Since January, the "bears" have been on attack and the markets continues it downward trend. Any sign of green is highlighted as a bull market and individuals hope the bleeding has finally stopped. Wrong! The market has been unpredictable and tumultuous, leaving investors worried that this might be another 2014, when bitcoin crashed from $1200 to under $200.
Right now, individuals, market analysts, and news outlets continue to predict prices, however, investors should be worried about respective technology, adoption and development rather than price. Remember Bitcoin was created in 2008 wasn't adopted for years and has only recently (the great bull run November-December 2017) been talked about by the masses. This talk has only been related to price but not the technology behind the cryptocurrency. It will take additional technologies in the crypto space for "the masses" to understand blockchain and fintech but in the end, a majority will still never comprehend its inherent value to society. It's like explaining how credit cards work. People don't care to understand the intricacies of the technology, process and security, they just enjoy the convenience of swipe or inserting a card to pay for things quickly.
Now, let's look at development and forget prices.
G20 - Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors
The G20 was all the talk this week and markets reacted bearish prior to the summit and bullish after they released their thoughts on cryptocurrencies. For those that don't know, The Group of Twenty (G20) is an international forum that brings together the world's 20 leading industrialized and emerging economies. The group accounts for 85 per cent of world GDP and two-thirds of its population.
Taken directly from their documentation:
Responding to the concerns of members, the FSB has undertaken a review of the financial stability risks posed by the rapid growth of crypto-assets.
The FSB’s initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time. This is in part because they are small relative to the financial system. Even at their recent peak, their combined global market value was less than 1% of global GDP. In comparison, just prior to the global financial crisis, the notional value of credit default swaps was 100% of global GDP. Their small size, and the fact that they are not substitutes for currency and with very limited use for real economy and financial transactions, has meant the linkages to the rest of the financial system are limited.
The market continues to evolve rapidly, however, and this initial assessment could change if crypto-assets were to become significantly more widely used or interconnected with the core of the regulated financial system. For example, wider use and greater interconnectedness could, if it occurred without material improvements in conduct, market integrity and cyber resilience, pose financial stability risks through confidence effects. To support monitoring and timely identification of emerging financial stability risks, the FSB will identify metrics and any data gaps.
Crypto-assets raise a host of issues around consumer and investor protection, as well as their use to shield illicit activity and for money laundering and terrorist financing. At the same time, the technologies underlying them have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of both the financial system and the economy. Relevant national authorities have begun to address these issues. Given the global nature of these markets, further international coordination is warranted, supported by international organisations
such as CPMI, FATF and IOSCO.
• The FSB will identify metrics for enhanced monitoring of the financial stability risks
posed by crypto-assets and update the G20 as appropriate.
Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter and payment company Square, has spoken of his strong belief in the future potential of bitcoin.
In an interview with The Times published Wednesday, Dorsey, himself a noted bitcoin investor, said he believes the cryptocurrency will take over the U.S. dollar's dominant place in world finance and become the primary global currency for payments.
Suggesting the shift could happen in 10 years or perhaps less, the entrepreneur said:
"The world ultimately will have a single currency, the internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin."
Last week it was reported that Dorsey had participated in a funding round that raised $2.5 million for Lightning Labs. The startup has notably just launched its beta version of the Lightning Network, a protocol layer built above the bitcoin blockchain to speed up the transaction process, as well as lower fees.
The investment followed Square's trial, announced last November, which allowed limited users to buy and sell bitcoin over its payment application, Cash App.
Following the test, Square is now offering the bitcoin service in the U.S. state of Wyoming, and is reportedly seeking for a so-called "BitLicense" to extend the option to New York.
Ethereum will become a lot more scarce once Proof of Stake Casper and sharding is fully implemented according to a statement by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s co-founder.
“Currently, an expected value is 10 million ETH staking at 5% interest, which is 500,000 ETH per year (~0.22 ETH per block)"
Those numbers seem to be based on the same 15 seconds per block, which currently rewards miners 3eth per block.
That will be significantly reduced to just 0.22 eth per block, giving an initial inflationary yearly rate of only 0.5%.
The company is in informal talks with regulators, banks and payment providers with a view to initially launch its XCurrent software in China.
This allows banks to instantly settle cross-border payments with the end-to-end track but which doesn’t use cryptocurrency.
Ripple’s head of government and regulatory relations for Asia Pacific Sagar Sarbhai said:
“This year you will see more announcements coming in on China, in terms of educating and differentiating us from some of the other cryptocurrencies that are out there. As we speak, our team is strategising about entering the market, but it’s still very early days.”
Mr Sarbhai confirmed the lack of regulatory clarity around blockchain and cryptocurrency in China has so far delayed its market entry but he hopes the company is making progress soon.
Last year CEO of Ripple Brad Garlinghouse said the launch in China was imminent.
In response, Mr Sarbhai added:
“We’re trying to get some regulatory clarity, we’ve started engaging informally with banks, FIs and payment providers, speaking to regulators and government bodies, trying to educate on what Ripple is and what our vision is. In Asia Pacific we already have live clients in Japan, India, Thailand… We’re in active discussions with almost all the countries in Asia Pacific and are finding one bank almost every week.”
The company recently partnered with Hong Kong-based money transfer company LianLian.
This will see the Hong Kong-based company process real-time invoice and e-commerce payments on behalf of businesses using RippleNet, which is Ripple’s payments network.
This gives it access to inbound payments market to China, but it is still not present in Mainland China.
But Mr Sarbhai said he is “very bullish” on China and the country forms an important part of an aggressive strategy for Asia Pacific.
Since the introduction of Jarrod Dicker as CEO, the Po.et (POE) ecosystem has grown. Since they released Frost — an open API for interacting with the Po.et network — the community has already made several significant open source contributions that extend Po.et’s functionality.
In addition to making it it easier for anyone to access the Po.et platform, these contributions have highlighted the community’s strength and the collaborative spirit that feeds Po.et’s continued growth.
Here are some of the most notable community plugins that have been created for the Po.et platform to date.
Joomla and Drupal Plugin
KnowledgeArc quickly created an integration for Joomla and Drupal similar to their WordPress plugin. Joomla! and Drupal is an extremely powerful CMS that currently hosts over 2 million websites. The Joomla plugin allows users of the CMS to timestamp their works from within the platform with just a few clicks. You can download the Po.et Joomla plugin here and the Po.et Drupal plugin here.
Now you can register a blog post, video or other creative work on the Po.et network using JellyBool’s PHP Composer. The plugin also provides a method for searching the Po.et database for a work or multiple works and returning their associated metadata, such as date of creation and the identity of the author.
One of the great things about the open source community is that it provides users with so much choice. This holds equally true within the Po.et ecosystem, which already has a second PHP plugin for creating and looking up work on the Po.et network.
The second PHP plugin, called Po.et PHP SDK, functions similar to that of PHP Composer described above but works differently from a programmatic standpoint.
PHP developers aren’t the only ones who have an easy way to integrate Po.et with their applications. Ruby now has a wrapper for Po.et’s Frost API.
C# programmers are in luck as well. FrostSharp is a .NET library that provides a wrapper for the Frost API. Big thanks to Alec Chan for creating it.
Metrist offers an intuitive, web-based interface for registering and finding Medium posts with Po.et. This is extremely powerful as Medium is home to thousands of independent content creators
You can view the source code here (also the work of Alec Chan) to see exactly how it works.
Bryan Isbell created Po.et Publisher, which supports registering works with Po.et on iOS or Android mobile devices. The Publisher code is closed-source for now and is still being finalized, but they are looking forward to enabling access to Po.et from virtually any tablet or smartphone soon.
Making strides on an ambitious roadmap released earlier this year, the non-profit behind the cryptocurrency Stellar has released a formal specification describing how and when it plans to adopt the transaction tech originally invented for bitcoin. Overall, the specification describes how Stellar plans to adopt the technology, marking a milestone for a project that's been in-progress since Stellar Development Foundation co-founder and CTO Jed McCaleb first floated the idea back in 2015.
"Scalability is one of our primary focuses over the next year. Hype tends to exceed reality in blockchain space - visions are big. The thing is, the tech can't actually realize what people want today."
Most pressing of all, though, according to McCaleb, is that Stellar's partners are pushing for this kind of scale.
When ethereum experienced growing pains, mobile messaging app Kik ditched the platform for the more scalable Stellar. But, if Kik really starts wants to move all of its transactions over to Stellar, the platform simply can't handle that size, McCaleb conceded.
In addition, partners tech giant IBM has "ambitious plans for banks to use the network," which would require Stellar to scale, while micropayment startup SatoshiPay and others "in the pipeline" have also expressed their interest in greater transaction scalability.
"We know if they used Stellar as much as they want to, Stellar would max out," McCaleb said. "Prior to these people using the platform, it needs to be ready. We want it to be more real."
The much anticipated LitePay started operations on February 26, 2018. However, the company hit a snag with most of the banking institutions according to the developers. It halted the individual registration to an undisclosed later date. However, business and merchant registration are ongoing. Online shopping sites like Amazon and eBay have already been reported to have commenced their registrations.
LitePay continues to be a top priority for the Litecoin community and it will be the system that brings cryptocurrency to the investors and business owners in 2018, and its adaptability is expected to be widespread.
What is Litepay?
LitePay refers to a payment processor developed by Litecoin (LTC) to ease the exchange of LTC currency with government-issued fiat from all over the world. The system has been designed to be flexible and straightforward to use by any businesses intending to introduce cryptocurrency payment options.
The LitePay system has been developed in a way that it can negotiate directly with the local banking institution to find the appropriate rate for exchanging the cryptocurrency and has a commission fee capped at 1%. This is much lower than the standard 2.5%-3.0% commission charged by the current credit card system. Also, LitePay’s rate is 2% cheaper compared to its immediate competitor, BitPay which charges 5%.
A major benefit is that holders have the ability to change Litecoin to dollars anytime and spend whenever and wherever around the world.
VeChain’s operations are similar to IBM’s crypto-anchors technology. VeChain functions as a mix of blockchain technology and their in-house built smart chip (tiny piece of code) to track items throughout their lifecycle and also to guarantee you’re receiving the same intended product at every node. VeChain’s strategy is beneficial in many ways and most importantly:
- By implementing the smart chip technology it helps remove the need for trust at every stage the item takes to reach the end user
- It offers counterfeit protection by re-verifying items at every node
- It improves logistics systems through simplified product tracking
- Smart chip scan assists businesses to acquire current and accurate information on each item. It also helps with quality control
What is Thor?
- The upgraded platform will use twin tokens such as VeChain Tokens [VET] and THOR power
- Businesses who hold more VET are given high priority and more rights on the new VeChain THOR blockchain
- Rebranding does not mean re-launching of the main chain, but it will be upgraded to use THOR power and also for the creation of Dapps to do business on the VeChain platform
- VeChain THOR mainly relies on nodes in the blockchain system. Nodes are rewarded with THOR for maintaining the network
- Nodes are differentiated by their maturity, date and amount of VET they hold. They are named Strength, Thunder, Mjolnir, and Thrudheim
- VEN tokens will become obsolete once these are fully converted to VET tokens