TokenReporter: taking on dropbox with blockchain

The Update

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Two token sales to watch 👁️

Memority is the platform for a completely decentralized, super-secure storage of valuable data on the blockchain, which ensures the continued availability of several encrypted copies of data on unrelated storage locations around the world. Data is encrypted with a private key, and it’s protected from accidental deletion because the system stores 10 copies, checks their availability, and creates more if it drops below that number. Because it’s stored in a blockchain, the system guards against forgery by duplicates. They provide payment to users who make space available for others’ files, and encourage third party app development. Most important of all, they have an alpha. Have a look at the whitepaper.

URunIt is the idea that instead of the house running games of chance, the users could be the house and take most of the winnings. Players host the games, and control them. They either lease them, or win the right to run them via a daily drawing. Then, if they want, they could pay a fee to confirm the right to own the game. The host monitors and moderates the game, and then takes most of the profit generated during the time of the lease. The more the user plays, the higher the player’s rank, and the higher the player ranks, the more likely he or she is to become a game owner. The only thing that isn’t entirely clear to me is what the long term vision is: with each transaction, they burn a little of the token used to play with, so the supply is decreasing and limited. At the same time, the demand for the token is always increasing if the platform is sticky. This creates scarcity, which can lead to greater value, but it seems like a path to an eventual dead end. They’re very focused on creating demand for the token through scarcity and usefulness in the games, but don’t elaborate on what happens at the end of that party. Here’s the whitepaper, so you can see for yourselves if I’m overlooking something obvious.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 😊😠👹

😊GOOD: 

First U.S. Blockchain-enabled Elections Take Place in West Virginia

West Virginia’s government teamed up with Voatz, a Boston-based tech startup, and came up with a solution to allow out-of-state military members to vote in elections. This venture marked the first U.S. election to record votes using blockchain technology.

An Apple or Android smartphone and an approved State or Federal ID was required to vote. Through blockchain technology, each ballot was encrypted and securely transmitted, offering a secure military mobile voting solution that is irrefutable and straightforward.

If this pilot project proves fruitful, the state will extend the program to 55 counties in the upcoming November general election.

Colorado Passes Blockchain Bill for Records & Cyber Security

This week the Colorado Senate passed SB 86 that sets the standard for the use of cyber coding cryptology for state records. The bill requires the state department to consider the use of blockchain for the protection of confidential records, especially “research, development, and the adoption of encryption and data integrity methods, including distributed ledger technology” in preventing criminal or unauthorized exploitation and theft.

The bill also encourages institutions of higher education to include blockchain within their curricula and research activities.

Cryptocurrency May Enter the New York Stock Exchange

Despite criticism from finance industry’s giants like Warren Buffett, some institutional players recognized cryptocurrency and are keen to explore implications of its wide use. In addition to Goldman Sachs’s plans to set up a Bitcoin trading operation, this week The New York Times reported that the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, is working on an online crypto trading platform.

According to The New York Times’ sources, ICE has been in talks with legacy banks and institutional clients to explore trading Bitcoin using swap contracts. These contracts would give the exchange regulatory protection under the CFTC’s trading laws.

 
😠BAD: 

Colorado Token Bill Voted Down in State Senate

A bill that would have turned Colorado into a haven for ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings)  failed to pass the third reading by a narrow margin of 18-17, the Denver Post reports. The approval of the bill by the Senate was overturned when a couple of state senators called for a re-vote.

The HB 1426 concerns the exemption of virtual currency from regulation under the "Money Transmitters Act.” If passed into law, the bill would have distinguished between utility tokens and securities tokens, letting the former be considered as “collectible stamps,” while the latter tokens (distributed for financial gains) would be deemed securities.

The summary of the bill reads:

The bill defines “open blockchain token” and exempts certain open blockchain tokens from the definition of “security” for purposes of the “Colorado Securities Act.”

Coinhive Code Infects Websites

A huge number of websites that use the Drupal content management system were infected with Coinhive, a JavaScript software used to remotely mine the altcoin Monero through a website browser. Troy Mursch, a security researcher at Bad Packets, reported that the mining code was detected on more than 300 government and university websites worldwide.


👹
UGLY: 

Bill Gates Slams Bitcoin

Once again, Microsoft’s founder and billionaire Bill Gates criticized Bitcoin.

“As an asset class, you're not producing anything and so you shouldn't expect it to go up,” said Gates on CNBC. “It's kind of a pure 'greater fool theory' type of investment.”

Further, he added, “I agree I would short it if there was an easy way to do it.”

Gates’s views seem to be aligned with Warren Buffett’s claims that Bitcoin is “probably rat poison squared.”

Bank of America Speaks Against Crypto

This week, Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, talked about cryptocurrencies on CNBC's "Squawk Box.” Bessant negatively spoke about Bitcoin’s lack of transparency, which is, in fact, a deliberate design characteristic prompted by the 2008 financial crisis. Bessant said:

As a payment system, I think it's troubling, because the foundation of the banking system is on the transparency between the sender and the receiver, and cryptocurrency is designed to be nothing of the sort. In fact [it's] designed to be not transparent.

Bessant acknowledges that the Bank of America’s customers are free to choose to invest in Bitcoin. She warns, however, that they cannot buy cryptos with their credit cards, saying:

Just like we don't allow stocks to be purchased on our credit cards, we're not going to allow cryptos or other currencies to be purchased on our credit cards.

 

News 🆕

Facebook Considers Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Despite the ban on cryptocurrency ads on the site, Facebook is looking into blockchain for its own benefit and development. The head of Facebook’s Messenger, David Marcus, announced this week that he is setting up “a small group to explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook.” At the same time, Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency.

On his own Facebook page, Zuckerberg states, “I'm interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”

A New Version of Casper for Ethereum Network Is Released

Casper, a code upgrade for the Ethereum network, was released on May 8 on Github. The improved version aims to enhance the economic consensus protocol. The Casper code combines Proof-of-Work (PoW) with Proof-of-Stake (PoS), with the eventual goal for Ethereum to switch entirely to PoS.

Developer Danny Ryan notes that the release will allow auditors and existing Ethereum clients to review the code and experiment with integrating it into their software.

"More than just the research team is using the contract now—auditors, client devs, etc.—so we wanted to start issuing clearer versioning and changelogs to help everyone stay organized,” Ryan writes on Reddit.

 Disclosure

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