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How Blockchain Could Decentralize the Music Industry

How big tech curbed freedom of expression ahead of the Tiananmen Square anniversary.

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“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, 

but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” 

— Maya Angelou

Thirty years after the Tiananmen Square protests, the Chinese government is still working to remove any trace of the event from its cultural history. 

Earlier this month a music fan wrote, “I don’t dare to say it, nor do I dare to ask” on a popular Chinese online forum in regard to the disappearance of Li Zhi, a Chinese musician who dared to speak out on social issues and democracy in his songs. 

Three months ago, Li’s tour was unexpectedly canceled, his social media accounts went offline and his entire discography was scrubbed from China’s music streaming platforms. This involuntary “ghosting” isn’t isolated: The Chinese government has been cracking down on artists and activists like Li in preparation for the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests that took place on June 4, 1989. It’s reported that China’s Communist Party has detained dozens of activists and artists who have mentioned the atrocities of that massacre.

It’s no surprise that the Chinese government has never acknowledged that day or the thousands of civilians who were shot and killed at the hands of its army. This isn’t uncommon for countries with one-party systems and regimes that want to control information. But while it attempts to erase the collective memory of the Tiananmen protests, artists and activists like Li are fighting to remember — to ensure that something so dark would never take place at the hands of a governing body again. 

Tech giant censorship

Unfortunately, tech giants in the United States fundamentally aid in the disenfranchisement of creators like Li — and therefore, in the suppression of democracy. In the early spring, Hong Kong Free Press reported that Apple Music had removed Hong Kong-based singer Jacky Cheung’s song for its reference to Tiananmen Square: 

“The youth are angry, heaven and earth are weeping/ How did our land become a sea of blood?/ How did the path home become a path of no return?” 

Pro-democracy singers Anthony Wong and Denis Ho have also been removed from Apple Music in China. The Apple App Store removed applications from its Chinese offering that discussed the Tiananmen Square protests, including The New York Times, Radio Free Asia and Tibetan News. Twitter recently refused to approve an emoji marking the 30th anniversary of the protests. Microsoft and LinkedIn steer clear of talking about their policies in China with the media. You get the picture. 

The tech industry has failed artists like Li Zhi, Jacky Cheung, Anthony Wong and Denis Ho by aiding in the suppression of information and free speech. 

If the U.S. is truly a nation that values democracy, freedom, and humanity — the technology industry should wield its power to combat censorship. 

Centralized vs. decentralized services

Right now, music services cannot — and will not — protect the voices of artists worldwide, because the interests of the powerful will almost always win over those of creators on centralized services. That’s why we must put the power back in the hands of the people by using decentralized services and blockchain technology. 

Because companies like Apple Music are centralized, they must comply with local regulations to remain operational, however unjust that regulation may be. This means they rapidly and readily succumb to the pressure of censors of many kinds, including one-party states like China. Creators don’t have any say in how their content is used or whether it stays available at all. This is true because it’s playing out right before our very eyes. 

The next generation of music services should use technology like blockchains to combat censorship. Decentralizing the control of music distribution and content ownership gives artists, fans and community members the freedom to express themselves and interact directly with one another on their own terms. With no central authority — a government or corporation — a decentralized network can protect controversial creators from being silenced. Meanwhile, centralized services like Apple Music are required delist content when told to; with decentralized control, nobody would be capable of this — Li Zhi’s music would never have been taken down and the history of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests would never be erased. 

Use cases

This isn’t just a dream or a manifesto. Companies and projects are already using blockchain to solve some of the music industry’s biggest issues. My company, Audius, is a decentralized music-sharing protocol and the first to deliver a social music experience that directly connects artists and fans. Open Music Initiative is using blockchain to identify music creators so they can receive their deserved royalty payments. Smackathon, a competition created by Pitbull, is working to bring the top decentralized streaming services to music. 

Music on blockchain

So, what exactly does music on the blockchain mean? What would the industry look like? It will be a decentralized community of artists, fans and developers sharing and defending the world’s music in accordance with the following principles:

  1. Decentralization: Members of the network will operate it, maintaining control of their data. With no central authority, it will be censorship-resistant, secure and community-driven. 
  2. Open-source: Anyone can contribute ideas, build new clients or features, or host nodes on the network.  
  3. Aligned incentives: Everyone who contributes value is fairly compensated. 

Musicians will be able to generate immutable and time-stamped records of their creative works, making content ownership publicly verifiable and unchangeable. With a network that is decentralized, content-addressed and secured by a blockchain, content cannot be tampered with. If a creator elects, their content will remain live forever.

Content moderation will be community-driven, with disputes being resolved by a jury of peers on the network. For example, this arbitration system could resolve claims of piracy or determine revenue shares for derivative content. No government intervention or centralized entity will be able to call the shots on what can and can’t be taken down in the way they do today to silent dissenting voices. 

It’s time we protect vulnerable creators with censorship-resistant technology. Let’s enable artists to distribute what they like, when they like, to whom they like — making it impossible for a government to decide which content can and cannot be listened to by its citizens.

What effect do you think blockchain will have on the music industry? How do you feel about big tech removing artists from their platforms to comply with governments like China?  Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

While Cointelegraph fully supports the right to free speech, Cointelegraph reserves the right to exclude comments that it believes to be objectionable, offensive, disrespectful or otherwise inappropriate.

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Crypto Company Offers Decentralized Trading and Analytical Engine That Ranks Crypto

A digital assets ecosystem is creating a place for decentralized crypto trading, where users can benefit from secure transactions and AI-driven analytical tools.

A new digital assets ecosystem is offering decentralized crypto trading to businesses and individuals, delivering wallet-to-wallet transactions and “cutting-edge analytical tools” that enable users to make informed decisions about the cryptocurrencies they hold, buy and sell.

Volentix’s “four pillars” will underpin the beginnings of its digital assets ecosystem — one of which is VDEX, or Volentix Decentralized Exchange, its flagship product. The project describes VDEX as a “next generation, extensible and customizable decentralized crypto exchange,” with an emphasis on ensuring that the assets and data of every user remain individual and secure. A suite of other decentralized applications (DApps) are being launched to provide a comprehensive user experience.

Through this platform, funds are never deposited to a centralized entity. Instead, users remain in full control of their funds until transactions are completed. The decentralized exchange functions by facilitating wallet-to-wallet trading enabled by connecting users of the Volentix wallet, also known as Verto.

VDEX provides the ability to trade in multiple cryptocurrencies and connects multiple liquidity pools to accommodate different types of markets. This is achieved using smart contracts built on the EOSIO blockchain.

Contributors to the Volentix project say an order book decentralization system “with unique decentralized cross chain capabilities” is another factor that distinguishes the exchange from others in the marketplace today. The collaborative system works by enabling customization, by which other exchanges may plug into VDEX’s order books. Because this system is open and virtually permissionless, individuals, exchanges or businesses may make or take crypto trading orders and automatically feed them into the network for settlement. Various levels of customization and automation will make this feature even more impactful, the team notes.

Researchers with the Volentix project say they have performed extensive research, which involves ongoing testing, to find out what users need and expect from their trading platform. As a result, VDEX’s interface will be “updated regularly” to ensure it has the best user experience and is as easy to use as possible. Users will be able to adjust settings and features that reflect their requirements, whether they are beginners or seasoned cryptocurrency traders.

Join the Volentix Telegram channel here

Three DApps

Three DApps are initially going to serve supporting roles, with the goal of expanding VDEX’s user base and the Volentix ecosystem as a whole.

The first is the multicurrency Verto wallet. It is described as the “gateway to all of the Volentix ecosystem.” Verto ensures that users can safely maintain custody of their private keys at all times by writing them down or saving them on an offline device. The Loopring protocol is used to facilitate trades and order matching for VDEX.

Another complement to the Volentix ecosystem is Vespucci, an analytical engine that has the goal of helping users to make informed trading decisions. Vespucci functions by offering a sort of crypto “credit rating.” The DApp, which is already available on vespucci.site, works by offering rankings for every cryptocurrency based on artificial intelligence (AI) and other algorithmic analysis of “social sentiment, technological and market data.” Given how VDEX is a decentralized exchange, and new coins can be freely listed without permission, it is hoped that Vespucci’s analysis mechanism — providing “comprehensive data sets in an easy-to-understand dashboard”— will prevent crypto enthusiasts from trading “worthless, non-existent or even dangerous currencies.”

The final pillar is Venue, a community platform, which encourages members of the Volentix community to fix bugs, create content or promote the ecosystem in exchange for VTX — the native digital currency — described as “enabling currency to flow through the pillars to enable them to interact.”

Open to all

In time, the project plans to enable businesses, individuals and active crypto traders to start using cryptocurrency more securely. It says Verto wallets integrated with VDEX will enable everyone to store and safely trade cryptocurrency directly from their wallets on a peer-to-peer network.

Volentix’s focus is building and perfecting its suite of DApps in the first phase of the project — and in the second phase, the focus will shift to expanding its ecosystem with partnerships and added infrastructure.

The Volentix ecosystem is envisioned as being a decentralized and permissionless entity, the company says. It allows anyone around the world to join the ecosystem and create new and exciting cryptocurrency-based projects with the support of the community.

In 2019, its team became the winner of the Neironix competition, “in the AI ​​category with the highest score and the biggest number of votes.” Moreover, Volentix notes that it is developing an increasingly vibrant presence in the digital assets marketplace.

Company says it is currently considering offers from popular exchanges for an initial exchange offering (IEO) as a precursor to listing VTX.

Learn more about Volentix

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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Justin Sun Officially Adds 100 Million BitTorrent Users To Tron (TRX) Ecosystem

No doubt, Tron (TRX) is one big coin that cannot be rubbished in the cryptocurrency space. After Justin Sun announced that Tron would be moved out of Ethereum Network, the cryptocurrency war lord, declared on the go that there is going to be a huge competition between the two altcoins, like that which existed between Moses and Pharaoh.

Today, in a letter sent to the community, it was officially announced that the Tron has acquired BitTorrent in a bid to make its ecosystem stand out.

Justin Sun said BitTorrent and BitTorrent products are solely Tron’s property, creating euphoria in the community.

“From this day on, BitTorrent, whose software has been installed on billions of user devices, will become part of the TRON ecosystem, making TRON the largest decentralized Internet ecosystem in the world,” he said.

He declared that every BitTorrent user and supporter are now part of the TRON family, and so, 100 Million BitTorrent Users are now added to Tron (TRX) Ecosystem.

He maintained that anybody who have used the BitTorrent protocol, built their business on the protocol, or otherwise benefited from the protocol are now part of the TRON family.

BitTorrenct protocol, a file sharing communications protocol based on a p2p network was founded in 2001.

Before blockchain technology became prominent, BitTorrent has been regarded as the first decentralized Internet protocol with large-scale global application.

Talking about the decentralized personality of BitTorrent, Justin Sun said:

“Even today, the BitTorrent protocol retains its status as the world’s largest decentralized protocol, once transmitting 40% of daily Internet traffic. BitTorrent created and shaped the protocol, with 70% of BitTorrent users using the product. The company aims to decentralize the Web by promoting and further developing the BitTorrent protocol.”

The letter reads that BitTorrent gave birth to the decentralization movement, saying “Developers, entrepreneurs, and the decentralized Web community regard BitTorrent as the original pioneers of decentralization technology. It is the foundation of an open, transparent, shared Internet protocol.”

The latest acquisition signals that TRON’s “All-In Decentralization” agenda is heading towards fruition since the two platform which has now become one share the same vision for a decentralized Web.

Sun said he understands that BitTorrent will become more decentralized and gain a new life after integrating into the TRON ecosystem.

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TRON (TRX) Platform Continues to Grow its Crypto-Ecosystem Liveliness

Despite that the transaction count is still down, TRON (TRX) blockchain is moving upwards. With exchanges opening wallets the transactions per day are moving around 10,000. Still, it is much lower than similar contestants like the second in lead by market cap that counts 500,000.

TRON

Bittrex [Bittrex Exchange] has announced on July 12, 2018 that the TRON blockchain upgrade has been completed on the Main Network.

Proportionally, TRON’s platform has named its six Super Representatives that verifying the network. And more candidates are entering the scene to be elected.

One of the candidates running for a chair is Antpool. It is among the largest BTC mining pools that are connected to the ASIC producer.

However, the most likely to take a place is Skypeople with over 250 mil tokens in voting. Accordingly with the team’s roadmap, during the Guardian Phase – Guardian Representatives are named by the team who secure the network.

The Tron (TRX) Competition proudly organized by Binance has come to an end today. At the end of the competition, 31 TRX traders’ accounts were compensated.

Special Prize of 2,000,000 TRX was awarded to a single account who was the top trader, while 10 accounts won 200,000 TRX each, and 20 accounts won 50,000 TRX.

“The TRX Competition has now concluded. All TRX prizes have now been distributed to the winners’ accounts. You will be able to check the distribution record in User Center>Distribution History.”

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IOTA Ecosystem – IOTA’s Home of the Decentralized Future

IOTA Foundation is announcing and launching the IOTA Ecosystem after various negotiations that led to the creation of partnerships backing the network up. IOTA Ecosystem – represents a place that initiatives, startups and developers in a global-scale range will be working with the target of the decentralized future.

With giants like Volkswagen adding its CDO Johann Jungwirth and BOSCH stepping in the scene with Dr. Hongquan Jiang being added in the board of supervisory and advisors of IOTA Foundation, the network continued to grow which would be a support on numerous struggles like legal and technical.

On the other side, Dominik Schiener – Co-Founder of IOTA, continued meeting with Fujitsu’s team to look into the potential of machine to machine and industry 4.0

The multi-million dollar fund – The Ecosystem Development Fund

The project was planned out and run by a a few members of the IOTA community that had the idea of making the fund real that could hold the back of various sides and efforts while creating the Ecosystem.

The fund managed to gather donations from many community members raising an amount of 20 TIOTA (equal to ~$200,000 USD at that time) which is now estimated to worth tens of millions of dollars and thus have great potential to empower the Ecosystem in the future.

“While we have many details still to work out, we are beginning to close in on a framework which will define the IOTA Ecosystem and the EDF going forward. Because the IOTA community is at the center of this initiative we wanted to share some of our thinking now to allow the broader IOTA community the opportunity to provide thoughts, suggestions, and insights.”

Relying on the development fund, the Foundation can continue to specify different projects which will be supported that the community believes that do have great impact on IOTA’s road.

The real purpose behind the EDF is to bring together practitioners, developers, hobbyists, and enthusiasts in order to build IOTA applications into all aspects of the economy including the for-profit, not-for-profit, academic, and governmental sectors.

Having various [while being many] old and new members adding their part in IOTA’s rise, the team feels like the project would come to be just natural having a place that all can exchange ideas, work together and so on:

“The EDF’s role will be to support any and all work which contributes to the Ecosystem. The IOTA Ecosystem is too broad a community to be limited in its focus and so the EDF will be agnostic to both industry and geography. Support will be given to all aspects of the IOTA Ecosystem including, but not limited to, education, awareness, public utilities, proof-of-concepts, pilots, philanthropy and development. The EDF does not aim to pick winners and losers, but rather foster an open and collaborative environment where work can be shared and improved upon. Through a reputation system, the community will be responsible for evaluating the quality of the contributions and determining the trustworthiness of the Ecosystem’s community members.”

What it makes even more interesting is the fact that anyone can be part of the Ecosystem while having conceptual thoughts, ideas or further IOTA development to give out. Everything will be examined and discussed by the Foundation and if approved, the EDF will support a possible project and/or solution for the IOTA Ecosystem. The ones that would try hard and set-mind for helping the network and ecosystem will be given a fund as an award to continue working on the development.