Tag Archives: blockchain

Beware EOS and NEO

Both EOS and NEO have been billed as the ethereum-killer and both have had concerted hype machines behind them. They are both building smart contract blockchains that hope to offer the same level of service as the current Ethereum Public Blockchain but with more throughput. Scaling is the buzzword of the month and EOS and NEO aim to achieve higher transactions per second by using a delegated proof of stake or delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance method.

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Delegated proof of stake is a system where a limited number of Block producers actually stake coin to validate and create blocks. In the case of EOS the Block Producers is set at 21 initially. Those 21 nodes stake EOS coin and are granted the privilege of creating blocks and capturing the block rewards.

EOS coin holders can vote for which nodes are staking through a 1 token = 1 vote method. Now these EOS coins should not be confused with the EOS ERC20 token. The EOS website is very clear “The EOS Tokens do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features, express or implied, including, without limitation, any uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features on the EOS Platform.”

Those that have bought the EOS ERC20 may have very well been scammed out of their ethereum.

NEO is using a slightly different consensus method call delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance. This refers to an agreement problem involving trusting third parties and dealing with bad actors. The byzantine generals problem has been a big issue for many years {clip}.

So if satoshi solved the generals problem though the Nakamoto consensus why are back at this problem? Scaling. In a race to be the one blockchain that rules them all many scaling methods are being attempted. The big issue with the dBFT that NEO is using is two parts.

The system only needs 66% agreement.
The system is starting out with a handpicked 7 validator nodes. Chosen by the NEO developers because they hold 51% of the coins.

This is a huge red flag. The developers effectively have a 51% attack on the NEO blockchain. They control enough coin to pick the nodes regardless of votes, and the nodes they pick can choose to accept or reject whichever transactions or smart contracts they wish. There is no recourse. Even if the public NEO holders voted for a different node they only have 49% of the votes at most.

This is not a blockchain I trust or recommend. Even if more validator nodes were allowed the token distribution effectively squelches any dissenting opinions.

Even if the tokens were distributed more widely and more publically there would still be huge issues. With both EOS and NEO the voting to select a block validator process is fatally flawed from the onset. First and most importantly, most people don’t vote. Even when incentivised the turnout is almost always less than 50%. Second, votes can be bought and sold for money, social capital, or promises of future favors. Finally voting typically and most assuredly in the case of these two blockchains results in a plutocracy where the whales make the decisions. None of these are better than what we have now with the current consensus methods employed by Ethereum or Dash or Bitcoin Cash.

Furthermore I am very interested to see how the EOS ethereum token transfers over to the EOS platform. If there is not a direct 1 to 1 transfer then the fundraiser regardless of disclaimers is fraudulent. Be careful out there. Anyone can buy hype, anyone can make claims, but not everyone delivers.

Music: “Out of the Skies Under the Earth” by Chris Zabriskie

One Bad Mother Forker: Exploring the Various Forks of Bitcoin

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A wise man once compared Bitcoin to the Model T Ford. The ancestor of the modern day automobile, the Model T lacked any safety features, was difficult to navigate, got horrible mileage and offered far less comfort than its modern day counterpart.

And just as the subsequent automobile models aimed to improve upon the flaws of the Model T, so do the various forks improve upon those of Bitcoin. A Bitcoin fork doesn’t need to have a lot in common with the original protocol. In fact, some forks can deviate greatly from Bitcoin and some can be merge-forks with other cryptocurrencies.

There are over two dozen or so Bitcoin forks to date, with more to come this year. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Frankly, not every single Bitcoin fork is worth writing about. Some will be only briefly mentioned. And the ones that are based on extraordinary projects or mass market adoption will be described in length.

The original fork BCH is also the most successful to date.

Since the forking of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) last year, by far the most well-known of all the Bitcoin forks, roughly 20 forks have been created. Though BCH is not trading anywhere near BTC, the comparison between the two coins is interesting, as illustrated at TX Highway, a live side-by-side representation of the two networks.

Bitcoin Gold (BTG)

The runner up for most well-known fork is Bitcoin Gold (BTG) has been designed with the little guy in mind. BTG employs the Equihash algorithm instead of Bitcoin’s SHA-256, This lowers the barrier to entry for mining because the algorithm is ASIC-resistant, meaning that specialized equipment like ASIC miners will not be able to mine the coin faster than the average laptop.. Their development team is also working on integrating smart contracts and the beta version of BTGPay, an e-commerce platform and debit card centered around the cryptocurrency.

Next down the line is Bitcoin Diamond (BCD). Though its name suggests the exact opposite, Bitcoin Diamond is neither rare or expensive, as it has a supply cap ten times that of Bitcoin and only trades for less than $10 each. The BCD Foundation insists that the larger max supply of BCD is intended to make mining it easier, thus lowering the bar to entry for small-time miners.

As the Bitcoin network becomes more congested with increasing trade volume, its 1MB block size limit and its block interval time of 10 minutes (that is, the average amount of time it takes for a new block to be found), creates a very obvious bottleneck resulting in higher transaction fees and longer confirmation times, bringing confirmation times to a grinding halt..

The skyrocketing network traffic led to confirmation times last year that took weeks and cost between $30 and $40 in miners fees.. Many of these forks have come into existence to offer a solution of their own to the sluggish design of the Bitcoin network.

It’s also important to consider the rate of emergency difficulty adjustment (EDA) in respect to the overall speed of a cryptocurrency. If hash power decreases significantly for a network and the difficulty for mining is based on when the network previously had more hash power, then it will take longer for the blocks to be mined, thus contributing to the speed or lack thereof for confirmation times. Bitcoin is designed to change its difficulty rate every two weeks, which can be a severe drag on speed if the rate of hash power fluctuates every day or even in a few hours. Interestingly enough, almost all of the forks will integrate or already integrated the Lightning Network.

Oil Bitcoin (OBTC)

Bitcoin SegWit 2X X11 (B2X)  has a block time of 2.5 minutes and a block limit of 4MB. Oil Bitcoin (OBTC) has a block time of 90 seconds, has a block size of 2MB and performs an EDA after every block. Bitcoin Silver (BTCS) has a block time of 30 seconds and an EDA after every block. Not to be outdone, Lightning Bitcoin (LBTC) has a block time of 3 seconds, a block size limit of 2 MB and no EDA.

Bitcoin Private (BTCP)

The public viewability of all Bitcoin transactions have raised concerns among privacy advocates for some time. Several forks like Bitcoin Private (BTCP), which is technically a merge fork between Z Classic and Bitcoin, attempt to address this flaw. Bitcoin Private employs zk-SNARK or zero-knowledge proofs to ensure that transactions can be fully encrypted on the blockchain, yet still be verified as valid. Otherwise, Bitcoin Private has all the other familiar aspects of the original protocol.

Super Bitcoin (SBTC) and BitcoinX are two forks that have integrated zero-knowledge proofs in their protocols.  Bitcoin Faith (BTF) is in the process of implementing zero-knowledge proofs proofs to shield their transactions from prying eyes. There’s even a debate currently going on whether or not to add zero-knowledge proofs to BCH.

A few Bitcoin forks are built around proposed innovations which, if successful could revolutionize cryptocurrency. One such fork is Bitcoin Atom (BCA), whose underlying technology is based on the theory of atomic swaps. This allows for the swapping of cryptocurrencies without the use of a trusted third party.

Bitcoin Atom (BCA) is based on atomic swap technology.

This proposed technology involves the use of smart contracts to make the exchange. The development team is working on BCA to be able to make atomic swaps with ten major cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, DASH and Litecoin with future implementations for all other ERC20 tokens.

Bitcoin Interest (BCI) offers users a sort of interest-bearing savings account for “parking” their coins in a specific wallet for a period of time and slowly accruing interest. Described as their “savings technology”,BCI blocks offer two rewards when mined, one reward for the miners and another smaller reward for users who hold their BCI in wallets they call “interest pools”. The theory is that crypto that is sitting in one place as opposed to being traded back and forth will reduce the overall volatility of the crypto market. If this technical innovation turns out to work, we just might be looking at the beginning of the end for traditional banking.

BitcoinFile (BIFI) integrates the Bitcoin network with the IPPFS protocol.

BitcoinFile (BIFI) bills itself as a blockchain-based point-to-point distributed file system. It integrates the Bitcoin protocol with that of the Interplanetary File system (IPFS), a file system  The coin’s blockchain should be fully integrated with the IPFS protocol by fall. Imagine cryptocurrency being transferred without access to the Internet! It would be akin to the first mammal crawling out of the ocean.

As the Bitcoin code base continues to evolve, one might wonder which forks will survive, which ones will wither away and perhaps even, which one will replace Bitcoin. It’s anyone’s guess at this point. The forking of Bitcoin may lead to something as revolutionary and groundbreaking as the invention of the blockchain itself.

Ep250: Vitalik Boycotts CoinDesk, Nasdaq Crypto Exchange, Hackers Keyboard

Nasdaq CEO talks crypto exchanges once the space matures. Amazon has won a patent to help law enforcement and tax authorities track your Bitcoin transactions. Coinbase shuts off service to Wikileaks Store and Cheapair.com. GetFreeDASH accidentally gives out too much DASH. Vitalik Buterin is boycotting CoinDesk Consensys 2018 and suggests you do as well. Arizona is very close to allowing residents to pay taxes in cryptocurrency.

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Bumper music by: Lamprey
Song: Stuck up

Continue reading Ep250: Vitalik Boycotts CoinDesk, Nasdaq Crypto Exchange, Hackers Keyboard

OpenAlias: Mastering the Fine Art of Simple Privacy

When one thinks of Monero, the first thing they may think of is privacy. XMR has the reputation of being “the privacy coin”. But one thing Monero is not known for is simplicity. Even when engaging in something as basic as sending or receiving Monero, the addresses can be as long as 95 characters. The OpenAlias Project was created to simplify the transaction process for even the least crypto savvy user while adding yet another layer of privacy for both sender as well as recipient.

The public viewability of all transactions on a most blockchains is definitely one of the technology’s most well-known features. However, this feature can negate the anonymous nature of crypto if one’s address is tied to the identity of the owner, as is the case for many websites soliciting donations or sales via crypto.

A specific crypto address can be found to be associated with a specific person or organization. A good example of this is an address from an account on a crypto exchange that follows KYC regulations. Once an address is discovered to belong to a specific person or group, it can become possible to look up that address on that particular cryptocurrency’s blockchain explorer and determine how much coin has been transferred to or from that address.The identity of the initiator of a crypto transaction may also be determined by tracking the IP address on the merchants website.

The uniqueness of OpenAlias is that it is a TXT-DNS record on a fully-qualified domain name, thus taking full advantage of an existing infrastructure as opposed to building a new one from scratch. The alias for the impossible-to-remember crypto address is a domain name, and under the Domain Name system, there can only be one domain name of its kind.

In other words, there is only one http://example.com as opposed to http://example.org or http://example.net, making the scenario in which one alias points to two different crypto addressees impossible. Other aliasing standards like having a password like “Dan123” or “givememoney” be (accidentally or intentionally) duplicated and point to more than one crypto wallet.

The average person who may be unfamiliar with cryptocurrency will have an easier time remembering the domain name of their favorite web site rather than a 95-character alphanumeric string.

While OpenAlias is the brainchild of the Monero Core Team, it can be configured to allow for the acceptance of any cryptocurrency. Although to date, the only known implementation has been for Monero and Bitcoin wallets. As time passses and the popularity of OpenAlias increases, implementations should emerge for other popular cryptocurrencies. Innovations like OpenAlias may one day make cryptocurrency as common among billions of people as email.

Friday the 13th at LBRY Headquarters – Pedro’s Picture Tour

One of the great things about being in the Blockchain industry and living in NH is being able to connect with people who are the entrepreneurs and developers in this space. LBRY (Lbry.io) based in Manchester NH is a great example of a Blockchain project with usable code. I had the opportunity to meet and get to know the LBRY employees at their “Jason Voorhees Memorial Friday the 13th Party with LBRY”.

LBRY allows users to own and control their content vs handing it over to large corporate entities and their advertising partners.  Their code base is open source and available on Github. There are currently 6 full time employees in their Manchester NH office and well as 15 remote employees from as far away as Brazil and India. In total, LBRY has raised over 5 Million dollars.  From their website:

We think users should own their content (and their privacy) instead of handing it over to a corporate giant and their advertising buddies.

For most users, LBRY will be a place where they can find great videos, music, ebooks, and more. A vast digital library that is available on all of your devices. But LBRY is many components working together.

LBRY is first and foremost a new protocol that allows anyone to build apps that interact with digital content on the LBRY network. Apps built on the protocol allow creators to upload their work to the LBRY network of hosts (like BitTorrent), and set a price per stream or download (like iTunes) or give it away for free (like YouTube without ads).”

the beveragesGreat refreshments was the first thing I saw upon entering!

Getting back to the fun. The LBRY office had all their worldwide 21 Full Time employees working at the Manchester office for an entire week culminating in a party Friday night. Upon entering I was greeted with a large table of premium refreshments and tasty snacks from around the world. I have personally known LBRY CEO Jeremy Kauffman and some other LBRY employees from our participation in the Free State Project (fsp.org) and it was great to meet other members of the team. The air was thick with excitement and passion around what LBRY is doing.

the food The local Blockchain community came out to join in the fun.

party goers minglingInteresting discussions all night.

Brinck tending to the iceBrinck helping keep beverages cold!

As more of the local Blockchain community arrived the party only got better.  Great conversations were had and ping pong games went late into the morning hours. It’s times like these that really make me appreciate living in NH as a Blockchain enthusiast and I look forward to seeing LBRY continue to grow.

LBRY CEO plays ping pongLBRY CEO Jeremy Kauffman (right) gets some ping pong in.

They play more ping pongDid I mention there was a lot of ping pong fun?

LBRY crew having funIt was clear the LBRY team was having a great time.

LBRY confessional booth

The LBRY confessional booth was available to give feedback to the team.

All pictures were captured by Pedro Aguiar and are published as Creative Commons – Attribution.

Ep249 Telegram ICO, Verge Hack, Centra Update, and Chicken on Blockchain

Centra Update: I found an address linked to the Centra crowd sale holding 100,000 ETH. Cryptocurrency exchanges charge as much as $3 Million to list tokens and coins. Verge XVG has suffered a 51% attack due to a mining bug. French mega-grocery Carrefour SA is using blockchain technology to show consumers where their chicken dinner came from. Telegram messaging app has already raised more than $1.7 Billion in an ICO but not handing over encryption keys has brought out the Russian Banhammer! News Flash: apparently there is still some sort of debate regarding bitcoin scaling going on — someone needs to tell them the war is over. Darren throws his support behind a DASH proposal for AnyPay. JJ and Pedro visited the 300th consecutive cryptocurrency meet-up in Manchester, NH.

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Bumper music by: Lamprey
Song: Stuck up

Traditional Financial Markets Cryptocurrency Markets
Gold $1,346 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $764
Silver $16.75 Bitcoin SegWit (SW) $7,991
Oil $66.49 Ethereum (ETH) $507
Dow Jones 24,814 points DASH $368
30Y UST Yield 2.998%

Continue reading Ep249 Telegram ICO, Verge Hack, Centra Update, and Chicken on Blockchain

Shivom Interview with CEO Dr Axel Schumacher

In this special episode of NeoCash Radio JJ interviews Dr. Axel Schumacher the CEO and Co-Founder of Shivom. Shivom aims to start out as “23 and me” on a blockchain but has goals to add more healthcare services. Dr. Axel discusses how the platform will be blockchain agnostic but that the initial token sale will happen on the Ethereum public blockchain. The token sale has a goal of 75,000 ETH or about $37.7 Million as of this writing and starts today!

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We’re also on Tunein, Player.FM, Overcast.FM, Podcast Addict, Blubrry, LBRY and more!

Music: “Searching” by Eric Skiff

Visit the Shivom website to find out more.

Shivom Genetics on Blockchain Logo Continue reading Shivom Interview with CEO Dr Axel Schumacher

Top 3 Crypto Hardware Wallets under $100 NeoCash Reviews

Pedro Picks the Top cryptocurrency hardware wallet under $100 in this special episode of NeoCash Radio. We take a look at the Trezor One, Ledger Nano S, and the KeepKey. In the video version we show how to initialize the wallets, send, and receive transactions. Finally Pedro shares his review of the wallets, likes/dislikes, and his top pick!

Please note the audio version of the show does not contain the wallet initialization and testing due to the need for a visual element.

Stream this podcast episode:
or Direct Download this episode as an MP3 – Top 3 Crypto Hardware Wallets under $100 NeoCash Reviews

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We’re also on Tunein, Player.FM, Overcast.FM, Podcast Addict, Blubrry, LBRY and more!

Music: “Hustle” by Kevin MacLeod

NeoCash Reviews Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallets

Let’s start by discussing how crypto wallets work and why they should be used.  The private keys to any cryptocurrency are used to both generate the wallet addresses as well as authorizing the transfer of coins.  Anyone with the private keys can spend from that wallet and this is why it is critical to keep these private keys off line and secure for any wallet with significant funds.  While mobile devices are great for convenience, think of them as your physical traditional wallet that contains cash, it should only have amounts you can live with losing.

Securing your private keys can be done with using a hardware wallet that keeps your private keys offline in a secure area of the device. These private keys can never leave the device so in order to spend funds, an unsigned transaction is sent to the device where you have to physically press a button that will allow the device to sign the transaction with the private key.  The signed transaction can then be broadcast without fear the private keys were ever exposed.

Hardware wallets are backed up with a 12 or 24 word passphrase which is the “backup” of the wallet.  Multiple copies of these should be secured in multiple locations. The passphrase should never be photographed, typed into any digital document, or photocopied.  Additionally, with these Hardware wallets you compare the address funds are being sent to with the address that will be displayed on the device. This protects you in case someone compromised the java code or app that is used for wallet functions on your computer

When purchasing any of these hardware wallets, it’s recommended to do so from either the manufacturer or a reputable vendor like Amazon.  Someone who purchased a Nano Ledger S from ebay lost funds because the scammer generated a key and then made the backup card look like a “scratch off” to reveal a unique private key.  All of these hardware wallets should be initialized and a new seed generated.

Be sure to store multiple copies of your seed phrase in multiple locations!

Any one of these wallets will secure the private keys to the coins they support and are much more secure than keeping private keys on computers & mobile devices.  If the hardware wallet is lost or destroyed, they can be restored using the backup passphrase.

If you are looking for a specific review please contact pedro@neocashmedia.com

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