Edgar Allan Poe inspires creatives’ blockchain start-up

There aren’t many blockchain start-ups that can say that they take their inspiration from a nineteenth century poet, but Qravity certainly can.

Inspired by the tiny amount that Edgar Allan Poe was paid for his writing output, Austrian producer and composer, David Brandstaetter, set-up the blockchain start-up Qravity.

The idea behind it is to give artists and content creators their just reward.

He discussed this inspiration, with The Drum reporting him as stating the following: “Poe’s work, especially The Raven and Annabel Lee, has always inspired me. He not only wrote some of the most famous poems of all time, he also established the foundations of the detective story and science fiction!”

Copyright infringement and fair payment are just some of the hurdles today’s creators have to face in order to get fair payment and Poe’s story of underpayment got the Austrian thinking about this.

Brandstaetter has a long history in the world of creativity, working for the likes of Sony and Rockstar Games, so he understands what it takes to make it in the fiercely competitive creative industries.
Thus, he founded Qravity in 2016 with the goal of helping others bring their content to the market.

In a world where opportunists exist at every corner, Qravity uses blockchain to keep all transactions transparent. It also uses smart contracts which keep immutable and transparent records of projects within its system.

He added: “In July 2017, we had a unique collaboration and communication tool for creative teams. Qravity also tracks tasks in such a way that creative members receive stakes in the content they help make. For example, a person who writes lyrics for a song gets a share, say five percent, of the song’s revenue. Every time someone buys that song, the lyricist gets five percent of that payment.”

Digital tokens that are called QPT are how creatives keep track of their records. Revenue is distributed based on how many QPT they hold relating to their content.

Payment is then given in the form of Qravity’s cryptocurrency, QCO.

For instance, if a drummer has a ten percent stake in the song he penned, a 1 QCO song earns him 0.10 QCO, which he can then trade on crypto exchanges, or spend in the Qravity marketplace.

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Can blockchain change the art world? Andy Warhol auction might just do that

Fraud has always been a problem in the art industry, but it is a problem that may have a readymade solution.

Those within the industry are looking for that solution and in that search, they have arrived with an obvious, yet brilliant, answer – blockchain technology.

Transactions using this process empower buyers, as they can trace their goods and their histories.

There is a gallery in London that intends to take advantage of that, when they auction off a portion of Andy Warhol’s ’ 14 Small Electric Cars’ for cryptocurrency.

The auction, which is taking place on June 20th, is coming to the world via Dadiani Fine Art in London’s Mayfair.

There will be 49 percent of the work on sale in cryptocurrencies, in an auction which is being hosted by both the Dadiani Syndicate and Maecenas Fine Art.

How much will it get?

A report in Forbes has estimated that the piece is worth in the region of $5.6 million (around 730 Bitcoin).

This marks just another stage in the relationship between crypto, blockchain and art. Earlier this year, Art Stage Singapore sold four paintings for cryptocurrency and several other galleries are considering moving to this sort of process.

Jess Houlgrave, the cofounder of blockchain identity company Codex Protocol, reckons that the number of fraudulent art pieces on the market could be as high as 40 percent. Thus, blockchain technology could be the very mode which will help clean up this market.

How will the price be decided?

A smart contract running on the Ethereum blockchain will determine the final price of the works.

The high profile nature of this auction could help change how buyers and sellers interact in the artworld.

The fact that every transaction is both traceable and immutable on blockchain makes it an ideal solution to transactions of a high value and a sensitive nature.

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Britain’s Crypto task force meets for the first time

Earlier this year Philip Hammond, the UK’s Finance Minister announced the formation of a special task force with a key goal in mind, to ensure Britain remains at the cutting edge of the digital revolution by harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology that powers cryptocurrencies.

Her Majesty’s Treasury (HM Treasury) has announced that the first meeting of the Cryptoassets Taskforce took place today on 21st of May 2018, subsequently agreeing on various objectives. These included the potential benefits and challenges of the application of distributed ledger technology in financial services, and assessing what, if any, regulation is required in response.

The Taskforce will consider existing analysis by the government and regulators and will also seek external views from trade bodies, academics, consumer groups and investor representatives. It is unclear as to whether businesses in the blockchain sector are to be consulted, although this would make sense as they have years of experience working in this rapidly growing environment.

Senior leaders from the UK government and other the financial regulators were present, including Katharine Braddick, Director General of Financial Services at HM Treasury, Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the FCA, and Dave Ramsden, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.

Andrew Bailey, FCA Chief Executive said:

“Cryptoassets have been an area of increasing interest for markets and regulators globally including the FCA. We look forward to working with our counterparts at the Bank of England and the Treasury as part of the taskforce to develop thinking and policy on cryptoassets.”

Dave Ramsden, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England said:

“The technologies that underpin cryptoassets have the potential to deliver benefits both to the financial system and to the economy it serves. This taskforce will enable us to work closely with the Treasury and the FCA to explore how the opportunities posed by these technologies can be realised, while also tackling the risks arising from cryptoassets.”

A roundtable will be hosted by the Cryptoassets Taskforce in July with a report set to be published later this year.

Although somewhat supportive the UK government has been concerned with cryptocurrencies and their possible links with criminals and terrorists that use the technology for money laundering,.British Prime Minister Theresa May shared her concerns on the subject when speaking at the World Economic Forum in January 2018.

Britain’s remains a global fintech powerhouse and today’s meeting is an re-assuring sign of continued prowess. The technology sector alone enjoyed a record year in 2017, with 1.3 billion pounds invested and over half the funding from outside of the UK.

The City of London Corporation and Innovate Finance also launched a FinTech Strategy Group earlier this year.

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Poland puts banking records on the Blockchain

The largest credit information bureau in Eastern Europe is set to store and secure customer information with blockchain technology.

Polish-based Biuro Informacji Kredytowej (BIK) has partnered with Billon Digital in a move which will see millions of consumer and business documents stored on the Blockchain.

The partnership with BIK will utilise Billon’s ledger technology to safely store and access sensitive consumer data with the aim to provide a fully transparent and trackable method for accessing documents.

BIK is Eastern Europe’s largest credit bureau founded by some of the largest banks in the region such as Bank Pekao, Santander, Bank Polski, Citi handlowy, ING Bank and Bank Millenium S.A.

The fully-GDPR compliant solution guarantees total visibility, trackable history and full data integrity for any client-facing document including banking records, loan agreements, insurance claims, telephone bills and terms & conditions.

“We’re fixing the problem of consumer data control and creating a level playing field between individuals and corporations.”Said Billon, CEO, Andrzej Horoszczak.

The partnership has been approved following extensive consultations with the Polish Office of Competition (UOKiK) and Data Protection Regulator (GIODO), making it one of the world’s first Regtech compliant blockchain solutions.

The partnership is still in the early stages with trials being carried out with eight banking providers.

Biuro Informacji Kredytowe was founded in 1997 with shareholders consisting of some of the largest Eastern European banks including: The Bank PEKAO, PKO Bank Polski, Bank Handlowy w Warszawie, Getin Noble Bank, ING Bank Śląski, Bank Zachodni WBK, Bank BGŻ BNP Paribas, mBank, Bank Millenium, DNB Bank Polska, Związek Banków Polskich.

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OKEX is expanding to Malta

In a statement issued today, cryptocurrency exchange OKEX has confirmed that it has started expanding operations to blockchain friendly Malta.

After meeting with the Maltese regulatory and government leaders to discuss their legislative plans, OKEX confirmed that they will “make Malta a foundation for further OKEX growth”.

This comes as no surprise given Malta’s position not only on blockchain technologies but also other sectors that are otherwise heavily scrutinised and regulated in much of the rest of the world. For example Malta has long been supportive of gambling and finance firms seeking better tax incentives and more flexible legislation.

The news follows in the footsteps of Binance who also recently migrated to the country for the same reasons.

OKEX carries a daily trade volume of over $1 billion dollars with millions of customers globally.

“This is just the start. Other companies will soon establish their operations in Malta”, said Silvio Schembri.

This is just the beginning. OKEX and Binance are currently among a growing number of crypto companies that are being forced to expand operations in Malta due to harsh regulatory conditions that are being set in their home countries – a trend, which if unaddressed will stifle innovation and growth in much of the developed and western world.

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Monero (XMR) Ledger Support Coming Soon!

Monero 0.12.1 will support Ledger hardware wallets

Monero (XMR) code lead Riccardo Spagni has confirmed that the privacy-focused coin will soon receive official Ledger support.

Currently, various options exist for secure storage of XMR cryptocurrency, from mobile wallets to the official desktop wallet, but so far no hardware wallet is available for public use.

The Ledger integration news broke when Riccardo confirmed during an interview on an episode of the Doug Polk podcast that integration had ‘already’ occurred for users who have the ‘dev kit’, but the public release will probably be available alongside the Monero 0.12.1 release.

Hardware support for cryptocurrencies is no longer deemed overprotective. It has become the de facto way of ensuring your assets are secured most effectively.

You can find the Github here for the Monero wallet application.

Monero was trading at roughly $172 before the Ledger news broke, increasing to $178 before dipping back to $164. This has now stabilised at $170 at the time of writing.

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Bitwala to relaunch as a crypto-first bank… Sign-up now

“Change is good” is a sentiment that Bitwala is definitely getting behind, as they have announced their intentions to re-launch as a crypto-first bank.

The award winning firm is now allowing potential customers to sign-up to a waiting list for their new offering, with the first accounts expected to open in the middle of this year.

Their move comes in the wake of high demand for crypto-friendly banking – which many believe there is currently a deficit in. Bitwala, who had to suspend their regular services in January due to regulation changes, intend to fill this gap in the market.

Bitwala were unable to reveal which bank they’ve partnered with but stated that its an “established German bank”.

Users will have full control of their private keys and thus will not be the holdings of Bitwala or the partner bank, this means the 100,000 Euro protection scheme will not cover cryptocurrencies but Euro deposits only.

Bitwala stated that users will be able to make transfers in and out of their account via SEPA transfer, making the selling and purchasing more flexible. Most of the established cryptocurrency exchanges are partnered with banks in Poland who are also on the SEPA network opening a quicker transfer time.

We asked Bitwala if they were anticipating any problems with users transferring funds in and out of the account, which is a common problem with banks blocking users from purchasing cryptocurrency.

“The foundation that we’ve built with our partner bank is very solid and based on German banking law, so we don’t expect any problems. This is not to say that we will not comply with the rules. Our partner bank and we are working very closely with regulators to ensure that all KYC and AML measures are in place.”

Co-founder and CEO of Bitwala, Jörg von Minckwitz said:

“Our founding vision has always been to bridge the gap between traditional and crypto economies. We believe that traditional banking was and has always been the weak link of the whole process, and we are looking forward to build an account that will tackle these very weaknesses.”

All new accounts that they open will come with a German IBAN and will be regulated by The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht).

Up until January Bitwala was a digital payment processing system that worked using blockchain technology. It made a name for itself through simplifying complicated processes and making them more accessible to as many individuals and companies as possible.

We have no doubt that von Minckwitz will hope to keep these values in place as they move to the next stage of their development in the crypto economy.

Users will only be able to sell and buy Bitcoin at present but more cryptocurrencies are planned for the future.

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Interview with HelloGold CEO Robin Lee: Bringing Blockchain and Gold to millions of people across Asia.

Robin Lee CEO Hello Gold

Hello Gold is a Shariah compliant gold investment app that allows anyone to buy and sell Gold hassle free. Its built on the Ethereum Blockchain with an aim to help the millions of low to medium income people from emerging countries save in Gold as apposed to their unstable local currency.

We spoke with Robin Lee, the CEO of HelloGold(former CFO of the World Gold Council) to find out more since the successful token sale which raised 17,149 ETH.


Can you briefly explain what HelloGold is?

“The amount of money in a person’s wallet should not be a barrier to his ability to access financial products that the rich enjoy. HelloGold wants to remove affordability and accessibility from the equation through the democratisation and digitisation of financial saving and loan products using real assets starting with gold” Robin Lee CEO HelloGold.

HelloGold has created an easy way for mass market customers to preserve their wealth by buying gold through a secure mobile app

How do customers purchase Gold, do they have to buy HelloGold tokens? Or only in RM1?

HelloGold is currently only available in the Malaysian market – we have plans to expand in 2018. For our customers, there are 2 ways to buy gold:

HelloGold app customers can log in and buy gold 24/7 once they have cleared the KYC process and topped up the app with cash using online banking. Prices track global market spot price and are updated every 5 minutes throughout the day. App customers can buy from as little as RM1. Customers buy, store and sell the gold which is physically vaulted down in Singapore. They can also gift the gold to another account holder, have the gold physically delivered or take a collateralised loan against the gold.

For people that are comfortable using crypto currency, HelloGold has recently launched our gold-backed token (GBT). Each GBT is fully backed by 1g of PAMP 99.99% investment grade gold vaulted in Singapore. GBTs will be available for purchase directly from HelloGold over the next few months to enable us to gauge demand

Why is Blockchain technology needed for buying Gold? What benefits does it provide to the consumer?

HelloGold uses blockchain technology to provide 3 benefits:

Transparency

By publishing the smart contracts and incorporating a blockchain explorer (transaction navigator), it will be possible to review the full list of anonymised transactions and calculate the amount of gold that HelloGold is holding on behalf of customers. This, in turn, can be compared not only to the amount of gold published in the customer gold list (anonymised) but also against the records managed by our custodian.

Security

HelloGold has incorporated several security mechanisms to protect customer accounts. All connections are encrypted using HTTPS. Internal API calls between the core components are secured with additional secret keys and firewall rules that limit interactions between trusted systems. For external facing APIs, for example APIs used by our mobile application, the API calls are further secured with a combination of industry standard OAUTH and secure tokens for each mobile device. The addition of a distributed record adds a further level of security from internal and external attempts to alter account data without leaving an audit trail. The smart contracts are being developed with best practices in mind following constant review of public audit documents. This should ensure that customer accounts are true and accurate.

Access

In addition, the Ethereum smart contracts enable HelloGold to create GBT, tradeable on any exchange which accepts them.With HGF’s gold-backed token everyone will only need the equivalent of a fraction of a dollar to save through gold (GBT works to 18dp). This will make the HelloGold platform available to everyone anywhere in the world

Do you think HelloGold will change how we buy gold in the future?

We are only at the start of our journey to impact the lives of the underserved and unbanked in emerging economies. Since our public launch in April, HelloGold has changed the way for over 4,000 customers when it comes to wealth preservation by providing a modern, convenient and cost efficient access to gold.

We have ambitious plans to expand the use of the product with both new partners and into new markets, to change how more people are able to access affordable financial products that were previously only accessible to the wealthy

Can you share any future plans or partnerships ?

We outlined our expansion plans in the whitepaper that we wrote for the recent token sale, full details can be found there.

In short, HelloGold plans to expand into new geographic markets, specifically Thailand, China, Indonesia and Philippines plus expand the product with new features/technology, asset classes (eg silver/platinum), partners which will enable us to serve new customer segments.

We are also increasingly approached by potential partners in other regions like the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia as well as Africa to consider expansion into those markets.

Who’s your target market for the app?

The ultimate customers of HelloGold’s platform, are those are not well served by their existing financial institutions and the unbanked. Financial institutions already provide a variety of easy ways for the high net worth and mass affluent market segments to invest in assets like gold so that they can diversify risks at the portfolio level but they do not enable the less affluent customer the same access. HelloGold targets two key market segments: the consuming middle class and the emerging middle class. In ASEAN and China alone, these two groups comprise 55% of the total labour force of 814m people. They saved approx. $505b in 2016, of which we estimate that $212b was in cash deposits.

Why are you running HelloGold on the Ethereum Blockchain over other similar technologies ?

HelloGold is using Ethereum as it is currently the most widely accepted platform that offers all the benefits of a blockchain (full traceability, non-repudiability etc.) and multiple source language implementations that encourage integration. Ethereum will handle only the parts needing consensus, transparency and accountability. Other services will continue to be provided using existing technology.

HelloGold needs a transactional blockchain with a powerful system of smart contracts which have the ability to ensure that a transaction can combine with the results of previous transactions to provide auditable consistent results. To date, Ethereum is the only stable system that has achieved widespread adoption. The decades of experience of our senior development team tell us to avoid anything experimental to run a live system.

Will you be expanding into other metals such as Silver?

Yes. We intend to create other real asset-backed tokens over the next 12 months.

What are you looking forward to in the blockchain space in 2018?

In HelloGold we are looking forward to moving our app backend onto the Ethereum network to provide our customers with greater security and transparency over their gold holding.

HelloGold intends to add different real asset backed tokens and providing more support to entities which support the twin objectives of 1) increasing mass market use of blockchain technology and 2) democratising access for the underserved and unbanked to financial products through the digitisation of these products.

Overall, we think that the blockchain space will continue to develop and mature through 2018. If the pace of change is as rapid as 2017, the industry will be significantly different at this time next year

HelloGold App Google Play:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hellogold.app&hl=en

HelloGold App Store:

https://itunes.apple.com/my/app/hellogold/id1193095204

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Tonybet Leads The Gaming Market By Accepting Bitcoin Allows Deposits In Bitcoin While Playing In Regular Currencies

With Bitcoin establishing its presence in the online gaming market, Tonybet.com started accepting deposits in digital currency.

An all-around online gaming site has announced it has partnered up with the SpectroCoin e-wallet to become one of the first recognised and well established gaming sites to accept Bitcoin. The site will allow its players to deposit and withdraw funds in Bitcoin, but will convert them to regular currencies while in-play – a feature absent from most sites accepting digital currencies.

The site officials said their intension was to make Tonybet more accessible to a wider range of potential players. However, the introduction of the new payment method had a bigger impact than they anticipated as a number or new signups went up.

Tonybet.com spokesman Warren Lush said: “We’re always keeping up with the latest digital innovations in order to adapt them to our online gaming platform. With the introduction of Bitcoin deposits we saw a dramatic increase in recreational punters and poker players especially from the Asian countries who have been struggling to transfer their funds before.”

“Another advantage of using Bitcoin for online gaming is that users can also speculate the exchange rates and earn extra. The fast and easy deposit and withdrawal process makes this an even more attractive feature. What’s more is that partnering up with SpectroCoin we not only opened our online sportsbook, casino and poker site to those who wanted to use their digital currency for online gambling, but also encouraged customers to exploit the advantages of using Bitcoin.”

About TonyBet.com

TonyBet.com was founded in 2009 by world famous poker pro, businessman and politician Tony G. The company is now one of the fastest growing betting and online gaming companies in the world. For more information see Tonybet.com

About Spectrocoin

SpectroCoin is an all-in-one solution for Bitcoin. Services offered include a wide range of Bitcoin solutions, from exchange to Bitcoin e-wallet. SpectroCoin builds its business policy on Bitcoin’s philosophy of making financing quicker, frictionless and flexible. The service provides a solution for each client’s needs instead of asking them to adapt to us. That includes every aspect of services, starting from the number of payout methods to the range of support languages available. For more information see Spectrocoin.com

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CEX.io Launches US Dollar Deposits and Trading Pairs

CEX.io has announced the public beta of its US dollar fiat currency integration.

The new service will enable customers to deposit the US dollar currency through bank transfers or credit cards, the company hinted at the possibility of also including other currencies such as the Euro and GBP.

The integration is the latest announcement of many exciting changes at the exchange.

“Adding USD to CEX.IO gives us a strong push towards a full-operational exchange,” commented Jeffrey Smith, CIO of CEX.IO. “Now we are even more into targeting the mass market and opening simple ways for buying Bitcoin.”

CEX.io is also the operator of Ghash.io which currently manages one of the biggest mining pools, with that in mind the company is well on it’s way to take a huge chunk out of Coinbase and other leading exchanges in terms of orders.

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