As usual, but especially in this section on technical updates, it is assumed that the reader is up to speed with studies covered in previous reports. We encourage reading past issues of Blockchain Quarterly.
Investment in applications is rather the fact of traditional PE/VCs right now, but as far as pure technology research and development is concerned, we have not witnessed a lot of inflow. We can simply infer that financing is mainly coming from the war chests of the teams that profited from the craze of 2017; consider Tezos, which raised 250 million euros, and Ethereum whose main stakeholders are sitting on a number of tokens that are worth a lot.
Andrew Keys from Consensys is particularly positive on Ethereum’s potential for 2020. The following are some of the most convincing arguments he has put forward:
Native distributed execution infrastructures have a far broader outreach than, typically, Bitcoin. Note: as we have already pointed out, the argument holds only if Ehtereum is used to convey value in the ecosystem, otherwise, as the computation price should be brought down as much as possible, the monetary mass for it should not be the ultimate driver in valuing the native unit of account.
Ethereum 2.0 is making good progress, with talented development teams and preparatory upgrades being rolled out successfully and on schedule.
The second layer of the infrastructure promises to multiply Ethereum’s capability. Various channels will be able to run on complementary technology to near-instantaneous transfer (Raiden) and confidentiality (ZKP).
There is a call for functions that include digital identity, automation of agreements, and digitalization of assets, which Ethereum is ideally placed to deliver.
Ethereum is still the best placed, compared to the competition, to deliver on the promises, with the broadest base of developers, and unique brand capital.
An imminent Ethereum upgrade is ProgPoW (Programmatic Proof of Work), a feature aimed at limiting the use of ASICs. It looks as though this may be in vain, anyway, as Phase 0 of the improvement to Ethereum 2.0 is to be launched in 2020, according to Vitalik Buterin, changing the network to Proof of Stake. Phase 1 will follow by implementing sharding, including the beacon chain and 64 shards.
The Cardano blockchain underwent a major upgrade on February 20th, with the implementation of the Ouroboros Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus algorithm. Cardano has a busy roadmap ahead, with the “Shelley” milestone, after which users will be able to elect validators thanks to token staking. The roll-out is happening after some setbacks; Shelley was expected at the end of 2019.
Block.One has released a major software update, EOS.io 2.0, making the blockchain simpler, faster and even more secure. Among other features, the use of a specially-built WebAssembly engine improves smart contract execution 16-fold. The new support for multithreading is also supposed to enhance the propagation of blocks in the network.
Meanwhile, vote-buying on EOS has become an entirely routine practice. Some platforms have even been launched to help token holders to find the best deal for their voting power from block producers. Of course, this does not violate any principle of the EOS environment, but from a governance point of view, the fact that wealthy individuals can effectively and straightforwardly gain power is a topic for democratic governance.
In big countries, cronyism is not really accepted, but it happens anyway. Try to run an election campaign in the US without millions… By design, only the coordination of rich individuals and companies can make it, and whether you buy votes with promises or hard cash, it is, after all, the compensation you give to people to walk the path to ultimate power. This is being replicated in a more direct way on blockchain platforms – the world is a wild place.
Tezos' market appreciation has been mind-blowing during recent months and reflects the continual improvement in the protocol, the validation of the on-chain governance approach, and repeated announcements of interest from developers and businesses to deploy their distributed logic on Tezos.
Investors have also shown a lot of interest in the rewards from a delegation of voting rights on staking. In that respect, the platform shows an outstanding level of participation in the polls.
In the short-term, Tezos appears to be Ethereum’s most serious challenger.
The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) has been active in promoting the platform. Among its initiatives, it has started investing in projects that are planning to use Stellar, such as DStoq, a start-up based in Liechtenstein offering access to Western securities to the developing world. It is also affiliated with The Blockchain Association in the US, which aims to educate the American public on blockchain.
IOTA has shut down the master node that was coordinating the transaction confirmations. But it has not done so to finally give away the control of the network, as promised for a long time: the reason was to prevent an attacker from stealing funds from the Foundation’s wallet.
Meanwhile, the DAG continues running, and it has not impacted the token’s price. Opponents of IOTA have unleashed their critics, starting with the exposed vulnerability, that the IOTA home-made hash function, which has been cracked, has allowed transactions to be forged.
TRON’s young CEO, Justin Sun, finally had his dinner with the legendary Warren Buffet. Jointly with his four guests (Charlie Lee, founder of the Litecoin Foundation; Chris Lee, CFO of Huobi; Helen Hai, head of Binance Charity Foundation, and Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro), topics of discussion no doubt touched on acceptance of blockchain and its contribution to financing at large.
The communique released states, “Crypto and blockchain are still in their infant stage, and Mr. Buffett said blockchain has its value. There are a lot of incredible companies in the payment realm, and it has huge demands. He believes blockchain technology will have a disruptive effect on the future of payment.” Sun declared, “It was really an honor and I’m grateful for Mr. Buffett’s dinner, wisdom, and vision. I'll always remember his kindness and support, and will take Mr. Buffett’s advice and guidance to make TRON a better ecosystem business, with all the partners in the blockchain space and beyond.”
The crypto gift that J. Sun gave to W. Buffet has not been transferred on-chain, so the fact is that today the American Billionaire holds cryptos: a result in itself! But either way, one thing is certain, the more the old and new world talk, the better.
Corda continues to attract a number of projects and developers, especially in the financial sector.
For more information - https://www.bqintel.com/dlt-infrastructure-compare