5 Things to Know Before Investing in Bitcoin (2020 Updated)
5 Things to Know Before Investing in Bitcoin (2020 Updated)
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i'm 16, been lurking here since 2016, got around 3000$ to invest in bitcoin, need someone here to explain me in depth about private keys and how i can secure the bitcoins, will pay for the help. /r/Bitcoin
I keep hearing "Deflation before massive inflation"
So what can we do about it? Any ideas are welcome. It has a lot of "what if's"... It depends how tax and law play out with it.Historically speaking:
Commodities and things people use every day become expensive,
Luxury goods fall in value.
Inflation wipes out all savings, there is often a rush to spend money while it has value. "Bank runs" and "Bank Bail in's" where the bank will limit your withdraws to prop up the bank temporarily. Sure here the FDIC may insure it, but its nothing if your money is losing value by the hour and it takes months to get it actually into your hands. And many countries have issues with a person holding cash..."You're automatically a drug dealer! >your money is now drug money! >Asset forfeiture" ...I cant count how many times this happens.
People yell " physical gold and silver!" ... yeah, those do hold value well, however the gov does tax that at 26-30% when sold, and will often ban its use in dire times. ....huge grey / pirate area.
Mining stock is the same in the tax range, and nearly anything you "resell", imposed taxes and royalties can be added leaving you high and dry.
Precious metal holdings have been banned in the past, even here in the USA...aka Government confiscation.
Nationalization of Precious metals mines have happened.
Edit: I now realize there are many ways stocks can play out.
Real Estate will raise in value hugely, However so will the taxes, longer contracts at fixed rates benefits the lendee.
Things that you use, if you can stock or invest in it.
-I stock bulk diesel for my cars while following historical averages to buy cheap.
-Rotating food stock
-Extra maintenance items, including the big things like a roof on your home if its coming time. Not joking I have a spare water heater and backup heating options, along with minor parts and filters to fix them. Same with cars and engines, (spark plugs, filters (all different filters), oil, cheap sensors that usually go bad and are only 4-10$ each, 1-2 extra alternator per vehicle, belts, mowing belts, bearings, grease, ... and I've literally had to use everything on that list and reorder.)
Things that directly pay you back or are insurance. Saving money is making money.
-Security, Locks, Alarms, Cameras, people steal.
A deep freezer for instance can stock food you use and buy on sale.
Solar energy and solar heating supplements energy you use anyways
Rainwater can be collected and used rather than buying from a source.
A cooking gadget vs eating out.
Tools and learning to fix things vs hire.
House insulation.-Better insulative windows, and sealing.
Bidet on toilet (lol serious though...)
Your education can be a huge one, not just for prepping but also in your work.
Things that prevent rot, fire, flood / humidity, or failure. Humidity is a silent killer to many preps. (water sump pumps, dehumidifiers, leak prevention, fire extinguishers / sprinklers, )
Things that last and can be resold on the street if need be. This list can be huge, you have to balance it with liquidity, what you use but can also sell before it goes bad / fails.
Honestly and unpopularly, Things that can avoid tax when the price inflates out of control and you wish to sell. The numbers can be so distorted in both price and taxing of income. Eggs for instance, in many countries from Weimar Republic of Germany to Venezuela, increased 15,000%+, So that $15,000 egg / $150,000 dozen that you sold from your chickens gets taxed in the highest tax bracket? (which can go into the 90% range if rules aren't changed for the massive inflation) Taxes usually try raising during this and many companies flee the country, add robots / machines, or downsize as the result of more taxes making work and jobs even more of an issue. .. honestly history shows the whole thing being a cluster-duck in so many ways. Alternative currencies pop up, actual trades happen and go unreported, crime even shifts when things get too bad, again with Venezuela, I read that criminals were moving to other countries because the people were too poor to even make anything robbing! You can also have a business where you write off so many things that you would use anyways. The numbers get... err... odd, play the game.
It is usually around 10 years of chaos before things start "stabilizing." and even then, so much damage has occured.
This is a serious thing that has happened to once prosperous people / civilizations in the past...don't think you're exempt, especially when the numbers are at historical limits in many countries. Invest in yourself and what you use regularly.
Someone posted on here a few days ago asking about forex and forex trading in Kenya, I have gone through the responses and clearly, most people don’t have an idea. It is 3am in the morning and am in a good mood so let me make this post. This will be a comprehensive and lengthy post so grab a pen and paper and sit down. We’ll be here a while. FIRST OF ALL, who am I..? I am a forex trader, in Nairobi, Kenya..i have been actively involved in forex since I found out about it in Feb 2016 when I somehow ended up in a wealth creation seminar (lol) in pride inn Westlands, the one close to Mpaka Rd. Luckily for me, it was not one of those AIM global meetings or I’d be on Facebook selling God knows what those guys sell. I did not take it seriously till August of the same year and I have been active ever since. I don’t teach, mentor or sell a course or signals, I trade my own money. I am also posting from a throwaway account because I don’t want KRA on my ass. What the fuck is forex and forex trading. In simple plain English, forex is like the stock market but for currencies. Stock Market = Shares, forex = currencies. If you want more in-depth explanation, google is your friend. These currencies are pegged on specific countries, united states- dollar, UK- pound, euro zone- euro, Switzerland- Swiss franc, Kenya- Kenya shilling.. you get the point. Now, there are specific events and happenings between these economies that affect the movement and values of the currencies, driving their value (purchasing power up and down). Forex trading exploits these movements to make money. When the value is going up, we buy and vice versa (down –sell) Is forex trading illegal in Kenya? Is it a scam? Illegal, no. scam, no. All the banks in the world do it (KCB made about 4 billion from trading forex in 2019) Have there been scams involving forex in Kenya? Yes. Here is one that happened recently. This one is the most infamous one yet. Best believe that this is not the end of these type of scams because the stupidity, greed and gullibility of human beings is unfathomable. However, by the end of this post, I hope you won’t fall for such silliness. What next how do I make it work..? Am glad you asked. Generally, there are two ways to go about it. One, you teach yourself. This is the equivalent of stealing our dad’s car and hoping that the pedal you hit is the brake and not the accelerator. It is the route I took, it is the most rewarding and a huge ego boost when you finally make it on your own. Typically, this involves scouring the internet for hours upon hours going down rabbit holes, thinking you have made it telling all your friends how you will be a millionaire then losing all your money. Some people do not have the stomach for that. The second route is more practical, structured and smarter. First Learn the basics. There is a free online forex course at www.babypips.com/learn/forex this is merely an introductory course. Basically it is learning the parts of a car before they let you inside the car. Second, start building your strategy. By the time you are done with the babypips, you will have a feel of what the forex market is, what interests you, etc. Tip..Babypips has a lot of garbage. It is good for introductory purposes but not good for much else, pick whatever stick to you or jumps at you the first time. Nonsense like indicators should be ignored. The next step is now the most important. Developing the skill and building your strategy. As a beginner, you want to exhaust your naivety before jumping into the more advanced stuff. Eg can you identify a trend, what is a pair, what is position sizing, what is metatrader 4 and how to operate it, what news is good for a currency, when can I trade, what are the different trading sessions, what is technical analysis, what is market sentiment, what are bullish conditions what is emotion management, how does my psychology affect my trading (more on this later) an I a swing, scalper or day trader etc Mentors and forex courses.. you have probably seen people advertising how they can teach and mentor you on how to trade forex and charging so much money for it. Somehow it seems that these people are focused on the teaching than the trading. Weird, right..? Truth is trading is hard, teaching not quite. A common saying in the industry is “Those who can’t trade, teach” you want to avoid all these gurus on Facebook and Instagram, some are legit but most are not. Sifting the wheat from the chaff is hard but I did that for you. The info is available online on YouTube, telegram channels etc. am not saying not to spend money on a course, if you find a mentor whose style resonates with you and the course is reasonably priced, please, go ahead and buy..it will cut your learning curve in half. People are different. What worked for me might not work for you. Here are some nice YouTube channels to watch. These guys are legit..
After a short period of time, you will be able to sniff out bs teachers with relative ease. You will also discover some of your own and expand the list. Two tips, start with the oldest videos first and whichever of these resonates with you, stick with till the wheels fall off. How long will it take until things start making sense Give yourself time to grow and learn. This is all new to you and you are allowed to make mistakes, to fail and discover yourself. Realistically, depending on the effort you put in, you will not start seeing results until after 6 months. Could take longeshorter so there is no guarantee. Social media, Mentality, Psychology and Books Online, forex trading might not have the best reputation online because it takes hard work and scammers and gurus give it a bad name. However, try to not get sucked into the Instagram trader lifestyle as it is nowhere close to what the reality is. You will not make millions tomorrow or the day after, you might never even make it in this market. But that is the reality of life. Nothing is promised, nothing is guaranteed. Your mentality, beliefs and ego will be challenged in this market. You will learn things that will make you blood boil, you will ask yourself daily, how is this possible, why don’t they teach this in school..bla bla bla..it will be hard but growth is painful, if it wasn’t we’d all be billionaires. Take a break, take a walk, drink a glass of whatever you like or roll one..detox. Chill with your girl (or man) Gradually you will develop mental toughness that will set you up for life. Personally, I sorta ditched religion and picked up stoicism. Whatever works for you. Psychology, this is unfortunately one of the most neglected aspects of your personal development in this journey. Do you believe in yourself? Can you stand by your convictions when everyone is against you? Can you get up every day uncertain of the future? There will be moments where you will question yourself, am I even doing the right thing? the right way? It is normal and essential for your growth. People who played competitive sports have a natural advantage here. Remember the game is first won in your head then on the pitch. Books: ironically, books that helped me the most were the mindset books, Think and grow rich, trading for a living, 4 hour work week, the monk who sold his Ferrari..just google mindset and psychology books, most trading books are garbage. Watch and listen to people who have made it in the investing business. Ray Dalio, warren, Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn. This is turning out to be lengthier than I anticipated so I’ll try to be brief for the remaining parts. Brokers You will need to open up an account with a broker. Get a broker who is regulated. Australian ones (IC Market and Pepperstone) are both legit, reliable and regulated. Do your research. I’d avoid local ones because I’ve heard stories of wide spreads and liquidity problems. International brokers have never failed me. There are plenty brokers, there is no one size fits all recommendation. If it ain’t broke..don’t fix it. Money transfer. All brokers accept wire transfers, you might need to call your bank to authorize that, avoid Equity bank. Stanchart and Stanbic are alright. Large withdrawals $10k+ you will have to call them prior. Get Skrill and Neteller if you don’t like banks like me, set up a Bitcoin wallet for faster withdrawals, (Payoneer and Paypal are accepted by some brokers, just check with them.) How much money can I make..? I hate this question because people have perceived ceilings of income in their minds, eg 1 million ksh is too much to make per month or 10,000ksh is too little. Instead, work backwards. What % return did I make this month/ on this trade. Safaricom made 19.5% last year, if you make 20% you have outperformed them. If you reach of consistency where you can make x% per month on whatever money you have, then there are no limits to how much you can make. How much money do I need to start with..? Zero. You have all the resources above, go forth. There are brokers who provide free bonuses and withdraw-able profits. However, to make a fulltime income you will need some serious cash. Generally, 50,000 kes. You can start lower or higher but if you need say 20k to live comfortably and that is a 10% return per month, then you can do the math on how big your account should be. Of course things like compound interest come into play but that is dependent on your skill level. I have seen people do spectacular things with very little funds. Taxes..? Talk to a lawyer or an accountant. I am neither. Family? Friends? Unfortunately, people will not understand why you spend hundreds of hours watching strangers on the internet so it is best to keep it from them. Eventually you will make it work and they will come to your corner talking about how they always knew you’d make it. The journey will be lonely, make some trading buddies along the way. You’d be surprised at how easy it is when people are united by their circumstances (and stupidity) I have guys who are my bros from South Africa and Lebanon who I have never met but we came up together and are now homies. Join forums, ask questions and grow. That is the only way to learn. Ideally, a group of 5-10 friends committed to learning and growth is the best model. Pushing each other to grow and discovering together. Forex is real and you can do amazing things with it. It is not a get rich quick scheme. If you want a quick guaranteed income, get a job. And now it is 5am, fuck. This is oversimplified and leaves out many many aspects. Happy to answer any questions.
How I ruined my life with Bitcoin for the 2nd time
I have been meaning to get this out of my chest for a while for years but only today I decided to tell my story for whoever wants to listen. I will not go in much detail but I guess this is a typical gambler story. I'll start by saying that I'm sort of an gambling addict. I started it as soon as I the bank mailed me a credit card when I was a college student. I had a very small idea what credit cards were used for but never in my life it occurred to me to ever use one. But there it was, in the mailbox with some sweet limit for me to spend but I quickly put it in a drawer because I knew it was a bad thing to touch. At the time I had "discovered" a method to make money guaranteed with hedging bets between different sportsbooks. I must say that back in the day you could make a living doing that and in my young adult life that was amazing. It was a very decent extra money for a broke college student, but I quickly run out of sportsbooks to apply the method so I couldn't gain guaranteed money anymore. So I started to gamble with that money I won. Ofc as the usual gambler, I lost it all. That's when it kicked me. I had this credit card in my drawer and one thing led to another bigger things. It took me like 6 years to pay this credit card debt and finally be free and be gambling free also. My life was back to normal after I ruined it for years. I don't know if you can imagine the stress and anxiety this addiction carries. I was working long hours just to pay this debt. Some months I didn't have money to pay utility bills or food. I contemplated suicide for months, until I moved to a little better job and it lifted me up a little bit so I managed to pay all debts. Finally I was **free**. That's when I heard about **bitcoin**. 2016. I started very small, bought a little and sold when high. "Reinvested" years later, got burnt, back to where I started and ofc I had to use the credit card again. At this time the limit was way higher than back when I started to use it and my gambling addiction kicked in again to recover the wins. After the credit card failed, I made loans to pay it off. Used loans to buy more bitcoin, etc etc I invested again heavily and ofc the big crash came in 2017 and I was left with debt and my life ruined forever once more. I ended up with almost 2 bitcoins, but like 3x the debt and I don't think I will ever be able to pay it off. I put a stop to it right after the crash and for all this time I never touched my bitcoin or any gambling site again, but the monthly debt bills keep coming. With my salary I'm able to keep paying the bills but always back to zero after the end of the month. With this pandemic and staying so much time at home it got me thinking why not use the bitcoin and my addiction started kicking again. I tried to stop it but once it got me pumped up there is no going back. I have no other addiction. Just this very expensive life ruining addiction. I started withdrawing some bitcoin to feel the high of winnings and long story short I ended up losing it all. I still have this 1 bitcoin that I don't want to touch. I'm writing this so I convince myself to not touch this last bitcoin. It's my last savior and hope. I feel like if I touch this bitcoin I will fall into the depression that I haven't had in years. I'm already shaking and can't sleep at night for what I've done. Bills keep piling up, girlfriend doesn't suspect a thing and is talking about saving money for a house and having a baby, but how can I? All my income goes to paying the debt I accumulated over the years and I got nothing to show for it. I have no fancy cars, fancy clothes or anything. I hope whoever sent me that credit card back when I was 18 didn't do so. It started a down spiraling down in my life that I don't see an out of it. But that's banks for you. They want to control us from the very beginning of life. I wasn't strong or savvy enough to say no to banks. I hope someday I can give this bitcoin to my child and for whatever its worth at the time I will know that it saved my life in the end.
This is my story of how I derped around during the last BTC bubble, made some dough, and saw my friend pile up a mountain of debt on himself, only to become a millionaire. I hope if you read it there is a moral somewhere, but I'm not so sure there is. (prices are approximate to dates, going back in my memory a bit) OCT 2011: (BTC $4) (preface) As an undergrad computer science major I mined a few coins in a cyber security class . It took about 2 months and I think it was around .89 BTC or something like that (Edit: OK so I probably didn't mine this much, but I had access to the computers in the graphics lab and during this time, and they were mining 24/7. We let them run for a while after the class before taking our share out). I think it was worth about $8 at the time. I thought this was really cool, but also remember at that time you couldn't do anything with it, especially where I lived. I just kind of forgot about it, got a new laptop sometime later, and eventually chucked that one with the coins on the hard drive... (it was just $8 and I had no way of spending it remember) oh well so much for those. Who knows how many coins were lost by these standards back in those days. I take in all the maths, graduate with marks, drink all the beer, laugh with friends, fun times. May 2015: (BTC $234) Fast forward.. I end up in Los Angeles, CA through another long set of tales. I live with aspiring actors and film makers grinding it out as waiters and bartenders. They are good mates and take me to parties on occasion where we meet all kinds of characters. I end up chatting with a guy (lets call him Bill) who's nuts about BTC. I explain to him that I know all about it, and he is ecstatic to find someone who understands what he is talking about. I haven't been paying much attention the past years, and he shows me how far its come in tech and price. I smack my forehead, knowing I tossed away 8/10ths of a coin (could have been beer money man). We become friends and talk about Bitcoin pretty regularly. I don't buy initially, but Bill is giving it all he's got, buying left and right with anything extra dollar he can scrape up. He believes in it. I get so worried that Bill is going to loose what he put in that I just buy a bit (.1BTC) so I will be invested enough to watch it, to know if Bill is up or down. You can guess what happens at this point. Up we go. Bill makes money, I make money. June 2016:(BTC $661) All is well. I am happy that Bill didn't lose his money and hoping he will take and re-invest his earnings in a more diversified portfolio. I'm worried about the ~$100 I made in earnings, like do I file this? (lol younger me) I meet with Bill for the first time in a while. I'm excited to share our gains. We both show our gains and cheers. He immediately tells me that he is looking at ways of taking out credit to buy more BTC.... WTF? I say. He quickly proceeds to tell me the banks turned him down, but he found out he can just buy BTC with credit cards... so he is filing 7 applications right now to see how many he can open to buy BTC... I think for a second. I do the rational thing. I try to talk him down, but no way. He's doing it. I don't know much about investment at this point, just math and percentages, but thats enough to make me beg him to not do it.... he doesn't listen. By my estimates Bill purchased a total of $30K worth of BTC with combined cash and credit on hand at (my best guess) an average price of $589 per BTC. I invest what I have to spare from savings to just keep up with the train wreck I am worried about happening to Bill. I think I have .2 BTC at this point just to keep up with his insane position August 2016: (BTC $576) The first dip comes, and Bill is facing credit card bills with interest rates that will kick in soon (he will not be able to make the minimum payments). We discuss is troubles at this point frequently. I suggest he should liquidate and close the cards. He disagrees, and liquidates only a position large enough to pay the minimums and give him a bit of cash. Not only that but he use the cash to secure short term loans at higher interest in order to re-invest to make up the losses. I once again beg him to re-consider, but no... this is his path. I once again invest more to keep up with it, so I can keep up with Bill and his well being. I purchase a good bit more and have .5 BTC November 2016: (BTC$758) I move to another city and mostly forget about my interactions with Bill. He messages me a few times about the price going back up and being bullish about it once again. I do the same song and dance of trying to warn him to close his cards and positions to get out while he can. Nope he's holding strong. Nothing to be done. I assume I can't do anything to help this situation. Once the price busts above $900/BTC even I can't say anything. I've made money, he's made bank. I feel happy for him, but once again concerned. I know he is running on margin and don't want him to get sucked in, but I also don't want to weigh in on such a big investment at this point. He texts me about the gains, I mostly just give the thumbs up back, knowing I can't back down at this point, but I don't want to be around him if it fails. Jun 2017: (BTC $3000) I have mostly lost touch with Bill because I live in another city. I never sold my BTC though, and I never forgot about him. Around Feb. 2017 I visited LA and saw Bill. I thanked him for making me the money that I held now in BTC. I asked him what he was doing with his stake. As always he was ready for the apocalypse to happen and for his BTC to be the only currency left somehow. He was holding stone cold. I wasn't persuading at this point, hell, I was holding myself. Dec 2017: (BTC $16000) While I thought I would never be swept up in the chaos that is BTC... I was. The amount of BTC I hadn't sold (.3BTC) was making even me feel like a genius. I had made so much money off just forgetting about something over months at a time. I often thought about Bill, but I didn't envy, in fact I really hoped he had paid off his credit card debts and was sitting on his fat profit. I watched BTC Youtube channels and debated if we would go to $100K or if this was it. I couldn't take the pressure and sold half my position @ around $16K/BTC 2018-2019 (BTC $20K -> $3.5K) (Epiloge) In early 2018 price went up to $20k before quickly falling back to 10K. Thankfully I sold the rest of my position on the way down at about the same point as on the way up ($16k). I bought a few back in 2019 but have never really put as much capital back in as I made. As for Bill, well I told you at the beginning. Bill is a millionaire. My best estimates based on my text with him is he cashed out @ around an average of $17k/BTC. Even after taxes, he ended up real nice. I don't know if he was in the run up in 2019 but I must assume he was. Looking at the market today, I'm not sure this story will repeat itself... maybe it will.
Flatten the Curve. #18. The current cold war between China and America explained. And how China was behind the 2008 Wall Street financial Crash. World War 3 is coming.
China, the USA, and the Afghanistan war are linked. And in order to get here, we will start there. 9-11 happened. Most of the planet mistakenly understood terrorists had struck a blow against Freedom and Capitalism and Democracy. It was time to invade Afghanistan. Yet all of the terrorists were linked to Saudi Arabia and not Afghanistan, that didn't make sense either. Yet they invaded to find Bin Laden, an ex CIA asset against the Soviet Union and it's subjugation of Afghanistan. The land in the middle of nowhere in relation to North America and the West. It was barren. A backwater without any strategic importance or natural resources. Or was there? The survey for rare earth elements was only made possible by the 2001 U.S. invasion, with work beginning in 2004. Mirzad says the Russians had already done significant surveying work during their military occupation of the country in the 1980s. Mirzad also toes the line for U.S. corporations, arguing, “The Afghan government should not touch the mining business. We have to give enough information to potential investors.” Rare Earth Elements. The elements that make the information age possible. People could understand the First Gulf War and the Geopolitical importance of oil. That was easy, but it still didn't sound morally just to have a war for oil. It was too imperialist and so they fell in line and supported a war for Kuwaiti freedom instead, despite the obvious and public manipulation at the UN by Nayirah. This is some of her testimony to the Human Rights Council. While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the children to die on the cold floor. It was horrifying. I could not help but think of my nephew who was born premature and might have died that day as well. After I left the hospital, some of my friends and I distributed flyers condemning the Iraqi invasion until we were warned we might be killed if the Iraqis saw us. The Iraqis have destroyed everything in Kuwait. They stripped the supermarkets of food, the pharmacies of medicine, the factories of medical supplies, ransacked their houses and tortured neighbors and friends. There was only one problem. She was the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign, which was run by the American public relations firm Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government (fun fact, Hill & Knowlton also have extensive ties with Bill Gates). So the public was aghast at her testimony and supported the war against the mainly Soviet backed, but also American supported and Soviet backed Saddam Hussein, in his war against Iran, after the Iranians refused to Ally with American interests after the Islamic Revolution. But that was oil, this was Rare Earth Elements. There was a reason the war was called, Operation Enduring Freedom. This natural resource was far more important in the long run. You couldn't have a security surveillance apparatus without it. And what was supposed to be a war on terror was in actuality a territorial occupation for resources. Sleeping Dragon China is next, and where there's smoke, there's fire. Let's go point form for clarity. • China entered the rare earth market in the mid-1980s, at a time when the US was the major producer. But China soon caught up and became the production leader for rare earths. Its heavily state-supported strategy was aimed at dominating the global rare earth industry. • 1989 Beijing’s Tiananmen Square spring. The U.S. government suspends military sales to Beijing and freezes relations. • 1997. Clinton secures the release of Wei and Tiananmen Square protester Wang Dan. Beijing deports both dissidents to the United States. (If you don't understand these two were CIA assets working in China, you need to accept that not everything will be published. America wouldn't care about two political activists, but why would care about two intelligence operatives). • March 1996. Taiwan’s First Free Presidential Vote. • May 1999. America "accidently" bombs the Belgrade Chinese Embassy. • 2002 Price competitiveness was hard for the USA to achieve due to low to non-existent Chinese environmental standards; as a result, the US finally stopped its rare earth production. • October 2000. U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the U.S.-China Relations Act. China's take over of the market share in rare earth elements starts to increase. • October 2001. Afghanistan war Enduring Freedom started to secure rare earth elements (Haven't you ever wondered how they could mobilize and invade so quickly? The military was already prepared). • 2005. China establishes a monopoly on global production by keeping mineral prices low and then panics markets by introducing export quotas to raise prices by limiting supply. • Rare Earth Elements. Prices go into the stratosphere (for example, dysprosium prices do a bitcoin, rocketing from $118/kg to $2,262/kg between 2008 and 2011). • In a September 2005. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick initiates a strategic dialogue with China. This was presented as dialog to acknowledge China's emergence as a Superpower (which China probably insisted on), but it was about rare earth elements market price. • October 2006. China allows North Korea to conduct its first nuclear test, China serves as a mediator to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table with the USA. • September 2006. American housing prices start to fall. (At some point after this, secret negotiations must have become increasingly hostile). • March 2007. China Increases Military Spending. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says China’s military buildup is “not consistent” with the country’s stated goal of a “peaceful rise.” • Mid-2005 and mid-2006. China bought between $100b and $250 billion of US housing debt between mid-2005 and mid-2006. This debt was bought using the same financial instruments that caused the financial collapse. • 2006. Housing prices started to fall for the first time in decades. • Mid-2006 and mid-2007. China likely added another $390b to its reserves. "At the same time, if China stopped buying -- especially now, when the private market is clogged up -- US financial markets would really seize up." Council on Foreign Relations-2007 August • February 27, 2007. Stock markets in China and the U.S. fell by the most since 2003. Investors leave the money market and flock to Government backed Treasury Bills. I've never seen it like this before,'' said Jim Galluzzo, who began trading short-maturity Treasuries 20 years ago and now trades bills at RBS Greenwich Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut.Bills right now are trading like dot-coms.'' We had clients asking to be pulled out of money market funds and wanting to get into Treasuries,'' said Henley Smith, fixed-income manager in New York at Castleton Partners, which oversees about $150 million in bonds.People are buying T-bills because you know exactly what's in it.'' • February 13, 2008. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 was enacted, which included a tax rebate. The total cost of this bill was projected at $152 billion for 2008. A December 2009 study found that only about one-third of the tax rebate was spent, providing only a modest amount of stimulus. • September 2008. China Becomes Largest U.S. Foreign Creditor at 600 billion dollars. • 2010. China’s market power peaked in when it reached a market share of around 97% of all rare earth mineral production. Outside of China, there were almost no other producers left. Outside of China, the US is the second largest consumer of rare earths in the world behind Japan. About 60% of US rare earth imports are used as catalysts for petroleum refining, making it the country’s major consumer of rare earths. The US military also depends on rare earths. Many of the most advanced US weapon systems, including smart bombs, unmanned drones, cruise missiles, laser targeting, radar systems and the Joint Strike Fighter programme rely on rare earths. Against this background, the US Department of Defense (DoD) stated that “reliable access to the necessary material is a bedrock requirement for DOD” • 2010. A trade dispute arose when the Chinese government reduced its export quotas by 40% in 2010, sending the rare earths prices in the markets outside China soaring. The government argued that the quotas were necessary to protect the environment. • August 2010. China Becomes World’s Second-Largest Economy. • November 2011. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlines a U.S. “pivot” to Asia. Clinton’s call for “increased investment—diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise—in the Asia-Pacific region” is seen as a move to counter China’s growing clout. • December 2011. U.S. President Barack Obama announces the United States and eight other nations have reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership later announces plans to deploy 2,500 marines in Australia, prompting criticism from Beijing. • November 2012. China’s New Leadership. Xi Jinping replaces Hu Jintao as president, Communist Party general secretary, and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi delivers a series of speeches on the “rejuvenation” of China. • June 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping for a “shirt-sleeves summit” • May 19, 2014. A U.S. court indicts five Chinese hackers, allegedly with ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army, on charges of stealing trade technology from U.S. companies. • November 12, 2014. Joint Climate Announcement. Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping issue a joint statement on climate change, pledging to reduce carbon emissions. (which very conveniently allows the quotas to fall and save pride for Xi). • 2015. China drops the export quotas because in 2014, the WTO ruled against China. • May 30, 2015 U.S. Warns China Over South China Sea. (China is trying to expand it's buffer zone to build a defense for the coming war). • January 2016. The government to abolish the one-child policy, now allowing all families to have two children. • February 9, 2017. Trump Affirms One China Policy After Raising Doubts. • April 6 – 7, 2017. Trump Hosts Xi at Mar-a-Lago. Beijing and Washington to expand trade of products and services like beef, poultry, and electronic payments, though the countries do not address more contentious trade issues including aluminum, car parts, and steel. • November 2017. President Xi meets with President Trump in another high profile summit. • March 22, 2018. Trump Tariffs Target China. The White House alleges Chinese theft of U.S. technology and intellectual property. Coming on the heels of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the measures target goods including clothing, shoes, and electronics and restrict some Chinese investment in the United States. • July 6, 2018 U.S.-China Trade War Escalates. • September 2018. Modifications led to the exclusion of rare earths from the final list of products and they consequently were not subject to import tariffs imposed by the US government in September 2018. • October 4, 2018. Pence Speech Signals Hard-Line Approach. He condemns what he calls growing Chinese military aggression, especially in the South China Sea, criticizes increased censorship and religious persecution by the Chinese government, and accuses China of stealing American intellectual property and interfering in U.S. elections. • December 1, 2018. Canada Arrests Huawei Executive. • March 6, 2019. Huawei Sues the United States. • March 27 2019. India and the US signed an agreement to "strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation" including the construction of six American nuclear reactors in India • May 10, 2019. Trade War Intensifies. • August 5, 2019. U.S. Labels China a Currency Manipulator. • November 27, 2019. Trump Signs Bill Supporting Hong Kong Protesters. Chinese officials condemn the move, impose sanctions on several U.S.-based organizations, and suspend U.S. warship visits to Hong Kong. • January 15, 2020. ‘Phase One’ Trade Deal Signed. But the agreement maintains most tariffs and does not mention the Chinese government’s extensive subsidies. Days before the signing, the United States dropped its designation of China as a currency manipulator. • January 31, 2020. Tensions Soar Amid Coronavirus Pandemic. • March 18, 2020. China Expels American Journalists. The Chinese government announces it will expel at least thirteen journalists from three U.S. newspapers—the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post—whose press credentials are set to expire in 2020. Beijing also demands that those outlets, as well as TIME and Voice of America, share information with the government about their operations in China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry says the moves are in response to the U.S. government’s decision earlier in the year to limit the number of Chinese journalists from five state-run media outlets in the United States to 100, down from 160, and designate those outlets as foreign missions. And here we are. You may have noticed the Rare Earth Elements and the inclusion of Environmental Standards. Yes these are key to understanding the Geopolitical reality and importance of these events. There's a reason the one child policy stopped. Troop additions. I believe our current political reality started at Tiananmen square. The protests were an American sponsored attempt at regime change after the failure to convince them to leave totalitarian communism and join a greater political framework. Do I have proof? Yes. China, as far as I'm concerned, was responsible for the 2008 economic crisis. The Rare Earth Elements were an attempt to weaken the States and strengthen themselves simultaneously. This stranglehold either forced America to trade with China, or the trade was an American Trojan horse to eventually collapse their economy and cause a revolution after Tiananmen Square failed. Does my second proposal sound far fetched? Didn't the economy just shut down in response to the epidemic? Aren't both sides blaming the other? At this POINT, the epidemic seems to be overstated doesn’t it? Don't the casualties tend to the elder demographic and those already weakened by a primary disease? Exactly the kinds who wouldn't fight in a war. Does this change some of my views on the possibility of upcoming catastrophes and reasons for certain events? No. This is Chess, and there are obvious moves in chess, hidden moves in chess, but the best moves involve peices which can be utilized in different ways if the board calls for it. Is all what it seems? No. I definitely changed a few previously held beliefs prior to today, and I would caution you in advance that you will find some previously held convictions challenged. After uncovering what I did today, I would also strongly suggest reading information cautiously. This is all merely a culmination of ending the cold war, and once I have events laid out, you will see it as well. At this moment, the end analysis is a war will start in the near future. This will be mainly for a few reasons, preemptive resource control for water and crops, population reduction can be achieved since we have too many people, not enough jobs, and upcoming resource scarcity. Did you notice my omission of rare earth elements? This is because of Afghanistan. I would wager China or Russia is somehow supporting the continued resistance through Iran. But events are now accelerating with China because the western collation has already begun to build up their mines and start production. Do you remember when Trump made a "joke" about buying Greenland? Yeah. It turns out that Greenland has one of the largest rare earth mineral deposits on the planet. Take care. Be safe. Stay aware and be prepared. This message not brought to you by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Elon Musk, Blackrock, Vangaurd, the Rockefeller Foundation, Rand Corporation, DARPA, Rothschilds, Agenda 21, Agenda 30, and ID 2020.
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
Technology and some more:
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
Down the rabbit hole
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here. Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017. Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand. Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”.Scilla design story part 1
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
“Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
Business & Partnerships
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
Marketing & Community
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
I consider myself to be an informed member of the XRP community. I have a Twitter feed of all the prominent personalities/researchers to keep tabs on the news. I watch the metrics on utility-scan.com daily and even wrote a calculator to help understand what ODL is doing over time. I regularly check in on global metrics like volume, wallet openings, and the distribution of XRP within wallets. Up until recently, if you asked me to explain how XRP is distributed out to the public, I would point you to two resources. The first is an article on XRPArcade explaining how Jed McCaleb's XRP sales are structured (not the topic of this post). The other place would be the XRP Markets Reports provided quarterly by Ripple. There you would understand that for the past year Ripple has increasingly slowed the sales of XRP and only is selling in small amounts to facilitate liquidity in markets. Based on this data, I've seen discussions on /cryptocurrency and elsewhere claiming that XRP's inflation rate is lower than Bitcoins and is near 0. Based on publicly provided data I've realized that this is not the case. XRP's distribution rate is very different than the impression painted by the XRP Markets Reports. TLDR; Ripple is trying to paint a narrative that very little XRP is entering the market. In reality sales of XRP are very low, but XRP entering circulation remains much higher from an inflationary perspective and that rate has remained relatively unchanged from 2016 onward. Before I dive into the data, I'd like to take a brief pause and state that in no way am I writing this to be FUD. Clear and accurate data is extremely important to me. Much of the recent community conversation has revolved around hopium and dot connecting that is unverified. It's a public ledger, but most people don't take the time to track the numbers. I'm hoping to shed more light on these important factors since there is no doubt that XRP's rate of distribution can effect the price. Ok, soapbox over. I first was clued in that something was off while listening to a SamIAm video here. Basically Sam is calling out Ripple over their Q1 Markets Report because they didn't mention around $18 million of XRP paid to MoneyGram. Now technically this isn't a sale of XRP, but it's convenient to leave out and we would only know that this was happening because the SEC forced MoneyGram to report it on their Quarterly Investor Report. Next I was scratching my head over a data discrepancy. Tether flipped XRP on LiveCoinWatch weeks before the other tracking sites like CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap. Upon closer inspection I realized that all these sites retrieve the XRP circulating supply from a single API call and LiveCoinWatch had coded their site incorrectly. They were pulling the XRP numbers from last year. The API is here and anyone can checkout the data: https://data.ripple.com/v2/network/xrp_distribution. I believe that there is a companion private API Ripple uses to power their pie chart here: https://ripple.com/xrp/market-performance. Notice that the market performance (at the time of this posting) is for May 17th while the public API only goes to April. I don't know why Ripple hasn't updated the public API in a month. Since the public API has a history of postings you can go back and track the "distributed" tag all the way back to the middle of 2016. Here's what I found.
XRP Released into Circulation
Yearly Inflationary Rate
2016 (starts mid year)
2020 (May 1st)
2020 End (at current rate)
The 2016 data starts halfway through the year, so you can make an educated backfill guess for that year's number as well. Ripple has been distributing between 2 and 2.6 billion XRP a year with 2017 being a the high watermark. Interestingly the number distributed in 2019 is not that much different in spite of Ripple touting significantly reduced sales for almost the whole year. So lets talk about the term "XRP Distributed" versus "XRP Sales" obviously Ripple is providing the data for both stats, but they only talk about sales in the markets reports. Distribution is a much wider term. It can include things like "Business Development" like MoneyGram discussed above. It could be compensation incentives given to Ripple employees. Xpring is known to fund investments using XRP. All of these items aren't reported because they are not sales. Even with some generous guesses to the above categories, I have no idea what Ripple is really doing with the XRP in 2020 if they're not selling it. Even factoring in about 90 million XRP given to MoneyGram, there's still a significant amount distributed and I would love some opinions on what they think Ripple is doing with this XRP. Some takeaways for me:
While Ripple supplies both sets of data, they obviously want us to believe that XRP is entering the broader market at a much slower rate than reality.
Low sales numbers reinforce that notion, however an inflationary average of 5% isn't as sexy.
Ripple is doing lots with XRP that it doesn't consider a 'sale.' This gap will probably only widen with Ripple provided loans on the horizon.
At the current rate of distribution, Ripple doesn't need to dip into its escrow for another 2-3 years.
Somebody (or somebodies) is receiving large amounts of XRP that they aren't paying for. Ripple, if you're reading this, sign me up for that program please!
In every 210K mined blocks a planned (programmed) event takes place. This event is called halving. It is a regular reduction of miners’ fee (reward) for a produced block. Bitcoin creator put these halvings in software to keep inflation in check. Most commonly one block is being mined in 9 minutes and 20 seconds. According to this, halving occurs every four years. The Bitcoin network had two halvings: first in 2012 and then in 2016. If we look back and remember how much coins miners could earn in the early history of Bitcoin, it was 50 BTC for one block. Later on, after the first halving, the fee was equal to 25 BTC and the same happened four years after, then the reward was cut down to 12.5 BTC. The next (third) halving may be expected in May 2020. The payoff then will be reduced to 6.25 BTC. This will actually continue till there’s no award left (this will approximately happen in 2140). So why is there a need for halving? If coins are produced very fast or the amount of emitted BTC is not limited, there will be so many Bitcoins in circulation that they will have limited value. Vitalik Buterin once said in his interview with Bitcoin Magazine: «The main reason why this is done is to keep inflation under control.»
What will happen with BTC price after Bitcoin halving?
Like any other cryptocurrency price prediction, the Bitcoin price prediction is always hard to make, so we can just guess looking at a combination of factors. Opinions are divided as follows: some think that the BTC price will go up and others think nothing will generally change and the price will stay the same. There are also skeptics that see the halving as bad luck. They believe that if even 10 percent of miners quit, it might scare away the investors and make them move out their assets. As a result, the Bitcoin price will go down. After the first Bitcoin halving the BTC price grew almost two hundredfold, the second time it grew sevenfold. Both times BTC had increased volatility. But no one can guarantee the same events nowadays. As far as we can see from the previous halvings, they had the same dynamics: the Bitcoin price grew up. This gives some people hope that it will repeat after the next BTC halving in May 2020. What are people’s opinions and predictions regarding the next Bitcoin halving? Let’s have a look. The CEO of Pantera Capital Dan Morehead predicts the rise of BTC after the coming halving:
“It’s right on the trend line, and I think it’s a good shot that by the end of the year, we hit that, and then if you just extrapolate that line out for another year, it’s $122,000 per Bitcoin and in one more year $356,000.”
Tom Lee from Fundstrat Global Advisors posted a part of the report regarding crypto outlook 2020. Here what is said regarding the BTC price in that report:
“For 2020, we see several positive convergences that enhance the use case and also the economic model for crypto and Bitcoin – thus, we believe Bitcoin and crypto total return should exceed that of 2019. In other words, we see strong probability that Bitcoin gains >100% in 2020.”
Bobby Lee (co-founder and CEO of BTC China) also expressed his opinion via twit saying:
“After next #BlockRewardHalving in Spring of 2020, new #Bitcoin output will drop again, to just 900 BTC/day. I predict #HashPower will continue to grow, with ever higher amounts of investment in mining (electricity costs). If that amount reaches $54m/day, we‘ll have $BTC at $60k.”
Jason A. Williams had an “unpopular opinion”:
“Unpopular Opinion – Bitcoin halving in May 2020 won’t do anything to the price. It will be a non-event.”
John McAfee is insanely positive as usual when speaking about the Bitcoin price prediction:
“When I predicted Bitcoin at $500,000 by the end of 2020, it used a model that predicted $5,000 at the end of 2017. BTC has accelerated much faster than my model assumptions. I now predict Bitcoin at $1 million by the end of 2020. I will still eat my d\ck if wrong.”*
Paolo Ardoino (Bitfinex & Tether Chief Technology Officer) said the following in his interview to U.Today:
“The halving is expected to occur next year, and I think it’s reasonable to expect an increase in the price of Bitcoin. I won’t do any price predictions myself and this is not financial or other advice from me or from Bitfinex or Tether, but I don’t see any reason for Bitcoin not hitting $100,000 within the next few years. That would already be an amazing goal for such technology.”
Tone Vays (Financial analyst) is less ambitious. That’s what he thinks:
“Technically, everything is in play until end of 2020, after that sub $5,000 is not likely. Worst Case Scenario: prices drop to $5k into the halving, then after halving 70% of miners shut down due to negative revenue, #Bitcoin spirals down in price but then rises from the dead!”
Petros Anagnostou, the founder of Crypto Solutions declares:
“My prediction: Bitcoin will reach $12,000 before the end of this year. And will reach a price of $50,000 – $100,000 by the end of 2020.”
To summarize, the forthcoming BTC halving 2020 will be a kind of guarantee that there will be no inflation, and investments will be profitable. At the same time, it is being one of the key factors responsible for the growth of the Bitcoin price. When it comes to miners, they usually feel stressed about it as to keep their income at the same level they will need to invest in new technical equipment. As for those who don’t mine but just buy Bitcoin to keep BTC as a cryptocurrency investment, the BTC halving will barely have any effect on them. No one can predict what exactly will happen after the upcoming BTC halving. It is always up to you either be on the optimistic side or be one of the doubters. This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You are the only one responsible for making investment decisions.
Hi y'all, I'm curious to hear how/when others first discovered Bitcoin or any other crypto. I'll go ahead and share my discovery story. It's a bit lengthy so bear with me. The year is 2012 and I'm a junior in college. My college boyfriend sold weed at the time and also dabbled in other substances. He purchased these goodies through the Silk Road and bought them using Bitcoin. He probably had a decent amount of coins in whatever early software wallet he used at the time, but I never bothered to inquire further. I always associated Bitcoin as "the digital drug money" and that was that. Fast forward to 2016. We've graduated college, broken up, and don't keep in touch. My work colleagues (tech bros) are talking about the Bitcoin they bought. It fluctuated throughout the year from around $450 - $800ish by the end of the year and was driving them crazy as they tried to time selling/buying. "Silly tech bros" I thought. "What a dumb idea to invest in something so volatile" Now it's May 2020. A couple months into an early century pandemic. I've been playing lots and lots of online poker with friends and using it to fuel my competitive side while being stuck indoors. Volatility now excites me. I live in NYS which sucks for online poker because it's not permitted (actual cash games or tourneys w/ payouts). As I'm searching for a workaround, I come across all these sites accepting and paying out in... Yup you guessed it, Bitcoin. What turned into a search to play poker online has evolved into fascination around crypto and the decentralized nature of digital currency. I've now spent a couple of weeks researching and reading up on best investment practices so that I can enter this world myself. And now I often wonder if my ex held on to his bitcoin when the Silk Road was shut down in 2013. If he did, I wonder if he was able to access his digital wallet or if he was screwed out of his money like many others who were told their bitcoins were no longer available. TL;DR: 8 years ago college bf bought drugs off the silk road using Bitcoin. I thought it was dumb. 4 years ago co-workers started buying Bitcoin. I thought they were dumb. This month I tried to find a way to play poker online for money and fell deep into the world of cryptocurrency investing, deciding to partake myself. I now own Bitcoin, and am beginning to believe that beyond trading, crypto truly is the currency of the future. Thank you for rehashing that with me. How did you discover Bitcoin?
Guide: Crypto.com MCO Visa Card: 10% cashback on groceries (extended!), 1-5% on everything else, free Spotify and $50 bonus! [US, EU, UK, APAC]
The promotion of 10% back on grocery shoppinghas been extendeduntilthe end of September Available for: US, EU, UK and APAC The MCO Visa Card offered by Crypto.com is one of the best rewards cards currently available! It works as a normal debit card: you top up the card with your own currency (USD/EUGBP/SGD), you spend it as you normally would and you get the cashback and rewards paid out in a cryptocurrency (MCO token). If you want you can sell the MCO earned for cash immediately. I think now is a good time to get in. The MCO Token price is quite low currently so it means it's cheaper to get on board. You'll be able to earn back your investment in less than 6 months (see below). I would appreciate it if you'd sign up through my link: https://platinum.crypto.com/sxzbhwuqje or use code sxzbhwuqje in the app. You will also be eligible for the $50 bonus then (see below). Non-ref link (no bonus): https://crypto.com
What is Crypto.com?
Crypto.com offers an app with which you can easily buy and sell cryptocurrencies without additional cost. The company exists since 2016 (back then under the name Monaco, hence the MCO abbreviation) and now they have 2 million users. Next to trading within the app you can also get interest on your cryptocurrencies up to 12% (complete overview here), similar to the likes of Celsius and BlockFi.
The MCO Visa card
Through their app Crypto.com also offers the MCO Visa card. This is a debit Visa card tied to the MCO cryptocurrency. There are 5 different card tiers and you get:
a metal card (except the free tier)
no monthly fees
$50 bonus when applying for the card (except the free tier), which you can cash out immediately
Cashback up to 5% on all purchases made with the card (realistically up to 3%)
100% cashback on Spotify each month (all except free tier)
100% cashback on Netflix each month (3rd tier and up)
Free access to airport lounges with the higher tiers
Now till the end of September: 10% cashback at Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods, Carrefour, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, McDonald's, Uber Eats, Domino's and more (5% with the free card, details here)
All cashbacks and bonuses are paid in the MCO cryptocurrency. You can immediately sell the MCO in the app for pounds/euros, which you can use again for purchases with the card if you want. To get one of the non-free card tiers you need to buy MCO coin and stake them, which means holding on to them for 6 months. After the 6 months you can sell them again at the then current rate. The price of MCO is currently around $4.10 / €3.60, meaning that you have to lock $205 / €180 for six months to get the Ruby Steel card. You'll earn this back in less than 6 months (see below), These are the lower three card tiers:
Jade Green/Royal Indigo
None (free card)
50 MCO (~ $205 / €180)
500 MCO (~ $2050 / €1800)
Bonus after staking
$50 (in MCO)
$50 (in MCO)
Monthly Spotify Rebate
Monthly Netflix Rebate
LoungeKey Airport Lounge Access
Calculation example payback time (less than 6 months)
Below I've made an example calculation for the payback time of the Ruby Steel card, assuming a spend of $1000 / €1000 monthly with the card and that you use Spotify. After less than 6 months you will have earned back your initial investment :) But, additionally you also the worth of your MCO coins that you locked for 6 months. Even if they would be worth only half of what they are worth today, you'd still have a value of $103 / €90 which you could add to the value mentioned in the table below (see below about price expectation) .
$50 bonus immediately after staking
$50 / €44
2% cashback on all purchases with the card (assuming montly spend of $1000 / €1000 during 6 months)
$120 / €120
Spotify rebate ($10 / €10 per month)
$60 / €60
$230 / €224
MCO value over time
The MCO cards have just been released for UK and EU this spring and have been available in US since last year, and Canada's next. Because especially in EU cashback cards are not common, I expect that lots of people would be interested in getting a cashback card like this one. The good thing about that is that the demand for MCO coin would increase (because people need to lock them for 6 months) and I expect that the price of MCO will rise then (there are only 16 million of them, less than Bitcoins). Crypto.com is also launching a white label card programme which could further drive demand. No guarantees, this is my personal opinion :) I advise you to think about it yourself.
You can easily top up your MCO Visa card with your dollars/euros/pounds using a credit/debit card without any fees.
All bonuses and cashbacks are paid in MCO coin. You can immediately sell them through the app (minimum 4,5) for dollars/euros/pounds. You can then spend these again with your card or withdraw to your bank account (minimum $100 equiv. but you can top up extra to get to the minumum).
You can transfer money in and out the Crypto.com app without fees using ACH Transfer (US), UK Faster Payments (GBP) or SEPA transfer (Euro).
If you want to upgrade to a higher card level, the costs are $/€ 50 (unless your card hasn't shipped yet).
If you want to cancel your card you pay $/€ 50, but only if there is still any money left unspent on the card.
If you don't use your card for 12 months, an inactivity fee of $/€ 5 per month will be charged if you have available balance on your card.
How do I Buy Bitcoin & Crypto? - Pros & Cons of 5 Exchanges
Are you looking to start investing in cryptocurrency and wondering the best place to buy it? Or if you are in the US, are you wondering which crypto exchanges are legal for you to use? Below is a list of 5 cryptocurrency exchanges that, as of this post, are all legal for US citizens. I have also included a quick break down on the pros and cons of each exchange. This is not a complete list of every exchange available to US citizens as there are others, but these are my own personal top 5 based on characteristics such as ease of use, security, fees, liquidity and selection of available coins to trade. If you are not located in the US there is a good chance most of these exchanges are available to you as well, you will just need to check with the exchange and look up your own country's policies regarding the purchase of cryptocurrencies. As you go through the list please keep in mind, while I do have them ranked 1 through 5, there is not a lot separating them and each of these exchanges offer something a little unique from the others. Everyone's investment goals and preferences are going to be a little different so my #5 exchange here could be your #1 based on your criteria. It is also pretty likely that if you end up wanting to invest in 5 or more coins at some point, no one exchange is going to have all of them available so you will likely need to open multiple accounts anyways. Okay, on to the list. 1) Binance US Binance US is an offshoot of one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges out there, Binance.com. They created Binance US in response to US citizens being banned from using their main exchange back in 2019. These two exchanges function much the same with the biggest difference being that Binance US has a slightly smaller pool of cryptos listed on their exchange, which currently is a little over 30 coins. Other than that, all of the great features of Binance.com that have helped it become one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, apply to Binance US as well. PROS - Low Fees: Start at 0.10% spot trading fee and goes down from there depending on your trading frequency. You can also save an additional 25% off your trading fees by holding their native token BNB. - High Trading Volume: Allows you to get in and out of your positions more easily. - Coin Selection: Currently as of this writing there are over 30 different coins available to be traded. - Reliability / Reputation: As one of the larger players in the crypto space, Binance is able to offer a bit of security as they are able to throw a lot of money at any potential problems with things like hackers. Binance US puts away a set portion of their earnings every month in a fund that acts as insurance against any funds that may be lost due to hackers. Back in 2019 they had an incident where 40 million dollars of crypto was stolen by hackers and they reimbursed every penny to their customers. CONS - Interface: Trading can be a little confusing for those not used to trading cryptocurrencies. While it is not too difficult to learn, a couple of the upcoming exchanges on my list are a little more user friendly for those who are new to the space. All things considered, right now if I was getting started with Crypto trading in the US, Binance US would be the first account that I created. If you would like to open an account you can use the link below. If you are located outside of the United States I would suggest opening an account on the the original Binance.com exchange as they currently have a wider selection of cryptos to pick from. Below is a link for their sign up as well if you are interested. Binance US Sign Up Binance Sign Up (Non-US Citizens) 2) Crypto.com Crypto.com is on a mission to be the leader in cryptocurrency adoption to the masses and is trying to bridge the gap between the worlds of blockchain and traditional finance. Along with trading cryptocurrencies they have programs on their app like Earn, Invest, Pay & Credit which you would find with more traditional finance companies. For instance, through their Earn program there are many coins you can earn interest on by locking them up for a set time period. Depending on the coin, how many MCO (Crypto.com native coin) you have staked and how long you keep your tokens locked up for, you can earn anywhere from 2% to 18% interest which a lot better than any bank is going to do for you these days. One of the best features of Crypto.com, in my opinion, are their great eye-catching, metal crypto MCO reward credit cards. These cards pay you cashback, in the form of their MCO token, for all of your day to day purchases anywhere that VISA is accepted. Depending on which level of card you get, these credit cards reward 1% to 5% cashback on all spending along with other great benefits like free ATM & international withdrawals, 100% cashback on Spotify & Netflix subscriptions and airport lounge access. In order to get your hands on one of these cards you will need to open a Crypto.com account if you don’t already have one. There is good news if you don’t already have one, as new sign ups can get $50 worth of MCO tokens free by using the link and promo code I have posted below. Please note that the $50 of MCO tokens will remain locked until you deposit & stake at least 50 MCO tokens toward the sign up of the particular card you are interested in. If you want to know a little more about these cards you can check out method #3 in my earlier post 5 Easy Legitimate Ways to Earn Free Crypto where I go into a bit more detail on them. However, for the purpose of this post, let's get to some pros and cons of their exchange platform. PROS - Low Fees: Start at 0.20% and go lower from there depending on your trading volume. - Coin Selection: Currently as of this writing there are 53 different coins available to be traded. - Interface: Easy to use app that is very user friendly.- Customer Service: One of the best customer service programs in the industry if you need any help. CONS - App Only: No desktop version, all functions on the exchange must be done via their app. - History: Founded in 2016 so they are still relatively new to the industry. Crypto.com is a great option if you are looking to trade cryptocurrencies and also want to take advantage of things like their cash back VISA cards and Earn program that pay you great interest rates as you hold your coins. Below is a link you can use to sign up for a new account. If you are also interested in getting one of their MCO Visa cards, use the link below along with the promo code to get $50 of their MCO token free. Crypto.com Sign Up PROMO CODE:gapena3dq4 3) Coinbase Headquartered in San Francisco, Coinbase is the largest US-based crypto exchange with about 20 million current users. Like Crypto.com, they are trying to bring cryptocurrency trading to the masses through an easy to use interface and education. One way they try to educate their users is through their Coinbase Earn program where they offer free crypto for watching short educational videos teaching you about the various coins they offer on their exchange. I will not go into the details of that program here, but if you are interested in checking it out I go into a bit more detail on it in my post 5 Easy Legitimate Ways to Earn Free Crypto. Now on to some of the pros and cons. PROS - High Trading Volume: Allows you to get in and out of your positions easily. - Interface: Easy to use desktop interface and trading mechanisms for those new to crypto trading. - Insurance: Coinbase carries an insurance policy that covers 2% of all assets on the exchange and they keep the other 98% in cold storage. CONS - Fees: While their fee structure is not horrible, it is a bit higher than Crypto.com and Binance US. Crypto to crypto trading fees are at 0.50% / bank purchases at 1.49% / credit & debit card purchases at 3.99%. - Coin Selection: Currently they only have about 20 coins to choose from, however they are looking to add a bunch more soon. Coinbase is a solid choice for anyone looking to get started in crypto trading. If you would like to open an account you can use the link below which will get you $10 of free Bitcoin as a sign up bonus. Please note that to get the free $10 you must buy or sell $100 worth of crypto within 180 days of signing up. Coinbase Sign Up 4) Robinhood Robinhood is the pioneer of no fee trading for securities which is the main benefit of this exchange. It also is, to my knowledge, one of the few exchanges that allow you to trade both traditional stocks and cryptocurrencies. Technically their stock and crypto exchanges are separate entities, however you can seamlessly trade them both from the same account on their app. This is great for those who would like to get started trading in both crypto and traditional stocks but don't want to open multiple accounts. Or for those who might want to trade back and forth between stocks and crypto but don't want to have to transfer money between accounts to do so. Now to explore some other features of the Robinhood exchange let's get into the pros and cons. PROS - Fees: None (FREE!) - Flexibility: Can trade multiple asset classes (Stocks, Crypto, ETFs, Options) - Interface: Easy to use app that is very user friendly. Desktop version available as well. CONS - Coin Selection: Currently only offer 7 coins that can be traded (BTC, BCH, BSV, DOGE, ETH, ETC, LTC) - Coin Mobility: Your coins must remain on the Robinhood exchange. You cannot transfer your coins to another exchange or withdraw them to put in your own digital wallets. With their user friendly interface and no fees, Robinhood is very appealing for those just getting into crypto trading. If you are just looking to buy some of the higher cap coins like Bitcoin and Etherium, this exchange can be a good fit for you. However if you know there are some projects you would like to invest in that are not listed above, you may want to choose some of the other exchanges on this list, or both. If you are unsure at this point if you want to invest beyond coins like Bitcoin and Etherium in the future, it doesn't hurt to start here, get your feet wet and open another account down the road if you have other projects you get interested in. If you would like to open an account you can use the link below to get one free stock with sign up! This free stock will be valued somewhere between $2.50 and $200. Robinhood Sign Up 5) Kraken Kraken exchange is based out of the United States and was founded back in 2011. While there is no specific trait that blows away the competition with this exchange, it does most everything pretty well. Like most crypto exchanges at this point, your funds on there are not FDIC insured, however Kraken does keep a separate fund that serves as an insurance policy and is currently over 100 million dollars. They also show great transparency and compliance with programs like their Proof of Reserves which offers proof that they hold all of the funds that they say they do. Here is quick break down of their pros and cons. PROS - Low Fees: Range from 0.10% to 0.26% depending on your trading frequency. - High Security: One of the best reputations in the industry for security. - Coin Selection: Good but not great. Currently they have about 20 coins available for trading. CONS - Interface: Making trades can be a little confusing for beginners who are not familiar with their format. However with a couple quick tutorials most of you should be able to get familiar with it pretty quickly. To open an account and begin trading with Kraken use the link below. Kraken Sign Up
Interested in some ways you can passively earn free crypto?
Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
A whirlwind tour of Defi, paying close attention to protocols that we’re leveraging atGenesis Block. https://reddit.com/link/hrrt21/video/cvjh5rrh12b51/player This is the third post ofCrypto-Powered— a new series that examines what it means forGenesis Blockto be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols. Last week we explored how building on legacy finance is a fool’s errand. The future of money belongs to those who build with crypto and blockchain at their core. We also started down the crypto rabbit hole, introducing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi (decentralized finance). That post is required reading if you hope to glean any value from the rest of this series. 97% of all activity on Ethereum in the last quarter has been DeFi-related. The total value sitting inside DeFi protocols is roughly $2B — double what it was a month ago. The explosive growth cannot be ignored. All signs suggest that Ethereum & DeFi are a Match Made in Heaven, and both on their way to finding strong product/market fit. So in this post, we’re doing a whirlwind tour of DeFi. We look at specific examples and use-cases already in the wild and seeing strong growth. And we pay close attention to protocols that Genesis Block is integrating with. Alright, let’s dive in.
Stablecoins are exactly what they sound like: cryptocurrencies that are stable. They are not meant to be volatile (like Bitcoin). These assets attempt to peg their price to some external reference (eg. USD or Gold). A non-volatile crypto asset can be incredibly useful for things like merchant payments, cross-border transfers, or storing wealth — becoming your own bank but without the stress of constant price volatility. There are major governments and central banks that are experimenting with or soon launching their own stablecoins like China with their digital yuan and the US Federal Reserve with their digital dollar. There are also major corporations working in this area like JP Morgan with their JPM Coin, and of course Facebook with their Libra Project.
Stablecoin activity has grown 800% in the last year, with $290B of transaction volume (funds moving on-chain).
USDC($1B): This is the most reputable USD-backed stablecoin, at least in the West. It was created by Coinbase & Circle, both well-regarded crypto companies. They’ve been very open and transparent with their audits and bank records.
DAI ($189M): This is backed by other crypto assets — not USD in a bank account. This was arguably the first true DeFi protocol. The big benefit is that it’s more decentralized — it’s not controlled by any single organization. The downside is that the assets backing it can be volatile crypto assets (though it has mechanisms in place to mitigate that risk).
Three of the top five DeFi protocols relate to lending & borrowing. These popular lending protocols look very similar to traditional money markets. Users who want to earn interest/yield can deposit (lend) their funds into a pool of liquidity. Because it behaves similarly to traditional money markets, their funds are not locked, they can withdraw at any time. It’s highly liquid. Borrowers can tap into this pool of liquidity and take out loans. Interest rates depend on the utilization rate of the pool — how much of the deposits in the pool have already been borrowed. Supply & demand. Thus, interest rates are variable and borrowers can pay their loans back at any time.
So, who decides how much a borrower can take? What’s the process like? Are there credit checks? How is credit-worthiness determined?
These protocols are decentralized, borderless, permissionless. The people participating in these markets are from all over the world. There is no simple way to verify identity or check credit history. So none of that happens. Credit-worthiness is determined simply by how much crypto collateral the borrower puts into the protocol. For example, if a user wants to borrow $5k of USDC, then they’ll need to deposit $10k of BTC or ETH. The exact amount of collateral depends on the rules of the protocol — usually the more liquid the collateral asset, the more borrowing power the user can receive. The most prominent lending protocols include Compound, Aave, Maker, and Atomic Loans. Recently, Compound has seen meteoric growth with the introduction of their COMP token — a token used to incentivize and reward participants of the protocol. There’s almost $1B in outstanding debt in the Compound protocol. Mainframe is also working on an exciting protocol in this area and the latest iteration of their white paper should be coming out soon.
There is very little economic risk to these protocols because all loans are overcollateralized.
Buying, selling, and trading crypto assets is certainly one form of investing (though not for the faint of heart). But there are now DeFi protocols to facilitate making and managing traditional-style investments. Through DeFi, you can invest in Gold. You can invest in stocks like Amazon and Apple. You can short Tesla. You can access the S&P 500. This is done through crypto-based synthetics — which gives users exposure to assets without needing to hold or own the underlying asset. This is all possible with protocols like UMA, Synthetix, or Market protocol. Maybe your style of investing is more passive. With PoolTogether , you can participate in a no-loss lottery. Maybe you’re an advanced trader and want to trade options or futures. You can do that with DeFi protocols like Convexity, Futureswap, and dYdX. Maybe you live on the wild side and trade on margin or leverage, you can do that with protocols like Fulcrum, Nuo, and DDEX. Or maybe you’re a degenerate gambler and want to bet against Trump in the upcoming election, you can do that on Augur. And there are plenty of DeFi protocols to help with crypto investing. You could use Set Protocol if you need automated trading strategies. You could use Melonport if you’re an asset manager. You could use Balancer to automatically rebalance your portfolio. With as little as $1, people all over the world can have access to the same investment opportunities and tools that used to be reserved for only the wealthy, or those lucky enough to be born in the right country.
You can start to imagine how services like Etrade, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and even Robinhood could be massively disrupted by a crypto-native company that builds with these types of protocols at their foundation.
As mentioned in our previous post, there are near-infinite applications one can build on Ethereum. As a result, sometimes the code doesn’t work as expected. Bugs get through, it breaks. We’re still early in our industry. The tools, frameworks, and best practices are all still being established. Things can go wrong. Sometimes the application just gets in a weird or bad state where funds can’t be recovered — like with what happened with Parity where $280M got frozen (yes, I lost some money in that). Sometimes, there are hackers who discover a vulnerability in the code and maliciously steal funds — like how dForce lost $25M a few months ago, or how The DAO lost $50M a few years ago. And sometimes the system works as designed, but the economic model behind it is flawed, so a clever user takes advantage of the system— like what recently happened with Balancer where they lost $500k. There are a lot of risks when interacting with smart contracts and decentralized applications — especially for ones that haven’t stood the test of time. This is why insurance is such an important development in DeFi.
Insurance will be an essential component in helping this technology reach the masses.
Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) were one of the first and most developed categories in DeFi. A DEX allows a user to easily exchange one crypto asset for another crypto asset — but without needing to sign up for an account, verify identity, etc. It’s all via decentralized protocols. Within the first 5 months of 2020, the top 7 DEX already achieved the 2019 trading volume. That was $2.5B. DeFi is fueling a lot of this growth. https://preview.redd.it/1dwvq4e022b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=97a3d756f60239cd147031eb95fc2a981db55943 There are many different flavors of DEX. Some of the early ones included 0x, IDEX, and EtherDelta — all of which had a traditional order book model where buyers are matched with sellers. Another flavor is the pooled liquidity approach where the price is determined algorithmically based on how much liquidity there is and how much the user wants to buy. This is known as an AMM (Automated Market Maker) — Uniswap and Bancor were early leaders here. Though lately, Balancer has seen incredible growth due mostly to their strong incentives for participation — similar to Compound. There are some DEXs that are more specialized — for example, Curve and mStable focus mostly only stablecoins. Because of the proliferation of these decentralized exchanges, there are now aggregators that combine and connect the liquidity of many sources. Those include Kyber, Totle, 1Inch, and Dex.ag.
These decentralized exchanges are becoming more and more connected to DeFi because they provide an opportunity for yield and earning interest.
As it relates to making payments, much of the world is still stuck on plastic cards. We’re grateful to partner with Visa and launch the Genesis Block debit card… but we still don’t believe that's the future of payments. We see that as an important bridge between the past (legacy finance) and the future (crypto). Our first post in this series shared more on why legacy finance is broken. We talked about the countless unnecessary middle-men on every card swipe (merchant, acquiring bank, processor, card network, issuing bank). We talked about the slow settlement times. The future of payments will be much better. Yes, it’ll be from a mobile phone and the user experience will be similar to ApplePay (NFC) or WePay (QR Code).
But more importantly, the underlying assets being moved/exchanged will all be crypto — digital, permissionless, and open source.
Someone making a payment at the grocery store check-out line will be able to open up Genesis Block, use contactless tech or scan a QR code, and instantly pay for their goods. All using crypto. Likely a stablecoin. Settlement will be instant. All the middlemen getting their pound of flesh will be disintermediated. The merchant can make more and the user can spend less. Blockchain FTW! Now let’s talk about a few projects working in this area. The xDai Burner Wallet experience was incredible at the ETHDenver event a few years ago, but that speed came at the expense of full decentralization (can it be censored or shut down?). Of course, Facebook’s Libra wants to become the new standard for global payments, but many are afraid to give Facebook that much control (newsflash: it isn’t very decentralized). Bitcoin is decentralized… but it’s slow and volatile. There are strong projects like Lightning Network (Zap example) that are still trying to make it happen. Projects like Connext and OmiseGo are trying to help bring payments to Ethereum. The Flexa project is leveraging the gift card rails, which is a nice hack to leverage existing pipes. And if ETH 2.0 is as fast as they say it will be, then the future of payments could just be a stablecoin like DAI (a token on Ethereum). In a way, being able to spend crypto on daily expenses is the holy grail of use-cases. It’s still early. It hasn’t yet been solved. But once we achieve this, then we can ultimately and finally say goodbye to the legacy banking & finance world. Employees can be paid in crypto. Employees can spend in crypto. It changes everything.
Legacy finance is hanging on by a thread, and it’s this use-case that they are still clinging to. Once solved, DeFi domination will be complete.
At Genesis Block, we’re excited to leverage these protocols and take this incredible technology to the world. Many of these protocols are already deeply integrated with our product. In fact, many are essential. The masses won’t know (or care about) what Tether, USDC, or DAI is. They think in dollars, euros, pounds and pesos. So while the user sees their local currency in the app, the underlying technology is all leveraging stablecoins. It’s all on “crypto rails.” https://preview.redd.it/jajzttr622b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=fcf55cea1216a1d2fcc3bf327858b009965f9bf8 When users deposit assets into their Genesis Block account, they expect to earn interest. They expect that money to grow. We leverage many of these low-risk lending/exchange DeFi protocols. We lend into decentralized money markets like Compound — where all loans are overcollateralized. Or we supply liquidity to AMM exchanges like Balancer. This allows us to earn interest and generate yield for our depositors. We’re the experts so our users don’t need to be. We haven’t yet integrated with any of the insurance or investment protocols — but we certainly plan on it. Our infrastructure is built with blockchain technology at the heart and our system is extensible — we’re ready to add assets and protocols when we feel they are ready, safe, secure, and stable. Many of these protocols are still in the experimental phase. It’s still early.
At Genesis Block we’re excited to continue to be at the frontlines of this incredible, innovative, technological revolution called DeFi.
--- None of these powerful DeFi protocols will be replacing Robinhood, SoFi, or Venmo anytime soon. They never will. They aren’t meant to! We’ve discussed this before, these are low-level protocols that need killer applications, like Genesis Block. So now that we’ve gone a little deeper down the rabbit hole and we’ve done this whirlwind tour of DeFi, the natural next question is: why?
Why does any of it matter?
Most of these financial services that DeFi offers already exist in the real world. So why does it need to be on a blockchain? Why does it need to be decentralized? What new value is unlocked? Next post, we answer these important questions. To look at more projects in DeFi, check outDeFi Prime,DeFi Pulse, orConsensys. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Crypto.com MCO Visa card: 10% cashback on groceries + 1-5% on other purchases + $50 bonus
I've rewritten my guide completely :) Crypto.com is now finally shipping their MCO Visa cards in UK & EU! I have received my card this week and immediately got 10% cashback when trying it at Lidl: https://imgur.com/a/ITB39JX I'm very enthousiastic about Crypto.com myself and all the products they offer. I'll try to explain here as clearly as I can. I would appreciate it if you'd sign up through my link: https://platinum.crypto.com/sxzbhwuqje or use code sxzbhwuqje in the app. You will also be eligible for the $50 bonus then (see below).
What is Crypto.com?
Crypto.com offers an app with which you can easily buy and sell cryptocurrencies without additional cost. The company exists since 2016 (back then under the name Monaco, hence the MCO abbreviation) and now they have 2 million users. Next to trading within the app you can also get interest on your cryptocurrencies up to 12% (complete overview here), similar to the likes of Celsius and BlockFi.
The MCO Visa card
Through their app Crypto.com also offers the MCO Visa card. This is a Visa card tied to the MCO cryptocurrency. There are 5 different card tiers and you get:
a metal card (except the free tier)
no monthly fees
$50 bonus when applying for the card (except the free tier), which you can cash out immediately
Cashback up to 5% on all purchases made with the card (realistically up to 3%)
100% cashback on Spotify each month (all except free tier)
100% cashback on Netflix each month (3rd tier and up)
Free access to airport lounges with the higher tiers
Now till the end of June: 10% cashback at Sainsbury's, Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, McDonald's, Uber Eats, Domino's and more (5% with the free card, details here)
All cashbacks and bonuses are paid in the MCO cryptocurrency. You can immediately sell the MCO in the app for pounds/euros, which you can use again for purchases with the card if you want. To get one of the non-free card tiers you need to buy MCO coin and stake them, which means holding on to them for 6 months. After the 6 months you can sell them again at the then current rate. The price of MCO is currently around £4,45 / €5,00, meaning that you have to lock £223 / €250 for six months to get the Ruby Steel card. You'll earn this back in about 7 months (see below), These are the lower three card tiers:
Jade Green/Royal Indigo
None (free card)
50 MCO (~ £223 / €250)
500 MCO (~ £2230 / €2500)
Bonus after staking
$50 (in MCO)
$50 (in MCO)
Monthly Spotify Rebate
Monthly Netflix Rebate
LoungeKey Airport Lounge Access
Calculation example payback time (7 months)
Below I've made an example calculation for the payback time of the Ruby Steel card, assuming a spend of £1000 / €1000 monthly with the card and that you use Spotify. After 7 months you will have earned back your initial investment :) But, additionally you also have the 10% cashback on groceries until the end of June plus the worth of your MCO coins that you locked for 6 months. Even if they would be worth only half of what they are worth today, you'd still have a value of £112 / € 225 (see below about price expectation).
$50 bonus immediately after staking
£40 / €46
2% cashback on all purchases with the card (assuming montly spend of £1000 / €1000 during 7 months)
£140 / €140
Spotify rebate (£10 / €10 per month)
£70 / €70
£250 / €256
The price of the MCO coin has been around £4,50 / €5 for a while. The cards have just been released for UK and EU. Because especially in EU cashback cards are not common, I expect that lots of people would be interested in getting a cashback card like this one. The good thing about that is that the demand for MCO coin would increase (because people need to lock them for 6 months) and I expect that the price of MCO will rise then (there are only 16 million of them, less than Bitcoins). No guarantees, this is my personal opinion :) I advise you to think about it yourself.
You can easily top up your MCO Visa card with pound / euros using a credit/debit card without any fees.
All bonuses and cashbacks are paid in MCO coin. You can immediately sell them through the app (minimum 4,5) for euros (in the near future for pounds as well). You can then spend these again with your card or withdraw to your bank account (minimum $100 equiv. but you can top up extra to get to the minumum).
SEPA Euro bank transfers in and out of your Crypto.com account are available now, but GBP bank transfers are not possible right now since they're switching providers. It should be possible again the end of next month.
If you want to upgrade to a higher card level, the costs are £/€ 50 (unless your card hasn't shipped yet)
If you want to cancel your card you pay £/€ 50, but only if there is still any money left unspent on the card.
If you don't use your card for 12 months, an inactivity fee of £/€ 5 per month will be charged if you have available balance on your card.
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What Does Best Crypto to Invest in - Fintech Zoom Do?
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