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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!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

[WRITEUP] Criticism of r/privacy and r/privacytoolsio moderation censorship and how Apple/Brave/Chrome/GrapheneOS cult armies are destroying privacy communities

Hello! I wanted to discuss this on the soon-to-come occasion of 400 subscribers (398 as I write this), but I guess I will do it now, since the time is just right. This is a long post, so embrace yourself. This is an untalked topic, and you will rarely, if ever, find a record or post about the same.
Censorship in privacy communities is ironic, especially when the communities stand as the biggest ones on reddit. A lot of voices either go silent by account deletion and reappearing as new usernames, or they never speak up since they have been effectively "banned" so have no representation. A lot of this can be easily credited to folks breaking rules, which moderation would claim is certainly a need to manage large public forums. However, there is a section of people who criticise the Apple/Brave/Chrome/GrapheneOS cult armies, and this is where the problem starts to rise.

THE FOUR CULT ANTI-PRIVACY ARMIES

APPLE

Apple cult armies are in denial of Apple devices being privacy nightmares due to being closed source blackboxes. These are good for no more than protecting your data from your nosy girlfriend or the neighbour computer whiz kid.
There is plenty of evidence that goes to prove why Apple devices are nightmares for privacy. This is a comprehensive list of links, images and articles for read:
https://gist.github.com/iosecure/357e724811fe04167332ef54e736670d
https://i.imgur.com/n8Bk0bA.jpg
Siri still recording conversations 9 months later despite Apple's promise to not do it: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/05/20/apple_siri_transcriptions/
Apple Mail vulnerability, and Apple's denial of acceptance of the flaw: https://9to5mac.com/2020/04/27/iphone-mail-vulnerabilities-2/
Apple sells certificates to third-party developers that allow them to track users: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/01/apples-hypocritical-defense-data-privacy/581680/
Apple themselves were one of the main partners buying data from Facebook: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/03/technology/facebook-device-partners-users-friends-data.html
The San Ferdandino shooter thing was completely fraudulent: https://www.aclu.org/blog/privacy-technology/internet-privacy/one-fbis-major-claims-iphone-case-fraudulent
Louis Rossmann dismantles Apple's PR stunt "repair program": https://invidio.us/watch?v=rwgpTDluufY

Brave

Brave Browser is funded by DoD: https://np.reddit.com/privatelife/comments/fe34ls/exclusive_brave_browser_funded_by_dod_contracto
Brave traffic detected with Cryptocompare despite BAT rewards disabled: https://removeddit.com/privacytoolsIO/comments/gr8nue/
Brave also has a known history of whitelisting Facebook and Twitter trackers, and has a crippled adblocker that does not work on Brave's "acceptable" advertisements.
NEW EVIDENCE (June 6, 2020): Brave Browser hardcoded their crypto partner Binance referral links (https://twitter.com/cryptonator1337/status/1269201480105578496) alongwith Ledger and soon-to-be-compromised Coinbase (https://decrypt.co/31461/coinbase-wants-to-identify-bitcoin-users-for-dea-irs)

Chrome

These people are partly joint with the GrapheneOS cult, primarily due to its lead developer orchestrating all these things in hindsight and his followers purposely sharing his opinion garbage as "facts".
Most of this was debunked by u/saintjohnny (no longer on reddit) here: https://removeddit.com/firefox/comments/gokcis/
Ridiculous things like lead developer accusing firefox of being a "deployed" army against him and 4chan being used to harm his image: https://i.postimg.cc/3RwLT8Nj/Screenshot-from-2020-05-26-23-10-20.png

GrapheneOS

The moderator u trai_dep has taken his time to censor me off completely, so that none of my criticisms can be ever read about his dictatorial moderation and the GrapheneOS discussion I had with its lead developer, who at the end gave me plenty evidence about his rudeness, ironically which was against the rules of the subreddit.
https://removeddit.com/privacytoolsIO/comments/gs4uv7/_/fs2ysdm/
Criticism of GrapheneOS lies on one of his comments about OnePlus and Xiaomi apparently not making good enough devices: https://np.reddit.com/privacytoolsIO/comments/gs4uv7/i_dont_fully_trust_grapheneos/fs82fdv/
There is also the issue that he always claims Google Pixel 3/3a is a must with Titan M chip running non verifiable code that one has to rely on for Google's claim of being same as open sourced code, and that it does not have spyware. And he maintains his stand about developing the ROM exclusively for the Pixel devices, which also house Pixel Visual Core, a proprietary Google-only CPU+GPU unit independent of the Snapdragon SoC and with negligible documentation claimed "only" to be used for HDR+ camera algorithm processing. Google has had a history of lying with things like the Location History toggle, or their known data collection business and known relationship with NSA.

EVIDENCE RECORD

I have managed to collect and create what is an evidence record establishing the fact that select moderators either have some kind of agenda or are destroying the privacy community as a whole on the internet itself.
The below large part is a direct copy of the "Criticism of..." section in my Threat Model writeup in the sidebar.

OTHER ISSUES, CRITICISM OF MODERATION OF R_PRIVACY

Telling me that I am a burden to the subreddit is outright super offensive, in my most humble opinion. Moreover, they have a strong opinionated bias towards Apple (here too), however no reason to complain for their opinions if they talk outside /privacy and /privacytoolsIO where they moderate. Take the mod hat off if you want. To their credit, one of them did confirm they have a light threat model and primary goal is to thwart mass surveillance, around Level 3 in my book.
You will always be criticised for complaining about US and rationally judging Chinese technology, and effectively repeatedly banned by American moderators and muted from modmail everytime you complain about people personally name calling you "Chinese intelligence proponent" or "Chinese/Huawei plant" or "idiot".
I cannot make text posts anymore in that subreddit as of 11/02/2020.
Lots of evidence events happened followed after my smartphone guide linked above: https://imgur.com/a/TqOkQk6
In atomicratsen image, you can see proof of them allowing Sinophobic propaganda in the name of arguments, followed by the last image. So that is another thing allowed here.
Below comment is the admission of being lazy, incompetent and calling actual gilded contributor users "burden": https://np.reddit.com/privacy/comments/enoui9/5_reasons_not_to_use_whatsapp/fe6qgd7/ Just in case comment goes poof, screenshot.
Moreover, one of them made it clear in modmail that Sinophobic propaganda are "arguments" and will go uncriticised, likely patriotism owing to a global subreddit's moderation which seems unfair and caters not to all but to favouritism to a larger US/West EU audience on reddit, as said earlier:
The thing is, making an argument that China is shady is that: an argument. I mean, geez: Hong Kong. Enough said. So long as they're being civil about it, it's actually what this Sub is for.
Do you mention anything related to China or their products in your post? If so, it's fair game, and we expect everyone to conduct themselves like rational adults.
I'll check out the reports, but if they're conducting themselves along the lines of our sidebar rules, I (obviously) won't be taking any action. But I also hope that you don't get drawn into arguments that might end up earning yourself a time-out. We're somewhat patient, but at the same time, we can't spend too many man-hours tending a particular subscriber too much. Our time is volunteered and there are 600K+ subscribers. It's not fair to them.
Is this all fair to me, a cooperating member? If moderation and volunteering time is such a great issue, it would be a good step to take a backseat and discuss this in a rational non-prejudiced and less authoritarian manner. Why not allow others to take part and aid in moderating that subreddit?
They have repeatedly banned me for nonsensical reasons, standing on last warning, and will likely do so after this post (once for claiming this comment means I called the user asshat instead of their comment, when it never violated /privacy 's rule 5, and another comment where I said to use Win 7/8.1 instead of Win 10, mods claimed it as gatekeeping and banned me for 14 days because I am criticising some things they truly love).
New evidence as of few days ago (Feb 11, 2020): https://i.imgur.com/vOyaidS.png

NEW EVIDENCE

(May 31, 2020)

https://np.reddit.com/privacytoolsIO/comments/gtd3pl/fsb0m7f/ Use removeddit or snew.github.io in case the moderator deletes my comments. The modmail message thread (https://i.imgur.com/JwYaGJU.jpg) and my now shadowbanned comment (https://i.imgur.com/uUrMqyk.png).

NEW EVIDENCE

(June 10, 2020)

The moderator trai_dep now wants a sitewide ban on me for what is informing a reddit user of legitimate logical criticism of GrapheneOS. He calls this harassment, as he has done this multiple times with me in the past (unfortunately for which comments are deleted and evidence not being able to be recorded). However, this is taking it too far. https://i.imgur.com/dX73ZNX.png

NEW EVIDENCE

(June 15, 2020)

trai_dep revengefully deletes my famous gilded smartphone hardening no root guide with 1400+ votes. Modmail proofs post with timestamps: https://old.reddit.com/privatelife/comments/h8hsdh/exclusive_rprivacy_moderator_deleted_smartphone/

SELF TAKE ON THE MATTER

This happened with me on privacy, which is a major why I started this community. There must exist a place free of prejudiced bias and free of any forms of bigotry for privacy, truth and freedom loving folks. The fact that the moderators can get away with it by saying nice words after the ban reeks of a dictator that loves to give speech about care of its citizens, yet will slice anyone up. trai_dep and his friends continue to support the bigotry and these cult armies, which is likely because they do not understand nearly any higher order of technical aspect of privacy threat modelling, and have got no education on the same.

CONCLUSION

Privacy communities on reddit are a huge problem when it comes to dealing with the cult brigading, and instead critics are targeted by the cult armies which are let loose in these very communities. privacy and /privacytoolsIO are not true representatives of communities giving good advice for higher privacy and security, unfortunately ruined both by the moderators (many of whom are iPhone users themselves just like trai_dep) and the cult brigade armies.
submitted by TheAnonymouseJoker to privatelife [link] [comments]

Interview With Eddie Jiang: How CoinEx Is Adapting To The Exchange Space And Growing

Interview With Eddie Jiang: How CoinEx Is Adapting To The Exchange Space And Growing
Written by chaintalk.tv
https://preview.redd.it/v238540taz751.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=2a852e171a74e49da802d7c12fadba452cf4cf43
We recently had the opportunity to interview the VP of ViaBTC Group, Eddie Jiang. ViaBTC Group owns popular crypto exchange CoinEx and ViaBTC Pool. In this interview Eddie discusses being the first exchange to use BCH as the base currency, ViaBTC Pool and integrating with CoinEx, new features and ambassador program, and competing with other exchanges like Binance and Huobi. Please enjoy the interview below.
How come you decided to open up CoinEx to other cryptos other than just BCH?
Eddie Jiang: CoinEx is the world’s first exchange to implement Bitcoin Cash as a base currency. At that time, it was evident that there was a demand for BCH trading markets, and we are the first to explore this opportunity. It also shows our determination to support the BCH’s development.
As CoinEx is developing, our goal becomes bigger and we are aiming at the global market. We need to constantly improve our product diversification to meet the different needs of more users, so we open up to other cryptos. In the past six months, we have listed more than 50 new tokens. Up to now, we have listed 129 cryptos and 313 markets. Besides, in addition to spot trading, CoinEx also supports perpetual contract and other derivatives trading.
How does CoinEx integrate with the ViaBTC Pool?
Eddie Jiang: ViaBTC Group announced a strategic upgrade, which included a new organizational structure, product innovations and service improvements, on 30 May.
As part of the change, the Group has established three dedicated business units (BU): the financial services BU, consisting of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange; the infrastructure services BU, including ViaWallet and Blockchain Explorer; and the ecological development BU, focusing on the research and development of public chain technology and the construction of the ecology.
After halving, the combination of mining and finance will become closer and closer. Investing in mining machines is like buying a Bitcoin option. Miners need more flexible financial products to maintain and increase the value of assets, or hedging services. Based on this judgment, the operations of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange will be integrated in the future to realize the financial empowerment of the mining pool to meet the diverse financial needs of miners.
Features of this integrated product upgrade can be summarized as: “ The mining pool is the wallet, and the wallet is the transaction.” ViaBTC is the world first mining pool that has a wallet embedded in the mining pool account. Users do not need to transfer the mined coins, and can realize the function of coin exchange within the wallet. For example, they can directly convert the mined coins into USDT to pay electricity bill. What’s more, users can store, deposit and withdraw their revenue, and transfer assets to CoinEx at any time without charge, as well as complete other operations on the exchange, such as purchasing wealth management products for asset preservation and appreciation. In addition, we also provide hedging services. All of the above functions can be completed in one stop in the mining pool, without the need to transfer assets between different platforms.
The exchange empowers the mining pool, and the mining pool will further bring more traffic and resources to the exchange. The two complement each other and development coordinately.
CoinEx has recently added many new features. Can you talk about what new updates were made to the platform and why you made them?
Eddie Jiang: We have always attached great importance to the development of overseas markets since our establishment, and one of our major goals this year is to cover at least 10 different languages speaking markets.
To realize this and to meet the needs of more users worldwide, CoinEx has been continuously optimizing and upgrading its operating strategies, products and services. Our product diversifications are constantly improving. As I said before, we have launched leverage trading, perpetual contract trading, and wealth management products in addition to just spot trading. However, we don’t ignore the importance of spot trading. More mainstream, popular, and high-quality tokens have been listed, and up to now, there are 129 tokens and 313 trading pairs on CoinEx.
During the epidemic, we have never slowed down our development. Lacking of the OTC service has always been a shortage for CoinEx. In March, we partner with Simplex to integrate the first fiat onramp to our platform. People now can buy crypto with their credit cards, which lowers the threshold for more people to enter the crypto world. Moreover, we announced global strategic partnership with Matrixport to provide people with large amount of fiat to crypto needs the OTC service. These newly launched services also help to attract more users.
At the same time, CoinEx has been launched in Arabic, Italian, English, Japanese, Russian, Korean and other 16 languages. Earlier we also carried out product upgrades, making the UI and function sections clearer.
In terms of operations, we launched an upgraded CoinEx Ambassador program in March. To best utilize each ambassador’s personal strengths, there are four categories of CoinEx Ambassador with different responsibilities, namely Referral Ambassador, Marketing Ambassador, Operation Ambassador, and Business Ambassador, which will expand our brand’s exposure and help CoinEx grow into a more international exchange platform.
From March until now CoinEx has seen a 100% increase in user registrations. Why is that and are you able to see where they are coming from?
Eddie Jiang: Because of the efforts mentioned above, in 2020, we’ve seen an exponential increase in activity in just the past few months alone. In this year alone, CoinEx’s daily registered users increased by 100%. These new users mainly come from markets such as the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and more.
Interestingly, we saw an uptick in traffic from the Middle East in March. User growth in Southeast Asia also picked up significantly, newly registered users increased by 133.6% in April.
With Binance, BitMex, Huobi, Bybit, and Deribit, controlling most of the crypto futures and options markets, where do you see CoinEx fitting in? How do you plan to capture market share from these large exchanges?
Eddie Jiang: We won’t compete with others. We focus on ourselves to improve products and our goal is to be better than yesterday.
Our pace is solid and steady, instead of focusing on temporary heat and flow. We have always attached great importance of spot trading, and we are committed to be responsible for users’ investment. We have set up CoinEx Institution, which is dedicated on project research. A listing committee consist of core team members review and vote on projects recommended by the CoinEx Institution. In this way, fraud projects are avoided as much as possible.
Besides, we will focus on niche areas with great potential. For example, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. CoinEx can serve users in those countries well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade, and will pay more efforts on refined operations in different countries.
Moreover, CoinEx has a very complete ecosystem. Financial services, infrastructure, and ecological development, the three business units complement each other. The infrastructure BU is our cornerstone and is positioned as a defensive product; the financial service BU is a cash cow and is positioned as an aggressive product; the ecological development BU focuses on the public chain ecology and is the future infrastructure.
What is the geographical breakdown of the CoinEx userbase?
Eddie Jiang: The current proportion of CoinEx’s overseas users has reached 80% of the total registered users, and mainly in Australia, Southeast Asia, North America, Middle East and South Korea.
Do you have plans to focus on any certain jurisdictions? How will you do that?
Eddie Jiang: When we evaluate regions, two things matter: policy and potential.
Whether an exchange’s business expansion in a region is smooth or not largely depends on the region’s policies. If the region is not very friendly towards cryptocurrency or has repeated attitudes, there will be more difficulties and the cost will be much higher.
For a region’s development potential, we need to think about the demand and market development status. South Korea, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other regions are all areas with good potential for cryptocurrency development. Compared with Europe and America, policy risks in these countries are lower, and the supervision mechanism is relatively complete. The public has a high degree of awareness of cryptocurrencies. Besides, some regions or countries have inflation problems due to political and economic reasons.
CoinEx will continue to focus on the Middle East and South Asia, which are relatively niche. India has just lifted ban on cryptocurrency trading this year, and there are many cryptocurrency investors in Indian. CoinEx can serve them well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade. More people in the Middle East are interested cryptos, especially in countries that are subject to economic sanctions or high inflation. For those people, cryptocurrencies are one of the best choices for asset preservation.
Since the CoinEx Ambassador program launched in March, it has been almost three months. We are conducting the second round of ambassador recruitment. This time, we will use the power of ambassadors to expand our recruitment coverage and strive to attract more crypto enthusiasts from all over the world to grow together with CoinEx. Moreover, we will launch the National Expansion plan and leverage on the CoinEx and ViaBTC mining pool resources, to further explore the Russian market. At the market level, we will make more PR efforts in local markets, and start refined operations.
What is CoinEx Chain and CoinEx DEX?
Eddie Jiang: CoinEx Chain is a public chain built on the Tendermint consensus protocol and the Cosmos SDK. It consists of three dedicated public chains parallel to each other. Among these three chains, CoinEx DEX meets the most basic needs of DeFi for token issuance, transfer, and transactions. The Smart Chain is designed to meet the needs of complex financial scenarios and delivers programmable cash. The Privacy Chain facilitates privacy and security.
On November 11, 2019, we took the lead in launching the Mainnet of CoinEx DEX. CoinEx DEX is the world’s first public chain dedicated to decentralized transactions. Users can easily manage their digital assets on it.
CoinEx DEX can fully satisfy the following conditions: users have private keys at their own disposal; transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission; the community governance and operation is decentralized, similar to EOS, and validators are introduced to the community ecosystem construction and governance. There are currently 41 validators.
It also has extreme performance. TPS reaches as high as 10,000 and transactions are confirmed within seconds. The transaction fee, 0.0001 US dollars for each transaction, is negligible.
Third, it’s simple and easy to use. The new operation interface design helps beginners get started quickly; with the one-click token issuing module, users only need to fill in a few items to issue tokens; the built-in automated market-making module guarantees liquidity.
How will CoinEx DEX improve the decentralized exchange space that has been unable to gain much adoption?
Eddie Jiang: There are many challenges and difficulties facing centralized exchanges. The first difficulty is security. Security is a huge concern for CEXs. Over the last 10 years, hackers have stolen more than $1.5 billion from centralized exchanges. In fact, research groups estimate that hackers stole somewhere between $950 Million and $1 Billion from centralized exchanges in 2018 alone. There were also incidents of coin thefts in other exchanges in 2019. Many exchanges, such as Mt. Gox, Youbit, were forced to file for bankruptcy and shut down as a result of hacks.
The second is high management costs. Centralized exchanges need to list a large number of cryptocurrencies and each of them have different trading pairs. That entails huge efforts in development and maintenance and, thus, high management costs.
The last is global policies. Cryptocurrency is faced with different regulatory policies in different countries. Every time a centralized exchange enters a country, it needs to adapt itself to local regulatory policies for compliance. This is a holdback for the exchange’s rapid market expansion globally. Such adaptation will also bring a huge learning cost for the exchange team.
Obviously, these problems can be well solved by DEX. CoinEx DEX is a true DEX with full open source and full community governance, as well as without depending on official nodes, websites, wallets, etc. On DEX, users are able to in charge of their own private keys and assets all by themselves. Their assets are more safe and secure. Transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; and the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission. What’s more, CoinEx DEX provides a great and convenient user experience.
How will CoinEx Chain and DEX help the crypto industry as a whole?
Eddie Jiang: The public chain is the cornerstone of the blockchain industry. CoinEx Chain has the parallelism of multiple dedicated public chains, each of which performs its own functions, by cross-chaining for both high performance and flexibility.
CoinEx Chain is committed to building the next generation of blockchain financial infrastructure. It is a more complete ecosystem built around the DEX public chain. The DEX public chain is a dedicated public chain developed specifically for token issuance and trading and the biggest improvement on trading speed, so it only supports the necessary functions, not smart contracts.
But smart contracts are the foundation for building more complex financial applications. Outside the DEX public chain, CoinEx Chain also includes a Smart Chain that supports smart contracts.
Moreover, as privacy issues on the current blockchain have been criticized, it is one of the core tasks of CoinEx Chain to safeguard users’ privacy. Similar to the Smart Chain, the Privacy Chain specifically supports transaction privacy protection. With cross-chain circulation, it can improve the privacy characteristic of the entire CoinEx Chain ecosystem.
Nowadays, 1.7 million people in the world have no bank accounts; however, among them, two thirds are smartphone users with huge demands for financial services. The public chain will empower DeFi applications’ development and popularization, not only help more companies to seize the huge market opportunity, but also to bring lasting transformations and improvements in people’s lives.
With so many crypto exchanges, what is the future outlook of CoinEx when it comes to the crypto exchange space?
Eddie Jiang: It has been nearly 3 years since CoinEx has been launched, but it’s quite young for an entrepreneurial team. We have seen too many projects’ failures due to governance issues. CoinEx has a very elite team with high technical and management capabilities. In terms of business, CoinEx has gradually developed with diversified business and a complete ecosystem. It’s clear that the market will still grow very fast in the future, and the market size is still very large. We will continue to improve our products, put more efforts in marketing and operations, as well as look for more high-quality projects, to increase the number of users and transactions on the platform. Lay a solid foundation, and I’m sure the time will come for us to shine.
What updates is the CoinEx team most excited for?
Eddie Jiang: We are very excited about the National Expansion Plan which will be launched later this year. It is an important part in CoinEx’s globalization strategy. We will actively explore some new markets while consolidate the original ones. CoinEx will set aside 10 million US dollars to set up a “Pioneer Fund” to support this plan. This fund will be used to support local cryptocurrency projects and promote the development of the local cryptocurrency communities through investment or cooperation. Our goal this year is to invest in projects and communities that are conducive to expanding the CoinEx ecosystem in countries with high development potential.
Original article
Click HERE to register on CoinEx
submitted by CoinExcom to btc [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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

Let's discuss some of the issues with Nano

Let's talk about some of Nano's biggest issues. I also made a video about this topic, available here: https://youtu.be/d9yb9ifurbg.
00:12 Spam
Issues
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
01:58 Privacy
Issues
  • Nano has no privacy. It is pseudonymous (like Bitcoin), not anonymous.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues & Outstanding Issues*
  • Second layer solutions like mixers can help, but some argue that isn't enough privacy.
  • The current protocol design + the computational overhead of privacy does not allow Nano to implement first layer privacy without compromising it's other features (fast, feeless, and scalable transactions).
02:56 Decentralization
Issues
  • Nano is currently not as decentralized as it could be. ~25% of the voting weight is held by Binance.
  • Users must choose representatives, and users don't always choose the best ones (or never choose).
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Currently 4 unrelated parties (who all have a verifiable interest in keeping the network running) would have to work together to attack the network
  • Unlike Bitcoin, there is no mining or fees in Nano. This means that there is not a strong incentive for emergent centralization from profit maximization and economies of scale. We've seen this firsthand, as Nano's decentralization has increased over time.
  • Nano representative percentages are not that far off from Bitcoin mining pool percentages.
  • In Nano, voting weight can be remotely re-delegated to anyone at any time. This differs from Bitcoin, where consensus is controlled by miners and requires significant hardware investment.
  • The cost of a 51% attack scales with the market cap of Nano.
06:49 Marketing & adoption
Issues
  • The best technology doesn't always win. If no one knows about or uses Nano, it will die.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • I would argue that the best technology typically does win, but it needs to be best in every way (price, speed, accessbility, etc). Nano is currently in a good place if you agree with that argument.
  • Bitcoin started small, and didn't spend money on marketing. It takes time to build a community.
  • The developers have said they will market more once the protocol is where they want it to be (v20 or v21?).
  • Community marketing initiatives have started to form organically (e.g. Twitter campaigns, YouTube ads, etc).
  • Marketing and adoption is a very difficult problem to solve, especially when you don't have first mover advantage or consistent cashflow.
08:07 Small developer fund
Issues
  • The developer fund only has 3 million NANO left (~$4MM), what happens after that?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • The goal for Nano is to be an Internet RFC like TCP/IP or SMTP - development naturally slows down when the protocol is in a good place.
  • Nano development is completely open source, so anyone can participate. Multiple developers are now familiar with the Nano protocol.
  • Businesses and whales that benefit from Nano (exchanges, remittances, merchant services, etc) are incentivized to keep the protocol developed and running.
  • The developer fund was only ~5% of the supply - compare that to some of the other major cryptocurrencies.
10:08 Node incentives
Issues
  • There are no transaction fees, why would people run nodes to keep the network running?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • The cost of consensus is so low in Nano that the benefits of the network itself are the incentive: decentralized money with 0 transaction fees that can be sent anywhere in the world nearly instantly. Similar to TCP/IP, email servers, and http servers. Just like Bitcoin full nodes.
  • Paying $50-$100 a month for a high-end node is a lot cheaper for merchants than paying 1-3% in total sales.
  • Businesses and whales that benefit from Nano (exchanges, remittances, merchant services, etc) are incentivized to keep the protocol developed and running.
11:58 No smart contracts
Issues
  • Nano doesn't support smart contracts.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Nano's sole goal is to be the most efficient peer-to-peer value transfer protocol possible. Adding smart contracts makes keeping Nano feeless, fast, and decentralized much more difficult.
  • Other solutions (e.g. Ethereum) exist for creating and enforcing smart contracts.
  • Code can still interact with Nano, but not on the first layer in a decentralized matter.
  • Real world smart contract adoption and usage is pretty limited at the moment, but that might not always be the case.
13:20 Price stability
Issues
  • Why would anyone accept or spend Nano if the price fluctuates so much?
  • Why wouldn't people just use a stablecoin version of Nano for sending and receiving money?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • With good fiat gateways (stable, low fees, etc), you can always buy back the fiat equivalent of what you've spent.
  • The hope is that with enough adoption, people and businesses will eventually skip the fiat conversion and use Nano directly.
  • Because Nano is so fast, volatility is less of an issue. Transactions are confirmed in <10 seconds, and prices change less in that timeframe (vs 10 minutes to hours for Bitcoin).
  • Stablecoins reintroduce trust. Stable against what? Who controls the supply, and how do you get people to adopt them? What happens if the assets they're stable against fail? Nano is pure supply and demand.
  • With worldwide adoption, the market capitalization of Nano would be in the trillions. If that happens, even millions of dollars won't move the price significantly.
15:06 Deflation
Issues
  • Nano's current supply == max supply. Why would people spend Nano today if it could be worth more tomorrow?
  • What happens to principal representatives and voting weight as private keys are lost? How do you know keys are lost?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Nano is extremely divisible. 1 NANO is 1030 raw. Since there are no transaction fees, smaller and smaller amounts of Nano could be used to transact, even if the market cap reaches trillions.
  • People will always buy things they need (food, housing, etc).
  • I'm not sure what the plan is to adjust for lost keys. Probably requires more discussion.
Long-term Scalability
Issue
  • Current node software and hardware cannot handle thousands of TPS (low-end nodes fall behind at even 50 TPS).
  • The more representatives that exist, the more vote traffic is required (network bandwidth).
  • Low-end nodes currently slow down the network significantly. Principal representatives waste their resources constantly bootstrapping these weak nodes during network saturation.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Even as is, Nano can comfortably handle 50 TPS average - which is roughly the amount of transactions per day PayPal was doing in 2011 with nearly 100 million users.
  • Network bandwidth increases 50% a year.
  • There are some discussions of prioritizing bootstrapping by vote weight to limit the impact of weak nodes.
  • Since Nano uses an account balance system, pruning could drastically reduce storage requirements. You only need current state to keep the network running, not the full transaction history.
  • In the future, vote stapling could drastically reduce bandwidth usage by collecting all representative signatures up front and then only sharing that single aggregate signature.
  • Nano has no artificial protocol-based limits (e.g. block sizes or block times). It scales with hardware.
Obviously there is still a lot of work to be done in some areas, but overall I think Nano is a good place. For people that aren't Nano fans, what are your biggest concerns?
submitted by Qwahzi to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

What are Nano's biggest issues? Let's talk about it!

Let's talk about some of Nano's biggest issues. I also made a video about this topic, available here: https://youtu.be/d9yb9ifurbg.
00:12 Spam
Issues
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
01:58 Privacy
Issues
  • Nano has no privacy. It is pseudonymous (like Bitcoin), not anonymous.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues & Outstanding Issues*
  • Second layer solutions like mixers can help, but some argue that isn't enough privacy.
  • The current protocol design + the computational overhead of privacy does not allow Nano to implement first layer privacy without compromising it's other features (fast, feeless, and scalable transactions).
02:56 Decentralization
Issues
  • Nano is currently not as decentralized as it could be. ~25% of the voting weight is held by Binance.
  • Users must choose representatives, and users don't always choose the best ones (or never choose).
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Currently 4 unrelated parties (who all have a verifiable interest in keeping the network running) would have to work together to attack the network
  • Unlike Bitcoin, there is no mining or fees in Nano. This means that there is not a strong incentive for emergent centralization from profit maximization and economies of scale. We've seen this firsthand, as Nano's decentralization has increased over time.
  • Nano representative percentages are not that far off from Bitcoin mining pool percentages.
  • In Nano, voting weight can be remotely re-delegated to anyone at any time. This differs from Bitcoin, where consensus is controlled by miners and requires significant hardware investment.
  • The cost of a 51% attack scales with the market cap of Nano.
06:49 Marketing & adoption
Issues
  • The best technology doesn't always win. If no one knows about or uses Nano, it will die.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • I would argue that the best technology typically does win, but it needs to be best in every way (price, speed, accessbility, etc). Nano is currently in a good place if you agree with that argument.
  • Bitcoin started small, and didn't spend money on marketing. It takes time to build a community.
  • The developers have said they will market more once the protocol is where they want it to be (v20 or v21?).
  • Community marketing initiatives have started to form organically (e.g. Twitter campaigns, YouTube ads, etc).
  • Marketing and adoption is a very difficult problem to solve, especially when you don't have first mover advantage or consistent cashflow.
08:07 Small developer fund
Issues
  • The developer fund only has 3 million NANO left (~$4MM), what happens after that?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • The goal for Nano is to be an Internet RFC like TCP/IP or SMTP - development naturally slows down when the protocol is in a good place.
  • Nano development is completely open source, so anyone can participate. Multiple developers are now familiar with the Nano protocol.
  • Businesses and whales that benefit from Nano (exchanges, remittances, merchant services, etc) are incentivized to keep the protocol developed and running.
  • The developer fund was only ~5% of the supply - compare that to some of the other major cryptocurrencies.
10:08 Node incentives
Issues
  • There are no transaction fees, why would people run nodes to keep the network running?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • The cost of consensus is so low in Nano that the benefits of the network itself are the incentive: decentralized money with 0 transaction fees that can be sent anywhere in the world nearly instantly.
  • Paying $50-$100 a month for a high-end node is a lot cheaper for merchants than paying 1-3% in total sales.
  • Businesses and whales that benefit from Nano (exchanges, remittances, merchant services, etc) are incentivized to keep the protocol developed and running.
11:58 No smart contracts
Issues
  • Nano doesn't support smart contracts.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Nano's sole goal is to be the most efficient peer-to-peer value transfer protocol possible. Adding smart contracts makes keeping Nano feeless, fast, and decentralized much more difficult.
  • Other solutions (e.g. Ethereum) exist for creating and enforcing smart contracts.
  • Code can still interact with Nano, but not on the first layer in a decentralized matter.
  • Real world smart contract adoption and usage is pretty limited at the moment, but that might not always be the case.
13:20 Price stability
Issues
  • Why would anyone accept or spend Nano if the price fluctuates so much?
  • Why wouldn't people just use a stablecoin version of Nano for sending and receiving money?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • With good fiat gateways (stable, low fees, etc), you can always buy back the fiat equivalent of what you've spent.
  • The hope is that with enough adoption, people and businesses will eventually skip the fiat conversion and use Nano directly.
  • Because Nano is so fast, volatility is less of an issue. Transactions are confirmed in <10 seconds, and prices change less in that timeframe (vs 10 minutes to hours for Bitcoin).
  • Stablecoins reintroduce trust. Stable against what? Who controls the supply, and how do you get people to adopt them? What happens if the assets they're stable against fail? Nano is pure supply and demand.
  • With worldwide adoption, the market capitalization of Nano would be in the trillions. If that happens, even millions of dollars won't move the price significantly.
15:06 Deflation
Issues
  • Nano's current supply == max supply. Why would people spend Nano today if it could be worth more tomorrow?
  • What happens to principal representatives and voting weight as private keys are lost? How do you know keys are lost?
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Nano is extremely divisible. 1 NANO is 1030 raw. Since there are no transaction fees, smaller and smaller amounts of Nano could be used to transact, even if the market cap reaches trillions.
  • People will always buy things they need (food, housing, etc).
  • I'm not sure what the plan is to adjust for lost keys. Probably requires more discussion.
Long-term Scalability
Issue
  • Current node software and hardware cannot handle thousands of TPS (low-end nodes fall behind at even 50 TPS).
  • The more representatives that exist, the more vote traffic is required (network bandwidth).
  • Low-end nodes currently slow down the network significantly. Principal representatives waste their resources constantly bootstrapping these weak nodes during network saturation.
Potential Mitigations & Outstanding Issues
  • Even as is, Nano can comfortably handle 50 TPS average - which is roughly the amount of transactions per day PayPal was doing in 2011 with nearly 100 million users.
  • Network bandwidth increases 50% a year.
  • There are some discussions of prioritizing bootstrapping by vote weight to limit the impact of weak nodes.
  • Since Nano uses an account balance system, pruning could drastically reduce storage requirements. You only need current state to keep the network running, not the full transaction history.
  • In the future, vote stapling could drastically reduce bandwidth usage by collecting all representative signatures up front and then only sharing that single aggregate signature.
  • Nano has no artificial protocol-based limits (e.g. block sizes or block times). It scales with hardware.
submitted by Qwahzi to nanocurrency [link] [comments]

Weekly Wrap 03/04

Market News
In the earlier part of the week, Bitcoin broke down to the $5800 level but managed to successfully close back above $6400. As expected, we eventually saw a move to the $7200 level that was followed by a swift rejection. Recent CME data released indicates that large-sized traders doubled down on their 2020 short positions between $8200 and $10,700. We are thus expecting the $8000 region to act as a large resistance level in the future.
In a new report, Binance Research found a ‘moderate’ positive correlation between Bitcoin and US equities during the first quarter of 2020, with neither being correlated to gold. Amongst their findings was the conclusion that despite Bitcoin displaying a positive correlation with US equities, this correlation coefficient remains unlikely to persist in the medium to long term as it was merely a result of global investors' flight to liquidity across all asset classes in the wake of COVID-19. This is positive news for investors who continue to use cryptoasset investments for diversification purposes.
Global markets are also up following Trump’s comments that crude oil production will likely be cut back. The announcement sent Brent crude levels up by over 25%. The move comes as oil was already climbing after Beijing instructed government agencies to start buying cheap crude for its strategic reserves.
Industry News
Other News
submitted by Camaa to InvictusCapital [link] [comments]

Weekly Wrap 03/04

Market News
In the earlier part of the week, Bitcoin broke down to the $5800 level but managed to successfully close back above $6400. As expected, we eventually saw a move to the $7200 level that was followed by a swift rejection. Recent CME data released indicates that large-sized traders doubled down on their 2020 short positions between $8200 and $10,700. We are thus expecting the $8000 region to act as a large resistance level in the future.
In a new report, Binance Research found a ‘moderate’ positive correlation between Bitcoin and US equities during the first quarter of 2020, with neither being correlated to gold. Amongst their findings was the conclusion that despite Bitcoin displaying a positive correlation with US equities, this correlation coefficient remains unlikely to persist in the medium to long term as it was merely a result of global investors' flight to liquidity across all asset classes in the wake of COVID-19. This is positive news for investors who continue to use cryptoasset investments for diversification purposes.
Global markets are also up following Trump’s comments that crude oil production will likely be cut back. The announcement sent Brent crude levels up by over 25%. The move comes as oil was already climbing after Beijing instructed government agencies to start buying cheap crude for its strategic reserves.
Industry News
Other News
submitted by Camaa to cryptotwenty [link] [comments]

r/Bitcoin recap - June 2019

Hi Bitcoiners!
I’m back with the 30th monthly Bitcoin news recap.
For those unfamiliar, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in Bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best) overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month.
You can see recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com
A recap of Bitcoin in May 2019
Adoption
Development
Security
Mining
Business
Research
Education
Regulation & Politics
Archeology (Financial Incumbents)
Price & Trading
Fun & Other
submitted by SamWouters to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

After the Bitcoin crash: do others fear me for greed?

At 6:30 pm on March 12, Bitcoin dropped from $ 7211 to $ 5555.55. The bitcoin price dived again this morning, slumping nearly $ 2,000 again in half an hour, the lowest fell to $ 3,782.13, a drop of more than 40% in 24 hours. According to the data of the contract emperor, only Huobi, OKEx, Binance, and BitMEX exchanges had a daily short position of 3.133 billion US dollars, which reached the highest in a single day in history. The number of liquidated positions exceeded 110,000, which was also the highest in a single day.
Also on March 12, the S & P index fell 260.74 points, triggering the fusing mechanism for the second time this week. The Dow hit its largest decline in history, at 2352.6 points. The Nasdaq fell 750.25 points to 7201.8 points. This is the third time in the history of US stocks. This fuse has been 33 years since the first fuse, but only 4 days have passed since the last fuse. Buffett shouted, "I only lived this way in 89 years." It is reported that Buffett lost $ 6.8 billion last night.
According to incomplete statistics, with the exception of the United States, the stock markets of 11 countries including Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, and Pakistan plummeted. The five largest US technology companies, Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, had a cumulative market value of $ 416.63 billion. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows that the top 15 richest people in the world lost a total of $ 46.4 billion.
Market panic or pullback demand? Regarding the meltdown of U.S. stocks this week, Yang Delong, chief economist of Qianhai Open Source Fund, believes that the spread of the epidemic is not the main reason. It is more a decade of bull market for U.S. stocks. Some factors driving the rise of U.S. stocks are quietly changing, such as the Federal Reserve ’s interest rate There is not much space. Regarding this crazy drop in Bitcoin, Apocalypse Capital told InfoQ that there are two main reasons for this drop in Bitcoin: on the one hand, the bearish demand caused by the expected global economic downturn, and on the other hand, Bitcoin Callback requirements themselves.
As we all know, Bitcoin will be halved in the second half of the year, but the trading market pays attention to speculation expectations. This round of rise has essentially halved the market. After hitting a high of 10500, Bitcoin is facing a callback demand. Of course, this round of downtrends is so rapid and there are only a handful of recurrences in the history of Bitcoin, which are inextricably linked to the decline in global stock markets, both of which are the result of expectations of a bearish global economy.
However, Johnson Xu, chief analyst of TokenInsight, told InfoQ that the Bitcoin dip was mainly due to market panic, because some market participants bought bitcoins by buying mining machines, borrowing, etc., and expected to reduce their expectations by half. A linkage effect caused by everyone being too optimistic about the market.
The market is overhyped because Bitcoin is halved, and some market participants are afraid to miss the opportunity to enter the market irrationally. The current market slump is driven by strong irrational behavior, which translates into a rapid downside response and quickly depletes market buyers' liquidity (flattening down). When the overall financial market panic or other unexpected events are caused by the New Crown virus and the global economic slowdown, market participants often seek to withdraw assets such as stocks and bitcoins and convert these assets into cash (cash is king). So has the recent gold sell-off.
When the market panics, people ask for cash in the beginning instead of investing in safe-haven assets such as gold. At the same time, because gold is considered a high-quality asset, investors usually start with liquidity crunch and market panic. Cash in on good assets (because inferior assets are more difficult to sell in panic times). The Bitcoin crash this time has a certain connection with the decline in global stock markets, because the entire financial market is a globalized market, and there is more or less linkage between each asset.
In addition, Forbes speculated that it may be because PlusToken scammers transferred bitcoins worth more than 100 million US dollars to the mixer, and then sold bitcoins, resulting in rising market supply.

Other people are greedy, I am afraid, others are afraid of me, greedy? In this case, should investors still expect "halving the market"? Johnson Xu believes that there is no such thing as a "half quotation", and most market participants are too optimistic about the halving of Bitcoin. Price fluctuations are not necessarily caused by halving, but may be caused by the sum of other factors. When everyone is saying that they are optimistic about the market, the existence of risk is ignored in the subconscious. At this time, the risk will be actually reflected, and the upside will gradually shrink. Bitcoin halving was written into the code, and it was not an accident. Bitcoin should be halved in a rational way. It is worth looking forward to, but not overly interpreting and speculation.
However, Tianqi Capital believes that this plunge is a callback period for bitcoin's halving of the market, and each round of sharp decline also indicates the opportunity of the market outlook: cheap chips will be hoarded, waiting for the next wave of hype and explosion. Therefore, Tianqi Capital still believes that the market outlook of Bitcoin is worth looking forward to, provided that it is not frightened by the current fierce washing of the chips, after all, when the bear market is the worst, it is also when gold is everywhere.
Regarding the future trend of Bitcoin, Apocalypse Capital stated that it should judge according to the current trend.
In this round of market, Apocalypse Capital initially chose to follow the downward trend of May 18, and Bitcoin has gradually dropped from a high of 10,000 to 3150 points, so the big support level predicted by this round happens to be 3700 today. Near the point. Data monitoring shows that some funds are involved in this price range. But whether it can hold on to this support remains to be tested. If the 3700 support cannot be maintained, it is very likely that it will hit the US $ 2000 level. Tianqi Capital believes that this is the market's last line of defense. Long-term investment is recommended to buy some relatively stable targets, such as BTC, ETH, etc. The bear market will eliminate many currencies, but if it survives, it will shine in the next round.
Johnson Xu believes that the plunge is also a test to promote the healthy development of the industry. Extreme market is a test for the entire industry, especially for infrastructure, risk management, etc., so it is still optimistic and supports the development of the industry for a long time.
For current investors, Johnson Xu offers the following suggestions:
  1. Other people are greedy, I am afraid, others are afraid of me, greedy.
  2. Global financial markets have also undergone major changes. From the data point of view, I don't think Bitcoin has the attributes of a safe-haven asset, but this market can test whether Bitcoin has a certain risk-avoidance capability. This is a global world. We need to analyze various markets, not just the digital asset market.
  3. In the long run, we are still optimistic about the digital asset industry.
Does Bitcoin have a fusing mechanism? On March 9, after the U.S. stock market crash triggered the fusing mechanism, the market began a discussion of "whether Bitcoin should set up a fusing mechanism". But at present, most people are not optimistic about the Bitcoin fusing mechanism. OKEx CEO Jay Hao said that the fusing mechanism is difficult to implement in the digital currency market. In the face of a highly volatile market, setting the fuse point is a difficult problem. At the same time, for a 7 * 24h market, when a certain exchange breaks down, the price difference between the digital currencies between the platforms will increase, leading to arbitrage, and the fuse mechanism will eventually become a decoration.
Du Wan, the co-founder of Contract Emperor, also said that it is unrealistic to use a fuse mechanism in the currency circle. The fusing mechanism first violates the original intention of the decentralization of the blockchain, and at the same time, it will touch the interests of the top of the currency circle ecological chain. For example, large trading teams can no longer use pins to obtain large profits. When the market is panic, exchanges with a fuse mechanism may lose traffic to exchanges without a fuse mechanism because of the run effect of traders.
It can be seen that the current risk aversion measures in the traditional stock market are difficult to transfer to the fickle currency market in a short time, and the regulation of this market still has a long way to go. Investors should still be cautious when investing.
submitted by FmzQuant to u/FmzQuant [link] [comments]

Binance: How to buy cryptocurreny with USD! How to buy and sell Cryptocurrencys on Binance. BitCoin ... How to Buy Bitcoin with Credit Card / Debit Card on ... Binance.US Guides: How to complete Advanced Verification ... [CZ] Binance: Bitcoin Rally, BTC & Ethereum Buy Signal ... Binance Exchange - How to Buy Tron Using Bitcoin Binance Tutorial - How to Use Binance to Buy Altcoins ... Binance CEO Makes Rare Price Prediction—Says This Is When ... Binance How to buy Bitcoin 2020 - YouTube Bitcoin Trading Philippines for Beginners Tutorial 2020 ...

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Binance: How to buy cryptocurreny with USD!

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