What Is the Future of Stocks?

What Is the Future of Stocks?

Brian Armstrong, Coinbase CEO, thinks that in five years one billion people will be using crypto. Also, he claims that in the near future Coinbase could list hundreds of tokens, or even millions in the more distant future, with proper regulations.

What does the future have for stocks? Is it possible to modify the current model to suit the modern needs and the amplifying demand of investors? The current tech for stock trading hasn’t changed since 1980s. Of course, the tech now is better and faster, but under the surface it’s still the old outdated model. You have a broker or another agent, that executes orders on market, you have a depository, that keeps your stocks in safety and records your ownership in its book-entry form, also you have two parties: buyers and sellers, that interact via another middleman — a clearinghouse.

The most archaic part is the process of issuing and listing your stocks. You have to go through a very complicated process of Initial Public Offering (IPO) and exchange listing. If you list your stocks on New York Exchange, you can’t sell them in Asia, you have to list them on Hong Kong Exchange first. Thus the majority of stocks can’t make their way to big exchanges, or can’t be traded globally with ease. While it was pretty normal in the 80s, that’s not ok in the global environment that we’re living in currently. So, could blockchain help us in this case? Definitely!

Tokens are the evolution of stocks. Every stock can be tokenized and traded the same way as before, but cheaper and directly between buyer and seller. No need for clearinghouses, that act as a trusted third party to ensure the deal is settled. No need for depositories, because every owner of tokenized stocks can store them on his/her own blockchain address. It’s possible that there would be a need for custodians to store tokens for institutional investors, but retail investors can handle it on their own, thus cutting costs on depository safekeeping. Brokers would be needed only to match buyers and sellers or it could be done in a decentralized manner, cutting these costs too. Most importantly, these tokenized stocks could be traded globally, with no restrictions on one country/exchange.

What about regulations? Brian Armstrong talked about his vision of every company, every non-commercial fund or company issuing its own tokens and selling them on Coinbase. How is it possible?

When ICO boom happened, we saw that an unregulated environment is risky. In addition, governments won’t stay idle, looking at this decentralization they can’t control, we saw that they can effectively end it all, banning exchanges. It’s unknown if decentralized exchanges could change this situation since there is no any functional liquid decentralized exchange yet.

Hence the recipe is simple: keep it centralized, regulated, to prevent fraud, but keep it on blockchain to eliminate the necessity in third parties, and smart contracts can make it possible to comply with regulations, making a token a security. If you wish, you can find a bunch of services that allow issuing regulatory-compliant tokens and conduct a Security Token Offering (STO). The most distinctive feature of these tokens is that they can be sent only to authorized verified addresses, their smart contracts simply won't allow sending these tokens to addresses without KYC and AML verification.

Thus we can build a global trading system, where any company can issue its tokens, but the possibility of a fraud is diminished because every participant is verified and everything goes according to the laws. Isn't it the transparency that everyone was dreaming about? And it seems that it's inevitable. More and more STOs are conducted, Nasdaq and NYSE explore blockchain technologies, and it's possible that in 5-10 years all stocks will be tokenized. Is it a good thing? We let you decide.

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Blockchain vs. PayPal: Understanding the Difference and Evolution

In today’s world, everyone wants everything in a hurry. The faster, the better. In the world of digital payments, a major competition is underway between the blockchain and PayPal. The blockchain is the relative newcomer, while PayPal has been around for about two decades. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of both money transfer systems to help you decide the long-term winner in the blockchain vs. PayPal debate. Blockchain Technology and Other World-Changers Blockchain technology is one of those digital revolutions that only comes around once or twice every generation. It’s as important an invention as the integrated circuit (1958), the microprocessor (1971), the personal computer (MITS Altair 8800, 1975), the internet (ARPANET, 1969), Windows (1985) and smartphones (2007). Blockchain’s distributed-ledger technology (DLT) offers a new, decentralized infrastructure for payment processing, financial markets transactions, accounting tasks, and many other data-driven functions, both personal and public. PayPal might also be included in the above-mentioned tech honor roll, as it certainly paved the way for e-commerce to grow at breakneck speed. It also provided the world with an alternative to traditional bank wire services, Western Union and the like. PayPal also helped consumers and businesses become more comfortable with the idea of electronic money, weaning them away from a reliance on cash. The Pros and Cons of Blockchain Payments vs. PayPal Blockchain Payment Advantages: Decentralization: No single point of failure can destroy the ledger’s contents. Immutability: Once data is entered into the blockchain, it cannot be altered except in rare instances, and then only by agreement of all parties affected. Peer-to-peer: Cross-border payments take less time with blockchain due to fewer checkpoints. Permissionless: Payments don’t need a bank’s approval before they can be sent. The payor and payee control the transaction process, not a third party. No limit on payment size: Need to send someone five million dollars worth of Bitcoin, pronto? You can do it on the blockchain. Just make sure you’re aware of any applicable fiat-to crypto (and vice-versa) costs. Blockchain technology is what makes peer-to-peer international payments happen quickly and efficiently. Photo by Craig Cooper on Unsplash Blockchain Payment Disadvantages Slower transaction speeds (transactions per second) compared to PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard. Costly mistakes: If you make a mistake and send funds (crypto) to the wrong address, don’t look for any government regulator to bail you out. Fiat-to-crypto conversion costs: Unless all of your payments occur within the crypto ecosystem, you’ll need to convert your USD, EUR or GBP, etc. to Bitcoin, Ether, etc. When you receive payments in crypto, you’ll also incur transaction costs to convert the funds back to fiat. Transparency: Blockchain ledgers are public knowledge, inasmuch as anyone with the correct access codes can view the details of each transaction within. Privacy-minded individuals and companies may not be cozy with that arrangement. PayPal Advantages Send money to anyone in up to 26 different (fiat) currencies with an email address. Well, as long as they have a bank account and have signed up for PayPal, that is. Regulation and oversight: PayPal users are protected by at least some of the rules and regs that govern traditional banks, such as Regulation E and the USA PATRIOT Act. Paying via a credit card in your PayPal account provides far greater consumer protection than does paying via debit card or PayPal cash balances. Fast transactions: PayPal offers users the ability to transfer their PayPal funds to their bank account in as little as 30 minutes when done via debit card. Fixed fees: Receiving payments for your goods and services will cost you a flat 2.9 percent fee, plus 30 cents per transaction. However, there is zero charge to purchase goods and services via PayPal. Sending money to family and friends is also free. However, currency conversion fees will apply if you send funds internationally. eCheck: This is another free PayPal payment option. It’s similar to an ACH transaction at a traditional bank but can take several more days to complete. This is an excellent choice for payees who want to avoid getting hit with the 2.9 percent fee. You can always ask your payor to use an eCheck instead of a regular PayPal payment. PayPal continues to grow its client base, which now connects users in 200 nations with millions of merchant websites. Image: mohamed_hassan on Pixabay PayPal Disadvantages Currency conversion rates: PayPal will determine the exchange rate you’ll receive. You must factor this additional cost into consideration when calculating your ultimate PayPal transaction fees. Payment limits: You can send only a maximum of $10,000 in any one PayPal transaction. Funds on hold: When receiving funds via eCheck, expect your money to remain in limbo for at least several business days. This is the downside of receiving your funds without any fees. It’s also a huge money-maker for PayPal, as they collect interest on the float. Blockchain vs. PayPal, or a New Hybrid? Today, PayPal can still process transactions faster than blockchain, but that may not be the case in the future. In fact, PayPal is definitely interested in blockchain and its potential for disruption in the financial world. Might PayPal payments be sent via DLT in the near future? No one knows, but it’s certainly a possibility worth contemplating as this decade rapidly draws to a close. For all anyone knows, blockchain vs. PayPal might morph into something like BlockPal or PayChain. The Wild Card in the Mix Bitcoin hash rates continue to climb, albeit slowly as of early 2019. More and more merchants are willing to accept cryptos as payment. With the possibility of a major US (worldwide?) recession looming in 2019-2020, it’s possible that revenue-hungry retailers will welcome any form of payment they can get, including major cryptos. However, what happens if 100 million Americans decide to use crypto every day to complete their personal and business transactions? Further, what if most of those consumers simply choose to keep their funds within the crypto ecosystem, never again converting their coins to fiat? Be Optimistic, yet Ever-Vigilant Overall, the future looks great for both blockchain and PayPal as world-class payment systems, worldwide. However, always be aware of the potential for government restrictions on crypto use (on consumer purchases, not on actual crypto trading). If crypto purchases are limited by government decree, then the blockchain will also be affected and its development could be slowed down. PayPal appears to be immune from such a hypothetical crackdown unless they begin offering cryptos as an additional currency. Regardless of future events, the blockchain vs. PayPal saga should prove to be an interesting competition in the 2020s and beyond. The post Blockchain vs. PayPal: Understanding the Difference and Evolution appeared first on CoinCentral.
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New CER Report Puts Kraken, Coinbase, Binance and BitMEX as Safest Crypto Exchanges

As many of our readers already know, the past few weeks have hit the crypto industry hard— with the market being subject to immense bearish pressure causing many of the top altcoins to tumble even further. Additionally, in the recent past, many altcoin enthusiasts have taken to different social media platforms in order to voice their opinions regarding the need for better security within this burgeoning domain. In this regard, a brand new study released by Cryptocurrency Exchange Ratings [CER] has looked closely at the security protocols/ measures taken by the world’s top 100 cryptocurrency exchanges in order to protect customer funds. To be more specific, the scores were devised on the basis of certain parameters such as: The individual Cyber Security Score [CSS] of a particular platform— a metric that grades various niche’ privacy parameters on a 10-point scale. The degree of server security provided by a particular exchange. More On The Matter Over the course of the past 12 months, security agencies across the globe have noted that a mammoth sum of $1.3 billion has been stolen from various cryptocurrency exchanges by miscreants. This data was then collated by the CER team through the use of their native assessment models for carrying out a host of security audits. These audits took into consideration some core privacy aspects such as: User Security Ongoing Crowdsource Security Assessment [OCSA] Server Security To elaborate further on the matter, we can see that statistical data provided by the CER shows that only a total of “nine crypto exchanges scored above eight points out of ten” (on the CSS scale). In this regard, the platforms that performed the best were Kraken, Coinbase Pro, Binance and BitMex. However, quite surprisingly, a whole host of popular exchanges such as Bithumb, DOBI, ZBG, Coincheck, and Zaif came in over the 90th spot. Source: Cryptocurrency Exchange Ranking So Where Did Most Exchanges Fall Short? A closer look at the report shows that there are three factors that have been the most worrisome for a large number of exchange platforms. These include: The existence Of Bug Bounty Programs DNSSEC Record HTTP Headers Not only that, out of the above-stated problems, the DNSSEC records and HTTP Headers were the two aspects that had a direct impact on the “server security” of most exchange platforms. For those of our readers who may not know, the DNSSEC protocol (abbreviation for ‘ Domain Name System Security Extensions’) makes use of a public key encryption module to verify DNS servers so as to ”prevent the usage of forged or manipulated DNS data”. According to the above mentioned CER study, a whopping “60% of the analyzed platforms did not possess the appropriate records for their domains.” As far as HTTP Security Headers go, they can be thought of as security-related fields in the header section of ‘HTTP request and response module’ which if installed correctly can counter the effects of ‘scripting attacks’. According to the CER study: 59% of the exchanges had missed six to seven of the headers. 17% missed four to five 13% missed just two to three headers, 11% of the exchanges missing just one header Other Data Worth Considering Out of all the examined platforms, only a meager 13% had ongoing bug bounty programs that were reliable. Around 6% of the firms were found to be hosting Bug Bounty programs by themselves while an additional 7% made use of specialized platforms (such as HackenProof or Bugcrowd) to serve the purpose. Final Take In closing out this article, it is worth noting that a couple of weeks back, Cryptopia released a statement saying that it had fallen victim to a security breach that had caused the firm to lose quite a substantial chunk of their stored customer funds. While they did not reveal the amount that was compromised, day to day operations for the exchange have been put on halt until further notice.
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