International Business Times reports that Greece’s new finance minister is Valve’s former virtual economist. Professor of Economic Theory and former Valve consultant Yanis Varoufakis was appointed Finance Minister of Greece on January 27, 2015. Previously, he was elected to the Greek Parliament, representing Syriza.
The fate of the Eurozone economy could well be in the hands of a man who once monitored the sales of virtual goods via micro-transactions in video games.
From January 2004 to December 2006, Varoufakis served as economic adviser to George Papandreou, whose government he was to become an ardent critic of a few years later. Author of several books on game theory, Varoufakis often appears as guest analyst for news media including the BBC, CNN, Sky News, Russia Today and Bloomberg TV.
In 2012, Varoufakis became Economist-in-Residence at leading video-game developer and distributor Valve, where he researched in-game digital economies and maintained the Valve Economics blog. He wrote:
My academic curiosity blended nicely into Valve’s burning desire to serve its gaming community better, through the development of services that are in tune with the community’s needs as gamers but also as traders, developers, participants in something much bigger than just video games.”
Varoufakis says he was hired by Valve to forge narratives and empirical knowledge that (a) transcend the border separating the ‘real’ from the digital economies, and (b) bring together lessons from the political economy of our gamers’ economies and from studying Valve’s very special (and fascinating) internal management structure.
Valve’s management structure is very informal. Varoufakis’ political economy analysis of Valve’s management model is:
One in which there are no bosses, no delegation, no commands, no attempt by anyone to tell someone what to do. Can useful lessons be drawn about not only Valve’s inner workings but, importantly, regarding the future of the corporate world?
That goes hand-in-hand with the ideology of Varoufakis’ political party, Syriza. Formally known as “Coalition of the Radical Left,” Syriza has been characterized as an anti-establishment party, difficult to categorize as Left or Right. After Syriza won the January 25 elections, Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras and right-wing Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos formed an anti-austerity coalition.
The EU economy is so large, any changes to it will impact the global market as well, and so Varoufakis’ policies will affect the rest of the world, virtual worlds magazine New World Notes reports. Before the elections, there have been speculations that a Syriza-led government would abandon the Eurozone.
Contrary to previous anti-Euro statements, Tsipras said that his government will not abandon the Eurozone immediately. Varoufakis said they would come to Frankfurt and Berlin and Brussels with a plan to minimise the cost of that Greek debacle to the average German, and will be very careful not to toy with fast or loose talk of Grexit (Greek exit from the Eurozone).
Images from Wikimedia Commons and Valve.
TokenCard ICO Bug: End of the Road for TokenCard?
A Hacked member writes:
Love your service. I was wondering what you thought of the tokencard bug and if you think it will negatively affect the project and it’s token value?
We at Hacked did not previously cover the TokenCard ICO. Looking into it, we have less-than-positive news to report. The TokenCard team seems to be taking the issue of mis-distributed funds lightly, have frozen transactions until they have a resolution, and overall seem to think that downplaying the issue is the best way forward. This is not true at all. For, it was only very recently that Bitcoin Unlimited enjoyed rather large support. Then, a bug in their code gave competing implementations and detractors the opportunity to declare the Bitcoin Unlimited team as incompetent.
TokenCard is only the latest entrant into the world of debit card + cryptocurrency. Already experiencing problems will certainly have an effect on the value of the token. Moreover, the failure to properly address user concerns is a monumental case of operator error on the part of Monolith Studios. Let’s look at what they had to say in their blog post on the subject:
All is fine. We are indeed fully aware of the bug that has occurred and there are indeed a number of solutions. Though it is not a large issue, we are taking this very seriously.
The TKN Creation Event pushed the boundaries of Ethereum crowdsales and with that we deemed it appropriate to explore these possibilities with adequate safety measures put in place. We were prepared for these kinds of possibilities; transfers are frozen until we are satisfied with the results. I want to thank the quality work done by Peter Vessenes and Dennis Peterson (New Alchemy) to be able to mitigate issues like this.
Translation: we’re not worried about this and neither should you be, despite the seriousness of not delivering on our stated promise of how coins would be distributed. Look at how great we are, and how unique. Don’t lose faith, oh no, don’t lose faith. We are awesome!
Lacking serious novelty – virtually any bank in the world could launch a competing product and fund it without an ICO – would have been enough reason to earn this a low rating as an ICO from the author. But now seeing that they couldn’t even launch properly but still managed to raise $12 million brings great concern for the ultimate fate of that $12 million. Other teams out there who were not even previously considering a debit card play may soon consider it. Anyone who is considering getting one of these Ethereum-based debit cards will surely not have brand loyalty to TokenCard, as well. Perhaps they’ll be considering Uquid, or some other option soon to come.
Mistakes can be forgiven, but accountability and responsibility are the watch word with these things. Will those who invested in the TKN token get their money back from the investment? Maybe. Can this mistake be considered malfeasance? Not necessarily, but certainly the team’s Hollywood-sex-scandal type response to the thing is a major red flag.
Is the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO) the Next Trusted Evolution of Online Casinos?
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).
FinTech Adoption Slower Than Expected
The chief executive of Holocentric has said that while there is no shortage of innovation in the FinTech industry, adoption is taking place at a much slower pace due to integration issues.
In a report from FinTech Business, Bruce Nixon said:
“With any new technology, there is hype and prototyping and testing and a lot of start-ups involved, but it takes a while for that to be melded into something that is robust and can be mutually accepted by a certain market.”
He adds, though, that an increase in the number of FinTech startups and changing customer needs means that startups are revolutionizing the market leaving other organizations struggling to keep up.
“The whole fintech space is breaking down the old barriers to the way things are done, but we’re not going to see it adopted as quickly as we’d like.”
Banks Weary of FinTech
Across the globe different countries are embracing the FinTech industry as more industries realize the benefits that the blockchain can provide.
Yet, while banks are beginning to see the benefits too they are doing so at a much slower pace. Not only that, but limited trust in the sector is showing that banks have a long way to go before they embrace the technology completely.
Many, however, may see this approach as the best way forward. After all, you only have to look at the result of the DAO hack to see that concrete measures need to be in place to ensure the safety of a decentralized system from hackers.
Of course, banks are working at implementing the blockchain into its services even if they are doing so at a cautious pace.
The UBS wealth chief announced last month that banks are now focusing on working with FinTech companies instead of regarding them as competition.
This news comes in light of the fact that many European FinTech firms believe that banks are lobbying against the EU PSD2 regulation that would force banks to open up access to payment account information to third parties such as financial technology firms.
This would essentially help customers put more trust in FinTech companies, but many of the firms believe they are not keen to share the information.
As a consequence, the adoption pace is much slower than many would like to see, but the fact that it’s happening at all is a positive as the benefits and the collaboration are slowly realized.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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