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CryptoWealth announces: The Ascension Project
Ascension is a next-generation cryptocurrency system aimed at expanding the crypto-economy of the future. Our mission is: “To promote the growth of robust, borderless, wealth generating, free market ecosystems.”
To create a private, censorship-resistant, non-state currency which can be utilized as the nucleus of a larger ecosystem we solve 15 problems.
1. Scaling: Decentralised networks and blockchain databases are inherently slow and low capacity compared to existing centralised storage and clearing solutions.
2. Privacy: A distributed public ledger of all transactions is not private. At least a third of “anonymous” bitcoin addresses are now identifiable. Highly effective tracing of money through the network happens.
3. Finality of decision-making. No one owns or controls Bitcoin, so all proposals to change the protocol are potentially contentious, generating confusion and retarding progress.
4. Unacceptably long settlement times. Bitcoin transactions can take anywhere from a few minutes to many days to clear, depending on a variety of prevailing conditions, most of which cannot be controlled by the average user. In the 21st century, this is absurd.
5. A requirement to run full nodes in order to enjoy benefits fully. It is often argued that only users running “full nodes” (i.e. nodes that download and verify the entire blockchain) can provide true decentralization and censorship-resistance to the network. Full nodes also allow users to generate and control their own private keys, and to specify transaction fees. Yet such nodes have an enormous footprint, imposing non-trivial hardware and bandwidth requirements.
6. The need to see all transactions, not just one’s own. Related to points #2 and #5, users who are not mining blocks should have no need to concern themselves with transactions belonging to other parties. (And for reasons of privacy, should not see others’ transactions.)
7. De facto centralization of mining, development, and exchange functions (among others). As the network grows in value and participation, the result is that important aspects of the surrounding ecosystem become increasingly centralized into fewer hands.
8. Inability to control access level on a public blockchain. By definition, on a “public” blockchain anyone running the necessary software can read, write, or validate (mine blocks) on the network. The result of this has been ongoing problems with dust spammers (DDoS), bogus spends submitted in order to push up transaction fees, mining nearly empty blocks, and a number of other antisocial behaviors.
9. Inherently deflationary currency. Many would construe this as a virtue (especially speculators), but a currency with a permanently fixed supply favors creditors, just as an inherently inflationary fiat currency favors debtors. Neither is a good long term solution for economic growth and stability.
10. Minting and transaction clearing functions are conflated. In most blockchain systems, especially those like Bitcoin which are built around a Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining method, the party who mines a given block collects both the new coins in the block reward, and the transaction fees for all the transactions contained in the block. This is akin to letting a mint clear checks, or letting a payment processor like PayPal print physical cash currency. The mint and the clearinghouse are, or should be, two logically and legally distinct entities.
11. Inability to push out server software updates. Because nodes on a blockchain violate the logical separation between server and client side functions, every client is also potentially a server. This makes it extremely difficult to ensure that software updates are installed by all of the nodes functioning as servers in the network. Consequently servers running non-conforming stale revisions present an ongoing problem.
12. Smart contracts cannot be very smart. Due both to execution cost and the need for provable correctness before deployment, smart contract programs must necessarily be of limited scope and complexity. (A few hundred bytes is typical.) Execution cost (i.e. “gas”) also creates a perverse disincentive against sanity-checking code.
13. Turing completeness is neither necessary nor desirable. The ability to run any arbitrary code on the blockchain is also a liability, because it assumes distributed scalability, ignores problems with running untrusted code, and relies on installing complexity inside the network itself, where it does not belong. Blockchains with more limited scripting languages (such as Bitcoin) do not flout such basic laws of computer science. Providing a complete virtual machine is fraught with inherent dangers.
14. No vetting of smart contracts before publication. In the context of a public blockchain, there is simply no way to vet, verify, or prevent code from being published and run on the network, whether it adds 2+2 or implements a whole new cryptocurrency via the ERC20 protocol.
15. Computing power on the network doesn’t increase with more nodes. No matter how many nodes are added to a Turing-complete network, it does not run any faster, because every node executes exactly the same software code when invoked. The overall effect is a globally distributed computer with the approximate processing capacity of a late 1990s cell phone.
Since 2011 the Ascension Project’s technologies have worked together to provide full scale-ability; untrace-ability; transaction speeds in seconds; distributed functionality with controllable software updates; independent issuance of monetary instruments with independent monetary and reserve policies among private issuers; a lightweight client architecture; local-only private keys giving access to only that user’s transactions; transaction records are only seen by sender and receiver, can be permanently deleted, and are stored in the user’s wallet only at the option of the user; using XMPP provides innate encryption and inherent intra-community messaging; individually owned and operated exchanges and marketplace businesses foster decentralization as the ecosystem grows.