Effective: November 6, 2018.

FAQ

The FAQ addresses:

Values

This emphasises that people are social cratures and private people by right. The service offers the power of self expression under an umbrella of safety. It notes that our innermost thoughts require privacy.
Under "We aspire...":
MeWe is here to empower and enrich your world. We challenge the status quo by making privacy, respect, and safety the foundations of an innovatively designed, easy-to-use social experience.
Totalling 182 words.

Privacy Bill of Rights

A ten-item statement of principles (possibly inspired by another document, it might appear):
  1. You own your personal information & content. It is explicitly not ours.
  2. You will never receive a targeted advertisement or 3rd party content based on what you do or say online. We think that's creepy.
  3. You see every post in timeline order from your friends, family & groups. We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your content or what you see.
  4. Permissions & privacy are your rights. You control them.
  5. You control who can access your content.
  6. You control what, if anything, others can see in member searches.
  7. Your privacy means we do not share your personal information with anyone.
  8. Your emojis are for you and your friends. We do not monitor or mine your data.
  9. Your face is your business. We do not use facial recognition technology.
  10. You have the right to delete your account and take your content with you at any time.

Press

There are a few mentions of MeWe in the press, some listed on the company's website, others via web search.

Self-reported articles

The following articles are linked directly from MeWe's Press page:
The page also lists a "Privacy Revolution Required Reading" list of 20 articles all addressing Facebook privacy gaffes in the mainstream press (Wired, TechCrunch, Fortune, Gizmodo, The Guardian, etc.).
There are further self-reported mentions in several of the company's PR releases over the years.

Other mentions

A DuckDuckGo search produces several other press mentions, including:

Technology

This section is a basic rundown of the user-visible site technology.

Mobile Web

The site is not natively accessible from a mobile Web browser as it is overlayed with a promotion for the mobile application instead. Selecting "Desktop View" in most mobile browsers should allow browser-based access.

Mobile App

There are both Android and iOS apps for MeWe. I've used neither of these, though the App store entries note:
Crunchbase cites 209,220 mobile downloads over the past 30 days (via Apptopia), an 80.78% monthly growth rate, from Google Play.

Desktop Web

Either selecting "View Desktop" or navigating with a Desktop browser to https://www.mewe.com your are presented with a registration screen, with the "About", "Privacy Bill of Rights", "MeWe Challenge", and a language selector across the top of the page. Information requested are first and last name, phone or email, and a password. Pseudonymous identities are permitted, though this isn't noted on the login screen. Returning members can use the "Member Log In" button.
The uMatrix Firefox extension reveals no third-party content: all page elements are served from mewe.com, img.mewe.com, cdn.mewe.com, or ws.mewe.com. (In subsequent browsing, you may find third-party plugins from, for example, YouTube, for videos, or Giphy, for animated GIFs.)
The web front-end is nginx. The site uses SSL v3, issued by DigiCert Inc. to Sgrouples, Inc.

Onboarding

The onboarding experience is stark. There is no default content presented. A set of unidentified icons spans the top of the screen, these turn out to be Home, Chats, Groups, Pages, and Events. New users have to, somehow, find groups or people to connect with, and there's little guidance as to how to do this.

Interface

Generally there is a three panel view, with left- and right-hand sidebars of largely navigational or status information, and a central panel with main content. There are also pop-up elements for chats, an omnipresent feature of the site.
Controls display labels on some devices and/or resolutions. Controls do not provide tooltips for navigational aid.

Features

Among the touted features of MeWe are:

Community

A key aspect of any social network is its community. Some of the available or ascertained information on this follows.

Size

Weinstein claims a "million+ following inside MeWe.com" on Twitter.
The largest visible groups appear to have a maximum of around 15,000 members , for "Awesome gifs". "Clean Comedy" rates 13,350, and the largest open political groups, 11,000+ members.
This compares to Google+ which has a staggering, though Android-registrations-inflated 3.3 billion profiles, and 7.9 million communities, though the largest of these come in at under 10 million members. It's likely that MeWe's membership is on the whole more more active than Google+'s, where generally-visible posting activity was limited to just over 9% of all profiles, and the active user base was well under 1% of the total nominal population.

Active Users

MeWe do not publish active users (e.g., MUA / monthly active users) statistics.

Groups

MeWe is principally a group-oriented discussion site -- interactions take place either between individuals or within group contexts. Virtually all discovery is group-oriented. The selection and dynamics of groups on the site will likely strongly affect user experience, so exploring the available groups and their characteristics is of interest.
"MeWe has over 60,000 open groups" according to its FAQ.
The Open groups -- visible to any registered MeWe user, though not to the general public Web -- are browsable, though sections and topics must be expanded to view the contents: an overview isn't immediately accessible. We provide a taste here.
A selection of ten featured topics spans the top of the browser. As I view these, they are:
Specific groups may appear in multiple categories.
The top Groups within these topics have, variously, 15,482, 7,738, 15,482 (dupe), 7,745, 8,223, 8,220, 1,713, 9,527, 2,716, and 1,516 members. Listings scroll at length -- the Music topic has 234 Groups, ranging in size from 5 to 5,738 members, with a median of 59, mean of 311.4, and a 90%ile of 743.5.
Below this is a grid of topics, 122 in all, ranging from Activism to Wellness, and including among them. A selected sample of these topics, with top groups listed members in (parens), follows:
To be clear: whilst I've not included every topic, I've sampled a majority of them above, and listed not an arbitrary selection, but the top few Groups under each topic.

Google+ Groups

The Google Plus expats group seems the most active of these by far.

Political Groups

It's curious that MeWe make a specific point in their FAQ that:
At MeWe we have absolutely no political agenda and we have a very straightforward Terms of Service. MeWe is for all law-abiding people everywhere in the world, regardless of political, ethnic, religious, sexual, and other preferences.
There are 403 political groups on MeWe. I won't list them all here, but the first 100 or so give a pretty clear idea of flavour. Again, membership is in (parentheses). Note that half the total political Groups memberships are in the first 21 groups listed here, the first 6 are 25% of the total.
  1. Donald J. Trump 2016 - Present (11486)
  2. The Conservative's Hangout (8345)
  3. Qanon Follow The White Rabbit (5600)
  4. Drain The Swamp (4978)
  5. Libertarians (4528)
  6. United We Stand Trump2020 (4216)
  7. The Right To Self Defense (3757)
  8. Alternative Media (3711)
  9. Hardcore Conservative Patriots for Trump (3192)
  10. Bastket Of Deplorables4Trump! (3032)
  11. Return of the Republic (2509)
  12. Infowars Chat Room Unofficial (2159)
  13. Donald Trump Our President 2017-2025 (2033)
  14. Berners for Progress (1963)
  15. Sean Hannity Fans (1901)
  16. The American Conservative (1839)
  17. I Am The NRA (1704)
  18. Tucker Carlson Fox News (1645)
  19. We Love Donald Trump (1611)
  20. MAGA - Make America Great Again (1512)
  21. Q (1396)
  22. ClashDaily.com (1384)
  23. news from the front (1337)
  24. Basket of Deplorables (1317)
  25. Payton's Park Bench (1283)
  26. Convention of States (1282)
  27. Britons For Brexit (1186)
  28. MoJo 5.0 Radio (1180)
  29. MeWe Free Press (1119)
  30. The Constitutionally Elite (1110)
  31. Libertarian (1097)
  32. WOMEN FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP (1032)
  33. AMERICANS AGAINST ISIS and OTHER ENEMIES (943)
  34. #WalkAway Campaign (894)
  35. ALEX JONES (877)
  36. The Lion Is Awake ! (854)
  37. We Support Donald Trump! (810)
  38. The Stratosphere Lounge (789)
  39. TRUMP-USA-HANDS OFF OUR PRESIDENT (767)
  40. Official Tea Party USA (749)
  41. Mojo50 Jackholes (739)
  42. Yes Scotland (697)
  43. "WE THE DEPLORABLE" - MOVE ON SNOWFLAKE! (688)
  44. Judge Jeanine Pirro Fans (671)
  45. Anarcho-Capitalism (658)
  46. Ted Cruz for President (650)
  47. No Lapdog Media (647)
  48. Q Chatter (647)
  49. Daily Brexit (636)
  50. Tucker Carlson Fox News (601)
  51. The Trumps Storm Group (600)
  52. QAnon-Patriots WWG1WGA (598)
  53. 100% American (569)
  54. Ladies For Donald Trump (566)
  55. Deep State (560)
  56. In the Name of Liberty (557)
  57. Material Planet (555)
  58. WikiUnderground (555)
  59. Trump NRA Free Speech Patriots on MeWe Gab.ai etc (546)
  60. Magna Carta Group (520)
  61. Constitutional Conservatives (506)
  62. Question Everything (503)
  63. Conspiracy Research (500)
  64. Bill O'Reilly Fans (481)
  65. Conservative Misfit's (479)
  66. Canadian politics (478)
  67. Anarchism (464)
  68. HARDCORE DEPLORABLES (454)
  69. Deplorable (450)
  70. Tampa Bay Trump Club (445)
  71. UK Politics (430)
  72. Bongino Fan Page (429)
  73. Radical Conservatives (429)
  74. RESIST THE RESISTANCE (419)
  75. The Deplorables (409)
  76. America's Freedom Fighters (401)
  77. Politically Incorrect & Proud (399)
  78. CONSERVATIVES FOR AMERICA ! (385)
  79. Political satire (383)
  80. RISE OF THE RIGHT (371)
  81. UK Sovereignty,Independence,Democracy -Everlasting (366)
  82. The Patriots Voting Coalition (359)
  83. End The Insanity (349)
  84. Coming American Civil War! (345)
  85. Constitutional Conservatives (343)
  86. United Nations Watch (342)
  87. A Revival Of The Critical Thinking Union (337)
  88. The New Libertarian (335)
  89. Libertarian Party (official ) (333)
  90. DDS United (Duterte Die-hard Supporters) (332)
  91. American Conservative Veterans (331)
  92. Anarchism/Agorism/Voluntaryism (328)
  93. America Needs Donald Trump (326)
  94. The UKIP Debating Society (321)
  95. Coalition For Trump (310)
  96. Egalitarianism (306)
  97. FRIENDS THAT LIKE JILL STEIN AND THE GREEN PARTY (292)
  98. 2nd Amendment (287)
  99. Never Forget #SethRich (286)
  100. Green Party Supporters 2020 (283)
It seems there is relatively little representation from the left wing, or even the centre, of the political spectrum. A case-insensitive match for "liberal" turns up:
Mainstream political parties are little represented, though again, the balance seems skewed searching on "(democrat|republic|gop)":
The terms "left" and "right" provide a few matches, not all strictly political-axis aligned:
Socialism and Communism also warrant a few mentions:
And there are some references to green, laboulabor parties:

Conclusion

Whilst there may not be a political agenda, there does appear to be at least a slight political bias to the site. And a distinctive skew on many other topical subjects.
Those seeking new homes online may wish to take this into account.

Updates

submitted by dredmorbius to plexodus [link] [comments]

My draft for a new /r/btc FAQ explaining the split from /r/Bitcoin to new users

If /btc is going to actually compete with /Bitcoin, it needs to be just as friendly and informative to new users, especially given its position as the “non default” or “breakaway” sub. The current /btc sticky saying "Welcome to the Wiki" doesn't even have any content in it and I feel this is a bit of a wasted opportunity to create an informative resource that new users will see by default and everyone else can link to instead of retyping things over and over about the history and difference between the subs.
Here's what I've written as a starting point. I've done my best to keep it as concise and relevant as possible but in all honesty it is a complicated issue and a short but effective explanation is basically impossible. I hope the community can expand/improve on it further.
Quick bit about me
I got into Bitcoin in October 2013, when /Bitcoin had around 40k subscribers if I remember correctly, so by now I've actually personally experienced a large portion of Bitcoin's history - including the events preceding and since the creation of this sub. I have been an active and popular poster on /Bitcoin for almost all of that time, until the split and my subsequent banning. With the recent censorship fiasco, I'm finding I have to reiterate the same points over and over again to explain to newer users what happened with the /Bitcoin vs /btc split, questions about hard forks, what is likely to happen in the future and so on. So I put a couple of hours into writing this post to save myself the trouble in future.

/btc FAQ - Historical split from /Bitcoin megathread - v0.1

There is a TL:DR; at the bottom, but it is exactly that. If you skip straight to the TL:DR; then don’t expect sympathy when you post questions that have already been covered in the lengthy and detailed main post.

New to Bitcoin?

I am totally new to Bitcoin. What is it? How does it work? Can/should I mine any? Where can I buy some? How do I get more information?
All of these questions are actually really well covered in the /Bitcoin FAQ. Check it out in a new tab here. Once you've got a bit of a handle on the technology as a whole, come back here for the rest of the story.

History: /btc vs /Bitcoin

What's the difference between /btc and /Bitcoin? What happened to create two such strongly opposed communities? Why can't I discuss /btc in /Bitcoin?
Historically, the /Bitcoin subreddit was the largest and most active forum for discussing Bitcoin. As Bitcoin grew close to a cap in the number of transactions it could process, known as the 1MB block size limit, the community had differing opinions on the best way to proceed. Note that this upcoming issue was anticipated well ahead of time, with Satoshi's chosen successor to lead the project Gavin Andresen posting about it in mid 2015. Originally, there was quite a broad spread of opinions - some people favoured raising the blocksize to various extents, some people favoured implementing a variety of second layer solutions to Bitcoin, probably most people thought both could be a good idea in one form or another.
This topic was unbelievably popular at the time, taking up almost every spot on the front page of /Bitcoin for weeks on end.
Unfortunately, the head moderator of /Bitcoin - theymos - felt strongly enough about the issue to use his influence to manipulate the debate. His support was for the proposal of existing software (called Bitcoin Core) NOT to raise the blocksize limit past 1MB and instead rely totally on second layer solutions - especially one called Segregated Witness (or SegWit). With some incredibly convoluted logic, he decided that any different implementations of Bitcoin that could potentially raise the limit were effectively equivalent to separate cryptocurrencies like Litecoin or Ethereum and thus the block size limit or implement other scaling solutions were off-topic and ban-worthy. At the time the most popular alternative was called Bitcoin XT and was supported by experienced developers Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn, who have since both left Bitcoin Core development in frustration at their marginalisation. Theymos claimed that for Bitcoin XT or any other software implementation to be relevant to /Bitcoin required "consensus", which was never well defined, despite it being seemingly impossible for everyone to agree on the merits of a new project if no one was allowed to discuss it in the first place. Anyone who didn't toe the line of his vaguely defined moderation policy was temporarily or permanently banned. There was also manipulation of the community using the following tactics - which can still be seen today:
This created enormous uproar among users, as even many of those in favour of Bitcoin Core thought it was authoritarian to actively suppress this crucial debate. theymos would receive hundreds of downvotes whenever he posted: for example here where he gets -749 for threatening to ban prominent Bitcoin business Coinbase from the subreddit.
In an extraordinary turn of events, Theymos posted a thread which received only 26% upvotes in a sample size of thousands announcing that he did not care if even 90% of users disagreed with his policy, he would not change his opinion or his moderation policy to facilitate the discussion the community wanted to have. His suggested alternative was instead for those users, however many there were, to leave.
Here are Theymos' exact words, as he describes how he intends to continue moderating Bitcoin according to his own personal rules rather than the demands of the vast majority of users, who according to him clearly don't have any "real arguments" or "any brains".
Do not violate our rules just because you disagree with them. This will get you banned from /Bitcoin , and evading this ban will get you (and maybe your IP) banned from Reddit entirely.
If 90% of /Bitcoin users find these policies to be intolerable, then I want these 90% of /Bitcoin users to leave. Both /Bitcoin and these people will be happier for it. I do not want these people to make threads breaking the rules, demanding change, asking for upvotes, making personal attacks against moderators, etc. Without some real argument, you're not going to convince anyone with any brains -- you're just wasting your time and ours. The temporary rules against blocksize and moderation discussion are in part designed to encourage people who should leave /Bitcoin to actually do so so that /Bitcoin can get back to the business of discussing Bitcoin news in peace.
/btc was therefore born in an environment not of voluntary departure but of forced exile.
This forced migration caused two very unfortunate occurrences:
  1. It polarised the debate around Bitcoin scaling. Previously, there was a lot of civil discussion about compromise and people with suggestions from all along the spectrum were working to find the best solution. That was no longer possible when a moderation policy would actively suppress anyone with opinions too different from Theymos. Instead it forced everyone into a "with us or against us" situation, which is why the /btc subreddit has been pushed so far in favour of the idea of a network hard fork (discussed below).
  2. It has distracted Bitcoin from its mission of becoming a useful, global, neutral currency into a war of information. New users often find /Bitcoin and assume it to be the authoritative source of information, only to later discover that a lot of important information or debate has been invisibly removed from their view.
Since then, like any entrenched conflict, things have degenerated somewhat on both sides to name calling and strawman arguments. However, /btc remains committed to permitting free and open debate on all topics and allowing user downvotes to manage any "trolling" (as /Bitcoin used to) instead of automatic shadow-banning or heavy-handed moderator comment deletion (as /Bitcoin does now). Many users in /Bitcoin deny that censorship exists at all (it is difficult to see when anyone pointing out the censorship has their comment automatically hidden by the automoderator) or justify it as necessary removal of "trolls", which at this point now includes thousands upon thousands of current and often long-standing Bitcoin users and community members.
Ongoing censorship is still rampant, partially documented in this post by John Blocke
For another detailed account of this historical sequence of events, see singularity87 s posts here and here.
/btc has a public moderator log as demonstration of its commitment to transparency and the limited use of moderation. /Bitcoin does not.
Why is so much of the discussion in /btc about the censorship in /Bitcoin? Isn't a better solution to create a better community rather than constantly complaining?
There are two answers to this question.
  1. Over time, as /btc grows, conversation will gradually start to incorporate more information about the Bitcoin ecosystem, technology, price etc. Users are encouraged to aid this process by submitting links to relevant articles and up/downvoting on the /new and /rising tab as appropriate. However, /btc was founded effectively as a refuge for confused and angry users banned from /Bitcoin and it still needs to serve that function so at least some discussion of the censorship will probably always persist (unless there is a sudden change of moderation policy in /Bitcoin).
  2. The single largest issue in Bitcoin right now is the current cap on the number of transactions the network can process, known as the blocksize limit. Due to the censorship in /Bitcoin, open debate of the merits of different methods of addressing this problem is impossible. As a result, the censorship of /Bitcoin (historically the most active and important Bitcoin community forum) has become by proxy the single most important topic in Bitcoin, since only by returning to open discussion would there be any hope of reaching agreement on the solution to the block size limit itself. As a topic of such central importance, there is naturally going to be a lot of threads about this until a solution is found. This is simply how Bitcoin works, that at any one time there is one key issue under discussion for lengthy periods of time (previous examples of community "hot topics" include the demise of the original Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, the rise to a 51% majority hash rate of mining pool GHash.io and the supposed "unveiling" of Bitcoin's anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto).

Bitcoin Network Hard Forks

What is a hard fork? What happens if Bitcoin hard forks?
A network hard fork is when a new block of transactions is published under a new set of rules that only some of the network will accept. In this case, Bitcoin diverges from a single blockchain history of transactions to two separate blockchains of the current state of the network. With any luck, the economic incentive for all users to converge quickly brings everyone together on one side of the fork, but this is not guaranteed especially since there is not a lot of historical precedent for such an event.
A hard fork is necessary to raise the block size limit above its 1MB cap.
Why is /btc generally in favour of a hard fork and /Bitcoin generally against?
According to a lot of users on /Bitcoin - a hard fork can be characterised as an “attack” on the network. The confusion and bad press surrounding a hard fork would likely damage Bitcoin’s price and/or reputation (especially in the short term). They point to the ongoing turmoil with Ethereum as an example of the dangers of a hard fork. Most of /Bitcoin sees the stance of /btc as actively reckless, that pushing for a hard fork creates the following problems:
According to a lot of users on /btc - a hard fork is necessary despite these risks. Most of /btc sees the stance of /Bitcoin as passively reckless, that continuing to limit Bitcoin’s blocksize while remaining inactive creates the following problems:
Bitcoiners are encouraged to examine all of the information and reach their own conclusion. However, it is important to remember that Bitcoin is an open-source project founded on the ideal of free market competition (between any/all software projects, currencies, monetary policies, miners, ideas etc.). In one sense, /btc vs /Bitcoin is just another extension of this, although Bitcoiners are also encouraged to keep abreast of the top posts and links on both subreddits. Only those afraid of the truth need to cut off opposing information.
What do Bitcoin developers, businesses, users, miners, nodes etc. think?
Developers
There are developers on both sides of the debate, although it is a common argument in /Bitcoin to claim that the majority supports Bitcoin Core. This is true in the sense that Bitcoin Core is the current default and has 421 listed code contributors but misleading because not only are many of those contributors authors of a single tiny change and nothing else but also many major figures like Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn and Jeff Garzik have left the project while still being counted as historical contributors.
Businesses including exchanges etc.
A definite vote of confidence is not available from the vast majority of Bitcoin businesses, and wouldn't be binding in any case. The smart decision for most businesses is to support both chains in the event of a fork until the network resolves the issue (which may only be a day or two).
Users
Exact user sentiment is impossible to determine, especially given the censorship on /Bitcoin.
Miners and Nodes
Coin.dance hosts some excellent graphical representations of the current opinion on the network.
Node Support Information
Miner Support Information
What do I do if the network hard forks?* Do we end up with two Bitcoins?
Firstly, in the event of a hard fork there is no need to panic. All Bitcoins are copied to both chains in the case of a split, so any Bitcoins you have are safe. HOWEVER, in the event of a fork there will be some period of confusion where it is important to be very careful about how/why you spend your Bitcoins. Hopefully (and most likely) this would not last long - everyone in Bitcoin is motivated to converge into agreement for everyone's benefit as soon as possible - but it's impossible to say for sure.
There isn't a lot of historical data about cryptocurrency hard forks, but one example is alternative cryptocurrency Ethereum that forked into two coins after the events of the DAO and currently exists as two separate chains, ETH (Ethereum) and ETC (Ethereum Classic).
The Ethereum fork is not a good analogy for Bitcoin because its network difficulty target adjusts every single block, so a massive drop in hash rate does not significantly impede its functioning. Bitcoin’s difficult target adjusts only every 2100 blocks - which under usual circumstances takes two weeks but in the event of a hard fork could be a month or more for the smaller chain. It is almost inconceivable that a minority of miners would willingly spend millions of dollars over a month or more purely on principle to maintain a chain that was less secure and processed transactions far slower than the majority chain - even assuming the Bitcoins on this handicapped chain didn't suffer a market crash to close to worthless.
Secondly, a hard fork is less likely to be a traumatic event than it is often portrayed in /Bitcoin:

What Happens Now

How do I check on the current status of opinion?
Coin.dance hosts some excellent graphical representations of the current opinion on the network.
Node Support Information
Miner Support Information
Users are also welcome to engage in anecdotal speculation about community opinion based on their impression of the commentary and activity in /btc and /Bitcoin.
Haven't past attempts to raise the blocksize failed?
There is no time limit or statute of limitations on the number of attempts the community can make to increase the block size and scale Bitcoin. Almost any innovation in the history of mankind required several attempts to get working and this is no different.
The initial attempt called Bitcoin XT never got enough support for a fork because key developer Mike Hearn left out of frustration at trying to talk around all the censorship and community blockading.
The second major attempt called Bitcoin Classic gained massive community momentum until it was suddenly halted by the drastic implementation of censorship by Theymos described above.
The most popular attempt at the moment is called Bitcoin Unlimited.
/btc is neutral and welcoming to any and all projects that want to find a solution to scaling Bitcoin - either on-or off-chain. However, many users are suspicious of Bitcoin Core's approach that involves only SegWit, developed by a private corporation called Blockstream and that has already broken its previous promises in a document known as the Hong Kong Agreement to give the network a block size limit raise client along with Segregated Witness (only the latter was delivered) .
What if the stalemate is irreconcilable and nothing ever happens?
Increasing transaction fees and confirmation times are constantly increasing the pressure to find a scaling solution - leading some to believe that further adoption of Bitcoin Unlimited or a successor scaling client will eventually occur. Bitcoin Core's proposed addition of SegWit is struggling to gain significant support and as it is already the default client (and not censored in /Bitcoin) it is unlikely to suddenly grow any further.
If the stalemate is truly irreconcilable, eventually users frustrated by the cost, time and difficulty of Bitcoin will begin migrating to alternative cryptocurrencies. This is obviously not a desirable outcome for long standing Bitcoin supporters and holders, but cannot be ignored as the inevitable free market resort if Bitcoin remains deadlocked for long enough.

TL:DR;

I don’t know anything about Bitcoin. Help me?
What’s the /btc vs /Bitcoin story?
  • Bitcoin is at its transaction capacity and needs to scale to onboard more users
  • The community was discussing different ways to do this until the biased head moderator of /Bitcoin Theymos got involved
  • Theymos, started an authoritarian censorship rampage which culminated in telling 90% of /Bitcoin users to leave. /btc is where they went. Here is the thread where it all started. Note the 26% upvoted on the original post, the hundreds of upvotes of community outcry in the comments and the graveyard of [removed] posts further down the chain. Highly recommended reading in its entirety.
  • To this day, /Bitcoin bans all discussion of alternative scaling proposals and /btc
  • Bitcoin is about freedom, and can’t function effectively with either an artificially restricted transaction cap or a main community forum that is so heavily manipulated. This subreddit is the search for solutions to both problems as well as general Bitcoin discussion.
What’s the deal with hard forks?
  • No TL:DR; possible, read the whole post.
What happens now?
  • Node Support Information
  • Miner Support Information
  • Debate continues in /btc, and generally doesn't continue in /Bitcoin - although posts referencing /btc or Bitcoin Unlimited regularly sneak past the moderators because it is such a crucial topic
  • Eventually one side or the other breaks, enough miners/nodes/users get on one side and Bitcoin starts scaling. This may or may not involve a hard fork.
  • If not, fees and average confirmation times continue to rise until users migrate en masse to an altcoin. This is not an imminent danger, as can be seen by the BTC marketcap dominance at its historical levels of 80+% but could change at any time
submitted by Shibinator to btc [link] [comments]

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