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Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “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.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
Best places to trade your Ripple/XRP (longer read)
In the past when you heard the word ‘cryptocurrency’, the first thing that came to everyone’s minds was Bitcoin. To some, this is still the case; they believe that Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency and the vice versa to also be true. Of course, the statement is correct in one way; Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, but cryptocurrency is not made up of only Bitcoin but a host of other currencies. One of these currencies is Ripple. When it comes to the top five cryptocurrencies with the highest capitalization, Ripple needs no introduction as it has managed to secure a position of being the third most traded cryptocurrency around the world. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Ripple is the only cryptocurrency with a backing from traditional legacy financial institutions. In addition, the coin has been integrated into the operation of thousands of small businesses around the world. At this juncture, it is only fair that you learn how to be a part of this great innovation. Thankfully, that is what this guide is all about, showing you some of the best trading platforms for Ripple. There are numerous exchanges that offer decent exchange rates and well-matched trading pairs, but I’ll only narrow down to some of our best picks to help you get started fast.
What is Ripple (XRP)?
Ripple is a cryptocurrency, a currency exchange, a real-time gross settlement payment system, and a remittance network powered by Ripple. As I mentioned before, this is the third most capitalized cryptocurrency asset after Bitcoin and Ethereum. XRP allows enterprises such as banks and other financial service providers to offer their clients a reliable option to source for liquidity for cross-border currency transactions. Ripple is a distributed, open-source platform that seeks to capitalize on the weaknesses of the conventional money payment systems such as credit and debit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, among others. According to Ripple, these payment systems expose users to a lot of transaction delays and restrict the fluidity of currencies. The platform aims at replacing traditional payment systems through offering a faster, safer, and more convenient alternative for making payments. Both the platform’s exchange and tokens are called Ripple, and their mantra states one frictionless experience to send money globally.
Where Can I Trade XRP?
Most exchanges that trade Ripple are limited to crypto-to-crypto transactions. This means that you can only trade Ripple with another cryptocurrency and not fiat currencies such as the euro or the dollar. You’ll need to acquire the currency you wish to trade with XRP on a platform that accepts fiat, and once that happens, you can proceed to trade the two currencies. There are several great platforms that offer XRP trading; below are just a few:
Buying XRP on Binance
Buying XRP on Bittrex
Just like on Binance, you’ll need to create an account on Bittrex to get started. The process is pretty much straightforward, only requiring you to sign up using your email address and password. Once you’re done signing up, click on the wallet tab. You will be taken to a page where you can view all the deposit addresses of the cryptocurrencies on the Bittrex platform. You can then choose the currency to use to purchase XRP, after which, you will be required to type in the code of the currency you will be using to purchase Ripple. If you’re using Ethereum, you can type in the search bar “ETH” and then click on the green arrow to reveal the deposit address. In case you will be sending the funds from a different exchange, you’ll need to paste the address to that platform. Next, you’ll need to send funds to your Bittrex account. Bittrex permits payments using both fiat and cryptocurrencies. So, depending on what you will be using, send money to your online wallet and proceed to trade it with Ripple.
Buying XRP on Changelly
Changelly is another Ripple exchange that requires you to use either Bitcoin or Ethereum to acquire XRP. The exchange doesn’t have an inbuilt wallet, so you’ll need to store your funds on a separate hardware or software wallet. You can pretty much use any type of wallet, but the most secure ones are the hardware ones as they store your coins in an offline cold storage area. Ripple prefers not to have many unutilized accounts being set up on its platform; this is why you’ll need to have a minimum of 20 XRP in your account for you to get started. However, if your first transaction will be more than 20 XRP, then you’re all set. Once you have a wallet ready for your Ripple, head to the Changelly site and click on “input currency”. Here, you will be able to enter the currency you wish to trade for Ripple. You can basically pick and use any coin listed on the site, but it is highly recommended that you use either Bitcoin or Ethereum due to their high liquidity. The output section will have Ripple, which is the currency you wish to receive. The next step will require you to key in your XRP address, which is your Ripple address and the destination tag, which is a description of the transaction. You can now proceed to trade your chosen coins for Ripple. The transaction shouldn’t take long, and you will be able to receive the coins in your Ripple wallet.
Cryptmixer is a platform that assists users to swap XRP with 5 other assets freely. The interface lets users convert assets directly from one’s wallet, without having to create an account or register. Besides, the service helps to compare different providers and find a suitable deal for handling Ripple transactions securely, rapidly, and at the best rate. The process of using Cryptmixer is quite simple:
Go to the main page, choose the currency you’d like to swap, and enter the amount.
Choose XRP to receive.
Review the amount to see how much you will receive. Cryptmixer will automatically find the best rates for your trade.
Then, enter the wallet address that you wish to use.
Send in the deposit to the generated wallet address and wait for the transaction to be processed.
What makes Cryptmixer a great fit is that it provides a very simple layout and quick process so it’s not chore when you trade your crypto. The support line also takes on the job of solving the cases by cooperating with users with top priority. To learn more on how to exchange XRP at the best rate check https://cryptmixer.com
Buying XRP on Coinmama
Coinmama is a cryptocurrency exchange that has been around for quite a while now. The Coinmama team has been adding more coins on their platform over time to be able to provide its users with a wider variety of trading pairs. More recently, the platform included Ripple on its platform. However, Coinmama does not allow US-based users to purchase Ripple due to some stringent laws and regulations surrounding the coin. But for non-US users, you can proceed to create your account on the platform and locate Ripple among the listed assets. Once you’ve created your account, navigate your way to the area with the list of assets. Select one of the provided packages and proceed. You’re required to have a crypto wallet prior to making any purchase on the platform, so be sure to have a valid wallet address before completing the purchase. Once that’s done, purchase your Ripple coins and they will be delivered to your wallet.
Storing Your Ripple Coins
Online storages are never safe for cryptocurrency assets. Individuals have woken up to all sort of horrific sceneries on their accounts that left them bankrupt with no one to turn to. One of the most important concepts you need to grasp about online businesses is the security of your transactions. Cryptocurrency burglars are everywhere and are getting smarter by the day; this means that traditional ways of guaranteeing the security of your online assets are no longer effective. Most exchanges have top-notch security standards, but the safety of your cryptos begins with you. A great way of ensuring that your funds are secure is by getting an offline storage device for your coins. I’ve seen great reviews on two hardware wallets that I highly recommend; these are the Ledger Nano S and Trezor wallets. After getting the wallet of your choice, keep your personal data such as passwords and secret words private; this will ensure that no one else gains access to your wallet even if you misplace it. Writing your password or PIN on open places or somewhere in your phone might not be a good idea; yes, it may be convenient for you, but it will be for the burglar too.
What method of purchasing XRP is considered to be the best?
The most secure and common way of acquiring Ripple is through buying Ethereum or Bitcoin from Coinbase or Coinmama, then transferring the same to Cryptmixer to use to exchange with Ripple. This is because Ripple is currently not available for purchase by using fiat currencies.
What is the best trading platform for Ripple?
Ripple is available on a decent number of exchanges including Binance, Coinmama, Coinbase, Bittrex, Cryptmixer, and more. However, among the stated ones, I have found Cryptmixer to be more secure and easier to use while it also offers the best trading rates and fees.
The Bottom Line
As we conclude, you now have some of the best choices when it comes to the exchange to acquire Ripple coins. After buying your XRP coins, store them offline on a secure device due to the risk of being faced by threats such as hacking or system failures. If you’re serious about making cryptocurrency your investment vehicle in the long run, consider investing in a more lasting security solution such as a hardware storage device. You may not get them for a few pennies, but trust me when I say they are worth every last dime you spend on them.
It is no doubt Grayscale’s booming popularity as a mainstream investment has caused a lot of community hullabaloo lately. As such, I felt it was worth making a FAQ regarding the topic. I’m looking to update this as needed and of course am open to suggestions / adding any questions. The goal is simply to have a thread we can link to anyone with questions on Grayscaleand its products. Instead of explaining the same thing 3 times a day, shoot those posters over to this thread.My hope is that these questions are answered in a fairly simple and easy to understand manner. I think as the sub grows it will be a nice reference point for newcomers. Disclaimer: I do NOT work for Grayscale and as such am basing all these answers on information that can be found on their website / reports. (Grayscale’s official FAQ can be found here). I also do NOT have a finance degree, I do NOT have a Series 6 / 7 / 140-whatever, and I do NOT work with investment products for my day job. I have an accounting background and work within the finance world so I have the general ‘business’ knowledge to put it all together, but this is all info determined in my best faith effort as a layman. The point being is this --- it is possible I may explain something wrong or missed the technical terms, and if that occurs I am more than happy to update anything that can be proven incorrect Everything below will be in reference to ETHE but will apply to GBTC as well.If those two segregate in any way, I will note that accordingly.
ETHE is essentially a stock that intends to loosely track the price of ETH. It does so by having each ETHE be backed by a specific amount of ETH that is held on chain. Initially, the newly minted ETHE can only be purchased by institutions and accredited investors directly from Grayscale. Once a year has passed (6 months for GBTC) it can then be listed on the OTCQX Best Market exchange for secondary trading. Once listed on OTCQX, anyone investor can purchase at this point. Additional information on ETHE can be found here.
So ETHE is an ETF?
No. For technical reasons beyond my personal understandings it is not labeled an ETF. I know it all flows back to the “Securities Act Rule 144”, but due to my limited knowledge on SEC regulations I don’t want to misspeak past that. If anyone is more knowledgeable on the subject I am happy to input their answer here.
How long has ETHE existed?
ETHE was formed 12/14/2017. GBTC was formed 9/25/2013.
How is ETHE created?
The trust will issue shares to “Authorized Participants” in groups of 100 shares (called baskets). Authorized Participants are the only persons that may place orders to create these baskets and they do it on behalf of the investor. Source: Creation and Redemption of Shares section on page 39 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here Note – The way their reports word this makes it sound like there is an army of authorizers doing the dirty work, but in reality there is only one Authorized Participant. At this moment the “Genesis” company is the sole Authorized Participant. Genesis is owned by the “Digital Currency Group, Inc.” which is the parent company of Grayscale as well. (And to really go down the rabbit hole it looks like DCG is the parent company of CoinDesk and is “backing 150+ companies across 30 countries, including Coinbase, Ripple, and Chainalysis.”) Source: Digital Currency Group, Inc. informational section on page 77 of the “Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (BTC) Form 10-K (2019)” – Located Here Source: Barry E. Silbert informational section on page 75 of the “Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (BTC) Form 10-K (2019)” – Located Here
How does Grayscale acquire the ETH to collateralize the ETHE product?
An Investor may acquire ETHE by paying in cash or exchanging ETH already owned.
Cash: The investor pays the subscription amount in cash and the Authorized Participant will use that cash to purchase ETH.
ETH: The investor transfers the ETH to the Authorized Participant, which will contribute the ETH in-kind to the Trust.
Source: Creation and Redemption of Shares section on page 40 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Where does Grayscale store their ETH? Does it have a specific wallet address we can follow?
ETH is stored with Coinbase Custody Trust Company, LLC. I am unaware of any specific address or set of addresses that can be used to verify the ETH is actually there. As an aside - I would actually love to see if anyone knows more about this as it’s something that’s sort of peaked my interest after being asked about it… I find it doubtful we can find that however. Source: Part C. Business Information, Item 8, subsection A. on page 16 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Can ETHE be redeemed for ETH?
No, currently there is no way to give your shares of ETHE back to Grayscale to receive ETH back. The only method of getting back into ETH would be to sell your ETHE to someone else and then use those proceeds to buy ETH yourself. Source: Redemption Procedures on page 41 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Why are they not redeeming shares?
I think the report summarizes it best:
Redemptions of Shares are currently not permitted and the Trust is unable to redeem Shares. Subject to receipt of regulatory approval from the SEC and approval by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, the Trust may in the future operate a redemption program. Because the Trust does not believe that the SEC would, at this time, entertain an application for the waiver of rules needed in order to operate an ongoing redemption program, the Trust currently has no intention of seeking regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program.
Source: Redemption Procedures on page 41 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
What is the fee structure?
ETHE has an annual fee of 2.5%. GBTC has an annual fee of 2.0%. Fees are paid by selling the underlying ETH / BTC collateralizing the asset. Source: ETHE’s informational page on Grayscale’s website - Located Here Source: Description of Trust on page 31 & 32 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
What is the ratio of ETH to ETHE?
At the time of posting (6/19/2020) each ETHE share is backed by .09391605 ETH. Each share of GBTC is backed by .00096038 BTC. ETHE & GBTC’s specific information page on Grayscale’s website updates the ratio daily – Located Here For a full historical look at this ratio, it can be found on the Grayscale home page on the upper right side if you go to Tax Documents > 2019 Tax Documents > Grayscale Ethereum Trust 2019 Tax Letter.
Why is the ratio not 1:1? Why is it always decreasing?
While I cannot say for certain why the initial distribution was not a 1:1 backing, it is more than likely to keep the price down and allow more investors a chance to purchase ETHE / GBTC. As noted above, fees are paid by selling off the ETH collateralizing ETHE. So this number will always be trending downward as time goes on. Source: Description of Trust on page 32 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
I keep hearing about how this is locked supply… explain?
As noted above, there is currently no redemption program for converting your ETHE back into ETH. This means that once an ETHE is issued, it will remain in circulation until a redemption program is formed --- something that doesn’t seem to be too urgent for the SEC or Grayscale at the moment. Tiny amounts will naturally be removed due to fees, but the bulk of the asset is in there for good. Knowing that ETHE cannot be taken back and destroyed at this time, the ETH collateralizing it will not be removed from the wallet for the foreseeable future. While it is not fully locked in the sense of say a totally lost key, it is not coming out any time soon. Per their annual statement:
The Trust’s ETH will be transferred out of the ETH Account only in the following circumstances: (i) transferred to pay the Sponsor’s Fee or any Additional Trust Expenses, (ii) distributed in connection with the redemption of Baskets (subject to the Trust’s obtaining regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program and the consent of the Sponsor), (iii) sold on an as-needed basis to pay Additional Trust Expenses or (iv) sold on behalf of the Trust in the event the Trust terminates and liquidates its assets or as otherwise required by law or regulation.
Source: Description of Trust on page 31 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Grayscale now owns a huge chunk of both ETH and BTC’s supply… should we be worried about manipulation, a sell off to crash the market crash, a staking cartel?
First, it’s important to remember Grayscale is a lot more akin to an exchange then say an investment firm. Grayscale is working on behalf of its investors to create this product for investor control. Grayscale doesn’t ‘control’ the ETH it holds any more then Coinbase ‘controls’ the ETH in its hot wallet. (Note: There are likely some varying levels of control, but specific to this topic Grayscale cannot simply sell [legally, at least] the ETH by their own decision in the same manner Coinbase wouldn't be able to either.) That said, there shouldn’t be any worry in the short to medium time-frame. As noted above, Grayscale can’t really remove ETH other than for fees or termination of the product. At 2.5% a year, fees are noise in terms of volume. Grayscale seems to be the fastest growing product in the crypto space at the moment and termination of the product seems unlikely. IF redemptions were to happen tomorrow, it’s extremely unlikely we would see a mass exodus out of the product to redeem for ETH. And even if there was incentive to get back to ETH, the premium makes it so that it would be much more cost effective to just sell your ETHE on the secondary market and buy ETH yourself. Remember, any redemption is up to the investors and NOT something Grayscale has direct control over.
Yes, but what about [insert criminal act here]…
Alright, yes. Technically nothing is stopping Grayscale from selling all the ETH / BTC and running off to the Bahamas (Hawaii?). BUT there is no real reason for them to do so. Barry is an extremely public figure and it won’t be easy for him to get away with that. Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust creates SEC reports weekly / bi-weekly and I’m sure given the sentiment towards crypto is being watched carefully. Plus, Grayscale is making tons of consistent revenue and thus has little to no incentive to give that up for a quick buck.
That’s a lot of ‘happy little feels’ Bob, is there even an independent audit or is this Tether 2.0?
Actually yes, an independent auditor report can be found in their annual reports. It is clearly aimed more towards the financial side and I doubt the auditors are crypto savants, but it is at least one extra set of eyes. Auditors are Friedman LLP – Auditor since 2015. Source: Independent Auditor Report starting on page 116 (of the PDF itself) of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here As mentioned by user TheCrpytosAndBloods (In Comments Below), a fun fact:
The company’s auditors Friedman LLP were also coincidentally TetheBitfinex’s auditors until They controversially parted ways in 2018 when the Tether controversy was at its height. I am not suggesting for one moment that there is anything shady about DCG - I just find it interesting it’s the same auditor.
“Grayscale sounds kind of lame” / “Not your keys not your crypto!” / “Why is anyone buying this, it sounds like a scam?”
Welp, for starters this honestly is not really a product aimed at the people likely to be reading this post. To each their own, but do remember just because something provides no value to you doesn’t mean it can’t provide value to someone else. That said some of the advertised benefits are as follows:
Access to trading within a tax advantaged retirement account
Institutions can easily and safely get exposure to crypto in a more legal-friendly manner
Ease of use for those who are not very technologically savvy
Ease of access for someone who doesn’t want to set up a Coinbase account
Perceived trust in institutional platforms over something like Coinbase or Kraken
Degen traders who just want access to the volatility ETHE provides that have no interest in crypto beyond that
So for example, I can set up an IRA at a brokerage account that has $0 trading fees. Then I can trade GBTC and ETHE all day without having to worry about tracking my taxes. All with the relative safety something like E-Trade provides over Binance. As for how it benefits the everyday ETH holder? I think the supply lock is a positive. I also think this product exposes the Ethereum ecosystem to people who otherwise wouldn’t know about it.
Why is there a premium? Why is ETHE’s premium so insanely high compared to GBTC’s premium?
There are a handful of theories of why a premium exists at all, some even mentioned in the annual report. The short list is as follows:
ETHE is NOT redeeming shares and as such doesn’t have an effective arbitrage mechanism
ETHE has a 1 year wait to be sold on the secondary market, again negating the ability to effectively arbitrage the premium
People may simply be willing to pay a premium for the benefits stated above.
Why is ETHE’s so much higher the GBTC’s? Again, a few thoughts:
ETHE hasn’t been around as long, so there is less secondary market supply to go around
ETHE was listed at an insanely high premium to begin with
ETHE might simply be more popular at the moment
Could just be sheer stupidity (investors think ETHE is a 1:1 ratio not 1:11)
Are there any other differences between ETHE and GBTC?
I touched on a few of the smaller differences, but one of the more interesting changes is GBTC is now a “SEC reporting company” as of January 2020. Which again goes beyond my scope of knowledge so I won’t comment on it too much… but the net result is GBTC is now putting out weekly / bi-weekly 8-K’s and annual 10-K’s. This means you can track GBTC that much easier at the moment as well as there is an extra layer of validity to the product IMO.
I’m looking for some statistics on ETHE… such as who is buying, how much is bought, etc?
There is a great Q1 2020 report I recommend you give a read that has a lot of cool graphs and data on the product. It’s a little GBTC centric, but there is some ETHE data as well. It can be found here hidden within the 8-K filings.Q1 2020 is the 4/16/2020 8-K filing. For those more into a GAAP style report see the 2019 annual 10-K of the same location.
Is Grayscale only just for BTC and ETH?
No, there are other products as well. In terms of a secondary market product, ETCG is the Ethereum Classic version of ETHE. Fun Fact – ETCG was actually put out to the secondary market first. It also has a 3% fee tied to it where 1% of it goes to some type of ETC development fund. In terms of institutional and accredited investors, there are a few ‘fan favorites’ such as Bitcoin Cash, Litcoin, Stellar, XRP, and Zcash. Something called Horizion (Backed by ZEN I guess? Idk to be honest what that is…). And a diversified Mutual Fund type fund that has a little bit of all of those. None of these products are available on the secondary market.
Are there alternatives to Grayscale?
I know they exist, but I don’t follow them. I’ll leave this as a “to be edited” section and will add as others comment on what they know. Per user Over-analyser (in comments below):
As asked by pegcity - Okay so I was under the impression you can just give them your own ETH and get ETHE, but do you get 11 ETHE per ETH or do you get the market value of ETH in USD worth of ETHE?
I have always understood that the ETHE issued directly through Grayscale is issued without the premium. As in, if I were to trade 1 ETH for ETHE I would get 11, not say only 2 or 3 because the secondary market premium is so high. And if I were paying cash only I would be paying the price to buy 1 ETH to get my 11 ETHE. Per page 39 of their annual statement, it reads as follows:
The Trust will issue Shares to Authorized Participants from time to time, but only in one or more Baskets (with a Basket being a block of 100 Shares). The Trust will not issue fractions of a Basket. The creation (and, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redemption) of Baskets will be made only in exchange for the delivery to the Trust, or the distribution by the Trust, of the number of whole and fractional ETH represented by each Basket being created (or, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redeemed), which is determined by dividing (x) the number of ETH owned by the Trust at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the trade date of a creation or redemption order, after deducting the number of ETH representing the U.S. dollar value of accrued but unpaid fees and expenses of the Trust (converted using the ETH Index Price at such time, and carried to the eighth decimal place), by (y) the number of Shares outstanding at such time (with the quotient so obtained calculated to one one-hundred-millionth of one ETH (i.e., carried to the eighth decimal place)), and multiplying such quotient by 100 (the “Basket ETH Amount”). All questions as to the calculation of the Basket ETH Amount will be conclusively determined by the Sponsor and will be final and binding on all persons interested in the Trust. The Basket ETH Amount multiplied by the number of Baskets being created or redeemed is the “Total Basket ETH Amount.” The number of ETH represented by a Share will gradually decrease over time as the Trust’s ETH are used to pay the Trust’s expenses. Each Share represented approximately 0.0950 ETH and 0.0974 ETH as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
I want to thank everyone who replied to our survey! Your feedback is extremely valuable! Here are the results and how they're helping shape our direction.
What goals would you like to see us accomplish? What's most important to you in how this Quadriga situation ends?
This was an open-ended question and the answers varied widely (and there was definitely a lot of responses which mentioned multiple goals). Here's a summary:
65% mentioned recovering losses for affected users.
45% described a desire to get better standards on Canadian exchanges.
30% included justice for victims.
25% desired education on crypto-asset protection.
20% had the creation of the new exchange.
The justice theme has been entirely overlooked by what we're doing. Discussing the idea on the Quadriga Uncovered Telegram group, it was determined that there was definite interest in a potential letter-writing initiative. One possibility would be sending letters to the RCMP to request the exhumation.
Is there any part of our initiative which confuses you?
Almost universally, there was no mention of any confusion. The feedback we did receive:
"The website landing page could provide an executive summary of the key aspects of the initiative".
The front page was last updated March 30th. We are constantly experimenting and improving the front of the website and our presentation of ideas and welcome any insight.
"I was worried with the proposal to have a token for affected users. The intention may be ok, but tokens and ICOs have a bad reputation for being scams. I confess that I didn't read the website of the Initiative, but from communications, I didn't see the association between the Initiative and the official committee."
We should make clear we are fully separate from the bankruptcy process. There is no tie to the official committee, although we have gotten their feedback throughout. This is an opportunity for the business community to provide additional help for victims.
We are contemplating the need for having blockchain-backing, however it does provide the ability to have greater transparency in the distribution/supply, more control in the form of a multi-sig smart contract, and easier liquidity options.
What we are doing is fundamentally different from any ICO. Tokens are distributed 100% free against verified losses. Redemption happens over time for utility (products/services) or goodwill (best-effort redemption) and it's always a fixed value of $1.
"Generally i understand. Confused about progress and value offer to crypto enthusiasts."
The initial (very first) value proposition for the tokens will be the ability to offset trading fees on the partner exchange, where we expect that traders may adopt having a small stash to cover their trading expenses as they trade. From there, we have other businesses interested in accepting partial payment in tokens. Basically, tokens are spent in place of dollars to get a discount at participating businesses which wish to support affected users.
In terms of progress, we are still waiting for three things:
Partner exchange full launch.
First bankruptcy payout to complete.
Reaching 1,000 signups (as necessary for our deal).
Please feel free to reach out on Telegram and Reddit if there are any further questions!
Is it more important to you that we focus on (a) helping victims of Quadriga recover, (b) educating more people about Quadriga and other exchange fraud, or (c) preventing future exchange fraud events like Quadriga?
Of the first or only choice picked, 70% chose (a) helping victims of Quadriga recover, while 30% chose (c) preventing future exchange fraud events like Quadriga. (a) was mentioned in 80% of cases, and top choice in 70%. (b) was a second choice in 30% of cases and mentioned in 35%. (c) was mentioned in 65% of responses and top choice in 30%. The educational portion of our initiative was seen as the lowest value. We are floating the idea of replacing the Education goal with a separate Justice goal, which is composed of letter-writing and other advocacy to help speed up any potential criminal investigations.
What bothers you most about Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges?
The responses varied widely. Here's a selection:
"The lack of unbiased information on how trustworthy exchanges are."
"The lack of transparency."
"that they are unregulated"
"I only use a non-custodial exchange now (Bull Bitcoin). The inertia and apathy of the government bothers me a lot. After Quadriga there should have been an inquiry. Even my emails to MPs Marie-France Lalonde and Bill Blair got no response. It's not realistic to wait for exchanges to 'self-regulate'."
"Terrible for trading and unreliable"
"Where is the regulation and oversight?"
"It's difficult to know which one is safe and w[h]ich one is not. It's easier to go to a bigger exchange (eg. Binance, Kraken, ... ) who has a solid reputation than Canadian one (at least for now)"
"Slow volume, difficulty to access for some, security"
"Security, trust, support, education"
There is clearly a lack of satisfaction.
Should preventing events like Quadriga focus more on regulatory reform (working with regulators) or trying to create change through setting the example on one exchange and go from there (similar to how "Tesla" has electrified vehicles)?
40% of respondents desired an approach which included both aspects.
40% of respondents desired an approach of setting an example in one exchange.
20% preferred a regulatory approach.
"(c), creating an independent classification/review system that would allow users to know which exchanges are most trustworthy, and to force less trustworthy ones to shape up."
There are a few such services out there. Key issues are that these opinions can be influenced by referral bonuses, the exchange reputations change over time (as was the case in Quadriga), and there is limited information on which to base the evaluation. Many reputable third parties have recommended shady services that subsequently failed.
Pressing forward on both fronts appears to make the most sense.
Would you rather have the recovery run inside of a for-profit exchange (sort of a marketing/promotion idea to push people onto a safer exchange) or as an independent group of affected users pushing for our own interests (working with the safer exchange and other businesses potentially similar to a labour union or political advocacy)?
The end result:
The majority (55%) prefer to have the independent group advocating for affected users.
A minority (35%) prefer to have it run in a for-profit/promotional way inside the exchange.
There were 10% of responses indicating both would be acceptable, or no clear preference.
We will be working to run this independently, however working closely with our partner exchange as a joint project (and it is definitely a promotional tool for them).
If given the choice, would you prefer (a) $20 cash each year for 10 years (slower recovery with full choice), or (b) your choice of $200 worth of discounts on products/services that are donated by small businesses which you could use this year (faster recovery with less choices)?
60% indicated a preference for (b), and 40% had the preference for (a). There is clear interest in focusing on both, which will push the fastest and most flexible recovery.
Affected users have a liquidation option which allows non-victims to purchase their tokens on the exchange. How do you feel about charging non-victims a small fee (5 cents per token) that is split between funding the project and a pool for affected user payout?
50% expressed outright support for the idea. Below are more detailed responses and comments:
"indifferent, although I think any fee will end up factoring in to the exchange rate on the value of the token. If people are willing to pay $10 for a $15 coupon, then a 5% fee might mean they'll only pay $9.50"
This is undoubtedly true. In your example, 25 cents would go to the project, 25 cents to affected users, and $9.50 to the seller. As opposed to $10 going to the seller.
"I am not yet clear on the cost structure of the proposed solution. Has the cost of managing the recovery effort been accounted for?"
It hasn't been properly accounted for, and this is one possible solution.
"I think that it is more important to have broad communication, reaching out to public at large and crypto communities in other countries. Then there should be multiple ways for different communities to contribute financially to affected users. I don't like the idea of fees and tokens because it seems to distract from the larger tasks of communication, rallying, documenting and advocating."
You bring up great points. Outreach is important, as is flexibility in approach. If you have more concrete ideas we would love to consider them!
"Good idea, but it restricts the on boarding of new users"
This is a fair point. The hope is that those participating want to help.
"I would prefer to avoid this option, Unless we can show that there are many added benefits from using this platform over others, thus justifying the fees and making it more acceptable to users."
Absolutely. Hopefully there will be many added benefits.
"I think it a good idea, fees will go anyway to affected users, I totally agree"
Awesome. That's definitely the intent.
"better not tax when tokens are transferred to the blockchain - tax the transaction (something small, in order not to affect the volume/liquidity too much) like what they are doing with the flight tickets in Quebec"
Absolutely! This would be a transaction cost only.
At the moment this has not yet been agreed upon by the partner exchange.
Have you discussed the project with anyone else who lost funds in Quadriga? What kind of feedback are you hearing?
40% said they've discussed it. 40% have not. 20% didn't answer (or it was hard to understand). Some of the responses:
"only online, and there there seems to be some confusion about the projects goals, some concerns about the connection to a for-profit exchange, and a general 'one bitten twice shy' mentality."
"Yes, Matt and my spouse. The problem was foreseeable. We just all ignored the risk because we were sold on the simplicity. The first red flag I saw was that accounts could be reloaded through an entity in China, which did not make sense, but I ignored it because of my perceived impression of protection given that the operator was in Canada."
"Yes - most have given up hope of recovering funds"
" I can't follow the chats on Telegram. I gained no knowledge the times I tried to read the discussions there. In fact the discussions there seemed to be not very polite. I wasn't able to connect with any other affected user. I wish there were some more structured gathering. Maybe a webinar would be nice."
Note: This sounds like it may be talking about the separate and more popular Quadriga Uncovered Telegram group. We would be very interested for any examples of impolite discussions on our Telegram group.
"This recovery process started out fine, but has turned into a circus show as is usual with lawyers who naturally want to stretch cases out to steal more money from victims."
"Not for now, I don't know any other victim (except members of Quadriga initiative)"
"Its your fault for keeping it on an exchange, what did you think was going to happen. There will be no money left after the 'bankruptcy'.. Lightning will solve all these problems other than recovery of funds."
Many affected users have strong privacy concerns and shame regarding what happened to them, such that they are even hesitant to share basic details. What do you feel is the best way to build trust and openness among the affected user community?
Here are some of the replies:
"I really don't know. Keeping things as anonymous as possible might help, but then the project would also need accountability to show that most of the tokens weren't sent to your own account. It's a tricky problem."
Absolutely. We also need to consider the various ways the project could be defrauded.
"What you are doing now. I am just not clear on the sustainab[i]lility of this effort without appropriate financial support."
"We all lost. We got burned. No shame in getting burned. It happens."
"There must be a way for affected users to connect to each other. Communication is the foundation, and it can be done preserving privacy. Some ideas include a webinar, chat tools that preserve privacy, etc. I heard of the documentary but I don't know what will be there. I think it is important also for the public at large to know how Quadriga affected users. That is, it's important for some personal stories to be published, ideally in the mainstream press."
We have Telegram, Reddit, and Twitter. A webinar would be great! There have been a number of mainstream news articles on Quadriga, although it's not well known outside of the crypto community. We welcome any further ideas for platforms.
"I would use the angle that crypto will continue to gain traction as time goes on, and that although the affected users were victims of a terrible fraud, we have an opportunity to prevent this from happening to others. I would also use the fact that this initiative has gained a considerable following and that affected users are all in this together, whether we want it or not."
"Maybe a guarantee that nobody will be further persecuted would help."
Hopefully no affected users are persecuted. Who's being persecuted?
"I don't know what else could be done for now."
"Just let us go forward."
"Once you demonstrate positive effects (and communicating about them), and set up ways to contact you securely, the users who have privacy concerns will contact you. You should have anonymous way to communicate with you (maybe using memo.cash?)"
Feel free to use an anonymous handle for any communication with us via Reddit, Twitter, Telegram, or email.
"Simple questions, good job :). Wonder about the stages of loss/gr[ie]f. Maybe the stinging pain needs to subside before people will trust."
Notes: Percentages rounded to the nearest 5%. Thank you very much for everyone who took the time to respond! We will continue to study your answers as we move forward!
Multicurrency Wallet DEXs will be the standard of the 2020s. The present status quo is an absolute joke.
Before I begin, I'd like to ask you a question. Why are so many of the most established people in crypto among the most closed-minded when it comes to talking about new ideas? Why is the crypto space more concerned with what a clown from Australia is lying about or petty figurehead drama than the hard work and effort of the good and lesser-known among them? Let's talk about altcoins for a minute. It'd be a very tough job to count every single alt that's come in on a hypetrain and died in obscurity. If I were to guess that 95% of them failed, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it was a conservative estimate and that the number is even higher. Indeed, it would be much easier to count the exceptions to the rule. To name a few - ETH, LTC, XMR, and (quite amusingly) DOGE. Should the stubbornly high failure rate of alts justify writing them all off as garbage? Businesses have an incredibly high failure rate too. It would be foolish - outright silly, even - to say that the grocery store is a fraud and a scam because the aqua-saxophone jazzercise laundromat failed to live up to it's expectations. Maybe not, because this is exactly the way the crypto space is right now. That line of thinking is the de facto standard in the cryptocurrency space right now - "guilty (of being a shitcoin) until proven innocent (by some central authority figure or big exchange who can validate it for us so we don't have to do it ourselves)". To be fair, there was an aggressive torrent of these "goofy laundromats" in 2017 and people are either hungover or shell-shocked from all the broken pipedreams and costly fiction. You'd think that the titans of this industry, particularly those who care more about the cypherpunk essence of Bitcoin than how rich they can get off of it, would be more receptive to the legitimate projects that are working in obscurity to harden the crypto space and it's infrastructure. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. All too many seem to think that everything that needed to be built has already been built. Considering that all the Bitcoin titans are somewhat newly-minted, the irony is remarkable. No one used to take Bitcoin seriously. The further back in time you go, the more it took lonely effort and independent research to truly grasp its ideas. This is still the case today. Most have heard of it but have no idea what it is or why it's important. Many who are fervently in PMs or traditional investments like stocks and bonds continue to deride it, even though it will go down as the best performing asset of the 2010s by far. Others are a little more aggressive and, despite a lack of knowledge, call it anything from a scam to "rat poison squared". Like anything else, it's foolish to make bold claims atop little to no education. You'd think that treatment would make Bitcoin maximalists do some reflecting. Instead, a sizable number of them decided to emulate the ones who beat up on Bitcoin when it was small and irrelevant. "All you need is Bitcoin. Everything else is trash. I know what I'm talking about because I bought the top of the 2013 bubble and I'm probably immune to future dumps for life". Now let's talk about where cryptocurrency infrastructure falls short. Bitcoin still retains the same cypherpunk essence that it's always had. The same can be said for Bitcoin wallets. They're secure. They allow for anonymous transactions. They run on an immutable blockchain. There is no central authority between a key-holder and their funds. Enter the exchanges. In a way, they were a necessary evil. Without them, adoption would be severely throttled. With them, Bitcoin is compromised. For many, the privacy and anonymity that BTC is supposed to offers has been tossed out. It was the only way it could be retrofitted into a tightly-controlled system that demands KYC. While this has helped to spread adoption, Bitcoin has become more and more traceable. Quite ironically, many of these same exchanges that adopted KYC policies to "ensure accountability from their customers" had no trouble exit scamming. They come and go. The old one gets hacked, or it exit scams, or proves itself to be corrupt and suspicious. A new one comes. This time it will be different. Then the cycle repeats itself. Mt. Gox. Bitfinex. Polo. Bittrex. Binance. They all had their time in the Sun. These exchanges are in many ways the antithesis of the cypherpunk manifesto - vulnerable honeypots directly controlled by a centralized figurehead. Unsurprisingly, they cause a lot of unneeded trouble and give Bitcoin a ton of bad publicity. Example:
Me: "What do you think of Bitcoin?" Co-worker: "Didn't that thing get hacked last week?" Me: "Bitcoin didn't, but a place where it was exchanged was." Co-worker: "I don't trust it. It's only a matter of time til they find out how to type in some numbers to make more show up on a screen blah blah blah."
You've all likely met someone like this and brushed them off as closed-mined, but they're exactly the type of person this industry needs to convince to further adoption. It will be next to impossible to do so with the way things are right now. In order for Bitcoin to survive, it needs exchanges that are built to the same code that it was. The solution, therefore, is to "port" the cypherpunk essence of Bitcoin to the exchanges. Immutability. Anonymity. Privacy. No central authority of figurehead. With all that said, let's talk about DEXs. I started a thread on here a few months back when Binance announced that they were giving Americans the boot. I got a ton of answers. It shows that, among the hardcore at least, there is a desire to go in a new direction. Loopring, IDEX, and Bisq were among the more popular choices. It's a step in the right direction. However, these DEXs are still rather inaccessible - especially to outsiders. Performance wise, they're on the slower side of things. Due to these setbacks, they suffer from low volume. This is where some recent developments in multicurrency wallets with embedded DEXs from lesser-known projects will come out of obscurity and catch everyone by surprise. Among them - I'd like to mention Stakenet Wallet and KMD's Atomic DEX. Both of them, now seemingly weeks away from launch, will allow for atomic swaps between a wide variety of coins directly from a private wallet. Stakenet goes a step further by offering atomic swaps running atop Lightning Network. Why does this matter? These two platforms will be to exchanges what the inception of Bitcoin was to currency. Finally, after almost 9 years, Bitcoin not only has an exchange that truly honors its essence, but it's starting to see healthy competition between them. To elaborate further on why this is very important.. No KYC. No accounts. No sending Bitcoin to an exchange and waiting around for it to show up. No downloading multiple wallets. No exchange figureheads. No withdrawal freezes. In Stakenet's case, the decentralized MN network that runs it's DEX will also act as a massive LN payment processor (routing, watchtowers) that provides a ton of liquidity for it while allowing Bitcoin to scale. "Lightning swaps" will provide every LN-based coin the ability to be instantly swapped to purchase anything in BTC. Stakenet will also feature a DEX aggregator that will pool together the orderbooks of numerous DEXs into one easily-accessible spot, boosting traffic to the many DEXs that are harder to reach and furthering their adoption along. Simply download a wallet like you would any other app and you're ready to get started. It's so much easier and more convenient. I don't see how or why CEXs and all their ilk (figurehead drama, geoblocking, exchange hacks, wash trading, currency manipulation, exit scams, etc) could remain relevant in the environment to come. Regulation will not save us. Decentralization will. As long as one person learned something from this, it was all worth it. I welcome the opinions of everyone in this space.
https://preview.redd.it/hml53mmh5er41.png?width=568&format=png&auto=webp&s=3f0cd662e1836bcb2ea37793cbbbfd6f8a5e9723 Zhuling Chen It’s always great to hang out in this group. This group means a lot to the Aelf community. It is the first Aelf community and has been there through all the ups and downs in the world. I would like to start with wishing everyone is staying safe at home during the virus outbreak. It definitely has been a difficult time for all of us, but together we can pull through it. We understand that the situation is quite striking to all of us. But I really believe that the solution to the virus outbreak is about more global coordination and collaboration. All of you to be assured, our team in different places are all safe and working from home as normal. The Aelf team in Beijing were among the early ones experiencing the virus outbreak. As everyone was on the way home for Lunar New Year holiday and then experienced a total city lock-down followed by a 40 days’ work from home policy. It was definitely not easy for them, but our team stayed strong, took necessary precautions and focused on work with the right morale. Mappo has recently published some tips on how to work from home effectively based on our experience. Do check it out. Despite not working in the office since February, we have achieved great progress, including launching Aelf 1.0 preview, which is an important milestone in technical delivery and also the roadmap to mainnet launch (which listed out the essential steps for the community to work together to launch a successful public network) Let's first talk about Aelf v1.0 preview. It is the cornerstone of the mainnet launch. The product itself has all the features that the public network is needed. The codebase has been reviewed and tested rigorously by the team. And a few highlights of how the network would look like:
The code allows a stable and high throughput blockchain network to operate publicly.
For developers, they will love how flexible the system is to be customized, the number of tools and documentation to help them start developing applications on the network
For the whole community, the system is an ever-evolving one where the voting system is ready in place to conduct network-wide voting on various topics, such as transaction fee adjustment, network protocol upgrade, incentive adjustment, etc
Aelf system is able to run multi-chain architecture where each side chain will host different applications and still ready to work with each other
So you may ask since the software is ready, why have we not yet launched the public network? The answer, in short, is that a public blockchain is launched not by a team but through a community effort and that's why we are coordinating the community effort based on the roadmap we proposed. Aelf team has launched the public testnet based on Aelf v1.0 preview and currently, all nodes are under the team. The goal is to let the community and elected nodes to take it over and launch it on a global scale. Not only launch it but also be familiar with the network and also set the launch parameters in a decentralized way. If we take a car as an example, we have made the car, but ultimately the drivers are you guys and therefore before it really hits on the road, we need to guide the community to do a test drive, adjust the car based on what really works for YOU, and ultimately let YOU drive the car freely and safely So how are we going to help the community launch the network: First of all, we have launched the codes, documents about the economic system and governance model and technical features. With all the things available, you are able to understand what the system is about, as a token holder what's your benefit in the system, and being a node in the system plays a big role in the governance Next, without yet electing the nodes, we will get all token holders to join the current Aelf network through a mapping event. That means as long as you have Aelf tokens, you will be able to get 1:1 test tokens on the public testnet. that gives you full access to all the features, and you will feel like you are already using the mainnet. You will get rewarded in making transactions, voting, etc. Do try out the Aelf wallet and voting features, you will see how easy to transfer tokens cross-chain. and also how flexible the system allows people to make changes. For example, the community may want to adjust the block rewarding parameters or fees to use certain services on mainnet, they can initiate a discussion and then vote in the system and once voted through, it will be reflected on mainnet. For people or organizations that want to play a bigger role in the system, we will do a dry run of node election. Take it as the real node election before mainnet launch. We will see who the active members of the community are and being trusted by the community. Among the nodes, we will form a network launch committee. The committee will be the crucial party to oversees and ensures the smooth launch of Aelf mainnet, instead of just relying on the Aelf team. This is our step towards decentralization. The committee will agree on the actual launch process, final checking all the parameters in the system to be ready for launch and then decide when the criteria are met to launch the network. Once all that is decided. We will invite all interested nodes to apply for the election and let the community know what's their plan to grow the Aelf network. the network will initially be launched with a few nodes from the committee and gradually be replaced by the selected nodes (a bootstrap phase). Along the way, we will work with exchanges to conduct token swap (which we are also designing an innovative system to further enhance security and usability of Aelf tokens in exchanges) Among this isolated and worrisome time, at least we all have something to look forward to: a successful launch of Aelf network! Once it is launched, we are excited to see a vibrant and technically superior network that is good for Dapps to run on top of it. https://preview.redd.it/yp28n1jj5er41.png?width=559&format=png&auto=webp&s=c470cdedd7f8923f29a3b1bd777476f22cc76521 Doris Guo Q1: As a Blockchain start-up, what difficulties have you overcome when starting Aelf project? What motivates you to solve difficulties and achieve success today? Zhuling Chen First, just like launching any start-up, its community and investors are usually regional. There is always some bias on if Asian projects are solid. It is really rare to have an Asian project to be supported by western funds and community from day 1. We were lucky to have overcome that obstacle. Having a global investor line-up from day 1. Having a global team from day 1 and also working with a global community from day 1. This benefited us to have an international perspective which is crucial in the blockchain industry. Secondly, as a hardcore technology company, it is really hard to put in plain words what is our ambition. Our ambition is huge, achieving key innovations in multiple fronts of blockchain technology and organically combined them to serve real users for the future. Our marketing team has been working really hard to elaborate on what Aelf is. Now we have come to a point that the product is ready. Therefore, it is much easier for all of us to understand how solid Aelf is by trying out the network ourselves! That's exactly what the following events will be about - Try out all the exciting features of Aelf network before mainnet launch. Doris Guo Q2: What critical problems do you see occurring in the blockchain industry nowadays? How does Aelf solve these problems? Haobo Ma First, we need to distinguish the difference between BTC and ETH. One is Digital Cash and the other is the Smart Contract Platform. Aelf addresses most of the latter's problems. In short, it can be summarized as performance, end-user friendly, developer-friendly, network economy, and self-governance and upgrading. Each of these areas will probably take up a lot of space, and as a whole are the issues described in our two white papers. In short, Aelf is faster, end-users do not need to know the rules of the blockchain, developers can set up the development environment in 10 minutes, have a good economic model and can carry out proposal governance on the chain. Doris Guo Q3: What is your long-term vision about the industry which Aelf is working at? Are you afraid someday there will be another project with more innovative technology can replace Aelf? Haobo Ma Let's talk about where Aelf stands in the traditional Internet. It is essentially a cloud service provider, Aelf provides resources and infrastructure for developers to deploy their services, known as smart contracts. We eventually want Aelf to grow like AAA (Amazon, Azure, AliCloud). Because Aelf is a network that can be dynamically scaled, we can accept any new technology, some of the more advanced technologies we can put on a side chain. Doris Guo Q4: Why did Aelf choose for cross-chain interaction? Haobo Ma As I mentioned earlier, Aelf solves the Smart Contract Platform problem. However, there are other digital cash problems as well which we would need to use existing infrastructure such as Bitcoin's chain in order to interact with Bitcoin. There are a lot of infrastructures on Ethereum that we want to interact with. Multi-chain on Aelf network mainly is to isolate resources to improve network performance and network stability. Doris Guo Q5: What difficulties do the Aelf team have now (I talk about COVID-19)? How does the Aelf team solve it? Have you changed the roadmap? Haobo Ma There is no great impact. The teams in Singapore and Beijing are communicating with each other remotely on a regular basis. The only change is that most of us are now working from home which has no impact and in fact, it seems conducive to the acceptance of more community developers in the future to come. From the internal working schedule and development timeline, there is no great impact. We do not publish specific timeline as we do not want short term holders (traders) to create too much negative pressure on product development. Doris Guo Q6: Aelf is an open-source blockchain, and there's the common problem of taking a substantial amount of time for the different participants to agree on strategic decisions. What types of governance models do you use in Aelf to address this issue??? Haobo Ma The issue is about public blockchain network, and who can decide the direction of the network. Our answer is long-term holders. For the short-term holders (traders), we refuse to allow them to participate in any discussion of the direction of Aelf because the short-term holders are likely to make a profit and sell quickly, which is essentially the same example of a person who cheats the President and then runs away for his personal gain. We defined a number of proposal processes, including the logic of the two-party system in the United States, and the participation in the referendum to ensure that the final proposal represents the majority. At the same time, we are looking for some legal solutions to avoid bifurcation, such as prohibiting exchanges from intervening in bifurcated new tokens. While we cannot limit a community, we should be able to find ways to limit a centralized organization. This restriction is akin to a ban on national secession. Doris Guo Q7: How will Aelf empower Investors, Companies, Developers, Platform Users to deliver impactful solutions and bring value to people all over the world? Haobo Ma We will learn from the operational experience of successful foundations such as the LINUX foundation and license some commercial companies to use Aelf solutions to solve business problems. At the same time, Aelf is an open-source product under the MIT License, and we accept any use that does not violate this open-source principle. Zhuling Chen Let me add on to Haobo’s statement: to incentivize and empower the community, we are also exploring ways to let the community decide how to use the funds for Aelf (allocate to where it matters to our community) once mainnet is launched. This means you guys can decide what are the projects to be funded on Aelf, etc Doris Guo Q8：When will the node campaign start? How will Aelf attract users to participate in nodes election? Haobo Ma According to our published roadmap, the timeline can be dynamic, but I don't think it will be too long. The main idea is to let everyone understand what we envision Aelf to be like, and what are the rights and benefits of being a node in the future. We hope to find nodes that fully recognize the efforts of Aelf at the present stage and are willing to participate in the future development of Aelf. We will run a simulation of the node campaign on the testnet and set up a temporary mainnet launch committee. Please follow our official Twitter for more upcoming details! Doris Guo Q9: Token swap form 2 is some kind of cross-chain transfer? It will be handled by a smart contract? Haobo Ma It is handled by the smart contract, we define an asset cross-chain transfer protocol, but it may be opened after a snapshot. Doris Guo Q10: Which Exchanges will support token swap? Do you have any plan to list Aelf in some big exchange like Binance, Houbi, Kucoin, .......? Haobo Ma We are already in talks with some exchanges, there is still competition between exchanges, and many are still hoping to attract more users by getting access to mainnet token swap early. Doris Guo Q11: Aside conversion of the current tokens to mainnet tokens, what other main features will be accomplished with the mainnet launch? Haobo Ma We have a documentation file that has been published, which has listed some features: https://Aelf.io/gridcn/Aelf_public_testnet_and_supporting_features_introduction_en_v1.0.pdf Doris Guo Q12: Do you have any plan to burn or buyback your coin? Haobo Ma We have plans for the community to govern through DAO, we have no interest in short-term price incentive adjustment as we would prefer to drive the project to higher adoption. After mainnet starts operation, there will be a part of network revenue get destroyed automatically. Doris Guo Q13: Often, as a newbie developer, I face difficulties on most blockchains. How easy and convenient is it for me on Aelf, and what programming language and tools are needed?? Haobo Ma We set up staging for DAPP developers on GitHub and configured CI. Develop a smart contract using C# with React Native on the front end. So, in fact, developers can fork the source code without setting up the environment locally, and you can conduct unit testing with the help of CI. You can also release the smart contract and generate the installation package of iOS and android online. https://github.com/AElfProject/Aelf-boilerplate Doris Guo Q14: What is the progress of business development and what are some of your commercial partnerships? How will Aelf rapidly develop the number & performance of DAPP? Haobo Ma First of all, the blockchain industry is still fairly small and users with ETH and EOS wallets are considered a very small group and its not effective to even promote within these groups. What we need to consider is how to enable users who have never been exposed to blockchain to use DAPP. The competitiveness of Aelf is to make it easier for Aelf developers to promote their DAPP to ordinary users, rather than to teach ordinary users a lot on blockchain knowledge. The average user doesn't like to hear about private keys, mnemonic, Gas Price, RAM, CPU, etc. Only until we solve such problems, companies that need to solve problems through blockchain will be more inclined to use Aelf in technology selection. Therefore, our main work is to explain the competitive advantages of Aelf, ETH and EOS to everyone. We have some business cooperation’s, but we also believe that simply through case-by-case business cooperation will not be able to gain adoption so quickly, therefore we still need to put our products to stay ahead of the next generation. Doris Guo Q15: What other activities can encourage more people to be confident about Aelf? Haobo Ma We are only going to state the truth by having those that have faith in us to stay and those that don't to leave. The development of Aelf is not driven by a single foundation, but by a steady stream of contributions from the community. In the future, we will also place the activities in the DAO for on-chain governance, and let the community make decisions by itself. https://preview.redd.it/e66vhqvl5er41.png?width=555&format=png&auto=webp&s=412a2dd831ba3817806e48855f158482bf671770 Kun Aguero As you know that in the present market situation many new coins or either dying or thriving for liquidity? How will you manage this liquidity problem? Zhuling Chen Aelf started in 2017. we have gone through a few cycles in the market, still, remember the big down period in 2018-2019. Aelf is financially solid and the team has always been working hard. if you are referring to liquidity in exchanges, we are among the lucky ones that are listed in all major exchanges Xinshu Dong Hello, great discussions! I would like to ask what are the criteria to join the committee for launching the mainnet? Would love to participate Zhuling Chen Hi xinshu, great to see you here. The committee will be chosen among the nodes elected during the testnet dry run. Which means, it is really important to participate in the testnet dry run and also start to establish your reputation in the community so that people will elect you as a node. The detailed criteria will include what is your plan to help Aelf to grow, tech competency and reputation. An Da What are Aelf’s achievements in 2019? Who had supported you to get those things? Zhuling Chen To name a few, in 2019, Aelf is one of the most active projects on GitHub. This means Aelf is evolving and improving fast in this space and our team has the tech strength. In addition, we have also successfully listed on all major cloud service providers, such as AWS, Azure, Google. So large companies can easily launch Aelf side chains in their organization with minimum hassle. John How does the voting for master nodes candidates occur? And why is the development of this system important for your project? Zhuling Chen Voting is going to be pretty simple. All token holders can vote for the nodes they support on our block explorer. Miha After mainnet lunch, how will you assure that transactional fees will stay low? We know what sometimes happens to fees on ETH blockchain. Zhuling Chen First of all, due to the fact that is Aelf is scalability, this will reduce transaction fee. Secondly, all transaction fees will be voted by the nodes (which will be elected by you). So they will represent your interest Bobbyfernandito Currently, as we see All projects are concerned with the speed and security. So, tell us here - what are the facilities Aelf provide to their user and investors? Haobo Ma Security: we have an automated smart contract code audit. During contract deployment, production nodes and the community audit participation are required. On the other hand, we are also planning to provide a standardized model of centralized exchange access for 100% asset certification and emergency measures to deal with exchange attacks, which we will be released later. Speed: Aelf has been working on improving performance, which is transparent to users which they can also experience by themselves. An Da What effect does Aelf token have on the Aelf ecosystem? Holding Aelf, what benefits will users receive? Zhuling Chen Holding ELF enables you to use all the services on the Aelf network. ELF has a deflating system where the total amount will reduce as the network grows. token holders can also vote for the nodes to run the network and also vote for big decisions in the network. part of the fees in the system will also be distributed to token holders via a smart contract ahihi132 Which companies do you view them as potential partners and that they are somewhat also beneficial for both the user base and Aelf itself? Zhuling Chen Great question, if I could write a wish list, that will be: let medium-sized financial institutions to use Aelf to challenge the big boys. Let telecommunication companies use Aelf for micro-payment and other innovative business models. We also would like to try out a few public sector projects, which blockchain will is still more transparency and trust Misun Q1: Which programming languages are you using in your project? And why? Q2-What are another big MILESTONES you have planned for 2020 roadmap and how are they supposed to benefit your costumers? Will it be an exciting year? Haobo Ma For Q1: We mainly use C# for development, I personally like it. Performance is good, development environment IDEs are strong, and C# creators are influential in the industry. We believe in the right thing, though it may take a while to develop. The smart contract will then add support for multiple languages, such as WebAssembly, depending on the needs of the community. Now it seems that C# is enough. Hambi crypto Which platforms are your competitors? How will you soar above them, and what better things do you offer than them? So, What’s your outlook on the future of cryptocurrencies in this year and next few years? Haobo Ma As I have already mentioned this before, Eth and Eos. We provide better performance, cross-chain support (already implemented), end-users do not need to know the details of the blockchain, developer’s payment models and so on. Floris-Jan What plans is Aelf making to prevent centralized exchange to take over the DPoS algorithm like what happened to Steem? Are we talking about blacklisting exchange wallets, or having the foundation say "No", or putting all trust in the community? Zhuling Chen Great question, Floris. I’m not going to give away all the details of what Haobo has proposed to work on this, but in a nutshell, in Aelf system, exchange wallets will not be allowed to vote, but only the sub-wallets for each individual can vote. This will also help exchanges to prevent hacking and theft in the future Alex What your plans in place for global expansion, are Aelf wallet focusing on the only market at this time? Or focus on building and developing or getting customers and users, or partnerships? Can you explain this? Haobo Ma Our core focus will be through the developers to promote, developers will help Aelf to attract more users. So our product has to be attractive to developers. Just like AWS, they only focus on getting their service right, their developers will think about how to promote it. We don't want to burden them in their promotion process. Ellkay What do you think are the major threats and barriers that could face the development and adoption of Aelf? Haobo Ma If I'm a DAPP developer and I need to promote my APP to people who don't recognize blockchain, then I'd like to choose a platform that doesn't have to explain a lot of blockchain details to the end-user, so they can use it easily. We've provided some options in the Boilerplate that allow you to log-in simply via QR code + Password, and our recommended Dapp is an independent wallet and a separate iOS/Android application. ahihi132 Give me some important reasons why we need to hold Aelf token where in fact hundreds of projects failed and it went to bankruptcy or even developers run when they collect millions/billions of funds? Haobo Ma First of all, we will not give any suggestions as we only describe the fact that the long-term token holder will be able to govern the Aelf network, get Aelf mining reward and Aelf network profit. At the same time, Aelf network is a deflation model, Aelf network received transaction fees, profit dividends will immediately destroy 10% etc. All investments are risky, and we don't judge the behaviour of other developers. There are so many things in this world that cannot be understood and unfair. It is important to do our job well. I cannot explain these things. 胖见愁 I remember that boss Ma mentioned to only find those truly innovative applications and enterprises with blockchain, how to find and win partners in these aspects? Haobo Ma When Linus was developing Linux, I did not think he would find a lot of collaboration when the code was not good. The response we can give is that we already have a lot of interest in cooperation, including what we have announced, what we have not announced, etc. 胖见愁 How interested are cloud computing providers in participating nodes? Haobo Ma The vast majority of our nodes should be using cloud services, and as long as a large number of our 17 nodes and other candidate nodes are based on cloud services, our network robustness is determined by these cloud computing providers. Of course, in the expansion, we can also use cloud computing services.
Vechain 95 % of remaining non circulating supply lock up?
Suggestions - if anyone has other ideas lets discuss here. The community is an important aspect of Vechain, and considering so many people invested in Xnodes and higher and have watched their value all but disappear over the past year and a half i would think a transparent company like Vechain would be interested in hearing some suggestions from the community. The buy back is a small step in the right direction, but more could quite easily be done to improve things. For example lock up 95% of the remaining non circulating supply. Ripple chose to lock up their remaining supply, but every 30 days 1 billion is allowed to be sold which in reality does virtually nothing to ease investor concern of them dumping their supply on the market driving price down. 1 billion coins flooding the market is more than enough to cause suppression. There is a petition going around right now to get Ripple to cut this in half and Ripple just announced theyre substantially reducing xrp sales to more accurately represent actual trade volume. Apparently Coinmarketcap shows hugely inflated false trade volumes and Ripple is now using Cryptocompare to have a clear understanding of actual volume being traded. Read here - https://www.ripple.com/insights/q2-2019-xrp-markets-report/ If Vechain were to lock up 95+% of their tokens, and lock up 95% of their staffs tokens for another year, while they continue with the buy back theyve started it would solve the immense downward pressure and the market price of VET would begin to appreciate and more accurately represent all the company is accomplishing. The Walmart announcement moved the price up 30% in approx 1-2 hours and you could see volume increased dramatically for that very short period but within a few hours the entire 30% gain was back to ZERO! I assume someone(s) were just selling into the 30% until it was all wiped out because it happened fast. Have a look at all other cryptos and youll see that when big announcements come they increase in value substantially and typically hold 50+% of that gain going forward. Link is a good example but there are many others too. for approx 24 hours leading up to the Walmart announcement LATOKEN exchange was showing about 10-20 times the volume it usually has for VET so whoever it was trading on LATOKEN more than likely knew the announcement was coming. No proof ofcourse, but very odd to see this exchange suddenly blow away Binance and Oceanex 10 fold in terms of trade volume. With the minimal volume (actual exchange volume) we see with VET daily, even just devs selling / trading 50-250 million on the open market could suppress price inadvertently. Taking measures like these will raise Vechains standing amoung the naysayers and VET will rise into top 10 in the market in a fairly short period of time rather than continue to fall as it has for the past 1.5 years straight. When VET was VEN before the 100x supply increase i questioned how the market would react to having a coin with only 30ish million in trade volume daily multiplying its supply x100 and i suggested that without a number of the top exchanges trading VET, there wont be enough volume to prevent a major drop in price and that is what happened. All other cryptos on the market that have 10 billion+ circulating supply and have a more accurate token price have maintained 5x+ the trade volume Vet has, and they are listed on most of the biggest exchanges - where Vet isnt. So exchange listings are also very important not only for the trade volume but the sense of market recognition they provide any crypto that is listed. Maybe a portion of the 25 million $ allotted for the buy back could be used on exchange listings instead? Anyone else have some ideas? EDIT - found this on the cryptocurrency subreddit by u/bLbGoldeN - and it provides some good insight on why projects like Vechain might not be more valuable...YET It has been a decade since this market's inception and 3 years since I've started monitoring it closely and analyzing it. Whether you're new to crypto or a veteran that has been through multiple bubbles, chances are you don't really know what's going on. Despite surviving the worst bear market so far, we're hovering at a $300B total market cap. So how come crypto journalism is so bad it sticks out even when compared to modern journalism? The answer is that the lack of available foresight and unbiased analyses is very much on purpose. Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV and other clones (and almost everything else, but clones aren't as nebulous) really give you a great window on the insanity of this market. Everyone who tries to attach any kind of metrics to these projects or make realistic predictions regarding adoption and 'fair value' is prompted with a question: "Who in their right mind could think this is worth 5+ billions?" Since it's essentially impossible to reconcile market valuation and fundamentals, they assume that there's something they're not getting, that there's crucial information they lack, so they resume business as usual. There has to be a reason, right? The truth is that crypto as a whole is a rare and insanely profitable cocktail. The market is split almost perfectly in two (by perfectly, I don't mean a 50/50 split, I mean that these two sides represent almost 100% of the market): Manipulators, who have the means to perform due diligence and are fully aware that the vast, vast majority of projects will absolutely never go anywhere, yet that a select few might explode. Gamblers, who do not understand the underlying technology (and even less the economic environment surrounding said technology) but are ready to shell out millions collectively to make a quick profit. The amount of people who perform thorough, unbiased research and invest carefully is staggeringly low, simply because there are very few individuals with the resources required to sift through the bullshit and without any intention to exploit the market. Coupled with extremely low real liquidity (arbitrage and market makers shouldn't really be considered), this results in a nonsensical market of booms & busts that benefits manipulators every time. However, none of this would be possible if it weren't for a key ingredient: Bitcoin. As long as Bitcoin and any of its clones gravitate towards the top, you can be sure that the market conditions haven't changed, because they act as indicators. Our top meme is a perfect testament to that: "HODL" is based on the bizarre and baseless assumption that the past will repeat ad vitam, and it does a great job keeping liquidity low. In short, it's a perfect gauge of the community's overall idiocy. Mainstream media only exacerbates the issue. It's much less costly (and thus, more profitable) for it to invite supporters or critics of Bitcoin to push a certain agenda than it is to pay competent journalists or experts to provide a detailed explanation of smart contracts and the rise of a programmable economy, for example. Yet I can tell you that in most professional circles, nobody talks about Bitcoin. Manufacturers don't care about receiving payments in Bitcoin, they care about data integrity and security. Energy consortia aren't interested in having households pay their bills with Litecoin, they care about autonomous, self-balancing, self-monitoring grids that optimize electricity distribution and pricing. There are several projects that have a much better chance to overcome the hurdles of adoption, yet it's unlikely you'll find them in the top 10 positions, because they're neither sexy nor simple. Why would manipulators waste time, money and effort inflating those projects' value, when they know full well that they'll appreciate on their own in due time? It's much easier to extract as much money as possible from morons who are willing to 'invest' in worthless junk and let the rest depreciate dramatically to secure a lower entry point. Even as the technology progresses and real innovations are made public, tribalism and hit pieces take care of the rest. TL;DR: Current prices are not indicative of future success. If you've performed the research and come to the conclusion that an asset is undervalued, believe in yourself. This market is not your friend, it exists only to take your money.
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