What is Bitcoin Mining - A Comprehensive Beginner Guide in ...

The next XVG? Microcap 100x potential actually supported by fundamentals!

What’s up team? I have a hot one for you. XVG returned 12 million percent in 2017 and this one reminds me a lot of it. Here’s why:
Mimblewimble is like Blu-Ray compared to CD-ROM in terms of its ability to compress data on a blockchain. The current BTC chain is 277gb and its capacity is limited because every time you spend a coin, each node needs to validate its history back to when it was mined (this is how double spending is prevented). Mimblewimble is different - all transactions in a block are aggregated and netted out in one giant CoinJoin, and only the current spending needs to be verified. This means that dramatically more transactions can fit into a smaller space, increasing throughput and lowering fees while still retaining the full proof of work game theory of Bitcoin. These blockchains are small enough to run a full node on a cheap smartphone, which enhances the decentralization and censorship resistance of the network.
The biggest benefit, though, is that all transactions are private - the blockchain doesn’t reveal amounts or addresses except to the actual wallet owner. Unlike earlier decoy-based approaches that bloat the chain and can still be data mined (XMR), Mimblewimble leaves no trace in the blockchain, instead storing only the present state of coin ownership.
The first two Mimblewimble coins, Grin and Beam, launched to great fanfare in 2019, quickly reaching over $100m in market cap (since settled down to $22m and $26m respectively). They are good projects but grin has infinite supply and huge never-decreasing emission, and Beam is a corporate moneygrab whose founding investors are counting on you buying for their ROI.
ZEC is valued at $568m today, despite the facts that only 1% of transactions are actually shielded, it has a trusted setup, and generating a confidential transaction takes ~60 seconds on a powerful PC. XMR is a great project but it’s valued at $1.2b (so no 100x) and it uses CryptoNote, which is 2014 tech that relies on a decoy-based approach that could be vulnerable to more powerful computers in the future. Mimblewimble is just a better way to approach privacy because there is simply no data recorded in the blockchain for companies to surveil.
Privacy is not just for darknet markets, porn, money launderers and terrorists. In many countries it’s dangerous to be wealthy, and there are all kinds of problems with having your spending data be out there publicly and permanently for all to see. Namely, companies like Amazon are patenting approaches to identify people with their crypto addresses, “for law enforcement” but also so that, just like credit cards, your spending data can be used to target ads. (A) Coinbase is selling user data to the DEA, IRS, FBI, Secret Service, and who knows who else? (B) What about insurance companies raising your premiums or canceling your policy because they see you buying (legal) cannabis? If your business operates using transparent cryptocurrency, competitors can data mine your customer and supply chain data, and employees can see how much everyone else gets paid. I could go on, but the idea of “I have nothing to hide, so what do I care about privacy?” will increasingly ring hollow as people realize that this money printing will have to be paid by massive tax increases AND that those taxes will be directly debited from their “Central Bank Digital Currency” wallets.
100% privacy for all transactions also eliminates one HUGE problem that people aren’t aware of yet, but they will be: fungibility. Fungibility means that each coin is indistinguishable from any other, just like paper cash. Why is this important? Because of the ever-expanding reach of AML/KYC/KYT (Anti-Money Laundering / Know Your Customer / Know Your Transaction) as regulators cramp down on crypto and banks take over, increasingly coins become “tainted” in various ways. For example, if you withdraw coins to a mixing service like Wasabi or Samourai, you may find your account blocked. (C) The next obvious step is that if you receive coins that these chainalysis services don’t like for whatever reason, you will be completely innocent yet forced to prove that you didn’t know that the coins you bought were up to no good in a past life. 3 days ago, $100k of USDC was frozen. (D) Even smaller coins like LTC now have this problem, because “Chinese Drug Kingpins” used them. (E) I believe that censorable money that can be blocked/frozen isn’t really “your money”.
Epic Cash is a 100% volunteer community project (like XVG and XMR) that had a fair launch in September last year with no ICO and no premine. There are very few projects like this, and it’s a key ingredient in Verge’s success (still at $110m market cap today despite being down 97% since the bubble peak) and why it’s still around. It has a small but super passionate community of “Freemen” who are united by a belief in the sound money economics of Bitcoin Standard emission (21m supply limit and ever-decreasing inflation) and the importance of privacy.
I am super bullish on this coin for the following reasons:
Because it doesn’t have a huge marketing budget in a sea of VC-funded shitcoins, it is as-yet undiscovered, which is why it’s so cheap. There are only 4 Mimblewimble-based currencies on the market: MWC at $162m, BEAM at $26m, GRIN at $22m, and EPIC at $0.4m. This is not financial advice and as always, do your own research, but I’ve been buying this gem for months and will continue to.
This one ticks all the boxes for me, the only real problem is that it’s hard to buy much without causing a huge green candle. Alt season is coming, and coins like this are how your neighbor Chad got his Lambo back in 2017. For 2021, McLaren is a better choice and be sure to pay cash so that it doesn’t get repossessed like Chad!
  1. A https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/d35eax/amazon-bitcoin-patent-data-stream-identify-cryptocurrency-for-law-enforcement-government
  2. B https://decrypt.co/31461/coinbase-wants-to-identify-bitcoin-users-for-dea-irs
  3. C https://www.coindesk.com/binance-blockade-of-wasabi-wallet-could-point-to-a-crypto-crack-up
  4. D https://cointelegraph.com/news/centre-freezes-ethereum-address-holding-100k-usdc
  5. E https://www.coindesk.com/us-treasury-blacklists-bitcoin-litecoin-addresses-of-chinese-drug-kingpins
  6. F https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWkTxl5Z6DNN0ASMRxSKV5g
  7. G http://epic.tech/whitepaper
  8. H https://medium.com/epic-cash/epic-cash-on-uniswap-22447904d375
  9. I https://epic.tech/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/figure-3.1.jpg
Links:
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Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?

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

Institutional Borrowers

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

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

Consumer Products

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

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

BlockFi

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

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

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

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

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

Honorable Mentions

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

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

Wrap Up

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

A small story about how I discovered r/BTC, and some stuff I want to say

So, when I first went back to the Crypto community back November 2019, I was rather, hesitant. I just finished verification of a mobile wallet with BTC support called Coins.ph and it made me curious on the crypto it allows: BTC, BCH, ETH, and XRP. I went and shuffled money around, and once my father gave his 0.01 BTC he mined (which I lost like a fraction because of Binance, seriously that place is weird), I decided to keep it to my centralized bank.
Fast forward to February, the bear drop of BTC and most crypto was like a new chance for me. I can finally get something good! So I tried the faucets. Which lead me to finding that CoinPot has decreased withdrawal rates. Well...
BCH entered my crypto portfolio through Bitcoin.com. I'm just a gullible person. Any shiny thing and I go for it the last second. When I learned that BCH is actually faster than BTC (had tested the speed by placing PHP 500 or more or less 0.05 BCH , I took PHP 1,000 and placed it on my account.
It was a fool's attempt, since Philippines just struck quarantine, and I can't do anything about it.
The fast confirmation speed pre-Halving sold it for me, and I thought, maybe I can hold it for a while?
After testing Keys4Coins by buying a steam card, it was really just a few minutes of payment, then I realized that BCH (and pre 2017 BTC) is really peer-to-peer. Back in 2019 until today I was trying to mine XMR (failed to retrieve it after dumping all my BCH and dumping XMR back, showing less money). Back in 2017, just a few weeks before the split, I was trying hard to get enough satoshis to have on my Electrum-built wallet. Which is currently empty.
Right now, I decided to cash out 0.05 BCH because money is needed right now, and my PC froze while I was trying to mine Zcoin. I also decided to try a semi-unused coin named BLUR after asking you guys about what to mine with GPU.
It's not worth it, mining.
Now, let's say some things I want to say lately.
  1. BCH and BTC came from one blockchain and one whitepaper. BTC doesn't follow the whitepaper.
  2. BCH is not yet fully adopted. I know because while we have other countries adopt it, crypto news have it, trolls are fighting against it, there is not even one news of all in the mainstream media.
  3. The IFP is a sound plan, but it doesn't work in the long run. It looks like a forced donation to some whitelisted addresses, which, while might help Bitcoin ABC, will turn Bitcoin ABC into our own Blockstream. Money does that to people, don't push it.
  4. For some reason, I met this guy who claims that Roger Vers owes him $100. Nice guy, knows the good faucets and stuff. He's making a forum that uses Satoshis by the way. Here's a link: Bitcoin Forums.
  5. Also for some reason, BTC trolls have a perspective that BCH is made up of BCH maxis, shills, and idiots. Let their perspective be unchallenged, even if it means that you need to agree to disagree. After all, they are only defending BTC. Let them stick to latest news too, because people don't read old stuff.
  6. I wonder what Satoshi is doing right now? He's probably just lurking in the crypto world, mining his own dev node, doing something new with cryptography... he probably oversaw all this.
  7. BTC is gold bars. BCH is gold coins melted from gold bars sent around. BSV is some shit I don't even understand why they even made in the first place, lol
  8. Bitcoin is not just the name of an revolutionary idea, it's now a name of the first crypto. I have a feeling we will receive less trolls if we stop claiming Bitcoin Cash is true Bitcoin, because in name, Bitcoin (Core) is.
  9. I wonder what will happen if Bitcoin reaches $4,999...
tl:dr; I'm an idiot with cryptocurrency, and BCH is working fine, no need to see anything here, just bored and going insane on quarantine
submitted by RowanSkie to btc [link] [comments]

ColossusXT Q2 2020 AMA Ends!

Thank you for being a part of the ColossusXT Q2 2020 AMA! Below we will summarize the questions and answers. The team responded to 46 questions! If your question was not included, it may have been answered in a previous question or AMA. The ColossusXT team will do a Reddit AMA at the end of every quarter.
The winner of the AMA contest is: ookhimself
Congratulations. I will send you a DM on Reddit.
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Q: Why does your blockchain exist and what makes it unique?
A: ColossusXT exists to provide an energy-efficient method of supercomputing. ColossusXT is unique in many ways. Some coins have 1 layer of privacy. ColossusXT and the Colossus Grid will utilize 2 layers of privacy through Obfuscation Zerocoin Protocol, and I2P and these will protect users of the Colossus Grid as they utilize the grid resources. There are also Masternodes and Proof of Stake which both can contribute to reducing 51% attacks, along with instant transactions and zero-fee transactions. This protection is paramount as ColossusXT evolves into the Colossus Grid. Grid Computing will have a pivotal role throughout the world, and what this means is that users will begin to experience the Internet as a seamless computational universe. Software applications, databases, sensors, video, and audio streams-all will be reborn as services that live in cyberspace, assembling, and reassembling themselves on the fly to meet the tasks at hand. Once plugged into the grid, a desktop machine will draw computational horsepower from all the other computers on the grid.
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Q: What is the Colossus Grid?
A: ColossusXT is an anonymous blockchain through obfuscation, along with utilization of I2P (Armis). These features will protect end-user privacy as ColossusXT evolves into the Colossus Grid. The Colossus Grid will connect devices in a peer-to-peer network enabling users and applications to rent the cycles and storage of other users’ machines. This marketplace of computing power and storage will exclusively run on COLX currency. These resources will be used to complete tasks requiring any amount of computation time and capacity, or allow end-users to store data anonymously across the COLX decentralized network. Today, such resources are supplied by entities such as centralized cloud providers which are constrained by closed networks, proprietary payment systems, and hard-coded provisioning operations. Any user ranging from a single PC owner to a large data center can share resources through Colossus Grid and get paid in COLX for their contributions. Renters of computing power or storage space, on the other hand, may do so at low prices compared to the usual market prices because they are only using resources that already exist.
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Q: Is there any estimated date for the grid? What will set you apart from the opposition?
A: We are hoping to have something released for the community in Q4 this year. The difference between other competitors is that ColossusXT is putting consumer privacy first and we’re actively in the process of working with federal and state agencies in the United States.
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Q: How do you plan to get people to implement the technology? At your current rate of development, when do you foresee a minimum viable product being available?
A: We have been strategically networking with businesses, and we are currently undergoing the verification process in the United States to make bids on federal and state projects. We are working on an MVP and our goal is to have at least a portion of the Colossus Grid ready by Q4 2020.
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Q: When we can expect any use-case for COLX? A company or service that uses COLX for its activities/tasks.
A: We’re aiming for Q4 of this year to have an MVP, throughout 2021 we will be strategically making bids on federal and state contracts in the United States with a goal to expand operations exponentially.
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Q: Are there any plans to be listed on the more prominent exchanges e.g binance, kraken?
A: Yes, we have applied to some of these exchanges that are considered Tier 1 or Tier 2 exchanges. Many of them upfront will tell you there are no fees associated with the listing, that is not entirely true most of the time. Regardless, have applied and are awaiting more responses as we move forward. Listing on these exchanges often requires that we cannot announce this information until ColossusXT is live on its platform.
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Q: Partnerships are the norm these days in crypto world. Which partnership would you consider feasible, if any, in order to grow the Colossus Grid project?
A: The Colossus Grid is a huge undertaking both in development and business partnerships. We are moving in both these directions strategically. One of the most important partnerships is not really a partnership but approval to bid on state and federal contracts. Working with the governments around the world will be a big part of the Colossus Grid use-case.
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Q: If the ability to annonymise coins is turned off, can CLX still be marketed as a privacy coin? Do we have a date we can start using this feature again?
A: Yes and No. It’s frustrating right now having a lack of privacy for consumers as we don’t see privacy as a feature but a right. EVERY platform online should have some levels of privacy for their consumers, especially as technology continues to evolve and bad actors continue to use your personal information for their own nefarious purposes. Obfuscation will be implemented in the coming weeks, and Armis will follow suit shortly thereafter.
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Q: When can we expect the grid to come out?
A: We are looking at releasing an MVP towards the end of the year. Stay tuned during Q3 and Q4 as we ramp on technical and business developments.
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Q: Can you tell the current budget for development work?
A: Much of the development work budget comes from Core team member's disposable income, we also use the self-funding treasury that Masternode owners vote on each month.
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Q: Will cold staking be implemented somedays? I like the model of Cardano. Hope you will implement kind of Cardano staking in our wallet. I would love the easiness.
A: ColossusXT staking has been enabled since 2017. We have calculators on the website that will estimate your average staking returns and you can join numerous pools to increase your staking power within the pools. Cold staking is on our radar and will make it into the roadmap when our budget allows us.
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Q: Which part of grid technology are you planning first to go live? Storage/RAM/CPU/GPU/all at once? Separately?
A: We will be rolling the Colossus Grid out in two phases. The first phase will be storage, and then we will roll out computing power (RAM/CPU/GPU).
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Q: Is Armis I2P technology in development testphase I mean, I have read something like that… If Armis goes live, will there be some kind of option in deskopt wallet to transfer anonymous or will every transaction be fully anonymous like e.g. monero?
A: We recently had a testing phase with the community earlier this year, there will be another test phase with community participants who sign up. If you’re interested in this stay tuned on our socials and apply when the next testing phase happens All transactions will be fully anonymous behind Armis.
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Q: What programming languate is being used for developing COLX? How well this programming language do you think is more suitable for developing crypto, in comparison with other programing languages?
A: C++ is what we’re using at ColossusXT. Each crypto project is different but with what we're developing at ColossusXT. We are best suited to utilize C++.
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Q: What is the second biggest milestone other than launching the grid network for the team. What do you think of your competition like Golem network?
A: Armis will be a big milestone, and I don’t think we go back to our Polis partnership which allows users in Europe and Mexico (they do plan to expand to the US and other countries) the ability to spend their ColossusXT (COLX) wherever Mastercard is accepted. I don’t think the Golem network is taking consumer privacy far enough, in the blockchain industry I also see a lack of drive to push adoption within the United States. This is likely due to unclear regulations right now. ColossusXT is at the forefront of these issues and we intend to lead blockchain through these somewhat murky waters.
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Q: I don’t have a lot of knowledge about crypto-technology… but are there any risks of sensitive data-hijacks through Colx infrastructure? Will the Colx-grid be available for individuals or only larger corporations, and how would one get access to the computing power?
A: There are always risks with technology. We are doing extensive testing and more testing prior to releasing anything. Consumer privacy is apart of the foundation of what we’re building at ColossusXT and we want to ensure any and all of your personal information is secure and private. As technology evolves, we will be right here evolving with it to ensure that consumer privacy protections are always in place.
The Colossus Grid will be available to anyone with a computer. You will access it through the desktop wallet.
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Q: Do you have any new exchange listings planned in the near future?
A: Yes, but unfortunately with these things, every day it’s not something we can often say before the exchange makes their own announcements. If you have certain exchanges that you prefer, do not be shy and tag us on Twitter letting us and the exchange know. You can also reach us everyday at all hours of the day and night on Discord and Telegram.
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Q: Given that Colx had no ICO, are we able to ramp development efforts in case we have potential partnership deal on the table?
A: It really depends. We strategically spend every dime we spend on development. We do not like even a single penny to be waisted, so we don’t move as fast as the projects that raised millions of dollars, but we continue moving none the less. Ramping up our development is something we are working on by securing additional funding and we’re currently working on securing funding. 😊
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Q: How is the project development advancing? What are your plans for the next 5 years and what more can we expect from ColossusXT?
A: Our development is continuing on at a steady pace, we’re looking to ramp this up over the next year as the Colossus Grid will take much of our time but we’re excited. Over the next 5 years, you can expect the Colossus Grid to be live in all forms (storage and computing power), Armis will be released and we will share many technical details on how this consumer privacy protection rivals some of the other privacy protections in the blockchain industry. We expect to be verified and approved to work with the agencies in the United States long before then as well and will be aggressively pursuing federal contracts to utilize the computing power of the Colossus Grid. In 5 years, we plan to be a key player not just in the blockchain industry, but throughout the world. If you do not know ColossusXT now, expect to in 5 years or less.
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Q: Users often care less about technology, but rather the value of the token. How do you manage to strike a balance between developing the technology and also improving the value of COLX? There are so many privacy coins now, all of them claiming to have better features that ColossusXT. Moving forward, what do the next 10 years look like for ColossusXT in navigating the wave of privacy projects coming. How can ColossusXT continue to shine in the midst of seemingly legit projects that have come to challenge ColossusXT like mimblewimble projects and Monero, Zcoin, ect.?

A: The Colossus Grid and Masternodes will have a strong relationship with each other. When the Colossus Grid goes live we expect the masternode demand to continue to rise. Masternodes are a great incentive mechanism to increase network strength and will play an important role within the Colossus Grid. The more masternodes online, the less available coins in the circulating supply; which we expect will eventually reflect ColossusXT (COLX) coin value.
Over the next 10 years, ColossusXT (COLX) will solidify itself as a key player in the blockchain industry, and outside the blockchain industry. Following our strategic business plans, we intend to be one of the first, if not the first to truly bring government and other businesses into the blockchain industry through the Colossus Grid. Armis will be our defining privacy feature, which we expect in time will begin to be adopted by other projects. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How have the number of Masternodes (MNs) increased/decreased over time/in the past few years? What proportion (%) of MNs actively take part in Governance? How do you see the number of MNs increasing/decreasing in the next couple of years? Is there a trend upwards or downwards?
Is there a specific number (or range) of MNs the team would like to attain ideally? Is it better to have as many MNs as possible or is there a point at which too many MNs start to have an adverse effect on the performance of the blockchain?
Hope this wasn’t too many questions in one :), Ahmed

A: The number of masternodes in the active network is more or less the same, fluctuating around 200-220. About 40% - 50% of masternodes participate actively in governance (see https://governance.colossusxt.io). We expect a number of masternodes to grow as they will have additional benefits with Colossus Grid (see business plan: http://bit.ly/COLXBPLive).
As the team had no premines, only the dev fund can be used for masternodes which is hard to maintain due to actual budget flow. It’s better to have as many masternodes as possible for the network, there is no adverse effect.
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Q: Of all the milestones that $COLX has achieved since your humble beginnings, which do you consider to be the best of it all? What achievements do you feel proud most?
A: It’s often not mentioned but I’m very proud of our partnership with PolisPay, which allows ColossusXT community members to purchase Amazon, Spotify, and other gift cards with ColossusXT (COLX) through the Polis platform. You are also able to spend your COLX anywhere Mastercard is accepted, the card is available only for EU citizens right now and the Polis team hopes to bring in other countries in the future.
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Q: There are problems that can slow down the course of a project such as the emergence of globalization, given the tighter budget, shorter implementation time requirements. My question is, How does $COLX resolve the issue?

A: Given the current situations around the world the Colossus Grid has more value than it ever has, and that value will continue to grow once we have released the Colossus Grid for consumers to share and utilize resources. You can already see from the [email protected] initiative that people are eager to share their computing resources to help researchers simulate different COVID19 simulations. We’ve always worked on a very small budget at ColossusXT starting with 0$ in funding and no pre-mine or ICO/IEO. This project was built for the community by the community, and as of lately we’ve actually been ramping up our business strategies and developments. Since we have all already worked remotely before the COVID19 pandemic, it interestingly allowed us more time to focus and achieve these goals as our day jobs allowed us to spend more time on ColossusXT.
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Q: How will you fight with regulators who are trying to stop privacy coins?

A: We have an amazing legal team at ColossusXT, and they are on top of any new law or regulation that comes out. We’re not afraid of regulators and our legal team makes sure that everything we do for ColossusXT is law-abiding. It's time the world stops looking at privacy as a feature and as a right, especially when you read about different applications and platforms using your personal DATA for their benefit. ColossusXT will continue to push this, and we're prepared to lobby this to lawmakers. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What type of utilities can $COLX give to users over its competitors like GOLM (computation) or STORJ (Data)?

A: The Colossus Grid has some major differences between Golem and Storj. One we’re a privacy-focused project. If you take a look at many of these applications and platforms today, in some way or another you’re giving up personal information, and/or geographic information. ColossusXT is focused on protecting consumer information, we do not look at privacy as a feature, we see privacy as a right, especially in the tech world today.
The second part of this question is that we’re currently in the verification process of registering with the United States federal and state governments so that we can legally bid on federal and state projects and work with different agencies. This will ensure that as the community members are sharing their idle resources, large corporations and businesses are using it. I’m not aware of the mentioned projects being registered in the United States or taking steps to work with the United States government.
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Q: How will computing power and storage sharing look like, for an average user (marketplace, program download)? What are you currently working on, when can we expect MVP? TY
A: The marketplace and Colossus Grid will be inside the ColossusXT desktop wallet that you currently have now. The UI/UX will change some to allow the additional settings and tabs that will become available and we’re preparing an MVP right now and we hope to share those details with you over the next few months, ask us again in the Q3 AMA if you haven’t seen anything yet :)
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Q: What would you say is the $COLX killer feature that sets it apart from the rest of the competition.
A: We believe that Armis is our killer feature. We recently had a beta this year with the community and will be moving forward later this year with Armis. ColossusXT consumers will have their geographic location and IP fully hidden behind the Armis layer for further security and anonymity for the transactions which will also take place in the Colossus Grid resource marketplace in the future.
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Q: I have been a silent follower of $COLX and I must say that I'm truly impressed with how the team has been diligently working on the project. It'd be nice to have the community be part of something like a bounty or a social awareness contest. As this will not only attract more users to the platform but would also strengthen the bond within the community. When can we possibly expect a community project of this level? #spreadthegrid
A: We currently have a Gleam competition ongoing for social awareness, and we just hired a community manager to spread more community awareness and will be rolling on competitions more regularly. Every quarter we have an AMA on Reddit for the community to ask questions, or just gripe at us, and one person each quarter is awarded 100,000 COLX for participating in the AMA. As we deliver our targets and grow, we will shift more funds from development funds to marketing funds to raise further awareness.
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Q: "Our main competitor is crypto adoption. We are all here to make it happen together.", this is quoted from a founder of a known crypto wallet. Do you see competition as something that strengthens the project as a whole or as a possible distraction due to pressure to be at the top of the crypto ecosystem?

A: This is a two scenario situation. Competition is good for ColossusXT, and we look at our main competitor in blockchain as Golem (GNT), having said that though too much competition or sometimes maximalist behavior isn’t good for crypto, many of these projects should be coming together to lobby lawmakers for laws and regulations that are good for the blockchain industry, as this is still an emerging market and the laws and regulations aren’t exactly in place at this time.
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Q: "For people to believe in crypto, they need to understand the tangible benefits it offers to our society.", a remark made by a crypto project in the past. What exactly would be $COLX real life global benefits? And how do you plan on achieving this?
A: ColossusXT vision will be achievable when the Colossus Grid is released. We are currently in the process of registering with state and federal agencies in the United States, once we are registered to work with these agencies we will pursue contracts with the government, cybersecurity firms and colleges all around the United States, and the world to utilize the resources on the Colossus Grid. We’ve already started building business relationships for this very purpose.
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Q: According to you how much time will it take for $COLX to get into mainstream adoption and execute all the plans set for this project?
A: It’s almost impossible to set a timeline on when the world/people will begin to adopt ColossusXT (COLX) and the Colossus Grid. We don’t believe that adoption for ColossusXT will happen before the Colossus Grid is live, and if I gave you an exact timeline for when or how long it will take you for the Colossus Grid to be adopted I would be lying to you, but we are already forming business relationships and making strategic moves to be able to bid, and work with state and federal agencies in the United States.
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Q: Does Tokens.net plan any kind of staking ($COLX or other coins)?
A: We will reach out to the tokens.net team and see if they have any plans to allow staking.
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Q: How will you try to boost adoption of #COLX, how do you think you will motivate programmers to join opensource project?
A: The Colossus Grid will be available for anyone to use, or share their idle resources for other consumers to use. We will be focusing on providing these resources to state and federal governments, cybersecurity firms, and researchers all across the world. Certainly, we expect some community members to use these resources to mine different PoW cryptocurrencies, but the team at ColossusXT will be focused on bringing in large colleges and universities as well as big cybersecurity businesses that may need supercomputing power at 1/10th of the current prices. Our programmers are our only paid team members, and we pay them at a competitive rate. We’re looking to bring in some more programmers later this year.
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Q: Do you have any special development funds for programmers?
A: Sometimes we pay our programmers out of our own pocket, sometimes we pay them in ColossusXT. It really depends on what kind of agreements have been made. We have been aggressively pursuing different funding opportunities throughout 2020 so that we can expand our development team and in the future, we may have incentives to drive programmers into joining our team. Right now we just stick to a competitive pay scale within the industry.
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Q: Why Android Wallet Revision hasn't been done? Any problems?
A: The Android wallet revision took some time to be approved in the Google Playstore, but it has been released and live since June 15, 2020.
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Q: Whats the second biggest milestone other than the grid network for COLX team?
A: Armis is likely to be considered our second biggest milestone this year, although as I mentioned above this can easily be overshadowed by our Polis partnership which allows you to spend ColossusXT (COLX) anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Although the epay debit card ownership is currently restricted to certain countries (EU zone only), these restrictions will lift in time.
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Q: How is COLX team going to contribute to crypto adoption, other than building a robust network?
A: We’re already in the process of verification to work with state and federal agencies. Adoption for blockchain projects isn’t going to move fast. I read a report just a few days ago about how scammers in the crypto industry stole over 2 million dollars worth of crypto just from the “Elon Musk” impersonations on Twitter.
We will continue to build our network, and seek out state and federal agencies as well as private cybersecurity firms that can utilize the Colossus Grid, we’re not just focused on making noise on social media, we intend to make noise throughout the entire world.
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Q: Are their industry partners to COLX that are awaiting your network to go live?
A: Yes, although I hesitate to go into too much detail here. We are talking with business leaders.
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Q: The ongoing crisis affected the market badly, making many projects far from their targets. What is $COLX strategy in order to survive and pass through this crisis?
A: I agree it affected the market badly, especially the projects that raised hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto and held it through the entire market correction. ColossusXT strategy is different from those affected, we’ve always had a smaller budget than these large projects. We spend the money we have available very wisely, and we’re not in a hurry to grab something that sounds good without doing our due diligence. We make our moves very strategically.
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Q: I gotta ask, what made $COLX decide to get listed on Tokens.net? What beneficial advantage does $COLX get in doing so? How about Tokens.net?
A: Tokens.Net is one of the best exchanges ColossusXT is listed at the moment in comparison to others in terms of volume.
  1. Tokens.net is one of the most secure and transparent exchanges out there, registered in the UK.
  2. The team behind the exchange has deep roots in the crypto/blockchain space, it was co-founded by Damian Merlak, a crypto-pioneer and co-founder of Bitstamp.
  3. Tokens.net provides free auto-trading tool / Market Making Bot. Their Dynamic Trading Rights concept adds transparency to trading volumes.
  4. They allow the community voting option of only truly decentralized projects after a thorough screening.
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Q: Hey everyone! What is the main purpose of the coin $COLX, does it have its own chain or is it some sort of an ERC-20 token? Thank you for the answers.
A: ColossusXT has never been an ERC-20 coin. We have been operating on our own mainnet since 2017. The purpose of ColossusXT (COLX) is to be the native currency of the Colossus Grid. This will allow users to share their idle resources on their computers, and consumers will rent/buy those resources to complete whatever they intend to use them for, from processing large DATA to running scientific simulations, to even mining PoW cryptocurrencies.
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Q: When we can expect any usecase for COLX? A company or service that uses colx for its activities / tasks.
A: There are currently use cases now if your location allows you to utilize the Polis Pay app, or if you have a Polis Pay card you can buy things with ColossusXT (COLX). I myself have tested the card buying gas at a gas station. These are not ColossusXT’s primary focus though and much of our use case will not start until the Colossus Grid is live.
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Q: What pairs will colx have to trade with on tokens.net // Will you connect #COLX with USDT EURS or BTC?
A: ColossusXT will be initially paired with Bitcoin (BTC). If the community would like different pairs, they can certainly request them and we will reach out to tokens.net and work to facilitate requests.
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Q: Will you try to convince users to trade on tokens.net if so how will you do it?
A: There is currently a gleam competition for users to sign up and trade on tokens.net. We “shill” tokens.net accordingly through social media to the ColossusXT community, but can’t really convince anyone to use a certain exchange, although we will try to push as many members to tokens.net as we can. We have many masternode holders who reside in the United States and they are not yet allowed to trade on tokens.net.
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Q: How will you try to create liquidity for your pairs?
A: We would like to increase the adoption rate with real-world partnerships such as our partnership with PolisPay for the use of gift/debit cards. As the liquidity is linked with the use cases, supply/demand mechanics, we are also preparing to provide additional use cases of COLX for the crypto world in an innovative & pioneering way; for the time being, we can hint this as a side business till we deliver fully operational Colossus Grid.
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Q: How big is a development team of #COLX?
A: The ColossusXT team is probably bigger than some people realize, partly because many of the team members are very private. We have 9 core members, 2 in-house developers, 3 Colossus Grid architects, and 2 Colossus Grid developers.
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Q: Do you have some security guys in the team?
A: Yes, although I’m hesitant to share too many personal details about team members. We have core team members who have been working in different fields of IT security for several years.
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Q: Since #COLX is planning on having some sort of a marketplace where you can take advantage of computing resources and the blockchain as well, are there any plans on introducing smart contracts? Will it help the grid? Is there a place for it?
A: This has been mentioned a few times in the past so it’s something on our radar, it’s currently not in the development timeline as the Colossus Grid is a massive amount of work. There may be a place for it as the blockchain industry evolves, and I can certainly see some cases where a smart contract can add some value to the Colossus Grid.
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Important Information:
Website
Whitepaper
Roadmap
Business Plan
Wiki
Governance
Partners
GitHub
What is ColossusXT? (YouTube)
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Follow ColossusXT on:
Twitter
Facebook
Telegram
Discord
Forums
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AMA History:
2018 Q1 2018 Q2 2018 Q3 2018 Q4
2019 Q1 2019 Q2 2019 Q3 2019 Q4
2020 Q1
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Crypto Banking Wars: Can Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets Ever Replace Banks?

Crypto Banking Wars: Can Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets Ever Replace Banks?
Can they overcome the product limitations of blockchain and deliver the world-class experience that consumers expect?
https://reddit.com/link/i8ewbx/video/ojkc6c9a1lg51/player
This is the second 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?
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While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this very powerful technology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe companies that build with blockchain at their core will have the best shot at winning the broader consumer finance market. We hope it will be us at Genesis Block, but we aren’t the only game in town.
So this series explores the entire crypto landscape and tries to answer the question, which crypto company is most likely to become the bank of the future?
In our last episode, we offered an in-depth analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. Today we’re analyzing non-custodial crypto wallets. These are products where only the user can touch or move funds. Not even the company or developer who built the application can access, control, or stop funds from being moved. These apps allow users to truly become their own bank.
We’ve talked a little about this before. This group of companies is nowhere near the same level of threat as the biggest crypto exchanges. However, this group really understands DeFi and the magic it can bring. This class of products is heavily engineer-driven and at the bleeding-edge of DeFi innovation. These products are certainly worth discussing. Okay, let’s dive in.

Users & Audience

These non-custodial crypto wallets are especially popular among the most hardcore blockchain nerds and crypto cypherpunks.
“Not your keys, not your coins.”
This meme is endlessly repeated among longtime crypto hodlers. If you’re not in complete control of your crypto (i.e. using non-custodial wallets), then it’s not really your crypto. There has always been a close connection between libertarianism & cryptocurrency. This type of user wants to be in absolute control of their money and become their own bank.
In addition to the experienced crypto geeks, for some people, these products will mean the difference between life and death. Imagine a refugee family that wants to safely protect their years of hard work — their life savings — as they travel across borders. Carrying cash could put their safety or money at risk. A few years ago I spent time in Greece at refugee camps — I know first-hand this is a real use-case.

https://preview.redd.it/vigqlmgg1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=0a5d48a63ce7a637749bbbc03d62c51cc3f75613
Or imagine a family living under an authoritarian regime — afraid that their corrupt or oppressive government will seize their assets (or devalue their savings via hyperinflation). Citizens in these countries cannot risk putting their money in centralized banks or under their mattresses. They must become their own bank.
These are the common use-cases and users for non-custodial wallets.

Products in Market

Let’s do a quick round-up of some of the more popular products already in the market.
Web/Desktop The most popular web wallet is MetaMask. Though it doesn’t have any specific integration with DeFi protocols yet, it has more than a million users (which is a lot in crypto land!). Web wallets that are more deeply integrated with DeFi include InstaDapp, Zerion, DeFi Saver, Zapper, and MyCrypto (disclosure: I’m an investor and a big fan of Taylor). For the mass market, mobile will be a much more important form-factor. I don’t view these web products as much of a threat to Genesis Block.
https://preview.redd.it/gbpi2ijj1lg51.png?width=1050&format=png&auto=webp&s=c039887484bf8a3d3438fb02a384d0b9ef894e1f
Mobile The more serious threats to Genesis Block are the mobile products that (A) are leveraging some of the powerful DeFi protocols and (B) abstracting away a lot of the blockchain/DeFi UX complexity. While none get close to us on (B), the products attempting this are Argent and Dharma. To the extent they can, both are trying to make interacting with blockchain technology as simple as possible.
A few of the bigger exchanges have also entered this mobile non-custodial market. Coinbase has Wallet (via Cipher Browser acquisition). Binance has Trust Wallet (also via acquisition). And speaking of acquisitions, MyCrypto acquired Ambo, which is a solid product and has brought MyCrypto into the mobile space. Others worth mentioning include Rainbow — well-designed and built by a small indy-team with strong DeFi experience (former Balance team). And ZenGo which has a cool feature around keyless security (their CEO is a friend).
There are dozens of other mobile crypto wallets that do very little beyond showing your balances. They are not serious threats.
https://preview.redd.it/6x4lxsdk1lg51.png?width=1009&format=png&auto=webp&s=fab3280491b75fe394aebc8dd69926b6962dcf5d
Hardware Wallets Holding crypto on your own hardware wallet is widely considered to be “best practice” from a security standpoint. The most popular hardware wallets are Ledger, Trezor, and KeepKey (by our friends at ShapeShift). Ledger Nano X is the only product that has Bluetooth — thus, the only one that can connect to a mobile app. While exciting and innovative, these hardware wallets are not yet integrated with any DeFi protocols.
https://preview.redd.it/yotmvtsl1lg51.png?width=1025&format=png&auto=webp&s=c8567b42839d9cec8dbc6c78d2f953b688886026

Strengths

Let’s take a look at some of the strengths with non-custodial products.
  1. Regulatory arbitrage Because these products are “non-custodial”, they are able to avoid the regulatory burdens that centralized, custodial products must deal with (KYC/AML/MTL/etc). This is a strong practical benefit for a bootstrapped startup/buildedeveloper. Though it’s unclear how long this advantage lasts as products reach wider audiences and increased scrutiny.
  2. User Privacy Because of the regulatory arbitrage mentioned above, users do not need to complete onerous KYC requirements. For example, there’s no friction around selfies, government-issued IDs, SSNs, etc. Users can preserve much of their privacy and they don’t need to worry about their sensitive information being hacked, compromised, or leaked.
  3. Absolute control & custody This is really one of the great promises of crypto — users can become their own bank. Users can be in full control of their money. And they don’t need to bury it underground or hide it under a mattress. No dependence, reliance or trust in any third parties. Only the user herself can access and unlock the money.

Weaknesses

Now let’s examine some of the weaknesses.
  1. Knowledge & Education Most non-custodial products do not abstract away any of the blockchain complexity. In fact, they often expose more of it because the most loyal users are crypto geeks. Imagine how an average, non-crypto user feels when she starts seeing words like seed phrases, public & private keys, gas limits, transaction fees, blockchain explorers, hex addresses, and confirmation times. There is a lot for a user to learn and become educated on. That’s friction. The learning curve is very high and will always be a major blocker for adoption. We’ve talked about this in our Spreading Crypto series — to reach the masses, the crypto stuff needs to be in the background.
  2. User Experience It is currently impossible to create a smooth and performant user experience in non-custodial wallets or decentralized applications. Any interaction that requires a blockchain transaction will feel sluggish and slow. We built a messaging app on Ethereum and presented it at DevCon3 in Cancun. The technical constraints of blockchain technology were crushing to the user experience. We simply couldn’t create the real-time, modern messaging experience that users have come to expect from similar apps like Slack or WhatsApp. Until blockchains are closer in speed to web servers (which will be difficult given their decentralized nature), dApps will never be able to create the smooth user experience that the masses expect.
  3. Product Limitations Most non-custodial wallets today are based on Ethereum smart contracts. That means they are severely limited with the assets that they can support (only erc-20 tokens). Unless through synthetic assets (similar to Abra), these wallets cannot support massively popular assets like Bitcoin, XRP, Cardano, Litecoin, EOS, Tezos, Stellar, Cosmos, or countless others. There are exciting projects like tBTC trying to bring Bitcoin to Ethereum — but these experiments are still very, very early. Ethereum-based smart contract wallets are missing a huge part of the crypto-asset universe.
  4. Technical Complexity While developers are able to avoid a lot of regulatory complexity (see Strengths above), they are replacing it with increased technical complexity. Most non-custodial wallets are entirely dependent on smart contract technology which is still very experimental and early in development (see Insurance section of this DeFi use-cases post). Major bugs and major hacks do happen. Even recently, it was discovered that Argent had a “high severity vulnerability.” Fortunately, Argent fixed it and their users didn’t lose funds. The tools, frameworks, and best practices around smart contract technology are all still being established. Things can still easily go wrong, and they do.
  5. Loss of Funds Risk Beyond the technical risks mentioned above, with non-custodial wallets, it’s very easy for users to make mistakes. There is no “Forgot Password.” There is no customer support agent you can ping. There is no company behind it that can make you whole if you make a mistake and lose your money. You are on your own, just as CZ suggests. One wrong move and your money is all gone. If you lose your private key, there is no way to recover your funds. There are some new developments around social recovery, but that’s all still very experimental. This just isn’t the type of customer support experience people are used to. And it’s not a risk that most are willing to take.
  6. Integration with Fiat & Traditional Finance In today’s world, it’s still very hard to use crypto for daily spending (see Payments in our DeFi use-cases post). Hopefully, that will all change someday. In the meantime, if any of these non-custodial products hope to win in the broader consumer finance market, they will undoubtedly need to integrate with the legacy financial world — they need onramps (fiat-to-crypto deposit methods) and offramps (crypto-to-fiat withdraw/spend methods). As much as crypto-fanatics hate hearing it, you can’t expect people to jump headfirst into the new world unless there is a smooth transition, unless there are bridge technologies that help them arrive. This is why these fiat integrations are so important. Examples might be allowing ACH/Wire deposits (eg. via Plaid) or launching a debit card program for spend/withdraw. These fiat integrations are essential if the aim is to become the bank of the future. Doing any of this compliantly will require strong KYC/AML. So to achieve this use-case — integrating with traditional finance —all of the Strengths we mentioned above are nullified. There are no longer regulatory benefits. There are no longer privacy benefits (users need to upload KYC documents, etc). And users are no longer in complete control of their money.

Wrap Up

One of the great powers of crypto is that we no longer depend on banks. Anyone can store their wealth and have absolute control of their money. That’s made possible with these non-custodial wallets. It’s a wonderful thing.
I believe that the most knowledgeable and experienced crypto people (including myself) will always be active users of these applications. And as mentioned in this post, there will certainly be circumstances where these apps will be essential & even life-saving.
However, I do not believe this category of product is a major threat to Genesis Block to becoming the bank of the future.
They won’t win in the broader consumer finance market — mostly because I don’t believe that’s their target audience. These applications simply cannot produce the type of product experience that the masses require, want, or expect. The Weaknesses I’ve outlined above are just too overwhelming. The friction for mass-market consumers is just too much.

https://preview.redd.it/lp8dzxeh1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=03acdce545cd032f7e82b6665b001d7a06839557
The winning bank will be focused on solving real user problems and meeting user needs. Not slowed down by rigid idealism like censorship-resistance and absolute decentralization, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be a world-class product that’s smooth, performant, and accessible. Not sluggish and slow, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one where blockchain & crypto is mostly invisible to end-users. Not front-and-center as it is with non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one managed and run by professionals who know exactly what they’re doing. Not DIY (Do It Yourself), as it is with non-custodial wallets.
So are these non-custodial wallets a threat to Genesis Block in winning the broader consumer finance market, and becoming the bank of the future?
No. They are designed for a very different audience.
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(CEX vs DEX) vs HEX

A hybrid crypto exchange is a platform that provides users with access to their private keys and aims to solve the scalability issues of decentralized exchanges.
*Disclaimer: I don’t insist that one have to store 100% of the portfolio on any kind of exchange.

Why is it called Hybrid exchange?
Hybrid crypto exchanges combine the pros of Centralized crypto exchanges and Decentralized crypto exchanges. The hybrid concept allows for certain cons to be remedied by implementing the advantages of the opposite.

What are Centralized and Decentralized exchanges?
Centralized(CEX) crypto exchanges provide massive volatility with the help of market-making activities.
Occasional fiat gateways for its users, so everyone could quickly cash out gainings.
Besides, substantial centralized crypto exchanges have a higher trust score within the community.

Decentralized(DEX) crypto exchanges provide a solution to the security issues by letting users be in control of their private keys. This feature is a part of the real decentralization of trust philosophy, which is essential for the whole crypto economy.

DEX vs CEX





On the one hand, DEX’s provide higher security and privacy for its users, but those aren't the only things we are looking for. On the other hand, CEX’s, as I told earlier, have a higher trust score, so what does this mean exactly?


But is their royalty deserved?
“I definitely hope centralized exchanges go burn in hell as much as possible,” Vitalik Buterin stated in 2018. In particular, he thinks there’s no reason some projects need to pay $10 to $15 million(as per 2018) in listing fees to let people trade their tokens on centralized exchanges.
This feels like a blood diamonds issue in the diamond industry. Most of those platforms were built on lies, some of them are currently building themselves out on falsehoods.

CEXs have to be regulatory compliant, it’s impossible to be obedient without registering a company, submitting documents for proof of identity, etc. Most of the legal registries are opened to the public. Hence the founders are publicly known individuals. Besides, there is no need to hide while you are compliant and not involved in illegal activities.



If you are new to this industry, or do not want to understand the intricacies of blockchains and came here to trade Bitcoin, I advise you to use a CEX.
But If you came here for the tech, you will enjoy reading this more.

What is the hybrid crypto exchange approach?
Not so long ago, I decided to dive into the topic of hybrid exchanges as a potential game-changer in the cryptocurrency industry.
The hybrid exchange philosophy builds on the strengths of decentralized and centralized exchanges. During my research, I came across a curious example - NEXT.exchange
To further simplify the process of understanding the principles of hybrid exchanges, I propose to consider this topic by case. It’s worth noting that there is much to contemplate in regards to hybrid exchange platforms, their solutions and approaches may vary. There are also not many out there.

DEX pros within NEXT:

Essentially NEXT.chain will be used by the exchange as an open database that stores information about all transactions and tokenized assets (assets created on NEXT.chain are dubbed 00X standard) within the exchange.
To maintain the blockchain, investors will deploy 100 master nodes during the first year (79 out of 100 are already functioning).





CEX pros within NEXT:



It’s important to note that NEXT is just at its start, and will be releasing a huge update dubbed 2.0 (after a testing period with its community), so if hybrid cryptocurrency exchanges are interesting to you - then this is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Summing up
Recently, the industry of centralized crypto-exchanges is literally filled with scammers.
Teams of second-rate centralized exchanges "draw" trading volumes and even IEO results. Unfortunately, many blindly believe them. This is going to be a massive problem in the future, more important than you can imagine. Those scam exchanges will become more prominent and will swindle more people, this will lead to a severe outflow of defrauded people from the industry, which can not afford it.
Hybrid cryptocurrency exchanges are a new trend that I think can improve the whole industry.
Not all hybrid exchanges have their own blockchain, NEXT was considered as the project most suitable for the description of a hybrid cryptocurrency exchange.
Don't FOMO and don't hesitate to do your own researches before depositing funds on the exchange wallets or participating in an IEO.
submitted by SUN_STRIKE to CryptoMoonShots [link] [comments]

Consensus Network EP36: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.consensusnetwork.io/podcastepisodes/2019/10/5/ep36-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style-1
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
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CZ Binance CEO Interview - CoinMarketCap Acquisition, Bitcoin Mining Pool, Binance Card, Ripple ODL #870 Binance Bitcoin Mining Pool, Institutionen Interesse Ethereum & Bitfinex Social Trading Pulse Binance Launches Crypto Mining Pool Amid Centralization Concerns Binance Futures, Smart Contracts, VISA Card; WeChat China Crypto; Iran Allowing Mining; Cardano Remember when Binance talked about having a stable coin? Binance BUYS CoinMarketCap... CZ Binance CEO Interview - Binance 3 Year Anniversary, IPO, Card, Mining Pool & Swipe Acquisition

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