In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper
, staff notice
, and report on Quadriga
, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.
- This framework was developed through a study of 96 past exchange hack/scam/fraud events. It prevents all historic cases where funds were lost in cryptocurrency exchanges.
- Typical securities frameworks will cost Canadians millions of dollars (ie Sarbanes-Oxley estimated at $5m USD/yr per firm). Implementation costs of this proposal are significantly cheaper.
- Canadians can maintain a diverse set of exchanges, multiple viable business models are still fully supported, and innovation is encouraged while keeping Canadians safe.
Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:
Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.
Regular Transparent Audits
Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.
Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.
Background and Justifications
Cold Storage Custody/Management
After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems:
• Funds stored online or in a smart contract,
• Access controlled by one person or one system,
• 51% attacks (rare),
• Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or
• Some combination of the above.
For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program.
The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms.
• 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective.
• The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated.
The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II.
On The Subject of Third Party Custodians
Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems.
However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins
over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack
, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies.
There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both.
On The Subject Of Insurance
ShakePay has taken the first steps
into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC.
However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example
, the insurance agent refused
because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange
in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied
, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article
: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover
their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance.
In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework.
A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians.
On The Subject of Fractional Reserve
There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds.
There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past.
Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability
Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis.
The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here
). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users.
Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared
. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene
), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit.
The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided.
Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense.
Hot Wallet Management
The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig
on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets.
However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process.
A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage.
Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections
. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.
Current Draft Proposal
(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage.
(a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet.
(b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time).
(c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7.
(d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds.
(e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers.
(2) Regular and transparent solvency audits.
(a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row.
(b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored.
(c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process.
(d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify.
(e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible.
(3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions.
(a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets.
(b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy.
(c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage.
(d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange.
(e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.
Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized.
The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges.
The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
Thank you for participating in the AMA session with Pundi X co-founder and CEO Zac Cheah.
For those of you who may have missed it, the live recording of the AMA session held on July 3 at 10:00 am GMT+8, tackling Q2 progress and addressing questions and concerns by the community members, can be viewed here. A side note that today’s AMA video quality and setting was not ideal. We acknowledge this situation and will make improvement for our next AMA session.
You may also find a summary of the Q2 progress presentation as well as all the detail Q&A below.
## Pundi X Q2 2019 Highlights
* Pundi X has integrated more public chains into our products. In Q2, we completed integration of Binance Chain. NEM chain is in the work. As of today we’ve launched BNB, the Binance Chain native Coin and XEM, NEM native coin on Pundi X payment platform. We will integrate at least one more public chain in Q3.
* The transactions on XPOS for Q2 is 15.5 million in USD, which is close to 300% quarterly growth. The number of transactions is 29,367, which leads to a 11% growth QoQ.
* XPOS has successfully received FCC and KC certifications. A new certification for Latin American market is on the way. * To expand XPOS footprint, Pundi X’s integration with a new leading mainstream point-of-sales device is in the work. Stay tuned for the announcement.
* Pundi X Open Platform was launched in May, 2019, which now supports ERC20 and BEP2 token listing. Moving forward, we will continue to support tokens from other public chains.
* A 3,000 XPASS order from DigiX, a gold-based token, and a 10,000 XPASS order from BitCobie this quarter.
* XPOS is spread in use in over 30 countries. We’ve published a map of XPOS location of self-report XPOS merchant directory. You can find a list of selected XPOS merchants at [https://www.pundix.com/products\](https://www.pundix.com/products)
. * The QoQ growth of XWallet is tremendous at 43%. In the previous quarter, we have less than 20k users, whereas in Q2 we have hit 297k XWallet users. More updates on XWallet:
* Supported BNB and NEM tokens; 2FA, face ID, and optimized SMS serviceAvailable on iOS, Android as well as in Samsung Galaxy Store
New features coming up in Q3:- DApp integration - Decentralized wallet- In-app crypto payments - Chat service, which will be compatible with a commonly used chat app- f(x) testnet features to be rolled out first in XWallet
## Other notices coming up in Q3 2019
* The Q2 token removal will take place on July 14, 2019, which will involve in total 34 billion of NPXS and NPXSXEM (22 million worth in USD) removal. In the past 365 days, we’ve removed a total of 36.1 million US dollar worth of NPXS and NPXSXEM.
Before Q2 removal, the total supply of NPXS ERC20 is 266,962,422,906.53 and NPXSXEM is 95,816,218,929. [See Q1 removal here.](/pundix/recap-of-ama-with-zac-on-july-3-and-q2-report-a23de165dd28)
* [NPXSXEM will be ported to Binance Chain from July 20](/pundix/npxsxem-will-be-on-binance-chain-c6485f17726b). * XPhone pre-order will start in late July with a new product name. Stay tuned. Check out the teaser video that we are releasing it across our communication channels. ## Q&A ## On XPOS
* **Where are we on official global location of XPOS?**
Zac: We have made a map on our official website that merchants can self report and feature their locations. It’s at [https://www.pundix.com/product\](https://www.pundix.com/product)
. We’ll be increasing and updating the map once we have permission form the merchants to update their locations.
* **The marketing from pundi has shifted from 100,000–700,000 xpos units by 2021 to 100,000. I understand the bear market has affected this but please share the strategy moving forward to hit your goal. How do you feel about hitting this goal?**
Zac: The 100K XPOS target has always been the initial goal and it’s stated in our whitepaper. And we are still working on achieving the goal by the end of 2021. Part of our growth strategy is to also explore the possibility to port our platform to traditional POS manufacturers to increase the adoption, which is ongoing at the moment.
* **1 year ago you sent 5000 XPOS somewhere. When, at least half of them, will be working? 3 year target was 100,000 by 2021. Now we have only 150 units, how do you expect to reach this goal?**
Zac: Yes, we have shipped thousands of XPOS to over 30 countries in the world. The 150 you’ve mentioned are the featured merchants which are published on the map. The active XPOS devices are deployed over 33 countries and we are actively talking to B2B partners to have higher wholesale and big deployments.
* **How many XPOS are live and used?**
Zac: We have gone through a very serious bear market, and some of the initial inbound requests for XPOS are not delivered. However, we are working slowly but surely with our Business Development team to not just roll-out into individual buyers, such as what we did on Pizza Day, but also to B2B partners. With the certifications approved, that will also help us to officially roll out to some of the key markets.
Individual merchants can use XWallet collection feature to accept crypto payment with QR code. For the merchants who have physical offline storefronts, they can use XPOS to enable the instant crypto transaction seamlessly. Moreover, as mentioned previously, we are exploring the integration on leading traditional POS terminal so that their distributors have option to enable crypto transaction feature. As for the challenge to adopt XPOS, it is the regulatory compliance in different countries. For this, our legal team think ahead and encourage our merchants to complete KYC.
I must be very honest to say the activation takes longer time than we expect but it will be worth at the end.
* **What’s the average number of transactions per xpos in use?**
Zac: The transaction number has increased very well. The number of each XPOS differs, due to the frequency of using crypto currency to purchase item or crypto assets. There’s no standard answer to this, but overall we see the transaction number and volume are going up.
* **How do you plan to reach the target of 100,000 by 2021?**
Zac: One of the challenges that we have is regulatory compliances in different countries. There are certain markets that do not allow crypto currencies and some require a clear approval for us to deploy XPOS. We are working on both challenges by talking to governments and applying for certifications. So how we plan to reach 100,000 XPOS user by 2021 is to work with distributors, B2B partners on a government / business level, and with existing POS companies to integrate our software solution into the system.
* **We understand as there was bear market and hence Xpos usage demand was low. Are you guys seeing growth of Xpos usage with current market conditions. Can you guys put some statistics comparison like last 30 days Xpos usage vs any month from bear market usage?**
Zac: It is very clear that as we moved out from the bear market, the demand for XPOS has been increasing. As we’ve shared just now both the transaction number and volume of Q2 have beaten Q1. We’ll be able to share more transaction numbers once we receive approval from our XPOS merchants.
One exciting thing is that, with the listing of different tokens, we also see users using these tokens as a way to transact on XPOS, which means we will be having more ways to transact and this is a growth point for XPOS.
* **When will there be more details for XPHONE and XPOS HANDY?**
Zac: For XPOS handy, we have finished production and it will be released in Q3
* **When will the iOS version of XWallet and XPOS be fully translated to other languages?**
Zac: Right now, the XWallet has Traditional Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German and English. With the latest version update, it now includes Portuguese. XPOS also comes with many languages and we hope to finish with more language, either working with professionals or volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact us.
* **When will the Merchant back office have Product Registration and SKU id ability and also integrate with other POS software?** * **When will the top-up feature go away for XPOS to allow liquidity for XPOS**
Zac: We constantly update features in XPOS and merchant backend to make it easier for distributors and merchants to use. We understand that one of the ways for mass adoption is to enhance our distributor management system. With that, the distributors can manage manay XPOS at one time with different merchants.
Please stay tuned as we announce more and more functions of this feature. ## On Dubai
* **When will we see the deployment of the XPOS in Dubai?** * **Can we spend NPXS on the Dubai XPOS?**
Zac: As with all big projects there are a lot of moving parts, that includes working very closely with the local government, in Dubai’s case, the Credit Bureau of the Finance Ministry. Things are progressing for the Dubai project but due to confidentiality agreements with the parties involved, we cannot reveal much. All we can say is that we and our Dubai partners are working hard to have XPOS roll-out in the Dubai market and the UAE.
We are also discussing aggressively with Dubai partners whether to include crypto assets in the XPOS in Dubai. That clearly will involve local compliance and legal for that to happen.
* **Your system upgrades expect merchants to have downtime on their XPOS terminals, can you explain if you plan to run a business why this would be considered feasible (specially at the rate you have been doing your upgrades)?**
Zac: Yes, the benefit / strength of the XPOS is that most of the updates can be done on the fly. For example, when we have a token update on our XPOS where developers submit their tokens on Open Platform, the updates of this token are on the fly, which means that once we approve the token on our Open Platform, it will automatically appear on XPOS without any software updates.
The great thing that we believe about XPOS is not just the support of crypto assets, but also the ability to update most things on the fly, which means that whenever we have a good feature or a new token, the updates will be done instantaneously.
* **Can you guys arrange at least a community voting which is the next blockchain we would like to see next in XPOS? Voting will help to prioritize to chose the projects.**
Zac: One of the reasons why BNB is being listed on the XPOS is simply because of its popularity and also our user demand, in a way that we are already answering to our community’s request.
Right now, our main focus is getting all the tokens submitted on Open Platform to be listed on the XPOS. The submission process includes legal and compliance valid, so our legal and compliance teams are working hard to make sure that we have more tokens to roll out onto Open Platform, which means that they will be on XPOS, XWallet, and XPASS.
As to a specific voting mechanism, we’d like to consider that and hopefully we’ll be able to run a specific voting for the chain which users would like to see.
* **While comparing Xpos handy to Square POS devices at least with mobile it’s very cheap like under $30 and easy to use. When can we expect such light weight and cheaper version for XPOS? Is team working on such devices ?**
Zac: There are different POS companies around the globe and pour focus is to work with these POS companies with our software, so that a crypto sales feature will be part of the existing POS system. The more support of crypto asset usage using our software on existing POS, the better it is for global adoption.
We actually strongly believe that the pricing of our POS system is competitive in the market. And one of the great features of the XPOS is that the merchants will not need not to pay a certain percentage to existing acquirer but to be able to earn certain percentage from each transaction. That is the key differentiator for merchant to want to adopt this.
* **From the website with some of the key Countries for XPOS adoption looks great. However, the concern is for Venezuela, there is no reference link like the others have. Can you guys add the link with details to clear the ambiguity?**
Zac: Let’s give a little bit more patience so that we can actually release more information about our Venezuelan partnership. The good news is that we expect concrete news from Venezuela in the coming 2 weeks. So stay up-to-date about our Venezuelan roll out on XPOS, the best way is to subscribe to our telegram group for Venezuela. ## On Partnerships
* **Are there some major partnership in the works? I’m also interested in how you do immediate transactions? Do you anticipate scaling issues?**
Zac: The way XPOS is being designed is that when you use your crypto assets to purchase, it will have instantaneous confirmation because the action is an off-chain process. An on-chain action happens when a user who owns crypto assets in our system transferring the assets out of the Pundi X ecosystem to their own wallets; or to transfer crypto assets in Pundi X from an off-chain to a private wallet, which we will have very soon on XWallet itself.
That is why we are able to handle scaling. When a person wants to use crypto currency to buy a coffee, the transaction will happen instantaneously.
For specific partnership, especially with B2B partnership, we oblige to the NDA that we have signed. But if you follow us closely, you’ll know that we go to different parts of the world, talking to major companies to try to land more deals so that NPXS usage will increase dramatically.
* **Any big partnerships for making xphone or using the software for xBlockchain?**
Zac: These partnerships are also subjected to NDA, so please be patient for us to release more news.
* **When will XPOS have approval to process Visa and MasterCard payments?**
Zac: We have met representatives from these players including some of the key management people. They are obviously looking into crypto currency attentively, and we hope that there’s something we can do with MasterCard and/or Visa.
This is something that the community has suggested and we agree fully. Please allow us with some time to work on this. We have also showcased XPOS to the CEO of MasterCard. For what or when will anything happen, please wait for our official announcement.
* **What’s the status on Quantum fund and their contribution or involvement with Pundi’s project?**
Zac: We announced last year that we are creating a fund to invest in projects beneficial to our ecosystem. We’ve identified some interesting projects, and we have invested in at least 1 project. The reason why we’re investing in that project is because of the services that it will bring onto the Pindi X ecosystem. So the purpose of the investment of the companies is that these companies in turn will benefit on our ecosystem. This is our key consideration.
The team has evaluated the projects that will benefit the Pundi X / Function X ecosystem. Vic and his team will be able to reveal more details on the companies we have invested in and how they will contribute to our ecosystem in Q3.
* **Recent update on NPXSXEM is highly ambiguous as mentioned that it will be now BEP token and later once FX goes live it will get back to Fx platform. Why you guys had so rush to use Binance chain only for few months? Isn’t you guys switching to much in a short time span?**
Zac: Liquidity and utility have been an issue for NPXSXEM. Due to the design philosophy and the limit of token that can be created on NEM’s smart contract, we are only able to create a small number of tokens on NPXSXEM. By moving into the Binance chain for NPXSXEM, the BEP2 token version will be able to support all the NPXSXEM tokens, which means that we’ll migrate and also be able to make sure all the NPXSXEM tokens are under the same contract address.
We believe with the strong liquidity, we will be able to give our NPXSXEM token holders a good reason of what the token holders have been waiting for. We hope to bring NPXSXEM to match the level of NPXS.
* **When #XRP?**
Zac: Our OpenPlatform is a currency agnostic platform, which means that we will work on integrating public chain as well as tokens that are most requested by the users. We’ll also be looking into the listing of different tokens that are being mentioned by the community.
As said, we will have at least one more public chain integration in Q3, perhaps even more.
* **Are you as a company going to try and connect with libra? If they have said they want to be a payment remittance service, have Square, PayPal, Visa on board I as an investor would prefer you try to join them rather than beat such large competitors**
Zac: Of course, we’ll be delighted to work with Facebook and also the Libra coin. Pundi X and XPOS is a currency agnostic / currency neutral platform, if there’s opportunity to list Libra coin or work with Facebook in different ways to promote crypto currency adoption, we’ll certainly look into that and work on reaching out to them. ## On Trading
* **Can you confirm during AMA, Pundi team is not involved with any trading with their own token like selling over time to manage the fund to run the company.**
Zac: All the wallet addresses of the team holdings are disclosed and transparent. This is one of the first things that we did after ICO. Hence, our token holdings are transparent and everyone can monitor our fund transactions. Also, we have strict internal financial regulation and compliance, shows that we are here to build a long-term project.
The best way to make NPXS or the NPXSXEM to rise is real daily life use case.
* **When will you stop manipulating NPXS chart?**
Zac: Our focus has always been and will be building great products. The more product usage, the demands for NPXS and NPXSXEM will increase. Let’s address again that, Pundi X the company is NOT involved in any manipulation of the NPXS price.
There are trading teams, market makers, financial institutions that profit from the drop and rise of token prices in the crypto market. The good thing about NPXS is that we have managed to create a high liquidity by listing on 40+ exchanges and having global trades and demand from all over the world. We hope this and coupled with the fact that we are a solid product and roll out the use cases, the demand of NPXS will only continue to rise and will be able to deter any of the traders or speculators there is for NPXS.
These traders gain profit from manipulating tokens whether BTC or other tokens. In fact, the traditional financial markets have similar challenges as well. What I want to stress is that, we at Pundi X, do NOT speculate or manipulate the price. We work very hard to create demands for NPXS and as a company, it is only beneficial for us to see the prices of NPXS and NPXSXEM rise.
* **Can we please address the elephant in the room which is the Binance bot with huge sell walls and buy walls causing huge distress and concern among users?**
Zac: First, I cannot confirm nor deny that whether Binance has a bot. I think this is something that you need to ask Binance. We need to work with Binance because Binance has one of the biggest liquidities, if not the greatest liquidity, for NPXS. The best way to counter manipulators is to create more use case, more demand and more acceptance of our tokens.
* **Why on almost all exchanges do you not offer a USDT trading pair?**
Zac: We have USDT trading pairs on Bittrex, Bittrue, and more. In addition, we have fiat pairs in Korean Won, IDR, INR, and Turkish liras. We will continue to work on adding trading pairs for NPXS to make it more liquidate.
* **Why don’t you offer a stable coin sell and purchase on the xpos to help with adoption? Places in Africa with volatile currencies would go crazy for this.**
Zac: It’s a great observation. This is a request that’s been asked from many users. We’re working on stable coin listing on XPOS and hopefully it’ll come soon. Stable coin requires a greater compliance and legal validate, which we have been working on since months ago and we hope to have the stable coin up in XPOS soon.
* **When will you add an active tracker for coin burn, whether its measured in usd, NPXS or whatever you choose. The community has been asking for this on twitter, reddit and telegram for this entire year.**
Zac: It will be hard for us to have a daily tracker of the coin burn, but what we might be able to work on is a tracker which have shown all of the tokens that have been removed from the usage. Thank you for giving us this great suggestion and we will work on it in some form.
Zac: Our token supply has always been specified in our white paper, and as promised in our white paper, we will continue to remove tokens through usage and use cases, which we’re working on all the time.
* **Price movement. When will NPXS go to which price?**
Zac: We cannot comment on the change of the price. Our focus is on building products. We hope by doing that the NPXS value will go up. Again, there’s no way that we can comment on the price.
**I believe that burning tokens every 14 weeks keeps the price suppressed and will only lead to huge pumps and dumps. Imo, If the burns were more frequent, the price would move organically.**
Zac: We continue removing tokens quarterly per advised by our legal and compliance team.
**Is it mandatory npxs swap? What happens for token we have in binance?**
Zac: No it’s not a mandatory NPXS swap for FX.
**How many NPXS or NPXSXEM was converted?**
Zac: In Q2, we will remove 29B NPXSXEM and 9B NPXS. ## On XWallet
* **Why not put in XWallet like the place where we can buy and sell like restaurants and shops?**
Zac: You are correct. In fact, if you look at XWallet, there is a merchant feature, whereby you can register as a merchant. By becoming a merchant, you will be able to print out your QR code and stick it on your restaurant. People are able to make payment through this QR code. This will act like a mini-XPOS.
* **In addition to that having multiple different blockchain in XWallet will increase the XWallet adoption. Hence, we would like to see aggressive game plan and execution from the team and would like to hear that**
Zac: That’s a great suggestion. Every day we want to increase use cases for XWallet. In fact, our XWallet update is one of the most frequent in the market. Within 5 months, we have over 10 updates on iOS and Google Play. This does not include soft update which happens every several days. In my view, the effort is very tremendous.
* **Is there any plan to add Swap option within XWallet so that people can trade the coins within XWallet?**
Zac: Yes, there’s such plan and in fact there is an upcoming feature that people will be able to use coins in XWallet to exchange into other things. The exact form and format have not been reviewed. We hope to share more when we have concrete example. But what you suggested is what we are planning for months ago.
* **When will XPOS and XWallet have fiat on ramps?**
Zac: This is a good question. It’s not only involved with regulatory compliance but also involved the technical part. This is also something we are planning for months. Once approved, hopefully we are able to support fiat currency on ramps and off ramps on XWallet.
* **How is the internal organization doing? Currently how many employees work for Pundi? Currently how many job positions are open?**
Zac: Pundi X has grown tremendously. We are now having over seven offices around the globe. I’m sitting in the Singapore office. We have office in Jakarta, Taiwan, Tokyo, Shenzhen, São Paulo and London. These are the places we have physical offices and house approximately 100 full time employees of Pundi X.
The positions open from Pundi X are legal associate in Singapore and other offices. We are looking for more R&D people, especially in Taiwan. We are looking at marketing and PR people in different parts of the world. And we are looking for POS distributors. As a POS distributor, you will work with our business development team and also our technical team to roll out many XPOS which you have a network to control in your local market.
* **Would you consider removing the KYC to allow u.s. holder to stake and be rewarded?**
Zac: We would love to have more users, including US. However, our compliance and legal advisors have not allowed us to accept US holders to stake and be rewarded.
I’m sorry to say that but this is after serious consideration to make such a decision. In fact, it is a very hard decision because we have healthy user base in the US.
will continue to monitor the situation in the different markets and be compliant. There are also ways to be rewarded when using XWallet service without KYC. We are looking into to explore more on this and launch new features. Hopefully we are able to bring the beta version for you to test this week or next. **On XPhone*\
* **Where are we on pre-sale announcement of Xphone? It was highlights of Q2 goal. If we are getting delay, that’s ok. But at least community will have some clarification why it’s getting late and when approximately it coming?**
Zac: Pre-sale order will start this month. It’s likely the end of July. Pre-sale will take place in different channel including the official website and XWallet. Apart of our own channel, the pre-sale will go live on a 3rd party channel. People will be able to pre-order crypto either in crypto or in fiat.
* **Can you discuss in AMA, is participants can pay with Crypto or Credit/debit card or in both ways?**
Zac: As a crypto company, we prefer payment in crypto, but fiat, Visa, MasterCard, and other traditional payment methods will be accepted on different pre-order channels. Stay tuned for pre-order which will happen in late July.
* **Will the Xphone be open to purchase in all regions of the world?**
Zac: Yes, pre-orders will be able to be done on-line, and products will be shipped from our offices to users in different parts of the world.
* **Will the blockchain mode on the Xphone be operable during the testnet or will this function not work until mainnet?**
Zac: XWallet and XPhone are the first channel and avenue for Function X testnet, so once the testnet is operateble, we will start to engage certain services on XWallet and XPhone into Function X testnet, and ultimately into mainnet. Slowly but surely.
* **Does Xphone have hard protective cover,extra Sim slot, also is it enhanced with ip68 water rating?**
Zac: XPhone will not be waterproof, so please do not submerge XPhone into water. XPhone will definitely be eavesdrop-proof because we’re using a blockchain mode, only you and you control your own conversation.
* **Which country accept the Xphone?** * **Will I also be able to use the SIM-card?** * **The blockchain modus will work in every country (what in the absense of nodes)?** * **Will the XPhone I buy now support updates in the future?**
Zac: People from any country will be able to buy XPhone on-line. You will be able to use a SIM for we have built a SIM slot. Wherever you are, the XPhone can be turned on to become a node.
Will XPhone support future updates? Yes, of course. Just like the XPOS, we support silent update. It will be like how we support XPOS, many updates. The updates will always be supported on XPhone. **On Function X*\
* **When is the detail white paper coming for FunctionX? Why the team is very resistive to have well documented white paper? We need scientific approach and well documentation on FunctionX to have developers to be more involved.**
Zac: Yes, developer involvement is a key criterion of the growth of Function X. We have done 2 things, one is that we have set up Function X Foundation which is led by David Ben Kay and will involve third party adviser and board members. Second, we have set up a developer relations team led by one of our own members as well. This team will work on creating developer documents, developer demos and sample, so that excellent developers can tap into working with Function X resources.
The first version of developer documentation is ready in English and Chinese. We are still polishing up the documents and hopefully to release them soon.
We are also working with third party developers, and are engaging at least 2 third party developer companies, so that we can help create their services on Function X and also XWallet.
We are hoping to showcase a smooth and usable service to the audience, we think this is the key criterion of the Function X growth.
Thank you for this suggestion. We need to update more often on github developer documentation as well.
As for the white paper, we did not have one per se because Function X did not do an ICO. But we will continue to update our white paper and include not only technical details, but also details on the chain and how we can get more developers and users so that the future hardware will be added as a node and you will be rewarded financially, at least through our ecosystem genesis fund. Please stay tuned and there are a lot of things going on in the company. Each and one of us is working hard.
* **Why does the FX ecosystem need a decentralized OS?**
Zac: The mantra of Function X is decentralization and having private control of your data. A full private control of your data comes with a decentralized system not just in transmission of your data, but with the operating system built fully for decentralization , which includes a transmission protocol replacing http. The apps uploaded into Function X will be decentralized as well as the data that is stored on the app, which means that how BitCoin or crypto assets are verified on different nodes will also be part of the way we store data and content.
The decentralized OS is key to fulfilling a decentralized environment for a more private and free usage.
* **What about FX are you most excited about?**
Zac: We are actually creating a shift of how people view of blockchain and how decentralization is not just about transacting commercial commodity, but also data, including your identity, are all decentralized. That is what we are most excited about.
The only way for us to achieve this is to have developer support, for we need the developers to build on the foundation we have to offer those exciting services.
* **We understand that developing a new blockchain is time consuming. As a community we are in a dark space to understand where exactly the development of FX right now.**
Zac: We are working hard on creating the testnet and eventually the mainnet. For the latest updates of Function X, what I can encourage you to do is to go on and subscribe to the Function X telegram group where discussions are made. We have formed the Function X Foundation and created the developer relations team, so that the Function X progress will go smoother and with more partnership from outside, whether it’s developers, third party companies, teleco, etc.
* **When FX goes live on the mainnet, will FX coin be used to stake and earn NPXS? how will staking work on that new mainnet?**
Zac: The NPXS/NPXSXEM staking will last till March 9, 2020 as announced. What we are committed is to create more use cases. For FX tokens, the use cases will be focusing on the Function X Chain and the use cases on Function X that include DApp on Function X and different hardware/software services.
* **When fx testnet will be available?**
Zac: First I would like to thank you for your constant support. In Q3, we plan to open Function X testnet so that we will be migrating and creating certain use cases that can be used on Function X testnet, starting with our own XWallet. Which means, the XWallet will migrate some features into Function X testnet, and slowly followed by our other Pundi X products, including XPhones, XPASS, Open Platform and Function X own developer related products from third parties.
I am putting together my investment portfolio for 2018 and made a complete summary of the current Top 100. Interestingly, I noticed that all coins can be categorized into 12 markets. Which markets do you think will play the biggest role in the coming year?
Here is a complete overview of all coins in an excel sheet including name, a full description, market, TPS, risk profile, time since launch (negative numbers mean that they are launching that many months in the future) and market cap. You can also sort by all of these fields of course. Coins written in bold are the strongest contenders within their market either due to having the best technology or having a small market cap and still excellent technology and potential. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s8PHcNvvjuy848q18py_CGcu8elRGQAUIf86EYh4QZo/edit#gid=0
The 12 markets are
- Currency 13 coins
- Platform 25 coins
- Ecosystem 9 coins
- Privacy 9 coins
- Currency Exchange Tool 8 coins
- Gaming & Gambling 4 coins
- Misc 15 coins
- Social Network 4 coins
- Fee Token 3 coins
- Decentralized Data Storage 4 coins
- Cloud Computing 2 coins
- Stable Coin 3 coins
Before we look at the individual markets, we need to take a look of the overall market and its biggest issue, scalability, first:
Cryptocurrencies aim to be a decentralized currency that can be used worldwide. Their goal is to replace dollar, Euro, Yen, all FIAT currencies globally. The coin that will achieve that will be worth several trillion dollars.
Bitcoin can only process 7 transactions per second (TPS) currently. In order to replace all FIAT, it would need to perform at least at VISA levels, which usually processes around 3,000 TPS, up to 25,000 TPS during peak times and a maximum of 64,000 TPS. That means that this cryptocurrency would need to be able to perform at least several thousand TPS. However, a ground breaking technology should not look at current technology to set a goal for its use, i.e. estimating the number of emails sent in 1990 based on the number of faxes sent wasn’t a good estimate.
For that reason, 10,000 TPS is the absolute baseline for a cryptocurrency that wants to replace FIAT. This brings me to IOTA, which wants to connect all 80 billion IoT devices that are expected to exist by 2025, which constantly communicate with each other, possibly creating 80 billion or more transactions per second. This is the benchmark that cryptocurrencies should be aiming for. Currently, 8 billion devices are connected to the Internet.
With its Lightning network recently launched, Bitcoin is realistically looking at 50,000 possible TPS soon. Other notable cryptocurrencies besides IOTA and Bitcoin are Nano with 7,000 TPS already tested, Dash with several billion TPS possible with Masternodes, Neo, LISK and RHOC with 100,000 TPS by 2020, Ripple with 50,000 TPS, Ethereum with 10,000 TPS with Sharding.
However, it needs to be said that scalability usually goes at the cost of decentralization and security. So, it needs to be seen, which of these technologies can prove themselves decentralized while maintaining high TPS.
Without further ado, here are the coins of the first market. Each market is sorted by market cap.
Market 1 - Currency:
- Bitcoin: 1st generation blockchain with currently bad scalability, though the implementation of the Lightning Network looks promising and could alleviate most scalability and high energy use concerns.
- Ripple: Centralized currency that might become very successful due to tight involvement with banks and cross-border payments for financial institutions; banks and companies like Western Union and Moneygram (who they are currently working with) as customers customers. However, it seems they are aiming for more decentralization now.https://ripple.com/dev-blog/decentralization-strategy-update/. Has high TPS due to Proof of Correctness algorithm.
- Bitcoin Cash: Bitcoin fork with the difference of having an 8 times bigger block size, making it 8 times more scalable than Bitcoin currently. Further block size increases are planned. Only significant difference is bigger block size while big blocks lead to further problems that don't seem to do well beyond a few thousand TPS. Opponents to a block size argue that increasing the block size limit is unimaginative, offers only temporary relief, and damages decentralization by increasing costs of participation. In order to preserve decentralization, system requirements to participate should be kept low. To understand this, consider an extreme example: very big blocks (1GB+) would require data center level resources to validate the blockchain. This would preclude all but the wealthiest individuals from participating.Community seems more open than Bitcoin's though.
- Litecoin : Little brother of Bitcoin. Bitcoin fork with different mining algorithm but not much else.Copies everything that Bitcoin does pretty much. Lack of real innovation.
- Dash: Dash (Digital Cash) is a fork of Bitcoin and focuses on user ease. It has very fast transactions within seconds, low fees and uses Proof of Service from Masternodes for consensus. They are currently building a system called Evolution which will allow users to send money using usernames and merchants will find it easy to integrate Dash using the API. You could say Dash is trying to be a PayPal of cryptocurrencies. Currently, cryptocurrencies must choose between decentralization, speed, scalability and can pick only 2. With Masternodes, Dash picked speed and scalability at some cost of decentralization, since with Masternodes the voting power is shifted towards Masternodes, which are run by Dash users who own the most Dash.
- IOTA: 3rd generation blockchain called Tangle, which has a high scalability, no fees and instant transactions. IOTA aims to be the connective layer between all 80 billion IOT devices that are expected to be connected to the Internet in 2025, possibly creating 80 billion transactions per second or 800 billion TPS, who knows. However, it needs to be seen if the Tangle can keep up with this scalability and iron out its security issues that have not yet been completely resolved.
- Nano: 3rd generation blockchain called Block Lattice with high scalability, no fees and instant transactions. Unlike IOTA, Nano only wants to be a payment processor and nothing else, for now at least. With Nano, every user has their own blockchain and has to perform a small amount of computing for each transaction, which makes Nano perform at 300 TPS with no problems and 7,000 TPS have also been tested successfully. Very promising 3rd gen technology and strong focus on only being the fastest currency without trying to be everything.
- Decred: As mining operations have grown, Bitcoin’s decision-making process has become more centralized, with the largest mining companies holding large amounts of power over the Bitcoin improvement process. Decred focuses heavily on decentralization with their PoW Pos hybrid governance system to become what Bitcoin was set out to be. They will soon implement the Lightning Network to scale up. While there do not seem to be more differences to Bitcoin besides the novel hybrid consensus algorithm, which Ethereum, Aeternity and Bitcoin Atom are also implementing, the welcoming and positive Decred community and professoinal team add another level of potential to the coin.
- Bitcoin Atom: Atomic Swaps and hybrid consenus. This looks like the only Bitcoin clone that actually is looking to innovate next to Bitcoin Cash.
- Dogecoin: Litecoin fork, fantastic community, though lagging behind a bit in technology.
- Bitcoin Gold: A bit better security than bitcoin through ASIC resistant algorithm, but that's it. Not that interesting.
- Digibyte: Digibyte's PoS blockchain is spread over a 100,000+ servers, phones, computers, and nodes across the globe, aiming for the ultimate level of decentralization. DigiByte’s adoption over the past four years has been slow. The DigiByte website offers a lot of great marketing copy and buzzwords. However, there’s not much technical information about what they have planned for the future. You could say Digibyte is like Bitcoin, but with shorter blocktimes and a multi-algorithm. However, that's not really a difference big enough to truly set themselves apart from Bitcoin, since these technologies could be implemented by any blockchain without much difficulty. Their decentralization is probably their strongest asset, however, this also change quickly if the currency takes off and big miners decide to go into Digibyte.
- Bitcoin Diamond Asic resistant Bitcoin and Copycat
Market 2 - Platform
Most of the cryptos here have smart contracts and allow dapps (Decentralized apps) to be build on their platform and to use their token as an exchange of value between dapp services.
- Ethereum: 2nd generation blockchain that allows the use of smart contracts. Bad scalability currently, though this concern could be alleviated by the soon to be implemented Lightning Network aka the Raiden Network, Plasma and its Sharding concept.
- EOS: Promising technology that wants to be able do everything, from smart contracts like Ethereum, scalability similar to Nano with 1000 tx/second + near instant transactions and zero fees, to also wanting to be a platform for dapps. However, EOS doesn't have a product yet and everything is just promises still. There are lots of red flags, e.g. having dumped $500 million Ether over the last 2 months and possibly bought back EOS to increase the size of their ICO, which has been going on for over a year and has raised several billion dollars. All in all, their market cap is way too high for that and not even having a product. However, Mainnet release is in 1 month, which could change everything.
- Cardano: Similar to Ethereum/EOS, however, only promises made with no delivery yet, highly overrated right now. Interesting concept though. Market cap way too high for not even having a product. Somewhat promising technology.
- VeChain: Singapore-based project that’s building a business enterprise platform and inventory tracking system. Examples are verifying genuine luxury goods and food supply chains. Has one of the strongest communities in the crypto world. Most hyped token of all, with merit though.
- Neo: Neo is a platform, similar to Eth, but more extensive, allowing dapps and smart contracts, but with a different smart contract gas system, consensus mechanism (PoS vs. dBfT), governance model, fixed vs unfixed supply, expensive contracts vs nearly free contracts, different ideologies for real world adoption. There are currently only 9 nodes, each of which are being run by a company/entity hand selected by the NEO council (most of which are located in china) and are under contract. This means that although the locations of the nodes may differ, ultimately the neo council can bring them down due to their legal contracts. In fact this has been done in the past when the neo council was moving 50 million neo that had been locked up. Also dbft (or neo's implmentation of it) has failed underload causing network outages during major icos. The first step in decentralization is that the NEO Counsel will select trusted nodes (Universities, business partners, etc.) and slowly become less centralized that way. The final step in decentralization will be allowing NEO holders to vote for new nodes, similar to a DPoS system (ARK/EOS/LISK). NEO has a regulation/government friendly ideology. Finally they are trying to work undewith the Chinese government in regards to regulations. If for some reason they wanted it shut down, they could just shut it down.
- Stellar:PoS system, similar goals as Ripple, but more of a platform than only a currency. 80% of Stellar are owned by Stellar.org still, making the currency centralized.
- Ethereum classic: Original Ethereum that decided not to fork after a hack. The Ethereum that we know is its fork. Uninteresing, because it has a lot of less resources than Ethereum now and a lot less community support.
- Ziliqa: Zilliqa is building a new way of sharding. 2400 tpx already tested, 10,000 tps soon possible by being linearly scalable with the number of nodes. That means, the more nodes, the faster the network gets. They are looking at implementing privacy as well.
- QTUM: Enables Smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain. Useful.
- Icon: Korean ethereum. Decentralized application platform that's building communities in partnership with banks, insurance providers, hospitals, and universities. Focused on ID verification and payments.
- LISK: Lisk's difference to other BaaS is that side chains are independent to the main chain and have to have their own nodes. Similar to neo whole allows dapps to deploy their blockchain to. Like most cryptocurrencies, Lisk is currently somewhat centralized with a small group of members owning more than 50% of the delegated positions. Lisk plans to change the consensus algorithm for that reason in the near future.
- Rchain: Similar to Ethereum with smart contract, though much more scalable at an expected 40,000 TPS and possible 100,000 TPS. Not launched yet. No product launched yet, though promising technology. Not overvalued, probably at the right price right now.
- ARDR: Similar to Lisk. Ardor is a public blockchain platform that will allow people to utilize the blockchain technology of Nxt through the use of child chains. A child chain, which is a ‘light’ blockchain that can be customized to a certain extent, is designed to allow easy self-deploy for your own blockchain. Nxt claims that users will "not need to worry" about security, as that part is now handled by the main chain (Ardor). This is the chief innovation of Ardor. Ardor was evolved from NXT by the same company. NEM started as a NXT clone.
- Ontology: Similar to Neo. Interesting coin
- Bytom: Bytom is an interactive protocol of multiple byte assets. Heterogeneous byte-assets (indigenous digital currency, digital assets) that operate in different forms on the Bytom Blockchain and atomic assets (warrants, securities, dividends, bonds, intelligence information, forecasting information and other information that exist in the physical world) can be registered, exchanged, gambled and engaged in other more complicated and contract-based interoperations via Bytom.
- Nxt: Similar to Lisk
- Aeternity: We’ve seen recently, that it’s difficult to scale the execution of smart contracts on the blockchain. Crypto Kitties is a great example. Something as simple as creating and trading unique assets on Ethereum bogged the network down when transaction volume soared. Ethereum and Zilliqa address this problem with Sharding. Aeternity focuses on increasing the scalability of smart contracts and dapps by moving smart contracts off-chain. Instead of running on the blockchain, smart contracts on Aeternity run in private state channels between the parties involved in the contracts. State channels are lines of communication between parties in a smart contract. They don’t touch the blockchain unless they need to for adjudication or transfer of value. Because they’re off-chain, state channel contracts can operate much more efficiently. An important aspect of smart contract and dapp development is access to outside data sources. This could mean checking the weather in London, score of a football game, or price of gold. Oracles provide access to data hosted outside the blockchain. In many blockchain projects, oracles represent a security risk and potential point of failure, since they tend to be singular, centralized data streams. Aeternity proposes decentralizing oracles with their oracle machine. Doing so would make outside data immutable and unchangeable once it reaches Aeternity’s blockchain. Aeternity’s network runs on on a hybrid of proof of work and proof of stake. Founded by a long-time crypto-enthusiast and early colleague of Vitalik Buterin, Yanislav Malahov. Promising concept though not product yet
- Stratis: Different to LISK, Stratis will allow businesses and organizations to create their own blockchain according to their own needs, but secured on the parent Stratis chain. Stratis’s simple interface will allow organizations to quickly and easily deploy and/or test blockchain functionality of the Ethereum, BitShares, BitCoin, Lisk and Stratis environements.
- Status: Status provides access to all of Ethereum’s decentralized applications (dapps) through an app on your smartphone. It opens the door to mass adoption of Ethereum dapps by targeting the fastest growing computer segment in the world – smartphone users.
- Ark: Fork of Lisk that focuses on a smaller feature set. Ark wallets can only vote for one delegate at a time which forces delegates to compete against each other and makes cartel formations incredibly hard, if not impossible.
- Neblio: Similar to Neo, but at a 30x smaller market cap.
- NEM: Is similar to Neo. However, it has no marketing team, very high market cap for little clarilty what they do.
- Bancor: Bancor is a Decentralized Liquidity Network that allows you to hold any Ethereum token and convert it to any other token in the network, with no counter party, at an automatically calculated price, using a simple web wallet.
- Dragonchain: The Purpose of DragonChain is to help companies quickly and easily incorporate blockchain into their business applications. Many companies might be interested in making this transition because of the benefits associated with serving clients over a blockchain – increased efficiency and security for transactions, a reduction of costs from eliminating potential fraud and scams, etc.
- Skycoin: Transactions with zero fees that take apparently two seconds, unlimited transaction rate, no need for miners and block rewards, low power usage, all of the usual cryptocurrency technical vulnerabilities fixed, a consensus mechanism superior to anything that exists, resistant to all conceivable threats (government censorship, community infighting, cybenucleaconventional warfare, etc). Skycoin has their own consensus algorithm known as Obelisk written and published academically by an early developer of Ethereum. Obelisk is a non-energy intensive consensus algorithm based on a concept called ‘web of trust dynamics’ which is completely different to PoW, PoS, and their derivatives. Skywire, the flagship application of Skycoin, has the ambitious goal of decentralizing the internet at the hardware level and is about to begin the testnet in April. However, this is just one of the many facets of the Skycoin ecosystem. Skywire will not only provide decentralized bandwidth but also storage and computation, completing the holy trinity of commodities essential for the new internet. Skycion a smear campaign launched against it, though they seem legit and reliable. Thus, they are probably undervalued.
Market 3 - Ecosystem
The 3rd market with 11 coins is comprised of ecosystem coins, which aim to strengthen the ease of use within the crypto space through decentralized exchanges, open standards for apps and more
- Nebulas: Similar to how Google indexes webpages Nebulas will index blockchain projects, smart contracts & data using the Nebulas rank algorithm that sifts & sorts the data. Developers rewarded NAS to develop & deploy on NAS chain. Nebulas calls this developer incentive protocol – basically rewards are issued based on how often dapp/contract etc. is used, the more the better the rewards and Proof of devotion. Works like DPoS except the best, most economically incentivised developers (Bookkeeppers) get the forging spots. Ensuring brains stay with the project (Cross between PoI & PoS). 2,400 TPS+, DAG used to solve the inter-transaction dependencies in the PEE (Parallel Execution Environment) feature, first crypto Wallet that supports the Lightening Network.
- Waves: Decentralized exchange and crowdfunding platform. Let’s companies and projects to issue and manage their own digital coin tokens to raise money.
- Salt: Leveraging blockchain assets to secure cash loands. Plans to offer cash loans in traditional currencies, backed by your cryptocurrency assets. Allows lenders worldwide to skip credit checks for easier access to affordable loans.
- CHAINLINK: ChainLink is a decentralized oracle service, the first of its kind. Oracles are defined as an ‘agent’ that finds and verifies real-world occurrences and submits this information to a blockchain to be used in smart contracts.With ChainLink, smart contract users can use the network’s oracles to retrieve data from off-chain application program interfaces (APIs), data pools, and other resources and integrate them into the blockchain and smart contracts. Basically, ChainLink takes information that is external to blockchain applications and puts it on-chain. The difference to Aeternity is that Chainlink deploys the smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain while Aeternity has its own chain.
- WTC: Combines blockchain with IoT to create a management system for supply chains Interesting
- Ethos unifyies all cryptos. Ethos is building a multi-cryptocurrency phone wallet. The team is also building an investment diversification tool and a social network
- Komodo: The Komodo blockchain platform uses Komodo’s open-source cryptocurrency for doing transparent, anonymous, private, and fungible transactions. They are then made ultra-secure using Bitcoin’s blockchain via a Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) protocol and decentralized crowdfunding (ICO) platform to remove middlemen from project funding. Offers services for startups to create and manage their own Blockchains.
- Aion: Today, there are hundreds of blockchains. In the coming years, with widespread adoption by mainstream business and government, these will be thousands or millions. Blockchains don’t talk to each other at all right now, they are like the PCs of the 1980s. The Aion network is able to support custom blockchain architectures while still allowing for cross-chain interoperability by enabling users to exchange data between any Aion-compliant blockchains by making use of an interchain framework that allows for messages to be relayed between blockchains in a completely trust-free manner.
- Tenx: Raised 80 million, offers cryptocurrency-linked credit cards that let you spend virtual money in real life. Developing a series of payment platforms to make spending cryptocurrency easier.
Market 4 - Privacy
The 4th market are privacy coins. As you might know, Bitcoin is not anonymous. If the IRS or any other party asks an exchange who is the identity behind a specific Bitcoin address, they know who you are and can track back almost all of the Bitcoin transactions you have ever made and all your account balances. Privacy coins aim to prevent exactly that through address fungability, which changes addresses constantly, IP obfuscation and more. There are 2 types of privacy coins, one with completely privacy and one with optional privacy. Optional Privacy coins like Dash and Nav have the advantage of more user friendliness over completely privacy coins such as Monero and Enigma.
- Monero: Currently most popular privacy coin, though with a very high market cap. Since their privacy is all on chain, all prior transactions would be deanonymized if their protocol is ever cracked. This requires a quantum computing attack though. PIVX is better in that regard.
- Zcash: A decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency that hide the sender, recipient, and value of transactions. Offers users the option to make transactions public later for auditing. Decent privacy coin, though no default privacy
- Verge: Calls itself privacy coin without providing private transactions, multiple problems over the last weeks has a toxic community, and way too much hype for what they have.
- Bytecoin: First privacy-focused cryptocurrency with anonymous transactions. Bytecoin’s code was later adapted to create Monero, the more well-known anonymous cryptocurrency. Has several scam accusations, 80% pre-mine, bad devs, bad tech
- Bitcoin Private: A merge fork of Bitcoin and Zclassic with Zclassic being a fork of Zcash with the difference of a lack of a founders fee required to mine a valid block. This promotes a fair distribution, preventing centralized coin ownership and control. Bitcoin private offers the optional ability to keep the sender, receiver, and amount private in a given transaction. However, this is already offered by several good privacy coins (Monero, PIVX) and Bitcoin private doesn't offer much more beyond this.
- PIVX: As a fork of Dash, PIVX uses an advanced implementation of the Zerocoin protocol to provide it’s privacy. This is a form of zeroknowledge proofs, which allow users to spend ‘Zerocoins’ that have no link back to them. Unlike Zcash u have denominations in PIVX, so they can’t track users by their payment amount being equal to the amount of ‘minted’ coins, because everyone uses the same denominations. PIVX is also implementing Bulletproofs, just like Monero, and this will take care of arguably the biggest weakness of zeroknowledge protocols: the trusted setup.
- Zcoin: PoW cryptocurrency. Private financial transactions, enabled by the Zerocoin Protocol. Zcoin is the first full implementation of the Zerocoin Protocol, which allows users to have complete privacy via Zero-Knowledge cryptographic proofs.
- Enigma: Monero is to Bitcoin what enigma is to Ethereum. Enigma is for making the data used in smart contracts private. More of a platform for dapps than a currency like Monero. Very promising.
- Navcoin: Like bitcoin but with added privacy and pos and 1,170 tps, but only because of very short 30 second block times. Though, privacy is optional, but aims to be more user friendly than Monero. However, doesn't really decide if it wants to be a privacy coin or not. Same as Zcash.Strong technology, non-shady team.
Market 5 - Currency Exchange Tool
Due to the sheer number of different cryptocurrencies, exchanging one currency for the other it still cumbersome. Further, merchants don’t want to deal with overcluttered options of accepting cryptocurrencies. This is where exchange tool like Req come in, which allow easy and simple exchange of currencies.
- Cryptonex: Fiat and currency exchange between various blockchain services, similar to REQ.
- QASH: Qash is used to fuel its liquid platform which will be an exchange that will distribute their liquidity pool. Its product, the Worldbook is a multi-exchange order book that matches crypto to crypto, and crypto to fiat and the reverse across all currencies. E.g., someone is selling Bitcoin is USD on exchange1 not owned by Quoine and someone is buying Bitcoin in EURO on exchange 2 not owned by Quoine. They turned it on to test it a few months ago for an hour or so and their exchange was the top exchange in the world by 4x volume for the day because all Worldbook trades ran through it. Binance wants BNB to be used on their one exchange. Qash wants their QASH token embedded in all of their partners.
- Kyber: network Exchange between cryptocurrencies, similar to REQ. Features automatic coin conversions for payments. Also offers payment tools for developers and a cryptocurrency wallet.
- Achain: Building a boundless blockchain world like Req .
- Centrality: Centrality is a decentralized market place for dapps that are all connected together on a blockchain-powered system. Centrality aims to allow businesses to work together using blockchain technology. With Centrality, startups can collaborate through shared acquisition of customers, data, merchants, and content. That shared acquisition occurs across the Centrality blockchain, which hosts a number of decentralized apps called Scenes. Companies can use CENTRA tokens to purchase Scenes for their app, then leverage the power of the Centrality ecosystem to quickly scale. Some of Centrality's top dapps are, Skoot, a travel experience marketplace that consists of a virtual companion designed for free independent travelers and inbound visitors, Belong, a marketplace and an employee engagement platform that seems at helping business provide rewards for employees, Merge, a smart travel app that acts as a time management system, Ushare, a transports application that works across rental cars, public transport, taxi services, electric bikes and more. All of these dapps are able to communicate with each other and exchange data through Centrality.
- Bitshares: Exchange between cryptocurrencies. Noteworthy are the 1.5 second average block times and throughput potential of 100,000 transactions per second with currently 2,400 TPS having been proven. However, Bitshares had several Scam accusations in the past.
- Loopring: A protocol that will enable higher liquidity between exchanges and personal wallets by pooling all orders sent to its network and fill these orders through the order books of multiple exchanges. When using Loopring, traders never have to deposit funds into an exchange to begin trading. Even with decentralized exchanges like Ether Delta, IDex, or Bitshares, you’d have to deposit your funds onto the platform, usually via an Ethereum smart contract. But with Loopring, funds always remain in user wallets and are never locked by orders. This gives you complete autonomy over your funds while trading, allowing you to cancel, trim, or increase an order before it is executed.
- ZRX: Open standard for dapps. Open, permissionless protocol allowing for ERC20 tokens to be traded on the Ethereum blockchain. In 0x protocol, orders are transported off-chain, massively reducing gas costs and eliminating blockchain bloat. Relayers help broadcast orders and collect a fee each time they facilitate a trade. Anyone can build a relayer.
Market 6 - Gaming
With an industry size of $108B worldwide, Gaming is one of the largest markets in the world. For sure, cryptocurrencies will want to have a share of that pie.
- Storm: Mobile game currency on a platform with 9 million players.
- Fun: A platform for casino operators to host trustless, provably-fair gambling through the use of smart contracts, as well as creating their own implementation of state channels for scalability.
- Electroneum: Mobile game currency They have lots of technical problems, such as several 51% attacks
- Wax: Marketplace to trade in-game items
Market 7 - Misc
There are various markets being tapped right now. They are all summed up under misc.
- OMG: Omise is designed to enable financial services for people without bank accounts. It works worldwide and with both traditional money and cryptocurrencies.
- Power ledger: Australian blockchain-based cryptocurrency and energy trading platform that allows for decentralized selling and buying of renewable energy. Unique market and rather untapped market in the crypto space.
- Populous: Populous is a platform that connects business owners and invoice buyers without middlemen. Furthermore, it is a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform that uses blockchain to provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a more efficient way to participate in invoice financing. Businesses can sell their outstanding invoices at a discount to quickly free up some cash. Invoice sellers get cash flow to fund their business and invoice buyers earn interest.
- Monacoin: The first Japanese cryptocurrency. Focused on micro-transactions and based on a popular internet meme of a type-written cat. This makes it similar to Dogecoin. Very niche, tiny market.
- Revain: Legitimizing reviews via the blockchain. Interesting concept, though market not as big.
- Augur: Platform to forecast and make wagers on the outcome of real-world events (AKA decentralized predictions). Uses predictions for a “wisdom of the crowd” search engine. Not launched yet.
- Substratum: Revolutionzing hosting industry via per request billing as a decentralized internet hosting system. Uses a global network of private computers to create the free and open internet of the future. Participants earn cryptocurrency. Interesting concept.
- Veritaseum: Is supposed to be a peer to peer gateway, though it looks like very much like a scam.
- TRON: Tronix is looking to capitalize on ownership of internet data to content creators. However, they plagiarized their white paper, which is a no go. They apologized, so it needs to be seen how they will conduct themselves in the future. Extremely high market cap for not having a product, nor proof of concept.
- Syscoin: A cryptocurrency with a decentralized marketplace that lets people buy and sell products directly without third parties. Trying to remove middlemen like eBay and Amazon.
- Hshare: Most likely scam because of no code changes, most likely pump and dump scheme, dead community.
- BAT: An Ethereum-based token that can be exchanged between content creators, users, and advertisers. Decentralized ad-network that pays based on engagement and attention.
- Dent: Decentralizeed exchange of mobile data, enabling mobile data to be marketed, purchased or distributed, so that users can quickly buy or sell data from any user to another one.
- Ncash: End to end encrypted Identification system for retailers to better serve their customers .
- Factom Secure record-keeping system that allows companies to store their data directly on the Blockchain. The goal is to make records more transparent and trustworthy .
Market 8 - Social network
Web 2.0 is still going strong and Web 3.0 is not going to ignore it. There are several gaming tokens already out there and a few with decent traction already, such as Steem, which is Reddit with voting through money is a very interesting one.
- Mithril: As users create content via social media, they will be rewarded for their contribution, the better the contribution, the more they will earn
- Steem: Like Reddit, but voting with money. Already launched product and Alexa rank 1,000 Thumbs up.
- Rdd: Reddcoin makes the process of sending and receiving money fun and rewarding for everyone. Reddcoin is dedicated to one thing – tipping on social networks as a way to bring cryptocurrency awareness and experience to the general public.
- Kin: Token for the platform Kik. Kik has a massive user base of 400 million people. Replacing paying with FIAT with paying with KIN might get this token to mass adoption very quickly.
Market 9 - Fee token
Popular exchanges realized that they can make a few billion dollars more by launching their own token. Owning these tokens gives you a reduction of trading fees. Very handy and BNB (Binance Coin) has been one of the most resilient tokens, which have withstood most market drops over the last weeks and was among the very few coins that could show growth.
- BNB: Fee token for Binance
- Gas: Not a Fee token for an exchange, but it is a dividend paid out on Neo and a currency that can be used to purchase services for dapps.
- Kucoin: Fee token for Kucoin
Market 10 - Decentralized Data Storage
Currently, data storage happens with large companies or data centers that are prone to failure or losing data. Decentralized data storage makes loss of data almost impossible by distributing your files to numerous clients that hold tiny pieces of your data. Remember Torrents? Torrents use a peer-to-peer network. It is similar to that. Many users maintain copies of the same file, when someone wants a copy of that file, they send a request to the peer-to-peer network., users who have the file, known as seeds, send fragments of the file to the requester. The requester receives many fragments from many different seeds, and the torrent software recompiles these fragments to form the original file.
- Gbyte: Byteball data is stored and ordered using directed acyclic graph (DAG) rather than blockchain. This allows all users to secure each other's data by referencing earlier data units created by other users, and also removes scalability limits common for blockchains, such as blocksize issue.
- Siacoin: Siacoin is decentralized storage platform. Distributes encrypted files to thousands of private users who get paid for renting out their disk space. Anybody with siacoins can rent storage from hosts on Sia. This is accomplish via "smart" storage contracts stored on the Sia blockchain. The smart contract provides a payment to the host only after the host has kept the file for a given amount of time. If the host loses the file, the host does not get paid.
- Maidsafecoin: MaidSafe stands for Massive Array of Internet Disks, Secure Access for Everyone.Instead of working with data centers and servers that are common today and are vulnerable to data theft and monitoring, You can think of SAFE as a crowd-sourced internet. It’s an autonomous network that automatically sets prices and distributes data and rents out hard drive disk space with a Blockchain-based storage solutions.When you upload a file to the network, such as a photo, it will be broken into pieces, hashed, and encrypted. Then, redundant copies of the data are created as well so that if someone storing your file turns off their computer, you will still have access to your data. And don’t worry, even with pieces of your data on other people’s computers, they won’t be able to read them. You can earn MadeSafeCoins by participating in storing data pieces from the network on your computer and thus earning a Proof of Resource.
- Storj: Storj aims to become a cloud storage platform that can’t be censored or monitored, or have downtime. Your files are encrypted, shredded into little pieces called 'shards', and stored in a decentralized network of computers around the globe. No one but you has a complete copy of your file, not even in an encrypted form.
Market 11 - Cloud computing
Obviously, renting computing power, one of the biggest emerging markets as of recent years, e.g. AWS and Digital Ocean, is also a service, which can be bought and managed via the blockchain.
- Golem: Allows easy use of Supercomputer in exchange for tokens. People worldwide can rent out their computers to the network and get paid for that service with Golem tokens.
- Elf: Allows easy use of Cloud computing in exchange for tokens.
Market 12 - Stablecoin
Last but not least, there are 2 stablecoins that have established themselves within the market. A stable coin is a coin that wants to be independent of the volatility of the crypto markets. This has worked out pretty well for Maker and DGD, accomplished through a carefully diversified currency fund and backing each token by 1g or real gold respectively. DO NOT CONFUSE DGD AND MAKER with their STABLE COINS DGX and DAI. DGD and MAKER are volatile, because they are the companies of DGX and DAI. DGX and DAI are the stable coins.
EDIT: Added a risk factor from 0 to 10. Significant scandals, mishaps, shady practices, questionable technology, increase the risk factor. Not having a product yet automatically means a risk factor of 6. Strong adoption and thus strong scrutiny or positive community lower the risk factor.
- DGD: Platform of the Stablecoin DGX. Every DGX coin is backed by 1g of gold and make use proof of asset consensus.
- Maker: Platform of the Stablecoin DAI that doesn't vary much in price through widespread and smart diversification of assets.
- USDT: is no cryptocurrency really, but a replacement for dollar for trading After months of asking for proof of dollar backing, still no response from Tether.
EDIT2: Added a subjective potential factor from 0 to 10, where its overall potential and a small or big market cap is factored in. Bitcoin with lots of potential only gets a 9, because of its massive market cap, because if Bitcoin goes 10x, smaller coins go 100x.
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