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Ultimate glossary of crypto currency terms, acronyms and abbreviations
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
A whirlwind tour of Defi, paying close attention to protocols that we’re leveraging atGenesis Block. https://reddit.com/link/hrrt21/video/cvjh5rrh12b51/player This is the third post ofCrypto-Powered— a new series that examines what it means forGenesis Blockto be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols. Last week we explored how building on legacy finance is a fool’s errand. The future of money belongs to those who build with crypto and blockchain at their core. We also started down the crypto rabbit hole, introducing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi (decentralized finance). That post is required reading if you hope to glean any value from the rest of this series. 97% of all activity on Ethereum in the last quarter has been DeFi-related. The total value sitting inside DeFi protocols is roughly $2B — double what it was a month ago. The explosive growth cannot be ignored. All signs suggest that Ethereum & DeFi are a Match Made in Heaven, and both on their way to finding strong product/market fit. So in this post, we’re doing a whirlwind tour of DeFi. We look at specific examples and use-cases already in the wild and seeing strong growth. And we pay close attention to protocols that Genesis Block is integrating with. Alright, let’s dive in.
Stablecoins are exactly what they sound like: cryptocurrencies that are stable. They are not meant to be volatile (like Bitcoin). These assets attempt to peg their price to some external reference (eg. USD or Gold). A non-volatile crypto asset can be incredibly useful for things like merchant payments, cross-border transfers, or storing wealth — becoming your own bank but without the stress of constant price volatility. There are major governments and central banks that are experimenting with or soon launching their own stablecoins like China with their digital yuan and the US Federal Reserve with their digital dollar. There are also major corporations working in this area like JP Morgan with their JPM Coin, and of course Facebook with their Libra Project.
Stablecoin activity has grown 800% in the last year, with $290B of transaction volume (funds moving on-chain).
USDC($1B): This is the most reputable USD-backed stablecoin, at least in the West. It was created by Coinbase & Circle, both well-regarded crypto companies. They’ve been very open and transparent with their audits and bank records.
DAI ($189M): This is backed by other crypto assets — not USD in a bank account. This was arguably the first true DeFi protocol. The big benefit is that it’s more decentralized — it’s not controlled by any single organization. The downside is that the assets backing it can be volatile crypto assets (though it has mechanisms in place to mitigate that risk).
Three of the top five DeFi protocols relate to lending & borrowing. These popular lending protocols look very similar to traditional money markets. Users who want to earn interest/yield can deposit (lend) their funds into a pool of liquidity. Because it behaves similarly to traditional money markets, their funds are not locked, they can withdraw at any time. It’s highly liquid. Borrowers can tap into this pool of liquidity and take out loans. Interest rates depend on the utilization rate of the pool — how much of the deposits in the pool have already been borrowed. Supply & demand. Thus, interest rates are variable and borrowers can pay their loans back at any time.
So, who decides how much a borrower can take? What’s the process like? Are there credit checks? How is credit-worthiness determined?
These protocols are decentralized, borderless, permissionless. The people participating in these markets are from all over the world. There is no simple way to verify identity or check credit history. So none of that happens. Credit-worthiness is determined simply by how much crypto collateral the borrower puts into the protocol. For example, if a user wants to borrow $5k of USDC, then they’ll need to deposit $10k of BTC or ETH. The exact amount of collateral depends on the rules of the protocol — usually the more liquid the collateral asset, the more borrowing power the user can receive. The most prominent lending protocols include Compound, Aave, Maker, and Atomic Loans. Recently, Compound has seen meteoric growth with the introduction of their COMP token — a token used to incentivize and reward participants of the protocol. There’s almost $1B in outstanding debt in the Compound protocol. Mainframe is also working on an exciting protocol in this area and the latest iteration of their white paper should be coming out soon.
There is very little economic risk to these protocols because all loans are overcollateralized.
Buying, selling, and trading crypto assets is certainly one form of investing (though not for the faint of heart). But there are now DeFi protocols to facilitate making and managing traditional-style investments. Through DeFi, you can invest in Gold. You can invest in stocks like Amazon and Apple. You can short Tesla. You can access the S&P 500. This is done through crypto-based synthetics — which gives users exposure to assets without needing to hold or own the underlying asset. This is all possible with protocols like UMA, Synthetix, or Market protocol. Maybe your style of investing is more passive. With PoolTogether , you can participate in a no-loss lottery. Maybe you’re an advanced trader and want to trade options or futures. You can do that with DeFi protocols like Convexity, Futureswap, and dYdX. Maybe you live on the wild side and trade on margin or leverage, you can do that with protocols like Fulcrum, Nuo, and DDEX. Or maybe you’re a degenerate gambler and want to bet against Trump in the upcoming election, you can do that on Augur. And there are plenty of DeFi protocols to help with crypto investing. You could use Set Protocol if you need automated trading strategies. You could use Melonport if you’re an asset manager. You could use Balancer to automatically rebalance your portfolio. With as little as $1, people all over the world can have access to the same investment opportunities and tools that used to be reserved for only the wealthy, or those lucky enough to be born in the right country.
You can start to imagine how services like Etrade, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and even Robinhood could be massively disrupted by a crypto-native company that builds with these types of protocols at their foundation.
As mentioned in our previous post, there are near-infinite applications one can build on Ethereum. As a result, sometimes the code doesn’t work as expected. Bugs get through, it breaks. We’re still early in our industry. The tools, frameworks, and best practices are all still being established. Things can go wrong. Sometimes the application just gets in a weird or bad state where funds can’t be recovered — like with what happened with Parity where $280M got frozen (yes, I lost some money in that). Sometimes, there are hackers who discover a vulnerability in the code and maliciously steal funds — like how dForce lost $25M a few months ago, or how The DAO lost $50M a few years ago. And sometimes the system works as designed, but the economic model behind it is flawed, so a clever user takes advantage of the system— like what recently happened with Balancer where they lost $500k. There are a lot of risks when interacting with smart contracts and decentralized applications — especially for ones that haven’t stood the test of time. This is why insurance is such an important development in DeFi.
Insurance will be an essential component in helping this technology reach the masses.
Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) were one of the first and most developed categories in DeFi. A DEX allows a user to easily exchange one crypto asset for another crypto asset — but without needing to sign up for an account, verify identity, etc. It’s all via decentralized protocols. Within the first 5 months of 2020, the top 7 DEX already achieved the 2019 trading volume. That was $2.5B. DeFi is fueling a lot of this growth. https://preview.redd.it/1dwvq4e022b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=97a3d756f60239cd147031eb95fc2a981db55943 There are many different flavors of DEX. Some of the early ones included 0x, IDEX, and EtherDelta — all of which had a traditional order book model where buyers are matched with sellers. Another flavor is the pooled liquidity approach where the price is determined algorithmically based on how much liquidity there is and how much the user wants to buy. This is known as an AMM (Automated Market Maker) — Uniswap and Bancor were early leaders here. Though lately, Balancer has seen incredible growth due mostly to their strong incentives for participation — similar to Compound. There are some DEXs that are more specialized — for example, Curve and mStable focus mostly only stablecoins. Because of the proliferation of these decentralized exchanges, there are now aggregators that combine and connect the liquidity of many sources. Those include Kyber, Totle, 1Inch, and Dex.ag.
These decentralized exchanges are becoming more and more connected to DeFi because they provide an opportunity for yield and earning interest.
As it relates to making payments, much of the world is still stuck on plastic cards. We’re grateful to partner with Visa and launch the Genesis Block debit card… but we still don’t believe that's the future of payments. We see that as an important bridge between the past (legacy finance) and the future (crypto). Our first post in this series shared more on why legacy finance is broken. We talked about the countless unnecessary middle-men on every card swipe (merchant, acquiring bank, processor, card network, issuing bank). We talked about the slow settlement times. The future of payments will be much better. Yes, it’ll be from a mobile phone and the user experience will be similar to ApplePay (NFC) or WePay (QR Code).
But more importantly, the underlying assets being moved/exchanged will all be crypto — digital, permissionless, and open source.
Someone making a payment at the grocery store check-out line will be able to open up Genesis Block, use contactless tech or scan a QR code, and instantly pay for their goods. All using crypto. Likely a stablecoin. Settlement will be instant. All the middlemen getting their pound of flesh will be disintermediated. The merchant can make more and the user can spend less. Blockchain FTW! Now let’s talk about a few projects working in this area. The xDai Burner Wallet experience was incredible at the ETHDenver event a few years ago, but that speed came at the expense of full decentralization (can it be censored or shut down?). Of course, Facebook’s Libra wants to become the new standard for global payments, but many are afraid to give Facebook that much control (newsflash: it isn’t very decentralized). Bitcoin is decentralized… but it’s slow and volatile. There are strong projects like Lightning Network (Zap example) that are still trying to make it happen. Projects like Connext and OmiseGo are trying to help bring payments to Ethereum. The Flexa project is leveraging the gift card rails, which is a nice hack to leverage existing pipes. And if ETH 2.0 is as fast as they say it will be, then the future of payments could just be a stablecoin like DAI (a token on Ethereum). In a way, being able to spend crypto on daily expenses is the holy grail of use-cases. It’s still early. It hasn’t yet been solved. But once we achieve this, then we can ultimately and finally say goodbye to the legacy banking & finance world. Employees can be paid in crypto. Employees can spend in crypto. It changes everything.
Legacy finance is hanging on by a thread, and it’s this use-case that they are still clinging to. Once solved, DeFi domination will be complete.
At Genesis Block, we’re excited to leverage these protocols and take this incredible technology to the world. Many of these protocols are already deeply integrated with our product. In fact, many are essential. The masses won’t know (or care about) what Tether, USDC, or DAI is. They think in dollars, euros, pounds and pesos. So while the user sees their local currency in the app, the underlying technology is all leveraging stablecoins. It’s all on “crypto rails.” https://preview.redd.it/jajzttr622b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=fcf55cea1216a1d2fcc3bf327858b009965f9bf8 When users deposit assets into their Genesis Block account, they expect to earn interest. They expect that money to grow. We leverage many of these low-risk lending/exchange DeFi protocols. We lend into decentralized money markets like Compound — where all loans are overcollateralized. Or we supply liquidity to AMM exchanges like Balancer. This allows us to earn interest and generate yield for our depositors. We’re the experts so our users don’t need to be. We haven’t yet integrated with any of the insurance or investment protocols — but we certainly plan on it. Our infrastructure is built with blockchain technology at the heart and our system is extensible — we’re ready to add assets and protocols when we feel they are ready, safe, secure, and stable. Many of these protocols are still in the experimental phase. It’s still early.
At Genesis Block we’re excited to continue to be at the frontlines of this incredible, innovative, technological revolution called DeFi.
--- None of these powerful DeFi protocols will be replacing Robinhood, SoFi, or Venmo anytime soon. They never will. They aren’t meant to! We’ve discussed this before, these are low-level protocols that need killer applications, like Genesis Block. So now that we’ve gone a little deeper down the rabbit hole and we’ve done this whirlwind tour of DeFi, the natural next question is: why?
Why does any of it matter?
Most of these financial services that DeFi offers already exist in the real world. So why does it need to be on a blockchain? Why does it need to be decentralized? What new value is unlocked? Next post, we answer these important questions. To look at more projects in DeFi, check outDeFi Prime,DeFi Pulse, orConsensys. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Top 7 unique, high-potential cryptocurrencies of 2019 that are actually innovating the space
Right now, the top 20 has 2 forks of Bitcoin, Tether, an exchange's token, Ethereum Classic, and a few other projects that make this space look far less serious than it really is. On the other hand, you have many great projects out of the top 20 with huge potential going forward. The purpose of this post is to discuss the cryptocurrencies that I believe are exciting, different, and already have (or are extremely close to having) a working project. These are the projects that actually keep my faith alive in crypto among all the other BS out there. I'm hoping to outline a few projects you know, as well as some smaller ones. I will exclude Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP from this list, as everyone knows them already and what they do. This is NOT MEANT TO BE AN ALL-INCLUSIVE LIST - that means I'm definitely missing some projects. However, these are some of the projects I believe will make seriously large contributions to the space going forward. 1 - Nano. Reddit already shills the hell out of this coin, and it's for good reason. Nano is the single fastest and cheapest (100% free) P2P digital currency in the space, period. There's something to be said about sending somebody 50 Nano and them receiving EXACTLY 50 Nano, not 49.999 or something similar. Nano is an actual innovation in the space, with a very different codebase than other coins. It uses a block lattice (instead of using a blockchain), which is an incredible invention, and is reminiscent of the kind of innovation that ETH first offered for blockchain applications in 2015 - but for digital cash. Nano feels like what Bitcoin should have been from Day 1. Download the mobile app/create a web wallet and send some back and forth between the two - you'll understand why people are so bullish on this coin once you've tried it out for yourself. 2 - Monero. If any coin most clearly resembles the fungibility and privacy of using physical cash, it's Monero. It's the only major coin that is fully private by default, 100% of the time. The recent updates over the past few months have made Monero extremely cheap and fast to use, and if you haven't tried it out, I'd highly recommend it (MyMonero's web wallet is excellent https://wallet.mymonero.com). There's no denying this coin's potential to shape the space in the future as the top privacy coin. Monero has also proven to be highly resistant to bear trends, holding its price better than nearly every other top 40 coin in the last bear market. Lastly, the team is extremely competent and makes real innovations to this coin - between making transactions fully private, cost reduction/speed upgrades, and forking away from ASIC mining, this team has proven that they are little talk, ALL action, and committed to constantly improving this cryptocurrency.
Augur - This decentralized betting platform was one of the first Ethereum dapps ever planned, and took nearly 3 years to come to fruition. It is one of the most well-made, useful dapps running on Ethereum right now and has real users making markets every single day. You can bet on pretty much anything using Augur, and it's actually completely decentralized - meaning no third parties or governments who are unhappy with the content or types of bets being placed - can shut this dapp down. It does have a few issues for sure, but I am confident that they are minor and will be resolved in time as this market continues to mature.
IOTA - No matter what you think of this coin, IOTA's tangle is undeniably different. It's DAG-like technology is refreshing to see in a space where 98% of coins are just clones/forks of other coins - even if it doesn't work the way it should yet. It's possible that the removal of blocks and instead creating a tangle of transactions where every node in the network helps to power future transactions could allow for scaling beyond what current blockchains offer.
BitTorrent - I really hesitated to list this one. Do I agree with the way Justin Sun markets and overhypes every small meeting or minor project development? Of course not. However, there is no denying that this token will expose a TON of new users to cryptocurrency for the first time - arguably more than any other dapp token. BitTorrent, the application, is already being used by millions of users, and there's no denying that. This is a rare situation and no other cryptocurrency dapp has anywhere near the user count that this BitTorrent has. While I don't love Tron in general... it is largely an Ethereum clone with few advantages other than added hype...BTT is guaranteed to at least see some real-world usage and it might be good to own a few tokens.
Upfiring - If you like the idea that BitTorrent is putting forth (rewarding seeders), Upfiring is that exact idea - but their dapp is literally already out and nobody knows about it yet. I hesitated to list this project due to the low market cap, but it just might be one of the most useful dapps out there and one of the best uses of smart contracts. The dapp is awesome - super sleek and easy to use. In terms of high potential projects, this one is huge with around a 2 million USD market cap and really could explode at any time imo. You can download their dapp right now and share files on the blockchain, set a price in UFR for your files and earn crypto when others download them. Torrenting is one of the areas that I believe crypto will make a big impact in, since rewarding seeders is an excellent use-case to incentivize file-sharing. With an ATH of 40 million, it has reached 20x the current market cap before, so the price and hype level is currently low.
Major projects to watch out for due to being overvalued or other significant red flags (please don't downvote this post if you disagree with these - instead, let us know why you disagree in the comments): 1 - Litecoin. I'd certainly agree it should be in the Top 50 due to its fame status, but the #4 position is ridiculously high for a coin like this. Put simply, there is simply no major use case for this coin. If you wanted to use something as cash, Nano and even Bitcoin Cash are arguably both better options. At least Bitcoin serves as the standard for markets on exchanges. Remember that the creator of this coin has literally sold all of it as well - while arguably a smart move on his part, it's something to keep in mind. 2 - Binance Coin. Regardless of the fact that it is Binance, and Binance is great, this coin's entire value is based on a 100% CENTRALIZED business. That's a big deal. This means if something ever happens to Binance, for whatever reason, BNB's value will directly be affected as a result. In addition, a 4.5 BILLION dollar market cap for an exchange token is just a ridiculous market cap in general, even if it is Binance. Props to Binance for making this token so successful, though. 3 - Stellar. This is a big one, and I know I'm going to take some heat for listing this, so let me clarify. I really like what Stellar is doing with payments, for sure, but one thing that makes that all null and void from an investment standpoint - Stellar's team owns over 80% of the entire Stellar coin supply. Let that sink in for a second. 19,331,690,041 XLM is circulating among every single Stellar holder, while the team themselves holds 85,710,809,041 XLM. People tend to ignore this fact for some reason, but it's unfortunately a huge deal and requires that you put a ton of trust in Stellar's team not to casually sell millions of dollars worth of their XLM whenever they want more money. How would you feel if Vitalik owned 400,000,000 ETH? That's the same ratio to what the Stellar team owns. There's also been a ton of sketchy things that have happened with the team selling off millions of dollars worth of coins in 2017/early 2018 - you can search those in the search bar to read up on those incidents where users here tracked those transactions. Lastly, Stellar is a fork of Ripple. Not that this is a bad thing necessarily, but it's something to keep note of. 4 - Bitcoin SV. Yeah, it's pumping right now. Who cares, so are lots of coins. Ignore it, and maybe it will go away. This coin once again serves no real purpose and has no place being the #8 cryptocurrency with how many great projects are sitting below it. 5 - Ethereum Classic. This coin has already been 51% attacked SUCCESSFULLY, and it's value has gone up since then. In addition, no changes have been made to the coin to prevent such an attack in the future, and none are planned. No hard forks will happen to improve this coin, ever...that's because Ethereum Classic's main value proposition is immutable and irreversible transactions, Ironic - because the 51% attack showed that transactions on this chain are actually the exact opposite of this. Obviously, this coin should be avoided. And before you ask, why did I leave out... -Cardano: Interesting project but too far away from releasing their smart contracts to mention in this post. In addition, market cap is extremely high for not having a working product out yet -Tron: A hyped-version of Ethereum with few differences. Not necessarily bad, but not innovative enough to mention from a technological standpoint. I won't comment on their marketing tactics... -Vechain: It remains to be seen whether this use-case will ever play out using a public blockchain like this with real businesses. Certainly one to keep an eye on, but as of right now it's not being used on any sort of large scale -Qtum: Still has yet to find a real niche over projects like Ethereum, Tron, and EOS -EOS: Raised billions of dollars in their ICO but their platform still has many issues. There are some decent developments like Everipedia on it, but overall I decided to leave it out due to once again, not offering anything THAT innovative to the space, and the lack of decentralization (EOS team can freeze transactions) I'll update the top list as well if anyone provides me with good projects that I may have missed out on here!
Re-Launching The Borderless, Unkillable Crypto-Fiat Gateway, DAIHard. Enter or Exit Crypto via Any Fiat and Any Payment Method, Anywhere in the World, Without KYC. All you need is a little Dai.
Some of you might recall recall our initial facepalm failed launch about 3 months ago (post-mortem here). Well, we're back--this time with an audit and some new features. This version of DAIHard should should die a little harder this time ;)
After shopping around a bit in the auditor space, we decided to go with Adam Dossa--the very same Adam Dossa that actually found our launch vulnerability and responsibly disclosed it to us! You can see his report here. By the way, Adam has been a gem: friendly, professional, timely, and flexible. Definitely keep him in mind if you need an audit!
Following is an updated version of our original launch post. If you've already read that, you might want to skip to the heading What's New in v0.9.2. Or you can go straight to the app or go to our info site for more info! Here is a legitimate concern most of us are familiar with:
To enter or exit the crypto economy, we rely on centralized exchanges such as Coinbase, which track their users, impose limits, and are tightly coupled to their jurisdiction and its banking system. And for all we know, any day now regulations could start tightening these controls further (*we've actually seen some of this play out in the two months since our first launch post). In light of this, can we say in any meaningful sense that crypto is anonymous, limtiless, borderless, immune to regulation, and (most importantly) unstoppable?
To really address this concern, we need a completely decentralized gateway between fiat and crypto: something that extends the benefits of crypto to the very act of moving between the old and new economies. But the design of such a platform is far from obvious. (Localethereum comes close, but as discussed under Unkillable, it doesn't quite cut it. And Bisq is decentralized, but has significant UX hurdles.) We believe we've found a solution. We are proud to present:
DAIHard v0.9.2 - Almost Definitely Not Broken This Time
If you want to jump right in, we recommend first watching our latest usage demo (7 min), then diving in and giving it a shot with a small amount of Dai. (Try it on Kovan first if mainnet is too scary!) DAIHard extends many of the promises of crypto (borderless, anonymous, limitless, unstoppable) into the exchange mechanism itself, allowing anyone, anywhere to bypass centralized exchanges and the control they impose. More concretely, DAIHard is a platform, run on smart contracts, for forming one-off crypto/fiat exchanges with other users, in which:
The method of fiat transfer is open-ended, but agreed upon up-front (for example: bank transfer, cash handoff, transfer of online credit, cash drop...).
You and the counterparty can communicate via end-to-end encrypted chat to coordinate the fiat transfer (i.e. communicate bank account number or reveal a cash drop location).
Crucially, in the last phase, the Seller can choose to burn the Dai instead of releasing it to the Buyer (but he can't get it back). This credible threat of burn is what makes the platform reliable in the absence of a centralized group of arbitrators or moderators. For more on this see the DAIHard Game Theory medium article (10 min read).
You Need either xDai, or both Dai and Ether, to Use The Tool (At Least For Now)
If you want to buy Dai on DAIHard, you must already have Dai--1/3 of the amount you want to purchase--to put up as a burnable deposit. For example, if you only have 10 Dai now, you can only commit to buying 30 Dai, and must complete that trade before using the newly bought Dai to open up a bigger offer (for up to 120 Dai that time). Most tragically of course, this means that if you don't already have some crypto, you can't use this tool to get crypto--this is why we avoid calling DAIHard an onramp specifically. This comes from the fact that both parties must have "skin in the game" for the game theory to work, and a smart contract can only threaten to burn crypto. We have some ideas on how to address this drawback in the not-too-distant future, which we'll write about soon. For now it's time to launch this thing and get some users!
Dangerous and Scary To Use
In rare cases, a user may have to burn Dai and face a loss on the entire trade amount. The necessity of this ever-present risk is explained in detail in DAIHard Game Theory. However, a cautious, rational user can gather information (possibly via our [subreddit](daihard)!) about how people have used the tool, successfully and unsuccessfully. They can then create a buy or sell offer with wisely chosen settings based on what has worked for others. Other cautious, rational users can find this offer and commit to the trade if they dare. We expect the vast majority of committed trades should involve rational, cautious users, and should therefore resolve happily. Still, inevitably there will be sloppy trades that result in burns. As the tool is used, we'll be keeping a close eye on the frequency of burns and keeping you guys updated (perhaps via a "System Status" utility similar to the one found on MakerDao's explorer). In the end, though, we expect the risk in using DAIHard to be comparable to the risk of using any exchange or DNM: ever-present but low enough for the platform to be useful as whole. So, while DAIHard will never shut down and can't perform an exit scam, the bad news is it's not risk-free. Users will have to approach DAIhard with the same level of caution they would with any new exchange (albeit for different reasons and with a different approach). So what's the good news?
The Good News
While these drawbacks are significant, they enable some remarkable features that no other crypto/fiat exchange mechanism can boast.
(Correction: Bisq seems to have a decentralized arbitration system) We are aware of no other crypto/fiat exchange platform that is truly unkillable. Bisq and localethereum comes close, but both localethereum relies on centralized processes of arbitration. This means their fraud-and-scam-prevention system can be sued, jailed, or otherwise harrassed--and if that part stops working, it doesn't matter how decentralized the rest of the system was. DAIHard, in contrast, gives the users the power to police and punish each other, via the aforementioned credible threat of burn. This is simple game theory, and the rules of this game are etched permanently into the DAIHard Factory and Trade contract code: impervious to litigation, regulation, and political pressure. This Factory contract has no owner and no suicide or pause code. It cannot be stopped by us or anyone else. Like Toastycoin, this thing was immortal the moment it was deployed (even more immortal than RadarRelay, for example, which does rely on an ownership role). Both DAIHard and Toastycoin (and probably whatever we build next) will last for as long as a single Ethereum node continues mining, and it will remain easy to use as long as someone can find the HTML/JS front-end and a web3 wallet. (The HTML/JS front-end (built in Elm, by the way, with the lovely elm-ethereum!) is currently hosted on Github pages, which is centralized--but even if Github takes down the page and deletes the code, it's a minor step to get the page hosted on IPFS, something that is on our near-term roadmap in any case)
No KYC, No Limits
It's smart contracts all the way down, so DAIHard never asks any nosy questions--if you have Metamask or some other web3 wallet installed and set up, with some ETH and Dai (or just xDai), you can immediately open or commit to a trade. You don't even need a username! (In fact, we're so inclusive, even machines are allowed--no CAPTCHA here!) You're limited only by the collateral you put up, so if you have 10,000 Dai you could open up a buy offer for 30,000 Dai (or a sell offer for 10,000 Dai) right now. We do reccommend trying the tool out first with a small amount of Dai... But we're not your mom! Do what you want!
It simply doesn't matter where you are, because DAIHard doesn't need to interface with any particular jurisdiction or payment system to work. DIAHard works by incentivizing people (or robots?) to navigate the particular real-world hurdles of bank transfers, cash drops, or other fiat transfer methods. These incentives work whether you're in America, Zimbabwe, or the Atlantic; they work whether the fiat is USD, EUR, ZAR, seashells, or Rai Stones; and they work whether your counterparty is a human, an organization, a script, or a particularly intelligent dog with Internet access.
Any Fiat Type, and Highly Customizeable
Here are some examples of the types of trades you might create or find on DAIHard.
Sell 5 xDai for $5 USD, sent via TransferWise.
Sell 200 Dai for $180 USD, granted they bring the cash to you by tomorrow afternoon in Central Park, NYC.
Buy 20 Dai with a $30 gift card for Amazon AWS that you were never going to use.
Sell 20 Dai in exchange for a $20 Steam game.
While in Vietnam, sell 200 Dai to someone for €180 anytime in the next two weeks, provided they deposit it into your German bank account.
While in Germany, sell 20 Dai to someone in exchange for them refilling your pre-paid Vietnamese phone plan.
Buy 500 Dai for $550 via PayPal, but wait 3 weeks for before the Dai is released (so the paypal transaction can't be reversed).
As the DAIHard community grows, users will doubtless find much more creative ways to use the system, and we will discover together which types of trades are reliable and which are more risky. Because users can set their own prices and phase timeout settings, we expect the risky trades to charge a premium or have longer time windows, while the reliable ones rapidly multiply at close to a 1:1 price ratio, with quick turnaround times.
Extensible (with profit) by Third Parties
Not satisfied with our interface? Do you have some nifty idea for how to display and organize user reputation? Or maybe some idea for how trades could be chained togeher? Maybe you'd like to design a notification system for DAIHard? Maybe you just want a different color scheme! Well, you won't need our permission to do any of this. Any tool that watches the same Factory contract will share the pool of trades, regardless of which tool actually creates the trade. This means we don't even have to fight over network effects! And if you look closely at our fee structure, you might notice that only half of the 1% DAIHard fee is "hardcoded" into the Factory contract. The other half is set and charged by our interface. What does this mean for you? If you go out and make a better interface, you can essentially replace half of our 1% fee with your own fee--it's up to you whether it's smaller or larger than the replaced 0.5%. The reason for this is to explicitly welcome other developers to extend what we've built. For as long as our team is the only one improving the platform, a threat to us is a threat to future upgrades. But if others begin extending the DAIHard platform too, then DAIHard will not only be unstoppable as it is today, but also grow unstoppably.
(For Real This Time) This Is a Big Fucking Deal
DAIHard is a turning point in crypto and a breakthrough in decentralized markets, and is an irreversible augmentation of the Ethereum platform. What we've built is a gateway to crypto completely devoid of centralized components--rendering entry and exit to crypto unkillable, flexible, borderless, and private. Centralized exchanges, and the control they impose, can now be bypassed by anyone with Dai and a web3 wallet.
What's New in v0.9.2
There have been many changes made since our first failed launch, but there are two rather important ones: xDai support and reputation tools.
DAIHard is now operational on xDai, a sidechain whose native token (xDai) is pegged to the Dai (and therefore $1). Add the xDai network to your Metamask (or just install Nifty Wallet), then switch to the xDai network in your wallet, to try it out. xDai has some pretty incredible benefits, compared to vanilla Ethereum:
Price: On xDai, a single DAIHard trade costs on the order of $0.01 to run start-to-finish, rather than the accumulated $2.40 (with the best-case-scenario 1gwei gas price) you'll spend on vanilla Ethereum.
Speed: Trade actions mine much faster, and don't require ERC20 'approve' transactions, making the whole process way snappier.
Gas priced in xDai: the main benefit here is that you only need one token (xDai) rather than two (Dai and Eth). Also, it's just nice having the gas cost expressed in (essentially) USD!
We now have a few reputation tools. First, on any open trade, there is a widget showing the number of releases, aborts, and burns the given address has been involved in as that role (buyer or seller). Clicking on this expands the widget to show more detailed information, and also provides a link to a page that lists each trade this user has been or is involved in.
We have tons of ideas on how to improve the product--too many, in fact, to commit to any before we get a good chunk of user feedback. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
A "QuickTrade" page, offering Trade Templates as an alternative to the current Create Offer page.
Big Exciting Features
Bootstrapping people with no DAI via other mechanisms and community outreach.
Partial commits to trades. eg. Place a 10,000 DAI trade and allow it to be picked up in blocks larger than 500 DAI at a time.
More chains, get this thing working on Bitcoin via Rootstock, on Ethereum Classic and Binance Chain.
A lot of the above features will be prioritized more clearly as we get user feedback, and we will be posting fairly frequent updates and articles on our info site. If you don't want to miss anything, note the subscribe widget and sign up!
ABOUT HUOBI : Huobi is a cryptocurrency exchange founded in China in 2013. Currently, Huobi is based in Singapore because this country has friendlier cryptocurrency regulations. The company is registered in Seychelles. Before leaving China due to a cryptocurrency ban, the exchange was responsible for 90% of Bitcoin trading volume in this country. Now Huobi is an international platform with offices located in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States, Japan, and Korea. In China, the company provides blockchain consulting services. Huobi has sub-exchanges: Huobi Korea, Huobi US, etc. Huobi Global is the biggest Huobi exchange. In November 2019 Huobi Global had to shut down all the accounts belonging to the US customers due to strict cryptocurrency regulations of the USA. This exchange is one of the top 50 cryptocurrency exchanges by trade volume. On the Coingecko chart of exchanges, Huobi Global occupies the third position. The exchange has more than 500 markets and supports over 220 cryptocurrencies. As Huobi provides an option to buy cryptocurrency with fiat money, this exchange is a gateway for people who enter the cryptocurrency world . FEATURES : Huobi Global has a really wide range of functions. First off, this exchange provides an opportunity to buy cryptocurrencies with fiat money using a credit card and other payment means. This option is delivered in the over-the-counter trading section (OTC). There is a menu line in the upper part of the website. It begins with "But Crypto". That's where one can see the OTC offerings provided by Huobi. One can buy or sell the following currencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Tether (USDT), EOS, XRP, Litecoin (LTC), Huobi Token (HT), Huobi stablecoin (HUSD), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Please note, that there are not so many offerings especially for certain currencies. Normally there are many options for buying BTC or USDT. The prices and payment methods vary from one trader to another. You can pay with a credit card, some traders accept payments via Western Union, AliPay, and other services. There is a cryptocurrency exchange with hundreds of crypto-to-crypto pairs. The exchange supports market, limit and stop-limit orders. It gives traders some control over the situation and helps to secure the assets from trading in loss to some extent. In general, the exchange interface of Huobi is quite generic. Those who have experience of trading on several other exchanges will find the interface familiar. It has a trading view with a candlestick chart on the left and the list of orders updating in real-time on the right. Under the charts, there is an order history. Under the list of market trades, there is a section where users can place orders. The candlestick chart is powered with numerous analysis tools and indicators. What makes Huobi Global more attractive for traders is the support of margin trading. In all margin trading pairs the currencies are traded against Tether (USDT). There are 6 cryptocurrencies that can be traded with x3 leverage: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), XRP, Ether (ETH), and EOS. Huobi Global is aimed to provide service both to small investors and institutional traders. That's the reason why the platform offers institutional accounts with special opportunities for corporate customers. Among these features, there are colocation options and other tools that provide the opportunity of seamless high-frequency trading. Additionally, institutional accounts can get special OTC loans. One more feature is trading derivatives. Huobi provides two separate interfaces for that purpose: Swap trading and Futures trading platforms on Huobi DM. Moreover, it is possible to participate in IEO trading via the Huobi exchange. This feature requires the use of the Huobi Token. ASSETS AND INSTRUMENTS: As mentioned, there are two types of instruments that you can trade on the Huobi derivatives platform. These are your traditional futures as well as the perpetual swaps or futures. With these instruments, you are trading crypto on margin. This means that they are leveraged and your exposure is often many multiples of the amount that you have put down as collateral. Now that we have a brief understanding of leverage, let’s take a look at the instruments on offer at the Huobi exchange. Futures are instruments that allow the holder to buy or sell some asset in the future. Essentially, you are trading some future price of the instrument on the chose delivery date. In terms of expiry dates, they have weekly, bi-weekly and Quarterly which settle every Friday. In terms of expiry dates, they have weekly, bi-weekly and Quarterly which settle every Friday. When it comes to the specifics of the contract, they differ according to which asset is being traded. You should also take a look into the contract specifics in the Huobi docs. This includes such information as the index reference for the prices as well as your last trading price. The latter can only be done up till 10 minutes before the expiry. Perpetual swaps are leveraged instruments that do not have have a delivery date. They are marked to market everyday and settle 3 times a day. They are sometimes also called “perpetual futures” at other exchanges. The reason that they are called “Swaps” at Huobi Derivatives is because you are swapping the returns of one asset for the returns of another. Here, you are swapping crypto returns for returns on the US dollar. At Huobi DM, the Perpetual swaps have leverage up to 125x and they are written on 5 different assets. These are Bitcoin and Ethereum with other coins to be added soon. HUOBI APPS: Huobi mobile app for iOS and Android are available. Similarly, the Huobi mobile app features most of the functionalities available on the web platform also. You can even complete tasks like account registration and verification directly via the app. In Google Play, the Huobi Global app has an average rating of 4.1 stars out of 3,730 reviews. However, in December 2018 and January 2019, some users have said that the Android app won’t let them login due to an error with Captcha. On the Apple App Store, Huobi boasts an average rating of 4.9 stars out of over 4,800 reviews. API : For those of you who are programmers, you will be happy to learn that Huobi global API can be used on the Futures and Swap markets. There is both a websocket as well as a REST version available. It is suggested that you use the REST for one off operation to trade and withdraw. You should use the websocket for market data & order updates. You should also note that you can be a market maker on through the API. If you want to start using the API then you will to get yourself an API key. This can easily be done in the API management of your account dashboard. Here you can select whether you would like it to be a read-only, Withdraw or Trade. You can also bind an IP address to this API so you can ensure than no other person will use your account even if compromised. HUOBI FEES : Huobi has a 0.2 % fee that applies to both market makers and takers for amounts between $0 and $5,000,000 over the course of a 30-day period. In comparison, other top exchanges like Binance have 0.1 percent fees. Actually, it has a fair trading fees structure and easy to remember also. Meanwhile, GDAX has 0.3 percent fees. In January 2019, Huobi Global launched a tiered fee structure that significantly reduces fees for higher-volume traders. This is relatively competitive when compared to other exchanges. Users also have the option to reduce trading fees on Huobi by becoming a VIP member. This involves paying a monthly payment of HT, which varies depending on the membership level (1-5). Like most exchanges, Huobi has no fees on deposits. However, Huobi does have withdrawal fees minimums that vary from coin-to-coin. For example, withdrawing Bitcoin (BTC) costs 0.001 BTC, with a minimum withdrawal amount of 0.01 BTC. For Tether (USDT), the flat fee is 5 USDT. And the minimum withdrawal amount is 20 USDT. Overall, the meaning- Huobi fees are generally higher than most exchanges for lower withdrawal amounts. A few exceptions exist. For example, TUSD has a withdrawal minimum of $20 but a withdrawal fee of only $2. IS IT TRUSTWORTHY? In contrast to other exchanges, Huobi receives a favorable score. First of all, it is incorporated and operated from Singapore. As we all know crypto regulations are advanced there. And promote blockchain startups always. Second, Huobi does provide users with multiple ways to safeguard their accounts. Although it is not enough. Essentially, 2-factor authentication is available using both SMS and authenticator apps. The platform does not require any special confirmation if the account is logged into from an unfamiliar IP address or location. There is no option to whitelist addresses for asset withdrawal, allowing funds to be sent to any address input. Furthermore, Huobi was never hacked. Even though they do present a lucrative target for attackers. Meaning, Huobi has adopted a decentralized exchange structure, which helps to resist DDOS attacks. And we believe the exchange takes these threats seriously and does everything in their power to protect the exchange from hackers. Also, Huobi does store user funds in cold storage to restrict access to them. Actually, the exchange stores around 98 percent of funds in cold wallets. SUPPORT : Something else that is crucial to the entire trading experience is the level of support that the exchange provides. There is nothing more frustrating than having to wait hours for response from support. When it comes to Huobi, there are actually quite a few options to reach their customer support. Perhaps the quickest and most effective way is through their live chat function. Firstly, they will try to help you with the available resources. If that does not work then you can reach out to a live agent. CONCLUSION: So, in summary. We really liked the Huobi futures products. It is not only highly functional but is also secure and leverags the expertise that the team have at the main Huobi exchange. For the futures instruments, there is a decent range of assets and leverage. Markets are also pretty liquid and these are all traded on a simplistic yet technically able trading platform. It’s also great that you can trade on PC programs and mobile apps as well. When it comes to security, they have taken all of the same precautions that are used on the main exchange. Their 20,000 BTC strong insurance fund keeps them well protected and they have not had a single clawback of trader funds since their inception. Yes, there are areas for improvement but the exchanges is still evolving and building out functionality. One can only hope that they take trader suggestions into account. So then, is it worth considering? Well, if you are looking for a highly functional and secure futures exchange that is backed by one of the biggest names in the business, then it is well worth a try. Huobi Website: https://www.huobi.com/en-us/topic/invited/?invite_code=czdh5 UID: 138138177 Huobi Indian Community: https://t.me/huobiglobalindia Huobi Global Community: https://t.me/huobiglobalofficial
The Convoluted Story of Crypto and Coronavirus (Article; Not a piece of investment advice; Not meant to spread FUD)
Hey, all! The sole purpose of this post is to give an outline of the things happening in crypto during the outbreak of Corona. The article is meant to share information and doesn't support any coin and is not meant to instigate FUD in the community. Please comment your thoughts below and it helps us in delivering better content. Thanks in advance.
The Convoluted Story of Crypto and Coronavirus
The recent Coronavirus outbreak in China has brought businesses to a standstill. It cost hundreds of lives and sent shockwaves to the entire world. On the other hand, the cryptocurrency market witnessed huge gains in early February and took a nose-dive in the last week. These series of events does bug everybody if the epidemic is impacting crypto. In this short post, ChangeHero will reveal what is happening to crypto amid this epidemic. https://preview.redd.it/goqdtfslk9k41.jpg?width=1901&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=dd48e4f3629ec813f1cd3e2d5700470ab1e329e4 The Outbreak According to the World Health Organization Coronovirus disease (COVID-19), was first reported in Wuhan, China on 31 December 2019. A Bloomberg report suggests that there are 82,302 confirmed cases and 2,802 deaths worldwide, but China has been the most affected. In measures to contain the spread, the Chinese government has locked down cities and restricted the free movement of people which made the factories and businesses to shut the doors. The steep in the factory output has taken a toll on the Chinese economy and also threatened the global economy. Industries such as manufacturing, oil and gas, tourism and supply chain suffered the most. In the same vein, crypto is also not immune to this virus. Miners hammered China has a history of crackdowns on cryptocurrencies and exchanges. On the contrary, they are spearheading the blockchain adoption race and working towards digital currency, quickly go through this article for more info about China and cryptocurrencies. Moreover, the top five mining companies — AntPool, BTC.com, BTC.top, F2 Pool and ViaBTC are based in China. These firms control almost 60% of the hash power in the Bitcoin network. Mining farms are the first to be affected by the outbreak and a few representatives of these firms expressed their concerns on Social Media. Many stated that the government has cut off the electricity, supplies and also drove away workers from mining facilities. It reflected in the difficulty of bitcoin mining, a measure which indicates the effort required to solve the math in finding the block. This measure is adjusted once every two weeks and in the last difficulty correction, the measure rose only by 0.52% which is significantly lesser than the previous corrections of 4.67 and 7.08. Mining may soon turn out to be a not so profitable activity, credits to the Bitcoin Halving. Bitcoin will undergo its third halving event somewhere around May and the block reward will be slashed to 6.25 BTC. It leads to tougher and unfavourable economic conditions. To boost their chances of surviving, miners are gearing up with advanced machines. Yet again, China is one of the largest suppliers of the mining equipment. Coronavirus outbreak has also locked up the doors of the factories and the companies have postponed the deliveries. Although there is a significant impact on the crypto mining industry in China, Bitcoin hash rate has seen a negligible change. Community reflex To restrain the spread of the virus, the Chinese government has halted the distribution of Yuan worth almost a Billion Dollars. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index and other traditional markets have also recorded their worst performances due to the epidemic. Crypto community was quick to react and hinted that digital currency can fix this. Big names in the crypto sphere like Binance and Tron have also pledged support to the coronavirus victims. Moreover, the epidemic has spread a sense of terror amongst the community and led to the cancellation and postponing of the conferences and public events. Amidst the crisis, CoronaCoin, an ERC-20 token was launched with the ticker NCOV. Though the website states that the token is meant for charity, it’s approach has shocked the crypto community. The cryptocurrency has a total supply equal to the world’s population and the tokens will be burnt every 48 hours, proportionate to the number of casualties. The concept of investors benefitting with the spread of the virus poses serious moral questions on this project. Impact on the crypto Bitcoin kickstarted the new decade with a massive bull run and crossed the ten thousand dollar mark in early February. Many have contributed this to the upcoming halving and some connected it to the coronavirus outbreak. Things didn’t fare well long for crypto and the whole market crashed and lost a whopping 50 Billion Dollars in the last week of February. The epidemic has indeed affected the people and processes behind the crypto industry but it is still unclear if there is a correlation between the coronavirus and the crypto market prices. Nevertheless, the notion of Bitcoin as a safe haven during the crisis still exists but hasn’t been proven yet, at least for now. We hope the crisis will end soon and peace be restored. Until then, all our strength to the effected, families and businesses around. Upvote if you have liked the article and comment to spark a discussion. Follow ChangeHero for more of such articles and updates in crypto. The article was originally published on our Medium profile and reposting it here for more reach. Thanks for understanding.
In order to create an account on BitMEX, users first have to register with the website. Registration only requires an email address, the email address must be a genuine address as users will receive an email to confirm registration in order to verify the account. Once users are registered, there are no trading limits. Traders must be at least 18 years of age to sign up. https://preview.redd.it/0v13qoil3cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e6134bc089c4e352dce10d754dc84ff11a4c7994 However, it should be noted that BitMEX does not accept any US-based traders and will use IP checks to verify that users are not in the US. While some US users have bypassed this with the use of a VPN, it is not recommended that US individuals sign up to the BitMEX service, especially given the fact that alternative exchanges are available to service US customers that function within the US legal framework. How to Use BitMEX BitMEX allows users to trade cryptocurrencies against a number of fiat currencies, namely the US Dollar, the Japanese Yen and the Chinese Yuan. BitMEX allows users to trade a number of different cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Monero, Ripple, Tezos and Zcash. The trading platform on BitMEX is very intuitive and easy to use for those familiar with similar markets. However, it is not for the beginner. The interface does look a little dated when compared to newer exchanges like Binance and Kucoin’s. Once users have signed up to the platform, they should click on Trade, and all the trading instruments will be displayed beneath. Clicking on the particular instrument opens the orderbook, recent trades, and the order slip on the left. The order book shows three columns – the bid value for the underlying asset, the quantity of the order, and the total USD value of all orders, both short and long. The widgets on the trading platform can be changed according to the user’s viewing preferences, allowing users to have full control on what is displayed. It also has a built in feature that provides for TradingView charting. This offers a wide range of charting tool and is considered to be an improvement on many of the offering available from many of its competitors. https://preview.redd.it/fabg1nxo3cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6d939889c3eac15ab1e78ec37a8ccd13fc5e0573 Once trades are made, all orders can be easily viewed in the trading platform interface. There are tabs where users can select their Active Orders, see the Stops that are in place, check the Orders Filled (total or partially) and the trade history. On the Active Orders and Stops tabs, traders can cancel any order, by clicking the “Cancel” button. Users also see all currently open positions, with an analysis if it is in the black or red. BitMEX uses a method called auto-deleveraging which BitMEX uses to ensure that liquidated positions are able to be closed even in a volatile market. Auto-deleveraging means that if a position bankrupts without available liquidity, the positive side of the position deleverages, in order of profitability and leverage, the highest leveraged position first in queue. Traders are always shown where they sit in the auto-deleveraging queue, if such is needed. Although the BitMEX platform is optimized for mobile, it only has an Android app (which is not official). There is no iOS app available at present. However, it is recommended that users use it on the desktop if possible. BitMEX offers a variety of order types for users:
Limit Order (the order is fulfilled if the given price is achieved);
Market Order (the order is executed at current market price);
Stop Limit Order (like a stop order, but allows users to set the price of the Order once the Stop Price is triggered);
Stop Market Order (this is a stop order that does not enter the order book, remain unseen until the market reaches the trigger);
Trailing Stop Order (it is similar to a Stop Market order, but here users set a trailing value that is used to place the market order);
Take Profit Limit Order (this can be used, similarly to a Stop Order, to set a target price on a position. In this case, it is in respect of making gains, rather than cutting losses);
Take Profit Market Order (same as the previous type, but in this case, the order triggered will be a market order, and not a limit one)
The exchange offers margin trading in all of the cryptocurrencies displayed on the website. It also offers to trade with futures and derivatives – swaps.
Futures and Swaps
A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a given asset in the future at a predetermined price. On BitMEX, users can leverage up to 100x on certain contracts. Perpetual swaps are similar to futures, except that there is no expiry date for them and no settlement. Additionally, they trade close to the underlying reference Index Price, unlike futures, which may diverge substantially from the Index Price. BitMEX also offers Binary series contracts, which are prediction-based contracts which can only settle at either 0 or 100. In essence, the Binary series contracts are a more complicated way of making a bet on a given event. The only Binary series betting instrument currently available is related to the next 1mb block on the Bitcoin blockchain. Binary series contracts are traded with no leverage, a 0% maker fee, a 0.25% taker fee and 0.25% settlement fee.
BitMEX allows its traders to leverage their position on the platform. Leverage is the ability to place orders that are bigger than the users’ existing balance. This could lead to a higher profit in comparison when placing an order with only the wallet balance. Trading in such conditions is called “Margin Trading.” There are two types of Margin Trading: Isolated and Cross-Margin. The former allows the user to select the amount of money in their wallet that should be used to hold their position after an order is placed. However, the latter provides that all of the money in the users’ wallet can be used to hold their position, and therefore should be treated with extreme caution. https://preview.redd.it/eg4qk9qr3cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c3ca8cdf654330ce53e8138d774e72155acf0e7e The BitMEX platform allows users to set their leverage level by using the leverage slider. A maximum leverage of 1:100 is available (on Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash). This is quite a high level of leverage for cryptocurrencies, with the average offered by other exchanges rarely exceeding 1:20.
BitMEX does not charge fees on deposits or withdrawals. However, when withdrawing Bitcoin, the minimum Network fee is based on blockchain load. The only costs therefore are those of the banks or the cryptocurrency networks. As noted previously, BitMEX only accepts deposits in Bitcoin and therefore Bitcoin serves as collateral on trading contracts, regardless of whether or not the trade involves Bitcoin. The minimum deposit is 0.001 BTC. There are no limits on withdrawals, but withdrawals can also be in Bitcoin only. To make a withdrawal, all that users need to do is insert the amount to withdraw and the wallet address to complete the transfer. https://preview.redd.it/xj1kbuew3cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=68056f2247001c63e89c880cfbb75b2f3616e8fe Deposits can be made 24/7 but withdrawals are processed by hand at a recurring time once per day. The hand processed withdrawals are intended to increase the security levels of users’ funds by providing extra time (and email notice) to cancel any fraudulent withdrawal requests, as well as bypassing the use of automated systems & hot wallets which may be more prone to compromise.
BitMEX operates as a crypto to crypto exchange and makes use of a Bitcoin-in/Bitcoin-out structure. Therefore, platform users are currently unable to use fiat currencies for any payments or transfers, however, a plus side of this is that there are no limits for trading and the exchange incorporates trading pairs linked to the US Dollar (XBT), Japanese Yen (XBJ), and Chinese Yuan (XBC). BitMEX supports the following cryptocurrencies:
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
Ripple Token (XRP)
EOS Token (EOS)
BitMEX also offers leverage options on the following coins:
5x: Zcash (ZEC)
20x : Ripple (XRP),Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Cardano (ADA), EOS Token (EOS), Tron (TRX)
HDR Global Trading, the company which owns BitMEX, has recently announced a partnership with Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), a leading international high-performance trading software provider. The TT platform is designed specifically for professional traders, brokers, and market-access providers, and incorporates a wide variety of trading tools and analytical indicators that allow even the most advanced traders to customize the software to suit their unique trading styles. The TT platform also provides traders with global market access and trade execution through its privately managed infrastructure and the partnership will see BitMEX users gaining access to the trading tools on all BitMEX products, including the popular XBT/USD Perpetual Swap pairing. https://preview.redd.it/qcqunaby3cc41.png?width=672&format=png&auto=webp&s=b77b45ac2b44a9af30a4985e3d9dbafc9bbdb77c
The BitMEX Insurance Fund
The ability to trade on leverage is one of the exchange’s main selling points and offering leverage and providing the opportunity for traders to trade against each other may result in a situation where the winners do not receive all of their expected profits. As a result of the amounts of leverage involved, it’s possible that the losers may not have enough margin in their positions to pay the winners. Traditional exchanges like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offset this problem by utilizing multiple layers of protection and cryptocurrency trading platforms offering leverage cannot currently match the levels of protection provided to winning traders. In addition, cryptocurrency exchanges offering leveraged trades propose a capped downside and unlimited upside on a highly volatile asset with the caveat being that on occasion, there may not be enough funds in the system to pay out the winners. To help solve this problem, BitMEX has developed an insurance fund system, and when a trader has an open leveraged position, their position is forcefully closed or liquidated when their maintenance margin is too low. Here, a trader’s profit and loss does not reflect the actual price their position was closed on the market, and with BitMEX when a trader is liquidated, their equity associated with the position drops down to zero. In the following example, the trader has taken a 100x long position. In the event that the mark price of Bitcoin falls to $3,980 (by 0.5%), then the position gets liquidated with the 100 Bitcoin position needing to be sold on the market. This means that it does not matter what price this trade executes at, namely if it’s $3,995 or $3,000, as from the view of the liquidated trader, regardless of the price, they lose all the equity they had in their position, and lose the entire one Bitcoin. https://preview.redd.it/wel3rka04cc41.png?width=669&format=png&auto=webp&s=3f93dac2d3b40aa842d281384113d2e26f25947e Assuming there is a fully liquid market, the bid/ask spread should be tighter than the maintenance margin. Here, liquidations manifest as contributions to the insurance fund (e.g. if the maintenance margin is 50bps, but the market is 1bp wide), and the insurance fund should rise by close to the same amount as the maintenance margin when a position is liquidated. In this scenario, as long as healthy liquid markets persist, the insurance fund should continue its steady growth. The following graphs further illustrate the example, and in the first chart, market conditions are healthy with a narrow bid/ask spread (just $2) at the time of liquidation. Here, the closing trade occurs at a higher price than the bankruptcy price (the price where the margin balance is zero) and the insurance fund benefits. Illustrative example of an insurance contribution – Long 100x with 1 BTC collateral https://preview.redd.it/is89ep924cc41.png?width=699&format=png&auto=webp&s=f0419c68fe88703e594c121b5b742c963c7e2229 (Note: The above illustration is based on opening a 100x long position at $4,000 per BTC and 1 Bitcoin of collateral. The illustration is an oversimplification and ignores factors such as fees and other adjustments. The bid and offer prices represent the state of the order book at the time of liquidation. The closing trade price is $3,978, representing $1 of slippage compared to the $3,979 bid price at the time of liquidation.) The second chart shows a wide bid/ask spread at the time of liquidation, here, the closing trade takes place at a lower price than the bankruptcy price, and the insurance fund is used to make sure that winning traders receive their expected profits. This works to stabilize the potential for returns as there is no guarantee that healthy market conditions can continue, especially during periods of heightened price volatility. During these periods, it’s actually possible that the insurance fund can be used up than it is built up. Illustrative example of an insurance depletion – Long 100x with 1 BTC collateral https://preview.redd.it/vb4mj3n54cc41.png?width=707&format=png&auto=webp&s=0c63b7c99ae1c114d8e3b947fb490e9144dfe61b (Notes: The above illustration is based on opening a 100x long position at $4,000 per BTC and 1 Bitcoin of collateral. The illustration is an oversimplification and ignores factors such as fees and other adjustments. The bid and offer prices represent the state of the order book at the time of liquidation. The closing trade price is $3,800, representing $20 of slippage compared to the $3,820 bid price at the time of liquidation.) The exchange declared in February 2019, that the BitMEX insurance fund retained close to 21,000 Bitcoin (around $70 million based on Bitcoin spot prices at the time). This figure represents just 0.007% of BitMEX’s notional annual trading volume, which has been quoted as being approximately $1 trillion. This is higher than the insurance funds as a proportion of trading volume of the CME, and therefore, winning traders on BitMEX are exposed to much larger risks than CME traders as:
BitMEX does not have clearing members with large balance sheets and traders are directly exposed to each other.
BitMEX does not demand payments from traders with negative account balances.
The underlying instruments on BitMEX are more volatile than the more traditional instruments available on CME.
Therefore, with the insurance fund remaining capitalized, the system effectively with participants who get liquidated paying for liquidations, or a losers pay for losers mechanism. This system may appear controversial as first, though some may argue that there is a degree of uniformity to it. It’s also worth noting that the exchange also makes use of Auto Deleveraging which means that on occasion, leveraged positions in profit can still be reduced during certain time periods if a liquidated order cannot be executed in the market. More adventurous traders should note that while the insurance fund holds 21,000 Bitcoin, worth approximately 0.1% of the total Bitcoin supply, BitMEX still doesn’t offer the same level of guarantees to winning traders that are provided by more traditional leveraged trading platforms. Given the inherent volatility of the cryptocurrency market, there remains some possibility that the fund gets drained down to zero despite its current size. This may result in more successful traders lacking confidence in the platform and choosing to limit their exposure in the event of BitMEX being unable to compensate winning traders.
How suitable is BitMEX for Beginners?
BitMEX generates high Bitcoin trading levels, and also attracts good levels of volume across other crypto-to-crypto transfers. This helps to maintain a buzz around the exchange, and BitMEX also employs relatively low trading fees, and is available round the world (except to US inhabitants). This helps to attract the attention of people new to the process of trading on leverage and when getting started on the platform there are 5 main navigation Tabs to get used to:
**Trade:**The trading dashboard of BitMEX. This tab allows you to select your preferred trading instrument, and choose leverage, as well as place and cancel orders. You can also see your position information and view key information in the contract details.
**Account:**Here, all your account information is displayed including available Bitcoin margin balances, deposits and withdrawals, and trade history.
**Contracts:**This tab covers further instrument information including funding history, contract sizes; leverage offered expiry, underlying reference Price Index data, and other key features.
**References:**This resource centre allows you to learn about futures, perpetual contracts, position marking, and liquidation.
**API:**From here you can set up an API connection with BitMEX, and utilize the REST API and WebSocket API.
BitMEX also employs 24/7 customer support and the team can also be contacted on their Twitter and Reddit accounts. In addition, BitMEX provides a variety of educational resources including an FAQ section, Futures guides, Perpetual Contracts guides, and further resources in the “References” account tab. For users looking for more in depth analysis, the BitMEX blog produces high level descriptions of a number of subjects and has garnered a good reputation among the cryptocurrency community. Most importantly, the exchange also maintains a testnet platform, built on top of testnet Bitcoin, which allows anyone to try out programs and strategies before moving on to the live exchange. This is crucial as despite the wealth of resources available, BitMEX is not really suitable for beginners, and margin trading, futures contracts and swaps are best left to experienced, professional or institutional traders. Margin trading and choosing to engage in leveraged activity are risky processes and even more advanced traders can describe the process as a high risk and high reward “game”. New entrants to the sector should spend a considerable amount of time learning about margin trading and testing out strategies before considering whether to open a live account.
Is BitMEX Safe?
BitMEX is widely considered to have strong levels of security. The platform uses multi-signature deposits and withdrawal schemes which can only be used by BitMEX partners. BitMEX also utilises Amazon Web Services to protect the servers with text messages and two-factor authentication, as well as hardware tokens. BitMEX also has a system for risk checks, which requires that the sum of all account holdings on the website must be zero. If it’s not, all trading is immediately halted. As noted previously, withdrawals are all individually hand-checked by employees, and private keys are never stored in the cloud. Deposit addresses are externally verified to make sure that they contain matching keys. If they do not, there is an immediate system shutdown. https://preview.redd.it/t04qs3484cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a3b106cbc9116713dcdd5e908c00b555fd704ee6 In addition, the BitMEX trading platform is written in kdb+, a database and toolset popular amongst major banks in high frequency trading applications. The BitMEX engine appears to be faster and more reliable than some of its competitors, such as Poloniex and Bittrex. They have email notifications, and PGP encryption is used for all communication. The exchange hasn’t been hacked in the past.
How Secure is the platform?
As previously mentioned, BitMEX is considered to be a safe exchange and incorporates a number of security protocols that are becoming standard among the sector’s leading exchanges. In addition to making use of Amazon Web Services’ cloud security, all the exchange’s systems can only be accessed after passing through multiple forms of authentication, and individual systems are only able to communicate with each other across approved and monitored channels. Communication is also further secured as the exchange provides optional PGP encryption for all automated emails, and users can insert their PGP public key into the form inside their accounts. Once set up, BitMEX will encrypt and sign all the automated emails sent by you or to your account by the [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) email address. Users can also initiate secure conversations with the support team by using the email address and public key on the Technical Contact, and the team have made their automated system’s PGP key available for verification in their Security Section. The platform’s trading engine is written in kdb+, a database and toolset used by leading financial institutions in high-frequency trading applications, and the speed and reliability of the engine is also used to perform a full risk check after every order placement, trade, settlement, deposit, and withdrawal. All accounts in the system must consistently sum to zero, and if this does not happen then trading on the platform is immediately halted for all users. With regards to wallet security, BitMEX makes use of a multisignature deposit and withdrawal scheme, and all exchange addresses are multisignature by default with all storage being kept offline. Private keys are not stored on any cloud servers and deep cold storage is used for the majority of funds. Furthermore, all deposit addresses sent by the BitMEX system are verified by an external service that works to ensure that they contain the keys controlled by the founders, and in the event that the public keys differ, the system is immediately shut down and trading halted. The exchange’s security practices also see that every withdrawal is audited by hand by a minimum of two employees before being sent out.
BitMEX Customer Support
The trading platform has a 24/7 support on multiple channels, including email, ticket systems and social media. The typical response time from the customer support team is about one hour, and feedback on the customer support generally suggest that the customer service responses are helpful and are not restricted to automated responses. https://preview.redd.it/8k81zl0a4cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e30e5b7ca93d2931f49e2dc84025f2fda386eab1 The BitMEX also offers a knowledge base and FAQs which, although they are not necessarily always helpful, may assist and direct users towards the necessary channels to obtain assistance. BitMEX also offers trading guides which can be accessed here
There would appear to be few complaints online about BitMEX, with most issues relating to technical matters or about the complexities of using the website. Older complaints also appeared to include issues relating to low liquidity, but this no longer appears to be an issue. BitMEX is clearly not a platform that is not intended for the amateur investor. The interface is complex and therefore it can be very difficult for users to get used to the platform and to even navigate the website. However, the platform does provide a wide range of tools and once users have experience of the platform they will appreciate the wide range of information that the platform provides. Visit BitMEX
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