The Update

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Quick thought

You ever get a little burned out? Us, too. Sometimes, the news is discouraging. Sometimes, it looks as if people are using the tech in ways that don’t really attempt to push the boundaries of what’s possible, or don’t attempt to solve real problems.

There’s a lot of reinvention or reimplementation, without stopping to ask, ‘who has this problem, when was the last time they had it, and how big an issue was it to solve.’

For example, at the height of Bitcoin’s surge last year, Square Cash integrated BTC purchasing. Great, except that even with the high price of crypto, and the moderate adoption of Square Cash, it didn’t move the needle on crypto use or payments. A lot of Square Cash use is person to person, or person to small business. Having BTC in the Cash app wasn’t really solving anyone’s problem in the US, because the US dollar is fairly stable for paying personal debts.

So then we see people working on projects, with a fully developed app, that lets you fund an in-app wallet from an existing exchange and then make person to person payments easily. And it looked pretty slick and functioned as it should. And as I was talking with them, they asked,

One of the things we have been struggling with is that even if we change verbiage - what problem are we really solving?

Which for me is a “holy cow” moment. How would you let yourself develop a fully working application without knowing why you were doing it?

And what they learned was, “people primarily treat crypto as a speculative asset. So they don’t want to send it to anyone; They’re ok to receive it, but not send it out.”

It seems like that could have been learned by asking around, before they started developing a solution.

And that’s what it comes down to for me. Solve real problems, which leads to gaining adoption, and that leads to increased value. If there aren’t real problems, if we don’t make things a smoother, better, more reliable experience, there’s no reason to expect adoption, or expect value to increase.

If we don’t try a little harder, all the uses are going to be incremental, and replace settlement or record-keeping layers. The vast majority of people will never notice. That’s a mundane, boring, future.

Two token sales to watch 👁️

Coinciding with the news from the SEC, there’s a new type of token offering, the STO. What’s the difference? Well, a few things. In an ICO, the startup offers a coin, usually on someone else’s blockchain with a value rate established to something like ETH, and they’d have to manage both their startup and the financial offering of their coin. It makes building your startup exponentially harder, because you have to manage the value of the coin you created in addition to trying to ship your project. This backfires when you don’t manage the coin well, as seen with projects like World Wi-Fi, where buyers of the coin complain regularly about mis-management. Coins in an ICO aren’t shares.

The STO intends to be SEC compliant. Here, you’re still buying a token, but since security tokens are actual financial securities, your tokens are backed by something tangible like the assets, profits, or revenue of the company. All this is to say, we’re going to cover STOs and ICOs as the token sale landscape changes.

Here we go

BrikBit.io is setting up their own chain and token to turn Real Estate on its head. They want to set up a chain that addresses all sides of the Real Estate market, from building, investing, title transparency, all the way to helping people become homeowners. It’s this last part that appeals to me - what can you do to change the landscape for the person who has a job but can’t get a mortgage? The user story cited states, “Bruno is a young clerk living in a medium-sized town. He would like to partake in a Real Estate enterprise to be a future home- owner. His savings are not enough to cover the minimum entry-fee to buy an apartment, and his job contract is not enough of a guarantee to get a mortgage. Thanks to BrikBit, Bruno can purchase his own property one square foot at the time.” This has me interested. Of course, we’d need to read the whitepaper, first.

EndChain.io is making a blockchain for tracking and logitistics. Normal, so far, right? What’s interesting here, and they claim they have patents pending for, is a combined QR and barcode, which allows them to transition to blockchain while using existing scanners and inventory systems in concert. I know, I was talking about pushing the envelope, but with Walmart insisting all produce growers get on board with Walmart’s blockchain implementation to try and prevent losing all the lettuce in an e.coli outbreak, making adoption easier through existing infrastructure seems like a good idea. whitepaper is here.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 😊😠👹

😊GOOD: 

Ohio Businesses Can Now Pay Taxes with Bitcoin

Ohio has just become the first state in the US to accept tax payments in Bitcoin, reports the Wall Street Journal. Starting this Monday, companies that want to settle their tax dues using cryptos can do so following three simple steps. They need to visit OhioCrypto.com, register, and pay. The crypto payment processor BitPay will handle the transfer and conversion to dollars for the tax office.

Ohio has been working to create a tech-friendly hub in the state and attract both blockchain developers and companies for a while now. However, it is not the first state to come up with the crypto tax payment scheme. Other states around the country have considered accepting Bitcoin, but those initiatives died before implementation.

Earlier this year, Arizona had passed a tax bill that would allow citizens to pay their taxes using cryptos. Sadly, in May, after passing the House final reading, the SB 1091 was vetoed by the Governor.

Back in February, Georgia introduced a similar bill to accept cryptocurrency as a valid form of payment for state taxes and licenses. Presently, however, the bill’s status reads “25% progression, died in committee.”

For now, only Ohio businesses are allowed to pay their taxes with cryptos. However, individuals can expect to be allowed to do the same in the near future.

😠BAD

Warning: Trezor One Fakes Flood the Market

Crypto hardware wallet provider Trezor has warned its customers about a new trick up the thieves’ sleeve that allows them to steal cryptos right from the hardware wallet. An imitation of a Trezor One device has hit the market.

In a Medium post, the company informs that the counterfeit device is manufactured by an anonymous vendor and replicates the Trezor One in such detail, it is almost impossible to distinguish the fake from the original.

To tell the two apart, remember to:

●      Watch out for deals that offer Trezor One at questionably low prices.

●      Inspect the hologram and the package. Certain key details that can help you differentiate between the fake and the original. For more info refer to the manufacturer’s website.

👹UGLY: 

A 21-year Old Targeted Silicon Valley Execs and Got Arrested for Stealing $1 Million in Crypto

California authorities have arrested a 21-year old New Yorker Nicholas Truglia for the alleged theft of $1 million in crypto. Truglia targeted several executives in the Silicon Valley area. Through the use of “SIM-swapping” crypto stealing technique, he successfully hacked into six victims' phones but was only able to steal money from Robert Ross.

On November 14, Erin West, a member of Santa Clara REACT task force, arrested Nicholas Truglia in his high-rise apartment in New York. The team managed to recover $300,000 of the stolen funds from his hardware wallet. Truglia faces 21 felony counts.

“The takeaway here to the hackers is, ‘We don’t care where you’re located, we are a task force based in Silicon Valley, and our reach is nationwide,’” West told the New York Post.

This is not the first time Nicholas Truglia has made the headlines. Earlier this month, the New York Post reported that a group of young professionals banded together to “relieve” their friend, Nicholas Truglia, of his cryptocurrency after a night of drinking.

News 🆕

China: Crypto Miners Sell off Mining Devices “by the Kilo”

This week’s Bitcoin heart-wrenching plunge below $3,800 has many people spiraling out of control. Cryptocurrency mining firms in China have reportedly started selling mining equipment by the kilo.

Considering that the BTC price has fallen 84 percent since January’s all-time high, it comes as no surprise that the mining profitability has also decreased. In some cases, the cost of maintaining and operating the equipment is higher than the money earned by mining. Small- to medium sized mining operations began selling their rigs at a second-hand market to make up the difference. Selling at a loss is better than going broke.

At present, the crypto markets had stopped their freefall. Sadly, however, the prices are still stuck at lows that haven’t been reached in over a year.

Bakkt Delays Bitcoin Futures Launch till January

Bakkt, the digital assets platform created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has announced a new launch date of Jan. 24, 2019.

In a Medium post, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler explains that the “volume of interest” in the company and the “work required to get all the pieces in place” contributed to the decision to delay the launch. In turn, when the platform finally kicks off, the participants will be able to trade on Day 1, promises Loeffler.

From the market’s standpoint, this delay might not be such a piece of good news. Analysts had speculated that Bakkt’s scheduled December launch could help catalyze a year-end crypto market rally. Fundstrat’s Tom Lee went as far as to predict that the Bitcoin price could ascend $15,000 by the year’s end.

Now, however, it looks like the crypto market won’t get that desired Wall Street boost. We may need to wait for a Christmas miracle to pull the crypto prices from the slump.

The Hash War’s Over: Bitcoin Cash SV Backs Out

Over the past week, two factions created as a result of the Bitcoin Cash hard fork tried to take over the Bitcoin Cash name. They fought and struggled; it was all ugly. After the fork, both SV and ABC have suffered the wrath of the bear with prices plummeting across the market. The widely felt uncertainty didn’t help the situation either.

Today, it looks like the war has ended. From now on, Roger Ver and Jihan Wu-backed ABC will be in charge of Bitcoin Cash.

In a post, a founder and CEO of CoinGeek and an SV-believer Calvin Ayre explains why the faction surrendered and talks about new plans to move forward with an independent blockchain.

“We also no longer want the name Bitcoin Cash BCH as to us, Bitcoin SV is the original Bitcoin, not the original Bitcoin Cash,” claims Ayre. “From where CoinGeek sits right now, us permanently splitting the chains by ABC enacting replay protection will give both sides a WIN. Bitcoin will live on with Bitcoin SV and will finally have a chance to show off the true power of the original economic model.”

Even with the conflict resolved Bitcoin Cash is down and trading at its all-time lows, suffering a 41.9 percent decline over the last week. Meanwhile, Bitcoin Cash SV has grown 3.6 percent over the last seven days and 33.4 percent over the last twenty-four hours, as reported by CoinGecko.

Disclosure

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