The IRC-16 Standard

Welcome to this week’s edition of the RHIZOME Wire!

A new standard

This week, ICON put out an announcement that the team has officially published a reference implementation for the IRC-16 token standard.

According to the announcement:

The IRC-16 token standard interface was first proposed in 2019, with the goal to support the development of tokenized securities on the ICON blockchain.

The security token standard describes how to represent full ownership or split ownership of a particular asset. Through this standard, ownership of certain assets can be issued, represented, tracked, viewed, divided, privately owned and transferred. It may also be entrusted to a third party provider and may be controlled under strict authorization.

For those who have been following cryptocurrency for a while, tokenized assets aren’t a particularly new idea. If you don’t fall into that category — or just haven’t come across the concept, here’s how BNY Mellon describes tokenization:

Fundamentally, tokenization is the process of converting rights – or a unit of asset ownership – into a digital token on a blockchain. Tokenization can be applied to regulated financial instruments such as equities and bonds, tangible assets such as real estate, precious metals, and even to Tokenization of Copyright to works of authorship (e.g., music) intellectual property. The benefits of tokenization are particularly apparent for assets not currently traded electronically, such as works of art or exotic cars, as well as those needing increased transparency in payment and data flows to improve their liquidity and tradability.

This is an important innovation for the financial industry, primarily because, to a certain extent, it democratizes investment opportunity, leading to greater access for everyday people, while also creating a broader investor base, which increases liquidity and makes markets more efficient.

Here’s more from BNY Mellon, explaining how this is the case:

Selling 1/20 of an apartment or a fraction of a company share is not currently practicable. However, if that asset is tokenized, this limitation is removed, and it becomes possible to buy or sell tokens representing fractions of ownership, allowing a far broader investor base to participate. 

The article goes on to describe a number of benefits for tokenization, so do give the entire piece.

To be clear, ICON is far from the first project to implement tokenization. Many already have — perhaps most notably, Tezos, another popular project, has placed a focus on tokenization for some time.

However, just because other projects have focused on tokenization, doesn’t mean ICON isn’t bringing something unique to the table.

Remember, ICON’s core promise is its interoperability.

For instance, by now we’re all aware of the promise of myID. Let’s pretend that you’ve purchased a tokenized share of a rare piece of art as part of an online auction. In order to claim your share of ownership, you could utilize myID in order to verify your identity in an immutable manner.

In fact, with my-ID’s strong support and participation among the Korean financial community as a whole, there are likely many sophisticated use cases that may come about over the long-term when it comes to tokenization. If many of these financial institutions are already a part of the ICON network due to their participation in my-ID, it starts to become a no-brainer to also utilize ICON for the tokenization of assets.

And that’s when things start to get really interesting.

News from ICON World

Balanced shares the benefits of using Balanced for ICX holders in their latest blog post

Small business and ICON!

ICON Foundation shares their July 2020 roadmap update

Over 2M requests generated through Cloudfare for RHIZOME’s new citizen node endpoint

Markus Jun highlights ICONLOOP and ICON in an insightful thread

MyID will be released in August!

ICON Hyperhack gets featured on the front page of devpost

NEOPLY joins as a P-Rep

Blockchain Industry News

German Regulator Seizes Crypto ATMs - CoinDesk

  • On Wednesday, authorities began shuttering "Shitcoins Club" storefronts and seizing its bitcoin ATM machinery, a BaFin official confirmed with CoinDesk, for allegedly operating without banking or proprietary trading licenses.

Report: XRP Sales Increase 17x Compared to Last Quarter - BTC Manager

In Q2 2020, total XRP sales were $32.55 million vs. $1.75 million in the previous quarter. Ripple continued the pause of programmatic sales, focusing solely on its over-the-counter (OTC) sales as part of providing increased XRP liquidity to RippleNet’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) customers.

Goldman Sachs is considering its own crypto, likely a stablecoin - Decrypt

Mathew McDermott, 46, who started working for the bank last month, said Goldman Sachs is “exploring the commercial viability of creating our own fiat digital token,” in an interview with CNBC today. 

‘The Enron of Europe’ — What We Know So Far About the Wirecard Scandal - Cointelegraph

Despite Braun’s arrest and the firm in administration, not all loose ends in the Wirecard scandal have been so well tied off. Chief operating officer Jan Marsalek is reportedly hiding out in Russia, financing his fugitive status with Bitcoin (BTC) he was able to transfer from Dubai.

The growing DeFi wave

Welcome to this week’s edition of the RHIZOME Wire!

Apples and Oranges

It’s becoming more and more clear that DeFi protocols are becoming the “new” thing in crypto (although “new” may not be the most appropriate adjective, as many have been around for quite awhile). While not fully analogous to the ICO boom of 2017 (at least not yet), the price momentum behind DeFi tokens is starting to raise eyebrows. Unfortunately, it’s also raising poor comparisons.

Here’s a section from an article (which primarily focuses on Balanced and Band) from, describing the current price environment:

ICON’s native token has been a dead duck in terms of price since the crypto boom in late 2017 when it pumped with its altcoin brethren to an all-time high of over $13. ICX has been trading in a relatively flat line for two years. Today, prices are languishing around the $0.37 level, over 97% down from that ATH.

ICX has actually fallen 14% over the past week and has slid so far down the market cap table that it isn’t even in the top fifty. It seems that nothing can revive this once high-potential token at the moment.

The same cannot be said for BAND though, which has been on fire recently as DeFi FOMO gathers momentum.

Since the beginning of July, when BAND tokens were priced just over a dollar, it has surged a whopping 310% to reach an all-time high of $4.56 last week. A minor pulled back followed but the token is still up more than 20% on the day.

Not only is this obviously short-term thinking, but it’s comparing a brand new asset — at the beginning of a potential bull market (or at least end of a bear market), that has not built any resistance levels and is in the middle of a hype cycle.

This isn’t a judgement of Band (nor praise of ICX), but rather to once again ask crypto investors to zoom out to a broader time horizon. There will be chunks of time where one token does better than another, and vice versa. What matters is what do they both do over the long term.

You’ll likely feel more and more FOMO as DeFi tokens continue to increase in price as momentum and hype continue to build. But it’s probably the same FOMO many (including possibly you) felt in 2017 with the ICO boom.

In the end, pick projects and tokens you believe will have success over the long-term, and try to ignore the short-term narratives.

Speaking of Balanced…

The main point of the article above was to discuss the recent integration of Balanced with the Band protocol, which is another important step in the long-term development of ICON.

When Balanced was first announced, I wrote a fairly lengthy article explaining how it works. Be sure to give it a read if you didn’t catch it the first time.

As I mentioned above, there’s a growing sentiment around DeFi, and it includes some of the characteristics that defined the ICO boom: namely — many people trying to buy up every DeFi protocol they can; and many in the cryptosphere lamenting that DeFi is just a mini-bubble that is luring in unsuspecting investors with promises of high yields and a soaring token price.

As with many things in life, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. And, ultimately, DeFi does serve a practical purpose, especially when it’s integrated with a pre-existing protocol (such as Balanced with ICON).

When you dismiss all the connotations that come with “DeFi” as you look at Balanced, what matters most (at least in my eyes), is the fact that its primary goal is ultimately to provide a more stable payment mechanism within the ICON ecosystem. Here’s a section from my earlier article:

Let’s pretend you’ve been fortunate enough to receive a grant for a project you are building on the ICON network. At the time of your proposal, the cost of ICX was $2, your monthly costs are $10,000, and the project should take 6 months. Accordingly, you ask for 30,000 ICX to cover the cost of the entire project.

Under current circumstances, if the price of ICX drops over time, you’ll have a shortfall. If your employees accept payment only in USD and ICX drops to a dollar (a 50% decrease), you’re basically out of luck.

However, if you deposit your ICX as collateral, you can convert it to ICD over time, ensuring you’ll always have enough USD to satisfy your employees.

Similarly, Balanced also offers the ability to help stabilize the ICX market:

Let’s say you have a large ICX position and want to diversify your assets a bit. You want to sell some ICX, but you’re worried about a sale hurting the price of ICX. Instead of selling on an exchange, you could instead put it up as collateral and borrow ICD. You could convert that ICD into fiat or another crypto. Meanwhile, your ICX would end up as collateral on Balanced. You could convert it at some point down the line and get your ICX back, or just ignore it and not ever convert it back. If the latter, you’ve essentially “sold” your ICX without adding selling pressure on the open market (and thus reducing the price).

Both of these are important additions to the ICON ecosystem — and they’re virtually only possible through DeFi. These are what the benefits of DeFi really are — the yields are just a mechanism to provide the incentive for token holders to participate in keeping the ecosystem functioning.

News from ICON World

A conference in Yonsei University uses VisitMe

ICON Weekly #1

RHIZOME team lead, Brian Li also shared more thoughts on a twitter thread here.

Comparing RHIZOME’s new citizen node endpoint to ICON’s

ICON monthly grant recap - July 2020

Markus Jun shares a breakdown of the recent meetup at ICON HQ with several notable projects

ICON Weekly #2

RHIZOME team lead, Brian Li also addressed concerns about RHIZOME “being greedy” by recently raising the P-Rep commission rate due to higher expenses for maintaining infrastructure.

ICON Foundation reimburses all transaction fees for those who paid 100x the amount

ICONation uploads footage from the recent virtual meetup with Tezos, ICON, and MakerDAO

Blockchain Industry News

Ripple Says XRP Lawsuit Based on 'Unsupported Leaps of Logic' - CoinDesk

Ripple's legal team said lead plaintiff Bradley Sostack's allegations relating to Ripple’s purported misrepresentations about XRP were based on "unsupported leaps of logic."

SEC Wants to Start Scrutinizing Binance Chain Transactions - CoinDesk

SEC disclosed in a Wednesday memo that it intends to award Menlo Park, Calif.-based CipherTrace a single-source contract on the grounds it's the only blockchain analysis firm capable of tracing Binance Chain transactions.

Bitcoin wallet Ledger’s database hacked for 1 million emails - Decrypt

Ledger said the attack targeted only its marketing and e-commerce database, meaning the hackers were unable to access users' recovery phrases or private keys. All financial information—such as payment information, passwords, and funds—was similarly unaffected.

Longfin Ordered to Repay $223M to Investors - Cointelegraph

A Manhattan federal judge has ruled that Longfin — a now defunct firm whose shares surged 1000% in 2017 after it bought an undervalued crypto company  —  must repay $223 million plus interest to investors over alleged securities fraud.

Another oracle enters the arena

Welcome to this week’s edition of RHIZOME Wire!

Enter Band Protocol

This week, ICONists were treated to some pleasant — and unexpected — news, when it was announced that ICON has partnered and integrated with Band Protocol, “a top provider of smart contract oracle services, into the ICON public blockchain,” according to the announcement.

Here’s more:

ICON’s extensive ecosystem combined with Band Protocol’s scalable oracles bridging the highest quality off-chain data sources will allow truly reliable and decentralized applications in DeFi, gaming, prediction, betting and lottery to be built.

Band Protocol is a decentralized cross-chain data oracle that connects smart contracts with scalable real-time external data, providing the tools for developers to specify and connect to any external data source or API with custom aggregation methods. They are backed by world-class investors such as Sequoia Capital and the top cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.

Any ICON developer interested in leveraging real-world data already has the ability to integrate Band Protocol into their application. Using Band Protocol, ICON developers are able to tap into various built-in price feeds or create a customized oracle script fine-tuned to their needs.

Now, some ICONists may have been thinking — “Wait, I thought we already had an Oracle integration with Chainlink?”

Well, we do. But, when it comes to access to decentralized oracles, two is better than one (and three is better than two, and…you get the point).

Just like blockchain networks themselves, the more decentralization you can achieve when it comes to oracles, the better.

While oracles such as Chainlink and Band are decentralized themselves (they allow multiple links to evaluate the same data before being triggered), these networks themselves face the same (low) risks as blockchains.

Despite the best efforts of certain blockchain projects, they’ve still been susceptible to 51% or other types of attacks that destabilize the integrity of the network. The same is a possibility for decentralized oracles as well (although, again, it’s a very unlikely scenario).

So, ICON DApp developers who want an extra layer of security and ease-of-mind now have the opportunity to integrate multiple oracles to provide the information that their application requires.

Is this earth-shattering news that will cause the price of ICX to spike? Of course not — but it is just another piece of the long-term process of building a sustainable project and ecosystem that provides developers with as many tools as possible to build DApps with use cases that will allow for eventual mass adoption.

While small victories may not make headlines, ICON certainly has been racking up a lot of them over the months and years — and those victories are critical for the success of the project.

News from ICON World

ICON introduces new SCORE Audit System

MyICONWallet gets a new upgrade!

ICON Foundation releases a new network proposal to increase the step price

BongAn Ha @_BongAnHa
Network Proposal: Increase the Step Price… Based on the discussion on the forum, Transaction fees in USD are currently too low. Therefore, the ICON Public Representatives began to increase the Step Price to reach a more reasonable transaction fee. #ICXICON

RHIZOME deployed a citizen node cluster to compliment ICON’s endpoint

ICON Hyperhack has reached 239 participants in total!

More VisitMe usage!

FutureICX has gone LIVE!

FutureICX @FutureIcx is LIVE!! 🥳 With rewards up to 7x, weekly dividend and award pools, affiliate bonuses and a 3000 $ICX Launch pool boost, we are set and ready to provide a new trading experience to all #ICONproject traders! Join the fun and make money in the process!!

Blockchain Industry News

Wyoming-Based Avanti to Open in October With a New Bank-Issued Digital Asset - CoinDesk

Led by Wyoming blockchain advocate Caitlin Long, the crypto-friendly bank announced Thursday its application was accepted by the Wyoming Division of Banking on July 15. Avanti will open in the fall because the regulator accelerated the timeline of its application process. 

Banks in US Can Now Offer Crypto Custody Services, Regulator Says - CoinDesk

In a public letter dated July 22, Senior Deputy Comptroller and Senior Counsel Jonathan Gould wrote that any national bank can hold onto the unique cryptographic keys for a cryptocurrency wallet, clearing the way for national banks to hold digital assets for their clients.

Coinbase CEO reflects on Neutrino acquisition: 'We messed up' - Decrypt

“We definitely made a mistake,” said Armstrong, adding that “Most of our diligence was around the technology itself. What we failed to do was due diligence more around our values and our culture.”

Korea’s Largest Blockchain Project ICON to Integrate Band Protocol Oracles - Cointelegraph

The partnership will provide ICON developers with complete access to the BandChain decentralized oracle network to utilize various data and price feeds, according to theannouncement.

The DID current below the surface

Welcome to this week’s edition of the RHIZOME Wire!

The growing DID momentum

This week, mincircle posted a helpful graphic giving an overview of the extent to which ICON has participated in leading forums and councils — led by major government agencies — that focus on distributed identity verification (DID):

Included here are four separate government entities: The Financial Services Commission, the Financial Security Institute, the Ministry of Science and ICT, and the Korea Internet Security Agency.

Of course, your immediate reaction might be to look at the number of agencies interested in DID; while four isn’t necessarily a lot (although it’s not likely limited to only four), it is more than many other governments around the world, who are less engaged in blockchain generally and DID specifically.

However, what I found encouraging is the breadth of entities involved, each of which essentially representing a different sector of the Korean economy: finance, technology, and security.

These industries are all critical to the long-term success and adoption of blockchain, and each carries its own potential use cases; but each can absolutely benefit from DID.

More importantly, industries can’t adopt these technologies — especially those as highly regulated as finance and security — without government buy-in and approval.

That’s why it’s so critical that ICONLOOP, ICON, and the MyID Alliance have been able to penetrate these government entities. To those who have followed ICON, it’s not as if the relationship is only the participation in conferences — it goes far beyond that, including examples such as the regulatory approval from the Financial Services Commission for banks to utilize myID.

While not every day or week can be met with “BIG EXCITING NEWS ANNOUNCEMENTS”, what matters most is that the work of building these relationships with oversight agencies continues. While individual appearances at government led events may not seem impressive, taking a zoomed-out view and realizing that these events are signs of a much deeper, long-lasting relationship will provide a much more genuine — and bullish — understanding of ICON’s relationship with the Korean government and the future they hope to build.

News from ICON World

Scott Smiley shares a potential solution to vote stagnancy

ICX gets featured as “coin of the week” from Huobi

ICON’s meetup with MakerDAO and Chainlink at ICON HQ is finally happening

Balanced releases an updated white paper

ICON will be covered in a virtual meetup

RHIZOME is developing an ICON citizen node cluster behind a cloudfare load balancer

Blockchain Industry News

Twitter Hack: ‘Social Engineering Attack’ on Employee Admin Panels - Cointelegraph

In a series of tweets from Twitter Support on July 15, the help center of the social media platform confirmed that hackers responsible for the massive breach of high-profile figures’ accounts had conducted a “coordinated social engineering attack” to gain “access to internal systems and tools.”

Gemini Crypto Exchange Integrates With Privacy-Focused Brave Browser - CoinDesk

  • The Gemini Trading Widget is now live in Brave’s Nightly version, the testing and development version of Brave, and will go live in Brave’s general release in the next few weeks, the companies announced on Wednesday.

Cryptocurrencies Have 'No Way' to Comply With US Anti-Encryption Bills - CoinDesk

Privacy advocates and product designers say such legislation would also curtail people’s privacy to a huge degree, fundamentally change existing technology and have an impact on everything from messaging and file sharing to privacy coins. 

$1.4 billion in Bitcoin was laundered via unwitting exchanges in 2020 - Decrypt

Singapore-based Huobi was the worst struck by high-risk inflows, with over 40,000 Bitcoin ($364 million) sent to the exchange. Trailing just behind is Binance, with over 25,000 Bitcoin ($227 million) allegedly laundered via the exchange.

From partnerships to funding

Welcome to this week’s edition of RHIZOME Wire!

From Partnerships to Investment Funding

Anyone who was around during the ICO (and overall crypto) boom of 2017 knows how big of a deal alleged “partnerships” were at the time. Coins that announced a partnership — basically, any partnership — would instantly see their prices skyrocket, based on the idea that these partnerships were a sign that blockchain was no longer speculative but, in fact, ready for mass adoption.

Of course, those who have stuck around since then know that is no longer the case. Many of those partnerships were marketing gimmicks (my favorite being a partnership with “Amazon” which was essentially just signing up to use their AWS cloud services) put forth by projects that are no longer around. Or perhaps the partnership is still around, but the partnership has vanished without a trace.

In 2017, a “partnership” was viewed as a stamp of credibility — but primarily because it was the only stamp around at the time.

Which leads us to today, and an announcement this week that ICONLOOP had raised a not-insignificant amount of funding from major companies looking to participate in DID technology being implemented by the myID Alliance.

Here is Markus Jun with a helpful Twitter thread on these deals:

In the thread, the key statement that sticks out to me is: “This investment was led by 7 of some of the largest investment companies in Korea. 2 of these were strategic investments.”

To a certain extent, this would be as if you had been building a startup company, and had received investments from seven large, recognized investment firms from Silicon Valley. Under this scenario, you would be very happy. Your investors would be very happy. Everyone who was part of your organization would be very happy. It’s a big deal.

In addition, it’s one of the most impactful “credibility stamps” around. While investments of this nature obviously don’t guarantee that a company will succeed, it’s nonetheless a strong signal that transitions a business from “speculative” to “successful”.

While not a perfect metaphor, this is similarly what just happened to ICONLOOP. Here is another key tweet from Markus:

This is similar to the type of partnership announcement we heard back in 2017. Except this time, the partnering firm is putting their money where their mouth is, and financially tying their own success to that of ICONLOOP.

Just as legitimate projects have evolved during the crypto (market) winter from ideas with grand promises into functional working products, so too have the players in the space. We’ve gone from partnerships that were only vague words on a paper to investment in real (and significant) dollars.

While ICONLOOP isn’t the same as ICON, it’s role and importance in the ICON Republic means this recent round of announcements can only be good news.

News from ICON World

ICON’s NFT token standard has been released

ICONLOOP was a finalist in the 2020 Enterprise Blockchain Awards

ICON Foundation releases its 26th newsletter

Active wallet count has reached over 400K!

Certik audits ICON smart contract code

Blockchain Industry News

Coinbase Exploring Stock Market Listing, Reuters Reports - CoinDesk

  • Sources speaking to Reuters said Coinbase had already begun the process for a listing; it isn't clear on which exchange venue this would take place. 

  • Rather than an initial public offering, it's said the firm would prefer to go down the route of a direct listing on an exchange.

Arca Uses Ethereum In First SEC-Registered Fund For Digital Shares - Forbes

Investment manager Arca has announced the Arca U.S. Treasury Fund, the first-ever product regulated under the Investment Company Act of 1940 to offer digital securities.

TikTok crypto-pump schemes nowhere to be found on China's Douyin - Decrypt

Netizens that commented on this post were also shocked that a simple viral video could add value to a currency that was essentially built as a joke according to its founder. Some commented that pumping up altcoins would build cynicism in the whole system, as the natural market pricing of altcoins is based on their perceived value.

Key Short-Term Scalability Feature Still Needs Research, Says Vitalik Buterin - Cointelegraph

Research into stateless clients for Ethereum is seen as instrumental for the long-term health of the network, but despite all the progress, some fundamental limitations prevent them from being applied in practice for now.

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