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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:

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:
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
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:
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:
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):



Thoughts?
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The United Partnership Of The Sports Industry With Cryptocurrency | CoinsCapture

The United Partnership Of The Sports Industry With Cryptocurrency | CoinsCapture


The United Partnership Of The Sports Industry With Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology is proliferating in various industries - one such industry is ‘Sports’. Sports and the aura that it creates is so vibrant and energetic - sports fans are passionate about the teams they support. The market in the sports industry is massive too - from partnerships to tickets, merchandise, collectibles, and much more that could benefit everyone associated.
When every industry is trying to attempt to be innovative and adapt to the new digital currency technology - the sports industry isn’t the one to be left behind too! The sports industry and related organizations have started to adopt and embrace the world of cryptocurrency and digital tokens. In many of such forms, they also provide exclusive merchandise, items, or content with the help of the technology. The use of cryptocurrency in the sports industry does not only upgrade the game of transactions and payments but it also helps to be connected and engaged with its fans.
For instance, in the year 2014, the NBA team - Sacramento Kings - was believed to be the first in the sports industry that started accepting Bitcoin as a method for payment and transactions for ticketing and merchandise.
In this blog, we are going to talk about the United Partnership of the Sports Industry with Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology.
The Sport That Brings Billions Together
Football is the most popular and loved sport in the world, it's even called soccer in the United States. As per FIFA - football organization, over 3.5 billion people tuned in to watch the 2018 World Cup in Russia - that means almost half of the world’s population watched the global showpiece. A sport that big merely means the people, businesses, brands, advertisers, products, basically anything associated is in for huge benefits.
Also Read, Online Gaming and Bitcoin: The Crypto-play
Various teams in Europe have adopted a solution with blockchain technology that facilitates its fans in order to interact with the team, several powered utilities based on the token. West Ham, Paris Saint Germaine, and Juventus are involved in partnerships with its blockchain-based fan platform - Socios for engagement.
It enables the teams to be engaged and be involved with the fans and also the platform lets the fans have their favorite team’s fan token. With the use of these tokens, the fans can participate to place votes for things like changes in the jersey of the club, access to exclusive content and memorabilia.
Socios has two types of the voting process - binding and nonbinding. A binding set of the vote means that the club has to carry out and abide by the outcome of the vote, so for instance, if the fans have voted to change per se the color of the jersey, the club will have to carry out the vote’s request and since the process is done on blockchain technology, it cannot be manipulated or be tampered with.
Clubs have also utilized blockchain technology for endorsements, the system on Socios uses cryptocurrency token named - Chiliz. The company had also announced a partnership with Binance - a popular cryptocurrency exchange.
As Alex Dreyfus, the CEO of Socios noted how the untapped people can be connected too through the sector - given the global sports audience being estimated to be around 3.5 billion people.
The Portuguese Football Club - Benfica also accepts payments and transactions with cryptocurrency for ticketing and merchandise through Utrust - a cryptocurrency platform in June 2019. The supporters could make transactions by using ETH, BTC, and Utrust tokens, while the motive of the move was to meet the demands of over 7 million fans on social media.
Also, Lionel Messi - the Barcelona star has promoted cryptocurrency and blockchain projects on various occasions.
To continue reading visit: https://coinscapture.com/blog/the-united-partnership-of-the-sports-industry-with-cryptocurrency
submitted by coinscapturecom to u/coinscapturecom [link] [comments]

Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?

Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?
These crypto lending & borrowing services found early traction. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market?
https://reddit.com/link/icps9l/video/98kl1y596zh51/player
This is the third part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this very powerful technology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe a crypto-native company will ultimately become the bank of the future. We’re confident Genesis Block will have a seat at that table, but we aren’t the only game in town.
In the first post of this series, we did an analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. In our second episode, we looked at the world of non-custodial wallets.
Today we’re analyzing crypto lending & borrowing services. The Earn and Borrow use-case covers a lot of what traditional banks deliver today. This category of companies is a threat worth analyzing. As we look at this market, we’ll mostly be focused on custodial, centralized products like BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.
Many of these companies found early traction among crypto users. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? Let’s find out.

Institutional Borrowers

Because speculation and trading remains one of the most popular use-cases of crypto, a new crypto sub-industry around credit has emerged. Much of the borrowing demand has been driven by institutional needs.
For example, a Bitcoin mining company might need to borrow fiat to pay for operational costs (salaries, electricity). Or a crypto company might need to borrow USD to pay for engineering salaries. Or a crypto hedge fund needs to borrow for leverage or to take a specific market position. While all of these companies have sufficient crypto to cover the costs, they might not want to sell it — either for tax or speculative reasons (they may believe these crypto assets will appreciate, as with most in the industry).
Instead of selling their crypto, these companies can use their crypto as collateral for loans. For example, they can provide $1.5M in Bitcoin as collateral, and borrow $1M. Given the collateralization happening, the underwriting process becomes straightforward. Companies all around the world can participate — language and cultural barriers are removed.

https://preview.redd.it/z9pby83d6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=54bf425215c3ed6d5ff0ca7dbe571e735b994613
The leader (and one of our partners) in this space is Genesis Capital. While they are always the counterparty for both lenders and borrowers, they are effectively a broker. They are at the center of the institutional crypto lending & borrowing markets. Their total active loans as of March 2020 was $649M. That number shot up to $1.42B in active loans as of June 2020. The growth of this entire market segment is impressive and it’s what is driving this opportunity for consumers downstream.

Consumer Products

While most of the borrowing demand comes from institutional players, there is a growing desire from consumers to participate on the lend/supply side of the market. Crypto consumers would love to be able to deposit their assets with a service and watch it grow. Why let crypto assets sit on an exchange or in cold storage when it can be earning interest?
A number of consumer-facing products have emerged in the last few years to make this happen. While they also allow users to borrow (always with collateral), most of the consumer attraction is around growing their crypto, even while they sleep. Earning interest. These products usually partner with institutional players like Genesis Capital to match the deposits with borrowing demand. And it’s exactly part of our strategy as well, beyond leveraging DeFi (decentralized finance protocols).
A few of the most popular consumer services in this category include BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.

https://preview.redd.it/vptig5mg6zh51.png?width=1051&format=png&auto=webp&s=b5fdc241cb9b6f5b495173667619f8d2c93371ca

BlockFi

BlockFi (Crunchbase) is the leader in this category (at least in the West). They are well-capitalized. In August 2019, they raised $18.3M in their Series A. In Feb 2020, they raised $30M in their Series B. In that same time period, they went from $250M in assets under management to $650M. In a recent blog post, they announced that they saw a 100% revenue increase in Q2 and that they were on track to do $50M in revenue this year. Their growth is impressive.
BlockFi did not do an ICO, unlike Celsius, Nexo, Salt, and Cred. BlockFi has a lot of institutional backing so it is perceived as the most reputable in the space. BlockFi started with borrowing — allowing users to leverage their crypto as collateral and taking out a loan against it. They later got into Earning — allowing users to deposit assets and earn interest on it. They recently expanded their service to “exchange” functionality and say they are coming out with a credit card later this year.

https://preview.redd.it/byv2tbui6zh51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=bac080dcfc85e89574c30dfb396db0b537d46706
Security Woes
It’s incredible that BlockFi has been able to see such strong growth despite their numerous product and security woes. A few months ago, their systems were compromised. A hacker was able to access confidential data, such as names, dates of birth, postal addresses, and activity histories. While no funds were lost, this was a massive embarrassment and caused reputational damage.

https://preview.redd.it/lwmxbz5l6zh51.png?width=606&format=png&auto=webp&s=ebd8e6e5c31c56da055824254b35b218b49f80e0
Unrelated to that massive security breach and earlier in the year, a user discovered a major bug that allowed him to send the same funds to himself over and over again, ultimately accumulating more than a million dollars in his BlockFi account. BlockFi fortunately caught him just before withdrawal.
Poor Product Execution
Beyond their poor security — which they are now trying to get serious about — their products are notoriously buggy and hard-to-use. I borrowed from them a year ago and used their interest account product until very recently. I have first-hand experience of how painful it is. But don’t take my word for it… here are just a few tweets from customers just recently.

https://preview.redd.it/wcqu3icn6zh51.png?width=1055&format=png&auto=webp&s=870e2f06a6ec377a87e5d6d1f24579a901de66b5
For a while, their interest-earning product had a completely different authentication system than their loan product (users had two sets of usernames/passwords). Many people have had issues with withdrawals. The app is constantly logging people out, blank screens, ugly error messages. Emails with verification codes are sometimes delayed by hours (or days). I do wonder if their entire app has been outsourced. The sloppiness shines through.
Not only is their product buggy and UX confusing, but their branding & design is quite weak. To the left is a t-shirt they once sent me. It looks like they just found a bunch of quirky fonts, added their name, and slapped it on a t-shirt.

https://preview.redd.it/mi6yeppp6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=fd4cd8201ad0d5bc667498096388377895b72953
Culture
To the innocent bystander, many of these issues seem totally fixable. They could hire an amazing design agency to completely revamp their product or brand. They could hire a mercenary group of engineers to fix their bugs, etc. While it could stop the bleeding for a time, it may not solve the underlying issues. Years of sloppy product execution represents something much more destructive. It represents a top-down mentality that shipping anything other than excellence is okay: product experience doesn’t matter; design doesn’t matter; craftsmanship doesn’t matter; strong execution doesn’t matter; precision doesn’t matter. That’s very different from our culture at Genesis Block.
This cancerous mentality rarely stays contained within product & engineering — this leaks to all parts of the organization. No design agency or consulting firm will fix some of the pernicious values of a company’s soul. These are deeper issues that only leadership can course-correct.
If BlockFi’s sloppiness were due to constant experimentation, iteration, shipping, or some “move fast and break things” hacker culture… like Binance… I would probably cut them more slack. But there is zero evidence of that. “Move fast and break things” is always scary when dealing with financial products. But in BlockFi’s case, when it’s more like “move slow and break things,” they are really playing with fire. Next time a massive security breach occurs, like what happened earlier this year, they may not be so lucky.
Institutional Focus
Based on who is on their team, their poor product execution shouldn’t be a surprise. Their team comes mostly from Wall Street, not the blockchain community (where our roots are). Most of BlockFi’s blockchain/crypto integration is very superficial. They take crypto assets as deposits, but they aren’t leveraging any of the exciting, low-level DeFi protocols like we are.
While their Wall Street heritage isn’t doing them any favors on the product/tech side, it’s served them very well on winning institutional clients. This is perhaps their greatest strength. BlockFi has a strong institutional business. They recently brought on Three Arrows Capital as a strategic investor — a crypto hedge fund who does a lot of borrowing. In that announcement, BlockFi’s founder said that bringing them on “aligns well with our focus on international expansion of our institutional services offering.” They also recently brought someone on who will lead business development in Asia among institutional clients.
BlockFi Wrap Up
There are certainly BlockFi features that overlap with Genesis Block’s offering. It’s possible that they are angling to become the bank of the future. However, they simply have not proven they are capable of designing, building, and launching world-class consumer products. They’ve constantly had issues around security and poor product execution. Their company account and their founder’s account seem to only tweet about Bitcoin. I don’t think they understand, appreciate, or value the power of DeFi. It’s unlikely they’ll be leveraging it any time soon. All of these reasons are why I don’t see them as a serious threat to Genesis Block.
However, because of their strong institutional offering, I hope that Genesis Block will ultimately have a very collaborative and productive partnership with them. Assuming they figure out their security woes, we could park some of our funds with BlockFi (just as we will with Genesis Capital and others). I think what’s likely to happen is that we’ll corner the consumer market and we’ll work closely with BlockFi on the institutional side.
I’ve been hard on BlockFi because I care. I think they have a great opportunity at helping elevate the entire industry in a positive way. But they have a lot of issues they need to work through. I really don’t want to see users lose millions of dollars in a security breach. It could set back the entire industry. But if they do things well… a rising tide lifts all boats.

Honorable Mentions

Celsius (ICO Drops) raised $50M in an ICO, and is led by serial entrepreneur Alex Mashinsky. I’ve met him, he’s a nice guy. Similar to Binance, their biggest Achilles heel could be their own token. There are also a lot of unanswered questions about where their deposits go. They don’t have a record of great transparency. They recently did a public crowdraise which is a little odd given their large ICO as well as their supposed $1B in deposits. Are they running out of money, as some suggest? Unclear. One of their biggest blindspots right now is that Mashinsky does not understand the power of DeFi. He is frequently openly criticizing it.
Nexo (ICO Drops) is another similar service. They are European-based, trying to launch their own card (though they’ve been saying this forever and they still haven’t shipped it), and have a history in the payments/fintech space. Because they haven’t penetrated the US — which is a much harder regulatory nut to crack — they are unlikely to be as competitive as BlockFi. There were also allegations that Nexo was spreading FUD about Chainlink while simultaneously partnering with them. Did Nexo take out a short position and start spreading rumors? Never a dull moment in crypto.
Other players in the lending & borrowing space include Unchained Capital, Cred (ICO Drops), and Salt (ICO Drops).

https://preview.redd.it/9ts6m0qw6zh51.png?width=1056&format=png&auto=webp&s=dd8d368c1aa39994c6bc5e4baec10678d3bbba2d

Wrap Up

While many companies in this category seem to be slowly adding more financial services, I don’t believe any of them are focused on the broader consumer market like we are. To use services like BlockFi, Nexo, or Celsius, users need to be onboarded and educated on how crypto works. At Genesis Block, we don’t believe that’s the winning approach. We think blockchain complexity should be abstracted away from the end-user. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
For many of these services, there is additional friction due to ICO tokens that are forcefully integrated into the product (see NEXO token or CEL Token). None of these services have true banking functionality or integration with traditional finance —for example, easy offramp or spending methods like debit cards. None of them are taking DeFi seriously — they are leveraging crypto for only the asset class, not the underlying technology around financial protocols.
So are these companies potential competitors to Genesis Block? For the crypto crowd, yes. For the mass market, no. None of these companies are capable of reaching the billions of people around the world that we hope to reach at Genesis Block.
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Crypto Banking Wars: Will Coinbase or Binance Become The Bank of The Future?

Crypto Banking Wars: Will Coinbase or Binance Become The Bank of The Future?
Can the early success of major crypto exchanges propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market?
https://reddit.com/link/i48t4q/video/v4eo10gom7f51/player
This is the first part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this powerful technology to reach the masses. We believe a crypto-native company, like Genesis Block, will become the bank of the future.
In an earlier series, Crypto-Powered, we laid out arguments for why crypto-native companies have a huge edge in the market. When you consider both the broad spectrum of financial use-cases and the enormous value unlocked through these DeFi protocols, you can see just how big of an unfair advantage blockchain tech becomes for companies who truly understand and leverage it. Traditional banks and fintech unicorns simply won’t be able to keep up.
The power players of consumer finance in the 21st century will be crypto-native companies who build with blockchain technology at their core.
The crypto landscape is still nascent. We’re still very much in the fragmented, unbundled phase of the industry lifecycle. Beyond what Genesis Block is doing, there are signs of other companies slowly starting to bundle financial services into what could be an all-in-one bank replacement.
So the key question that this series hopes to answer:
Which crypto-native company will successfully become the bank of the future?
We obviously think Genesis Block is well-positioned to win. But we certainly aren’t the only game in town. In this series, we’ll be doing an analysis of who is most capable of thwarting our efforts. We’ll look at categories like crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, centralized lending & borrowing services, and crypto debit card companies. Each category will have its own dedicated post.
Today we’re analyzing big crypto exchanges. The two companies we’ll focus on today are Coinbase (biggest American exchange) and Binance (biggest global exchange). They are the top two exchanges in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. They are in pole position to winning this market — they have a huge existing userbase and strong financial resources.
Will Coinbase or Binance become the bank of the future? Can their early success propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market? Is their growth too far ahead for anyone else to catch up? Let’s dive in.
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Binance

The most formidable exchange on the global stage is Binance (Crunchbase). All signs suggest they have significantly more users and a stronger balance sheet than Coinbase. No other exchange is executing as aggressively and relentlessly as Binance is. The cadence at which they are shipping and launching new products is nothing short of impressive. As Tushar Jain from Multicoin argues, Binance is Blitzscaling.
Here are some of the products that they’ve launched in the last 18 months. Only a few are announced but still pre-launch.
Binance is well-positioned to become the crypto-powered, all-in-one, bundled solution for financial services. They already have so many of the pieces. But the key question is:
Can they create a cohesive & united product experience?

Binance Weaknesses

Binance is strong, but they do have a few major weaknesses that could slow them down.
  1. Traders & Speculators Binance is currently very geared for speculators, traders, and financial professionals. Their bread-and-butter is trading (spot, margin, options, futures). Their UI is littered with depth charts, order books, candlesticks, and other financial concepts that are beyond the reach of most normal consumers. Their product today is not at all tailored for the broader consumer market. Given Binance’s popularity and strength among the pro audience, it’s unlikely that they will dumb down or simplify their product any time soon. That would jeopardize their core business. Binance will likely need an entirely new product/brand to go beyond the pro user crowd. That will take time (or an acquisition). So the question remains, is Binance even interested in the broader consumer market? Or will they continue to focus on their core product, the one-stop-shop for pro crypto traders?
  2. Controversies & Hot Water Binance has had a number of controversies. No one seems to know where they are based — so what regulatory agencies can hold them accountable? Last year, some sensitive, private user data got leaked. When they announced their debit card program, they had to remove mentions of Visa quickly after. And though the “police raid” story proved to be untrue, there are still a lot of questions about what happened with their Shanghai office shut down (where there is smoke, there is fire). If any company has had a “move fast and break things” attitude, it is Binance. That attitude has served them well so far but as they try to do business in more regulated countries like America, this will make their road much more difficult — especially in the consumer market where trust takes a long time to earn, but can be destroyed in an instant. This is perhaps why the Binance US product is an empty shell when compared to their main global product.
  3. Disjointed Product Experience Because Binance has so many different teams launching so many different services, their core product is increasingly feeling disjointed and disconnected. Many of the new features are sloppily integrated with each other. There’s no cohesive product experience. This is one of the downsides of executing and shipping at their relentless pace. For example, users don’t have a single wallet that shows their balances. Depending on if the user wants to do spot trading, margin, futures, or savings… the user needs to constantly be transferring their assets from one wallet to another. It’s not a unified, frictionless, simple user experience. This is one major downside of the “move fast and break things” approach.
  4. BNB token Binance raised $15M in a 2017 ICO by selling their $BNB token. The current market cap of $BNB is worth more than $2.6B. Financially this token has served them well. However, given how BNB works (for example, their token burn), there are a lot of open questions as to how BNB will be treated with US security laws. Their Binance US product so far is treading very lightly with its use of BNB. Their token could become a liability for Binance as it enters more regulated markets. Whether the crypto community likes it or not, until regulators get caught up and understand the power of decentralized technology, tokens will still be a regulatory burden — especially for anything that touches consumers.
  5. Binance Chain & Smart Contract Platform Binance is launching its own smart contract platform soon. Based on compatibility choices, they have their sights aimed at the Ethereum developer community. It’s unclear how easy it’ll be to convince developers to move to Binance chain. Most of the current developer energy and momentum around smart contracts is with Ethereum. Because Binance now has their own horse in the race, it’s unlikely they will ever decide to leverage Ethereum’s DeFi protocols. This could likely be a major strategic mistake — and hubris that goes a step too far. Binance will be pushing and promoting protocols on their own platform. The major risk of being all-in on their own platform is that they miss having a seat on the Ethereum rocket ship — specifically the growth of DeFi use-cases and the enormous value that can be unlocked. Integrating with Ethereum’s protocols would be either admitting defeat of their own platform or competing directly against themselves.

Binance Wrap Up

I don’t believe Binance is likely to succeed with a homegrown product aimed at the consumer finance market. Their current product — which is focused heavily on professional traders and speculators — is unlikely to become the bank of the future. If they wanted to enter the broader consumer market, I believe it’s much more likely that they will acquire a company that is getting early traction. They are not afraid to make acquisitions (Trust, JEX, WazirX, DappReview, BxB, CoinMarketCap, Swipe).
However, never count CZ out. He is a hustler. Binance is executing so aggressively and relentlessly that they will always be on the shortlist of major contenders.
https://preview.redd.it/mxmlg1zqm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2d900dd5ff7f3b00df5fe5a48305d57ebeffaa9a

Coinbase

The crypto-native company that I believe is more likely to become the bank of the future is Coinbase (crunchbase). Their dominance in America could serve as a springboard to winning the West (Binance has a stronger foothold in Asia). Coinbase has more than 30M users. Their exchange business is a money-printing machine. They have a solid reputation as it relates to compliance and working with regulators. Their CEO is a longtime member of the crypto community. They are rumored to be going public soon.

Coinbase Strengths

Let’s look at what makes them strong and a likely contender for winning the broader consumer finance market.
  1. Different Audience, Different Experience Coinbase has been smart to create a unique product experience for each audience — the pro speculator crowd and the common retail user. Their simple consumer version is at Coinbase.com. That’s the default. Their product for the more sophisticated traders and speculators is at Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX). Unlike Binance, Coinbase can slowly build out the bank of the future for the broad consumer market while still having a home for their hardcore crypto traders. They aren’t afraid to have different experiences for different audiences.
  2. Brand & Design Coinbase has a strong product design team. Their brand is capable of going beyond the male-dominated crypto audience. Their product is clean and simple — much more consumer-friendly than Binance. It’s clear they spend a lot of time thinking about their user experience. Interacting directly with crypto can sometimes be rough and raw (especially for n00bs). When I was at Mainframe we hosted a panel about Crypto UX challenges at the DevCon4 Dapp Awards. Connie Yang (Head of Design at Coinbase) was on the panel. She was impressive. Some of their design philosophies will bode well as they push to reach the broader consumer finance market.
  3. USDC Stablecoin Coinbase (along with Circle) launched USDC. We’ve shared some stats about its impressive growth when we discussed DeFi use-cases. USDC is quickly becoming integrated with most DeFi protocols. As a result, Coinbase is getting a front-row seat at some of the most exciting things happening in decentralized finance. As Coinbase builds its knowledge and networks around these protocols, it could put them in a favorable position to unlock incredible value for their users.
  4. Early Signs of Bundling Though Coinbase has nowhere near as many products & services as Binance, they are slowly starting to add more financial services that may appeal to the broader market. They are now letting depositors earn interest on USDC (also DAI & Tezos). In the UK they are piloting a debit card. Users can now invest in crypto with dollar-cost-averaging. It’s not much, but it’s a start. You can start to see hints of a more bundled solution around financial services.

Coinbase Weaknesses

Let’s now look at some things that could hold them back.
  1. Slow Cadence In the fast-paced world of crypto, and especially when compared to Binance, Coinbase does not ship very many new products very often. This is perhaps their greatest weakness. Smaller, more nimble startups may run circles around them. They were smart to launch Coinbase Ventures where tey invest in early-stage startups. They can now keep an ear to the ground on innovation. Perhaps their cadence is normal for a company of their size — but the Binance pace creates quite the contrast.
  2. Lack of Innovation When you consider the previous point (slow cadence), it’s unclear if Coinbase is capable of building and launching new products that are built internally. Most of their new products have come through acquisitions. Their Earn.com acquisition is what led to their Earn educational product. Their acquisition of Xapo helped bolster their institutional custody offering. They acqui-hired a team to help launch their staking infrastructure. Their acquisition of Cipher Browser became an important part of Coinbase Wallet. And recently, they acquired Tagomi — a crypto prime brokerage. Perhaps most of Coinbase’s team is just focused on improving their golden goose, their exchange business. It’s unclear. But the jury is still out on if they can successfully innovate internally and launch any homegrown products.
  3. Talent Exodus There have been numerous reports of executive turmoil at Coinbase. It raises a lot of questions about company culture and vision. Some of the executives who departed include COO Asiff Hirji, CTO Balaji Srinivasan, VP & GM Adam White, VP Eng Tim Wagner, VP Product Jeremy Henrickson, Sr Dir of Eng Namrata Ganatra, VP of Intl Biz Dan Romero, Dir of Inst Sales Christine Sandler, Head of Trading Hunter Merghart, Dir Data Science Soups Ranjan, Policy Lead Mike Lempres, Sr Compliance Vaishali Mehta. Many of these folks didn’t stay with Coinbase very long. We don’t know exactly why it’s happening —but when you consider a few of my first points (slow cadence, lack of innovation), you have to wonder if it’s all related.
  4. Institutional Focus As a company, we are a Coinbase client. We love their institutional offering. It’s clear they’ve been investing a lot in this area. A recent Coinbase blog post made it clear that this has been a focus: “Over the past 12 months, Coinbase has been laser-focused on building out the types of features and services that our institutional customers need.” Their Tagomi acquisition only re-enforced this focus. Perhaps this is why their consumer product has felt so neglected. They’ve been heavily investing in their institutional services since May 2018. For a company that’s getting very close to an IPO, it makes sense that they’d focus on areas that present strong revenue opportunities — as they do with institutional clients. Even for big companies like Coinbase, it’s hard to have a split focus. If they are “laser-focused” on the institutional audience, it’s unlikely they’ll be launching any major consumer products anytime soon.

Coinbase Wrap Up

At Genesis Block, we‘re proud to be working with Coinbase. They are a fantastic company. However, I don’t believe that they’ll succeed in building their own product for the broader consumer finance market. While they have incredible design, there are no signs that they are focused on or capable of internally building this type of product.
Similar to Binance, I think it’s far more likely that Coinbase acquires a promising young startup with strong growth.

Honorable Mentions

Other US-based exchanges worth mentioning are Kraken, Gemini, and Bittrex. So far we’ve seen very few signs that any of them will aggressively attack broader consumer finance. Most are going in the way of Binance — listing more assets and adding more pro tools like margin and futures trading. And many, like Coinbase, are trying to attract more institutional customers. For example, Gemini with their custody product.

Wrap Up

Coinbase and Binance have huge war chests and massive reach. For that alone, they should always be considered threats to Genesis Block. However, their products are very, very different than the product we’re building. And their approach is very different as well. They are trying to educate and onboard people into crypto. At Genesis Block, we believe the masses shouldn’t need to know or care about it. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
Most everyone needs banking — whether it be to borrow, spend, invest, earn interest, etc. Not everyone needs a crypto exchange. For non-crypto consumers (the mass market), the differences between a bank and a crypto exchange are immense. Companies like Binance and Coinbase make a lot of money on their crypto exchange business. It would be really difficult, gutsy, and risky for any of them to completely change their narrative, messaging, and product to focus on the broader consumer market. I don’t believe they would ever risk biting the hand that feeds them.
In summary, as it relates to a digital bank aimed at the mass market, I believe both Coinbase and Binance are much more likely to acquire a startup in this space than they are to build it themselves. And I think they would want to keep the brand/product distinct and separate from their core crypto exchange business.
So back to the original question, is Coinbase and Binance a threat to Genesis Block? Not really. Not today. But they could be, and for that, we want to stay close to them.
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Crypto-Powered: Understanding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi

Crypto-Powered: Understanding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi
Until one understands the basics of this tech, they won’t be able to grasp or appreciate the impact it has on our digital bank, Genesis Block.
https://reddit.com/link/ho4bif/video/n0euarkifu951/player
This is the second post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
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Our previous post set the stage for this series. We discussed the state of consumer finance and how the success of today’s high-flying fintech unicorns will be short-lived as long as they’re building on legacy finance — a weak foundation that is ripe for massive disruption.
Instead, the future of consumer finance belongs to those who are deeply familiar with blockchain tech & decentralized protocols, build on it as the foundation, and know how to take it to the world. Like Genesis Block.
Today we begin our journey down the crypto rabbit hole. This post will be an important introduction for those still learning about Bitcoin, Ethereum, or DeFi (Decentralized Finance). This post (and the next few) will go into greater detail about how this technology gives Genesis Block an edge, a superpower, and an unfair advantage. Let’s dive in…
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Bitcoin: The First Cryptocurrency

There are plenty of online resources to learn about Bitcoin (Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Naval, Alex Gladstein, Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon). I don’t wanna spend a lot of time on that here, but let’s do a quick overview for those still getting ramped up.
Cryptocurrency is the most popular use-case of blockchain technology today. And Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be invented.
Bitcoin is the most decentralized of all crypto assets today — no government, company, or third party can control or censor it.
Bitcoin has two primary features (as do most other cryptocurrencies):
  1. Send Value You can send value to anyone, anywhere in the world. Nobody can intercept, delay or stop it — not even governments or financial institutions. Unlike with traditional money transfers or bank wires, there are no layers of middlemen. This results in a process that is much more cost-efficient. Some popular use-cases include remittances and cross-border payments.
  2. Store Value With nothing but a smartphone, you can become your own bank and store your own funds. Nobody can seize your assets. The funds are digital and stored on a blockchain. Your money no longer needs to be stored at a bank, in a vault, or under your mattress. I covered a few inspiring use-cases in a previous post. They include banking the unbanked, protecting assets from government seizure, mitigating the risk of a bank run, and protection against hyperinflation (like what recently happened in Venezuela).
The fact that there are so few things one can do with Bitcoin is one of its greatest strengths.
Its design is simple, elegant, and focused. It has been 10+ years since Satoshi’s white paper and no one has been able to crack or hack the Bitcoin network. With a market cap of $170B, there is plenty of incentive to try.
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Public Awareness

A few negative moments in Bitcoin’s history include the collapse of Mt. Gox — which resulted in hundreds of millions of customer funds being stolen — as well as Bitcoin’s role in dark markets like Silk Road — where Bitcoin arguably found its initial userbase.
However, like most breakthrough technology, Bitcoin is neither good nor bad. It’s neutral. People can use it for good or they can use it for evil. Thankfully, it’s being used less and less for illicit activity. Criminals are starting to understand that transactions on a blockchain are public and traceable — it’s exactly the type of system they usually try to avoid. And it’s true, at this point “a lot more” crimes are actually committed with fiat than crypto.
As a result, the perception of bitcoin and cryptocurrency has been changing over the years to a more positive light.
Bitcoin has even started to enter the world of media & entertainment. It’s been mentioned in Hollywood films like Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and in songs from major artists like Eminem. It’s been mentioned in countless TV shows like Billions, The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, Gray’s Anatomy, Family Guy, and more.
As covid19 has ravaged economies and central banks have been printing money, Bitcoin has caught the attention of many legendary Wall Street investors like Paul Tudor Jones, saying that Bitcoin is a great bet against inflation (reminding him of Gold in the 1970s).
Cash App already lets their 25M users buy Bitcoin. It’s rumored that PayPal and Venmo will soon let their 325M users start buying Bitcoin. Bitcoin is by far the most dominant cryptocurrency and is showing no signs of slowing down. For more than a decade it has delivered on its core use-cases — being able to send or store value.
At this point, Bitcoin has very much entered the zeitgeist of modern pop culture — at least in the West.
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Ethereum: Programmable Money

When Ethereum launched in 2015, it opened up a world of new possibilities and use-cases for crypto. With Ethereum Smart Contracts (i.e. applications), this exciting new digital money (cryptocurrency) became a lot less dumb. Developers could now build applications that go beyond the simple use-cases of “send value” & “store value.” They could program cryptocurrency to have rules, behavior, and logic to respond to different inputs. And always enforced by code. Additional reading on Ethereum from Linda Xie or Vitalik Buterin.
Because these applications are built on blockchain technology (Ethereum), they preserve many of the same characteristics as Bitcoin: no one can stop, censor or shut down these apps because they are decentralized.
One of the first major use-cases on Ethereum was the ability to mint and create your own token, your own cryptocurrency. Many companies used this as a way to fundraise from the public. This led to the 2017 ICO bubble (Initial Coin Offerings). Some tokens — and the apps/networks they powered — were fascinating and innovative. Most tokens were pointless. And many tokens were outright scams. Additional token reading from Fred Ehrsam, Balaji, and Naval.
https://reddit.com/link/ho4bif/video/b5b1jh9ofu951/player

Digital Gold Rush

Just as tokens grew in popularity in 2017–2018, so did online marketplaces where these tokens could be bought, sold, and traded. This was a fledgling asset class — the merchants selling picks, axes, and shovels were finally starting to emerge.
I had a front-row seat — both as an investor and token creator. This was the Wild West with all the frontier drama & scandal that you’d expect.
Binance — now the world’s largest crypto exchange —was launched during this time. They along with many others (especially from Asia) made it really easy for speculators, traders, and degenerate gamblers to participate in these markets. Similar to other financial markets, the goal was straightforward: buy low and sell high.
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That period left an embarrassing stain on our industry that we’ve still been trying to recover from. It was a period rampant with market manipulation, pump-and-dumps, and scams. To some extent, the crypto industry still suffers from that today, but it’s nothing compared to what it was then.
While the potential of getting filthy rich brought a lot of fly-by-nighters and charlatans into the industry, it also brought a lot of innovators, entrepreneurs, and builders.
The launch and growth of Ethereum has been an incredible technological breakthrough. As with past tech breakthroughs, it has led to a wave of innovation, experimentation, and development. The creativity around tokens, smart contracts, and decentralized applications has been fascinating to witness. Now a few years later, the fruits of those labors are starting to be realized.

DeFi: Decentralized Finance

So as a reminder, tokens are cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies can carry value. And value is a lot like money. Because tokens are natively integrated with Ethereum, it’s been natural for developers to build applications related to financial services — things like lending, borrowing, saving, investing, payments, and insurance. In the last few years, there has been a groundswell of developer momentum building in this area of financial protocols. This segment of the industry is known as DeFi (Decentralized Finance).
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In Q2 of 2020, 97% of all Ethereum activity was DeFi-related. Total DeFi transaction volume has reached $11.5B. The current value locked inside DeFi protocols is approaching $2 Billion (double from a month ago). DeFi’s meteoric growth cannot be ignored.
Most of that growth can be attributed to exciting protocols like Compound, Maker, Synthetix, Balancer, Aave, dYdX, and Uniswap. These DeFi protocols and the financial services they offer are quickly becoming some of the most popular use-cases for blockchain technology today.
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This impressive growth in DeFi certainly hasn’t come without growing pains. Unlike with Bitcoin, there are near-infinite applications one can develop on Ethereum. Sometimes bugs (or typos) can slip through code reviews, testing, and audits — resulting in loss of funds.
Our next post will go much deeper on DeFi.

Wrap Up

I know that for the hardcore crypto people, what we covered today is nothing new. But for those who are still getting up to speed, welcome! I hope this was helpful and that it fuels your interest to learn more.
Until you understand the basics of this technology, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the impact that it has on our new digital bank, Genesis Block. You won’t be able to understand the implications, how it relates, or how it helps.
After today’s post, some of you probably have a lot more questions. What are specific examples or use-cases of DeFi? Why does it need to be on a blockchain? What benefits does it bring to Genesis Block and our users?
In upcoming posts, we answer these questions. Today’s post was just Level 1. It set the foundation for where we’re headed next: even deeper down the crypto rabbit hole.
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Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
A whirlwind tour of Defi, paying close attention to protocols that we’re leveraging at Genesis Block.
https://reddit.com/link/hrrt21/video/cvjh5rrh12b51/player
This is the third post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
Last week we explored how building on legacy finance is a fool’s errand. The future of money belongs to those who build with crypto and blockchain at their core. We also started down the crypto rabbit hole, introducing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi (decentralized finance). That post is required reading if you hope to glean any value from the rest of this series.
97% of all activity on Ethereum in the last quarter has been DeFi-related. The total value sitting inside DeFi protocols is roughly $2B — double what it was a month ago. The explosive growth cannot be ignored. All signs suggest that Ethereum & DeFi are a Match Made in Heaven, and both on their way to finding strong product/market fit.
So in this post, we’re doing a whirlwind tour of DeFi. We look at specific examples and use-cases already in the wild and seeing strong growth. And we pay close attention to protocols that Genesis Block is integrating with. Alright, let’s dive in.

Stablecoins

Stablecoins are exactly what they sound like: cryptocurrencies that are stable. They are not meant to be volatile (like Bitcoin). These assets attempt to peg their price to some external reference (eg. USD or Gold). A non-volatile crypto asset can be incredibly useful for things like merchant payments, cross-border transfers, or storing wealth — becoming your own bank but without the stress of constant price volatility.
There are major governments and central banks that are experimenting with or soon launching their own stablecoins like China with their digital yuan and the US Federal Reserve with their digital dollar. There are also major corporations working in this area like JP Morgan with their JPM Coin, and of course Facebook with their Libra Project.
Stablecoin activity has grown 800% in the last year, with $290B of transaction volume (funds moving on-chain).
The most popular USD-pegged stablecoins include:
  1. Tether ($10B): It’s especially popular in Asia. It’s backed by USD in a bank account. But given their lack of transparency and past controversies, they generally aren’t trusted as much in the West.
  2. USDC ($1B): This is the most reputable USD-backed stablecoin, at least in the West. It was created by Coinbase & Circle, both well-regarded crypto companies. They’ve been very open and transparent with their audits and bank records.
  3. DAI ($189M): This is backed by other crypto assets — not USD in a bank account. This was arguably the first true DeFi protocol. The big benefit is that it’s more decentralized — it’s not controlled by any single organization. The downside is that the assets backing it can be volatile crypto assets (though it has mechanisms in place to mitigate that risk).
Other notable USD-backed stablecoins include PAX, TrueUSD, Binance USD, and Gemini Dollar.
tablecoins are playing an increasingly important role in the world of DeFi. In a way, they serve as common pipes & bridges between the various protocols.
https://preview.redd.it/v9ki2qro12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=dbf591b122fc4b3d83b381389145b88e2505b51d

Lending & Borrowing

Three of the top five DeFi protocols relate to lending & borrowing. These popular lending protocols look very similar to traditional money markets. Users who want to earn interest/yield can deposit (lend) their funds into a pool of liquidity. Because it behaves similarly to traditional money markets, their funds are not locked, they can withdraw at any time. It’s highly liquid.
Borrowers can tap into this pool of liquidity and take out loans. Interest rates depend on the utilization rate of the pool — how much of the deposits in the pool have already been borrowed. Supply & demand. Thus, interest rates are variable and borrowers can pay their loans back at any time.
So, who decides how much a borrower can take? What’s the process like? Are there credit checks? How is credit-worthiness determined?
These protocols are decentralized, borderless, permissionless. The people participating in these markets are from all over the world. There is no simple way to verify identity or check credit history. So none of that happens.
Credit-worthiness is determined simply by how much crypto collateral the borrower puts into the protocol. For example, if a user wants to borrow $5k of USDC, then they’ll need to deposit $10k of BTC or ETH. The exact amount of collateral depends on the rules of the protocol — usually the more liquid the collateral asset, the more borrowing power the user can receive.
The most prominent lending protocols include Compound, Aave, Maker, and Atomic Loans. Recently, Compound has seen meteoric growth with the introduction of their COMP token — a token used to incentivize and reward participants of the protocol. There’s almost $1B in outstanding debt in the Compound protocol. Mainframe is also working on an exciting protocol in this area and the latest iteration of their white paper should be coming out soon.
There is very little economic risk to these protocols because all loans are overcollateralized.
I repeat, all loans are overcollateralized. If the value of the collateral depreciates significantly due to price volatility, there are sophisticated liquidation systems to ensure the loan always gets paid back.
https://preview.redd.it/rru5fykv12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=620679dd84fca098a042051c7e7e1697be8dd259

Investments

Buying, selling, and trading crypto assets is certainly one form of investing (though not for the faint of heart). But there are now DeFi protocols to facilitate making and managing traditional-style investments.
Through DeFi, you can invest in Gold. You can invest in stocks like Amazon and Apple. You can short Tesla. You can access the S&P 500. This is done through crypto-based synthetics — which gives users exposure to assets without needing to hold or own the underlying asset. This is all possible with protocols like UMA, Synthetix, or Market protocol.
Maybe your style of investing is more passive. With PoolTogether , you can participate in a no-loss lottery.
Maybe you’re an advanced trader and want to trade options or futures. You can do that with DeFi protocols like Convexity, Futureswap, and dYdX. Maybe you live on the wild side and trade on margin or leverage, you can do that with protocols like Fulcrum, Nuo, and DDEX. Or maybe you’re a degenerate gambler and want to bet against Trump in the upcoming election, you can do that on Augur.
And there are plenty of DeFi protocols to help with crypto investing. You could use Set Protocol if you need automated trading strategies. You could use Melonport if you’re an asset manager. You could use Balancer to automatically rebalance your portfolio.
With as little as $1, people all over the world can have access to the same investment opportunities and tools that used to be reserved for only the wealthy, or those lucky enough to be born in the right country.
You can start to imagine how services like Etrade, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and even Robinhood could be massively disrupted by a crypto-native company that builds with these types of protocols at their foundation.
https://preview.redd.it/agco8msx12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=3bbb595f9ecc84758d276dbf82bc5ddd9e329ff8

Insurance

As mentioned in our previous post, there are near-infinite applications one can build on Ethereum. As a result, sometimes the code doesn’t work as expected. Bugs get through, it breaks. We’re still early in our industry. The tools, frameworks, and best practices are all still being established. Things can go wrong.
Sometimes the application just gets in a weird or bad state where funds can’t be recovered — like with what happened with Parity where $280M got frozen (yes, I lost some money in that). Sometimes, there are hackers who discover a vulnerability in the code and maliciously steal funds — like how dForce lost $25M a few months ago, or how The DAO lost $50M a few years ago. And sometimes the system works as designed, but the economic model behind it is flawed, so a clever user takes advantage of the system— like what recently happened with Balancer where they lost $500k.
There are a lot of risks when interacting with smart contracts and decentralized applications — especially for ones that haven’t stood the test of time. This is why insurance is such an important development in DeFi.
Insurance will be an essential component in helping this technology reach the masses.
Two protocols that are leading the way on DeFi insurance are Nexus Mutual and Opyn. Though they are both still just getting started, many people are already using them. And we’re excited to start working with them at Genesis Block.
https://preview.redd.it/wf1xvq3z12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=70db1e9587f57d0c470a4f9f4523c216929e1876

Exchanges & Liquidity

Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) were one of the first and most developed categories in DeFi. A DEX allows a user to easily exchange one crypto asset for another crypto asset — but without needing to sign up for an account, verify identity, etc. It’s all via decentralized protocols.
Within the first 5 months of 2020, the top 7 DEX already achieved the 2019 trading volume. That was $2.5B. DeFi is fueling a lot of this growth.
https://preview.redd.it/1dwvq4e022b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=97a3d756f60239cd147031eb95fc2a981db55943
There are many different flavors of DEX. Some of the early ones included 0x, IDEX, and EtherDelta — all of which had a traditional order book model where buyers are matched with sellers.
Another flavor is the pooled liquidity approach where the price is determined algorithmically based on how much liquidity there is and how much the user wants to buy. This is known as an AMM (Automated Market Maker) — Uniswap and Bancor were early leaders here. Though lately, Balancer has seen incredible growth due mostly to their strong incentives for participation — similar to Compound.
There are some DEXs that are more specialized — for example, Curve and mStable focus mostly only stablecoins. Because of the proliferation of these decentralized exchanges, there are now aggregators that combine and connect the liquidity of many sources. Those include Kyber, Totle, 1Inch, and Dex.ag.
These decentralized exchanges are becoming more and more connected to DeFi because they provide an opportunity for yield and earning interest.
Users can earn passive income by supplying liquidity to these markets. It usually comes in the form of sharing transaction fee revenue (Uniswap) or token rewards (Balancer).
https://preview.redd.it/wrug6lg222b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c47a3f2e01426ca87d84b92c1e914db39ff773f

Payments

As it relates to making payments, much of the world is still stuck on plastic cards. We’re grateful to partner with Visa and launch the Genesis Block debit card… but we still don’t believe that's the future of payments. We see that as an important bridge between the past (legacy finance) and the future (crypto).
Our first post in this series shared more on why legacy finance is broken. We talked about the countless unnecessary middle-men on every card swipe (merchant, acquiring bank, processor, card network, issuing bank). We talked about the slow settlement times.
The future of payments will be much better. Yes, it’ll be from a mobile phone and the user experience will be similar to ApplePay (NFC) or WePay (QR Code).
But more importantly, the underlying assets being moved/exchanged will all be crypto — digital, permissionless, and open source.
Someone making a payment at the grocery store check-out line will be able to open up Genesis Block, use contactless tech or scan a QR code, and instantly pay for their goods. All using crypto. Likely a stablecoin. Settlement will be instant. All the middlemen getting their pound of flesh will be disintermediated. The merchant can make more and the user can spend less. Blockchain FTW!
Now let’s talk about a few projects working in this area. The xDai Burner Wallet experience was incredible at the ETHDenver event a few years ago, but that speed came at the expense of full decentralization (can it be censored or shut down?). Of course, Facebook’s Libra wants to become the new standard for global payments, but many are afraid to give Facebook that much control (newsflash: it isn’t very decentralized).
Bitcoin is decentralized… but it’s slow and volatile. There are strong projects like Lightning Network (Zap example) that are still trying to make it happen. Projects like Connext and OmiseGo are trying to help bring payments to Ethereum. The Flexa project is leveraging the gift card rails, which is a nice hack to leverage existing pipes. And if ETH 2.0 is as fast as they say it will be, then the future of payments could just be a stablecoin like DAI (a token on Ethereum).
In a way, being able to spend crypto on daily expenses is the holy grail of use-cases. It’s still early. It hasn’t yet been solved. But once we achieve this, then we can ultimately and finally say goodbye to the legacy banking & finance world. Employees can be paid in crypto. Employees can spend in crypto. It changes everything.
Legacy finance is hanging on by a thread, and it’s this use-case that they are still clinging to. Once solved, DeFi domination will be complete.
https://preview.redd.it/svft1ce422b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=9a6afc9e9339a3fec29ee2ae743c07c3042ea4ce

Impact on Genesis Block

At Genesis Block, we’re excited to leverage these protocols and take this incredible technology to the world. Many of these protocols are already deeply integrated with our product. In fact, many are essential. The masses won’t know (or care about) what Tether, USDC, or DAI is. They think in dollars, euros, pounds and pesos. So while the user sees their local currency in the app, the underlying technology is all leveraging stablecoins. It’s all on “crypto rails.”
https://preview.redd.it/jajzttr622b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=fcf55cea1216a1d2fcc3bf327858b009965f9bf8
When users deposit assets into their Genesis Block account, they expect to earn interest. They expect that money to grow. We leverage many of these low-risk lending/exchange DeFi protocols. We lend into decentralized money markets like Compound — where all loans are overcollateralized. Or we supply liquidity to AMM exchanges like Balancer. This allows us to earn interest and generate yield for our depositors. We’re the experts so our users don’t need to be.
We haven’t yet integrated with any of the insurance or investment protocols — but we certainly plan on it. Our infrastructure is built with blockchain technology at the heart and our system is extensible — we’re ready to add assets and protocols when we feel they are ready, safe, secure, and stable. Many of these protocols are still in the experimental phase. It’s still early.
At Genesis Block we’re excited to continue to be at the frontlines of this incredible, innovative, technological revolution called DeFi.
---
None of these powerful DeFi protocols will be replacing Robinhood, SoFi, or Venmo anytime soon. They never will. They aren’t meant to! We’ve discussed this before, these are low-level protocols that need killer applications, like Genesis Block.
So now that we’ve gone a little deeper down the rabbit hole and we’ve done this whirlwind tour of DeFi, the natural next question is: why?
Why does any of it matter?
Most of these financial services that DeFi offers already exist in the real world. So why does it need to be on a blockchain? Why does it need to be decentralized? What new value is unlocked? Next post, we answer these important questions.
To look at more projects in DeFi, check out DeFi Prime, DeFi Pulse, or Consensys.
------
Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Follow our social channels:https://genesisblock.com/follow/
Download the app. We're a digital bank that's powered by crypto:https://genesisblock.com/download
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Famous Persons in Crypto Industry

Famous Persons in Crypto Industry
Like any developing industry, the cryptocurrency world has its own stars and celebrities. StealthEX has made a list of the most influential people in the crypto world. So here are the TOP-5 people who are leading the digital revolution by transforming financial markets.
https://preview.redd.it/yvwnnlx684c41.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=8bcafdde3a784060e7fff1d8bdf591861769d11f
Brad Garlinghouse
Ripple’s CEO, investor, businessman and a huge fan of blockchain technology.
Garlinghouse was born on February 6, 1971, in Kansas, USA. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Kansas and holds an MBA diploma from Harvard Business School.
Brad has worked for some major technology companies, such as Yahoo, AOL, Hightail, Tonic Health.
Nowadays he is the CEO of Ripple (a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange, and remittance network) and a member of its Board of Directors. Ripple (XRP) is the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and Brad as CEO owns 6% of the company’s stock.
“There are a lot of really fabulous things that get done with digital assets and blockchain technologies to reduce friction, to reduce costs, and enable things that weren’t possible before.”
Brian Armstrong
CEO and co-founder of the Coinbase platform, software engineer, risk manager, and public speaker.
Brian Armstrong was born in 1983 in San Jose, California. Armstrong was interested in technology at school and learned Java and CSS at an early age. He got his first job at school: he created websites for local businesses. In 2001, Armstrong joined Ryerson University in Houston and studied economics and computer science.
After graduation, he was an intern at IBM and then worked as a consultant and risk manager at Deloitte & Touche. Later, he founded the UniversityTutor.com, which allowed users to search for a suitable tutor based on various parameters: education, location, and topics. Brian also worked as a software engineer at Airbnb.com.
Great success came to Brian with the creation of a digital currency exchange platform – Coinbase. Today Coinbase serves 9.5 million customers in 32 countries and the volume of completed transactions exceeds $20 billion. Armstrong’s fortune is estimated in the range of $900 million — $1 billion.
“We can actually change the line, actually bend this curve and materially change the economic freedom of the entire world by what we’re going to build. … The vision for Coinbase is creating more economic freedom for every person and business in the world over the next ten years.”
Charlie Lee
Creator of Litecoin, managing director of the Litecoin Foundation, computer scientist and an iconic figure in the cryptocurrency community.
Charlie was born in West Africa and moved to the United States with his family at the age of 13. Charlie received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After graduation, Lee worked as a programmer at Kana Communications, Guidewire Software, and Google.
Charlie Lee first learned about cryptocurrency in 2011 and decided to create his own coin — Litecoin, which became the best version of Bitcoin: transactions became faster, the number of coins increased, another mining algorithm appeared.
Now Charlie Lee is engaged in the popularization of digital currencies as an expert in the field of blockchain technology.
“I believe that cryptocurrency will take over fiat currency and become the reserve currency.”
Changpeng Zhao
Founder and CEO of Binance, computer scientist and China’s crypto-king.
Zhao was born in Jiangsu province in China and moved with his family to Canada in the late 1980s. He graduated from McGill University with a major in Computer Science. Before setting up his own company, Zhao worked at OKCoin and Bloomberg.
In July 2017, Zhao launched the cryptocurrency exchange platform — Binance. The ability of the platform to process a high number of transactions (1.4 million per second) and a reliable system of protection quickly made the Binance one of the most popular crypto exchanges in the world. In January 2018, Binance came out on top among crypto-exchanges in the world in terms of the trading volume. And Zhao, who became the owner of about $2 billion in crypto, got on the cover of Forbes magazine.
Today Changpeng Zhao is one of the main figures of the crypto world who is actively promoting cryptocurrencies in Asia and North America.
“Cryptocurrency will survive regardless of any one country. Most countries that try to ban bitcoin cause their citizens to want cryptocurrency more.”
Vitalik Buterin
Co-founder of Ethereum, co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine, computer scientist and wunderkind.
On January 31, 2018, the guy will only turn 25, but he has already had a significant impact on the crypto industry.
Vitalik was born in Kolomna, Russia and moved to Canada at the age of six with his family. He has always had a flair for math and programming. His favourite childhood toy was Microsoft Excel.
Buterin is the winner of the Thiel Fellowship, thanks to which he was able to focus on the study of the Bitcoin network and then create his own — Ethereum, which has been called “the world’s hottest new cryptocurrency.” Ethereum network allowed to launch a giant ICO market, the volume of which almost $4 billion.
Nowadays Buterin works with such companies as Microsoft, HP, and JPMorgan. He was ranked “30 most promising entrepreneurs under the age of 30” by Forbes magazine.
“The main advantage of blockchain technology is supposed to be that it’s more secure, but new technologies are generally hard for people to trust, and this paradox can’t really be avoided.”
Who do you think should be in this top list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
And remember no matter how famous and influential you are in the crypto world, you can always exchange your coin on StealthEX.io ;)
Follow us on Medium, Twitter, Facebook to get StealthEX.io updates and the latest news about the crypto world. For all requests message us via [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
submitted by Stealthex_io to CryptoBeginners [link] [comments]

Famous Persons in Crypto Industry

Famous Persons in Crypto Industry
Like any developing industry, the cryptocurrency world has its own stars and celebrities. StealthEX has made a list of the most influential people in the crypto world. So here are the TOP-5 people who are leading the digital revolution by transforming financial markets.
https://preview.redd.it/mo83mbun64c41.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=8a47b98b96b40d378cf2aaaca171722a97e54d6d
Brad Garlinghouse
Ripple’s CEO, investor, businessman and a huge fan of blockchain technology.
Garlinghouse was born on February 6, 1971, in Kansas, USA. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Kansas and holds an MBA diploma from Harvard Business School.
Brad has worked for some major technology companies, such as Yahoo, AOL, Hightail, Tonic Health.
Nowadays he is the CEO of Ripple (a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange, and remittance network) and a member of its Board of Directors. Ripple (XRP) is the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and Brad as CEO owns 6% of the company’s stock.
“There are a lot of really fabulous things that get done with digital assets and blockchain technologies to reduce friction, to reduce costs, and enable things that weren’t possible before.”
Brian Armstrong
CEO and co-founder of the Coinbase platform, software engineer, risk manager, and public speaker.
Brian Armstrong was born in 1983 in San Jose, California. Armstrong was interested in technology at school and learned Java and CSS at an early age. He got his first job at school: he created websites for local businesses. In 2001, Armstrong joined Ryerson University in Houston and studied economics and computer science.
After graduation, he was an intern at IBM and then worked as a consultant and risk manager at Deloitte & Touche. Later, he founded the UniversityTutor.com, which allowed users to search for a suitable tutor based on various parameters: education, location, and topics. Brian also worked as a software engineer at Airbnb.com.
Great success came to Brian with the creation of a digital currency exchange platform – Coinbase. Today Coinbase serves 9.5 million customers in 32 countries and the volume of completed transactions exceeds $20 billion. Armstrong’s fortune is estimated in the range of $900 million — $1 billion.
“We can actually change the line, actually bend this curve and materially change the economic freedom of the entire world by what we’re going to build. … The vision for Coinbase is creating more economic freedom for every person and business in the world over the next ten years.”
Charlie Lee
Creator of Litecoin, managing director of the Litecoin Foundation, computer scientist and an iconic figure in the cryptocurrency community.
Charlie was born in West Africa and moved to the United States with his family at the age of 13. Charlie received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After graduation, Lee worked as a programmer at Kana Communications, Guidewire Software, and Google.
Charlie Lee first learned about cryptocurrency in 2011 and decided to create his own coin — Litecoin, which became the best version of Bitcoin: transactions became faster, the number of coins increased, another mining algorithm appeared.
Now Charlie Lee is engaged in the popularization of digital currencies as an expert in the field of blockchain technology.
“I believe that cryptocurrency will take over fiat currency and become the reserve currency.”
Changpeng Zhao
Founder and CEO of Binance, computer scientist and China’s crypto-king.
Zhao was born in Jiangsu province in China and moved with his family to Canada in the late 1980s. He graduated from McGill University with a major in Computer Science. Before setting up his own company, Zhao worked at OKCoin and Bloomberg.
In July 2017, Zhao launched the cryptocurrency exchange platform — Binance. The ability of the platform to process a high number of transactions (1.4 million per second) and a reliable system of protection quickly made the Binance one of the most popular crypto exchanges in the world. In January 2018, Binance came out on top among crypto-exchanges in the world in terms of the trading volume. And Zhao, who became the owner of about $2 billion in crypto, got on the cover of Forbes magazine.
Today Changpeng Zhao is one of the main figures of the crypto world who is actively promoting cryptocurrencies in Asia and North America.
“Cryptocurrency will survive regardless of any one country. Most countries that try to ban bitcoin cause their citizens to want cryptocurrency more.”
Vitalik Buterin
Co-founder of Ethereum, co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine, computer scientist and wunderkind.
On January 31, 2018, the guy will only turn 25, but he has already had a significant impact on the crypto industry.
Vitalik was born in Kolomna, Russia and moved to Canada at the age of six with his family. He has always had a flair for math and programming. His favourite childhood toy was Microsoft Excel.
Buterin is the winner of the Thiel Fellowship, thanks to which he was able to focus on the study of the Bitcoin network and then create his own — Ethereum, which has been called “the world’s hottest new cryptocurrency.” Ethereum network allowed to launch a giant ICO market, the volume of which almost $4 billion.
Nowadays Buterin works with such companies as Microsoft, HP, and JPMorgan. He was ranked “30 most promising entrepreneurs under the age of 30” by Forbes magazine.
“The main advantage of blockchain technology is supposed to be that it’s more secure, but new technologies are generally hard for people to trust, and this paradox can’t really be avoided.”
Who do you think should be in this top list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
And remember no matter how famous and influential you are in the crypto world, you can always exchange your coin on StealthEX. Just go to http://stealthex.io and choose the pair and the amount for your exchange. Then follow these easy steps:
✔ Choose the pair and the amount for your exchange. For example BTC to ETH.
✔ Press the “Start exchange” button.
✔ Provide the recipient address to which the coins will be transferred.
✔ Move your cryptocurrency for the exchange.
✔ Receive your coins.
Follow us on Medium, Twitter, Facebook to get StealthEX.io updates and the latest news about the crypto world. For all requests message us via [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
submitted by Stealthex_io to StealthEX [link] [comments]

QuadrigaCX: A history of suspicious activity

This is a compilation of everything suspicious I found with Quadriga. Please let me know if there’s anything incorrect or missing

Early History (2013-2017)
All account fundings are considered to be purchases of QuadrigaCX Bucks. These are units that are used for the purposes of purchasing Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. QuadrigaCX Bucks are NOT Canadian Dollars. Any notation of $, CAD, or USD refers to an equivalent unit in QuadrigaCX Bucks, which exist for the sole purpose of buying and selling Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
QuadrigaCX is NOT a financial institution, bank, credit union, trust, or deposit business. We DO NOT take Deposits. We exist solely for the purposes of buying and selling cryptocurrencies.

Banking troubles throughout 2018

Period leading up to Gerry’s death

Gerry’s death and announcement

Chain analysis of the crypto trapped in cold storage

Formal Active Investigations

References:
Quadriga’s History
CCN Article listing suspicious activity
Court Documents
submitted by crashcow51 to QuadrigaCX2 [link] [comments]

NYC Meetup - Full Summary!

Following up on my other post which shared only a few high level points I thought people would be interested in, here's a more in-depth summary of the meetup. THIS IS VERY LONG! I don't really have a TL;DR beyond my other short highlight thread, but I think there are some other high level summaries. This is for those who want a very thorough recap of what was discussed. I'm happy to update this with anything shared in the comments which I remember and think is additive to the summary, definitely didn't catch every single thing.
I'm leaving out a few talking points/questions that either 1) I didn't totally catch, 2) provided no incremental information or 3) were just bad questions (there were some).
Sunny's Speech
Sunny began with a history of blockchain, from the bitcoin whitepaper to the first few alt coins to the advent of Ethereum. He then went on to discuss the extent to which these various stages involved meaningful/useful innovation: original alt coins did not, ethereum of course did, but is heavily flawed for enterprise use. He then went on to discuss what those primary flaws are and how VeChain is trying to solve them (scalability, governance, cost, etc.) He noted that technology is not blockchain's biggest obstacle, it's adoption. He talked about how, although some people will tell him to "get lost or something" he doesn't really believe in full decentralization. I think his point was that although it's nice in theory, it just isn't really practical, and it's a bad approach in particular for trying to get this new blockchain technology adopted in the mainstream. This goes back to something he said in another interview at some point - you can't just come in with totally new, radical technology outside the existing framework and replace everything that exists from the outside. You have to start within the existing framework, show people what's possible, and then change the system from the inside out.
He went on to discuss what he sees as problems with some of the existing projects. Talked about how projects in the top 20 have ecosystems worth 2 billion dollars, hold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of their own tokens to be used for the project's development etc., but they don't have a CFO. He thinks that should concern people.
I don't remember exactly where it fit in the narrative, but he discussed valuation/speculation. He pointed out that they have a number of their university research partners trying to work out token valuation models. He made a general point that more utility should equal more value, the implication being VeChain will have more real utility (and should therefore have more value) than any other blockchain. They had a slide showing some calculations and pointed out that if you look at the known metrics, the dividends, etc., the price of Google's stock is 85.7% speculation. Only $161 of it's $1,128 value (at the time they ran these numbers) can be tied to the current value. For Tencent, it's 93.5% speculation. He jokingly pointed out that in crypto it's about 99.99%, but I think one of the unspoken points here is that it's silly to think that on mainnet launch speculation about the future value is going to go away and you'll just have token value based on current Thor production. That isn't how markets or valuation work.
He then basically mocked people complaining about the code not yet being open source, and there being no whitepaper - the people who think these are red flags and that the project might be a 'scam'. As if PwC and DNV GL didn't do extensive diligence.
On this point, I'll quote GarzyWarzy from another thread:
"Sunny mentioned that the crypto community as a whole doesn’t seem to appreciate the level of reputational risk that these multi billion dollar enterprise partners take by publicly backing a blockchain startup (“what do people think would happen if PwC backed us and we failed in 6 months?”). As an investment banker who deals extensively with corporate governance issues and every type of business risk imaginable, I will add my two cents that this risk is massive and that is it a clear sign of extensive diligence and extreme trust in the VeChain team to execute their business plan for developing their ecosystem. Always remember, “it takes many years to build a reputation, and seconds to ruin it”."
I'm a corporate lawyer and couldn't agree with this more. The people who think a whitepaper (which they likely wouldn't even understand) is more reassuring than the endorsement by DNV GL, PwC, Draper and Breyer (who would never, ever make such an investment without extensive due diligence) have no idea how things work in the corporate world. DNV GL and PwC are recommending VeChain to clients, and Draper and Breyer have made investments through their funds, where they have a fiduciary duty to the investors in those funds. The amount of diligence that occurs before taking those reputational and legal (negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, etc.) risks is truly exhaustive.
Back to adoption, Sunny went on to compare blockchain to TCP/IP, as he's done in the past. Most people use email every day, but do they care about TCP/IP? Of course not. Blockchain will be the protocol infrastructure for things people use every day, whether they know it or not.
At this point, continuing to talk about adoption and use cases, he mentioned that they signed a top 3 insurance company in China as a client, and he also mentioned a CRM use case that's in the works.
He said the whitepaper will be out in a few days, and will explain a lot of what they're doing/what they're trying to do, and what some of the use cases are. They are focused on developing as many practical use cases as possible - this is how you get adoption. Once the use cases are defined, you can start "developing killer dApps" in relation to them. I think this is, to some degree, a subtle shot at Ethereum - his point here being that developing lots of dApps on a platform doesn't really mean much unless those dApps actually relate to a practical, defined real world use cases which ensures they will be used and adopted.
The whitepaper took so long because, in Sunny's words, his "english sucks" and after he wrote it, his teams needed to double, triple, and quadruple review/edit/refine what he wrote so that it is in professional english.
Back to adoption, he stated there are around 13/14 crypto projects they are working with who intend to use VeChain (either porting over from Ethereum or launching an ICO on the platform. More on this in the Q&A section). One of them is a company that already generates $50 million/month in revenue and want to 'blockchain-ize' their business. He pointed out here this is a company that isn't just interested in padding their coffers - they have money, that isn't an issue. These are the types of projects they like to work with. They aren't interested in being a 'shitcoin generator' (this was said by Sunny in the Q&A and got a laugh and round of applause). Last point on this, he noted that BitOcean is taking so long because the "Japanese government are being assholes". That's a direct quote. Sunny is hilarious. I can't overstate how likable he is - he comes off as a down to earth, cool, funny and easy going guy.
Kevin's Speech
Next, Kevin spoke. This was a short update on authority nodes and the mainnet. He mentioned that most projects have masternodes as basically a marketing tool, they aren't that meaningful or necessary. VeChain's authority masternodes are essential to the ecosystem. You can not become an authority node if you can not meaningfully contribute to growing the ecosystem. There is no room for negotiation on this. They aren't interested in having random people running validating authority nodes for profit and nothing else. As far as the application process, they received over 100 applications and are expecting more (authority node application and monitoring process will be ongoing to make sure VeChain has the best authority nodes possible and that each node is continuing to fulfill all of its obligations). As far as the applicant pool, they were about 71% enterprise, 29% individual. About 52% China, 23% America, then a mix of HK, Singapore, Japan, and others.
He then addressed the mainnet. Internal testing is done, they are now moving on to the public alpha testing, which is by invite only and is not the open source phase. This phase starts today and includes a number of professional firms auditing the code: PwC's cybersecurity team, secureware.io, Slow Mist, and Hosho. They will also be putting a bug bounty on Hacken eventually, finding a critical vulnerability could get you up to 2000 VEN tokens. This private testing will go on for a few weeks, before the public testing begins in early June which involves the code becoming open source - as of now, they expect it to start in the first week or two of June.
Then, he announced the 1 VEN to 100 VET token split. The example he gave was talking to friends about buying Bitcoin - some responded "it's already $8000, I can't buy a bitcoin I can't afford it". Kevin would respond, well actually you can buy .001 bitcoin if you want... and then they'd lose interest. I think what he's getting at is they want to be prepared for years down the road when demand is enormous - they don't want people dealing in fractions. Yes, I'm also sure they are aware of the implications for this in terms of price and the attractiveness of a 5 cent token verses a 5 dollar token. I don't deny that. Look at fucking Tron.
The Q&A Session
Someone asked about how the authority nodes will be monitored. Kevin explained there will be a dedicated team for this. They are serious about having the highest quality authority nodes and holding them to the standards they expect. There will be a quarterly review process, and any issues will be brought to the Steering Committee, which may decide to remove/replace an authority nodeholder if they aren't contributing and fulfilling their obligations. He noted that the whitepaper will include a thorough section on their governance model.
Question about it being difficult, currently, for companies (especially in the west) to find out how to contact them and work with them. What are VeChain's plans in terms of a business development team, marketing, etc. Sunny explained that while obviously they'll have an internal BD team, and this is being built out, they also want to heavily leverage the resources of the community. In a way, the community will be a giant business development team, and they will create standard toolkits for the community to use to market/introduce VeChain to people in the first instance. The guy then asked what if I got you Pfizer - that's enormous, what's my incentive? Sunny responded there will be rewards in VET tokens for bringing them clients.
I don't remember what the exact question was, but it was noted at this point that although the private, consortium chain is an Ethereum fork, the mainnet was built from scratch and is not an Ethereum fork. They did intentionally use the Ethereum Virtual Machine, though, so that Ethereum dApps can be easily ported over to VeChain. It sounds like they expect this to happen quite a bit. They also talked about how they went through the web3 libraries and 80% will be able to work directly with VeChain. They want interoperability, compatibility, and ultimately, an easy transition for Ethereum developers and dApps.
Someone asked about them building out their own IoT business or letting others do the IoT work. Sunny talked about how he believes IoT is the way to connect blockchain to the physical world. There was a story not worth sharing about why they initially acquired an IoT team, but he gave this example: when Apple first released the app store and the ability to develop, nobody knew how or used it. So, Apple built the apps themselves and basically showed everybody what was possible and how to do it by example. So too will VeChain take this approach. They are partnering with IoT manufacturers and developing some of their own IoT solutions, and they'll continue to do this, but the point isn't to dominate IoT. They are showing the world by example what can be done in terms of IoT on the VeChain platform, and they ultimately want people/enterprises to be able to create their own value and their own IoT solutions on the VeChain blockchain. Anyone who wants to do so will be able to.
Question about enterprises buying once the enterprise pool runs out - what happens if enterprises aren't comfortable doing what all of us have done (wiring money to a fiat gateway exchange, buying bitcoin/ethereum, moving it to binance, buying in the market, transferring out of binance, etc.). Kevin isn't really worried about this. They are talking to exchanges and service providers about it, they're talking to Circle about fiat pairing, etc., but realistically Kevin can see that exchanges are becoming more advanced and that ultimately they will be institutionalized in a way that basically just mitigates this concern.
Question about storage of VET tokens after mainnet. There will be a mobile wallet launch at the exact same time. This mobile wallet will 1) facilitate the token swap from VEN to VET (most people will probably do this on exchanges, but eventually you'll be able to do it in the mobile wallet if you missed doing it on an exchange), 2) have a module that shows you what kind of node you are, 3) automatically receive your generated Thor, and 4) eventually allow you to hold other ERC-20 tokens. They also mentioned that although they're talking to ledger, etc. they are developing their own hardware wallet. Kevin explained this is essential for enterprises serving as authority nodes or holding large amounts of VET. They aren't going online and ordering a ledger and setting it up. VeChain needs to be able to provide this service and assurance for them, and they will. This is why these guys are lightyears ahead in terms of enterprise adoption. They've thought about these things.
Question about 'competitors' like Waltonchain. First, Sunny goes "who?" and Kevin goes "what's Waltonchain?" But then Sunny went on by saying the "right" thing - there are no competitors in such a fledgling industry. He would love to hold hands with the other blockchain projects trying to do good things, and walk into the future together. He thinks projects can learn from each other and help each other. They aren't trying to crush competitors or beat anyone or anything like that. However, Sunny also jokingly asked "Seriously, why do people think Waltonchain is our competitor? We are what, 15th biggest project, and they are...?" He also went on to say that he is judging some competition or tech demo later this month on the 26th-28th, and that Waltonchain is the demo product. He thinks this is sort of funny, but also said if their product is great and the demo is good, there is no reason he wouldn't support them, vote for them, etc.
Question about Breyer and Draper relationships. Draper is invested in many cryptocurrency projects and many companies, has tons of connections, and he gives VeChain a way of talking to all of those projects/companies. Breyer was the one who set them up with the research team at a Chinese university, he was the link to Circle to discuss fiat onramps, etc. The connections these guys bring are tremendous. I should note here that in a small group conversation with Kevin during the networking portion after the speeches, which was initiated by GarzyWarzy (perhaps he can elaborate further), he confirmed that Breyer and Draper are both meaningfully invested in tokens, not just equity of the technology portion of the company.
Some clown actually used up time to ask "is CCK here?" Sunny said someone asked him this at Harvard also, and he was absolutely adamant that he doesn't know who this person is or how they are getting the information they have. He did not comment on it beyond that. He clearly thought it was a dumb question and said seriously that once and for all, he really doesn't know who it is.
Question about how many projects will be running on the mainnet day 1. Sunny said it's hard to say for sure, but that there are currently between 20 and 25 use cases deployed on the consortium chain, all of which will be moved over in the first few months. He also mentioned the 15ish crypto projects that will be moving over to or launching on the platform, and the fact that their client pipeline is now over 250. He transitioned a bit from this point to discuss how they "don't want to be a shitcoin generator". If you come to them with a project that is just an ICO with a whitepaper and no product, no proof of concept, etc., they're not going to want you to launch that. They would rather invest in you if they think you're a good project, help you develop those things, prove out what you're trying to do, then help you launch a serious ICO or dApp with a real use case. Again, they are all about practical use cases, this is the path to adoption. That said, the project will be open source ("you guys asked for open source, so") there will be some shitcoins, it's unavoidable.
I think that covers most of what I remember. Hope you all enjoy!
submitted by CryptopherWalken to Vechain [link] [comments]

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