More pro-crypto gaming enthusiasts need to get on board, however. When Twitter users were asked what use case will take cryptocurrency to more than 10 million daily users, gaming and collectibles came in third behind remittances and P2P payment and gambling and the prediction market. (There are currently less than 1 million active cryptocurrency users today, discounting speculative holders, noted cryptocurency hedge fund manager Ari Paul.)
Customers purchasing an e-gift card will enjoy zero Coinbase withdrawal fees and bonuses on select e-gifts. From converting bitcoin into Uber credits or ether into a Nike shopping spree, customers will have greater flexibility and control over how they use their crypto.
In January, we announced a new policy to “prohibit ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.” At the time we also made clear that “this policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices... We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”
In the last few months, we’ve looked at the best way to refine this policy — to allow some ads while also working to ensure that they’re safe. So starting June 26, we’ll be updating our policy to allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers. But we’ll continue to prohibit ads that promote binary options and initial coin offerings.
Advertisers wanting to run ads for cryptocurrency products and services must submit an application to help us assess their eligibility — including any licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public background on their business. Given these restrictions, not everyone who wants to advertise will be able to do so. But we’ll listen to feedback, look at how well this policy works and continue to study this technology so that, if necessary, we can revise it over time.
It’s important that we continue to help prevent or remove misleading advertising for these products and services. So please continue to report content that violates our Advertising Policies by selecting “report ad” in the upper right-hand corner of any advertisement.
This Twitch game lets you play Pokemon with Lightning Network
Developers are finding new fun ways to test blockchain technology.
Software engineer João Almeida has created Poketoshi, a platform that lets you play Nintendo’s iconic game Pokémon via the Lightning Network.
The game is hosted on live stream video platform Twitch and works just like the rest of ‘Twitch Plays Pokémon’ games. The games work by reading commands entered into the chat room by users. In Poketoshi, the commands are instead entered through a Lightning-enabled virtual controller.
The users can enter a set of commands through the controller and have to pay 10 Satoshi per command through Lightning Network. The payments are made through OpenNode, a Lightning-enabled Bitcoin payment processor for merchants.
In several countries throughout Africa, citizens are spending an average of 27 cents to top up their mobile airtime, and they're using a crypto token to do it.
That might sound strange to many in the crypto industry, since the vision of today's blockchains allowing the movement of millions of microtransactions across the globe has proven a challengingone to reach.
Yet, a South Africa startup, Wala, is proving that a little ingenuity and an effective embrace of a nascent technology can make cryptocurrency a better payment mechanism than any of the traditional options many citizens of African nations currently have.
"We really believe cryptocurrency is what is going to drive a financial revolution in Africa," said Tricia Martinez, the CEO of Wala, which raised $1.2 million selling ethereum-based "dala" tokens in an initial coin offering (ICO) in December.
And it seems like that is starting to play out.
Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, Wala is now facilitating roughly 6,300 daily dala transactions for more than 57,000 wallet accounts across Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The vast majority of those transactions are micropayments under $1.
"Our biggest competition isn't the banks, it's cash," she said.
One way Wala is enticing new users is adding rewards they wouldn't get from using cash. For instance, users can earn dala by recommending the app to friends, plus later this year, the company will launch a 'microjobs platform,' which will offer dala for simple tasks like filling out research surveys or taking pictures.
"We're trying to make a continent-wide currency," Martinez said.
Ripple (XRP) has unveiled their University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) consisting of a $50 mln donation to 17 universities globally to support education in blockchain and crypto, Ripple Insights reports June 4.
Ripple will also contribute technical resources and expertise as part of the initiative, allowing the universities to collaborate with Ripple on blockchain research and blockchain and crypto-based curriculum formation.
Among others, Princeton will work with the UBRI to research the policy impact of crypto and blockchain worldwide, UPenn will receive support for MBA-MS candidates for a dual-degree program that allows for work on crypto and blockchain, and the University of Luxembourg will build a blockchain research program.
Earlier this spring, Ripple also gave a donation in XRP worth $29 mln to support public schools through the DonorsChoose charity fund. More recently, Ashton Kutcher donated $4 mln in XRP to Ellen Degeneres’s wildlife fund as a surprise gift while taping her live show.
In May, American law firm Taylor-Copeland Law filed a class action lawsuit against Ripple Labs for selling unregistered securities. The lawsuit targets Ripple, its subsidiary XRP II, and Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse. The official complaint states:
“XRP purchasers reasonably expected to derive profits from their ownership of XRP, and Defendants themselves have frequently highlighted this profit motive [...] Given its reliance on sales of XRP, it is unsurprising that Ripple Labs aggressively markets XRP to drive demand, increase XRP’s price, and thus its own profits.”
Bittrex Inc., a Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange that lets users swap nearly 200 different digital coins, said it forged banking agreements that will allow some customers to trade in U.S. dollars.
The closely held firm said the pact will let corporate clients in some states buy virtual tokens using dollars -- a move that could help the trading venue bring in more users. Bittrex is working with New York-based Signature Bank, which will hold the dollar-denominated funds, along with other financial firms.
“It’s been a long path,” Bittrex Chief Executive Officer Bill Shihara said in an interview. “It’s not just about banks being able to trust Bittrex. It’s about banks being able to trust crypto in general. And I think it’s really showing that crypto is turning the corner in terms of mainstream acceptance.”
Millennials who made money trading digital assets in their spare time are breaking away from top firms.
Whether cryptocurrencies and the technology that powers them will reshape the financial system remains to be seen. What’s not in doubt is their ability to transform the career paths of bright young minds on Wall Street.
Adrian Xinli Zhang was climbing the ranks at Deutsche Bank AG in New York when he discovered Bitcoin. The 29-year-old made enough money trading digital currencies in his spare time to leave the German bank in March, the same month he was promoted to director, people familiar with the matter said.
At Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Jonathan Cheesman, 36, and Justin Saslaw, 28, are among at least three front-office employees in New York who quit the bank this year after making personal profits from cryptocurrencies, said people with knowledge of the situation, asking not to be identified. In London, Asim Ahmad pocketed enough from investing his savings in Ether to walk away from BlackRock Inc.
“I’m in a position where it doesn’t make sense to work at BlackRock anymore,” said Ahmad, who advised pension funds on investments in alternative assets and hedge funds while at the world’s largest asset manager. “The one-day volatility of my portfolio is higher than my salary, so if I get a few investments right then I’ll have made the same as my yearly wage and everything else on top is a bonus.”
Officials for BlackRock, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs declined to comment on their employees’ investments or their departures.
While the Wall Street establishment debates whether cryptocurrencies will become a profit center or a legal liability, some employees have gotten wealthy enough from personal investments in digital assets to turn their backs on promising jobs at top firms. A small but growing group of finance professionals has built up a big enough financial cushion to eschew the safety net of a monthly salary.
Instead of heading to the beach or squandering their trading proceeds on luxurious living, some of the new digitally-moneyed have become such ardent believers in the power of blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin and other digital assets, that they’re starting their own businesses. Ahmad says he now helps run a fund that invests in blockchain ventures with a positive social or environmental impact. Zhang is working on a trading platform for digital assets, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Zhang, formerly a trader on the centralized risk desk at Deutsche Bank, started investing in cryptocurrencies in his spare time last year and has traded more than $1 million worth of the assets, the person familiar said. He exchanged tips and trading ideas with colleagues, including Yao King, head of program trading and exchange-traded fund trading for the Americas, who also made sizable personal profits from crypto trading, said people familiar.
“If you start mentally spending this money it will hurt you when it falls”
Aside from just buying and selling coins, some seek to profit from inefficiencies in the market, such as the variance in the price of Bitcoin on different exchanges and the difference in pricing for futures contracts of varying expiration dates. When the first Bitcoin futures started trading on a Sunday evening in December, King stayed up all night and at one point his trades accounted for a third of all open interest in the March Bitcoin future, according to people familiar with the matter.
When Ahmad first came across Ether in 2016, the same year he joined BlackRock in London, he invested all the savings he had available from six years working for an investment consultancy in Northern England, or 10,000 pounds ($13,250). While declining to say how much money he made from his investments, which included participation in initial coin offerings, he said Ether cost about $10 when he invested. It now trades above $500 and cost more than $1,400 earlier in the year.
“If you start mentally spending this money it will hurt you when it falls,” said Ahmad, who quit BlackRock in March. “If you enjoyed the volatility on the way up you have to accept it falls as hard if not harder at times.”
It’s not only financial professionals who saw the extreme volatility and immature market infrastructure of cryptocurrencies as a money-making opportunity. Scammers and criminals have also targeted the market, prompting regulators from China to the U.S. to scrutinize digital assets.
Authorities worry virtual currencies are susceptible to fraud because exchanges are not actively pursuing cheaters, wild price swings make it easy to push valuations around and digital assets aren’t currently subject to regulations like those that govern stocks and bonds. The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether traders are manipulating prices, while the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating initial coin offerings.
Read more: U.S. Launches Criminal Probe into Bitcoin Price Manipulation
The whipsaw ride in cryptocurrencies in the past six months, which saw Bitcoin trade between around $6,000 and $20,000, has fueled debate among laymen and Wall Street luminaries alike over whether financial institutions should seek to make money from digital assets or avoid them like the plague. Whether they embrace it or not, the rise of crypto has forced the biggest banks and money managers to acknowledge an asset class that could previously be dismissed as a side-project for libertarians or a playground for criminals.
While many on Wall Street preach the virtues of blockchain, opinion is divided on the benefits and longevity of cryptocurrencies. Digital assets have even proven divisive within firms, with managers often at odds with subordinates, said Adam Grimsley, a former BlackRock fixed-income specialist who co-founded a crypto hedge fund in London called Prime Factor Capital.
“You’ve seen a bifurcation internally at many larger houses where senior managers are very skeptical about crypto, while graduates and younger team members are very positive,” said Grimsley. “The youngsters may have less intellectual baggage and may be more open-minded, but they also have less responsibility for managing risk and working out the practicalities of bolting on crypto to the existing business.”
And while their seniors work out the institutional stance, the juniors are leaving.
“Crypto is certainly a market that’s pulling away real talent from financial services,” said Chris Matta, 28, who left Goldman Sachs’s money management unit last year to co-found an investment firm for digital currencies called Crescent Crypto Asset Management.
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Blue Frontiers has signed a much-publicized memorandum of understanding with French Polynesia. The Floating Island Project is exactly as it reads, only it’s to be an independent government complete with its own cryptocurrency. An idea long thought to be a crazy dream of libertarians is now incredibly close to realization.
Crypto Floating Island Project Nearer to a Reality
“A core structural feature of current models of government is centralization,” begins the pitch for an initial coin offering (ICO) pre-sale of Varyon from Blue Frontiers. “Too much centralized authority leads to inefficient bureaucracies and representatives disconnected from the people they are meant to serve. Given a suitable technological solution, governments are ripe for decentralization. That technological solution is seasteading.”
This Crypto Vending Machine Can Tell If You're 21 And Sell You Beer
"We've been thinking about practical ways of bringing crypto technology to a more mainstream audience, and how can we go so so niche that it's so easy to understand for a regular individual. Proof of age seemed like the best low-hanging fruit."
In this way, Capilnean argues the model also circumvents issues with using traditional ID verification techniques in such settings, including being equipped for the variety of IDs consumers might use, as well as the handling of data transmitted or stored in the verification process.
Going even further, the demo illustrates how blockchain technology could one day enable the makers of all kinds of age-restricted products to move into the vending machine market.
"It's not limited to just beer, it could be for any kind of age-restricted product. Unmanned entrance to casinos, and then for the vending machines, we can see this going into concerts, ballgames, venues, conferences," he said.
Huawei Technologies Co., a Chinese multinational communications technology company, has announced that mobile phone users will be able to download Bitcoin (BTC) wallets on new Huawei devices starting Friday, Bloomberg reported May 10.
Huawei is releasing BTC.com’s Bitcoin wallet in its AppGallery app store, which will be pre-installed on all new Huawei smartphones, according to Alejandro de la Torre, vice president of business operations at BTC.com. It will reportedly be the first digital currency app offered on Huawei devices.
Access to apps like BTC.com’s is limited in China as the government blocks Android’s Google Play Store and some parts of Apple’s App Store. While Chinese authorities shut down cryptocurrency exchanges and banned initial coin offerings, people can still own cryptocurrencies. De la Torre told Bloomberg:
“It’s a good opportunity to tap into the Chinese market. The use of cashless payments with apps is very big and the traditional banking system is lacking, so there’s a good use case for crypto payments to grow there.”
In March, it was reported that Huawei is planning to develop a smartphone that will support decentralized applications (DApp) running on blockchain technology. Last year, Huawei shipped90.9 mln units in the Chinese market, where it enjoys a dominant market share of 20.4 percent. Huawei’s global market share was 11.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018. Jaime Gonzalo, vice president of Huawei’s mobile services said in a statement:
“From our leadership position in China, the tip of the spear of mobile payments, we expect to see massive growth in global cryptocurrency adoption habits in the near future.”
Last month, Huawei announced the launch of a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform focused on smart contract development, “a high-performance, high-availability, and high-security blockchain technology platform service for enterprises and developers.”
Meanwhile, China is planning to release nationwide blockchain standards by the end of 2019. A dedicated working group has reportedly already begun work on the project.
What is the blockchain? And how should Facebook be using it?
Finding answers to those questions is now the responsibility of David Marcus, the Facebook executive who has, until this week, been running the company’s standalone messaging app, Messenger.
Marcus is leaving Messenger to take over a new internal team dedicated to exploring blockchain technology, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. The team will be small at launch, fewer than a dozen people, but will include a few key Instagram executives who are moving over to join Marcus: Instagram’s VP of Engineering, James Everingham, and Instagram’s VP of Product, Kevin Weil.
Messenger’s head of product, Stan Chudnovsky, will take over the Messenger app and its team.
The move is noteworthy for a couple of reasons:
As the former president of PayPal, Marcus has a lot of payments expertise and has been in charge of Messenger through a lot of significant changes over the years. In fact, Facebook’s decision to split Messenger out of the core app so that users had to download the standalone app in order to receive messages on mobile happened during Marcus’s first month on the job. He oversaw Messenger’s push into customer service bots, shopping and, more recently, advertising. His departure from that role is notable, especially since Messenger is just starting to ramp up its advertising business.
The blockchain, which serves as the technical foundation for all cryptocurrencies — like bitcoin — is all the rage. Facebook’s decision to pursue blockchain technology will most certainly add some validity to the crypto industry, which has been very chaotic. This doesn’t mean that Facebook will build its own cryptocurrency, but there are many ways that blockchain technology could be used that have nothing to do with cryptocurrencies, including encrypted data storage. Marcus does have a personal interest in cryptocurrencies, though. He joined the board of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in December.
SPINDLE, which plans to connect cryptocurrency hedge funds and users easily and on an equitable level, successfully completed a private sale earlier this year, centered predominantly in Japan. The investment matchmaking platform now hopes to go global. Its blockchain-based system is designed to make investments and the cryptocurrency market available to everyone, regardless of their background or wealth. Its platform ‘ZETA’ will use a combination of blockchain and smart contract technologies to create an environment where information on investment opportunities is delivered with “utmost transparency,” enabling investors to directly communicate with fund managers and make confident decisions based on reliable information.
The project also wants to increase the amount of information about assets available to fund managers. One way this will be achieved is through using Ethereum smart contracts to create a transparent and easy-to-access record of all transactions associated with an asset. Both fund managers and private investors will have access to a complete, tamperproof history of an asset through ZETA.
A company made history on Monday by launching a Bitcoin mining rig called Space Miner One into the stratosphere, where it confirmed transactions and mined Bitcoin over 100,000 feet from the surface of the planet.
Attached to a weather balloon, the Space Miner One rig drifted through the lower atmosphere before returning to Earth on a parachute where it was safely recovered from a field in Lithuania. The rig was connected to the internet via satellite phone and was also fitted with an ASIC mining chip, a Raspberry Pi 3, battery, GoPro Hero 5, and a metal souvenir coin for a competition winner.
We spoke to Miner One CEO Pranas Slušnys about the meaning of the launch and his plans for the future.
“The goal of Space Miner One is to symbolically express our belief that bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general is about the future and the revolutionary technology at its heart: so-called blockchain technology. And with this new technology, the sky’s the limit.”
Mr. Slušnys boasts an impressive resume including over 20 years experience in IT&T business and data center construction and management. The Miner One project is currently raising funds to build a mining farm in northern Sweden where low temperatures and energy costs will all aid the success of the project’s crypto-mining operation, which the team believe will grant investors better returns than mining at home.
The next step of the project is building the mining facility. Mr. Slušnys informed us that they are eager to start mining, particularly with the rebounding prices of Bitcoin and Ether, stating that this will help pay for more of the cutting-edge equipment the project needs to grow. The project has committed to begin payouts to investors by the end of the summer.
Miner One CEO told CCN that while Monday’s launch was symbolic, he firmly believes mining cryptocurrency in space will be a reality in the future.
“We think mining and the technology it is based on will, of course, eventually reach outer space. In a sense, it already has to the extent that communications channels carrying information around the bitcoin network use satellites.
We even hear word that NASA is researching the possibility of using blockchain technology for communication and navigation in space.”
While the Miner One team will be keeping their feet on the ground, NASA has indeed begun blockchain research for deep space navigation, and it may well be that in the future, satellites armed with mining nodes and solar panels could operate cryptocurrency networks and generate returns from outer space.
Op Ed: Can Solar Power Drive Bitcoin Mining in Africa?
While many in the West often overlook Africa as an emerging blockchain innovation center, a deeper look across the continent tells a very different story. The Blockchain Africa Conference came to a close last month in Johannesburg, South Africa. Around the same time, the Kenyan government set up a task force to study the impact of the technology. There are plenty of other blockchain communities growing around Africa too, in places like Nigeria, Sudan and Algeria.
Will It Bring Mass Adoption?More pro-crypto gaming enthusiasts need to get on board, however. When Twitter users were asked what use case will take cryptocurrency to more than 10 million daily users, gaming and collectibles came in third...
Customers purchasing an e-gift card will enjoy zero Coinbase withdrawal fees and bonuses on select e-gifts. From converting bitcoin into Uber credits or ether into a Nike shopping spree, customers will have greater flexibility and...