The most relevant news in the crypto sphere during the first quarter of the year has been around hacks, with thefts that represent more than $16 million dollars [Cryptopia, January 13], as well as “lost” funds due to human error [Coinbase, 7 March]. So, apparently, the better solution seems to be the dedicated Hardware Wallets. But is it really?
After trying several options, one caught our eye: Monarch, an application that offers the best of several worlds, in addition to a sleek interface and a user base of +200K.
The wallet for kings
The concept of Monarch is reflected by its name: be the king or queen of your money. A financial solution, anywhere in the world, right in the palm of your hand.
The application is easy to install and can be found in the most important App Stores. The rest of the process is almost intuitive. Monarch generates 12 words to use as a seed, which gives you access to your account, allowing to restore the wallet in case you change devices, this seed will be the user’s responsibility since the developers behind the app do not store any of the user’s information due to its Decentralized nature.
Once all this is done, Monarch will ask you for a 4-digit pin, a solution that may feel odd, but the team behind the app has mentioned that they expect to introduce biometrics in the app within a month.
Be your own bank
We depend on external criteria for how and when we access our assets, sometimes, even with transaction limits in between.
With Monarch, this works completely different. The advantage of having it in your pocket makes possible to do any kind of transaction you want.
Here are no worries about a central point of failure, someone losing your keys or disappearing. With Monarch, the responsibility will be yours alone.
As a little bit of context, this year, on February 4, the owner of the Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX passed away, taking with him the keys of $150 million dollars in crypto. The investigation is still ongoing in order to recover the money, with a lot of people speculating that the crypto is on somebody else’s hands by now.
Real uses in daily life
One of the most promising offerings is for your crypto to truly be useful as a monetary value. With Monarch, you will be able to make monthly payments [subscriptions], pay businesses and earn returns for the cryptocurrencies that you hold in the wallet.
According to Monarch, the interest rates on the accounts are expected to be between 3% and 7% annually, and it will depend on the amount of collateral deposited. This can be possible thanks to the integration of Celsius Network and is live now.
One of the advantages that we liked the most is the option of making transactions through users names, instead of the alphanumeric addresses that are almost impossible to memorize.
In addition, the Monarch add-on for merchants is integrated into an e-commerce content management system, that allows any business to accept crypto and get paid in fiat thanks to the internal exchange, giving access to a real-time network of payments with low fees.
Finally and currently with up to 5.5% lower fees than Coinbase, the option for buying crypto with any credit card or bank account could be a catalyst to promote mass adoption. Having traditional banking and crypto merged together will give more confidence to those that are still hesitant of entering the market.
A friendly and interactive interface
As in any investment, getting into crypto requires to stay informed, a hard task when there are hundreds of news sources out there, Monarch took this into consideration, and in order to give more control to the user, they included a feed with the latest news in cryptocurrencies, from reliable sources; as well as a section to watch, in real time, the changes of the market and a portfolio option for the user to register the cost/moment in which they enter an asset.
Who takes the crown?
After telling you all about Monarch, you may be asking: how does it stand against what we already use? We have compared it with the following categories:
- Software Wallet
[BRD and Uphold were used as reference]. The majority of solutions in this category support fewer cryptos or the ones they do, are not at the Top. In contrast, Monarch allows the use of Bitcoin [BTC], BitcoinCash [BCH], Ethereum [ETH], XRP, Stellar [XLM], Monarch Token Promo [MTP], TrueUSD [TUSD], GoChain [GO] and all the ERC-20 tokens.
The wallets that are more decentralized suffer from prolonged loading times, which gives the impression that the development is still in its early stages, fact that leaves many doubts about the security of our funds, because they do not have security options like fingerprint scanner; in the case of centralized wallets, which offer benefits such as interests, there will always leave the doubt of who is the real owner of the crypto, since the user doesn’t have the access keys.
- Hardware Wallet
This is one of the most popular solutions out there for those who want maximum security, but it’s limited because it depends on the physical location of the device/wallet, becoming impractical since we rarely carry the device with us. Benefits like exchange, payments, interests, and subscriptions are out of the realm of possibilities [points to Monarch], the cryptocurrencies are simply there, frozen. Another detail is the relationship you will have with the manufacturer of the device: for how long will it be around?
With Monarch, any old phone can be transformed in cold storage by downloading the app and make sure that the device doesn’t have a SIM card and turning off the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
They are practical for having small amounts and doing day trade, but this year has made us more aware of their risks. Bitfinex, LocalBitcoins, Coinmama and Mt. Gox, among others, are still under investigation, seeking to recover millionaire losses, leaving the clients waiting in hope to recover their money. By now, you are probably already familiar with the phrase: Not your keys, not your crypto.
In an update schedule for the next month, Monarch will have its own built-in DEX [Decentralized Exchange], giving the users the ability to swap tokens in their portfolio.
A wallet that saves you time and gives you more security
In conclusion, Monarch demonstrates a very solid offering compared to other wallets that still look like developing projects, which generates some paranoia. In contrast, Monarch has made an outstanding job compared with other projects that raised up to an $800 million dollar market cap or more just to take off, and are not half as good.
Although it is not at its maximum potential yet, in its current state, offers much more than its competitors. For now, the features related to fiat and interests are only available in the United States, as well as domiciled payments, albeit Monarch plans to complete its offering for the rest of the world very soon.
We hope the developers increase the security to enter the application and that it soon gives us the option to choose the language of our preference. Meanwhile, we will enjoy seeing it settle in the community for what it is worth.
You can download Monarch now, where ever you are, and be part of their token airdrop.
For more information and download sites:
Hyperledger Sawtooth: Performance Problem and the way to solve it
The Hyperledger global initiative within the Open Source movement, bringing together hundreds of technology giants [for example, Huawei, Intel, and Samsung], startups [Blockstream, Lykke, Consensys] and solutions [Netki, Factom, bloq], has become a real push for the entire blockchain industry in forming not only a strong community but also a completely different perception of technology through the prism of innovations in business.
Hyperledger can be called a global collaboration organized by the Linux Foundation. In turn, the uncommercial Linux development consortium, the Linux Foundation, creates sustainable ecosystems around open source projects to develop technologies and implement them in businesses.
Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation supports communities and innovative projects through financial and intellectual resources, making ambitious and successful contributions to creating technologies for widespread use.
The consortium launched Hyperledger in December 2015 and in February of the following year, it became known about the first participants of the initiative.
The main Hyperledger’s focus is to improve the reliability and performance of the blockchain through comprehensive cooperation with the platform participants, whose number is already over 250.
It is worth noting that for many projects Hyperledger has become the starting point for the development of their own business apps: many solutions have been created on the basis of the platform, ranging from smart contracts to complex multi-stage innovations.
One of the advantages of using Hyperledger is the interaction between its participants since third-party developers can make their own changes to the already created platforms, thus modifying the services and providing new opportunities to end users.
Hyperledger expands its global business and improves its internal processes, developing also the technologies of the Internet of things, logistics, industry, etc.
Platform participants have access to five main frameworks, on the basis of which blockchain solutions can be created, depending on the goals set by the projects’ creators.
This framework appeared in 2014 and works in conjunction with Ethereum Virtual Machine [EVM]. Solutions based on Hyperledger Burrow allow enterprises to use smart contracts to optimize their business processes.
Initiated by the IBM tech giant, the Hyperledger Fabric framework is the foundation for developing complex, scalable applications for corporations.
Businesses can use smart contracts and many other components. Feature of Hyperledger Fabric can be called a high level of performance, off-chain channels, as well as integration with corporate access control systems.
Hyperledger Iroha is designed for easy implementation into a project. This framework is suitable for many businesses, as it is distinguished by a rather light construction and focus on mobile platforms.
In addition, by analogy with the Fabric, Hyperledger Iroha has a well-developed access control system.
The framework is used for decentralized identification. Hyperledger Indy provides reusable services for creating and using independent digital identifiers.
Hyperledger Sawtooth deserves special attention since this framework is quite popular. Operating on the new consensus algorithm, Proof of Elapsed Time [PoET], which stands out from the rest with minimal use of resources, the Hyperledger Sawtooth is considered by the community as one of the most promising.
This solution’s developer, Intel, is confident that Hyperledger Sawtooth is ideal for businesses whose requirements exceed the capabilities of the available public blockchains.
The PoET algorithm provides highly efficient consensus achievement without a serious resources’ cost even in an environment where contractors don’t know each other and they have no reason to trust other participants.
The Sawtooth blockchain platform is designed to counteract denial of service attacks that become more likely in a public blockchain environment or in an environment in which unknown parties can interact.
The reason for the popularity of this framework can also be called the ability to integrate with hardware security solutions, “reliable execution environments”, among which are scalable Intel Xeon E processor from Intel.
At the same time, in Hyperledger Sawtooth were found flaws. In the GitHub user profile eugene-babichenko, the problem that the developer was able to solve was described in detail.
It is important to note that the network built on Hyperledger Sawtooth consists of 30 nodes located in different regions [from Europe and the USA to Singapore] and at three different cloud providers.
Having contacted the developer, it was possible to find out that while the node was experiencing problems with the network connection and could not access the minimum number of peers, the blockchain node, in turn, began to consume an increasing amount of RAM.
As a result, the system crashed in about a day, operating on a server with 1 GB of RAM.
The blockchain developer, after careful monitoring, determined that the component that caused the crash was a Sawtooth validator.
It is responsible for connecting all the other components of the blockchain node [transaction processors, APIs, consensus modules], and also manages network connections and data storage.
The vulnerability was discovered in the inner essence of Sawtooth, which is designed to manage some of the computing and networking staff.
The study revealed that the system was overloaded due to saving instances when trying to reconnect to peers. Since each instance has its own waiting time [which was originally used only to block calls], it was decided to clear the futures’ collections based on this timeout.
The developer of the 482.solutions company, using the example of this vulnerability, warns his colleagues about the need to be attentive with the use of RAM in their apps.
Moreover, Eugene noted that the use of open source products can be really useful in cases where your tool behaves strangely and requires immediate corrections.
In the case of the problem described above, 482.solutions just forked Sawtooth core, fixed it, tested the fix and sent this change to the upstream repository.
The blockchain technology is undoubtedly capable of transforming the most well-known business approaches. The Hyperledger platform, in turn, is an indispensable engine of this progress, since it focuses on the development of blockchain solutions for enterprises.
At the same time, you should not lose sight of the fact that Hyperledger is not a magical place that will solve all the corporation’s problems with a few clicks.
To work with frameworks, you need a strong team that owns all the knowledge in the field of blockchain technologies and businesses digitalization. It is also necessary to pay attention to the previous experience of developers.
For example, the 482.solutions company, whose member fixed the problem in Hyperledger Sawtooth, previously contributed to OpenZeppelin and Ethereum, and also provides services to develop a Remme solution.
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