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Porn Website Tube8 to Launch Blockchain Platform, Reward Views With Crypto Tokens

Porn website Tube8 has revealed plans to create a blockchain-based platform for users to earn crypto tokens as they watch and interact with Tube8 videos, according to Hard Fork, August 17.

The adult entertainment streaming site and subsidiary of Pornhub announced a partnership with Vice Industry Token (VIT), which will develop a tokenize platform for Tube8’s 10 million users and 150 million monthly website visits. The new system will reportedly be implemented by the end of the year.

As Robin Turner, the spokesperson for Tube8, told Hard Fork, the platform will gives users the chance to “get paid to consume our free content,” rather than users “having to fork over money to consume content, which some sites require.” He goes on to state:

“Considering the popularity of cryptocurrency right now, it only made sense to pay [users] for watching, and interacting with, our videos. We value their attention and want to keep them coming back for more!”

According to Turner, Tube8 believes that this new user-engagement model that allows users to earn Vice Tokens — which essentially operate as utility tokens — will be “a paradigm shift in how people consume adult entertainment.” This strategy is designed to keep viewers on their site, as Turner explains to Hard Fork:

“Whereas before users would log in, watch a few videos and leave, VIT incentivizes them to create an account and interact with the content to generate Vice Tokens.”

As with many platforms, Tube8’s plans to tokenize could suffer from problems of scale. VIT is an ERC20 token based on the Ethereum blockchain, which presently can handle about 15 transactions per second. With the current number of daily visitors, the only way to tokenize the site without choking up the blockchain, would be to run the reward system on a centralized server.

VIT has already built up a list of other partners in the adult entertainment industry, including StormyDaniels.com — the pornstar who claims to have had an affair with U.S. President Donald Trump.

But as Cointelegraph recently reported, VIP is now engulfed in a heated dispute with perhaps the most recognizable name in the adult entertainment industry, Playboy. After Playboy accused Canadian firm Global Blockchain Technologies (BLOC) of fraud and breach of contract, VIT was caught in the crossfire. VIT’s CEO Stuart Duncan is now accusing Playboy of taking “the equivalent of millions of dollars,” according to an AVN report.

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Playboy Lawsuit: How Blockchain Developer Failed The Vice Industry Token

As the Los Angeles Times reported on Aug. 14, Playboy — one of the pioneers in global erotica — is suing the Canadian firm Global Blockchain Technologies (BLOC), claiming that it failed to integrate blockchain technology into Playboy’s online media channels.

Playboy Enterprises has filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, and the accusations include fraud and breach of contract, which the two companies drew up in March. BLOC representatives dismissed the lawsuit as a “normal dispute” between the two businesses, rejected the charge of fraud as “frivolous” and claimed it has “a strong defence to the action.”

The blockchains system that BLOC has failed to implement in Playboy’s sites is the Vice Industry Token — a promising token reward concept with a mission to create the network of affiliates, of whom PlayboyTV is with a little doubt the most renowned one. Now, the Vice Industry Token blames Playboy for taking ‘‘the equivalent of millions of dollars’’ and giving absolutely nothing.

Get paid for watching porn or for interacting with it?

The Vice Industry Token (VIT) is basically a utility token designed to be used in the universe of adult industry websites. Its foundation is built on a fork of the Steem open-source blockchain that was modified “to meet the specific needs of the adult content industry.” The project’s mechanics is described in the catchy motto “Get Paid to Watch Porn” and suggests the reward for those who engage in social activities on porn sites. As the VIT white paper declares, “in order to create rewards, the viewer is prompted to perform PoB [proof-of-brain] and PoV [proof-of-view] functions by liking content, upvoting it [and] making comments.”

Despite focusing on adult content, Vice Industry Token’s ambitions are far larger — its main page also mentions the cannabis and gambling industries, somehow promising a brand new tool to consume goods and services which are often inaccessible “in developing countries” due to the moral reasons. As the VIT statement goes:

“Our goal is to level the playing field internationally and make all sorts of content not currently available outside of developed countries available to anyone from any country anytime and anyplace.”

The official list of the affiliates at this point doesn’t fully correspond to this global framework, as it is still limited to the number of adult sites such as AnalX, DDBusty, Exxxtasy and even StormyDaniels.com — not to mention PlayboyTV. It’s important to note that VIT claimed to be integrated with popular porn streaming Tube8 — with more than six million visits daily — by Aug. 1. And on Aug. 10, Tube8 confirmed this claim by announcing that it has entered into an agreement with VIT to tokenize its platform.

VIT raised $22 million in Ethereum in the first 24 hours of its Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Now it stands at the rank of 760 on Coinmarketcap, with its market cap priced at $1.36 million (by the press time).

A partnership went wrong

Global Blockchain Technologies, a Vancouver-based company that specializes in collaboration with existing businesses to build blockchain applications and cryptocurrencies base, announced its partnership with the Playboy Enterprise on May 31. Back then, BLOC chairman Steven Nerayoff said:

“As one of the earliest adopters of blockchain technology, this is a thrilling project to be part of. Most cryptocurrencies fail because they are unable to match up with a real-world use case, which resigns them to a fate of being nothing more than an experiment of speculation and baseless hype-building. In this situation, Playboy specifically benefits from having a cryptocurrency like VIT on its side. […] For VIT, being part of Playboy is a huge step in real-world cryptocurrency use that will translate to success.”

Per the terms of the agreement, BLOC obliged to integrate the digital wallet for VIT on Playboy’s media sites, provide the technical assistance and rebrand the VIT landing page with any mention of porn removed. Also, the blockchain developer would pay Playboy $4 million by July 16 for using the famous brand in its marketing activities. None of these obligations were fulfilled, according to Playboy lawsuit.

Playboy.TV was expected to be the first of the company’s platforms to feature the new wallet, which would enable the online platform to accept VIT and other cryptocurrency tokens.

The third side of the conflict

On Aug. 15, adult news outlet AVN reported that the Vice Industry Token, as a company, plans to seek restitution of its own after “purportedly losing millions of crypto tokens in a crumbling deal between Playboy Enterprises and Canadian-based Global Blockchain Technologies.” The blockchain company is strategizing with lawyers to take action within the coming week for remuneration of its losses. As VIT CEO Stuart Duncan told AVN:

“I’ve read the complaint that Playboy has with Global Blockchain, and I’m really disappointed in Playboy. because we gave them millions and millions and millions of tokens, [and] they’ve never reached out to us once to try and get anything tokenized with their website[…] It makes me think that maybe we’ve got a case for a lawsuit against them, because they’ve taken the equivalent of millions of dollars from us, and we’ve received absolutely nothing and no benefit from it whatsoever.”

Duncan called himself “the collateral damage in this thing,” and stated that he doesn’t know the details of agreement between Playboy and BLOC. VIT’s CEO also specified that it is solely Playboy he’s planning to sue in the first place:

“I will be doing something, I just don’t know what it is I’ll be doing yet. If those two companies can’t resolve their problems and fix things with me, Playboy’s going to have a big problem.”

Cointelegraph have contacted Scott Duncan to clarify the aspects of VIT’s relationship with the Playboy Enterprise. We hope to get back with more details in our next piece on the subject. The reason why VIT’s — a blockchain company itself — site should have been rebranded by a blockchain contractor of Playboy remains a serious question.

Adult industry takes it slow with crypto

The adult entertainment industry is known as an unexpectedly influential player when it comes to the new technologies. It has pioneered the internet and played a major role in creating a demand for fast broadband connections while the bright future of the web remained undecided after the crash of the dotcom bubble. As Pornhub Vice President Corey Price righteously stated:

“History has proven that the adult entertainment industry plays a critical role in adoption for innovative technology. We saw that with VHS, Beta Max, credit card payment icons and, most recently, VR goggles. We expect to see widespread adoption of crypto and blockchain in short order.”

This statement by Price came on April 17, with an announcement of the big partnership between Pornhub as the absolute leader of adult content streaming and cryptocurrency Verge (XVG). From the time, Verge became a method of payment on Pornhub — as well as its sister sites, Brazzers and Nutaku. Pornhub called the move “critical” for crypto adoption, though it didn’t save XVG from two major hacks in one month and consistent price falls.

Apart from that, the adult entertainment industry can’t impress with a major involvement into the crypto. Pornhub also started to accept Tron and ZenCash, while there is a number of other adult sites that accept Bitcoin and altcoins as a payment method — Naughty America and Chaturbate among them. There’s also a number of ICOs that are claiming to provide the solutions for the different branches of the industry, but the Vice Industry Token remains the first and last project initiated by the big and well-renowned adult enterprise. And regardless of the Los Angeles Supreme Court’s decision, the creation of the VIT network could still become an important precedent, if it is to happen.

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Top 10 Cryptocurrencies See Green After a Tumultuous Week

Bitcoin (BTC)–After one of the hardest hitting weeks to the crypto markets in an otherwise bearish year, the top ten currencies by market capitalization appear to be in recovery.

On Monday, the total market capilization of cryptocurrency dipped below $200 billion for the first time since last year, signaling a relative low from January 2018’s near-trillion dollar valuation. Altcoins in particular experienced a severe decline, with currencies across the board posting double-digit losses throughout the week.

Ethereum, an otherwise stalwart coin that has both developers and investors excited over, dropped to a valuation not seen since last year, making for a full retraction in value following the bull run to start the year. Various analysts disagreed over the exact reason for the plunging price of Ether, but two predominant theories emerged. The first was proposed by Biswas Das, director of crypto hedge fund BloomWater Capital, who blamed the ICO market for causing a decline in Ethereum. According to Das, the falling crypto markets in addition to jumpy venture capitalists were leading to a mass sell-off in the Ether collected for ICOs–in part to cover costs, but also to lock in profits ahead of a total market collapse,

“These startups are raising a lot of funds but they don’t have treasury management or enough cash management experience, so they’re selling too early and causing a lot of pressure in the market. It was fine last year but right now the the market is so fragile that it causes a lot of pressure.”

Arthur Hayes, CEO and co-founder of crypto exchange BitMex, echoed the sentiment that ICOs were hurting the price of Ethereum, making a bold claim that he believed price depression would lead to Ether dropping below $100.

While Ethereum benefited through most of 2017 and early 2018 from the massive boom in ICO development, of which almost every project is built upon the ERC-20 platform, the plunging price of crypto has led the initial coin offering venture capitalists to force sell Ether. However, in a statement to CCN, eToro’s Mati Greenspan blamed the sinking price of cryptocurrency and Ethereum on a strengthening dollar. According to Greenspan, efforts to stave off inflation in the United States is leading to a stronger dollar, which means investors have less incentive to shelter their funds from inflation in cryptocurrency, particularly with the massive price volatility currently wreaking havoc on the market,

“As the United States moves to tighten its economy and avoid strong inflation, they’re taking action that is strengthening the Dollar. Because the US Dollar is the global reserve currency, many smaller economies rely heavily on a stable exchange rate with the greenback. So too, as the Dollar is being seen as a stable store of value at the moment, there really isn’t much incentive for people to store their money in digital assets.”

Most of the market is still hinging upon a decision by the United States Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) over whether to approve a Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund. The belief is still that institutional investors and most Wall Street players are waiting for greater government regulation in the cryptomarkets before entering, which has produced a large amount of interest over ETFs.

As of writing, total market capitalization was holding at $210 billion.

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Tron (TRX) To Complete the Mainnet Upgrade on August 30th with The Final Virtual Machine Version

After Justin Sun and the Tron (TRX) Foundation launched the Testnet of the Tron Virtual Machine (TVM) on the 30th of June, Justin wrote an open letter to the Tron Community explaining that the final part of the Mainnet will be completed on the 30th of August when the Foundation launches the official version of the TVM. In the letter Justin stated that:

Today, we launched the beta version of TVM. In the following month, TVM will be tested by all the TRON community members. On August 30th SGT, TRON will complete its MainNet upgrade and launch the official version of TVM.

The current TVM is a beta version that allows the global community to test the TVM and find bugs in preparation for the final launch of the official TVM. This way, the final version is more secure and optimized for the creation of DApps that are slated as being the final piece of the puzzle in making the Tron Project great. Once DApps start running on the Mainnet, the sky is the limit for the Tron Platform and TRX coin.

Justin’s Most Recent Interview With The Crypto Lark

Youtube’s The Crypto Lark managed to get a one-on-one interview with Justin Sun where he asked about the final release of the TVM to which Justin answered:

Actually…we are ready for the launch already. But we are doing a lot of the tests…like the pressure test…volume test…to make sure it works very well when we launch. Our Mainnet was already launched on the 25th of June, but right now we are building the Virtual Machine on the Mainnet. The Virtual Machine is [where developers] can develop very interesting Decentralized Applications, DApps, on the network.

Further dissecting Justin’s words, we find that with the complete infrastructure of the Tron network complete, the stage is set for amazing DApps to be created on the platform. With Tron being 80 times faster than Ethereum’s network, developers are sure to start creating DApps on the Tron platform immediately. There is also the possibility of the Tron Network being capable of implementing smart contracts for ICOs making the future even greater for the project and coin.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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You Can Now Tip Using Tron (TRX) on Twitter, Further Boosting Crypto Adoption

Social media tipping used to be the arena for the cryptocurrencies of XRP, Reddcoin (RDD) and Nano (NANO). But Tron (TRX) has made an entry into the social media tipping space and aims at changing it in a big way as shall be elaborated briefly.

In the case of XRP, you can tip a user in the social platforms of Reddit, Twitter and Discord. Reddcoin (RDD) on the other hand has a far wider reach with users being able to tip on Twitter, Reddit, Telegram and most recently, Youtube. For the cryptocurrency of Nano (NANO), you can tip on Discord, Reddit and Twitter.

So How Do You Tip on Twitter using TRX?

Tipping on Twitter using TRX has been made possible using @GoSeedit. A good video has been uploaded on Youtube by Crypto Guy in ZA explaining everything. The video can be found below.

[embedded content]

Setting up for Tipping using @GoSeedit

Let us recap on how we can do it using @GoSeedit

  1. Visit GoSeedit.io
  2. Click on ‘Login’ to log in with your twitter account
  3. Make sure you ‘Authorize’ GoSeedit to use your account
  4. Once your have your wallet ready, you can send a tip by replying to a twitter message in the following format: +(amount) @goseedit for example, +20 @goseedit
  5. Another option is to tip directly using the twitter handle of the user you want to tip. The format is as follows: @(username) +(amount) @goseedit  for example, @John +20 @goseedit

More instructions can be found in the screenshot below courtesy of @WOLFOFMYST

More information on GoSeedit

The fact that you can tip on Twitter using XRP, RDD, NANO and now TRX, is proof positive evidence that cryptocurrencies are further gaining adoption in day to day activities in social media networks. Rather than just liking and retweeting a valuable tweet, you can now appreciate the user more with a tip. As a result, we will see more and more users thriving to create worthy content on the social media platforms in a manner that will invoke some sort of revenue.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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5 Reasons Why XRP is Still A Better Bet Than Other Alts and even Bitcoin (BTC)

The recent announcement that Ripple has partnered with the three exchanges of Bittrex, Bitso and Coins.ph, is partly the reason XRP has recovered from one of its lowest lows this year. August 14th found XRP valued at $0.26 that even John Bollinger – inventor of Bollinger Bands – was more or less certain that XRP HODLers would soon head for the hills and flash dump their loot. Mr. Bollinger tweeted the following:

Resurgence of XRP

But XRP was not going to die without a fight. Just yesterday, August 18th, it was valued at $0.37 which is a 42.3% gain from the lows on August 14th. XRP is currently valued at $0.347 and up 10% in the last 24 hours.

So why is XRP a better bet than all Alt coins and even Bitcoin (BTC)

Firstly, all the attention is on Bitcoin (BTC); the CBOE ETF; as well as the Bakkt company by the Intercontinental Exchange. Bitcoin has stolen the show and even increased its dominance in the markets to over 50%. Everyone is eyeing for BTC to make some major moves. Once it does so, alts usually follow suit and do massive gains that are greater than those of BTC.

Therefore, XRP is sure to gain more relative to the expected BTC performance in the markets. Hypothetically buying XRP at $0.35 and having it make it to $0.90, is a gain of 164%. BTC cannot do a similar gain in value in the same time span.

Secondly, the Ripple company has already convinced the global banks that its software solutions of xRapid, xVia, xCurrent and RippleNet are far more faster and efficient than traditional SWIFT. Brad Garlinghouse was quoted back in June as stating that dozens of banks will be using their products by 2019. This means that xRapid – that uses XRP – will be one of those solutions. Demand for XRP will go up as is expected be seen with  Bittrex, Bitso and Coins.ph providing instant liquidity for XRP.

Thirdly, the XRP community is like no other. They support the coin and the Ripple company through thick and thin. The XRP community has even petitioned Binance, via Twitter, to add XRP as a base currency on the exchange. This means they are very much proactive. Which means they are buying and HODLing. XRP can only continue to increase in value with less of the digital asset in circulation.

Fourthly, rumor has it that Ripple wants to merge all three products of xVia, xRapid and xCurrent into one convenient solution for banks and remittance service providers. This means that once again, XRP will be the utility coin to facilitate transactions in all three Ripple products thus driving up demand for the digital asset.

Fifthly, the current CTO at Ripple, David Schwartz, has been put forth by many observant crypto-enthusiasts, as the perfect fit for being the real Satoshi Nakamoto. One recent tweet summarizes the facts as follows:

In conclusion, the digital asset of XRP has a lot going for it as we walk into the second half of 2018. The recent market decline by the delayed ETF, has contributed to the entire crypto-market reaching the lowest of lows this year. Some have argued that we have reached bottom; others are for the suggestion that cryptocurrencies do not need an ETF. Either way, the only way is up for XRP and the crypto-markets moving forward.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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More Excitement in Q3 of 2018 as Bitfinex Is Working on A Decentralized Exchange Built on EOS

Just yesterday, Ethereum World News wrote about how the Tron (TRX) Community was excited on the possibility of TRXMarket launching a Decentralized Exchange for future tokens created on the Tron Network. The same TRXMarket is also running for election as a Super Representative further proving that it will be independent of Justin Sun and the Tron Foundation. This is as it should be; when we remember that the Tron project wants to decentralize the web.

When the article containing the above information was posted on Reddit, one Redditor was quick to point out that EOS and Bitfinex were collaborating to build a decentralized exchange. The exact words of Redditor NickT300 were as follows:

EOS is going to have 2-3 Pure Decentralized Exchange Platforms coming out this year. Bitfinex is coming out with one called EOSFinex. No more middle man, no more needing to upload your ID, photographic documentation. NOTHING.

EOSFINEX

In an announcement back in February, Bitfinex announced that it was working on building a high performance Decentralized Exchange on the EOS.IO platform. EOSfinex is meant to combine the scalability and speed of EOS with Bitfinex’s industry experience to deliver an “on chain” exchange designed to offer a fast, transparent and trustless platform for the trading of digital assets.

Bitfinex CEO, J.L Van Der Valde would go on to state that:

Block.one continues to display an unwavering dedication to improving blockchain scalability through the EOS.IO platform and it is our hope that this collaboration will allow significant advancement for all decentralised exchange

About eosfinex.com

Further investigating the information, we find that the EOSfinex exchange is currently under development but you can submit your email to get updated on the progress. A screenshot of the website can be found below.

EOS Website. Source, eosfinex.com

Centralized Exchanges need to Evolve or Perish

The continual news of Decentralized Exchanges being developed is a considerable threat to Centralized exchanges. More so since they have proven to be vulnerable to hacks as was the case with CoinCheck and Bithumb just to name a few. There is also the concept of anonymity that Centralized exchanges lack. Once decentralized exchanges are fully functional, we might see a mass exodus of traders from traditional exchanges, to these new platforms.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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Bitcoin (BTC) and the Crypto Markets Do Not Need An ETF To Be Great

The crypto-markets are in the green for another day and its exciting as well as very welcoming. Many traders and HODLers had more or less wondered if the downward spiral that was catalyzed by the SEC postponement of an ETF decision, was ever going to end. The lowest point came when the total market capitalization stood at $189 Billion on the 14th of August. It has since rebounded by a cool $25 Billion since then (13.2%) and at the moment of writing this. Bitcoin (BTC) is currently trading at $6,531 and up 10% from its recent low of $5,900 on the same 14th of August.

Our favorite alternative coins are also in the green with XRP leading the pack by doing 10% in 24 hours and currently trading at $0.347. Many XRP fans were worried that total capitulation by HODLers was in the offing if the downward trend was not broken by a market recovery and/or news that Ripple has partnered with Bittrex, Bitso and Coins.ph. Ethereum is also recovering and currently trading at $311 after touching ominous levels of $256 on the 14th of August.

Do we really need an ETF?

It is therefore with the organic recovery of our favorite digital assets that we can conclude that Bitcoin (BTC) and the crypto-markets do not need a Bitcoin (BTC) ETF to be great. The crypto-verse was great even before Wallstreet showed an interest in the markets. The communities of the corresponding coins and blockchain projects made the ecosystem thrive through the usual discussions of blockchain technology and what each coin or token was going to solve for the society.

Double Edged Sword that Bakkt

Caitlin Long, a 22 year Veteran at Wallstreet and active in Bitcoin since 2012, believes that the Bakkt company about to be launched in November is a double edged sword for the crypto-verse and general financial system. She stated that:

This is a major step in the mainstreaming of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. But it’s also a double-edged sword, because it’s likely the beginning of Wall Street creating financial claims to bitcoin out of thin air (and not backed by actual bitcoins), which could offset some of Bitcoin’s algorithmically-enforced scarcity.

In conclusion, the crypto community has always held its own in the crypto markets. Whenever there was a decline, it would soon correct itself for the crypto-community was confident enough to believe in Bitcoin and other digital assets. Now, with Wallstreet walking in with ETFs and Bakkt, the crypto community has once again fallen victim to the old ways of thinking that the big financial firms will make the industry great. As a matter of fact, Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto to bypass the control of the financial institutions. Therefore, they are not a necessity in making BTC and the crypto markets great.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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Can Security Tokens Save Crypto From the Bear Market Blues?

“Security tokens will save crypto.”

That’s what Trevor Koverko, CEO of the crypto project Polymath, told CoinDesk at a blockchain technology festival in Toronto this week. There, tokenized dividends were the week’s hot topic, even despite the bear market in August in which bitcoin and ether prices dipped to below $6,000 and $300, respectively.

But Koverko was far from alone in his views. Alan Wunsche, CEO of the crypto startup TokenFunder and co-founder of the industry consortium Blockchain Canada, told CoinDesk he believes tokenized assets are the future of capital markets.

From Fintech Canada to the Blockchain Futurist Conference, hundreds of people were buzzing about how Canadian regulators are allowing a few heavily regulated startups to sell tokenized securities to retail investors and institutional investors alike, as long as issuers conduct thorough know-your-customer checks and disclose numerous risks.

On Thursday, Polymath even announced several startups will launch security tokens through its blockchain marketplace. Further, its partner CORL, an investment startup among the announcement cohort, plans to distribute monthly earnings to investor ethereum wallets directly via smart contracts. TokenFunder took the same approach with its regulator-approved token sale in April.

Koverko said tokens are decoupling from “risky” transactional assets like bitcoin, which he believes are currently backed by speculative value and not “anything real” regulators can measure. However, he is hardly the first to suggest token startups and bitcoin projects are diverging, both culturally and legally.

Bitcoin Core developer Eric Lombrozo tweeted his belief in May that while the cryptocurrency movement is about advancing self-sovereignty, token projects focus on tokenizing equity and physical goods.

“It’s not about the techy cypherpunk movement at all. It’s about yielding to the man. We have to obey the rules,” Koverko said, adding the sheer scale of new investment offerings is exciting in its own distinct way. “We doubled the market for security tokens overnight.”

In interview, Canadian parliament member Dan Albas said lawmakers are reviewing regulatory standards related to anti-money laundering checks, keeping cryptocurrency in mind. He expects more know-your-customer requirements are in the pipeline for Canadian bitcoin projects as well.

He told CoinDesk:

“You cannot just have a scanned copy of someone’s driver’s license and a picture of them and claim you know your client. We need to bring the norms and standards of the Canadian financial industry to facilitate more choice in the market.”

Yet not everyone is on board with efforts to institutionalize Toronto’s blockchain scene.

Crypto veteran Joseph Weinberg, co-founder of the brokerage startup Paycase and chairman of the digital identity solutions startup Shyft that Polymath is also partnering with for token offerings, told CoinDesk overzealous regulation could “kill the whole ecosystem.”

Lessons from ethereum

Lawmakers might be prudent to recall lessons from Toronto’s crypto history.

Toronto was the birthplace of ethereum, but Albas speculated the Ethereum Foundation was founded in Switzerland because that jurisdiction has more lenient tax and regulatory obligations. As such, many believe the regulation craze now sweeping Canada could make or break Toronto’s future as an open source community hub.

“I think many of the [ethereum] founders and employees actually live in Toronto,” Albas said. “That signals to me there is something in the Canadian system that didn’t facilitate their growth dreams.”

Albas said he hopes fellow lawmakers will ask whether there is evidence Ontario’s different approach to such policies actually benefits the public. Although, as a conservative member of the House Finance Committee he favors minimal oversight, Albas will face an uphill battle.

Weinberg, who works with local regulators in addition to advising regulatory bodies abroad, described the working draft of a new proposal by Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre as “insanity” that could have “royally screwed” the local blockchain industry.

The draft guidelines would have required crypto startups involved with any transactions worth more than $10,000 to adhere to even stricter standards, handing over indiscriminate customer data to regulators on a routine basis. Backlash from the crypto community forced lawmakers to reconsider these measures.

In the meantime, Weinberg remains cautiously optimistic about the prospect for both cypherpunk and institutional blockchain innovation in Toronto. Comparing the local scene to Silicon Valley or New York City, Weinberg said Canadian competitors are more likely to collaborate. He told CoinDesk:

“The most interesting thing about Toronto, and Canada more broadly, is despite this regulatory pushback, or in a way it’s actually representative of it, is that because Canada is so small we have a very good ability to work together.”

Image via Leigh Cuen 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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Non-Believable Tokens: The 7 Strangest Crypto Collectibles Explained

As they say, what’s weird in tech today just might be tomorrow’s next big thing.

If that’s the case, the world of digital, cryptographic collectibles may be high on the list of potential disruptive innovations. After all, where else can you “breed” digital items and come out with an ugly cat all your own?

It’s user experiences like this, which began with Axiom Zen’s collectible CryptoKitties, that have technology enthusiasts talking excitedly about the future that could be enabled by non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or unique digital items tradable on a blockchain.

The first project to use ethereum’s ERC-721 standard, CryptoKitties has since been rolled out into a standalone company with backing from some of the industry’s top investors, while NFTs themselves have become one of tech’s hottest buzzwords. (Coinbase Ventures’ very first investment was in a sort of eBay for NFTs, after all.)

In other words, CryptoKitties has been seen as a harbinger of things to come for blockchain believers, one that opens up new possibilities in the world of video games, real estate and precious metals, among other things.

For those keeping score at home, though, these things are still just super weird. Comparing the state of play to social media, we might very well be in the Six Degrees and Makeout Club days (i.e. way before people got it and Facebook became one of the biggest companies in the world).

With that in mind, we decided to go out looking for some of the stranger, most creative NFTs.

Here’s seven that looked like they could be ones for the history books, if not always for the right reasons:

CryptoCrystals

CryptoKitties introduced the idea tokens could breed and create totally new tokens, and lots of the new projects are now coming up with different ways to play around with that idea.

CryptoCrystals, for instance, breeds “sentient metals” into new cartoon characters that evoke geological imagery. With CryptoCrystals, “breeding” is called “melting” – as in the crystals are melted together.

The way to get fresh crystals is to go “mining,” but it’s not mining like on bitcoin or ethereum (where your computer does work to secure the network). Instead, users just buy a sort of token called a “pickaxe” from the company and use it. This generates a variable amount of crystals. (It’s like opening a pack of cards.)

The company behind the game makes its money from selling the pickaxes (sharing a portion with the Ethereum Foundation, voluntarily, to support the network’s growth). The rest of the operations in the game cost no more than their gas price.

There are 100 kinds of crystals out there and a finite supply. Further, pickaxes will produce half as much crystals with each passing year.

CryptoVoxels

This one is for folks that grew up on “Sim City.”

Indie game developer Ben Nolan was trying to create virtual worlds people could own and explore, when he realized that the blockchain made it possible to improve the user experience of that very task. From that inspiration came CryptoVoxels, a three-dimensional space visible with virtual reality goggles.

“We have about 100 parcels sold (average price 0.16 ETH) in the origin city, about 100,000 square feet of development,” Nolan told CoinDesk in an email.

The business model is selling these original pieces of land, as well as some other digital objects that add character to the users experience, such as special hats for their avatars.

Users can also build on their land, adding buildings and structures. Someday, there could also be color. (Right now, everything is black and white.)

Nolan says the community has showed good activity in its Discord channel, and that they are starting to see person-to-person sales of parcels on the secondary market.

Like many of these projects, its working with one of the Ebays-for-NFTs, OpenSea.

HyperDragons

Lots of the early NFT projects are on some level or another imitations of Pokemon (cute creatures that can also battle each other to get tougher and cooler).

HyperDragons takes advantage of decentralization, though, by interacting with another team’s project. In this way, HyperDragons can “eat” CryptoKitties, absorbing the attributes of cats that share a wallet with the dragon and boosting the dragons powers.

Gameplay takes three forms so far: collecting, breeding and consuming, battling warrior dragons one on one (like the original Pokemon) and castle defense, where you protect your resources from invading players.

The projects white paper acknowledges, like most projects in this space do, that real gaming interactions on ethereum are a problem, and it notes particular concern about the protocol’s ability to handle the castle game.

However, it hints that workarounds are under consideration, like we have seen in other projects.

Its emphasizes the team’s background in digital gaming, but it also addresses the business model presented by collectible NFTs. The white paper says, “We believe that there is a sustainable revenue-based model instead of an ICO, and we appreciate the innovation that digital collectibles portray.”

‘Bird in the Shell’

So, this one is really just one, specific NFT, by a nameless artist playing around with the form.

SuperRare is an app that lets artists create new digital works and offer them for sale on ethereum, something that could become more important in the art world given enough time.

In fact, one of last year’s super ICOs, Status, sees a lot of promise in SuperRare, too. It announced Thursday that it was inducting its parent company, Pixura, into Status Incubate, its accelerator for promising crypto startups.

That said, this one work of art on the SuperRare platform – it just hit a little too close to home. By “@hackatao,” it’s an animated gif in its native habitat. For anyone on Crypto Twitter, check this one out. It will feel way too real.

CryptoJingles

A digital object doesn’t have to be an image. It can also be sound (and probably other things people haven’t thought of yet).

Created as a side project by two staff members at Serbian blockchain company Decenter, CryptoJingles was started at the end of 2017.

“Coming out after the CryptoKitty boom, I noticed they are all variations of you owning some sort of an avatar (an image). I was looking what else could we tokenized,” Nenad Palinkasevic, one of the co-founders, told CoinDesk via email.

CryptoJingles are snippets of music that can be mixed together to make new pieces of music. There are 100 snippets of music that people can use to make jingles. Once a new combination has been made and recorded on the blockchain, it’s unique and no one else can make that combination. The creator owns it and can sell it on to others, as an NFT.

The project is not in active development but there have been a few super fans making lots of jingles. “There were 45 jingles created in total on our platform,” Palinkasevic said, without any marketing or promotion.

Panda Earth

Panda Earth

For this project, it’s important to start with zoological facts first: Pandas are the best mammal.

On the surface, Panda Earth might just look like CryptoKitties-but-pandas, except for one important difference: Some of the crypto pandas represent real world pandas tracked by the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas.

A spokesperson says it is a project that is “authorized” by the center, but the company didn’t respond to questions from CoinDesk about whether purchasing any of the pandas benefits their conservation at all.

Like CryptoKitties, these digital pandas breed. They breed more and more slowly over time, but that will reset every four years.

CryptoTitties

This post started when we discovered the CryptoTitties NFT (not to be confused with SpankChain’s side hustle of the same name, which is a way to directly pay women for posting their topless photos).

CryptoTitties, on the other hand, are cartoon boobs made by a development firm called 7th Wave.

“It was a spoof of CryptoKitties for fun,” Hami Gilbert, one of its founders, told CoinDesk in a Discord chat. Later, Gilbert’s mother got breast cancer and they decided to find a way to supply cannabis products to women with the disease.

Like CryptoKitties, these are cartoon avatars, but of breasts rather than cats. Fear not: there are both female-identifying and male-identifying boobs available. In fact, while the real-world variety tend to come in pairs, CryptoTitties are available in singleton to sextuplet sets.

Also, they come in as many colors as there are in a bag of Haribo gummy bears.

CryptoTitties has not caught the world on fire, though. Selling each one for as little as 0.05 ETH, the full set of available items totals 144. Only 32 have sold thus far, according to Gilbert.

Previously, 7th Wave tried to launch an ICO project called Wardz, but it didn’t succeed. CryptoTitties has gotten more traction, with a small community built around it. To spread the word about the project, they tried to run a “Motorboat Contest” where people would win an actual boat.

The idea is that CryptoTitty holders would pay 0.003 ETH to vote for their faves. The set that got the most votes would win a boat, but 70 percent of the proceeds would go to the charity (though they never established a specific partnership).

Sales were too low to justify the boat purchase, however, and it didn’t happen.

“I thought people would share to their friends to vote and that it would snowball,” Gilbert said. “But I think people are a bit more prude than that.”

Image via CryptoTitties.

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