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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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Contribution quantifying model and prevent centralization of power

Original post: https://medium.com/iconviet/contribution-quantifying-model-and-prevent-centralization-of-power-f4d0b70a196
Solving contribution puzzle and introduction of ContributionDAO. How it could deal with the public enemy of every blockchain ecosystem: centralization of power.
It explores following topics:
I wrote with the love for ICON and many years of experience in crypto/blockchain space as well as a long exposure to political theory. You know, blockchain is a beautiful combination of economic, politic and technology. But it will become ugly if not being done properly in the first days.

Can contribution be quantified ?

This question should be started with another one: how do we define contribution ? We cannot quantify something without identifying it first.
But there are many answers, very biased ones you know. Anyway, at the end of the day, we must come to a consensus on how we could identify contribution. In my observation, the consensus is "anything help to bring value to ICON network, it could be counted as contribution"
Now here comes another question, how do we know that some activity will bring value to ICON network ( and ICX price ) ? Well, just use common sense alone, I can make a list like following
That is my list, there are many more for sure, it depends on your experience and perspective. As long as you can explain how your activity could bring value to ICON, and if community accept it, then it is contribution. Subjectivity is the nature of the game.
At this point, assume that we can identify contribution ( or we think something may be a contribution ), how to quantify them ? How to determine how big, how important, how significant that contribution is ? Again, subjectivity is still around here. There is no universal truth at all. Each ICONist probably has a subjective view on the significance of some specific contribution. It makes us hard to quantify contribution reliably, so what should we do ?

A heuristic technique to quantify contribution

So, do we must live with it ? Even ICON Foundation does not give us any strong set of rule on this quantification problem. Is it that sad ? Is it the end ?
Not really, no way we are in dead end here, we never surrender. In fact, I strongly believe that we just need to use common sense and community wisdom, combine with verifiable proof of finished contribution and one well designed DAO for overseeing them, we could come to a good enough heuristic method to quantify contribution.
Wait a minute, what does heuristic mean ?
"A heuristic technique, often called simply a heuristic, is any approach to problem solving or self-discovery that employs a practical method that is not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect or rational, but instead sufficient for reaching an immediate goal." - Wikipedia

A special DAO for overseeing contribution ( ContributionDAO )

To quantify PRep contribution, the heuristic framework could be like this
ContributionDAO does not guarantee an absolute objective quantification of contributions, but it could be a useful weak-subjective quantitative tool for community to determine the significance of contributions done by PReps. In the beginning, all ICONists have the right to evaluate and vote for the meaningful contributions, but if they keep voting blindly, irresponsibly and against majority, their CNTR holding will be burnt to zero gradually and they will lose their right eventually.
Note that, beside the initial CNTR distribution by airdrop, anyone can still buy CNTR on open market if there is seller, but that is another story I will go more deeper in ContributionDAO light paper. Just a hint, it relates to governance economic.
Yeah, governance activities could form a whole economy of their own. This game will be interesting.

Every form of centralization is disfavored in public networks

Why ?
In simplest explanation, community support is de facto force for the success of every public open projects ( public blockchain is one of them ). In order to secure community support, the project must belong to community first. By nature, centralization in all forms is against community interest, it will result in gradually decreasing of community activity and ultimately, the dead of project ( or zombie state )
If you still have a vague idea on the importance of community, please take a look at Bitcoin and Ethereum, they are the ones with strongest community support so far. Developer adoption will come naturally with huge community and decentralization. We all see the fact that no one want to build on a centralized authoritarian network.
\* If someone want to bring Binance as counter argument here, please consider the short term benefit of being listed on Binance itself, it has nothing to do with the merit of a truly open and decentralized blockchain project. You know what I mean, right ?*

The power of early adopter and contributor

There are always pioneers in every community, nothing new here. There must be first contributors and adopters who take risk and invest their time into something still being in nascent stage. Yeah, those people really deserve a huge reward.
But the problem here is, that "huge reward" is usually come in form of soft power. It means they possess a huge influence to community. Sometime, it is the hard power, especially in blockchain, if they hold a lot of token and being the owner of big business running on the network. Either accidentally or intentionally, the power is centralized in their hand.
Note that, I don't assert them to be bad actor here, absolutely no. In fact, they could be good actor and still possess a huge power somehow. Anyway, centralization of power is still centralization.

What we could do in early stages to avoid the fate of crypto-dystopia

In my opinion, the first thing we as ICONist should do is make sure we vote for the right PReps as they are the ones with immense power on ICON network. However, wisely voting alone is not enough, we must make sure power is not centralized in their hand ( even for good and ethical PReps ).
With ContributionDAO, we will soon have a single one portal which provide more comprehensive and more details data source to research about PRep contribution. The good news is that portal will be governed in a decentralized manner from the first day.
No more time consuming digging and searching for contribution detail of PReps, it will save a lot of time when there are more and more PReps joining the game.
I hope that ContributionDAO could help more ICONists to participate in ICON network governance by providing better tool and data source, as well as economic incentive. The more ICONists actively research and vote for right PReps, the better ICON network will be in long term.
It is time for wrapping everything up. We should know that ContributionDAO is just a tool, ultimately everything is up to ICONists. If ICONists choose to play selfishly for short term benefit, nothing can save ICON from destruction. But if we - all ICONists - decide to care more about ICON future, I believe ContributionDAO will be able to help us.
I am a member of ICONVIET team and also an ICONist myself. I and ICONVIET strongly believe that beside DApps building and business development, contribution in governance design and proposal is also very important. Therefore, ContributionDAO will be one of our main projects after decentralization.
** UPDATE_1, thank everyone for feedbacks :)
The purpose of ContributionDAO is make sure every contribution is showed clearly, compactly and quantitatively. It can help to avoid the vague effect of heavily-marketing-buzzword when PReps announce their contribution.
It could be used as a tool for official democratic voting provided by ICON which reflect the final decision of ICONists.
Thank you for your support :)
@duyyudus - ICONVIET
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My Intern Experience

My Intern Experience
Shreemoon Rajbhandari
My Intern Experience
During my time as an undergraduate, one of the key experiences recommended is to do an internship. Gaining work experience as an intern overseas will improve a skill set in my area of interest. Working somewhere as culturally different and economically significant as China is a talking point in any interviews. There are many reasons that made me choose to do an internship in China. Definitively the best part of the experience has been living out of your comfort zone. Encountering new situations and experiences, that increase my self awareness, my capabilities and also to discover my weaknesses.
Over the past 2 years, we have seen many digital currencies/cryptocurrencies being introduced globally.These have added the aspect of using this financial ecosystem to eventually solve social issues. This could be the application of Blockchain technology in areas like logistics/supply chain to food security. Eventually, there would be many more areas where blockchain and related technology developers would be needed. It's emerging to change the way we solve the many roadblocks that we face.
Blockchain is considered to be one of the most trending topics. This is the right time for me to learn about the technology and start implementing. Blockchain is a notion that can be implemented directly or indirectly to any sector as such. Only two months prior, I had a minimal amount of knowledge about blockchain innovation, and my insight into blockchain comprised distinctly of an obscure comprehension of bitcoin and cryptographic money all in all.
During my internship, I was given investigation material to help assemble my base comprehension of Loopring and the blockchain innovation that it depends on. In the wake of beginning at Loopring, I have been given significantly more prominent chance to learn. While my comprehension of blockchain is still new, it has improved extensively since my first day at the organisation.
In this post, I would like to talk about two cryptographic methods aiming to give privacy to blockchain technology ; the zk-SNARKS and zk-STARKS protocols are two significant examples. We will look into their advantages and disadvantages, comparison between two protocols, and conclusion.
ZK-SNARKS vs ZK-STARKS
Along with the countless benefits of the Internet from which we can benefit, when we use it for social media or business company purposes, privacy is at greater risk. Approximately 90 million of Facebook users information were damaged by Cambridge Analytical data. The Wall Street stated that “ this is just the beginning, and the results are expected to grow”. The Equifax data breach revealed information on social media channels from private users. Thus, birth dates were exposed to the majority of the populations. Due to the Uber hack, data from over 55 million customers were also shared and exposed.
Privacy has consistently been seen as a valuable element within the cryptocurrency community. There is always a growing focus on improving privacy within the cryptocurrency space. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and many other cryptocurrencies are all actively searching for the most convenient approaches to increase their security. It is the antecedent to fungibility, which is vital for a broadly used form of money. Additionally, most crypto-asset holders do not want their transaction history to be completely public to the world. Among the different cryptographic methods aiming to give privacy to blockchain technology; the zk-SNARK and zk-STARKS protocols are two main significant examples.
Two leading technologies today offer their cryptocurrencies - Monero and zcash— and strive to address protection issues. Monero uses the technology of Ring Confidential Signature. By contrast, Z-Cash uses zk-SNARK( Zero-Knowledge transparent knowledge argument), a technology that provides the ability to conduct anonymous transactions.
In recent years, zk-SNARKS has exploded as the most promising technology to solve blockchain privacy. It is a technology derived from proofs of zero-knowledge, a type of proof that anyone with a verification key can check this “proof” without disclosing the information itself. If the statement holds, a verifier will be convinced by a correct proof. If the statement is false, it is true that no prover can convince a verified statement.
zk-SNARK stands for :
- Zero-knowledge : if the statement is true, there is nothing the verifier learns beyond the fact that the statement is true.
- Succinct : The proof size needs to be small enough in a few milliseconds to be verified.
- Non-interactive :Only one set of information is sent to the verifier for verification, therefore there is no back and forth communication between the prover and verifier.
- Argument of Knowledge : A computationally soundproof: soundness runs counter to a prover leveraging polynomial-time, i.e. limited computing. Also, Without access to the witness (the private input needed to prove the statement), the evidence can not be constructed.
zk-SNARKS aims to provide fast, scalable solutions to ensure financial security. Therefore, transaction encryption is possible.When zk-SNARK is applied to a cryptocurrency, it implies you can conceal the majority of the transaction data information. This incorporates the sender address, collector address, just as the transaction sum amount. zk-SNARKS enables us to shroud the majority of this data information, while likewise enabling the system to affirm and verify the transactions. It amplifies security while maintaining consensus. In the realm of blockchain, it is one of the most exceptional blockchain level protection innovation being used.
With the launch of version 3.0, Loopring’s decentralised protocol solution struck a noteworthy milestone in early May- adding off-chain scaling and fee optimisation using zk-SNARKs. Low fees, liquidity, transparency and security are the key goal of the loopring solution. Loopring says the new Loopring 3.0 based zk-SNARK will increase trade speeds and on-chain activity efficiency tenfold. The data previously stored on-chain in Loopring 3.0 is now stored off-chain in a Merkle tree and then used as required in zk-SNARKS, updating the tree.
Be that as it may, there are a few issues with zk-SNARKS. The main problem has been the need for a trusted setup. zk-SNARKS rely on a permission private key. This essentially undermines the entire purpose of decentralised public blockchain. By introducing the need to trust a person rather than code, you threaten the entire concept of trustlessness. In theory, a prover with sufficient computational power could create fake proofs, and this is one of the reasons why many consider quantum computers as a threat to zk-SNARKs (and blockchain systems).
Last year zk-SNARKS were incorporated on a MIT Tech Review list of the top 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2018 among AI advancements. zk-SNARKS allows both a tremendous speedup in verifying the correctness of a computation while at the same time it hides the private details from prying eyes. Some of the potential uses citied in MIT article were verifying you’re over 18 without having to share your date of birth, and providing you have a enough money in your back account as collateral without having to give away account details like your exact balance. It establishes trust which you need to interact on the blockchain. Zk-SNARK proofs are as of now being used on Zcash, on JP Morgan Pursue's blockchain-based payment system, and as an approach to safely validate customers to servers.
The more developed version of zk-SNARKS is called zk-STARKS which stands for :
Zero-Knowledge
Scalable
Transparent
Argument of Knowledge
zk-STARKS verifications are currently being touted as the better than ever form of the convention, tending to a considerable lot of the past disadvantages of zk-SNARKs. It has demonstrated an approach to accomplish a similar degree of privacy as zk-SNARKS without the requirement for the trusted setup. Starks are practically superior to Snarks as they require weaker crypto suppositions, they don't require a trusted setup and are post-quantum resistant. zk-SNARKs are based on Elliptic-Curve Cryptography, which is susceptible to advances in Quantum-Computers. zk-STARKs, on the other hand are Post-Quantum system meaning that even if Quantum-computers become powerful and ubiquitous they will not have an advantage, compared to classical computers, in breaking zk-STARKs. Anyway they have a noteworthy downside, as in the proof being too enormous. Their problem is their storage requirements. STARKs are doubly scalable, which means the proof verification is exponentially faster than the original computation’s time but the drawback is the size of the proof they create being too large, possibly 2 or 3 orders of magnitude more than those produced by zk-SNARKs. One example : StarkWare solves the inherent problems of scalability and privacy of blockchains. Using STARK technology, they generate a full proof-stack to produce and verify computer integrity tests. They utilise STARKs to batch transactions into a single proof that is verified on Ethereum. Matt Taylor states that the present iteration of StarkDEX demonstrates the viability of using STARKs for the scalability of Layer-2 by showing a substantial rise in the amount of blockchain transaction.
The idea of zk-STARKS was proposed by Eli-Ben Sasson, a professor at the Technion-Israel institute of Technology. zk-STARKS provide proofs that can be verified a lot quicker than zk-SNARKS. At the present time, Z-cash and Ethereum are on the whole considering to utilize zk-STARKS. zk-STARKS have solved the trusted setup issue. They have totally expel the requirement for multiple parties to create the private key required for the string. Rather everything needed to produce the proofs is public and the verifications are generated from arbitrary numbers. zk-STARKS actually removed the necessity in zk-SNARKS for unbalanced cryptography and rather utilizes the hash fuctions like those found in Bitcoin mining. In addition, they ought to have longer timeframe of realistic usability as far as their crytographic resilience than zk-SNARKS. However, there are some impediment of zk-STARKS, the main issue with zk-STARKS is their size. The verifications it uses are basically too enormous to use in many blockchains as they stand. As indicated by Vitalik Buterin, zk-STARKS will result in proofs of a couple of hundreds kilobytes versus the 288 bytes seen in zk-SNARKS.

The Difference Between zk-STARKS and zk-SNARKS.

https://preview.redd.it/k1fap29yd4m31.png?width=411&format=png&auto=webp&s=769ef7be2646a2d0ac31a5334f7e7249e2e2e246

Source : The Medium - Coinmonks
The complexity of communication : With the computation’s expanded complexity, the zk-SNARKS communication complexity also increases linearly, whereas zk-STARKs develops in the opposite direction and grows slowly as the computation size grows.The graph above shows that the communication required by the zk-STARKs to complete the calculation rises much slower than zk-snarks as the underlying evidence increases in complexity.

Source : The Medium - Coinmonks
The complexity of the verifier : zk-STARKs slightly widening with the development in computation size. On the other side, for confirmation evidence, zk-SNARKs requires less time than zk-STARKs. zk-STARKs, for instance need up to 100 ms to verify and zk-SNARKs need only up to 10ms. The graph above illustrates the the time taken by the zk-STARK to verify an evidence rises very slowly compared to the zk-SNARK as the underlying evidence increases in complexity.

Overall these two protocols have excellent potential in the cryptocurrency globe and can be a breakthrough avenue for mainstream implementation. Both conventions are truly needed steps to protect our privacy.


Reference
https://www.technologyreview.com/lists/technologies/2018/
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/themerkle.com/mit-review-acclaims-zk-snarks-but-zk-starks-may-steal-the-show/amp/
https://ethereum.stackexchange.com/questions/59145/zk-snarks-vs-zk-starks-vs-bulletproofs-updated
https://www.binance.vision/blockchain/zk-snarks-and-zk-starks-explained?amp=1
https://applicature.com/blog/blockchain-technology/can-zk-snarks-and-zk-starks-solve-privacy-issues
https://eprint.iacr.org/2018/046.pdf
https://medium.com/coinmonks/zk-starks-create-verifiable-trust-even-against-quantum-computers-dd9c6a2bb13d
https://blog.0xproject.com/starkdex-bringing-starks-to-ethereum-6a03fffc0eb7
submitted by Shreemoon to loopringorg [link] [comments]

Crypto and the Latency Arms Race: Crypto Exchanges and the HFT Crowd

Crypto and the Latency Arms Race: Crypto Exchanges and the HFT Crowd


News by Coindesk: Max Boonen
Carrying on from an earlier post about the evolution of high frequency trading (HFT), how it can harm markets and how crypto exchanges are responding, here we focus on the potential longer-term impact on the crypto ecosystem.
First, though, we need to focus on the state of HFT in a broader context.

Conventional markets are adopting anti-latency arbitrage mechanisms

In conventional markets, latency arbitrage has increased toxicity on lit venues and pushed trading volumes over-the-counter or into dark pools. In Europe, dark liquidity has increased in spite of efforts by regulators to clamp down on it. In some markets, regulation has actually contributed to this. Per the SEC:
“Using the Nasdaq market as a proxy, [Regulation] NMS did not seem to succeed in its mission to increase the display of limit orders in the marketplace. We have seen an increase in dark liquidity, smaller trade sizes, similar trading volumes, and a larger number of “small” venues.”
Why is non-lit execution remaining or becoming more successful in spite of its lower transparency? In its 2014 paper, BlackRock came out in favour of dark pools in the context of best execution requirements. It also lamented message congestion and cautioned against increasing tick sizes, features that advantage latency arbitrageurs. (This echoes the comment to CoinDesk of David Weisberger, CEO of Coinroutes, who explained that the tick sizes typical of the crypto market are small and therefore do not put slower traders at much of a disadvantage.)
Major venues now recognize that the speed race threatens their business model in some markets, as it pushes those “slow” market makers with risk-absorbing capacity to provide liquidity to the likes of BlackRock off-exchange. Eurex has responded by implementing anti-latency arbitrage (ALA) mechanisms in options:
“Right now, a lot of liquidity providers need to invest more into technology in order to protect themselves against other, very fast liquidity providers, than they can invest in their pricing for the end client. The end result of this is a certain imbalance, where we have a few very sophisticated liquidity providers that are very active in the order book and then a lot of liquidity providers that have the ability to provide prices to end clients, but are tending to do so more away from the order book”, commented Jonas Ullmann, Eurex’s head of market functionality. Such views are increasingly supported by academic research.
XTX identifies two categories of ALA mechanisms: policy-based and technology-based. Policy-based ALA refers to a venue simply deciding that latency arbitrageurs are not allowed to trade on it. Alternative venues to exchanges (going under various acronyms such as ECN, ATS or MTF) can allow traders to either take or make, but not engage in both activities. Others can purposefully select — and advertise — their mix of market participants, or allow users to trade in separate “rooms” where undesired firms are excluded. The rise of “alternative microstructures” is mostly evidenced in crypto by the surge in electronic OTC trading, where traders can receive better prices than on exchange.
Technology-based ALA encompasses delays, random or deterministic, added to an exchange’s matching engine to reduce the viability of latency arbitrage strategies. The classic example is a speed bump where new orders are delayed by a few milliseconds, but the cancellation of existing orders is not. This lets market makers place fresh quotes at the new prevailing market price without being run over by latency arbitrageurs.
As a practical example, the London Metal Exchange recently announced an eight-millisecond speed bump on some contracts that are prime candidates for latency arbitrageurs due to their similarity to products trading on the much bigger CME in Chicago.
Why 8 milliseconds? First, microwave transmission between Chicago and the US East Coast is 3 milliseconds faster than fibre optic lines. From there, the $250,000 a month Hibernia Express transatlantic cable helps you get to London another 4 milliseconds faster than cheaper alternatives. Add a millisecond for internal latencies such as not using FPGAs and 8 milliseconds is the difference for a liquidity provider between investing tens of millions in speed technology or being priced out of the market by latency arbitrage.
With this in mind, let’s consider what the future holds for crypto.

Crypto exchanges must not forget their retail roots

We learn from conventional markets that liquidity benefits from a diverse base of market makers with risk-absorption capacity.
Some have claimed that the spread compression witnessed in the bitcoin market since 2017 is due to electronification. Instead, I posit that it is greater risk-absorbing capacity and capital allocation that has improved the liquidity of the bitcoin market, not an increase in speed, as in fact being a fast exchange with colocation such as Gemini has not supported higher volumes. Old-timers will remember Coinsetter, a company that, per the Bitcoin Wiki , “was created in 2012, and operates a bitcoin exchange and ECN. Coinsetter’s CSX trading technology enables millisecond trade execution times and offers one of the fastest API data streams in the industry.” The Wiki page should use the past tense as Coinsetter failed to gain traction, was acquired in 2016 and subsequently closed.
Exchanges that invest in scalability and user experience will thrive (BitMEX comes to mind). Crypto exchanges that favour the fastest traders (by reducing jitter, etc.) will find that winner-takes-all latency strategies do not improve liquidity. Furthermore, they risk antagonising the majority of their users, who are naturally suspicious of platforms that sell preferential treatment.
It is baffling that the head of Russia for Huobi vaunted to CoinDesk that: “The option [of co-location] allows [selected clients] to make trades 70 to 100 times faster than other users”. The article notes that Huobi doesn’t charge — but of course, not everyone can sign up.
Contrast this with one of the most successful exchanges today: Binance. It actively discourages some HFT strategies by tracking metrics such as order-to-trade ratios and temporarily blocking users that breach certain limits. Market experts know that Binance remains extremely relevant to price discovery, irrespective of its focus on a less professional user base.
Other exchanges, take heed.
Coinbase closed its entire Chicago office where 30 engineers had worked on a faster matching engine, an exercise that is rumoured to have cost $50mm. After much internal debate, I bet that the company finally realised that it wouldn’t recoup its investment and that its value derived from having onboarded 20 million users, not from upgrading systems that are already fast and reliable by the standards of crypto.
It is also unsurprising that Kraken’s Steve Hunt, a veteran of low-latency torchbearer Jump Trading, commented to CoinDesk that: “We want all customers regardless of size or scale to have equal access to our marketplace”. Experience speaks.
In a recent article on CoinDesk , Matt Trudeau of ErisX points to the lower reliability of cloud-based services compared to dedicated, co-located and cross-connected gateways. That much is true. Web-based technology puts the emphasis on serving the greatest number of users concurrently, not on serving a subset of users deterministically and at the lowest latency possible. That is the point. Crypto might be the only asset class that is accessible directly to end users with a low number of intermediaries, precisely because of the crypto ethos and how the industry evolved. It is cheaper to buy $500 of bitcoin than it is to buy $500 of Microsoft shares.
Trudeau further remarks that official, paid-for co-location is better than what he pejoratively calls “unsanctioned colocation,” the fact that crypto traders can place their servers in the same cloud providers as the exchanges. The fairness argument is dubious: anyone with $50 can set up an Amazon AWS account and run next to the major crypto exchanges, whereas cheap co-location starts at $1,000 a month in the real world. No wonder “speed technology revenues” are estimated at $1 billion for the major U.S. equity exchanges.
For a crypto exchange, to reside in a financial, non-cloud data centre with state-of-the-art network latencies might ironically impair the likelihood of success. The risk is that such an exchange becomes dominated on the taker side by the handful of players that already own or pay for the fastest communication routes between major financial data centres such as Equinix and the CME in Chicago, where bitcoin futures are traded. This might reduce liquidity on the exchange because a significant proportion of the crypto market’s risk-absorption capacity is coming from crypto-centric funds that do not have the scale to operate low-latency strategies, but might make up the bulk of the liquidity on, say, Binance. Such mom-and-pop liquidity providers might therefore shun an exchange that caters to larger players as a priority.

Exchanges risk losing market share to OTC liquidity providers

While voice trading in crypto has run its course, a major contribution to the market’s increase in liquidity circa 2017–2018 was the risk appetite of the original OTC voice desks such as Cumberland Mining and Circle.
Automation really shines in bringing together risk-absorbing capacity tailored to each client (which is impossible on anonymous exchanges) with seamless electronic execution. In contrast, latency-sensitive venues can see liquidity evaporate in periods of stress, as happened to a well-known and otherwise successful exchange on 26 June which saw its bitcoin order book become $1,000 wide for an extended period of time as liquidity providers turned their systems off. The problem is compounded by the general unavailability of credit on cash exchanges, an issue that the OTC market’s settlement model avoids.
As the crypto market matures, the business model of today’s major cash exchanges will come under pressure. In the past decade, the FX market has shown that retail traders benefit from better liquidity when they trade through different channels than institutional speculators. Systematic internalizers demonstrate the same in equities. This fact of life will apply to crypto. Exchanges have to pick a side: either cater to retail (or retail-driven intermediaries) or court HFTs.
Now that an aggregator like Tagomi runs transaction cost analysis for their clients, it will become plainly obvious to investors with medium-term and long-term horizons (i.e. anyone not looking at the next 2 seconds) that their price impact on exchange is worse than against electronic OTC liquidity providers.
Today, exchange fee structures are awkward because they must charge small users a lot to make up for crypto’s exceptionally high compliance and onboarding costs. Onboarding a single, small value user simply does not make sense unless fees are quite elevated. Exchanges end up over-charging large volume traders such as B2C2’s clients, another incentive to switch to OTC execution.
In the alternative, what if crypto exchanges focus on HFT traders? In my opinion, the CME is a much better venue for institutional takers as fees are much lower and conventional trading firms will already be connected to it. My hypothesis is that most exchanges will not be able to compete with the CME for fast traders (after all, the CBOE itself gave up), and must cater to their retail user base instead.
In a future post, we will explore other microstructures beyond all-to-all exchanges and bilateral OTC trading.
Fiber threads image via Shutterstock
submitted by GTE_IO to u/GTE_IO [link] [comments]

ARE YOU GUYS READY FOR THIS??

Too much FUD, not enough excitement in here! Bitcoin with ZKSNARKS!?!?!? BINANCE application in progress FEB 7, 2018. Closer to Satoshis true vision than any other Bitcoin?? Major FUD issues here, alot of people saying it wont be on any exchanges, but theyve applied to Binance and I'm sure they have backup plans, do you think these devs are really going to launch a coin that noone can buy or sell? I think the reason alot of coins are not on Binance is because they cant/wont afford the application fee rumored to be $400k(unconfirmed but im sure its not cheap). You could make the argument that zcl should be on Binance but I would just counter right back to insane application fee. Also people are saying this coin won't work because of the miners reward being too low...Zclassic is a fork of Zcash that happened because Rhett Creighton didnt like the fact that 20% of mining fees from zcash go to the founders. The whole idea behind Zclassic was that Zcash miners were underpaid, I find it hard to believe that Rhett Creighton would ditch the formula that made him successful. People saying cryptopia is purposefully keeping their coins and they will miss the fork, that is totally untrue. Even though Cryptopia will not be supporting BTCP, they have made an announcement that if anyone is having wallet problems at the time of the snapshot they will be credited 1:1 for any zcl in their account. Don't just leave zcl on cryptopia exchange, but if your withdrawl hasnt made it to zcl wallet you will still get your btcp. Guys we are sitting on a potential powerhouse! Lets get excited about BITCOIN PRIVATE because excitement can spread even faster that FUD! Isnt everyone here up at least 60% already???? Lets have some fun and make some money!!!!
submitted by MISTERMULKY to ZClassic [link] [comments]

30th July: Weekly Community Newsletter for Anonymous Bitcoin - Seventh Ed.

Anonymous Bitcoin Community Herald Edition 7

Editorial
It seems as though people have finally realized how close we are to Anonymous Bitcoin's launch. A lot of action in this week just gone, and from here on in we can expect the frenzy of activity to increase. Thank you to everyone that joins in the conversation on Telegram and Discord, it is a pleasure hearing from you!
Looking at the usual general market indicator, BTC, we see it has continued to remain steady at US$8k+. ZCL has seen some very high volume and nice green candles. As always, expect a retrace after some big moves, but personally, I wouldnt count on too much of a retraction. Congratulations to those that secured enough ZCL to run an ANON masternode post-fork early. Less that two weeks ago, this would have required an initial outlay of a mere US$850 to accumulate enough coins to run a MN. As of the time of writing, it now costs US$1500+.
Be ready for additional information, news, and other releases in the coming days. ANON is preparing to share a lot more with you all!
Thought for the week: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants. Isaac Newton.
Bonus! background information to quote: The metaphor of dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants (Latin: nanos gigantum humeris insidentes) expresses the meaning of "discovering truth by building on previous discoveries". This concept has been traced to the 12th century, attributed to Bernard of Chartres. Bernard of Chartres pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature (Wikipedia).
The next edition of this newsletter will be available 6th August, covering the week of the 30th July to 5th August, 2018.
Important Announcements and Developments
Anonymous Bitcoin has made the announcement that in the coming weeks, it will re-brand and drop the "Bitcoin" from its name. Twitter Link . Anonymous is its own project, looking to stand on it own merits, and this is a strong signal to all that this team is serious about long-term viability. To those who did not look any further into the project than the name, it 'appeared' that ANON was nothing more than a hijacked BTC and ZCL. We of course know this to be untrue. The point of open-source crypto, is to build upon the foundations and make improvements. This is ANON's goal. To take the best of what is on offer, and make it BETTER. The broad stability and base of Bitcoin, the privacy (less the fee of ZCash) in ZClassic, the masternodes of Dash, and other 'borrowed' code as well as ANON's own coding. Those that criticize this method – I do not ask you to stop using language, mathematics,computing, etc that have been previously invented by others!! This is obviously ridiculous, we all build upon that which has come before us. If its good enough for Isaac Newton, its should be good enough for the rest of us!
To illustrate how seriously ANON takes it commitment to the crypto community, it the admins and devs have released a Medium FAQ . The team listens to the community, and takes the time to reply to the issues of concern. There is plenty of counter-argument to the FUD available for those that bother to take the time to look, rather than follow the herd mentality. I would like to make the observation: By following the crowd and criticizing that which we do not understand, we shall all be brandishing pitch-forks, and calling for witches to be burned soon if we are not careful! Please, lets learn from history, and try to support each-other in this new venture of humanity we are undertaking.
Bounty Winners
Congratulations!!! to our weekly (last week) merch giveaway winners -
The Manatee of Binance and @LionAl3x
and to our weekly (last week) BEST COMMENT winners (3 ZCL) Week ending JUL 22, 2018
Twitter: @sjaako87
Youtube: Rohan
Reddit: @Caroleen002
Remember, it is easy to be in the running for this. Simply register and write a comment on our socials. And dont forget, with a ZCL price rise, the value of the prize has increased.
Minor Updates and 'Links of the Week'
Another Twitter re-tweet for ZCL giveaway campaign was run, and the Anonymous community is certainly growing quite quickly. Make sure that you are involved in all of ANON's socials, as our strength is in our community. ANON wants to hear from you, positive comments are, of course, enjoyed, but also constructive observations are welcome and taken on-board.
Telegram:
t.me/anonymousbitcoin
t.me/AnonymousBitcoinBounty
t.me/ZClassicCoin
t.me/ZclassicCE
And please, as ANON is in discussion with exchanges regarding listing, please have all your price and exchange discussions off Anonymous's official channels.
You can discuss these topics here: t.me/anonymousbitcoinPP
Also, join the admins in discussion on DISCORD. There is an open mic channel, and the admins are hosting conversation on there from time to time.
Ask your favorite admin for a chat discord.gg/kJbhxNy
The Week Ahead
submitted by theBigKingsman to AnonymousBitcoin [link] [comments]

Decentralized vs centralized exchanges

Decentralized vs centralized exchanges
https://preview.redd.it/snu5032svgf11.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=fa168566f5cbb4ff7335ae810c1eef7103673acf
Decentralization is the process of distributing authority in decision-making without the involvement of a centralized body. One of the most attractive features of the crypto currency is the lack of control by other parties. In peer-to-peer systems, such as the bitcoin network, the transfer of funds is carried out by verifying transactions directly by network miners. However, the idea of ​​decentralization is not fully implemented with respect to crypto- exchanges. The vast majority of transactions in crypto-space are conducted on centralized trading floors. Daily trading volumes at leading crypto-exchanges such as Binance, Huobi, Bitfinex reach $ 2 billion.
Centralized exchanges: advantages and disadvantages
Centralized exchanges are managed by an organization that monitors all platform operations, such as service, security and development. The business model of a centralized exchange is similar to the business model of a traditional stock exchange, which charges fees for trade in exchange for access to the market. This type of exchange acts as an intermediary third party, which connects buyers and sellers with each other.
We can say that centralized exchanges are one of the easiest ways of access for those who are little acquainted with digital currencies. Centralized exchanges provide additional services to their customers, which are not yet available on decentralized exchanges, such as margin trading, stop loss and lending.
Some centralized exchanges act as gateways that allow trading in digital currencies. Trading platforms that support fiat currencies are usually subject to regulation by the authorities of the country, and therefore must comply with the rules of KYC and AML.
The fact that their activities run counter to the decentralized world of the detachment is critical. Often, trust in centralized exchanges does not lead to anything good. This is evidenced by numerous hacking, during which customers lost millions.
Mt. Gox is the simplest example of a centralized exchange, which in 2014 terminated customer service due to vulnerability in the platform security system. The damage amounted to 650,000 bitcoins.
To solve this problem somehow, today, when the industry becomes more regulated, many centralized exchanges resort to insurance of their assets.
Decentralized exchanges: advantages and disadvantage
Decentralized exchanges offer independent bidding. Through the use of smart contracts, a decentralized exchange is able to operate autonomously. Smart contracts allow buyers and sellers to trade directly, without the need for intermediaries - this allows them to support the decentralized spirit of blockchain technology.
Decentralized exchanges are quite new and still constitute only a small part of the total volume of digital currency trading, but they are gradually gaining popularity.
The IDEX exchange is currently the largest decentralized application (dApp) on the Ethereum network.
Despite the fact that transactions are decentralized, such exchange platforms still have a centralized authority that controls their work. Decentralized exchanges need developers who have experience in writing complex dApps that are necessary to simplify decentralized transactions. They also charge a fee for using the site, although the fees are often smaller than on their centralized counterparts.
One of the advantages is that the tokens of the initial offers of coins (ICO) are often first placed on the sites of decentralized exchanges, and only after centralized ones. Compared to decentralized platforms, centralized ones require a higher degree of technical development before they can safely integrate a new coin into their site.
At the same time, decentralized exchanges also require higher technical knowledge for use than can frighten crypto-space newcomers. Typically, they lack the convenient functionality, focused on customer service (for example, the lack of margin trading).
At the moment, some decentralized platforms are already considering the possibility of implementing functions such as margin trading (for example, Lendroid), however, so far there is no real launch and they are all still in the ICO phase or at the product implementation stage.
One of the obstacles faced by decentralized exchanges on the way to mass adoption is the possibility of trading only to tokens belonging to the platform. For example, decentralized exchanges based on Ethereum, can only offer Ethereum network tokens. Atomic swaps, which allow the exchange of digital currencies between blockchains, can ultimately lead to the creation of decentralized exchanges that will offer a wider range of assets outside the platform on which it is native.
Which exchanges are better?
When it comes to comparison, there are so many valid arguments for centralization, how many and against. Each has unique properties, as well as its pros and cons. In the end, it depends on the individual and personal preferences. The best option will be the use of two types of exchanges: centralized - for withdrawal to Fiat, plus decentralized - for tokens that have not yet been added to the sites of large exchanges. The number of users using decentralized exchanges, and therefore volumes, is only a small part, due to the presence of a complex user interface and lack of diversity of assets.
submitted by iTradeBit to u/iTradeBit [link] [comments]

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