World’s First Blockchain Insurance Marketplace To Launch Ambitious ICO

World’s First Blockchain Insurance Marketplace To Launch Ambitious ICO

  

The world’s first Blockchain-based insurance marketplace,

InsureX, is set to launch an ICO in July 2017 in a bid to raise at least 2200 ETH. The first in a large number of token sales set to launch in the next few weeks, London-headquartered InsureX intends to use the funds to create a trading platform specifically for insurance products.

“Blockchain technology presents an exciting opportunity to disrupt the insurance industry,” CEO Ingemar Svensson said in a press release Thursday. Citing Allianz insurance data, he continued: “Preliminary estimates are that gross written premiums generated by insurers contribute 3.5 trillion or 5.7 percent of the global GDP – that is a massive opportunity.”

In addition to finding products themselves, InsureX will offer a secure exchange of confidential documents and other data on the platform, which operates in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) format. The insurance industry is already slated for change, thanks to Blockchain solutions with products such as IBM Blockchain built on a hyperledger seeking to streamline common processes.

“Currently, insurance is traded and processed in traditional ways, often manually and with layers of intermediaries,” Svensson continues. “As part of the typical insurance deal, a large amount of documents and data have to be exchanged, which in a manual system introduces cost, delays and errors to the process.” The ICO will go live on July 11, with IXT tokens initially sold at an ambitious rate of 1.125 IXT per ETH, increasing to 1.757 per ETH as the sale continues through until July 31.

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U.S Judge Upholds Vote To Confiscate Family’s $80mln Gold Coins

U.S Judge Upholds Vote To Confiscate Family’s $80mln Gold Coins

 

The family who found ten gold coins allegedly worth $80 mln

has again lost the battle to stop the US government confiscating them. Acc Mag reported on Wednesday June 14 that Judge Legrome Davis of the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania upheld the position of the state: the coins originally belonged to the state, therefore the discoverers would not be offered compensation.

The story is a timely reminder about the lack of control over state-issued means of exchange in an age where decentralized assets are flourishing. Ten 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle coins were found by the Langbord family, descendants of a U.S cashier, locked in a safety deposit box. Originally coined by the Philadelphia Mint, most were destroyed when the US abandoned the gold standard. However, the few that have slipped through the net have fetched huge sums; in 2002 an identical coin went for $7.5 million at auction.

Nevertheless, when the cache was handed over to the Mint for verification, lawmakers said that they were originally illegally removed from circulation and therefore still belonged to the state. The Langbords have appealed the original decision from 2011 several times without success, yet will continue to challenge the ruling after their latest setback. Cryptocurrency’s rise has seen attempts to increase state control of its value in recent months. The European Union, for example, is attempting to pass legislation obliging wallet holders of Bitcoin and other assets to link these to their real identity.

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Bitsquare: Our Support For UASF Requires Trading Halt

Bitsquare:
Our Support For UASF
Requires Trading Halt

    

P2P marketplace Bitsquare has confirmed support

of a user-activated soft fork (UASF) and signalled its opposition to Bitmain. In a blog post on Wednesday, Bitsquare reiterated its desire for SegWit activation while condemning Bitmain’s user-activated hard fork (UAHF) proposal. “This announcement of Bitmain is great news for Bitcoin, as it removes a lot of uncertainty and gives a lot of support for the UASF side,” founder Manfred Karrer said.

Karrer announced that as part of the process of supporting UASF, Bitsquare would “halt trading” until the issue of a hard fork was resolved. “We can expect that Bitmain will use its hash power to attack the UASF chain if they feel the need for that. This might lead to all kind of unpleasant situations like long confirmation times, an unclear amount of confirmations to be considered safe, very volatile tx fees and more,” stated Karrer. He continued, “For an exchange that means undefined and uncontrollable risks … there would likely be a huge effort for support and arbitration which would kick us back with our road map. For all those reasons, we need to halt trading on Bitsquare.”

In what he labelled as an ‘exit strategy’ for users, Karrer added that support for alternative base currencies for Bitsquare – Dogecoin and Litecoin, perhaps with Dash and others to follow – would appear ‘with the next release’ of the project. Despite the problems facing the community due to the escalating debate, Bitsquare nonetheless saw new weekly trading highs in several markets, according to data from Coin Dance.

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Litecoin’s Charlie Lee Quits Coinbase, Receives $12,000 Donation

Litecoin’s Charlie Lee Quits Coinbase, Receives $12,000 Donation

    

A $12,000 donation has accompanied Litecoin creator Charlie Lee leaving Coinbase

to work on his creation full-time. After Lee announced he was stepping down from Coinbase duties to dedicate himself to Litecoin development, his Litecoin Foundation received a donation of 438 LTC – around $12,000 at Tuesday’s rates. The donor, known by his handle JoeyBTC, made himself known following a Twitter request. Litecoin proceeded to come down from circling $35 per coin as Bitcoin itself slumped, with Lee’s optimistic announcement having little effect on investor opinion.

The move is the first major event for the Litecoin community since SegWit activation caused a giant price rise in May. While a long time ago in terms of 2017’s cryptocurrency price action, Litecoin just six weeks ago was the star of altcoin markets, regularly outperforming other top 10 assets and bucking downward trends. Responses to Lee on Twitter were therefore keen to forecast a new surge upwards in a market currently dominated by Ethereum (ETH). Last week, Trezor became the first Litecoin hardware wallet to support SegWit.

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Network Costs Bite As LocalBitcoins Introduces Deposit Fees

Network Costs Bite As LocalBitcoins Introduces Deposit Fees

    

LocalBitcoins has announced it is introducing Bitcoin deposit fees

from June 21 due to rising Bitcoin network fees. In an email to users on Tuesday, the P2P marketplace explained that the Blockchain space required to manage deposits outweighed withdrawals and that fees, therefore, needed to be levied on the process. “In the Bitcoin network managing deposits uses up a lot of blockchain space while handling a withdrawal uses up much less space.

This means that a large part of the old Bitcoin transaction fee was for covering costs related to deposits,” the email reads. “By introducing deposit fees customers who make many small deposits will pay a larger share of the overall transaction costs and customers who send out transactions will enjoy lower fees.” LocalBitcoins is only the latest Bitcoin business to introduce increased rates as a result of network usage costs.

While withdrawal fees are decreasing, a similar move this week from exchange Kraken came as a result of user backlash over its previously proposed fixed-rate Bitcoin withdrawal fee of 0.025 BTC ($6.20). LocalBitcoins’ new fee schedule will be dynamic, equal to “about 3x the amount of sending fees” – the reduced withdrawal fees. “LocalBitcoins is committed to improving the situation,” the platform continued on the topic of future developments. “We'll invest resources towards developing various offchain technologies, transaction batching and other tools to make using Bitcoin cheaper for our customers.”

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Bitcoin Volatility Reaches Fee Estimates As Prices Stay High

Bitcoin Volatility Reaches Fee Estimates As Prices Stay High

    

Volatility is not just affecting Bitcoin’s price itself;

it is also hitting Bitcoin fee estimates as transactions continue to be slow and expensive. Data added to Twitter by BitGo engineer Jameson Lopp shows a giant increase in spreads of BitGo’s estimated most appropriate fee level for a Bitcoin transaction since the end of May. The action contrasts markedly with previous data, which on a graph produces almost entirely flat lines.

Volatility appears to have increased in step with transaction fees themselves. According to 21.co’s fees calculator, the “fastest and cheapest” option on Tuesday is 390 satoshis per byte, down from the previous levels of 450, which also coincides with slightly reduced estimation volatility.

Not all were convinced of the interest of the data, however, one respondent to Lopp describing the findings as “rather boring” when the number of stuck transactions is taken into account. On that topic, the size of the Bitcoin mempool has, in fact, decreased in recent weeks, coming down from all-time highs seen mid-May. Reductions accelerated in line with a drop in prices on Monday but have since reversed as a correction hit.

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Repeating Bitcoin Price Fall With Ethereum Gain Will Cause Flippening: Bruce Fenton

Repeating Bitcoin Price Fall With Ethereum Gain Will Cause Flippening: Bruce Fenton

    

Ethereum will become the biggest coin if the past 24 hours’ performance repeats

Former Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Bruce Fenton has said Ethereum will become the biggest coin if the past 24 hours’ performance repeats. In a tweet on Monday, Fenton said a reoccurrence of Bitcoin’s nine percent fall coupled with Ethereum’s 15 percent gains would result in the latter becoming the world’s largest cryptocurrency. Fenton added that those investors who pulled out following yesterday’s drop in price had likely performed a “bad trade” as a correction gets underway. Ethereum’s mammoth leaps have caused it to become the new focus of community attention, as various sides argue over its true value.

Flippening

On Sunday, Twitter commentator WhalePanda released an extensive post on ETH, arguing why it was inferior to Bitcoin on a technical level. Unlimited supply, ICO hype and other factors contributed to the view that the asset was more likely part of a significant bubble than Bitcoin. Nonetheless, Bitcoin’s dominance is slipping fast, by market cap now controlling only 40.5 percent of the total. With further robust trading, very little stands between here and what is known in the crypto community as the ‘Flippening’ – where ETH’s market cap usurps that of BTC.

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Blockchain Startup Stratumn Closes European Record $7.8 Mln Series A Round

Blockchain Startup Stratumn Closes European Record $7.8 Mln
Series A Round

    

Business-to-stakeholder Blockchain startup Stratumn

has raised €7 mln ($7.82 mln) in a joint venture with names including Nasdaq and Digital Currency Group (DCG). Stratumn, which launched in 2015, says the Series A round represents the “largest” such investment closure in the European Blockchain space.

“Our new investors will enable Stratumn to continue and accelerate its development and more effectively address growing needs in our markets,” CEO and Co-Founder Richard Caetano said in a press release this week. “We are especially happy with the continued and increased support from Otium Venture, who have accompanied us for a year, and excited to welcome CNP Assurances, Nasdaq and Digital Currency Group, who will help us reinforce Stratumn’s presence in the insurance and capital markets sectors.” DCG head Barry Silbert gave special welcome to the startup, which he described as having joined the investor’s “family” of projects.

Silbert added:

“Stratumn’s Proof of Process Technology solves critical challenges around verifying and auditing the integrity of data used to make critical business decisions, and we look forward to helping the team build partnerships across our network of blockchain service providers and enterprises.”

DCG-owned Grayscale Investments’ Bitcoin exchange-traded GBTC, meanwhile, is now trading as if the price per coin were around $5,220. As commentator Tuur Demeester noted on Friday, this represents an 85 percent premium over net asset value.

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An Introduction to Cryptoeconomics

An Introduction to Cryptoeconomics

The Concept of Cryptoeconomics

In this guide, you will be introduced to the concept of cryptoeconomics and how it has given birth to an entirely new digital multi-billion dollar industry.

What is Cryptoeconomics?

Cryptoeconomics is a concept as well as a new term and, hence, has no official definition yet. According to Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir, cryptoeconomics is “a formal discipline that studies protocols that govern the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services in a decentralized digital economy. Cryptoeconomics is a practical science that focuses on the design and characterization of these protocols.” The Ethereum Wiki defines cryptoeconomics as “the combinations of cryptography, computer networks and game theory which provide secure systems exhibiting some set of economic dis/incentives.”

While the founder of TheControl, Nick Tomaino, explains cryptoeconomics as “the study of economic interaction in adversarial environments. In decentralized P2P systems that do not give control to any third party, one must assume that there will be bad actors looking to disrupt the system. Cryptoeconomic approaches combine cryptography and economics to create robust decentralized P2P networks that thrive over time despite adversaries attempting to disrupt the network.” In simple terms, cryptoeconomics is a new field of study that analyses economic interactions in the decentralized digital economy that was pioneered by bitcoin. It is the foundation on which cryptocurrencies and digital assets are built on.

How Cryptoeconomics Changed Peer-to-Peer Networks

The Bitcoin network was not the first decentralized peer-to-peer network. Before Bitcoin, we had peer-to-peer file sharing platforms such as Morpheus, and Kazaa, where users from across the world would share files with other members of the decentralized peer-to-peer network. However, what these file sharing platforms were missing was an economic incentive. Without economic incentives, there was little reason for users to keep seeding files that take space on their computers so that other users can download them. Aside from the legal aspect of sharing copyrighted material, a lack of economic incentive is what contributed to the demise of the above-mentioned platforms.  

Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, however, managed to create an economic incentive to uphold Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer network. He introduced Bitcoin mining rewards for those who used their computing power to secure the blockchain and to process bitcoin transactions. This was the birth of cryptoeconomics. Before bitcoin was created, it was believed that it was impossible to achieve consensus among nodes to develop a decentralized digital currency system due to the Byzantine General’s Problem. However, due to the implementation of the proof-of-work consensus mechanism that allows Bitcoin network participants to receive new bitcoins for enabling the network to function, this previously “unsolvable” challenge was resolved. Today, the Bitcoin network has become an internationally thriving peer-to-peer payment system that has a market value of over $45 billion dollars and a single bitcoin is worth more than a troy ounce of gold.

The Evolution of Cryptoeconomics

Bitcoin was the first technology to implement a rewards system to a cryptographically secured peer-to-peer network. Due to the network’s open-source nature, many other cryptocurrencies followed that were built on top of the technology that Satoshi Nakamoto has created. Many new “altcoins” were merely bitcoin clones while some had new features that improved on their pioneering predecessor. Litecoin, for example, provides faster transaction times than bitcoin while DASH and Monero provide complete transaction anonymity. These cryptocurrencies, however, all use a proof-of-work mechanism similar to that of their predecessor, bitcoin. A new blockchain that has introduced new concepts into the world of cryptoeconomics is the Ethereum Project. Ethereum was developed by Vitalk Buterin and officially released on July 30, 2015. Ethereum differs bitcoin in three key ways, which are also helping to reshape the dynamics of cryptoeconomics.

Proof-of-Stake vs. Proof-of-Work

The bitcoin network uses a proof-of-work consensus mechanism, which means that participants who want to earn rewards through bitcoin mining need to use their computational power to maintain the network by validating and processing transactions. For this work, they receive financial rewards in the form of new bitcoins. However, the proof-of-work mechanism is very inefficient. Not only is it expensive to maintain bitcoin mining hardware, it also requires a substantial amount of energy to keep the bitcoin network running. According to Vice Motherboard, the bitcoin network is projected to consume as much energy as the entire country of Denmark by 2020.

Ethereum, however, is addressing this cryptoeconomic inefficiency by moving towards a proof-of-stake consensus. A proof-of-stake consensus mechanism enables users that hold the cryptocurrency ether, to receive rewards for validating transactions without the need for electricity-intensive mining hardware to be used. Ethereum still runs on proof-of-work but it is expected to switch to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism within the next two years.

Monetary Policy

Bitcoin has a hard coded monetary policy built into its network, which allows for 21 million bitcoins to be created in total and, thereby, limits the supply of bitcoins. Furthermore, the rate at which bitcoin are created halves every four years. Bitcoin miners (those who enable the network by validating and processing transactions) are rewarded with the newly created coins. Ethereum’s monetary policy does not involve a finite number of ether that can ever be created, which could be seen as a negative. However, as Ethereum moves towards proof-of-stake, the holders of ether will be the ones to receive new ether for validating transactions. This is considered a more inclusive way of distributing coins than Bitcoin’s proof-of-work approach, which favour large well-funded centralized mining operations.

Different Script Language

Ethereum also uses a different scripting language than bitcoin, which allows for decentralized applications and smart contracts to be developed on top of its blockchain. This makes Ethereum and much wider applicable blockchain than Bitcoin's and adds entirely new layers to the field of cryptoeconomics.

The Future of Cryptoeconomics

It is hard to predict the future of such a new field of social science. However, the developments in cryptoeconomics in the past decade or so are suggesting that cryptoeconomics has the potential to play a major role in society. Through the use of trustless peer-to-peer payment networks and self-executing smart contracts, intermediaries can be alleviated while payment speed and security can be increased. As technology becomes an increasingly important part of our day-to-day lives it would only make sense for economics to become part of that too.

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Instant Bank Payments Will End Bitcoin Binge: German Central Bank Chief

Instant Bank Payments Will
End Bitcoin Binge:
German Central Bank Chief

Digital Currencies could worsen future financial crises, Wiedmann says.

    

Digital Currencies could potentially worsen financial crises in the future

Jens Wiedmann, the president of Germany’s Bundesbank, has warned that digital currencies could potentially worsen financial crises in the future. He also stated, in his personal opinion, that ‘instant payments’ would put an end to the public interest in digital currencies like bitcoin. Germany’s top central banker was speaking in Frankfurt today in a speech predominantly on the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing (QE) program when he touched on the subject of digital currencies.

Instant Payments to Dampen Bitcoin?

Wiedmann, who is one of the most powerful figures in European and the global economy, claimed that the ongoing digitization of finance is and will remain the most significant challenge faced by central banks. He offered a solution toward taking on popular growing financial technologies like bitcoin and other digital currencies.

In quotes reported by the Financial Times, he stated:

My personal take on this is that central banks should strive to make existing payment systems more efficient and still faster than they already are – instant payment is the buzzword here. I’m pretty confident that this will reduce most citizens’ interest in digital currencies.

‘Digital Currencies Could Worsen Financial Crises’

Wiedmann admitted that central banks are likely to create their own official digital currencies in the future. A move toward digitization which would, according to the central banker, provide citizens with the reassurance that their money would be safe. In doing so, however, Wiedmann claimed that private banks would risk bank runs during times of future crises. A bank run occurs when a large number of customers panic to make withdrawals from financial institutions at the same time. In their attempt to safeguard their cash while losing faith in the institution, the withdrawal en masse from customers could lead to banks losing liquidity and struggle to make their loans, leaving them insolvent.

Wiedmann said:

Allowing the public to hold claims on the central bank might make their liquid assets safer, because a central bank cannot become insolvent. This is a feature which will become relevant especially in times of crisis – when there will be a strong incentive for money holders to switch bank deposits into the official digital currency simply at the push of a button. But what might be a boon for savers in search of safety, might be a bane for banks, as this makes a bank run potentially even easier.

The central banker is a known critic of digitization brought on by financial technologies, questioning the promise of FinTech revolutionizing financial services and infrastructure earlier in March this year. However, he did add that technologies like blockchain ‘could’ have the potential to make financial processes faster, inexpensive, more efficient and convenient. Meanwhile, the Bundesbank has been developing a blockchain-based settlement infrastructure system, based on a concept of the open source www.cryptocoinsnews.com/tag/hyperledger-project/.

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