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Crypto Transaction fees explained

Crypto Transaction fees, explained

Crypto Transaction fees, explained

By Anatol Hooper

1. What are transaction fees?

Transaction fees are paid when cryptocurrencies are transferred to another wallet.

Processing transactions on the blockchain takes effort — and these fees are used to compensate the miners and validators who help keep things running smoothly.

Transaction fees can fluctuate based on how busy a blockchain network is, and they can also be flexible. A user who wants their payment to be confirmed urgently can choose to pay a higher fee so miners are incentivized to put their transaction at the front of the queue.

These charges are fixed on most cryptocurrency exchanges, but users may have the option to adjust fees when using certain wallets.


2. Why do transaction fees exist?

They were initially introduced on Bitcoin as an anti-spam tool, but they turned into one of the most essential attributes of a blockchain.

Initially, transaction fees had the sole purpose of deterring malicious actors from overloading the Bitcoin network. Satoshi Nakamoto, the cryptocurrency’s pseudonymous inventor, was inspired by Adam Back’s hashcash system, which relied on a Proof of Work (PoW) system.

About two years later, Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen noticed a source code rule that required a minimum transaction fee of 0.01 BTC — that would be an eye-watering $137 at today’s prices.

Back in 2010, this fee didn’t seem like much of an issue. But as time passed, with Bitcoin’s dollar value rising and demand for block space increasing, people realized it was too expensive — especially for those who wanted to send smaller amounts of cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin developers updated the network to omit that rule and increased the block size through the SegWit2x upgrade. Now, transaction fees can be much lower than 0.01 BTC, and they have become an essential part of the network’s health.

Other blockchains, such as Ethereum and Ripple, also realized the importance of transaction fees and adopted similar strategies to keep miners motivated.


3. How do transaction fees work?

Fees incentivize miners to prioritize transactions with higher fees and add them into the next block.

In the case of Bitcoin, all pending transactions reach a so-called memory pool (mempool) where they wait to be picked by miners and included in the next block. If the mempool is full, miners select transactions with higher fees and leave the rest for the following block. That’s why many crypto users are keen to manually increase fees when their transaction is urgent.

On Ethereum, transaction fees are measured in gas — small fractions of ETH. This blockchain offers more sophisticated features than Bitcoin, such as smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps), so the fees play an essential role here. However, there can be downsides, especially if a crypto user adds an inadequate gas fee.

In the case of Ripple, there are no miners generating new XRP coins, which is one of the reasons why the transaction fees are next to nothing.

So… what about stablecoins, such as those pegged to the U.S. dollar? Tether doesn’t charge transaction fees when funds are being transferred between two USDT accounts or any two blockchain-based wallets that are capable of storing this digital asset. However, there can be costs when USDT is being converted back into fiat.


4. How do blockchain networks and their transaction fees compare?

Usually, blockchains that can handle greater numbers of transactions per second have lower fees.

Today, there are dozens of popular blockchain projects that charge different transaction fees. A simple rule of thumb is this: the higher the network’s throughput, the lower the transaction fee.

For example, the standard fee of a Ripple transaction is 0.00001 XRP as of today, and it peaked at over 0.40 XRP for a very short period in 2017. Considering that the price of XRP is below $0.25, the fee is negligible.

On Ethereum, transaction fees are higher and can surge during congestion on the network. This happened in 2017, 2018 and in mid-2020 during the DeFi craze. This August, fees hit an all-time high — and the record was broken again a month later. Some people were quoted fees of $99, prompting speculation that some protocols would begin to seek alternative blockchains. On Sep. 1, ETH miners pocketed profits of $500,000 in a single hour. Demand for transactions has become a big problem for this blockchain, but it’s hoped that a long-awaited upgrade to Ethereum 2.0 will deliver a better fees system. Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, has expressed concerns that high fees could encourage selfish mining practices.

As for Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap has also seen a considerable increase in the price of transaction fees this year. They were under $1 in July, surged above $6 in August, and breached $10 at the end of October.

Besides Bitcoin and Ethereum, other blockchains — including Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano and Ethereum Classic — have much lower fees of below one cent on average. Tron has even lower fees, similar to Ripple.

Elsewhere, ILCoin also has infinitesimal transaction fees, and it relies on a PoW protocol inspired by Bitcoin. Each block on its blockchain can handle millions of transactions, as opposed to the 2,000 transactions that are included in a typical BTC block. This allows ILCoin to maintain unnoticeable fees — and the company says this comes to 0.0124 ILC for every 10 million transferred. Unlike Ripple, which is a more centralized payment network, ILCoin is decentralized and relies on the RIFT protocol.


5. What factors contribute to transaction fee sizes?

The two main factors affecting fees are the size of a transaction, and demand for block space.

Given that some networks can only contain a limited amount of data in each block, miners or validators are restricted on the number of transactions they can include.

When there are many users sending crypto funds simultaneously, demand for block space increases, and there are more transactions waiting for confirmation. 

Sometimes, demand for block space can get so high that networks experience congestion, and fees surge to unsustainable levels.

Larger transactions require more space in the block and take longer to validate than smaller ones.

Article produced by Anatol Hooper



ecosystem for entrepreneurs


Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

HSBC Bangladesh uses blockchain to import 20000 tons of fuel oil from Singapore

HSBC Bangladesh uses blockchain to import 20,000 tons of fuel oil from Singapore

HSBC Bangladesh uses blockchain to import 20,000 tons of fuel oil from Singapore


HSBC Bangladesh has completed the country’s first blockchain-powered cross-border trade settled using a letter of credit.

The Bangladesh branch of global banking firm HSBC has conducted the country’s first blockchain-based letter of a credit transaction on the Contour DLT platform.

The transaction was used to settle the importation of 20,000 tonnes of fuel oil from United Group’s Singapore subsidiary United Mymensingh Power.

HSBC Bangaladesh’s chief executive, Md Mahbub ur Rahman, described the transaction as showcasing the bank’s commitment “to supporting cross-border trade by Bangladeshi businesses using cutting-edge technology platforms.”

“I believe this will usher in a new era of routing international trade transactions as businesses and governments recognize transparency, security and swiftness in performing tasks using blockchain technology.”

Global payments service SWIFT estimated that Bangladeshi trades using letters of credit, or LCs, were worth more than $34 billion during the first half of 2020. 

By utilizing blockchain technology, the time taken to process the transaction was reduced from between five and 10 days to less than 24 hours. United Group’s managing director, Moinuddin Hasan Rashi, said:

“Fuel oil LCs are highly time-sensitive where every second counts and we believe this blockchain technology will help to manage time efficiently and also ensure increased efficiency and better cost management.”

Contour is a blockchain platform built using R3’s Corda that connects financial institutions and corporate entities in a “decentralized trade finance network.” 

Contour is owned by eight financial institutions including HSBC, ING, Citi, Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered, SEB and CTBC. The platform’s development began in mid-2017, then dubbed “Voltron,” before launching in closed beta the following year.

Eighty different entities spanning 17 countries tested Contour leading up to its commercial beta launch at the beginning of 2020, with the platform exiting beta just one month ago.

Contour has also been used to settle a 176,000 iron ore trade between Malaysia and China, with the Philippine-based Asian Development Bank also using the platform to execute the first cross-border blockchain LC transaction between Vietnam and Thailand.

Article produced by SAMUEL HAIG



ecosystem for entrepreneurs


Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Artist gamer or property mogul? Follow the NFT road to find earnings

Artist, gamer or property mogul? Follow the NFT road to find earnings

Artist, gamer or property mogul? Follow the NFT road to find earnings


From owning land to playing games and creating artworks, earning opportunities on NFT marketplaces continue to grow.

Nonfungible tokens are not a new phenomenon in the crypto space, as the emergence of blockchain technology has provided a useful base layer to create a sprawling economy for digital collectables.

Amid the growing appetite for digital art, in-game utility tokens and other forms of crypto collectables, the NFT metaverse is experiencing a surge toward broad-based commercialization. Within the ecosystem lie numerous intersections among various industries such as arts and crafts, gaming, and virtual real estate.

The 2020 decentralized finance hype has also helped to add more fuel to the NFT fire. Governance tokens and liquidity mining protocols appear to be encouraging greater interactions with NFT marketplaces, which is a net positive for NFT market liquidity.


Provably rare NFTs as in-game assets

Earlier in the year, gaming analytics service Newzoo estimated that the industry will exceed $150 billion in revenue by the end of 2020, with this figure topping $200 billion within the next three years. Across multiple platforms — including PC, mobile and console — game developers have seen an increase in patronage following months of lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The intersection of the gaming and blockchain industry arguably offers one of the more attractive propositions for NFT utility. Even the most casual gaming enthusiast is familiar with in-game tokens, like FIFA Points and FUT coins, or exchanging items for money in a person-to-person marketplace like in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Outside of the game, these assets usually have little value. However, with blockchain, it’s becoming increasingly possible to tokenize these in-game assets. Also, the novel tech provides a useful base layer for creating a marketplace to trade these in-game NFTs.

With NFTs as in-game coins, real-life ownership of these digital assets becomes possible, changing the balance of power from gaming companies to the players themselves. Real ownership offers the possibility of commercializing popular niches such as online trading card games.

Thus, gamers can be assured of earning real money for their time spent exploring these diverse gaming worlds. NFT marketplaces allow users to trade valuable in-game assets for money or even popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

Blockchain as a common base layer might also create the possibility for cross-platform interaction in the gaming space. Users will be able to move assets such as rare trading cards or unique armour and skins across different titles, as long as the games — especially if they are made by the same developer — share the same blockchain implementation.

Gaming platforms such as Enjin are already working toward cross-platform blockchain gaming. Back in April, the company announced a Ready Player One-style cross-game event dubbed “Cyborg’s Quest” involving eight different Ethereum-based titles with a $50,000 prize pot attached to the competition.

Additionally, the world of competitive gaming is already a huge industry. Earlier this year, market experts predicted that global esports revenue will surpass the $1 billion mark before the end of 2020.


Starving artist? Mint and sell token art

According to data from Nonfungible.com, the total lifetime NFT sales volume on the Ethereum network has exceeded $130 million. The art sector has only contributed about $8 million to this figure.

However, as previously reported by Cointelegraph, several indicators are pointing to NFTs being a major breakthrough for crypto art. Blockchain is already finding useful applications in establishing provenance for valuable works of art. The immutable nature of decentralized ledger technology offers a framework to monitor and trace the ownership of the artwork to ensure the authenticity of the item in question.

Blockchain is also finding adoption in the online art sales market. Earlier in October, auction house Christie’s sold a digital portrait of Bitcoin’s code for over $130,000. The news marked a landmark in the NFT art adventure as the first time a renowned auction house conducted the sale of a nonfungible token. Commenting on blockchain art, Artur Sychov, founder and CEO of virtual reality platform Somnium Space, identified the art industry as being primed for blockchain disruption, telling Cointelegraph:

“Art is one of the biggest and fastest-growing applications for NFTs. The intersection of proof of ownership and scarcity makes it a perfect match made in heaven. Same with physical goods. Buying a digital copy and receiving a physical equivalent is becoming a big business and part of an ecosystem.”

In a conversation with Cointelegraph, artificial-intelligence artist Pindar Van Arman described NFT adoption as a veritable source of intellectual property protection for art makers. According to Arman: “Without it [NFT], limitless reproductions of their work can be made.”

As digital artists explore ways to mint NFTs, the concepts of haecceity and indexicality come more into play. The former describes the property of an item’s uniqueness, while the latter examines the association between objects.

Some critics of NFT art say it cannot have provable scarcity because it’s possible to download a JPEG of the art piece, rendering the crypto-art-file format redundant. There is also the belief that crypto art can only attain value status upon the emergence of a social consensus with “baked-in” principles of ownership registers.

Within such a framework, artists can not only earn healthy commission percentages for their works but also receive royalties from secondary sales. Like gamers, art makers can earn passive income from the NFT marketplace. Dirk Lueth, the co-founder of the NFT property trading platform Upland, told Cointelegraph that digital memorabilia and crypto collectables are only the tip of the iceberg for nonfungible tokens:

“There is the whole world of digital media. Once the technology is a little more advanced and blockchain allows you also to manage access rights to a movie, song, etc., then the whole world of NFTs is going to see unprecedented growth.”


Virtual commerce in the NFT metaverse

Whether through gaming or selling digital art, the NFT metaverse appears on course to deliver the groundwork for a fully realized virtual space. Back in September, Cointelegraph reported that investors were rushing to acquire blockchain-based land.

Amid the technological strides in VR and blockchain, developers of digital worlds are building immersive virtual ecosystems that allow for several forms of virtual interaction. Thus, for those not possessing great dexterity with games or the gift to create impressive works of art, land ownership in simulated environments offers another path to NFT acquisition.

Projects such as Upland are building digital worlds on top of real-world acreage. Building on the idea of online trading card games, gamers on such platforms can purchase landmark properties that look exactly like their real-world counterparts.

Indeed, the virtual real-estate landscape is beginning to encompass every aspect of the emerging NFT market. When fully realized, artists can display their works in virtual museums and art galleries owned by digital landowners and building owners.

According to Lueth, the expanding digital landscape will help to create value for NFT goods and services: “As people start spending more time in these parallel worlds it is not a question of if, but when other industries will discover that NFTs will be able to offer complete new business opportunities.”

The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has also caused a reexamination of human interaction across several spheres of life. Social distancing protocols in many countries have seen activities like work and school move to the virtual realm. Sychov believes humans will eventually move toward a primarily virtual means of interaction:

“The future of human communication is going to be mostly digital inside Virtual Reality. And in order for humans to exist in virtual worlds, they need a decentralized independent economy and ownership protocols which blockchain and NFTs solve very well. So, in short — yes NFTs will play an integral role in exchanging goods and services.”

Article produced by OSATO AVAN-NOMAYO



ecosystem for entrepreneurs


Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Lawyer for OneCoin scammer Ruja Cryptoqueen Ignatova disbarred

Lawyer for OneCoin scammer Ruja "Cryptoqueen" Ignatova disbarred

Lawyer for OneCoin scammer Ruja "Cryptoqueen" Ignatova disbarred


Mark S. Scott, who pocketed upwards of $50 million in fees for laundering OneCoin money, disbarred

In a move on Friday that may help bring some peace to jilted investors, a five-judge panel from New York formally disbarred Mark S. Scott, the former Locke Lord LLP lawyer and attorney for the notorious scammer Ruja "Cryptoqueen" Ignatova, following his November 2019 conviction on charges related to the multi-billion-dollar OneCoin scam. 

Scott, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, fought the disbarment, arguing that he has a post-trial motion pending which requests either an acquittal or a new trial. 

Judges from the Third Judicial Panel rejected these arguments, stating in their opinion that, "Should respondent's post-trial motion or potential future appeal be successful, 'he may move to vacate the sanction imposed by this court.'"

Co-founded by Ignatova in the mid-2010s, the OneCoin pyramid scheme/multilevel marketing ploy offered commissions for recruiting new investors in what promised to be a major cryptocurrency, but investments were often instead routed directly into Ignatova’s pockets. Ignatova remains at large

For his part, Scott was convicted of helping to launder nearly $400 million for Ignatova, of which he pocketed upwards of $50 million in fees. According to prosecutors, Scott boasted of earning “50 by 50,” referring to his wealth and age, and he used the money to purchase cars, a boat, and multiple beachside homes. 

As Cointelegraph has previously reported, the OneCoin saga and its characters are set to become the topic of a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet, as well as a BBC television show. 

Scott, who is free from prison due to medical concerns, is currently awaiting sentencing scheduled for December 2020. He faces up to 50 years in prison. 

Article produced by ANDREW THURMAN



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Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

What’s Happened to Bitcoin Since its Whitepaper Appeared 12 Years Ago?

What’s Happened to Bitcoin Since its Whitepaper Appeared 12 Years Ago?

What's Happened to Bitcoin Since its Whitepaper Appeared 12 Years Ago?

By Robert Stevens

Since Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper on this day 12 years ago, a lot has happened to the first cryptocurrency.

In brief

  • On October 31, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper.
  • Since then, Bitcoin's journey has taken in highs and lows, from the Mt. Gox hack to an all-time high price of $20,000.
  • In 2020, it's seen renewed growth in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, as institutional investors take a growing interest in the cryptocurrency.

Today marks the 12th birthday of the Bitcoin whitepaper. There will be no party, no cake: Bitcoin’s friendship network is decentralized, and its creator anonymous. Yet, since its release, the whitepaper has had a profound impact on the world. What’s happened? Let’s go year by year:


2008: the birth of Bitcoin

On October 31, 2008, our story began. Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym of Bitcoin’s anonymous creator—or team of creators—releases the whitepaper for Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. In it, Nakamoto sketches a plan for a system that allows “online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

The previous month, Lehman Brothers, one of the largest investment banks in the US, collapsed as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. This was Bitcoin’s raison d'être—as the centralized US financial system ran into trouble, a gap in the market opened for a decentralized system that bypassed its burning wreck. 


2009: Bitcoin’s first year

2009 marked the release of Bitcoin. In January, its code was released as open-source software, and the genesis block—Bitcoin’s first block—was mined. Nakamoto mined the first 50 bitcoins, though they weren’t worth anything at the time.

A few weeks later, Nakamoto sent Hal Finney 10 Bitcoins in the first Bitcoin transaction between two individuals. As Bitcoin turned one, Wikileaks published 400,000 documents about the Iraq war, and the Times Square Bomber—who failed to detonate in the New York City tourist hotspot—was sentenced to life in prison.


2010: Bitcoin Pizza Day

Bitcoin shared its 2010 birthday with Instagram; the photo-sharing app launched on October 6. In 2010, Bitcoin was worth around $0.20 and hit highs of $0.39 during the year. Nakamoto, who had mined around one million Bitcoins at the time, passed over the keys for Bitcoin’s code repository to Gavin Andresen. 2010 also marked Bitcoin Pizza Day: on May 22, Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas from Papa John’s. At current prices, that’s over $137 million.

The #BitcoinPizza would be worth US$137,558,701.15 right now (up 3.56352655% in the last 24 hours) #Bitcoin

— Bitcoin Pizza (@TheBitcoinPizza) October 31, 2020

Years later, Hanyecz was sanguine about his multimillion-dollar purchase, telling the New York Times that, “It wasn’t like Bitcoins had any value back then, so the idea of trading them for a pizza was incredibly cool […] No one knew it was going to get so big.”


2011: The first Bitcoin bubble

Bitcoin took off in 2011—and it didn’t take long for the black market to take note of its supposed anonymity, with Silk Road, the darknet market which traded Bitcoin for guns, drugs, and other illegal contraband, opening for business. 

2011 was also Bitcoin’s first bubble: Bitcoin skyrocketed in price, rising to $31.50 on June 8, but by Bitcoin’s third birthday, its price sunk to $3.12; an early sign of the volatility that continues to affect the cryptocurrency to this day.

Bitcoin was also met with competition on its third birthday:  Litecoin, the “silver to Bitcoin’s gold,” launched in October 2011. Elsewhere in the world, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was killed as part of the Arab Spring uprising.


2012: Blackout, schmackout

October 31, 2012, marked something of a triumph for Bitcoin; on that day, the New York Stock exchange opened up again after closing for two days as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Bitcoin remained operational throughout, providing ample evidence of the power of its decentralized network.

Bitcoin’s price continued to grow throughout the year: by October, it reached highs of $12.4. Its price, which averaged $5.27, was a 1,656 percent increase from 2011.

In September, the Bitcoin Foundation was started, headed by Gavin Andresen, Jon Matonis, Patrick Murck, Charlie Schrem, and Peter Vessenes. BitPay, the Bitcoin payments service, announced that 1,000 merchants started accepting payments through Bitcoin.


2013: Silk Road seized

In February 2013, Coinbase reported sales of over $1 million, and in March, Bitcoin’s market capitalisation surpassed $1 billion. Silk Road, which opened in 2011, was seized by the FBI in October, along with 26,000 Bitcoin; its founder, Ross Ulbricht, is now serving a double life sentence without parole; in 2020, he marked his seventh consecutive birthday in prison. Prosecutors said that, from 2011-2013, sellers on Ulbricht’s site made over $214 million.

By its third birthday, Bitcoin’s market cap had surpassed $2 billion and the price for a single Bitcoin was over $200. Elsewhere in the world, Peter Higgs and Alice Munro win Nobel Prizes.


2014: Mt. Gox collapses

By Bitcoin’s sixth birthday, its market cap is over $4 billion, the price of a single Bitcoin is $329, and its daily volume is over $13 million. But not all is well in Bitcoin world: back in February, the cryptocurrency exchange, Mt. Gox stopped accepting withdrawals after 744,000 Bitcoins went missing; around $473 million, or 6 percent of the Bitcoin supply. Around 200,000 of those Bitcoins have been recovered, though the rest are gone. 


2015: Volume up

By the end of October 2015, Bitcoin’s market cap was $4.6 billion, and the price of a single Bitcoin was $312. Though the price and market cap stagnated, Bitcoin’s daily volume skyrocketed to $52 million. Outside of Bitcoin, China started to build islands in the South China Sea, and Russia got involved in the Syrian war. 


2016: Bitcoin goes mainstream

In 2016, the price of Bitcoin begins to grow. On its whitepaper’s birthday, its 24 hour volume hit $93 million, its market cap $11 billion, and the price of a single Bitcoin, $703. Many more high profile businesses start accepting Bitcoin, including Valve’s Steam video games store and ride-sharing service Uber.

In October, Colombia signed a peace agreement with FARC rebels, and Kim Kardashian had $10 million stolen from her in a hotel room in Paris. If only she’d kept it in Bitcoin…


2017: The Bitcoin bubble

2017 ushered in a new US President in Donald Trump, but for cryptocurrency holders, it was the year of the Bitcoin bubble.

On the birthday of the Bitcoin whitepaper, one Bitcoin was worth $6,131, and its market cap was over $100 billion—a figure that some attribute to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s listing of Bitcoin futures contracts, which made it far easier for the world to bet on Bitcoin. CME traded $460 million in its first week. This price was to skyrocket to over $20,000 in December. On December 7, almost $50 billion worth of Bitcoin was traded. 


2018: Down, but not out

In 2018, everything came crashing down. The market, based purely on speculation, flipped, and Bitcoin fell to $6,538 in February. The cryptocurrency muddled through a tough year: on the 10th anniversary of its whitepaper, the price of Bitcoin was $6,325. While its market cap remained strong, at $109 billion, the crypto crash prompted a backlash from mainstream publications and social media.

Twitter, Facebook, and Google duly banned advertisements for cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. Google and Facebook have since lifted the ban, with Facebook going all-in on crypto as it tries to get its own digital currency, Libra, off the ground.


2019: Bitcoin’s back, baby

In 2019, the market came rushing back, following further price drops in 2018. Bitcoin started the year at $3,764, and its price skyrocketed to $13,796 in July. Since then, its price waxed and waned, but held relatively strong, boosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping's endorsement of its underlying technology, blockchain.

On its 11th birthday, Bitcoin cost around $10,000, and its market cap was around $165 million. By that point, the Bitcoin network comprised over 55,000 nodes, while over 820,000 addresses had traded Bitcoin.


2020: New heights

Ah, 2020. Bitcoin started off strong, as excitement mounted for the imminent Bitcoin halving. But few could have foreseen how the year would pan out, as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the world in March. The chaos initially throttled the price of Bitcoin, with the cryptocurrency dropping to lows of $4,000.

But as massive stimulus packages followed lockdowns around the world, Bitcoin began to come into its own, with investors seeking it out as a hedge against inflation. Bitcoin’s price reached around $10,000 and stayed there for the remainder of the summer. The series of financial shocks endured by the world economy seemed to prove the case that Bitcoin is antifragile—not only resistant to shocks and stresses but stronger for them.

Then the big money started to pour in; institutional investors such as Grayscale and Square scooped up vast amounts of Bitcoin, and digital payments giant PayPal introduced crypto buying and selling features, opening the door to mass adoption of the cryptocurrency.   

The news sent the price of Bitcoin soaring past $13,000; on the 12th anniversary of the Bitcoin whitepaper, it reached its highest price since 2018. Those who'd previously bashed Bitcoin, from Grayscale CEO Michael Saylor to JP Morgan, fell over themselves to sing the cryptocurrency's praises.

#Bitcoin is a swarm of cyber hornets serving the goddess of wisdom, feeding on the fire of truth, exponentially growing ever smarter, faster, and stronger behind a wall of encrypted energy.

— Michael Saylor (@michael_saylor) September 18, 2020

One thing's for certain: whatever happens next, Bitcoin is in a very different place from when it first emerged into the world, 12 years ago.

Article produced by Robert Stevens



ecosystem for entrepreneurs


Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Blockchain: Everything You Need to Know

Blockchain: Everything You Need to Know

Blockchain: Everything You Need to Know

By Kun Hu

Blockchain, the underlying technology of bitcoin, was once just a buzzword but is now an irreversible trend that has the potential to reshape human society.


What is blockchain?

There is no consensus on the definition of blockchain. Technically speaking, blockchain is an ever-growing append-only chain of blocks, where blocks are chained together by cryptographically guaranteed hashes. Within each block on the chain are the transaction items and other extra information contained in that network.

Blockchain began as a concept from the bitcoin whitepaper by bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto. The bitcoin paper uses the phrase "chain of blocks" and "block chain" instead of 'blockchain'. 

The idea of blockchain first appeared in a research paper "How to Time-Stamp a Digital Document" by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta. The paper introduced the notion of "chain of time-stamps" similar to our current definition of blockchain. In general, blockchain is a combination of three technologies – cryptography, distributed ledger technology (DLT), and Consensus.

Some key features are created from this combination, making the blockchain unique, the core being immutability, which could have a profound influence on social structure, monetary and financial system, government governing philosophy, value definition, and the list goes on. Blockchain technology is the backbone of transforming our trust from trusted third parties to trust in machines. Blockchain technology is the backbone for the value network that solves the problem of double-spending without the need for a trusted central authority.


Key features of blockchain 

Immutability. With blockchain, it is the first time in history that humanity has the ability to keep records permanently. this feature gives us the feeling of "eternality". On the blockchain, the record is undeniable and tamper-proof. Immutability is blockchain’s most important feature. With immutability, blockchain makes trustless applications a reality.

Decentralization. A blockchain's infrastructure is supported by a network of nodes that can be anywhere in the world. Nodes on the network are usually computers and servers distributed globally. The nodes constantly update each other with the latest blockchain data. Unlike a centralized system, there is no single point of failure for the network to be attacked.

Consensus. It is the economic incentive to make miners do the right thing. It is, in essence, a reward mechanism to reward those who contribute to the security of blockchain, thus making the blockchain network more robust with time. In the bitcoin blockchain network, the incentive is newly created bitcoins in the Coinbase transaction plus transaction fees. Token (coin) is not necessarily an element of a blockchain. But most popular blockchains have tokens and most are hard forks or codebase reuse of bitcoin like Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, BSV, etc. For the bitcoin network, it uses proof-of-work (PoW) consensus to solve probabilistically long-last Byzantine Generals' Problem in distributed systems. As Satoshi said, “The proof-of-work chain is a solution to the Byzantine Generals' Problem…The proof-of-work chain is how all the synchronization, distributed database, and global view problems you've asked about are solved.” 

Permissionless. The blockchain network is open to everybody. Everybody can join or leave the blockchain network as a node without any permission. This is really a powerful feature as it decoupled from node numbers and the nodes communication complexity doesn’t necessarily rely on node number.


Block and transaction

Block is a collection of transactions. Typically, a block has some metadata like transactions, a hash as a reference to the block, Height, Block reward, timestamp, Nonce, etc. Now in the extended version, it has Miner name, Fee Reward, confirmation, Transaction Volume, etc.

The transaction has a hash, received time, inputs (address and other info), output (address and other inf), etc.

All the block and transaction info are publicly available, but typically you don't know who is behind the address. There are some blockchain explorers you can use to inspect block and transaction details of bitcoin and other crypto blockchains, like blockchain.com, btc.com and blockchair.com


How does blockchain work?

The blockchain working process is simply adding a new block to the existing blockchain recursively. We use the bitcoin blockchain as an example.

(1) When people make transactions, the transactions are broadcast to all miners (full nodes). Then miners collect new transactions into a block.

(2) At the same time, miners will do a proof-of-work puzzle game (proof-of-work) for the right of adding the block. When a miner solved the puzzle game, it broadcasts the block to all nodes

(3) If miners confirmed all transactions in the block are valid and unspent, miners will accept the block. Then miners will use the accepted block's hash as the previous hash and work on the creating next block.

(4) The process above is repeated endlessly.

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Types of blockchain

A blockchain can be public or private. A blockchain can be permissioned and permissionless. 

Typical public permissionless blockchains are bitcoin blockchain and Ethereum blockchain.

Typical public permissioned blockchain is R3.

We can categorize blockchain by consensus algorithms as well. Typical consensus algorithms are Proof of Work (PoW), Proof of Stake (PoS), and Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS). PoW is the original consensus in bitcoin. Ethereum is a PoW consensus as well, but in Ethereum 2.0, it will migrate to a PoS consensus. Algorand is a pure PoS based blockchain. EOS claims to be DPoS consensus.


Importance of blockchain

Blockchain’s immutability makes it possible to facilitate direct p2p transactions without trust third parties involved. To understand the importance of blockchain, we need to first understand “trust”.


Credit, Trust and Reliance

Trust and credit are everywhere in our society. Common institutions like banks are built around trust. They are trusted third parties. When you buy a house, many third parties are involved like governments, banks, real estate agencies. When it comes to the monetary and financial industry, almost everything is based on trust. If you save money in banks, your wealth is simply a digital number in bank IT systems and you have to trust them. Almost all financial services are based on trust. Even your money is issued with trust in the central bank. All fiat money is issued based on national credit.


Reducing trust and reliance

Where there is a reliance there is the risk of being enslaved. Government and other institutions tend to abuse and extend its scope in nature. When we delegate more to authorities, there are more risks of abuse. Although we have laws and regulations, these checks and balances are far from perfect when the rules are getting ever more complex. The best way is to reduce the roles of trusted third parties.

Milton Friedman, an American economist and Nobel prize winner, best known for his strong beliefs in free-market capitalism discussed a similar concept when talking about reducing the roles of government in 1999. He said:

"I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash, a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A."

Conducive to Friedman's missing e-cash concept is blockchain-based bitcoin and other cryptos, capable of creating true free markets. 

Actually, the core idea behind the bitcoin network is to make possible p2p transactions without having to rely on trusted third parties, thus removing the need for third party agencies.

"[Bitcoin is] a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution…Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments".

The bitcoin whitepaper, mentions “trust” 14 times. Satoshi Nakamoto also expressed his frustration with having to trust the monolithic central banking system. He wrote:

"The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts. Their massive overhead costs make micropayments impossible."

While blockchain removes the trust in monetary and financial systems, it also introduces a new money issuance consensus. Bitcoin creation relies on computing power. When the ways of creating and earning money changes, the value system built around it will change accordingly.

The blockchain’s ability to reduce “trust” is beyond the monetary and financial industry, and government. There are many more blockchain applications. Typically, blockchain's application utilizes blockchain's two features: transparency and privacy.


Blockchain applications

Blockchain is widely adopted in different industries, including supply chain, insurance, Identity Management, voting system, and IoT.

Real estate. The process of buying a house is quite complex. Many certificates and materials are verified and assessed repeatedly by many parties involved. The process can be reduced and simplified by adopting blockchain-based property ownership certificates and history records. It can avoid paper certificates fraud for renting as well. In addition, blockchain can factor one whole house and sell to different investors by tokenizing the house. But it may have some legal issues. Blockchain can be used in mortgage of the property as well. For example, the Bank of China has adopted blockchain technology in property and the valuation report can be shared among alliance banks without sensitive information disclosure.

Supply chain. Supply chain companies can utilize blockchain's traceability to accelerate the process and provide (a) transparent and full controlled transactions. This can avoid some common problems like smuggling. (2) Auditability and reliability. Since the data on the blockchain can not be altered, all parties involved can trust the data and audit the data immediately and easily. 

Insurance. Insurance companies can use blockchain technology to solve the double claim problem without customer data shared and disclosed. AIA International Limited has called for proposals that looked for a blockchain solution to deal with that issue. The solution shares customer information by a fingerprint of data (a.k.a. hash value). Therefore no actual information had been disclosed.

Identity Management. Blockchain-based identity management provides tamper-proof evidence for identity verification while guaranteeing enough privacy. Some universities have adopted blockchain-based certificates which can reduce fake paper ones and simplify the verification process.

Voting system. Voting is important for democracy and the voting result reflects public opinion and interest.  Real voters and convenience are key factors for voting. Blockchain guarantees voting without manipulation in the voting process and reduce the risk of a hack.

IoT. IoT devices responsible for the data collection, and blockchain for the data storage. Blockchain guarantees the data in IoT networks are not modified like climate data. Blockchain also enhances IoT network robustness as well.


Blockchain market size

According to Gartner, the business added value by blockchain will be more than 3.1 Trillion USD by 2030. The growth of the Business Value of Blockchain is divided into 3 phrases: Irrational exuberance, Larger focused investment to large-scale economic value-add. According to PWC's report, blockchain technologies could boost the global economy US$1.76 trillion by 2030.


Blockchain companies

There are many blockchain companies and startups. Typical emerging blockchain companies are ESO's parent company Block.one, Blockchain.com, BlockStream, Coinbase, Gemini and ConsenSys. Some traditional companies have taken part in the blockchain industry like IBM, PWC and Microsoft. 

There are some listed companies with major business being blockchain and crypto-related. 

DigitalX (ASX: DCC), provides service for ICO advising.

HIVE Blockchain (TSXV: HIVE), connects blockchain and cryptos to the traditional asset markets.

Northern Data (FWB: NB2), collaborated with Canna to work with AI and blockchain development.

Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK), invests in blockchain ventures spanning from finance to agriculture.

RESAAS Services (TSXV: RSS), brings the real estate industry to a cloud-based and blockchain-powered system. 

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTCMKTS: GBTC), established in 2013 by Digital Currency Group, focuses on digital currency investing, primarily bitcoin. 

Okg Technology Holdings Ltd (HKG: 1499), Mingxing Xu is the controlling shareholder of both Okg Technology and OKEx.

Huobi Technology (HKG: 1611), is a cryptocurrency exchange and blockchain-related service provider.

Article produced by Kun Hu. Johnny Chiu and Lucas Cacioli contributed to the post.



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Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

How Public Blockchains Could Supplement ERP Systems

From DeFi to DeOps: How Public Blockchains Could Supplement ERP Systems

From DeFi to DeOps: How Public Blockchains Could Supplement ERP Systems

By Paul Brody

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is simultaneously one of the most transformational technologies for modern business and also one of the most boring. Quite simply, ERP is the glue that holds modern enterprises together, connecting business processes across large enterprises in a standardized way. 

That said, there is also nothing magical about ERP. It simply combines two things: transactional data (purchases, sales and inventory levels) with business rules and process. The results are simple, but the technology itself has immensely powerful capabilities, for instance, automatically re-ordering supplies when an inventory runs low, without human intervention.

With blockchain technology, we are entering the era of decentralized, ERP-like apps that can span multiple enterprises but also share data and logic, in turn automating and digitizing commerce.

In an always-on digital environment, this doesn’t seem very new or unusual. That’s because when it comes to truly digital supply chains, most companies are faking it, not making it. 

The secret truth about digital commerce is that it usually comes to a screeching halt at the enterprise door. It’s not uncommon for a digital system to create a purchase order using PDF software (which is emailed to a supplier), only for it to be scanned into their systems using a process called optical character recognition (OCR). 

This digital-analogue-digital scanning process is only one step above printing and faxing. Within the digital supply chain, electronic data interchange (EDI) is one step above OCR, but it only allows for static communication (and only between two parties). Furthermore, it doesn’t support any kind of shared business logic or process.  

To understand what a big deal this is – and to get a sense of how much is at stake – it is useful to step back and define how big the impact of ERP has been. When I joined McKinsey & Co, in 1995, process change was something you put on paper and into manuals. With the widespread deployment of ERP, the reality is that business processes – if they exist – really only exist in software.   

If you want to put a product on sale at 500 stores across the country (or around the world), it can likely only be achieved with end-to-end software. Whether forecasting the sale events or planning increased inventory and making sure price reductions happen at the cash register if it doesn’t happen with enterprise software it probably won’t happen at all.

Thanks to ERP, the efficiencies driven by a single retailer alone are thought to have cut the cost of living in the U.S. for the average person by $895 a year

ERP systems have such a huge impact because they allow companies to make good on their operating scale. Companies that are integrated from end to end can also negotiate significantly lower prices with suppliers. Their promise to buy only from a preferred supplier is much more credible because ERP systems will simply block purchases from unauthorized suppliers – something that used to happen routinely before digital systems were introduced. ERPs can also carry less inventory and have lower shipping costs as they track inventory levels and plan replenishment operations each day. 

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Exciting? No. High impact? Yes.

The benefits associated with these systems have traditionally been limited to the largest companies because each large enterprise has its own digital hub for collaboration. If you’re a supplier and you want to sell to a big retailer, be prepared to join the supplier’s network (which is not free). Each integration brings with it both efficiency and long-term cost commitments. For instance, smaller companies are often overwhelmed by these types of demands – but ERP can remove that hurdle.

Blockchain technology has the potential to change the dynamics of system integrations. Instead of suppliers having to integrate with customized systems in large enterprises, they can instead interact with standardized apps and tokens on the public blockchain network. 

DeOps (Decentralized Operations) applications could take hold. Want to have automated replenishment of your inventory? There’s a DeOps app for that. Insuring a shipment between two locations? There’s a DeOps app for that. Managing warehouse space that you rent from a third party? Same again.

DeOps applications will take the two main components of ERP – shared facts and shared business logic – and enable them to operate between enterprises and across enterprise boundaries. This will allow for truly digital end-to-end supply chains without having to worry about centralized entities spying on and monetizing the data flowing between companies.  

How much might the shift to truly digital supply chains be worth? Trillions of dollars. Given that nearly everything we buy today passes through multiple hands before it arrives in your home, there is a good chance that increased efficiency is possible at every step of the process. 

Entire industries have been built – and companies transformed – on their implementation of ERP. The impact of decentralized operations is likely to be just as large. And while nearly every large company currently has some form of an ERP system, almost none of them use DeOps applications – so we are just at the beginning of this transformation. 

Article produced by Paul Brody



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Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Avanti Becomes Second Crypto Bank in US

Avanti Becomes Second Crypto Bank in US

Avanti Becomes Second Crypto Bank in US

By Jeff Benson

Avanti, which will compete with Kraken Financial, plans to provide digital asset custody services—and create its own digital asset.

In brief

  • Avanti was granted a bank charter in Wyoming.
  • Kraken received a bank charter from the state in September.
  • In 2019, Wyoming passed new blockchain laws to attract digital asset firms.

Avanti has received a bank charter from the Wyoming State Banking Board, one month after exchange Kraken became the first crypto company to receive a bank charter in Wyoming—or the US for that matter.

Avanti Financial Group, founded by former Morgan Stanley managing director Caitlin Long, applied for a bank charter to become a special-purpose depository institution this summer.

AVANTI IS OFFICIALLY A BANK! Our charter & business plan were approved 8-0 today, incl. #Avit (a tokenized US dollar, which we announced we'll issue initially on #Liquid (#Bitcoin sidechain) & #Ethereum. Open for commercial customers early Q1. More here:https://t.co/CgNazN08zV

— Avanti Bank & Trust (@AvantiBT) October 28, 2020

The charter allows it to provide specified banking services, including digital asset custody, and it plans to start opening commercial accounts next year.

“We will provide products and services that do not exist in the market today,” said Long in a press release. “Currently the only type of U.S. financial institution that can provide final and simultaneous settlement of trades between digital assets and the U.S. dollar—because it is the only type currently approved to handle both within the same legal entity—is a Wyoming special-purpose depository institution like Avanti.”

One product it’s looking at in particular is its own tokenized dollar, the Avit, which it plans to issue on Bitcoin sidechain Liquid as well as Ethereum.

Long has been working toward this moment for some time. Early in 2019, the Wyoming legislature passed a slate of blockchain-friendly bills designed to make the western state a haven for crypto asset companies. As a member of the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force, Long played a major role in drafting and lobbying for the legislation.

Avanti is nominally in competition with Kraken Financial, which received its charter in September—with Long's endorsement. Both banks plan to begin operating in early 2021.

Article produced by Jeff Benson



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Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

22 Indian Bank Branches to Begin Offering Crypto Banking Services

22 Indian Bank Branches to Begin Offering Crypto Banking Services

22 Indian Bank Branches to Begin Offering Crypto Banking Services

By Kevin Helms

An Indian bank is preparing to start providing crypto banking services at its physical bank branches. Customers can buy bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies at these branches with Indian rupees, open savings accounts with crypto wallets, make loans against their cryptocurrencies, and more.


Crypto Banking at Physical Bank Branches in India

Cryptocurrency users in India will soon be able to visit physical bank branches for crypto banking services as well as learn about cryptocurrency investing. This is due to a partnership, announced Monday, between crypto banking platform Cashaa and The United Multistate Credit Co. Operative Society (United), as part of Cashaa’s expansion plan in India. The United is a member of the National Federation of Urban Co-operative Banks and Credit Societies Ltd.

Dinesh Kukreja, Managing Director of United Multistate Credit Co. Operative Society, will be the CEO of the joint venture between the two companies. The announcement details:

The joint venture, Unicas, will build the world’s first crypto-friendly financial institution with physical branches and operations.

“Unicas will enable people to access traditional banking services along with crypto banking services both online and through its 22 physical branches across north India,” the announcement adds. Customers will be able to buy cryptocurrencies with cash at these physical branches, “Open saving accounts with crypto wallets … Loan against cryptocurrencies, gold, and real estate … [and] Invest in cryptocurrencies, bonds, and fixed deposits.”

A spokesperson for Cashaa confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com that “Currently, there are 22 active branches and the Unicas operations will start in December … we will be ready with 22 branches.” The companies had planned to launch crypto banking services at 34 branches. However, he explained that “Due to the covid situation opening up the remaining is a bit challenging … We are seeing a slow opening from the lockdown.”

Cashaa detailed: “Initially account holders will be able to buy and sell bitcoin (BTC), cashaa (CAS), ethereum (ETH), binance (BNB), bitcoin cash (BCH), EOS, litecoin (LTC) and ripple (XRP) in cash or with the account balance in Indian rupees.”


Crypto Lounges at Indian Bank Branches

“The United’s existing branches will be transformed and modernized as Crypto Lounges,” Cashaa described, noting that “Members can walk into any of these branches and get educated about cryptocurrencies along with other banking services.”

The spokesperson further shared with news.Bitcoin.com: “We will educate them on investment opportunities, utilities of bitcoin and other cryptos, how to use and store crypto, etc.” He clarified that non-bank customers “will have access to general material, but the usage of lounges are for bank customers.” Cashaa emphasized:

The immediate plan is to open these Crypto Lounges in Delhi, Gujarat, and Rajasthan covering a population of 150 million Indians living in these states.

Kukreja commented: “By increasing our exposure to emerging technologies, we are aiming to rapidly expand to over 100 physical branches by 2021, employing thousands of skilled professionals in India,” noting:

Our savings bank account holders will also be able to use their cryptocurrencies as collaterals to take loans, like any other traditional loan given by banks.

Article produced by Kevin Helms



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Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

JPMorgan’s stablecoin finally sees commercial light of day

JPMorgan's stablecoin finally sees commercial light of day

JPMorgan's stablecoin finally sees commercial light of day


JPMorgan Chase now recognizes blockchain's profitability and has created a new business dedicated to digital currency and blockchain work.

A year and a half after it was first announced, JPM Coin — JPMorgan Chase's in-house stablecoin — is now live and in use by a major transnational tech firm for around-the-clock cross-border payments.

According to a report on Tuesday, this real-world proof that the technology is increasing efficiency and reducing costs has bolstered the megabank's confidence in the technology's promise and profitability. With the expectation that further commercial clients will sign up to use the stablecoin, JPMorgan Chase has created a dedicated business devoted to digital currency and blockchain work.

The new business unit, dubbed "Onyx," has over 100 staffers and is being led by Umar Farooq as CEO. Takis Georgakopoulos, JPMorgan Chase's global head of wholesale payments, told reporters:

"We are shifting to a period of commercialization […] moving from research and development to something that can become a real business."

On the heels of PayPal's recent embrace of crypto, incumbents' confidence that blockchain can actually make them money appears to be on the rise. JPMorgan Chase's experimentation and development with the technology thus far can be broken up into several key areas.

First, the megabank has been piloting a blockchain-based Interbank Information Network since 2017, involving over 400 participant banks and corporations. JPMorgan Chase believes that the network, now being rebranded as Liink, can bring significant efficiency savings for the complex interactions of corresponding banks in cross-border wholesale payments. JPMorgan Chase itself accounts for cross-border wholesale payment flows of over $6 trillion per day across over 100 different countries.

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The bank has also identified blockchain's usefulness to innovate the existing outdated system for processing "hundreds of millions" of paper checks. Blockchain and digitization can, securely, banish the physical aspects of this exchange altogether. Georgakopoulos said that a new blockchain system is months from commercial launch:

“Using a version of blockchain with the participants being the main issuers of checks and the main operators of lockboxes, it’s possible we can save 75% of the total cost for the industry today, and make checks available in a matter of minutes as opposed to days.”

Lastly, JPMorgan Chase has confidence in blockchain for the creation of new payment rails for global central banks and their evolving central bank digital currencies. Pointing to China and Singapore, Georgakopoulos expressed his confidence that the probability of CBDC adoption is "very high." 

Farooq, the new CEO of Onyx, gave his insights as to why developments have appeared "slow," or at least equivocal, on the blockchain front at JPMorgan Chase until now:

“If you think about blockchain, we are either somewhere in the trough of disillusionment or just beyond that on the hype curve. That’s why at JPMorgan we’ve been relatively quiet about it until we were ready to scale it and commercialize it.”

Article produced by MARIE HUILLET



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Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur