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Is Blockstream’s Liquid Network an Attempt to Compete for Tokens with Ethereum?

At Consensus Distributed on Might 12, Blockstream offered Lightnite, a Fortnite-like recreation that makes use of the Liquid Community for storing non-fungible tokens (NFT) representing recreation gadgets.

Whereas the sport is developed by unbiased firm Satoshi’s Video games, Blockstream has sponsored the sport by working a token giveaway. 

The announcement has garnered a substantial quantity of criticism from Ethereum (ETH) followers, given the longstanding rivalry with the Bitcoin (BTC) “maximalists.” Non-fungible tokens are historically related to Ethereum and different sensible contract blockchains, and obtained fixed criticism from Bitcoin group members as a part of that affiliation.

Benjamin DiFrancesco, an Ethereum contributor and founding father of Scopelift, tweeted that that is a part of a story shift:

“Narrative shift alert: we’re going from ‘issues like NFTs are dumb and ineffective’ to ‘Bitcoin can do issues like NFTs.”

Not all Bitcoin group members welcomed the Liquid NFTs, with notable Ethereum critic Udi Wertheimer commenting that “no person needs NFTs.”

What’s Liquid?

Lightnite’s gross sales pitch mentions players incomes Bitcoin whereas taking part in the sport, whereas Marty Bent, host of Bitcoin podcast “Tales from the Crypt,” praised the NFT initiative in a e-newsletter submit, saying: 

“Bitcoin can assist use instances that many altcoin scammers have tried to say it can not.”

However Liquid will not be Bitcoin. It’s a sidechain that makes use of BTC via a trustful bridge maintained by the Liquid federation, which largely consists of exchanges. Whereas it’s based mostly on the Bitcoin codebase, it goes past it on the similar time, including sooner finality, tokenized property and confidential transactions on-chain.

That comes on the worth of decentralization. The blockchain is solely validated by the federation, which itself decides who can change into a part of it. It holds custody of the BTC used for the Liquid bridge, and Blockstream maintains multisig restoration keys for emergency conditions. 

That is in distinction with another sidechain implementations like RSK. Regardless of having an identical federated bridge, it nonetheless piggybacks from Bitcoin’s decentralized safety mannequin.

Ethereum itself may also be thought of a Bitcoin sidechain with the introduction of wrapped BTC tokens.

A sidechain for merchants

Neil Woodfine, Blockstream’s director of promoting, advised Cointelegraph that Liquid makes an attempt to be an enchancment over the established order. The trade of Bitcoin exchanges is “extraordinarily centralized in the meanwhile,” he mentioned, and trusting a federation of them as an alternative of any single change is most popular. He added:

“[Regarding] the query of whether or not it is as decentralized as Bitcoin — it is not, for positive. However does it have to be for this explicit utility? Is it already bettering on the outdated system? I believe it’s in that regard.”

Liquid is designed to take away the burden of inter-exchange transactions from the Bitcoin community, that are “even perhaps the bulk” of its exercise, Woodfine mentioned, including {that a} dynamic federation can be deliberate quickly.

He performed down the extent of centralization of the chain, noting that anybody can simply launch observing nodes. “If the federation ever determined to misbehave, they [users] would be capable of restart their very own federation utilizing their present balances,” Woodfine mentioned.

On the similar time, NFTs typically have little to do with buying and selling on centralized exchanges. 

Woodfine emphasised that Blockstream will not be actively pushing for them:

“We have no plans as an organization proper now to pursue any Liquid-related platforms of individuals issuing NFTs. Though if anyone is desirous about constructing such a factor, we’d undoubtedly be prepared to supply some assist.”

He revealed that Satoshi’s Video games obtained technical assist from Blockstream, however no monetary assist.

When requested why the tokens couldn’t be issued on Bitcoin, he replied that present protocols are too poorly maintained and troublesome to make use of, along with the mainnet’s congestion points.

Moreover, he revealed that Blockstream is engaged on a platform particularly constructed for safety tokens.

This means that the corporate does certainly see tokens as an essential a part of its enterprise, although not essentially NFTs.

Can Liquid be platform for NFTs?

Kain Warwick, founding father of Synthetix, advised Cointelegraph that he believes “tokens on Liquid make little or no sense.” 

Whereas he concedes that gaming might not want excessive safety ensures, “it is just a marginal enchancment over a centralized platform run by a gaming writer,” he mentioned. Warwick added that Ethereum causes “builders [to] inherit all the infrastructure, like cell wallets.”

Sébastien Borget, the president of the Blockchain Recreation Alliance, has a extra conciliatory place:

“I believe that what issues on the finish of the day, from a participant’s perspective, will not be the know-how or blockchain that’s utilized by us (builders), however how enjoyable this recreation is.”

He maintains a platform-agnostic and inclusive angle, and sees Liquid’s entry into this discipline as “a constant proof that there’s a shift in mentalities in direction of gaming.” However he additionally famous that it might change into troublesome for builders to change to a brand new platform as soon as they’ve obtained experience in certainly one of them. 

From that viewpoint, Ethereum has a powerful lead because it “has been traditionally (and possibly stays) the community with the biggest variety of builders as of immediately,” Borget concluded.


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