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Opera Wallet now Allows Sending of Cryptokitties and ERC-721 Collectibles

Opera Browser, the popular web browser known for its fluidity, seems about to become the favorite browser in the community of crypto-traders. Last August Opera announced that it would integrate a native wallet into its browser, facilitating the operations of thousands of users.

Opera Wallet, initially available in its desktop version and later in the Android version, turned out to be a fruitful decision that came after a Bitmain announcement in which they would invest approximately 50 Million USD in Opera Ltd shares.

Thanks to Opera, users no longer needed extensions and complicated steps to perform their operations and connect their wallet to the mobile app. A simple QR code scan was now enough to access the service.

Opera: Believing in Crypto (Collectibles)

However, the popular browser has decided to take a step forward and a few hours ago announced an update on its crypto-wallet service, allowing now the possibility to send crypto-collectibles directly from within the wallet without having to use exchanges:

“We are big fans of collectibles. They are unique digital things you can own on the blockchain and collect in your wallet. We believe that as an increasing portion of our lives moves online, so will our collections of things (…)

We’re now innovating by allowing you to send crypto-collectibles directly from the wallet to the person you want to, something that previously required visiting a digital marketplace and trading them.

We have changed this and made sending crypto-collectibles as easy as sending money via Venmo in the U.S. or Vipps or Swish in Scandinavian countries. We feel this makes them more tangible from a user’s perspective.”

The Opera team expressed its enthusiasm towards the crypto-collectibles boom. In the press release, they commented that this trend is just beginning and that its use will increase over time.

They also commented that crypto collectibles have potential uses beyond pure fun.

“We also see the possibility for these unique tokens to unlock access to content or verify eligibility for certain digital services.

ERC-20 vs ERC-721

The exchange of tokens under the ERC-721 standard differs from the ERC-20 as each token is unique and cannot be replicated. While a person may have (for example) 1 OMG, if they sell it on an exchange and then buy back 1 OMG, the user does not care which token they have within that mass of more than 140 million tokens. OMG is an ERC 20 token running on the Ethereum Blockchain

Picture of a cryptokitty

However, if a user has a cryptokitty (ERC-721 token), and sells it unless the buyer wants explicitly to resell that same cryptokitty, they will never have it again. For this reason, each of the cryptokitties has its own value, and it is not the same to have a cryptokitty with a value of 600k USD to have one with a value of 1 USD, even though both are ERC 721 with essentially similar characteristics.

The ERC-721 support service is available in beta version from today. To use it it is important to sign in at this link

The post Opera Wallet now Allows Sending of Cryptokitties and ERC-721 Collectibles appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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World’s Most Expensive CryptoKitty Sold For 600 ETH ($170,000)

The 896,775th CryptoKitty Sells For 600 ETH

Image Courtesy of Axiom Zen

Even amidst a bearish market, some users still seem to want to pour their hard-earned crypto funds into popular DApps and smart contracts. As reported by CNET, the 896,775th CryptoKitty, named Dragon, has just been sold for 600 Ethereum (ETH) or the equivalent of $172,000 at the time of the sale.

Upon first glance, Dragon may not seem like anything special, as the digital kitty ‘only’ has brown eyes, a scaled tail and no flashy features that are common in the elites of the CryptoKitty world. She is also a ninth generation in the digital kitty world, which is important to point out because higher numbered generations are often unattractive purchases for CryptoKitty collectors.

And Dragon’s description on the CryptoKitties website doesn’t seem to add to the appeal of buying her as well. Dragon’s description reads:

Salutations. I’m Dragon. I bit Rebecca Black when I was younger, but those days are gone. Believe it or not, spying on the neighbours is seriously exhilarating. You should try it some time. Let’s connect on ICQ.

Keeping these characteristics in mind, some asked why the buyer decided to purchase this seemingly mundane digital creation.

Was it a fat-fingered mistake? Did he/she/they buy the wrong cat? Is this some form of blockchain-enabled money laundering? Is there something we don’t know about the characteristics of the cat?

Regardless, on Tuesday night, a mysterious user going by the handle Rabono bought the ERC-721 cat for the aforementioned sum of 600 ETH, making Dragon the most expensive kitty to ever be sold in the DApp-based game. This title was previously held by Founder Cat #18 (Gen 0), which sold for 253 ETH ($110,000 at the time of the sale) at the peak of December’s CryptoKitties mania.

CNET reporters queried Axiom Zen, the organization behind the CryptoKitties project, about the purchase. But to the surprise of some, Axiom revealed that company policies restrict representatives from publicly commenting on interesting purchases.

However, company representatives noted that could be any multitude of reasons why Rabono might have decided to purchase #896,775, adding, “maybe there was a personal connection the buyer had to the cat or the seller… Maybe they really, really, liked how that CryptoKitty looked.”

To give the staggering $170,000 figure a bit of context, the median price of a CryptoKitty is $9, while the average price paid is $60, making the aforementioned purchase of Dragon stick out like a sore thumb, to say the least.

Crazy purchases aside, many hope that the CryptoKitties game will see a revival within the next few months because as reported by Ethereum World News previously, DApps have been in a slump across the board, with the number of active users declining by 56% overall and over 96% for the CryptoKitties game alone. So will Rabano’s purchase of Dragon spark the next CryptoKitties mania? For now, it seems that only time will tell.

Photo by Zakaria Zayane on Unsplash
Girl in a jacket

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Crypto Collectibles Site Plans to Invite Developers to Create New Games, Polls and Content

A blockchain-based platform where crypto enthusiasts can own digital collectibles inspired by public figures is planning to open up its ecosystem to developers — in the hope that new games and competitions will be added to its burgeoning marketplace.

MyCryptons launched in May 2018. The company has been developing its social media presence, and more than 2,000 tweets have been sent from its official Twitter account over recent months. These posts have often reflected topical events in the news, primarily the tumultuous state of politics in the United States.

On its website, enthusiasts are given the chance to buy Cryptons. Each represents a fictitious version of public figures, including politicians, presidents past and present, talk show hosts and musicians. They come with a custom-made cartoon, and the owner is also able to add their own witty tagline and share it on social media. Some examples include Queen Elizabeth (“Jewel in the Crown”), Eric Trump (“Don’t blame me. I was cloned”) and Donald Trump (“I am just tired of winning”).

When it comes to developing interactive content, MyCryptons also hopes to offer polls and engaging activities to its user base. Its Mating Game saw two politicians mated with celebrities, resulting in brand-new Cryptons that were an amalgamation of each pair. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of the new “offspring” Cryptons goes to the owners of the parent collectibles. Users can request particular pairs to be mated by emailing the company, but MyCryptons intends to automate this process shortly.

MyCryptons has also launched the Angry Mobs game, where users can create memes by drawing on any Crypton using an array of tools. Memes can be used to both jeer and revere someone or something, and the platform hopes its base will find this activity both fun and meaningful. It is currently free for users, but MyCryptons intends to monetize this in future and share the revenue with the owners of the Cryptons involved in the memes, potentially making these collectibles more valuable. For example, if a politician is going to jail, users can use the pen tool to draw bars on the Crypton and the text tool to write “Guilty” before downloading the image. Other fun symbols can also be added, such as a kiss, rose, dollar symbol, mustache and sunglasses — all of which can be resized and rotated.

Other games, including Flip and Flop and Truth or Dare, are under development. In all cases, the company intends to share revenue generated through these games and activities with the owners of the Cryptons featured in a starring role.

How buying a Crypton works

The price of every Crypton is clearly indicated on the website, and some of them are yet to be purchased for the first time. Once someone possesses a collectible, they can be bought out at any time, by use of a price escalation feature — and they will receive up to double the price they paid. An owner can prevent their Cryptons from being lost by paying a one-time protection fee and setting their own price.

According to MyCryptons, one of the most compelling opportunities presented by its platform is the potential to buy digital collectibles before they become popular. Though a prospective U.S. presidential candidate for the 2020 election may not be coveted right now, demand could intensify as the campaign nears.

MyCryptons is also exploring the potential for its digital collectibles to be used for charitable purposes. The smart contract being used by the platform enables special fundraiser Cryptons to be created, with all proceeds from the sale of a collectible going to a good cause instead. Once a certain target is reached — 200 ETH, for example — the Crypton reverts back to a for-profit collectible. According to the company, active discussions are already under way with a female crypto celebrity, with a Crypton in her image being prepared as the last few details are finalized.

A distinctive type of token

MyCryptons uses a non-fungible token known as ERC-721. Each of them carries unique information and they cannot be divided, meaning it’s impossible to buy half a Barack Obama or end up with two Donald Trumps. It’s this scarcity which enables the marketplace to function.

Demand for virtual collectible games is growing. As reported by Cointelegraph, another concept known as CryptoKitties recently secured $12 million in funding from a group of investors. Last year, it was reported that five of the digital kittens on this platform sold for more than $100,000, with the most expensive fetching $120,000.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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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.

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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Charlie Lee to Advise Development of HTC Crypto-Compatible Smartphone Exodus

Litecoin (LTC) founder Charlie Lee tweeted July 29 that he will be an advisor for HTC’s new smartphone Exodus, which will support LTC and the Lightning Network (LN).

In acknowledging Lee’s new advisory position, HTC tweeted:

“One small step for @SatoshiLite. One giant leap for blockchain.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, HTC is seeking to enter the crypto space with a mobile device that includes decentralized ledger technology (DLT), announcing the Exodus as “the first native blockchain phone” in May.

In June, the company clarified that the Exodus will instead contain a cryptocurrency wallet that will support Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), as well as the LN and the popular gaming DApp CryptoKitties.

Lee’s tweet announcing his new role in HTC as an advisor also revealed that the Exodus would support both LTC and the Lightning Network “natively,” noting that he took on the advisory role as he “see[s] having a secure crypto phone that makes LN simple [as] needed for mass adoption.”

While the final blockchain structure of Exodus is still unclear, Lee reassured in his tweet that, “No, they will not remove BTC.”

According to Phil Chen, the creator of HTC Vive and HTC’s head of business and corporate development, the price of Exodus would be “comparable” to that of Sirin Labs’ blockchain-backed smartphone Finney, which has an expected retail price of $1,000.

Chinese tech giant Huawei also reportedly has taken an interest in developing a smartphone that will support DApps running on blockchain technology, as an unconfirmed March report noted the firm was seeking a license for the open-source operating system SIRIN OS.

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Non-Fungible Tokens, Explained

What does non-fungible mean?

To fully appreciate what makes these tokens special, it’s worth taking a look at the difference between “fungible” and “non-fungible.”

When something is fungible, in this case a token, it means it can be easily replaced by something identical – and it is interchangeable with ease.

Real world examples of something fungible could include grains of rice, or the $1 bank note in your pocket. If you were to lend that $1 to someone, it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t return the exact same one.

This all changes when something is non-fungible. Although two items may look to be identical at a glance, each will have unique information or attributes that make them irreplaceable or impossible to swap.

One physical example of a non-fungible asset could be a plane ticket. Sure, they look the same as other tickets, but each one has different passenger names, destinations, departure times and seat numbers. Exchanging yours with someone could have serious consequences – not only could you end up thousands of miles away from where you wanted to be, airport security might not be too impressed either.

Why are non-fungible tokens different from other tokens?

Because they can offer unique characteristics which make them different and digitally scarce.

Many tokens – and indeed cryptocurrencies – are fungible. If you send someone a Bitcoin, and get one back, you wouldn’t notice any difference.

A lot of the time, fungible tokens are built using a standard called ERC-20. For the sake of simplicity, let’s imagine each of these tokens is a $10 bill. If you sent a token to someone, and got another one back a week later, they would be identical. (That said, there might be some fluctuation in price.)

This all changes with non-fungible tokens, many of which are ERC-721 compliant. These can be compared to baseball cards, as each has unique information and varying levels of rarity. If you were to accidentally send one of these tokens to someone, and get a different ERC-721 token back, you might be very upset.

There’s one more crucial difference you need to bear in mind. Fungible tokens are divisible – meaning you can send a fraction of one ERC-20 token. (Like cash, where you can pay with a $10 bill and get change.) On the other hand, non-fungible ERC-721 tokens cannot be divided and must be bought or sold whole. (Like baseball cards, where no one in their right mind would want to buy half.)

What can non-fungible tokens be used for?

Collectibles are a common use for non-fungible tokens.

One early pioneer of non-fungible tokens was CryptoKitties, a blockchain-driven platform where players have the chance to collect and breed digital cats.

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you’ll know that they are not easy to replace, as their appearance and personality make them unique. In this case, CryptoKitties replicated this concept in the crypto world – with each cat’s digital genetic material being stored on the blockchain. They can be bought and sold using Ethereum, and some are rarer than others. Indeed, as reported by Cointelegraph, sales hit $12 million last year – with the most expensive CryptoKitty reportedly going for $120,000.

Other games have promptly followed, such as fantasy titles where fighters are collected for battles. And in another apt development (almost like we planned it,) Major League Baseball in the US is planning to launch a game where baseball cards can be exchanged on blockchain.

What are their advantages and disadvantages?

Although the non-fungible ERC-721 token has offered improvements on ERC-20, there are a few setbacks.

As we recently explained in an article looking at alternatives to ERC-20, advocates of this token protocol believe it could become “the ultimate vehicle for putting every significant asset on a public or hybrid blockchain with 100 percent immutability and security.”

Non-fungible tokens allow you to detail more of the attributes that make them special – far beyond the name, balance, token supply and symbol. This is because you can include rich metadata about an asset and include information about ownership – and these authenticated details can ultimately add value because investors can be confident about its provenance.

That said, there are downsides. Non-fungible tokens have not been embraced as speedily as some advocates hoped, in part because the ERC-721 protocol is so new. It can also be tricky and time consuming to develop decentralized applications for non-fungible tokens properly.

So why not carry on using real world solutions?

The world is moving on from paper – and supporters believe there are many use cases for non-fungible tokens beyond collectibles.

For example, it could become a secure and immutable way of storing birth certificates, academic credentials, warranties and identities – even artwork and property ownership.

These real world assets can then be properly digitized and stored in a wallet, keeping them safe and ensuring that they cannot be altered or counterfeited by a third party.

But how are non-fungible tokens created?

There are concerns that the use of non-fungible tokens could end up becoming fragmented, with different standards and varying degrees of certification.

At the moment, as we mentioned a little earlier, it can be an expensive and complicated thing to achieve. It can sometimes take months to develop a DApp, and in the fast-moving blockchain world, that could cost an entrepreneur their competitive advantage.

Instead of every outlet interested in non-fungible tokens creating their own framework (which would result in a breeding ground for inconsistency,) some platforms are trying to create a technological layer which unifies and standardizes these tokens.

One of them is 0xcert, which offers a “plug and play” framework which means that a non-fungible token can be developed and verified quicker – and the platform claims it is achievable in days. The company says it eliminates the need for in-depth blockchain knowledge, while stopping precious data from being siloed and preventing developers from having a lengthy, expensive and insecure process.

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HTC Exodus Blockchain-Centric Smartphone Is Set To Release Later This Year

HTC, a Taiwan-based electronics hardware manufacturer, announced their Exodus phone earlier this year. As per previous reports, the Exodus was touted as the “world’s first major blockchain phone.”

The media went into a frenzy over this announcement, with many speculating about how this would change the blockchain and cryptocurrency scene.

But at the time of the original announcement, no one knew exactly what the device would entail, and what blockchains it would support. Phil Chen, an HTC executive, gave an ambitious statement in May, stating: 

We envision a phone where you hold your own keys, you own your own identity and data, and your phone is the hub.

In this most recent announcement, HTC gave more details in regard to the Exodus Blockchain smartphone, clearing the air around this hot topic.

Unfortunately, Chen noted that HTC’s plan for an “own your own identity and data” smartphone will not come to fruition in the form of the Exodus, but rather in a later release.

Yesterday, the HTC executive told The Verge that Exodus’s blockchain support will come in the form of an in-house crypto wallet and a CryptoKitties service integration. These features being a far cry from the ambitious plans HTC held preceding this announcement.

However, the HTC team still has high hopes for these two features. More specifically, Chen claims that the built-in wallet will be “the most secure hardware wallet out there,” possibly surpassing the security of cold wallet solutions like the Ledger and Trezor.

In terms of the unexpected CryptoKitty support, the executive hopes that the gamification of the blockchain will entice ‘no-coiners’ to give the Exodus a shot. He elaborated, noting:

Gaming is the most approachable thing on mobile, for the non-crypto crowd.

Despite these features disappointing some, Chen mentioned that there are plans in place to implement mobile cryptocurrency mining. He later added that there is already “famous” experts looking into a variety of different consensus protocols that might make Exodus mobile mining a reality. The HTC employee noted that the Taiwan-based firm might even release a white paper later this year, giving more details about this mining system.

However, these features do not come at a cheap price, as Chen implied that preliminary estimates will put the retail cost of the Exodus at approximately $1000. One must assume that top of the line hardware will be an integral part of this blockchain smartphone, or HTC would have no chance at selling this device at all.

HTC Exodus: An All Or Nothing Play For The Hardware Manufacturer?

When taking a look at HTC’s recently released financial statements, it becomes easy to tell that prospects are looking rather grim for the company. According to CNET, HTC’s sale figures dropped a staggering 68%, while compared with last year’s financials.

The manufacturer has been having a rough time trying to compete with smartphone giants, Apple and Samsung. The Verge pointed out that sales for the company have taken a tumble, from two million products in 2017 Q1 to just 630,000 at the start of this year. As a result, the Taiwan-based firm intends to lay off 1,500 employees in an attempt to bring its bottom line to a more sustainable level.

In short, HTC is in a precarious financial situation and has troubled to stay afloat in the unforgiving smartphone market. But many speculate that the company is riding on the success of the Q3 Exodus release, as a successful launch of this phone could see HTC move to clearer waters.

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HTC Exodus Phone to Support Crypto Wallet, CryptoKitties, Instead of Native Blockchain

Electronics giant HTC will not be releasing a smartphone with a native blockchain network for crypto trading between users as previously announced, The Verge reported July 10. Instead, the company will introduce a smartphone containing a cryptocurrency wallet and CryptoKitties, the Ethereum-based decentralized application (DApp) game.

On May 15, the Taiwan-based electronics firm had first unveiled its blockchain smartphone project, the HTC Exodus, that would reportedly include support for both the Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) networks. The Verge wrote in May that the company planned on creating a product with “a native blockchain network that uses Exodus phones as nodes that support cryptocurrency trading between users.”

Phil Chen, the creator of HTC Vive and HTC’s head of business and corporate development, said at the time that he envisioned a product that would allow customers to “truly own their data […] without the need for central authorities,” Cointelegraph reported.

However, speaking to The Verge this week, Chen said that a phone that allowed users to own their identity is still in the future, and the Exodus — set to be released in 2018 — will include just a native crypto wallet and CryptoKitties.

Chen also mentioned that HTC is planning to incorporate crypto mining on mobile, noting that they are already exploring opportunities by checking out different consensus protocols and may issue a white paper on the project later on this year.

The Verge notes HTC’s shipping numbers are down in 2018: having shipped more than 2 million products in the first quarter of 2017, the company shipped just 630,000 devices in the first quarter of this year.

Last week, the company revealed that sales in June have dropped by 68 percent, while their latest product U12 Plus has received mainly negative reviews. In early July, the company also fired 1,500 employees in Taiwan to cut its costs.

Also this week, Swiss-based Sirin Labs told Cointelegraph that the company plans to release its own blockchain-powered smartphone, the Finney, in November this year. In December 2017, Sirin Labs raised $157.8 million for the project during their Initial Coin Offering (ICO), with $110 million collected in just first 24 hours.

The Verge notes that while the cost of the HTC Exodus is expected to be announced by the end of Q3, Chen noted that its price would be “comparable” with the Finney, which has an expected price of $1,000.

In March, Chinese tech giant Huawei was reported to be seeking a license for the SIRIN OS technology, developed by Sirin Labs, in order to release their own phone featuring blockchain-based DApps.

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CryptoKitties to Debut Mobile App on HTC's Flagship Phone

CryptoKitties, the virtual cat breeding game that became so popular it clogged the ethereum network, is to roll out a version for mobile devices through a partnership with Taiwanese phone maker HTC.

CryptoKitties announced the partnership in a release on Tuesday, indicating that the mobile app will first be available on HTC’s flagship phone, the U12+, which was rolled out to market last month.

According to the statement, CryptoKitties – as well as third party applications built on top of the game – will be launched on the HTC device by the end of this year.

The HTC website appears to indicate that the mobile app will first be offered to users in the U.S. CoinDesk reached out to CryptoKitties, but by press time had had no reply on whether users in other HTC markets will have access to the app upon its official launch.

As well as the U12+, the new CryptoKitties product will be included in the app offerings for HTC’s planned Exodus smartphone – a blockchain-focused device announced by the Taiwanese firm during CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference in May.

HTC indicated at the RISE Conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday that it expects to launch the Exodus in the third quarter of this year, but did not disclose an exact date. According to a report from The Verge, buying one is expected set you back around $1,000.

Phone image via CryptoKitties/HTC

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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Keeping Ethereum's Promise: CryptoKitties Is Smartly Embracing Open Source

Call it an explosion of cute names for a cause.

Announced this week, CryptoKitties debuted a number of new initiatives that will further decentralize its popular ethereum app, which while largely passing under the radar, show the startup is making strides to give users rights. It’s been the subject of criticism for the beloved game, which raised $12 million in March with the expectation it would loosen controls on its code in line with the larger crypto ethos.

Among a slew of updates, CryptoKitties is open-sourcing its API and smart contracts for gameplay in the KittyVerse – a virtual world of experiences including catfights, racing and accessories – through a developer toolkit. Plus, it’s updated its user agreements to be more lenient and introduced a players’ rights contract called the Nifty License.

“CryptoKitties … was always criticized for not being completely decentralized,” Afri Schoedon, communications officer at the ethereum startup Parity, explained. “I think CryptoKitties is doing a good job on finding the perfect path between decentralization and usability.”

He continued: The more you try to decentralize things, the more complicated it will be to actually use it.”

And CryptoKitties isn’t just improving for end-users, but also for developers.

Take players like Candi Johnson, who have donated their time to build gameplay features like more complex battle options. Observers pointed out that CryptoKitties’ old terms of service stipulated the team owned all graphics and elements of the app, but the Nifty License gives Johnson, and other cat owners, the legal rights to the intellectual property of each tabby.

As CryptoKitties fan Todd Goldberg tweeted: “I have the right to delete my account and still take the asset with me. If this was a centralized game and I wanted to delete my account, I’d lose the asset.”

A traditional, centralized gaming studio might balk at the idea of letting users take their digital assets off the platform.

To the contrary, CryptoKitties co-founder Bryce Bladon said that diverse experiences with the items increase the whole ecosystem’s value, plus, people looking to build alternative versions of CryptoKitties now don’t ever need to worry about being sued.

Blandon told CoinDesk:

“It’s as much about removing ourselves as any form of a central authority as it is about doing so in a way that doesn’t compromise the value of this game, of this product, and of this platform as a whole.”

Looking ahead, CryptoKitties plans to build on this progress by looking into decentralized data storage solutions like Filecoin and the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), Blandon said.

Stakeholder rights

Crypto collectibles are valuable only as long as they are unique or rare – so balancing owners’ rights with some limitation on how these tokens are reproduced will be crucial to this ecosystem’s success.

Bladon said he hopes the Nifty License can set an example for other non-fungible tokens, a broader class of crypto assets of which CryptoKitties is the most well-known, establishing a norm where the asset belongs to the user and not the platform.

“That is why we have loosened up our terms of service. That is why we put this license out there,” he said.

However, the Nifty License still appears to stipulate that owners can’t apply the cat’s image for commercial use – like a company logo – or sell it on a marketplace that doesn’t verify ownership, such as Craigslist.

Limitations aside, Parity’s Schoedon sees the Nifty License as a step in the right direction.

“It would be good to just get away from this second-layer licensing issue by just saying ‘whoever owns that token owns the attached art,'” he said, referencing how commercial use and distribution clauses can get tricky.

Fortunately for gamers, the CryptoKitties team sees the Nifty License as a work in progress.

Looking ahead, the virtual playground will no longer be maintained solely by the startup. Case in point, Johnson’s work on new CryptoKitties’ experiences is not as a part of another open-source project or separate IP; instead, it’s just for the love of the game.

“The goal is to add value to the community and the kitties by giving them additional functionality. They’re super cute as collectibles, and being able to play with them is fun,” Johnson told CoinDesk.

Speaking to why making the application easier to use for developers will be beneficial to end users, Blandon said:

“There is no more one-size-fits-all gameplay experience.”

Sustainable funding

Yet another initiative CryptoKitties announced this week is the Nifty Kitty Program, which gives opportunities for independent developer teams to apply for loans or grants to fund work for the community.

“We are trying to build sustainable revenue options for people outside of the core CryptoKitties team,” Bladon said.

These days, the startup’s main source of revenue is charging 3.7 percent on all transactions done through CryptoKitties.co, such as buying a new kitty.

However, since the ethereum smart contract is now open-source, other parties could theoretically give birth to new pets without that tax. Bladon said users with the skills to utilize the smart contract themselves are welcome to experiment.

“The hash code would correlate to the cat’s art and they would own it. It would be a legitimate CryptoKitty,” Bladon said. “I’m certain there is immense potential and a strong possibility for new and interesting ways for CryptoKitties to be made.”

The team has already selected a few external projects to receive loans or grants through the Nifty Kitty Program. Whatever those teams make won’t be owned or managed by the original startup. This initiative aims to boost outside participation in building a cat-tastic ecosystem.

For Johnson, CryptoKitties was her first introduction to blockchain technology and she enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about it with a group of players who call themselves the KittyBattles team. Regardless of whether this team ever seeks monetary rewards for their creation, other developer teams might want that option.

The Nifty Kitty Program could be aligned with CryptoKitties’ interest in decentralizing its processes. In the future, if CryptoKitties relinquishes control of the platform, the game would still need a vibrant developer community to continue iterating on the game to make it fun for users.

Speaking to this point, Bladon said:

“Once a core concept is proven, developers can build on top of it. Players can sort of invest in the idea. Players and developers alike are elevated to stakeholders in it.”

Pink CryptoKitties image via CryptoKitties Medium 

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.