Amazon Developing New Game Streaming Service to Compete with Microsoft and Google

Not to be outdone by its FAANG and other technology rivals, it appears Amazon has been secretly developing a game streaming service. It looks set to compete with Microsoft and Google with instant video games housed on powerful servers.

Cloud-based gaming, which will negate the need for downloads or game cards, could be one of the next major advances for the gaming industry.

Google and Microsoft Already in the Game

Google’s Project Steam cloud gaming service is currently in beta testing with no news of a full, official launch. For Google, it will be as easy as opening a Chrome tab to play your favorite game.

Microsoft unveiled its Project xCloud in October 2018. It will be available for public testing sometime in 2019 and run on console and PC.

Amazon is reportedly already in talks with publishers but won’t be launching its own service until 2020. The news comes from sources simply named as “two briefed on the plans” who revealed the development to The Information.

There has been no formal announcement from Amazon, as yet. Other reports found that Amazon is hiring engineers in Seattle and California to work on “cloud games.” With one job description revealing the opportunity involves shaping the foundation of an “unannounced AAA games business.”

An Industry Worth $20.28 Billion

Amazon already has a powerful cloud server infrastructure in Amazon Web Services.  So, an Amazon game streaming service makes a sensible addition to its wide-reaching technology portfolio. It also owns the video streaming platform Twitch, massively popular with gamers.

Of course, Amazon’s Twitch already competes with Google’s YouTube and now the rivalry between the leading technology players could well be hotting up. By 2020 the videogame industry in the U.S. will be worth an estimated $20.28 billion.

With today’s trading closed on the Nasdaq, it’s a wait and see if Amazon’s share price will be affected positively by the news.

FAANG and Microsoft Share Performance (Facebook: Blue, Amazon: Red, Apple: Orange, Netflix: Yellow, Google: Green, Microsoft: Bright Green) Last Six Months. Source: TradingView

After a poor and volatile last quarter 2018 for technology stocks there appears to be some breakouts in the FAANG and Microsoft share price and company value battle. Apple stock plummeted over sales forecast revisions and then it revealed production cuts. However, Apple’s share price has begun to recover. Netflix has had a 2019-long winning streak so far.

We might not hear from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on the development just yet. The Bezos divorce hit the press this week and could result in the world’s largest divorce settlement yet.


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Author: Melanie Kramer
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TRON Arcade Begins a New Investment Partnership With Gumi Cryptos

The gaming investment arm of The Tron Foundation, Tron Arcade announced that it is partnering with gumi Cryptos to co-invest in blockchain based games.

Gumi Cryptos is a $30 million blockchain/cryptocurrency fund, and together with Tron they will find projects that are using blockchain to transform the way games are “created and enjoyed.”

What Is gumi Cryptos?

Founded by gumi Inc, gumi Cryptos is a gaming company in Japan that will be working with Tron to leverage each others experience in gaming and blockchain.

Miko Matsumura, the general partner at the publicly traded company, said:

“Gamers are often the first adopters of any new technology. Although gumi Cryptos is not solely a game fund, we are happy to co-invest with TRON Arcade on startups best positioned to benefit from our Japan market-entry services and strong networks in gaming as well as TRON’s platform and distribution channels.”

Tron’s head of business development Roy Liu said that it was great that a leader in traditional gaming is interested in the emerging blockchain gaming.

Liu added:

“We both believe blockchain gaming will lead to the next wave of adoption for the nascent technology. There’s a good chance that the first ‘killer’ gaming Dapp will be the mass market use case that everyone is searching for.”

Tron’s Proficiency in Blockchain Gaming

Liu highlighted that Tron Arcade, along with its partners, will leverage their available resources and network to build improved use cases in blockchain.

Tron Arcade’s, Liu said they would permit developers to “let their imaginations run wild and build the games of tomorrow for a hungry audience.”

Millions of users and a high degree of scalability has helped Tron acquire some games and Dapps from the Ethereum blockchain.

Blockchain Cuties, Bitizens, and Everdragons are few games that are already finding Tron to be a better home than the Ethereum blockchain.

Tron Arcade, a $100 million gaming fund from Tron, is dedicated to helping developers develop games on the Tron network and unleash the potential of the blockchain gaming.


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Author: Viraj Shah
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Razer Wants Gamers to Mine Cryptocurrency for Store Credit

Razer’s new SoftMiner program introduces a rather novel arrangement to the gaming and cryptocurrency space.

 

Gaming hardware manufacturer Razer wants gamers to download software that mines cryptocurrency with their idle computers. But users won’t get to keep the digital coins they generate with their machines, and neither will Razer.

Instead, according to the company, gamers running Razer’s mining software on their machines will be contributing to a platform called GammaNow that Razer is partnered with. GammaNow will manage the mined cryptocurrency—which includes ether, the native token of the Ethereum blockchain, as well as a rotating cast of other tokens—and in return give Razer a fee for convincing customers to contribute computing power. Users will receive loyalty points called Silver that can be redeemed for a discount on Razer products.

“The cryptocurrency that’s being mined through this program is not touching Razer’s hands nor the user’s hands,” said Razer spokesperson Kevin Allen in a phone call. “We get a fee from the third party for generating cryptocurrency.”

GammaNow is a gaming-centric platform where users mine cryptocurrency with their idle computers and receive Gamma Points that can be redeemed for rewards like skins and esports tickets. According to an emailed statement from Razer, GammaNow purchased Silver from Razer and awards users directly through the platform. GammaNow is “handling the immediate sale of what [cryptocurrency] is mined,” according to the statement.

To reiterate this rather convoluted arrangement: gamers use their idle computers to mine various cryptocurrencies for GammaNow through SoftMiner. In exchange, GammaNow gives the gamers Silver, which it bought from Razer, and which gamers can then redeem for discounts on Razer products.

The mining software, called SoftMiner, elicited confusion and anger—but mostly confusion—from social media users when it was announced on Wednesday. Mining cryptocurrency is a resource-intensive process that requires computers (specifically, those with graphics cards primed to render the latest video games) to crunch numbers 24/7 in exchange for newly-minted digital tokens. It’s tough on hardware, and it sucks up electricity.

According to Razer, Silver rewards for mining through SoftMiner are determined by the type of graphics card you have and how long your computer is running for. Gamers can also earn Silver by playing games with Razer Cortex, a performance-boosting desktop app.

Cryptocurrency mining is a nascent industry, but, Allen said, “This is something that if it has a lucrative business model will stay.”


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Author: Jordan Pearson
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TRON Arcade: TRX Company Announces $100 Million Gaming Fund

Despite the price conversation dominating cryptocurrency, as the market experiences a brief reprieve after two weeks and billions of dollars shed in market capitalization, most of the top currencies are pushing forward in development. On Nov. 29, the TRON Foundation announced the creation of a new fund which would highlight the need for gaming and blockchain development. Called “TRON Arcade” the announcement includes a $100 million commitment by the foundation to advance blockchain gaming on the TRON network paid out in installments over the next three years.

According to the release, TRON Arcade seeks to “empower developers,” a move that the TRON Foundation and CEO Justin Sun have historically pushed as the most organic approach to growing both the TRX currency and the platform being built. SInce inception, TRON has been billed to investors and developers as more than a transactional currency. Compared to Bitcoin and other merchant focused coins, TRON seeks to build a multi-layered decentralized entertainment platform utilizing the TRX currency, with gaming being an obvious pillar to its development.

Since acquiring BitTorrent in a bomb shell move over the summer, both the TRON Foundation and Justin Sun have garnered attention for their broadly focused programs to expand the existing framework of cryptocurrency. As many commentators have pointed out during the bear cycle of 2018, highlighted by last week’s most recent price plummet, crypto has room to grow before blockchain and the use of decentralized assets becomes commonplace in the mainstream. Until that time, investors can continue to expect severe price volatility, with crashes being the consequence of an underdeveloped marketplace and burgeoning industry.

Yesterday, EWN reported on the TRX currency leading the market in performance, gaining over 20 percent on the day. The recent announcement of TRON Arcade adds to the building development for the currency, with TRON showing investors and TRX enthusiasts that they have a long-term commitment to the industry–despite the discouraging market movements that have characterized 2018.

TRON is counting on the Arcade fund to form another pillar of the growing platform, much like Project Atlas is spearheading the integration of torrenting services through acquired BitTorrent. Speaking in the release, founder Justin Sun explained that blockchain gaming would improve the experience of both TRON and those looking for a new twist on the entertainment sector,

“TRON strives to tackle existing issues faced by the gaming industry by leveraging the open, transparent, and immutability of blockchain technology. TRON Arcade will play a crucial role in encouraging developers to join in our mission and provide the best blockchain gaming experience to users around the world.”

With the addition of TRON Arcade, in conjunction to other programs such as Project Atlas, it’s becoming more clear that Sun and the Foundation are targeting developer interest as the path for TRX dominance in the industry. Sun has repeatedly espoused the benefits of TRX over Ethereum, including transaction speed and network scalability, in an effort to woo away talent from its most pressing competition. Now, with Arcade, TRON is opening itself up to a fresh wave of development focus through gaming.


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Author: Michael Lavere
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Online Gaming Platforms May Be the Next “Killer App” For Blockchain Technology

Darryn Pollock, a Forbes contributor who writes mainly about finance and economics, recently pointed out the similarities between the evolving blockchain industry and the “global phenomenon” that online gaming has become.

Pollock noted that the gaming sector is similar to the nascent distributed ledger technology (DLT) industry as they’re both “run by people who are technologically inclined, and predominantly younger.”

Gaming Platforms’ Popularity Is Increasing
Pollock, who writes extensively on the regulation and adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency, mentioned that mainstream consumers do not fully understand many of the concepts related to the world’s gaming economy. This, despite the rising popularity of ESports – which involves organized, multiplayer online video game competitions.

Similarly, many of the important concepts related to blockchain-based networks and cryptographic assets are hard for many less tech savvy people to understand. Given that DLT-powered systems and gaming platforms share many similarities, Pollock argues that online games could be “blockchain’s killer app.”

Gaming Is “Far More Receptive Space” Than Crypto
According to Pollock, the gaming industry has “the right people” and “environment” to handle a “disruptive technological upgrade.” Compared to the crypto space, gamers are “far more receptive … to technological change”, Pollock wrote.

Commenting on the potential application of DLT to the development of more sophisticated online gaming networks, Andrew Colosimo, the founder at Xaya, a UK-based blockchain platform for gamers, said:

I think gaming definitely has the potential for being a catalyst for bringing more of the masses to blockchain. Gamers, particular PC gamers are normally somewhat technical and typically enthusiasts who like new technology, and blockchain does need that bit of expertise at the moment. From our point of view – we know there is going to be a market for blockchain gaming but it needs to be approached carefully.

However, Colosimo acknowledged that “it’s still early days” for blockchain, and that even though large investments are being made to develop DLT-powered games, “there [are] actually very little gamers playing.”

Improving “User Experience”
He revealed that the most popular blockchain-based games only have “10s of daily active users” as it’s more of a “niche” at present. Current challenges such as poor “user experience” and overly complex nature of blockchain-based gaming platforms must be addressed before mass adoption can be achieved, Colosimo noted.

He described the current blockchain-powered games as “slow” and criticized them for not having a well-developed theme. Also, games that are actually fast and engaging may not be using DLT for most parts, or features, of their platforms. They might just be using “blockchain as a buzzword only”, Colosimo said.

A blockchain-powered virtual reality (VR) game called Chainbreakers is currently being developed on the Ethereum-based Decentraland platform. The role-playing game is centered around events that took place in Ancient Greece.


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Author: Omar Faridi
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Not Playing Around: Decentraland to Invest $5 Million in Blockchain Gaming Startups

Decentraland, a decentralized user-owned virtual world on the Ethereum blockchain, plans to invest $5 million to fund blockchain gaming projects built on the Decentraland platform. To this end, it created the Genesis Content Program, through which gaming developers can submit proposals for “blockchain games” and “interactive experiences” that can be built on Decentraland.

LIONBIT

In a Medium post published recently, the company says it plans to “welcome larger and more ambitious projects” to its platform. The company says the new program will help encourage “innovation and growth in decentralized online gaming” in addition to $5 million in project financing, to be shared among top applicants.

With the Decentraland platform, game developers are presented with a new and unexplored opportunity for designing “virtual experiences” through blockchain based games. Developers can provide these experiences on the platform while monetizing them with tokens.

TIP

Using LAND

To build these blockchain games in Decentraland, developers have to control the LAND they host their games on. A LAND is a virtual piece of property that can be purchased through the Decentraland Marketplace. Game developers have to develop their games to “fit within the parcel boundaries” of their LAND as the “play space” each game takes up is limited. While the platform does make room for games that can be remotely accessed within the virtual city, developers will still require one LAND parcel, at the very least, to host and run the games.

Decentraland believes diversity will be encouraged in the games built on the platform, as there is distributed ownership. Unlike traditional MMO games or VR platforms that have central ownership, Decentraland offers a shared and “open source hub” for building distributed games that can be hosted across multiple parcels. The virtual reality company says it’s taking a “web-first” approach by following Google‘s lead in “incentivizing a low-poly aesthetic,” which will optimize the experience for users irrespective of the device used.

Decentraland has a list of genres that it believes are well suited to its platform, and these include scavenger hunts, loot crate games, crafting, and more.


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Steam Game Pulled From Store After Allegations Of Cryptocurrency Mining

In addition to numerous item scams, Abstractism was accused of hacking player’s computers

There’s been an unfortunate increase in the amount of illegitimate games on Steam. Last September, Valve removed almost 200 “fake” games from Silicon Echo Studios — cheaply made games that developers made to cut a quick profit by taking advantage of the Steam Direct program and the trading card system.

The latest title to come under fire, however, reportedly had a more nefarious scheme in mind: turning players’ computers into cryptocurrency miners. The game is called Abstractism, which was said to not only infiltrate players’ computers with mining software, but also dupe them through falsified items on the Steam Marketplace. But not long after these accusations started circulating, it has been taken off Steam.

When Abstractism was up on the store, it was marketed as a “relaxing” platformer with a simple design. But YouTuber SidAlpha noticed that something was afoot, when someone on the Team Fortress 2 forums posted about how the game was tied into an item scam.

SidAlpha — the same YouTuber who published the Silicon Echo reveal — discussed how the Steam Marketplace was suddenly populated with items from Abstractism, which closely resembled rare items from other games. For instance, the player on the Team Fortress 2 forums spotted a rare rocket launcher with an identical thumbnail and description as the official TF2 item; it was only upon paying $100 for the rocket that he noticed it was attached to a different game. In addition to the bogus items, which ranged from outright scams to meme and joke items, there were also clear indications of the game’s more malevolent nature.

A user posted a screenshot of a Malwarebytes scan on the game’s discussion forums, as seen in SidAlpha’s video, flagging one of the game’s executables as a threat. But when called out, developer Okalo Union explained that “these applications are game launchers that Abstractism need[s] to drop items.”

Additionally, when someone on the game’s page claimed that it appeared to mine cryptocurrency, Okalo Union replied with a contradictory statement.

“Bitcoin is outdated,” it said. “We currently use Abstractism to mine only Monero coins.”

Right after that statement, Okalo Union claimed the game did not mine any cryptocurrency. Monero, however, is a known open-source cryptocurrency.

Abstractism also encouraged users to keep it running at all times, which SidAlpha points out is a prime way of giving hackers more time to mine.

Players also noticed that the game used massive amounts of CPU and GPU, which Abstractism’s developers claimed was because of the game’s “high graphics settings,” something quite uncharacteristic for a simple platformer. High CPU and GPU usage is another tell-tale sign that a computer is being used to mine cryptocurrency.

Just hours after SidAlpha’s video and the associated forum posts began to spread, Valve removed Abstractism from Steam, and the developer has been banned from Steam. All previously purchased Abstractism items have been tagged with “This item can no longer be bought or sold on the Community Market.”

There’s been no official announcement about why Abstractism was removed, but we’ve reached out to Valve for comment and will update as necessary.


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ERC-1155 Ethereum Token For Gaming Unveiled

The token specifically works for in-game transactions

A new type of Ethereum token with properties specifically designed for video games has been unveiled today. It reportedly addresses major development issues with games designed to run on the blockchain.



Known as an ERC-1155, it has a simplified process for token swaps that recognizes the different qualities of digital items found in video games.

Rather than the network having to process and confirm each transaction for each item separately, ERC-1155s are designed so that any number of items can be sent to multiple recipients in one single transaction, putting far less strain on the network.

ERC-1155s are also designed to distinguish between the different properties of in-game items from the completely interchangeable (or fungible), like ammunition or health packs, to ones that can be customized, such as weapons.

The ERC-1155 was announced by Witek Radomski, the CTO for the video gaming company Enjin.

Mr. Radomski said that a video game running off the blockchain is limited because of the unsuitability of ERC-20 and 721 tokens, which effectively requires that each item has to have its own, slightly different, smart contract.

In a blog post on the company’s website, Mr. Radomski said:

“The biggest problem with existing token designs is that they require deploying a separate contract to the blockchain for each and every item type! … It’s like being forced to buy a brand new computer for every single app you want to use.”

 



 

Blockchain-based video games have potential. Although the Crypto Kitties super-happy-cuteness brought the Ethereum network to a standstill back in December, there a growing number of companies are creating platforms for decentralized video games.

The Loom Network, unique at least for not publishing a whitepaper, uses the same architecture as the Lisk network, with individual games running as DApps off sidechains – a feature which Loom claims can make their platform scalable.

Similarly, the London-based Terra Virtua platform, which is planning its public sale for next month, is creating a platform specifically designed for developers to build virtual reality games. According to the company’s website, the first phase of the platform is set to launch in Q1 of next year.

[It was] previously highlighted the similarities between cryptocurrency and video games. World of Warcraft, the most popular MMORPG game of all time, released its own WoW token to stop a burgeoning black market for in-game ‘gold’ tokens.

Launching an Ethereum token specifically designed for use in video games highlights the growing sophistication of blockchain as it begins to find clear and tangible real-world use-cases.

Although some have raised eyebrows over the possibility that crypto could overhaul the world’s major financial institutions, it might be able to take the video game world by storm.


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:  Paddy Baker
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Microsoft is getting ready for the next Xbox vs. PlayStation console war

Microsoft’s gaming chief, Phil Spencer, didn’t spend a lot of time talking at the company’s E3 press conference last night, preferring to let the games speak for themselves.


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Microsoft showed off 52 games onstage, including Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, and titles from third parties like Fallout 76 and Cyberpunk 2077. While Spencer let the pace of the games dazzle the 6,000 people in the crowd, in his less than 15 minutes of stage time, he also made it very clear Microsoft is ready to battle. With new Xbox consoles, cloud streaming, and a fresh commitment to original games, Microsoft is getting ready for the next console war and beyond.

The Xbox One fell behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 for a number of reasons (pricing and Kinect didn’t help initially), but Microsoft is now facing a lack of exclusive titles to really boost its new Xbox One X console. Microsoft is finally responding to that negative feedback, and one of the surprise announcements at last night’s Xbox E3 briefing was the company’s commitment to first-party games. Microsoft is acquiring Undead Labs (makers of State of Decay), Playground Games (Forza Horizon developers), Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice), and Compulsion Games (We Happy Few). These developmers will join Microsoft Studios, alongside the formation of a newly founded Santa Monica-based studio, The Initiative, that will be led by former Crystal Dynamics head of studio Darrell Gallagher.
Microsoft is finally taking original games seriously.

While two of the studios already develop exclusive Xbox games for Microsoft, the rest will add to Microsoft’s original games list. “We know that exclusive games from our Microsoft Studios are what originally turned so many of us into Xbox fans. My team and I take our commitment to you seriously,” said Phil Spencer. “By joining us at Microsoft Studios, these five new teams will have the resources, the platform, and creative independence to take bigger risks, create even bolder worlds for you.”

These studio acquisitions are clearly a reaction to a lack of solid first-party games, but they’re also a commitment to Xbox fans that Microsoft isn’t about to give up on gaming. Microsoft is already embracing a world beyond Windows PCs, reducing its consumer focus, and trying to win back developers. A lot of these moves have Microsoft and Xbox fans concerned about the future of its gaming commitments, and Spencer ended Microsoft’s E3 showing with a very clear message.

”We commit and harness the full breadth of our resources at Microsoft to deliver on the future of play,” revealed Spencer, before detailing Microsoft’s plans for a game streaming network and new Xbox consoles. “The same team that delivered unprecedented performance with Xbox One X is deep into architecturing the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming.” If that wasn’t enough of a message, Spencer ended with a clear signal that Microsoft is here to stay with Xbox for years to come.


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Microsoft Studios dev teams.
“We have committed our team, our company, our technical resources so we can declare to you today, and next year, and all the years after that: you will always experience the best in gaming on Xbox.” Spencer’s strong message felt like a reassuring one to Xbox fans, but it was also a realization that Microsoft isn’t ready to offer the best games on Xbox One just yet. The Xbox One is the best console if you don’t care about new exclusive games, and it’s obvious that Microsoft’s deep focus on backward compatibility will continue with its future consoles.

These new studios will take time to create the games Microsoft needs, and this isn’t going to be a quick turnaround. Microsoft will once again have to mostly rely on third-party studios to fill the gaps this year, with massive games that can also be played on rival hardware.

It might be another tricky year for the Xbox One, especially as Sony has already delivered exclusive games like Detroit: Become Human, God of War, and Shadow of the Colossus this year. Sony is also expected to show off more big exclusives at its own E3 event tonight, including Death Stranding, The Last of Us: Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, and Spider-Man. Microsoft showed at E3 that it’s ready to play the long game, and that will inevitably lead it toward the next big console battle with Sony.


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Japanese Internet Giant GMO to Launch In-Game Bitcoin Rewards System This Summer

Japanese internet services giant GMO Internet Inc. announced it would debut its Bitcoin-based application for in-game rewards in August, Japan reports May 31.

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The application, called CryptoChips, acts as a method of rewarding players for achieving certain goals, and will initially launch solely with Bitcoin support.

CryptoChips will reportedly first be implemented in GMO-developed real-time battle game Whimsical War.

“GMO Internet […] has developed ‘CryptoChips by GMO’ that enables distribution of cryptocurrency as remuneration within the game application, and will offer it through a group company starting in August 2018,” an accompanying press release in English and Japanese confirms, adding:

“CryptoChips can be mounted on the game application and allows players to receive cryptocurrency as remuneration within the game – like a ‘secret pocket money’ – depending on the players’ rankings or when players have achieved missions or acquired items.”

The move is the latest venture into cryptocurrency for GMO, which already runs its own exchange, mining operation and even pays a portion of staff salaries in Bitcoin.

In March, the company’s exchange pledged to improve data security after regulators found its setup lacking during cross-industry inspections following January’s $530 mln hack of fellow Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck.


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Author: William Suberg
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