Ethereum News

Brave adds another building block to their privacy focused web platform with a partnership with privacy focused search engine DuckDuckGo. Brave is a web browser with a native currency called Basic Attention Tokens. Having a native token, which is built on Ethereum, allows for a better e-commerce experience for users but also a completely alternative adertizing model that is based on user attention instead of clicks or impressions. This model allows Brave to forego intrusive ads and allow users to prevent companies from obtaining all their personal data, yet still retain advertizing and compensate content creators. Brave and the Basic Attention Token have an impressive team, including the creator of Javascript, Brendan Eich, their CEO. This is an interesting project to watch for anyone interested in user privacy or alternative revenue models on the internet.

Source: https://twitter.com/AttentionToken/status/924369609418870784

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I’ve never heard of anything like this before. MelonPort just had it’s ICO sell out within the first 5 minutes of opening, raising $25 million. That’s over 1000 Ether per second. This incredible movement of money shows how powerful the ICO model can be for blockchain companies.

MelonPort is seeking to build an open protocol for asset management on the blockchain. They have an impressive team and set of advisors, including CEO Mona El Isa, previous VP at Goldman Sachs. They believe MelonPort will be a paradigm shift for asset management backed with the security and scalability of the Ethereum blockchain.

Read the round up in their own words here.

https://medium.com/@melonproject/melonport-contribution-round-up-c83926721bad#.9oooaxq4a

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Coinbase just announced that it has received the BitLicense from the State of New York. The BitLicense is a special business license governing activities associated with virtual currencies which officially authorizes Coinbase to continue to operate in New York. This appears to be a validation by the New York State government that they are willing to license and regulate cryptocurrency companies.

The intersection of Blockchain technology and government regulation is still developing. Blockchain technology enables unprecedented individual freedom, as President Obama said “everybody is walking around with a Swiss Bank account in their pocket.”. Governments have an interest in regulating virtual currencies, but do not want to discourage innovation or deny economic opportunities created by Blockchain transactions and companies.

We need to come up with a governance model that makes sense in the decentralized economy and it’s up to us to determine the nature of the relationship between government and the Blockchain.

Coinbase announcement on Medium

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OpenBazaar is a decentralized marketplace for goods and services with no fees and no censorship.  Anyone can host their own store and sell products to anyone in the world.  You can optionally elect to have a third party to mediate in the event of a dispute (e.g. my package never arrived in the mail) to protect yourself.  Beyond the dispute resolution, all transactions are handled directly between buyer and seller.

OpenBazaar received some buzz last year when they received a $1 million dollar investment from Andreessen Horowitz.  The first iteration of the platform only supported Bitcoin, however you can now transact in a number of other currencies, including Ether.

Check out the full post on the OpenBazaar blog:

https://blog.openbazaar.org/openbazaar-1-1-10-released-purchase-with-ether-monero-and-more-via-shapeshift-io-integration/

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Co-tricity is a peer-to-peer energy surplus marketplace where users can buy and sell surplus energy which is built on the blockchain.  The main benefit is increased transparency and more more efficient matching for surplus energy by matching users of similar consumption curves.  The current energy re-sell marketplace is opaque and energy is not always sold to consumers with a similar consumption curve to the provider.  At times power is wasted, and the producers of energy have no say in where that energy goes.  At a high level, the blockchain solution allows us to build an efficient energy re-sale system around our actual consumption and needs and provides the opportunity to incentivize producers and consumers in a way that increases efficiency for everyone. This project is a great use case for the blockchain where everyone involved in the system benefits.

Co-tricity is a join venture between Consensys and RWE, a large power company.  It will be interesting to see where this project heads and even who will benefit the most from such a scheme.  The blockchain provides increased transparency, so regulators may find this to be an appealing solution to tracking energy, and especially re-sold surplus energy, on the grid.  Maybe the consumer market will thrive and we will see more users contributing energy to the grid.  This solution could also provide a more efficient, cost-effective way for utility companies to trade energy.

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Using Blockchain for payments is the biggest no-brainer use case out there. The central issue that can be resolved is the removal of intermediaries required to fulfill a transaction. For everyone involved the more parties involved in a transaction, the higher the costs and time delays. Also, its not as if big banks are not aware of this. You might have heard of Santander getting in on it. Even Goldman Sachs filed a patent on a virtual currency.

Of course, the banks got in way too early and would not see a viable product for years which causes them to abandon projects before they can materialize. The Ethereum and Bitcoin communities love having vanity names like Goldman Sachs associated with their projects, however, the major Blockchain players of the future are in smaller companies that are in aggressive growth stages.

One company that is poised to pivot into payments is Chicago-based startup, Raise. The Raise business model has been to let people sell unused gift cards for less than their cash value, and Raise would take 15% of each sale. In June, they acquired mobile payments company, Slide.

Raise appears to be telegraphing a move to the Blockchain in some capacity. In August, Raise laid off 15% of its staff. According to the Chicago Tribune article, the founder wants to move beyond the gift card marketplace into a sophisticated mobile wallet. The question that remains is if they will use Ethereum or a Private Blockchain.

Off the top of my head I can think of three reasons Raise why would use Ethereum as a Blockchain solution:

 

Privacy

Using Blockchain, Raise can have zero-knowledge proof of transactions. This will allow them to process payments and transactions at a fraction of the cost.

Scalability

With the number of transactions Ethereum is able to handle, Raise will no longer need to store transaction logs to validate transactions. Plus, this solution avoids duplicate transactions.

Settlement

With Digital Ledgers, Raise can cut costs and reduce errors upon settlement. Instead of having high liquidity costs, they could settle transactions immediately and not take on extra operational costs.

 

Either way, if you’re on the operations team Raise, it probably wouldn’t kill you to dust off your resume and maybe drag a comb through your hair.

 

 

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The Ethereum blockchain has done another hard fork, meaning that the network issued an update and any new transactions from anyone still running the old version will be considered invalid.

This one appears to have happened rather smoothly, unlike the second hard fork that left the network with 2 separate and mutually incompatible chains.

Read more on the latest hardfork here:
http://www.coindesk.com/ethereum-forks-again-so-far-so-good/

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The legal status of ICOs is still to be determined, however the current consensus is that the determination will ultimately come down to whether or not the coin distributed through the ICO can also be used to perform some function.

If a dApp does an ICO and simply delivers a coin for the purpose of appreciating in value it’s more likely that it will be considered and regulated like a security, which would render the ICO sale illegal.  On the other hand, if the token delivered also has some utility on the dApp, like being used to participate in the dApp, then it is less likely to be considered a security and will likely be a legitimate way  to raise funds.

Check out this great talk from Peter Van Valkenburgh from Coin Center on the subject.

Slides here https://ethereumfoundation.org/devcon…

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