Live Planet Chases 5G, Appoints 20th Century Fox Exec Hanno Basse

Live Planet and Halsey Minor made waves today with its announcement that it has appointed 20th Century Fox Film Corporation CTO Hanno Basse to join its team as President of Decentralized Media Solutions. Live Planet’s existing solutions include an end-to-end virtual reality (VR) video streaming and publishing solution, and a full stereoscopic VR Camera and Cloud capable of live streaming 4K video to millions of devices.

Halsey Minor is a storied entrepreneur who earned his stripes in the early Internet days, with accomplishments that include: founding CNET in 1994, one of the first media sites to publish technology and consumer electronics reviews, news, articles, podcasts, videos, and blogs in 1994 (acquired by CBS for $1.8B in 2008), co-founding Salesforce.com (investing $19.5 in 1999 and had a 10% stake at the time of the 2004 IPO), seed-funding Rhapsody in 1998, selling Grand Central Communications to Google in 2007.

Minor also established himself as a player in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, founding Uphold, a digital money exchange service and early Coinbase competitor in 2014, founding LivePlanet, an end-to-end capture, distribution, and monetization system for immersive video, and in November 2017, Minor launching VideoCoin,  a distributed computing project that aims at storing, encoding, and streaming video at affordable rates.

We first got the chance to interview Halsey Minor in April 2018, when VideoCoin had just recently finished a successful pre-ICO fundraising round, beating their goal of $35,000,000. One long crypto winter later, we re-connected with Minor in regards to Live Planet’s progress thus far and where it has set its sights on for the future.

Live Planet

Today, VideoCoin announced its appointment of the former CTO of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation Hanno Basse. Basse has established his favorable reputation on his extensive expertise in utilizing emerging technologies to create new media experiences and services. VideoCoin’s recruitment of Basse aims to expand its global footprint and catalyze its innovations in immersive and linear video production, distribution, and monetization.

Hanno Basse

Hanno Basse

“The media processing and distribution technologies Halsey and his team have built are among the most groundbreaking I’ve seen. They provide the basis for a new generation of solutions that media, telco, and corporations will eagerly embrace as our world moves toward increased decentralization, higher-speed communication, and edge-based compute,” said Basse. “I cannot wait to show the world what we will deliver next.”

At 20th Century Fox, Basse’s responsibilities included technology strategy for the company’s film studio, production and post-production, theatrical distribution, and home entertainment. While there, Basse formed partnerships with Samsun, Ericcson, and Barco, helping found the Fox Innovation Lab. He also served as the first chairman of the UHD Alliance and helped launch the 4k-UHD Blu-Ray Disc format, and turning High Dynamic Range (HDR) into a consumer product.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to mark the next stage of growth for Live Planet with the addition of Hanno to our world-class team of media and technology experts. Hanno brings a truly unique level of senior experience to Live Planet that will be extremely valuable to us as we help our customers meet the increasing demands of streaming video and next-generation on-demand services,” commented Minor. “The addition of a technology pioneer of Hanno’s caliber is emblematic of Live Planet’s strategic direction and I look forward to an incredibly exciting journey ahead.”

Halsey Minor

Halsey Minor

Preparing for a 5G World

This announcement comes at a time when 5G is starting to be rolled out worldwide. 5G enables faster communication between devices and edge-based computing. The recruitment of a Hollywood executive such as Hanno Basse demonstrates the growing interesting in the video production Mecca.

In broad strokes, many people believe that 5G is going to mark a monumental shift forward in technology. The current standard of 4G is essentially what powers the modern smartphone world, allowing users to spend hundreds of millions of hours a year scrolling, clicking, and interacting with dozens of apps without any substantial slowdowns or problems. 4G was seen as a huge jump from the 3G world, and the word on the street is that the jump from 4G to 5G is going to be even greater.

“We think there’s a much bigger play here as 5G starts to roll out,” says Minor in an exclusive interview with CoinCentral. “We’re already creating a whole system for proving that servers can do something, measuring what they do, and compensating them for the activity they’ve taken. We kind of get this for free because we’re already building the data center architecture.”

VideoCoin aims to utilize a decentralized network of unused or underutilized computers in data centers to facilitate the powering of the network, bringing cost savings down to consumers. However, it seems VideoCoin is after more than just cheaper video processing – it has its eyes on building the infrastructure for a decentralized video hosting future.

“5G is high bandwidth but much lower latency. You can build services with extremely low lag, whether for gaming or IoT,” affirms Minor. “5G is going to push computing and applications to the next level. We want to architect a payment system for those apps. What we are today is a lower cost way to get video encoding services, but where we are tomorrow is a different architecture from Amazon because we can have these decentralized servers that get pushed closer and closer to where the traffic is.”

Final Thoughts

On a surface level, VideoCoin will rival cloud-based video processing providers such as Amazon Web Services, with claims that it will be able to provide the same services at an estimated 60% to 80% discount. With Live Planet onboarding video creators with an end-to-end VR solution, the team looks to further the adoption of VR in junction with paying customers. 

However, with 5G poking around the corner and stellar recruitment like that of Hanno Basse, Live Planet may end up doing a lot more than it initially anticipated. Live Planet is currently on a hiring spree, looking for talented blockchain engineers, preferably with backgrounds in mainstream media and interests in the future of video. To apply to work at Live Planet click here.

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Source: Coin Central

India Looks to Impose Harsh Crypto Legislation, Market Shift Expected

India’s anti-bitcoin lawmakers have proposed a law that prohibits citizens from possessing, trading or profiting from bitcoin-related ventures which include mining. The “Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019” proposes that persons found to be dealing in cryptocurrencies face an unbailable 10 years behind bars.

A couple of government anti-money laundering agencies such as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and Income Tax Departments reportedly support the yet to be legislated policy which is set to boost the fight against the scourge.

Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, a long-time anti-crypto crusader heads the panel tasked with drafting the bill. Back in December 2017 when bitcoin’s value was at its apex, he declared that the coin would not qualify as legal tender in India.

If the proposed bill is passed into law, crypto holders will be required to declare their asset holdings within 90 days and dispose of them through means prescribed by the central government. The draft also proposes a penalty that is three times the estimated losses to the country’s financial system or direct gains from holdings.

It certainly seems that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will continue to uphold its past anti-crypto stance and impose broader and more stringent penalties on users and companies.

The Reserve Bank of India Denies Involvement

There have been reports that India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), had a hand in the new proposal, but the institution has officially denied that it has been in communication with the drafting committee.

The rumors stem from the bank’s past efforts to stifle the crypto industry. Last year, the RBI issued a directive to regulated financial institutions prohibiting them from dealing with crypto trading entities which included exchanges and individuals.

The move caused many affected companies to go under. One of the country’s best-funded exchanges, Unocoin, recently announced that it only had a few months worth of reserves left due to limited liquidity caused by the embargo.

India’s Supreme Court was initially set to make a ruling on the matter in March but postponed it to July. The delay and mounting tension sparked a spate of protests across the country.

Despite the frightful development, some Indian crypto industry experts believe that the law will have a limited effect on major players. There are reports that many of them shifted asset holdings to overseas markets as soon as the draft bill was announced.

The Indian crypto community presently faces serious hurdles when attempting to exchange cryptocurrencies for fiat within the country and many users now rely on foreign withdrawal services, relatives and brokers to convert funds. Money is usually sent via MoneyGram, Western Union, PayPal, and direct deposit.

John McAfee Calls Upon Anonymous

Some crypto celebrities including John McAfee have publicly lambasted the Indian government for trying to ban digital coins exclaiming that such a law would directly infringe upon the freedom of its citizens. Through a now-deleted tweet, he recently went beyond his usual rhetoric and appealed to the Anonymous hacker group to support the cause invoking it to “step up to the plate”.

The self-proclaimed crypto madman and battler has been lamenting the increased regulation of cryptocurrencies, referring to them as powerful tools that can be used to free the masses.

Binance CEO Predicts That the Bitcoin Ban Will PUMP Privacy-Centric Coins

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao believes that the worrying development in India will cause demand for pseudonymous cryptocurrencies such as Zcash and Monero to surge.

Their privacy-rich features allow users to obfuscate addresses involved in transactions, the amount transacted and the memo registered on the blockchain via encryption.

It is likely that the coins and their ilk will flourish in the Indian market and displace bitcoin as the cryptocurrency of choice when executing trades.

(Featured Image Credit: Pixabay)

The post India Looks to Impose Harsh Crypto Legislation, Market Shift Expected appeared first on CoinCentral.

Source: Coin Central

Interview with Richard Dennis, Founder & CEO of temtum, a Next-Gen Payments Network

temtum, is soon to launch its purpose-built, next-generation payments network designed to solve some of the inherent problems with existing cryptocurrencies.

We caught up with Founder and CEO Richard Dennis to find out what these inherent issues are and how temtum plans to take on the established players and release a payments platform to achieve critical mass adoption.


Why are you launching temtum? How is it different from other cryptocurrencies?

Since I first got involved with Bitcoin off the back of working on the Tor network, it became clear that BTC was never going to be a suitable network that could grow to be a large scale peer-to-peer payment network – it was just so slow and even got me flagged at the University for using too much energy mining from my office. This was around 2014 while lecturing Cryptography at Portsmouth Uni, and so for my PhD I decided to create a network that would scale and be suitable for mobile devices, while being highly secure.

Over the past four years, temtum has been developed on the foundations of the Temporal Blockchain that myself and Dr. Gareth Owenson created. We took a very different route to 99% of this industry in that we bootstrapped, wrote peer-reviewed papers on our research and went ahead to create, what we now believe is the most efficient Blockchain technology that exists and will solve the inherent problems with cryptocurrencies, that intend to be used for instant, feeless payments.

You’re launching at a time when sentiment is returning to Bitcoin but also following on from so many projects that have failed to deliver products. How will this affect temtum?

Well, this is a very real issue for the next generation of blockchain and cryptocurrency projects launching in 2019 and beyond, including temtum. The community is not looking for new projects, they’re looking to the top 20-30 currencies to deliver on their promises and in some cases actually launch the first part of their projects – there’s almost this feeling of ‘not another cryptocurrency?’ and it simply doesn’t matter how game-changing that technology may be. This is completely understandable and we’re actually of the same opinion, with the amount of money that has flowed into the industry, where is the tech?

It’s a different industry to the one we saw back in late 2017 and we as brands need to explore how we launch in the right way, for the benefit of future consumers and the network, rather than speculators. We’ve delivered our tech before some of the biggest projects in the space, meaning we can focus on distribution, mass adoption and integrations with global technology providers before even the likes of Ethereum are in a position to do so. Joseph Lubin himself has stated that Ethereum may be 2 years off of being scalable.

If you have to launch into what is apparently still a swamped marketplace, how will you find the users to go mainstream? Especially when it’s incredibly difficult for some people to determine which is THE cryptocurrency to use?

It is actually impossible because the right one isn’t available yet. Bitcoin will remain as a store of value, a crypto Gold if you like, one of the next-gen dapp platforms will come through as the chosen technology as some of them are exceptional and then it’s up to what currency can be the global payment network for the masses – which we hope will be temtum.

Crypto communities and partnerships are often overstated when it comes to the potential of a project or currency to succeed. Really in order to take steps to mainstream adoption, we should be looking at niche industries that have suitable audiences, such as Gen Z, tech and device lead brands and those with vast communities that will be accepting to a currency being used within that community. At temtum we’ve started to set up within the industries that not only match that criteria but that suit our technology and brand.

We stand for inclusion with technology that is underpinned by speed, sustainability and scalability – the existing crypto community simply isn’t enough to create a successful currency that’s used daily, but we know how to deliver outside of just crypto and that really sets us apart in this market.

You’ve stated Bitcoin, Ethereum and VISA etc. are failing to deliver, can you tell me more?

I’ve always believed in the power of cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, for fast and secure transactions between individuals and across borders. However existing cryptocurrencies are failing to deliver on this vision. For example, reports suggest that Bitcoin uses the same amount of energy as Iceland in a year, temtum can process thousands of times more transactions for the same cost as an average UK home for a year, around $600. If a currency isn’t sustainable now, before we have real-world adoption, then it’s not fit for purpose as a future payment network.

We can power our network using a fraction of the processing power of leading cryptocurrencies and traditional financial networks. Bearing in mind temtum was built to scale, we can eventually power networks bigger than VISA & Bitcoin combined on just 50 smartphones for example. The impact this will have on the carbon footprint of processing global payments is huge, and is actually now very exciting for the traditional financial institutions who have been spooked by press reports on Bitcoin. We intend to be the first carbon neutral global payments network.

We want to offer next-generation consumers a genuine, working alternative to existing payments platforms. Away from centralised institutions, away from traditional methods, where everyone is welcome and no one is left out. That doesn’t negatively affect the health of our planet and creates financial freedom – essentially a currency for everyone.

A currency for everyone sounds pretty ambitious. How do you plan on executing?

We’ve completed our mainnet solution, so as soon as the currency is distributed we expect it to be usable daily and we’re working on the solutions to ensure that TEM is not simply sat on exchanges being speculatively traded. We have various partnerships in place and more to come, which will enable the currency to be in the hands of everyday consumers in our target niche industries.

This strategy will enable us to achieve adoption outside of the crypto communities at rates that have never been seen before and we’ve worked tirelessly to get here rather than purely on a fundraising vehicle.

temtum was designed for the specific purpose of being fast, free, secure, scalable and sustainable. There’s no mining, there are no fees, this currency will work with all existing payment options through some of our innovative integrations with banking networks, including VISA. We’ve done everything we can think of to make sure this is the most stable and user-friendly currency, which will be ultimately powered by the users on a public network.

It’s early days still for the industry but people are already embracing cryptocurrencies. Early stage technology adopters and future generations of consumers are adopting elements of digital currencies and moving away from institutionalised payments in certain parts of their buying journeys. temtum is here to offer them the best product possible for the future of payments.

What’s the technology that’s making this all possible?

temtum is built on the Temporal Blockchain with our own unique Consensus Algorithm, which combines to give us our 4 technological pillars – Speed, Security, Scalability and Sustainability. At a time where there is a very competitive ‘transactions per second’ speed race in the industry, temtum is currently delivering proven 1800 tps on our mainnet. This is prior to network scaling, sharding and delegation, all of which are close to completion and will essentially give the network an unlimited TPS figure – it will only be limited by network scale. As other projects make ‘millions of TPS’ claims, we’re yet to see sustained evidence of even a fraction of these speeds, so we’re very happy to see we’re right up there on speed.

There’s nearly always a tradeoff in Blockchain, so much so that the term ‘trillema’ was coined for the fact no technology was able to solve ALL 3 of the main restrictions of Blockchain – Speed, Security, and Scalability. Well at temtum we believe that without a 4th, Sustainability, Blockchain will still not be fit for purpose. Security, Scalability, and Sustainability are all solved with a unique feature of temtum – a quantum source of randomness.

This randomness enables the network to select a leader for processing transactions, without it ever being pre-determined, which is highly efficient, uses next to no energy and is secure against the future of quantum computing. We’re already outperforming the next layers of the biggest projects in the space when it comes to Speed, Security, Scalability, and Sustainability.

Can you tell us more about the temtum team?

I founded temtum in 2014 with our now CISO Dr. Gareth Owenson at Portsmouth University, where I was actually the worlds’ youngest cryptography lecturer at the time at the age of 22. David Shimmon joined us, along with some seed funding for the development of the Temporal Blockchain solution and he set about bolstering our team with more than 25 years of cryptography experience, an extensive network in finance and multiple Silicon Valley C-Suite executives.

Five years of research, 12 peer-reviewed published papers and four years of blockchain development has led to the creation of temtum – Cryptocurrency. Evolved.

So what’s next for you? When will temtum launch?

temtum has already launched. Before we said anything publicly, we had a completed manner, which is a launched network as far as we’re concerned and positions us very well against some of the biggest projects. The difference here is that we’re yet to distribute the currency, $TEM. We’re going to announce our plans and recent developments in full in the very near future. Although it’s still early days of the world knowing what temtum is and what we’re all about, we’re certainly not in the early stages of development and we’re very much ready to show off what we have created.

How can people learn more about temtum?

We’re on Telegram, Discord, Twitter and Reddit.  More information can be found on the temtum website https://temtum.com and in the temtum white paper. If your readers have any questions, we’d be delighted to hear them – press@temtum.com

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Source: Coin Central

What Is BitTorrent (BTT)? | The World’s Largest Decentralized File Sharing Protocol

What Is BitTorrent?

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol that recently launched a new cryptocurrency, BTT. The network enables you to download several different types of files quickly and for free from the Internet. Currently, over 170 million people use the protocol each month.

In this guide, we’ll go over:

How Does BitTorrent Work?

For illustrative purposes, it’s crucial to separate BitTorrent, the original peer-to-peer protocol, from BTT, the cryptocurrency that the protocol implements as a monetary incentive.

BitTorrent

BitTorrent is an online peer-to-peer communication protocol for files and other types of data. Similar to a blockchain, BitTorrent is a distributed system with no central entity. Here’s how it works.

Seeds host files, otherwise known as torrents. When hosting, the seeds split the torrents up into several pieces, so that you can download them more efficiently.

BitTorrent network

BitTorrent implements a peer-to-peer network of seeders and downloaders for quick and cheap file sharing. | Source: Wikipedia/Scott Martin

When you download a file on BitTorrent, you receive different pieces of that file from multiple seeds. While downloading and after completion, you can opt to become a seed as well to help the network further. Choosing to not seed earns you the title of a leech. BitTorrent needs seeds for the system to survive, so leeching is frowned upon.

The entire network of uploaders (seeds) and downloaders for a particular file is a swarm.

BitTorrent’s distributed architecture enables you to upload and download large files more cheaply and efficiently and helps to reduce Internet congestion.

BTT Tokens

BitTorrent existed long before the BTT token. Even today, you can use the free protocol without the token. According to the project’s whitepaper,

“BTT [acts] as a general purpose mechanism for transacting in computing resources shared between BitTorrent clients and a liquid market of service requestors and service providers.”

Alongside BTT, the development team introduces BitTorrent Speed. Because there’s no financial incentive to seed in the original protocol, swarms often die out prematurely. To solve this problem, BitTorrent Speed offers BTT rewards for users that continue to seed after downloading a file.

On the other side of the BTT equation, you can buy priority access to seeds, the continued availability of a file, and the use of others’ resources with your tokens.

The end goal for the BTT implementation is for BitTorrent to become an entire content ecosystem, including content delivery, decentralized storage, and proxies.

There is a total supply of 990,000,000,000 BTT, of which:

  • 20 percent went to the TRON Foundation
  • 19.9 percent stay with the BitTorrent ecosystem
  • 19 percent reside with the BitTorrent team and foundation
  • 17 percent were sold in private, public, and seed sales
  • 10.1 percent are part of a six-year Tron airdrop program
  • 10 percent are part of the BitTorrent airdrop program
  • 4 percent are partnership tokens

BitTorrent Team & Progress

Bram Cohen created BitTorrent in April 2001 and released an updated version in 2013. In June 2018, Tron founder Justin Sun purchased BitTorrent for $120 million as a means to expand Tron’s Project Atlas. Cohen is no longer with the company, and several original staff members have left as well.

Following the acquisition, BitTorrent held an initial exchange offering (IEO) through Binance’s Launchpad program, raising $7.2 million.

There is still a lot in development for the merger of the two decentralized companies. BitTorrent Speed isn’t available yet, but the team states that they’ll launch it sometime this quarter. Additionally, BitTorrent Live, a live video streaming service, is accepting sign-ups for an upcoming beta. However, the team has not announced a release date for this product.

Competition

With over 100 million users between Tron and BitTorrent, this project is leading the pack of peer-to-peer file sharing systems.

Another popular blockchain-based file sharing platform is Upfiring. However, Upfiring encrypts every file that seeders host whereas BitTorrent does not. With the nearly endless number of use cases in file sharing, there should be room for both to prosper.

Trading

BitTorrent has been one of the better performing cryptocurrencies of 2019. BTT launched with an IEO price of $0.00012, and after some initial volatile trading, the price settled in around $0.0008.

The price started climbing in the middle of May, peaking at an all-time high of $0.0018 at the end of May. There doesn’t appear to be any news correlating with this run-up, so we can chalk it up to the price just following the market at that time. The BTT price currently sits around $0.00134 – already ten times higher than the price during its ICO.

If investing, keep your eye out for the upcoming Speed and Live releases. Both of these products could give a nice boost to the price.

Where to Buy BTT

Your exchange options to purchase BTT are virtually endless. UpBit currently has the highest amount of BTT trading volume as a pair with KRW.

Because you likely don’t own any KRW, you should look to Binance for your BTT trading. It’s available in exchange for BTC, BNB, and various stablecoins on the platform.

If you’re new the cryptocurrency investing, check out our guide on how to buy bitcoin to get started.

Where to Store BTT

BTT is a TRC-10 token utilizing the Tron network, so you can store it in any wallet that supports TRX. Tron has a whole host of community-created wallets that the team promotes on the project’s official website.

Final Thoughts

Besides KIN (which is likely to end horribly), BitTorrent is one of the most extensive attempts to tokenize an already successful network. On the surface, adding a token to incentivize seeders in the system makes sense. We won’t know for sure, though, until Speed and other additions like Live hit the market. Until then, it’s just another game of altcoin speculation roulette.

Additional Resources

Website

Whitepaper

Twitter

Telegram

Blog

The post What Is BitTorrent (BTT)? | The World’s Largest Decentralized File Sharing Protocol appeared first on CoinCentral.

Source: Coin Central

Former Poker Pro Launches MintDice: Online Crypto Casino

There are few industries or communities as closely linked as casino and cryptocurrency. MintDice, an online cryptocurrency casino, recently launched with four games users are able to play from anywhere in the world. Be it a high tolerance for risk or innate desire to find a profitable edge whether in the financial system or a game of poker, there is plenty of overlap between those that take casino games seriously and cryptocurrency aficionados. In fact, many of cryptocurrency’s rising stars projects were founded by entrepreneurs who also happen to be enamored with poker. 

Founded by Bryce Daifuku, a former professional poker player and early Bitcoin investor, MintDice is poised to be a great use case for everyday adoption of cryptocurrency. We got a chance to connect with Daifuku and pick his brain on the evolution of the casino space and what the cryptocurrency industry needs to do to evolve.


How did you get into crypto?

As a former professional poker player, I had a lot of exposure to gambling a number of years ago. Cryptocurrency was a perfect match for many poker players because it filled a niche of financial freedom that many in our industry craved. Bitcoin also had high synergy with poker players’ notoriously high-risk tolerance. Naturally, it was just a matter of time before I would get involved.

After first dipping my toes into cryptocurrency when prices were as low as $100 per Bitcoin, I decided to buy a lot of Bitcoin when the prices were in the $150-200 per coin range, inspired largely by investment through Dooglus’ Just Dice website.

Years later, I have decided to widely expand on the idea Dooglus initially invented to provide a superior cryptocurrency experience for enthusiasts everywhere.

Why is now the best time to launch an online casino?

Most growth industries tend to undergo an ‘S’ curve for adoption. This equates to slow growth at the beginning, very high rates of adoption in the middle stages and low rates of growth at the end once the market is saturated.

I believe we are presently somewhere near the end of the early stages for online casino adoption which could signify rapid growth in the industry in the coming years through the 2020s. While online gambling has been around for a couple of decades, only recently has the technology been so easily accessible to mass markets through cell phones, apps and wider internet access creating a ripe market for explosive growth.

Many incumbents naturally may feel threatened by new players on the scene. How do you see the real world casino industry reacting to online casinos?

I think the smart and capable real-world casinos are quickly embracing the technology, seeing it as a highly scalable and inviting industry. Not every casino may hold this same ideology or may have the necessary user base to create such high-quality software but nonetheless, you can already see this happening from several major players.

Many land-based casinos are either developing their own software or are partnering with established online companies or some combination of both. While I think the allure of land-based casinos will continue to exist and prosper, the majority of new growth and expansion money will come from online based casinos over the next decade or two.

Can you run us through how games work on MintDice?

We have divided our game types into two major sections: Casino Games & Social Games.

The Casino Games are all built from the ground up and include online crypto Dice, Slots and Plinko, each with state of the art graphics, design, and functionality. Additionally, we are planning to launch a low-cost lottery with a 1,000 BTC Jackpot by September 2019, so keep an eye out for that one!

Bit.Rocket

Slightly differently, our Social Games may or may not require the actions of other players in order for the full experience. We are launching with Bit.Rocket which will be an innovative game where you will want to be the last player to cash out before the rocket explodes. Very soon, in July of 2019, we plan to roll out Pyramid, another PvP game that should be extremely exciting hosting massive jackpots. More details about this game will be released soon.

Slots “made cool for the modern crypto gamer” on MintDice

On our road map, we are also planning to include two more social PvP games that will each launch at some point during 2020. In every Social Game case, it is extremely important to us that the games are played fairly, are played by humans and are heavily bot-resistant, so we are looking out for you, the user, as best we can! The good news is that if you have the best strategies out there for any of our Social Games you can skillfully win your way serious amounts of Bitcoin.

A game of Plinko

Finally, I’d like to mention that every single game we offer on MintDice is using state of the art Provably Fair and transparency policies whenever possible so you are assured of getting a fair shake every single time you play on MintDice.

Can you touch on the team’s experience leading up to MintDice?

Building a proper website with an extended vision and road map is not a simple monolithic process, however, it is always the goal to appear that way by the end of it. That typically signifies a job well done! There are multiple areas of expertise within MintDice. Our single most important concern is having a hardened and high-security backend that keeps our games fair and our customer’s and investor’s deposits safe, so we have devoted a lot of energy towards this.

Our second major concern revolves around having an exceptionally high-quality user experience. We accomplish this by having specialized experts at animation, front end development, graphic design, sound design and much more to create an inviting yet simple environment that engages all walks of life from beginners to more advanced players.

Finally, coming from both a gambling and cryptocurrency background myself, I have attempted to really intertwine the essence of fun cryptocurrency memes, jokes and easter eggs throughout the website with ongoing development towards this vision to keep our website engaging to our demographic since it is built from the ground up and is therefore fully customizable.

Additionally, from the gambling perspective, I want to create a very wide variety of novel game types to appeal to multiple types of players. Between classic yet innovative casino games, our unique bot-resistant social games of skill or our soon to be released 1,000 BTC jackpot lottery, there’s something for everyone.

What events do you think need to happen to facilitate the mainstream adoption of blockchain-based projects?

Ease of use and necessity of use are the two major things that come to mind for anything Blockchain. The major boom to internet growth and adoption has happened with cellular devices allowing your Grandma to use the internet both cheaply and easily. The same principles cannot be said about cryptocurrency as a whole whatsoever. Cryptocurrency requires a high degree of sophistication and specialization in its present form, no different than the internet back in the 90s.

The day that using cryptocurrency is so easy that a basic user may not even be aware that they are using cryptocurrency is the day that mainstream adoption can truly take place, which may take a decade or more to accomplish.

However, this type of adoption in the short or long term will largely only take place in markets where fiat is not convenient. One of the best real examples, by no coincidence, are online casinos. There is a lot of friction between online casinos and traditional fiat payment systems. Cryptocurrency makes this entire process relatively seamless in comparison and consequently can offer much better rates and services than fiat based online casinos.

Meanwhile, websites like Overstock.com that accept Bitcoin for payment for their products, while nice in theory, solve very few real-world concerns that average ordinary users care about. So I expect to see very little real growth in these types of industries until real innovation or use cases can compel your average user to do so. I’ll happily admit that while I personally enjoy using cryptocurrency as a form of payment whenever possible, I fully realize that I am in a tiny minority and that it solves very few problems that people at large truly care about.

Other than MintDice, what are a few of your favorite projects in the space?

There are many projects that I find fascinating in cryptocurrency space but it’s hard to know how long, if ever, it will take for them to come to fruition. Let alone simple Bitcoin adoption. And more than anything, I simply want cryptocurrency as a whole to succeed. That said, I think the two single most important projects for cryptocurrency and Bitcoin are scalability and privacy.

It’s no secret that Bitcoin has a scaling problem and this has been a point of serious contention and debate. Whether the lightning network or competing for cryptocurrency networks may offer the solution waits to be seen, but either way, I think this is one of the single most important things to cryptocurrency’s overall success.

Secondly, I think financial privacy is very important. Bitcoin has offered a few solutions and I hope they continue to progress in development as cryptocurrency grows. I also fully support the continued development of major competing altcoins, like Monero, as a proof of concept if nothing else.

The post Former Poker Pro Launches MintDice: Online Crypto Casino appeared first on CoinCentral.

Source: Coin Central

6 Blockchain Startups Taking on the Freelancer Economy

Freelancing is an excellent starting point for the discussion about the impact of technology on the evolution of a highly active and entrepreneurial microcosm within the grand professional workforce.

A decade ago, freelancing was seen as somewhat of an island of misfit toys – people who were otherwise barred from the larger corporate workforce either by job qualifications, geographic location, or discriminations such as tattoo sleeves, or those crazy few that decided to start their own business.

Today, the blossomed freelancing ecosystem has shaken up the traditional professional itinerary.

Instead of working at the local restaurant or bar, college students are opting to monetize their nascent professional skills by programming or writing web content for $20-$45 an hour. It’s no shocker that many in their early 20s are jumping on the digital nomad rocketship and traveling the world and making a full year’s salary at their own pace and hours.

A 2017 study by Upwork and Freelancers Union estimates that 57.3 million Americans (roughly 36% of the U.S. workforce) are freelancing in some capacity, and add $1.4 trillion to the economy every year, a jump of nearly 30% since 2016.

Extrapolating this current growth rate puts the majority of the U.S. into the freelance spectrum by 2027.

Skilled professionals are entering the freelance economy to soften the blows of of post-gentrified San Francisco and New York City rent, if not to at least make a few extra dollars at $65-$150+/hour.

Internet-savvy labor-seekers all over the world is also able to earn a much higher wage in comparison to their native wages. Take this writer’s motherland of Bulgaria, where the monthly minimum wage is about $290 USD (235.20 EUR). A simple web content gig that averages around $15/hour at a typical 8-hour workday puts this employee at 12x the minimum wage line at $3,600/month (2,900 EUR). That’s a lot of shkembe chorba and Kamenitza beer.

63% of freelancers stated they freelance by choice, an 18% jump from 2014 to 2017. Additionally, 63% freelancers noted that they prefer the security of a diversified portfolio of clients rather than a single employer.

Upwork infographic

Image from Upwork

The rise of the freelance economy and the seismic shift of talent gave birth to intermediaries that are able to make an absolute killing connecting freelancers and clients.

Intermediaries such as Upwork, Toptal, and Fiverr act as talent marketplaces, escrow agents to release payment when the freelancers and clients mutually agree on the completion of work, and as a sort of search engine to place the “Top Rated” freelancers at the top of the new job listing suggestions.

Upwork: Target Practice for Blockchain Startups

To put this opportunity in perspective, let’s take a look at Upwork, one of the world’s most popular freelancing platforms.

Upwork home page

Upwork’s home page.

Upwork as we know it today was born in 2015 as a rebranding from the merge of Elance (founded 1999) and Odesk (founded 2003). With an estimated over 9 million registered users (much fewer active) in 180 countries with over $1 billion in annual freelancer billings, Upwork is largely regarded as a pioneer of the freelance economy.

Upwork makes for excellent target practice for blockchain startups because it has been able to accomplish what few freelance platforms have failed to do: create a trusted platform with a bustling ecosystem of active and satisfied users. For every Upwork, there are dozens of terrible and scammy platforms charging higher fees without offering nearly the same experience as Upwork.

Upwork acts as an intermediary and escrow agent and charges freelancers a fee on every transaction (20% up to $500, 10% from $500 to $10,000, 5% $10,000+, and clients a payment processing fee of 2.75%.) Upwork earns an estimated revenue of around $68,826,417 per year, the majority of which comes from these fees.

A single user making $65,000/year from multiple clients on the Upwork is making Upwork anywhere from $3,250 to $13,000 every year with very little upkeep – not too shabby for an algorithm!

Whatever human upkeep required for mediation and customer support happens via chat through Upwork’s support staff, which is most likely a network of inexpensive scripted virtual assistants from around the world.

Thousands of full-time freelancers with active rosters of clients and steady streams of work will happily express gratitude to Upwork for getting them started on their journey. The platform presents utopia for ambitious skilled talent with a penchant for taking full agency of their livelihood, setting their own hours and contract terms, and working wherever they choose – whether that be on a beach in Thailand or the coffee shop down the street from Mom’s house.

Unfortunately, all that glitters is not gold. Thousands of freelancers that put the full weight of their subsistence on the platform have complained of having the floor pulled from underneath them by unfair account freezes, reputation-shattering negative feedback from bad apple clients, as well as notoriously bad customer support.

Even a pleasant experience with Upwork doesn’t guarantee loyalty. Freelancing is not without its expenses. Rent, food, health insurance, co-working spaces, plane tickets, and the vices that come with an essentially self-ostracizing career path add up.

With freelancing also comes the imminent threat of one of your core clients falling through, leaving you staring down mounting fixed expenses and scrambling to make up the difference.

At some point, freelancers need to make the business decision of whether having 10% to 20% of their paychecks going to an intermediary is worth it. That 10% to 20% could be the difference between a new car, a down payment on a home, or health insurance. 

High fees are a huge reason why freelancing platforms like Upwork are seeing an exodus of their otherwise loyal users into off-site agreements where trust is hardly a factor with long-term clients they have become familiar with and from whom they can reliably expect work.

Without a need for Upwork’s core value proposition of trust, freelancers can shift their entire business to Gmail/Skype and Paypal or crypto. Clients also don’t mind using their own preferred methods of communication and saving on the 2.75% payment processing fee.

What attracts millions of freelancers and clients to the platform is the concept of trust and the enforcement of it, a value proposition that has become existentially threatened by a “trustless” blockchain.

While freelancing platforms are already caught in a vice with their user retention dilemma, dozens of blockchain-based competitors offering a smart-contract solution have come out guns-blazing.

The overhanging threat of disruption looms over any intermediary in a post-blockchain world, and the high traffic and easily monetizable freelancing economy is ripe for the taking.

CanYa

Canya.io is the closest upcoming platform to Upwork. This blockchain-powered marketplace of services raised over $12m AUD in their November 2017 ICO and claims to have over 7600 users and 3,400 service providers.

CanYa's home page.

CanYa’s home page.

CanYa will offer essentially the same services as traditional freelance platforms with fees set around 1% carried out in the native utility token CanYaCoin. The CanYaCoin is used to power the network of transactions as well as incentivizing platform growth and user behavior.

What sets CanYa apart from online freelancer platforms (other than the advantages of blockchain and a decentralized network) is that it also aims to provide in-home services, such as hiring a plumber.

For more information, check out the CanYa website and whitepaper.

Steemit

Although Steemit isn’t necessarily a platform for freelancers to connect with clients, it leapfrogs past the need for clients by offering content producers a means of monetizing their content.

The typical engagement between web content freelancers and is as follows: 

The traditional content monetization model involves leveraging content for traffic in hopes of generating advertising revenue or affiliate commission. Digital marketing savvy entrepreneurs with an understanding of what sorts of content performs well, how it should be written, how it should be optimized for search engines, etc. hire freelancers to create the content.

Freelancers receive a contract for something like “24 Benefits of CBD Oil to Cure Your Hangovers” and submit the article to the client for approval. If approved, the article goes live, and the clients utilize their skills to drive traffic to the content (or they hire someone that can). Hundreds or thousands of interested users read the article. The site owner gets paid by the advertising revenue from AdWords, a commission from the affiliate links on the site, or other sorts of partnership deals.

Steemit's home page

Steemit’s home page

Steemit essentially cuts out the need for the intermediary client and allows freelancers to post their content on https://steemit.com/, where users will read, comment, and engage with the content.

The content creators are then rewarded in Steem in proportion to the number of people reading and engaging with it based on the amount of “Steem Power Units” of that particular user.

The Steemit platform is architected to generate new units of “Steem” in order to keep the network running so that there will never be a need for third-party advertising or affiliate marketing to keep the lights on.

Ethearnal

Ethearnal is a blockchain-based freelance platform that primarily focuses on tokenizing reputation as its main differentiator. It also provides the same money escrow and moderation services.

Ethearnal's homepage

Ethearnal’s homepage

The reputation of freelancers is calculated based on how much ERT they have. Freelancers then “stake” an amount of ERT set by a client in order to enter into the particular smart contract.

Employers must stake ERT to hire freelancers, and moderators must stake ERT to solve disputes.

Whenever a contract finishes without the need of arbitrage, the Ethearnal platform uses $ of the contract to purchase ERT tokens on the open market to reward both the employer and freelancer with 0.5%, allowing them to receive reputation boosting tokens in proportion to the contract value.

To learn more, check out the Ethearnal site and whitepaper.

Origin Protocol:

The Origin Protocol seeks to decentralize the entire sharing economy and has the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Fiverr, and Getaround in its crosshairs. Although the scope of its mission is broader than the laser-focused freelancer model, it plays an arguably larger role in the conspiracy to undermine the entire sharing economy, which is estimated to grow to $335 billion by 2025.

Origin Protocol's home page.

Origin Protocol’s home page.

By using the Origin Protocol, businesses or individuals can conduct their operations on the decentralized web. CanYa, for example, is building their marketplace of services for the gig economy on the Origin Protocol.

Origin Protocol

To learn more, check out the Origin Protocol site and whitepaper.

OpenBazaar:

OpenBazaar is the world’s largest decentralized marketplace and charges no platform fees.

Spun out of the winning idea of a darknet marketplace of a Toronto hackathon in 2014, OpenBazaar was made to be completely peer-to-peer with no central controlling organization.

OpenBazaar's home page.

OpenBazaar’s home page.

The founders then started a company called OB1 with $1 million of venture capital investments from Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. OB1 received a second round of investment for $3 million in the fall of 2016.

OpenBazaar functions as a sort of global Craigslist that also allows freelancers to connect with new clients.

Users are able to pay with over 50 cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash, and Fash, and sellers are able to receive payment in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or Zcash.

To find out more, check out the OpenBazaar site.

Moneo:

Moneo is a blockchain-based freelancer platform that vets and verifies its freelancers with a primary goal of providing an array blockchain experts for hire.

Moneo's home page.

Moneo’s home page.

To learn more, check out the Moneo site and whitepaper.

Blockchain Out the Woodwork

Soon after the popularization of the awareness of blockchain’s potential came a near commoditization of blockchain-based platforms.

Iterations upon iterations on the “blockchain-based smart contract freelance platform” concept started rolling out en masse with names that aren’t necessarily trying to compete in the Creativity Olympics.

Blocklancer is offering a Distributed Autonomous Job Marketplace (DAJ) run on the Ethereum blockchain. This platform aims to be entirely self-regulatory with minimal fees and a decentralized tribunal system to guarantee fair dispute settlements and minimize fraud.

Coinlancer does the same thing and is hardly anything more than a smart contract platform draped with a user-friendly experience.

As is in the traditional Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur world, countless companies will start seeking a product-market fit in a monetizable niche, but this time with blockchain as a competitive advantage over the old guard.

Final Thoughts – Are Blockchain-Based Freelancing Platforms the Future? 

Theoretically, a trustless blockchain appears to hold the keys to freelancer emancipation, or at the very least potentially an impetus to a substantial restructuring of the current king’s ransom high fee structure imposed by intermediaries.

However, the keyword is theoretically.

Platforms like Upwork have spent millions in simplifying the user interface and user experience for all parties, as well as educating the general population on the ease of use and benefit of the freelancer economy.

Sure, a startup can reverse engineer of the UI/UX of the reigning platforms, but the challenge of branding is real.

The lowest hanging fruit for new platforms is users who have the time, flexibility, and patience to test new options, which isn’t necessarily a large demographic.

Blockchain startups certainly have their work cut out for them on the user acquisition front, especially now since Facebook and Google have both taken hard stances against cryptocurrency advertising. And even then, these startups need to jump over the next hurdle of building a two-sided community that competes with the activity of digital metropolises like Upwork.

On the other hand, the incumbent freelance platforms are mired in their own problems. The leading solution to the problem of high fees, blockchain, requires the surrender of the intermediary’s core value proposition and surrender of its main source of revenue.

Should a platform like Upwork pivot to blockchain to reduce fees, they’d be gutting their near (estimated) $70 million in annual revenue. That might make meeting payroll for their 250+ employees a tad difficult.

So, the narratives being to reveal themselves.

Will small, nimble, and adequately funded post-ICO blockchain-based startups be able to successfully onboard massive amounts of freelancers and clients and create a self-sustaining ecosystem or will they prematurely exhaust and doom themselves to a tiny esoteric circle of cryptocurrency aficionados?

Will ailing old-guard platforms be able to stop the drain of their most valuable cash cows talented freelancers, or will they become another set of relics antiquated by the raging tide of technological innovation? 

Only time will tell.

However, one certainty has started to manifest: the booming freelance economy has yet another avenue to exercise optionality when it comes to monetizing experiences, skills, and labor, as well as connecting ambitious talent with potentially civilization-advancing projects.

The post 6 Blockchain Startups Taking on the Freelancer Economy appeared first on CoinCentral.

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Justin Sun Announces Lunch with Warren Buffet: BitTorrent (BTT) Price Goes “Meh”

The BitTorrent (BTT) price is down over 5 percent in the last 24 hours following news of BitTorrent and TRON owner Justin Sun donating a whopping $4.57 million to have lunch with Warren Buffet. The deal was part of an auction that Glide, a San Francisco-based charity, hosted last week.

BitTorrent BTT 24 hour price change

BitTorrent is on the decline after a disappointing announcement from owner Justin Sun. | Source: CoinMarketCap

Sun is the first person to donate over $4 million for the awe-inspiring lunch, beating out the previous record of around $3.5 million in 2016. While Glide and those involved with the auction are likely ecstatic about the donation, others aren’t so pleased.

List of Glide auction winners

Justin Sun outbid last year’s winner by over one million dollars. | Source: Bloomberg

BitTorrent Investors Feel Slighted

Last year, Sun acquired BitTorrent to expand on the development of Project Atlas, TRON’s content distribution platform. Although the connection of the two projects is still in progress, the BitTorrent team has created a native cryptocurrency for the platform which has been trading since February.

In the past week, the BTT price jumped a couple of times due to Sun tweeting about an upcoming June 3rd reveal regarding

“[s]omething huge and amazing going about #TRON and #BitTorrent.”

Naturally, TRON and BitTorrent fans were expecting a revolutionary product launch or unbeatable partnership. Instead, they got lunch with Buffet, the man who believes that Bitcoin is

“probably rat poison squared.”

TRON Holds Steady

While BitTorrent is tumbling down, TRON investors seem less phased by the anti-climatic announcement. The TRX price is up almost a percent in the past day, giving it a 100 percent return on investment since the start of the year.

Tron one-day chart june 3

TRON appears unaffected by the recent news. | Source: CoinMarketCap

It’s possible that TRON’s larger market cap shields it from the volatile sentiment-caused swings that affect its smaller companion. Or maybe TRON’s investors are just used to Sun’s ‘announcement of announcement’ marketing tactics. Either way, it’s interesting to see that the close relationship of the two projects doesn’t lead to correlations with their price movements.

Can Sun Make Buffet a Bitcoin Convert?

It’s unlikely, but the wiz-kid out of Jack Ma’s Hupan University may have a trick or two up his sleeve for his lunch with the Oracle of Omaha. He’s allowed to bring up to seven people with him, so we can only hope that he’ll invite blockchain’s heaviest hitters. Vitalik Buterin, Jimmy Song, the Winklevii – a long lunch with them could be enough for even the biggest Bitcoin-skeptic to change his mind.

In an open letter to the community, Sun writes,

“I look at the upcoming lunch with Buffett as an opportunity to seek mutual understanding and growth…I also firmly believe that with the right communication and understanding, Buffett will change his overall stance on cryptocurrency and blockchain, allowing this new investment strategy to become integrated into his overall portfolio.”

Good luck, Sun. We hope you’re right.

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Source: Coin Central

Bitcoin Price Predictions, Uncovering the Real Crypto Market Drivers

Bitcoin has failed to break out into the $10,000 territory for the second week since hitting $8,000 values and is subsequently set to shatter a flurry of optimistic price predictions.

A collective of crypto market analysts strongly believe that a rally past the $10,000 mark will trigger considerable FOMO and subsequently propel the prime coin to new heights.

ThinkMarkets crypto market analyst, Naeem Aslam, is among the main proponents of this theory and just last week he told his subscribers that real FOMO would begin after bitcoin’s value hit the vital price point. According to the exec, “The bitcoin price is about to blast past the level of $10,000, recovering half of its losses from its all-time high.”

He predicted that the milestone would most probably be reached in a week or two.

Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder, Thomas Lee, also supports the $10,000 resistance argument. According to his explanation, the pivotal market price has only ever been sustained for a total of 3 percent of all days, meaning it is a transitional point to a major market change, in this case, a likely FOMO trigger.  

He elaborates that the $10,000 value mark is comparable to BTC’s $4,500 price in 2017 that precipitated a sustained upward trajectory. The momentum propelled bitcoin to its all-time $19,500 peak.

Bitcoin’s value stands at $8,499 at press time. This is a loss of about 5 percent from its 12-month peak attained on May 30. Despite the brief plunge that has sent chills across the cryptosphere pro-bitcoin crusaders remain adamant that a $10,000 price is near.

Of course, there is a significant likelihood that bitcoin will trade between $7,000 and $9,000 for a while and it may take a white swan event for BTC to move past $10k within the next few weeks.

Bitcoin to Remain Within the $7,000 and $10,000 Price Threshold

Billionaire Mike Novogratz predicts that BTC will remain within the $7,000 and $10,000 threshold for some time but sheer excitement surrounding the recent upward trend may push prices higher.

Speaking to Bloomberg, he underscored that the main catalysts behind the current positive market trend are widespread acceptance of the new asset class by major Wall Street companies as well as an increase in blockchain use-cases.

Billionaire Mike Novogratz predicts that BTC will remain within the $7,000 and $10,000 threshold for some time. (Image Credit: Bloomberg)

He cited Facebook’s rumored crypto project and Microsoft’s blockchain-powered user identity program as notable projects that are bringing major credibility to the industry.

Forces That Directly Determine Prices

Whales Determine Short Term Price Positions

The nascent bitcoin market is still highly volatile and susceptible to price movements caused by whales and institutionalized players who are able to make tens of millions of dollars in buy and sell orders.

The most recent price hike that occurred on April 2 led to a change from approximately $4,100 to $5,078.52 within 48 hours. It is believed to have stemmed from a single $100 million buy order sent across multiple major exchanges, subsequently pushing up prices.

As expounded on by crypto industry researcher Willy Woo, the latest price rally to $8,000 was largely orchestrated by professional market traders. This was via a tweet indicating the following.

“This last exponential rise & crash was NOT organic. We have a blockchain to show capital movements. There weren’t any. It was an orchestrated short squeeze to milk profits. That requires immense capital to buy up all the shorts. It’s done by pros.”

Manipulative Strategies Used to Shift Markets in the Short Term

There are fears that algorithmic trading tools are going to be used to abuse market loopholes. This is because they can be used to execute fake buy orders on a grand scale to dupe investors. The technique, widely known as flash trading is illegal in regulated markets because it gives a false notion about the value of an underlying asset.

The main problem facing the sector right now is that there are few checks and balances and so such schemes will continue to be commonplace thereby adding to market volatility.

Pump and dump strategies are also going to be used to influence markets in the short term. They are designed to mislead investors into buying a set of assets with the suggested prospect of a huge price increase.

Long Term Price Drivers

The Halving Episode

Industry experts are pointing to the halving episode as a crucial event that could push the bitcoin price past $20,000. The phenomenon limits the supply of bitcoins in the market by doubly increasing the mathematical complexities involved in processing BTC. This causes demand for the remaining coins in circulation to increase subsequently increasing the price.

The next halving event is set to occur in May 2020 and will cause rewards to diminish from 12.5 coins per block to 6.25. The episode automatically occurs after every 210,000 mined blocks and right now, there are about 51,300 remaining.

The BTC network protocol was programmed to start at 50 bitcoins reward per block which was the rate when it was developed back in 2009. It halvens after the set number of processed blocks. Today, about 17,733,563 coins have been mined.

Mining stops at 21 million according to set network parameters. The price of bitcoin is expected to increase steadily after this because of limited supply.

Only about 3 million bitcoins remain and there is no telling what the BTC rate will be especially in a few years time when scarcity increases substantially driving both demand and prices.

(Featured Image Credit: Pixabay)

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Crypto Whales Might Be Able to Manipulate Markets but Not in the Long Term

Bitcoin whales bought the dip during the six-month long crypto winter. The sudden market downtrend that occurred in November last year saw BTC plunge to sub $4,000 levels and subsequently edged out weak hands.

It, however, also allowed bitcoin whales to purchase hundreds of thousands of bitcoins at downgraded prices. According to a new research report published by Diar, cryptocurrency whales were able to acquire over 450,000 BTC in less than nine months.

The communique reveals that approximately 25 percent of all BTC in circulation is held in addresses with a balance of between 100 and 10,000 bitcoins. In August 2018 when bitcoin was valued at $8,000, wallets in this segment held about 20 percent of the total number of coins in circulation, which is approximately 5 percent less than they do today.

A Crypto Whale Watcher Scare

The crypto community is largely watchful of bitcoin whales because they are able to make major moves that can cause crypto prices to tank or surge depending on the resilience of the prevailing market-trajectory.

The NEO community recently raised alarm after coins worth over $300 million were transferred to an unknown wallet. The huge transfer caused widespread panic among investors forcing the NEO team to issue a statement.

According to the firm, the shift was routine and planned. The notice read in part, “On May 23rd, NF transferred 5,538,832 newly unlocked NEO to the unlocked address. The remaining 29,461,168 NEO were first sent to a change address before being transferred back to the locked address. This was done to differentiate the transactions for the community’s reference.”

The management cited the digital currency’s white paper indicating that the assets are not for sale on exchanges but are set aside to be used in helping grow the community. 29,461,168 NEO is about half the total in circulation, which is 65,000,000 digital coins. Selling such a huge amount on exchanges would crash prices.

How Crypto Whales Manipulate Markets

Crypto whales typically rely on market dips to accumulate substantial digital assets to be used in price manipulation. The more cryptocurrencies they have under their control, the more influence they possess.

Rinse and repeat tactics are a typical strategy used by this group of investors to tamper with an asset’s value. Flooding the market with sell orders below prevailing rates, for example, overwhelms demand and tanks prices. 

If perfectly executed, a whale can slowly buy back the amount of coins sold and more at deflated rates as long as market sentiment remains unchanged for a sustainable period of time. Alternatively, over-the-counter (OTC) desks can be used to purchase more digital funds at the lower market price.

Inversely, tens of millions of dollars can be pumped into the crypto sector via exchanges using buy orders set above existing rates. This causes prices to climb. A whale’s untraded assets can then be sold at a higher value to yield greater returns.

Whales Can Manipulate Markets in the Short Term but Not Long Term

The recent algorithmically managed $100 million BTC buy order is a perfect example of what can happen when risk inclined whales make moves. The buy order was set above prevailing market rates and executed across three major exchanges. The move apparently triggered BTC’s price to increase by over 25 percent within 24 hours.

Such tactics are effective in certain instances but not all. Market turbulence can affect the effectiveness of these strategies. With wash trading and manipulative buying and selling taking place all the time, the effects of such a move can sometimes be blunted by a myriad of factors. Successful executions usually require good timing and tens of millions in fiat or digital currency depending on the intended moves.

There Are Limits of What’s Possible

Numerous factors including liquidity limit the effectiveness of price manipulation strategies and many of them are tied to sentiment. Whales can cause market downturns, for example, but this has the undesirable effect of adversely influencing an asset’s outlook. It leads to the creation of a resistance point and causes liquidity to plummet.

If sentiment pertaining to a particular asset becomes overwhelmingly negative, it becomes harder to sell because investors are naturally skeptical about the outlook. This leads to less buy orders when there is an oversupply of coins.

There are also limits when prices are manipulated upwards. Because of the volatile nature of the market and widespread manipulative strategies, fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) cause investors to become unsure about the right time to buy or sell. This eventually causes the frenzy around a spike to die down and demand to wane unless there are naturally strong factors driving the market.

Of course, there is Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), which is a real thing and sometimes adds to the euphoria thereby increasing upward pressure on an asset’s value.

Ultimately, crypto whales do not determine bitcoin’s value but the community and its underlying network protocol do. Episodes such as BTC’s halving event directly influence the demand and supply of coins and affect all crypto users regardless of holdings.

General demand for the digital currency as a speculative instrument and a store of value will also continue to dictate bitcoin’s market price and generally override short term manipulation.

Crypto Exchanges Inadvertently Aiding Whales

Many crypto exchanges now offer margin trading features and this will inadvertently allow greater manipulation of markets. Such services allow traders to borrow financial trading funds and gives manipulators greater access to assets that can be used to influence the industry.

Both crypto market liquidity and asset prices can be manipulated through margin trading. The inclusion of OTC trading desks increases manipulation capabilities. It is estimated that about two-thirds of all cryptocurrency trades take place on these marketplaces.

They allow investors to trade without moving markets but whales can manipulate crypto asset prices through exchanges and then buy the undervalued assets via firms offering over-the-counter trading services. Overvalued coins can also be sold through these platforms.

(Featured Image Credit: Pixabay)

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NSA Denies Leaked Hacker Tool Was Used to Create Bitcoin Ransomware

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has denied that any of its hacking tools were used by cybercriminals to propagate an attack on Baltimore’s government systems.  

The attack has crippled city services for several weeks now as officials mull over the next move. According to a statement released by Representative C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, NSA officials who spoke to him have denied that any tools developed by the agency were used to hijack or disrupt vital government computer systems.

Going by Mayor Bernard Young’s statement, the city is not looking to pay the ransom demanded by the perpetrators which is 3 bitcoins per infected system. Government officials concede that it could be months before all platforms are restored

Although a vast majority of systems in the city were shut down in the wake of the malware attack, critical ones such as 911 and 311 networks were unaffected and are still on.  The Wall Street Journal reports that approximately 10,000 government computers were infected and many are still locked down.

At the moment, there are delays in processing home sales because affected systems cannot be used to reveal details about property sellers such as unpaid liens. Such information is required to be released to insurers but is currently inaccessible.

Water billing systems have also been affected and so customers won’t be receiving bills for some time. The delay is likely to cause a spike in charges when the situation is resolved. The following is an excerpt of the official statement from the mayor.

“I am not able to provide you with an exact timeline on when all systems will be restored.  Like any large enterprise, we have thousands of systems and applications.

Our focus is getting critical services back online, and doing so in a manner that ensures we keep security as one of our top priorities throughout this process.   You may see partial services beginning to restore within a matter of weeks, while some of our more intricate systems may take months in the recovery process.”

Google Disabled Baltimore Gmail Accounts

In the aftermath of the attack, government staff workers in Baltimore apparently tried to set up temporary Gmail accounts as a workaround following the deactivation of infected systems and according to the Baltimore Sun, many of them were disabled.

It was initially unclear why this happened but Brooks Hocog, a Google spokesperson, elaborated that the mass creation of Gmail accounts in a localized geographical area triggered the company’s security system which disabled a vast majority of them. Many were reportedly restored a short while after the released statement.

How The Infection Occurred

Hackers were able to infect thousands if computer systems within a very short period of time by allegedly utilizing EternalBlue, a leaked NSA hacking tool. On May 7, the city’s government workers woke up to find critical file systems encrypted by ransomware.

The cybercriminals were demanding payment in bitcoin. Although the systems were immediately taken offline and the FBI called to investigate, the city administration’s voicemail system and parking fines database among others had been encrypted. Cyber Security firm, Armor, shared a redacted image of the note left by the hackers demanding a ransom.

It warned that it would increase to $10,000 per day after four days, adding that no further negotiations are going to take place.

The cybercriminals are believed to have gained access to government servers through a vulnerable computer system. They were then able to create a backdoor that enabled the infected machine to infect others connected to its network.

Cybersecurity contractors working on the project allegedly discovered another tool called a web shell that could have been used in tandem with EternalBlue to “pass-the-hash” across network computers. This is believed to have enabled the malware to spread further by utilizing copied credentials to bypass network protocols.

EternalBlue Widely Used by Crypto Hackers

The EternalBlue exploit was developed by the NSA but leaked online by the Shadow Brokers in 2017. The original code has since then been modified by numerous malicious actors to penetrate computer systems and install malware, cryptocurrency miners and ransomware.

It was notably used to carry out the infamous WannaCry ransomware attack that infected PCs worldwide in 2017 just a few months after the leak. It worked by encrypting files on personal computers and then demanding ransom to be paid in crypto. Over 150,000 computers were infected in more than 100 countries.

Microsoft was quick to release a patch designed to thwart the attack but there are still millions of computers out there that are vulnerable due to the widespread use of counterfeit Windows software, a failure to install the patch or the latest Microsoft security updates. Investigators believe that a failure to install security updates against the exploit is what caused the Baltimore attack to be so successful.  

EternalBlue Preferred By Crypto Mining Hacker Groups

EternalBlue came into the limelight again in January after researchers uncovered its use in a sophisticated cryptojacking campaign that particularly targeted computers and servers in China.

The Qihoo 360 security team is credited for being the first to discover the infection. The campaign apparently relied on EternalBlue along with some formidable PowerShell scripts to download malware payloads on infected machines and mine cryptocurrencies such as Monero.

More recently, Symantec uncovered a major cryptojacking campaign involving the EternalBlue exploit that particularly targeted enterprises in China. It relied on a file-based crypto miner. Initial infection of machines was apparently carried out via phishing emails.

The recent rise of the cryptocurrency market is believed to be fuelling a resurgence of cryptojacking malware attacks. Symantec reports that cryptojacking infections fell by about 50 percent in 2018 after the crypto market went into a bearish mode.

The report underscores that although ransomware attacks have been on the decline and now down by about 20 percent, campaigns targeting enterprises have increased by about 12 percent.

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Source: Coin Central