Binance Pool Poised to Grab More Bitcoin Hashrate in ...

Bob The Magic Custodian



Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses.
Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes.

First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure:

Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:

But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are!

"On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid".
"Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since."

"As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!"
"Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?"

"Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party."
"Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!"

"What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven."
"Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!"

"We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies.
And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often".

How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen?
Just one.

Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so?
If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security.

The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle.

And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet?

Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds.
So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever.

Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see.
It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation.
A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7.

History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance.
Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.)
Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive.

Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today.
Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well.
Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do.

Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):



Thoughts?
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Swipe Bi-Weekly Update #6

Swipe Bi-Weekly Update #6

https://preview.redd.it/n5pkxql0crh51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=959d7b4051bd1c20b53cfc28ee1c4cbdd355382e
Swipe opened the month of August with the launch of its Swipe Network Staking and its announcement to run a Decentralized Finance Lending/Earn application on Binance Smart Chain. This was also followed by the plan to release product updates, events, listings, or partnerships every week until the end of 2020.
Bringing their promise and commitment true to the public, here are the activities that Swipe has released for the past two weeks:

https://preview.redd.it/5ztwd3p3crh51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a5305d9e040318cfe9e3da0a3a721c88cbaf80ae
Swipe Launches Staking/DeFi
Swipe has recently launched its test network for Swipe Network Testnet Staking and, at the same time, announced its plans to launch a Decentralized Finance Lending/Earn application on Binance Smart Chain.
With the launch of the Swipe Network testnet, users can use the Swipe Faucet to grab testnet-SXP to use on the decentralized finance application. Users will be able to bond SXP to the Swipe Network smart contract as collateral to ensure the guarantee of conversions for these exchanges. A reserve system in place to lock SXP and guarantee that the merchant and payment networks receive the exact fiat amount is in place as Swipe facilitates real-time conversions on-demand.
Users will receive up 12% APY on their staked SXP within the Swipe Network off-chain and a variable rate for on-chain. Swipe plans to enable staked SXP to earn the processing fees it charges in the future as well on top of the collateral rewards from staking.
Also, Swipe revealed its plans to launch a DeFi App on Binance Chain called SwipeFi, which will enable Binance Chain tokens to be used to earn interest on their supply of collateral to the protocol and borrow against their collateral directly on the Binance blockchain.
Swipe (SXP) Trading Competition
Last August 5 to 12, Swipe and Binance team have both committed a total of 100,000 SXP and 50,000 USDT in prizes to thank its users worldwide for their continued support and to also celebrate the Swipe acquisition and SXP/USDT listing in Futures, Margin and Spot markets. The contest was divided into three categories: a new user exclusive rewards, a trading competition, and the Lucky 99, which awarded users ranked 99th, 199th, 299th, 399th, and so forth until the 9999th place of the top 10,000 SXP traders based on their trading volume.
Swipe x WBTC
Swipe has partnered with WBTC Network and has officially been approved as a merchant for WBTC minting through the WBTC Network’s DAO Governance process. Swipe Wallet users will be able to benefit from instantly wrapping Bitcoin BTC to Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) and vice versa with just a few clicks. Swipe has also listed WBTC on the Swipe Wallet platform and Swipe Visa Card to enable users to buy, sell, exchange, and spend WBTC at over 60 million merchants worldwide.
SXP on CoinDCX
SXP, the native token of Swipe, is now listed and live on its second Indian Exchange CoinDCX. Trading for $SXP token is now live for CoinDCX users who wish to trade SXP/BTC and SXP/USDT.
CoinDCX trading links for SXP:
https://coindcx.com/trade/SXPBTC & https://coindcx.com/trade/SXPUSDT
Wazirx AMA Session
Swipe Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joselito Lizarondo, held an AMA session with the Telegram community of Wazirx, a bitcoin exchange in India, last August 7. In the AMA session, Lizarondo answered questions about Swipe, Swipe Card, its new partnership with Binance, and the recent projects that the company has announced. The community also asked if Swipe is planning to bring its card services to India as it is one of the biggest crypto market countries at present.
To read the whole summary of the AMA visit:
https://blog.wazirx.com/ama-with-joselito-lizarondo-ceo-founder-of-swipe-summary/
New Swipe Product Manual
Swipe has released a new “redefined” white paper under the title: Swipe Product Manual. The Swipe Product Manual was designed with simplicity in mind for easy and coherent descriptions of the Swipe ecosystem of products. This will describe all of Swipe’s current and future products that the team has planned. Technical descriptions and documentation will be made available, as required, per protocol, as some will have API access for developers.
The Swipe Product Manual can be viewed by clicking here or by going to https://sw.pe/ProductManual or downloading https://swipe.io/ProductManual.pdf to your desktop.
Swipe 0% Fees
Starting Monday, August 17, Swipe Wallet and Swipe Card users will no longer have to pay any fees to buy, sell, and pay with crypto. Users can now purchase, sell, and convert cryptocurrencies to and from fiat currencies without the previous 1% fee. Swipe cardholders will also enjoy waived membership fees and free card shipping.
Swipe Staking
As Swipe prepares to launch the Swipe Network Staking mainnet, the Swipe Wallet application will support SXP staking. Users will enjoy staking rewards based on their SXP balances that are held on the Swipe Wallet beginning on August 23, 00:00 UTC.
More details of the staking can be viewed at:
https://medium.com/swipe/swipe-wallet-to-support-sxp-staking-acfab4589813
Swipe Reddit AMA
In his first blog post on Medium, Swipe CEO Joselito Lizarondo answered the questions that the Reddit community asked regarding Swipe’s activities and plans for the future. He talked about the new partnership programs of Swipe, its newly released “Product Manual,” and the new roadmap, which will be kept in stealth “to focus on bringing maximum value to these announcements and products.”
Read the whole transcript of Joselito Lizarondo’s AMA here:
https://medium.com/swipe/swipe-reddit-ama-8-13-80690e2f6589
Swipe and Kava Partnership
Swipe has formed a strategic partnership with Kava Labs to further grow the USDX DeFi Ecosystem as Swipe prepares to bring decentralized finance applications to the Binance Smart Chain. Swipe has also listed KAVA and USDX on the Swipe Wallet platform where users can buy and sell KAVA and USDX with a linked bank account or credit/debit card as well as enabled it to be converted and spent at over 60 million merchants worldwide with the Swipe Visa Card.
$16M+ Ecosystem Rewards Program for BNB Holders on Binance
Swipe is launching a 12-week-period $16,000,000 Ecosystem Rewards Program for BNB holders, starting August 17. This program aims to continue to promote the usage of Swipe products, including the Swipe Network Staking and Governance within a strong community. With Swipe’s partnership with Binance, a weekly distribution of 333,333.33 SXP will run to BNB holders on Binance.com.
Know more about the Rewards Program here:
https://medium.com/swipe/swipe-launches-16m-ecosystem-rewards-program-for-bnb-holders-on-binance-e79ffc9dc252
Swipe’s Chainlink Based Price Oracles Now Live
Swipe has collaborated with Chainlink, the market-leading decentralized oracle network, to launch a live SXP-USD price oracle on the Ethereum mainnet. By switching to Chainlink, users receive stronger guarantees around trust and transparency in the payments process, as critical price feeds for the network are now completely decentralized and available to monitor on the blockchain.
This decentralized infrastructure ensures that reward issuances and token burns only take place based on accurate, highly available, and tamper-proof on-chain prices that have no single point of failure or absolute truth. Users can independently verify the current price, how price updates occur, which nodes are providing data to the network, and more. This means users no longer need to rely on Swipe to produce fair conversion rates.
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Stay up-to-date with all the latest news from Swipe
Website: https://swipe.io
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SwipeWallet
Facebook: https://facebook.com/Swipe
Instagram: https://instagram.com/Swipe
Medium: https://medium.com/Swipe
Telegram: https://t.me/SwipeWallet & https://t.me/Swipe
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/swipewallet
YouTube: https://youtube.com/SwipeWallet
submitted by SwipeWallet to Swipe_io [link] [comments]

Crypto Banking Wars: Will Coinbase or Binance Become The Bank of The Future?

Crypto Banking Wars: Will Coinbase or Binance Become The Bank of The Future?
Can the early success of major crypto exchanges propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market?
https://reddit.com/link/i48t4q/video/v4eo10gom7f51/player
This is the first part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this powerful technology to reach the masses. We believe a crypto-native company, like Genesis Block, will become the bank of the future.
In an earlier series, Crypto-Powered, we laid out arguments for why crypto-native companies have a huge edge in the market. When you consider both the broad spectrum of financial use-cases and the enormous value unlocked through these DeFi protocols, you can see just how big of an unfair advantage blockchain tech becomes for companies who truly understand and leverage it. Traditional banks and fintech unicorns simply won’t be able to keep up.
The power players of consumer finance in the 21st century will be crypto-native companies who build with blockchain technology at their core.
The crypto landscape is still nascent. We’re still very much in the fragmented, unbundled phase of the industry lifecycle. Beyond what Genesis Block is doing, there are signs of other companies slowly starting to bundle financial services into what could be an all-in-one bank replacement.
So the key question that this series hopes to answer:
Which crypto-native company will successfully become the bank of the future?
We obviously think Genesis Block is well-positioned to win. But we certainly aren’t the only game in town. In this series, we’ll be doing an analysis of who is most capable of thwarting our efforts. We’ll look at categories like crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, centralized lending & borrowing services, and crypto debit card companies. Each category will have its own dedicated post.
Today we’re analyzing big crypto exchanges. The two companies we’ll focus on today are Coinbase (biggest American exchange) and Binance (biggest global exchange). They are the top two exchanges in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. They are in pole position to winning this market — they have a huge existing userbase and strong financial resources.
Will Coinbase or Binance become the bank of the future? Can their early success propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market? Is their growth too far ahead for anyone else to catch up? Let’s dive in.
https://preview.redd.it/lau4hevpm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c5de1ba497199f36aa194e5809bd86e5ab533d8

Binance

The most formidable exchange on the global stage is Binance (Crunchbase). All signs suggest they have significantly more users and a stronger balance sheet than Coinbase. No other exchange is executing as aggressively and relentlessly as Binance is. The cadence at which they are shipping and launching new products is nothing short of impressive. As Tushar Jain from Multicoin argues, Binance is Blitzscaling.
Here are some of the products that they’ve launched in the last 18 months. Only a few are announced but still pre-launch.
Binance is well-positioned to become the crypto-powered, all-in-one, bundled solution for financial services. They already have so many of the pieces. But the key question is:
Can they create a cohesive & united product experience?

Binance Weaknesses

Binance is strong, but they do have a few major weaknesses that could slow them down.
  1. Traders & Speculators Binance is currently very geared for speculators, traders, and financial professionals. Their bread-and-butter is trading (spot, margin, options, futures). Their UI is littered with depth charts, order books, candlesticks, and other financial concepts that are beyond the reach of most normal consumers. Their product today is not at all tailored for the broader consumer market. Given Binance’s popularity and strength among the pro audience, it’s unlikely that they will dumb down or simplify their product any time soon. That would jeopardize their core business. Binance will likely need an entirely new product/brand to go beyond the pro user crowd. That will take time (or an acquisition). So the question remains, is Binance even interested in the broader consumer market? Or will they continue to focus on their core product, the one-stop-shop for pro crypto traders?
  2. Controversies & Hot Water Binance has had a number of controversies. No one seems to know where they are based — so what regulatory agencies can hold them accountable? Last year, some sensitive, private user data got leaked. When they announced their debit card program, they had to remove mentions of Visa quickly after. And though the “police raid” story proved to be untrue, there are still a lot of questions about what happened with their Shanghai office shut down (where there is smoke, there is fire). If any company has had a “move fast and break things” attitude, it is Binance. That attitude has served them well so far but as they try to do business in more regulated countries like America, this will make their road much more difficult — especially in the consumer market where trust takes a long time to earn, but can be destroyed in an instant. This is perhaps why the Binance US product is an empty shell when compared to their main global product.
  3. Disjointed Product Experience Because Binance has so many different teams launching so many different services, their core product is increasingly feeling disjointed and disconnected. Many of the new features are sloppily integrated with each other. There’s no cohesive product experience. This is one of the downsides of executing and shipping at their relentless pace. For example, users don’t have a single wallet that shows their balances. Depending on if the user wants to do spot trading, margin, futures, or savings… the user needs to constantly be transferring their assets from one wallet to another. It’s not a unified, frictionless, simple user experience. This is one major downside of the “move fast and break things” approach.
  4. BNB token Binance raised $15M in a 2017 ICO by selling their $BNB token. The current market cap of $BNB is worth more than $2.6B. Financially this token has served them well. However, given how BNB works (for example, their token burn), there are a lot of open questions as to how BNB will be treated with US security laws. Their Binance US product so far is treading very lightly with its use of BNB. Their token could become a liability for Binance as it enters more regulated markets. Whether the crypto community likes it or not, until regulators get caught up and understand the power of decentralized technology, tokens will still be a regulatory burden — especially for anything that touches consumers.
  5. Binance Chain & Smart Contract Platform Binance is launching its own smart contract platform soon. Based on compatibility choices, they have their sights aimed at the Ethereum developer community. It’s unclear how easy it’ll be to convince developers to move to Binance chain. Most of the current developer energy and momentum around smart contracts is with Ethereum. Because Binance now has their own horse in the race, it’s unlikely they will ever decide to leverage Ethereum’s DeFi protocols. This could likely be a major strategic mistake — and hubris that goes a step too far. Binance will be pushing and promoting protocols on their own platform. The major risk of being all-in on their own platform is that they miss having a seat on the Ethereum rocket ship — specifically the growth of DeFi use-cases and the enormous value that can be unlocked. Integrating with Ethereum’s protocols would be either admitting defeat of their own platform or competing directly against themselves.

Binance Wrap Up

I don’t believe Binance is likely to succeed with a homegrown product aimed at the consumer finance market. Their current product — which is focused heavily on professional traders and speculators — is unlikely to become the bank of the future. If they wanted to enter the broader consumer market, I believe it’s much more likely that they will acquire a company that is getting early traction. They are not afraid to make acquisitions (Trust, JEX, WazirX, DappReview, BxB, CoinMarketCap, Swipe).
However, never count CZ out. He is a hustler. Binance is executing so aggressively and relentlessly that they will always be on the shortlist of major contenders.
https://preview.redd.it/mxmlg1zqm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2d900dd5ff7f3b00df5fe5a48305d57ebeffaa9a

Coinbase

The crypto-native company that I believe is more likely to become the bank of the future is Coinbase (crunchbase). Their dominance in America could serve as a springboard to winning the West (Binance has a stronger foothold in Asia). Coinbase has more than 30M users. Their exchange business is a money-printing machine. They have a solid reputation as it relates to compliance and working with regulators. Their CEO is a longtime member of the crypto community. They are rumored to be going public soon.

Coinbase Strengths

Let’s look at what makes them strong and a likely contender for winning the broader consumer finance market.
  1. Different Audience, Different Experience Coinbase has been smart to create a unique product experience for each audience — the pro speculator crowd and the common retail user. Their simple consumer version is at Coinbase.com. That’s the default. Their product for the more sophisticated traders and speculators is at Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX). Unlike Binance, Coinbase can slowly build out the bank of the future for the broad consumer market while still having a home for their hardcore crypto traders. They aren’t afraid to have different experiences for different audiences.
  2. Brand & Design Coinbase has a strong product design team. Their brand is capable of going beyond the male-dominated crypto audience. Their product is clean and simple — much more consumer-friendly than Binance. It’s clear they spend a lot of time thinking about their user experience. Interacting directly with crypto can sometimes be rough and raw (especially for n00bs). When I was at Mainframe we hosted a panel about Crypto UX challenges at the DevCon4 Dapp Awards. Connie Yang (Head of Design at Coinbase) was on the panel. She was impressive. Some of their design philosophies will bode well as they push to reach the broader consumer finance market.
  3. USDC Stablecoin Coinbase (along with Circle) launched USDC. We’ve shared some stats about its impressive growth when we discussed DeFi use-cases. USDC is quickly becoming integrated with most DeFi protocols. As a result, Coinbase is getting a front-row seat at some of the most exciting things happening in decentralized finance. As Coinbase builds its knowledge and networks around these protocols, it could put them in a favorable position to unlock incredible value for their users.
  4. Early Signs of Bundling Though Coinbase has nowhere near as many products & services as Binance, they are slowly starting to add more financial services that may appeal to the broader market. They are now letting depositors earn interest on USDC (also DAI & Tezos). In the UK they are piloting a debit card. Users can now invest in crypto with dollar-cost-averaging. It’s not much, but it’s a start. You can start to see hints of a more bundled solution around financial services.

Coinbase Weaknesses

Let’s now look at some things that could hold them back.
  1. Slow Cadence In the fast-paced world of crypto, and especially when compared to Binance, Coinbase does not ship very many new products very often. This is perhaps their greatest weakness. Smaller, more nimble startups may run circles around them. They were smart to launch Coinbase Ventures where tey invest in early-stage startups. They can now keep an ear to the ground on innovation. Perhaps their cadence is normal for a company of their size — but the Binance pace creates quite the contrast.
  2. Lack of Innovation When you consider the previous point (slow cadence), it’s unclear if Coinbase is capable of building and launching new products that are built internally. Most of their new products have come through acquisitions. Their Earn.com acquisition is what led to their Earn educational product. Their acquisition of Xapo helped bolster their institutional custody offering. They acqui-hired a team to help launch their staking infrastructure. Their acquisition of Cipher Browser became an important part of Coinbase Wallet. And recently, they acquired Tagomi — a crypto prime brokerage. Perhaps most of Coinbase’s team is just focused on improving their golden goose, their exchange business. It’s unclear. But the jury is still out on if they can successfully innovate internally and launch any homegrown products.
  3. Talent Exodus There have been numerous reports of executive turmoil at Coinbase. It raises a lot of questions about company culture and vision. Some of the executives who departed include COO Asiff Hirji, CTO Balaji Srinivasan, VP & GM Adam White, VP Eng Tim Wagner, VP Product Jeremy Henrickson, Sr Dir of Eng Namrata Ganatra, VP of Intl Biz Dan Romero, Dir of Inst Sales Christine Sandler, Head of Trading Hunter Merghart, Dir Data Science Soups Ranjan, Policy Lead Mike Lempres, Sr Compliance Vaishali Mehta. Many of these folks didn’t stay with Coinbase very long. We don’t know exactly why it’s happening —but when you consider a few of my first points (slow cadence, lack of innovation), you have to wonder if it’s all related.
  4. Institutional Focus As a company, we are a Coinbase client. We love their institutional offering. It’s clear they’ve been investing a lot in this area. A recent Coinbase blog post made it clear that this has been a focus: “Over the past 12 months, Coinbase has been laser-focused on building out the types of features and services that our institutional customers need.” Their Tagomi acquisition only re-enforced this focus. Perhaps this is why their consumer product has felt so neglected. They’ve been heavily investing in their institutional services since May 2018. For a company that’s getting very close to an IPO, it makes sense that they’d focus on areas that present strong revenue opportunities — as they do with institutional clients. Even for big companies like Coinbase, it’s hard to have a split focus. If they are “laser-focused” on the institutional audience, it’s unlikely they’ll be launching any major consumer products anytime soon.

Coinbase Wrap Up

At Genesis Block, we‘re proud to be working with Coinbase. They are a fantastic company. However, I don’t believe that they’ll succeed in building their own product for the broader consumer finance market. While they have incredible design, there are no signs that they are focused on or capable of internally building this type of product.
Similar to Binance, I think it’s far more likely that Coinbase acquires a promising young startup with strong growth.

Honorable Mentions

Other US-based exchanges worth mentioning are Kraken, Gemini, and Bittrex. So far we’ve seen very few signs that any of them will aggressively attack broader consumer finance. Most are going in the way of Binance — listing more assets and adding more pro tools like margin and futures trading. And many, like Coinbase, are trying to attract more institutional customers. For example, Gemini with their custody product.

Wrap Up

Coinbase and Binance have huge war chests and massive reach. For that alone, they should always be considered threats to Genesis Block. However, their products are very, very different than the product we’re building. And their approach is very different as well. They are trying to educate and onboard people into crypto. At Genesis Block, we believe the masses shouldn’t need to know or care about it. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
Most everyone needs banking — whether it be to borrow, spend, invest, earn interest, etc. Not everyone needs a crypto exchange. For non-crypto consumers (the mass market), the differences between a bank and a crypto exchange are immense. Companies like Binance and Coinbase make a lot of money on their crypto exchange business. It would be really difficult, gutsy, and risky for any of them to completely change their narrative, messaging, and product to focus on the broader consumer market. I don’t believe they would ever risk biting the hand that feeds them.
In summary, as it relates to a digital bank aimed at the mass market, I believe both Coinbase and Binance are much more likely to acquire a startup in this space than they are to build it themselves. And I think they would want to keep the brand/product distinct and separate from their core crypto exchange business.
So back to the original question, is Coinbase and Binance a threat to Genesis Block? Not really. Not today. But they could be, and for that, we want to stay close to them.
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Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?

Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?
These crypto lending & borrowing services found early traction. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market?
https://reddit.com/link/icps9l/video/98kl1y596zh51/player
This is the third part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this very powerful technology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe a crypto-native company will ultimately become the bank of the future. We’re confident Genesis Block will have a seat at that table, but we aren’t the only game in town.
In the first post of this series, we did an analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. In our second episode, we looked at the world of non-custodial wallets.
Today we’re analyzing crypto lending & borrowing services. The Earn and Borrow use-case covers a lot of what traditional banks deliver today. This category of companies is a threat worth analyzing. As we look at this market, we’ll mostly be focused on custodial, centralized products like BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.
Many of these companies found early traction among crypto users. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? Let’s find out.

Institutional Borrowers

Because speculation and trading remains one of the most popular use-cases of crypto, a new crypto sub-industry around credit has emerged. Much of the borrowing demand has been driven by institutional needs.
For example, a Bitcoin mining company might need to borrow fiat to pay for operational costs (salaries, electricity). Or a crypto company might need to borrow USD to pay for engineering salaries. Or a crypto hedge fund needs to borrow for leverage or to take a specific market position. While all of these companies have sufficient crypto to cover the costs, they might not want to sell it — either for tax or speculative reasons (they may believe these crypto assets will appreciate, as with most in the industry).
Instead of selling their crypto, these companies can use their crypto as collateral for loans. For example, they can provide $1.5M in Bitcoin as collateral, and borrow $1M. Given the collateralization happening, the underwriting process becomes straightforward. Companies all around the world can participate — language and cultural barriers are removed.

https://preview.redd.it/z9pby83d6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=54bf425215c3ed6d5ff0ca7dbe571e735b994613
The leader (and one of our partners) in this space is Genesis Capital. While they are always the counterparty for both lenders and borrowers, they are effectively a broker. They are at the center of the institutional crypto lending & borrowing markets. Their total active loans as of March 2020 was $649M. That number shot up to $1.42B in active loans as of June 2020. The growth of this entire market segment is impressive and it’s what is driving this opportunity for consumers downstream.

Consumer Products

While most of the borrowing demand comes from institutional players, there is a growing desire from consumers to participate on the lend/supply side of the market. Crypto consumers would love to be able to deposit their assets with a service and watch it grow. Why let crypto assets sit on an exchange or in cold storage when it can be earning interest?
A number of consumer-facing products have emerged in the last few years to make this happen. While they also allow users to borrow (always with collateral), most of the consumer attraction is around growing their crypto, even while they sleep. Earning interest. These products usually partner with institutional players like Genesis Capital to match the deposits with borrowing demand. And it’s exactly part of our strategy as well, beyond leveraging DeFi (decentralized finance protocols).
A few of the most popular consumer services in this category include BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.

https://preview.redd.it/vptig5mg6zh51.png?width=1051&format=png&auto=webp&s=b5fdc241cb9b6f5b495173667619f8d2c93371ca

BlockFi

BlockFi (Crunchbase) is the leader in this category (at least in the West). They are well-capitalized. In August 2019, they raised $18.3M in their Series A. In Feb 2020, they raised $30M in their Series B. In that same time period, they went from $250M in assets under management to $650M. In a recent blog post, they announced that they saw a 100% revenue increase in Q2 and that they were on track to do $50M in revenue this year. Their growth is impressive.
BlockFi did not do an ICO, unlike Celsius, Nexo, Salt, and Cred. BlockFi has a lot of institutional backing so it is perceived as the most reputable in the space. BlockFi started with borrowing — allowing users to leverage their crypto as collateral and taking out a loan against it. They later got into Earning — allowing users to deposit assets and earn interest on it. They recently expanded their service to “exchange” functionality and say they are coming out with a credit card later this year.

https://preview.redd.it/byv2tbui6zh51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=bac080dcfc85e89574c30dfb396db0b537d46706
Security Woes
It’s incredible that BlockFi has been able to see such strong growth despite their numerous product and security woes. A few months ago, their systems were compromised. A hacker was able to access confidential data, such as names, dates of birth, postal addresses, and activity histories. While no funds were lost, this was a massive embarrassment and caused reputational damage.

https://preview.redd.it/lwmxbz5l6zh51.png?width=606&format=png&auto=webp&s=ebd8e6e5c31c56da055824254b35b218b49f80e0
Unrelated to that massive security breach and earlier in the year, a user discovered a major bug that allowed him to send the same funds to himself over and over again, ultimately accumulating more than a million dollars in his BlockFi account. BlockFi fortunately caught him just before withdrawal.
Poor Product Execution
Beyond their poor security — which they are now trying to get serious about — their products are notoriously buggy and hard-to-use. I borrowed from them a year ago and used their interest account product until very recently. I have first-hand experience of how painful it is. But don’t take my word for it… here are just a few tweets from customers just recently.

https://preview.redd.it/wcqu3icn6zh51.png?width=1055&format=png&auto=webp&s=870e2f06a6ec377a87e5d6d1f24579a901de66b5
For a while, their interest-earning product had a completely different authentication system than their loan product (users had two sets of usernames/passwords). Many people have had issues with withdrawals. The app is constantly logging people out, blank screens, ugly error messages. Emails with verification codes are sometimes delayed by hours (or days). I do wonder if their entire app has been outsourced. The sloppiness shines through.
Not only is their product buggy and UX confusing, but their branding & design is quite weak. To the left is a t-shirt they once sent me. It looks like they just found a bunch of quirky fonts, added their name, and slapped it on a t-shirt.

https://preview.redd.it/mi6yeppp6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=fd4cd8201ad0d5bc667498096388377895b72953
Culture
To the innocent bystander, many of these issues seem totally fixable. They could hire an amazing design agency to completely revamp their product or brand. They could hire a mercenary group of engineers to fix their bugs, etc. While it could stop the bleeding for a time, it may not solve the underlying issues. Years of sloppy product execution represents something much more destructive. It represents a top-down mentality that shipping anything other than excellence is okay: product experience doesn’t matter; design doesn’t matter; craftsmanship doesn’t matter; strong execution doesn’t matter; precision doesn’t matter. That’s very different from our culture at Genesis Block.
This cancerous mentality rarely stays contained within product & engineering — this leaks to all parts of the organization. No design agency or consulting firm will fix some of the pernicious values of a company’s soul. These are deeper issues that only leadership can course-correct.
If BlockFi’s sloppiness were due to constant experimentation, iteration, shipping, or some “move fast and break things” hacker culture… like Binance… I would probably cut them more slack. But there is zero evidence of that. “Move fast and break things” is always scary when dealing with financial products. But in BlockFi’s case, when it’s more like “move slow and break things,” they are really playing with fire. Next time a massive security breach occurs, like what happened earlier this year, they may not be so lucky.
Institutional Focus
Based on who is on their team, their poor product execution shouldn’t be a surprise. Their team comes mostly from Wall Street, not the blockchain community (where our roots are). Most of BlockFi’s blockchain/crypto integration is very superficial. They take crypto assets as deposits, but they aren’t leveraging any of the exciting, low-level DeFi protocols like we are.
While their Wall Street heritage isn’t doing them any favors on the product/tech side, it’s served them very well on winning institutional clients. This is perhaps their greatest strength. BlockFi has a strong institutional business. They recently brought on Three Arrows Capital as a strategic investor — a crypto hedge fund who does a lot of borrowing. In that announcement, BlockFi’s founder said that bringing them on “aligns well with our focus on international expansion of our institutional services offering.” They also recently brought someone on who will lead business development in Asia among institutional clients.
BlockFi Wrap Up
There are certainly BlockFi features that overlap with Genesis Block’s offering. It’s possible that they are angling to become the bank of the future. However, they simply have not proven they are capable of designing, building, and launching world-class consumer products. They’ve constantly had issues around security and poor product execution. Their company account and their founder’s account seem to only tweet about Bitcoin. I don’t think they understand, appreciate, or value the power of DeFi. It’s unlikely they’ll be leveraging it any time soon. All of these reasons are why I don’t see them as a serious threat to Genesis Block.
However, because of their strong institutional offering, I hope that Genesis Block will ultimately have a very collaborative and productive partnership with them. Assuming they figure out their security woes, we could park some of our funds with BlockFi (just as we will with Genesis Capital and others). I think what’s likely to happen is that we’ll corner the consumer market and we’ll work closely with BlockFi on the institutional side.
I’ve been hard on BlockFi because I care. I think they have a great opportunity at helping elevate the entire industry in a positive way. But they have a lot of issues they need to work through. I really don’t want to see users lose millions of dollars in a security breach. It could set back the entire industry. But if they do things well… a rising tide lifts all boats.

Honorable Mentions

Celsius (ICO Drops) raised $50M in an ICO, and is led by serial entrepreneur Alex Mashinsky. I’ve met him, he’s a nice guy. Similar to Binance, their biggest Achilles heel could be their own token. There are also a lot of unanswered questions about where their deposits go. They don’t have a record of great transparency. They recently did a public crowdraise which is a little odd given their large ICO as well as their supposed $1B in deposits. Are they running out of money, as some suggest? Unclear. One of their biggest blindspots right now is that Mashinsky does not understand the power of DeFi. He is frequently openly criticizing it.
Nexo (ICO Drops) is another similar service. They are European-based, trying to launch their own card (though they’ve been saying this forever and they still haven’t shipped it), and have a history in the payments/fintech space. Because they haven’t penetrated the US — which is a much harder regulatory nut to crack — they are unlikely to be as competitive as BlockFi. There were also allegations that Nexo was spreading FUD about Chainlink while simultaneously partnering with them. Did Nexo take out a short position and start spreading rumors? Never a dull moment in crypto.
Other players in the lending & borrowing space include Unchained Capital, Cred (ICO Drops), and Salt (ICO Drops).

https://preview.redd.it/9ts6m0qw6zh51.png?width=1056&format=png&auto=webp&s=dd8d368c1aa39994c6bc5e4baec10678d3bbba2d

Wrap Up

While many companies in this category seem to be slowly adding more financial services, I don’t believe any of them are focused on the broader consumer market like we are. To use services like BlockFi, Nexo, or Celsius, users need to be onboarded and educated on how crypto works. At Genesis Block, we don’t believe that’s the winning approach. We think blockchain complexity should be abstracted away from the end-user. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
For many of these services, there is additional friction due to ICO tokens that are forcefully integrated into the product (see NEXO token or CEL Token). None of these services have true banking functionality or integration with traditional finance —for example, easy offramp or spending methods like debit cards. None of them are taking DeFi seriously — they are leveraging crypto for only the asset class, not the underlying technology around financial protocols.
So are these companies potential competitors to Genesis Block? For the crypto crowd, yes. For the mass market, no. None of these companies are capable of reaching the billions of people around the world that we hope to reach at Genesis Block.
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Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Follow our social channels: https://genesisblock.com/follow/
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July 2020 Updates

July 2020 Updates

https://preview.redd.it/nnobdcikzre51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=96de266298b85ee64ba151eb7658abb335477349
The month of July has been very busy but productive for the Swipe team. With the recent partnerships, announcements, and launches that were revealed, Swipe has indeed trying its best to achieve its mission of mainstreaming cryptocurrencies worldwide.
Swipe & Binance Seal Partnership
Swipe and Binance users got the exciting news that they have been waiting as the two companies simultaneously announced on July 7, its partnership through an acquisition move of Binance.
Binance, one of the world’s largest digital asset exchange, completed its acquisition of Swipe for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition aims to further mainstream the adoption of cryptocurrencies by bridging the gap between fiat and digital assets.
In line with this partnership, Swipe has also announced the integration of Binance Coin ($BNB) and Binance USD ($BUSD) on the Swipe Wallet application. Swipe users can now buy and sell crypto with their linked debit or credit cards, spend it to fiat via Swipe Visa Card and swap it instantly with other coins available on the app.
Also, Swipe’s native token $SXP is now listed on Binance Korea and Binance, with SXP/USDT perpetual contract with up to 50x leverage for all professional traders on the Binance platform.
Swipe Wallet v 1.5 Update
Swipe’s recent application update now lets users of choose from eight different languages such as English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese to use on their app. This will help users who are native speakers of these languages to transact within the app more effectively.
Download the updated app today: http://sw.pe/App
Swipe Card Rewards
Swipe Visa Card users will now have the choice to get up to 4% cashback in either Bitcoin ($BTC), Swipe Token ($SXP), or Binance Coin ($BNB) on every purchase at over 60 million merchants worldwide that accepts Visa.
European and the United Kingdom users can order their Swipe Visa cards their cards here: https://www.swipe.io/cards/
Swipe Slate Card Update
Swipe users who are interested to upgrade their current Swipe Saffron Cards to Swipe Slate cards can now do so with a lowered $SXP six-month stake requirement of 30,000 SXP!
This lowers the cost of entry for our black card by 10x from the initial 300,000 $SXP staking requirement.
Swipe x FTX
Swipe’s native token $SXP is now listed on FTX exchange. Users can now trade futures, spots, and leverage markets on FTX’s website. As $SXP markets are now live on FTX, both companies launched two events on the FTX platform to encourage users to start trading $SXP.
The first event, Buy/Deposit SXP and Split a 40,000 USD Prize Pool, was held from July 17 to 31. $20,000 prize was divided to users who net buy more than 100 SXP, and also another $20,000 to those who net deposit more than $100 or 100 SXP of accepted collateral into the FTX during the event.
The second event, which is the SXP Tokens Trading Competition, has a total prize of 15,000 USD. Participants who will trade more than $200 worth of SXP products will split the prize pool of a maximum of 10,000 USD. The event is still ongoing and will run until August 17. More details are available on https://ftx.com/competitions/swipe
SXP is now listed on Poloniex
$SXP is now listed on cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. SXP wallets are now open at Poloniex, and users can now begin depositing SXP and trading SXP/BTC, SXP/TRX, and SXP/USDT.
Swipe and Poloniex also both gave away 1,500 worth of $SXP to the first 100 depositors of 200 $SXP at Poloniex.com. Prizes will be deposited within two weeks of the trading competition, which ended last July 24.
Swipe and Elrond Partnership
Swipe recently integrated Elrond Network’s $ERD on its platform. This will make the $ERD token directly available for onboarding to more than 500,000 new users.
$ERD will be spendable via Swipe Wallet and its Visa debit cards, at millions of locations worldwide where Visa is accepted and as well as through services such as Google Pay, Apple Pay & Samsung Pay.
In relation to this newly sealed partnership, it announced a promotional event that lets Swipe users get up to 5% $ERD cashback in ERD on net buys. The event which happened for five days, from July 27 to August 1, gave away up to $100 cashback in ERD per KYC user who help 1 to 1000 $SXP during the event period.
Swipe x Compound
Compound’s governance token $COMP is now integrated on the Swipe Wallet platform. Users can now begin to now buy and sell $COMP with their linked debit or credit cards, spend it to fiat via Swipe Visa Card, and swap it instantly with other coins available on the app.
Swipe Partners with Travala.com
Travala.com, a leading blockchain-based travel booking service, has sealed a notable partnership with Swipe by adding $AVA to the Swipe platform. In addition to its integration on the platform, which will help $AVA users to convert, spend and buy it easily using the mobile application, Swipe Token ($SXP) is now added on Travala.com’s list of preferred payment option at over 2 million hotels and accommodations around the world.
Share your Swipe Visa Card and Win!
Swipe will select 3 lucky participants who will win 500 SXP by simply sharing a photo or video of your actual Swipe Card in action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, or LinkedIn.
Users must tag their posts with the #GotSwipe hashtag, follow @SwipeWallet on Twitter, or @Swipe on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Three lucky winners in each platform will be selected by the team!
Swipe Launches Staking and DeFi
Swipe is proud to announce that it has launched its test network for Swipe Network Staking with up to 12% APY staking rewards and its plans to launch a Decentralized Finance Lending or Earn application on Binance Smart Chain with Swipe Governance.
With the launch of the Swipe Network testnet, users can use the Swipe Faucet to grab testnet-SXP to use on the decentralized finance application. Users will be able to bond SXP to the Swipe Network smart contract as collateral to ensure the guarantee of conversions for these exchanges.
Meanwhile, Swipe plans to launch a DeFi App on Binance Chain called SwipeFi, which will enable Binance Chain tokens to be used to earn interest on their supply of collateral to the protocol and borrow against their collateral directly on the Binance blockchain. Swipe has been working with the core developers of Binance Smart Chain through the acquisition and partnerships between Swipe and Binance, to launch SwipeFi.
SwipeFi will initially support BTC, BNB, ETH, BUSD, TUSD, and SXP to supply or borrow. The protocol will be governed by a new Binance Chain BEP2 token: Swipe Governance Token (SGV).
Click the LINK to get further information about the Network Staking and DeFi.
40 More Winners on Twitter Giveaway
Forty more winners, who will simply follow Swipe and its Chief Executive Officer Joselito Lizarondo on Twitter, like the contest tweet, and retweet and tag three friends, will get a chance to win $100 BTC each. Ten winners will be announced every week on Swipe’s Twitter page.
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Stay up-to-date with all the latest news from Swipe
Website: https://swipe.io
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SwipeWallet
Facebook: https://facebook.com/Swipe
Instagram: https://instagram.com/Swipe
Medium: https://medium.com/Swipe
Telegram: https://t.me/SwipeWallet & https://t.me/Swipe
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/swipewallet
YouTube: https://youtube.com/SwipeWallet
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The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

This is it. If you're interested to see what NAV is all about, this is the ultimate guide for you. You will learn about the history of NavCoin and how it evolved. You will learn about the current state and features of NavCoin and you will learn about the exciting new features that are planned and coming up in the (near) future.
So buckle up, this is going to be a long ride!

Table Of Content


Introduction - What is NavCoin?


The History

Introduction
The following chapter will summarize and break down the history of NavCoin in a few sentences. NAV started a long time ago, went through rebrandings and changes of the core team before it became what it is today.

SummerCoin
NavCoin was initially first introduced under the name SummerCoin on April 23 in 2014. SummerCoin was a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. It used to have a PoW/PoS hybrid algorithm with a block time of 45 seconds.

SummerCoinV2 /NavajoCoin
Soon after the initial launch of SummerCoin, the original developer left and SoopY (soopy452000 on bitcointalk) took over as the main developer and rebranded the project to SummerCoinV2 respectively NavajoCoin and introduced new features.
The name NavajoCoin was chosen in honor of the Navajo Code Talker. The unbreakable Navajo code was used to encrypt highly classified military information and commands and decrypt the same in WW II.
SoopY introduced a technology which allowed sending transactions anonymously and private. This technology was called "Navajo Anonymous Technology". SoopY also released a new wallet and set the Proof of Stake rewards at 10% for the first year, 5% for the second year and 2% for every year after.

NavCoin
On August 12, 2014, Craig (current lead core developer, pakage on bitcointalk) started to get involved with NAV by helping to set up a website [10].
It was officially announced that Craig joined the core team as a "Wallet & Web Developer" on November 06, 2014.
The last tokenswap and restart of the blockchain of NAV happened on May 12, 2016.
Soon later, SoopY stopped showing up and Craig stepped into the role of the lead core developer. Since then, Craig has assembled a strong team with which he built NavCoin into what it is today.
Currently, Craig and the NavCoin Core team is located in New Zealand and they are actively developing many ground-braking features which differentiate NAV from other cryptocurrencies. You will read more about that later in this article.

The Current State

Introduction
The year 2018 has been a thriving year for the NavCoin ecosystem. Despite the USD price of NAV not reflecting it, in 2018 the core team has developed a whole bunch of new features. Also the core content creators published the first official guidelines that function as an orientation guide for community content creators. This chapter will give you an overview of the current team, the features, the prior mentioned guidelines and the community of NavCoin.

Core Team [1]
Last year, the core team has grown alot. It contains of developers, content creators and interns. The core team are employees of Encrypt S, the New Zealand's leading blockchain R&D lab. Encrypt S is developing blockchain solutions since 2014 and values building open-source software highly.

Craig MacGregor - Chief Executive Officer
Craig is the CEO of Encrypt S and the founder of NavCoin. He is one of the world's most experienced blockchain developers. Craig founded NavCoin in 2014 and is developing software for it since then. He has assembled a strong team of like-minded people. Craig also speaks at seminars and conferenced. Some of the companies and conferences he did blockchain education sessions at are Oracle, Xero, Air New Zealand, Blok Tex and trademe. Together with the team, he is also doing a education series on YouTube where he explains upcoming features in-depth for the community.

Alex Vazquez - Chief Technical Officer
Alex is the CTO of Encrypt S and the most active contributor to the NavCoin core Github. He has incredible knowledge of blockchains and proposes and implements solutions for challenges and features. He supports community developers frequently and answers any questions of the community thoroughly. Like Craig, Alex is developing software for the NavCoin ecosystem for a very long time. Alex speaks at universities at times and educates students about the blockchain technology.

Paul Sanderson - Lead Software Engineer
Paul is the Lead Software Engineer at Encrypt S. He has a flair for technology. His technical and management skills are perfectly suited for consultancy and investment advising. He also frequently contributes to the NavCoin core source code.

Rowan Savage - Senior Software Engineer
Rowan is a full stack software engineer with more than a decade experience in developing complex front-end web applications. He joined Encrypt S in February 2018 and has since been involved in the Valence Plattform, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. You will read more about these feature/projects later.

Carter Xiao - Lead UX/UI Designer
Carter specializes in user-centric design and is also very talented with 3D animation, motion graphics and programming. One of NavCoins core principle is "Simplifying Crypto" and UX/UI is a very important part of that.

Matt Paul - Software Engineer
Like Rowan, Matt is a full stack Software Engineer. He joined the core team in Mai 2017 and has since worked on NavPay, NavPi, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. Kieren Hyland - Chief Strategy Officer Kieren is one of the employees that are working for Encrypt S for a very long time. He is the CSO and is a digital strategist and growth hacker with a passion for new technology and has a lot of experience in online marketing. Laura Harris - Creative Director Laura has a combination of commercial and creative flair. She manages the social media accounts for NavCoin and ensures, that NavCoins' message is always powerful, relevant and distinctive. John Darby - Content Creator John is an internationally awarded Technology and Financial sector marketing communications specialist. He is one of the Core Content Creators for NavCoin.

Features of NavCoin [2]
The following features are currently available and have been developed in the last months and years. It is sorted from newest to oldest.

Static Block Reward
The soft-fork for the enabling of static block rewards have been accepted and became active recently at 5th January 2019. This means, that the block reward was changed from a percentage based reward to a static reward. This will incentivize the stakers to have their node online 24/7 which increased the security of the network. It also aligns NavCoin with the PoSv3 specification. With this implementation, the yearly inflation will be 3.6% currently and will exponentionally decrease because of the static value of the rewards. Every staked block will now give the staker 2 NAV. Depending on how many people are staking, the yearly percentage varies. With the network weight currently being around 20'000'000 NAV, stakers earn around 10% rewards from staking 24/7.

Cold staking
To provide extra security to participants in the staking process in the NavCoin network, the core team decided to implement cold staking. This allows to store NAV offline and still be able to sign staking inputs. Looking forward, a possible integration into the Ledger Nano S would mean, that one can stake NAV securely from a offline hardware wallet. How cool is that?

OpenAlias
One of the core principle of NAV is to simplify cryptocurrencies. Many non-technical people are deterred from the long, cryptic addresses used in wallets. When sending funds, you have to make sure that every single letter and digit is correct which is nerve-wracking for the average person. NavCoin has implemented OpenAlias, which allows to transform the wallet address into a email-like form. Everyone can register a name like "[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])". Funds can then be sent to this name, which makes sending crypto much easier and less error-prone.

Community Fund
This is the one big feature I was most excited about. NavCoin core has implemented the first fully decentralized community fund. Acceptance of proposals and release of funds is all approved by the decentralized network. No central authority has access to the fund. The community fund enables everyone to propose their ideas to the NavCoin community and to get paid to implement these ideas. Everyone can propose whatever they like (of course there is a higher rate of success if the proposal contributes to the NavCoin ecosystem ;-)). In fact, this article was sponsored by the NAV-Community by voting "yes" for my proposal. The fund works like this:
For a fee of 50 NAV, everyone can create and present his idea/proposal to the entire NavCoin network. The fee is here to help prevent spam attacks. Proposals can literally be anything - be it development, marketing or anything else you can some up with.
After creating the proposal, everyone contributing to the NavCoin network can then decide if they like the proposal of not. They vote with "Yes" or "No" for the acceptance of the proposal. Voting happens via staking. Every transaction that gets validated by you gives you one vote. This means that the more NAV you are staking, the higher your voting weight is.
The proposal stays in the state "Pending" until it is accepted or rejected. To be accepted, a proposal has to have a participation of at least 50% of all staked blocks and at least 75% of these votes have to be "Yes"-votes. Like-wise to be rejected a proposal need 50% participation of the network and 75% of these votes have to be "No"-votes. Additionally, if a proposal didn't pass after 6 voting cycles (about 6 weeks) it is also rejected.
After a proposal has been accepted, the creator of the proposal can start his work. When the work is finished, or at in the proposal defined checkpoints, the proposal creator can create a payment request for the full or part of the requested funds.
The NavCoin network can then again decide, if the work is what the creator promised to do and vote for the funds or reject the payment request because it was not what he promised. This mechanism ensures, that the funds are only release if the creator of the proposal did what he promised. The NavCoin network decides everything, there is no central authority which makes the community fund 100% decentralized.
The community fund is quite new but there have already been some proposals that were accepted like paying for the development & hosting of NAV block explorer, the creation and distribution of NAV car stickers to the community for free (or paid by the community fund), the funding of interns for NavCoin Core, translation of the website into other languages and YouTube videos. What ideas could you come up with? By the way: this article was also sponsored by the community fund :-)

Proof of Stake
Like said before, NavCoin uses the Proof of Stake algorithm to create and validate blocks. Participants of the NavCoin network can earn rewards by putting their coins to stake and thus validating blocks and securing the network. The reward used to be 4% fixed but recently changed with the implementation of PoSv3. Currently, rewards for stakers that are staking 24/7 is about 10% but it is dependent on how many people are staking. If more nodes come online, this reward will go down. If 90% of all NAVs would be at stake, stakers would still earn 4%.

Tutorials And Guidelines [3]
The NavCoin Core team pushes the community to contribute to the NavCoin ecosystem constantly. They emphasize that NavCoin is an open source project and everyone can contribute. The team tries to make it as easy as possible for the average person to contribute and thus created different tutorials and guidelines.

Tutorials To Contribute To The Website
The whole website is open source. Everyone can contribute to the website. The team created different guides for people to follow [4].

The NavCoin Developer Manifesto
The content creator core team has build a developer manifesto. It defines the values that should be uphold like for example that they will always operate in the best interest of the network. If defines the principles, purposes, scope of involvement and operational requirements [5].

The NavCoin Content Creation Manifesto
Similar to the developer manifesto, there is also a content creation manifesto. Again it defines the principles for creating content, the purpose, the scope of involvement and the operational requirements [6].

NavCoin Brand Guidelines
In addition to the content creation manifesto, there is also a brand guideline booklet. This should help content creators to create images, videos, articles etc. in the same style as the core team. It defines the NAV brand. The brand guidelines contain definitions, the language to use (words to use, words not to use), the tone of voice, what the community aspires to be and what we discourage to be. It also contains the logo pack which can be used in graphics etc. It describes correct logo spacing, logo placement, the colors of NAV and different web assets. It gives tips about gradients and overlays, the typefaces (with a font pack) and many more. Check it out yourself [7].

NavCoin Educational Series
The core team has decided to actively involve the community in the creation of new features. For this reason and to allow users to ask questions, they created the NavCoin Educational Series. The core team schedules an online live meetup which can be joined by everyone. On YouTube they do live-streams and explain upcoming features. Examples of these series are explanations for cold staking, static rewards (PoSv3) and the community fund. The community can ask questions live and the core team will answer them immediately.

Community
During the last year there have been an influx of software developers from the community starting to create features for NAV.

navexplorer.com
An examples is navexplorer.com which is programmed by community developer prodpeak and is a block explorer for NavCoin. Additionally, it functions as a interface to see what is going on in the community fund. It shows pending proposals and payment requests.

NEXT Wallet
The NEXT Wallet is an alternative wallet for NAV and other cryptocurrencies. It has a beautiful user interface and is additionally the easiest interface to interact with the community fund (create proposals, create payment requests and vote for proposals and payment requests). It is programmed by community developer sakdeniz who put hundreds of hours into it during last year.

There were also some marketing activities starting to emerge with the release of the community fund. Some of these were for example free stickers for everyone in the NAV community to stick to their car / shop / window etc. or YouTube videos of CryptoCandor and Cryptomoonie that explained the details of NAV. I am sure, that with the 500'000 NAV available in the community fund per year there will be an influx of gread ideas - development as well as marketing activities - that will be funded.

The Future

Introduction
These features are planned for the future. Many of the following features are part of the 2019 roadmap. Some will not be described in great detail because not much is known about them yet. I've still listed them as they are part of what is yet to come.

Features
Rimu - Improved Privacy Solution
NavCoin used to be a optional privacy coin. That means, that you could choose to send a transaction in private. NavCoin was criticized for the way it handles private payments because it relied on a few servers which didn't make it that decentralized. The technology was called "NavTech" and was a secondary blockchain that obscured the transaction and the amount that was sent. NavCoin Core is currently developing a new improved privacy solution that will make the private payment system completely trustless and districuted and runs at a protocol level. Alex of the NavCoin Core team has published a paper that describes this new privacy solution. It's called Zero Confidential Transactions and can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330366788_ZeroCT_Improving_Zerocoin_with_Confidential_Transactions_and_more. What I want to highlight is the collaboration between Alex as the proposer of the solution and the Veil team, a Bitcoin Core developer and Moneros main cryptographer as reviewers. When the best work together, it will be interesting to see what the outcome is!

Valence Plattform [8]
Valence is an applied Blockchain platform that can help businesses realise the tangible benefits of blockchain. You can think of Valence as a platform with which you can build Anonymous Distributed Applications (aDapps) with. But Valence is a different kind of platform that enables developers to create new types of blockchain applications. The problem with current (turing complete) dApp platforms are their complexity and rigid nature. Security holes in smart contracts and scaling issues happen frequently [9].
Valence provides transitional pathways that let businesses migrate only part of their activities to the blockchain without having to restructure their entire business model [9].
Valence will provide a spectrum of blockchain application solutions which sit along the decentralized spectrum, offering businesses simple ways to dip their toes into the blockchain at minimal risk or complexity [9].
Thanks to the proof of stake nature of the Valence blockchain, more of a node's resources can be used for processing and routing application data which makes the platform faster and scalable.
Valence aims to make building blockchain applications as accessible to the general public as WordPress or Squarespace has made building websites.
The developers NavCoin and Valence aim to make Valence extremely easy to work with:
A Valence application could be an open source mobile or web application that submits unencrypted or encrypted data directly to the blockchain. The only configuration necessary for the app developer would be setting up the data structure. Once they've done that they can start writing to the blockchain immediately.
The Valence blockchain interface is language agnostic, meaning developers are free to build applications in whichever language they're familiar with, which greatly reduces the barrier to entry.
As the platform progresses, Valence will introduce more and more smart contract templates in collaboration with the development community. These will be like plugins that users can simply select and configure for their application, without having to reinvent the wheel and risk contract errors or spend countless hours of research to program them.

NavShopper
The following information is taken from the latest weekly news: NavShopper is a new project which will allow people to spend NavCoin on a growing list of retailers and service providers. NavShopper sits between traditional retailers accepting fiat and NavCoin users and purchases products on behalf of the user by managing the crypt-fiat conversion, payment and shipping. This project will unlock many more ways for people to spend NAV on existing websites/marketplaces without requiring each site to individually accept cryptocurrencies. Some of the prototypes we are working on include crediting your Uber account, buying products on Amazon and donating to charities.

Kauri Wallet
The Kauri Wallet aims to be an open-source, multi-currency wallet which functions as a foundation for other features.

Kauri Enhanced
Enhancements to the Kauri Wallet will allow multiple accounts, pin numbers, recurring payments and more.

Kauri DAEx
The Kauri DAEx is a Decentralised Atomic Exchange that utilises the features of the Kauri Wallet and enables users to create safe peer to peer atomic exchanges for any currency supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavDelta NavDelta will be a payment gateway that allows users to spend NAV at any business which accepts currencies supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavMorph NavMorph is a fusion of Rimu and Kauri DAEx and will allow to privately send every cryptocurrency supported by the Kauri Wallet.

Outro

If you have made it this far: Congratulations! You have learned about how NAV evolved, what its current state is and what the future will bring. To sum all up: NavCoin has made incredible progress during last year and released many long awaited features despite the bear market. Many more exciting features are yet to come and it's going to be very interesting to see where we will stand on this day next year.

Giveaway

Unfortunately, the giveaway was not possible in the cryptocurrency-subreddit because of their rules, so I'm doing it here :-) As a surprise, in the next 2 hours I am going to send some NAV to everyone who wants to try out the awesome features and NavPay you read about above.
To get your NAVs, all you have to do is the following:
If you liked the experience, I'd be happy to hear back from you :)

References

[1] https://encrypt-s.com/company/
[2] https://navcoin.org/en/roadmap/
[3] https://navhub.org/get-involved/
[4] https://navhub.org/how-to-guide/
[5] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinDeveloperManifesto.pdf
[6] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinContentManifesto.pdf
[7] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinBrandGuidelines.pdf
[8] https://valenceplatform.org/
[9] https://valenceplatform.org/learn/business-on-the-blockchain-made-easy/
[10] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=679791.msg8320228#msg8320228
submitted by crypto_sIF to NavCoin [link] [comments]

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

This is it. If you're interested to see what NAV is all about, this is the ultimate guide for you. You will learn about the history of NavCoin and how it evolved. You will learn about the current state and features of NavCoin and you will learn about the exciting new features that are planned and coming up in the (near) future.
So buckle up, this is going to be a long ride!

Table Of Content


Introduction - What is NavCoin?


The History

Introduction
The following chapter will summarize and break down the history of NavCoin in a few sentences. NAV started a long time ago, went through rebrandings and changes of the core team before it became what it is today.

SummerCoin
NavCoin was initially first introduced under the name SummerCoin on April 23 in 2014. SummerCoin was a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. It used to have a PoW/PoS hybrid algorithm with a block time of 45 seconds.

SummerCoinV2 /NavajoCoin
Soon after the initial launch of SummerCoin, the original developer left and SoopY (soopy452000 on bitcointalk) took over as the main developer and rebranded the project to SummerCoinV2 respectively NavajoCoin and introduced new features.
The name NavajoCoin was chosen in honor of the Navajo Code Talker. The unbreakable Navajo code was used to encrypt highly classified military information and commands and decrypt the same in WW II.
SoopY introduced a technology which allowed sending transactions anonymously and private. This technology was called "Navajo Anonymous Technology". SoopY also released a new wallet and set the Proof of Stake rewards at 10% for the first year, 5% for the second year and 2% for every year after.

NavCoin
On August 12, 2014, Craig (current lead core developer, pakage on bitcointalk) started to get involved with NAV by helping to set up a website [10].
It was officially announced that Craig joined the core team as a "Wallet & Web Developer" on November 06, 2014.
The last tokenswap and restart of the blockchain of NAV happened on May 12, 2016.
Soon later, SoopY stopped showing up and Craig stepped into the role of the lead core developer. Since then, Craig has assembled a strong team with which he built NavCoin into what it is today.
Currently, Craig and the NavCoin Core team is located in New Zealand and they are actively developing many ground-braking features which differentiate NAV from other cryptocurrencies. You will read more about that later in this article.

The Current State

Introduction
The year 2018 has been a thriving year for the NavCoin ecosystem. Despite the USD price of NAV not reflecting it, in 2018 the core team has developed a whole bunch of new features. Also the core content creators published the first official guidelines that function as an orientation guide for community content creators. This chapter will give you an overview of the current team, the features, the prior mentioned guidelines and the community of NavCoin.

Core Team [1]
Last year, the core team has grown alot. It contains of developers, content creators and interns. The core team are employees of Encrypt S, the New Zealand's leading blockchain R&D lab. Encrypt S is developing blockchain solutions since 2014 and values building open-source software highly.

Craig MacGregor - Chief Executive Officer
Craig is the CEO of Encrypt S and the founder of NavCoin. He is one of the world's most experienced blockchain developers. Craig founded NavCoin in 2014 and is developing software for it since then. He has assembled a strong team of like-minded people. Craig also speaks at seminars and conferenced. Some of the companies and conferences he did blockchain education sessions at are Oracle, Xero, Air New Zealand, Blok Tex and trademe. Together with the team, he is also doing a education series on YouTube where he explains upcoming features in-depth for the community.

Alex Vazquez - Chief Technical Officer
Alex is the CTO of Encrypt S and the most active contributor to the NavCoin core Github. He has incredible knowledge of blockchains and proposes and implements solutions for challenges and features. He supports community developers frequently and answers any questions of the community thoroughly. Like Craig, Alex is developing software for the NavCoin ecosystem for a very long time. Alex speaks at universities at times and educates students about the blockchain technology.

Paul Sanderson - Lead Software Engineer
Paul is the Lead Software Engineer at Encrypt S. He has a flair for technology. His technical and management skills are perfectly suited for consultancy and investment advising. He also frequently contributes to the NavCoin core source code.

Rowan Savage - Senior Software Engineer
Rowan is a full stack software engineer with more than a decade experience in developing complex front-end web applications. He joined Encrypt S in February 2018 and has since been involved in the Valence Plattform, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. You will read more about these feature/projects later.

Carter Xiao - Lead UX/UI Designer
Carter specializes in user-centric design and is also very talented with 3D animation, motion graphics and programming. One of NavCoins core principle is "Simplifying Crypto" and UX/UI is a very important part of that.

Matt Paul - Software Engineer
Like Rowan, Matt is a full stack Software Engineer. He joined the core team in Mai 2017 and has since worked on NavPay, NavPi, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. Kieren Hyland - Chief Strategy Officer Kieren is one of the employees that are working for Encrypt S for a very long time. He is the CSO and is a digital strategist and growth hacker with a passion for new technology and has a lot of experience in online marketing. Laura Harris - Creative Director Laura has a combination of commercial and creative flair. She manages the social media accounts for NavCoin and ensures, that NavCoins' message is always powerful, relevant and distinctive. John Darby - Content Creator John is an internationally awarded Technology and Financial sector marketing communications specialist. He is one of the Core Content Creators for NavCoin.

Features of NavCoin [2]
The following features are currently available and have been developed in the last months and years. It is sorted from newest to oldest.

Static Block Reward
The soft-fork for the enabling of static block rewards have been accepted and became active recently at 5th January 2019. This means, that the block reward was changed from a percentage based reward to a static reward. This will incentivize the stakers to have their node online 24/7 which increased the security of the network. It also aligns NavCoin with the PoSv3 specification. With this implementation, the yearly inflation will be 3.6% currently and will exponentionally decrease because of the static value of the rewards. Every staked block will now give the staker 2 NAV. Depending on how many people are staking, the yearly percentage varies. With the network weight currently being around 20'000'000 NAV, stakers earn around 10% rewards from staking 24/7.

Cold staking
To provide extra security to participants in the staking process in the NavCoin network, the core team decided to implement cold staking. This allows to store NAV offline and still be able to sign staking inputs. Looking forward, a possible integration into the Ledger Nano S would mean, that one can stake NAV securely from a offline hardware wallet. How cool is that?

OpenAlias
One of the core principle of NAV is to simplify cryptocurrencies. Many non-technical people are deterred from the long, cryptic addresses used in wallets. When sending funds, you have to make sure that every single letter and digit is correct which is nerve-wracking for the average person. NavCoin has implemented OpenAlias, which allows to transform the wallet address into a email-like form. Everyone can register a name like "[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])". Funds can then be sent to this name, which makes sending crypto much easier and less error-prone.

Community Fund
This is the one big feature I was most excited about. NavCoin core has implemented the first fully decentralized community fund. Acceptance of proposals and release of funds is all approved by the decentralized network. No central authority has access to the fund. The community fund enables everyone to propose their ideas to the NavCoin community and to get paid to implement these ideas. Everyone can propose whatever they like (of course there is a higher rate of success if the proposal contributes to the NavCoin ecosystem ;-)). In fact, this article was sponsored by the NAV-Community by voting "yes" for my proposal. The fund works like this:
For a fee of 50 NAV, everyone can create and present his idea/proposal to the entire NavCoin network. The fee is here to help prevent spam attacks. Proposals can literally be anything - be it development, marketing or anything else you can some up with.
After creating the proposal, everyone contributing to the NavCoin network can then decide if they like the proposal of not. They vote with "Yes" or "No" for the acceptance of the proposal. Voting happens via staking. Every transaction that gets validated by you gives you one vote. This means that the more NAV you are staking, the higher your voting weight is.
The proposal stays in the state "Pending" until it is accepted or rejected. To be accepted, a proposal has to have a participation of at least 50% of all staked blocks and at least 75% of these votes have to be "Yes"-votes. Like-wise to be rejected a proposal need 50% participation of the network and 75% of these votes have to be "No"-votes. Additionally, if a proposal didn't pass after 6 voting cycles (about 6 weeks) it is also rejected.
After a proposal has been accepted, the creator of the proposal can start his work. When the work is finished, or at in the proposal defined checkpoints, the proposal creator can create a payment request for the full or part of the requested funds.
The NavCoin network can then again decide, if the work is what the creator promised to do and vote for the funds or reject the payment request because it was not what he promised. This mechanism ensures, that the funds are only release if the creator of the proposal did what he promised. The NavCoin network decides everything, there is no central authority which makes the community fund 100% decentralized.
The community fund is quite new but there have already been some proposals that were accepted like paying for the development & hosting of NAV block explorer, the creation and distribution of NAV car stickers to the community for free (or paid by the community fund), the funding of interns for NavCoin Core, translation of the website into other languages and YouTube videos. What ideas could you come up with? By the way: this article was also sponsored by the community fund :-)

Proof of Stake
Like said before, NavCoin uses the Proof of Stake algorithm to create and validate blocks. Participants of the NavCoin network can earn rewards by putting their coins to stake and thus validating blocks and securing the network. The reward used to be 4% fixed but recently changed with the implementation of PoSv3. Currently, rewards for stakers that are staking 24/7 is about 10% but it is dependent on how many people are staking. If more nodes come online, this reward will go down. If 90% of all NAVs would be at stake, stakers would still earn 4%.

Tutorials And Guidelines [3]
The NavCoin Core team pushes the community to contribute to the NavCoin ecosystem constantly. They emphasize that NavCoin is an open source project and everyone can contribute. The team tries to make it as easy as possible for the average person to contribute and thus created different tutorials and guidelines.

Tutorials To Contribute To The Website
The whole website is open source. Everyone can contribute to the website. The team created different guides for people to follow [4].

The NavCoin Developer Manifesto
The content creator core team has build a developer manifesto. It defines the values that should be uphold like for example that they will always operate in the best interest of the network. If defines the principles, purposes, scope of involvement and operational requirements [5].

The NavCoin Content Creation Manifesto
Similar to the developer manifesto, there is also a content creation manifesto. Again it defines the principles for creating content, the purpose, the scope of involvement and the operational requirements [6].

NavCoin Brand Guidelines
In addition to the content creation manifesto, there is also a brand guideline booklet. This should help content creators to create images, videos, articles etc. in the same style as the core team. It defines the NAV brand. The brand guidelines contain definitions, the language to use (words to use, words not to use), the tone of voice, what the community aspires to be and what we discourage to be. It also contains the logo pack which can be used in graphics etc. It describes correct logo spacing, logo placement, the colors of NAV and different web assets. It gives tips about gradients and overlays, the typefaces (with a font pack) and many more. Check it out yourself [7].

NavCoin Educational Series
The core team has decided to actively involve the community in the creation of new features. For this reason and to allow users to ask questions, they created the NavCoin Educational Series. The core team schedules an online live meetup which can be joined by everyone. On YouTube they do live-streams and explain upcoming features. Examples of these series are explanations for cold staking, static rewards (PoSv3) and the community fund. The community can ask questions live and the core team will answer them immediately.

Community
During the last year there have been an influx of software developers from the community starting to create features for NAV.

navexplorer.com
An examples is navexplorer.com which is programmed by community developer prodpeak and is a block explorer for NavCoin. Additionally, it functions as a interface to see what is going on in the community fund. It shows pending proposals and payment requests.

NEXT Wallet
The NEXT Wallet is an alternative wallet for NAV and other cryptocurrencies. It has a beautiful user interface and is additionally the easiest interface to interact with the community fund (create proposals, create payment requests and vote for proposals and payment requests). It is programmed by community developer sakdeniz who put hundreds of hours into it during last year.

There were also some marketing activities starting to emerge with the release of the community fund. Some of these were for example free stickers for everyone in the NAV community to stick to their car / shop / window etc. or YouTube videos of CryptoCandor and Cryptomoonie that explained the details of NAV. I am sure, that with the 500'000 NAV available in the community fund per year there will be an influx of gread ideas - development as well as marketing activities - that will be funded.

The Future

Introduction
These features are planned for the future. Many of the following features are part of the 2019 roadmap. Some will not be described in great detail because not much is known about them yet. I've still listed them as they are part of what is yet to come.

Features
Rimu - Improved Privacy Solution
NavCoin used to be a optional privacy coin. That means, that you could choose to send a transaction in private. NavCoin was criticized for the way it handles private payments because it relied on a few servers which didn't make it that decentralized. The technology was called "NavTech" and was a secondary blockchain that obscured the transaction and the amount that was sent. NavCoin Core is currently developing a new improved privacy solution that will make the private payment system completely trustless and districuted and runs at a protocol level. Alex of the NavCoin Core team has published a paper that describes this new privacy solution. It's called Zero Confidential Transactions and can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330366788_ZeroCT_Improving_Zerocoin_with_Confidential_Transactions_and_more. What I want to highlight is the collaboration between Alex as the proposer of the solution and the Veil team, a Bitcoin Core developer and Moneros main cryptographer as reviewers. When the best work together, it will be interesting to see what the outcome is!

Valence Plattform [8]
Valence is an applied Blockchain platform that can help businesses realise the tangible benefits of blockchain. You can think of Valence as a platform with which you can build Anonymous Distributed Applications (aDapps) with. But Valence is a different kind of platform that enables developers to create new types of blockchain applications. The problem with current (turing complete) dApp platforms are their complexity and rigid nature. Security holes in smart contracts and scaling issues happen frequently [9].
Valence provides transitional pathways that let businesses migrate only part of their activities to the blockchain without having to restructure their entire business model [9].
Valence will provide a spectrum of blockchain application solutions which sit along the decentralized spectrum, offering businesses simple ways to dip their toes into the blockchain at minimal risk or complexity [9].
Thanks to the proof of stake nature of the Valence blockchain, more of a node's resources can be used for processing and routing application data which makes the platform faster and scalable.
Valence aims to make building blockchain applications as accessible to the general public as WordPress or Squarespace has made building websites.
The developers NavCoin and Valence aim to make Valence extremely easy to work with:
A Valence application could be an open source mobile or web application that submits unencrypted or encrypted data directly to the blockchain. The only configuration necessary for the app developer would be setting up the data structure. Once they've done that they can start writing to the blockchain immediately.
The Valence blockchain interface is language agnostic, meaning developers are free to build applications in whichever language they're familiar with, which greatly reduces the barrier to entry.
As the platform progresses, Valence will introduce more and more smart contract templates in collaboration with the development community. These will be like plugins that users can simply select and configure for their application, without having to reinvent the wheel and risk contract errors or spend countless hours of research to program them.

NavShopper
The following information is taken from the latest weekly news: NavShopper is a new project which will allow people to spend NavCoin on a growing list of retailers and service providers. NavShopper sits between traditional retailers accepting fiat and NavCoin users and purchases products on behalf of the user by managing the crypt-fiat conversion, payment and shipping. This project will unlock many more ways for people to spend NAV on existing websites/marketplaces without requiring each site to individually accept cryptocurrencies. Some of the prototypes we are working on include crediting your Uber account, buying products on Amazon and donating to charities.

Kauri Wallet
The Kauri Wallet aims to be an open-source, multi-currency wallet which functions as a foundation for other features.

Kauri Enhanced
Enhancements to the Kauri Wallet will allow multiple accounts, pin numbers, recurring payments and more.

Kauri DAEx
The Kauri DAEx is a Decentralised Atomic Exchange that utilises the features of the Kauri Wallet and enables users to create safe peer to peer atomic exchanges for any currency supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavDelta NavDelta will be a payment gateway that allows users to spend NAV at any business which accepts currencies supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavMorph NavMorph is a fusion of Rimu and Kauri DAEx and will allow to privately send every cryptocurrency supported by the Kauri Wallet.

Outro

If you have made it this far: Congratulations! You have learned about how NAV evolved, what its current state is and what the future will bring. To sum all up: NavCoin has made incredible progress during last year and released many long awaited features despite the bear market. Many more exciting features are yet to come and it's going to be very interesting to see where we will stand on this day next year.

Giveaway

Unfortunately, the giveaway was not possible in the cryptocurrency-subreddit because of their rules, so I'm doing it here :-) As a surprise, in the next few hours I am going to send some NAV to everyone who wants to try out the awesome features you have read about above.
To get your NAVs, all you have to do is the following:
If you liked the experience, I'd be happy to hear back from you :)

References

[1] https://encrypt-s.com/company/
[2] https://navcoin.org/en/roadmap/
[3] https://navhub.org/get-involved/
[4] https://navhub.org/how-to-guide/
[5] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinDeveloperManifesto.pdf
[6] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinContentManifesto.pdf
[7] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinBrandGuidelines.pdf
[8] https://valenceplatform.org/
[9] https://valenceplatform.org/learn/business-on-the-blockchain-made-easy/
[10] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=679791.msg8320228#msg8320228
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