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Crypto in the Philippines Part 2 – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Cointelegraph By Andrew Fenton

Widespread high-level English language skills and relatively low wages have seen Filipino workers become a top choice for remote staff for blockchain projects around the world. But is the industry exploiting these workers, or has remote work during the pandemic helped the country to grow and develop?

If you’ve ever contacted customer support for a crypto exchange, the chances are high you’ve chatted with a Filipino staff member. They’re highly prized by crypto projects for strong English language skills, friendly and polite demeanors — and let’s be honest: dirt cheap wages.

It leaves many project leaders wrestling with the ethics of paying Filipino staff a relative pittance to save on overheads. Is it fair that a blockchain developer in the Philippines gets paid $10,000 for similar work to a blockchain developer in Australia on $70,000?

It’s a complicated moral question and there are no easy answers, but many Filipinos believe there are benefits on both sides. Mike Mislos, founder of the local Bitpinas crypto news website, says that people he knows appreciate the opportunity because international companies pay far higher wages than most Filipinos could earn otherwise.

“If someone is getting $1,000 a month for development work, even though that is less than what a junior developer is getting in the US, it is still far higher compared with what is the average basic salary here,” he says.

BPO industry

A whole industry called Business Process Outsourcing has sprung up to take advantage of the Philippines’s almost unique blend of labor availability, cost, English language proficiency, and cultural affinity. It’s the second biggest economic driver in the country, worth $25B in annual revenue and employing 1.2 million people.

A peculiar set of historical circumstances led to this point. Formerly a United States colony, the population remains eternally grateful that General MacArthur made good on his promise to liberate them from the Japanese occupation during World War 2. To this day, Filipinos are more pro-American than even the Americans. Day to day life is a mixture of eastern and western culture, and almost everybody speaks English except in small rural villages.

The BPO industry began to flourish in the 1990s, with overseas companies starting to set up call centres and now spans eight sub sectors including back offices, software development, game development and engineering design. For decentralized blockchain projects, agencies like Cloudstaff take care of sourcing staff, making payments and dealing with local paperwork on the ground, meaning all the projects need to worry about is the actual work.

Leah Callon-Butler was formerly the chief marketing officer for an international crypto project and she’s lived in Clark (a couple of hours outside Manila) since August 2018 when she flew in to spend a month working with the project’s six member Filipino team.

“We’d never met them,” she explains. “The Filipino devs, they were working on fairly basic coding stuff, but they really wanted to sink their teeth into the blockchain stuff.” She adds: “We just wanted to spend some quality time with them and help mentor and train and skill them up. And we just fell in love with the place.”

A matter of costs

Callon-Butler admits the project’s decision to hire devs through CloudStaff came down to costs. The project’s ICO had been completely undermined by crypto winter in early 2018. “We couldn’t afford a team of six in Australia or Europe, but we could in the Philippines,” she says.

“It concerned me: is this exploitative? But you get here and you realize that those people who are working for CloudStaff for example, represent the growing middle class that have all this brand new purchasing power that didn’t exist before.” She adds:

“When you realize the difference in purchasing power it’s like ‘Yes, they are earning much, much less than an Australian salary’. But it also costs much, much less, to live here.”

For example an inexpensive meal at a restaurant or even a McMeal at McDonalds costs about $3 and a 1 bedroom apartment can be rented for under $200 a month.

She explained that Intimate.io’s senior Filipino developer had enough left over from his wages to be able to buy two brand new cars in the space of a year, one for him and the other for his parents:

“We said, ‘Wow. That’s pretty generous.’ And he said, ‘Well, yeah, they sold their family car, to put me through university.’ And then when he got this high paying job, and his career was moving up, he bought them a brand-new car to say ‘Thanks, Mom and Dad.’”

Pandemic boosts remote work

The BPO industry has also proved invaluable for some Filipinos forced to work from home during the pandemic, explains Mark Anthony “Tony” Echem, 35. He lives in Cagayan de Oro, and works remotely as an office manager for Australian crypto trading education site Trader Cobb, having formerly worked for Australian telecom Telstra.

He says that his wife and he “appreciate that we were in the right position to be working at home because a lot of people are actually still adjusting to this kind of setup. But we already had that advantage since we’ve been doing this for a long time.” He goes on to say:

“Over the past, I would say five years, there’ve been more people transferring to working at home, even before the epidemic started. In my circle of friends, I would say, almost 50% have already transferred to working at home.”

“Interest has definitely grown over the past few months, especially with this pandemic, because people are at home and want to learn how to earn other income sources,” he says.

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing though, with living conditions for many employed in the BPO industry not suitable for remote work due to overcrowding and noise pollution. The internet infrastructure is also rickety, ranking at 63 out of 100 countries in the 2020 Inclusive Internet Index.

Grow NFT creatures for fun and profit

One surprising development in remote earning during the pandemic, was a surge in Filipino residents earning multiples of the minimum wage playing the NFT-based CryptoKitties-style blockchain game Axie Infinity. 

The most devoted players can earn up to 10,000 pesos a week raising Axies and earning SLP tokens from their mobile phone. The Philippines’ Blockchain Space has even started up an “Axie Academy” to mentor locals in “playing to earn”. 

“It’s kind of taken off during the pandemic because most people in the Philippines have a mobile phone,” explains Callon-Butler:

“There were some players who wanted to breed their Axies but couldn’t be bothered playing the game and doing all the battling. So there was a secondary market created where all these Filipinos who were stuck at home in lockdown with no income and nothing else to do (found work). It was kind of a lifesaver where people couldn’t earn money any other way.”

The SLP tokens were traded on Uniswap, which means all of the Filipino players were airdropped 400 UNI tokens — worth more than half a year’s wages for some. “The Uniswap thing put them in like the top earning percentile in the provinces, an extremely rich person,” she says. “Suddenly, word got around that people had not only found a way to make money, but a way to make serious money in the Philippines.”

Remote developers help development

The chance to earn relatively good wages with remote work may also help reverse the brain drain that sees millions of young Filipinos heading overseas to earn money to send back to  their families. In addition remote work is helping support rapid economic growth which, until the pandemic stuck and set GDP back by 9.5%, had been averaging 6.4% growth each year over the past decade.

Callon-Butler says she’s seen the positive effects on society first hand. “Cool coffee shops and bars and fancy restaurants and shopping centers are popping up in response to this growing middle class that suddenly has all this disposable income,” she says. “So it’s quite incredible to see how much this international flow of capital in terms of hiring these offshore staff is literally changing the trajectory of lives.”

For Echem, the opportunities that a decentralized workforce has brought to the country could help the Philippines reach its full potential within his lifetime. “We are a third world country for now,” he says, going on to add: 

“I really believe that we’re positioning ourselves as a country to become at least first world before my generation ends. I’m very optimistic about that, with the progress that we’ve been doing.”



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6 Questions for Kain Warwick of Synthetix – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Cointelegraph By Editorial Staff

We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and we throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!


 

This week, our 6 Questions go to Kain Warwick, the founder of Synthetix.

Kain Warwick is the founder of Synthetix, a derivatives liquidity protocol on Ethereum. Synthetix has processed billions of dollars in trading volume. Warwick previously founded Blueshyft, Australia’s largest cryptocurrency payment gateway. 


 

1 — What’s a problem you think blockchain has a chance to solve but that hasn’t been attempted yet?

I might just still be a 2017 idiot here, but I still feel equity settlement, having a decentralized ledger for equity settlement, is a sensible thing that will happen. But it can’t happen until regulators are comfortable with it happening, etc. The efficiencies it will add are just too obvious to be avoided. There are certain things that come with that, that mean it’s gonna take a while before we see that. There have been weird little experiments, but I think a large-scale transition to something like that is still a ways away. But it will be hugely impactful when it happens.

2 — Which is sillier: $500,000 Bitcoin or $0 Bitcoin? Why?

$0 Bitcoin. There is just zero chance — it’s literally impossible for Bitcoin to go to zero. There is not a market where someone would not have a buy price for every Bitcoin above zero. It’s just functionally impossible. Whatever the canonical Bitcoin is, even if it’s not the one that it is right now — that specific chain or whatever — it has a price above zero. There’s always a market for something, there’s always a buyer of last resort for something, and Bitcoin has way more buyers of last resort — it’s never going to zero.

 

3 — What should we be teaching our kids?

I think we should teach our children to not blindly accept authority, which is a hard thing to do because there are so many things in children’s lives that are structured and controlled that they don’t have control over. And so, to teach them to be respectful of certain things while also being mindful that they should be questioned is a delicate balance to strike.

 

4 — What’s the silliest conspiracy theory out there… and which one makes you pause for a moment?

Probably the silliest conspiracy theory is the Bill Gates microchip vaccine theory, and probably the one that gives me pause for a moment is the Elon Musk microchip conspiracy theory.

 

5 — Which people do you find most inspiring, most interesting and most fun in this space?

I feel like Andre Cronje is an easy and obvious one. You never know what the fuck he’s going to be doing. Larry Cermak’s good, Anthony Sassano is good, Mariano Conti is good, he’s always high value. Obviously, G (DegenSpartan) is always good.

 

6 — What talent do you lack and wish you had? How would you use it if you had it?

I lack the talent to draw things, and I would be starting my own NFT project if I had the ability to draw.

 


 



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The crypto whale who wants to give billions away – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Cointelegraph By Andrew Fenton

Like many people in crypto, Sam Bankman-Fried is in it for the money. As the founder of quant trading firm Alameda Research, exchange FTX and DeFi protocol Serum, the curly haired 28-year-old has amassed a $10 billion fortune in just three years in the industry.

Unlike most people in crypto though, he’s building up a fortune in order to give half of it away. An ‘effective altruist’ he’s essentially robbing from the rich, via his preternatural crypto trading strategies, in order to give to the poor. 

“Maybe without the robbing part,” he says. “In the end my goal is to have as much impact as I can, however that is. And right now, I think that’s flowing through donations, so figuring out how I can be able to make as much as I can and donate as much as I can.”

SBF, as he’s sometimes referred to, has been walking the walk for some time now. He spent a couple of months as the director of development at the Centre for Effective Altruism in 2017 and before that, gave away half of his income during his stint on Wall Street. He plans on giving away around 50% of his crypto billions too — but only after he’s finished reinvesting in his ever-expanding empire.

He does donate to causes as they come up however. He was the second largest donor to President Joe Biden’s campaign, after former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, tipping in $5.2 million.

“I was excited about the impact it might have. I basically thought that it mattered what happened in the election.”

Also, the FTX Foundation launched recently. It’ll give away 1% of the platform’s fees and match user donations dollar for dollar up to $10,000 a day. In its first couple of weeks the Foundation has raised more than $2M, mostly in user contributions, with users able to vote on the recipient charities from a carefully curated list.

The old bean bag

SBF’s growing public profile was given a shot in the arm when he was named on Forbes 30 Under 30 finance list for this year. “I’m honored,” he says. “I tend to be fairly forward looking instead of backward look and so it was cool for a bit but it sort of wore off pretty quickly.”

He also came in at number three in the recent Cointelegraph Top 100.

 

 

Famous for sleeping on his bean bag at his Hong Kong office so he never misses a trade, and it seems a key reason SBF makes more money than anyone else is that he’s barely ever off the clock. 

“I’m at the office, well usually 24 hours a day. I’ll sometimes just nap on a beanbag here and obviously shoot the shit with coworkers and sometimes with people online, but mostly its work.”

He doesn’t have a girlfriend or even see many people outside of work, though he makes time to speak with his family back in the U.S. “a few times a week on the phone.” It’s safe to say SBF isn’t the type of person desperate to strike the perfect work/life balance or who even accepts that productivity decreases after the first 11 hours or so at work.

“I think that sort of narrative is substantially oversold and the brutal or inspiring truth, depending on how you think about it, is that the more you put in, the more you get out,” he says. “It’s motivating for me and it’s fulfilling, but you know, another piece of it is that, it’s how I think I can have the most impact.”

How did I get here?

The child of two Stanford Law professors, SBF discovered the Effective Altruism movement during his Physics degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Popularized by philosophers and ethicists including Toby Ord and Peter Singer the movement is focused on pragmatic ways to help others using science and reason to ensure the benefits are maximized, rather than the good intentions and poor outcomes that characterize some charitable organizations. This practical approach also extends to a hard headed examination of the best way an individual can help.

“Imagine the amount of good that you could do working directly for some cause, versus the amount that you could do working on Wall Street and donating to it. In a lot of cases you could probably actually help them out more with the donations. And so basically I checked out Wall Street.”

Friends who’d interned at quant trading firm Jane Street Capital gave him the pathway to Wall Street, and he began working there straight after college in 2014. Why did they hire a physics major with very little financial experience straight out of school you ask? 

It turns out quant trading strategies are “super valuable” trade secrets which means no one teaches the successful ones in Uni degrees. Instead, firms recruit people with raw talent: maths whizzes or people with strong backgrounds in physics or computer science.

“What you need to know about markets, they’ll teach,” he says. He traded a variety of ETFs, futures, currencies and equities and designed an automated OTC trading system. While there he became interested in the insanely profitable arbitrage opportunities in the inefficient crypto markets and set up crypto quant trading firm Alameda Research to profit from it in late 2017.

The whale to rule all whales

Alameda Research has now grown to become one of the biggest companies in crypto with around $2.5 billion in assets under management, although as with his own fortune, SBF qualifies this with some provisos around liquid and illiquid assets.

Alameda is the Moby Dick of crypto whales, responsible for up to 10% of the cryptocurrency moving around the markets at any one time. “I think at particular times it can get up to about that fraction of the volume,” he says. “I think it averages a bit lower. It’s solidly in the group of the five to ten larger trading firms in the space.”

That means any trade Alameda takes has the potential to move markets and cause liquidations. In October last year, Alameda was widely blamed for crashing the price of YFI by shorting, though SBF has downplayed any impact. He believes that with great power comes great responsibility.

“It’s absolutely a responsibility,” he says, adding that he tries to follow the approach of TradFi quant firms. “Their role is to find profitable trades, but it’s also to provide liquidity and promote healthy markets,” he says. “The biggest duty is the duty to do no harm. And to make sure that what you do is, on the whole, promoting liquidity in healthy markets and efficient trading, as opposed to intervening in it.”

He adds that arbitrage trades, for example, can have positive impacts as it makes markets more efficient and brings down prices where there are premiums. Identifying and working out how to profit from arbitrage trades was the whole reason Alameda was founded. “One of the first big ones that we actually made some money on was Litecoin,” he recalls.

“There was a week in late 2017 when Litecoin was trading at a consistent 20% premium on Coinbase GDAX [now Coinbase Pro]. There’s sort of this idea like ‘Oh that’s cool, you just make 10% every half hour I guess you make infinity dollars?’ And of course, that’s not the answer.”

It turns out that trying to exploit the opportunity was hideously complicated and required, getting around trade size limits, and withdrawal limits of a million a day. “Especially a few years ago in crypto an enormous piece of the problem was figuring out the logistical steps,” he says.

Another arbitrage trade saw SBF and friends move up to $25M a day through a series of intermediaries and rural banks in Japan to take advantage of the famous Kimchee premium, which saw Bitcoin trading for up to a third more in South Korea’s hard to access financial system than the U.S.

But it was dealing with the legacy financial system that threw up the biggest challenges. “The single hardest part of the arbitrage, the piece that was slowest and hardest and most expensive and most frustrating was the fiat,” he says, noting difficulties getting accounts, which could then be shut at any moment, the archaic procedures and bureaucracy and insanely slow wire transfers.

“We spent five man hours per day in physical bank branches for a good solid five months, because that’s what it took to send the wire transfers,” he says, adding:

“Like got there at 10am and stayed till 1pm with multiple people there, to have all the meetings we had to have every single f–king day of the week, in order to send the same wire transfer we sent yesterday.”

This is one reason SBF is so passionate about DeFi – his vision is for it to one day replace the lumbering existing financial system. “The current payment rails are not efficient at all,” he says. There’s trillions of dollars of companies, which are just built around trying to abstract that away and you end up with this incredibly complex web of shit to make it usable for most people. They’re running on systems that are old and not designed even with the internet in mind.”

Crypto influencer

For many people SBF sprang fully formed as a major crypto and DeFi personality during the mid-2020 DeFi boom, as he began to make an impact on Crypto Twitter. This was a deliberate move: he’d been happy to fly under the radar in 2018 because Alameda’s quant trading focus had: “Very little need for publicity, it’s sort of mostly downside.” But when he launched the innovative crypto exchange FTX in 2019 he needed to build a community around it and he stepped up to become its public face on social media.

 

 

“With FTX as a retail facing business the more customers the better. You can build the best  product in the world but if no one knows about it it’s not worth anything,” he says.

“One of the hardest and most interesting pieces has been figuring out how to get users, and increasing awareness was a big part of that.”

He seems to have figured it out as FTX became the fifth largest derivatives exchange by volume, with a $3.5 billion valuation. It’s launched a range of innovative markets, including tokenized fractional stock offerings of companies like Tesla, Apple and Amazon, as well as pre-IPO trading in Coinbase.

He’s also using his wealth and influence to try and overcome what he sees as the biggest blocker preventing the wide scale adoption of DeFi. He believes that Ethereum, including Eth2 can’t scale enough to allow crypto and DeFi to replace the existing financial system. DeFi can currently handle about 10 transactions per second, with second layer solutions enabling a few thousand TPS.

“This is an absolute hard, immoveable barrier, in terms of growth,” he says. “DeFi just literally cannot grow as an ecosystem until that is addressed. And so no long-term plan that doesn’t address it is viable. […] That is just fatal.” Even Eth2’s goal of 100,000 TPS isn’t enough for what SBF has in mind.

“If your goal is to scale to 100 million or a billion users, […] if you want to have the upside of an application that might grow to the scale of the largest applications in the world, it needs to be able to scale up to about a million transactions a second. And so you can just sort of cross off the list permanently with no recourse and not even needing to consider any other factor, any scaling solution that doesn’t get there, if that’s your goal.”

That’s what led him to become one of the most vocal proponents for Solana, a blockchain that can currently process 65,000 TPS and whose team claim it can eventually scale up to astonishing levels: 710,000 TPS on a 1 gigabit link or 28.4 million TPS on a 40 gigabit link.

 

 

He founded the Serum DEX on Solana and launched the SRM cryptocurrency in August 2020. Bankman-Fried say you can see Solana’s benefits in Serum’s on chain order book matching engine and fees of “100th of a penny to send an order and trades happen in seconds.”

“So you get a lot of juice out of having the higher throughput. And that’s really helped scale up that product base quite a bit. To the point where I think that, you know, our best guess is that, probably Serum DEX in six months of operation has, has consumed more transactions than all of the Ethereum blockchain in history.”

Ethereum’s network effects mean he faces an uphill battle getting DeFi projects and users to migrate to Solana. Even after he was handed control of SushiSwap by Chef Nomi, he was unable to convince the community to port over. “It ended up being way harder than we thought to get the existing projects to port over and way easier to just have new projects built,” he explains, adding:

“We would still be super excited for them to have an outpost on Solana. I think they still may at some point. But I also think that Serums’ gonna march on either way. In the end, like, I sort of want to have the best products and users, you know, however it gets there.”

(Following our interview, a new proposal emerged to build a version of SushiSwap on Solana and Serum, potentially called Bonsai.)

Although SBF says the network effects of having so many interconnected applications built on Ethereum are substantial, he points out that eventually each project will have to “migrate and break composability and tooling with the existing options” in order to switch to layer-two, Eth2, or some other scaling solution. In terms of user numbers he says ETH’s network effects are overstated.

“The other part is that while the current DeFi user base is super devoted, super important and powerful, it’s not that large. Daily active users, I think it’s in the tens of thousands. I think FTX probably has more daily active users than all of DeFi combined.”

SBF’s plan appears to be to embed the Solana blockchain as infrastructure in apps where it’s invisible to most users, in order to onboard millions into DeFi. At the start of 2021, Alameda led a $50 million funding round to embed DeFi style tools in Maps.me, a European offline mapping application with 140 million users. It’ll have a multi-currency wallet with staking and swapping facilities built on Solana. FTX’s purchase of Blockfolio may follow a somewhat similar strategy.

“I think it’s gonna be a really cool product and powerful product suite for the app,” he says of Maps.me. “I’m super excited about it. I think it might really kickstart adoption.



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What are privacy coins and how do they differ from Bitcoin?

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Cointelegraph By Benjamin Pirus

Cryptocurrencies are typically pseudonymous, but not necessarily private. Bitcoin (BTC) and other assets run on blockchains, with each transaction posted publicly online. During a transaction between two or more parties, assets move to different wallets, each represented by a string of characters. 

With these addresses and transactions visible to all, however, a certain level of trackability exists, especially if a wallet transfers funds to an exchange requiring Know Your Customer verification.

Certain crypto assets, which are often referred to as privacy coins, private coins or anonymous coins, attempt to hide information about transactions, giving users more privacy. Why might someone need privacy if they are not doing anything illegal? It could be preference or a view of privacy as a basic human right could be two reasons. Cash is largely private. Every transaction is not recorded somewhere for all to see with the click of a button.

A number of possible methods exist for adding privacy to Bitcoin, including peer-to-peer trading, although multiple crypto assets focus on privacy more directly via their technology. Some familiar privacy assets in the crypto space include Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), Verge (XVG), Beam and Grin. Dash also makes it on the list, as it allows for added anonymity, although the coin is not technically classified as a privacy asset.

Monero

One of the industry’s most well-known privacy-focused assets, Monero came on the scene about seven years ago, having spurred numerous headlines in the years since. Monero prides itself on decentralization, touting origins that back such stated values. “It was a fair, pre-announced launch of the CryptoNote reference code,” Monero’s website says. “There was no premine or instamine, and no portion of the block reward goes to development.”

Monero, a coin based on its own proof-of-work blockchain, touts multiple different privacy technology features, per its website, including stealth addresses and RingCT. Added to XMR in 2017, “RingCT, short for Ring Confidential Transactions, is how transaction amounts are hidden in Monero,” Moneropedia, the explanatory section of the asset’s site, explains.

Monero piqued the interest of the United States government in the latter part of 2020. The Internal Revenue Service put out a bounty on the asset’s head, promising as much as $625,000 in exchange for cracking the coin’s privacy tech. Two blockchain analytics outfits, Integra FEC and Chainalysis, took home the prize just a few weeks after the IRS announced the bounty.

Zcash

Zcash hails as another popular privacy-focused asset in the crypto space. It started in 2016 and was initiated by the Electric Coin Company, which is headed up by cypherpunk Zooko Wilcox. Zcash stems from the same code as Bitcoin, according to the asset’s website. ZEC operates on its own blockchain with PoW mining consensus, separate from Bitcoin.

ZEC allows both private transfers, called shielded transactions, and public transactions. “Zcash gives you the option of confidential transactions and financial privacy through shielded addresses,” Zcash’s website explains, adding: “Zero-knowledge proofs allow transactions to be verified without revealing the sender, receiver or transaction amount. Selective disclosure features within Zcash allow a user to share some transaction details, for purposes of compliance or audit.”

Dash (sort of)

Dash is another well-known cryptocurrency hosting privacy features. The entity managing the coin’s development, the Dash Core Group, however, clarified on several occasions that Dash is not a privacy asset, although it comes with elective characteristics for added anonymity.

“Dash is a payments cryptocurrency with a strong focus on usability, which includes speed, cost, ease of use and user protection through optional privacy,” the group’s chief marketing officer, Fernando Gutierrez, told Cointelegraph previously.

“Dash is not an AEC!” Ryan Taylor, CEO of DashPay, said in a January 2021 tweet referring to anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrencies, or AEC — a term used by U.S. regulating bodies. “As a literal fork of Bitcoin, all Dash transactions are completely transparent,” his tweet added: “All inputs, outputs, addresses, and amounts are recorded on each and every transaction and viewable – by anyone – on its public blockchain.”

XCoin joined the crypto world as a 2014 Bitcoin fork, later rebranding as Darkcoin, and subsequently Dash. The asset is based on its own proof-of-stake blockchain.

The coin lets users transact anonymously, if they so choose, through what is referred to as PrivateSend. “The technology that Dash utilizes in our PrivateSend function is CoinJoin, which is a technique for complicating transactions to the point that they’re more difficult for analytics firms to analyze those,” Gutierrez explained, as previously reported.

Verge

A PoW asset running on its own blockchain, Verge exists as yet another cryptocurrency touting privacy capabilities. Verge started with a different name. “Verge Currency was created in 2014 under the name DogeCoinDark,” the asset’s website states, but was later rebranded into Verge Currency.

An open-source asset, Verge enables private transfers through I2P and Tor tech, which conceal transactors’ locations (IP addresses), according to information from BitDegree, as well as previous Cointelegraph reporting.

Verge gained significant price traction in late 2017, hitting highs around $0.31, based on TradingView data. The asset currently trades at roughly $0.023.

Beam and Grin

Grin and Beam burst onto the crypto market in 2019, touting a different technology called Mimblewimble. A type of blockchain technology, the concept of Mimblewimble went public in 2016 as a PoW variation, according to a community submission article from William M. Peaster on Binance Academy.

Grin and Beam launched based on Mimblewimble, although Litecoin (LTC), a long-time prominent asset in the crypto space, has been working on implementing the technology.

“In a MW blockchain, there are no identifiable or reusable addresses, meaning that all transactions look like random data to an outsider,” the Binance Academy article reads. “A Mimblewimble block looks like one large transaction rather than a combination of many,” the article adds, subsequently diving into other aspects of the technology.

Privacy coins and regulation

Government overwatch on privacy coins has grown in recent years, as shown in part by the IRS’ efforts against Monero’s technology. Privacy coin references also surfaced in the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s proposed regulation on self-hosted crypto wallets in December 2020.

“Several types of AEC (e.g., Monero, Zcash, Dash, Komodo, and Beam) are increasing in popularity and employ various technologies that inhibit investigators’ ability both to identify transaction activity using blockchain data,” the December document said referring to anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrencies. Additionally, South Korea outlawed anonymity assets in November 2020.

Some crypto exchanges have delisted the abovementioned assets. In October 2019, OKEx Korea ceased trading on its platform for Monero, Zcash, Super Bitcoin (SBTC), Dash and Horizen (ZEN). BitBay removed Monero near the beginning of 2020. Bittrex removed Zcash, Dash and Monero from its exchange in January 2021. A number of other crypto platforms have also delisted privacy-enhanced assets over the past year or two, including ShapeShift.





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