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Bob The Magic Custodian
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
If you are planning to place assets into cryptographic types of cash like Bitcoin or Ether, in any case, you do not understand where to start, this Gemini exchange review will help you with choosing. Gemini Bitcoin Exchange Review 2020 You need yourself to be a productive advanced cash intermediary. By what technique will you become? To help you here's an exchange review, which will give every one of you the low down information required for a powerful enthusiasm for one of the most trusted in stages the Gemini Exchange. We should find all the more right currently review Gemini Review : About Gemini Exchange Twin kin developed Gemini Winklevoss in the year 2014. The Gemini exchange is arranged in New York. The Gemini crypto exchange is open in essentially all US states, similarly as UK, Canada, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong. In 2016, Gemini transformed into the world's recently approved Ether exchange. It positions 82th greatest exchange on earth as showed by 24-hour volume on Coinmarketcap. While Gemini Bitcoin and Gemini Ethereum trading volumes are high, the exchange is endeavoring with all undertakings to fight with those stages offering a predominant piece of the cryptographic types of cash, for instance, Binance. Reinforced Currencies Gemini offers crypto to fiat portions and a BTC/ETH grandstand, which makes it a quick contender to any similarity to Coinbase, Bitstamp, and Kraken. At present, it is one of the most respected and ensure about exchanges open. This is in light of the fact that it has more features to help secure customers against developers. Also, it is one exchange for the CBOE Bitcoin future settlement. Gemini Mobile application is directly available, which is amazingly basic and versatile to use. How to use Gemini? https://preview.redd.it/qnowl19fwaj41.jpg?width=720&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=1819eeac9d4c44681c0afe616d387b60a78f7c8e 1) Go to the official site and snap the "Register" tab on the upper right corner. Enter your name, email address, and mystery word for your own record. While affirming your email address, it is critical to : Affirm your email address and enter both your region and phone number, by then you can set up 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) which will be an additional layer of security to your record. Incorporate your monetary equalization. Starting at now, Gemini recognizes simply bank moves and wires, as a methodology for putting away holds. To check your record, move your organization ID proof. This will help you with executing and trade US Dollars. Moreover, it will help Gemini with as per the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) rules. The affirmation time may run from a couple to a couple of days. Subsequent to completing of all the above strategies, you can use your record for financing. gemini crypto exchange 2) Deposit Currency In the Menu, click Transfer Funds, by then find a good pace Bank Transfer and Exchange. Enter the whole you have to store here. Moreover, note $500 consistently is the most extraordinary most extreme for Bank moves. 3) Trading Bitcoin and Ethereum As you store by methods for bank move, they are quickly available for trading. you can purchase by encountering the menu and picking your supported trading pair. For example, for Bitcoin BTC/USD similarly as Ethereum ETH/USD. In the wake of embeddings the expense and sum it will process your buy demand. There is another choice to trade by methods for the business community which has exhibit orders gave by various customers. After the fulfillment of your purchase, your record will be acknowledged with your Ethereum just as Bitcoin purchases. You can sell your computerized cash on the Gemini crypto exchange. Regardless of the way that you can't make a withdrawal until your bank move has been completely arranged. gemini sponsor organization 4)Trading Limits By and by, For most trade strategies, there are no limitations on trades. In any case, Automated Clearing House (ACH) moves have the greatest store most remote purpose of $500 day and $15,000 consistently for singular record holders. Associations have a state of restriction for making ACH stores of $10,000 consistently or $300,000 consistently. Gemini Marketplace There is a Gemini business focus that runs 24*7. Here, you can have indistinguishable number of solicitations from you wish to have, with a variety of trading choices. These include: Market Orders – With the present best open worth, the solicitations here starting dealing with quickly against resting orders. Purpose of repression Orders – The sum is filled at or better than a given expense. The sum which isn't dispatched lays on the solicitation book diligently until it is filled or dropped. Brief or Cancel (IOC) Limit Orders – The sum is filled at or better than a given expense. The sum which isn't filled rapidly is dropped and doesn't lay on the perpetual solicitation book. Maker or Cancel (MOC) Limit Orders – The sum lays on the solicitation book continually at a foreordained expense. Furthermore, the entire solicitation is dropped if there is any sum that can be filled immediately. All solicitations made on this stage are totally sponsored and fill in as a full hold exchange. In any case, there is no edge trading Gemini. Despite that, reliably the customer's record equality should have more balance than the exceptional excitement on demand books. Also, all open solicitations decline your available leveling until they are fulfilled or dropped Gemini Fees In the event that there ought to be an event of moves, Gemini crypto exchange has a low cost technique and stage customers can store Bitcoin, Ether, at freed from charges for both bank and wire moves. In any case, banks will charge a cost for the customers to wire money to their Gemini account. Withdrawals on the stage are free and all customers will have 30 free withdrawals for each calendar month. Any withdrawals more than this total will pull in costs comparable to the mining charges payable on either sort out. The costs are around 0.001 BTC or 100,000 Satoshi per trade on the Bitcoin Network and 0 GWei or 0 ETH per trade on the Ethereum Network. MakeTaker charges 0.25% is the trading costs for both sellers(makers) and buyers(takers). If it shows up at certain trade volumes, charges will be reduced. The maker charge is 0% for 30-day trading volumes that outperform 5,000 Bitcoin or 100,000 Ether. For a comparable trading entirety, the taker run after will bubble to 0.10%. Gemini uses dynamic maker and taker charge or reimbursement timetable, and sellers can get reimbursement on liquidity-creation trades. The particular entireties depend upon net trading volumes and the buy and sell extent over a multi day time allotment. The data are adjusted as expected and more information on charges can be found here. https://preview.redd.it/exgucn9gwaj41.png?width=225&format=png&auto=webp&s=34fc66d46df40444abcc9ac61308106b2e3f57c0 charges Concerning purchases, the base purchase whole for Bitcoin is 0.00001 BTC, or 1000 satoshis, for Ether, the base sum is 0 .001 ETH Security-at-Gemini Bitcoin Gemini Reviews, is a strong exchange that has a better than average reputation in everyone. The exchange goes about as a way into the universe of cryptographic cash trading. This may be in light of the fact that various customers first quit concerning purchasing Bitcoin and Ethereum. In comprehension to Coinbase, Gemini has a near space. Wherein it allows its customers to make trade clearly to and from their records. Gemini is a not too bad choice, for people looking to securely trade either Bitcoin or Ethereum. The exchange is a potential decision for new competitors to the market similarly as logically settled sellers who like to make trades by methods for their monetary adjusts. Latest News Dec 17, 2019: Well realized cash related pro association State Street picked Gemini exchange for the new propelled asset pilot adventure. Nov 19, 2019: Gemini exchange wanders into NFT's and acquired Nifty Gateway Solution, a phase to buy Non-Fungible Tokens. Nov 14, 2019: The exchange added Stop-Limit to the solicitations being executed on the stage. Sep 11, 2019: Gemini dispatches Gemini Custody with 18 cryptographic types of cash Sep 5, 2019: Gemini Clearing™, a totally electronic clearing and settlement answer for off-exchange exhibited by the stage Aud 27, 2019: Gemini Joins the Silvergate Exchange Network Aug 22, 2019: Gemini loosens up and reaches to Australia April 15, 2019: Gemini wallet support Segwit Gemini Bitcoin Exchange Review Rundown: How to Buy Bitcoins by means of Gemini Register a record at Gemini and check email code sent to you. Set up two-factor validation (2FA). Give checked ID as a major aspect of the confirmation procedure. Include ledger. Store cash by clicking "Move Funds", "Store into Exchange" and afterward picking the sort of bank move. Snap "Purchase" catch and round out the buy structure to get BTC. Is Gemini Safe? Gemini is extremely worried about its clients' wellbeing, in this manner it utilize three arrangements of security... MORE Gemini Comparison with Other Exchanget To exchange bitcoins you have to initially peruse and think about various BTC trades... MORE In Which Countries Is Gemini Available? You can arrange bitcoins through Gemini nearly in any nation, yet discover where you can't... MORE Guide: Buying BTCs at Gemini It is anything but difficult to purchase bitcoins on Gemini trade, knowing the essential standards and prerequisites... MORE FAQ Discover to what extent the exchange takes, how to pull back BTCs and what strategies for... MORE Practically equivalent to Bitcoin Exchanges We have arranged a rundown of trades, notwithstanding Gemini, that can assist you with requesting bitcoins... MORE With developing worth and system, bitcoin is ready to turn into the main online resource in the realm of ventures. Gemini bitcoin trade survey This article is worried about one of the most well known trades with regards to BTC exchange, Gemini. What Is Gemini? Gemini is one of the realized digital money trades that offer an assortment of exchange apparatuses for speculators that have some involvement with the business. The organization that claims the stage is enrolled as LLC in New York State, USA, offering USD to BTC and USD to ETH exchange trade. Purchase BTC at Gemini Propelled in 2015, Gemini offers two unmistakable commercial centers, them being: customary trade administrations; bitcoin barters. Upon its appearance, the stage offered its administrations in the US just, bit by bit including different nations all the while. The organization is possessed by the Winklevoss twins, who guarantee that they are have about 1% of the complete BTC volume. Winklevoss siblings are Gemini's proprietors Gemini Security With regards to the wellbeing of your assets, Gemini applies three arrangements of safety efforts that should be referenced. To start with, the stage applies advanced money safety efforts by offering hot and cold stockpiling wallets, where cold wallets have multisig capacities to forestall hacking endeavors at your equalizations. Gemini security The subsequent measure is identified with the exchange where the entirety of the exchanges at Gemini are led through pre-financed accounts, implying that merchants and purchasers can't post orders on the off chance that they don't have adequate BTC or fiat monetary forms in their parities. Finally, the site security comprises of two-factor verification (2FA) and HTTP encryption of all data in regards to merchants and stage's exchanges from outsiders. Accessible Payment Methods As of now, Gemini acknowledges stores communicated distinctly in ACH (for US dealers) and wire moves (for every other person) communicated in USD. Credit or check cards, money stores, PayPal and numerous different alternatives are wanted to be remembered for the future however are not accessible at the present time. Buy bitcoin by means of wire move You ought to buy in to the Gemini news source since the organization will promote the new store strategy through that channel of correspondence. Shouldn't something be said about Fees? While saving or pulling back your assets communicated in fiat or computerized monetary forms, dealers would find that the administrations are done totally free. Then again, Gemini charges exchange expenses are charged dependent on a month to month net exchange volume. Taker charges can extend from 0.15% to 0.25% while creator expenses from 0% to 0.25%. Expenses at the trade Does Gemini Have Limits? Cryptographic money and wire stores and withdrawals don't have any constraints forced on dealers, implying that in the event that you utilize the said administrations, you can buy, sell and pull back bitcoins with no deterrents. Singular American financial specialists utilizing ACH move, then again, have $500 every day and $15.000 month to month while institutional individuals have $10.000 day by day and $300.000 month to month store limits. No restrictions for purchasing bitcoin Gemini Comparison When thinking about exchanging at any trade, you should hope to analyze the administrations, expenses and impediments with other comparative stages. In this manner, we have assembled an examination investigation where we benchmarked Gemini against two other well known decisions with regards to BTC buy: Kraken and Coinbase. Gemini versus Kraken Kraken, much the same as Gemini, acknowledges bank moves just, with the significant contrast being that Kraken permits 5 fiat cash stores. Notwithstanding bitcoin, there are 14 more altcoins that you can exchange with at Kraken while the two trades force check on their customers as they are both controlled organizations. Gemini versus Kraken Kraken is fundamentally the same as Gemini as far as expenses, as creatotaker charges go somewhere in the range of 0% and 0.26%. Bank moves do accompany little expenses at Kraken while Gemini acknowledges stores for nothing. In conclusion, while Gemini exchanges two or three nations in particular, Kraken is all around accessible. Coinbase versus Gemini Coinbase is viewed as one of the biggest bitcoin suppliers on the planet, offering its administrations in 32 nations, USA notwithstanding. The installment strategies at Coinbase are PayPal, bank moves and credit/check cards, two more than Gemini. Request bitcoins by means of Coinbase trade Confirmation is an absolute necessity have at Coinbase, much like in Gemini while expenses are a ton lower at Gemini, as you pay between 1.49% to 3.49% from exchange's an incentive at Coinbase. The two trades offer BTC vaults and wallet administrations while Coinbase additionally exchanges with Litecoin which are inaccessible at Gemini. Gemini BTC Exchange in Different Countries Gemini's administrations are accessible in a bunch of nations around the globe, them being the US (5 states not upheld), Canada, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The five US expresses that are not bolstered are Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon and Wisconsin. Gemini trade in various nations Is It Legal? Gemini is an American LLC that adheres to New York Banking Law guidelines, actualizing BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) and AML (Anti-Money Laundry Compliance Program) arrangements, implying that customary reviews of the BSA/AML programs are being executed. Moreover, the firm requires all merchants to have reserves pre-saved before the exchange. Bitcoin Gemini Price, is legitimate Another significant factor of the stage's lawfulness is the way that since its beginning, Gemini has promptly accessible money related report dating 7 years back. Does Gemini Support Its Customers? Concerning the client service, Gemini has a thorough FAQ page where a large portion of the exchanging questions have been replied. Notwithstanding the FAQ, you can likewise top off a shape and present a solicitation to the Gemini group with respect to any issue that you may look on the stage. Gemini client service Because of the regular upkeep of the site's administrations, Gemini has a "Status" page where financial specialists can see which administrations and API instruments are working right now and which are definitely not. Manual for Buy Bitcoins from Gemini When you have gotten the cash at your Gemini account, click "Purchase" button on the dashboard page. Buy page for bitcoins at Gemini Presently, round out the structure on the right, giving request type, volume or estimation of BTC you wish to get and click "Purchase" to get bitcoins in your record immediately. Try to check the BTC cost at the upper left piece of the "Purchase" page to ensure it has not changed at the time you have begun the buy procedure. Enrollment It is totally allowed to enroll a record at Gemini bitcoin trade and the procedure begins once you click "Register" button at the upper right corner of the site. Give your complete name, email address and secret key in subsequent stage and snap "Make My Account". Make account at Gemini You will get an email code which you should duplicate glue into the Gemini's check page. Contribution of enactment code on Bitcoin Gemini Registration The accompanying advances will open up for you to finish, in this way you have to arrangement your 2FA security apparatus, include a financial balance and give checked ID to finish the enrollment methodology. To what extent Should I Wait for Verification? Check stage can take between an hour and a day, contingent upon various enlistment applications Gemini has right now you have begun the procedure. You ought to set up every single essential report before you start and arm yourself with persistence as a stage would set aside effort to process your data. Confirmation process at Gemini Would you be able to Get Bitcoins Without Verification? At the enlistment page, you are required to check your personality and frog your financial balance. When you have presented the records, you can't enter the stage's exchange page until the help affirms your subtleties. In this way, it is unimaginable to expect to buy supply of bitcoins without confirmation. Obligatory confirmation before purchasing BTCs at Gemini How to Add Money to Account? When you have finished the enrollment and confirmation of your record, click button "Move Funds", situated in the top segment of your dashboard page. In following stage, click "Store Into Exchange" and pick either USD or Wire alternative, contingent upon what financial balance you have included at enrollment stage. Add assets to Gemini account You can likewise store bitcoins in your Gemini wallet too. Store BTCs in the Gemini wallet At the last phase of wire move subsidizing process, you have to give bank's wiring data, for example, your record number and other significant data that can be found by clicking "Bank Settings". Give bank's wiring data When data has been given, basically click "Store" button which will show up at the base of the page. Secure Your Account Keep the entirety of your record and wallet passwords out of the programmer's compass by continually evolving them. Monitor the new secret key by keeping in touch with them down on a bit of paper as to not overlook them meanwhile. Record with 2FA on trade You as of now have 2FA from the enlistment stage and don't give your private data to some other dealer on the stage. FAQ To what extent Does It Take to Make Transaction? It takes 4 to 5 days to store assets in your Gemini account while exchanges themselves are done following you the exchange started. Diverse request types have distinctive length, contingent upon what dealer wishes to accomplish. Sitting tight for exchanges on the trade Would i be able to Buy Bitcoin with PayPal at Gemini? Now, brokers can't utilize PayPal as store technique at Gemini. You ought to buy in to the trade's news channel as to get warnings if the strategy opens up to store alternative later on. Does Gemini Have a BTC Wallet? The stage offers two kinds of wallet administrations, one being "hot" wallet and another being vault stockpiling. Both are based just, with the principle contrast being that vault stockpiling gives extra security keys that are utilized while moving bitcoins all through the wallet. Along these lines, vault administrations are esteemed as more secure than the standard BTC wallet. Gemini wallet Pulling back Your Bitcoins from Gemini At the dashboard page, click "Move Funds" and afterward "Pull back From Exchange" to begin the procedure. Pick bitcoins to continue towards the withdrawal structure. Determine the measure of BTC you with to escape the trade and give your wallet address. Snap "Survey Withdrawal" and check the data. When you are fulfilled, click "Affirm" to end the procedure. Your coins will show up inside 24 hours to your ideal area. Pull back BTC from Gemini Instructions to Order BTC with Credit/Debit Card at Gemini As with PayPal, it is preposterous to expect to buy bitcoins with the assistance of credit or charge cards at Gemini, since the choice isn't accessible right now. Stay aware of trade's news and declarations as the CC/DC choice may open up later on. Gemini Mobile App Portable stages are yet to be created by Gemini, implying that exchange is accessible on perusing stage as it were. Watch out for the declaration, as the organization may make the push towards telephone exchange not so distant future. Purchase BTC just on Gemini perusing stage Gemini Analogs Aside from Gemini, we at BitcoinBestBuy have checked on numerous different stages that can assist you with getting bitcoins effectively and securely. They all change regarding local accessibility, expenses, buy strategies and confirmation necessities, so make a point to check different articles also. Get BTC at digital money stages Coinbase Exchange Review Being one of the biggest BTC exchanging stages the world, we made a survey of their charges, store choices and other important data with respect to the trade. We have likewise given bit by bit controls on the best way to buy and pull back assets and coins from Coinbase. Coinbase survey Full Review Coinbase Bitcoin Gemini Exchange Find out About Kraken Kraken is another trade that offers bitcoins through bank moves and its administrations are all inclusive accessible. We made a survey of Kraken's advantages and disadvantages, giving our customers a diagram of the trade as far as expenses the organization charges, check prerequisites and buy procedures of the stage. https://www.cryptoerapro.com/bitcoin-gemini/ http://www.cryptoerapro.com/ https://twitter.com/cryptoerapro https://www.instagram.com/cryptoerapro/ https://www.pinterest.co.uk/cryptoerapro/ https://www.facebook.com/cryptoerapro https://www.facebook.com/pg/bitcoingeminibot https://www.facebook.com/events/282310836080639/
Hoping to purchase bitcoin in India? or on the other hand scanning for best crypto trade in India? Here is the rundown of some operational cryptographic money trades as yet working where clients can purchase and sell bitcoin (+ Altcoin) in India. In the event that you are searching for the best digital money trade in India to purchase Bitcoin then there are just a couple of trades permitting store and withdrawal in Rupee also through distributed model. These days, exchanging bitcoins and purchasing or selling them is developing in India. Different sites are offering these kind of bitcoin and altcoins exchanging administrations however just certain sites are sorted under the most-confided in classification concerning their simple use and fame. There are numerous Websites and Mobile applications to purchase bitcoin in India. Here is the finished rundown of Best Cryptocurrency Exchange In India (Bitcoin + Altcoins) LIST OF SOME BEST EXCHANGES
Coindcx etc… WazirX is a newly launched cryptocurrency exchange, started trading from 8th March, aims to become the most trusted cryptocurrency exchange operating in India. It plans to launch a fully functional crypto exchange that will support different cryptocurrency pairs, WazirX has also introduced its own token, the WRX Coin, you can earn 100 Free WRX by joining this exchange. Recently, WazirX has been aquired by worlds largest exchange Binance. It offered a huge list of supported coins. Visit Wazirx exchange
visit Binance exchange 2.Paxful Founded in 2015, Paxful is a peer-to-peer exchange operating in India as well. It offers 300+ payment options to buy and sell cryptocurrency including Western Union, gift cards (Amazon, iTunes, Google Play), debit/credit cards and Paypal. It provides even local payments means such as PayTM and PhonePe for India. peer-to-peer.
An in-depth interview with Coss founder, Rune Evensen:
Hey guys! About two weeks ago I decided to book tickets to Singapore to pay a visit to the COSS team. I was and still am heavily invested in COSS and I thought it was my duty to push the do your own research idea to the maximum and actually go there and meet them! So, today was my first day in Singapore and it's been very busy! I spent the morning preparing my first official meeting with Rune and I headed to their offices around 2pm. They are a little bit outside of the city center, about 10 minutes drive. They look quite nice and leave a lot of room for growth, which is good cause a lot of people are coming in house in the next few weeks. The meeting went for about 2 hours and we talked about almost everything regarding COSS. Rune has been incredibly welcoming so far, I landed yesterday night and as soon as he knew I was in town he invited me to have dinner with him, so today was our second meeting, first official one. After the meeting, I headed back to my hotel caught a bit of sleep and started redacting the interview. Tomorrow I have a meeting with their head of compliance and will do the same thing, only much shorter. I'll also start vloging my adventures in Singapore :) Here is the 1st part of the interview: *Hi Rune, thanks for having me, how did you come up with the COSS idea? * Rune Evensen: Originally, back in 2013, I to develop a one stop solution for social media. I was looking at the current platforms and realized twitter is undersharing, facebook is oversharing and LinkedIn is for professionals. You needed a different account for everything so I started building a solution. Unfortunately it was all 3d rendered and way too heavy. It was designed like a house with different rooms. I spent two years on that project and we were supposed to build-in something like facebook credits as an internal currency, but not a cryptocurrency because at that time I did not know about them. But when I showed my idea to people, especially here in Singapore, more and more of them asked me why don’t you make it as a cryptocurrency instead of credits? Then I started to look into it, that was in 2015 but I found it quite complicated with a lot of hurdles especially for a beginner. So instead of working on a one-stop solution for social medias I figured I should build one for cryptos, because everybody talks about mass-adoption, but it is mostly IT guys, nerds and traders who are into cryptos. It is still way too complicated for people to get into it. So I started to plan my one stop solutions, many long nights of work. To get a better understanding I signed up for a FinTech course at MIT. During one of the weekly sessions there, we were supposed to submit a business idea that we had and could implement into blockchain. That was the first time I publicly presented my idea. We 1200 people in this course, and the average score for the assignment was 25, my project got the best rating, 100. They described it as a great business idea with real potential to take COSS to the masses. That was quite an endorsement! I needed this endorsement to actually build this idea. I had a consultancy company in Singapore with some staff. First I brought some of them in the project, then I met Dan from Romania and some months later we had the first drafts of the white paper. In November 2016 we moved to our offices in Singapore, in April 2017 we went live with the beta. Until then we were 100% self-funded, and that was the time all the ICOs were popping up. At first we started looking at institutional investors, but they wanted too many shares of the company for money that would last us a year at best. I did not want sell a majority stake of my company in which I already put so much time, efforts and money. The next natural step was to do an ICO and this is why we created our COSS token and came-up with the idea of the fee split allocation. We had to come-up with a clear use case. We then built our advisory board, we picked our advisory board according to our road map and not specifically for the ICO. For example Anson Zeall who is the president of ACCESS, Singapore’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association. So we chose them so that they could help us to complete our roadmap. We did every possible mistake during the ICO because we had no experience in it, none of us had done it before. We did not realize the power of community at the time, we did not even have Telegram at the time! You need to start building a community months before the ICO, you need thousands of people on Telegram and people being active in the community. This is the key to a successful ICO. Nowadays we are actually asked for advices by companies doing their own ICOs because we did everything ourselves during ours. We did not do proper marketing too, we thought we could push it through social medias, that was a big mistake. Nowadays, you need at least half a million to start your ICO for marketing budgets etc… Some companies even offer funding to ICOs! I remember we were approached at the time by TokenMarket and they offered us to take care of everything in our ICO. For 4 months of their work we were asked between 30 and 40k USD. Nowadays they do not work for less than a million. It’s been a bumpy road, that’s why we call it the RollerCOSSter! We raised 3.2M during our ICO. How much did you estimate you needed? Rune Evensen: We were very ambitious because we made an audit through ICO ranker and at that time they scored us the highest they had ever done. So we thought we would reach our 50M hardcap really easily. We were asked by the community what we were going to do with the unsold tokens, we did a community vote and the result was that everybody that joined the token sale would get 10x more token than expected. We decided to stay on Ether with the ICO money as opposed to go to FIAT. We only convert as we go and we still have two third of ETH we raised, which at today’s market price are worth 6M USD. For those who believe we have not hired more staff yet because of financial reasons, that is absolutely not true. We are very careful with the way we use our money, yes we have a big office but we decided to rent it a little bit outside of Singapore’s center cause it is a lot cheaper. We got a big office because we know we want to hire a lot. We are 7 persons working at the office at the moment and 4 more will arrive in February. Three persons for compliance and one developer, Jay. That was actually my follow-up question, how many people are on the current staff? Rune Evensen: We have a very decentralized team. We currently have 7 people in house, then we have the core dev team in Romania, which is Dan’s (one of COSS shareholders) team. It’s a 20 people team but only two of them are working a 100% on COSS. Then we have the UI team in Amsterdam, with 5 people working on COSS. We have our content manager also in Europe, we have our graphic designer in Indonesia, we have our internal security expert and our lawyer (also a shareholder) here in Singapore. So we have a big team, but people need to understand the difference between team and staff. For instance we have Gary here in house for support but he’s managing a four people team that we outsource. They all came here for training but do not work here. We are also planning to add 6 or 7 more in house developers. Mong (COSS’s 1st in house dev) has determined what kind of team she needs and she has free hands to hire and build the team. Just to clarify, if she finds someone that would fit the team, she is allowed to hire him/her immediately? Rune Evensen: Of course, we still need to discuss it together. She cannot sign the contract all alone. But yes, she is free to hire! We want it to be as quick as possible. The very good ones often have a job, then we need to make good offers to convince them and once they accept they need to give notice to their former employers so that takes a bit more time. If there are some devs out there that can start immediately and fit our needs, then we will bring them in immediately. Is it fair to say that Mong is COSS’ CTO? Rune Evensen: Yes, her contract does not say CTO but she is definitely acting CTO. It’s the same for me, I am leading the company but I do not have the CEO title. What does your typical day look like? Rune Evensen: I’m normally at the office between 8 and 9, sometimes I try to hit the gym before coming there, not too much lately. At the office I spend a lot of my time acting as support role on Slack and Telegram, I help everybody that DMs me with issues. Maybe I made myself too available because now I am getting a lot of them everyday. Of course we have meetups with compliance team and the devs. Mong has taken over a lot of communications with the dev teams oversea. She is coordinating and leading the Amsterdam and Romania team. Before she came on board that was also part of my job. I also took part on the KYC process, which is now the compliance team’s responsibility. I’m also the one negotiating when a coin wants to be listed. The priority is to get off your support role? Rune Evensen: Yes, as soon as support is up to speed, and can handle all the issues as fast I as I want to I will get off this role and go back to only leading the company. You announced FIAT will be introduced by the end of Q1 can you give us more details? Rune Evensen: We will introduce FIAT through credit card for Bitcoin and ETH. We will add more FIAT pairs as soon as the engine is up and running. I do not have an exact date for the engine. We are in the process of designing the architecture we need and want to use. Once that is done I will be able to give a more precise timeline. This should happen by the end of the week or next week. One question that comes up a lot, why don’t you buy the same engine as Binance? Rune Evensen: We want to build something from scratch for a few reasons. One reason is security, we want to have full control of the code. But mostly we want the engine to fit our business model, that requires different solutions than a standard exchange. So even if we bought Binance’s engine we would need to build a lot on top. We will speed up as much as possible the release of the engine, as long as that does not jeopardize security or quality. There are now over 80 devs on the Trello board, what is their role? Rune Evensen: They are giving us feedbacks and come up with solutions. For instance what can be done to increase the speed of the site. Some of them are working for Microsoft, Facebook and other Fortune 500 companies. Of course they are already very busy with their job and they are only helping us because they have an interest in COSS. Some of them reached out and sent their CVs to us. That’s something I always rejected before because we did not have in house devs. I did not want to get more outsourced devs and put them under an already outsourced dev team. Now that we have a leading team in Singapore, I’m passing those CVs, of highly qualified people looking to contribute more, to Mong. Some of them will become COSS team members. That’s really the true power of community that I talked about in my Medium update. Yes we have the FUD, from time to time, but to see the activity we have on Telegram and Slack, I really believe we have an amazing community. I know you guys also have a huge french community. France is actually our second biggest market behind USA. Let’s talk about security, it’s always an important concern from users. How do you improve and assess the exchange’s security? Rune Evensen: We are doing regular penetration testing, you can never say that something is 100% hack proof. My personal recommendation is to leave on exchanges only what you intend to trade and send the rest to your hardware wallet. You can get your fee split allocation on Ledger very easily. We do our due diligence and have never been breached, but some users have through their emails. I’m also amazed by how many people have not yet set-up 2FA. We might make it mandatory. You mentioned earlier that you still have 6M worth of ETH from your ICO. How much volume does the exchange need to cover your costs? Rune Evensen: Right now, when we have 2 to 3M daily volume, we are paying weekly to COSS holders between 70 and 100k. That means we get the same amount for ourselves and that’s almost enough to cover our expenses. If we reach 10M daily volume we should be very healthy financially.
On May 6th, 2017, Bitcoin hit an all-time high in transactions processed on the network in a single day: it moved 375,000 transactions which accounted for a nominal output of about $2.5b. Average fees on the Bitcoin network had climbed over a dollar for the first time a couple days prior. And they kept climbing: by early June average fees hit an eye-watering $5.66. This was quite unprecedented. In the three-year period from Jan. 1 2014 to Jan. 1 2017, per-transaction fees had never exceeded 31 cents on a weekly average. And the hits kept coming. Before 2017 was over, average fees would top out at $48 on a weekly basis. When the crypto-recession set in, transaction count collapsed and fees crept back below $1. During the most feverish days of the Bitcoin run-up, when normal users found themselves with balances that would cost more to send than they were worth, cries for batching — the aggregation of many outputs into a single transaction — grew louder than ever. David Harding had written a blog post on the cost-savings of batching at the end of August and it was reposted to the Bitcoin subreddit on a daily basis. The idea was simple: for entities sending many transactions at once, clustering outputs into a single transaction was more space- (and cost-) efficient, because each transaction has a fixed data overhead. David found that if you combined 10 payments into one transaction, rather than sending them individually, you could save 75% of the block space. Essentially, batching is one way to pack as many transactions as possible into the finite block space available on Bitcoin. When fees started climbing in mid-2017, users began to scrutinize the behavior of heavy users of the Bitcoin blockchain, to determine whether they were using block space efficiently. By and large, they were not — and an informal lobbying campaign began, in which these major users — principally exchanges — were asked to start batching transactions and be good stewards of the scarce block space at their disposal. Some exchanges had been batching for years, others relented and implemented it. The question faded from view after Bitcoin’s price collapsed in Q1 2018 from roughly $19,000 to $6000, and transaction load — and hence average fee — dropped off. But we remained curious. A common refrain, during the collapse in on-chain usage, was that transaction count was an obfuscated method of apprehending actual usage. The idea was that transactions could encode an arbitrarily large (within reason) number of payments, and so if batching had become more and more prevalent, those payments were still occurring, just under a regime of fewer transactions. “hmmm” Some sites popped up to report outputs and payments per day rather than transactions, seemingly bristling at the coverage of declining transaction count. However, no one conducted an analysis of the changing relationship between transaction count and outputs or payments. We took it upon ourselves to find out. Table Of Contents: Introduction to batching A timeline Analysis Conclusion Bonus content: UTXO consolidation
Introduction to batching
Bitcoin uses a UTXO model, which stands for Unspent Transaction Output. In comparison, Ripple and Ethereum use an account/balance model. In bitcoin, a user has no balances, only UTXOs that they control. If they want to transfer money to someone else, their wallet selects one or more UTXOs as inputs that in sum need to add up to the amount they want to transfer. The desired amount then goes to the recipient, which is called the output, and the difference goes back to the sender, which is called change output. Each output can carry a virtually unlimited amount of value in the form of satoshis. A satoshi is a unit representing a one-hundred-millionth of a Bitcoin. This is very similar to a physical wallet full of different denominations of bills. If you’re buying a snack for $2.50 and only have a $5, you don’t hand the cashier half of your 5 dollar bill — you give him the 5 and receive some change instead. Unknown to some, there is no hardcoded limit to the number of transactions that can fit in a block. Instead, each transaction has a certain size in megabytes and constitutes an economic incentive for miners to include it in their block. Because miners have limited space of 2 MB to sell to transactors, larger transactions (in size, not bitcoin!) will need to pay higher fees to be included. Additionally, each transaction can have a virtually unlimited number of inputs or outputs — the record stands at transactions with 20,000 inputs and 13,107 outputs. So each transaction has at least one input and at one output, but often more, as well as some additional boilerplate stuff. Most of that space is taken up by the input (often 60% or more, because of the signature that proves they really belong to the sender), while the output(s) account for 15–30%. In order to keep transactions as small as possible and save fees, Bitcoin users have two major choices: Use as few inputs as possible. In order to minimize inputs, you can periodically send your smaller UTXOs to yourself in times when fees are very low, getting one large UTXO back. That is called UTXO consolidation or consolidating your inputs. Users who frequently make transfers (especially within the same block) can include an almost unlimited amount of outputs (to different people!) in the same transaction. That is called transaction batching. A typical single output transaction takes up 230 bytes, while a two output transaction only takes up 260 bytes, instead of 460 if you were to send them individually. This is something that many casual commentators overlook when comparing Bitcoin with other payment systems — a Bitcoin transaction can aggregate thousands of individual economic transfers! It’s important to recognize this, as it is the source of a great deal of misunderstanding and mistaken analysis. We’ve never encountered a common definition of a batched transaction — so for the purposes of this study we define it in the loosest possible sense: a transaction with three or more outputs. Commonly, batching is understood as an activity undertaken primarily by mining pools or exchanges who can trade off immediacy for efficiency. It is rare that a normal bitcoin user would have cause to batch, and indeed most wallets make it difficult to impossible to construct batched transactions. For everyday purposes, normal bitcoiners will likely not go to the additional effort of batching transactions. We set the threshold at three for simplicity’s sake — a normal unbatched transaction will have one transactional output and one change output — but the typical major batched transaction from an exchange will have dozens if not hundreds of outputs. For this reason we are careful to provide data on various different batch sizes, so we could determine the prevalence of three-output transactions and colossal, 100-output ones. We find it helpful to think of a Bitcoin transaction as a mail truck full of boxes. Each truck (transaction) contains boxes (outputs), each of contains some number of letters (satoshis). So when you’re looking at transaction count as a measure of the performance and economic throughput of the Bitcoin network, it’s a bit like counting mail trucks to discern how many letters are being sent on a given day, even though the number of letters can vary wildly. The truck analogy also makes it clear why many see Bitcoin as a settlement layer in the future — just as mail trucks aren’t dispatched until they’re full, some envision that the same will ultimately be the case for Bitcoin. Batching
So what actually happened in the last six months? Let’s look at some data. Daily transactions on the Bitcoin network rose steadily until about May 2017, when average fees hit about $4. This precipitated the first collapse in usage. Then began a series of feedback loops over the next six months in which transaction load grew, fees grew to match, and transactions dropped off. This cycle repeated itself five times over the latter half of 2017. more like this on coinmetrics.io The solid red line in the above chart is fees in BTC terms (not USD) and the shaded red area is daily transaction count. You can see the cycle of transaction load precipitating higher fees which in turn cause a reduction in usage. It repeats itself five or six times before the detente in spring 2018. The most notable period was the December-January fee crisis, but fees were actually fairly typical in BTC terms — the rising BTC price in USD however meant that USD fees hit extreme figures. In mid-November when fees hit double digits in USD terms, users began a concerted campaign to convince exchanges to be better stewards of block space. Both Segwit and batching were held up as meaningful approaches to maximize the compression of Bitcoin transactions into the finite block space available. Data on when exchanges began batching is sparse, but we collected information where it was available into a chart summarizing when exchanges began batching. Batching adoption at selected exchanges We’re ignoring Segwit adoption by exchanges in this analysis; as far as batching is concerned, the campaign to get exchanges to batch appears to have persuaded Bitfinex, Binance, and Shapeshift to batch. Coinbase/GDAX have stated their intention to begin batching, although they haven’t managed to integrate it yet. As far as we can tell, Gemini hasn’t mentioned batching, although we have some mixed evidence that they may have begun recently. If you know about the status of batching on Gemini or other major exchanges please get in touch. So some exchanges have been batching all along, and some have never bothered at all. Did the subset of exchanges who flipped the switch materially affect the prevalence of batched transactions? Let’s find out.
3.1 How common is batching? We measured the prevalence of batching in three different ways, by transaction count, by output value and by output count. The tl;dr. Batching accounts for roughly 12% of all transactions, 40% of all outputs, and 30–60% of all raw BTC output value. Not bad. 3.2 Have batched transactions become more common over time? From the chart in 3.1, we can already see a small, but steady uptrend in all three metrics, but we want to dig a little deeper. So we first looked at the relationship of payments (all outputs that actually pay someone, so total outputs minus change outputs) and transactions. More at transactionfee.info/charts The first thing that becomes obvious is that the popular narrative — that the drop in transactions was caused by an increase in batching — is not the case; payments dropped by roughly the same proportion as well. Dividing payment count by transaction count gives us some insight into the relationship between the two. In our analysis we want to zoom into the time frame between November 2017 and today, and we can see that payments per transactions have actually been rallying, from 1.5 payments per transaction in early 2017 to almost two today. 3.3 What are popular batch sizes? In this next part, we will look at batch sizes to see which are most popular. To determine which transactions were batched, we downloaded a dataset of all transactions on the Bitcoin network between November 2017 and May 2018from Blockchair. We picked that period because the fee crisis really got started in mid-November, and with it, the demands for exchanges to batch. So we wanted to capture the effect of exchanges starting to batch. Naturally a bigger sample would have been more instructive, but we were constrained in our resources, so we began with the six month sample. We grouped transactions into “batched” and “unbatched” groups with batched transactions being those with three or more outputs. We then divided batched transactions into roughly equal groups on the basis of how much total output in BTC they had accounted for in the six-month period. We didn’t select the batch sizes manually — we picked batch sizes that would split the sample into equal parts on the basis of transaction value. Here’s what we ended up with: All of the batch buckets have just about the same fraction of total BTC output over the period, but they account for radically different transaction and output counts over the period. Notice that there were only 183,108 “extra large” batches (with 41 or more outputs) in the six-month period, but between them there were 23m outputs and 30m BTC worth of value transmitted. Note that output value in this context refers to the raw or unadjusted figure — it would have been prohibitively difficult for us to adjust output for change or mixers, so we’re using the “naive” estimate. Let’s look at how many transactions various batch sizes accounted for in the sample period: Batched transactions steadily increased relative to unbatched ones, although the biggest fraction is the small batch with between 3 and 5 outputs. The story for output counts is a bit more illuminating. Even though batched transactions are a relatively small fraction of overall transaction count, they contain a meaningful number of overall outputs. Let’s see how it breaks down: Lastly, let’s look at output value. Here we see that batched transactions represent a significant fraction of value transmitted on Bitcoin. As we can see, even though batched transactions make up an average of only 12% of all transactions, they move between 30%-60% of all Bitcoins, at peak times even 70%. We think this is quite remarkable. Keep in mind, however that the ‘total output’ figure has not been altered to account for change outputs, mixers, or self-churn; that is, it is the raw and unadjusted figure. The total output value is therefore not an ideal approximation of economic volume on the Bitcoin network. 3.4 Has transaction count become an unreliable measure of Bitcoin’s usage because of batching? Yes. We strongly encourage any analysts, investors, journalists, and developers to look past mere transaction count from now on. The default measure of Bitcoin’s performance should be “payments per day” rather than transaction count. This also makes Bitcoin more comparable with other UTXO chains. They generally have significantly variable payments-per-transaction ratios, so just using payments standardizes that. (Stay tuned: Coinmetrics will be rolling out tools to facilitate this very soon.) More generally, we think that the economic value transmitted on the network is its most fundamental characteristic. Both the naive and the adjusted figures deserve to be considered. Adjusting raw output value is still more art than science, and best practices are still being developed. Again, Coinmetrics is actively developing open-source tools to make these adjustments available.
We started by revisiting the past year in Bitcoin and showed that while the mempool was congested, the community started looking for ways to use the blockspace more efficiently. Attention quickly fell on batching, the practice of combining multiple outputs into a single transaction, for heavy users. We showed how batching works on a technical level and when different exchanges started implementing the technique. Today, around 12% of all transactions on the Bitcoin network are batched, and these account for about 40% of all outputs and between 30–60% of all transactional value. The fact such that a small set of transactions carries so much economic weight makes us hopeful that Bitcoin still has a lot of room to scale on the base layer, especially if usage trends continue. Lastly, it’s worth noting that the increase in batching on the Bitcoin network may not be entirely due to deliberate action by exchanges, but rather a function of its recessionary behavior in the last few months. Since batching is generally done by large industrial players like exchanges, mixers, payment processors, and mining pools, and unbatched transactions are generally made by normal individuals, the batched/unbatched ratio is also a strong proxy for how much average users are using Bitcoin. Since the collapse in price, it is quite possible that individual usage of Bitcoin decreased while “industrial” usage remained strong. This is speculation, but one explanation for what happened. Alternatively, the industrial players appear to be taking their role as stewards of the scarce block space more seriously. This is a significant boon to the network, and a nontrivial development in its history. If a culture of parsimony can be encouraged, Bitcoin will be able to compress more data into its block space and everyday users will continue to be able to run nodes for the foreseeable future. We view this as a very positive development. Members of the Bitcoin community that lobbied exchanges to add support for Segwit and batching should be proud of themselves.
Bonus content: UTXO consolidation
Remember that we said that a second way to systematically save transaction fees in the Bitcoin network was to consolidate your UTXOs when fees were low? Looking at the relationship between input count and output count allows us to spot such consolidation phases quite well. Typically, inputs and outputs move together. When the network is stressed, they decouple. If you look at the above chart carefully, you’ll notice that when transactions are elevated (and block space is at a premium), outputs outpace inputs — look at the gaps in May and December 2017. However, prolonged activity always results in fragmented UTXO sets and wallets full of dust, which need to be consolidated. For this, users often wait until pressure on the network has decreased and fees are lower. Thus, after transactions decrease, inputs become more common than outputs. You can see this clearly in February/March 2017. Here we’ve taken the ratio of inputs to outputs (which have been smoothed on a trailing 7 day basis). When the ratio is higher, there are more inputs than outputs on that day, and vice versa. You can clearly see the spam attack in summer 2015 in which thousands (possibly millions) of outputs were created and then consolidated. Once the ratio spikes upwards, that’s consolidation. The spike in February 2018 after the six weeks of high fees in December 2017 was the most pronounced sigh of relief in Bitcoin’s history; the largest ever departure from the in/out ratio norm. There were a huge number of UTXOs to be consolidated. It’s also interesting to note where inputs and outputs cluster. Here we have histograms of transactions with large numbers of inputs or outputs. Unsurprisingly, round numbers are common which shows that exchanges don’t publish a transaction every, say, two minutes, but instead wait for 100 or 200 outputs to queue up and then publish their transaction. Curiously, 200-input transactions were more popular than 100-input transactions in the period. We ran into more curiosities when researching this piece, but we’ll leave those for another time. Future work on batching might focus on: Determining batched transactions as a portion of (adjusted) economic rather than raw volume Looking at the behavior of specific exchanges with regards to batching Investigating how much space and fees could be saved if major exchanges were batching transactions Lastly, we encourage everyone to run their transactions through the service at transactionfee.info to assess the efficiency of their transactions and determine whether exchanges are being good stewards of the block space. Update 31.05.2018 Antoine Le Calvez has created a series of live-updated charts to track batching and batch sizes, which you can find here. We’d like to thank 0xB10C for their generous assistance with datasets and advice, the people at Blockchair for providing the core datasets, and David A. Harding for writing the initial piece and answering our questions.
Top 50 Cryptocurrencies I thought this might be of real help for the ones that are just joining crypto and still want to read. Let’s face it: there are a lot of cryptocurrencies out there, with new ones coming out almost daily and old ones disappearing seemingly just as fast as they appeared. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you are new to cryptocurrencies, this is an excellent starting point to learn about each of the top 50 cryptocurrencies (by market cap). Even if you’re a crypto veteran, this is a great resource to reference if you ever get any of the top 50 confused, or if you want to read more about a new coin which has joined the ranks. Our hope is to point you in the right direction, spur your interest to do more research, and steer you away from the potential scams out there (And yes, there are potential scam coins in the top 50!) Here at Invest In Blockchain, we are obsessed with researching the internet for all things crypto. The information found in this post is the result of hundreds of hours of painstaking research by me and other writers on our team. Note that this list is constantly changing and I will do my best to keep it up-to-date, but the top 50 moves almost daily! Please refer to coinmarketcap.com for the latest information on the top 50 cryptocurrencies and their prices. Let’s get started! (Information accurate as of May 23, 2018)
#1 – Bitcoin (BTC)
📷 The king of the crypto world, Bitcoin is now a household name; to many, it is synonymous with “cryptocurrency”. Its purpose is to provide a peer-to-peer electronic version of cash to allow payments to be sent online without the need for a third party (such as Mastercard). The rapid rise in Bitcoin’s price has brought about an explosion of new Bitcoin investors. With the huge increase in interest has come a rise in merchants accepting Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment. Bitcoin is fast moving towards its goal of becoming a currency accepted worldwide. Bitcoin’s development is led by Bitcoin Core developer Wladimir J. van der Laan, who took over the role on April 8, 2014. Bitcoin’s changes are decided democratically by the community. For an in-depth look at Bitcoin, including an explanation of Bitcoin mining, Bitcoin’s history, an analysis of Bitcoins’ value and a description on how bitcoin actually works, see our comprehensive guide “What is Bitcoin? Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin, Explained“. For a more detailed description of Bitcoin’s economics, what makes money and how Bitcoin works in the economy as a whole see: “Bitcoin Explained” and “Bitcoin is a Deflationary Currency”.
#2 – Ethereum (ETH)
📷 Ethereum is the revolutionary platform which brought the concept of “smart contracts” to the blockchain. First released to the world in July 2015 by then 21-year-old Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum has quickly risen from obscurity to cryptocurrency celebrity status. Buterin has a full team of developers working behind him to further develop the Ethereum platform. For more background information on Buterin, read our article, “Vitalik Buterin: The Face of Blockchain”. Ethereum has the ability to process transactions quickly and cheaply over the blockchain similar to Bitcoin, but also has the ability to run smart contracts. For future reading on smart contracts, see “What’s the Difference Between Bitcoin and Ethereum”; but for now, think automated processes which can do just about anything. For further reading on Ethereum, including an analysis of the platform’s strengths and future prospects, read “What is Ethereum, Everything You Need to Know Explained“.
#3 – Ripple (XRP)
📷 Ripple aims to improve the speed of financial transactions, specifically international banking transactions. Anyone who has ever sent money internationally knows that today it currently takes anywhere from 3-5 business days for a transaction to clear. It is faster to withdraw money, get on a plane, and fly it to your destination than it is to send it electronically! Not to mention you will be paying exorbitant transaction fees — usually somewhere around 6% but it can vary depending on the financial institution. Ripple’s goal is to make these transactions fast (it only takes around 4 seconds for a transaction to clear) and cheap. The Ripple team currently comprises over 150 people, making it one of the biggest in the cryptocurrency world. They are led by CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who has an impressive resume which includes high positions in other organizations such as Yahoo and Hightail. Check out “What is Ripple” for more information, including a closer look at what they do, controversies and future prospects.
#4 – Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
📷 Bitcoin Cash was created on August 1, 2017 after a “hard fork” of the Bitcoin blockchain. For years, a debate has been raging in the Bitcoin community on whether to increase the block size in the hope of alleviating some of the network bottleneck which has plagued Bitcoin due to its increased popularity. Because no agreement could be reached, the original Bitcoin blockchain was forked, leaving the Bitcoin chain untouched and in effect creating a new blockchain which would allow developers to modify some of Bitcoin’s original programmed features. Generally speaking, the argument for Bitcoin Cash is that by allowing the block size to increase, more transactions can be processed in the same amount of time. Those opposed to Bitcoin Cash argue that increasing the block size will increase the storage and bandwidth requirement, and in effect will price out normal users. This could lead to increased centralization, the exact thing Bitcoin set out to avoid. Bitcoin Cash does not have one single development team like Bitcoin. There are now multiple independent teams of developers. Read “What is Bitcoin Cash” for more information. You can also check out their reddit and official webpage.
#5 – EOS (EOS)
📷 Billed as a potential “Ethereum Killer”, EOS proposes improvements that can challenge Ethereum as the dominant smart contract platform. One main issue EOS looks to improve is the scalability problems which has plagued the Ethereum network during times of high transaction volume, specifically during popular ICOs. A perhaps more profound difference EOS has, compared to Ethereum, is the way in which you use the EOS network. With Ethereum, every time you make modifications or interact with the network, you need to pay a fee. With EOS, the creator of the DAPP (decentralized app) can foot the bill, while the user pays nothing. And if you think about it, this makes sense. Would you want to have to pay every time you post something on social media? No, of course not! In addition to this, EOS has a few other technical advantages over Ethereum such as delegated proof of stake and other protocol changes. Just know that EOS has some serious power under the hood to back up the claim of “Ethereum Killer”. EOS was created by Dan Larrimer who is no stranger to blockchain or start ups. He has been the driving force behind multiple successful projects in the past such as BitShares, Graphene and Steem. For more information on EOS such as how and where to buy EOS tokens, EOS’s vision and potential challenges, see “What is EOS”.
#6 – Litecoin (LTC)
📷 Similar to Bitcoin, Litecoin is a peer-to-peer transaction platform designed to be used as a digital currency. Due to some notable technical improvements, Litecoin is able to handle more transactions at lower costs. Litecoin has been designed to process the small transactions we make daily. Litecoin is sometimes referred to “digital silver” while Bitcoin is known as “digital gold”. This is because traditionally silver was used for small daily transactions while gold was used as a store of wealth and was not used in everyday life. The Litecoin blockchain is a fork from the Bitcoin chain. It was initially launched in 2011 when its founder, Charlie Lee, was still working for Google. Well-known as a cryptocurrency expert, Charlie Lee is backed by a strong development team who appear to be achieving what they set out to do. They have recently achieved a very notable accomplishment with the first successful atomic swap. For an in-depth discussion on what Litecoin does, how it is different than Bitcoin and the team backing up the development, see “What is Litecoin”.
#7 – Cardano (ADA)
📷 Cardano is a smart contract-focused blockchain. It was originally released under the name Input Output Hong Kong by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, a few of the early team members of Ethereum, and later rebranded into Cardano. Cardano is trying to fix some of the largest problems the cryptocurrency world which have been causing ongoing issues for years such as scalability issues and democratized voting. They have the potential to challenge Ethereum’s dominance in the smart contract world. Cardano is developing their own programing language similar to Ethereum; however, they are focusing more heavily on being interoperable between other cryptocurrencies. While some cryptocurrencies are all bite but no bark, Cardano is quite the opposite. They are quietly focusing on a strong software which will be completely open-source. Cardano’s team comprises some of the best minds in the industry, and they seek to create a strong foundation which others can build upon for years to come. For up-to-date information on Cardano’s status see their Reddit page or official website. You can also read our article “What is Cardano” to learn more about them.
#8 – Stellar Lumens (XLM)
📷 In a nutshell, Stellar Lumens seeks to use blockchain to make very fast international payments with small fees. The network can handle thousands of transactions a second with only a 3-5 second confirmation time. As you may know, Bitcoin can sometimes take 10-15 minutes for a transaction to confirm, can only handle a few transactions a second and, in turn, has very high transaction fees. If this sounds a lot like Ripple, you’re right! Stellar Lumens was based off of the Ripple protocol) and is attempting to do similar things. Some of Stellar Lumens’ main uses will be for making small daily payments (micropayments), sending money internationally, and mobile payments. Stellar Lumens is focusing on the developing world and, more specifically, the multi-billion dollar industry of migrant workers who send money back to their family in impoverished countries. The Stellar Lumens team is led by Jed McCaleb, who has worked in numerous successful startups in the past such as eDonkey, Overnet, Ripple, and the infamous Mt. Gox. For more information on Stellar Lumens, including the history and what sets Stellar Lumens apart, see “What are Stellar Lumens”. You can also learn about the differences between Stellar Lumens and Ripple.
#9 – TRON (TRX)
📷 As stated in TRON’s whitepaper, “TRON is an attempt to heal the internet”. The TRON founders believe that the internet has deviated from its original intention of allowing people to freely create content and post as they please; instead, the internet has been taken over by huge corporations like Amazon, Google, Alibaba and others. TRON is attempting to take the internet back from these companies by constructing a free content entertainment system. This will enable users to freely store, publish and own data, giving them the power to decide where and how to share. The project is led by founder Justin Sun, who has been listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list twice (in 2015 and 2017). In addition, Sun is a protégé of Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, China’s former Ripple representative and the founder of Peiwo APP. Sun has assembled a strong team with heavy hitters including Binshen Tang (founder of Clash of King), Wei Dai (founder of ofo, the biggest shared bicycles provider in China), and Chaoyong Wang (founder of ChinaEquity Group). Sun has also secured the support of a few notable angel investors such as Xue Manzi. For up-to-date information on Tron and further discussion of the technology and team, see “What is Tron” and their website.
#10 – IOTA (MIOTA)
📷 IOTA has seen many of the issues Bitcoin and Ethereum have with the POW (proof-of-work) and POI (proof-of-importance) models and looks to improve them with their revolutionary transaction validation network simply called “tangle”. When issuing a transaction in IOTA, you validate 2 previous transactions. This means you no longer outsource validation to miners which requires wasteful amounts of computing power and usually a large stake of coins. These required resources are, in effect, centralizing the currencies which many believe were created to be decentralized in the first place. With IOTA, the more active a ledger is, the more validation there is. In other words, the more people who use it, the faster it gets. You don’t have to subsidize miners, so there are no fees on transactions. That’s right: zero. The IOTA team has been actively developing blockchain technology since 2011, and created the IOTA foundation and company in 2016. Since its emergence, the team has been continuously growing, attracting exceptional talent from around the world. For more information on IOTA’s team and their revolutionary“tangle” technology, check out “What is IOTA”.
#11 – NEO (NEO)
📷 A leading platform for smart contracts and sometimes referred to as “China’s Ethereum”. NEO (formally Antshares) hopes to digitize many types of assets which were formerly kept in more traditional means, and therefore make it possible to use them in smart contracts. To imagine a potential use case of NEO, think digitizing the title to a house into a smart asset, and then setting up that asset to automatically transfer to another person after payment for the house has been received. This would be, in effect, a simple smart contract. NEO founder Da Hongfei is a leading figure in the cryptocurrency world and has worked on numerous blockchain projects in the past. The development team consists of 6 in-house investors and a large community of third-party developers. For a complete overview of NEO, including the team, history and competitive analysis, check out “What is NEO”.
#12 – Dash (DASH)
📷 Dash (which comes from ‘digital cash’) aims to be the most user-friendly and scalable cryptocurrency in the world. It has the ability to send funds instantly confirmed by “double-send-proof” security with the added functionality of erasable transaction history and the ability to send transactions anonymously. Like Bitcoin, Dash is meant to be used as a digital currency but has some added values such as much faster transaction times and lower fees. For a slightly higher fee, Dash has the added function of “instant send” which allows transactions to be confirmed almost instantly. This is one of the main selling points of Dash because many believe that this feature would allow it to be used in brick and mortar establishments. The Dash development team consists of over 50 members and is led by former financial services professional Evan Duffield. For the latest on Dash, see their official website and reddit page. You can also read “What is Dash” to learn more about the project.
#13 – Monero (XMR)
📷 Monero is a digital currency designed to be used as a completely anonymous payment system. A common misconception with Bitcoin is that it is completely anonymous. In reality, all payments processed on the Bitcoin network are recorded on a public ledger (blockchain), so Bitcoin is actually only partially anonymous or “pseudonymous”. This means that you can, in theory, trace back every transaction a coin has been involved with from its creation. Though users aren’t able to inherently link the public key on the blockchain with the private keys used to store the coins themselves, there will always exist a correlation between the two. Monero has solved this problem by implementing cryptonic hashing of receiving addresses, therefore separating the coin from the address it is going to. This can be hugely valuable for anyone wishing to conceal their purchases. The Monero development team consists of 7 core developers, only two of which are publicly known. There have been over 200 additional contributors to the project and software updates are implemented every six months or so. To learn more about Monero including its competitors and challenges, read “What is Monero”. If you’re thinking about investing in Monero, check out our opinion piece “Should You Invest In Monero?“.
#14 – Tether (UDST)
📷 Tether is a cryptocurrency token issued on the Bitcoin blockchain. Each Tether coin is allegedly backed by one US Dollar. The goal is to facilitate transactions with a rate fixed to the USD. Amongst other things, Tether looks to fix some of the legal issues which can arise when trading cryptocurrencies and it aims to protect people from market volatility. Tether has faced controversy regarding their business model, and some consider it a scam. More info can be seen on reddit posts such as this.
#15 – NEM (XEM)
📷 NEM (New Economy Movement) is the world’s first proof-of-importance (POI) enterprise based on blockchain technology. With a focus on business use cases, the software was built from the ground up with adaptability in mind. NEM’s goal is for companies to use their “smart asset system” to implement customizable blockchains. A smart asset can be almost anything: a cryptocurrency token, a business’s stock or a company’s invoicing and records. Some potential use cases for NEM’s technology include: voting, crowdfunding, stock ownership, keeping secure records, loyalty rewards point programs, mobile payments and escrow services. A list of NEM’s use cases can be found here. The development of NEM is monitored by the Singapore-based NEM Foundation. For more information on what NEM does and what sets NEM apart from its competitors, see “What is NEM”.
#16 – VeChain (VEN)
📷 As described in VeChain’s development plan, the organization’s purpose is to build “a trustfree and distributed business ecosystem based on the Blockchain technology self-circulated and expanding”. They plan to do this by creating an efficient trustless business ecosystem to significantly reduce the wasteful information transfer systems of today. Some of the areas and industries the VeChain platform is focusing on include eliminating counterfeiting in the fashion and luxury industry, food safety tracking systems, digitizing maintenance in the car industry and many other global supply chain processes. For more information on VeChain, see their reddit and website. Read “What is Vechain” to learn about the project, and our investment opinion piece “5 Reasons to Invest in Vechain“.
#17 – Ethereum Classic (ETC)
📷 Ethereum Classic came about after a hard fork of Ethereum in 2016. The fork was a result of the infamous DOA hack where around 50 million dollars worth of Ethereum was stolen due to what was considered an oversight in the code. The blockchain was forked in order to recoup the losses from this attack, but a small portion of the community did not wish to go back and change the original blockchain. Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, and subsequently the development team chose to go with the hard fork and work on what is now “Ethereum” today. There is a lot of ongoing controversy with Ethereum Classic which can be better described on this reddit thread. For an in-depth discussion of Ethereum Classic, see”What is Ethereum Classic“.
#18 – Binance Coin (BNB)
📷 Binance Coin is the coin used to facilitate operations on the Binance platform, a cryptocurrency exchange that is capable of processing 1.4 million orders per second. The name “Binance” is derived from the combination of the terms “binary” and “finance”, referring to the integration of digital technology and finance. The BNB coin is used to pay exchange fees, withdrawal fees, listing fees, and all other possible transaction expenses on the Binance platform. In order to incentivize new users to do their cryptocurrency trading on Binance, the team is offering discounts when BNB is used to pay fees. The discount will be 50% in the first year, 25% in the second, 12.5% in the third, and 6.25% in the fourth year before the discount ends. Binance was primarily marketed to Chinese cryptocurrency investors at first, but they also have English, Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Russian versions of the platform. For a deeper look into Binance, you can read the whitepaper or check out the trading platform here.
#19 – Bytecoin (BCN)
📷 Bytecoindescribes itself as “a private, decentralized cryptocurrency with with open source code that allows everyone to take part in the Bytecoin network development”. It is the first coin to offer untraceable payments, unlinkable transactions and resistance to blockchain analysis. With Bytecoin, it is possible to send instant transactions anywhere around the world, which are totally untraceable and don’t require additional fees. Bytecoin’s development is community-driven and a list of all of the different community websites can be found here. For more information on Bytecoin, see: “What is Bytecoin“.
#20 – QTUM (QTUM)
📷 QTUM (pronounced Quantum) is an open-source value transfer platform which focuses on mobile decentralized apps or Dapps. QTUM is the world’s first proof-of-stake smart contracts platform. QTUM is meant to be used as both a value transfer protocol, like Bitcoin, and a smart contract platform, like Ethereum. They have a number of technical innovations which some consider to make it superior to Ethereum, and they are focusing on mobile applications. The platform itself is very new. It came about in March 2017, after a highly successful crowdfunding campaign raised them nearly 16 million dollars in only 5 days. QTUM has a small but strong development team and an impressive list of investors backing their ideas. QTUM’s development is lead by the Singapore based QTUM Foundation. For further reading on the background of QTUM and what sets them apart, see “What is QTUM”.
#21 – Zcash (ZEC)
📷 ZCash is a value transfer protocol forked off of the Bitcoin blockchain. ZCash can be used like Bitcoin, with a few added improvements. With “zero cash technology”, ZCash shields both the amount transferred and the senders, making transactions truly anonymous. ZCash is one of the new kids on the block in the world of “private transactions”. An interesting note is that Ethereum is in the process of implementing some of ZCash’s technologies to enable transactions on the Ethereum network to be anonymous as well. ZCash is being developed by the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company. They’ve had some great successes, most notably JP Morgan’s announcement that they would implement Zcash’s privacy technology to Quarum, a technology JP built on Ethereum. Interested in investing in ZCash? Here’s the opinion of one of our writers: Should You Invest In ZCash? ZCash was recently featured on the Radiolab episode The Ceremony.
#22 – OmiseGO (OMG)
📷 “Unbank the Banked” is the slogan of Omise’s online platform OmiseGo and that’s exactly what Omise has set out to do. Founded in 2013 off of the Ethereum blockchain, Omise aims to revolutionize the financial dynamics in Southeast Asia. Omise is targeting individuals and businesses of all sizes by improving the current financial system which is slow, outdated, and inaccessible to most “everyday” people in these countries. With their planned online exchange OmiseGO, Omise seeks to speed up the way money is spent and sent, both domestically and internationally in Southeast Asia and beyond. They have a lot to celebrate too. OmiseGo has been building partnerships in the region and recently partnered with McDonald’s and Credit Saison. Omise has established a strong team of over 130 staff members located in different countries. CEO and founder of Omise, Jun Hasegawa, has been involved in multiple startups and worked for Google for over 16 years. The OmiseGO platform has been endorsed by some of the heavy hitters in the cryptocurrency world such as Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood, the co-founders of Ethereum. For more information on what OmiseGO aims to do, see “What is OmiseGo”.
#23 – ICON (ICX)
📷 Fresh off a successful ICO, the Korea-based startup ICON is looking to provide a medium to connect all the different blockchains together. This puts ICON in the same field as Ark, which is attempting to accomplish similar goals. The main concept of ICON is their idea of a “loopchain”. As stated in their whitepaper, a loopchain can be described as a “high-performance blockchain that can provide real-time transaction, which is based on enhanced Smart Contract.” Through ICON, participants will be able to connect to any blockchain without relying on the current centralized exchanges. ICON has a relatively large team from various backgrounds. They have also secured the help of a few notable advisors such as Jason Best and Don Tapscott. For more information on ICON and the work they’re doing, see “What is ICON“.
#24 – Lisk (LSK)
📷 Lisk is a decentralized network, like Bitcoin and Litecoin, which enables developers to deploy their own side chains off the main Lisk blockchain. These side chains are fully customizable blockchains which enable you to change the parameters you want to fit your own blockchain application. This is similar to Ethereum and QTUM in some ways. With Lisk, the main difference is that the customizable blockchains split into their own separate side chains. This saves developers the grueling legwork of designing something from scratch. At the end of the day, side chains are only decentralized databases of blockchain applications. Lisk is being developed by a small but quickly growing Berlin-based team. They are led by co-founders Max Kordek and Olivier Beddows who are veterans in the cryptocurrency and development world. For a thorough look into Lisk including more on what Lisk does, its competitors, challenges and teams, see “What is Lisk”. You can also check out our case study of an accountant who invested all his life savings in Lisk: “Accountant Invests All in Lisk”.
#25 – Zilliqa – (ZIL)
📷 Zilliqa is a blockchain platform which focuses on solving the problem of scaling on public blockchains. With Zilliqa’s network, the number of transactions increases at a linear rate to the number of nodes. This means that as nodes increase, so will its ability to handle high transaction volume. Zilliqa has already run a successfultest on their network, where they were able to achieve 1,200 transactions per second with only 2,400 nodes. Zilliqa also is the first blockchain to successfully integrate “sharding” into a public blockchain. This concept is extremely useful in improving the rate of scalability, bandwidth and performance in blockchains. Sharding, in effect, splits nodes into “shards” which can then conduct micro-transactions in each blockchain block. In addition to this, Zilliqa claims to be more energy-efficient to mine. They also plan to implement dapps into their platform in the future. For more information on Zilliqa, see their website and reddit. Our article “What is Zilliqa” can provide you with an overview of the project.
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