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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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

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

/r/Bitcoin FAQ - Newcomers please read

Welcome to the /Bitcoin Sticky FAQ

You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments.
Some great introductions for new users are My first bitcoin, Bitcoin explained and ELI5 Bitcoin. Also, the following videos are a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Also have to give mention to Lopp.net, the Princeton crypto series and James D'Angelo's Bitcoin 101 Blackboard series. Some excellent writing on Bitcoin's value proposition and future can be found at the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute. Bitcoin statistics can be found here, here and here. Developer resources can be found here, here and here. Peer-reviewed research papers can be found here. Potential upcoming protocol improvements here. Scaling resources here. The number of times Bitcoin was declared dead by the media can be found here (LOL!), and of course Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper that started it all! :)
Key properties of bitcoin

Where can I buy bitcoins?

Bitcoin.org, BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com and Howtobuybitcoin.io are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also, check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Bank Transfer Credit / Debit card Cash
Gemini Bitstamp LocalBitcoins
Bitstamp Bitit Mycelium LocalTrader
BitFinex Cex.io LibertyX
Cex.io CoinMama WallofCoins
Xapo Spectrocoin BitcoinOTC
Kraken Luno BitQuick
itBit
HitBTC
Bitit
Bisq (decentralized)
Luno
Spectrocoin
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage.
Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".

Securing your bitcoins

With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
Android iOs Desktop
Samouari BreadWallet Electrum
Another interesting use case for physical storage/transfer is the Opendime. Opendime is a small USB stick that allows you to spend Bitcoin by physically passing it along so it's anonymous and tangible like cash.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email!
2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account, usually from a text message or app, making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
Google Auth Authy
Android Android
iOS iOS

Where can I spend bitcoins?

Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for some good options, some of the more commons ones are listed below.
Store Product
Gyft Gift cards for hundreds of retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Whole Foods, CVS, Lowes, Home Depot, iTunes, Best Buy, Sears, Kohls, eBay, GameStop, etc.
Steam, HumbleBundle, Games Planet, itch.io, g2g and kinguin For when you need to get your game on
Microsoft Xbox games, phone apps and software
Spendabit, Overstock, The Bitcoin Directory and BazaarBay Retail shopping with millions of results
ShakePay Generate one time use Visa cards in seconds
NewEgg and Dell For all your electronics needs
Bitwa.la, Coinbills, Piixpay, Bitbill.eu, Bylls, Coins.ph, Bitrefill, LivingRoomofSatoshi, Hyphen.to, Coinsfer, More #1, #2 Bill payment
Menufy, Takeaway, Thuisbezorgd NL, Pizza For Coins Takeout delivered to your door!
Expedia, Cheapair, Lot, Destinia, BTCTrip, Abitsky, SkyTours, Fluege the Travel category on Gyft and 9flats For when you need to get away
BitHost VPS service
Cryptostorm, Mullvad, and PIA VPN services
Namecheap, Porkbun For new domain name registration
Stampnik Discounted USPS Priority, Express, First-Class mail postage
Reddit Gold Premium membership which can be gifted to others
Coinmap and AirBitz are helpful to find local businesses accepting bitcoins. A good resource for UK residents is at wheretospendbitcoins.co.uk.
There are also lots of charities which accept bitcoin donations, such as Wikipedia, United Way, ACLU and the EFF. You can find a longer list here.

Merchant Resources

There are several benefits to accepting bitcoin as a payment option if you are a merchant;
If you are interested in accepting bitcoin as a payment method, there are several options available;

Can I mine bitcoin?

Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out.
If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. Bitseed is an easy option for getting set up. You can view the global node distribution here.

Earning bitcoins

Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
Site Description
WorkingForBitcoins, Bitwage, XBTfreelancer, Cryptogrind, Bitlancerr, Coinality, Bitgigs, /Jobs4Bitcoins, Rein Project Freelancing
OpenBazaar, Purse.io, Bitify, /Bitmarket, 21 Market Marketplaces
Streamium.io, XOtika.tv NSFW, /GirlsGoneBitcoin NSFW Video Streaming
Bitasker, BitforTip Tasks
Supload.com, SatoshiBox, JoyStream, File Army File/Image Sharing
CoinAd, A-ads, Coinzilla.io Advertising
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins)

Bitcoin Projects

The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
Project Description
Lightning Network, Amiko Pay, and Strawpay Payment channels for network scaling
Blockstream, Rootstock and Drivechain Sidechains
21, Inc. Open source library for the machine payable web
ShapeShift.io Trade between bitcoins and altcoins easily
Open Transactions, Counterparty, Omni, Open Assets, Symbiont and Chain Financial asset platforms
Hivemind and Augur Prediction markets
Mediachain Decentralized media library
Tierion and Factom Records & Titles on the blockchain
BitMarkets, DropZone, Beaver and Open Bazaar Decentralized markets
Samourai and Dark Wallet - abandoned Privacy-enhancing wallets
JoinMarket CoinJoin implementation (Increase privacy and/or Earn interest on bitcoin holdings)
Coinffeine and Bisq Decentralized bitcoin exchanges
Keybase and Bitrated Identity & Reputation management
Telehash Mesh networking
JoyStream BitTorrent client with paid seeding
MORPHiS Decentralized, encrypted internet
Storj and Sia Decentralized file storage
Streamium Pay in real time for on-demand services
Abra Global P2P money transmitter network
bitSIM PIN secure hardware token between SIM & Phone
Identifi Decentralized address book w/ ratings system
BitGo Multisig bitcoin API
Bitcore Open source Bitcoin javascript library
Insight Open source blockchain API
Leet Kill your friends and take their money ;)

Bitcoin Units

One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
Unit Symbol Value Info
millibitcoin mBTC 1,000 per bitcoin SI unit for milli i.e. millilitre (mL) or millimetre (mm)
microbitcoin μBTC 1,000,000 per bitcoin SI unit for micro i.e microlitre (μL) or micrometre (μm)
bit bit 1,000,000 per bitcoin Colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin
satoshi sat 100,000,000 per bitcoin Smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki.
Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. A complete list of bitcoin related subreddits can be found here
Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval.
Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
submitted by BinaryResult to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Network Security & Whether to ProgPow

While listening to the Core Devs Meeting #54 this morning, I realized that the factual trade-offs around ProgPow need to be better defined so that we can truly hear the community's take on this issue. It is a lot to put on the core team, and everyone seems to want more participation in this debate. An audit of ProgPow is necessary, but it will not lead to a decision on whether to implement it or not. In talking about the trade-offs of ProgPow until the end of such audit, let's just assume it works as expected.
I'll start by saying that it has been extremely difficult and frustrating for me to understand the tradeoffs of ProgPow, despite being actively involved in the community. I can only imagine how difficult it might be for the average ETH stakeholder to have an opinion on whether ProgPow is a good idea or not.
The conspiracy theories that have surfaced around ProgPow have certainly not contributed to the debate, and I'd like to take this opportunity to focus on facts, not speculation.
If you just tuned in, a good place to start is the question what is ProgPow?
ELI15: ProgPow is a module based on CUDA to better parallelize specific functions of Ethash on Nvidia architectures and increase computational efficiency. My back-of-the-envelope math shows that, under ProgPow, GPUs mining ProgPow-Ethash would be 1.5x more efficient than Plain-Ethash. Also, ProgPow allows the algorithm's parameters to be programmatically changed to prevent an integrated circuit (in an ASIC) to have an edge on efficiency over commodity GPUs in the long-run.
ELI5: ProgPow makes GPUs more efficient and allows Ethash to change in a way that curbs the advantage ASICs have over GPUs in the long-run.
The issue(?) of decreased hashing power
EF Security Lead Martin Swende said in the call today that he expects ProgPow to cut difficulty in half, which would in turn lead to lower hashing power being allocated to the network. Since Plain-Ethash would have different parameters than ProgPow-Ethash, their hashrates are not comparable in terms of security. Think of Plain-Ethash and ProgPow-Ethash as different algorithms. Still, all else equal, a 50% decrease in difficulty "doesn't sound too good" as u/Souptacular put it in the call today. That is because, even though hashrates are not comparable, the aggregate amount of electricity required to potentially attack the network is decreased, meaning, the cost of an attack might be lower post-ProgPow. However, I also recognize that there are social factors that also need to be considered in the decision of implementing ProgPow.
Based on my conversations, hobbyist miners have a love/hate relationship with Ethereum.
Ethash's hardness to ASIC has brought to Ethereum a lot of individual miners and small operations who, through mining pools, contribute to a large amount of the current hashrate. Competition with larger operations is lower on Ethereum than say, Zcash, given the much decreased efficiency gains when using ASICs on Ethash. This is the "love" in the sentence above. The "hate" is the realization that the network will eventually adopt PoS and that, until then, block rewards will continue to decrease. This is painful, especially at current price levels. This coalition of smaller operations believes that the adoption of ProgPow would level the playing field even further and make mining Ethash more fair. Not adopting ProgPow may lead this coalition of retail miners to leave Ethereum. This is may be the main reason why large mining pools like Ethermine are pro-ProgPow. The worst-outcome-possible would be for these miners to fork their coalition out of the protocol.
The issue of ASIC centralization
Another argument pro-ProgPow that keeps popping up is that ASICs contribute to centralization, which has been an ongoing problem for Bitcoin and many other protocols that employ algorithms that are not as hard as Ethash. u/vbuterin has said in the past that he does not believe mining centralization concerns are as relevant to Ethash as other algos. And after surveying the Ethash ASIC market, I tend agree with him. It all seems to comes down to efficiency and the degree of centralization in the ASIC manufacturing industry. Ethash ASICs are only 2x more efficient than state-of-the-art GPUs; a much lower efficiency coefficient than SHA-256 ASICs, which are 1000x more efficient. There are now eleven different models of Ethash ASICs in the market, and three fiercely competitive manufacturers producing them (BITMAIN, Innosillicon and PandaMiner). Had BITMAIN been the only entity in the Ethash ASIC market, I would be more concerned about centralization, but that does not seem to be the case. Ultimately, we should remember that ProgPow does not eliminate existing ASICs from the market - it only makes existing GPUs more efficient on a relative basis. Also, the activation of ProgPow would not prevent these manufacturers from developing a ProgPow-compatible ASIC.
The most important factor to consider right now is network security.
Even more so because the PoW chain will be an integral component of the first stages of the new Serenity roadmap. PoS validators stake their funds on the PoW chain and, as such, the entire system relies on a sufficiently large number of miners to not abandon Ethereum. From my understanding, due to the use of Nvidia's CUDA, GPU miners running RX580s and RX Vegas (which are based on AMD) would not be able to mine ProgPow (please fact-check if I'm wrong). We don't know the proportion of miners running AMD versus Nvidia versus ASICs.
Core developers are focusing on whether ProgPow does what it is supposed to do, hence the focus on an audit, but that might not be the right question. The way I see it, the right question should be (assuming ProgPow works): in what scenario will network security be optimized in terms of cumulative electricity expenditure allocated to Ethash?
u/5chdn
submitted by jamesmrk3l to ethereum [link] [comments]

/r/BitcoinUK FAQ

/BitcoinUK FAQ

ArcaneWharf and I have put this post together quickly so that we have a resource which we can point newcomers towards in order to answer their frequently answered questions. This should serve as more of an overview or quick-start guide which is a jumping off point for beginners, rather than a comprehensive or complete guide.
This is a work-in-progress (i.e., definitely not perfect) which, as a community, we could expand and improve upon over time. If you have something to contribute (either to this or something more detailed), do comment in this thread or contact the mods (by sending a message to /BitcoinUK).

How can I learn more about bitcoin?

There are already some links in /BitcoinUK’s sidebar which should help you get started. If that’s not enough, check out:
We'd encourage you to at least understand the basics before making your first bitcoin purchase. There are tons of fantastic resources out there, so there’s no excuse for ignorance.

How do I buy bitcoin?

The answer depends on your priorities, as there tends to be a trade-off between more convenient, quicker options (which are more expensive) and less convenient, slower options (which are cheaper).

Getting started

Purchasing with a credit or debit card on Coinbase is the best starting point for beginners, as it offers a great user experience. There's a quick guide here, but you probably won't need it as the sign-up and purchase process is quite intuitive. If you're having issues with verification on Coinbase (or it's just taking too long), then you might want to check out the options described in the ‘high fees, but faster’ section below.
For subsequent purchases, check out the options described in the next two sections. Although the ‘no fees, but slower’ purchase route is popular and well recommended on /BitcoinUK, you shouldn’t automatically rule out the options described in the ‘high fees, but faster’ section.

No fees, but slower

The Revolut to GDAX route is frequently recommended in the /BitcoinUK community, as it eliminates fees and allows you to purchase bitcoin at the best possible price. Keep in mind that this route won’t work on weekends, as SEPA transfers only get pushed through during normal working hours (i.e., Monday AM till Friday PM). If you’re looking to purchase on weekends, then you’ll have to use the options described in the following section.
You can finds details about this purchase route in this text guide and this video guide
Summary of this process:
  1. Sign up for Coinbase and Revolut.
  2. Transfer GBP into your Revolut GBP account.
  3. Activate your EUR wallet
  4. Convert GBP to EUR in Revolut (FREE)
  5. Send EUR to Coinbase (FREE)
  6. Transfer EUR from Coinbase to GDAX (FREE)
  7. Buy bitcoin on the BTC/EUR market.

High fees, but faster

If you’re willing to pay a premium (i.e., pay above market-rate), then you can buy bitcoin quickly and conveniently with GBP UK bank transfers and debit/credit card purchases. The premium charged by these options is usually under 5%, but can extend beyond that during times of high demand and (positive) price volatility. Unlike the Revolut to GDAX route, these options also allow you to complete purchases on weekends.
Popular, frequently recommended options which are quick and convenient include:
Prices offered across these services vary day-to-day. For an overview of your options (and their relative competitiveness), you should check out BittyBot.co. This provides a full list of merchants and marketplaces available, ordered by price (cheapest first). You can also filter the output by payment method by typing it into the 'Search' box.
Some users may prefer to take this faster route if they are convinced the price of bitcoin will increase during the time it would take for a transfer to process from Revolut to GDAX (using the method detailed in the previous section). This can pay off, but be cautious. The volatility of bitcoin makes it a double-edged sword and its price could just as easily go down (drastically) as it could go up.

What's the best way to sell bitcoin?

You can sell bitcoins back to the majority of sites which you buy them from. As before, there's a trade-off between the quicker and slower options.
If you're looking to get a price which is closest to the market rate (and pay as few fees as possible), then you'll want to sell through an exchange like GDAX, exchanging your bitcoin for euros. GDAX is preferable when you're selling, as the price you'll get per bitcoin is higher. Essentially, just reverse the process detailed earlier in the FAQ (see this text guide or this video guide). Alternatively, check out this quick 3-minute video which walks you through the process.
Summary of this process:
  1. On GDAX, click ‘Withdraw Funds’ while in the EUBTC market
  2. Transfer to your Coinbase Account (FREE)
  3. Go to Coinbase > Accounts > Euro Wallet > Withdraw
  4. On Revolut, go into your Euro wallet > Top Up > Bank Transfer > EUR
  5. Note down the IBAN and BIC from Revolut, and enter them into Coinbase. Also include the amount you wish to withdraw.
  6. Withdraw funds into Revolut (15p charge)
  7. Once funds are in your Revolut EUR account, exchange from EUR to GBP (FREE)
  8. Go to GBP wallet > send funds. Add yourself as a beneficiary.
  9. Send the funds! (free)
If you sell bitcoin on Localbitcoins, Solidi, etc., you can get it sorted same-day (usually in less than an hour) with a transfer directly to your UK bank account in GBP. For that convenience, you'll usually get offered an exchange rate which is below the market-rate (usually up to 5%, but sometimes more). You are able to set your own sell orders on Localbitcoins or BitBargain (so you’ll be able to sell above market rate). However, we would not advise doing this as a newcomer.
Of course, you could always just withdraw directly from an exchange to your UK bank account. Again, you'll lose a percentage of your funds (>1%) in the foreign exchange conversion (from EUR to GBP) which your bank processes. Depending on the exchange rate charged by your bank, you might be better off selling through services which allow you to cash out in GBP instead.

How should I store bitcoin?

To simplify quite a broad topic, you essentially have two options: hot or cold.

Hot Wallet

A hot wallet is any wallet that is connected to the internet. Typically this will be in the form of a desktop program or a mobile app. Hot wallets rank high in convenience, but are not suitable for large holdings. They are extremely vulnerable to malware and backdoors, with hackers having strong financial incentives to target desktop wallets. Nevertheless, they are perfectly reasonable for storing small amounts of cryptocurrency.
Some popular options:

Cold Wallet

A cold wallet is a wallet that does not connect to the internet, and therefore cannot be affected by malware. There are multiple forms of cold storage, but beginners should first consider a hardware wallet.
A hardware wallet is a small, USB device where you can keep your cryptocurrency. They are secure since all of the information is stored on the device, so you could plug it in to a computer riddled with malware, and the malware would have no way of interacting with your wallet. These generally aren’t considered as secure as cold-storage wallets, but are much better than a hot-wallet. Usage just requires plugging the hardware wallet into your computer.
One drawback of a hardware wallet is the cost (£70-100). Although not a mandatory purchase, it is strongly recommended that you purchase a hardware wallet if you've accumulated (or plan to accumulate) coins which are worth more than between £500 - £1000.
Popular, well-recommended options include the:
Both are reputable and will serve you well. At the time of writing this, the Ledger is slightly cheaper and offers support for more cryptocurrencies. Unless you need the greater cryptocurrency support, the choice between them doesn’t really matter.
For an overview of the Ledger Nano S (with security recommendations and a small FAQ) see this post. For a tutorial on setting it up, check out this video.

More information

For a more information on different wallets, check out:
When setting up a wallet, it’s advisable to not record your mnemonic seed (which allows you to restore the wallet) on a digital device. Instead, it’s recommended to record it (clearly) on paper or card.

Why can't I just leave my bitcoin in the exchange?

When you buy bitcoin on an exchange (such as GDAX), the bitcoin is in your account but still belongs to the company who runs the exchange. Until you withdraw to your own wallet (as described above), the bitcoin is not truly yours. The bitcoin does not belong to you unless you own the private key. This is very important. Do not leave large amounts of cryptocurrency in an exchange.
Even if you trust that the company won’t run off with your bitcoin, an exchange is much more prone to getting hacked. Think about it from the perspective of a hacker: would you rather target a million individual users who only own a small amount of bitcoin each? Or would you target one exchange that you know is holding unfathomably large amounts of bitcoin? Don’t believe me?
If you're purchasing through Coinbase, you can withdraw cryptocurrencies through GDAX (same company) to your own wallet for free. Check out this how-to post for details.

Should I buy at £x price?

No one can tell you this. No one really knows what bitcoin will do in the future. Please do your own due diligence and consider dollar cost averaging.

What about Revolut’s in-app cryptocurrency offer?

Revolut is a mobile banking app that has recently announced support for cryptocurrencies. Note this section only refers to their service that allows you to buy cryptocurrencies within their application - not the process detailed above.
While more mainstream adoption is good, Revolut’s in-app cryptocurrency exchange - in its current state - does not allow you to withdraw your cryptocurrency from their application. This has all the same issues as leaving in exchange, as you don’t have the cryptocurrency in your own wallet.
Revolut’s in-app cryptocurrency exchange should be rolled out to all customers, if their FAQ is still accurate, by the 21st or 22nd December. Early access is available if you have premium or invite 3 friends who subsequently sign up and use their app. See here for more details.

How do UK taxes work with bitcoin?

Please note: This is not professional tax advice. Conduct your own research to verify this information and/or contact a professional tax advisor.
If you sell bitcoins at a higher price than you bought them for, or exchange them for something else (e.g., another cryptocurrency, and goods or services), you would be liable to pay capital gains tax. However, you have a capital gains allowance of £11,300 per year. If you generate profits from the sale or exchange of bitcoins which fall below this threshold, then no tax would be due. Additionally, no tax is due until you sell or exchange it for something else. You may also be able to reduce your capital gains liability by gifting cryptocurrencies to your partner so that they can take advantage of their capital gains allowance too (more details in this thread).
It appears unclear how you would be taxed in the UK in other circumstances: such as mining, working for cryptocurrency, or proof of stake rewards. As these rules develop, it’s advised to document everything you do with cryptocurrencies. When the taxman comes knocking, you’ll be grateful that you did.
IndeedHowlandReed has kindly putting together a more detailed guide about Bitcoin and UK tax. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here. If you have any questions not answered by their guide, post them in this thread (or upvote existing questions).
Useful Links:

Have a question that’s not here? Search /BitcoinUK first.

If you don’t find the answer to your question here, please search this subreddit before submitting a new post.

Have a contribution or suggestion?

As noted at the start, this is a WIP (i.e., it's definitely not perfect) which, as a community, we could expand and improve upon over time. If you have something to contribute (or even just a suggestion), do comment in this thread or contact the mods.
submitted by Bedroni to BitcoinUK [link] [comments]

We are averaging 2,000 new subs daily.

We just celebrated the 350,000 mark 5 days ago and today we are over 360,000. Nice to see this sub and the Bitcoin community in general growing this big and this fast.
If you are one of those many just coming in, welcome! I'm sure you'll find this place very interesting, fun and informative. We are here to help you to better understand what Bitcoin is and and how it works, and for ourselves to keep learning. This is my welcome post for newbies:
When you come asking when is a good time to buy, the answer is: Buy now, always Hodl in FUD times (Bitcoin has "died" many times, but Moneybadger don't care, buy the dips and never panic-sell, stuff like: "China ban Bitcoin...again!" will keep happening again and again.
Here's Bitcoin's response to Jamie Dimon. Stick to the real Bitcoin through all the 'forks' and 'splits' that accomplish nothing but new mediocre, unsafe and centralized altcoins, strengthen/immunize Bitcoin and give you free altcoins to buy more Bitcoin.
All Central Powers look silly trying to control or ban it. Learn from history and listen to this absolute Boss. There will never be enough Bitcoin for every existing millionaire to own just ONE SINGLE BITCOIN, Total number of millionaires (in USD value) worldwide is around 33 million. Get one while you still can.
Also relax, you are actually an early adopter if you start investing today, mentally prepare yourself for healthy and expected market volatility/dips/corrections/"crashes" (check out this amazing 'Corrections Trends Perspective') and remember all this regarding Bitcoin investment:
Never try to time the market. Dollar cost average by buying what you can afford to lose every week.
It is always a good time to buy Bitcoin if you are hodling long term and not just for day trading, so this is a great strategy. Remember that Bitcoin has practically been up most of the time, and the road to the moon is paved with minor corrections (Bitcoin is never really "down" when you zoom-out).
Everybody parroting: "The bitcoin bubble is about to pop" since 2009, don't know that bitcoin is a decentralized system with mathematically fixed, deflatioary and limited supply currency and its growth is exponential.
So is not farfetched to say that it will be at 100,000 by 2020, since it came from less than $1 to $5,000 in less than 10 years, and it hasn't even hit the bottom part of the exponential 'S-Curve' of adoption. Check out this great 2017 MIT study: "The Cryptocurrency Market Is Growing Exponentially". Patience pays, don't listen to the "Expert Analysts on MSM".
Bitcoin is a Moneybadger that get's stronger and immunized with every new attack and this broad picture of its price since infancy (1 year candles on a logarithmic scale) shows Bitcoin growth is not in a "bubble" right now. Learn the difference between Inflation (dollar) and Deflation (Bitcoin) and just take a look at the fiat >20 trillion (and growing fast) debt clock to get a visual shock of unlimited fiat supply (vs limited Bitcoin/Gold supply).
Bitcoin has outperformed every other currency, commodity, stock and asset since its inception in 2009: "2017: Bitcoin Beats Stocks, Bonds, And Gold, Again”. Bitcoin, the Moneybadger, is the first unseizable store of value in human history, unlike gold, equities, or fiat, it can't be confiscated if stored correctly. How banks think blockchain will disrupt their industry.
Also, remember its fixed, limited supply of 21 million coins ever, there are just ~4.5 million (~20%) bitcoins left to be mined till 2140 and the production will keep decreasing ("halving") every 4 years till then. So, remember this and don't wait for the Bitcoin "bubble" to burst or for the price to drop significantly again, because you could be waiting forever:
“The best time to buy bitcoin was a few years ago, the second best time is always now”.
Don't be -- this guy
Here is a good start:
"Introduction to Bitcoin" - Andreas Antonopoulos
Playlists on Andreas own YT channel
Check out this great articles:
"What Gave Bitcoin Its Value?"
"How do Bitcoins have value?"
"Yes, Cryptocurrencies are Valuable"
ELI5: BITCOIN
How to buy Bitcoin?
Where to buy Bitcoin list
Excellent "Crypto 101" by stos313)
Where to use Bitcoin list by Bitcoin-Yoda
Starter Guide "Bitcoin Complete And Ultimate Guide".
Who accepts Bitcoin? List of Companies, Stores, Shops.
Bitcoin is a worldwide-distributed decentralized peer-to-peer censorship-resistant trustless and permissionless deflationary system/currency (see Blockchain technology) backed by mathematics, open source code, cryptography and the most powerful and secure decentralized computational network on the planet, orders of magnitude more powerful than google and government combined. There is a limit of 21 million bitcoins (divisible in smaller units). "Backed by Government" money is not backed by anything and is infinitely printed at will by Central Banks. Bitcoin is limited and decentralized.
Receive and transfer money, from cents (micropayments) to thousands:
And that’s just as currency, Bitcoin has many more uses and applications.
Edit: Fixed some non-working links and added new ones.
submitted by readish to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

I think the Berlin Wall Principle will end up applying to Blockstream as well: (1) The Berlin Wall took *longer* than everyone expected to come tumbling down. (2) When it did finally come tumbling down, it happened *faster* than anyone expected (ie, in a matter of days) - and everyone was shocked.

Centralization is a double-edged sword.
So far, centralization (and intertia, and laziness, and caution) has been favoring Blockstream.
But if and when a congestion crisis comes, then the tide is gonna turn pretty quickly - and Blockstream's monopoly in terms of "code running on the network" is gonna evaporate quicker than anyone expected.
How will this happen?
Like this:
Bitcoin is going to go into a crisis - not just the current agonizing slow-motion swamp of centralized fascist governance, but a real-time honking red alert involving a clogged-up network, with people freaking out screaming from the rooftops that millions of dollars in transactions are in limbo due to some pointless fucked-up 1 MB "blocksize limit".
And at that point, people are going to get rid of the damn piece of broken cripple-code, immediately.
End of story.
Slow to crumble, fast to collapse
Up till now, the Bitcoin governance crisis has been like slowly sinking into a swamp of quicksand.
But once a real-time congestion crisis actually hits (and online forums become dominated by posts screaming "my transaction is stuck in limbo!!!"), then all the previous bullshit and bloviating from economic idiots about "fee markets" and "soft hard forks" or whatever other nonsense will be instantly forgotten.
And at that point, there will be only 2 things that can happen:
You don't need Blockstream - they need you
When push comes to shove, people are going to remember pretty damn quick that open-source code is easy to patch.
People are going to remember that you don't have to fly to meetings in Hong Kong or on some secret Caribbean island ... or post on Reddit for hours ... or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on devs ... in order to simply change a constant in your code from 1000000 to 2000000.
Eventually, we are going to remember what vote-with-your-CPU consensus looks like
Remember all those hours you wasted on reddit?
Remember all that time you wasted in some hidden downvoted sub-thread debating with some snarky little toxic troll who'd wandered over from a censored Milgram experiment forum full of brainwashed circlejerkers and foot-stomping fascists whose only adrenaline rush and power trip in life had evidently been when they would run around bloviating gibberish like "fee markets!" or "Austrian!" to the self-selected bunch of ignorant submissive sycophants who hadn't been banned from r\bitcoin yet?
Well, when the real crisis hits, all that trivial online drama isn't going to matter any more.
When the inevitable congestion crisis finally comes, it's only going to take a couple of mining pools plus a couple of exchanges to make a simple life-or-death business decision to un-install Blockstream's artificially crippled code and instead install code that has actually been upgraded to deal with the reality of mining and the marketplace - and then we're all going to see what actual vote-with-your-CPU consensus really looks like (instead of vote-with-your-sockpuppet pseudo-consensus on Reddit).
This upgraded code could be Classic, or Unlimited, or even a modded version Core - it doesn't really matter.
Code is code and money is money, and when push comes to shove, investors and miners aren't going to give a damn what some overpaid economic idiot from Blockstream said at some meeting in Hong Kong once, or what some fascist poisonous astroturfing shill-bot posted a million times on Reddit.
Things usually move slow in Bitcoin-land - except when they move fast
For an example of how fast the tide can turn, just look at a couple of major events from the past two days:
(1) Coinbase is suddenly saying that:
Of course the good devs are flocking to Ethereum now.
Any smart dev can see from a mile away that it would be suicide to try to contribute to Core/Blockstream - Blockstream don't want any new coders or new ideas, they are insular and insecure and they feel downright threatened by new coders with fresh ideas.
They've shown this over and over again, eg:
(2) AntPool is suddenly throwing down the gauntlet, saying they won't do SegWit unless and until they get a hard fork first.
AntPool represents a pretty big chunk of hashrate - so all it's gonna take is another big chunk of hashrate to make the same practical business decision as AntPool (to serve Bitcoin users, instead of serving Blockstream) - and boom! - Blockstream loses their stranglehold on the miners.
Devs don't like dicatorships
Blockstream is too jack-booted lock-step to ever attract any more new dev talent.
This is because good devs are very independent-minded: they can smell a dicatorial organization from a mile away, and so no good dev in their right mind (who might actually have some interesting new ideas that could help Bitcoin) would ever go near Blockstream and its toxic group-think culture.
And so Blockstream will just continue to stagnate under Gregory Maxwell's oppressive "leadership":
Blockstream has backed themselves into a corner
At this point, people are starting to realize that Blockstream is a led by desperate and incompetent dead-enders.
(There are some great coders over there such as Pieter Wuille - and Greg Maxwell is also a great Bitcoin coder, but he is toxic as a "leader".)
Blockstream can't do capacity planning, they can't do threat assessment, they can't innovate, they can't prioritize, and they can't communicate.
In the end, they're only destroying themselves - by censoring debate, and ostracizing existing innovators (eg, Mike Hearn and Gavin Andresen) - and scaring away potential new innovators.
Remember, Blockstream != Bitcoin
It's important to remember that Blockstream cannot destroy Bitcoin - any more than Mt Gox could.
Once Blockstream is thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the Bitcoin community and the media, as "the company that almost strangled the Bitcoin network by trying to force blocks to be smaller than the average web page" - it's gonna be time for honey-badger jokes all over again.
Blockstream's gargantuan conflicts-of-interest will be their downfall
Blockstream is funded by insurance giant AXA - a company whose CEO is the head of the friggin' Bilderberg Group. (He's scheduled to move from CEO of AXA to CEO of HSBC soon. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.)
AXA doesn't even want cryptocurrency to succeed anyways, because half of the 1 trillion dollars of so-called "assets" on their fraudulent balance sheet is actually nothing more than toxic debt-backed worthless derivatives garbage. (AXA has more derivatives than any other insurance company.)
In other words, AXA's balance sheet will be exposed as worthless and the company will become insolvent (just like Lehman Brothers and AIG did in 2008) once real money like Bitcoin actually becomes dominant in the world economy - which will "uber" and knock down the whole teetering $1.2 quadrillion derivatives casino.
Hmm... AIG... a giant insurance group whose alleged "assets" turned out to be just a worthless pile of toxic debt-backed derivatives on the legacy ledger of fantasy fiat, AIG who triggered the 2008 financial near-meltdown... Who does AIG remind me of... Oh yeah AXA... So let's put AXA in charge of paying for Bitcoin development! What could possibly go wrong?!?
Blockstream's owners HATE Bitcoin
Never forget:
This is the probably the most gigantic CONFLICT OF INTEREST in the history of economics. And it's something to think about, as we sit here wondering for years why Blockstream is not only failing to scale Bitcoin - but it's also actively trying to SABOTAGE anyone ELSE who tries to scale Bitcoin as well.
So, be patient - and optimistic
Viewed from one perspective, the fact that this blocksize battle has dragged on for years can be very depressing.
But, viewed from another perspective, the fact that it's still going on is positive - because, for example, nobody really dares to say anymore that "blocks should be 1 MB" - since repeated studies have shown that the current hardware and infrastructure could easily handle 3-4 MB blocks, and Core/Blockstream's own precious SegWit soft-fork is going to need 3-4 MB blocks anyways.
Plus, the only "strengths" that Blockstream had on its side actually turn out to be pretty weak upon closer scrutiny (money from investors like AXA who hate cryptocurrency, censorship from domain squatters who only know how to destroy communities, snark from sockpuppets who can't argue their way out of a wet paper bag on uncensored forums).
In fact, if you were part of Blockstream, you'd be pretty demoralized that a rag-tag bunch of big-blocks supporters has been chipping away at you for the past few years, creating new forums, creating new coins, creating new products and services, exposing the economic ignorance of small-block dead-enders - and all the while, Blockstream hasn't been able to deliver on any of its so-called scaling roadmap.
If it hadn't been for a few historical accidents (cheap energy behind the Great Firewall of China, plus the other "linguistic" firewall that has prevented many people in the Chinese-speaking community from seeing how much of the community actually rejects Blockstream, plus the other accidental fact that bigger blocks involve generalizing Bitcoin, which mathematically happens to require a hard fork), then Blockstream would not have been able to control Bitcoin development as long as it has.
Yeah, they have done routine maintenance stuff and efficiency upgrades, like rewriting libsecp256k, which is great, and much appreciated - and Pieter Wuille's SegWit would be a great refactoring and clean-up of the code (if we don't let Luke-Jr poison it by packaging it as a soft-fork) - but the network also needs some simple, safe scaling.
And the network is going to get simple, safe scaling - whenever it decides that it really, really wants it.
And there's nothing that Blockstream can do to block that.
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]

Understanding Blockchain- for beginners

Security, Convenience and Knowledge will drive the adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain related startups. I truly believe that. However, most of us have been caught up in the hype of the crypto-mania recently, neglecting to understand the underlying tech.
This is just a gentle guide for the beginners. Start understanding what Blockchain is, so you can start understanding the difference between genuine technology advancement vs hype.
What if there were not only an internet of information, what if there were an internet of value some kind of vast, global, distributed ledger running on millions of computers and available to everybody. And where every kind of asset, from money to music, could be stored, moved, transacted, exchanged and managed, all without powerful intermediaries?
Don Tapscott
Blockchain technology uses peer-to-peer technology to send payments or data from one entity to another without the involvement of a financial institution or other central intermediary. It does it so that the data is completely secured, cannot be altered through fraud, and it does this efficiently -without excessive cost and time.
The concept of blockchain technology was originally created by Satoshi Nakamoto through the introduction of Bitcoin. The vision for Satoshi was to create a digital form of cash. Unlike cash however it could be used as a highly transparent and trusted form of currency that could be used without any third parties in between.
However, It's imporatant to know the difference between what is bitcoin and what is blockchain. Bitcoin is the digital currency that uses blockchain technology to make itself work. (You may find the Blockchain ELI5 explanation worth a read also).
In one paragraph, blockchain can be described as follows:
“A blockchain is a distributed computing architecture where every network node executes and records the same transactions, which are grouped into blocks.
Only one block can be added at a time, and every block contains a mathematical proof that verifies that it follows in sequence from the previous block. In this way, the blockchain’s “distributed database” is kept in consensus across the whole network. Individual user interactions with the ledger (transactions) are secured by strong cryptography. Nodes that maintain and verify the network are incentivized by mathematically enforced economic incentives coded into the protocol.”
Source: Ethdocs.org
Blockchain technology can be thought of as a network, similar to the internet. Instead of servers and internet service providers, there are multiple parties set up as ‘nodes’ and ‘miners’ that play a big part in the network. Blockchain can be categories into the following two types:
Permissionless Blockchain — the open, decentralised blockchain. Anyone can join the network and participate in the network. Bitcoin and Ethereum are exaples of permissionless blockchains. On these blockchains anyone can operate as full nodes and start mining.
Permissioned Blockchain — a centralised authority allocates responsibility to individuals pertaining to operations of the blockchain. Therefore only a limited number of users are authorised to join the network.

How does Blockchain work?

When a transaction occurs it is broadcast to the network. Nodes then execute and record the same transaction across this decentralised network. The transactions are grouped into blocks (i.e. stored on the distributed open ledger). Generally only one block can be generated at a time, however, if you can imagine, multiple nodes may by chance generate a new block at the same time. In this case a temporary fork in the chain occurs.
Each block also contains a reference to the block that came immediately before it. It also contains a unique answer to a difficult mathematical puzzle. New blocks cannot be submitted to the network without the correct answer. The miners as well as bulking the transactions into the blocks also compete to find the answer to solve the current block. When someone mines a block they also earn a transaction fee- which serves as an incentive to continue to add transactions into the block.
Each block contains what is referred to as ‘proof of work’- a mathematical calculation that verifies the sequence and the validity of the previous blocks before it. As every node in the network is verifying the transaction the system becomes a shared ledger. Meaning that any transaction at any time can be validated by not just one central authority but by many.

Blockchain technology solves double spending

Double-spending is an error in a digital cash scheme in which the same single digital token is spent twice or more. This is possible because a digital token consists of a digital file that can be duplicated or falsified.
As with counterfeit money, such double-spending is Inflation by creating, during the duplication or falsification of the digital file, a new amount of currency which does not disappear when the original digital file's currency amount is paid to a rightful receiver.
The duplication or falsification of the digital file may itself be perpetrated by a rightful receiver, in order to get paid one or more illegitimate amounts alongside a single legitimate amount. This devalues the currency relative to other monetary units, and diminishes user trust as well as the circulation and retention of the currency.
Source- Wikipedia.org
Say I want to send $100 dollars to you. To ensure that I have indeed sent the $100, you and I can involve an intermediary (a bank) to transact through. The bank will verify that I, and indeed, have sent the $100, and forward you, and indeed you, the $100. BUT what happens when we want to remove this intermediary. Who verifies the parties, and who verifies the amounts, and who verifies that the funds have indeed been sent.
Moreover though, what if I tell you that I have sent $100, but this is a fake $100 bill or is a $100 bill that I my self do not own. This can be thought of as double spending.
Now, this may be harder to do with physical cash. But with digital files this is easily done. In fact we always send 'copies' of files, we do this when we send emails, PDFs, images, and other documents. But a digital currency, a contract, or any other asset that we do not wish to send copies of?
Blockchain technology does a great job of removing the double spending issue. It does this because all the nodes always accept the longest chain.
As I mentioned earlier, miners compete to generate blocks. As soon as a transaction is validated, it will add the block to the chain, thus making it the longest. So, if someone wants to put in a fraudulent transaction on the chain, they must generate a block faster than anyone else. This will make sure that their block gets added to the chain first- making it the longest chain.
In short, all the nodes on the network trust the longest blockchain and build their blocks on it. So if someone wants to override the longest blockchain, they must generate the fraudulent transaction faster than any a majority of other nodes combined, and validate the block, such that it creates the longest chain.
This, requires an enormous amount of computational power. In fact, you must have a majority of the computational power in the network to pull this fraud off.

Next generation technology

As described by Bitcoin founder Satoshi, Bitcoin is purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that allows online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.
The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work. The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed, but proof that it came from the largest pool of CPU power.
This is the basis for Bitcoin. However use cases for blockchain technology are much more than just as an online form of currency. Blockchain technology has given birth to several other cryptocurrencies or “alt coins”, each trying to present it's own use-case.
With the introduction of Ethereum, which is another blockchain technology, users can actually do more than transfer currency.
Ethereum serves as a platform for creating decentralised blockchain applications. Similar to Bitcoin, it is an open source project.
It runs on a decentralised network such that no one controls or owns it. However it allows you to create your very own smart contracts and digital tokens (other cryptocurrencies).
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.
These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middle man or counterparty risk.
Source: Ethereum.org.

Why Blockchain?

In it's simplest form, the blockchain is just a database. It's a system that uses to timestamp and store data. So why the buzz and what separates it from a typical database?

Immutability

Once the data is stored on the blockchain, it cannot be changed. The blockchain is a distributed open ledger system which has been verified by thousands or millions of nodes.
The network only accepts the latest and most longest chain that exists. Any change to any single data point along the chain will alert the entire network. Thus the blockchain cannot be altered.
On the other hand a traditional database stores data in a table. Anyone can change a cell value, and no one would potentially blink an eye. You can also copy databases like these very easily. In fact it's done regularly in any software development environment or business. So it's not too hard to change or alter any copy of the database to make it look legit.

Decentralisation

Blockchain is possible through network of nodes. Although not necessary, it works by removing central control over it. This means that you don't have one entity running it and managing it. Having said that, you don't need all blockchains to be decentralised. Banks, institutions, and governments will find it useful to put applications on blockchain, without needing it to be run as a public blockchain.

Transparency

The blockchain allows for complete audit-ability and traceability of transactions. Whether that is bad or good is beyond the scope of this article.

Trust

Blockchain creates trust in an untrustworthy environment. This is very significant in an environment where the transactors do not know each other or where trust is absolutely vital. Put simply, the blockchain (due to the network) acts as the complete source of truth. Therefore you don't need an intermediary to verify all the parties involved.
Blockchain technology really is just in it’s infancy and users are finding smart uses of this technology. Potential for blockchain expands to where ever security, trust and immutability are important, such as with financial interactions, exchanges of assets, or exchanges of other services. All this could be carried out automatically and reliably using the blockchain. The ideas and opportunities being expored currently offer great possibilities. Some are being implemented as you read this, some are just ideas. But hopefully this article was enough to get you on the bandwagon.
This was originally published here: What is Blockogy for Beginners?

Next Up

  1. What is Bitcoin
  2. What is cryptocurrency
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What Is Bitcoin Mining Eli5. Reite auf der Bitcoin Welle und verdiene indem Du dem Bitcoins Code beitrittst. Mitglieder des Bitcoin Code genieen das Reisen um die ganze Welt whrend sie mit. Handeln Sie CFDs auf Bitcoin. CFD Service, Ihr Kapital ist in Gefahr. Hier ist Ihre z Zweite Chance. Fang Jetzt An. You're certainly welcome to try and do it on Also known as cryptocoin mining, altcoin mining, or Bitcoin mining (for the most popular form of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin), cryptocurrency mining has Sep 8, 2011 - Most of the heavy lifting for Bitcoin is done by "miners".Transactions must have correct signatures for the bitcoins being spent. The bitcoin reward that miners receive is an incentive which motivates people to assist in the primary purpose of mining: to support, legitimize and monitor the Bitcoin network and its blockchain. Geomining is a cryptocurrency consensus mechanism where the participants’ geographic locations are used as a proof of value.Geominers are rewarded for being at a specific place, at a specific time. Though the concept may seem vague at first, it’s actually very powerful, especially in cryptocurrency networks where users’ locations are important. Bitcoin mining is the process of adding transaction records to Bitcoin's public ledger of past transactions or blockchain. This ledger of past transactions is called the block chain as it is a chain of blocks.

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