Tag: altcoin

TronBet App Is Exploding on Tron’s Mainnet

Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

On June 1st, 2018, Tron cryptocurrency launched their mainnet platform.  Capitalizing on a meteoric rise in interest and technological advancements surrounding the Chinese-based crypto, founder Justin Sun and his team of developers have created a decentralized infrastructure that is growing in size and scope every day. Enter: TronBet.

TronBet Dice
Tronbet’s “Dice”

TronBet is a gambling DApp (decentralized application) that launched in early Q3 of 2018. In its short lifespan, it has seen incredible gains in users and total bets. On its release day, the site netted over 10,000 plays and had seen over 1 billion TRX wagered within the first two weeks of service. Users connect their Tron wallet to the platform and wager bets on two simple games that payout TRX immediately on winning combinations. Interested gamers can try the casino-like site out here entirely at their own risk.

Originally a simple over/under dice game, TronBet has recently launched their second game, Moon, based off the widely successful Bustabit crash game. In Moon, players wager a set amount of TRX and anticipate when an increasing curve will crash. Players must collect on their wagered amount before the line crashes or they lose their entire bet. The game is addicting, thrilling, maddening and can lead to incredible gains. The simulation can payout players up to 5000x their wagered bet, meaning gamers could hypothetically turn a few dollars into thousands in the course of one single game.

TronBet's Moon
TronBet’s “Moon”

In their simple and eloquent whitepaper, TronBet developers lay out their vision of an online gambling site built on the cheap and flexible ecosystem that Tron has built. They point to a list of other e-gaming sites utilizing Bitcoin and Ethereum that have seen successful lifespans, including SatoshiDice, which has recorded over $500 million in bets since 2016. Another example, EOSbet, rakes in an average of $10 million a day and the market for growth seems primed as United States lawmakers lose their regulatory control over e-gaming.

Although Tron founder Justin Sun has promoted TronBet, the team behind the gaming platform are not affiliated with the Tron development group itself. TronBet developers chose to use the Tron platform due to its impressive scalability and cheap transaction costs. Compared to the Ethereum blockchain, which can only process 25 TPS (transactions per second), Tron boasts almost 100x that speed and recently clocked in at over 2000 TPS. What this means for users is that TronBet runs on a platform that is incredibly quick, cheap and efficient. This ultimately provides a greater gaming experience.

According to Tronscan.org, the number of wallets and transactions on the Tron network has been exploding over the past few months. A decentralized exchange for Tron-based tokens and currencies has also launched and already features more than 10 TRX trading pairs. All of this bodes well for TronBet as the success of Tron’s mainnet should funnel new users and interest into the projects and applications being released through the ecosystem.

In late October, Justin Sun tweeted out his support for Tronbet, which had then surpassed its first 1 Billion TRX won inside the system. Today, barely a month later, Tronbet is showing over 7.7 billion Tron won and over 15 million bets placed. This unprecedented growth is due, in part, to an interesting in-game currency called Ante which players can mine with every spin.

Users can think of Ante like receiving a small bit of the casino’s own coin that can be stored in the casino’s vault and used to collect a payout of dividends from the total amount of losses within the system every day. In essence, mining and staking Ante allows users to ‘be the house’. Users will trade Ante on Tron’s decentralized exchange in the coming months. This presents an innovative way for early adopters and believers in TronBet to benefit from their support.

TronBet roadmap
TronBet roadmap

In the cryptocurrency industry, gaming has proven to be one of the strongest sources of actual adoption. CryptoKitties, TronDogs, and Etheroll have all created major buzz and concrete interest in using the blockchain as an engine for gaming and transactions. Developers at TronBet have promised a third unreleased game before New Year’s that will be PVP (player vs player), which should increase interest in the platform significantly.

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How the United States Can Increase Market Freedom

By Max Bibeau | United States

The American Dream, as outlined by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence, has long been the shining beacon of hope for citizens and foreigners alike, offering a chance to be successful on an even playing field. Unfortunately, that beacon has been dimming in recent decades, leading the World Economic Forum to bluntly mourn that the American Dream is broken.

As class mobility continues to fall and the economic gap between rich and poor only seems to expand, many Americans are starting to give up hope in American capitalism. This has led to mass calls for change among the general populace, with everyone desperately looking for solutions. Some, such as Vermont Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, propose that it is time to look towards “democratic socialism” in the United States. Others, such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, seem to be denying the problem completely, still claiming that “the circumstances of your birth do not determine the outcome of your life.”

As much as we might wish for Paul Ryan’s statement to be true, the facts stand against him. Since we are in grave need of a solution, and one does not appear to be coming anytime soon, we must ask how America can improve competition in modern capitalism. Luckily, it is not too late for capitalism to be saved and for America to recover, but the country needs to act fast. While there are many potential solutions, there are three primary ones which will specifically target major problems in the US economy. In order to address current problems in the economy, the United States should target inefficiencies in regulatory organizations like the FDA, foster blockchain development around the country, and crack down on state preference policies.

FDA Inefficiency

The problem of skyrocketing drug prices was first brought to the forefront of American politics in 2015 when the infamous Martin Shkreli increased prices on a lifesaving drug by over 4000%, from $18 a pill to $750 a pill, making the cost of treatment virtually impossible to cover. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case, as the Center for American Progress describes how American pharmaceutical prices have “continued to skyrocket” in recent years, with manufacturers of Medicare-covered drugs raising prices 12% per year on average. Another study shockingly found that over the past 14 months, 20 different prescription drugs had their prices increased by 200% or more.

Price increases, especially of these unprecedented proportions, are a clear indicator of a lack of competition within the pharmaceutical industry, as confirmed by a Government Accountability Office study. To counteract price increases, the United States must directly tackle the sources of the problem: inefficiency and over-regulation, which leads to monopolistic markets. All of the prescription drugs that saw drastic price increases have one thing in common: they have little to no competition making the same substances. This is because of how unreasonably difficult and expensive it is to get a new drug approved for manufacturing by the FDA.

The Journal of Health quantifies just how expensive the process can be, totaling it at over $1.395 billion in out-of-pocket costs. That number skyrockets up to $2.870 billion when post-approval research and development costs are factored in. These astronomically high development costs make it extremely difficult for anybody looking to create a new drug to even get their business off the ground. High startup costs are one of the top reasons that new companies and drugs never find success, as it’s virtually impossible for new companies, even with perfect scientific viability, to raise nearly $3 billion in investments just to allow their drug to be widely sold.

Because of complex regulations and red tape encircling the pharmaceutical industry, it’s no surprise that the market is nearly devoid of competition. By removing excessive regulation on the industry and streamlining the FDA, new drugs could be approved faster and cheaper. This would dramatically lower startup costs for new businesses trying to develop drugs and would promote increased competition throughout the entire industry, making life-saving substances much more affordable.

Blockchain Growth and Development

The blockchain, developed and made popular by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, is currently a buzzword in American Congress. Politicians are scrambling to implement the budding technology into their cities and states, and have even formed the Congressional Blockchain Caucus to craft policy surrounding it. Luckily, the potential benefits of the blockchain, especially when it comes to increasing competition, cannot be overstated. To quickly summarize a complex technology, the blockchain is a completely digital, decentralized ledger of information, constantly being confirmed and updated by computers around the world. This has plenty of business applications.

Specifically, since the National Bureau of Economic Research contends that the blockchain removes almost all need for trust in a transaction, small businesses will no longer have to compete with larger businesses when it comes to reputability. Trust, especially when it comes to internet retail, is one of the largest problems that businesses face, preventing up to 30% of internet users from utilizing online retail at all.

However, as the blockchain expands and becomes more widely used, retailers, especially small, newer businesses, will be granted the same level of trust as established companies. The Pew Research Center has found that many consumers soon “expect to see improved technology emerge that will allow people to have confidence in the organizations and individuals with whom they interact online,” specifically through the blockchain. Once the blockchain and cryptocurrency have become mainstream, the issue of trust will be eliminated from the equation, promoting widespread competition in online retail by allowing small retailers with no reputation to provide legitimate competition to retail giants.

While many are afraid to buy from anywhere other than Amazon due to the threat of scams, the blockchain will almost completely mitigate that problem, giving startups a chance, and opening up the online retail industry to everyone. To promote this, the government should focus on effectively regulating and investing in blockchain companies. These regulations would allow them to thrive and innovate in the near future, while still protecting the safety of consumers.

Ending State Preference Policies

While it is commonly agreed upon by economists that international protectionism damages all parties involved, what is criminally under-discussed when it comes to increasing domestic competition is state-by-state protectionism, more commonly known as preference policies. These policies are outlined by the Mercatus Center, which describes that preference policies, often enacted by state or local governments, give a significant advantage to companies residing in-state when bidding on government projects.

When a state government wishes to have a project completed, whether it be building military bases or providing a government building with computers, they allow companies to bid on the project. In theory, this practice would reduce costs as much as possible, as competition drives prices lower. Unfortunately, as the Mercatus Center furthers, even if an out-of-state company bids with a significantly cheaper offer, the more expensive in-state company will still almost always get the job. Aside from drastically raising the costs of government projects on taxpayers, in-state preference policies are almost identical to international protectionist policies, and have almost identical impacts, especially when it comes to decreasing competition.

Essentially, these programs enable companies to raise their prices due to the lack of competition from other states. Similar to international protectionism, these policies are put in place with the goal of stimulating domestic growth. However, this growth often comes at the cost of cheap prices and quality services. While it may appear that this would only discourage competition when it comes to government services, that is not quite true. Because most of these state and local policies are very strict, they only give preference to companies that have a state/local business license, pay all state/local taxes, and hire only state/local employees.

Since these policies are so rigid, and only apply to exclusively state or local businesses, it often discourages companies, especially those which rely on government business to remain profitable, from expanding outside of state borders, given that they know this will likely cost them their government business. This has much more broad impacts, affecting competition around the entire nation.

An Increase in Market Freedom

The United States, viewed as a pioneer of capitalism around the world, has found itself entrapped by red tape and ineffective policies, all of which are hindering one of the key benefits of capitalism: competition. However, while the United States does have some dire problems, they can be addressed.

First, the country needs to crack down on inefficient and ineffective regulations, specifically in the pharmaceutical industry. Second, the US should encourage and foster blockchain development by establishing fair regulations that don’t stifle the technology. Finally, the unfair problem of in-state preference policies must be addressed. While hope may be in short supply for capitalists in the United States, some common sense changes to economic policy would allow the beacon of the American Dream to shine brightly once again. 

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Cryptocurrency is Taking the Next Step into the Mainstream

By Nick Hamilton | United States

Cryptocurrency is about to become much more accessible when making purchases in public.

Square, a major digital payment service that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey leads, has won the patent to allow merchants to accept crypto payments, such as Bitcoin. The service would then transfer the payment into the local currency.

Cryptocurrency: Payment of the Future

Dorsey has said that he believes cryptocurrency will be the leading method of payment in ten years. Adding Bitcoin to this service that already supports many major credit cards is a way to make this a reality. This system also eliminates latency in these transactions, meaning approval on purchases will occur much faster. They’ll be able to do this via a blockchain that records Square-managed wallets in real time.

Tackling Major Obstacles

This, of course, means that cryptocurrency payments will process at the same speed of credit card payments. Previously, one of the big drawbacks of crypto was the increased transaction time. Another key issue was a very low accessibility, but Square is tackling both of these issues.

It’s not often that companies who do blockchain research have such an enthusiastic CEO when it comes to cryptocurrency. However, due to this patent, and Dorsey being so invested in cryptocurrency, we could see cryptocurrency emerge more in the mainstream. At the very least, it now will be considerably easier to use. This could mean that Bitcoin’s demand will rise, thus raising its price.

A Bright Outlook

The patent may affect the backbone of the future economy, at least according to Dorsey, who tweeted earlier this year that Bitcoin would become a path towards financial success for all.

As the price of Bitcoin continues to rise, Dorsey’s dream of seeing crypto thrive in the future may be coming true.

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Crypto Investors Expect Trades to Continue after India Ban

By Eli Ridder | @EliRidder

After India’s government decided in early April to block official financial institutions from carrying out formal cryptocurrency transactions, trade activity has increased with strength. 

Reports citing exchange operators, investors and observers say that Indians are quickly taking advantage of the three-month window given by the Reserve Bank for institutions to cut off cryptocurrency traders and exchanges.

Those that invest now are able to convert digital funds into the formal rupees currency and rupees into crypto, which can later be switched for other coins via the private trading platforms well established locally and internationally.

Prices of the unstable Bitcoin in India are back up to 618,000 rupees or $9,570 USD, recovering from a low of 350,001 rupees after the central bank’s announcement in early April.

Several investors, according to Reuters news agency, are holding out that New Delhi will curl back on their crypto legislation and instead regulate the cryptocurrencies over the complete ban.

Legislatures fear digital money could be used to finance illegal activities, with the finance minister saying that they should be banned from being used as a payment system.

A conglomerate including members from the central bank, the finance ministry and market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India is expected to soon formulate a recommendation on what to do next, local reports say.

This comes a week after Iran made a similar move, but for different reasons, with Tehran citing concerns of money-laundering amid an economic crisis proceeding a potential return of sanctions due to the United States pulling from the nuclear deal.

An Iranian official announced on Saturday that the country has developed a local digital currency.

“The central bank’s [ban] does not mean the prohibition or restriction of the use of the digital currency in domestic development,” government minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

“Last week, at a joint meeting to review the progress of the [local cryptocurrency] project, it was announced that the experimental model was ready.”

India, considered the world’s largest democracy, has been challenged in court by crypto traders, who say that the ban is unconstitutional, and pushing digital money out of the official banks is counterproductive as it will be easier for fraud to occur.

Lawyers are advising crypto clients to hold onto their investments and take a “wait and see” approach to the current situation, with some trading moving to peer-to-peer networks or social media services such as the popular Telegram app.

“Unlike fiat currency, prices of virtual currencies are based on people’s beliefs and aspirations,” BuyUcoin’s Thakral told Reuters.

“The long-term vision for us and the people who are investing now is that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.”

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Japan Goes All In On Crypto

Spencer Kellogg | @TheNewTreasury

Japan, a country known for its progressive financial vision, has reported an unprecedented 3.5 million active cryptocurrency participants on the island. According to data released by the Financial Services Agency (FSA) more than 80% of traders are between the ages of 24-40. With a population well versed in the mechanics of blockchain technology and new regulations aimed at on-ramping the sector, the next generation of Japanese leaders possess an unbelievable opportunity to establish the major hub of global crypto finance.

In the upstart and highly speculative world of cryptocurrency, nationalism and regionalism can play major factors in establishing the value and viability of a given marketplace or asset. Regulations levied by governments can wildly affect the potential of blockchain companies and the SEC’s recent arrests at Centra headquarters have spooked many in the unregulated securities sector. Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, recently moved their Hong Kong offices to Malta to shelter their exchange from the harsh regulatory climate of China.

NEO, the “Chinese Ethereum killer,” perfectly symbolizes how the relationship between continental governments and fintech startups can suppress or activate valuation in the digital landscape. Although cryptocurrency is generally a highly speculative market, a look at the NEO chart shows incredible volatility throughout the past year. During all of its short-lived existence, NEO and its investors have had to battle the perfunctory nature of a 20th-century monetary policy that keeps it and many other cryptocurrencies from maturing at even faster rates than we are currently witnessing.

Which brings us back to Japan. Japan is different. Japan is not China, a country who willingly invites fear into the market while investing heavily in the background. And Japan is not the blindsided United States who aggressively view the space as a political and economic threat to the strength of their inflationary USD. Japan is going the other way.

Although the nation has been home to two of the largest cryptocurrency exchange hacks the country remains a friendly, open platform for development. The fast-tracking of digital assets is reminiscent of similar foresightedness that made Singapore a dominant player in the worldwide marketplace. For Singapore, it was an import/export market built around their only port. For Japan, it could very well be crypto built thru nodes on the internet.

Japan has routinely found at the epicenter of crypto’s short history. In December, the Japanese exchange Coincheck was hacked for more than 55 billion yen ($533 million). Before that, it was the infamous hacking of Tokyo based Mt. Gox in 2014 that sent the price of Bitcoin spiraling for years to come.

In the aftermath of these watershed events, regulators and commoners alike have become familiar with the cryptographic assets of the 21st century. Today, Japan can barely find enough engineers to fill the gaping holes in knowledge and experience that exist in the beginning stages of adoption.

In the last month alone, rampant speculation has suggested that Yahoo could potentially buy a significant stake in the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange BitARG. The deal, reportedly worth upward of $20 million, would see Yahoo gain 40% ownership over one of the largest exchanges in the world. While Yahoo lost to Google in the early 2000’s search engine war they may be well positioned to win back a substantial valuation through the cryptocurrency market.

Japan’s move to the progressive front of crypto regulation has been in large part due to their loosened regulatory status. In what was hailed a major success throughout the crypto community, Japanese authorities labeled crypto as a legal tender last year. The new legislation goes into effect this month and companies throughout Japan are expected to play a significant role in the construction of this new open-ended digital ecosystem.

Of all the developed countries participating in the cryptocurrency space, Japan appears most likely to take advantage of the current chaotic landscape. With their loose regulations and technologically savvy demographics, we can expect to see Japan play a dominant role in the future of the digital asset sector.

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