ICON: The world’s first ICX collateralized loans, the Integration with Morpheus Labs and the Former Minister of Finance and Economy to become a chairman of my-ID Alliance’s advisory committee
Biweekly update 16th October — 30th October
Financial services platform VELIC will launch its new Loan M program, the world’s first ICX collateralized loans. With low interest, instantly approved ICX collateralized USDT loans, holders will now be able to use their tokens to buy other coins, invest in other projects or finance their own operations while maintaining ownership over their coins.
ICX Station announced the successful integration of ICON’s public blockchain with Morpheus Labs, a blockchain-platform-as-a-service. The integration will significantly simplify the development process when building on the ICON blockchain: developers will be able to simply create an account on Morpheus Labs and start building rather than going through the trouble of downloading and installing the ICON development environment. Morpheus Labs also provides pre-made smart contract templates, as well as the ability for developers to collaborate in real-time similar to the experience of working in a shared google doc.
Finally, ICONLOOP has appointed former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economy, Hun Jae Lee, as chairman of my-ID Alliance’s advisory committee. The advisory committee will play a key role in presenting the alliance’s direction, consulting on future activities, supporting public-private cooperation, and providing recommendations to improve the regulatory environment.
ICON P-Reps News
ICX holders now have another way to make their tokens work for them.
With low interest, instantly approved ICX collateralized USDT loans, holders will now be able to use their tokens to buy other coins, invest in other projects or finance their own operations while maintaining ownership over their coins.
Want to buy Bitcoin? Need cash to fund your DApp development? Now you can without having to sell your ICX. (Purchase of Lambos not encouraged.)
LOW COST, INSTANT LOANS
Loan M’s loan structure is simple.
Using your ICX as collateral, you can take out three-month loans at an interest rate of just 4.5% per annum (or as low as 3.8% if you promote the program to others; see below for more details). The loans are paid out in USDT, the world’s most popular stablecoin. Loans are approved and deposited instantly, allowing you to trade immediately.
To put that 4.5% interest rate in perspective, Unchain Capital — a popular cryptocurrency loan provider — offers interest rates between 8% and 14% per annum for loans ranging between 3 months and 60 months. Another popular provider, BlockFi, has interest rates that start at 8% per annum. Both of these providers also charge loan origination fees between 1–2%; VELIC doesn’t have any such extra fee.
VELIC plans to support more altcoins later, as well as add an option to receive loans in USDC, another popular USD-pegged stablecoin (with a very similar name to USDT). Though the loans are not fiat, stablecoins are used widely throughout the crypto world.
VELIC has set the interest rate low to place as little a burden on ICX holders as possible and encourage them to use the service. This it can do because the platform boasts a professional asset management team with a collective 70 years of experience in the financial world. Like any financial institution, VELIC monitors the market and manages risk.
VELIC may adjust some of the program’s terms and conditions depending on the community reaction.
NOT JUST AN EXCHANGE, BUT A COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION
Loan M contributes to the ICON ecosystem by providing ICX holders with Bitcoin-like opportunities to use financial services and invest.
The launch of Loan M comes not long after VELIC’s launch of Loan X, a similar loan program using Bitcoin as collateral with interest rates as low as 2%. In contrast, Loan M offers altcoin-collateralized 4.5% APR loans which serve to bolster the ICON community.
This new offering — which marks the first time an ICX-collateralized loan has ever been issued — comes at a time when VELIC is leading the candidacy race to become one of ICON’s top 22 P-Reps in the platform’s ongoing decentralization process. The company is positioning themselves very strongly to become the financial backbone of the ICON ecosystem.
VELIC is perhaps best known within the ICON community for its cryptocurrency exchange, which is not only built on ICON and integrates seamlessly with ICX, but also offers to list the tokens of other ICON DApps such as weBloc’s utility token WOK.
The Loan M and Loan X programs, however, demonstrate the platform’s role as a comprehensive financial institution offering — or at least aspiring to offer — all the services and performing all the functions of traditional banks.
n addition to the loan programs, VELIC’s arsenal of financial services includes or will soon include so-called “staving” that combine savings and staking, asset management and advanced custody and key storage.
Indeed, the platform aims to become the financial backbone of the ICON ecosystem by providing financial services to ICX holders, generating transactions on the network, providing DApp developers a space in which to conduct IEOs and IAOs, listing DApp tokens and providing projects with funding support.
LOAN M REFERRAL REWARDS
VELIC is hosting a promotional event to mark the launch of the Loan M program.
Share the referral code or the referral link with your friends, and earn rewards together.
You can earn a 0.3% annualized bonus whenever someone uses your referral link to take out a loan under the Loan M program for the first — and only the first — time.
The people you refer to, on the other hand, earn a 0.7% annualized bonus on the money received for the very first Loan M loan they take out. This equates to an effective APR of 3.8% for the first borrowing under the Loan M program.
As an additional bonus, Loan M interest rates are lowered to only 3.8% for the first loan you take out with a referral code. Rewards are distributed the next day.
With decentralization of the ICON Mainnet drawing near, it is imperative that node operators setup proper monitoring and alerting systems to ensure they can maintain node uptime. This keeps the ICON network secure, efficient, and avoids penalties. This article presents UBIK Capital’s monitoring and alerting system strategy. We hope the methods we use can be utilized by other teams that don’t yet have a similar system in place. Having a monitoring and alerting system is vital for any P-Rep team. These systems enable teams to quickly learn of and fix any node issues. Such a system can help ICONists vote with confidence, knowing the P-Reps they have allocated their votes too, are actively monitoring their node.
One concern to ICONists is a 6% penalty for low productivity. A proper monitoring system can quickly identify failures, ensuring higher uptime and reducing the risk of such a penalty.
2. Overview of the tools UBIK Capital is using for monitoring and alerts
Prometheus is an open-source system monitoring and alerting toolkit. Prometheus offers multi-dimensional data collection and querying. Prometheus will be used as a data source for Grafana.
Grafana is an open-source metric analytics & visualization suite. It is most commonly used for visualizing time series data for infrastructure and application analytics. Grafana allows querying and visualization of critical data to help understand the node’s behavior.
CAdvisor is a running daemon that collects, aggregates, processes, and exports information about running containers, such as the Docker container used in the ICON node operations.
Node Exporter exposes a wide variety of hardware and kernel related metrics.
3. How to install and use the monitoring and alert system
Step 1. Install Docker
Step 2. Install Docker-Compose
Step 3. Create a new folder named iconmonitoring
Step 4. Create a new file inside the folder, named docker_iconmonitoring.yml with the following content and change your_linux_username and your_password
Step 5. Create a new file inside the folder named prometheus.yml with the following content and change YOUR_IP
Step 6. Run Docker-Compose
Step 7. Access Prometheus: open your browser and type: http://YOUR_IP:9090/targets
Step 8. Access CAdvisor: open your browser and type: http://YOUR_IP:8080/docker
Step 9. Access Grafana: open your browser and type: http://YOUR_IP:3000 Now you are accessing Grafana graphic interface. Click on Configuration then, Add data source, and add the data source
Step 10. At the Import window, add 193 in the Dashboard ID and press Load.
Step 11. Create an alert. Click on the bell from the left, choose Notification Channels, and then click on New Channel. Add Name (e.g. “ICON Alert”), choose Telegram for type, and add BOT API Token and Chat ID. Click Save.
Step 12. For text notification on your mobile phone, you can create a new Notification Channel and use OpsGenie or PagerDuty.
Node uptime is critically important for all P-Reps. Monitoring and alerting systems help achieve higher uptime by letting the node owners know when there are issues. This article presents a few solutions that the team has implemented. This is only a small part of what Prometheus and Grafana can do. UBIK Capital is planning to develop its own ICON Dashboard for Grafana and to integrate more options into the Dashboard.
ICONLOOP has appointed former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economy, Hun Jae Lee, as chairman of my-ID Alliance’s advisory committee, according to their Korean press release.
The alliance, which aims to build a decentralized ID (DID) ecosystem to solve user inconveniences through my-ID, already comprises of 27 organizations and companies from the fields of banking, securities, e-commerce and manufacturing, including POSCO and Shinhan Bank. ICONLOOP plans to expand the alliance to fintech, e-commerce, sharing economy and healthcare to pioneer the digital identification movement.
The advisory committee will play a key role in presenting the alliance’s direction, consulting on future activities, supporting public-private cooperation, and providing recommendations to improve the regulatory environment.
ICONLOOP will be launching the my-ID alliance on November 5th, with the my-ID commercial service slated for release in the first half of 2020.
Pioneering crypto investor and blockchain evangelist Eddy Travia — CEO of Coinsilium, venture builder, investor and advisor — always keeps an eye on ICON.
The Korean blockchain platform ICON was one of the first projects Coinsilium advised, dating back to their ICO in the fall of 2017.
STARTUPS, NOT COINS
When Travia first started getting active in the blockchain space, he began by looking not at coins, but at startups that could build tools for the emerging ecosystem such as wallets and exchanges. In 2013, he founded SeedCoin, the first global incubator for blockchain startups, in Hong Kong.
The following year, he moved to London to create a new structure, Coinsilium, which became the first company of its type to do its own IPO, getting listed on London’s NEX Exchange in 2015. This move earned the blockchain space a great deal of legitimacy and further educated the public regarding the emerging technology.
Travia was introduced to ICON and its foundation chief, Min Kim, through a former Korean employee of Hashed who attended a blockchain event in 2016. When the relationship between ICON and Coinsilium officially began in 2017, there were very few ICOs and just a handful of DPoS projects.
A FRESH APPROACH
As an advisor to ICON, Travia speaks a lot with the project team to discuss strategy, the market direction, what ICON can do better and how it can communicate its message more effectively. He’s also brought a large staking company onto their program and introduced to the platform some staking-as-a-service providers.
He says, “It’s always good to spread the word.”
Travia likes ICON’s dynamic approach to the blockchain. “Their approach was quite fresh and innovative,” he says. “They always try to bring something new such as ICONLOOP’s ‘my-ID’, a digital identity authentication service built on blockchain technology.”
He also liked how ICON was already getting people to use their technology. “All blockchain protocols are striving for adoption,” he says. “ICON already has use cases where people use their blockchain. And of course when you’re in mainnet, as they’ve been for a while, it is always reassuring that everything seems to work fine.”
A FINE BALANCE
Travia says that most blockchain companies experience similar problems, at least as far as messaging is concerned. Since the technology is so complex, your messaging can easily get too technical or too simplistic.
In Travia’s opinion, ICON does a bit better communicating to the tech guys than with end users. Many of the articles he sees about the platform tend to be quite technical. “In that regard, ICON also has to convey a message which can be understood by a larger amount of people who don’t know much about blockchain technology.”
More generally, he advises blockchains to focus on particular markets or industries. He says, “My suggestion is to focus on a few verticals and communicate extensively on specific use cases; that would help a lot in terms of getting awareness and exposure.”
Blockchain projects also need to go around and meet people and host events such as hackathons, he says. And they need to do this all the time, not just around the time of their ICO. “At the end of the day, it’s still a numbers game,” he says. “You have to meet a lot of people, and out of that, some opportunities emerge.”
BLOCKCHAIN WILL TAKE TIME
Travia says that within the blockchain space, there appears to be a gap between the expectations of token holders for short-term gains and the need of blockchain protocols for time to show positive gains in adoption.
“People didn’t anticipate the size of the task, how much work needs to go into moving towards adoption; the future was a bit blurred by the speculative bubble of late 2017,” he says. “We since learned that the number of token buyers does not equate with token users or supporters of the blockchain.”
He says that in the blockchain industry when people ask about the exit, he always talks about three to five years, not a single year. Indeed, one of the most difficult things about investing in the blockchain space, he says, is understanding that you may not make money as quickly as you think you will.
“Most of the crypto and blockchain businesses that are doing well today were built in 2013 or 2014,” he says. “So it always takes longer than expected to go into a mode where people may qualify a project as a success.”
THE FUTURE OF DATA MANAGEMENT
Travia says that just as it will take time to develop blockchain protocols, it will take time — and education — to get users to adopt the technology.
Though there are serious problems with centralized databases, it’s nonetheless unsurprising that the move to blockchain is taking a while. And that’s not just because it’s blockchain.
“Moving to new technology often requires the acceptance of a different ideology and mentality,” he says. “I was an entrepreneur in the 1990s. It took time for people to understand the potential of the Internet. And then there was a valuation and stock market bubble, and after the bubble popped it took another few years for people to accept that these new technologies were here to stay and whole industries had to adapt to the Internet.”
And when blockchain finally does achieve acceptance, ICON could be in a good position to survive and flourish.
Recently, the ICON community has expressed a need for transparency on the part of P-Reps teams and more specifically on how they use their rewards.
P-Rep candidate @sharpntech has decided to create a feature allowing P-Reps to publicly display their representative rewards expenses
Purpose and motivation
@sharpntech witnessed the rise of several “Staking as a Service” teams in the votes leaderboard. These companies specialize in PoS coin validation and can be an asset to ICON. However, these teams are by definition less involved in the development of ICON due to their involvement in many projects.
Some of these teams have a high ranking thanks to their own delegations that come from their own funds. The question that arises is: “What prevents them from using Representative Rewards to finance new elections on other networks/projects?”
The DPoC model proposed by ICON is a great thing but is unfortunately doomed to fail if teams use their rewards for personal development and not for network expansion.
The feature itself
This feature is part of the Staking Platform toolkit which will be released for all teams of PReps! Now that most feature are on mainnet, @sharpntech will start to build a one-click deploy of a staking platform for ICON P-Reps.
Paradigm Fund has issued new reports on the following cryptonetworks:
- MATRIX AI NETWORK: Ecosystem Platform Launch
- DRAGONCHAIN: New Super Happy Dragon Lucky episodes, the Dragonchain Open House
- STELLAR: Blockchain Education Alliance with Stellar and Collaboration with Blockchain Academy Mexico
- State of Stake #7
- Crypto Regulation Digest
- AMBROSUS: A New Type of Health Care Collaboration, Quality Assurance Provides New Value to Enterprises, DNA Tracers Meet Ambrosus Blockchainа
- ENIGMA: Gitcoin Bounty Roundup and Technical Resource Index
- AETERNITY: The aeternity Testnet Was Successfully Upgraded, The Mainnet Hardfork Is Scheduled For 30th October, Version 0.9.13 of StateChannels Payment Æpp, Miner Signalled Consensus Upgrade
- AION: Java Kernel v0.4.2.0 release, Matt’s article in Forbes, The team at JAX London, Mini-interview series and AMAs
- ORBS: The Node Status Page, Orbs joined MouseBelt Blockchain Education Alliance, The New Lean-Helix Goroutine Model, Updated Voting Deadlines Calendar, $ORBS tokens in Metamask
- THETA: Partnership with DLive, The project featured at the Samsung Developer Conference to demo integration in smart TVs, Live Network Statistics
- BEAM: The Latest Version Of Beam Wallet On Android, Alexander Zaidelson Spoke At Eurasia Blockchain Summit, Istanbul Meetup II
- TEZOS: Babylon Upgrade, Block Explorers Update, The AZTEC Protocol’s MPC Ceremony, The Sapling Protocol and “Fine-Tuned Privacy” is Coming to Tezos, TQuorum Global Summit Recap
- CHAINLINK: Ztake as a node operator, Ultrain and Etherlime Integration
- ETHEREUM: Ecosystem and Projects’ Updates, Opinion and Research Articles
On Tuesday, 29th of October it finally happened: the ICON network moved from a centralized system towards a decentralized one. A thank you goes to the guys from ICON Foundation (especially to Ben Lee and BongAn Ha), who did an amazing job in the last couple of weeks. And also the infrastructure team from block42 spend hours of setting up, testing and configuring the servers — special thanks to Christian Lanz for creating a secure and stable network setup.
P-Rep Network Setup
The network tests prior to decentralization gave important insights into how the P-Rep network setup should look like. Finally, block 42 came up with the following configuration (for now):
On the Github profile, the entire setup is described in more detail: https://github.com/block42-blockchain-company/icon-prep-network-setup
In order to provide a highly available server infrastructure block42 installed a monitoring tool. You can have a look at the server’s availability by opening https://stats.prep.b42.tech.
Date and time: November 5, 2019, 18:30–21:10
Location: 3F West Building Signature Tower, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Supyo-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
The ICON x Steem DApp SEOUL MEETUP will be held in the ICON Lounge on November 5th.
During this event, the ICON Foundation will highlight the DApp development environment and features of the ICON Network. Additionally, weBloc, a DApp on ICON, will introduce its project and how it plans to contribute to the ICON ecosystem in the future.
Steem, a blockchain project that grows communities and makes immediate revenue streams possible for users by rewarding them for sharing content, will also present, as will two of Steem’s DApps.
This month, the Foundation decided to extend the testing period for decentralization as core developers of the ICON Project continue to test software in a variety of ways to reach higher levels of stabilization. As a result, the decentralization schedule of the ICON Network was changed from September 24, 2019, to October 29, 2019. As previously announced, the Foundation will maintain reward distributions until decentralization.
Additionally, the Foundation delayed the implementation of the Slashing function, a penalty burning 6% of the delegated ICX of representatives, to one-month post decentralization. This decision was made to allow for a one-month buffer period for P-Reps to gain experience operating in the early stages of decentralization.
Mobile Staking Update
ICON Foundation plans to launch mobile staking capabilities in tandem with decentralization in October. Originally, the goal was to launch mobile staking capabilities in September, but ICON team encountered several Java version issues in the development process. Unfortunately, the development schedule was too tight to resolve the issues and therefore it was decided to postpone the release to improve the stability.
ICON Development Roadmap Details
The following updates to ICON technology roadmap are below:
- Block Version 0.3 — Improving block structure to support BTP (Stabilization)
- Role Switch — Switching the role between Main P-Rep and Sub P-Rep (Stabilization)
- Cryptography — Signature verifying function in SCORE (Completed)
- Penalty function — Penalty system to penalize malicious P-Reps (Completed)
- Virtual Step 2.1 — Virtual Step distribution to SCORE (Development)
- Auto Sign — Ability to automatically sign transactions in ICONex, for a certain period of time (Completed)
- Interoperability with heterogeneous chains launch by the end of 2019
- ICON interchain protocol BTP will be available by the end of 2019
- The first ICONgress will be organized in 2019
Partnerships and team members
ICX Station is excited to announce the successful integration of ICON’s public blockchain with Morpheus Labs, a blockchain-platform-as-a-service. The integration with Morpheus Labs will significantly simplify the development process when building on the ICON blockchain.
Developers will be able to simply create an account on Morpheus Labs and start building rather than going through the trouble of downloading and installing the ICON development environment. Morpheus Labs provides pre-made smart contract templates, as well as the ability for developers to collaborate in real-time similar to the experience of working in a shared google doc.
The details of this partnership include:
- Integration of ICON’s technology stack into Morpheus Labs’ blockchain-platform-as-a-service product offering
- Integration of Morpheus Labs into ICON’s developer workshops (more details on these workshops will follow in an announcement regarding Major League Hacking)
- 1 week free subscription to Morpheus Labs for workshop participants
- Cross-promotional efforts to grow the blockchain developer ecosystem
Morpheus Labs is a Singapore-based blockchain company providing enterprises with a full-service Blockchain-Platform-as-a-Service (BPaaS) solution for easy prototyping, deployment, and integration. It is the only end-to-end blockchain platform and app marketplace with a variety of active blockchain partners whose vision and goal are to find solutions to problems hindering mass adoption. Morpheus does the heavy lifting while companies can focus on value-adding work, trying different cases and blockchain protocols at a fraction of the cost and time.
Social media metrics
The charts above illustrate a decline in the number of Telegram and Twitter followers. In general, the ICON foundation experiences an average level of social activity.
The graph above shows the dynamics of changes in the number of ICON Reddit subscribers, Twitter followers, and Facebook likes. The information is taken from Coingecko.com.
Official channels of P-Reps:
RHIZOME (ICON P-Rep Candidate. Focused on creating and marketing content about the ICON ecosystem).
Insight ICON (Insight’s Distributed Consensus Lab is building automated node deployments, advanced analysis techniques, and distributed applications for the ICON Blockchain)
POS Bakerz (a blockchain infrastructure service and node operator for different Proof-of-Stake blockchains).
block42 Blockchain Company (Unlocking blockchain technology for organizations).
Blockchain@Berkeley (focus on education, R&D, and consulting)
Gilga Capital (Blockchain Venture Capital and Accelerator)
Chainode Capital (Blockchain consultancy and validator services)