⭐ Features Katya Michaels

Scaling Blockchain by Going off the Block: Constellation’s Partitioned DAG

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Finding solutions to encourage widespread Blockchain adoption may require going beyond the block
Scaling Blockchain by Going off the Block: Constellation’s Partitioned DAG

While the crypto community continues to struggle with the implications and applications of Blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and token sales are becoming more mainstream, creating the additional challenge of scalability. Ironically, the gradual increase of adoption reveals the obstacles to universal adoption.

Some teams are looking for a solution for Blockchain usability by moving off the block to a different kind of network. Two members of the Constellation team – CEO Brendan Playford and COO Benjamin Jorgensen – spoke to CryptoComes about their way of addressing scalability issues and envisioning the interoperable Internet of Blockchains.

Blockchain DIY

Katya Michaels: Before you set out to create your own network, you were building a project on Ethereum. What were some of the challenges that inspired you to work on a new solution?

Brendan Playford: I've been in the Blockchain space about four and a half years. I had the fortune of being a very early miner and managed to use mining to get myself out of the place that I grew up in the UK, where there weren’t very many opportunities for people like myself. I saw the way that Blockchain allows individuals to get economic mobility – I’m absolute proof of that, being in San Francisco now.

In 2016, I was listening to NPR around August and all I was hearing was coverage of fake news with Trump. It was relevant then and it's relevant now – monetizing and weaponizing ad arbitrage on Facebook with fake news purposefully produced by a network of writers. The appetite for fake news was so aggressive in 2016, you could publish whatever you wanted and the volume would decimate any legitimate news.

That was the genesis: to build a platform that would allow factual information to be incentivized and recorded in a way where it became self-regulating and self-sustaining. We quickly realized that the high volume and high throughput we needed was totally impossible to do on Ethereum.

In order to publish the 100 - 200 articles a day, have micropayments going out globally to individual contributors and notarize the content on the Blockchain – there was no solution available that could do that.

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Bring your own bandwidth

BP: The nature of Blockchain is synchronous. You have the state replicate across every node, but those nodes are not widely distributed between individuals. Very few people run a full node of Bitcoin or Ethereum. That has led to a somewhat centralized server system based around proof of work or proof of stake where a small selection of the network own it and maintain the state. Although it is very secure, it’s not as decentralized as it was envisaged.

I saw the future not as a synchronous Blockchain, but an asynchronous network that functioned like a graph, with node to node connections. It’s very hard to read a sentence if every word has to be shared between every participant before you can go on to the next one. That's synchronous Blockchain. In a graph, you have a conversation which gossips out to the network. To avoid the information getting distorted with Byzantine actors, you have to create some kind of consensus or architecture to maintain its state.

We set out to build a network that was a horizontally scalable Hylochain. Distributed data systems have been around for years, this technology is not that new. We could create a network with the characteristics of Bittorrent or Tor, that could scale as more participants joined and brought resources – a laptop or a mobile phone –  adding to the throughput of the network.

We have this notion of a mesh net of interconnected devices creating a new Internet. These devices provide bandwidth to the network, and the availability of those resources is incentivized in two ways. One – through the mining period of ten years, and two – by creating a two-sided marketplace where the resources on the network are available for computing services.

We would like to see people coming to the network to use these resources and pay the people providing the devices. That would unlock a huge amount of economic value that's unused right now and create more upward mobility in areas that are less economically developed.

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A different kind of chain: partitioned DAG

KM: The Blockchain’s blocks are what make the technology secure, transparent and immutable. Are the DAGs blockless systems?

BP: If we look at IOTA’s Tangle, I would say yes, that is very much blockless. Hashgraph as well, although it has a notion of direction and a linear transaction history. With our chain, we dove into some really novel new research that addresses scaling. One piece comes from TU Delft university in the Netherlands. It’s called extended trust chain – like a blocked DAG (directed acyclic graph). Effectively, you have a partition, a cluster of 1,200 nodes that all participate in consensus and have a certain scaling characteristic.

There is a checkpoint block that happens in the DAG which creates immutability. The checkpoint block does a locality-sensitive hash on the previous transactions. In that partition, we roll up all the previous transactions from consensus and they get blocked.

In our DAG, we have partitions of 1200 nodes, with the capability of having 10 partitions. Above that, we have a galaxy node that's built up enough reputation over time to be given the responsibility of validating larger blocks of transactions, and also send transactions out to cluster.

Proof of Meme

KM: You have said that networks based on proof of work or proof of stake consensus are like a plutocracy – more power is held by those with more resources. Constellation’s consensus is “proof of meme,” reputation-based, but reputation takes time to build. So the network has the potential to become an oligarchy, dominated by the few people who have been there the longest. It’s conceived as a meritocracy, but could become an oligarchic meritocracy.

BP: You are absolutely right. To address this, we have devised a clustering algorithm. Over time we're going to get a curve, almost like a histogram of reputations from zero to let's say a hundred. In the hundred block you have participants who came in at the beginning, in the zero block you have those who came in most recently.

How do we get those new participants up to the higher reputation while maintaining security of the network? We want to give them a fair opportunity to progress.

Imagine taking that histogram and clustering participants into cohorts – first year entry, year 1 to year 9, year 9 to year 20… We create a weighted algorithm that takes a portion of nodes from each cluster and puts those into consensus. You're always going to be taking some from the zero cluster and as they perform consensus properly, they will move up.

We actually have a test net out, modeling the clustering algorithm to see what it would look like in five years and make adjustments to that. We are looking for ways to avoid that oligarchy as much as possible. We are using the REGRET reputation model, but we may find that there's a better measurement we can use in our machine learning algorithm.

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Post-Blockchain?

KM: Some critics say that Blockchain is a solution looking for a problem. Despite many proposed use cases, they are not being realized. What will it take to bring real usability to Blockchain? Or are we in a post-Blockchain stage already, moving to more scalable technology?

BP:

I think a lot of negative press comes from the tendency to overpromise and underdeliver. As thought leaders and pioneers in the space, all of us need to be conscious of that and make sure that when we do say these things openly, that there is some substance behind them – whether with academic groundwork or actually delivering a viable product.

Hundreds of ICOs and dapps launched in the last year where the promises will not happen. They just won’t deliver. That exacerbates the problem.

Are we post-Blockchain? I don't think we are. I think we're about to enter into the Internet of Blockchains era. You will have Bitcoin for store of value. You will have Ethereum for certain uses, and Zcash for certain uses. Don’t underestimate the Bitcoin core guys. There is a roadmap that they have and it is highly likely we will not see all the solutions at once.

You want to bring about change gradually and slowly, and you want to bring about adoption in a sustainable way. What we’d like to see with our architecture is an underlying fabric that connects and mixes these chains. It's not one Blockchain to rule them all.

There will be individual solutions like Constellation that applications can interface with. Over the next 5, 10 years Bitcoin will still be around, Ethereum will still be around. There’ll be other technologies that will enable the interconnection of these chains.

Enterprise adoption

Benjamin Jorgensen: One of the main hurdles for adopting Blockchain is the cost benefit analysis for major enterprise companies to shift out of their legacy platforms and come onto Blockchains.

We look to the Fortune 500 companies to guide us, but if you consider the history of venture in Silicon Valley, you see that innovation is always done at the grassroots level.

Blockchain does solve problems. We've identified that it gets rid of middlemen. It allows for a distributed ledger so that people can own their own data, going back to what we initially set out to do. Major commercial banking isn't going to shift a significant portion of their business under the Blockchain because of the cost benefit analysis, hiring and firing new people, getting rid of services, the time it takes to ramp up. I think we're going to see a new era of businesses come to the forefront and actually recreate this new world.

KM: Perhaps it's a space for businesses that are going to be natively Blockchain.

BJ: Absolutely. We know that by implementing Blockchain you can significantly improve margins. The initiative is probably going to come from new businesses that are able to create something that's leaner, faster and stronger, and scale rapidly to catch up to those Fortune 500 companies. We've seen this before in the venture space with traditional startups.

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Internet of Blockchains

KM: Going back to having different Blockchains for different uses – obviously that depends on good solutions for Blockchain interoperability. Are we getting close to that in terms of technology?

BP:

Every Blockchain is just data held in a space where it’s notarized as factual and correct. If we can create some way of formally defining and verifying each chain in this ecosystem mathematically, every developer who builds on one chain or across chains will have a framework.

Think about banking – we have SWIFT for a reason. It is the standard that allows transactions between banks. We have to have a SWIFT for Blockchain. When you start to see those frameworks come out and be supported by native languages like Java with plugins for other compilable languages, that’s when we'll see an explosion.

BJ: You have to look at the implications of this - why does it matter to have Blockchain interoperability? Where Constellation’s transaction speeds are really coming to the forefront is around the IOT space. Connecting software devices, automation, AI, micropayments. They're going to have to be able to communicate in a seamless manner. Maybe it’s not a problem, but it's an opportunity.

Smart contract usability

KM: A lot of people have misconceptions about smart contracts – how they work, what they can and can’t do. A smart contract is limited to the Blockchain. In order to access relevant outside data, there have to be solutions for bringing that data onto the Blockchain. How close are we to real smart contract usability?

BJ: When you think of a smart contract, you think it's legally binding, when it's really just a document that says: these two terms have been met, let's exchange the value that comes in. Tennessee courts just reaffirmed that a certain document that's on a smart contract with certain verbiage actually can be upheld in courts. We're just getting to that point where it's going to have a legally binding impact.

BP: This goes back to appropriate use cases. What is a contract? It’s just written verbal logic. What is code? Code is logic. So we figured out this way of notarizing a bit of logic on a chain and then replicating that state across nodes.

Ethereum relies on oracles to provide this data, but there's no way that thousands of data points would be able to transact and go onto Ethereum with the current throughput without being somehow aggregated and centralized.

A chain like Constellation could collect that data together, creating a data marketplace that becomes the oracle for Ethereum in a cross-chain sense. Ethereum could call Constellation through an ACI (application chain interface) for that data, which will be known to be provable and factual, instead of relying on a sensor and a centralized server. If you're connecting to Constellation, that will give a decentralized source of truth.

How far are we away from a place where you could rely on sensor data to provide an outcome of a smart contract? I would say five years. There’s a curve with this kind of technology, Metcalfe's law.

We’ll start to see the first commercial applications, the beginning of a mesh network where there is a source of truth that connects everything, all underpinned and underwritten by reputation. That's what we're building.

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⭐ Features Stavros Georgiadis

Tron Price Prediction 2019 – A Bottom at $0.0255 Has Formed. Will It Last in February?

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Tron (TRX) has a 1-year performance of about -34%, which is much better compared to the collapse of prices of other cryptocurrencies
Tron Price Prediction 2019 – A Bottom at $0.0255 Has Formed. Will It Last in February?

Tron Price Prediction 2019 – A Bottom at $0.0255 Has Formed. Will It Last in February?

Tron (TRX) has a 1-year performance of about -34%, which is much better compared to the collapse of prices of other cryptocurrencies. In fact, Tron has a year-to-date performance of +35.94%. In this article we will mention some Tron price prediction ranges from various sources, plus we will make our own Tron price prediction for February 2019 based on our technical analysis. Some key stats for Tron as of Feb. 2, 2019 are the following:

  • Price of Tron (TRX) is $0,026339
  • Market Cap: $1.755.963.777 USD, 503.847 BTC
  • Volume (24h): $200.614.221 USD, 57.563 BTC 
  • Circulating Supply: 66.666.917.581 TRX
  • Total Supply: 99.266.129.237 TRX
  • Rank 8 on CoinMarketCap based on top 100 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization

Tron price prediction February 2019 based on various sources

What are some Tron price prediction opinions?

  • WalletInvestor is pessimistic about the price of Tron in the long-term, but according to its forecast trend line the price of Tron may be above $0.030 in February 2019. It has a Tron price prediction for the next 14 days as $0.0331 USD to the upside and $0.0256 to the downside.
  • PrevisioniBitcoin is bullish on Tron, estimating that it will have a minimum price of $0.030 in February 2019.
  • CoinFan makes the following Tron price prediction range. A minimum price of $0.051126476 and a maximum price of $0.069171114. This seems to be a very optimistic price forecast as the minimum price is almost 96% above the current price of about $0.02633 as of February 2, 2019.
  • DigitalCoin only provides as a forecast the price of $0.03284536.
  • ExpressTricks has a Tron price prediction of $0.50 for February 2019, another very optimistic forecast.
  • CryptoGround is on the other side of forecasts, with a conservative Tron price prediction of $0.0270 for a time period of one month, a return of +1.79%.

Tron price prediction based on technical analysis

What does the weekly and daily chart for Tron tell us trying to make a forecast for February 2019? We will examine the two charts, trying to make an unbiased Tron price prediction for February 2019.

Tron price prediction based on weekly chart
Tron price prediction based on weekly chart
Tron price forecast based on daily chart
Tron price forecast based on daily chart

The two scenarios, the optimistic and the pessimistic ones, bullish and bearish for the price of Tron in February 2019 can provide some possible ranges.

Tron price February 2019 prediction bullish scenario

A very positive note is that both on the daily and weekly chart there is a trend shift from downward to upward. On the daily chart the price made a bottom around the level of $0.011, retested the low level of $0.012 and made a nice rally up to the level of $0.036 on January 10, 2019.

The price of $0.0257 as of Feb. 10, 2019 is above the 50-day and the 20-day exponential daily moving averages. The fact that both these moving averages are trending up is positive for the price of Tron. It means buying pressure. On the weekly chart the MACD indicator is trending up, and its histogram is positive, Momentum indicator is rising, and price is above the 50-period and 20-period exponential moving averages.

Switching back to the daily chart, the ADX/DMI indicator shows a strong trend and the +DI line is above the -DI line, with values of 25.41 and 20.20 respectively. A first target price is the upper daily Bollinger band at $0.029. Next potential targets would be the high prices of $0.0312 and the recent high price of $0.036.the 20-day exponential moving period with a value of $0.026, where current price of Tron is now, should provide a strong support.

Tron price prediction February 2019 bearish scenario

On the weekly chart the level of $0.0296 is a very strong resistance. Other strong levels od resistance are $0.0279, and $0.0288. On the daily chart the MACD indicator has made a bearish crossover, the Momentum indicator has lost its upward direction and now is pointing down, and there are strong levels of resistance at $0.0264, $0.027 and $0.0275. If the current uptrend is to pause and reverse, then possible targets are $0.0243, $0.0237 which coincides with the 50-day exponential moving average and then $0.022.

Traders should monitor the trendline that extends from the low price of $0.0127 on Jan.10, 2019 to the high price of $0.0263 as of Feb. 2, 2019. If this trendline does not hold as support, then lower prices are very likely.

For February 2019 we prefer the bullish scenario, as odds are for now in favor of it. As always it is not an investment recommendation, just an analysis and a forecast.

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⭐ Features Yuri Molchan

Is Tron Merely Another Pump and Dump Project? An Interview with Crypto Chico, ‘Truth Lover’ and ‘I-Dotter’ Regarding Crypto Projects

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Tyler Swope, also known as Crypto Chico, shares his personal vision of the Tron project on the particular case of the BTT ICO that happened on Binance the other day
Is Tron Merely Another Pump and Dump Project? An Interview with Crypto Chico, ‘Truth Lover’ and ‘I-Dotter’ Regarding Crypto Projects

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Tyler Swope, nicknamed Crypto Chico, published a YouTube video claiming Tron and Binance plotted to grab some money by launching the BTT token on Binance Launchpad. U.Today prepared a news story, reporting this untypical point of view regarding Tron, Binance and their CEOs.

We have gotten in touch with Tyler Swope and asked him to clarify his position regarding Tron and their marketing strategy in particular.

‘I swear to tell truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’

U.Today: Why are there so many crypto communities on Twitter who have a negative opinion about you?

Tyler S.: They have negative opinions on me cause I tell the truth of what goes on in crypto, and the truth hurts the most.

‘Tron is nothing but a pump and dump scheme’

U.Today: Tron has been making a lot of progress recently, having taken on several big games, including TronGoo (formerly EtherGoo) and MMORPG KuaiXiYou. It has managed to advance from beyond the top-ten list of crypto assets inside it pretty quickly, raising its market cap.

On dappradar.com many of the top ten dApps, those that show a great cash flow, are Tron-based, and none are powered by its rival Ethereum, for example.

Is Tron Merely Another Pump and Dump Project? An Interview with Crypto Chico, ‘Truth Lover’ and ‘I-Dotter’ Regarding Crypto Projects

Still, in the video about BitTorrent you poured some harsh criticism on Tron and Binance, along with their CEOs. What is the reason you are publicly criticizing those projects?

Tyler S.: Because it was an obvious pump and dump, marketing ploy and I would like the public to know this.

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‘Justin Sun is no relative of mine’

U.Today: How are you connected with the Telegram channel ‘TRON (TRX) Announcements’, which posted a link to your video and claims that they know what indeed is happening with Tron?

Tyler S.: I have no connection to them and never heard of them before in my life before 30 January 2019.

‘Crypto market is irrational’

U.Today: What do you think the future of Tron is, in light of your video regarding the BTT ICO? Does it have any chance of reaching the list of the top-four coins in 2019, as Justin Sun promised?

Tyler S.: No, I don't believe it does, but who knows, this market is irrational.

‘Deceptive marketing tactics’

U.Today:  How can Tron be so popular with the community and dApp developers if you claim that Tron’s code contains a great number of bugs?

Tyler S.: They used deceptive marketing tactics and any good developer is not building on Tron. I used open source tools SonarCloud and SonarQube, you can check for yourself.

image

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⭐ Features Darryn Pollock

Bitcoin Obituaries Keep Rising But Why Is Bitcoin Still Not Dead?

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Bitcoin has been pronounced dead multiple times in its 10-year life; its recent fall brought about another obituary, but why is it that Bitcoin is NOT dead?
Bitcoin Obituaries Keep Rising But Why Is Bitcoin Still Not Dead?

A popular site called 99Bitcoins keeps a close eye on the number of times that Bitcoin has been declared dead in the mainstream media. Currently, it has accrued 336 obituaries for the digital currency.

The latest drop in the price of Bitcoin, which took it from the mid-$6,000 mark down to near on $3,000, sparked fresh panic and capitulation as many believed that the cryptocurrency had had its last days.

There were concerns over its utility and usefulness, as well as the potential for a so-called death spiral in the mining of Bitcoin as many miners shut up shop. Yet, Bitcoin continues to exist, and at time of writing, has bounced back to over $4,000.

So what is it that is keeping Bitcoin alive? It has no CEO, no company headquarters, and because of its decentralised nature, has no one to drive it to keep it alive; it relies solely on those who are interested in it.

The underlying blockchain

Bitcoin, or cryptocurrencies in general, have a very special relationship to their underlying technology, blockchain. They are of course dependent on each other to operate, but they also move independently of each other in many respects.

Blockchain is advancing in a very different path to that of Bitcoin, but it was Bitcoin’s initial explosion in the mainstream financial space that made people take blockchain seriously.

Now that the cryptocurrency bubble has essentially burst, there is a lot less hype and interest in it. However, blockchain, the technology behind it all, is getting a chance to come out and shine for its technological reasons alone.

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For this reason, Bitcoin is still very much relevant. Blockchain progression is building steadily, and solidly, and because of its adoption across all centres, people still appreciate the usefulness of a digital token.

Bitcoin, as the major digital token that encapsulates all the main points of cryptocurrency and blockchain — such as decentralisation and transparency, and of course distribution — is the epitome of a functioning token economy.

Manageable mining

Another reason why Bitcoin hasn’t totally capitulated is because of its built in mining difficulty adjustment. Many people feared that Bitcoin could go under if the miners, an important part of any proof-of-work cryptocurrency, decided to abandon Bitcoin because of the increased difficulty and the loss of profitability.

Indeed, when the price dropped significantly in November, many miners did shut down and the hash rate also fell. But, because Bitcoin has a built in adjustment, the lower hash rate caused the mining difficulty to increase, and thus caused profitability to increase again, enticing miners back.

With more miners mining, there was increased health and activity on the blockchain, which leads to better interest and investment in the markets. This, in turn and in a compound way, then helps boost the price and drive more miners back in, again increasing profit and price.

Shedding the speculators

There is also a big difference between a burst speculative bubble and the death of a market. Some markets can be destroyed by the bubble pop, but in the case of Bitcoin, it is mirroring the dot com bubble because it has a similar nature.

With its underlying blockchain equitable to the internet, and the ICO hype and other factors equitable to Dot Com companies, one can see that this type of burst bubble is a chance for Bitcoin to shed its foolish speculative investors, and allow for those who are serious and successful to rebuild the market based on the important technology underneath.

Bitcoin will continue to be called dead, and erroneously so because it has only hit the mainstream in the last 18 months or so.

However, if one is to zoom out a bit, one would see that an investor who bought Bitcoin two years ago rather than, say, one year ago, would still be over 300 percent up on their investment.

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⭐ Features Guest Author

GameCredits Bittrex Review: The Detailed Guide for Beginners

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GameCredits (GAME) is an in-game payment platform that is poised to become a major disruptor in the multibillion-dollar gaming industry
GameCredits Bittrex Review: The Detailed Guide for Beginners

GAME (a.k.a. GameCredits) is an innovative cryptocurrency that has been very popular within the international gaming community. Thanks to the recent strategic partnerships with Microsoft and Xsolla, the team behind GAME crypto managed to achieve the incredible leap in promotion of this cryptocurrency.

Why should you exchange GameCredits on Bittrex?

There are so many exchange services out there. Why should you use the services of Bittrex in order to exchange or trade your GAME coins? The main advantage for beginners — Bittrex has never been hacked unlike other large platforms. Since 2017 all user accounts of this U.S. exchange service are solidly protected.

Also, this project implements the multi-level wallets strategy. About 90% of customer funds are stored offline. 2-factor authorization is offered for users (in particular, for withdrawal of their funds from wallets). If it is not activated, the exchange sets certain limits on withdrawals.

Features of Bittrex for GAME users

Bittrex offers a modern trading platform that is always accessible offline. If you type GAME in the search field on the main page, you will instantly see the chart with prices changing in real time. For example, currently (5th December 2018) you may see that the price of 1 GAME in the pair USD/GAME on Bittrex is $0.07.

Below the chart is a window with platform’s apps. The platform is designed for both beginners and experienced traders. You may check the possibility of a thorough technical analysis of any assets using technical indicators is implemented.

By default, an algorithm for calculating volumes is set straight on the chart of GAME/USD and GAME/BTC. The site features 450 currency pairs traded with Bitcoin. There are quite good trading opportunities with both BTC and ETH for GAME owners.

However, Bittrex does not have currency pairs with fiat money. Buying Bitcoin, Ethereum or Tether is possible by bank transfer. In order to use this service, you must pass the account verification. Traders have the opportunity to open different types of orders.

For example, they can buy GAME and other available assets at the market price or choose pending orders for the purchase of a particular cryptocurrency at the desired value. The only drawback - Bittrex does not offer any margin trading.

Deposit and withdrawal of GAME funds of the Bittrex exchange provides wide opportunities for those who want to replenish their account and withdraw money from it with GAME cryptocurrency. Two stages of verification actually mean that the base level is the inclusion of 2FA and filling in the "About me" fields. To withdraw more money (more than 4 BTC), full verification is required.

Currently, there are two types of accounts on Bittrex:

  • Basic. Users provide name, address of residence, indicate the date of birth. This data is verified through open sources (social networks, for example). However, if security officers of the company fail to verify the information, more detailed verification will already be required with the participation of the user;

  • Advanced. To open such accounts, the user must provide scanned copies of identification documents along with a selfie attached;

How to buy and sell GAME on Bittrex?

According to almost any user’s review of GameCredits on Bittrex, the website offers the opportunity to trade market and limit orders. The first allows you to buy a cryptocurrency at the current price at which it is offered on the market.

Let’s suppose, GAME coin is worth $1. A user wants to buy it and is ready to pay that price. In this case, he chooses a market order, enters the volume of the transaction and presses the “Buy” button. If the user already has bitcoins and he wants to sell them, at the same time, the current price on the market fully suits him, this can also be done by placing a market order, only for sale.

Fees for services here are considered average for the global market. Bittrex charges 0.25% commission for all transactions. At the same time, payments from traders can be reduced depending on the time of the user’s trading status.

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⭐ Features Joseph Young

Gov’t of India Reportedly Plans to Regulate Crypto, What’s the Motive?

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The government of India is exploring the possibility of legalizing crypto and regulating exchanges
Gov’t of India Reportedly Plans to Regulate Crypto, What’s the Motive?

Several local publications have reported that the government of India is exploring the possibility of regulating crypto.

At an official government meeting hosted by the interdisciplinary committee, a task force led by members of the Ministry of Economics and information Technology and the Ministry of Home Affairs, the committee ruled in favor of regulating cryptocurrencies with strict policies.

Sudden Change in Stance Toward Crypto

In April, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed a blanket ban on cryptocurrency trading, prohibiting the country’s financial institutions from dealing with cryptocurrency-related businesses.

The unexpected ban on cryptocurrency exchanges implemented by the country’s central bank effectively disallowed trading platforms from obtaining banking services from local financial institutions.

Several exchanges tried to pivot to cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency trading but with the dominance of Binance, OKEx, Huobi, and other crypto-only exchanges, local digital asset trading platforms failed to compete and shut down their businesses.

At the time, the RBI threatened to end its relationship with any local bank that deals with digital asset exchanges. A circular released by the central bank read:

“In view of the associated risks, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling VCs (virtual currencies). Regulated entities which already provide such services shall exit the relationship within a specified time.”

In July, industry leaders, associations, and companies challenged the controversial decision of the RBI by filing a complaint with the Supreme Court of India. Within several months after the filing, the court ruled in favor of the RBI, allowing the central bank to impose a ban on cryptocurrency trading.

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However, on December 26, a senior government official told The New Indian Express in an interview that the government believes cryptocurrencies cannot be dismissed as illegal currencies and the asset class has to be regulated with strict policies.

“We have already had two meetings. There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalised with strong riders. Deliberations are on. We will have more clarity soon,” the official said.

The change in the stance toward cryptocurrencies from the government of India likely comes from its acknowledgement of the risk in unregulated cryptocurrency trading. By placing a ban on digital asset exchanges, it forced investors out of a self-regulated market to unregulated peer-to-peer and over-the-counter markets that are difficult to regulate and monitor.

If the intent of the government is to prevent money laundering through the usage of cryptocurrencies, a more effective way of doing so is to allow cryptocurrency trading on exchanges with strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems in place.

When Could It Take Place?

Many reports were released in the past anticipating the legalization of cryptocurrencies by the government of India. Yet, the government showed no signs of regulating the asset class in the past 12 months.

With the G20 agreeing to regulate cryptocurrencies to crack down on money laundering, India, which is a part of the G20, could follow the global trend of regulating the asset class.

Given the history of India in the cryptocurrency sector, it may take several months to potentially years before cryptocurrency trading is revitalized and completely legalized with stable banking services provided by local financial institutions.

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