Beyond the ICO: Evolution Versus Revolution

Beyond the ICO: Evolution Versus Revolution

               

The ICO model will soon be rendered redundant

by a series of new token offering models focusing on security, transparency, and regulatory compliance. An explosion of token offering innovation is underway, with several new models emerging as prime contenders for the title of the “ICO of the future.” In this three-part series, we’ll assess the current state of the ICO ecosystem, analyze the regulatory shift making the “traditional” ICO model untenable, and take a look beyond the ICO at the future of decentralized capital generation.

In our previous Beyond the ICO article, we examined the ICO market and regulatory response to the ongoing issue of ICO fraud. Regulators are playing a critical role in the creation of a new token offering model that allows innovative startups to access capital in a decentralized manner, but what shape will the future ICO take?

The Future of the ICO

The immunological regulatory response to the threat presented by the traditional ICO model will inevitably result in change, but regulation isn’t the only environmental factor shaping the evolution of ICOs. Community self-regulation will heavily influence the morphology of future ICOs as the crypto market adapts to fraud within the ICO market and eliminates less efficient models in a Darwinian manner. The ICO model will fracture into separate models that fill different niches within the blockchain ecosystem; security token offerings and DAICOs.

Security token offerings address the core issue presented by bringing capital markets onto the blockchain. Instead of working against existing securities laws, a security token offering, or STO, works with them — the most obvious solution to the looming threat of regulatory action. Instead of attempting to camouflage what is arguably a securities offering as a utility token, STOs deliver regulatory certainty as well as investor confidence

While STOs aim to adapt to the impending fallout of an extinction-level threat, the DAICO model — proposed by Vitalik Buterin — is less concerned with regulation, and more focused on minimizing the inherent risk and complexity of ICOs. By fusing the concept of a decentralized autonomous organization and an ICO, the DAICO model allows development teams to publish a smart contract that launches in “contribution mode.” A DAICO establishes the funding process as a smart contract that governs the contribution of ether to a project and the specifics of a sale, as well as allowing token holders to vote on the rate of funding delivered to the development team, or even put a contract into “withdraw mode” as

outlined by Buterin:

“Voters start off by giving the development team a reasonable and not-too-high monthly budget, and raise it over time as the team demonstrates its ability to competently execute with its existing budget. If the voters are very unhappy with the development team’s progress, they can always vote to shut the DAICO down entirely and get their money back.”

The ICO Model is Here to Stay — But Not as We Know it

Both the DAICO and STO models address the major obstacles that ICOs face in the near future, but the evolving crypto industry may eliminate the ICO as a launchpad for new blockchain-based platforms altogether. UK-based technology advisory and investment firm GP Bullhound predicts the end of the ICO model as the go-to capital generation method for blockchain entrepreneurs, stating that 2018 will see airdrops become new normal for token distribution. With venture capital stepping in at a pre-ICO stage, airdrops will function as a preferable option to traditional ICO models in order to maximize network effects.

While the ICO as it exists today may be gone tomorrow, the blockchain brings evolution, not revolution. Regardless of regulatory posturing, decentralized growth capital generation will exist as long as decentralized currencies exist and are used to exchange value. Ultimately, the ICO is identical to the underlying technology that drives it — regardless of the shape it takes in future, it’s here to stay.

Article Produced By
Sam Town

Blockchain Writer at CryptoSlate

Samuel is a freelance journalist, digital nomad, and crypto enthusiast based out of Bangkok, Thailand. As an avid observer of the rapidly evolving blockchain ecosystem he specializes in the FinTech sector, and when not writing explores the technological landscape of Southeast Asia.

https://cryptoslate.com/beyond-the-ico-part-3-evolution-versus-revolution/

 

Is Europe closing in on an antitrust fix for surveillance technologists?

Is Europe closing in on an antitrust fix for surveillance technologists?

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The German Federal Cartel Office’s decision to order Facebook

to change how it processes users’ personal data this week is a sign the antitrust tide could at last be turning against platform power. One European Commission source we spoke to, who was commenting in a personal capacity, described it as “clearly pioneering” and “a big deal”, even without Facebook being fined a dime.

The FCO’s decision instead bans the social network from linking user data across different platforms it owns, unless it gains people’s consent (nor can it make use of its services contingent on such consent). Facebook is also prohibited from gathering and linking data on users from third party websites, such as via its tracking pixels and social plugins. The order is not yet in force, and Facebook is appealing, but should it come into force the social network faces being de facto shrunk by having its platforms siloed at the data level.

To comply with the order Facebook would have to ask users to freely consent to being data-mined — which the company does not do at present. Yes, Facebook could still manipulate the outcome it wants from users but doing so would open it to further challenge under EU data protection law, as its current approach to consent is already being challenged. The EU’s updated privacy framework, GDPR, requires consent to be specific, informed and freely given. That standard supports challenges to Facebook’s (still fixed) entry ‘price’ to its social services. To play you still have to agree to hand over your personal data so it can sell your attention to advertisers. But legal experts contend that’s neither privacy by design nor default.

The only ‘alternative’ Facebook offers is to tell users they can delete their account. Not that doing so would stop the company from tracking you around the rest of the mainstream web anyway. Facebook’s tracking infrastructure is also embedded across the wider Internet so it profiles non-users too. EU data protection regulators are still investigating a very large number of consent-related GDPR complaints.

But the German FCO, which said it liaised with privacy authorities during its investigation of Facebook’s data-gathering, has dubbed this type of behavior “exploitative abuse”, having also deemed the social service to hold a monopoly position in the German market. So there are now two lines of legal attack — antitrust and privacy law — threatening Facebook (and indeed other adtech companies’) surveillance-based business model across Europe. A year ago the German antitrust authority also announced a probe of the online advertising sector, responding to concerns about a lack of transparency in the market. Its work here is by no means done.

Data limits

The lack of a big flashy fine attached to the German FCO’s order against Facebook makes this week’s story less of a major headline than recent European Commission antitrust fines handed to Google — such as the record-breaking $5BN penalty issued last summer for anticompetitive behaviour linked to the Android mobile platform. But the decision is arguably just as, if not more, significant, because of the structural remedies being ordered upon Facebook. These remedies have been likened to an internal break-up of the company — with enforced internal separation of its multiple platform products at the data level.

This of course runs counter to (ad) platform giants’ preferred trajectory, which has long been to tear modesty walls down; pool user data from multiple internal (and indeed external sources), in defiance of the notion of informed consent; and mine all that personal (and sensitive) stuff to build identity-linked profiles to train algorithms that predict (and, some contend, manipulate) individual behavior. Because if you can predict what a person is going to do you can choose which advert to serve to increase the chance they’ll click. (Or as Mark Zuckerberg puts it: ‘Senator, we run ads.’)

This means that a regulatory intervention that interferes with an ad tech giant’s ability to pool and process personal data starts to look really interesting. Because a Facebook that can’t join data dots across its sprawling social empire — or indeed across the mainstream web — wouldn’t be such a massive giant in terms of data insights. And nor, therefore, surveillance oversight. Each of its platforms would be forced to be a more discrete (and, well, discreet) kind of business. Competing against data-siloed platforms with a common owner — instead of a single interlinked mega-surveillance-network — also starts to sound almost possible. It suggests a playing field that’s reset, if not entirely levelled.

(Whereas, in the case of Android, the European Commission did not order any specific remedies — allowing Google to come up with ‘fixes’ itself; and so to shape the most self-serving ‘fix’ it can think of.) Meanwhile, just look at where Facebook is now aiming to get to: A technical unification of the backend of its different social products. Such a merger would collapse even more walls and fully enmesh platforms that started life as entirely separate products before were folded into Facebook’s empire (also, let’s not forget, via surveillance-informed acquisitions).

Facebook’s plan to unify its products on a single backend platform looks very much like an attempt to throw up technical barriers to antitrust hammers. It’s at least harder to imagine breaking up a company if its multiple, separate products are merged onto one unified backend which functions to cross and combine data streams. Set against Facebook’s sudden desire to technically unify its full-flush of dominant social networks (Facebook Messenger; Instagram; WhatsApp) is a rising drum-beat of calls for competition-based scrutiny of tech giants. This has been building for years, as the market power — and even democracy-denting potential — of surveillance capitalism’s data giants has telescoped into view.

Calls to break up tech giants no longer carry a suggestive punch. Regulators are routinely asked whether it’s time. As the European Commission’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, was when she handed down Google’s latest massive antitrust fine last summer. Her response then was that she wasn’t sure breaking Google up is the right answer — preferring to try remedies that might allow competitors to have a go, while also emphasizing the importance of legislating to ensure “transparency and fairness in the business to platform relationship”.

But it’s interesting that the idea of breaking up tech giants now plays so well as political theatre, suggesting that wildly successful consumer technology companies — which have long dined out on shiny convenience-based marketing claims, made ever so saccharine sweet via the lure of ‘free’ services — have lost a big chunk of their populist pull, dogged as they have been by so many scandals.

From terrorist content and hate speech, to election interference, child exploitation, bullying, abuse. There’s also the matter of how they arrange their tax affairs. The public perception of tech giants has matured as the ‘costs’ of their ‘free’ services have scaled into view. The upstarts have also become the establishment. People see not a new generation of ‘cuddly capitalists’ but another bunch of multinationals; highly polished but remote money-making machines that take rather more than they give back to the societies they feed off.

Google’s trick of naming each Android iteration after a different sweet treat makes for an interesting parallel to the (also now shifting) public perceptions around sugar, following closer attention to health concerns. What does its sickly sweetness mask? And after the sugar tax, we now have politicians calling for a social media levy.

Just this week the deputy leader of the main opposition party in the UK called for setting up a standalone Internet regulatory with the power to break up tech monopolies. Talking about breaking up well-oiled, wealth-concentration machines is being seen as a populist vote winner. And companies that political leaders used to flatter and seek out for PR opportunities find themselves treated as political punchbags; Called to attend awkward grilling by hard-grafting committees, or taken to vicious task verbally at the highest profile public podia. (Though some non-democratic heads of state are still keen to press tech giant flesh.)

In Europe, Facebook’s repeat snubs of the UK parliament’s requests last year for Zuckerberg to face policymakers’ questions certainly did not go unnoticed. Zuckerberg’s empty chair at the DCMS committee has become both a symbol of the company’s failure to accept wider societal responsibility for its products, and an indication of market failure; the CEO so powerful he doesn’t feel answerable to anyone; neither his most vulnerable users nor their elected representatives. Hence UK politicians on both sides of the aisle making political capital by talking about cutting tech giants down to size. The political fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal looks far from done.

Quite how a UK regulator could successfully swing a regulatory hammer to break up a global Internet giant such as Facebook which is headquartered in the U.S. is another matter. But policymakers have already crossed the rubicon of public opinion and are relishing talking up having a go. That represents a sea-change vs the neoliberal consensus that allowed competition regulators to sit on their hands for more than a decade as technology upstarts quietly hoovered up people’s data and bagged rivals, and basically went about transforming themselves from highly scalable startups into market-distorting giants with Internet-scale data-nets to snag users and buy or block competing ideas.

The political spirit looks willing to go there, and now the mechanism for breaking platforms’ distorting hold on markets may also be shaping up. The traditional antitrust remedy of breaking a company along its business lines still looks unwieldy when faced with the blistering pace of digital technology. The problem is delivering such a fix fast enough that the business hasn’t already reconfigured to route around the reset. Commission antitrust decisions on the tech beat have stepped up impressively in pace on Vestager’s watch. Yet it still feels like watching paper pushers wading through treacle to try and catch a sprinter. (And Europe hasn’t gone so far as trying to impose a platform break up.)  But the German FCO decision against Facebook hints at an alternative way forward for regulating the dominance of digital monopolies: Structural remedies that focus on controlling access to data which can be relatively swiftly configured and applied.

Vestager, whose term as EC competition chief may be coming to its end this year (even if other Commission roles remain in potential and tantalizing contention), has championed this idea herself. In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today program in December she poured cold water on the stock question about breaking tech giants up — saying instead the Commission could look at how larger firms got access to data and resources as a means of limiting their power. Which is exactly what the German FCO has done in its order to Facebook. 

At the same time, Europe’s updated data protection framework has gained the most attention for the size of the financial penalties that can be issued for major compliance breaches. But the regulation also gives data watchdogs the power to limit or ban processing. And that power could similarly be used to reshape a rights-eroding business model or snuff out such business entirely. The merging of privacy and antitrust concerns is really just a reflection of the complexity of the challenge regulators now face trying to rein in digital monopolies. But they’re tooling up to meet that challenge.

Speaking in an interview with TechCrunch last fall, Europe’s data protection supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, told us the bloc’s privacy regulators are moving towards more joint working with antitrust agencies to respond to platform power. “Europe would like to speak with one voice, not only within data protection but by approaching this issue of digital dividend, monopolies in a better way — not per sectors,” he said. “But first joint enforcement and better co-operation is key.” The German FCO’s decision represents tangible evidence of the kind of regulatory co-operation that could — finally — crack down on tech giants.

Blogging in support of the decision this week, Buttarelli asserted: “It is not necessary for competition authorities to enforce other areas of law; rather they need simply to identity where the most powerful undertakings are setting a bad example and damaging the interests of consumers.  Data protection authorities are able to assist in this assessment.” He also had a prediction of his own for surveillance technologists, warning: “This case is the tip of the iceberg — all companies in the digital information ecosystem that rely on tracking, profiling and targeting should be on notice.” So perhaps, at long last, the regulators have figured out how to move fast and break things.

Article Produced By
Natasha Lomas


Writer

Natasha is a senior reporter for TechCrunch, joining September 2012, based in Europe. She joined TC after a stint reviewing smartphones for CNET UK and, prior to that, more than five years covering business technology for silicon.com (now folded into TechRepublic), where she focused on mobile and wireless, telecoms & networking, and IT skills issues. She has also freelanced for organisations including The Guardian and the BBC. Natasha holds a First Class degree in English from Cambridge University, and an MA in journalism from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/09/is-europe-closing-in-on-an-antitrust-fix-for-surveillance-technologists/

 

Facebook is still trying to figure out what teens are interested in

Facebook is still trying to figure out what teens are interested in

Facebook is restructuring its “youth team,” shutting down its new teen meme app LOL, and doubling down on Messenger Kids.

        

Facebook is still trying to figure out what kind of apps

young people want to use. Meme apps? Not so much. Messaging apps for elementary school kids? Yes, apparently so. At least, that’s what we’ve deduced from Facebook’s decision to restructure its “youth team,” the organization of more than 100 employees specifically tasked with building products and features for young people.

The team was alerted late last week that multiple projects — including a meme app called LOL aimed at high school kids — will be shuttered, and many members of Facebook’s youth team will instead start working on Messenger Kids, according to two sources. Messenger Kids is Facebook’s year-old messaging app for children who are under 13 and therefore too young to sign up for Facebook’s regular service. LOL never got much traction. Facebook described it a few weeks back as a “small scale test,” and TechCrunch reported that it only had around 100 beta users. Also going away: An early version of a high school communities feature that would let teens find and connect with classmates, a nod to Facebook’s earliest days when it was a directory for colleges and universities.

The company’s “youth team,” though, is not going away, according to a Facebook spokesperson. The plan is to cut down on a number of smaller projects that the group is testing and instead focus on stuff that Facebook believes is more successful. Messenger Kids, despite all kinds of privacy concerns from outside organizations, appears to fall into that category. “The youth team has restructured in order to match top business priorities, including increasing our investment in Messenger Kids,” a Facebook spokesperson confirmed in a statement sent to Recode.

It’s always interesting to understand how Facebook is targeting teens — a valuable demographic with advertisers and a group generally lauded for identifying “the next big thing.” (Facebook, you’ll remember, started with college students. So did Snapchat.) Many believe that Facebook has lost touch with teens — data shows that teenage users are leaving Facebook for other services — which is why the company has more than 100 employees focused on building products exclusively for that demographic.

Facebook even made headlines last week for paying some users, including teenagers, as much as $20 per month to use an app that collected data on how they used their smartphone. Facebook called it “market research.” That data collection actually violated an agreement Facebook had with Apple and led to a chaotic day at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters after Apple blocked the special Facebook apps that are used by internal employees. The apps were restored less than 48 hours later. A Facebook spokesperson says the youth team restructuring is “unrelated” to the company’s “market research” project. Asked if the research app was a youth team project, the same spokesperson said, “No.”

Facebook’s youth team was created back in early 2016 and has seen a number of projects come and go since then. A Snapchat-style competitor called LifeStage, which was limited to teens, was a youth team project until it was pulled from the App Store in August 2017. Last July, Facebook also shut down TBH, another app for teens that let users anonymously answer questions about themselves and their friends. Facebook will continue to build other teen-focused products besides Messenger Kids, though it hasn’t yet shared those plans publicly. Other than Instagram, which it acquired, and Stories, which it copied from Snapchat, Facebook hasn’t had a breakout hit with teens since, well, Facebook.

Article Produced By
Kurt Wagner
Senior Editor, Social Media

Kurt Wagner has been a business and tech journalist since 2012 and was previously reporting for Mashable. He also covered general tech and Silicon Valley news in his first job as a tech reporter with Fortune magazine, based in San Francisco.
Originally from the Seattle area, Kurt graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in communication and political science. He served as Editor-in-Chief of The Santa Clara, the university newspaper, for two years.

https://www.recode.net/2019/2/7/18215832/facebook-shutting-down-lol-restructure-messenger-kids

The Best Leads are Inbound Leads

The Best Leads are Inbound Leads

 

 

If you are an entrepreneur, a business, a shoe store, an affiliate or referral promotor, musician, artist, attorney, teacher, waitress, anything that requires a buyer or consumer or subscriber to something you have or are selling or promoting, then you need a market. Within that market are customers and those customers are often referred to as “leads”.

Did I miss anyone or anything?

Makes no difference if you are selling used cars, an MLM hope and dreams scheme, government secrets, herbal teas, gasoline MPG pellets, organic peanuts, car washing service, baby setting, medical treatment, therapy or trips to mars (via Elon Musk), you need a stream of customers and before they become customers, they were leads.

For Sale or rent or DIY; your business depends on them.

 

Typical sources are friends, relatives and acquaintances, but these classifications runs out very quickly and to achieve an equilibrium of cost, effect and achieving your objective, the holy grail of leads has always been a difficult and often foolish pursuit, until Markethive.

The best relationship for leads is well, a relationship, a kindred foundation, a stream of “associates” who are exclusively connected to and drawn towards your inbound marketing portals, funnels and associations. These type of “relationships” are priceless and when nurtured with an ongoing two way engagement, collaboration  and dialogue, will produce a lifetime sphere of influence. This is the “holy grail” of marketing. This is precisely what the Markethive Entrepreneur program delivers.

Think about it. How many of you consider me your trusted friend, a mentor, even family. Then think about how that relationship evolved, how we got to meet each other, how you found yourself in my sphere. How over time trust developed and now we are long term solid friends.

 

This is Inbound Marketing at it’s best. Markethive develops the best relationship associate level leads from the Entrepreneur program. If you are building a business, selling a service, just creating a large effective collaborative team, then the $100 per month Entrepreneur program is the best option for building your leads.

Superior to trying to tell a story funnel capture pages. Superior to advertising a Facebook group via Facebook ads. Superior to it all.

Give it a try. The best part? For $100 per month, you get over $5000 per month back and realistically, you might even get more than that back for life.

Markethive, nothing like it, anywhere. But here.

Ask yourself this

Would you sign up for a system giving away 500 MH crypto coins and a state of the art marketing system that has sold for $2000 or more per month by a similar platform that just sold to Adobe for 4.75 BILLION dollars?

 

 

Do you want leads that are motivated by this offer, that give you a real verified name, a real verified email, a real verified phone, a real verified postal address, a selection of social network accounts and continue to engage and grow their account in Markethive (nurtured) with you.

A true and valuable sphere of influence?

This is exactly what the Entrepreneur upgrade does for you among all the other benefits.

 

Tried and tested already. We are doing actually qualified tests with different mediums to drive leads. One such tests was with BITTER.IO which is a service in the crypto sphere offering a version of faucets by sharing web site visits. It is relatively affordable at $1 per 1000 visits. We did this with a capture page that promoted the Airdrop and Inbound Marketing tools. $1 procured 25 “associate” level leads within 3 days. By extrapolation, one year would produce over 3000 “associates” equating a matching airdrop of Markethive coins @ 1.5 million coins. Cost of this enterprising campaign would be $1 x 10 (1 month) for BITTER.IO @ $120 for a year and the Entrepreneur upgrade $100 x 12 (months) @ $1200 for a total cost of $1320 divided by 3000 “ASSOCIATES (leads)” making the cost per lead @ .44 each for leads that would legitimately be worth $200 per today’s cost of standards as researched by Hubspot. That is a value of $600,000 in today's market for exclusive high data vertical contacts to you.

Not to mention the 1.5 million Markethive coin you also received by matching bonus via the Entrepreneur upgrade. To be conservatively speculative, the Markethive coin has the potential one year after launch of .25 per coin. Equates to $375,000.00 in value, speculative not promised. Drop it back to .05 per coin and you still make profit @ $75,000.

You see, we built Markethive for the masses, the entrepreneurs, all of them, young, old, rich or poor, Markethive is design to honestly level the playing field.

 

Markethive is here and your time has come.

Hey! Want to engage in further lead acquiring testing? Contact me via Markethive messaging and let me know. I will help fund the advertising for your system to measure additional results.

Thomas Prendergast

CEO Founder
Markethive

‘Swiss Leaks’ HSBC Whistleblower Plans to Launch ‘Clean, Ethical’ Crypto Token

‘Swiss Leaks’ HSBC Whistleblower Plans to Launch ‘Clean, Ethical’ Crypto Token

               

Frenchman Hervé Falciani, a whistleblower who has been convicted

of the largest leak in banking history, plans to launch an ethical cryptocurrency that would combat money-laundering and fraud, Reuters reported on Feb. 8. In 2015, Falciani was convicted in absentia by Swiss courts for aggravated financial espionage after leaking the details of ~30,000 accounts, holding almost $120 billion in assets at HSBC’s Swiss private bank.

The evidence — which was alleged to have exposed a web of clients’ tax evasion, money laundering, and illicit financing schemes — has since triggered investigations and prosecutions in several countries, and Falciani remains in self-imposed exile in Spain after the country twice denied the Swiss authorities’ extradition requests.

He is now reportedly working on developing an ethical crypto token, dubbed “Tabu,” that would be fully traceable and thwart illicit dealings and tax evasion. The project is being spearheaded by Falciani’s non-profit Tactical Whistleblowers, whose team consists of Spanish academics — many of them mathematicians — and fintech experts. Speaking in Madrid under a witness protection program,

he told Reuters:

“What happens with any innovation […] is that it can be used in a bad way or maybe used in a friendly way with a […] positive social impact […] Fake information is the basis of any kind of fraud … [t]he same way that we have to deal with fake news, the same technology can applied to fake invoices.”

Falciani credits Spain’s second extradition request denial last year — a decade since he first leaked the “Falciani List” — with having drawn significant investor interest in the Tabu project. Having raised 1.3 million euros ($1.5 million), Falciani reportedly aims to raise a further 2 million euros ($2.3 million) pending approval from Spanish regulators. There are reportedly 5 million Tabu tokens, valued at 2 million euros, ready for the offering.

Aside from Tabu, the whistleblower is also preparing a blockchain system — dubbed “Aletheia,” meaning “disclosure” in Greek — to cross-check electronic procurement contracts for public administrations. The project aims to mitigate fraud and make efficiency gains to reduce costs. Cryptocurrency’s relationship with one of the decade’s most high-profile whistleblowers — Julian Assange —is well known. In fall 2017, Assange went so far as to publicly thank the United States government on Twitter for forcing the organization to rely on Bitcoin (BTC) due to the banking embargo, securing for WikiLeaks a 50,000 percent return.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/swiss-leaks-hsbc-whistleblower-plans-to-launch-clean-ethical-crypto-token

OKEx Launches Perpetual Swap, Perfecting Its Derivatives Product Suites

OKEx Launches Perpetual Swap, Perfecting Its Derivatives Product Suites

              

OKEx, a Malta-based world-leading digital asset exchange

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — OKEx, a Malta-based world-leading digital asset exchange, today announced to launch a brand-new derivative product, Perpetual Swap, taking a big step forward to completing its crypto-based financial product suites. With the new addition, users of OKEx can now perform perpetual swap, futures contract, and spot trading with margin and leverage at one stop. Perpetual swap trading will be officially available at OKEx on December 11, 2018 at 01:00 (GMT+9).

Perpetual Swap is a peer-to-peer, virtual derivative developed by OKEx to enable traders to speculate the direction of the price of digital assets such as Bitcoin. It has a mechanism very similar to futures contracts, but with no expiry, and settlement occurs daily. Each swap contract has a notional value of USD100-equivalent BTC. Users can go long a position to profit from the increase of a digital asset’s price, or short a position to profit from the decline of a digital asset’s price, with a leverage of up to 100x.

OKEx’s Perpetual Swap has the following features comparing to futures contract:

  • No expiry – positions can be held indefinitely;
  • Trade closely to the underlying reference index — unlike futures contract that normally be traded at a different price to spot market
  • Leverage level – 1-100x are available
  • Track the price of the spot market via funding mechanism

In addition, users can enjoy the advantages including:

  • Mark Price mechanism helps to avoid unnecessary liquidation
  • Lower transaction fees than other similar products in the market
  • Fast settlement – swaps are settled daily, profits can be withdrawn daily;
  • Partial liquidation system – minimizing the market impact during forced liquidation
  • Tiered margin system enables traders to adjust their leverage level according to their risk appetite and market condition

Lennix Lai, Financial Market Director of OKEx, said, “This marked a key milestone for OKEx. The launch of perpetual swap demonstrated our continuous commitment to build a complete financial ecosystem on blockchain and crypto. With the new offering, investors and traders can select the products which best fit their trading and hedging strategies. However, we would like to remind our users that due to its highly leveraged nature, implementing risk control strategies are equally crucial in trading.”

About OKEx
OKEx is a world-leading digital asset exchange, offering digital assets trading services such as token trading, futures trading, and index tracker to global traders with blockchain technology. Currently, the exchange offers over 400 token and futures trading pairs enabling users to optimize their strategies. The platform provides a safe, reliable, and stable environment for digital asset trading, serving millions of customers from over 100 countries.

Article Produced By
Bob Keith

https://cryptodisrupt.com/okex-launches-perpetual-swap-perfecting-its-derivatives-product-suites/

Canadian Securities Regulator ‘Looking Into’ QuadrigaCX Cryptocurrency Exchange

Canadian Securities Regulator ‘Looking Into’ QuadrigaCX Cryptocurrency Exchange

              

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has initiated

a probe into Canada’s major cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, Reuters reported on Feb. 8. The Ontario Securities Commission reportedly told Reuters that “given the potential harm to Ontario investors, we are looking into this matter and have already been in contact with the monitor.” OSC spokeswoman Kristen Rose reportedly declined to specify whether this means the Commission was formally investigating the exchange.

The news comes in the wake of the British Columbia Securities Commission’s claim that it does not regulate QuadrigaCX since the company has reportedly not shown signs of trading of securities or derivatives, or operating as an exchange in general. The aforementioned harm purportedly refers to the exchange’s missing funds in the amount of CA$190 million dollars ($145 million) in digital assets discovered after the death of QuadrigaCX’s founder Gerald Cotten in December.

Quadriga has not been able to access its cold wallets where it kept most of the assets, because Cotten was purportedly solely responsible for the wallets and corresponding keys. Cold wallets are storage systems for digital assets which are not connected to the Internet, which prevents users from being hacked. The exchange purportedly only has CA$375,000 ($286,000) in cash, while it owes CA$260 million ($198,435,000) to its users.

The crypto community has been sceptical about the circumstances surrounding Cotten's death, especially after news broke that his will, naming his wife Jennifer Robertson as the sole beneficiary of his estate, was released 12 days before his death. Robertson reportedly stated in an affidavit that “I do not know the password or recovery key. Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere.” Last year, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) froze five accounts belonging to Quadriga’s payment processor, Costodian Inc., and its owner, Jose Reyes, totalling to $21.6 million. The bank purportedly froze the accounts due to an inability to identify the funds’ owners.

Article Produced By
Ana Alexandre

Total change in her career took Anastasia into the world of analytics and business information as a researcher and translator in 2010. Some time later she got into FinTech, a dynamically developing segment at the intersection of the financial services and technology. Ana joined Cointelegraph in September 2017.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/seoul-city-govt-appoints-members-to-blockchain-governance-team

 

Medical R&D Alliance Expands Blockchain Project to Include Data Sharing

Medical R&D Alliance Expands Blockchain Project to Include Data Sharing

               

The Pistoia Alliance has expanded its blockchain project

to include data sharing, data identity, and data integrity, according to a press release published on Feb 8. The Pistoia Alliance is a not-for-profit organization established in 2007, with representatives from well-known pharmaceutical industry companies which include Pfizer, Novartiz, and GSK. The Pistoia Alliance was formed to help integrate new technology to assist in the companies’ respective research and development (R&D) fields.

The newest project will focus on the use of blockchain to validate sources in identifying data, to ensure data integrity, and to improve sharing between the organizations. Prior to its foray into blockchain-based data management, Pistoia concentrated on educating the medical industry on the emerging technology. According to Pistoia, a recent survey found that access to skilled personnel and understanding of the technology are the primary barriers to blockchain’s adoption. That same survey reportedly stated that one-fifth of respondents do not think blockchain adds value beyond a standard database.

“Much of the industry is still at the ‘discussion’ stage of blockchain, we want to move beyond this and take action that actively supports members and leads to tangible outcomes that will benefit R&D, accelerate innovation and support the discovery of new treatments,” according to the president of the Pistoia Alliance, Steve Arlington. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) has been implemented across the healthcare industry to make medical data more shareable and more secure. In November 2018, Myongji Hospital, located in the city of Goyang, South Korea, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Korean IT company BICube.

Per the terms of the MoU, the  two parties would use DLT to create a healthcare information exchange system and “build a hybrid cloud [platform] that combines a public cloud and a private cloud.” That same month, the Austrian government offered financial support for a U.K. cancer research company, Lancor Scientific, that uses blockchain technology to detect the disease. Lancor Scientific has purportedly developed a device to detect multiple cancer types and records the screening results with smart contracts on a blockchain.

Article Produced By
Miranda Karanfili

Miranda is a journalist based out of New York City. She is a dedicated writer, passionate about storyelling and making voices heard through her writing. She has joined Cointelegraph as a News Editor.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/canadian-securities-regulator-looking-into-quadrigacx-cryptocurrency-exchange

Amazon’s barely-transparent transparency report somehow gets more opaque

Amazon’s barely-transparent transparency report somehow gets more opaque

            

Amazon posted its bi-annual report 

Thursday detailing the number of government data demands it receives. The numbers themselves are unremarkable, neither spiking nor falling in the second-half of last year compared to the first-half. The number of subpoenas, search warrants and other court orders totaled 1,736 for the duration, down slightly on the previous report. Amazon still doesn’t break out demands for Echo data, but does with its Amazon Web Services content — a total of 175 requests down from 253 requests.

But noticeably absent compared to earlier reports was how many requests the company received to remove data from its service. In its first-half report, the retail and cloud giant said in among the other demands it gets that it may receive court orders that might demand Amazon “remove user content or accounts.” Amazon used to report the requests “separately” in its report. Now it’s gone. Yet where freedom of speech and expression is more important than ever, it’s just not there any more — not even a zero. We reached out to Amazon to ask why it took out removal requests, but not a peep back on why.

Amazon has long had a love-hate relationship with transparency reports. Known for its notorious secrecy — once telling a reporter, “off the record, no comment” — the company doesn’t like to talk when it doesn’t have to. In the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures, most companies that weren’t disclosing their government data demands quickly started. Even though Amazon wasn’t directly affected by the surveillance scandal, it held out — because it could — but later buckled, becoming the last of the major tech giants to come out with a transparency report.

Even then, the effort Amazon put in was lackluster.

Unlike most other transparency reports, Amazon’s is limited to just two pages — most of which are dedicated to explaining what it does in response to each kind of demand, from subpoenas to search warrants and court orders. No graphics, no international breakdown and no announcement. It’s almost as if Amazon doesn’t want anyone to notice. That hasn’t changed in years. Where most other companies have expanded their reports — Apple records account deletions, so does Facebook, and Microsoft, Twitter, Google and a bunch more — Amazon’s report has stayed the same. And for no good reason except that Amazon just can. Now it’s getting even slimmer.

Article Produced By
Zack Whittaker

Security editor at TechCrunch.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/31/amazon-government-data-demands/

Reddit is raising a huge round near a $3 billion valuation

Reddit is raising a huge round near a $3 billion valuation

               

Reddit is raising $150 million to $300 million to keep the front page

of the internet running, multiple sources tell TechCrunch. The forthcoming Series D round is said to be led by Chinese tech giant Tencent at a $2.7 billion pre-money valuation. Depending on how much follow-on cash Reddit drums up from Silicon Valley investors and beyond, its post-money valuation could reach an epic $3 billion.

As more people seek esoteric community and off-kilter entertainment online, Reddit continues to grow its link-sharing forums. Indeed, 330 million monthly active users now frequent its 150,000 Subreddits. That warrants the boost to its valuation, which previously reached $1.8 billion when it raised $200 million in July 2017. As of then, Reddit’s majority stake was still held by publisher Conde Nast, which bought in back in 2006 just a year after the site launched. Reddit had raised $250 million previously, so the new round will push it to $400 million to $550 million in total funding.

It should have been clear that Reddit was on the prowl after a month of pitching its growth to the press and beating its own drum. In December Reddit announced it had reached 1.4 billion video views per month, up a staggering 40 percent from just two months earlier after first launching a native video player in August 2017. And it made a big deal out of starting to sell cost-per-click ads in addition to promoted posts, cost per impression and video ads. A 22 percent increase in engagement and 30 percent rise in total view in 2018 pushed it past $100 million in revenue for the year, CNBC reported.

The exact details of the Series D could fluctuate before it’s formally announced, and Reddit and Tencent declined to comment. But supporting and moderating all that content isn’t cheap. The company had 350 employees just under a year ago, and is headquartered in pricey San Francisco — though in one of its cheaper but troubled neighborhoods. Until Reddit’s newer ad products rev up, it’s still relying on venture capital.

Tencent’s money will give Reddit time to hit its stride. It’s said to be kicking in the first $150 million of the round. The Chinese conglomerate owns all-in-one messaging app WeChat and is the biggest gaming company in the world thanks to ownership of League of Legends and stakes in Clash of Clans-maker Supercell and Fortnite developer Epic. But China’s crackdown on gaming addiction has been rough for Tencent’s valuation and Chinese competitor ByteDance’s news reader app Toutiao has grown enormous. Both of those facts make investing in American newsboard Reddit a savvy diversification, even if Reddit isn’t accessible in China.

Reddit could seek to fill out its round with up to $150 million in additional cash from previous investors like Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator or YC’s president Sam Altman. They could see potential in one of the web’s most unique and internet-native content communities. Reddit is where the real world is hashed out and laughed about by a tech-savvy audience that often produces memes that cross over into mainstream culture. And with all those amateur curators toiling away for internet points, casual users are flocking in for an edgier look at what will be the center of attention tomorrow.

Reddit has recently avoided much of the backlash hitting fellow social site Facebook, despite having to remove 1,000 Russian trolls pushing political propaganda. But in the past, the anonymous site has had plenty of problems with racist, misogynistic and homophobic content. In 2015 it finally implemented quarantines and shut down some of the most offensive Subreddits. But harassment by users contributed to the departure of CEO Ellen Pao, who was replaced by Steve Huffman, Reddit’s co-founder. Huffman went on to abuse that power, secretly editing some user comments on Reddit to frame them for insulting the heads of their own Subreddits. He escaped the debacle with a slap on the wrist and an apology, claiming “I spent my formative years as a young troll on the Internet.”

Investors will have to hope Huffman has the composure to lead Reddit as it inevitably encounters more scrutiny as its valuation scales up. Its policy choice about what constitutes hate speech and harassment, its own company culture and its influence on public opinion will all come under the microscope. Reddit has the potential to give a voice to great ideas at a time when flashy visuals rule the web. And as local journalism wanes, the site’s breed of vigilante web sleuths could be more in demand, for better or worse. But that all hinges on Reddit defining clear, consistent, empathetic policy that will help it surf atop the sewage swirling around the internet.

Article Produced By
Josh Constine

Editor-At-Large

Josh Constine is a technology journalist who specializes in deep analysis of social products. He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements. Previously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network.

Constine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master's degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter.

Constine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes. Josh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He is available to moderate panels and fireside chats, deliver keynotes, and judge hackathon and pitch competitions.

Constine has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, The Atlantic, BBC World Magazine, Slate, and more, plus has been featured on television on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, China Central Television, and Fox News. Constine is ranked as the #1 most cited tech journalist on prestigious news aggregator Techmeme.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/05/raiseit/