Dalelorenzo's GDI Blog
30Apr/210

Crypto-Focussed, Phil Ivey-Fronted Virtue Poker Ready for Real-Money Launch in May

It's been a long superhighway from conception to perfection for the cryptocurrency-based online poker site Virtue Poker, with Phil Ivey still in place as its contributing spokesplayer, and a pending real-money launch slated for next month.

Phil Ivey Virtue Poker

For three and a half times, Phil Ivey has promoted an online poker area that didn't actually exist. That will soon change with Virtue Poker's schemed May launch.( Persona: Twitter/ PhilIvey)

Poker Hall of Famer Ivey has been the face of the blockchain poker campaign since his own" Ivey League" endeavor closed its entrances in 2017.

Virtue's announcement of the meant May launch came on Monday amid an investment-themed press release in which Virtue's corporate mother, ConsenSys, declared that it had successfully completed its latest funding round, fostering an additional$ 5 million in investment capital.

One of the site's major selling pitches is that it will be a decentralized online poker programme: musicians will fund their own bankroll pocketbooks independently and will retain control over whatever virtual funds are not actually in play at a payed table or in a tournament, removing any potential threat of corporate theft from the site's coffers.

Virtue's latest presser likewise proclaimed that it was the first such site to be licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority. The MGA has been perhaps the world's most proactive online-gambling regulator to pursue blockchain-based gambling opportunities.

“After years of consultation, in person assembles, and exertion,[ we] can proudly say we are the only licensed blockchain located poker employment in the market ," CEO Ryan Gittleson said." By are concerned with regulators to become a licensed online gamble fellowship, Virtue Poker now has legitimacy to crossover and compete for customers from bequest providers to return blockchain located gambling mainstream.”

Phil Ivey's frontman role continues

Ivey, the 10 -time WSOP bracelet winner, is still a key promotional part of the Virtue Poker. He also owns a stake in the startup and is among an increasing number of prominent pros to dive headfirst into the crypto-gambling scene.

“I’ve been working with the Virtue Poker team for nearly three years, watching them build a next generation poker platform, ” Ivey said. “Using a blockchain based structure generates a more secure and globally accessible remittance organization. I’m agitated to continue my partnership with the Virtue Poker team and work to bring the programme to poker parishes worldwide.”

Back in 2017, Virtue Poker announced its partnership with Ivey, in a character that's remained largely unchanged since. The website too had two other well-known pros, Brian Rast and Dan Colman, as part of the startup. Colman remains part of the Virtue Poker lineup, but Rast has since been substituted by Matt Berkey as an advisor and site representative.

Virtue Poker's long road to marketplace

Virtue Poker has traveled a roundabout course as it nears its official start. Founder Joe Lubin caused Virtue Poker back in 2016 as part of his ConsenSys family of Ethereum-supported business jeopardizes, but the project has had to weather changing market conditions and a hectic arena of struggled online-poker and online-gambling startups -- virtually all of which have flunked -- while creating a secure platform that also pleas to online players.

Competition comes from existing online-poker corporations as well. Many sites founded on traditional fiat monies( e.g .: the US dollar) often now volunteer virtual monies as alternative sediment/ withdrawal methods, and a few cases, such as the Bodog family of symbols, actively peculiarity such cryptocurrency directs. It's hard for any brand-new musician to gain ground against established competition.

Virtue Poker will too face the same sort of regulatory pressure that online-poker places must direct. Virtue has already announced a large number of countries where its services will not be available. The roll includes most of western and northern Europe, along with Australia, the United Country, and various other jurisdictions.

Nonetheless, the project remains on track to at last go live, with its statement detailing how an upcoming" mainnet propel" will allow real-money action to begin. That's the technical term for being able to write musicians' Ethereum monies/ withdrawals to the blockchain, which acts as a world-wide online tracking mechanism.

Virtue's promotional acts are gaining impetu. The website has been running giveaway affairs since early this year, and the launch will be accompanied by an exhibition tournament involving Ivey, Lubin, and others.

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26Mar/210

Afriex raises $1.2M seed to scale its payments and remittances platform across Africa

Sending money from the U.S. to Nigeria can be a painstaking process. For remittance platforms like Western Union, it will cost a carry cost and make between one to five business dates for coin transmit from a U.S. debit card to enter a Nigerian bank account.

Crypto remittance stages are rising to the challenge of correcting these cross-border payment issues by reducing time and costs. Only yesterday, we talked about Flux, a Nigerian fintech solving this problem in the present YC W2 021 quantity. Today, another YC-backed startup, Afriex -- but from the Summer 2020 batch -- is raising a $1.2 million grain round.

The company founded by Tope Alabi and John Obirije in 2019 provides instant, zero-fee movements to Africans at home and in the diaspora. It allows users to deposit cash on the app, cast coin to a bank account or another user, and withdraw fund to a connected bank or debit card.

Like other crypto remittance stages, Afriex has built its business on stablecoins -- cryptocurrency backed by the dollar. In essence, the company buys cryptocurrency in one country and sells it in another to offer better exchange rates. This is in contrast to better-known platforms like Western Union and Wise that use traditional banking systems.

Last year while the startup graduated from YC, it claimed to be processing about $500,000 per month in busines fees and is applicable in over 30 countries. At the time, Afriex was only present in Nigeria and the U.S. But having started actions in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda, Afriex claims to be processing millions of dollars each month. On the following website, though, Afriex states that customers can only send money to and from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Canada, and the U.S.

With the new financing, the Lagos and San Francisco-based startup is looking to scale up by growing the team and expanding to other markets.

Pan-African VC firm Launch Africa preceded the seed round. Other investors include Y Combinator, SoftBank Opportunity Fund, Future Africa, Brightstone VC, Processus Capital, Uncommon Ventures, A$ AP Capital, Precursor Ventures, and Ivernet Holdings. Angel investors like Russell Smith, Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon, Furqan Rydhan, and Andrea Vaccari also took part.

The SoftBank Opportunity Fund, an owned subsidiary of the SoftBank Group, targets founders of color in the U.S. moving early-stage startups. Since launching in June 2020, it invests in 22 startups and Afriex seems to be the only one catering to a adjust of users in the US and another continent.

SoftBank opens $100 M+ Opportunity Growth Fund to invest in benefactors of shade

This is due to Alabi's upbringing as an immigrant child who has had a mix of both natures. It was difficult to send money to Nigeria and its own experience as a blockchain make at Consensys stimulated him realize he could solve a problem.

“We would go back home every two years and even then, I would always take note of what was missing and what could be enhanced. I would find myself having to pay for foreign expenses with coin that was sitting in a US bank account, ” said Alabi. “Traditional remittance business were so gradual and costly that I knew I could do it better with crypto. Remittance is the best and most important use case for crypto. Our goal is to build the world's largest remittance firm, starting with emerging markets.”

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26Mar/210

Crypto social network BitClout arrives with a bevy of high profile investors, and skeptics

While much of the recent wave of relentless hype around NFTs — or non-fungible tokens — has been most visibly manifested in high-dollar art auctions or digital trading cards sales, there’s also been a relentless string of chatter among bullish investors who see a future that ties the tokens to the future of social media and creator monetization.

Much of the most spirited conversations have centered on a pre-launch project called BitClout, a social crypto-exchange where users can buy and sell tokens based on people’s reputations. The app, which launches out of private beta tomorrow morning, has already courted plenty of controversy inside the crypto community, but it’s also amassed quite a war chest as investors pump tens of millions into its proprietary currency.

Early backers of the platform’s BitClout currency include a who’s who of Silicon Valley investors including Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, the startup’s founder tells TechCrunch. Other investors include Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Winklevoss Capital and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. A report in Decrypt notes that a single wallet connected to BitClout has received more than $165 million worth of Bitcoin deposits suggesting that huge sums have already poured into the network ahead of its public launch.

BitClout falls into an exploding category of crypto companies that are focusing on tokenized versions of social currency. Others working on building out these individual tokens include Roll and Rally, which aim to allow creators to directly monetize their internet presence and allow their fans to bet on them. Users who believe in a budding artist can invest in their social currency and could earn returns as the creator became more famous and their coins accrued more value.

Why Terry Crews is launching a social currency

“If you look at people’s existing relationships with social media companies, it’s this very adversarial thing where all the content they produce is not really theirs but it belongs to the corporation that doesn’t share the monetization with them,” BitClout’s founder, who refers to themselves pseudonymously as “diamondhands,” tells TechCrunch. (There’s been some speculation on their identity as a former founder in the cryptocurrency space, but in a call with TechCrunch, they would not confirm their identity.)

The BitClout platform revolves around the BitClout currency. At the moment users can deposit Bitcoin into the platform which is instantly converted to BitClout tokens and can then be spent on individual creators inside the network. When a creator gets more popular as more users buy their coin, it gets more expensive to buy denominations of their coin. Creators can also opt in to receive a certain percentage of transactions deposited into their own BitClout wallets so that they continue to benefit from their own success.

The company’s biggest point of controversy hinges on what has been opt-in and what has been opt-out for the early group of accounts on the platform. Most other social currency offerings are strictly opt-in. Users come to the platform in search of a way to create tokens that allow them to monetize a fanbase and build a social fabric across multiple platforms. The thought being that if the platforms own the audience then you are at their mercy.

BitClout has taken an aggressive growth strategy here, turning that model on its head. The startup has pre-populated the BitClout network with 15,000 accounts after scraping information from popular public Twitter profiles. This means that BitClout users can buy shares of Kim Kardashian’s social coin or Elon Musk’s without those individuals ever having signed up for a profile or agreeing to it. This hasn’t been well-received by all of those who unwittingly had accounts set up on their behalf including many crypto-savvy users who got scooped up in the initial wave of seeding.

The startup’s founder says that this effort was largely an effort to prevent handle squatting and user impersonation but he believes that as the platform opens, a sizable pre-purchase of creator coins reserved for the owners of these accounts will entice those users to verify their handles to claim the funds.

Perhaps BitClout’s most eyebrow raising quirk is that the platform is launching with a way to invest into the platform and convert bitcoin into BitClout, but at launch there’s no way to cash out funds. The project’s founder says that it’s only a matter of time before this is resolved, and points to Coinbase and the Winkelvoss twin’s status as coin holders as a sign of future exchange support to come, but the company has no specifics to share at launch.

While the founders and investors behind the project see a bright future for social currencies on the blockchain, many in the decentralized community have been less impressed with BitClout’s early efforts to achieve viral adoption among creators in a permission-less manner.

“BitClout will make a great case study on how badly crypto projects can mess up incentive engineering when they try to monetize social networks.” Jay Graber, a decentralized platform researcher involved in Twitter’s bluesky effort, said in a tweet. “Trust and reputation are key, and if you create a sketchy platform and mess with people’s reputations without their consent it is not going to go well.”

If BitClout comes out of the gate and manages to convert enough of its pre-seeded early adopter list that there is value in joining its closed ecosystem version of a social token then it may have strong early momentum in an explosive new space that many creators are finding valuable. The concepts explored by others in the social currency space are sound, but this particular execution of it is a high-risk one. The network launches tomorrow morning so we’ll see soon enough.

If the question is #bitclout the answer is yes.

— Jordan Belfort (@wolfofwallst) March 20, 2021


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18Mar/210

Bitcoin drops from record-high of nearly $50,000 after a week of increased attention on Wall Street

GettyImages 1299369720

Bitcoin fell from its record high of virtually $50,000 on Monday after a week-long flurry of increased attention.The token traded around 1.6% lower at $47,845 after affecting its latest all-time high-pitched of $49,716 on Sunday.Rising rates and market reign will lead to increased regulatory investigation, one crypto expert said.Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Bitcoin slithered on Monday from its latest all-time high-pitched as investors made profit from its record-breaking rally last week.

The digital asset plunged 1.6% to $47,845, after posting a record of $49,716 on Sunday. Meanwhile, ethereum declined 0.6% to $1,789.

Bitcoin lured more attention on Wall Street last week as a tumult of revises propagandized the clue to the near- $50,000 recognize.

Tesla announced a $1.5 billion bitcoin asset, Mastercard is preparing to open its network to crypto, Bank of New York Mellon plans to start transacting bitcoin for its clients, and an investing arm of Morgan Stanley said it's considering a stake in bitcoin.

"Bitcoin is increasingly going mainstream and the vote of confidence by major companies could have positive effects on the cryptocurrency that will last far beyond the knee-jerk reactions seen in the past week, " said Milan Cutkovic, grocery reporter at AxiCorp.

Read more: Deutsche Bank says 'the time is now' to get optimistic on the aerospace sector and handpicks 7 assets to buy - including one with an upside of over 40%

Combining growing institutional demand with ultra-low interest rates, bitcoin could touch further highs during the first quarter of 2021.

One analyst thinks it could shoot higher than $ 50,000 this week. But that may require another financial institution to announce it will furnish crypto custodial services for their affluent private purchasers, said Jeffrey Halley, a elderly sell psychoanalyst at OANDA.

"I prefer to concentrate on fundamentals although with cryptos, " Halley said, adding that he can't buy a chocolate exercising cryptocurrency with an animal's face on it. "Therefore, I shall wait for Elon Musk's Twitter account to tell me what to do, because nothing is more fundamental than that, and it is always right."

But with increasing reign and appreciate, comes increasing regulatory scrutiny.

"Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will come under the spotlight from watchdogs like never before and this can be expected to create volatility in the market, " said Nigel Green, CEO and founder of investing firm deVere Group.

Read more: Tom Finke recounts how he went from running a $345 billion money administrator to joining in the SPAC boom as a sponsor - and shares 3 characteristics investors should look for in an ideal blank-check company

Read the original clause on Business Insider

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