$8 Billion Coinbase Faces Backlash for Latest Acquisition

Bitcoin exchange giant Coinbase has acquired Chainalysis competitor Neutrino in an effort to enhance its compliance efforts and regulatory relationships. Neutrino uses blockchain analytics to identify potential money laundering or other illegal transactions on the blockchain. Until its acquisition, it was one of a few companies growing in the space of analyzing blockchains. Its work mainly benefits crypto exchanges, regulators, and other centralized powers.

According to Coinbase, companies like Chainalysis, Whitestream, and Elementus are “necessary” in an “open financial system.”

“Blockchain intelligence is increasingly important in the crypto ecosystem, and is necessary to achieve our mission of bringing the open financial system to the world. By analyzing data on public blockchains, Neutrino will help us prevent theft of funds from peoples’ accounts, investigate ransomware attacks, and identify bad actors. It will also help us bring more cryptocurrencies and features to more people while helping ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.”

Coinbase has chosen to buy the company outright for an undisclosed price. Neutrino’s team will move from its base in Italy to Coinbase’s offices in London.

Coinbase: Bitcoin Bank Extraordinaire

Long the subject of derision at the community level of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Coinbase’s acquisition is one more in a list of “anti-crypto” charges against it.

Neutrino’s CEO, Giancarlo Russo, formerly worked as Chief Operating Officer for HackingTeam, the government security contractor that was famously hacked in 2015. Documents leaked by the HackingTeam attackers showed that the company willingly aided repressive governments including Saudi Arabia, who wanted to buy the company.

Crypto community members are unfriendly to anything which can lead to censorship. That is the bottom line for many.

If it leads to censorship, it’s poison.

Very little of Coinbase’s business model has been favored by long-time members of the crypto community.

Nevertheless, Coinbase has grown to be an $8 billion company in spite of regular complaints. Its notorious customer support and various compliance initiatives frequently raise ire. Whatever you have to say against them, they’ve done a great job onboarding millions of people. People who might not otherwise have been able to join the cryptocurrency world.

Now Can We Have a Crypto ETF?

According to Coinbase, Neutrino is superior to Chainalysis, a leader in the space.

“Neutrino’s technology is the best we’ve encountered in this space, and it will play an important role in legitimizing crypto, making it safer and more accessible for people all over the world.”

Coinbase director of product and engineering Varun Srinivasan added in a CoinDesk interview:

“We want to bring them to the American market and the international market and introduce them to companies that are doing all kinds of things with crypto that need blockchain intelligence.”

Is blockchain intelligence the last mile?

We have regulated custodians, exchanges, payment processors, and a thriving community of enthusiastic users. We also have several multi-million dollar firms dedicated to preventing fraud and money laundering. Now can we have a Bitcoin ETF?

Venerability of markets is an important part of the SEC’s concerns toward cryptocurrency investment products. One persistent fear is the potential for market manipulation in Bitcoin. Such concerns aren’t helped any by the accusations against Bitfinex and Tether regarding the 2017 bull run.


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Author: P.H. Madore 
Image Credit: Source: Shutterstock

Ethereum Classic cryptocurrency pulled from Coinbase after attack

A hack on the cryptocurrency let attackers spend coins twice.

 

If there’s one thing cryptocurrency is supposed to guarantee, it’s that no one can spend the same coin twice. Every transaction ever made with Bitcoin, for example, is recorded in a database that anyone can access. The database is called a blockchain, and it’s supposed to keep everyone honest.

But there’s a way to get around that rule. On Monday, cryptocurrency trading hub Coinbase said it would no longer facilitate trades in Ethereum Classic because the exchange had determined the cryptocurrency had fallen victim to an attack that let someone spend the same coins twice.

The attack highlights a problem that blockchain experts have known about since the beginning of cryptocurrencies. Virtual coins are only secure as long as people remain honest while maintaining the blockchains that record cryptocurrencies. It’s also a big blow for Ethereum Classic, which can no longer be traded on Coinbase, a major exchange for all kinds of cryptocurrencies.

According to Coinbase security engineer Mark Nesbitt’s blog post, the attackers could spend coins twice because of what’s called a 51 percent attack. To do this, attackers took control of more than half of the processing power that computes and stores the Ethereum Classic blockchain. That let the attackers create alternative transactions for some coins, essentially spending them twice.

A Twitter account for Ethereum Classic said it had detected a problem but didn’t think it was a 51 percent attack and hadn’t seen signs of “double spending” coins. “[Coinbase] allegedly detected double spends but unfortunately did not connect with ETC personnel regarding the attack,” a tweet from the account said Monday. The owners of the account didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The coins that attackers allegedly spent twice were worth about $460,000, Nesbitt wrote. He added that potential for an attack like this one is a problem faced by all cryptocurrencies, and doesn’t mean Ethereum Classic was especially vulnerable.


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Author: Laura Hautala
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Crypto Giant Coinbase Made Strides In Q4 2018, Even As Bitcoin (BTC) Plunged 40%

Although Coinbase has recently become a controversial company, especially as it began to add crypto assets left and right, the company has long had an unrelenting drive for innovation. Since setting up shop in 2012, the San Francisco-headquartered startup, headed by a former Airbnb employee with visions of grandeur, has quickly set the industry standard in a number of subsectors.

The firm may have started as a consumer-centric exchange, which sported a simple (near-)one-click interface, but Coinbase has evolved far beyond its original premise now. And interestingly, even as digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) — Coinbase’s lifeblood — continue to lose value, the firm has only doubled-down on its expansion and development efforts.

Coinbase Outperformed The Bitcoin Sell-Off

Recent Giving Pledge signee Brian Armstrong, the fervent, sometimes controversial chief of Coinbase, recently issued a note to his underlings — a swelling group of talent — accentuating the fact that the company has not only survived but thrived in the recent bearish downturn.

The American firm, which now has offices around the globe, started Q4 of 2018 with a bang, securing $300 million in funding from Tiger Global, Y Combinator, A16Z, Polychain Cap, and a number of other crypto-friendly venture groups. This round valued Coinbase at a jaw-dropping $8 billion, making the firm arguably the most valuable company in the entirety of Bitcoin ecosystem.

And since that $300 million cash boost, which was explained to be allocated towards global expansion efforts, institutional services, and applications for crypto, Coinbase has arguably been on the up-and-up. As explained in Armstrong’s letter, released to the public in an evident attempt at transparency, Coinbase launched a number of pertinent products, including support for Circle-backed USD Coin, a revamped version of Earn, PayPal withdrawals, and crypto-to-crypto trading, to only name a few products.

The firm also added a dozen crypto assets to its platform, an evident sign of changing times, with notable additions including ZCash (ZEC), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Maker (MKR), and 0x (ZRX). In a podcast, vice-president Dan Romero explained that firm’s clientele has begun to clamor for crypto asset support, presumably catalyzing the recent listings.

Along with adding the aforementioned tokens and products, Coinbase forayed into six new regions, opening the ground-breaking potential of crypto to millions more. The Coinbase chief also explained that his firm made a number of investments, into organizations such as Alchemy, Securitize, Starkware, Nomics, and Abacus.

Closing the retrospective post, Armstrong made his excitement and gratitude more than apparent when he wrote:

“I continue to be so impressed by the ability of this team to execute on aggressive timelines, all while solving problems that have never been solved before. This was a year of scaling Coinbase up to meet the demand of the market and efficiently executing to serve our customers.”

Great Year Ahead For The Crypto Juggernaut

Interestingly, the firm already seems to have prospects for a great 2019. As reported by NewsBTC earlier today, an apparent survey from Coinbase has polled users on the appeal of a subscription model, which would reduce “maker” and “taker” fees for Pro traders, while offering perks for premium members. If implemented, this program would be the first of its kind in the cryptosphere, and would likely propel the company’s trading platforms to new heights.

Asiff Hirji, president of the fledgling company, recently hinted that 2019 will be a great year for institutional participation in cryptocurrencies. In an interview with CNBC, Hirji explained that Coinbase’s custodial service “has blown by internal goals,” as “hundred of institutions” have boarded onto the platform in recent memory. Seeing that Coinbase has been playing a role in that facet of this industry, it can be assumed that this influx of Wall Street hotshots will trickle down to the company’s growing roster of institutional products.

Zeeshan Feroz, the chief at Coinbase’s U.K. branch, also expressed a similar positive outlook, but from a broader perspective. He said:

“I think you can expect a more aggressive approach to us adding more countries in the coming months. Much of what we’re doing here is driven by customer needs and what we’re seeing in the market… I think if you look at last year, a lot of the focus was on people who bought crypto from an investment point of view and a lot of projects raised a ludicrous amount of money as a result of that.”


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Author: Nick Chong
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Coinbase’s Earn.com Becomes a Crypto Webinar With Crypto Rewards

Coinbase acquired Earn.com for at least $120 million back in April. And the company now plans to transform Earn.com into Coinbase Earn, a website with educational content to learn more about cryptocurrencies. Users who complete those classes will earn tokens.

 

Coinbase bought Earn.com partly so that it could appoint Earn.com co-founder and CEO Balaji Srinivasan as Coinbase’s CTO. The previous iteration of Earn.com wasn’t a priority for Coinbase.

 

Earn.com started as a service where you can contact busy people for a small fee. Busy people would get paid in cryptocurrencies to accept those requests. The platform quickly became a way to massively contact Earn.com’s user base for initial coin offerings and airdrops.

 

Coinbase Earn is launching today in private beta. But at the time of this article, the new Coinbase Earn service is not live (Update: Coinbase Earn is now live and is a separate website from Earn.com). Some Coinbase users will receive an invitation to the service. The company says that educational content will go beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum. Developing education pages for obscure cryptocurrencies makes sense as Coinbase plans to add dozens of cryptocurrencies over the coming months.

 

At first, there is just one track. Users can learn more about 0x (ZRX), a protocol that lets you create decentralized exchanges. Cryptocurrency trades can be executed without a centralized exchange thanks to 0x .

 

0x content includes video lessons and quizzes — and yes, writing this makes me feel like it’s 2005 and webinars are cool again. Even if you’re not invited to Coinbase Earn, you can view the content. But those who are part of Coinbase Earn will receive a small amount of ZRX at the end of the track.

 

Coinbase had previously launched a learning hub to understand the basics of cryptocurrencies.


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Author: Romain Dillet
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Coinbase Ventures Backs $3 Million Round for Trading Data Startup Nomics

Crypto data startup Nomics just secured $3 million in funding from investors including Coinbase Ventures.

The company announced Tuesday that the Series A investment will be used to flesh out its engineering team, as well as continue working to index 95 percent of all data pertaining to how crypto assets are traded.

Led by Arthur Ventures, the round also saw CoVenture Crypto, Digital Currency Group, BitGo co-founder Ben Davenport, CityBlock Capital, King Capital, PolyMath and TokenSoft participating.

Nomic CEO and co-founder Clay Collins told CoinDesk that, at present, almost every employee at the startup works on development full-time. That reflects the immense amount of data Nomics is trying to index, he said, explaining:

Exacerbating the challenge is the fact that the team is looking to provide “gapless data,” which normalizes the information to account for different time zones, ticker symbols, offline market protocols and other data variations, Collins said.

Users can access the data using the Nomics API, which provides both historical and real-time financial data on different tokenizeds assets. This data can include price quotes and trading indicators, and seeks to unite the data from different exchanges.

There will be “millions of new pages available” after the information is indexed, according to Collins.

“With regards to the API/data product for businesses and institutions, it will look like more API endpoints, more data behind existing endpoints, lower latency, improved documentation, as well as more aggregate data/indicators (like quote currency dominance and future supply simulation),” he said.

The service will also provide the ability to analyze or follow individual orders, too. The aim is ultimately that hedge funds and other investors should be able to utilize this data in developing trading algorithms and tracking market fluctuations.

Nomic has already indexed more than 3.5 billion data points, and sees roughly 35 million API calls each month, according to provided figures.


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Author: Nikhilesh De
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Coinbase Opens Up To Altcoins, Launches Crypto-To-Crypto Trading

Coinbase Surprises Users With Monday’s “12 Days Of [Christmas]” Feature

 

Last Monday, Coinbase, the world’s most valuable crypto company, revealed that it would be launching a “12 Days of Coinbase” initiative, an obvious reference to the age-old holiday song of a similar title. In an announcement pertaining to this program, the San Francisco-headquartered platform divulged that 12 Days was a culmination of its development efforts for 2018.

Keeping this in mind, the firm explained that it would make one pertinent announcement each day, whether it be a new feature, company program, or anything in between. Just one week after the launch of this holiday-inspired initiative, on day 8, the upstart valued at $8 billion has arguably released the most exciting feature of 12 Days so far.

At noon on December 17th, Coinbase took to its Twitter page to unveil a feature that its retail users have been clamoring for since Ethereum (ETH) added to the multinational platform. Per a blog post released in tandem with Coinbase’s tweet, this feature, dubbed “Convert.” will allow users to trade one cryptocurrency to another on the firm’s consumer-focused offering.

Convert will allow traders to issue crypto-to-crypto instantaneously, and purportedly at a “lower than if done via two separate transactions.” The startup will be charging a targeted spread of 1%, but the fee incurred may vary, specifically due to “market fluctuations.” This feature will be “gradually” rolled out to Coinbase’s clients in the 34 countries that have access to “native payment access.”

In closing, the firm maintained that this newest feature is part of Coinbase’s mission to build a open financial system for the world.

Coinbase Opening Up To Altcoins 

This move only underscores Coinbase’s newfound affection for altcoins, which has shocked the industry at large, as formerly, the startup expressed copious amounts of hesitance towards listing non-Bitcoin digital assets. Still, the fact of the matter is that amid 2018’s bear market, the American juggernaut likely weighed its options, and decided to move its business in a unique direction.

Per previous reports published in September, Dan Romero, Coinbase’s general manager, took to CNBC’s “Fast Money” segment to discuss the matter. Romero, who has quickly risen to the top of the startup’s pecking order, explained Coinbase’s vision for its altcoin-friendly plan:

Ultimately, crypto is a global phenomenon. You have software developers and entrepreneurs around the world building products on top of crypto, and it’s unlocking a lot of use cases, particularly in emerging markets. I think we need to shift as a company to a more global perspective.

Just months after this revelation, the platform has remained true to its word, listing an array of altcoins, some well-known, others not so much, in rapid succession. At the time of writing, Pro, the startup’s testing ground for altcoin support, currently lists the “Coinbase Five” (BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, and ETC), ZCash (ZEC), 0x (ZRX), BAT, Decentraland (MANA), LOOM, Civic (CVC), and district0x (DNT).

The startup has also expressed that it intends to “explore” offering support for an extensive list of altcoins, namely Stellar Lumens (XLM), XRP, Cardano, NEO, and Tezos (XTZ). Seeing that the company has made good on its “exploration” of assets previously, it can be assumed that the tokens on the list, partially conveyed above, will be added in due time.


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Author: Nick Chong
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Coinbase Exec. Unpacks the Industry Giant’s About-Face on Crypto Listings

Coinbase Vice President Dan Romero has given reasons behind the platform’s recent announcement that it is exploring support for dozens of new cryptocurrency assets, arguably in contrast to its long-cautious approach to supporting individual crypto tokens.

Speaking recently to Linda Shin on an episode of the Unchained podcast, he delved into the factors that predicated the unusual move, coming against a background of the platform’s historically conservative nature when it comes to adding new assets.

In response to a suggestion that Coinbase may be loosening its approach to add coins that are more experimental or less proven than the big names like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and so on, Romero stated that Coinbase is, in fact, revising its approach based on customer feedback and current developments in the regulatory space. According to him, the recent shift in strategy is particularly driven by customers who have overwhelmingly requested the addition of new cryptocurrencies to the platform.

Coinbase Adopts Customer-Driven Crypto Strategy

Coinbase has said it is exploring support for more than 30 new cryptocurrency assets, including ripple (XRP).

Explaining the reasoning behind Coinbase’s new strategic direction, Romero said:

“I think our plan now is to list as many cryptocurrencies possible within a compliant, legal constraints and also having information and quality signals easily available for customers so that they can kind of determine if a cryptocurrency makes sense for them.”

In reference to cryptocurrency’s ongoing pivot into a utility phase, Romero explained that in the event that customers decide to change their crypto holdings on Coinbase and it cannot offer them that service due to non-support for their cryptocurrency, they will only end up exchanging the assets on less secure platforms, which serves neither them nor Coinbase.

This he said, raises the need for Coinbase to recognise that that “the ability to switch cryptocurrencies is the core piece of functionality in the ecosystem.” Thus, he revealed, Coinbase now intends to list as many assets as they can legally do in as many jurisdictions as well.

Despite the SEC’s position on registering securities which creates a risk of listing a token that later turns out to be an unregistered security, Romero expressed confidence in the company’s legal and security procedures working in tandem with in-house checks and balances to ensure that this does not take place.

According to him, the company’s Digital Asset Framework has enabled Coinbase to develop an efficient process to ensure the quality bar and re-affirm the brand’s identity of “trusted and easy to use.” Among the fail-safes deployed in registering a new asset is the use of vetos by every team before an asset is added to the platform.


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Author: David Hundeyin
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Coinbase Adds Customizable Crypto Watchlists, Online Trading Platform Now User-Friendly

Coinbase, the crypto exchange bull, rolled out a new feature on Thursday, December 13, 2018, making its online trading platform more ergonomic. It has officially issued a watchlist feature to its online user interface. The notice is part of Coinbase’s 12-day announcements event.

The watchlist feature enables users to maximumly customize their Coinbase dashboards. Using a tweet, the platform said the customers can select the data to be unfurled on their personal dashboards. They can also choose a digital currency along with price charts plus other market information.

“The crypto industry moves fast. It’s hard to filter information on the many assets out there. On Day 4 of 12 Days of Coinbase, we’re rolling out watchlists so Coinbase customers can customize their dashboards with assets of interest,” Coinbase said.


Days of Coinbase
The watchlist further stretches to cryptos which are not traded by the exchange platform (Coinbase). The exchange revealed that they have been planting in users’ logged-in experience for half a year now. This effort was carried out to provide users with the capacity to customize the Coinbase App to their digital currency interests.

“Over the past 6 months, we’ve made several investments in customers’ logged-in experience. Each new feature serves a greater purpose: to give customers the ability to tailor the Coinbase app to their crypto interests. We look forward to building more features that make your dashboard more personal,” Coinbase revealed.

At press time, it has made the 5th day of announcing. The expansion of the exchange’s e-gift card program is so far the largest update that has been proclaimed. The e-gift card program lets the users buy e-gift cards using digital assets.

On day 2, the exchange platform gave away ZCash as a donation to help more than 50 Venezuelan households.

On day 3, Coinbase released a video revealing that crypto was the next-big-thing in money and finance. The video indicates that digital asset will more likely become a ‘democratizing force’ for the entire globe.


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Author: Coin Idol
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US Coinbase Customers Can Make Instant, Free Crypto-To-Cash Transfers to PayPal

Coinbase — the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange — partnered with payments platform PayPal to enable instant, free crypto-to-cash withdrawals for US customers.

This means customers can now move the crypto balances in their Coinbase accounts to their PayPal accounts immediately, at no charge.

“These withdrawals are not only fast; they’re free and incur no fees,” project manager Allen Osgood wrote on Coinbase’s blog. “Now, moving your cryptocurrency to cash is easier and more affordable than ever.”

Facilitating an ‘Open Financial System’

Before, you needed an ACH (automated clearing house) or federal wire account to withdraw funds from your Coinbase account. And it could take up to two business days for the transaction to clear.

With the new Coinbase/PayPal service, you can now move your funds instantly, for free.

Here’s the two-step process:

  1. Sign in to Coinbase and link your PayPal account to your Coinbase account.
  2. Select your PayPal account as a payment option when withdrawing your cash balance to move your funds instantly.
Coinbase Customers Can Make Instant Crypto-To-Cash Transfers to PayPal
Coinbase customers can make instant crypto-to-cash transfers to PayPal.

Allen Osgood said Coinbase launched the service in response to customer demands for an “open financial system.”

“We believe that means more than just owning cryptocurrency ,” he explained. ” It means having the flexibility to use it how and when you want. This integration is a big step forward in realizing that vision, allowing you to smoothly and instantly transfer your funds to cash.”

While the service is currently only available in the United States, Coinbase plans to roll it out in more countries in 2019.

Coinbase and Circle Are Making Moves In DC

While bitcoin enthusiasts know Coinbase primarily as a cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage giant, the company is quietly making moves behind the scenes to promote mainstream crypto adoption.

In September 2018, a pro-crypto lobbying group was launched in Washington, D.C. by three of the biggest cryptocurrency companies in the United States:

  • Coinbase
  • Circle
  • Digital Currency Group.

“We have been very active with Congress, with policymakers. There’s a lot of engagement,” said Jeremy Allaire, the co-founder of Circle, a crypto unicorn with a $3 billion valuation.

The move signals that the virtual currency industry is taking concrete steps to promote mainstream adoption by becoming power players in the US capital. Lobbying isn’t sexy or hip, but that’s how things get in politics — so it’s pretty effective.

A week after the lobbying group launched, three bills were introduced in the US Congress designed to support the development of crypto and blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin.

The three bills were:

  1. Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology.
  2. Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act.
  3. Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act.


Republican Congressman Tom Emmer — who is co-chairman of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus — urged the United States to prioritize the development of blockchain and create an environment that will enable the private sector to lead on innovation.

“This is an exciting time for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies,” said Congressman Emmer. “Legislators should be embracing emerging technologies and providing a clear regulatory system that allows them to flourish in the United States.”

 


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Author: Samantha Chang
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Decentraland (MANA) and Enjin (ENJ) are blazing a trail for crypto-infused gaming and Coinbase just took notice

Gaming is big business and crypto wants a slice of the pie. Decentraland and Enjin look well positioned for success and Coinbase seems to agree.

The gaming industry is a multi-billion-dollar global opportunity for crypto, and we aren’t just talking about CryptoKitties and betting dapps.

At the cutting edge of the mash-up of crypto and gaming are crypto projects Decentraland and Enjin.

As this story was being written the news broke that both projects’ tokens had been included in Coinbase’s latest clutch of assets it is exploring for possible listing.

That’s a major vote of confidence (or a crazy decision on Coinbase’s part, as some of my colleagues here at EWN have suggested) regarding both the strength of their technology offerings and adoption trajectory. [update – MANA has been listed on Coinbase Pro]

However, the two projects are very different beasts, as we shall see.

For the new breed of crypto investors that places a premium on fundamentals rather than obsessing over speculative price potential, they deserve attention.

Decentraland is one of the sector’s strongest projects

Decentraland, founded by Argentinian Esteban Ordano, is a decentralised virtual world in which you can buy parcels of LAND sized 10m x 10m. The currency of the world is MANA. It is launching its second LAND auction next week (10 December) and there are only 9,350 parcels up for grabs. Total parcels in the world are capped at 90,000.

The first LAND auction saw 34,356 parcels sold for a total of 161 million MANA but 9,331 were not sold. It was in the first auction that the layout of Genesis City was established. The SDK is in alpha release with the full launch happening early next year.

Over 161 million MANA was spent on LAND during the first auction, amounting to roughly $30 million at the time (it finished in January 2018). However, after the conclusion of the auction there were still 9,331 LAND parcels left unowned, so now there’s a second chance to join the LAND rush.

Binance partnership

The project has just done a deal with Binance in which 1,875,000 MANA and one Binance-branded parcel of LAND is available to the lucky winners of the competition the partners are running.

Binance Coin (BNB) is one of a growing list of currencies that can be used to purchase LAND in the auction.

The latest cryptoasset to join that list is dapp platform Zilliqa’s ZIL token. Dai and MKR are also among the coins accepted in the auction.

LAND owners are free to build whatever they want on their land, although the game developers are coding filters so that users can choose not to see what they might consider undesirable content.

EWN reached out to Ari Meilich, project lead of the blockchain-powered virtual world, which, unlike Second Life from the earlier days of the internet, cannot be closed down by a centralised owner.

“Binance has about 10 million users, and very popular social accounts – so naturally a lot of new people started following and engaging with our project,” says Meilich.

“We are currently announcing other major crypto projects to the auction, and the interest continues ramping up.”

The web client for non-LAND owners to explore the world launches in the first quarter of 2019.

The project raised $25 million in its initial coin offering last year and has attracted investment from Boost VC and UK-based Fabric Ventures.

BUIDL and they will come

3D-world coders and artists are excited by the opportunities the platform offers.

One of those is Sam Clare who was featured in a BBC Stories video report that is well worth viewing, as is a fly-through of Clare’s work referenced below.

“To be honest I haven’t done anything in regards to my Decentraland parcel. I have read up on and gotten myself comfortable with babylon.js [the project’s SDK was originally using Three.js] and will build something when DCL launches,” he told EWN.

At the moment, then, Clare is honing his skills in readiness for the launch and it’s another crypto-infused world that has his attention.

“I have mainly been developing on my Cryptovoxels [another virtual world on the Ethereum blockchain] parcels as that is live and development for that has been rocketing recently.  I have a fair few parcels.

“You can visit my crypto punk shop at www.cryptopunk.shop and one of my galleries at www.samsplace.space. I also built the BLUP parcel, 8bit Nintendo hommage and the Ministry of Smiley Faces.”

Clare says he will be holding on to his Decentraland LAND for some time to come or at least until it hits a valuation of 10 million MANA. He bought his parcels for $900.

Enjin is on fire

Enjin is an altogether different proposition. It is positioning itself as a one-stop shop for game publishers who want to implement blockchain tech and for gaming communities looking to add value to their ecosystems by leveraging the Enjin Network.

The Enjin Network has an impressive 20 million users with 250,000 gaming communities onboard.

The project has just inked a deal with Titan Flight Studios in which it will be integrating Enjin’s ERC-1155 Ethereum-compliant token into its ReBounce game.

EWN asked Simon Kertonegoro, vice president of marketing at Enjin, when gamers would be able to get their hands on the product.

“There’s no specific launch target but they’ve advised us that they could complete the integration within a month, that would include the launch of an item sale and the marketing that goes with it.”

Titan will use Enjin’s tech to help it roll out what it calls “high-velocity esports games” for other companies.

Non-fungible tokens – from ERC-721 to ERC-1155

At the heart of both Decentraland and Enjin is the Ethereum-compliant non-fungible token (NFT) standard ERC-721 that came to prominence with CryptoKitties.

The popular ERC-20 token standard is fungible, meaning each unit is the same as another and are therefore interchangeable.

Non-fungible tokens are important for gaming because each token is different and as such can be used to identify individual difference. In other words, NFTs are essential for representing unique items, be it CryptoKitties collectibles or other digital items in game worlds.

Gamers will immediately appreciate the importance of NFTs, but let’s spell it out for those of you who think Discord is something to do with chaos and not a core part of the growing gaming communities, along with Twitch.

In-game purchases and trading is booming

In-game purchases are mushrooming as gamers splash out on items used in gameplay –swords, helmets, blasters, outfits… you name it.

And it doesn’t end there. There’s also a secondary market in the virtual items, with gamers increasingly looking to trade their items with fellow fans of their favoured game in a niche, if that’s the right word, thought to be worth as much as $50 billion, according to WAX.io. The most expensive virtual item was a virtual planet that sold for $6 million.

Skins are one of the most sort-after of virtual items as they change the appearance of characters in entirely unique ways.

Add to that the fast-growing eSports space where gamers come together to watch the best-of-breed compete and the opportunity is even more enticing for the crypto disrupters.

Keeping track of who owns what, the provenance of a particular item, tracking its value and providing a venue for trading and more, all requires not just a currency but a ledger that records all of the above in real-time.

In a nutshell, trading in-game digital assets is difficult and complicated.

You guessed it, that’s where crypto comes in.

Statista estimates that by 2020 consumers will be spending $32 billion on in-game purchases.

Add mobile, PC and console gaming revenues together for 2017 and it comes to a massive $108.4 billion, according to SuperData, and that’s not including virtual reality, augmented reality and eSports.

ERC-721 – the best of both worlds with fungible and non-fungible

Think about tracking all the individual weapons in World of Warcraft (100,000 of them), for example. Some of them are much like all the others but others will have unique attributes such as strength and health built up over many hours of gameplay etc or a character that has honed. Its skills to by passing through ascending levels of difficulty.

From a performance aspect storing all that information on blockchain may not be efficient, especially when it comes to real-time transactions between multiple players.

For Decentraland that’s not so much of a problem, at least for the auction.

“Unlike our first auction, there’s no bidding in this one, so at most there will be a total of about 9,350 transactions, which at Ethereum’s current throughput (half a million per day, roughly) is more than manageable over the course of a few days,” Meilich explains.

Building on the parcels should not pose a performance problem either.

It’s a different matter with massively multiplayer gaming.

For Enjin ERC-721 was not good enough so they developed their own token standard – ERC-1155 – that encompasses both fungible and non-fungible digital assets. It was developed by co-founder and chief technical officer Witek Radomski, as reported by EWN in July.

The standard is taking off says Kertonegoro because of its performance gains:

“We have 12 upcoming games that have publicly announced their adoption of our tools after signing up for our early adopter program (EAP).

“These games are in development and blockchain is being integrated using our tools, as we speak. We also have many more games that have signed up for our EAP and are getting ready to announce.”

Kertonegoro explains that aside from setting up websites, launching a multifaceted wallet and Enjin Beam is QR code airdrop system, the heart of the network is its tools for managing the properties in digital worlds.

“ENJ’s core purpose is to be used to create digital assets. It functions as a resource/material that is placed inside ERC-1155 tokens, granting access to our tools.

“Most ERC-1155 tokens that currently exist are made using our ecosystem and therefore contain Enjin Coin.”

The metrics are impressive: “There are 4,722,968 ENJ currently locked inside items and we haven’t even released our development tools to the public yet,” says Kertonegoro.

“Once we release the Unity SDK and our co-marketing campaign alongside Unity goes out to their 4.5 million game developers, we expect to gain a lot more traction,” he adds.

It’s a currency too and coming to gift cards soon

The Enjin coin has increased in popularity as its utility value grows.

“ENJ can also be used as a currency. It is definitely the most used currency when it comes to purchasing ERC-1155 tokens peer-to-peer. If you take a look at any of the following Telegram channels you will see thousands of trades happening with ENJ as the currency of choice. https://t.me/erc1155_collectibles – https://t.me/catsinmechs – https://t.me/warofcrypto – https://t.me/NineLivesArena– https://t.me/cryptofightsgroup etc.”

The lesson here is that adoption creates liquidity and that’s how projects will survive and thrive – not by overpromising and then failing to deliver a product.

Enticingly, Kertonegoro says ENJ will soon be “a currency of choice on a Gift Card site where users will be able to use BTC, ETH, ENJ, and LTC to purchase gift cards for 200+ companies such as Amazon, Nike, Uber, iTunes, Google Play etc.”

“We are also working out a deal to integrate our coin into a crypto payment gateway that will enable any online business to accept ENJ with ease.”

Although we should perhaps all stop fixating on token prices, it is worth noting that most altcoins are down 80-90% or more, that’s not the case with either MANA or ENJ.

MANA, currently priced at $0.052081, is down 53% against the dollar but 123% higher against BTC and 139% higher against ETH, on a one-year view.

The relative stability seen in the MANA price chart is notable.

In fact Decentraland is one of only 10 crypto projects that is down less then 85% this year.

ENJ is priced at $0.023361 at the time of writing and is 58% lower against the US dollar but 105% up on BTC and 118% up against ETH.

No wonder Coinbase is considering listing both of these coins (MANA has just been listed on Coinbase Pro). Game on.

ENJUSD and MANAUSD 1-day charts, Binance (source: TradingView) Green line = 50 simple moving average (SMA), Blue 100SMA, Red 200 SMA


Source
Author: Gary McFarlane
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