Over 200 people from within the international blockchain community participated in the first Swiss Blockchain Hackathon in Zurich this weekend

The Swiss Blockchain Hackathon, led by six of Switzerland’s leading blockchain and ICT institutions, took place over the weekend at Zurich’s Trust Square blockchain hub. The three-day event was attended by over 200 participants from almost 20 different countries around the world. The organizers presented hackathon participants with real-world challenges in diverse verticals, with help from major corporations, top-tier academic institutions, and Amazon Web Services.

The Swiss Blockchain Hackathon took place from 21 to 23 June and had over 200 hackers in 41 teams from around the world. The event was jointly hosted and organized by Trust Square, CV Labs, Crypto Valley Association, Swiss Blockchain Federation, Bitcoin Association Switzerland, and Swiss ICT. The participating hackers solved real-life challenges in six different verticals: eGovernment, Agriculture & Food, Mobility, Finance, Supply Chain, and Intelligent Parcel.

At the opening ceremony Carmen Walker Späh, President of the Government Council of the Canton of Zurich, stated “Personally, I am convinced that blockchain has what it takes to become the next big development step of digitalization,” and she continued “Together with partners from politics, industry and academia, I am committed to creating legal certainty, favorable general conditions and a broadly supported ecosystem. So that Zurich and Switzerland can maintain the positions of internationally competitive blockchain locations.“

The hackers each had a chance to win multiple, exciting prizes, equaling up to more than CHF 200,000. Hackers won everything from crypto bags filled with essentials for anyone interested in blockchain technology to the big Entrepreneurial Prize, where one team won the chance to fast track their startup idea at the CVLabs Incubator. The submitted projects where so convincing that the jury decided to bring two projects in front of the audience for the final decision – it remained a draw and it was decided to split the CHF 25,000 main prize between the two projects from Team Axelra and Team Blockbyte. The list of every winner is on the next page.

The teams worked diligently throughout the Swiss Blockchain Hackathon, staying up until the early hours of the morning working on the challenges presented to them in their verticals. Coaches were on-site throughout the event to help the teams with any hard-pressed issues they faced. The vertical coaches, volunteers from partner organizations were there to help each team out about their concerns in the contents of each vertical. Platform coaches represented technical partners like Amazon Web Services to help each team out with any technical question or need. 

Overall, The Swiss Blockchain Hackathon was a great success and the event showcased the vast talent within the local and worldwide blockchain community thanks to the vigorous work from each single participant.

You can see pictures and videos of the first Swiss Blockchain Hackathon at http://hackathon.trustsquare.ch

Crypto Valley Week Media Roundtable

Marc Degen, co-initiator of the #SBHACK19 will be present at the Crypto Valley Week Media Roundtable on 25 June 2019, from 12.00-13.30hrs at the Casino in Zug.

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Winner Overview:

 Agriculture & Food:

Co-Overall winner: Team Blockbyte led by Mike Schälchli, for the Lend-it solution, where you can offer and lease land in trusted way.

Mobility:

Co-Overall winner: Team Axelra led by Severin Wullschleger, for #velove, an app that awards crypto currency rewards for biking to work and reducing your personal CO2 offset.

 eGovernment:

Team ETH led by Burak Seyid, for Petizio, an app that lets you safely create and sign petitions.

Finance:

Team Kuznyechik led by Anton Permenev, with their project on crowd valuation of assets that have no financial history!

Supply Chain:

Team Elastonians led by Adem Bilican, for peer-to-peer traceability solution.

Intelligent Parcel:

Team OSB led by Joao Aguiam, for the close range package delivery service Padely.

AWS Special Prizes

1st: Agrofood led by Oliver Gaede (Agriculture & Food)

2nd: Orvium led Antonio Romero Marin (Intelligent Parcel)

3rd: Traceauth led by Trevor Oakley (Intelligent Parcel)

Swiss Blockchain Hackathon At A Glance

 Date: 21 – 23 June 2019

Location: Trust Square, Bahnhofstrasse 3, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland, and surrounding locations

Total Countries: 19

Austria, Egypt. Estonia. France, Germany, India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, UAE, UK, Ukraine, USA

Teams: 41

Hackers: 203

Verticals: 6

Coaches: 57

Slack Messages: 6211

Organizing partners

Trust Square, Bitcoin Association Switzerland, CV Labs, Crypto Valley Association, Swiss Blockchain Federation, Swiss ICT

Vertical partners

Accenture, Agroscope, Canton of Zurich, Die Post, SDX, ZVV

Platform and Service partners

Amazon Web Services, Amanox Solutions, Blockfactory, Cardano, PwC, Andibefree, Avado, Tecflower, certification, bitConsultant, Froriep, Felfel, Intellica, Tezos, Shift, Kilt

Academic partners

Universität Basel, Universität St. Gallen, Universität Zürich, HSR Hochschule für Technik

Rapperswil, Frankfurt School Blockchain Center, Hochschule Luzern, ETH Zurich, b2lab at ETH Zurich, ZHAW School of Management and Law

Supporting partners

ARC, Blocksport, Cargolux, Dezentrum, GS1, i.AM, Mobility, Modum, MS Direct, Procivis, Panalpina, Q_Perior, Proxeus, Smart Containers, Sigma Ledger, Sygnum, Verum Capital, Smiling Gecko, myclimate, Lipton, Pepsi Max, Orangina, Webtiser

Media and Communication partners
MoneyToday, Farner, BerChain, SICTIC, Mama, SWI

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Zichain releases a B2B crypto-fiat processing service  

Zichain launches B2B crypto-fiat processing service and offers clients around the world an opportunity to join the global trend for crypto adoption.

The B2B crypto-fiat gateway  is available for customers from 180 countries and supports transactions with several currencies: EUR, USD, GBP, RUB. The unique difference of the platform is the ability not only to buy, but also to sell cryptocurrencies, withdrawing them to cards. It also offers an industry-leading set of features coupled with an extremely competitive fee structure – the best of known conditions on market.

This latest addition to the company’s ever-growing product range make it easy for any business to provide its clients an easy, automated, fast and hassle-free way to buy cryptocurrencies – a key advantage in the eyes of many customers.

Zichain’s B2B platform is a unique market offer, customized for each client. It offers customers a convenient way to process clients’ payments (including crypto purchases made with credit and debit cards) and to completely automate all crypto transactions. The gateway API is easy to implement into any website and the client’s buying experience is quick and intuitive.

The company expects its new product to be used by a wide range of businesses –  both as those projects that have their own internal token and whose customers need an easy way to purchase, as well those that provide information resources and interested in monetizing their traffic.

Members of Zichain team are distributed over different countries around the world and spent the last year bolstering its positions in a number of different regions. The core market for providing company`s services is Europe – where Zichain has received financial institution licensing from Estonian regulators in March 2018. In Switzerland, company actively supports blockchain-related research and education projects. The company has also built strong partnerships with leaders of Asian market –  second most important vector of expansion after Europe.

Thus, according to its mission, Zichain has created two different directions for two types of clients: Cryptoeye – platform for retail investors  and Zichange – B2B crypto-fiat processing service for institutional market participants.

Zichain CEO, Mr. Khachatur Gukasyan, said:

“As a business with a truly global presence, we have made it our goal to make the new crypto-fiat gateway available to users worldwide. And I am proud to say that we have delivered on this promise – our product can be used by businesses and individuals in more than 180 countries”.

About Zichain. Adhering to the principle of creating an ecosystem of products rather than narrow standalone tools, Zichain offers a range of interconnected solutions making it a new type of financial institution, ready for the upcoming era of the digital economy. The company creates a unique high-quality crypto platform accessible to both retail and institutional investors.

For further information, please, contact: media@zichain.io

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PwC Blockchain Expert Roman Schnider joins Tezos Foundation as CFO and Head of Operations

The co-creator of PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) Switzerland’s Blockchain initiative is joining the Tezos Foundation in Zug as Chief Financial Officer and Head of Operations. With Schnider, the Tezos Foundation Board strengthens its operations team in Zug with an experienced investment banking and assurance specialist.

Roman Schnider, Assurance Director of PwC Switzerland will take on the role of Chief Financial Officer and Head of Operations of the Tezos Foundation beginning summer of 2019. 

Roman Schnider joins the Tezos Foundation after nearly 15 years at PwC where he worked in various roles around the world with a special focus on investment banking.  Most notably, in 2016, he launched the department for blockchain and cryptocurrency assurance at PwC Switzerland.

Schnider is especially familiar with the Tezos protocol and Foundation due to PwC’s role as auditor of the finance and business operations over the last year. The Tezos Foundation is the first major blockchain project to work with one of the “Big Four” as their statutory auditor.

“I sincerely look forward to joining the Tezos Foundation” says Schnider. “Together, we will work to serve and support the Tezos community in the most effective, efficient and transparent way possible.”  

Schnider is superseding Eelco Fiole as CFO. “We want to thank Eelco for his contribution to the development of the Foundation and wish him all the best” says Ryan Jesperson, President of the Tezos Foundation.

“As the Foundation continues to provide resources to a growing Tezos ecosystem, the CFO and operations lead will be critical to our success,” notes Jesperson. “Roman’s experience makes him the ideal finance and operations specialist for our team. He is already familiar with the opportunities and challenges blockchain projects face and has a deep understanding of the Tezos Foundation from his time at PwC.”

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Enterprises can now rent AI and datasets on the blockchain, through iExec’s new data wallet.

iExec, the company known for bringing exciting new developments to decentralised cloud-computing on the blockchain, have given their fans another reason to wax lyrical about their platform. V3, their major new release, introduces the Data Wallet, a feature that now makes secure data renting possible.

When it comes to upgrades, this is a huge leap for the company, and it brings lots of advantages. iExec’s decentralised cloud marketplace is now faster, more flexible and more secure than ever. Plus it now gives both individuals and enterprises the chance to earn money by either offering a share of their computing power to the platform or their datasets. Their Enterprise Edition in particular will help corporations looking to do business on the blockchain.

With data renting, all data providers are able to list their valuable datasets or AI models, and use them with an application that combines remote computing power through iExec. Whether you’re providing datasets, applications or computing power, every entity has the opportunity to be rewarded on iExec’s decentralised marketplace, and it’s the blockchain that makes this grand vision possible.

Coveted datasets likely to find a home on the platform are trained neural networks, which can be monetised and rented through the Data Wallet. Because of the huge amount of data, coupled with the time it takes to train and optimise these networks, they are extremely valuable, with a wide range of industries looking to pay a considerable amount to have access to them, from those in healthcare, to fintech and cybersecurity.

The old way of acquiring these datasets relied on companies paying subscription fees which meant the dataset creator lost ownership of their data. That’s the great thing about iExec – it creates businesses relationships where enterprises can execute code on a remote machine which is never able to inspect, copy or meddle with the data, with providers able to revoke all access whenever they choose.

iExec’s marketplace offers other advantages too, with V3 providing an array of new technical features to enhance speed and security. Upgrading their distributed computing middleware, the newly named ‘iExec Core’ enables integration with the iExec Trusted Execution Environment solution (TEE), ensuring data is protected when it’s running on remote, untrusted machines. Plus, a dedicated bridge, compatible with sidechains and decentralised brokering, has increased the overall efficiency of their marketplace. Now decentralised oracles can be constructed and provide access to real-world data for blockchain apps.

With V3 introducing iExec Enterprise aimed at businesses, it proposes custom offers to address the distinct needs of different corporations, doing so with paid support and consulting services. They can adapt their package by selecting which sections of it their partners or clients have access to, giving them only the specific resources they need. This is what iExec is doing with France’s biggest utility provider, EDF. Combining distributed computing with blockchain consensus and trusted execution environments, iExec are seen to be a safe pair of hands that gives consortiums exactly what they need to conduct effective business on the blockchain.

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ETHFinex announces three new tokens to be listed: Upfiring, AirSwap & Foam

Upfiring, FOAM and AirSwap have won the latest ETHFinex community vote and will shortly be listed on the trading platform.

The community backed ERC20 trading platform, ETHFinex announced the winning projects via Twitter and are expected to be listed this month.

The majority of projects listed on ETHFinex also go on to be included in the main Bitfinex exchange.

Projects that unfortunately did not secure enough community votes were: Loom Network, Tolar, Tripio, Hydro, IoTeX, aXpire, Wisbon, Fetch and Ink.

Mostly surprisingly of all, Upfiring a P2P file-sharing dApp running on the Ethereum Blockchain secured 26.6 million votes beating major VC backed projects. The team and community behind the dApp celebrated the win on Telegram, with the mostly unknown project set to be exposed to millions of traders, investors and new users.

Unlike competitors such as Tron’s tokenization of BitTorrent, the project stuck to it’s roadmap and has long had a fully working dApp.

Peer-to-peer trading network, AirSwap came as the first winner, with 44.8 million votes.

Coming in at second place with 35.5 million votes, FOAM the ‘Proof of Location’ protocol for geospatial data markets” allows users to build a consensus driven, trusted map of the world by securing physical space on the blockchain.

As history often repeats, all three projects will most likely be listed on the BitFinex exchange in the near future.

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MediaSmart and NEXD join forces and shake up the industry with a new media partnership

MediaSmart, the company known for helping mobile advertisers run successful campaigns with the aid of data-driven metrics, have teamed up with the advertising technology company NEXD, this month announcing a new partnership. Integrating a range of new rich media tools within MediaSmart’s demand-side platform dashboard, the two companies will streamline the rich media creation process for all of MediaSmart’s customers.

With the new features rolling out to select partners from this month onwards before full access for all customers in the coming weeks, the integration of NEXD’s Campaign Manager and rich media ad creator with MediaSmart’s DSP console will enable customers to rapidly create engaging, elegant, interactive adverts that are lightweight and easy to build using simple drag-and-drop methods.

The partnership comes at an ideal time, as all the data from market research company Statista points to a consistent increase in demand for rich media year-on-year, with the growth set to continue for the foreseeable future. The reason is largely due to the rapid growth of the mobile sector, an area both Mediasmart and NEXD are already well established in.

When it comes to rich media solutions, most use HTML5 to create ad campaigns, with considerable downsides such as slow-loading pages and a limited range of creative options which end up with more of the audience using ad blockers. To combat this, NEXD have created a proprietary, rich media-focused ad framework. Four years in the making, their NEXD Engine overcomes problems associated with HTML5, with solutions that enable faster, lighter media.

Mediasmart CEO, Noelia Amoedo
Mediasmart CEO, Noelia Amoedo

MediaSmart’s CEO, Noella Amoedo, is thrilled about the potential this new partnership offers: “MediaSmart has always been very clear about its position within the mobile advertising ecosystem: full focus on advertisers and the buying process…with NEXD’s technology, Mediasmart can focus on delivering our advertisers the best the industry has to offer without compromising the advertiser experience.”

 

 

NEXD CEO, Erik Tammenurm
NEXD CEO, Erik Tammenurm

Erik Tammenurm, NEXD’s CEO, is also enthusiastic about how this partnership will increase the range of companies who’ll have access to cutting edge tools: “It’s been NEXD’s goal from the start to give much broader access to the kind of rich media creativity previously only accessible to a handful of agencies…we have taken a huge leap towards achieving our goal of accessible rich media ad production for all.’

 

With NEXD’s broad network of offices around the world from London to Singapore and Paris to Tokyo, and MediaSmart’s experts backed by well-known investors such as KOMM Investment and Kibo Ventures, they have the means and the broad client base to make a huge impact.

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Copper chosen by SWARM as preferred digital custodian

SWARM, an infrastructure provider for the issuance and trading of digital assets, has selected award-winning Copper as its preferred digital custodian. The integration of Copper’s solution will provide the institutional grade security fundamental to the mass market trading of digital securities.

Copper’s technology will secure assets held or managed as well as delivering settlement services through APIs, which trigger subsequent processes for the SWARM (SWM) that are wrapped to be invested into for investment opportunities on the SWARM platform.

Dmitry Tokarev, CEO and Founder of Copper
Dmitry Tokarev, CEO and Founder of Copper

Copper already provides custody for multiple crypto funds and investors operating a full range of investment strategies. The company also plans on providing custody for fiat in the future.

Copper has recently improved the security protocols of its custodial service further by adding military grade optical air-gapping. This enhancement ensures the complete security of an offline repository of asset owners’ sharded keys during the transaction signing process.

Philipp Pieper, Co-Founder of SWARM, has commented: “The integration between Copper and SWARM is a great fit due to the compatibility of our technologies as well as our teams.

“Copper provides the level of institutional grade security and convenience that is absolutely essential for the adoption of digital securities by institutional investors and the retail market.

“Philosophically, we have found in Copper a team who are committed to the growth of a broad ecosystem for digital securities, who share our innovative spirit, and who know that we will all get further, faster when we build together.”

Dmitry Tokarev, CEO and Founder of Copper, has commented: “SWARM is at the forefront of the emerging security token investment industry and we are excited to enable its vision.

“Although the crypto industry is evolving rapidly, it still needs large institutional involvement before the space can fully-mature.

“This cannot be achieved without proper custody solutions ensuring assets are secure alongside solutions that help institutions easily navigate the industry. The partnership between SWARM and Copper puts us at the forefront of developing the infrastructure for financial services 2.0”.

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Go Global with Cryptocurrency Accounting Platform

Recap, a privacy-focused accounting software platform for cryptocurrency has secured a sizeable grant from Innovate UK to help launch its services worldwide.

Recap has been granted £135,136 as a winner of the Transforming accountancy, insurance and legal services with AI and data competition. The funding was provided through the Government’s modern industrial strategy by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

Recap is an encrypted, bespoke platform which allows those with complex cryptocurrency portfolios to track, manage and strategise by bringing all the information into one platform. One of its key features is to track the large numbers of taxable transactions many investors in cryptocurrencies incur, sometimes on a per second basis.

Co-founder and Director Daniel Howitt said: “It’s exciting times here at Recap, we have an ambitious backlog of work to deliver by March. The US tax deadline for the 2018 tax year closes mid-April. We want Recap to be available way ahead of this deadline, meaning we need to internationalise the product, design and build a US capital gains tax engine and also fully monetise the product so we can start collecting annual subscription revenue.

“The US launch comes off the back of our successful private beta launch to early adopters in the UK.”

The fintech start-up, based in the East Midlands and founded by Directors Daniel Howitt and Ben Shepheard and is the first platform of its kind in the UK and is supported by software experts Selenity and chartered accountants Wright Vigar.

Daniel added: “Our seed raise of £150,000 will allow us to meet the match funding requirement of our £135,000 grant to give us £280,000 investment.

“These funds will allow us to develop our transaction matching IP, release our 1.0.0 version of the product and actively market the platform in the UK and US.

Recap is currently raising a £150,000 seed round led by a cryptocurrency investor and customer of Recap.

To find out more, visit the website here: www.recap.io

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From Centralised Slots to Decentralised Kitties: The Evolution of Online Gaming

The online gaming industry is one of the biggest success stories of the last two decades. Starting out at nothing more than a handful of rudimentary sites at the end of the nineties, online casino gaming alone is now worth upwards of $51 billion/£39.5 billion. Naturally, as the industry has become more lucrative, technology, tastes and gaming options have evolved. Indeed, when you compare early online gaming to today’s emerging blockchain-based creations, things have changed markedly.

Building the Foundations of Online Gaming

“Equations in my dreams” (Public Domain) by tcctrain

If we go back to 1999, Playtech was one of the first developers to harness the power of random number generator (RNG) software. Following the example set by Microgaming in 19995, Playtech’s developers found that complex algorithms could recreate random scenarios. With technology able to ensure a fair result, the company set about developing some of the earliest online casino games. Two decades later, this technology still forms the basis of all online casino games. Whatever title you select inside https://games.paddypower.com/c/slots, the underlying RNG technology will be the same as it was back in 1999. Yes, it will have been refined. However, the fundamental principles are still in place, meaning that everything from Electric Tiger to Gold Frenzy are fair.

From this base, online gaming has cherrypicked ideas and innovations from across the gaming industry at large. For example, almost all online bingo sites now have chat facilities, emojis and more. Essentially borrowing from https://www.facebook.com/games/, bingo sites now offer the same social experience as Words with Friends or 8 Ball Pool. Beyond socialisation features, live streams have become popular. Taking inspiration from https://www.twitch.tv/ and other streaming platforms, developers have been able to create live gaming experience. By combining webcams with RFID technology, players can now interact with real dealers hosting real games inside specially designed studios.

Can Blockchains Decentralise Casino Gaming?

“ETC Wallpaper – No Cryptokitties” (Public Domain) by EthereumClassic

The question is, how will online gaming evolve with the help of blockchain technology? Visit https://www.cryptokitties.co/ and you’ll start to get an insight into the direction blockchain gaming is going. Although an early attempt to utilise decentralised technology for recreational purposes, Axiom Zen’s Cryptokitties has one interesting feature that could be used to improve player safety. As part of the game, each Cryptokitty is represented by a non-fungible ERC-721 token. This allows ownership of the virtual cat to be tracked via Ethereum’s smart contract system. Applying this idea to online gaming, developers could use it to track player IDs. On the one hand, this would reduce the risk of fraud as it would be easier to track and control transactions between players and between players and the casino. Additionally, this technology could be used to create a multifaceted casino ecosystem.

In today’s online gaming community, players have to create individual accounts. By tracking players in the same way Cryptokitties are tracked, it could be possible to bridge the gaps. In other words, players would create a central account which could then be used to access multiple sites. As it stands, many of the leading brands are part of a larger network. Therefore, with this technology, it could be possible to link players across all sites within the network. By marking each account with an ERC-721 token, everything from a player’s personal details to their account balance and playing preferences would become decentralised (i.e. not held by one site). While this would require cooperation and communication between casino brands, the fact networks already exist suggests it could work. Indeed, if online casinos were able to take something from Cryptokitties, it would give players more flexibility, choice and, ultimately, provide a more entertaining experience.

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Here’s How Cryptocurrencies Could Change the Gaming Landscape

Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain have started to change many aspects of our lives and entertainment in recent years. However, one area that appears to have been slower than others in adopting this approach is that of gaming.

At first glance, there are a lot of areas of crossover between cryptos and gaming. Some people have even suggested that gaming paved the way for these coins to appear as per https://medium.com/singulardtv/how-video-games-helped-pave-the-way-for-cryptocurrency-f930521eef55. Yet, the expected surge in this area hasn’t appeared so far. In what ways could these industries come together in the future to change the gaming landscape?

“a gamer of XboX” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by AleZZitO1

Gaming ICOs Being Launched

There is work being done on numerous new decentralised gaming solutions. These are projects that use the blockchain and introduce their own cryptocurrencies that users can typically earn, buy or exchange.

Among the biggest and most talked about ICOs of this type is Bountie, with full details on it to be found at https://www.bountie.io/tokensale/. This is a platform that promises to use AI and IoT in order to modernise the world of gaming.

Another project of this type is called ALAX. In this case, the idea is that players in developing countries can play on their mobile devices even if they don’t have access to traditional banking facilities. The platform uses their own ALX token to monetise gaming, as described on their site, https://alax.io/tokens/.

Unless an ICO offers something new and useful, the fact that it is decentralised isn’t going to be enough. Let’s not forget that over half of all ICOS fail in the first few months too, according to the Boston College research at https://www.coindesk.com/over-half-of-icos-fail-within-4-months-suggests-us-study. So, there is no guarantee that these new platforms will succeed. Many gamers are happy to play in the ways that are currently available to them.

Indeed, among the most popular gaming options gaining ground right now are online casinos. These are websites where numerous casino games are brought together. For example, at https://casino.betfair.com/c/slots we can see dozens of slots ranging from Hot Gems to Grease and from Big Bear to Captain’s Treasure.

Source: Pixabay

Playing with Digital Currencies

Another possibility is that players start to use cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to fund their games online. This may seem like a natural progression, since many gamers are now used to using in-game tokens and currencies.

However, perhaps the volatility of virtual currencies will play a big part in how widespread this becomes. Since these coins can gain or lose value very rapidly, anyone who pays using them is essentially making an investment rather than simply exchanging tokens.

It seems fair to say more stable cryptocurrency prices are likely to encourage more gamers to use these coins. There are certainly some good reasons for thinking this is a good idea. For example, it allows for virtually anonymous spending and means that no link to a bank account or credit card is needed.

It wouldn’t be a big surprise if the future were to bring a closer relationship between gaming and cryptocurrencies. Having said that, it would appear that we are still waiting for the perfect combination of these technologies that allows gamers to use cryptos to their full potential.

 

 

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