Block.one Releases Experimental Authenticators for Google Chrome, Safari

The developers at Block.one, a Cayman Islands-registered open-source software publisher focused on the ongoing development of EOS, one of the largest platforms for building and deploying decentralized applications (dApps), have released a set of Reference Authenticator apps.

The apps have been launched as “experimental reference Open Source Software”, Block.one’s development team clarified. As noted in a blog post published on May 29, 2019, by the leading blockchain-powered software developer, the Reference Authenticator apps are available for iOS users.

Key Management and Signing Protected by Biometric Authentication

The distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based software allows users to log in and approve transactions from web-based applications running on the mobile Safari browser, Block.one’s blog mentioned. Additionally, it stated users may access the Reference Authenticator from “other native iOS apps on the same device."

As explained in the software publisher’s blog, key management and signing are performed in Apple’s Secure Enclave and/or Keychain and are “protected with the device’s biometric authentication.”

Signing in and Approving Transactions via Google Chrome, Safari

In order to provide this type of security, the apps “leverage” the recently-introduced EOSIO software development kit (SDK) for Swift library and its “Vault Signature Provider.” This type of functionality allows users to authenticate and sign transactions from third-party mobile apps, Block.one’s blog explained.

The software development firm’s blog further noted that the Reference Authenticator apps are now also available as a Google Chrome Extension. This will allow users to sign in and approve their transactions directly from web-based apps that are opened using the Google Chrome browser (from both mobile and desktop computers). A secret passphrase, managed by the user, is used to secure the key management and signing process.

Tropical Stay App Demonstrates How Login and Transaction Verification Process Works

Web-based apps are also able to integrate (or are compatible) with the EOSIO Reference Authenticator apps, by using the Universal Authenticator Library and “the EOSIO Reference Authenticator plugin for UAL.”

Block.one’s latest Reference Authenticator release package also includes a newly developed Tropical Stay app, which shows how the sign in and transaction verification process works. Moreover, developers may directly use EOS Javascript (EOSJS) and an appropriate signature provider to accomplish the same tasks.

Notably, the EOSIO Reference Authenticator apps are “entirely chain agnostic” and they have been implemented in a manner that does not require communication with EOSIO nodes directly.

Trans-Fee-Mining Exchanges' Market Share in Decline - Report

  • TFM exchange volume down 53% in September
  • Only 32% of crypto trading volume is TFM volume

According to the latest exchange report from CryptoCompare (September), the trade volume on “trans-fee-mining” -- or transaction fee mining (TFM) -- exchanges dropped dramatically between August and September, more than halving. The overall proportion of transaction volume in the crypto markets comprised of TFM has thus declined significantly during this period.

Overall volume by fee-typeSource: CryptoCompare

Specifically, trade volume on TFM exchanges accounted for $174 billion during September, down from $375 billion during August. The more classical taker-fee exchanges, which charge a small percentage to execute a market order, typically outdo trans-fee exchanges even if only slightly. But during September, they exchanged $358 billion, up from $355 billion in August, far out-trading TFMs.

Transaction fee mining (or “mining”) occurs when users are rewarded, rather than taxed for executing orders on an exchange. Typically, exchanges allow free trades for users posting limit orders, which are orders set at a certain price. Otherwise, if users want to buy or sell immediately at whatever the current price is, they are usually charged a small fee. The rationale here is that exchanges want as many users as possible to post orders, so that order books are nice and thick (traders like liquidity).

Trouble With Trans-Fees

The TFM exchanges go one step further by rewarding all users just for trading on their exchanges, with in-house tokens. The idea is, again, to attract more traders and thus more liquidity.

In a sense, this model is the epitome of speculation, whereby users accrue large quantities of tokens betting that they will someday be worth more. Some have claimed, however, that this incentive encourages “wash trading,” an unwelcome form of market liquidity that is actually banned in traditional, regulated markets. This is when the same entity, or colluding entities, trade back and forth with each other.

In traditional markets, this is done in order to manipulate assets’ prices and set up exploitative trades. Here, the goal would be different but the effect is still undesirable: exchanges with high transaction volume but low order book depth may result in erratic price changes on cryptoassets. CryptoGlobe tackled the question last year of whether or not this sort of trading constitutes “fake volume.”

In CryptoCompare’s June 2019 Exchange Benchmark guide (pdf available here), exchanges employing the trans-mining model were generally classified as “Lower Quality,” despite volume on such exchanges rising as a percentage of the total market at the time. It seems that the trend may be shifting again.

Featured image via Pixabay.