AML White Paper on Bitcoin Risks, Rewards and Regulation

Bitcoin, money laundering and compliance risk

Bitcoin, money laundering and compliance risk submitted by Elpoepbarc to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

"Vancouver-based DMG Blockchain Solutions has announced the release of its BitScore AML Risk API that provides risk scoring for anti-fraud and anti-money laundering compliance. https://t.co/73teg619cX" $btc $ltc $neo $eth #btc #bitcoin #crypto #ethereum

submitted by fcukjerry to BitcoinDayTrade [link] [comments]

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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[FULL ANALYSIS] Bitcoin exchanges and payment processors in Canada are now regulated as Money Service Businesses

Hello Bitcoiners!
Many of you saw my tweet yesterday about the Bitcoin regulations in Canada. As usual, some journalists decided to write articles about my tweets without asking me for the full context :P Which means there has been a lot of misunderstanding. Particuarly, these regulations mean that we can lower the KYC requirements and no longer require ID documents or bank account connections! We can also increase the daily transaction limit from $3,000 per day to $10,000 per day for unverified accounts. The main difference is that we now have a $1,000 per-transaction limit (instead of per day) and we must report suspicious transactions. It's important to read about our reporting requirements, as it is the main difference since pretty much every exchange was doing KYC anyway.
Hopefully you appreciate the transparency, and I'm available for questions!
Cheers,
Francis
*********************************************
Text below is copied from: https://medium.com/bull-bitcoin/bitcoin-exchanges-and-payment-processors-in-canada-are-now-regulated-as-money-service-businesses-1ca820575511

Bitcoin is money, regulated like money

Notice to Canadian Bitcoin users

If you are the user of a Canadian Bitcoin company, be assured that:
You may notice that the exchange service you are using has change its transactions limits or is now requiring more information from you.
You can stop reading this email now without any consequence! Otherwise, keep regarding if you are interested in my unique insights into this important topic!

Background on regulation

Today marks an important chapter for Bitcoin’s history in Canada: Bitcoin is officially regulated as money (virtual currency) under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act of Canada (PCMLTFA), under the jurisdiction of the Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).
This is the culmination of 5 years of effort by numerous Bitcoin Canadian advocates collaborating with the Ministry of Finance, Fintrac and other Canadian government agencies.
It is important to note that there is no new Bitcoin law in Canada. In June of 2014, the Governor General of Canada (representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) gave royal asset to Bill C-31, voted by parliament under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, which included amendments to the PCMLTFA to included Bitcoin companies (named “dealers in virtual currency”) as a category of Money Service Businesses.
Thereafter, FINTRAC engaged in the process of defining what exactly is meant by “dealing in virtual currency” and what particular rules would apply to the businesses in this category. Much of our work was centred around excluding things like non-custodial wallets, nodes, mining and other activities that were not related exchange or payments processing.
To give an idea, the other categories that apply to traditional fiat currency businesses are:
When we say that Bitcoin is now regulated, what we mean is that these questions have been settled, officially published, and that they are now legally binding.
Businesses that are deemed to be “dealing in virtual currency” must register with FINTRAC as a money service business, just like they would if they were doing traditional currency exchange or payment processing.
There is no “license” required, which means that you do not need the government’s approval before you can operate a Bitcoin exchange business. However, when you operate a Money Service Business, you must register and comply with the laws… otherwise you risk jail time and large fines.

What activities are regulated as Money Service Business activity?

A virtual currency exchange transaction is defined as: “an exchange, at the request of another person or entity, of virtual currency for funds, funds for virtual currency or one virtual currency for another.” This includes, but is not limited to:

Notice to foreign Bitcoin companies with clients in Canada

Regardless of whether or not your business is based in Canada, you must register with FINTRAC as a Foreign Money Service Business, if:

How this affects BullBitcoin.com and Bylls.com

The regulation of Bitcoin exchange and payment services has always been inevitable. If we want Bitcoin to be considered as money, we must accept that it will be regulated like other monies. Our stance on the regulation issue has always been that Bitcoin exchanges and payment processors should be regulated like fiat currency exchanges and payment processors, no more, no less. This is the outcome we obtained.
To comply with these regulations, we are implementing a few changes to our Know-Your-Customer requirement and transaction limits which may paradoxically make your experience using Bull Bitcoin and Bylls even more private and convenient!

The bad news

The good news

To understand these regulations, we highly recommend reading this summary by our good friends and partners at Outlier Compliance.

Summary of our obligations

Our responsibilities:
The information required to perform a compliant know-your-customer validation:
Record keeping obligations:

Suspicious transaction reporting

Satoshi Portal is required to make suspicious transactions report to FINTRAC after we have detected a fact that amounts to reasonable grounds to suspect that one of your transactions is related to the commission or attempted commission of a money laundering offence or a terrorist activity financing offence.
Failure by Satoshi Portal Inc. to report a suspicious transaction could lead to up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $2,000,000, or both, for its executives.
We are not allowed to share with anyone other than FINTRAC, including our clients, the contents of a suspicious transaction report as well as the fact that a suspicious transaction report has been filed.

What is suspicious activity?

Note for bitcoinca: this section applies ONLY to Bull Bitcoin. Most exchanges have much stricter interpretation of what is suspicious. You should operate under the assumption that using Coinjoin or TOR will get you flagged at some other exchanges even though it's okay for Bull Bitcoin. That is simply because we have a more sophisticated understanding of privacy best practices.
Identifying suspicious behavior is heavily dependent on the context of each transaction. We understand and take into account that for many of our customers, privacy and libertarian beliefs are of the utmost importance, and that some users may not know that the behavior they are engaging in is suspicious. When we are concerned or confused about the behaviors of our users, we endeavour to discuss it with them before jumping to conclusions.
In general, here are a few tips:
Here are some examples of behavior that we do not consider suspicious:
Here are some example indicators of behavior that would lead us to investigate whether or not a transaction is suspicious:

What does this mean for Bitcoin?

It was always standard practice for Bitcoin companies to operate under the assumption they would eventually be regulated and adopt policies and procedures as if they were already regulated. The same practices used for legal KYC were already commonplace to mitigate fraud (chargebacks).
In addition, law enforcement and other government agencies in Canada were already issuing subpoenas and information requests to Bitcoin companies to obtain the information of users that were under investigation.
We suspect that cash-based Bitcoin exchanges, whether Bitcoin ATMs, physical Bitcoin exchanges or Peer-to-Peer trading, will be the most affected since they will no longer be able to operate without KYC and the absence of KYC was the primary feature that allowed them to justify charging such high fees and exchange rate premiums.
One thing is certain, as of today, there is no ambiguity whatsoever that Bitcoin is 100% legal and regulated in Canada!
submitted by FrancisPouliot to BitcoinCA [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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

Blockchain in Insurance: Use Cases and Implementations

Blockchain in Insurance: Use Cases and Implementations
This article was first posted on Medium: https://medium.com/swlh/blockchain-in-insurance-use-cases-and-implementations-a42a00ebcd91
Almost all major insurers are planning to integrate blockchain by 2021, according to PwC. At first glance, such a high level of commitment to new tech may seem surprising in an old and traditional industry such as insurance. However, enterprise blockchain adoption is poised to help insurers significantly cut costs, become more responsive to customers, and write more business.
Two recurring themes throughout this post are that:
  1. Blockchain can lower costs for insurers and lower insurance premiums for customers.
  2. Blockchain can help insurers understand & price risks better by allowing customer, risk and policy information to be shared more quickly and securely across parties the insurance ecosystem. This will increase revenue and growth prospects by allowing insurers to price insurance products more accurately.
Costs are becoming an issue for insurers. Life insurers in Asia and the US have seen cost ratios climb above 30% and 20% respectively over the past few years. This figure should ideally be below 20%. Part of this is due to increased compliance costs such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws. A bigger reason is that selling and servicing insurance policies is still a complex and labor intensive process.
Insurance Growth Rates (CAGR) 2012–17. Source: EY
A recent EY insurance market report showed low growth rates for Life insurance and Non-Life insurance outside Asia Pacific. Digging deeper, Life insurance premiums in the US declined by 0.4% from 2012–17.
Insurers find themselves needing to reduce operating costs and write business more effectively. While blockchain is not a magic elixir, proper adoption will help address these needs.

What is Blockchain?

In their book “Blockchain Revolution,” authors Don and Alex Tapscott describe blockchain as “an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Organizations need secure ways to record transactions and manage information flows, making blockchain’s appeal easy to see. Blockchains ensures that:
  • All participants have a copy of the digital ledger and that each copy is updated in real-time when transactions occur;
  • There is no centralized server, making hacking next to impossible;
  • A recorded transaction theoretically cannot be reversed, which makes the ledger an immutable source of truth no matter how many participants hold copies;
  • Transaction data, records, and participant identities can be authenticated while remaining private.
Enterprise blockchains used by companies are different from public blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Public blockchains are too clunky and slow for enterprise purposes. Enterprises require scale and speed — the ability to process hundreds of thousands of transactions very quickly. Public blockchains suffer from very low transaction speeds. Their verification process is cumbersome because participants are unknown and untrusted. Private enterprise blockchains don’t suffer from this limitation since all participants are known and trusted.
Enterprise blockchains have the following characteristics:
  • Participation requires invitation: all participants in the blockchain network are trusted
  • Data is private and secure: you don’t have access to transactions that you are not a party to, even though you’re on the same blockchain network
  • Enterprise blockchains are fast and light: the network can handle thousands of transactions per second and numerous participants working in tandem
  • ‘Smart contracts’ automate processes: transaction rules and process flows can be programmed to execute automatically, allowing payments and transfers to execute without human intervention, for example
The insurance industry will benefit from blockchain because most underwriting and claims activity requires cooperation among multiple parties. Some of these parties are from outside the firm, making data security important. Reconciling data from multiple sources during claims investigation, for example, is time and resource intensive and prone to manual error. Putting this data on a blockchain would streamline operations.

Blockchain Use Cases in Insurance

Industries have always adopted technology that has made it easier, faster and cheaper to conduct business. Blockchain tech promises to deliver on all three fronts, especially in the insurance industry, which is seen as slow and complex.
Let’s face it, insurance customers don’t enjoy interacting with insurance companies. Customers often deal with time-consuming paper forms when applying for a policy or submitting a claim. They may have to speak with people at insurance companies and hospitals, for example, to get medical insurance claims reimbursed.
On the flip side, insurance companies have to deal with the high costs of managing and servicing policies. Many of these costs are administrative — claims administration, verification and reconciliation of information, and paperwork. Insurance also requires coordination among many parties — consumers, brokers, insurers and reinsurers. This introduces overhead costs that translate to higher premiums paid by customers.
Blockchain can help make selling and servicing insurance better, faster and cheaper by improving fraud prevention, claims management, health insurance, and reinsurance. The end result could be lower prices and better experiences for customers.

Fraud Prevention

According to the FBI, non-health insurance fraud in the US is estimated to be over $40 billion per year, which can cost families between $400–700 per year in extra premiums.
Common types of insurance fraud can be eliminated by moving insurance claims onto a blockchain-based ledger that is shared among insurance companies and cannot be modified. It can prevent criminals from collecting money from different insurers for the same claim, for example.
Blockchain will make coordination easier among insurers. If all insurers access a shared blockchain ledger, they would know if a claim has already been paid. Since all insurers use the same historical claims information, it would also be easier to identify suspicious behavior.
Insurers currently try to detect fraud by using publicly available data as well as data acquired from private companies. The problem is that these data sets are incomplete due to legal constraints around sharing personally identifiable information of individuals. Blockchain, by cryptographically securing data, would allow claims information to be shared across insurers without divulging personally identifiable information.

Claims Management

Putting insurance policies on a blockchain as smart contracts can radically improve the efficiency of Property & Casualty (P&C) insurance, saving insurers more than $200B a year in operating costs according to BCG.
Let’s use car insurance to illustrate this. If you get into a car accident and it was the other driver’s fault, you must submit a claim to your insurance company to recover your loss. Your insurance company investigates your claim and tries to recover money from the other driver’s insurance company. The other insurance company has its own claims processes, which leads to duplicated work, delays, and possible human error. The end result is that you get paid much later than you’d like, and insurers spend time and money on unprofitable activities.
Putting insurance policies and claims data on a blockchain that different insurers, reinsurers, brokers, and other parties can access reduces duplicate manual work by different parties.
Insurance policies as smart contracts on a blockchain automatically execute programmed claims processing actions, automating information transfers between insurers and other parties, and releasing payments to policyholders. Additional info such as claims forms and supporting evidence supplied by policyholders can later be added to the blockchain so that all parties have the same information, making disputes unlikely.

Health Insurance

Blockchain enables fast, accurate, and secure sharing of medical data among healthcare providers and insurers. This will translate into faster health insurance claims processing and lower health insurance costs for customers.
Privacy laws around sharing patient data among hospitals and health insurance providers makes it time-consuming and expensive to process health insurance claims. Lack of data can even lead to insurance claim denials.
Patients deal with numerous doctors, hospitals and insurers over time and across borders. A patient’s medical history exists in fragments across healthcare providers and insurers. Worse, the way in which insurers and healthcare providers cooperate, share patient data, and process claims involves complex manual work & reconciliation. Even the technical infrastructure for medical records is outdated.
Putting encrypted patient records on a blockchain allows healthcare providers and insurers to access a patient’s medical data without sacrificing patient confidentiality. An industry-wide synchronized database of patient data can save the industry billions annually. Patient privacy is ensured because the blockchain stores cryptographic signatures for each medical record, which verifies the authenticity of the record without having to actually store any sensitive info on the blockchain. Changes to a patient’s medical records are also stored on the blockchain, which creates an audit trail.

Reinsurance

Data sharing among insurers and reinsurance companies is complex, time consuming, and requires inefficient manual work. Blockchain can streamline information flows between insurers and reinsurers.
Reinsurers provide insurance to insurance companies. That way, insurance companies won’t get wiped out when many claims occur at once, such as during a hurricane or earthquake.
The problem is that reinsurance processes are lengthy, inefficient, manual and are based on one-off contracts. Insurance companies generally engage multiple reinsurers for the same risk, which means that data has to be shared among many companies to settle claims.
When reinsurers and insurers share a blockchain ledger, data related to policies, premiums and losses can exist on insurers’ and reinsurers’ systems simultaneously. This takes away the need for reconciliation, which saves everyone time and money. Reinsurers can also automate claims processing and settlement.
PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that blockchain can save the reinsurance industry up to $10 billion, which can then lead to lower insurance premiums for customers.

Blockchain Implementation in Insurance

Saving the best for last, here are just some examples of how the insurance industry is using blockchain. Keep in mind that at this point, there are more prototypes and POCs than full-scale implementations.

R3

R3 is an enterprise blockchain company. It maintains an ecosystem of over 300 firms across industries that build blockchain software apps on top of its Corda platform. These apps can be used across industries from insurance to banking to healthcare. R3 maintains 2 versions of Corda; an open source platform and an enterprise-specific version called Corda Enterprise. Both versions of Corda are compatible with each other.
Insurance-specific applications on Corda are designed to help insurers automate back office activities, streamline operational flows, and generally spend less time on things like claims admin and data processing. There are also apps being development to speed up underwriting and enable faster data sharing among insurers and reinsurers.
Basically, Corda wants to host a common set of insurance apps that the entire industry can use to cut costs and boost revenue. Corda currently boasts over 15 insurance-specific apps, with a few of these deployed into production such as:
  • Blocksure OS: solves problems related to legacy systems, slow manual processes and high rates of error by automating policy admin and claims activities. Policyholders can access all policy and claims info in one app.
  • MIDAS: is a motor insurance authentication platform designed to serve 80 motor insurance companies in Hong Kong. It provides real-time authentication of motor insurance policies, verification, and audit trails. This can help with fraud detection and reduce time required for certain verification activities when it comes to policy and claims management.

B3i

B3i was a blockchain consortium, now an independent software company, supported by leading insurers and reinsurers including Swiss Re, AXA, Zurich, Munich Re, and Allianz. They develop blockchain-based applications for insurers and reinsurers and aim to create industry-wide standards. B3i aims to use blockchain tech to streamline back office processes and claims management — basically lower costs and do things faster. In 2018, B3i switched from IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric to R3’s Corda platform.
In July 2019, they launched a Catastrophe Excess of Loss product on Corda. The product is designed for brokers, insurers and reinsurers to negotiate and place risks more efficiently by reducing manual activities related to placing, renewing and managing treaties.

AXA

In 2017, AXA launched Fizzy, a blockchain platform for flight delay insurance. Customers purchase flight delay insurance, which is recorded in a smart contract. The platform is connected to global air traffic databases and receives flight statuses. If a customer’s flight is delayed for more than two hours, the smart contract automatically triggers payment to the customer.
Customers don’t have to fill out claims forms or speak to service reps. The claim is deposited directly to their bank account. Customer satisfaction: maximized.
AXA does not have to spend time processing claims, verifying flight data, or enduring paperwork for payment authorizations. They save on time & cost and can deploy these resources to more profitable activities.
Update: Fizzy has since been discontinued after 2 years, possibly due to lack of appetite from the travel/airline industry. Regardless, Fizzy was a pioneer of sorts and has laid the groundwork for future blockchain insurance platforms.

Blue Cross

Hong Kong insurer Blue Cross is using blockchain since April 2019 to speed up medical insurance claims processing and prevent fraud.
Blue Cross’ blockchain platform validates claims data in real-time, which greatly reduces fraud potential from duplicate claims filing, for example. Claims are also processed faster for their 200,000+ customers. The platform also removes the need to reconcile claims data across parties such as insurers and medical service providers. Medical practitioners such as doctors and chiropractors who don’t employ many admin support staff could save time and money by partnering with Blue Cross.
Blue Cross’ blockchain platform is built on Hyperledger. Blue Cross is owned by Bank of East Asia.

Insurwave

Insurwave is a blockchain-based marine hull insurance platform launched in 2018. The platform was a collaboration among Ernst & Young, Guardtime, Maersk, Microsoft, and ACORD. It was built on R3’s Corda platform.
Insurwave provides real-time information on ships’ location, condition, and safety factors that both insurers and customers can access. If ships enter high-risk areas, Insurwave automatically factors this into underwriting and pricing calculations.
Premium calculations for this type of insurance are very complex. Having an immutable audit trail for ship-specific information substantially eases this calculation, enables accurate pricing, and speeds up underwriting. Insurers are also able to better account for ship-specific risks.

The Future of Blockchain in Insurance

These are still early days. Most of the work around blockchain in insurance is in the Proof of Concept stage and regulation is slowly catching up. However, we have already seen some applications that have gone live.
The ‘quickest win’ for blockchain in insurance is in the area of cost control. Rising costs are hitting insurers across most markets. Blockchain platforms and Dapps that allow firms to free up resources by automating claims management, fraud detection and data reconciliation, for example, will be heartily endorsed by executives.
The real win will be when blockchain platforms enable insurers to create better products and onboard customers faster — things that bring in revenue. For this to happen, we need a more robust ecosystem of insurers, reinsurers, tech companies and service providers working together on industry-standard blockchain platforms.
This has already started with software companies like R3 launching enterprise-grade blockchain platforms such as Corda Enterprise. We also have leading insurers involved in B3i that share common goals related to blockchain development. It remains to be seen if these natural competitors share enough long-term interests to sustain the initiative. If not, industry-wide blockchain adoption may take longer and become more fragmented.
However, the benefits are too obvious to ignore. We will probably see a few committed companies invest early in blockchain and enjoy a short period of above-normal performance, with early adoption coming from mature markets burdened with high costs as well as some parts of Southeast Asia (e.g. China, which proactively adopts tech). The rest of the industry will follow.
submitted by BlockDotCo to u/BlockDotCo [link] [comments]

Blockchain Can Provide the Right to Privacy That Everyone Deserves

You can read the original article here: https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-can-provide-the-right-to-privacy-that-everyone-deserves
Blockchain technology can help to build a self-sovereign financial system where privacy belongs to the people.
Contrary to popular belief, privacy is not for those with something to hide but with everything to lose. Authoritarian governments across the globe are increasingly using surveillance to control their citizens at the expense of personal freedoms and civil liberties. The privacy of one’s financial transactions is intricately linked to one’s personal liberty. Without privacy (and financial means), true freedom is at risk. We are rendered powerless to resist oppression.
The promise of cryptocurrency is that it is uncensorable and unseizable money for the people. But Bitcoin (BTC), which was supposed to be like peer-to-peer digital cash, lacks privacy, which is essential to enabling these properties. In an increasingly connected and data-driven world where surveillance and data harvesting is the norm, we must treat privacy as a fundamental human right. If we believe in the original tenets of cryptocurrency as a decentralized and self-sovereign form of money, we need to fight to maintain our right to be private.

Privacy-shy

Some cryptocurrency projects seem to be apologetic for being privacy-focused, given the current regulatory climate and common misconception that privacy coins are used by criminals to hide illicit activities. Consequently, we see other projects in the space, such as Zcash (ZEC), Dash (DASH) or even Bitcoin adopting opt-in privacy models, which clearly do not work.
Low usage means low privacy, as indicated by Chainalysis’ findings that 99% of Zcash transactions are partially traceable and that the firm can perform successful investigations into Dash’s PrivateSends. Other studies also indicate that despite Zcash’s advanced technology, many users who did not completely understand how its privacy worked used it improperly and made it traceable anyway. Yet, the fact is: No matter how advanced the privacy technology employed, it is meaningless if it is not used. Privacy likes being in a crowd. Privacy needs to be easy-to-use.
Various explanations have been given as to why these privacy cryptocurrencies do not seem to want to encourage greater adoption of private transactions. The primary reason being that they need to play nice with regulators, who are uncomfortable with the idea of private transactions. Despite its early origins being one of the first privacy coins, called Darkcoin, Dash goes to great lengths to distance itself from being called a privacy cryptocurrency, including with a published legal position that in terms of privacy, it is no different than Bitcoin. These timid approaches do privacy a great disservice, characterizing it as something shameful.
A better, bolder approach is privacy-on by default, with transparency opt-in. Offering the privacy protocol Lelantus, which automatically anonymizes funds in a wallet, but also allows for the option of turning it off when needed, serves to maintain easy adoption for exchanges and wallets that do a high volume of sends but don’t necessarily want the overhead of privacy transactions.
Since the exchange knows your identity anyway, there is no need for sacrificing anything but gaining the benefit of large anonymity sets and fast, lightweight transactions for exchanges and ease-of-integration with the larger crypto ecosystem that is used to dealing with Bitcoin-type coins. This is especially important when integrating into decentralized exchanges or for interoperability for DeFi transactions.

Playing nice with regulators

Privacy coins are concerned about their survival in an increasingly hostile regulatory environment, in which it is easier to maintain opt-in privacy for compliance reasons. While significant pressure against privacy coins comes from banks or concerned regulators, there is no outright statutory or common law against them. Even the revised “travel rule,” or FATF rules that impose additional obligations on disclosure, as well as Anti-Money Laundering rules for exchanges and custodial wallets, do not ban privacy coins. Virtual asset service providers, or VASPs, can still disclose sender identity, as they already know who you are regardless of blockchain privacy mechanisms.
Related: Blockchains Are an Excellent Solution for Privacy, Part 2

Privacy for all

We strongly reject the common argument that privacy technologies enable illicit activity. Recent studies such as the Rand Corporation’s report states:
“While privacy coins may intuitively appear likely to be preferred by malicious actors due to their purported anonymity-preserving features, there is little evidence to substantiate this claim.”
The traditional fiat world continues to make it easy to launder money without having to resort to the complexities and volatility of cryptocurrencies. For example, trade-based money laundering is still simple to do and hard to detect. Additionally, the “National Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment” report published in 2018 continues to cite the banking system and complicit money services businesses as the primary way that terrorist funding is facilitated.
Many of these reports indicate that the right way to combat these is through robust international regulation and law enforcement, as well as improved coordination between the public and private sectors. None of these reports suggest the banning of privacy technologies or cryptocurrencies.
Any cryptocurrency that wants to remain true to the original purpose must include privacy. With the development of blockchain technology, we are at the precipice of a self-sovereign financial system in which we have complete control over our assets. We envision a system in which the freedom and opportunities of true economic equality, and not just financial equality, are guaranteed for everyone. To reach these lofty goals, privacy is essential to preserving our rights and the freedoms therein. The cryptocurrency industry must come together to champion privacy and work to further its wide-scale adoption. Our goal is to change public perception and make privacy a value worth fighting for.
submitted by BlockDotCo to u/BlockDotCo [link] [comments]

Stellar Foundation signs a partnership with Elliptic: what does this mean for you and for compliance?

Stellar Foundation signs a partnership with Elliptic: what does this mean for you and for compliance?
We always bring you the latest news about Stellar partnerships, and today's story is perhaps the most exciting in the past months. Stellar has partnered up with Elliptic – one of the world's leading crypto security providers. Read on for details!
We all want mass crypto adoption to come sooner, but there's an obstacle: the vast majority of businesses in the world still don't accept crypto. Mass adoption won't come thanks to DeFi, blockchain games and other dApps along – it needs a willingness on behalf of traditional companies.
One of the things that these non-crypto businesses worry about is the risks and legality of crypto payments. Everyone has heard that Bitcoin and other coins are often used to finance terrorists, launder money, conduct fraud etc. The phrase 'dirty Bitcoins' is also popular. Naturally, entrepreneurs worry: will there be consequences if they accidentally accept such a dirty coin? Can it land you in prison as aiding and abetting crime?
The solution is to use a service that monitors crypto transactions and flags those that seem suspicious. It's true that crypto is mostly anonymous, but you can track the same coin across different transactions and see if it participated in anything fraudulent. This requires a powerful AI, or a neural network.
So, Elliptic is just such a transaction monitoring service. It has an advanced risk scoring system and can easily detect suspicious signs of a fraud. It's been offered to Bitcoin-based businesses for quite a while – for example, leading crypto payment providers use it. But now it's finally become available for Stellar.
In their press release, Stellar and Elliptic say that the partnership will allow to detect money laundering partners, collect data to link XLM payments to known fraudulent entities and even learn more about the dark web. The ultimate goal is to boost compliance and Stellar's standing in the eyes of regulators.
Does this endanger your privacy as a user of the XLMwallet? No, not at all. Compliance and privacy are fully compatible. Nobody is going to put you under surveillance. The partnership refers more to Stellar-based businesses, not to wallets.
Apparently it will be up to each business to decide if it wants the transactions of its users to be tracked and analyzed. So far it's just for XLM transactions, by the way, and not for other assets issued on the Stellar blockchain. We as the administration of XLMwalletaren't planning to introduce such monitoring.
However, if you pay with XLM in e-commerce stores or in dApps, you should keep in mind that your payment might be scored for risk by Elliptic. But if you are not involved in any shady activities, there's really nothing to worry about.
What do you think about Elliptic and its risk monitoring system? Do you find it controversial? Share in the comments!
https://xlmwallet.co/
Website — https://xlmwallet.co/
Medium — https://medium.com/@XLMwalletCo
Teletype — https://teletype.in/@XLMwalletCo
Twitter — https://twitter.com/XLMwalletCo
Reddit — https://www.reddit.com/XLM_wallet/
submitted by Stellar__wallet to XLM_wallet [link] [comments]

The self appointed Crypto Police is nothing more than a front for dishonesty...

The self appointed Crypto Police is nothing more than a front for dishonesty...

The person behind Crypto Police is Paul Cliffe, aka Benj C a fake journalist profile...

The Crypto Police appears to be a self appointed group that apparently calls our bad behaviour and freely attacks people they do not like... But who are they really?
Crypto Police is actually someone called - Paul Cliffe, a serial failure and someone who jumped on the Blockchain bandwagon and missed it completely. And yes you know who?
You cannot make this stuff up...

https://preview.redd.it/j1pdxey2qcr41.png?width=891&format=png&auto=webp&s=5c90e05d33c5a16cefb2c1ed1f97c1cf5c30167a
Paul Cliffe is CEO of Block Venture Projects Ltd which is a dissolved company. He claims to be an Investor, have a BVP Digital Asset Fund and work with Family Offices. His profile suggests he fell in love with Bitcoin, but clearly struggled make money from it. As Block Ventures Project Ltd didn't last long.
Paul also masquerades on Linkedin as Benj C a journalist, with a degree in english from Cambridge and he wrote a series of pieces and articles that remain libellous and defamatory This is when I first came across him. I have never actually met Paul or done business with him but he claims to have intimate knowledge of my business affairs, finances and company activities. This is the first time I have bothered to reply in any form.
So what else does he get up too? His profiles across social media say he is CEO of Block Venture Project, worked for EFG Private bank? He is an Investment Advisor, runs a Fund, works with families, and leads compliance for EFG Bank! Well that is interesting.

https://preview.redd.it/ezb55hdltcr41.png?width=899&format=png&auto=webp&s=4aa0a5abc1ae5db49cd81ec2c79e1ccb9f76a918

Apparently Paul is a renowned speaker? An Investment and Financial Adviser who finds it necessary to operate anonymously, under fake names and accounts.. His latest post below as an Investment Adviser 22 Jan 2020...

https://preview.redd.it/bdrxp1dxtcr41.png?width=656&format=png&auto=webp&s=f0c3e8f74a4a270739973e459aae12021f9456c3

Block Venture Project Ltd is apparently a Fund?

According to Paul Cliffe he runs and manages a Crypto Venture Fund? But clearly you have to have real funds to deploy? A fund also has to be in a regulated jurisdiction. He claims to have investment holdings in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and BCH but his company filed no accounts, no fund accounts or valuation? So where are these investments held?
Surly someone working in compliance would know to operate a fund you must have a jurisdiction, staffed by people that are regulated as investment professional?
A Digital Asset Venture Capital fund is how Paul describes it? But the company was dissolved a few months after this post, the company remained dormant and filed no accounts?

https://preview.redd.it/0umjixooucr41.png?width=1009&format=png&auto=webp&s=52e97b4a7f6d4366819492881dc3769fe65f61c4
In a medium article Paul claims to have BVP-5 Fund? But there is no record of this. Where is this fund incorporated? Does Paul Cliffe have a record of running a fund? Which jurisdiction is the fund? Or is this more smoke and mirrors?

https://preview.redd.it/g5g4olkdvcr41.png?width=1090&format=png&auto=webp&s=e3fe4e4ffd97bdb9189ea5f05d53b391f56895a9
An article published 10 December 2019 in BTC Peers shows Paul Cliffe still operating as Block Ventures Project Ltd, 6 months after the company was dissolved???
The article starts Don't fake it!!!

Paul Cliffe still operating as BVP although it is dissolved

Well Benj C, Crypto Police we know who you are?

Paul Cliffe's general profile explains he is an Adviser to Family Offices, and on Linkedin that he works in Compliance are indeed worth looking at closer. He worked for private banks, and apparently ran a Digital Asset Fund - BVP-5? Not mentioned?
Ask yourselves, would Family Offices deal with people who have no provenance, have no company, a last four dissolved? Family Office due diligence is extensive, and would he pass?
I know how tough and onerous this is, owning a regulated crypto exchange in Malta and having passed UBO's, numerous checks, and had to hired a full team, Compliance Officer, Money Laundering Risk Officer and sit before the MFSA for the VFAA licence. Setting up a fund is equally difficult and expensive. We also work with several families and sovereign funds and in each domain and jurisdiction one operates, your are required to present everything, included audited sources of wealth, make declarations and provide full disclosures.
Paul claims to work in Compliance, but he hides behind a fake account, uses fake names, claims to operate a fund, still presents himself at Block Venture Project Ltd although dissolved. he clearly has an odd view of what compliance really means.
Paul Cliffe is a close friend is On Yavin, that Paul uses as an attack dog, but at least Yavin although somewhat deluded, has the balls to put his names to things he accuses people of, although just like Paul doesn't present any facts. They scaremonger, make accusations, create the big headlines of Scammer, or Criminal, or Fraudster...but the dog doesn't actually follow through and bite!
Both have narcissistic tendencies, they want to draw attention to themselves. But Paul Cliffe thinks he can operate anonymously, lacking both balls and conviction to account for his accusations of peoples apparent fraudulent activities, skirting over details, offering not actual evidence at all. In efforts to damage the reputation and business activities of others.
Paul Cliffe's last business Block Venture Project Ltd ended is dissolution. It was apparently a successful digital asset fund. Along with his previous 4 companies, all dissolved. So where did the fund money go? Or is this a facade, no substance, it never existed. Are the companies dissolved because they make no money or is there a tax avoidance thing going on? Did Paul Cliffe disclose this activities to his employers, as he had to have a job, as his businesses never made any money? Does his employer know he uses fake accounts? Attacks people with baseless accusations using a fake name? In his compliance role does his employer know he claims to run an investment fund?

Paul Cliffe's latest company dissolved. His 4th.
Block Venture Project Wix website is taken down. The company incorporated Feb 2018 was under mandatory striking off 16th July 2019. I was astonished at the number of shares issued 1 billion? Odd for a start up with no business?
Here are the others dissolved businesses. When you analyse the details since 2011 non of Paul Cliffe's businesses have filed any actual accounts. In fact all business were dissolved, a mandatory strike off. What this means is the business didn't make money, was left dormant and was starting to cost Mr Cliffe money.
Paul Cliffe's business portfolio makes interesting reading.
All dissolved and no accounts filed.
Another dormant company

Funny how those involved in 'smoke and mirrors' deceit stick together...follow similar patterns, accuse others...

It's a well know strategy of reflection called 'mirroring' used by sociopaths, to accuse others of the things you are guilty of. You could say I am doing the same, however in this case I am merely replying to accusations made. And yes I had the pleasure of working with two sociopaths i ejected from my life who spend time attacking everything I do. But hey, that's life.
In a similar fashion to Cointelliegence Ltd owned by On Yavin, the various businesses remained dormant for a number of years. Cointelligence trades in the UK, but has no income it seems nor has it filed any accounts. When you search Paul Cliffe on Companies House these are the only businesses that come up, but there are no actual accounts filed? Why is that? How does Mr Cliffe make money and where does he pay his taxes? The same questions I ask of Mr Yavin? Why the secrecy? Why can we not find your accounts, given the rest of us have to comply with UK companies law?
People is glass houses and all that...
Questions remain. In the last decade how has Paul Cliffe made a living? As his fake name Benj C does he make money from being a journalist, or hiding behind Crypto Police. Hiding being the key word here. And what is his real relationship with Mr Yavin?

Facade, veneer, smoke and mirrors

So we have two people Paul Cliffe and On Yavin who present themselves as successful business people, clean as a whistle, as they take the morale high ground.
But when you poke it, you find it is a facade. Paper-thin veneer of smoke and mirrors. Of dormant companies, the optics of tax avoidance, business that make no money, no filed accounts and no taxes paid . yet they accuse others of far worse.
People are concerned if they speak up they too will be attacked. At CC Forum Max suffered the same threats and had no option but to let things get out of hand which hurt our industry and made us look bad.
Should you trust anything Paul Cliffe or come to that On Yavin write about, say or do?
I say only this.
Ask to see the evidence.
submitted by AytonNick to u/AytonNick [link] [comments]

Liquid CAD: Canadian dollar payments on the Liquid Sidechain

Hello fellow Canadian bitcoiners or bitcoinca! You will find below all the information related to the launch of Liquid CAD and Bull Bitcoin's Liquid Bitcoin integration. I'll be checking comments here to answer your questions! I'm also posting some comments on my announcement tweet here: https://twitter.com/francispouliot\_/status/1245758698120605697?s=20

Making the Canadian Dollar Bleed Into Bitcoin

Building the infrastructure for the Bitcoin Standard in Canada before the collapse of fiat currencies is the critical mission objective that drives innovation at Bull Bitcoin.
We are very excited to announce an important milestone in fulfilling this duty: the public release of Liquid CAD, our newest product designed to accelerate and facilitate the adoption of Bitcoin.
Liquid CAD is a non-custodial prepaid payment system denominated in Canadian dollars. Units of Liquid CAD (L-CAD) consist of vouchers issued on the Liquid Network as confidential bearer assets that can be transacted peer-to-peer using a Liquid wallet.
Users acquire Liquid CAD by withdrawing their account balance out of Bull Bitcoin, by purchasing Liquid CAD with Bitcoin on Bull Bitcoin, by using the Liquid CAD withdrawal method on other Bitcoin liquidity providers such as Aquanow or by accepting L-CAD as method of payment.
L-CAD assets can only be redeemed for Bitcoin. They cannot be redeemed for a fiat currency payment.
Liquid CAD is a unique project rethinking the concept of fiat-pegged assets, avoiding the banking business model of “fiatcoin” (aka stablecoins) in favor of a prepaid payments model entirely centred around Bitcoin on-ramp and off-ramp. Liquid CAD is not a currency, nor is it a security: it is a prepaid card.
Importantly, the business model of Liquid CAD is not to collect interest on funds in our custody, unlike fiatcoins, but rather to drive the sales of Bitcoin from which we derive our revenue and we benefit from Liquid CAD assets being cashed out and thus removed from our balance sheet. Bull Bitcoin does not get any revenue from interest.
Every time an L-CAD token is purchased by a user, the amount of dollars deposited on Bull Bitcoin is guaranteed to one day be used by someone to purchase Bitcoin. It’s a one-way street: once a unit of fiat is tokenized as L-CAD, it’s never going back to its off-chain fiat form and will ultimately result in a buy order on a Bitcoin trading platform.
The Liquid CAD logo is a drop of blood because our objective is to accelerate “fiat bleed”, a phenomenon best described by Pierre Rochard in his magnificent essay Speculative Attack:
“Bitcoin will not be eagerly adopted by the mainstream, it will be forced upon them. Forced, as in “compelled by economic reality”. People will be forced to pay with bitcoins, not because of ‘the technology’, but because no one will accept their worthless fiat for payments. Contrary to popular belief, good money drives out bad. This “driving out” has started as a small fiat bleed. It will rapidly escalate into Class IV hemorrhaging due to speculative attacks on weak fiat currencies. The end result will be hyperbitcoinization, i.e. “your money is no good here. Bitcoins are not just good money, they are the best money. The Bitcoin network has the best monetary policy and the best brand. We should therefore expect that bitcoins will drive out bad, weak currencies. My own prediction is that slow bleed has been accelerating and is only the first step. The second step will be speculative attacks that use bitcoins as a platform. The third and final step will be hyperbitcoinization.”
Different representations of Canadian dollars compete to be used as payment methods (cash, bank balances, PayPal balances, closed-loop prepaid cards, open-loop prepaid cards, etc.) and that the winner will be the one that has the best Bitcoin saleability, i.e. which can be most easily sold for Bitcoin at a moment’s notice.
We’re very proud to provide this alternative payment method to Canadians in a time where the banking system is falling deeper into crisis, especially as the Canadian dollar is demonstrating itself to be one of the most pointless and weakest currencies that nobody really wants to hold.
Finally, we’re very happy to be partnering with Aquanow, our recommended institutional liquidity provider for high-volume BTC-CAD trading. They will accept Liquid CAD deposits and withdrawals as being interchangeable with Canadian dollars. We hope that Liquid CAD will become the standard representation of Canadian dollar value among Canadian Bitcoin users.

Liquid Bitcoin (L-BTC) integration

In addition to Liquid CAD, Bull Bitcoin is also announcing that Liquid Bitcoin (L-BTC) payments are now supported interchangeably with Bitcoin transactions for all Bull Bitcoin services. This means that our users can buy, sell and spend L-BTC instead of BTC.
Canadian Bitcoin traders can purchase L-BTC from BullBitcoin.com and fund their international trading accounts with L-BTC using ultra fast and cheap confidential transactions. They can also cash-out their Bitcoin balance as L-BTC from these platforms and sell those L-BTC for fiat on Bylls.com, avoiding risky and expensive international wire transfers to unknown and untrusted foreign banks.
The transactional benefits of L-BTC are very potent:
Disclaimer: Liquid Bitcoin (L-BTC) is not the same as Bitcoin (BTC). L-BTC Liquid Network assets are IOUs for Bitcoin held in a multisignature contract by the Liquid Network federation. The custody of the underlying Bitcoin is managed by a decentralized network of 15 members which process transactions and withdrawals from the multisignature contract according to the Liquid Federation protocol rules.

Liquid CAD detailed overview

Peer-to-peer prepaid payments by Bull Bitcoin

Liquid CAD is a non-custodial prepaid payment system denominated in Canadian dollars. Units of Liquid CAD (L-CAD) consist of vouchers issued on the Liquid Network as confidential bearer assets that can be transacted peer-to-peer using a Liquid wallet. Users acquire Liquid CAD by withdrawing their account balance out of the Bull Bitcoin, by purchasing Liquid CAD with Bitcoin on Bull Bitcoin, by using the Liquid CAD withdrawal method on other Bitcoin liquidity providers such as Aquanow or by accepting L-CAD as method of payment.

A new payment method in Canada

Liquid CAD can be used by anyone to send and receive payments denominated in Canadian dollars. Because of the permissionless nature of the Liquid Network, Bull Bitcoin cannot prevent Liquid CAD from being traded on secondary markets. Merchants, individuals and institutions must accept that only Bull Bitcoin can guarantee redemption of the L-CAD and that this redemption will be exclusively paid out in Bitcoin. Accepting Liquid CAD as payment is, in effect, the same as accepting gift cards as payment. However, Bitcoin being the most liquid commodity on the market, it can be transformed into any other currency easily for example using services such a Bylls which allow Canadians to pay all their utility bills, send bank transfers to third parties or sell Bitcoin to their bank account.

Making Canadian dollars bleed into Bitcoin

The purpose of Liquid CAD is to facilitate the transfer fiat in the context of the purchase and sale of Bitcoin and providing innovative new services that help Bitcoin users hedge the value of Canadian dollars against Bitcoin in the context of their commercial transactions. Our goal is to create a payment method that is specifically targeting Bitcoin users that wish to liquidate Canadian dollar payments for Bitcoin. Our mission is to accelerate the phenomenon known as “fiat bleed” whereby Canadians will gradually abandon inferior money (such as the Canadian dollar) for the superior Bitcoin alternative. Every Liquid CAD issued will ultimately be exchanged into Bitcoin. We are excited for the day Liquid CAD will be made obsolete by the inevitable hyperbitcoinization of the Canadian economy.

Regulation: is Liquid CAD a stablecoin?

Liquid CAD is not a general-purpose “stablecoin”. It is a closed-loop Bitcoin prepaid card. It can exclusively be redeemed for Bitcoin on the Bull Bitcoin platform (or at affiliated merchants). Bull Bitcoin is the only counterparty, and it cannot be redeemed for a canadian dollar payment. It is substantively the same as Canadian Tire money. Unlike stablecoins, Bull Bitcoin makes money with L-CAD by driving the sales of Bitcoin on its platform, and doesn’t collect interest on the deposits of Liquid CAD users.
The purchase of Liquid CAD with Canadian dollars is regulated in the Province of Quebec as a prepaid card under the Consumer Protection Act and the Regulation respecting the application of the Consumer Protection Act Consumer Protection Act which define a prepaid card as “a certificate, card or other medium of exchange that is paid in advance and allows the consumer to acquire goods or services from one or more merchants”.
The purchase of Bitcoin using Liquid CAD is regulated in Canada by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (S.C. 2000, c. 17).

Counterparty risk

Like all other closed-loop prepaid instruments, Liquid CAD has counterparty risk. The owners are trusting that they will eventually be able to use Liquid CAD as a payment method on the Bull Bitcoin platform to fund their account and purchase Bitcoin. When a Bull Bitcoin user withdraws his Bull Bitcoin account balance as an L-CAD token, the Canadian dollars he used to fund this balance remains in our possession in the same manner as regular Bull Bitcoin vouchers. These funds are used to execute Bitcoin purchases when L-CAD owners decide to redeem their L-CAD for Bitcoin. In essence, each L-CAD is “backed” by the Canadian dollar deposit of the user that withdraws it from the platform in the first place.

Benefits of using and accepting Liquid CAD for payments

Irreversible, non-custodial and no bank required

Liquid CAD payments cannot be charged back, cancelled, delayed or frozen. There is no intermediary between the sender and the recipient. It is a bearer asset: whoever owns the keys owns the coins. It is a perfect way to accept payments or transact securely without depending on banks and payment processors. Canadians can use Liquid CAD to purchase Bitcoin and then use Bylls.com to pay billers, personal payees or simply sell Bitcoin to their bank account.

Fast transaction and cheap fees

Liquid Network transactions are sent and received instantly and require 1 minute for settlement. Transaction fees paid using Liquid Bitcoin can be as low as 300 satoshis per transaction (a few cents). In order to benefit from these cheap fees, make sure to download the latest version of the Elements software and ensure that the minimum transaction fee is set at 100 satoshis per kilobye. It only takes a few minutes to set up a free Liquid Network wallet, such a Green Wallet by blockstream.

Confidential transactions

Unlike Bitcoin, transactions between the sender and the recipient are encrypted. It is impossible for third parties observing Liquid CAD transactions on a block explorer to determine the amount of the transaction. In addition, it’s also impossible to even know you are using Liquid CAD, since the data identifying the asset itself is also encrypted!

What are the use-cases of Liquid CAD?

Buying and selling Bitcoin

The primary use-case of Liquid CAD is to make it easier to buy and sell Bitcoin on the Bull Bitcoin platform. By withdrawing their balance from Bull Bitcoin, users are reducing some (but not all) of the custody risk associated with keeping fiat currency on an exchange. For example, use Liquid CAD to create your own non-custodial dollar-cost-averaging schedule!

Onboarding new Bitcoin users

New users can be overwhelmed by the experience of dealing with banks to buy Bitcoin (and the heavier KYC process of account funding). You may be tempted to buy Bitcoin for them, but that will impose a lot of burdens on you. It’s much easier to set them up with a Green wallet, send them Liquid CAD and show them how to use Bull Bitcoin! They decide when is the right time for them to invest, with a lower KYC burden.

Hedging Bitcoin price

You may believe the price of Bitcoin will go down in the short term, but you still want to hold Bitcoin in the long term. Normally you have two options: short the Bitcoin price (very risky!) or sell your Bitcoin and receive Canadian dollars in your bank account (inconvenient!). By selling your Bitcoin for Liquid CAD, you can lock in the value of Bitcoin right now and buy them back later without needing to use your bank account or taking risks with leverage.

Accepting payments

As a merchant, you want to receive the settlement of payments in Bitcoin. But this imposes a burden on your customers, which have to deal with the Bitcoin price volatility when they are paying you. Ask your clients to pay you with Liquid CAD, and you can get the settlement with Bitcoin on your own terms.

Payroll and suppliers

What if your staff or suppliers want to get paid in Bitcoin? It can be very difficult, because this means you are effectively buying Bitcoin on their behalf. Instead, you can pay them in Liquid CAD and let them deal with the process of choosing the exchange rate and using their own wallet. Let them deal with the tax burden, exchange rates and Bitcoin wallet security.

List of Bull Bitcoin Liquid Network features

Withdraw account balance as L-CAD

This is conceptually the same as “buying” Liquid CAD with your account balance. We call it “Withdrawing L-CAD” because on the Bull Bitcoin platform, we consider L-CAD and CAD to be interchangeable and fungible.

Fund account balance with L-CAD

To redeem Liquid CAD for Bitcoin, users need to first fund their account by selecting the “Deposit L-CAD” payment method. Bull Bitcoin users must always fund their account first before buying Bitcoin, and then purchase Bitcoin with their account balances. Reminder: account balances cannot be withdraw as fiat payments, but can later be withdrawn again as L-CAD.

Sell Bitcoin for L-CAD

You can sell Bitcoin and receive Liquid CAD payments instead of a bill payment, personal payee payment or bank payment. As soon as the Bitcoin transaction is confirmed, the Liquid CAD transaction is sent to the address you provided.

Liquid Bitcoin (L-BTC) and Bitcoin interchangeability

For every service which involves a Bitcoin payment, the user can substitute traditional Bitcoin payments for Liquid Bitcoin payments. This includes:
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Original medium post: https://medium.com/@francispouliot/liquid-cad-canadian-dollar-payments-on-the-liquid-sidechain-f7e3309f8a5f
Official landing page: lcad.bullbitcoin.com
Application page: bullbitcoin.com/l-cad
submitted by FrancisPouliot to BitcoinCA [link] [comments]

KYC is absolutely not acceptable for MakerDAO!

I've heard that founder of MakerDAO is not strictly against KYC. I have a message to whole community and specifically to a founder of MakerDAO Rune Christensen. I will explain using concrete examples why having KYC in MakerDAO is a grave mistake and it will lead to MakerDAO fork.
Many people in the first world never actually understand why financial privacy and financial inclusion is important. Even people (in the first world) who seemingly supportive of such ideas are not able to provide any concrete examples of why it's actually important.
Unfortunately, I was born in a "wrong" country (Uzbekistan) and I experienced first hand what financial exclusion actually means. I know first hand that annoying feeling when you read polite, boilerplate rejection letter from financial institution based in first world. So I had to become practical libertarian. I'm going to give you concrete examples of financial discrimination against me. Then I'm going to explain fundamental reasons why it happens. And finally, I'm going to explain my vision for DAI.
Back in 2005, I lived in Uzbekistan. I had an idea to invest in US stocks. I was very naive and I didn't know anything about investing, compliance, bank transfers, KYC etc. All I knew is nice long term charts of US stocks and what P/E means. I didn't contact any US brokerage but I checked information about account opening and how to transfer money there. I approached local bank in Uzbekistan and asked how to transfer money to Bank of New York. Banker's face was like - WOW, WTF?!?! They asked me to go to private room to talk with senior manager. Senior manager of local bank in Uzbekistan asked me why I wanted to transfer money to US. They told me that it's absolutely impossible to transfer money to US/EU and pretty much anywhere. I approached nearly every local bank in the town and they told me the same.
In 2012, I already lived in Moscow and acquired Russian citizenship. I got back to my old idea - investing in US stocks. I called to many US brokerages and all of them politely rejected me. Usually when I called I asked them if I can open an account with them. They told me to hold on line. After long pause, I was able to speak with "senior" support who politely explain me that Russia in their list of restricted countries and they can't open an account for me. Finally, I was able to open an account with OptionsXpress. Next challenge was to convince local Russian bank to transfer money to US. Back then in 2012, I was able to get permission to do so. So you might say - is this happy end?
Fast forwarding US brokerage story to 2017, OptionsXpress was acquired by Charles Schwab. I was notified that my OptionsXpress account will be migrated to Charles Schwab platform. In 2017, I already lived in the Netherlands (but still having Russian citizenship). I wasn't happy with my stupid job in the Netherlands. I called Charles Schwab and asked if I quit my job in the Netherlands and have to return to Russia, what will happen with my account. Schwab told me that they will restrict my account, so I can't do anything except closing my account. So even if I was long term customer of OptionsXpress, Charles Schwab is not fully okay with me.
Going back to 2013, I still lived in Russia. I had another idea. What if I quit my job and build some SAAS platform (or whatever) and sell my stuff to US customers. So I need some website which accept US credit cards. I contacted my Russian bank (who previously allowed me to transfer money to OptionsXpress) about steps to make in order to accept US credit cards in Russia. I've been told explicitly in email that they won't allow me to accept US credit cards under any circumstances.
Back then I still believed in "the free west". So I thought - no problem, I will just open bank account abroad and do all operations from my foreign account. I planned vacation in Hong Kong. And Hong Kong is freest economy in the world. Looks like it's right place to open bank account. I contacted HSBC Hong Kong via email. Their general support assured me that I can open bank account with them if I'm foreigner. I flew to Hong Kong for vacation and visited HSBC branch. Of course, they rejected me. But they recommended me to visit last floor in their HQ building, they told me that another HSBC branch specializes on opening bank accounts for foreigners. I went there and they said minimum amount to open bank account is 10 mil HKD (1.27 mil USD). Later I learned that it's called private banking.
When I relocated to the Netherlands, I asked ABN Amro staff - what's happen with my bank account if I quit/lose my job in the Netherlands and have to return back to Russia. I've been told that I can't have my dutch bank account if I go back to Russia even if I already used their bank for 2+ years.
I still had idea that I would like to quit my job and do something for myself. The problem is that I'm Russian citizen and I don't have any residency which is independent from my employment. So if I quit my job in the Netherlands, I have to return back to Russia. I wanted to see how I would get payments from US/EU customers. I found Stripe Atlas, it's so exciting, they help you to incorporate in US, and even help with banking, all process of receiving credit card payments is very smooth. But as usual in my case, there is a catch - Russia in their list of restricted countries.
Speaking of centralized compliance-friendly (e.g. KYC) crypto exchanges. This year I live and work in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, I thought it would be nice to have an account at local crypto exchange in Hong Kong so I can quickly transfer money from my bank account in Hong Kong to crypto exchange using FPS (local payment system for fast bank transfers). What could go wrong? After all Hong Kong is freest economy in the world, right? I submitted KYC documents to crypto exchange called Weever including copy of my Hong Kong ID as they requested. They very quickly responded that they need copy of my passport as well. I submitted copy of my Russian passport. This time they got silent. After a few days, they sent me email saying that Russia is on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control sanction list, so they just require me to fill a form about source of the funds. I told them that the source of my funds is salary, my Hong Kong bank can confirm that along with my employment contract. They got very silent after I sent them a filled form. After a week of silence I asked them - when my account get approved? They said that their compliance office will review my application soon. And they got very silent again. I waited for two or three weeks. Then I asked them again. And I immediately got email with title - Rejection for Weever Account Opening. And text of email was:
We are sorry to inform you that Weever may not be able to accept your account opening application at this stage.
Exactly the same situation I had with one crypto exchange in Europe back in 2017. Luckily I have accounts at other crypto exchanges including Gemini, one of most compliance obsessed exchange in the world. Although I don't keep my money there because I can't trust them, who knows what might come into head of their compliance officer one sunny day.
By the way, I'm living and working outside of Russia for quite a few years. The situation with crypto exchanges is much worse for those who still living in Russia.
I give you a few other examples of financial discrimination is not related to troubles with my Russian citizenship.
Back in 2018, I still lived in the Netherlands. I logged in into my brokerage account just to buy US ETFs as I always do - SPY and QQQ. I placed my order and it failed to fill. I thought it's just a technical problem with my brokerage account. After a few failed attempts to send buy orders for SPY and QQQ, I contacted their support. What they told me was shocking and completely unexpected. They said I'm not permitted to buy US ETFs anymore as EU resident because EU passed a law to protect retail investors. So as a EU resident I'm allowed to be exposed to more risk by buying individual US stocks but I'm not allowed to reduce my risk by buying SPY because ... EU wants to protect me. I felt final result of new law. By the way, on paper their law looks fine.
And the final example. It's a known fact that US public market become less attractive in recent decades. Due to heavy regulatory burden companies prefer to go public very late. So if successful unicorn startup grows from its inception/genesis to late adoption, company's valuation would be 3-5 orders of orders of magnitude. For example, if valuation of successful company at inception is 1 Mil USD, then at its very latest stage it's valuation would be 10 Bil USD. So we have 10'000 times of growth. In the best case scenario, company would go public at 1 Bil USD 5-10 years before reaching its peak 10 Bil USD. So investors in private equity could enjoy 1000 fold growth and just leave for public only last 10 fold growth stretched in time. In the worst case scenario, company would go public at 10 Bil USD, i.e. at its historical peak. But there are well known platforms to buy shares of private companies, one of such platforms is Forge Global. You can buy shares of almost all blue chip startups. You can even invest in SpaceX! But as always, there is a catch - US government wants to protect not just US citizens but all people in the world (sounds ridiculous, right?). US law requires you to have 1 Mil USD net worth or 200'000 USD annual income if you want to buy shares of non-public company. So if you are high-net worth individual you can be called "accredited investor". Funny thing is that the law intends to protect US citizens but even if you are not US citizen and never even lived in US, this law is still applies to you in practice. So if you are "poor loser", platforms like Forge Global will reject you.
So high-net worth individuals have access and opportunity to Bitcoin-style multi-magnitude growth every 5-10 years. Contrary to private equity markets, US public markets is low risk/low return type of market. If you have small amount of capital, it's just glorified way to protect yourself from inflation plus some little return on top. It's not bad, US public market is a still great way to store your wealth. But I'm deeply convinced that for small capital you must seek fundamentally different type of market - high risk/high return. It's just historical luck that Bitcoin/Ethereum/etc were available for general public from day one. But in reality, viral/exponential growth is happening quite often. It's just you don't have access to such type of markets due to regulatory reasons.
I intentionally described these examples of financial discrimination in full details as I experienced them because I do feel that vast majority of people in the first world honestly think that current financial system works just fine and only criminals and terrorists are banned. In reality that's not true at all. 99.999% of innocent people are completely cut off from modern financial system in the name of fighting against money laundering.
Here is a big picture why it's happening. There are rich countries (so called western world) and poor countries (so called third world). Financial wall is carefully built by two sides. Authoritarian leaders of poor countries almost always want full control over their population, they don't like market economy, and since market forces don't value their crappy legal system (because it works only for close friends of authoritarian leader) they must implement strict capital control. Otherwise, all capital will run away from their country because nobody really respects their crappy legal system. It only has value under heavy gun of government. Only friends of authoritarian leader can move their money out of country but not you.
Leaders of rich countries want to protect their economy from "dirty money" coming from third world. Since citizens of poor countries never vote for leaders of rich countries nobody really cares if rich country just ban everyone from poor country. It's the most lazy way to fight against money laundering - simply ban everyone from certain country.
Actually if you look deeper you will see that rich countries very rarely directly ban ordinary people from third world. Usually, there is no such law which doesn't allow me to open bank account somewhere in Europe as non-EU resident. What's really happens is that US/EU government implement very harsh penalties for financial institutions if anything ever goes wrong.
So what's actually happens is that financial institutions (banks, brokerages etc) do de-risking. This is the most important word you must know about traditional financial system!
So if you have wrong passport, financial institution (for example) bank from rich country just doesn't want to take any risks dealing with you even if you are willing to provide full documentation about your finances. It's well known fact that banks in Hong Kong, Europe, US like to unexpectedly shutdown accounts of thousands innocent businesses due to de-risking.
So it's actually de-risking is the real reason why I was rejected so many times by financial institutions in the first world!!! It's de-risking actually responsible for banning 99.999% of innocent people. So governments of rich democratic countries formally have clean hands because they are not banning ordinary people from third world directly. All dirty job is done by financial institutions but governments are well aware of that, it's just more convenient way to discriminate. And nobody actually cares! Ordinary citizens in rich countries are never exposed to such problems and they really don't care about people in third world, after all they are not citizens of US/EU/UK/CH/CA/HK/SG/JP/AU/NZ.
And now are you ready for the most hilarious part? If you are big corrupt bureaucrat from Russia you are actually welcome by the first world financial institutions! All Russian's junta keep their stolen money all across Europe and even in US. You might wonder how this is possible if the western financial system is so aggressive in de-risking.
Here is a simple equation which financial institution should solve when they decide whether to open an account for you or not:
Y - R = net profit
Where:
Y - how much profit they can make with you;
R - how much regulatory risk they take while working with you;
That's it! It's very simple equation. So if you are really big junta member from Russia you are actually welcome according to this equation. Banks have special name for serving (ultra) high-net worth individuals, it's called private banking. It's has nothing to do with the fact that bank is private. It's just fancy name for banking for rich.
So what's usually happen in real world. Some Estonian or Danish bank got caught with large scale money laundering from Russia. European leaders are ashamed in front of their voters. They implement new super harsh law against money laundering to keep their voters happy. Voters are ordinary people, they don't care about details of new regulations. So banks get scared and abruptly shutdown ALL accounts of Russian customers. And European voters are happy.
Modern money laundering laws are like shooting mouse in your house using bazooka! It's very efficient to kill mouse, right?
Now imagine world without financial borders. It's hard to do so because we are all get so used to current status quo of traditional financial system. But with additional effort you can start asking questions - if Internet economy is so global and it doesn't really matter where HQ of startup is located, why they are all concentrated in just a few tiny places like Silicon Valley and ... well, that's mostly it if you count the biggest unicorns!
Another question would be - why so many talented russian, indian, chinese programmers just go to the same places like San Francisco, London and make super rich companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple to get even richer? If all you need is laptop and access to internet, why you don't see any trade happening between first and third world?
Well actually there is a trade between first and third world but it's not exactly what I want to see. Usually third world countries sell their natural resources through giant corporations to the first world.
So it's possible to get access to the first world market from third world but this access usually granted only to big and established companies (and usually it means not innovative).
Unicorns are created through massive parallel experiment. Every week bunch of new startups are created in Silicon Valley. Thousands and thousands startups are created in Silicon Valley with almost instant access to global market. Just by law of large numbers you have a very few of them who later become unicorns and dominate the world.
But if you have wrong passport and you are located in "wrong" country where every attempt to access global market is very costly, then you most likely not to start innovative startup in the first place. In the best case scenario, you just create either local business or just local copy-paste startup (copied from the west) oriented on (relatively small) domestic market. Obviously in such setup it's predictable that places like Silicon Valley will have giant advantage and as a result all unicorns get concentrated in just a few tiny places.
In the world without financial barriers there will be much smaller gap between rich and poor countries. With low barrier of entry, it won't be a game when winner takes all.
Whole architecture of decentralized cryptocurrencies is intended to remove middle man and make transactions permissionless. Governments are inherently opposite to that, they are centralized and permissioned. Therefore, decentralized cryptocurrencies are fundamentally incompatible with traditional financial system which is full of middle mans and regulations (i.e. permissions).
Real value of crypto are coming from third world, not the first world. People are buying crypto in rich countries just want to invest. Their financial system and their fiat money are more or less already working for them. So there is no immediate urgency to get rid of fiat money in the first world. So the first world citizens buying crypto on centralized KYCd exchanges are essentially making side bet on the success of crypto in third world.
Real and natural environment of cryptocurrencies is actually dark OTC market in places like Venezuela and China.
But cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have a big limitation to wide adoption in third world - high volatility.
So the real target audience is oppressed (both by their own government and by first world governments) ordinary citizens of third world countries yet they are least who can afford to take burden of high volatility.
Right now, Tether is a big thing for dark markets across the world (by the way, dark market doesn't automatically imply bad!). But Tether soon or later be smashed by US/EU regulators.
The only real and working permissionless stable cryptocurrency (avoiding hyped word - stablecoin) is DAI.
DAI is the currency for post-Tether world to lead dark OTC market around the world and subvert fiat currencies of oppressive third world governments.
Once DAI become de-facto widespread currency in shadow economy in all of third world, then it will be accepted (after many huge push backs from governments) as a new reality. I'm talking about 10-20+ years time horizon.
But if MakerDAO chooses the route of being compliance friendly then DAI will lose its real target audience (i.e. third world).
I can not imagine US/EU calmly tolerate someone buying US stocks and using as a collateral to issue another security (i.e. DAI) which is going to be traded somewhere in Venezuela! You can not be compliance friendly and serve people in Venezuela.
Facebook's Libra was stupidest thing I've seen. It's extremely stupid to ask permission from the first world regulators to serve third world and create borderless economy. Another stupid thing is to please third world governments as well. For example, Libra (if ever run) will not serve Indian, Chinese, Venezuelan people. Who is then going to use stupid Libra? Hipsters in Silicon Valley? Why? US dollars are good enough already.
submitted by omgcoin to MakerDAO [link] [comments]

King of Stablecoins Tether Faces Regulatory Uncertainties Report How Criminals are using Gift Cards to Launder Money Digital currencies like bitcoin are coming (and it's a good thing): Juan Llanos at TEDxMidAtlantic Grayscale CEO US Regulators Can’t Shut Down Bitcoin Money Laundering 101 How Criminals Use Bitcoin To Hide Illegal Money

Compliance can help keep MSBs from becoming a front for cryptocurrency money laundering cases reducing bitcoin money laundering risk. Compliance can further cause criminals to shy away, keeping all transactions at the MSB free from the taint of dirty crypto. Insisting on AML process, procedure, and systems centralization and compliance, however The Bitcoin product should be considered high risk. As Bitcoin dramatically increased in value, so did successful hacking events. In many of the hacking events, there were fraud and money laundering, which resulted in fines and arrests. Bitcoin provides alternative means to avoid economic sanctions. A community dedicated to Bitcoin, the currency of the Internet. Bitcoin is a distributed, worldwide, decentralized digital money. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever: there is no government, company, or bank in charge of Bitcoin. Why money laundering risk is very real with crypto cards (often due to the unofficial and roundabout way they've gone about issuance or for compliance Ever since it became obvious bitcoin Bitcoin, money laundering and compliance risk. Miranda Alexander-Webber; 06 Aug 2013; Tweet . Facebook . LinkedIn . Save this article. Send to . Print this page . Earlier this year, the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York described digital currency company Liberty Reserve as the "financial hub of the cybercrime world". On

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King of Stablecoins Tether Faces Regulatory Uncertainties Report

A Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, Juan has over a decade's experience of building and managing AML/CFT and regulatory compliance programs for multiple international jurisdictions ... How are criminals using bitcoin to launder money? How is money laundering with bitcoin different from traditional money laundering methods? ... Compliance Prep 17,682 views. 7:43. Please Donate to Smaulgld.com https://PayPal.Me/smaulgld/25 or via Bitcoin 18reGtCfYnh37N2Xfqryx3dJT5cf4FfrEu or Lite Coin LMrV7SRNkNsmRj4tYQiLFcXgpUh213aKw7... This was further stepped up last week when the International Financial Action Task Force said that stablecoins must comply with relevant standards for the prevention of money laundering and ... All payments are processed immediately without delay, with a simple scan, eliminating any transaction value risk. It includes PCI-DSS compliance and 24/7 fraud monitoring.

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