Recent innovations in the Blockchain space

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FIO protocol to simplify crypto transactions, Zoom’s competitor Debrief, Tardigrade’s Decentralized Cloud Storage Service & more

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken all the existing norms in the financial markets and digital assets were no exception. Premier digital currency Bitcoin, which is touted as a hedge against risk in the mainstream financial markets by some, didn’t conform to that notion during the Feb-March period as Global equities collapsed under the influence of a raging pandemic.

To the surprise of its proponents, cryptos followed suit as Bitcoin lost more than 60% of its value from the high reached in early February. Even more surprising is the fact that Bitcoin has rebounded following the same trajectory as the Stocks so far. It seems like digital assets are increasingly becoming integrated with the legacy financial system. Still, good news for them considering so many people had written them off.

One of the reasons behind the Bitcoin rebound could be the upcoming halving event in May. The previous events have resulted in gains for BTC. It remains to be seen how it will play out this time since the dynamics have changed since 2016. While cryptos continue to find their space in the current scheme of things, the underlying blockchain technology is marching on with its own set of innovations, albeit most of these have gotten drowned in the overwhelming noise created by the Coronavirus.

Here are some of the interesting projects that I have come across recently.

One of the most cumbersome part for novices in the crypto space is the complex digital addresses of the wallets when conducting transactions. A novel peer to peer (P2P) protocol is attempting to make this process simpler. Dubbed as the FIO protocol, it launched its main net recently. Foundation For Interwallet Operability (FIO) will provide users with interoperable domain names instead of complicated blockchain addresses.

FIO is live on Trust Wallet while attempting to soon integrate other popular wallet providers like Bitcoin.com, Edge, Enjin, Coinomi & Atomic. The protocol implements a decentralized and open-source usability layer that integrates with services from members of its consortium — wallet providers and crypto exchanges.

Apart from offering a simplified domain name, the protocol also offers a P2P “request transfer” functionality — enabling the transfer of secure & encrypted data with a tagging capability in P2P transactions.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) pioneer, Jeff Pulver has now launched a decentralized application (dApp). This comes on the heels of rival video chat app Zoom’s bombing incidents which left the private conversations of the users exposed. The cybersecurity threat created by the centralized points of access, this decentralized business communication tool attempts to address this vulnerability.

The project named Debrief rectifies the situation by implementing encryption, data storage and authentication on the blockchain. Since everything is decentralized, the platform itself does not retain any user information. Apart from reducing the hacker’s threat, the tool can also be implemented as an open-source middleware layer with the traditional communication tools.

The recently released beta version being used by 3,000 participants provides HD video-conferencing, peer-to-peer audio and video calling, messaging, file storage capabilities among others.

Decentralized storage provider Storj Labs has announced the launch of its blockchain-based service — Tardigrade Decentralized Cloud Storage Service is an open-source network with a storage capacity of 19 petabytes (19 million gigabytes). Hosted on thousands of nodes around the world, the platform currently has about 3,000 users.

A secure and cost-efficient service works something like this — an uploaded file is split into 80 fragments distributed on separate nodes to hedge against the possibility of any single node becoming compromised. Should an outage occur at any individual node, the users can still fully recover the file with only 29 pieces. The enterprise storage system received seed funding from Google Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and Techstars in 2017.

When it comes to comparing the Crypto markets with the traditional financial markets, one thing that stands out is the difference in liquidity between the two. The relatively illiquid market of the latter is what sparks extremely volatile moves, which is not for the faint of heart. This is where the GlobalX platform coms in.

The platform works by integrating all of the world’s crypto exchanges into one platform which is available to institutional traders. The clients can open accounts with as many exchanges as they want while accessing all of them on an integrated platform provided by the platform. More importantly, this gives traders the opportunity to tap into global crypto liquidity. Multiple accounts would mean there would be no limit on the number of orders while offering decreased latency and increased frequency.

GlobalX has introduced a novel concept for institutional traders, which is a sign that the crypto industry is maturing as an asset class.

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