Poloniex Launches Pre-Fork Trading Support for Bitcoin Cash’s November 15th Hard Fork

For those customers that can't wait until November 15th for the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork ("Planned Network Upgrade"), Circle's crypto exchange Poloniex has announced a solution: it is allowing customers to trade Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCHABC) and Bitcoin Cash SV (BCHSV) tokens right now.

The two main competing implementations in the upcoming hard fork of Bitcoin Cash are "Bitcoin ABC" and "Bitcoin SV". Poloniex does not want to take sides, and furthermore it wants to allow members of the crypto community to show which variant of BCH they support before the hard fork takes place:

"We believe the responsible thing for an exchange to do is remain neutral, and we want to empower the community to demonstrate their support through trading activity. "

So, on 7 November 2018, it enabled "pre-fork trading" for the first time ever. Customers can trade BCHABC and BCHSV against both Bitcoin (BTC) and Circle's stablecoin USDC Coin (USDC):

BCH hard fork 1.png

To make this possible, it now provides a conversion tool (you can find this in the upper right corner of the "Exchange" screen on the Poloniex website). This allows BCH to be converted into "equivalent amounts" of BCHABC and BCHSV; it also allows BCHABC and BCHSV to be converted back to BCH in case csutomers wish to withdraw funds:

BCH hard fork 2.png

Poloniex plans to pause BCH deposits and withdrawals at 14:00 UTC on 15 November 2018. At 15:00 UTC, it will "freeze the BCH, BCHABC, and BCHSV markets, cancel all outstanding orders, and take a snapshot." Any user that still holds BCH at this time will "immediately receive an equivalent amount of BCHABC and BCHSV." All BCH balances will then be set to zero. Once both chains have stabilized, withdrawals will be enabled.

Poloniex offers this important warning:

"You do not have to engage in pre-fork trading. If you choose to engage in pre-fork trading, please note that, as with all trading on the platform, trading in these assets can be extremely risky, and you trade at your own risk.  It is possible that one of these chains will not be economically or technically viable after the fork, and its value will drop to zero."

At press time, according to data from CryptoCompare, BCH is trading at $589.34, down 4.55% in the past 24-hour period.

Featured Image Courtesy of Poloniex LLC

Stellar Network Stayed 'Safe and Consistent' During Downtime: Report

The Stellar network “halted” for over an hour due to an “inability to reach consensus”, the distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based platform’s developers confirmed on May 16, 2019.

However, an official blog post published by the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) clarified that the “ledger state” managed to stay “safe and consistent” across the DLT-enabled cryptocurrency network.

150,000 Daily Users, Over 3 Million Accounts

There are reportedly 150,000 users, on average, that conduct transactions on the Stellar network, the platform’s development team claimed. More than 3 million Stellar accounts have been created, the Foundation’s blog stated.

While an outage “like this is highly undesirable”, the SDF acknowledged, it also mentioned that user funds on the Stellar network remained safe. Moreover, “no one’s balances were confused by a fork,” the SDF clarified.

The SDF also claimed that the Stellar network is healthy and functioning properly. According to the developers of the Stellar platform, the “key takeaways” from the technical difficulties recently experienced indicate that there were no issues with Stellar’s blockchain consensus mechanism.

Per the developers, a “temporary halt” for a platform like Stellar is “preferable to the permanent confusion of a fork.” However, lessons learned from the recent outage suggest that Stellar “needs better tooling around uptime”, the Foundation wrote.

Giving Priority To “Consistency And Partition Resilience Over Liveliness”

Additionally, the platform requires “better status monitoring for validators, and it needs to be easier to restart a validator after it goes down,” Stellar’s development team mentioned.

Going on to address claims that the Stellar network has become increasingly centralized, the Foundation claims:

Ironically, the opposite is true. Stellar has added many new nodes recently. In retrospect, some new nodes took on too much consensus responsibility too soon. We need better community standards around maintenance timings, quorumset building, and validator configuration.

Moreover, one of Stellar’s “fundamental design choices” is to give priority to “consistency and partition resilience over liveness.” This means that “when faced with consensus uncertainty, the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) prefers to halt” instead of running in a state which may be inconsistent.

Stellar’s developers believe that financial institutions “prefer downtime over inconsistent data,” and that this is why many of them are building solutions on Stellar, and not other blockchains which prefer to operate regardless of whether the system state is inconsistent.

Commenting on the recent halt of the Stellar network, Ripple’s chief cryptographer, David Schwartz remarked:

Schwartz, an electrical engineering graduate from the University of Houston, thinks the recent downtime experienced by the Stellar network shows that “if the validator topology of a live network does break, the network can fail safely and humans can negotiate a topology change to resume safely in a reasonable time.”

Per Schwartz, Ripple’s technology is also based on similar design principles which “don't make forward progress unless we can have very, very high confidence that it is safe to make forward progress.”