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Vancouver Mayor Suggests Bitcoin ATM ban to Stop Money Laundering

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Vancouver

Vancouver has cryptocurrency growing pains. The city’s police labeled Bitcoin ATMs an “ideal money laundering vehicle,” and its mayor has even suggested a complete ban.

Experts and local businesses have instead called for federal money services regulations to be changed to include Bitcoin ATMs, reports The Star.

Vancouver’s city council already moved to regulate usage and operation of cryptocurrency ATMs with a bylaw in January. This enforces operators to hold business licenses, verify identities, and even warn users away from common types of fraud.

Despite these efforts, police reiterated warnings that local fraudsters have been using cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency ATMs to launder money.

Authorities also expect to receive 840 reports tied to cryptocurrency this year, a 300-percent increase since 2018. Many of the 72 Bitcoin ATMs in Vancouver have various limits imposed on their usage, but some don’t, which they reportedly advertise.

In particular, one police report claimed criminals could simply purchase a Bitcoin ATM themselves for a few thousand dollars. They would then deposit all their cash into that ATM “as many times as required” to either profit from or eliminate the transaction fees – effectively washing money for free.

The province of British Columbia is to hold a money laundering inquiry to investigate further. Vancouver and Richmond city councils support the inquiry and have confirmed they’re taking action.

How far Vancouver itself will go to keep a lid on the supposed problem isn’t really clear. City staff are said to be researching its extent, and are scheduled to discuss their findings in 2019’s fourth quarter.

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Blockchain

Binance Announces Open Blockchain Project ‘Venus’

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Binance

Binance announced its plans to initiate an open blockchain project, Venus, an initiative to develop localized stablecoins and digital assets pegged to fiat currencies across the globe. Binance is looking to create new alliances and partnerships with governments, corporations, technology companies, and other cryptocurrency companies and projects involved in the larger blockchain ecosystem, to empower developed and developing countries to spur new currencies.

With its existing global blockchain ecosystem, Binance has already reserved its public chain technology and cross-border payment system for secure operations of new stablecoins. Since its launch last April, Binance Chain has been running securely and robustly and has issued a range of stablecoins, including a BTC-pegged stablecoin (BTCB) and the Binance BGBP Stable Coin (BGBP) pegged to the British Pound. Binance will provide full-process technical support, compliance risk control system and multi-dimensional cooperation network to build Venus, leveraging its existing infrastructure and regulatory establishments.

Binance welcomes additional government partners, companies and organizations with a strong interest and influence on a global scale to collaborate with us to build a new open alliance and sustainable community. We encourage like-minded people and organizations to contact us and discuss the infinite possibilities of the digital world together: venus@binance.com.

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‘Strategic differences’ force departure of Swiss digital exchange boss

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Swiss

The CEO of Switzerland’s crypto assets stock exchange will step down just eight months into his job following disagreements on how the nascent trading platform should be run. Martin Halblaub will depart at the end of August when his contract expires.

SIX Groupexternal link, which owns the Swiss stock exchange and its SDX digital exchange projectexternal link, played down the development, saying it will not affect the operation or its timetable. But this may be viewed as a blow for Switzerland’s ambition to host the first national stock exchange to trade a new breed of digital assets.

“I fully support SDX’s ambition and business model and would have loved to lead SDX into the future.  However, I have decided with a heavy heart – given our differing ideas on strategy, combined with the stretch the role is for my life model – that I cannot engage in a long term commitment as Head of SDX,” Halblaub is quoted in the memo.

SIX internal memo

Dear colleagues    As you know, Martin Halblaub was engaged as a Senior Advisor by SIX to lead SDX through its initial phase until the SIX Board …

The key strategic difference is that Halblaub wanted SDX to be launched as an independent company – a plan that grated with SIX’s board who wanted the new exchange to operate under the overall SIX umbrella.

Halblaub will be replaced as SDX CEO on September 1 by Tomas Kindler on an interim basis, according to an internal memo released on Tuesday. Halblaub’s tenure has proved short-lived having only been appointed to the top position at the start of this year.

Kindler is currently number two to Thomas Zeeb, head of securities and exchanges at SIX. Zeeb says in the memo that an “executive search” has been launched to find a permanent replacement and that Kindler is one of the candidates they are looking at. Zeeb added that Halblaub has expressed an interest in remaining at SDX as a senior advisor.

Global competition

“Martin [Halblaub] led SDX through its initial phase with great success. He helped shape SDX’s ambition, strategy and business model and has built a strong Management team around him.  We thank him for his support during this phase,” SIX CEO Jos Dijsselhof says in the memo.

In an interview with the NZZ am Sonnntag newspaperexternal link on Sunday, Dijsselhof made no mention of the internal conflicts at SDX.

Announced in July 2018, the SDX project was initially timetabled to be operational by mid-2019. But that date has been put back to the first or second quarter of 2020 following internal tests later this year with banks that have ownership stakes in SIX.

SDX faces competition from several other countries and one domestic project as it seeks first mover advantage in the tokenized digital asset business that has been tipped to bring vast efficiencies to the trading of shares, bonds and an anticipated wave of new financial products.

Projects ranging from Germany, the United States and Thailand are also bidding to become the first national crypto asset exchanges. Budding crypto bank Sygnum in Zurich has teamed up with national telecoms operator Swisscom, the Deutsch Börse and other partners to offer a Swiss trading alternative.

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SEC Obtains Freeze of $8 Million in Assets in Alleged Fraudulent Token Offering and Manipulation Scheme

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SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced fraud charges against a Brooklyn individual and two entities under his control who allegedly engaged in a fraudulent scheme to sell digital securities to investors and to manipulate the market for those securities. On Aug. 12, 2019, the court entered an emergency freeze to preserve at least $8 million of the $14.8 million the defendants raised in 2017 and 2018 in an offering of digital securities.

The SEC filed charges against Reginald “Reggie” Middleton, a self-described “financial guru,” and two entities he controls, Veritaseum, Inc. and Veritaseum, LLC (collectively Veritaseum). The Commission’s complaint, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, alleges that the Defendants marketed and sold securities called “VERI” tokens on the internet, inducing retail investors to invest based on multiple material misrepresentations and omissions. Among other things, Defendants allegedly knowingly misled investors about their prior business venture and the use of offering proceeds, touted oversized – but fictitious – investor demand for VERI, and claimed to have a product ready to generate revenue when no such product existed. The complaint further alleges that Middleton manipulated the price of the VERI tokens trading on an unregistered digital asset platform. The complaint also alleges that Middleton recently moved a significant amount of investor assets and then dissipated a portion of those assets, transferring them to Middleton’s personal account.

“After learning about Middleton’s transfer of funds, we took quick action to prevent the further dissipation of investor assets,” said Marc P. Berger, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “Whether in digital currency or plain cash, we will act to protect investor assets and to pursue fraud and manipulation in our securities markets.”

The SEC’s complaint charges Middleton and Veritaseum with violating the registration and antifraud provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws, and Middleton with additionally violating the antifraud provisions on the basis of his manipulative trading. The complaint seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus interest and penalties, and a bar from offering digital securities. For Middleton, the SEC also seeks an officer-and-director bar.

The Commission’s investigation was conducted by Jorge G. Tenreiro and Victor Suthammanont of the New York Regional Office, assisted by Roseann Daniello, a staff accountant in the New York Regional Office, John O. Enright of the Cyber Unit, and IT Forensics staff Ken Zavos and Olga Cruz-Ortiz. The case is being supervised by Lara Shalov Mehraban, Associate Regional Director of the New York Regional Office. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Mr. Tenreiro and Mr. Suthammanont.

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Blockchain

Binance KYC Leak Highlights Importance of Personal Data Privacy

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Changpeng Zhao

Last week, cryptocurrency exchange Binance, was at the center of a controversial KYC data leak that resulted in a massive portion of its customer’s personal data, privacy, and identity being put at risk.

While the company was quick to dismiss the leak and ensuing panic from its users as nothing more than FUD, calling it a “false KYC leak,” in the same official blog post Binance admits that their investigation is still ongoing, and while that the allegedly leaked photos didn’t include the crypto exchange’s digital watermark, all photos appeared to be tied to a month when Binance had outsourced their KYC process to another third-party firm.

Binance appears to be minimizing the situation in the public eye and deflecting any accountability of their own for not ensuring the third-party firm secured its customer’s data.

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Hundreds of customer photos uploaded during Binance’s KYC process could be seen being scrolled through on a video recording of a Telegram channel where the photos were uploaded as part of a 300 BTC ransom hackers demanded from Binance – that they ultimately did not pay.

The once poster child of the crypto industry known for thwarting hackers and keeping funds “SAFU” has recently come under fire for barring US users from its exchange, only offering 2x margin on crypto trading, and now, leaking potentially thousand of customer’s data without taking any responsibility or apologizing to those affected in order to save its image.

Cyber Crime: Over 3 Billion Private Personal Records Leaked Last Year

The leak highlights the ever-increasing importance of personal data privacy in the digital age. Over 3.3 billion people were affected by personal data leaks in 2018, and the trend is only growing. In 2018, the equivalent of 291 different people’s personal data was leaked per second. Over 15 billion personal records have been leaked since 2013 when benchmarking first began.

As much as 65% of these leaks involve identify theft, which can involve credit issues, criminal allegations, tax liability, or worse. As much as 13% involve financial access, meaning that cyber criminals were able to directly access financial data and accounts, potentially draining accounts of their holdings – an incident that has become common in the cryptocurrency industry, and elsewhere on the internet.

In 2018 alone, the cryptocurrency industry was exposed to over $1 billion in exchange-related hacks, with nearly all of them involving some kind of data breach or lax security protocol. The rest of the internet is by no means different, with nearly every major internet company or publicly traded corporation experiencing some sort of major data leak over the last decade.

At the start of August, the Entertainment Software Association – a powerful company in the video game industry – leaked the personal data of thousands of industry professionals, journalists, and executives alike. The most alarming issue is that the ESA didn’t even hide this information behind any type of security, and ignored repeated attempts from users notifying the company of the security failure.

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Neglect like the case with Binance or the ESA exists everywhere in the world and on the internet. Uploading personal data to platforms that aren’t secure is at the core of the issue.

Personal data is also easy to come by for cyber criminals, making the matter far worse and widespread. According to data, personal records can be obtained for as little as $30 on the dark web. This includes full name, social security number, date of birth, bank account numbers, and more. Driver’s licenses are only $20. Passports fetch up to $2,000 – still relatively cheap to access such important personally identifying data.

How To Protect Personal and Private Data in the Digital Age

Because the issue is so widespread and the trend is only growing each year, personal data protection will only become more important and difficult. Methods and tactics of cyber criminals will improve, and so should the security and safety that companies provide their customers. Better yet, personal data should be kept private, and not required over the internet where sensitive documentation can so easily be leaked.

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New systems must ultimately be developed, but many companies can start improving their processes today by accepting responsibility and taking necessary steps to protect their customer’s personal data.

One example of a company taking additional steps to protect customer data is PrimeXBT. PrimeXBT is a Bitcoin-based margin trading platform featuring crypto assets (with up to 100x leverage) similar to Binance but also features traditional assets such as forex, commodities, stock indices, and more. The two worlds of digital and traditional finance coming together under one roof make PrimeXBT unique.

PrimeXBT combines the bank-grade security and focus on customer safety from traditional finance with the value of privacy that is the ethos of the crypto industry.

PrimeXBT requires no personal data to be uploaded at all, and ditches the time-consuming KYC process in favor of offering their customers privacy. The company has even in the past taken steps to move its trading infrastructure to Switzerland to ensure customer privacy remains the highest priority. It’s one of the few places that exist on the internet where there zero risk of personal data loss or leak, because no personal data is ever required.

Conclusion

In the digital age, personal data and privacy are constantly put at risk unnecessarily. Corporations and companies carelessly require this data, then don’t give it the proper protection or care that personal data and privacy deserves.

But until the public begins to vocalize their concerns over personal data and privacy and avoid companies that do not prioritize safety and security, or companies themselves begin to take additional steps and make investments in security, the issue will only grow more severe.

For now, all internet users must do due diligence when using any platform or website which requires personal information to be uploaded, and whenever possible, select a company or website that doesn’t require any personal or private information be uploaded at all.

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Altcoins

Seoul to Release Native Cryptocurrency by November in Blockchain Smart City Transition

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Seoul

Seoul is nearing several significant milestones in its journey towards becoming a blockchain smart city, blockinpress reports. By November, it aims to have the following in place:

  1. Public services accepting Korea’s national blockchain ID system as valid documentation.
  2. A blockchain system for managing part-time worker labour contracts, insurance and work history.
  3. A native city-wide cryptocurrency, dubbed S-coin.

According to blockinpress, S-coins will be redeemable for rewards and given to citizens when they use public services and participate in citizenship duties, such as paying taxes and participating in public opinion polls.

Beyond that, the potential applications of a digital currency such as S-coin are almost limitless, as a way of shaping people’s behaviour and streamlining interactions in the smart cities of the future.

The value of S-coin

To understand the value of the S-coin – the real rather than speculative value – it’s important to understand that one of the guiding principles of Seoul’s smart city program is to put engaged citizens at the centre of everything. After all, a city (and the entire planet for that matter) is for the benefit of its inhabitants first and foremost.

A native cryptocurrency is an excellent way of incentivising desirable behaviour in an organic way.

As people have previously said, government incentives have historically been oriented almost solely around punishments. Citizens behave because they get punished if they don’t. But just about every piece of behavioural research on the planet says a combination stick and carrot approach is by far the best way to instil desirable behaviour in humans and other animals.

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Altcoins

Ethereum Classic Labs Formally Announces Accelerate Program

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Ethereum Classic

Ethereum Classic Labs Accelerate is focused on funding, educating and mentoring blockchain companies and communities that are building products and services on Ethereum Classic. The first Cohort occurred during the first quarter of 2019 and included 11 blockchain companies while our second Cohort will be announced in the third quarter of 2019.

The goals and objectives for the first Cohort were focused on infrastructure and tools to build decentralized applications. With impactful companies like Button and EtherNode, the first Cohort showcased great successes in the funding, mentorship, and development to advance the utilization, development, and adoption of Ethereum Classic. Accelerate is currently targeting two Cohorts per year, each having a different focus and theme.

Cohort I Highlights

ETC Labs Accelerate Cohort I was born at the beginning of 2019 with 11 blockchain companies and included a combination of funding, mentorship, facilities, entrepreneurship workshops, and development resources. ETC Labs Accelerate provided a structured curriculum that included messaging workshops, investor pitch preparation, core developer access, go-to-market planning, and business structuring for growth. Cohort I was also treated to special guest speakers from prominent legal, compliancy, entrepreneurship, investors, and product designers to give the Cohorts the resources necessary to structure, build and grow successful blockchain companies.

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Blockchain

Crypto.com Chain Token (CRO) Lists on Bithumb

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Crypto

Crypto.com, the pioneering payments and cryptocurrency platform, announced that its Crypto.com Chain Token (CRO) has listed on Bithumb with deposits and trading now available. Bithumb is the largest exchange in South Korea founded by BTC Korea.com Ltd company in 2013, offering trading services for over 60 digital token assets. CRO was also listed on Bithumb Global in June 2019.

The Crypto.com Chain Token (CRO) powers a high-performing native blockchain powering Crypto.com Pay which allows users to pay or get paid in crypto, anywhere. While customers reap generous cashback rewards through Crypto.com Pay, merchants also benefit from greatly reduced processing fees and near instant settlement.

About Bithumb

Since the beginning of service in January 2014, Bithumb, one of the top 10 largest cryptocurrency exchanges globally, has seen explosive growth in its daily trading volume and now ranks number one. Bithumb is a financial platform that provides exchange services for bitcoin, ether, and other various cryptocurrencies. It is also expanding its business area into payment services and international money transfer services. For more information, please visit: www.bithumb.com.

About Crypto.com

Crypto.com was founded in 2016 to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency. Key products include: the Crypto.com Wallet & Card App, the best place to buy, sell, and pay with crypto, the MCO Visa Card, a metal card with no annual fees, and the Crypto.com Chain, which enables users to pay and be paid in any crypto, anywhere, for free. Crypto.com is headquartered in Hong Kong with a 150+ strong team. For more information, please visit: www.crypto.com.

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Altcoins

Exchange Token BIKI Poised to Continue Upward Surge

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Bitcoin-29000

The first half of 2019 has seen good performances from platform currencies BNB, OKB and HT. Not resting on its laurels, the BiKi token (BIKI) reached a peak of 0.1394 USDT on July 5th, an impressive increase of 44 times over the course of 6 months, an indication of investor demand and recognition of the token’s value.

Primarily used to pay for services and fees when trading on the exchange, using BIKI grants the trader discounts over using other payment methods on the exchange.

BIKI follows the 4 principles of “daily buyback, quarterly burn, tokens in locked position, steady deflation”. This motto guides the platform’s goal of bringing value to BIKI through a three-step process.

Reduced Supply from Buybacks

BiKi.com has pledged to use 100% of its platform fees to repurchase and burn the token until it decreases to a supply of 100 million from its initial token issuance of 1 billion. BiKi repurchases tokens on a daily basis and burns them quarterly.

Currently, BIKI’s apportioned repurchase is five times that of BNB and HT, an indication of BiKi’s commitment to creating value for its platform token. It is also a statement of its ambitious positioning of BIKI against other platform tokens. BiKi’s scheduled coin burn on July 1st destroyed 70 million BIKI, a market value of approximately USD 7.5 million. To date, a total of 344 million BIKI has been cumulatively burned, which accounts for 34.4% of the total supply.

Lowered Liquidity from Locked-in Partner Positions

BiKi’s Community Partner Program requires its partners to lock in at least 30,000 BIKI for 1 year (with 10% interest) to be eligible for 60% cashback on trading fees as well as a host of bonus rewards, dividends and token airdrops. The program incentives invariably attract an influx of partner members which is a good source of investor traffic to the platform. The locked position also prevents extreme inflationary pressures on BIKI prices, preventing the formation of economic bubbles. According to reports, there are presently locked-in positions of more than 50 million BIKI, accounting for 15% of the overall circulation.

Both aforementioned steps are instrumental in reducing the total token supply in circulation, thereby increasing the token’s value and subsequently creating demand for it.

Blockchain Companies Biki

Increased Demand from Additional Use Case Scenarios

The value of a platform token is intrinsically and inextricably tied to the developments on the platform and BiKi is no different. BiKi has announced that it will launch a BIKI transaction pair in the future, whereby projects will then raise funds in BIKI instead of in ETH. This move once again increases demand and value for the token simultaneously.

While many other platforms regard the fees that platform currencies bring in as profits, BiKi has devoted 100% of its fees to buybacks in a bid to raise the value of its platform currency. High quality platform coins strengthen trading platforms and attract more users and investors to the platform.

Six months into 2019, BiKi’s unique set of implemented strategies has indeed given the token a strong start thus far. Decreased supply has inevitably increased demand, and the token has established a generally upward trajectory in value and looks poised to continue its upward surge. More users and investors on the platform results in more community partners (and in turn more referrals) who believe in the rising value of the locked-in BIKI token – a self-sustaining cycle that guarantees the vitality of the platform. All of this can only be good news for listed projects who can tap into the strong framework and growing user base of the exchange.

About BiKi.com

Headquartered in Singapore, BiKi.com is a global cryptocurrency exchange that provides a digital assets platform for trading more than 100 cryptocurrencies and 220 trading pairs. Since beginning operations in June 2018, BiKi.com is considered one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with an accumulated 1.5 million registered users, 130,000 daily active users, and daily trading volumes of USDT 20 – 100 million.

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Binance Launches Margin Trading Service for Evolving Cryptocurrency Traders

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Binance Labs

The global cryptocurrency exchange and blockchain ecosystem comprised of several arms to serve the greater mission of blockchain advancement, Binance, today announced the launch of its Margin Trading platform. As part of Binance’s effort to help push the industry forward and freedom of money, the company is expanding its trading possibilities, similarly to existing leveraged trading features on traditional markets.

“This is another step in providing an inclusive cryptocurrency trading platform catering to the needs of both advanced institutional traders and retail traders under the same roof,” said CEO of Binance, CZ (Changpeng Zhao). “We are providing a new tool in the financial services and cryptocurrency markets to help amplify trading results of successful trades.”

Margin trading confers to a higher profit potential than traditional trading for leveraged positions, but also comes at a greater risk, which relates to the current volatility cryptocurrency market. Margin trading in cryptocurrency trading can be used to open both long and short positions, where a long position reflects an assumption that the price of the asset will go up, while a short position reflects the opposite. Binance hopes to continue informing and raising more awareness on conscious trading for its communities on margin accounts to help them realize better profitability, lower risks, and more portfolio diversification.

“Though the current cryptocurrency market and legacy platforms for margin trading poses greater risks and benefits at the same time, we are confident that its development coupled with more knowledge on proper risk management will help realize greater benefits in the long run,” said Yi He, co-founder of Binance. “With margin trading being one of the most requested services from our community, this is a testament to the large market demand from retail and institutional traders alike and its promising possibilities in the future.”

Binance 2.0: One Platform, Two Functions

The Binance Margin Trading platform is hosted under a newly optimized interface for accessing both its exchange platform and the Margin function to better serve the fast-evolving cryptocurrency traders seamlessly within one user account and familiar interface. The 2.0 platform also features an advanced trading engine for better order matching and press indexes for margin level calculations to enable lower liquidations.

The new Binance 2.0 platform also allows its users to move funds easily from the Margin Wallet to their primary Binance Wallet without any transaction fees. Binance Margin provides the option to choose collaterals from a diverse spread of cryptocurrencies, also enabling users to pay for margin trading fees with Binance Coin (BNB).

Learn how Margin Trading on Binance works from Binance Academy’s guide: https://www.binance.vision/tutorials/binance-margin-trading-guide

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tZERO Partners with Atari Movie to Tokenize First Major Motion Picture

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Motion Picture

tZERO announced today that it has entered a partnership with the producers of the upcoming movie, “Atari: Fistful of Quarters,” to tokenize the first major theatrical motion picture. This will be the first time the film industry leverages the power of blockchain technology, marking yet another milestone towards tZERO’s goal to revolutionizing capital markets. tZERO will develop the Bushnell token, sold by the film production and financing company, Vision Tree.

The new biopic is centered on a pioneering figure in the video game industry, Nolan Bushnell, who went from repairing broken pinball machines to launching the videogame manufacturer Atari in the 1970s. The film’s unique approach to funding is reflective of Bushnell’s groundbreaking and innovative career. The movie is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way, as well as Benjamin Gerry and J.D. Seraphine of Vision Tree.

tZERO CEO Saum Noursalehi said, “Our goal is to apply blockchain technology to capital markets and every industry that can benefit from the platform we have built. The Atari movie is the perfect project to lead the way for the tokenization of the movie business.”

Patrick M. Byrne, Director & Chief Executive Officer of tZERO’s parent company, Overstock.com, (NASDAQ:OSTK) added, “We have been looking for the team to crack the code for Hollywood and bring much needed transparency and accountability to an industry that has been historically resistant to change. This is an extremely impressive team and we are thrilled to bring the tZERO tech stack to the movie industry.”

Vision Tree announced in March 2018 that it planned to raise as much as $40 million with the sale of the Bushnell token. Bushnell token owners, in addition to receiving shares of movie earnings, also play an interactive role in the film’s development. Token owners have received additional benefits such as being able to vote on the movie’s trailer and even have a say in choosing the movie cast.

J.D. Seraphine, founder of Vision Tree said, “Once we had the opportunity to connect with Patrick, Saum, and the rest of the tZERO family it became immediately clear that this is the best team to roll out the token for the Atari movie.”

Benjamin Gerry, founder of Vision Tree, added, “It has been a long process to find the right partner to tokenize the Atari movie and to blaze a new trail for other media projects to follow. After looking closely at every major company in the space, we are thrilled to collaborate with tZERO on this exciting endeavor.”

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