Partnerships are the building blocks and the bloodline of any productive industry, which is why it is such a positive sign to see several productive partnerships in recent months make strides. Giants, like Mircosoft, have been making their interest known in blockchain and cryptocurrency partnerships known for a while now. But we are also seeing new, smaller companies make strong alliances that are on track to improve the crypto-space.

Now, these partnerships wouldn’t be very exciting if they didn’t come without a little bit of controversy. One of the major partnerships that continue to make headlines is Facebook’s Libra. We also have several Chinese companies dominating the space, making it known how serious the competition is. And we even have companies working with former FBI agents to tackle cryptocurrency theft. 

2020 is a whole new year, with a whole new world of possibility. 

Here are just a few likely and unlikely friendships that are changing the efficacy and applicability of cryptocurrency, blockchain tech, and the decentralized internet:

  • Major players BitMex and Coin Metrics are offering better analytical technologies to improve cryptocurrency and blockchain usage and scalability.
  • TRON, Samsung, and China are teaming up, improving mobile DApps.
  • IOHK introduces NB Realchain to track sneakers with blockchain.
  • Libra’s whitepaper laying out its finalized partnerships.
  • Microsoft is staking its crypt-turf with multiple Ethereum based partnerships.
  • And Confirm and Kroll are partnering to return stolen cryptocurrencies.

BitMex and Coin Metrics Partner to Introduce TXStates.com

The new TXStates.com will provide valuable Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transaction data which will replace BitMex’s previous data analysis project P2SH.info. BitMex’s research branch, BitMEX Research, has collaborated with Coin Metrics, a leading provider of crypto assets and market and network data.

The collaboration has taken place in order to supply quality statistical analysis, and other relevant data necessary for the cryptocurrency community. This data aims to help improve on many of the current issues facing transactions, the major ones being cost and scalability. 

The new analytics tool, TXStates.com will be able to provide up-to-date charts and stats for better analyses of the Bitcoin market. The analysis began with a desire to monitor the pay to script hash transactions (P2SH). Tracking this information offers details on transaction volume, the average amount of transactions, amongst other relevant transaction analysis. 

This is crucial information, given that Bitcoin transaction costs fluctuate in a seemingly erratic way. The flux makes using Bitcoin for small transactions less appealing and limits the currency to be traded on crypto-markets primarily, rather than for its intended purpose, which was as digital cash.

On the new TXStates.com platform, users will be able to access essential data about Bitcoin transactions, such as batching transactions, multi-signature usage, Lighting Network channels, Batch32 adoption and much much more. 

One important demonstration of the success of this data is the results of a SegWit, or Segregated Witness analysis. SegWit was a 2017 soft-fork which removed signature data from the transaction. The soft-fork resulted in freeing up about 63% of the available space in a transaction. As a result, more transactions can fit in one block, ultimately freeing up space on the blockchain, and improving transaction time. 

Early Results of TXStates.com

The SegWit data collected show that SegWit transactions are at an all-time high. 61% OF ALL Bitcoin transactions now use the SegWit soft-fork. A further relevant point is that while SegWit usage grows amongst Bitcoin users, many prominent companies have yet to implement its usage.

Another analysis of TXStates.com is the increased usage of Lightning Networks. The Lightning Network is an instant, high volume Bitcoin micropayment. The usage and therefore transaction value have increased in recent years. There are nearly 36000 open Lightning channels, however, the numbers fluctuate. This fluctuation demonstrates that channels are being opened and closed. Which means that no longer are people only choosing to run full network nodes. 

This information demonstrates the growth of the Bitcoin network that is specifically influenced by Lightning channels. 

The Future of TXStats.com Data and Analytics 

The partnership and subsequent data that TXStates.com is a huge step forward in cryptocurrency and blockchain analytics. One of the challenges facing the scalability and applicability of Bitcoin as well as other currencies is the fluctuations in transaction costs and values. 

While the change in the transaction costs is often chalked up to scarcity and the non-fiat design of Bitcoin, there is no doubt that more comprehensive analysis will offer positive results for the crypt-community. As the project grows, BitMEX and Coin Metrics promise that they will grow the database of statistics offered. The new stats will be largely based on the needs of the community and the feedback the project receives

TRON: Samsung and China

Samsung is making breaking into mobile-compatible decentralized applications (DApps). This move to make DApps possible on the Samsung blockchain, SDK, comes in addition to the TRON/Samsung partnership. The platform will also allow users to manage private information and private keys for cryptocurrencies with vault-like security. 

Additionally, TRON continues to compete for the No. 2 position with Ethereum on the cryptocurrency market on China’s Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID). That being the case, the TRON Foundation has partnered with China as they begin to adopt blockchain technology.

New Balance and Input-Output Hong Kong

New Balance, the athletic wear company, has partnered with Input-Output Hong Kong (IOHK) in order to employ the benefits of blockchain. IOHK runs Cardano, the decentralized blockchain platform. The two are working together in order to develop NB Realchain. The blockchain will enable the traceability and guarantee the authenticity of New Balance’s products. 

The partnership deserves attention, as NB Realchain is the first to commercially deploy IOHK’s Cardano blockchain. Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, made the announcement about the collaboration with New Balance during the Cardano Summit in Bulgaria in September.

Libra/Facebook Partnerships

Libra has released its official whitepaper, with a full list of the founding members and current partners. The release is available on libra.org

The Libra Association has been established in Geneva, Switzerland, and will function as a non-profit organization. 

The founding members of the Libra Associations as stated in the Libra whitepaper is as follows:

  • Payments: Mastercard, PayPal, PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm), Stripe, Visa
  • Technology and marketplaces: Booking Holdings, eBay, Facebook/Calibra, Farfetch, Lyft, MercadoPago, Spotify AB, Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Telecommunications: Iliad, Vodafone Group
  • Blockchain: Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Inc., Xapo Holdings Limited
  • Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Union Square Ventures
  • Nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking

Every member and partner of Libra will need to run a validator node to process the data on the Libra blockchain. 

There is still a lot of controversy surrounding the new Facebook project. However, as stated by the newly released whitepaper, the Libra blockchain is intent on developing a permissionless blockchain we well as cryptocurrency. 

Libra agrees that decentralization is crucial for a cryptocurrency. The reason to use the blockchain is to enable users to process information in the form of transactions, smart contracts, and others in a peer-to-peer ecosystem. That means shaking the yoke of a single entity’s control.

Ethereum and Microsoft

Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service officially announced that it will embrace “the open community of blockchain developers,” states Vitalik Buterin. The goal is to make blockchain adoption simpler and easier by offering developers better tools for building on the blockchain. 

Starbucks’ use of the blockchain was sighted as a perfect example of what blockchain application can offer supply chain confirmation. Recently Starbucks has used the immutable record of a blockchain to track every movement of their beans. The record of each step offers valuable insight for Starbucks’ partners and customers. This is the same sort of information that many other businesses of all kinds could also benefit from.

Xiaomi, China’s largest smartphone company, has also spoken out about the benefits of Microsoft’s blockchain to track its products throughout their supply chain.

Quorum and Mircosoft

Azure has also partnered with Quorum, a custom, “enterprise-focused version” of Ethereum. Quorum is designed to help support customers that are adding blockchain to their tech to help solve similar problems. 

Quorum allows customers to manage their blockchains as if they were a private network for each company. This means that with Quorum, they have control over governance and consortiums, as such they can customize each for the personal needs of each company. 

This also means that companies using Quorum can deploy nodes of their own, rather than rely on public networks. 

ConsenSys’ Truffle Partners with Microsoft Azure

Truffle and Microsft want to make blockchain adoption more possible and accessible than ever. Together they are improving developer tools and enabling the greater applicability of blockchain for more and more projects. 

Truffle is a subsidiary of Ethereum development studio ConsenSys and they have partnered with Microsoft’s blockchain project Azure. This is one of the first services to be integrated into Azure and Truffle is Truffle Teams, an extension to Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code.

The focus is on improving services DevOps for developers who want to build and manage blockchain applications. The partnership intends to enable developers and help those who want to, create and compile smart-contracts, and to test them locally using the Ganache testing environment. They can then monitor their performance in realtime. 

They believe that by providing developers with high-quality tools, the partnership hopes to encourage development and production.

Truffle has made several other powerful partnerships recently including the company integrated with Quorum, an open-source enterprise blockchain, which JPMorgan used to launched its JPMCoin, as well as AxCore, an Axoni blockchain recently used by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.

Confirm and Kroll Partner to Recover Stolen Cryptocurrency

ReclaimCrypto.com is the result of the partnership of Confirm and Kroll to recover stolen cryptocurrency. 

“Pawel Kuskowski, CEO at London-based Coinfirm, a company focused on developing regulations technology, or Regtech, for blockchain-based financial assets, estimates that there’s $10 billion in stolen cryptocurrencies.”

ReclaimCrypto’s management has stated that currently, the priority is to recover Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). There is a possibility of investigations branching out to other strong currencies such as: missing XRP, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), NEO and Dash (DASH). However, the priority is on the more valuable cryptocurrencies on the market. 

To recover stolen cryptocurrency they are building strong anti-money laundering (ATM) checks. Kroll and Confirm have also been working with the SEC US Securities and Exchange Commission since 2018. 

The searches rely on Big Data tools to examine transaction logs. Kroll can then obtain court orders to gain access to the IP addresses linked with these thefts. Kroll is also working with former FBI and CIA agents to monitor activity that may be linked to stolen cryptocurrencies. 

Currently, Coinfirm reportedly works with about 50 exchanges to help them leverage Regtech and improve the security of their platforms. This comes in good time, as according to a market analysis performed by Kuskowski’s firm, there are around 200 cases that have assets totaling around, $1.5 billion.

For now, as compensation, the company keeps 30% of whatever is recovered from the theft.

Wrap Up

Cryptocurrency, blockchain apps, and the decentralized internet are gaining momentum quickly. But despite the successes we have seen in recent years, the community has flagged many problems that need to be dealt with before we can expect broad applicability.

That means that partnerships of companies like Ethereum, Microsoft, BitMex and Coin Metrics, TRON, Samsung, IOHK, New Balance, Facebook’s Libra, and Confirm and Kroll is exciting news.

We are seeing more and more successful applications of blockchain tech and increasing accessibility for developers. Many of the partnerships of 2019 are making the crypto-world of 2020 look good from this vantage point. 

What was further made clear this past year is that Microsoft and Facebook want a piece of the crypto-pie. Ideally, these partnerships will put both companies in better shape to offer efficiency, cost-effective solutions, and easy application, all within the environment of a decentralized internet. 

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