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Blockchain Consensus: The Past, Present, and Future

What comes after Proof of Work?Since the creation of Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, Bitcoin has transformed how the world thinks about money, privacy, contracts, and more.Launched as an experimental, decentralized form of money, Bitcoin has been instrumental in providing a foundation for innovation and has inspired today’s smartest minds to continue improving upon the revolutionary applications of cryptocurrency and the Blockchain.While Bitcoin is undoubtedly the most popular cryptocurrency in circulation today, it unfortunately faces several significant challenges that potentially prevent Bitcoin from being adopted and used mainstream — often called the scalability trilemma.Despite its original intention, Bitcoin is far from decentralized and is both expensive and slow compared to other alternatives within the crypto community.Just as the first few web browsers such as Netscape paved the way for making the World Wide Web a global phenomenon, Bitcoin’s impact should indeed be acknowledged. But the case can be made that a handful of crypto startups and cryptocurrencies are close to cracking the code of making crypto trusted, scalable, and less expensive worldwide.The Case Against Proof of WorkWith Bitcoin currently operating under a proof of work model, the entire Bitcoin blockchain is dependent on miners around the world to ensure the network is running.While the current Bitcoin protocol incentivizes miners to act in good faith, the reality is, with three mining companies essentially controlling the Blockchain, Bitcoin is far from decentralized. Currently, the top mining operations such as BitMain, F2Pool, and Slush make up just shy of 50% of the Bitcoin network.If several companies were to reach the 51% mark of hash power, they would theoretically have control of the Blockchain. A recent 51% attack recently occurred for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash which has created a whole host of issues.Additionally, because the mining model requires a significant amount of electrical resources and power, Bitcoin is extraordinarily expensive. Though everyday investors can purchase Bitcoin easily, the miners of Bitcoin retain control of Bitcoin’s future.The Future Is Proof of StakeSince Bitcoin’s inception, hundreds of cryptocurrencies have been created, many of which are based on the original Bitcoin code. At the time of this writing, CoinMarketcap lists over 2,000 cryptocurrencies — yet none of them have surpassed BTC.However, many cryptocurrencies have worked to solve some of Bitcoin’s most pressing issues such as scalability, decentralization, and lack of transaction speed, using Proof of Stake instead of Proof of Work.Proof of Stake is an alternative method of validating the Blockchain that is often less computationally demanding, faster, and cheaper compared to the traditional mining model.Proof-of-Stake (PoS for short) was created by Sunning King and Nadal in 2012 and is currently being explored by Ethereum, the world’s second most popular cryptocurrency, and is already used by other leading cryptocurrencies such as Cardano and DASH.With ETH’s PoS code likely to be implemented by June 30th in 2019, many other cryptocurrencies and startups like Algorand are getting ahead of the PoS switchover to improve the areas in which Bitcoin is struggling.Algorand is working to build the first scalable, secure, and decentralized digital currency and transaction platform that can be used by people all around the world regardless of location and economic status. It is a pure proof of stake protocol that is focused on several key struggles of other cryptocurrencies today.A Boston based startup, Algorand has raised over 66 million dollars and was founded by Silvio Micali. They are currently / about to be in the process of running a Dutch auction that is both fair and balanced for those who are looking to be involved in the project long term.One of Algorand’s current focuses is making it easier for individuals to be involved with the Blockchain without having to wait days to download all the Blockchain data.Those who use Algorand will be given a small packet of data that is then updated to be in sync with the latest Blockchain translation. Instead of having to download the entire Blockchain the small pack of info is leveraged instead which requires less space and is significantly faster.As Micali shared at his recent Consensus talk, “Very few people can store a terabyte of data […] if you want to maintain decentralization you must solve this problem — have efficient onboarding, efficiency growing the chain, and efficiently retrieve things in the past.“https://medium.com/media/e9a739e4b6064aee3cf60a75e8a1b1e1/hrefAdditionally, Algorand is looking to implement a true atomic swap model making it easy and effortless to trade two items in a trusted manner.Current atomic swap solutions are both overly complicated and require a significant amount of tech and steps that can be removed from the process entirely.Though a relatively new startup in the space Algorand and other cryptocurrencies such as ETH, DASH, and Cardano are continuing to innovate and push the possibilities of both crypto and the Blockchain.While Bitcoin continues to be the most popular cryptocurrency today, it’s clear that startups around the world are not content with operating within the status quo.https://medium.com/media/3c851dac986ab6dbb2d1aaa91205a8eb/hrefBlockchain Consensus: The Past, Present, and Future was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Velas blockchain: AI-enhanced DPOS (AIDPOS) consensus, mentioning security and decentralization

Velas is a Blockchain platform for secure, interoperable, and extremely scalable transactions and smart contracts. Heralded as a game changing technology, blockchain has had its ups and downs. The distributed ledger technology has shook the foundations of traditional financial systems with its efficiency, speed and economy. On the other hand, a number of large corporations, including connected in the finance industry, have tested and found the technology does not offer an improvement that is worth investing their time and money in. The controversies do exist. It is not a case of overconfidence in the technology or the unwillingness of traditional players. The fact is that current blockchain technology and ecosystems have approached the limit of their capabilities. Today, the need is of a blockchain system that is designed specifically to cater for the limitations. VELAS Virtual Expanding Learning Autonomous System, (VELAS) is a blockchain ecosystem that different from all the others. The developers of Velas looked into the current blockchain systems and realized that each new system introduced in the market is designed to be better than the current ones, but ultimately all the systems are still inherently limited in their expansion and operations such as block time and transaction speed. Velas is a blockchain system that is leverages of artificial intelligence and integrates it into blockchain to introduce unique characteristics. The platform becomes a self-learning system that not only has a fast ecosystem, but also optimizes blockchain: Velas AI: A set of algorithms, called Artificial Intuition, is used to identify patterns and relationships in data sets. The AI used has the ability to adapt the system to produce the best possible outcomes without compromising on the processing criteria. Variable Block Time: The AI system of Velas keeps a check on the network load at all times. If the load increases, usually it would result in confirmed transactions per second (TPS) falling. The intelligence would counter this by increasing the block size so that the more transactions can be accommodated. In case the TPS load is low, it will reduce the block size and execute multiple blocks, reducing the amount of information per block. Network Training: Each node in the Velas ecosystem forms its own dataset that it obtains from the blockchain. The AI uses this data layer to train itself. Each time more data is obtained, learning from the previous is integrated and the system generates a higher learning curve, helping to secure the Velas ecosystem as a whole. Staking: Rather than use an energy intensive Proof of Work, the AIDPoS is a staking mechanism. In this, the node players place their VLS tokens to have the ability to take part in consensus. Apart from being energy efficient, the staking of the tokens mean that the node has a part in losing its valuable tokens and therefore, it will do its best to protect the system. This mutually beneficial aspect strengthens the Velas ecosystem more than any other blockchain. Artificial Intelligent Delegated Proof of Stake (AIDPoS) AIDPOS is a consensus mechanism that is designed to help the Velas ecosystem have increased security and defend itself from any form of 51% delegated attack. The system actually uses different parameters to determine which node is the most capable and efficient of working, including the reliability of the node itself, and only allows these nodes to for consensus. This ensures that malicious or compromised nodes are eliminated, protection the whole blockchain. Each node is rated by the Velas AI. The rating is what generates a reputation on which the Velas system determines which node to select in the future. The selection of the nodes depend on four basic factors: Number of Transactions: The total number of transactions successfully executed by the node, along with the quality, lead to point generation. A good transaction will give points and a fake transaction will reduce the points. Staking Points: The higher number of tokens staked by a node that it has more commitment to the blockchain ecosystem. Higher tokens staked would result in higher points. Block Generation: Each successful block generated by a node would give it points. Up Time: The more reliable a node is according to its uptime and online availability, the more points are awarded to it. Disconnected, either due to no internet service, network disconnection or even unavailable processing power will lead to point elimination. The points garnered from these characters would give each node a ranking and a rating. The AI of Velas will only select the top nodes that have the highest ranking. Through this, the Velas AI the integrity and security of its blockchain. 4th of July: Independence Day Velas will be launching its blockchain system on 4th of July, 2019. The current VLX tokens will be swapped for its native tokens through Coinpayments. The launch also represents the first stage of Velas, which is the pre-alpha. In this, the developers will initially run 4 nodes. As the network matures, more users will join as nodes, propagating and kick starting the whole Velas ecosystem.  For more information check out their website https://www.velas.com/. The post Velas blockchain: AI-enhanced DPOS (AIDPOS) consensus, mentioning security and decentralization appeared first on TechBullion.
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Consensus 2019: Opportunities and Challenges of Blockchain in China & the U.S.

The post Consensus 2019: Opportunities and Challenges of Blockchain in China & the U.S. written by Staff Writer appeared first on Blockchain News - Security and Utility Tokens, Tokenomics, Cryptoeconomics Since 2015, Consensus ,  the annual gathering of the cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology worlds organized by CoinDesk ,  has attracted academics, policymakers, major companies, developers, founders and investors across the cryptocurrency and Blockchain business to explore, collaborate and debate the future of the industry under one roof. As the most influential annual Blockchain event in the industry, […] The post Consensus 2019: Opportunities and Challenges of Blockchain in China & the U.S. written by Staff Writer appeared first on Blockchain News - Security and Utility Tokens, Tokenomics, Cryptoeconomics
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NEO consensus protocol upgraded, on schedule for NEO 3.0

NEO upgraded its consensus mechanism ahead of the scheduled move to NEO 3.0 in 2020. Often referred to as “Chinese Ethereum,” the company has been making moves in 2019 to increase its global footprint. NEO recently opened a U.S. office―NEO Global Development Seattle, led by former Microsoft executive John deVadoss―and hosted its second developer conference in the same city. Part of the process of readying the NEO blockchain for version 3.0 involved updating its Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT) consensus mechanism. The upgrade to 2.0 makes the algorithm more resistant to disruptions and node failures, said a representative from NEO. Irreversible and unforkable? Compared to proof-of-work (PoW), the consensus mechanisms used by Bitcoin and Ethereum, where blocks are solved by computers “mining” blocks, the dBFT mechanism works by using a small group of trusted servers (nodes)—currently numbering less than 10—to secure the NEO blockchain. DBFT ensures transactions made are irreversible and that forks cannot be made to the NEO blockchain. Version 2.0 will “guarantee immediate transaction finality and includes a recovery method to help failed nodes on the NEO network get back online with minimal disruption,” according to a release from the company. The new consensus mechanism will also make it so the NEO blockchain cannot be forked, making the system “truly irreversible.” The feature is a benefit for enterprise applications of NEO but may pose problems in the future around the decentralization and governance of the system. According to Erik Zhang, co-founder of NEO and the protocol’s architect: “With this improvement, dBFT will have more strict finality. Users only need to wait for one confirmation (15 seconds) to ensure the irreversibility of the transactions and prevent double-spending. This is very suitable for financial applications.” NEO 3.0 is on schedule The upgraded consensus mechanism is just one part of NEO’s roadmap to NEO 3.0, a completely new blockchain that will require users to swap their tokens ahead of the migration. Work on version 3.0 is ongoing and NEO’s GitHub page lists the upgrade as 62 percent complete. At NEO’s 2019 developer conference, Da Hongfei, the co-founder and CEO of NEO, said he wanted NEO to be the number one blockchain by 2020. NEO hopes 3.0 will make the blockchain ready for large-scale adoption by companies such as Alipay or WeChat.Version 3.0 is expected to launch Q2 of 2020 according to an earlier statement from the company. The post NEO consensus protocol upgraded, on schedule for NEO 3.0 appeared first on CryptoSlate.
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3 Primary Lessons from Consensus 2019 That You Should Know

Every year comes with many blockchain events. Every developer and enthusiast chooses to attend those that they find the ideal for them to engage with like-minded individuals. However, in the last several years, when the crypto bull market was dominating, the conference scene got out of hand. Many comic-cons for crypto came up. The crypto bears of 2018 seem to have changed all that with most events disappearing, at least for now. For anybody who attended Consensus 2019, they noticed that the number of attendees to the event declined significantly. This year attracted about 3,000 people compared to the 8,000 participants a year before. Consensus 2019 was down-to-business, professional, and mostly investment focused. It mainly hovered around the future of the industry. It is simply an economic Darwinism at its best. There was no pump and dump schemes or free cars. Everything focused on Quality teams and projects since that is all that remains after the hype. Weak projects were weeded out last year by the tough markets. Companies with poor governance, sub-par technology, and inflated promises also disappeared. Now, only pools of well-managed, healthy and well-funded projects that promise a bright long-term future exist. That alone tells the real picture of the state of blockchain currently. Background One of the attendees, Horizon Labs, attended Consensus to meet investors including Digital Currency Group (DCG) and Liberty City Ventures. The team at DCG stated that they are always ready to assist their portfolio companies. At the event, they put startups in touch with several key figures in the crypto industry. The conference featured many keynote speakers with some of them explaining how to stay afloat in the changing legal environment. Also, different project trends were showcased and future opportunities discussed. Here are the lessons learned from the meeting. Crypto Projects should expect increased KYC AML Regulations Almost a third of the talks at the event entirely focused on the various regulatory hardships faced by the industry. Moreover, regulation, in general, was at the forefront of everybody’s minds. The increasing know-your-customer AML regulatory burdens keep interrupting the growth of the crypto industry. Most of these regulatory burdens target crypto exchanges and all other on- and off-ramps from cryptocurrency to fiat currencies. A notable happening in this context is the expected imposition of ‘travel rules’ for all crypto exchanges. These measures take the already overbearing KYC requirements on digital assets even further. Exchanges will need to collect and store information on their customers. Also, they will have to share that information with other exchanges and institutions whenever funds move. Although it is a shocking development for the ardent fans of decentralization and anonymity, it comes as no surprise for those who know existing banking regulations. US banks are already required to do so. As it is evident from the securities law to tax law, regulators are striving relentlessly to constantly apply current laws to crypto. Enterprise blockchain could be the next big thing A new industry trend seems to grab people’s attention in the crypto space every year. In the past few years, exchanges and wallets have taken the front seats. This year, everything points towards enterprise blockchain. The new frontier was put in a major display at the Consensus 2019. Many companies are joining the space which is great. With many companies coming in, it validates the new concept and offers opportunities for collaboration. Also, it means that blockchain is turning into a more practical venture. Thus, all businesses irrespective of their size are set to benefit. Investors are on the prowl due to the major potential opportunities in this space. Investors have a lot of cash ready to invest A major takeaway from Consensus 2019 is that investor appetite in enterprise blockchain startups is growing. There is more money than ever currently. However, the crypto winter withered the number of deals getting structured and those deals getting funded. For now, everybody is fighting to get a piece of the good projects that are coming up and raising capital in this environment. Anyone with a promising project with great technology and a great team is in luck. The current sentiments will make it easy for such projects to raise capital. It is evident from Horizon Lab’s oversubscribed capital raise. Therefore, do not expect to show up at Consensus anymore expecting investors to write you checks. Project developers must be in the right segment featuring the right team with the right backers. Backers refer to cornerstone investors that believe in the developer and their project. In most cases, getting adequate funding majorly relies on who else is in the deal. Thus, investors should choose their first few investors carefully to guarantee the success of their start-up. What’s in it for Crypto Law Insiders? The insiders should look at the current market conditions as an investment opportunity. Anyone who wants to invest should review and determine the projects that have staying power and those that do not. Looking at how companies adjust to cope with the hard times today gives a sign of how they will face other challenges in the future. The current market conditions offer a unique chance to determine the resilience of various companies and how they treat investor money. This notion is particularly true with enterprise blockchain. It is important to find the ideal project to back as many continue to pick up speed in the new category. Many investors and companies are targeting this nascent segment while taking different approaches. Enterprise blockchain is being used in many real cases as it is evident from Latin America’s largest invoicing company. Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our top stories The post 3 Primary Lessons from Consensus 2019 That You Should Know appeared first on FXTimes.com - Daily Cryptocurrency and FX News.
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Cryptocurrency influencers react to Facebook’s Libra, boon or risk for Bitcoin?

Some of the most prominent figures in the crypto community took to Twitter to share their thoughts on Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency. While some claim that Libra lacks the necessary features to compete with Bitcoin in the race to become the world’s currency, others argue that it could destroy most altcoins and stablecoins in the market. 2/ Libra's mission is to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people. — David Marcus (@davidmarcus) June 18, 2019 Facebook’s Libra Facebook’s highly anticipated cryptocurrency was finally unveiled. “[It] is a new global cryptocurrency, built on an open-source blockchain called the Libra Blockchain featuring its own proof-of-stake protocol,” said the whitepaper. The term “global cryptocurrency” comes from the fact that it nodes will be distributed across the globe and it is not pegged to a single fiat currency, according to the documents. Instead, it will be backed by different real-world assets denominated in the American dollar, British pound, Japanese yen, and the euro and other low-risk securities. The Libra Association, a Switzerland-based non-profit, will release the Libra blockchain in 2020 with a group of 28 founding members that will be in charge of validating transactions in the network. The list of network validators include Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Uber, Lyft, eBay, and others, that have invested around $10 million to be part of the board and operate a node. Facebook also launched a new subsidiary called Calibra, which is a digital wallet designed to “provide financial services that will enable people to access and participate in the Libra network.” With Facebook’s gigantic user base and its ability to leverage WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, Calibra will instantaneously compete with the world’s most popular existing wallets and exchanges, such as Coinbase, RobinHood, CashApp, and others. Even though this is a massive play for Facebook for entering the financial services industry, the cryptocurrency community expressed a mixture of concern, distrust, and excitement. Many took to Twitter to express their sentiment about the recent move by the social network giant. Crypto Twitter’s reaction Anthony Sassano, the co-founder of EthHub, points out that in order to sign up for Calibra, a government-issued ID is required to “comply with laws and prevent fraud.” 2/ To get started with Calibra, you'll need a government-issued ID to sign up for an account and the website states that "identity verification is important to comply with laws and prevent fraud, so you know people are who they say they are." Well, of course 😅 — Anthony Sassano (@sassal0x) June 18, 2019 According to @AkadoSand, this KYC procedure poses a major security risk for its users since the first time a transaction is made from an account, any future transactions will be linked to it as well as any other sensitive information. $LIBRA will be the best thing that will happen to chain analysis and LE. From the moment you make a single tx, your id will be linked to it and all future txs forever Like BTC but as soon as you use it you're automatically KYC'ed. Profile, location, timestamps, preferences, etc — Akado 'Bitcoin Halving in 339 days' Sang (@AkadoSang) June 16, 2019 With a user base of two billion people, Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of Binance, believes that Facebook will not only have access to its users names, IDs, addresses, phone numbers, family members, friends, real-time and historic location, but with the introduction of Calibra, it will now gain access to their financial data. Facebook Libra coin don't need KYC. They have so much more data on the 2 billion people. Not just name, id, address, phone number. They know your family, friends, real-time/historic location, what you like… They know you more than yourself. And now your wallet too. Best AML! — CZ Binance (@cz_binance) June 18, 2019 Such a vast amount of information under a central authority could lead to a “disaster in slow motion,” as Tamas Blummer, a Bitcoin Core developer, indicates. The VP at CoinTerra suggests that technical features of Libra, such as “account model, generic language, [and] on-chain scaling,” makes it more of an Ethereum competitor than Bitcoin. Libra resembles Ethereum more than Bitcoin. It contains all the features that make Ethereum garbage. account model, generic language, gas, on-chain scaling with sharding, some BFT consenus. In addition it has to implement all KCY and AML. A sure disaster in slow motion. — Tamas Blummer (@TamasBlummer) June 18, 2019 Along the same lines, Pavol Rusnak, CTO at SatoshiLabs, and Ran Neu-Ner, CEO of Onchain Capital,  asserted that Facebook’s new cryptocurrency could have the potential to replace altcoins and stablecoins, but it will fail against Bitcoin. Facebook just gave Bitcoin its biggest boost ever and also rendered 90% of alts useless at the same time. — Ran NeuNer (@cryptomanran) June 18, 2019 The fact that Libra is not decentralized or censorship resistant, while its legal and tax status remains unclear— as Larry Cermak, research director at The Block Crypto pointed out—reduces its chances of becoming “the Bitcoin killer.” Just so we are clear, Libra is:– not decentralized– not censorship resistant– not guaranteed to work technologically – not guaranteed to be cleared by regulators– not clear in regards to tax implications — Larry Cermak (@lawmaster) June 18, 2019 To Peter Todd, a Bitcoin Core developer, Libra is indeed just an “unscalable centralized database,” but to Saifaden Ammous, author of The Bitcoin Standard, it is actually the only cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin that has the potential to succeed. Libra whitepaper initial analysis: The only digital currency other than bitcoin that matters, and it could succeed massively. But it does not compete with bitcoin, it reinforces bitcoin's value proposition, and will likely need to rely on bitcoin if it succeeds. Thread👇 — Saifedean Ammous (@saifedean) June 18, 2019 Libra is still one year away from being launched and its impact on the cryptocurrency market remains to be seen. As Facebook advertises its new project to its 2 billion customers, more people will be exposed to the terms “cryptocurrency” and “blockchain,” which could bring more attention into the market. The overall sentiment across the crypto community can be summed up in one tweet by Alistair Milne, CIO at Atlanta Digital Currency Fund. Sell Libra, buy Bitcoin — Alistair Milne (@alistairmilne) June 18, 2019 The post Cryptocurrency influencers react to Facebook’s Libra, boon or risk for Bitcoin? appeared first on CryptoSlate.
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Facebook unveils Libra cryptocurrency

Facebook announced its own cryptocurrency Libra that will be backed and controlled by the Libra Association which also includes founding members Uber, Lyft and Spotify. The platform will allow users to buy and send money without racking up as many fees as traditional financial platforms. Users can buy or cash out the cryptocurrency at local exchange points and spend it using interoperable third-party wallet apps, according to a Libra whitepaper. The cryptocurrency also claims to make it easier to send money between countries for less that it would cost with traditional providers. Facebook is also launching a subsidiary called Calibra to handle its crypto dealings and protect user privacy by keeping Libra payments and Facebook data separate so that it won’t be used for targeted advertising. User identities also won’t be tied to publicly visible transactions but Libra association members will earn interest on money that users cash in. That interest will be held in reserve to keep the value of the currency stable. ProPrivacy.com digital privacy expert Ray Walsh expressed doubts about the platform given Facebook’s track record for protecting consumer data. “Considering that Facebook is already the second largest advertiser in the world (second only to Google), this added integration is concerning,” Walsh said. “The idea that social data and financial data could be combined is worrying, and although Facebook claims that it will keep the distinct data sets at arm’s length – it is hard to believe that consumer habits will not be tracked in order to allow Facebook to better serve ads,” he said. Walsh contended because Facebook produces the majority of its revenue through ads and has proven untrustworthy with consumer data on several occasions in the past, it seems unlikely that the company does not plan to exploit as much consumer data as legally permitted. The post Facebook unveils Libra cryptocurrency appeared first on SC Media.
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CNBC Video: Jim Cramer Calls Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency Coin Brilliant After Reading Whitepaper

Facebook Officially Announces The Creation Of Its Cryptocurrency Libra, CNBC’s Cramer Says the Project Is Brilliant Today, Facebook finally announced its most awaited project, Libra. According to the organization, a new Facebook regulated subsidiary called Calibra was created in order to manage the project and to create a new wallet based on the service. The head of […]
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