Antony Koroid

Blockchain Puzzle Developer Gets $13 mln to Debut Video Game

A famous artist in the bitcoin community decided to launch her own video game. BlockTower Capital Partners and Horizon Digital companies invested in it
Blockchain Puzzle Developer Gets $13 mln to Debut Video Game

One of the most famous artists in the Bitcoin community decided to launch her own video game on the blockchain. The list of Blockade Games Inc.’s startup investors includes such names as BlockTower Capital Partners and Horizon Digital.

With their help, in the first week of November the startup managed to raise $833,000; the total volume of attracted investments reached $13 mln.

Marguerite deCourcelle was firstly and widely known as the creator of clever puzzles that include lines of code containing public and private keys for crypto assets. In particular, the storage of Bitcoins is worth more than $1 mln.

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Additionally, the project team consists of artists whose portfolio includes world-famous games such as World of Warcraft and Spider-Man for PlayStation 4.

According to BlockTower Capital managing partner Ari Paul, game developers strive to integrate cryptocurrencies into their products that gamers can use. Assets dubbed non-fungible tokens (NFT) can also be used to strengthen the gaming community.

"I think we'll see a rapid move towards this because we'll see the economics are so beneficial in a straightforward way,” he added.

Crypto rewards?

The first release of the company will be the flagship game Neon District. Blockade Games head Marguerite deCourcelle said their new flagship game will have reward puzzles with Bitcoins wins donated by the Pineapple Fund. The role game Neon District is expected to be presented to the public in May 2019.

“For example, you could have an end-game experience in Neon District as a 2D game, then wake up in an Age of Rust storyline with your asset, and they can maintain some of the qualities they had beyond that trip,” noted deCourcelle

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The gameplay will focus on the usefulness of game assets. The game will have a main storyline, and several side cycles to complement its main ecosystem. In addition to the main characters, the Neon District will include some of deCourcelle's trademark puzzles to give users the opportunity to get rewards, tools, or weapons in the NFT.

The game is designed especially for people who know nothing about the industry, so they could open it and get their first crypto experience. At the moment, more than 8 thousand people have become Blockade Games mailing list subscribers.

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🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Past ICO Review: Crystal Ball Cloudy For Gnosis

👁 ICO Watch
A crystal-ball crypto? Not exactly, but crowdsourced predictive analytics does hold some truth
Past ICO Review: Crystal Ball Cloudy For Gnosis
Contents

In a short time, Blockchain and cryptocurrency technology have come a long way, but  crypto that can predict the future? Now, that might sound like a late night psychic scam, but this Blockchain is looking back into the past to better gauge the future. Gnosis, Greek for knowledge of spiritual mysteries, is centered on the prediction market.

Financials

Gnosis entered the market over one year ago on May 1, 2017, at $51.64, at the time of writing, it is trading at $96.39, almost a 100 percent gain! Not bad for a soothsaying crypto. The one-day ICO held on April 24, 2017, raised $12.5 mln in capital for Gnosis. The market cap is $106 mln and the CoinMarketCap rank is 143.

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So you mean to tell me, you can see the future?

Prediction markets are sometimes called information markets, idea futures, event derivatives, decision markets or virtual stock markets. In essence, a prediction market is a vehicle for aggregating information about the expected outcome of a future event. How does the system work? Participants receive a set of tokens reflecting each possible outcome and may then trade these with either other market participants or a market maker. This is essentially betting on the outcome of said event.

The current market price reflects the probability of the specific outcome to occur. The set of outcome tokens has to cover all possible outcomes so that the probability of all outcomes adds up to 100 percent. Once the event outcome is known, the winning outcome has a probability of 100 percent and is worth one, while all other losing outcomes have the probability of zero percent and are worth zero. Gnosis uses the crowdsourced information to make predictions about the event.

There is an old anecdote about the more people guessing the weight of a cow, the more accurate the number will be. Besides the crowdsourced guesses, an ultimate oracle would settle the outcomes of the events and thusly the disputes. However, the oracle should be an independently controlled mechanism to achieve the most fairness.

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Dual-token system

Gnosis incorporates the use of two ERC20 tokens, Gnosis (GNO) and Gnosis Wizard (WIZ). The GNO token has a fixed supply of 10 mln GNO tokens. The company plans to charge for the use of certain services that operate on the core platform. Fees will be payable in ETH, BTC or WIZ. This is similar to the gas model on the Ethereum smart contracts: pay to play. According to the website and some further investigating,  WIZ is generated by holders of GNO. WIZ tokens will be pegged at or very near $1. It’s important that the WIZ token maintain low volatility to serve as a vehicle of collateral on the platform.

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Crystal ball cloudy for Gnosis

While the company has been around for over five years already, according to their timeline, there are still many implementations to be done before the software is up and running. It appears that Q3 2018 will be the time that the technology will be fully operational.

Out of many of the ICOs of 2017, it is one of the few that has managed to keep its token price above the ICO debut price, showing it has potential. However, on the flipside, it is a crowdsourced-predictive analytics system. A crowdsourced system could only be as good as the crowd participating in it. Care to cast a wager on Gnosis? Will it succeed? Will it fail? Choose wisely, chosen one!

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SingUlarity Evgeny Konstantinov

On Fanboy Wars: Opinion

SingUlarity
From supporters to maximalists while bringing benefits to individuals and communities
On Fanboy Wars: Opinion
Contents

The term “fanboy wars”, coming predominantly from the video game industry, does have a derogatory shade to it, but it is the most accurate one, so I suggest we stick with it.

I am talking about the fanboy wars in crypto.

For ages people have been ardent supporters of competing products and the competing products have also been there for ages, and Blockchain is no exception. Going through the entire history of fanboy wars is out of the scope of this post, and there are literature and books covering this topic specifically, backed by significant amounts of research and with fascinating historical (and often hysterical) anecdotes to illustrate.

What I’d like to dwell on briefly is two examples: video game fanboy wars and crypto fanboy wars.

Video game fanboy wars

Way back in the day — in the 90s actually — it was Genesis versus Nintendo. Remember that? “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” to which Nintendo retaliated with “Nintendo is what Genesisn’t”, and blast processing, and so on. The console war that was later joined in by Sony with their PlayStation and ultimately the PC.

None of these wars would have happened without communities supporting either side and taking a vigorous part in the process. And none of the community members would have been vigorous if the video games didn’t raise strong emotions in the users, who were majorly kids at the time. Because that’s what video entertainment in general and video games in particular attempt to do — give the user a high and cause an emotional response and maybe provoke thoughts.

The members of the warring communities were heavily investing in the process because the games stirred them.

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Crypto fanboy wars

The video game industry is again booming today, but the fanboy wars took a new incarnation in crypto. A much more complex and intricate one because the people involved in it are majorly adults and because money is involved. A lot of money.

Gaining money in crypto — as in doing an X or multiple Xs or losing the value of your assets — probably causes the same level of emotional response in adults as it does in kids, but because these are grown-ups playing the grown-up games, the tactics are much more nuanced. There are shills and influencers with their own hidden (or open) agenda, identity fraudsters, and confidence tricksters.

However, the major force is one of the sincere project supporters with a genuine drive to tell the world of their discovery and learn the technology and spread the knowledge. The major — not the only one, but majorly prevalent — cause for the drive is their investment in a particular project and the financial gain that they experienced. Based on their investment, people hold ground for the camps at war because often there are competing projects and competing supporters.

The heated discussions abound, but they happen on the platforms rife with shady actors. Discussions are good. Leveled discussions are very good for they help to understand the technology better and weigh all the pros and cons of a particular project. And the knowledge spreading that happens and the content that is generated in the process is hugely beneficial for the entirety of the crypto scene and the world as a whole.

What if this space was uncluttered and all the shadiness removed? I am not talking taking away the anonymity, I am talking better structure and transparency that’d ultimately reduce the animosity. What if there was the technology that’d help us with that? You know, like the one many are warning about? Like BLOCKCHAIN.

Remember the Bitcoin early adopters when it was novel and we considered ourselves pioneer for simply mining or purchasing Bitcoin? Remember how some of them turned Bitcoin maximalists and turned against Ethereum when it was only emerging?

Remember how some of the Ethereum supporters became in their turn Ethereum maximalists when NEO showed up?

See how much at war are some of the Vechain and Waltonchain supporters?

What if all of that was happening not on makeshift social platforms that were never designed to endure all the disputes and discussions and all the content generated, but on a platform built precisely on the technology we are arguing about? There would be so much to gain for the community as a whole with all the obfuscating flak removed.

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Where Is It All Happening? The Biggest Crypto Cities of the World

Opinions
We’ve done our research, and we bring you our succinct conclusion: the most influential crypto cities of our planet
Where Is It All Happening? The Biggest Crypto Cities of the World
Contents

Today, we bring you our version of the biggest crypto cities in the world. Two factors were taken into account when compiling this list : 1) the number of crypto companies in each city, as well as their influence on the global market, and 2) how widely crypto payments are accepted in the region. So, here they are listed alphabetically:

Crypto city

Amsterdam (the Netherlands)

With numerous Bitcoin ATMs and many merchants that accept Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment, the capital of the Netherlands has by now also become one of the crypto hotspots of Europe. The Dutch city is home to at least 90 such businesses, as it is to the Bitcoin Embassy, one of Bitcoin’s major global promo establishments anywhere in the world. So, if you happen to be in town, there is now more than Van Gogh and Rembrandt to see and buy, RLD excluded.

Buenos Aires (Argentina)

With most South American economies in a state of financial uncertainty and terrible inflation, many are looking for alternative ways to store their wealth, or whatever is left of it. Here, the capital of Argentina is leading the way: the city is home to almost 150 businesses that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. For this same reason, Argentina has also become a major player on LocalBitcoins, causing a boom on the platform. The first ever Bitcoin conference in Latin America was also held in Buenos Aires last year.

Hong Kong (China)

Hong Kong, while technically belonging to China, retains its vital political and financial independence from the mainland. While the crypto ban has made things very difficult in Shanghai and Beijing, Hong Kong is taking full advantage of its economic freedom by bringing crypto prosperity to business in all possible (and profitable) forms. Among the numerous successful crypto companies that Hong Kong can boast about are two major global players: Bitfinex and HitBTC, founded in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Many might not have even heard of Slovenia, let alone its capital Ljubljana; after all, it’s a small nation with a small capital. However, this city is a serious force to be reckoned with when it comes to the world of cryptography, Blockchain, and DLT: Ljubljana is home to the world’s first ever Bitcoin mall known as Bitcoin City, i.e. a shopping center where all vendors accept Bitcoin. The mall is an impressive 475 000 square meters in size, concurrently making it Slovenia’s largest shopping center of any kind. Major crypto firms, among them NiceHash and Bitstamp, are also based in the city.

New York (USA)

It is a well-known fact that New York is considered to be the world’s financial capital. When it comes to centralized finance, i.e. Wall Street and banking, there is hardly any rival that can challenge NYC’s dominance. When it comes to the world of decentralized finance, though, the city’s claim to power is yet to be made, after it manages to catch up with San Francisco’s arguably stronger output. Be that as it may, NYC is already home to more than 100 businesses that accept crypto payments, as it is to a number of major crypto companies, among them ConsenSys.

Prague (Czech Republic)

The capital of the Czech Republic may not have that much to offer, comparatively speaking, in the way of giant crypto companies which are on par with some of the other brands mentioned in this list. At least not yet. But what Prague is still lacking in quality, it is certainly making up in quantity, a pattern which is bound to eventually pay off. The city is growing in crypto adoption at a stunning rate, and for this reason it is currently ranked first by Forbes by number of businesses accepting crypto payments, more than 150, which is more than anywhere else in the world as of this year.

San Francisco (USA)

San Francisco may quite possibly be the most influential crypto city in the whole world. It has already established its reputation as a major tech hub, thanks to its proximity to Silicon Valley (around 40 miles). Now the city is also swiftly turning crypto on a huge scale: it is already home to many giants of the crypto game, among them such well-known brands as Ripple, Kraken, Coinbase, and Blockchain Capital. Furthermore, San Francisco is home to around 120 merchants that accept cryptocurrency and almost as many crypto ATMs. With such impressive stats, not many places can compete with this global crypto hotspot located in Northern California.

Singapore (Singapore)

Singapore is a unique city-state. Known for its international trade and entrepreneurial vibe, it got involved in the crypto world early on and is now considered to be one of the most crypto friendly places on our planet. It is, of course, no coincidence that one of the current crypto trade leaders of the world, the exchange platform Huobi, proudly calls Singapore its home. Among many other crypto companies based here are Litecoin, Signum, NEO, and Virtuse.

Toronto (Canada)

The largest city in Canada is also one of the biggest crypto cities in the world, which, according to some sources, contains over 200 crypto ATMs within its borders, more than any other city in the world. This is in part because Canada’s progressive government is for the most part supportive of DLT, and hence most laws on ICOs and crypto startups are quite relaxed. This is also why Toronto is said to have as many businesses within its greater suburban area that accept digital currency as the Dutch capital, Amsterdam.

Zug (Switzerland)

There is a very good reason why Zug is on our list, and it can be summed up in two words: Crypto Valley. The town located in central Switzerland is tiny. What is huge, however, is the amount of talent it contains and the number of crypto companies it hosts: over 300 of them from 20 different countries, including Buterin’s Ethereum. With the Swiss government being supportive of the Blockchain technology, the town is also home to the annual Crypto Valley Blockchain Summit, which is regularly visited by members of the European Parliament.

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The Fight For Democracy in the Crypto Space

Opinions
Democracy, in terms of the Blockchain protocol is supposed to be a key feature, but as it stands there is more radicalism happening
The Fight For Democracy in the Crypto Space
Contents

Democracy has been a core pillar of society since the days of the ancient Greeks, and since those days it has never abated, merely adjusted and evolved. The idea that the majority have the overall say transcends all facets of life and is an important and fair governance system.

Thus, because of its ability to quash any form of centralized and unfair control, it has also become an important part of Blockchain protocols and their decentralized nature. Governance of Blockchain, especially when it comes to Proof of Work and Delegated Proof-of-Stake, is based entirely on democracy.

However, democracy is not all in Blockchain, nor in general society, as there are a few ways in which to bend this governance system, and as such, we are seeing a new movement in the Blockchain space.

Blockchain governance and its democracy is starting to become far more radical rather than more inclusive and open as the space grows. However, for the cryptocurrency communities, the desire is now for a real working democracy on the human level welded with proper machine level. People want a fair democracy and this can happen when supported on the Blockchain protocol level.

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Breaking tradition

One of the core thoughts of Francis Fukuyama in his 1992 book "The End of History and the Last Man" was that democracy was the final form of human governance and that it was easier to see a radical converting to a Democrat than vice versa. But time proved he was wrong.

But, he also added: "What we may be witnessing … is the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government,” leading us to believe that no further improvements are left to be made upon democracy.

Now, in the Blockchain space, we have seen a rapid microcosm of democracy and its evolution. Blockchains, in their original form, such as Bitcoin and its Proof-of-Work algorithm, proved a democratic standing as crypto-anarchists worked in communities.

Anyone who supported the Bitcoin network early on was given a chance to gain more Bitcoins through the PoW algorithm. People received fair rewards for being part of the network and keeping it live. A fair reward for fair effort.

This was then later done differently, but under the same principles when Dan Larimer proposed and implemented the Delegated Proof-of-Stake (dPoS) algorithm, such as in EOS. The idea behind dPoS was voting and democracy. Also a fair system.

EOS’s developers say that by delegating the responsibility for processing transactions to just 21 “block producers,” which are to be elected by the community of token holders, the system will be able to achieve thousands of transactions per second (compared with just 15 per second for rival Ethereum).

These basic principles of democracy in PoW and dPoS are enshrined in order to enact a fair system for communities to operate democratically. However, through the nine years of Blockchain being in existence, the growth of the space has led to a degeneration to radicalism, and even in the newer dPoS system, we are already seeing a movement away from democracy, counter to what Fukuyama predicted.

Importance of democracy

Blockchain’s protocol and its democracy underlying it comes from an important key feature of cryptocurrencies in general, the decentralization and the removal of centralized authorities. Thus, it is understandable why there is such an importance placed on democracy in the Blockchain protocol.

Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin explains:

“Over the last half-decade, each of us has, in his own way, been working on a part of an alternative solution: to find ways to harness markets and technology to radically decentralized power of all sorts and shift our reliance from authority and to formal rules.”

He further continues that, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies emerged directly as a reaction to the perceived excesses of the traditional financial system.

Democracy may be an essential facet of Blockchain, but it is also key as to how it works. An easy example is provided by Josh Zerlan, VP of Product Development at Butterfly Lab:

“There are thousands of miners around the world, all collectively trying to process various transactions. Although not widely utilized currently, miners have the ability to accept or reject certain transactions. They can choose to refuse to process transactions. Let’s think about that for a moment. An individual miner can choose to not process a transaction, but someone else will, therefore that individual miner’s choice doesn’t make a lot of difference. <...> But what if more than half the miners decided to stop processing transactions from an entity they disagree with? Now the choice of those miners has an impact. If more than half of the network decides something does not belong on the network, the transactions will never make it into the blockchain, effectively being ignored by the bitcoin universe.”

While the democracy in the Blockchains may be moving towards radicalization, it is important to remember why these key democratic features are prevalent and abound.

The grassroots movement and drive is there and it’s strong — projects like Telos and UCOMMUNITY fork the EOS code to create their own consensus algorithms with the objective of fair distribution and voting rights. We are going to see more and more movement in this direction.

The want and ability to have democracy

It is dangerous for those involved in the Blockchain space to become too radical and to leave out democracy as a core concept in the space. There is indeed a fight going on for democracy in blockchain, and with this fight, people are showing that they do indeed want a fair democracy and this can happen when supported on the Blockchain protocol level.

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What Coinbase’s Integration of ERC20 Means For Ethereum and ICO Standards

👁 ICO Watch
The support towards Ethereum’s ERC20 tokens by the largest brokerage in cryptocurrency could lead to spike in adoption.
What Coinbase’s Integration of ERC20 Means For Ethereum and ICO Standards
Contents

On March 27, as reported by CryptoComes, the world’s largest cryptocurrency wallet platform and brokerage Coinbase has announced its plans to integrate ERC20 tokens that are compatible with the Ethereum network.

What does this mean for Ethereum?

The ERC20 token standard of the Ethereum network has become the global standard for tokens sales and initial coin offerings (ICOs). While there exists competing platforms like China’s NEO, South Korea’s ICON and Russia’s Waves, Ethereum has consistently been the largest platform for ICOs to date.

The vast majority of multi-billion dollar ICOs like EOS have launched on top of the Ethereum network and it has also powered decentralized applications like CryptoKitties, that have recorded more user activity than most decentralized applications in the global cryptocurrency market.

Support not sufficient

But, despite the wave of interest in ICOs that has emerged over the past 12 months, tokens on the Ethereum network have not received sufficient support from existing cryptocurrency platforms, likely due to the strict regulations enforced by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Earlier in February, US SEC Chairman Jay Clayton stated that all ICOs he has seen to date are considered securities and that any token that directly benefits an organization is a security.

During a Senate hearing Clayton said:

I want to go back to separating ICOs and cryptocurrencies. ICOs that are securities offerings, we should regulate them like we regulate securities offerings. End of story.

The SEC also required cryptocurrency exchanges within the US to register with the SEC if it supports or lists ICO tokens. The statement of SEC released on March 7 read:

If a platform offers trading of digital assets that are securities and operates as an ‘exchange,’ as defined by the federal securities laws, then the platform must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration.

The statements of both SEC chairman Clayton and the SEC led the price of most tokens and Ethereum itself to fall, due to the regulatory uncertainty surrounding tokens. Businesses have also become more reluctant towards integrating tokens launched on top of the Ethereum network, due to the SEC’s increasing crackdown on ICOs.

Coinbase sets a precedent

Coinbase established a precedent by announcing its plans to integrate ICOs. It paved a path for other businesses to be compliant and integrate tokens by registering with the SEC. What once was a grey area for most cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms has gained regulatory certainty and clarity, due to the bold, and perhaps expensive, decision of Coinbase to become one of the first compliant exchanges within the US to integrate ICOs.

“This paves the way for supporting ERC20 assets across Coinbase products in the future, though we aren’t announcing support for any specific assets or features at this time. We are announcing this both internally and to the public as consistent with our process for adding new assets,” the Coinbase team explained.

It has also been acknowledged by experts including Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer that the vast majority of ICOs are illegitimate or scams.

I don't get all the self-styled pundits first doing ICOs then bashing them. Most ICOs are crap, but the ICO mechanism is useful for bootstrapping new projects, raising funding, and generally deploying new tech. Why can't we have a reasonable non-extreme opinion? https://t.co/PiQOl3mVUD

— Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor) March 27, 2018

The increase in support towards tokens would lead to the creation of a better ecosystem. It sheds light on ICOs that are actually utilizing a decentralized Blockchain network in Ethereum to provide an infrastructure for or develop decentralized applications and maximize the potential of Blockchain technology.

🕵️‍ ICO Watch
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