Kvě 16

Move Over Ethereum: RSK to Enable Smart Contracts on Bitcoin Blockchain

· May 15, 2018 · 7:00 pm

Smart contracts and off-chain computing are coming to the Bitcoin blockchain, thanks to a partnership between RSK and iExec.


RSK to Add Smart Contract Functionality to Bitcoin

The RSK project — which aims to build Turing-complete smart-contract capabilities for the Bitcoin blockchain — is partnering with iExec in an effort to provide off-chain computing to Bitcoin applications and afford decentralized applications the ability to access on-demand and scalable cloud computing resources.

According to a Medium post from iExec editor Wassim Bendella, “the developers under RSK aim at adding value and functionality to [Bitcoin’s] ecosystem by enabling smart contracts, near instant payments and higher scalability.”

This seemingly makes RSK the first general purpose smart contract platform secured by the Bitcoin network, as it uses BTC as its native currency via a 2-Way Peg system. Said system guarantees a fixed conversion between SBTC and BTC at a ratio of one-to-one.

At the same time, iExec is busy developing the self-proclaimed “first blockchain-based decentralized cloud computing network,” which “allows participants who need computing power to meet those who own computing power, thus supporting the most compute-intensive blockchain applications.”

The Bitcoin blockchain is not only the originator but the most battle-tested on the planet. By joining forces, the two companies are pushing the tried-and-true Bitcoin blockchain even further into the future.

The next update from iExec will be coming this month. On Max 29, iExec is slated to release its V2, which is comprised of a decentralized marketplace for the trading of cloud resources. Explains Bendella:

Once V2 is made compatible with RSK as a next milestone, RSK applications and their smart contracts will be able to access the same decentralized cloud that Ethereum dapps make use of. Compute-intensive applications in the fields of fintech, artificial intelligence, scientific research or gaming will be able to leverage these resources, making RSK and iExec the backbone of the Bitcoin ecosystem.

What do you think about smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain? Does the prospect of off-chain computing for Bitcoin applications excite you? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Twitter/@RSKsmart.

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Úno 27

Crashes And Failed Payments: Peter Todd Urges Caution Over Lightning Network

· February 27, 2018 · 11:30 am

Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd has delivered a frank appraisal of the Lightning Network, suggesting it is technically insufficient in its current form.


Lightning’s Growing Pains

Writing about his “initial impressions” of Lightning’s testnet implementation on Twitter Monday, Todd questioned aspects including operational resilience and programming language.

“Initial impressions of Lightning on testnet: c-lightning segfaults a lot, and when it’s not crashing payments fail more often than not. Writing it in C – a notoriously dangerous language – doesn’t strike me as a good idea,” he wrote.

Since its mainnet debut at the start of the year, the Lightning Network has grown rapidly, but cryptocurrency experts and developers remain divided over whether the technology is ready for use at all.

Future Vulnerability Today

The most hotly awaited of the so-called ‘Layer 2’ Bitcoin network improvements, Lightning promises near-zero transaction fees and confirmation times.

This month, Microsoft threw its weight behind the project, pledging support for it as an off-chain Bitcoin scaling solution while pouring cold water over on-chain solutions such as block size increases.

On a technical level, however, the experimental state of Lightning remains evident. Figures including Bitcoin.org creator Cobra preceded Todd in voicing doubts about a consumer rollout given the untested nature of many of its features. The result, both say, could be lost funds.

“As for the Lightning protocol, I’m willing to predict it’ll prove to be vulnerable to DoS attacks in it’s (sic) current incarnation, both at the P2P and blockchain level,” Todd meanwhile predicted.

“While bad politics, focusing on centralized hub-and-spoke payment channels first would have been much simpler.”

Lightning has also faced caution from Andreas Antonopoulos, who despite championing its technological promise saw regulatory woes forcing major cryptocurrency exchanges to avoid offering it.

This week meanwhile also saw Bitcoin Core release version 0.16.0, a major milestone incorporating full support for SegWit scaling improvements, itself a useful foundation for allowing Layer 2 solutions to spread.

What do you think about Peter Todd’s angle on the Lightning Network? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Úno 25

NEO vs. Bitcoin – Key Similarities & Differences

· February 25, 2018 · 9:00 am

NEO and bitcoin are two cryptocurrencies which have risen to prominence since their inceptions. These coins possess some similarities, however, they also possess a number of important differences. Here is a closer look at the key similarities and differences between NEO and bitcoin.


Similarities

Popularity – Both NEO and Bitcoin are extremely popular. That is why both coins are in the top ten coins by overall market cap as of February 12th, 2018. NEO and bitcoin are joined in the top ten coins by ethereum, ripple, bitcoin cash, cardano, litecoin, stellar, eos, and iota. All of the coins in the top ten have developed strong support from cryptocurrency users.

Exponential growth – NEO and bitcoin have both seen periods of exponential growth. 2017, in particular, was a year that was tremendous growth for both cryptocurrencies. In 2017, bitcoin rose from having a price of around $1,000 per coin to having a price of almost $20,000 per coin in December 2017. NEO rose from having a price of just a few cents in 2017 to having a price of over $100 by the start of 2018. 2017 was a very strong year for both coins, and in fact, both NEO and bitcoin were some of the best investments that anyone could have made in 2017.

Limited quantity – There are only a certain amount of coins for both the NEO and bitcoin cryptocurrencies. For NEO, the limit is 100 million coins. For bitcoin, the limit is 21 million coins. So, there is a finite amount of both coins. This means that if more people become interested in cryptocurrencies, this scarcity could drive up the price for both coins significantly higher than their prices already are in early 2018.

Differences

Age – Although the entire cryptocurrency industry is new, bitcoin is significantly older than NEO, relatively speaking. Bitcoin was created in 2009, whereas NEO was created in 2014. Because of the fact that bitcoin was created five years before NEO was, it had a five-year head start over NEO and many other cryptocurrencies. This helped it benefit from the first-mover advantage, and to gain market share before many competitors even existed.

Overall market cap size – Despite the fact that both cryptocurrencies are in the top 10 for overall market cap size, bitcoin’s market cap is much larger than NEO’s. As of February 12th, 2018, the market cap for bitcoin is $149,160,858,393. The market cap for NEO on the same date is $7,318,805,000. This is a difference of more than $140 billion.

Creators – The creators of NEO are known. NEO was created by two Chinese developers: DA Hongfei and Erik Zhang. The creator of bitcoin is a complete mystery. This is because the person (or group of people) who created bitcoin used an alias. This alias is Satoshi Nakamoto. There have been many guesses as to who Satoshi Nakamoto might be. Some people speculated that it was Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, PayPal, and other major corporations. However, Musk has denied these claims, and the mystery of bitcoin’s creator lives on.

Function – Since 2009, when it was created, bitcoin has slowly become positioned as a long-term store of value, and a type of “digital gold.” It is the king of cryptocurrencies and it is the mark by which many other cryptocurrencies are judged. NEO, on the other hand, is designed to be both a cryptocurrency and as a platform for facilitating smart contracts and decentralized apps, or DApps. Technically, smart contracts can be facilitated with bitcoin, however, bitcoin is not known as the go-to platform for such contracts. NEO and ethereum have taken this role primarily.

Conclusion

NEO and bitcoin are similar in that they are both popular, have experienced exponential growth at times, and have a limited quantity. They are different in terms of age, overall market cap size, creators, and function. However, despite their differences, both NEO and bitcoin saw tremendous gains in 2017, and could potentially see them again in 2018.

If you are interested in investing in or trading NEO, bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies, you can do so on the eToro platform. Etoro is the world’s social trading network. With eToro, you can not only invest in and trade cryptocurrencies, but you can also copy the moves of top traders. This can be extremely beneficial.

What is your outlook for NEO vs. Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of eToro, Shutterstock

Bitcoinist does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. Readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company.

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Led 10

Bitcoin Fees Near-Zero as Company Launches Mainnet Lightning Payments

· January 10, 2018 · 6:00 am

Anonymous VPN service TorGuard has become one of the first consumer businesses to accept Lightning Network (LN) payments for Bitcoin.


‘Testnet Is So Boring’

In messages on Twitter staff since appeared to back up privately, TorGuard confirmed users can now pay for its services in Bitcoin using Lightning, significantly reducing transaction times and fees.

The news makes the company a pioneer of Bitcoin mainnet LN payments after the technology debuted as a testnet interface last month.

“Disclaimer: c-lightning is not production ready. TorGuard will cover loss of funds when sending us LN payments. Testnet is so boring,” tweets added.

One Transaction = One Satoshi?

Excited community members reacted broadly positively to a customer service representative similarly offering LN payments, seemingly unaware TorGuard had already publicly announced the new feature.

“Do you have (an) LN (mainnet) node up and running? If so, I can invoice you for 1 month of our service for only 1 satoshi,” the representative offered.

This last point appeared to cause contention, responses arguing the actual cost of a Lightning transaction would be significantly higher than the $0.‎00014167 quoted due to the need to open and close a channel before and after.

Bitcoin advocates have long championed Lightning as the crucial solution to the ongoing high transaction fees and slow confirmation times which have plagued the network since its mass uptake which began around one year ago.

While altcoins such as Bitcoin Cash and most recently Ripple have jumped on the problem as proof their offerings are more valuable than Bitcoin, early adopters remain confident that so-called Layer 2 updates such as LN payments will make such arguments null and void.

Late last month, Bitcoin-based cellphone top-up service Bitrefill also began using Lightning mainnet payments to fulfil customer orders as part of successful “limited testing”.

What do you think about the launch of mainnet Lightning Network payments? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

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Pro 27

Back from the Dead – Segwit2x Fork Announced for Later This Week

· December 27, 2017 · 4:30 am

The New York Agreement, also known as Segwit2x, was planned for mid-November but was canceled in the weeks leading up. But just recently, the fork is set to launch again.


The Resurrection

The announcement was made on December 16th, with the fork date set for December 28th. Some Segwit2x futures markets are still live on some exchanges, and this attempts to finish the project that was started. HitBTC and YoBit are already supporting the fork, saying that the people who’ve purchased B2X tokens receive their coins.

Segwit2x - The Resurrection

The fork is not the same as the one originally proposed in the NYA but shares some features. The most important part of the Segwit2x fork is the increased block size to 4MB, double what the original proposal called for. It also decreases the block production time from ten minutes to two and a half minutes. It has built-in replay protection along with its own unique address format. The fork already has a planned roadmap, with a functioning Lightning Network and Anonymous transactions to be coming in the next year.

Redistributing Old Coins

The one point about the fork that raises some concerns is that the developers plan to redistribute the coins from the very beginning of bitcoin that are assumed to belong to Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto is assumed to be in control of just around one million bitcoins, which will be revoked and given to current Bitcoin holders proportionate to their holdings. The developers have stated that the reason for this airdrop will be a “reward for the progress commitment.”

Redistributing Old Coins

This fork is coming in a long line of random Bitcoin forks. Ever since the Bitcoin Gold fork back in October, a bunch of random Bitcoin forks have come to light. Bitcoin Silver, Bitcoin Platinum, and other silly names have plagued the market. The fork has yet to be listed on any other exchanges, and other than a single press release not much media coverage has marketed the soon to be fork.

What do you think about this fork? Do you plan to recover your coins? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pexels

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