Connect with us

Blockchain

Blockchain in Your Pocket? The Phone Behind Sirin’s $157 Million ICO

Published

on

Does the world really need a blockchain phone?

Sirin Labs is betting it does. The startup, which recently raised $157 million in an initial coin offering (ICO), is building an Android smartphone from scratch with special features for cryptocurrency enthusiasts: an app store for distributed apps (dapps), cold storage for private keys and easy conversion between tokens.

The Switzerland-based company says the product will fill a need in a fast-growing market: a secure device that can simplify the use of cryptocurrency across multiple applications. But as an old tech adage goes, “hardware is hard,” and in blockchain it may be even harder, since devices must be engineered to protect not only information but unrecoverable money.

In a nod to the device’s target audience, Sirin has dubbed the phone “Finney,” after computer scientist and bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney.

Estimating this audience’s growth over the years, Sirin Labs CEO Moshe Hogeg told CoinDesk:

 “You have more than 10 million people that are all in crypto in one way or another. I think the community will at least double in size by the end of this year.”  

The phone is expected to retail just shy of $1,000, putting it in the high-end range with the likes of Apple’s iPhone. And it can only be purchased using Sirin’s crypto token (based on the ERC-20 standard). The firm sold 40 percent of the 573 million total tokens it created during the recent ICO.

As an Android device, the phone will include all the usual applications, including the full Google Play store. As Hogeg explained, “We’re talking about user experience. If you don’t have Facebook then forget about it.”



But what makes Finney different is that sirin tokens will also be stored on the device to facilitate payments for a wide variety of dapps.

Crypto app store

The decentralized app store on the Finney phone will provide users with access to a whole host of dapps – the products of a host of blockchain-based projects that have issued tokens via ICOs.

These could include blockchain-based alternatives to popular tech companies such as Uber, which Hogeg said would be better for users by connecting providers directly to customers, reflecting the industry ethos.

As such, the Finney would provide a one-stop shop for crypto enthusiasts to browse through dapps and spend their crypto on products and services. And through a partnership with Bancor, the decentralized liquidity market that raised $150 million last June in an ICO, Sirin’s software will convert users’ sirin tokens to whatever cryptocurrency is needed for a particular transaction.

A user shouldn’t care about technology. He shouldn’t care about how things work. He should care about the value of them,” said Hogeg. Hence, “the experience should be simple.” That’s a great view on how to help with the inclusion of new users to cryptocurrencies without having to worry about the legitimacy, and avoid scam apps like the so called Bitcoin Revolution, that was making quite an impact on early adopters in Germany and in the UK.

Simplicity will be a prerequisite for these token-based platforms to gain traction, he said.

“If we want those technologies to become mainstream, we have to fix this issue of multiple tokens,” Hogeg said. “Our software is going to allow the user to seamlessly convert between different tokens within our phones.”

Sirin faces some competition in the decentralized app store arena. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstong is also working on a browser for dapps called Toshi.

In a recent Medium post, Armstrong similarly talked about the need for one platform for consumers to manage dapps. Yet, while Coinbase’s solution wouldn’t need specialized hardware, Hogeg said he believes that by the time these decentralized marketplaces are ready, early adopters will want a distinct device to safely store the cryptocurrency they’ll use.

And while it’s proven to be difficult to get developers to switch from the two marketplaces currently dominating mobile (the Apple store and the Google Play store) to a new development platform, Hogeg said he has a way to convince them.

“We raised enough money to incentivize a community of developers,” he said.

Security focus

But while Hogeg has a plan for incentivizing developers, the harder part might be luring consumers to purchase the pricey device.

But he says that for crypto users, the phone’s security features will be hard to resist. Not only does the Finney phone use behavioral monitoring to detect possible exploitation, it also allows for multiple types of biometric identification and comes with cybersecurity protection from the operating system through the application layer, according to Sirin.

All of these features, Hogeg admitted, can be found in one form or another on other devices, but there’s one feature on the phone that stands out: cold storage.

The Finney phone allows users to disconnect their cryptocurrency’s private keys from the rest of the device and from the internet, Sirin says. This provides added protection since hackers would have to physically go to the phone’s storage vault where the private keys are held to get access.

Hogeg told CoinDesk:

                            “I think it will differentiate us. I think it’s unique, and it will grow.”

But Peter Todd, a prominent cryptography consultant and bitcoin developer, was skeptical about the effectiveness of cold storage in this context, telling CoinDesk, “Why does that protect you? You need to connect to the internal electronics to accomplish anything anyway, at which point the attack can happen.”

Still, a spokesperson for Sirin contended cold storage still reduces risk, which is why people use crypto-wallets like Trezor and Ledger. He explained, “We do all the signature ‘foreplay’ in advance of the actual signature” – that is, making the connection as brief as possible. “This is a well known cyber security methodology of decreasing the attack surface and time exposure,” he wrote.

Further, even Hogeg acknowledges that security doesn’t sell hardware. So Sirin is also setting up the devices to be able to cooperate and share resources, for instance, in a way that allows strangers can pay each other in microtransactions for borrowing computing power or bandwidth.

The tangle

Yet that raises another issue.

In Sirin’s whitepaper, these services lean heavily on the “Tangle,” a technology pioneered by the distributed ledger startup IOTA.

Pitched as a solution tailor-made for the internet of things, IOTA requires devices to make a few proof-of-work computations in order to participate in the chain, rather than pay a fee to miners as with bitcoin.

“This is how we allow it to be fee-less,” Hogeg said.

Yet, IOTA and its technology have been a flashpoint of controversy since over-the-counter trading of its cryptocurrency began in 2016. For instance, MIT Media Lab actually disputed the claims in an MIT Technology Review article describing the security of IOTA.

Further, the lab’s Digital Currency Initiative found a serious security flaw in Iota in September. The IOTA Foundation acknowledged the researchers’ work, while arguing that it did not represent a realistic attack and said it has always planned to submit its final cryptographic design, once ready, to academic review in order to insure its solidity.

Val A. Red, a security researcher with experience in IoT systems, told CoinDesk that any blockchain-based application raises issues.

“If I were looking at this outside of cryptocurrencies and from the perspective of a secure mobile or BYOD [bring-your-own-device] network administrator, I would also have reasonable concerns looking at a proposal involving interoperability with IOTA or any digital ledger technology in production.”

Hogeg didn’t dispute that there are doubts about the protocol at present, but said, “Maybe we’re going to change to a different fee-less network, and there are a bunch who are talking about it. Probably it’s going to be IOTA.”

Although he continued, “We are not going to announce 100 percent it is IOTA until we are 100 percent satisfied.”

Hogeg confirmed that IOTA is not an investor in Sirin.

Next steps

But even with the Finney project’s blockchain architecture still up in the air, Hogeg is confident the phone will be released by the end of this year.

And, he said, prototypes of the device should be available soon at retail stores the company plans to open in cities around the world, where people will be able to pre-order phones and talk to staff about its structure.

That may sound expensive, but remember that Sirin raised $157 million in its token sale, triple what it initially estimated it would need to develop the phone.

Also in the works is a Finney PC, based on the Android OS.

If this all sounds overambitious, it’s worth noting that Hogeg has been effective at generating chatter around his projects. In 2014, he created the joke app Yo, a messaging app that initially only allowed users to send the single word “yo” back and forth.

Around the same time, he snagged backing from Leonardo DiCaprio, Lance Armstrong and Serena Williams for his short-form video service, Mobli.

At Sirin, he has already had some success in manufacturing mobile devices, building a privacy-oriented Android phone called Solarin, which came with a $13,800 retail price tag.

Still, his projects have also not matured without some stumbling blocks. In 2016, even though it had some real traction, Mobli was shut down, and in early 2017, Sirin laid off 30 percent of its staff after sales of the Solarin phone failed to support the business model (they are still sold, though).

But according to Hogeg, the way in which the software for Finney was built, allowing other Android manufacturers to use it in their devices as well, hedges the company’s bet on building a piece of hardware from the ground up.

Addressing the uncertainty of the business, but also his optimism going forward, Hogeg concluded:

“Could be that we will become a very big phone manufacturer. Could be. Could be, also, that phone manufacturers will use our software … and we give them everything we do for free, as long as they use our token as the engine for everything.”

Smartphone interior image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Interested in offering your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at [email protected].

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency

Blockchain

The Blockchain That Can Beat EOS, TRON And Ethereum

Published

on

Applications have become an integral part of the modern lifestyle. There are apps for anything from monetary transactions to tuning household appliances from work. But the market of apps is evolving, just like any other market. The advent of decentralized applications, or dApps, has heralded a new era in the way we perceive software on our devices. As a result, the infrastructures for maintaining dApps is becoming a hotly contested battleground for developers.

The market has already seen the creation of 2,551 dApps being used by over 95,966 users daily. Transactions through dApps are surpassing the 4,418,078 mark a day, and 11,741 smart contracts are involved in the process. Above all else, the market of dApps is already generating the volume of $21,512,096 per day and is showing no signs of abating despite the recent slump in cryptocurrency prices. 

The growing competition on the market of decentralized infrastructures is largely due to the launch of new public protocols with their unique technical advantages, which are simplifying the development of dApps and the implementation of ideas and concepts that could not be implemented on Ethereum, Tron or EOS. The lack of the technology needed that would negate the disadvantages of blockchain, such as the inability of network scaling, low network bandwidth, low transaction processing times, and others, is the main barrier preventing dApps from becoming even more popular and widely accepted as logical alternatives to classical apps.

The Alternatives

Apart from the all too popular Ethereum, Tron and EOS networks, there are other infrastructures becoming worthy alternatives. The Credits platform is one such competitor in the field that is offering a new solution for the development of dApps.

The Credits blockchain platform is a completely open-source and fully decentralized blockchain software protocol operating on smart contracts that are designed to allow the creation of high-performance applications. 

Credits smart contracts are written in JAVA, one of the most popular programming languages ​​in the world that is both accessible to most programmers and easily configurable to suit an endless variety of needs. Apache Thrift technology is used to allow the platform to simplify the process of integration with products developed in different programming languages.

It Is Working

Credits is not just a platform, but a full-fledged company that has publicly opened access to its software for all users. Anyone willing can join the network, launch an operating node and develop their own products and services based on the Credits protocol. To date, more than 20 decentralized applications have been developed on the Credits protocol.The full list is available on Credits dApp Map.

Projects such as the 0XUniverse gaming dApps, Unlimited Tower, ExoPlanets, Royale Roulette, along with the Karma, Rare Bits and WandX projects that are currently operating on the basis of the Ethereum, Tron and EOS protocols, are considering the possibility of migrating their applications to the Credits protocol for better functioning. 

Among the more interesting products based on the Credits platform is the Crext Extension, an analogue of Metamask acting as a browser extension for storing the Credits cryptocurrency and other tokens, and interacting with products based on Credits protocol. Another dApp is the CScheduler, a Credits blockchain-based service that provides the ability to schedule smart contracts at a defining moment or at specified time intervals. Among the popular gaming dApps on the Credits platform is Dice, a blockchain-based gambling game involving casting dice under the supervision of a random number generator.

It is impossible to remain on what has already been achieved and the IT sector is the most progressive industry in the world, raking in hundreds of billions of dollars a year on apps and other products. The blockchain industry is catching up in terms of capitalization as major players are stepping in to provide the necessary infrastructure for its growth. However, the mainstays of the market are not indomitable and are gradually giving way to more advanced and progressive solutions.

The progress that the Credits platform has already made in its development and the innovative nature of its protocol have attracted the attention of many developers and giants of the IT industry, such as Lenovo and IBM. But the project team does not mean to stop on what has already been achieved and is planning to launch thematic hackathons and an Accelerator Program with a prize pool up to $2,000,000 to support the development of products and to showcase the capabilities of the platform.

If all goes as planned, the market will soon see a large number of products developed on the basis of the Credits protocol that will contribute to the development of the project infrastructure and its tokenomics. No matter the outcome of the upcoming events, one thing is clear – Credits is here to stay.

Source: newsbtc


Continue Reading

Blockchain

The Blockchain That Can Beat EOS, TRON And Ethereum

Published

on

Applications have become an integral part of the modern lifestyle. There are apps for anything from monetary transactions to tuning household appliances from work. But the market of apps is evolving, just like any other market. The advent of decentralized applications, or dApps, has heralded a new era in the way we perceive software on our devices. As a result, the infrastructures for maintaining dApps is becoming a hotly contested battleground for developers.

The market has already seen the creation of 2,551 dApps being used by over 95,966 users daily. Transactions through dApps are surpassing the 4,418,078 mark a day, and 11,741 smart contracts are involved in the process. Above all else, the market of dApps is already generating the volume of $21,512,096 per day and is showing no signs of abating despite the recent slump in cryptocurrency prices. 

The growing competition on the market of decentralized infrastructures is largely due to the launch of new public protocols with their unique technical advantages, which are simplifying the development of dApps and the implementation of ideas and concepts that could not be implemented on Ethereum, Tron or EOS. The lack of the technology needed that would negate the disadvantages of blockchain, such as the inability of network scaling, low network bandwidth, low transaction processing times, and others, is the main barrier preventing dApps from becoming even more popular and widely accepted as logical alternatives to classical apps.

The Alternatives

Apart from the all too popular Ethereum, Tron and EOS networks, there are other infrastructures becoming worthy alternatives. The Credits platform is one such competitor in the field that is offering a new solution for the development of dApps.

The Credits blockchain platform is a completely open-source and fully decentralized blockchain software protocol operating on smart contracts that are designed to allow the creation of high-performance applications. 

Credits smart contracts are written in JAVA, one of the most popular programming languages ​​in the world that is both accessible to most programmers and easily configurable to suit an endless variety of needs. Apache Thrift technology is used to allow the platform to simplify the process of integration with products developed in different programming languages.

It Is Working

Credits is not just a platform, but a full-fledged company that has publicly opened access to its software for all users. Anyone willing can join the network, launch an operating node and develop their own products and services based on the Credits protocol. To date, more than 20 decentralized applications have been developed on the Credits protocol.The full list is available on Credits dApp Map.

Projects such as the 0XUniverse gaming dApps, Unlimited Tower, ExoPlanets, Royale Roulette, along with the Karma, Rare Bits and WandX projects that are currently operating on the basis of the Ethereum, Tron and EOS protocols, are considering the possibility of migrating their applications to the Credits protocol for better functioning. 

Among the more interesting products based on the Credits platform is the Crext Extension, an analogue of Metamask acting as a browser extension for storing the Credits cryptocurrency and other tokens, and interacting with products based on Credits protocol. Another dApp is the CScheduler, a Credits blockchain-based service that provides the ability to schedule smart contracts at a defining moment or at specified time intervals. Among the popular gaming dApps on the Credits platform is Dice, a blockchain-based gambling game involving casting dice under the supervision of a random number generator.

Competition Is Progress

It is impossible to remain on what has already been achieved and the IT sector is the most progressive industry in the world, raking in hundreds of billions of dollars a year on apps and other products. The blockchain industry is catching up in terms of capitalization as major players are stepping in to provide the necessary infrastructure for its growth. However, the mainstays of the market are not indomitable and are gradually giving way to more advanced and progressive solutions.

The progress that the Credits platform has already made in its development and the innovative nature of its protocol have attracted the attention of many developers and giants of the IT industry, such as Lenovo and IBM. But the project team does not mean to stop on what has already been achieved and is planning to launch thematic hackathons and an Accelerator Program with a prize pool up to $2,000,000 to support the development of products and to showcase the capabilities of the platform.

If all goes as planned, the market will soon see a large number of products developed on the basis of the Credits protocol that will contribute to the development of the project infrastructure and its tokenomics. No matter the outcome of the upcoming events, one thing is clear – Credits is here to stay.

News Source

Continue Reading

Blockchain

Hedera Hashgraph, Touted as High-Speed Blockchain Alternative, Goes Live

Published

on

Hedera Hashgraph has launched its long-awaited public network, backed by some of the world’s largest corporations and promising faster transactions and greater capacity to scale than any blockchain to date.

Since December 2018, the network had been available in a testing environment to a small group of corporations and developers. As of 00:00 UTC Tuesday, anyone can open an account or build a decentralized app (dapp) on the hashgraph, which is similar to a blockchain but uses a different mechanism to achieve consensus about the state of the ledger.

With the public network now live, the Hedera treasury is set to begin distributing the system’s HBAR tokens around 01:00 UTC. The first tokens – more than 379 million – will go to investors who participated in a $124 million crowd sale that took place in three rounds from March 2018 to August 2018.

Another 1.95 million tokens will go to advisors, vendors and other participants on day one. The balance of the 50 billion supply of HBARs is to be released over the next 15 years by the network’s governing council.

Twelve cryptocurrency exchanges and over-the-counter (OTC) desks plan to list HBAR for trading: AlgoZ, BitOoda, Bering Waters, Bittrex, Galaxy Digital, GSR, Liquid, OKEx, OKCoin, OSL, Upbit and xFutures.

A year and a half in the making, the hashgraph stands out from other distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) in several ways. Its creators claim it works more efficiently than blockchains, making it more suitable for enterprises and commerce. Specifically, Hedera says the network can support up to 10,000 transactions per second, compared to 2.8 per second for bitcoin and 15 for ethereum, the two largest blockchains.

“This is the first instance globally of hashgraph being put to the test,” Hedera CEO Mance Harmon told CoinDesk. “It’s a different data structure, different technology and looks nothing like a blockchain, but solves the same kinds of problems with better security and better performance.”

Hashgraph proponents also say its proof-of-stake consensus mechanism is fairer than bitcoin’s proof-of-work, allowing transactions to come in the order they were recorded and to all settle in the same amount of time. Hedera’s code is patented rather than open-source, a condition the network says it will enforce to deter copying of the codebase or forking.

Not least of all, Hedera boasts the imprimatur of blue-chip names, with IBM, Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, Tata, Nomura and bank tech vendor FIS represented on its governing council, whose members run nodes and vote on software updates.

Praise and pans

In the lead-up to the launch, Hedera Hashgraph has gained its share of admirers and critics.

Among its fans are Steve Wilson, a principal analyst at emerging technologies advisory firm Constellation Research, who says Hedera’s size is the key to its speed.

While regular blockchains are a couple of gigabytes large, the hashgraph is smaller because it does not store all transaction history on the ledger (though it can be optionally stored on a “mirror” network). In addition to its speed, the hashgraph promises finality and instant payments as opposed to around 70 percent of transactions settling every ten minutes for bitcoin and a handful of transactions never reaching finality, Wilson said.

“If we think crypto is going to be viable for retail transactions, it’s not acceptable for you to walk out with the merchant unsure if they’ll get paid,” he said. “Hedera has a quality of service that others are not as committed to.”

That speed, however, only applies to certain kinds of transactions, said Eric Wall, the former blockchain lead at Nasdaq-owned fintech vendor Cinnober.

“A dapp requires smart contracts and since Hedera is currently throttling 10 transactions per second with smart contracts, then it doesn’t make this any more interesting than ethereum,” said Wall, who recently wrote a pair of skeptical Medium posts about Hedera.

Hedera’s consensus service is also nothing new, Wall maintained. Sidechains have also been created off of public blockchains that take advantage of the consensus strength of the underlying system.

“I can’t predict the future of what Hedera will transition to in the future, but moving away from a model that is based on economic and game theory guarantees to a trusted model is a severe reduction in the neutrality model of the system,” he said.

Link to private networks

Since October, hundreds of developers have been building on the network and 25 are now running dapps that were integrated into the mainnet prior to launch, Harmon told CoinDesk.

Nevertheless, the hashgraph is considered to be in a beta testing phase because the network still lacks the Hedera Consensus Service (HCS) and a few other features which will be included in version 1.0.

The HCS is to serve as a link between private blockchain networks and the hashgraph. It allows a hash of transactions from another network to be ordered in the Hedera network by time, showing a searchable record of when transactions occurred with the trust of a decentralized network.

For example, Certara, a drug development and decision-support company, plans to use the HCS to create “tamper-proof” recording of health data transactions while using a private network like Hyperledger Fabric to ensure privacy, said Jim Nasr, vice president of technology and innovation at Certara subsidiary Synchrogenix.

The HCS will also allow Fabric to run on top of mirror nodes that provide insights into all the transactions flowing over the hashgraph but do not participate in the consensus mechanism like a regular node.

“Getting computational trust is why you want to go down the blockchain path for healthcare,” Nasr said. “With the consensus service, your transactions finalize on the mainnet yet can still leverage a private blockchain.”

source.coindesk.

Continue Reading
Open

Close