$42 Million In Crypto Is Now Being Airdropped to NEO Investors
Select Neo users are now receiving free crypto money.
Beginning this weekend, those who held tokens on the Neo blockchain, the 11th largest in the world, began to receive 10 million ONT tokens (worth $42,100,000 at press time) designed to power an entirely new crypto technology platform called Ontology. Recipients must have held Neo on March 1.
Part of the “ONT token distribution,” the move effectively rewards all users of the Neo blockchain for providing the technology necessary for the project’s fundraising.
If that sounds confusing, the move has been in the works for some time.
In February, the Neo Council, a body set up to oversee the Neo blockchain protocol, announced that it would freely distribute 20 million ONT tokens – the main assets on the Ontology blockchain network – to eligible NEO token holders through a two-stage “airdrop.” Ontology’s creators granted 100 million ONT, or 10 percent of the maximum supply, to the Neo Council “for relevant cooperation and to support NEO community feedback,” the Ontology team wrote in March.
As well as the deadline for completing the Neo Council airdrop, Monday marks the beginning of Ontology’s token migration, in which holders of Neo-based ONT must move their tokens over to Ontology’s “mainnet” – its own, freestanding blockchain.
Ontology is one of several projects to embark on token migrations – also known as token swaps – in recent months. Some of the most prominent include EOS and Tron, both of which moved from ERC-20 tokens to native tokens on their own dedicated blockchains. (Ontology, as noted above, is moving from an NEP-5 token to its own blockchain.)
For users of certain exchanges, this process will be automatic, but others will need to manually complete the transfer. The Ontology team has posted an explainer, but the process will be more complicated for some users than others. Ledger wallet users will need to transfer their NEP-5 tokens to another wallet, for example.
Adding a layer of complexity, ONT tokens on Ontology’s mainnet are indivisible. In other words, users cannot migrate 1.2 NEP-5 tokens to mainnet – they have to top up to 2 ONT, sell down to 1 ONT, or accept that 0.2 ONT will simply disappear.
Fortunately, ONT investors have until October 1 to complete the migration.
Stepping back, Ontology, which launched at the end of June, and Neo are public blockchain protocols with teams primarily based out of China. Both emerged from Onchain, a Shanghai-based technology firm.
While separate entities, Neo and Ontology are closely aligned and engage in “technical cooperation,” according to Ontology founder Li Jun.
The Neo Council’s ONT token distribution was divided into two equal halves. Anyone who held NEO at a certain point on March 1 is entitled to receive 0.2 ONT per NEO. The first half (0.1 ONT per NEO) was distributed to Neo addresses as an NEP-5 token – a Neo-based token standard similar to ethereum’s ERC-20.
The second half of the airdrop began over the weekend, except that this time, ONT tokens were distributed as native tokens on the newly launched Ontology blockchain, rather than as NEP-5 tokens. As the Ontology team explained in an announcement, recipients’ Ontology addresses, WIFs (wallet import formats), and private keys will be identical to their counterparts on Neo.
Social media posts indicate that at least some users have successfully received their ONT at the time of writing. The Ontology team’s announcement gave Monday, July 9 as a deadline for completing the airdrop.
The Ontology community has another airdrop of ONT to look forward to, according to Jun, but details have yet to be revealed.
The Ontology team previously gave away 1000 ONT to people who signed up for its newsletter and completed a know-your-customer (KYC) check; it also gave 500 ONT to attendees of a Neo developers’ conference who gave their email.
Madeline Meng Shi contributed reporting.
Skydiver image via Shutterstock.
Written by CoinDesk.com
Block.One Is Taking a Bigger Role With EOS
Block.One has decided to start voting with its hoard of EOS tokens.
Announced last week, the decision finds the startup that created the EOS software, now powered by the fifth most valuable cryptocurrency, breaking with precedent in a move that may have come as a surprise to those following the project’s decentralized launch.
That’s because since going live on June 14, the company has largely declined to exercise its influence over the code, preferring to encourage its users to unite, even in sometimes messy decision-making.
And there’s a good reason for that. For one, Block.One controls 10 percent of the 1 billion tokens set aside for developers prior to the network’s launch. Further, since decision-making on the platform corresponds to token holdings, the change could put the company in an extraordinarily powerful position, enabling them to decide who can determine truth on the ledger.
As of now, each wallet can vote to up to 30 candidates to serve as block producers, however, it’s worth noting that block producers with the most support on the network have less than 3 percent of the current token supply backing them.
This means that Block.One controls so many tokens, that the field of potential block producers could effectively narrow to the 30 it picked, if and when it decides to finally enter a vote.
It’s no surprise then, that the move has left some alarmed.
“I find it problematic that Block.one is now involved in selecting block producers, as it undermines their role as a neutral third party, and affords them a significant amount of influence over the network,” Arianna Simpson of Autonomous Partners told CoinDesk via email. (Simpson is not an investor in EOS.)
But others believe the decision is in line with necessity of innovation.
Christian Catalini of MIT’s Cryptoeconomics Lab argued that each new approach to crypto governance deserves a chance to be tested so the wider crypto world can benefit from its lessons, saying, “In general when you experiment you may land on solutions that may look appealing but don’t stand the test of time.”
That said, the EOS community has largely expressed excitement about the company taking an active role in governance.
On a Reddit thread about the news, this reaction was fairly representative:
“I have been waiting for this. I think this is a good thing, and will continue to align interests … If Block.One makes money, I will make money as well most likely.”
But intermixed with the positive reactions, there were also observations like this one:
“I think EOS will do great things, but this makes it Ripple 2.0. It’s essentially a blockchain that is owned and run by Block.One. I’m not even saying that’s a bad thing, but let’s not kid ourselves either.”
How voting works
By design, EOS only has 21 block producers. The small size allows them to come to consensus very quickly, which is why EOS supporters believe it can surpass the leading blockchains by overtaking it in transactions per second.
The EOS community elects these 21 block producers in a continuous election, which allows bad actors to be removed at any time. Each wallet can vote its tokens for up to 30 block producer candidates. The 21 organizations with the most votes get to do that work, for which they are rewarded with some of tokens emitted through inflation by the protocol.
One of the reasons it took EOS so long to finally activate was because the software wouldn’t go live until 15 percent of the total token supply had been staked for votes, but, as of this writing, roughly 30 percent of the tokens are staked for voting.
Block.One’s founder tokens gradually release over a 10-year period. Until then, all they can do is stake them for use of the network, including voting. They can only cast one ballot and since all their tokens are staked until they unlock, they have to vote all of them or none.
As one redditor who looked at the wallet balances in the genesis block reported, 99 percent of EOS token holders control less than 14 percent of the token supply. The top 1,000 wallets control 85 percent of the supply. So, it remains very much a network controlled by its richest users.
Block.One is the largest single holder. Joshua Kauffman, who leads governance and community efforts for one of the top block producers, EOS Canada, told CoinDesk that he believes Block.One, ironically, wants to exercise its vote to undermine other whales.
There’s a few block producers with very little support from small holders, he said, suggesting they are propped up by whale votes. Kauffman believes Block.One wants a chance to vote for the technically strongest candidates with the most community support in order to support the consensus of the most users.
“It’s in their best interest and the community’s best interest to insure the best possible producers are the ones running the network,” Kauffman said.
When it announced its intention to vote, Block.One also expressed support for a code change so that it can support 50 or more block producer candidates. That way, it’s more widely spreading around its big votes, allowing the community to make the final decision about who gets into the top 21.
It would take a minimum of two months for such a code change to go live, according to Kauffman, so if Block.One waits for that change to vote, it could still be a while
Big decisions ahead
Besides changing out block producers, EOS faces other big decisions going forward, and by taking part in block producer elections, Block.One could make its say over those decisions even more decisive.
First, EOS hasn’t yet passed a constitution to govern the protocol, so it doesn’t have official rules for how block producers should resolve conflicts, as we have previously reported.
To fix it, Block.One has proposed a completely new constitution. The new constitution is much more narrow in scope than the one developed by the community. The company is asking longtime supports to jettison all that work in favor of a narrow proposal.
Block.One cofounder and EOS creator Dan Larimer wrote in a Medium post:
“”I have seen that if you give people arbitrary power to resolve arbitrary disputes then everything becomes a dispute and the decisions made are arbitrary.”
Second, the worker proposal system is coming closer to fruition. That system will allow the community to vote on paying tokens generated by inflation to teams that want to build new products to make the whole protocol serve users better.
With time, decisions about these proposals could also be important in determining the direction the network takes.
Even if Block.One abstains from votes in both of these cases, block producers with its support are likely to follow its lead, and the supporters of those block producers are likely to follow them.
By expanding the number of block producer candidates it can vote for, it might also expand the number that feel inclined to follow the company’s lead.
“I agree that Block.One has an oversized voice,” Kauffman granted, but he also pointed out that the best way for Block.One to grow its wealth is by increasing token value. Disenfranchising rank-and-file users by controlling the process won’t achieve that, he argued.
“They want this to be the community chain,” he said.
EOS is experimenting in a space that blockchains haven’t adequately grappled with, Catalini said.
He and his collaborator Joshua Gans explained in a 2016 paper, this means that EOS has dramatically lowered the cost of verification, but it’s now facing another cost also described in that work, the cost of networking.
Blockchains don’t only need to come to consensus around the truth, they also need to find a way to coordinate economic activity around the world. That’s their networking cost, and “that’s the one that really changes market power and market structure,” Catalini said.
“That’s the one we don’t really have a governance structure for; that’s why you’re seeing so many false starts.”
Whale shark image via Shutterstock
Written by CoinDesk.com
CBOE Files Application for Bitcoin-Based ETF with SEC
CBOE Files for Bitcoin ETF With SEC
CBOE has filed an application for a bitcoin-based ETF that will list and trade BTC shares backed by the Vaneck Solidx Bitcoin Trust (“the Trust”). According to a release published by the SEC, the application was filed on the 20th of June.
The SEC is seeking public feedback regarding the application, with the release stating that “Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments” concerning the proposed ETF.
Fund to “Invest in Bitcoin Only”
The SEC release states that “The Exchange proposes to list and trade the Shares under BZX Rule 14.11(e)(4), which governs the listing and trading of Commodity-Based Trust Shares on the Exchange. Solidx Management LLC is the sponsor of the Trust (Sponsor). The Trust will be responsible for custody of the Trust’s bitcoin. Delaware Trust Company is the trustee (Trustee). The Bank of New York Mellon will be the administrator (Administrator), transfer agent (Transfer Agent) and the custodian, with respect to cash, (Cash Custodian) of the Trust. Foreside Fund Services, LLC will be the marketing agent (Marketing Agent) in connection with the creation and redemption of ‘Baskets’ of Shares.”
Each of the fund’s shares “will represent a fractional undivided beneficial interest in the Trust’s net assets. The Trust’s assets will consist of bitcoin held […] utilizing a secure process […] The Trust will not normally hold cash or any other assets, but may hold a very limited amount of cash in connection with the creation and redemption of Baskets and to pay Trust expenses.” According to the registration statement, “the Trust will issue and redeem ‘Baskets’, each equal to a block of 5 Shares” to “Authorized Participants” exclusively. Each share “currently represents approximately 25 bitcoin.”
ETF to Track MVBTCO Index
The investment objective of the Trust is for “the Shares to reflect the performance of the price of bitcoin, less the expenses of the Trust’s operations. The Trust intends to achieve this objective by investing substantially all of its assets in bitcoin traded primarily in the over-the-counter (OTC) markets, though the Trust may also invest in bitcoin traded on domestic and international bitcoin exchanges, depending on liquidity and otherwise at the Trust’s discretion.”
The fund will track the prices as determined by the MVBTCO index – which “calculates the intra-day price of bitcoin every 15 seconds, including the closing price as of 4:00 p.m. E.T.” The SEC release states that “The bitcoin OTC platforms included in the MVBTCO are U.S.-based entities. These platforms are well-established institutions that comply with AML and KYC regulatory requirements with respect to trading counterparties and include entities that are regulated by the SEC and FINRA as registered broker-dealers and affiliates of broker-dealers.”
When trading using exchanges, the Trust expects to do so using Bitstamp, Gdax, Gemini, Itbit, Bitflyer, and Kraken.
Storage and Security
All bitcoins held by the Trust will be stored using “multi-signature cold storage wallets.” Additionally, “For backup and disaster recovery purposes, the Trust will maintain cold storage wallet backups in locations geographically distributed throughout the United States, including in the Northeast and Midwest.”
The Trust asserts that it will also “maintain comprehensive insurance coverage underwritten by various insurance carriers.” The insurance policy “will carry initial limits of $25 million in primary coverage and $100 million in excess coverage, with the ability to increase coverage depending on the value of the bitcoin held by the Trust. To the extent the value of the Trust’s bitcoin holdings exceeds the total $125,000,000 of insurance coverage, the Sponsor has made arrangements for additional insurance coverage with the goal of maintaining insurance coverage at a one-to-one ratio with the Trust’s bitcoin holdings valued in U.S. dollars such that for every dollar of bitcoin held by the Trust there is an equal amount of insurance coverage.”