Will Ethereum Adopt ‘ProgPoW,’ the ASIC-Resistant Mining Algorithm?

After Ethereum core developers expressed broad support in January for ProgPoW—an ASIC resistant upgrade to the Ethereumnetwork—the Ethereum community raised concerns that the highly anticipated patch may cause the same problem it was intended to solve. Now the future of ProgPoW is in question.

ProgPoW is short for Programmatic Proof of Work. The proposed upgrade would extend Ethereum’s existing Proof of Work algorithm, slightly altering the structure of math problems that mining nodes are tasked with solving. The change is meant to substantially improve the odds for GPU miners over ASIC miners.

Ethereum’s Pledge of ASIC Resistance

ASIC is short for “application specific integrated circuit.” In the context of Ethereum, it’s a highly specialized computer designed to be mass produced for the sole purpose of mining Ethereum. However, this issue existed before Ethereum. The original Ethereum white paper called attention to the proliferation of ASICs in Bitcoin mining. Seen as a cause behind the centralization of the Bitcoin network, the Ethereum white paper set an intention to avoid the same fate:

“This means that Bitcoin mining is no longer a highly decentralized and egalitarian pursuit, requiring millions of dollars of capital to effectively participate in.”

ASICs built for Ethereum have anywhere from a two to four-fold advantage over GPUminers. Multiple Ethereum ASICs hit the market last year with the Antminer E3 from mining hardware giant Bitmain at the high end of the performance scale. The ProgPoW update is engineered specifically to slightly alter the problem that miners are asked to solve in a way that will reduce or eliminate the advantage ASICs have over GPU miners.

Why Ethereum Prefers GPU Mining

The Ethereum community generally agrees in ASIC resistance, believing that GPUmining leads to a more distributed network and that the more distributed the network is, the better. While the mass manufacturing of ASIC miners provides a cost-saving advantage per hash, these miners are generally purchased in large quantities for mass-scale mining operations that consolidate ownership of the network. In addition to centralizing the network, the homogeneity resulting from running all of the same mininghardware at scale leaves the network at risk when a security vulnerability is discovered in a popular line of ASICs.

Alternatively, GPU miners are generally custom-built entirely from personal computing hardware already available in the consumer market. These machines use computer chip architecture common in deep learning and animation rendering that combines a series of 3D video cards with high-end GPU chipsets in a single machine.

The high level of accessibility of the hardware required to build these machines creates an opportunity for more people to participate and a more distributed network. As the markets change for 3D video cards, new mining machines use different combinations of hardware from different manufacturers in an attempt to fine-tune a better machine. The multi-purpose nature of the hardware also means that if markets change and miningbecomes less profitable, GPUs can be removed from the network and used in other ways. Meanwhile, ASICs serve no other purpose when they are no longer profitable to run.

The ProgPoW Debate

At the Jan. 4th core developers meeting, progress on ProgPoW was reportedly on track and running on the Gangnam test network. Since then, the Ethereum community is reporting that the ProgPoW update may lead to more centralization of the network, rather than less.

GPU miners tend to utilize hardware from one of two primary chip manufacturers, AMD and Nvidia, both of whom have reviewed the ProgPoW code. However, according to a variety of reports, the ProgPoW patch seems to provide a significant advantage to Nvidia based GPUs over AMD counterparts. To add to the controversy, one of the three team members working on the patch worked previously as a hardware engineer at Nvidia, leading to rumors of Nvidia’s involvement in the patch.

Others have been quick to follow up with claims that the patch isn’t really needed to begin with and have questioned the wisdom of altering the mining algorithm if the intention is to move to a Proof of Stake alternative soon. Just last year, Ethereum’s creator Vitalik Buterin downplayed the ASIC threat.

Fearing that the community reaction would lead to ProgPoW not being released at all, one member of the Ethereum community is threatening to hard fork Ethereum to enable ProgPoW.

The team working on ProgPoW, known online as IfDefElse posted a public response to the controversy in the form of an FAQ. In the FAQ, the team openly describes their collaboration with both Nvidia and AMD. The post goes on to clarify—in extreme detail—a technical explanation of the change and why the community experienced the variance in results.

“It was designed to have as level of a playing field as possible.… Performance of a GPU for ProgPoW in mining workloads will reflect the average gaming performance of that GPU.”

The team also addressed the possibility that ASIC manufactures will create another series of machines and the cycle will start over. The team believes that, at best, a new generation of ASICs would not be able to achieve more than a 1.5x advantage over GPUmining systems. Combined with the looming switch to Proof of Stake, this may dissuade manufacturers from attempting to challenge the team’s estimate.

ProgPoW Continues to Progress Without Clarity

Even though testing is already underway, it is still too soon to know when, how, or even if ProgPoW will be released. Despite the heated online debate, the ProgPoW patch continues to progress as planned. That said, as demonstrated by Ethereum’s recent hard fork delay, development schedules are always subject to change.

At the Ethereum Core Developers February meeting, the lively discussion explored concerns ranging from test coverage and specification readability to how to make a decision on releasing the patch. Some of the developers felt the team was ready to make an implementation decision. As embodied in a comment by core developer Greg Colvin, “we can just make it, it’s our job!”.

Meanwhile, other developers suggested that the decision to upgrade may ultimately rest with the community itself. The team put a lot of emphasis on doing the right thing for the mining community. Another core developer, Piper Merriam said:

“I’ve largely stayed out of the discussion…. It’s a decision that, frankly, I’m not excited about making for the network… but I also acknowledge that it’s potentially our responsibility to make it.”

Without complete details on how the patch will proceed, the team has agreed to organize a third-party audit to verify the fairness of the new algorithm while development on ProgPoW continues as planned. Whether Ethereum will make the switch to ProgPoW or focus on implementing PoS is still highly uncertain.

Author: Scott Dudley
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John McAfee Tweets to Sooth the Souls of Nervous Investors

Controversial investor and software guru took to Twitter this week to calm the jangling nerves of Bitcoin investors after a tumultuous week left the flagship cryptocurrency hovering above USD 4,000.

Investors may ask “why listen to John McAfee?” but they might just take a look at a recent study which revealed that the 73-year-old tech veteran was found to be the most influential figure in terms of trustworthiness when it comes to handing out trading advice. In second place, the study placed Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, followed by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee.

In his latest tweet, McAfee makes an analogy to the bear market and winter, arguing that a “glorious spring” is around the corner, attributing the current market disruption to confusion. He points out that investors are joining the market daily, regardless of current trends and blames the current market turmoil on institutions who took “absolutely unenforceable measures to allay their fears.”

Market forces will “burn out” in time, McAfee suggests and encourages the global cryptocurrency community to stick with cryptocurrencies in the long term, echoing the views of Blockstream’s CEO Bobby Lee, who suggested that Bitcoin could still threaten USD 3,000, but long-term, feels it will overtake gold:

“This bear market might last another 18+ months, until the next block reward halving. That’s a long time for everyone except true believers. Enough time to scare away all of the weak long positions.”

Lee certainly has an ally in venture capital partner Lou Kerner from CryptoOracle who sees gold eventually being surpassed by Bitcoin. He compared the current market instability to the early 2000 dot com burst but makes an analogy to strong coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and companies such as Amazon who survived the bubble and emerged to become giant players in today’s tech markets. Kerner calls Bitcoin “the greatest store of value ever created.”

As to the recent drop in values, Kerner argues that “crypto has been so weak because [for] most of it there is no underlying value outside of confidence.”

Author: Harold Vandelay
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Ethereum’s Next Blockchain Upgrade Faces Delay After Testing Failure

Repercussions are being felt in the ethereum development ecosystem after an initial test of the platform’s forthcoming software upgrade, Constantinople, failed to deliver expected results.

A system-wide change initially earmarked to go live in 2018, the code release, meant to introduce five improvements and alter the economics of the $20 billion blockchain, may now be delayed following a failure of Saturday’s activation on the test network Ropsten, developers told CoinDesk on Monday.

After a meeting of ethereum’s open-source developer team last Friday, in which it was suggested that Constantinople could be implemented as early as November, Saturday’s failed activation revealed unexpected issues in the code. Namely, a bug was discovered by security lead for the Ethereum Foundation Martin Holst Swende, one which caused two different iterations of the same software upgrade to run on testnet.

Though a patch to fix the identified bug has since been issued, independent ethereum developer Lane Rettig explained to CoinDesk Monday that investigations into the events of Constantinople testnet release are ongoing.
Rettig said:
“We should take our time to understand what went wrong and how to avoid issues like this in the future – not just the low-level code issue but all of the related issues (the mining issue, communication issues over the weekend, how it wasn’t caught by the tests, etc.) There’s a lot of forensics still to be done.”

Rettig also affirmed that plans for Constantinople’s release could be delayed as a result, asserting: “If an upgrade causes a fork on the testnet, we should put the mainnet release on hold for some minimum period of time.”
While a fixed date for implementation of Constantinople has yet to be set, Griff Green, ethereum community lead and founder of blockchain-based nonprofit Giveth, set mainnet activation for sometime in 2019.
“I would expect it to get delayed to 2019, the blockchain doesn’t take holidays, but developers do,” Green said. “If I were to make a wager on a prediction market I would put my ETH on late January, early February.”

Ethereum core developers have agreed to collectively regroup this coming Friday over a live-streamed call that will find them discussing plans in light of the failed test implementation.

To recap the events of Saturday, rollout of Constantinople was planned to proceed on ethereum’s main test network at block number 4,230,000, however, miners failed to upgrade their software in accordance with the timed launch.
As it occurred “much earlier than expected on a Saturday,” Schoedon said many developers “[were] not available and not even aware” of the change. Schoedon added his takeaway from the events: “Never fork on weekends.”

This proved to be an issue, as for the hard fork to progress smoothly, all participating “nodes” or computers run by miners and users, needed to upgrade near-simultaneously to the same software.

Following an open call from ethereum developers on social media to move the test forward, the network underwent a second chain split as a result of discrepancies in Constantinople code between two major ethereum clients, Geth and Parity. (As background, ethereum clients are the individuals and businesses running nodes to support the ethereum network.)
Speaking to CoinDesk, Brian Venturo, a miner actively contributing to the Ropsten testnet, explained:
“It looks like the consensus failure was driven by changes to the SSTORE opcode in EIP-1283 that were implemented differently between Parity and Geth.”

Part of the Constantinople upgrade features new code under ethereum improvement proposal (EIP) 1283 that will change the way smart contracts are stored on ethereum and reduce the cost to smart contract developers of updating stored contracts.

However, the iteration of EIP 1283 as designed in the Constantinople code released by Parity featured refund mechanisms that caused a “noticeable disagreement regarding [Ropsten] block 4,230,605” and the cost for the deployment of this smart contract, as highlighted in the official notes by ethereum core developers.

Upon discovering the discrepancies in Constantinople code, ethereum core developers agreed to patch Parity’s code to align with code supported by Geth and attempt another re-sync to the correct Ropsten chain.

Still, some see the failed test as a positive for development overall.
Seeing the attempted rollout of Constantinople on Ropsten this past Saturday as having achieved its intended purpose, Rettig tweeted out on Sunday:
“We broke Ropsten, but it’s a testnet, and it will be fixed, and this is precisely the point of releasing to a testnet first. It’s really fun, exciting, and reassuring to see this process play out as designed.”

He also later added in email to CoinDesk Monday that he now had “more confidence than ever that the right things are happening, in the right order, to keep [ethereum] mainnet running and secure.”

Other core developers appear to agree with the sentiment shared by Rettig, with the security lead at the Ethereum Foundation writing in a public Gitter channel that Saturday was “evidently a good test,” adding that the temporary forked state of Ropsten was nothing to “lose any sleep over.”

Ethereum core developer, Alexey Akhunov, also wrote in the same channel that while “smooth processes are good for efficiency…they can [instill] a false sense of security,” adding that, “breakages…make people more alert.”

Moving forward, the plan for all ethereum developers as explained by release manager for Parity, Afri Schoedon, is to implement bug fixes for relevant clients and “bring them all together on the Geth Ropsten chain again.”

He added that “once thSourceis is done, hopefully around Devcon, we can continue testing Constantinople on Ropsten…and eventually agree on a main network fork date.”
Schoeden affirmed that he too thinks the most likely outcome will be a release date in the new year.
“I see January 2019 as realistic fork date, but only if the clients will be patched, all tests are ready (and pass), and [there] are no further issues discovered on Ropsten.”

Author: Christine Kim
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Ethereum’s Important Upgrade May be Delayed

The planned Constantinople hard fork of the Ethereum platform that should increase the efficiency of the platform may not happen this year.
During testing of the hard fork, a “consensus issue” has apparently caused a testnet known as Ropsten to become “not usable,” a tweet from Ethereum development firm Infura said.

Until the issue with the Ropsten testnet has been resolved, developers should make use of other testing networks, the California-based company said.
Ethereum developer Afri Schoedon went on to say Ethereum core developers had agreed during a conference call that the hard fork would not happen this year “if there are any major issues on Ropsten,” while hinting that the market could get some further clarification next Friday.

The Constantinople hard fork has been proposed by leading Ethereum developers as a way to increase the efficiency of the Ethereum platform, make certain alterations to the platform’s economic policy, and delay the “difficulty bomb” that is coded into the protocol.
However, the release of the upgrade is contingent on a successful roll-out on the Ropsten Ethereum testnet. As a result of the issues faced over the weekend, the timeline for the upgrade is therefore unclear right now.

Despite possible delays, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has previously indicated that there is no urgency in rolling out the Constantinople upgrade, saying in an earlier call with developers that “It’s totally not urgent […] We could probably have three months of safety and likely even more,” according to several media outlets.

The price of ether was slightly down Monday morning (UTC 03:00 AM), trading below the 200 mark at about USD 195 for the first time in a month, following a sharp sell-off on Thursday last week. Still, the price has managed to remain above the lows from the September sell-off, giving investors hopes that a solid price floor has been formed.

Author: Fredrik Vold
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Justin Sun Still Bullish Despite Buterin Critique; Tron Price Climbs 6%!

Tron (TRX) climbed 6% leading into Wednesday evening as the cryptocurrency market sprung up from another overnight dip. TRX had flirted with yet another 2018 low for much of Wednesday morning, yet CEO and co-founder Justin Sun confirmed his bullishness in the wake of the quiet jab thrown at him by Vitalik Buterin late last night.

Contrary to Buterin’s assertion that the cryptocurrency market would no longer be witness to the kind of 1000x growth that we witnessed towards the end of 2017, Justin Sun believes the exact opposite.
Sun Strikes Back

The Tron CEO took to Twitter to defend himself after Buterin suggested that the hype created by popular figures like Justin Sun was less than beneficial. Buterin’s original statement read:
“Me: obviously, let’s be realistic, the entire world wealth is not going to turn into cryptocurrencies…

Guys, if you spin things this way you’re *incentivizing* people to act more like @justinsuntron.”
Justin Sun responded less than two hours later, telling his 326K followers:
“I do believe the entire world wealth will turn into cryptocurrencies like blackhole and grow much bigger in the future. Cryptocurrency will hit 10 trillion USD market cap before @Apple and @amazon do. We will see. Time will tell. #TRON #TRX $TRX.”

The assertion that the cryptocurrency market cap will reach $10 trillion before Apple and Amazon is brash, bold, and just the kind of hype that we’ve come to expect from Justin Sun. His tweet may be slightly tongue in cheek (it’s difficult to tell), but that’s not to say he’s be wrong, after all, who knows? But with Apple recently becoming the first U.S publicly traded company to hit a valuation of $1 trillion, and Amazon forever expanding into new markets, it may seem unlikely at this point.

Well, the answer is clearly ‘yes’ – but with a caveat. There’s such a thing as selling yourself too much. As a unique example, look at how the professional wrestling business oversold itself in the late nineties, and has now been forced to pay the price with poor television numbers and apathetic fans.
Speaking of oversold, take a look at the crypto market itself, and Ethereum in particular. Tron also falls into that bracket, and has shipped 81% of its value since May, just four months ago.
As the morning’s dip began to rebound on Wednesday afternoon, TRX traded up against the dollar to the tune of 6% – rising from a coin price of $0.017237 to $0.018275.

Author: MaxPositives
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Worst performers in the last seven days!

A week ago, Black Wednesday came, brought a huge dip, and a week later most coins are still struggling to keep their heads above the water.

We checked to see how the top 100 coins by market cap are holding up.

Even the least of the top 10 losers – Cardano (ADA) – lost more than 40%. RChain (RHOC) is the biggest loser of the bunch, with almost half its price shaven off.

The top 10 coins by market capitalization have also experienced varying degrees of loss: if the top 50 by amount lost are the losers, then Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Cardano are the only ones below that line. The others are relative winners – but only compared to what happened to other coins that lost upwards of some 30%.

Ethereum has been on a downward spiral for some time now, as sentiment worsens, and hit new yearly low today. Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, has not been helping either: from agreeing with the opinion that ETH will be worthless if its protocol doesn’t change, to saying that, “There isn’t an opportunity for yet another 1,000-times growth in anything in the space anymore,” he does not sound exactly optimistic.

As of the time of writing, the market stays distinctly red.

“Cryptoeconomics Is Just Economics,” Says Vitalik Buterin

“It’s not like we’re inventing some completely different parallel society with a different parallel economy and different rules, but it is economics specialized to a particular set of circumstances,” said Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of the Ethereum platform, in a podcast called Conversations with Tyler. He points out that cryptoeconomics have constraints not usually found in society, such as the inability to make laws that cannot be specified as a piece of computer code.

As for what blockchain can do that traditional economics cannot, in his opinion, “a blockchain is one of the few tools that allows you to credibly commit to not turning into a monopolistic jerk.” How will it end up affecting society? He urges people, especially businesses considering blockchain integration, to think about it.

”What is a blockchain’s unique competitive advantage? What are things that you can do with blockchains that you can do only with more difficulty without them? Trying to go from there and zero in and try to figure out exactly what industries and what kind of applications in those industries should be going after.”

On why the space won’t just hyperinflate and collapse as it’s getting easier to create tokens: “Issuing a cryptocurrency by itself is costless, but issuing a cryptocurrency that people care about is not costless. The equilibrium is that there exists this club of cryptocurrencies that people recognize as having value.”

In other words, getting people to care about your cryptocurrency is not easy, let alone free; it is “just difficult enough that it prevents people from doing it willy-nilly to the point where all the cryptocurrency hyperinflates.”

Also, when asked “What’s the best theory out there for valuing a given crypto asset?”, Buterin replied:
“I guess my practical answer is I don’t really know, and if you’re looking to design a cryptocurrency that’s sustainable, then I definitely think it’s important to have a story for why it would maintain its value under a variety of different economic models.”

Speaking about his further plans for Ethereum and what is waiting for the team, for a “full breakthrough” of what he has initially imagined, he considers scalability and user experience the biggest obstacles. “How easy is it to set up a wallet that does not allow all of your money to get stolen overnight or lost overnight if your key gets lost or stolen? Those are challenges that I do think we need a lot more innovation in, and I think we will see innovation over the next few years.”

Among other topics, he also brushes upon his interactions with the community. He is known to be vocal about his beliefs and interacts with the community quite often: “I try to make myself maximally accessible in a bunch of ways, try to bring different people in different communities together, perform a kind of social coordination function,” he told Tyler.

Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

Author: Sead Fadilpasic
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Cardano (ADA) Co-Founder Charles Hoskinson Talks About His Meeting With Google

On 8 July 2018, Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of Ethereum (ETH) and Cardano (ADA), and CEO of IOHK, held a surprise Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session during which he discussed his meeting with Google last month.

Charles started by explaining that he met with Google in London in June 2018 for an “informal Q&A session.” They told him: “Hey, We’d like to ask you lots of questions about the cryptocurrency space, about the technology that Cardano has, and what IOHK does as a company.” Charles and his team (from IOHK) then spent the next two hours answering all of Google’s questions. Once IOHK published on its blog a transcript of this meeting at Google’s main London’s office, many people started asking if there was going to be some kind of partnership between Cardano and Google.

Charles said that this was the reality:
“Google is a multi-national company. It is one of the largest, most powerful engineering companies in the world. They have some phenomenal scientists working at Google, from world-famous cryptographers to infosec people … If Google is going to do a cryptocurrency, Google does not need to partner with me, and they don’t need to partner with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or anything else. They are just going to go ahead and do their own thing. That said, Google is a good patron of open-source technology, and many of their employees do invest their weekends and at least one day a week on contributing to some open-source project. And Google does a very large internal cryptocurrency and blockchain mailing list. A lot of their employees love this space. In fact, Mike Hearn, one of the most famous Googlers… was originally a core developer of Bitcoin… So, we felt that it was an excellent opportunity to tell them what we are working on, and if any of their employees… want to make open-source contributions, we’d always welcome it, but I don’t think there is a going to be a partnership anytime soon with Google.”

What Charles says about Google’s interest in blockchain technology in general and cryptocurrencies in particular is quite interesting, and fits nicely with other things we have heard about Google in this area. For example, on 20 May 2018, Ethereum’s main co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, posted a tweet (which he later removed) that indicated that he had been contacted by a Google recruiter.

Also, just this past weekend, at the 2018 Blockchain Summit (this year held at Sir Richard Branson’s Moroccan luxury resort hotel, the Kasbah Tamadot), at a panel on “Emerging Technologies and Trends”, Google co-founder Sergey Brin had this to say about cryptocurrencies:
“I would say that these cryptocurrencies are the same kind of thing. First even taking the research work of Diffie–Hellman team, and taking the public key cryptography, and the fact that can exist is kind of mindboggling to a mathematician. But then the fact that’s widespread across the internet now, and these… you know bitcoin, the Proof of Work thing, saying oh my god you can build this thing that kind of people have to do little hashing and find this stuff. That idea, it’s like no, no you really can make this global network where people take it seriously. It’s kind of extraordinary, it’s mindboggling, to me. Nowadays I look at things like Zcash, for example, and I don’t know much about cryptocurrencies but the fact that people are using these zero knowledge proofs, which is very theoretical computer science, you know pretty recently, and actually using it in the wild, I mean it doesn’t seem like it should be even possible to have that work to be honest. I’ve tried to go through the maths myself and I haven’t quite made it through. It’s really mindboggling.”

Charles then went to explain how Cardano was using some of Google’s technology and how he could envision the possibility of Google using some of Cardano’s technology in future:
I think Google, like Microsoft and Apple and Facebook, is just going to go its own way and do its own thing at the high level, but there always are opportunities for us to collaborate. And if Google has some ideas, or we have some ideas that we think may sense, then of course we’ll pursue that. We are using Google technology in our stack. Electron is actually a fork of Chromium and Node stitched together, and that is the heart of [Cardano wallet] Daedalus. And there’s a lot of other little things that Google has worked on in the past that we’ve pulled into our tech stack because they are legitimately good ideas, and we hope that Google can see parts of our stack as useful to things they work on.

Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

Author: MaxPositives
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Vitalik Vs. Apple: App Store Is Restrictive & Nobody Is Complaining

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum platform, is quite active on Twitter and absolutely does not hold back when there is something that needs to be said. This time, Apple’s app store was on the receiving end of his criticism: he thinks that it is strange that they get so much power and almost nobody complains.

“””I don’t get why Apple’s restrictive app store policies don’t get criticized more. One company (with market cap approaching $1 trillion) gets more de-facto filtering power over mobile internet users than many governments, heavily wields it, and so few tech people seem to complain.”””

He also argues that removing oneself from the conversation is not easier than drawing attention to the problem: “‘just switching to Android’ is more difficult than ‘just getting a VPN’,” he tweeted, referencing the way people get around government-imposed restrictions on the internet.

There were many theories as to what prompted this tweet, but one of the more prominent ones is that it was urged by Apple’s recent crackdown on crypto-related apps. The company, which has been known as having a relatively tough stance on crypto, now explicitly bans all apps that facilitate mining of cryptocurrencies from its app store.

Aside from outright banning mining, Apple also imposed strict restrictions on everything related to cryptocurrencies. Apple has taken a much stricter stance on crypto than its rival Google with its Google Play Store. Over the past few years, Apple has asked several businesses to stop accepting cryptocurrencies on their apps, and temporarily delisted a cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase from its app store a few years ago, as part of a broader initiative to crack down on cryptocurrency related activities.

Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

Author: Sead Fadilpasic
Image Credit: iStock/Nikada

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Ethereum: The Birth of a Digital Renaissance?

What’s the future of the public experiment known as Ethereum?

In the late Middle Ages, Italy was composed of various city-states: small, independent merchant republics dependent on commerce and trade to acquire wealth and power. No centralized political structures represented Italy as a whole, and each city-state boasted their own form of currency. In the banking powerhouse of Florence, it was the florin. In maritime-focused Venice, it was the Ducato. All transactions were carefully recorded through an innovation known as double-entry bookkeeping, allowing city-states to abandon feudalism for early capitalist principles. And through the realization of financial and cultural autonomy, these regions were able to fuel artistic advancement, leading to the birth of the Renaissance.

Today our new version of double-entry bookkeeping is blockchain technology. Using this advancement, anyone with the know-how can declare possession of their own city-state, with the opportunity to create a currency, engage in commerce and construct their own republic — one that’s turned its back on feudalism. It’s an option that’s been available since 2015.

This public experiment, known as Ethereum, is an “open software platform based on blockchain technology that enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications.” Its cryptocurrency, Ether, is often grouped in with Bitcoin; however, the two couldn’t be more different. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system; Ethereum is a mother of digital city-states in possession of their own constitution, central bank and market. Ether is merely the financial fuel that keeps it running — its sugar daddy, if you will.

The journey starts with your Ethereum Wallet, which ultimately connects you to Ethereum’s blockchain. You may then create your puzzle-based cryptocurrency, or traceable token with fixed supply. In the process, you’ll devise a smart contract — the constitution or set of rules you mean to enforce. And instead of relying on humans to manage these digital contracts, which may be considered a form of feudalism, an artificial intelligence is used instead. This self-operating program automatically follows coded rules outlined in the contract, ensuring actions are taken according to terms of the agreement.

As Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, explained during a recent interview, “On Ethereum, you can literally send a bunch of Ether into a computer program and the computer program itself has the unilateral ability to control where the money goes.” He compares this function to that of a vending machine, which also follows specific rules. “You put in two dollars, water comes out. If you don’t put in two dollars, water should not come out. And if you do get water without putting in two dollars, that’s bad.” Buterin argues that, by maintaining and enforcing such rules, smart contracts can protect digital assets — especially with the added security of cryptography.

One common smart contract on Ethereum is known as an Initial Coin Offering, or ICO. Used by entrepreneurs looking to raise funds for a new application they’re eager to build, these contracts resemble agreements made through Kickstarter. For example, you can allow people to purchase tokens, either representing a pre-sell of your product or actual shares in the company. Depending on whether or not you reach your goal, the contract itself can determine where to send money once the deadline is met.

In essence, you can create whatever operations you wish through these self-executing contracts without running the risk of downtime, censorship, fraud or even third-party interference. Once you establish your constitution, it’s time to develop decentralized applications, or Dapps, that can turn a profit. By building these applications on Ethereum’s public blockchain, you’re receiving additional protections from hacking, censorship and fraud, as well as avoiding a central point of failure.

Moreover, in the true fashion of a republic, you can make your organization more democratic through the formation of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). These organizations are fully decentralized, independent of central control, and all operating on code managed by AI. By purchasing tokens, members of this DAO can acquire voting rights over that specific domain. And thanks to the blockchain, these votes are completely anonymous, with all operations remaining transparent for members and regulators alike — independent of human intervention.

By creating your own smart contracts and Dapps, you’re essentially joining the trade union that is the Ethereum network, fueled by publicly traded Ether. In fact, these smart contracts execute operations based on payments in Ether. And as long as a Dapp can support itself financially, the contract will continue to perform. No third party can make data changes to your smart contracts, and your Dapps can never be switched off (unless you start getting behind on your Ether payments). However, these smart contracts are only as good as the code they follow, which in turn, is subject to human error. That means, if someone makes a mistake, no one can stop it without completely changing the blockchain itself. Moreover, there is no “forgot password” option on any Ethereum sign-in due to the secure cryptography involved. So, if you forget the password to your Ethereum Wallet, and are unable to retrieve it through a third-party vendor, your application could continue running indefinitely, leaving you without the ability to cash in. There is no central entity to protect or assist you…in theory.



In 2016 a DOA project was hacked due to “human error” in the project’s code. $50 million in Ether was stolen. On the one hand, Ethereum could step in to retrieve the lost Ether, but that would require taking a “hard fork,” meaning they would have to break off of the original blockchain to create another one. This was a controversial option, since blockchain is deemed valuable because of its permanent and unchangeable nature. On the other hand, if they didn’t retrieve the Ether, users could deem the platform unsafe and leave the experiment altogether. After a community vote, Ethereum went with the first option. The result? Two parallel Ethereum blockchains: post-fork and classic. The DAO project was able to access their Ether, but some in the Ethereum community feared that a dangerous precedent had been set, one that could threaten the entire network.

Then again, Ethereum is just an experiment. We don’t know what the final results will be. The creativity encouraged through Dapp creation and smart contracts could trigger a renaissance, or it could lead to a disaster permanently recorded for future generations. Having your organization run by AI that can never be switched off or changed by a third party seems reckless; then again, I suppose it depends on the organization in question. Yes, we place our trust in a vending machine giving us water when we insert money, but when it comes to more complicated or “revolutionary” programs, are we ready to declare “in math we trust forever”?

The city-states created the atmosphere required for one of the greatest periods of art and invention. Perhaps Vitalik has done the same. But I don’t fear the robots so much as I do the humans who’ve set out to control them. And by giving machines a way to make money independently of humans, I’m not convinced this will end well. The fact that Vitalik himself would make a great Bond villain doesn’t help either. Of course, the end of the Italian Renaissance brought with it wars, bloodshed and chaos, so either we’ve learned from history or we’re being incredibly naive… As with most innovations in tech, only time will tell.

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Author: A.J. Sørensen  
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