Category Archives: ETH

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Asia is Buoyant, New Crypto Exchanges Set for Hong Kong, Korea, and Indonesia

While 160 crypto exchanges wait to enter the Japanese market, elsewhere, the market is turning more buoyant, as Hong Kong, Korea, and Indonesia are poised to become home to new exchanges. Bitone Trade HK, Huobi – Indonesia, and South Korean Probit have all announced that they are opening exchanges.

Hong Kong is particularly buoyant in the blockchain industry at the moment and is feeling the pinch in the sector with a lack of qualified professionals to fill positions. A “talent list” has been issued by The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in which it states that it needs “quality people from around the world in a more effective and focused manner to support Hong Kong’s development as a high value-added and diversified economy”. Among the 11 professions on the new list are those with DLT skills.

The latest exchange, Bitone Trade HK will support 30 cryptocurrencies with plans to eventually list more than 100 coins. The company commented:

“Our platform is launched in Hong Kong which is Asia’s international financial center and we provide customers with stable and secure services. Mainly for the Asian market, our goal is to achieve a monthly transaction volume of US$5 billion”

Indonesia may not be one of the markets that spring to mind when the word cryptocurrency drops into a conversation, but the industry is beginning to express itself in South East Asia and forging its own way. The world’s fourth most populous nation has just launched its first formal blockchain association — Asosiasi Blockchain Indonesia (ABI), boosting hopes that the Southeast Asian country may yet embrace blockchain technology.

Huobi Indonesia built on the Huobi Cloud platform will list 123 coins on its new exchange. Currently, the platform lists three base cryptocurrencies: USDT, BTC, and ETH.

South Korea and Japan are considered the crypto powerhouses in the region and never run out of crypto news. Its latest exchange, soon to be launched Probit will list 157 currencies and plans to support eight languages on the platform. The bonus for users is the platform’s heightened levels of security, ensuring that more than 95% of digital assets are stored in a cold wallet supported by hardware keys and software double authentication. The company assures its clients that their “goal is to provide a virtual currency trading platform with the highest level of security.”

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Popular Crypto Travel Company Gets Boost from Queensland Government

Australian crypto travel company TravelbyBit has just been awarded a grant from the Queensland state government of AUD 100,000.

The company has a hand in numerous projects throughout Australia’s travel and tourism industry as becoming well known across the nation for the supportive role it has taken in promoting using digital currency for travel.

TravelbyBit CEO Caleb Yeoh said it was early days for crypto, and that there was strong support for it as a “social movement”. The company currently supports many new crypto enterprises in the hospitality industry including the new crypto project with Queensland’s International Airport retailers, which is off to a slow start with just a handful of transactions in the airport each day so far, worth between USD 5 and USD 55.

No project is too small for the company as it designs tourist routes within Australia and offers selected providers with their own TravelbyBit digital currency payment platform. The company allows customers to pay in a digital currency of their choice.

Queensland Innovation minister Kate Jones commented on the importance of Australia’s tourism industry both at State and Federal levels:

“Tourism is one of Queensland’s most important industries… TravelbyBit has devised a clever way to make it easier for visitors to our state to pay for their purchases with a growing number of local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments.”

The crypto travel specialist is one of 70 companies that are to receive the state government s grant of AUS 8.3 million and hopes that the funds that TravelbyBit receive will help them to scale up its current operations.

Yeoh says that now 150 merchants across the country have tapped into Bitcoin payments through his company and says he is now targeting a different type of traveler:

“With this next phase of technology, we are targeting a different brand of tourist – the tech-savvy travellers from anywhere in the world who are looking to book their travel experiences ahead of their trip and use digital currency to pay for their travels.”

TravelbyBit currently accepts BTC, ETH, XEM and plans to accept BNB in the future.

 

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Ethereum Could Get Major Lift from Plasma, Sharding Developments, SEC Boost

Ethereum has currently created an environment for some positive movement due to current developments in hand and positive SEC rulings over the past few days, according to NewsBTC. Although the price of Ether continues to reflect the current market, there are some positive developments such as its Plasma updates and sharding solutions.

Sharding, also known as horizontal partitioning is a design principle whereby rows of a database table are held separately, rather than splitting by columns (as for normalization). Each partition forms part of a shard, which may, in turn, be located on a separate database server or physical location, explains Stackoverflow.

Plasma itself is a collection of standard smart contracts used to create a tree of side-chains aptly called Plasma chains. This collection of smart contracts includes a multitude of key innovations that together make up a powerful tool in the battle towards scaling Ethereum’s capacity, explains Coincentral.

If Plasma is successful, it will successfully help Ethereum scale to a whole new level, and there has been some talk regarding Plasma Debit, which has the potential of introducing payment channels to Plasma Cash.

Ethereum can also gain a lift up after US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Rostin Beham’s recent unexpected remarks that cryptocurrency is a “technological revolution” that will one day be a part of every national economy, tagging blockchain as life “transforming”.

Add to that the statement of director of division of corporation finance at SEC, William Hinman, which lifted market hopes considerably:

“And putting aside the fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether, based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions. And, as with Bitcoin, applying the disclosure regime of the federal securities laws to current transactions in Ether would seem to add little value.”

Such views from the SEC are empowering for Ethereum, Bitcoin and the blockchain, clearly adding much-needed and long-awaited legitimacy to crypto space, and along with new projects in hand, are certainly a step in the right direction for Ethereum investors.

 

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Grammy Winner Imogen Heap a Crypto Convert with New Blockchain Project

Double Grammy Award winner and singer Imogen Heap is using Ethereum to help fund her new blockchain project, writes Business Insider. Heap is self-funding the project with proceeds from a Harry Potter musical, which she helped to score, and her earnings from selling a song for Ether.

Heap’s latest and widely quoted-about initiative, Mycelia, focuses on connecting the dots for a fair and sustainable music industry ecosystem, writes London’s Palace Theatre, which is currently running Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Heap spoke about the Mycelia project this week at Dublin’s MoneyConf conference, saying that she wants to make a significant change to the music industry, which at present lacks any central storage of information like publishing rights, recording rights, and composition rights. Her new project aims to solve this problem by using the blockchain.

“It’s about how to ease the flow of payments, how to ease collaboration, how to grow partnerships, how to make better collaborations on a business level and a creative level,” Heap told Business Insider, “If you’re just a new musician out there and you don’t know what to do, how do you know where to sign up? This is a guide as much as anything, a way to help the music maker navigate the industry.”

She admits that there other ways of solving such information sharing and storage issues, but is quite happy to experiment with blockchain, encouraged by its popularity and successful solutions to data storage in other sectors. She believes that there were many methods to the solution but believed that the music industry had to keep up with relevant technology and she hoped to play a role in ensuring “music-makers are prepared”.

Heap commented that cryptocurrency has helped her in her recent projects, particularly with her release of the song Tiny Human on the Ethereum blockchain in 2015, allowing people to download the song in exchange for Ether:

“People paid USD 1, or 1 ETH, which was equal to USD 1 at the time,” she said. “That was USD 200. I didn’t think anything of it and then, of course, it went massively up and I took a bit out and put it into the project, and then it went massively down. It went up to GBP 200,000.”

Heap is an English singer, songwriter, record producer and audio engineer. She is known for her involvement in electronic music and as a member of the short-lived project Frou Frou. Heap has received two Grammy Awards and one Ivor Novello Award during her career to date.

 

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Young Afghan Female Coders Earn ETH Promoting New Crypto Projects

A non-profit company in Afghanistan which teaches women to write code has partnered with a network which allows students to accept Ether (ETH) for fixing vulnerabilities for businesses or projects posting bounties, writes Coindesk.

The company, Code to Inspire (CTI), has partnered with The Bounties Network for this endeavor. According to Fereshteh Forough, the founder of CTI, the women are already earning Ether.

In May, the partnership was formed, setting up the women with MetaMask accounts and software wallets. Although Forough didn’t expand on details about the project, it claimed that earnings varied between USD 10 and USD 80 per completed bounty.

A bounty is a simple task or job created by a coin developer that you carry out to earn coins or tokens, usually before and during an initial coin offering (ICO). The main areas are typically Tweeting about the project, posting on Facebook, creating blog posts, designing a logo for the coin, or participating in a forum with the logo signature. These jobs are essential jobs for the coin developer to promote their coin during ICO stage to fund their ambitions, explains CryptoCoinDude.

Forough didn’t say how much had been collected by her new staff, but explained that this wasn’t her first enterprise of this type. In 2014, she collaborated with another fellow Afghan entrepreneur Roya Mahoob to teach women how to earn Bitcoin by blogging, although the program fell into problems due to a lack of a local crypto exchange. Also, most of the bloggers had no bank accounts.

“The challenge was how to exchange [Bitcoin] to the local fiat currency… Even now, when they are saving crypto in any form, there is still the same challenges of how we can exchange them with the local currency or dollars.”

Another Bitcoin enthusiast, Afghan-American Janey Gak, is less optimistic, explaining that Afghanis are still asking simple questions about cryptocurrency and she’d only ever had one question about Ether, implying there’s still a long way to go before cryptocurrencies reach any kind of acceptance in Afghanistan. However, she was positive about the inclusion of women, particularly working in the financial sector in a male-dominated society:

“I personally think it is good to have digital literacy or financial literacy, the knowledge, especially for women in Afghanistan that are limited from accessing a lot of financial resources, such as banks,” adding, “It’s an amazing technology, not only in case of financial aspects but also in terms of using blockchain technology to create different products that could tackle, maybe, one of these [local access] issues.”

It is thought that cryptocurrency could find real leverage in the county if local money-sellers, called safaris, were to start trading in digital currency. Afghans are generally untrusting of financial institutions and turn to safaris, who deal with numerous fiat currencies across Afghanistan.

 

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Hearn Satoshi

Japan Establishes New ICO Regulation Guidelines in Government-Backed Report

Japan is making progress towards the full regulation and legalization of ICOs, with a government-backed study from Tama University detailing how to approach the new fundraising technology.

The study from the Centre for Rule-Making Strategies at the university identifies that the ICO market is still well within its infancy, but acknowledges that the fundraising method’s ability to generate investment capital has garnered international attention and could be utilized effectively should the proper legal or regulatory frameworks be in place.

How to regulate an ICO

The research group that conducted the study was comprised of experts and advisors who worked across various industries and specialist fields; they sought to identify potential ICO use cases, and then frame a set of rules around them. The study reads:

“For the permeation and development of ICO, it would be desirable to set rules on “issuance of tokens” and “trading of tokens in the issue market.” As for the purchase and sale of tokens in the trading market, there are certain rules set force in the Payment Services Act. However, there are no laws or regulations stipulating explicit rules for issue markets, which leads to cases of misunderstanding between parties and cases of investors being left without protection.”

The report, which could be a catalyst for future laws surrounding ICOs, has a set of ‘issuance principles’ which are designed to keep ICOs transparent and accountable. One of which is that issuers should “define and disclose” how funds, profits and residual assets are to be distributed amongst investors, shareholders and debt holders.

Furthermore, the study goes into some details on how to track the progress of whitepapers, often the go-to document for any potential ICO investor; investors identify the development of all plans within the whitepaper and are able to view the history of updates and revisions within it.

Progressive visions

Japan has been a notably volatile country in regards to ICO practices and Bitcoin operators; in late 2017, multiple media outlets reported that Japan was readying to ban ICOs entirely.

However, Japanese lawmakers and regulators have proven themselves time and time again to be extremely forward thinking when it comes to the adoption of cryptocurrencies. In 2015, in the wake of the Mt. Gox scandal, Japanese financial regulators began working out how to regulate domestic cryptocurrency exchanges, and in 2017 those visions were realized when Japan approved the registrations of 11 cryptocurrency exchanges, allowing them to operate legally in the country.

Despite Japan’s efforts to create a regulatory framework for exchanges, ICOs are the favored method of fundraising for blockchain startups and this report could finalize the legitimacy of cryptocurrency and all related technologies in the country, providing blockchain startups with the ability to raise funds through the previously controversial method.

Japan is part of the growing global movement to regulate and integrate cryptocurrency into respective societies; South Korea has been at the centre stage for a myriad of controversies and is now, similarly to Japan, making incredibly positive steps toward a secure crypto future that works for the public and the government.

 

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Blockchain technologies fueling video games and consoles that can create profit for players

PlayTable from Blok.Party is the world’s first Blockchain gaming console that looks close to an all-in-one tabletop gaming console with the capacity to play a diverse array of video games on its system.

It’s an Android touchscreen console, powered by the Ethereum blockchain and utilizes the toys-to-life genre to significant effect.

Toys-to-life is a genre where players use real-life figurines to do battle (see Skylanders or Disney Infinity). PlayTable combines this with traditional tabletop games such as Magic the Gathering to create an interactive gaming system that boasts the potential to have profitable returns for the player.

The radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags on the bottom of the figurines have unique identifiers which are tracked via the Blockchain.

Using the transparent public ledger, a digital collectable can be tracked across different platforms and will not require a third-party server to authenticate the ownership. Players could quite easily create a new chip, invalidate the old one and ship it worldwide;  in effect, players can now buy and sell high-level or valuable RFID-equipped figurines.

Another exciting application of the Ethereum blockchain is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) called Ethercraft. It’s a game in which players make their way through dungeons, slaying enemies, gathering loot and crafting items.

The twist is that players can trade items with other users or sell them for real-world Ethereum (ETH). Interestingly the in-game gold currency is an ERC20 token itself (XGP), its value is tied to that of ETH and can be earnt completing challenges and in-game objectives; XGP can be exchanged for ETH at any time using the Ethercraft Smart Contract, which is a pretty nifty feature.

Monetizing the Video Game experience has primarily been a benefit passed to developers and publishers; the industry is raking in staggering market revenue figures across all available platforms, but it seems that gamers are spending more money than ever on games and aren’t quite getting much in return.

Players on PC and Mobile platforms are spending heavily on in-game content that come in either physical and digital forms. Whether you’re playing a game you’ve already paid for, or one that is Free-To-Play, you can now purchase weapons, character skins, in-game currency, perishable items and so on.

Blockchain technologies are perhaps going to bring an end to the money vacuum that modern players are being suckered into. Unique resilient economies within a platform or a game could generate new creative innovations that further the rewards the players and enhances the gaming experience beyond that of just financial gains, but create a new sense of consumer ownership over their products, be they physical or digital.

 

 

 

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Single-purpose cryptocurrencies have a problem

Let’s face it. There’s a slight problem with cryptocurrencies and no, it’s not the issue of regulation. And no, it’s probably not the volatile markets or any other buzzwords or catchphrases you can think of.

Spoilt for choice?

It comes down to the eye-watering amount of pending and existing cryptocurrencies. CoinMarketCap.com has, at present, 1,565 coins and tokens listed; it’s a mind-bogglingly large number of cryptocurrencies and, to an outsider, it doesn’t quite make sense.

Cryptocurrencies are viewed as these odd digital credits that you can purchase for real money and well, that’s about it.

Unless you’ve painstakingly spent the time searching around for places and businesses in which you can go to spend your cryptocurrencies, then you’re likely nonplussed about the whole Bitcoin boom. And if you have taken it upon yourself to search for a place, you’ll come up with a few traders and merchants that accept Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH) or any of the ‘big coins’ in the business.

Or too many cooks?

Then there is the second part of this issue. It comes in the form of a question and be prepared to think about this one. When there are 180 UN-approved currencies in the world, what good is it to have 1,565 coins?

The logical conclusion would be that the majority of these coins are entirely redundant, but that just isn’t the case.

A staggeringly large number of coins are utility tokens that solely function within an internal economy on their native platform, and this also is by no means is a particularly healthy situation for the industry at large.

Imagine that, to access your Google Drive Cloud storage you had to pay with a cryptocurrency to do so. Every single time you acted within its cloud storage platform it would be ‘fuelled’ or ‘funded’ by a coin designed explicitly to do so.

Well, you have all your cloud-storage tokens, now how about some Starbucks tokens to get your coffee? Do you have enough Apple tokens to make purchases through the App store or have you not converted enough of those tokens from the tokens you use to pay your rent?

Notice anything odd with the above?

Cryptocurrencies by their hundreds tackle niches within industries, offer solutions to some particularly fringe topics which may excite the novice or veteran traders who know how to navigate the markets profitably.

But to assume that the everyday cryptocurrency users will happily and continuously go through the process of converting their primary coins such as BTC or ETH to gain access to things that regular currency can buy? It just doesn’t seem logical and will stifle the blockchain industries’ efforts to get adopted en masse globally.

The single-use tokens that exist will have to shorten out at some point if there is to be any hope for the industry to have an easily accessible, widely available and uncomplicated future for its consumers. To the average onlooker, it’s safe to say that less is more.

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