Besides Harvesting Facebook User Data Cambridge Analytica Were Planning For an ICO

Cambridge Analytica

Do you know that Cambridge Analytica, the company that harvested and misappropriated 87M private Facebook user information was planning for an ICO last year? Yes, wrap that first before continuing! According to Reuters who spoke to sources privy to the matter, the company was looking forward to issue their own cryptocurrency in exchange of $30M. This was well before their Facebook data breach saga.

Plans of Becoming a Data Company

Ironically, Cambridge Analytica had a well-structured strategy of venturing into the data business. There, their coin would have been the main currency for buying and selling personal data. Through the company’s British CEO, Alexander, the whole ICO process would come through. In an email, a Cambridge Analytica spokesman let through the details saying:

“Prior to the Facebook controversy, we were developing a suite of technologies to help individuals reclaim their personal data from corporate entities and to have full transparency and control over their personal data”

Before facing the sack, he had approached several ICO consulting companies . Fortunately, he was caught on tape bragging about Cambridge Analytica involvement in politics and manipulating democratic processes.

Cambridge Analytica Dystopian Business Model

Even though blockchain technology core objective is to decentralize control, Cambridge Analytica business model was different. Jill Carson, a blockchain expert, attended one of Cambridge Analytica’s pitch. She  said that the company was advancing government and corporate control agendas contrary to the whole objective of blockchain technology. Talking to Reuters, she said:

“The way that Cambridge Analytica was talking about it, they were viewing it as a means of being able to basically inflict government control and private corporate control over individuals”

At the moment, it is still not clear if Cambridge Analytica will still go on with their coin offering. However, we know that they shall utilize blockchain technology in one way or another to safeguard user personal data.

This is the Real Reason Why CoinSource is Installing More Bitcoin ATMs in Washington DC

CoinSource Bitcoin ATMs

CoinSource is making a grand entry into Washington DC installing 20 Bitcoin ATM’s in the District of Colombia and Maryland. This is surely a boost and timely for Bitcoin as CoinSource look to increase Bitcoin transactions in the US capital and surrounding centers.

Washington DC Insatiable Demand for Bitcoin

CoinSource claim the demand from local users and businesses is significant and they expect a widespread adoption of Bitcoin. To improve access, installation of these Bitcoin ATMs will be at strategic locations throughout the capital.

Already, CoinSource have a solid plan in place. To meet demand, the company will install 12 Bitcoin ATMs in Washington DC, 5 in Baltimore and one in Towson, Oxon Hill and Takoma Park. Because of this, CoinSource shall have one of the largest Bitcoin operating networks in DC.

Talking to Cryp2Geeks, CoinSource CEO Sheffield Clark said:

“Our goal is to give everyone the equal ability to access Bitcoin, particularly in times of record demand, and participate in this soaring new economy. Part of making this marketplace accessible is making sure our fees are less than half that of any other operator, and customers will be given fee-free transactions for first-time use of any new machine.”

Favorable Cryptocurrency and ICO Regulations

It won’t be hard for CoinSource to carve out their market share. Before making this strategic move, there were 5 other Bitcoin ATM operators across the city. Even though the competition is stiff, it’s the regulatory environment that would make it easier for penetration.

A while back, Washington DC hosted a hearing to examine cryptocurrencies and ICO markets. Overseeing this was the subcommittee of the U.S House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

From this series of events, it’s obvious that Washington DC is not new to cryptocurrency and it’s functioning.
CEO of CoinSource Sheffield Clark agrees saying:

“We are meeting Washington D.C. at an inflection point. regulators are Actively looking at value and potential of Blockchain technology.  All innovation over time has passed through our Nation’s Capital in one way or another”

With this new addition a total of 182 CoinSource ATM machines will be in operation in 18 states.

Avoid Falling Prey! Most ICO Bounty Programs are Scams

Bounty Scams

The proliferation of scams has unfortunately extended to bounty programs. At the same time, the open nature of ICOs makes it an efficient scam prospect. This is because it is a very easy and high-yield way to make big money quickly.

At the moment, many unsuspecting investors learn the hard way by falling victim. In reality, it is even more risky than comparative fiat financial platforms. It is important to note however that this is not the case for most ICOs.

The ease of operating a fraudulent bounty program complicates matters. Like everything that is digitized, the virtual nature of the product makes running a scam easier.

In effect, it is difficult to identify a scam until end of the ICO. Conversely, one can participate in a bounty scam and do tasks for weeks all in vain. It goes without saying that it saves a lot to identify the legitimacy of a bounty early. In the same vein, there are certain considerations that can help in that;

  1. Research on the Bounty Manager

Bountyhive is a great utility for this as they have great information and an easy to use bounty platform. There has to be caution when using the Token suit bounty since a user needs to keep track of the thread. The result is a distinct possibility of not having your tokens. That can come about because of small mistakes is not identified early as spreadsheet updates are not regular.

Placing trust in bounty programs posted by new users is not advisable.With that in mind, the importance of research cannot be overstated.Therefore an investor should conduct extensive research before participating in such bounties. This is because the most minor of details can be the difference between a great investment and a scam.

  1. The Bounty Team

A reputable project team naturally attracts many to a program. This is because the background and experiences of the team can inform the direction and reliability of the project. Therefore, check to make sure these details are factual rather than made up by looking up their profiles. There are some scam bounties that use photos of experienced technocrats to further their fraudulent schemes.

  1. Project Concept, Website and Whitepaper

These provide key details in your fact finding mission. The whitepaper chiefly contains lengthy details as well as a description of the platform’s functional mechanism. That is why a keen investor should be able to tie loose ends from this.

  1. The Bounty Details

In this regard, have a look at rewards system and the tasks you have to do. Scams typically have no future vision after the token sale and the activities are notably limited to that period. The program gives rewards and this can also be telling. Big rewards during the presale are a red flag. The program vision in summary in general should inform an investor.

These are just some considerations to have with regard to bounty programs. In the sophisticated world we live in there are scams left, right and center. The cryptocurrency industry as a result has earned a bad rap for fraud. This is why it is important for all relevant stakeholders to act up. Conducting your diligence can go a long way in securing your time and most importantly money.

The Main Reason Why More Cryptocurrency Exchanges Will Close Shop in Japan

Tokyo GateWay and Mr. Exchange Cryptocurrency Exchange Shut down

Undoubtedly, the $530 NEM Coincheck heist is still causing reverberations in the booming Japanese cryptocurrency market. While the Japanese Financial Security Services redoubles their regulatory efforts, two more exchanges- Mr. Exchange and Tokyo GateWay are resigning. They are now pulling out their FSA application according to a new report from Nikkei Asian Review.

By doing so, reports indicate that they shall now focus their cryptocurrency exchange services to locals only. This is after persistent prompts by the FSA demanding reinforcement of their weak security protocols following a review shortly after the devastating Coincheck hack.

Despite the suspension and shift of business model, they will have to reimburse customers all their cash and digital currency holdings as the law directs.

“The FSA on March 8 ordered both to improve their data security and other safeguards after they were found to be lacking. The companies will leave the exchange business after returning clients’ cash and cryptocurrency holdings.”

BitStation and FSHO are Already Out

Already, it’s curtain down for two exchanges- BitStation and FSHO. This comes after FSA’s assertions of their rigidity and failure to adjust existing security infrastructure.

Unfortunately, the FSA is upbeat and expect more exchanges to fall short of their stringent requirements and cease operations.

“More are expected to follow, as the FSA has given several exchanges a chance voluntarily close before ordering them to do so”.

Japan Remains Crypto Friendly Despite FSA Oversight

Apparently the FSA is tightening the regulatory news even in the wake of self-regulation within the nascent sector. Unlike China, Japan’s cryptocurrency relationship continues to warm up. Fact is, it is the leading country in Asia when it comes to Bitcoin adoption.

At the moment, more than 10,000 merchants accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment. In face economists estimate that revenue from cryptocurrency taxation will spike to $9.2B in 2018.

Therefore it is no surprise that exchanges continue to proliferate in a niche that remains largely without proper regulation. However, in the wake of recent Coincheck breach, regulators are heeding calls for consumer protection and are now enforcing their April 2017 registration directives.

South Korea’s Largest Exchange, UpBit Rewards $930 For Ponzi Schemes or Scams Report

$930 UpBit Reward for Scams

UpBit, the largest South Korean cryptocurrency exchange platform, recently launched a new reward system. This is a counter measure to battle the rising number of illegal scams and Ponzi schemes. Through a partnership with Bittrex, the platform lists over 120 coins and has a 24-hour trading volume of $1.1B.

$930 Reward for Vigilant Users

The aim is to create a “friendly cryptocurrency trade environment and to protect the exchange platform from fraud“. Consequently, they invite all its users to report any suspicious activities to UpBit and police agencies. The pilot phase of the system will run up to March 2019. Thereafter UpBit will decide if the program will continue running.

The UpBit Reward system encourages vigilance according to a report from Hankook Media.

“If illegal multi-level fraud eyewitnesses or victims report to UpBit and investigating agencies at the same time, a cash award will be given to the first reporter of the illegal recruitment case.”

UpBit is indeed offering a $930 reward to the first complainant. To report suspected criminal activities, UpBit advises one to select the Kakao Talk Consultation option on the UpBit app.

By March 23, UpBit had reported over 20 fraud related cases to the police after carrying out their own investigations. They even got a letter of appreciation from Suwon Chungbu Police Station after reporting an impersonator. Hankook Media confirms this reporting that,

“UpBit has been tracking illegal multi-level coin schemes with its own monitoring.”

Kakao Coin Frauds

There have also been increasing reports of fraudulent acts pretending to be Kakao Coin and issuing pre-sales of its coins.

Kakao came out to emphasize that the undergoing pre-sale of coins and recruitment of participants and investors for the platform are not true.

It further went ahead to issue a notice stating, “We are concerned about the damage caused by the fraudulent activity of the distributor”, clarifying that, “the company is preparing to establish a blockchain subsidiary.”

Regulatory Worries

This comes as the controversial UpBit receives criticism for not participating in the Korean Blockchain Association, meaning that it has no obligation to comply with the self-regulatory measures taken by other exchanges such as BitHumb and Korbit.

The exchange has not confirmed if it will be joining the association or not stating. Reporting to Newspim, they “are currently reviewing the self-regulation and there is no decision about joining the association”.

There are major concerns that if UpBit does not join the association there will be issues with equality among exchanges. Also other exchanges may withdraw from the association making self regulation pointless. UpBit has however is taking measures to comply with the mandates set by the government.

Despite all the challenges, UpBit has continued experiencing exponential growth with approximately 1M daily users.  UpBit takes over the top spot replacing BitHumb that currently has a trading volume of 686 million and only lists 12 currencies.

The rival exchange, BitHumb began distribution of brochures and opened walk-in customer centers to aid in combating cryptocurrency fraud on Tuesday. The brochures use comics and an easy-to-understand text to make concepts such as hacking, preventative measures and damage control, easy and quick to grasp.

3 Obvious Reasons Why Bitcoin’s Future is Never Dependent on China or India

Bitcoin not dependent on China and India

Put together, China and India comprise just over 20% of the world’s population. Ordinarily, this would mean that these countries can massively boost Bitcoin adoption if only they were supportive.

However, with Bitcoin there is a lot left to our imagination in this regard.  This is because the two, especially China, are yet to fully live up to their potential.

China is hard on Bitcoin

First, China has taken a tough stance on cryptocurrency as evidenced by the ban on ICOs since September 2017. The central bank has been actively monitoring the development of digital currency and distributed ledger technology. This means that the adoption in China has many obstacles and Bitcoin has great potential for future growth if the government takes a more positive stance.

The rationale for the tough measures is simple. Like everything else in the country, the communist government likes to keep currency under a tight leash. Consequently Beijing has also sought to keep digital currency under check. It is notable that Bitcoin works independently without centralized management. This is in conflict with how the Chinese government typically operates.

The Chinese market may add fear, doubt and uncertainty but this directly affected the price of Bitcoin significantly. In spite of all this Chinese nationals have been consistent in their heavy trade of Bitcoin and digital currency as a whole.  Therefore, Bitcoin can still explode like never before if this market opens up more.

The government may be looking at ways to regulate the coin more. It is not entirely unforeseeable to envision Beijing making some concessions in the future as Bitcoin becomes more stable. Bitcoin has shown its resilience over the past decade and will certainly weather this storm.

India’s Bitcoin Adoption is Low

India despite having a relatively large economy is underwhelming in regards to cryptocurrency adoption.  To add insult to injury, the Indian Finance minister recently made statements to the effect of creating a hostile environment for Bitcoin in India.

India has been underwhelming in Bitcoin adoption so far. For comparison purposes, India has 58 nodes while Lithuania which is smaller geographically about a thousand times fewer people has 81. The role of China at this point actually matters but India has some way to go to be a market mover.

In Summary

So, can we really say that the price of Bitcoin is affected by these two countries? At the moment the answer is a resounding no. If the respective governments were to let up in terms of flexibility of the coin, it is then and only then that there would be a reason to be optimistic. At the moment other developed countries like Japan and Canada have more impact on cryptocurrency prices and future than India and China.

Besides, it is notable that the decentralized nature of Bitcoin is not dependent on any government but rather the technology itself. These two countries have the potential to give Bitcoin a big boost if affirmative regulations are adopted. At the moment, Bitcoin will continue to grow in spite of their actions rather than because of them.

Buy Bitcoin Now! Here Are 6 Lightning Network Apps That Are Game Changers

6 Lightning Network Apps

Not long ago, the Beta version of Lightning Network went live and Lightning Labs was behind that initiative. Now, to further the same project-that of making Bitcoin micro-payment fast, Blockstream is following up with a raft of wonderful apps that works in tandem with lightning network, Lightning Apps (LApps).

Simply put, Bitcoin Lightning Network is a technical solution that seeks to alleviate the scaling problem while allowing fast settlement of micro-payment via an off-chain solution. In layman terms, Lightning Network is another layer of protocol that works on top of the original Bitcoin Legacy network via channels.

These channels are convenient since they connect market participants. The good thing about it is that users can conduct several transactions within it before confirmation and connection back to the main chain.

Over 7 days, Blockstream has been unveiling several Lightning Applications that promises to revolutionize the way merchants and individuals conduct their businesses.

FileBazaar

This was the first LApp to hit the market on March 22. According to Blockstream, FileBazaar is an eCommerce tool suitable for digital file content creators of videos, photos and others. Producers of such content would easily receive micro-payment for their relevant content.

It works under a Pay-Per-View system and this way content viewers will be in a position to pay for exactly what they need, whenever they need them. At its core, it unshackles businesses and gives them more autonomy. In a blog post, Blockstream said about FileBazaar:

“…instead allow creators to conduct business independently online. This puts more control into their hands, realigns their interests with the desires of their patrons, and supports direct lines of communication with consumers.”

Lightning Publisher for WordPress

Unlike the former, Lightning Publisher for WordPress is not a LApp per say but a plugin with similar working principle as FileBazaar that went live on March 23.

This plugin enables WordPress publishers to receive payments for their live content. In reality what happens is that individuals become their own publishers. This way they receive payment anytime readers preview their work and are interested to learn more. According to Blockstream:

“After an author powers up the LApp, readers will be able to preview an article on the blog, then can choose to access the full content by making a Lightning micro-payment, which will be sent to the creator’s Lightning Charge server.”

Nanotip

On March 24, another Lapp, Nanotip was unveiled and here Blockstream plans to do away with creator’s tipping jars. With Nanotip content creators will privately receive their tips through a tip-bot and have more control.

On the other hand, patrons will have private freedom to choose whom they want to tip. Once they settle on any one content creator, they receive a Lightning Invoice.

PayPerCall

This is one promising LApp that users could test from March 25. What it does is simple: create this one big, flexible “web of micro-payments”. From there  developers can request payments for their specific API services.

What’s exciting about PayPerCall is that it may be the beginning of an internet of services where users have to pay for premium API services. This way, API programmers can automatically request for payment before any specific API action filters through. Besides, programmers can use it as a reverse proxy to serve the same function.

“Want to require a micro-payment when a user sends an SMS? Want to offer image processing services for a micro-fee? PayPerCall allows developers to do so, and with Lightning’s instant payments, it enables instantaneous access to an API’s functionality.”

Nanopos

Lightning Network is all about merchants and Nanopos is perfect for vendors with static items. Merchants with T-shirt stands or coffee shops can easily utilize this app. Besides, it’s easy to use.

Through a config file, vendors can list their items. Thereafter, customers can freely select what they want via computer screen. After they are through with their selection, customers will immediately receive a QR code and pay.

Ifpaytt

Next in line was Ifpaytt. Lightning Charge and PayPerCall powers this innovative solution. Like PayPerCall, there’s flexibility because now developers can charge for any action that is done on Ifpaytt enabled web pages.

Ifpaytt users can at any time combine triggers-usually invoices-and actions to create an IFTTT (If This Then That) applets that links both events together. Through this users can “access the URL to request a Lightning invoice, pay it, and then make usage of the service.”

The IRS is Taxing All Forms of Cryptocurrency Transactions

IRS Tax Returns

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are scams. They are hallways for money laundering and tax evasion. Criminals use them. These are some of the sentiment you often hear from critics. While at it, most governments are allergic to this new form of currency but are taxing them anyway!

In fact the China don’t want anything to do with Bitcoin. On the other hand, the Indonesian government has a law in place banning cryptocurrencies as a legal tender. If you are got in possession of Bitcoin, you will serve a jail term.

In the US, exchanges are free to operate but it’s the same script. After all, Mark Carney said cryptocurrencies are not money. The SEC has a test in place that classify tokens or coins as securities liable for taxation whenever they meet certain conditions. Personally, I don’t think this should be a surprise.

Whenever there is a boom, expert the taxman to knock on the door. Pay the Caesar they say. But really, is all these tax hounding necessary? Or are governments making their presence felt in an industry that is still at a nascent stage.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why applying current fiat laws to tax cryptocurrencies is bonkers:

Fiat-Cryptocurrency Conversion Lags But Capital Tax Still Applies

We will start from the very first step. Cryptos are hot property and with all the psych, hunting for perfect basis is every investor’s objective.

It sounds easier than done. If you have bought coins before then you understand that in most exchanges, nothing is instantaneous when converting fiat to crypto.

There is a lag and considering coin volatility, prices might oscillate during the conversion period. If coin prices go up during that time, you have to pay capital tax gains. No? Makes sense? No!

Shirts are Off, You cannot Tax Losses

By late 2017, most high liquid coins as Ripple and IOTA were at record levels. Gains in multiples and the moon is where the bulls were heading. At the same period, ICOs-irrespective of their initial business objectives were booming.

There were investors who didn’t want to miss out and so they transferred all their life savings to some of these ventures. Unfortunately, 3 months later, there is widespread deflation in the crypto-sphere.

Everything is red and Bitcoin is down 70% from the mouthwatering $20K a piece back in December 2017. Now, even with all this, the IRS stipulates that all crypto transactions are taxable. Will the taxman demand returns from an investment that is already deep in the red?

Crypto Tax Experts are Hard Find

Unlike filling fiat returns, finding a cryptocurrency tax expert is an arduous task. Even when you do, their hourly rates are through the roof.

If you have shallow pockets, subscribing to their services won’t make sense economically. It will even be a tedious job to do especially if you often transact using crypto.

Finding gains while tracking basis prices all the way back from when you made your first entry is not only time consuming but tedious. You might need the services of a crypto tax experts who are scarce and you won’t expert the IRS to provide one. It’s all on you.

The Real Crypto Millionaires/Billionaires Tuck their Wealth in Tax Havens

It’s sad but true. Small timers are the ones who bear all the brunt of taxation.

In the meantime, the 5% of cryptocurrency have their cash stacks somewhere in the Cayman Islands out of reach from the IRS. These multi-millionaires and billionaires have tax experts or proxy companies who make prior arrangements facilitating this.

You Can Hide Cryptocurrency Transaction Activities

Of course if you can’t beat them then you can join them. But investors can keep their transaction under water by confining all their activity on wallets under their control. Alternatively, if they transact on foreign cryptocurrency exchanges and move money around, the tax man would have a hard time tracking them.

Irrefutably, paying taxes is a civic duty. However, considering the speed of technology evolution, tailoring laws to fit them should be a government priority. Private firms as CoinBase are helping out but their services are exclusive to their customers. Governments should re-look existing laws and derive proper laws to govern crypto taxation.

Image Courtesy of PixaBay/ShepardHumpries

6 Blockchain Consensus Protocols You Should Know

Blockchain Protocols

Despite recent turmoil, Bitcoin and blockchain technology in general continue to generate widespread interest.  In light of that,researchers are hard at work coming up with better protocols. This is because they recognize blockchain as a revolutionizing technology across the industries,

Here are the 6 major blockchain protocols every investor and blockchain end user should know:

HyperLedger

HyperLedger is an open source blockchain platform under the Linux Foundation. Its main objective is to support private blockchain projects and other distributed ledgers.

Moreover, the protocol focuses on ledgers developed to support international business transactions, catering leading financial, technological and supply chain businesses. This is for the purpose of improving a lot of performance and reliability aspects.

Specifically, the project emphasizes on making collaborative efforts for making open standards and protocols. Because of this, they offer a modular framework that backs various components for diverse uses. These include blockchains having their own storage and consensus models and also services for access control, contracts and identity.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is now 10 years old. Satoshi Nakamoto in the white paper, “Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system”, presented the following characteristics of this protocol:

  • Bitcoin enables direct transactions with no need of any trusted third party.
  • It enables the non-reversible transactions.
  • Bitcoin decreases credit cost in minor casual transactions.
  • It decreases transaction fees.
  • Bitcoin prevents double-spending.

To make it clear, Bitcoin is a virtual currency. In that regard, the currency works as a distributed network. Other members of the community help to verify transactions. The start of 2016 saw the issuance of around 15.26M BTC. Major technologies that make Bitcoin work include hash, digital signature, public-key cryptography, P2P and Proof of Work.

This blend has consequently developed a mechanism that prevents duplication of payments and data falsification. Moreover, there is a mechanism that prevents malicious users, which are critical for the operating system. Such operating systems like the one for the electronic money have no central authority.

Ethereum

Ethereum is a public, open-source and block chain computing protocol that features smart contracts (scripting) functionality. The protocol has a virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Through EVM, Ethereum carries out Turning-complete scripts by using a global network of public nodes and Ether as “Gas”.

Ether (ETH) prevents network spamming attacks and allocates resources in proportion to the incentive provided by the request. In basic terms, Ethereum is a tamper proof and a common software accessible to all. We can say it’s like the world’s first common computer.

Ethereum is also a DApps, smart contracts and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations protocol. This is in liaison with a number of functioning applications developed on it by March 2016 as reported by the New York Times.

Ripple Consensus Network

The Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP), issued in 2012, has been developed upon a distributed consensus ledger Internet protocol. Moreover, Ripple uses a native currency termed as XRP (ripples). Consequently, Ripple enables instant, safe and almost free global financial transactions of any scale without any charge back.

The protocol is well embraced in crypto-sphere. Ripple can support tokens presenting cryptocurrency, fiat currency, commodity and any other value unit like mobile minutes and frequent flier miles.

R3’s Corda

Corda, by the Company R3, is the distributed ledger protocol developed from the ground up. It facilitates recording, supervising and synchronizing the financial agreements among regulated financial institutions.

Besides, R3 captures the advantages of blockchain systems. Moreover, there are no design choices that turn blockchains unsuitable for a lot of banking scenarios.

Corda’s design came up as a result of heavy analysis and prototyping with team members.

Symbiont Distributed Ledger

Simply put, this protocol is a software development kit for the Assembly.

For definition sake, an assembly is the permitted distributed ledger part of Symbiont’s smart contracts system. Therefore, Assembly is considered as the first distributed ledger suitable for institutional finance.

The ledger is a greatly secure, high performing Byzantine Fault-Tolerant distributed ledger. As a result Symbiont can process a sustained 80,000 Txs in a local multi-node network.

As stated by Symbiont’s Co-founder, decentralized systems should no longer be slow and with Assembly this is now reality.

Image Courtesy of PixaBay/Geralt

3 Fundamental Reasons why Bitcoin Will Rise Exponentially in 2018!!

Bitcoin improvements

Remember all that panic after Segwit 2X mess? Many thought Bitcoin was on its dying bed. Yes, they had valid reasons to worry stemming from an inherent snowballing concern. Adoption and congestion goes hand in hand.  Consequences were definitely inevitable. You see, despite the continuous patches, the Bitcoin network remains pretty much the same. Even so, Segwit 2X events and Bitcoin Cash hard fork shall forever remain the highlight of Bitcoin development.

Back in the day, Satoshi was the one pulling shots and urging adopters to upgrade their cores whenever a glitch had been fixed. The network was also faster and despite the heat, you could actually mine using your normal GPUs.

After the Chinese pump and Silk Road, the price of Bitcoin was obviously on the rise. Subsequently, the new found attention became a glow for new users and developers. Shortly after, there was developer centralization like Blockstream with BIPs implementation depending on the majority vote.

UASF, Segwit 2X and Bitcoin Cash

Nevertheless, Bitcoin waded through the NYA debate before the implementation of the first stage of the agreement via a UASF. However, just before Segwit 2X, there was a hard fork. This was the birth of Bitcoin Cash, a quick fix to scalability and high fees. Till now, Roger Ver, the “Bitcoin Evangelist” and the leader of a virtual Libertarian country finds offense when someone calls the coin “BCash”. How funny!

Note this though. Bitcoin Cash proponents say that the network is the ultimate solution to scalability. By increasing block size to 8MB, more transactions could be stored leading to high speed of transaction settlement.

Many label BCH as a “perfect” coin for merchants because of the instantaneous nature of payment but that’s about it. Let’s not forget that it came at the expense of the total size of the blockchain. Block and blockchain size are directly proportional so sooner or later, nodes would have to download TBs of data. Besides that-talks of centralization are also rife-, Bitcoin Cash offers nothing.

A Road Map to the Moon?

While Bitcoin Cash continues to make headlines even threatening to “Flip”, Bitcoin is making important technical strides. Of course, challenges persist. Why not? It’s the biggest cryptocurrency in the world and the community is vibrant. Fees are moderate and settling transactions can take hours. Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Segwit Eliminates Malleability Attacks

I specifically like potential solutions that tackle the thorny topic of scaling while improving transaction settlement speed. It’s the open source nature of the Bitcoin source code that can be a deterrent to fast implementation as we saw with Segwit 2X. Regardless, Segwit remains an important cog that set the ball rolling for Lightning Network. Then again, with Segwit, there is an immediate fix to transaction malleability attacks.

The reason why blockchain technology remains popular is because of how it handles privacy. In the digital age privacy is a priority. Big social media companies as Facebook continues to auction our personal data to the highest bidder and with the CLOUD Act becoming law, there is no better time to safeguard this right. After all, it’s the Fourth Amendment and part of every nation’s Human Rights clause.

Bulletproofs Implementation Improves Privacy

Decentralization and distribution is synonymous with blockchain and Bitcoin but the latter is taking a step further. In the cards, there are two privacy-centric implementation that shall provide an extra edge to the core. Apart from using Schnorr signatures, there are plans for Bulletproofs implementation.

In a nutshell, Bulletproofs is a “new form of zero-knowledge proof protocol with very short proof and a trustless set-up”. What this basically means is that there will be a faster and compact way of verifying privacy demanding confidential transactions.Bulletproofs does this by drastically reducing the size of these CTs. Because of zero-knowledge proofs, there is a way of validating these CTs without revealing the content of the CT.

Reduce Block size Through Schnorr Signatures

Schnorr signatures on the other hand bids to reduce the size of multisig transactions. At the center of this development is the need to slash the overall size of the blockchain and boosting transaction capacity. That’s only feasible if there’s a reduction Bitcoin’s transactions digital signatures. This idea is so attractive and continue to garner support within the Bitcoin community. Aside from the space element, mashing signatures will helps fight spam within the network apart from improving efficiency. This in turn means reduction of transaction backlog and high network fees.Additionally, Schnorr signatures shall play a fundamental role when Bitcoin’s smart contracts becomes a reality.

The Power of Side-chains

Icing these is the tantalizing toying of Bitcoin side-chains. Now, it may sound over the top and even overambitious.  But really, if we have private side-chains addressing specific kind of information not only will the parent chain become efficient but transaction processing speeds will come down towards zero.

As a result we shall have a faster and efficient system that can handle the demands of the day in a world running on blockchain. As always, it’s the implementation stage that is tricky but with a NiPoPoW proposal, there is a break through.

Nonetheless, we can take reprieve in the fact that different blockchain projects can easily communicate with each other via the main chain without bringing vulnerabilities to the main network. Drive Chain are working on creating a Bitcoin side-chain. If it proves successful then it’s only logical that Bitcoin value will go up.