The Promise of Ethereum
Ethereum, the leading blockchain platform, and catalyst for a growing number of decentralized applications and blockchain-based platforms has proven over the past 12 months that it is far from a fad. This immutable, unhackable, distributed database of digital assets is everything the Internet always wanted to be: a fair and public way to store and transfer information. This is a platform for truth and it’s a platform for trust.
In the music industry, the protection of rights and distribution of earnings within the music industry is a key consideration. Removing the ability for piracy and allowing listeners to download music stored on the blockchain, paying for the music with cryptocurrency would be one of the paradigm shifts. It would also mean that the right people get paid.
This challenge of monetizing content is also prevalent in the broadcast content industry. Ethereum Blockchain with smart contracts makes for a perfect solution.
Pain Points for Content Creators
The industry has not changed in over 80 years. Today, it continues to be a largely offline and extensive process, involving multiple dis-jointed parties – the creators, the owners, the distributors, the increasing array of formats (eg. mobile, free-to-air TV, cable, OTT, cinemas, etc) and then there is a global consumer base with differing interests and language preferences.
The whole ecosystem today is highly fragmented and content creators are challenged to optimally monetize their content. Compounding the monetization challenge is the fact that content creators also face extremely high costs of distribution. Because the value chain is a cumbersome process for content to reach end viewers; typically 30% to 40% of the value of the content is being lost to cost of distribution via third-party commissions and fees. Hosting a conference booth and meeting events with champagne in the South of France at the Cannes Film Festival is no cheap affair.
To give some context on the potential value of a piece of content, let’s take well-known franchises like “Game of Thrones” or the “F1 Series”. These projects can be sold in 193+ countries via free-to-air, cable, satellite and streaming mobile platforms, that is, it can potentially be sold 600 different ways once you factor language and territorial configurations.
An “A” list project can potentially earn millions of dollars via such a syndication, however, a lesser known title is lucky to be sold in 10 countries and monetized in 10 ways. Hence the potential to optimize the value of this content is at least 50 times more for the content creator if they can easily monetize their content across the various permutations.
The chief pain points of content sellers are:
- Rights are tied up for the long-term (average 2-5 years) in distributor exclusivity contracts
- Distributor fees are significant; averaging 35% of the value of the content
- Rights are typically sold in bulk with other content which limits differentiation for content creators
- The multiplicity of currencies and the vagaries of the fluctuating exchange rates
- Content ages very fast and becomes less attractive to distributors to market
Such problems, which appear daunting are actually very easy to address, provided you have a global platform and a globally trusted ledger. Enter Ethereum Blockchain.
Pain Points for Content Buyers
Content buyers purchase rights to play the content on their own networks and channels, such as Netflix and cable TV channels like Sony. The buyers also face a host of problems:
- The content discovery process is fragmented and manual
- Delayed verifiability of the rights
- Limited by distributor’s rights options
- Bundled rights instead of customized selection
As we can see, these problems can also be solved by implementing a global platform and a globally trusted ledger. Thus, Blockchain is not an add-on, but a natural solution to the problems faced by the content rights industry.
There are companies operating traditional marketplaces for trading content rights today; like RightsTrade (2011), TRX (2015) and AllRites (2015). With the advent of the blockchain, we are starting to observe the emergence of companies like Hubii Network, LiveTree, and AllRites exploring the use of blockchain to democratize content.
In the case of AllRites, the company was established by media professionals with decades of experience in the industry. Being intimate with the distribution challenges, they are proponents of blockchain and are moving their existing marketplace onto the Ethereum Blockchain.
But they are not stopping there, the AllRites vision is to create an integrated B2B and B2C ecosystem to holistically support the overall industry. Built on Blockchain technology, the AllRites ecosystem will drive trade efficiencies between content producers and buyers globally, facilitate funding of creative ideas and offer direct streaming to end-customers. Two associated B2C platforms will complement their existing marketplace – RiteFund and RiteStream. For consumers, these platforms allow individuals to directly support and benefit from creative concepts that they believe in.
With RiteFund, the platform facilitates content creators to list their projects and allows prospective contributors to help get a project of their choice off the ground, like Kickstarter, but with infinitely more transparency in rights management and benefits sharing thanks to smart contracts.
RiteStream is for content owners with unsold rights to optimally monetize their content via direct streaming to a global viewership base. The smart contracts seamlessly manage viewers, rights availability and revenue sharing in the backend. For example, an OTT player, like iFlix, may purchase rights to showcase a piece of content in only 30 countries, with RiteStream that same piece of content can potentially be monetized in the remaining 163 countries by direct streaming, if viewers are interested in that content. View RiteStream like the “Spotify” of TV, Movies and Sports content.
For esoteric sports like, Extreme Sailing – they have ardent fans globally but such a sport is very niche and unlikely to garner support from mainstream broadcasters. With RiteFund, fans of Extreme Sailing can directly support creative talent who are also passionate about their sport and who are creating great content about it. These same creative talents can now monetize their content by streaming it directly to the Extreme Sailing fans globally via RiteStream.
Blockchain Technology Deployed
The team at AllRites believe that if the content itself can be reliably audited, the management of its rights becomes a much simpler exercise. Thanks to the Ethereum Blockchain, each ID can be a smart contract that manages the identity and purchase history of the rights belonging to one piece of content at an individual level. Thus, the rights can be sliced and diced in multiple ways and the buyers can buy only those rights which they need. The smart contract tied to each content piece records the transaction history of that content piece individually in a transparent and immutable manner.
While the content rights can be viewed by all prospective buyers, the sellers can be assured of optimal monetization due to the plethora of ways in which the rights have been divided into.
The ID tied to the content can be managed by creating a non-fungible token. It could be similar to the EIP721 protocol that was famously used by CryptoKitties. Thus, the sale and purchase of content rights can be recorded on individual non fungible tokens without affecting the entire ecosystem.
A global fungible token that adheres to the ERC20 standards can take care of the sale and purchase aspects of the deal. To ensure trust, AllRites will be storing the content as decentralized encrypted files which can be unlocked only by a private key.
On successful completion of a sale, the seller sends the private key to the buyer while the buyer transfers the payment tokens to the seller. As an added layer of security, the key and the tokens corresponding to the bid made on the content rights can be placed in an escrow. Once the sale is finalized, a smart contract takes over and governs the transfer of the private key and the tokens to the new owners in an automated manner.
Regarding the case of content creators with unsold content, the RiteStream platform caters to them. Here, the platform becomes the universal global distributor of the rights that went unsold and streams it directly to the viewers in exchange for tokens. In this case, content creators get a platform like YouTube, but with an infinitely better monetization potential.
It has also been seen that content creators, despite having amazing ideas, often struggle to get their plans off the ground due to lack of funding. Consumers are robbed of potential gems. In the music world, its analogues with the likes of Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen being discovered via YouTube.
With Ethereum, smart contracts can be implemented which facilitate the transfer of funds from fans and supporters directly to the content creators in an easy and trackable manner. Once the content is created, it is uploaded onto the AllRites Marketplace where content rights can be transacted. After subtracting for platform fees, all proceeds can be seamlessly transferred back to the fans/supporters corresponding to the ratio in which they were contributed.
Using blockchain and smart contracts makes the business of content rights deal making and distribution a lot less complicated and instantaneously verifiable. Blockchain takes care of the globally trusted ledger needs, the smart contracts take care of transactions by automating them.
This translates to tremendous efficiency gains for both content buyers and sellers. And, for owners of content, the age-old challenge of optimally monetizing their content is solved.
The added bonus is that in this new decentralized and immutable ecosystem driven by blockchain, consumers can finally have a direct say in what content they want to support and watch.
USDC Reserve Attestation Report
Circle released the latest attestation report on US dollar reserves backing USDC issued by independent accounting firm, Grant Thornton LLP. The report states that as of April 30, 2019 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time:
- USD Coin (“USDC”) tokens issued and outstanding = 293,184,174 USDC
- US Dollars held in custody accounts = $293,351,374
- As of the Report Date and Time, the issued and outstanding USDC tokens do not exceed the balance of the US Dollars held in custody accounts
You can read the full report here. Grant Thornton LLP will provide USDC attestation reports on Circle’s USDC reserves on a monthly basis.
Microsoft teams up with Starbucks on predictive drive-thru ordering and bean-to-cup blockchain
Starbucks is quickly becoming as much a tech company as a coffee company, but that hasn’t stopped its leadership from turning to a familiar Seattle ally to up its digital bonafides.
Today at Microsoft’s Build developers conference, the two companies ran down a series of initiatives they are working on together. The new projects include everything from using machine learning to gather customer preferences, to connecting coffeemakers in stores to the internet to blockchain services for tracing coffee.
Microsoft and Starbucks have teamed up before, and they have an established connection at the highest levels. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is a former Microsoft executive who ran the worldwide sales and the Windows divisions before joining the coffee giant in 2015.
In introducing the latest fruits of the alliance, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella applauded the collaboration between Starbucks’ software engineers and its business side. Nadella cited Starbucks as one of many examples of a consistent theme: increased hiring of software engineers at companies outside the industry that are embracing high tech solutions.
“They are coming together to completely take what is that iconic experience that is Starbucks and incorporating digital throughout,” Nadella said.
Mexican State Incorporates Blockchain For Grain Tracking
In a movement furthering technological incorporation, the government for the Mexican state of Tamaulipas now supports the incorporation of blockchain technology for the tracking of grain. For the movement, the state will utilize blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) software provider GrainChain.
Similar to other recent blockchain projects tracing supply chain, the endeavor looks to bring clarity to the to the way grain is tracked from the farm to the marketplace. Tamaulipas Secretary of Rural Development Ariel Longoria Garcia explained to me in an interview:
“The vision of the Tamaulipas government, specifically in the area of rural development, is focused on helping all grain producers by monitoring the warehouses that the grain is stored.”
Historically, the process for recording grain and its movement through the supply chain has been cumbersome and inefficient, often hosting mistakes along the way. Traditionally, people would need to record data by hand, such as the grain’s weight, its condition, etc., Garcia said.
“Everything was done by hand, and that wasn’t very transparent at all,” he explained. “Sometimes that led to special circumstances where the grain producers were pretty much taken advantage of.”
Mainnet KIN is Now Available on Coinbase Custody
Today announcing that Coinbase Custody offers the secure storage of mainnet Kin. Coinbase Custody will add the new native implementation of KIN to the platform with KIN’s pending migration from ERC20 to mainnet.
KIN holders can now benefit from Coinbase Custody’s industry-leading offline storage platform and insurance coverage. As a limited-purpose trust company chartered and regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”), Coinbase Custody has met the high standards of the NYDFS and is a Qualified Custodian.
As a leading institutional crypto custodian, we’re excited to continue to provide solutions to custody directly from new networks at launch, solving a significant pain point for the industry. As more networks launch tokens, institutional investors face a critical challenge in finding ways to securely hold each new unique asset. Coinbase Custody solves this problem by offering secure and trusted custody solutions for new network launches.
FedEx CIO: It’s Time to Mandate Blockchain for International Shipping
With governments calling on manufacturers and shipping companies to more closely guard their chain of custody as parts and products move between borders, FedEx sees a single, standardized ledger as common sense.
When railroad tracks were first laid across the western U.S., there were eight different gauges all competing to dominate the industry – making a nationwide, unified rail system impossible; it took an act of Congress in 1863 to force the adoption of an industry standard gauge of 4-ft., 8-1⁄2 inches.
FedEx CIO Rob Carter believes the same kind of thing needs to happen for blockchain to achieve widespread enterprise adoption.
While the promise of blockchain to create a more efficient, secure and open platform for ecommerce can be realized using a proprietary platform, it won’t be a global solution for whole industries now hampered by a myriad of technical and regulatory hurdles. Instead, a platform based on open-source software and industry standards will be needed to ensure process transparency and no one entity profits from the technology over others.
“I think we’re in the state where we’re duking it out for the dominant design,” Carter said during a CIO panel discussion at the Blockchain Global Revolution Conference here. “We’re not an organization that pushes for more regulatory control, but there are times regulatory mandates and pushes can be incredibly helpful.”
For example, Carter said, mandated blockchain standards would help customs and border agents create a chain of custody to better track the provenance of goods, enabling them to identify – and then block – the importation of things such as illegal drugs and counterfeit medical devices.
“There’s an incredible amount of information moving with an international package,” Carter said. “An incredible amount of paperwork [such as] certificates of origin, and certain commodities require specific licenses. That information moves sometimes in digital forms and sometimes paper forms. As we move toward a more digital world, blockchain is where you piece all that together.”
Samsung Launches Nexledger Universal, the Next Version of Enterprise Blockchain Platform
Samsung SDS (President & CEO Dr. WP Hong) announced the launch of ‘Nexledger Universal’, the next version of its enterprise blockchain platform. Nexledger Universal provides standard application programming interface (API) that is commonly applicable to Samsung SDS NCA (Nexledger Consensus Algorithm) and general blockchain such as Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.
Through this, customers can develop application services such as user authentication, payment settlement, and proof of originality using only one of three technologies and can easily apply to other technologies.
Moreover, Nexledger Universal provides faster performance compared to the previous version and has improved security functions by applying white box cryptography technology.
In particular, Nexledger Universal is available as platform as a service (PaaS) in the Microsoft’s Azure marketplace, allowing customers to experience it in cloud environment without the need for separate server and application installation.
With Nexledger Universal, customers can reduce the time and resources required for securing blockchain developers and verifying the technology, therefore, business innovation through blockchain technology can be achieved conveniently.
“We plan to expand our cloud-based blockchain platform by registering Nexledger Universal on other cloud marketplaces,” said Jeanie Hong, senior vice president, leader of Blockchain Center of Samsung SDS.
Innovative Cryptocurrency Mixing Technology Offers Total Anonymity
As the global take-up of cryptocurrencies increases, so does the regulatory and public scrutiny of digital transactions. The blockchain has long provided pseudo-anonymity for users from across the wide spectrum of industry sectors, but with that has come the growing demand for advanced security and identity protection.
That is until now.
Introducing BitMix.Biz – the Secure Bitcoin Mixer
With growing numbers of global cryptocurrency holders expecting enhanced transaction security as standard; the need for a service that provides user anonymity has never been greater.
The mission of our service is to deliver unrivaled privacy to our growing number of users.
The way in which Bitcoin (BTC) or any other cryptocurrency transactions function is that public but entirely secure, but the non-anonymous log is created and chained together in a blockchain registry.
However, whilst these traceable records provide a trail from one chain to the next – by temporarily blending your inter-wallet funds with those of others the trail is disrupted.
It is a simple but highly effective way to deliver complete blockchain anonymity.
The Secure Alternative to Crypto Transactions
By creating an order, the platform mixes a received amount of coins to disrupt the record back to the source. Whatever the source of funds, our digital solution provides the isolation need to ensure the user’s transactional security.
Completely anonymous service requests only the minimum of information to get set up and as an additional measure, all transaction logs, as well as any personal information, is deleted in less than 72 hours.
The Simple & Verifiable Coin Mixing Platform
To get setup is simple – all you need do is complete a short form and the account is created.
BitMix accepts BTC, Litecoin and will shortly be adding ETH to the currencies available. Once you have registered, select and send the amount that you wish to blend to the BitMix address and the coins will then be sent directly back as cleared coins after mixing, It’s a simple, fast and secure process!
In the interests of transparency, a fully verifiable Letter of Guarantee is also provided.
Lowest Commissions with Complete Privacy
With some of the lowest commissions in the industry, coupled with cutting edge technology means that no-one can access the user’s transaction history, the process could not be simpler.
In most cases (may take up to 24 hours) the transaction is instant and works like any other cryptocurrency service – BitMix just provide that additional level of privacy!
Leading Technology – The Future of Bitcoin Mixers
The system allows you to instantly clear your funds and provides unparalleled discretion. The technology is brand new but tested, proven and with thousands of happy users the Mix technology is continuing to prove a hit with the customers.
As an additional level of security, the system has a built in a feature that offers complete transaction randomization – simply select ‘auto-randomization’ to disrupt chain-analysis attacks by selecting two or more output blockchain addresses to deliver funds.
As the platform continues to grow so does our network, with attractive commissions you can also become part of the BitMix partnership network.
Join the thousands of users blending their coins today!
Crypto.com Lists BAT, Powering Brave Browser’s 6m Active Users
Crypto.com, the pioneering payments and cryptocurrency platform, announced today it has listed the Basic Attention Token (BAT) to the Crypto.com app, joining bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB), XRP, Enjin Coin (ENJ), and its own MCO and CRO tokens.
The Basic Attention Token (BAT) aims to improve the efficiency of digital advertising. BAT is a utility token that can be exchanged between publishers, advertisers, and users on the Brave platform, which leverages blockchain to provide digital advertising and services. The token also powers the Brave web browser, a free and open-source web browser developed by Brave Software Inc. Built by a team of privacy-focused, performance-oriented pioneers of the web, Brave has over 5.5 million monthly active users and features over 28,000 Verified Publishers. Users can choose to replace ads with Brave’s ad network, and receive BAT from advertisers from viewing their ads.
On Crypto.com’s Wallet & Card App, customers may securely buy, sell, and send BAT, as well as other cryptocurrencies with no fees and no markups, as Crypto.com’s proprietary Vortex Trading Engine is able to offer the true cost and best execution prices possible. At the same time, BAT holders may enjoy the option to spend their digital assets in the real world at over 40m merchants through the MCO Visa Card.
Kris Marszalek, Co-Founder and CEO of Crypto.com said: “Crypto.com shares the same goal as the Brave team – to eliminate the middleman with the power of blockchain. We are keen to support their goals in the advertising sector, and by bringing onboard BAT users we are yet another step closer to accelerating the world’s transition to cryptocurrency.”
Flexa Raises $14.1 Million to Catapult Retail Blockchain Adoption
Flexa, the pioneering payment network uniting retail and blockchain technologies, announces today that it has raised $14.1 million in funding, led by Pantera Capital, 1kx, Nima Capital, Access Ventures, and other strategic partners. The funding announcement precedes the company’s public launch in May 2019.
The Flexa network enables retailers to take control of their own payments by reducing costs, overhead, and fraud through frictionless, instantaneous, and reliable blockchain-based settlement. Flexa’s upcoming mobile app also helps customers make practical use of the cryptocurrencies they already own, unlocking the hundreds of billions of dollars stored in the global crypto ecosystem.
“The anti-fraud and cost benefits of global cryptocurrency payments are enormous, but there are many barriers to mainstream adoption for merchants and consumers alike. Flexa’s going to change that, and very quickly,” said Tyler Spalding, Co-Founder and CEO of Flexa. “With this funding, we’ll continue to develop our network infrastructure to support our retail network and strategic partners.”
“Flexa is one of those extremely rare applications in the cryptocurrency space that actually touches consumers in an impactful way while also solving a major problem of high fees in payments today,” said Joey Krug, Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital. “I’m excited to see people actually be able to spend their crypto!”
Flexa will announce a major product rollout in May, at the Consensus conference in New York City.
Provenance.io Blockchain Raises $20 Million in Security Token Offering
Provenance Blockchain, Inc., the administrator for the Provenance.io blockchain, announced it has completed a $20 million security token offering to support the continued development and expansion of the Provenance.io ecosystem. The Reg D private placement included broad participation from both blockchain and traditional technology investors.
Provenance.io was built by Figure Technologies, a leading fintech company founded by former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney. Figure has been an early adopter of Provenance.io, originating, financing and selling its HELOC loans entirely on the blockchain. Jefferies is providing a warehouse facility for Figure loans, using Provenance.io.
The token sale coincides with Figure spinning out Provenance.io and its administrator, PBI, as independent entities. Proceeds will go to staff the administrator and finance operations including compliance, technology and business development, as adoption of Provenance.io grows. Figure continues to be a Hash™ holder and is assisting in the establishment of the PBI board and providing certain services to PBI.
The security token on Provenance.io, Hash, is the underlying equity of the blockchain. Hash serves two purposes: it provides a means to distribute fees paid into Provenance, and it provides a governance voting structure for PBI. There are 100 billion Hash tokens, and Hash can neither be created or destroyed. The price of Hash floats, and its value should be driven by the use of – and fees paid – on Provenance.
“This is a seminal moment for the blockchain industry in financial services,” said Sheila Bair, former Chairwoman of the FDIC. “Provenance.io has the potential to bring massive improvements to the industry, across asset originators, the buy and sell side, as well as regulatory benefits and better consumer protections. In particular, it will provide loan-level transparency around the quality of securitized assets and a clear, unalterable record of ownership—two things that were sorely missing during the financial crisis.”
Figure built and deployed Provenance.io, a distributed stakeholder blockchain, in 2018. The company leverages the security, efficiencies and cost advantage of blockchain for loan origination, financing and sales. A diverse set of funds, banks and dealers are active on Provenance.io today.
“Blockchain technology will disrupt financial services in ways that unlock tremendous value through improving current processes but also introducing new ways to do business,” predicts Jenny Johnson, President and COO of Franklin Templeton, a founding node manager for Provenance. “We are excited to facilitate and support blockchain adoption because change will happen when the technology is embraced by the market. The technology platform combined with the ecosystem makes Provenance stand out.”
Concurrently to the token sale, PBI released a white paper (available at provenance.io for download) on how blockchain can impact credit ratings. The paper, with comments from leading rating agencies, argues that blockchain should ultimately reduce the cost of ratings and drive ratings improvement.
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