Tag: ripple

Cryptocurrency Is Alive and Better Than Ever

By Max Bibeau | United States

With the prices of cryptocurrencies continuing to plummet across the board, some have been quick to assume that the “crypto wave” has passed and that its time in the spotlight is over. Some articles even go so far as to claim that the Bitcoin bubble has popped and that the technology may not recover for some time, if ever.

These claims could not be farther from the truth.

What Drives Markets?

To understand why cryptocurrency’s price is so far down in the first place, we must first understand that the prices of all cryptocurrencies are driven by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). Through the second half of 2017, crypto experienced a surge of FOMO, with Bitcoin being in the headlines day after day with incredible price jumps. FOMO breeds more FOMO – until it doesn’t. A series of events occurring in a very short time in January of 2018 broke the FOMO and entered the market into a period of FUD. A combination of a regular dip in the market, the exposure of Bitconnect as a scam, FUD surrounding crypto being banned in countries such as China and India, and a series of highly publicized cryptocurrency thefts drove price dips, increasing FUD even more.

Price Is Irrelevant To Developers

Now that we understand how exactly we got to this point, we can explore why crypto is not dead. The key thing to remember is that price doesn’t affect developers. Sure, many of them hold a significant amount of their own cryptocurrency, and the crash has affected their personal holdings – but very few, if any developers are solely reliant on cryptocurrency, and can be supported by grants, jobs, donations, or other factors.

Since developers work independently of price, innovation has continued at breakneck speed, even though the market appears to have crashed. Almost every single major cryptocurrency continues to develop and grow, some of them at an even faster pace than during the FOMO.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin has finally started to deliver on its long-awaited lightning network, expanding the technology and resolving some major bugs that caused problems on the new network. The technology is continually being developed, with hundreds of developers working on Bitcoin regularly.

Fees are also down drastically from their peak last year, due in part to fewer transactions occurring, but also in part to the lightning network paired with other developments in the technology’s efficiency. Bitcoin Core has also been successfully able to solve the famed coffee example, with the lightning network being utilized commercially in a Swiss cafe just a few days ago.

Ethereum

Ethereum, while it may seem quiet, has been booming. The whole point of Ethereum is to support decentralized applications, or dapps, and it has been extremely successful in recent months. Thousands of new Ethereum dapps have been put on the blockchain since 2017, and more are being added daily.

After the unprecedented success of the dapp game “CryptoKitties,” which led to users paying up to $100,000 for a single digital cat, countless other games and dapps have sprouted up in recent months. New games, such as Etheremon, are attracting hundreds of users daily and can be played for free. While no huge breakthroughs have been seen in Ethereum recently, there’s no doubt that its blockchain is becoming more and more filled out with dapps, ranging from gambling to gaming.

Stellar

Stellar, often seen as Ripple’s primary competitor, has seen radically increased adoption, specifically among banks. The coin’s list of partners is also continually growing, including big names like IBM. The two have committed to environmental efforts, by using a blockchain solution to create a carbon credit program.

While Stellar may not be seeing strides as great as some other cryptocurrencies I’ve discussed, it’s slowly but surely becoming more and more influential in financial markets, and is increasing its credibility through a plethora of partnerships and improvements.

VeChain

Arguably the most well-maintained on this list, VeChain has undergone an entire rebrand, transitioning from VeChain (VEN) to VeChain Thor (VET). VeChain also added a token to be paired with their main coin called THOR. The token is obtained by simply holding VeChain, similar to how one can obtain GAS from holding NEO.

Along with their new token, VeChain has launched a new wallet in the form of an iOS/Android app that can be downloaded on the app store. With a simple UI and automatic flow of THOR for holding VET in the app, the wallet is one of the most user-friendly programs out there. The VeChain team has clearly been busy with a new wallet and token, not to mention their new partnerships with big names like BMW.

Crypto Lives

Clearly, after examining only four of the top cryptocurrencies on the market, we can see that while prices have fallen dramatically, the technology behind cryptocurrency surely lives on. Developer teams are still working hard to improve their technologies, and partnerships between mainstream companies and cryptocurrencies are becoming more and more common.

Nobody can fully predict when the market will rise again – it will undoubtedly take a series of important and “good news” events to break out of the current FUD in the market – but the technology is there, even if the prices remain low. While crypto is largely out of the mainstream media due to the loss of FOMO, that hasn’t stopped innovation and partnerships from occurring throughout the entire market.

Cryptocurrency has been out of the spotlight for months now, and it may be a long time yet before the FOMO catches back on. However, when the FOMO returns, the technology will be ready and waiting.

 


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Cryptocurrency is Taking the Next Step into the Mainstream

By Nick Hamilton | United States

Cryptocurrency is about to become much more accessible when making purchases in public.

Square, a major digital payment service that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey leads, has won the patent to allow merchants to accept crypto payments, such as Bitcoin. The service would then transfer the payment into the local currency.

Cryptocurrency: Payment of the Future

Dorsey has said that he believes cryptocurrency will be the leading method of payment in ten years. Adding Bitcoin to this service that already supports many major credit cards is a way to make this a reality. This system also eliminates latency in these transactions, meaning approval on purchases will occur much faster. They’ll be able to do this via a blockchain that records Square-managed wallets in real time.

Tackling Major Obstacles

This, of course, means that cryptocurrency payments will process at the same speed of credit card payments. Previously, one of the big drawbacks of crypto was the increased transaction time. Another key issue was a very low accessibility, but Square is tackling both of these issues.

It’s not often that companies who do blockchain research have such an enthusiastic CEO when it comes to cryptocurrency. However, due to this patent, and Dorsey being so invested in cryptocurrency, we could see cryptocurrency emerge more in the mainstream. At the very least, it now will be considerably easier to use. This could mean that Bitcoin’s demand will rise, thus raising its price.

A Bright Outlook

The patent may affect the backbone of the future economy, at least according to Dorsey, who tweeted earlier this year that Bitcoin would become a path towards financial success for all.

As the price of Bitcoin continues to rise, Dorsey’s dream of seeing crypto thrive in the future may be coming true.


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Cryptocurrency Market Shows Life, Adds $40 Billion in 2 Days

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Over the past several months, the cryptocurrency market has slowed. Its peak market cap of $830 billion has fallen dramatically, losing over two thirds of its value.

However, over the past several days, it is beginning to show life again.

On July 2, Bitcoin finally saw growth after it reached a 12 month low in value. As of June 29, the cryptocurrency had fallen as low as just over $5800 USD. Yet, the value, as of July 3, has soared back to $6658 USD.

This shows nearly a 15% increase in Bitcoin in just four days, which averages to slightly under 4% a day.

Of course, since the cryptocurrency’s fall from a January high of nearly $20000 USD, it has jumped up by these percentages a number of times. Despite this, some investors believe that this rally is longer term.

Sustainable Cryptocurrency Market Gains

As Bitcoin rose, the cryptocurrency market as a whole also saw considerable gains in volume. In the past 48 hours, it has added $40 billion dollars in total volume. As part of this, Bitcoin’s volume rose to $4.6 billion.

Other coins, such as Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, and Ripple, have also risen in value and volume over the same span. Ethereum also showed strong recovery, bouncing from $400 to $467 USD.

Because of the increase in both volume and value, many expect this growth to continue. Some market estimates place a short-term value of Bitcoin at slightly over $7000 USD. If this occurs, it will represent a 21% payout since the cryptocurrency reached its low.

Smaller cryptocurrencies have yet to see the same rebound and uptick in volume. Yet, the market trend suggests that they may soon see similar looking gains, as demand for crypto increases.

The Cryptocurrency Market in U.S. Cities

Clearly, there has been a rapid increase of cryptocurrency market recognition since just one year ago. As this continues, demand not only rises for coin ownership, but for work opportunity. in fact, first quarter 2018 blockchain jobs on the freelance site upwork.com rose a staggering 6000%.

While some, like those on upwork.com, seek employment in blockchain, many others are finding another way to join the market.

Throughout U.S. cities, Bitcoin ATMs are beginning to appear. As of mid-June, over 2,000 of the machines existed in the United States, with almost 100 in the state of Michigan.

For a fee of 7 to 8 percent, consumers may purchase the cryptocurrency in order to hold, invest, or trade.

Generally, the machines exist in low income areas. Of course, many families with lower incomes do not have bank accounts. As an alternative, they may use these ATMs as a cheap alternative means of storing money.

Some even view the machines as an alternative to lottery tickets. With high levels of risk and reward, both are capable of bringing massive success for a small price.

Unlike a lottery, however, the cryptocurrency market shows trends that users can monitor for maximum gain. Detroit gas station owner Andy Attisha says that users of his Bitcoin ATM are doing exactly that.

“A lot of people do day trading on it,” Attisha remarked about his ATM. “I see people coming in here every day messing with the machine.”


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How Stellar Blows Ripple Out Of The Water

By Max Bibeau | USA

Many people in the cryptocurrency community aren’t exactly fond of Ripple, for a large variety of reasons. I already wrote an article about some of the many problems with Ripple, which you can read HERE.

So yes, Ripple has many problems. But it does aim to solve a pretty critical problem in the banking world, namely the high fees that bank transfers can incur. However, many critics argue that Ripple goes about solving that problem in an inefficient way that undermines the purpose and potential of the blockchain.

One member of the Ripple developer team saw the same problems that critics did. So in 2011, programmer Jed McCaleb left the Ripple developer team and used Ripple’s existing code to create Stellar. McCaleb hopes to use the blockchain to provide banks with the solution they need, all while staying true to his goals of decentralization.

The differences between Ripple and Stellar are small but critical. First, Stellar addresses one of the largest criticisms of Ripple – its centralization. While Ripple is a for-profit company, working with banks to achieve its goals, Stellar is a non-profit organization, that simply works on the Stellar network. Ripple owns XRP, while Stellar only works on developing the network that is XLM. Also, Stellar solves another big problem users saw within Ripple – frozen assets. McCaleb’s own $1 Million in Ripple assets were frozen as he left the company in 2011, so he knows firsthand the frustration that comes with not being able to control your funds. He made it a priority to build protections against this in the Stellar network he created.

Stellar, using Lumens (XLM) as its native asset, specifically serves as a method of quickly and cheaply sending value around the world, where it can be transferred into the local fiat money. For example, if I want to send $100 overseas, I could easily be charged upwards of 10% in banking fees. However, the Stellar network works around this masterfully. To simplify the process as much as possible, say I send $100 to the overseas bank, which then accepts the Stellar transaction. Then, my $100 is credited to a pool account while it searches for the best exchange rate through the Stellar network. Once my $100 is exchanged to the local currency, it is credited to the overseas bank which then transfers it to the specific account I wished to send money too. And the best part? This entire process takes place in 2-5 seconds, and costs around .00001 Stellar Lumens, currently valued at around $0.0000047.

Obviously Stellar has some incredible use cases, from everyday business transactions overseas to individuals sending remittances back home. It could be critical in financially connecting both economies and people around the world.

The cryptocurrency also has an inflation mechanism, built into the Stellar network. It works by adding Lumens to the network at a rate of 1% a year. Instead of injecting the inflated tokens into big banking partners like Ripple is doing, the Stellar network has a built-in voting system that injects the new tokens into the accounts with the highest number of votes. Every week, Lumens are distributed to every account that gets more than 0.05% of votes within the network. Everybody that holds Lumens potentially has a number of votes equivalent to the amount of Lumens they hold, at a 1:1 ratio. The Lumens from the inflation pool are distributed depending on the percentage of votes each account receives. For example, if an account receives 1% of overall votes, it receives 1% of the inflation pool. Lumens from transaction fees are included in the inflation pool. You can read more about the inflation mechanism of Stellar directly from the nonprofit’s page HERE.

For these many reasons, Stellar is superior to Ripple. It is currently valued at around $0.47 and can be bought on Binance.com or most other major exchanges. You can read more about Stellar from the organization’s website, Stellar.org.

The Banker’s Bitcoin: How Ripple is Against the Goal of Cryptocurrency

By Max Bibeau | USA

Cryptocurrency is a newly popularized method of transferring value. It prides itself primarily on three things: decentralization, security, and its lack of banking influence. However, while popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) check all of these boxes, Ripple (XRP) finds itself surprisingly lacking. As Ripple becomes a serious contender for the top spot based on market cap, we must fully recognize the many problems that Ripple is plagued with.

First, it’s important to note that Ripple is not decentralized. In fact, it was created and is owned by a 2012 startup by the name Ripple Labs. So the first thing we will look at in this article is decentralization. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin utilize the blockchain to allow pretty much anybody with a computer to run their own individual “node.” A node is, to put it simply, a copy of the ledger. Who has how much of the cryptocurrency? Whenever a transaction occurs, it is recorded on each node, and the ledger updates, changing the amount of cryptocurrency with everyone involved in the transaction. The more nodes running in the world, the more decentralized the network. As of the time of this writing, Bitcoin has 11,682 individual, independent nodes, making it impossible to hack or edit. As of July 2017, Ripple has only 55 nodes. Ripple has a shockingly low amount of nodes because the company Ripple Labs maintains a list of “validated nodes,” called the UNL (Unique Node List). In order to run your own node, Ripple must confirm your node, and add you to the programmed list. This means that there are far fewer nodes in existence, therefore offering less decentralization. If 28 of the 55 centralized nodes agree to change the ledger then they have full control over the distribution of the cryptocurrency. It is far easier to get 28 of 55 node runners to agree to a change, as opposed to 5,482 independent Bitcoin node runners.

Second, the security of the cryptocurrency leaves much to be desired. Researchers at Perdue University in 2016 decided to test the security of the network – and it has a major flaw. They found that within the technology, individual “verified nodes” are actually able to hold some of the cryptocurrency themselves, acting as virtual banks. Now first, this leaves a huge potential for hacking. If an individual node acting as a bank is hacked, the hackers essentially have full reign over one of Ripple’s banks. This could cause transactions to fail, and users to lose their funds. Another, more complex example was exposed by the researchers:

When we look at a security perspective, Moreno-Sanchez and team have established that small-sized networks could be potentially vulnerable to attacks, because the Ripple network always finds an alternative way to move a transaction via it’s network, even if one of the important “gateways” nodes is removed. So can this be secure? To test the transactions via small networks, the researchers performed a simulation, where they simulated the removal of important nodes in the Ripple network, similar to what a financial event leading to those circumstances would occur. The results of the simulation was that removing those nodes would isolate the amount of Ripples stored within them, if they are already on those nodes, since they become offline, but not lost forever. According to the researchers this may result in approximately 50,000 wallets to be vulnerable to a disruption and the XRP’s in them are also at risk.

So, Ripple’s centralization leaves it open to many potential security issues as well.

Finally, many (but notably not all) cryptocurrency users share a dislike of the banking world, and it’s influence over individual finances. However, Ripple is made for the banking world. The problem that Ripple is made to solve revolves around bank transfers – so we can’t exactly hold it against them that banks have begun to use their technology. It is concerning to many, however, that banks have begun playing a major part in Ripple’s success and price jumps. If you’re looking for a cryptocurrency made for individuals, Ripple may not be for you. Ripple does solve a real-world problem – but when looking at the centralization and security concerns, paired with the fact that Ripple has no concern for anonymity, it becomes clear that Ripple is a niche technology, perfect for big banks, but less than ideal for individuals buying into the future of monetary transfers.