CeFi versus DeFi – Part I: The history of the centralized finance

Introduction

trimplement co-founder Natallia Martchouk
trimplement co-founder Natallia Martchouk looks into the history of centralized finance.

We all are used to living in the world of centralized finance (CeFi) and many people cannot imagine that the financial system could work differently. They simply take the existing system as the given and best option. But is this the case? Or do we have alternative possibilities? What do they look like?

In this small series of financial articles I will introduce you to the concept of decentralized finance (DeFi). First I will talk about some historical milestones in the development of the centralized financial systems and the status quo, then I will present the idea of decentralized finance. And last but not least I will describe some of the most famous DeFi projects which are already running and changing the world now, while you’re reading these articles.

CeFi: History and status quo

Money makes the world go round

Let’s start at the very beginning and go through some basic concepts. The financial story of humankind starts with the invention of money.

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A key on a keyboard with the infura symbol on it, representing the smart contract tutorial by trimplement co-founder Natallia Martchouk about migrating a parity-based smart contract into an infura-based one

Coding Smart Contracts -Tutorial Part III

Why Infura

Photo of Natallia Martchouk, co-founder of trimplement
Natallia Martchouk, co-founder of trimplement, explains how to develop Ethereum smart contracts.

Last year I published a tutorial helping you get started with the development of smart contracts and using them from java applications. In those tutorials, I’ve described how to use parity as the Ethereum client. Exactly this setup we’ve used also in our own project “Value Manifesto”. But a couple of weeks ago we’ve decided to switch the Ethereum client from parity to Infura. This gives me an opportunity to extend my tutorial with new information.

One of the reasons for changing the Ethereum client is as follows: maintaining your own Ethereum node can give you headaches. First of all, you need to keep your parity version up to date as it’s being continuously improved and adapted to the changes happening on the Ethereum blockchain. 

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2019: The Year in Cryptocurrency

Natallia Martchouck looks back on the cryptocurrency developments of 2019

Another fintech year is over. Even a fintech decade. A lot of things happened last year and in good tradition, I’d like to look back at 2019. In this article, I’ll recap the highlights of the crypto scene from my point of view. It has been a year full of victories and drawbacks, as usual.

The beginning of the crypto year was quite turbulent.

The 51 Percent Attack

Bitcoin, father of the crypto industry and most prominent and popular cryptocurrency, started the year below the 4.000 USD mark, achieved a yearly high in July at approx. 12.000 USD and then fell back to 7.000 USD at the end of the year.

In the meantime, the start of the new year wasn’t much better for Ethereum Classic. The blockchain experienced a 51% attack. The attack began on January 5th, went on for three days, finally ending on January 8th with estimated losses of 1.1 million USD. The attack could be stopped due to the collaboration of blockchain analytics companies and exchanges, who halted the ETC transactions and provided data to the analytics companies. Even though the possibility of a 51% attack on a proof-of-work blockchain was known it was scary to see it becoming reality on a blockchain that ranks in the top 20 crypto assets list.

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Art & Technology: Value Manifesto

Introduction – What is Value Manifesto

Last week the Value Manifesto project has officially launched. As trimplement, we are proud to be part of this exciting undertaking.

In this article we are going to elaborate on the technical concepts of the project – for those interested in what happens behind the curtains.

But before we dive into the details, let’s start with some high level information about the Value Manifesto project itself. 

Value Manifesto is an interdisciplinary project, combining modern art and cutting edge technologies (like Blockchain and IoT). It aims to establish a whole new category in arts. Extrapolating the commercial and economical aspects of art, Value Manifesto declares the art object’s value itself to be art. 

But what does Value Manifesto define to be the actual artwork? The Value Manifesto art objects are called “crypto multiples”. They unite art, craftsmanship and technology in a beautiful way. Every single one of the 250 nixie tubes devices is linked to a dedicated unique Token, stored on the Ethereum Blockchain. The tubes display the current market value of this limited artwork at any given time.

Like any valuable scarce resource on this planet, the Value Manifesto crypto multiples are also limited to 250 pieces.

The detailed explanation of the artistic concept behind Value Manifesto can be found on the project’s site: https://www.valuemanifesto.ch/

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Coding Smart Contracts – Tutorial Part II

How to use a smart contract from a java application

Photo of Natallia Martchouk, co-founder of trimplement
Natallia Martchouk, co-founder of trimplement, explains how to develop Ethereum smart contracts.

In Part I of my tutorial I’ve explained how to develop and deploy a simple smart contract. Today we will see how this deployed contract can be used in java applications. 

We are going to use Parity as Ethereum client and Web3j java library for interaction with Parity. I’m assuming that you already have installed Web3j, solc and Parity following “Prepare” instructions in Part I.

5. Get Parity Synced

First of all your Parity needs to get synchronized with the Ethereum testnet Rinkeby, meaning it needs to download the current database status to your local machine. Start your local parity with 

$parity --chain rinkeby --rpcapi "eth,net,web3,personal"

See also this documentation of Parity about getting synced.

In the meantime, we can prepare everything that we need to call our smart contract from a java application.

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Coding Smart Contracts – Tutorial Part I

How to Write, Deploy and Test a Smart Contract

Natallia Martchouk, co-founder of trimplement, the fintech enabler
Natallia Martchouk, co-founder of trimplement, explains how to develop Ethereum smart contracts.

In this article, I will give you a smart contract tutorial. It will tell you how to quickly write, test and deploy Ethereum smart contracts. My motivation is to help people to make the first steps. There are several good tutorials which helped me to get started. But I missed kind of a “cookbook recipe” for the entire journey, starting with the installation of tools and frameworks and ending with deployment to Ethereum and usage out of an application.

And so, I decided to write down all the steps involved and hope that you will find it helpful!

I’m working on a Mac, but I’ll provide links to the documentation of all tools and frameworks so that you’ll be able to find fitting instructions for your personal environment.

Today we will: 

  • Setup an environment that  allows you to write production-ready smart contracts
  • Write a simple smart contract
  • Test security and style guide issues with solhint
  • Write unit tests with a Truffle framework
  • Deploy the contract on the Rinkeby testnet using MetaMask and Remix
  • Execute calls on the deployed smart contract
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CoreExchange Feature Checklist

As a vendor of licensable fintech software products, we are often asked about our competitors and our USPs. Our customers want to know, what makes our products comparable and where we make a difference and have a special edge. In this article, I would like to elaborate on the feature set of our white label cryptocurrency trading platform CoreExchange and compare it to a couple of other well-known and popular exchanges.

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The Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci, photographed and a Tourist photographing it with his smartphone, symbolizing digital transformation of art (i.e. with blockchain).

6 Art Projects Powered by Blockchain

At a first glance blockchain and art are polar opposites. But how do they say:  Opposites attract. Blockchain technology can help to solve many issues of the modern art market, for example:

  • It can help to securely and transparently track provenance, copyright and ownership information
  • It can provide frameworks for tokenization of real-world art objects, simplifying access to the art market and allowing “ordinary mortals” to become art investors and get partial ownership on expensive assets (see e.g. Maecenas project description below)
  • Blockchain and cryptography can be the art environment itself, meaning they can be used to create and store digital art objects (like Crypto-Kitties described below)
  • And of course, it can help artists to collect fundings for their art projects using the mechanisms of the so-called ICO (initial coin offering)

Let’s have a look at the most popular and interesting blockchain and art projects where creativity meets technology.

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