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Substrate, Parity Technologies’ Highly-anticipated Blockchain-Building Framework, has Arrived

Vlad Poptamas

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Substrate 1.0 Beta is out now, opening the door to a new wave of innovation in blockchain and decentralised application development. Substrate is an open-source tech stack that makes it simple to create a blockchain customised for your application.

“Substrate takes all of our lessons learned in building Ethereum and Polkadot and distills that down into a stack of tooling that allows you to get all of those same rewards… for free,” —Dr. Gavin Wood(Co-founder of Parity Technologies, Polkadot and Ethereum)

Designed for maximum freedom and ease

Substrate is architected to be as generic as possible and provide maximum technical freedom when designing your blockchain. It has a one hundred percent abstract ‘execute block’ function encoded in WASM that can be targeted from a number of languages, including C++ and Rust. The execute block function is hot-swappable, meaning you can upgrade your chain’s logic without executing a hard fork.

Consensus is also generalised. The API provided lets you roll your own consensus system if you want, and it can handle most consensus algorithms out there. Substrate 1.0 Beta offers a combined Aura/GRANDPA consensus, with additional consensus algorithms coming subsequent releases. Down the road, consensus will be hot-swappable, meaning you can start your blockchain with one consensus mechanism and switch to another down the line – again avoiding a potential hard fork.

Substrate integrates the best in cutting-edge blockchain technology. You get a light client out-of-the-box so your blockchain can work natively on mobile devices, and pooled security and interoperability via integration with the Polkadot protocol. Substrate is authored in Rust, and there is also a JavaScript implementation for a Substrate client that runs directly in the browser.

Substrate allows you to easily configure your blockchain, but also take complete control over the code should you need to. This flexibility between ease and technical freedom is achieved through a modular design: Substrate is separated into Substrate Core and Substrate Runtime Module Library (SRML) and comes with a pre-assembled Substrate Node that is simple to configure.

Substrate Core

Substrate Core is the minimal Substrate base for building blockchains. Substrate Core gives you a foundation that is far easier than building a blockchain from scratch, though you don’t get a finished blockchain. It includes:

  • Pervasive and secure networking via libp2p
  • Storage
  • Telemetry
  • Light client
  • Block synchronisation
  • Extensible JSON-RPC API endpoints
  • Low-level JavaScript utils
  • Transaction queue and block production mechanism
  • Sandboxed WebAssembly interpreter
  • Interchain connectivity via the Polkadot protocol
  • Crypto primitives library
  • Chain specification and versioning
  • Pluggable consensus

Substrate Runtime Module Library (SRML)

The core architecture of Substrate separates the basic functionality of a network blockchain node and the chain-specific implementations by executing the latter in a separate WebAssembly environment. You have absolute freedom to write the chain logic in any language that can compile down to WebAssembly (Rust, C/C++, C#, Go, etc). You can add modules from the Substrate Runtime Module Library, or SRML. With SRML, you can take off-the-shelf components, plug them together, and build a blockchain that does what you want it to do. Modules include:

  • Accounts & Balances – basic cryptocurrency, including account management and viewing
  • Assets – simple, secure additional on-chain fungible assets
  • Consensus – setting and modifying runtime code and storage (i.e. the set of authorities as a list of session keys on-chain), and reporting offline or misbehaving validators
  • Contracts – turbo-charged Wasm-based smart contracts
  • Council – council election and proposals
  • Democracy – public proposals and referendums
  • Sessions – key rotation for authorities
  • Staking – Proof-of-Stake logic, including both staking and nominating of validator accounts
  • Timestamp – have your chain know about time
  • Treasury – decentralised grants, similar to a DAO

So, for example, if you want to create a Proof-of-Stake smart contract blockchain, you would take Substrate Core and plug in the Accounts & Balances, Staking, and Contracts modules. Once Polkadot launches, you could also make it interoperable by plugging it into Polkadot.

Substrate Node

Finally, Substrate Node allows you to deploy a blockchain with maximum ease. Soon you will be able to configure Substrate Node with a JSON file.

Peripheral support infrastructure

Peripheral support infrastructure has been built by Parity and open-source contributors to provide additional functionality to Substrate and Polkadot. This infrastructure includes:

Apache 2.0v License

Substrate 1.0-beta is currently licensed under GPLv3, but in keeping with the ideal that Substrate should allow for maximum developer freedom, the Substrate repo will transition to be licensed under Apache 2.0. The widely permissive nature of the open-source license allows for commercial use, distribution, modification, patent use, and private use and opens the door for Fortune 500 companies to adopt the technology. We offer professional services to organisations looking to build with Substrate.

Substrate developer hub

We’re hard at work making Substrate the most developer-friendly blockchain framework. We have started a developer hub where you can:

As the developer hub is a work in progress, please feel free to ask questions in the Substrate Technical chat.

Start hacking today!

“I really hope that by pushing out Substrate, we can create a whole new class of sort of development teams and development applications that sit right in the sweet spot between the two where you don’t have to know everything, you don’t have to do everything to develop your whole new blockchain, but you can do just enough that you do have a domain-specific chain, that has its own parameterization, and its own features that allow you to get a particular job done, and done well, that wouldn’t have been possible before because smart contracts are too bloaty, and writing your own chain is too much work,” — Dr. Gavin Wood (Co-founder of Parity Technologies, Polkadot and Ethereum)

Get started quickly by downloading Substrate and build your own custom chain.

Further resources:

Editor - With a passion photo photography, webdesign and content, it made sense for me to also integrate news editing and press release publishing. I am also passionate about the car industry, so you will surely find some exciting news reporting from my side about the automotive industry.

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Banking/Financial Services

Novem Introduces the World’s Safest Gold Token, Backed by Nearly $1.25 Million in Securely Stored Gold

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: gamblersoasisusa.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Novem’s NNN stablecoin has guaranteed liquidity with over 30 kg in LBMA-certified gold securely stored by Loomis International.

Novem is revolutionising the gold industry with the world’s safest and most transparent gold-backed stablecoin, the Novem 999.9 (NNN) gold token, which is 100% backed by LBMA-certified gold. NNN Gold Tokens are directly tied to physical gold, stored by industry leader Loomis International. NNN Gold Tokens will be available for purchase in February 2019.

NNN Gold Tokens are minted based on gold held in trust by Novem. Token holders may cash in these tokens for gold at a rate of 100 NNN Gold Tokens per gram with the token price directly linked to current market gold prices. By the start of 2019, over 30 kg of gold, valued at nearly $1.25 million, has been stored with Loomis and subject to regular third-party auditing. The quantity of securely-stored physical gold is projected to more than double with a commensurate number of NNN Gold Tokens minted by the time of public sale.

“For thousands of years, gold has been synonymous with reliable value, but the processes for buying and selling gold have been shockingly inconsistent. The Novem NNN Gold Token will be completely backed by physical LBMA-certified gold, securely stored and audited by industry leaders,” said Wolfgang Schmid, the CEO of Novem. “Novem is ready to revolutionise the gold industry with a new level of safety, transparency, and trust based on old-economy gold industry standards for transparency of value and new blockchain transparency of transactions. Novem will help make gold not only the trusted storage of the value of the past but also the trusted investment of the future.”

They have also introduced the Novem utility token (‘NVM’), for use as a measure of value in paying for services and trading related to their Novem NNN Gold Token. NVM is designed for use as a measure of value in paying for services and trading related to the Novem NNN Gold Token and is purchased on cryptocurrency exchanges. Over $1.035.000 in NVM tokens have been purchased in private sales.

Novem will issue its own certification for businesses that purchase old gold and jewellery gold which will be marketed to their extensive network in the central European gold industry. They will also open physical stores in all major cities of Central Europe. Through these measures, they will provide an economy of scale in the purchase of gold that raises the quality of services provided and value delivered to the consumers and businesses across the precious metals industry.

Novem utilises NEO blockchain technology to digitise assets and automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts. The NEO platform was chosen due to its speed, functionality, and innovative developer community. Additionally, NEO is soon to be hardened against attacks from quantum computing, creating long-term safety for token holders.

To learn more, please visit https://novem.ag

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Banking/Financial Services

BANKEX Partners With Digital Trust Fund to Develop Uzbekistan’s Digital Economy

Vlad Poptamas

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Reading Time: 1 minute

 

BANKEX, the premier provider of tokenization and securitization services, and Digital Trust Fund, a foundation established to support and develop Uzbekistan’s digital economy, partnered to bring fintech solutions – namely blockchain – to Uzbekistan at the state level.

Uzbekistan’s Digital Trust Fund signed a memorandum with BANKEX to facilitate the introduction of blockchain technology to all government agencies in Uzbekistan in order to minimize the potential for human error and to preclude corruption.

“The present memorandum is directed at establishing a legal framework on which the parties can base the mutual cooperation necessary to ensure the quality as well as the qualified undertaking of tasks assigned to the parties,” says the memorandum.

The parties also agreed “to study the prospects for the introduction of innovative technologies, including blockchain technology” as well as to “exchange all necessary information and work experience, including through mutual internships and consultations.”

The collaboration will also involve holding joint educational events including workshops, seminars, round tables, and conferences about the principles of the development of the digital economy and the advantages of blockchain.

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Banking/Financial Services

Digital Currency Foundation: UK Small Businesses Could Save £800 Million per Year on International Transfers if The y Switched to Digital Currencies

Vlad Poptamas

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Research released today on behalf of the Digital Currency Foundation has shown that UK SMEs could save £800 million a year if they switched from existing financial institutions to instead use digital currencies for their international money transfers. The DCF will be driving a Digi-van advertising this fact to the major UK commercial banks’ headquarters in the City of London today.

The research also found that those living in the UK sending money to loved ones abroad are losing as much as £427 million per year because they continue to use conventional financial services for their international transfers.

Digital Currencies offer a quick and low cost payment method for consumers and businesses by removing the need for traditional intermediaries, which can in the case of international transfers cost up to 10% of the total payment amount in fees, and take several days to arrive.

The data released today coincides with the 2nd Annual UK National Digital Currency Day. The day’s highlights will include a roundtable event involving industry leaders and officials from Her Majesty’s Treasury to discuss the need for appropriate regulation in the UK. The day will conclude with a reception in Parliament to celebrate the transformative potential of digital currencies and the benefits they currently offer to UK consumers and businesses.

Mihir Magudia, Managing Director of the Digital Currency Foundation, commented: “This research should act as a wakeup call to businesses across the country. Using Digital Currencies can save them significant sums. They offer a fast, cheap and secure alternative to traditional payment methods, an advantage that is magnified in the sphere of international payments. The raison dêtre of the Digital Currency Foundation is to highlight the benefits digital currencies offer, and this research shows that today, on the 2nd annual UK National Digital Currency Day, this role has never been so important.”

Notes to Editors:

Total achievable saving = potential savings for SMEs making payments abroad + potential savings for those sending money to friends and family abroad.

Remittances:

Under existing financial services:
Volume – 2017 UK remittance estimate[1]: 9.274 billion USD = 7.32 billion GBP[2]
Cost – Average of the cost of remitting[
3] = 8.58%
Total cost = 7.32 billion * 0.0858 = £628 million
Crypto comparison:
Total Transaction fee percentage = GBP-BTC cost + BTC-BTC cost + BTC-FX(foreign currency) cost
BTC-BTC Transaction fee – 0.255 USD per transaction[
4] = 0.2 GBP
Percentage for median BTC-BTC transaction = 0.2/120 = 0.1666%
GBP-BTC cost = BTC-FX cost = 1% + 1% =2%
Total cost for crypto = 7.32 billion * 0.0216 = £158 million
Total Saving:
£628 million – £18 million = £470 million

Small Business:

Under Existing financial services[5]:
Volume – For UK SMEs international trade is worth over £700bn, of which £365.3bn takes place within the EU, £162.92bn of which are outgoing payments (SEPA payments).
Cost: Average cost of SEPA Payments = 2.43%
Total transfer costs in 2014 = 162.92 * 0.0243 = £3.96bn in transfer costs in 2014
2019 cost[6
] = 2014 cost * 1.25 = £4.95bn
Crypto comparison:
Total Transaction fee percentage = GBP-BTC cost + BTC-BTC cost + BTC-FX(foreign currency) cost
BTC-BTC Transaction fee – 0.255 USD per transaction = 0.2 GBP
Percentage for median BTC-BTC transaction = 0.2/50,000 = 0.0004%
GBP-BTC cost = BTC-FX cost = 1% + 1% =2%
Total crypto cost 2019 = crypto transaction fee percentage + SEPA payments value 2014 *1.25
= 0.0204*(162.92*1.25) = £4.15 billion
Total Saving:
£4.95 billion – £4.15 billion = £800 million

Total Annual Achievable saving for UK SMEs and ex-pats living within the UK = £470 million + £800 million = £1.27 billion

References:

[1] Latest World Bank Remittance estimates – (http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/migrationremittancesdiasporaissues/brief/migration-remittances-data)

[2] USD/GBP exchange rate at 1250 on 04/01/2019

[3] Assumptions: average cost of the top two financial remittance institutions – MoneyGram and Western Union – to the top 5 remittance destinations from the UK – Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, Poland and Pakistan. The calculation is based on the median amount remitted – 120 GBP. Source: https://remittanceprices.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/rpw_report_december_2015.pdf

[4] Based on the average Bitcoin Transaction Fee on 03/01/2019. Source: https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/bitcoin-transactionfees.html#3m

[5] This is based on a 2014 study carried out by Oxford Economics and commissioned by Money Mover using a typical SME transfer of £50,000 into Euros. Source: https://www.moneymover.com/media/uploads/files/UK-SME-International-Payments-Analysis-Full-Report.pdf

[6]Based on research by Capital Economics which found the total amount extra taken by traditional financial institutions on Small Business SMEs had increased by 25% over a 5 year period: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/transferwise/international-business-payments-analysed/

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