Bitmain’s $50M ‘Permissionless Ventures’ First Project: BCH Dev Con

Bitmain’s $50M 'Permissionless Ventures' First Project: BCH Dev Con

Cryptocurrency mining hardware giant, Bitmain, is sponsoring a Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hackathon in the United States  San Francisco, to be exact. For the China-based company, BCH Dev Con is the first project financed by its $50 million fund, Permissionless Ventures (PV).   

Also read: Mt. Gox Victims Must Take Claims to Tokyo, Not US, Judge Rules

Bitmain’s Permissionless Ventures Launches First Project

Arguably one of the most successful companies in the ecosystem, the crypto mining giant Bitmain, announced its first project connected with its Permissionless Ventures. Hilton San Francisco Union Square will be the venue to host the first BCH Dev Con, a Bitcoin Cash hackathon series.

Bitmain’s $50M 'Permissionless Ventures' First Project: BCH Dev Con

Over two days, on October 10th and 11th, the series will debut during the San Francisco Blockchain Week among some 5,000 visitors and attendees. BCH Dev Con is a way to encourage innovation and problem solving on the Bitcoin Cash network, including working with tokenization and smart contract platforms such as Wormhole, the company claims.

Epperly Li, Investment Director at Bitmain and Partner in its Permissionless Ventures, insists the $50 million PV fund “will operate more like an incubator, which will provide funding and also incubation for BCH developers. But this fund will be very neutral, open and creative, [and] will invest 60% into BCH projects and the other 40% into different blockchain projects.”

Coinbase, Factom, and Money Button to be Among Hackathon Judges

Ms. Li, during an interview with, continued, “Our idea is to build an open, innovative and creative ecosystem for BCH developers and communities. [We] want to work together with different blockchain communities to push forward the progress of blockchain technology.”

Bitmain’s $50M 'Permissionless Ventures' First Project: BCH Dev Con
Epperly Li

It appears the BCH Dev Con San Francisco will expand to Amsterdam, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and India, though concrete plans are not readily public at the time of publication. So far, the announced judging panel includes David Johnston of Factom, Shammah Chancellor from Bitcoin-ABC, Ryan X Charles of, Jiazhi Jiang from Wormhole, Josh Ellithorpe of Coinbase, and Gabriel Cardona from Bitbox. Evaluation is based upon five criteria: understanding of Blockchain technology, practicability, scalability, creativity, and BCH score (which includes use of Op_Return and Op_Datasigverify).

The hackathon’s principal focus, BCH, was done on purpose, according to the website. “To be honest,” organizers posted, “BCH is one of the most amazing Blockchain technologies we have ever seen in terms of its scalability, security and potentiality with smart contract in the future. There are some outstanding projects operating based on BCH or associated with BCH, for instance:,, Wormhole project, Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) and many more.  We intend to attract more developers through these events and eventually build a stronger community with real-world use cases.” More information and registration can be found here.

Are hackathons a good way to encourage innovation? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: is a sponsor of this event.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Gerald Fabrot contributed sourcing for this article.

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PR: Fabric Token Launches TokenGen 3.0 – The All in One Token Crowdsale Automation Tool

Fabric Token Launches TokenGen

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. does not endorse nor support this product/service. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

TokenGen is now in a league of its own in terms of token crowdsale automation. The tool’s 3.0 version provides an all-in-one solution for anyone who wants to run and manage a token generation event, but doesn’t have the necessary programming know-how.

TokenGen’s main two “competitors” provide the most comprehensive contact form on the market alongside a requestable UI (Rocket courtesy of EtherParty) and an escrow contract (dubbed Tabby Pay and brought to you by BlockCAT). These two projects aspired to achieve what TokenGen has already done, but have failed to deliver on their promise spectacularly. Instead they have accomplished pretty much nothing (in the case of EtherParty) or they’ve tried to sell a simple escrow contract as something innovative.

Meanwhile, TokenGen, the first component of the Fabric Token platform, has already surpassed its initial conception as the FT team has been upgrading it constantly since its production release back in May this year.

With the latest 3.0 update, TokenGen brings a completely new UI that is much more intuitive and user-friendly than its predecessor, alongside a ton of new features, which will further cement its place as the go-to-app for token crowdsale automation. Here’s a short preview of what TokenGen 3.0 offers:

• One-click smart contract deployment to any Ethereum network. Test on Ropsten, raise capital on main net.
• Smart contract management interface allowing transparent interaction with deployed smart contracts. Much faster and simpler than MyEtherWallet’s contract interaction feature.
• Unlimited builds and deployments allowed for each project.
• Simple and intuitive project creation process.
• A highly customisable set of features for each project i.e. different projects, different functionality. You will only be charged for the features you actually use.

The best part however, is the price. While some companies will expect you to sell your house in order to run your token crowdsale, a TokenGen project with all features will set you back a mere 4.7k Fabric Tokens (FT), which, at the time of writing, amount to $100.

Close to 40 projects have already been created using TokenGen even before the 3.0 update. A lot more are expected to follow as the tool gains popularity and the crypto market recovers from the suffocating grip of manipulation.

It seems that, in an industry almost fully dominated by vaporware projects, the ensuing bubble is bound to burst in a spectacular fashion. When that happens, truly valuable projects like the Fabric Token platform will remain to pick up the pieces. From the looks of it, there will be a lot of pieces.

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The collapse of ETH is inevitable

Here’s a prediction. ETH — the asset, not the Ethereum Network itself — will go to zero.

Those who already think that ETH will not see real adoption — thanks to a failure to scale, to adopt more secure contract authoring practices, or to out-compete its competitors — don’t need to be convinced that a price collapse would follow as a consequence.

But, if one believes that Ethereum will succeed beyond anyone’s wildest dreams as a platform then the proposition that ETH (as a currency) will go to zero will take a bit more convincing running a substantial share of the world’s commerce securely.

So here’s how Ethereum ends up succeeding wildly but ETH becomes worthless. Ethereum’s value proposition, as given by, is as follows:

Build unstoppable applications

Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.

These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property.

This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middleman or counterparty risk.

If Ethereum succeeds on its value proposition it will therefore mitigate external risk factors for decentralized applications.

İstanbul, Turkey – January 28, 2018: Close up shot of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum memorial coins and shovels on soil. Bitcoin Litecoin and Ethereum are crypto currencies and a worldwide payment system.

No Future for ‘Gas’

There’s no value proposition for ETH in the official description. Perhaps this omission is because ETH’s value seems so obvious to the Ethereum Foundation that it is hardly worth mentioning: $ETH fees (dubbed ‘Gas’) is how you pay for all this.

If the concept of gas isn’t immediately obvious, let’s expand the metaphor: The Ethereum network is like a shared car. When a contract wants to be driven by the shared car, the car uses up fuel, which you have to pay the driver for. How much gas money you owe depends on how far you had to be driven, and how much trash you left in the car.

Gas is a nice metaphor, but the metaphor is insufficient as an argument to support non-zero $ETH prices. Gasoline actually burns inside an internal combustion engine; an internal combustion engine will not work without a combustible fuel. $ETH as Gas is a metaphor for how gasoline is consumed; there is no hard requirement for Gas in an Ethereum contract.

(Photo by Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Buying the “BuzzwordCoin”

Suppose we’re building a new decentralized application, BuzzwordCoin. By default, following a standard ERC-20 Token template, every transaction on BuzzwordCoin will pay gas in $ETH. Requiring every BuzzwordCoin transaction to also depend on ETH for fees creates substantial risk, third party dependency, and artificial downwards pressure on the price of the underlying token (if one must sell BuzzwordCoin for ETH ahead of time to run a BuzzwordCoin transaction, then the sell-pressure will happen before the transaction requires it, and must be a larger sale than necessary to ensure sufficient funds to cover the transaction).

Instead of paying for Gas in ETH, we could make every BuzzwordCoin transaction deposit a small amount of BuzzwordCoin directly to the block’s miner’s address to pay for the contract’s execution. Paying for Gas in a non-ETH asset is sometimes referred  to as economic abstraction in the Ethereum community.

The revised BuzzwordCoin contract has no functional dependence on ETH. We’re able to incentivize miners to mine transactions without paying any fees in ETH whatsoever.

If the BuzzwordCoin contract has non-transactional contractual clauses — that is, a functionality that should be regularly called by any party for tasking like computing and updating cached statistics in the contract — we can specify that the miner performing those clauses receives coins from an inflation or shared gas pool. In the shared pool, all fees for user’s transactions in a specific contract are paid to the contract’s wallet. A fee dispensing contract call performing the non-transactional clauses releases the fee to the miner (this bears some semblance to Child Pays for Parent in the Bitcoin Ecosystem).

Battling the economic abstraction

There are four main counterarguments to economically abstracting Ethereum: the lack of software support for economic abstraction; difficulty in pricing many tokens; the existence of contracts not tied to tokens; and the need for ETH for Proof-of-Stake. While nuanced, all four arguments fall flat.

Software Support: Currently, miners select transactions based on the amount of Gas provided in ETH. As ETH is not a contract (like an ERC-20 token), the code is special-cased for transactions dealing in ETH. However, there are efforts to make Ethereum treat ETH less special-cased and more like other ERC-20 Tokens and vice-versa. Weth, for instance, wraps ETH in a 1:1 pegged ERC-20 compliant token for trading in Decentralized Exchanges.

Detractors of economic abstraction (notably, Vitalik Buterin) argue that the added complexity is not worth the ecosystem gains. This argument is absurd. If the software doesn’t support the needs of rational users, then the software should be amended. Furthermore, the actual wallet software required for any given token is made much more complex, as the wallet must manage balances in both ETH and the application’s token.

Market Pricing: To mine on Ethereum with economic abstraction, miners simply need software which allows them to account for discrepancies in their perceived value of active tokens and include transactions rationally on that basis.  Such software requires dynamically re-ordering pending transactions based on pricing information, gleaned either through the miner’s own outlook or monitoring cryptocurrency exchanges prices.

Vlad Zamfir argues that the potential need to monitor market information on prices makes economic abstraction difficult.

However, miners requiring pricing information is already the status quo — rational actors need a model of future ETH prices before mining (or staking) to maximize profit against electricity costs, hardware costs, and opportunity costs.

Non-Token Contracts: Not all contracts have coins, or if they do, they may not be widely recognized, valuable, and traded on exchanges. Can such contracts pay fees without ETH?

Users of a tokenless contract can pay fees in whichever tokens they want. For example, a user of TokenlessContract can pay their fees in a 50/50 mix of LemonadeCoin and TeaBucks. To ensure liquidity between users and miners with different assets they would pay or accept fees with, a user can simply issue multiple mutually-exclusive transactions paying with fees in different assets.

Specialized wallet contracts could also negotiate fees with miners directly .  A miner could also process transactions paying fee with an asset they do not want if there is an open Decentralized Exchange (DEX) offer to exchange the fee asset for something they prefer —  it is possible to create DEX orders for paying fees which allowing only a block’s miner to fill a user’s offers in proportion to the fees that a user has paid in that block preventing the case where a user’s fee diversifying offers are taken by non-miners.

Proof-of-Stake: Without ETH, a modified version of Proof-of-Stake with a multitude of assets could still decide consensus if each node selects a weight vector for the voting power of all assets (let’s call it HD-PoS, or Heterogeneous Deposit Proof Of Stake). While it is an open research question to

show under which conditions HD-PoS would maintain consensus, consensus may be possible if the weight vectors are similar enough.

Proofs of HD-PoS may be possible by assuming a bound on the pairwise euclidean distance of the weight vectors or the maximum difference between any two prices. If such a consensus algorithm proves impossible, the failure to find such an algorithm points to a more general vulnerability in Ethereum PoS.  

Assuming a future where ETH’s main utility is governance voting, why wouldn’t all the other valuable applications on Ethereum have a say in the consensus process? Rolling back actions in a valuable token contract by burning ETH stake could be a lucrative business; if HD-PoS is used such attacks are impossible.

Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum Foundation) at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017

ETH’s ethereal value

If all the applications and their transactions can run without ETH, there’s no reason for ETH to be valuable unless the miners enforce some sort of racket to require users to pay in ETH. But if miners are uncoordinated, mutually disinterested, and rational, they would prefer to be paid in assets of their own choosing rather than in something like ETH. Furthermore, risk-averse users would want to minimize their exposure to volatile assets they don’t have to use. Lastly, token developers benefit because pricing in their native asset should serve to reduce sell-pressure. Thus, in a stateless ecosystem, replacing ETH is a Pareto Improvement (i.e., all parties are better off). The only party disadvantaged is existing ETH holders.

  • The author holds Stellar and Bitcoin,  but has relatively little holdings in other cryptocurrencies. He has previously done a Virtual Lapel Pin Sale (like an ICO) for his cause, “Fuck Nazis”, on top of Ethereum which faced both government censorship and censorship from the Ethereum community. 

25% of All Smart Contracts Contain Critical Bugs

25% of All Smart Contracts Contain Critical Bugs

For every problem that smart contracts solve, they seem to introduce another. In a week in which EOS has made news for all the wrong reasons over a RAM vulnerability, a code auditor has revealed the prevalence of smart contract bugs. Security firm Hosho, which has forged a new partnership with community managers Amazix, has found that one in four projects contains critical vulnerabilities.

Also read: Researchers Find Discrepancies With Top Exchange Volumes

$1 Billion Is No Guarantee Against Bugs

25% of All Smart Contracts Contain Critical Bugs$1 billion. That’s the amount raised by the projects whose smart contracts Hosho has audited. The security company claims to have audited more smart contracts than any other industry player. Despite the significant human and financial resources at their disposal, many of these projects would have been crippled had they neglected to have their code thoroughly scrutinized. A quarter of the projects Hosho has audited were found to have critical bugs, and some 60% of all projects they saw had at least one security issue.

Ethereum, the ICO economy’s go-to launchpad, has been the worst affected, with stories abounding of exploitable code that’s led to hundreds of millions of dollars of ether being stolen or locked up. While smart contract platforms such as Stratis are pushing the availability of debugging deployment suites and professional decompilers that come with using C#, Ethereum’s Turing-complete system leaves greater margin for error. Identifying and eliminating all potential security holes is a Sisyphean task, and one which even experienced Solidity developers struggle with. Enlisting the support of a third party specializing in smart contract audits, while not foolproof, is the best bet against shipping bug-filled code.

Smart Contract Testing as a Service

While it is industry practice to have smart contracts audited ahead of a tokensale, projects that have yet to raise funds may be tempted to cut corners and skimp on this task. Doing so can prove fatal, however, with the worst bugs leading to wallets being drained, or buffer overflow exploits being manipulated to alter account balances. Several Ethereum-based projects have been forced to conduct token swaps after screwing up their first attempt at a smart contract.

In EOS land this week, all energies have been focused on patching a RAM exploit that’s recently been detected. It allows a malicious user to “install code on their account which will allow them to insert rows in the name of another account sending them tokens. This lets them lock up RAM by inserting large amounts of garbage into rows when dapps/users send them tokens.”

25% of All Smart Contracts Contain Critical BugsAmazix, the preeminent community management and consultancy firm within the token economy, has now partnered with Hosho to offer its clients smart contract auditing. “In the absence of industry standards, we see smart contract auditing and penetration testing to be essential components of good security in blockchain systems,” said Amazix CMO Kenneth Berthelsen. “In our view, there are no better qualified people to do this than Hosho engineers.”

Proponents of cryptocurrencies see smart contracts eventually infiltrating everything from insurance to dispute resolution. Before that can happen, developing trust in the code that governs them will be crucial.

Do you think smart contracts will eventually become bug-proof, or will exploitable vulnerabilities persist? Let us know in the comments section below.

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PR: INLOCK Strengthens Advisory Board with Addition of COO Mate Tokay

INLOCK Strengthens Advisory Board with Addition of COO Mate Tokay

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. does not endorse nor support this product/service. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

BUDAPEST — INLOCK, a platform where licensed lenders can compete for borrowers who want to use their cryptocurrency as collateral for loans, today announced the addition of its new advisory board member, Mate Tokay, COO of, the premier source for everything Bitcoin related.

“Success in the crypto space is fueled by who you are, and whether you can execute. I’m confident that INLOCK’s incredible team and transparent approach will enhance how people secure loans in fiat using cryptocurrencies as collateral,” said Mate. “Csaba has a proven track record, and I’m excited to have theopportunity to support his team as they change the way we use crypto.”

Mate brings a wealth of experience to INLOCK and will advise on the rollout of the platform – including development of the ILK token, user acquisition and foundational practices and processes. He started his career in the industry with a foray in digital currency mining, utilizing his own custom-built ASIC miners.
He has since gone on to become COO of, a Bitcoin news and review website, all in an effort to popularize digital currencies and bring legitimacy and transparency to the industry.

“Mate has been a driver and influencer in the curation of information and news about digital currencies; he is a force to be reckoned within the crypto world,” said Csaba Csabai, Founder and CEO of INLOCK. “We are both advocates for the global adoption of crypto and have aligned on a common mission – to create a solution to its biggest issue: spendability.”

Chief Strategy Officer Benedict Banathy added, “with Mate’s support and his many years of experience in media, we’re one step closer to delivering our platform to the right places in a digestible way.”

INLOCK, since its launch, received nearly $2 million in funding during its private sale. Those who wish to participate in the main token sale, starting September 15, and use the platform, set to go live in October, can register for the whitelist at The whitelisting secures early registration and gives interested parties access to updates and announcements regarding the ICO.

For more information, visit the official INLOCK website, where you can learn more about the INLOCK executive leadership team and test out the beta platform. Follow INLOCK on Telegram, Twitter and Medium.

INLOCK is a blockchain and smart-contract based platform that enables cryptocurrency holders to manage short-term liquidity problems by taking a loan in fiat and using their existing cryptocurrencies as collateral. The company was founded in 2018 by a team of fintech experts in Hungary with the goal of building up solutions for various use cases between the traditional and crypto-asset based financial world.

For more information, please visit
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Sagewise pitches a service to verify claims and arbitrate disputes over blockchain transactions

Sometimes smart contracts can be pretty dumb.

All of the benefits of a cryptographically secured, publicly verified, anonymized transaction system can be erased by errant code, malicious actors, or poorly defined parameters of an executable agreement.

Hoping to beat back the tide of bad contracts, bad code and bad actors, Sagewise, a new Los Angeles-based startup has raised $1.25 million to bring to market a service that basically hits pause on the execution of a contract so it can be arbitrated in the event that something goes wrong.

Co-founded by a longtime lawyer, Amy Wan, whose experience runs the gamut from the U.S. Department of Commerce to serving as counsel for a peer-to-peer real estate investment platform in Los Angeles, and Dan Rice, a longtime entrepreneur working with blockchain, Sagewise works with both Ethereum and the Hedera Hashgraph (a newer distributed ledger technology, which purports to solve some of the issues around transaction processing speed and security which have bedeviled platforms like Ethereum and Bitcoin).

The company’s technology works as a middleware including an SDK and a contract notification and monitoring service. “The SDK is analogous to an arbitration clause in code form — when the smart contract executes a function, that execution is delayed for a pre-set amount of time (i.e., 24 hrs) and users receive a text/email notification regarding the execution,” Wan wrote to me an email. “If the execution is not the intent of the parties, they can freeze execution of the smart contract, giving them the luxury of time to fix whatever is wrong.”

Sagewise approaches the contract resolution process as a marketplace where priority is given to larger deals. “Once frozen, parties can fix coding bugs, patch up security vulnerabilities, or amend/terminate the smart contract, or self-resolve a dispute. If a dispute cannot be self-resolved, parties then graduate to a dispute resolution marketplace of third party vendors,” Wan writes. “After all, a $5 bar bet would be resolved differently from a $5M enterprise dispute. Thus, we are dispute process agnostic.”

Wavemaker Genesis led the round, which also included and strategic investments from affiliates of Ari Paul (Blocktower Capital), Miko Matsumura (Gumi Cryptos), Youbi Capital, Maja Vujinovic (Cipher Principles), Jordan Clifford (Scalar Capital), Terrence Yang (Yang Ventures) and James Sowers.

“Smart contracts are coded by developers and audited by security auditing firms, but the quality of smart contract coding and auditing varies drastically among service providers,” said Wan, the chief executive of Sagewise, in a statement. “Inevitably, this discrepancy becomes the basis for smart contract disputes, which is where Sagewise steps in to provide the infrastructure that allows the blockchain and smart contract industry to achieve transactional confidence.”

In an email, Wan elaboraged on the thesis to me writing that, “smart contracts may have coding errors, security vulnerabilities, or parties may need to amend or terminate their smart contracts due to changing situations.”

Contracts could also be disputed if their execution was triggered accidentally or due to the actions of attackers trying to hack a platform.

“Sagewise seeks to bring transactional confidence into the blockchain industry by building a smart contract safety net where smart contracts do not fulfill the original transactional intent,” Wan wrote.

The Daily: US Presidential Candidate Accepts Crypto, KICKICO Hacked – $7.7M Stolen

The Daily: US Presidential Candidate Accepts Crypto, KICKICO Hacked - $7.7M Stolen

US presidential candidate, Andrew Yang (D), has announced that his campaign for the 2020 election is now accepting cryptocurrency donations. Also in the Daily, Chinese social network, Tianya, is about to issue a native token, and the KICKICO project has been hacked – resulting in the loss of $7.7 million USD worth of tokens due to a security breach of its smart contract.

Also read: Twitter Blocks Bots Mimicking Musk, Coinvault Hackers Sentenced

Yang 2020 Campaign Accepts Bitcoin and Any ERC20

US Democrat Andrew Yang’s campaign is now accepting donations in Bitcoin Core (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and other cryptocurrencies for the 2020 US presidential election. Yang announced the news on Twitter calling on his supporters to “build the future together.”

The announcement released by his team to “our crypto donors” reads: “We currently accept Bitcoin and anything on the ERC20 standard.” It also comes with instructions on how to donate cryptocurrency and notes that the maximum for individual donations is set at the fiat equivalent of $2,500.

Yang believes in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and has already declared that he sees them as a potential catalyst for socio-political change. He has also previously stated on social media that a “smart government” should embrace cryptocurrency technology:

During a Facebook AMA I was asked about crypto and blockchain. I think the technology has massive potential to create a more transparent society. A smart government would embrace this and work with it. I would do that.

Chinese Social Network Tianya to Issue Native Token

Tianya Club, one of the most popular social networks and online forums in the People’s Republic, has announced it will launch its native Tianya Token (TYT) on August 8. According to a post published on its blog, TYT will be the only means of accounting in its blockchain-based community ecosystem. is among the most visited websites in China, ranking in the top 20 of the Chinese Internet.

The Daily: US Presidential Candidate Accepts Crypto, KICKICO Hacked - $7.7M Stolen

The number of tokens that the company is planning to release is limited to 90 billion. The users of the platform will receive TYT awards based on their contribution to the community. The coin will be used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment underpinning various transactions and payments within the community.

Tianya also plans to keep 20% of the new tokens for team incentives, ecological development investments, and operation promotion – depending on the needs of the community. The other 80% will be used for community rewards, incentives for users to participate in content creation and community governance, and rewards to original content creators and independent contributors.

KICKICO Hacked, Coins Worth $7.7M Stolen

The Daily: US Presidential Candidate Accepts Crypto, KICKICO Hacked - $7.7M StolenKICKICO, an ICO project based on the Ethereum protocol, has admitted experiencing a security breach in which the attackers gained access to the account of the KICK smart contract. The company announced that its team has been notified about the hack by victims who reported that they were not able to find tokens worth $800,000 USD in their wallets.

According to an investigation launched probing the hack, the total amount of stolen funds is 70,000,000 KICK – equal to $7.7 million USD at the exchange rate at time of the announcement. KICKICO claims that it has already restored full control over the smart contract and promises to return all stolen Kickcoins to their holders.

Providing more details about the attack, the company explains that the hackers gained access to the private key of the owner of the Kickcoin smart contract. They also attempted to hide their activities by employing methods used by the contract in integration with the Bancor network. Earlier this month, the decentralized exchange was also breached, as reported.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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The Billion-Dollar Quest to Eliminate Smart Contract Bugs

The Billion-Dollar Quest to Eliminate Smart Contract Bugs

You can’t have software without bugs. Every major piece of code is subject to extensive debugging, which is an inevitable part of the development process. But when that code controls digital assets worth millions of dollars, ensuring it’s free of critical errors isn’t just desirable – it’s imperative. As this week’s Bancor hack and this year’s spate of smaller smart contract fails has shown, creating bug-free code is virtually impossible.

Also read: Only 12 out of 23 Korean Crypto Exchanges Pass Probe – Inspector Under Fire

Bugs Have Cost a Lot of People a Lot of Crypto

Cryptocurrencies, even those that don’t permit smart contracts, are susceptible to bugs. Even bitcoin, the benchmark by which other coins are measured, has had its share, like the overflow bug in 2010 that created 180 billion bitcoins in block 74638. It was quickly fixed though without anyone gaining or losing coins. Ethereum users haven’t always been so lucky. Incidents such as the DAO, Parity, and most recently Bancor, whose $12.5 million loss has been attributed to a permissioned backdoor in their smart contract, have pushed the amount of crypto lost to coding errors towards $1 billion.

The Billion-Dollar Quest to Eliminate Smart Contract Bugs

As a turing complete blockchain, the Ethereum Virtual Machine can be used to enact smart contracts that use extremely sophisticated logic. The trouble is, the more complex that logic, the greater the likelihood of an exploitable bug creeping in. Solidity, the main language used to code Ethereum smart contracts, is notoriously tricky to master. The smart contract-enabled blockchains that have since emerged have been intent on eliminating such mistakes. This entails moving away from Solidity, and often from turing completeness, in favor of a more restrictive system with less margin for error.

How New Blockchains Are Approaching Smart Contracts

The Billion-Dollar Quest to Eliminate Smart Contract BugsAt Blockchain Expo in Amsterdam, spoke with Jordan Andrews, Smart Contracts Lead at Stratis. Their platform uses C#, which has been favored because it provides access to “so many tools like decompilers, great editors, a cohesive testing and debugging deployment suite in Visual Studio. What this means is you can decompile any contract from the bytecode to real C#,” explained Jordan. He contrasts this with Solidity which is in “a delicate developmental stage, where you can’t actually decompile many contracts well. The fact that you can audit only around 1% of contracts on Ethereum is a problem, because basically, the decompilers don’t work.”

While Stratis is largely focused on enterprise adoption, other blockchains are gunning for Ethereum, but have yet to reach a state of readiness where they can lay a glove on the cryptoverse’s de facto smart contract platform. Tezos will use formal verification for its smart contracts in the form of Michelson, a simplistic programming language that prizes security over multi-functionality. As a result, it should be harder for coders to create arbitrary programs, which in turn means it should be harder for them to introduce fatal flaws.

Cryptocurrencies Are More Centralized Than You ThinkStellar provides limited smart contract abilities to cover such matters as multi-sig, batching and time bounds. Cardano’s smart contracts must be formally verified to ensure they’re free of bugs and run using a virtual machine called IELE. EOS smart contracts are deployed as pre-compiled Web Assembly using C/C++. Like Cardano and Tezos, EOS is still at an early stage in its development, with just a handful of developers building upon its protocol. Ethereum, in comparison, can count 35,000 Solidity developers, and thus remains the web’s preeminent smart contract blockchain.

Formal Verification Will Reduce Errors

Stratis’ Jordan Andrews is confident that increased adoption of formal verification will make smart contracts less vulnerable: “I think the ecosystem for both [Stratis] and Solidity is going to see so many improvements. One thing that comes up a lot now is formal verification, the idea that you can verify that a contract is going to behave. This is obviously a big thing…Stratis are gonna have the potential to do that, and I know that they’re looking into it with Ethereum as well.”

The Billion-Dollar Quest to Eliminate Smart Contract BugsAs blockchain technology permeates every industry, the role smart contracts play in executing decisions will increase dramatically. In the process, computer code will go from controlling hundreds of millions to billions of dollars of digital assets. Eliminating bugs is essential if smart contracts are to become a part of everyday business. Before that happens, costly errors caused by further flaws are inevitable. Ethereum’s smart contract bugs are already out there. It’s just a case of who finds them first: whitehat or black.

Do you think smart contract bugs will ever be completely eradicated? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Crypto and venture’s biggest names are backing a new distributed ledger project called Oasis Labs

A team of top security researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and MIT have come together to launch a new cryptographic project that combines secure software and hardware to enable privacy-preserving smart contracts under the banner of Oasis Labs.

That vision, which is being marketed as the baby of a union between Ethereum and Amazon Web Services, has managed to attract $45 million in pre-sale financing from some of the biggest names in venture capital and cryptocurrency investing.

The chief architect of the project (and chief executive of Oasis Labs) is University of Berkeley Professor Dawn Song, a security expert who first came to prominence in 2009 when she was named one of as one of MIT Technology Review’s Innovators under 35. Song’s rise in the security world was capped with both a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Award for her work on security technologies. But it’s the more recent work that she’s been doing around hardware and software development in conjunction with other Berkeley researchers like her postdoctoral associate, Raymond Cheng, that grabbed investors attention.

Through the Keystone enclave hardware project, Song and Cheng worked with MIT researchers and professors like Srini Devadas and Ilia Lebedev on technology to secure sensitive data on the platform.

“We use a combination of trusted hardware and cryptographic techniques (such as secure multiparty computation) to enable smart contracts to compute over this encrypted data, without revealing anything about the underlying data. This is like doing computation inside a black box, which only outputs the computation result without showing what’s inside the black box,” Song wrote to me in an email. “In addition to supporting existing trusted hardware implementations, we are also working on a fully open source trusted hardware enclave implementation; a project we call Keystone. We also have years of experience building differential privacy tools, which are now being used in production at Uber for their data privacy initiatives. We plan to incorporate such techniques into our smart contract platform to further provide privacy and protect the computation output from leaking sensitive information about inputs.”

Song says that her project has solved the scaling problem by separating execution from consensus.

For each smart contract execution, we randomly select a subset of the computation nodes to form a computation committee, using a proof of stake mechanism. The computation committee executes the smart contract transaction,” Song wrote in an email exchange with TechCrunch. “The consensus committee then verifies the correctness of the computation results from the computation committee. We use different mathematical and cryptographic methods to enable efficient verification of the correctness of the computation results. Once the verification succeeds, the state transition is committed to the distributed ledger by the consensus committee.”

By having the computation committee working in parallel with the consensus committee only needing to verify the correctness of the computation creates an easier path to scalability.

Other platforms have attempted to use sampling to speed up transactions over distributed systems (Hedera Hashgraph comes to mind), but have been met with limited adoption in the market.

“We use proof-of-stake mechanisms to elect instances of different types of functional committees: compute, storage and consensus committees,” Song explained. “We can scale each of the different functions independently based on workload and system needs. One of our observations of existing systems is that consensus operations are very expensive. our network protocol design allows compute committees and storage committees to process transactions without relying on heavy-weight consensus protocols.”

Song’s approach has managed to gain the support of firms including: a16zcrypto, Accel, Binance, DCVC (Data Collective), Electric Capital, Foundation Capital, Metastable, Pantera, Polychain, and more.

In all, some 75 investors have rallied to finance the company’s approach to securing data and selling compute power on a cryptographically secured ledger.

“It’s exciting to see talented people like Dawn and her team working on ways to transition the internet away from data silos and towards a world with more responsible ways to share and own your data,” said Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase and Oasis Labs investor, in a statement.

“The next step is getting our product in the hands of developers who align with our mission and can help inform the evolution of the platform as they build applications upon it,” said Oasis Labs co-founder and CTO Raymond Cheng in a statement.

For potential customers who’d eventually use the smart contracts developed on Oasis’ platform the system would work much like the method established by Ethereum.

“The token usage model in Oasis is very similar to Ethereum, where users pay gas fee to miners for executing smart contracts,” Song wrote. “One just needs one token to pay for gas fee for executing smart contracts. As with Ethereum, in our platform storage and compute have different pricing models but they both are paid with the same token.”

And Oasis’ leadership is looking ahead to a marketplace that incentivizes scale and makes fees accessible. “If the token price goes up, the amount of tokens needed to pay for operations can decrease (this is similar to Ethereum’s gas price, which is independent from the price of Ether). The number of tokens needed to pay for smart contract execution is not fixed.”

This smart contract scanner will ensure your token is tip-top

A group of researchers at ETH Zurich have created an Ethereum smart contract scanner that will check your smart contracts for bugs, exploits, or potential problems. The researchers, Dr. Petar Tsankov, Dr. Hubert Ritzdorf, Prof. Martin Vechev, and Dr. Arthur Gervais, all have extensive experience in system security and they are working on improving the blockchain space one smart contract at a time. The team recently incorporated as a new company, ChainSecurity, and they are released products to help programmers and ICO builders understand and launch their tokens.

“The main technical challenge in building an effective security scanner for smart contracts is finding a way to explore all behaviors of the contact, which can even exceed the number of atoms in the universe. Existing automated security checkers for smart contracts essentially avoid this problem by only inspecting a subset of all behaviors of the contract,” said Tsankov. “However, since not all behaviors are covered, these checkers can miss critical security vulnerabilities. Our new Ethereum scanner considers all behaviors of the contract to solve the challenge, rather than avoid it. Indeed, a study on open-source Ethereum contracts reveals that existing solutions can miss up to two-thirds of vulnerabilities due to insufficient coverage.”
Who are the founders and what is their background?

The project is self funded and the team was clear that they would never launch an ICO. You can check out the beta version of the scanner here.

The team has seen a great deal of interest in their products and they will officially launch this new one this week.

“Our Securify system has about 100 contract uploads per day (which is 50x higher than commercial alternatives, such as Quantstamp). It is currently the top choice when it comes to auditing smart contracts and is regularly used by professional security auditors. I expect the new Ethereum security scanner to have even higher traction due to the larger coverage of vulnerabilities and new features,” said Tsankov.

“The startup / project started very organically. I am very keen on work in the area of automated security analysis. Having observed the big security issues in Ethereum smart contracts, and the significant financial consequences of these, I started working on automated security analysis of Ethereum smart contracts together with few other PhD students in the lab. We managed to build the first automated verifier for Ethereum smart contracts in the research lab and release it publicly. At this point, it became hard to keep this a purely academic project. There was a significant commercial interest from blockchain projects who worry about the security of their contracts. To address their needs, we incorporated the startup in October 2017, called ChainSecurity, and started collaborating with crypto initiatives and projects,” he said.

The team’s goal is to automate smart contract security audits. Their company,, is built on the team’s work at ChainCode and Securify and aims to be the gold standard for smart contract threat detection. A quick test of the new feature showed how quickly and precisely the system could find exploits, which was quite interesting. Given these contracts will be managing millions of dollars in capital down the line, it’s better to be safe than very, very sad.



XBT and BTC – How Were these Acronyms Adopted?

XBT or Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Satoshi Nakamoto did not specify any abbreviation for Bitcoin and BC was the acronym originally adopted. Exchanges specified Bitcoin as BTC, and it caught on. ISO 4217 standard is a non-governmental organization that specifies currency codes and non-governmental assets like gold (XAU) and silver (XAG). The organization is independent of any national agenda and mainly works as a voluntary group that approves three-character codes for countries and non-governmental units.

ISO 4217 Standard

According to the ...

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hodl Meaning

hodl meaning

The term “HODL” is generally seen on cryptocurrency Reddit threads, telegram groups, WhatsApp messages, in memes, and slack channels. The most experienced cryptocurrency users would know what this means, while beginners would be left puzzled.

HODL Meaning

Certainly, most of the users assume that the term “hodl” is a misspelling of the word “hold”. But it’s not. It first appeared exclusively in a Bitcoin talk forum in 2013 in a post named “I AM HODLING” from a user named GameKyuubi— a Japanese crypto community member.


HODL essentially means; “Hold ...

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New Ethereum Project Aims to Tokenize Video Game Items

The ability to create decentralized applications (DApps) is widely considered to be one of the most promising use cases for blockchain technology. Palm, a new Ethereum-based project, aims to provide developers with the ability to tokenize in-game assets in conventional video games as well. Using Palm, developers can direct popular game development tool Unreal Engine … Continued

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Exchanges Suspend ERC20 Token Deposits After Discovery of Smart Contract Bug

Okex Suspends ERC20 Token Deposits After Discovery of Smart Contract Bug

Ethereum’s smart contract bugs just keep on coming. Exchanges including Okex, Poloniex, Coinone, and Hitbtc today suspended deposits of ERC20 tokens following the discovery of a batch overflow bug written into the smart contracts governing numerous coins. The news comes in the same week that the ethereum community voted against restoring the lost ether that was locked up in the Parity smart contract bug last year.

Also read: Report Claims 34,000 Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Vulnerable to Bugs

Ethereum Tokens Battle a Nasty Bug

Creating an ethereum token that is free from exploitable bugs is a lot harder than it sounds. Earlier this year researchers claimed to have found 34,000 ethereum smart contracts that are vulnerable to bugs and a blog post authored this week has zeroed in on one in particular: a batch overflow bug that affects ERC20 smart contracts. Its discovery is serious enough to have prompted Okex to announce the suspension of ERC20 token deposits, writing:

We are suspending the deposits of all ERC-20 tokens due to the discovery of a new smart contract bug – “Batchoverflow”. By exploiting the bug, attackers can generate an extremely large amount of tokens, and deposit them into a normal address. This makes many of the ERC-20 tokens vulnerable to price manipulations of the attackers.

Okex added: “To protect public interest, we have decided to suspend the deposits of all ERC-20 tokens until the bug is fixed. Also, we have contacted the affected token teams to conduct investigation and take necessary measures to prevent the attack.” Numerous other exchanges have followed suit.

Okex Suspends ERC20 Token Deposits After Discovery of Smart Contract Bug
The SMT smart contract shows clear signs of exploitation

Squishing Bugs Is a Never-Ending Battle

The possibility of attackers being able to steal, freeze, or duplicate ERC20 tokens is a nightmare scenario for any projects building on the ethereum protocol, as well as for existing tokens, whose teams will now be closely scrutinizing their code for vulnerabilities. One of the tokens affected is Smartmesh (SMT), an ERC20 that is tradeable on Huobi,, Hitbtc, and Okex. Its smart contract currently shows signs of blatant exploitation, with a token balance and token value that run to over 30 figures. Hundreds of billions of SMT have been transferred from the Smartmesh smart contract in the past 24 hours.

Okex Suspends ERC20 Token Deposits After Discovery of Smart Contract Bug

The batch overflow blog post published on April 22 also identifies the Beautychain (BEC) token as having fallen prey to the same exploit. Its author writes: “We further run our system to scan and analyze other contracts. Our results show that more than a dozen of ERC20 contracts are also vulnerable to batchoverflow. To demonstrate, we have successfully transacted with one vulnerable contract (that is not tradable in any exchange) as our proof-of-concept exploit.”

While the ERC20 tokens that have been affected by this exploit appear to comprise lesser known coins, the risk the bug presents is not limited to these projects alone. If attackers can create tokens out of thin air, they can then trade these on exchanges for ethereum or bitcoin, which has the potential to affect the price of these assets and to affect confidence in the ethereum ecosystem in particular. With the war for next generation blockchains heating up as competitors such as EOS prepare to launch, smart contract bugs are a burden that ethereum could do without.

Do you think ERC20 bugs can be eradicated altogether, or is there likely to be more vulnerabilities still undiscovered? Let us know in the comments section below.

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PR: Innovative Social Network Monoreto Launches Pre-ICO

Social Network Monoreto Launches Pre-ICO

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. does not endorse nor support this product/service. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

On May 10, 2018, the pre-ICO of the new social network Monoreto starts. The project introduces a blockchain, which will help social network users to monetize their content and their interactions with each other. This social network can disrupt the media landscape: any user will be rewarded, and influencers will get more opportunities for development.

The revenue of social networks depends on user data: content, history of actions on the network and their interactions with each other. The developers of the network do not produce those products. They just support the platform, store user data and sell network audience to advertisers.

Although users create content and share their valuable data, they do not receive revenue and even become objects of manipulation. They miss important and interesting information from their friends in their feeds. Instead, they find ads and posts sponsored by brands. Popular authors also promote goods and services explicitly or in a hidden manner. A survey conducted by Harris Insights & Analytics (Harris Poll) shows that in the 16-19 and 20-39 age groups, 74% of people don’t want to see messages from brands in their newsfeeds. Over a half (56%) of users became less active in social networks or completely left services because of excessive advertising.

The social media crisis is obvious: users are disappointed because they do not get what they want, content authors do not receive the fair reward, and advertisers pay for annoying ads, which does not sell.

Monoreto, the next generation social network, introduces an innovative solution. The blockchain technology will help to maintain the process of user interactions. Tokens of the social network will allow conducting transparent and open transactions, bound to usual actions in social networks.

First, the developers of the project care about authors of high-quality content. Posting a good photo and video content will allow users to earn cash rewards along with likes from followers and other people. With one like an author will receive a reward in tokens equal to 5 cents (or more, if a user who view and like the content wants). Monoreto will help bloggers become independent from advertisers, since popularity is something that will also result in a large number of monetized likes. Monoreto also helps foster relations between bloggers and subscribers with less annoying advertising in posts and a more loyal audience. In addition, the platform will implement content verification tools to identify unique content and to reward authors rather than pirates.

The active users are the most important element of social network: they distribute most interesting publications, leave informative and meaningful comments, their opinion is important to authors. Users will be able to rate other content with the help of likes and this will promote their accounts in the newsfeed. In addition, the social network offers a special bonus program for top-donators, contests, online-video competitions with money prizes and other mechanisms to make liking profitable. As a result, users can show their support to authors and projects, and benefit themselves.

There are unique advantages for advertisers. Monoreto allows to distribute an advertising content in a natural environment of the social network and influences its popularity. On Monoreto, not only the most liked accounts get to top, but also the accounts of users supporting interesting projects (top donators). By liking quality content of other users, a business account itself climbs upwards on Monoreto’s smart feed and gives information to potential consumers through their content. A business owner thereby gets a real return on advertising investment and his money ends up going to his favorite photographer, blogger, actor, or even another business he decides to support instead of to some advertising intermediary.

To start a crowdfunding campaign, the team launches MNR app token under the ERC-20 standard with a limited release. Distribution of tokens will be done by a smart contract. Raised funds will be used to launch the platform and to develop it further, as well as to finance advertising and marketing, and to maintain the platform’s operation.

The distribution campaign for MNR ERC-20 tokens pre-ICO starts on May 10, 2018 and continues to June 10, 2018. During the pre-ICO, 6% of tokens will be sold with a 50% discount of the ICO price excluding ICO discounts (2.5 cents).

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This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Fantasy sports platforms could have a big future in blockchain

With the number of fantasy sports players in North America heading past 60m, and the industry said to be worth over $7 billion, fantasy sports games are clearly on the rise. On the web, the two biggest players are FanDuel and DraftKings, which between them control 90% of the market. But translating that kind of business into a blockchain world could have even more potential, turning the reward system into a cryptocurrency nirvana.

This is the aim of two blockchain-based startups, No Limit Fantasy Sports and MyDFS. Both have differing models, but both are aiming at the incumbents which are probably unable to grow much further, and especially after their merger was rejected by regulators.

Now, MyDFS plans to take the fight to the next level, with a $2M cash injection from investor Frank Fu, managing director at Chinese technology company Meitu, the chinese phot sharing platform with 456M users. He’ll also join as a board advisor to the company.

Fu says the union of gaming and blockchain is inevitable because “blockchain guarantees safe storage of all in-game digital assets” and “smart contracts exclude third parties from the payment process and make transactions fast and safe” by removing the need for a financial intermediary for transactions.

The view is that potential for payment fraud in fantasy sports means the sector is ripe for blockchain technology, which can record every transaction.

MyDFS CEO Viktor Mangazeev believes tokenization and blockchain will make fantasy sports far more “transparent and user-friendly” and will allow players to invest not just in the games, teams, and players, but also other players, b by earning a share of their winnings. So, in theory, you could hitch your prospects to the best players because of the use of in-game cryptocurrency.

It looks as if blockchain is going to gradually lead to more startups arriving in this arena. Distributed ledger technology could mean a large reduction in transfer times and fees, while affording a more transparent fantasy economy.

Smart contracts could also mean users get their prizes literally as soon as they’ve won games, instead of having to wait for other sites to verify the games. And finally, the use of cryptocurrency (MyDFS uses Ethereum, while No Limit Fantasy Sports uses their own coin called NoLimitCoin) should be able to avoid regulatory issues, at least for now, because the ‘betting’ is not based on fiat currency. That means these sites could reach more global audiences faster.

That said, we will have to wait and see what happens next in terms of regulation and whether these platforms will, in fact, have global appeal after all.

EOS, Cardano and Tezos: Sleeping Giants Starting to Stir

EOS, Cardano and Tezos: Sleeping Giants Starting to Stir

EOS, Cardano and Tezos are cryptocurrency’s big sleepers. The latter project has lain dormant since last summer while its legal troubles played out, while EOS and Cardano have been beavering away, but have yet to produce the goods. With signs that all three projects are now stirring into life, investors might finally see a return. The question is, which of these sleeping giants – if any –  can lay a glove on Ethereum?

Also read: Kathleen Breitman: Tezos Will “Go Rogue” and Launch Soon

Ethereum’s Party Poopers Are Late to the Party

EOS, Cardano and Tezos: Sleeping Giants Starting to StirAssessing the merits of EOS, Cardano, and Tezos is impossible without assessing the merits of Ethereum. Its shadow looms large over the three projects, each of which is inexorably linked with Ethereum, the direct competitor they’re trying to topple. Tezos is bidding to be a better governed Ethereum, EOS is trying to be a faster Ethereum, and Cardano actually is Ethereum – sort of. Project founder Charles Hoskinson was an Ethereum co-founder and close advisor to Ethereum Classic. Oh, and Hoskinson also helped found Bitshares with Dan Larimer, who is now at EOS, but the two have since fallen out. More on that later.

The problem all three cryptocurrency projects are trying to solve can be lazily dubbed The Ethereum Problem. In terms of dominance and market capitalization, Ethereum is the runaway leader in the smart contract space. The vast majority of ICOs launch on it, and thousands of smart contracts, dApps, APIs, and cloud-based systems are integrated with it. Four times as many ethereum transactions (600,000) were completed in the last 24 hours as its nearest competitor, bitcoin. These figures paint a far rosier picture of Ethereum than is accurate however.

The Problem

EOS, Cardano and Tezos: Sleeping Giants Starting to StirAll of the big blockchains, whether denominated by market cap, usage, or brand recognition, have their problems. Ethereum’s include scalability (the number of transactions it can handle per second is pitifully low), security (smart contract bugs have caused the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars), scammy ICOs, over-centralization, and governance issues, exacerbated by some extremely contentious decisions that must be made. What should happen with the Parity millions that were lost for instance – should they be returned by changing the codebase, or left to languish? Such questions lead into murky legal territory, which has already led to the resignation of code editor Yoichi Hirai.

EOS, Cardano, and Tezos believe they can solve many of these problems, or better still, avoid making them in the first place, which is easy to say. Given that Tezos hasn’t even managed to govern itself, EOS seems more interested in amassing millions, and Cardano is so experimental that entire blocks are devoid of a single transaction, they’ve got their work cut out. Devising impressive figures in the lab for throughput or advancing innovative governance models is all well and good, but the measure of these projects will come when they’re unleashed into the rough and tumble of the cryptoverse, a place where things frequently break and slow to a crawl.

Contender 1: EOS

EOS, Cardano and Tezos: Sleeping Giants Starting to StirEOS has existed as only an ERC20 token thus far, but the mainnet is almost ready to launch, and exchanges such as Binance recently announced news of the EOS token swap. The irony of Dan Larimer’s Ethereum slayer piggybacking off its mortal enemy for the first six months of its life has not been lost. Speed and safe smart contracts are EOS’ USPs, with blocks produced every three seconds. Project architect Dan Larimer is a big believer in Dan Larimer, and is confident that his delegated Proof of Stake algorithm can blow Ethereum out of the water – and Cardano too.

Hoskinson and Larimer have been sniping at each other for months. After Larimer delivered a takedown of the consensus algorithm for Cardano, Hoskinson retorted: “[Larimer’s  critique] can be summarized as evil Charles stole all my brilliant work and didn’t cite me. DPoS is better. Their math stuff validates me. Their stuff doesn’t work. Peer review is what I say it is. I’m a genius”. Miaow. Naturally, Dan Larimer is certain that EOS can smite Cardano, Ethereum, and any other smart contract platform that dares stand in its way.

Even if EOS can reach its reported speeds, the catch, as Store of Value blog explains, is that “it’s quite centralized and block producers need to run super high performance computers in order to meet EOS’s blockchain demands…There are significant centralization concerns with EOS. Block producers have tremendous power and the blockchain has weak mechanisms to replace any.”

Contender 2: Cardano

EOS, Cardano and Tezos: Sleeping Giants Starting to StirDue to the $1 billion+ it has raised, coupled with its grand promises, EOS is the biggest of the three projects, and even had a three-minute slot dedicated to it on John Oliver’s cryptocurrency report. The other two, Tezos and Cardano, are no slouches however, at least not if they can successfully launch and make good on their promises. Charles Hoskinson is widely regarded as a knowledgeable and passionate figure in the cryptocurrency space, and has earned praise for the blockchain research labs he’s set up in Athens and Edinburgh via Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK).

Cardano launched back in 2016, with most of the tokens going to Japanese investors, so less is heard, in the western hemisphere at least, from impatient token-holders clamoring for a release date. Many of its investors are holding heavy bags though, for like most cryptos, ADA, its native token, peaked in January, surpassing $1.20, but is now at a little over 20 cents. When the market turns, the projects with no MVP tend to get hit the hardest, and Cardano has felt the full effect of the slump. When it launches, its blockchain will support dApps, a governance model, and is aiming to strike a balance between privacy and regulation. Like EOS, Cardano, powered by its Ouroboros Proof of Stake algorithm, should be fast and scalable.

Contender 3: Tezos

EOS, Cardano and Tezos: Sleeping Giants Starting to StirEOS and Cardano haven’t been delayed as such: they’re just huge projects whose developers have been taking their sweet time. Tezos, on the other hand, would have launched months ago were it not for all the in-fighting and lawsuits. With Kathleen Breitman recently promising that the project will launch soon, there are hopes that Tezos might soon become known for its innovative governance system, as opposed to its ability to induce squabbling on a grand scale.

It’s been so long since anyone read the Tezos white paper that the particulars of what the project will offer have largely been forgotten. For the record, Tezos will – if it works – enable token-holders to dictate how the project is run and to play their part in improving it. It will have smart contracts, a delegated Proof of Stake algorithm, and a dual blockchain model. The governance system shares some similarities with Dash, while Michelson is its smart contract language which will allow for formal verification so developers can confirm their code is mathematically correct.

When Launch?

The Cardano beta is scheduled for Q1 of 2018 (so “soon”), though more advanced features won’t be introduced until next year, so it’s still very much a work in progress. The alpha build of EOS, named Dawn 3.0, is supposed to go live later in March, so also soon. Tezos has claimed it will be ready to launch in 2-4 months, so could be ready as early as May. Barring any more legal or technical delays, all three projects should be live and in use by summer. If any of the trio can launch a crippling blow to Ethereum, it’s likely to be EOS, but it’s also the most complex project, and thus there’s the potential for more to go wrong.

It will probably take at least a year before Cardano is in a position to position itself as an Ethereum alternative, whereas EOS and Tezos should reach full strength sooner. If Ethereum manages to solve its own problems in the meantime, Cardano, EOS, and Tezos may find themselves chasing the incumbent before they can kill it.

Do you think EOS, Cardano, or Tezos can realistically challenge Ethereum? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, EOS, Tezos, and Cardano.

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$500 Million Has Been Mistakenly Sent to Ethereum’s Genesis Address

$500 Million Has Been Mistakenly Sent to Ethereum’s Genesis Address

Genesis blocks hold a symbolism that’s almost spiritual. They represent the birth of a new cryptocurrency, and when that currency flourishes, its foundation stone – the maiden block to have been mined –  is referenced reverentially. Ethereum’s first address is a memorable one: 0x followed by 40 zeroes. It’s also a dangerous one that has been the unintended recipient of $6 million in ether and over $500 million in ERC20 tokens.

Also read: People Keep Sending Satoshi Nakamoto Bitcoin

The Genesis Address That Keeps on Getting

Atheism and tech-savviness are synonymous, yet when it comes to cryptocurrencies, the religious undertones are strong. From the schisms caused by hard forks to the opposing dogma espoused by big and little blockers, crypto is basically god for geeks. As previously reported, people have been sending BTC to bitcoin’s genesis address for years as a way of acknowledging Satoshi. They’ve also been doing the same with Ethereum’s genesis address, not to acknowledge the genius of Vitalik Buterin and co, but simply due to user error.

0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 is an easy address to remember. It’s also an easy one to enter by mistake. All it takes is one fat finger on the zero button and your ERC20 tokens are winging their way to an address where they are destined to remain for all eternity. It doesn’t help that some wallets used to default to this address until they’d been configured. “Is there any way to get the golem I sent to [the genesis address] back?” asks one Reddit user. “I was transfering my tokens from my ethereum wallet to my ledger nano s and forgot to input an address before hitting send. Ethereum wallet apparently sends to [the genesis address] as a default. Has this happened to anyone else?”

$500 Million Has Been Mistakenly Sent to Ethereum’s Genesis Address
Some of the tokens locked inside ethereum’s genesis address

A Token Offering to the Ethereum Gods

Another anguished user claims to have sent their entire savings of 1,493 ETH there in error. In total, the genesis address has received over 750 transactions in three years, and today holds over 7,000 ETH, worth $6 million, and more than 200 ERC20 tokens worth a staggering $517 million. While some of these tokens were airdrops deliberately sent to public ETH addresses, many more were transferred there by mistake. In its earliest days, the address was mostly sent ether, including transactions of 100 ETH at a time, back when the cryptocurrency was cheap. Then, as ethereum projects began to take off, the stream of ETH gave way to ERC20 tokens.

$500 Million Has Been Mistakenly Sent to Ethereum’s Genesis Address
Vitalik Buterin

Today, that address holds 33,000 Aeternity, almost half a million BAT, 9.5 million Bytom, 750,000 Golem, and many more. While the BTC sent to bitcoin’s genesis block are believed to be irretrievable due to a combination of its architecture and Satoshi’s disappearance, that’s not the case with ethereum. Provided the project’s founders still have access to the private key for this address, it should be possible to set up a smart contract that automatically returns anything sent to it. Until such a time, the genesis address will continue to absorb tokens on a regular basis, much to the anguish of their unwitting senders.

Do you think the Ethereum team should return these funds, or is it the obligation of users to double check before they send? Let us know in the comments section below.

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NEO Is Either a Raging Success or a Total Disaster

NEO Is Either a Raging Success or a Total Disaster

What to make of NEO? The Chinese blockchain is, on paper, the most successful Asian cryptocurrency project to date. It’s listed on most major exchanges, boasts high trading volume, hosts numerous ICOs and has smart contract functionality. Not everyone is impressed though. Critics have called NEO a centralized, expensive, and unusable disaster. So which interpretation is true?

Also read: JP Morgan Chase Fears Crypto Is Disruptive Competition

Success Lies in the Eye of the Beholder

NEO Is Either a Raging Success or a Total Disaster
Da Hongfei

NEO founder Da Hongfei is a man of few words. Despite having a Twitter following of 40,000, he’s tweeted just 71 times, averaging one message a month. On February 28, the CEO broke his silence to declare his satisfaction at having the first blockchain to be given an A-class rating by Weiss. The ratings agency has previously come in for criticism for awarding no cryptocurrencies an A and bitcoin a C. In a blog post, Mr Weiss himself – Martin D. Weiss PhD – hit back at the haters, writing:

I kind of expect it when we give a disappointing grade to a coin they love. Like Bitcoin’s C+, for example. But it seems the fury can be equally intense when we give a good grade to a coin they hate. In fact, that’s what we just saw happen this weekend with another explosion of buzz on the Internet about the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings. This time all about NEO.

Mr. Weiss naturally revels in the controversy – any publicity is good publicity for his company after all. Had Weiss Ratings previously awarded bitcoin and other blockchains an A, its decision to follow suit with NEO would have provoked little attention. But it didn’t. And so it has. Granting NEO an A confirms, in the eyes of critics, that Weiss – a company with no background in cryptocurrency – doesn’t understand the industry it is judging. What sort of skewed ratings system places one of the world’s most centralized cryptocurrencies leagues ahead of one of the most decentralized (bitcoin)?

“A Billion-Dollar Disaster”

Weiss Ratings make for an interesting talking point but they have little basis in reality. For those in the know – analysts with a proper grounding in cryptocurrency – NEO is a project that raises major red flags which no decorative award can mitigate. In general, Chinese cryptocurrency projects are more heavily centralized than those from the west, and NEO appears to be particularly guilty of this. This may change as more nodes are rolled out, but for now at least, NEO holds the keys to the castle.

NEO Is Either a Raging Success or a Total Disaster

One of the project’s more vocal critics is Store of Value blog, whose author has described NEO as “A Multi-Billion Dollar Disaster”. In a damning post, they outline their reasons for this pejorative, including the following:

  • Blockchain slowdown during popular ICOs, questioning NEO’s claim to be able to support 1,000 tps. A post named The Story Behind the Worst ICO of 2018 outlines the problems that beset The Key’s crowdsale.
  • Developer issues with getting smart contracts to work coupled with high deployment costs running into tens of thousands of dollars. Based on the current price of GAS, it would cost $15,000 to create a smart contract.

The other major issue affecting NEO is that its main use, at present, is as a springboard for ICOs. These projects need to prove themselves by adding real value and usability to the NEO ecosystem. If they can achieve that, and foster an interconnected framework of dapps, DEXes, protocols and off-chain solutions, NEO will prosper. If these projects fail to make an impact, however, or are constrained by issues affecting the blockchain, the entire ecosystem is at risk of failure.

Every blockchain has its technical problems to solve, and there is no reason why NEO can’t overcome its teething troubles and alleviate over-centralization concerns given time. Communication is not one of the team’s strong points, however, and while NEO muddles on in silence, the dissenting voices are getting louder.

Do you think criticism of NEO is unwarranted, or does the platform have major issues to address? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and NEO.

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Report Claims 34,000 Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Vulnerable to Bugs

Report Claims 34,000 Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Vulnerable to Bugs

Over 34,000 ethereum smart contracts containing $4.4 million in ETH may be vulnerable to exploitation. That’s the conclusion reached by a quintet of researchers hailing from Singapore and the UK. Their technical report, which is currently undergoing peer review, suggests that millions of dollars in ether may be at risk from poorly coded smart contracts that contain a variety of bugs.

Also read: Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year

Smart Contracts Are Only as Smart as Their Creator

Report Claims 34,000 Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Vulnerable to Bugs“Finding The Greedy, Prodigal, and Suicidal Contracts at Scale” is the provocative title of a research paper submitted by British and Singaporean students last week. Its authors have dived deep into ethereum smart contracts, “finding contracts that either lock funds indefinitely, leak them carelessly to arbitrary users, or can be killed by anyone”. This latter flaw is precisely what happened to Parity last November.

The dangers of relying on smart contracts that have not been independently audited are well-documented. In the past year, $500 million has been lost due to bad code, and around half of that figure involved ethereum. The most notorious case was the Parity bug which led to $168 million of ether being rendered permanently inaccessible, though there have been plenty of smaller incidents where inexperienced or inattentive developers have been caught out.

A Small Drop in a Big Ocean

The authors of the report claim to have used a tool to analyze almost one million smart contracts, of which 34,200 were found to be vulnerable, with 2,365 of these stemming from distinct projects. That means that around 3.4% of all smart contracts are potentially vulnerable to being hacked, broken, or otherwise exploited. Of the contracts that the research team flagged as being exploitable, “the maximal amount of Ether that could have been withdrawn…is nearly 4,905 Ether” worth $4.4 million.

The report continues: “In addition, 6,239 Ether (7.5 million US dollars) is locked inside posthumous contracts currently on the blockchain, of which 313 Ether (379,940 US dollars) have been sent to dead contracts after they have been killed.” One thing the report deliberately omits is the identity of the smart contracts flagged as being at risk. But with almost 1 in 20 contracts vulnerable, and a jackpot of over $4.5 million in ether up for grabs, determined attackers have every incentive to put this research to the test.

What do you think can be done to make smart contracts safer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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