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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 10 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. Twitter: @nicrypto




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Ark Price Explodes with 89% Post-Upgrade Growth; Coin Added to Exodus Wallet

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The price of Ark (ARK) leapt 89% on Sunday, Feb 17th, and climbed to a new three-month high the process.

The rise in value came days after the Core V2.1 update to the Ark mainnet, and hot on the heels of the ARK coin being added to the popular Exodus Wallet.

ARK Price – ARK/BTC

As seen below, February has been a hectic month for ARK. The coin experienced four spikes in the last ten days or so, during which time the price rose 154% overall. Since the 18-month low on December 12th, the coin is up 195%.

On Sunday the coin moved from a value of $0.460082 up to a peak of $0.869728. That marked 89% growth for a brief moment, before the coin plunged again down to the $0.72 range, leaving Ark on net 52% gains for the day.

The ARK/BTC pair on Binance accounted for 20% of the daily turnover of $47 million. That’s a new one-year high for trade volume, not seen since the altcoin pump of January 2018.

Most of that has to be attributed to the Korean markets, as the ARK/KRW pair on UPbit made up close to 70% of the daily total, or around $33 million.

Ark Core Upgrade V2.1

The Ark Core upgrade V2.1 was released on February 11th. The main goal of which was a straight-up conversion of its programming language.

“The newest Core upgrade is primarily focused on changing the codebase from JavaScript to TypeScript. This means rewriting the entire Core to the TypeScript programming language. While this sounds unreal to accomplish in such a short period of time (the initial new Core v2 was released just over 2 months ago), TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript which makes the conversion easier.”

According to the accompanying release notes, TypeScript is a coding language that identifies syntax errors in real time, rather than waiting for when the app is already up and running. In this sense, V2.1 was an update for developers, but one which could pay off for holders in the long run.

The following is a description of Ark’s function according to the project website:

“ARK provides users, developers, and startups with innovative blockchain technologies. We aim to create an entire ecosystem of linked chains and a virtual spiderweb of endless use-cases that make ARK highly flexible, adaptable, and scalable.”

ARK Added to Exodus Wallet

On Feb 15th, Ark was added to the Exodus Wallet – a cryptocurrency wallet that houses around 90 different currencies at time of writing. The desktop wallet also features an in-built exchange, meaning users can trade from the security of their wallets. The Ark team announced:

“We are very excited to announce that ARK is now integrated into the Exodus cryptocurrency wallet. All Exodus wallet users now have the option to store ARK in one of the most popular and trusted universal cryptocurrency wallets in the industry.”

Looking forward, the next Ark Core update is due in March and will see a utilities library made available for Ark developers.

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 145 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD Set for Another Potential Explosive Move North as Bulls Penetrate Pennant Pattern

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  • Litecoin price on Saturday is seen holding decent gains of over 3% at the time of writing, as the bulls continue their latest push north.
  • Fundamental prospects surrounding the Litecoin Foundation remain strong and supportive of the price recovery.

LTC/USD since last week has been on a decent push to the north; the price has gained well over 40% since 7th February. A breakout kicked-started the previous week after the bulls managed to escape a narrowing daily range-block. LTC/USD was contained within the tightening structure from 11th January right up to 7th February, which then saw an explosive move shortly after. In terms of the range, this was seen at a high of $35 down to a low $29.

Between 10-11th February, Litecoin managed to see its highest levels since 14th November, which demonstrated its recovery. Price action over the last few sessions has been somewhat consolidating while maintaining the new heights. As a result, LTC/USD has formed a bullish pennant structure following the long pole from 8th February gains. Given the current formation, the price does appear to be subject to further upside movements.

Adoption Progress – Litecoin

Earlier this week, Spend App announced iit would begin supporting Litecoin. The Spend App currently facilitates users to buy, sell and pay with Litecoin in more than 40 million locations, a massive step towards mainstream adoption. According to Spend’s official website, card transactions can be performed in 180 countries.

The company tweeted, “Litecoin is now available on the SpendApp. You can buy, sell and pay with Litecoin with your linked bank account. Spend LTC at 40+ million locations with the Spend Wallet by instantly converting to fiat with the Spend Visa Card!”

Pricing in Litecoin’s ‘Halving’

In August of this year, Litecoin is expected to see it’s second ‘Halving’. In a PoW, or proof of work blockchain, halving results in the miner’s reward being cut in half. Although the halving causes miners’ reward to be reduced, they tend to Bboost the price of an asset over the longer-term.

The inventor of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, introduced the halving feature to protect against inflation. Besides, he wanted to ensure that not all of the blocks were mined so soon. Similarly to bitcoin, Litecoin has a cycle of “halving”. What will happen is at predetermined blocks, Litecoin’s mining reward will reduce. It will be Litecoin’s second halving, as the first one occurred back on 25th August 2015. At the time miners rewards went down from 50 LTC to 25 LTC, this time round miners reward will be 12.5 LTC.

Technical Review – LTC/USD

LTC/USD daily chart.

As detailed earlier, LTC/USD is subject to an extended move higher should the market bulls breakout of the pennant pattern. The upper part of the structure can be seen tracking around $44.00; this must be broken down to see a more significant wave of buying pressure. Looking to the north, the next realistic target for the bulls will likely be the psychological $50.00 mark. The price has not been up at these heights since 14th November 2018.

In terms of support, it is observed at the lower acting trend line of the pennant structure, $41.50. If this fails to hold a complete reversal of the latest run of gains may be seen. LTC/USD would then likely be forced to return down to the low $30 region.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 124 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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NEO Price Analysis: NEO/USD Bulls Eyeing an Explosive Move Higher as Cryptocurrency Enters Western Markets

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  • NEO/USD bulls are penetrating overhead resistance of a triangular pattern formation.
  • NEO Global Development (NGD) has set up an office in Seattle, Washington, keen to break into the Western markets.

NEO/USD: Recent Price Behaviour

The NEO price over the past week has managed to see some upside momentum, having gained around 25% since 7th February. At the time of writing, NEO/USD is running towards another session in the green, which would make it nine in the last ten. This is the best run of gains observed since the crypto market uptrend of December 2018.

In terms of the latest push to the north, NEO/USD bounced off a critical near-term supporting ascending trend line, which makes up a triangular pattern structure. It began the formation of this back in mid-December 2018 when the bulls entered a decent path of upside. However, the bulls eventually ran out of steam and were forced to narrow and trade within the confinements of the mentioned pattern.

NEO Looking to Make Ground in Western Markets

The team at NEO is taking serious steps towards expansion into U.S. markets, following its latest announcement to open an office in Seattle. This is the site of the new NEO Global Development (NGD) office. NGD will begin immediately recruiting for the new set up, which is going to be headed up by ex-Microsoft executive John deVadoss.

NEO is hosting its 2019 DevCon in Seattle, Washington between 16th February through to 17th. There is much anticipation around the announcing and details of NEO 3.0. As it currently stands, no clear specifications about the upgrade have been disclosed. Previously, NEO co-founder Erik Zhang said:

“NEO 3.0 will be an entirely new version of the NEO platform built for large scale enterprise use cases. It will provide a higher TPS and stability, expanded APIs for smart contracts, optimised economic and pricing models, and much more. Most importantly, we will entirely redesign NEO’s core modules.”

More on DevCon: NEO Price Update: Bulls Take Control as Anticipation for DevCon Builds.

Technical Review – NEO/USD

NEO/USD daily chart.

The NEO/USD price continues to trade within the earlier described triangular structure, demonstrating signs of late for a possible breakout higher. The markets bulls have been testing the upper acting trend line of the pattern; given the recent penetration, one would suggest a subsequent breach is likely. The resistance is currently tracking at $8.60; a break and daily closure above could invite another wave of buying pressure.

Further to the north, eyes would be on a retest of the significant psychological area of $10.00. The price last peaked up at these heights on 9th January, before running into sellers and being forced back south. At the time this was the highest NEO/USD had reached since 20th November. A push above this will then call into action $13.00, where the price consolidated briefly during the heavy November selling. Lastly, a return to the pre-November fall levels near $20.00 would be the next likely target.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 124 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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