After Shutting Down Ahead of EU’s 5AMLD, BottlePay’s Set to Relaunch New Lightning Payment App

BottlePay, a social payment app that choose to shut down its operation in December of 2019 amid regulatory concerns, is ready for a relaunch with a new Lightning Payment App. The firm has restructured its products and services to comply with Europe’s 5th anti-money laundering directive (AMLD5). The new payment app also offers an exchange wallet with social features on Reddit, Twitter, and Discord and set for a beta launch in August.

Some of the features of the new payment app include scheduled payments to buy more bitcoin, which is quite similar to Square’s Cash App. However, this feature would be first rolled out in Europe. Users would also have the option to opt for a custodial or non-custodial wallet.

Pete Cheyne, a co-founder of BottlePay, said, “Lightning works in the background, without users having to manage channels.” Adding,

“There will be a small fee for exchanging between fiat and bitcoin, and vice versa. … There will also be tiers because people are interested in our app for different use cases.”

Mark Webster, CEO of BottlePay, revealed that his team of 11 employees was funded continuously by their angel investors, who were responsible for trading equity worth $2 million in 2019. He explained that the firm has no immediate plans to support any token. Webster also revealed his plans for expanding his workforce up to 35 people by 2021.

Webster went on to reveal that most of the recent hiring has been in the legal and marketing department, which helped them in restructuring their product. He said,

“I think Lightning is at the core of the strategy. As consumer demand increases, we can open more channels. You can store a fiat balance, Scan a Lightning code, and pay that from your pound or euro balance.”

The scheduled beta launch in August will be limited to the European citizens. Still, Webster said that he hopes to expand the reach of his application in the United States and hopes to launch a Telegram integration by 2021.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Block.One Targets July 4th For the Launch of Voice, Its Blockchain-Based Social Media Network

EOS protocol publisher, Block.one, has pushed closer the launch of its blockchain based social media platform, Voice. According to a twitter announcement by Voice CEO, Salah Zalatimo, the platform will be open to readers as from the 4th of July.

“We pivoted, and decided to open up our platform for readers on July 4. Only registered user will be able publish or engage.”

Zalatimo who joined Voice earlier in the year noted that the team had been building towards a big reveal in the fall but could no longer wait to disrupt the big tech dominance in social media,

“we simply can’t wait any longer. We need to take social back from big tech NOW. So, we did what startups do.”

Notably, Voice has been in the works since 2019 with its beta launching as recent as February, 2020. This testnet received an overwhelming subscription and Voice is optimistic of a replica as soon as the platform goes live on U.S Independence Day. However, registration will remain on request until August 15th when the onboarded participants can start inviting friends.

Voice Fundamentals

This social media platform aims to compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter based on its competitive edge, open-source. Basically, the network is powered by EOS built tokens which act as incentives for creatives posting content on Voice. Viewers reward content creators with the tokens which have an underlying value within crypto markets as opposed to the current approach which mostly entails ‘likes’.

The project has since invested as significant amount of funding since it kicked off. Some notable milestones include $150 million allocated towards Voice independent operations in March, 2020. Last year, the firm had spent almost a similar amount in preparation for its platform to go live. In addition, Block.one acquired the domain, Voice.com, for $30 million as it kicked off in June, 2019.

Despite the success to date, this initiative has faced some challenges with users critiquing its ‘privacy’ design. According to the naysayers, Voice is not as private as it purports; this is because the platform’s registration process asks for detailed personal data in the name of crime detection and prevention.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Libra Would Help Usher In ‘Higher Prices’ for Facebook Ads, Says CEO Mark Zuckerberg

During Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting on May 27, 2020, the founder, Chairman, and CEO of the social media giant, Mark Zuckerberg talked about how Libra benefits the company financially. Zuckerberg said,

“Not just Libra, but all of the commerce work that we’re doing is that you should really think about it in terms of our ads business.”

He explained how the auction is an important property of the ads business which means, they don’t set a price, rather every business can just bid for themselves what an ad is worth to them.

This means they can offer the lowest possible price.

It also means those businesses will be interested in bidding more because they will get more and the idea behind offering additional tools, whether it’s around commerce like Facebook Shops or around payments like Libra or Facebook Pay, is to make commerce be more effective for businesses. Zuckerberg said,

“When they run an ad, somebody who clicks on that ad is now going to be more likely to buy something because they actually have a form of payment that works that’s on file, then it basically becomes worth it more for the businesses to bid higher in the ads than what we see are higher prices for the ads overall.

So that’s broadly the strategy around going deeper on commerce and payments.”

Updating the core infrastructure of payment

During the call, he also shared that the payment is an area where the core infrastructure hasn’t been updated in a very long time.

Transferring money or paying for things between countries is still often very difficult as such,

“there are a lot of opportunities with Libra to make the process of commerce and payments helpful — a lot easier.”

This, he believes, isn’t good for people around the world but also the economy overall. He said,

“And we will be able to participate in some amount to that value creation ourselves through higher prices in ads if businesses are succeeding using these tools.”

Just this week, Facebook renamed the wallet Calibra to Novi — a combination of two Latin words: Novus which means “new” and Via meaning “way,” to distance it from the Libra digital currency.

“People were confusing Libra and Calibra all the time,” said David Marcus, Facebook’s head of blockchain. “In hindsight, it’s hard to blame them.”

Libra digital currency was first announced in June 2019 as a global currency that would be nearly free to send across borders. However, since then the project has faced many hurdles.

The fiat-backed digital currency would be governed by the Libra Association made up of 27 companies and nonprofit organizations. Its first chief executive officer, Stuart Levey, was also named earlier this month.

The Association hopes to launch the Libra currency by the end of this year.

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Author: AnTy

At 3M Monthly Users, KIN Has Outgrown the Forked Stellar Blockchain, Proposes Move to Solana

The Kin token, launched by the popular social messaging app – Kik – has been embroiled in controversy since its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017.

While the crypto token has been dealing with a protracted legal battle with the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), there have been several technical issues at its core.

Kin conducted its ICO on the Ethereum blockchain but clarified that it would make use of Ethereum for security purposes while the transactions would be validated on Stellar blockchain.

Later, they forked the Stellar blockchain to create a modified chain of their own. However, the hard-forked stellar chain is now proving inadequate for the Kin cryptocurrency. As a result, the digital currency would migrate to Solana blockchain in the coming month.

Kin also shared an improvement proposal regarding its move to the Solana blockchain, suggesting that while its operations saw great scalability on the forked stellar chain. There are certain limitations that have caused the disruption in running the network operations smoothly and thus they have decided to make a move to Solana.

Pointing to the issues they are facing on the forked stellar chain, the proposal read:

“While Stellar offers most of the features needed to do basic functions like sending Kin between accounts, there is a limited amount of space for metadata on transactions.

Stellar allows up to 30 bytes of metadata (called a ‘memo’) per transaction, which is far short of what Kin needs to perform its basic functions”

Talking about the benefits of the Solana blockchain, the proposal read:

“Solana solves both the latency and the feature set problems. Solana uses a Proof of History consensus model, along with a number of other novel innovations that unlock significant improvement in throughput and latency.

Additionally, Solana would allow significantly more metadata in transactions since it has a Virtual Machine implementation, offering more flexibility.”

The Proposed Transition

In order for the transition to be possible, the majority of the Kin developers have to agree with the move. If enough developers agree, Solana could facilitate the transition in a matter of months. This transition could be completed by Jan. 7, 2021.

Tanner Philp, head of corporate development at Kik said that Kin ecosystem has registered a massive uptick in the number of users in the past 6 months, and a significant rise in the core metrics during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has lead to severe lockdowns across the globe.

During the beginning of March when the world started to realize the severity of the COVID-19, the total users who have spent Kin token were evaluated to be around 1.5 million, however, the number jumped almost three times to 4.4 million by April 20th.

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Author: James W

Kin Releases its Transparency Report, Revealing Foundation Budgets and Structure

The Kin Foundation that’s behind the social messaging app Kik has been involved in a long-drawn out legal battle with the US Security and Exchange Commission over the distribution of its Kin token.

Kik created the Kin token back in 2017.

The SEC alleged that Kin tokens fall under a Security bracket, and thus it must be registered with the regulatory body before the sale. The total market supply of Kin token has been kept at 10 trillion out of which 1.45 trillion are currently in circulation.

The Kin Foundation has now released a transparency report in association with the Messari group revealing crucial financial details. The transparency report was published on the 21st of May, and gave a glimpse at the operation of the Kin token.

The report revealed that the foundation drafts their budget one year in advance, which determines what funding would go towards developers, user grants, node incentives, and marketing and operations.

The Kin Foundation is currently headed by a two-member board consisting of Ted Livingston, the CEO of Kik Interactive and William Mougayar, author of “The Business Blockchain.” The report further revealed that the board members are selected annually by the members along with a Kin Representative who acts as a medium for the developer community and token holders.

The foundation currently has only one Representative in the form of Matt Hannam, however, the foundation plans to add a couple more representatives in the coming year. The Kin foundation also comprises of an informal community of 10 members who look over the kin rewards and disagreements.

The report revealed that around 28 million users have acquired kin from various sources since its creation in 2017 and around 300 million kin was spent per day this year alone.

The Legal Battle Over Security Tag

The United States is counted among nations with a tough regulatory stance towards crypto. This is because any security token offering which promises a profit on the token over a course of time need to be registered with the SEC. The same issue has led to the halt and several postponements of Telegram’s TON blockchain and GRAM token issuance. The Kin Foundation has maintained, since the beginning that,

“the SEC cannot meet its burden to prove that Kin purchasers were primarily led to expect profits from the managerial efforts of others.”

The foundation also believes that the SEC’s legal case against them is heavily inspired by the Telegram case. Eileen Lyon, Kik’s general counsel said:

“Our take on the SEC’s opposition is that it relies heavily on the recent Telegram case, which we think was poorly reasoned and wrongly decided.”

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Author: James W

Society2 to Launch IOTA Based Decentralized Social Media Platform; Exchange Privacy for MIOTA

Society2, a new decentralized social media initiative by IOTA is trying to change the way the user’s personal data is handled on the internet.

The project called DeSM aims to help consumers regain control of their data and make social media a truly private experience. Though this project, IOTA node owners would be able to run their own social media websites and applications.

Today any internet-based service or application has become a sophisticated data phishing portal where they track and collect user’s personal data on the behest of offering their service.

Social media services, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or similar other services collect every possible data of the user like their locations, their call record, their search history and then sell it to the highest bidder without any moral check. This not only puts the user’s interest and privacy at danger but if it falls in the wrong hands it can be conveniently used to harass the user as well.

While there have been many decentralized social media initiatives, they never enjoyed widespread adoption and Society2’s team is looking to change the factor.

The developer team has started to develop an IOTA-based DeSM framework that would enable new privacy standards and how the user’s data is shared between social media platforms. Ben Royce, head of development at Society2 said:

“SOCIETY2’s framework is very different from existing social networks. An owner of an IOTA node can run a social media site or app as easily as downloading an open-source template from a menu, customize it or not.”

The developer team has promised that the decentralized social media solution would come with privacy and security controls, which are not available on current, more centralised platforms.

In fact, present social media platforms make it extremely difficult for anyone to read or get notified about privacy policy changes and bury this information at the bottom which can’t be easily found by those unfamiliar with technology and the importance of privacy.

Society2 Users can Decide Who Can Access Their Private Data

The decentralized social media platform would not only give total control of user’s data in their hand, but would also give them the power to decide who can access it, and in return, they receive micropayments and rewards in IOTA.

The social media platform would be strictly based on IOTA’s framework, utilizing its peer-to-peer micropayments system in case a user is ready to offer their data to advisors.

Rayce also revealed that the decentralized social media solution would only support the IOTA token since they believe that the IOTA framework is best suited for such an initiative, having the scalability and security to assure it of being successful.

Society2 Would Work on Top of IOTA Streams

Society2 would not only use the IOTA currency as the fuel for its network, but its framework would work on top of IOTA’s distributed Ledger Technology – called IOTA Streams.

IOTA Streams is a framework for cryptographic applications which would enable social media content encryption and distribution.

The Society2 project was officially launched this week and is expected to deliver an early prototype for DeSM system by Q3 of 2020 for community feedback.

The development team behind the project also believes that the framework for the decentralized social media solution could also be utilized by modern-day social media giants like Twitter. Joseph Skewes, the project’s head of operations said:

“Twitter recently funded the independent team bluesky, which is researching the decentralized social media landscape for a standard that Twitter itself could eventually use. A framework like SOCIETY2 may develop into a suitable candidate for such a platform.”

Skews comments towards the use of their DeSM framework by Twitter could have been inspired by an announcement made by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey towards the end of 2020, where he revealed that they have funded a developer team to develop decentralized standards for social media.

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Author: James W

Bitfinex Launches A Social Network, Giving Traders a ‘Pulse’ on the Latest Market Insights

Major crypto exchange firm, Bitfinex has launched a new social network for its users. According to Cointelegraph, the exchange platform is seeking to take advantage of the social network craze. The new social network is dubbed Bitfinex Pulse and users will now have a chance to trade, collaborate on different concepts as well as various market related aspects.

According to a report published by Finance Magnates, the new social network will offer users an advantage in the trading space since they will now be able to easily communicate with various traders around the world.

Differs From The Existing Social Trading Network

Bitfinex is the latest entrant in the social trading space. There are different platforms with their own similar products like eToro, which offers trader profiles, copy trading, messaging as well as statistics. The eToro platform also allows users to easily participate in comparable or related positions like other traders.

However, according to Bitfinex, the new product will be different from the one by eToro. The firm explained that unlike eToro, Bitfinex Pulse is designed to specifically address the needs of traders within the platform. Bitfinex explained:

“The emphasis will be on the niche, high-quality content that this more technically proficient audience requires.”

Bitfinex also clarified that its social network will not contain copy trading features. However, there are scanty details on how users will be verified on the new social network.

Crypto trading is highly a digital activity and traders and crypto enthusiasts have always been highly active on various social media platforms. Twitter as well as other social networks have always been platforms holding different discussions especially when there are unexpected events in the market.

Bitfinex has been in the news for various controversies in the recent past. The parent company iFinex has been involved in a class action lawsuit with claims of market manipulation.  However, the firm has been involved in various activities aimed at enhancing its growth. Earlier this month, the firm launched staking services.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Is Reddit Adding Blockchain-based Tipping And User Wallets, Real Feature or Clever Mockup?

American social news aggregation and discussion website, Reddit, might finally be integrating a blockchain based system aiming to allow users to tip using crypto. The reports arise from a posted video earlier on April 9 on the platform by Redditor, MagoCrypto.

Reddit is implementing a points system on the blockchain! (Official Reddit app on Android) from CryptoCurrency

Reddit recent reports to switching to the blockchain system, is a big switch from the once crypto-unfriendly social media site. The app apparently banned cryptocurrency ads on its platform back in 2016. However, the recent news gives hope to users as a video emerged of experimentation using blockchain or a cryptocurrency-related to rewarding posts.

Reddit is trying to roll out a blockchain-based points system where like most cryptocurrencies the points will have value. Each user through their accounts will be able to see their points. If Reddit can successfully incorporate blockchain onto its ecosystem, needless to say that would be a giant step towards its mainstream adoption generally.

It’s not yet fully clear though on the authenticity of the posted video since Reddit hasn’t yet officially commented on the same. To add on top of this, no clarity has been issued on which blockchain they are using. One of the top comments on their platform simply asked “Which blockchain?” but none could clarify on the same which invites a lot of uncertainty.

As reported, the points will have value and apparently can be sent to other Redditors as cryptocurrency. Redditors out there are still in the dark however on whether these points can be sent outside the Reddit app. Regardless of all lingering questions and those that may arise sooner, the points might bring on board other different functionalities on the Reddit scheme. Reddit’s development as a website will highly be contributed by the speed in which all these uncertain questions will be brought to light.

With r/Bitcoin boasting 1.4million members and r/Cryptocurrency at 994,000, its evident that Reddit has for a considerable amount of time been a popular source of viable information for cryptocurrency projects. Though we might have to wait and see, it is the hope of all crypto-loving Redditors that the new blockchain-based system will come good.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Microsoft Joins Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition Initiative For Virtual Earth Day Hackathon

  • Microsoft is set to support the Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition (BSIC) program whose winners will be rewarded during the Global Virtual Earth Day on April 22.
  • This initiative involved a six-week hackathon geared towards practical solutions in sustainable cities and green energy.

The BSIC incubator project was originally under Ethereum’s enterprise-grade solutions provider, ConsenSys. Apart from Microsoft and ConsenSys, this project has been sponsored by other notable industry stakeholders from different sectors. They include UNDP, KPMG, Gitcoin, Celo, Pepo and the city of Austin, Texas. Given this support, the upcoming rewards set for the BSIC incubation winners total to $30,000 and is set to be allocated as per the outlined criteria.

According to Microsoft’s blockchain unit co-founder, Yorke Rhodes, the whole idea is to solve challenges in excess carbon credits, pollution, affordable housing and identity projects. Yorke who is also a BSIC board member highlighted that;

“It’s run like a typical incubator where we have weekly deliverables for all of the teams.

We also have subject-matter experts in these categories from around the world that we invited in to do seminars twice a week,”

During its launch, the BSIC incubator attracted more than 300 participants and narrowed down gradually to be left with about 30 teams. As mentioned earlier, they were tasked with creating solutions to make the world more climate and environmentally friendly through blockchain technology.

Currently, energy and sustainability are among the hot topics within global governing bodies. In this regard, Yorke noted that Microsoft is working with Brazil’s, Itau Unibanco, to bring to life long-term ideas tailored to the space.

As we approach 2020’s Earth Day, the whole world is uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vanessa Grellet, the Executive Director of ConsenSys has since noted they will hold the event live as opposed to prior plans,

“We made the decision to pivot our Earth Day 2020 event from an in-person event for people in New York City, to one that is 100 percent digital this year and available worldwide.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Steemit’s New Partnership Will Bring Steem DApps and 20 Million Users to TRON

The blockchain-based social media platform that pays its users to create content and known as Steemit has closed a partnership with TRON so that Steem users and dapps will be available to TRON.

The announcement was made on Friday and says the developers for both companies are going to oversee the migration to the TRON network while the STEEM token is going to be replaced with a version from TRON. A timeline for the migration wasn’t yet released.

Steem Has Over 1 Million Users

According to a press release, Steem, which was founded by Ned Scott and Dan Larimer, has over 1 million users. This is how Scott described Steemit, Steem’s platform:

“Steemit is the original conception of forums meeting cryptocurrency to achieve mass adoption – where cryptocurrency could be distributed as easily as ‘likes’ and ‘upvotes’ and this high powered distribution mechanism would bring adoption and appreciation to the currency and the social network.”

The partnership comes at the same time as the Larimer-backed social media network VOICE was launched in beta.

Steemit Pays Its Content Creators in STEEM Tokens

As said before, Steemit is different from other social media platforms because it rewards its users with STEEM tokens for creating content, upvoting or commenting. Here’s why the STEEM tokens have value, according to Steem:

“Steem is a game system where users compete for attention and rewards by bringing content and adding value to the platform. The rewards people earn are tokens that have market value and are readily tradable. It is similar to how someone playing a video game could obtain a limited item or currency by playing the game. If the currency or items are transferable between users, then they can sell or buy them on game item markets.”

Justin Sun Wants to Create a New Era of Decentralizes Social Networking

Talking about the new partnership with Steemit, TRON Foundation’s CEO and founder Justin Sun had this to say:

“We are very excited to welcome Steemit into the TRON ecosystem. Together we will usher in a new era of decentralized social networking.”

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Author: Oana Ularu