The best places to get news on crypto and blockchain

As a two-manned blog, it’s difficult to cover everything, so I put together a list of news outlets that I’ve vetted during my time covering the space. Just like in any other industry, there’s high quality journalism, sites that have given into click baiting everything and boring sites that sometime have gold within them. Here, I’ll give you the best places to grab the latest crypto news and give a bit of context to each outlet.

Read moreThe best places to get news on crypto and blockchain

Nine Chronicles blockchain RPG launches public alpha – Sign ups surpass expectations

Nine Chronicles, an RPG developed by Ubisoft-backed, Planetarium released its public alpha today. This is the first game that Planetarium has released, and it runs on its own blockchain network.

Apparently, the alpha is in demand as there are people begging for invites to the game on their official discord. A channel moderator, Naomi Nam, apologized for a user who hadn’t received an invite, saying, “Sorry, we didn’t expect many people to sign up after the start of Public Alpha.” Another Planetarium staff member told Cryptocult that they saw more than double the expected sign-ups upon release.

The game is a side scrolling, hack-and-slash RPG that promises dungeons, crafting, trading and PvP. It is not a massively multiplayer RPG, but users will be able to battle each other and cooperate in an open economy. Nine Chronicles is tokenized and the name of the token in “Gold.”

“Nine Chronicles has Gold as a main coin. You can use it for combining materials and trading. Players can earn the gold by mining blocks or selling items to market,” Jaehyun told us on Discord.

Many blockchain game developers opt to build on blockchain platforms that are widely known, like EOS or Ethereum, but Planetarium believes that each game having its own blockchain network will help avoid governance issues.

“Decisions about the game are to be determined by the needs of the games, not by the platform. We should define the game first, not the blockchain underneath it,” Planetarium CEO told Coindesk.

Planetarium expects the game to be appealing to people who like to modify the worlds they play in. From the start, all coding will be open source and users will be able to share designs through GitHub. The team cites Blizzard’s control over games as a hinderance towards creativity, but many triple A games censor user created content.

 

 

 

Harvard Business Review’s new blockchain book portrays Bitcoin skepticism

Alex Gladstein, CSO of the Human Rights Foundation, posted a picture of the back of Blockchain: The Insights You Need from Harvard Business Review. The Harvard Business

Harvard Blockchain Book

Review text was pretty dismissive of Bitcoin and clearly favored other blockchain uses.

“While the world is transfixed by Bitcoin mania, your competitors are tuning out the noise and making strategic bets on blockchain for business,” read the book, implying that
Bitcoin is a mere distraction in the world of Blockchain.

Executive Director at zCash, Josh Cincinnati, replied with his two cents, “can confirm all business school takes on this will be terrible until it’s too late for them to be actually innovative.”

What type of blockchain tech is Harvard referring to? 

It’s no surprise that we at Cryptocult believe that Bitcoin will be around for a while, but having attended an IBM blockchain presentation, I can see where HBR is coming from. Blockchain is great for automation, and established companies can invest in that use cases without worrying about token economics.

From a financial standpoint, it can be more cost effective for a huge corporation to build a blockchain network themselves. These networks will allow them to cut costs on labor, servers possibly decrease shrinkage. The best part is they already have funds those expenses, so they won’t have to worry about creating a token and hoping that it appreciates in value.

The nodes for corporate blockchain networks are the corporations themselves, so whoever contributes most to block validation gets paid equitably. At the same time, they can impose fees so that whoever uses the network the most has to contributes for their usage.

There’s room for decentralized and centralized networks

Essentially, we agree that corporate blockchain tech has its uses, but don’t think that it directly competes with decentralized networks. IBM’s blockchain network requires permission unlike decentralized networks. So it’s not like any small business can become a node and participate in the network, which leaves out a huge demographic.

At the same time, the services that big corporations are interested in aren’t services that grassroots blockchain enthusiasts are demanding. Most of the appeal to decentralized networks are in finance and DeFi is chugging along at a steady pace, improving and making features more accessible.

In this situation, HBR’s dismissiveness of Bitcoin seems just as unnecessary as crypto enthusiasts defensiveness. Nobody knows what blockchain tech will look like 10 years from now. Bitcoin and corporate networks could be thriving in the future, or both be dead and gone.

Ethereum’s Istanbul update might support 200x more transactions per second

According to claims by Vitalik Buterin and others in the Ethereum community, the Istanbul hard fork is able to handle 3000 transactions per second, a huge step up from the current 15.

This is allegedly a result of EIP-2028, one Ethereum Improvement Proposal within Istanbul that reduces the gas cost of “calldata,” where data from external calls to functions is stored. EIP-2028 doesn’t specifically say how many more transactions Eth will be able to fit into one second, but Vitalik put out a firm number and others agree with him.

“Optimistic rollup, 3000+ TPS post-Istanbul Non-interactive ZKPs for privacy and scalability Your staking will be rewarded Much more TPS post-sharding” – @vitalikbuterin

Eric Conner, Founder of EthHub, was the one to specify for non code readers which EIP would be making this improvement possible.

“Did you know that the Istanbul upgrade includes an EIP that allows Ethereum to scale up to 3000 TPS?,” he continued “That is thanks to EIP-2028 that lowers the gas cost of calldata.” – @econoar

Blockchains already exist that can reach these speeds, but they sacrifice either a community, decentralization or security. Still, some people are skeptical of the claims, or they think they’re just outright lies.

“So far, no public chain can reach 3000TPS. After Istanbul upgrade, isn’t it the world’s first public chain TPS? I look forward to it, but I dare not hold much hope.” -@karambyrne

Except ethereum wont scale to 2000 TPS at block 9069000. You are talking about an hypothetical zk rollup based payment layer, which cannot interact with existing smart contracts at this scale, and with serious data availability issues. – @amxx

Ethereum Transactions Chart
Ethereum transactions over time. Credit: Etherscan

Above is a chart of Ethereum transactions since 2015. Transactions are strongly correlated to price, but there is a clear difference between the 2018 drop in price compared to drops in transactions. During the 2019 bull run, Ethereum’s price only reached around 20% of its peak value while transactions spiked back to over 50% of peak volume. After 2019’s peak price, Ethereum’s transactions maintained a stable consistency while its price has continuously dropped.

This is all to say that people are transacting within Ethereum and the network could use an extra bump in speed. Some argue that transactions settled on Ethereum is what will continue to drive its price, since miners (or stakers) will receive gas fees charged as a form of return. The more return Ethereum can bring investors, the more appealing it will be for others to participate, creating demand. Holding ETH is also necessary in order to transact on the network, because it is how gas fees are paid.

Istanbul was supposed to be implemented yesterday, December 4th, but only 40% of the network was ready for it. Now, it is scheduled to be released on December 6th.

Binance allegedly controls 56% of voting power in TRON

Today, Brian Fabian Crain, CEO of Chorus One, tweeted a screenshot showing that Binance has submitted 55.81% of all votes on the TRON proof-of-stake network.

“What a joke: @binance controls 56% of the voting power on @tronfoundation. If they split their votes across 25 nodes, they’d have 499k per node and would control 25 out of 27 validating nodes. Decentralization theater. Centralized exchanges are an existential threat for crypto.”

TRON voting share

 

TRON has a slightly unintuitive voting system in which 27 “Super Representatives” make all decisions. Any holder can still “freeze” (stake) their TRX to vote for representatives, but those stakers can also vote for themselves. This is exactly how Binance became the most powerful voter, staking 12 billion TRX tokens to vote themselves into office.

Super Representatives are frequently revoted, but there is no limit to how long they can hold power. Each TRX token equals a vote, and 12 trillion votes would equal the equivalent of 168 million dollars at the current price of $0.014.

Tron isn’t the only “decentralized” operation that ends up looking like a plutocracy. We have reported that even the reputable MakerDAO platform, creators of the DAI stablecoin often have one rich voter making important decisions.

Arguably the biggest update to ever hit maker, Multi-Collateral Dai was given a 3 day vote to be implemented, and would require $100 million with of DAI to be manually converted, had one voter controlling 50% of power for a majority of the duration. They ended up providing around 35% of the consensus.

Ethereum, the second largest market cap coin is in the process of moving to a proof-of-stake network, and some people are fearing for it’s security. There won’t be a voting system implemented like in TRON, and it would cost way more to take over the network, but TRON and Maker’s voting system are good examples of what can happen when allowing money to control the blockchain.