Nick Ayton explores the myths and misunderstandings regarding the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation, where recent bad press with the ‘DAO hack’ hasn’t improved the basic understanding. The hack may have created perceptions as to how a DAO actually works.
Lots of activity, a hot space.
The gaming industry, like music, is being disrupted by Blockchain start-ups that are challenging the status quo. Who wants to challenge the traditional online gaming sector that has an increasingly poor reputation for tampering and moving the odds? Recent successful crowdsale, including vDice.io that exceeded expectations, suggests there is a growing appetite for blockchain gaming investment opportunities.
Ethereum decentralised properties are a perfect storm for addressing the concerns of online gaming that not only squares the odds, but creates a transparent and open environment that players can trust. Random Number Generation delivered by Smart Contracts is proving itself as an ideal technology for bringing change to the sector.
DAO – The Decentralised Autonomous Organisation
The Wikipedia definition of a DAO is:
a decentralised autonomous organisation is an organisation that is run through rules encoded into computer code called Smart Contracts. The DAO financial transactions record and program rules are maintained on a Blockchain.
Is it unreasonable to judge any DAO by the recent event where a DAO was set up as a Venture Fund raising $150 million in crowdsale in June 2016 – and was then immediately hacked and drained of $50 million in cryptocurrency?
A DAO is a software construct whose architecture can vary enormously, it is just a way of building software so that it is sustainable and doesn’t rely on a single trusted third party. A way of scaling trust that is often left to people has issues. A DAO is software designed in certain way.The DAO hack was a result of a bug that left the door open for someone to exploit and as a result the Ethereum community decided to hard fork.
It is clear there are many different ways of building a DAO, which is based on crypto-economic principles that create an eco-system where all the participants have a role and can share the benefits. For the purists a DAO isn’t seen as a platform but as a Peer 2 Peer Marketplace, which is an important distinction. A marketplace that behaves as a sustainable autonomous economy.
The early DAOs were used as an experiment where developers could understand how autonomous structures as constitutions would work. A good example is The Peoples Republic of Doug which was written in early versions of Ethereum using LLL (Lisp Like Language) to generate Smart Contracts that formed the constitution back in June 2014.
As Vitalik Buterin confirmed back in Nov 2015, LLL was always meant to be a simplistic language, suggesting Serpent is better suited. And now there is Solidity that is rapidly becoming the favored language for Smart Contracts that lie at the centre of a new Democracy.
Are DAO’s therefore misunderstood and getting bad press?
Almost certainly yes, as any new technology comes to terms with itself, and Blockchain is not different, there are those that want to see it struggle and even fail. But these early examples are merely evolutionary experiments on a path to where a new generation of organisations, of self governing economies, of self sustaining eco-systems; to be used, maintained, and controlled by the community itself with the underlying constitution written as software rules.
The aim is 100% autonomy with no delegates appointed making decisions, but inevitably some human involvement is required at the outset. It was interesting to learn that the inventor of The Peoples Republic of Doug was locked out of the system he had created once it was operational.
Ethereum is the creator of the DAO concept that has come a long way in recent years with many lessons learned – not to be repeated.
As Roger Aitken, a distinguished journalist for Forbes Magazine, notes in his article DigixDAO Crypto Trading: Are we seeing a new Gold Standard for Crypto-Assets?
The construct of a DAO has many use cases including the concept of a self-renting autonomous electric vehicle Mobotiq.
DAO for gaming – a new era in Gaming or what?
There are some DAO ICOs coming up that create a coin as a Token which offers certain obligations, rights, and benefits for investors. DAOCasino is a bit different and more like a Token launch rather than an ICO. It encourages and gives incentives to communities of game developers, auditors, and partners to participate in the eco system – where each can receive an income based on the contributions made.
A DAO can be explained as a marketplace infrastructure built on Ethereum using Smart Contracts for the underlying governance to form the constitution. The DAOCasino offers a gaming backbone: A core infrastructure for developers to develop games (back end) and to promote games (front end) – kind of like App Store.
With the Ethereum core development team working on SWARM, their decentralised storage and file sharing solution – and Whisper messaging due soon, the next generations of DAO will evolve as stronger and more reliable.
DAO Gaming Community
Is the future of gaming autonomous gaming markets that are not owned by the large Casinos and Online Betting organisation, but by people who want to enjoy gaming, trust gaming and ensure fair play…? Is DAO the only real way to achieve this?
The DAOCasino is building a community around a marketplace for game developers, auditors, referrers, community members and players so they can enjoy a trusted, open, transparent environment that ensures everyone is rewarded based on contribution. At the start minimal human involvement (delegates) will agree the consensus that sets the parameters of the community, for audit and security that defines how and where the code is checked and the broader governance formulated, and then release the DAO for 100% autonomy.
The future of gaming looks like a DAO
The concept of a DAO has always been a strong one in markets where vested interests and tampering creates distrust – and the temptation to make disproportionate amounts of money from unsuspecting customers. The DAO is a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation, a company, a new type of human organisation operated by its members who create a constitution that cannot be manipulated or tampered with, doesn’t have a management hierarchy, jurisdiction, or legal framework.
As Stephan Tual, founder of www.Slock.it breaking new ground in autonomous business models and one of the original entrepreneurs involved in the DAO, says:
“It (the DAO) is not bound by terms of law and jurisdiction. It is bound by code”.
Will the DAOCasino herald in a new era in online gaming and casinos where a broad range of games are offered and supported – lottery, slot machines, card games, betting terminal and sports betting are vetted to ensure they are fair and trusted by the DAOCasino community? A community eco system that wants to flourish, that by its very existence needs to deliver confidence and trust to players or fail.
I am reliably informed the DAOCasino Token Launch is planned for the spring of 2017. To find out more visit www.DAO.Casino
(The writer is not affiliated with DAO.Casino).
Fidelity Investments is Mining Cryptocurrency
Fidelity Investments is a multi-billion dollar brokerage that just so happens to be mining cryptocurrency. In fact, it has been at it for three years, using its own computers to harvest bitcoin and Ethereum.
CEO Abby Johnson recently told Fortune that its U.S.-based mining operation is “making a lot of money.” This comes despite running a relatively modest operation.
Hadley Stern, Senior VP of Fidelity Labs, described his company’s venture as an “experiment.”
The real reason we began mining, and still do, is to learn how the network works, how consensus works, how difficulty levels work,” he said in reference to the mining process.
The key to profitability has been the dramatic rise in cryptocurrency over the past year. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the world’s No. 1 and 2 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, and no-one else comes close.
Well Ahead of the Pack
The fact that Fidelity has been at this for three years speaks volumes about the company. Other, much bigger players are still dipping their toes in the market, but are unsure about how to proceed. Goldman Sachs is reportedly on the fence about starting a cryptocurrency trading operation, while J.P. Morgan has already begun handling customer orders for bitcoin-based instruments.
Fidelity is doing a lot more than just mining tokens. Earlier this year, it reached an agreement with Coinbase to let customers view cryptocurrency prices alongside other assets on their Fidelity homepage.
Coinbase is the world’s most funded cryptocurrency exchange with more than 7.4 million users.
The cryptocurrency market ended the week on a firm note, with bitcoin (BTC/USD) reaching a session high of $4,425.00. At press time, the index was up 1.6% at $4,368.
Ether is also trading higher against the dollar, with the ETH/USD rallying more than 3% to $305.
Ripple (XRP) lost momentum on Friday, but still managed a weekly gain of 21%.
Chinese Government Eyeing Fresh Bitcoin Legislation?
The Chinese government could roll out fresh cryptocurrency regulation in the coming months permitting licensed brokers to operate, based on recent information from Xinhua.
The state-owned news publication recently revealed that the government is mostly concerned with stamping out illegal activity involving bitcoin and other cryptos. Government authorities could be planning to regulate the market by creating a licensing program with strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems.
The Case for AML
The need for KYC/AML protocols has long been raised by cryptocurrency proponents, especially in reference to initial coin offerings (ICOs). In response, the blockchain community has come together to create the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT). The SAFT is both an instrument and open-source framework for token sales that vets accredited investors.
SAFT activity is quickly gaining traction, with the likes of Gizer recently issuing a presale of its ICO through SAFTLaunch.
SAFT was officially created by Protocol Labs in close collaboration with AngelList and Cooley.
China’s Stance Looms Large for Cryptocurrency Market
Although digital assets have recovered from the China-induced flash crash of September, favorable regulations on the mainland could mean big business for bitcoin exchanges. Prior to the ban on ICOs and bitcoin brokers, Chinese investors were responsible for a quarter of all BTC trades.
According to Xinhua, China is likely to pursue a licensing program similar to Japan, a country that recently approved 11 cryptocurrency exchanges. CnLedger, a leading source of cryptocurrency news in China, recently had this to say:
“Xinhua News, official press agency of CN: Virtual currencies have become the top choices of underground economies. We shall adopt ‘0-tolerance policies’ towards crimes hidden underneath and take measures such as record-keeping, licensing, AML processes, real-name, limiting large transactions.”
Is China’s cryptocurrency ban temporary? It certainly looks that way. Regulators must already know that the ban hasn’t stopped mainland investors from buying cryptocurrencies next door in Hong Kong or Singapore. A saner approach to an all-out blanket ban is a tighter regulatory framework that will stamp out money laundering and other underground activities.
«Featured image from Shutterstock.»
Tim Draper Has Made Over $110 Million Since 2014 With his Bitcoin Investment
Tim Draper, the billionaire technology investor and prominent venture capitalist who has invested in some of the most successful technology startups in the likes of Coinbase, Patreon, SpaceX, Tesla, Box, FourSquare, has profited over $110 million from his investment in bitcoin less than three years ago.
In 2014, Draper participated in the auction of 144,336 bitcoins by the US government and the US Justice Department, which were seized during the investigation into Silk Road, a dark web marketplace. Draper was granted the permission to purchase a batch of 30,000 at around $600 from the US government.
Upon securing 30,000 bitcoins, Draper told Fox Business:
“[I’m] very excited about bitcoin and what it can do for the world. Bitcoin is as big a transformation to the finance and commerce industry as the internet was for information and communications. If bitcoin were here in 2008, it would be a stability source for our world economy. Everybody should go out there and buy a bitcoin. Every investor who’s a fiduciary should at least be partially involved in bitcoin because it’s a hedge against all the other currencies. There’s a whole ecosystem being built that’s going to make commerce much easier with much less friction and safer.”
Today, Draper’s 30,000 bitcoins are worth $129.9 million. Considering that Draper had spent $19 million purchasing the batch of 30,000 bitcoins in 2014, Draper has recorded a profit of over $110 million in less than three years.
While Draper held onto his investment in bitcoin, the US Justice Department was quick all of the 144,336 bitcoins seized during the Silk Road operation. According to various sources, the US government sold the majority of its 144,336 bitcoins at a price of $336, at $48 million. If the US government had sold its bitcoins in 2017, it would have generated an additional profit of around $573 million, as 144,336 bitcoins at today’s bitcoin price of $4,330 are worth $624.9 million.
Since 2014, in addition to purchasing tens of thousands of bitcoins, Draper has funded some of the most successful bitcoin companies in the cryptocurrency market including Coinbase and Korbit. Earlier this year, Coinbase secured a $100 million investment at a $1.6 billion valuation, while Korbit was acquired by the parent company of a $10 billion gaming company in Nexon at a $140 million valuation.
Furthermore, Draper has not sold his stake in Coinbase and earlier this year, Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, revealed that Coinbase is still at an early stage in terms of developing and scaling. Armstrong noted that it will evolve into the safest and most trusted exchange in the global market.
“Digital currencies are having their ‘Netscape’ moment. The pace of innovation has been accelerating and we are now seeing exciting projects and companies being built on top of digital currencies. We’re beginning to transition into phase three of our secret master plan. Our goal is to be the safest, most trusted and compliant, and easiest to use. Not the first to market with new assets. Especially at scale, it takes time to ensure any new asset we add is well tested and secure,” said Armstrong.
Coinbase is also one of the two exchanges in the US market apart from Gemini that is targeting institutional and retail investors by providing sufficient liquidity. As Coinbase and its flagship cryptocurrency trading platform GDAX continue evolve, Draper will position himself at the forefront of cryptocurrency innovation and disruption.
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