A brief educational program for those who do not follow the update of the project of Vitalik Buterin. Ethereum has long been in need of updating, and the main problem of the network is scalability: the blockchain is overloaded, transactions are slowing down, and the cost of “gas” (transaction fees) is growing. If you do not update the consensus algorithm, then the network will someday cease to be operational. To avoid this, developers have been working for several years on moving the network from the PoW algorithm to state 2.0, running on PoS. This should make the network more scalable, faster and cheaper. In December last year, the first upgrade phase, Istanbul, was implemented in the network, and in April of this year, the Topaz test network with the possibility of staking was launched - the first users already earned 1%. In the PoS algorithm that Ethereum switches to, there is no mining, and validation occurs due to the delegation of user network coins to the masternodes. For the duration of the delegation, these coins are frozen, and for providing their funds for block validation, users receive a portion of the reward. This is staking - such a crypto-analogue of a bank deposit. There are several types of staking: with income from dividends or masternodes, but not the device’s power, as in PoW algorithms, but the number of miner coins is important in all of them. The more coins, the higher the income. For crypto investors, staking is an opportunity to receive passive income from blocked coins. It is assumed that the launch of staking:
Will make ETH mining more affordable, but less resource intensive;
Will make the network more secure and secure - attacks will become too expensive;
Will create an entirely new sector of steak infrastructure around the platform;
Provides increased scalability, which will create the opportunity for wider implementation of DeFi protocols;
And, most importantly, it will show that Ethereum is a developing project.
The first payments to stakeholders will be one to two years after the launch of the update
The minimum validator steak will be 32 ETN (≈$6092 for today). This is the minimum number of coins that an ETH holder must freeze in order to qualify for payments. Another prerequisite is not to disconnect your wallet from the network. If the user disconnects and goes into automatic mode, he loses his daily income. If at some point the steak drops below 16 ETH, the user will be deprived of the right to be a validator. The Ethereum network has to go through many more important stages before coin holders can make money on its storage. Collin Myers, the leader of the product strategy at the startup of the Ethereum developer ConsenSys, said that the genesis block of the new network will not be mined until the total amount of frozen funds reaches 524,000 ETN ($99.76 million at the time of publication). So many coins should be kept by 16,375 validators with a minimum deposit of 32 ETN. Until this moment, none of them will receive a percentage profit. Myers noted that this event is not tied to a clear time and depends on the activity of the community. All validators will have to freeze a rather significant amount for an indefinite period in the new network without confidence in the growth of the coin rate. It’s hard to say how many people there are. The developers believe that it will take 12−18 or even 24 months. According to the latest ConsenSys Codefi report, more than 65% of the 300 ETH owners surveyed plan to use the staking opportunity. This sample, of course, is not representative, but it can be assumed that most major coin holders will still be willing to take a chance.
How much can you earn on Ethereum staking
Developers have been arguing for a long time about what profitability should be among the validators of the Ethereum 2.0 network. The economic model of the network maintains an inflation rate below 1% and dynamically adjusts the reward scale for validators. The difficulty is not to overpay, but not to pay too little. Profitability will be variable, as it depends on the number and size of steaks, as well as other parameters. The fewer frozen coins and validators, the higher the yield, and vice versa. This is an easy way to motivate users to freeze ETN. According to the October calculations of Collin Myers, after the launch of Ethereum 2.0, validators will be able to receive from 4.6% to 10.3% per annum as a reward for their steak. At the summit, he clarified that the first time after the launch of the Genesis block, it can even reach 20.3%. But as the number of steaks grows, profitability will decline. So, with five million steaks, it drops to about 6.6%. The above numbers are not net returns. They do not include equipment and electricity costs. According to Myers, after the Genesis block, the costs of maintaining the validator node will be about 4.75% of the remuneration. They will continue to increase as the number of blocked coins increases, and with a five millionth steak, they will grow to about 14.7%. Myers emphasized that profitability will be higher for those who will work on their own equipment, rather than relying on cloud services. The latter, according to his calculations, at current prices can bring a loss of up to minus 15% per year. This, he believes, promotes true decentralization. At the end of April, Vitalik Buterin said that validators will be able to earn 5% per annum with a minimum stake of 32 ETH - 1.6 ETH per year, or $ 304 at the time of publication. However, given the cost of freezing funds, the real return will be at 0.8%.
How to calculate profitability from ETN staking
The easiest way to calculate the estimated return for Ethereum staking is to use a special calculator. For example, from the online services EthereumPrice or Stakingrewards. The service takes into account the latest indicators of network profitability, as well as additional characteristics: the time of operation of a node in the network, the price of a coin, the share of blocked ETNs and so on. Depending on these values, the profit of the validator can vary greatly. For example, you block 32 ETNs at today's coin price - $190, 1% of the coins are blocked, and the node works 99% of the time. According to the EthereumPrice calculator, in this case your yield will be 14.25% per annum, or 4.56 ETH. Validator earnings from the example above for 10 years according to EthereumPrice. If to change the data, you have the same steak, but the proportion of blocked coins is 10%. Now your annual yield is only 4.51%, or 1.44 ETH. Validator earnings from the second example over 10 years according to EthereumPrice. It is important that this is profitability excluding expenses. Real returns will be significantly lower and in the second case may be negative. In addition, you must consider the fluctuation of the course. Even with a yield of 14% per annum in ETN, dollar-denominated returns may be negative in a bear market.
When will the transition to Ethereum 2.0 start
Ben Edgington from Teku, the operator of Ethereum 2.0, at the last summit said that the transition to PoS could be launched in July this year. These deadlines, if there are no new delays, were also mentioned by experts of the BitMEX crypto exchange in their recent report on the transition of the Ethereum ecosystem to stage 2.0. However, on May 12, Vitalik Buterin denied the possibility of launching Ethereum 2.0 in July. The network is not yet ready and is unlikely to be launched before the end of the year. July 30 marks the 5th anniversary of the launch of Ethereum. Unfortunately, it seems that it will not be possible to start the update for the anniversary again. Full deployment of updates will consist of several stages. Phase 0. Beacon chain. The "zero" phase, which can be launched in July this year. In fact, it will only be a network test and PoS testing without economic activity, but it will use new ETN coins and the possibility of staking will appear. The "zero" phase will test the first layer of Ethereum 2.0 architecture - Lighthouse. This is the Ethereum 2.0 client in Rust, developed back in 2018. Phase 1. Sharding - rejection of full nodes in favor of load balancing between all network nodes (shards). This should increase network bandwidth and solve the scalability problem. This is the first full phase of Ethereum 2.0. It will initially be deployed with 64 shards. It is because of sharding that the transition of a network to a new state is so complicated - existing smart contracts cannot be transferred to a new network. Therefore, at first, perhaps several years, both networks will exist simultaneously. Phase 2. State execution. In this phase, various applications will work, and it will be possible to conclude smart contracts. This is a full-fledged working Ethereum 2.0 network. After the second phase, two networks will work in parallel - Ethereum and Ethereum 2.0. Coin holders will be able to transfer ETN from the first to the second without the ability to transfer them back. To stimulate network support, coin emissions in both networks will increase until they merge. Read more about the phases of transition to state 2.0 in the aforementioned BitMEX report.
How the upgrade to Ethereum 2.0 will affect the staking market and coin price
The transition of the second largest coin to PoS will dramatically increase the stake in the market. The deposit in 32 ETH is too large for most users. Therefore, we should expect an increase in offers for staking from the exchanges. So, the launch of such a service in November was announced by the largest Swiss crypto exchange Bitcoin Suisse. She will not have a minimum deposit, and the commission will be 15%. According to October estimates by Binance Research analysts, the transition of Ethereum to stage 2.0 can double the price of a coin and the stake of staking in the market, and it will also make ETH the most popular currency on the PoS algorithm. Adam Cochran, partner at MetaCartel Ventures DAO and developer of DuckDuckGo, argued in his blog that Ethereum's transition to state 2.0 would be the “biggest event” of the cryptocurrency market. He believes that a 3–5% return will attract the capital of large investors, and fear of lost profit (FOMO) among retail investors will push them to actively buy coins. The planned coin burning mechanism for each transaction will reduce the potential oversupply. However, BitMEX experts in the report mentioned above believe that updating the network will not be as important an event as it seems to many, and will not have a significant impact on the coin rate and the staking market. Initially, this will be more likely to test the PoS system, rather than a full-fledged network. There will be no economic activity and smart contracts, and interest for a steak will not be paid immediately. Therefore, most of the economic activity will continue to be concluded in the original Ethereum network, which will work in parallel with the new one. Analysts of the exchange emphasized that due to the addition of staking, the first time (short, in their opinion) a large number of ETNs will be blocked on the network. Most likely, this will limit the supply of coins and lead to higher prices. However, this can also release some of the ETNs blocked in smart contracts, and then the price will not rise. Moreover, the authors of the document are not sure that the demand for coins will be long-term and stable. For this to happen, PoS and sharding must prove that they work stably and provide the benefits for which the update was started. But, if this happens, the network is waiting for a wave of coins from the developers of smart contracts and DeFi protocols. In any case, quick changes should not be expected. A full transition to Ethereum 2.0 will take years and won’t be smooth - network failures are inevitable. We also believe that we should not rely on Ethereum staking as another panacea for all the problems of the coin and the market. Most likely, the transition of the network to PoS will not have a significant impact on the staking market, but may positively affect the price of the coin. However, relying on the ETN rally in anticipation of this is too optimistic. Subscribe to our Telegram channel
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Elaborating on Datadash's 50k BTC Prediction: Why We Endorse the Call
As originally published via CoinLive I am the Co-Founder at CoinLive. Prior to founding Coinlive.io, my area of expertise was inter-market analysis. I came across Datadash 50k BTC prediction this week, and I must take my hats off to what I believe is an excellent interpretation of the inter-connectivity of various markets. At your own convenience, you can find a sample of Intermarket analysis I've written in the past before immersing myself into cryptos full-time. Gold inter-market: 'Out of sync' with VIX, takes lead from USD/JPY USD/JPY inter-market: Watch divergence US-Japan yield spread EUUSD intermarket: US yields collapse amid supply environment Inter-market analysis: Risk back in vogue, but for how long? USD/JPY intermarket: Bulls need higher adj in 10-y US-JP spread The purpose of this article is to dive deeper into the factors Datadash presents in his video and how they can help us draw certain conclusions about the potential flows of capital into crypto markets and the need that will exist for a BTC ETF. Before I do so, as a brief explainer, let's touch on what exactly Intermarket analysis refers to: Intermarket analysis is the global interconnectivity between equities, bonds, currencies, commodities, and any other asset class; Global markets are an ever-evolving discounting and constant valuation mechanism and by studying their interconnectivity, we are much better positioned to explain and elaborate on why certain moves occur, future directions and gain insights on potential misalignments that the market may not have picked up on yet or might be ignoring/manipulating. While such interconnectivity has proven to be quite limiting when it comes to the value one can extract from analyzing traditional financial assets and the crypto market, Datadash has eloquently been able to build a hypothesis, which as an Intermarket analyst, I consider very valid, and that matches up my own views. Nicolas Merten constructs a scenario which leads him to believe that a Bitcoin ETF is coming. Let's explore this hypothesis. I will attempt to summarize and provide further clarity on why the current events in traditional asset classes, as described by Datadash, will inevitably result in a Bitcoin ETF. Make no mistake, Datadash's call for Bitcoin at 50k by the end of 2018 will be well justified once a BTC ETF is approved. While the timing is the most challenging part t get right, the end result won't vary. If one wishes to learn more about my personal views on why a BTC ETF is such a big deal, I encourage you to read my article from late March this year. Don't Be Misled by Low Liquidity/Volume - Fundamentals Never Stronger The first point Nicholas Merten makes is that despite depressed volume levels, the fundamentals are very sound. That, I must say, is a point I couldn't agree more. In fact, I recently wrote an article titled TheParadox: Bitcoin Keeps Selling as Intrinsic Value Set to Explode where I state "the latest developments in Bitcoin's technology makes it paradoxically an ever increasingly interesting investment proposition the cheaper it gets." However, no article better defines where we stand in terms of fundamentals than the one I wrote back on May 15th titled Find Out Why Institutions Will Flood the Bitcoin Market, where I look at the ever-growing list of evidence that shows why a new type of investors, the institutional ones, looks set to enter the market in mass. Nicholas believes that based on the supply of Bitcoin, the market capitalization can reach about $800b. He makes a case that with the fundamentals in bitcoin much stronger, it wouldn't be that hard to envision the market cap more than double from its most recent all-time high of more than $300b. Interest Rates Set to Rise Further First of all, one of the most immediate implications of higher rates is the increased difficulty to bear the costs by borrowers, which leads Nicholas to believe that banks the likes of Deutsche Bank will face a tough environment going forward. The CEO of the giant German lender has actually warned that second-quarter results would reflect a “revenue environment [that] remains challenging." Nicholas refers to the historical chart of Eurodollar LIBOR rates as illustrated below to strengthen the case that interest rates are set to follow an upward trajectory in the years to come as Central Banks continue to normalize monetary policies after a decade since the global financial crisis. I'd say, that is a correct assumption, although one must take into account the Italian crisis to be aware that a delay in higher European rates is a real possibility now. !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/947/content_2018-05-30_1100.png) Let's look at the following combinations: Fed Fund Rate Contract (green), German 2-year bond yields (black) and Italy's 10-year bond yield (blue) to help us clarify what's the outlook for interest rates both in Europe and the United States in the foreseeable future. The chart suggests that while the Federal Reserve remains on track to keep increasing interest rates at a gradual pace, there has been a sudden change in the outlook for European rates in the short-end of the curve. While the European Central Bank is no longer endorsing proactive policies as part of its long-standing QE narrative, President Mario Draghi is still not ready to communicate an exit strategy to its unconventional stimulus program due to protectionism threats in the euro-area, with Italy the latest nightmare episode. Until such major step is taken in the form of a formal QE conclusion, interest rates in the European Union will remain depressed; the latest drastic spike in Italy's benchmark bond yield to default levels is pre-emptive of lower rates for longer, an environment that on one hand may benefit the likes of Deutsche Bank on lower borrowing costs, but on the other hand, sets in motion a bigger headache as risk aversion is set to dominate financial markets, which leads to worse financial consequences such as loss of confidence and hence in equity valuations. !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/948/content_2018-05-30_1113.png) Deutsche Bank - End of the Road? Nicholas argues that as part of the re-restructuring process in Deutsche Bank, they will be facing a much more challenging environment as lending becomes more difficult on higher interest rates. At CoinLive, we still believe this to be a logical scenario to expect, even if a delay happens as the ECB tries to deal with the Italian political crisis which once again raises the question of whether or not Italy should be part of the EU. Reference to an article by Zerohedge is given, where it states: "One day after the WSJ reported that the biggest German bank is set to "decimate" its workforce, firing 10,000 workers or one in ten, this morning Deutsche Bank confirmed plans to cut thousands of jobs as part of new CEO Christian Sewing's restructuring and cost-cutting effort. The German bank said its headcount would fall “well below” 90,000, from just over 97,000. But the biggest gut punch to employee morale is that the bank would reduce headcount in its equities sales and trading business by about 25%." There is an undeniably ongoing phenomenon of a migration in job positions from traditional financial markets into blockchain, which as we have reported in the past, it appears to be a logical and rational step to be taken, especially in light of the new revenue streams the blockchain sector has to offer. Proof of that is the fact that Binance, a crypto exchange with around 200 employees and less than 1 year of operations has overcome Deutsche Bank, in total profits. What this communicates is that the opportunities to grow an institution’s revenue stream are formidable once they decide to integrate cryptocurrencies into their business models. One can find an illustration of Deutsche Bank's free-fall in prices below: !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/946/content_2018-05-30_1052.png) Nicholas takes notes of a chart in which one can clearly notice a worrying trend for Italian debt. "Just about every other major investor type has become a net seller (to the ECB) or a non-buyer of BTPs over the last couple of years. Said differently, for well over a year, the only marginal buyer of Italian bonds has been the ECB!", the team of Economists at Citi explained. One can find the article via ZeroHedge here. !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/953/content_2018-05-30_1451.png) Equities & Housing to Suffer the Consequences Nicholas notes that trillions of dollars need to exit these artificially-inflated equity markets. He even mentions a legendary investor such as George Soros, who has recently warned that the world could be on the brink of another devastating financial crisis, on lingering debt concerns in Europe and a strengthening US dollar, as a destabilizing factor for both the US's emerging- and developed-market rivals. Ray Dalio, another legend in the investing world and Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, "has ramped up its short positions in European equities in recent weeks, bringing their total value to an estimated $22 billion", MarketWatch reports. Nicholas extracts a chart by John Del Vecchio at lmtr.com where it illustrates the ratio between stocks and commodities at the lowest in over 50 years. As the author states: "I like to look for extremes in the markets. Extremes often pinpoint areas where returns can be higher and risk lower than in other time periods. Take the relationship between commodities and stocks. The chart below shows that commoditieshavennot been cheaper than stocks in a generation. We often hear this time it is different” to justify what’s going on in the world. But, one thing that never changes is human nature. People push markets to extremes. Then they revert. " !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/954/content_2018-05-30_1459.png) Bitcoin ETF the Holy Grail for a Cyclical Multi-Year Bull Run It is precisely from this last chart above that leads Nicholas to believe we are on the verge of a resurgence in commodity prices. Not only that but amid the need of all this capital to exit stocks and to a certain extent risky bonds (Italian), a new commodity-based digital currency ETF based on Bitcoin will emerge in 2018. The author of Datadash highlights the consideration to launching a Bitcoin ETF by the SEC. At CoinLive, our reporting of the subject can be found below: "Back in April, it was reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has put back on the table two Bitcoin ETF proposals, according to public documents. The agency is under formal proceedings to approve a rule change that would allow NYSE Arca to list two exchange-traded funds (ETFs) proposed by fund provider ProShares. The introduction of an ETF would make Bitcoin available to a much wider share of market participants, with the ability to directly buy the asset at the click of a button, essentially simplifying the current complexity that involves having to deal with all the cumbersome steps currently in place." Nicholas refers to the support the Bitcoin ETF has been receiving by the Cboe president Chris Concannon, which is a major positive development. CoinLive reported on the story back in late March, noting that "a Bitcoin ETF will without a doubt open the floodgates to an enormous tsunami of fresh capital entering the space, which based on the latest hints by Concannon, the willingness to keep pushing for it remains unabated as the evolution of digital assets keeps its course." It has been for quite some time CoinLive's conviction, now supported by no other than Nicholas Merten from Datadash, that over the next 6 months, markets will start factoring in the event of the year, that is, the approval of a Bitcoin ETF that will serve as a alternative vehicle to accommodate the massive flows of capital leaving some of the traditional asset classes. As Nicholas suggests, the SEC will have little choice but to provide alternative investments. Bitcoin as a Hedge to Lower Portfolios' Volatility Last but not least, crypto assets such as Bitcoin and the likes have an almost non-existent correlation to other traditional assets such as stocks, bonds, and commodities, which makes for a very attractive and broadly-applicable diversification strategy for the professional money as it reduces one’s portfolio volatility. The moment a Bitcoin ETF is confirmed, expect the non-correlation element of Bitcoin as a major driving force to attract further capital. Anyone Can BeWrongDatadash, But You Won't be Wrong Alone Having analyzed the hypothesis by Nicholas Merten, at CoinLive we believe that the conclusion reached, that is, the creation of a Bitcoin ETF that will provide shelter to a tsunami of capital motivated by the diversification and store of value appeal of Bitcoin, is the next logical step. As per the timing of it, we also anticipate, as Nicholas notes, that it will most likely be subject to the price action in traditional assets. Should equities and credit markets hold steady, it may result in a potential delay, whereas disruption in the capital market may see the need for a BTC ETF accelerate. Either scenario, we will conclude with a quote we wrote back in March. "It appears as though an ETF on Bitcoin is moving from a state of "If" to "When." Datadash is certainly not alone on his 50k call. BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes appears to think along the same line. On behalf of the CoinLive Team, we want to thank Nicholas Merten at Datadash for such enlightening insights.
On May 6th, 2017, Bitcoin hit an all-time high in transactions processed on the network in a single day: it moved 375,000 transactions which accounted for a nominal output of about $2.5b. Average fees on the Bitcoin network had climbed over a dollar for the first time a couple days prior. And they kept climbing: by early June average fees hit an eye-watering $5.66. This was quite unprecedented. In the three-year period from Jan. 1 2014 to Jan. 1 2017, per-transaction fees had never exceeded 31 cents on a weekly average. And the hits kept coming. Before 2017 was over, average fees would top out at $48 on a weekly basis. When the crypto-recession set in, transaction count collapsed and fees crept back below $1. During the most feverish days of the Bitcoin run-up, when normal users found themselves with balances that would cost more to send than they were worth, cries for batching — the aggregation of many outputs into a single transaction — grew louder than ever. David Harding had written a blog post on the cost-savings of batching at the end of August and it was reposted to the Bitcoin subreddit on a daily basis. The idea was simple: for entities sending many transactions at once, clustering outputs into a single transaction was more space- (and cost-) efficient, because each transaction has a fixed data overhead. David found that if you combined 10 payments into one transaction, rather than sending them individually, you could save 75% of the block space. Essentially, batching is one way to pack as many transactions as possible into the finite block space available on Bitcoin. When fees started climbing in mid-2017, users began to scrutinize the behavior of heavy users of the Bitcoin blockchain, to determine whether they were using block space efficiently. By and large, they were not — and an informal lobbying campaign began, in which these major users — principally exchanges — were asked to start batching transactions and be good stewards of the scarce block space at their disposal. Some exchanges had been batching for years, others relented and implemented it. The question faded from view after Bitcoin’s price collapsed in Q1 2018 from roughly $19,000 to $6000, and transaction load — and hence average fee — dropped off. But we remained curious. A common refrain, during the collapse in on-chain usage, was that transaction count was an obfuscated method of apprehending actual usage. The idea was that transactions could encode an arbitrarily large (within reason) number of payments, and so if batching had become more and more prevalent, those payments were still occurring, just under a regime of fewer transactions. “hmmm” Some sites popped up to report outputs and payments per day rather than transactions, seemingly bristling at the coverage of declining transaction count. However, no one conducted an analysis of the changing relationship between transaction count and outputs or payments. We took it upon ourselves to find out. Table Of Contents: Introduction to batching A timeline Analysis Conclusion Bonus content: UTXO consolidation
Introduction to batching
Bitcoin uses a UTXO model, which stands for Unspent Transaction Output. In comparison, Ripple and Ethereum use an account/balance model. In bitcoin, a user has no balances, only UTXOs that they control. If they want to transfer money to someone else, their wallet selects one or more UTXOs as inputs that in sum need to add up to the amount they want to transfer. The desired amount then goes to the recipient, which is called the output, and the difference goes back to the sender, which is called change output. Each output can carry a virtually unlimited amount of value in the form of satoshis. A satoshi is a unit representing a one-hundred-millionth of a Bitcoin. This is very similar to a physical wallet full of different denominations of bills. If you’re buying a snack for $2.50 and only have a $5, you don’t hand the cashier half of your 5 dollar bill — you give him the 5 and receive some change instead. Unknown to some, there is no hardcoded limit to the number of transactions that can fit in a block. Instead, each transaction has a certain size in megabytes and constitutes an economic incentive for miners to include it in their block. Because miners have limited space of 2 MB to sell to transactors, larger transactions (in size, not bitcoin!) will need to pay higher fees to be included. Additionally, each transaction can have a virtually unlimited number of inputs or outputs — the record stands at transactions with 20,000 inputs and 13,107 outputs. So each transaction has at least one input and at one output, but often more, as well as some additional boilerplate stuff. Most of that space is taken up by the input (often 60% or more, because of the signature that proves they really belong to the sender), while the output(s) account for 15–30%. In order to keep transactions as small as possible and save fees, Bitcoin users have two major choices: Use as few inputs as possible. In order to minimize inputs, you can periodically send your smaller UTXOs to yourself in times when fees are very low, getting one large UTXO back. That is called UTXO consolidation or consolidating your inputs. Users who frequently make transfers (especially within the same block) can include an almost unlimited amount of outputs (to different people!) in the same transaction. That is called transaction batching. A typical single output transaction takes up 230 bytes, while a two output transaction only takes up 260 bytes, instead of 460 if you were to send them individually. This is something that many casual commentators overlook when comparing Bitcoin with other payment systems — a Bitcoin transaction can aggregate thousands of individual economic transfers! It’s important to recognize this, as it is the source of a great deal of misunderstanding and mistaken analysis. We’ve never encountered a common definition of a batched transaction — so for the purposes of this study we define it in the loosest possible sense: a transaction with three or more outputs. Commonly, batching is understood as an activity undertaken primarily by mining pools or exchanges who can trade off immediacy for efficiency. It is rare that a normal bitcoin user would have cause to batch, and indeed most wallets make it difficult to impossible to construct batched transactions. For everyday purposes, normal bitcoiners will likely not go to the additional effort of batching transactions. We set the threshold at three for simplicity’s sake — a normal unbatched transaction will have one transactional output and one change output — but the typical major batched transaction from an exchange will have dozens if not hundreds of outputs. For this reason we are careful to provide data on various different batch sizes, so we could determine the prevalence of three-output transactions and colossal, 100-output ones. We find it helpful to think of a Bitcoin transaction as a mail truck full of boxes. Each truck (transaction) contains boxes (outputs), each of contains some number of letters (satoshis). So when you’re looking at transaction count as a measure of the performance and economic throughput of the Bitcoin network, it’s a bit like counting mail trucks to discern how many letters are being sent on a given day, even though the number of letters can vary wildly. The truck analogy also makes it clear why many see Bitcoin as a settlement layer in the future — just as mail trucks aren’t dispatched until they’re full, some envision that the same will ultimately be the case for Bitcoin. Batching
So what actually happened in the last six months? Let’s look at some data. Daily transactions on the Bitcoin network rose steadily until about May 2017, when average fees hit about $4. This precipitated the first collapse in usage. Then began a series of feedback loops over the next six months in which transaction load grew, fees grew to match, and transactions dropped off. This cycle repeated itself five times over the latter half of 2017. more like this on coinmetrics.io The solid red line in the above chart is fees in BTC terms (not USD) and the shaded red area is daily transaction count. You can see the cycle of transaction load precipitating higher fees which in turn cause a reduction in usage. It repeats itself five or six times before the detente in spring 2018. The most notable period was the December-January fee crisis, but fees were actually fairly typical in BTC terms — the rising BTC price in USD however meant that USD fees hit extreme figures. In mid-November when fees hit double digits in USD terms, users began a concerted campaign to convince exchanges to be better stewards of block space. Both Segwit and batching were held up as meaningful approaches to maximize the compression of Bitcoin transactions into the finite block space available. Data on when exchanges began batching is sparse, but we collected information where it was available into a chart summarizing when exchanges began batching. Batching adoption at selected exchanges We’re ignoring Segwit adoption by exchanges in this analysis; as far as batching is concerned, the campaign to get exchanges to batch appears to have persuaded Bitfinex, Binance, and Shapeshift to batch. Coinbase/GDAX have stated their intention to begin batching, although they haven’t managed to integrate it yet. As far as we can tell, Gemini hasn’t mentioned batching, although we have some mixed evidence that they may have begun recently. If you know about the status of batching on Gemini or other major exchanges please get in touch. So some exchanges have been batching all along, and some have never bothered at all. Did the subset of exchanges who flipped the switch materially affect the prevalence of batched transactions? Let’s find out.
3.1 How common is batching? We measured the prevalence of batching in three different ways, by transaction count, by output value and by output count. The tl;dr. Batching accounts for roughly 12% of all transactions, 40% of all outputs, and 30–60% of all raw BTC output value. Not bad. 3.2 Have batched transactions become more common over time? From the chart in 3.1, we can already see a small, but steady uptrend in all three metrics, but we want to dig a little deeper. So we first looked at the relationship of payments (all outputs that actually pay someone, so total outputs minus change outputs) and transactions. More at transactionfee.info/charts The first thing that becomes obvious is that the popular narrative — that the drop in transactions was caused by an increase in batching — is not the case; payments dropped by roughly the same proportion as well. Dividing payment count by transaction count gives us some insight into the relationship between the two. In our analysis we want to zoom into the time frame between November 2017 and today, and we can see that payments per transactions have actually been rallying, from 1.5 payments per transaction in early 2017 to almost two today. 3.3 What are popular batch sizes? In this next part, we will look at batch sizes to see which are most popular. To determine which transactions were batched, we downloaded a dataset of all transactions on the Bitcoin network between November 2017 and May 2018from Blockchair. We picked that period because the fee crisis really got started in mid-November, and with it, the demands for exchanges to batch. So we wanted to capture the effect of exchanges starting to batch. Naturally a bigger sample would have been more instructive, but we were constrained in our resources, so we began with the six month sample. We grouped transactions into “batched” and “unbatched” groups with batched transactions being those with three or more outputs. We then divided batched transactions into roughly equal groups on the basis of how much total output in BTC they had accounted for in the six-month period. We didn’t select the batch sizes manually — we picked batch sizes that would split the sample into equal parts on the basis of transaction value. Here’s what we ended up with: All of the batch buckets have just about the same fraction of total BTC output over the period, but they account for radically different transaction and output counts over the period. Notice that there were only 183,108 “extra large” batches (with 41 or more outputs) in the six-month period, but between them there were 23m outputs and 30m BTC worth of value transmitted. Note that output value in this context refers to the raw or unadjusted figure — it would have been prohibitively difficult for us to adjust output for change or mixers, so we’re using the “naive” estimate. Let’s look at how many transactions various batch sizes accounted for in the sample period: Batched transactions steadily increased relative to unbatched ones, although the biggest fraction is the small batch with between 3 and 5 outputs. The story for output counts is a bit more illuminating. Even though batched transactions are a relatively small fraction of overall transaction count, they contain a meaningful number of overall outputs. Let’s see how it breaks down: Lastly, let’s look at output value. Here we see that batched transactions represent a significant fraction of value transmitted on Bitcoin. As we can see, even though batched transactions make up an average of only 12% of all transactions, they move between 30%-60% of all Bitcoins, at peak times even 70%. We think this is quite remarkable. Keep in mind, however that the ‘total output’ figure has not been altered to account for change outputs, mixers, or self-churn; that is, it is the raw and unadjusted figure. The total output value is therefore not an ideal approximation of economic volume on the Bitcoin network. 3.4 Has transaction count become an unreliable measure of Bitcoin’s usage because of batching? Yes. We strongly encourage any analysts, investors, journalists, and developers to look past mere transaction count from now on. The default measure of Bitcoin’s performance should be “payments per day” rather than transaction count. This also makes Bitcoin more comparable with other UTXO chains. They generally have significantly variable payments-per-transaction ratios, so just using payments standardizes that. (Stay tuned: Coinmetrics will be rolling out tools to facilitate this very soon.) More generally, we think that the economic value transmitted on the network is its most fundamental characteristic. Both the naive and the adjusted figures deserve to be considered. Adjusting raw output value is still more art than science, and best practices are still being developed. Again, Coinmetrics is actively developing open-source tools to make these adjustments available.
We started by revisiting the past year in Bitcoin and showed that while the mempool was congested, the community started looking for ways to use the blockspace more efficiently. Attention quickly fell on batching, the practice of combining multiple outputs into a single transaction, for heavy users. We showed how batching works on a technical level and when different exchanges started implementing the technique. Today, around 12% of all transactions on the Bitcoin network are batched, and these account for about 40% of all outputs and between 30–60% of all transactional value. The fact such that a small set of transactions carries so much economic weight makes us hopeful that Bitcoin still has a lot of room to scale on the base layer, especially if usage trends continue. Lastly, it’s worth noting that the increase in batching on the Bitcoin network may not be entirely due to deliberate action by exchanges, but rather a function of its recessionary behavior in the last few months. Since batching is generally done by large industrial players like exchanges, mixers, payment processors, and mining pools, and unbatched transactions are generally made by normal individuals, the batched/unbatched ratio is also a strong proxy for how much average users are using Bitcoin. Since the collapse in price, it is quite possible that individual usage of Bitcoin decreased while “industrial” usage remained strong. This is speculation, but one explanation for what happened. Alternatively, the industrial players appear to be taking their role as stewards of the scarce block space more seriously. This is a significant boon to the network, and a nontrivial development in its history. If a culture of parsimony can be encouraged, Bitcoin will be able to compress more data into its block space and everyday users will continue to be able to run nodes for the foreseeable future. We view this as a very positive development. Members of the Bitcoin community that lobbied exchanges to add support for Segwit and batching should be proud of themselves.
Bonus content: UTXO consolidation
Remember that we said that a second way to systematically save transaction fees in the Bitcoin network was to consolidate your UTXOs when fees were low? Looking at the relationship between input count and output count allows us to spot such consolidation phases quite well. Typically, inputs and outputs move together. When the network is stressed, they decouple. If you look at the above chart carefully, you’ll notice that when transactions are elevated (and block space is at a premium), outputs outpace inputs — look at the gaps in May and December 2017. However, prolonged activity always results in fragmented UTXO sets and wallets full of dust, which need to be consolidated. For this, users often wait until pressure on the network has decreased and fees are lower. Thus, after transactions decrease, inputs become more common than outputs. You can see this clearly in February/March 2017. Here we’ve taken the ratio of inputs to outputs (which have been smoothed on a trailing 7 day basis). When the ratio is higher, there are more inputs than outputs on that day, and vice versa. You can clearly see the spam attack in summer 2015 in which thousands (possibly millions) of outputs were created and then consolidated. Once the ratio spikes upwards, that’s consolidation. The spike in February 2018 after the six weeks of high fees in December 2017 was the most pronounced sigh of relief in Bitcoin’s history; the largest ever departure from the in/out ratio norm. There were a huge number of UTXOs to be consolidated. It’s also interesting to note where inputs and outputs cluster. Here we have histograms of transactions with large numbers of inputs or outputs. Unsurprisingly, round numbers are common which shows that exchanges don’t publish a transaction every, say, two minutes, but instead wait for 100 or 200 outputs to queue up and then publish their transaction. Curiously, 200-input transactions were more popular than 100-input transactions in the period. We ran into more curiosities when researching this piece, but we’ll leave those for another time. Future work on batching might focus on: Determining batched transactions as a portion of (adjusted) economic rather than raw volume Looking at the behavior of specific exchanges with regards to batching Investigating how much space and fees could be saved if major exchanges were batching transactions Lastly, we encourage everyone to run their transactions through the service at transactionfee.info to assess the efficiency of their transactions and determine whether exchanges are being good stewards of the block space. Update 31.05.2018 Antoine Le Calvez has created a series of live-updated charts to track batching and batch sizes, which you can find here. We’d like to thank 0xB10C for their generous assistance with datasets and advice, the people at Blockchair for providing the core datasets, and David A. Harding for writing the initial piece and answering our questions.
Beginners guide to buying Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies
A super quick guide to getting started with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 1) Coin Research There are lots of coins you can buy, trade, or mine not just Bitcoin. You can see them and start research on coins using https://coinmarketcap.com/ 2) Getting Money In You first need to get your money on the exchanges. There are a few decent options for this.
3) Sign up and get verified Pretty much any site you want to trade on or send money to is going to ask you to also get verified which means you'll need to send them a picture of government issued ID and utility bills in some cases. After you sign up for an exchange site you'll usually need to log in and go looking in the settings for how to get verified. 4) Exchange Security When you signup for any site you'll also want setup 2-factor authentication with Google Auth. You can usually find instructions in the settings section of the site you just signed up for. IMPORTANT: Make sure to save your recovery keys because you can get locked out for good and lose your money if you don't. 5) First Coin Purchase Once you have some money in play you typically purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum first. You can hold those and pray for profit or you can start trading them for other coins. 6) Second Coin Purchase Do you want to buy more than just Bitcoin and Ethereum? Most other coins you want will be on a couple of different websites
7) Sample Workflow Assuming you have your accounts setup, a general workflow would go something like this.
Send money to quadrigaCX
Use those funds to purchase Bitcoin on quadrigaCX
Login into bittrex and get your Bitcoin address from the wallet section of the site
Go back to quadrigaCX and use the withdraw option and send your funds over to the bittrex wallet address
The funds will show up in bittrex usually 30min to 2hrs
On bittrex use your bitcoin to buy other currencies
8) Wallets Intro You don't want to leave your money or coins on exchanges since they are prone to hacking. So you'll want to research wallets. 9) More on Wallets Wallets can be a pain and take some research but taking the time to keep your funds secure is vital. Some quick wallet points
There are many types of wallets.
The general idea is that wallets have a public key and a private key.
Whoever owns the private key owns the wallet.
When your money is on an exchange the exchange owns the private key which means they technically own/control the money.
If you send the money out of the exchange to your own wallet then you own the private key.
Most coins have their own wallet with specific instructions on setting it up and keeping it secure.
There are some general purpose wallets that hold many coins (see Jaxx Wallet and Exodus Wallet)
Good wallets you will want to look into are Jaxx, Exodus, myEtherWallet, metaMask, coPay
IMPORTANT. If you lose your private key to your wallet you will lose your money forever. Ask yourself. If I lost my phone do I still have my private key? Ask yourself. If I lost my laptop do I still have my private key? If my house burned down do I still have my private key? And never give anyone your private key for any reason.
IMPORTANT. There are many scammers that will try to get your private key. Never give anyone your private key under any circumstances.
10) Crypto really does require constant research
Research trading with bittrex on youtube
Research creating cryptocurrency wallets on youtube
Research ICO investing on youtube
Research myEtherWallet on youtube
Research etherDelta on youtube
Research metaMask on youtube
Research Jaxx on youtube
11) Successful trading and investing Coin prices fluctuate wildly because there is not a ton of volume. This makes it difficult if not impossible to predict price changes using any sort of technical analysis. Doing slightly longer-term investments will likely serve you better. To be successful you need to research good quality coins that are undervalued and then feel the buzz in the community and anticipate undervalued coins rising up. This requires constant research of coins and ICOs plus being on reddit/twitteyoutube multiple times a day. 12) More trading and investing tips Get in early with undervalued coins. Don't follow the masses chasing the green when a coin is on the run going up. The majority of the time you'll end up buying at a high price just to watch the coin fall back almost as quickly as it went up. You'll often hear the term pump-and-dump to describe this. Avoid it. Look for quality investments that you can hold through the ups and downs. That's sort of the quick starter guide A good link for more detailed info https://mycrypto.guide/ If you're looking to get into ICOs https://apifini.com
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