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A quick thought
Trust. In the past, I’ve written about different qualities to evaluate ICOs on, and just when I thought I’d said all that needed to be said, SaveDroid proves me wrong. SaveDroid were the ICO that erased their page and replaced it with “aaaaand it’s gone”, with pictures of the founder’s hand holding a drink on the beach in what looked like Egypt. The founder is now claiming he did it to draw attention to the problem of exit scams. The problem is, he’s now broken everyone’s trust. He announced that SaveDroid will launch their own ICO advisory service. Who on Earth would trust their advice after a tone-deaf stunt like this?
Two token sales to watch 👁️
Well positions themselves as the AirBNB of healthcare. Really what they are is telemedicine, with a token that patients can use to pay for health services, loans, pharmacies, and more. Well claims to have the largest therapist network in southern California, and wants to make transparency of pricing a thing, make it easier to collect medical records in one place, and offer financing to patients through partnerships to make it easier to afford the medical care that a patient requires. It’s not an insurance play, it’s an attempt to route around some of the worst parts of insurance and help every patient get the best medical care possible. This doesn’t have to just be a North American play, it could extend to the rest of the world as well. The whitepaper is worth a read.
MVL wants to collect all driver data everywhere and put it on the blockchain, incentivized with their token. Individuals can have their driving uploaded and get rewarded for good driving. Taxi and ridesharing drivers can do the same and get rewarded for good reviews. Mechanics can get rewarded for their good service and accurate diagnosis. An incentive based blockchain seems interesting, and of course governments and insurance companies would want the data. The whitepaper is right here.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 😊😠👹
😊GOOD: In the online advertising industry, ads go through many intermediaries before they reach their target audience. This long supply chain leaves room for ad fraud, which in 2018 may cost advertisers as much as $19 billion.
IBM and Salon Media join hands to participate in a project created by AdLedger, a nonprofit consortium that develops shared ledger technologies for the digital advertising market.
The project is being built on Hyperledger Fabric. The goal is to really expose the potential of blockchain and show that eliminating unnecessary intermediaries is a possibility. Blockchain can give the advertisers clarity in regards to where their money is going when they invest in ad campaigns.
Chad Andrews, a global solutions leader and an advertising expert at IBM, explains:
“It’s time for advertisers to demand an improved network for brands and publishers to connect, one that provides more transparency into the performance and details of transactions. That network is blockchain, and it’s already in the works.”
The launch is expected to take place next month. The project’s findings will be published in a whitepaper.
On a similar note, the Blockchain-based web browser Brave, which was created by Brendan Eich, Mozilla’s co-founder, has formed a partnership with Dow Jones Media Group with the goal to eliminate the middlemen in the ad industry.
Brave and Dow Jones introduce a new way to serve ads by using a free subscription-based model. The browser users will be able to acquire BAT tokens to pay for premium content by engaging with ads from verified publishers.
😠BAD: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to 13 virtual currency exchanges. The attached questionnaires require Gemini, Coinbase, Bitfinex, Poloniex, and nine other exchanges to disclose at times sensitive details concerning their business operations.
In a statement, Attorney General Schneiderman explained:
“With cryptocurrency on the rise, consumers in New York and across the country have a right to transparency and accountability when they invest their money. Yet too often, consumers don’t have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms. Our Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative sets out to change that, promoting the accountability and transparency in the virtual currency marketplace that investors and consumers deserve.”
A handful of exchanges have applauded the initiative and showed interest in providing the necessary information. Kraken, on the other hand, shows discontent.
“Somebody has to say what everybody's actually thinking about the NYAG's inquiry,” tweeted Kraken’s co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell. “The placative kowtowing toward this kind of abuse sends the message that it's OK. It's not OK. It's insulting.”
“We made the wise decision to get the hell out of New York three years ago,” Powell added.
After a controversial BitLicense came to life in New York in 2015, Kraken was one of the companies that withdrew from the state.
👹UGLY: On Monday, April 16th, Russian government banned the crypto-community’s go-to app called Telegram after its CEO Pavel Durov “refused to comply with a court order to grant state security services access to its users’ encrypted messages,” reports Reuters.
At first, Roskomnadzor (RKN), Russian telecommunications watchdog, ordered Internet providers to cut service to Telegram’s native IP addresses. Soon thereafter, to enforce the censure RKN went on to block nearly 20 million Google and Amazon IP addresses, which affected many websites and online services.
Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov is not giving up. As part of his #DigitalResistance, Durov is offering Bitcoin to anyone who runs proxy servers and VPNs to support his cause.
Even though RKN boasted having successfully devalued Telegram’s user base, statistics show that not only the app downloads have doubled in that period, but the traffic to its website has increased.
On his Telegram channel, he explains: “We promised our users 100% privacy and would rather cease to exist than violate this promise.”
A group of industry professionals assembled by the Silicon Valley-based Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures met with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on March 28, according to the Wall Street Journal. The “Venture Capital Working Group” lobbied against SEC’s classification of all ICOs as securities, which subject issuers to significant regulatory restrictions.
The SEC has already issued subpoenas to platforms that may be violating securities law by launching token sales. The Venture Capital Working Group proposes that digital tokens should be exempt from securities laws if they achieve “full decentralization” or “full functionality” like Ether, which “has become so decentralized it should not be deemed a security.”
Despite such powerful Silicon Valley backers, it remains doubtful the SEC will change its mind. Recently, the agency intensified its oversight of the ICO industry in general, having suspended stock trading of three companies due to “questions regarding the nature of the companies’ business operations” and their cryptocurrency ties. At present, the SEC is upholding its firm stance.
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