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Google Cloud Integrates Chainlink Oracles in Analytics Data Warehouse With ETH DApp Support

Google Cloud has integrated Chainlink’s oracle middleware with its BigQuery enterprise cloud data warehouse.

The Google Cloud team has integrated Chainlink’s oracle middleware with its BigQuery enterprise cloud data warehouse, allowing for an on-chain and cloud-based interaction with Ethereum decentralized applications and smart contracts. The news was revealed in a development report published on June 13.

As previously reported, a blockchain oracle is a system that provides the necessary external data — i.e. the variables to be evaluated — to trigger the execution of a smart contract when the original terms of the contract are met.

The development post writes that Google has made public blockchain data for eight different cryptocurrencies freely and publicly available in BigQuery through its Google Cloud Public Datasets Program.

While this resource allows for “the development of business processes based upon automated analysis of the indexed blockchain datasets,” the report notes that these nonetheless remain limited by the fact that they use the resource as an input to an off-chain business process.

Google’s way to solve this task is to enable the Ethereum smart contract platform to interact with its BigQuery enterprise cloud data warehouse automatically and on-chain by using Chainlink’s oracle middleware.

This allows for a smart contract to be triggered using data that is retrieved from an on-chain query to the internet-hosted data warehouse. Google notes that the system can be generalized to develop hybrid cloud-blockchain applications, in which smart contracts efficiently delegate complex operations to cloud resources.

Aside from outlining in technical detail how the interoperable looping functions, Google’s post also proposes three implementations for hybrid cloud-blockchain applications that it claims are of high and immediate utility: prediction marketplaces, futures contracts and transaction privacy.

As reported, Google announced in August 2018 that it had officially made the Ethereum blockchain dataset available in BigQuery.

This May, blockchain platform Qtum — which like the Ethereum platform focuses on smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps) — revealed its collaboration with Google Cloud as a software partner to increase the ease of launching native products for users.

To press time, the Chainlink token (LINK) — ranked 24th largest cryptocurrency market cap — is up almost 34% on the day to trade at $1.53, according to CoinMarketCap.

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Report: Ethereum (ETH) DApps Not Being Used Productively

Ethereum ETH Dapps 2019

A new report claims that Ethereum-based Decentralized Applications (dapps) are not being used productively.

While the industry of crypto has rightly been excited about the development of dapps, Ernst & Young reports that 83 percent of applications on Ethereum’s network are “not in the most productive uses.”

The report was given by EY’s head of innovation Paul Broady at the Fintech Forum on May 31, an event hosted by the United States’ Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).

Fintech Forum was organized by the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, coming at a bizarre time for the regulatory body who is under fire for their continued delay in approving bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Decentralized applications have been highlighted as an important development for the industry of crypto. Not only do they utilize network features for popular currencies such as Ethereum and TRON, but they provide an avenue for coin usage beyond exchange speculation. In addition, dapps draw development interest in a similar manner to the Apple and Android store, allowing creators the flexibility of creating unique products.

However, Brody claims that the vast majority of Ethereum dapps, and likely all crypto applications, are not productive. Instead, he chastised the industry and recommended developers “go back to first principles.” Brody stressed the importance of designing technology to bring about solutions, likely criticizing the abundance of gambling and other game-based dapps that have come to dominate Ethereum’s platform.

Brody called unproductive applications a “money chasing” attempt on the digital landscape, before diving into a broader criticism of the development process. According to the EY executive, the purpose of capital markets is to match investors with entrepreneurs who will create productivity. Dapps, in their current standard, are not living up to a worthwhile valuation, leading Brody to say the industry is “not doing very well.”

Reports from blockchain analytics company DApp.com provided the data to support Brody, noting that only 14 percent of Ethereum applications were used on cryptocurrency exchanges. The vast majority of dapps fell under the category of gambling (44 percent) or gaming (13 percent), leading to a market oversaturated on entertainment and in need of more productive uses.

Brody gave examples for Ethereum dapp developers to focus on. He emphasized the importance of distributed computing, real estate and inventing new business models. Given the power of crypto and blockchain, Brody explained that developers were missing the innovation provided through fractionalization, which could lead to what he called a “lasting legacy that is positive.”

Ethereum has witnessed a general erosion in dapp market share despite controlling nearly 100 percent of the industry just a year ago. TRON and EOS have continued to build substantial dapp adoption, with the former recording a new all-time high user volume earlier in the month.

EOS, which ranked number one–again–in China’s state-sponsored blockchain ratings, has led the industry in new dapp growth.

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World’s Fifth Largest Electric Company Using Ethereum (ETH) DApp

EDF Ethereum DApp Cryptocurrency

The world’s fifth largest electrical company has announced a partnership with Ethereum app iExec that will involve the company utilizing the decentralized application (DApp) in a project test.

EDF, which operates a $33 billion market capitalization, has launched GPUSH on iExec, a visual simulator software that is now available through the DApp operator. EDF reports that launching there program through a DApp gives them access to the Ethereum Mainnet, which, among other things, will allow them to test the software in the context of a blockchain.

GPUSH involves a simulation software for modeling fluid behavior, which EDF plans to use to study and evaluate the effects of hydroelectric dams and other sources of liquid-based energy. In particular, the company is looking to Ethereum’s mainnet and the feature of blockchain to see if it is able to improve upon the simulator, compared to the standard GPU computing platform.

Speaking in an interview with CoinDesk, EDF blockchain engineer Gilles Deleuze explained that Ethereum’s network features has the potential to improve the utility of the simulator,

“In a wider perspective, […] development of distributed computing is a credible scenario for the future, and blockchain may be a nice lever in this scenario. So, let’s explore it.”

Deleuze also hinted that his company has larger plans for using Ethereum and decentralized applications in testing their projects,

“The plan is to continue with other open scientific codes requiring possibly other types of workerpools.”

iExec is one of the oldest applications on Ethereum’s network, first launching in 2016 as a way to explore the potential of cloud computing on blockchains. Cloud computing, in its current iteration, is largely under the control of massive corporations with a large supply of resources to devote to the technology. iExec wondered if cryptocurrency networks, utilizing blockchain, could provide an economical and efficient method for decentralized cloud computing.

iExec’s Head of Innovation and Adoption Jean-Charles Cabelguen told CoinDesk that their DApp was advantageous for GPUSH and other project simulators, as it allows for a more “clear monitoring of the state and computational power of the app and increased ‘resilience,’” by running on a decentralized network.

However, Cabelguen complained that Ethereum’s network has drawbacks in its present form, particularly in terms of scalability–an issue that is being addressed in the massive Ethereum 2.0 overhaul.

According to Cabelguen,

“The heavy computing is done off-chain and does not overwhelm ethereum. Afterward, blockchain is used to reach a consensus on the validity of computation’s results. A hash of this result is stored on the blockchain.”

With Ethereum’s transition to Proof of Stake and the 2.0 update, scalability should become less of an issue for decentralized applications running on the network. In addition, the DApp market is continuing to rise, even if newcomers TRON and EOS are bringing substantial competition to the space that was once entirely controlled by Ethereum. Within the next few years, DApp-based project launches such as EDF’s GPUSH could be a regular occurrence by industry.

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Ethereum DApp Transactions Set New All-Time High

Ethereum DApp Transaction April 2019

Despite reports that Ethereum has been conceding market share in the space of decentralized applications (DApps), after owning nearly 100 percent of the industry just a year ago, ETH transaction volume has registered a new all-time high.

According to analytics firm Diar in a report published on May 6, Ethereum has hit an all time high in DApp-based transactions for Ether for the month of April 2019, beating out the previous record set in December of last year. April’s high for ETH-based transactions, which amounted to 776,000 Ether sent on-chain through decentralized applications, was the culmination of a four-month growth trend in volume.

However, Diar points out that while Ether has been experiencing a growth in both Ether and U.S.-dollar valued transaction volume, the rate of newly deployed DApps has been in steady decline, reaching a 15-month low. Despite the drop in new application creation, Diar reports that $132 million worth of tokens was transacted via DApps, given a strong indication on the health of the industry even if new enterprise is slowing down.

The majority of DApp transaction volume was driven through decentralized exchanges (DEX) and gambling applications, which have found a particularly promising niche in the landscape of cryptocurrency and DApps. With the crypto markets experiencing a bullish turn around, transaction volume in both Ether and dollar-valuation is up 186 percent since the start of the year, when the industry took a step back from December’s last all time high.

However, Diar points out that the stalling of new DApp creation, even in light of record-breaking transactions volume, could be troubling by some metrics. Ethereum continues to be the industry leader in new projects issued on-chain, controlling 60 percent of the mere 88 DApps deployed for the month of April.

Nonetheless, the analytics firm claims that developer interest in DApp creation has “hardly waned.” According to the report,

“The Truffle Framework which has become a core tool for programmers to build on top of Ethereum has seen downloads hit an all-time high this year with a sustained quarter-on-quarter growth. The likelihood however that developers are focusing on token-based projects might be slim despite the attention given to coins due to monetary value sparking speculator gains – and losses.“

Diar also gives an update on the future outlook for DApps and the industry of token-based applications, saying that developers will likely continue to hit walls in deployment given the current issues related to scale. In particular, the infrastructure for Ethereum–and most DApp-based cryptos–has yet to address the methods for handling the level of adoption seen in other app-based marketplaces,

“Developers will likely continue hitting roadblocks with infrastructure still far from scale and a user experience effectively in their first iteration on Ethereum.”

The propensity for new blockchain projects entering the space of decentralized applications could further fraction developer focus, spreading resources across multiple projects. Already the market has experienced a transition away from Ethereum, which held the overwhelming majority of DApps, to relative newcomers EOS and TRON. Further projects entering the space will drive new interest and innovation, but may, at least initially, water down the pool of development in creating with existing blockchain tools.

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RAM It All: Rising Costs Are Turning EOS Into a Crypto Coder's Nightmare

Compared to ethereum, EOS seems to have scalable dapps figured out.

Users of decentralized applications (dapps) on ethereum frequently chafe at the fact that any action – sending a tweet, playing a card, breeding a cat – costs money in the form of “gas” and takes time, as miners hash out the new state of the chain.

At first glance, EOS suffers from neither of these issues. There is no fee to send tokens or call a dapp smart contract. And in contrast to ethereum, even when the EOS blockchain is processing millions of transactions a day, it runs smoothly.

According to the EOS white paper, these perks are likely to make the system “gain more widespread adoption,” and some dapp developers apparently spot an opportunity.

For instance, Kevin Rose, the co-founder of EOS New York, a block producer, an entity that performs a similar function to miners in other blockchain networks, told CoinDesk:

“I’m having conversations with at least one group a week about, ‘These are the challenges we’re having on so-and-so platform, we want to come onto EOS.'”

Rose mentioned Tixico, which announced that it would transition from ethereum due to EOS’ “better performance and scalability to serve high demand.”

Yet, the grass may not be as green as some dapp developers hope.

That’s because, whereas ethereum dapps can be costly for the ones using them, EOS dapps can be costly for the teams deploying them.

In order to onboard users to an EOS dapp, developers generally have to make sure they’ve secured sufficient amounts of three separate resources: RAM, which amounts to state storage on the blockchain; CPU, which measures average consumption of computing resources in microseconds; and network bandwidth, or NET, which measures average consumption in bytes.

And getting these resources has proved costly.

Yutin Chen, CEO of PandaFun, a game that recently launched on EOS, said the team bought 10,000 EOS worth of RAM or around $65,000 at current EOS prices. The company also staked 10,000 EOS for CPU and 1,000 EOS for NET. Although, Chen made it clear that most of the RAM would go toward an upcoming token sale, saying, “The game doesn’t cost that much.”

By contrast, deploying a smart contract to ethereum only costs a bit of gas, whether it houses functionality for a dapp or a token contract. The cost of deploying the ethereum smart contracts could be $1 or $100, but it’s a far cry from what it would cost on EOS.

Ultimately, that’s not only a problem for the developers, but also EOS users.

For instance, some dapps might begin shifting expenses back onto users, to the extent that’s possible. And others might do what would-be dapps on ethereum are doing, and decide to launch elsewhere.

RAM: Speculators and hackers

Arguably the biggest headache for developers right now is RAM, as the resource has to be bought at a changing market price using EOS, with trades taking place on the Bancor algorithm.

Each dapp user takes 4 kilobytes of RAM to onboard for developers. According to the current RAM price, that’s around $3.12 per user. RAM is necessary for other actions as well, besides just creating an account.

And as such, Rose told CoinDesk:

“We do not understand the total costs of onboarding a dapp user yet. I don’t think that that data […] could give us confidence in an average of sorts.”

Even before the EOS mainnet launched in June, an open issue of GitHub (which has received 60 replies since it was created) argues that the RAM model “simply can’t work if your target is to create tens or hundreds of million user accounts for your dapp!”

And at the time that was written, RAM prices were far cheaper.

Following the launch, however, speculators jumped on the limited available RAM in hopes of selling it later at a profit. This drove prices as high as 0.94 EOS per KB – eight times higher than the current level.

In response to the spiking price, block producers decided to double the total supply of RAM, adding 64 GB over the following year at the rate of 1 KB per block. This move has so far helped to calm the market.

The issue around RAM, though, isn’t just how expensive it is.

It is also vulnerable. In August it emerged that attackers could eat up an account’s RAM, using a notification feature to stuff the target’s available RAM with useless data. Developers can avoid this attack by sending tokens through proxy smart contracts that contain no RAM, but that adds another step developers must take into account.

The issue was serious enough for EOS’ chief architect to weigh in. Dan Larimer, CTO of Block.One, the company that developed the protocol and held the $4 billion EOS ICO, wrote that block producers could free up maliciously consumed RAM by enforcing the principle that “intent of code is law.”

While that rule is contained in Larimer’s proposed revision to the EOS “constitution,” a set of bylaws that network participants are in theory held to, the problem is that the constitution has not been adopted, because the voting system necessary to do so hasn’t been implemented yet.

CPU: WE LOVE BM

EOS’ other two network resources, CPU and NET, haven’t received as much attention, but CPU in particular could squeeze both developers and users.

These resources work differently from RAM. Rather than being bought and sold, they’re obtained through staking, in which a network participant delegates EOS tokens to a particular kind of smart contract.

When the network is not being fully utilized, participants can get an outsized amount of CPU time for a relatively modest stake. In theory, that should mean early adopters don’t need very large stakes for the time being.

After all, according to Dapp Radar, just a handful of EOS dapps have more than 100 daily users, so how strapped for CPU could the network be?

As it turns out, a spammer has stepped in to fill the void. A single account, Blocktwitter, has been “sharing messages comprising of 192 million actions, which is  about 95 percent of all EOS transactions to date,” said Tom Fu, a partner at standby block producer GenerEOS.

Nearly all of them say simply “WE LOVE BM,” a reference to Larimer’s nom-de-net, bytemaster. As Fu put it, the messages are “not important.”

But they’re still having an impact, due to Blocktwittter’s high CPU stake. Users, as well as developers, are seeing their allotted CPU times get squeezed due to all the spamming.

Fu told CoinDesk:

“RAM can be pushed onto users, however, CPU cannot. In this sense whoever executes the action needs to have the CPU staked in their account.”

A recent Reddit post by an EOS Knights player underscores this point. The user wrote that they delegated 10 EOS – $59 worth – to play the game, thinking that would be enough, but actually it wasn’t even close. EOS Knights suggests staking at least 15 EOS ($88) on CPU to play the game, but the Reddit user claimed that even a $500 stake would not meet the recommended required CPU time.

As such, Larimer has proposed a model for renting CPU and NET, which he writes “will lower the cost of using the EOS network.”

Worth it?

Yet, it may be overly simplistic to say that ethereum pushes costs onto users, while EOS pushes costs onto developers.

“There are use cases where a developer can write a dapp where the user has to bring their own CPU and/or [NET] and/or RAM to the interaction,” former Block.One VP of product Thomas Cox said, adding: “that’s one way to write an early version of your dapp that won’t bankrupt you if it suddenly gets popular.”

One thing that is clear is that EOS dapp developers will have to think hard about their business models, perhaps more so than their counterparts on ethereum.

In the final analysis, though, EOS might have its advantages, according to Cox.

For one, whereas a popular dapp like CryptoKitties can clog the entire ethereum network, EOS staking does guarantee a certain minimum access to CPU.

Another potential advantage is that unlike ethereum’s gas, investments in EOS resources can be recouped. Tokens staked on CPU can be unstaked, and RAM can be sold – perhaps at a lower price, though.

Finally, Cox said, ethereum dapp developers are “one bug away from bankruptcy.”

EOS’ arbitration system has been the subject of considerable controversy, but it does provide some recourse and the potential to avoid a DAO- or Parity-type fiasco.

As such, Cox posed, but didn’t answer, the question:

“What’s that worth?”

EOS with skeleton via Shutterstock

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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In Rare Decision, ICO Founders Will Delay Crypto Paydays – For a Decade

In an industry that’s become synonymous with fast cash, patience can be a rare commodity.

That makes a little-discussed announcement last week by the Nebulas project, powered by the top 100 cryptocurrency NAS, all the more remarkable. The team behind the protocol, today valued at $64 million, will now voluntarily wait a decade before they can get their hands on the blockchains’ tokens they’ll earn for their labor – seven years longer than they had originally planned.

In December, the Beijing-based team raised $60 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) for a general purpose blockchain with additional features that they believe will accelerate development and market adoption. In the original token allocation, 20 percent of the initial supply (or 20 million NAS tokens) were set aside for the team and founders to be gradually released over a three-year period.

But based on a blog post published last week, the timelines for the token release are being extended considerably.

For the developer team, the start date for the gradual distribution of tokens will be postponed for a year, and for the founders of the network, the token distribution doesn’t start for a full decade.

Its a move that’s already winning nods of approval from an industry seeking to develop best practices. Ryan Selkis, founder of the token data source Messari, said that he believes a multi-year vesting schedule should become a standard for new token companies.

“The best way to align founder incentives is with vesting schedules – could be time-based, many are starting to do this, or milestone-based,” he wrote CoinDesk.

The Nebulas team has also committed to publishing the smart contract address holding the NAS tokens and will contract with a third-party auditor to verify their finances.

“We are conscious that the construction and development of Nebulas still have a long way to go. We need to focus on Nebulas developing, including technology and ecosystem,” Hitters Xu, a founder of Nebulas, told CoinDesk.

Echoing that, the project’s marketing director, Becky Lu said, “We just want our team to focus on our technical vision.”

She continued:

“It’s not an easy decision for everyone because the blockchain industry is a very innovative industry and still has a lot of risk. I think that shows our determination.”

Ranking dapps

Part of the reason behind the move, founders say, is the strength of the project’s core idea, the mission of creating a blockchain ranking system that helps users elevate the best dapps, or decentralized applications.

“It’s like Google ranking in the blockchain world,” Lu explained. “There’s a lot of data.”

By analyzing the interactions between smart contracts and addresses, Nebulas believes it can create a more sophisticated view of the blockchain’s users. This mechanism could be helpful to entrepreneurs behind token projects, who have become more interested in sophisticated user targeting for their airdrops.

Speaking to that, Lu said of Nebulas: “You can reach some people if you see they are your target audience.”

Or at least that’s the goal.

Nebulas’ mainnet went live the first quarter, but there are still several tools promised in the ICO that have not been completed: Nebulas Rank (a system for assessing entities on the blockchain based on activity), Nebulas Force (a way to upgrade the software on-chain) and Nebulas Incentive (providing dynamic to developers using Nebulas).

Developing dapps

According to the project’s spokespeople, 6,900 dapps have already been built on the blockchain as it exists today.

From May to July, Nebulas ran an incentive program for developers, distributing in total 450,000 nas tokens to 1,472 different applications. Plus, the project continues to provide these incentives for new dapp development.

Still, those dapps will have some time before they see significant use, primarily because the project’s token migration (moving from ethereum to its own blockchain) is still ongoing, and some users have run into roadblocks.

Since many of Nebulas’ token holders are investors within the United States and the regulatory framework for crypto tokens is still very much uncertain, they have not been able to execute the swap on exchanges.

“Originally, we thought the exchanges would be easier,” Lu said.

Yet, that hasn’t stopped the team from continuing development on tools that will one day help users interact with the protocol. For instance, the team is building a way for its wallet to allow users to execute the migration that way, instead of having to go through an exchange.

Speaking to the need for such a feature, Lu told CoinDesk:

“In this bear market, some community members are very worried about token price.”

The nas token – which was sold for $2 each during the ICO – is currently trading at $1.41, according to CoinMarketCap.

Hitters Xu image via Nebulas Project Facebook

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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Here Is How The Tron Virtual Machine (TVM) Will Be The MacGyver of the Blockchain Industry

Many adults who grew up in the 80s and 90s, knew MacGyver was the bad-ass hero who did not use guns but could save the world using a wrench and some chewing gum. He was an educated scientist and secret agent who was very resourceful. He also never went anywhere without his Swiss Army Knife and a roll of duct tape. When some kids wanted to blow things up like Rambo, there was another community who wanted to be MacGyver. The series has since got a reboot beginning 2016.

So how will the Tron Virtual Machine become the MacGyver of the Blockchain Industry?

The current countdown on the Tron (TRX) website for the launch of the testnet of the Tron Virtual Machine currently reads 3 days and 16 hours at the moment of writing this. This means that the TVM will be released on the 30th of July and this will be another huge event on the Tron calendar of 2018.

A Virtual Machine is an application environment that emulates a computer system (dedicated hardware). The TVM is a virtual machine made by the Tron Foundation for making the tron ecosystem bigger, better and developer friendly.

This is where the TVM can be compared to MacGyver. 

Developers can create smart contracts that run on the TVM using friendly programming languages developers are familiar with. There is no need to learn a new programming language. Developers can use Ethereum’s Solidity as well as other common ones. The Tron Foundation has not yet disclosed the other programming languages the TVM will support, but one can assume it is the popular C, C#, Java and Python.

If this is the case, the TVM will be the Blockchain Virtual Machine of choice for every developer out there for it will solve all their smart contracts problems without them having to learn a new programming language. This will be a manner similar to how MacGyver could improvise a solution to escape from a hairy situation.

The TVM will at first be compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) so that Ethereum developers can compile and adjust their existing codes in an environment where it is easy to port to TRON. Once DApps are tested on the TVM, they will be uploaded to the TRON Mainnet and run on the TVMs of the Tron Super Representatives.

There are also plans for the TVM to be compatible with the EOS Virtual Machine and other mainstream VMs.

The TVM uses bandwidth rather than gas as is the case with the EVM. This means it will be a cheaper and efficient option for developers. Transactions and smart contract operations are free on the Tron platform. Developers will love the flexibility provided by the TVM.

In a nutshell, the efficiency and problem solving capabilities of the about-to-be-released TVM can be compared to MacGyver. Once developers realize that the TVM is their one stop shop for smart contracts and DApp creation, then the Tron ecosystem will continue to expand further. The Tron ecosystem continues to grow and decentralizing the web is slowly becoming a reality.

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.

[Photo, the Legendary MacGyver. Source, Variety.com]

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What Scams? Ethereum's Vision for Apps Is Only Growing Bolder

Borderless, permissionless and free from coercion.

That’s the dream underlying web 3.0, in which unstoppable, decentralized applications (dapps) combine with web 2.0 technology, eventually corroding the power structures that traditional infrastructures encode. But that vision hasn’t come as fast as some expected or hoped, and moreover, some ethereum applications seem to even be working against that rosy vision for the future.

Outpacing CryptoKitties in cumulative volume, dapps like FOMO3D and POWH3D are leading the polls right now with high-risk gambling games that, as detailed by CoinDesk, are essentially Ponzi schemes in structure.

Larry Cermak, an analyst, described the situation on Sunday as “depressing.”

“Legitimate use cases like [decentralized exchanges] and prediction markets are not gaining any traction while scams and useless games are thriving,” Cermak tweeted.

And still what proved to be ethereum’s “killer use case” across the past two years (culminating a total of nearly $20 billion), the initial coin offering or ICO also left a stain on ethereum’s history. According to one study, a whopping 78 percent of ICO’s in 2017 are now “identified scams.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, projects that overemphasized the crypto funding scheme were turned away from attending last week’s Dappcon conference in Berlin, where the focus was on the underlying technology.

“The focus should be on the building part, not on the raising money part,” Alex Van de Sande, developer of ethereum’s mist browser and ethereum core developer, told CoinDesk. “I think if you focus too much on raising money to build stuff then you might not be the guys who are actually building, right.”

As such, the conference brought together developers and high-profile dapp projects to reinforce their goal and determine what needs to be done to make that goal a reality.

Because according to many at the event, dapps are still the key technology for moving ethereum and the blockchain industry as a whole closer to its dream of making the world a better, more free place.

Gregor Zavcer from Datafund, a blockchain-based project for allowing web users to take back control of their data, told CoinDesk:

“I think the dapp development is a new paradigm in terms of how you do everything in the open, how you connect with others, and how you also provide value, not just necessarily for the end user but for the ecosystem.”

Ambition meets reality

And those things, according to Van de Sande, are the essence of ethereum.

“Ethereum makes no sense if there are no dapps; if there are no dapps running on ethereum then it’s just another coin that gets its worth from speculating,” he told CoinDesk.

And as such, “I think our job, as ethereum developers, is to try to understand what are the dapps doing and what are the dapps not doing, what are the biggest challenges for those dapps, and we need to solve that for them. We serve the dapp developers.”

Yet borderless communication, trade, computation and organizations – there’s a known disconnect between the technologically ambitious dapp community and ethereum’s ability to handle a fully decentralized dapp that has mainstream use.

For example, CryptoKitties was lambasted when it was first launched since it garnered significant traction and caused transaction backlogs and increasing fees on the network.

Then later, it was criticized for sacrificing full decentralization for the sake of usability. And this tension between usability and decentralization – manifest by the lack of user engagement on most dapps so far – was the most troubling concern for those at Dappcon.

Benjamin Bollen from OpenST, a layer-two scaling solution for ethereum crypto tokens, said that the need for user engagement even eclipses the platform’s need to scale to keep up with market demand.

Bollen said:

“I had to be told this many many times by business people – as a technology nerd – to really absorb this message: We need to actually get to a point where it has real value and it only has real value if there are actually hundreds of millions of people using this technology.”

He continued, saying that ethereum has piqued interest from time to time – during the ICO boom, to name one – and it’s up to the developers to make sure what ethereum is known for isn’t vaporware.

Live and invaluable

While the dapps eliciting the most conversation right now are those that most developers disregard, still there have been a number of announcements and launches this year displaying that ethereum dapps are making headway.

For instance, Golem, a decentralized computation market, launched into beta earlier this year, while the hotly anticipated prediction market Augur has been live and functioning rather well for the past two weeks.

Mobile ethereum client Status, that runs over decentralized, encrypted chat protocol Whisper, has also made substantial progress. As well as enabling transactions to occur across the chat app, Status provides an early look at some of the more exciting possibilities of the decentralized web – peer-to-peer token swaps, DAO creation apps, identity systems, social networks, collectibles and Local Ethereum.

And for some, these features are invaluable. Because Status offers a free method for communication for those who live behind strict internet firewalls and cannot access conventional social media websites, the dapp has become one that many ethereum developers point to as not just a success, but a necessity.

Speaking to that Status use case, María Paula Fernandez, communications lead for decentralized computation app Golem, said:

“We don’t realize this shit, but this is the power of a dapp. Dapps are fucking alive.”

And according to Zavcer, typical of the dapp ecosystem is that protocols overlap and reinforce each other.

“These past two days I was reminded about the notion of ‘team protocols,'” Zavcer told CoinDesk. “Teams are specializing on the aspect that they want to cover and somehow together we create these decentralized mosaics.”

Echoing that, Anna Rose, co-host of the ZeroKnowledge podcast, which takes a look at the technology that’ll power web 3.0, told CoinDesk:

“I think when there is a momentum in a scene – be it music, art or tech – you see a flourishing of ideas, buzz around certain terms. New humor, aesthetics and memes emerge. It is an exciting moment.”

Bad dapps do good?

Part of the new “humor” – a dark humor –that’s emerging from the ethereum dapp ecosystem is the concept of honesty in your bad behavior making that bad behavior somehow charming.

For instance, the Ponzi scheme games, FOMO3D and POWH3D, have several fans. One Twitter user said of FOMO3D, “Deadly combination of smart contract and psychology. Like bitconnect but honest. Simply genius.”

But overall, ethereum dapps developers have come out to criticize the games, contending that the only reason they are popular and causing a stir within the community is that they are easy builds that aren’t technologically complex, so work can go into marketing instead of development.

“Bad dapps are popular because they are the easiest to build, and due to the newness still of this technology and hype, people see dollar signs,” Fauve Altman, community manager for dapp registry and analytics site, State of the Dapps, told CoinDesk.

That said, the team behind FOMO3D and POWH3D emphasized their shared commitment to a decentralized web.

“Most of the crypto sector is nothing but unsubstantiated hype, a melting pot of impractical ideas fueled by psychologically manipulative marketing, greed and deceit. Like it or not, this is the reality of not just crypto but the majority of capitalism as a whole,” Mantso, the pseudonymous lead developer behind the games, told CoinDesk.

While the statements could be taken as tongue-in-cheek, Mantso could be onto something in that any kind of development in the field will provide the much-needed research to make the vision a reality – one that doesn’t accidentally cause harm.

As such, Mantso, rather optimistically, concluded:

“All of you are pioneers in a completely new, disruptive economic field that will undoubtedly come to flourish. This community is the breeding ground, the nurturing womb for the first, true decentralized society and economy.”

Image via Dappcon Berlin Twitter

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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Weiss Ratings Loves EOS but Hates its Centralization

Weiss Ratings, the investment risk analysis firm, published an article for its subscribers in which they talk about the benefits and dangers of EOS.

We Still Love EOS. But its Centralization is a Case of Bad Breadth” is the name of the report written by Juan M. Villaverde. In it, he objectively shows some of the points that make EOS fail to be the “Perfect Blockchain.”

The first part of the letter explains that EOS is a great project, with a lot of potentials to become everything that Ethereum promised.

They recognize that EOS can easily “take the crypto world to the next level, and establish a foundation for the smart economies of the future.” However, it’s not enough to be excited just yet:

“EOS is the first fully scalable, complete, third-generation, distributed-ledger platform ever to be released to the public. I know that’s a mouthful. But that’s exactly what it is.”

For the author, the main problem with EOS is centralization. And it may be something so serious that it could jeopardize the promising future that lies ahead for this blockchain:

“The EOS dream will not come true until it fixes its centralization problems, which came into sharper focus with its launch this week.”

The report made by Weiss Ratings states that although the team behind EOS did its best to avoid this problem through an incredibly long ICO to promote better distribution of the tokens, in the end, they failed in their purpose, creating highly centralized crypto money.

The letter shows the irony of having a crypto with a high level of centralization running on a blockchain whose motto is “decentralize everything.”

According to official statements, The Team “identified EOS as a platform with one of the most centralized distributed ledgers in the world today.”

If someone adapts the Gini index to cryptos, the figures make it easy to crete a chart; the numbers will show that the level of centralization of the EOS platform is practically impossible, even more significant than those of authoritarian regimes.

The team dared to compare the results of the centralization level of EOS with the level of centralization of wealth in a “feudal kingdom with indentured servants.”

“The Gini coefficient, used by economists to measure wealth distribution of countries, when applied to EOS, comes up at 97 (on a scale of 0 to 100). Even if you recognize that crypto communities and countries are two different animals, the fact remains that any Gini coefficient above 60 is problematic.”

The EOS distribution mode could allow a small elite to control the process of creating and distributing wealth within the blockchain.

An explanation of Delegated Proof-os-Stake: – EOS´ consensual algorithm – also gives light to the problem EO is facing:

“Trouble is, EOS lets each token holder vote for up to 30 different candidates — all with the same tokens.

So if I own one million EOS, does that mean I can vote for 30 different block producers with the full weight of my one million? Yes.

And since there are only 21 block producers, if my buddies and I have a majority of the tokens, could I effectively run the whole EOS network? Yes again.

This is what I mean by a case of bad breadth. The wealth distribution on this network is narrow enough as it is. Allowing each token to be voted for up to 30 different candidates makes it even narrower. It opens the Pandora’s box to a possible situation in which a small elite can call the shots on the EOS blockchain.

And this is supposed to be decentralized?

No. This community has got to come together and ensure the decentralization needed to let EOS’ true potential shine through.”

Weiss Ratings: The Solution Lies on The Backs of the Community

Mr Villaverde concludes the letter proposing some solutions to this problem:

  1. Get rid of the 30-votes-per-token scheme.
  2. Allow for more than 21 block producers.
  3. Cap the voting power of large token holders to no more than 2.5% of the total token supply.
  4. Large token holders need to identify themselves.

In the end, as the report states, “the destiny of this project is now mostly up to its community.” Up to know there are no major initiatives to solve this problem.

Weiss Ratings downgraded this coin to a “B-” in the Weiss Cryptocurrency Rating, but remains strong with a market cap of $13,062,095,768, placing it in fifth place in the Coinmarketcap Top.Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratin

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Nebulas (NAS) Wants To Reward You For Referrals Through Its NEW Super Contributors Program

The Nebulas (NAS) project wants to reward you through an extension of its currently running Incentive Program. This new offshoot of the Incentive Program is known as the Super Contributor incentive. With this new Super Contributor initiative, community members will be rewarded in NAS for inviting more people to join the Nebulas ecosystem. The new users include both developers and non-developers on the platform.

With Super Contributors, the top 20 accounts with the most invites that result in new users signing up to the ecosystem, will become Super Contributors. They will share a reward of 10,000 NAS per week (valued at $66,500 using current values of NAS) and get to vote on the best Decentralized Applications on the platform through the Nebulas Initiative Program.

So how does the underlying Nebulas Initiative Program work?

The initiative program has two goals, to get more developers building DApps on the platform and to encourage community member participation by rewarding them each time they refer a developer to the platform. The program is worth $5 Million in rewards and has been running since May 7th. It will end on the 2nd of July this year.

The developer rewards system works as follows:

  • 100 NAS to the developer for every valid DApp submitted
  • Submitted DApps are in turn re-awarded each week
  • 10,000 NAS for a 1st place finish each week
  • 5,000 NAS for a 2nd place finish each week
  • 3,000 NAS for a 3rd place finish each week
  • 300 NAS for 20 winners of the Excellence Award per week
  • 20,000 NAS for a Monthly Winner

The referral program works as follows:

  • 40 NAS for each successful referral
  • 20% commission based on the developer’s reward if the entry wins any prize mentioned above
  • 10,000 NAS for a 1st place referral champion per month
  • 2,500 NAS for a 2nd place referral champion per month
  • 1,000 NAS for a 3rd place referral champion per month

What is Nebulas (NAS)?

Nebulas is a new generation of public blockchain and dedicated to building a collaborative ecosystem with sustainable upgrading, and its mainnet was launched on March 30th, 2018. Nebulas features an original blockchain value discovery system, forward-looking incentive and consensus mechanisms, and the ability to avoid hard forks through self-evolution.

The platform has been compared to being the ‘Google App’ on the blockchain for it hopes to host and rank DApps on its platform for its users to decide on the best pick. Nebulas selects outstanding DApps according to its algorithm and the now active Super Contributor voting. The algorithm also measures the importance of each user and smart contract on the platform.

Current market analysis indicate that Nebulas (NAS) is trading at $6.65 at the moment of writing this. The token has dropped 4.73% in the last 24 hours amidst a relatively stable Bitcoin that is trading at current levels of $7,589. All fingers are crossed that these levels are maintained throughout the coming weekend.

Further investigation of the NAS token value in the crypto-markets indicate that the token has peaked three times this year. The first two were in January and to levels of $14.81 and $13.31 respectively. The most recent peak value was seen on May 3rd when the token was valued at $11.85.