Algorand 2.0 Introduces Support for Tokenization and Smart Contracts

Siamak Masnavi

The Algorand Foundation has announced that the latest version (2.0) of the Algorand protocol supports "standardized asset creation, atomic transfers, and smart contracts directly in Layer-1."

As Binance Research explained in a research report published last month, Algorand is "a permissionless, pure proof of stake blockchain that ensures full participation, protection and speed within a truly decentralized network."

Algorand's aim is "to remove technical barriers that have undermined mainstream blockchain adoption: decentralization, scale, and security."

Algorand was built by a team of "internationally recognized researchers, mathematicians, cryptographers, and economists along with proven business leaders from global technology companies." The executive team consists of Silvio Micali (Founder), Steve Kokinos (CEO), and W. Sean Ford (COO).

The Algorand Foundation's press release, which was issued on November 21, says that this protocol upgrade improves support for decentralized applications (DApps) on the Algorand platform

Algorand 2.0 offers three new features:

  • Algorand Standard Asset (ASA), which provides support for creation of any kind of asset on the Algorand blockchain, including fungible tokens such as currencies and utility tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), such as tickets.
  • Atomic Transfers, which makes it possible to "simultaneously transfer a number of assets among multiple parties", thereby allowing use cases such as "simplified and expedited debt settlement".
  • Algorand Smart Contracts (ASC), which offer "numerous possibilities for governed transactions via simplified scripting templates", hence enabling use cases such as "creating escrow accounts to crowdfunding to creating collateralized debt".

Steve Kokinos, CEO of Algorand Inc., had this to say:

Building decentralized financial applications requires the right foundational technology and vision... With this release, new features and simple developer resources enable new use cases and broader adoption of blockchain overall.

And Shay Finkelstein, CTO at Securitize, one of the companies that has been using Algorand for some time now, stated:

"Issuing and managing compliant digital securities requires highly innovative technology. Algorand is delivering that innovation with this new set of features that brings an impressive amount of opportunity to decentralized finance. Algorand's performance combined with the new 2.0 release of their core protocol shows great potential for compliant, cost effective securities trading infrastructure and will enable Securitize to provide an efficient version of our compliance layer for our customers."

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OKEx Announces OKChain Hackathon to Boost Development of Decentralized Applications

Popular bitcoin exchange OKEx has announced the launch of an OKChain Hackathon in a bid to promote the creation of decentralization applications in the blockchain network’s community.

According to a post published on OKEx’s website, OKChain’s code has already been uploaded to GitHub in April, making it open-source while the first exchange to launch a public blockchain hasn’t done so yet, the post adds.

Participation in the OKChain Hackathon is open until July 20 of this year, and the event’s winners could receive up to $5,000 in OKB as a reward. The hackathon will see developers from across the world develop products and services on OKChain, including Software Development Kits (SKDs), market computing plugins, delegator service products, and staking service products.

The announcement details OKChain launched its 0.1 version in May, disclosing validator selection and its dividend mechanism at the time, and becoming the first blockchain developed by a cryptocurrency exchange supporting the access of third-party institutions.

Commenting on OKChain’s development, OKEx CEO Jay Hao said:

Adhering to the original spirit of blockchain, OKChain won’t become an extension of the exchange, but an independent ecology. We are looking forward to co-constructing an open, decentralized, practical, and diverse ecosystem with our global users.

Hao added that users can now use the blockchain’s voting mechanism, develop their own decentralized exchange or decentralized applications, and more using OKChain’s testnet. OKChain’s mainnet, according to the announcement, is expected to soon launch.

Ahead of the launch OKEx gave OKChain network participants more autonomy and changed the source code so that no entity, including OKEx, is able to control or manipulate the blockchain. Users running decentralized applications can, per the post, add and remove trading pairs without any type of permission from the exchange or any other entity.

Holders of OKChain’s native OKT token can stake their token to become a so-called “Ordinary voter,” allowing them to vote for validators on the network, or delegate their voting power to another account. A total of 21 validators are set to be elected.

OKChain’s OKT is an inflationary token as according to OKEx, a deflationary model – the one used on other blockchains developed by exchanges – “exacerbates the conflict of interest between users and hodlers.” This, as hodlers want the token’s price to increase, which could also lead to a rise in fee, which in turn see users move to other cheaper platforms.

Node operators on the blockchain, OKEx concludes, stand to receive various benefits, including rewards from block generation, voting rewards, and more without having to pay for servers and technology.

Featured image via Pixabay.