- Facebook to use cryptocurrency for WhatsApp transfers
Bloomberg reported today that popular social media giant Facebook intends to dip its does deeper into the waters of cryptocurrency.
According to unnamed sources, Facebook is working on making a cryptocurrency that will let users transfer money via the WhatsApp messaging app. The newly implemented cryptocurrency will apparently be a stablecoin pegged to USD and will initially focus on the remittances market in India.
“Facebook is far from releasing the coin, because it’s still working on the strategy, including a plan for custody assets, or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value of the stablecoin,” Bloomberg further adds.
Facebook has been flirting with crypto ever since they hired David Marcus, former PayPal president and a member of Coinbase’s board of directors, to lead the company’s blockchain research sector. This sector currently employs over 40 people and is clearly making moves to leverage the blockchain technology.
India being considered as the launch ground for this project makes plenty of sense, even if merely 480 million out of 1.3 billion people living in the country currently have access to the internet. Researchers predict that this number will increase to above 700 million by 2022, presenting a massive market for Facebook and WhatsApp to tap into. Indian internet market is dubbed as the world’s fastest growing one and the two companies plan to grab a share of that by releasing cheap handsets (dubbed “WhatsApp phones”) that’ll provide internet access even in rural areas. The creation of a remittance-focused cryptocurrency makes sense as well, since Indians working abroad sent $69 billion back home during 2017.
- IOTA creates a new cryptographic hash function
IOTA Foundation, a non-profit foundation focused on building distributed ledger technology (DLT) and a permissionless ecosystem, announced Troika, a new lightweight trinary cryptographic hash function. The function has been built in collaboration with CYBERCRYPT A/S, a provider of robust cryptography and cyber security.
Troika was commissioned by the IOTA Foundation, built by Cybercrypt’s “expert cryptographers” and is expected to become an important part of the final IOTA protocol. Both teams are confident that the function is able to withstand all known cryptoanalytic attacks; their confidence is so high that they plan on hosting a Troika analyzing competition which will have a total prize pool of €200,000.
“The IOTA Foundation is honored and excited to be collaborating with CYBERCRYPT, to ensure we achieve world-leading security for the IOTA protocol. We hope that this competition will bring the cryptographic community together on solving security in the Internet-of-Things,” saidDavid Sønstebø, Co-Founder and Co-chair of IOTA Foundation.
This new function is expected to bring increased performance and computation to IOT cryptography, mostly thanks to the trinary-based hardware supporting it.
“We are excited about this collaboration with IOTA and have used the latest design principles and our best people to develop this state-of-the art hash function, coined Troika,” said Peter Jerry Sørensen, Chairman of CYBERCRYPT A/S. Read the complete announcement here.
- Zilliqa reviews the year behind
Zilliqa, one of the more successful Ethereum clones and a project often cited as being very close to full implementation of the sharding technology, published a post on its Medium page detailing their experiences in the year behind. The post revealed that the project was quite busy, as they managed to achieve several key milestones.
Overall, the big accomplishments of the year for ZIL wouldn’t have mattered without the launch of their Shan Wang public testnet, which gave everyone a glimpse of what the actual, sharding-ready mainnet will be able to do. A native smart contract Scylla was developed as well, while several important partnerships and collaborations saw Zilliqa explore potential application in use cases such as digital advertising, Insurtech, digital content and gaming. The team further mentions work on programmatic advertising (done alongside Mindshare on Project Proton) and describes the #BuildonZIL Ecosystem Grant Programme, an initiative seeking applications for scalability (e.g. layer 2 solutions), gaming SDKs, DApps, and Scilla additions.
The team acknowledged that while a lot has been done on the permissioned prototype platform, a lot of work lies ahead of them before Zilliqa can offer true sharding-powered public blockchain. They themselves have expanded from 5 to 20 to face this work with increased intensity and have noted that more tools/documentation/tutorials will be provided for budding developers looking to build with Zilliqa. With all that in mind, they confirmed that their focus for 2019 will be the rollout of a complete operational mainnet and addition of real world use cases.
- Coinbase to expand onto 6 new markets
Popular US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase decided to expand its relatively narrow scope of operations with 6 new countries. So far available in 33 countries, they’ve confirmed that they’ll be expanding onto the following European markets:
- Isle of Man
With this expansion, Coinbase will now offer the full usage of the Coinbase.com platform to users from cited countries. These people will now be able to access the platform by either downloading the official iOS and Android apps or by using a web browser. For now, Coinbase Pro and Prime features will remain out of the scope of these new countries; the project announced their desire to bring these services as well to the mentioned regions.
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