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ZeroEdge.Bet, a start-up that is building a blockchain based online casino network, is expanding its reach and will be opening brand new offices in London. The move was prompted by unprecedented growth of business, ahead of the proposed ICO dates later this year.
The ZeroEdge team are extremely excited to meet fans and followers of the Zero Edge online casino network when their new offices open within the next few weeks. The team, comprising of a range of experts in their respective fields including online gaming, crypto currencies, marketing, support, and much more, have put out the welcome mat for gamblers in the United Kingdom.
“This is a great news for us and our community. We are delighted to have our new office in London. One of the reasons for opening an office in London, was the access to the skilled job market. Blockchain experts, gambling industry executives, marketing gurus are all there. Therefore, will be looking to grow our team to help us with our development on every aspect of the business.” – said Adrian Casey ZeroEdge.Bet CEO
UK gambling market is one of the largest in the world.
United Kingdom gambling market size exceeds £14 Billion Pounds each year. Zero Edge will launch first blockchain based gambling sites in UK market just after ICO finishes and all Zerocoins are distributed publicly.
It is not by coincidence that Zero Edge have chosen London as one of their main centres of operation. Aside from the fact that London is one of the most popular cities in the world, with a vibrant melting pot of global cultures, it also happens to represent one of the largest online gambling markets in the world.
Residents of the UK love to gamble online and do so around the clock at various top online casinos aimed at the UK market. However, up until fairly recently, UK gamblers have been facing the very same problem as gamblers in other parts of the world – playing at online casinos where, quite frankly, the house edge is out of control!
This is another reason why Zero Edge have chosen London to open their cutting edge new offices, to begin to roll out their plan to absolutely upset the entire online gambling industry with their unique 0% house edge concept, a first in online casino gambling (and gambling in general).
What is Zero Edge and How Does It Work?
Zero Edge online casino network is a brand new, revolutionary way of presenting online casino games to gamblers all over the world. While the traditional online casino focuses on making millions and millions of pounds off of your losses, Zero Edge is doing something entirely new. By offering 0% edge games demand is created for Zerocoin, which rises its value. Profits are made not from players loses, but from increased Zerocoin value. This model will disrupt the online gambling industry. Zero Edge casino are able to offer a true, guaranteed 0% house edge, making online casino games truly fair for the first time ever!
Additionally, ZeroEdge will also provide with an opportunity for entities to build and operate their own games on the ZeroEdge platform. This will allow anyone with minimal technical knowledge to run their own games and earn from the increased value of the ZeroEdge token. The game developers will be rewarded in ZeroEdge tokens for their contribution to the network depending on various factors, e.g. the popularity of game, UI/UX levels, etc. This feature will create a highly competitive environment and will ensure a wide variety of available games on the platform
This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.
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One of the main concerns for the cryptocurrency investing community over the last year was the ability of exchanges to handle the huge influx of new traders into the ecosystem. Circle seems to have picked up on that sentiment, going on a hiring spree in order to improve the service at its recently acquired venue Poloniex. The move is meant to help the exchange expand globally, with an emphasis on serving Asian clients, while Circle continues to focus on the US market.
Improving Global Services at Poloniex
Circle Internet Financial Ltd., the Boston-headquartered fintech startup that acquired Poloniex last month, will reportedly expand the cryptocurrency exchange’s staff with a hundred new employees. The move is meant to improve the operations, customer support and technology for Poloniex clients around the world. Specifically, Circle is said to hire between 25 and 35 extra people to grow its operations in Asia, expanding a local workforce of just ten in Hong Kong and mainland China, and creating new offices for South Korea and Japan.
Besides focusing on localized services, it appears that Circle will also make sure Poloniex cooperates with regulators in different markets. “The long-term view is that every form of value on the planet will become a crypto token. We want to offer more markets, more assets, we want to localize it, and launch it in more international markets and, critically, we need to work with the most important regulators,” co-founder Jeremy Allaire said in a Bloomberg interview.
Expanding Circle Invest in the US Market
While Poloniex is expanding to new locations Asia, Circle is expanding the reach of its own services in the US market. The company announced last week that Circle Invest, its native cryptocurrency trading mobile app, has been made available (in early access availability) to residents of forty-six US states (all except for NY, MN, HI, and WY). The app supports bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), ethereum classic (ETC) and litecoin (LTC).
Since 2013 Circle has raised about $ 140 million from major investors, including $ 50 million venture capital round led by Goldman Sachs. It claims to handle cryptocurrency trade worth over $ 1 billion per month. Circle reportedly paid $ 400 million for the Poloniex deal.
Are you looking forward to trade with a more costumer service capable cryptocurrency exchange? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
The post Circle Goes on a Hiring Spree to Improve Service at Poloniex appeared first on Bitcoin News.
This week Jane Street Capital a global proprietary trading firm has announced it has been trading BTC these days. Often referred to as one of Wall Street’s most secretive investment companies, Jane Street says if cryptocurrencies continue to rise they expect to be involved.
The ‘Secretive’ and High-Tech Trading Firm Jane Street is Flipping Bitcoins
The trading firm Jane Street operated in New York City, London and Hong Kong and the company actively trades $ 8-13 billion worth of equities, Bonds, Futures, Options, and other investments. Jane Street claims to execute over 1Mn trades per day. The New York Times has referred to Jane Street as one of the most secretive firms out there that handles a lot of trade volume. The news outlet called the traders “coders with a Ph.D.” and the firm specializes in lots of arbitrage trades. According to Business Insider, the firm has explained it is now dabbling in BTC trading.
Arbitrage opportunities in the world of cryptocurrencies and bitcoin are very tempting to firms like Jane Street because spreads can be very high on different trading platforms. Global BTC exchanges can have as much as 10 percent in arbitrage opportunities between each trading venue. Jane Street has not given any details on how it has been trading BTC but explains that if cryptos continue to be hot, the company will continue to remain active.
“Jane Street trades over 56,000 products globally across a wide variety of asset classes, including bitcoin,” the company explains this week.
Jane Street has always taken a considered approach to trading opportunities and will continue to do so, as more cryptocurrency products emerge, we expect to be involved.
Jane Street Follows Other Well Known Wall Street Market Makers
The news also follows other big-name Wall Street firms who have been reportedly trading bitcoin or crypto-based exchange-traded notes and futures products. This year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein explained if clients want to trade BTC they will help facilitate. “We’re clearing futures in bitcoins for some of our futures clients — We’d clear them,” explains Blankfein. “We’re a prime broker, and so if our clients are going to do it, we’re going to do it.”
Back in September of 2017, Jamie Dimon explained that bitcoin traders were “stupid.” But the firm was caught red-handed trading BTC exchange-traded notes for clients. Further, the company has stated it is open to offering clients CME and Cboe bitcoin futures.
Jane Street is different than JP Morgan and Goldman as it uses the Ocaml programming language that helps the firm’s traders quickly execute trades in changing market conditions. The company has even released some open source code for its Ocaml libraries. Jane Street did not reveal to the press how it was actively trading cryptocurrencies.
What do you think of Jane Street trading bitcoin? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, and Jane Street.
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Bitmain has found itself in a war with words with the monero community over the release of its latest cryptocurrency miner, the Cryptonight-capable X3. The unit is being offered at a discounted rate to existing customers, but critics claim this is because the miners will soon be ineffective at mining monero, the main coin to use the X3’s Cryptonight technology. Monero lead developer Riccardo Spagni has emphasized that the units will not work on monero due to a scheduled hard fork designed specifically to outwit the Cryptonight algorithm.
Monero’s Crypto Nightmare
“We are pleased to announce the all-new Antminer X3, to mine cryptocurrencies based on the Cryptonight hashing algorithm,” tweeted Bitmain cheerily on March 15. The new units would start shipping instantly, limited to one per customer to prevent hoarding. The price would even be dropped to $ 3,000 for existing customers, according to an email. Posters on monero’s reddit board have urged buyers not to purchase the units due to the scheduled change to the coin’s Proof of Work algorithm. Others have gone so far as to accuse Bitmain of mining with the machines for months, and only shipping them now that monero’s algorithm is due to change, rendering them useless.
Cryptonight, the chipset fitted to Bitmain’s X3s, has turned into a crypto nightmare for anyone who’s been trying – and failing – to subsist off monero mining this year. As one keen-eyed observer spotted, after Bitmain took possession of the chips, monero’s hashrate rocketed. The monero team, led by Riccardo Spagni, who’s referred to Bitmain as “a known bad actor”, struggled to work out what had happened. A monero mining botnet that had infected millions of computers was one possibility floated, but this was discounted.
To combat the sudden increase in hashrate, Monero announced a PoW change on February 11 to make the privacy coin less susceptible to the Cryptonight algorithm. While not mentioning Bitmain by name, the post noted how “Mining, in general, is also prone to the rich-get-richer effect, which ultimately leads to centralization,” and continued:
We will perform an emergency hard fork to curb any potential threat from ASICs if needed. Furthermore, in order to maintain its goal of decentralization and to provide a deterrent for ASIC development and to protect against unknown or undetectable ASIC development, the Monero team proposes modifying the Cryptonight PoW hash every scheduled fork, twice a year…Finally, we will continue to research alternative Proof of Work functions that may provide better ASIC resistance than Cryptonight.
As a result of the hard fork, the Bitmain X3s will be largely worthless, at least for the purposes of mining monero. All that will be left for recipients of the new X3s is such alts as Bytecoin, Digitalnote, and Darknetcoin: shitcoins to all intents and purposes that cannot be easily offloaded onto the market to offset mining costs.
Anyone who orders one of Bitmain’s new units will find themselves engaged in a race against time. As one person complained: “Not informing their users that their machine will be useless to mine the biggest and most popular by far crytponight coin is misleading and that is being polite.” By the time they take delivery of their new Antminer, more Cryptonight coins may have hard forked, in which case buyers could wind up lumped with the world’s most expensive doorstop.
Do you think Bitmain has acted unethically, or is it just doing business? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitmain, and Francis Pouliot.
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The post Monero Miners In Uproar After Panic Algorithm Change Due to ASICs Coming Online appeared first on Bitcoin News.
While some governments around the world, both local and national, are taking steps to try and limit the spread of the use of cryptocurrencies, many others are trying to ensure their citizens are free to adopt the revolutionary technology. The latest example of this is the US state of Wyoming where the legislator has recently approved a host of new measures meant to attract cryptocurrency business.
Property Tax Exemption for Cryptocurrencies
The senate of Wyoming has passed a decision (bill 111) exempting cryptocurrencies from property taxation in the state. The straight forward law defines “virtual currencies” as any type of digital representation of value that is used as a medium of exchange, unit of account or store of value, and is not recognized as legal tender by the United States government.
This was one of five bills passed by the legislature in Wyoming in recent time meant to streamline the legal framework of cryptocurrency and “blockchain” technology use in the state in order to facilitate the establishment of related business ventures there. Two other bills that we reported on before made utility tokens exempt from securities laws and made cryptocurrency exchanges exempt from the Money Transmitter Act.
Attracting Crypto Business to Wyoming
State Representative Tyler Lindholm went on an interview on CNBC television to promote Wyoming as a welcoming destination for crypto businesses. He explained that if you mine bitcoin there is now no longer a property tax, no income tax and no corporate tax. Wyoming is one of only nine states out of all American states that have no income tax.
Apparently trying to lure energy hungry bitcoin miners to his state, Representative Lindholm added that the state has a lot of excess electricity, exporting most of its total production capacity. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Wyoming produces about 40% of all coal mined in the country, has the largest uranium mining operations in the country, is one of the top 10 natural gas-producing states, and has a rapidly growing wind power capacity. All while being the least populated state in America.
What other steps should individual American states take to attract cryptocurrency businesses? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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It is a common practice nowadays for online ventures to invite white hat hackers to attack their systems via security challenges or cyber bug hunts. Companies usually do this to learn what vulnerabilities they might have and improve, or to show their confidence in their existing defense capabilities. The method can also be used to prove a point about the reliability of a certain system as seems to have happened now with 0-conf BCH transactions.
It appears that someone has lost $ 2,000 buying a $ 1,000 gift card trying to carry out a “double spend” attack with bitcoin cash (BCH), according to transaction data from Cryptonize.it. Whoever was behind this failed attempt thought that they can exploit a feature in BCH called 0-conf (wherein transactions are broadcasted immediately with still zero conformation), but the attempt backfired, costing them double the gain and verifying the security of the cryptocurrency for merchants.
As we previously reported, Cryptonize.it is an online shopping website selling gift cards for Amazon, Steam, iTunes, Starbucks and many other popular services. It exclusively accepts BCH payments, offering merchants a platform to sell their products to the bitcoin cash community while avoiding volatility risks. As such, it was important for the founders of the site to demonstrate to merchants that accepting payments with the BCH cryptocurrency is safe and secure. So the company challenged anyone who think they can double spend by exploiting 0-conf to get a $ 1000 Amazon gift card (priced at $ 2000 to make sure no one buys it by mistake), promising not to report the incident to Amazon or to press any charges.
More Challenges to Come
Cryptonize.it co-founder Arian Kuqi explained to news.bitcoin.com how the whole thing came about: “It started about a month ago, I noticed a lot of comments and posts about 0-conf and how it’s not safe to use. It’s understandable, people are stuck in their head with BTC problems and think the same goes for BCH. Having 0-conf on cryptonize.it, I started commenting and posting about it. Then, a user on reddit suggested I set up a challenge for people who were so confident 0-conf can’t possibly be reliable so one day later I did. A month went by, a lot of talk in the beginning but no action. Until one guy made it clear that he was going to try under the impression of a 80% shot in his favor. A couple of days later, it happened!”
The co-founder added that more similar challenges are on the way: “I’m going to keep coming with challenges until everybody is satisfied 0-conf is safe to use for any online retailer supporting Bitcoin Cash or until these trolls run out of money. My goal is to show merchants the benefits and safety of the Bitcoin Cash ledger and attract more adoption by merchants.”
What other challenges are needed to test vulnerabilities in the cryptocurrency ecosystem? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
The post Someone Just Spent $ 2,000 On a $ 1,000 Gift Card Trying to “Double Spend” BCH appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Twitter is reportedly preparing to prohibit advertisements for ICOs, token sales, and cryptocurrency wallets. The new advertising policy is expected to come into effect in a couple weeks. The microblogging site is said to impose a ban on ads for crypto exchanges, as well, bar a few exceptions. The policy change is yet to be confirmed officially.
Some Trading Platforms May be Excluded from the Ban
Following similar moves by Facebook and Google, Twitter is now preparing to ban crypto-related advertisements on its platform. The new advertising policy will be implemented in two weeks, Sky News reported without revealing the source of its information.
The upcoming rules will likely prohibit advertisements for initial coin offerings (ICOs), token sales, and cryptocurrency wallets globally, according to the report. The reasoning behind Twitter’s decision is unclear. Other companies imposing restrictions on crypto content have cited concerns over illicit activities and fraudulent ads.
The ban may also include advertisements for cryptocurrency exchanges. The report suggests, however, that the new policy will be launched with some “limited exceptions” in regards to trading platforms. There has been no official confirmation of the policy change yet.
Restrictions Mounting across the Web
The news about the expected Twitter ban on crypto-related content comes amid increasing regulatory pressures and after similar decisions by the most popular social network Facebook and Google, the biggest global search engine. Analysts believe the announcements have contributed to the recent dips in the cryptocurrency markets.
Facebook issued its ban on crypto ads in January, claiming the measure comes after persistent complaints by users about spam and fraudulent cryptocurrency ads. It stated that advertisements should not promote financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices. The warning was targeting ICOs and cryptos.
More recently, Google announced its plans to restrict ads of cryptocurrencies and content related to initial coin offerings, exchanges, wallets, and crypto trading advice. The company intends to implement the new rules by June, 2018, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. The updated Financial Services Policy leaves room for some ads to be published after getting certified by the company.
Google’s move has already provoked reactions from the crypto community. According to Russian media reports, the first lawsuit against the ban has been filed in a Moscow district court. Other reports suggested that the biggest Russian search engine Yandex (Яндекс) has also decided to quit publishing advertising materials related to cryptocurrencies, mining projects and ICOs. Later, Yandex’s press office denied these rumors, saying no changes had been made to the advertising policy of the company.
Do you expect another wave of negative reactions by crypto markets and communities around the world, if Twitter officially confirms the ban on cryptocurrency related ads? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Cryptocurrency markets are still following a bearish pattern, leaving many digital asset traders uncertain. BTC/USD values have plummeted to levels not seen since the first week of February as the price per coin had touched a low of $ 7,325 on March 18. Moreover, the whole digital asset economy is suffering from losses as the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization has dropped to a low of $ 285Bn.
How Low Can You Go?
Digital assets are touching some lows again as market values this week have dropped 50-60 percent for nearly every single cryptocurrency in existence. Values are down anywhere between 4-25 percent looking at the top 100 coins on Coinmarketcap, and only the controversial ‘stable coin’ tether remains unaffected. BTC trade volume is decent this weekend as volume picked up when the price touched $ 8,600 on March 16. Trading volume for BTC markets has been roughly around $ 4-7Bn every day for the past four days. Volumes surely look lower than this December, but analysts should also take into account the price per coin has halved.
The top five exchanges swapping the most BTC today includes Bitfinex, Binance, Okex, Bitflyer, and Huobi. Bitfinex trade volumes lead the pack with close to $ 500Mn over the past 24-hours. The Japanese yen is still dominating the BTC volume by currency as it captures 52 percent of trades today. This is followed by the USD (24%), tether (USDT 13.4%), the euro (3.5%), and the South Korean won (3.3%). The most popular trade on Shapeshift today is ethereum (ETH) for BTC.
Looking at the weekly, daily and 4-hour charting signs still look uncertain and bearish for BTC/USD markets. The short-term 100 Simple Moving Average (SMA) is above the longer term 200 SMA, indicating continued bearish sentiment. For the first time in nine months, BTC/USD’s 50-day moving average has dipped super close to the 200-day moving average as well. The MACd is coasting along around -333 and both RSI and Stochastic oscillators are heading southbound, and the price will likely follow suit. Most traders think we may see a “double bottom” which means the cost per BTC could touch $ 5,900 again before a reversal. Others believe the price will only drop to the $ 7,200 level (the 78.6 Fibonacci retrace), and markets may change sentiment from there.
Order books show some strong support up until the $ 7,150 range, and if BTC values break below that price region, a double bottom ($ 6K or lower) could very well be in the cards. On the flip side the sell walls up to $ 8K and higher are not too bad and could easily be broken, but the bullish volume is not there. If bulls can muster up some strength when the bears become exhausted, there will be pitstops at $ 8,100 and $ 8,600.
The Top Digital Assets Are Suffering from Price Declines
The top cryptocurrencies today are hurting and suffering from deep price wounds. The second largest market capitalization ethereum (ETH) has lost 18 percent today. The price per ETH is roughly $ 479 at the time of publication. Ripple (XRP) markets are down 11 percent, and one XRP is 0.58 cents per token. The fourth highest market valuation held by bitcoin cash (BCH) is down 9 percent as one BCH is around $ 881. Lastly, the fifth biggest market cap litecoin (LTC) is down 9 percent with one LTC trading at $ 142. BTC dominance is up to 45 percent amongst the all 1,564 markets today according to Coinmarketcap.
The Verdict: The Bottom May be Near, But Most Traders Are Uncertain of its Exact Location
So many traders are calling out wild predictions all the way to lows around $ 2K per BTC. Many believe we are stuck in a descending bear channel that will stick around as long as 2014’s bear run did. The problem is many traders are uncertain as bullish signals are not appearing and bear flags are prominent. These speculators are looking at global regulations and the upcoming G20 meeting. Others believe the reversal will take place shortly, and we will go no lower than the $ 6K February dip or around the 78.6 Fibonacci retrace region.
Where do you see the price of BTC and other digital assets heading from here? Do you think cryptocurrencies will see more gains? Let us know in the comments below.
Disclaimer: Price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”
Images via Shutterstock, Bitstamp, Trading View, and Coinmarketcap.
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The post Markets Update: Bears Pull Crypto-Prices Near Last Bottom appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Venezuela is calling for its citizens to build cryptocurrency mining farms throughout the country. The government has set up a crypto mining program which president Nicolas Maduro hopes will attract at least 1 million people such as university students, the unemployed, single mothers and the homeless.
Maduro Seeks Crypto Miners
The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has launched a program to encourage citizens to set up mining farms throughout the country. Speaking in Caracas, he said young people should be “infected with courage” and set up “cryptocurrency farms throughout Venezuela,” Telesur reported this week.
This program is called “Plan Chamba Juvenil Digital (Youth Digital Work Plan),” the news outlet added, noting that registration for the program opens on April 15 and the government hopes that “the program will attract at least one million students.” Maduro tweeted:
Attention, young people!…Today Chamba Juvenil Digital emerges to allow youths to form cryptocurrency farms that can mine world currencies. Because Venezuela does not give up!
The head of state elaborated, “The program was designed to help incorporate young people – including university students, the unemployed, single mothers and the homeless – into working life. It is also expected to provide employment opportunities to recent graduates.”
Venezuela Building Crypto Mining Farms
Venezuela’s youth minister Pedro Infante said at a press conference on Thursday that 24 cryptocurrency mining farms will be built to boost training in the area of cryptocurrencies, according to El Ciudadano. The minister further revealed that his government has approved 96 billion bolivars (~USD$ 2.9 million) for the creation of these mining farms.
The project was created to “guarantee the incorporation of young people in the labor sector, and has set a goal of 1 million men and women under 35 in this program,” the publication detailed. Infante described that young people make up 60% of the population in Venezuela, 879,000 of which have joined the employment program. The news outlet noted:
Among the 23 provinces of Venezuela, Zulia (West), Miranda (North), Carabobo (North Center), and Lara (Center) are the states with the largest participation of young people in this program.
The Venezuelan government opened a school in February to teach its citizens about cryptocurrencies including mining.
According to local publications, Venezolana de Industria Tecnológica (VIT) will be assembling mining rigs for installation throughout Venezuela, Ultimas Noticias cited VIT president Jorge Michainaux explaining. “He indicated that the company will work on the creation of the petro container, which are portable centers for mining,” the news outlet wrote, adding:
Maduro said that the objective is to strengthen the use of cryptocurrencies as part of an economic revolution to democratize the international financial system…they will have the petro and all the cryptocurrencies [such as] ethereum [and] bitcoin, but also the new cryptocurrencies that are being created in the world.
Strengthening the Petro
According to Telesur, Maduro hopes that these cryptocurrency mining farms will “strengthen the petro.” However, the new Venezuelan digital currency itself is pre-mined. “At the beginning of the [petro] pre-sale process, the entire issue will be in the digital portfolios of the Republic,” the currency’s whitepaper states.
The pre-sale of the petro supposedly began on February 20. Maduro claimed that it has “generated over US$ 5 billion during its pre-sale period and, as of March 10, had recorded more than 186,000 certified purchases,” Telesur conveyed.
On Friday, Venezuela’s vice president Tareck El Aissami presented the Draft Constituent Law of the Petro before the National Constituent Assembly. However, the National Assembly has repeatedly spoken against this new currency, declaring it illegal and against the constitution of Venezuela.
What do you think of Venezuela recruiting young people to build cryptocurrency mining farms? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Venezuelan government.
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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Matt Sorum, formerly of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, is lending his name and experience to a new crypto funding project, Artbit, in an effort to eliminate the age-old middle-person between artists and consumers.
Former Guns N’ Roses Drummer Matt Sorum Wants Artists to Get Paid What They’re Due
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Matt Sorum explains, “My interest is in cutting the middleman. That’s been something on artists’ minds for years. There’s all these people you got to pay along the way. With blockchain, imagine if you bought a song online for 99 cents and that money was automatically distributed straight to all the contributors—the producer, all the writers of that song. With this technology, the money can go into everybody’s wallets automatically, it doesn’t go into a bank account where somebody’s making all that money and interest,” he told Yahoo Finance.
It might be difficult to understand how much has changed in such a small period of time for the music industry. For most of pop music’s history, distribution has largely been based on government licensed radio stations. A cartel arose, similar to the taxi industry, as coveted licenses were purchased, and in tandem a label industry emerged alongside. The two worked hand-in-hand through payola to essentially make contrived markets.
The same then extended to the concert circuit, as both radio stations and labels began to siphon profits due almost entirely to limiting artist availability and access. The system, in more or less this form, lasted until the mid 1990s. A shot at hearing a struggling artist, someone listeners might love equally or more than label-approved products, was near zero – labels, radio stations, concert promoters, and later Music Television (MTV) had a very lucrative lock.
With the advent of peer-to-peer file distribution over the nascent internet, the industry’s foundations shook to their core. And in 2018, for sure the music industry as described above still exists in some form, but it is a shadow of its former self. Mr. Sorum has a unique perspective in this regard. He’s lived through the old system, succeeded wildly in it with bands such as The Cult, Guns N’ Roses, and Velvet Revolver. He’s lending his stardom and experience to a payment and concert hosting project called Artbit to finally end that system.
Eliminating the Middle-Person
“This whole crypto economy, this is the future. To me it’s like the new rock and roll… Cutting out the middleman, they’ve done it with Airbnb, they’ve done it with Uber. The community is running the world now. Direct source. Traditionally what’s happened in music for decades is that the artist is the last guy to get paid. At Artbit, we’re going to make it the first guy to get paid,” Mr. Sorum said.
Artbit is built on top of a distributed ledger platform, Hashgraph, a controversial blockchain replacement. It’s a way to bring smart contracts to the music industry and beyond. Mr. Sorum’s hope is to create what the company refers to as “curatorial public,” essentially eliminating an intermediary. How that is exactly accomplished is still fuzzy, but the company explains artists are to be paid automatically, directly. Using a wallet, no intermediary between artist and consumer, transactions are peer-to-peer.
Mr. Sorum stresses, “As we all know, platforms like Spotify, only a very small percentage of artists can even make money on that. Any new or young artist has really got to work really hard to even get on the front page of a platform like Spotify—and even at that point you can’t really monetize your art. With Artbit, we’re going to have direct access, people are going to be able to get online right away, not be served a bunch of ads, and have a direct community to be able to monetize their craft now, with no middleman, direct payout, with a wallet, with crypto, and a community that’s safe and secure, powered by Hashgraph.”
If all goes well, the company plans to expand and include some version of a tokenizing initial coin offering (ICO). It’s a gutsy move in this regulatory environment, as the US Securities and Exchange Commission has been particularly aggressive regarding ICOs and especially those with celebrity endorsements (street artist Shepard Fairey is an advisor to the project as well). Artbit expects to formally launch later this year. And while it’s not exactly a trend, it also isn’t a new idea: underground label Arena experimented with a similar format, and India’s Ziro Music Festival also gave crypto a try last year.
What do you think about Mr. Sorum’s project? Let us know in the comments!
Images via Pixabay, Artbit.
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