In the world of crypto technologies and magic Internet money, a single quarter can seem like a decade. CoinGecko, however, has finally released their Q1 findings to remind the space of an exciting 2019 thus far. The data platform outlines the top events that opened the new year including implementations of Mimblewimble, the rise of Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs), and the highly-anticipated launch of Cosmos’ mainnet.
The Magic of Cryptography
At first, it seemed that Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation was indeed fully anonymous. Soon, though, commentators began implementing the term “pseudonymous.” The rise of firms like Chainalysis, CipherTrace, and others have confirmed the relative ease of tracing transactions on the Bitcoin network. Not only can analysts track nearly all transaction data on the number one blockchain in the world, but that data is also immutable and can never be erased.
Since then, Monero, Zcash, different kinds of crypto mixers and privacy-centric wallets have sprung up to soothe the patrons of dark web marketplaces. Joining the crusade against attrition, the Mimblewimble protocol has joined the pack via implementations in cryptocurrencies like Grin and Beam earlier this year.
Mimblewimble also offers on-chain scalability, something that neither Monero, Zcash nor Bitcoin have built-in. This is primarily achieved via a procedure called “cut-throughs” which aggregates multiple in- and outputs to a single unit thus rendering the blockchain much smaller.
The major drawback of the nascent protocol is, of course, it’s short, untested history. Bitcoin has convinced the market time and time again of its staying power, and since 2013 and 2016 Monero and Zcash have done well to do the same. Only time will tell whether Mimblewimble will turn into a household technology, but much of this success will likely be determined through the viability of the two cryptocurrencies built on top.
Grin received slightly more bonus points following its launch on January 15 as there was no ICO, no big-name venture firms backing the project, and the monetary policy gives 100 percent of rewards to miners who support the network.
Binance Misses Initial Coin Offerings
The end of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) was somewhat welcome in the crypto space. At their peak in 2017, the fundraising mechanism came under heavy scrutiny for raising millions with startups rarely delivering on their plans.
ICOs have also been a regulatory headache as the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has had to parse through hundreds of different projects. The objective of such investigations is to determine whether a coin passes or fails the famous Howey Test. If a token falls within these guidelines, it is deemed a security and thus must abide by all relevant laws.
To skirt such formalities, some companies have gone ahead and registered their tokens as securities from the beginning. This gave rise to the Security Token Offering (STO) which can be thought of similarily to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in that only accredited investors may participate. Unfortunately, such offerings are limited to high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), which is formally defined by those who have a net worth of more than $1 million or an annual income of $200,000.
As a third alternative, Binance has begun exploring the potential of Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs). Instead of a project paying marketing expenses, verifying legal loopholes and then promoting the merits of their token, Binance announced it’s Binance Launchpad in February to handle all of these details. Startups like BitTorrent and Fetch.AI were the first crypto companies to experiment with the model and the platform enjoyed massive success on both occasions.
Quickly, other exchange platforms picked up the idea and announced similar platforms with varying differences.
Welcome to the Cosmos Club
Cosmos is a network that allows multiple different blockchains to communicate with each other. Before the rise of Polkadot and the eventual launch of Cosmos, this process, also known as interoperability, was painfully slow and expensive.
The network and consensus engine backing this process is called Tendermint Core, which, as CoinGecko explains, “is a packaged solution that handles networking & consensus in a blockchain. Developers can fully focus on application development and integrate with the Tendermint core easily through Cosmos’s Application Blockchain Interface (ABCI).”
The Cosmos SDK also offers developers a quick and easy way to build out blockchains without the need to code from scratch. Much like Polkadot’s Substrate, Cosmos’s SDK makes blockchains more developer-friendly via the application layer built on top of the Tendermint Core Engine. More importantly, this application layer can be buiilt in any programming language.
The space is only four months into the new year, but already a ton of new developments have emerged. Outside of the major three events mentioned above, CoinGecko’s report also reminds readers of the dApp market, Ethereum ecosystem updates, and the staggering success of the Lightning Network Trust Chain.
The creator now mired in controversy, Hodlonaut, explained that “the LNTrustChain started as a spur of the moment light-hearted experiment with no initial set goal. Just a hunch that this could be a cool way for the community to interact and get excited about LN.”
They reported a total of 291 hops and 281 unique recipients beginning on January 19 and ending on April 11. CoinGecko was hop 219 and they passed the torch to the oldest living person to receive the transaction.
All in all, the bear market sentiments have taken a back seat as the builders, thinkers, and Twitterverse has been alight with action.