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Ripple Proposes Federated Sidechains To keep main Ledger Lean

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In lieu of expanding the main ledger’s functionality, Ripple’s developers argue that using federated sidechains will help preserve the blockchain’s leanness and efficiency for payments.

Ripple’s developers have been engaging with feedback and suggestions that they expand the XRP Ledger, or XRPL, to integrate functionalities such as smart contracts. The latter has become a major feature of the booming decentralized finance space, but Ripple’s creators claim that a different solution is better for the payments-focused XRPL.

This solution comes in the form of what they term “federated sidechains” i.e. parallel ledgers that can support developers’ experimentation and specialized interests, whether for DeFi or other use cases. Using sidechains can leave the main XRPL streamlined and efficient while expanding the functionality of the wider XRP ecosystem by offering interoperability for native smart contracts and other features.

To facilitate this interoperability, Ripple’s creators are proposing a piece of “federator” software, connected on one end to the XRPL mainnet, and on the other, to one or more sidechains. Each of these function as their own blockchain but they use XRP as their main asset; moreover, the federation system supports the transfer of XRP and issues tokens between them and the main ledger.

Validators who operate at least one sidechain will be eligible to run the federator software. To integrate this new software, Ripple says it only needs to make “two trivial changes” to the operation of the XRPL network. New features on the XRPL server software will allow it to operate in a side chain but these features will not be enabled on the mainnet itself. Further outlining the federated system, Ripple chief technology officer David Schwartz writes:

“Each sidechain would have a ‘trust’ account on the XRPL Mainnet. This account can hold assets on the XRPL on behalf of users of the sidechain. The account would use a multisign or threshold key with the signers being the validators of the sidechain. Each sidechain validator operator registers a signing key that signs transactions on XRPL; thus, the validators of the sidechain can collectively create transactions to manage the sidechain’s Mainnet account.”

Each sidechain can choose to either use XRP as its native asset or have its own, new native asset. In the former case, the side chain’s account on the mainnet will contain its total XRP holdings in trust for use on the sidechain. In the latter, the sidechain’s mainnet account can be used to issue the new, native asset on the XRPL Mainnet.

Schwartz said that the advantages of the federated system are its low-risk approach, capacity for horizontal scaling, simple support for new blockchain experimentations and a long-term vision that can accommodate an evolving toolset and ongoing feedback on new sidechain developments.

As previously reported, sidechains have become a popular approach for blockchain developers to try out new solutions to resolving scaling issues and integrate new functionalities into established blockchain ecosystems like Ethereum.

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin ‘Whales Are Re-Entering As Risk Appetite Returns’, Says Stack Funds Research

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On Wednesday, Lennard Neo, Head Of Research at Stack Funds, a Singapore-based crypto-focused fund management company, explained why they believe that “Bitcoin is very close to the bottom.

His comments about Bitcoin were delivered in a research note (titled: “Strong support observed as Bitcoins get scooped up at $30,000”), which was published yesterday.

The research analyst wrote:

“We have observed a meltdown in long liquidations (7D MA) over the past few weeks. This coupled with the Leverage ratio (grey line) falling to a 2-year low after dipping below that of March 2020 levels, provides evidence that traders are more cautious in taking positions.

“Inflows for Bitcoin have skewed to spot accumulation as opposed to speculation, as investors match their expectations towards a longer-term horizon – signaling less propensity to sell.

“In the face of the recent sell-off, we also see significant support levels around the $30,000 handle, with substantial bids coming in to fill up the offers. The strength comes on the back of Microstrategy accumulating more Bitcoins, and we have noticed that Whales are also re-entering the market as risk appetite returns. Short squeeze hunters have also begun waning away in the near term as markets continue to establish ground on a consolidation phase.“

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Canaan Begins Its Own Bitcoin Mining Operations in Kazakhstan

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Bitcoin mining machines manufacturer Canaan has started mining bitcoin in Kazakhstan, following the crackdown on bitcoin mining in China.

Canaan said its AvalonMiner units are already in operation in Kazakhstan. When asked how many units and of which model has been deployed, a Canaan spokesperson declined to comment on specifics but said “a first batch of small-scale mining machines” have been deployed to start with.

Canaan foresees “a gradual ramp-up to full operational functionality over time,” the spokesperson added. The company has partnered with local mining companies in Kazakhstan for the initiative, they said.

China-based Canaan has been preparing to launch a crypto mining business in Kazakhstan for some time now. Earlier this month, the Nasdaq-listed company opened its first overseas after-sales service center in Kazakhstan as its global sales continue to increase.

Kazakhstan appears to be growing in popularity for bitcoin mining after China moved to shut down local bitcoin mining farms last month. Kazakhstan is close to China and has one of the cheapest electricity rates in the world.

Earlier this week, China-based BIT Mining, formerly known as 500.com, also shipped some of its bitcoin mining equipment to Kazakhstan. The company is set to send more machines to the country next month.

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Andreessen Horowitz Officially Launches New $2.2B Crypto Venture Fund

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Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) — prominent venture capital fund led by Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen — announced Thursday the close of its third crypto venture fund, a $2.2 billion fund that the firm says is the largest of its kind.

The new “Crypto Fund III” will be co-led by Chris Dixon and Katie Haun.

“The largest crypto fund ever raised to date, Crypto Fund III is a validating moment for the ecosystem and another sign that crypto becoming an ever more mainstream part of our financial infrastructure,” the firm said in a press release.

Rumors of Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z) raising a mega-fund have appeared in various reports in recent months. The Financial Times reported in April that the California-based investment firm would be raising $1 billion for a crypto fund. In late May, tech blogger Eric Newcomer wrote that the firm was raising $2 billion.

A source familiar with the raise now told The Block that interest came mostly from limited partners in the firm’s previous crypto funds, which have seen large returns. a16z netted more than $440 million from selling Coinbase stock soon after the exchange made its public markets debut on Nasdaq, according to CoinDesk.

a16z’s mandate in crypto has been broad, ranging from decentralized finance (DeFi) to bitcoin applications to so-called Web 3, or a decentralized version of the internet. The firm’s portfolio includes Dapper Labs, Celo, Uniswap, and Near.

“This fund allows us to find the next generation of visionary crypto founders, and invest in the most exciting areas of crypto,” Dixon and Haun wrote in a blog post. “We invest in all stages, from early seed-stage projects to fully developed later-stage networks.”

In addition to securing more than $2 billion to invest in crypto, a16z’s crypto business has been hiring aggressively. It has made a number of key hires including Anthony Albanese, who joined the firm last year from the New York Stock Exchange. Albanese is now being promoted to chief operating officer of a16z crypto.

The firm also hired Bill Hinman, a former director at the Securities and Exchange Commission, who once said ether (ETH) is not a security, and Rachael Horowitz, a veteran Silicon Vally communications strategist who previously was the top communicator at Coinbase, also recently joined. Horowitz has also held positions at Twitter, Google, and Facebook.

Additional new hires include policymaker Tomicah Tilleman, who is joining the firm as global head of policy after serving as a senior advisor to President Joe Biden.

“As with any new computing movement, crypto has endured a variety of challenges and misconceptions,” Dixon and Haun said. “That’s why we are also bringing together heavy-hitters across several functions to help translate “crypto” to the mainstream.”

The announcement of Crypto Fund III follows a flurry of recent activity in crypto venture investing. Despite the slump in coin prices, investors have been raising large sums of cash to pour into new crypto startups.

Framework Ventures recently announced a $100 million new fund to invest in DeFi. Blockchain Capital, meanwhile, recently announced a new $300 million fund with backing from tech giants PayPal and Visa.

Data from The Block shows investors poured more than $8.8 billion into startups during 2021, compared with 3.07 billion in all of 2020.

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