It’s a balmy 80 degrees on a mid-December day in Singapore, and something is puzzling Allen Day, a 41-year-old data scientist. Using the tools he has developed at Google, he can see a mysterious concerted usage of artificial intelligence on the blockchain for Ethereum. Ether is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency (after bitcoin and XRP), and it still sports a market cap of some $11 billion despite losing 83% of its value in 2018. Peering into its blockchain—the distributed database of transactions underpinning the cryptocurrency—Day detects a “whole bunch” of “autonomous agents” moving funds around “in an automated fashion.” While he doesn’t yet know who has created the AI, he suspects they could be the agents of cryptocurrency exchanges trading among themselves in order to artificially inflate ether’s price.submitted by dForceProtocol to u/dForceProtocol [link] [comments]
“It’s not really just single agents doing things on their own,” Day says from Google’s Asia-Pacific headquarters. “They’re forming with other agents to have some larger group effect.”
Day’s official title is senior developer advocate for Google Cloud, but he describes his role as “customer zero” for the company’s cloud computing efforts. As such it’s his job to anticipate demand before a product even exists, and he thinks making the blockchain more accessible is the next big thing. Just as Google enabled (and ultimately profited) from making the internet more usable 20 years ago, its next billions may come from shining a bright light on blockchains. If Day is successful, the world will know whether blockchain’s real usage is living up to its hype.
Danish researcher Thomas Silkjaer is using Google's BigQuery to map publicly available information about XRP cryptocurrency addresses. The craters represent some of cryptocurrency's largest exchanges.
Last year Day and a small team of open-source developers quietly began loading data for the entire Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains into Google’s big-data analytics platform, BigQuery. Then, with the help of lead developer Evgeny Medvedev, he created a suite of sophisticated software to search the data.
In spite of a total lack of publicity, word of the project spread quickly among crypto-minded coders. In the past year, more than 500 projects were created using the new tools, trying to do everything from predicting the price of bitcoin to analyzing wealth disparity among ether holders.
When it comes to cloud computing, Google is far behind Amazon and Microsoft. Last year Google pocketed an estimated $3 billion in revenue from cloud services. Amazon and Microsoft, meanwhile, generated about $27 billion and $10 billion, respectively.
Day is hoping that his project, known as Blockchain ETL (extract, transform, load), will help even the playing field. But even here Google is trying to catch up. Amazon entered blockchain in a big way in 2018 with a suite of tools for building and managing distributed ledgers. Microsoft got into the space in 2015, when it released tools for Ethereum’s blockchain. It now hosts a range of services as part of its Azure Blockchain Workbench. But while Amazon and Microsoft are focusing on making it easier to build blockchain apps, Day is focusing on exposing how blockchains are actually being used, and by whom.
“In the future, moving more economic activity on chain won’t just require a consensus level of trust,” says Day, referring to the core validating mechanism of blockchain technology. “It will require having some trust in knowing about who it is you’re actually interacting with.” In other words, if blockchain is to go mainstream, some of its beloved anonymity features will have to be abandoned.
A native of Placer County, California, Day got his first computer at the age of 5 and a few years later started writing simple programs. A fascination with volcanoes and dinosaurs turned his interest to life sciences, and he ultimately graduated from the University of Oregon with a dual degree in biology and Mandarin in 2000. From there he headed to UCLA to pursue a doctorate in human genetics and helped build a computer program to browse the genome.
It was at UCLA where Day began relying on distributed computing, a concept that is core to blockchains, which store their data on a large network of individual computers. In the early 2000s Day needed to analyze the massive amounts of data that make up the human genome. To solve this problem he hooked many small computers together, vastly increasing their power.
“Distributed-systems technology has been in my tool kit for a while,” Day says. “I could see there were interesting characteristics of blockchains that could run a global supercomputer.”
Hired in 2016 to work in the health and bioinformatics areas of Google, Day segued to blockchains, the hottest distributed-computing effort on the planet. But the talents he had honed—sequencing genomes for infectious diseases in real time and using AI to increase rice yields—were not easily applied to decoding blockchain.
Before Day and Medvedev released their tools, just searching a blockchain required specialized software called “block explorers,” which let users hunt only for specific transactions, each labeled with a unique tangle of 26-plus alphanumeric characters. Google’s Blockchain ETL, by contrast, lets users make more generalized searches of entire ecosystems of transactions.
To demonstrate how customers could use Blockchain ETL to make improvements to the crypto economy, Day has used his tools to examine the so-called hard fork, or an irrevocable split in a blockchain database, that created a new cryptocurrency—bitcoin cash—from bitcoin in the summer of 2017.
Google Cloud developer advocate Allen Day presents his early cryptocurrency work at Google's Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore in August 2018. DORJEE SUN / PERLIN
This particular split was the result of a Hatfield and McCoy “war” within the bitcoin community between a group who wanted to leave bitcoin as it was and another who wanted to develop a currency that, like cash, was cheaper and faster to use for small payments. Using Google’s BigQuery, Day discovered that bitcoin cash, rather than increasing so-called micro-transactions, as the defecting developers claimed, was actually being hoarded among big holders of bitcoin cash. “I’m very interested to quantify what’s happening so that we can see where the legitimate use cases are for blockchain,” Day says. “Then we can move to the next use case and develop out what these technologies are really appropriate for.”
Day’s work is inspiring others. Tomasz Kolinko is a Warsaw-based programmer and the creator of a service that analyzes smart contracts, a feature of certain blockchains that is designed to transparently enforce contractual obligations like collateralized loans but with less reliance on third parties, like lawyers. Kolinko was frustrated with his blockchain queries.
In December, Kolinko met Day at a hackathon in Singapore. Within a month of the meeting, Kolinko was using Google’s tools to search for a smart contract feature called a “selfdestruct,” designed to limit a contract’s life span. Using his own software in conjunction with Day’s, Kolinko took 23 seconds to search 1.2 million smart contracts—something that would have taken hours before. The result: Almost 700 of them had left open a selfdestruct feature that would let anyone instantly kill the smart contract, whether that person was authorized or not. “In the past you couldn’t just easily check all the contracts that were using it,” Kolinko says. “This tool is both the most scary and most inspiring I’ve ever built.”
Day is now expanding beyond bitcoin and ethereum. Litecoin, zcash, dash, bitcoin cash, ethereum classic and dogecoin are being added to BigQuery. Independent developers are loading their own crypto data sets on Google. Last August, a Dutch developer named Wietse Wind uploaded the entire 400 gigabytes of transaction data from Ripple’s XRP blockchain, another popular cryptocurrency, into BigQuery. Wind’s data, which he updates every 15 minutes, prompted a Danish designer named Thomas Silkjaer to create a heat map of crypto flows. The resulting colorful orb reveals at a glance more than a million crypto wallets, including big exchanges like Binance and London’s crypto debit card startup Wirex, which are neck deep in XRP transactions.
“Google has been a bit of a sleeping giant in blockchain,” says BlockApps CEO Kieren James-Lubin, who is partnering with Google to sell enterprise blockchain apps. In addition to Day’s work, Google has filed numerous patents related to the blockchain, including one in 2018 to use a “lattice” of interoperating blockchains to increase security, a big deal in a world where untold millions of crypto have been stolen by hackers. The company is also pushing its developers to build apps on the Ethereum blockchain, and Google’s venture arm, GV, has made a number of significant investments in crypto startups.
The giant, it seems, is waking up.
Reach Michael del Castillo at [email protected]. Cover image by Munshi Ahmed.
I recently stumbled upon the "APPC", or "AppCoins" token on Binance while browsing new coin listings.
Like any half-decent cryptocurrency enthusiast, I was intrigued. "Aha! A new coin!"
I took a deep breath and prepared to take a deep dive into the bowels of the internet to figure out what APPC is all about. And by deep dive I mean I googled "AppCoins" and went to their website.
"Oh, they're trying to make a new app store. Good luck competing with Google Play and the iOS App Store!"
Given Google and Apple's combined gigantic market share of the space, I was inclined to move on to the next lucky contestant on the Wheel O' Coins. But on a whim I kept scrolling.
I thought "Wait, what? 200 million users? Over 4 billion downloads? What am I missing here?"
Apparently AppCoins isn't a token from a new startup - it's the token from Aptoide, the #1 ranked alternative to the Google Play store.
From the developer's side, the token is used as an incentive for users to download their apps. The end user is rewarded with tokens based on a unique system that determines if the user is actually trying out the app. The tokens are also used for in-app purchases. They can also be sent to and from one another.
But enough about the token value proposition. You can research it in depth yourself and buy some on Binance if you're so inclined. Whether or not you buy the coin for speculation purposes is not the purpose of this post.
So...what does this have to do with Coinbase?
Well, let's first take a quick look at the AppCoins roadmap:
By the end of this year over 200 million Aptoide users will have the ability to purchase, earn, and use AppCoins from right within the app.
- Q1 - Open Source Implementation: Release of the first beta version of Aptoide with AppCoins support
- Q2 - Pre Load Tier 1 OEMs: Rollout of AppCoins on Aptoide App Store, as well as on other app stores that joined
- Q3 - App Store Foundation: Production roll-out to all Aptoide clients (and other participant app stores)
To give some perspective, Coinbase has 13.3 million users as of October 26, 2017 according to an article from CNBC.
Aptoide has over 15 times the number of active users compared to Coinbase.
OK, you have my attention. Starting to sound like a shill post though. Get to the beef.
Buying cryptocurrency through Coinbase is expensive. Users are nickle-and-dimed at every opportunity:
Let's say you're not interested in buying Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, or Litecoin.
- Deposit fees: Free (ACH to receive funds in 3-5 days) through 3.99% for debit/credit card fees
- Transaction fees: from $0.99 to $2.99. It's a $2.99 + 1.49% variable fee for purchases over $200.
Instead you want to convert your hard-earned $2,000 US dollars into something else like Ripple. Here's how it plays out:
Your initial deposit: $2,000 Deposit fee: $0 (ACH to receive funds in 3-5 days) through $79.80 for debit/credit card fees
Now you have $1,920.20 - $2,000 in your Coinbase USD wallet
You decide to purchase ETH with the intention of transferring it to an exchange that sells Ripple:
ETH buy order: $1,920.20 - $2,000 Transaction fee: $29.80 for ACH. Fee included in credit/debit deposit (so $79.80).
Total purchase fees from deposit to ETH acquisition: $29.80 to 79.80
EDIT: Adjusted the fee rate schedule to make them accurate. Do these fees still seem reasonable to you, even after the decrease in fees? Search Reddit for complaints about Coinbase fees and see what you find. And if your unconcerned about the deposit transaction price, how about the speed of transaction to fee rate ratio? If we want cryptocurrency to be widely adopted then it should be friction-less.
Come on. Everyone knows that Coinbase is expensive. That's why I deposit my fiat into GDAX to buy crypto. The fees are significantly lower. Quit wasting my time.
Well, that's partially true. Anyone worth their weight in SHA256 hashes knows that GDAX is dramatically cheaper than Coinbase for depositing and purchasing BTC, BCH, LTC, and ETH.
The part that isn't true is that everyone knows that GDAX is cheaper. A more accurate statement is "every cryptocurrency enthusiast/trader knows that GDAX is cheaper". Coinbase does not advertise that GDAX has cheaper fees. There is no GDAX app for a reason - it would heavily cut into Coinbase's bottom line.
Your average crypto newbie buys their first coins through Coinbase because, let's face it, they have an app. Buying crypto on an app is something that your average person can comprehend. Apps are easy to use, trustworthy, and nearly everyone can do it regardless of their age and technical skill level.
Right, apps are easy to use. What a novel thought. You should tour the world giving Ted Talks about how easy apps are to use. Now could you PLEASE get to the point.
OK! I apologize for droning on. I'll cut right to the chase:
Instead of jumping through all the aforementioned hoops with Coinbase, you buy AppCoins from the Aptoide app store and send them directly to your favorite exchange. Then trade the AppCoins for the cryptocurrency of your choice. In theory it should be a faster and more cost-effective way to purchase cryptocurrency.
Hmmmm. OK, I'm starting to understand where you're going with this. But I'm still going to use GDAX. I'd rather buy ETH from GDAX.
Hey, to each their own. I'd rather buy coins in 30 seconds with a couple of taps on my phone and send them right to Binance.
Oh come on. Now you're just shilling. Your whole rant was just a ploy to shill this coin. I'm going to another thread.
Honestly, no. I didn't write this to shill. I guess I'm just tired of Coinbase. And I bet there are others that are less than pleased with their business model and customer service. Remember when they didn't distribute all that Bitcoin Cash?
Ugh, yes. Don't remind me about that.
Sorry! Didn't mean to upset you. I know its a sore subject.
If you read this far then congratulations, you have more patience than your average cryptocurrency trader. May your candles always be green.
Some interesting facts:
Needless to say, I think that Aptoide and AppCoins is a project to be excited about regardless of whether you're a cryptocurrency trader or completely uninvolved with the cryptocurrency space. Cryptocurrency is going mainstream this year!
- The number of Bitcoin users is forecasted to reach 200 million by 2024.
- There are approximately 15 million bitcoin wallets as of September 2017.
- As I mentioned before, AppCoins will be rolled out as a completed project to 200M users by the end of 2018 whether you want to believe it or not (barring a total catastrophe, of course). Aptoide store users may not even know that they're using a cryptocurrency.
- AppCoins may be the first real "mainstream" cryptocurrency (by definition of the high number of users with little to no technical knowledge or grasp of blockchain).
- There will be 200 million users' app transactions on the blockchain. This is a huge step in the right direction for blockchain and cryptocurrency regardless of which coin you support. Rising tides raise all ships.
To avoid confusion since Coinmarketcap has APPC listed incorrectly, here is the current accurate financial information. People are going to ask anyway so I would rather supply the correct information:
Circulating supply= 98M APPC Total supply= 246M APPC Coin Price = $2.53 ICO Price = $0.10 Market Cap (CS x P) = $247,940,000 Days on Exchange (Binance) = 7
Thank you for reading!
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