Overstock’s Medici Ventures Invests in Wine-Tracking Blockchain Startup

Overstock’s Medici Ventures Invests in Wine-Tracking Blockchain Startup

Medici Ventures, the blockchain accelerator and subsidiary of Overstock.com, has made a seven-figure investment in blockchain startup VinX. Israel-based VinX is developing a supply chain platform for trading wine futures, which allow connoisseurs and collectors to purchase a vintage while it’s still in the barrel, a year or two before it’s bottled and released on the market. By registering these futures as tokens on a blockchain, the startup believes it will be possible to follow the wine to its origin and cut out the fakes that plague the industry. While the exact sum of the investment is not being made public, Medici Ventures president Jonathan Johnson told CoinDesk that his firm acquired 20 percent of VinX. Johnson said that Medici was attracted to the startup’s blockchain use case, explaining: “There are a lot of middlemen in the wine industry that can be eliminated with blockchain, there is a lot of problems with counterfeits. We also think this technology is democratizing the purchase of wine.” Indeed, with a $302 billion global wine market and up to $3 billion paid by customers for counterfeited products, VinX is aiming for big game. It’s not the only firm making a move to put wine on a blockchain, however. Chainvine, a Swedish startup with a similar vision, raised $3 million this summer, and Everledger, known for tracking the provenance of diamonds, claimed two years ago to have registered the first-ever bottle of wine on a shared ledger. Direct-to-consumer VinX was founded by Jacob Ner-David, a co-founder and chairman of Jezreel Valley Winery in Israel. He also has experience working at tech startups. In a statement, Ner-David framed his company’s mission as aligned with that of Overstock, the e-commerce giant founded in 1997 by Patrick Byrne, who later became a prominent evangelist for bitcoin and blockchain technology in general. By “bringing consumers in direct contact with producers early in the wine-making cycle,” Ner-David said, “we are riding the wave of direct-to-consumer, which Overstock has been a leader of for almost 20 years.” Medici has previously invested in a number of blockchain businesses, including Voatz, Ripio, Symbiont, Bitsy, Bitt, Factom and others. Vintage wine image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest…

Venezuela’s Petro Copied Dash, Claims Ethereum Developer

Venezuela’s Petro Copied Dash, Claims Ethereum Developer

News An Ethereum developer is claiming the state-backed petro (PTR) cryptocurrency, a plaything to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, has taken substantial amounts of its newly published whitepaper from Dash (DASH). Indeed, at least at first glance, it does appear there are close similarities between the altcoin and the world’s first national cryptocurrency.    Also read: Bitcoin Cash Speaker Series II Brings Leading Bitcoiners Together Venezuela’s Newly Published Whitepaper Appears to Have a Great Deal in Common with Dash Readers familiar with altcoin dash will recognize its salient features: instant send, masternodes, consensus combination, an X11 mining algorithm, and so on. That these elements have found their way into the recently published Petro whitepaper caught the attention of at least one keen reader, Ethereum developer Joey Zhou. Joey Zhou The coincidences appeared to be so strong in his reading and subsequent comparison that Zhou took to Twitter, announcing “Lol Venezuela’s new Petro token is a blatant dash clone (at least the whitepaper, page 11).” He then linked to a graph that’s prominent in both the whitepaper (page 13 in the PDF) and the Dash Github. Under the heading “Technical Description” (Section 11.6, “Staking o Tenecia”), the petro whitepaper seems to propose a consensus algorithm combination of Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS), which is similar to that of dash. Petro begins by allocating 85% of its rewards to “Nodos Maestros,” or masternodes, with the remainder left to users. But to be fair, Dash’s breakdowns are not nearly as skewed.   The offending image found by Mr. Zhou. Compare it to dash’s Github svg. Masternodes, Instant Send, X11 Mining =Highest Form of Flattery? Sunacrip, the self-proclaimed autonomous entity that oversees all of Venezuela’s cryptoasset-related matters, features prominently in the Petro whitepaper. Though Petro supposedly has masternodes, a key part of dash governance, Sunacrip is given a lot of relative power. For example, it is allowed to change the consensus for the network’s “convenience.” Yet the whitepaper claims masternodes will “make decisions in the network and support transactions carried out by themselves.” Whether it’s straight plagiarism or a friendly open-source lifting might depend on who is judging the whitepaper. However, if petro were to be so “blatant,” as Mr. Zhou claimed, dash would be a logical choice. Venezuela has a…

Crypto Markets See Modest Growth Across the Board

Crypto Markets See Modest Growth Across the Board

Thursday, Oct. 4: cryptocurrencies are today posting modest gains market-wide. All of the top twenty coins by market cap are tipping into green, as data from Coin360 shows. Market visualization by Coin360 Bitcoin (BTC) is up by 1.2 percent on the day, trading around $6,573 as of press time. Following a bullish high of $6,783 at the start of its weekly chart, the top coin saw two subsequent price corrections (Sept. 29 and Oct. 3), yesterday briefly dipping below the $6,500 threshold. On its weekly chart, Bitcoin is now 1.5 percent in the red. Monthly losses are pushing a stark 10.6 percent. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index Ethereum (ETH) is seeing fractionally more growth, up 2.3 percent on the day to trade at $223 at press time. After a steep price hit Sept. 29 to trade as low as $215, the leading altcoin recovered to push above $235 Sept. 30, before a period of depressed price performance in the days through Oct. 3. Ethereum’s market cap is around $22.87 billion, sustaining a slight margin ahead of Ripple (XRP), which today has a market cap of $21.3 billion. On the week, Ethereum’s losses are now at 2.25 percent; on the month, the altcoin is down around 21.5 percent. Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index Ripple (XRP) is up 1.3 percent to trade at $0.53. Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported that the Ripple-powered consumer payments app “MoneyTap” went live for Japanese users Oct. 3. The new product has been developed together with SBI Holdings, and is initially available for account holders at three major Japanese banks. Ripple saw unprecedented growth in September, when it briefly outflanked Ethereum to claim the second spot ranking on CoinMarketCap listings. Today, however, Ripple’s weekly chart is almost one percent in the red. On the month, Ripple remains up an impressive 62.6 percent. Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ripple Price Index The remaining top ten coins listed on CoinMarketCap are all in the green, capped within a 2.5 percent range. EOS (EOS) is up 1.8 percent to trade at $5.69, while Litecoin (LTC) is up 1.3 percent at $58.53. Other top ten coins are all seeing growth of under one percent. In the context of…

Bitcoin Won’t Break $9,000 This Year, Galaxy Digital’s Novogratz Says

Bitcoin Won’t Break $9,000 This Year, Galaxy Digital’s Novogratz Says

Mike Novogratz, CEO of crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital Capital Management, has again corrected his Bitcoin (BTC) price forecast. The billionaire investor said he doesn’t expect BTC to break the $9,000 barrier in 2018, CNBC confirmed Wednesday, October 3. Novogratz, a former Wall Street manager, took part in Economist Finance Disrupted conference in New York on Oct. 2. “I don’t think it breaks $9,000 this year,” he has said from the stage. Novogratz also linked the currently declining prices to the actions of companies in the industry who are selling crypto “just to fund the burn rate of the industry.” He stressed that these companies are not earning “anywhere near” the revenues from last year’s “crypto boom,” which means that they are barely managing to cover salaries and operational costs. Back in Nov. 2018, when cryptocurrency prices skyrocketed, Novogratz predicted that Bitcoin could climb as high as $45,000 within 12 months. In summer 2018, Novogratz slightly changed his mind, stating that mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology was still five to six years away. Despite that, he still expressed confidence that many institutions will come into the industry “in the next two to three years.” In mid-September he opined that crypto prices have hit the bottom. Later that month he reiterated this point of view, saying that crypto markets are experiencing “seller fatigue.” However, he noted that Bitcoin’s price was still quite stable, potentially attracting investor attention. Bitcoin has dropped almost 54 percent this year alone, while other currencies such as Ethereum and Ripple have lost even more. At press time BTC is trading at $6,524.

Numerai Opens Crypto-Powered Stock Betting Market to the Public

Numerai Opens Crypto-Powered Stock Betting Market to the Public

Hedge fund Numerai has taken another step in decentralizing its crypto-based data gathering and stock price prediction platform with the public launch of its Erasure marketplace. Announced Thursday, the platform – which lets data scientists earn or lose tokens by staking them on stock market price predictions – is now looking to attract hedge funds worldwide by allowing any firm to buy a prediction. Built on the ethereum blockchain, the Erasure protocol  works by allowing members to essentially bet on their predictions. A user can stake a number of the company’s “numeraire” tokens on a specific outcome. If the prediction comes true, the user wins the staked tokens. However, if they are proven false, they lose them. The company has essentially been using its Erasure protocol since June 2017, when it distributed its tokens to data scientists, said founder Richard Craib. “We can look at the performance and metrics and other measures and show that the models that get staked perform far better than the models that don’t get staked because people who stake have some skin in the game,” he explained. Now, by allowing public access, data scientists can sell their predictions to other hedge funds by providing proof that their predictions are accurate using historical data on the Erasure marketplace. John O’Brien, a spokesperson for the company, explained that “today a data scientist can take Numerai’s data, build a model, and Numerai will pay for valuable models and good work.” He continued on to say: “[Now], it’s not just Numerai but every financial institution in the world, every hedge fund in the world … can look at this and say ‘all these people are submitting predictions.’ So if someone says, ‘Hey, Apple has an event today, their stock is going to be $250 by the end of the month … and I’m going to stake that, so if I’m wrong, I lose money.'” This helps data scientists build their reputations. While, previously, a hedge fund might have to take a scientist’s word on trust alone, users can now point to immutable data to indicate that they have been correct in their predictions a given percent of the time. And, as Craib pointed out, if a data scientist does sell a prediction which winds…

Bitcoin Price Must Clear $6,800 for Range Breakout

Bitcoin Price Must Clear $6,800 for Range Breakout

Bitcoin continues to trade in a narrow range for the 13th straight day and a move above $6,800 is needed to confirm a bullish breakout, according to technical chart. At press time, the leading cryptocurrency is trading at $6,600, representing a 1.65 percent gain on the day. BTC has been restricted to a narrow range of $6,800 to $6,500 since Sept. 22 and this lack of clear directional bias has pushed the volatility reading to a 21-month low. The daily volatility as represented by the Bollinger bandwidth – a technical analysis tool derived by dividing the gap between the Bollinger bands by price’s moving average – has dropped to 0.078, its lowest level since December 2016. A prolonged period of low volatility often paves way for a big move in either direction. So, it seems safe to say that BTC could soon witness a bullish or bearish breakout and the direction of the big move could be gauged with the help of the Bollinger bands. Daily chart As can be seen, the Bollinger bands (standard deviation of +2, -2 on the 20-day moving average) are moving in a sideways manner, indicating there is no clear trend in the bitcoin market. Meanwhile, Bollinger bandwidth dropped to levels last seen in December 2016. If BTC finds acceptance above the upper Bollinger band of $6,800, then investors could conclude that an extended period of low volatility has ended with a bullish breakout. On the other hand, a move below the lower Bollinger band of $6,290 would imply the consolidation has ended with a downside break. The prospects of a downside break appear high as the cryptocurrency is again struggling to clear the 50-day exponential moving average (MA), currently located at $6,640. View The immediate outlook remains neutral as long as BTC is trapped between the Bollinger bands. A UTC close above the upper Bollinger band of $6,800 would confirm a bullish breakout and would open up upside towards the September high of $7,429. A break below the lower Bollinger band of $6,290 would shift risk in favor of a re-test of the June low of $5,755. Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing. Bitcoin image via Shutterstock; Charts by Trading View Join 10,000+ traders who come to us…

Multicoin Leads $10 Million SAFT Sale for Ethereum Scaling Startup Skale

Multicoin Leads $10 Million SAFT Sale for Ethereum Scaling Startup Skale

Blockchain startup Skale Labs raised nearly $10 million in an effort to develop a blockchain scalability infrastructure for ethereum, the company announced Thursday. The startup says in a press statement that it raised $8.86 million in a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) sale led by Multicoin Capital, on top of $785,000 raised earlier this year. Galaxy Digital, Aspect Ventures, Blockchange Ventures, Boost.VC, Canaan Venture Partners, Floodgate Fund, Hack.VC, Neo Global Capital and Signia Venture Partners also participated in the sale. The company intends to launch an open-source permissionless blockchain targeted toward providing ethereum-based decentralized application (dapp) developers a new base platform to build upon. In particular, Skale intends to launch the first implementation of the Ethereum Virtual Machine on a Plasma chain – a move it says would help dapp developers by giving them a layer-2 platform on which to execute smart contracts. Using Skale’s network will enable dapps to conduct “millions of transactions per second at a fraction of the cost of what’s possible today,” the release claims. Jack O’Holleran, co-founder and CEO of Skale Labs, said in a statement that “helping Ethereum dapp developers scale applications is the center of what we do.” He added: “We are sharply focused on making Layer 2 easy, fast, secure and cost-effective for anyone who wants to run smart contracts on Ethereum … We are looking forward to bringing this network to market in a fully open-source, [peer-to-peer] manner.” The startup plans to set its testnet live by the end of 2018 and activate its mainnet in the upcoming year. A foundation will also be launched to support the network, similar to the Ethereum Foundation and its work supporting the Ethereum mainnet, the firm says. “Skale is uniquely positioned to dominate Layer 2 on Ethereum,” said Multicoin Capital managing partner Kyle Samani, adding that it is “Ethereum’s best shot at fending off competition from other smart contract platforms.” Blocks image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

SBI Ripple Asia’s MoneyTap App Has Launched in Japan

SBI Ripple Asia’s MoneyTap App Has Launched in Japan

MoneyTap, a consumer-focused blockchain money transfer app built by SBI Holdings and Ripple, has now gone live. Announced by Ripple in a tweet Thursday, the remittance app is the product of SBI Ripple Asia and several participating banks. A new website for the product has also been launched indicating that the app is able to make bank-to-bank money transfers in “real time” using Ripple’s xCurrent payments product. Available for both iOS and Android devices, the product allows users to send funds to others using just their telephone numbers or a QR code, and utilizes devices biometric log-in features, such as fingerprint scanning, for security. Currently, the service is only able to remit between accounts held at the three participating Japanese banks – SBI Sumishin Net Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank. Payments are being offered at no charge and can be sent in Japanese yen or foreign currencies, says the website. SBI Ripple Asia announced in late September that it had completed registration with Japan’s Ministry of Finance as a licensed agent for handling electronic payments – the final hurdle before launching the app. In the Asian nation, any entity wanting to handle electronic payments using banking APIs must now be registered with local finance bureaus – a rule that came into effect from June 1. Ripple’s xCurrent network is built on distributed ledger technology and has recently seen increasing adoption by banks seeking to stay competitive as rival payments offerings proliferate. Banking giant Santander also launched a payments app using xCurrent back in April. While based on blockchain, xCurrent does not by default utilize the Ripple-linked crypto token XRP. However, at the U.S. firm’s Swell event over the last few days, it was revealed that several payments firms are now commercially using Ripple’s third payments solution, xRapid, which does use the open-source token. MoneyTap image courtesy of SBI Ripple Asia The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Wall Street Journal Creates, Then Destroys Own Cryptocurrency

Wall Street Journal Creates, Then Destroys Own Cryptocurrency

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) created and then destroyed its own cryptocurrency in a bid to “understand” the industry, the publication revealed in a mini documentary Wednesday, October 3. WSJ Coin, which journalist Steven Russolillo hoped would shed light on the emerging crypto economy while providing real use cases for the journalism industry, made it to the grand total of two issued units. A mound of around 150 physical WSJ Coins was further distributed to the audience of a panel discussing the concept at the publication’s D.Live annual technology conference in Hong Kong. Speaking on the panel were remittance service BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello and former Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas, who both saw considerable potential in a journalism-based crypto asset. “If you lower the cost of moving money around, the entire economy changes … ‘How do I pay for a news article online?’ changes,” Thomas said by way of example. Russolillo teamed up with Japanese developer Makuto Takemiya to use Hyperledger’s Iroha blockchain as the basis for WSJ Coin. The two fixed a supply of 8.4 billion units, which they arrived at by averaging the supply of the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap. Two coins made it to a local bar to pay for two beers. When Russolillo pitched a full issuance to investors, however, it was the WSJ’s own ethics head who shut the scheme down. Neil Lipschitz, editor for ethics and standards, said WSJ Coin raised what Russolillo says are “ethical questions.” “We’re not in the business of getting into the cryptocurrency world; we’re here to report it and to explain it, just like we report on banks but we don’t go out and start a bank,” he said, adding: “We’re not going to create a currency.” At the end of August, the Associated Press signed a content licensing partnership with blockchain-based startup Civil to explore ways to secure intellectual property rights, support ethical journalism, and track content usage with blockchain technology.

The Daily: Wall Street-Backed Crypto Futures, Market Manipulation as a Service

The Daily: Wall Street-Backed Crypto Futures, Market Manipulation as a Service

The Daily Cryptocurrency attracts a diverse crowd, from speculators to scammers, and from financiers to gamblers. These groups, and their often opposing aims, are what make the cryptoconomy such a strange yet compelling place. In today’s edition of The Daily, for instance, we’ve got stories pertaining to a Wall Street-funded futures exchange, another US platform ending its margin trading, a company that will trade your token to simulate demand for it, and an obligatory new stablecoin. Also read: Six of the Best Cryptocurrency Calendars Wall Street-Backed Crypto Exchange Erisx Announced Nebraska-based brokerage firm TD Ameritrade is making a move into the cryptocurrency exchange game with a little help from its Wall Street friends. The brokerage big shot revealed Erisx on Wednesday, the name for the platform being spearheaded by trading veteran Thomas Chippas. Regulatory approval is being sought to list bitcoin core, bitcoin cash, ether, and litecoin futures. Chippas left his job at Citigroup to head up the project, a trend that’s been observed repeatedly in the cryptocurrency space, with traditional financiers being lured into the realm of crypto by the promise of a fresh challenge and potentially big payday. Having closed a fundraising round backed by DRW and Virtu Financial, in addition to TD Ameritrade, the venture has attracted attention, fueled by its intention to position itself as a direct rival to Bakkt, the forthcoming cryptocurrency platform from the NYSE’s parent company. Erisx will begin by offering spot trading for cryptocurrencies before venturing into derivatives, all going well. It should be noted, however, that the “new” exchange is in fact a revamp of Eris Exchange, a derivatives platform that has failed to achieve anything of note in its eight years of operation. Circle Drops Margin Trading While one US exchange is dreaming of derivatives, another is shunning them. The Circle-backed Poloniex exchange has revealed that it is removing margin and lending products for its US customers. “These changes are part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that Poloniex complies with regulatory requirements in every jurisdiction,” explained Circle. In the same announcement, it was revealed that three assets will be delisted from Poloniex on October 10: AMP, EXP, and, perhaps surprisingly, gnosis (GNO). Market Making as a Service “What is the biggest trouble for every ICO?”…