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Can Stellar Become the Next Major ICO Platform?

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If you’ve been paying attention to ICOs, you’ve probably noticed a consistent trend: the vast majority of token raises are built on Ethereum. The protocol has quickly emerged as one of the blockchain community’s undisputed leaders. And just like that, of cryptocurrencies were born.

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Although there’s little evidence to suggest that startups are thinking about abandoning the ether platform, a new kid on the block is proving just as worthy of consideration.

Stellar Payment Network

Stellar actually isn’t all that new. It was founded in 2014 as an open platform for developing financial products. Though largely flying under the radar amid the latest crypto boom, Stellar has earned a market cap of nearly $3 billion. That’s enough for 11th spot on the CoinMarketCap chart of leading cryptocurrencies.

Stellar made headlines last month after Smartlands became the first company to launch a token on the payment platform. Smartlands, which markets itself as the platform for agriculture, touted Stellar’s superior transaction protocol and massive reach. Proceeds from the ICO will fund the development of the company’s Asset Based Tokens, which are offered on the Smartlands platform.

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With Smartlands latching on to Stellar, market participants are curious to see whether more ICOs will follow suite. As it turns out, Stellar has a number of unique advantages that could make it the ideal platform for future token raises.

Stellar for ICOs: The Rationale

ICOs have raised $3.5 billion and counting this year. Although most token raises continue to be delivered through Ethereum, there is a strong case to be made for Stellar.

1. Cheaper and faster

One of Stellar’s most defining attributes is its ability to avoid the gas problem facing Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. As ether prices march toward $500, transactions are becoming more expensive. Stellar does not need gas to execute programs and has a miniscule transaction fee (i.e., fraction of a penny). The Stellar network is also able to process 1,000 transactions per second, making it ideal for token raises with a strong transaction component.

2. Customizable

As we’ve mentioned before, there’s no shortage of industries represented in the ICO market. Projects are diverse in scale and nature, making customization an essential feature of the underlying infrastructure. Stellar allows token issuers to customize their accounts, payments, tokens and special offers.

3. Decentralized Exchange

As the number of cryptocurrencies continues to rise, a platform that enables efficient trading will be viewed more favorably by the investing public. As Lindsay Lin describes on the Stellar blog, any token created on the platform can be bought and sold via Stellar’s decentralized exchange. Companies that launch their ICOs on the Stellar network do not need a third-party cryptocurrency exchange to make their token available. This is an extremely attractive value proposition at a time when crypto-market liquidity is going through the roof.

4. Security Features

The Stellar system doesn’t offer the same breadth of features as Ethereum. This was done on purpose to limit risk and keep the bad actors from exploiting the program. As an added layer of security, token issuers can choose which nodes are allowed to validate their transactions. Security often comes at a cost, but Stellar has taken a reasonable approach to protecting its infrastructure.

5. The Team

Stellar is backed by one of the strongest teams in the industry, with co-founder Jed McCaleb already building two cryptocurrency companies. For those who are unfamiliar with McCaleb, he created Mt Gox, the now defunct exchange that at one point handled nearly three-quarters of global bitcoin transactions. After the Mt Gox debacle, he went on to found what would eventually become Ripple. The Stellar team currently consists of 12 employees, four board members and eight advisers. It’s advisory group is, shall we say, stellar. It includes the founders of Y Combinator, AngelList, WordPress and Apache Software. The chief scientist of White Ops is also involved in the project.

Of course, none of these attributes diminishes Ethereum’s capabilities as a superior programming platform. Its smart contract applications continue to be a major draw for prospective token raises. As the ICO Ratings page clearly shows, Ethereum remains very much in the driver’s seat.

That being said, keep your eye on the Stellar network. We wouldn’t be surprised if more ICOs are launched on this platform in 2018.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 153 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Steppa75

    December 7, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Yes certainly one I’ve been looking at closely, I thing even the recent big gains could be just the start. Maybe a good long term buy, even at current prices.

  2. JL1671

    December 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    You might also want to remark, that Ripple XRP offers the same thing on their ledger – with a far better team, and actively pursuing compliance with authorities. Alhough it must be said: yes, Ripple does not concentrate on it (yet). But imagine they would, being the trustworthy partner (contrary to shady McCaleb) towards our real-life regulators that enforce compliance upon us. ICO ban? “Comply through a trustworthy partner, and you’re ok after all” ? Who knows…

    In any case – whatever a future outcome on this might be, the Ripple protocol allows for just the same as well.

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NEO

The Lamen’s Story behind QTUM

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Market Update: Th crypto market cap has climbed back above $500 billion. Well done folks! I am liking the slower gains, as I think this could be new entrants. We have a ton of people way behind in cost basis on every coin, so I am just not convinced that those people sold at the bottom and then are re-entering. We waited this out, and the chatter throughout the media is getting to be too much for the later adopters to bare without getting involved. I have begun my history lesson to figure out where the true technical evolution is occurring in blockchain, and what will have the application to render an immediate investment. QTUM combines UTXO ledgers and smart contracts in one platform, and I need to understand their business reasoning behind why that is important. That starts with bitcoin.

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The Timeline in Blockchain

The beginning was bitcoin. This framework was created by the infamous Satoshi Nakamoto, who wanted to encrypt the way that money could be transacted. The transaction model he chose for his ledger based blockchain was inputs and outputs. Each bitcoin is an output from an input, and outputs are used to send money, not accounts.

UTXO “Unspent Transaction Outputs” is what your bitcoin account consists of. Don’t expect Windows 95 to be the most sophisticated! So, when someone sends you bitcoin, it goes “UTXO”. It is added up with all of the other times you received but didn’t send…and there is your bitcoin balance. Here’s where it gets tricky. Say you have UTXO balances of BTC 5, 3, 2. That means someone sent those coins to you in 3 different transactions. Now you want to send 1 BTC. UTXO will choose the most prudent one, 2 in this case, and then create an input for 2. But I wanted to only send 1! Don’t worry, there will be two outputs, 1 BTC for your recipient, and 1 BTC back to UTXO. You cannot take portion of a UTXO, it will all go into the input, and out the output.

Ethereum was the evolution. Instead of this UTXO model where there is no real single account- just lists of inputs and outputs, there was a place where people could have an account that is much similar to a bank account. You send, you receive, and everything is recorded. There is no choosing which UTXO fits which transaction, each transaction can be unique, and only the amount needed will be input. Debits and Credits, just like a bank account.

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Ethereum smart contracts are pillars of the account model. These contracts have unlimited capability to set rules (e.g., 100 voters, duration: six hours, choices: Candidate A, Candidate B, etc.), quantify inputs, determine precise results safely and securely, and dispense the ether of course! This new function in the blockchain required code of higher quality (I am not going to go GitHub level here) for the smart contract to work with, rather than a smart contract having to deal with a bunch of random UTXO’s. The account system worked for this just fine…or so we thought.

The DAO, founded by a consortium of Ethereum founders and followers, was a fund (a smart contract “account”) created in 2016 to be the first organization to promote the migration of business and commerce into the blockchain, and automate things for absolute and unbiased results. If you wanted to make a project that would benefit commerce on the blockchain, the smart contract would determine a consensus-based allotment.

Ironically, the DAO smart contract “account” was spoofed into funding a “Child DAO”, an exact replica of the DAO that convinced the smart contract to fund it multiple times over. Ethereum went from $20 to $13, as $70m was drained into the Child DAO. The Child DAO issue eventually led to an Ethereum hard fork, the result of voting to not let the attacker (who said he had legal right to his property through a lawyer) have his prize for his creation, and emptying the piggy bank to all those who lost ETH and laid claim to it.

QTUM

I want you all to know that all of that information was needed for me to explain QTUM.

This all started when I wanted to do some research for my own benefit. QTUM’s “About Us” was claiming their new benefits were that they designed a UTXO blockchain that has accounts with a smart contract account layer. So my thought was, why does QTUM want a UTXO blockchain? They believe UTXO has much more in scalability terms for business functions by having limiting information and “Proof of Consensus” model, and they wanted to build something that could act as the ether for those who were hard at work mining in the bitcoin UTXO community.

Eighty percent of all the QTUM tokens will be distributed for an array of purposes, but a major one is to bring the real world application into blockchain. Much like the older brother before it, QTUM is providing a DAO-like Account that can incentivize technical projects that can stay on their UTXO chain, but come out of the shadows to work within the community. Those who are used to coding in the Bitcoin blockchain will be happy to see that they now have Ethereum’s paint brushes in their own technical backyard. QTUM also can migrate Ethereum’s contracts into this new smart contract environment.

The platform has partnered with two companies in China (cybersecurity & media) to date, both of which are working along the lines of bringing business into the blockchain through smart contracts. China has been very cold on blockchain as of late. This may be a good project, but they are fighting against my favored incumbent NEO, and there is nothing I would say that truly separates them as unique for large migration. There will only be a handful of platforms. One for each country depending on laws/regulations. NEO is my choice.

Conclusion

I am a fan of the concept of taking a big community of people and trying to give them incentives through smart contracts to work harder for business purposes. I am not sure how big the bitcoin UTXO community is. Like you have seen, this is very deep technical information and the differences between UTXO and the Account method are murky at best for a lamen.

I have a small holding of QTUM, and it will remain small. UTXO seems like a bridge to bitcoin’s old tech that they are reviving. Ethereum already has had the first wave of business migration, and it seems that Solidity, the coding language of Ethereum smart contracts, is on every developers to-do list.

Overall, if QTUM makes a ton of money, non-coders won’t know why. It is a platform for people in the bitcoin chain to use for business purposes, but Bitcoin was made by someone who vanished and there is no one leading the initiatives within. Does bitcoin have an initiative? This may be like a Coder’s Coin. They like it for the certain coding characteristic, but overall the difference is minimal other than the chains are different. I think paradigm platform chains will exist, and the current ones are Ethereum and NEO.

A true technical smart contract artist or developer may disagree with me, but I see no extremely valuable difference between Ethereum and QTUM. QTUM certainly isn’t a coin for business people like myself. I will stick to what I know, and that is Ethereum-based platforms and compliance.

 

None of this is a recommendation to buy or sell cryptocurrencies. I own a small holding, and as mentioned, it will remain small. Best of luck to you on the exchanges. If you would like to remain updated on my thoughts, please do follow me @raijincrypto on Twitter.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.3 stars on average, based on 18 rated postsMythological God of Lightning. Cryptocurrency/Blockchain writer, evangelist, and friend. May the odds be ever in our favor.




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Crypto: Why The Best Is Ahead

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Good news has been rare these days both for investors in stocks or cryptocurrencies. Stock investors face greater uncertainty.  Stock prices have been driven by 40 years of lower interest rates.  That game is over now and inflation is on the rise. That means higher rates. That’s bad for stock prices. 

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Over time cryptocurrencies will come to be viewed as anti-inflation tools and that could turn out to be very good news for all that have endured the volatility of recent times.

No Need to Be Negative

For investors in bitcoin, Ether and other cryptocurrencies, it is easy to sit back and proclaim that the worst is behind.  After all is bitcoin going to fall another 55% or Ether by a further 33%?  It is very unlikely for this to happen.  

As painful as the last two weeks have been, let’s take a look at what was lost.  The price of bitcoin is now back to its pre-hyperbolic move that began in late November of last year, but still 7,000%+ above February 2017 levels.

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For Ethereum the picture is even better.  The price of Ether is nearly three times last November levels.  It matches the 7000%+ year over year gain of bitcoin.  Where else can you suffer such losses and still end up this well off?

Sentiment Overrules Logic

Investors are looking for logic to plan their strategies.  Technical analyst lately have been mostly gloomy but that is to be expected.  Once a down trend begins, that remains the story that nearly takes an Act of Congress to change.  The redeeming value of technical analysis is how it identifies investor sentiment.  Right now the sentiment is not going the right way.

Back in December it was the Chinese government cracking down, next South Korea stepped in and now we learn that financial regulators in Japan will be conducting inspections of certain cryptocurrency exchanges due concerns about vulnerability to cyber attacks.

Hungry deficit ridden governments everywhere are looking to collect taxes from investor winnings on cryptocurrencies, the US Internal Revenue Service benefitting from the new tax law.  Proposed regulation of cryptocurrencies seem to be in the headlines on a regular basis.

Anytime a government interferes with business investor sentiment turns negative turns negative.  Logic may dictate the moves by Asia’s three biggest countries represent efforts to improve safety and security and that will ultimately attract more investors.  However, sentiment overrules logic most of the time.

Nothing New

What is happening at the moment is no different than situations faced by just about every world changing innovation from the automobile to the Internet and beyond.  In the case of cryptocurrencies there needs to be the recognition of value beyond pure speculation. Otherwise these are nothing more than just another financial instrument with a pretty face.

We may be stating the obvious, but these days the negative sentiment is originating from various government regulators with the stated intent of shielding its citizens from “the bubble”.   Right now the world is overlooking the key benefits of currencies like bitcoin, Ripple and Litecoin: the seamless transfer of money anywhere in the world 24/7.  Once something happens to return the focus to applications of this technology, logic will be restored to the planet.  

Readers will identify our bias toward Ether and there is a reason for it.  The very nature of their open source platform offers limitless applications the average investor can taste, touch and smell.  Yes there are all those stories about failed Initial Coin Offerings that used the Ethereum platform, but that is part of the development process.

Speed And Cost Become Key

Before mainstream adoption takes place, the twin issues of speed and cost must be solved. The current lethargic processing pace of fewer than 20 transactions per second is one thing but the idea of ultra low cost is a joke.  Last year witnessed the proliferation of thousands of use cases.  It inspired investors and sent prices of cryptocurrencies to record levels.  From here getting the details of the technology up to mass market applications is what should drive prices higher.  This is a lot less sexy but adds much greater value.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.3 stars on average, based on 21 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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Are Most Cryptocurrencies Headed for Zero? Goldman Sachs Believes So

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Extreme volatility, high correlation and a lack of intrinsic value all spell trouble for the cryptocurrency market, according to Goldman Sachs. In a carefully worded research note on Wednesday, the Wall Street behemoth warned that most of the world’s 1,500+ cryptocurrencies were headed for zero.

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Grim Future for Most Coins

Investors should expect the vast majority of cryptocurrencies to fall to zero, with only a small handful dominating the market, Goldman analyst Steve Strongin said in a Feb. 5 report. Although Strongin didn’t speculate about a timeframe, he said massive price swings in the digital asset class are a clear sign the market is in a bubble.

“The high correlation between the different cryptocurrencies worries me,” the analyst said, according to Bloomberg. “Because of the lack of intrinsic value, the currencies that don’t survive will most likely trade to zero.”

The cryptocurrency markets have experienced a chaotic selloff this week, with the total market cap falling some $550 billion from its peak.

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In the research note, Strongin added the following:

“Are any of today’s cryptocurrencies going to be an Amazon or a Google, or will they end up like many of the now-defunct search engines? Just because we are in a speculative bubble does not mean current prices can’t increase for a handful of survivors. At the same time, it probably does mean that most, if not all, will never see their recent peaks again.”

Strongin’s firm has  expressed keen interest in cryptocurrencies. Goldman is expected to launch its own bitcoin trading desk as early as June, making it the first Wall Street bank to make markets in the highly controversial asset class.

Paradigm Shift

The views expressed by Goldman are in line with previous comments made by Vitalik Biturin, the founder of Ethereum. About four months ago, Buterin told a crowd at ETHWaterloo that 90% of initial coin offerings (ICOs) built on the ether protocol will fail. This paradigm, referred by Buterin as “Tokens 1.0,” could experience a cataclysmic end before the market transitions to higher quality projects. This era is referred to as “Tokens 2.0,” and could be here sooner than most realize.

Whereas Tokens 1.0 was characterized by hasty projects, bad ideas and even scams, the second generation of token sales will build off the previous era’s mistakes. Buterin said he believes this market will begin mobilizing as early as this year. That could be just in time for his new DAICO fundraising model, which combines the current ICO template with a Decentralized Autonomous Organization. DAOs rely on smart contracts to implement rules, a feature that many believe will be an integral part of future crowdraises.

Buterin’s outlook is clear: cryptocurrencies will need to evolve to remain feasible both as an investment asset and unit of transaction. It is the latter that presents the biggest challenge.

That being said, the era of Tokens 1.0 is still generating record revenues, with recent data showing $1.2 billion flowing into ICOs during the month of January.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 153 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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