ICOs Produce Slow Start to 2019

ICOs Produce Slow Start to 2019
   

During the first two weeks of 2019,

initial coin offerings (ICOs) raised roughly $90 million, according to data published by Icobench. Of the total funds raised this year so far, $80.2 million can be attributed to the Chelle Coin ICO.

Slow Start to 2019 for Initial Coin Offerings

47 ICOs launched during the first week of January, bringing the total number of ongoing initial coin offerings to 424. Despite the large number of ongoing ICOs, only $6 million was collectively raised between Jan. 1 and Jan. 7, comprising the smallest combined weekly total raised by ICOs since 2017. During the second week of January, the total raised by initial coin offerings jumped substantially after Chelle Coin, an ICO for an “investment platform backed by performing North American True Estate,” generated $80.2 million from Canadian investors. Excluding Chelle Coin, the combined total raised by ICOs between Jan. 7 and Jan. 15 was $3 million.

ICOs Post Steep Decline in Fundraising During Second Half of 2018

The slow start to 2019 follows a significant decline in the average performance of initial coin offerings during the final six months of 2018. After averaging a monthly total of $1.45 billion collectively during the first half of 2018, the combined monthly average raise by ICOs fell by 65 percent to just $500 million in the second half of the year. Additionally, the combined total raised by initial coin offerings fell short of 2017’s monthly average of roughly $850 million for the entire second half of last year.

The average sum raised by each individual ICO also fell by more than 50 percent year-over-year, dropping from $24.4 million in 2017 to nearly $11 million in 2018. Despite the decline in the average performance of ICOs, the collective total raised by ICOs increased last year, with 413 offerings raising $10.06 billion in 2017 versus 1,012 offerings raising $11.59 billion in 2018.

Singapore Comprises Leading Nation for ICO Fundraising During 2018

Nearly $1.54 billion was raised by Singapore-based ICOs during last year, equating to 13 percent of the fundraising total. The total was raised from 275 offerings, making Singapore the second most popular destination for ICO issuers. While the United States hosted the largest number of ICOs during 2018, the 288 U.S.-based offerings accounted for $1.22 billion in raised funds last year, or 11 percent of the global total. The United Kingdom ranked third by collective total raised and number of ICOs, with 222 offerings generating $945 million.

The Cayman Islands hosted the fourth largest total raised by the ninth largest number of offerings, with $917 million raised by just 56 offerings. Switzerland ranked fifth by combined fundraising and number of ICOs, hosting 136 offerings that generated $845 million. These five countries accounted for 47 percent of the combined global sum raised by ICOs in 2018.

Article Produced By
Samuel Haig

Samuel Haig is a journalist who has been completely obsessed with bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012. Samuel lives in Tasmania, Australia, where he attended the University of Tasmania and majored in Political Science, and Journalism, Media & Communications. Samuel has written about the dialectics of decentralization, and is also a musician and kangaroo riding enthusiast.

https://news.bitcoin.com/icos-slow-start-2019/

Litecoin LTC clear the FUD surrounding Github commits Pushing for the Next Stage of its Evolution

Litecoin [LTC] clear the FUD surrounding Github commits, Pushing for the Next Stage of its Evolution

   Litecoin

Currently down over 90 percent from its ATH,
Litecoin is focusing on the mainstream adoption, brand build-up, and Lightning Network with a progressive year ahead.

Litecoin working on Developments & Making it More Well-known

Earlier this month, Litecoin had shared that they are looking for a good year ahead with a lot of developments in the pipeline. In the latest blog by the community manager of Litecoin Foundation,

Ilir Gashi reiterated,

“Things to look out for are the Litecoin Core v0.17 which reduces network transaction fees by 10x; as well as private transactions onto the Litecoin blockchain; as well as the growing adoption of the Lightning Network and Atomic Swaps.”

The blog to the main part has been to counter the FUD surrounding Github commits activity indicating Litecoin’s developments is becoming more inactive, which he says is untrue. Going deep into the matter, he shared that Litecoin is in fact regularly committing on Github, however, these activities in no way means development as it does not capture the entire code construction from start to finish. Also, being an open source platform means different developers and projects get to collaboratively work together, hence Litecoin doesn’t need to constantly strive to make new innovations to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.  

As has been emphasized on numerous occasions,

“Litecoin aims to provide a cryptocurrency that compliments Bitcoin’s store of value proposition as well as differentiating itself as an efficient and effective financial payment solution to anyone everywhere around the world.”

The 8th largest cryptocurrency has been pushing for mainstream adoption with different partnerships and is currently working on Lightning Network where it is constantly growing, now reaching 122 nodes, with 490 channels and around 56.14 LTC ($1,772.23) network capacity. Recently, Litecoin Foundation announced sponsorship of the UFC event that earned it some good stats on Twitter which according to Litecoin creator

Charles Lee has been about building the brand,

“So it kind of wanted like build that brand and make it more well-known and it’s really kind of helped a lot. I mean we’ve reached a lot of people, [they’ve] have reached out to us, talked about like coin just because if they heard about the UFC sponsorship yeah. I think it’s pretty cool, plus that the fight was pretty amazing.”

Also, not to forget UFC announcer, Bruce Buffer’s “take control of your money and pay with Litecoin!” On the price front, while being down over 91 percent from its all-time high, Litecoin is currently trading at $31.16 with 24-hours loss of 1.07 percent.

Article Produced By
Anjali Tyagi

Having a background in writing, I worked on a wide array of industry topics and have recently entered the world of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.

https://coingape.com/litecoin-clear-fud-guthub-commits/

Expert Opinion: Crypto Goes Hollywood While Wyoming Moves To Bitcoin And Blockchain

Expert Opinion: Crypto Goes Hollywood While Wyoming Moves To Bitcoin And Blockchain

  

“This analysis is an adaptation from the work of Mati Greenspan,
Senior Market Analyst at eToro”

Key Highlights:

  • Hollywood shows interest in Cryptos
  • Wyoming introduces a new bill for bitcoin and blockchain
  • The state defines crypto assets the way Swiss Regulator does

Hollywood’s love for cryptos

Well, Hollywood has been successful in picking up real-life trends and portraying them on reel taking it to a wider audience making it more prominent, dramatic and enjoyable. While other themes are being played out on the screens, cryptos too have caught some prominent eyeballs.

At a Bitcoin conference in Miami, Kevin Connolly who plays Eric Murphy in Entourage made a surprise appearance on stage and announced that he’s developing a new show called “Cryptos.” What’s even more interesting is that the producers of the show, Sords, and King, who are both big blockchain advocates, seem to have modeled the plot after their own aspirations to take on Hollywood by using decentralized ledger technologies.  Although these ideas have been taken lightly and currently social media is full of their memes, this kind of show on Netflix or Amazon Prime can do wonders for mainstream awareness of crypto assets and their power to disrupt centralized industries taking it to the common man.

Wyoming moves to cryptos

Even though there are only about half a million people living in Wyoming the square state is quickly becoming a leader of bitcoin and blockchain legislation. Senator(s) Nethercott, Driskill, Perkins, and Rothfuss and Representative(s) Harshman, Lindholm, Loucks, Olsen, and Wilson have put forward a new bill which clarifies the status of bitcoin and other crypto assets in the state. The bill highlights, of course, is that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be given the same legal status as money.  The state has also clarified the definitions of crypto assets, very similar to the way the Swiss regulator Finma has almost exactly a year ago and divided them into three categories: Currencies, Securities, and Digital Assets (Utility Tokens). At this point, though the news is exciting the effects are rather limited.

Wyoming is a small state and it’s still not clear how the federal government will react to this. Certainly, if other states follow in their footsteps this can turn into something bigger but we’re still very much in the early stages of the game. Nevertheless, this small step is a huge win for bitcoin and blockchain as it sets a great example of supportive legislation for the entire country and the entire world.

Article Produced By
Mati Greenspan

Mati Greenspan is the Senior Market Analyst at eToro, a global social trading and investment platform. Mati is a licensed portfolio manager in the European Union and his main focus is on macroeconomic analysis, portfolio diversification and cryptocurrencies.

https://coingape.com/expert-opinion-crypto-goes-hollywood-while-wyoming-moves-to-bitcoin-and-blockchain/

MIT Professor: Blockchain Can Allow for More Inclusive Borderless EconomyICOs Raised 160 Million in First Half of January Report Says

MIT Professor: Blockchain Can Allow for More Inclusive, Borderless Economy

  

Blockchain can allow for the creation of a borderless economy,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Silvio Micali claimed in a interview on Bloomberg’s Daybreak Asia, Jan. 21. Speaking on the show, Micali outlined three major properties of blockchain systems that must function simultaneously to enable a more inclusive and borderless economy — security, decentralization and scalability. According to MIT’s Ford Professor of Engineering, until recently, only two of those three basic properties could have been achieved simultaneously at any time.

When asked about scalability in particular, Micali stressed that a decentralized system really needs superior technology to provide the same level of participation and confidence that is enjoyed by centralized systems. When asked about security breaches in blockchain systems, Micali stated that centralized systems are far more vulnerable to hacking attempts, pointing to the frequency of security and privacy breaches that repeatedly take place among centralized institution of various sorts. The professor expressed optimism about blockchain in terms of security, noting the level of security built into the concept of

a trustless system:

“Only a true decentralized system, where the power is really so spread that is going to be essentially practically impossible to attack them all and when you don’t need to trust this or that particular node, is going to bring actually the security we really need and deserve.”

Recently, a group of major United States universities, including MIT, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, announced the launch of Unit-e, a cryptocurrency project touted as a “globally scalable decentralized payments network.” Earlier in January, MIT Technology Review issued an article claiming that 2019 will become the year when blockchain technology finally becomes normalized.

Article Produced By
Helen Partz

Helen is passionate about learning languages, cultures and the Internet. She has years of experience working at international online advertising projects. Growing interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in late 2017, she joined Cointelegraph as a writer.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/71-million-user-volunteer-platform-to-launch-blockchain-based-dapp

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ICOs Raised $160 Million in First Half of January, Report Says

  

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) completed

in the first half of January have raised around $160 million. The figure was provided in a report by ICO rating service ICObench shared with Cointelegraph on Jan. 18. ICOs completed by Jan. 15 have managed to raise about 33 percent of the combined amount raised in the previous month of December. Half of that sum was secured by just one project, the report notes. According to ICObench, the number of fundraisers that are set to take place in January is more than 150, a figure similar to the past seven months, excluding December.

In January, the combined hard cap — the maximum amount of money that a project can secure from investors during an ICO — amounts to more than $4 billion. As per the report, three fundraisers out of the five largest this month have reached or almost reached their hard caps. ICObench also reported that the number of ICO listings has continued to decline in January, suggesting that the phenomenon is losing its popularity. In terms of amount of funds raised, Canada has been leading during the first half of the month, with a combined figure of $80 million. However, when it comes to the actual number of projects, the United States ranked first.

ICO statistics by country in the first half of January 2019.

On Jan. 16, major crypto exchange BitMEX released a report claiming that ICO teams have lost 54 percent of value of the initial $24 billion worth of tokens allocated to themselves due to the decline in coin prices.

Article Produced By
Helen Partz

Helen is passionate about learning languages, cultures and the Internet. She has years of experience working at international online advertising projects. Growing interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in late 2017, she joined Cointelegraph as a writer.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/icos-raised-160-million-in-first-half-of-january-report-says

Forget Skype hang up on Hangouts Beam your 3D avatar into AR space instead

Forget Skype, hang up on Hangouts. Beam your 3D avatar into AR space instead

Step into Spatial, a new 3D augmented-reality technology that promises to unleash remote collaboration from the screen and bring it into the room.

Imagine you’re in an office with colleagues,

brainstorming about the next conference you’re hosting. “How about Vancouver?” you ask. Your voice activates, as if by magic, a transparent browser window on a wall, listing the results of a search on “Vancouver.” “I don’t think so,” says your colleague from across the table. She calls up another search and more windows appear in the air, this time with information on London venues. She reaches out and picks one with a pinching motion, then flicks it down onto the table in front of you. Your 3D holographic avatars?—?because you’re working from different cities?—?look at each other and nod in agreement.

This is Spatial?—?a software platform that lets collaborators beam in from anywhere in the world to collaborate in a single 3D augmented reality space. Think Hangouts with all participants physically free to move around, while playing with the cool Minority Report gesture-based interface?—?except it, too, has escaped the 2D screen.

Created by TED Fellow and interface designer Jinha Lee and his colleague (and TED speaker) Anand Agarawala, Spatial runs on AR headsets to let users collaborate, search, brainstorm and share content in a virtual AR space. While the technology is now being piloted as an enterprise tool by the likes of Ford Motor Company, Lee reckons that the rest of us will be hanging out together in virtual 3D spaces within a few years. We asked him to tell us more.

What does Spatial do?

Spatial transforms any space you have into a 3D collaborative virtual workspace, allowing people who are to join from anywhere. Participants put on AR glasses like Microsoft HoloLens, then run Spatial to invite remote participants. Everyone is represented to each other in the AR space as a 3D avatar, and works together as if they’re sitting with each other, face to face.

Once participants have teleported into Spatial, they can use the entire 3D space around them to visualize and immerse themselves in any topic. You can pull up objects and, grabbing them with a pinching gesture, throw them out anywhere into the “room”?—?whether they’re documents, photos, browser windows, 3D models. You can write a sticky note, for example, and send it out from your phone onto a wall or a desk. It can even just hang in the air. Participants can move freely around these virtual objects, which stay put in the virtual space. Everyone in the session can see the process as it happens, and can then interact with your objects as they wish. All this lets you brainstorm in a group setting very quickly. The content is saved so that it can be reloaded later. Some might call it Slack for 3D space.

Can you give an example of how it might work?

Spatial allows people working in any industry or creative endeavor to quickly externalize thoughts, making them into objects that other people can see and interact with. Let’s say I want to host a discussion of a new office design. My collaborator, who’s joining me as a 3D avatar, shares his sketches from his laptop, and organizes them on the wall we’ve mapped out in our virtual space?—?a common point of reference. I can lift up my fingers and say, “Boutique design.” As the words pop out of my mouth, inspirational images and 3D models of boutique interior designs appear before our eyes. Other participants can leave sticky notes on selected images, or grab those images and move them into piles, or even toss them across the room to you. Biomedical companies can invite experts from all around the globe to a room filled with patients’ medical charts and X-rays, for example. Artists can mock up an exhibition; filmmakers can storyboard. Engineers can review and simulate their data models together, and so on.

Say I’m here in Cambridge, and you’re in New York. If I host the call, does that mean you will see my space in Cambridge?

I won’t actually see your real-life space. You’d scan a big wall or table as a point of reference, and then when I teleport into your AR room, I’d see your virtual wall, and it’d be matched to mine, so we’d be looking at the same “wall.” It doesn’t have to be wall-centric, though. Tables or even the full 3D VR space can be used as a point of reference. We envision that in the future, we will be able to see each other’s real-life spaces, too, as the hardware evolves.Above, a demonstration of how Spatial works and what it looks like from within the augmented reality program.

We already meet virtually using video chat apps like Hangouts, Skype and even Facebook Messenger. Why not just keep using these tools for long-distance communication?

Those applications are fine for one-to-one exchange of information, but they’re still not great for creating information interactively, especially in groups. For instance, two people can get on a Skype chat and simultaneously work on a Google doc in another window, but this breaks down when there are more people, or if there’s more complex work to do than taking notes or editing a document.

Meanwhile, a larger group can meet virtually using Hangouts, but those conversations only allow one person at a time to dominate the conversation, while the others sit passively. Real interactivity is very limited in either scenario. Spatial creates a virtual environment that allows for more active group interaction.Participants who don’t have AR headsets can still participate in Spatial meetings, represented in the AR space as a floating webcam window.

How does Spatial generate such realistic-looking 3D avatars?

Spatial automatically generates a holographic version of you. You just connect and link your Facebook, where Spatial picks up a photograph of your face, and generates a static 3D shape from the 2D image using machine-learning APIs. Then it animates the avatar with realistic movement based on your gestures, eye blinks and voice. Combined with Spatial Audio, this gives a compelling presence of each user.

Does Spatial work if you don’t have AR goggles?

Yes. We have a web app, so even if you don’t have a headset, you can still join in with your computer or phone browser. What you get is kind of like a first-person-shooter, 3D-game style scene on your browser, with little people walking and talking in your window. From the perspective of the other participants, you’ll be represented as a floating webcam. You can still navigate and upload content. We believe that in the near future, the majority of people will work with AR goggles, but until we get there, we’d like to allow people without headsets to participate in Spatial meetings, too.

Before Spatial, Jinha Lee developed SpaceTop, a 3D computing interface that allowed users to virtually reach inside the screen to type, draw and directly manipulate interfaces that appeared to float in 3D space above the keyboard. Growing up as a child in love with arts and crafts, I enjoyed building and expressing my ideas using my hands. When I first learned to use the computer, I remember feeling extremely frustrated that 2D screens and mouse cursors?—?essentially a small dot?—?were all I could use to navigate. I thought there was a far more potential in human-computer symbiosis, which can only be realized by increasing the communication bandwidth between the two.

During my time at MIT and Microsoft, I began to develop 3D interfaces like SpaceTop using transparent screens and Kinect cameras. Then, at Samsung, I created MediaSquare, a user interface that allows multiple people to easily toss content onto big screens with their individual devices, turning TVs into a social hub for the living room. Throughout these projects, I was essentially trying to address the question “What would people would do when computing is liberated from screens and lives in 3D space surrounding us?” However, I emulated such immersive environments using the screen-based technologies that happened to be available at the time.

One of Jinha Lee’s former projects, MediaSquare, allowed multiple users to share and manipulate content simultaneously on a single big screen via their personal devices. This represented a step towards his vision of collective screen-free computing but was still confined to a screen.Then, when I saw the HoloLens in 2015, which was then still very new, I realized that fully immersive 3D computing environments might not be so far away after all. Along the way, I met Spatial’s co-founder Anand Agarawala. Anand has been a pioneer in the user-interface space, having created BumpTop?—?a multitouch and physics-based 3D user interface. We shared our vision that computing should live in 3D space, decided that now would be a good time to bring this vision into reality. We founded Spatial at the end of 2016.

Do you think this is the future of computing?

Yes. I believe that phones and computers will be replaced with 3D AR user interfaces in the near future. Eventually this will happen on the street, but we’ll see this transition first at the workplace. That’s why we’re focusing on enterprise applications to start with. Companies in a variety of industries?—?manufacturing, biomedical, design, e-commerce?—?are currently piloting Spatial as a solution for connecting their global workforce.

It will be interesting to see what happens when AR computing becomes the norm, freeing technology from screens. In the past ten years, computing has evolved to become increasingly personal and intimate: we actually carry individual worlds in our pockets. It’s been very successful, but I think there’s big potential for connecting multiple minds from different spaces and allowing them to collaborate seamlessly and fluently. Essentially, Spatial is designing a transition from the era of personal computing to collective computing.

Article Produced By
Karen Frances

organic unidirectional time machine

https://fellowsblog.ted.com/ready-to-liberate-computing-from-the-screen-beam-it-into-ar-space-90bfdfc8d820?gi=7ade695e5074

What’s Difference Between ICO Tokens and Cryptocurrency Coins?

What’s Difference Between ICO Tokens and Cryptocurrency Coins?

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are becoming

increasingly more mainstream every day, but the terminology that surrounds them can be confusing even to seasoned crypto veterans, let alone newcomers.Interested in investing in Bitcoins or other Altcoins? Here’s how we buy Bitcoin and Ethers. You will receive $10 of FREE BITCOIN when you buy or sell over $100 worth of any digital currency.

A lot has changed since an unknown person or group of people under the name Satoshi Nakamoto released Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency in the world, in 2009. According to CoinMarketCap, there are now almost 1,500 cryptocurrencies, the total market capitalization of the entire crypto market is over $700 billion, and the daily trading volume exceeds $30 billion on a regular basis. To understand how we got to where we are today, and what the difference between ICO tokens and cryptocurrency coins is, we need to start with the basics.

What Is a Cryptocurrency?

The term “cryptocurrency” consists of two words: crypto and currency. Even though you may not be able to define it, you already know what a currency is because you use it almost every day as a medium of exchange for goods and services. Investopedia defines a currency as “a generally accepted form of money, including coins and paper notes, which is issued by a government and circulated within an economy.”

The word “crypto” is short for “cryptography,” which is the practice of using various protocols to secure communication in the presence of third parties. Modern cryptography is synonymous with encryption, the process of encoding information in such a way that only authorized parties can access it. Put together, a cryptocurrency can be defined as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions.

Cryptocurrency Coins and Tokens

While there were other media of exchange that used cryptography to secure transactions before 2009, Bitcoin was the first one to also be decentralized, meaning that it’s not controlled by any single central authority. The decentralized nature of Bitcoin comes from its use of the blockchain technology, which is a distributed public ledger that records bitcoin transactions in a growing list of records, called blocks. Each block of transactions is cryptographically linked to the previous block, making blockchains resistant to data modification.

Because the blockchain technology was such a novel concept when Satoshi Nakamoto implemented it as a core Bitcoin component in 2009, many other cryptocurrencies were soon derived from Bitcoin, including Litecoin, Darkcoin, Quark, Yacoin, Novacoin, or BitBlock, just to name a few. Collectively, these Bitcoin derivatives are sometimes called Bitcoin clones. What they have in common is the fact that they are all derived from Bitcoin and are meant to be used as media of exchange. Apart from cryptocurrency coins that have been derived directly from Bitcoin, there are also so-called altcoins. An altcoin is an alternative blockchain project that exists in addition to Bitcoin and its blockchain.

By far the best-known altcoin is Ethereum, which is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract functionality. Because Ethereum’s purpose isn’t to serve as a means of exchange, it doesn’t issue any cryptocurrency coins. Instead, Ethereum issues value tokens called “ether.” Compared to cryptocurrency coins, tokens offer wider functionality, often being used to access various features of the platform that provides them. In the case of Ethereum, ether is used to pay for transaction fees and computational services on the Ethereum network. But because tokens hold value, they can also be used the same way as single-purpose cryptocurrency coins can: to purchase goods and services.

ICO Tokens

An ICO is “an unregulated means by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture. An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is used by startups to bypass the rigorous and regulated capital-raising process required by venture capitalists or banks,” as explained by Investopedia. During an ICO, tokens are sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, usually Ethereum or Bitcoin.

For example, during its September 2017 token offering, the Filecoin ICO raised over $257 million by selling its FIL tokens in exchange for ether to fund the development of its decentralized network for digital storage through which users can effectively rent out their spare capacity. Most ICO tokens don’t exist on a separate blockchain. Instead, startups take advantage of the blockchain technology to build their own projects and DAPPS (decentralized applications) through smart contracts on Ethereum’s blockchain.

“Think of Ethereum like the Internet and all the DAPPS as websites that run in it. There is something really interesting about these DAPPS, they are all decentralized and not owned by an individual, they are owned by people. The way that happens is usually by a crowd-sale called the ‘ICO.’ Basically, you buy certain tokens of that DAPP in exchange for your ether,” explains Ameer Rosic. The main difference between cryptocurrency coins/tokens and ICO tokens is that disruption on the network that hosts ICO tokens doesn’t affect just the network itself, but also the ICO tokens hosted on it. Bitcoin clones and all other altcoins, on the other hand, are completely independent.

Summary

Cryptocurrency coins are media of exchange that use cryptography to secure transactions. Value tokens are used by blockchain-based projects that don’t strive to serve as digital currency for a multitude of different purposes. For example, the blockchain-based distributed computing platform Ethereum uses its value token, called ether, to compensate participant nodes for computations performed. ICO tokens are issued during a crowd-sale, and they depend on another platform, such as Ethereum. In practice, the terms described in this article are often used haphazardly and interchangeably. So, even if you don’t use the most appropriate term, the chances are that you will be understood without any problems.

Article Produced By
David

https://thedroidguy.com/2018/05/whats-difference-ico-tokens-cryptocurrency-coins-1079421

From Tim Cook to Yuval Harari Disrupting Data Protecting Privacy Building Blockchains and Hacking Humans

From Tim Cook to Yuval Harari – Disrupting Data, Protecting Privacy, Building Blockchains and Hacking Humans

In a recent Time article,

Apple CEO Tim Cook calls for legislation to prevent data breaches and irresponsible collection of user profiles. “I and others are calling on the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation—a landmark package of reforms that protect and empower the consumer.”

In 2018, Cook laid out four principles to guide legislation. The principles presented to a global body of regulators included the right to have data minimized, the right to knowledge of data collected, the right to access data, and the right to collect and delete personal data.Still, he believes that laws alone will not ensure privacy rights are observed. He wants tools that can help protect consumers from the shadow economy where data is sold to data brokers without users’ consent.

Cook explains,

“Meaningful, comprehensive federal privacy legislation should not only aim to put consumers in control of their data, it should also shine a light on actors trafficking in your data behind the scenes. Some state laws are looking to accomplish just that, but right now there is no federal standard protecting Americans from these practices.”

“That’s why we believe the Federal Trade Commission should establish a data-broker clearinghouse, requiring all data brokers to register, enabling consumers to track the transactions that have bundled and sold their data from place to place, and giving users the power to delete their data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all.”  In 2018 Cook championed the same principles blockchain developers are prioritizing: efforts to build transparent, decentralized systems that give users greater control over their digital identities.

While Cook proposes the creation of a centralized body to tackle privacy issues on the internet, blockchain developers are working on decentralized projects to solve many of the same issues. But the approach is fundamentally different. Cook trusts that a new group of people can sort out privacy issues; blockchain developers put more faith in math and machines. They’re building automated systems that can operate in cryptographically secure environments to monitor and enforce agreements and data-access privileges.

Different blockchain technologies, both public and private, offer different solutions for various privacy issues.

You can check "Have I Been Pwned" to see if your data has ever been breached.

Privacy focused internet browser Brave, for example, is designed to protect consumer data. Brave works closely with blockchain identity startup Civic, using its verification services to protect users’ identities. Brave reports that it currently has 5.5 million monthly users that avoid data-harvesting intermediaries.

Projects such as Enigma, Dfinity, Ethereum and Tron are building scalable blockchain solutions to create a decentralized internet. The idea is to rethink how data is moving in and out of vast silos that are controlled by corporations and governments. By giving users control of their data, and not clearinghouses, blockchain developers are potentially averting what author and historian Yuval Harari believes is the most challenging dilemma of our lifetime.

Says Harari,

“There is a lot of talk about hacking computers and emails and bank accounts, but actually we are entering into the era of hacking humans. And I would say, the most important fact anybody who is alive today needs to know about in the 21st century, is that we are becoming hackable animals. This is the most important thing….

“It starts on the surface. And this is what we already see today. It starts by having corporations and governments amass enormous amounts of data about where we go and what we search online and what we buy, and things like that. But this is all surface, and outside: how I behave in the world. The big watershed, the big change will come once it starts penetrating inside, inside your body. Once you can start monitoring and surveilling what’s happening inside your body, inside your brain, then you can really hack human beings. And this – we’re very close to it.”

Harari says an external system can eventually learn to know people better than they know themselves. “It will never know you perfectly. There is nothing perfect in the world. There is no such thing as perfect knowledge. Amazon or the government will never know you 100%. But it doesn’t need to. It just needs to know you better than you know yourself. And this is not very difficult, because most people don’t know themselves very well.”

It could take decades before the first human being is potentially hacked. Until then, the focus remains on securing data and eliminating abuses by profit-driven business models. As people try different methods to solve a common problem, from the creation of more centralized bodies or clearing houses, to the proliferation of decentralized blockchains that are both public and private, several outcomes could emerge. And there is no certain way to predict the future. But one question is becoming strikingly clear and increasingly critical as engineers and entrepreneurs move forward to advance various technologies. Which one should we trust more – man or machine?

Article Produced By
The Daily Hodl Staff

https://dailyhodl.com/2019/01/19/from-tim-cook-to-yuval-harari-disrupting-data-protecting-privacy-building-blockchains-and-hacking-humans/

WordPress Partners with Google News to Launch Open Source Platform for Newsrooms

WordPress Partners with Google News to Launch Open Source Platform for Newsrooms

On January 14, 2019, WordPress announced the launch of Newspack by WordPress,

an Open Source Platform for Newsrooms which will begin operations in mid-2019 with backing from ConsenSys, Civil media and others.

Financial Backing

This new solution is in partnership with Google and the Google News Initiative who contributed $1.2 million to the cause. It is also being backed with financial contributions from The Lenfest Institute for Journalism ($400,000), ConsenSys, the venture studio backing Civil Media ($350,000), and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation ($250,000). According to the statement, another $200,000 from an unnamed fifth source is expected to be given by the end of the month.

Economic Models

The main goal of Newspack is to create source publishing and revenue-platform for news publications. It is widely known in the publishing industry that maintaining an economically viable financial structure for newsrooms isn’t always easy and this new platform helps to bypass that problem. The new platform will also incorporate the best editorial practices from the industry. When Civil first launched their own platform, they spoke about how journalistic integrity is better preserved when the newsrooms are not at a loss for how to sustain themselves financially, and this comes into play here as well.

This sentiment was echoed by Kinsey Wilson, the president of WordPress.com, who said, “Local news organizations are struggling to find sustainable models for journalism — a crisis that has very real implications for democracy. We’re joining with industry leaders to bring technology, publishing and business expertise together in a single platform that can be shared by news organizations across the globe.” The platform will be launched formally in the middle of 2019 and will accept about a dozen news organizations, though there are plans to accept more by 2020.

More Details

Applications from potential charter newsrooms have already opened and close by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. For the developmental period, which will last till 2020, Automattic will fund the project, after which there will be “operating fee’s” of between $1,000 to $2,000 charged per month to participating newsrooms. Requirements for potential participants include a demonstration of either editorial and financial success in the past or a strong business plan, original content being produced and the meeting of the needs of a distinct geographic region or distinct subject area.

Article Produced By
Tokoni Uti

Tokoni Uti is a writer with several years of experience whose work has appeared in the Huffington Post, The Los Angele Free Press, The San Diego Free Press, Genvieve magazine and Blockchain Reporter. She holds a degree in accounting from Bowen University and lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

https://btcmanager.com/wordpress-partners-with-google-news-to-launch-open-source-platform-for-newsrooms/?

The Endgame for LinkedIn Is Coming

The Endgame for LinkedIn Is Coming

After two years, Microsoft still hasn’t delivered on its grand vision for LinkedIn. And it may never do so.

   

Every time this LinkedIn commercial pops up on YouTube

I am reminded of how low the company has fallen to. High school standard slides, accompanied by stock music purchased from Shutterstock.How did a company like this managed to sell itself for US$27 billion?—?at a 50% premium over its last traded share price!Dumb-ass buyer? Nope, it was Microsoft, under Satya Nadella’s leadership as CEO.

Nadella is credited with turning around Microsoft, after Steve Ballmer’s US$7.9 billion mistake buying Nokia back in September 2013. (The money was pretty much written off by Microsoft in July 2015.) But did Nadella make the same mistake with LinkedIn, except it would be 3.4x bigger?A classic case of turning a loser into a winner… for one person.

The only clear winner in the whole deal is Reid Hoffman, the founder and Chairman of LinkedIn. Just four months before the acquisition, LinkedIn’s share price plunged 44% in one day after the company announced a bad quarter and lowered forecasts. Hoffman lost over a billion dollars in his net worth, which was about one third of his wealth then. Fast forward to June 13, 2016, LinkedIn announced a merger deal with Microsoft. The stock price shot up by nearly 50%. Hoffman’s net worth went back up by US$800 million. Four months after the merger was completed Hoffman also joined Microsoft’s Board.

‘Inconsistency’ would be the word

By all measures LinkedIn wasn’t a great company; even though it kept boasting about its user growth. Having hundreds of millions of users is pointless if you can’t effectively monetize it. In fact, it becomes a huge cost to keep the platform running and prevent bad user experience due to capacity issues at scale. LinkedIn’s historical ability to make money for its investors is as choppy as its stock price.

But would it be fair to conclude this without taking into account market conditions? Well, the best comparison to LinkedIn would be Facebook, which was listed almost exactly a year after LinkedIn. Since then its earnings and stock price has steadily trended up, whereas LinkedIn was a constant whip-saw.Was LinkedIn’s turbulent performance bad luck, bad times or bad management?

Where were the problems?

In the aftermath of that 44% stock price plunge, much was written about what LinkedIn’s problems were. History is history, but let’s look at four which are pertinent to our discussion later.

?Jack of all trades.
LinkedIn had?—?and still has?—?multiple branded apps: Job Search, SlideShare, Learning, Recruiter, Sales Navigator and something call ‘Elevate”, which purports to “build your reputation by sharing smart content”. A news and publishing app called Pulse was integrated into the main app in May 2017. The idea of selling relevant services to your user base is good, but not if you can’t do it well.

?Bad at integration and scaling.
LinkedIn acquired many companies to introduce various services, but wasn’t so good at making them work. In July 2014 it acquired Bizo for US$175 million to build a B2B lead generation product. That product was scrapped less than a year later. CEO Jeff Weiner said it took “more resources than anticipated to scale”. In April 2015 LinkedIn made its largest ever acquisition?—?US$1.5 billion for Lynda.com, an online video training provider. In Q1 2016 Weiner again “acknowledged that integrating and scaling Lynda will require greater investments than previously anticipated”.

?Ads were expensive and user-unfriendly.
Natalie Halimi, a marketer with 10 years of experience, wrote about LinkedIn ads back in July 2014. She used the headers “high CPC, poor dashboard, poor analysis” and concluded “ LinkedIn need to reassess their pricing strategy to provide better ROI for advertisers”. I too have tried using LinkedIn Ads and compared them to Facebook, Twitter and Google. I have to say I completely agree with Halimi.

?Overvalued, full stop.
Just before the plunge, LinkedIn shares were trading at 50x forward earnings. Twitter was at 30x, Facebook 34x and Google 21x. It was one of the most expensive stocks in tech. Even after the plunge, analysts felt that LinkedIn should be trading at 30% lower to reflect fair value. But despite knowing all these, Microsoft decided to acquire LinkedIn… at a 50% premium.

Why?Microsoft’s prescription: remedy or mistake? In an internal email to employees after the acquisition was announced, Nadella claimed he wants to create “a vibrant network that brings together a professional’s information in LinkedIn’s public network with the information in Office 365 and Dynamics”. By doing this, he said Microsoft would then be able to detect the project the user was working on and help them connect with “experts” via LinkedIn to assist them with the task or serve them relevant articles in their LinkedIn news feed.

This begs two very important questions.

One, anyone who uses LinkedIn frequently will know profiles are hard to trust these days. Many are fluffy or even completely fake. How would the experts be qualified? Two, digging into users’ projects provokes personal privacy and corporate secrecy issues. Microsoft tracking what their users do in Office 365? Sounds like a class action legal suit to me.

Nobody I know in big corporates or government organizations has gushed to me yet about how LinkedIn has served up great articles or experts for whatever they are working on in Office 365. I doubt that vision is going according to plan.

The irony is more than thick

Irony 1: If Nadella’s strategy to attract even more Office 365 users via integrating LinkedIn works, it may face monopoly lawsuits yet again. When Microsoft introduced Office 365, it was to battle Google’s G Suite which appealed to smaller businesses with its cheaper pricing and cloud-based subscription model.

It is succeeding. According to a 2018 Bitglass survey, Office 365’s global market share has gone up to 56.3% from 7.7% in just four years. G Suite has stayed at about 25% since 2016.

But…

Success in this strategy will just create the same old legal issue Microsoft had always battled?—?MONOPOLY. Irony 2: Why wasn’t it Google that bought LinkedIn instead? Here’s an interesting tidbit: LinkedIn’s employees were actually using G suite?—?the whole bag: Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Hangouts, Docs, Sheets…?—?before the Microsoft acquisition.

So…

Irony 3: Two years after the integration begun, the Microsoft team was still in the process of moving the LinkedIn team over to Office 365. How could Microsoft possibly convert its worldwide enterprise users to a sophisticated combination of Office 365, Dynamics and LinkedIn when it is struggling itself to move the LinkedIn folks over to Office 365?

And so LinkedIn is facing integration problems yet again with big acquisitions, except now the financial burden is on Microsoft…Could Microsoft succeed as the (super generous) white knight? The acquisition was completed in December 2016. It’s been more than two years. How has it been? According to Microsoft the acquisition is a big success. It has managed to grow LinkedIn’s revenue quarter after quarter since. But revenue is all Microsoft ever talks about in its press releases.

Why?

LinkedIn is still operating at a loss for Microsoft due to the large amount of intangible assets it has to write off on the purchase?—?US$7.89 billion to be exact. In FY 2017, LinkedIn brought in US$2.3 billion of revenue for Microsoft. But after amortizing US$866 of intangible assets, Microsoft made an operating loss of US$924 million on LinkedIn. In FY 2018, the situation was the same. Despite LinkedIn’s revenue more than doubling to US$5.3 billion, after amortization of US$1.5 billion Microsoft recorded an operating loss of US$987 million.

The amortization will continue for another 20 years based on Microsoft’s FY 2018 report. Most of the impact will be felt in the first seven years, after which the amount tapers off to about US$107 million per year. But here’s the REAL kicker. Remember the part earlier where Microsoft paid a 50% premium for a company that was hardly making any profits before the acquisition? Well, that means it pretty much bought a company based on conceptual ‘Goodwill’ and not actual value?—?US$16.8 billion worth to be exact.

In layman terms, what this means for Microsoft is, even after the US$7.89 billion has been completely amortized, it is still making a loss of US$16.8 billion on the acquisition. It doesn’t take any more number crunching to realize that Microsoft has a huge task ahead of it to prove the price it paid for LinkedIn was worth it. And I think Microsoft’s shareholders have came to the same conclusion.

Put your money where your mouth is

In October 2018, Microsoft said in a regulatory filing that activity on LinkedIn will be one of six factors which will be used to determine how much performance stocks Nadella and four other top company executives get. Performance stocks accounted for one-third of Nadella’s compensation in FY 2018. The tracking will take place over a 3-year period and the payout will only be given in 2020. At first glance binding Microsoft’s key leadership to the performance of LinkedIn made perfect sense. After all, it was the largest acquisition the company had ever made.

But consider this:

When the acquisition was first announced, Weiner said that Nadella promised him LinkedIn would be operated as a “fully independent entity”. Well, Weiner reports directly to Nadella under the terms of the deal. How independent can your decisions be when your boss’s bonus depends on you now? So it is indeed strange that this compensation scheme was not imposed on Hoffman and Weiner but Nadella and his C-suite instead. Even more strange is why Microsoft’s compensation board weren’t concerned about user activity not translating into actual profits for LinkedIn.

The metric being used is bizarre. Microsoft will count the “number of times logged-in members visit LinkedIn, separated by 30 minutes of inactivity”. So that’s basically how often me and other LinkedIn members open our LinkedIn mobile app or visit its website. How does that translate into LinkedIn being able to make more money? Other than perhaps create the chance to deliver more ad impressions?

But Cost Per Impression (CPM) is already pretty competitive compared to rival platforms according to one study for 2019. It is Cost Per Click (CPC) that is still stubbornly high for LinkedIn.Indeed, there is no transparency as to how LinkedIn’s revenue has grown quarter after quarter since the acquisition. LinkedIn is now reported as a product under Microsoft’s ‘Productivity and Business Processes’ segment with few financial details given. In any case, the pressure is on for Nadella and his team. 2020 is coming soon, and it could be either pay day, or pain day.

Article Produced By
Lance Ng

I write about business, technology, society and people around the world… Investor | Entrepreneur | Thinker…

https://medium.com/@lancengym/the-endgame-for-linkedin-is-coming-31d4a8b2a76

Binance Is Still the Top Exchange and Trans-Fee Mining Exchanges Are Gaining Market Share

Binance Is Still the Top Exchange and Trans-Fee Mining Exchanges Are Gaining Market Share

  
 

 Binance, a pure crypto-to-crypto exchange,
has been found to still be on top of the cryptocurrency exchange market, at a time in which exchanges using the controversial trans-fee mining model have been gaining a bigger piece of the pie. According to CryptoCompare’s December 2018 Exchange Review, Binance has managed to maintain its status as the number one crypto exchange in the ecosystem last month. The document shows that, on average, $664 million worth of cryptocurrencies changed hands on the exchange per day, for a total of $20.5 billion traded in December.

Binance was seemingly also the most visited exchange, after receiving 2.2 million visitors. Its users are currently able to trade 166 cryptos on the platform, on a total of 427 trading pairs. Behind Binance came OKEx, which traded $19.2 billion in December. While Binance, by itself, represented little over 10% of the cryptocurrency exchange market, CryptoCompare also found that exchanges using the controversial trans-fee mining model, which has been described as a “disguised ICO” revenue model, as it reimburses users’ trading fees with tokens.

Trans-Fee Mining Exchanges Gain Market Share

According to the report CoinBene, the number one cryptocurrency exchange using the controversial revenue model, traded $10.4 billion in December, followed by ZBG and EXX, which traded $5.13 billion, and $4.58 billion respectively. In total, trans-fee mining exchanges traded $23.2 billion, equivalent to 12% of the global spot trading volume, up from 7% in October. It has in the past been found that these exchanges have unusually thin order books, and a relatively low amount of traffic, taking into account the total trading volume they have. Thin order books mean these exchanges can see large price swings if their order books face large orders.

Order Book Depth Drops on Top Exchanges

Per CryptoCompare’s report, top cryptocurrency exchanges would have to, on average, face a $2.56 million sell order to see bitcoin’s price crash 10%, a figure that has dropped since November, and is lower on trans-fee mining exchanges.

The report reads:

Bitfinex, Kraken and Bitstamp maintained the most stable markets in December, while exchanges CoinBene, Bitforex, IDAX showed thin markets combined with high volumes.

It adds that on Bitfinex, where an average of $68.5 million were traded in December among its top 5 trading pairs, it would take a $9.5 million order to crash the price 10%, while on CoinBene it would take only a $13,600 order. An analysis of the crypto exchanges’ web traffic showed that these exchanges attracted “significantly lower daily visitors than similarly-sized exchanges.” CoinBene, for example, received 48,000 visitors per day, and traded $10.4 billion in December, while exchanges like Bitfinex and HitBTC with “similar high volumes” attracted over 360,000 visitors.

Article Produced By
Francisco Memoria

News Reporter

Francisco is a cryptocurrency writer who's in love with technology and focuses on helping people see the value digital currencies have. His work has been published in numerous reputable industry publications. Francisco holds various cryptocurrencies

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2019/01/binance-is-still-the-dominant-exchange-and-trans-fee-mining-exchanges-are-gaining-market-share/