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Top Ethereum Whales Increase Share by 80%

Top Ethereum Wales Increase Share by 80% This Year

It would seem that the top actively trading Ethereum whales have been taking advantage of the cryptocurrency’s poor performance this year, as data shows they have increased their holdings four-fold since 2017; this is the highest accumulation by annum recorded.

A study conducted by blockchain research institute Diar using data from TokenAnalyst reviewed over 5,200 Ethereum addresses, finding that the top holders by scale have accrued a massive 80% increase in their holdings. The aggregate Ethereum portfolios of these investors now account for over USD 2.3 billion, nearly 20% of that in circulation.

In January 2017, these whales owned just ETH 5 million, meaning there has been a four-fold increase to date.

Fewer whales, more concentration

The study also shows that there has been around a 30% drop in the number of whale addresses compared to the start of the year, with Ethereum becoming increasingly concentrated in those at the top.

The big investors carry a net positive figure in trading, meaning they are still investing at higher rates than they are cashing out. Around USD 1 billion has been sent to the top addresses so far this year, increasing Ethereum balances by 270% compared to the last quarter – levels this high have not been seen in nearly two years.

A struggling token market is suggested to be the cause in Ethereum hoarding as it is the cryptocurrency pair of choice for most tokens. Backing this up, the data indicates that wallets belonging to cryptocurrency exchanges have seen a spike in Ethereum activity from traders, as they presumably exit the token market.

Last month, the top exchanges recorded around USD 470,000 in Ethereum withdrawals, compared to deposits which reached over USD 1.8 billion.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was awarded an honorary PhD last week from the University of Basel for his contributions to blockchain.

 

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Vitalik Buterin Awarded Honorary PhD

Vitalik Buterin Awarded Honorary PHD

The University of Basel has recognized the achievements of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin by awarding him an honorary Ph.D. for his contributions to the field of cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and the design of institutions.

Sharing the announcement on Twitter, the doctorate has been granted by the Faculty of Business and Economics.

.@VitalikButerin receives an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Basel. The co-founder of @ethereum has made outstanding achievements in the fields of #cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and the design of institutions. pic.twitter.com/6d6ftTG56n

— University of Basel (@UniBasel_en) November 30, 2018

Buterin joins the alumni alongside the likes of renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

The university praised him further in the Tweet, saying: ”he is an exceptionally creative and innovative thinker who has been instrumental in shaping the digital revolution from an early age.”

Buterin reportedly responded to the university in praise of its ”innovative blockchain research.”

„I’m honored to have received an honorary doctorate from the University of Basel the oldest
University of Switzerland. Switzerland is well known for its innovative blockchain research.”
Vitalik Buterin #DrButerin #Ethereum @cifunibas @TuurDemeester @aleksanderbere pic.twitter.com/G42GH1HebL

— Aleksander Berentsen (@aleksanderbere) November 30, 2018

As the academic world catches up with tech, more institutions have been including blockchain research in their agenda and more industry experts have begun to receive accolades.

Last month Monero cryptographer Joseph Liu received the prestigious Australian Computer Society’s researcher of the year award for his contributions to digital currency.

Liu is also an associate professor at Monash University, where he was congratulated and praised for his ”legitimate way [of creating] new economic and social systems.”

A recent study by Coinbase shows how popular blockchain courses are becoming for the university prospectus, particularly in the US. Nearly half of the world’s top universities offer related modules, including eight out of the top ten.

The University of Nicosia is at the top of the game when it comes to blockchain in higher education. It was both the first university in the world to offer formal education in blockchain and digital currency and the only one of its kind to offer a dedicated Masters of Science in Digital Currency.

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Blockchain Deployment to Give $3 Trillion Boost to Global Economy by 2030

A new World Trade Organization (WTO) report illustrates the burgeoning effect of DLT on global trade with an estimation that the technology could add USD 3 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

WTO’s findings, entitled ‘Can Blockchain revolutionize international trade?’, incorporates not only the effects of blockchain on world trade but also how other sectors such as finance, logistics and transportation, could be impacted by DLT.

This is the second of such reports regarding blockchain technology released by the WTO. Last month, Bitcoin News covered its findings on The future of world trade: How digital technologies are transforming global commerce’. In this report, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo was particularly encouraged by the potential of smaller enterprises to profit from the utilization of DLTs, commenting:

“Beyond easing trade in goods, digital technologies can facilitate services trade and enable new services to emerge. The Report predicts that the share of services trade could grow from 21% to 25% by 2030. Other effects could include, for example, blockchain helping smaller businesses to start trading by supporting them in building trust with partners around the world.”

This latest report continues to outline DLT’s disruptive and influential potential in supply chain logistics; an aspect of the technology recently criticized by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, suggesting that lower costings due to emerging technologies such as blockchain will enable smaller businesses to enter the market.

The report also touched on securing and protecting international property rights through blockchain and the building of new trade deals as a result of the efficiency, transparency and cost effectiveness of DLT. These deals could be worth up to USD 1 trillion.

The WTO does offer a note of caution going forward, suggesting that energy consumption, hacking and scalability issues need to be addressed: The report stated:

“…blockchains are highly resilient compared to traditional databases due to their decentralized and distributed nature and the use of cryptographic techniques, they are not completely immune from traditional security challenges…”

The report concludes that international trade may be transformed over the next 15 years but this can only happen with “smart standardization — and smart standardization can only happen through cooperation”.

 

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Vitalik Buterin: Efficient Blockchain Relies on User Not Tool

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin took a fresh dig at IBM in an interview at a recent conference, suggesting that the tech giant’s use of blockchain for supply chain tracking is a waste of time.

He was speaking in an interview at this year’s Devocon4 conference in Prague for Ethereum developers, which was focusing on extending Ethereum’s outreach to the next million users and improving its effectiveness for them.

The multinational tech giant IBM, in league with other companies, has been leaving a significant imprint on the retail industry lately with the use of blockchain technology in supply chain systems.

This year an IBM/Walmart project came up with a farm-to-store tracking system based on blockchain technology, which Walmart committed 100 of its suppliers to adhere to. Both have been at the forefront of DLT since its conception and are eager to promote the use of new technology in sectors including business and commerce.

IBM also has patents accepted for such projects as Blockchain for Open Scientific Research which assert that blockchain can aid the process of scientific research by tracking research and development projects across institutional borders while offering “a tamper-resistant log of scientific research”. In fact, it has become challenging to cite a sector that IBM has not thoroughly explored in order to test the future potential of blockchain technology.

Ethereum’s co-founder is not so impressed, claiming marketing hype is at the center of IBM’s push to advertise its advances in DLT. He claims its blockchain supply chain achievements are off the mark and fundamentally missing the point of decentralization.

“Sometimes it is for marketing hype. Sometimes it is just people who are genuinely excited about blockchains and want the thing they are personally excited about and their job to align more with each other, which is a totally legitimate, human thing to want to do.”

Buterin suggests that lettuces on the blockchain, for example, is wrong, as the implication is that by using blockchain the consumer is being empowered by being able to track items at every step from growth to table using QR scanning. He argues that the viability of this system relies totally on the ability of the user to perform each task, for example, such as the farmer imputing the correct details on the blockchain so that customers can actually confirm the credentials of the information.

According to Buterin, blockchain technology should be regarded as a tool rather a 100% guarantee of evidence of credibility and therefore not necessarily the panacea to all life’s ills.

 

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New Social Messaging, Trading Apps Attempt to Solve Dapp Dilemma

A new decentralized app called DappGram has been launched with claims to enhance communication among global blockchain users. It joins a slew of similar recent blockchain-based social messaging apps such as TronChat, Status and LINE, each hoping to reinvigorate flagging public interest in decentralized applications (Dapps).

Dapps were commonly seen as a practical means to take blockchain technology to the mainstream, with some experts predicting their popularity would one day surpass that of applications built by giant corporations, due to their increasing utility, userbase and network valuation.

However, the thousands of Dapps already created have seemingly failed to achieve the much-touted utility even with superior incentivization models, transparency and decentralized features.

According to its developers, DappGram promises to address the imbalance of information between users and blockchain companies by offering a full range service such as real-time transaction, information access, and other features.

Zerion founder, Evgeny Yuttaev, suggests that most ICOs seem to be in search of the next Bitcoin or Ethereum in search of massive profits, but what is really needed is projects which can change peoples lives, and for this to happen, Dapps need to become mainstream.

The new app hopes to revitalize interest in Dapps by offering more focused features than popular cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app Telegram. DappGram promises trading quotes, transactions, crypto wallet facilities, and chat with community projects, therefore, enabling the monitoring of the cryptocurrency market in real time. An extra useful function enables users to register with simply their mobile number. In a company statement, it said:

“DappGram is more than an ordinary social network based Dapp, it has been projected to become the largest and best-connected platform in the blockchain industry and aimed to help blockchain players as much as possible.”

Currently, there are 1,565 decentralized apps built on the Ethereum blockchain alone, unsurprising given Ethereum’s historical place in the development of blockchain solutions. However, according to a study by crypto research publication Diar, the usage of decentralized apps on Ethereum has been declining sharply, with users declining 56% from January 2018 to July 2018.

Dapp detractors include Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, who feels similar apps which pose a challenge to Ethereum consistently fail, although such a view is hardly surprising given where the network originated from – a smart contract exploit.

 

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Ethereum Core Devs Plan Upgrade in Secret

Ethereum core developers have reportedly met multiple times in secret to plan an as yet undisclosed upgrade to the network, hoping to provide a short-term scaling solution.

The so-called ”Ethereum 1x” upgrade was discussed on four occasions during the Devcon4 conference that took place at the end of October. On one occasion, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and co-founder Joseph Lubin were both in attendance.

The minutes for these meetings were published on Github by an engineer of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) Greg Colvin on 23 November, and CoinDesk claims one attendee has verified its authenticity, although they wished to remain anonymous.

They said the proposals for the upgrade were not mature enough to be shared with the public yet, while the documents indicate a clash in ideas over how to manage community feedback regarding early-stage technical proposals.

Colvin’s motivation for sharing the internal documents may have arisen from the Ethereum blockchain’s responsibility to establish a general consensus from software users before implementing any rule changes, as is the case with all public blockchains.

What changes were discussed?

While the minutes do not show any final decisions were made, the following changes were discussed:

  • A system-wide upgrade or hard fork in June 2019
  • Replacing Ethereum’s EVM that processes smart contracts
  • Introducing storage fees for smart contracts
  • Replace the EVM with an eWASM for accelerated processing

Overall, the document has a sense of urgency for which the changes must take place, with as much public feedback as possible. We should be able to hear more about the changes from the core development team themselves soon, however, as Buterin argued he is ”uncomfortable with institutional private calls and absolutely against private forum[s].”

 

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John McAfee Tweets to Sooth the Souls of Nervous Investors

Controversial investor and software guru took to Twitter this week to calm the jangling nerves of Bitcoin investors after a tumultuous week left the flagship cryptocurrency hovering above USD 4,000.

Investors may ask “why listen to John McAfee?” but they might just take a look at a recent study which revealed that the 73-year-old tech veteran was found to be the most influential figure in terms of trustworthiness when it comes to handing out trading advice. In second place, the study placed Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, followed by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee.

In his latest tweet, McAfee makes an analogy to the bear market and winter, arguing that a “glorious spring” is around the corner, attributing the current market disruption to confusion. He points out that investors are joining the market daily, regardless of current trends and blames the current market turmoil on institutions who took “absolutely unenforceable measures to allay their fears.”

Market forces will “burn out” in time, McAfee suggests and encourages the global cryptocurrency community to stick with cryptocurrencies in the long term, echoing the views of Blockstream’s CEO Bobby Lee, who suggested that Bitcoin could still threaten USD 3,000, but long-term, feels it will overtake gold:

“This bear market might last another 18+ months, until the next block reward halving. That’s a long time for everyone except true believers. Enough time to scare away all of the weak long positions.”

Lee certainly has an ally in venture capital partner Lou Kerner from CryptoOracle who sees gold eventually being surpassed by Bitcoin. He compared the current market instability to the early 2000 dot com burst but makes an analogy to strong coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and companies such as Amazon who survived the bubble and emerged to become giant players in today’s tech markets. Kerner calls Bitcoin “the greatest store of value ever created.”

As to the recent drop in values, Kerner argues that “crypto has been so weak because [for] most of it there is no underlying value outside of confidence.”

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Miami is Fast Becoming a US Crypto Trendsetter

Florida staked its claim as a significant name in crypto as two pizzas delivered by Papa John’s in Jacksonville once cost the crypto equivalent of $65 million in today’s money, and now with Miami staking its claim as Bitcoin capital of the US, the dream lives on.

Miami is on a charge and has seen a surge of blockchain and crypto conferences setting up their annual venues there over the years. It’s unsurprising, given that there’s also a history there too, as it was not only the home of the first North American Bitcoin Conference but also witnessed the birth of Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum experiment.

This year’s North American Bitcoin Conference heralded in even more startups, some 30 in number, raising millions, and now gives way to the next conference in the queue, Blockchain Shift to be held in late October bringing IBM, Tesla, KPMG, Bloomberg into its orbit. It promises to be another extravaganza with late-night dancing and yacht parties scheduled, living up to the current festival mode employed by crypto conference organizers.

Miami started the crypto ATM revolution, with machine provider BitStop out of Palmetto Bay now providing services for client all over the state and in California with a network of 50 transaction points.

One of Florida’s movers and shakers, George Levy, award-winning Lecturer and Senior Instructor on the blockchain, had a hand in starting Miami’s Blockchain Institute of Technology (BIT), an online training academy which teaches people more about cryptocurrency and its technological foundations. Levy now has students in 166 countries around the globe and follows up his online training with personal appearances in many of those. Lately, he’s taken the leap to South America, where Bitcoin raised early interest. He now works alongside the engineering department at the University of Curaçao.

“We’re seeing innovation coming out of Latin America, as well strong developers based in Argentina,” he says, adding that, “The fact that I’m here in Miami gives me a very close spot to be able to engage that. It’s a great hub.”

South Americans have viewed cryptocurrency as an escape from financial oppression for years, as exemplified by Bitcoin’s huge following in Venezuela where the fiat economy is a total burnout. Because of its Latin American connection, Miami has a renewed spark of life as a potential crypto hub for South America as a result of political unrest there, geographic proximity and Spanish speaking population.

With such a vibrant cryptocurrency ecosystem comes regulatory concerns, one of the motivations by State government’s June decision to appoint a “Cryptocurrency Chief” to oversee the industry, according to Florida’s chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis, an “…active, comprehensive and balanced approach” providing an “appropriate level of scrutiny for emerging digital asset technologies.”

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Is Ethereum At Capacity? Network Metrics Indicate No

An Officer at Parity Communications and avid Ethereum user, Afri Schoedon, tweeted on 20 September 2018 that Ethereum is at capacity and requested that users stop creating new decentralized apps (Dapps). Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, disagreed and urged users not to follow that advice. A deep dive into Ethereum’s network metrics indicate that Ethereum is not at capacity and has plenty of room to grow.

Disagree. Most dapps have lots of room to gas-optimize, and even if *you* don’t your dapp running raises gas fees and pressures *others* to gas-optimize. There’s *plenty* of low-value spam on chain. And everyone should be looking into layer-2 solutions.

— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) September 22, 2018

Transaction volume is one of easiest Ethereum network metrics to understand, evidence from which is contrary to the argument that Ethereum is at capacity. At peak in January 2018, Ethereum exceeded 1.25 million transactions per day. Since then Ethereum transaction volume has been on a long-term decline, and is now just below 500,000 transactions per day. Therefore, there was a time when the Ethereum network handled more than double the current transaction volume, and obviously, didn’t cease to work.

Further, Ethereum block sizes peaked at 34 KB in January 2018 and have consistently been below 30 KB since that time, so clearly there is more room for transactions in Ethereum blocks, which means transaction fees are relatively low and there is space in blocks for extra transaction volume if Dapp numbers or usage increases.

Another measure of Ethereum’s capacity is gas price, which is the fee for launching smart contracts, essential for Dapps to function. During the peak volume of transactions in January 2018, there was a clear crunch that caused gas prices to rise to as high as 96 Gwei, which was quite prohibitive for Dapps. There are other instances of gas price spikes in July 2018 and August 2018 to 86 Gwei and 57 Gwei respectively, and any spikes like this probably indicate Ethereum is at capacity or nearing it.

However, gas prices have been steady at 10-20 Gwei for most of the time since March 2018, including September 2018, and sometimes prices are lower. This indicates there is no persistent gas crunch, smart contracts can be deployed without being inhibited by fees and, therefore, Dapps can thrive.

Gas usage has not declined since January 2018 and is averaging more than 40 billion gas per day, indicating gas is being used in large amounts; usage has not had to decline to bring gas prices down. This means Dapps can use as much gas as they need without gas fees going up. This likely has something to do with gas optimization.

From a more subjective perspective, Dapp usage on Ethereum has been declining sharply in 2018. The number of Dapp users declined 56% from January 2018 to July 2018 according to a study by Diar, indicating there is plenty of room for current Dapps to grow and also plenty of room for the deployment of new ones.

During Buterin’s debate with Schoedon, he focused on how Ethereum gas usage can be optimized, and how layer 2 solutions like ZK-SNARKs or perhaps sharding could make Ethereum scalable. However, network metrics indicate that even without layer 2 solutions, Ethereum has plenty of capacity for new Dapps to launch and existing ones to grow, and perhaps gas optimization is enough for the foreseeable future.

 

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Binance CEO Predicts 1,000 Times Swell in Crypto Market

As the crypto community discussed the future of the market this week, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has disagreed with recent remarks by Vitalik Buterin, suggesting that the Ethereum founder’s comments about a squeeze on cryptocurrency growth are completely wrong.

Buterin has denied that he made exactly those comments, Tweeting, “I never said that there is no room for growth in the crypto ecosystem. I said there is no room for 1000x price increases.” Buterin has claimed that the crypto market has practically reached its ceiling.

Further explaining that a thousand-fold growth would equal to 70% of the world’s entire wealth seems to have done little to halt Zhao’s charge that cryptocurrencies will go mainstream over time, and thereby reach exactly that level of growth and possibly more.

Zhao maintains that Buterin’s mistake is to view such a huge level of growth in terms of the traditional financial market, in which such a market expansion would be totally unrealistic. He feels that cryptocurrency is capable of making such an impact once it becomes fully operational with an accompanying derivatives market in full sway. He argues:

“I will say ‘crypto will absolutely grow 1000x and more’! Just reaching USD market cap will give it close to 1000x, (that’s just one currency with severely restricted use case), and the derivatives market is so much bigger.”

It is the case now that more central banks are on board with, or if not, certainly examining, cryptocurrencies with more than just a passing glance, and as such, the industry is gaining respect. Blockchain technology is now becoming influential in banking and business at the highest level, having gained respect from some of the world’s major players such as IBM and Microsoft. As central banks begin to delve deeper into the space, it is highly likely that smaller banks will also begin to take an active interest.

The more positive the impact that cryptocurrency makes on the financial system, the more that regulation is likely become not only clearer but more accommodating as crypto becomes the normal way to conduct business.

This is more likely to be the scenario that Binance’s head envisages in making such predictions; thinking of the big picture rather than the status quo. A USD 200 trillion market would make cryptocurrency the main source of payment and would certainly make stock markets around the world look very different. Clearly, a scenario that Zhao sees as achievable.

 

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