Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum Tokens Are All the Rage. But What Are They Anyway

Ethereum wants to create an ecosystem where everything works together seamlessly as part of its vision for a 'world computer' – and that includes the tokens required to power it.

Launched in 2014 by a band of coders and an upstart teenager, ethereum was designed to make it possible for anyone to code nearly any type of app and deploy that on a blockchain. Many of these decentralized apps (or 'dapps' for short) needed their own token that could, among other things, be sold and traded easily.

To that end, nearly 18 months ago, the ERC-20 token standard was born.

It's hard to overstate how important that interface has been. By defining a common set of rules for ethereum-based tokens to adhere to, ERC-20 allows developers of wallets, exchanges and other smart contracts, to know in advance how any new token based on the standard will behave.

This way, they can design their apps to work with these tokens out of the box, without having to reinvent the wheel each time a new token system comes along.

As a result, almost all of the major tokens on the ethereum blockchain today, including those sold in the recent surge of ethereum-based initial coin offerings (ICOs), are ERC-20 compliant.

 

Tokens 101

Before delving deeper, it's important to spell out what a token actually is and how it differs from ether, the native currency driving the ethereum blockchain.

As they relate to the ethereum network, tokens are digital assets that can represent anything from loyalty points to vouchers and IOUs to actual objects in the physical world. Tokens can also be tools, such as in-game items, for interacting with other smart contracts.

But put simply, a token is nothing more than a smart contract running on top of the ethereum blockchain. As such, it is a set of code (functions) with an associated database. The code describes the behavior of the token, and the database is basically a table with rows and columns tracking who owns how many tokens.

If a user or another smart contract within ethereum sends a message to that token's contract in the form of a 'transaction,' the code updates its database.

So, for instance, when a wallet app sends a message to a token's contract to transfer funds from Alice to Bob, this happens:

First, the token's contract checks that the message was signed by Alice and that Alice has enough funds to cover the payment

Then, it moves funds from Alice's to Bob's account in the database

Finally, it sends a response, letting the wallet know the transaction was a success.

In contrast to tokens, ether is hard coded into the ethereum blockchain. It is sold and traded as a cryptocurrency, and it also powers the ethereum network by allowing users to pay for smart contract transaction fees. (All computations on the ethereum network have a 'gas' cost.)

When you send tokens to an exchange, for example, you pay for that transaction (in this case, a request to the token's contract to update its database) in ether. This payment is then collected by a miner who confirms the transaction in a block, which then gets added to the blockchain.

Early on in ethereum's history, standards were part of the overall plan to create a user friendly and broadly accessible system. But like all standards, ERC-20 took time to evolve over a series of long discussions and careful considerations.

So, sometime before DevCon1, the first big ethereum conference in 2015, Vitalik Buterin, the founder of ethereum, introduced the initial standards token.

Later that year, Fabian Vogelstellar, one of the developers working on ethereum's Mist wallet, took that standard, changed a few things, and proposed it to the community as ERC-20 to initiate a formal conversation around how the standard should be implemented.

Then in April, due to changes in how the Ethereum Foundation was organizing its GitHub, the ERC-20 standard was moved to a Github pull request.
 

What's inside?

ERC-20 defines a set of six functions that other smart contracts within the ethereum ecosystem will understand and recognize.

These include, for instance, how to transfer a token (by the owner or on behalf of the owner) and how to access data (name, symbol, supply, balance) about the token. The standard also describes two events – signals that a smart contract can fire – that other smart contracts 'listen' for.

Together, these functions and events make ethereum tokens work the same almost everywhere within the ethereum ecosystem. As a result, nearly all wallets that support ether, including Jaxx, MyEtherWallet.com and the official ethereum wallet, now also support ERC-20 compliant tokens.

According to Vogelstellar, who spoke to CoinDesk about the importance of ethereum's token standard, this interoperability lays the groundwork for big changes to come.
 

He said:

"I believe we are just at the beginning of tokenizing everything. Maybe in the future, you will be able to buy a share of the chair you are sitting on, the paint inside your house or a fraction of equity in a huge building complex."

 

Bumps in the road

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that ERC-20 is formally a draft, meaning it is not being enforced and still needs to be fully blessed by the ethereum community. Regardless, Vogelstellar said, every new token will likely conform to its set of rules.

He cautioned, however, that the standard is still young, so there will be bumps in the road. One of those bumps is that sending tokens directly to a token's smart contract will result in a loss of money. That is because a token's contract only tracks and allocates money. When you send tokens to another user from a wallet, for example, that wallet calls on the token's contract to update the database.

As a result, if you attempt to transfer tokens directly to a token's contract, the money is 'lost' since the token's contract cannot respond.

So far, $70,000 worth of tokens have been lost in this manner.

But solutions are in the works. As an extension to ERC-20, ERC-223 attempts to resolve the issue by suggesting a token's contract implement a tokenFallback function to prevent the contract from holding tokens sent directly to it accidentally.

Vogelstellar argued this is all just part of developing a solid system, though, saying:

"Driving with these prototypes can be rocky at times, but ultimately they provide the necessary learning that will bring us to the future of blockchain and smart contract interactions."

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Amy Castor

 

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Traders Plan for Correction as Crypto Market Falls Below $100 Billion

Traders Plan for Correction as Crypto Market Falls Below $100 Billion

Traders Plan for Correction as Crypto Market Falls Below $100 Billion

The total value of all publicly traded cryptocurrencies may be at an all-time high, but trader confidence isn't keeping pace.

After rising more than 1,500% from just over $7bn on 1st January, the market is beginning to show signs that its rapid ascent in 2017 may be slowing.

According data from CoinMarketCap, the cryptocurrency asset class fell from a high of $117bn yesterday to just under $100bn today, a period in which more than 80 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies have seen double-digit declines.

While this decline may just be a speed bump in the world of cryptocurrencies, some analysts report it is sufficient enough that they are beginning to reassess their positions in light of recent activity.

Hedging for a crash?

Indeed, several traders spoke with CoinDesk about the strategies they're currently using to hedge against a potential decline in cryptocurrency prices, with some indicating they're employing simple strategies by reducing their holdings.

For example, Charlie Shrem, a bitcoin entrepreneur and over-the-counter (OTC) trader, is in this camp. He reported he's been buying more bitcoin lately, with "less than 10%" of his portfolio in alternative assets.

Marius Rupsys, a cryptocurrency trader and co-founder of fintech startup InvoicePool, took a bolder approach, telling CoinDesk he liquidated his entire cryptocurrency portfolio and has started shorting bitcoin, actively betting its price will go down.

Rupsys predicted:

"There should be larger correction at some point which will cause altcoins to fall and bitcoin to fall at the same time."

While several traders identified portfolio management and active trading strategies as ways to hedge against a cryptocurrency price crash, cryptocurrency trader Kong Gao offered a different solution.

One way to hedge against this decline, he said, is to begin mining on alternative asset protocols, and simply hold the coins they receive instead of selling them.

Irrational exuberance

Elsewhere, Rupsys spoke to how he believes the increasing price has been largely caused by highly optimistic newcomers, a prospect that leads him to believe the bull run could soon fade.

"Many of these new traders are retail traders that have little knowledge of crypto-assets or trading in general," Rupsys told CoinDesk.

He added, many people have contacted him interested in getting rich quick.

Tim Enneking, managing director of cryptocurrency hedger fund, Crypto Asset Management, also spoke to the exuberance in the market.

While cryptocurrencies have been experiencing sharp gains, they will reverse direction at some point, Enneking predicted. Crypto Asset Management has set up stop loss orders to liquidate positions in certain cryptocurrencies should these digital assets suffer an "abrupt crash", he said.

And according to Charles Hayter, co-founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange CryptoCompare, a crash is likely. The attention alternative asset protocols have gained lately have highlighted some of this overconfidence, he said.

While there may be no clear signs yet, Hayter is still putting his money where his mouth is, noting CryptoCompare is going so far as to reallocate its active positions in the market.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Charles Bovaird

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin Has Power to Break People Out of Poverty, Current System Broken

Bitcoin Has Power to Break People Out of Poverty Current System Broken

Bitcoin Has Power to Break People Out of Poverty, Current System Broken

Can Bitcoin help people break out of poverty? What if we could build a financial system with Bitcoin that would lead to a more equitable and fairer society?

Bitcoin has been around for nearly a decade now and it has survived many doomsday predictions regarding its demise. It has grown to become an accepted medium of transferring money, it has also been recognized as a currency in some countries like Japan.
 

Why is the existing system broken?

The present financial system is supported by large-scale financial institutions that provide financial services. This means banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, housing finance companies, money transfer companies etc.

The problem is that while these businesses have existed for a long time, accessibility has always been an issue. According to the world bank, two bln people still do not have access to a bank account. Yet this present financial institution based payment system is stuck in an archaic era.

People are expected to use cash by withdrawing it from a bank account, they are supposed to deposit money physically at a bank teller or a machine and there are costs attached to just using and maintaining the system.
 

Digital is the answer

Digitalization and using modern technology like smartphones has many benefits. The World Bank Working Paper titled – The Global Findex Database 2014, Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World says:

“Moving from cash-based to digital payments has many potential benefits, for both senders and receivers. It can improve the efficiency of making payments by increasing the speed of payments and by lowering the cost of disbursing and receiving them.”

The report points out further that digital payments increase transparency of payments reduce leakages and provide a first entry point to a formal financial system.

 

The currency is the financial system

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that have emerged have several advantages. Firstly they are digital. There is no cash to handle. You do not need vaults, armored cars or any of the other infrastructure that makes handling cash expensive.

Secondly, some cryptocurrencies have features like smart contracts built in, which can be used by people to conduct transactions securely with each other without the need for intermediaries institutional or otherwise.

As MIT Technology Review recently quoted Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab as saying about Bitcoin:

“Whether you’re an individual trying to get access or you’re a pensioner with lots of money tied up in the market, you’re going through these intermediaries that don’t represent you very well. [Bitcoin] creates a much more level playing field, and hopefully, it will reduce the complexity of the financial system.”
 

The poor need to be unshackled

Regulatory hurdles need to be surmounted before digital currency can truly go mainstream, however, there is hope for the future as countries are getting around to the idea of Bitcoins becoming a part of the system.

There are advantages as well. Digital currencies are transparent and some currencies like Bitcoin offer a transaction ledger that is public. These currencies can help the poor gain freedom from cash which is money that offers anonymity to drug dealers, corrupt officials and others preying on them. Digital currencies also takes out the need for people living in remote areas to go to centers of population for making transactions.

Conversely, it also frees up financial institutions from having to put up infrastructure and staff in remote locations. Whichever way you look at it, the poor gain significant freedom from the advent and use of digital currencies.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

By Shivdeep Dhaliwal

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Majority of Nigerians Have Faith in Bitcoin

majority of Nigerians have faith in bitcoin

Majority of Nigerians Have Faith in Bitcoin

A recent survey indicates that Nigerian trust Bitcoin more than gold when it comes investments.

Bitcoin is rightly deemed as the “Digital Gold”. The cryptocurrency, introduced to the world in 2009 has all the properties of gold, except for the weight and these features aren’t lost on the Nigerian cryptocurrency community. Bitcoin has a huge presence in African nations, and Nigeria is one such African country which recently ranked high in Google Trends for Bitcoin-related searches. The extent of faith in the cryptocurrency among the community is now known to the world, thanks to a recent survey conducted by Luno — a cryptocurrency platform serving the region.
 

As a part of this survey, Luno sent a series of questions to all its Nigerian customers, and the results didn’t come as a surprise. The report states that the trust factor in Bitcoin among Nigerians is at an all-time high, as over 59% of the participants in the survey responding positively to the cryptocurrency. The untrusting ones were about 17% of all survey respondents while the remaining preferred to be neutral.
 

One of the leading African tech magazines quoted a representative from Luno describing the survey process saying,

 

“We shared a survey with our Nigerian customers which went out to all of our customers. We then reviewed the results for statistical significance, outliers, and errors and compiled the infographic from the data… Note that it was only sent to Luno customers, so the data might be slightly skewed towards our customer preferences (as opposed to all Nigerian Bitcoin users), but we enjoy the highest trading volume of Nigerian Bitcoin exchanges – as per publicly available volume data – so it should be somewhat similar across the board. We aim to do much more research and share the results with the media and Bitcoin community in the coming months.”

While the results may not be 100% accurate as those participating in the survey were already onboard Luno platform, which makes them existing cryptocurrency users, potentially having a biased opinion towards their favorite digital currency. Also, many of these respondents were found to be in favor of purchasing Bitcoin over gold as they expect the cryptocurrency’s value to appreciate much faster than that of the yellow metal.
 

The results of the survey were published by Luno in the form of an infographic, along with a promise to provide more information as soon as it finishes in-depth research and analysis of not just the platform’s users but other individuals as well.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Poloniex-Traders-Panic-and-Suffer-Losses-Due-to-System-issues

Poloniex-Traders-Panic-and-Suffer-Losses-Due-to-System-issues

Poloniex – Traders Panic and Suffer Losses Due to System issues

Plenty of cryptocurrency traders are not too amused with Poloniex right now. The popular altcoin exchange suffered from several brief outages yesterday. During the panic, the Ripple price crashed hard and Ethereum lost US$1bn in market cap. It is unclear what occurred exactly, but we do know traders lost a lot of money in the process. It is unclear what will happen to the people who lost money, though.

Trading cryptocurrencies is always a risky business. Money can be earned and lost in a matter of mere seconds. However, if a popular exchange goes down and traders can’t execute orders, something is definitely amiss. Poloniex had a lot of issues last night after Ripple reached a new all-time high. Shortly after this happened, the platform became unresponsive.

Poloniex Suffers From Brief Outages Once Again

It was not just the web frontend suffering from these problems. The Poloniex API, used in tools such as TabTrader, became unresponsive as well. The company acknowledged the outage and trading resumed back to normal relatively quickly. However, a lot of users have suffered from spotty accessibility for several hours. During that time, trading just continued as normal, allowing some people to take advantage of the situation.

To be more specific, Ethereum lost close to US$1bn of its market cap during the trading frenzy. Events like these should not occur in the first place. Moreover, some people feel Poloniex should have halted all trading until the platform was operational again. This goes to show the platform cannot handle increased trading volume for an extended period of time. That is quite disconcerting, to say the least, given Poloniex’s position in the market.

One thing is certain: a lot of people have lost faith in Poloniex for the time being. One Reddit user even calls it an ‘organized scam crime website”, although that may be a too strong sentiment. It is true this is not the first time the exchange suffers from such outages, though. If these problems continue, Poloniex will quickly lose its market position. After all, the company has to provide exchange services around the clock, yet appears incapable of doing so.

It is unclear how much money people lost due to these issues, though. Ethereum’s market crashing and the unexpected Ripple dump raise a lot more questions than answers right now. Poloniex has some explaining to do, albeit it is safe to assume no one will be reimbursed for their losses. Centralized exchanges continue to pose a problem for traders. No exchange is always reliable or accessible, that much is certain.

Many years ago I suffered a significant loss when fiat currency trading, when I loss Internet access to my trading site at a crucial time. These outages underline the importance of setting stop losses.

David Ogden
Entrepeneur

 

Author JP Buntinx

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin Falls as Investor Move to altcoins

Bitcoin Investors Move into Altcoins

Investors move to altcoins

Bitcoin’s scaling fight has led to a record low in its percentage of cryptocurrency’s total market cap as investors hedge with top altcoins.

As its user base expands, Bitcoin’s transactions have also grown, leading to blocks, capped at 1mb, to be filled to capacity. As a result, transactions have slowed and fees have spiked. An effort to solve Bitcoin’s scaling issues has led to a civil war of sorts between the Core development team and its supporters backing the Segregated Witness (SegWit) soft fork, and the Bitcoin Unlimited miner-directed block size hard fork and its supporters.

In contrast to previous hard fork attempts (XT, Classic), Unlimited has gained speed, occasionally passing SegWit in adoption by miners. Recently, Unlimited has secured a solid lead, due in part to a major mining pool, Antpool, switching to Unlimited.

“Bitcoin Jesus” Roger Ver, who has led the opposition to the current state of Bitcoin and its hard cap of 1mb blocks, has stated that he believes that the current inability to find a resolution to the issue has cost Bitcoin billions of dollars already:

As a result of increasing uncertainty, lack of usability and conflict surrounding Bitcoin, its growth has stagnated- even receded, while other coins have seen exceptional gains. Ethereum, cryptocurrency’s number two contender, has seen a massive increase, more than doubling in market cap and price in the last 10 days alone. It currently sits at about $4 bln total and $45 per coin, with a current trading volume of over $200 mln.

Dash has seen even more impressive relative gains, multiplying its value and market cap five times over since one month ago. It has broken the three-digit barrier and appears to have settled above $100, having also broken 10 percent the price of Bitcoin per coin. As a result of this growth, Dash’s treasury, 10 percent of its block reward set aside for development and other projects, has passed $500,000 monthly, closing in on a million dollar monthly budget for the newly number three ranked coin. Monero has also picked up on the Bitcoin exodus, doubling in value over the last 10 days, maintaining a solid fourth place and passing $300 mln in market cap.

This growth and reshuffling of the cryptocurrency field has led to a slipping in Bitcoin’s dominance. Bitcoin’s share of the total cryptocurrency market cap has sunk to 70 percent, a new all-time low since the previous low of 74 percent during Ethereum’s initial boom last year. Total cryptocurrency market cap remains slightly lower than its all-time high, while combined altcoin value has grown from approximately $2.2 bln at the year’s start to over $7 bln now, nearly $4 bln of that growth over the last month alone.

The scaling debate gets ugly

In spite of this growing shift, the Bitcoin scaling conflict continues to become more heated. Ver alleges that many Unlimited nodes identify as Core in order to avoid DDoS attacks, which have plagued Bitcoin.com all last week. Unlimited supporters have documented a pattern of alleged censorship on the Bitcoin subreddit, filtering out comments in support of an alternative implementation of Bitcoin than the one stewarded by the Core developers.

Meanwhile, faced by increasing resistance from large mining pools, such as Antpool, Core member Peter Todd publicly mused about a proof-of-work algorithm change in order to reshuffle mining power as a “backup plan”:

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Contributor

 

Roger Ver

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Make Money when Bitcoin Crashes

Make Money when Bitcoin Crashes

Last week the Winklevoss Twins had their Bitcoin ETF denied and panic selling ensued, it’s a good time to talk about what to do when the prices drop sharply in a short period of time. Bitcoin was at a high of almost $1300 and within hours had dropped below $1000. It appears to have slowed down around there, now having climbed back up to over $1100.

If you’re business-minded, you already see where the opportunity was here. If you had been able to get anyone to sell you bitcoins at around $1000 as it fell, you’d already have made more than $100 on each one. That’s a tidy, fast profit. Bitcoin traders love the volatility of the market.

Now of course there is a problem with this, in that you have to know when to sell and buy, and most people do not have the time for this.

The solution that many people are turning to is Trade Coin Club which has an automated trading system which not only trades in bitcoin but other popular Cryptocurrency such as Ether or Dash plus others. This creates many more opportunities to put your bitcoin to work and earn more bitcoins as the markets move up and down.

So how do you get started. The first step is to purchase some bitcoin. Then transfer them to Trade Coin Club, Minimum 0.3 Bitcoin or up to 5 Bitcoin. Once you have bitcoins in your trading wallet, you need to set your level of risk and put on a trade on Monday. Your coins will be traded until Friday and you can see the results prior to setting a new trade on the following Monday.

Trade Coin Club cost nothing to start with, however once you start making a profit you will start to incur some regular charges. You can also earn commissions for introducing other people to help offset these charges.

I have previously traded currencies but Cryptocurrency are a more volatile investment which is why Trade coin club have a built in stop loss system to protect you bitcoins and reduce possible losses.

If you have any questions, I suggest suggest you join without obligation and I will be happy to contact you and discuss the matter further

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Will $1,000 become new baseline for Bitcoin

Recently, the price of bitcoin surpassed US$1,000 for the first time since the first few days of January. It stabilized at the $1,020 margin in most global markets and exchanges. Some regions like South Korea, Japan and China demonstrated arbitrage opportunities, with bitcoin being traded at around 7~8% premium.

bitcoin being traded at around $1,100 in South Korean #bitcoin exchanges including Korbit & Coinplug. Nearly 7% premium. pic.twitter.com/NeuWFzhn9f

— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) February 3, 2017

Although many factors can be analyzed to explain the recent price surge of bitcoin, the most evident factor is the decline in the value of US dollars. Previously, when both the mainstream and bitcoin media reported that the Chinese market controlled approximately 93% of the global bitcoin exchange market, analysts and investors closely looked at the development of the Chinese market and regulations. As such, events like the devaluation of the Chinese yuan or introduction of tightened policies such as the imposition of regulation on Wealth Management Products were perceived as major factors behind the increasing value of bitcoin.

However, due to the requests of the Chinese central bank, Chinese bitcoin exchanges came to a consensus to add trading fees. As a result, inflated volumes were eliminated and the Chinese bitcoin exchange market began to demonstrate legitimate trading volumes.

Upon the “clean up” of Chinese bitcoin exchanges as the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) like to describe it as, it was revealed that the USD/BTC pair is more liquid than the USD/CNY pair. In other words, major USD supporting exchanges like Bitfinex, Kraken and Bitstamp represent a larger trading volume to that of the Chinese bitcoin exchange market.

According to bitcoin trading data providers like CoinMarketCap, the BTC/USD pair is currently demonstrating a daily volume of $41 million, while the BTC/CNY pair is demonstrating roughly half of that, at around $21 million.

Therefore, it can be said that economic uncertainty, financial instability or political events in the West or the US in particular will have a larger impact on the price of bitcoin and its trend.

There is also news that Bitcoin’s price jumped by around $30 just yesterday shortly after it became clear that Bitcoin Unlimited had overtaken segwit in hashrate share.

In other news Infinity Economics opened it new wallet to some 80,000 owners, who can now send and recieve XIN to one another. The next stage to be implimented with be the voting system, which will allow owners to formulate the direction of the coin.

David Ogden

 

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden