Every Friday, we take a light-hearted tour through the best memes, artwork, and oddities from the cryptoverse.  This week, Carty Sewill makes us all feel old with the “30-year-old boomer who traded crypto.”

“That 30-year-old boomer who trades crypto.” That sentence, and the viral meme that followed, made me feel like an old man talking about gold and silver every time I mentioned bitcoin. No meme has ever made me feel more self-conscious than the ’30-year-old boomer’.

crypto booomer
Figure 1. The 30-Year-Old Boomer

For those of you who don’t know a boomer, or baby boomer, is someone born between 1945 and 1965. Whether it be relatives or the old man at work listening to Sean Hannity, we all know a few. The arch-nemesis of millennials, boomers are owners of muscle cars and deniers of climate change. Boomers are the target audience of gold and silver shills alike. Much like millennials love crypto, boomers love their shiny rocks.

That’s the crux of the meme. We crypto-loving millennials are slowly finding ourselves out of touch. Relegated to the status of ‘old dude’ on 4Chan and Reddit. Especially considering the current downturn. Much like a boomer talking rocks, it seems talking cryptocurrency has become its own cliche. Imbued with the same stereotypes underlying millennials dislike of boomers: drinking Coors Light, driving muscle cars, listening to Rush, and mowing lawns; to name a few.

crypto boomer 2
Figure 2. The 30-Year-Old Boomer Washing His Challenger Enjoying a Monster.

First appearing on 4Chan channel /biz/ at the end of April in 2018, the 30-year-old boomer was met with disdain and copious amounts of coping. Posted with the sentence, “that 30-year-old boomer who trades crypto,” and a new balding wojak, the meme struck a chord. In no time, parodies where being drawn and memers began playing with their new toy.

Though posted first on /biz/ in reference to cryptocurrency, this meme in particular found itself in all corner of the internet rather quickly. Soon posted to 4Chan channel /v/ after its 2018 debut, almost immediately Facebook groups were created and in no time the internet echoed with the insult ‘boomer.’ Threads extolling the virtues of crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were met with derogatory images of a balding wojak.

Like magic, the meme began pigeonholing me and all of my friends. This meme literally kept me off /biz/ for days. Protecting myself from the anxious cringe that was the 30-year-old boomer meme hitting the proverbial nail on my head. As the wojak began being portrayed smoking, drinking Monster energy drinks, driving Challengers, all the while talking Bitcoin and wearing Led Zeppelin tees. Like any good crypto-meme it was picked up and played out by Bizonacci, but the boomer meme reached its zenith with a post by Rick Steubens. Who, on this occasion, took meme videos to a whole new level.

Figure 4. Rick Steubens 30 Year Old Boomer Tribute Animation.

The meme still has legs but its slow dissipation from popular internet platforms has been, for me personally, a breath of fresh air. Because in the end, the boomer meme speaks to the hard truth that no matter how cool or new we think crypto is, it’s getting older. And the older bitcoin gets the more ‘uncool’ it becomes. I’m not looking for any reminders.

Crypto Curious? Subscribe to the Block Explorer newsletter to get exclusive crypto insights before they appear on the site.

bitpay real world bitcoin payments

BitPay, a cryptocurrency payment provider, processed $1 billion in bitcoin and crypto payments in 2018.

Despite the slump in bitcoin price, BitPay topped the $1 billion figure for the second year running. The company also reported a new record for transaction fee revenue.

In a press release, BitPay’s co-founder and CEO Stephen Pair said:

“To process over a $1 Billion for a second year in a row despite Bitcoin’s large price drop shows that Bitcoin is being used to solve real pain points around the world.”

It seems the bear market hasn’t killed demand for real-world cryptocurrency payments.

What is BitPay?

BitPay is a bitcoin payment processor, allowing businesses and vendors to accept cryptocurrency around the world. BitPay facilitates crypto payments in stores, online, and via email billing.

Virgin Galactic uses BitPay to accept bitcoin down-payments on space flights, and Shopify integrated BitPay’s processor, allowing online vendors to accept bitcoin.

BitPay is rooted in bitcoin payments, but also supports Bitcoin Cash and stable coins from Circle, Gemini, and Paxos. Further, the company operates a business-to-business (B2B) service. 

Helping Ohioans pay tax in bitcoin

BitPay made headlines earlier this year by partnering with the State of Ohio. The integration allows businesses to pay taxes in bitcoin, with support for individual taxpayers to follow.

The partnership helped propel BitPay’s B2B service to 255% growth last year. Additional customers include law firms, data center providers, and IT vendors.

“BitPay’s B2B business continues to grow rapidly as our solution is cheaper and quicker than a bank wire from most regions of the world,” Pair said. 

Crypto Curious? Subscribe to the Block Explorer newsletter to get exclusive crypto insights before they appear on the site.

Stock market

Representatives in Wyoming have introduced a bill that would allow company shares to be issued and recorded on blockchain technology.

House Bill 0185, Corporate Stock-Certificate Tokens, is a cross-party bill put forth by Republican and Democrat representatives in Wyoming. If passed, it would allow stock certificates to be stored digitally on the blockchain rather than paper certificates.

“The articles of incorporation or bylaws of a corporation may specify that all or a portion of the shares of the corporation may be represented by share certificates in the form of certificate tokens.”

The tokenization of traditional assets like stocks, real estate, and even art is a growing presence in the blockchain space. 

Already on the DX.Exchange platform in Europe, you can trade tokens that represent shares in Nasdaq-listed companies. The tokens can also represent a fractional ownership in the the stocks and are backed by real shares held by the exchange’s partner.

The proposal by Wyoming lawmakers would be a significant step further, allowing direct tokenized ownership of shares, issued by the company itself.

The bill proposes a date of July 1, 2019 to enter into effect.

Source: Coindesk

MimbleWimble is a privacy-oriented blockchain protocol with mysterious origins. Much like other top privacy cryptocurrencies, MimbleWimble attempts to make transactions completely opaque, while still allowing for external verification. 

Additionally, MimbleWimble looks to keep its blockchain’s size on disk as small as possible while maintaining quick verification for all clients.

So far, two privacy cryptocurrencies have launched on top of MimbleWimble technology: Grin and BEAM. 

What is MimbleWimble?

The original MimbleWimble whitepaper was released on July 19, 2016, by an anonymous person that signed the whitepaper as “Tom Elvis Jedusor.”

Just a few months after the release of the original whitepaper, another anonymous person stated that they were working on an implementation of MimbleWimble, which would be known as Grin.

The name “MimbleWimble” and the signing name on the whitepaper are both references to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. Where MimbleWimble is a spell that stops its target from being able to speak coherently. And the name  “Tom Elvis Jedusor” is an anagram for “Je suis Voldemort”, the name chosen by the antagonist in the French version of the novels.

MimbleWimble Goals

MimbleWimble has three goals that are outlined in its whitepaper:

Privacy

MimbleWimble is first and foremost a privacy blockchain protocol. Its designer had a very good understanding of the privacy technologies it is built upon. And using that understanding, MimbleWimble’s designer created a new and more secure strategy that increases transaction privacy to a whole new level. We’ll go into the technical details of this below.

Small Blockchain

Blockchain size on disk is a major issue for those looking to run full nodes for any cryptocurrency. Put simply, blockchains grow. This growth makes maintaining a large number of nodes more problematic over time.

MimbleWimble’s designer saw blockchain size as a major issue and pushed to make MimbleWimble blockchains as small as possible. The whitepaper states that the technique used could reduce the size of Bitcoin blockchains from a size of 80GB to a size of 30GB. An impressive change, especially given that MimbleWimble maintains user privacy through this size reduction.

Quick to Verify

The last goal MimbleWimble aims for is verification speed. Having a tiny blockchain is only good if the processing power required to verify it is equally tiny.

Cryptocurrency Grin launches on MimbleWimble technology

Cryptocurrency BEAM launches on MimbleWimble technology

How does MimbleWimble’s technology work?

MimbleWimble uses its own transaction and block schemes. They work together to hide transaction data as much as possible while still allowing verification to occur.

Put simply, both use zero-knowledge proofs, with blocks building on the math used in the transaction to further hide the information.

No Addresses

MimbleWimble has no concept of a blockchain address. Rather than tying all outputs to an address, outputs have no data regarding where they came from, and are spent via a private key.

This does mean that the wallets of the involved parties wallets have to talk to each other when making a transaction. But the method of communication and time taken is up to the user. One could, for example, negotiate a transaction using encrypted email.

Opaque Transactions

MimbleWimble’s transactions use zero-knowledge proofs (specifically a mixture of Confidential Transactions and CoinJoin) for security. Outside verifiers can independently prove that no cryptocurrency was created or destroyed over the transaction. This is somewhat similar to how Monero secures its transactions, but with added protection from CoinJoin and the total lack of addresses.

Putting together a MimbleWimble transaction requires communication between both parties as discussed above. The following steps are what happens during that communication:

1. The parties agree on the amount to be transferred.

2. The sender picks the inputs they want to use to create the amount to be transferred and adds together all the blinding factors for that transaction.

3. The sender sends the transaction data to the receiver. The receiver then picks the blinding factors for the outputs of the transactions, adds them together, and sends them back to the sender along with any additional required information.

Once the above steps are complete, the transaction can be sent to the network and confirmed.

In the above steps, I mention a blinding factor. The blinding factor makes up part of the zero-knowledge proof system used in Confidential Transactions. It is the ‘missing part’ or the private key for each input – if you know the blinding factor for a given output, you can spend it. By adding together all the blinding factors for every input in the transaction, you can prove you own all the inputs used in the transaction, but not share the private keys.

Reduced blockchain size and increased verification speed

MimbleWimble blocks are different from the blocks employed in other blockchains. Only unspent outputs and new currency generation are saved. The idea being that you don’t need to know about every transaction ever to verify a blockchain. All you need to know is where all the currency is now, and where it all came from.

Storing just that data increases fungibility, user privacy, and verification speed. Much like above, anyone looking to verify the blockchain simply needs to verify that the sum of the inputs subtracted from the sum of the outputs equal zero.

The downside of MimbleWimble

Unfortunately, with the security that MimbleWimble provides, you lose some of the tech Bitcoin has.

For example, in order for all transactions to be consolidated in blocks, they have to be very similar. And due to the requirement for said similarity, MimbleWimble does not have any sort of script system.

Otherwise, due to the consolidation of transactions, MimbleWimble has no transaction history. Meaning that an external auditor or similar would be unable to monitor transactions directly.

Conclusion

MimbleWimble is a fantastic step forward in privacy crypto. If the upcoming launch of its first implementation GRIN goes well, and no issues are found in the algorithm, MimbleWimble will be a serious competitor in the privacy coin market. My only concern is whether or not the inability for even the owners of the currency to audit where it came from using the blockchain itself will deter large scale users.

Sources and further reading:

Learned something new? Subscribe to the Block Explorer newsletter to get exclusive crypto insights before they appear on the site.

binance-cryptocurrency-exchange-dex.jpg-760x400

Binance has launched a fiat-to-crypto exchange on the island of Jersey, a self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom.

Binance Jersey will target those in the UK and Europe, for the first time offering Binance users a way to purchase bitcoin and ethereum with fiat currency (via pound sterling or euros). The new exchange is entirely separate from the original Binance exchange but it will feel familiar to any current users.

Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume but currently only facilitates crypto-to-crypto trades. The new Binance Jersey platform will use the same technology to open up channels for fiat pairs.

As is customary for almost any fiat-to-crypto exchange, registering on Binance Jersey requires a Know Your Customer (KYC) identity check before your account is verified.

Much like Malta, the jurisdiction of Jersey has welcomed cryptocurrency and blockchain projects. The island’s regulator, Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC), has previously approved the world’s first bitcoin investment fund as well as offering clarity on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto exchange operations.

Further reading: Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges in 2019 (The Most Comprehensive Guide)