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Former Ripple CTO's Blockchain Project Coil Enters Closed Beta

“Coil, a new company founded by Ripple’s former chief technology officer Stefan Thomas, has launched a closed beta.

The project – which aims to allow web content creators to better monetize their work – was announced in May, when Thomas departed Ripple. In an interview, Thomas detailed the closed beta, describing the initiative as a way to level the playing field for content creators.

“If you’re big you can have a subscription service like Netflix or Spotify. If you’re big you can collect enough data about people to make a lot of money with ads like Facebook or Google,” he said, going on to add:

“If you’re small it’s actually very hard right now to make money on the web.”

Coil has not announced the beta publicly, Thomas said, though it has begun inviting certain select parties (those interested can sign up here).

Thus far, few websites have joined the platform, he continued, noting that “we did some passive integrations with some sites like Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitch.”

While at Ripple, Thomas co-created Interledger, an interoperability protocol that facilitates payments across different networks. This technology, which is open source, is now being used as the basis of Coil.

Thomas also helped to create Codius, a smart contract platform that Ripple developed- in-house but ultimately shelved in 2015 due to technological challenges and a lack of compelling use cases. In June, however, Thomas revealed that Codius would be incorporated into Coil.

Coil allows readers, watchers and listeners to compensate content creators through micropayments. It’s a model that has been tried multiple times in the industry, including the browser-focused startup Brave, which raised $35 million in an ICO last year. Thomas also cited Patreon and Flattr, but highlighted an important aspect that distinguishes Coil.

With Coil, he said, “you’re getting paid in real time,” allowing content creators to explore new business models.

“You can now make a service where maybe you need to rent a server for every user that comes by,” he explained, adding that other possibilities include downloading or uploading a file, sending an SMS, or streaming music that triggers a licensing fee.

“The website gets the money instantly as you’re on the website, so they can actually react to it and provide extra services,” Thomas said, concluding:

“That’s never been possible before, so we’re excited to see what people build with that.”

Coil image by Guillaume de Germain via Unsplash

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Is Codius, By Former Ripple ‘Star’ Stefan Thomas, The True Ethereum (ETH) Killer?

In an earlier article, Ethereum World News had stated that Ripple (XRP) had revived the Codius project simply because it was the same guys working on the project. However, Stefan Thomas, the former Chief Technology Officer at Ripple, now runs Coil and is the man behind the revival of the Codius Smart Contract project and not as earlier indicated. Ethereum World News wanted to update its readers on this update and correction.

This announcement by Stefan, adds Codius to the budding list of Smart Contract platforms that aim to solve issues experienced on the Ethereum platform such as scaling, congestion on the network, security vulnerabilities and high ‘gas’ fees for transactions.

Which MainNets are the existing Competition for Ethereum?

Ethereum World News, with the continual assistance of its online community, has been closely tracking the MainNet platforms that have launched or are planning on launching their own blockchains this year. In the initially tally of 8 projects, the Nuls (NULS) MainNet had been left out but the Reddit community was quick to point out that it too had a MainNet launchde.

Therefore, below is a list of each of these projects battling it out with Ethereum and the launch dates of their MainNet versions:

  1. Tron (TRX) – 31st May
  2. EOS (EOS) – 2nd June
  3. Zilliqa (ZIL) – Q3
  4. VeChain (VEN) – late June
  5. Cardano (ADA) – September 2017, what is left is decentralization
  6. Oyster Pearls (PRL) – 29th May
  7. Ontology (ONT) –  Yet to be announced date in June
  8. Aeternity (AE) – late July or early August
  9. Nuls (NULS) – 31st May

Three of these projects have been unofficially baptized as possible Ethereum Killers by the online crypto community. These are the projects of Tron, EOS and Zilliqa. All three are unique in their own respects and solve real life problems experienced on the first-in-market Ethereum Platform.

Also to note, is that the above 9 do not exhaust all the projects launching MainNet platforms in the Crypto-verse this year. With the reentry of Codius, the smart contracts arena has changed completely.

How has the game changed and will Codius be the True Ethereum Killer?

Firstly, Codius aims to use Interledger to facilitate interoperability between blockchain platforms. This capability by any one project was always a topic of discussion but never a reality. Codius plans on doing just that. No more silo barriers on the blockchain.

Former Ripple CTO and Codius Creator, Stefan Thomas. Source, coindesk.com

Secondly, Codius somewhat automatically gets the support of the Ripple community: from developers, social media fans, HODLers and Traders. Ripple has proved to being the cryptocurrency choice for lots of traders and institutions such as SBI Holdings that recently launched an XRP centered Cryptocurrency exchange known as SBI Virtual Currencies or simply VCTRADE. This support is sure to be transferred to Stefan, Coil and Codius.

Thirdly, and with the aforementioned community support, XRP could eclipse Ethereum in the cryptocurrency markets. Current market analysis indicate that the difference in market capitalization between the two coins is $33.963 Billion. XRP need only be valued at $1.54 to edge out ETH from the number 2 spot using current market values.

Fourthly, Coil – the company now working on Codius – plans on monetizing the web and will use this smart contract platform to achieve just that. This means Codius can be used by both by the blockchain community as well as that of the internet. The idea behind coil is to use micropayments to support content creators rather than the currently broken ad-supported web that relies on page views or what is famously known as ‘hits;. Coil will enhance the web in a manner where everybody can compensate and support one another. This will include curators, subscription services, content creators and the users.

In conclusion, the revival of Codius by Coil, brings in an unknown variable to the discussion of the Smart Contract dominance that has been held by Ethereum for a very long time. What then can be advised, is a go-with-the-flow approach in this whole arena of Smart Contracts. All the platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses that will be revealed with time.

[Photo source, medium.com/coil]

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. It is an opinion piece. The opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.
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Ripple Smart Contracts Creator Targets Ethereum with New Tech Launch

Ripple’s former CTO Stefan Thomas is going up against Ethereum with the launch of a new smart contracts platform.

Well, “new” isn’t quite right – the platform Thomas released implementations for today is Codius, an open-source project that Ripple released in beta in 2014 but shelved the following year. Now, though, having announced his departure from Ripple in May, Thomas is re-launching Codius as the technical backbone for his new company, Coil.

Using Codius, Coil aims to change the way websites monetize their content.

According to Thomas, monetizing web content has so far relied on clunky “workarounds” like ads, paywalls and user data harvesting (think Facebook’s recent debacle). But his new project, by using Interledger, an open-source protocol that was developed inside Ripple for sending payments across different ledgers, plans to allow users’ browsers to make micropayments to websites they visit.

Codius could enable use cases such as a “revenue disbursement contract,” which could take in revenue as people watch a movie and pay that money out to all the parties that made the movie – and not in batch payments, but little by little. Or a Codius smart contract could help news outlets and their readers interact in that it could manage readers’ authorizations and subscriptions “and act as a sort of switching board for your money,” Thomas said.

The implementation released today comes with tutorials for uploading and hosting Codius smart contracts (uploaders pay hosts to run smart contracts on their computers), to try and push developers to start using the platform right away.

And already several developers have disclosed they’ll be building on the platform, as revealed exclusively to CoinDesk.

Telindus, an Luxembourg-based IT solutions subsidiary of the state-owned Belgian telecom Proximus Group, will use Codius to “push forward novel direct e-commerce models,” Telindus chief architect Thomas Scherer told CoinDesk.

Josh Williams – who has previously worked at well-known game platforms Unity, Zynga and Kabam – said he’d be using Codius to build products for his new gaming company, which is currently in stealth.

Williams told CoinDesk:

“Teams in games and elsewhere are building on Ethereum and running into the cost and scalability issues we’re all familiar with. Codius has great potential in addressing these concerns, and we are eager to work with it.”

Thomas echoed that sentiment, saying that as Ethereum has demonstrated the viability of smart contract use cases, it has simultaneously shown the world its own vulnerabilities, as Ethereum-based applications continue to run into scaling difficulties.

In contrast to Ethereum, Codius was designed to allow developers to write smart contract code in any programming language and have the smart contracts work as “smart oracles,” communicating with outside data sources.

As such, Thomas said, Codius has an opening.

“The people that are reaching out to us are saying, ‘Hey, we’re experimenting on Ethereum. We’re running into scalability issues. It’s too expensive, too slow. It’s not flexible enough. We don’t like writing in this awkward language,'” he said.

What’s changed? 

So why did Ripple set Codius aside?

While Codius generated its share of buzz in early 2015, before Ethereum’s mainnet was live, according to Thomas, the idea seemed premature. Ripple engineers touted the platform as a model for interoperability at the time, saying it was able to handle not just XRP – the cryptocurrency most closely associated with Ripple – but bitcoin, ether and fiat currencies.

But the project hit snags, however.

Adding smart contracts opened up new ways to attack the ledger, and the technical architecture was cumbersome. Speaking in 2015, Thomas said that building smart contracts into a blockchain was like writing software directly into a database – difficult.

The team realized, Thomas told CoinDesk in a recent interview, that computer science had solved that problem in the 1970s by developing a three-tier architecture, in which a “logic layer” sits between the database and user interface layers.

Codius would serve as that middle layer, Thomas said, adding, “You would have a bit of code that’s accessing some assets on XRP ledger, that’s accessing some data that’s in Ethereum, and maybe it’s making an HTTP call and so you have a much more flexible architecture. And most importantly you can have those kinds of contracts call other contracts as well.”

But building that kind of platform required efficient communication between ledgers, something that wasn’t available at the time, and so Ripple began developing the open-source Interledger Protocol to allow for this communication.

Plus, Thomas said:

“We just didn’t feel like smart contracts was a very mature industry at that point…. Frankly, the use cases seemed somewhat dubious in value.”

As such, Codius was shelved. But now, three years later, Thomas’ doubts about the value of such a smart contract platform have disappeared.

Rather, he sees Ethereum’s scaling issues – expensive transactions and slow confirmation times – as signs that smart contracts are ready “to move away from the mainframes, move away from Ethereum and go over to a more flexible architecture that involves multiple different ledgers.”

Ethereum killer?

Codius, though, is hardly the only would-be Ethereum-killer to emerge over the past couple years.

All of these projects, like Codius, tout the ability to process faster and cheaper transactions, but there’s typically a trade-off involved – either in terms of security or blockchain’s defining benefit, decentralization.

EOS, for instance, a delegated proof-of-stake cryptocurrency project which is currently in the midst of launching on mainnet, promises faster, cheaper transactions, because the blockchain only needs to be verified by 21 validator nodes, not by the whole distributed community of miners as in Ethereum and bitcoin.

Thomas, though, argues that Codius’ design enables developers to balance their own priorities, rather than having to accept the network’s compromises as a given.

“You can choose the level of decentralization,” Thomas told CoinDesk. “If you upload it to four or five hosts, you’ll have a decentralization level that’s similar to Ethereum [and] you’ll have a cost that’s still orders of magnitude lower. Or you can upload it to 100 hosts, and you’ll have a much greater level of decentralization than you can get with Ethereum.”

As it relates to security, Thomas argues, Codius has several advantages over Ethereum and other smart contract blockchains.

For one, the network is built on HyperContainer, an open-source project that uses Docker containers to isolate a given contract’s code and minimize its vulnerabilities to attack. And secondly, Codius developers aren’t locked into a nascent programming language like Solidity, which they’re unlikely to know as well as JavaScript, for example.

“I think that a lot of the issues and compromises, big hacks and so on have been directly related to the fact that these are all new languages whose security’s not very well understood,” said Thomas.

As for price, Thomas contrasts Ethereum’s transaction costs – which can exceed 60 cents and even a dollar – with those of Amazon Web Services’ Lambda platform, which costs 20 cents per million requests. AWS is centralized, but Thomas still expects Codius’ costs to fall “between those two extremes.”

For Thomas, rolling out Codius is the first step towards building a standard protocol for monetizing web content, as well as the ecosystem around it. Eventually, Thomas believes firms might decide to host websites on Codius rather than AWS, with Coil serving as a kind of “Spotify, but in an open way” – a protocol connecting consumers, internet service providers, websites and content creators.

And while the code is still “rough,” Thomas remains optimistic that Codius will prove a step forward for developers writing smart contracts that solve problems for today’s businesses.

He concluded:

“From a cost, scalability and security standpoint, as well as the flexibility … it’s orders of magnitude more viable for mainstream use cases.”

Stefan Thomas image via CoinDesk archives

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Codius: Ripple’s (XRP) Smart Contract Platform That The Crypto-Verse Needs

Yesterday, Ethereum World News reported that the much anticipated SBI Holdings crypto exchange might be launching sometime during the coming summer. The exchange is speculated to have direct XRP/FIAT pairing with the major Asian currencies of the Won (South Korea) and the Yen (Japan). These two countries are what many traders consider as Crypo-Giants in the sense that they influence trading and prices of most, it not all cryptocurrencies in the Crypto-Verse. Whatever happens in these two countries in terms of crypto, has aftershocks in the markets.

More on the news surrounding Ripple (XRP) is the existence of its smart contract platform known as Codius. This platform had been discontinued in 2015 due to the presence of a small market back then and the lack of a standard for payments on the smart contract eco-system. Each blockchain had its own standards and communication between two different ones was unheard of until the introduction of Interledger not too long ago.

The project has since been revived.

With Interledger in place as a sort of medium for the different blockchains, it is time for Codius to be the next big thing in the crypto-verse.

Interledger is an open protocol suite for sending payments across different ledgers. Like routers on the Internet, connectors route packets of money across independent payment networks. The open architecture and minimal protocol enable interoperability for any value transfer system. Interledger is not tied to any one company, blockchain, or currency.

Although the platform is in the Beta phase, a lot can be anticipated as the code is being checked for so called dragons and as illustrated on the project’s website. Dragons in this situation refers to the common bugs found in software during the testing phase.

Codius is described as being an open hosting protocol. It makes it very easy to upload a program, whether you want it to run on one host or thousands. It also has built-in billing. That means once a program is uploaded, anyone can pay to keep it running — the author, the users and even the program itself.

Codius can continue running as long as there is on person out there still using it. It is also a good platform for decentralized apps and smart contracts based on the already fast, distributed and secure properties found in Ripple’s software solutions. The Codius applications can pay each other using built in micro payments systems making it possible to monetize the web.

In conclusion, Codius has been a long running project that was revived once Interledger was introduced to the crypto-verse. Completion of the beta testing and release of the final platform would definitely be what the crypto-verse needs in terms of secure and fast smart contracts that can communicate with other blockchains using Interledger. This is essentially critical with the current Ethereum Smart Contracts being proven to having security bugs and vulnerabilities. Codius will provide the much needed better and safer alternative.