The past year has seen an onslaught of doom-and-gloom narratives shower down on our fledgling movement, in stark contrast to the inflated hype cycle we swam through the year before. I am here to report that this year has, in fact, been a tremendously productive one for the teams hard at work building the decentralized web’s core infrastructure.
We are far from drowning in the expectations that were set 2017 – rather, we have a found refreshing calm and focus in the storm many have dubbed “Crypto Winter.”
When Gavin Wood and I left the Ethereum Foundation to co-found Parity Technologies just three years ago, we knew that the path forward would likely provide a bit of a wild ride. We had already been through the waves of speculation that surrounded our work ensuring Ethereum’s launch and knew that as the spotlight brightened, these tidal hype surges would likely become more dramatic. We took the opportunity to build Parity Ethereum in 2015 while global enthusiasm was waning and delivered the fastest and most secure software for Ethereum, helping support the next phase of intense public interest with strong, proven technology.
We find ourselves in a very similar position today at the end of 2018.
Huge strides have been made in the development of the technology that supports innovation of a better web and more reliable institutions. This is where the focus should be.
This crypto winter we put everything we have learned building Ethereum, bitcoin, Polkadot and application-specific blockchain implementations into Substrate — a free, open-source blockchain development framework.
Now, even developers new to decentralized Web3 infrastructure will be able to spin up their own blockchains, networks and services in just minutes or days. Projects using Substrate will be able to freely access the same state-of-the-art tech stack we are using to build the interoperability network Polkadot for the Web3 Foundation and Parity Ethereum 2.0 (Serenity) with support from the Ethereum Foundation.
This is the sort of core infrastructure that helped support the last swell of development and innovation, and it will go a long way towards bolstering the next one.
The chill has also fared well for many of the projects and teams we work together with closely.
For instance, great progress has been made in our ongoing collaboration with Protocol Labs to develop and implement the LibP2P network stack, a key piece of networking technology that we will be using in Substrate, Polkadot and Ethereum 2.0. Melonport, the first decentralized protocol for asset management, launched this February.
The World Food Program’s Building Blocks project, which we built with the U.N. using Parity Ethereum, started to scale up and will be tested across more of the U.N.’s various divisions, as the WFP’s project has proven to save on upfront costs as well as 1.5-3 percent per transaction on the ground.
The program will have helped feed over 500,000 refugees by the end of the year at a lower cost, allowing funding to reach deeper into impacted areas. And finally, Zcash successfully pushed the Sapling network upgrade this year, greatly improving the prospects for improved user privacy in a Web3 future.
We are excited to start work on a Parity Zcash node this year in partnership with the Zcash Foundation.
The next year will see major network launches and upgrades from Tezos, Ethereum, Polkadot, and more – all united in a common vision to put the internet back into the hands of its users. The core teams building these networks are all growing rapidly – Parity doubled in size this year and we plan to double in size again next year. The Web3 Foundation will also continue hiring into the next year along with many of the teams listed here.
Our builder’s view on how much progress we have made towards this vision was crystalized at Web3 Summit at the end of the year, where the teams mentioned above and more came together for three vibrant days in Berlin. There was no sense of worry about markets or talk about where prices were going to go, just a clear focus on the task at hand and the work that needed to be done to accomplish it.
The time is now
We have also seen a great deal of reinforcement for the necessity of Web3 over the past year. This movement has seen this before and know that as history evolves, the implications of a truly peer-to-peer internet will become larger.
I strongly believe that 2018 will go down as a pivotal point in the growth and maturity of the Web3 movement:
- In 2018, we learned about Cambridge Analytica, Facebook’s ever-expanding list of issues and have seen more clearly than ever the depth of global surveillance and data misuse – after we had five years to ponder the meaning of the Snowden revelations.
- In 2018, we mourned the ten-year anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis and the impact that abuses by the financial services industry had on ourselves, our families and our world.
- In 2018, we celebrated Bitcoin’s 10th birthday and considered how far we have come from Satoshi’s white paper.
- In 2018, we remember the first time we read the Ethereum white paper, five years ago.
- In January 2019, we will view a world 20 years along from the first printings of the Euro and analyze what the future might hold for this experiment in monetary policy.
- In 2019, we will see a new generation of open-source, peer-to-peer networks launch and start to fulfill the promise made to return control and privacy to the internet’s users when my co-founder Gavin Wood first coined the concept of Web 3.0 through networks of decentralized applications almost five years ago when designing the specification for Ethereum.
The next year is a promising one, and I hope you see the light through the storm as I do.
Despite the deflated narrative we have weathered over the past year, this time was by no means wasted. Those building this future decentralized internet have been hard at work.
India’s proposed crypto ban is ‘corrupt’ says Tim Draper
- India’s proposed bill is “pathetic and corrupt,” Tim Draper.
- Draper is known for his public support for Bitcoin and freedom to use cryptocurrencies.
Following a leaked bill from the India government proposed a blanket ban on cryptocurrency, Tim Draper, a Bitcoin support and investor in Tezos has come out to condemn the move. The outspoken investor has recently advocated Bitcoin to the government of Argentina. He refers to India’s proposed bill as being “pathetic and corrupt.”
He wrote on Twitter:
“People behaving badly! India’s government banned Bitcoin, a currency providing great hope for prosperity in a country that desperately needs it. Shame on India leadership.”
His comments have not been received well by the people on Twitter with some saying that Draper has not confirmed the developments and is acting on hearsay only. Draper is known for his public support for Bitcoin and freedom to use cryptocurrencies and does not support government involvement in terms of regulating the space.
As reported by FXStreet, a lawyer in India shared what he referred to as the evidence of a draft law that could be used to ban cryptocurrencies in India except for the ‘Digital Rupee,” a digital asset that will be issued and backed by the Reserve Bank of India.
More on India’s leaked draft bill: India’s battle with crypto ban continues: “Digital Rupee” to be only the digital currency
France’s Financial Watchdog Proposes ‘Voluntary’ Regulatory Framework for Crypto Firms
The Financial Markets Authority (AMF), France’s top financial organization, plans to release an experimental regulatory framework for crypto firms later this month, according to a Reuters report.
The rules will include capital requirements, tax mandates, and consumer protection protocols – which “crypto-related firms will voluntarily abide by” in exchange for regulatory approval, reports Reuters.
Anne Marechal, executive director for legal affairs at the AMF, called the experimental arrangement a “precursor” for international crypto-specific legislation, rather than the mismatched application of financial regulations written prior to the advent of the asset class.
This is not the first time France has unveiled a “tit for tat” regulatory scheme. In April, the AMF released a requirement for banks to open accounts for crypto firms that “opt in” to being regulated. Part of the PACTE law, crypto exchanges and custodians were also extended the “option” to attain an operating visa.
At the time, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire suggested the European Union follow “the French experience” by using the PACTE guidance to set up a “single regulatory framework” for digital assets in the EU single market.
These relatively unrestrictive legal measures were taken to promote the growth of small and medium-size businesses. While some governments, organizations, or industry leaders call explicitly for self-regulation or no regulation, many believe clearer rules regarding the sale, distribution, trading of cryptocurrencies would stimulate, rather than hamper, the industry.
Frederic Montagnon, the co-founder of LGO, a crypto exchange looking to expand into France, told Reuters, “When you are an entrepreneur, the worst that can happen to you is to set up your business where there is no regulation, to see an adverse regulatory framework later imposed that jeopardizes your whole business.”
Marechal said “several” crypto exchanges, custodians, and hedge funds are in dialogue regarding the regulatory framework with the AMF, which is also set to approve “three or four” ICOs.
Specifics will arise when the watchdog publishes the regulatory guidance.
For each U.S dollar in BTC spent on the darknet, $800 is laundered, says report attacking Steven Mnuchin’s claims
Following the crypto-focused briefing by the U.S Treasury Secretary, many have drawn conclusions that best fit their financial interests. But, with Steven Mnuchin linking Bitcoin to enabling illegal activities, hardcore crypto-enthusiasts have taken the criticism personally. In an attempt to dispense of this notion, Messari.io published a detailed report to compare the top fiat’s contribution towards fraud, in comparison to the world’s leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
In the report titled, “Bitcoin in the grand scheme of things,” BTC’s contribution toward illegal activities was dwarfed by the strongest of fiat establishments. Through a combined analysis of data from Chainalysis and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the report claimed,
“For each $ (U.S. Dollar) in BTC spent on the darknet, at least $800 is laundered.”
While this revelation may come as a shocker to traditional financial giants, it is important to note that messari.io has considered the total volume of BTC spent on the darknet, which largely comprises of legitimate transfers.
Further, the one-on-one comparison also showed that global economies recorded an explosive increase in their stock of narrow money [M1] i.e. physical money and digital assets. With the European Union leading this race with 0.87 billion in supply, it’s currently 98% higher than BTC’s total supply expected to be recorded sometime in 2020 (considering BTC’s price to be $10,000).
The report also considered the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet from 2009, the year when BTC was launched. The report revealed that the Fed’s balance sheet showed a currency issuance rate of 13,664%, against BTC’s modest 12 billion.
This report was shared by, @fmoulin7, over a tweet directed towards Mnuchin, which read,
“Just a quick reminder… @stevenmnuchin1”
Most leaders within the cryptoverse expect the U.S. government to allow the use of crypto within the limits set by the nation’s ruling government. The remaining however, retain their optimism for a BTC-dominated future, with or without the support of the government.