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Ardor vs. the Competition, Pt. 4: Waves

This post is part of a series that compares Ardor to other blockchain projects with similar features or goals. You can find the previous posts here:

Until now, one of my main goals with this series has been to survey different approaches to scaling a distributed ledger. This week and for the next couple of posts, though, I’m shifting my focus slightly towards the business side of blockchain technology. I’ll attempt to explore the real-world problems that blockchains can solve and the ways that different projects have positioned themselves to suit their target markets.

These subjects are a bit outside my comfort zone, so I’ll thank you in advance for your patience with me in case I say something ignorant or naive. And as always, I greatly appreciate constructive criticism. 🙂

This disclaimer is especially important this week, because this week I studied Waves. As a newcomer to Nxt, I’ve read just enough about its history to know that the founder of Waves, Sasha Ivanov (a.k.a. Coinomat on nxtforum.org), had been an active member of the Nxt community until the turbulent period of early 2016, at which time he left to found Waves. I won’t attempt to rehash the debate over Ardor and the future of Nxt, which I understand ended with many asset issuers like Sasha leaving the community, but if you’re interested I’d highly recommend apenzl’s summary in SNAPSHOT and the references therein.

Instead, for this post I’ll mostly ignore the histories of Nxt and Waves, and will approach both projects with an open mind and a view towards the future. I do think there would probably be some value in a proper historical analysis, but I simply am not qualified to offer one.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about Waves.

Waves

At first glance, Waves looks a lot like a stripped-down version of Nxt. It is primarily a decentralized exchange (DEX), inspired by and conceptually similar to the Nxt Asset Exchange. Like Nxt, it uses a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm and allows users to lease their balances to other accounts in order to forge in pools. It recently added a way to associate a human-readable alias to an account number, partially replicating the functionality of Nxt’s Alias System. Even a couple features still in development–namely, a voting system and a way to send encrypted messages–duplicate functionality that Nxt already offers.

At the same time, Waves is missing many of Nxt’s most powerful features. For now, it doesn’t support anything similar to Nxt’s phased transactions or account control options, for example, though it is worth noting that both smart contracts and multisig transactions are on the agenda.

Additionally, the white paper suggests that crowdfunding will be one of the main uses of the Waves platform, but tokens on Waves lack the customizable properties that make Nxt’s Monetary System currencies so useful for this application. For example, the Monetary System offers the ability to condition the transfer of funds on meeting a fundraising goal, a la Kickstarter, and also the option to restrict trading so as to prevent scalpers from creating a secondary market. Using this latter feature, called a “Controllable” currency in Nxt’s terminology, it is even possible for issuers to dictate both a fixed asking price and a fixed bid for the currency, enabling them to offer buyers full or partial refunds for their tokens. Crowdfunding on Waves, in contrast, is limited to issuing a token essentially at the market rate.

These observations notwithstanding, in my opinion it would be a terrible mistake to dismiss Waves as just another Nxt copycat with fewer features. For one thing, Waves offers several key features that Nxt and other platforms do not have, which I’ll describe next. Perhaps even more importantly, though, the Waves team has built a strong brand and has offered a clear and consistent vision since the platform’s inception. The field is currently so crowded, and innovation so rapid, that the combination of a simple, clear message, a strong marketing effort, and a demonstrated ability to deliver on those promises might be even more important to the long-term success of a project than the richness or novelty of its underlying technology.

Unique Features

One interesting feature that distinguishes Waves from many other platforms is the design of its DEX. It is a hybrid approach that combines a centralized order-matching engine, called the Matcher, with decentralized settlement on the Waves blockchain.

When users place orders on Waves, the Waves client sends those orders to central Matcher nodes, which maintain the order books for all tradeable pairs. Each new order is either matched against existing orders or added to the order book for the pair in question, but either way the user who submitted the new order is notified immediately whether the order was filled. It is still necessary to wait for the next block(s) to be added to the blockchain to fully confirm the transaction, but in the meantime, the user knows with high confidence the result of the order.

This might not seem like a big improvement over a fully decentralized exchange, but from the handful of transactions I made on Waves, I must say I was quite impressed by the user experience. The ability to see real-time updates to the order book, and to know immediately whether my orders were filled, made a bigger difference than I had expected.

In principle, any full node can become a Matcher. The lite client currently only connects to Matchers at nodes.wavesnodes.com by default, though, so Matchers on the rest of the network probably do not see much volume. With new orders transmitted directly to these centralized nodes, and only broadcast to the whole network once they have been filled (I think), this design allows the order books to remain anonymous. I don’t know for sure how important it is for open orders to be anonymous, but it certainly seems like a feature that traders might value highly.

Another distinguishing feature of Waves is the ability to trade any token against any other token without first converting to WAVES. Combined with the integrated gateways that issue tokens pegged to U.S. dollars, euros, and several cryptocurrencies, this feature enables Waves to function as a decentralized foreign exchange market. It also allows token issuers to conduct an initial offering directly in fiat-pegged tokens. With the full client, it is even possible to pay fees in tokens instead of WAVES.

Additionally, it is worth noting that there are several features in development or on the roadmap that also distinguish Waves from other platforms. One is a reputation system that will score accounts by their age, transaction history, and other factors. There are not many details yet, but the goal is to provide users with at least a rough indication of how trustworthy a given token issuer is. The white paper even goes so far as to suggest that the reputation system will serve as “some form of decentralized KYC/AML” (know your customer/anti-money laundering) system. While it’s difficult to see how a decentralized reputation system could help issuers actually comply with KYC and AML laws, it’s not unreasonable to suppose that it could serve some analogous purpose in a blockchain community.

Speaking of compliance issues, Waves has also announced a new project, Tokenomica, that will provide a “100% compliant legal framework for different types of token crowdsales, including private equity crowdsales.” Unfortunately, that quote from the 2017 roadmap is just about the full extent of information I’ve been able to find about Tokenomica. My impression is that the project is still in its early stages, but it shows that the team is taking regulatory compliance seriously.

For completeness, I should probably mention that the Waves team is also planning to incorporate smart contracts into Waves. The scripting language will not be Turing complete, and there will be no equivalent to Ethereum’s concept of “gas,” presumably because there will be no loops. Beyond these details, there isn’t much other information available yet.

Finally, I must mention the approach that the Waves team has outlined for scaling. It consists primarily of two parts: a redesign of the forging process that breaks large blocks into “microblocks” to optimize bandwidth usage; and an optimization to how account balances are stored–or rather, not stored–that reduces memory requirements for full nodes.

The first of these two proposals, called Waves NG, is based on Bitcoin NG. In a nutshell, once a node has won the right to forge the next block, it immediately issues a key block, which is usually empty, and then broadcasts microblocks containing transactions every few seconds. The motivation for this design is that broadcasting one large block each block interval is a much less efficient way to use the network’s bandwidth, and the corresponding spikes in network activity place an artificially low bound on the number of transactions that the network can handle. By spreading transactions out over a sequence of microblocks, it is possible to increase the average data rate over the network but decrease the peak data rate, lessening the constraints that bandwidth and latency impose on the maximum transaction rate.

The second component of the scaling plan is to implement the ideas described in this paper by Leonid Reyzin, Dmitry Meshkov, Alexander Chepurnoy, and Sasha Ivanov. I admit I haven’t spent very much time with it, but the gist is that full nodes will not all be required to store every account’s balance of every token in memory in order to validate transactions. Instead, they will store a compact digest of this information, and forgers that do store it in full–or some subset of it, if they choose to only forge transactions involving specific tokens–will generate cryptographic proofs that they have updated the account balances correctly. The forgers will then include the proofs and an updated digest in the header of each new block. Nodes that have chosen not to record the balances of all tokens involved in those transactions will still be able to validate them by using their current digest and the forger’s proofs to compute an updated digest, which they can compare to the one the forger reported.

The authors argue that this approach can reduce the amount of memory required for a full node under realistic conditions by about a factor of four. Moreover, if this optimization is able to keep all required information in memory in cases where it would otherwise have to be stored on disk, the performance improvement could be far greater–about a factor of 20, the authors suggest.

Comparison with Ardor

Although a couple of the features described were not present in Nxt, there will be similar features available in Ardor.

Specifically, Ardor’s parent-chain/child-chain architecture will allow users to trade all pairs of child chain coins, some of which could be pegged to fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies. It will also be possible to price assets in any of the child chain coins, and to pay fees in the child chain coin when transacting on a given child chain. It will not be possible to trade assets against each other directly, but most of those trading pairs would probably have such low volume that it wouldn’t really be worthwhile to add this feature anyway.

As for the improvements that the Waves team has made to their DEX by partially centralizing it, it should be possible to mimic this functionality pretty closely by building a centralized order matcher on top of Nxt/Ardor. Indeed, the InstantDEX project accomplished something similar in the past, using Nxt to settle transactions in a decentralized manner.

On the subject of scaling, the proposal to reduce in-memory storage requirements for full nodes is intriguing, but I wonder whether there might be a small trade-off with security. (If you’ve read the previous articles in this series, then you have probably figured out by now that I always suspect that performance improvements entail reductions in security.) In particular, if nodes are not required to store the current state of every account, and must use the proofs and digest in each new block’s header to validate the transactions contained in it, then I assume that means that nodes will not be required, nor even will they be able, to validate unconfirmed transactions before broadcasting them to their peers. I don’t know the consequences of allowing nodes to propagate potentially invalid transactions across the network, but the thought makes me a bit uneasy.

Ardor’s approach to scaling is for all nodes to validate all transactions, but for only the minimum possible amount of information to be permanently recorded on the Ardor blockchain. In particular, only those transactions that change the balances of ARDR, the forging token, need to be stored on the blockchain in order for other nodes to trustlessly verify that each block was forged by an account that was eligible to do so. In contrast, the whole history of transactions involving only child chain coins and the assets and currencies traded on those child chains does not need to be stored on the blockchain, and hence can be pruned away, leaving only cryptographic hashes of that information behind. The result is that the blockchain stays much smaller and grows more slowly than would be the case if it stored all of this extra information.

Which approach is better depends on whether permanent storage of the blockchain or in-memory storage of current account balances presents a bigger problem as the two platforms grow. I don’t know the answer to this question, but there are a couple of related points that are probably worth making. One is that the timescales of the two problems could be quite different: I could see an explosion of new assets on the Ardor platform placing an immediate strain on memory, whereas blockchain bloat would likely pose a severe long-term problem for Waves, especially if it reaches hundreds or thousands of transactions per second, which is the current goal. My other thought is that Ardor required an entirely new architecture to implement its scaling solution, whereas Waves’s approach will not. It would no doubt be easier for Ardor to incorporate Waves’s solution at some point in the future than for Waves to implement Ardor’s solution.

Finally, perhaps the most interesting subject in this comparison is the issue of regulatory compliance. Waves has positioned itself as a platform for creating and issuing tokens, with a special focus on crowdfunding. To that end, the Waves team has indicated that they are taking a serious look at the regulatory complications that go along with crowdfunding–which might involve selling securities, for example–in order to help users comply with the law. While the suggestion that a decentralized reputation system might eventually replace traditional KYC/AML requirements strains credulity, it could at least help suppress scams and reduce the opportunities for bad actors to take advantage of others. In that sense, it might accomplish some of the same goals that regulators aim to achieve.

Ardor, for its part, will offer a couple of enhancements over Nxt that will be quite valuable for regulatory compliance. One is the ability to issue assets that can only be traded with a certain type of phased transaction, and the other is the addition of a new phased transaction type, which allows an account to approve a transaction only if the account has a certain specific property. Combining these two features, a user can issue an asset which can only be purchased by accounts that have a property that, for example, a KYC/AML-compliant identity provider has added to designate that it has verified the owner’s identity.

If your asset represents shares of a company, or a mutual fund, or some other type of security, this feature would enable you to prove to regulators that you know who is purchasing your tokens. Moreover, if you are a user interested in purchasing those types of tokens, recording a proof of your identity on the blockchain via your account’s properties will hopefully allow you to spend less time trying to convince businesses that you are who you say you are and that you aren’t laundering money.

In addition, it will be possible to create child chains that support only a subset of the features that the Ardor platform offers. This will allow child chain creators to disable certain features, such as coin shuffling, that might raise red flags with regulators in some jurisdictions.

Conclusion

What, then, do we make of Waves? There is definitely something to be said for choosing one problem and trying to solve it better than anybody else can do. Abandoning Nxt’s “Swiss Army knife” approach and focusing instead on the single goal of building a great token-trading platform no doubt made it easier to pitch, develop, and market Waves. There is also a lot to be said for starting off well-funded, as Waves did with a $16M ICO.

At the same time, though, I’m not sure that an objective comparison of Waves and Ardor could conclude that Waves is as technologically mature as Ardor is. (For the record, I have tried to do a fair and objective comparison in this article, but I am not claiming that I succeeded. That’s ultimately your call.) Nxt is already capable of almost all of what Waves can do, not to mention all of the things that Waves cannot do, and Ardor is adding new functionality, too.

Perhaps Ardor’s biggest remaining challenge is to truly sell its vision the way that the Bitcoin community and the Ethereum Foundation have sold their visions, and this is where Waves has a sizable head start. Being capable of so many different things, but not purpose-built for anything in particular, Ardor faces a very difficult task here. The worst possible outcome would be for users and businesses to see it as “just another platform,” or perhaps to fail to grasp the full range of what it can do, and to simply ignore it as a result.

As for Waves, I’m excited to see what the future holds. The improvements that it has made to the Nxt Asset Exchange, though modest in my opinion, have nonetheless distinguished it as a formidable DEX. If the Waves team can follow through on their roadmap, Waves will be a fierce competitor among exchanges–centralized and decentralized alike.

NXT lazy portfolio – May & June

lazy-nxt-portfolio

The aim of this monthly report regarding my personal portfolio is to show potential investors how a selection of NXT assets can perform. Readers must of course carry out and rely on their own due diligence research before deciding whether to invest or refrain from investing. My trading strategy is explained here.

Apologies for doing my report so late. I’m reporting May and June here. Due to work commitments, I was not able to do a report earlier. Also, I was not able to do my monthly investment (300 euro) on time.

Portfolio allocation snapshot: 18/06/2015

mayjune asset allocation

Dividend april & may :

mayjune dividend

For “Usdbitfinex” dividend, I’m showing the corresponding NXT value, but the dividend was in the form of usdbitfinex asset. For “NXTinspect” it is similar. “Phoenix”, “Supernet”, and “Liquid” asset were delivered as dividend. I’m just showing the corresponding NXT value for accounting purposes. With today’s pair 1NXT = 0.0125 euro, I received the equivalent of 6.68 euro in April, and 12.68 euro in May. Dividends are growing monthly, I really appreciate that.

Asset performance 18/06:

mayjune asset profit

Most of the assets are performing well! Generally speaking, asset value is growing slowly.

Portfolio performance

mayjune portfolio performance

 

April showed again a negative return (-6%). However, the recent NXT increase in value has recovered the losses of the last couple of months (+26%). The favorable NXT/EUR pair now gives a positive return to my portfolio. I have a small gain of 60 euro for a total of 1200 euro invested.

Stay tuned:
As explained in my strategy, I will use the bitcoin exchange BitBoat (French & Italian market) to purchase 300 Euro worth of bitcoin for 1 more month, then 150 euro monthly. I stick to my strategy, and in a couple of years I should be able to say if NXT platform is a good opportunity for long term investment and steady return. In my opinion, NXT as a whole looks much more sustainable than bitcoin and 99% of the other crypto.

For my future investments, the “Bankroll” asset looks good but it’s currently difficult to buy them at a good price. “CoinoEUR” offers a 0.06% daily return, and “Jinn” should bring some great news in the coming days.

Full details regarding my portfolio, including its trading history, are available here (refresh the page if it doesn’t load correctly) and do of course remember to look out for my next monthly report!

Remember: Do your own due diligence research and take fully into account your own personal circumstances, objectives and attitudes to risk before making any investment decision and, of course, never invest more than you can afford to loose.

NXT lazy portfolio – February

The aim of this monthly report regarding my personal portfolio is to show potential investors how a selection of NXT assets can perform. Readers must of course carry out and rely on their own due diligence research before deciding whether to invest or refrain from investing. I believe that investing can provide good returns without the need for day trading, pump & dumping, or insider trading. My ‘lazy portfolio’ will follow a simple strategy, one which I don’t anticipate will require more than a couple of hours of my time a month to implement.

NXT is now just over a year old, the ecosystem is growing and this is my contribution to promote it.

My personal strategy/portfolio:

-300 euro monthly investment for the first 5 months, then 150 euros.

-Invest only in assets that produce something (no mining, ponzi, gold, altcoin…)

-Dividend reinvested.

-Buy & hold.

-30% in promising asset.

-70% in dividend asset.

(image unavailable)

Details:

I’m the representative of a bitcoin exchange called BitBoat (French & Italian market) through which I will purchase 300 euro worth of bitcoin a month which I will then use, via the multigateway, to purchase NXT.

Because investing can be risky, diversification is important (as can be seen from my portfolio), and will be kept under review both as regards my existing holdings and as regards new asset issuing projects joining the Nxt community.

I will provide a monthly report of value of my personal portfolio, but you can check whenever you want on nxtreporting.

Performance will be recorded in euros, as only nxters are interested in NXT 🙂

Conclusion:

Only time will tell if my strategy is profitable, so see you next month!

(image unavailable)

Remember: Do your own due diligence research and take fully into account your own personal circumstances, objectives and attitudes to risk before making any investment decision and, of course, never invest more than you can afford to loose.

——————

This report is for general information only. It does not take into account the reader’s personal circumstances, objectives or attitude towards risk. It is not (and is not intended to be) any form of advice, recommendation, or endorsement by the author or the web site owner and should not be relied upon when making (or refraining from making) any investment decision.

 

 

SuperNET Newsletter #7

Welcome to the SuperNET. A SuperNET alpha client release v0, the SuperNET v1 team defining the next and official release, NXT Freemarket update, MGW production servers running, a decentralised poker project coming together, and 100+ supporters and programmers active in Slack – it’s time for another update! This is SuperNET Newsletter #7.

Topics

  • SuperNET client v0
  • Multigateway
  • How MGW works
  • Coinomat
  • Freemarket update
  • SuperNET Tech Tree
  • InstantDEX
  • SNN
  • More about BTCD
    • Where’s Wally?
    • STASH
  • Development Update
  • SuperNET code review
  • SuperNET related links

SuperNET client v0

A preliminary SuperNET client (v0) has been released. This is an enhanced NXT wallet that includes the Multigateway, so can replace the standard NXT wallet with no loss of functionality. v0 is a standalone software: just install once and enjoy the combined features of Nxt and SuperNET.

Current features include the NXT client, Multigateway, Coinomat exchange, Dividend capability and Voting. v0 is the first raw version of the SuperNET client. Further features like BTCD teleport, neoDICE, CHA’s casino and so on, will all go inside this package, so it’s essentially a NXT client release with SuperNET-related functionality.

All NXT’s 2.0 features, like the Asset Exchange, encrypted messaging, the Alias System and Nxt Marketplace, are also available from within the client. To download the SuperNET v0 client, go to https://forum.thesupernet.org/index.php?topic=247.0
Screenshots: http://imgur.com/a/bljE4#0

Further features will likely be added in a rolling release until the ‘official’ SuperNET v1 client is launched, around Christmas.

Multigateway

The Multigateway’s production servers passed testing and are now live! The MGW UI is integrated in the preliminary (‘v0’) version of the SuperNET client. Please do download it and take a look at what it can do – it’s a sample of SuperNET’s coming capabilities.

The Multigateway (MGW) is NXT’s distributed cryptocurrency exchange platform. It enables users to send coins to the MGW’s secure servers, in return for coin tokens that can be traded against NXT on the Asset Exchange. The coins are kept in multi-sig addresses, whilst the NXT assets representing other coins (mgwBTC, mgwLTC, etc) are stored on the blockchain. Three servers operate for each coins, enabling trustless crypto-to-crypto transactions.

There are currently six different operators in Multigateway, as different coins are housed on dedicated and hardened servers run by different parties. As further coins are added, more server clusters will be required.

MGW Cluster #0: Frohike, Abuelau (MyNXT), Coinomat (BTC)
MGW Cluster #1: marcus03, Cobaltskky, jefdiesel (DOGE, BC, VIA)

James will keep a seventh development server online for as long as Multigateway users move to SuperNET UI and production servers.

For more information and a download link, see the SuperNET v0 installation guide:
https://multigateway.org/user-guide/installing-the-software/

How MGW works

MGW creates a unique deposit address for your account, for each of the supported coins. When you send coins to that deposit address, MGW will deliver the same quantity of coin assets to your NXT account (for example, 1 BTC will become 1 mgwBTC asset).

All the MGW deposits are held in multisignature accounts matching all the released assets 1:1 – there is no fractional reserve here! Coin assets can now be traded in the NXT Asset Exchange like any other asset .You can buy them with NXT, sell them for NXT and send them to any other NXT user with the fast speed of the NXT network. MGW allows you to withdraw your coin assets back into your corresponding coin wallet, with the lowest withdrawal fee in the market – equivalent to the minimum transaction fee for the coin.

What are the advantages?

MGW is significantly more secure than a centralised exchange, with no single point of failure. It is also far more cost-effective to use.

In a multisignature account, the same address has several associated private keys or signatures. This means the servers have to agree, each of them providing their signature, in order to process the coin transactions – in a similar way to a joint bank account. The use of multisignature accounts and independent servers makes MGW more secure than any traditional centralised exchange account.

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO EXISTING MGW USERS

The production servers use a new asset ID for mgwBTC. Existing owners of mgwBTC need to swap their old assets by sending them to a special redeem account. This will automatically send back the same amount of the new mgwBTC asset.

mgwBTC redeem Nxt account: NXT-6YQW-HHCG-NATW-DCHJ3
Production mgwBTC asset ID: 17554243582654188572

The old mgwBTC asset (4551058913252105307) can of course still be traded in the existing market in the Asset Exchange, and users running a previous version of the software will be able to withdraw these through the old servers for some time. However, we recommend you update your assets for a greater stability and growing activity in the service.

Coinomat

Another SuperNET CORE service which has been integrated in the preliminary SuperNET v0 client is the Coinomat tab. It enables you to exchange your Bitcoins directly in the client.

With the SuperNET v0 client running, you can also trade assets on the Nxt asset exchange. Coinomat offers CoinoUSD (asset ID 12982485703607823902, a USD-tied asset. 1 CoinoUSD always holds the value of $1. It’s traded against NXT on the asset exchange, thus creating the first NXT/USD decentralized market, it can be traded for BTC/NXT/XMR on the centralized exchange Poloniex, and you can buy and sell it using Coinomat services.

CoinoUSD can be withdrawn to Perfect Money, EgoPay, OKPay – or VISA / Mastercard.
Read more about the use cases here: http://blog.coinomat.com/coinousd-usd-on-blockchain/

Freemarket

A new version of NXT Freemarket is ready for download at http://nxtfreemarket.com/

NXTFreeMarket is NXT’s decentralised market place – a little like eBay, but with super-low fees (no fees until 2015, and then only 7.77 NXT per listing). It’s also getting some great press: There’s a podcast from Free Talk Live http://www.freetalklive.com/content/podcast_2014_11_10 and this one from CoinTelegraph: http://cointelegraph.com/news/112883/dear-online-drug-buyers-your-problems-are-solved

FreeMarket’s complete list of new features includes:

  • A standalone version (no more messy install!)
  • Seller ID in item listings is now a link to see all items from that seller
  • Passphrase fields now integrate with password managers such as 1Password and LastPass
  • Image Preview: See if you have the right URLs for your images before listing your item!
  • More built-in help
  • Tightened security
  • Improved Chinese localization
  • New localizations: German, Spanish, Lithuanian, French, Japanese, Greek, Hebrew, Italian
  • Various bug fixes
  • One-click re-listing of expired or canceled items

SuperNET Tech Tree

Work has just started, but here’s a taster of what’s cooking: ThomasVeil’s interactive “tech tree”. This will provide an overview of how SuperNET, its services, coins and dividends to its asset holders works.

InstantDEX

InstantDEX is a core service for SuperNET. It will allow near-realtime exchange of one cryptocurrency to another. This will have huge implications for trading, since delays will be reduced to near zero.

A further tool to help manage the InstantDEX order book in the future will be tradebots. These will be user-programmable and will run on the user’s node, customisable for the individual’s needs. One use case might be the conversion of dividends from one currency into another; a tradebot could be set to carry out the exchange at a target price. All of the functionality will take place in the background, making it extremely convenient for the end user.

Naturally this raises issues of liquidity between different coin pairs; obviously users do not want to have to pay for large spreads. James writes, ‘I plan to create 1% spreads between all the SuperNET core coins in native and telepod form and mgwCOIN form, so you can go from one to the other to the other, and the tradebots can be programmed to suit your goals.’

On the technical side of how this will work, James writes:

I had to figure out how to index into DB with duplicates properly, and also add in special cases to the DHT to support InstantDEX orderbooks.

The method is as follows:

A. an orderbook bid or ask is submitted using the standard DHT store and this is processed normally.

B. as this is processed, various nodes do a localstore into the public.db on their HDD. When this is done, the raw data is checked to see if it is an InstantDEX quote and if it is, an automatic update is triggered.

This update allows one bid and one ask per account, which has the effect of preventing the orderbook stuffing.

At this point, the node that is closest to the key value of (baseid ^ relid) will have an up to date orderbook and the normal orderbook function should display it properly.

Of course, this does no good for most all people, so we also need to support returning the full orderbook via DHT findvalue call. The problem is that there is no automatic way to know if a key value is for an InstantDEX orderbook. So, using a similar method to overloading the findnode command with a datastr, I added a datastr to find value.

This would just be the “orderbook” API command, which needed to have an “oldest” field added. what that allows is for the nodes that have data to send back to filter it so only the new data is sent.

When this is all debugged, all nodes will be able to get an up to date orderbook as quickly as a DHT command can be processed. Now, even if this is taking 10+ seconds, odds are that the same accounts are having the best offers and really that is the most important as the exact trade matching is done peer to peer.

InstantDEX is an absolutely critical part of making crypto frictionless for the end user, so it is extremely encouraging to see the progress being made here.

SNN

The SuperNET News Network is coming together, with the backend currently in active development. When it is finished, it will allow for multi-tiered management – one senior writer will be able to manage multiple junior writers. This means that one Editor in Chief can manage a whole staff in a streamlined, automated way.

In the meantime, writes fumanchu88, ‘SNN will be more akin to a standard news platform but with a backend that makes management and payroll open and transparent.’ Features will include:

  • Automated payroll based on social weight of each article
  • Tiered management (posts are sent to an editor for clearance once when ready to publish)
  • Automated Advertising Intake (advertisers can sign up without previous contact)

Payment is always tied to the site’s earnings in the relevant pay period, so there are strong incentives for everyone to promote the site and work together. Contributors will not have to pay to post content; they will simply post their articles, promote them as best they can and interact with comments, where appropriate. The system will do all the weighing, with payout once a week. Regular writers will therefore receive regular pay in NXT and/or BTC.

More about BTCD

Last week we took a closer look at NXT, one of the core coins for the SuperNET. NXT offers versatile 2.0 functionality, and many of the SuperNET’s features are built on top of NXT. But the SuperNET equally could not exist without BTCD.

BTCD provides the secure network that will enable private communication, anonymous transactions and much else besides. BTCD’s infrastructure is a peer-to-peer network similar in principle to file-sharing networks such as BitTorrent (in fact, secure file-sharing will be one of the future revenue-generating applications of the BTCD network, since it enables users to rent out spare hard drive space for others to use).

BTCD’s Telepathy protocol (you can read more about how Telepathy works here) offers privacy advantages over and above anything else currently on the market. All communications are end-to-end encrypted, so that no one else can read them. However, the real step-change in privacy is the use of deaddrop addresses for secure communication. In other peer-to-peer networks, nodes send packets to each other, which requires them to know the IP address of the recipient. This constitutes a leak of information, and a well-resourced attacker would be able to tell who was communicating with whom – which could be as important as what they were communicating. Deaddrop addresses are owned by no node, and so the packet is never ‘delivered’ to this recipient. As it is being routed, though, it is handled by many different nodes – but it can only be read by the node for which it has been encrypted. This is a little like being able to send an email without anyone (including the sender) knowing the address of the recipient.

BTCD wallet

A new BTCD wallet based on the NXT-Inside concept is currently in the works. As well as being user-friendly, this approach will allow stakers to be paid dividends from SuperNET (James offered stakers dividend payments from InstantDEX before developing SuperNET). To preserve privacy and ensure payments cannot be linked to other accounts, dividends will be converted to BTCD before distribution – placing a gentle, constant upward pressure on prices.

Where’s Wally?

During the recent sell-off of the alts, questions were raised about why BTCD prices were dropping so much despite the tech being developed. This was partly due to one of the original large holders from the mining stage cashing out their stake. Since then, a bot has been detected, manipulating the BTCD market. This bot is active on many different alts, but since BTCD is comparatively thinly-traded, it has had a greater effect. James writes:

There is a bot that is ACTIVELY manipulating the price, quite effectively too. If you look at the price on bitcoinwisdom, you will see that there is a pretty even spread of asks all bunched together, within 10 satoshis!

About 5 BTC. This makes a barrier and also crowds out the orderbook so you can’t see what is really going on. It is also changing things several times per second to create the impression of a lot of activity. What it does is pushes the price down by clearing out small bids and making lower and lower asks.

Earlier there was about 10 BTC in 30+ orders around .0049 and 3 BTC between that and .008

So, there is no investor panic going on. It is just one guy running a bot. And he is doing this on many different coins.

His game is this.

Have the bot on bittrex and cryptsy, but run just one of them at a time. Create some FUD, push the price down on one (easier to create fear, especially in a bear market), then as people get convinced everybody is selling, they start selling. Remember this is just happening on one market. So soon the sell price on one exchange is lower than the buy price on the other exchange where the bot is idle. Guaranteed profits! Then the bots switch.

So first one exchange price is pushed down, arbitraged, then the other. Doing this it creates these mysterious price declines as we are making such good progress. All the way down to .005! But there was really very little for sale below .008 as this operation is being done on dozens of coins, so only so much budget per coin.

Now this bot is not caring about price at all. Whatever the price is, it just picks the exchange with the lower price, pushes it down until it can arbitrage. The arbitraging evens the price out and then the pushing starts again. Now this bot stays away from even a 1 BTC wall from what I have seen and certainly anything larger it stays about 10% away from. However if there is no big wall, it happily starts pushing the price down, even filling some orders if they are small enough.

These bots are probably on autopilot, so that means a clever person will be able to trick the bot.

Stash: mass-market BTCD application

Cryptocurrency offers significant advantages over fiat money, but adoption has been slow in comparison to expectations. Part of the reason for this is that cryptocurrency is still too complicated for general use (something that the SuperNET GUI aims to address). However, many people are not really dissatisfied with the service provided by banks and payment processors; crypto is consequently seen as an ‘answer without a problem’.

BTCD’s secure communication capabilities offer the chance to market it in a different way. Most marketing initiatives start in crypto and reach out to mainstream users, with a limited degree of success. The Telepathy network has direct and immediate application to the mainstream. Every week there are more stories of hacked databases, large-scale harvesting of personal data by big corporations, and ever-more intrusive government surveillance. The majority of internet users recognise that their data can no longer be considered their own: everyone has an online footprint, and with the right tools this is almost as transparent as the blockchain.

The Stash concept aims to apply BTCD and SuperNET’s functionality to these problems. A series of related services might be offered to users, including private messaging and secure storage on the SuperNET network. If customers wanted to purchase further services (more storage, for example), they would have to do so using cryptocurrency. The transaction would be made as frictionless as possible using SuperNET’s integrated Coinomat plugin or other services. The Stash wallet would essentially be a highly-simplified BTCD/SuperNET wallet, offering minimal functionality.

The concept is still in its early days but has the potential to draw in a large number of new users from outside of current crypto circles. At the very least, this would strengthen the network and provide many more peers. In the best case scenario, a proportion of these new users would learn about and use cryptocurrency, starting with BTCD and SuperNET.

You can see a holding page at www.Stash.xyz. For more information or to offer help and expertise, please ask on the Slack channels.

Development Update

Things are coming together fast with the v0 release, and more on the way soon. James writes:

‘I have most all of the API needed for v1 released coded and now entering the painful systems debugging stage. The nature of the work changes now to making bugfixes instead of writing new code and just getting everything to work at the same time, along with performance improvements.

‘Still need more testers, but I am acting as the first tester since I rely on the API calls to get the basic functions working. Not sure which will finish first, my debugging or the GUI and websites, but probably pretty close race.

‘The telepathy is not 100% reliable, but it is working most of the time when you are nice to it. Got things a lot more stable at the low level and that allowed a couple of BTC teleports, but this exposed some state machine bugs. Not surprising as it is quite tricky and first time the entire process is being tested all at the same time.

‘Need to think about how best to integrate the InstantDEX with Teleport. I keep alternating days, working on one, then the other, pushing them closer and closer. One of these days I will be able to get them both playing nice with each other.

‘Pushed new version that supports gathering prices into databases and also retrieving this data. bter, poloniex, bittrex, NXT AE and even mintpal [mintpal has been removed until further notice because of this unfortunate situation] is supported.’

The code to test this is:

curl -k –data-binary ‘{“jsonrpc”: “1.0”, “id”:”curltest”, “method”: “SuperNET”, “params”: [“{\”requestType\”:\”getquotes\”,\”exchange\”:\”bter\”,\”base\”:\”NXT\”,\”rel\”:\”BTC\”}”]  }’ -H ‘content-type: text/plain;’ https://127.0.0.1:7777/

curl -k –data-binary ‘{“jsonrpc”: “1.0”, “id”:”curltest”, “method”: “SuperNET”, “params”: [“{\”requestType\”:\”pricedb\”,\”exchange\”:\”nxtae\”,\”base\”:\”BTC\”,\”rel\”:\”NXT\”}”]  }’ -H ‘content-type: text/plain;’ https://127.0.0.1:7777/

‘Now each user can gather data for the crypto they are interested in and this creates the reference prices to overlay on the InstantDEX orderbook. took a bit longer than I had hoped to get it stabilized as I had to serialize all accesses and avoid deadlocks. Systems stuff is quite tricky and feels like not much progress, but now at 2% CPU usage, it is able to handle all the packets and gather price data.’

Code review

Bitcoin privacy and security expert Kristov Atlas currently undertaking a code review of SuperNET. As James comments, ‘With nearly 40,000 lines, there will be bugs and parts of it I don’t like at all…’

Meanwhile Zahlen has started to analyse the maths and will add material further to the white paper in due course.

SuperNET related links

Supernet Forum
https://forum.thesupernet.org

SuperNET news

Newsletter signup
http://supernetwrk.weebly.com/newsletter.html

https://twitter.com/Jl777News
http://jl777news.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/jl777official

SuperNET Newsletters archive
http://test.nxter.org/category/supernet-newsletters/

SuperNET CORE coins

NXT
http://nxt.org

BTCD
http://bitcoindark.pw

BBR
http://boolberry.com

VRC
http://www.vericoin.info

CHA
http://chancecoin.com

SuperNET related projects

BITS (SuperNET CORE component!)
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=748045

Coinomat
https://coinomat.com

SNN
https://forum.thesupernet.org/index.php?topic=118.0

Neodice
https://nxtforum.org/nxtventures/(pre-ann)-neodice/

Freemarket
https://nxtforum.org/nxtventures/freemarket-official-thread/

ATOMIC
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=780833.0

ShortUNITY
https://nxtforum.org/assets-board/shortunity/

Prediction Markets

https://www.fairlay.com/predict/registered/new/supernet-in-top-10-of-coinmarketcap/
https://www.fairlay.com/predict/registered/new/supernet-in-top-5-of-coinmarketcap-before-2016/

Affiliated websites (revenue sharing or partial ownership)

http://bter.com
http://coinomat.com
http://nxtfreemarket.com
http://yourwebsitecanbehere.com

Author of SuperNET newsletters: NXTER MAGAZINE: http://test.nxter.org

NXT Market Report: 10 November 2014

Welcome to this week’s market report. It was again a rather unspectacular week – NXT tried a few times to overtake DOGE but didn’t make it in the end. During the last week NXT’s market capitalization increased by 5.1% whereas Bitcoin’s gained by 10.5%. The average daily volume was about USD 40’000. Happily the number of different NXT trading pairs with a volume above USD 1’000 is back up to 7 again.

Largely as a result of the market making bot of coinomat becoming operational, the NXT Multigateway trading volume has increased significantly, which is warmly welcomed. We are now looking forward to the production servers going into operation and the Multigateway running smoothly. That should be the case within the next few days! It is time to move from centralization to decentralization!

NXT Asset Exchange has reached 50’000 trades

The NXT Asset Exchange has reached 50k trades in the last days – amazing! Once again the NXT AE shows its competitors that it is the number one! The key comparators are:

Of the 33 assets currently listed on coinmarketcap.com: 24 are traded on NXT AE, 4 on Counterparty’s AE, 3 on BitShares’ AE and 2 on MasterXchange. That’s what I call dominance.

Average daily trading volume: on the NXT AE it’s about USD 20’000, on Counterparty’s AE it’s below USD 1’000, on BitShares’ AE it’s approximately USD 5’000 and on the MasterXchange around USD 6’000.

Total capitalizations of the listed assets: USD 13’225’000 for NXT, USD 2’248’000 for Counterparty, USD 1’020’000 for BitShares and USD 11’790’000 for MasterXchange.

I think it is legitimate to say that the NXT Asset Exchange is very clearly the market leader!

What’s going on in the NXT Asset Exchange?

Coinomat: We’re not going to talk about the gain in price since the launch of the coinomat asset, except to say that it has been astronomic. Instead, today we’ll just have a quick  look at its dividends and what the future looks like for coinomat. Over the last few days the trading volume has started to increase strongly, which is warmly welcomed by all investors. With the launch of SuperNET these figures should further increase since coinomat will be an important part of SuperNET. The downside is that only 1.5% of the profits are distributed among the asset holders.

—————–

This market report is for general information and news purposes only. It does not take into account the reader’s personal circumstances, objectives or attitude towards risk. It is not (and is not intended to be) any form of advice, recommendation, representation, or endorsement by the author or the web site owner and should not be relied upon when making (or refraining from making) any investment decision.

NXT Market Report: 20 October 2014

Welcome to this week’s market report. Although NXT experienced a rather unspectacular week, it nevertheless ended happily: We are back to #5 on coinmarketcap.com! To be honest it didn’t happen because of NXT’s strength but because our competitors have decreased more in price, especially Dogecoin which has been undergoing a small sell off.  NXT’s market capitalization is down but even more disappointing is the low trading volume. The daily average was about USD 40’000 with a peak of USD 90’000 (14 October). Despite this, Bter’s order book (scroll down) leaves a positive impression: There is a buy support of about 900’000 NXT down to 5200 satoshis whereas the selling pressure is comparatively low: 200’000 NXT up to 6400 satoshis.

coinmarketcap 20102014source: coinmarketcap.com

Project NXT Storm – what is it?

At the beginning of October a member of the nxtforum.org had the glorious idea of stress testing the NXT network. The idea quickly captivated many people and, as a result, gave rise to Project NXT Storm. The plan is to test the robustness of the NXT network by using all available features, especially the NXT Asset Exchange. That’s the reason why Project NXT Storm is being mentioned in this market report – it’s an outstanding opportunity to discover the limits of the NXT Asset Exchange – if there are any! A successful outcome will prove that the AE is ready for its next step – the first ever use of the NXT Asset Exchange by a large corporation. The plan is to repeat such a stress test after every major NXT release.

What’s going on in the NXT Asset Exchange?

MMNXT (ID: 979292558519844732): MMNXT is a market making and arbitrage fund for the NXT Asset Exchange issued by coinomat (who are also responsible for coinomat.com). To quote from coinomat’s own description of the asset:

This is an automated trading fund for NXT asset exchange. Its goal is to provide market making for most liquid AE assets. Also we strive to move most of NXT trading to NXT AE Multigateway assets, thus providing additional liquidity for NXT which should assist in keeping its price more stable. Trading will be carried out at NXT Asset Exchange and other exchanges supporting NXT.

Trading is both long and short, that is you buy lower to sell higher and you sell higher to buy back lower. The profit is converted to NXT, also when trading MGW assets profit can also be realized in corresponding crypto, and converted to NXT afterwards.

The fund will pay out 60% of its profit to the holders of the token every Friday. Initially, the bot will only be operating as a market maker for the most liquid assets on the NXT Asset Exchange. In November MMNXT plans to carry out arbitrage trading on Bter, Poloniex and Cryptsy. The first dividend pay out will take place on Friday (24 October).

NXTmovie (ID: 2240155853020376741): NXTmovie intends to write scripts for films in which they aim to educate the lay person about cryptotechnologies:

Loosely based on real life events, the NXT Film Project is an edgy cyber thriller that narrates subversive and often vicious attacks that are conducted using technology. The plot showcases cryptoplatforms and communities, how they are disruptive to established institutions, and how technology can be used with either good or evil intent.

It further aims to educate the lay person about cryptotechnologies, while also shedding light on the criminals who seek to take advantage of them. At the same time, it contextually demonstrates the technology’s efficacy and utility via the power of narrative storytelling.

A nice idea in its own right but the project is also pretty interesting to investors purely from the point of view of its ROI. NXTmovie has issued 1’000’000 NXTmovie assets – 30% were sold in an ICO with an early bird price of 1 NXT, 33% were allocated to the three core members and the remaining 37% will be sold later on the NXT Asset Exchange at a higher price (small batch quantities of 25k NXTmovie assets with a continuously increasing price). Currently, early bird assets are already trading at 1.5 NXT, an increase in price of 50%! To guarantee an early source of revenue the team behind NXTmovie is focusing on  driving as much traffic as possible to generate profit through advertising. The earnings will be distributed evenly across all asset holders.

Furthermore NXTmovie offers blockchain-based businesses the opportunity to be featured directly in the film script, for a fee. These earnings will be distributed among all assets holders as well. Last but not least we shouldn’t underrate the promotional effect for NXT which such a movie could have (assuming of course that the film script gets made into one), especially since it’s one of the main goals of this project.

I hope you enjoyed the market report as much as I did writing it. Please leave your feedback at nxtforum.org.

This market report is for general information and news purposes only. It does not take into account the reader’s personal circumstances, objectives or attitude towards risk. It is not (and is not intended to be) any form of advice, recommendation, representation, or endorsement by the author or the web site owner and should not be relied upon when making (or refraining from making) any investment decision.

CoinoUSD launch giveaway

THIS SERVICE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. 

DO NOT INVEST IN CoinoUSD OR NxtUSD ASSETS!

Coinomat:

We launched CoinoUSD asset, an instrument tied to USD, which can be traded on NXT AE against NXT. We would like to give away some CoinoUSD to Nxters, so people would understand better how it works.

CoinoUSD is a USD-tied asset, which means that 1 CoinoUSD always holds the value of $1.

It’s traded against NXT on Nxt Asset Exchange, thus creating the first NXT/USD decentralized market, it can be traded for BTC/NXT/XMR on the centralized exchange Poloniex, and you can buy and sell it using Coinomat services.

Coinomat.com

The Coinomat gateway allows you to buy CoinoUSD for USD denominated payment systems.

When you buy CoinoUSD assets they’re transferred to you, and can be traded or sold back to Coinomat.

Nxt Asset Exchange

CoinoUSD assets are traded on Nxt decentralized AE.

Name: CoinoUSD

Asset ID: 12982485703607823902
Issuing account: NXT-6MVF-XTDR-MDTK-DPHEU

Trading and performance:
http://nxtreporting.com/?a=coinousd

Poloniex

Ticker: XUSD.

Poloniex XUSD markets:
https://poloniex.com/exchange/xusd_btc
https://poloniex.com/exchange/xusd_nxt
https://poloniex.com/exchange/xusd_xmr

Use cases

Trade NXT against USD

With NXT to USD trading directly on the Nxt blockchain, you can take a break from possible price fluctuations by trading NXT to CoinoUSD, like you trade BTC to USD on exchanges.

Send USD anywhere in the world with the Nxt Client

By using the NXT client software you can now send a transfer not only in NXT, but a transfer denominated in USD. Your receipient can trade it or just cash it out using Coinomat service.

Withdraw your cryptos or CoinoUSD to your bank card 

Withdraw CoinoUSD at Coinomat.com to your bank card or to PerfectMoney, Egopay or Okpay.

I’ll repeat that:
You can withdraw NXT or BTC/NXT/XMR funds at Poloniex directly to your Visa/Mastercard.

CoinoUSD GIVEAWAY

Coinomat

Our main target is promotion of NXT AE USD/NXT trading.

We would like to give away some CoinoUSD to Nxters, so people would understand better how it works. Please post your NXT account (use an old one to avoid providing public key), and within 24 hours you receive 5 CoinoUSD. We plan to give away some 1 k USD. Let’s see how it goes.

CoinoUSD giveaway thread: https://nxtforum.org/general-discussion/coinousd-giveaway/

There was a CoinoUSD giveaway at Poloniex, but it went out really in minutes, I didn’t even have time to post here.

How to get a Nxt account and trade on Nxt Asset Exchange: http://test.nxter.org/nxt-tutorials/