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The Crypto Market Just Hit a Low for 2018

The total market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies just fell to its lowest point in 2018. The developments come after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delayed a decision on a proposed bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The news triggered a market reaction, ultimately sending the total value of all cryptocurrencies …

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Fed Up and Forking: Rival EOS Blockchains Are Becoming a Reality

It can be hard to keep track of all the struggles and controversies surrounding EOS. First came the stop-and-golaunch, followed by controversy over locked accounts – then more locked accounts, this time on the orders of an “arbitrator” that many in the community hadn’t realized existed. Next came a fake …

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Public Firm Becomes First to Launch an ICO in Singapore

An e-commerce platform that recently launched a token sale aimed to raise $50 million has become Singapore’s first public firm to hold an ICO. Y Ventures Group, which went public on the Stock Exchange of Singapore last year, announced a plan for creating a blockchain-based e-commerce system in July and …

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Regulated Trader Templum Hosts Security Token Sale for Luxury Resort

Token trading platform Templum Markets has launched a sale of a security token on behalf of a popular Colorado resort. Accredited investors can now indirectly own shares in the St. Regis Aspen Resort by purchasing so-called “Aspen coins” through the regulated broker, the company announced Wednesday. Aspen coins represent shares …

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Former S&P President Leads Seed Round for ICO Compliance Startup

Regtech and compliance startup iComply has just completed a seed funding round led by former Standard and Poor’s president Deven Sharma. The firm – which seeks to develop standard compliance tools and services for other blockchain startups and in particular those which launch initial coin offerings or ICOs – announced …

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Wanchain’s Bridge to the Ethereum Blockchain Is Now Open

Amber Baldet, former JPMorgan blockchain program lead (and current CEO of Clovyr), has expressed her doubts about the proliferation of blockchain protocols: “Each of these blockchains speaks a different language,” she said in April. Getting different blockchains to talk to one another has become a pressing issue, as more and …

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Ponzi Games Are Breaking Out on the Ethereum Blockchain

The hottest new apps on ethereum resemble an old favorite: the Ponzi scheme. At least that’s the early consensus on FOMO 3D and PoWH3D, two of the platform’s top three apps entering Tuesday. According to data website DappRadar, both games have amassed 20,000 ether ($9 million) in trading volume over …

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Ethereum’s Vision for Apps Is Only Growing Bolder

Borderless, permissionless and free from coercion. That’s the dream underlying web 3.0, in which unstoppable, decentralized applications (dapps) combine with web 2.0 technology, eventually corroding the power structures that traditional infrastructures encode. But that vision hasn’t come as fast as some expected or hoped, and moreover, some ethereum applications seem …

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Ethereum Is Testing Code for Its Next Hard Fork

Ethereum developers are already implementing code for Constantinople, the network’s next system-wide upgrade. The second part of a series of upgrades to make the ethereum network more efficient and less costly in terms of fees, Constantinople will be activated sometime before October’s Devcon4 ethereum conference, according to stakeholders during a …

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Monero-Style Privacy Is Ready for Ethereum – Who Will Implement It?

What if ethereum looked more like monero? Fusing the privacy features of the latter into ethereum would make many of the platform’s stakeholders, including developers who have been working on privacy-enhancing features for some time, excited. But privacy techniques are rarely utilized because of the serious trade-offs presented – such …

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BBVA Can’t Hold Cryptocurrency – And That’s a Problem

After becoming the first financial institution to combine public and private blockchains in a live transaction, Spanish multinational bank BBVA has hit something of a quandary. Specifically, it’s unsure how to take its forward-thinking work … forward. In the process of executing what was expected to be the third in …

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Ethereum Is Getting Its First Top-Level Domain Name

A new partnership will soon enable ethereum users to attach their addresses to a top-level internet domain name, making it easier to remember the identifiers associated with their assets, wallets and services. The Ethereum Name Service (ENS), which allows ethereum users to replace long addresses with “human readable names” attached …

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At Bitcoin Cash Birthday Bash, Crypto Embraces the Strange

Amid a floorshow of acrobats, cross-dressers and samurai dwarves, gambling pioneer turned cryptocurrency advocate Calvin Ayre boomed, "This is a great moment in the history of money."

It might sound a bit nonsensical, but it was far from fiction at a bitcoin cash birthday party in London last week, where a circus-meets-gypsy-themed party gathered the cryptocurrency's local enthusiasts in celebration of the one-year anniversary of its first block.

As the party proved, the block was a big one – not just in its 8 MB size, but for the crypto history books, so much so that a year later the memory of its birth remains.

So, too, however, does the controversy around the project, which while still one of the world's largest (securing $10.2 billion in value), continues to have an acrimonious relationship with those backing the blockchain from which it split.

Today, bitcoin cash boasts 32 MB blocks (compared to bitcoin's roughly 1 MB blocks), which according to enthusiasts at the #BitcoinRebirth party in London's West End will make the protocol better for use as an electronic currency.

That's been – rather controversially – the bitcoin cash contingent's main argument for some time, and as the party proved, they have no plan to give up the fight anytime soon.

"The other branch, it's not bitcoin technology anymore. They don't want bitcoin to be used as currency anymore; they want it to be used as digital gold," Ayre told CoinDesk.

He continued:

"I wish them good luck with it. It's just unfortunate they stole the bitcoin name when they did it."

Unveiled via a retro "Streetfighter" video during the event, the new bitcoin cash logo attempts to hammer home the message that the bitcoin name should be reclaimed, with a fighter using a samurai sword to cut the "cash" part of the project's logo to reveal tagline that concludes: "... because bitcoin cash is bitcoin."

The drivers

But that was far from the only strange occurrence of the evening. While the percussion of a traditional Chinese orchestra played in the background, Ayre explained why he believes that bitcoin cash has already been a success.

According to him, a lot of bitcoin projects were canned once it became clear that microtransactions were no longer tenable using that blockchain. But now, those projects are popping back up, on bitcoin cash.

"Thankfully, it was only gone for a short period but that short period has probably held back the evolution of bitcoin as a currency and as a payment platform, and as a platform for other types of applications to run on top of it," he said.

Asked specifically about how bitcoin cash will entice merchants to adopt bitcoin cash, Ayre said there is a merchant program afoot with direct sales people educating large merchants.

However, he added, developed world merchant adoption is not the main driver. Instead, Ayre sees adoption growing in the developing world first.

"I think that will be people using bitcoin to solve problems for the unbanked with microtransactions, new applications," Ayre told CoinDesk. "In the developed world it's going to happen throughapplications being built on top of the bitcoin cash platform."

He continued:

"That is going to allow unique business models that couldn't exist before and could not exist on other platforms because they don't scale."

The guests

Elsewhere, attendees were unsurprisingly keen on the cryptocurrency. Elizabeth White, who founded the White Company, a crypto concierge service, was on hand to explain why she supports the technology.

Her company, which has handled more than $100 million in cryptocurrency sales of luxury items in the last year, started off accepting bitcoin, litecoin and ether, added stellar and then most recently added bitcoin cash. Because of that, White has begun to notice trends between each coins' users.

For example, bitcoin cash seems to be emerging as a popular choice with a lot of "fun" users, White told CoinDesk.

"While the ethereum people are more likely to be being paying their mom's rent," she said. Bitcoin cash "is used for things like Beyonce and Jay-Z World Tour tickets, or people throwing parties on Greek Islands and buying Dom Perignon," she explained.

Still, the newly crypto rich and famous weren't the only ones in attendance.

Others at the event included developers and miners, but also some curious newbies, including members of a student lifestyle platform based in Manchester and the entrepreneurs behind a ticketing portal looking to accept cryptocurrency in the near future.

As such, it seems bitcoin cash is slowly, but surely attracting a new wave of potential cryptocurrency enthusiasts, ones that just might bring about another merchant rush like the one seen with bitcoin in 2014.

Bitcoin cash party image via Ian Allison for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Where Roads Can’t Reach, Blockchain Drones Just Might Travel

A metal frame with four small and two large propellers – carrying a container the size of a refrigerator – rises into the air with a roar, hovering above an empty road amidst snowy fields.

The video was shot on the airfield near the Russian city of Kazan, which is located to the south-east of Moscow, and the machine is a SKYF drone, designed by a team of Russian aviation engineers.

According to its makers, the drone can carry up to 880 pounds, travel as far as 220 miles and work up to 8 hours. And everything that happens to these drones is going to be recorded on the project's own blockchain, SKYFchain.

The SKYF team is trying to crack into a rapidly growing ecosystem, with PwC valuing the emerging global market for drones at over $127 billion in 2016. As of today, drones can only carry small objects, but the SKYF team aims to open a totally new market for heavy-duty cargo drones.

The idea is that they'll serve multiple purposes, such as delivering large amounts of cargo, fighting fires and spraying insecticides and fertilizers on agricultural lands.

SKYF is a decidedly Russian project. The drones are being produced domestically by OKB Aviareshenia Ltd., a subsidiary of British entity ARDN Technologies. Both entities were founded by the same team of engineers and tech entrepreneurs: Aleksander Timofeev and Ilya Rodin – managing partners of the FPI venture fund – engineers Dmitry Arsentyev, Marat Sabirov and Nail Zinnurov, and others.

To financially support the project, the team is holding an initial coin offering (ICO). In February, Skyfdrones Services OU, a company registered in Estonia by Alexander Timofeev, registered the token sale with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Form D (Rule 506(c)) exemption, declaring a goal to raise $30 million.

Recently, this plan was adjusted – thus far, the project has managed to raise around $6 million, and they plan to raise some $500,000 more before the end of the ICO. Timofeev told CoinDesk that 45 percent of the funds will be spent on R&D.

Trusted delivery

According to Ilya Rodin, SKYF's GR manager, the use of blockchain in this context is aimed at creating a trust layer between stakeholders, including public and private sector interests.

"We need a blockchain to create trust between the counterparts: the banks, leasing and insurance companies, drone manufacturers and users, government agencies, licensing bodies, self-regulating organizations, and so on," Rodin told CoinDesk.

The idea is that the data being stored will encompass various pieces of information about the drones. This includes information about what licenses the manufacturers possess, the drones' flight paths, their performance and data on the people operating them.

"Drones are a new thing, banks don't know how to evaluate them and calculate interest rates for them, how to monitor their use," added Olga Budnik, a PR director of ARDN. "So they would rather deny a loan or a leasing agreement than take a risk. And we give them a tool to follow the entire life of a drone."

The idea for the startup came about in 2014, when Dmitry Arsentyev was trying to create a flying motorbike – but in the end, he wound up working on an industrial drone with Sabirov and Zinnurov. Soon after, they got investment and support from FPI back in 2014, Inc. magazine wrote.

"Initially, the guys had a prototype of a self-piloting flying taxi," Alexander Timofeev explained. "We realized that the system was new and viable, but we convinced them to transform it into an unmanned cargo platform."

Timofeev believes that drone delivery will be in demand in the areas with bad road infrastructure. This is especially the case in places like northern Russia and the banks of large Siberian rivers, where bridges are far apart from one another and getting from one side to the other using road vehicles means miles of extra driving.

Putting drones to work

Even though things are in the early stage, the startup is pushing ahead with its ambitious plans for its blockchain-connected fleet.

At the heart of the project is the token, which the team says will serve a key role in managing the fleet.

"From the start of SKYFchain the SKYF drone autopilot will require authorization in the SKYFchain to lift off," the project's white paper states.

ARDN has manufactured three drones so far, but the plan is that, by 2021, there will be more than 1100 SKYF drones operating worldwide. Looking farther, the aim is for other manufacturers of air-borne, sea-borne, and ground-borne cargo drones to join the SKYFchain network.

And within that time, the project's backers hope to see as many as 12.5 million transactions made on their purpose-built blockchain.

What's more, company has already secured partnerships with Vietnamese port ITC, a Chinese delivery company ZTO Express and a number of Russian entities, including agricultural, delivery and oil and gas companies, as well as the Department of Transportation of the Far East region of Khabarovsk, ARDN says.

The parties involved have signed preliminary agreements to test the SKYF drones for possible applications in their businesses.

Drone image via SKYFchain website

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Blockchain Social Network Minds Is Migrating to Ethereum for Launch

Blockchain-based social network Minds is migrating its platform to the ethereum network, the startup announced Monday.

After roughly four-and-a-half months on its Rinkeby test network, the startup will be moving to ethereum for its full live launch. The firm claims to provide a censorship-resistant, accessible social network for users, especially those in potentially authoritarian nations, according to a press release.

The platform already sees around 500,000 daily page views, CEO Bill Ottman told CoinDesk. The platform also claims roughly 1.25 million registered users, about 75 percent of whom have already earned test tokens. These users will be eligible to receive the platform's live token via a free "airdrop" distribution as a result.

"We expect an overall increase in transactions, both on-chain and off-chain, due to the activation of token withdrawals, purchases and rewards," he said.

Ottman continued to say that the team had engineered a "hybrid on-chain, off-chain model" to ensure that the system can handle the volume Minds is seeing and to provide a simple user experience for crypto newcomers.

The on-chain and off-chain model will also help the platform handle large user volumes without congesting the ethereum network, according to the company.

Users can pay tokens to ensure a greater number of people see their posts, or earn tokens by interacting with content. Users can also use it to pay creators directly and subscribe to premium content.

Ottman said the use case has been popular on the testnet, predicting that the decentralized platform will become one of the more popular apps on ethereum as a result of the launch.

The CEO anticipated few issues ahead, saying "the only disruption will be a 24-hour pause in [peer-to-peer] transfers between users via our Wire and Boost features ... this is necessary only to ensure the airdrop to our beta users accurately reflects their prior token balance of earnings thus far."

Elizabeth McCauley, blockchain business developer and Minds adviser, said in the release:

"When governments crack down on free speech and team with centralized social media surveillance companies, [Minds] provides a refuge for individuals seeking an avenue for global interaction and idea exchange."

Ether on a keyboard image via CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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