The Ledger: Crypto vs. Cannabis, Blockchain and Jamie Dimon in Davos, Facebook Coin

We’re back in your inbox after taking last Monday off to honor MLK.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that lately I’ve written less about crypto and more about cannabis. I spent much of the last two months working on my new cover story for February issue, “The Marijuana Billionaire Who Doesn’t Smoke Weed.”

No, the words “Bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency” do not appear anywhere in the story. Still, throughout my reporting, I was constantly struck by how alike the crypto and cannabis communities seemed—both were caught up in market bubbles that recently popped; both know the pain of constant regulatory headaches—even as they operated on seemingly parallel planes. If one were to draw a Venn diagram, the circles would overlap only slightly.

That got me thinking: Perhaps cryptocurrency and cannabis could learn a little something from each other. After all, with cryptocurrency we spend a lot of time talking about cross-border transactions; for my cannabis story, I spent some time actually crossing borders. For instance, here’s what happened when I returned from Canada with Brendan Kennedy, the American CEO of British Columbia-based cannabis producer Tilray:

“I would not mention what we just did,” the CEO quietly advises as we sit on the tarmac in Seattle again, awaiting a customs officer to clear us to come home. While Kennedy has never been questioned, he has reason to be nervous: A few Canadian cannabis executives and investors have been detained at the border and even barred entry to the U.S. for life; a senior official at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency confirms that even American executives operating legally in Canada can face additional inspections upon their return. Adds Kennedy: “We generally don’t talk about what we do when we go back in the U.S.”

As far as I know, blockchain has not yet made it easier for people to traverse borders, but the experience does underscore just how powerful it is to have a currency that circumvents central authorities who could otherwise stop money from leaving or entering. In fact, many cannabis businesses that operate in the U.S. struggle to get financial services; plenty of banks, citing the enduring federal ban on marijuana, refuse to work with companies that grow or sell the drug even in states that have legalized weed. That means unbanked cannabis businesses are forced to pay their taxes in cash—dropping it off in suitcases or garbage bags—and also invest in security to guard the heaps of it sitting at dispensaries.

It also makes cryptocurrency a natural fit for the legal cannabis industry, providing it with banking services that need not navigate discrepancies between state and federal law (the way Bitcoin has also facilitated the illegal drug trade). And yet the cryptocurrency industry has not quite reached a standard of security and stability that would make it a suitable business currency even for cannabis businesses walking that gray line of legality.

A couple of months ago, I spoke with Jon Brandon, the CEO of Foria Wellness, a company that sells cannabis-infused massage oils and “aphrodisiacs” in states where it’s legally allowed. He described the difficulty of finding banks that would do business with the company, and said he’d considered cryptocurrency as an alternative option, but ultimately decided against it. His thought process: “Then I gotta take the crypto risk on top of a sex and drug business?”

One thing that seems to be working in the cannabis industry’s favor: As it has grown up, it has also become more centralized, moving from street dealers and backyard growers to multibillion dollar international corporations with industrial farming operations. That mainstreaming has opened the market to investors, with Tilray last summer becoming the first cannabis producer to go public on the Nasdaq, and also helped sway public opinion, with laws steadily changing to reflect greater acceptance.

Even as Bitcoin diehards and cryptocurrency traditionalists insist that decentralization is core to the technology’s success, they may eventually have to confront a trade-off: mainstream acceptance may depend on the emergence of more polished—and yes, centralized—institutions who play by the rules. Indeed, that seems to be exactly what the SEC wants from a Bitcoin ETF it would be willing to approve—a “centralized, regulatory data source” and “a surveillance-sharing agreement with a regulated, bitcoin-related market of significant size. Wall Street and other investors likely feel the same way.

For now, cryptocurrency seems to be struggling to corner even the obvious marijuana market: PotCoin, which bills itself as a “digital currency for the cannabis industry,” fluctuates between one and two cents.


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Author: ROBERT HACKETT, JEFF JOHN ROBERTS, and JEN WIECZNER
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France nears implementation of digital tax

France is working on a “GAFA” tax with a maximum rate of five percent, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says

France will push ahead with its own tax on large internet and technology companies by introducing a bill that would be retroactive to January 1, its finance minister said Sunday.

The move comes as the European Union tries to finalise an EU-wide levy.

“We are working on a tax that would affect internet service companies with of more than 750 million euros ($850 million) and 25 million euros in France,” Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

“If these two criteria are not met, they (the taxes) will not be imposed,” he noted.

A draft bill would be presented to the government by the end of February “and rapidly put before parliament for a vote,” Le Maire said.

“The tax would apply as of January 1, 2019 and its rate would vary according to the level of sales, with a maximum of five percent,” a level that would represent “around 500 million euros” annually for France, he added.

Paris has been driving hard for a so-called “GAFA tax”—named after Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon—to ensure the global internet giants pay a fair share of taxes on their huge business operations in Europe.

Le Maire called the question “a major issue in the 21st century.”

EU tax revenue losses and internet giants
Tax revenue losses in selected EU member states from Google and Facebook, as France goes alone on new digital tax.

He said that a Europe-wide agreement was also possible by late March, in light of a compromise reached in December with Germany, which has been less enthusiastic about such a levy.

A spokesman for Facebook France told AFP: “We will continue to respect our fiscal obligations as defined by French and European legislation.”

Google France declined to comment on Le Maire’s remarks.


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Author: PHYS ORG
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Facebook May Be Slapped with ‘Record-Setting’ FTC Fine for Data Breach Scandal

The US Federal Trade Commission is considering slapping Facebook with a “record-setting” fine for its epic data-breach scandal.

The social media monopoly is accused of violating user privacy by selling their personal data to third parties without their consent — for years.

Three people familiar with internal FTC discussions told the Washington Post the agency is considering imposing a massive, unprecedented fine.

Allegedly Sold User Data Without Consent

The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating Facebook since last year amid bombshell revelations that it failed to protect the privacy of its two billion monthly users.

The FTC’s job is to protect consumers and curb anti-competitive business practices, such as monopolies. The agency has not yet concluded its findings. However, sources say things are not looking good for the social media giant.

In March 2018, Facebook was rocked by allegations that it improperly allowed UK data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica to access the personal data of as many as 87 million users without their consent.

There was speculation that Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree under which it had agreed to get user permission before sharing their data with third parties.

Many users were outraged when they found out that the company had been secretly selling their personal data to third parties without their consent.

At the time, the social media giant denied any wrongdoing, but the fallout came fast and furious.

Elon Musk: I ‘Just Don’t Like Facebook’

Actor Will Ferrell and Playboy magazine deleted their accounts, saying they were disturbed by Facebook’s misuse of user data.

Billionaire Elon Musk also deleted the accounts of his companies, Tesla and SpaceX. Musk said Facebook always gave him the creeps.

“It’s not a political statement and I didn’t do this because someone dared me to do it,” Musk tweeted. “Just don’t like Facebook. Gives me the willies.”

Facebook Has Trouble Recruiting Blockchain Workers

There have been other repercussions. As CCN reported, Facebook has been aggressively trying to expand its blockchain group amid speculation that it might launch its own cryptocurrency.

To this end, the firm has been trying to hire crypto engineers, product managers, academics, and legal experts. However, Zuckerberg and company have been having a lot of trouble with their recruiting efforts because the social network’s reputation was so damaged by the data-privacy scandals.

“A lot of people obviously don’t trust the Facebook brand right now, especially people in the crypto/blockchain world,” Cheddar reported. “A lot of them got into this industry because of the centralization and the data misuse of companies like Facebook.”

Amid volcanic backlash, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized, but Facebook’s reputation has never been the same.


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Author: Samantha Chang 
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New Bot Enables Millions to Send and Receive Cryptocurrencies on Facebook Messenger

A company is giving Facebook users a way to securely send and receive crypto through Messenger — all while keeping sensitive information private.

Lite.IM says its bot currently supports four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and its own native currency, ZTX.

The company says it is “driven by a vision of what the world might look like if the founding ideals of the cryptocurrency revolution were actually realized” — a place where anyone can enjoy financial freedom irrespective of their technical skills or the region of the world where they reside.

A presence on Facebook Messenger is the latest milestone for Lite.IM. Its service was first made available through Telegram, along with old-fashioned text messages. Zulu Republic, the company behind the Lite.IM project, said that support for text messages has been essential in fulfilling its ambition, as it means “anyone with even the most basic mobile phone” can manage their crypto, with or without access the internet.

Faster than Facebook

The launch on Facebook Messenger means that Lite.IM is more ahead of the curve on crypto payments than Facebook is. Toward the end of last month, Cointelegraph reported on rumors that the social media giant was preparing to create a cryptocurrency for money transfers — geared toward users of Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

In a recent blog post, the team behind Lite.IM said: “With each new update, Lite.IM becomes more and more of a user-friendly cryptocurrency powerhouse, moving us closer and closer to widespread adoption. We’re proud to be bringing the world’s most popular cryptocurrency to the combined 2.5 billion users of Facebook and Telegram, not to mention all those who lack dependable internet access that can now manage Bitcoin via SMS messaging.”

Of course, Facebook has been in the doldrums of late amid ongoing concerns about how the data of its customers is used. Lite.IM says it has taken action to address any concerns that would-be users might have, stressing that chat records are never stored by the company. And with secure password forms and advanced private key encryption, third parties like Facebook are blocked from seeing any sensitive information that could lead to funds being compromised.

Updates on the way

Lite.IM says that “a ton of new features” are going to be released in the not-too-distant future, which will see its bots deployed on new platforms and with support for a greater number of cryptocurrencies.

In explaining its rationale for choosing social messaging as an outlet for crypto, Zulu Republic argues that such platforms are where the online world is heading — with usage, especially among younger generations, experiencing growth that far outpaces traditional social media companies.

The company believes that harnessing the widespread adoption of existing platforms can help aid the adoption of cryptocurrencies overall. Its team says that, instead of creating brand new services, greater reach and momentum can be achieved by offering compatibility with the services that people already use on a daily basis. Not only could this prove advantageous for someone who owes their friend $5 for a pizza they shared the night before, but it could prove life-changing for those who rely on remittances — offering an understandable avenue for completing remittances while dramatically reducing the fees they have to pay for a service.

Lite.IM says research shows that the typical consumer only uses about nine apps per day, meaning it is crucial to connect with them directly in the environments where they are already spending most of their time. The project says this could also address the “massive user experience problem” that the crypto world is currently experiencing.


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Author: Connor Blenkinsop
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Crypto Startup Puts Tesla, Apple, Facebook Shares On Ethereum Blockchain

According to a report from Bloomberg, DX.Exchange, an up-and-coming crypto startup headquartered in Estonia and Israel, will be putting a number of popular American equities onto a blockchain next week. As the firm’s name implies, DX.Exchange is an online trading platform that will allow investors to trade and transact shares of Apple, Facebook, Tesla, along with seven other household names listed on Nasdaq, even when markets are shuttered for the day.

If its inaugural trading sessions perform well, the startup intends to expand its crypto offerings to encompass shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange, coupled with those situated on Tokyo’s Nikkei and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng.

Each digital security token will be collateralized by one common share, and interestingly, stockholders will be purportedly be “entitled to the same cash dividends,” arguably making this offering just as good as buying stocks through TD Ameritrade, E*Trade, and the like. MPS MarketPlace Securities, a partner of DX, will be taking custody of the shares, allowing Ethereum tokens to be created that represent the securities.

But what are the benefits of the platform?

Well, as explained by Bloomberg, digital securities will allow traders to transact their holdings when markets are closed. This simple feature could catalyze the creation of secondary markets, drawing die-hard traders, even those without crypto knowledge and experience, to blockchain-based platforms, subsequently catapulting adoption.  Ethereum-based shares could also interact with other facets of the blockchain’s ecosystem.

These crypto tokens can also be divvied up, while trading fees can be minimized, lowering the bar for entry. The aforementioned factors, coupled with the fact that foreign investors will be able to gain access to U.S. shares, is undoubtedly a move towards financial inclusion — crypto’s underlying raison d’etre. 

And interestingly, this is all legal too. Speaking to the aforementioned outlet in a recent interview, DX chief Daniel Skowronski explained that his platform is licensed by the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit, which has the backing of the European Union. So, DX has the legal capacity to make such an offering. Skowronski also expressed his excitement for his firm’s innovative platform, noting:

We saw a huge market opportunity in tokenizing existing securities… We believe that this is the beginning of the traditional market’s merge with blockchain technology. This is going to open a whole new world of trading securities old and new alike.

The Tokenization Of Everything

While DX.Exchange’s foray into blockchain-based securities is a step in the right direction and is something to be commended, the tokens aren’t fully decentralized, as there are still centralized counterparties. This lack of fully-fledged decentralization may introduce risk over time. But, a number of pundits believe that eventually, shares and other pertinent assets will become fully decentralized.

Anthony Pompliano, the founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets and an anti-establishment figure, recently told BlockTV that he expects for all securities, whether it be stocks, bonds, real estate certificates, or otherwise, to be tokenized. The decentralist, well-known for his anti-bank, pro-Bitcoin rhetoric, claimed that this won’t be an easy task, however, quipping that this journey will take more than five years.

Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Boston-based, Goldman-backed Circle, also echoed this sentiment in a recent CNBC interview. Speaking to the outlet, Allaire, who manages the aforementioned crypto startup, exclaimed that the “tokenization of everything” will eventually occur.

Allaire, who doesn’t seem to embody the hallmarks of a Bitcoin maximalist, noted he envisions a future filled with millions of crypto assets, whether they take the form of security, commodity, or utility tokens. In short, the long-time crypto advocate noted that he doesn’t believe cryptocurrencies are a “winner takes all” scenario, instead, he made it clear that a multitude of projects can live in relative harmony, due to this innovation’s ground-breaking potential.


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Author: Nick Chong
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LinkedIn Report Names “Blockchain Developer” the Top Emerging Job of 2018

LinkedIn, a social network for finding business contacts and job opportunities, has published its annual Economic Graph, where it listed top-5 emerging jobs that develop at the quickest pace among the others.

It did not come as a surprise for many people that the top-1 emerging job was “blockchain developer”.

A report prepared by job review site Glassdoor shows that as of August 2018, U.S. companies had posted 1,775 vacancies related to blockchain technology, which is three times more compared to the previous year. 79 percent of the vacancies are concentrated in the 15 largest American cities, and the most saturated demand regions show that New York and San Francisco account for 24 percent and 21 percent of the total number of crypto-industry job offers.

The professional social network found that the role of blockchain developer has registered an increase of 33 times in the past 12 months, and among major skills required for the role, LinkedIn notes solidity, blockchain, Ethereum, cryptocurrency, and Node.js.

The rest of the top-5 are: application sales executive, machine learning specialist and professional medical representative.

This year’s top emerging jobs also include artificial intelligence (AI) specialists, wherein “six out of the 15 emerging jobs are related in some way to AI,” and machine learning engineers, with 12 times growth year-over-year. For the latter roles, LinkedIn names deep learning, machine learning, tensorflow, Apache Spark and natural language processing as major required skills.

The cities with the highest demand for blockchain specialists are New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta, and the top industries involving such workers are IT and computer software. The salaries absolutely correspond to the popularity of the profession.

Still Not Sure Whether Blockchain Will be Long-Term Trend

In LinkedIn they said:

“Only time will tell if blockchain will be a long-standing trend in the job market, but take note of the jobs that are on both this year’s and last year’s Emerging Jobs lists: Machine Learning Engineer, Assurance Staff, and Sales Development Representative. These roles cover a variety of business functions and skills, and are here to stay.”

Researchers also predict that AI will have applications across nearly every industry sector, from manufacturing to financial services and beyond. In LinkedIn, they say they did look across industries to figure out whether AI is still confined to the software industry, or if it has begun to spill over and impact other fields. “The answer? Nearly every industry is starting to see an influx of AI-related skills.”

As AI skills become increasingly relevant, they were also interested in better understanding whether typically “human” skills, e.g., those related to personal characteristics, interpersonal communication and cognitive skills, are on the rise as well.

“Our finding may not come as a surprise: at least for now, humanity isn’t going anywhere.”

On average, more than one in four (26%) of all skills reported in 2017 by LinkedIn members based in the US can be classified as interpersonal or soft skills. Soft skills like project management and leadership are also among the fastest-growing “unique” skills. Consider positions like “System Engineer”, in 2015, soft and interpersonal skills made up less than 1% of the skills required to succeed in the job.

Now, they make up 8%. There is no doubt that AI skills are on the rise, but some typically human skills that today cannot be replicated by machines have been growing almost as fast and are here to stay.

Social network Facebook also listed five new blockchain-related jobs on its careers page within the past three weeks. In the job description for blockchain engineer at the Facebook Blockchain Data Engineering team, the ad characterizes the position as technically and intellectually challenging work, which “will have massive global impact.”

Though 2018 may have been a banner year for blockchain devs, it’s unclear whether this year’s massive growth will continue into 2019. The drop-off in fundraising noted by Fabric occurred just before a sharp decline in the crypto markets in November, along with multiple reports of layoffs and shutdowns among blockchain firms.

One of the firms mentioned in the LinkedIn report, ConsenSys, announced last week it would be laying off 13 percent of its workforce, while Bitmain, a Chinese firm which manufactures mining hardware, recently closed an R&D facility in Israel. Investors have also lost billions investing in blockchain startups in recent years. Though there is still a sizeable pool of capital looking for blockchain talent, the industry appears to be tightening its belt.


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Author: EUTA FRANJKOVIC 
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Facebook Lite Crosses A Billion Downloads On The Play Store

The social networking giant released its Facebook Lite app so that users with entry-level devices and poor connectivity could also access the network. It was initially launched in markets like India but after seeing the response and demand from users across the globe, the company eventually rolled it out to many markets. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Facebook Lite has crossed over a billion downloads on the Google Play Store.

The term “lite” itself refers to the lightweight nature of the app. It doesn’t require as much data or system resources as the full-fledged Facebook app. It’s just 1.28MB in size compared to the full app which comes in at 67MB.

The app is particularly popular in developing markets but has since been rolled out in some major markets as well. It’s a good option for those who want basic access to Facebook without any of the fancy features that the social network offers.

Facebook Lite’s official Google Play Store listing now mentions that the app has crossed more than a billion installs. It joins the list of Facebook apps that have crossed this milestone. The primary Facebook app was the first non-Google app to cross a billion installs with Messenger also achieving this milestone back in 2015.



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Author: Adnan Farooqui 
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Mark Zuckerberg’s Sister Signs on to Serve on Huobi Chain Advisory Committee

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi sent a “friend request” to a member of the Zuckerberg clan, and that friend request has been accepted.

This is after Randi Zuckerberg, the elder sister to the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was unveiled as a member of Huobi Chain Expert Advisory Committee. The serial entrepreneur and author is currently the CEO of Zuckerberg Media, a New York-based content creation firm she founded five years ago.

Zuckerberg will join seven other experts on the committee, which is designed to serve as a think tank for the digital asset trading platform. Notably, the Huobi Chain Expert Advisory Committee will provide professional advice as well as support during the Huobi Chain Superhero Championship Program’s election phase. The Huobi Chain Superhero Championship Program was launched a little over two months ago as a way of enhancing community participation in the development of Huobi’s planned public blockchain.

Governance and Development of the Huobi Blockchain

Additionally, the Huobi Chain Expert Advisory Committee will offer the digital asset exchange counsel with regards to the governance and development matters of Huobi Chain.

Besides Zuckerberg, other experts on the advisory committee include investor and bitcoin evangelist, Jeffrey Wernick, and the co-founder and CEO of bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, Jihan Wu.

TIP

Though she currently holds no position at Facebook, the Harvard-educated professional was an early employee of the social media giant, serving as a spokesperson and a marketing director. With Facebook already having launched a blockchain initiative there will thus be no appearances of conflict of interest, like was the case with the social media giant’s blockchain head, David Marcus, who had to quit his position as a board member of Coinbase recently.

Facebook Eyes Blockchain

As CCN reported earlier this month, Marcus tendered his resignation from the board of the cryptocurrency exchange on the grounds that it was the “appropriate” thing to do.

The launch of Facebook’s blockchain division in May this year came on the back of the social network’s founder having stated his intentions to study decentralized ledger technologies with a view of potentially fixing the platform’s myriad problems this year.

So far, Facebook has released few details regarding its blockchain initiative. This has given room for speculation with the most recent being that the social media giant was considering forking the Stellar blockchain. However, the Silicon Valley giant refuted the reports, as CCN reported.

“We are not engaged in any discussions with Stellar, and we are not considering building on their technology,” a Facebook spokesperson said at the time.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Facebook’s New Rules For Crypto-Related Ads Aim To Weed Out The Bad Apples

When it relaxed its ban on cryptocurrency-related ads a few weeks ago, Facebook also threw in some new rules. It said that crypto companies must show “licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public background on their business” to be able to run ads about their products and services on the social network.

LIONBIT

Facebook, however, continues to ban ads specifically for initial coin offerings (ICOs) or binary options. Binary options involve betting on the price of a currency to go up or down against another currency after a certain amount of time. Such trades are illegal in some countries because they’re susceptible to price manipulations.

Facebook said it previously banned all crypto-related ads to avoid promoting financial products and services frequently associated with “misleading or deceptive” practices.

John DeCleene, associate fund manager at investment firm OCIM, says the new relaxed rules will help promote the blockchain industry, while weeding out bad actors.

“Allowing selected cryptocurrencies to advertise will slowly introduce high-quality crypto projects to the general public, which will in turn change people’s mindset when it comes to this asset,” he says. Such projects have solid use cases, track record, and development teams, he notes.

The public has been spooked by news of scams and exchange hacks. From January to July this year, a total of US$731 million was stolen from crypto exchanges, with two of the biggest hacks coming from Asia. Japan’s Coincheck and South Korea’s Coinrail lost US$500 million and US$40 million, respectively, in crypto heists.

Only legit firms can apply

Explaining how the Facebook ads application process works, Violet Lim, co-founder and CEO of blockchain-based dating app Viola.Ai, says the social network will first access the advertiser’s account to see if it’s legitimate. It will then check for licenses and do a background check on the company, before approving any ads about its crypto projects.

“This raises the standards for the advertisements as well as the crypto industry as a whole,” she claims.

“I believe well-established firms will benefit most,” DeCleene adds.

According to Huobi Research’s estimates, as of 2017, 20 million users go online to avail of blockchain services. They make up about 0.5 percent of total internet users worldwide, and are a very small community compared to Facebook’s more than 2 billion users.

Facebook ads give blockchain firms the opportunity to tap into the social network’s massive user base who may not even know about the technology.

TIP

Not everyone’s looking to advertise on Facebook

Cross-border payments firm Rate does not intend to post ads on Facebook to grab more customers. Instead, it’s using the platform to keep its existing users engaged and recruit more staff, including blockchain engineers and community managers, says its co-founder and CEO Jake Goh.

Goh points out that some crypto companies already have an active presence on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Telegram, blogging portal Medium, and discussion forum Reddit. This may mean that Facebook isn’t as important an advertising channel for them.

Self-serving?

Celine Xiao, a blockchain analyst for Huobi Research, speculates that “the initial ban [might have been] only temporary while Facebook sought to build up an understanding of the blockchain industry.” After all, the US company has started exploring how to leverage the tech across its platform.

As one of the world’s tech titans, Facebook “cannot turn a blind eye to blockchain,” DeCleene points out. “Crypto and blockchain frequently go hand-in-hand, so if they decide to ban crypto adverts, then they are setting themselves up to fall behind the times as more and more companies begin to embrace blockchain.”

The tech firm needs to understand how blockchain works before they can manage the advertising aspect of it “more meaningfully,” Xiao adds.

Given the growth in the cryptocurrency market, allowing more crypto ads will also help Facebook boost its advertising revenue, she suggests.

ICO ads remain barred

But Facebook still prohibits advertising ICOs as this space is largely unregulated.

Banning ICO ads was a sound decision, observes Xiao. “As the market is not sufficiently mature, such controlled measures appear reasonable. A deep technical knowledge [from interested participants] is required to evaluate a particular project conducting the ICO.”

Moreover, because Facebook generally caters to mainstream consumers, the experts believe that it has a responsibility to educate them on cryptocurrencies.

“Many consumers are still rather ignorant. They don’t know the difference between Bitcoin and blockchain, and many still think Bitcoin is a good indicator for how the overall crypto market is heading. Since so many people look toward Facebook as a pioneer with regards to technology, the responsibility [for consumer education] falls more on Facebook,” says DeCleene.

The US firm should lay out clearly the terms and conditions on what startups can post and make sure that they strictly adhere to these rules, he adds.

It seems that cryptocurrency startups understand why ICO ads are still barred on Facebook.

“We think ICO-related ads should continue to be banned or receive more scrutiny – many of them are slightly misleading,” Goh says.

“We respect Facebook’s decision. It is to minimize any potential scamming attempts and to protect its users,” says Lim.

But she also thinks that cryptocurrency is here to stay, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a norm. “Although crypto is still at its infancy and a lot more work needs to be done, it definitely is a growing industry with a lot of potential to do good.”


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavor to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Angela Teng
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There’s more: Google is also said to be developing a censored news app for China

Can Google’s week get any worse? Less than a day after the revelation that it is planning a censored search engine for China, so comes another: the U.S. firm is said to be developing a government-friendly news app for the country, where its search engine and other services remain blocked.

LIONBIT

That’s according to The Information which reports that Google is essentially cloning Toutiao, the hugely popular app from new media startup ByteDance, in a bid to get back into the country and the minds of its 700 million mobile internet users. Like Toutiao, the app would apparently use AI and algorithms to serve stories to readers — as opposed to real-life human editors — while it too would be designed to work within the bounds of Chinese internet censorship.

That last part is interesting because ByteDance and other news apps have gotten into trouble from the government for failing to adequately police the content shared on their platforms. That’s resulted in some app store suspensions, but the saga itself is a rite of passage for any internet service that has gained mainstream option, so there’s a silver lining in there. But the point for Google is that policing this content is not as easy as it may seem.

AVINOC

The Information said the news app is slated for release before the search app, the existence of which was revealed yesterday, but sources told the publication that the ongoing U.S.-China trade war has made things complicated. Specifically, Google executives have “struggled to further engage” China’s internet censor, a key component for the release of an app in China from an overseas company.

There’s plenty of context to this, as I wrote yesterday:

The Intercept’s report comes less than a week after Facebook briefly received approval to operate a subsidiary on Chinese soil. Its license was, however, revoked as news of the approval broke. The company said it had planned to open an innovation center, but it isn’t clear whether that will be possible now.

Facebook previously built a censorship-friendly tool that could be deployed in China.

While its U.S. peer has struggled to get a read on China, Google has been noticeably increasing its presence in the country over the past year or so.

The company has opened an AI lab in Beijing, been part of investment rounds for Chinese companies, including a $550 million deal with JD.com, and inked a partnership with Tencent. It has also launched products, with a file management service for Android distributed via third-party app stores and, most recently, its first mini program for Tencent’s popular WeChat messaging app.
As for Google, the company pointed us to the same statement it issued yesterday:

We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com. But we don’t comment on speculation about future plans.
Despite two-for-one value on that PR message, this is a disaster. Plotting to collude with governments to censor the internet never goes down well, especially in double helpings.

Despite two-for-one value on that PR message, this is a disaster. Plotting to collude with governments to censor the internet never goes down well, especially in double helpings.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Jon Russell
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