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Blockchain assessment: How to assess different chains?

With so many blockchain networks appearing all the time, new or even experienced crypto enthusiasts may feel overwhelmed when it comes to deciding which are the best to invest in.In this guide, we’ll outline the most important aspects of any blockchain project, and why one should pay close attention to such details when assessing the different chains on the crypto market.Use caseArguably the most important part of any blockchain project is its use case. What is the project’s reason for existing? Is the project here to enhance payment processing? To improve on a business supply chain or to entertain users?There’s technically no such thing as an invalid use case, but some are certainly more applicable than others. For example, a project meant to assist millions in acquiring food is likely to earn more support than a meme coin. If one decides that a project is valuable to them and that this value can translate over to a wide audience, then that’s a point in the project’s favor.When examining use cases, it’s best to look at the project’s white paper. For example, we can take a look at Polygon’s whitepaper, which details potential use cases associated with the platform.CommunityA project is nothing without its community. Blockchain technology is an open-source and user-driven solution, after all. When assessing a blockchain, it’s often best to check into the community and see how much power they have. Reliable projects are generally as decentralized as possible, providing users from all over with the ability to hold tokens and have their say in governance. These users are usually outspoken, with public conversations happening on platforms like Reddit, Twitter and Discord. It’s usually best to join a project’s Discord server to gauge both the size and contributions of its community.Transaction speeds and scalabilityOne’s blockchain project of choice might have the best intentions, but if the technology can’t scale or reliably process transactions, it’s at a severe disadvantage. What good is a platform that can’t serve the hundreds of thousands of customers it hopes to gain?When assessing a blockchain, it’s best to examine the network’s typical transaction speeds alongside how it intends to scale en masse. Is it possible to implement upgrades down the line? Will it, or does the network already utilize a layer-two solution? Does the solution sound realistic in the long term?The Ethereum website contains extensive documentation on its current and future scalability methods. One can pair this factor alongside the community one, as dedicated community members would have public discussions surrounding their favorite project’s use cases and potential upgrades, as well as how it’s currently running.Consensus and governanceThe two most common blockchain consensus methods are proof-of-work and proof-of-stake. Proof-of-work (PoW) networks require miners that are users who dedicate their computing power to solve complex equations and validate transactions. Miners are paid for their efforts with each block mined, though the computer power required is harmful to the environment.Proof-of-stake (PoS), on the other hand, provides power to users who hold and stake, or lock in, their digital assets. Generally, the more assets a user stakes, the more power they have within the network. By staking, users typically become validators who then validate transactions, removing the need for miners. This process is more environmentally friendly than mining and rewards users in interest for their efforts. While both PoS and PoW have their pros and cons, many believe PoS is the future of blockchain and that PoW networks are on their way out. After all, PoS is the more scalable option and Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, is making the upgrade to PoS over the coming months. Consensus directly affects network governance and is something to consider when assessing different blockchain networks.TeamThe team behind the project is just as important as the technical aspects of any blockchain. Projects should be very open regarding who’s developing a project, as well as the history and skillset of the team. Failing to disclose the details about the development team can be a significant warning sign while assessing blockchains, as a lack of information could mean they’re looking to scam users. While this isn’t always the case, it’s recommended to stick with projects that are open about their development process.The Polkadot project has some of its key members available on its website, including their real names and history. That said, it could be improved by including relevant social links to the team’s profiles so that users can conduct their own research to verify the project and the team behind it. RoadmapNot only should a blockchain have a solid reliable use case, but it should have a roadmap planned out regarding future developments and product feature additions. A thorough roadmap generally means that the team has thought long-term about their project and how it can benefit the world. It also provides users with more knowledge about what they’re investing in, and whether or not the network aligns with their values.The Cardano roadmap features detailed sections for each part of its roadmap, ensuring that all users can understand what to expect in the network’s future.Market capitalization/total value locked (TVL)When it comes to decentralized finance (DeFi) projects specifically, one vital factor to consider is its total value locked (TVL) and its market cap.The TVL represents the total amount of all funds locked into a DeFi platform’s smart contracts. The higher a TVL, the healthier a platform’s ecosystem, as more users are taking advantage of its offerings. Alternatively, a project’s market capitalization constitutes the value of existing assets within its ecosystem, serving as an indicator of the project’s growth potential. This number constitutes not just those utilizing the platform’s tokens, but also those holding assets in a passive way.One can consider market capitalization to be the indicator of the popularity of a project, while TVL can mark how much money is actually being moved around within its various protocols. Both statistics are important, but it’s important to understand what each means relevant to a project’s competition. DeFi Pulse details the TVL of all sorts of DeFi projects, while CoinMarketCap lists the market capitalization of nearly any chain on the market.LongevityFinally, take a look at how long the project has been on the market. If it has been available for years, what has the project accomplished? Has it stuck to its roadmap and been reliable, or suffered from consistent delays and failing to deliver? A project’s reliability can be a great indicator of its longevity. Alternatively, if a project is new to the market, consider observing it for a few months and seeing how things play out. If development appears smooth and the group is making a fair amount of progress and announcements, it might mark a more reliable long-term investment.

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Spanish LGBT token responds to critics, says it expects listings soon

Spanish LGBT-related token MariCoin (MCOIN) has responded to the community following skepticism around the project’s concept and goals.Some had even criticized the project for its name, which played on a homophobic slur in Spanish. But according to key people in the project, they have simply misunderstood. MariCoin CEO Francisco Alvarez told Cointelegraph that the project’s name is about “turning an insult into a fortress,” referring to peculiarities of tackling homophobic language as the very word word “gay” is still being used as an insult in some communities.“In Spain it is very common for members of the gay community to call themselves ‘Maricón,’ so Juan, an active member of the community, thought MariCoin was a fantastic name for a cryptocurrency that would unite the whole community,” Alvarez said.The CEO noted that the MariCoin project has “found a generalized acceptance” of over 90% in other Spanish-speaking countries like Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador, and others. “Although we must work on that other 10% that does not share our vision,” he noted.According to MariCoin co-founder and president Juan Belmonte, the project expects to list its Algorand-based token on crypto exchanges supporting the Algorand blockchain on Jan. 31.“We have been in talks since September 2021, as we have announced, to list on Binance. Our CTO is working on the white paper and we will have the first version ready next week,” Belmonte told Cointelegraph.He also noted that MariCoin has closed their waiting list at 10,000 “Maricoiners,” as committed in their roadmap. “Due to the avalanche of mails, we have had to open a second list to reserve the coin at the starting price of $0.025, starting next January 31,” the executive added. Some people in the community previously were skeptical about MariCoin’s waiting list for investing via Google Forms.Related: New LGBTQ token aims for equity but raises red flags with communityBelmonte also mentioned that MariCoin was selected for the Algorand Foundation accelerator program in Miami last year, with support from blockchain investment firm Borderless Capital. Apart from MariCoin, the accelerator also selected 9 other startups including Latin American digital bank NeoMoon, blockchain game Alchemon, nonfungible token platform Dartroom, and others.The Algorand Foundation and Borderless Capital did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

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New LGBT token aims for equity but raises red flags with community

The cryptocurrency community has raised concerns about Maricoin, a new token supposedly related to the LGBT+ community, with some people even suspecting the project to be a scam.Launched in December 2021, Maricoin promises to enable a “social, ethical, transparent and transversal means of payment” targeting the global “pink economy,” which is estimated to amount to trillions of dollars.One might question Maricoin’s ethics though, as its name is a portmanteau that plays on a Spanish slur for homosexuals.According to the project’s website, Maricoin runs on the Algorand blockchain, with creators planning to list the token on several crypto exchanges in 2022.The project was reportedly founded in Madrid by local hairdresser and entrepreneur Juan Belmonte, who said that the new token is designed to help the community profit by providing a new payment method for LGBT-friendly businesses worldwide.According to CEO Francisco Alvarez, as many as 8,000 people were already on a waiting list to buy Maricoin as of early January.Despite the token being widely promoted as the “first coin created by and for the LGBT+ community” on many mainstream media channels, Maricoin is not quite the first cryptocurrency project related to the LGBT+ community. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, there are a number of LGBT-related tokens and initiatives, including the LGBT token, which was launched back in 2018.Several industry observers have expressed skepticism over Maricoin, with some even alleging that the initiative could be a scam.“It’s not a coin, it’s a token, clearly a scam to catch fools who want to make easy money with crypto. Their website is poorly made, ugly and doesn’t have a single tech line about how this crypto will work. Not a single whitepaper and their waiting-list form is a damn Google Doc,” one Redditor argued.Related: Beware of sophisticated scams and rug pulls, as thugs target crypto usersJustin Ehrenhofer, vice president of operations at crypto wallet service Cake Wallet, said, “This 100% feels like a scam.”  He noted that the Reuters article on Maricoin didn’t include much skepticism on the project: This 100% feels like a scam. You need to FILL OUT A GOOGLE FORM to indicate how much you want to “invest” in “MariCoin”? Yet @enriqueanarte @TRF publishes this likely scam, without much skepticism. *Maybe* everyone involved is oblivious, but this appears to be a textbook scam 🙁 https://t.co/3TY4NfyDgQ pic.twitter.com/j1ZQaZea8G— Justin Ehrenhofer ️‍ (@JEhrenhofer) January 4, 2022Maricoin did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending any new information.

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VCs don't understand that Cardano has a community: Charles Hoskinson

In a recent YouTube video, Charles Hoskinson highlighted the rapid growth of the Cardano (ADA) ecosystem while clarifying the concerns raised by other members of the crypto community over the past year.“We live in a world where arbitrary groups of people get to be fact-checkers and decide what’s legitimate,” said Hoskinson while speaking about the government’s perception of cryptocurrencies. He pointed out that a vast majority of financial crimes are done with the U.S. dollar or other fiat currencies. According to Hoskinson, the growth of the crypto ecosystem this year might be slower than 2022:“It’s hard to argue with the $2.5 trillion industry and imagine where that’s going to go. I think we’re just going to digest as an industry the consequences for better or worse of becoming so big so quickly.”He also highlighted the need to change Silicon Valley’s “bizarre mantra of move fast and break things” in crypto, which caused losses of $10.5 billion in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space in 2021. Stressing on Cardano’s slow and methodical approach, Hoskinson said:“That’s why VCs don’t even actually understand that Cardano has a community. They think it’s just me behind a microphone.”[embedded content]Hoskinson also said that Cardano will gradually transition into a permanent open source project and compared it to Linux operating system. He hopes to move away from a hierarchical structure to open-source DApps developed by the members of the Cardano community:“They [the developers] should also commit to putting at least one of their developers to contributing to the Cardano protocol.”In the long-term, Hoskinson envisions faster completion of the Cardano roadmap through this “small resource commitment”. He called out YouTubers, podcasters and VCs that have questioned Cardano’s growth by saying “we’re number one for GitHub commits”:“If you’re such an expert that you’re going to opine on the quality of our comments then tell us which ones are wrong, which ones don’t mean anything and what parts of the roadmap we’re failing at dramatically.”Related: ‘The only thing holding us back is us,’ says Charles Hoskinson on DeFi’s futureIn a similar live YouTube session, Hoskinson spoke about DeFi’s potential as well as Cardano’s small role within the industry. According to him, developers and creators need to foster a more long-term vision:“It’s very hard to do this kind of engineering and to do it right, with an eye and foresight for the future. Unfortunately, many of the projects in this space will not stand the test of time. It’s just a fact that we will see a great extinction occur in the next five to 10 years.”

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Terra's Mirror protocol warns community against governance attack

Public blockchain network Terra has confirmed an ongoing scam attack via an official governance poll on Mirror, an in-house synthetic assets protocol. According to Mirror, the attacker launched a public poll on Mirror’s official website, which proposes a freeze on the community pool in case of a scam. NEW MIRROR POLL! ALERT: Poll 211 is SCAM — sending 25,000,000 MIR to itself … #vote on 212: https://t.co/FH6RqTbJ2j $MIR $LUNA #terra— Mirror Polls (@mirror_polls) December 25, 2021According to Poll ID: 211, named “Freeze the community pool in case of scam”, the scammer proposes an upgrade of safer community governance rules in case of a hack. If the hacker manages to get a positive majority on the poll, 25 million MIR tokens (worth $24.1 million at the time of writing) will be sent to the hacker’s address.Voting results of Poll 211. Source: mirrorprotocol.appAs evidenced by the above screenshot, Mirror’s proactive approach to warn the community has seen a sizable increase in the number of ‘No’ votes — confirming the security of the funds. According to WuBlockchain, the attacker initiated Proposal 185, disguised as a request for cooperation with Solana, effectively trying to defraud 25 million MIR tokens from the community fund pool.

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