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Second, we’re expanding the newsletter to twice weekly, with a bit more token discussion coming to you every Wednesday. Look for it in your inbox this week. While you’re looking forward to that, why not take a glance back at last Wednesday’s?
There are two points when you fill find yourself needing telegram. First, most token sales use Telegram for their “shareholder” communications. For example, you’ll find things like this room for the IOTeX ICO which forwards you directly to the room. Further, you’ll find a number of interesting rooms dedicated to investing.
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This week’s quick thought
Everyone is still trying to grasp what crypto means for the future, what blockchain means, and how best to apply it to their category or space. Atari is setting up a token to use for in-game currency
Three token sales to watch 👁️
Zenome starts out from the idea of storing DNA on a blockchain, and says that this has value to the consumer who does it, science, and business (pharma, for one.) The benefits to the consumer are potential quality of life improvements based on your DNA, receiving clinical info based on your DNA, or even dating based on DNA and “genetic compatibility.” I’m not sure what that is, I dated the old-fashioned way, by embarrassing myself. The benefits to science by creating a wide population with real-time feedback from participants makes a lot more sense to me, as does the benefit to pharma, or the development of personalized products based on genetic insights. This sort of thing is already going on, with 23andMe giving access to 10k people’s DNA to Pfizer, or Genentech’s partnership with 23andMe for a Parkinson’s study. The founders of Zenome claim to have done a much smaller scale partnership with Marmite, looking at genetics and taste testing. The point of putting it on a blockchain is to recognize that DNA information is sensitive and needs to be protected in a sensible manner. Here, the genetic data is stored in the blockchain, personal data is stored locally, not on the network. Rather than the genetic testing outfit negotiating the sale of info, the person controls their data. Check out the whitepaper.
Vanywhere is a skill-sharing platform, where people create a profile advertising their expertise, and people can approach them for advice and pay them in tokens for it. It already exists as a platform, and while there are other solutions out there attempting to do similar things, this one has a decent amount of users. Any average person with a skill or knowledge in something to get paid. It’s live on the App Store, and the proof of concept was people offering tech support for Apple products. While I don’t know how many payments have been to “skillers” with it, it’s got legs. If you were a foodie, you could offer advice on meal planning or where to eat, if you were a fashion guru, you could offer a Facetime call consult while the person asking advice was shopping. The whitepaper is ready for your reading.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 😊😠👹
😊GOOD: Joining Singapore and Australia, Swiss banking culture seems to have completely embraced cryptocurrency. Switzerland gives regulatory clarity to the booming ICO market and jumps on the bandwagon to become a “Crypto Nation.” The published ICO guidelines give security to the emerging and existing startups and protect investors by providing “a reliable minimum set of information” to base investments on. With such governmental support and a self-explanatory business hub called Crypto Valley located in Zug, Switzerland now may actually be the best crypto ecosystem in the world. But if you thought that favorable tax laws and advantageous cryptocurrency regulations may establish a “Swiss crypto tax heaven” for US businesses, be ready for a surprise. The IRS is ready to hunt. Armed with a specialized team of experts, is it bound to look down the blockchain to investigate crypto tax evasion crimes worldwide.
😠BAD: A number of Coinbase’s customers complained due to overcharges and disappearance of funds from their accounts. The complaints have spiked this week and people claim to have lost hundreds of dollars. Coinbase’s employee disclosed on reddit the underlying cause to be the recent MCC code change for digital currency purchases. The company pleads innocent and blames the resulting Visa glitch. Coinbase promised refunds and, accordingly, their blog post dated Feb 17th reads, “All reversal transactions have now been issued.” If you’ve been affected by this issue, I’d recommend you contact Coinbase’s support team as soon as possible.
👹UGLY: Polish National Central Bank (NBP) and Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) paid taxpayers’ money to fund a social media campaign to smear cryptocurrencies. Through videos (“I Lost All Money,” or “10 differences between money and cryptocurrency that you need to know”) there are YouTubers promoting the Watch Out for Cryptocurrencies site, which claims cryptocurrency is not a currency at all, but a scam inviting theft and fraud that lacks acceptability worldwide. The campaign looks more like anti-crypto propaganda than just a warning against investing in virtual coin. Poland seems to lean towards China’s anti-crypto approach, but at least there’s no ban on ICO involved. Yet.
On Feb 14th, Coinbase launched Coinbase Commerce, which alongside Litepay, Bitpay, and Utrust is a step towards implementing cryptocurrency payment in the mainstream. The tool gives a PayPal-like function to accept BTC, BCH, ETH, and LTC. Shopify has already signed up, offering its users the Coinbase Commerce as an easy and quick alternative on their e-commerce platforms.
On Feb 14th, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) held a meeting of the Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) on the ever-growing cryptocurrency market and blockchain technology. The public and private sector figures locked heads to discuss possible regulations, and whether such would boost or hinder the crypto industry.
Brian Quintenz advocated for self-regulatory efforts, saying, "The CFTC should not attempt to make value judgments about which new products are worthwhile and which are not—the markets, investors, and consumers need to decide that for themselves."
In this sentiment the talks resulted in creation of subcommittees on cryptocurrencies and on the application of blockchain technology. This move reflects TAC’s hands-off approach of “watch and study” before introducing regulations, which was further emphasized by US Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce at the Munich Security Conference this week.
JP Morgan, whose own Jamie Dimon threatened to fire anyone at JPMorgan found trading cryptocurrencies, published a 71-page report that some are calling the “Bitcoin Bible.” The report lays out the utility for cryptocurrencies, as well as the challenges they face (displacing fiat currencies, notably.) They also recognize the problems crypto currently faces, including the volatility that prevents it from being used for regular monetary exchange. “Ultimately, we see Blockchain improving efficiency, which, through the mutualization of processes, should lower costs.” This should be required reading on the topic, in my opinion.
Atari has launched their own coin, called the Atari token. This feels a little like Kodak’s token launch. The coin is to be used on Infinity Networks, which is part-owned by Atari. Atari’s position is that blockchains and crypto are set to revolutionize in-game currency and transactions, and they don’t want to miss out on it.
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