The Daily: Atari Partners Decentralized Gaming Company, Tagomi Goes Live

The Daily: Atari Partners Decentralized Gaming Company, Tagomi Goes Live

The Daily In today’s edition of The Daily, we cover stories that show how crypto assets and technology continue to impact the development of everything, from mobile games to artificial intelligence. We also feature a new crypto trading venue that aims to bring in more investment from ultra wealthy families and institutions. Also Read: Iranian Students in the UK Use Bitcoin to Bypass Banks Blockchain-Based Atari Mobile Games Classic gaming company Atari has announced it entered into a license agreement with the exclusive distributor of Crypto Kitties in China, Animoca Brands. The deal grants Animoca the rights to develop decentralized versions of the Atari mobile games Roller Coaster Tycoon and Goon Squad, and to market them around the world excluding greater China. The titles will feature what the companies refer to as “non-fungible tokens.” “This deal marks a special moment for me because I started my career working with Atari and using Atari computers,” said Yat Siu, the co-founder and chairman of Animoca Brands. “The Roller Coaster Tycoon franchise is, like many of Atari’s properties, a true evergreen, having been around for two decades. Given the strategic and commercial elements of this incredibly fun simulation, it is a perfect candidate for blockchain adaptation.” Animoca expects to publish the games in the latter half of 2019. It will pay Atari a minimum guarantee against future revenues of $250,000, payable in shares of the company’s stock, and a revenue share will be payable to Atari after gross revenues exceed a total of $500,000. The terms of the deal extend through to March 31, 2022. “We are proud and delighted to enter into this long-term and strategic relationship with Animoca Brands, which also allows us to become a shareholder in one of the most exciting innovators in the world of decentralized gaming,” said Frédéric Chesnais, the main shareholder and CEO of Atari. “We hope that this agreement paves the way to further cooperation on other Atari products.” Bitcoin Prime Brokerage Tagomi Goes Live Tagomi, an electronic brokerage offering prime services for digital assets, has announced it began executing client trades on Monday. In addition to access to cash spot markets and OTC liquidity, the venue offers institutional operational standards, treasury management, low transaction-costs, transparency, custody solutions, and other services.…

A behind the scenes look at the biggest (and quietest) crypto transfer on record

A behind the scenes look at the biggest (and quietest) crypto transfer on record

Coinbase recently moved 5% of all BTC, 8% of all ETH and 25% of all LTC in circulation (among many other assets) in what we believe is the largest crypto migration on record. Our VP of Security is publishing the case study below to shed light on the specific ways we build security into our platform at every stage — as well as engage with the community around sharing best practices for crypto security. In the world of cryptocurrency, security must be a core value and top priority of any organization looking to serve customers over the long-term. Today, we’re sharing what we learned from our recent migration of crypto with the broader ecosystem in an effort to build trust for the entire industry. At Coinbase, our commitment to security is expressed in a number of ways, from consumer security protections to internal development practices to third-party audits and tests. Our most critical responsibility is the security of the assets that our customers entrust to us. The gold standard of cryptocurrency asset security is offline, or “cold,” asset storage. Coinbase stores 98% or more of our customer assets in our cold storage system. Coinbase’s cold storage has gone through a number of evolutions through the years as the cryptocurrency space has evolved and matured. Last week we successfully completed an on-blockchain migration of approximately $5 Billion (as valued the week ending Dec. 7, 2018) of cryptocurrency from Generation Three to Generation Four of our cold storage infrastructure. To our knowledge, this is the largest movement of cryptocurrency (certainly in USD terms, potentially in absolute terms) ever undertaken. TRULY SECURE CRYPTO THROUGH TRUE COLD STORAGE Cold storage can cover a number of storage techniques, ranging from HSMs to bunkers in the Swiss Alps. Assets placed in cold storage are completely offline and disconnected from any automated system. As with many terms in a rapidly developing industry like cryptocurrency, there is no clear standard for cold storage. Coinbase’s standard for truly cold storage is that multiple geographically separated humans in the real world should be forced to perform physical actions actions to enable a transaction after reviewing transaction details. If that isn’t true, we don’t think it’s actually cold storage. Coinbase’s cold storage has been through a number of…

CoinList Launches Hackathon Series to Spur Crypto Product Launches

CoinList Launches Hackathon Series to Spur Crypto Product Launches

Those sticking it out through crypto’s bear market have made #BUIDL into a meme. Today, CoinList announced that it’s making “CoinList Build” into a product. CoinList President Andy Bromberg told CoinDesk that these new blockchain-based companies need help getting engineers to try out their platforms. “They are realizing that developers and users are kind of a virtuous cycle,” he said. To that end, CoinList has spun up a new product that makes it easy for crypto companies to pull together online hackathons in very little time. Its first hackathon will take place next month with 0x, the peer-to-peer exchange protocol for ethereum-based tokens. CoinList is primarily known as a backend solution for running token sales. According to the company, 50 teams have used it to raise $450 million so far. Hackathons have historically been in-person events, but online contests have been proving more and more workable. “They are democratized, anyone can participate, you don’t have to travel,” Bromberg said. “It’s a chance to get a bunch of people to build on top of a platform.” Lowering the barrier to entry, Bromberg contends, fits into the larger values of the blockchain space. “So many great contributors in the crypto ecosystem have come out of nowhere,” he said. Not just geographically, but people who proved to be valuable contributors that didn’t previously have a big reputation among developers. “That’s really the community that we would love to get,” Bromberg added. This first online hackathon will run from January 10 to February 7, and sign-ups begin today. To entice developers to take part, 0x is putting up $50,000 worth of its token in prizes. CoinList isn’t disclosing how much it will earn for running these events for teams, and Bromberg said that aspect is still under discussion. As a principle, he said, expect to see more money going to event participants than to his company. Following 0x’s event, the company plans to work with more crypto-industry companies to run similar events. It can all come together very quickly when the need to manage a specific location can be removed from the set of logistical roadblocks, explained Bromberg. “We think every single team in the space should be running one of these to start getting developers on board,” he said. The…

French Parliament Refuses to Ease Taxation for Cryptocurrency Owners

French Parliament Refuses to Ease Taxation for Cryptocurrency Owners

The lower house of the French parliament has rejected the amendments to the 2019 finance bill which would ease crypto-related taxation. French monthly business magazine Capital reported this Tuesday, Dec. 18. The amendments that have been declined by the National Assembly referred to a draft of the government finance bill for 2019. As explained by local crypto news outlet Bitcoin.fr, the Parliament rejected four proposals in total. One of them was to introduce a distinction between regular crypto transactions and occasional ones, offering a more relaxed taxation system for the latter. Another amendment proposed to increase the annual volume of transactions that falls under tax exemption from €305 (around $350) to €3,000 ($3,430), or even €5,000 ($5,714). The National Assembly also declined the proposal to follow the current guidelines for securities when introducing crypto taxation As Cointelegraph reported in November, a reduction of the crypto income tax rate from 36.2 to 30 percent was also proposed; this amendment was mentioned during the Assembly’s meeting, but its current status remains unclear. The head of a French blockchain association Chaintech, Alexandre Stachtchenko, told Capital that the government’s move did not provide any legal certainty for the country’s crypto traders and investors. Moreover, he believes that under the current legislation many of them will prefer not to report their crypto incomes. In June 2017, France’s president Emmanuel Macron said he would like France to become a “startup nation.” The country’s Minister for the Economy and Finance, Bruno le Maire, echoed Macron’s point of view, claiming that the country was ready for a “blockchain revolution.” In December, French political deputies offered to spend €500 million (about $569 million) on state-level blockchain deployment over the next three years in order to comply with the course plotted by le Maire. However, France’s overall attitude towards cryptocurrencies remains ambiguous. The country’s central bank  has recently refused to endorse a plan that would allow thousands of tobacco kiosks to sell Bitcoin (BTC) starting in January 2019.

Coinbase Just Moved $5 Billion in Crypto to Prepare for Token Expansion

Coinbase Just Moved $5 Billion in Crypto to Prepare for Token Expansion

Coinbase is moving to significantly expand the number of digital assets listed on its platform – a process that has led to a radical rethinking of how the startup safeguards billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies. To this end, Coinbase moved retail traders’ crypto assets – worth some $5 billion – into its upgraded storage model last week. According to the company, that migration included 5 percent of all bitcoin, 8 percent of all ethereum, and 25 percent of all the litecoin in circulation, respectively. Phillip Martin, Coinbase’s head of security, told CoinDesk that the migration process took roughly four months to plan. “This was a fundamentally new architecture from the ground up,” he said, explaining: “Regulators and auditors were involved at every stage… One of the biggest things we were worried about is that we don’t move the market with this event, which is why we went to such lengths to coordinate with regulators and manage media speculation around the movements.” It all began with a new key generation process in October, through which the Coinbase team goes to a secure location with new computers and prints out keys that are then split up using formats that include scannable QR codes. “We take the private key and apply a cryptographic technique called Shamir’s Secret Sharing, which is an algorithm that’s used to take a piece of private data and split it into a bunch of chunks you can divide,” Martin said. “There’s a threshold splitting system because you can define a threshold by less than the total number of pieces that are sufficient to reconstruct the original.” The binders full of billions of dollars worth of keys are then divided among various secure locations, requiring multiple Coinbase employees to work together over the phone in order to unlock the cryptocurrency. While many other bitcoin custodians prefer to rely on multi-signature wallets – rather than a single key divided into parts – Coinbase devised this strategy to accommodate assets that don’t yet work with multisig wallets. Expansion ahead Coinbase may have applied this process to the highest volume of assets to date, but the institutional custodian BitGo has also used key sharding in custody solutions for diverse tokens. BitGo CEO Mike Belshe told CoinDesk his…

ASX Reaffirms 2021 Blockchain Rollout Date After Blythe Masters Steps Down

ASX Reaffirms 2021 Blockchain Rollout Date After Blythe Masters Steps Down

The departure of Digital Asset Holdings CEO Blythe Masters isn’t slowing down the Australian Securities Exchange’s (ASX) plans to roll out a distributed ledger-based settlement system, according to the firm. Peter Hiom, deputy CEO of the ASX, told CoinDesk through a spokesperson that Masters’ departure would not impact its plans to roll out a distributed ledger technology-based clearing and settlement system to replace the incumbent CHESS platform. DA announced Tuesday that Masters, who helmed the company since she began working there in 2015, would be stepping down for personal reasons. She will be temporarily replaced by DA board of directors member and now-chairman AG Gangadhar while the firm looks for a new permanent chief executive. “ASX remains absolutely committed to DLT and our partnership with Digital Asset (DA) – our CHESS replacement program is on track and moving ahead at pace,” Hiom said, adding: “We are working closely with DA at all levels on development, implementation and customer readiness for the replacement system, and we look forward to continuing this work with AG Gangadhar and the DA team.” Masters’ work with DA has helped advance DLT efforts, he added, saying that she “is a good friend of ASX.” While ASX initially planned to roll out its new system by 2020, Hiom said Wednesday that the exchange “remains on track to bring DLT to market by early 2021.” As such, ASX continues to believe that DLT can both “drive efficiency and stimulate innovation,” Hiom said. “We thank [Masters] and wish her the very best,” he added. Australian Securities Exchange building image via Shutterstock

TrustToken Says It Passed 3 Security Audits With No Bugs Found

TrustToken Says It Passed 3 Security Audits With No Bugs Found

Crypto startup TrustToken announced Wednesday that its smart contract has passed three independent security audits conducted by Certik, SlowMist and Zeppelin, with no vulnerabilities found. Moreover, its TrueUSD stablecoin has now exceeded $1.1 billion in monthly trading volume, with a $200 million market cap, according to the firm’s data. As part of its efforts to maintain the stablecoin’s security, TrustToken is now storing the U.S. dollars backing the token in multiple third-party trust companies. Each trust company is regulated through the State of Nevada Financial Institutions Division. The firm now intends to work with trust companies regulated by the Delaware Office of the State Bank Commissioner and the Ohio Department of Commerce as well. As a result, it said, TrueUSD redemption will not be compromised by a single point of failure should any single institution have issues. TrustToken CEO and co-founder Danny An explained that the company will continue to focus on regulatory compliance and transparency, adding: “Over the past year, we have invested heavily in building asset tokenization technology that is not only critical for the cryptocurrency industry, but also equalizes the ability to trade worldwide, and gives people true control over their assets.” Separately, the company announced it has appointed former DoorDash engineer Hendra Tjahayadi as its director of engineering. Tjahayadi has previously worked with Lyft, Dropcam and Google, and will work on TrustToken’s infrastructure security and scalability, according to the company. Green light image via Shutterstock

Qtum Awards $400K Grant to Columbia University Research Team for Smart Contracts R&D

Qtum Awards $400K Grant to Columbia University Research Team for Smart Contracts R&D

Open source blockchain project Qtum has awarded a $400,000 grant to academics at Columbia University to fund the development of a new programming language for Ethereum (ETH)-style smart contracts. The news was announced in an email shared with Cointelegraph Dec. 19. The research and development (R&D) grant will go to a team of two PhD and postdoctoral students, headed by assistant professor at Columbia’s computer science faculty, Ronghui Gu. The R&D will reportedly focus on the design and implementation of a new language named “DeepSEA” and its integration with Ethereum-style smart contracts. An earlier outline of DeepSEA states that the language can “tackle [an] inherent conflict” in programming, namely that: “[T]oday’s mainstream operating systems and hypervisors are still written in C-like low-level languages. There seems to be an inherent conflict between high-level formal reasoning and low-level systems programming: the former relies on a rich theory at a high abstraction level while the latter must manipulate and manage low-level effects and hardware resources.” The researchers’ aims are to continue to both design and implement the language, and to develop a DeepSEA “toolchain,” which could subsequently be applied to “build certified OS kernels and Ethereum-style smart contracts.” This, the researchers and their sponsor contend, can help solve many of the issues with key components in critical infrastructure for smart contracts, thereby making them more “reliable, dependable, and ultimately – adoptable.” According to his faculty profile, Professor Gu’s work beyond Columbia includes the co-founding of blockchain startup “CertiK,” which the Qtum Foundation has reportedly invested in. An overview of CertiK states the project is a “formal verification framework that aims to mathematically prove that smart contracts and blockchain ecosystems are bug-free and hacker-resistant.” As previously reported, the Singapore-registered Qtum Foundation developed Qtum as an open source hybrid blockchain application platform, with a particular focus on smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps). Its core technology combines a fork of Bitcoin (BTC) core and an Account Abstraction Layer that allows for multiple Virtual Machines, including the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), and Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus. This fall, Columbia University— together with IBM — announced two blockchain accelerator programs that aim to help startups in the space innovate at scale. Both programs form part of the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data…

Iranians Still Profiting From Bitcoin Mining Despite Market Crash and US Sanctions

Iranians Still Profiting From Bitcoin Mining Despite Market Crash and US Sanctions

Iranians are turning to Bitcoin (BTC) mining due to economic difficulties caused by sanctions by the United States, International affairs think tank Atlantic Council reported Dec. 17. Despite the recent crash in crypto markets and fluctuations in the national rial currency caused by recently reinforced U.S. sanctions, Iranian people are still reportedly managing to gain profits from mining Bitcoin. As reported by Atlantic Council, 26-year-old Iranian Ali Hosseini and his cousin Pedram Ghasemi bought a Bitcoin mining device Antminer S9 two months ago for $526, when the top cryptocurrency was trading around $6,500. Despite the U.S. dollar reportedly soaring to an all-time high of 190,000 against the rial at that time, as well as Bitcoin steadily declining over the past two months, the brothers claimed that they are “not seeing losses yet” due to “relatively low” prices for electricity. Iran ranks number one globally in energy subsidies, the value of which constitutes 10.4 percent of the country’s annual GDP. Subsidies increased this year along with oil prices, previous to the crash in crude markets in early October. The price of natural gas, Iran’s main fuel for electricity generation, generally lags behind oil by a few months in international markets. Moreover, the brothers suggested that the “US dollar must drop below 110,000 rials and Bitcoin must be down to $2,000 for [them] to really lose.” Instead of considering shutting down crypto mining and selling their mining hardware, as some businesses have, Hosseini said that they are even planning to purchase more mining devices, predicting that crypto will inevitably replace fiat money. While crypto mining was legally accepted as an industry by a number of Iranian state authorities in early September, trading cryptocurrencies is still not legal in the country, as the central bank of Iran banned domestic banks from dealing crypto earlier in 2018. Some Iranian students in the United Kingdom are using crypto to avoid U.S. sanctions, according to a recent report by The Guardian. Due to the current currency restrictions, some students say that they cannot get money from home in order to pay tuition and as a result, risk being suspended from courses or barred from graduating. As an attempt to support economic stability in the country, the Iranian government has been considering…

Coinbase Has Dropped Its Bid to Trademark ‘BUIDL’

Coinbase Has Dropped Its Bid to Trademark ‘BUIDL’

Coinbase is no longer seeking to trademark the term “BUIDL” following a critical response on social media. As confirmed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the exchange moved to abandon its trademark application for the cheeky cryptocurrency misspelling on Dec. 14. The expedited request was approved on Dec. 17. The move comes after Coinbase’s CTO, Balaji Srinivasan, issued a mea culpa of sorts following coverage of the Oct. 2 trademark application earlier this month. Saw the commotion on Twitter & dug into this. Coinbase filed the trademark for BUIDL some time back. I learned about it today & chatted with team. TLDR is that @brian_armstrong & I don’t believe in trademarks for stuff like this so we’ll be giving this one back to the community. — Balaji S. Srinivasan (@balajis) December 6, 2018 BUIDL – in contrast to the more popular HODL – has come to suggest that building out real-world use cases is just as valuable as the hoarding of crypto assets. CoinDesk first noted the term following a talk by Srinivasan in April 2015, when he was chairman of 21 Inc (which later rebranded as Earn.com). Coinbase declined to comment further. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office image via Shutterstock