Popular Firearms Marketplace GunBroker to Launch 'FreedomCoin' Stablecoin

Leading firearm marketplace GunBroker.com is reportedly set to launch a stablecoin called ‘FreedomCoin’ that’s set to be used on its platform, in a move meant to help firearms merchants transact without dealing with financial institutions’ restrictions.

According to a recently published press release, the stablecoin is set to be a “regulatory compliant corporate currency,” developed by ICOx Innovations Inc, for GunBroker. The online marketplace lets users buy and sell hunting, outdoor sports, and firearms products. It has over 4.7 million users, and sees over $600 million in transactions per year.

GunBroker’s users will in the near future be able to accept FreedomCoins in their transactions, using blockchain technology to “replace the need for other costly and time-consuming payment options.” Users will be able to convert USD to freedomCoins via an “easy-to-use app” on the platform, which is reportedly designed to meet know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance.

Bruce Elliot, the president of ICOx Innovations, noted that this is one of the cases in which a “compliant cryptocurrency can truly replace the need for other costly and time-consuming payment options which is something of extreme value to GunBroker’s users. Per his words, given the marketplace’s size, this could “potentially become the most retail transacted cryptocurrency in the US.”

Steven F. Urvan, the CEO and CTO of GunBroker, was quoted as saying:

Anyone who has purchased a firearm knows how painstakingly brutal it can be to deal with traditional credit card companies and other financial institutions. Thanks to ICOx and BitRail, now we can virtually eliminate that problem and expose a whole new segment of gun and outdoor enthusiasts to the world of digital payments.

ICOx USA, a subsidiary of ICOx Innovations, was contracted by FreedomCoin LLC to create the cryptocurrency.  It’ll “charge up to” $2 million for its design and development, while being allowed to acquire an up to 20% stake in FreedomCoin LLC, an organization presumably established to manage the cryptocurrency.

 Notably, ICOx Innovations was reportedly behind the KodakOne platform, a blockchain-based image rights management platform licensed by Kodak. Recently, KodakOne shocked critics by announcing a million dollar beta test.

Istanbul Upgrade: 28 Ethereum Improvement Proposals Under Consideration

Ethereum’s developers have submitted 28 ethereum improvement proposals (EIPs), which include recommended codebase modifications that may be integrated into the upcoming Ethereum (ETH) network hard fork, called Istanbul.

The EIPs  are expected to change the smart contract platform’s mining algorithm, code execution and pricing mechanism, and data storage process.

Deciding Which EIPs to Include With Next Hard Fork

During the bi-weekly meeting between Ethereum Core developers (on May 24, 2019), the blockchain network’s development team discussed various approaches and EIPs which may help the platform scale effectively.

Commenting on the process for considering EIPs to be added to Istanbul, Hudson Jameson, the Community Relations Manager at the Ethereum Foundation, remarked:

We’ll talk more on the All Core Devs Gitter channel to wrangle in some of these EIPs that are still stuck in proposed and as quickly as possible decide on which ones are being implemented for Istanbul.

EIP 1108 Tentatively Approved During Bi-Weekly Meeting

Jameson also confirmed that the deadline for submitting EIPs to be considered for Istanbul passed on May 24. He added that Ethereum’s developers are now reviewing the proposals in order to determine whether they should be implemented in the next Ethereum hard fork .

EIP 1108, which recommends small adjustments to Ethereum network gas fees, was tentatively approved this past Friday (during the bi-weekly meeting). As explained on its Github page, EIP 1108 addresses the following:

The elliptic curve arithmetic pre-compiles are currently overpriced. Repricing the pre-compiles would greatly assist a number of privacy solutions and scaling solutions on Ethereum.

Currently, the implementation details related to EIP 1108 (and other EIPs) are being reviewed and Ethereum Core developers will be presenting benchmarking figures for repricing pre-compiles (for EIP 1108) during the next bi-weekly meeting.

According to Ethereum developer Rick Dudley, EIP 1559, which proposes a new type of transaction fee structure for Ethereum, is “a pretty complicated change.” Dudley believes that the final implementation specifications for EIP 1559 will most likely not be finalized by the time Istanbul goes live.

He also confirmed that the Istanbul hard fork, or backwards incompatible upgrade, will be activated at some point in October 2019. However, Istanbul’s Github states that the exact date and time for the planned Ethereum network update is to be determined (TBD).

ETH Mining Protocol Change Under Review

EIP 1057, which recommends a change to Ethereum’s proof-of-work (PoW) mining protocol, is also being considered to be included as part of Istanbul’s codebase modifications. Notably, the market for ether mining rewards has been estimated to be at $655 million (per annum) and powerful ASICs have been consistently outperforming lower-priced and less powerful graphics cards.

One of the design goals, for Ethereum, is to reduce miner centralization by modifying the current PoW mining protocol or replacing it with the ProgPoW algorithm.

Explaining why the implementation of ProgPoW was postponed, Jameson said

We ran into issues starting the ProgPoW audit. We had a hardware partner who specialized in ASICs who was going to work with Least Authority to perform the hardware parts of the audit. They are no longer participating in the audit so we are looking for other auditors for the hardware portion.

Developer Compiles Spreadsheet of All EIPs Under Review

In statements shared with CoinDesk, Ethereum developer James Hancock noted that the smart contract platform’s development team will be working on merging accepted EIPs for Istanbul. The merged proposals will then be added to Ethereum software clients, Hancock explained.

He also mentioned:

The suggestion is to have reference implementations in two ‘major’ clients. The definition of major is pretty loose.

The blockchain developer has compiled a list of all EIPs being considered for Istanbul and they’ve been marked to indicate whether they’re “ready” to be integrated into the Ethereum mainnet