VKontake (a.k.a VK), the Russian Facebook rival, launched its own cryptocurrency. There are numerous flashes and reports about the Russian organization considering to develop its own cryptocurrency. It is still unclear if it is for real, or the social media giant played a prank this April Fools eve
On April 1, 2019, the VKontake came with an announcement of launching a new “Cryptocurrency Mining App”, tapping for the “VK Coin” token on its own platform.
To the contrary, the miners who wanted to mine this cryptocurrency were facing some issues in getting the app to do anything other than generating huge amounts of “VK Coin”.
VKontake says –
“VK Coins can be transferred to other users, as well as spent on virtual items.”
There is no way to know what sort of items and goods can be bought, or what the token is worthy of. In fact, there is no information regarding the platform on which it operates.
Here is a screenshot of the app’s user-interface.
The “pay” button is intended to “credit” users accounts with 0.001 VK Coin.
VKontake released the downloadable app on its own platform, listing is as “VK Coin”. The category falls under is “cryptocurrency mining service”, developed by a body called Happy Santa. The company seems to have developed quite a lot of games and apps for VKontake.
Tass, Russia’s top news agency reported of this earlier, but still VKontake hasn’t commented further on the app or any reports that have surfaced on the web.
It has been a wider known truther that the largest bank in America seeks to rush towards a blockchain revolution. Recently, JPMorgan has been posting numerous blockchain-jobs as compared to any other Wall Street financial firm. With keywords like “cryptocurrency”, “bitcoin”, or “blockchain”, Indeed.com has JPMorgan as the only company out of top 10s posting jobs with such keywords.
Recently, in February 2019, JPM Coin was launched by JPMorgan Chase & Co., as a plan to simplify payments between clients using blockchain. They also created a version of the ethereum blockchain – Quorum, which was similarly designed for enterprises to capitalize over the perks of using a shared ledger, with more privacy and better speeds.
Apart from JPMorgan Chase, the only companies posting more jobs like these were IBM, Accenture, EY, Deloitte, KPMG & Accenture.
Economist Andrew Flowers from Indeed.com had to say
“It’s notable that there’s a lack of financial and banking companies hiring for something that’s made to replace money”
Where he added furthermore,
“Job seeker interest has collapsed because it tracks the price of bitcoin. Job seeker interest is as volatile as the price of bitcoin.”
Enterprises are on the verge of exploring the similarities of shared ledgers, despite the fact of letting decentralized blockchain ledgers powering bitcoin which first promised to let individuals move value without middlemen like banks.
Expected areas, like Silicon Valley and San Francisco are taking the top two positions for most job postings. In case of New York City, Newark , New Jersey and Jersey City; are collectively holding the 3rd position.
Areas like Seattle, Texas, Austin, Boston, Los Angeles, California, Massachusetts, Denver, Washington, and Washington DC make it to the top ten location where jobs have been posted inclusive of words “blockchain”, “bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency”.
The Emaar group, the real estate firm behind the world’s tallest building has planned to develop its own cryptocurrency. The firm is one of the United Arab Emirates’ largest real estate developers. The group has planned to develop “Emaar community token” for its customers and partners by the end of 2019. The Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) has been planned to be launched by the end of 2019.
According to the announcement, Lykke AG, a Switzerland-based crypto firm and the Emaar group will be partnering to build Ethereum-based token designed to comply with the ERC-20 standard. After launching the token, the company has planned to use the token as a referral and loyalty system.
It has been said that customers can use the token at any of Emaar’s holdings including malls, entertainment facilities, online shopping venues or other properties. Emaar is targeting a potential user base of 1 billion internet users by launching the community token.
The tokens will be available only to European buyers. The company did not reveal how much it intends to raise. Mohamed Alabbar, Properties chairman, Emaar group said that the firm is looking forward to “extend the Emaar experience.”
Mr. Mohammed added:
“We have embraced the digital world even as we continue to build the most advanced and innovative physical structures and we use both to delight and benefit our customers and stakeholders globally. The Emaar community token marks a significant leap in our digital transformation journey.”
Richard Olsen, CEO of Lykke also shared his excitement about partnering with Emaar group. He said that his firm has already developed a “cutting-edge technology infrastructure” which is ready for mass-market use.
Mr. Olsen said:
“We are thrilled to leverage our experience and expertise to support Emaar’s mission to bring value and utility to millions of users globally.”
South Korea continues to ban initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the country, the state financial regulator, the Financial Service Commission (FSC) confirmed in a press release on January 30.
Through the results of a survey conducted in September 2018, the body learned that firms carrying out ICOs were making use of foreign jurisdictions, but still raising capital from South Korean nationals.
The nation officially banned ICOs in September 2017 and highlighted the issues associated with the token offering method. Lack of stability and susceptibility to manipulation were the primary reasons to stop citizens from investing in crypto tokens.
“If there is an unlawful act, a third party has to intervene, but it is difficult to intervene until the transaction volume or price soars,” local news outlet FN News quoted an FSC official.
Chances of reversal appeared in August last year after the National Assembly began debating the ban, but there were no signs of lifting the ban.
The press release stated, “The government has taken cautious stance on the institutionalization of ICOs. We will stick to it.”
According to the survey, Singapore and Switzerland were the most popular regions to conduct ICO. The survey included a total of 22 firms out of which only 13 responded, as mentioned in the press release.
It’s 2019 and majority of us are aware what Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are. They grew popular in the financial industry the same way Bitcoin gained recognition. 2017 was the year ICOs enjoyed a drastic growth, with more than 1,500 of them raising a total of over $28 billion in the past two years.
It was a promising technique for start-ups and entrepreneurs to crowdfund their products, and a great investment opportunity for people who were willing to support these projects. However, the excitement factor that once surrounded the concept has gradually dissipated.
The brutal crypto bear market, along with other regulatory fiascos, followed by fraud, uncertainty and lack of trust has impaired ICO’s reputation, resulting in a rapid decline in the second half of 2018. Its downfall, however, has cleared the way for a new type of token offering, the Security Token Offering (STO).
STO shows immense potential and offers a viable alternative for companies to attract investors and raise funds. The emergence of such a method will potentially start a new market, which was previously inaccessible to firms associated with blockchain technology, because of the regulatory issues and unpredictability.
ICO Rumble and Crumble
ICOs were the outcome of an emerging industry still in its gestation stage. The dramatic increase in their usage can be owed to the exponential progress of digital currencies in 2017, and the spike in the applications of Blockchain technology. Similarly, in order to understand their downfall, it’s important to consider these factors, that ultimately led to a colossal failure in the crypto industry.
Since last year, it has been quite evident that Bitcoin has endured some serious drops in its market value. Moreover, it has gained the power to dictate the value of other digital currencies, as it remains the dominant contender in the crypto space. Thus, the slump in Bitcoin’s price pulled down other cryptocurrencies as well. Soon after, investing in ICOs was no longer considered a wise move. Plus, making such investments do not ensure investor security, tokens or promised returns.
As is the case with any emerging concept, the convenience of raising considerable amounts through ICO started attracting many investors, who had little knowledge of the technology. Furthermore, the instances of frauds and scams surged rapidly.
New Approach to Token Offering
STO allows a business to make offerings to the public, and investors to purchase a security that is represented by a token. It is an alternative process for projects to launch a token offering in compliance with the legislation of different jurisdictions.
This approach is a nascent idea, along with the technology supporting it, and how it makes its way into the market is hard to predict. A plus point is that many jurisdictions have already developed regulations on selling securities, which are compatible with the current framework.
As the market grows, it is likely that security tokens will attract more investors. These tokens are believed to offer better protection and control than ICOs.
The introduction of STO promises the emergence of a new market in a regulatory order. The issues associated with the regulations dissuades many organizations from investing in the blockchain technology. Security tokens will provide the required regulatory framework and also encourage companies to invest in the emerging technology.
2019 has started with a leap in the cryptocurrency industry. Seeing the same, experts in the cryptocurrency and ICO marketing arena have started to predict the future of this year. They have jot down a couple of trends to look after this year.
Looking at the big picture, the leap from initial days of developing cryptocurrency seems to be on a better track. We did see some bumps on the paths in 2018, with trends getting torn apart in the BTC area.
With 2019 just taking its time to settle, the ‘crypto-gurus’ have made their ways to know and tell about upcoming trends in the digital currency arena this year.
Cryptocurrency Trends in 2019
Crypto-gurus predict that the trading volume in crypto trading all over the globe will see an increment over the past. Even though the BTC saw a silhouette-like downside gradient last year, the trading volume of cryptocurrency is expected to go more than 50% higher than the previous year.
Cryptocurrency experts even predict that the corporate debt in USA would be cleared with this incremental change.
This year would also see an increase in the cryptocurrency adoption as a trend. Predictions say, there would be bigger things than only limiting cryptocurrency to the retail sector. Even the institutional bodies will get into adopting cryptocurrency to the core. Ohio has already started with accepting taxes in crypto-forms, and it won’t be a surprise if other State governments would start to follow the same.
Bitcoin Trading In 2019
Even though there have been n-number of Altcoins in the market, but BTC still rules as the staple crypto-trading element with 33% of crypto trade volumes. The same will be dominating the entire market in 2019, say the crypto-experts. Getting ahead in the line, Tether comes in the 2nd space, followed by Ethereum.
The big thing to look after in 2019’s crypto arena is if the BTC-ETF gets approved or not. There are several reports where it seems SEC rejected the proposal in 2018, having blamed the BTC related volatility and illiquidity issues. It also is a report that one of a senior SEC commissioner himself told that BTC-ETF seems to be ‘definitely possible’.
The crypto-experts have predicted that crypto-trading would be far more versatile in 2019. Not only the Bitcoin and Ethereum, but the investors might show some more interest in the growing braces of digital assets. This relates to an expansion into a versatile exchange.
Many of us are already aware that the SEC of the United States has been actively taking measures to enforce a variety of ‘action settlements.’ However, these measures have not resulted in any positive changes in the global cryptocurrency industry. Many members have gone ahead and called the regulator’s actions an outright violation of the First Amendment.
In response to the unfair implementation of censorship means by the SEC, Washington D.C based Cato Institute along with the Institute for Justice have sued the regulator, in an effort to prove that the governing body has been indulging in unlawful activities.
The filing reads,
“The SEC has been participating in wildly inappropriate use of government power… directly contrary to the spirit of accountability and transparency that permeates our founding documents” are correct.
On January 9th, a representative for the Cato Institute filed the lawsuit, which claims that the financial watchdog’s “perpetual, lifelong gag orders” contravenes the ‘First Amendment’ and thus legal proceedings must be brought against the government body.
Furthermore, the filing reads,
“The government uses its extraordinary leverage in civil litigation to extract information from settling defendants a promise to never tell their side of the story, no matter how outrageous the government’s conduct may have been and no matter how strong the public’s interest may be in knowing how the government conducts itself in high-stakes civil litigation.”
In the past couple of years, the SEC has been wielding its power against ICO operators, claiming it a necessary effort for the protection of the global investor community. The outcome of the legal proceedings against the SEC would surely have a significant effect on the crypto industry. One can only hope that the response toward the ICO projects improves in the years to come.
According to documents published by the Supreme Court for the New York State, a financial research company based in the United States FactSet has taken legal action against a company associated with professional trading service Blockchain Terminal (BCT).
As per the lawsuit, FactSet and the defendant, CG Blockchain, had entered an agreement to create an interfacing application between the two companies’ products. FactSet had also granted a license to CG for using its products.
CG had agreed to pay a minimum licensing fee of about $3.8 million in three increments, according to the documents.
However, FactSet claims that the amount was not paid. Further, the company insists that the contract has been violated. The plaintiff states that CG kept taking advantage of the license provided. FactSet filed a second part of the complaint, which covers CG’s “unjust enrichment.”
As per FactSet claims CG owes the company $2.8 million along with interest and attorney’s fees. Further, In October, Clarity LLC, a staffing company based in New York, filed documents in the same court, suing CG’s managing director, Edith Pardo, for about $150,000. The plaintiff highlights CG’s failure to pay for recruiting services.
In December, a crypto news outlet called The Block published an investigation, claiming that the person responsible for BCT, allegedly named Shaun MacDonald, reportedly a convicted fraudster, whose real name is Boaz Manor.
As per news outlet in Toronto, The Star, in 2012 manor was sentenced for four years in prison in Canada for misappropriating $106 million from the Toronto-based hedge fund he co-founded. Whereas, the Globe and Mail reported that Manor agreed to repay almost $8.8 million as compensation and acceded to a lifetime ban from the securities industry.
In December, MacDonald revealed in an interview that his real name is Boaz Manor. The interview was posted on BCT’s official twitter account.
Many users on Twitter and Reddit have raised concerns regarding Substratum, an open-source project that strives to create a foundation for the decentralized internet.
Substratum’s team is currently holding a second ICO, this time to fund a new crypto project; an exchange named Amplify. The crypto-enthusiast, Brian Li has expressed his concerns on his personal blog, where he published a post highlighting evidence for Substratum’s missing ICO funds,
“A quick look into various wallet addresses reveals that Substratum’s funding statistics in its whitepaper are not accurate, and the most obvious example is the difference between the reported and actual BCH contribution amounts. Substratum claims it received 602.1433 BCH during its ICO. However, the given BCH wallet address shows that 1304.26123096 were received in total. In other words, approximately 54% of Substratum’s BCH went unreported and unaccounted for.”
In response to the allegations of missing ICO funds, a Substratum moderator explained on Reddit, saying that a chunk of the funds was received after the ICO ended. Brian Li disputed the explanation on his blog which caused an uproar in the Reddit community.
This is not the first time the crypto industry has raised major concerns associated with the Substratum project. Many members of the crypto community were taken by surprise when Substratum announced the launch of the second ICO, considering the fact that Substratum has not presented a working model of their product even after a year in.
The need for a second token sparked a barrage of questions, with many wondering how much reliability is left in the first one [Substratum (SUB)]. SUB cannot be used to fund the new ICO, which explains the creation of Amplify (AMPX).
Back in mid-2018, the world witnessed the end of long ICO trend, which helped many blockchain startups to raise millions of dollars with just a white paper and website. Although it was a great time for entrepreneurs to kick off their businesses, the growth of the crypto industry ceased due to the controversies and troubles that followed. Many news reports highlighted the decline in the investments, with over 90% of funded projects from the past years either abandoned or otherwise non-functional. Unrealistic goals and plans, and fraudulent schemes were the primary reasons behind their failure.
Whereas, a new trend of “reverse ICOs” has managed to attract significant attention in 2019. For those who are unaware of this new method – it is a process through which existing non-blockchain companies transition from a functioning centralized business model to a decentralized token-based model. The emergence of this new concept brings along some benefits that can give the crypto industry a positive spin.
Promises of Reverse ICOs
The reverse ICO first acquired people’s attention in South Korea in 2018. However, many anticipate that it will spread to other nations as investors continue to find worthy projects from tested firms that have successfully managed to achieve user growth and profit as well as technical IP and in-depth domain knowledge.
A company needs a working business model with users, technology and valuable partnership in order to pull off a successful reverse ICO, which marks as its primary advantage. This method also serves as a better alternative to the white paper model presented by most ICOs. The white paper does not assure product development and user acquisition. Hence, the projects could turn out risky and result in high consumption of precious resources.
Further, reverse ICO provides an edge in the industry by providing leverage in the adoption of the cryptocurrency. The method of buying and selling cryptocurrencies is still riddled with many difficulties, with technical and trust issues yet to be resolved. The process of providing existing users integration is not just convenient, but also a better option compared to generating a new user adoption.
For instance, a well-established company having a thorough knowledge of its customers can take the right measures to solve the issues that prevent users from purchasing their products with cryptocurrency. This approach will encourage customers to use cryptocurrency to buy products and services which they are accustomed to buying with fiat currency.
After witnessing turbulence in the crypto space due to the failure of many ICO projects, the concept of reverse ICO could be game-changing for the crypto industry.