No sooner had I returned from a Linedata Exchange event debating cryptocurrency developments at Kings Place, a hub for art and dialogue in London and offices to The Guardian, than I’m on alert to the official launch of OpenLedger, dubbed “the world’s most powerful” decentralized financial platform for cyptocurrencies.
OpenLedger, which allows trading of digital assets around the world in a few blinks of an eye, officially launches this Tuesday, 13 October 2015. It follows a 30-day countdown period that began with an initial news announcement of the date at the annual Global Money Transfer Summit last month in London’s Canary Wharf financial district.
“We’ve got so many partners using our blockchain now, that we had to give them lots of time to prepare,” reveals OpenLedger developer Dan Larimer and CEO of Cryptonomex Inc., an independent blockchain development company based in the US founded by the developers of the Bitshares blockchain.
Ronny Boesing, CEO and founder of Crypto Coins Exchange Denmark ApS (CCEDK), a Danish cryptocurrency exchange that is one of OpenLedger’s sponsors, explains that: “OpenLedger has been designed to solve the problems of speed, stability, security and transparency that still hamper cryptocurrency and prevent its widespread take-up and adoption.”
The price of BitShares surged by around 50% with the announcement despite the long anticipated nature of the event. “I think many our investors were away on summer vacation,” muses Cryptonomex’s Larimer based in Blacksburg, Virginia.
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He adds: “That said we’ve recently experienced a big spike in questions from people trying to catch up on the new features. Fortunately our active supporters have been using the software on a test network for over a month now, so there are plenty of informed advisors on our forum at bitsharestalk.org.”
We’re certainly living in a crazy frenetic age and the ‘crypto’ world is evolving fast. To appreciate this one only has to realize that around five years ago Bitcoin’s 10-minute transactions for decentralized money transfer were considered revolutionary. Cutting transaction times down to a few seconds is even more exhilarating.
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“Traders don’t want to wait an hour between steps in a chain of trades,” says Larimer. “They want to have their ‘bots trading against each other in real time. We’ve got it down to mere seconds – that’s getting pretty close.” Real time is about 1 second, limited by the speed of light circling the globe through all those Internet connections.
“We’ll start logging transactions every 3 seconds and then gradually throttle up till we see what rate people on the other side of the planet can handle,” reveals Larimer. “But if you want more speed than that, you’ll have to move your computer with a few hundred yards of a centralized trading center, like all the big boys do.”
Approaching NASDAQ Trading Speeds
Now, thanks to the next-gen of technologies having come together, OpenLedger touts super high-volume and low latency trading. At launch, the system will have the capacity to handle an order of magnitude and more volume than currently needed by the entire crypto currency industry – from Bitcoin on down.
It’s all aimed at seeking to combine the best of both “traditional and cutting-edge money transfer technologies” according to Boesing. In contrast to most exchanges, OpenLedger is a network of exchanges formed by collaboration between CCEDK and several other companies. It’s advanced design enables users to retain control of their own private keys, so that funds remain in their sole control – even when they are trading with them.
No one can reverse a transaction or freeze an account. The exchange’s funds are all transparently secured on the blockchain, so they can be audited by anyone and at any time. Specifically, the OpenLedger platform allows users to trade pegged digital assets – US dollar (USD), Euro, Chinese Yuan (CNY), gold and more – from markets around the world. Meanwhile, low fees should mean better yields and lower risk.
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Funds can be held as BitUSD – BitShares’ pegged USD currency – for stability, to avoid exposure to volatile cryptocurrencies. These BitUSD can then be withdrawn as fiat (i.e. currency a government has declared legal tender) via a normal money transfer, to a Ripple gateway, through PayPal , or to the NanoCard (a Bitcoin debit card) that converts crypto to fiat as it is spent.
After two years and three breakthroughs in development, the OpenLedger platform is finally ready for prime time. It represents a collaboration of many companies working together to make the combined market depth, products and services of the first network of exchanges ever to put their order books on a common public ledger.
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OpenLedger currently consists of CCEDK in Denmark, BunkerShares in Canada, and Banx Capital in Great Britain – all networked together on the BitShares platform, which is powered by Cryptonomex Graphene technology. By using the Graphene toolkit, crypto companies are able to develop applications, operate existing cryptocurrency exchanges or services on top of the IT.
Other related partners include the Beyond Bitcoin Show, voting platform Follow My Vote and Identabit. Interest in the initiative from the central banks of Russia and Denmark has also been registered.
Boesing goes on to explain: “Using the BitShares platform gives CCEDK the ability to share its order books and services with future partner exchanges and digital asset providers to achieve deeper markets, tighter price spreads, and a growing suite of innovative products and services.”
The Dane also claims: “It’s a great way for new exchanges to reach critical mass needed to be attractive to their own customers.” And, they’ve been told that start-ups in several other countries are planning to join for that very reason. “The network gives each exchange credit for all the business done on the network by its own customers while giving each set of customers access to their combined markets and services,” he adds.
“Imagine this,” offered Larimer. “Eight of our feisty start-up exchanges pool their services and order books to look effectively as big as a medium-sized, more established exchange. If that medium exchange were to then join these eight, they would double the size of each other’s combined order books and be suddenly competitive with a twice bigger exchange, who might then decide to join the network and double it all again.”
And all the while, the growing network of exchanges has more products and services to offer making them not only bigger but also better than the next exchange on their “friendly upward assimilation warpath”. Larimer further contends: “In this way, we think we can quickly roll up partners to become the biggest virtual exchange in the world. Resistance is futile.” It’s bold and disruptive stuff.
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OpenLedger’s Web Wallet
The OpenLedger Web Wallet offers a number of features including an integrated block explorer, which allows users to look for bitcoin addresses and transaction IDs straight from the platform.
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Other features – many of which are not provided together by other wallets on the market today – include state of the art multi-signature accounts to ensure secure transactions and settlement, scheduled and recurring payments and user issued assets (akin to colored coins).
A Real-World Scenario…In The Very Near Future
Imagine a trader in Chicago who decides to test the new OpenLedger platform. And, in their first week of trading on the platform they close some great deals and make a tidy profit. From these proceeds they decide to send money to their family living in London at the click of a button. Money is deposited in their partner’s bank account through a collaboration between a crypto service and a global remittance company.
Their partner could then use their own Nanocard, a bitcoin debit card denominated in euros, to pay the rent and petrol either via their bank or their bitcoin debit card. The trader back over in Chicago could also use his own Nanocard (this time denominated in US dollars) to buy a few presents down town and go to his favorite Italian or Spanish restaurant.
All the funds for trading and spending originate as BitUSD from the Chicago-based trader’s OpenLedger wallet, which is securely located directly on the blockchain.
The BitUSD funds all of his costs instantly – when a transfer is made, when cash is withdrawn from an ATM, and when they pay at the restaurant. In every case, his partner can even receive an SMS for them to confirm according to the integrated multi-signature account procedure. That way it should ensure there is no overspending – even when the trading is going gangbusters.
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In a few years we might not be able recognize the face of financial services any more in this brave new world with all the disruptive technology and power being distributed from the hierarchy to the crowd.
Through integrating BitShares 2.0’s network onto the OpenLedger platform it’s anticipated that this should further improve the monetization potential and connections of financial products. It could also enable platform to demolish the remaining barriers to acceptance of cryptocurrencies in the mainstream. There are now just 2 days and 18 hours left to OpenLedger’s launch and watch this space for further developments.
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OpenLedger , which allows trading of digital assets around the world in a few blinks of an eye, officially launches this Tuesday, 13 October 2015. […]