The year 2020 has witnessed a significant growth and adoption for cryptocurrency projects, moving past the hype and shady get rich quick projects.
Actual credible projects with viable solutions are now being recognized.
There has been an increase in participation from government and central banks in discussions regarding the regulatory environment that this disruptive technology should exist in.
Great platforms have evolved, adoption rates across industries have increased, and several tokens experienced a rise, with Bitcoin reaching 14k USD, an all time high since the last bullrun.
With leading platforms trying to meet up to the demands of problem solving, there has been need to include new features or upgrade. Ethereum’s ETH2 is a rapid development which will be an updated version of its protocol, allowing to introduce a dose of proof of stake, increase the transaction capacity of Ethereum and a method to generate passive income by securing the protocol for Ether owners, Bitcoin Cash network completed another upgrade this year, adding new features to the blockchain and Algorand also added three new features to its blockchain
We have also seen a return of decentralized organizations with several initiatives that propose new investment and income redistribution vectors.
The first stage of ETH2 referred to as Phase 0 will be launched this year, 2020. This upgrade will give the network the scalability and security needed, reduce energy consumption and also allow the network to process more transactions.
ETH holders, dapp users, or dapp developers don’t need to do anything about the tokens they hold, the ETH2 will be compatible with the main Ethereum network being used today so they can use the ETH they own in the ETH2 as well.
The current limitations of ETH today are speed, energy and opportunity. Visa processes more transactions than Ethereum within a second, a difference of 10000%.
Today’s Ethereum is a proof of work blockchain, it relies on miners to keep the network secure and in sync by devoting a great amount of computing power to creating new blocks. The cost of attacking the network is high, in other words, there’s a financial barrier to participating as a miner.
Ethereum is going to abandon proof of work which is terribly inefficient and translate to Ethereum 2.0, a more efficient proof of stake system. In the proof of stake system, the node that records each transaction is chosen by an algorithm, with chances of selection increasing with the amount of the currency the node’s owner holds.
This results to massive throughput gains for the whole network, it’s also better for the environment.
This coming change will also introduce sharding, a processing technique which creates a bottleneck that increases transaction costs and decreases throughput.
With this, the efficiency of the Ethereum resource usage will be hugely increased and the new Ethereum 2.0 would be much faster and more efficient than the present Ethereum.
The latest upgrade on Bitcoin Cash that took place on May 15, 2020 comes with new opcode support, a chain limit extension, and the improved counting of signature operations using the new Sigchecks implementation.
Chain limit extension allows for faster re-spending of unconfirmed transaction limit from 25 to 50. This was not included when Satoshi first released Bitcoin but it was requested by various members of the industry for some time now.
The extension solves the problem of having to wait for the next bitcoin block, after not being able to send a message in the on-chain Twitter alternative Memo.bch because you are limited to a 25 messages per confirmed output in your memo wallet or a case of hitting mempool chaining limit at conferences and meet-ups while gifting small amounts of BCH to new users.
The opcode addition reverses the bytes of the top stack item. Mitra developed by Tobia Ruck is an idea that can leverage OP_Reverebytes. The transaction version could unleash sophisticated smart contract potential on the BCH network.
The new Sigchecks specifications explain the motivation behind the new implementation in the GitHub repository. Sigchecks essential idea is to perform counting solely in the spending transaction, and count actual executed signature check operations.
The latest Algorand features are Algorand’s Smart Contract Debugger, Algorand’s Fast Catchup and Algorand Rekeying.
Debugging a smart contract entails analyzing a transaction step by step to know how functions internally work and proceed to where the actual transaction has failed. Example of some common errors are: syntax error, run time error, logic error, out of gas, revert, invalid opcode, invalid jump, stack overflow and stack underflow.
The Algorand’s smart contract debugger gives developers the ability to do line by line debugging of their smart contract code, it is hosted on GitHub. Both stateful and stateless smart contracts are supported by the debugger. Individual transactions or atomic transfers that contain multiple, grouped transactions can be debugged. Setting the specific context for debugging purposes, including latest timestamp, transactions, balance records, round number etc. is supported by the debugger.
Smart contracts are one of the most powerful and amazing gifts of the blockchain to the world but they can be technically challenging. Traditional smart contracts are slow, expensive and fragile as they are solely implemented at layer 2.
This new feature makes Algorand a viable competitor in the DeFi space. It introduces security, speed and ease to synching a new node with the entire genesis blockchain. The fast catchup allows developers on Algorand to start working on their DAPPs without having to wait for the entire blockchain to sync, a process that normally takes hours or days to finish, depending on the size. Algorand’s smart contract is extremely fast, they run at a thousand transactions per second, which can be compared to our general transactions. Algorand doesn’t have any second class transactions.
The Algorand rekeying is a powerful protocol feature that enables an Algorand account holder to maintain a static public address while dynamically rotating the authoritative private spending keys. Rekeying provides the flexibility needed to change your private key without changing your public key.
Security is more intact as users can change their private key anytime they suspect a malicious ware, mistakenly expose their private key or as they deem fit. The operational cost of changing private spending keys is decreased due to rekeying. Also, users have the choice of continuity, having the right to keep using the same public key to retain the assets in the same public address.
The Algorand rekeying can be programmed into a single-sign or multi-sign keys in the configuration process. Users can perform rekey actions as often as they want, the rekeying feature also works very well with the Algorand stateless smart contract in determining the kind of transaction actions that each key can perform.
Multi-sig allows the user to limit how much each account can spend by developing the configurations in a stateless smart contract.
A lot of blockchain projects constantly strive to improve their blockchain through version upgrades in order to solve issues they encountered by the underlying blockchain.
So many cryptocurrency projects have been working on discovering and advancing more use cases of blockchain. We have seen solutions to some persisting blockchain problems, making it more sellable to new investors and useable in real life.
(Disclaimer: The author is an Ambassador for Algorand)
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