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Are Stellar (XLM) and Ripple (XRP) really that comparable?

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We can see how the cryptocurrency market grows every day. Steadily the offer of virtual coins is turning into a larger one, diversifying like that the wideness of the industry and each time, providing more new services that attach to the needs of the sector. However, sometimes in this amplitude of the repertory, many similarities can be found betwixt cryptocurrencies; even getting to a point where it results challenging to differentiate one from the other.

That is exactly the case of Stellar (XLM) and Ripple (XRP), two separate tokens that are linked one to the other very often. As a matter of fact, there are significant similarities between Stellar (XLM) and Ripple (XRP), many of which the most popular include the fact of having been founded by the same person Jed McCaleb.

But the truth is that despite the common points, these coins behave very differently, and their goals are the same way, very apart. Let’s see what the main differences between the tokens of Stellar and Ripple are!

The overall dissimilarity

The first difference has to be the purpose of each one of the cryptos. While it was supposed that Stellar was created with the intention of fixing the errors and improving what Ripplehas, they actually approach different objectives.

For instance, Stellar aims to work with individuals to provide them with financial product and services at a meager price, creating an opportunity to fight against poverty and develop the full financial potential of each person.

On the other hand, Ripple works on a network with the vision of connecting bank entities, exchange platforms, and payment providers through the RippleNet. Its primary mission is to provide a safe network where transactions would be completely effective.

Similarly, while Stellar is a not-for-profit organization, Ripple is the opposite, a profit-seeking company envisioning to work on solutions to the most significant financial enterprises in the industry.

The protocols

At the beginning both Stellar and Ripple used to work under the same protocol, even sharing almost the same code. However, the story is entirely different now as currently they use different protocols and share almost nothing of the code.

At the moment, Stellar uses the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) which can be considered as a big-scale evolution of the Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA); in essence, it offers complete decentralization, flexible trust, bounded security and low latency. It all remains on decentralization, a fact that Ripple does not offer at the moment.

Ripple, on the other hand, uses the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA), which is basically based on the mechanism of Proof of Correctness (PoC).

Likewise, when it comes to the speeds of each protocol the first works at a pace of 1000 tx/s in contrast to the protocol used by Ripple, which in the lapse of each second is applied to all of the nodes.

Strategic alliances and collaborations

In this matter, Stellar is a few steps behind Ripple, which has developed the best partnership relations across the world.

Nevertheless, the Stellar Development Foundation has also created solid partnerships setting up payment platforms in some countries of the Europe continent and the Philippines, having Africa as the next target, a market potentially powerful to work with as is highly unexplored and accomplishes the vision of the company.

Ripple has developed relations all across the globe with some of the most crucial bank entities, including central banks. There remains a crucial difference between the two companies; while one is focusing on building relations with non-bank institutions, the other targets only the banking industry.

The current market differentiation

It seems somehow that even when Stellar has developed a great business model it still has so much to do to reach the level of its contender Ripple. As of today, Ripple figures at the number 3 spot in the charts of the website Coinmarketcap.comwhile Stellar is at the 8th position.

Both virtual currencies have decreased in value in the last 24 hours, Ripple at a 7.9% with a current price of $0.68 per unit, and Stellar with 9.5% of decrease and a total price per unit of $0.33.

To sum up, it results evident that now there are more features making both coins differ from the other than what it made them comparable at the beginning. However, both are excellent options in the market, and without any doubt, we could be seeing them exponentially growing in the near future.

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Australians Can Pay Utility Bills With Bitcoin (BTC)

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Bitcoin (BTC)–In terms of adoption for cryptocurrency, being able to pay for real world goods and services with the digital currency has long been viewed as the gold standard. The bear market of 2018 has led to a shift in focus away from the fundamentals of crypto and the usability of blockchain transactions in favor of wild price speculation. However, an Australian-based partnership is attempting to provide a solution for customers looking to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency exchange Cointree announced a joint-venture with billing platform Gobbill to give Australian customers the opportunity to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency. The goal of the union is to provide a solution for automated billing via crypto, with Gobbill functioning as the intermediary in the exchange, taking user funds in crypto and making the payment in fiat.

Using the Cointree wallet, users of the cryptocurrency exchange will be able to convert stored coins automatically into utility bill payments, giving customers the opportunity to pay in BTC, XRP, and nearly 40 other currencies. While Australian utility companies will not be accepting crypto directly for payment (the exchange involves a conversion to fiat), it does represent a way for Australian crypto users to get around having to cash out of their denomination on exchanges to free up funds for utility payment. The service is being aimed at small businesses and average investors, with the co-founder and CEO of Gobbill, Shendon Ewans, expounding upon the planned form of payment,

“We anticipate a surge in the number of customers who would like to pay their bills in crypto in the coming years. Our partnership with Cointree will cater to this market and ensure Gobbill continues to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to allowing our users to pay their bills automatically, while knowing they’re protected from fraud and scams.”

According to Ewans, Gobbill views this partnership with Cointree as getting ahead of the curve, a refrain we have heard several times from tangential businesses attempting to capitalize on cryptocurrency. By offering a service that automatically takes payments in cryptocurrency, Gobbill is exposing itself to the growing, and vocal, userbase of cryptocurrency, in addition to paving a future for their company that involves a takeoff in the digital currencies.

Cointree also sees partnerships for bill payments and automatic drafting as a way to increase their customer base, with efforts already enacted for several years on the front of crypto-to-bill payment. Jess Rendon, operations manager of Cointree, reported that the company has processed $100 million in bills paid in 2017,

“Last year alone we had about AU$100 million of bills paid and saw ten times growth in this payment feature.

CCN reports that paying bills with cryptocurrency has seen an explosion in Australia over the last several years, having grown by 3300% in a three-year period. While the system devised by Gobbill is still a step removed from utility companies accepting Bitcoin and altcoins directly, it does provide another avenue for investors looking to use their coins outside of exchange speculation.

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Bakkt CEO: ‘With Our Solution, the Buying and Selling of Bitcoin Is Fully Collateralized or Pre-Funded’

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On Monday (20 August 2018), Bakkt, the new company announced by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) on 3 August 2018, declared that with its solution, “the buying and selling of bitcoin is fully collateralized or pre-funded.”

ICE’s press release mentioned that Bakkt would be offering a one-day phsyically-delivered Bitcoin futures product:

“As an initial component of the Bakkt offering, Intercontinental Exchange’s U.S.-based futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval. These regulated venues will establish new protocols for managing the specific security and settlement requirements of digital currencies.”

This is how Bakkt announced today’s news on Twitter:

Kelly Loeffler, the CEO of Bakkt, provided more details in a post on Bakkt’s Medium blog.

Loeffler started by saying that to achieve a “trusted infrastructure for trading, storing and spending digital currencies”, Bakkt would need to provide:

  • “a consistent regulatory construct”;
  • “transparent, efficient price discovery”; and
  • “an institutional quality pre- and post-trade infrastructure”

She then moved to the “meat” of Bakkt’s announcement:

“A critical element to price discovery is physical delivery. Specifically, with our solution, the buying and selling of Bitcoin is fully collateralized or pre-funded. As such, our new daily Bitcoin contract will not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset.”

She noted that this provided support for market integrity and differentiated them from other exchanges which “allow for margin, leverage and cash settlement.” She went on to say that once you take into account the fact that Bakkt also provides “a secure, regulated warehouse solution”, it was easy to see how this infrastructure could “help more institutions and consumers participate in the asset class.”

For many crypto traders/investors and analysts, what Bakkt announced today sounded great. However, not everyone was equally excited.

Caitlin Long, 22-year Wall Street veteran (including over eight years at U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley) who has been active in Bitcoin since 2012, expressed her concern about “financialization” (i.e. when an asset class becomes investable by large institutional investors) of cryptocurrencies, and especially her worries about “leverage-based financialization” (which arises “either from the issuance of more assets out of thin air to dilute existing holders, or from the creation of more claims to the asset than there are assets”) in an article for Forbes published on 31 July 2018.

Upon hearing Bakkt’s announcement earlier today, she sent out the following tweets to explain that although the confirmation that Bakkt’s daily Bitcoin contract would not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset” was a good thing, she still had a few reservations:

 

 

 

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Biometric Cryptocurrency Card Protects Bitcoin with Fingerprints

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Unikeys has officially announced its UKey cryptocurrency card.

In form, it’s shaped like any other regular payment card. But it’s designed to host multiple popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and Litecoin. What’s more, it features an embedded fingerprint sensor. Once a user’s fingerprint data has been registered and stored in the card’s Secure Element, the card is then able to biometrically authenticate the user for each transaction, ensuring a high level of security.

The biometric component is the product of a collaboration between Unikeys and Hong Kong-based MeReal Biometrics, which obtained its fingerprint sensor technology from Sweden’s Fingerprint Cards. Fingerprint Cards has been very busy in recent months seeking to secure a leading position in the biometric cards market as major financial services brands like Visa and Mastercard prepare for mass commercialization of this kind of technology; Unikeys, for its part, is ahead of the curve.

Of course, a key to success for the latter company will be establishing merchant support for its card’s cryptocurrency payments, and as RFID Journal reports, Unikeys is currently in talks with “several companies” concerning this issue. Unikeys’ CEO says the company is also planning to launch a pilot for its solution in Hong Kong, though details about the project are forthcoming.

Biometric Cryptocurrency Card Protects Bitcoin with Fingerprints

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