Category Archives: Stellar

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Facebook to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency?

Leading social media site Facebook, which has billions of users, may be on the path to launch its own cryptocurrency, indicates the recent tidings.

Earlier this year, Facebook created a blockchain research team led by David Marcus, with a goal of leveraging blockchain technology, and possibly cryptocurrency, across its social network platform. David Marcus is well known for taking Facebook Messenger from a relatively small app to one of the most widely used chat apps in the world. Also, David Marcus has deep ties in the cryptocurrency world, he was on the Coinbase Board of Directors. Coinbase is the largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in the United States.

Now David Marcus has stepped down from the Coinbase Board of Directors. One astute Twitter commenter, Gagan Jain, said “This is like Eric Schmidt stepping down from Apple’s board prior to Android’s launch”. Indeed, stepping down from Coinbase’s Board of Directors ensures no conflict of interest if Facebook launches their own cryptocurrency. Now Coinbase can add Facebook’s cryptocurrency when it launches, massively increasing the spread of Facebook’s cryptocurrency.

Further, according to anonymous sources, Facebook’s blockchain research team has met with Stellar to discuss about forking the Stellar blockchain to create the Facebook cryptocurrency, similar to how the Kik messaging app forked Stellar to create the Kin crypto tokens. These anonymous sources say Facebook’s blockchain research team has also met with other cryptocurrency projects.

Stellar would be the best choice for a social cryptocurrency, since Stellar has extremely low fees, far less than 0.1 penny per transaction, allowing for micropayments. Stellar is highly scalable, so Lumen or any cryptocurrency based on Stellar can handle tremendous amounts of transactions without a significant rise in fees. Therefore, Stellar based cryptocurrencies are excellent for micropayments, which is preferred on social media. People can send each other 1 penny of FacebookCoin, or whatever it will be called, without losing any to fees.

Due to the huge user base of Facebook, numbering over 1 billion, a Facebook cryptocurrency would become extremely popular and has the potential to become one of the top cryptocurrencies quickly. Perhaps the social media giant has finally decided to launch a cryptocurrency after its stock market cap declined USD 100 billion in one night recently, motivating them to try and make money in any way possible rather than ignore cryptocurrency. Launching a Facebook cryptocurrency would easily and quickly bring billions of dollars of profits to Facebook, something they need after the large hit to their stock.

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Kik to Create Zero-Fee Crypto by Forking Stellar

The popular Kik messaging app has announced it will fork the Stellar blockchain to create its own zero-fee cryptocurrency. Kik provides free instant messaging by using WiFi, which is very useful for people without phone plans and has hundreds of millions of registered users.

Kik initially launched its native cryptocurrency, Kin, in a successful initial coin offering (ICO) which raised USD 98 million. Kin was issued with an Ethereum ERC-20 smart contract, where investors deposited Ethereum and received the newly-issued token in return. ERC-20 provides an easy mechanism to create new cryptocurrencies that use the Ethereum blockchain, making them highly secure since there is an immense amount of mining power maintaining Ethereum, as it is the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap.

However, the developers of Kin decided to move their cryptocurrency off the Ethereum blockchain due to high transaction fees and slow confirmation times. Kik CEO Ted Livingston said that “Ethereum is the dial-up era of blockchain”. To solve this problem it was originally decided that Kin would be moved to the Stellar blockchain, where transactions are confirmed in only a few seconds and fees are much lower.

Stellar transactions cost a tiny amount of money which is paid in its own digital currency, Lumens, so if Kin were a Stellar token it would require paying Lumens for each transaction. The Kin team originally planned on subsidizing the Lumens needed by users to send Kin, and this was not a problem since Stellar transaction costs are so low. However, malicious spammers could attack Kin by spamming it with unnecessary transactions to burn off the subsidized Lumens.

Kin developers have now decided to fork Stellar and create a new blockchain with zero fees to avoid any issues associated with subsidizing transaction fees. This would allow users to send each other micropayments of a penny or even smaller, stimulating the growth of a digital economy where photos and stickers are exchanged between users. Zero transaction fees could also promote a tipping culture like that seen on the Dogecoin subreddit.

The Kin Foundation has set aside a large amount of coins for the Kin Rewards Engine which will reward entrepreneurs on a daily basis according to how much economic activity its app produces.

Since there are going to be zero transaction fees, there will be no reward for maintaining and securing the Kin blockchain. However, nodes will still be required for the blockchain to function. The Kin Foundation will maintain the first node, and it expects business partners to run nodes out of the shared interest of seeing the Kik economy succeed.

 

Image Source:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kin_Logo.svg – Wikimedia Commons under MIT License

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How the Lightning Network Will Appreciate Bitcoin’s Value

As the Lightning Network matures into an accessible format for all cryptocurrency traders, it has the potential to propel the adoption and valuation of Bitcoin to previously unmatched levels.

The Lightning Network

The Lightning technology works by essentially adding a layer onto existing blockchains, creating a multitude of private payment channels outside of the chain. For Bitcoin, this has the potential to solve the issue of scaling that has been problematic in terms of expanding adoption.

Developers and founders of the Lightning Network have said that they expect the technology to process thousands of Bitcoin transactions per second, instead of about seven. They also suggest that it could reduce fees to less than a penny while reducing confirmation times from 10 minutes to potentially almost instant.

Lightning Labs is one of three startups involved in the bulk of research and development into Lightning, working alongside Blockchain and ACINQ. They have agreed to cooperate in developing the network to a single, open standard with no centralized ownership. This may well encourage other developers to also contribute to the project, or build on top of it.

Justifying Bitcoin price predictions

The Lightning Network still has a long development journey ahead, but the numerous applications that it holds may well be valued in the billions of dollars. It has the potential to be a catalyst for a significant number of cryptocurrency innovations.

It is this multifaceted potential of the Lightning Network that has lead pundits such as Tom Lee to predict Bitcoin’s price to rise to USD 25,000 by the end of the year.

John Pfeffer, a major institutional investor, has predicted that Bitcoin will come to replace gold, while eventually being worth USD 700,000.

While these numbers may seem unattainable at the moment, especially considering the massive crash in the market that began the year, Lightning technology may well be the boost that Bitcoin needs to achieve these numbers.

Further than Bitcoin

While Bitcoin is the most prominent cryptocurrency involved with the network, it is also being tested with Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Ripple, and Stellar. All of these digital currencies are sure to get a major price appreciation from Lightning technology.

Not only will the technology be applicable for like-to-like cryptocurrency transaction, the open source nature of the protocol will allow a conversion between different cryptocurrencies across separate blockchains, a process that has been dubbed atomic swaps.

 

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IBM to Expand Business Cryptocurrency Applications

Computer giant IBM has been meeting with executives from central banks and large corporations this year to investigate possibilities of further utilizing cryptocurrency technology to save money and increase business revenues.

Over the past year, IBM is reported to have met with 20 central banks all exploring the potential of applying the new technology to their business model by issuing their own fiat cryptocurrency.

IBM head of blockchain development, Jesse Lund, was hired from Wells Fargo earlier this year as part of the company’s move towards integrating a cryptocurrency strategy. Lund sees increasing numbers demanding a “digital asset”, the most durable of which could be one, he suggests, “issued by a central bank that represents a claim on fiat deposits in the real world”.  This asset, Lund insists, would need to maintain some “semblance of monetary policy”.

This reflects a growing trend driven by many financial institutions around the globe in utilizing blockchain technology, as companies examine how to improve services by either adapting current methods or adapting to new, faster, cost-efficient and secure ways of conducting business.

IBM hasn’t revealed the names of most of the banks that they are currently meeting, although they appear to be mainly from the G20 forum with members including China, Russia, the US and from the EU.

Until now IBM’s work with cryptocurrencies has been limited to the Stellar network and its Lumens cryptocurrency which has served to digitally connect fiat currencies allowing for a rapid exchange without either consumer or buyer touching the cryptocurrency. The company maintains that it is using this technology to explore a wide range of tokens. Those most in demand, Lund believes, are securities, utility and commodity tokens.

Going forward, the company has indicated that is looking to work with a number of blockchains and is currently looking at forming a partnership with the non-profit Sovrin Foundation.

Lund has stated that he expects to see further business opportunities between public and private blockchains develop.

 

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