bitcoin cash fork fight

It’s judgment day for Bitcoin Cash.

After a vicious war of words between the two competing sides, Bitcoin Cash will execute a hard fork today and split into two separate blockchains. By the end of the day, we may have two new cryptocurrencies on the market:

Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin Cash SV.

However, the developers behind Bitcoin Cash SV do not expect the two new blockchains to live in harmony.

Background reading: November’s Bitcoin Cash Fork, Explained

Bitcoin Cash SV: “The Intention is for Only One Chain to Survive”

Looking back to a press release issued earlier this month, the Bitcoin Cash SV camp explained clearly:

“With Bitcoin SV, we are not seeking to create a new Bitcoin variant and we are not intending to create a new Bitcoin SV token.”

The statement was issued by nChain, the software and development company behind the proposed SV upgrade. It continues:

“There will likely be a period of time before this temporary chain split is resolved, while miners are voting with their hash power.”

In other words, they believe only one chain should be allowed to exist after the fork: the longest one. That will simply be determined by how much hash power (or mining computer power) is directed to each chain.

“No Transaction Replay Protection” – a Technical Trip Wire

Transaction replay protection is a mechanism built into blockchains that makes transactions on one blockchain invalid on the other one.

Bitcoin Cash SV has not implemented this protection.

Without transaction replay protection, it means users can unwittingly lose money by accidentally transacting on the wrong chain. It also opens up holes for hackers to exploit.

It’s a sign of war from Bitcoin Cash SV. They expect the “losing” chain to peter out, with no protection needed.

If you’re a Bitcoin Cash holder, however, you need to be careful. The best advice is to keep your Bitcoin Cash safely in a wallet until the dust settles.

A Fight for Hash Power

If only one chain is to exist, it will come down to a fight over hash power. In other words, the decision lies with Bitcoin Cash miners: which upgrade will they devote their mining power to?

Indications suggest that Bitcoin Cash SV has the edge with at least 72% of estimated mining hash power compared to ABC’s 13%.

This also gives SV the potential power to initiate a 51% attack against the ABC blockchain. Craig Wright, the man behind SV has not ruled out this possibility. Miners could also mine “empty blocks” that don’t contain any transactions. It would effectively bring the blockchain to a halt. 

Further reading: BCH Fork Wars: Who’s Winning? (The Two Sides, Explained)

What will happen?

It’s still too early to tell. However, there are three possible outcomes:

  1. Only one coin survives – As Bitcoin Cash SV hopes, a dominant chain could emerge and overwhelm the hash power of the other.
  2. Two coins emerge – If hash power is shared to a viable extent, there may be two concurrent blockchains and two separate cryptocurrencies.
  3. Implosion – There’s a chance that the vicious infighting and nefarious hashing actions could kill the value of both blockchains and endanger the entire future of Bitcoin Cash.

Block Explorer will keep you updated as more news comes in.

best blockchain games

Before we get into this list, don’t get too excited about playing games as ambitious as Fortnite or Skyrim or Call of Duty. Blockchain gaming, while exciting, is still in its infancy, often based around collectibles (you’ve all heard of Cryptokitties, right?) Our aim is to begin tracking the world of blockchain gaming as it develops and see what new ideas are out there. Delton Rhodes explores. 

What Are Blockchain Games?

As the name suggests, blockchain games are any games that use blockchain technology to power some or all of the gameplay. 

It might be as simple as storing gaming items on a blockchain,  often Ethereum. Or as vast as building an entire blockchain gaming universe (see Decentraland and CryptoSpaceX below). 

Why Blockchain Games vs. Traditional Games?

Blockchain games are considered more transparent and secure than traditional games. In traditional games, everything is stored on the gaming company’s servers. 

With blockchain games, your items and progress can be stored safely and transparently on a public blockchain. 

For the first time ever, it also means you can own 100% unique digital items. Before blockchain, every digital item (like a weapon or trading card) was just a copy of something else. 

Now you can truly own something digital in a game – which opens up tons of new gaming and collectible options.

Curious? Let’s dive into some of the best early blockchain games out there.

Top Blockchain Games

The following are some of the best blockchain games out there (or in development). Some of the games in this list can’t be considered true blockchain games in the sense that they don’t yet rely solely upon blockchain technology. However, many in this list do utilize blockchain for every aspect of gameplay.

Age of Rust

Age of Rust blockchain game

Age of Rust is a dark sci-fi adventure game set in the vast expanse of the universe in the year 4424. In the game, you can explore abandoned space stations, mysterious caverns, and ruins on far away worlds. You can unlock puzzles and secrets throughout.

One of Age of Rust’s most innovative features is its blockchain-based peer-to-peer rental market that allows anyone to rent in-game assets for specified periods of time. 

The anticipated launch date for Age of Rust is late 2019, meaning it will have undergone two years of development. 

SpacePirate Games, the creators of this game, have already released a text-adventure version of Age of Rust which features Rustbits as the in-game currency. The beta version of Age of Rust offers the equivalent of four BTC in prizes. Eventually, Rustbits will be converted to ERC-1155 tokens using Enjin Coin’s smart contract to enable this functionality.

How to play: On PC when it’s released next year

No Man’s Sky

No Man's Sky crypto gaming

Okay, so this isn’t technically a blockchain game, but it does have a unique cryptocurrency twist…

No Man’s Sky contains an enormous universe for gamers. This game includes 18 quintillion randomly-generated planets for players to explore. Since the game launched in 2016, the creators have continuously added new features like base building, better ship customization, and improved graphics.

In 2018, No Man’s Sky also added multiplayer functionality. The game is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Although this is not technically a blockchain game, it does have in-game cryptocurrency rewards. What’s most interesting, though, is that the game’s creators didn’t add this. Instead, two avid fans (Jon Creasy and his brother) hid two clues in separate locations within the game.

The first player who can find both will have the ability to access the secret phrase (seed) needed to unlock a wallet containing around $30 worth of BTC.

How to play: purchase for PS4, XBox One, and PC

Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained, mentioned in our recent article about dapps, continues to gain attention from gamers.  According to the project website, Gods Unchained is the first-ever blockchain esport. This game has a multiplayer mode where users can battle each other as well as trade, sell, and store gaming cards. 

According to the future roadmap, there will be a Gods Unchained world championship sometime in the near future. As of November 13, 2018, around $370,000 has been raised for this event. 

How to play: online (requires Meta Mask to access and ether to make purchases)

CryptoSpaceX

CryptoSpaceX blockchain game

CryptoSpaceX is a game where you can explore the universe. The game is built on the blockchain, and all in-game elements are assigned digital ownership to the players.

Users can engage in detailed and strategic planet vs. planet battles to loot stardust. With this game, you can also build new starships as well as upgrade and customize your star fleet.

Players can also compete in various challenges and tournaments in a special arena and travel to Vegastar (built in the Fabula galaxy) to win special prizes.

Episode I of the game launched in June 2018. Episode II is expected to be ready to launch by December 2018. According to the project website, the game will eventually include support for mobile gaming functionality.

CryptoSpaceX is unique due to its extreme scarcity of tokens. While similar games might have millions or even billions and claim to be scarce, CryptoSpaceX will only ever have 4000 SpaceX tokens. 3,700 were available in the presale which ended in Ju

ne 2018; however, only 773 were sold then. To avoid centralization of the token supply, each user was limited to a maximum of 10 SpaceX tokens.

How to play: As part of Episode I, purchase starships online (requires MetaMask)

CubeGo

CubeGo

CubeGo is a game in which you can use 3D building blocks to build your very own personalized 3D models called Cubegon. 

The mission of this game is to enable players to ignite their creativity and imagination by building 3D characters. According to the project website, “They will be the soldiers standing by your side in the face of all adversary and earning you significant rewards.” 

With CubeGo, as with most blockchain games, you have full ownership of your creations. Similar to collectible games, each Cubegon (3D model) is unique. The game even provides blockchain-backed copyright ownership for creators. 

CubeGo players can use arenas as the playground for demonstrating the power of their Cubegons through 3D battle experiences. 

The token presale for CubeGo starts on November 24, 2018. In December 2018, CubeGo will launch Cubegon Building & Marketplace. For 2019, there are several anticipated milestones in the future roadmap, including arena opening and ranked battles. This project has established several big partnerships. Some include Kyber Network, Zilliqa, and Coinbase Wallet.

How to play: register for presale

EOS Knights

EOS Knights blockchain mobile game

EOS Knights is the first mobile game (available on iOS and Android) that runs on the EOS blockchain. This game allows users to complete tasks like collecting materials, crafting items, adopting pets, and trading items using EOS. 

Even though the game only launched in September 2018, the team behind it has been busy making a variety of major updates. 

For example, in November 2018, EOS Knights is adding much-improved functionalities like multi-play boss content (four players), additional boss content, six-level Items (Destructive), and set items (new category). 

How to play: download on the Apple App Store or Google Play

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity draws its inspiration from Pokémon and Tamagotchi games. It is a decentralized game that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. Axie Infinity allows you to breed, raise, and battle fantasy creatures known as Axies. 

Similar to other blockchain games, Axie Infinity utilizes scarcity as a key component. The four levels of rarity are Common, Rare, Ultra Rare, and Legendary.

There are more than 500 Axie body parts available, with additional ones being revealed later. Axies’ body and parts are grouped into classes including Beast, Plant, Bug, Bird, Reptile and Aquatic. 

This means the combinations are limitless. Axie Infinity also features a 3v3 battle mode. As of November 13, 2018, there have been close to 11,000 Axies created and over 93,000 battles.

How to play: online (requires Meta Mask)

Decentraland

Decentraland

Decentraland is not a game as such, more a platform for lots of future virtual reality (VR) blockchain games.

Decentraland provides a VR platform for creating, experiencing, and monetizing content and applications. Unlike most projects that are making blockchain VR games a more distant goal, creating a VR world is Decentraland’s main focus. According to the project website, users can go to a casino, watch live music, attend a workshop, shop with friends, start a business, test drive a car, and visit an underwater resort within the game.

Decentraland even provides an SDK (software developer’s kit) that allows anyone to start developing games and applications for the platform.

The Decentraland protocol features three layers: consensus layer, land content layer, and real-time layer. Designers can use SketchUp and/or Blender to create models before importing them to Decentraland. This project has been around since 2015 and uses MANA as its in-game currency.

How to play: start developing games and building virtual worlds online

 

Beyond the Void

Beyond the void blockchain game

Beyond the Void is a unique combination of strategy, action, and one-on-one competitions. This game brings the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre with its real-time strategy (RTS) origins back together in outer space.

Beyond the Void uses Nexium (NXC) as its in-game currency. Within the Nexium ecosystem, you can find games developed and/or published by B2Expand (creators of Beyond the Void), a decentralized shop for all in-game items, and Ethereum tools for developers.

B2Expand is actively working to expand collaboration within the blockchain gaming space. One cool fact is that, if you own a Crystalibur ship in Beyond the Void, you also own an Amaranthe card in the Spells of Genesis.

B2Expand also organized the first annual Blockchain Game Summit in Lyon in France in September 2018.

How to play: play on Steam

EtherQuest

Etherquest blockchain game

EtherQuest is a fantasy role-playing game powered by the blockchain. Mighty warriors from multiple worlds clash in a struggle for supremacy. The warriors range in rarity, from “common” to “legendary.” Each rarity type comes with a unique combination of stats and bonuses. 

Game activities include summoning, arena, and tournament. To play this game, you’ll need to have a MetaMask wallet. Luckily, for new players who want to get started learning this game, EtherQuest provides a comprehensive gameplay guide.

How to play: online (requires Meta Mask)

Spells of Genesis

spell_of_genesis blockchain game

Spells of Genesis is a mixture of various game types. It is a trading card game (TCG) that involves deck collection and strategy as well as arcade-style gaming elements. With this game, you can collect, trade, and combine orbs to build the card decks.

Then, you can put your orbs to the test against various opponents while exploring the fantasy realm of Askian.

BitCrystals (BCY) are the digital assets that serve as the game-fuel and the premium in-game currency of Spells of Genesis. 

Compared to other blockchain games, this currency is relatively well-established. The BCY crowdfunding campaign took place back in summer 2015. Spell of Genesis cards are digital assets based on Counterparty, which is a platform that allows developers to create custom tokens for the Bitcoin blockchain.

How to play: on PC, download iOS app, download Android app

FirstBlood

FirstBlood blockchain game

Not a game as such, but FirstBlood is aiming to change the future of esports betting. Most notably, FirstBlood provides a platform for players who want to automate their tournament play and payout distribution. In fact, this blockchain-based platform even automates registration, bracket management, and scorekeeping via technologies like smart contracts and oracles. 

Why is this a significant step forward for esports? Essentially, this platform reduces (or even eliminates) the groundwork involved with launching an esports tournament. This means that FirstBlood can support small tournaments with low buy-ins on any given day as well as large-scale, high-profile competitions. The best thing is that this can all be organized via a trustless environment.

DreamTeam

DreamTeam is another popular option for esports. According to ICObench, “DreamTeam will offer esports player and teams recruitment and management tools for the most popular PC titles CS:GO, LoL, DOTA 2, PUBG, Overwatch and more. Amateurs and professionals can create accounts for players with rankings taken directly from their games.” 

It’s also important to note that every transaction on the platform will eventually require the use of DreamTeam tokens. 

As of November 2018, the DreamTeam platform still hasn’t launched key features like its management tool or the ability for players to earn funds through gameplay. 

Nevertheless, DreamTeam is aiming to use its native token for smart contracts that can facilitate tournament prize payouts as well as paid platform features (i.e. premium accounts). The native token could also potentially be used for other things like buying games, software, hardware and more via the DreamTeam platform.

Conclusion

It might take some time before large-scale applications like real-time video can be powered by blockchain. Therefore, to move popular multiplayer video games like Fortnite into a blockchain-based game, some serious technical advancements would need to be made. 

However, there are already a few companies trying to do just this. For example, MagnaChain is a separate blockchain being developed specifically for video games. The company behind the project claims its network is capable of handling up to 100,000 transactions per second. Earlier in 2018, its testnet handled over 13,000 transactions per second. 

It will be interesting to see how the future of blockchain gaming plays out. Will the user adoption of blockchain games ever surpass that of traditional games? This might be too early to tell. As blockchain scalability increases, we could very well see the emergence these and other innovative blockchain games that offer improved user experiences over traditional games.

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Ripple lawsuits XRP

Ripple’s relationship to the cryptocurrency XRP has always been a little controversial.

That argument might be about to spill over into federal court.

Ripple is batting a high-profile and controversial lawsuit over its relationship to XRP, but what exactly are the charges?

In this piece, we’ll untangle the Ripple lawsuit, examine the reasons behind the legal action, and discuss what it means for the future.

Ripple and XRP: Clearing up the Terms

Before we get deeper into this topic, you need to know that Ripple and XRP are two separate things. The terms are often used interchangeably to refer to the cryptocurrency, but that’s not accurate.

Ripple – is a company that aims to speed up international money transfers with blockchain technology.

XRP – is the cryptocurrency created by the same people behind Ripple.

The distinction is important to understanding the lawsuit going on behind the scenes.

Ripple Lawsuits: the Short Version

In the simplest possible terms, XRP holders are suing Ripple because they lost money when the price dropped.

They believe Ripple mislead them into believing the price would go up. When it didn’t, they turned to legal action.

One plaintiff is Ryan Coffey, who bought 650 XRP on January 6th, 2018 at $2.60. He sold two weeks later at $1.70.

Ripple XRP price drop
XRP price drop since January 2018. Credit: CoinMarketCap

But if it were that simple, wouldn’t there be lawsuits all over the cryptoverse since January 2018 after prices dropped 80% across the board?

What’s so different about Ripple that attracts legal action?

Ripple Is Accused of Creating and Controlling XRP

The grounds for this legal action is Ripple’s alleged control and command over XRP. The accusers say XRP is more like company stock (a security) than a traditional cryptocurrency.

As we all know, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum are mined into existence slowly by its users.

XRP is totally different. All 100 billion XRP tokens were created at once by the same organization that founded Ripple.

Ripple now holds more than half of all XRP tokens (stored in escrow and released slowly to the company month-by-month).

As such, the plaintiffs argue, XRP acts like company stock. They claim that Ripple created XRP and used the money it generated to fund its operations. 

XRP should, they argue, be classified as a security.

XRP logo

The Lawsuit Wording

To explain further, let’s take a look at the exact wording filed by those attacking Ripple.

In a lawsuit filed in July, it reads:

“The XRP offered and sold by the defendants had all the traditional hallmarks of a security, yet defendants failed to register them as such… XRP purchasers reasonably expected to derive profits from their ownership of XRP, and [Ripple] themselves have frequently highlighted this profit motive.”

In other words, they claim Ripple created XRP, sold the tokens to raise money, and then mislead buyers to believe the price would rise.

Is XRP a Security?

This is the crux of the lawsuit.

A security is an investment vehicle, like stocks or bonds, and they are subject to much more rigorous regulation.

But what does it matter if XRP is a security?

If XRP is considered a security issued by Ripple, then it means that holding XRP would denote ownership in the Ripple company.

If that happened, Ripple could, theoretically, be held responsible for the price drops. 

Ripple could also then be in trouble for not registering XRP as a security in the first place.

Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, has repeatedly explained that XRP is not a security.

brad garlinghouse ripple lawsuit

In June, he said: “I think it is very clear that XRP is not a security. It exists independently of Ripple the company. If Ripple, the company shut down tomorrow, XRP will continue to exist.” 

Doubling down in September, he said: “when you buy XRP, that doesn’t give you any rights to the profits or ownership of Ripple the company.”

Ripple and XRP don’t appear to satisfy the “Howey Test,” the most widely used criteria for classifying a security. However, a court may see it differently.

Ripple in Court: A Brief History

A number of individual lawsuits have been brought against Ripple in 2018, but they have since been rolled into one large class action.

In response, Ripple is now trying to move the case from state courts to federal courts. It’s a high-profile move, but one lawyer familiar with the situation called it “tactical brilliance.”

The reason being that a class action lawsuit is more suited to the bigger courts with plaintiffs from different locations. However, there’s also a suggestion that federal courts look more favorably on corporate rulings. In other words, it gives Ripple a better chance of winning.

Conclusion

The debate about XRP and Ripple has raged for years, but it may now spill out into the biggest courts in the country. While the court may finally provide some guidance on XRP as a security, the ultimate decision rests with the Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC). And the SEC remains quiet.

Block Explorer will bring you more information as the lawsuit unfolds.

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The Bitcoin Cash debate rages on as we approach Thursday’s hard fork.

There’s a very real possibility that Bitcoin Cash, as we know it, will split into two separate cryptocurrencies.

The two camps are deeply divided over technical (and political) disagreements. This isn’t just a debate over algorithm changes, it’s a fight over the true vision of bitcoin.

New to this debate? Here’s everything you need to know about the Bitcoin Cash hard-fork

So who’s winning?

Well, it depends on how you look at it.

Traders Are Backing the Bitcoin Cash ABC Project

Thanks to Poloniex – a crypto exchange which opened up pre-fork trading on both coins – we know that traders value Bitcoin Cash ABC about four-times higher than rival Bitcoin Cash SV.

Traders are currently pricing BCHABC at $390.

But they’re only pricing BCHSV at $111.

It’s a fairly clear indicator that traders are throwing their weight behind ABC. ABC is backed by bitcoin.com‘s Roger Ver, mining giant Bitmain and most large third-party service providers.

But Bitcoin Cash SV May Have More Miner Support

While traders are important in the debate, so are Bitcoin Cash miners.

Bitcoin Cash miners will have to choose which version of the upgrade they migrate to on November 15th, and early indications suggest Bitcoin Cash SV might have the edge.

The largest Bitcoin Cash mining pools, including CoinGeek, BMG Pool, okminer, mempool, and SVPool, have publicly backed Bitcoin Cash SV. 

Translated into hash power, the current estimates look like this:

Bitcoin Cash SV has at least 66% of estimated hash rate.

Bitcoin Cash ABC has at least 18% of estimated hash rate.

The numbers come from CoinDance’s hash power charts.

bitcoin cash hash rates

Hash power simply refers to the amount of computer power dedicated to cryptocurrency mining at any one time. If the majority of hash power is directed at one side of the fork, we can infer it has more support from miners.

In other words, it looks like miners might back SV.

These Figures are Estimates

It’s important to remember that figures on both sides of the debate are estimates.

Poloniex trading figures are based on a hypothetical market with relatively thin trading volume.

And the CoinDance hash estimates are based on how mining pools have indicated their support. Miners themselves won’t necessarily follow the public statements of their pools.

Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin SV Explained

Bitcoin Cash ABC – Lays the groundwork for enormous scaling in the future. Keeps the block size the same, while building functionality for new features like atomic contracts. Backed by Roger Ver, Bitmain, and supported by Coinbase, Binance, and other large third-parties.

Bitcoin Cash SV – Claims to be the true Bitcoin vision (or “Satoshi Vision”). Technical updates include a larger block size to improve transaction speed. Backed by Craig Wright, nChain, CoinGeek and a large portion of BCH mining pools.

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Bitcoin whales

Bitcoin whale is the term given to those with huge amounts of bitcoin. And if they were to suddenly sell all their coins at once, it would cause an enormous splash on the markets.

It’s estimated that only 1,000 “whales” own about 40% of all bitcoin.

To put it another way, 61% of all bitcoin is owned by just 0.07% of wallets.

But who exactly are these crypto millionaires with gigantic bitcoin wallets?

A few names spring to mind:

Satoshi Nakamoto Bitcoin’s mysterious founder is estimated to own one million bitcoins. He mined them in the early days and has never moved them since.

The Winklevoss Twins – The arch nemeses of Mark Zuckerberg, the Winklevi poured much of their Facebook legal settlement into bitcoin. They’re estimated to own 1% total bitcoin supply. 

There are others too. Early adopter Charlie Shrem, for example. Then there’s billionaire Tim Draper and Barry Silbert, both of whom bought bitcoin in a 2014 auction.

However, a recent Chainalysis report dug deeper into bitcoin whale activity. Analyzing the 32 biggest bitcoin wallets, here’s what they discovered:

chanalysis bitcoin whales
Credit: Chainalysis

A Third Are Active Traders

Nine of the 32 largest whales were actively buying and selling in the last year or so. They could be individuals or institutional crypto hedge funds.

As for their activity, these holders were generally “buying the dips.” In other words, they were waiting for bitcoin to decline before buying more.

As Chainalysis explained: “they have, on net, traded against the herd, buying on price declines.” So, despite media claims, bitcoin whales aren’t necessarily the ones crashing the price. Instead, bitcoin whales are stabilizing the market, buying at the low points to prop up the price.

Chainalysis also estimated that most of these active whales splashed into the market in 2017 so they are relative newcomers.

Early-Adopters 

Chainalysis uncovered a handful of wallets dating back to the early days of bitcoin. These are early-adopters and miners that amassed a large wallet when bitcoin was in its infancy.

Trading activity is “extremely low” among this group, however, a fair number appeared to “cash out” during the bull runs of 2016 and 2017, making a fortune in the process. 

Criminals

Of the 32 largest bitcoin wallets, three have been linked to criminal activity. Those three wallets contain 125,000 coins, worth $800,000,000 at today’s prices.

Two of the wallets are linked to the infamous Silk Road black marketplace, where users could buy drugs and weapons with bitcoin. Chainalysis concludes that the third wallet was involved in money laundering.

Further reading: Black Markets, Fraud, and Money Laundering: How Much Is Bitcoin Used For Crime?

Lost Wallets

The remaining largest wallets have lain dormant since 2011. We assume the private keys to these wallets are lost for good which means these whales no longer have access to their vast fortune.

These lost wallets contain 212,000 bitcoins, or approximately $1.35 billion worth of bitcoin.

It’s estimated that a total of four million bitcoins have been lost over the years.

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