Srp 11

Interview with DMarket: The First Cross-Game Marketplace for In-Game Items

· August 11, 2017 · 4:15 pm

Bitcoinist spoke with Volodymyr Panchenko, Founder and CEO of DMarket, a first-of-its-kind marketplace that allows gamers to buy, sell, or trade in-game items from any game on any gaming platform.


Bitcoinist: What is DMarket?

VP: DMarket is the first cross-game marketplace that allows gamers from all over the world to trade or exchange in-game goods originating from any gaming platform. In fact, DMarket will allow more than two billion gamers to buy and sell their items. Existing games and platforms are currently covering only 6% of gamers worldwide. We will give this opportunity to everybody.

DMarket in-game asset marketplace

Bitcoinist: What is the difference between you and Steam, for example? Are there any other competitive advantages that your platform has comparing to the other existing ones?

VP: As I just mentioned, our platform will satisfy the “trade needs” of all gamers, as opposed to the other platforms that currently cover 130M (6%) video game players. I am not saying we are better and they are worse. Ours is just a different approach. We use blockchain technology that makes this set-up possible.

Let me explain: technology actually lies at the core of the problem. To make trading possible on a large scale we need to synchronize hundreds of thousands of databases. We are using a decentralized database on blockchain to address this. All operations are fast, secure and synchronized in real time. The important part is that a sale or exchange of any virtual item from any game or platform can happen in one click. This turns each and every virtual item into a real commodity for billions of gamers worldwide.

Bitcoinist: How does DMarket work with game developers?

VP: Using our API, any game developer can easily connect its game to DMarket. These days we are talking to Unreal, Unity and CryEngine developers to feature DMarket libraries on their engines. This will simplify and improve game developers access to our platform.

Bitcoinist: Are there any benefits for game publishers?

VP: Both mobile and PC game publishers will benefit from working with us. We can help them drive their direct revenues. DMarket gets a commission from every deal and the major part of it goes to the rights holder. There’s also what we call “shared marketing”. By promoting our platform, we promote all the video games available there. As a result, the game publisher doesn’t need to invest as much into marketing. Marketing budgets can be reduced!

The third benefit is the increased lifetime value. By giving gamers worldwide the opportunity to make money by trading, exchanging and “hunting down” rare in-game items, we are prolonging the lifetime of the games. Based on our experience in game trading, out of 10 thousand games that we trade every day, 80% are more than 2 years old. Our platform increases the life cycle of the games.

How DMarket works

Bitcoinist: You’ve just mentioned about your experience in game trading. Could you please tell us more about your expertise?

VP: Being the founder of Suntechsoft company, I can say that I’m quite an expert when it comes to game trading. Suntechsoft is the number one private merchant of digital games in the world. In the past 5 years, we sold over 15 million games via eBay, G2A, and Kinguin. I am also the founder of skins.cash, the 2nd biggest virtual items marketplace (12M items sold in the past year alone). With total annual revenues of $50M. So yes, I’ve got expertise in virtual items and games trading.

Bitcoinist: What about the rest of the DMarket top management team?

VP: We have a core team of 3. We all come from different work backgrounds. Co-founder of DMarket Alexander “ZeroGravity” Kokhanovskyy has 17 years of experience in eSports. He is the founder of Na`Vi (Natus Vincere), one of the most popular and successful eSports teams in the world. In 2016 he became a shareholder of ESforce Holdings, the 3rd biggest eSports entity funded by USM Group (Mail.ru, VK .com, Megafon) which raised over $100M of investments in the latest round.

There’s also Andriy Khavryuchenko, the senior developer of DASH cryptocurrency (world top 7, market cap $1.4B). He has 4 years of experience in crypto development and 26 years of experience in software development.

DMarket to Monetize Game Items with the Power of Blockchain

Bitcoinist: Since you have experience in trading and cryptocurrency development, are you planning token emission?

VP:  The only technology allowing Dmarket to run is decentralized blockchain. Since we can not put a hundred dollar bill into the smart contract, we definitely need to have tokens. Dmarket tokens will be the only native currency of the platform for all trades, exchanges, and fees.

DMarket launches the first round of token sales on August 17, 2017. The second round will follow in November 2017. Tokens will be available to trade within 30 days on major cryptocurrency exchange.

Bitcoinist: What are the minimum and maximum amounts of money you plan to collect during ICO?

VP: The minimum amount we aim for is 5 million DMarket tokens with 1 ETH being equal to 1,000 DMarket tokens. The maximum amount is 50 million tokens.

Bitcoinist: What are the reasons to buy DMarket tokens? How can you guarantee the value of your currency?

VP: Every purchase, sale, exchange or any other transaction on our platform will require the use of DMarket tokens. No further emissions are planned beyond the first two trading rounds. The amount of trading and exchanging transactions on the platform will naturally grow fast over time and so will grow the need for the tokens. That is the best guarantee of DMarket tokens value.

Bitcoinist: What makes you think that the amount of purchase, sale, exchange and other transaction on your platform will go up?

VP: They will go up as the industry as a whole grows. We are witnessing a rapid growth of the gaming industry. It’s estimated that 2.2 billion gamers will generate $108 billion of revenue this year. This is a 6.8% growth on 2016. In addition, according to forecasts, the combined revenues of the AR and VR market will reach $122 billion by 2021.

Are you a gamer? How will DMarket’s cross-game marketplace change how in-game assets are bought and sold? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of DMarket, Wikimedia Commons

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Dub 25

Charlie Shrem: ‘It’s Not About The Technology Anymore, It’s About Power’

· April 25, 2017 · 9:00 am

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem shared his views on the scaling debate, stating that “it’s not about technology anymore, it’s about power.”


Shrem: ‘It’s About Power’

Charlie Shrem, Bitcoin entrepreneur and co-founder of Intellysis, was present in today’s episode of the  Double Down show, dubbed “Does Block Size Matter?” with the usual hosts Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert.

Hard Fork Wars

During the show, Shrem expressed his thoughts regarding the current state of the scaling debate or as Herbert called it, “the Great Blocksize War of 2017.”

Shrem stated:

In reality, it’s not a technical argument anymore. Everyone on both sides of the table say that SegWit is the best technology that we have.

According to Shrem, the scaling debate is no longer about the most viable technology or solution that can be used to scale Bitcoin. Instead, the scaling debate has become a power struggle between two development teams, Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Core.

“The other side of the debate, which is Bitcoin Unlimited, they agree that SegWit is a great technology,” he continued. “But to them it’s not about technology anymore, it’s about power.”

Shrem went on to say:

They want to remove [Bitcoin Core’s] ability to work on Bitcoin and instead have a closed-membership small group of four to five developers, who they think are the best for the job, run Bitcoin going forward.

A Test for Bitcoin

However, there is a silver lining in this development, which Shrem considers it as an “extremely bullish situation for Bitcoin.” The current block size “drama” is showcasing Bitcoin’s ability to resist a malicious attack on the network.

He noted:

Here you have a group of bad actors who are trying to overtake the Bitcoin network and essentially fork all of bitcoin and force all Bitcoin users to be able to use their developers and their codebase and their everything and it’s not a group of miners that’s preventing this.

Shrem sees the current hash power signaling as a “glorified poll” when it comes to hard fork given that nodes are the ones that validate blocks and they can discard the ones from the hard-forked chain at will, meaning that miners don’t have nearly as much power as they think they do.

This can be observed the UASF proposal, which would bypass the miners completely and leave it up to the nodes to force SegWit into activation.

However, it may not come down to a UASF, as mining pools like F2Pool are beginning to move to SegWit driven by demand from individual users that contribute hashrate to the pool.

Champagne Problem

Not all is gloomy for Bitcoin, however. Amidst all the tension and drama, one must also look at the bright side, which is the reason we’re having this heated debate at all: Bitcoin is growing at an exponential rate.

This is, as Shrem puts it, a “champagne problem,” one that gives us as much to celebrate as it gives us to fight about. 

Bitcoin 2016

“It’s a good problem to have. Bitcoin has grown really quickly. We never expected this to happen so quickly, to be honest. We’re getting towards what they call a ‘champagne problem,’ how do you scale?” he said.

This means that not only is Bitcoin working as intended, but there is also an urgent need for such a currency in the world. Now, it’s only a matter of making sure that Bitcoin can become that currency and still maintain its decentralized and immutable characteristics.

Shrem concluded:

There has always been research and conversations on scaling over the past three years but, to be honest, we didn’t think we’d see this exponential growth in Bitcoin and now it’s time to have that conversation.

Do you agree? Is the scaling debate actually about power and control? Share below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, alchetron.com, coin.dance

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Dub 04

Bitstashers: Should You Upgrade from a Paper Wallet to Metal?

· April 4, 2017 · 6:00 am

Bitcoinist spoke with Jon Boroughs of Bitstashers, a provider of metal-etched Bitcoin wallets that are designed to withstand an apocalyptic event unlike a fragile paper wallet. These are also not limited to cold storage as they can also be custom made for colored coin asset addresses as well. 


Metal-Etched Bitcoin Wallets

Metal wallets are quickly becoming a thing in the crypto space with a few options available such as Cryptosteel and Bitkee, which start at $40 USD. However, Bitstashers provides custom metal etched wallets at a much lower price point, starting from $15, and includes multiple form factors such as dog tags and bottle openers.

ss-dogtags

Boroughs reveals to Bitcoinist the idea behind metal wallets, why they’re better than paper, and how privacy is preserved during the manufacturing process with BIP38 encryption.


Bitcoinist: Where did you get the idea to create metal etched wallets?

Jon Boroughs (JB): Honestly, we saw another company trying to do this with sub-standard materials and at a higher price and we thought we could do it better and cheaper. We also pride ourselves on our design abilities and thought we could offer customers a wide variety of great designs for their wallets as well as possibly letting them submit their own ideas.

Bitcoinist: Why is metal better than a paper wallet that costs zero?

JB: Metal wallets are great for long term storage. Paper wallets can deteriorate over time, but the Bitstashers wallet is made to last until the day you die. They are even fire-proof. The stainless steel wallets can withstand temperatures of up to 1,300­­ degrees Fahrenheit.

Each of our wallets are etched using quality materials and they’re so durable we’ve even filed our fingernails with the design and it comes out looking like nothing happened. The design withstands any normal wear that it may come across. You can’t expect that with paper.

Bitcoinist: What is Heliopay and what kind of supporting role does play in relation to Bitstashers?

JB: Heliopay handles Bitcoin ATMs mainly. They describe themselves as “Bitcoin ATM’s, point of sale, services and supplies, digital infrastructure, payment management solutions and more! Industry leading equipment, the UK’s widest range of bitcoin merchandise for resale (now including the UK’s largest range of physical bitcoins), consultancy, technology integration, excellent training, we help our customers at all stages of the adoption process, helping them to prepare for the new wave of digital payment services, software and infrastructures required.”

We usually work with Heliopay when we need wallet addresses as they have a superb, secure, offline air-gapped computer that generates secure wallet addresses. We also have done production work in the past for them such as designing wallets and other products.

stasg

Bitcoinist: How much does this type of wallet cost for aluminum and steel? Does it depend on type?

JB: It depends on the material. Stainless steel costs more for materials than the aluminum type. Aluminum card wallets are priced at $18 each, bottle openers are $18 each, and dog tags are $15 each. Stainless steel card wallets are $25 each, bottle openers are $25 each, and dog tags are $18 each.

We are also experimenting currently with other materials so as to broaden our product offerings. Keep an eye out for those in the future.

Bitcoinist: Do you also etch both keys – the public and private keys?

JB: Yes, we can etch both keys. The purchaser can choose to have both keys on one side or have the private key on one side and the public key on the other. Or another way it can be done is by using something like our dog tags. You can wear the public key and then hide away your private.

Bitcoinist: Where, how, and by whom are the keys generated?

JB: The keys are either generated by the purchaser of the wallet or by Heliopay.com on a secure, air-gapped address generating system.

Bitcoinist: Can you explain your stance on BIP38 encryption?

JB: We think that BIP38 encryption is the best way to feel at ease when handing your keys over to someone like us so we can put them on products. When you generate a Bitcoin wallet address you’ll get a public key and a private key. The industry standard is to never hand over you private key. That’s good advice. But with BIP38 you take that private key and encrypt it with a password you make up in your head.

The best way to input that password when you do BIP38 encryption is to enter it on an on-screen keyboard as we all know that keyloggers are an issue now-a-days. At that point you can hand your encrypted key to a place like us and we can engrave it. With a BIP38 encrypted key someone would have to be able to read minds to get the password you used.

bottleopener-400x400

Bitcoinist: How is the private key protected or shielded from prying eyes or cameras, for example?

JB: The wallet is considered more like a “savings account” rather than a spendable “hot wallet”.  It is intended to be a safe have to store your cryptocurrencies without the fear of hackers stealing your funds.

Since these addresses are etched in metal, is it a concern for users who are often advised to not reuse the same addresses when transaction from a security standpoint?

No, since our wallets are not intended to be used as a “hot wallet.”  Our wallets are intended to be similar to a saving account (minus the interest) for the cryptocurrency world.

Would you use a metal etched wallet? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitstashers, Shutterstock, openbazaar

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Bře 07

BitKan: Our Volume Grew ‘Twelve Times’ Since PBoC Halted Withdrawals

· March 7, 2017 · 12:00 pm

2,631 views

Bitcoinist spoke with Leon Liu, the CEO of BitKan, a Chinese P2P Bitcoin trading service, to get a better idea on the current situation following the recent regulatory clampdown on Bitcoin exchange withdrawals in the country.


Bitcoinist: What kind of trading services does BitKan provide?

Leon Liu (LL): BitKan provides P2P bitcoin trading services with broker match-making to save time for our users. During a trade, BitKan acts as an escrow service, guaranteeing funds delivery for both sides. Users can also trade small amounts in five minutes.

Bitcoinist: How has the recent restrictions imposed by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) on crypto-exchanges impacted your operations?

LL: The PBoC focused on the three biggest exchanges. PBoC actions did not have any impact on us because it focuses on money laundering, currency outflows and pyramid schemes. We do not provide such services to our customers. That’s why we weren’t impacted. Right now, customers can use our platform to withdraw Bitcoin after 3 days.

Bitcoinist_PBOC

Bitcoinist: China’s overall Bitcoin trading volume has seen a significant drop due to these PBoC inspections. Have traders gone abroad or have they simply moved off-exchange and into P2P and OTC markets? Have you seen an uptick in P2P, OTC trading as a result?

LL: There are two kinds of customers: the first kind buys bitcoin and uses it. So, they need to withdraw bitcoin. Yes, some of these people went to other small markets, where withdrawals weren’t suspended.

Some went to the OTC market. It is difficult for Chinese people to access foreign markets. Therefore, these customers cannot buy Bitcoin abroad using CNY. Also it is difficult to exchange CNY to USD in China.

Our volume grew by twelve times [since withdrawals were suspended].

The second kind of customer trades bitcoin, buying and selling it to earn a profit. In fact, most people speculate with the price this way, and then they withdraw CNY. And yes, our volume grew by twelve times.

Bitcoinist: Who is your typical customer?

LL: We have two kinds of customers. Those new to bitcoin and who buy their first bitcoin on our platform; and then there are users who already have basic knowledge about bitcoin and who do not want to trade on exchanges.

coin-dance-localbitcoins-cny-volume

Bitcoinist: How does your P2P trading service compare to the increasingly popular LocalBitcoins, for example, which has seen exponential growth in China following the suspension of withdrawals?

LL: The first step for our customers is registration via email. If they want to trade on our platform they need enter their cellphone number. If users want to trade more that 5 BTC a day – they need to comply with KYC and AML guidelines.

The difference with LocalBitcoins is that BitKan offers a mobile phone app that is easy to use. Second, all traders must go through the KYC process, to ensure safe trading.

BitKan is better localized for the Chinese market compared to LocalBitcoins

Third, trading is faster than on LocalBitcoins and a trade can go through within a minute. Fourth, BitKan is better localized for the Chinese market compared to LocalBitcoins.

Bitcoinist: So customers can buy up to 5 BTC with just their email address?

LL: Yes, the maximum is 5 BTC without having to submit any personal information.

Bitcoinist: Do you agree with BTCC CEO Bobby Lee that Bitcoin is not being used to bypass Chinese capital controls – that it’s mostly hype created by the media? 

LL: We agree with Bobby Lee. This goes back to 2013 when the government said that Bitcoin is a commodity. It can not be used by companies for payment. Now, Bitcoin is used mainly for two things in China – mining and trading (speculation).

bitkan-co-founders-original

Bitcoinist: Bitcoin mining giant BitMain invested $1.6 million into your platform last year. What have you done with these funds so far and what are your future plans?

LL: We spent the investment on global promotion and development. In the future, we are going to roll out our OTC business globally.

Segwit will not be the best solution for Bitcoin scaling, it will make the Bitcoin network more complicated.

Bitcoinist: Bitmain is a supporter of the Bitcoin Unlimited scaling proposal. Where do you stand on this issue in the scaling debate?

LL: We support Bitcoin scaling first and foremost, but we do not support a fork. We hope that the parties can reach some agreement. My personal opinion is that SegWit [Segregated Witness] will not be the best solution for Bitcoin scaling, it will make the Bitcoin network more complicated.

Bitcoinist: Finally, how is your planned expansion into the US market coming along?

LL: This is still in the early stages, but we are making some progress. The USD market is now the second biggest for BitKan. The US has different regulatory policies across different states, and BitKan will comply with these laws accordingly.

[Full disclosure: Bitcoinist is not owned by and is not associated with BitKan.]

Will the Bitcoin OTC and P2P trading continue to grow in China? Let us know below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, BitKan, BItcoin Magazine, Coin.dance

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Čvn 10

Marco Streng of Genesis Mining on Ethereum and DASH Mining




Source: bitcoin

Genesis Mining

Genesis Mining is one of the few cloud mining organizations to actually fulfill their obligations to their customers as well as a huge advocate for the Bitcoin and Cryptopcurrency industry.  Since the beginning of 2016 the mining industry has seen a lot of shifts, as well as new coins to mine that are wildly popular like Ethereum.

Also Read: US Banking Regulators Warn About Imminent Swift Attacks

Genesis Mining quickly expanded their GPU mining capacity to fulfill the growing demand for Ethereum mining as well as other algorithms like DASH.  We were able to chat with Marco Streng the CEO about the recent developments and some future things to come from them.


 

Could you go over a bit about how you were able to scale GPU mining back up so quickly for the Ethereum POW?

Marco Streng (MS): Scaling GPU mining capacities is a science for itself especially since rigs have to be built from lot of parts and deployed in the most efficient way in the facilities. Our engineers worked literally non stop to expand as quickly as possible.

How will you handle the contracts if Ethereum decides to end the POW before contracts are up?

MS: We will handle it in the best way possible and switch the algo to X11 where we mine the most profitable cryptocurrencies with it.

Hive Data Center Management Software A Robust Enterprise System

I had early access to the Hive architecture that Genesis Mining built to manage their data centers and those of their large customers.

It has a very user friendly interface as well as a robust back-end that allows for the smallest details to be controlled.  From contract length, pool management to miner settings in a simple panel setup. Hive also quickly gives alerts so repairs and maintenance can be done pinpointing where the problem is and what it is.  These features are needed in large deployments especially when you provide hashing power to 1000’s of customers.

Could you tell us a bit about the Hive software you use to manage all the miners and accounts?

MS: Sure, as you know we have developed Genesis Hive from the beginning on and optimized it specifically for large scale build outs. Large scale meaning build outs of more than 1000 mining units. Hive is helping us tremendously in managing our farms. It provides a great overview of the whole operation but also gives you detailed information about all technical data of each miner. With features like auto frequency tuning it automatically adjusts frequencies to reach optimal performance of the whole mining operation. Together with Hive just 1 engineer can maintain an operation that normally would have to be maintained by a lot more manual workers.

Genesis Mining Advocates for the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Industry

What are some of the upcoming things you could tell us about now?

MS: Enigma was certainly a major milestone for us. Coming up we will expand our infrastructure continuously further. Also we want to continue our efforts bringing Bitcoin to the masses with our #ExploreBitcoin campaign. In this regard we are launching the Bitcoin education center that will educate people who are new to Bitcoin and want to know more about it. It will feature an introductory course to Bitcoin as well as interviews with industry leaders from Bitcoin and from markets where Bitcoin has big potential such as remittance market etc…

You were a close partner with Spondoolies did their closure effect you or will it in the near future?

MS: Spondoolies Tech was a great company, with great people and best quality products. Going forward not everybody can win the race of chip manufacturing. I am glad we are in an independent position and are always able to choose the most efficient machines on the market when deploying new farms.

Were you as excited as many of us were when GPU mining came back into the profit mode with Ethereum and DASH?

MS: Yes, we always were. I think both, Dash and Ethereum are two great examples of cryptocurrencies that have high potential and real innovation behind. Additionally their communities are strong and growing.  We mined Dash (former Darkcoin) from the early minute on, supported their community and even accepted payments in Dash directly from the beginning.  Also for Ethereum, we were big believers from the first minute on. We used a significant portion of our capacities to directly start mining after the launch and expanded the farms ever since. Our Enigma farm is just the tip of the iceberg now being the worlds largest Ethereum farm.

Being part of the whole cryptocurrency revolution makes me very happy every day. I guess we all can’t imagine how much this ground for innovation can change the world. Exciting times ahead!





 

Thank you, Marco, for your time. Genesis Mining continues to grow and adapt to changing markets and continues their advocacy in the industry. While many cloud mining providers have come and gone, as well as many scams, Genesis has stood strong.

We look forward to seeing their education center and #ExploreBitcoin campaign roll-out.  We will keep you informed on how they do with this and more as it happens.

What do you think about Genesis Mining’s initiatives in the industry? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Genesis Mining, Bitmain, Bitcoinist.net. 

The post Marco Streng of Genesis Mining on Ethereum and DASH Mining appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Marco Streng of Genesis Mining on Ethereum and DASH Mining




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Kvě 01

HYPR CEO: Blockchain Becoming ‘Ubiquitous’ in Banking Sector

Source: bitcoin

HYPR blockchain

HYPR Corp. is a biometric security company that focuses on making the financial world safer for consumers and businesses alike. Led by CEO and blockchain enthusiast George Avetisov, the company recently partnered with blockchain security firm BitGo, producing an alliance that could secure the entire finance industry with blockchain-powered biometrics.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Blunders, Suffers $15 Decline

Combining the Blockchain With Biometric Security

Bitcoinist got the chance to sit down with CEO George Avetisov to discuss his company, its involvement in the blockchain industry, as well as hurdles faced by both biometric and blockchain security.


George Avetisov

Tell me a little bit about HYPR. What kind of biometrics do you do?

Just a little bit about us. We provide a technology called biometric tokenization. It’s a relatively new term. Are you familiar with FIDO, or the FIDO Alliance, or the FIDO protocol — Fast Identity Online?

No, I’m not.

Ok, so it’s an open standard for biometric authentication. When you use your Samsung S5 or S6, or log into your paypal account, you’re using a FIDO-based authentication channel. The purpose of FIDO is to push an open standard that was designed by Google, Microsoft, Bank of America — some of the key players in tech — to decentralize and secure biometric data.

We’re a working group member of FIDO Alliance. Our purpose is to push decentralization and security of biometric data. How we do that is through a platform we call the HYPR suite. I’ll show you how that works in a minute.

Just a little bit about us: we’re based out of New York City. The company is mostly enterprise security veterans. Bojan, the CTO, is the founder of the Bitcoin Security Project. He wrote Aegis Wallet, might’ve heard of this wallet. Bojan is an expert in bank security consulting and blockchain technologies as a whole. When we came together, it was really interesting because we had this idea two years ago for — could we decentralize biometric security? Could we use some of the principles we see in bitcoin — around elliptic curve digital signatures and other aspects of the blockchain — and could we apply that to an authentication protocol? And what was really cool is that FIDO was just getting started, and we started really building a stack of software for enabling this type of architecture.

To make it really short and sweet: Our customer are Fortune 500 enterprises who are basically implementing TouchID or Windows Hello or the Samsung readers. Basically any type of biometric that is available on a mobile device, and our stack is securing that data.

What is the tokenization part? Where does tokenization come in?

How Biometrics used to be done, is you used to do a one-to-many match. You used to take a fingerprint template and you used to match it against a database of fingerprint templates, and you’d get a match. That’s sort of like passwords. Now what’s happened is biometrics have inverted into a one-to-one match on-device. So what you’re doing when you use TouchID, for example, is you’re basically pasting in your password. But in order to do that, you’re authenticating a one to one template. One fingerprint against one fingerprint. And that template never leaves the device. So that’s essentially what a one to one matching protocol looks like.

But where tokenization comes in is a lot of our customers are realizing that simply using TouchID by itself doesn’t actually replace the password. You’re just putting a wall in front of what is essentially a password paste. In order to really replace the password, you need to implement a FIDO-like architecture. That looks like this: when you log in with a HYPR secure system, and you might be doing so through your bank already, what you’re seeing is a login request, during which a cryptographic challenge is sent you your registered device. When you authenticate with your on-device biometric, HYPR signs that cryptographic challenge, send it back up to the server, signature is validated, and you’re logged in.

That’s pretty cool.

Yeah, what’s happening here is instead of simply replacing the password with a biometric to paste the password in, you’re killing the password.

So this is the technology that — is it BitGo — that you partnered with recently?

Yeah, so that’s probably what put us on your radar. BitGo — great company, we’ve known those guys for a long time — a lot of our customers in the banking sectors are adopting blockchain technologies and they would come to us and say, “do you guys have multisig, do you have a blockchain security platform you could help us with?” And at that point we said, “Hey BitGo, do you want to come in and integrate and handle some of these engagements with us?” It’s a two-way street; for BitGo, we improve their using experience with biometric tokenization, and for our customers, we give them blockchain security through BitGo.

Are you planning on doing anything else specifically in the blockchain space? Or is BitGo just like a one time thing?

What it is with blockchain technologies is the space has been so fragmented. And that’s sort of the same problem we’re dealing with in biometrics. One thing I always say is: “there’s no money in biometrics, but there’s money in biometric security.” Because there are so many biometrics companies. And we don’t write any biometric software. We don’t write any algorithms, we don’t write any of the matching stuff — there’s a whole ecosystem around this. But the problem is there’s no way to bring that all together in a suite.

So what I like about what we’re doing is handling this problem of fragmentation in the biometric technology space is big enough as it is. And BitGo seems to be doing that for the blockchain space. They now support Ethereum, and there’s a lot of really cool stuff they’re doing. So I think by offloading that to a partner like them, we don’t have to have the headache of going into blockchain use cases.

So you’re working with BitGo, I would assume you’re at least interested in bitcoin and blockchain. Do you have an opinion on how it will change finance? If you do, do you think that change will be as radical as some bitcoin enthusiasts think? Like, they think it’s going to take over the world, everything will be on a blockchain. What do you think about that?

I could talk all day about this. Let me give you a little bit of background. When Bojan and I came together, we originally wanted to build a biometric security stack for the purpose of securing Bitcoin. We assumed early on that the problem with Bitcoin is its irreversible nature. When banks are adopting this technology, they’re going to need a security stack that’s radically different than what they have now. I guess over time with some of our customer engagements we realized, this is so much bigger than just blockchain security — than just securing private keys — this goes beyond what we set out to do. So we really expanded our offering.

But with regards to where bitcoin’s going, I absolutely agree. It’s becoming ubiquitous in the banking sector. I would say 7 out of 10 of our customers are piloting blockchain technologies whether it’s through us or through our partners or through their own — I’m sure you know the big names who are handling this push right now — most of our banking customers are already up to speed with this. Where it’s really interesting are our IoT customers. I don’t know if you know, one of the components of our suite is iot focused firmware. We extend HYPR’s biometric tokenization protocol for manufacturers for door locks, automobiles. What’s really interesting is that we’re starting to see those guys piloting blockchain technologies

So yes, I agree with the sort of Bitcoin radicalists who think it’s going to dominate the world, but not from a currency standpoint. I gotta disagree there. I do not think people are gonna be walking around with coin, aware that they’re using coin. I think that the underlying rails for banks and the underlying rails for the IoT, for smart contracts, will be blockchain-based or sidechain-based, it’s just gonna be really under the hood.,

Do you think the integration of biometric security and blockchain will help push along this advance?

I think what’s great — that’s a really good point you made — because what we’re seeing is companies piloting biometric security and blockchain technologies in parallel. They’re not that different from each other, they’re not that far apart. Biometrics are maybe a year or two ahead in terms of rollout, whereas blockchain technologies are just now sort of the year of the pilot, with nasdaq and these other big firms.

But here’s the problem: you’re pushing out blockchain-based use cases, but the user experience sucks. You’ve gotta have strong authentication on top of that. Strong authentication usually reduces usability. So you have 2FA through text messages or 2FA through additional apps. I’m sure you’ve heard of the various hacks that have happened with 2FA systems on bitcoin wallets. And this is all pretty ABC stuff, me losing some coin through a 2fa hacker, through a breach from my coinbase wallet or something like that.

When you’re talking about using the blockchain –using private keys or cryptographic hashes for IoT use cases — now you’re talking about, can 5 years from now the energy grid be put at risk because we don’t have a good security infrastructure in place around these blockchain systems? And I think that’s why biometrics give a really good parallel to what’s going on with blockchain. If we can grow this around the same time these companies are rolling out bitcoin-based technologies, we’re increasing security and also user experience simultaneously.

Do you think the block size controversy will have any impact on how fast it gets rolled out to the mainstream?

That’s an awesome question. I try to stay clear of r/bitcoin when those things flare up. But I think if block size does not — I don’t know if we’re expecting a hard fork, or if this is just gonna keep going back and forth with the Chinese miners — the longer this takes, the more banks are gonna either start implementing off-chain or sidechain solutions or just their own blockchains. It makes the core blockchain look worse as a whole. It makes it look less desirable. Put yourself in the shoes of a COO at a Fortune 500 company, you’re faced with the decision of going with some side chain or off-chain solution or building it yourself, or going with the solution where 9 guys can’t decide on a protocol for 8 months, like come on.


We would like to thank Mr. Avetisov for taking the time to speak with us. His experience in financial security gives him interesting insight into the state of the blockchain industry, from both a security and business perspective. Bitcoinist will continue to follow HYPR’s work in the blockchain space.

What do you think about George Avetisov’s views on the blockchain and biometric security? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of HYPR Corp., IT Briefcase. 

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Dub 05

OB1’s Washington Sanchez Speaks about OB Release

Source: bitcoin

Sanchez

4 April 2016 – Openbazaar has been moved to the main bitcoin network, and is officially open for business. You can buy, sell and moderate transactions using the newest beta release, and sell real goods and services for Bitcoin. There have been several improvements to the app since our interview with Sam Patterson about the testnet launch, and they certainly show.

Read Also: Secure DAO Marketplace Launches Massive Crowdsale

Dr. Sanchez’ Thoughts on OpenBazaar Release

 

I’ve been tinkering with OpenBazaar since its early builds that used a web interface and had little in the way of real functionality, and watching the transformations it has undergone into its current form has been inspiring. It’s amazing what a small open source project can do in a few years with sufficient vision and direction, and OB has been a prime example of just that. From the application’s lowly beginnings as a fork of a darknet hackathon project, to a toolkit that allows diverse, decentralized commerce to be performed, from selling physical and digital goods to commissioning art and contracting labor. I even contributed in small part to OB history by completing the first successful art commission with OB1 co-founder Sam Patterson during the testnet beta, with a sorry excuse for a painting that featured an owl. Since then, the community has grown from a few developers and enthusiasts to a fast growing community of users around the globe. I asked OB1 Co-Founder Washington Sanchez about what it took to get OB where it is today, and this is what he had to say:

Washington Sanchez

“It has been a long journey to get to this point… nearly two years from the moment that DarkMarket was released. We worked for a year in our spare time, weekends, and late nights before we became a company and switched to full-time development. At that point, we realized we had to start essentially from scratch and build on a solid foundation so we can scale, even though it meant we had to delay our release date. Nevertheless, OB1 was very lucky to pick up talented developers that share the vision for OpenBazaar and Bitcoin; I think they’ve created something very special for the community and worth the wait. The great part is that this release is just the beginning. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the volunteer developers over the past two years, people who donated, our investors, friends, and family.”

Since the Main net release, dozens of listings for physical and digital goods are popping up all over the place. As people adopt OpenBazaar as a way of doing business, the utility it offers becomes more and more evident. No listing or transaction fees, no commercial restrictions, a revolutionary and efficient reputation system, the list goes on. When asked about what OB means for globalized services like  Amazon, AliExpress, and eBay, Dr. Sanchez replied with this:

“I think we want to encourage people who use these platforms to also sell their goods and services on OpenBazaar. Apart from looking amazing, OpenBazaar has a zero take-rate as well as greater flexibility in dispute resolution that will lead to fairer outcomes than they’re used to on these other platforms. As OpenBazaar scales and matures, I expect that these centralized marketplaces will be under a lot of pressure to justify the fees they charge to Vendors and at times the poor customer service.”

Map of Contact hotspots to  the OB Helpdesk Node since main net release in Europe


OB Community Discusses Release Implications

 

While OpenBazaar still has a long road ahead to becoming a standard in online commerce, Dr. Sanchez is clearly confident in the application and underlying technologies. And impressions of more casual users seem to match that sentiment. The implications of a free, decentralized, competitive marketplace on the ‘clearnet’ will likely disrupt the e-commerce market as it gains traction, especially in emerging digital markets with unfavorable regulations like Brazil, India, and Russia. During a lively discussion of the future of OB on the application’s official slack, Janet Ghazizadeh, an international development specialist and early OB adopter, put it like this:

“… [undeveloped nations’] problems are usually bigger than what bitcoin or decentralized markets can fix, but for eBay users, it’s definitely a disruptor … I was also the owner of two businesses in Afghanistan … Some regulations are just hard to get around. If you’re trying to ship a physical product to another country, for example, those regulations will still be there regardless of how the transaction was made. But if you’re providing services, that’s a different story. I see the people selling services benefiting from OB.”

OpenBazaar is fresh out of testnet development, and while it offers a slick, user-friendly experience, it isn’t without bugs and problems. It is, however functional, and according to the devs, safe to use on the main bitcoin network. Plenty of merchants and users are attracted to it, as evidenced by the explosive growth of nodes since the main net release, and it will certainly be interesting to see what uses it finds in the global community.

How do you feel OpenBazaar will disrupt the e-commerce market? Let us know in the comments!


Images Courtesy of Openbazaar, Washington Sanchez, Daniel Murrell

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Dub 01

An In Depth Interview With the Developer of ZeroNet

Source: bitcoin

ZeroNet

ZeroNet the decentralized Internet-like network that uses Bitcoin and BitTorrent technology is a new platform launched in January of 2015. The application is based in Budapest, Hungary and acts as a web host for a network of peer-to-peer pages. Users worldwide can use the open source ZeroNet protocol and begin surfing distributed websites.

Also Read: Synthetic Cannabis Proliferates On The Dark Web

“ZeroNet’s goal is to create a more decentralized and people-powered Internet with open, free, uncensored websites and communication that is easily accessible for everyone.”Tamas Kocsis, ZeroNet

The platform is not anonymous by default but can be tethered to Tor and used in a private manner. Creator Tamas Kocsis believes the application brings better decentralization to the Internet and has built a system where web pages cannot be censored or shut down. This would be incredibly useful as governments have become more tyrannical and some already ban certain pages.

Lead Developer and founder of Zeronet Tamas chatted with us here at the Bitcoinist and gave us an in-depth look into how this project started and his introduction to coding and Bitcoin. Tamas believes the Internet has some centralized issues that can be addressed with technology like Zeronet.


ZeroNet: ‘If You Build It, They Will Come’

Bitcoinist: How did you get involved with computers and coding?

Tamas Kocsis (TK): I was in love with the Internet since the dial-up era. I found some programming tutorials in a newspaper around 1999, started experimenting with it, then I was building websites.

Bitcoinist: When did you first learn about Bitcoin?

TK: Back in 2013 I brought someone 1 BTC as a wedding present, then started browsing forums and read more articles about it. I really liked the idea and wanted to contribute somehow to the community and to the decentralization idea, so I came up with ZeroNet.

“ZeroNet uses the same cryptography as Bitcoin, in result every site address is also a Bitcoin address and the users are also identified by the same way, so you can send bitcoin directly to them.”

Bitcoinist: Can you tell our readers what Zeronet is and what it aims to accomplish?

TK: ZeroNet allows you to create websites without any server, that is only modifiable by you. It has no hosting costs; the sites are served by the visitors, if you visit a site it’s also become available from you. It reduces Internet centralization, surveillance and gives more power to the people.

Bitcoinist: How does the protocol use Bitcoin and Bittorrent technology?

TK: ZeroNet uses the same cryptography as Bitcoin. As a result, every site address is also a Bitcoin address and its users are also identified by the same way, so you can send bitcoin directly to them. It uses the BitTorrent network to find other peers for the sites. The file transfer protocol is different from it because BitTorrent does not allow dynamic, real-time updated sites which is a key feature of ZeroNet.

Bitcoinist: Is there anything wrong with the way the Internet is run today?

TK: I think the Internet is getting more and more centralized, which is dangerous in many ways. For example, it’s easier to attack, censor, mass monitor and have a negative effect on creativity and wealth distribution. If big companies and governments know everything about us, then they can easily control us and influence our decisions.

Bitcoinist: Zeronet is immune from certain DDOS attacks, and takedowns is this correct?

TK: It’s uncensorable because it’s impossible to modify the site without the site’s private key and it’s also resilient of DDOS attacks, because if you want to make a site inaccessible, you have to take down every peer who is serving it which can be 1000s of computers.

Bitcoinist: Do you feel Zeronet gives a free and uncensored approach to the web?

TK: One of the main goals of ZeroNet is to bring the more decentralized web idea to less tech-oriented people by the ease of use, without a need of any configuration.  I think if we want to convince users to use our platform we have to offer similar user experience and speed as they have already used to while using computer/smartphone on daily basis.

It reduces Internet centralization, surveillance and gives more power to the people. If you build it, they will come.”

Tamas Kocsis, ZeroNet

Bitcoinist: How many users are using the platform currently?

TK: It’s hard to measure because every site is an independent network, but I think there is around 1000 users on the network.  It’s still a very new platform (launched in January 2015), but people started building new applications and I also planning to create new features and sites. I think the user number only depends on content, so believe in “if you build it, they will come.”

Bitcoinist: In the future do you think the internet may reach total decentralization or will there be a balance of both?

TK: I don’t think ZeroNet as a replacement of current Internet (I also think Bitcoin will never replace all fiat money), it has lots of limitations, but it could be better solution for many kinds of sites. Just like, when birds appeared on earth they do not replace insects, but become a new kind of life-form.

Bitcoinist: What is the overall goal for Zeronet?

TK: ZeroNet’s goal is to create a more decentralized and people-powered Internet with open, free, uncensored websites and communication that is easily accessible for everyone.


Thanks for speaking with us Tamas and we look forward to watching this project develop.

What do you think about ZeroNet? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of ZeroNet

 

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An In Depth Interview With the Developer of ZeroNet

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Úno 02

Bitit CEO: ‘Gift Cards Are a Good Solution’ for Bitcoin Adoption

Source: bitcoin

Bitit

Bitit is a new Bitcoin gift card company that wants to make it easier for Europeans to buy bitcoins. The company believes that their gift cards are a way to smooth the learning curve involved in using bitcoin without an intermediary. On the consumer end, there are no wallets involved or keys to remember, all they do is sign up for a Bitit account and receive a euro-denominated gift card funded with bitcoin. 

Also read: T-Mobile Data Creates Opportunities for Internet of Things and Bitcoin

The Bitit Gift Card: Unnecessary Hassle or Convenient Bitcoin Tool?

While the hardcore Bitcoiners among us would argue that a gift card doesn’t constitute “really” using bitcoin, Bitit believes that their product is a good way for people to at least get started. Parisian startup incubator TheFamily seems to agree with Bitit, accepting the gift card startup as its first Bitcoin project.

However, when we consider the multi-step process involved in getting your first Bitit card, as well as the 3.9% transaction fee, we can’t help but wonder if these cards really provide any benefit over regular credit cards. First, customers have to sign up for an account on the Bitit website, filling in their profiles with basic information. After the accounts are registered, customers can begin the process of buying a gift card. Upon selecting the amount of bitcoin you want to buy — denominated in euros — customers are redirected to the payment page. After paying for the cards, users have to wait for Bitit’s “Risk Management Platform” to verify the transaction. Then, customers are emailed a code for redeeming the funds on the gift card, which they must paste into Bitit’s redemption interface, along with a bitcoin wallet address. After completing this last step, customers will finally receive the bitcoins that Bitit purchased for them “on the spot price markets.”

Once customers receive their bitcoin-funded cards, they can spend them like a normal gift card. On each transaction, though, there is a 3.9% fee, which is pretty steep.

To an experienced Bitcoiner, it may seem like much less of a hassle to just buy bitcoin on an exchange by yourself. However, Katan says that the consumers in his company’s target market have very little Bitcoin experience, and have an easier time with their purchasing process than they would with learning how to setup an independent bitcoin wallet or exchange account, and that they don’t really care about the relatively high transaction fee.

Instead, Bitit is all about bringing ease of use to the bitcoin ecosystem, which Katan thinks is the key to spreading bitcoin adoption. He thinks his company’s strategy is working, calling their €25 gift cards a “bestseller,” and citing “testimonies from customers telling [Bitit] how much they were happy not having to call their banks, initiate a wire transfer and wait for 2-3 days.”

I got the chance to sit down with Katan to discuss his views on his product in greater detail, where he made a case for why Bitit gift cards are a good way to get the average person to start using bitcoin.


What is the purpose of Bitit’s gift cards?

For a lot of people, getting one bitcoin is still difficult, complicated and time consuming.

The concept of Bitit gift cards is about how to improve the user experience of those people who heard about the Bitcoin and who would like to get some but don’t know how to do.

Few months ago, when I talked to my Grandma about Bitcoin, she said she would buy some when it would be easy to do so.

At this time I found no solution so we understood that if we want the Bitcoin going mainstream, the normal consumers need solutions different than the usual Bitcoin Exchange. I mean something that they can understand.

That’s why we think the Bitit gift cards are a good solution. Buying with a credit card and one email address in order to get your bitcoin in less than 10 minutes. The offer is simple and easy to grasp.

What advantage(s) do Bitcoin gift cards in general offer over traditional gift cards?

Traditional gift cards can be redeemed into products or some kind of digital money but always in a centralized environment controlled by the gift card emitter.

The Bitit Gift card can be redeemed only into Bitcoins, an ubiquitous and versatile currency that can be used with thousands of merchants or that can be sent on another continent like an email.

I would add that as the Bitit gift cards are denominated in euros, the value in Euros is redeemed in bitcoins only at the time of the redemption on the Bitit platform. Thus we maintain the exact card value until the consumer activates his gift card to receive his bitcoins.

The process of setting up an account and learning how to get a Bitit gift card seems kind of time consuming, what about this service would make people want to use it instead of just learning how to use bitcoin without any kind of intermediary?

Let’s be clear, our service is for the people who don’t know or have no time to learn how to use bitcoin by themselves.

Our mission is to educate them without exposing them to any risk. That’s why our 25€ gift cards are a bestseller. With one valid credit card and some basically informations a customer gets his bitcoins in less than 10 minutes on his wallet.

Of course we have some customers who want to buy up to 200€ per week. In this case he just need to be verified as we have to comply with European laws concerning Anti Money Laundering issues, the customer has to upload a proof of identity and take a selfie holding his document directly on the Bitit platform. Even in this case, we see every day that the user experience we offer is worth spending 2 minutes.

We received testimonies from customers telling how much they were happy not having to call their banks, initiate a wire transfer and wait for 2-3 days.

A 3.9% transaction fee seems pretty steep compared to using bitcoin without an intermediary, what does Bitit provide that would make this fee worth it?

Again the Bitit gift cards are not for the traders who are extremely well educated. Our customers buy a service. As an example for a 25€ Bitit eGift card he will have to pay 25.98€.

They can redeem their bitcoins immediately, they can send the Bitit gift card by email to their relatives and they earn loyalty points that give them discounts on the next gift card.

In addition there is no expiration date, thus we guarantee absolute no risk of losing anything.

So for this service, we think our customers receive good value in exchange of their confidence.

Bitit makes the buying of Bitcoin as easy as buying any retail gift card ( or voucher )

You mentioned you were backed by parisian incubator TheFamily, can you give us some information about them? Have they worked with any other Bitcoin-related projects?

TheFamily nurtures Entrepreneurs through education, unfair advantages & capital. They are based in Paris, France and they give us support in order to anticipate and manage our growth. We double our activity each month. They made a good choice, as we are the first Bitcoin startup hosted at TheFamily.

Are there any plans to bring this service to the United States or other parts of the world?

Of course we are considering international expansion in Europe but also other continents. We have received requests from physical point of sales that would like to sell physical Bitit gift cards.

We already have conducted some tests in Europe and the first results are very promising. Now we accept applications from brick and mortar merchants and POS networks.

We are really happy with the reception our customers gave to the Bitit gift cards, and we would like to thank them for their confidence.

Hopefully our exponential growth will convince some investors to follow us for our next funding roundtable and help us grow faster outside of Europe.


What do you think about the Bitit gift card? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of the Fun Times Guide, Bitit

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Bitit CEO: ‘Gift Cards Are a Good Solution’ for Bitcoin Adoption

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Led 30

First Global Credit: Encouraging Bitcoiners to Become Traders

Source: bitcoin

First Global Credit: Encouraging Bitcoiners to Become Traders

While Bitcoin represents a great currency for trading, there aren’t too many platforms that accept the digital currency as market trading collateral. A newly-formed company known by the name of First Global Credit Private Trading Group is aiming to change this.

Also read: China’s Growing Number of Internet-Connected Users is Positive for Bitcoin

First Global Credit Private Trading Group Is Looking for Talented Traders

According to recent reports, the company has begun a search for capable traders. Those who wish to get access to a professional grade currency and stock trading account, which will be part-subsidized by the company, will have to submit an application. Traders do not require any particular training or studies, but to join the platform, potential traders will have to come up with a strategy statement of roughly 750 words, outlining how they wish to use their bitcoin collateral to make profit while trading currency, stocks and ETFs on the platform.

Once a trader is awarded the account, they’ll have to deposit one bitcoin into it, which will be doubled up by the firm. The two bitcoin collateral will allow traders to work with up to 20 bitcoins worth of capital, which is based on the 10-times leverage principle. Traders are also free to convert their collateral into fiat and vice versa, to avoid issues caused by volatility. Once successful trades are made, the profit will be split between the trader (75%), and the firm (25%).

To help put things better into perspective, The Bitcoinist held an exclusive interview with the CEO of First Global Credit Private Trading Group.


What was the intention when creating a private trading group using bitcoin as market collateral?

We’ve created the private trading group for two reasons. First, we are looking to find profitable traders so we can make money for First Global Credit. But it is also my hope that this will attract talent that would never get the chance to develop a career in trading. People with innate talent who would never get the opportunity to become market traders because they lack the contacts, formal education or they just live in an out of the way place.

Considering bitcoin’s volatility and lack of centralization, wouldn’t it be a bad collateral option?

This is absolutely the case for most companies. But First Global benefits from my background and that of my development team. We have developed hedging systems for complex, volatile commodity trading and have adapted those skills to another market type, bitcoin.

What types of investments will be made by traders? Solely bitcoin?

We accept the bitcoin as collateral and loan the trader fiat currency to put the trade into the market. They have a choice of 200 NYCE or NASDAQ stocks to trade, about 10 LSE stocks and about two dozen ETFs. They can go long or short the stocks as they wish. When the trader makes a profit on the stock and it is sold, the profits are swept into their account in bitcoins.


It’s also worth adding that due to the Switch Service outlined above, traders can use trade via both fiat and bitcoin, thus allowing them to profit with both currencies.

What do you think about the First Global Credit Private Trading Group initiative? Will it encourage more people to look forward towards a career in trading? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!


 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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First Global Credit: Encouraging Bitcoiners to Become Traders

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