Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin (LTC) and a recognized figure in the cryptocurrency space, posted a tweet in which he says that he is focused on making Litecoin more fungible. In this tweet, he said that fungibility is the only property of sound money that is missing from Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Charlie Lee has been working on Litecoin during the last years and now it seems that it is being focused on Confidential Transactions. At least this is what he wants to add to this popular digital asset.
This is not the first time that Charlie Lee mentions the topic related to confidential transactions and privacy on Litecoin. Back in November 2017, Charlie Lee said that he was excited to see the progress on confidential transactions since fungibility was the only feature of ‘good money’ that Bitcoin and Litecoin do not have.
He added that the primary advantages are that there are no new cryptographic assumptions, a higher performance, no trusted setup, and many other things. According to Charlie Lee, the new implementation will be added to Litecoin via a soft fork sometime in 2019.
Mr. Lee provided more information about these Confidential Transactions, he said that it will be just as simple as sending LTC right now and that they will be adding all the necessary things for making transactions really private. One of the things he mentioned is that they will not be implementing Mimblewimble because is too hard to be implemented.
Furthermore, he said that he is considering opt-in confidential transactions as well, something that could allow the digital asset to be more regulatory compliant. This is something similar to what Z-Cash (ZEC) did with the Zk-Snarks implementation.
About the scaling debate, Charlie Lee said that although it is not solved, developers are making huge progress on the matter. Indeed, the Lightning Network (LN) has been growing at very fast rates during the last months. Now the LN has a capacity of 577.69 BTC, 5,723 nodes and 22,259 channels.
Back in August 2018, Charlie Lee asked his followers on Twitter about this issue. He made a poll in which he asked the community which privacy feature users would like to see implemented on Litecoin.
44% of the respondents said that they would like to see Confidential Transactions. 22% chose not to add privacy to Litecoin. 21% answered that the best privacy feature would be ZK-Snarks / ZK-Starks. Just 13% mentioned that they would like to add MimbleWimble.
There are other privacy coins in the market such as Monero (XMR) or ZCash, among others such as Bitcoin Private (BTCP) or Pivx (PIVX). In this way, Litecoin will be joining a selected group of coins that allow users to keep their data private will transacting digital assets.
This is different from what Bitcoin currently is doing. Bitcoin is not a privacy-focused digital asset, contrary to what most individuals outside the crypto market think. Each transaction can be publicly seen on the blockchain, including the funds transacted.
Clearly, this is going to add value to a market that is searching for increased privacy. Bitcoin users might be able to make an atomic swap for Litecoin, send a private transaction and return to the BTC network with a new swap. Additionally, the transactions can be processed through the LN, which might speed up the whole process.
Tron (TRX) is another top 10 project in the market that is going to add privacy features to its coin. The intention is to implement Zk-Snarks and allow users to protect their privacy while transacting funds.
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Bitcoin has endured a bear market for most of 2018 and has seen its price eroded by 80% in the past year. This has also led to the dragging down of the entire cryptocurrency market.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors who have endured a difficult year have been relatively excited by a good start to 2019. Many people are looking forward to global stock exchanges offering bitcoin futures contracts.
There is fresh technical analysis to suggest that bitcoin could be getting ready to jump higher after a significant period of being in decline.
The GTI Vera Convergence Divergence indicator is used by investors to understand the turnaround of trends and this shows that bitcoin is in the middle of its longest buying streak in half a year.
In the past, when this indicator has pointed to possible buy signals, bitcoin has performed well.
“Should buying pressure persist as it has over the past 13 days, bitcoin could continue to see a rise in prices,” Bloomberg reported.
The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, which keeps track of some of the biggest digital currencies finds itself in its longest buy streak since September of last year which coincided with a bitcoin rally. This buy streak is due to Ethereum’s recent upturn in fortunes. Mate Greenspan, a senior marketing analyst at eToro commented on the new technical data by saying that he believes the market is “much closer to the bottom than we are to the top.”
“I’m seeing an industry that is growing at a very rapid pace right now where we see companies that are involved in bitcoin and blockchain hiring at a rapid rate,” Greenspan told Bloomberg. “We see new projects coming online. We see all kind of indication that people are getting more and more involved in the market.”
As bitcoin and other virtual currencies have dipped in value over the past 12 months, investors have been nervous about slow adoption among retailers and consumers, delays to much awaited institutional investment and the perennial threat of increased regulation.
Most seem confident that the worst is behind us but this is also due to a good number of venture capitalists betting that the market won’t fall further.
So far in 2019, bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market has added $7 billion in value. This boost is due to an upcoming hard fork of the Ethereum network which is observed as a big step towards ethereum’s transition from using a proof of work protocol to proof of stake.
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Michael Novogratz, the CEO of Galaxy Digital has made a bullish price prediction for Bitcoin. He told Financial News, a UK based business publication that Bitcoin could attain a price of “$20,000 or more” in 2019.
Novograts is famous for his optimistic view of Bitcoin prices. He has said that he sees Bitcoin ending the year at around $8,900.
“Bitcoin has to take out $6,800, and after that we could end the year at $8,800-9,000,” he said.
Bitcoin has not significantly moved up or down in the past few weeks and has shown relative stability over this time period. Some commentators like Tom Lee, an analyst at Fundstrat Global Advisors has praised as a signal that the market is maturing.
Novogratz predicts that the conditions for the market should change drastically next year. He credits this upcoming change to institutional investors experiencing “FOMO” (fear of missing out) as a result of the price increases that will be observed from now to the end of the year and beyond. “There’s going to be a case of institutional FOMO, just like there was in retail,” he said.
This rush to buy Bitcoin should “take out $10,000” by the end of the first quarter of next year and from there it will go on to break last year’s all time high and shoot for “$20,000 or more.” Novogratz made a similar prediction in October with a view that there would be a bull market in the first half of next year owing to institutional interest and a Bitcoin price not higher than $9,000 at the end of this year.
The leader crypto-backed lender in the world, Cred, which has over $300 million in credit facilities, recently announced that it will begin to give USD loans that will be collateralised using Ripple’s XRP.
Once the process is complete, all Ripple users will be able to utilise their XRP to save without selling their assets. Now, XRP holders in all nations where Cred works will be able to take out loans with very low interest rates when they use this feature.
Mike Arrington, the founder of Arrington XRP Capital who is a famous Ripple investor, thinks that Cred is efficiently building the next world of credit and that adding XRP as its latest product is a very smart idea and that the organisation is taking on a crucial asset class.
He also stated that he is impressed without responsible Crew is to his requirements as a customer and that he and other organisations will be able to trust Credit to be an effective bridge between what he is looking for and himself. This is because it serves both the traditional financial asset community as well as this new community of the crypto world.
Dan Schatt, the co-founder of Red has said that his organisation’s personnel is very pleased to be able to provide XRP holders the same low rates and liquidity that they offer to holders of BTC and ETH which are already asset classes that are offered by the business.
Cred describes itself as a “decentralized global lending platform that facilitates open access to credit anywhere and anytime”. It is basically the largest blockchain-based credit company in the world. It was created by a former PayPal veteran and its aim is to utilise blockchain as a way to help people who need credit.
Blockchain will cause a massive shift in society from a “scarcity to an abundance mindset”. This is according to Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum.
Lubin’s Blockchain Impact Theory
Lubin feels that Ethereum is most probably going to play an important role in the redevelopment of the internet as a completely decentralised environment.
In his view, the sustained growth of blockchain will serve as a catalyst for further innovation at every level of society by developing a structure for what he says is a “self-determined, sovereign identity.”
He also explained that the evolution of blockchain and increased decentralisation would create future where people would have more control over their identity and agency. This will result in wealth creation as individuals try to express themselves more via a plethora of methods including an enhanced appetite for luxury.
Ethereum Scaling Will Take Time But Will Result in ‘Radical Future’
Lubin said that Ethereum will have a key role to play in the development of the so-called Web 3.0 – a new internet experience that will use decentralisation as a key tenet. He further said:
“Ethereum is far in the lead as a viable candidate for web 3.0 largely because of its interoperable and radically decentralized nature. It may be a few years before our ecosystem achieves profound interoperability and decentralization in the base and higher layers. But that is okay. We can grow into the radical future we imagine as we take care of adoption, use case exploration, user interface, and user experience definition – all of which will keep us busy for years.”
He feels that there is a stark difference between wealth generation as it happens today and in a tokenised world which can be expanded on as a “qualitative shift in the nature of money” moving society away from a centralised model toward a system of “global villages.”
Lubin is optimistic about Ethereum’s growth and this is backed up by that fact that big power players have backed the blockchain to lead disruption on a large scale. It was recently reported that JP Morgan Chase announced a plan to utilise Quorum, its business version of the Ethereum blockchain aimed at tokenising gold bars. Umar Farooq, JP Morgan’s head of blockchain initiatives, praised Quorum and said that JP Morgan is “big believers in Ethereum,” which is a significant shift from the words used by JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon when talking about Bitcoin.
Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google and executive chairman of Alphabet recently took part in a live event which was organised by Village Global, a venture capital company. There, he said he was optimistic about the prospects of blockchain technology and Ethereum in particular. Ethereum is the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap. He called Ethereum a “powerful platform” with game changing and still untapped potential.
The event was sponsored by Village Capital and happened in San Francisco in September. However, the details of the event remained for the most part, undisclosed until Village Global made the decision this week to upload a video recording of a discussion between Tyler Cowen, a famous economist and Eric Schmidt who was characterised in the description to the video as “one of the most influential technology executives in the world.” During the discussion, they talked about many things ranging from Antarctica to human life expectancy. Schmidt also made many intriguing comments about blockchain technology.
When asked for his view on blockchain, Schmidt said that it was hard to say whether blockchain was overrated or underrated.
“In the public format, overrated. In its technical use, underrated,” Schmidt said and articulated this with examples of problems that blockchain was able to solve. Also, “blockchain is a great platform for bitcoin and other currencies. And it’s a great platform for private banking transactions where people don’t trust each other.”
He specifically mentioned Ethereum by saying to Cowen that this project seemed to be the most intriguing and packed with potential. He believes that Ethereum can be a “powerful platform” with the potential to upend both existing business practices and society as a whole.
While commenting on its major potential, Schmidt said,
“I think the most interesting stuff that’s going on are the beginning of execution on top of blockchain — the most obvious example being the capability of ethereum. And if ethereum can manage to figure out a way to do global synchronization of that activity, that’s a pretty powerful platform. That’s a really new invention.”
It is important to note that Schmidt was an early enthusiast of Bitcoin. Five years ago, he said that Bitcoin was an amazing advancement and a remarkable cryptographic achievement. He had turned to Bitcoin as early as 2011 on the back of advice from Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
A video game based on blockchain called Plague Hunters has been given the green light by Sony, the Japanese tech giant. The game will be available on the PlayStation 4 soon. It is an Ethereum based game and will be the first of its kind to have gone through Sony’s strict path to approval.
This game is the sequel to Plague Road, the successful video game developed by Arcade Distillery. Arcade Distillery will launch this game in the first quarter of next year.
This game will be free to play but will offer players the opportunity to make in-game purchases of very items. To facilitate this, the game will have a built-in peer-to-peer marketplace and this will be powered by the Ethereum blockchain. The marketplace can be utilised to exchange items with one another. In-game items will be non-fungible tokens.
In spite of being built on the Ethereum blockchain, Plague Hunter will not have any blockchain-based gameplay. The gameplay has been made specifically for the PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Arcade Distillery has included exploring options which can be used to launch the game for Xbox One and smartphones.
The gameplay will be just like non-blockchain games but people who play in this game’s ecosystem will have complete ownership of each item they receive, collect, buy or exchange. Basing a video game on a blockchain is a new method to expose people to cryptocurrency. It is also a way to entice cryptocurrency enthusiasts into blockchain gaming.
Plague Hunter isn’t the only game that involves blockchain that is going to be released. Gods Unchained, a card game backed by Coinbase released its gameplay trailer. It is inspired by games like Magic: the Gathering and Hearthstone and will have blockchain-based assets.
Gods Unchained will soon move into private beta in order to stress test the game. Soon, the game’s open beta will be launched followed by a full release.
CIMB Group, one of Asia’s largest banks, is joining RippleNet.
CIMB Group is in the top five banks by size in the ten-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It will utilise Ripple’s network of financial institutions and banks to facilitate immediate cross-border payments.
As per Ripple, CIMB is a pioneer when it comes to leveraging blockchain technology in a part of the world where payments are known to be slow and lacking in efficiency.
“Ripple’s blockchain-based solution has been deployed to enhance CIMB’s proprietary remittance product called SpeedSend. This service allows customers to send and receive money with direct account crediting and instant cash collection. The enhancement improves their access to cross-border remittances across the globe — both inbound into ASEAN and outbound to other countries. It is already enabling remittances to corridors such as Australia, USA, UK and Hong Kong.”
Tengku Data Sri Zafrul Aziz, the Chief Executive Officer of CIMB says that the technology offered by Ripple will completely change the way cross-border payments are made.
“This innovative blockchain solution will revolutionize international cross-border remittances, and is a testament to CIMB’s ongoing efforts to enhance its digital banking proposition by providing speedy and cost-efficient solutions to our customers across ASEAN.”
Payments to Southeast Asia are predicted to reach $120 billion by the end of this year as per information from World Bank. CIMB’s network covers 15 countries with close to 1000 branches and 13.5 million customers. Another significant piece of news is that XRP has been officially listed on Coinbase Custody which is a platform that provides institutional investors with a safe way to store significant amounts of digital assets.
Last month New York’s Department of Financial Services gave its approval for XRP, BTC, LTC, BCH, ETH and ETC on its platform which is built to aid bringing Wall Street investors will deep pockets into the digital asset market.
There has been a fluctuation in the bitcoin price in recent months. It has moved between $6,000 and a little over $8,000 but that could soon change. Many investors are eagerly awaiting the American Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) verdict this month on whether to approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) – something the SEC has rejected in the past as a result of fears surrounding Bitcoin’s price fluctuation and manipulation.
Some other people are looking beyond this decision and are pointing to the NYSE’s parent company, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) which plans to release a Bitcoin ETF on November 5th. Earlier this year, ICE announced that it was releasing a bitcoin and digital asset platform called Bakkt along with Starbucks, Microsoft, and Boston Consulting Group.
An ETF will be released under Bakkt which will also allow for a scalable ecosystem for centrally regulated markets and warehousing.
“Our new daily bitcoin contract will not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset,”
Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler said in a blog post. “This supports market integrity and differentiates our effort from existing futures and crypto exchanges which allow for margin, leverage and cash settlement.”
“I believe that [the bitcoin price] will hit $10,000 by the first week of November,” Hermann Finnbjörnsson, founder and CEO of Svandis, a bitcoin, and digital asset advisory firm said in an interview. “I think that there are a lot of reasons to be bullish on bitcoin. [There’s] Less than a 1% chance in my mind that bitcoin won’t succeed.”
Michael Terpin, a partner at Alphabet fund, reiterated what Finnbjörnsson said, saying: “Technology will adapt cryptocurrency to be something that you can go and buy on your phone.”
The latest wave of possible investment has provided many with hope that the bitcoin price will go back to and then surpass its all-time high of late last year which was close to $20,000 per coin.
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has to first declare Bakkt to be free of fraudulence but it is almost universally accepted that this will happen.
In the meantime, the SEC is deliberating whether or not to approve a bitcoin ETF request which has been submitted through the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) by New York-based VanEck and SolidX, a blockchain platform.
There have, however, been some influential voices in the digital asset world who have argued that a Bitcoin ETF will be a bad thing for bitcoin in the long run.
Recently, Andreas Antonopoulos, a tech entrepreneur who has become a bitcoin evangelist, sent out a warning by saying that although he does think an ETF will be given the go-ahead by the SEC, he does not think it will be a positive thing for bitcoin or the larger digital asset world. “I’m going to burst your bubble,” Antonopoulos said. “I know a lot of people really want to see an ETF happen because ‘to the moon, and Lambos,’ but I think it is a terrible idea. I still think it is going to happen, I just think it is a terrible idea. I’m actually against ETFs. I think a Bitcoin ETF is going to be damaging to the ecosystem.”
Ripple recently announced that PNC, one of the top ten American banks is going to utilize RippleNet to process global payments for its customers. It is being reported that a specific PNC unit – Treasury Management – is going to utilize xCurrent, Ripple’s blockchain solution to increase the velocity of overseas transactions for their American commercial clients.
Ripple reiterates the fact that xCurrent will enable business clients of PNC to receive payments against their invoices instantaneously and that this will alter the way they manage both accounts as well as their working capital.
Asheesh Birla, the Senior VP for Product Management at Ripple has said that he thinks the utilization of xCurrent in banking is the initial step towards adoption of the various other Ripple solutions like xRapid which is scheduled to be launched in the next few months. “It’s a way [for the banks] to get their toe into the water,” Birla said.
This announcement has come in spite of the fact that some employees at Ripple have shown skepticism to the idea of using xCurrent for cross-border payments. It was reported earlier this year that Ripple’s chief cryptographer, David Schwartz had said that financial institutions were not likely to utilize this technology primarily because of the lack of scalability and the existence of problems related to privacy. PNC which is one of the top ten American banks with 8 million customers and retail branches across 19 states have followed some of the other global financial institutions by partnering with Ripple.
For example, late last year, American Express announced the creation of a Business-to-Business payments app between US corporate customers and Santander customers in the UK powered by Ripple. Earlier this year, a Japanese bank consortium announced that it planned on launching an instant domestic remittance mobile app called MoneyTap which was powered by Ripple.
In April 2018, it was reported that Santander, the Spanish bank, had launched a Ripple powered blockchain payment network called One Pay FX and that in doing so had become the first international bank to launch such a service.