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Intercontinental Stock Exchange Seemingly to Expand Cryptocurrency Data Feed

NYSE’s operator ICE hinted at expanding its Cryptocurrency Data Feed with a thousand new coins.

Intercontinental Stock Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) hinted it was adding a slew of new coins to its Cryptocurrency Data Feed in a tweet on March 14.

Launched in January 2018, the Cryptocurrency Data Feed is a service offering real-time digital currency information, covering prices and order books. The platform was introduced following a partnership between ICE and Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain technology company Blockstream.

Per the recent announcement, ICE is extending the list of supported cryptocurrencies to thousands, also adding hundreds of venues. With this move, the company is ostensibly planning to increase transparency in the field.

At press time, the Cryptocurrency Data Feed supports 58 digital currencies from various data sources, markets and exchanges around the world. The service is backed by ICE’s Secure Financial Transaction Infrastructure (SFTI) tool, which claims to eliminate downtime for investors and enable immediate notifications in case of an emergency.

In February, ICE said that the launch of its cryptocurrency platform Bakkt is set for later in 2019. The project’s infrastructure has purportedly already attracted a number of high-profile investors and partners, including Starbucks and Microsoft.

That same month, ICE revealed that it had finalized its first acquisition of assets in futures commission merchant Rosenthal Collins Group, which was first announced in mid-January. The acquisition would allegedly expand Bakkt’s risk management and treasury operations with systems and expertise, and might contribute to Bakkt’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) policies.

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Blockstream’s Liquid Core Improves User Experience

At Blockstream, one of the many institutions geared towards funding Bitcoin Core—the source code powering Bitcoin—development, Bitcoin is at the heart of everything they do. In a bid to improve user experience and contribute towards fast adoption, Blockstream are now releasing a new multi-platform wallet, Liquid Core, specially designed for the Liquid-BTC network.

“Today we’re excited to release Liquid Core, a new multi-platform desktop wallet for transacting Liquid Bitcoin (L-BTC). Based on the battle-tested Bitcoin Core codebase, Liquid Core provides power users with a friendly alternative to the command line required to operate Liquidd and liquid-cli.”

Liquid Core replaces the Liquidd and liquid-cli and is based off the Bitcoin core battle-tested source code. The two were command line utilities that were the first interface between users and the Liquid side chain. Liquid Core is not only easy to use but allows users to deposit and withdraw L-BTC at all supporting exchanges while at the same time allowing for easy and fast transactions without the need of a third party.

Read: The most profitable Bitcoin Cloud Mining – 50% discount on all Contracts!

More about Liquid Network

In essence, the L-BTC work off the Liquid Network, which consists of exchanges, brokers and users allowing for fast and efficient transfer of Bitcoin transactions. Working through a pegging system each system that is deposited on the Liquid Network is backed by an equal amount of L-BTC. All L-BTC transactions are settled in two minutes complete with the added advantage of on-chain digital asset issuance. It is at the Liquid Network where users can actually tokenize fiat currencies, bonds, securities or any other cryptocurrency without the compromise since there is a confidential transaction feature that prevents front running of large orders.

Also Read: Bitcoin Can Be a Safe Haven for Journalists, Human Rights Foundation

The introduction of this L-BTC wallet now mean members and L-BTC coin owners can minimize risks of third party handling. Besides risks and the added advantage of CTs, atomic swap capabilities will be particularly beneficial for OTC traders wishing to convert Bitcoin for fiat and vice versa.

However, to get going, one must run a Bitcoin full node. After that, one can download, install and run Liquid Core. From there, one is at liberty to either acquire L-BTC from Rock Trading or join a discussion channel where they can swap BTC for L-BTC.

The post Blockstream’s Liquid Core Improves User Experience appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Unpacking Schnorr Signatures: Blockstream’s MuSig to Improve Bitcoin Transactions?

Blockstream’s MuSig schemes hopes to develop efficient, secure multisignature transaction capability for Bitcoin in the future.

Following the launch of working code last month, blockchain technology firm Blockstream hopes to successfully develop a new multisignature standard for Bitcoin transactions in the future.

Alongside this, Blockstream also released its latest version of its Bitcoin scaling software c-lightning at the beginning of March, marking a busy period for the highly regarded development house.

Upgrades to the Bitcoin protocol

Historically, potential upgrades to the Bitcoin protocol (BTC) have been a big point of contention since its inception back in 2009.

Satoshi Nakamoto’s original Bitcoin white paper is treated as something of a sacred text, and any changes to the way in which the technology works has been met with skepticism and opposition.

Nevertheless, the Bitcoin protocol has had its fair share of teething problems over the years due to a massive increase in the amount of users and the network’s ability to process transactions in a timely and cost-effective way.

Given that there must be consensus for any potential changes to the code, Bitcoin has been improved by implementations like SegWit, which has slowly rolled out over the past two years.

Any changes that aren’t agreed upon by the majority of the community have led to contentious hard forks, which have given birth to the likes of Bitcoin Cash.

Thus, any potential changes to the Bitcoin protocol take an extensive amount of time, research, development and testing before they can be rolled out to the wider community for consideration and implementation.

MuSig

Blockstream’s new Schnorr-based multisignature scheme (MuSig) has been rolled out for public testing and feedback in order to create working, fault-free code in the future.

To the layman, MuSig is an improvement that could potentially help scale Bitcoin’s blockchain by reducing transaction size by improving performance and user privacy. The groundwork for this code was laid by Blockstream cryptographers Pieter Wuille and Andrew Poelstra, as well as Yannick Seurin and Gregory Maxwell, in a research paper released in 2018.

Just over a year later, Blockstream released working code for testing by the wider cryptocurrency community on GitHub in the hopes that it could eventually be merged into the Bitcoin Core code and other projects.

Schnorr signatures

Digital signatures provide a cryptographic proof that a transaction was authorized by the owner of a particular private key. Most individual Bitcoin users send transactions with one signature that comes from the owner of the private key of the sending address.

Multisignatures provide the same kind of cryptographic proof when there are multiple owners of a wallet. In this case, the various owners need to produce their own individual signatures in order to generate a multisignature that authorizes a transaction.

Schnorr signatures are a specific type of multisignature that provide a couple of important benefits. The name Schnorr comes from the creator of the multisignature algorithm, Claus Schnorr.

Cointelegraph reached out to Blockstream cryptographer Andrew Poelstra to get a better understanding of the intricacies of the proposed MuSig upgrade. As he explains, the algorithm provides a number of benefits:

“Schnorr multisignatures are one specific type of multisignature which are small (64 bytes regardless of signer set size), which can be verified very efficiently, and which avoid exposing the number of signers to the blockchain.”

The reason why this implementation could have a dramatic effect on how the Bitcoin protocol works is due to the current form of multisignature that is used today.

Once again, Poelstra explains that the current multisignature, Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA), is simplistic in that it requires all signers to produce individual signatures that are then included in the relevant transaction.

“This means that for 2 signers, twice the blockchain space and twice the verification time are needed to process the transaction. If Bitcoin supported Schnorr signatures rather than ECDSA, this would enable several new technologies – most importantly, Schnorr multisignatures.”

For the network of miners that verifies Bitcoin transactions, these Schnorr-based multisignatures are identical to ordinary signatures. This means they are the same size and take the same amount of time to verify, but they are also more private.

According to Poelstra, they don’t reveal the original set of signers, or even provide the number of signers for a multisignature transaction. This should increase the anonymity and privacy of multisignature transactions.

MuSig

Bitcoin currently uses the ECDSA signature algorithm to verify ownership and transfer of BTC on the blockchain. As Blockstream explained in their original announcement, the ECDSA signature has a number of limitations.

The biggest concern is the difficulty of creating multisignatures using ECDSA due to the complexity of the structure of the signatures produced.

Blockstream’s main concern with ECDSA and other current multisignature schemes is that they assume signers of transactions have control of how and when their keys are generated and that they have a reliable and secure memory.

In reality, many Bitcoin users don’t have access to their keys and how they are generated, and they also have no control over third parties and how they use the keys. Blockchain’s proposed MuSig scheme hopes to address this in two ways.

Firstly, MuSig creates short, consistently sized signatures that look the same to verifiers, no matter how many signers are involved. This aims for efficiency, by relieving the burden of signer details while maintaining security.

Secondly, MuSig wants to provide provable security using plain public keys. They are aiming to give signers flexibility in the way they produce and provide multisignatures to transactions without having to provide extra information on how the keys were produced.

It is noted that this is still an area of difficulty when it comes to Bitcoin key generation due to the variety of key management policies in the ecosystem.

Extensive testing needed

While Blockstream hopes to provide a workable solution to improved multisignature transactions, they are under no illusion of the challenges of doing so.

Ensuring the security of multisignature transactions is far more complicated, as it cannot simply use the same hashing method to ensure uniform randomness of signatures through cryptographic hashing.

Subsequent signers of a multisignature transaction could use other signers’ “nonce” (a hashed number that can only be used once in a cryptographic transaction) for more than one signature.

The current solution is to use a session ID for a signing session of a multisignature transaction, which is a temporary one until Blockstream develops a more robust solution.

Replay attacks are still a concern for multisiganture transactions, given the number of steps involved in verifying a transactions that requires signatures from multiple participants.

Considering all of this, Poelstra tells Cointelegraph that the security of Schnorr signatures and their use in MuSig is not a concern:

“Schnorr signatures are algebraically simple to reason about, and provably secure under the same cryptographic assumptions that underlie ECDSA. Of course, as with any proposed change to Bitcoin, the introduction of Schnorr signatures would require a substantial amount of testing and review.”

The way forward

Putting a timeline on the testing and potential implementation of MuSig is not a straightforward concept. Given the complexity of ensuring the security and efficacy of multisignature transactions, a working and trustable solution will take a considerable amount of time to produce.

As Poelstra explains, developing and implementing MuSig will require collaboration with the wider Bitcoin community:

“The first step is putting together a concrete, specific proposal, and sending this to the bitcoin-dev mailing list for community review. The review process will likely take many months, during which time the proposal could undergo many changes. In parallel to this, and continuing afterward, code needs to be written, tested and reviewed. The software then needs to be widely deployed before the changes can be activated. It is hard to say how long this entire process will take.”

In the event that the code is approved and implemented by the wider Bitcoin community, it won’t be necessary to undergo any sort of hard fork to implement changes, according to Poelstra:

“The introduction of Segwit in 2017 also introduced a versioning mechanism for changes to Bitcoin Script (such as the introduction of new signature schemes), which allows such upgrades to happen in a softfork. Prior to Segwit it would also have been possible to introduce Schnorr signatures in a softfork, though with more engineering effort to ensure a smooth transition as users update at different times.”

The wider Bitcoin development community is being encouraged to test Blockstream’s code on GitHub in order to facilitate the development of fully usable code in the next few months and years.

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People Are Paying Real Bitcoin to Send Weird and Wild Messages Into Space

You’re not sure where it will end up exactly or who will actually read it. But you type up a message, pay a couple of cents in bitcoin and click the “send” button. Your message zips through space – yes, space – then is broadcast out of a satellite, blanketing the world. The result? A […]

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Blockstream Releases Upgrade of Its Bitcoin Lightning Network Implementation

Blockchain development company Blockstream has released a new version of its Bitcoin scalability software, c-lightning.

Blockchain development company Blockstream has released a new version of its Bitcoin (BTC) scalability software, c-lightning, a post on the company’s blog reveals on March 1.

C-lightning is an implementation of the off-chain Bitcoin scalability solution, the Lightning Network (LN), that is written in the C programming language. Per the announcement, this latest version, c-lightning 0.7, is the first major release in 8 months and brings performance enhancements, bug fixes, augmented privacy and new features, as well as improved documentation.

The main new feature is plugin supports, which allow developers to extend the capabilities of the software with plugins written in any programming language. The developers hope that this will contribute to the flexibility, extensibility and customizability of this LN implementation.

Last week, Blockstream co-founder and CEO Adam Back participated in the LN-based Lightning Torch Bitcoin relay. He then passed the Torch on to former PayPal COO and early Blockstream supporter, Reid Hoffman.

As Cointelegraph reported in January, blockchain technology firm Bitfury Group has released a series of new tools for merchants and developers in a bid to drive wider adoption of the LN.

Data provided by a BTC statistics website revealed that the capacity of the Bitcoin Lightning Network has surpassed $2 million in December of last year.

Also in December, an R&D lab at crypto startup TenX tested the use of its cross-blockchain interoperability protocol to exchange Ethereum’s (ETH) ERC20 protocol tokens for Bitcoin using the Lightning Network.

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Ex-PayPal COO Hails Bitcoin ‘Acceleration’ as He Joins Lightning Torch Relay

Reid Hoffman inherited the Lightning Torch from Blockstream CEO Adam Back, with the next participant still a mystery.

LinkedIn co-founder and former PayPal COO Reid Hoffman has become the latest participant in the Lightning Torch Bitcoin (BTC) transaction relay, Blockstream CEO Adam Back confirmed on social media on Feb. 26.

Reid, whom Back appeared to choose due to his lead investment role in Blockstream, is the 224th person to “hold” the Torch, which began its journey around the Bitcoin community in mid-January.

Each participant sends an invoice for the transaction via the Lightning Network, adding 10,000 satoshis to the balance before sending it forward.

Twitter has become the platform of choice for informing the wider community about who will next receive the Torch.

“Great to see Lightning accelerating Bitcoin use cases and adoption,” Hoffman commented upon receipt.

The entrepreneur did not mention who may inherit the Torch from his control, leading to multiple suggestions from various sources about who would be a suitable candidate.

Tesla founder Elon Musk was once again a favorite candidate, having previously become the subject of a lobbying effort by others, including the Twitter user known as hodlonaut, who started Lightning Torch.

Aiming to increase awareness and test the resilience of the Lightning Network, the Torch has already received public backing from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Before Reid, another high profile participant in the Torch relay was financial derivatives giant Fidelity Investments, which received and passed on the Lightning Torch on Feb. 22.

Tippin.me, the micropayment resource that hodlonaut used to send the first Torch transaction, began letting Twitter users tip each other with Bitcoin last week.

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2019 Stanford Blockchain Conference Spotlights Blockchain Security and ‘Risk’

Blockchain will come under the microscope for a third year next month as Stanford hosts its now annual conference event.

Security and “systemic risk” will form the focus of the third Stanford Blockchain Conference at Stanford University on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, organizers have revealed.

Continuing the institution’s ever increasing interest in blockchain technology, the three-day event will see presentations and discussions on a variety of technical issues.

Chaired by Stanford professors, among others, the event will see contributions from multiple cryptocurrency businesses, with input from names such as Blockstream, ConsenSys and Polychain Capital.

Talks will come from representatives of industry businesses including Stellar-focused startup Interstellar and smart contracts platform Chainspace.

The conference, which first ran in 2017, “will explore the use of formal methods, empirical analysis, and risk modeling to better understand security and systemic risk in blockchain protocols.”

Organizers wrote as part of the introduction to this year’s event that “multidisciplinary collaboration” is a main theme:

“We aim to foster multidisciplinary collaboration among practitioners and researchers in blockchain protocols, distributed systems, cryptography, computer security, and risk management.”

Stanford has sought to offer students more direct study of blockchain in recent times, in June this year opening a dedicated blockchain research center.

In October, meanwhile, the establishment was rumored to be one of several in the United States investing in crypto funds.

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Blockstream Launches 5th Satellite Streaming Bitcoin Blockchain From Space

Blockchain development firm Blockstream has expanded its satellite service and is now broadcasting the Bitcoin blockchain to all of Earth’s major land masses

Blockchain development firm Blockstream has expanded its satellite service and is now broadcasting the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain to all of Earth’s major land masses, Forbes reported Dec. 17.

The wider coverage — which comes via the addition of a fifth leased satellite — brings potential internet-free Bitcoin transactions and information sharing to crypto users in the Asia Pacific region. The satellite service, still in beta, had hitherto already been available across Africa, Europe, South and North America.

Blockstream has also reportedly launched a new application programming interface (API), which allows lets the satellites be used to exchange encrypted messages and pay for them using micropayments on the Lightning Network. Blockstream CSO Samson Mow contextualized the move, saying, “Bitcoin has always been about uncensorable money, and now we have uncensorable communications as well.”

As Forbes outlines, the ambitious Bitcoin space initiative aims to free crypto usage from dependency on access to the internet and make the security of the Bitcoin network maximally robust. Blockstream CEO Adam Back told the magazine:

“We see the increased robustness of the bitcoin network and the lower cost of participation contributing to helping businesses rely on the service for backup, and for emerging markets to use as their primary access to the bitcoin network at a lower cost.”

With its latest expansion, the Blockstream Satellite covers the entire globe, except for the remote regions of Greenland and Antarctica. Moreover, the data now streamed by the satellites covers all historical Bitcoin transaction data, rather than only the immediately preceding blocks, as in the project’s earlier iterations.

When it first announced its satellite project in August 2017, Blockstream pitched its aim as being to “connect everyone on the planet” in the face of limited global internet access, and even more limited online freedom.

As reported, the idea of launching Bitcoin relay satellites is not new, with Bitcoin pioneer Jeff Garzik’s BitSat scheme seeking to do just that in 2014, although the initiative has since seemingly come to a standstill.