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Monero Payment Option on Fortnite was “Accident”

Monero Payment Option on Fortnite was

Tim Sweeney, the Founder of Epic Games, has revealed in a tweet that the Monero payment gateway previously reported to have been set up on a Fortnite merchandise store, was “accidental”.

Actually, Fortnite’s brief foray into crypto was accidental. We worked with a partner to open a merchandise store, and somewhere along the way Monero payment was enabled.https://t.co/vzmSCMey3T

— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) January 6, 2019

This came two days after it was reported that Retail Row, an official Fortnite merchandise store, had implemented a payment option for the anonymous cryptocurrency Monero. The would-be moment of mainstream adoption for the crypto, it turns out, was actually a bit of a blunder.

Too early

Without dismissing the technology entirely, Sweeney commented further in his Tweets, describing many of the companies staff as “big fans” of the decentralized technology that underpins cryptocurrencies. However, he adds: “A lot more work is needed on volatility and fraud-proofing before bringing it to such a broad audience that includes younger gamers.”

Additionally, he goes on to dispel and rumors by saying that Epic Games has no partnerships or future partnerships in place with cryptocurrency firms, adding: “We do read lots of papers and talk to smart people to learn more in anticipation of an eventual intercept.”

 

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ConsenSys, AMD to Develop W3BCloud, a Blockchain-Based Throughput Solution

ConsenSys, AMD to Develop W3BCloud, a Blockchain-Based Throughput Solution

A press release yesterday by blockchain software company ConsenSys detailed the inking of a new partnership deal with American multinational semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Abu Dhabi-based investment management firm Halo Holdings, to develop an optimized blockchain-based cloud solution dubbed W3BCloud for the blockchain industry throughput.

“W3BCLOUD is focused on providing the first independent cloud computing blockchain infrastructure, combining increased transaction throughput with state-of-the-art security,” the release states. The new infrastructure is being built to handle the emerging day-in and out of blockchain workloads to provide more efficiency in the space.

The three partners will combine their resource expertise in their field of technology. ConsenSys is to provide blockchain-related insights into “efficient compute usage for blockchain transactions, security requirements, and emerging use cases,” while AMD will leverage its renowned high-end performance hardware manufacturing specialties to build the datacenters with architectures that match the specific blockchain requirements.

Founder of ConsenSys, Joe Lubin said in regards to the newly forged partnership that “bolstering the compute power of blockchain networks with AMD’s leading-edge technology will be of great benefit to the scalable adoption of emerging decentralized systems around the globe.” Lubin expressed his usual enthusiasm for blockchain scaling, touting the envisaged product as one that “will power a new infrastructure layer and enable an accelerated proliferation of blockchain technologies.”

Joerg Roskowetz, Director of Product Management – Blockchain Technology at AMD also said in the release that they are “excited to work ConsenSys” and lend their expertise and “access to high-performance hardware technologies.” They are also optimistic about the concept of the emerging technology as well as the profound use case coverage, and are willing to play their role in the partnership to build systems “capable of better scaling and proliferating decentralized networks.”

Roskowetz identified “smart identity, enterprise data centers, and health ID tracking, to licensing and supply chain management,” as possible use cases where the new technology could be of use.

Both companies have been spreading roots within blockchain space. ConsenSys has been building up its reputation among high-interest groups both within and outside the blockchain ecosystem. It recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with leading IT company SK Group to build and further develop the blockchain ecosystem.

AMD reportedly signed contracts with 7 major technology firms last year to develop eight high-end performance and enterprise-grade mining rigs. This is despite the sales report by the 2018 Q3 financials of the company that attributed blockchain’s contribution as per GPU-built mining chips as “negligible.”

 

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Monero Becomes a Payment Option on Fortnite’s Merchandise Store Retail Row

Monero Becomes a Payment Option in Fortnite’s Merchandise Store Retail Row

The adoption of cryptocurrency as a payment option for mainstream merchant stores outside crypto-related systems continues at a rather gradual pace. Retail Row, a retail merchandise store by Fortnite is the latest to accept exclusively Monero payments from the online video game community.

The announcement was made yesterday by Monero fans on Reddit and then on Twitter by the official Monero page. However, the Fortnite team is yet to comment with regards to the development.

The official Fortnite Merch Store is now exclusively accepting #Monero as a cryptocurrency payment option! https://t.co/NWmHhzE6Kg

— Monero || #xmr (@monero) January 1, 2019

The store already accepts payments through credit cards and PayPal, but for cryptocurrency payments, it uses Globee as the gateway. Globee also allows payments in BTC, LTC, DOGE, ETH and more across its gateway, however, the store currently accepts only Monero (XMR) for purchases as it is one of the most privacy-centric cryptocurrencies.

According to some of the replies on Monero’s Reddit and Twitter feeds, choosing Monero is a good thing since it preserves the identities of customers. However, some did suggest that they could use BTC or ETH to pay via proxies such as Shapeshift. BTC may as well be a potential option in the future as news outlet CCN disclosed that Fortnite is interested in Lightning Network.

In terms of worth and influence, the game company Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite was recently valued at over USD 15 billion during a recent funding round. Fortnite has become quite popular despite being less than two years old.

According to a report, Fortnite has influence over 125 million players worldwide, especially among the millennials. During a poll in 2018, many teenagers in the US who play the Fortnite game said they would prefer to receive V-bucks – the native virtual currency of the game or cryptocurrency as gifts instead of cash or gift cards.

The privacy concerns of Fortnite is an important one and cannot be easily dismissed as recent hacks and data breaches have made users of social media and other online transaction portals uneasy.

On a broader outlook, payments through cryptocurrency can accord such benefits as fast cross-border payments and transfers, relatively cheap transaction costs and privacy. But how long will privacy-centric cryptocurrencies last? Seeing how their very core antagonizes the will of the government beyond decentralization. In the latter part of 2018, the US government began making plans on tracking privacy coins such as Zcash and Monero to keep a line on transactions trail that could be considered illegal.

Cryptocurrency adoption on the merchant route may indeed be a continuous but challenging one. Different merchants will have to make concise and careful decisions on the choice of crypto-asset(s) to adopt for payment options as the commercial world continues to evolve in that direction.

 

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Coinbase CEO: Virtual Reality and Crypto Next Big Combo

Coinbase CEO: Virtual Reality and Crypto Next Big Combo

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has said that cryptocurrency has the potential to turn Virtual Reality into a full-time job.

Armstrong suggests that virtual spaces could create their own currencies or even make use of existing ones such as Bitcoin or Ethereum by integrating the means for users to spend crypto in the same way as they are currently using fiat.

Developers would see more time spent on such games, according to the Coinbase boss, taking it much further into the realms of Sci-fi by suggesting that players could use the virtual world to support themselves in the real world, cashing in their accrued gaming funds for “real” use, such as paying rent. He speculates:

“Perhaps we’ll see virtual bank buildings with pillars, virtual bank vaults that spin when you open them, and virtual tellers with glasses.” The exchange magnate, clearly a follower of the gaming and VR world added, “Ready Player One had a great visual of coins being collected in the game, and spilling out of characters when they were killed (leaving a big pile of loot on the ground).”

Clearly, Armstrong has seen the potential of turning VR ownership into the real thing via some of his own exchange-listed cryptocurrencies. But in reality, there’s still a long way to go – crossing the bridge from virtual into reality.

Armstrong appears to be in touch with the man on the street, if not through gaming and VR, then certainly in terms of what reality actually means for many of the world’s “have-nots” these days. This was shown by his recent personal $1 million giveaway through his charity project called GiveCrypto.

The project is a global enterprise which will give out cryptocurrency donations to worthy recipients, who will then be able to make personal choices in whether to keep their donations as cryptocurrency or exchange them for fiat. GiveCrypto wants to raise USD 10 million by the end of 2018 and grow to a fund of USD 1 billion over two years. Donations will hopefully come from wealthy donors who have amassed wealth through cryptocurrency, passing on their good fortunes to those in need of financial help. Suggested cryptocurrencies for donations are Bitcoin, Ripple, and Zcash.

Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen has already put in an undisclosed donation into the Armstrong charity hat. This may not be all that Ripple will be putting into Coinbase’s coffers if recent news that Coinbase plans to list XRP on its exchange becomes reality…. that’s not a virtual one by the way!

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Gamers Could Earn Crypto with ASUS Partnership with Quantumcloud

Gamers Could Earn Crypto with ASUS Partnership with Quantumcloud

Gamers have been presented with an opportunity to earn cryptocurrencies through their GPUs based on the newfound partnership between Taiwan-based leading tech company AsusTek Computer Inc and startup cloud-based mining solution platform Quantumcloud.

The partnership announcement yesterday disclosed how the Taiwan tech manufacturer will leverage on its market distribution of its branded graphics card to promote cryptocurrency mining on the cloud mining app developed by the Quantumcloud project.

Gamers will be able to co-earn through the mining process carried out by the platform using their idle GPU power. The cryptocurrencies earned can be cashed out through payment gateways such as PayPal or WeChat.

The earnings will be based on the percentage of GPU processing power allocated by the user, which is often the unused GPU resource – that is, portions of the graphics card not engaged in any other processing.

One essential takeaway is that the privacy of users including their financial data on the app will be protected under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), making it GDPR compliant. As per the announcement:

“As part of its pledge to protect user data, Quantumcloud launched with GDPR compliance in place and does not require customers to create a unique login. Instead, customers use their existing PayPal or WeChat account to log in and collect their earnings.”

On the other side of the partnership, Quantumcloud has made it known that it does not guarantee that users of its software will earn profits and that earnings will be based on the performance of the cryptocurrency market. More so, the earnings are relative to the amount of processing power allocated.

Unlike Bitcoin mining where sophisticated processors called ASICs are required due to computational difficulty, the most commonly threaded path is to use GPUs to mine cryptocurrencies.

Miners have had to either mine alone or join a pool of miners to earn reasonably. However, the downtrend in the cryptocurrency market has made it extremely difficult for miners to cope. This grim picture is accentuated by the growing numbers of mining firms shutting down due to high operational costs and miners going the length of selling their mining rigs at second-hand values.

To top it all, hardware provider Nvidia reported in its Q3 financial data that there has been a “substantial decline” in patronage for GPU chips.

 

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Johnny Depp Signs With Crypto Based Platform TaTaTu

Actor Johnny Depp has signed with cryptocurrency-based media platform TaTaTu for an undisclosed number of movies.

Depp, now world-renowned for his character in Pirates of the Caribbean plus a number of box office successes including Edward Scissorhands, had been previously linked with a biopic of cryptocurrency billionaire and New York Mellon Corporation family member Mathew Mellon. His investment into XRP turned into a $1-billion fortune before his death in April 2018 due to the consumption of a hallucinogenic drink, ayahuasca.

It appears that this deal is going ahead, however, and the company which calls itself the Netflix of blockchain must be feeling that the acquisition of such a major star somewhat of a coup.

TaTaTu raised over $500 million in its ICO launch earlier this year and is now gaining popularity as a platform which rewards users for watching content, sharing its advertising revenue via TTU tokens which enable customers to upload more content. The tokens can be traded for fiat on some exchanges. CEO Andrea Lervolino who also runs AMBI media stated:

“Johnny has the ability to conceptualize material in a way that few can, and is unburdened of conventional industry formulas that dictate the projects that get made, traditionally… “as we make strides to embrace disruptiveness, Johnny will be a key collaborator with us and we are tremendously excited to back his visions and instincts on stories to bring to life.”

The new company has been attempting to acquire major stars since its ICO and is currently working on a Lamborghini biopic to star Antonio Banderas and Alec Baldwin, as well as another movie and two documentaries. Depp was clearly happy to be associated with the crypto-based company and his own deal with them commenting:

“In this era of democratized entertainment, I admire the imaginative ethos of Andrea and look forward to collaborating together in a liberating, progressive manner that will befit the principals of our respective entities.”

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Exclusive Interview With the CEO of Triforce Tokens, a Gaming Platform That Integrates Crypto and Blockchain

Listen to the interview with Pete Mardell, the CEO of Triforce Tokens, on the 7 October 2018 edition of the BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast

BitcoinNews.com conducted an exclusive interview with the CEO of Triforce Tokens, Pete Mardell, on 4 October 2018. Triforce Tokens has developed a full-scale framework for studios to launch video games that are integrated with blockchain and Triforce Token’s native cryptocurrency called FORCE. Players will be able to earn FORCE, which can be converted into Bitcoin or fiat, simply by playing games. Additionally, Triforce Tokens has introduced dynamic advertising inside of video games.

Mardell says “We’ve created a full-house game publishing framework that’s enhanced by blockchain technology for game development studios”. Mardell describes how player attention is the key metric determining a game’s success, and competition is fierce  in the gaming industry. Mardell says Triforce Token’s technology improves player attention “by a factor of 1.6 relative to industry standards”. Mardell states that after 30 days of playing an average retention is 5%, but for Triforce Token’s Wargate they have 6.7% retention, which is likely due to Triforce Token’s reward system which incentivizes players.

Regarding dynamic advertisement, Mardell says “That will allow brands to place campaigns directly into games and brand game objects”. The studio can instantly put advertisements into the game, and these dynamic advertisements will be recorded on the Triforce Tokens blockchain.

Mardell says “At the moment we’re an ERC-20 token, but we are building our own blockchain that uses delegated proof of stake (dPoS) similar to EOS”. Triforce Tokens considered using EOS, but decided it was better to build a custom blockchain geared towards gaming, and this blockchain will be more decentralized than EOS. There will be a token swap of Triforce Token’s FORCE token from ERC-20 to the native FORCE blockchain. The Triforce Token’s blockchain will also have non-fungible tokens, ideal for digital collectibles, and it will also have the technology for the development of 3rd party dApps.

Triforce Tokens is instituting a new way to earn cryptocurrency called Proof of Play (PoP). Mardell describes how players will earn cryptocurrency for winning in-game challenges. However, the real PoP will work on the FORCE blockchain which hasn’t been launched yet, and will be a part of the dPOS mechanism that secures the FORCE blockchain. Popular game servers will be selected as delegates and become block producers, and players will earn FORCE tokens by playing on the delegate game servers. The server administrators themselves will also earn crypto.

The FORCE token will get its value from being exchangeable for games and in-game items on Triforce Token’s marketplace.

When asked if people will be able to earn a living playing game on Triforce Token’s platform, Pete Mardell says “Yes, absolutely”. He describes how gamers can stream games to an audience, get sponsorships, and earn from PoP once the FORCE blockchain is launched. Mardell says the FORCE blockchain will launch in March 2019.

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Gaming Titan Ubisoft Joins Forces with Blockchain Game Alliance

The Blockchain Game Alliance has welcomed video game industry giant Ubisoft to its ranks, indicating the establishment of a bold future for the two technologies.

Super-group

The AAA game publisher, responsible for the creation of famed titles such as the Far Cry series, Tom Clancy games, Assassins Creed and Rayman, is now part of the Blockchain Game Alliance.

The establishment of this group was announced the Blockchain Game Summit held in France. It’s a consortium that wholeheartedly believes that blockchain technology can redefine the video gaming ecosystem beneficially; it also desires to create the standards and practices for blockchain tech in the gaming sector.

Founding members of this group include Ethereum development studio ConsenSys as well as independent game publisher Fig who has titles such as Wasteland 3 under development. Other members include blockchain game distribution platform Ultra and eSports betting platform Gimli, among others.

UK-based video game magazine MCV broke the story earlier this week, with CEO of Ultra Nicolas Gilot describing the purpose of the group. He said:

“The Blockchain Game Alliance is advocating for a universal standard in the blockchain gaming space to create a more interoperable and transparent ecosystem, which will benefit stakeholders, by furthering innovation and ensuring economic viability.”

In-game digital economies

Earlier this year, video gaming website IGN reported that Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab had been tinkering with the emerging trend of blockchain technologies.

Director of Insights and Trends for the lab Lidwine Sauer said that the technology allows for players to have true ownership over their digital collectibles, which supposedly allows for the real tangible value of digital items with the chance for them to be one-of-a-kind items.

Looking forward, Sauer said, “It’s one of the use cases of the blockchain, and we want to go further than that… We feel there’s something even more interesting to find [through the blockchain], and we’re in the process of trying to find that interesting thing.”

Gaming-on-the-chain

Blockchain solutions and video games are touted as a perfect match, with one of the fastest growing and developing industries, technically and commercially, looking toward blockchain as a viable advancement for the globally-embraced entertainment medium.

Microsoft has dipped its toes into blockchain solutions within the gaming sector earlier this year, giving focus to content rights and royalty management.

Video games built on blockchain technologies are also emerging at a rapid pace with the trend of tradeable video game assets often as the centerpiece feature of the game.

While it appears as though most projects that bring the technologies together are developing gaming and blockchain innovations at a startup level, having an industry behemoth such as Ubisoft backing the tech will draw greater interest from the community as well as other key industry figures.

 

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Non-Fungible Tokens Give Players True Ownership of Digital Assets

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are changing the gaming industry by giving players true ownership over digital assets that they acquire in a game. The ERC-721 protocol which makes it easy to create NFTs has sparked the development of numerous blockchain-based games, a new and growing industry.

Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies are fungible, which means that a Bitcoin is interchangeable with any other Bitcoin. It is necessary for cryptocurrency and currency, in general, to be fungible so it can act as an exchange of value.

Pokémon cards, baseball cards, works of art, and many more types of collectibles are non-fungible. They are distinct from each other due to their characteristics, and they have differing values so they can’t be exchanged at a one-to-one ratio with each other like currency.

ERC-721 is the standard for creating NFTs and uses the Ethereum blockchain to issue and exchange NFTs. This is much like how ERC-20 is the standard used to create fungible cryptocurrency tokens. Through smart contract technology, each NFT issued with ERC-721 is completely unique.

A gamer who acquires an NFT is given a private key, they can access the NFT with the private key to transfer it, and sign messages with the private key to prove ownership. This marks the first time in history that a gamer truly owns digital assets that they find, win, or purchase in a game. Even if the game server crashes or the game goes offline the NFT is cryptographically protected and stored in the Ethereum blockchain and will remain intact.

This breaks the old paradigm where in-game assets were controlled by the company that owns the game and dependent on centralized servers. NFTs decentralize digital assets.

Perhaps one of the most popular games that uses ERC-721 NFTs is CryptoKitties, where users can buy digital cats for Ethereum, breed them, and trade them. The game became such a craze at one point that Ethereum transaction fees skyrocketed due to network congestion. A CryptoKitty sold for a whopping USD 140,000 of Ether in May 2018.

Another popular NFT game is Decentraland, where users can purchase land and have full ownership over that tract of land in a virtual universe. They can build anything they want on the land. Decentraland has the potential to be a blockchain-based Second Life, with the added advantage of a cryptographically secure real-estate system.

The future is bright for NFTs; CryptoKitties and Decentraland are probably just the beginning. It is possible that a massive multiplayer online game like World of Warcraft, Second Life, or Runescape will eventually adopt NFTs or that a completely new game will be created around NFTs and gain global popularity, and become the basis for a major online economy.

 

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Sony to Combat Piracy with Blockchain

Sony the Japanese technology company, made an application on Thursday for a patent for a blockchain system to store digital rights data.  Digital rights management (DRM) systems, restrict access to copyright-protected content to those who have the permissions, this is often via a paid service or purchased copy. Customer identification could be stored on the blockchain, which could be used in the verification process to validate if they have the appropriate permissions to view or listen to the media. Sony believes a blockchain-based system could prevent piracy across a variety of media and data such as video, audio, games, and scientific data.

Impact of piracy

In a day and age where we have the internet at our fingertips, copyright infringement is a growing concern. Producers, developers, and service providers are continually looking to improve systems to protect their products.

Digital TV predicts a total loss of USD 52 billion across 138 countries between 2016 and 2022 for streaming services. Piracy, not only affects profits by the loss of subscription fees but puts ad related profits into the pockets of criminals. These figures do not include profit losses from illegal cable and satellite services.

According to Sandvine’s studies TV service providers are set to loose up to USD 4 billion as a direct result of pirated TV services. Up to 6.5% of North American households are believed to be viewing this illegally streamed media. As technology improves and more content begins to migrate to media players like HBO and Netflix, the material becomes more accessible to hackers. Piracy is no-longer a concern for just Hollywood and the music industry.

The computer game industry loses up to a fifth of its U.S market to piracy, USD 3.5 Billion. Globally, piracy costs the market 8.1 Billion a year.

Music piracy was on the rise in 2017 and was up by 14.7% from prior years. The US was at the top of the list, with 27.9 billion visitors to illegal music sites annually.

The Future

By country, the U.S. is affected most by the impacts of piracy and the industry is looking to take preventative measures. If piracy was to continue at its current rate, we would inevitably see a loss of profits, leading to a reduction in services or media offered. Blockchain could bring a fairer future for content providers and producers alike.

 

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