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At Blockchain Week, Maturity Is the Motto as Ethereum Organizations Push Toward 2.0 Upgrade



The ethereum movement, headed by flagship organizations like the Ethereum Foundation and the Brooklyn-based conglomerate ConsenSys, emerged from Blockchain Week 2019 with a common goal and a newfound sense of urgency.

In short, building ethereum 2.0 — the blockchain network’s ambitious reinvention plan — will require maturity.

“The only people left are those that want to be here and are working hard,” Ethereum Foundation consultant Eva Beylin said of the broader ethereum ecosystem. She spoke with CoinDesk at the ETH New York hackathon last weekend, where about 50 developers sat nearby coding and chatting with little fanfare.

Earlier in the week, the vibe was similar if certainly more flashy at the ConsenSys-organized Ethereal Summit in Brooklyn.

There, the Ethereum Foundation’s head of special projects, Virgil Griffith, told CoinDesk that relations with ConsenSys are getting “better,” despite lingering distrust between the nonprofit crowd and the for-profit venture headed by ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin.

“We decided to outsource all the value-capture to ConsenSys,” Griffith said. “A lot of people in the foundation are wary of ConsenSys. But I think you can work with someone with a different view than you.”

Indeed, despite their divergent goals, the leaders of these two organizations arguably exert the most influence on ethereum’s development and usage. Based on CoinDesk’s conversations with 10 high-ranking people associated with ethereum’s top projects, this Blockchain Week may have been a turning point.

ConsenSys CMO Amanda Gutterman also told CoinDesk relations with the Ethereum Foundation are now better than ever, even as ConsenSys seeks to monetize some of the products and services the broader ecosystem relies on. This comes as the company emerges from a winter marked by layoffs and lingering doubts that its portfolio of startups can be spun out of the ConsenSys mothership.

Meanwhile, the Ethereum Foundation has been more focused on support for decentralized finance (DeFi) applications like Uniswap and MakerDAO, two projects supporters say embody ethereum’s collaborative spirit.

“We can and should build a financial system that is more equitable and open,” Uniswap founder Hayden Adams told CoinDesk.

In stark contrast to the individualistic bitcoin ethos, the DeFi movement is explicitly focused on rebuilding the global financial system. Uniswap, which now holds more than $14.9 million worth of ether, was developed under the guidance of ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and funded by a grant from the Ethereum Foundation before it raised venture capital in April 2019.

Still, Adams told CoinDesk there remain unanswered questions about whether Buterin’s cohort can “pull off” a functioning version of ethereum 2.0.

Meanwhile, ConsenSys alum and SpankChain CEO Ameen Soleimani, has emerged as a community organizer – announcing at Ethereal that his MolochDAO for funding ethereum infrastructure projects would be jointly funded by Lubin, Vitalik and a group of ConsenSys and Ethereum Foundation employees.

Soleimani told CoinDesk he hopes 2019 will be a time of collaboration.

Speaking of Lubin and Buterin’s leadership, Soleimani said:

“They have certainly guided us thus far and they seem well-positioned to make the best decisions.”


Based on interviews with numerous ethereum veterans across organizations, it appears that crucial decisions are on the horizon.

On May 10 at Ethereal, Ethereum Foundation executive director Aya Miyaguchi said the nonprofit plans to spend $30 million on ecosystem development this year.

One of the foundation’s main wallets shows that 2018 was a year of peak spending, with a balance worth $600 million in January 2018 plummeting to $67 million by January 2019. Even counting in ether, the foundation spent roughly 100,000 tokens from this primary wallet last year and only has 643,536 tokens left in it.

While Miyaguchi said at Ethereal that the nonprofit employs more than 100 freelance contractors, she later told CoinDesk there is not a “clear line” between the support structures offered to various teams. This applies to both freelance contracts and grants. Instead, she said the foundation makes decisions on a case-by-case basis by evaluating: “What are the most important things for us to support?”

According to former Ethereum Foundation employee Lane Rettig, who was laid off earlier this year and then became a controversial-yet-admired figure on Twitter, the foundation plans to cut staff to reduce its burn rate.

Griffith confirmed the Ethereum Foundation’s long-term plan, which is still under consideration, is to reduce its role in direct funding and governance by encouraging external community growth. However, no official plans for this – or staff cuts – have been made so far, Miyaguchi said.

“It’s not about winding down. It’s about shifting our role,” she told CoinDesk, describing the foundation’s new role as one of “coordination” between other players to help them build tools and use cases.


For the time being, the nonprofit doesn’t have any income model and mostly relies on reserves from the original ether token sale in 2014. As such, its future depends on establishing strong partnerships that can continue to work after grant funding tapers off.

Based on conversations with several sources, it appears the nonprofit’s priorities include developer projects such as MolochDAO, then industry collaborations with the likes of ConsenSys and Microsoft and finally partnerships with governmental agencies, most of which are still in the exploratory phase.

It remains to be seen which external organizations will commit significant resources to sustaining the ethereum network, and partnership-building certainly isn’t immune to infighting. An anonymous source told CoinDesk that Microsoft received complaints from Buterin about a perceived lack of focus on ethereum in the tech giant’s decentralized identity (DID) project, for example.

Buterin himself outlined some of the plans for making ethereum work at scale in a proposal published during Blockchain Week. Insiders tell CoinDesk a driving force behind the move for more coordination is a dawning realization: This may be the year the community finds champions to implement that vision or fails to scale entirely.

ETH New York photo by Christine Kim for CoinDesk

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Bitcoin Falls Near $9,000 as US Stock Market Sees Gains




Monday, June 17 — most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are reporting moderate losses on the day by press time, as bitcoin (BTC) falls Near $9,000 mark again.

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin is currently down about 3% on the day, trading around $9,045 at press time, according to Coin360. Looking at its weekly chart, the coin is up around 11%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, bitcoin surpassed one million daily active addresses on June 14, according to blockchain statistics website CoinMetrics.

Ether (ETH) is holding onto its position as the largest altcoin by market cap, which currently stands at $28.2 billion. The second-largest altcoin, Ripple’s XRP, has a market cap of $18.1 billion at press time.

Coin360 data shows that ETH has seen its value decrease by about 2.27% over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading around $265. On the week, the coin has also gained almost 6.8% of value.

Ether 7-day price chart

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP is down by just over 0.43% over the last 24 hours and is currently trading at around $0.430. On the week, the coin is up about 6.7%.

XRP 7-day price chart

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Yesterday news broke that major money transmission network MoneyGram has entered into a strategic partnership with blockchain-based payments firm Ripple.

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, the only ones reporting gains are binance coin (BNB), which is over 1% up, and DASH, which is up over 2%.

At press time, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is $282.8 billion, over 11.6% higher than the value it reported a week ago.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, Social media giant Facebook has released the white paper for its long-awaited cryptocurrency and blockchain-based financial infrastructure project.

In traditional markets, the United States stock market is seeing gains so far today, with the S&P 500 up 1.17% and the Nasdaq up 1.73% at press time. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), on the other hand, has lost 0.46% on the day at press time.

Major oil futures and indexes are mixed movements today, with WTI Crude up 3.99%, Brent Crude up 2.43% and Mars US down 0.83% at press time. The OPEC Basket is up 0.57% and the Canadian Crude Index has seen its value increase by 5.57% in the 24 hours by press time, according to OilPrice.

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Facebook Has Yet to Answer US Lawmakers’ Questions About Libra Crypto




Facebook is still working on its responses to a plethora of consumer protection questions about the Libra cryptocurrency asked by a group of U.S. senators last month.

The Senate Banking Committee wrote an open letter to Facebook at the beginning of May, asking the social media giant a number of questions about Libra, after word of the project leaked out in the press. The questions primarily centered around user privacy and data protection, though a few concerned the cryptocurrency network itself.

After months of speculation and rumors, the company formally unveiled its vision for Libra on Tuesday – but it has not yet submitted a response to the letter.

“We received the letter and are addressing the senators’ questions,” a Facebook spokesperson told CoinDesk Tuesday morning.

Early clues

To be sure, the documentation Facebook published offers a hint of what the answers to some of the committee’s questions might be.

Take, for example, the senators’ first two questions:

  1. How would this new cryptocurrency-based payment system work, and what outreach has there been to financial regulators to ensure it meets all legal and regulatory requirements?
  2. What privacy and consumer protections would users have under the new payment system?

Facebook’s new Libra white paper and supporting documentation outline the mechanism for the basket of fiat currencies and government securities that back the Libra token, as well as the Libra investment token that gives its governance council the ability to monitor and modify the network and its protocols.

Moreover, Facebook said in other documentation that it, or at least its new Calibra subsidiary, would secure money transmitter licenses in various U.S. states that treat cryptocurrencies as money. Calibra has also registered as a money services business (MSB) with the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Though it is a legal requirement for businesses conducting financial transactions, registering as an MSB does not indicate any sort of regulatory approval.)

Calibra says it will also abide by European Union and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines, as well as the laws of each jurisdiction it provides services in. Facebook has also reportedly held talks with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) about Libra.

The Senators also asked if Facebook shares or sells any consumer information (or information derived from such data) with any unaffiliated third parties. Company literature says that neither Facebook nor Calibra will do so without consent from the customer.

Stay tuned

Still, the senators may want more detailed answers to these questions and others, specifically:

  1. What consumer financial information does Facebook have that it received from a financial company?
  2. To the extent that Facebook has received such information, what does the company do with it and how does it safeguard the data?
  3. Does Facebook have any information bearing on an individual’s (or group of individuals’) creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living that is used (either by Facebook or an unaffiliated third party) to establish eligibility for, or marketing of a product or service related to, credit, insurance, employment or housing?
  4. How does Facebook ensure that such information is not used in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The senators’ letter did not give a deadline for Facebook to respond, and it is unclear when the answers will be sent.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg image via Shutterstock

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Facebook’s Libra Could Spark Additional Cryptocurrency Volume




Binance Research, the research arm of major cryptocurrency exchange Binance, claims that Facebook’s Libra stablecoin could spark additional cryptocurrency volume in a post published on its blog on June 18.

In the announcement concerning the release of the full report, Binance Research claims:

“Libra could spark additional cryptocurrency volume due to increased accessibility from both institutional players and everyday retail users.”

Furthermore, the post also notes that the researchers anticipate that the Libra will have a significant impact on both local and global markets, financial and economic industries, as well as in the cryptocurrency space. This influence will manifest after the 12 to 18 months that Facebook will take to integrate the asset into its services.

Binance Research also expects Libra to reshape the payments industry, be the basis of new financial services, advance greater financial freedom and lower capital restrictions worldwide, and defeat the hegemony of the dollar. The authors of the report also claim that, decentralized or not, Libra is still the first project of its kind:

“Backed by a basket of fiat currency-denominated assets in its initial release, Libra represents a first attempt at creating a world currency, on-chain or not, with everyday usage by billions of individuals and institutions across the globe.”

Lastly, the report notes that regulators and financial institutions could hinder the success of the project. Other decisive factors cited by the researchers are the ability to scale the Libra user base, public trust in the project, the system’s independence on Facebook and ability to provide reliable fiat on- and off-ramp solution.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier, Facebook has released the white paper for its long-awaited cryptocurrency and blockchain-based financial infrastructure project today.

Last week, the news broke that South American online marketplace Mercado Libre is working with Facebook on the social network’s Libra cryptocurrency project.

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