Značka: Smart Contracts

What are flash loans in DeFi?

Similar to traditional loans, flash loans are expected to be paid back in full eventually. However, there are also marked differences. In typical lending processes, a borrower loans money from a lender. The amount is expected to be paid back in full eventually, with interest, depending on the terms discussed between the lender and the borrower.  Flash loans operate on a similar framework but have some unique terms and premises: Use of smart contracts A smart contract is a tool used in most blockchains to ensure that funds do not change hands until a specific set of rules are met.  When it comes to flash loans,  the borrower is required to repay the full amount of the loan before the completion of the transaction.  If this rule is not followed, the transaction is reversed by the smart contract and the loan is nullified as if it never took place at all.  Unsecured loan Unlike a traditional loan, a flash loan is an unsecured loan, meaning no collateral is needed.  However, this does not imply that the flash loan lender does not get their money back in case of non-payment. In a traditional loan, collateral is typically put up to ensure that the lender receives the money back in the event of non-payment. Flash loans, however, happen within a very short timeframe (usually a few seconds or minutes). This means that while no collateral is needed, the borrower must return the full amount they borrowed right away. Instantaneous transactions As opposed to longer processes for traditional loans, flash loans are processed faster, thanks to smart contracts.  Getting a traditional loan approved usually is a long process. A borrower must submit documents, wait for approval, and pay the loan back in agreed increments within a stipulated period that may run into days, months or years.  On the other hand, a flash loan is expedited in an instant, which means that the loan’s smart contract must be fulfilled during the transaction for which it’s lent out. Therefore, the borrower is required to call on other smart contracts, using the loaned capital to perform instant trades.  The kicker: All this must be done in a few seconds before the transaction ends. Hence, the name: flash loans.

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The life cycle of smart contracts in the blockchain ecosystem

The formation of a smart contract, freezing of the smart contract, execution of the smart contract and finalization of the smart contract are the four significant steps of a smart contract’s life cycle. It is different from the blockchain development life cycle, which begins with defining the issue you want to resolve with your blockchain product and ends with a minimum viable product. Create Iterative contract negotiation and an implementation phase make up the creation phase. First, the parties must agree on the contract’s overall content and goals. This is similar to traditional contract negotiations and can be done online or offline. On the underlying ledger platform, all participants must have a wallet. Its identifier is pseudonymous in most circumstances, and it is used to identify the parties and transfer payments. The contract must be converted into code after the objectives and content have been agreed upon. The expressiveness of the underlying smart contract coding language limits the contract’s codification. Most smart contract systems provide the infrastructure to build, maintain and test smart contracts to validate their execution behavior and content. The transition of requirements into code, as seen in traditional programming languages, necessitates multiple iterations between stakeholders and programmers. Smart contracts will be no different, and several iterations between the negotiation and implementation phases are likely. During the publication phase, after the parties have agreed on the codified form of the contract, it is uploaded to the distributed ledger. During this phase, nodes in the distributed ledger receive the contract as part of a transaction block. The contract is available for execution once most nodes have confirmed the block. Because decentralized smart contracts cannot be amended once the blockchain has accepted them, any changes to the smart contract will necessitate the development of a new one. Although a smart contract is placed on the blockchain, this fact alone should not be interpreted as a party’s agreement to enter the contract, as anyone can submit a smart contract to the blockchain, implying an obligation for any random wallet owner. Similarly, decentralized smart contracts can benefit any blockchain participant, whether or not they choose to receive the benefits in advance. Freeze Following its submission to the blockchain, the smart contract is confirmed by a majority of the participating nodes. A price must be paid to the miners in exchange for this service to keep the ecosystem from being flooded with smart contracts. The contract and its parties are now open to the public and available through the public ledger. During the freeze phase, any transfers to the smart contract’s wallet address are blocked, and the nodes operate as a governance board, verifying that the contract’s preconditions for execution are met. Execute Participating nodes read contracts that are stored on the distributed ledger. So, how is a smart contract executed? The contract’s integrity is verified, and the code is executed by the smart contract environment’s inference engine (compiler, interpreter). The smart contract’s functions are conducted when the inputs for the execution are received from the smart oracles and involved parties (commitment to goods through coins). The smart contract’s execution generates a new set of transactions and a new state for the smart contract. The set of findings and the new state information are entered into the distributed ledger and verified using the consensus mechanism. Finalize The resulting transactions and updated state information are put in the distributed ledger and confirmed using the consensus process after the smart contract has been performed. The previously committed digital assets are transferred (assets are unfrozen), and the contract is completed to confirm all transactions.

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Morpheus.Network hits roadmap targets, attracting investors focused on fundamentals

The global supply chain has become an area of intense focus over the past couple of years and pressures from the pandemic and backlogged ports have led to a massive range of shortages for everyday items. One protocol that is focusing on optimizing supply chain management and building strength based on data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro is Morpheus.Network (MNW), a supply chain software-as-a-service middleware provider designed to integrate legacy systems with emerging technologies. VORTECS™ scoreboard leaders. Source: Cointelegraph Markets ProAccording to data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro, market conditions for MNW have been favorable for some time. The VORTECS™ Score, which is exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historical and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points. These include market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. MNW price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets ProAs shown in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for MNW has been elevated in the green zone for the majority of the past week and registered a high of 91 on Jan. 15 as its price began to trend higher with a 26% spike to $1.75. Here’s a look at three factors backing the building momentum for MNW. Morepheus upgrades its smart contract One of the biggest factors affecting the price and momentum for MNW over the past few months have been the smart contract upgrades and token swap processes that were initiated on Oct. 19, 2021. The https://t.co/VDc7slHmXR MNW Token Is Here! The Swap Has Now Begun!$MRPH – > $MNWhttps://t.co/C7XO9j67cT— Morpheus.Network (@MNWSupplyChain) October 19, 2021In the process of upgrading to new enterprise smart contracts for increased security and higher levels of efficiency, a token swap was conducted from the old MRPH token to the new MNW token on a 1:1 basis. With the new smart contracts in place, programs stored on the blockchain are now able to execute automatically under certain terms or conditions that have been agreed upon by the parties involved, similar to real-world contracts. These upgrades bring a new level of automation by enabling instantaneous outcomes while also reducing the need for third-party intermediaries. Introduction of masternodesMasternodes being integrated into the protocol’s structure was the second development responsible for the bullish outlook of the Morpheus.Network. This led to a more decentralized network while also giving members of the community a chance to contribute to the ecosystem in exchange for rewards. Introducing MASTERNODES! https://t.co/whZBj2SQhj$MNW— Morpheus.Network (@MNWSupplyChain) December 22, 2021

The roll-out of masternodes is set to take place during the year-long token swap period that ends on Oct. 19, 2022. The Alpha and Beta testing programs will offer MNW token holders an 18% APR based on the number of tokens they have staked. The smallest node available to operate requires 1,800 MNW to be locked up. The largest node operators require a commitment of 360,000 MNW in order to validate transactions. The Morpheus.Network set aside 1.2 MNW in rewards for the alpha and beta testing programs. 12.5% of the funds will go to alpha nodes while the remaining 87.5% will be distributed to beta nodes over the course of 2022. Related: Altcoin Roundup: Three blockchain protocols taking the supply chain crisis head-onInvestors turn bullish on new partnershipsA third factor that has led to the rising VORTECS™ Score and positive outlook for MNW has been a growing ecosystem of partnerships as well as the growing recognition from the wider supply chain community of what the protocol has accomplished. In October 2021, Morpheus.Network was chosen to receive the 2021 ISCEA PTAK Award for Supply Chain Excellence at the SCTECH2021 conference. It was also named as a 2021 Enterprise Blockchain Awards finalist.https://t.co/VDc7slHmXR is a 2021 Enterprise Blockchain Awards finalist! Winners will be announced Tuesday Nov 16 2021 starting at 7PM Eastern, show us your support by registering for the event: https://t.co/3jAmCmKFuG #Blockchain #EBA2021 @blockchainRI $MNW— Morpheus.Network (@MNWSupplyChain) November 16, 2021

Regarding partnerships, Morpheus.Network has joined forces with the Geometric Energy Corporation and Space-X to contribute to the DOGE-1 mission to the moon. This will allow the protocol to explore new ways to optimize the space supply chain. More recently, Morpheus.Network also partnered with VIDT Datalink to help bring more transparency and security to the world’s supply chains. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Internet Computer: Correction risk rises after ICP price gains nearly 60% in 5 days

Internet Computer (ICP) has entered 2022 with a bang.The ICP price rose by over 56% in the first five days of the new year, reaching a 30-day high of $38 on Jan. 5. Its massive upside move accompanied a spike in trading volumes, underscoring a strong and healthy bullish sentiment for now.ICP/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingViewAt the center of ICP’s recent price rally was a flurry of optimistic news. That includes Binance’s decision this Tuesday to list a financial instrument that would enable traders to directly swap ICP to/from Ethereum’s native token Ether (ETH) and the launch of Terabethia, a cross-blockchain bridge, on Dec. 22 that enables Ethereum’s ERC-20 tokens to exist natively on the Internet Computer blockchain.Additionally, a rally across the smart contract platform tokens, especially in the last seven days, may have boosted traders’ appetite for ICP.Smart contract platform tokens’ performance. Source: MessariDowntrend intactNevertheless, ICP remains at risk of paring its recent gains entirely as it trended lower inside its multi-month descending channel range.In detail, the Internet Computer token price reached the channel’s upper trendline on Wednesday, thus exposing itself to selloff risks. That is primarily due to the trendline’s history of limiting ICP’s upside attempts, as shown in the chart below.ICP/USD daily price chart featuring descending channel pattern. Source: TradingViewMeanwhile, recent data also shows that a pullback from the upper trendline pushed the ICP price towards the channel’s lower trendline. For that reason, ICP risked falling to new price lows despite its bullish rebound.Resistance confluenceMore cues for ICP’s pullback setup came from an another resistance near $37.70 and overvaluation risks posed by the token’s daily relative strength index (RSI).The $37.70-level, which helped ICP limit its bearish exposure between September and November 2021, coincides with the 0.236 Fib line of the Fibonacci retracement graph drawn from the circa $89-swing high to the $22-swing low. Meanwhile, the RSI reading at press time came out to be near 67.50. A value above 70 will make ICP an overbought asset that may amount to a certain degree of price correction/consolidation. Should it happen, the ICP price could risk falling to the 0 Fib line near $22.Related: Dfinity insiders alleged to have illegally sold ICP and harmed retail investorsConversely, closing above the $37.70-level could have Internet Computer eye $47.50 as its next upside target.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Avalanche eyes 60% rally as AVAX price breaks out of bull flag

Avalanche (AVAX) strengthened its case for a potential upside run towards $160 in the coming sessions as it broke out of a classic bullish pattern earlier this week.Dubbed “bull flag,” the pattern emerges when the price consolidates lower/sideways between two parallel trendlines (flag) after undergoing a strong upside move (flagpole). Later, in theory, the price breaks out of the channel range to continue the uptrend and tends to rise by as much as the flagpole’s height.AVAX went through a similar price trajectory across the last 30 days, containing a roughly 100% flagpole rally to nearly $150, followed by over a 50% flag correction to $72, and a breakout move above the flag’s upper trendline (around $85) on Dec. 15.AVAX/USD daily price chart featuring Bull Flag pattern. Source: TradingViewAVAX price continued rallying after breaking out of its bull flag range, reaching almost $120 on Friday but eyeing a further leg up towards its bullish continuation target near $160. The level appeared after adding the height of AVAX’s flagpole, which is around $75, to the current breakout point near $85.A week full of bullish AVAX eventsThe recent buying period in the Avalanche market picked momentum also because of a flurry of positive catalysts this week.AVAX jumped nearly 10.50% on Tuesday as Avalanche added the native version of USDC, a dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by Circle, on its blockchain. Additionally, a report penned by Bank of America analysts published on Dec. 10, called Avalanche a viable alternative to the leading smart contract platform Ethereum. That coincided with AVAX gaining another 16%.AVAX/USD daily price chart featuring key events in the week ending Dec. 19. Source: TradingViewOn Thursday, AVAX rallied to its two-week high after BitGo, a crypto custodian with over $64 billion worth of assets under management, announced that it would support the token. Nonetheless, a modest selloff at the local price top pushed AVAX lower. Th recover Friday as Avalanche announced that it has collaborated with web3 accelerator DeFi Alliance to launch a gaming accelerator program.1/ Avalanche is collaborating with @DeFiAlliance to bring its accelerator programs to the Avalanche communityApply by Jan 7 here: https://t.co/6HcJOLxKxABefore you apply, check these reasons why Avalanche should be your preferred platform: pic.twitter.com/GhdHBhQNgb— Avalanche (@avalancheavax) December 17, 2021All the events mentioned above pointed towards the Avalanche ecosystem’s growth. For instance, with USDC, the project promised to provide a viable alternative to Ethereum’s highly expensive Tether (USDT) stablecoin transactions. Moreover, by gaining BitGo as AVAX’s institutional custodian, Avalanche appears to be prepping for catering to accredited investors. Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo, explained:“Institutional custody is not the same as retail custody, and BitGo wallets and custody were designed from the ground up to meet the needs of institutional investors, and BitGo is the only independent qualified custodian focused on building the right market structure and facilities to enable institutions to enter the digital asset space with confidence.”AVAX price risksOne of the remaining downside risks around AVAX concerns the crypto market performance, on the whole.In detail, AVAC rallied in a week that witnessed the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization lose more than $114 billion, with leading crypto assets Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) plunging over 7% and 5% week-to-date. Concerns over the Federal Reserve’s tapering plans catalyzed the market selloff.Therefore, it appears that traders looked at AVAX as their short-term hedge against the crypto market drop, largely driven by a string of positive news. AVAX/BTC weekly price chart. Source: TradingViewMoreover, the AVAX/BTC pair was up nearly 40% week-to-date at around 0.00245 BTC at the time of writing, with the pair’s relative strength index (RSI) entering overbought territory. That could prompt AVAX to weaken against BTC in the coming sessions.Related: ‘Monster bull move’ means whales could secure the next Bitcoin price surgeA similar outcome may be possible in AVAX/USD’s case as its weekly RSI treads near overbought levels.AVAX/USD weekly price chart. Source: TradingViewHowever, the pair is likely to retain its bullish bias as long as it holds above its 20-week exponential moving average (20-week EMA) as support. As shown in the chart above, the green wave has been capping AVAX’s downside attempts since August 2020.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Altcoin Roundup: Three smart contract platforms that could see deeper adoption in 2022

Decentralized finance (DeFi) dominated media headlines throughout 2021 and the sector, along with nonfungible tokens (NFTs), helped to initiate the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. While high yields on staking and instant profits from flipping jpegs have proven to be very lucrative for investors, it’s important to remember that none of it would have been possible without the underlying capabilities of smart contract technology. The Ethereum network remains, hands-down, the most widely used layer-one smart contract platform in the crypto ecosystem, but everyone knows about the high fee and clogged network issues of the past few years.In 2021, competing networks like Avalanche and Binance Smart Chain enabled compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and this produced positive outcomes for investors in both ecosystems. Let’s take a look at a few of the top-performing layer-one protocols in Q4 2021 and investigate how partnerships, investment from traditional finance and protocol developments might benefit each project in 2022.AlgorandAlgorand (ALGO) is a pure proof-of-stake (PoS) layer-one blockchain network designed to be self-sustaining and highly scalable, thus making it capable of handling heavy transaction loads for minimal costs. In Q4, the protocol launched the Algorand Virtual Machine which enabled decentralized applications (DApps), meaning DeFi and NFT projects could now operate on the network. Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) had previously launched on the network, so their integration into new DeFi platforms was relatively effortless, allowing for the quick build up of liquidity. The launch of the 150 million ALGO Viridis Fund by the Algorand Foundation was also designed to accelerate the development of the DeFi ecosystem on the network.The project also attracted the attention of institutional investors, and a sizable cash infusion came from Borderless Capital who launched a $500 million fund to help develop DApps on Algorand. Hivemind Capital Partners also selected the protocol as its first technology partner. We are excited to announce the launch of our $500M Borderless ALGO Fund II!https://t.co/EP0U6Ib8HV pic.twitter.com/okXf6GBFo8— Borderless Capital (@borderless_cap) November 30, 2021In October, Algorand launched governance features that enabled ALGO holders to have a say in the future development of the protocol. ALGO/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewOn Nov. 18, 21Shares announced the launch of a physically-backed Algorand exchange-traded product which helped spark a rally in the price of ALGO to a yearly high at $2.99. TezosTezos (XTZ) is a flexible proof-of-stake blockchain designed to evolve over time without the need to undergo hard forks. In Q4, traditional finance entities like the Arab Bank Switzerland partnered with the protocol to launch staking, trading and custody services for the project’s native XTZ token.On Dec. 7, the project made headlines after it expanded its NFT ecosystem by partnering with Ubisoft, a major gaming company. The Ubisoft Quartz platform uses Tezos blockchain, and the players of Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will be able to buy and trade game-specific NFTs in the marketplace.On Dec. 15, Rarible, a popular NFT marketplace, also announced the integration of the Tezos blockchain into its ecosystem. This means Rarible users can buy, sell and trade Tezos NFTs in an environment that is much cheaper than Rarible’s Ether-based market. Tezos blockchain is now live on https://t.co/BplWYgszwb Here’s everything you need to know:https://t.co/opRwEeF1HB— Rarible (@rarible) December 15, 2021

Part of the reason for the increased attention on the Tezos blockchain is the energy efficiency of the network in a world that is becoming increasingly focused on environmental sustainability. According to a recent carbon footprint report from PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory SAS, the Tezos network saw a 70% increase in energy efficiency in 2021, with its annual energy consumption now estimated to be roughly the same as the carbon footprint of just 17 people.XTZ/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewAt the time of writing, XTZ is trading at a price of $4.34 after hitting a yearly high of $9.17 on Oct. 3. This was just prior to the wider market downturn that has put pressure on prices across the crypto ecosystem as the market heads into the final weeks of 2021.Related: ‘I’m a huge believer in crypto technology,’ says former US SEC chairElrondElrond (EGLD) is a blockchain platform for distributed apps and enterprise-level businesses that has the goal of becoming the technology ecosystem for the “new internet.”According to the project’s website, the network utilizes sharding technology to enable the processing of 15,000 transactions per second (TPS) with an average transaction cost of $0.001.The late-year price rally seen in the protocol’s native EGLD token came after the launch of a $1.29 billion liquidity incentive program by the Elrond-based Maiar decentralized exchange (DEX). EGLD/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewPrior to the launch of the liquidity program, the price of EGLD was on the rise thanks to its increased use as a form of digital payment, including a partnership with the Romanian music festival Untold, which announced that tickets for its 2021 festival could be purchased using EGLD.Want more information about trading and investing in crypto markets?The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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$33.5 billion worth of ETH ‘trapped’ in largest Ethereum contract

The single largest Ethereum contract containing 8,641,954 Ether (ETH) worth $33.5 billion is sitting idle because it cannot be spent or sent.A Twitter user highlighted the Beacon chain contract claiming it to be the largest Ethereum contract with billions of dollars worth of ETH “trapped” inside it. BREAKING: 8,641,954 ETH ($32 billion) trapped in single largest Ethereum contract and unable to be sent or spent. Will require hard fork that hasn’t been written or specified yet. Timing and terms of hard fork still unknown.https://t.co/xcXPwbS93v— Tomer Strolight | Not interested in your trades. (@TomerStrolight) December 14, 2021The contract in question is an Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain staking contract launched in November 2020, and it cannot be spent without a hardfork.Beacon chain staking contract. Source: EtherscanWhat makes this even more astonishing is the fact that the terms of the hard fork are yet to be decided and people sending their ETH into the contract were well aware of the fact. The terms of the hard fork could be decided once the Beacon chain merges with the Ethereum mainnet.The Beacon chain is the first key step in Ethereum’s move from a proof-of-work mining consensus to a proof-of-stake (PoS) one. In order to become a validator in Eth 2.0, a trader must stake a minimum of 32 ETH. Thus, the $33.5 billion worth of ETH in the largest Beacon chain contract shows the high demand and trust in the upcoming Eth 2.0.At the start of December, Ethereum developers called upon community members to test the merger to PoS based ETH 2.0. The testing phase has been divided into three phases, namely for non-technical users, developers with limited experience in blockchain, and highly technical and experienced blockchain developers.The merger of the Beacon chain into the Ethereum mainnet would complete the transition to PoS Eth 2.0. The official Ethereum.org page for Eth 2 suggests the merger could complete by Q1 or Q2 of 2022.

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Umbrella Network launches $15M oracle accelerator program

Decentralized oracle service Umbrella Network has launched a new accelerator program for projects looking to build data pipelines to the cryptocurrency market, a process that many within the industry believe is necessary to grow the emerging domains of blockchain gaming, DeFi and the Metaverse. The $15 million accelerator program intends to fund companies that are bringing new data solutions to the blockchain ecosystem, Umbrella Network announced Tuesday. Sam Kim, a partner at Umbrella Network, told Cointelegraph that his company is focused on funding projects within blockchain gaming, Metaverse, digital advertising, blockchain-based identity, sports and weather, among others.To date, projects in these and other fields have largely relied on centralized systems for running key computations, processes and applications due to limitations of existing technology, Kim said. One of the goals of the accelerator program is to provide access to decentralized data applications that can help emerging projects grow and scale their operations. In addition to funding, the accelerator program will provide business and technical support. Umbrella will also be the initial operator o the decentralized oracles, Kim confirmed. Blockchain oracles are said to play a key role in the development of decentralized Web 3.0 ecosystems by connecting smart contracts with the outside world. Specifically, oracles give blockchain-based applications the ability to connect to existing legacy systems and data sources. It has been argued that institutional investors, who have long been viewed as a critical component of blockchain’s future, need trusted crypto market data before widescale adoption is possible. Why are crypto oracles on the rise? Experts believe that this is because retail and institutional investors need to trust cryptocurrency market data. https://t.co/C2vrG1jA04— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) July 6, 2021Related: Former Google CEO is now a strategic advisor for Chainlink LabsChainlink (LINK) is by far the largest oracle network with a market capitalization of $8.4 billion. Augur (REP) and Band Protocol (BAND) are a distant second and third, respectively, with a total value of over $170 million each. Umbrella Network, meanwhile, has a total market value of $19 million at the time of writing.

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Stacks’ Mitchell Cuevas talks building integrated DeFi bridges for Bitcoin users

The Stacks ecosystem is a collection of independent entities, developers and community members working to build a user-owned internet on the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain. Stacks’ STX cryptocurrency was distributed to the general public through the first-ever Securities and Exchange Commission-qualified token offering in the United States.Mitchell Cuevas, head of growth for the Stacks Foundation, held an exclusive ask-me-anything, or AMA, session with Cointelegraph Markets Pro users on Dec. 2. During the session, he discussed the Stacks blockchain’s technological capabilities, future growth and major developments.Cointelegraph Markets Pro User: PoW [proof-of-work] blockchains are known to be the most secure. Does Stacks PoX [proof-of-transfer] match BTC security or are there other vulnerabilities?Mitchell Cuevas: Stacks’ consensus recycles PoW already done to secure Bitcoin. It does this via Proof of Transfer, a mining mechanism that provides a new take on consensus, allowing for a Proof of Work chain to be leveraged and extended in new ways. As a result, all Stacks transactions settle on Bitcoin, enabling Stacks transactions to benefit from Bitcoin’s security. Every Bitcoin block, Stacks transactions are batched and hashed on the Bitcoin blockchain. In addition, the history of all Stacks blocks produced is recorded to Bitcoin.CT Markets Pro User: With smart contract capabilities, how long before Stacks will be able to integrate NFTs, gaming, and metaverse experiences?MC: This can already be done and is being done today. We see massive growth of NFTs, reaching about $6-7 million in daily transacted value of late. The cost varies based on network activity. The minting cost is generally somewhere from $0.15 to $0.50. NFTs can be minted on Boom at boom.money. Monday games are building an exciting metaverse style open-world game. We’ve got teams, such as Jolocom, working on various identity-related efforts, which will be important in the metaverse. It’s exciting because the idea of the metaverse was an early anchor point for folks working at Blockstack back in the day, it was our company book, and we had Neal Stephenson out to one of our summits!CT Markets Pro User: I only know of a few other platforms that build off of BTC to maximize its security, decentralization, and popularity (Lightning, RSK, Sovryn). So why do you think there aren’t more protocols integrating with BTC?MC: It’s the difficulty of it. It took core engineers and the Blockstack team a while to crack Proof of Transfer, making the fully expressive contract layer possible in a truly decentralized way. When you have the option of working with a restrictive and unmoving base like Bitcoin or something else (or creating your chain entirely), I think many will end up in that last bucket. It’s an easier path and with how hot crypto is, is I can assume it’s more immediately lucrative, so that’s where the focus has stayed.CT Markets Pro User: There were congestion issues with Stacks. Has that been resolved?MC: For the most part — the main bottleneck that was noticed was the popularity of some NFTs and the architecture of the stacks-blockchain-API. Since then, the architecture has changed a bit, so many read-only API nodes can be brought up during higher traffic events, as we noticed in the past. The API write node is still a 1:1 ratio to a Stacks node running in follower mode since any particular blockchain node can be slightly ahead/behind other nodes at any given moment, making load balancing very difficult. In addition, an upgrade to the chain is expected to go live around December 8th that will provide a 2-10x increase in capacity. There are additional exciting future scalability and speed solutions now being explored that should give developers several different options as they build.CT Markets Pro User: Can you explain microblocks? Is that the main factor to allow Stacks to scale?MC: This is a great question and one we’ve seen some confusion about in the past. However, it is essential to note that microblocks are NOT a scalability solution; they allow faster transaction confirmations. To put it simply, microblocks are intended to solve transaction latency, allowing transactions to confirm in seconds on the Stacks chain before they are later settled to Bitcoin.CT Markets Pro User: PoW blockchains have gotten labeled as substantial energy consumers thanks to one guy who will remain nameless. Where does Stacks PoX rate for energy consumption? Since it integrates with BTC, have you had to explain this difference?MC: As for Stacks, it’s a straightforward narrative: PoX recycles PoW already spent on Bitcoin. This means we’re not burning or consuming new electricity for Stacks transactions. On a more personal note, I’ve been starting to work with some NFT artists that are passionate about making sure their environmental impact is zero or minimal, and they’ve been excited about Stacks. An early launch on Stacks included Cara Delevingne, and this was a vital issue for her as her NFT was going to benefit climate-related topics.CT Markets Pro User: Each STX block is somehow recorded on the BTC blockchain. How much block space does this take? What is recorded?MC: You can check this publicly! All of the BTC transactions are showing a size of 352 Bytes. The system’s state settles on Bitcoin — creating a new Stacks block entails sending a well-formed Bitcoin transaction that records the hash of a Stacks block and where it attaches to the blockchain. Settling the system on Bitcoin grants Stacks novel security properties not seen in other blockchains — it leverages the security of Bitcoin to guarantee that all Stacks forks are public and to help to bootstrap Stacks nodes identify the canonical Stacks fork and find Stacks blocks they have not yet downloaded.CT Markets Pro User: How many full nodes are in operation? Is there a limit to the amount of decentralization that can be achieved?MC: Short answer, there were a few hundred last we checked. For the rest, great question, and buckle up for a longer answer. It’s important to note that unlike PoW based networks, like Bitcoin, the number of STX miners alone is not an accurate reflection of a miner’s relative ability to win blocks over time. As a result, it does not reflect the security or decentralization of the network. To successfully attack Stacks 2.0, a miner would need to mine a genuinely longer chain than the rest of the network. Unlike a PoW based chain, the Stacks chain quality is measured by its length and not the total amount of BTC burned (or resources expended). This means that simply spending 100x the BTC of every other miner will not result in a longer or better Stacks chain tip. Instead, a miner would have to consistently out-mine every other participant to attack the Stacks chain successfully. To do this, a “bad actor” miner needs to effectively guarantee they could win every block over the period their attack occurs.CT Markets Pro User: Any plans for interconnectivity with other blockchains? What solutions can be employed today?MC: Yep! The community has several bridge efforts, including bridges to public blockchains such as Ethereum, BSC, SOL, Polygon, Klaytn, ICON, Orbit, etc. See some of the initiatives below: Stacks Bridge — cross-chain transfer service that allows owners of ETH or STX based NFTs to move their NFTs between blockchains; Banana Bridge — Megakongs will mint on Ethereum and be transferable back forth to Stacks, and this is an essential step. This opens them to Ethereum liquidity and, perhaps more importantly, it gives Bitcoin NFTs a gateway to access some of the exciting Metaverse projects vice versa; Orbit Chain — Orbit Chain is currently bridging Stacks and will soon welcome Bitcoin to the growing $100B+ DeFi Economy. Orbit Chain has built a notable reputation for itself in the past year, having bridged more than $10B worth of assets across other top chains, including Ethereum, BSC, Polygon, Klaytn, ICON, and Ripple.CT Markets Pro User: Will the relevance of Layer-1/Layer-2 solutions on the BTC blockchain diminish over time should future updates like Taproot occur?MC: Bitcoin is probably a stable blockchain precisely because it doesn’t change and is predictable. Any proposed changes can take a long time to merge since there is an incentive for the protocol not to change, and there is a large community with many opinions about any proposed change. Bitcoin is stable and predictable — so it’s unlikely that a native on-chain solution will supersede solutions like Stacks. Is it possible? Sure — but it’s also unlikely. Notably, Taproot doesn’t come close to bringing expressive smart contracts to Bitcoin.

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Coinbase adds 'ETH2' despite tomorrow's Ethereum upgrade postponing difficulty bomb

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has added a mirrored version of the Ethereum blockchain’s native token Ether (ETH) to its crypto price index, just ahead of a key network upgrade on Dec. 10.Dubbed “ETH2,” the symbol appeared to have been tracking the original Ether market data synchronously. For instance, the cost to purchase ETH2 came out to be the same as that for ETH. Meanwhile, their market capitalization, volume, circulating supply, and price changes were also identical.Coinbase is already promoting eth2 as a new coin? pic.twitter.com/C67UxooLU0— Nuno (@nvcoelho) December 6, 2021Nonetheless, unlike the original, the ETH2 token had no Trading Activity, Popularity Score, or Typical Hold Time, underscoring that its role — for now — is to merely track the ETH market data at least until mid-2022.ETH vs ETH2.0 market data. Source: CoinbaseThat is probably as ETH2 seems to have been posing as the native token of Ethereum’s ongoing upgrade, dubbed Ethereum 2.0, which expects to go live fully by June 2022. But the Coinbase’s index listing appears closer to “Arrow Glacier,” a fork that would give developers more time to prepare for Ethereum 2.0.Before Ethereum 2.0The Arrow Glacier update aims to delay a so-called “difficulty bomb,” an incentive hardcoded inside the Ethereum blockchain since its launch in 2015, which would make it difficult for people to mine Ether. In doing so, the BOMB, if triggered, would slow down the Ethereum network, for as long as it remains proof-of-work.Tim Beiko, one of the core developers working on the Ethereum upgrade, noted that Arrow Glacier might be the last upgrade before Ethereum 2.0 goes live next year. Meanwhile, Coinbase appears to have been treating the Arrow Glacier fork as a confirmation that they would exist a new token called ETH2 after the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade.In detail, Ethereum 2.0, also known as “Serenity,” would enable significant changes to its design, including a full-scale transition from energy-intensive Proof-of-Work (PoW) — also used by Bitcoin (BTC) — to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).In the current version, nodes must validate every transaction to maintain Ethereum’s public ledger. But the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade would launch “sharding,” which would divide the network into various segments (called shards) and would randomly assign nodes to each shard. Beacon Chain and Sharding. Source: Vitalik.caThat would remove the need for each node to scan the entire chain, theoretically improving the speed and costs required to maintain the network. Meanwhile, individual shards would share the transaction details with a so-called Beacon Chain, which serves as the backbone of Ethereum 2.0.ETH2 is not a new cryptoBeacon Chain, which went live in December 2020, would validate the transactions on each shard, thus assisting the entire Ethereum 2.0 network reach consensus. It would also detect dishonest validators and initiate penalties by removing a portion of the validator’s stake from circulation.Related: Vitalik Buterin outlines ‘endgame’ roadmap for ETH 2.0At the core of Ethereum 2.0’s PoS design would be ETH (or ETH2), which primarily serves as a staking token for validators to participate in the network consensus and, in turn, to receive block rewards for it. Beacon Chain’s deposit contract has received over 8.42 million ETH tokens from 55,300 unique depositors (validators) since its launch in December 2020.The balance of the Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract divided by the total ETH supply. Source: CryptoQuantThat being said, ETH2 is not a new coin and would not change the ETH amount one holds. Instead, as Coinbase’s index listing suggests, ETH2 may end up becoming a rebranded version of the original Ether, without needing holders to swap one version for another.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Former Google CEO is now a strategic advisor for Chainlink Labs

Eric Schmidt, the chief executive officer of Google until 2011 who later served as executive chair at the tech company and its parent firm Alphabet, has joined oracle solutions provider Chainlink Labs as a strategic advisor.According to a Tuesday announcement, Chainlink said Schmidt would guide the firm’s scaling strategy in its use of oracle networks to trigger smart contracts. Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov cited Schmidt’s experience “building global software platforms for next-generation innovation” in the firm’s decision to bring the former Google exec on board.“The launch of blockchains and smart contracts has demonstrated tremendous potential for the building of new business models, but it has become clear that one of blockchain’s greatest advantages — a lack of connection to the world outside itself — is also its biggest challenge,” said Schmidt.In addition to his time at Google and Alphabet, Schmidt was chair of the Department of Defense’s Innovation board and chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, and served on the boards of Apple, Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Mayo Clinic. With an estimated net worth of roughly $23.6 billion, Schmidt will likely be one of the wealthiest individuals acting as an advisor to a crypto firm. [embedded content]Related: Chainlink’s total value secured surpasses $75B as DeFi continues to surgeEarlier this year, Chainlink announced its Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol, or CCIP, capable of using the platform’s oracles “to enable users to move digital assets and execute smart contracts across the various chains used throughout the metaverse.” According to the firm, it currently has more than $80 billion worth of value locked in smart contracts and applications built on blockchains.

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