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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FirstBood is a decentralized platform for peer to peer betting on online games like as League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter­Strike: Global Offensive.  One interesting aspect of this project is that it relies on a jury system to resolve conflicts.  Two players place a bet then complete a game and report to FirstBlood who was the winner.  Most of the time, those two users will agree on who won.  During the times when the two users both claim to be the winner, twelve other users are selected at random, presented with evidence from both players, and are compensated for delivering the correct verdict (or the verdict that agrees with the majority).  Jury members are compensated in FirstBlood tokens, whose value is tied to Ether.

This is a great example of the sharing economy that emerges from decentralized systems.  Users are compensated for their participation in the networks and for completing vital tasks such as conflict resolution.  If the size of the sharing economy continues to grow, people will be able to supplement their incomes settling disputes on FirstBlood, or doing other tasks on other dApps.  You could even imagine compensation from participation in various dApps could be a viable source of income.  It’s possible the concept of income and working will change as our economy becomes more like advanced bartering.  For example, imagine paying for a ride across town by writing an article and getting page views, where you provide value for value without money changing hands.

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Someone cashed in for 636 Ether with a bet that Trump would win the election on PredictionToken, which allows you to make and take peer-to-peer bets on a yes or no outcome with the result verified in the blockchain.

The way it works is a smart contract mints Yes and No coins on the Ethereum blockchain whose value is tied to future events. Yes or No coins can be bought and sold on an exchange like EtherDelta. Once the event comes to pass, the result will be verified and written in the blockchain by Reality Keys. After that, the winning positions’s coin can be redeemed for 1 Ether each while the losing position’s coin are not worth nothing.

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