In this weekly feature, Incenti gives a synthesis of the prominent developments in the world of crypto, blockchain gaming and related areas that caught our attention during the previous week.
General crypto news
The scaling-oriented smart contract-enabling blockchain solution Zilliqa is approaching mainnet release. It will be the first blockchain to implement the sharding mechanism, and it also implements a security-focused smart contract language Scilla. Despite Ethereum’s large first-mover advantage, Zilliqa will be a platform to watch in 2019, and one major blockchain-driven gaming project Etheremon has already announced that it would move at least some aspects of their backend to Zilliqa.
This month, Ethereum Classic has become the largest blockchain to date to have undergone a 51% attack, with the attacker managing to rewrite blockchain history several times and steal thousands of ETC. Several cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase, were targeted by the attack, with the latter responding by suspending ETC trading. However, blockchains with much larger hashpower like Ethereum do not seem to be facing a serious threat of such a scenario at the moment.
Crypto and Gaming
Non-fungible tokens like those governed by the ERC-721 standard are the core element of the drive to bring blockchain technology into gaming in a useful way. They allow to tokenize, track the existence and ownership of, and transfer all kinds of in-game objects from weapons and characters to whole worlds. Mintable, a platform for managing all users’ ERC-721 tokens, has announced the updates planned to be introduced in 2019. Among other updates, Mintable is gearing the beta version of its software for release on March 1. It is also aiming at launching an ERC-721-focused decentralized exchange (DEX).
Two major European regulatory agencies, the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published separate reports calling for EU-wide harmonized regulation of crypto asset-related activities. In particular, the EBA noted that the existing EU rules may be inadequate and urged the European Commission to study the issue. It also announced plans to enhance its monitoring of the crypto sector. In its turn, the ESMA alerted the European policy-makers to the need to apply the existing rules to certain crypto assets and pointed out the potentially needed adjustments. Its report considers both the crypto assets that fall under the European MiFID directive as financial instruments and those that are out of its scope.
According to an apparently valid report by Reddit user eli0tz, Google appears to have been blocking any ads that contain the word ‘Ethereum’. Google has not made any public announcements and has not responded to user eli0tz’s enquiries.
Medium user Co Georg has published an intriguing summary of the blockchain-related research papers by world’s leading economists to be presented at the prestigious 2019 American Economic Association (AEA) meetings. Interestingly, despite the narrative that mainstream researchers are universally wary of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, at least three research papers analyse the potential positive impacts of ICOs. There is a lot more there to chew on, though, so if you are into academic research on blockchain economics, read the whole thing!