It has been recently announced by Coinbase that as a result of Brexit, they will be moving the provision of E-Money services from the UK branch to the Irish branch. This is a positive win for the Irish crypto industry, as they have been hiring quite steadily over the last couple of months with a variety of roles including customer support, accounting and finance, and security. The full text of the announcement is below Changes to your account after Brexit Following our email last year, we wanted to let you know about changes to your account after the UK leaves Source: https://bitcoinsinireland.com/coinbase-to-move-e-money-license-for-eu-from-london-to-dublin-due-to-brexit/
Will DeFi crash the crypto-economy, the same way CDOs did?
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
Decentralized Finance has been all the rage for the past few months, and its tokens’ prices are a testament to the excitement. But while the objective of decentralized finance is a financial world which is without a centralized authority, one administered through efficient and seamless smart contracts and operated through digital currencies, in reality, it could fall well short of this lofty goal and end of like one of the worst financial experiments of the century – CDOs.
CDOs are collateralized debt obligations or packaged debt securities, mostly from mortgages, which were issued by banks, invested by investment companies, and sold to investors. The basis for the entire CDO market was – the American housing market. When the housing market collapsed i.e. when home owners failed to pay their dues, the pyramid fell, bringing down the whole system with it. According to estimates from the IMF, U.S and European banks lost over $1 trillion for essentially betting on toxic assets and from bad loans between January 2007 to September 2009.
What’s happening in the DeFi world is quite similar to what happened a decade ago with CDOs. Richard Red, Research and Strategy lead at Decred, speaking to AMBCrypto, stated that because DeFi has had a number of high profile exploits, there’s a massive amount of attention drawn to the space. This attention is poking holes in many protocols’ smart contracts and highlighting that the system is not very reliable at all. Red said,
“This situation has a lot of similarities to the issues with collateralized debt obligations which were the cause of the 2007 financial crisis (complexity which hides risk). “
Comparing DeFi to CDOs, we see a common pattern emerging.
Packaged and repackaged CDOs were the latest financial product on the market, allowing all parties to participate in the creation and movement of debt. Here, companies built tranches of debt-burdens based on the likelihood of it being paid back. These ones which were unlikely to be paid back were labelled ‘sub-prime.’
Rating agencies, despite rating the debts poorly, rated the debts combined into tranches highly. These tranches were sold to everyday retail and institutional investors. Essentially, the play was this – if the homeowners pay regular interest, everyone makes money, if they don’t no one makes money.
DeFi also has this ‘all encompassing’ aura around it, bringing every type of financial company into the space – from lenders to borrowers to insurers. Bringing together so many people under one system gives rise to profit-taking, Red explained.
“At an aggregate level, the degree to which DeFi users string different protocols and smart contracts together must also result in some systemic risk, as each smart contract relies on the inputs from other smart contracts to behave in a predictable way.”
With the motivation to take profits, more people flood in and lead to more chances of flaws within the system being discovered. Red suggested that ‘novel protocols’ are being elevated because of this rush, and often times, they “may not be reliance in all circumstances.”
Similar to what happened with CDOs, with some banks profiting from it, many others decided to jump in. This created a rush as mortgage-backed securities became the “new thing.” Because of this rush, even the more well-established banks could not figure out how to manage the debt-securities and if they would be paid back at al. This vacuum of information built the bubble which eventually popped,
“The complexity that results from the interactions of all these novel protocols means that it can be very difficult even for experts to know exactly what is happening, and unexpected things which are difficult to explain happen quite regularly.”
While it’s still in a nascent stage, the DeFi ecosystem’s growth is beginning to grow out of proportion. A rush to take profits will only reel more people in, putting pressure on existing institutions to deliver poorly structured products which can satisfy the demand. If this goes on without change, a correction is a matter of when and not if.
Algorand: The Dark Horse of Crypto World
Ethereum continues to be the de facto choice for most crypto projects. However, its scalability limitation and overcrowding have forced many crypto projects, especially the DeFi ones, to seek other alternatives. Though there are several capable and attractive blockchain solutions available, Algorand has rather quickly grabbed many projects’ attention. Besides new projects opting for the ecosystem, older ones included Algorand realizing its potential. And Algorand is proving them right with regular essential feature updates.
The Underlying Technology of Algorand
Algorand employs the Pure Proof-of-Stake (PPoS) consensus mechanism, which is stake-independent, assuring equal selection chance. The block producers and validators are selected through lucky draws that ensure their identities stay hidden.
Algorand uniquely tuned with the following features –
- High Speed & Throughput – The near-instant lottery, coupled with a block production completion rate of about 4 seconds, enables the mainnet to deliver an over 1000 TPS throughput.
- Highly Scalable – Being totally independent of each other, multiple lucky draws are processed simultaneously. This grants a linearly scalable network.
- Security – The complete random selection ensures all data remains tamperproof. The stake size-independent nature prevents lottery manipulation.
- Proper Decentralization – The random selection of nodes and block contributors guarantees a high degree of decentralization.
- No-fork Policy – In the Algorand blockchain, a block once attached to the chain cannot be altered in the future, promising no future forking.
- Enterprise-grade Solution – Algorand is developed with DeFi in mind, and thus, naturally, the entire ecosystem is built to benefit big organizations in every way.
Algorand’s Important Feature Set
Just like other next-gen blockchain platforms, Algorand 2.0 has adopted a layer-1 focused service implementation policy. But the challenge here is optimizing all those services without sacrificing the speed and scalability Algorand promotes. However, subsequent feature addition on layer-1 showed the Algorand team’s expertise in finding innovative solutions to these complex problems.
The following three features helped Algorand bag some of its best, most important, and influential projects.
#1. Algorand Standard Assets (ASAs)
Introducing the standardization method enables the tokenization and issuance of any asset types on the platform. ASA supports the following token types –
- Fungible assets – Cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and utility tokens
- Non-fungible assets – Gold, a digital collectible, a single piece of jewelry
- Restricted fungible assets – Security tokens, securities
- Restricted non-fungible assets – Licenses, certifications
#2. Atomic Transactions
Atomic Transfers groups together fungible tokens of multiple parties and process them simultaneously, thus offering a fast, low cost, and secure solution. This benefits various daily trade activities such as –
- Operate trades without trusted intermediaries in DEX
- Simultaneous multi-party payments
- Group payments facility where payments get approved only when everyone pays
#3. Algorand’s Smart Contracts (ASC1s)
Algorand first added stateless smart contact and then went on to add stateful versions, both on layer-1. For comparison, Ethereum offers just stateful smart contracts.
Stateless smart contracts bring efficiency and faster solution to the table as instructions/conditions are provided within each transaction itself. In Algorand’s version of stateful contracts, state data is supplied not with the transaction but with creator/user accounts. This method also offers concurrency and efficiency at a low cost. With both versions, Algorand presents the options of customizability and speedy solution.
Algorand uses a language called TEAL for writing smart contracts. With the introduction of PyTEAL support to both smart contracts, developers would easily write contracts in familiar Python code while it gets translated automatically into TEAL.
#4. Fast Catchup
This feature enables developers to begin working on their DApps without waiting for the entire blockchain to sync. This syncing process can take hours or even days, depending on the size. Developers can download either the entire blockchain or from a particular block where the previous blocks are hashed.
Rekeying allows users to change the security or authorized spending anytime while keeping a single long-running public address. This also enables changing it from a single key to a multi-signatory key to a stateless smart contract with a built-in spending policy.
- This benefits digital asset custodians where, for example, they can have a wallet of multiple private keys with different spending limits.
- Automate crypto inheritance, which will be further enriched when Algorand introduces outside oracles
- Allow you to give account access to other in a trustless manner while retaining the control
Within just two years, Algorand has garnered over 34 partnerships with many of them being important DeFi projects. This shows Algorand’s effectiveness.
- Tether – With the launch of USDT, the leading stablecoin by market cap, on the Algorand blockchain, Tether became the first stablecoin firm to partner with Algorand.
- Circle – Following Tether’s footstep, Circle entered into a partnership with Algorand for its USDC, the fastest-growing and number two stablecoin.
- International Blockchain Monetary Reserve (IBMR) – IBMR.io selected the Algorand platform to launch the Southeast Asia Microfinance Platform (ARC.one) and create ARCC stablecoin on Algorand. Their focus is to support the financial inclusion of the urban-class poor in Southeast Asia.
- SFB Technologies – The firm tasked with developing Marshall Islands’ Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Marshallese Sovereign (SOV), narrowed down Algorand as the underlying blockchain infrastructure.
- IDEX – IDEX partnered with Algorand to offer its next-gen solutions and cash on ALgorand’s growing popularity.
- Verady – With this collaboration, Algorand benefits from crypto tax and accounting software firm Verady’s Ledgible platform for internal accounting and auditing.
- AssetBlock: The real estate startup project selected Algorand to launch its tokenized property investment service
- Meld – This collaboration project uses Algorand’s ASA to tokenize the Australian gold reserve, issue stablecoin, and track it across the supply chain.
- Stonize – It has launched its secure, decentralized, and customized digital security services on the Algorand blockchain.
- FIDE – FIDE online, the digital wing of World chess (FIDE), has selected the Algorand blockchain to store all online official tournament data and player rankings there.
- PlanetWatch – The first “CERN Spin-off-labeled” organization is set to develop the world’s first immutable air quality ledger on the Algorand blockchain incorporating IoT technologies to monitor the environments.
Algorand is feature-rich and its approach to offer a complete solution for enterprises is proving its mettle. Though starting as a dark horse, it is coming out to be a major player, especially in the DeFi space, going toe-to-toe with Ethereum. Don’t get surprised if Algorand becomes the dominant DeFi platform in the near future.
Decentralized Marketplace OpenBazaar To Close Unless Community Donates
The most well-known decentralized marketplace said it had no choice but to close unless its community donates.
- Decentralized marketplace OpenBazaar said Friday that it did not have sufficient funding to continue.
- One of the longest-running decentralized marketplaces, OpenBazaar said it had “no choice” but to shut down its services due to a lack of user growth.
- But it said it could continue if the community makes donations.
Decentralized marketplace OpenBazaar said on Friday that it will close down unless it receives more financial support.
OpenBazaar said in an announcement that its services—seed nodes, API wallet, exchange rate API—would be shutting down unless significant donations are sent.
The marketplace said that it had “no choice” but to shut down its services due to a lack of “level of user growth and adoption.”
OpenBazaar, launched in 2014, is one of the longest-running decentralized marketplaces.
Decentralized marketplaces are trustless networks allowing people to buy and sell goods online. They don’t have a single entity controlling them—like Amazon—and anyone can help run their peer-to-peer networks.
This is small potatoes compared to darknet markets, which, combined, trade anywhere from $5-15 million each day, according to analysis of 2019 data by Chainalysis.
OpenBazaar says it does not cater to illicit commerce, though various prescription medications like oxycontin and tramadol—illegal to buy online in some countries—are available on the marketplace.
OpenBazaar said that its messaging and wallet app, Haven, will also stop working on October 1.
Instructions on how users can release their funds will be published in “coming days,” the marketplace said. OpenBazaar’s search engine and Blockbook indexer code will also be made open-source “for those that may want to run the infrastructure privately.”
But the marketplace added that there was still hope to save its services. “There is only one possibility for OpenBazaar and Haven to continue, and cancel the shutdown: community support,” it said.
At the time of writing, the marketplace has received $11,672.44 in Bitcoin donations; $979.78 in Ethereum; $110.76 in Bitcoin Cash; $13.47 in Litecoin; and less than $10 in Zcash. OpenBazaar does not state how much it needs to remain operational.
OpenBazaar allows users to buy and sell goods online with cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum.
Unlike other online marketplaces—like eBay—there are no fees to list or sell goods on OpenBazaar and no middleman taking a cut.
An open-source project, there is no single entity running OpenBazaar but rather a number of developers who help the peer-to-peer network function.
OpenBazaar launched in April 2014 at a hackathon in Toronto as a project called “Dark Market.”
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