Use of cryptocurrency has become more accepted and mainstream recently, and in the last six months there have been a couple of significant developments in crypto's progress towards widespread adoption.
First, the huge investments and price increases during the "summer of Bitcoin" have put cryptocurrencies in the news and shown they can retain investment value despite shocks. Secondly, the cryptosphere at large has seen a push to address and confront major issues that could impact user adoption long-term.
In search for good enough in all respects
Among these issues are those of compatibility and interoperability. Forks, lightning networks, and atomic swaps have all come to the fore as efforts are made to make increase user experience and efficiency. If the history of technology diffusion tells us anything, it is that mainstream users want solutions that are "good enough" in all respects (rather than excellent at just one or two things).
Cryptocurrencies that are easy to use, provide versatility, and bring platforms together will succeed best, and compatibility and interoperability are the name of the game Hcash (abbreviated from HyperCash) is a Chinese/Australian cryptocurrency project aiming to provide a wide set of features that would increase adoption.
Among Hcash's features is the ability to support integration of block-based and blockless-based transactions and currencies. Currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum use conventional Blockchains, while others like IOTA operate on a blockless paradigm. There is a lot of room for different currencies to flourish, but those that offer interoperability and compatibility stand to become major players in their own right. Hcash, by aiming to allow for harmony between different paradigms and currencies, might be able to carve out a significant market share for itself.
Problem to be solved: bridging ecosystems and making user experience simple
Most people involved in investing or using cryptocurrencies will have noticed the considerable buzz behind IOTA, Byteball, and similar currencies. These use a blockless chain setup, in this case using Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) technology.
The data format used in this type of chain is fundamentally different than in Blockchain-based systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum. This raises serious issues regarding interoperability and compatibility for making transactions and swaps between these two kinds of chains.
If managing conventional cryptocurrency transactions can be cumbersome for novices (which is very much the case), then comprehending and managing transactions between Blockchain-based currencies like Bitcoin and a tangle-based currency like IOTA would be prohibitively inconvenient.
Steps towards bridging the gap
Linking tangle-based and Blockchain-based systems is, therefore, a challenge. This is the principal aim of the Hcash solution. It creates sidechains to both types of systems which allows for flow of data and value, in effect becoming an intermediary platform between both.
On top of this, the Hcash team has built several features into their solution to make usability more fluid and secure. Notable among these is the unlimited nature of transactions, allowing Hcash users to "transfer unlimited times with a limited block size, no matter the speed of transfer or amount of transfer."
They have also chosen a novel governance structure that incorporates and accommodates both Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS) mechanisms, balancing the needs of both miners and users.
Hcash also supports privacy (using Zero Knowledge Proof technology), and has been future-proofed against the rise of quantum computing with quantum resistant safeguards.
These features all tick the boxes of a technology that will help to bridge the gap between DAG and Blockchain currencies while also allowing for a straightforward user experience.
Australia's progress in crypto
Hcash is a joint project between teams in Australia, Hong Kong and China. Australia has seen some progress in terms of cryptocurrencies lately, and Hcash has capitalized on the recent interest sweeping the country. Of course, the Chinese public has already shown a great interest in mining and investing in crypto.
One thing of note about the Hcash project is that it has a strong academic foundation. The solution has been developed by computer scientists and researchers at three major universities (Monash University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University) and already has usage and support across the Australian third-level educational industry and mainstream markets.
The team are therefore very research-focussed and the project is open-source. The Hcash project is addressing unresolved issues in the cryptosphere, and has considerable expertise on its advisory board including one of the founding researchers of the privacy-focused cryptocurrency Monero.
It is also worth noting that the project is sponsoring the World Blockchain Summit in Dubai, during which their CTO Khal Achkar will be speaking.
The strong academic foundations of the currency have attracted a lot of interest from investors ahead of the full launch of the network in the coming months.
Bringing systems and protocols
The crypto world is growing in every direction, solving problems for many different users. With a rapidly expanding base of solutions, many observers are turning their attention to the cohesion between players in the ecosystem.
At the same time, the increased mainstream adoption of crypto brings about a need for more user-friendly platforms.
If Hcash can address these two issues of interoperability and usability, they could cement their place in the ecosystem and benefit many users.
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