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Indian Blockchain and Crypto Startups Are Moving to Regulatory Friendly Countries

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India’s blockchain ecosystem — which includes developers, services providers, and other cryptocurrency-related companies — are increasingly moving to countries with more friendly jurisdictions like Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, and, in particular, Estonia.

Crypto Startups Moving Away From India

The migration has been triggered by various moves made by the Indian government over the past several months, which have dampened enthusiasm for the country amongst many in the space. Some are comparing the move to the ‘brain drain’ in the dotcom boom that saw the transplant of topnotch tech professionals to countries with better opportunities.

“We are having talented people and companies from the blockchain space move out of India. There are enough countries out there who realize the importance and want to take a lead in the blockchain ecosystem,” said Joel John, an analyst at U.K.-based Outlier Ventures who spoke with Factor Daily.

Estonia in particular seems to be a favorite among those migrating from India thanks to its crypto and tech-friendly regulatory environment. It easy to register and set up businesses in the country, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency investments are not heavily regulated, and the country’s blockchain-friendly regime supports mass adoption of the technology.

“We had decided to go the ICO way and for that, the current Indian regulatory setup makes it difficult,” says Abhinav Arora, chief marketing officer at Enkidu, a decentralized collaboration platform being built in Bengaluru. Its parent company Avalon Labs is registered in Singapore. Enkidu is looking to register in Estonia.

“We also thought of Japan but that did not make financial sense to us because of the [taxation] cost involved in liquidating our Ether holdings. We even briefly considered Cayman as an option but Estonia was best suited for our projects especially with the ICO plan.”

Estonia’s E-Residency Program

Estonia has in fact been attempting to draw crypto and tech-related startups from across the globe for several years now. In 2014 it launched its e-residency program, which made it easy to register a company in the country. On top of that, Estonian representatives have been holding sessions in India to attract entrepreneurs there, with a goal of registering 200 Indian startups in the near future. 

Another Indian company looking to Estonia is Indium, an Ethereum-based blockchain network with a focus on utility apps and public goods, founded by Nilesh Trivedi, a blockchain developer from Bengaluru.

“Crypto and blockchain are only one of the reasons for registering in Estonia. Being registered there will also allow me to offer other services and conduct business in the EU. Also the tax regime there is good,” says Trivedi. “To apply for e-residency, I had to give them a scanned copy of my passport, photograph, and very basic details. Now, one month later, my ID has arrived at the embassy,” he says.

Not only is the process user-friendly, but the government also has service providers that can help officially set up a business, open a bank account, and even keep a company’s books. The residency ‘will just cost me 100 Euros for three years and I can renew it again after that,’ Trivedi says.

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HYPE Sports Innovation Launches World’s First Blockchain Accelerator for Sports Technology

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HYPE

HYPE Sports Innovation (HYPE), a global platform which facilitates connections and investments among the sports innovation ecosystem, today announced the launch of the first ever Blockchain accelerator for Sports Tech. The program will feature 14 week accelerators for 10 of the leading startups from around the world focusing on blockchain for sports technology. The accelerators will run globally, and startups selected for the 2 bootcamps will participate at the Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport at New York University as well as the ISDE Higher Institute of Law and Economics in Barcelona.

Interested companies can learn more and apply for the program by visiting the blockchain accelerator homepage.

Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing the sports industry with its many unique applications. Italian soccer club Juventus launched the “Official Fan Token” to enable the clubs’ 340 million fans worldwide to interact with and create a personal connection to the club, while the LA Kings of the National Hockey League launched the first augmented reality blockchain authentication platform, utilizing blockchain’s authentication features to ensure fans can easily verify the authenticity of their memorabilia purchases.

“The accelerators are at the heart of everything we do at HYPE,” said Bernd Wahler, Chairman of HYPE and former CMO of Adidas. “Sports has the unique ability to create magical moments for players and fans alike and technology is changing the way we experience and share those moments and celebrate our sports heroes. Our team at HYPE is always on the lookout for innovators and entrepreneurs that can make a meaningful impact on the games we all grew up loving.”

HYPE’s blockchain accelerator is the 12th unique accelerator program offered by HYPE and is designed to identify the most promising companies working on blockchain applications, and aid them in their quest to improve the world of sports. The program includes an intensive two day bootcamp, personalized mentoring processes, weekly remote classes from top experts, and access to an unrivaled ecosystem all culminating in a demo-day in front of partners, investors and sports clubs. To date, HYPE has 11 accelerator programs partnered with leading sports brands such as FC Cologne and Shakhtar Donetsk, as well as universities such as University of Queensland, George Washington University and Loughborough University.

“We are very excited about launching the world’s first blockchain accelerator,” said Dr. Ilan Hadar, CEO of HYPE. “While blockchain is a relatively new technology, it has limitless potential, particularly when it comes to sports. With the launch of this new accelerator, we will provide the entrepreneurs in our program with unmatched access to our global network of teams, investors and partners, helping turn their startups into real game-changers and market leaders.”

HYPE leverages an ecosystem of over 11,000 startups, 750 Investors and VCs, 450 global sports teams and 40,000 members worldwide to offer accelerator participants unrivaled resources in the world of sports technology. Of the 125 graduates of the 11 existing accelerator programs to date, 58 have signed equity agreements with HYPE, 27 have raised significant funding during the accelerator cycles, and 4 have signed major deals with strategic partners.

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Kudelski Security Partners with Hosho To Secure Blockchain Ecosystems

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Blockchain Engineers

Kudelski Security, the cybersecurity division of the Kudelski Group (SIX:KUD.S) today announced a strategic partnership with Hosho, a global leader in blockchain security and smart contract auditing, to extend the capabilities of Kudelski Security’s recently launched Blockchain Security Center (BSC). The partnership makes the companies’ unique skillsets, market-leading services, and proven intellectual property (IP) available to help forward-leaning organizations better secure their use of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Smart contracts are the most critical piece of a blockchain company’s technical ecosystem – contract vulnerabilities can be exploited by malicious actors, leading to stolen and often unrecoverable funds, or unintentional code executions that could result in the locking up of millions of dollars. According to Hosho, security vulnerabilities have cost blockchain companies more than $2 billion in lost or stolen capital in 2018, and their own audit of smart contracts found that more than one in four have critical vulnerabilities and three in five have at least one security issue.

“Hosho has deep expertise and a world-class reputation for auditing the ‘smart contracts’ that are essential to blockchain business process workflows,” said Rich Fennessy, CEO of Kudelski Security. “Combined with our expertise in cryptography, embedded security down to silicon level, and secure application development, Hosho is an ideal partner in what we believe will be a growing coalition of likeminded organizations focused on improving the underlying security of blockchain and expanding its use in business applications.”

Increasingly, organizations are investing in understanding how blockchain technology can optimize business processes as well as developing applications aimed at improving efficiencies, lowering costs and enabling new business models. The combination of resources enabled through this partnership provides business executives, investors, engineers, and blockchain developers greater confidence in designing, building, and running secure applications. The result is the potential for less risk, higher efficiency, and ultimately, greater value realized from these investments.

“Hosho and Kudelski Security share the same vision for cyber resilience. It is the first time a blockchain cybersecurity leader has joined forces with a publicly traded cybersecurity company,” said Hartej Sawhney, Co-Founder and President of Hosho. “Enterprises are rapidly investing into incorporating decentralized ledger technologies into their legacy systems. Companies such as Kudelski, with 30 plus years of experience in cybersecurity, IoT, and public access solutions, are needed to meet the increasingly complex demands of the Fortune 500.”

Kudelski Security’s blockchain expertise is built on more than 30 years’ experience in information security, cryptographic design as well as more recent work in public blockchain coin design and implementation, point of sale technology development, detailed audits of application code, protocol creation, and cryptographic algorithms for major industry players in the cryptocurrency, digital communications and IoT markets. In addition to providing security audits, architecture reviews, and development services, the Kudelski Security BSC is developing a suite of expanded cryptographic solutions, full-stack enterprise blockchain security recommendations, and developer tools to support the entire blockchain ecosystem.

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Avnet Leads Industry by Accepting Cryptocurrency

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Blockchain technology

Avnet, a leading global technology solutions company, is working with BitPay, the largest global blockchain payment provider, to accept cryptocurrency for products and services. Today’s developers are looking for flexibility as they take their products to market, and this announcement provides our customers with more convenient ways to complete their financial transactions.

“We’re working with BitPay to facilitate secure blockchain payments for all types of customers so they can focus on developing their products, not how to pay for them. Whether it’s Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash, we can handle it,” said Sunny Trinh, vice president of demand creation, Avnet.

When a customer elects to make a purchase with Bitcoin (BTC) or Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Avnet will work with BitPay to verify the funds, process the order and complete the transaction. Avnet and BitPay will also have the ability to manage and process cryptocurrency requests outside the U.S. on a country-by-country basis. BitPay processes more than $1 billion annually from thousands of merchants and B2B customers globally.

“As one of the largest global technology solution providers on the Fortune 500 list, Avnet is truly an innovative company that listens to the needs of their customers, as demonstrated by their decision to accept bitcoin payments,” said Sonny Singh, chief commercial officer, BitPay. “Not only is paying with bitcoin easier and faster than with credit cards and bank wires, it is less expensive and acceptance of it is growing. I predict Avnet will attract many new blockchain-focused customers from around the world that want to take advantage of paying with bitcoin.”

Bitcoin transactions are on the rise, with at least 250,000 on-ledger bitcoin transactions per day in 2019, according to Blockchain.com. Avnet has already closed several multi-million-dollar cryptocurrency transactions within the first month of accepting bitcoin. This includes working with Bitcoin.com to develop a new hardware wallet that will further enable cryptocurrency storage and provide the highest level of security for transactions. To learn more, visit: https://www.avnet.com/BitPay.

By accepting bitcoin as a payment option, Avnet is continuing to break down the barriers customers face when getting their ideas to market by enabling easier access to its unique end-to-end ecosystem of design, product, marketing and supply chain expertise at every stage of the product lifecycle. This ecosystem, comprised of small-scale specialists Farnell, Newark and element14; design-focused Hackster.io; manufacturing solution provider Dragon Innovation; and software and AI strategist Softweb Solutions; reduces the time, cost and complexities of bringing products to market.

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Maxonrow Blockchain to Launch in Taiwan, Targeting Asia’s Digital Economy Market

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Secure Token

In response to the global upsurge of blockchain technology, Maxonrow has convened sectors in finance, economy, transportation, entertainment, technology, organizations with the United Nations, political officials domestic and abroad, blockchain industry experts and influential representatives of businesses to its Official Global Launch Press Conference.

Maxonrow’s Global CEO Mark stated, “Blockchain technology has become an influential force in the FinTech industry. Not only is blockchain present in digital financial exchanges, but it’s also gradually being adopted by the general public, transportation services and in other areas, creating a more convenient and new way of living. In contrast to countries like Europe or the United States where the blockchain industry is mature, Taiwan has the advantage of being a blockchain-friendly market regarded as Asia’s Media Center. For this reason, we can’t underestimate the growth potential it has. Maxonrow has chosen Taiwan as its anchor point to enter the Asian market and wishes to collaborate with Taiwan’s government authorities and business corporations. Through Maxonrow, governments, businesses, and societies are connected with the real economy through blockchain technology.”

Maxonrow has the Right Mix of Secure, Cost-Effective, Efficient and Regulatory Compliant Blockchain Solutions

Security Token Offers or STO is most commonly used in the international blockchain market. Maxonrow came up with an improved solution, the world’s first True Asset Issuing, or TAI mechanism. It ensures the True Asset tokens issued by the Maxonrow blockchain are transparent and traceable, fortifying the credibility and reliability of user transactions.

Maxonrow’s CEO of the Asia Region Jin said, “The key technical aspect of Maxonrow is its state of the art KYC mechanism. Aside from providing businesses and societies a more transparent and reliable financial transaction method, it can effectively assist governments in digital financial management, resulting in the prevention and elimination of financial crimes from happening.”

Maxonrow has landed partnerships with Far Eastern Air Transport, National Taiwan Normal University ASIS POP Research Center, MusicBravo, MU Global Holding Limited, Red Star, TeaCoin, FansDAQ, and Huafu Group. In addition, Maxonrow is working on numerous projects related to the academic sector.

Maxonrow’s CEO of Asia Region Jin stated, “When it comes to Maxonrow KYC is not only limited to governments and businesses, we’re also seeking to expand to cooperate with society and academic sectors. The agreement with NTNU ASIS POP is to utilize their expertise in industry-academic cooperation in adopting real-world application of Maxonrow KYC Blockchain technology.” Director of NTNU ASIS POP Dr. Ho-pu Lee adds, “ASIS POP is proud to be Maxonrow’s academic partner. We want to promote Taiwan’s music industry by employing blockchain technology that can provide complete assurance of the intellectual property rights of artists. ”

Representatives of United Nations Organization Show Their Support

Maxonrow’s Global Launch Event will be attended by guests from Taiwan’s industrial, political and academic sectors. Also showing support for the event is former WOGC-UNSDGs Vice President Andrey Abramov and Vice Secretary General Muleta Tembo, “Godfather of Chinese Securities” Jing-sheng Guan, former Thailand Minister of Education Wiboon Shamsheun, and many other key figures from around the world.

“This Maxonrow Global Launch provides an opportunity for beginning dialogue and debate with all sectors of society crucial for making the Block chain technology further develop. We look forward to engaging powerfully with the rapidly growing global community of blockchain thought leaders to responsibly apply this transformative technology to achieve profound social impact in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals. So let us join together to ensure that our partnership forged at this Launch, with support of Governments and other actors, brings better lives to those who have been left behind in the current world economy. And to the Maxonrow team, I wish every success in your work which holds so much promise for our future,” said Andrey Abramov, Vice President of the World Organization of Governance and Competitiveness.

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Koi Trading Unveils AML Compliance-as-a-Service Using IdentityMind Digital Identities Platform

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DTCC

Koi Trading, an innovative OTC trading desk that provides private, efficient, and compliant cryptocurrency liquidity to counterparties around the world, today announced a partnership with IdentityMind, Digital Identities You Can Trust, to provide Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance-as-a-service to money services businesses globally under the brand Koi Compliance.

Koi Compliance offers the first plug-and-play AML compliance solution that supports digital currency. Koi Compliance will pair their legal expertise and compliance analysts with IdentityMind’s platform that already supports over 35 digital currency exchanges worldwide. This enables companies to focus on running their business, while Koi Compliance leverages industry best practices to perform the legally required Know Your Customer (KYC), transaction monitoring, sanctions screening, recordkeeping and regulatory reporting through IdentityMind.

“We’re excited to work with an innovative company like Koi Trading,” said Kieran Sherlock CTO, IdentityMind. “They have created a new way for more entrants into the digital currency space to be compliant from day one, and effectively serve their customers across different markets and geographies while minimizing their regulatory risk.”

“When we first set out to help companies with compliance, we immediately chose IdentityMind as our primary platform,” said Harry Zhou, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Koi Trading. “IdentityMind’s immense experience in digital currency and their risk-based AML solutions enable Koi Compliance to provide the best technology-driven digital currency AML compliance services for exchanges, OTC desks and stablecoin projects that face rapidly evolving regulatory landscapes around the world.”

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Cryptocurrency Firm Agrees to Stop Using Alibaba Name

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Alibaba

A cryptocurrency firm said it will stop using trademarks including the term “Alibaba” as part a settlement of a lawsuit brought by Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd, the Chinese e-commerce retailer.

ABBC Foundation announced the settlement on Monday, in a statement confirmed by its U.S.-based lawyer.

The firm, which has offices in Dubai and Belarus and was also known as Alibabacoin Foundation, said it regretted any public confusion arising from its “former use of Alibabacoin.” Its cryptocurrency is now called ABBC Coin.

Alibaba did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A U.S.-based lawyer for Alibaba declined to comment.

The Chinese company had accused ABBC of confusing customers and hurting its business in the United States by using its trademarked name to raise more than $3.5 million in Alibabacoins.

ABBC countered that it was not trying to piggyback off the Alibaba name, and that China’s September 2017 ban on initial coin offerings eliminated a main source of potential confusion.

The case is Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd v. Alibabacoin Foundation et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-02897.

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Bittrex Lists Chain Token (CRO) Ahead of Go-Live Next Week

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Austrian Government

Crypto.com announced that its Chain Token (CRO) has been listed on Bittrex International, an international exchange by a premier U.S.-based blockchain trading platform Bittrex. The Crypto.com Chain is a high-performing native blockchain powering Crypto.com Pay, which allows customers to pay for goods and services with cryptocurrency while receiving generous cashback rewards. For merchants, Crypto.com Pay offers the option to get paid in any crypto without being exposed to its inherent volatility and enjoy greatly reduced processing fees and near instant settlement.

Kris Marszalek, Co-Founder and CEO of Crypto.com said, “The Crypto.com Pay SDK has shipped and we will open the platform to our 400,000 users next week. The CRO token serves as a cross-currency settlement instrument for our native blockchain. Further listings of the token will increase liquidity necessary to support transaction volumes and settlement for our growing list of merchants.”

About Crypto.com

Crypto.com was founded in 2016 to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency. Key products include: the Crypto.com Wallet & Card App, the best place to buy, sell, and pay with crypto, the MCO Visa Card, a metal card with no annual fees, and the Crypto.com Chain, which enables users to pay and be paid in any crypto, anywhere, for free. Crypto.com is headquartered in Hong Kong with a 120+ strong team. For more information, please visit: www.crypto.com

About Bittrex

Bittrex is the premier U.S.-based blockchain platform founded in 2014 by three cybersecurity engineers, providing lightning-fast trade execution, dependable digital wallets and industry-leading security practices. Its mission is to help advance the blockchain industry by fostering innovation, incubating new and emerging technology, and driving transformative change.

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Berlin Proposes Register for Blockchain, Other Electronic Securities

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Brandenburg gate

Germany is proposing to boost the use of blockchain technology and other electronic instruments by setting up a government-run electronic register to regulate the sector and protect investors, according to initial guidelines released on Friday.

In a seven-page paper, Germany’s justice and finance ministries mapped out plans to prevent abuses and protect investors, while facilitating the potential of the technology that underpins cyrptocurrencies, and strengthening Germany’s role in digitalisation and financial technology.

It is a first step toward development of a blockchain strategy, as agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) in their March 2018 coalition accord. The ministries said they would draft a revised proposal after seeing reaction to the proposed measures.

It also proposed easing the current requirement which mandates that financial instruments must have tangible, physical counterparts that can be held by investors.

The plans would initially apply only to electronic bonds, with digital stocks to be dealt with a subsequent step. Few major economies worldwide have crafted comprehensive strategies on how to nurture the emerging industry.

The ministries said they were pressing ahead of the European Union to set up the regulatory framework, since any EU-wide measures could take years to enact, and even current regulations for securities were not harmonised among the 28 members.

At the same time, they said they hoped to avoid a “uniquely German” solution by taking into account recent European and international discussions about “initial coin offerings” (ICOs).

A range of industries including cars, pharmaceuticals, energy and public sector administration hope to transform mass market processes via blockchain, but say they need a regulatory framework to move ahead.

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Quantstamp Expands to Japan with Investment from Nomura Holdings and Digital Garage

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Quantstamp, a Y Combinator-backed smart contract security company, is proud to announce it is establishing a limited liability company, Quantstamp Japan GK, to assist Japanese startups and enterprises in using secure blockchain technology. This establishment follows significant investment from Nomura Holdings and Digital Garage.

Quantstamp uses computer-based reasoning tools to provide services that help identify and secure vulnerabilities in smart contracts — a key component of blockchain technology. It provides an automated tool for developers and users to check smart contracts for well-known vulnerabilities, as well as white-glove auditing services to help secure large-scale blockchain projects. It’s services have been used to secure more than $500 million of transaction value.

“I’m pleased to announce Quantstamp’s formal expansion to Japan, Japan is an important market in digital payments,” says Richard Ma, co-founder, and chief executive officer of Quantstamp Inc. “We’re expanding our presence as we think that the market for smart contract-driven applications here is strong and will only be growing.”

“As blockchain technology is adopted in the financial world, smart contracts will play an increasingly important role. Security assurances through auditing and certification will become increasingly indispensable,” notes Chuzaburo Yagi, Senior Managing Director in charge of Innovations at Nomura Holdings, Inc. “I believe Quantstamp is well positioned to support this role as they work to secure smart contract technology.”

“I think that Quantstamp offers the best service on the market. It’s the best solution for identifying and mitigating smart contract vulnerabilities, “ says Yasuhiro Mimura, Managing Director of DG Incubation Co., Ltd. “With their knowledge and experience on smart contract security, we are hoping for further breakthroughs in the future. “

Quantstamp is a leader in smart contract security, preventing security breaches at some of the world’s largest blockchain companies. Quantstamp’s engineering team is familiar with software security, formal verification, static analysis and have more than 900 Google Scholar citations.

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MultiVAC Launched Testnet 1.0 “Phoenix”, World’s First Fully-Sharded Blockchain

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Public blockchain MultiVAC formally launched its first testnet named “Phoenix” at the end of February 2019. As MultiVAC’s 1.0 testnet version, “Phoenix” is already developed with core modules including shard generating and splitting, Byzantine consensus family, storage nodes, and simple communication mechanism. It is also equipped with an all-dimensional sharded base-layer in terms of computation, storage, and transmission. Users can view transaction and block generating process via the blockchain browser.

MultiVAC testnet’s average block generating time is approximately 8 to 10 seconds. In comparison, Ethereum takes 15 seconds and Bitcoin, 10 minutes. In last year’s lab testing, MultiVAC reached at a peak of 30,784 TPS in a network comprised of 64 shards and 12,800 nodes, which was an outstanding performance. The whole network also achieved perfect linear scalability.

Lack of scalability is the main challenge that third-generation public blockchain projects are overcoming. Mainstream solutions like super nodes represented by EOS are criticized for centralization. The off-chain solution, represented by side-chain, state channels, and Layer-2, fails to include the renewal for blockchain’s underlying protocol. New technologies like DAG are still in the early stage. Among all the directions, sharding as a classic database scaling scheme is seen most promising. Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, recently said publicly that “Sharding is coming” and planned to fulfill Etherum’s sharding upgrading in 2020. Other sharding projects like Zilliqa and Quarkchain have also drawn much attention.

Dr. Shawn, MultiVAC’s CTO, stated that “the main challenges for sharding technology lie in, firstly, how to maintain the security of single shard as whole-network level, and secondly how to resolve the overload in storage and transmission when the blockchain net grows day by day. Most of the existing sharding solutions only achieved sharding the miners but haven’t addressed the bottleneck of data-keeping scale and communication costs.”

MultiVAC’s underlying protocol makes the world’s first fully-sharded blockchain base-layer in terms of computing, storage, and transmission. On the miner and computing level, it pioneers VRF dynamic re-sharding, organic shard splitting, an innovative PoS approach, and others to ensure the shards’security and self-growth capacity. MultiVAC has also built an innovative distributed storage and cross-shard transmission mechanism, which helps solve the bookkeeping storage and bandwidth overloading issues when the network expands, and is hopeful to bring in a complete blockchain system scalability.

Testnet “Phoenix” is the engineering achievement born out of the MultiVAC all-dimensional sharding yellow paper released in September last year. There are 20 algorithm researchers and engineers in its development team who are from top universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and Tsinghua, and working in Internet giants such as Google, Microsoft, Tencent, and Facebook. In particular, among them are 6 Ph.D. holders and 7 Google engineers.

MultiVAC says it will continue upgrading its testnet. The 2.0 version will launch mining client for an ordinary PC, and the 3.0 will be equipped with an innovative economic system as well as an incentive model.

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