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Recap of AMA with Zac on July 3 and Q2 report

Dear Pundians,
Thank you for participating in the AMA session with Pundi X co-founder and CEO Zac Cheah.
For those of you who may have missed it, the live recording of the AMA session held on July 3 at 10:00 am GMT+8, tackling Q2 progress and addressing questions and concerns by the community members, can be viewed here. A side note that today’s AMA video quality and setting was not ideal. We acknowledge this situation and will make improvement for our next AMA session.
You may also find a summary of the Q2 progress presentation as well as all the detail Q&A below.
## Pundi X Q2 2019 Highlights
* Pundi X has integrated more public chains into our products. In Q2, we completed integration of Binance Chain. NEM chain is in the work. As of today we’ve launched BNB, the Binance Chain native Coin and XEM, NEM native coin on Pundi X payment platform. We will integrate at least one more public chain in Q3.
* The transactions on XPOS for Q2 is 15.5 million in USD, which is close to 300% quarterly growth. The number of transactions is 29,367, which leads to a 11% growth QoQ.
* XPOS has successfully received FCC and KC certifications. A new certification for Latin American market is on the way. * To expand XPOS footprint, Pundi X’s integration with a new leading mainstream point-of-sales device is in the work. Stay tuned for the announcement.
* Pundi X Open Platform was launched in May, 2019, which now supports ERC20 and BEP2 token listing. Moving forward, we will continue to support tokens from other public chains.
* A 3,000 XPASS order from DigiX, a gold-based token, and a 10,000 XPASS order from BitCobie this quarter.
* XPOS is spread in use in over 30 countries. We’ve published a map of XPOS location of self-report XPOS merchant directory. You can find a list of selected XPOS merchants at [https://www.pundix.com/products\](https://www.pundix.com/products). * The QoQ growth of XWallet is tremendous at 43%. In the previous quarter, we have less than 20k users, whereas in Q2 we have hit 297k XWallet users.
More updates on XWallet:
* Supported BNB and NEM tokens; 2FA, face ID, and optimized SMS serviceAvailable on iOS, Android as well as in Samsung Galaxy Store
New features coming up in Q3:- DApp integration - Decentralized wallet- In-app crypto payments - Chat service, which will be compatible with a commonly used chat app- f(x) testnet features to be rolled out first in XWallet
## Other notices coming up in Q3 2019
* The Q2 token removal will take place on July 14, 2019, which will involve in total 34 billion of NPXS and NPXSXEM (22 million worth in USD) removal. In the past 365 days, we’ve removed a total of 36.1 million US dollar worth of NPXS and NPXSXEM.
Before Q2 removal, the total supply of NPXS ERC20 is 266,962,422,906.53 and NPXSXEM is 95,816,218,929. [See Q1 removal here.](/pundix/recap-of-ama-with-zac-on-july-3-and-q2-report-a23de165dd28)
* [NPXSXEM will be ported to Binance Chain from July 20](/pundix/npxsxem-will-be-on-binance-chain-c6485f17726b). * XPhone pre-order will start in late July with a new product name. Stay tuned. Check out the teaser video that we are releasing it across our communication channels. ## Q&A
## On XPOS
* **Where are we on official global location of XPOS?**
Zac: We have made a map on our official website that merchants can self report and feature their locations. It’s at [https://www.pundix.com/product\](https://www.pundix.com/product). We’ll be increasing and updating the map once we have permission form the merchants to update their locations.
* **The marketing from pundi has shifted from 100,000–700,000 xpos units by 2021 to 100,000. I understand the bear market has affected this but please share the strategy moving forward to hit your goal. How do you feel about hitting this goal?**
Zac: The 100K XPOS target has always been the initial goal and it’s stated in our whitepaper. And we are still working on achieving the goal by the end of 2021. Part of our growth strategy is to also explore the possibility to port our platform to traditional POS manufacturers to increase the adoption, which is ongoing at the moment.
* **1 year ago you sent 5000 XPOS somewhere. When, at least half of them, will be working? 3 year target was 100,000 by 2021. Now we have only 150 units, how do you expect to reach this goal?**
Zac: Yes, we have shipped thousands of XPOS to over 30 countries in the world. The 150 you’ve mentioned are the featured merchants which are published on the map. The active XPOS devices are deployed over 33 countries and we are actively talking to B2B partners to have higher wholesale and big deployments.
* **How many XPOS are live and used?**
Zac: We have gone through a very serious bear market, and some of the initial inbound requests for XPOS are not delivered. However, we are working slowly but surely with our Business Development team to not just roll-out into individual buyers, such as what we did on Pizza Day, but also to B2B partners. With the certifications approved, that will also help us to officially roll out to some of the key markets.
Individual merchants can use XWallet collection feature to accept crypto payment with QR code. For the merchants who have physical offline storefronts, they can use XPOS to enable the instant crypto transaction seamlessly. Moreover, as mentioned previously, we are exploring the integration on leading traditional POS terminal so that their distributors have option to enable crypto transaction feature. As for the challenge to adopt XPOS, it is the regulatory compliance in different countries. For this, our legal team think ahead and encourage our merchants to complete KYC.
I must be very honest to say the activation takes longer time than we expect but it will be worth at the end.
* **What’s the average number of transactions per xpos in use?**
Zac: The transaction number has increased very well. The number of each XPOS differs, due to the frequency of using crypto currency to purchase item or crypto assets. There’s no standard answer to this, but overall we see the transaction number and volume are going up.
* **How do you plan to reach the target of 100,000 by 2021?**
Zac: One of the challenges that we have is regulatory compliances in different countries. There are certain markets that do not allow crypto currencies and some require a clear approval for us to deploy XPOS. We are working on both challenges by talking to governments and applying for certifications. So how we plan to reach 100,000 XPOS user by 2021 is to work with distributors, B2B partners on a government / business level, and with existing POS companies to integrate our software solution into the system.
* **We understand as there was bear market and hence Xpos usage demand was low. Are you guys seeing growth of Xpos usage with current market conditions. Can you guys put some statistics comparison like last 30 days Xpos usage vs any month from bear market usage?**
Zac: It is very clear that as we moved out from the bear market, the demand for XPOS has been increasing. As we’ve shared just now both the transaction number and volume of Q2 have beaten Q1. We’ll be able to share more transaction numbers once we receive approval from our XPOS merchants.
One exciting thing is that, with the listing of different tokens, we also see users using these tokens as a way to transact on XPOS, which means we will be having more ways to transact and this is a growth point for XPOS.
* **When will there be more details for XPHONE and XPOS HANDY?**
Zac: For XPOS handy, we have finished production and it will be released in Q3
* **When will the iOS version of XWallet and XPOS be fully translated to other languages?**
Zac: Right now, the XWallet has Traditional Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German and English. With the latest version update, it now includes Portuguese. XPOS also comes with many languages and we hope to finish with more language, either working with professionals or volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact us.
* **When will the Merchant back office have Product Registration and SKU id ability and also integrate with other POS software?** * **When will the top-up feature go away for XPOS to allow liquidity for XPOS**
Zac: We constantly update features in XPOS and merchant backend to make it easier for distributors and merchants to use. We understand that one of the ways for mass adoption is to enhance our distributor management system. With that, the distributors can manage manay XPOS at one time with different merchants.
Please stay tuned as we announce more and more functions of this feature.
## On Dubai
* **When will we see the deployment of the XPOS in Dubai?** * **Can we spend NPXS on the Dubai XPOS?**
Zac: As with all big projects there are a lot of moving parts, that includes working very closely with the local government, in Dubai’s case, the Credit Bureau of the Finance Ministry. Things are progressing for the Dubai project but due to confidentiality agreements with the parties involved, we cannot reveal much. All we can say is that we and our Dubai partners are working hard to have XPOS roll-out in the Dubai market and the UAE.
We are also discussing aggressively with Dubai partners whether to include crypto assets in the XPOS in Dubai. That clearly will involve local compliance and legal for that to happen.
* **Your system upgrades expect merchants to have downtime on their XPOS terminals, can you explain if you plan to run a business why this would be considered feasible (specially at the rate you have been doing your upgrades)?**
Zac: Yes, the benefit / strength of the XPOS is that most of the updates can be done on the fly. For example, when we have a token update on our XPOS where developers submit their tokens on Open Platform, the updates of this token are on the fly, which means that once we approve the token on our Open Platform, it will automatically appear on XPOS without any software updates.
The great thing that we believe about XPOS is not just the support of crypto assets, but also the ability to update most things on the fly, which means that whenever we have a good feature or a new token, the updates will be done instantaneously.
* **Can you guys arrange at least a community voting which is the next blockchain we would like to see next in XPOS? Voting will help to prioritize to chose the projects.**
Zac: One of the reasons why BNB is being listed on the XPOS is simply because of its popularity and also our user demand, in a way that we are already answering to our community’s request.
Right now, our main focus is getting all the tokens submitted on Open Platform to be listed on the XPOS. The submission process includes legal and compliance valid, so our legal and compliance teams are working hard to make sure that we have more tokens to roll out onto Open Platform, which means that they will be on XPOS, XWallet, and XPASS.
As to a specific voting mechanism, we’d like to consider that and hopefully we’ll be able to run a specific voting for the chain which users would like to see.
* **While comparing Xpos handy to Square POS devices at least with mobile it’s very cheap like under $30 and easy to use. When can we expect such light weight and cheaper version for XPOS? Is team working on such devices ?**
Zac: There are different POS companies around the globe and pour focus is to work with these POS companies with our software, so that a crypto sales feature will be part of the existing POS system. The more support of crypto asset usage using our software on existing POS, the better it is for global adoption.
We actually strongly believe that the pricing of our POS system is competitive in the market. And one of the great features of the XPOS is that the merchants will not need not to pay a certain percentage to existing acquirer but to be able to earn certain percentage from each transaction. That is the key differentiator for merchant to want to adopt this.
* **From the website with some of the key Countries for XPOS adoption looks great. However, the concern is for Venezuela, there is no reference link like the others have. Can you guys add the link with details to clear the ambiguity?**
Zac: Let’s give a little bit more patience so that we can actually release more information about our Venezuelan partnership. The good news is that we expect concrete news from Venezuela in the coming 2 weeks. So stay up-to-date about our Venezuelan roll out on XPOS, the best way is to subscribe to our telegram group for Venezuela.
## On Partnerships
* **Are there some major partnership in the works? I’m also interested in how you do immediate transactions? Do you anticipate scaling issues?**
Zac: The way XPOS is being designed is that when you use your crypto assets to purchase, it will have instantaneous confirmation because the action is an off-chain process. An on-chain action happens when a user who owns crypto assets in our system transferring the assets out of the Pundi X ecosystem to their own wallets; or to transfer crypto assets in Pundi X from an off-chain to a private wallet, which we will have very soon on XWallet itself.
That is why we are able to handle scaling. When a person wants to use crypto currency to buy a coffee, the transaction will happen instantaneously.
For specific partnership, especially with B2B partnership, we oblige to the NDA that we have signed. But if you follow us closely, you’ll know that we go to different parts of the world, talking to major companies to try to land more deals so that NPXS usage will increase dramatically.
* **Any big partnerships for making xphone or using the software for xBlockchain?**
Zac: These partnerships are also subjected to NDA, so please be patient for us to release more news.
* **When will XPOS have approval to process Visa and MasterCard payments?**
Zac: We have met representatives from these players including some of the key management people. They are obviously looking into crypto currency attentively, and we hope that there’s something we can do with MasterCard and/or Visa.
This is something that the community has suggested and we agree fully. Please allow us with some time to work on this. We have also showcased XPOS to the CEO of MasterCard. For what or when will anything happen, please wait for our official announcement.
* **What’s the status on Quantum fund and their contribution or involvement with Pundi’s project?**
Zac: We announced last year that we are creating a fund to invest in projects beneficial to our ecosystem. We’ve identified some interesting projects, and we have invested in at least 1 project. The reason why we’re investing in that project is because of the services that it will bring onto the Pindi X ecosystem. So the purpose of the investment of the companies is that these companies in turn will benefit on our ecosystem. This is our key consideration.
The team has evaluated the projects that will benefit the Pundi X / Function X ecosystem. Vic and his team will be able to reveal more details on the companies we have invested in and how they will contribute to our ecosystem in Q3.
* **Recent update on NPXSXEM is highly ambiguous as mentioned that it will be now BEP token and later once FX goes live it will get back to Fx platform. Why you guys had so rush to use Binance chain only for few months? Isn’t you guys switching to much in a short time span?**
Zac: Liquidity and utility have been an issue for NPXSXEM. Due to the design philosophy and the limit of token that can be created on NEM’s smart contract, we are only able to create a small number of tokens on NPXSXEM. By moving into the Binance chain for NPXSXEM, the BEP2 token version will be able to support all the NPXSXEM tokens, which means that we’ll migrate and also be able to make sure all the NPXSXEM tokens are under the same contract address.
We believe with the strong liquidity, we will be able to give our NPXSXEM token holders a good reason of what the token holders have been waiting for. We hope to bring NPXSXEM to match the level of NPXS.
* **When #XRP?**
Zac: Our OpenPlatform is a currency agnostic platform, which means that we will work on integrating public chain as well as tokens that are most requested by the users. We’ll also be looking into the listing of different tokens that are being mentioned by the community.
As said, we will have at least one more public chain integration in Q3, perhaps even more.
* **Are you as a company going to try and connect with libra? If they have said they want to be a payment remittance service, have Square, PayPal, Visa on board I as an investor would prefer you try to join them rather than beat such large competitors**
Zac: Of course, we’ll be delighted to work with Facebook and also the Libra coin. Pundi X and XPOS is a currency agnostic / currency neutral platform, if there’s opportunity to list Libra coin or work with Facebook in different ways to promote crypto currency adoption, we’ll certainly look into that and work on reaching out to them.
## On Trading
* **Can you confirm during AMA, Pundi team is not involved with any trading with their own token like selling over time to manage the fund to run the company.**
Zac: All the wallet addresses of the team holdings are disclosed and transparent. This is one of the first things that we did after ICO. Hence, our token holdings are transparent and everyone can monitor our fund transactions. Also, we have strict internal financial regulation and compliance, shows that we are here to build a long-term project.
The best way to make NPXS or the NPXSXEM to rise is real daily life use case.
* **When will you stop manipulating NPXS chart?**
Zac: Our focus has always been and will be building great products. The more product usage, the demands for NPXS and NPXSXEM will increase. Let’s address again that, Pundi X the company is NOT involved in any manipulation of the NPXS price.
There are trading teams, market makers, financial institutions that profit from the drop and rise of token prices in the crypto market. The good thing about NPXS is that we have managed to create a high liquidity by listing on 40+ exchanges and having global trades and demand from all over the world. We hope this and coupled with the fact that we are a solid product and roll out the use cases, the demand of NPXS will only continue to rise and will be able to deter any of the traders or speculators there is for NPXS.
These traders gain profit from manipulating tokens whether BTC or other tokens. In fact, the traditional financial markets have similar challenges as well. What I want to stress is that, we at Pundi X, do NOT speculate or manipulate the price. We work very hard to create demands for NPXS and as a company, it is only beneficial for us to see the prices of NPXS and NPXSXEM rise.
* **Can we please address the elephant in the room which is the Binance bot with huge sell walls and buy walls causing huge distress and concern among users?**
Zac: First, I cannot confirm nor deny that whether Binance has a bot. I think this is something that you need to ask Binance. We need to work with Binance because Binance has one of the biggest liquidities, if not the greatest liquidity, for NPXS. The best way to counter manipulators is to create more use case, more demand and more acceptance of our tokens.
* **Why on almost all exchanges do you not offer a USDT trading pair?**
Zac: We have USDT trading pairs on Bittrex, Bittrue, and more. In addition, we have fiat pairs in Korean Won, IDR, INR, and Turkish liras. We will continue to work on adding trading pairs for NPXS to make it more liquidate.
* **Why don’t you offer a stable coin sell and purchase on the xpos to help with adoption? Places in Africa with volatile currencies would go crazy for this.**
Zac: It’s a great observation. This is a request that’s been asked from many users. We’re working on stable coin listing on XPOS and hopefully it’ll come soon. Stable coin requires a greater compliance and legal validate, which we have been working on since months ago and we hope to have the stable coin up in XPOS soon.
* **When will you add an active tracker for coin burn, whether its measured in usd, NPXS or whatever you choose. The community has been asking for this on twitter, reddit and telegram for this entire year.**
Zac: It will be hard for us to have a daily tracker of the coin burn, but what we might be able to work on is a tracker which have shown all of the tokens that have been removed from the usage. Thank you for giving us this great suggestion and we will work on it in some form.
Zac: Our token supply has always been specified in our white paper, and as promised in our white paper, we will continue to remove tokens through usage and use cases, which we’re working on all the time.
* **Price movement. When will NPXS go to which price?**
Zac: We cannot comment on the change of the price. Our focus is on building products. We hope by doing that the NPXS value will go up. Again, there’s no way that we can comment on the price.
**I believe that burning tokens every 14 weeks keeps the price suppressed and will only lead to huge pumps and dumps. Imo, If the burns were more frequent, the price would move organically.**
Zac: We continue removing tokens quarterly per advised by our legal and compliance team.
**Is it mandatory npxs swap? What happens for token we have in binance?**
Zac: No it’s not a mandatory NPXS swap for FX.
**How many NPXS or NPXSXEM was converted?**
Zac: In Q2, we will remove 29B NPXSXEM and 9B NPXS.
## On XWallet
* **Why not put in XWallet like the place where we can buy and sell like restaurants and shops?**
Zac: You are correct. In fact, if you look at XWallet, there is a merchant feature, whereby you can register as a merchant. By becoming a merchant, you will be able to print out your QR code and stick it on your restaurant. People are able to make payment through this QR code. This will act like a mini-XPOS.
* **In addition to that having multiple different blockchain in XWallet will increase the XWallet adoption. Hence, we would like to see aggressive game plan and execution from the team and would like to hear that**
Zac: That’s a great suggestion. Every day we want to increase use cases for XWallet. In fact, our XWallet update is one of the most frequent in the market. Within 5 months, we have over 10 updates on iOS and Google Play. This does not include soft update which happens every several days. In my view, the effort is very tremendous.
* **Is there any plan to add Swap option within XWallet so that people can trade the coins within XWallet?**
Zac: Yes, there’s such plan and in fact there is an upcoming feature that people will be able to use coins in XWallet to exchange into other things. The exact form and format have not been reviewed. We hope to share more when we have concrete example. But what you suggested is what we are planning for months ago.
* **When will XPOS and XWallet have fiat on ramps?**
Zac: This is a good question. It’s not only involved with regulatory compliance but also involved the technical part. This is also something we are planning for months. Once approved, hopefully we are able to support fiat currency on ramps and off ramps on XWallet.
**On Others*\*
* **How is the internal organization doing? Currently how many employees work for Pundi? Currently how many job positions are open?**
Zac: Pundi X has grown tremendously. We are now having over seven offices around the globe. I’m sitting in the Singapore office. We have office in Jakarta, Taiwan, Tokyo, Shenzhen, São Paulo and London. These are the places we have physical offices and house approximately 100 full time employees of Pundi X.
The positions open from Pundi X are legal associate in Singapore and other offices. We are looking for more R&D people, especially in Taiwan. We are looking at marketing and PR people in different parts of the world. And we are looking for POS distributors. As a POS distributor, you will work with our business development team and also our technical team to roll out many XPOS which you have a network to control in your local market.
* **Would you consider removing the KYC to allow u.s. holder to stake and be rewarded?**
Zac: We would love to have more users, including US. However, our compliance and legal advisors have not allowed us to accept US holders to stake and be rewarded.
I’m sorry to say that but this is after serious consideration to make such a decision. In fact, it is a very hard decision because we have healthy user base in the US.
will continue to monitor the situation in the different markets and be compliant. There are also ways to be rewarded when using XWallet service without KYC. We are looking into to explore more on this and launch new features. Hopefully we are able to bring the beta version for you to test this week or next.
**On XPhone*\*
* **Where are we on pre-sale announcement of Xphone? It was highlights of Q2 goal. If we are getting delay, that’s ok. But at least community will have some clarification why it’s getting late and when approximately it coming?**
Zac: Pre-sale order will start this month. It’s likely the end of July. Pre-sale will take place in different channel including the official website and XWallet. Apart of our own channel, the pre-sale will go live on a 3rd party channel. People will be able to pre-order crypto either in crypto or in fiat.
* **Can you discuss in AMA, is participants can pay with Crypto or Credit/debit card or in both ways?**
Zac: As a crypto company, we prefer payment in crypto, but fiat, Visa, MasterCard, and other traditional payment methods will be accepted on different pre-order channels. Stay tuned for pre-order which will happen in late July.
* **Will the Xphone be open to purchase in all regions of the world?**
Zac: Yes, pre-orders will be able to be done on-line, and products will be shipped from our offices to users in different parts of the world.
* **Will the blockchain mode on the Xphone be operable during the testnet or will this function not work until mainnet?**
Zac: XWallet and XPhone are the first channel and avenue for Function X testnet, so once the testnet is operateble, we will start to engage certain services on XWallet and XPhone into Function X testnet, and ultimately into mainnet. Slowly but surely.
* **Does Xphone have hard protective cover,extra Sim slot, also is it enhanced with ip68 water rating?**
Zac: XPhone will not be waterproof, so please do not submerge XPhone into water. XPhone will definitely be eavesdrop-proof because we’re using a blockchain mode, only you and you control your own conversation.
* **Which country accept the Xphone?** * **Will I also be able to use the SIM-card?** * **The blockchain modus will work in every country (what in the absense of nodes)?** * **Will the XPhone I buy now support updates in the future?**
Zac: People from any country will be able to buy XPhone on-line. You will be able to use a SIM for we have built a SIM slot. Wherever you are, the XPhone can be turned on to become a node.
Will XPhone support future updates? Yes, of course. Just like the XPOS, we support silent update. It will be like how we support XPOS, many updates. The updates will always be supported on XPhone.
**On Function X*\*
* **When is the detail white paper coming for FunctionX? Why the team is very resistive to have well documented white paper? We need scientific approach and well documentation on FunctionX to have developers to be more involved.**
Zac: Yes, developer involvement is a key criterion of the growth of Function X. We have done 2 things, one is that we have set up Function X Foundation which is led by David Ben Kay and will involve third party adviser and board members. Second, we have set up a developer relations team led by one of our own members as well. This team will work on creating developer documents, developer demos and sample, so that excellent developers can tap into working with Function X resources.
The first version of developer documentation is ready in English and Chinese. We are still polishing up the documents and hopefully to release them soon.
We are also working with third party developers, and are engaging at least 2 third party developer companies, so that we can help create their services on Function X and also XWallet.
We are hoping to showcase a smooth and usable service to the audience, we think this is the key criterion of the Function X growth.
Thank you for this suggestion. We need to update more often on github developer documentation as well.
As for the white paper, we did not have one per se because Function X did not do an ICO. But we will continue to update our white paper and include not only technical details, but also details on the chain and how we can get more developers and users so that the future hardware will be added as a node and you will be rewarded financially, at least through our ecosystem genesis fund. Please stay tuned and there are a lot of things going on in the company. Each and one of us is working hard.
* **Why does the FX ecosystem need a decentralized OS?**
Zac: The mantra of Function X is decentralization and having private control of your data. A full private control of your data comes with a decentralized system not just in transmission of your data, but with the operating system built fully for decentralization , which includes a transmission protocol replacing http. The apps uploaded into Function X will be decentralized as well as the data that is stored on the app, which means that how BitCoin or crypto assets are verified on different nodes will also be part of the way we store data and content.
The decentralized OS is key to fulfilling a decentralized environment for a more private and free usage.
* **What about FX are you most excited about?**
Zac: We are actually creating a shift of how people view of blockchain and how decentralization is not just about transacting commercial commodity, but also data, including your identity, are all decentralized. That is what we are most excited about.
The only way for us to achieve this is to have developer support, for we need the developers to build on the foundation we have to offer those exciting services.
* **We understand that developing a new blockchain is time consuming. As a community we are in a dark space to understand where exactly the development of FX right now.**
Zac: We are working hard on creating the testnet and eventually the mainnet. For the latest updates of Function X, what I can encourage you to do is to go on and subscribe to the Function X telegram group where discussions are made. We have formed the Function X Foundation and created the developer relations team, so that the Function X progress will go smoother and with more partnership from outside, whether it’s developers, third party companies, teleco, etc.
* **When FX goes live on the mainnet, will FX coin be used to stake and earn NPXS? how will staking work on that new mainnet?**
Zac: The NPXS/NPXSXEM staking will last till March 9, 2020 as announced. What we are committed is to create more use cases. For FX tokens, the use cases will be focusing on the Function X Chain and the use cases on Function X that include DApp on Function X and different hardware/software services.
* **When fx testnet will be available?**
Zac: First I would like to thank you for your constant support. In Q3, we plan to open Function X testnet so that we will be migrating and creating certain use cases that can be used on Function X testnet, starting with our own XWallet. Which means, the XWallet will migrate some features into Function X testnet, and slowly followed by our other Pundi X products, including XPhones, XPASS, Open Platform and Function X own developer related products from third parties.
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In case you missed it: Major Crypto and Blockchain News from the week ending 12/14/2018

Developments in Financial Services

Regulatory Environment

General News


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Evolution of Exchanges

Swap.Online delves into the background of centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges. As decentralization is our name for the game, we would primarily like to find out whether it was inevitable or not.

From Childhood to the Golden Age: DCEs and CEXs

The first centralized cryptocurrency exchanges had two main pre-historical roots of origin. Ideologically, they originated from the e-commerce exchange services of the early 2000s. Digital Currency Exchanges, or DCEs, were particularly popular in the U.S. and Australia. GoldAge Inc., E-Gold Inc., Liberty Reserve were frequently seen in the headlines mostly due to legal issues, as the U.S. SEC, as well as the Australian ASIC failed many times over to figure out whether the e-gold exchange was a form of banking, money laundering, non-licensed remittances or illegal entrepreneurship. These services exchanged fiat money on different digital currencies (1MDC, E-Gold, eCache etc.) and, in a way, fulfilled the demand of New World and EU citizens for anonymous transactions of digital and fiat money.
But, in fact, the first significant cryptocurrency exchange arose from a surprising source… The website of the online game “Magic: The Gathering Online”. This game’s name refers to a magical world, where the currency system is represented in the form of cards. Jed McCaleb, the programmer from San Francisco and future contributor for Ripple and Stellar, developed the Mt.Gox project with the purpose of trading these cards like traditional stocks. In January 2007, he purchased the domain name mtgox.com, but in 2008, he abandoned the project as a premature venture. One year later, he used this domain to advertise his own online game. In the year of 2010, he read about the concept of Bitcoin and decided to launch the Mt.Gox exchange and exchange rate service allowing to trade Bitcoin freely. The project was released on July 18, 2010.
Rapid commercial growth started when the product was sold to the French-Japanese developer Mark Karpeles in January 2011. It was the year 2011 when Mt.Gox demonstrated the main security challenges that traditional centralized exchanges will encounter all along their development path in the future. These included direct thefts from the platform’s wallets, attacks with multiple ‘ask’ orders, malefactor invasions resulting in price drops (one day, in the spring of 2011, 1 BTC was worth less than 0.01 USD) etc. By the way, the dramatic collapse of February 2014, with more than 750K BTC lost and the $65M civil suit in Tokyo court were still to come. During the years 2012–2013, every 3 of 4 Bitcoins in the world was sold via Mt.Gox, and it was a real success story.
The years 2011–2012 gave birth to the bulk of top centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. BTCC was founded in June 2011 as the first exchange for the Chinese market. At the same time, American developer Jesse Powell had spent a month visiting Mt.Gox offices to offer assistance in the aftermath of the first hack. He was unsatisfied with the level of business organization, and that was how Kraken was founded in July 2011. The infamous BTC-e platform for exchanging rubles for BTC was also launched in July 2011. In late 2011, the largest American exchange BitInstant was founded and started selling Bitcoin via WalMart and Walgreen. 2012 became the year of origin for Bitfinex, Coinbase (first Ethereum marketplace) and LocalBitcoins.

Pros and Cons of Centralized Exchanges

We are now six or seven years away of those days. Today, hundreds of centralized exchanges are offering the services of exchanging BTC, ERC-20 and another cryptos. We can even hardly classify them. Usually, specialists speak about three mainstream types of centralized exchanges.
Trading platforms. They connect buyers and sellers to each other, allowing them to publish trading orders and take some transactional fees (most commonly 0,3 per cent from the taker of the liquidity). For example, Cex.io, BitFinex, BitStamp belong to this group. Usually, these platforms are characterized by a complicated interface, which is not suitable for newbies.
Cryptocurrency brokers. If a trading platform is a local market where you buy goods from their producers, the broker is a small player on the market. They sell coins at definite prices while setting high fees, but allow acquiring cryptos in a simpler manner. Moreover, most of them support a broad range of payment tools. Coinbase, Coinmama, Coinhouse are among the most popular brokers.
Peer-to-peer-services. They simply allow their users to publish announcements about operations with cryptos. The buyer and the seller directly negotiate the prices. It is even possible to find one selling crypto for cash in your neighborhood. The most remarkable example here is LocalBitcoins.
As one can see, now the range of services offered is truly broad. By the way, there is a list of common complaints regarding centralized exchanges both from traders and crypto theoreticians.
Safety. Even a single point of centralization can lead to the massive theft of users’ funds and keys. More than a million BTCs have been stolen by the time of writing of this article.
Regulation. If the center (or even one of the centers) of a CEX is physically located in some country, the position of this country’s government on ICOs and crypto related issues becomes crucial for the future of the project. Legal restrictions in this sector are now imposed in the U.S., China, South Korea, India etc. When your exchange is centralized, the officials can arrest your cryptos for no reason. Moreover, the administration of the exchange can be involved in fraud with your private information and money.
Speed. We have conducted some particular research on the speed of popular CEXs (Binance, Huobi, Poloniex, see p. 11). The results are sad: you can wait dozens of minutes waiting for the pending of your transaction.
KYC/AML. There is nothing to talk about in this regard, we suppose. If you must send someone your photo, a scanned copy of your ID or even proof of income wanting nothing in return but to withdraw your own funds, it is not OK.

Decentralization: The Solution

Decentralization, as the initial meaning and internal essence of blockchain, smart-contracts and cryptocurrencies, was first italicized by Satoshi Nakamoto and even Nick Szabo in 1990–2000-s. The rise of CEXs resulted in an obvious contradiction, because blockchain-based currencies are being operated via centralized mechanisms just like Visa or MasterCard, but much slowly. Is it normal? Where is the next stage of evolution or, does it even exist in the first place?
The answer was the main point of arguments in the crypto community during the year of 2017. In February, Vitalik came out with the suggestion about the nature of blockchain’s decentralization: “Blockchains are politically decentralized (no one controls them) and architecturally decentralized (no infrastructural central point of failure), but they are logically centralized (there is one commonly agreed state and the system behaves like a single computer)”.
The only possible expression in the commercial implementation of ‘architectural decentralization’ is the decentralized exchange of cryptocurrencies.
And the most advanced technology in this case is that of the Atomic Swaps — the direct peer-to-peer instant cross-chain transaction.
CEXs were the natural and inevitable stage of development for cryptocurrency exchanges. By the way, the DEXs are coming: we found them (namely IDEX, EtherDelta and Waves DEX) on the list of the top-100 exchanges on Coinmarketcap.
So, the Swap.Online team is on the right track. Get ready for ERC-20 ⇔ BTC, ETH ⇔ BTC, USDT ⇔ BTC, EOS ⇔ BTC trading directly from your browser with neither middlemen nor a centralized infrastructure.
See you on the mainnet on August 27, 2018,
Swap.Online Team
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