In a series of tweets, Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, made his disapproval of Bitcoin Cash ‘Satoshi’s Version’ (BSV) known, calling the new hard fork of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) a “pure dumpster fire.” Buterin’s comments were made in an online Twitter debate with cryptocurrency commentator and businessman Tuur Demeester on Christmas Day.

In the discussion, Buterin debated on the merits and demerits of Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS), two algorithms used by cryptocurrency developers in building their assets. When piqued for his opinion on Bitcoin SV, Buterin tweeted:

Vitalik Buterin Does Not “Believe in Proof-of-Work”

Buterin also made his disdain for PoW known in the discussion, at one point declaring that he no longer believes in the algorithm, but he, however, remains optimistic about the kind of technology that is being developed. Sadly, he doesn’t share the same sentiment for Bitcoin SV, which claims to have been created in line with the original vision set by Bitcoin’s core developers.

Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin ABC were both forked out of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on November 15, 2018. BSV was developed with the goal of solving the mounting scalability issues of Bitcoin “on the chain” by making use of giant block sizes. However, ever since its inception, it has continued to face various publicity and technical issues.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Bitcoin SV. The other half of Bitcoin Cash’s hardfork has had its fair share of troubles, particularly with mainstream adoption and integration. At press time, it’s trading for $85.13 with a total market cap of $1.49 billion; the altcoin is yet to be listed on popular crypto exchanges, including Gemini and Coinbase.

Although the hard fork that created BSV has been responsible for major rifts between crypto investors, both it and Bitcoin Cash ABC continue to have strong support behind them.

Buterin has previously called Craig S. Wright a “fraud” to his face at an event.

Earlier this month, Buterin made investments in three different startups, donating 1,000 ETH tokens each to the startups, who are working on the development of Ethereum 2.0. The donations were inspired by a conversation involving Ethereum developers who complained about the lack of funding for projects that could contribute to the ecosystem.

Credits to Jimmy Aki

Kraken has added Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP) to Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Augur (REP), Monero (XMR), and Tether (USDT) bringing its margin trading offering to a total of eight cryptocurrencies.

Margin trading of all eight will be available on all of Kraken’s platforms. The latter site boasts an improved user interface and integrated charts and tools as well as supporting mobile trading.

Kraken’s news release adds:

Please note that BCH and XRP are not collateral currencies. This means you cannot open margin positions against the value of your BCH or XRP balances.

Exchange users are advised to keep balances of collateral currencies while trading and to be careful when trading collateral currencies into BCH and XRP with margin positions open, as account equity will be reduced.

Kraken then steps into the advantages of margin trading:

Margin trading allows you to leverage your account for greater profits, while also assuming greater risk.

Whilst also warning of the risks of greater losses and that margin positions can be forcibly closed if losses are great in order to protect leveraged funds.

“This means that you may be forced to take a large loss on a trade rather than having the option to try and wait for a more favorable price.”

Kraken points to its own margin trading guides and the heightened risk does mean that inexperienced traders should research the trading option thoroughly.

In June 2018 Korea judged Coinone’s margin trading to be illegal gambling. In October Poloniex announced it was removing margin products for U.S customers to remain regulatory compliant and Japan is still toying with capping cryptocurrency margin trading.

Kraken itself hit the news this September when a New York State Attorney referred Kraken, as well as Binance and Gate.io, to the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for potential violation of New York’s virtual currency regulations. Kraken’s CEO, Jesse Powell, was critical of New York’s “controlling” behavior and hadn’t returned a questionnaire that was part of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) report.

According to CoinMarketCap, Kraken is currently the 27th cryptocurrency exchange by adjusted trading volume.

Credits to Melanie Kramer

The source for this article wishes to remain anonymous. He is one of multiple sources this reporter has spoken to recently. All of them are relatively large-scale traders who have used Paxos Standard. They are a group of five traders. They trade in the millions of dollars per week via multiple exchanges including Binance and Huobi. These are mentioned in this article but aren’t the subject of it.

Let’s start with some definitions. Paxos Standard defines itself as a “stablecoin.” Its tokens can be redeemed on a 1:1 basis for US dollars. Redemptions are transferred by traditional bank wire. The minimum is $100, on a set schedule that Paxos defines in its user terms and conditions. To its credit, this minimum is very low compared to Tether and others.

“Exchanges” are mostly either Binance or Huobi, which are the most-used platforms by the traders sourced in this article. It’s important to note that neither of these exchanges did wrong in the events described herein. They allowed withdrawals within their usual policies.

Paxos Withholds Funds A Week or More

At time of writing, Paxos Standard had been withholding funds from our source since December 23. This is the second time they have given him a significant hassle. Their customer support agents gave multiple reasons:

  1. They needed to know if he was the owner of the Ethereum.
  2. They questioned whether the use of multiple Binance-controlled addresses was legitimate.
  3. They questioned PAX withdrawals and deposits to Binance.
An inquisition from Paxos.

They demanded to know the exact nature of the counter-parties and owners of the PAX redeemed.

In one message, they accused the user of “misrepresenting” the origin of tokens. This trader is one of four whose accounts have been closed as a result of redemption.

A note where Paxos close an account. The redemption still went through.

Later support messages from earlier this week demand to know “more about your trading strategy.” CCN has reached out to NYDFS to see if this is even a legally sound question to ask.

As you can see, the questions might feel invasive, especially when you are committed to protect the identity of your counter-parties.

All of the people discussed in this article held legitimate Paxos Standard accounts with itBit. Until their accounts got closed following sizable redemptions, that is. One remaining person’s account hasn’t been closed, but he has $1.1 million in limbo.

As you can see, one of our anonymous sources has had their funds “pending” since Christmas Eve.

In every case, a similar pattern: the traders make deposits into Binance or Huobi and do what traders do. They acquire a payout through the preferred platform – Paxos Standard. They are then caught up in a whirlwind of questions, many of which are only tangentially important to the purpose of the stablecoin issuer.

What Are You Really Asking, Paxos?

Paxos Team says they aren’t protecting the market cap or acting punitively as regards the redemption of PAX. Yet, invasive inquiries raise the question: what is the issue?

CCN has spoken to other sources who have run into similar issues with Paxos. Paxos was not opposed to redeeming the tokens in these other cases. They did request that the redeemer “wait a week or so” to withdraw. They said it would be “bad for their business” to do so immediately. We interpret this to mean they didn’t want to take the loss in market capitalization. Their marketing message very much pushes the narrative that their market cap is nothing but growing.

We decided to take a look at the week’s volume of one specific case. One of the larger cases discussed in researching this article. A redemption of around $2.6 million was held for a week. Later Paxos sent the redemption and closed the account permanently. The week in question was that of December 6.

We will not directly allege that their withholding tactics are part of a scheme to preserve their market cap numbers. Yet, we can see why the affected traders would believe so. | Source: CoinMarketCap.com

That week saw a reduction in Paxos Market Cap of almost $20 million in one day prior to December 6. On December 5, it was as high as 178 million but by December 6 it had been reduced to 161 million. At time of writing, it is around 147 million.

Paxos purports to enforce the policies of exchanges like Huobi and Binance. Why?

We did a Q&A with the person who best represents the group. He is a US-based trader who works with counter-parties in China and elsewhere.

When did you start trading PAX?

We started trading PAX in early November.

Why have you used PAX instead of other stablecoins?

Paxos were giving a rebate/discount to people to buy PAX, so it was trading at discount at Binance. So we bought at a discount and redeemed at full price to arbitrage.

About how much money have they held up, and for how long?

In one case, 2.5 million were held up for 1 week and our account was closed. In an ongoing case, almost 1.1 million is being withheld.

Why do you think PAX alleges to care about your account statuses on places like Binance – is it really any of their business whether or not multiple accounts are being used?

I think they just try to find some unrelated compliance reason to stop us from redeeming PAX. They asked a lot questions on out accounts on Huobi and Binance, even asked our counter parties’ information which is highly confidential. We never would disclose our counter parties’ information to anyone without their consent. They asked many questions and then closed our accounts. This is the way how they stop people from redeeming PAX and how they do business.

We reached out to Paxos Standard for comment on this article, and for what reasons they will withhold customer redemptions of PAX tokens for Dollar wire transfers. First this reporter tried to call them:

This is what Dorothy Chang, Paxos VP of Marketing & Communications had to say in response to the e-mail inquiry:

As a policy, we are proud to offer all customers in good standing daily redemptions with zero fees or limits (neither minimums nor maximums). Since launching less than 4 months ago, we have honored over $178M in redemptions of PAX 1:1 for USD and aim to continue to be the most reliable and proven method of crypto redemption. In fact, we have redeemed more USD stablecoin than any of the others that have launched this year (TUSD, GUSD, USDC, etc.). We’re known to be the most reliable, fastest and cheapest redemption source.
Yes, we have closed a few accounts, only for very good reasons. It’s all for the sake of AML/KYC compliance. While we don’t comment on the status of individual account activity, we can tell you about the patterns we’ve seen lately.
We’re obligated to understand the source of funds coming to Paxos for redemption. 100% of customers that clear compliance are able to redeem within a day. This applies for nearly all customers.
But when customer activity appears suspicious or the source of funds is unclear, we conduct enhanced due diligence. This can take a few days, depending on how responsive customers are to our information requests. In some cases, customer activity didn’t match with what they claimed. For example, we have identified customers who misrepresented to Paxos (or to an exchange they are redeeming from) the ownership of their PAX. Some even openly admitted to doing so. In those cases, consistent with our regulatory obligations, we processed the redemptions but also took other appropriate action, including closing accounts.
As a regulated financial institution and Trust company, Paxos maintains rigorous compliance standards to ensure that our customers’ assets are held under the greatest level of protections possible. Suspicious activity is never tolerated to ensure the integrity of customer funds and our operations. We’re proud to maintain high standards, which this industry needs to continue to benefit those acting in good faith.

For many customers, Paxos has been a great way to use the dollar in blockchain markets. It provides an easy on-ramp from traditional bank accounts to crypto trading platforms. Yet, for others it has been a nightmare, as reported here. We will not directly allege that their withholding tactics are part of a scheme to preserve their market cap numbers. Yet, we can see why the affected traders would believe so.

It is important to note that all of the people discussed in this article eventually had their redemptions honored except the one whose request is still pending. The downside was that they lost their accounts with which to do so. The fact that Paxos/itBit were able to eventually conduct the transaction raises the question: was there ever any reason for actual concern? This is why the traders understandably believe their funds were withheld for business reasons.

We encourage our readers to do their own research in choosing a stablecoin. CCN provides regular coverage of the various options.

Credits to P. H. Madore

Radio antennae are the original networking technology, and researchers presenting in Berlin Thursday showed how useful they are as hacking tools.

The hardware researchers set out to find different kinds of vulnerabilities in the most popular hardware wallets used by cryptocurrency holders, from Trezor and Leger. At the Chaos Computer Club Conference in Germany, Dmitry Nedospasov said that he and his collaborators set out to find three different kinds of vulnerabilities and said they succeeded in finding all three.

They presented vulnerabilities the supply chain (where the attacker gets access to the device before the consumer owns it), side channel attacks (where observations are made on the hardware itself rather than the code running the hardware) and glitch attacks (where attackers attempt to disrupt data transmission within a device).

The three collaborators were located in Russia, Germany and the U.S., so they conducted their investigations primarily over Telegram group chat. It took them 50,000 messages and 1,100 images to get all three attacks done.

“It’s a really long time we spent looking at this,” Nedospasov said during their introduction.

Simple antennae played a critical role in the two most dramatic attacks, but, for its part, Ledger does not find these demonstrations alarming.

“Anyone following these attacks needs to understand that both scenarios as portrayed are not practical in the real world and extremely unlikely,” Nicolas Bacca, CTO at Ledger, told CoinDesk via a spokesperson. “We stand by our products and are continually updating and implementing firmware countermeasures to ensure the highest standards of wallet integrity against hackers.”

The company published a detailed blog post critiquing each of the attacks presented.

Josh Datko’s new processor for remote access to a Ledger Nano S. He gave away many at the conference. (Screenshot from C3 Conference Livestream)

Supply Chain

How easy is it really to get access to a wallet before it reaches a final user?

Not that hard, it turns out, according to Josh Datko, owner of security consultancy Cryptotronix. He said:

“Supply chain attacks are easy to perform, but they are hard to perform at scale.”

Datko explained that makers of secure hardware primarily use stickers to ensure that no one has opened a box since it left a factory, but Datko found that it’s very simple to open a sticker without breaking it or leaving residue using a blow dryer or hot air gun.

So all an attacker would need to do is get some wallets, tamper with them and then get them to a retailer. For example, someone might buy them at a store, tamper with them and then put them back on the shelves.

As an example, the Ledger Nano S uses an on device function to protect users against verifying bad transactions. If users assume their computer is compromised (as most hardware wallets do), the Ledger still requires the user to verify a transaction by pushing buttons on the Nano itself.

That way, if a bad transaction shows up (for example, sending all your BTC to an unknown wallet), the user can just reject it.

However, Datko found it was possible to pop open a Ledger and install an internal receiver that enabled tampering with this function. In fact, using an antennae, he could “press” the button for yes. This would allow him to authenticate a transaction made by a compromised computer without physically touching the Ledger (though it would only work if the Ledger were attached to a computer, and presumably most of the time it is not).

Obviously, this would require getting someone to buy a bad Ledger, knowing where they lived, hacking their computer and then watching them in some way to know when the Ledger is attached to the computer.

Datko was able to send the signal from over 30 feet away, and believes with more powerful antennae he could do it from much further away.

Thomas Roth demos detecting signals while interacting with a Ledger Blue. (Screenshot from C3 Conference Livestream)

Side channel

Thomas Roth demonstrated two side channel attacks, but the one against the Ledger Blue used an antennae to read the PIN of device user.

Roth explained that they started by analysing the hardware architecture of the Blue. They noticed that there was a fairly long connection between the secure element and another processor. In other words, the wire that connected these two components was physically quite long, due to their physical distance apart on the circuit board (each on other side of the device’s relatively large battery).

Roth said:

“What is a long conductor with a fast changing current? It’s an antennae.”

So they looked to see if they could discern any kind of signal change when the device was interacted with. They found a significant signal when the touch screen was used to enter in digits for the PIN.

So they built a small robotic device to press a button over and over while their antennae listened and logged data. This was used to build up training data for an artificial intelligence system to analyze.

They were able to get a very high likelihood of identifying each digit on a PIN on the tested device.

So this would theoretically enable them to get close to a user and “listen” with an antennae to discern their code. That said, they would still then need to get their hands on the physical wallet to do anything with it, and this assumes that the user hadn’t taken additional measures.

That said, Ledger pointed out that this attack is less dramatic than it seems in their post, noting that it requires extremely controlled conditions to execute. “A better side channel would be to put a camera in the room and record the user entering his/her PIN,” the post noted.

Nevertheless, Nedospasov was surprised by how well the team did in its search for vulnerabilities. He said:

“When we set out six months ago we did not plan to have 100 percent success.”

More information about these attacks and others will be shared in an open source fashion on Github and on their new site, Wallet.Fail.

Ledger Nano S shown in a screenshot from the livestream of the Chaos Computer Club Conference in Berlin

Credits to Brady Dale

“I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government. That is, we can’t take them violently out of the hands of government. All we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something that they can’t stop.” – Friedrich Hayek

In 1976, the Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek authored an important and prescient paper titled: “The Denationalization of Money.” Bitcoin proponents love and often quote this work as the rationale for why Bitcoin needs to exist, but Hayek’s original vision looks less like today’s Bitcoin, and more like today’s stablecoins.

Hayek painted the picture of a world where money, like banking, is denationalized. He believed that unlike law and language, money had not been allowed to evolve due to sovereign influences suppressing competition. And he predicted that if governments were to allow for it, currencies would naturally evolve to compete on increased stability, eventually eliminating the devaluing effects of inflation altogether.

A bold claim, paired with a simple two-pronged approach:

  1. Open the free trade of money
  2. Allow the issuance of independent money.

At the time of publication, it would have been nearly impossible to imagine either of these taking place. Still, Hayek wrote with the hope that some perfect storm of circumstances might someday change the game, even going so far as to suggest that the change may need to happen without government support.

Today, more than 40 years after the idea’s inception, we see the denationalization of money unfolding organically in the form of digital assets.

A Sly Roundabout Way

The Bitcoin protocol can certainly be described as a “sly roundabout way” of introducing an independent money that no central authority can stop. In a stroke of genius, Bitcoin’s creators traded technical scalability for social scalability. And in this sense, Bitcoin’s approach toward decentralized money was precisely the workaround that Hayek asked for.

However, this is where the analogy connecting Bitcoin with Hayek’s fictional currency the ducat, diverges.

Hayek explicitly opposed the notion of a fixed supply currency. Possessing full knowledge of the economic history behind scarce metals and fresh off the collapse of Bretton Woods, he knew with certainty that fixed supply was not the solution he sought.

Like scarce metals, fixed supply assets cannot respond to changes in demand, and will never achieve the sustainable level of near-term price stability needed to compete with central bank money.

Fortunately, with Bitcoin’s ideals amplified by extreme speculative interest, the protocol succeeded in drawing a critical mass of attention to the inefficiencies of existing monetary and banking systems. And more importantly, Bitcoin instilled in a new generation of innovators the idea that money is something we can change.

The vast majority of stablecoins we see today are fiat collateralized. Back in 2015, unbanked cryptocurrency exchanges needed a fiat pegged token so that traders could move in and out of speculative positions on floating price assets like Bitcoin. Many of these exchanges existed outside the U.S. and lacked direct banking relationships.

Tether rose to fill this pressing need, collateralizing 1 U.S. dollar for every USDT token minted and forming partnerships with all major exchanges. This meant that whether you were a U.S. citizen or not, you could buy and sell a tokenized representation of the US dollar without restriction. Effectively, Tether opened up the free trade of sovereign money, unlocking the first phase of Hayek’s vision – what he referred to as the “practical” approach to denationalization.

Since then, much has been written about Tether’s controversy and it suffices to say that its near monopoly, lack of transparency, and reliance on centralized banking partners predisposed it to allegations of abuse.

Hayek believed that opening the free trade of money would lift the floor of monetary quality by placing pressure on weak currencies to execute monetary policy at the level of their best sovereign peers. For example, if citizens of Venezuela or Argentina could simply buy in and out of U.S. dollars, there would be no excuse for extended abuses of monetary policy.

And it’s fitting that in an environment of open competition, the digital asset market’s natural tendency was to diversify away from Tether through competition. Recently, a number of fiat collateralized alternatives have entered the stage including Paxos Standard Token (PAX), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), TrueUsd (TUSD) and Circle’s CENTRE consortium (USD-C).

These new entrants are rapidly gaining traction, pressuring older players to improve their accounting practices and provide redeemability, or face extinction. Hayek could not have asked for a better demonstration of the benefits of open competition.

However, because these tokens are centralized their use is highly permissioned. At any point a banking partner can be restricted, forcing tokens to evade authority or cease operation. Moreover, the continued adoption of fiat collateralized stablecoins simply advances the dominance of existing sovereign currencies.

Algorithmic Stablecoins Issue Independent Money

Hayek also believed that the introduction of independent money would raise the ceiling of monetary quality by placing pressure on the best sovereign currencies to be more responsible with their issuance and regulation of supply. He called this second phase the “generalized” approach to denationalization.

Considerably fewer stablecoins can be called independent monies. Nevertheless, this is where we place the greatest hope for the future of digital assets; and correspondingly, this is where the most venture capital has been committed. MakerDao, Reserve, Ampleforth, and until recently, Basis, are examples of stablecoin projects that fall into this category.

Like Bitcoin, algorithmic stablecoins are designed to be market driven, resistant to regulation, and have strictly enforced supply policies that cannot be compelled by central authorities to change. With one major difference. Unlike Bitcoin they will be functional units of account, allowing them to compete with sovereign currencies on stability.

Lacking military and government mandates, independent monies can only exist if they are better at issuing and regulating supply than existing alternatives. If an independent cryptocurrency was fairer or more stable than existing currencies, knowledge of this would pressure even the best central banks to execute better monetary policy.

Today, some 60 percent of foreign reserves are already held in U.S. dollars or Treasury bonds; and many people including the IMF consider it a social responsibility to avoid creating a world that is excessively reliant on the US dollar for global economic affairs.

Moreover, the interconnectedness of today’s global economy along with the United States’ obligation to engage in cycles of continuous deficit spending (eg: The Triffin Dilemma) contributes to increasingly large boom and bust cycles that quickly translate domestic economic crises into global economic crises.

It is the dissatisfaction with these cycles, the realization that such cycles can grind the banking system of even the world’s most powerful economy to a halt, that spurred the cryptocurrency movement during the last global financial crisis. As a community, we shouldn’t lose sight of this vision.

Looking Ahead to 2019

It will be a long time before algorithmic stablecoins are used on exchanges the way fiat collateralized coins are used today. Algorithmic stablecoins have the potential to profoundly transform money as we know it, but they are much harder to pull off and introduce risks that can only diminish with time and scale.

For this reason, expect that in the near-term fiat collateralized stablecoins will continue to dominate the base trading pair use case on exchanges, and their success will be driven by enterprise relationships with regulators and exchanges, rather than community or ideology.

To gain adoption, digitally native stablecoins will need incentives beyond base trading pair utility to compensate for their increased risks. These incentives could be greater stability, a better philosophical underpinning, or game-theoretic incentives aligned with network growth.

Ultimately, only algorithmic stablecoins can further the underlying mission of digital currencies and emerge as true alternatives to government money. Hayek would have asked for not one, but many concurrent denationalized currencies to prove their worth.

Credits to Evan Kuo

Look at the crypto services you regularly use. Admit it: you aren’t in love.

Some of them are OK, most of them are terrible – you know it. I’m not referring to the cosmetic allure of those products, which most of the time feel like pre-dial up era, but about how they work, how the onboarding was presented, how they feel.

This is the current state of UX affairs in blockchain.

However, crypto winter or not, this hasn’t stopped the industry from growing so far. A lack of great UX has been obvious, but not a breaking point. The question is whether we have reached a ceiling – where the market needs something dramatically better to grow significantly – in order to extend to new types of users, geographies and use cases that have not yet been covered.

While everyone is eager to see this market crash finally stop and recover, I would argue this just cannot happen until the industry, as a priority, has taken on the importance of delivering a better user experience.

But I have reasons to believe 2019 will be the year we will start to see that happening in a big way.

The legacy burden

To understand why, after nearly a decade, we’re still in the state we’re in regarding UX, we need to understand this industry has been built mostly by engineers and, more lately, by some finance executives. And for those reasons, the priority has not been on UX – it wasn’t just inappropriate to expect that but also simply not possible.

The first years were all about infrastructure, protocols and ideas. This approach brought us to the first millions of users adopting bitcoin, ether and other coins – as well as a collective market cap of hundreds of millions of dollars. That, in itself, is a major achievement in an industry that is incredibly conservative and resistant to change.

Most of the contributors of this industry are brilliant thinkers and engineers animated by a mission, a dream and, rarely but sometimes, greed. This industry has attracted a certain type of profile and builders.

There is a reason all those crypto services have similar looking sites, lexicon and identity.

But there are also many constraints that have held back the industry within the limits of what could be designed. To name just the two most important: security and regulation.

It is really hard to get a product to be delightful in usage, fast, easy and, at the same time, extremely secure. Priority should be always about security when it comes to financial assets. Add to that the need to comply with regulations – when they are clear and exist – which will add many friction points in the flow of a service, starting with the painful necessity of KYC and AML.

Not many industries have that degree of lack of clarity and stack of complexities to deal with. It is not surprising that this represents a challenge for builders. Finally, let’s not forget we’re only 10 years into this revolution: many things are still in the making, conventions hardly exist, and common standards and best practices have not been established.

But here is the problem: users are tough judges.

Their attention span, when it comes to new services, is extremely limited, and as some great designer once said, “a great product should be designed for animals, not for humans.” Most users don’t care about complexities. They want something that works, is simple to use and feels great. In particular, after been trained for the past two decades to use great products and apps that work fast and are simple to use, the bar most users are used to is high.

And maybe that was good enough for the first users to adopt whatever was around. But we all know that a ceiling has been reached; at DevCon this year, a well-known cryptographer even went so far as to beg the CTO of a well-known hardware wallet for a better user experience.

UX, set, go!

Still, I have good reasons to believe 2019 will see a major shift in how products that are shipped will be executed and presented to users.

Speed: In 2019, we’re going to see technologies stack that will enable fast payments, fast settlements and fast(er) on-boarding. Speed is one of the most important elements of good user experience. There is no future for slow technologies: faster chains, faster side chains, faster consensus, faster way to KYC (in particular with portable KYC) will remove a big element of frustration off the table.

Thanks to that, builders will be able to focus on UX layers instead of having to fix things that don’t matter to users.

People: People make products. The industry has been attracted one of the rarest set of skills in the industry: product managers and product designers, who I like to think of as the customer advocates within an organization.

They will bring rationality and elegance to an industry that dearly need both. We have seen also in 2018 a much more diverse population flocking in: women, in particular, are better represented and I trust this will bring a new dimension to how products are envisioned, explained and delivered.

Better use cases: Beyond speculation and remittances in weak economies, crypto has not found a use case that compels more users to adopt it. And unless we will go through another major financial crash – which would push crypto as an alternative currency as a major use case – I believe new use cases with very pragmatic approaches will seem more obvious to users.

Even if builders manage to remove most friction points, users need to find an urgent reason to use a crypto service. I believe games, access to ownership (digital ownership like NFTS, or fractional ownership like real estate, art, or commodities), passive revenues enabled by token staking, and loaning will be instrumental.

Better abstraction: No one needs to understand how an IPS or router works in order to build something on the internet or even use the internet. That would be a terrible thing if that was the case.

The crypto industry feels like a giant Lego set without a guide. Developers are building all the pieces and users have to figure it out – hence, the onerous cost learning the industry which requires a lot of understanding at the basic level.

I believe in 2019 enough things will start to be abstracted to builders and users so that they won’t have to understand how thing work in particular in terms of security, private key management, safety, KYC and privacy, desktop to mobile portability.

Mobile first: The crypto industry has, until now, been a desktop-first industry. It is inconceivable that this remains so when clearly the most important computing devices are mobile. And this is clearly changing.

Developers are more frequently building for mobile or mobile-first (even mobile only), app stores have better set of rules and protocols to clarify what can be done and protect users from scams, mobile devices and operating system have better-designed security environments and built-in 2FA (even helped by Fortnite).

The timing is right

At this year’s DevCon – the industry largest event for Dapps and smart contracts – the tickets were paid in fiat, had to be printed on a plastic badge and could not be transferred without a tedious manual procedure.

Even the Ethereum Foundation, which has the resources and developers to develop an alternative solution, is not eating its own dog food. I was shocked this was the case.

A culture shift is required for how organizations think about their services. I don’t believe this industry will ever grow to something better and greater until UX has been set as an absolute priority next to security. I believe the time is right for this to happen and that some companies will lead by example, thanks to a new breed of product talent and organizations with pragmatic use cases.

Because, at the end of the day, a great user experience isn’t about cosmetics, or even on-boarding and utility. It’s about providing meaning to people who in search of answers to a problem.

Credits to Ouriel Ohayon

2018 was a record-breaking year.

From the number of cryptocurrency exchange hacks, to the amount of assets that were stolen, to the largest exchange hack of all-time, crypto set a lot of records. Too bad they’re not the kind of records crypto innovators will be boasting about next year.

Although cryptocurrency continues to become more mainstream, this goes to show awareness around how dangerous it is to keep your crypto on exchanges doesn’t seem to be keeping pace.

It has been a very volatile 12 months for cryptocurrency markets, and as the value increased earlier in the year, so did the number of new investors. With these new investors came an increased interest from hackers, and because the markets grew so quickly, exchanges didn’t have the time or resources to build resilient security solutions.

Key Lessons for 2019

  1. Exchanges suffer from systemic risk – By having to secure billions of dollars in deposit, they are a magnet for hackers. It is much less risky and much more profitable to hack an exchange rather than a bank vault. Exchanges are usually fintechs first and not cyber security companies. They have demonstrated in the past that their security culture and awareness wasn’t always up the the level of the assets they’ve had to secure.
  2. Hacks are becoming more sophisticated – As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, so do its hackers. With so much value at stake, more hackers have dedicated their time to stealing from these exchanges. 2018 saw hackers deploy state-of-the-art attacks, such as social engineering, where they stole identities and pretended to be other people to successfully steal investor’s crypto assets. To combat the smartest hackers in the world, crypto asset owners need the most sophisticated security technology available.
  3. Each day $2.7 million is stolen from exchanges – The amount of stolen cryptocurrency from exchanges in 2018 has increased 13 times compared to last year. This amounts to $2.7 million in crypto assets being stolen every day, or $1,860 each minute.
  4. With a record number of hacks in 2018, the need for security is clearer than ever before – As we look to 2019, we can expect more enterprise security solutions to come to market. In addition to more money being invested in security, 2019 will see individual investors become more aware of the need to protect their critical digital assets. With increased digitalization, individual data and security will only increase in importance.

Solutions for Today

Exchanges are prone to hacks, because they centralize the risk and must keep part of their private keys online to allow real-time withdrawals. Moreover, crypto investor credentials on exchanges are also a massive security threats.

If your email gets compromised, you can usually kiss any crypto wallets you have on exchanges goodbye. Ensuring the security of your crypto assets yourself, through the use hardware wallets gives you the highest protection level.

Hardware wallets empower you with the ownership and control of your crypto assets. But with great powers comes great responsibilities: being your own bank is certainly not trivial and requires discipline. Using a hardware wallet doesn’t make you invincible against social engineering, physical threats or human error.

Use common sense, and apply basic security principles.

  • Don’t use a cryptocurrency exchange for long-term storage.
  • If you do, use two-factor authentication, preferably one that is not limited to devices connected to the internet.
  • For your hardware wallet, choose a PIN code that you can remember, but is secure and not easy to guess.
  • Keep your 24-word recovery sheet well secured and never enter it on any device that is connected to the internet.
  • Only trust what you can see on your hardware wallet screen. Verify your reception address and payment information on device.
  • Always treat with caution information shown on your computer or smartphone screen. Assume software can get compromised anytime.

Crypto hackers are getting more sophisticated, but by following these rules and storing your cryptocurrency on a hardware wallet, you will ensure your assets stay protected.

Credits to Eric Larcheveque

“The stars have aligned,” he said, the room hanging on his every word.

“In the same way that the industrial revolution created the economic prosperity that’s made the U.S. what it is today; in the same way that Africa leapfrogged wired telecommunications and went straight to wireless; the Philippines has the potential to be the biggest beneficiary of this technology now. Manila could be the next New York. The next London. The next Hong Kong. The next Tokyo.”

The audience at Manila Private House was silent, wholly captivated by Brock Pierce’s speech as he told the story of a nation primed for a technological revolution. The Philippines is a collection of over 7,000 islands, where only 31 percent of its 100 million people are banked, and just 4 percent of transactions happen online, but nearly 60 percent of people own a smartphone.

Add to this the identity issue, with thousands undocumented and disenfranchised due to poor access to government services, and you can start to see how the Philippines is attracting the attention of some of the world’s most forward-thinking blockchain entrepreneurs and investors.

The government and central bank have jumped onboard, too, recognizing the potential for this technology to introduce unprecedented efficiencies and interconnectivity to the local economy, supporting the movement with special economic zones to promote development and attract investment – particularly in fintech, of which 16 percent of the current industry is in blockchain or crypto.

“There has been great movement from the government side, to learn and do more with blockchain technology,” says John ‘Jem’ Milburn, an EOS enthusiast who is based in Seoul while building business in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CEZA), continuing:

“Banks and business are getting interested, too, to make real, sincere pushes to learn and provide services. The move to encourage and allow exchanges in CEZA is huge, and will lead, I think, to big growth in Philippines involvement in international blockchain projects.”

One of the Philippines’ incumbent financial institutions, UnionBank, is leading the way in blockchain experimentation, applying the technology to everything from internal distribution of operating manuals to digitizing the badly fragmented rural banking system, effectively bringing costly processes that previously took a few days into real-time.

For the rural banks, of which there are only 400 left in the Philippines today, compared to 1,400 just 30 years ago, UnionBank plans to partner with at least 100 of them to help build blockchain-based connections to the main national and international banking networks.

Buoyed by early successes, and with 30 ConsenSys-certified blockchain developers already in-house, UnionBank says they will add 20,000 more programmers to the team over the next few years.

Active startups

But it isn’t just incumbents that are hard at work in the Philippines.

With financial inclusion heralded as the next big wave of cryptocurrency adoption, startup Coins.ph is capitalizing on the opportunity to deliver secure, reliable and convenient payments services to the unbanked and unidentified.

Founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Ron Hose and Runar Petursson, Coins.ph is a blockchain-enabled digital wallet that can be used to pay bills, buy credit for your mobile phone and process peer-to-peer transactions – all with minimal KYC and without needing a bank account.

With super-easy onboarding and a multitude of methods to top up your account, from sending bitcoin or ethereum to depositing Filipino Pesos at a 7-Eleven store, this offers some insight to how Coins.ph have managed to build a user base of more than 5 percent of the local population when the company is little more than four years old.

Coins.ph are also using blockchain to lower the typical cost of cross-border remittances, a critical service for Overseas Filipino Workers (known as OFW) and their families.

Money sent home by OFW is the Philippines’ second largest export, accounting for 10 percent GDP. In February this year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that remittances had grown 5.3 percent in 2017 to bring in a total $33 billion.

This was an all-time high for the Philippines, smashing government targets and positioning the Philippines as the third-highest global remittance recipient, only topped by the whopping diaspora of India and China.

But on average, migrant workers lose more than 10 percent in international transaction fees when sending cash home. This is significantly higher than the average cost reported by the World Bank at 7.1 percent and has a devastating effect for the families that rely on those funds, not to mention the people that work so hard to earn it in the first place. Global Overseas Worker, or GOW, is a crypto exchange licensed by the Philippines Central Bank and Philippines SEC that is delivering up to 98 percent savings on the usual remittance fees copped by Filipinos.

“Every little bit helps, and that saving is potentially the difference that puts a smile on someone’s face this Christmas,” says William Sung, COO of GOW. “However, it’s more than that. It’s about being included in the new digital economy and blockchain services are gateways into that inclusion.”

Like Coins.ph and GOW, other local ventures such as Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) and Bloom Solutions are tackling the remittance problem too.

Brian Calma Sales, a Filipino who works in Dubai as an office coordinator at a construction company, and has a side hustle offering hair and makeup services, says the extra money would go a long way.

“Most OFW work abroad for their family – part of Filipino culture is helping our family, it’s our responsibility,” he says. “If we didn’t have to pay the fee, it could be used to pay off some bills, or save for a vacation. Also, Filipinos mostly work two jobs. So, instead of working extra hours to get the money needed to send home, maybe we could have taken the day off.”

Aspiring entrepreneurs

There’s reason to think this is only the beginning of a major movement.

19-year-old Kyle Acquino found inspiration in those strong Filipino family values to come up with the idea that won the Accenture Choice Award at DISH 2018, the Philippines’ first-ever community-led blockchain hackathon.

“I tapped into that mindset and came up with the idea to provide a platform where communities can grow together like a family,” says Acquino, who is studying Computer Science at the Technological University of the Philippines. His team’s idea, Psycellium, is to build a decentralized cooperatives network that would take the Philippines one step closer to globalization.

A derivative of a DAO, Psycellium would allow cooperatives to merge, invest and join other co-ops without the typical cross-border concerns or restrictions.

DISH 2018 (which stands for Decentralized Innovations Startups Hackathon) was a blockchain-agnostic event held in Makati in November, bringing together Ethereum, EOS and NEM communities and encouraging participants to make objective decisions about which platform would be best-suited to their project.

“Blockchains are not all encompassing in terms of features,” commented Chris Verceles, CTO of decentralized disaster-response startup LifeMesh, developer at ConsenSys Philippines and one of the main organisers of the hackathon. “Each one is best at a certain use case and I believe we should be able to mix and match tools depending on what we need. Additionally,” he said, “a community only grows if it is inclusive.”

Themes of inclusion appear to be top-of-mind for Filipinos, with many leading female-oriented tech communities hosting a local chapter in the capital of Manila, including Women Who Code, Women in Blockchain and Coding Girls. After launching in November 2017, the latter grew from five members to more than 100 in just six months. Their leader, 20-year-old Electrical Engineering student Alenna Dawn Magpantay, says the Philippines’ young population (the average age is 24) makes it “a haven for tech-savvy professionals who are creative and resourceful.”

Michie Ang, a Director of Women Who Code Manila, said she’s looking forward to answering the demand for encouraging further training in blockchain languages in 2019. Her organization represents a network of more than 1700 female devs across the national capital alone.

Bright young minds are plentiful in the Philippines. In fact, that’s what prompted intimate.io to relocate half its executive team here in August, to work more intensively with our existing Pinoy team of four.

Since then, we’ve added another two devs with the help of our business process outsourcing (BPO) partner, Cloudstaff. Established in 2005 by Australian internet pioneer, Mr. Lloyd Ernst, Cloudstaff is an outsourcing company in the Philippines providing skilled workforces to a range of industry verticals.

Today, the company employs more than 2000 staff and contractors across four regions, with plans to double in size over the next year.

Growth data reveals that enterprises are outsourcing talent to companies like Cloudstaff more and more, with 1.3mil people now employed by BPOs in the Philippines. Ernst says the growth is being driven by small and mid-size companies who have moved to the cloud in order to utilize a global workforce. With a background working in China, Vietnam and Thailand, Ernst says that the high level of English language proficiency in the Philippines makes a big difference. Verceles agrees, adding that the Filipinos common exposure to online and western cultures makes local developers very trainable.

“There is a large pool of untapped talent here, since a lot more hiring attention is paid to surrounding areas like Singapore or Hong Kong,” he says. “You can see this in the current scramble for blockchain talent, where companies are increasingly looking into the Philippines for more abundant developer resources.”

Community drive

To say it’s “refreshing” to be immersed within a community that is genuinely focussed on designing and building practical solutions to some of the world’s gnarliest problems… is an understatement.

Milburn agrees, musing that “the Philippines community seems to be focused on the utility of the blockchain, more than the typical speculation and gambling we see in so many markets.”

Another example of this is ODX, or Open Data Exchange, a data marketplace founded by serial entrepreneur, Nix Nolledo, which aims to deliver sponsored internet services to consumers for free via the blockchain. Partnered with industry giants such as Booking.com, ODX will be vital for emerging markets where the right to connect is fast-becoming as critical as the right to transact, and consumers are still offline up to 80% of the time because mobile data is so expensive.

This is particularly vital for emerging markets where consumers are estimated to be offline 80 percent of the time, because data is so prohibitively expensive. Projects like Nolledo’s – and all others mentioned in this article – have no need to tout “blockchain social good” slogan because economic empowerment is simply an inherent byproduct of their operations.

In the short time we’ve been stationed here in the Philippines, the blockchain community has welcomed us with open arms. We’ve found synergies, supported each other’s initiatives and kick-started some fabulous friendships.

In the intimate.io office, our sense of team cohesion has never been stronger and productivity is through the roof! As a result, my co-founders and I have decided to stay for at least 12-months, and come January 2019, we’ll be moving into our new abode in Angeles City.

After a rollercoaster 2018, traversing almost every continent on the planet, we’re all incredibly grateful to be plonking ourselves somewhere that feels way more stable than anything else in crypto right now.

It’s true that something phenomenal happening here – and – I get the sense that the only hot air we’ll have to deal with in the Philippines…is the humidity.

Credits to Leah Callon-Butler

The hash war between Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV roiled the markets and dominated the cryptocurrency news cycle for a few weeks this past November. It made sense – the battle over the bitcoin white paper has been brewing between developers and early adopters for many years.

Moreover, hash wars, whose warring factions deploy thousands of high-end computers to forge a new network consensus, are expensive and brutal, with obvious, and not so obvious, winners and losers. A hash war may not bring lasting peace, but at least it has the virtue of an ending. Hash wars are, in this way, far more distinguished than their nastier cousin: the endless hashtag wars.

Twitter serves as the voice of the crypto world, but sometimes that voice is strangely distorted.

For example, Twitter is where we debated the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, reacted to Bill Clinton’s presence onstage at a Ripple conference and drowned our sorrows in bear market memes. It’s also where Tim Draper predicted a $250,000 bitcoin price by 2022 and John McAfee declared the BitFi hardware wallet unhackable, only for it to be hacked weeks later.

What holds sway over crypto Twitter: innovation or invective? Do the endless debates on Twitter ever account for the positive change? Or are they mere generators of memes and fury?

Many readers here will be familiar with some of the more popular memes and hashtags in crypto Twitter.

You may be an enlistee in the #xrparmy, or you may ridicule them as a bitcoin #maximalist. Or perhaps you prefer to stay out of the fray, spreading peace, joy and #dogecoin memes to all and sundry.

Yet whatever faction you sympathize with, and whatever arguments you might find convincing, almost inevitably, “FUD” – fear, uncertainty and doubt – sets in. Whatever philosophical, economic or technological position you may hold, chances are there’s someone out there with a vested interest in disparaging or debunking it.

Besides constantly pitting one crypto project or ideology against another, hashtag wars offer bad actors convenient entry into cryptocurrency. How many scammers have attempted bot-powered pump-and-dump schemes? How many identity thieves have latched onto fake Twitter handles and domain names in hopes of quick paydays from slow learners?

Surely there must be a more productive use for all of this energy?

The Good Examples

So, what might an optimal crypto Twitter look like?

For me, one of the best things I saw on Twitter in 2018 was a debate between Ari Paul and Murad Mahmudov. That conversation, which also drew in Joe Weisenthal of Bloomberg, ended not with full agreement, but with the debating parties promising to collaborate on a podcast together.

Though no party was “victorious” in the debate, all were satisfied: Paul and Mahmudov had considered their beliefs, reflected on possible objections, and defended their positions.

As Paul put it, persuasion isn’t necessarily the point; rather, “even if it doesn’t lead to a different conclusion, […] by clarifying our implicit assumptions we learn about the system generally and can be on the lookout for new info that would falsify our conclusion.”

I could have chosen any number of other friendly arguments or debates to emphasize my point. Even the most intransigent bitcoin maximalist, for example, must admit that Vitalik Buterin’s Twitter presence is impressive.

Few people have more reason (or more right) to loudly shill, but he’s always civil; he takes greater pleasure in boosting others’ ideas than in shouting his own.

Rather than charging exorbitant fees for a 280-character out of some new alternative cryptocurrency, Buterin freely gives. In December, he donated $300,000 to ethereum to developers who wanted to work full-time on blockchain but didn’t have the necessary funding.

The irony, of course, is that this decorum and generosity sometimes proves to be a less efficient shill than the hashtagged screams from the bots and crypto bros.

A Call for Peace

The opposing armies of the hashtag wars agree on very little.

However, a rare point of consensus is that cryptocurrency needs to make its way further into the mainstream. And while some responsibility for improving the dialogue on Crypto Twitter may fall to Twitter itself — they can “shadow ban” and make it difficult to discover tweets by bad actors and probable trolls, such as the “giving away ETH” bots — the hardest, and most important work must be done by the cryptocurrency community.

To make the case for our relevance and necessity, the cryptocurrency community need more exchanges of ideas and fewer exchanges of insults.

Sometimes, between the debates, the trolling and the hashtags, it’s easy to lose sight of cryptocurrency’s transformative potential. The technology promises unmediated connection across borders, across currencies and even across ideologies.

Yet too often, the people in the cryptocurrency community seem angry and unreasonable, more than willing to clash and troll at the expense of mainstream adoption. Why would a future investor or user want to learn more? Why would they want to join the community? For all of our sakes, let’s try to be nicer.

Perhaps we could begin on Twitter.

Credits to Shiv Madan

The end of 2018 is not the end of a year. It is the end of a decade, a decade that changed the world of money and finance.

I do not mean the decade since the release of the Satoshi paper that CoinDesk properly celebrated a couple of months ago. With the typical egotism of young, brilliant innovators, the crypto community loves to think that this is the end of the first decade of the crypto-era. But the rest of the world has been celebrating quite a gloomy anniversary this autumn: the 10th anniversary from the beginning of the Great Financial Crisis.

With Lehman’s default, the world woke up and found out that banks were not the safest industry in the world. They could not borrow enormous amounts of money from the public and invest them in very uncertain financial markets without running any material risk of default.

2008 taught us that banks could run out of the cash and capital necessary to manage their risks, and that they could default or require taxpayer money to be saved and avoid a default on their deposit liabilities.

What happened in the next 10 years? Did banks disappear? Was commercial bank money replaced by a new global cryptocurrency? Did financial markets, that were the spark that lit the crisis flame, get replaced by a network of trustless smart contracts? No, banks survived, and so did financial markets.

And now that banks and financial institutions seem to have discovered that blockchain is not a magic software giving easily safety and efficiency to existing processes (neither is it the weapon of a overwhelming digital gold crushing all existing world money), they tend to disregard that this was also the decade that saw concepts like distributed systems, financial cryptography and consensus algorithms become part of a public debate.

Yet, 2019 could be the year when banks really understand what these concepts mean for finance. Remember, finance had to pay a price for surviving, as a review of financial markets over these 10 years clearly reveals.

It became clear that the role of banks in money creation through deposits made them systemically too important and fragile for allowing them to play freely their other roles of moving liquidity and value in space (through helping efficient trading), in time (through safe intermediation between investment and credit) and across different states of the future (through advanced derivative contracts).

They became over-regulated entities, their operational costs grew, their funding costs became much higher due to a new perception of their risk. Additionally, their dependence on centralized entities increased. Not only central banks, but also other institutions like CCPs or CSDs (where the first ‘C’ always stands for “central”) now crucially manage financial markets such as bond, equity or derivative markets. Centralization was seen by regulators as the only way to increase standardization, transparency and to mutualize the resources of the individual banks toward market risk management.

The concurrent single-point-of failure effect was considered an acceptable collateral damage. In the same years, the financial industry stopped being the darling of investors, and was replaced by internet companies, which now total a much higher capitalization than banks.

Crypto in Context

What has the crypto and blockchain decade to say about such “old finance” topics?

We have to go back to the roots of blockchain and forget both the temptation of considering it “just a software” and the opposite temptation to consider it “heaven on earth.” The Satoshi paper was probably not the beginning. In the days when we celebrate Timothy May, we have to recognize that some ideas being realized today started to grow 30 years ago.

In this way, bitcoin is not a magic creation of perfection. Satoshi spotted that the internet lacks some of the fundamental features needed to store and transfer value. It lacks an enforceable form of native identity, an unanimous way to order messages in the absence of an official time-stamp and some alternative to the client-server architecture to avoid value to be stored by a single entity for all users of a service.

No matter how early or limited, Satoshi made a feasible proposal to overcome the above issues. It was a mutation of the web in the value management environment, and it is thanks to mutations that systems evolve.

In the past, while banks were expanding their balance sheets by creating more money and taking up more risks, some thinkers introduced the concept of Narrow Banking. This alternative idea of the role of banks could have spared us some of the big financial issues of the last decade. Narrow banking means banks with a narrower role, more similar to the role they had in some moments in the past. Banks without enormous balance sheets of deposit liabilities, used by everyone as money, matched by corresponding risky investments.

Narrow banking would require a way to free banks, at least in part, from the role of creating electronic money in the form of deposits.

The crypto decade shows that forms of electronic money that do not take the form of a commercial bank deposit are possible, and can be managed outside commercial banks balance-sheets.

The application of this principle could free banks from part of their money creation role and allow them to go back to a role of real intermediaries, helping those with money to take up well managed risks, and providing services to real and digital economy, without enormous books of assets and liabilities.

A Convergence Ahead

Yes, you read it correctly. I said that blockchain technology could help banks to resume their role as intermediaries. You read so much about blockchain tech disintermediating banks that this may sound strange.

Yet, today the systemic risk posed by banks does not come out of their strict intermediation activity, but from their “technical” role in money creation. Technology alone cannot avoid crises, but when used to make narrow banking possible it can stop a crisis from spreading systemically. No need to bail banks out if we have reduced the link between financial markets and our deposits of money.

If a form of digital money based on cryptography and managed on a distributed network was available for financial players, it could be the layer upon which further reduction of systemic risk in financial markets becomes possible.

Today, systemic risk in markets like derivatives or securities is often associated to the technological centralization that built up over the past decades. As we recalled above, recourse to centralized infrastructures increased after the crisis, in order to manage collectively the guarantees provided by individual banks, in order to provide more transparency to financial markets, and to help standardization and coordinated risk management.

At the end of 2008 regulators thought that such goals could only be obtained via centralization, even if this could make financial markets less resilient to systemic risk.

After the crypto decade, regulators know there are alternatives. Decentralized networks also allow for transparency, standardization and collective management of resources provided by the network nodes, through appropriate use of smart contracts. They can allow for forms of risk management and risk reduction that are unthinkable in the traditional world.

They may not have yet the required features in terms of scalability or privacy, but their technological evolution has come a long way since the original mutation.

So, the coming years may be the years of awareness.

No, early cryptos and tokens are not a fast and easy solution for the future of finance. No, a light splash of blockchain tech over old business models is not a solution either.

Some hard work is ahead if we want to use the lessons learnt over the past decade, and see these two world, the world of finance and the crypto world, to eventually converge into a new, safer financial system.

Credits to Massimo Morini