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Diamond-Backed StableCoin CEO Talks Blockchain For Storing Value

Bitcoinist spoke with Jeremy Dahan, founder and CEO of diamDexx, a diamond-backed stablecoin that promises to make cryptocurrencies more practical for everyday use.


In the decade since the 2008 financial crisis, the monetary system has changed tremendously. Once unshakable pillars of the industry no longer exist, and new financial instruments, like digital currencies, have become more accessible.

At its peak, Bitcoin and hundreds of other digital currencies achieved a market cap of nearly $800 billion. But despite a well-publicized price drop, these tokens continue to be popular investment vehicles in the digital age.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that they are fulfilling their purpose. Bitcoin was initially intended to serve as a borderless, decentralized currency that could facilitate commerce in the digital age. However, it’s erratic valuations, and broad speculative interest has made it more akin to digital gold than to usable currency.

Consequently, a cadre of asset-backed stablecoins have emerged that combine the functionality of digitization with the reliability of fiat.

While stablecoins can address many of the shortcomings in today’s cryptocurrency ecosystem, they have had their own share of problems. This is something that diamDEXX is striving to solve by backing their token with diamond assets and offering convertibility with real diamonds.

Jeremy Dahan

Jeremy Dahan is the CEO of diamDEXX, and we had an opportunity to chat with him about the role of blockchain in the future of finance and how asset-backed tokens could make crypto more practical for everyday use.

There is significant debate right now about the role of digital currencies in the economy. To what extent has volatility stifled crypto adoption or made it less likely to be used at checkout? 

Volatility has played an essential role in the usability of crypto. It’s basically the start of a vicious cycle that impacts cryptocurrency on all fronts – from regulations to the ways users interact with it. Companies, on their side, also don’t want to use and transact in unregulated assets that are also terribly volatile and can quickly put them in the red. It’s just not a wise way to do business.

But volatility is actually what’s attracting new users. It’s arguably the biggest use-case at the moment with many transactions being to/from exchanges. Why would investors be interested in a ‘stable’ diamond-backed digital token?

Speculation, as you say, has so far been the main driver of the crypto industry and, just as in today’s financial markets, will always exist. However, if we want to achieve crypto adoption and disrupt the current financial systems, we need to establish cryptocurencies as an everyday solution. For that, we need stability. Investors, can use this kind of currencies to both safeguard their profits and pay for products and services.

The blockchain is quickly catching on as the go-to technology for tracking and conveying financial assets. What makes this technology so beneficial in this regard?

People have always tried to create trusted institutions and to appoint figures of authority to verify that everyone follows the rules of the ‘games’ we play, whether that’s in finance, law, or even actual games.

This has been true digitally as well. With the internet and now the blockchain we’ve managed to create decentralized, incorruptible ledgers that codify and embed our rules into a trustless system, and I think that’s extremely valuable.

At the end of the day, code can’t be bribed and doesn’t make emotional decisions. It just does what it’s supposed to do, and anyone with the necessary knowledge can verify its integrity or point out flaws on it.

For those just becoming familiar with the idea of using digital tokens to store physical value, what’s the most significant benefit of tokenization?

Tokenization is not a new concept. Public companies have been doing it for ages in the form of shares and stocks. However, the blockchain has drastically changed the game by giving everyone the power to access these financial tools without having to go through the hoops imposed by traditional financial institutions.

In many ways, you’re now able to act and profit like a Fortune 500 company from your living room if you have something of value to offer to the world.

There are many so-called stablecoins coming to market that offer similar solutions to crypto’s well-documented volatility. What makes diamDEXX’s diamond-backed solution superior to the efforts of these other platforms?

The very first thing that sets the DIAM ‘Coinsistent’ apart from its competitors is token-to-stone redeemability. Thanks to this feature, DIAM users can obtain physical diamonds from their tokens’ worth of cryptocurrency. They can either receive a shipment or delegate these diamonds’ custody.

Thanks to this, we’re digitalizing, liquidizing, and ultimately creating the ultimate store of value. It’s also important that users take a look at diamonds as asset classes and realize their true value. Basically, we’re talking about the most crisis-resistant, best-performing asset of the last decades.

Saying something is ‘backed’ by an asset is a bit inaccurate. One must trust a third-party to actually deliver the asset if the user wants to claim it just like it used to be with gold-backed paper money.

Since our coin will also be listed on exchanges, it is on our best interest to create as many incentives as possible for people to hold and redeem DIAM. Our partnership with IDEX, a world leader in online diamond trading, has allowed us to create a platform where users can obtain diamonds directly from 8,000 manufacturers, saving them money by avoiding intermediaries’ commissions and cuts. IDEX is also our monthly auditor, which means we have yet another incentive to honor our commitment to transparency.

How can asset-backed tokens overcome the transparency problem that has plagued so many other platforms?

Precisely by providing transparency. Users should be very wary of anyone not wanting to comply with audits, documents, and proof of funds. The Internet, scanners, the blockchain, the cloud, and many more tools are there to make this easier than ever. Those who won’t comply with minimum requirements, I’m afraid, have something to hide. 

IDEX is a fully regulated and reputable company, and it oversees the auditing of our diamond vaults. Every month, our stock reserves’ value is being audited, with reports publicly available on our website.

What implications might that have for the broad crypto ecosystem? And to the economy itself?

The right asset-backed token might be a groundbreaker for the overall economy and for crypto. For the first time, we would be facing something that’s more valuable than fiat currency, both in the fundamental, ideological, and financial way.

What happens if such an asset is created? Only time would tell, but in my mind that can only mean that our competitors (even if those are government themselves) either try to shut us down or try to catch up to the trend. Eventually, great technology always wins.

What’s the point of using a blockchain (if it doesn’t remove trust) when one can simply ‘tokenize’ an asset using a centralized database?

A blockchain, of course, keeps a public track of every transaction, making the issuing, handling and burning of tokens transparent. It’s also reliant on Ethereum, a platform which users trust and know. On a centralized database, this level of transparency can’t exist.

Why is a native token needed? A sidechain like Liquid, for example, can harness the immutability and decentralization of Bitcoin. Why use less secure blockchains that are prone to 51% attacks and other vulnerabilities.

Our project relies on the fact that the dollar value of the diamonds in our vaults perfectly matches the amount of tokens to issue. Without a native token, the smart contract that regulates both the vaults and the amount of tokens cannot perform it’s functions, and we can’t ensure the consistency of our currency.

Having an ERC-20 token, on another hand, protects us from 51% attacks, since the Ethereum blockchain is strong enough to prevent these attacks.

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Čvn 01

Binance Research: ‘Non-Crypto Public’ is Now Getting Into Bitcoin

Institutional demand for crypto assets is decisively starting to affect the crypto space. Bitcoin remains the “bellwether” of the industry, while data showing that the crypto market has already bottomed out is becoming more explicit, according to Binance Research.


Institutional Appetite For Crypto Is Skyrocketing

The crypto industry will continue to gain momentum over 2019, with the pace of evolution potentially speeding up if crypto asset prices get a boost, according to a new Binance Research report released on May 31, 2019.

The report underscores the all-time high volumes of crypto assets recently traded on the CME Group. Indeed, over USD 1 billion were traded during a single 24-hour period in May 2019.

CME bitcoin futures

Specifically, as Bitcoinist reported, the CME Bitcoin futures reached a record high of 33,700 contracts on May 13, 2019. This impressive number of contracts was 50 percent higher than the previous record of around 22,500 contracts that had been reached on April 4, 2019.

This extraordinary flurry of trading reveals that institutional demand is entering the crypto market. Thus, the Binance Research report concludes,

Institutional investors, currently representing (in our conservative assumptions) less than 10% of all long-term investors, are growing their exposure to digital assets and cryptocurrencies, as illustrated by a premium of nearly 40% for Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) over BTC spot price at the end of May.

General Public Getting Back Into Bitcoin

Investors’ interest in Bitcoin over-the-counter (OTC) trading is also increasing. According to the report, in May Bitcoin OTC trading surged, reinvigorating interest in the BTC-USD pair.

Moreover, during May, the OTC market saw the participation of investors previously unrelated to the crypto space. The report states,

We have definitely seen more interest from the non-crypto public this month, and hope that the market ‘behaves’ such that the interest continues to build.

The prospects for the crypto industry could be even rosier if projects in the pipeline, either running on private or partially private closed systems, materialize by providing blockchain-based business solutions to everyday users. And the report goes notes that,

Thanks to their large user-bases comprised of both retail and institutional clients, these initiatives could ultimately benefit the whole crypto asset industry, with new users moving onto decentralized, permissionless and non-custodial platforms.

Furthermore, Binance Research also extensively analyzed changes in crypto asset correlations based on market structure, concluding that “Bitcoin exhibited the highest correlation with other assets…”

This, the report notes, makes BTC “the bellwether of the industry.”

Given Bitcoin’s stellar performance so far in 2019, it also reiterates a conclusion from April 2019, declaring ‘crypto winter to be over.’

Having emerged from a period of the highest internal correlations in crypto history, the data may support the notion that the cryptomarket has already bottomed out.

What do you think about the growth of institutional investors in the crypto space? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Tradingview.com, Shutterstock

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Kvě 12

Parabolic Advance Halts For Now – So What’s Next For Bitcoin Price?

Bitcoin went absolutely parabolic over the weekend! After topping out at $7,500, traders are now wondering what is next.


Bitcoin Price: Market Overview

Last week brought an onslaught of bearish news that typically negatively impacts Bitcoin price 00. But surprisingly, it shrugged at the news and has gone bananas as its dominance rate rose to highs not seen since 2017.

At the moment, nearly every analyst is screaming “bull market” and making calls for what they believe the new all-time high will be.

Friday and Saturday’s amazing run firmly brought Bitcoin above $6,000 to the previous resistance zone where $6,800 and $7,300 held before the November 2018 40%+ correction and the icing on the cake was a quick blow off to $7,500. A number of crypto analysts have also pointed out that while Bitcoin has gone parabolic, the parabola has broken as the digital asset has not set a higher high after reaching $7,581?

It should also be noted that Bitcoin’s lightning quick ascension took place with few retracements and a pullback. In other words, consolidation could be imminent.

Bears are also likely closely eyeballing the current price action to establish short positions right at the current top so traders should exercise care and not FOMO into a position or play the upcoming retraces without some sort of stop loss.

The weekly RSI has entered the overbought zone and as other analysts like Dave the Wave have pointed out, the MACD is more extended now that it was during the peak of the 2017 bull run.

BTC-USD Daily Chart

The daily chart shows that the RSI crossed 85.3779, which is the point that traditionally marked a trend change in BTC price. BTC/USD first topped a$7,489 at this threshold was crossed and then ran a little further to $7,581 before cooling off and entering what is likely to be a period of consolidation.

Going into the weekly close, BTC looks set to close above the $6,300 if not the $7,300, which most traders believed would pose significant resistance. According to the daily and weekly chart, $8,165, $8,200 and $8,500 are the next levels which could pose resistance for BTC to overcome.

The general consensus is that after such an amazing run BTC needs to either consolidate and regain strength or retrace to previous supports as the RSI, MACD, and Stoch are becoming overextended on the daily timeframe.

BTC-USD 4-Hour Chart

Traders looking to catch the dip might set alarms at $5,900, $5,500, and $5,100 in order to play oversold bounces and following bull crosses on the hourly, 4hr, daily and weekly MACD seems to be the best method for putting traders into profit.

At the time of writing the 4-hr chart shows the MACD nearing a bearish cross and the RSI remains in bullish territory.

BTC has pulled back to nearly rest on the 20 MA of the Bollinger band indicator at $6,660. A drop below the 61.8% Fib retracement level ($6,586) is where things could get interesting.

Traders should also keep an eye on the BTC-USD Longs to Short ratio and BTC-USD shorts in general as bears are likely to set up positions at the recent top and additional rejection points like $7,000.

Happy trades friends!

Where do you think Bitcoin will go over the next 48-hours?

[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not intended as investment advice. Market data is provided by Bitfinex. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.]

Trade Bitcoin, Litecoin and other cryptocurrencies on online Bitcoin forex broker platform evolve.markets.  


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Trading View. Market data sourced from Coinbase.fkff

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Singapore Students Receive ‘Tamper-Free’ Digital Certificates On Blockchain

Students at the high-school level and above in Singapore will from this year receive digital certificates upon graduation. The initiative uses blockchain technology to enable an “easy and reliable way” to prove qualifications through tamper-free certification.


Authenticating An Education

The concept is simple enough. Graduating students receive digital certificates via email, each of which has an embedded cryptographic proof. Schools also add the certificates to an individual’s MySkillsFuture account – an online portal charting career and lifelong learning pathways. A copy also resides on the Ethereum-blockchain-based OpenCerts platform.

When applying for jobs or further studies, students send the digital certificate to the employer or school.  Relevant parties can verify the certificate against the copy stored on the blockchain.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung described the initiative as a “tangible example” of the benefits of Singapore’s Smart Nation journey.

With OpenCerts, we are harnessing the power of blockchain in a practical way. It allows for any education institute to issue OpenCerts, and for anyone to quickly check the validity of a digital certificate.

Cutting Through The Paperwork

This should make the job application and hiring process smoother for both the applicant, employer, and issuing institutions.

Students would no longer have to request certified-true copies of certificates from schools. Patrice Choong of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), said that NP issues around 10,000 of these every year. He added that “issuing and verifying certificates was a ‘productivity issue’ that they wanted to deal with.”

In turn, employers could immediately verify digital diplomas as genuine, without having to approach the issuing institution. Mr. Choong says that NP receives around 2,000 such requests per year.

However, he stressed that students would still receive a physical certificate at a graduation ceremony.

Singapore Has Always Been An Asian Jewel

Singapore has been one of the most positive nations when embracing Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology. The Central Bank of Singapore developed a blockchain-based settlement system for tokenized assets, and its sovereign wealth fund is a major investor in US-based exchange, Coinbase.

This latest initiative, however, is the first blockchain-based project rolled out at a national level.

Will this use-case prove to be a useful app for blockchain? Share your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Dub 26

FedEx Calls To Mandate Blockchain For International Shipping

FedEx CIO, Rob Carter, believes that mandated blockchain standards for international shipping will lead to widespread adoption within the industry. This would also enable authorities to better track goods’ provenance, and help combat the trafficking of counterfeit or illegal goods.


Digitizing The Paper Trail

Carter was speaking during a panel discussion at the Blockchain Global Revolution Conference. Moving a package internationally requires an awful lot of documentation, he explained, some of which can be as important as the package itself.

While this was traditionally paper-based, even digitized documentation transfers occur via 60-year-old technology, with no real-time data. The industry-wide adoption of a standardized blockchain could provide a global solution, and a level playing field, away from proprietary systems. Said Carter:

We’re not an organization that pushes for more regulatory control, but there are times regulatory mandates and pushes can be incredibly helpful.

Working Together To Define Standards

FedEx has joined forces with competitors, UPS and DHL Express (all members of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance), to hammer out standards for such a system. Currently, though a company like UPS can manage single supply chain transactions, these break down when dealing with real-world scenarios with multiple shippers.

A company may use DHL to ship components to Germany. The assembled part may then ship to Latin America via UPS before the fitted part travels to Japan via FedEx. A standardized blockchain would enable all of the relevant information to be shared between all parties and different national authorities.

Stemming Flow Of Counterfeit, Dangerous, and Illegal Goods

Just this month, the White House highlighted the need to combat trade in counterfeit goods, estimated to have a value of half a trillion dollars annually. Using a permissioned blockchain would create a permanent ledger, and the additional use of IoT sensors and RFID tags could give real-time feedback on transit conditions.

Blockchain Technology is Shaping the Future of Shipping

All authorized entities, from shippers to government agencies, to customers, could track packages, potentially all the way back up the supply chain.

FedEx Logistics CEO, Richard Smith, explained that the government’s concern with this was that blockchain had not been widely adopted. His response to which was:

You’re the government. You can mandate that it’s widely adopted.

Gov’t To Mandate Industry-wide Blockchain Adoption?

FedEx believes that this is the quickest way to modernize and streamline the industry, meeting customers’ increasingly complex cross-border shipping, transportation, and brokerage needs. Additionally, it would provide a way to help customs and border agents to achieve their goals, regarding illicit goods flow.

Shipping has long been one of the industries with high hopes for the introduction of blockchain based solutions. A standardized and mandated system could see one of the first cases of mainstream adoption.

Will FedEx be one of the first shipping giants to successfully use blockchain tech? Share your thoughts!


Images via Shutterstock

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Dub 10

Full Blocks ‘Only Way’ For Bitcoin to Stay Trustless, Say Seoul Meetup Founder

Bitcoin blocks will ultimately fill up and fees will increase accordingly, another community figure has warned as a spike in volume continues.


Somsen: Make ‘Smarter Use’ Of Block Space

In a series of tweets April 10, Ruben Somsen, podcast host and long-time convenor of the Seoul Bitcoin Meetup, argued that despite fees increasing, they are part of Bitcoin’s overall transformation into a global payment system.

The impact, he argued, does not have to be a negative one.

“Blocks WILL be full sooner or later. We’re not making smart use of block space, so we’re likely to experience a bumpy fee ride until people adjust their behavior,” he wrote.

…It costs miners virtually nothing to add a transaction. Block space is given to the highest bidder – if nobody bids, it’s practically free. If you think mass replicated immutable blockchain data is at least worth something, then it logically follows that blocks WILL be full.

Bitcoin Transaction Fees Surpass $1 For First Time Ever

The topic of Bitcoin transaction fees has returned to the spotlight over the past week after Bitcoin price shot up to $5300 in a matter of days.

A surge in network activity followed, with fees rising as blocks suddenly became fuller. As Bitcoinist reported, the change led to criticism of certain players, such as wallets which are not helping decrease network load. Somsen agreed.

“Wallets need to get smarter,” he continued.

Fee estimates aim for the next block by default. The result? A bidding war. Better to use Replace-By-Fee (RBF) + under-bidding and automated fee bumps to get a cheaper confirmation within a user-defined time limit. This smooths out the fees.

Off-Chain No Magic Bullet?

He added upcoming technological improvements, in the form of Schnorr signatures, Taproot, MAST, MuSig and SigAgg, would also help keep fees under control, but that the wholesale rollout of these tools was still a long way off.

On the topic of off-chain scaling, something many believe will ultimately avoid the need to pay significant network fees, Somsen also gave cautionary advice.

“…All off-chain solutions, whether it’s third party services or Lightning, do NOT make you immune to on-chain fees,” he countered. “When there are issues, people have to go back on-chain. If you can’t afford to pay the fee, you are stuck and won’t be able to exit from misbehavior.”

He concludes:

There’s simply no other way for Bitcoin to stay trustless. If you personally don’t need trustlessness, you can always transact cheaply off-chain via third parties. But if we sacrifice trustlessness on the base layer, it’ll be gone forever.

Lightning itself remains a technology in its infancy, despite mounting publicity from well-known figures from both within and beyond cryptocurrency.

Considered an experiment on a technical level, Lightning currently contains capacity for just under 1100 BTC ($5.79 million) in transactions, a figure which has nonetheless shot up 40 percent over the past month alone.

What do you think about Ruben Somsen’s prognosis? Let us know in the comments below!


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Dub 09

More Than Half of All Companies Will Use Blockchain Tech in 3 Years, Says Oracle VP

The blockchain has become something of a buzzword over the past year or so, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable solution for many businesses. In fact, one expert believes the made-famous-by-Bitcoin technology will be used by upwards of 60 percent of companies. 


This projection comes from Oracle’s group vice president of blockchain product development, Frank Xiong, who told Forbes CIO Summit that he predicts “between 50% and 60% of companies will use blockchain in the next few years.”

Xiong knows what he’s talking about, too, since Oracle has more than 100 customers using its blockchain platform for the purpose of tracking items.

That said, the company vice president is also realistic in his assessment of the technology when he notes that it really isn’t the be-all-end-all solution for business. “We’re past the stage that blockchain can cure everything,” he told the American business magazine, “so people are becoming more realistic about what’s good for their business model.”

blockchain

Blockchain: Not For Everyone

Samsung SDS vice president in blockchain, Ted Kim, agrees that the nascent-but-growing technology isn’t for everyone. He told Forbes:

At the end of the day blockchain makes multipart collaboration more efficient, whether it’s having a consortium to track data on counterfeit getting into supply chains, or how much inventory you need to create a better forecast. There is tangible ROI in the blockchain.

Kim’s bullishness on the future of blockchain is more reigned in than Xiong’s. The former expects 20 percent of companies to use blockchain technology in three years.

amazon

Keeping The Status Quo

Of course, the possibility exists that decentralized blockchain technology will essentially just get co-opted by centralized companies, and the promise of freedom will be forgotten. Noted Bext360 CEO Daniel Jones:

People are predicting that the blockchain will allow people to be decentralized, that everyone will have distributed trusted networks. I don’t think that’s possible—I think what we’re going to see is companies vertically integrating, the Amazons of the world are going to continue to vertically integrate to the farm level.

Hence, Bitcoin.

What do you think about the future of blockchain technology in the business world? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Dub 02

Augur Prediction Market Platform May Have Design Flaws

An analysis of irregularities discovered in the Augur decentralized prediction market platform has identified a number of design flaws. Namely, it identified a potential attack vector based on discrepancies between a market’s expiry date and its outcome date.


How A Prediction Market Works

A prediction market would seem an ideal use-case for blockchain, harnessing the trustless nature and lack of centralized control. Augur uses the Ethereum blockchain, and allows an individual to create a prediction market based on any definable event.

The market creator defines the topic, end date, and potential outcomes, plus an adjudicator if so desired. Trading (denominated in ETH) continues until the event-end, at which point Augur token holders (or designated reporter) determines the outcome. Token holders stake their Reputation (REP) on the outcome and receive settlement fees.

Houston, We Have A Problem (or Two)

Aside from potentially-illegal markets, covering topics such as assassinations and terror attacks, there are some key fundamental issues.

Owing to its steep learning curve, many Augur users rely on various web interfaces, which offer non-standard features and are open to manipulation. In particular, many users gravitate towards markets which appear trustworthy to others. This creates a feeding-frenzy around the few markets with reported volume, which the market creator may well have manipulated.

Disputed outcomes go to a voting procedure, with users staking REP, and receiving rewards if they choose the winning outcome. This incentivises users to vote for the most popular outcome, regardless of whether it is the true outcome. On top of this, the validity bond, which is lost if a market is deemed invalid, remains fixed, so bad actors can continual create bogus markets.

Potential Attack Vector

A recent example of how this system can be manipulated, was based on the ‘general price of Ethereum’ at the end of the day on March 31st (UTC). The market expired at 01:59 on April 1st (UTC+8), which is before the outcome date, which could cause this contract to be deemed invalid.

By creating multiple outcomes, one of which was unrealistic (ETH over $1000), and one seemingly easy to achieve (ETH between $100 and $1000), it just required a bit of wash-trading to lure punters in.

The attacker would then send a limit sell order for the ‘easy’ outcome, for a quote which is above the reward for an invalid result, but below that of a supposed ‘good deal’. Thus users will fill the order, unknowingly being potentially stuck in an invalid market.

An invalid market results in an equal amount of ETH going to shares of each outcome. In a three outcome market (the final outcome being ETH < $100), each outcome would be marked at 1/3 value. With the majority of participants backing the ‘easy’ outcome, a disproportion return would go to the ‘unrealistic’ backers.

Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Comes In

Whilst Augur has already identified several of the concerns, there has been no official announcement of improvement implementation. Meanwhile, users are still exposed to this kind of attack.

Indeed, the same creator has already made a new market with the same flaw called ‘Ethereum Price at End of April’. There are also copycat markets springing up to catch users unawares.

Until these flaws are fixed, users should probable consider Augur, ‘buyer beware’.

Will blockchain-based predictions markets realize their potential? Share your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Bře 28

These Investors Are Betting Big on the Future of Blockchain Gaming

Supply chain, trade finance and digital identity have all been touted as potential “killer apps” for blockchain. Blockchain solutions in each of these areas continue to attract significant investment. However, there is one use case for blockchain which has the potential to trump all others – gaming.


Gaming is already a double-digit growth sector, with a global market value of nearly $135 billion in 2018. Fortnite is currently one of the most popular games worldwide, with 200 million players. Gaming channels feature heavily among the top influencers on YouTube, with heavyweight gaming vlogger PewDiePie clocking up over 90 million subscribers.

Blockchain technology is making strides, but it still needs a killer app to appeal to a mass user base. However, blockchain has much to offer the gaming industry.

Is Gaming Blockchain’s Killer App?

As gaming becomes more high-stakes, with users investing serious cash into their online profiles, account theft is becoming more prevalent. Hackers have been reportedly stealing accounts from games such as League of Legends, with the goal of selling the accounts online to others who prize the accrued in-game assets. Blockchain offers the potential for immutable ownership of unique digital assets, making it an attractive proposition for game developers.

Although blockchain games are among the most popular decentralized applications, scalability has been a barrier for developers. Games typically require a high transaction throughput, and Ethereum has struggled to live up to the job ever since the mania around CryptoKitties strangled the network back at the end of 2017. Newer blockchains such as EOS and Tron are addressing the scalability challenge, opening up the possibilities for dApp game developers.

Therefore, it’s hardly surprising, that the convergence of blockchain and gaming is now attracting significant investment. Here, we look at three separate instances where investors are betting big on blockchain gaming.

Ripple/Forte

Ripple has made its name predominantly in the financial sector; however the company also has an investment arm, called Xpring. Xpring is partnering with Forte, a blockchain gaming company founded in February by executives from the gaming industry and backed by big names such as Andreesson Horowitz and Coinbase Ventures. The partnership between Xpring and Forte launches a joint plan to help integrate blockchain into the gaming industry.

As part of the plan, Forte will oversee a $100 million fund, held in XRP and released to game developers or designers for incorporating Ripple blockchain services into existing games which have over 50k daily users.

The move represents an opportunity for Ripple to expand its offerings beyond messaging software for the finance sector. Forte will be using Ripple technology, including the Interledger protocol which enables transactions across different blockchains. A smart contract service called Codius will also be available.

Mangrove Capital/DreamTeam

Mangrove Capital is a Luxembourg-based venture fund with team members who have previously been involved in successful tech startups such as Skype and Wix. Late last year, the company announced it was putting a $5 million investment into DreamTeam, a blockchain-based all-in-one eSports platform.

For the uninitiated, eSports is the billion-dollar industry of professional gaming. Competitors from different teams or leagues compete professionally in games such as Counter-Strike. Gameplay is streamed in real-time to fans all over the world. For this reason, the eSports industry is growing fast, as ever more brands and sponsors look to capitalize on the marketing potential.

The founders of DreamTeam recognized that there’s a gap in the eSports market for a platform that connects a fragmented industry and helps to reduce incidences of fraud and non-payments. DreamTeam will serve as a gateway for connecting the various players, leagues, agents, sponsors and tournament operators. Their DREAM token will also be used to receive the advertised prize money when winning these tournaments.

The eSports market is set for rapid further growth, with revenues forecast to reach $1.65 billion by 2021. Therefore, it’s easy to see why Mangrove has chosen to invest in a company like DreamTeam, which is aiming to corner this burgeoning section of the gaming market.

Tron

Last year, Tron announced that it was establishing a blockchain game fund called Tron Arcade. The fund aims to build the foundation for a blockchain gaming ecosystem on the Tron platform, with Tron providing up to $100 million in funding over the next three years.

The Tron Arcade website points to the potential of tapping into engaged users and the limited selection of dApp games currently available. The fund is aimed at providing developers with distribution, funding, advice, and potential access to partnerships through the Tron network.

Tron is making rapid headway among dApp platforms, with fast transaction speeds of up to 2,000 tps. Founder Justin Sun is ambitious about his vision, which is for Tron to “decentralize the web.” This vision was a driving force behind Tron’s acquisition of peer-to-peer filesharing service BitTorrent for $150 million. According to its blog, the Tron Foundation is also venturing into other blockchain use cases including charity, consumer internet, and social media.

Bottom Line

The double-digit growth of the gaming sector shows no signs of slowing. However, the convergence of blockchain and gaming could be a massive turning point, enabling even more significant growth in the future. The influx of investment capital from the big blockchain platforms and venture funds certainly seems to indicate that we can expect far more to come from this combination.

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Bře 25

Paris Blockchain Week Summit Shows French Regulatory Climate Beginning to Thaw

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France isn’t at the forefront of blockchain adoption–at least, not yet. However, all that could be about to change. Paris Blockchain Week Summit from April 16-17, will be one of Europe’s largest events dedicated to blockchain professionals. It’s also the first of its kind to be held here, backed by the French Ministry of Economy and Finance.


Paris Blockchain Week Takes Place April 13-19

April 2019 won’t only be a good time to visit Paris in full bloom as the thousands of trees that line its famous boulevards burst into shades of pink and white. This year, PBW organizers are dedicating an entire week to furthering the blockchain scene in France.

Just a few weeks after the updated PACTE law to aid innovation in the country, the event will showcase the French regulatory framework, one that takes a lighter, more flexible approach to emerging tech.

Paris is one of the world’s most expensive cities currently. But it’s also now vying for its place as a blockchain hub. One of the goals of the PBW is to encourage international blockchain projects to put down roots here.

Throughout the week there will be a series of events. These include workshops, hackathons, keynotes, and of course, fancy cocktail parties to showcase the country’s fine champagne as well as burgeoning tech scene.

Some of the highlights of the week include a €10k prize for the first team to create an entire blockchain and UI on the Cosmos mainnet. There will also be a gathering of the world’s top French-speaking CEOs, entrepreneurs, and investors organized by FrenchFounders.

The flagship event of the week, however, is the Paris Blockchain Week Summit, which organizers expect to attract some 1,500 attendees.

What to Expect from the Paris Blockchain Week Summit

The Paris Blockchain Week Summit (PBWS) is a two-day long conference taking place at Station F. The event will gather some of the most influential thought-leaders, decision-makers, and movers and shakers in the blockchain space.

Among the speakers are Tezos co-Founder Arthur Breitman, MyEtherWallet’s CEO Kosala Hemachandra, and Ripple’s Global Head of Banking Marjan Delatinne. Ledger’s President Pascal Gauthier will, of course, be delivering a keynote as well, as will eToro’s CEO Yoni Assia.

President at France Blocktech Describes His Way to Success

Speakers on the main stage will discuss EU regulation, decentralized exchanges, stable coins, scalability issues, advances in consensus mechanisms, governance, PoW vs PoS, sharding, the integration of AI in distributed algorithms, and many other topics besides.

With Switzerland, Malta, and even Lichtenstein gathering all the attention, this is Paris’ chance to show the world that the country is open for blockchain business–and that France is a contender in the race.  

France is one of the few G20 countries to have drafted a framework for blockchain entrepreneurs over the last year. Its regulators are open-minded and advised by the likes of industry heavyweights Ledger and La French Tech. France is definitely beginning to show that the climate is thawing for blockchain businesses here.

Cryptocurrency Adoption in France

Some of the largest companies in the industry have come out of France. However, while Bitcoinist reported on the efforts of French protestors and street artist Pascal Boyart to spread the word on Bitcoin, France hasn’t been a major contender so far.

With the Paris Blockchain Week Summit backed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as well as the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, it looks like while other G20 countries are falling behind, France is getting serious.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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