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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

ASX Calls for Review of Distributed Ledger Settlement Platform

The Australian Securities Exchange wants to know more about the Digital Asset DLT platform, and will commission a third party study to do so.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 10:00 pm

Swiss digital asset exchange buys US wallet maker in all-bitcoin deal - Reuters


Reuters

Swiss digital asset exchange buys US wallet maker in all-bitcoin deal
Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Swiss digital currency exchange ShapeShift AG said on Wednesday it has acquired Seattle-based KeepKey Holder LLC, a maker of devices known as digital wallets, in an all-bitcoin deal. Financial terms were undisclosed. KeepKey's ...
Cryptocurrency Exchange ShapeShift Acquires Bitcoin Wallet StartupCoinDesk

all 7 news articles »

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 3:32 pm

Investor Naval Ravikant Wants to Disrupt Twitter With Blockchain 'XPRIZE'

Early Twitter investor Naval Ravikant to back "XPRIZE" for a blockchain-based Twitter using Blockstack technologies.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 1:10 pm

CULedger Credit Union Consortium Launches Blockchain Services Business

A blockchain initiative backed by a group of US credit unions has formed a new organization to support its efforts.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 11:20 am

Crypto Exchange Shapeshift Acquires KeepKey Hardware Wallets

ShapeShift Acquires KeepKey

Today, Shapeshift.io announced its acquisition of hardware wallet manufacturer KeepKey. According to the cryptocurrency exchange, by pairing the KeepKey hardware wallet with ShapeShift, users will be allowed to safely store their coins on a secure physical device while trading their assets directly over the ShapeShift API, which can be reached from KeepKey’s interface.

“Security is of critical importance when it comes to holding and trading digital assets. One of our priorities has always been to make the exchange experience as safe and easy for users as possible, and our pairing with KeepKey enables us to provide an unmatched customer experience. Users can hold their coins on the hardware device and exchange them on demand within the wallet, without even visiting a website. When you pair the KeepKey hardware wallet with ShapeShift’s exchange, the experience is magical,” Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift, said.

KeepKey already had integrated ShapeShift’s API a year ago, allowing it to supporting the most popular cryptocurrencies. The firm’s objective is to support all leading digital assets providing the users with the “most secure storage wallet available.”

“This partnership will not only guarantee the future success of the KeepKey brand and product line, but joining the ShapeShift team will enable us to focus on continuing to work on developing better technology and security for crypto-holders,“ said Ken Hodler, Chief Technology Officer at KeepKey.

ShapeShift confirmed that the company will preserve KeepKey’s brand and product line. Furthermore, the acquisition of KeepKey will allows ShapeShift to “provide increased capital for inventory and security expertise.”

“Amid heightened interest in the concept of digital currencies, a simple, user-friendly cold storage wallet with native exchange functionality is one key to wider adoption,” said Voorhees.

The combination of ShapeShift and KeepKey reflects both companies’ commitment to security and privacy. ShapeShift does not collect any personal information on its users. Furthermore, customer funds are not collected on the company accounts and users maintain control of their keys at all times.

The KeepKey drive is physical hardware device that protects users’ funds from “hackers and thieves.” It uses wallet software located on the user’s computer. The device takes over the management of private key generation and storage along with the signing of transactions. The hardware has a built-in random number generator for private keys, which works in combination with the “randomness” provided by the user’s computer. After the private key is generated, the user is given a twelve-word recovery sentence, which can be used to recover the device without compromising its private keys.

The post Crypto Exchange Shapeshift Acquires KeepKey Hardware Wallets appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 10:12 am

Cryptocurrency Exchange ShapeShift Acquires Bitcoin Wallet Startup

Cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift has acquired the bitcoin hardware wallet startup KeepKey.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 10:00 am

Block 494,784: Segwit2x Developers Set Date for Bitcoin Hard Fork

The developer team behind the Segwit2x scaling proposal is set to announce a formal date for a planned bitcoin hard fork today.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 9:35 am

Bitcoin's Next Battle May Already Be Looming - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin's Next Battle May Already Be Looming
Fortune
Hi everyone, it's Yuji from Tokyo. I've been writing about the trials and tribulations of bitcoin for more than a year. The recent bitcoin civil war has been an ugly, highly politicized affair, with each side trying to manipulate the media and tilt ...
How SegWit Made for a More User-Friendly Bitcoin | InvestopediaInvestopedia
Block 494,784: Segwit2x Developers Set Date for Bitcoin Hard Fork ...CoinDesk

all 10 news articles »

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 9:16 am

Swiss Bank to Sell Ether and Bitcoin Cash to Customers

A private Swiss bank is expanding a digital asset management service it launched earlier this summer to include new cryptocurrencies.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 7:10 am

Why Bitcoin, Cryptos Aren't Gold - Forbes


Forbes

Why Bitcoin, Cryptos Aren't Gold
Forbes
As humans, we're always looking for signals, particularly from markets. Are stocks likely to decline or rise? Will interest rates drop? What about the value of the dollar? When it comes to cryptocurrencies, the same questions nag at us: Bitcoin, for ...
Bitcoin is back above $4000Business Insider
Some Investors See Bitcoin Better Than Gold, Morgan Stanley SaysBloomberg
After Bitcoin, Swiss Bank Becomes First To Offer Bitcoin Cash, AltcoinsCoinTelegraph
Seeking Alpha -Bitcoin News (press release) -TheStreet.com
all 117 news articles »

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 7:08 am

Bitcoin Down $100 as Price Seeks Support Above $4,000

Bitcoin prices are beginning to move sideways, just a day after setting a new all-time high.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 6:15 am

ICO Meets VC: Blockstack Raises $25 Million for Decentralized Internet Fund

Decentralized internet startup Blockstack has raised $25 million in venture funding to grow and develop its distributed ecosystem.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 5:59 am

IT Giant NTT Data Enlists 13 Companies for Blockchain Consortium

Japan's largest IT services firm, NTT Data, has announced a new consortium aimed to investigate use cases for blockchain technology.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 5:00 am

'Boiler Room' Crypto Scam Targeted by London Police

British police arrested an individual last week for allegedly fleecing would-be investors via a fake cryptocurrency investment scheme.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 4:00 am

IBM Reveals Blockchain Supply Chain Trial with Singapore Port Operator

A major port operator in Singapore has inked a deal to work with IBM and a regional shipping firm to test a new blockchain-based supply chain network.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 3:00 am

A Bitcoin Is Worth $4,000--Why You Probably Should Not Own One - Forbes


Forbes

A Bitcoin Is Worth $4,000--Why You Probably Should Not Own One
Forbes
Bitcoins have increased 7.5 times in value over last year, but it looks more like tulip bulb mania than good investing.

and more »

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 5:15 pm

S&P 500 or Cryptocurrency: Just How Big Is Bitcoin's Price Explosion?

Bitcoin price gains are impressive. But when compared to traditional asset investment, how big is big? And are there downsides?

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 1:01 pm

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expands Legal Industry Working Group

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expands Legal Industry Working Group

On August 14, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance announced the addition of more than a dozen organizations to its blockchain collaboration under the umbrella of its Legal Industry Working Group, responsible for creating enterprise-grade applications on the Ethereum blockchain. The new members include law schools, legal departments of universities, academic institutions and leading global law firms.

According to the EEA, the swift expansion of the Legal Industry Working Group is due to the fact that an increased number of legal professionals are showing interest in blockchain technology. The Ethereum blockchain consortium believes this working group will serve as a base for the success of “various efforts taking place within the organization.”

“We are thrilled to see robust interest in blockchain technology by forward-looking law firms and institutions. Lawyers are poised to serve as the catalysts for blockchain technology, and the Legal Working Group will serve as a neutral space to explore blockchain-based legal technology, develop standards for “smart” legal agreements, support emerging enterprise use cases and tackle important policy issues raised by this new impactful technology,” Aaron Wright, Chair of the EEA Legal Industry Working Group, Associate Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Cardozo Law School’s Blockchain Project, and co-founder of the smart contract project OpenLaw, said in a statement.

The Legal Industry Working Group isn’t the only part of the blockchain collaboration to be experiencing a rapid growth in new members. On July 18, 2017, the EEA announced that the alliance had onboarded 34 new organizations, bringing the number of the participants to more than 150 members. The newly joined participants included Mastercard, Cisco, the Government of Andhra Pradesh (one of the 29 states of India), Scotiabank and many others.

Formed in late February 2017 by founding members such as Intel and J.P. Morgan, the EEA strives to create, promote and support open standards, best practices and open source reference architectures on the Ethereum blockchain. The consortium serves as the major research and development body of the Ethereum blockchain, helping Ethereum to evolve into an enterprise-grade technology. In terms of development and research, the EEA focuses on multiple areas, including privacy, confidentiality, scalability and security, as well as investigating hybrid architectures and industry-specific, application-layer working groups.

The 14 new members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance include:

Cooley, Debevoise & Plimpton, Goodwin, Hogan Lovells, Holland & Knight, Jones Day, Latham & Watkins, Morrison & Foerster, Perkins Coie, Shearman & Sterling, Cardozo Law School, Duke Center on Law & Technology, and the Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

In addition, existing members of the consortium will be joining the EEA Legal Industry Working Group, including BNY Mellon, ConsenSys, ING and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The post Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expands Legal Industry Working Group appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 12:45 pm

Bitcoin Price Surges After Agreement on Software Update - New York Times


New York Times

Bitcoin Price Surges After Agreement on Software Update
New York Times
The price of Bitcoin has rocketed to new highs after a long battle over the rules of the software was resolved, at least temporarily. The price of a Bitcoin has risen nearly 50 percent since the beginning of the month, raising the total value of all ...
Goldman Sachs says bitcoin may rise about $500 more, before losing half its valueCNBC
Bitcoin has doubled in value in a month. Here's whyCNNMoney
So you want to invest in bitcoin: Here's what you should knowUSA TODAY
NPR -Business Insider -Fortune -CoinDesk
all 319 news articles »

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 12:25 pm

$45 Million: Ukrainian Lawmakers Reveal Big Bitcoin Holdings

Three lawmakers in Ukraine have more than $45 million worth of bitcoin, recent disclosures reveal.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 12:01 pm

Prosecutors: Rogue Silk Road Agent Stole 1,600 BTC After 2015 Guilty Plea

New charges have been filed against a former Secret Service agent previously plead guilty stealing bitcoins during the Silk Road investigation.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 10:45 am

Ripple Confirms China Expansion Plans, Shoots Down Alibaba Rumor

Rumors are flying about Ripple's China expansion. Ripple elaborated on plans for the country, and shut down speculation they're working with Alibaba.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 9:45 am

Blockstream Satellite: Broadcasting Bitcoin from Space

Blockstream Satellite: Broadcasting Bitcoin from Space

Yesterday a video teaser from blockchain technology company Blockstream created waves of excitement among enthusiasts of both cryptocurrencies and space. Most participants speculated that Blockstream was about to implement the idea, promoted by Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik (among others), of a satellite system that streams the Bitcoin blockchain to the whole planet from space. The speculations were, indeed, correct.

Today, the company is announcing Blockstream Satellite, a new service that broadcasts real-time Bitcoin blockchain data from satellites in space to almost everyone on the planet. Blockstream Satellite covers across two-thirds of the Earth’s land mass and, according to the company, additional coverage areas will soon come online to reach almost every person on the planet by the end of the year.

“Bitcoin is a powerful and transformative internet native digital money that has blazed a trail of disruption, with its full potential yet to unfold. Because it’s permissionless, Bitcoin enables anyone to freely create new financial applications and other innovations that use the blockchain that haven’t been possible before,” said Blockstream co-founder and CEO Adam Back.

“Today’s launch of Blockstream Satellite gives even more people on the planet the choice to participate in Bitcoin. With more users accessing the Bitcoin blockchain with the free broadcast from Blockstream Satellite, we expect the global reach to drive more adoption and use cases for Bitcoin, while strengthening the overall robustness of the network.”

The Blockstream Satellite network currently consists of three geosynchronous satellites at various positions over Earth that cover four continents: Africa, Europe, South America and North America. Blockstream is leasing bandwidth on existing, commercial, geosynchronous satellites: Galaxy 18 (covering North America), Eutelsat 113 (covering South America) and two transponders on the Telstar 11N satellite (one covering Africa and one covering Europe).

Ground stations, called teleports, uplink the public Bitcoin blockchain data to the satellites in the network, which then broadcast the data to large areas across the globe. Additional satellites and teleports are being added to achieve worldwide coverage by the end of the year.

Blockstream_Satellite_Phase1+2_Coverage_Areas.jpgBlockstream_Satellite_Phase1+2_Coverage_Areas.jpg

The Blockstream service is expected to be especially useful to people in remote regions of developing world with poor internet connectivity.

"When I first heard of Blockstream Satellite, I immediately recognized its great potential to bring Bitcoin to regions of the world where internet access is either unavailable or expensive,” said Tim Akinbo, who runs the only bitcoin node in West Africa. “Not to mention providing redundant access when internet access is temporarily unavailable."

Blockstream Satellite uses GNU Radio, an open-source software development platform for Software-Defined Radio (SDR), expected to reduce costs and streamline development by eliminating the need for specialized hardware. Blockstream Satellite utilizes the Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine (FIBRE), an open-source protocol backed by several years of history operating and studying the Bitcoin Relay Network. “Together, these open-source technologies power the Blockstream Satellite network enabling Blockstream to provide this free service reliably and cost effectively,” noted the Blockstream press release.

“Anyone can receive the signal with a small satellite dish (similar to a consumer satellite TV dish) and a USB SDR (software-defined radio) interface,” notes the Blockstream Satellite FAQ. “The total equipment cost for a user is only about $100. The software is free. The software interface is the open-source GNU Radio software, which is the receiver. GNU Radio will send data to the FIBRE protocol, which is the Bitcoin process and is where the blocks reside.”




The post Blockstream Satellite: Broadcasting Bitcoin from Space appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 8:52 am

Bitcoin's Price Is Down More Than $500 After Hitting a New High

Bitcoin prices have fallen below $4,000 hours after hitting a new all-time high.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 8:43 am

Blockstream Is Using Satellites to Beam Bitcoin Down to Earth

Blockstream says people most in need of bitcoin aren't getting it because of their lack of internet, but its satellite – yes, satellite – can help.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 7:59 am

Bitcoin Bill Delayed as Russian Lawmakers Seek 'Optimal Solution'

A working group within Russia's state legislature is further delaying work on a cryptocurrency legalization bill.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 7:01 am

Josh Garza's Sentencing Could Be Pushed Back to Next Year

Convicted cryptocurrency executive Josh Garza may see his sentencing for wire fraud postponed until next year, court records show.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 5:00 am

Last Week on LTB Network: Factom's Paul Snow Shares Thoughts on Bitcoin Cash

Last Week on LTB Network: Factom's Paul Snow Shares Thoughts on Bitcoin Cash

Some confusion still exists around Bitcoin Cash (or Bcash), the new token that resulted from a split in the Bitcoin network on August 1. Many bitcoin (BTC) holders are still wondering how to safely remove the new tokens (BCH) from exchanges (and wallets) without putting their BTC at risk.

In a recent episode of the Crypto Show, Paul Snow, the founder of the blockchain-based data management solution Factom, offered some suggestions. He also talked about the potential benefits of holding onto BCH a little while longer.

First, while some exchanges may be offering to extract BCH for some users, Snow firmly advises people not to hand over their private keys to exchanges. He thinks sharing private keys is a bad policy in general. “Don’t do it,” he said.

“It is kind of like, you don’t wear underwear on the outside of your pants; you don’t give people your private keys,” he said. But for those anxious to cash in on their BCH right away, he describes a safe way to do it.

Create New Addresses

Snow suggests users separate their BTC from their BCH first, as follows:

If you had any number of addresses holding BTC before August 1, then you will now have an equal amount of BCH on those same addresses.

Snow recommends you go into your BTC wallets and move the entire amounts of BTC in those addresses, (imagine three addresses we’ll call A, B, C) to three new addresses (D, E, F). Now, the second set of addresses (D, E, F) will have BTC in them, but no BCH because those addresses did not exist before August 1. The first set (A, B, C) will have BCH in them, but no BTC.

“To reiterate,” Snow said, “move your Bitcoin addresses from where they were on August 1 to new addresses. Step two, input those private keys into your Bitcoin Cash wallet. Step three, profit,” he said.


For more info on how to handle your BCH safely, read A Beginner’s Guide to Claiming Your Bitcoin Cash (and Selling It).


Neutral on Bcash

Bitcoin Cash has, in a sense, divided the community. Some like Bitcoin Cash because it raises the Bitcoin block size limit to 8MB, while others are appalled at how the new chain is attempting to usurp users and hashpower from the main Bitcoin network.

Snow maintains a neutral stance. “I’m not sure I have an opinion on any particular blockchain out there,” he said.

After all, Bitcoin is not the only game in town. He pointed out that right now there are nine cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin with a market cap of $1B or more. Those are the facts. “I don’t care whether you think Bitcoin should be the only blockchain or not. They [those other coins] exist,” he said

Moveover, he thinks Bitcoin Cash played fair and square in launching an alternative currency. Everyone who had BTC got their share of BCH in the airdrop. Nevertheless, nearly everyone he hears from is looking to reinvest that money back into BTC.

“I am seeing a lot of people who are going to cash out on the Bitcoin Cash as fast as they can and buy Bitcoin with it,” he said. 

“Hodling” Bcash

Of course, there is another option. People could hold onto (or “hodl”) their BCH just like they hold on to their BTC and see if the price goes up.

After all, Snow said the market for BCH won’t hit its stride until mid September when the mining difficulty on the new chain eases up to the point where Bitcoin miners consider it economically viable to redirect their hash power over to it.

“Right now, anyone mining on Bitcoin Cash now is effectively donating their power,” he said. “That [Bitcoin Cash] bandwagon doesn’t leave town until September 18th. Until then, it is just kind of puddling along and not quite getting anywhere.”

Dropping Anchor

But, say the Bitcoin Cash chain were to beat all odds and become super successful. If that were to happen, would Factom anchor onto the Bitcoin Cash chain instead of the Bitcoin chain?

To explain Snow’s business, Factom is a protocol that runs on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. By doing so, it allows any kind of data to be time-stamped and secured using the Bitcoin blockchain. So hashrate is essential to Factom’s security.

“We are anchoring into a chain for its proof of work,” Snow said. “But if proof of work is largely in Bitcoin Cash, then we will anchor onto Bitcoin Cash.”

He added that if the hashrate between the two chains were to split 60/40, Factom could anchor on both chains and still get 100 percent of the hashpower.

“We can anchor as many chains as we want,” he said, but added that he doesn’t think Bitcoin Cash will ever capture that much hashpower. With BCH currently only valued at less than one tenth of BTC, the economic rewards for miners just aren’t there.

But as Snow pointed out, all of this plays into Bitcoin’s security. “Bitcoin is designed so that it is very, very hard to split off and be successful,” Snow said.

During the course of the interview, Snow also discussed the mechanics of how Factom anchors onto the Bitcoin network and the third annual Texas Bitcoin Conference, which he founded and helps organize. The conference will take place from October 28-29.

Listen to the entire podcast here.


The post Last Week on LTB Network: Factom's Paul Snow Shares Thoughts on Bitcoin Cash appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:28 pm

Op Ed: Cryptocurrencies, ICOs and the Untapped "Family Office" Group

gpfamily.jpg

With cryptocurrency investing becoming increasingly mainstream, it’s important to understand the types of potential investors waiting on the sidelines. One largely untapped investment group would be a “family office” (FO), which is a private wealth manager of investments and trusts for ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs). In 2015, UHNWIs included almost 173,000 individuals whose wealth accounted for $20.8 trillion. FOs can represent a single-family office (SFO) or multi-family office (MFO), with the former being the largest group that represents one extremely wealthy single family.

The Family Office Databases reports that most FOs reside in the United States.

FO_breakdown.png

According to UBS and Global Wealth, the top three investments of an average FO portfolio are in the developed market, real estate, or venture capital and private equities.

UBS_investment_breakdown.png

Cryptocurrencies would be classified as a commodity, whereas initial coin offerings (ICOs) would represent venture capital. Furthermore, most ICOs are deemed securities based on the parameters of the Howey test. Cryptocurrencies themselves are still very new and highly complex, and innovation is happening every day. Few people understand them deeply due to the intense learning curve.

Being decentralized and transparent on a blockchain with low transaction fees means cryptocurrencies have attractive properties for UHNWIs. Cryptocurrencies provide FOs with diversification from traditional assets usually in an average portfolio. However, the risk of investing remains high, especially if there is a lack of understanding around how cryptocurrencies work or how to secure them properly.

The recent explosion of ICOs and ICO funding represents a growing percentage of investors backing the creation of software or companies that are building the technology and infrastructure. David Drake, managing partner of LDJ capital, whose focus is on compliance and underwriting for ICOs, said to Bitcoin Magazine, “These ICOs need to have a real team and business structure behind them before anyone is willing to invest.”

Drake added that many investors he speaks with “are afraid that they will not understand what is happening with cryptocurrencies, but this is changing very quickly as they become curious about the subject.”

Projects that will be able to cut through the noise and hype with a clear message and identifiable use cases will likely acquire more investors through an ICO. Two such examples of successful ICOs with straightforward use cases include Civic, a project focused on providing proof of identity, which raised $33 million; and Filecoin, a decentralized storage network, which raised $252 million.

Generally, ICOs accept funds through cryptocurrencies only, although this may change to bring in more investors. Kamil Przeorski, co-founder of Experty.io and ReactPoland, told Bitcoin Magazine that “many people I talk with are very interested in my project, but don’t always understand the process and would rather use USD.”

Ultimately, the better the cryptocurrency community can communicate and explain the complexities, intricacies and possibilities, the more potential investors will flock to this space.

This guest post is by Josh Olszewicz, an advisor to Experty.io. The views in this piece are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Media.




The post Op Ed: Cryptocurrencies, ICOs and the Untapped "Family Office" Group appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 12:46 pm

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Ethereum Classic Forges Its Own Identity With New Mantis Client

Ethereum Classic Mantis

A group of Ethereum Classic developers wants Ethereum Classic to be known as more than a “cut-and-paste” version of the Ethereum blockchain. So they spent seven months building Mantis, a unique Ethereum Classic client, from scratch.

And it is not hard to understand their motivation.

Since Ethereum Classic split away from Ethereum as a result of the DAO hard fork last summer, the two smart contract platforms have shared the same codebase, the same smart contract development tools and more.

In fact, aside from a few protocol changes, like defusing the difficulty bomb and capping the monetary policy on the Ethereum Classic chain, for all intents and purposes, the two networks have been nearly identical.

But now Ethereum Classic is striking out on its own in a move developers behind the effort hope will position the platform as a viable alternative to Ethereum. Earlier this week, Alan McSherry, Ethereum Classic developer and Mantis project lead, announced the beta version of the new Ethereum Classic client in a blog post.

Built in the functional programming language Scala, Mantis represents a serious effort by the Ethereum Classic community to gain recognition for having its own team of developers on par with those of Ethereum. Mantis also sets the foundation for future innovations in Ethereum Classic.

“This is a good starting point for our influence in the Ethereum Classic community,” said McSherry, in speaking with Bitcoin Magazine. “We are able to say we have built from the ground up a client in Scala. And, when it comes to the future direction of Ethereum Classic, we have a pretty good handle on what we are talking about.”

But before getting into why the developers of the project chose to build a client in Scala, first, what is a client?

A Blockchain Client

In a distributed ledger, a client refers to the software that runs on a computer, or “node,” connected to the network. A blockchain client is responsible for downloading and keeping up to date an entire copy of the blockchain. In a sense, it also acts like a server in that it also serves the other nodes in the network by doing things like verifying blocks, checking that transactions include signatures and so on.  

In that respect, Mantis essentially represents a full end-to-end copy of Ethereum. It contains the mining verification algorithm, the consensus algorithm, all the network logic, the cryptography that allows users to spend their coins and the logic to verify smart contracts.

As a client, Mantis also provides interfaces for creating transactions. Still in beta, Mantis supports a command-line interface version of a wallet for making transactions. Users can also access the client from the Mist browser over HTTP.  

To be clear, Mantis is not the only client available to Ethereum Classic users. Other groups may be working on other clients, said McSherry. And the Ethereum Classic community maintains two other Ethereum clients: Geth, written in Go, and Parity, written in Rust. But McSherry explained that the hope is that Mantis will eventually become the flagship client for Ethereum Classic.

Functional Language

Mantis is different from existing Ethereum clients in that it was written in Scala, a functional programming language.

Scala is touted for benefits that include ease of testing and predictability, characteristics that allow developers to audit the code for bugs and security flaws more easily than other languages. “If you have more predictable code, that will leverage itself up to the overall quality of the product,” McSherry said.   

But there are levels of functional languages. Scala is more of a hybrid language that sits between heavyweight functional languages, like Haskell and OCaml, that draw the academic and science crowd and the user-friendly world of Java.

And this means that while Scala allows developers to write in a functional style, it still has a fairly easy learning curve, making it accessible to a broad community of developers who may want to contribute to the open-source code.

McSherry explained that because Scala is a functional language, it is also open to applying frameworks, such as Stainless, that use rigorous mathematical proofs to check that the code performs as intended. It is a theme that plays well in the Ethereum Classic community’s stance on immutability and the idea that if “code is law” then smart contracts need to run in a more secure environment.

“The ultimate goal is a much higher-quality code, and obviously, that means much higher security for the funds that are controlled,” McSherry said.

Moving Forward

In terms of a road map for Ethereum Classic, Mantis is a stepping stone to bigger things and perhaps a greater technical divergence from Ethereum.

For instance, plans are to eventually connect Mantis to IOHK’s cryptocurrency wallet platform Daedalus, giving Mantis a graphical interface. “That’s the next focus,” McSherry said.

But for now, Mantis is being made available to other developers who are willing to try out the code in a testnet environment and provide their feedback.

“We are delighted to have gotten to this stage where we have the functionality out the door,” says McSherry. “The next phase is to polish the functionality, look at the performance of it, go back and clean up, and make it a top, top client.”

He said he expects the next release of Mantis as soon as September.

The post Ethereum Classic Forges Its Own Identity With New Mantis Client appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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