CryptoKitties Donates Over $25,000 to Charity From Rare Digital Kitty

cryptokitties-ethereum-blockchain

CryptoKitties, the world’s largest blockchain game, teamed up with Marine conservation organizations in order to create a rare crypto kitty named “Honu Kitty”.

ACTAI Global , Ocean Elders, and 2 other communities consisting of global leaders, athletes and technologists created an auction for cryptocurrency users which began on July 9, 2018 and ended July 18, 2018.

CryptoKitties Donates Over $25,000 to Charity From Rare Digital KittyThe rare crypto kitty received 18 bids and the winner who paid $25,000 for this one-of-a-kind digital collectible, was awarded. The funds are to be donated to the Sea Shepherd conservation Society’s operation Jairo and Unite BVI Foundation Saving the Turtles Project.

A few days later, another campaign was initiated called “Kitties for a Cause” which sold 370 crypto kitties and raised $15,000 for Children’s Hospital in Seattle.

Over the last several months other crypto blockchain programs have donated to various charitable causes. The Pineapple Fund, which was the largest cryptocurrency donation ever recorded, by the anonymous Redditor “Pine” back in December 2017, received over 100,000 applications and donated over 5104 BTC ($34 million) to 60 different charities.

Organizations who supported the fund range from clean water projects to complex disease research foundations.

Brian Armstrong, Coinbase founder, launched a charity platform called GiveCrypto. The foundation has received many donations and plans to distribute these cryptocurrencies to people all over the world in need.

IBM Backs Dollar Pegged Stablecoin on Stellar Network

IBM Backs Dollar Pegged Stablecoin on Stellar Network

The San Francisco-based financial institution, Stronghold, has been developing a trade-in payment ecosystem which is launched an asset backed token on the stellar network. Buyers will be able to deposit US dollars into the Stronghold partnering bank (Prime Trust), which will then enable Stronghold to issue a one-to-one ratio of tokens to USD according to this report by Reuters.

The company also announced a partnership with IBM Blockchain in order to identify uses for blockchain within their business network. The goal of the partnership is to test various ways that financial institutions as well as other companies, can achieve more efficient, faster, and safer transactions. Stronghold plans to use the Stellar protocol for their transactions as well as provide witty through their crypto exchange services.

The USD backed token, which will hold its reserves and estate charter trust, will provide liquidity for global foreign exchange settlements. In addition to this, the allow banks to provide credit to transactional networks and trading ecosystems.

These tokens offer the benefits of cryptocurrency a while reducing the inherent price volatility with stable monetary policy. Strongholds cofounder and CTO, Sean Bennett, stated “asset backed tokens provide seamless access to all currencies, thus improving the global transfer of money”.

Supporting Institutional Investors

Stronghold’s network will allow institutional investors to exchange US currency for Stellar Lumens as well as any other cryptocurrency or token on the stellar network, as noted by Tammy Camp, co-founder of the company.

According to Camp, this partnership delivers major implications to the blockchain industry as previous access to the Stellar protocol have impeded adoption. “In the past, traders have exchanged USD for Bitcoin and Ethereum with exchanges like Coinbase”. However, the trade-off for these partnerships have always resulted in longer wait times and increased transaction fees”, states Camp.

Those seeking to invest in Stellar have had to initially purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum and convert it to the XLM token, which requires numerous wallets, transactions, and wait times in order to access their network. Now that the platform can support USD, traders can now exchange XLMs without first transferring over to BTC or ETH.  

Stellars’s protocol is very helpful with cross-border transactions as it provides the best choice for quick and low-cost transfer of funds. Other users besides traders and investors will also have direct access to XLM cryptocurrency, allowing them to take full advantage of the platform.

Open Enrollment for Institutions

Stronghold recently opened enrollment to institutions for private beta. Tokens are not currently available to retail customers at the moment; however this will most likely change in the next few months. Retail customers can open a Stronghold account and provide KYC (know your customer information) if they’d like to receive updates on the service as it becomes available.

 

 

The World’s Largest Asset Manager, BlackRock, Seeks Potential Interest in Bitcoin Futures

The World’s Largest Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), BlackRock, Seeks Potential Interest in Bitcoin Futures

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager announced the formation of a working group to assess the potential involvement in Bitcoin. This reported by Financial News today on July 16.

The CEO of Blackrock, Larry Fink, previously described Bitcoin, prior to last year’s all-time high, as an “instrument people use for money laundering”. This is a complete 180 from BlackRock’s more previous critical stance towards the cryptocurrency.

The decision seems to follow in the footsteps of the financial giant Goldman Sachs, who will among other things, focus on whether the company should invest in Bitcoin futures.

A spokesperson from BlackRock stated that the company has been “looking at blockchain for several years now” however it did not mention anything about cryptocurrency.

The CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blackfein, had previously told the media that Bitcoin “is not for him”, before another announcement was made that there would be a dedicated research team looking to how Goldman Sachs could provide a range of financially based cryptocurrency products upon the massive customer demand.

BlackRock has just under $6.3 trillion in assets under management as a 2017. Institutional money seems to be waiting for its ideal entry point while the discussion continues to circulate among financial commentators.

Coinbase Looking to Add 5 New Altcoins: Cardano, BAT, Zcash, 0x, and Stellar

Coinbase announced today that will be exploring 5 new cryptocurrencies for its trading’s products including Basic Attention Token (BAT), Cardano (ADA), Zcash (ZEC), 0x (ZRX), and Stellar Lumens (XLM).

There is no guarantee that the list visual currencies will be added, however the team is currently exploring the technicalities behind each asset. Coinbase provides a detailed FAQ within their Twitter announcement regarding the reasoning why they decided to choose the 5 cryptocurrency projects as candidates.

A few weeks ago, Coinbase announced plans to add Ethereum Classic  (ETC) to their list of coins to trade. Within announcement, Coinbase notated the similarities between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic which helps make the process much simpler. Given that the tokens are technically different, there is additional work that needs to be done before moving forward.

Currently there is no indication or timeline regarding the potential listing for any of the projects.

New Study Shows 80% of ICOs Operated in 2017 Were Scams

New Study Shows That 80% of ICOs Conducted in 2017 Were Scams

A recent study prepared by the Statis group ICO advisory firm identified that over 80% of ICO’s in 2017 were scams. The study examined the lifecycle of these ICO’s from the initial proposal of sell to the mature phase of trading on a cryptocurrency exchange.

The research revealed that over 70% of the ICO funding went to higher-quality projects, while over 80% of the projects were identified as scams. This study labeled an ICO death as “not listed on exchanges for trading” and “not updating code within their Github contribution page for over three months”.

According to the research, total ICO funds raised from these companies in 2017 amounted to $11.9 billion. 11% of the ICO funded ($1.34 billion) went towards scam these scam coins. The vast majority went to larger scam projects like Pincoin ($660 million), Savedroid ($50 million), and Arisebank ($600). The three ICO’s alone equaled $1.31 billion. While a larger number of ICO’s were scams, they received little funding as compared to the industry as a whole.

Techcrunch released another report earlier this year from Coinopsy and Deadcoins, which discovered that over 1000 cryptocurrency projects are already dead as of June 30, 2018. According to the Coinopsy list, there were 247 dead coins, while Deadcoins contained a 830 “dead list” of cryptocurrencies.

These cyber security company Carbon Black, conducted research in June of roughly around $1.1 billion worth of digital currency which was found stolen in the first half of 2018. The security company stated that cyber criminals take advantage of the dark web in order to initiate large-scale cryptocurrency theft. Estimated reports showcase 12,000 marketplaces and 34,000 offerings associated with crypto theft that hackers took advantage of.

The consulting firms PwC and Swiss Crypto Valley Association released a report showing the volume of ICO’s between January and May 2018. The report shows that $13.7 billion worth of ICO funding has already been accumulated, which is twice as much as the entire year of 2017.

 

Robin Hood Cryptocurrency Trading Platform Adds Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash

Robin Hood, the financial services mobile app, just added support for Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on their cryptocurrency platform according to their blog post on July 12.

The company’s blog post states that they plan to further expand their selection of cryptocurrency and add support for coin transfers. Robin Hood’s platform has currently reached over 5 million users and counting.

RobinHood launched their zero fee trading platform back in February, which originally supported Bitcoin and Ethereum, with trading only available to US residents in California, Montana, New Hampshire, Missouri, and Massachusetts.

The app now can be used across 17 states and has raised $363 million in May during a series D funding round which will enable them to expand their cryptocurrency platform across the entire country.

The trading platform has also recently become the subject of rumors stating that they may potentially launch a cryptocurrency wallet after posting a job listing for crypto engineers.

Philippine Central Bank Approves 2 New Crypto Exchanges

Philippine Central Bank Approves 2 New Crypto Exchanges

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved the accreditation of two new virtual currency exchanges, bringing the total number of regulated crypto exchanges in the country to five.

In a statement released by Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier, the BSP announced that it has granted operating approval to Virtual Currency Philippines, Inc. and ETranss to carry out conversion of Philippine pesos (PHP) into virtual digital currencies.

Pinoy Cryptocurrency Boom

The Philippines has attracted a measure of attention for its unique approach to the cryptocurrency boom. Rather than crack down on crypto trading or send out mixed signals as is the case in much of the developing world, the BSP has consistently adopted a progressive policy direction, recognizing that cryptocurrencies offer huge advantages to Filipinos, particularly in terms of accessing cheap credit and enabling cheaper and faster remittances from abroad.

CCJ previously reported that the most popular crypto app in the Philippines, Coins.ph now has a user base of more than five million people, with more than a million users on its Android application alone. This app has achieved wild popularity by providing a range of transaction and credit options including mobile payments, bill settlements and short term unsecured loan facilities.

Importantly, it also provides fast and cheap remittance services, which is extremely important to the estimated 10.2 million people of Filipino descent who work abroad and sent an estimated $7.8bn home in the first quarter of 2018. Other crypto platforms in the country are keying into the exploding popularity of crypto payments and this has not gone unnoticed by the government.

Philippines Bitcoin
Philippine authorities have introduced effective but encouraging regulation for the domestic cryptocurrency industry. Pictured: Manila, Phillippines 

Earlier in July, CCN also reported that the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), an economic zone in the northern part of the Philippines supported by the government, will embrace up to 25 cryptocurrency exchanges with friendly regulations and tax policies.

The unrivaled enthusiasm for crypto-based innovation at a time when many regulators continue to view it as a competitor, can be traced to the economic knock-on effect it is having on the Philippine economy. Long seen as an ossified economy where people had little choice but to emigrate in search of opportunities, the Philippines is now witnessing a financial industry boom fueled by crypto.

A recent CCJ report revealed that crypto exchanges and crypto startups in the country are now consistently outperforming traditional financial institutions and services, with Coins.ph attracting $10 million in funding from Naspers and becoming one of the top 10 most used domestic applications in the country, exceeding the growth rate of financial platforms and other fintech applications.

No doubt sensing an opportunity to give the economy a jolt, the Philippine authorities have become of the most crypto-friendly regulators in the world, quickly giving official recognition to digital assets and legitimizing the crypto sector.

Plans are also in place to provide operating licenses to crypto startups from across Asia and beyond looking to offer ICOs and mine mine cryptocurrency in the Cagayan Economic Zone.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Says “Bitcoin Still in a Good Position After 70% Fall”

Binance-CEO-Changpeng-Zhao-Says-Bitcoin-Still-in-a-Good-Position-After-70-Fall

 Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the founder and CEO at the world’s biggest crypto exchange Binance, has said that bitcoin is still in a positive position after its 70 percent fall since early 2018, especially considering its strong rally throughout 2017.

Crypto Market is Better in Every Way

From January to December of 2017, the price of bitcoin increased from $890 to $20,000, by more than 2150 percent. In comparison to mid-2017, the volume of bitcoin has increased by five-fold, signifying a significant surge in demand and interest towards cryptocurrencies as an emerging asset class from investors in the public market.

In an interview with Bianca Chen, a cryptocurrency researcher and reporter in Zug, Switzerland, CZ said that the cryptocurrency sector is in a better position than a year ago, in terms of infrastructure, price, volume, and mainstream interest.

“Just checked, btc price was $2500 a year ago, today $6800. Trading volume for btc was 780m a year ago, today is 3.4b. There you go,” CZ said.

In mid-2017, the cryptocurrency sector did not have any proper infrastructure in place for both retail and institutional investors. As of July, the crypto market has an institutional platform called Coinbase Custody established, with which hedge funds, academic institutions, and pensions can purchase many millions of dollars worth of digital assets like bitcoin and ether, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain protocol.

Major banks and financial institutions such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley have publicly disclosed their intent to facilitate the growing demand from their clients in the traditional finance sector towards cryptocurrencies by operating digital asset trading desks and exchanges in the future, once regulatory uncertainty around the crypto exchange market is cleared by the financial authorities of the US.

Most recently, at the Economic Club of New York conference, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said that if government-operated fiat currencies can dominate the financial system, consensus currencies can also emerge as dominant mediums of exchange.

More to that, Blankfein emphasized that it is arrogant to think cryptocurrencies simply cannot work because they are based on new fundamentals, principles, and philosophies.

“If you go through that fiat currency where they say this is worth what it’s worth because I, the government, says it is, why couldn’t you have a consensus currency? And so it’s not for me, I don’t do it, I own no bitcoin. Goldman Sachs as far as I know… has no bitcoin, but if it does work out, I could give you the historical path why that could have happened. I’m not in this school of saying… because it’s uncomfortable with me, because it’s unfamiliar, this can’t happen, that’s too arrogant,” Blankfein said.

So Where Does Bitcoin Go Next?

Similar to the 2014 correction, the drop in the price of bitcoin in 2018 was caused by the bubble of retail investors. The recognition of cryptocurrencies as an emerging asset class by banks, leading economies, and governments like the US, Japan, and South Korea will enable the next FOMO, fear of missing out, amongst large-scale investors and institutions.

Binance Donates $1 Million Victim Relief forJapan Floods

Binance Donates $1 Million Towards Victim Relief for West Japan Floods

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, pledged $1 million for the victims of the floods in West Japan.

In an official post, Binance stated:

On Saturday Japan has been hit with unprecedented rainfall causing floods and landslides. According to a BBC report, More than 60 people have died and about a dozen people have been missing since. PM Shinzo Abe has ordered the evacuation of two million people in the disaster-prone areas.

Binance has urged users who’d like to donate to the cause to send ETH or ERC-20 tokens to the wallet mentioned in their official post.

They stated that all outgoing transactions would only be used for charity purposes and will be explained by Binance.

Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of Binance, tweeted out calling the crypto community to contribute towards this fund. He stated that the exact logistics would be figured out shortly and his team is contacting local authorities to figure out final delivery logistics. “Given the short time, we had to keep this very simple for this time. We will build something more systematic later.” he further stated.

He also mentioned that projects which donated to the cause would get “bonus points for future listing requests” and that they might consider the donation towards the listing fees.

The Ethereum wallet mentioned has received about $90,000 worth of ETH and $1.05 Million worth of ERC-20 tokens as of writing.

Cryptocurrencies have been long used to donate for charitable causes especially due to the transparency of transactions on the public ledger. The Pineapple Fund, run by an anonymous donor, has supported over 60 charities, ranging from clean water initiatives to open source projects, by donating $55 million dollars worth of Bitcoin.

As CCJ reported earlier, Ripple has donated $29 million in XRP to DonorsChoose, a charity which helps public school teachers raise money for educational resources such as books and school supplies. Freedom of the Press Foundation, a non-profit aimed to protect journalists and whistleblowers, has recently started accepting cryptocurrencies for donations and has already recieved half a million dollars in various cryptocurrencies so far.

Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Blasts Centralized Crypto Exchanges: “I Hope They Burn in Hell”

Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Blasts Centralized Crypto Exchanges: ‘I Hope They Burn in Hell’

Co-founder of Ethereum (ETH) Vitalik Buterin criticized centralized exchanges, saying that he hopes they will “burn in hell,” in an interview with a TechCrunch journalist Jon Evans, July 6.

Buterin has reiterated his positive stance on decentralization, claiming that by developing “better” decentralized platforms, the  crypto community should be able to take away the “stupid King making power” from centralized crypto exchanges.

“I definitely personally hope centralized exchanges burn in hell as much as possible.”

The creator of Ethereum criticized centralized platforms for having the ability to decide which cryptocurrencies “become big.” According to Buterin, they do this by charging “these crazy ten to fifteen million dollar listing fees.” He then added that further decentralization would better satisfy the “blockchain values” of “openness and transparency.”

Decentralized exchanges (DEX’s), unlike centralized ones, are built in a such way as to allow users to retain ownership of their cryptocurrencies and private keys. However, DEX’s also have disadvantages – the relative lack of liquidity, compared to their centralized counterparts, being one of the examples.

In the interview, Buterin cited one example to demonstrate the advantages of the current decentralization of Ethereum: “if someone puts a gun to [his] head and tells [him] to write a hard fork patch,” he would definitely do so. However, “relatively few” users would then download and run the update, and that, according to Buterin, “is called decentralization.”

The degree of decentralization of Ethereum itself has been put in question by some experts, who cite, for example, the possibility of collusion between mining pools to manipulate the network.

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