Opinion: China is Pushing Toward Global Blockchain

Two Roads Diverge | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - May 2020

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
This is my forty-second portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal.
Portfolio goal
My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars).
This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent.
Portfolio summary
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $727 917
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 128
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $78 569
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $110 009
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $187 003
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $39 987
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $225 540
Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 726
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 741
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 652
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $117 714
Secured physical gold – $18 982
Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $11 395
Bitcoin – $159 470
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 357
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 492
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 477
Total portfolio value: $1 757 159 (+$62 325 or 3.7%)
Asset allocation
Australian shares – 41.4% (3.6% under)
Global shares – 22.2%
Emerging markets shares – 2.3%
International small companies – 3.0%
Total international shares – 27.4% (2.6% under)
Total shares – 68.8% (6.2% under)
Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over)
Australian bonds – 4.4%
International bonds – 9.7%
Total bonds – 14.1% (0.9% under)
Gold – 7.8%
Bitcoin – 9.1%
Gold and alternatives – 16.9% (6.9% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
[Chart]
Comments
This month featured a further recovery in the overall portfolio, continuing to effectively reduce the size of the large losses across the first quarter.
The portfolio has increased by around $62 000, leading to a portfolio growth of 3.7 per cent. This means that around half of the large recent falls have been made up, and the portfolio sits around levels last reached in October of last year.
[Chart]
Leading the portfolio growth has been increases in Australian shares - particularly those held through the Betashares A200 and Vanguard VAS exchange traded funds, with both gaining over four per cent. Most other holdings remained steady, or fell slightly.
Markets appear to be almost entirely disconnected from the daily announcements of the sharp effects of the global coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions. Bond and equity markets seem to have different and competing expectations for the future, and equity markets - at best - are apparently intent on looking through the immediate recovery phase to a new period of strong expansion.
[Chart]
On some metrics, both major global and Australian equity markets can be viewed as quite expensive, especially as reduced dividends announced have largely yet to be delivered. Yet if historically low bond yields are considered, it can be argued that some heightening compared to historical equity market valuations may be sustainable.
Reflecting this moment of markets holding their breath before one of two possible futures plays out, gold and Bitcoin remain elevated, and consequently above their target weightings.
Perhaps the same contending forces are in evidence in a recent Australian Securities and Investment Commission study (pdf) which has found that average Australian retail investors have reacted to uncertainty by activating old brokerage accounts, trading more frequently, and holding securities for shorter periods. My own market activity has been limited to purchases of Vanguard Australian shares ETF (VAS) and the international share ETF (VGS), to bring the portfolio closer to its target allocations.
Will Australia continue to be lucky through global slow downs?
Despite this burst of market activity in the retail market, it is unclear how Australian markets and equities will perform against the background of a global economic slowdown. A frequently heard argument is that a small open trade exposed commodities provider such as Australia, with a more narrowly-based economy, may perform poorly in a phase of heightened risk.
This recent Bank of England paper (pdf) makes the intriguing suggestion that this argument is not borne out by the historical record. In fact, the paper finds that industrial production in Australia, China and a mere handful of other economies has tended to increase following global risk shocks.
A question remaining, however, is whether the recovery from this 'risk shock' may have different characteristics and impacts than similar past events. One key question may be the exact form of government fiscal and monetary responses adopted. Another is whether inflation or deflation is the likely pathway - an unknown which itself may rely on whether long-term trends in the velocity of money supply continue, or are broken.
Facing all uncertainties, attention should be on tail risks - and minimising the odds of extreme negative scenarios. The case for this is laid out in this moving reflection by Morgan Housel. For this reason, I am satisfied that my Ratesetter Peer-to-Peer loans have been gradually maturing, reducing some 'tail risk' credit exposures in what could be a testing phase for borrowers through new non-bank lending channels in Australia. With accrued interest of over $13 000, at rates of around 9 per cent on average, over the five years of the investment, the loans have performed relatively well.
A temporary sheltering port - spending continues to decline
This month spending has continued to fall even as lockdown and other restrictions have slowly begun to ease. These extraordinary events have pushed even the smoothed average of three year expenditure down.
[Chart]
On a monthly basis credit card spending and total expenses have hit the lowest levels in more than six years. Apparently, average savings rates are up across many economies, though obviously individual experiences and starting points can differ dramatically.
Total estimated monthly expenditure has also fallen below current estimates of distributions for the first time since a period of exceptionally high distributions across financial year 2017-18.
The result of this is that I am briefly and surprisingly, for this month, notionally financially independent based on assumed distributions from the FIRE portfolio alone - at least until more normal patterns of expenditure are resumed.
Following the lines of drift - a longer view on progress made
Yet taking a longer view - and accounting for the final portfolio goal set - gives a different perspective. This is of a journey reaching toward, but not at, an end.
The chart below traces in purely nominal dollar terms the progress of the total portfolio value as a percentage of the current portfolio goal of $2.18 million over the last 13 years.
It also shows three labels, with the percentage progress at the inception of detailed portfolio data in 2007, at the start of this written record in January 2017, and as at January 1 of this year.
[Chart]
Two trend lines are shown - one a polynomial and the other exponential function - and they are extended to include a projection of future progress out to around 18 months.
The line of fit is close for the early part of the journey, but larger divergences from both trend lines are evident in the past two years as the impact of variable investment returns on a larger portfolio takes hold.
There are some modest inaccuracies introduced by the nominal methodology adopted - such as somewhat discounting early progress. A 2007 dollar had greater 'real' value and significance than is assigned to it by this representation. The chart does demonstrate, however, the approximate shape and length of the early journey - with it taking around 5 years to reach 20 per cent of the target, and 10 years to reach around half way.
Progress
Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below.
Measure Portfolio All Assets
Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 80.6% 108.4%
Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 98.3% 132.3%
Total expenses – $89 000 pa 78.8% 106.0%
Summary
With aspects of daily life slowly and incrementally adjusting to a 'new normal', the longer-term question for the portfolio remains around how markets and government actions interact in a recovery phase.
The progress of the portfolio over the past 13 years has seemed, when viewed from afar as in chart above, predictable, and almost inevitable. Through the years it has felt anything but so smoothly linear. Rather, tides and waves have pushed and pulled, in turn stalling progress, or pushing it further ahead than hopes have dared.
It is possible that what lays ahead is a simple 'return leg', or more of the same. That through simple extrapolation around 80 per cent of the challenges already lay behind. Yet that is not the set of mind that I approach the remainder of the journey with. Rather, the shortness of the distance to travel has lent an extra focus on those larger, lower probability, events that could delay the journey or push it off-course. Those 'third' risks types of tail risks which Morgan Housel points out.
In one sense the portfolio allocation aims to deal - in a probabilistic way - with the multiple futures that could occur.
Viewed in this way, a gold allocation (and also Bitcoin) represents a long option on an extreme state of the economic world arising - as it did in the early 1980s. The 75 per cent target allocation to equities can be viewed as a high level of assurance around a 'base case' that human ingenuity and innovation will continue to create value over the long term.
The bond portfolio, similarly, can be seen as assigning a 15 per cent probability that both of these hypotheses are incorrect, and that further market falls and possible deflation are ahead. That perhaps even an experience akin to the lengthy, socially dislocating, post-bubble phase in Japan presided over by its central bank lays in store.
In other interesting media consumed this month, 'Fire and Chill', the brand new podcast collaboration between Pat the Shuffler and Strong Money Australia got off to an enjoyable start, tackling 'Why Bother with FIRE' and other topics.
Additionally, investment company Incrementum has just published the latest In Gold We Trust report, which gives an arrestingly different perspective on potential market and policy directions from traditional financial sources.
The detailed report questions the role and effectiveness of traditionally 'risk-free' assets like government bonds in the types of futures that could emerge. On first reading, the scenarios it contains appear atypical and beyond the reasonable contemplation of many investors - until it is recalled that up to a few years ago no mainstream economics textbook would have entertained the potential for persistent negative interest rates.
As the paths to different futures diverge, drawing on the wisdom of others to help look as far as possible into the bends in the undergrowth ahead becomes the safest choice.
The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
submitted by thefiexpl to fiaustralia [link] [comments]

The importance of Fungibility, your future = your choice.

I took notice that there are more and more people interested in crypto and I would like to make them realize that this is a technology that can save us all or enslave us all. Or at least make some people think about fungibility and it’s importance in this “new world” they are being introduced to.
Short example posted above TLDR
First off, what is fungibility?
Taken from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fungibility.asp
If Person A lends Person B a $50 bill, it does not matter to Person A if he is repaid with a different $50 bill, as it is mutually substitutable. In the same sense, Person A can be repaid with two $20 bills and one $10 bill and still be satisfied, since the total equals $50. Conversely, as an example of non-fungibility, if Person A lends Person B his car, it is not acceptable for Person B to return a different car, even if it is the same make and model as the original car lent by Person A. Cars are not fungible with respect to ownership, but the gasoline that powers the cars is fungible.
Hypothetical question:
You have money to buy one Bitcoin and are confronted with two options:
1) You buy it from a regulated reputable exchange. 2) You buy it from your friend who got it as payment from a recent extortion. 
Immediately you are faced with two fundamental problems:
1) Clean BTC should actually be more valuable then dirty BTC, since you would obviously want the BTC that can not be backtraced to any criminal activity. (Note that what China defines as criminal activities for instance may not be the case in another country) 2) BTC could be confiscated at any point in time since it’s origin can be traced, even when it hasn’t been blacklisted straight away. You could be facing serious consequences. 
We see this already today, addresses that hold coins related to criminal activities are closely being monitored. When they move, it gets noticed and all eyes are on them.
https://news.bitcoin.com/bitcoin-worth-282k-from-the-2016-bitfinex-hack-on-the-move/
If you buy OTC or through DEXes how will you know that your BTC is clean?
This is not a post to tell you criminals should get away with their activities because they shouldn’t, i’m trying to explain that you should never be in any position where your money can be confiscated because it suddenly gets tied to those activities. Your money being confiscated could actually be the least of your problems in such a situation anyway. Think about how easy it becomes to imprison someone that your government doesn’t like.
I’m sure the governments would love to fade out regular cash though, because obviously they can just block your account and take away your basic rights. It happens already to people all over the world who use digital money services like PayPall for instance. https://www.elliott.org/blog/banned-from-palpal-account-limitations/
For people like Snowden, or for Wikileaks bitcoin was their solution at that time. Today, there are better alternatives and everyone should think carefully about what world they want to live in.
To bitcoins defense, there are certain things you can do to make your transactions more private. Bitcoin mixing is a thing. Bitcoin's Lightning Network is expected to give users the option to make transactions that will not be recorded on the blockchain.
Optional privacy raises eyebrows though, authorities could be knocking on your door asking you why you made an optional private transaction. Privacy by default is what we need in the future we see in front of us.
You can find tons of information about deanonymization. This is something that China can “easily“ accomplish.
This is taken from here https://blockchain.princeton.edu/papers/2018-10-ben-kaiser.pdf
Deanonymization: Bitcoin is designed to preserve the pseudonymity of its users, meaning that their real-world identity cannot be linked to a Bitcoin address they have used to transact. However, in practice there are complications that make deanonymization attacks possible. China might seek to deanonymize users for two reasons. First, they may wish to enforce laws and regulations; for example, enforcing capital flight restrictions by identifying users purchasing foreign goods or exchanging Bitcoin into foreign currencies. They might also use a deanonymization attack for ideological (or political) ends: to publicly reveal malfeasance by subversives or political opponents or simply to demonstrate the superiority of centralized control as an ideology and discourage enthusiasm for decentralized systems. We identify four attacks that China could use to deanonymize specific users. First, they could use known research techniques to (a) heuristically cluster pseudonymous identities (e.g., connect multiple addresses to the same user) [31,44]. The simplest example of such a heuristic is to cluster addresses that appear as multiple inputs to the same transaction, as they presumably belong to the same user. The only required capabilities are access to the blockchain and marginal compute power to run the analytics, so these attacks are not unique to China; virtually anyone could commit them. Where China has an advantage over typical adversaries is in linking these pseudonyms to IP addresses. One approach would be to covertly (b) monitor Bitcoin network traffic and identify which IP addresses transactions originate from [4,27]. Because Bitcoin traffic is unencrypted, this can be done through deep packet inspection (DPI). China could also use (c) coercion or regulation to covertly compel service providers that deal in Bitcoin, such as merchants or exchanges, to identify their users. Further, it has been shown that when Bitcoin is used for online purchases, enough information is leaked to web trackers that they can uniquely identify the transaction on the blockchain and link it to any identifying information provided by the purchaser [21]. China could covertly (d) intercept this tracking information over the Internet (using DPI) to perform the same attack, compel domestic tracking companies to provide the information (also covertly), or inject their own trackers into Internet traffic to collect similar information themselves. Tracker injection could be detected by anyone specifically monitoring Internet traffic for such attacks, so we note that it would be overt. Finally, China could target users directly using (e) coercion or regulation to compel them to deanonymize themselves or their transaction partners. Again, as long as targets are compelled to keep quiet about orders to reveal information, this attack is covert.
For fungible coins these deanonymization attacks are probably not impossible but a hell of a lot harder.
Just to clarify i am not an expert on the matter. I just feel that to few people are aware about the importance and hope this post maybe sparkle some interesting opinions and conversations along the way.
If you made it this far I applaud you :-), now check how much balance this guy has in his wallet and see how much he earns every month :D
https://moneroblocks.info/search/4AdUndXHHZ6cfufTMvppY6JwXNouMBzSkbLYfpAV5Usx3skxNgYeYTRj5UzqtReoS44qo9mtmXCqY45DJ852K5Jv2684Rge
Example:
Imagine you want to buy a CAR, and your friend needs to sell his CAR. You did some digging in the market to find an agreement on the price and proceed with the transfer. It happens OTC because there is no need for a middleman, it’s your buddy right?! (For clarity, you both sign a contract to change ownership) You are super excited with your new cool ass CAR, never had one before :-) do some drinking and have an accident. You turn up in the hospital and while you pay for your way out you get arrested. Apparently the CAR was stolen and used in a kidnapping affair.
1st point: A lot of people can buy CARs, and since the CAR owners/transactions are all stored somewhere on a ledger... do you think the authorities will let you keep that CAR when they find out it was stolen or maybe something worse?
2nd point: a CAR is a non fungible asset, meaning that you can trace past owners/origin and could end up with a CAR that should actually be worth A LOT less than what you paid for (because it was obviously dirty)
Now go back to the beginning of the example and switch CAR with BTC, then you will know why fungibility matters.
TLDR; to fungible or not to fungible, that is the question and the answer will either save us all or enslave us all.
Edit: added short example
submitted by zwarbo to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

From Conspiracy to Fact: An analysis of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Information Control, and the New World Order (Appendix includes hundreds of citations) - PART 1

UPDATE: This article is now available as a printable PDF with embedded hyperlinks for navigation through sources. This link will be valid thru July 9: https://ufile.io/4mpkg4x6

PLEASE NOTE: This article may be updated periodically with new information and links as they become available. All referenced information and a whole lot more is indexed and linked in the related appendix posts. Please feel free to crosspost, share, and take from my ideas to build your own. Namaste.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Appendix A | Appendix B

Hello. My name is Chris. I am nobody, really. An average citizen. I am an overweight 42 year old white male from the Midwestern suburbs of the US who has been fortunate enough to live a pretty comfortable life. I used to be a freelance graphic designer with a focus on small businesses, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that that career and part of my life is more than likely over in light of current events. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
I've always been concerned about social injustice and tried to stay politically informed, even dabbling in some activism here and there. At times I've stepped away from paying attention for my own mental health, or due to laziness, defeatism, whatever. But I've never stopped caring, or trying, to fight the good fight and do the right thing.
The news recently has of course swept us all up, and touched all our lives in some way or another. The world has never seen anything like the "Coronavirus Pandemic," and it's clear that our society will be changed forever when we finally come out the other end of this mess. But I've had the luxury of time recently, and in reading the news about things that were going on, I couldn't help but notice the patterns, and that a lot of stuff didn't exactly make sense.
So, here we go, with the "conspiracy theory."
I hate that term, because although it's technically accurate, it's been demonized and weaponized by the media and society at large to take on a bad connotation. Tinfoil hats, alien abductions, crazy people muttering to themselves, etc. You've no doubt got a lot of images in your mind of a conspiracy theorist.
And make no mistake, what I'm going to tell you here is all currently very popular conspiracy theory. However, I think that by removing opinions and conjecture from it, and focusing on facts and things that have already happened, I can present this huge amount of overwhelming, disparate information in a way that makes it less a "theory" and more a "research project." And so that is how I have approached this.
I have spent the last week doing little else besides reading every news and opinion article I could find, saving and organizing hundreds of links, and assembling a coherent, logical outline to organize and present these theories, and more importantly, facts. There are a lot of less-than-reputable sites and publications out there, and I have tried when at all possible to provide sources from verifiable news sites, with a wide range of slants and focuses, to illustrate that what is happening is not part of any one particular political agenda.
I hope that you take the time to check the links, really look into the information presented here, and form your own opinions. Please do not just take my word for it. To that end, there are also a few links mixed in that are labeled as having come from conspiracy. These are well-written and well-reasoned posts from other concerned citizens that I think are worth reading, and relevant to the discussion here.
One last thing - If you are new to most of these ideas, the information presented here is more than likely going to seem overwhelming at first. I encourage you now, and always, to take mental health breaks for yourself, and put down your phone or turn off your computer. The information will be here when you come back. And as you'll soon understand, what is happening is an unstoppable tide, truly a force of nature at this point, and there is nothing you can do to fight it, so try your hardest to relax, put on some chill music, hug your dog, and most of all...
BREATHE.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
If you start researching conspiracy theory, you're going to find a lot of information. Some much better or worse presented than others, and some much more plausible or unbelievable than others. Despite the seeming ridiculousness of some things you might read, I encourage you to always approach new information with an open mind.
That said though, I have one main principle that guides all my beliefs about conspiracy theories, and that is the "Filter of Likelihood." Essentially, you have to ask yourself how possible, how likely, and how feasible a piece of information is. Furthermore, you need to ask yourself what the motivation would be. In many cases, it's quite easy to see how something makes a lot of sense based on other known info, whereas some theories seem rather implausible no matter how you look at it.
I am interested only in the plausible, and where possible, the already actualized. Additionally, there's a lot to be said, and a lot that has already been written on many of these topics, so I will focus on current events and simple concepts.
I will also ask you to open your mind to possibility. Please consider this as you evaluate new information:
  1. Do you believe there are things going on in the world that you don't know about yet?
  2. Do you believe that there is technology and science you've never heard of?
  3. Do you believe that society is progressing at an increasing rate?
  4. Do you believe that as populations grow, we require new societal strategies?
  5. Do you believe that those with power and money want to retain their power and money?
Of course you believe all these things, and none of these are wild or unusual concepts. Rather, these are very basic concepts that apply to everyone, and always have. They are all part of our shared human experience, and undeniable facts of life. Populations grow, societies evolve, technology advances, and the world changes. And most important to our discussion here, people, families, and empires constantly jockey for power and control, while fighting for resources, power, fame, and...
MONEY.
We all hate TicketMaster, right? Who do they think they are, what the hell is this bullshit "service fee," etc. It's something everyone can get behind. But did you know that TicketMaster willingly cultivates that image? That venues, teams, and artists, in their pursuit of more money, raise fees and then let TicketMaster be the bad guy and take the heat so their reputations remain intact?
There are many more people, organizations, and other entities in the world playing that same role for those who really have the money, who really call the shots. And those who call the shots work very hard and spend absolutely unfathomable amounts of money, time, and blood, to make sure that you don't ever realize who's actually taking your money.
They do this in the simplest, easiest way. If you simply control information from the top down, and disseminate it when and where you see fit, you can effect great societal change without lifting a finger.
Please imagine... really, try to imagine... You just read an article, saw a video, whatever, from a very, very reputable source. And it just informed you that an asteroid was 83% likely to impact the Earth next month. What would you do? What would happen in the world?
Hopefully an asteroid will not hit next month, but it's important to really imagine what would happen and why, and how. Because a huge amount of information would be generated and published, people would panic, society would crumble, and the world as you know it would change forever in an instant, the moment you read that headline.
Control of information is one of the most powerful tools known to mankind today. A person living in 2020 can easily encounter as much information in a day as someone in Medieval times might have encountered in a lifetime. And it comes at you from all angles, in all forms, non-stop, 24/7. Much like the water in the pipe, the information is always there, and one needs but turn it on.
Disseminating the information then becomes a practice all its own, and to be sure, information processing accounts for more than half of the US GDP. And the rate at which it's spread, and way it is handled makes a huge difference in the societal repercussions. So a few different techniques are used:
It might be the greatest understatement of all time to say that there has been a lot of information passed around about COVID-19, the "Coronavirus," recently. In fact, there has never been anything like what we are currently experiencing in all of human history, and not by a long shot. And this unprecedented turn of events has caused a lot of people to react in a lot of ways, and say and do a lot of things, for better or for worse.
Full disclosure: In particular, if you look up conspiracy theory, you'll see a lot of stuff suggesting that the "Coronavirus is a hoax." (You'll also find a lot of poorly-written rambling) I want to be clear that I DO NOT believe that. I am 100% sure that there is a Coronavirus, that it is making people sick, that a lot of people are dying, and that our medical professionals and many other undervalued workers are overwhelmed, and breaking their backs every day to do their best to keep their friends, families, and loved ones safe. I am extraordinarily grateful for them and admire the resolve and bravery that so many have shown in the face of this disaster. I do not think it is a hoax at all.
However, I think that literally everything else that is happening surrounding the "pandemic" is.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Pandemic
In the first week of January this year, I got sick. Really sick. I know when I got it and who I got it from, and honestly the exact moment I got it (I only was in proximity of the dude for a few minutes). He had warned me that he was really sick, and I blew it off. I started feeling sick a day or two later, and a day or two after that I felt like I was dying. Fever, chills, aches, extraordinary fatigue. And literal, nonstop, 24/7 coughing. I had every single symptom of what we now know as COVID-19. I commented to anyone who would listen that I didn't recall ever feeling that sick before in my entire life. The most memorable part of it though was that after a couple days, I completely lost my sense of smell and taste. Joked a lot about how you could feed me onions and soap cause I'd have no idea. I try to have a good attitude about being sick.
I spent a week sleeping on the couch before I finally went to the doctor. She gave me a Prednisolone steroid pack (which has worked well for me in the past), some Trazodone to knock me out, and Benzonatotate for my cough. As soon as I took the first dose of steroids I started to feel pretty fucking great, and it was more or less a non-issue after that.
I spoke to a lot of people about it then and after, and man, I can't tell you how many stories I personally heard from people I know that said the exact same thing. Then I started reading the same story over and over again on Reddit:
We didn't start really hearing about the Coronavirus in the media until the beginning of March, and we didn't hear about the "Pandemic" until just a couple weeks ago. And what a couple weeks it's been since then. But I am quite certain that it's been around for a lot longer and that I, and a lot of other people I know, had it - and DID NOT DIE FROM IT - way back in January.
We now know that the first documented case in the US was on January 19th, but that word "documented" is so, so important here. That means that we had identified the virus, developed a test, and tested a person with the symptoms that day. It does NOT mean that was when the virus reached the United States. How sick do you have to be before you take a day off work? Before you go to the doctor? With America's healthcare system or lack thereof, it's almost certain that many people had this virus before we determined what it was, and how infectious it really was.
There is also the matter of the statistics of severity vs the regular flu. This is a highly contentious topic and I am no medical expert, and do not wish to make any assertions. However, what I can tell you from my personal experience is this: I had a horrible "flu" in January, got basic medicine, got better. So, either I had the flu, or perhaps I did indeed have the Coronavirus.
We will never know because I was never tested. But the important thing is that it doesn't matter. Either I (and many others) had the Coronavirus and it did not kill us (calling into question the severity of the infection) or we just had a bad cold or flu, but it had the exact same symptoms as COVID-19 (calling into question the extent of Coronavirus diagnoses). But logically, one of those two statements is true.
Furthermore, the data keeps changing, and I don't mean increasing on a daily basis. I mean up and down, back and forth, it is deadly or maybe it isn't, etc. On January 14 the WHO told you it couldn't spread from human to human. But then on Jan 19 we saw the first case of Coronavirus in the United States. Then it turns out that the Wuhan market outbreak began earlier in December. And then it's an "epidemic," but most people will only get mild symptoms. What are you supposed to believe? And it sure does seem to come at you as a firehose, and it's hard to even think about anything because OHMYGODTHECORONAVIRUS!
But let's stop and look a couple basic facts. As a matter of fact, I'm going to let Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi explain this one to you. This is a very informative 10 minute video, watch it:
Sucharit Bhakdi - Very clear math showing that the COVID statistics are being manipulated
So 80% of people only experience mild symptoms, and we're crashing the economy for this? The statistics aren't any more extreme than many other illnesses we've had over time, and we're crashing the economy for this? It doesn't make sense until you consider that there are other factors besides just the virus at play.
Wolfgang Wodard - Explaining how the statistics are being manipulated to cause panic
The media, and society at large is inundating you with terrifying information about the Coronavirus. But if it's not as bad as we originally thought, then why? We don't freak out about every illness that comes along, and we've certainly never in the history of civilization had over 1/3 of the global population locked down under mandatory quarantine.
And then there's the debate about where the virus came from. We believe it came from a meat market in China, under unsanitary conditions. The science behind a coronavirus making the leap from one species to another is well-established and researched, and it is a very likely scenario. There are also conspiracy theories that state that China released it on its people intentionally, or even that the US military released it in China. Again, we will never know exactly where this Coronavirus came from. It may be natural, it may be man made, and there are very plausible paths for both. I don't know what to believe myself. So here I ask you to make your own judgement based on likelihood.
What we do know though is that the state of the world this virus has been unleashed on has played a major factor in its spread. In 1950 the global population was 2.5 billion, and that has exploded to almost 8 billion people in 2020. As a matter of fact, population growth has been exponential since about the time of the Industrial Revolution.
With all these people on the planet there are sure to be many disagreements and conflicts, and there indeed have been. As a matter of fact, 2019 saw global protests on an unprecedented scale, in Hong Kong, France, Syria, and many other countries. Citizens have literally been fighting police and military with rocks, clubs, arrows, and molotov cocktails.
Did you know that? Despite my seeing headlines and pictures every day of the riots in Hong Kong, I have been shocked to learn that multiple of my close friends, intelligent and aware people, had no knowledge whatsoever of the protests even existing. But that is far from a coincidence; rather, it is quite by design.
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Billionaires and Coincidences
Another major talking point over the last 5 to 10 years has been the "1%" - the handful of super-rich individuals who posess and control the vast majority of the Earth's wealth and resources. Where it used to just be a numerical term, "Billionaire" is now a dirty word, and one of the nastiest. We all hate billionaires. They are evil, and profit off the exploitation of the rest of the world.
The "Illuminati" we call them, in pursuit of a "New World Order." Crazy stuff, right? Mysterious symbols and people in black robes doing nefarious things in secret meetings, and running the world from behind the scenes. We love the Illuminati, it's a huge pop culture thing now. The subject of endless speculation, they are made fun of in the media, movies, and now Taco Bell commercials. It's so far fetched it could never really be true. And the fact that you think that is by design as well.
So, we don't know where the Coronavirus came from, but it's certainly here, and there are lot of other things unfolding in the world around it. Many different current events from all different places and fields of study. Some of it seems a little too coincidental. It is certainly very coincidental that this economically destructive Coronavirus entered the world right as there were global uprisings, protests in the street, and a growing public hatred for billionaires.
Well, here are a few other coincidences: Hundreds of CEOs of major companies stepped down from their positions in recent months. Multiple US Senators sold stock right before the market crashed. Even the boss of the New York Stock Exchange sold his own stock right before the crash. Did they know something they weren't telling us?
Here's another coincidence. In 2010, The Rockefeller Foundation published a selection of future-predicting scenarios in the name of "exploring the ways that technology and development could co-evolve." One of these four scenarios, entitled "Lock Step," eerily predicts a global viral pandemic and the resulting hypothetical consequences, which almost exactly mirrors the COVID-19 pandemic we are in the midst of today.
Also coincidental: The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in China on November 17th, 2019. Literally one month earlier, The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise on October 18, 2019, in New York, NY. In this exercise, they discuss the potential implications and consequences of a novel Coronavirus, including an economic crash, martial law, and of particular interest, the control of information. (You can view some published highlights here)
The World Economic Forum is comprised of the richest of the rich. The 1%. The Billionaires. CEO's, politicians, business owners, and many other powerful and influential figures. They meet regularly to discuss topics of global concern, and strongly control the dissemination of information. And of primary concern to many of them is maintaining their wealth and power in a rapidly-changing world.
And finally, here's one more coincidence: At the exact same time as the Event 201 exercise, The World Military Games was held in Wuhan, China, Oct 18-27, 2019. It was the largest military sports event ever to be held in China, with nearly 10,000 athletes from over 100 countries competing in 27 sports. Wuhan China was, as we now believe, the source of our current global COVID-19 outbreak.
Whether you think it is a "conspiracy" or not, that is all certainly coincidental, to say the least.
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"Why didn't I hear about any of this?"
That's an excellent question, and one that likely has multiple answers. For starters, how much do you really pay attention? Where do you get your news from? Do you research things you hear or just accept them on hearsay? Critical thinking skills are paramount in making sense of the chaos unfolding all around us.
As I mentioned before, I can tell you that I personally know multiple people who had no clue whatsoever about the riots in Hong Kong last year. As you read this, you may be one of them. And it may seem like something that is happening far away, and "could never happen here." Or you may have been aware of it but just that it was happening. But please, consider for a moment: millions of average citizens risked their lives and safety in the streets of Hong Kong for months on end, fighting police and military, and transforming the city they lived in into a warzone. WHY? Why would people do something like that? Regardless of their motivations, that many people were banding together to fight for something they believed in. And that is worth considering.
It's not really your fault though that you may not catch wind of all this news. The "mainstream media" that you hear about all the time deliberately controls information - downplaying threats and overreacting to silly things - in order to make sure that you hear the version of the news that they want you to hear.
Did you know that only 6 corporations control 90% of the media In America? That number is reduced from 50 companies in the 80's. And literally all the news you see on TV, at the very least, is 100% owned and controlled by these companies. Lately, distrust is growing for cable news networks, and many people turn to their local hometown station for trusted news. The problem with that though is that your hometown station is probably owned by Sinclair Media, one of the most powerful broadcast networks in the country that you've never heard of.
Please watch this very brief video, illustrating the chokehold that Sinclair Media maintains over your nightly local news broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLjYJ4BzvI
Of course, not every piece of news is pre-programmed but a lot is. The real news is out there, but sometimes you have to look a little deeper than the infographics on TV news. Even if information is being directed from the top down, the boots on the ground tend to be passionate people with a variety of interests and agendas, and they are still doing their best to do real journalism despite corporate oversight.
Think of those who are directing the information as steering an impossibly massive ship with a rudder. You can slowly adjust the course of direction, however it is slow to react. If you want to stop, you have to start thinking about stopping wayyy ahead of time. And similarly, once it gets underway, it is then influenced by an inertia all its own. Micro controls and adjustments aren't really possible.
Our society is this giant ship. There are 8 billion people on this earth - that is 8000 million. An incomprehensible number that grows rapidly every day. As civilization grows and advances, so does our medicine, our technology, our cultural norms. These are all natural processes that are necessary to manage an increasing number of societies all around the globe. And many of the advances we're making have exciting potential benefits for humanity, although as with all tools, they also inherently possess the potential for abuse.
Here are some other things happening in society right now, some you may be aware of and many you may not:
There is an interesting chicken or egg relationship between science fiction and real world science. Sci-fi writers are inspired by the real science of the day, then they apply their creativity to imagine what might be in the future. Young scientists encounter these fantastical ideas and think they are worth pursuing, and then set about to make them a reality, and the cycle continues.
Futuristic concepts are then preempted and introduced through the media to the conscious mind, as we include them in books, movies, TV, video games, and more. Eventually we start seeing headlines of these new technologies and developments happening in other places, usually Japan and China first due to their prevalence in the industrial and technological sectors of our global economy.
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Continue to Part 2

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Passing the Bitcoins through Lightning the strongest way of 'anonymising' them?

Say you have purchased your Bitcoin from an exchange with KYC, for the sake of example.
In order to anonymise them and break the traceability to your identity one of your options is a Coinjoin. Privacy is strong by offering plausible deniability because you mix your Bitcoins with 100 other participants. However, the exchange knows you used Coinjoin which can be a problem in itself. You could maybe add some hops but still.
We also know that Coinjoin is not perfect, posterior analysis of the transactions and how they re-group in value or intertwine between themselves allowed chain analytics to expose a money laundering group in China, that's my understanding.
But what if Lightning has a solution to all these problems? You can open two Lightning wallets (so two channels) send Bitcoin from onchain to Lightning wallet A, then route the payments using different hops to wallet B, then close the channels and settle the transaction onchain. Because Lightning uses onion routing none of the routing nodes will be able to tell if you are just relying this transaction from another node and if the node they are sending it to is the ultimate receiver.
Question is whether this leaves a trace onchain but from my conversations with experts it is not the case, doing some tracing with quantities is extremely difficult, and once Schnorr signatures and Taproot have been implemented it will be even more difficult to tell when a transaction was the opening and closing of a Lightning channel, so this method will work even better.
Would there be a way to automatise this process in the same way of a Coinjoin? I mean a wallet you can hit a button 'anonymise those Bitcon' and automatically creates two Lightning Wallets, transfers money between them and settles onchain. And you wouldn't even need to find other people like in a Coinjoin.
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Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Threat Or A Blessing?

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Threat Or A Blessing?
Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have been in the rumors since 2013, with China allegedly developing in secrecy a government-issued centralized cryptocurrency to fight off increasingly popular Bitcoin. But it wasn’t until September 2015 when the Bank of England had publicly discussed for the first time the use of a blockchain-based central bank currency as a way to implement negative interest rates, and March 2016 when the phrase “central bank digital currency” had been coined.
by StealthEX
To be sure, CBDCs have been a scarecrow for the cryptocurrency community for quite some time now. But how real is the danger? And couldn’t it in fact turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Bitcoin and its brothers in arms over the long haul? A sober look into the reality of CBDCs and their seemingly brewing stand-off with cryptocurrencies is due and invited.
A New Twist on an Old Tune
As soon as CBDCs started to make headlines across major news outlets in 2019, a new wave of soothsayers has risen. This time, Bitcoin skeptics and haters alike have gotten something looking solid on the surface. CBDCs came in handy to scare the cryptocurrency public into fear and depression for being touted as an ultimate weapon that would destroy Bitcoin. Aside from the regular fear mongering that has been following cryptocurrencies through years, there are a few apparently rational considerations that could, at least in theory, herald the autumn of cryptocurrencies.
As it happened, the first proposals on CBDCs were in fact inspired by Bitcoin and the idea of a distributed digital ledger underpinning it. Moreover, they were actually suggesting the use of blockchain technology in one way or another. Today, this is no longer the case, and the concept of a digital fiat currency as it presently stands has little to do with blockchain. But how much would then a CBDC be different from conventional fiat which is already digital almost everywhere but in a few exceptionally backward countries?
A number of mainstream economists try to address this issue, with Nouriel Roubini, a professor of economics at New York University and former senior adviser to the White House council of economic advisers and the US Treasury, leading the assault on Bitcoin. He goes as far as to claim that CBDCs are going to replace most private digital payment systems like PayPal and its likes by allowing anyone to transact directly through the central bank. That would reduce the need for cash and make traditional bank accounts along with digital payment services obsolete and unnecessary.
In his view, cryptocurrencies are no more than a pile of overhyped blockchain technologies promoted by a bunch of “starry-eyed crypto-fanatics”. Roubini reasons that once CBDCs arrive, they would instantly displace cryptocurrencies, which, as he senses them, are far from scalable, cheap, and secure, nor they are actually decentralised and anonymous according to him. Whether his prophecy of an impending doom for crypto has any real ground remains a matter of scrutiny, which takes us to the next part of this essay.
Much Ado about Nothing
The argument in favor of CBDCs taking over cryptocurrencies is essentially based on misunderstanding Bitcoin’s primary value proposition. Although the advantages and benefits of CBDCs may be real, to a varying degree, the idea of a central bank digital currency doesn’t part ways with the original idea of fiat money itself. In other words, CBDCs will always remain a somewhat enhanced or updated version of fiat. As such, every major flaw or fault that fiat has ever revealed can be rightfully ascribed to this form of a centrally-controlled currency.
Most importantly, CBDCs don’t seek to address the arbitrariness of their governing bodies, that is to say, central banks, in the majority of cases. Whatever has been said positive toward CBDCs can be reversed through the misuse and abuse by the monetary authorities. It is just a matter of time till they start turning advantages of CBDCs into disadvantages as has always been the case in the past, but now more efficiently and with a vengeance. And this is in stark contrast to Bitcoin which sets forth a distinctively different governance model by removing any central authority from the equation.
This point has been reiterated and emphasized by many notable and well-known figures in the cryptoverse. For example, Barry Silbert, the founder of venture capital firm Digital Currency Group and a major investor in the blockchain space, strongly believes that central banks won’t be capping the supply of CBDCs because they “love to print money”. In this manner, CBDCs aren’t going to fix broken monetary policies carried out by most, if not all, central banks. Then we are instantly back to square one.
And that comes down to a simple but time-proven truth that fiat currencies, no matter what form they may take, are set to depreciate and lose value over time. There is no way around this, and CBDCs will be of little help here, if ever. On the other hand, these currencies allow central bankers to gain more power over financial activities of the general public by requiring common people to use the financial system based on a CBDC, and, by extension, subjecting them to other forms of control in their efforts to maintain state supremacy over money – in addition to its costs and restrictions.
Put shortly, digital currencies issued by central authorities cannot on their own pose a real threat to Bitcoin and undermine its value proposition coming from its decentralized nature and capped supply, especially in the long term. But could it play out in an altogether different direction? Could CBDCs actually help, in some convoluted or even controversial way, non-central bank currencies such as Bitcoin, and contribute to their mainstream adoption and wider acceptance? As it turns out, it is not totally impossible, and this might be the most interesting piece of the CBDC puzzle.
A Blessing in Disguise
Now that we established that CBDCs are unlikely to hurt Bitcoin, it is time to explore the opportunities they could offer the crypto space. Barry Silbert says that the efficient and cost-effective infrastructure every financial institution will have to build in order to safely store and support CBDCs happens to be the same infrastructure that could be used to transact with and provide support to cryptocurrencies. Consequently, Bitcoin will benefit in the long run from the world’s central bankers issuing their own digital currencies – when these currencies start to fail at the end of the day, which is inevitable with any form of fiat money as many economists claim.
At a fundamental level, CBDCs, if they kick off for real, are set to compete not so much with Bitcoin and the rest of the pack but rather with other central bank currencies, digital or otherwise. Whatever nation launches such a currency first, the others will quickly follow. You don’t exactly need a master’s degree in economics to understand who will benefit most from the dog-eat-dog fight that will without doubt ensue, just like fiat currencies benefit from cryptocurrencies competing with each other.
And remember if you need to exchange your coins StealthEX is here for you. We provide a selection of more than 250 coins and constantly updating the list so that our customers will find a suitable option. Why don’t you check it out? Just go to StealthEX and follow these easy steps:
✔ Choose the pair and the amount for your exchange. For example ETH to BTC.
✔ Press the “Start exchange” button.
✔ Provide the recipient address to which the coins will be transferred.
✔ Move your cryptocurrency for the exchange.
✔ Receive your coins.
Follow us on Medium, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit to get StealthEX.io updates and the latest news about the crypto world. For all requests message us via [email protected].
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Original article was posted on https://stealthex.io/blog/2020/07/21/central-bank-digital-currencies-a-threat-or-a-blessing/
submitted by Stealthex_io to StealthEX [link] [comments]

The attempted come back of CoinEx, China's forked-Bitcoin exchange

The attempted come back of CoinEx, China's forked-Bitcoin exchange
Written by Shuyao Kong
Published by decrypt.co
An interview with Haipo Yang, a crypto OG who’s trying to reposition his Bitcoin Cash-based CoinEx exchange. And more, in this week’s da bing.
https://preview.redd.it/h5f3i3lldv051.jpg?width=3200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=09b8696303ae5c6170753cc438929ebe520d4605
Haipo Yang, founder of ViaBTC, one of the largest mining pools in the world, and CoinEx, a crypto exchange known for its focus on Bitcoin Cash-based trading, is a well-known but relatively quiet character in China’s crypto circle. Typically, Yang doesn’t talk that much about his journey launching the mining pool, nor about CoinEx, which launched in December 2017.
And he almost never speaks about his fervent support for BCH, a hard fork of Bitcoin, and his now even more enthusiastic belief in BSV.
Yet that’s changing of late. Yang has been more active in recent months, participating in interviews about CoinEx and tweeting more frequently on Weibo, China’s Twitter. He’s been making controversial statements predicting the death of BTC, while supporting BCH and BSV on social media.
Recently, Yang told me that as a developer rather than a business person, he’s never been comfortable speaking in public. However he’s making an effort now to help publicize his renovation of CoinEx. So, for this week’s da bing, I decided to chat with him and get a peek into the mind of a veteran crypto entrepreneur who’s trying to make a personal, as well as a platform, comeback.

CoinEx’s golden opportunity

The first hard fork of Bitcoin occurred in August, 2017 and created a new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash. The fork was prompted by partisans, including Yang, who wanted bigger block sizes on the blockchain — the basic idea was that bigger blocks would enable more transactions per second and make Bitcoin Cash something people would actually use to buy things, rather than Bitcoin’s more commonly perceived use as a store of value.
Yang added a tremendous amount of value to the mining scene in China. As a technical founder with has years of experience in big tech firms such as Tencent, Yang is proud of his #buidl skills. He developed most of the code in the early days of VicBTC, which became one of the biggest mining pools to this day.
Not satisfied with owning just a mining pool,Yang conceived of CoinEx, which was born in December of that year, specifically to carry on the mission of the newly forked Bitcoin Cash blockchain. As he got swept up in Bitcoin Cash enthusiasm, he even said that “BCH is bitcoin.”
CoinEx’s strategy was BCH-focused from day one; BCH was its base currency, meaning you could use it to buy and sell other currencies, such as Ethereum and Litecoin.
Interestingly, Jihan Wu, the co-founder of Bitcoin Exchange — himself a famous BCH supporter — was a big investor in the exchange. That made me wonder why he, Yang, and many other OG crypto miners, were so passionate about BCH. Was it just about bigger block sizes?
“Bigger block size means more users and use cases,” Yang explained. The move to bigger block sizes was attractive to miners because they would facilitate more transactions. Miners make money on transaction fees, as well as mining blocks. Likewise, the network would arguably be more useful to people, who were looking for digital cash for every day use.
That especially resonated with many early hardcore Bitcoiners. Said Yang: “We really believe that Bitcoin should be a P2P cash vehicle rather than a store of value.”
This view probably sounds outdated to people who believe that Bitcoin’s value as cash is long gone, with solutions such as Lightning Network fulfilling that role. Instead, the new narrative for Bitcoin resides in its value, rather than utility. Yet Yang believed that the forked network would create far more opportunity
“We could invite influential companies to establish nodes and contribute to the network. This cannot be done with the original Bitcoin architecture,” he said.

CoinEx pivots

But from its inception, CoinEx struggled with adoption and was dwarfed by the bigger exchanges. Part of that had to do with the fact that BCH and “Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision,” another Bitcoin hard fork, were both controversial. Critics pointed out that these networks are centralized in a few big mining pools, and 51% attacks are not out of the question.
So over time, though Yang’s exchange still maintains strong support for BCH and BSV, it began to add support for all the major currencies.
Finally, in January of this year, it announced a major upgrade, of… well, just about everything. It started to offer futures trading, leveraged trading, options trading, and over 100 token projects available to traders. It even rolled out its own blockchain, “CoinEx Chain” to support a new DEX, “CoinEx DEX.”
https://preview.redd.it/3okoy5mudv051.png?width=1432&format=png&auto=webp&s=7099249da4a95db873d268f2dfc95d8db93a368e
The seemingly sudden publicity of CoinEx should not come as a surprise, then. As BCH/BSV was being marginalized, Yang shifted his focus. He’s now trying to ride the wave of building a bigger, more dynamic exchange.
“Crypto exchanges are where value is discovered,” Yang told me.

CoinEx: TNG

Building an exchange isn’t done overnight, nor is re-building one. CoinEx is still competing with the giants such as Binance.
However Yang thinks his exchange will thrive by zigging when his competitors zag. As usual, CoinEx is taking a slightly different route, he told me.
Like what? “We will be listing 小币种,” he said, using the expression for “small token projects.” I cannot help but wonder if these “small token projects” are simply shitcoins, the trading of which is certainly not new.
Indeed, Yang said that he’s banking on the success of his new, public blockchain. “We are building a CoinEx Chain, a layer one protocol for DEX alone. Using our public blockchain, anyone can issue any token, at any time,” he said. He described the blockchain as “a real decentralized, token-issuance and transaction platform.”
This is the core of Yang’s plan and vision. He believes that centralized exchanges will be a bottleneck for crypto adoption because it contradicts crypto’s nature as a completely free and open infrastructure. Essentially anyone should be able to launch a token and trade it with anyone. Only by building DEXes can we achieve full decentralization, he says.

The Religious nature of Bitcoin, and forked Bitcoin

It’s his belief that Bitcoin should adhere to Satoshi’s original vision that led Yang to send yet another controversial tweet last week, which I will translate: “The early days of Bitcoin expansion are similar to religion. The religious fervor brings prosperity to the industry.”
By extension, Yang believes that the next generation of Bitcoin should provoke a similar “religious” fervor. That’s why he has slowly become more of a BSV advocate than a fan of Bitcoin Cash. Yang believes that “BSV has more religious connotations, despite its negative image.” (As most crypto people know, the controversial Craig Wright, who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, led the hard fork which created BSV. Consequently it is often met with skepticism and derision.)
“The early days of Bitcoin expansion are similar to religion,” said Yang. “The religious fervor brings prosperity to the industry.”
Crypto is famous for its tribalism. Many people choose one camp over another not for practical reasons but because of simple faith. Talking to Yang and reading his tweet brings a historic texture to the Bitcoin narrative. But crypto cannot survive on religion alone. One has to build. Hash might have been worshipped in the old days but now the crypto religion is all about the size of the congregation.
Original article
Click here to register on CoinEx!
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Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

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 at Genesis Block.
https://reddit.com/link/hrrt21/video/cvjh5rrh12b51/player
This is the third post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to 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

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).
The most popular USD-pegged stablecoins include:
  1. Tether ($10B): It’s especially popular in Asia. It’s backed by USD in a bank account. But given their lack of transparency and past controversies, they generally aren’t trusted as much in the West.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
Other notable USD-backed stablecoins include PAX, TrueUSD, Binance USD, and Gemini Dollar.
tablecoins are playing an increasingly important role in the world of DeFi. In a way, they serve as common pipes & bridges between the various protocols.
https://preview.redd.it/v9ki2qro12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=dbf591b122fc4b3d83b381389145b88e2505b51d

Lending & Borrowing

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.
I repeat, all loans are overcollateralized. If the value of the collateral depreciates significantly due to price volatility, there are sophisticated liquidation systems to ensure the loan always gets paid back.
https://preview.redd.it/rru5fykv12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=620679dd84fca098a042051c7e7e1697be8dd259

Investments

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.
https://preview.redd.it/agco8msx12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=3bbb595f9ecc84758d276dbf82bc5ddd9e329ff8

Insurance

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.
Two protocols that are leading the way on DeFi insurance are Nexus Mutual and Opyn. Though they are both still just getting started, many people are already using them. And we’re excited to start working with them at Genesis Block.
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Exchanges & Liquidity

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.
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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.
Users can earn passive income by supplying liquidity to these markets. It usually comes in the form of sharing transaction fee revenue (Uniswap) or token rewards (Balancer).
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Payments

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.
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Impact on Genesis Block

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.”
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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.
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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 out DeFi Prime, DeFi Pulse, or Consensys.
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AMA Recap: Heatherm Huang, Co-Founder of Measurable Data Token, discusses how Alternative Data rise midst of Covid Wave

AMA Recap: Heatherm Huang, Co-Founder of Measurable Data Token, discusses how Alternative Data rise midst of Covid Wave

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Guest Bio
Heatherm Huang
Huang is the Co-Founder of Measurable Data Token (MDT), a decentralized data exchange ecosystem connecting users, data providers, and data buyers and denominates the value of data.
As a Serial Entrepreneur, Huang got himself involved in the Research & Development of the world’s first ever talk-and-hold voice chat system, TalkBox, then the number one mobile chat application in China and across Southeast Asia in 2010. The hype around Talkbox had Tencent offering to acquire the mobile chat application that was turned down. Tencent then released a new version of Wechat, that holds the same talk-and-hold voice chat system that Talkbox has, now familiar to all,and it was at that time that Wechat broke the telecommunications industry. Talkbox and its competitors faded in the industry soon after.
Huang’s Talkbox venture was adapted in Chinese drama, Entrepreneurial Age, with renowned celebrities, Xuan Huang and Angelababy being the main characters.
Kiana Shek
Kiana formerly worked as Deputy General Manager of Business at Baidu. Along with her strong financial education background, Kiana holds rich experience in Big Data, AI, finance & international business development. She joined DigiFinex as Co-Founder at the end of 2017, and is committed to build a secure, convenient and transparent environment for high-quality blockchain asset transactions for users globally. She is also an active speaker at different industry conferences around the globe.

The AMA
Kiana Shek (Left) & Heatherm Huang (Right)
Kiana: Hi Heatherm, it's our honor to have you here with us today. Could you please give us an introduction of MDT?
Heatherm: Hi Kiana, my pleasure to be here today. Definitely. The MDT is a blockchain-based distributed computing platform with smart contracts securely stored in the Ethereum blockchain. It denominates the value of data in this new economy. It connects users, data providers, and data buyers and denominates the value of data. The MDT launched two products:
  1. MyMDT Data Wallet, a decentralized application (Dapp) based on Ethereum that allows users to get rewarded for sharing anonymous data points and is a user-oriented portal in the MDT ecosystem.
  2. Measurable AI, a business-oriented alternative data analysis platform that turns anonymous data into sophisticated consumer insights.
Kiana: That's such an interesting concept. I am curious to know, and I'm sure so does everyone, how did MDT come about?
Heatherm: The mission behind MDT is to solve our own problems. Back in 2016, our team started venturing into data under the guidance under the guidance of Gmail creator, Paul Buchheit. Paul mentioned that the most valuable thing about Gmail is not the service itself, but the data. Gmail data enables Google to create personalized and intelligent products for its users, and helps Google build better artificial intelligence. Our product, Measurable AI, is also built to understand the market by gathering electronic receipts from billions of online consumers, thereby increasing consumer data value. The more familiar we are with the big data industry, the better we can understand its problems. In data, privacy and traceability have always been contradictory issues. Although Google uses user data to provide better services to users, it is still resisted by users to date.
As data providers, we often try to prove that our data sources are real, and all data points come from real users of our own platforms. However, to prove this, the privacy and anonymity of real users will be compromised to some extent. On the other hand, data buyers also find it a challenge to ensure that the data products they will get are effective. In data, blockchain can solve this problem. After many years of exploration in the field of consumer products and big data, our team realized that we have to compensate consumers who have contributed valuable data.
We finally launched MDT at the end of 2017. We believe that the monetization of user data will be ubiquitous in the future, and we hope to use the results we have established to start this ecosystem.
Kiana: Thank you so much for explaining in such detail. I want to know who your target markets are and how you strategize in marketing your products across different regions of the world?
Heatherm: Southeast Asia, China, Brazil, and India will be our main target markets. They all have huge potential to expand and sustain the development of Measurable AI. At present, the main promotion channel of MyMDT data wallet is still the mainstream of users based on MailTime. Our upcoming independent app that focuses on the concept of "data cashback" will also become a major promotion channel, and its audience covers not only the cryptocurrency user group, but also the mainstream user group. Promotion services in different regions will be tailored to local market conditions. For example, the most common transaction data in the European and American markets is still credit card data, but in some emerging markets such as China, it is mobile payment data, and the consumer behavior and habits of users are also different. In different countries and regions, we will also adopt different promotion forms and modify our products to suit varying needs.
Kiana: Got it. Back to today's topic, what is MDT's alternative data that users should be concerned about? How is it related to MDT?
Heatherm: Alternative data refers to unconventional, unexpected, and unidentified potential data. Unlike traditional data sources such as public financial reports, alternative data is not well known. This is where its value lies. Measurable AI is a blockchain-driven alternative data provider at the present day.
Kiana: I believe users have a new understanding of alternative data now. Is MDT an option for both data providers and crypto asset investors? How will MDT benefit investors?
Heatherm: Alternative data providers are responsible for collecting, cleaning, analyzing and understanding data collected from non-traditional sources. For example, providers can assess the community's response to crypto assets to predict their future value and price movements. Although they are valuable, they do not fully reflect the company's operating conditions.
In today's data-driven era, investors need more than endless numbers on spreadsheets. They need insightful data to make informed decisions in the market. Certain financial markets, such as encrypted assets, do not revolve around traditional financial data sources. Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin cannot be effectively analyzed through financial statements because their prices are determined by factors other than common data sources. Alternative data fills this gap. As the name suggests, alternative data refers to information obtained from non-traditional sources (such as social media and consumer trends), which helps investors have a deeper understanding of investment tools.
Kiana: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is rampant, has Measurable Data been affected in development? What measures have you taken to counter the challenge for the safety of the team? What contribution has MDT made to society against COVID-19?
Heatherm: Due to the pandemic, the MDT team worked at home for 3 months until May when the team returned to office. However, the great impact COVID-19 has on the global economy, the demand for alternative data has increased for hedge fund clients. In the past few months, we have served more than 10 hedge funds and seller research institutions, providing them with first-hand consumer insights for many listed companies to analyze the pandemic's impact on the revenue of these companies and the speed of recovery. A few weeks ago, I accepted an interview with Bloomberg. I mentioned that the recent pandemic and the Luckin Coffee scandal has greatly boosted the demand for alternative data because hedge funds hope to use alternative data to monitor the pandemic's impact on major companies and its recovery rate. This is the value of alternative data.
Kiana: What do Alternative Data providers do? Is MDT an Alternative Data provider and Cryptoasset investor at the same time? How does the data benefit the investor?
Heatherm: Alternative data providers are the ones responsible for collecting, cleaning, analyzing, and making sense of data collected from non-traditional sources. For example, a provider may assess how the community is reacting to a crypto asset to predict its value and price movements in the future. Though valuable, they don't give the full picture of how a company is doing.
In today's data-driven landscape, investors require more than endless numbers on spreadsheets. They need insightful data that is actionable enough for them to make informed decisions in the market.
Certain markets like crypto assets also don't revolve around traditional financial data sources. Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin cannot be analyzed efficiently with financial statements since their prices are determined by factors outside of commonly used data sources.
Alternative data fill this gap. As the name suggests, alternative data is information derived from non-traditional sources — like social media and consumer trends — that help investors obtain more in-depth insights on investment vehicles.
Kiana: Wow, Alternative Data providers play such a crucial role in the economy. How does MDT ensure that data security and privacy are well protected under regulations like GDPR?
Heatherm: In an increasingly digitized world, huge quantities of "alternative data" are being generated every day which can complement or substitute for traditional financial data (such as information on loan payments, defaults and bankruptcies) and open the door to financial services for previously unserved or underserved customers.
Data protection and privacy require a new way of thinking and preparation as regulatory or institutional frameworks to protect individuals and firms either do not exist or are rapidly outpaced by technological advances.
Kiana: Makes sense. The world will only get more digitized each day. Who do you consider your competitors and why do you think you are better than them?
Heatherm: Projects that share similar ideas of compensating users for sharing rewards are DataWallet, and GXChain.
DataWallet recently pivoted to a data compliance service platform for startups. GXChian also rewards users for sharing data, however, their focus is on users' personal information for credit checking and user profiling.
MDT is focused on anonymous and aggregated consumer transactional data for industry insights' purpose, and we endeavour to never involve any personal data.
Although we both reward users for sharing data points, we share different business models and positioning on what type of data to get involved in and how users can monetize over their data.
We believe the scenarios MDT creates now is more likely to be adopted by the public.
  1. It involves only aggregated and anonymous data points for a transparent purpose
  2. It is easier for users to get started without privacy issues (on blockchain, but accessed through user-friendly dapps
  3. It benefits the data buyers financially and socially for joining an initiative of a company compensating users for data.
Watch
We had a fruitful AMA session with Heatherm Huang, and learnt on how MDT as a decentralized data exchange ecosystem enables for honest, efficient, and transparent trading in the crypto financial market. To watch the AMA Live, click: AMA | Measurable Data Token: Unveil Covid-19 Impacts with Alternative Data
Please stay tuned to our next episode of AMA Live.

Source/s: Measurable Data Token
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Online gambling legislation and regulation. Starting your own gambling product.

Online gambling legislation and regulation. Starting your own gambling product.

Mobile gambling
If you plan to develop an app with the ability to deposit and withdraw real money, then such a product automatically falls into the category of gambling and you will need to license your business for successful operation.
Mobile and Web Based Apps
So let’s talk about the different kinds of online gambling apps available on web and mobile. We’ll be covering both free-play gaming apps and real money casino app games you can find for iOS, Android devices and web browsers.
Mobile gambling is more common for poker, casino, bingo, and skill games. They have advantages in terms of a low barrier to enter the market, instant liquidity, product knowledge, and marketing expertise, minimal infrastructure costs, and the ability to bring a brand to the market quickly. Consequently, this form of gambling does not sit neatly with jurisdictional boundaries. Multiple gambling opportunities are available, including betting on various events and markets, in a relatively simple format. Gambling products can also be integrated into betting on television shows or virtual racing and sports games as well as offering lotteries, bingo, poker and casino games.
Most Popular Gambling Apps
Sports betting, casino, poker and lotteries are the most popular forms of online gambling. However, other forms are available too. These include the following: Bingo, slot machines, different card games, roulette and other game of chance. One of the best things about online gambling and betting apps is the number of choices you have.

Sports Betting

Betting means making or accepting a bet on the outcome of a race, competition, or other event or process, the likelihood of anything occurring or not occurring, or whether anything is or is not true. Today most sports betting is done via mobile-friendly sites and apps.
Today most sports betting is done via mobile-friendly sites and apps.
The introduction of live betting for sports like soccer and tennis means that bettors who are sitting inside stadiums watching games can now pick up their mobile devices and find real-time betting value with the best sports gambling apps. This has really unlocked a door to the future of sports gambling and the popularity of online gambling apps.

Poker

Many sites offer free poker, where no real money is wagered, although in some cases players can accumulate credits that can be exchanged for prizes. This is the case why people are going to play for real money. There is an ongoing debate over whether poker should be classified as a game of chance or skill. The parameters of legal poker playing are still unclear and differ between jurisdictions. Since you are not gambling with money, I’m pretty sure under the law it’s just a video game for now.

Blackjack

Blackjack is the game of choice to many high-rollers and do you know why? Because blackjack is a challenging, logic and skill-based game where your thinking, strategy, and calculations determine the outcome of the game.

Bingo

Bingo is one of the most popular and socially accepted games in the world. Bingo is a traditional form of gambling that has seen considerable innovation in recent years. It is also the only form of gambling recognized in the Gambling Act that does not have a specific statutory definition, the Act providing simply that “bingo” means “any version of that game, irrespective of by what name it is described”. Bingo must be played as an equal chance game. For game to be classed as “bingo” it must meet the Act’s definition of “equal chance gaming” (as opposed to casino gaming). Thus, it: must not involve playing or staking against a bank, and must be a game in which the chances are equally favorable to all participants in the sense that each ticket or chance has the same probability of success as any other.
Licensed bingo is a well-regulated and socially responsible form of gambling that takes place in a safe environment. Many sites offer multiple forms of bingo with different features, types of games, and costs of play. These sites often cater specifically for women and some research suggests that they may appeal to markets who would not typically engage in traditional forms of gambling.

Slots

Slot machine is one of the most beloved game among the gambling community and it has been a part of the industry for a long time. They provide fun and entertainment and their simplicity allows gamers to start playing at once. This can play out in different ways depending on the machine you’re playing. For instance, there’s Pick a Fortune, a five-reel, 20 line game that puts players right in the studio of a television game show, including the potential to play a Deal or No Deal-style bonus round. A super trend over the past few years is mobile-friendly slot games. These apps and websites were developed to enable players to enjoy their favorite games on their smartphones at any time. Another dominant slot trend is licensed branded slots that are based on popular movies, television, and musicians.
Virtual Money vs Real Money
Let’s find out the difference between social gambling and real money gambling, as well as the differences between gambling through apps and gambling through a web browser. It can be quite confusing trawling through all the casinos, slots, and lotteries available, both through your mobile web browser as well as through mobile app stores, in the form of downloadable apps.

Virtual money

The main difference between virtual money and real money gambling is that the in-game virtual currency in social games and gambling-type games is used only like credits that are not paid out as winnings or anything given to player in cash, making these games exempt from gambling regulations.
Virtual money is loaded on user game accounts via in-app purchases in mobile applications or the game balance funding from a card via web based applications.

Real money gambling

Real money gambling via your mobile device is only allowed in countries where laws have been passed that allow for this type of gambling online, or there are no laws in place that prevent it. The payment systems are the legal way of services payment in the gambling app, performing as the intermediary between the gambling facility and the client. With their help, users replenish deposits and withdraw funds to personal accounts in financial institutions. If the application uses the payment system of a well-known brand, that gives players additional confidence in the resource. Nowadays, there is a wide range of payment systems, some of which operate all over the world, other systems are oriented towards the citizens of one or several countries. A number of services accept money of different world currencies, while others allow currency transactions of one state only.
What is an Online Gambling Licensing
The internet has a global audience, there’s no single piece of legislation that covers the legality of online gambling for the entire world. Mobile gambling doesn’t typically accept customers from every single country in the world. It often focuses on certain specific regions.
Instead, most countries have their own local laws that deal with the relevant legal and regulatory issues.
Ultimately, questions of legality all go back to the location of the casino or where the website operates out of. In closed regulatory systems, such as Italy, France, and the Netherlands, licenses, and advertising rights are limited to domestic providers, which must be located within their country’s geographical boundaries and these are only permitted to offer some types of products. Some jurisdictions, for example, Norway, Sweden, and Canada legalize and regulate online gambling, but this is limited to a single site that is owned by the government. Under such an approach, the government becomes the operator and regulator and all revenues are returned to the government.
Remote gambling is generally permitted. That means that an operator that is licensed may provide gambling services to citizens in the country via all forms of remote communication (and using equipment that may be located in the country or abroad). Equally, a remote operator may be licensed to offer gambling services to citizens in any jurisdiction in the world using equipment located in the country. The law provides that, for each type of gambling (betting, gaming, and participating in a lottery), there will be two forms of license available: remote and non-remote forms (land-based). If you provide facilities for remote gambling, online or through other means, and advertise to consumers you will need a license from the licensing jurisdictions or local licensing authorities. Before an online gambling site signs up its first customer, before it accepts its first bet before the first card is dealt, it must be licensed by a recognized governmental entity.
Certain regions in the world have specific legislation in place that allows them to license and regulate companies that operate online gambling sites or provide industry services (such as the supply of gaming software). These regions are referred to as online gambling jurisdictions or licensing jurisdictions.
Depending on what type of entertainment you are going to implement in your internet establishment, you will have to apply for the corresponding permissions. Online gambling laws in Europe vary from one country to the next. The industry is well regulated in some countries and less so in others. There are several online gambling jurisdictions located in Europe. Some of these are members of the European Union (EU), and thus subject to the various rules and regulations of that body, while others are independent. Each of these jurisdictions has an authority that’s responsible for approving gambling sites for licenses that enable them to offer their services legally. They also regulate their licensees.
Countries that Provide Gambling Licensing
Today there are lots of licensing jurisdictions located all over the world and offering different terms for their customers. Depending on the country, licenses can be local, international (distributed in several countries), have a different set of documents for registration, costs of registration and further support, various operating conditions and other special details.

Which gambling license is both internationally recognized?

The government of Ireland offers casino operators, software, and service providers in the gambling industry, with a gambling license that allows gambling operators to conduct business related to casino, lotto, and other gaming-related activities. Ireland Gambling License is one of the most popular license for online casinos worldwide. Ireland has long been recognized as one of the preferred locations for Online Gambling operators to base their operations. This success has been due to a combination of factors, such as a progressive legislative system, political stability, first-rate telecommunications facilities, and a well established financial services industry. A wide range of gambling sites operates out of Ireland including sports betting, casino sites, poker, bingo, and more.
In stark contrast, the UK is the largest regulated market for online gambling in the world, and corporations are already comfortable exploiting the intersections of gambling and gaming, betting in-play, social gaming, Bitcoin, financial trading and spread betting, betting exchanges, e-sports and, most profitably, mobile gambling. 40% and 60% of online gambling in the UK took place in Gibraltar.

International licensing

Europe is home to the following online gambling jurisdictions: Alderney, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Malta. Malta is currently the country that is most accommodating to gambling companies, and the license offers whitelisted online gambling in sports and casino games in many European territories. But takes an extreme amount of time in paperwork and background checks. Also, you pay 5% of all your gross profit to the EU.
Among countries offering gambling licensing services, the attention should be paid to Curaçao jurisdiction, which is considered to be one of the most promising for the online gaming business.
Curaçao Internet Gaming Association (also known as Curaçao eGaming) is both a regulator and a licensor, and its licensing works worldwide except Curaçao itself, USA, France and Netherlands. Using Curacao as an example, let us examine in detail the process of obtaining a license, the necessary documents and expenses.
How to get a License on Curaçao
  • Documents necessary for company registration:
  • criminal record;
  • passport scans;
  • bank account confirmation;
  • documents proving payments for utility services.
After the company is registered, an operator can apply for the license providing the following documents:
  • a document certifying the right of domain possession;
  • description of games planned to be used in the project;
  • a list indicating countries of potential operation;
  • illustration of server locations to be used in the project;
  • a copy of the agreement with a software provider.
Gambling license cost:
  • Bank account opening $1000
  • Company registration $3600
  • Company management per year $3600
  • Application processing fee $1000
  • License fee per year $4800
  • Equipment/software fee starting from $1500
  • Server maintenance per year $6000
Apart from that pay for technical support and maintenance every year. The entire license issuing process takes between 2-4 weeks. Curacao Internet Gaming Association (CIGA) also has the power to review a license and, if it finds that an operator has breached a license condition, has the power to impose a range of sanctions including revocation of the license.
Apple and Google Gambling Rules
You’ll be surprised at the limited number of real money gambling app options available on the AppStore and Google Play Store. Most real money casino gaming is done through gambler’s mobile web browsers and not through mobile gambling apps that you’ll find for iPhone and Android phones. Apple allows online gambling applications in a few forms, and not just in places where it is explicitly permitted. They do not allow any payments through the applications – those have to be done on the websites. Apple has far stricter developer guidelines for iOS apps than Google does for Android apps, so it’s fine to assume that whatever you choose to download from iTunes is usually safe, secure, and meets a certain standard.
Any real money casino in the iTunes app is required to have proper licensing and permissions before Apple will approve the app for use or downloads. While Google Play is technically regulated, it is much more loose in what can be hosted.

Apple Store

Gambling, gaming, and lotteries can be tricky to manage and tend to be one of the most-regulated offerings on the App Store. Apple has rules for apps that support real money wagering, including sports betting and poker. Those apps and lotteries must have necessary licensing and permissions in the locations where the App is used, must be geo-restricted to those locations, and must be free on the App Store, and Apple rate even simulated gambling apps as appropriate only for users 17-years-old and up.

Play Store

Google keeps the reigns tight. To be able to successfully upload apps to the Google Play store, developers need to have a valid license for the specific countries they are targeting and comply with their regulations. The app must be free to download and must prevent under-age users from gambling in the app. As a final precaution, all gambling apps are required to display prominent information regarding responsible gambling practices. This brings its policy in line with the Apple App Store.
Countries where gambling is illegal
It is also important to remember that while gambling is growing rapidly in many places, in others it is totally or partially prohibited. As well as in the majority of the US, sports betting is illegal in India, Pakistan, and China, three of the largest gambling markets in the world. Most countries have rules against gambling. Almost all Islamic countries prohibit gambling of every kind, but many turn a blind eye to online gambling or simply do not have regulations in place for this grey area.
In the United Arab Emirates, however, any kind of gambling is prosecuted. National lotteries are the only legal forms of wagering on the Asian country’s mainland. Cambodia, North Korea strictly forbids online and offline gambling amongst its own citizens but allows tourists to participate in these activities.
Qatar is the strictest country of all when it comes to gambling laws. All forms of gambling activities are considered illegal, and even sports betting is not permissible.
Starting your own gambling product
Numerous online casino platforms in the market offer fantastic casino games like bingo, poker, roulette, and many more.
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CoinEx Token Rating Report by TokenInsight

CoinEx Token Rating Report by TokenInsight
Written by TokenInsight
Published by tokenin.cn

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Advantages

  1. The team’s overall technical background is good, and the CTO and CEO of the project have rich experience in related industries;
  2. The current business scope of CoinEx has been expanded, and the development of the public chain has a decisive role in promoting the development of the exchange business;
  3. The project operation information is transparent, and the development process is consistent with the road map;
  4. The unlocking schedule is clear, and the token held by the team will be unlocked continuously in the next five years;
  5. The project uses POS consensus mechanism. At present, it has been launched on the main network, and the block time is stable, between 2–3 seconds.

Challenges

  1. It is not clear enough yet whether the trichain operation planning can achieve the project’s development goals;
  2. There is limited information on implementation details about cross-chain and other related technologies, and the development status needs to be assessed based on the later project development disclosure information;
  3. The team currently hold a large share of the token, hence the distribution of tokens is relatively concentrated;
  4. There are few application scenarios for project tokens, and more ecosystem scenarios need to be developed;
  5. As a deflationary token, CET needs to be balanced by dealing with the contradiction between public chain users and token holders.

Outlook

The development of CoinEx Chain contributes to the future development of CoinEx’s centralized and decentralized exchanges; the concept of trichain operation simplifies the functions of each chain, improving their performance. At present, there are few exchanges working on the public chain, and no fierce competition has occurred.

Conclusion

Considering the status and development prospects of the project, TokenInsight gives CoinEx a rating of BB with a stable outlook.

1. Multidimensional evaluation


2. Project analysis

CoinEx (CoinEx Technology Limited) was established in December 2017 and is headquartered in Hong Kong, China. It is a sub-brand of the ViaBTC mining pool. At present, CoinEx’s business scope includes CoinEx exchange, CoinEx public chain, and CoinEx decentralized exchange. The current development focus of the CoinEx platform are public chain and exchange. The main purpose of the public chain is to build a decentralized exchange (DEX) infrastructure and an ecosystem around DEX.

CoinEx business structure,Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight

2.1 Introduction

“ CoinEx Chain uses the parallel operation of three chains which are DEX, Smart, and Privacy, as well as cross-chain technologies to create a rich decentralized exchange ecosystem and blockchain financial infrastructure.
The core of CoinEx’s early business was the exchange, consisted of two major categories which were spot and derivatives trading. Currently, there are 123 trading currencies online, covering 302 trading pairs. On June 28, 2019, CoinEx released the CoinEx Chain public chain white paper, aiming to build a decentralized trading system (CoinEx DEX) with community-based operations and transparent transaction rules, and providing user-controlled asset trading scenario by the highest technical standards in the industry; CoinEx Chain has become another development focus of CoinEx. CoinEx Token (CET), which was originally a native token of the CoinEx exchange, will also be developed mainly as a built-in token of the public chain.
CoinEx Chain is a public chain based on the Tendermint consensus protocol and Cosmos SDK, and it uses POS mechanism. CoinEx Chain plans to support 42 nodes when the project starts, and any entity in the ecosystem can participate in the validator’s campaign by staking CET. CoinEx Chain will use the new block reward and the transaction fee contained in the block as the reward for running the node.
CoinEx Chain has developed three public chains with different positioning and different functions in order to meet the needs of blockchain transactions for transaction performance, smart contracts, and privacy protection at the same time. They operate in parallel and collaborate with each other through cross-chain technology. At present, the block time of the public chain is between 2–3 seconds. According to the observation of TokenInsight, the block time is stable, but the number of transactions through the CoinEx public chain is still low at present, the number of transactions in 24 hours is about 30,000; The TPS on public chain disclosed by CoinEx can reach up to 1500 per second.
CoinEx Chain uses a trichain parallel model to build a more vibrant ecosystem around DEX. The three chains are DEX public chain, Smart public chain, and Privacy public chain, respectively responsible for decentralized transactions, smart contracts, and on-chain privacy protection.
CETs that need to participate in complex financial contracts can be transferred to the Smart public chain through the DEX public chain, then moved back to the DEX public chain after that. CET tokens that need to participate in token confusion can also be carried out through the privacy transaction of the Privacy public chain, and can eventually be returned to the DEX public chain. The three public chains are responsible for their respective duties, and they are interconnected through the cross-chain technology through the relay mechanism. In addition to ensuring their respective transaction processing speed and functional attributes, they can also jointly provide richer and safer functions, and synergistically constitute the CoinEx decentralized public chain ecosystem.
In addition, CoinEx Chain also supports any participant to issue new tokens on the chain and create new trading pairs for the issued tokens. CoinEx Chain guarantees the circulation of new tokens by establishing a trading pair between the new token and CET.

2.2 Component architecture

“ Tendermint Core and Cosmos SDK have improved the performance and operation capability of the blockchain. The SDK packaging reduces the consideration of non-related logic, hence reducing the development complexity.
CoinEx Chain is based on Tendermint Core and Cosmos SDK, both of which have brought a big boost to the development of CoinEx public chain performance. Cosmos-SDK will implement the application logic of the blockchain. Together with the Tendermint consensus engine, it implements the three-layer architecture of the CoinEx public chain: the application layer, the consensus layer, and the network layer.
Tendermint
Tendermint is based on the state machine replication technology and is suitable for blockchain ledger storage. It is a list of transactions making consensus with Byzantine fault tolerance, the transactions are executed in the same order, and eventually the same state is obtained. Tendermint can be used to build various distributed applications.
Cosmos SDK
Cosmos-SDK is a blockchain framework that supports the construction of multiple assets with a consensus mechanism of POS (Proof of Stake) or POA (Proof of Authority). The goal of the Cosmos SDK is to allow developers to easily build custom blockchains from 0, while enabling the interaction with other blockchains.
Cosmos-SDK is a blockchain framework that supports the construction of multiple assets with a consensus mechanism of POS (Proof of Stake) or POA (Proof of Authority). The goal of the Cosmos SDK is to allow developers to easily build custom blockchains from 0, while enabling the interaction with other blockchains. The blockchain development framework Cosmos SDK implements general functions such as account management, community governance, and staking in a modular form. Therefore, using the Cosmos SDK to build a public chain can simplify development procedures and facilitate operation. Tendermint is a fixed protocol in a partially synchronized environment, which can achieve throughput within a delay range of the network and each process itself. The CoinEx public chain is developed based on both, improving the performance and operability of the blockchain. The SDK packaging further reduces considerations of non-related logic and reduces the complexity of developers creating. The two components of Tendermint and Cosmos SDK are connected and interacted through the Application Blockchain Interface.
Cosmos SDK and Tendermint interworking structure,Source:CoinEx; TokenInsight

2.3 Project public chain planning

The development plan of the CoinEx public chain is to create a series of public chains with specific application directions, including:
  1. DEX public chain: solve the problems of lack of security and opacity that are widely criticized by centralized exchanges at present; aim to build a transparent, safe, and permission-free financial platform; restore the experience of central exchanges to the greatest extent;
  2. Smart public chain: a public chain that specifically supports smart contracts and provides a platform for building complex financial applications;
  3. Privacy public chain: mainly provides transaction amount, account balance, and information protection and the hiding of both parties to the transaction.
In order to achieve the performance of each specific application public chain, each public chain in the CoinEx public chain focuses on the development of a certain function. For example, in order to improve the transaction processing speed of the DEX public chain, the DEX public chain only supports the necessary functions and does not support smart contracts. To achieve the smart contract function support, cross-chain connection between the DEX public chain and the Smart public chain is required.

2.4 Operation analysis

“ The CoinEx platform publishes monthly ecosystem reports with high transparency; but the monthly reports are limited to contents about transactions and development, and lack progress in ecosystem and community construction, making them relatively simple.
2.4.1 Disclosure of ecosystem information
Operational risks have a direct impact on platform users. Whether platform operations are smooth and whether there is transparency are issues that platform users care about.
The CoinEx platform was established in 2017 and has around 3 years of development. It is also one of the platforms that has been developing for a long time in the exchange industry. It has obtained a digital currency trading license issued by the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and the platform’s compliance is guaranteed to some degree.
The actual operation of the CoinEx platform will be displayed in the form of ecosystem monthly reports. The monthly report contains various types of content such as online currencies, new activities, plans for the next month, and ecosystem dynamics. It involves multiple business dimensions including the CoinEx exchange, CoinEx Public Chain, and CET token.

https://preview.redd.it/4mt0999ere551.png?width=631&format=png&auto=webp&s=cba27a7c90275f4c033bdd2445a72e6f294265e8
Snippet of a CoinEx ecosystem monthly report,Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight
2.4.2 Roadmap
CoinEx Chain released its development roadmap for the four quarters of 2020 in January 2020. The roadmap shows that CoinEx Chain will undergo major updates on smart contracts and DEX hard fork upgrades. The project roadmap is basically planned on a monthly basis, with a clear plan and a clear direction of development.
CoinEx Public Chain 2020 Development Roadmap,Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight
In addition to the development route planned in the roadmap, CoinEx public chain also discloses its goals for next month in its monthly ecological report. The project’s main net was launched online in November 2019. According to TokenInsight’s review of the development of CoinEx public chain from January to April and the disclosure of the project’s ecosystem monthly report, the project’s plan about development of the smart contract Demo in February failed to be completed as planned; the project completed launching of the new version of the blockchain browser and the Asian Atlantis upgrade; the smart contract virtual machine development was planned to be completed in April, but the progress related to supporting cross-chain agreements was not disclosed yet.
Overall, the project’s development route planning is clear, and the project’s development schedule is consistent with the plan, but there are still some discrepancies. Operation and development information is disclosed every month, and information transparency is high.

3. Industry & Competitors

The earliest origin of the exchange layout in the public chain field began in early 2018 when Binance released an announcement to start the development of the Binance Public Chain officially. In June of the same year, Huobi announced at its brand upgrade conference that it will combine the technical capabilities of the Huobi technical team and the community developers to develop the Huobi public chain called “Huobi Chain”. In December of the same year, OK Group announced the launch of its self-developed public chain OKchain, dedicating to provide underlying technical support and services for startups stationed in B-Labs.
The successful launch of the public chain brings huge strategic significance to the exchange, which can not only improve the performance of the existing business of the exchange but also achieve further expansion of its influence. As one of the most important blockchain infrastructures, the public chain can benefit the exchanges behind it.
As a platform for developing public chain technology exchanges, CoinEx’s main competitors in the field of public chain development include Binance, Huobi, and OKEx. Although they are all exchange platforms for deploying public chains, the above four are different in terms of specific functions, economic models, and critical points of the public chain.

3.1 Development progress comparison

In 2019, Binance became the first exchange to launch a public chain among all digital asset exchanges, and its main product is Binance exchange (DEX). In April 2020, Binance announced the launch of a second smart contract chain, using Ethereum’s virtual machine, so that developers can build decentralized applications without affecting the performance and functionality of their original chain.
OKEx launched OKChain’s testnet in February 2020 and completed open source two months later. OKChain is designed as the basis of large-scale blockchain-driven business applications, with the characteristics of source code decentralization, point-to-point, irreversibility, and efficient autonomy.
Huobi released Huobi Chain for the first time in July 2019, the code is open source, and the testnet was released in February 2020. As a “regulator-friendly financial blockchain”, Huobi Chain focuses on providing compliance services for companies and financial institutions.
The CoinEx public chain officially completed the main online launch in November 2019 and completed the new block browser’s launch in March 2020. On April 3, 2020, CoinEx DEX uploaded the underlying code to Github to achieve open source. The CoinEx public chain is more inclined to build a full DEX ecosystem to achieve a one-stop solution for issuing, listing, storing, and trading. The long-term goal is to create a blockchain financial infrastructure.

3.2 Comparison of economic models

At present, the exchange is more inclined to use its existing platform currency as the native token of the public chain in the construction of public chain ecology. CoinEx’s CET, Binance’s BNB, and Huobi’s HT all fall into this category. OKEx is the only exchange that issues new tokens for its OKChain, which means OKT is the only ‘inflation token’ in the exchange’s public chain, while CET, HT, and BNB are all deflationary.

3.3 Decentralization of public chain

The initial number of CoinEx public chain verification nodes is 42, which is currently the most decentralized among all exchange public chains, and able to take both efficiency and decentralization into account; OKChain also currently has a relatively high degree of decentralization in the exchange public chain (21 verification nodes), its nodes have a high degree of autonomy; by contrast, Binance still firmly controls the operation of nodes and transactions; In terms of encourages cooperation between regulators and the private financial aspects, Huobi provides a lesser degree of decentralization. Huobi Chain uses a variant of the DPoS consensus algorithm to provide functions such as “supervision nodes”, allowing regulators to become validators.
Comparison of some dimensions of CoinEx, Huobi, Binance and OKEx public chain,Source: TokenInsight

4. Token Economy

CoinEx Token (CET) is a native token of the CoinEx ecosystem. It was issued in January 2018. Token holders can enjoy some user value-added services within the ecosystem. Currently, it is mainly used as a native token on the CoinEx Chain. As of 11 am on April 23, 2020, the current circulation of CET tokens in the market is 3,215,354,906.31, with a total of 5,842,177,609.53. CET tokens will not be further issued or inflated. Currently, daily repurchase and quarterly destruction are carried out. The repurchase destruction dynamics can now be tracked real-time on the CET repurchase system on the platform.

4.1 Token Distribution

The CET token used to be based on the ERC-20 token developed by Ethereum. Since the CoinEx Chain mainnet was launched in November 2019, some ERC-20 CET tokens have been mapped to the mainnet CET, and the rest of the CET will be mapped before November 10, 2020. CET holders need to deposit ERC-20 CET to the COinEX exchange, and the exchange will conduct the main network mapping.
At present, CET is mainly circulated in the form of mainnet tokens, and only a small portion of ERC-20 CET has not been mapped. The distribution of token holdings currently circulating on the mainnet can be seen in the figure below. At present, the number of tokens held by the top ten holders accounts for about 60.44% of all mainnet CET tokens.
Distribution of CET token holding addresses,Source: Etherscan; TokenInsight
The following figure shows the initial distribution of tokens after the mainnet mapping preset by CoinEx. From the initial distribution map of CET, it shows that, after mapping, a large portion of CET remains concentrated in the hands of the team (31%), and the actual number of CET circulating in the market only accounts for 49% of the total.
The initial distribution of CET token,Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight
After the main net mapping, the 31% of the total CET (1.8 billion) held by the team will be gradually unlocked in the five years from 2020 to 2024, and 360 million CET will be unlocked each year. By 2024, the CET held by the team will be completely unlocked. From the current CET dynamics, the CET share held by some teams has been used for destruction purposes to achieve the purpose of CET austerity. If the frozen 1.8 billion CET held by the team are used for similar purposes, the development of CET and its platform can benefit from it.
Team’s CET unlocking plan,Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight

4.2 Token economic model

4.2.1 Deflation mechanism
Since the CET token went online in January 2018, CoinEx has increased the circulation of CET through airdrops, transaction fee refunds, operation promotion, and team unlocking. As one of the existing platform coins with long development time, the deflation mechanism of CET token has undergone a series of changes with the development of the industry. In 2018, when the concept of coin-based mining prevailed, CET used transaction mining, stake mining, and pending order mining, which were cancelled in October, December and, April respectively of the following year.
The repurchase and destruction model currently used by CET was updated by CoinEx on April 11, 2020. The original CET quarterly repurchase and destruction policy of the platform will be adjusted to daily repurchase and quarterly destruction. After the implementation of the daily repurchase policy, CoinEx will take out 50% of the daily fee income for CET repurchase in the secondary market and implement quarterly destruction until the total remaining circulation is 3 billion (currently about 5.8 billion).
At the same time that CoinEx updated the repurchase and destruction plan on April 11, the platform also launched a page dedicated to displaying CET repurchase information, so that users can clearly understand the progress of CET repurchase and destruction.
As of April 23, 2020, the platform has destroyed 4,157,822,390.46 CET tokens, accounting for 41.6% of the initial total issuance. At the end of January 2019, it had destroyed 4 billion CETs (single destruction volume peak) at the end of this quarter. The number of CETs to be destroyed is 3,422,983.56.
CET historical destruction data,Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight
4.2.2 Application scenarios
The current usage scenarios of CET are discounted platform transaction fees, VIP services, s