Dub 21

Blockchain Meets Movie Industry as White Rabbit Teams Up with Production Company K5

· April 21, 2018 · 5:00 pm

Blockchain start-up White Rabbit, developers of a browser plugin that allows users to legally stream movies and television series from any open streaming service, has announced a strategic partnership with K5 International, a subdivision of K5 Media Group, a renowned media production company that has produced Oscar-nominated films.


Financial details of the partnership, which was announced in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, where not disclosed, however, the deal conditions suggest that K5 will grant White Rabbit users access to its library of 50-plus movies while the company’s co-founder Daniel Baur will join White Rabbit’s advisory board. Further details of the details, however, remain undisclosed.

White Rabbit is developing a browser plugin that will recognize any type of streaming content and offer the viewer a chance to directly pay to the copyright holders of said content via secure blockchain infrastructure using the platform’s native WRT tokens. All purchased content will remain available to the user in the Rabbit Hole – the content library – regardless of the viewer’s geographic location.

The tokens themselves will be available for sale during a whitelisting event later this year.

Commenting on the deal, co-founder and CEO of White Rabbit Alan R. Milligan stated:

Such deals show that the conservative cinema industry is becoming interested in innovative technological solutions and that our WRT token will have a very decent real-life application.

Milligan is a renowned filmmaker whose filmography includes award-winning motion picture Letter to the King.

Baur also noted:

I have been actively searching the blockchain space for over a year, looking for companies that can have a massive impact on the film industry. With White Rabbit, I saw a product that properly integrates blockchain and embraces the existing entertainment industry and fans in a unique way.

K5’s portfolio includes films directed by such renowned filmmakers as Andrew Niccol and Tom McCarthy.

Aside from that, White Rabbit has also announced that three specialists from one of Europe’s biggest blockchain companies Blockchangers will join the team. Jonas Therkelson will step in as CTO, Jon Ramvi as lead blockchain developer, and Robin Pedersen as full stack developer.

Milligan remarked:

We are incredibly excited to have K5, Daniel Baur and the Blockchangers team support our mission to ensure a legal, innovative P2P streaming market, offering fans the choice and access they deserve and the industry a transparent and instant monetization model for rights holders, film investors and talent.

White Rabbit was first announced in October 2017. The project is currently being developed with the MVP (minimum viable product) expected to be released in the second quarter of 2018.

Currently, the project holds a $1 million budget partnership program which offers up to $100,000 to any video service that joins White Rabbit.

What do you think of White Rabbit’s new partnership with K5? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of White Rabbit

Bitcoinist does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. Readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company.

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Dub 09

Bitcoin’s Richest Could Own a Significant Part of Global Wealth

· April 9, 2018 · 3:00 pm

Credit Suisse’s latest estimates indicate that for the first time the richest 1% own 50.1% of all global wealth, a proportion that’s likely to move to the richest 1% owning two-thirds of global wealth by 2030.


World’s Rich Getting Richer

Global wealth inequality had improved between 2000 and the financial crisis of 2007-2008 but the trend since has seen global wealth statistics shifting. The top 1% of individuals have gained a greater proportion of the world’s total wealth.

Projections in a report by the UK Parliament suggest that the world’s wealthiest individuals, the top 1%, will own 64% of global wealth by 2030.

Since 2008, the wealth of the richest 1% has been growing at an average of 6% a year – much faster than the 3% growth in wealth of the remaining 99% of the world’s population. Should that continue, the top 1% would hold wealth equating to $305tn (£216.5tn) – up from $140tn today.

The Wealthy are Investing

The House of Commons report goes on to suggest:

Wealth has become concentrated at the top because of recent income inequality, higher rates of saving among the wealthy, and the accumulation of assets. The wealthy also invested a large amount of equity in businesses, stocks and other financial assets, which have handed them disproportionate benefits.

Assuming that cryptocurrency investments could be among the financial assets providing “disproportionate benefits” how does this compare to the Bitcoin Rich List?

BitInfoCharts gave an estimation in January of how many millionaires had been created by the Bitcoin boom:

“It is impossible to know,” a spokesperson for BitInfoCharts told Penta. “My guess is somewhere between 20,000 and 200,000.”

What’s more is that the ultra-rich are starting to get into Bitcoin investment themselves. Yesterday, Bitcoinist reported how the Rockefeller family is placing a multi-million dollar bet on the bright future of cryptocurrency following the footsteps of billionaire George Soros and the Lichenstein crown prince just to name a few.

Bitcoin Wallets in the Top 1%

This could mean 200,000 of the world’s wealthiest 1% made at least part of their wealth from Bitcoin. Given that the price of Bitcoin could rise significantly by 2030, creating more wealth and more Bitcoin millionaires, Bitcoin owners could be a significant statistic in the volume of individuals controlling two-thirds of the planet’s wealth.

The three biggest Bitcoin wallets contain over 99974 Bitcoins, even at today’s low Bitcoin price of $6772 the three wallets are worth between $677 billion and $1.26 billion USD each. In comparison, the world’s richest individual, Jeff Bezos, is currently valued at $112 billion USD.

Twins

It is rumored that some of the biggest Bitcoin wallets and addresses are actually held by the FBI and that at least one of the top 10 wallets belongs to the as yet unidentified Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. The Winklevoss twins also hold at least one of the top 10 wallets.

Though some of the richest people in the world have undoubtedly got richer after investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies the sector has also created a healthy number of new millionaires. These new millionaires may at least, in part, diversify the pool of wealthy who control the majority of the world’s total wealth.

What are your thoughts on the unequal distribution of global wealth? Is it good, or bad, that Bitcoin might be contributing to this inequality?


Images Courtesy of ZeroHedge, Credit Suisse, Shutterstock.

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Bře 18

Gift Cards and Paxful Offer Economic Options to the Global Unbanked

· March 18, 2018 · 1:00 pm

The global unbanked have been frozen out of most economic ecosystems, but Paxful is changing this through the selling of gift cards on their cryptocurrency exchange.


The rich and elite have a lot of options when it comes to economic decisions. They can invest in gold, stocks, bonds, precious gems, artwork, real estate, automobiles, and cryptocurrency. The only snag they face is the wait to convert the value of one asset into another, but such a problem is a minor one indeed. By contrast, the unbanked are essentially locked out of most economic ecosystems due to having to physically hand over fiat for goods and services. Even getting involved in cryptocurrency is an issue for the unbanked, but Paxful is offering an unexpected gateway: gift cards.

Even Cryptocurrency Has Obstacles for the Unbanked

The number of individuals with a bank account has increased over the last few years, but the problems facing the unbanked and underbanked still exist. In the United States alone, there are 10 million households that are either underbanked or unbanked. Worldwide, the total number of the unbanked is two billion souls. As such, they do not have access to a financial institution in any manner.

As one can imagine, this puts severe limitations on an individual’s economic freedom. All transactions have to be made face-to-face and in cash. This situation puts the unbanked at the mercy of those who would economically exploit them as they have no other options. What good is it to know that an item costs 60% less online if you’re unable to purchase anything online?

Cryptocurrency is viewed as an outlet of economic freedom for people, but even this has some obstacles for the unbanked to face. Almost every cryptocurrency exchange requires the use of a financial account (checking account, debit card, credit card, etc.) as well as identifying documents in order to use it. The unbanked do not have access to these items, which means they would normally be locked out of engaging in the cryptocurrency sphere. Fortunately, Paxful is working hard to make a difference by offering the unbanked hundreds of options to engage in the virtual currency sphere without the need of a bank account.

iTunes gift cards

Gift Cards Offer Economic Access

The humble gift card that a person can buy at any small shop or gas station offers access to the global economy via cryptocurrency. Paxful hosts the fourth busiest Bitcoin wallet by volume, but their status is often ignored due to the low amount of their transactions. People aren’t normally sending hundreds or thousands of dollars per transaction on Paxful, but the p2p network embraces this reality as their goal is to offer an economic lifeline to the developing world.

The number one gift card used by the unbanked on Paxful is iTunes. Last week, a total of $6,635,517 was converted into cryptocurrency via iTunes gift cards, with an average transaction amount of $97. The second most traded card on the Paxful platform is the Amazon gift card. This card featured an average amount of $84 per transaction, and the total volume for the last week was almost $2.5 million. Rounding out the top five payment methods on Paxful are the eBay gift card, the Walmart gift card, and the Best Buy gift card.

Why does Paxful allow so many different gift cards to be used on their cryptocurrency exchange? The answer is that it fulfills their goal of offering economic choices and freedom to people throughout the world, especially in regions that often lack stable financial structures. An unbanked person can easily venture into the crypto sphere and take full advantage of the global economic system just by wandering into a corner store, buying a popular gift card, and then exchanging it on the Paxful platform.

gift cards

Keeping Opportunity Alive

Gift cards are the doorways to a new economic reality for millions and millions of people across the globe. This is why Paxful works hard to keep them available for conversion on the platform, despite any difficulties they may bring. A particular case is the iTunes gift card. This card chews up a lot of the support staff’s time due to some issues, but Paxful refuses to drop it. As Ray Youssef, the co-founder of Paxful, notes:

We are the only p2p crypto service that deals with iTunes gift cards, why? All the others stopped supporting them because of the absolutely massive headache and near impossibility of proving proper account balances on iTunes gift cards. We have chosen to keep iTunes gift card support because it is still how the unbanked of Africa get their bitcoins. We refuse to abandon these unbanked users as the whole idea of bitcoin and Paxful is to help them.

In the end, it’s often the little things in life that make a big difference. Such is the case with the humble gift card. Paxful allows the selling of such cards on their platform as a means of allowing those with no access to the global financial network a way in. Allowing the unbanked to retain their dignity while allowing them to explore financial opportunities is a tremendous gift.

What do you think about Paxful enabling the unbanked to use gift cards to access the cryptocurrency market? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Flickr/@401(K) 2012, YouTube/@Paxful, Pixabay, and Flickr/@arvind grover.

Bitcoinist does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. Readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company.

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Bře 13

European Central Bank: Bitcoin ‘Not The Answer To Cashless Society’

· March 13, 2018 · 1:30 pm

The European Central Bank (ECB) claimed Bitcoin is “not the answer to a cashless society” March 13 while also casting doubt on bank-issued digital currencies.


Bitcoin ‘Spotlights System Failures’

In an “opinion piece” co-authored by Benoît Cœuré, ECB board member and chair of the Bank for International Settlements’ (BIS) Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures, as well as chair of the BIS Markets Committee Jacqueline Loh, the bank argues Bitcoin represents a “challenge” due to banks’ failure to provide suitable international remittance options for consumers.

“Despite its many faults, bitcoin has put the spotlight on an old failing of our current system: cross-border retail payments,” they write.

…These payment channels are generally much slower, less transparent and way more expensive than domestic ones. Improvements here are the best way of rising to the bitcoin challenge.

ECB: ‘Jury’s Out’ On Central Bank Cryptocurrencies

The ECB has signalled a conspicuously hands-off approach to digital currency beyond its control in 2018.

Last month, chair of its Supervisory Board Daniele Nouy told mainstream media regulation of the phenomenon was “not exactly very high on its to-do list” and that EU banks’ involvement with cryptocurrency was “very, very low.”

This came despite the institution presiding over member states in which the ‘War on Cash’ is highly advanced, notably Sweden, where consumers have even voiced concerns over inclusivity.

Cœuré had forecast increasing interaction at an international level, saying during January’s World Economic Forum 2018 that he expected lawmakers to “focus very much on” cryptocurrency going forward.

While Blockchain remains a sphere of major interest for the EU, the financial aspects of cryptocurrency – whether decentralized or so-called central bank digital currencies (CBDC) – appear to hold less promise for the ECB.

“Still, it is not yet clear whether CBDCs for consumers and businesses are necessary or desirable. In other words, the jury is still out, and the answer will clearly differ country by country,” Cœuré and Loh concluded.

Beyond the EU’s borders, other countries are indeed successfully issuing CBDCs, notably Venezuela and the Marshall Islands, with Turkey and Iran showing interest in following suit.

What do you think about the ECB’s opinion on Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bře 11

Older South Koreans Are Investing in Cryptocurrencies the Most

· March 11, 2018 · 1:00 pm

While most people associate cryptocurrency investment with the younger half of the generational spectrum, reports have shown that seniors in South Korea are going significantly harder in the digital paint than younger investors.


Respect your elders

According to a survey of 2,530 adults by the Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation conducted last December, older investors are getting involved in cryptocurrency much more aggressively than younger investors — though the latter is more active when it comes to buying and selling.

People in their 60s invested larger amounts than any other age demographic, totaling 6.59 million Korean Won — or $6,194 USD. “The older the investor, the larger the investment,” Kwon Soon-chae, told Korea Joongang Daily.

However, senior analyst at the Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation is worried that older investors don’t really understand what they’re getting themselves into. Said Soon-chae:

There’s a need for older investors to not lose their retirement savings on cryptocurrency investments.

South Korea Bans Bitcoin Futures As Authorities Consider Crypto Income Tax

The survey also revealed that roughly 23 percent of South Koreans in their 20s have experience in buying cryptocurrency, while people in their 30s aren’t far behind at 19 percent. The likelihood of a South Korean in his or her 40s investing in cryptocurrency, meanwhile, was 12 percent, while someone in their 50s was only 8 percent.

In regards to investment size, South Koreans in their 20s averaged 2.93 million Korean Won, versus people in their 30s and 40s who both invested less than 4 million won. Those in their 50s weren’t far behind those in their 60s, at 6.29 million won.

As noted by Korea Joongang Daily, 42 percent of participants in their 60s were investing more than 3 million won, while 21 percent invested more than 10 million won. Of those in their 50s, less than 10 percent invested a larger sum than 10 million won, as compared to participants in their 20s and 30s, of which 40 percent put less than 1 million won.

The hype is over

Perhaps most importantly, the survey indicates that the hype surrounding cryptocurrency — particularly during the unprecedented bull run which took place late last year — has cooled off.

According to the survey, respondents that continued to invest in cryptocurrency made up only 6.4 percent of the total pool, while 31.3 percent never even dipped their toes in digital currency’s waters.

A particularly concerning statistic for cryptocurrency enthusiasts is the fact that one 7 percent claimed they would continue to invest in digital currencies, while 23.1 percent admitted feelings of reluctance. Meanwhile, 70 percent claimed they had no plans to invest in cryptocurrency.

Respondents’ largest concern was the threat of hacks, while volatility came in as the second most popular reason for refraining from cryptocurrency investments.

Are you at all surprised to learn that older Koreans are more aggressive cryptocurrency investors? Do you think the downtrend to start 2018 is scaring investors away? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock

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Úno 08

Cameron Winklevoss Predicts 40x Increase for Bitcoin ‘Someday’

· February 8, 2018 · 9:00 am

Bitcoin has come a long way since the time 10,000 coins were allegedly used to buy a pizza— and if you ask Bitcoin bull Cameron Winklevoss, the gold standard of cryptocurrency still has a long way to go.


‘It’s Actually a Buying Opportunity’

Today, one Bitcoin is worth just over $8,000 USD. But according to Cameron Winklevoss, investors can expect it to go up 40x “someday.”

Cameron made the bold prediction on Wednesday this week to CNBC at the Milken Institute’s MENA Summit while claiming Bitcoin is better than gold. He stated:

Taking bitcoin in isolation […] we believe bitcoin disrupts gold. We think it’s a better gold if you look at the properties of money. And what makes gold gold? Scarcity. Bitcoin is actually fixed in supply so it’s better than scarce … it’s more portable, its fungible, it’s more durable. Its sort of equals a better gold across the board.


By Winklevoss’ logic, the argument that digital gold is actually superior to physical gold means the total market capitalization of Bitcoin should match, if not surpass, that of gold. He explained:

So if you look at a $100 billion market cap today, now last week it might have been more like 200, so it’s actually a buying opportunity, we think that there’s a potential appreciation of 30 to 40 times because you look at the gold market today, it’s a $7 trillion market. And so a lot of people are starting to see that, they recognize the store of value properties. So we think regardless of the price moves in the last few weeks, it’s still a very under-appreciated asset.

Whether or not Bitcoin is better than gold has been an especially contentious debate as of late. The World Gold Council has even published a report which claims Bitcoin could undermine central banks.

Skin in the game

Of course, the twins’ view is not an unbiased one. Since both brothers hold a significant quantity of bitcoin, and recently became one of the first Bitcoin billionaires, they do have a skin in the game when it comes to the success of the world’s first cryptocurrency. 

Tyler Winklevoss has also come to Bitcoin’s defense against critics like J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffett, and Goldman Sachs.

Dimon Nowhere To Be Seen

Dimon infamously called Bitcoin a “fraud,” while investing giant Buffett has claimed cryptocurrency “will come to a bad ending”—despite admitting he doesn’t really understand the technology. Goldman Sachs has even gone so far as to claim that most cryptocurrencies will drop all the way to zero.

“You know the criticisms are just a failure of the imagination,” said Tyler Winklevoss.

Do you agree with Camron’s prediction? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock

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Led 16

Mark Cuban: Buy Dallas Mavericks Tickets ‘Next Season’ With Bitcoin

· January 16, 2018 · 7:30 am

Billionaire Bitcoin skeptic-turned-bull Mark Cuban has said his Dallas Mavericks basketball team will accept Bitcoin “next season.”


Cuban Turns On To Bitcoin Acceptance

In comments on Twitter following publication of team line-ups, Cuban, who as recently as June last year called Bitcoin a “bubble,” confirmed fans would be able to purchase tickets with Bitcoin later in 2018.

The move is milestone for both US basketball and Bitcoin acceptance in sport, Cuban having warmed to Bitcoin considerably over the last six months.

“It is interesting because there are a lot of assets which their value is just based on supply and demand,” he told Bloomberg in an October interview, during which he confirmed he had invested.

Most stocks, there is no intrinsic value because you have no true ownership rights and no voting rights. You just have the ability to buy and sell those stocks. Bitcoin is the same thing. Its value is based on supply demand. I have bought some through an ETN based on a Swedish exchange.

Previously, in an apparent publicity stunt, the billionaire had purchased $20 worth of BTC in order to demonstrate its price would soon correct from highs of the time of around $2800.

Following In Footsteps Of Denmark’s Bitcoin Hockey Team

Outside the US, Denmark made an even more conspicuous gesture last month when an ownership change of a major league hockey club resulted in Bitcoin all but taking over.

Bitcoin Suisse’s three-year tenure means that Rungsted Seier Capital’s home stadium will now go by the name Bitcoin Arena, while the team’s top player will receive his salary in BTC, official announcements stated at the time.

The move “(paves) the way for others in- and outside of the world of professional sports to do the same,” an release added.

Cuban meanwhile remains tight-lipped on what motivated him to launch Bitcoin ticket sales in the short-term.

What do you think about Mark Cuban’s decision to accept Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Thrillbender.com, Twitter

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Led 07

Bitcoin to the Rescue in Economically Unstable Countries

· January 7, 2018 · 5:00 am

Bitcoin seems to be the knight in shining armor for countries suffering distress due to corrupt governments and volatile economic climates.


Bitcoin’s race to the top of the crypto charts has been filled with record-breaking prices, mainstream integration into the financial industry, and overall sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat excitement.

In waiting for the currency to reach the next price milestone, it may be easy to forget what it’s actually there for. Even though it may have a somewhat infamous reputation as being the preferred medium of exchange for shady deals, Bitcoin’s goal is to completely revolutionize and disrupt the global economic industry.

Paying Salaries in Bitcoin is Becoming Trendy

Bitcoin Offers a Welcome Respite From Corrupt Institutions

This is especially true in emerging markets, or in countries where the political and socio-economic sectors are fraught with corruption and an iron-grip control on finances. In addition, it could be the potential answer to the huge problem facing the unbanked population.

According to the Wall Street Journal, crypto users in Sudan, Kenya, and South Africa are fast latching on to Bitcoin as a lifeboat while navigating the choppy waters of economic uncertainty in their respective countries.

Circumventing Sanctions in Sudan

Mohammed Mahgoub, who is a Sudanese web developer and early Bitcoin fan, had this to say:

The main attraction in Bitcoin is the ability to transfer money without any restrictions or going through a bank, this was very important as there were US sanctions imposed on Sudan.

The country has been subjected to financial sanctions for nearly 30 years, negatively impacting cash outflow and making the purchasing of international imports extremely difficult. In addition, because it is seen as a sponsor of terrorist activities, the country is still on the blacklists of most Western banks.

A Facebook group called Bitcoin Meetup Sudan consists of a range of members hoping to learn more about the cryptocurrency. One member wants to raise funds for her NPO by using Bitcoin, while another wants her dowry to be paid in bitcoins.

On the flip side of the bitcoin, financial institutions in developed countries have cautioned people on the risks of using digital currencies as they are not backed or supported by a bank or by the government. However, this is the exact reason that cryptocurrencies have become so popular in emerging markets as it cannot be controlled by untrustworthy authorities.

Arnaud Masset, an analyst at Swissquote, which is a brokerage offering Bitcoin trading to retail clients, further explained:

Buying cryptocurrencies is seen as a protection by people who have been constantly disappointed by central banks and politics.

Masset went on to add:

When conventional money fails, Bitcoin wins.

Masset also touched on using virtual currencies as a way to alleviate sanction stress:

It’s a convenient and fast way to skirt sanctions.

The supply-and-demand principle is clearly evident with the super crypto. Because its demand is so high in developing countries, its price is well above the global average. On some exchanges in Zimbabwe, like Golix, one Bitcoin traded at $22k, compared to the $15k it was trading at on CoinDesk.

Bitcoin Finds South African, Brazilian, and Kenyan Fanbases

eToro reported that phenomenal increases in Bitcoin usage were seen in South Africa and Brazil in 2017, with trading in the former increasing by 671% over less than a year. This massive growth was likely as a result of the country’s president axing the well-respected former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan. The South African rand was also downgraded to junk status by S&P Global Ratings in November last year.

Mati Greenspan, an analyst for eToro, stated that Bitcoin usage grew in Brazil as a result of ongoing corruption involving both the country’s former and current presidents.

Kenya is another country experiencing massive Bitcoin growth, 1,400% in 2017 alone. They use the currency to place bets, and people even use it to pay for and gain access to services not available to Kenya, such as Spotify AB.

Smartphone Growth Is a Silver Lining Despite the Dark Cloud of Volatility

However, the currency’s volatility is a real problem in these developing countries. Being in a somewhat precarious position financially can be even more frightening when your Bitcoin investment is losing value every hour, as was the case with the currency’s price correction last month.

Digital currencies may be increasing in popularity in these countries, but they still have a long way to go before being adopted as a common medium of exchange. However, the growing smartphone market in Sub-Saharan Africa is a positive factor in a faster integration. According to GSMA Intelligence, this growth is predicted to happen at a rate of 50% faster than the global average over the following five years.

Do you think emerging markets will continue to increase their usage and adoption of digital currencies? Would this result in more aggressive regulation efforts by the governments in these countries? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Pxhere, and Bitcoinist archives.

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