China: New Guidance to Implement Blockchain in Agriculture Finance Sector

China: New Guidance to Implement Blockchain in Agriculture Finance Sector

              China: New Guidance to Implement Blockchain in Agriculture Finance Sector

The Chinese government has issued

the “Guiding Opinions on Rural Service Revitalization of Financial Services,” according to an official announcement on Feb. 11. The new framework is part of a plan to improve the efficiency of financial services for the country’s rural revitalization program.

The guidance will purportedly help promote the application of new technologies in the rural financial sector, such as blockchain, to “improve the identification, monitoring, early warning, and disposal levels of agricultural credit risks.” The Guiding Opinions were jointly issued by the People's Bank of China, the Banking Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Applying blockchain in agriculture finance will purportedly streamline the collection and sharing of of agricultural data. Blockchain-based customer screening is expected to improve the credit evaluation model of agricultural businesses, increasing the number of loans issued while decreasing risk to creditors. The announcement also predicts that new technologies will encourage financial institutions to “develop exclusive loans products and small payment settlement functions for rural e-commerce and to open up a rural e-commerce capital chain.”

China’s foray to apply blockchain in various industries also extends to copyright protection services in their media outlets. In December 2018, the China Financial Media Copyright Protection Alliance — which consists of more than 30 financial media outlets — announced that it will use blockchain technology to develop copyright cooperation in the industry. Overall, China is a world leader in applying blockchain technology to various industries. In 2017, China filed more patents for blockchain applications with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) than any other country. Well over half of the 406 patents filed with the WIPO that year were from China, with 225. China was followed by the United States, at 91, and Australia, with 13.

Article Produced By
Miranda Karanfili

Miranda is a journalist based out of New York City. She is a dedicated writer, passionate about storyelling and making voices heard through her writing. She has joined Cointelegraph as a News Editor.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/china-new-guidance-to-implement-blockchain-in-agriculture-finance-sector

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

Get the Alexa Toolbar Extension for your SEO

The Alexa Toolbar: Why You Need this Piece of "%#*&%@#".

Google Uses Alexa’s Information For Ranking and Indexing!

One of the worst toolbars is Alexa’s. It slightly slows down browsing, it’s Spyware (Spybot Search and Destroy will remove it unless you tell it not to), and it has an unremovable icon link to Amazon?

So you’re probably wondering why I have the Alexa Toolbar Installed on my browser and why I tell my fellow marketers, webmasters and SEO gurus to do the same.

It’s not the “pop-up blocker” – we already had one of those – right? And it’s not that it displays related links, site contact info or site traffic stats – although that’s not completely worthless i guess. . .

It’s simple. The Alexa “spyware” toolbar monitors all my surfing and collects information about what domains I visit. They don’t know that it’s “me” – they collect it as anonymous user data and use it to rank web sites. Not only does Alexa use this information for determining where people surf on the web but so does google. Let me repeat that fact so it sinks in:

Google Uses Alexa’s Information For Ranking and Indexing!

Installing the Alexa toolbar and surfing your own site will absolutely help you get your sites indexed by Google more quickly. I just started this blog today, and the googlebot has already come by without any inbound links!

Because the Alexa toolbar is such a pile, no one ever keeps it installed. So just by updating and surfing your own site daily, (assuming NO ONE else does), you can get your Alexa ranking from 5,500,000 or “no data” to around 300,000 in under a month and to 100,000 in 3 months.

Alexa Rankings and Google PR are two of the main factors uninformed people look at when considering link exchanges. (Page Rank is completely useless BTW we have a white hat PR 4 site that gets 20 visitors a day and unranked sites that get several thousand per day).

If you remember the Nielsen Company, famous for the Nielsen Ratings, you understand that what is put on television was once determined by what a minute fraction of TV viewers watched: The people with a Nielsen box on their TV Set – The Nielsen Families. Having the Alexa toolbar installed on your browser is like being a Nielsen Family for the web. Your surfing habits will determine what is most “popular” and what sites should be ranked higher in the SERPs.

That was reason enough for me to install the Alexa Tool Bar. Download it for yourself, and watch your Alexa Rankings Skyrocket over the next several weeks. We know Google looks at the Information, which means that Yahoo and MSN are probably looking at it too.

Alexa’s Toolbar is a Great POWERFUL SEO tool.

Just a reminder to make sure you have the Alexa tool bar plugin installed. It is an important tool among others. But I consider the Alexa tool the most important plug in for Internet Marketers.

Install Alexa Tool Bar

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

Major Crypto Brokerage Coinmama Reports 450000 Users Affected by Data Breach

Major Crypto Brokerage Coinmama Reports 450,000 Users Affected by Data Breach

             

Israel-based crypto brokerage Coinmama

— which allows users to purchase Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) using a credit card — has suffered a major data breach affecting 450,000 of its users. The incident was disclosed in an official company announcement on Feb. 15. The breach is reportedly part of a mammoth, multi-platform hack that affected 24 companies and a total of 747 million records — among them gaming, travel booking and streaming sites. Coinmama says a list of around “450,000 email addresses and hashed passwords” of users who registered on its platform before Aug. 5, 2017 have been posted on

a dark web registry:

“As of February 15, 2019, there has been no evidence of this data being used by perpetrators. Given the dated nature of the published data, we have no reason to suspect that any other Coinmama systems are compromised. Coinmama does not store credit card information.”

Aside from immediately notifying users, Coinmama says its response team is requiring all potentially affected users to reset their passwords upon login, as well as monitoring its array of systems for suspicious activity or unauthorized access. The platform says it is working to enhance its safeguards and track any external signals that the compromised data is being used.

Aside from new password requirements for potential victims of the hack, the site requests all users to ensure their passwords are robust and unique, and to avoid opening emails or attachments from unknown senders, or providing any personal data to any third party sites. Although the data breach impacted not only Coinmama, but a gamut of companies outside the crypto sector, the hack represents the second high-profile system compromise in the industry this year.

On Jan. 15, tens of thousands of Ethereum (ETH) wallets hosted by New Zealand crypto exchange Cryptopia were hacked, leading to losses estimated to be worth up to $23 million — with the breach continuing for a couple of weeks after the incident’s detection. A recent report from New York-based blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis estimated that two — likely still active — organized hacker groups have reportedly stolen $1 billion in cryptocurrency, accounting for the majority of funds lost in crypto-related scams.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/major-crypto-brokerage-coinmama-reports-450-000-users-affected-by-data-breach

 

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

ErisX to CFTC: Regulated ETH Futures Would Result in More Robust Liquid Market

ErisX to CFTC: Regulated ETH Futures Would Result in More Robust, Liquid Market

               

Chicago-based crypto exchange ErisX

has filed a comment letter with the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in response to the agency’s request for feedback on Ethereum (ETH)’s mechanics and market. The letter, submitted on Feb. 15, sets forth the exchange’s belief that “the introduction of a regulated futures contract on Ether would have a positive impact on the growth and maturation of the market.” As reported, ErisX is a reboot of traditional futures market Eris Exchange, and is expected to begin support for spot trading in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum and Litecoin (LTC), as well as futures contracts, in the second half of 2019, pending regulatory’ approval.

The letter argues that “listing and trading Ether futures compliantly on CFTC regulated markets is consistent” with the CFTC’s efforts to foster “open, transparent, competitive, and financially sound derivative trading markets [and] to prohibit fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices in connection with derivatives and other products subject to the [Commodity Exchange Act] CEA.” The CFTC has long determined that Bitcoin is a commodity, given that it aspires to replace sovereign currencies — rather than a security, which would bring it under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s charge. After significant debate, Ether too was cleared of a securities classification in June 2018.

In its letter, ErisX outlines the conceptual distinction between Ethereum and its predecessor, noting that “Ethereum built upon some of the architectural principles of Bitcoin to extend [its] functionality of [a] distributed, (crypto-economically) secured, (blockchain-based) record-keeping system to include new computational capabilities for the execution of arbitrary code.”

In its diagnosis of the current state of the Ethereum market, the exchange affirms its view that a lack of regulatory clarity has prevented regulated enterprises from entering the sector, resulting in a preponderance of “unregulated or lightly regulated ‘exchanges’ [and] ‘brokers’ [emerging] to fill the gap, many of them off-shore.” The associated risks — including price volatility and liquidity fluctuations —

are therefore:

“Not unique to Ether, but [may be exacerbated by] the current fragmented global market structure of trading platforms and ‘exchanges’ with significantly varying degrees of regulatory oversight and operational transparency and integrity.”

ErisX thus contends that standardized, CFTC-regulated ETH products would draw broader participation from institutional actors and commercial users, resulting in “more robust, liquid, and resilient markets,” better risk management and more efficient, accurate price discovery. As reported, ErisX has this month appointed three veterans from Barclays, YouYube and the Chicago Board Options Exchange to fill executive roles, having announced the appointment of ConsenSys’ Joseph Lubin to its board of directors in January.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/erisx-to-cftc-regulated-eth-futures-would-result-in-more-robust-liquid-market

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

Detected Cryptojacking Prompts Microsoft to Remove Eight Free Apps from Microsoft Store

Detected Cryptojacking Prompts Microsoft to Remove Eight Free Apps from Microsoft Store

            

United States-based software corporation Microsoft

has removed eight Windows 10 applications from its official app store after cybersecurity firm Symantec identified the presence of surreptitious Monero (XMR) coin mining code. The news was reported by Symantec on Feb. 15.

Stealth crypto mining — also know as cryptojacking – works by installing malware that uses a computer’s processing power to mine for cryptocurrencies without the owner’s consent or knowledge. According to Symantec, the firm first detected malicious XMR mining code within eight apps — issued by three developers — on Jan. 17. After Symantec alerted Microsoft, the corporation is reported to have removed all eight products — although an exact date for their delisting is not provided.

The applications — which were marketed as part of the top free app listings on the Microsoft Store — reportedly included “a computer and battery optimization tutorial, internet search, web browsers, and video viewing and download,” and were issued by developers “DigiDream, 1clean and Findoo.” Upon closer investigation, Symantec has proposed that all eight apps have in fact likely been developed by the same person or group, rather than by three distinct entities.  

All the detected samples reportedly run on Windows 10, including Windows 10 S Mode, and were variously published between April and December 2018. They reportedly work by triggering Google Tag Manager in their domain servers to fetch a coin-mining JavaScript library. Once the mining script is activated, the target’s computer CPU cycle is hijacked to mine XMR for the app developers.

Symantec representatives told technology news website ZDNet that this is the first time cryptojacking cases have been found on the Microsoft store. The apps’ stealth success reportedly stems from the fact they run independently from the browser in a standalone (WWAHost.exe process) window. Moreover, they have “no throttling which means [they can use] up 100% of user's CPU time.”

As Synmantec notes, while the suspect apps all provided privacy policies, they unanimously omitted any mention of cryptocurrency mining. The firm’s analysis identified the strain of mining malware enclosed in the apps as being the web browser-based Coinhive XMR mining code. Symantec says it has not been able to determine precise download or installation statistics, but observes that the apps received almost 1,900 ratings — whether or not these accurately reflect real users, or fraudulent bots, is difficult to ascertain.

Aside from Microsoft’s action to delist the apps, the mining JavaScript has also reportedly been removed from Google Tag Manager, following Symantec’s alert. As reported, recent research from cyber security research firm Kaspersky Lab has revealed that cryptojacking overtook ransomware as the biggest cybersecurity threat —  particularly in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/detected-cryptojacking-prompts-microsoft-to-remove-eight-free-apps-from-microsoft-store

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

Hyundai Commercial Partners With IBM to Accelerate Blockchain Development

Hyundai Commercial Partners With IBM to Accelerate Blockchain Development

            

Hyundai Commercial — a financial services subsidiary

of leading South Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai — has announced a partnership with American tech giant IBM to modernize its business model using blockchain. The news was announced on Feb. 13 at IBM’s annual tech and business conference “IBM Think 2019” in San Francisco, California. Hyundai Commercial is reportedly “a corporate finance company that provides leasing and financial services for commercial vehicles and construction equipment.” The partnership with IBM will focus on using open source Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology to create a new supply chain financing ecosystem for the Hyundai Commercial network.

Network participants — which include automobile dealers, distributors and manufacturers —  will have access to a real-time, shared view of all transactions on the blockchain, allowing for this data to be securely managed and efficiently distributed. The technology will also offer efficiency gains by automating hitherto manual processes. The announcement also reveals that a separate Hyundai financial services subsidiary, Hyundai Card, will be partnering with IBM to implement its machine learning technology to create an artificial intelligence-based chatbot for customer services.

As previously reported, IBM is fast developing its blockchain-based offerings — across financial services, supply chain, government, retail, digital rights management, healthcare and insurance. Recent projects include the use of blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) to combat drought in the state of California, as well as a $700 million deal with one of Europe’s largest banks, Banco Santander, to accelerate the Spanish bank’s use of blockchain technology.

As reported, Chung Dae-sun — the nephew of the CEOs of Hyundai Group and Hyundai Motors — founded HDAC, a Korean blockchain-based IoT platform and issuer of the Hyundai-DAC token (DAC), alongside a fintech and blockchain subsidiary HyundaiPay. Earlier this week, HyundaiPay signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote the growth of fintech startups in Busan, South Korea’s second most populous city.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/hyundai-commercial-partners-with-ibm-to-accelerate-blockchain-development

 

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

Listing With IDEX Signals Step Forward for Ride-Hailing Company

Listing With IDEX Signals Step Forward for Ride-Hailing Company

         

IDEX, the only Ethereum-based, fully decentralized crypto exchange

with real-time trading and high transaction throughput has announced the listing of RedCab LLC’s REDC token. RedCab, a decentralized peer-to-peer transportation solution entirely powered by blockchain technology, announced the listing this week with the Panama-based exchange.

IDEX is recognized as the most advanced Ethereum DEX in the industry, supporting limit and market orders, gas-free cancels and also the ability to fill many trades at once. Consisting of a smart contract, trading engine and a transaction processing arbiter, the smart contract is charged with trustlessly storing all assets and also with executing trade settlement, while all trades must be authorized by the users private key. RedCab has ambitious plans to expand beyond its native Egypt into Bahrain, the KSA, as well as Asian and European markets.

At this stage, almost everyone has heard of, and possibly even tried out, some of the larger ride-hailing companies on the market, such as Uber, Lyft and Grab, but few know the way those companies go about running their business. A 25 percent profit is made through each driver, which makes it difficult for those working for those companies to earn a respectable living. With a 15 percent profit cut, RedCab provides drivers with a higher percentage of take-home pay, and have a distinct focus on community, providing users with an entirely different experience than those who use Uber.

One question on many readers minds is likely to be “Why RedCab?” According to the company itself, “Many start-ups have been rising in the market recently to solve the transportation issue. Most of them are successful as a business, but none of them have succeeded without social collateral damage.

“Despite the fact that technology has bridged the gap for transportation needs and has successfully solved some problems in the past ten years, this left us with multiple copycat business models without any iteration or innovation.” One pet peeve that many have with Uber is the spike in fares when certain conditions occur, such as rain and heavy traffic. “Customers are not only searching for a trendy service, but looking for a true reliable service with sustainable quality and safety, that offers all transportation options and services with a low competitive price, and because customers hate to be abused; so on a rainy day, or a day with heavy traffic; “high rates” fare is not a good move.”

RedCab seem able and willing to provide drivers with more tangible benefits than we’ve yet seen in this industry; “Based on a recent survey conducted on drivers working as part-time for one of the major car-hailing services app, 91% of the population have joined the hailing service apps to increase their income and 87% to work flexible shifts.  Our business model guarantees a 20% increase in the income of drivers with a clear strategy to capitalize on the network dominance where the time of the people who chose to partner with us and drive is managed more efficiently.” The listing with IDEX is yet another step forward for this company that is looking to take the industry in a new, more community-based direction.

Article Produced By
Bob Keith

Chronic crypto nut and freelance writer/editor for longer than I care to remember. Have finally found a home here at Crypto Disrupt.

https://cryptodisrupt.com/listing-with-idex-signals-step-forward-for-ride-hailing-company/

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

4 Lessons After 11 Years in Silicon Valley

4 Lessons After 11 Years in Silicon Valley

On the realities of opportunity, success, reputation, and relationships in tech

                

Silicon Valley is a magical place with some strange norms

—perhaps because companies, careers, and fortunes rise and fall with such astounding speed. Here are a few of the quirky, brutal, and hopefully useful lessons I learned during my 11 years living and working in the technology industry’s epicenter.

1. There’s opportunity in what others undervalue

There’s a rigid hierarchy of functions in Silicon Valley. At the top of the pyramid sit the entrepreneurs, the engineers, the venture capitalists. The closer you are to building or funding, the more respect you get—which probably makes sense. But when I began my career in tech, I wasn’t prepared for how little respect other functions get: recruiting, HR, marketing, communications, etc. There’s an assumption that truly great products market themselves or that truly great companies are magnets for top talent. To work in these superfluous fields is either a sign that your company must compensate for its lack of greatness or that you’re but an intermediary for the inevitable.

Of course, not everyone thinks like this. And that’s where the upside to this warped view comes in. At the company level, it’s quite clear you’ll need to out-innovate your competitors by building a better product. But what about the less obvious vectors for competition? With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to see where investments in culture have paid off exceptionally well (and where the lack thereof has halted otherwise unstoppable companies). In nascent industries—especially highly regulated ones—educating customers and stakeholders about your product and market may be as core to survival as the product itself.

This opportunity for differentiation also exists at the individual level. It used to bother me that people made certain assumptions about me based on my profession. I craved validation from my peers and resented the stereotypes that came along with PR. But the longer I’ve been in this field, the more respect I have for how nuanced, impactful, and essential our work is, and consequently, I’m bothered less by other people’s projections. An unfortunate consequence of the hierarchy of functions is that it’s harder to attract top talent to the layers we undervalue, which hurts the industry as a whole. But, as an individual, it means that it’s probably more feasible to distinguish yourself as one of the top recruiters or marketers than it is to become a top engineer in a world where that is the ultimate prize.

2. There’s nothing more dangerous early in your career than success

One of our industry’s oft-repeated (and oft-abused) sayings is, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.” It’s what Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt told Sheryl Sandberg to convince her to come onboard in 2001, and I’ve always appreciated the humility embedded in this perspective (for the seat-taker, that is). But we often fail to dwell on the inevitable follow-up question: If you took a seat on that rocket ship, and it was indeed a rocket ship, how do you know if you made any meaningful impact on its speed or trajectory?

Success is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to you early in your career. When you’re on a so-called rocket ship, you’re likely drinking from the fire hose daily, making things up as you go along. If you’re given responsibilities that exceed your experience, you’re probably plagued by self-doubt. Then, at some point, if you’re lucky, the company you’ve helped build is declared a success. And those many bumps along the way are ironed out into a perfect narrative. Perhaps you’re even tempted

to believe it.

Some reputations are built on much less than you would assume.

In Silicon Valley, myths about people and companies tend to beat out carefully considered case studies. Maybe it’s because so much creation happens when companies are still private and therefore less observable. Maybe it’s because there are so many new and invisible forces at work (emerging technology trends, cultural and behavioral shifts) in a company’s meteoric rise that mythology is the only way we can make sense of it. Maybe it’s because we love a good story—and a good creation story most of all.

It’s a balancing act to allow yourself pride in what you’ve helped accomplish without getting caught up in your own personal mythology. Be grateful for the tough times: They will keep you anchored during headier cycles. If you battle insecurity and anxiety on the regular (raises hand), find solace in the fact that you’re probably working harder than you would if you were capable of believing that it was your seat that made all the difference.

3. Some reputations are built on surprisingly little

This is going to seem random, but bear with me: In the 1999 rom-com Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore’s character, Josie, is a reporter who goes undercover as a high school student to write about the “cool” high school crowd. But there’s just one problem: She’s super uncool, so she can’t get anywhere near them. Then her naturally cool younger brother decides to relive his high school glory days and salvages her assignment by convincing the cool kids that Josie is, in fact, quite cool. “All you need is for one person to think you’re cool,” he tells her. “And you’re in.”

Silicon Valley can feel a little like high school—in many ways, but especially when it comes to people’s reputations. I’m regularly shocked by how much just one person declaring someone a “rockstar” can open doors and even change the trajectory of a career. And if the person doing the declaring is particularly influential, other people will repeat their pronouncement as a given. The speed and opacity of startup trajectories make it impossible to really know how impactful someone was (how to separate the seat from the rocket ship), so personal endorsements carry a tremendous amount of weight. Which means that some reputations are built on much less than you would assume.

This is troubling, especially because influential people tend to skew white and male, as do their networks, which only reinforces existing power structures. But it’s also an incredible opportunity to elevate deserving but underappreciated and underrepresented people—especially if you yourself are influential. I doubt many people know how much weight their words carry. Of course, if you’re not accustomed to wielding this power—or asking for it to be wielded on your behalf—it can feel pretty uncomfortable. Women in particular have a harder time transitioning from the personal and emotional to the transactional in their relationships. My female friends and I have discussed this extensively and have even experimented with a “favor swap” event where the whole point is to get transactional. Maybe this is what Lean In Circles should have been all along—lead with the favors, not the feelings.

4. Your former co-workers are your rocks, so keep them close

This one is simple, but important. We all know how critical it is to build strong relationships inside a company, but it wasn’t until I moved on from my first startup job that I realized how incredibly valuable co-worker relationships become after you leave. After years together in the trenches, former co-workers know your strengths and can call you on your bullshit. And once you’re no longer co-workers, all those pesky work-related complications and politics disappear.

Your non-co-worker friends will of course cheer you on, but if you’re in a rut professionally or trying to figure out if you’re the one being difficult in a dysfunctional work relationship, no one can help you troubleshoot like your former colleagues. Same if you need a substantive ego boost. And because your relationship started in a work context, it’s also much easier to be transactional, whether that means asking for intros, references, funding, or feedback.

I first jotted down these lessons in a fit of preemptive nostalgia in November before moving to NYC. Now I’m nearly three months into my new life here, still working in the fast-paced world of startups, but on a different coast and in a different category: beauty. It’ll be fun to see which of these lessons translate, which don’t, and what new lessons emerge. Maybe I’ll even write about how my new home compares to Silicon Valley… just give me another 11 years.

Article Produced By
Ashley Mayer

All things communications. Beauty by way of venture capital and enterprise software. Newly in New York.

https://medium.com/s/story/four-lessons-after-eleven-years-in-silicon-valley-d87507b7a4f6

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

Morgan Creek’s Venture Fund Raised 40 Million to Invest in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Morgan Creek’s Venture Fund Raised $40 Million to Invest in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

             

Morgan Creek Digital Assets announced today

that it has successfully closed a $40 million venture fund that will invest in blockchain and cryptocurrency. Morgan Creek Digital Assets (MCDA) is an alternative asset management firm founded by Anthony Pompliano, Mark Yusko, and Jason Williams. The fund is an affiliate of multi-billion dollar asset manager Morgan Creek Capital Management.

According to a Tuesday press release, MCDA closed a $40 million fund targetting blockchain and cryptocurrency. The fund originally had a target of $25 million but was oversubscribed, raising a total of $40 million. Previously, MCDA has made equity investments in companies such as Coinbase, Bakkt, BlockFi, and RealBlocks. The firm is also likely to invest in cryptocurrency and other digital assets, as seen previously in its Digital Asset Index Fund. The index is comprised of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, EOS, and Bitcoin Cash with smaller positions in five other coins.

Morgan Creek Digital’s recent raise was supported by two public pensions, a university endowment, a hospital system, and an insurance company, according to the press release from the company. Pompliano told CryptoSlate that “I believe this is the first public pension money in crypto,” suggesting that more conservative pensions are starting to take notice of blockchain and cryptocurrency as an investment vehicle.

Meanwhile, Mark Yusko, partner and co-founder of the fund said:

“We are proud to partner with these investment professionals who have shown an ability to be forward-thinking and innovative.”

Jason Williams, the other co-founder stated:

“The blockchain industry is seeing an incredible influx of highly-talented individuals and entrepreneurs. We believe many of the largest, most valuable companies of tomorrow will be built using this technology.”

In another statement from Pompliano on Twitter, he said “the institutions aren’t coming. They’re already here,” suggesting that institutions are already looking to get involved in the sector.

Article Produced By
Mitchell Moos

Editorial Manager at CryptoSlate

Mitchell is a software enthusiast and entrepreneur. In addition to writing, he runs a non-profit that teaches people about the blockchain. In his spare time he loves playing chess or hiking.

https://cryptoslate.com/morgan-creeks-venture-fund-raised-40-million-invest-blockchain-cryptocurrency/

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

Decred Founder Proposes Building DEX as Alternative to Binance Interview

Decred Founder Proposes Building DEX as Alternative to Binance [Interview]

               

Decred founder Jacob Yocom-Piatt recently proposed

a decentralized exchange (DEX) to the Politeia community. The initiative hopes to cut high-listing fees, front-running high-frequency traders, and third-party rent-seeking. A product that could overcome these barriers would be an ideal alternative to centralized exchanges, but Yocom-Piatt admits the community could still reject the proposal.

Politeia in Action

Decred was launched by Jacob Yocom-Piatt, Dave Collins, David Hill, John Vernaleo, Josh Rickmar, and Alex Yocom-Piatt in Feb. 2016. It uses a hybrid Proof-of-Stake and Proof-of-Work mining system to ensure that miners avoid becoming overly centralized. One of the founding principles of the project has also been its focus on community and open governance.

This founding principle has manifested itself in the project’s launch of Politeia in Oct. 2018. Politeia allows token holders of the Decred community to vote on the direction of the project by staking their tokens. By using native DCR tokens as a governance tool, holders effectively take decide how Decred funds are spent. At its launch last year, Decred’s coffers held roughly $23 million in DCR tokens.

It is an ambitious version of governance, one in which Yocom-Piatt pointed could end badly for the group. In the initial post announcing Politeia’s launch, Yocom-Piatt wrote, “Politeia allows Decred users and stakeholders to propose, discuss, collaborate on, and fund new projects, initiatives, and consensus changes. If stakeholders exercise bad judgment, it can have serious negative consequences.” Proposals can take two forms: ones that stir voter support for a change of policy or those that will fund projects from the Decred treasury. The upcoming DEX proposal will fall into the latter category and is estimated to cost between $100,000 to $1,000,000 to build.

Features of a Decentralized Alternative

In a phone interview with CryptoSlate, Yocom-Piatt outlined the reasons behind the proposal. One of the major issues for the Decred founder was the number of problems he has seen

regarding centralized exchanges.

“When [Decred developers] were meeting with exchanges, we were facing enormous listing fees,” he said. “Often times the costs of getting listed on one of the big exchanges was more than the cost of integrating the coin itself.”

In 2018, Binance, the number one cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, had allegedly been asking projects upwards of $1 million to get their token listed on the exchange. The CEO of Celsius Network, a crypto-lending platform which raised $50 million in an ICO in 2017, placed this figure closer to $6 million.

Although Binance has been tight-lipped about the exact figures, Yocom-Piatt wants to avoid this business model altogether. “I want to get away from centralized exchanges. They have become gatekeepers for a project’s success,” he told CryptoSlate. “It’s not just for Decred either. It applies across the board.” Omitting costly listing fees is only one part of the multi-faceted proposal. The plan would also give retail investors a better chance of successfully trading against high-frequency traders and

bot accounts.

“You just can’t compete with firms who have already built out robust financial infrastructure, unless you build something equivalent. Then you have only a slightly better chance,” said Yocom-Piatt.

Typically, order books on exchanges are managed following FIFO accounting, or ‘first in, first out.’ This mechanism means that the first orders to arrive are the first ones to be fulfilled. To game this, whole businesses have been built which offer an automated service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To combat such front-running, the Decred DEX proposal would implement pseudorandomly matched orders in which interested market makers would be shuffled upon order arrival. This would give everyone, even bots, an equal shot at maximizing their profits.

Other features of the DEX include the use of atomic swaps, crypto-only trading (no fiat), and trading transparency in which all trade data is cryptographically signed and publicly demonstrable. For the uninitiated, atomic swaps allow trades to be made between two distinct blockchains without the use of an intermediary. Decred and Litecoin are reportedly the first projects to successfully implement such a trade in Sept. 2017.

Community Response

In the commentary following the proposal, as well as within Decred’s Telegram channel, members have reported mixed feelings. Some have commented that all funds from the treasury should only be used for Decred development, while others have explained that the DEX proposal is overkill. A Decred member, nottrunner,

wrote:

“[It] seems to me we are taking a gun to a knife fight if the primary purpose of the DEX is [ultimately] to increase DCR liquidity.”

Similar responses regarding liquidity were iterated in the Telegram channel, as some were unconvinced that building out a costly exchange would get more DCR tokens into more users’ hands. In Diar’s Feb. 5, 2019 report, they also explained that “less than [one percent] of cryptocurrency trades are facilitated on decentralized exchanges,” despite the risk of theft on centralized versions.

But this is not a point of concern for Yocom-Piatt as he underlined how easy it is to fake trading volume, “especially in a crypto winter.” In a Dec. 2018 analysis from the Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI), the institute stated that “80 [percent] of the [CoinMarketCap] top 25 BTC pairs volume is wash traded.” Wash trading is the activity of buying and selling an asset to provide misleading information about the asset’s trading volume. The practice was banned in the United States following the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936 but has reemerged since the advent of unregulated cryptocurrency markets.

Adding to that, the Decred founder said the primary focus for the exchange will be to protect traders from price slippage. If someone is interested in purchasing one million DCR tokens, for instance, the price of DCR will not be affected in the proposed DEX framework. Yocom-Piatt confirmed that a number of large DCR stakeholders have expressed interest in a product that prevents such slippage. Regardless of Yocom-Piatt’s motivations behind the proposal, it is ultimately the Decred community who will decide. He explained that the DEX proposal is one of the largest proposals

attempted thus far.

“We want to make a case for this decision-making system,” he said. “The governance decision will be written in stone with time stamps, no matter if it passes or fails.”

Article Produced By
Liam Kelly

Blockchain Writer at CryptoSlate

Liam is an enthusiastic writer whose primary focus is to deliver skillfully written analysis of emerging technologies, digital weirdness, and the decentralized web. He is also skilled at seeking out Internet-based subcultures, communicating between niche communities, and unearthing incoming trends in technology, culture, and politics. He is based in Berlin, Germany and enjoys playing soccer, making reading lists, and playing solitaire in his local Kneipe.

https://cryptoslate.com/decred-founder-proposes-dex-binance-interview/

Deb Williams (hodlthrive)

The revolution from Deb Williams