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This is The Block. I've got two features this week: a spotlight on the altcoin known as ECC, and a ta
 

The Block

September 11 · Issue #61 · View online
Weekly curated #cryptocurrency news and commentary.

This is The Block. I’ve got two features this week: a spotlight on the altcoin known as ECC, and a tale of two cryptocurrencies. But first, a graphic demonstrating this summer’s crypto market. Goin’ nowhere fast.

All smoke, no motion.
ECC: An Alt with Mainstream Aspirations
I first heard about ECC a bit less than nine months ago. This was back when cryptos were in that hazy space between the heady highs of December/early January and the absolute wreckage of late January/February. I ran across it when I was actively hunting for alts to invest in, and it struck me that this was a unique project in several ways.
For one, ECC was a re-animated project, based on a coin that had been abandoned when its original creator allegedly scammed some original investors and then fled, leaving the coin dormant in 2014.
Enter developer Greg Griffith. Rather than starting his own coin, he undertook to rehabilitate ECC’s core fundamentals and by extension, its brand value.
Over four and a half years later, Greg has amassed a pretty daring and competent team, has quit his day job to work full-time on ECC development, and in a case of unusual transparency, the entire ECC team is available on Discord (they recently abandoned Slack due to its messaging limits). The community surrounding ECC is active and engaged, and their marketing efforts, while modest, have focused on engaging users on fundamentals of the coin and proactively educating users about ECC’s current and upcoming features. The ECC website was upgraded about six months ago, giving users a glimpse into the future of the coin.
As far as features go, there are several for ECC to boast about, one of which is still in development and has not yet been released. In addition to instant payments on a decentralized and scalable network, ECC is multi-chain, meaning it provides vendors with the ability to build “sidechains” which branch off the main blockchain, expanding on default ledger services. This means the default layer can still be used for payments, while secondary layers can be used for things like email/messaging, address name service, and others. And multichain also means that ECC’s payments layer doesn’t get bogged down by adding additional services onto it; rather, it remains lean, fast, and robust, while still being able to interact with the sidechain apps.
Messaging, along with file storage, and ANS (Address Name Service) are core features ECC is creating. With messaging, think of email or chat, but private and secured on the blockchain using one-way, 256-bit encryption.
File storage is something I covered before with SiaCoin, but ECC offers a tantalizing alternative model that benefits from its relative cheap storage rates (which users can rent out on the network) and also avoids the obviously vulnerable centralized cloud storage model, while giving users an incentive to use (more users means increased decentralization and network strength).
Private messaging may seem innocuous and unnecessary given the glut of existing applications like Telegram and Snapchat, but with the centralized nature of those applications and their servers, and their relative vulnerability to rogue actors (including nation states like Russia and China) to filter, censor, or shut down communication, and concerns stemming from Facebook and Twitter’s unhealthy relationship with data-mining entities like Cambridge Analytica (not to mention government agencies like the NSA), decentralized privacy features will be more, not less important in the coming years.
ANS is, in the minds of ECC developers, one key factor that will influence wider adoption of use. Traditional cryptocurrencies involve a public address and a private key, both of which involve long strings of letters and numbers. Enter any digit or letter of a public address wrong, and your funds are whisked off into the ether. Expecting a non-technical user risking their coins or tokens in a transaction is not only impractical, but it’s also a dangerous precedent. ANS solves this problem by giving users the ability to create an easy to remember username (called an ANS name), which will connect with any existing public key.
All of this is run through a sleek UI/UX project called Sapphire, which boasts a beautiful wallet interface, but Sapphire will also handle messaging and setting of ANS and file storage. What ECC is attempting is an entire ecosystem as robust as Bitcoin but with the features and useful interface of a mature application. While the developers still have a long way to go, ECC has the potential to become part of the “killer app” platform necessary for crypto to become adopted on a mass scale.
One of the understated reasons I like ECC, aside from the aforementioned, is that it’s a project built and run entirely from love and belief in the vision and product. Its developers are highly motivated and devoted to the project; Griffith works full-time on the coin, and while other members are only part-time, this is a coin with no ICO, no pre-mining, and no war chest to speak of other than from community donations.
The other upside to this coin is that it’s dirt cheap at the moment. And herein lies the rub: the coin’s price is, I believe, unrelated to the coin’s potential and current capabilities. If this is a project you can get behind, then supporting it, owning it, and donating to the cause can be a major boost to its future success. Ultimately, the team will need to expand, move to full-time for all its members, and attract other developers in order to grow the ECC ecosystem. While that’s not impossible, it is an uphill climb, and in this market, there are no prizes for best efforts.
ECC has an ambitious and actively evolving roadmap (the sign of a healthy development team and community), a solid online presence, and an enthusiastic base of support. It’s currently only available for trading on four exchanges, all of them small and a couple of them decentralized, so accessing this coin can be tricky, but as an investor and a fan of this project and a believer in its long-term viability and sustainability, I’m excited about its future and believe it stands out in a crowded field.
If you’d like to read further on the project, you could do worse than the Comprehensive ECC Guide on Reddit.
As always, these are my personal opinions and should not be construed as official investment advice. Invest at your own risk. Please do your own research.
A Tale of Two Cryptocurrencies
Sometimes it’s fun to hunt for competing stories, where narratives oppose each other. It gives one the sense that in crypto, as in everything, the perception is what you yourself bring to the narrative. So I’ve gathered a few point-counterpoint stories that illustrate this idea pretty well. I call it A Tale of Two Cryptocurrencies.
Crypto trader during extended bear market, about to lose his head.
On the Gemini Dollar
Crypto Exchange Gemini Launches World’s First Regulated Stablecoin
Stablecoins are doomed to fail
On Ethereum's Plummeting Price
Could ETH Price Drop To Zero?
ETH May Go 3X Despite The Recent Decline
On Swindles
Bitcoin: The Swindle of the Century
Why Bitcoin Isn't the 'Swindle of the Century'
On Price Action
Bitcoin [BTC] prices will never go back to $20,000; claims Wall Street titan
Analyst Who Predicted Rise of Bitcoin Stands by $28,000 BTC Price Call by End of 2019
On Gold Comparisons
'Uncanny': Historic Gold & Bitcoin Price Charts Almost Identical
Governments and Central Banks Should Look to Gold, Not Cryptocurrencies
On Ripple's Positioning
Why Ripple can never compete with Bitcoin and Ethereum
Ripple’s Battleplan in Action: RippleNet, xRapid, and xCurrent in Great Demand
That’s it for today. Thank you for reading!
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