A glance at the headlines of recent times might give you a familiar conclusion – with all the ups and downs of the market, it's too early to take encryption seriously.
And that's true, despite the best efforts of the industry's most notable developers, the world's largest cryptocurrency remains not only volatile, but difficult (and risky) to use, at least in a way that their creators want. ]
Still, in 2018, fans around the world are working hard on improvements.
As such, there is optimism that progress could begin to develop, creating a user experience that ultimately begins to transcend problems – namely, high fees and long lead times. wait – users of most blockchains have become too used to it.
In fact, over the next year, blockchain users could see exciting new features and early scientists who could help the industry get closer to this vision:
And it was possible that blockchain-based transactions avoid using the blockchain?
This is the big idea of blockchain payment channels, an idea that refers to 2015, but whose time may have finally come this year. Most often associated with Bitcoin's Lightning Network idea is actually more general than this specific instance.
Essentially, blockchain payment channels would allow two people using a single cryptocurrency to send small payments, settling for the blockchain (and managing its high fees and transaction times) only when it is absolutely necessary.
Due to the potential impact, the idea is catchy – the ethereum developers, although they often do not see their bitcoin peers, are working on the same type of solution.
But there is more than just a rivalry involved, there is also reason to believe that 2018 might be different in that live live deals could be sent in significant numbers.
The developers behind Bitcoin's Lightning Network said the technology was almost ready based on successful tests. Meanwhile, the ethereum developers have also unveiled successful tests for their versions of the concept, Raiden Network with a more ambitious version, Plasma potentially around the corner. .
As their popularity grows, attention is paid to the electricity needed to support cryptocurrencies.
Although the relevant data are difficult to pin down, work evidence, the consensus protocol that underlies bitcoin extraction, is better defined as an energy-intensive process . As such, there are concerns about its use of electricity that could have large scale environmental effects.
This leads to further research on an idea of 2011. Called proof of wagering, or "consensus by vote", the idea was implemented, however, not on the scale desired by ethereum .
As such, his long-awaited project, Casper, should be the subject of close scrutiny this year, and early versions are starting to emerge.
In a New Year's testnet, a variant of Casper was supposed to be functional. Karl Floersch, a leading developer behind technology, told CoinDesk at the time that the code works with "no hiccups."
There is still work to be done to adapt this first version of Casper to the various ethereum customers, but the ethereum creator, Vitalik Buterin, said he was waiting for the technology is tested alongside proof of work in the future.
Confidentiality has been a somewhat neglected promise in the majority of blockchains, but it is nevertheless a problem that could improve this year.
Most notable is the advances in Zero Knowledge Evidence what Buterin called "the most under-hyped thing in cryptography at the moment", becoming cheaper and easier to deploy.
A form of cryptography that hides information without risk of validity, it has already been adapted to a lower degree which could lead to a wave of startups experimenting with privately-owned smart contracts original and unexpected.
Moreover, in a white paper published earlier this month, a system to achieve zero knowledge without compromising trust – a point of contention in some earlier versions of the technology – was published, an update that could have exciting consequences. ]
And as existing technologies mature, privacy cryptocurrencies, such as monero and zcash, should also improve.
In preparation for an upgrade, zcash has steadily increased its security, while monero is preparing to implement "bulletproofs", a feature that could reduce fees by 80%.
No, this is not just a new version of Coinbase or Kraken.
While the largest industry exchanges are struggling to cope with the influx of new adopters, a growing number of projects are at work to develop what we've been doing. calls for a decentralized exchange. The term refers not only to a new browser-based exchange, but rather to a type of software that users can use to exchange one cryptocurrency with another without a central entity.
The year 2017 was marked by a flood of new decentralized exchange projects, such as ShapeShift's Prism, 0x, OmiseGo, Kyber Network and many others.
Expect these efforts to accelerate this year.
Up to now, the Ledger hardware portfolio has already been integrated with the decentralized radar relay, allowing users to trade without fear of ethereum-based tokens.
Although the functionality is limited (it is supported only by a single wallet and only ethereum-based tokens can be sent), many see in the future a glimpse into the future of cryptocurrency exchanges.
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which holds an interest in Coinbase, Kraken and Lightning Labs.
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