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Kovri & Bulletproofs: How Monero is Improving Privacy

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Kovri Bulletproofs Monero

Monero is one of the premier privacy conscious cryptocurrencies currently on the market.

It makes use some of the most advanced technologies in cryptography and blockchain technology. These include such features as stealth addresses, transaction mixing and Ring Confidential transactions.

These have made Monero (XMR) almost untraceable. Yet, “almost” is not good enough for the Monero community as they have strived to improve the protocol in their latest updates.

These updates include the Monero Kovri I2P implementation as well as what are termed “bulletproofs”. These developments have been in the pipeline for sometime and we are starting to see them being actively rolled out.

So what are they and how are they going to make Monero even more secure?

Before we can delve into the technology, we have to take a look the current state of Monero’s privacy.

Secure, Untraceable Digital Cash

Currently, Monero is able to hide all details about a transaction. Making use of stealth addresses, they are able to hide the recipient’s and payers’ details from the rest of the network. They are also able to hide the amount that has been transacted.

Making use of Ring Confidential transaction and transaction Mixin, information about future transactions is also hidden from the original sender of these funds.

Therefore, a Monero transaction is probably the closest you will get to making a payment with untraceable bank notes.

Monero USPs. Image source: Monero.

However, there are two outstanding quirks that the Monero community was not 100% comfortable with.

The first related to the potential of user IP address leaks and the other revolved around the inefficiencies of current Monero “Range proofs”.

Kovri and IP Anonymization

As mentioned, Monero is almost completely private. However, there was always a question that remained around the IP addresses of those who interacted with the Monero network.

When you initiate a transaction on the Monero blockchain, your IP address is being exposed to the network. If there was a malicious actor, they could observe this event and log your IP address. This could create the potential for meta data analysis by large and determined adversaries.

While this is a really difficult attack to complete, it is still a concern for some.

This is the reason that the community has been excited about the release of Kovri and its potential to encrypt and route transactions through I2P (Invisible Internet Protocol) nodes. Technically, Kovri will make use of “Garlic encryption” and “Garlic routing”

We won’t go into more detail about Garlic routing but one can think of it as a more secure version of the Onion routing. Onion routing is the current networking implementation that is on use in the TOR network.

By using this routing protocol, your connection to the Monero network is masked and your IP address cannot be identified. According to the Kovri lead developer, Anonimal, the Kovri protocol will:

“Essentially, we will be able to anonymise monero transactions even more than what monero is capable of doing right now, technically speaking, at the network layer”

Kovri is currently in alpha release stage and there is still a great deal of testing that needs to be done. There are currently 48 contributors who are working on it and the project still has a healthy chunk of funding to move the project forward.

BulletProofs and Lower Fees

While Monero transactions are completely private, they are relatively inefficient. This basically comes down to the nature of Monero’s “range proofs”.

Range proofs basically allow anyone to verify that a particular commitment represents an amount within a particular range without revealing anything else. These are needed in order ensure that transaction input and output amounts are positive.

This may sound like a mouthful, but all you need to know is that these range proofs are essential components for the private transaction.

However, the current range proofs on the Monero network are inefficient as they make up the bulk of the size of the transaction. This means that a great deal of mining resources goes towards verifying these range proofs and increases the cost of these transactions.

This is where BulletProofs come in.

Despite the catchy name, BulletProofs are the ideal solution to the Monero range proof problem. They scale in size differently to Monero’s current proofs and as a result, save space as transactions inputs and outputs increase.

A full explanation of Bulletproofs is beyond the scope of this article but if you wanted to flex your intellectual muscles you could read the paper on it by Bünz, Bootle et al.

The most important takeaway from the bulletproofs is the space that it saves in Monero transactions. For example, a simple Monero transaction that has two outputs is about 13.2kb in size. However, with bulletproofs the transaction is only 2.5kb in size. This is a full 80% reduction in size which will translate into a commensurate reduction in fees.

Given that bulletproofs scale logarithmically, the space savings on these transactions are even more pronounced with multiple output transactions.

In short, bulletproofs is a solution that all Monero users will notice immediately.

So where in the pipeline are Monero bulletproofs?

In July, Kudelski securities completed their audit of Monero compatible bulletproofs. While there were a few minor issues, it passed audit stage and was ready for implementation on the Monero test network.

If all goes well in the testing phase, then the bulletproofs are expected to be released live on the Monero network in October.

Conclusion

Monero has proven itself to be one of the premier privacy coins on the market. The community is thriving and is comprised of some of the smartest and most privacy conscious individuals in the world.

Of course, as Monero has garnered attention from government backed entities, so too have the risks increased for vulnerabilities and deanonymization.

The Monero developers are well aware of this and are always looking for solution to improve on the Protocol.

Kovri and bulletproofs are two really important improvements that will help cement Monero’s market leading status.

We will keep a keen eye on the rollout of this technology.

Featured Image via Fotolia

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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5 stars on average, based on 8 rated postsNic is an ex Investment Banker and current crypto enthusiast. When he is not sitting behind six screens trading Bitcoin, he is maintaining his numerous mining rigs.




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MobileGo (MGO) Is Up More Than 40% Since Thanksgiving

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The last few weeks have been an extremely challenging time for crypto enthusiasts.  Major coins like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) have been demolished while many smaller alternative coins have done even worse.  Fortunately, there are still a few bright spots left in the market that traders may want to turn their attention toward.  One of those bright spots is MobileGo (MGO).

Price Surge

Although most cryptos have taken a severe beating in the past few weeks, MGO has done just the opposite.  As seen in the chart below, MGO has soared by more than 40% since Thanksgiving.

A few of the reasons for the surge include being in an industry with rising popularity, innovative methods of earning gaming currency, and key strategic partnerships.

Exploding Popularity of the Gaming Industry

Despite the volatility in the cryptocurrency markets, blockchain remains one of the most exciting technologies being developed.  Blockchain has the potential to disrupt global industries and take them to levels once thought impossible.  MobileGo is attempting to do just that in the gaming industry.

The Gaming market is an extremely exciting opportunity as the industry is growing by leaps and bounds.  According to Market Researcher, Newzoo, the global games market is expected to grow from $137.9 billion in 2018 to more than $180.1 billion in 2021.

GShare Development

One of the company’s main innovations is the development of GShare.  GShare is a special tool which allows its users to earn GShare Gold coins by harnessing the power of their computers.  In this way, it’s very similar to cryptocurrency mining.  These coins (not cryptocurrency) are a soft currency which will be earned as soon as the user runs the app and presses the “start” button.  Users can play their favorite games, work, or simply browse the internet.

Additionally, gamers can also earn GShare Gold Coins by entering tournaments.  There is a wide variety of tournament options so that players can choose tournaments that fit their interests and skill levels.  In this way, it’s really an open environment that caters to individuals of all backgrounds.

Once the coins are earned, users will have several different redemption options that include the following:

  • Tournament Entry Fees
  • Social Activity Platforms

The option to use the coins through social media avenues is extremely interesting.  This presents an opportunity for the coins to gain international recognition by uniting different groups of people for positive results.  These social activity opportunities should become clearer soon.

Xsolla Partnership

MGO coins can be earned through special promotions, exchange trading, or by winning tournaments.  The last one is especially important as it’s directly related to GShare.  Users can use their GShare Gold coins to enter tournaments that fit their skill level.  And, if successful, users will earn MGO coins by performing well.

Being able to earn MGO coins by winning tournaments is very exciting considering the recent partnership news with Xsolla.  Xsolla provides game developers with a comprehensive suite of flexible tools and service to help launch, monetize and scale their games globally.  In late October, Xsolla announced that it would start accepting made-for-gaming cryptocurrency, MobileGo, for its PC and mobile games partners.

The partnership means that developers will be able to receive royalty payouts in MGO cryptocurrency.  As stated earlier, the gaming industry is expected to grow significantly in the future which makes this a very compelling opportunity.  As blockchain technology and gaming continue to grow in the future, it’s safe to assume that more and more game developers will be interested in cashing out via cryptocurrency.  MGO being an option this early in the game is a massive advantage.

Conclusion

Although it’s still early for MobileGo, the company appears to be making all the right moves in an effort to attain blockchain gaming dominance.  Only the future will tell whether the company will prove successful, but things certainly appear promising at the moment.

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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Litecoin Price Analysis: If Current Demand Zone Fails to Hold Then Next Stop is $3

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  • LTC/USD is at serious danger of another hard fall should the range-block seen be breached.
  • Back in December 2013, the price was at current levels and fell down to $1 over a two-year period.

Litecoin has been heavily weighted to the downside of late. The selling pressure intensified through the month of November. This month, December, has seen the pace of that bearish trend intensify. As a result, LTC/USD is trading at its lowest levels seen since May 2017. These moves of course are very much in-line with the rest of the market that has been in decline since the back-end of 2017 – start of 2018. Litecoin is down well over 90% from the start of this decline.

Deadly Range-Block

LTC/USD 4-hour chart

LTC/USD was allowed some time to breath after the chunky pressure south, through November. The price stabilized from 25th November, to then move into range-trading. This was the case right up until 6th December. Confined within a range-block, which technically trend to occur after such excessive movement, to then be resumed in that original aggressive trend of direction. The most recent, moving between a low of $29 to a high of $36, ahead of the firm breach lower on 6th December. This resulted in the price moving down to another fresh low of $22.55, on 7th December.

Once again, a similar observation can be seen via the 4-hour chart view. Since the 7th December, some stabilization has materialized. Currently it is shaping up another range-block, which is subject to a further extensive move to the downside. The low within this new formation, can be seen around the $23 mark; to the upside, this is capped at $28. A breakout south from this block could catastrophic and much more damaging than the prior. There isn’t much in the way of support for quite some way lower, should the price not be able to defy the odds and break higher from the block.

Downside Targets

LTC/USD weekly chart

Should the bears maintain the current course of downside, then the lower support of the current range will be broken. As an extreme target south, eyes could be on a complete reversal of the 2017 bull run. This could see another 500% drop, this of course being a worse case scenario for LTC/USD. Given how fast the bulls ran up to the north, it can come back down just as hard. Back in December 2013, the price was around current levels within the $20 territory. The bears pushed for a hard fall of over 200%, down to $1 territory, over a two year period.

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 78 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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XRP Price Analysis: XRP/USD Behavior Suggests of One More Deep Pullback

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  • XRP/USD price action is moving within a range-block, subject to an extended move lower.
  • American Express are singing praises above the speed of Ripple’s technology.

XRP/USD price has stabilized, after the renewed chunky wave of selling pressure that hit the market. The price last week was forced to drop a whopping 30%. This came following a period of consolidation, which commenced on 25th November. XRP had managed to gain some firmer footing, after the brutal November selling. However, from a technical observation, the price entered into a range-block, which was subject to an extended move lower. Over the past three days, similar behaviors are noted, which expresses vulnerabilities.

American Express Praises the Speed of Ripple’s Technology

Back in November 2017, news hit the wires of a partnership between American Express, Ripple, and Santander Bank. Earlier this year, an official confirmation of partnership between Ripple and American Express was announced. This includes Santander Bank, and promises a solution which will offer fast speed and lower cost cross-border transactions. American Express had detailed using Ripple’s xCurrent technology to facilitate payments.

The general manager of American Express’ corporate payments, Carlos Carreido, was recently speaking at a conference called the Wings of Change Europe, which was held in Madrid. He detailed the incredible capabilities with the use of Ripple’s blockchain technology. As a result, the performance making a large difference for them, in payment processing globally.

Carlos Carreido said, “Blockchain is absolutely an option we’re looking at. Just to give you a sense, we have invested in a fintech lab, based on blockchain technology, just to understand how to leverage this better. We did a pilot. We did a test, partnering with Santander locally, and with Ripple to just do cross-border transactions. Cross-border transactions continue to be complex and slow. And in a matter of seconds, through this test, our clients were able to transfer funds in a very transparent and seamless way, from one part of the world to the other one.”

Technical Analysis: XRP/USD

XRP/USD 4-hour chart

Since the 7th December, XRP/USD has once again found firmer footing. The price managed to bounce most recently within the $0.29 territory. Danger to the downside is still very much at large. Similar behaviors that were seen between 25th November to 5th December, are being observed. This was a period of consolidation ahead of another deep fall. XRP/USD is moving within a range-block. The upper part of this seen at $0.3300, and current downside capped around the $0.2950 area.

Downside Targets

XRP/USD daily chart

Keeping the above in mind, XRP/USD could be set for another drop lower. This would fall in line with the previous article via Hacked. One more deep move lower, before the big bull buying comes into play. The price is already in proximity to this demand area but could be forced further towards the $0.2500-$0.2000 range. As previously mentioned, historically this is the area that sees bulls come in by quite some force.

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 78 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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