🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Past-ICO Review: Alternative Facts and Truths Abound

👁 ICO Watch
ICO or token sale, call it what you want but something happened and a company made some money, but when and why are there conflicting facts?
Past-ICO Review: Alternative Facts and Truths Abound

 

Taking the games from the corporations and putting them back into the hands of the gamers, is what Refereum is all about. However, there seems to be something amiss. According to ICODrops, the “token sale” ended on Feb. 8 2018, but when checking out another source, dated Aug. 25, 2018, it accuses Refereum of not holding an ICO as promised. Checking out the website, the first thing displayed is “the Refereum token sale is complete!” So what is going on here? U.Today reached out for comment on this matter of why the media has so many conflicting facts, or more in line with the times: alternative facts. However, when the pressure is on and someone is getting on to the fact that something is not right, “no comment” is given. The equivalent to pleading the fifth in a US court; fishy.

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Finance

According to ICOdrops, which is generally a very reliable source, Refereum raised $32.2 mln during its token sale, which ended on Feb. 8, 2018. Which is funny because according to another source which has quoted Refereum as saying the following:

…after taking into consideration advice and feedback from our advisors and legal teams, we made the decision to complete the Refereum Utility Token Sale in its entirety through the private pre-sale process. We are honored to announce Refereum met its target sales quota ahead of the formerly scheduled public sale, but recognize that there are many who will be disappointed with this news– despite the good reasons for conducting the sale this way.

Well, to finish out the finance on this utility token, you are not missing much: Market entrance on March 1: $0.0219

Current price: $0.0038

Bottom line: Rubbish

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Take a look at the Team

Dylan Jones- CEO & Founder

A game designer from down under, Jones has worked at many predominant game makers and has all the right background to get into the blockchain based gaming industry and using it for something good.

Alistair Doulin- CTO

Alistair is a game industry veteran who has worked on multiple high profile game and engine projects.

Sloane Earl- Business Development

Earl has a background in traditional and digital concept art and a strong interest in the gaming industry. She also focuses on Women in Blockchain initiatives as co-founder of Team Block Society, and co-founder of The Wild Gypsy Tour, women's motorcycle event at The Buffalo Chip.

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Tech Tech

By cutting the marketing middleman, Refereum directly rewards influencers and gamers for promoting and playing video games. Refereum is working with Twitch, a prominent influencer gaming platform, Unity, the world's most used game engine and Ambisafe, which has secured cryptocurrency projects like Tether and Chronobank.

Final word

While it appears to be some pretty cool ideas to get the games back into the hands of the gamers and away from the corporations, which according to Jones, make more and more money and provide less and less of a gaming experience and even less profits with the developers and designers, the general supporters are not in Refereum’s corner and there seems to be a general dislike in the media.

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Patrick Thompson

Craig Wright Who Claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto has Been Sued for 10 Billion

Craig Wright – the man who claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2015 and even provided evidence for the claim – has been sued for over $10 billion.
Craig Wright Who Claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto has Been Sued for 10 Billion

Dr. Craig Wright – the man who claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto – has found himself in the crosshairs of a lawsuit worth over $10 bln. Ira Kleiman has filed a lawsuit on behalf of his late brother Dave Kleiman against Wright. A 2015 report from Gizmodo stated that the documents Gizmodo had gathered on Dave Kleiman included a draft of a contract created in 2011 in which Wright entrusts 1.1 mln Bitcoin to Kleiman, however, the contract stated that the money was to be returned to Wright sometime in the future.

However, Ira Kleiman is arguing that the terms of the contract have been manipulated. Kleiman argues that Wright forged Dave Kleiman’s signature and backdated the contracts between Kleiman and Wright so that Wright could deceptively obtain access to the 1.1 million Bitcoin that are now worth $11,440,000,000. In addition to the complaint filed for forging the contracts, Kleiman claims that Wright also infringed upon Dave Kleiman’s intellectual property associated with Bitcoin.

It is no secret that both Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman were early developers on the Bitcoin Project, however, it is not clear whose intellectual property is placed where in regards to the Bitcoin project. Gizmodo reports obtaining an email from Craig Wright to Dave Kleiman in which Wright requests Kleiman’s assistance editing a paper for a new currency wright was creating,

I need your help editing a paper I am going to release later this year. I have been working on a new form of electronic money. Bit cash, Bitcoin... You are always there for me Dave. I want you to be a part of it all.

Evidence like the dialogue above provided a reason for the crypto community to believe that Craig Wright was Satoshi Nakamoto. As early as December 2015 there were claims that Wright was actually Satoshi. Gavin Andresen - an early Lead Developer of Bitcoin and one of the founders of the Bitcoin Foundation –  even provided support for the claim that Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. Andresen says that in a private meeting with Wright in London, Wright signed a message to Gavin with a private key from the first block ever mined on the Bitcoin network – a task that only Nakamoto himself would be able to do since Nakamoto should be the only one to possess this private key. However, this feat caused some to claim the whole ordeal was a hoax. Individuals stated that the task that Wright pulled off with the private keys does not prove anything. The negative pushback to the claim that Wright was Nakamoto caused Wright to eventually give up trying to prove the claim. On may 16, 2016, Wright posted on his website,

I believed that I could do this. I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I cannot. When the rumors began, my qualifications and character were attacked. When those allegations were proven false, new allegations have already begun. I know now that I am not strong enough for this. I know that this weakness will cause great damage to those that have supported me, and particularly to Jon Matonis and Gavin Andresen. I can only hope that their honor and credibility is not irreparably tainted by my actions. They were not deceived, but I know that the world will never believe that now. I can only say I’m sorry. And goodbye

Since then, Wright has given up trying to proof that he is Nakamoto. When Wright was questioned about the lawsuit by twitter user BrianGamblin, Wright replied that his prosecutors were doing this out of greed.

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🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Past ICO Review: Crystal Ball Cloudy For Gnosis

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

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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NEO vs Ethereum - What’s Different, What is the Same?

📚 Wikicoin
Investors are now studying the differences between NEO and Ethereum as they now fit the high-profile altcoin description.
NEO vs Ethereum - What’s Different, What is the Same?

 

According to Wikipedia, there are over 1,565 cryptocurrencies in the market. Several other platforms report higher figures and this estimation is tipped to increase in the coming years. However, among the multitude of coins lining up behind Bitcoin, hoping to usurp the coin with the largest market capitalization, some stand out.

Two cryptocurrencies currently making waves in the industry are NEO and Ethereum. These coins are extremely promising and this can be attributed to several reasons. There’s no doubt about the similarities of these currencies- they both operate on the blockchain network, they are both decentralized, and they both show promise in terms of adoption.

However, the differences are less obvious. That’s the reason for this piece. You should be equipped with the knowledge of how both currencies operate, the aim of the organization, the technology available at their disposal, the functional nuances, etc.

Where do we start? Let’s go to the very beginning.

About Ethereum

Ethereum is basically a decentralized platform which has the ability to execute smart contracts. These smart contracts are applications which, when programmed, eliminate any need for third-party interference, thereby mitigating fraud, downtime, or censorship issues. This is, perhaps, the reason for Ethereum’s protracted application in the financial industry.

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About NEO

You must’ve heard of phrases like “The Ethereum of the East” or “Chinese Ethereum.” Well, this is a close call and you might be able to judge better after this piece. NEO is a community-based Blockchain project which employs the digital identity of assets to automate the management of these assets. NEO also relies on the concept of smart contracts to achieve its goal of a smart economy.

Shared Similarities- NEO vs Ethereum

At a glance, the definition gives us a lot to work with. Let’s delineate them.

  1. Both NEO and Ethereum are Blockchain platforms which underpin concepts like smart contracts, ICOs, and DApps.

  2. They both offer crypto tokens (Ether for Ethereum and GAS for NEO) which are required before utilizing the platform.

  3. They are both open-source with an impressive database of enthusiastic backers.

Enough of the similarities. Does this mean that they work the same way and that one company lazily copied the hard work of the other? No! Let’s observe some of the inherent differences below.

Ethereum vs NEO- Scalability

When it comes to cryptocurrencies, the issue of scalability is non-negotiable. This is what determines whether or not investors judge the token valuable. The technology which underpins both NEO and Ethereum, as a result, should be discussed and this will lead us to consider the consensus mechanism.

In this argument of NEO vs Ethereum, there are three factors which will contribute to the scalability and these factors are:

  1. The speed of the transaction

  2. The cost of the transaction

  3. The capacity of the network

NEO vs Ethereum- consensus mechanism

The concept of cryptocurrencies being decentralized and peer to peer means that there’s an underlying technology which determines how the transactions are affected. Ideally, a transaction on the Blockchain network is verified when a group of people agree (reach a consensus) that it is valid. This is usually achieved by solving complex computational problems using systems with high computing power.

NEO employs a Byzantine Fault Tolerant system (dBFT) for its consensus while Ethereum uses a Proof-of-Work mechanism for transactions. NEO’s dBFT can be likened to an improved Proof-of-Stake mechanism and this gives it an edge when it comes to the scalability of both currencies. This is because the PoS system is more efficient and secure compared to Ethereum’s PoW.

The founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, also recently hinted at an upgrade which might drastically enhance the scalability of Ethereum. This will be made possible by a concept known as Sharding. Sharding is such that, instead of all network participants validating each transaction, only a select few will be saddled with this responsibility. It will cause transactions to be validated simultaneously and this will cause room for growth.

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NEO vs Ethereum- the technology

Ethereum is quite popular and the platform has enjoyed a decent level of adoption by tech enthusiasts around the world. One feature that makes Ethereum impressive is the fact that it can facilitate about 15 transactions per second. NEO, on the other hand, has the potential to handle about 10,000 transactions in one second.

Ethereum vs NEO- the underlying support

One major factor limiting the widespread use of cryptocurrency is the fact that there’s no regulation and the government isn’t in favor of it. However, NEO isn’t a victim of this problem. In fact, the support provided by the Chinese government is a major factor which has propelled the growth of the currency.

Since its inception, it has garnered the support of several other popular tech giants such as Alibaba, WINGS, etc. Without a doubt, these factors played a major role in increasing NEO’s popularity, causing it to become China’s pioneer open-source public Blockchain project.

Although Ethereum lacks this sort of backing by the government or any other similar giant, it is underpinned by the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. This enterprise connects a plethora of individuals and organizations with sound Ethereum experts to learn and build the Ethereum system. Those who are part of this vision include founders of startups, academics, tech enthusiasts, Fortune 500 companies, etc.

NEO vs Ethereum- the team

Vitalik Buterin has become a household name in the crypto sphere and there’s hardly anyone who isn’t impressed by the 24-year-old’s accomplishment. Since 2015 when Ethereum was launched, Vitalik and his team went on to become one of the most vocal groups about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in general.

In comparison, Da Hongfei, the founder of NEO, is probably not as popular as Vitalik. However, this is not to say that he lacks experience in this area. Way back in 2014, he founded a company whose aim was to build decentralized apps. This company, initially known as AntShares, rebranded and became NEO in 2017. Hongfei also has a Blockchain research and development company known as Onchain.

Conclusion

In 2017, Ethereum’s price increased from $9 to $1,389- a 17,000 percent increase in just a year. Before you judge based on this fact, let’s consider NEO which grew from $0.16 to $162 in the same space- an astounding 111,400 percent increase! Although the market capitalization tells a different story, Ethereum’s $68 bln to NEO’s $5 bln.

Ethereum vs NEO is such that there’s no clear-cut winner, at least not yet. Some pundits claim that it’s still too early to start a comparison of this nature. Others posit that there’s a clear winner already. However, the future has a lot to tell and we can only wait and watch.

Wikicoin
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US Cryptocurrency Tax Guide 2018: Unchained’s Laura Shin’s Tips

Between you and the IRS: Tax rules US-based cryptocurrency users should know
US Cryptocurrency Tax Guide 2018: Unchained’s Laura Shin’s Tips

Tax reporting season is coming up in the US, and we would like to share the highlights from a January episode of podcast Unchained, in which host Laura Shin had a conversation with tax attorney Tyson Cross and CPA Jason Tyra about tax rules crypto owners in the US should pay attention to. You can check out the original podcast here.

1. Every single sell of virtual currency is a taxable event

That includes not only cashing out cryptocurrency for fiat but also buying a cup of coffee, exchange one type of virtual currency for another.

Under IRS rules, cryptocurrencies are categorized as properties. When they are sold, the seller is subject to capital tax gains. When they are sold at a loss, the seller can claim losses.

2. Taxpayers are responsible for keeping track of crypto transactions

Taxpayers are advised to keep a spreadsheet of their own to record the date of a transaction, the buying price, the currency. Transaction fees are treated as deductions.

In terms of matching buys and sales or determining the cost basis, the IRS hasn’t issued guidelines, so the taxpayer can do either first in first out, last in first out, or cherry-pick.

However, cherry-picking will be very time consuming and may result in mistakes, Cross and Tyra warned. Both experts used first in first out with their clients, while also acknowledging that the practice doesn’t result in the least taxes in a rising rate environment.

Some exchanges keep records for their users, but they cannot keep track of the buying price of the assets if the user transferred the currencies from another exchange or from their wallet, and sometimes the way exchanges characterize transactions can be misleading.

The cost basis may not be right when users transfer crypto from other sources. Non-US exchanges may have different terminology. Decentralized exchanges may not keep records for users at all.

Since every sell is a taxable event, trading cryptos just for fun is probably not a good idea.

https://bitcoin.tax/ and https://cointracking.info/ are two popular tools for the purpose of reporting taxes on crypto. Cross hasn’t used them, and Tyra said his clients use them and they worked well.

When a taxpayer acquires cryptocurrencies through hard fork, the experts recommended the cost basis to start at zero. Better IRS guidance on the matter is needed, Cross said.

3.  Claiming transactions to like-kind exchanges may delay paying taxes, but the IRS can challenge that.

IRS section 1031 rules that taxpayer can postpone paying tax on the gain if he/she reinvests the proceeds in similar property as part of a qualifying like-kind exchange. Since cryptocurrency is a new asset class, the IRS has no rules on determining like-kind exchanges on crypto.

That means that the IRS may challenge the claim, and the taxpayer will either have to pay up or face a potential lawsuit. The new tax code’s like-kind exchange only applies to real estate, but the taxpayer can consider the option if their crypto was sold before the rule changed.

Even if the taxpayer doesn’t have to be taxed for it, in the end, one still needs to report it at form 8824.

4. Selling at a loss and then buying back can be a way to avoid tax...until it can’t be.

Such a practice is called wash sales in security terms, and the IRS has a rule against wash sales- the IRS cannot recognize a loss on an investment if that investment was purchased within 30 days of sale (before or after sale).

For now, this rule doesn’t apply to cryptocurrencies because they are not securities, but taxpayers need to beware of economic substance doctrine, which means that any trade having no substance other than tax benefits is deemed invalid.

5. If you are a Coinbase user

IRS has requested all transactions records for customers who have transacted in amounts larger than $14,000. If you fit this criterion, you should consult with a tax advisor to determine whether you are at risk of civil and criminal penalties due to unreported income, wrote Cross in an email to Unchained.

For a more detailed explanation on tax policy as well as insights on various scenarios like payroll and mining, please refer to the original podcast.

Disclaimer: this article is only a general guidance based on research. It’s not legal or accounting advice. Please refer to a lawyer or accountant for guidance to your specific needs. 

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Basic Attention Token Fails to Get Full Attention: Past-ICO Review

👁 ICO Watch
Basic Attention Token garners just that, basic attention as it fails to follow through on technological developments
Basic Attention Token Fails to Get Full Attention: Past-ICO Review

May I have your attention, please! That worked, didn’t it? Are you still reading? Good. Then you might want to hear a bit more about how Basic Attention Token (BAT) would like to disrupt the traditional advertising market.

However, has not nearly captured, forgive the pun, it’s just too easy, the attention of the market to do so. Before we get into the technical aspects, let’s have a look at the books. Now, this next section should have your full attention, because it is about money.

!Attention! Financials

BAT had its ICO on May 31, 2017 which lasted for one day brought in $36 mln in funding. The must have gotten some people’s attention to raise that kind of money.

The token debuted at $0.36 and one year later is at $0.28 a loss of 22 percent, ouch! It seems it lost almost a quarter of the initial attention it had received; the excitement dwindles away.

BAT has one bln tokens in circulation with a maximum of 1.5 bln, and there is 500 mln currently uncirculated. It is also an ERC20 token based on the Ethereum Blockchain. It is ranked 58 by Coinmarketcap.    

At this point, 25 percent of you stop reading

But I hope you will continue as I hope this next bit gets your attention, it sure did for the middlemen that are to be cut out of the advertising cycle of BAT gets its way.

It won’t, however, so don’t worry. What it would like to do is create an ecosystem on the Internet where users and publishers can reward each other for either looking at advertising or supporting quality content.

The system is essentially three parties: advertisers, publishers, and users who can directly affect each other based on advertising or content.

Users can block ads or they could get paid in BAT to view ads by publishers or advertisers. In turn, the users could reward the publishers with BAT for quality content.

According to the website: “Digital advertising is overrun by middlemen, trackers and frauds.” The site goes on to list why the publishing industry is dying with the following points.  

  • Google and Facebook take 73 percent of all ad dollars and 99 percent of all growth.

  • Revenue is recently down 66 percent.

  • Bots inflicted $7.2 bln in fraud last year.

  • Over 600 mln phones and desktops run ad-blocking.

  • Publishers cannot seamlessly monetize value-added services.

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They have some points, but they have some flaws

Sure, publishers suffer a lot in the wake of the digitization and automation of their trade, but creating a limited ecosystem, where users have the option to block out all the ads is not going to help.

Even still rewarding them with tokens is not going to be the answer either. If getting likes on Facebook and Instagram is hard, imagine how much harder it is going to be if you want someone to pay for your content or in this case give a “tip” for great content.

In reality, it is just not going to be as good as it sounds on paper.

Then there are the technical problems, too. As part of the system, you need to use Brave Browser, a lot of people are not so easily swayed to switch browsers, especially if it is not one they heard of. Does anyone remember Opera? I used it for about a week before going back to Chrome. If they want to succeed, then they need to be able to operate plugins.

You had my attention at… but lost it quickly thereafter

It is a really well-meaning idea, but it only works on paper, sadly. I think we are going to see BAT fall into competition with other coins that do similar things and other advanced ad blockers out there that block ads, delete cookies and, and keep prying eyes out of your browser.

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