Fundamental Pick: Decred (DCR)

BBOD Rating [10/12/2018]

ACCUMULATE: An opportunity to buy a medium risk cryptocurrency at a low price

Overview

Currency Code DCR
Transaction Start Date 06/02/2016
Total Supply 21,000,000
Circulating Supply 8,954,731
Protocol Type Blockchain Platform
Base Protocol DCR
Where To Buy/Trade BBOD, Binance, Bittrex, Poloniex, Huobi

Problem to Solve


Decred is an open-source decentralised cryptocurrency that is primarily concerned with ensuring community input is consistently valued by utilising an open governance model which is supported by sustainable financing for project development. Such a philosophy was born out of Bitcoin pioneers, specifically the engineers of the widely adopted btcsuite, becoming frustrated with the inefficient and unfair means by which updates to the Bitcoin protocol were being implemented. The Decred founders saw weakness in this approach and believed it could be improved upon by creating a level playing field for both miners and users in order to mutually benefit the network. Thus, Decred is an immutable currency which aims to be a store of value or medium of exchange, much like Bitcoin, whilst placing decentralisation of governance to community participants above the influence of centralised mining corporations and key developers.

 

Governance

The formation of Decred was a direct consequence of early Bitcoin developers experience with the governance model which was ingrained into the Bitcoin network from its inception. Such a system was designed in a way that placed Bitcoin Core developers and Proof of Work (PoW) miners at the centre of the ecosystem, assigning the majority of power to these large actors, who then had the ability to veto any change to the consensus rules they deemed unprofitable or that did not fit with their vision of the distributed network. Essentially, this gives minimal to no influence to smaller network participants who wish to implement changes they believe to be beneficial to the wider community or the Bitcoin protocol itself. Whilst some might argue that placing power in the hands of the wider community could lead to a dilution of ideas to less experienced parties, the ultimate purpose of a decentralised network is to serve each and every member of its community. Bitcoin has proved otherwise with prolonged disputes occurring between powerful centralised parties whilst ignoring the opinions of the actual users of the network, notably resulting in a contentious chain split which many network participants fundamentally disagreed with as such a move ultimately dilutes the network.

 

Funding

Bitcoin was funded entirely by donations up until 2014 and today there are no such rewards for developing the open-source protocol. This leaves early developers who likely profited from the exponential price increase of Bitcoin with the freedom to work on the project without the need for financial means, whilst excluding others developers who were late to the ecosystem. There is no system in place where a developer can claim expenses for contributing to the Bitcoin project and thus this excludes a large proportion of highly qualified developers from participating, centralising the power of decision making once more.

 

Mining

Although the PoW protocol implemented to mint Bitcoin has proven to be incredibly robust over the years, with no majority network takeovers occurring since the project was launched, as the mathematical problems become increasingly more complex the situation may change. This is the result of continuously needing to improve upon already incredibly expensive computational hardware in order to keep pace with mining competitors. In recent years we have seen this effect start to take place, with large centralised corporations such as Bitmain mining a large proportion of the Bitcoin network. As such large corporations continue to profit and grow, making the possibility for over 51% of the network to be mined by one centralised party increasingly more apparent. Ultimately, if achieved this would allow such a centralised authority to censor and implement updates to the bitcoin protocol as they see fit, completely going against the idea of a decentralised, censorship-resistant, immutable currency.

 

Solution


Governance

In stark contrast to Bitcoin, Decred ensures all stakeholders have the ability to influence decisions regarding the project by allowing them to vote on specific agendas and proposals that will be implemented to the Decred Blockchain. In order to become a Decred stakeholder one must simply own their native token DCR. Such decisions include aspects such as whether the development team should start working on a specific feature or not, whether to deploy a feature which has already been completed and even how to fairly split the development subsidies provided. This governance model allows for an entirely decentralised approach which ensures that no party has considerable influence over any other in the ecosystem. Miners and key developers must respect the decisions made by the stakeholders as they do not possess a majority share of the project. This allows for a more organic growth strategy which is inclusive of all parties constructive concerns and needs. As a result, Decred became the first cryptocurrency to implement changes to their Blockchain based on an automatic user voting approval in June 2017. Moreover, utilising this community-driven approach has allowed Decred to implement consensus changes much quicker than most other Blockchains, specifically Bitcoin’s, supporting the Lightning Network before Bitcoin and allowing a transaction to expire after a set period of time in order to keep avoid Blockchain bloat. Ultimately, Decred’s governance model is far more just than Bitcoin’s, allowing all stakeholders to have their voices heard and not ignored, creating a fairer ecosystem where everyone who is invested in the project can participate or affect the direction of future developments.

 

Funding

Uniquely, Decred’s Blockchain assigns a portion of miner fees to a development treasury which is distributed accordingly to those who wish to contribute to the project. This decentralised funding model allows anyone with an idea to contribute to the project by simply submitting a proposal and then if that idea is implemented they will be rewarded for their work. Such an approach is fundamentally different from most open-source projects, such as Bitcoin, which allow users to submit proposals but do not compensate them for their hard work. Instead, simply allowing one to build prestige in the developer community off the back of successful work. This opens the doors to a much larger pool of talent than possible with most unpaid open-source projects which simply cost those who do not have the means to work for free out of the market. Moreover, individuals can produce work which is not necessarily computer science-based, instead, they can apply more general skills such as marketing to help the project flourish and still receive compensation for work. Ultimately, business decisions will be decentralised amongst the wider community who support the project, distributing the power of decision making to a diverse set of individuals, avoiding centralisation of authority at all costs.

 

Funding

From the offset, Decred insured that their innovative hybridised consensus system was fair for both miners and stakeholders. This is why they choose to implement Proof of Activity (PoA), which involves a balance between both Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithms. To this end, they have allocated 60% of the block reward to PoW miners, who serve the same purpose as in Bitcoin, 30% of the block reward for PoS voters, who keep check of PoW miners and can vote on important decisions and 10% to the treasury to incentivise the community to participate in project development. Typically PoW miners need to have spent a considerable amount of money on computational infrastructure and exert extreme control over a network, by introducing PoS additionally, network participants with much less financial means are able to keep a check on the work that the PoW miners are carrying out. This dilutes power from the PoW miners to PoS workers and decreases the likelihood of any network takeovers occurring as a result. Ultimately, Decred ensures that via a distributed mining consensus mechanism those who usually yield considerable power by owning expensive infrastructure cannot take over the majority of the network, whilst allowing individuals to participate in the project without needing excessive funds.

 

Catalysts


Community-Driven: The underlying strength of Decred lies in its commitment to ensuring the community has a strong influence over all aspects of the development of the project, whether that be allowing all stakeholders to vote on implementations to the protocol or supporting those in the community who wish to promote the project. This strategy ensures a diverse set of opinions are accounted for, and that a few large actors cannot control the direction of project development.

Team Of Pioneers: The team behind the project were the engineers behind btcsuite, a well regarded open-source project made for Bitcoin which has now been adopted by many other cryptocurrency projects. As some of the key members in the development of Bitcoin, they possess a true understanding of the successes and failures of the project. Thus, Decred takes a unique community-driven approach to achieve true decentralisation rarely seen elsewhere in the industry.

 

Risk Factors


Competing With A Titan: Ultimately, if Decred wants to see wide adoption then it has to draw from the community of Bitcoin, this is no easy task but may become easier with time as people begin to realise how centralised the decision making of Bitcoin has become since it’s inception. A large-scale event such as Bitmain taking over more than 51% of the Bitcoin mining activity could spark this realisation.

Belief In Your Community: As decred is community driven, the ultimate direction of the project is driven by who participates. This cannot be controlled, stopped or censored which is the essence of decentralisation. Whilst this is appealing to many early adopters within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, those who invest in the project moving forward must have belief in their fellow community members as well as the underlying fundamentals of the project itself. Despite this, it is difficult to question the direction the community has driven the project so far.

 

Conclusion


In a market where centralisation of power seems to be becoming an ever more prevalent force, Decred appears to be one of the few cryptocurrencies that continues to uphold the decentralised nature of the initial idea. By allowing members of the community to participate in the project in various ways including voting, mining and paid work contributions, Decred has created a vibrant community of incredibly knowledgeable and talented individuals avoiding the need for a centralised decision maker. Such a diverse set of opinions has allowed the project to quietly flourish, implementing changes to the Decred protocol much quicker than when centralised actors determine the direction of a project. This is true decentralisation in action. Thus, if the project can continue on its current trajectory whilst Bitcoin continues to become more centralised, it could become a direct competitor. Certainly, one to watch as the market matures.

 

Trade! Go Long or Short with leverage on Decred/TUSD


 

BBOD Rating Standard


BUY: A low-risk buying opportunity

ACCUMULATE: An opportunity to buy a medium risk cryptocurrency at a low price

SPEC BUY: A speculative opportunity for investors with a higher risk tolerance

HOLD: Maintain current levels of position until further research is published

SELL: Investment is associated with the potential of losing capital



Disclaimer BBOD Research is an independent cryptocurrency research-house. The company has not received any remuneration (cryptocurrency or otherwise) in preparing this analysis. This report has been prepared solely for informative purposes and should not be the basis for making investment decisions or be construed as a recommendation to engage in investment transactions or be taken to suggest an investment strategy in respect of any financial instruments or the issuers thereof. This report has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No 596/2014. Reports issued by Trade the Future Holding (“BBOD Research”) or its affiliates are not related to the provision of advisory services regarding investment, tax, legal, financial, accounting, consulting or any other related services and are not recommendations to buy, sell, or hold an asset. The information contained in this report is based on sources considered to be reliable, but not guaranteed, to be accurate or complete. Any opinions or estimates expressed herein reflect a judgment made as of this date and are subject to change without notice. BBOD Research will not be liable whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from the use of this publication/communication or its contents. Trade the Future Holding and its affiliates hold positions in digital assets and may now or in the future hold a position in the subject of this research.

Weekly Crypto Recap [26/10/18 – 1/11/18]

Week in Brief


 

Bitcoin turns 10: the Satoshi whitepaper that questioned the necessity of the financial system that we know today

 

The institutional herds are coming — Fidelity, the 5th largest asset manager in the world announce the launch of Fidelity Digital Assets

 

Total crypto market cap is down 1.7% w/w, with 75% of the top 100 coins by market cap trading down w/w. In the last 24 hours, 87% of the top 100 are trading up whilst BTC is down 1.29% and ETH is down 1.92%. BTC, ETH and XRP lead the market cap respectively.

 

Market Performance


Top Stories


 

Bitcoin turns 10: the Satoshi whitepaper that questioned the necessity of the financial system that we know today

 

On the 31st of October 2008, coinciding with both the beginning of the global financial crisis, with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and Halloween itself, notorious Satoshi Nakamoto unveiled the Bitcoin whitepaper to the world. Whether the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin is a male, female or a group of individuals is up for debate. Yet the imperceptible timing of this release cannot have been a coincidence, for, in the first block ever created, the genesis block, Satoshi inscribed a clear message for all to see:

“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”

Whilst Wall Street crumbled under the midst of the largest financial crisis since the great depression and possibly the greatest financial scandal of all time, an alternative financial infrastructure was being quietly developed online in order to destroy the current status quo.

Although Bitcoin would not be discovered by the mainstream until the speculative mania of 2017, the foundations for a new way of transferring value between individuals was already firmly laid. No longer would banks be necessary for individuals to transact trustfully with one another. Instead, a financial system had been built with trust inherently baked into the Bitcoin code. Such trust is immutable, it cannot be tampered with, it cannot be censored and it cannot be seized.

The world is still waking up to what Satoshi coined a “purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” But as we loom on the edge of another global financial crisis, how much longer will individuals place trust in intermediaries who continually exploit everyone but themselves. Bitcoin has provided an exit sign for individuals to leave this corrupt system and become their own bank. Such financial freedom is arguably one of the most impactful inventions one will see in their lifetime. One thing is for certain, Bitcoin is here to stay.

 

The institutional herds are coming — Fidelity, the 5th largest asset manager in the world announce the launch of Fidelity Digital Assets

 

Fidelity, the renowned asset management franchise, announce the launch of their cryptocurrency investment vehicle, Fidelity Digital Assets, aimed at onboarding institutional investors to the marketplace. The firm is currently the 5th largest asset management company in the world, with a total of $7.2 trillion of customer assets under their control. This dwarfs the current market cap of the cryptocurrency industry, a mere $200 billion at the time of writing. If just 10% of their total assets were to become cryptocurrency assets in the future, this would sharply bring the cryptocurrency market estimation towards a trillion itself. Alongside the other institutional investment onramps which are around the corner, such as Bakkt, early retail adopters are almost certain to cash in big on their curiosity and foresight.

Based in Boston, the limited company aims to bring industry-grade custody solutions for institutional investors not possible with traditional unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges. They will achieve this with a geographically diverse set of cold storage locations which are disconnected from the internet itself and vault protected. At current, Institutional investors are simply not willing to risk the large sums of capital they have at their disposal on exchanges which could be shut down, hacked or exit scammed at any moment. Instead, such market participants need assurance from regulated and familiar mechanisms that their funds are secure at all times.

The firm will also provide a cryptocurrency trading platform alongside 24/7 institutional advisory services to cater to the market that never sleeps. Tom Jessop, founder of Fidelity Digital Assets states that “This is recognition that there is institutional demand for these assets as a class, family offices, hedge funds, other sophisticated investors, are starting to think seriously about this space.”. Ultimately, it is clear that the institutional herds are coming with the funds needed to really push this market into a new era, for better or worse. Optimistically, this institutional jumpstart could be exactly what the market needs right now to keep momentum, allowing the underlying technology to continue to improve at an exponential rate.

 

Meanwhile


 

Cryptocurrency titan, Coinbase, receives a further $300 million dollar investment in their most recent round of funding, leading to a total valuation of over 8 billion dollars (Coindesk).

Bakkt is set to be launched in December, a cryptocurrency exchange founded by the intercontinental exchanges (ICE) seeking to solve the custody problem for institutional investors, confirming a new era of investment from retail to Wall Street may be on the horizon (Bitcoinist).

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launches a Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, in hopes of updating individuals on SEC regulatory issues, in order to be more transparent and create greater confidence in the market. (The Daily Hodl).

 

What We’re Reading At BBOD


 

Bitcoin At 10: The Satoshi Whitepaper

Why Bitcoin and Crypto Have No Future

MappleChange: The Story of Another Cryptocurrency Exchange Exit Scam

 

What We’re Listening To At BBOD


 

Reflections on the 10 Year Anniversary of The Bitcoin Whitepaper

Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society

What Bitcoin Did: Crypto Custody

 

Fundamental Pick: Elastos (ELA)

BBOD Rating [10/10/2018]


SPEC BUY: A speculative opportunity for investors with a higher risk tolerance

 

Overview


Currency Code ELA
Transaction Start Date 01/02/2018
Total Supply 33,647,865
Circulating Supply 7,722,239
Protocol Type Blockchain Platform
Base Protocol ELA
Where To Buy LBank, Huobi, CoinEgg, Kucoin

 

Problem To Solve


Since the inception of the Internet, it has become impossible for content creators to claim individual ownership of their works and to ensure such original creators reek the monetary benefits from their creative outputs. This is the result of the Internet’s inability to provide unique content which cannot be copied by individuals and spread freely over its vast distributed network. With over 3 billion individuals having access to the Internet, who all possess the ability to copy original content with ease, trying to stop the flow of illegal content between parties is simply impossible. Moreover, it is not only individual actors who take advantage of the ability to stream content globally, well-known centralised digital content providers such as Spotify, Youtube and Netflix all profit substantially from monetising digital content which is not of their own creation. Ultimately, this process often leaves original content creators with a tiny fraction of the actual profit they should be receiving for their creative endeavours and large corporations with the majority.

On the opposite side of this dilemma, individuals themselves no longer physically own much of the digital content they consume. People simply pay for subscription services and become drip fed by whichever corporation they choose to worship. Many may argue that, in fact, this is not an issue for the individual, as digital content has never been so easy to consume, yet is convenience necessarily a good thing without rights to ownership? In the past, individuals collected physical possessions over the period of their lifetime, such as books, records and photo albums, which could then be passed down to their family. This not only acted as a memoir of deceased loved ones but also a mechanism of passing value down through generations. Today, little of what we consume is actually ours and consequently, we cannot monetise our possessions when needed for ourselves or our children.

 

The Solution


In order to tackle the dissemination of creator content, Elastos [ELA] proposes a unique Blockchain design philosophy which detaches original content from the internet itself and runs separately on what Elastos has coined the ‘Smartweb’. Here creators content will not be uploaded to the internet that we know today, rather, it will be placed on a decentralised application on Elastos ‘Runtime’ software. ‘Runtime’ will enable individuals to store, view and exchange original content peer-to-peer on their personal smartphones or computers without connecting to the internet itself. Instead, Elastos will utilise the Blockchain only to confirm transactions between parties and verify their identity without needing a third party.

Thus, creators using the system will have the ability to attach their personal identity to their unique content on the Blockchain, allowing them to track exactly how many individuals are consuming their content, ensuring all revenue is sent directly to the original artist rather than unnecessary intermediaries. Moreover, Content creators will have the ability to introduce the concept of digital scarcity to their work, limiting the amount of digital content that can be bought by consumers to a fixed number. As in all markets, scarcity often creates increased incentives for individuals to purchase an item in a specific timeframe whilst supply remains fixed, increasing adoption and price over time. Such mechanisms should allow creators to reek the financial rewards they deserve for digital content, unlike in the current status quo.

Additionally, the Elastos ‘Runtime’ ecosystem will benefit consumers of the network, by allowing them access to original content which they will digitally own, verified by their Blockchain Identity. Unlike in today’s markets where one merely owns the right to use a product for a specified amount of time via a subscription service, consumers of Elastos ‘Runtime’ network will have unconditional ownership of their digital assets. Much like in the physical content world before the era of the internet, this will allow individuals to generate future revenue if they decide to sell some of their digital content. For instance, perhaps, due to the scarcity of the digital content when first purchased, such an asset has now significantly increased in price as there is now huge demand and virtually no supply, one could benefit akin to selling a rare piece of art. This mechanism creates an entirely new smart economy by allowing anyone to participate in wealth generation through peer to peer free markets without the interference of costly and unnecessary third parties.

 

Summary


Ultimately, Elastos allows digital content to be stored, viewed and traded in a secure and transparent manner. Without the need for third parties, creators are guaranteed to be rewarded with fair compensation for their creative output whilst consumers can benefit from their digital content ownership. Within this closed environment, the projects native ELA token will be used to pay for access to content that individuals desire. ELA can then be spent within the Elastos ecosystem itself or transferred to any other financial network.

 

Catalysts


  • Rewarding Content Creators: Since the introduction of the internet, content creators have lost out significantly as they have no means of stopping the dissemination of their artistic works. Moreover, unnecessary intermediaries have profited substantially by providing user-friendly interfaces which consumers have gravitated towards due to their ease of use. This is only set to continue as more individuals have access to the internet and product offerings become more sophisticated. Elastos provides a way out of the traditional content economy that allows creators to become the sole beneficiaries of their work, an idea that would not be possible without Blockchain technology and certainly appealing to creators themselves.
  • A Universally Beneficial Ecosystem: Not only does Elastos benefit content creators, but it also allows consumers themselves to take back the ownership of their digital content. This should attract individuals who are fed up with paying for subscription services that have the right to remove content at any time. Elastos allows consumers to benefit from the financial rewards of having exclusive ownership of digital content by exchanging such content in a peer-to-peer manner. Individuals can also feel confident that their purchase decisions are directly affecting the lives of the artists they admire.
  • Longevity and Strength of The Elastos Team: CEO Rong Chen began work on Elastos after leaving a senior role at Microsoft in 2000. Over time, the project has evolved in line with the pace of technology to now include Blockchain technology, which now allows it to function. The foresight and longevity of the project suggest the team is certainly in this for the long haul. Elastos now comprises of over 52 team members, with well-respected Blockchain advisors including Jihan Wu (CEO of Bitmain) and Hongfei Da (Founder & CEO of NEO).

 

Risk Factors


  • Challenging Traditional Oligopolies: The market for content streaming services is fierce, with a few key playing dominating the space, such as Spotify, Youtube and Netflix. If Elastos is to overcome the huge amounts capital these companies have at their disposal, they are going to need to pursue aggressive marketing strategies in order to establish themselves as an alternative competing brand. Despite this, the overwhelming benefits for content creators who utilise the platform should push the market forward, if they decide to limit content exclusively outside of the traditional system.
  • Copying Copyright Material: Although digital content will be detached from the Internet on the Elastos ‘Runtime’ software, this does not stop consumers from screen-capturing videos, text or rerecording audio. Individuals desire to find content for free will prevail if they search hard enough. Regardless, individuals who choose to do this will only receive knock-off versions of an original file of lesser quality, unlike today where original files can easily be copied and disseminated.
  • Verification: Elastos have failed to state how they will verify content is uploaded by the original creator. Although a Blockchain ID will be assigned to each piece of digital content, there is nothing stopping someone else uploading a file to the ‘Runtime’ system and claiming it as their own. In order for this to occur, however, the fake uploader would have to possess the original file and upload it before the original content creator, a rare circumstance.

 

Conclusion


Elastos provides an innovative alternative ecosystem for content creators and consumers to maintain full control of their digital assets and monetise them without the need for unnecessary intermediaries. The projects key strength is the ability to create a marketplace for digital content detached from the internet itself, Elastos ‘Runtime’, utilising the Blockchain only to verify the identification of content creators and to implement trustless peer-to-peer transactions. This has the potential to create an environment outside of the traditional corporate structure that will allow consumers to truly own their digital content and content creators to be rightfully rewarded for their creative endeavours. If Elastos can market their brand effectively, content creators could start transitioning exclusively over to the platform, leaving consumers no alternative but to adopt the system if they wish to enjoy their favourite artists. With support from cryptocurrency giants such as Bitmain and NEO and a dedicated team of 18 years, Elastos seem capable of successfully implementing their idea. Thus, as the mainstream begins to adopt decentralised applications, Elastos is certainly one to watch.

 

BBOD Rating Standard


BUY: A low-risk buying opportunity

ACCUMULATE: An opportunity to buy a medium risk cryptocurrency at a low price

SPEC BUY: A speculative opportunity for investors with a higher risk tolerance

HOLD: Maintain current levels of position until further research is published

SELL: Investment is associated with the potential of losing capital

 

Disclaimer


BBOD Research is an independent cryptocurrency research-house. The company has not received any remuneration (cryptocurrency or otherwise) in preparing this analysis.

This report has been prepared solely for informative purposes and should not be the basis for making investment decisions or be construed as a recommendation to engage in investment transactions or be taken to suggest an investment strategy in respect of any financial instruments or the issuers thereof. This report has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No 596/2014. Reports issued by Trade the Future Holding (“BBOD Research”) or its affiliates are not related to the provision of advisory services regarding investment, tax, legal, financial, accounting, consulting or any other related services and are not recommendations to buy, sell, or hold any asset. The information contained in this report is based on sources considered to be reliable, but not guaranteed, to be accurate or complete. Any opinions or estimates expressed herein reflect a judgment made as of this date and are subject to change without notice. BBOD Research will not be liable whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from the use of this publication/communication or its contents. Trade the Future Holding and its affiliates hold positions in digital assets and may now or in the future hold a position in the subject of this research.

 

Fundamental Pick: Binance Coin [BNB]

Image result for binance coin

 

BBOD Rating [10/10/2018]


BUY: A low-risk buying opportunity

 

Overview


 

Currency Code BNB
Transaction Start Date 25/07/2017
Total Supply 192,443,301
Circulating Supply 117,443,301
Protocol Type Cryptocurrency Exchange
Base Protocol BNB
Where To Buy Binance, HitBTC
Go Long/Short BBOD

Binance Exchange Overview


Binance began trading as a little known Chinese cryptocurrency exchange in July 2017, during a boom time for the marketplace as a whole. Utilising the fortunate timing of their project and an aggressive marketing strategy the company became the highest traded spot exchange by daily volume a mere six months after inception. This rise to fame was unprecedented and something competitors such as Bittrex and Poloniex certainly did not anticipate. Binance achieved such success by significantly beating competitors on tradings fees with 0.10% per trade as opposed to 0.25%. Additionally, they employed an extremely liberal coin listing policy, growing their community at an exponential rate by attracting traders from a wide pool of already well-established cryptocurrency projects. Today, the platform lists 280 active trading pairs with an average of 1 billion trading volume daily and over 9 million active users.

 

Binance Coin [BNB] Overview


In order to raise money for the platform, Binance launched their ICO for Binance Token [BNB] on July 2nd. Due to the substantial bull market of the time and their solid project, Binance sold the entirety of their 100 million BNB tokens within several minutes of availability. The token sold for an average price of 0.11 USD, equating to approximately 11 million USD total funds raised during their ICO. BNB is an ERC20 token based on the Ethereum blockchain with a max supply of 200 million, after which no more coins will be created. Although BNB is now widely acknowledged as a utility token for use on the platform, the value of the token also corresponds to the equivalent of a traditional stock, with holders owning a proportional share in Binance that will likely appreciate proportionally with the growth of the exchange. This is a particularly rare phenomenon in the cryptocurrency space, where the majority of coins do not have such a substantial functioning product supporting them.

 

The Utility of Binance Coin [BNB]  


Discount

Currently, the main use case of BNB token stems from its ability to be used to decrease trading fees on the Binance Platform. Users can choose to pay for fees using BNB instead of utilising the cryptocurrency they are trading. If one chooses to do so they can expect 50% trading fees in their first year of membership, which decreases by half every year of subscription, until year five, where a discount no longer applies. In essence, BNB becomes the fuel for the Binance ecosystem, providing real-world utility to the token, unlike many other cryptocurrency projects whose promise of utility stems from the future success of yet to be released product. The reduction in fees is hugely significant to frequent traders as the platform itself currently undercuts any other exchange on the market without even employing the token discount, at 0.1% per trade. Combine this with the lowered fees when BNB is implemented to trade with and the exchange substantially undercuts its competitors on trading fees. For example Huobi and Bitfinex both employ trading fees of 0.2%. The oversight of Binance competitors higher fees is likely what drew many to the platform from in the first place.

 

Token Burn

In order to counteract the decreasing value of the BNB fee discount over the period of five years, Binance has employed a quarterly coin burn for their tokens. Essentially, Binance will buy back BNB tokens from the market and send them to a public address whose private keys are unobtainable, effectively destroying the tokens. This decreases the supply of BNB in circulation with demand remaining the same, usually resulting in an increase in price as the token becomes more scarce. This ingenious tactic has gained much publicity and succeeded in its aim thus far, with prices increasing substantially before coin burns that have occurred in the past. Binance aims to do this every financial quarter with 20% of their profits. So far they have met their promise, with 986,000 BNB burned in their first quarter, 1,821,586 BNB in the second and 2,220,314 BNB in the third, approximately 30 million USD at the time. The process will continue until half of their total supply remains, 100 million BNB. Such a mechanism has captured the attention of investors who will likely hold onto BNB for speculation purposes once users fees no longer decrease by utilising the token for trading fees. With increased visibility into the valuation of the BNB due to its direct correlation to the success of the exchange, no doubt prices will increase if the business continues on its current trajectory.

 

ICO Launchpad

Continuing their effort to provide BNB with meaningful value, the Binance Launchpad program allows individuals to invest in certain cryptocurrencies that are in the process of being listed on the platform using BNB. This furthers the tokens use case and creates a seamless marketplace between available ICOs and the exchange itself. Additional add-ons such as the Launchpad program increase the utility of the token and hence its demand, potentially leading to an increase in price. Continuing the process of frequently improving the usability of BNB will likely be key to the tokens success going forward. Such efforts thus far include Monaco adding BNB to their cryptocurrency Visa Card/App and the ability to buy virtual gifts on Uplive using the token.  

 

Future Applications


Decentralised Exchange

Looking to the future, Binance plan to build a decentralised cryptocurrency exchange (DEX) which will utilise the BNB token as the primary base asset and gas to be spent. Binance has coined this project Binance Chain, although it is still in the stages of development, admittedly aiming to outsource the underlying technology by providing a 1 million USD bounty and a job at Binance to an individual with a successful proposal. Although, if Binance Chain is as successful as Binance itself, BNB will gain significant value from a substantial increase in demand for the token for investors to utilise on the DEX platform. Moreover, they would mitigate regulatory risks of their current centralised exchange, as decentralised exchanges are inherently impossible to shut down. Despite this, the current DEX environment has largely suffered from a lack of usability, functionality and liquidity. Thus, pulling off a decentralised exchange successfully at this moment in time would be no easy feat.

 

BNB Catalysts


Organic Growth Through Reputation: Binance’s significant success in the cryptocurrency spot exchange market thus far has gained them substantial brand recognition in the marketplace. Couple this success with an ever-expanding user base and this could translate into sustainable long-term growth for the BNB token.

Continual Drive for Innovation: Since their inception, Binance has made continual strides to expand their product offering and overall ecosystem. For example, improving the functionality of the exchange itself, introducing the coin burn function and offering market participants the opportunity to invest in cryptocurrencies utilising BNB in their Launchpad program. Further efforts to improve the Binance ecosystem will not go unnoticed and will certainly affect the price of BNB.

Sustainable Growth During a Bearish Market: Although the fortunate timing of the implementation of the exchange can be seen as luck by many, Binance have not failed to increase their market dominance this year in a declining market (approx. -70% YTD). The consistency of trading volume, hovering around 1 Billion USD per day suggests that when the market decides to turn bullish, the number of individuals who utilise the platform and its token will increase.

 

BNB Risk Factors


Regulatory Environment: Since the success of BNB is entirely hinged on the success of the Binance exchange, the centralisation of the exchange may become an issue if regulators choose to crack down on cryptocurrency exchanges in general and make an example of them as a key figure in the industry. The platform has shown no interest in complying with regulators and so the way forward appears to be creating their decentralised exchange Binance Chain, which they are far from realising.

Market Saturation: Now that the market for exchanges is becoming incredibly saturated, firms with capital are employing aggressive strategies such as feeless spot exchanges, eradicating the need for BNB’s fee reduction utility. Despite this, none have diversified their market as much as Binance thus far and it will be hard to keep pace if the company pays attention.

Centralised Ownership: Ultimately Binance is a centralised exchange and thus decisions on what utility BNB should hold are made by management officials. This removes the right for token holders to collectively decide the fate of their token going forward. Although, so far, one would be stretched to challenge the decisions for BNB’s utility, as the strategies implemented seem to have largely paid off.

 

Conclusion


The initial incentive to buy BNB tokens was to gain discounted trading fees on the Binance platform, as doing so would substantially out-compete other spot exchanges on fees. Although this function is slowly being phased out over the period of five years, over time Binance has presented multiple other utilities for their token such as the ability to invest in ICOs to be launched on the Binance platform using BNB and the future hopes of utilising the token on Binance Chain, their decentralised exchange in the early stages of development. Couple this with token burning to slowly decrease the supply of BNB and Binance seem to know how to create sustainable long-term value for their BNB token. Hence, looking forward, as long as Binance can keep pace with the ever-evolving regulatory environment, BNB appears to have a bright future ahead of itself.

 

BBOD Rating Standard 


BUY: A low-risk buying opportunity

ACCUMULATE: An opportunity to buy a medium risk cryptocurrency at a low price

SPEC BUY: A speculative opportunity for investors with a higher risk tolerance

HOLD: Maintain current levels of position until further research is published

SELL: Investment is associated with the potential of losing capital


Disclaimer


BBOD Research is an independent cryptocurrency research-house and research arm of BBOD Exchange. The company has not received any remuneration (cryptocurrency or otherwise) in preparing this analysis.

This report has been prepared solely for informative purposes and should not be the basis for making investment decisions or be construed as a recommendation to engage in investment transactions or be taken to suggest an investment strategy in respect of any financial instruments or the issuers thereof. This report has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No 596/2014. Reports issued by Trade the Future Holding (“BBOD Research”) or its affiliates are not related to the provision of advisory services regarding investment, tax, legal, financial, accounting, consulting or any other related services and are not recommendations to buy, sell, or hold any asset. The information contained in this report is based on sources considered to be reliable, but not guaranteed, to be accurate or complete. Any opinions or estimates expressed herein reflect a judgment made as of this date and are subject to change without notice. BBOD Research will not be liable whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from the use of this publication/communication or its contents. Trade the Future Holding and its affiliates hold positions in digital assets and may now or in the future hold a position in the subject of this research.

 

Weekly Crypto Recap [12/10/18 – 18/10/18]

Week in Brief

Tether (USDT), destabilises causing widespread panic on centralised exchanges as traders convert their USDT for Bitcoin.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposes concerns regarding the rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies and how hacking events of centralised exchanges could threaten the international financial system.

Tim Berners Lee, the father of the World Wide Web introduces his new venture inrupt, which aims to decentralise the web, allowing users to possess control of their data as initially intended.

Total crypto market cap is up 7.25% w/w, with 80% of the top 100 coins by market cap trading up w/w. 30% of the top 100 are trading up in the last 24 hours, whilst BTC is down 0.1% and ETH is down 1.4%. BTC, ETH and XRP lead the market cap respectively.


Market Performance

Top Stories

A collapse in confidence of Tether leads Bitcoin prices to surge more than 20% in a matter of hours

On Monday morning GMT, Bitcoin soared in price from $6200 to $7500, before settling around the $6900 mark. Although this has allowed Bitcoin to break through the major declining price resistance formed over the past few months, whether this move is sustainable remains to be seen. The move comes after considerable controversy regarding Tether (USDT), a stable coin utilised by the majority of traders on centralised trading platforms. Despite its name, USDT has failed to remain tethered to USD, with considerable premiums being seen on notable exchanges who offer the cryptocurrency as their prominent tethered pair, such as Bitfinex, Binance, Kraken and OKEx. For example, USDT dropped up to 10% in value on some exchanges, trading at $0.9 on Kraken. Consequently, the sudden increase in the price of Bitcoin can almost certainly be attributed to traders moving funds from their devaluing ‘stable’ currency into Bitcoin itself. The irony in this move is unprecedented, with individuals usually relying on the stability of USDT in Bitcoin downturns. It appears for the time being Bitcoin has become a better store of value than USDT itself.

So what caused USDT to crash? The debate over USDT’s solvency is not new, many sceptics have questioned the reliability of the centralised stable coin, which is merely backed by the US dollar in a traditional bank account for some time. If the bank refuses withdrawals, a centralised exchange simply cannot allow their users to withdraw tethered funds themselves. As predicted, the solvency debate has now come to a head, with Bitfinex suspending withdrawals of USDT as a result of losing their banking partner Noble Bank, who supposedly backed USDT, alongside HSBC refusing to back USDT moving forward. Moreover, this has lead other centralised exchanges such as OKEx to suspend withdrawals causing further panic for market participants.

Bitfinex is now desperately trying to secure USD fiat pairs to reconcile themselves, but with such significant setbacks, it is hard to say whether USDT will ever be able to regain the credibility necessary to function as a tethered currency in the future. A push towards a decentralised stable coin, not backed by funds in a US bank account, such as MakerDAO’s DAI, could become a necessary scapegoat for those looking to find a stable hedge in market downturns in the future.

 

IMF issues warning regarding the rapid growth of cryptocurrencies and their impact on the global financial system

The latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, “Challenges to Steady Growth”, proposes that the rapid growth of the cryptocurrency marketplace over the past 2 years could pose a substantial threat to the international financial system as world banks struggle to keep pace. The report places a strong emphasis on how the increased adoption of cryptocurrencies could allow for large-scale hacking attacks on centralised platforms which do not have high enough security measures to prevent sophisticated hackers from infiltrating their wallets.

“Cybersecurity breaches and cyber attacks on critical financial infrastructure represent an additional source of risk because they could undermine cross-border payment systems and disrupt the flow of goods and services. The continued rapid growth of crypto assets could create new vulnerabilities in the international financial system” a comment from the recent IMF report

Thus, the IMF claims that the continuing adoption of cryptocurrencies by both retail investors and institutions could create significant vulnerabilities in the traditional financial system, as both parties begin to perceive cryptocurrencies as alternative means of value and begin utilising them for speculative or business purposes. Ultimately, the IMF suggests that if large institutions are to adopt cryptocurrencies, for instance, Ripple (XRP) for industries such as remittances, then the security of storage must be industry grade and backed by insurance mechanisms to ensure the safety of funds. Failing this, both industry players and individuals could suffer large-scale loses causing financial chaos.

Despite this, some bullish cryptocurrency advocates such as Emin Gun Sirer, a well-regarded professor at Cornell University, stated that any recognition from the IMF that cryptocurrencies are becoming a notable asset class is optimistic for the industry as a whole. Moreover, decentralised exchanges are now allowing decentralised custodial services to their clients, which are finally allowing individuals to utilise the power of the underlying blockchain technology to keep their funds secure outside of centralised wallets.

 

Tim Berners-Lee aims to decentralise the Web with new cryptocurrency venture

“I’ve always believed the web is for everyone,” Wrote Tim Berners-Lee, the iconic British engineer and professor of computer science who notoriously gave away the World Wide Web for free some 30 years ago. “The web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas,” Berners-Lee added in a recent blog post.

We are at a critical tipping point for the internet, where privacy scandals are awash in the worldwide media and at the forefront of consumers minds. Individuals are rapidly losing trust in centralised authorities in our digital age – and they are demanding solutions. This was sparked by the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal followed by the recent Facebook confession that they were using metadata to target specific voters for Trump’s political campaign. As such, individuals are no longer in the dark concerning how their personal information is being exploited for commercial or political gains.

As a result, in late September the father of the internet announced a new project coined inrupt, a project with a mission to decentralise the Web. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, the inrupt ultimately aims to restore power to individuals rather than the commercial bad actors who actively seek to capitalise on user data. Thus, inrupt’s true goal is complete decentralisation of the web placing privacy at the forefront, allowing the user, and only the user, to own the rights to their personal information. Now the race to secure user privacy has officially begun, inrupt’s visionary leader may just place them at the forefront of this process.  

 

Meanwhile

Coinbase adds 0x (ZRX), the first ERC-20 token to be added to their product offering for customers worldwide (Bitcoin Magazine).

A user of the Bitcoin distributed network confirmed to have transferred $194 million USD valued in Bitcoin for a transaction fee of 10 cents, a feat unimaginable in traditional markets (CCN).

Former Vice President of Coinbase has transitioned to a position at Bakkt, the notorious NYSE backed firm who will allow institutional investors access to the cryptocurrency world by legal means starting November (CryptoGlobe)

Despite the clear institutional interest in the cryptocurrency market, Barclays shuts down their trading division just months after its inception (CryptoSlate)

Choi Jong-Koo of Korea’s Financial Services Commission has reestablished his belief that ICO’s should not be able to operate within the country, whilst still undeniably showing support for blockchain for business sake (Cointelegraph)

 

What We’re Reading

The International Monetary Funds “Challenges to Steady Growth” Report

An interview with David Chaum, a cryptography pioneer who believes blockchain cannot reach its full potential until it becomes a successful medium of exchange

Tim Berners-Lee “One Small Step For The Web”

21 Cryptos Magazine, October Edition: The Next Bull

 

What We’re Listening To

Tether Fears! Node Investors take on the collapse of USDT of its effect on the market

Bad Podcast: Why Stablecoins Matter

The Oslo Freedom Forum in New York: Why Decentralization Matters

What Bitcoin Did: An Interview With Jimmy Song

Revolutionizing Democracy Using DAOs

 

Ethereum White Paper Explained. Part 3

Ethereum White Paper, Explained. Part 1 & Part 2 aimed to help you understand how the Ethereum ecosystem works, now let us delve into the applications of the Ethereum Platform.

Ethereum has three main applications.

  • Financial Applications

These include currencies, derivatives, contracts, wallets, wills and could even include employment contracts.

  • Semi-Financial Applications

This category involves partial inclusion of money along with a non-monetary aspect. An example would be automatic bounties on finding solutions to computational problems.

  • Governance

Online voting is a possible use case for the Ethereum ecosystem.

 

Token Systems

Tokens have numerous use cases for sub-currencies such as USD, gold, equity, property, coupons and even tokens with no conventional means of value which might be used for incentives. Token systems are quite easy to be implemented on the Ethereum platform. The logistics involved on how the tokens work is well explained in Part 1 & Part 2. The ledger subtracts units from one account and enters units into another.

You can find the basic code implemented in Serpent below:

def send(to, value):
if self.storage[msg.sender] >= value:
self.storage[msg.sender] = self.storage[msg.sender] – value
self.storage[to] = self.storage[to] + value

This is an implementation of a state transition function that works as a banking system. You enter a few lines of code to program conditions of how the currency units are distributed or for numerous other use cases.

 

Financial Derivatives and Stable-Value Currencies

Financial derivatives are one of the most common applications of smart contracts. They are quite easy to be implemented in code as well. One challenge here is implementing contracts that can refer an external price ticker.

Consider the following example:

A smart contract that hedges against the volatility of ETH with USD as the base currency. This application, however, requires one to know the value of ETH/USD traded on an exchange. This can be done by a data feed that is maintained by a third party designed such that the third party can update the price of the contract as and when needed. Other contracts can ping the data feed and get back a response that provides the price.

The contract would look as mentioned in the Ethereum white paper and is pretty much self-explanatory.

  1. Wait for party A to input 1000 ether.
  2. Wait for party B to input 1000 ether.
  3. Record the USD value of 1000 ether, calculated by querying the data feed contract, in storage, say this is $x.
  4. After 30 days, allow A or B to “reactivate” the contract in order to send $x worth of ether (calculated by querying the data feed contract again to get the new price) to A and the rest to B.

Such contracts have high impact use cases in crypto-commerce. Most users stay away from cryptocurrency due its high volatility. Users want the security and convenience of cryptocurrencies, however, the idea of losing 10%-20% of value in a single day is unpleasant. The most common solution used up until now are issuer-backed assets. The idea involves creating a sub-currency that they hold the right to issue, revoke and provide units of the currency to a seller who provides them with one unit of another asset. For example, these assets could be Gold or USD. Although they can be modified to accept a vast number of assets as well. The issuer then exchanges one unit of the sub-currency to one defined unit of the physical asset. This allows numerous different assets to be converted into cryptographic assets and exchanged for value. However, it all depends on the trust and reliability on the issuer.

Cryptographic financial derivatives act as our knight in shining armor in this scenario. They provide an alternative. Instead of a single issuer, we can use a market of traders betting on the price of a decentralised asset like ETH. Speculators do not default while trading as the smart contract holds their funds in escrow. However, this source is not fully decentralised, as we rely on a third-party source to provide the price of ETH. This is still a major improvement and reduces the potential for fraud when compared to issuers that cannot be trusted.

 

Identity and Reputation Systems

Namecoin was one of the first alternative cryptocurrencies that tried to use a Blockchain similar to Bitcoin to provide a name registration system. This allowed users to register their names in a public database with other data. Other use cases include mapping domain names to an IP Address, email authentication and advanced reputation systems.

The following code is for a Namecoin like registration system on the Ethereum network:

def register(name, value):
if !self.storage[name]:
self.storage[name] = value

The smart contract programs a simple database inside the Ethereum network where data can be added, but not modified or removed. Thus, maintaining the immutability feature of the Ethereum platform. Any registration made against a name with some value will be stored on the blockchain forever. A sophisticated program may allow other smart contracts to query and fetch data from it, it may also allow the owner to change or transfer ownership.

 

Decentralised File Storage

There are numerous popular online storage services. Services like Dropbox, Google Drive let you upload a backup of your hard drive on to their centralised servers for a monthly fee. Sure, they have a free storage facility up to a certain size limit, but most the data that we need to store on the cloud exceeds this free storage. Ethereum contracts provide a much better tradeoff for developing decentralised file storage ecosystems, where users can earn money by renting out the free space on their own hard drives.

An example of such a contract on the Ethereum network would work as follows:

  1. Data is split into blocks, encrypted and a Merkle tree is built.
  2. Every N blocks, the contract picks a random index in the Merkle tree, then gives some ether to the first entity to supply a transaction with a simplified payment verification; like proof of ownership of the block at that index, in the Merkle tree.
  3. If the user wants to download their file, they may use a micropayment protocol. This can  be as low as 1 szabo per 32 Kilobytes.
  4. To pay less gas fees, the payer would replace the transaction at the end of 32 Kilobytes with a slightly more lucrative one in order to fetch more data.

It might seem like trust is distributed among random nodes so that the file is not forgotten, but this risk can be reduced by splitting the file into many pieces and watching the contracts to check if each piece is still in some node’s possession. If there is enough ether in the contract and it is still paying out money, that is enough proof that the file is still stored somewhere according to the programmed protocol.

 

Decentralised Autonomous Organizations

The concept behind a DAO (“Decentralized Autonomous Organization”) is that a certain set of members or shareholders, perhaps with a 67% majority, may spend the funds of the entity and modify its code. Members will come to a collective decision on how to allocate the funds of the organization. This may range from bounties, salaries, to even more complex mechanisms like rewarding internal work. It tries to replicate the functioning of a company by using only Blockchain technology as the solution. Most discussion surrounding DAOs has focused on the capitalist model of a DAC (Decentralized Autonomous Corporation) with shareholders who receive dividends. An ideal alternative, however, is a Decentralised Autonomous Community where all members have a share in decision making and where they require at least 67% of existing members to add or remove a member.

Following is a general outline of how to code a DAO. A simple design is a piece of code that can modify itself when two thirds of members agree on a change. The code is immutable, however, there is a work around. Code can be divided into separate contracts having de-facto mutability and the addresses of each contract can be stored in mutable storage. This would allow us to mix and match code from smart contracts in order to change the code. There would be three transaction types as mentioned in the Ethereum White Paper:

  • [0,i,K,V] to register a proposal with index i is to change the address at storage index K to value V
  • [1,i] to register a vote in favor of proposal i
  • [2,i] to finalise proposal i if enough votes have been made

The contract would store clauses for each of these. It would maintain a repository of all open storage changes along with the list of people who voted for them. This would accompany a list of all members. Whenever a storage change would get the bare minimum of the members voting for it, a final transaction would execute the change. Further sophisticated features would include built in voting ability for sending transactions, adding/removing members, delegation of votes, etc. This would let DAOs grow as a decentralised community.

 

Further Applications

There are numerous applications on the Blockchain and following are a few instances:

  • Savings Wallets

Alice wants to keep her funds safe but worries that someone might hack her private key, or she might lose it. She transfers ether into a contract with Bob who will act as a bank in this scenario.

  • Alice alone can withdraw a maximum of 1% of the funds per day.
  • Bob alone can withdraw a maximum of 1% of the funds per day, but Alice can make a transaction with her key, shutting off this ability.
  • Alice and Bob together can withdraw anything.

Normally, 1% per day is enough for Alice, and if Alice wants to withdraw more she can contact Bob for help. If Alice’s key gets hacked, she runs to Bob to move the funds to a new contract. If she loses her key, Bob will get the funds out eventually. If Bob turns out to be malicious, then she can turn off his ability to withdraw.

Such conditions can easily be programmed into an Ethereum smart contract.

 

  • Crop Insurance

A Financial Derivatives contract can be made using a data feed of the weather instead of a price index. A farmer purchases a derivative that pays out inversely based on the precipitation in any selected area. If there is a drought, the farmer gets paid and if there is rain, crops will do well which implies the farmers business is safe. Farmers can essentially hedge their businesses. This use case can be expanded to natural disaster insurance as well.

 

  • Decentralised Data Feed

There is a protocol called ShellingCoin that lets you decentralise data.

The working of SheelingCoin is mentioned below:

N number of parties enter the value of ETH/USD in a system and everyone between the 25th and 75th percentile get rewarded with a token. This way, any person will only get the incentive if they give the answer that everyone else provides. Theoretically, this protocol can create any number of values.

 

  • Smart Multisig Escrow

Multi signature transaction contracts are where, for example, at least 2 out of 3 keys are mandatory to spend the funds. On the Ethereum platform a lot of more complex conditions can be programmed. Being a Turing complete language, the programming capabilities of Ethereum are limitless.

 

  • Cloud Computing

Ethereum can also be used to create a computing environment, which will allow users to carry computations on other systems on the Ethereum Blockchain, optionally also asking for proofs for computations done at random checkpoints. This allows creation of a Cloud Computing market where anyone can participate. This kind of computing, however, is not suitable and recommended for all tasks

 

  • P2P Gambling

Peer to Peer Gambling protocols can be implemented on the Ethereum Blockchain. There are numerous Ethereum gambling websites that are already exist.

 

  • Prediction Markets

Prediction markets are also easy to implement. They allow you to bet on the prediction of a certain outcome and which is then verified on the Blockchain and those who predict correctly are rewarded.

 

  • On-Chain Decentralised Marketplaces

Such marketplaces use identity and reputation systems as a base.

 

This concludes the third part of the Ethereum White Paper series. Stay tuned for more updates on the BBOD and follow us on Twitter.

Fundamental Pick: Neo

 

Image result for neo logo

 

BUILDING THE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A NEW INNOVATIVE SMART ECONOMY 

 

BBOD RATING [10/10/2018]


BUY: A low-risk buying opportunity

OVERVIEW


Currency Code NEO
Transaction Start Date 09/09/2016
Total Supply 100,000,000
Circulating Supply 65,000,000
Protocol Type Base Blockchain
Base Protocol NEO
Where To Buy Binance, HitBTC, Bitfinex, Bibox

 

THE NEO ECOSYSTEM


NEO is a non-profit, open source Blockchain platform which aims to build the infrastructure for an innovative new smart economy. The project was founded in 2014 by CEO Da Hongfei and CTO Erik Zhang, backed by their now notorious Chinese firm Onchain, which undergoes Blockchain research and development in Shanghai. The project started out as the first Blockchain platform in China coined Antshares, before the founders decided to rebrand to NEO in an effort to appeal to a more global market. NEO understands that community development is the most essential aspect of any efficient Blockchain ecosystem and so have placed a great amount of emphasis on expanding their global developer community at a rapid rate. The project now supports such a community with side projects including City of Zion (CoZ), NeoResearch and NEL, who aim to continuously develop the ecosystem to make NEO one of the best functioning Blockchain platforms in the world.

 

THE SMART ECONOMY


In order to achieve the vision of a new smart economy based on a distributed network, NEO aims to utilise Blockchain technology and digital identity to digitise assets, automating these digital assets using smart contracts. Thus, NEO aims to convert real-world assets such as property, vehicles and physical possessions into digital assets recorded on the NEO Blockchain in the form of smart contracts, that can be verified to unique individuals using their digital identity. As a result, such digital assets acquire the ability to be traded, transferred and registered (to name a few use cases) via a distributed network, allowing global peer-to-peer agreements to be made efficiently and with ease. Not only does this open up a global market for digital ownership of assets, but it also provides immutability not possible when often untrustworthy centralised intermediaries are involved, creating a digitalised, programmable and trustless economy. Whilst some might be suspect to such a drastic change to the status quo, NEO’s purpose is not to destroy traditional Chinese institutions. Instead, they aim to help gradually transfer the Chinese economy into the smart economy of the future.

 

NEO APPLICATIONS


DIGITAL ASSETS 

As previously mentioned, in order to facilitate their smart economy NEO aims to convert traditional assets into digital assets on the NEO Blockchain. Digital assets are programmable assets which represent a traditional asset in the form of a smart contract. By converting traditional assets to digital assets individuals no longer need unnecessary intermediaries to transfer ownership between parties, exchange value or register an asset to a particular individual. Instead, the inherent trust of NEO consensus algorithm allows assets to become fully decentralised, traceable and transparent. All of this is possible due to NEO’s digital identity system which connects individuals to physical assets via digital certificates placed on the NEO Blockchain. Ultimately, digitalising assets allows individuals from all over the world to exchange physical value seamlessly without the need for a third party. This eradicates traditional fees associated with centralised authorities and provides liquidity from a globalised market.

 

DIGITAL IDENTITY 

Digital Identity will allow NEO to accumulate the information of willing organisations, individuals and other entities in electronic form, to create a digital fingerprint for such parties in a highly secure manner stored on the NEO Blockchain. As a result, once they are baked into the Blockchain, the identity documents will become tamper-proof and impossible to destroy. Such digital identity will then be utilised by parties using highly secure multi-factor authentication methods such as fingerprints, voice and facial recognition in order to digitalise assets themselves and exchange value of existing assets. The concept of digital identity allows organisations and individuals to transact knowingly with one another without needing to trust them. Moreover, assets registered using NEO’s digital identity system can be protected by law due to the transparency of ownership. This innovative solution combining law with a trustless system ensures all digital assets are unconditionally verifiable to parties and cannot be seized.

 

SMART CONTRACTS: THE ETHEREUM OF CHINA?

Whilst many have coined NEO ‘The Ethereum of China’ there are some key differences. Although both platforms provide similar functionality, allowing developers to build smart contracts on top of their existing platform in order to create dApps, NEO allows a much more diverse set of programming languages to be utilised. For instance, if one wishes to build a dApp on the Ethereum Blockchain, they will need to learn Solidarity, Ethereum’s unique programming language. Comparably, in order to create a dApp on the Neo Blockchain, one can utilise a variety of widely used coding languages including Javascript, C#, Python, Java, and Go. The ability for developers to code smart contracts without needing to learn a new coding language significantly reduces the high barriers to entry in the industry by eradicating the time it takes to learn a new distinct language. This opens up a global pool of talent who already have the ability to program smart contracts with ease. Looking forward, this should allow for many more dApps to be deployed than possible on the Ethereum network which should grow the NEO ecosystem exponentially.

 

CATALYSTS


Prominence Within China: The Chinese economy is growing at an exponential rate, with the Chinese government placing a strong emphasis on innovation within the financial-technology (FinTech) sector. Already meeting with government officials, NEO has placed itself at the forefront of this development. Other platforms such as Ethereum will incur high barriers to entry when seeking to penetrate the Chinese market, due to the inherent language barriers and cultural differences. Hence, a homegrown Chinese platform such as NEO has the potential to gain substantial market adoption within China, especially when they place a strong emphasis on respecting Chinese regulations alongside business and cultural norms.

Universal Programming Language Support: Many existing Blockchain platforms require developers to learn a unique programming language in order to build smart contracts on their platform. This excludes a wide number of businesses from developing dApps on their platforms, due to the obvious cost and time of learning an entirely new coding language. To the contrary, NEO affords developers the ability to program smart contracts using numerous traditional programming languages, substantially reducing the cost of implementing smart contracts into existing business practices. This removes the high barriers to entry for businesses looking to enter the Blockchain ecosystem, which could lead to widespread adoption.

International Partnerships: Despite being based in China, Neo has managed to garner support from international tech giants. For example, Microsoft Azure partnered with NEO in order to attract talented developers to the platform from a global community. Such large-scale partnerships are likely to further bolster their standing within China, drawing attention to the platform from other tech giants within the local Chinese business community.

 

RISK FACTORS


Chinese Regulation: Although China is keen to be at the forefront of the Fin-Tech revolution, with a strong focus on Blockchain for business purposes, they do impose strict regulations on cryptocurrencies. For example, in the past year, they banned ICO sales within the country alongside unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges. Despite this, NEO places a strong emphasis on ensuring they comply with all necessary government regulations and now appeal to a global market of developers, limiting internal risk and the ability for businesses outside of China to develop on their platform.

Keeping Pace: The environment for Blockchain platforms has grown exponentially over the past year as a result of the clear success of Ethereum’s platform. Global competition is now incredibly saturated and if NEO wishes to keep pace with other platforms they must ensure that they attract the best talent to their platform. Nonetheless, with an incredibly strong brand name, an increasingly global community, significant developer bounties and by utilising a universal known coding language, the platform looks set to compete with other well-known platforms within the Blockchain ecosystem.

 

CONCLUSION


The Neo platform has positioned itself to become the world-leading provider of smart contracts for the smart economy of the future. By allowing businesses and individuals to digitalise assets, verified by their digital identity, NEO has the potential to cut out unnecessary intermediaries in the transaction of value and ownership of physical assets between parties on a global scale. The ability to program smart contracts in a variety of traditional programming languages gives NEO a real edge over many large players within the industry who require developers to learn an entirely new language. As a result, the platform has the potential to see widespread adoption by businesses and individuals who simply do not have the time or funds to learn a new language. Thus, as the global community continues to grow, NEO looks set to have a bright future ahead of itself.

 

BBOD RATING STANDARD


BUY: A low-risk buying opportunity

ACCUMULATE: An opportunity to buy a medium risk cryptocurrency at a low price

SPEC BUY: A speculative opportunity for investors with a higher risk tolerance

HOLD: Maintain current levels of position until further research is published

SELL: Investment is associated with the potential of losing capital

 

DISCLAIMER


BBOD Research is an independent cryptocurrency research-house. The company has not received any remuneration (cryptocurrency or otherwise) in preparing this analysis.

This report has been prepared solely for informative purposes and should not be the basis for making investment decisions or be construed as a recommendation to engage in investment transactions or be taken to suggest an investment strategy in respect of any financial instruments or the issuers thereof. This report has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No 596/2014. Reports issued by Trade the Future Holding (“BBOD Research”) or its affiliates are not related to the provision of advisory services regarding investment, tax, legal, financial, accounting, consulting or any other related services and are not recommendations to buy, sell, or hold any asset. The information contained in this report is based on sources considered to be reliable, but not guaranteed, to be accurate or complete. Any opinions or estimates expressed herein reflect a judgment made as of this date, and are subject to change without notice. BBOD Research will not be liable whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from the use of this publication/communication or its contents. Trade the Future Holding and its affiliates hold positions in digital assets and may now or in the future hold a position in the subject of this research.

 

 

 

 

Bitcoin Scarcity: Perception Vs. Reality

Earlier this year the press flooded the internet with articles stating that only 20% of total Bitcoins remained to be mined, causing a frenzy of fear of missing out for those who were not already invested. They were correct, 80% of the total fixed supply of 21 million Bitcoins set by mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto was now accounted for, with the 16.8 millionth transaction occurring on the 13th of January 2018. Despite this, many news outlets failed to convey how that, with time, Bitcoins would become increasingly more difficult to mine as a result of minings inherent complexity and the diminishing reward scheme over time. As a result, many have suggested that a vague approximation of the last Bitcoin block to be mined will take place in 2140. This article aims to ensure that market participants are aware of the facts surrounding Bitcoins fixed supply, the evolution of mining Bitcoin and how scarcity, or the perception of it, could affect demand in the future.

Bitcoins 21 Million Hard Cap

Unlike in traditional nation-state economies, Bitcoin operates in an entirely decentralised manner with a fixed supply. Whereas a central bank usually issues currency as they wish – according to the growth of the number of goods which are being exchanged in the economy (commonly known as Quantitative Easing). Bitcoin is produced at a predetermined rate defined by the initial algorithm that was implemented by its anonymous creator. The algorithm has set rules which cannot be altered. As such, how the currency is created and at what rate was inherently finalised at inception. Hence, one can be certain that only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be created.

The certainty of the fixed supply of 21 million Bitcoins can be explained as follows. Bitcoins are created every time a miner discovers a new block. Since the first block on the Bitcoin Blockchain was created (otherwise known as the Genesis Block), the rate that blocks have been mined has adjusted every 2016 blocks in order to maintain a two week adjustment period, as six blocks are created per hour. The total number of Bitcoins generated per block is predefined to decrease every 210,000 blocks by half, equating to approximately four years. These predetermined conditions mean that the rate of new Bitcoin created exponentially slows down over time and ensures that no more than 21 million Bitcoins will ever be created.

(Source: Controlled Supply: Timeline Estimation)

 

The intentional decreasing supply algorithm was chosen in order to introduce the concept of digital scarcity to the cryptocurrency. Certain individuals compare Bitcoins scarce attributes to precious metals such as Gold. For instance, as time passes large quantities of Gold are becoming increasingly impossible to find without large-scale investment. This process continues until the cost of sourcing Gold almost outweighs its market value. Capturing this phenomenon in the digital sphere is no easy feat and thus scarcity is one of the defining characteristics of Bitcoin. It should be noted that the concept of scarcity is not widely seen in the cryptocurrency marketplace, projects like Ripple, Nem and Lisk released all coins into the market at once.

The Evolution of Bitcoin Mining

To continue the analogy of Gold, in order to obtain the raw material huge amounts of physical effort must be expended to mine the scarce asset. In Bitcoin, this equates to the large amount of computational power which is necessary to solve extremely complex mathematical problems in order for a new block to be created. Hence, those who endeavour to solve such challenges are coined ‘miners’.

As discussed previously, every 210,000 blocks miners receive half the reward for solving a new block. When Bitcoin was originally created in 2009, miners received an astonishing 50 BTC for solving a block as a reward for being innovators within the space, albeit with much easier equations to solve. For instance, when Bitcoin was first released in 2009, an average retail computer would have been able to mine approximately 200 BTC in a few days. Nowadays, it would take the same computer 98 years to mine just 1 BTC. As a result, such mining is not as available to retail clients as it was previously. Instead, more industrial institutions have moved into the market with Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) computer configurations to maximise the amount mined. This truly displays the exponential increase in difficulty in a relatively short space of time.

(Source: Controlled Supply)

Today, miners receive 12.5 BTC as a reward for solving a new block. The next ‘halving’ event is expected to take place in 2020. As this process unfolds, miners will receive less and less reward for the blocks they create whilst the equations they need to solve will become increasingly complex, thus requiring much more computational effort and expense. This intentional paradox implemented by Satoshi ensures that the supply of coins cannot rise too quickly. As previously stated, the last block will be mined in approximately 2140. Consequently, with Bitcoins supply remaining constrained until 2140 and demand likely continuing to rise, as a result of Bitcoins scarcity amongst numerous other factors, the value of Bitcoin is almost certain to increase exponentially over time. This ensures that Bitcoin is an excellent store of value, once again similar to Gold.

How Scarcity Affects Demand

Undoubtedly, scarcity has had a great impact on the demand for Bitcoin and this will feed into the self-perpetuating snowball effect as time goes on and supply continues to decrease. As with any limited supplied asset, when the underlying resource becomes harder to source, the scarcity of supply causes significant demand for the market when the asset is perceived to have value. As previously suggested and widely acknowledged, Bitcoin is now viewed as a desirable store of value comparable to Gold. Thus, with only 21 million Bitcoins ever to be created, the market shows, or certainly will in the future, a significant gap between the number of individuals who wish to purchase the asset and the amount available. As this process unfolds, digital scarcity will make Bitcoin exponentially more valuable over time.

To further perpetuate this, individuals perception of Bitcoin scarcity over the actual reality will only increase the rate of adoption. It won’t be long until we see headline articles stating that only 15% of all Bitcoins ever to be created have been already been mined. No doubt the masses will hoard the asset once more, before they feel it is too late. The fact of the matter is, as displayed in this article, the supply of Bitcoin rapidly slows down with time, as the complexity of solving blocks becomes increasingly difficult and miners are rewarded less. Bitcoin will continue to be mined until the approximate year of 2140. Hence, there is still plenty of time to invest. As Bitcoin continues to be recognised as a store of value and understood and adopted by the layman, one may wish they invested sooner rather than later.

Conclusion

This article has aimed to bridge the gap between one’s perception of the scarcity of Bitcoin and the actual reality of the matter. There is no denying that the majority of Bitcoins have already been mined, yet the excellence of the mysterious creators’ code ensures that supply cannot be created too quickly. This inherent attribute makes Bitcoin an excellent store of value, akin to Gold, yet in the digital sphere. Something truly pioneering and unique in our digital world. Instead of investing for the fear of missing out, perhaps we should marvel in the astonishing technology behind the project itself. Either way, one can be certain that the price of Bitcoin will increase as its supply slowly decreases whilst people perceptions remain unchanged.

Check out the BBOD Research Blog for more similar articles.

Public beta testing has ended

BBOD is excited to announce that the public beta testing period is successfully finished. Thank you all traders and BBD token holders for valuable feedback. Based on the feedback we are now implementing new features (including  and upgrading our trading system and BBOD Protocol.

During the time of the upgrade, trading and entering the platform is suspended.

Soon, we will announce when the trading platform will be launched

Fundamental Pick: Quantstamp

 

Image result for quantstamp logo

PROVIDING MUCH-NEEDED SECURITY AUDITS FOR SMART CONTRACTS

BBOD RATING (04-10-2018)


ACCUMULATE: An opportunity to buy a medium risk cryptocurrency at a low price

 

OVERVIEW


Currency Code QSP
Transaction Start Date 21/11/2017
Total Supply 976,442,388
Circulating Supply 617,314,171
Protocol Type Application Protocol
Base Protocol Ethereum
Where To Buy Binance, Huobi, Kucoin, IDEX

 

PROBLEM TO SOLVE


Currently, the development of smart contracts is left solely in the hands of those who create a blockchain project. Although such contract creators are often highly skilled in their field, the potential for oversight of vulnerabilities in their code is highly possible as a result of a single point of failure, with only a few individuals ensuring optimal smart contract security.

The importance of auditing smart contracts efficiently cannot be understated. Without such a mechanism, projects that are backed by huge sums of investors money could be vulnerable to attack once deployed on the Ethereum network. For instance, Quantstamps whitepaper presents two notable hacks where $30 million and $55 million were respectively stolen, as a result of flaws in smart contract code. This is the exact scenario Quantstamp seeks to prevent. With the creation of new ERC-20 tokens being a continual process, and only set to increase in volume in the future, Quantstamp’s services are likely to be in high demand.

 

SOLUTION


Quantstamp aims to solve smart contract impenetrability by creating the leading decentralised protocol that will provide security auditing for smart contracts based on the Ethereum network. In essence, Quantstamp allows developers of smart contracts to submit their work to their protocol where numerous security auditors can review the contract, in order to receive QSP tokens as a bounty. The level of auditing required is set by the initial developer who pays such fees to any individual who identifies a problem within the smart contract.

As noted in Quantstamp’s whitepaper, traditional smart contract auditing is extremely expensive, costing on average $5000 and taking up to a week to complete. By spreading the workload amongst numerous security experts, Quantstamp aims to considerably lower the cost of auditing and substantially decrease the amount of time taken to complete

 

APPLICATIONS


When the project launches in Q2 2019, Quantstamp protocol will comprise of two main types of security audit. Firstly, their software verification system that is entirely automated will scan Solidity programs for bugs. The software is designed to become more intelligent over time as the result of artificial intelligence, allowing it to catch attacks of increasing sophistication. Secondly, Quantstamp will automatically provide a bounty to human participants in the form of QSP tokens who manage to find vulnerabilities in smart contract code. Human auditors receive compensation for their efforts and Quantstamps clients ensure the integrity of their cryptocurrency project.

This multifaceted approach combines the best of artificial and human intelligence to form a strong alliance to fight against any proposed security threats. Thus, clients of Quanstamp should feel much more confident in the overall strength of their network than if merely working as sole actors.

 

SUMMARY


Quantstamp seems to have uncovered a gap in the market that needs to be filled. The project has the potential to become the leading security auditing protocol. This could provide the level of trust the community needs to feel safe in investing substantial amounts of money, by confirming a project is safe from attacks that currently plague the industry. With support from Binance, already completing numerous security checks for ICO’s launched on their exchange, the project looks to have a great future ahead of itself and is certainly one to keep a close eye on.

 

CATALYSTS


  • Proven Ability: CEO Richard Ma and CTO Steven Stewart have extensive experience in software security testing and smart contract development
  • Academically Respected: The team as a whole has over 500 citations in Google Scholar regarding software security
  • Proof of Concept: Numerous successful audits have already been completed for Binance clients, indicating substantial interest in the project
  • Growing Interest: The expansion of mainstream interest in smart contracts will attract more security threats in the future that need to be addressed
  • Expanding Market: The continual introduction of new projects using smart contracts ensures an expanding target market

 

RISK FACTORS


  • Foresight: The Ethereum network may not always be the leading smart contract platform, the project could consider expanding to include Ethereum’s competitors
  • Low Supply of Able Workforce: Currently, the talent pool within the blockchain space is minimal, with demand far outstripping supply, finding enough auditors to become scalable could become an issue
  • Competition: Not the only project trying to lower the cost of smart contract development, although the projects rigorous emphasis on security is unique

 

EVENTS


  • 30th April 2019 (or earlier): Quantstamp audit network launch, as described in the whitepaper

 

CONCLUSION


In the continually evolving blockchain industry, unique problems to solve are always present yet often missed. Quantstamp’s vision to provide much-needed security to smart contracts is certainly a valid addition to the blockchain ecosystem. By decentralising auditing work and splitting traditionally expensive costs and knowledge amongst actors, Quantstamp could substantially improve the security of smart contracts moving forward, whilst providing a discounted price.

With numerous successful audits already completed for reputable firms on the Binance platform, the project has the potential to become the go-to protocol for contract creators seeking network security in years to come. As the market for smart contracts continues to grow, Quantstamp could become an incredibly lucrative endeavour for investors if this holds true. Certainly, one to keep on your radar.

 

BBOD RATING STANDARD

BUY: A low-risk buying opportunity

ACCUMULATE: An opportunity to buy a medium risk cryptocurrency at a low price

SPEC BUY: A speculative opportunity for investors with a higher risk tolerance

HOLD: Maintain current levels of position until further research is published

SELL: Investment is associated with the potential of losing capital

 

DISCLAIMER

BBOD Research is an independent cryptocurrency research-house. The company has not received any remuneration (cryptocurrency or otherwise) in preparing this analysis.