Facebook’s Libra: a coin-toss towards digital economy evolution and crypto’s mainstream status

Facebook’s announcement of its plans to introduce Libra, a global cryptocurrency focused on achieving the financial inclusion for unbanked people, spurred substantial backlash over data privacy and security issues from governments and their regulators. Libra has faced cynicism in relation to the social media giant’s controversial past regarding its failed attempts to protect users’ privacy.

While the governments’ main focus is on the regulatory issues, the industry experts believe Libra plays a more significant role for the crypto community in general and the development of the digital economy. Nonetheless, Facebook’s blockchain project seems to affect on every aspect of the modern digital economy and appears to have all-encompassing influence.

Mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and digital payments

This pessimistic approach of governments and regulators towards innovative technologies is however, nothing new. From an innovation aspect, Libra as a blockchain-based digital currency presents the next step in the evolution of money: an inflection point in the form of financial solution created not by governments and central banks, but the private companies which will ultimately disrupt the deeply ingrained monopoly set up by the mainstream money systems.

During the latest episode of Financial Fox, hosted by PR guru Stefania Barbaglio, Jared Tate, founder of DigiByte, explained that Libra symbolises significant validation for the novel blockchain technology, and starts to forge a new path for the future of finance and the crypto technology. Due to its pre-existing association with a well-known name such as Facebook and its 2.5 billion users, Libra stands a chance of becoming successful, and is essentially expected to be an advocate for cryptocurrencies, encouraging a lot more people to step into the crypto space.

As such, even if deemed unsuccessful, Libra symbolises an important first step towards the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. It will allow for a large segment of the public to get familiar with the crypto space and educate them on fundamental concepts and the key idea of controlling their own funds, as claimed by the Charles Hoskinson, founder of Cardano, during his conversation with Stefania Barbaglio for the Financial Fox Crypto Show.

Issues on data privacy and the control of technology market

Due to its potential for mass-adoption, Libra raises serious questions on the aspect of regulation and as such has been greeted by backlash from the regulators and members of traditional financial institutions, mainly over serious concerns as to whether the digital currency threatens the stability of the US dollar and other government-backed currencies, or could infringe on consumers’ privacy.

Essentially, there is no limit on the type and the amount of data Libra will gather, and absolutely no guarantee on privacy. Facebook’s business model is based on how much it knows about you. As Libra itself is based on the permissioned blockchain, it means Facebook has full censorship power backed up by money that people, especially the unbanked, are going to need, said Jean Phillipe Beaudet, Director and CTO of ZeU Crypto network for the Financial Fox.

Such concerns among experts regarding the Libra stable coin are predominantly rooted in the market dominance of its parent company, Facebook, and the latter’s controversial past regarding data handling. With that in mind, introducing Libra, a payment system powered by Facebook, raises serious political power and consumer privacy concerns.

Jean Philippe Beaudet, director of ZeU, argued that although cryptocurrencies are always seen as a decentralisation tool that will help people gain more freedom, they can also become the most effective control tool ever made, as this is smart money needed by everyone. “We are now at the point where we have to balance these requirements of being a bit regulated and not enabling the governments to control their populations. That is potentially going to be a great challenge and Libra is not helping on that front. I believe it’s just creating a scarier monopoly”, added Jean Philippe Beaudet for the Financial Fox.

Adoption of Libra in different countries

Libra’s main objective — to bank the unbanked in developing countries — seems to be running into obstacles already.

Jared Tate, Bill Barhydt, Jean-Philippe Beaudet, Ajeet Khurana and the host, Stefania Barbaglio

It appears that Libra’s mission could be undermined as some of the developing economies such as India, Libra’s largest potential market, seems to have adopted a hostile approach towards cryptocurrencies. Earlier in 2019, India introduced a bill on Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency, proposing a 10-year-long prison term for people who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies”, ultimately preventing Libra and any other innovative crypto-technology project from entering the Indian market.

Ajeet Kurana, Indian entrepreneur and former CEO of Zebpay India shares his hopes in the interview with Director of Financial Fox Stefania Barbaglio, in regards to Libra’s efforts in India: “If in such an environment, Facebook’s Libra succeeds in leading the way against the Indian government or in fact any such government hesitant towards cryptocurrencies, showing that the unbanked are truly the marginalised community in question, that would open the doors to all the other cryptocurrencies and digital assets to enter the Indian market.”

The future of Libra in China, the other leading emerging economy, does not seem much brighter. The media outlets Facebook and WhatsApp are already banned in China, the most restrictive country when it comes to ICO’s, prompting social media consumers to use WeChat, a similar app that allows the options of payment transfers and purchasing goods without ever leaving the app.

Jared Tate, founder of DigiByte, believes that “If history is any sort of track record, the Chinese government will opt to do something very similar to Libra, creating their own digital currency”. The central bank of China is reportedly working on its own digital currency to stop Facebook from taking over the market.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem to expect other players, inspired by Facebook

Charles Hoskinson in an interview for the Financial Fox

Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Input-Output Hong Kong, shared in his interview for the Financial Fox his prediction of the Crypto and Blockchain market: “The existence of Facebook in the market will be an invitation to the others to come in as well. It is kind of the next wave and a great competitive pressure to existing players such as Cardanos, Ethereums and Bitcoins to evolve more quickly. Ultimately it’s Darwinian technology and we have to be obsessed with usability, consumer experience and usefulness in order to survive. Facebook has certain advantages which other smaller players don’t.”

However, those advantages don’t seem to be stopping other big companies either. We are possibly expecting to see other big platform providers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft entering the Blockchain and Crypto space. Samsung has already announced experiments on developing an Ethereum-based Blockchain , while Nestle announced its new Blockchain initiative to support its supply chain.

Decentralised technology

The decentralised nature of blockchain technology means that it doesn’t rely on a central point of control. A lack of a single authority makes the system fairer and considerably more secure. The way in which data is recorded onto a blockchain epitomises its most revolutionary quality: decentralisation.

Instead of relying on a central authority to securely transact with other users, blockchain utilises innovative consensus protocols across a network of nodes to validate transactions and record data in a manner that is incorruptible. However, that can’t really be said in the case of Libra, which is supposedly backed up by the pool of securities.

In that respect, Jared Tate, founder of Digibyte, believes that the truly decentralised projects out there really cannot be compared with these fiat currency-backed projects. Jared told Financial Fox that in the case of Libra, there needs to be a differentiation from the regulators’ perspective on how an everyday, transactional stable coin is operated versus a truly decentralised digital asset like Bitcoin or Digibyte. We can’t really compare the two as they don’t function in the same way, considering that the Libra project is pegged to the US dollar, which is subject to inflation.

So far, Facebook doesn’t have a very good record of decentralising things and giving power to the users. It is, like most Silicon Valley companies, the middleman of necessity and in occupying that position, has the enormous control over your privacy, your information and your autonomy. “They like being dictators in that respect”, said Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Input-Output Hong Kong in an interview for the Financial Fox.

That perhaps subjects Facebook’s decentralised technology to even more scrutiny, as calling it decentralised while in essence it is not, makes it even more controversial.

So where does that leave Libra? Ultimately, it is at the forefront of this paradigm shift towards a more developed digital economy of the future. But until further developments are completed and authorities start to warm to the idea of digital money, Libra’s near future depends on its collaboration with the financial sector, social impact organisations, regulators and experts across various industries. This is the way to ensure that a sustainable, secure and trusted framework underpins Libra’s system, allowing it to deliver a leap forward for economic empowerment on a global scale by ultimately encouraging the development of digital economy, as has been promised by Facebook.

To watch the debate about Libra and follow other related stories subscribe to our Youtube Channel and follow @financialfox for the upcoming updates.

Libra’s boundary pushing causes worldwide backlash

A month after the announcement of Libra’s proposed launch, Facebook’s cryptocurrency has faced considerable backlash from authorities, raising uncertainty around its future plans. The blockchain project has been greeted frostily by most regulators and financial institutions all over the world, as they collectively indicate that an unregulated digital currency available to billions of social media users globally would bring about significant financial disruption.

The negative response has prompted skepticism around the feasibility of bringing Libra to the market in 2020 — if ever. According to CNBC, the tech industry is expressing doubts over whether the cryptocurrency will become available next year, in light of the issues raised by US lawmakers.

The lack of public trust in the social media company is also a factor that could hinder further developments: “Facebook won’t get far with Libra if consumers are worried about their financial data being compromised or misused, and regulators don’t trust Facebook to keep that data secure,” Dimitri Sirota, CEO of BigID, a New York data privacy firm said to CNBC.

The US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the US central bank has “serious concerns” about Libra, the Wall Street Journal reported. Both the Federal Reserve System and the separate Financial Stability Oversight Council are meeting to discuss Libra alongside global policy makers.

Facebook faces pushback from regulators over Libra launch

The backlash, however, does not seem to have stopped Facebook from moving forward with their plans. In a letter addressed to the US Senate Banking Committee last Monday, Facebook blockchain lead and Libra project leader David Marcus attempted to ease concerns, stating that the social media company is open to collaboration with authorities and other regulatory bodies to make the Libra project work within the right framework:

“I want to give you my personal assurance that we are committed to taking the time to do this right. We understand that big ideas take time, that policymakers and others are raising important questions, and that we can’t do this alone. We want, and need, governments, central banks, regulators, non-profits, and other stakeholders at the table and value all of the feedback we have received,” Facebook’s blockchain lead stated.

David Marcus is scheduled to testify before the Banking Committee next week.

India and China not open to Libra, but China considers the benefits of crypto

If Facebook is facing problems with the US Senate, the international stance on Libra is no friendlier. In the biggest Asian markets, India and China, Facebook’s cryptocurrency seems to be an increasingly remote possibility.

Due to tight regulations, Facebook is currently locked out of the Indian market, one of the largest in the world. Since April 2018, all entities regulated by the Reserve Bank of India have been banned from dealing in cryptocurrencies and virtual coins, and the government is working on a draft to increase penalties for those who trade and use cryptocurrencies.

“Design of the Facebook currency has not been fully explained,” India’s Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Garg said in an interview in New Delhi on Saturday. “But whatever it is, it would be a private cryptocurrency and that’s not something we have been comfortable with.”

Chinese authorities are reluctant to let Libra enter the market, but show interest in cryptocurrencies

Meanwhile in China, a senior official from the Central Bank stated that Libra must be “put under the oversight of monetary authorities” as reported by Bloomberg earlier this week.

Because as a cryptocurrency, Libra would be able to be transacted freely across borders, Chinese authorities are concerned that it “won’t be sustainable without the support and supervision of central banks,” Mu Changchun, deputy director of the People’s Bank of China’s payments department, told Bloomberg.

Mu has also expressed further concerns about the lack of clear commitment to counter money-laundering mechanisms, as well as clarification as to how Libra will protect its users’ privacy.

Nevertheless, Chinese authorities have not ruled out the use of digital currencies in their territory as they recognise the advantages of the technology in terms of improved efficiency.

Libra’s announcement has prompted the PBOC (People’s Bank of China) to look into plans to introduce a government-backed digital currency, aiming to secure China’s position in the global cryptocurrency race, as reported by the China Daily.

“A digital currency issued by the central bank can improve the efficiency of monetary policy, and help to optimise the payment system,” said Wang Xin, director of the PBOC Research Bureau.

Don't miss Cassiopeia live debate about Libra with crypto experts. SUNDAY 7PM UK TIME. Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and follow @stefixy @financialfox for participating link.

The two sides of Facebook’s crypto coin Libra

The launch of the cryptocurrency Libra announced by Facebook earlier this week has prompted many discussions about the future of finance, particularly the role of cryptocurrencies. The project has grabbed the attention of regulators all over the world, most of them calling for the project to be delayed or even scrapped.

In the crypto space, some experts have expressed their disapproval over a big tech company entering the area, while also acknowledging that the launch of Libra could be a tipping point in the history of blockchain.

On the latest FinancialFox, crypto PR guru Stefania Barbaglio interviewed On Yavin, CEO and founder of Cointelligence about his views on Libra. He is an angel investor and serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry. A leading authority on cryptocurrency, he is also a data-driven strategist.

His company, Cointelligence, conducts data research and analysis for the crypto economy. Cointelligence was created to bridge the information gap in the crypto economy, and also offers professional due diligence and blockchain advisory services.

“The new Facebook coin is a fake cryptocurrency. They are calling it cryptocurrency because it is a buzzword. It may be a digital currency, but it is not a cryptocurrency. It is a crap coin,” says On Yavin.

On believes that Libra is not a real cryptocurrency because of three main factors:

- A Facebook digital currency will by definition be largely centralised.

- Facebook has a huge trust problem after its poor track record in securing its users’ personal data.

- Facebook is partnering with big companies such as Uber, Paypal, Vodafone and Visa to create Libra. In essence, this means that big corporations will continue to control the system and exploit users. “That is the opposite of what a cryptocurrency should be,” says On.

Libra might eventually have a financial value, he says, but the whole system sounds illegitimate and it does not represent a real cryptocurrency.

Libra could make crypto mainstream

Whilst Libra itself might sound like a poorly developed cryptocurrency, its impact on the cryptocurrency market is likely to be positive and could be the move needed to bring cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

Regardless of the future of Libra, its launch has exposed huge numbers of people to cryptocurrencies and the world of blockchain. Because Facebook has now officially stepped in, crypto may start to be viewed as more serious and credible.

Up to this point, conversations about cryptocurrencies have been nearly exclusive to technologists. Now with the launch of Libra, Facebook is practically making cryptocurrency available to its two and a half billion users at once.

“I think that the positive side is that Libra will get so many people introduced to the new generation of digital payments and some of them will want to learn more about real cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum,” says On.

With the threat of disruption posed by a company the size and influence of Facebook launching a digital currency, regulators and central banks have started to look seriously at the crypto world, which could prompt much needed regulations of the market.

The launch of Libra means that the cryptocurrency market is bound to become more interesting for outside investors. Nevertheless, it is important for those entering the crypto space to be careful and carry out thorough research before putting down large amounts of money. We are still at the ‘young’ stage of the crypto market, so there are plenty of scams going around, which can easily lure eager investors into fraudulent projects.

On’s company Cointelligence helps to identify the most authentic projects and exchanges in crypto. Cointelligence found over 80–85% of crypto exchanges to be faking trading volume to get their rankings up on listing websites to increase revenue. “There’s very little transparency on crypto exchanges. This is misleading to investors,” says On. He warns users of different types of malicious actors around:

- Scammers: people who launch fake projects with the intention of stealing investors’ money

- ‘Mini scammers’: people who found crypto ventures quite genuinely, although the project is not feasible in reality and does not bring returns

- ‘Scamming neighbours’: the partners of a fake project, such as the publishers that advertise it and YouTubers and influencers who promote it

More developments are sure to unfold soon and whatever happens, the crypto market could be on its way to a great transformation. All eyes on Libra.

Watch the full interview here:

Facebook’s Libra sparks privacy and security concerns

On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled plans of launching its own digital currency, Libra, in the first half of 2020. Facebook’s stablecoin will let users shop and send money overseas with almost zero transaction fees.

Facebook has united forces with some of the major names in payment and e-services including Mastercard, PayPal, Uber, Visa, Spotify, eBay, and Vodafone, to form the 28-members Libra Association, based in Geneva. Facebook hopes to have. It is reported they expect to have 100 members by Libra’s launch, showing the ambition underlying its plans. The Libra currency will be stored on the e-wallet Calibra, which is being developed by Facebook. According to the company, the Calibra wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app.

In less than 24 hours, the project already raised great concerns as Libra is poised to become a global currency that could potentially challenge major fiat currencies such as the US dollar, as well as take down traditional financial institutions.

Having a centralised tech company like Facebook orchestrating the launch and system of a cryptocurrency goes against one of the core principles of digital currencies advocates: decentralisation. With 2.7 billion users, Facebook has constantly been a target for hackers and malicious actors, because of the value of its users’ data — it can become even worse holding large amounts of money.

Whilst a more detailed plan of how Libra is going to work, it is clear that it will have a significant impact over the current financial system, perhaps even become a major player, given the large influence of Facebook.

Questions over privacy of financial information have emerged to put into question Facebook’s credibility of managing a digital currency. Recalling the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the hijack of 87 million users data, just a year ago, Facebook does not have a positive track record of securing users’ data and privacy — so quite understandably, there have been doubts about Zuckerberg’s firm dealing with people’s money. Facebook has constantly been a target for hackers and malicious actors.

“It’s difficult for me to see anyone who cares about privacy actually adopting this new offering, particularly given Facebook’s laughable record on respecting their users’ privacy choices,” cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs said to CNBC.

The lack of legal protection for users is another of the main worries about the Libra project. The sector of digital currencies is at the moment largely unregulated, justifying the concerns of having the tech giant Facebook entering the competition. So far, in the cryptocurrency realm, investors across the world have lost hundreds of millions of dollars through price volatility, crypto-exchange hacks and illegitimate projects. In 2018 alone, $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen through hacking.

The market has also faced money-laundering and terrorist-financing allegations. In light of these allegations, Facebook said that the Calibra system plans to conduct compliance checks on customers who want to sign up, using verification and anti-fraud processes that are common among banks.

According to Kevin Weil, who runs product for the Libra initiative, the project gives a chance for regulators around the world to bring their attention to cryptocurrencies and start creating mechanisms of regulating the system: “It gives us a basis to go and have productive conversations with regulators around the world,” he told Reuters. “We’re eager to do that.”

Cryptocurrency experts took to social media to express their concerns over what Facebook’s entry to the crypto space could mean.

“If you’re concerned with Facebook knowing too much or having too much access to your private data, Libra will give Facebook even more direct access to your financial information,” said Phil Chen, a cryptocurrency expert who pioneered HTC’s first blockchain smartphone to the Independent.

“It’s not just access to the information of your transactions, it’s direct access to your wealth and capital. If the top-line question about Facebook and antitrust is about whether to break it up and spin off the likes of WhatsApp and Instagram — well Libra is the most invasive and dangerous form of surveillance they have designed thus far. This will easily become the most dangerous antitrust case in history.”

The Libra project has proved to be worrying for lawmakers who were quick to reprimand the cryptocurrency. The project is suffering backlash from regulators and lawmakers in the US and Europe with urges for the project to be delayed or even paused.

“Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a crypto-currency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action,” said US Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters.

The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Marie, has said that this new cryptocurrency cannot operate as a sovereign currency. The minister also stated that the Libra currency should be a matter of discussion on the upcoming G7 meeting with central bankers in July.

On the next FinancialFox, crypto expert Stefania Barbaglio will interview On Yavin, CEO and Founder of Coin Intelligence. Coin Intelligence conducts data research and data analysis for the crypto economy. On will be sharing insights about the latest developments of Facebook’s Libra and its impact on the crypto market.

Don’t miss our next episode live tomorrow!

Online Blockchain OBC building the ‘Yahoo of Crypto’

In the latest episode of Financial Fox, crypto guru Stefania Barbaglio interviews Clem Chambers, CEO of London listed ADVFN and Online Blockchain about OBC latest product ‘FreeFaucet.io’

FreeFaucet is a revolutionary free application that allows users to distribute and access cryptocurrencies without mining. FreeFaucet was designed to address the technical difficulties faced by many people in entering the crypto world.

Access http://freefaucet.io/

“With crypto faucets, we take that technical difficulty away. People can get a little Bitcoin, a little Ethereum, a little Brazio ̶ they can just get it on the website. If they want to get more, they can subscribe.

This is the core of a crypto hub. OBC wants to be the Yahoo of crypto. This will be the place where people come for crypto stuff: coins, news, community, and more,” says Clem Chambers.

The faucet can be used by any cryptocurrency provider, meaning that any cryptocurrency — big or small, old or new — can now be easily exchanged for goods and services without users needing to mine the coin, which gives greater access to consumers and wider exposure for service providers.

FreeFaucet’s revenue comes from subscriptions and advertisements placed on the website. Cryptocurrency companies will purchase ad space on the FreeFaucet page to attract more coin holders. The same as ADVFN, which has been steadily growing since 1999 building a global platform for financial news and main hub for investors in equities.

This is a business model that benefits the consumer because the user gets value back in coins.

“It is not just about the money, it is about community and education, enabling people to enter the crypto world. FreeFaucet.io will help unlock the value of the crypto sector,” says Clem Chambers.

This is a revolutionary tool because it reverses the economic chain: money comes back to consumers rather than them paying the middlemen involved in purchasing a product or service.

Online Blockchain is focusing operations on building ‘the new generation of blockchain’, which according to Clem Chambers is all about services and applications built on top of cryptocurrencies. OBC is building an operating system, like Windows, powered by blockchain.

Visit FreeFaucet.io and @freefaucetio

Online Blockchain launches global free cryptocurrency hub- claim, send, receive and store a…

Online Blockchain launches global free cryptocurrency hub- claim, send, receive and store a variety of cryptocurrencies with FreeFaucet

Online Blockchain plc (LSE:OBC) announces the open beta of its FreeFaucet product, an innovative application that allows a variety of cryptocurrencies to be claimed, sent, received and stored.

Product Overview

In the crypto world, an online faucet ‘drips’ different coins and enables visitors to claim these cryptocurrencies. With FreeFaucet, users can obtain both renowned and emerging cryptocurrencies up to three times per day free of charge (20 times a day with membership), and access some of the highest-paying faucets on the net.

The product, which is in open beta, provides a simple way to claim, send, receive and store a diverse range of cryptocurrencies in one place. FreeFaucet offers many popular cryptocurrencies including: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Monero, Ravencoin, PlusOneCoin and Brazio. These claimed cryptocurrencies can then be securely stored on the FreeFaucet multicoin wallet (a cold storage solution).

FreeFaucet also boasts Geofaucet — a first-of-its-kind, location-specific faucet. Geofaucets are real-life, physical faucets in the form of a QR code. When these Geofaucet QR codes are scanned at a set location, the person scanning is rewarded with cryptocurrency. Additionally, anyone can create their own Geofaucet on the FreeFaucet site — and earn a passive income — by generating a unique QR code and placing it at a location of their choice. When a Freefaucet.io user scans this QR code, both the user and the Geofaucet owner receive cryptocurrency for free and will see their balance updated on Freefaucet.io. Any non-users scanning a Geofaucet QR code will be prompted to register on Freefaucet.io to have their claimed cryptocurrency added to their new account.

Users can claim from an unlimited number of Geofaucets per day and claim from any given Geofaucet once every 12 hours. Details of the Geofaucet locations and the simple steps for creating one can be found at: www.freefaucet.io/geofaucet

Another exciting feature of the FreeFaucet site is Bitferno, a powerful cryptocurrency miner of brand new cryptocurrencies. Approximately once a month, these cryptocurrencies will be distributed or ‘airdropped’ to all Freefaucet.io users. Distribution is scaled according to a user’s experience level: every single time a user interacts with the site e.g. logging in, claiming from a faucet or setting up a Geofaucet, they gain experience. Users with higher experience levels will be rewarded accordingly for their support and loyalty on the site. Bitferno is currently mining Bytecoin.

“There is unbridled interest in cryptocurrencies. Freefaucet offers a gateway to this market and enables established cryptocurrency enthusiasts and novices alike to earn free cryptocurrency with just a few clicks,” said Clem Chambers, CEO of Online Blockchain plc. “Freefaucet.io is now growing fast and our aim of making it a leading crypto community hub with many revenue streams has got off to a very exciting start.”

About Online Blockchain plc (LSE: OBC)

Online Blockchain (www.onlineblockchain.io) is a UK-based incubator and developer of businesses in internet and information-based technologies, including developers, administrators and custodians of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. The Company created ADVFN www.advfn.com and today still has a holding of 17.98% in ADVFN plc.

Online Blockchain plc continues to consider new related opportunities, particularly crypto currencies and blockchain-based opportunities including incubating cryptocurrency start-ups and developing technical innovation in the blockchain space. Led by a team with over two decades of pioneering in tech, Online Blockchain focuses on innovation in cryptocurrency and decentralised ecosystems via various applications of blockchain: incubating cryptocurrency start-ups and developing technical innovation in the blockchain space.

Ulticoin: The cryptocurrency gamers have been waiting for

The multi-billion dollar gaming market is about to witness a brand new project leveraging on blockchain technology to give players the chance of cashing in ‘real money’ from their gaming tokens.

The gaming industry helped drive the internet, certainly in the social media age where social gaming and microtransactions have become a flourishing industry in their own right. Now, the industry could be helping to spur the growth of blockchain technology and increase adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Numbers indicate there are more than 25,000 e-gaming platforms worldwide, generating altogether between USD$20 to 40 billion in revenue. Online gaming is expected to grow by over 11% a year until 2020. This impressive growth is mostly down to new technologies enhancing current gaming experiences and creating niches in the market.

In 2017 alone, the gaming industry generated $108.4 billion in revenue. The good sentiment is also felt on the investment side in an increasing interest in blockchain appliances from gaming companies. Over the last few years, there have been more than 50 ICOs for gaming-focused projects, the top 10 fundraisers reaching over $323 million alone.

Among many features, the introduction of blockchain technology in games offers more security to players, can increase number and variety of elements and allows more sophisticated features.

The integration of blockchain into gaming is seen as a positive move within the crypto space. Gamers are known to be early adopters of new technologies and their familiarity with tokens and virtual currencies can help drive adoption of cryptocurrencies wider.

ULTI Coin: Exchange gaming tokens for real currencies

Aiming to reach the core of the popular and expanding gaming industry, blockchain developers decided to create ULTICoin.

The coin started to be designed in 2017 by a team of experts in gaming — and gamers themselves — who understand the market very well spotted the opportunity of deploying crypto technology to unlock the billions of dollars that are locked inside video games features and different realities.

ULTI Coin is the first-of-its-kind allowing players to get ‘real’ money’ from their games. ULTI Coin is new cryptocurrency that implements and manages in-game virtual currencies. Purpose of ULTICoin is exchanging in-game currencies for ULTI Tokens, which allows gamers to become users of ULTICoin, and exchange ULTI Tokens for FIAT currencies or any other in-game currency.

“Our aim is to partner with as many gaming companies as possible. In any game, you gather tokens which now with ULTI coin can be exchanged for real money,” said Nadja Jovovic, a consultant at ULTCoin.

“Our project is built on Ethereum blockchain, which means users get the speed, safety and transparency from Ethereum network,” said Sergej Belavin, senior consultant at ULTI Coin.

ULTI will soon be listed on different crypto exchanges around the world which will allow gamers to trade their gaming coins to other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and eventually fiat values.

Vertbase: Coinbase for Altcoins.

Accelerating cryptocurrency adoption

Founded in 2018, Vertbase is a highly secure and user-friendly digital currency platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies with US Dollars. Vertbase was born with the aim of finding a solution to the complex, time-consuming and expensive process of trading altcoins on most crypto exchanges, which tends to prevent non-experts from engaging in crypto trading.

Coinbase is a great platform for only few cryptocurrencies, but there are many other coins with high value that cannot be traded on the Coinbase exchange.

Looking at Coinbase and the challenge around coin trading, Justin Seidl and Stuart Menzies, co-founder at Vertabse, created a digital altcoin trading platform that is user-friendly, super-fast and highly secure. A Coinbase for altcoins, but only the one with legitimate projects and strong use cases, particularly those Vertbase believes can change the landscape of finance: DigiByte, Vertcoin, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ravencoin and Decred.

In the latest episode of FinancialFox, Justin Seidl was interviewed by Blockchain PR expert Stefania Barbaglio, where he talked about how he came to create and design Vertbase, and shares his views on the altcoins to watch.

The mission behind Vertbase is to give visibility and market exposure to altcoins with high use case value. Altcoins are considerably less expensive than coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and in some cases are more sophisticated and highly developed.

Over the recent months, cryptocurrency exchanges have been in the spotlight over coins being delisted and alleged extortionate listing fees required by prominent exchanges. These controversies highlighted the need for corrections in the way the crypto market works and the challenges that need to be overcome. They also prompted more calls for further decentralisation and transparency among exchanges.

Indeed, the current lack of regulatory frameworks leaves room for inconsistent practices. Different cryptocurrency exchanges can offer various types of cryptocurrencies, with different terms, policies, payment methods, and fees. Exchanges also differ on aspects such as security, user-friendliness, functionality, and design.

Some of the advantages Vertbase offers users is 100% non-custodial transactions that allow users to send coins to any wallet of their choice. In the spirit of co-operation, Vertbase also gives a portion of trading fees back to the community to continue development.

Moreover, with security reportedly the biggest worry among cryptocurrency traders, Vertbase is equipped with a robust anti-money laundering monitoring system. Furthermore, its system requires two-factor authentication, granting access to authorised users only, while the website and apps are fully secured with 128-bit encryption. Vertbase is registered with FinCEN and operates with full compliance and procedures under all US federal and state laws.

This January, Vertbase donated 50,000 DGB to the DigiByte Awareness Team to show their support of the project and DigiByte’s vision. “DigiByte has proven strong use cases, which include security features utilising the Digibyte Blockchain. Digibyte has some exciting plans and projects, so we have no doubt they will continue to be a major player in this industry,” says co-founder Justin Seidl.

Vertbase Founders Justin Seidl and Stuart Menzies will also be presenting at the DBG summit. The DGB community can also expect more news and updates on DGB projects to be released during the first global DigiByte Summit, taking place in Amsterdam on 19th April 2019. The theme of the Summit is ‘The Power of Decentralisation’ and its agenda will expand on the multitude of possibilities and uses enabled by decentralised technologies.

Tickets can be purchased here: http://digibytesummit.io

Block 30 Labs presenting at the DigiByte Global Summit

Cassiopeia Services, official PR for DigiByte, is pleased to announce Block 30 Labs as partner at the first DigiByte Global Summit.

Block 30 Labs is developing indexes to work with strategic global partners to issue tokenised, digital index funds (ECFs). The BLOCK 30 Index was built to provide a central framework for the tracking of the 24/7 Digital Trading (“Crypto”) markets by global media, financial institutions, government and investors.

Officially launched in November 2018, the Block 30 index helps to accurately measure the value and performance of digital assets. It is one of the very first US indices to help investors track multiple factors in the market beyond Bitcoin. With a growing number of Security Token Offerings (STOs), the market requires more comprehensive and sophisticated tools to assess the value of digital assets.

The unique aspect to BLOCK 30 is that it begins to disaggregate Digital Trading assets from their singular classification within this new asset class. It distinguishes between core holdings such as Bitcoin — which may function more as a store of value — and STOs, which will function more like Initial Public Offering (IPOs), with real revenues and fundamentals.

Confirmed speakers at the first DigiByte Global summit include DigiByte founder Jared Tate; Official DigiByte PR Stefania Barbaglio; Rudy Bouwman, the founders of DGBAT, the DigiByte Awareness Team; the founders and lead developers of V-ID and Antum ID; and Vertbase Founders, Justin Seidl and Stuart Menzies.

Stefania Barbaglio, official PR for DigiByte commented: “Block 30 is a revolutionary tool to accelerate the development of tokenised asset trading. The DigiByte team and community are very much open to co-operation with valuable new projects that can help build a more transparent and decentralised financial system, and Block 30 is one of them.”

“The excitement and pace of this new asset class has led to the need to work backwards into traditional fundamentals like market indexes, tokenized index funds and more “one-click” interoperability between customer marketplaces, digital wallets and investment products’, said BLOCK 30 Labs CEO, Brian McLaren Foote.

We’re working at BLOCK 30 Labs to solve that — and having DigiByte and DGB Assets as a strategic technology partners “under the hood” is an enormous win for us on delivering product-market-fit for our clients and exchanges.

“If you look at the core tech + specs of Bitcoin, Litecoin + Ethereum, there are so many features and benefits to the DigiByte offering that are not yet reflected in its market cap and global adoption. Our goal is to help drive that change forward to the benefit of consumers, merchants + Fortune 500 enterprise.”

DigiByte Global Summit

April 19th, 2019

De Balie

Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, 1017 RR

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tickets can be purchased here: http://digibytesummit.io

Challenges and issues in cryptocurrency trading: beyond the controversies

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are often portrayed as the big challenger to the current financial system, promising to fight corporate red tape, increase financial inclusion and create a more just and transparent economy. While all this is true, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns in the crypto world.

Different cryptocurrency exchanges can offer various types of cryptocurrencies and have different terms, policies, payment methods, and fees. Exchanges also differ on aspects such as security, user-friendliness, functionality, and design. These factors can all play a significant part when choosing the most suitable exchange.

Talks over regulation of digital currencies and crypto exchanges are a way to help the market become healthier and more transparent. Cryptocurrencies and exchanges indeed have many issues to address and challenges to overcome. Here, we highlight some of the main concerns and recent issues that are preventing the crypto revolution from progressing to its next stage.

Security

The biggest problem currently in the crypto market is the lack of security. Indeed, with news of hackings and breaches often making headlines, users are demanding more protection over their assets and data.

It is important to remember that as technology becomes more sophisticated, so do hackers. Exchanges are essentially so vulnerable to hacks because they centralise the risk, so further decentralisation can be an option in the pursuit for maximum security.

Security is indeed an urgent and weighty matter. Coin Desk reports that each day, $2.7 million is stolen from exchanges, with the amount of cryptocurrency taken in 2018 having increased 13 times compared to the previous year. This amounts to $2.7 million in crypto assets being stolen every day, or $1,860 each minute.

Transparency

Indeed, it is a well-established fact that the majority of ICOs end up unsuccessful — some of them even fraudulent. Furthermore, many expensive crypto projects often make a case for themselves claiming they are decentralised, when in reality, data from Token Analyst for Yahoo Finance showed that nearly 80% of the top 50 coins are held by the top 20 wallets. In 16 cases, the 20 biggest wallets held more than 90% of total token supply.

Much like in the more traditional economy, power dynamics also underline the negotiations and collaborations set in the crypto sphere, and the nuances of marketing strategies can mislead users and investors.

The lack of transparency, accountability and professionalism from renowned institutions can poison the benefits of digital currencies and undermine the strength and influence of blockchain adoption in different industries beyond finance. True blockchain believers call for an end to sketchy practices in the financial system and market structures, promoting widespread professionalism and ethical standards.

Credibility

Initial Coin Offerings are a great way to attract investors, but part of them resulted to be scams. Exchanges need to be careful and strict enough only to list those crypto coins which are reliable and ensure that the right assessment is performed.

Trading fees

Some exchanges charge a single flat fee, for example, 0.2% of the transaction value, on all trades. But many exchanges split their trading fees into two separate fees: the maker fee and the taker fee.

In some cases, maker fees can be higher than the taker because the maker adds liquidity to the market, so the exchange ‘rewards’ the trader.

Liquidity

Liquidity is a vital element for any of the market. A lack thereof creates an imbalanced environment, and things go out of control. Due to the decreased liquidity, orders are not placed/executed on time, and the doors are open for large holders to manipulate prices. Additionally, with a lack of liquidity, markets become more volatile and see more price slippages.

A secondary issue of reduced liquidity is that it puts the power into the hands of cryptocurrency exchanges with large liquidity. Some major exchanges now charge up to $1 million to get tokens listed, essentially selling liquidity to the token projects.

Price manipulation

Currently, the majority of crypt exchanges are only lightly regulated, leaving room for sometimes shady or abusive manoeuvres. It is reported that crypto exchanges use bots to manipulate the prices of coins. Last September, cryptocurrency trader and analyst Alex Kruger exposed a promotion on Bithumb which inflated the trading volume on the exchange.

“There currently are $250 million [in] fake volume traded at [the] Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, every day at 11 a.m. Korean Time, since Aug. 25. Bithumb offers 120 percent payback of trading fees as an airdrop. Trading fees are 0.15 percent taker. To collect the full KRW 1 billion rebate, a wash trader must thus trade KRW 278 billion. That is $250 million in daily fake volume. Notice how 31K Bitcoin is traded at exactly 11 a.m,” Kruger explained.

Transaction Delays

While cryptocurrency transactions are known for being fast, delays can happen and can be a way to protect users from hackings or fraudulent transactions. Exchanges sometimes delay transactions if they suspect the user did not authorize the transactions.

Regulation

In light of these flaws and loopholes, and continuing cases of hacks and breaches of exchanges, regulations would be welcomed if tailored to ensure transparency and consumer protections.

Crypto experts have anticipated 2019 is on track to be the year of crypto regulations

This year started with stronger calls for rules and regulations all around the world. In January, two major European regulatory bodies, the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have publicly called for better assessments of crypto technology and its impacts to develop appropriate regulations.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is applying their regulatory guidance to cryptocurrency projects as it considers another form of securities.

Recent controversies over exchanges ’ lack of professionalism and transparency are likely to prompt exchange regulations to be in place soon.

Decentralisation

Over the last few months, we have been seeing more moves from centralised exchanges towards decentralisation. Binance, for example, announced earlier this month that it is about to launch its decentralised exchange, Binance DEX, for public testing.

There various advantages to decentralisation. A DEX ensures the poor and unbanked can participate in the global economy: anyone can store and transfer wealth to anyone anywhere in the world, almost at no cost. Another benefit of decentralised exchanges is that users are fully in control of their data as there is no central authority storing or managing it.

How does the future look like?

While centralised crypto exchanges have been the tradition so far, they have somewhat given way to the decentralised crypto exchanges. The main objective behind bitcoin and blockchain is decentralisation and thus, both the CEX’s and DEX’s should come together to develop a hybrid model which benefits all of the crypto ecosystem.

Hybrid crypto exchanges can represent a viable option that bridges the gap between the benefits of a centralised exchange and those of a decentralised exchange. This is the way to gain the trust of numerous users and the cooperation of huge investors, while eliminating the element of subordination to a third-party and ensuring reliable storage.

If there is one thing we can learn from the recent developments and news, it is to look at the shortcomings of the so-called transparent crypto sphere, realise there is plenty of work to be done in this realm, and use the combination of technology, knowledge and accountability to fight these flaws. For the blockchain & crypto revolution to produce its best outcomes, it is important to address the factors that undermine its integrity.

Keep an eye out for a special episode on Financial Fox about crypto exchanges and the challenges to overcome. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Special guests: the crypto evangelist Chico Crypto @chicocrypto & Alexander Fred, Technology Researcher and Writer of @beincrypto, the truly independent bitcoin & cryptocurrency news.