In an ask-me-anything style Q&A recently at Slashdot, Kim Dotcom revealed a lot about his life. He also told anyone who was listening or reading that he was not involved with Mega anymore, and wouldn’t consider Mega safe. Here are his exact words:
I’m not involved in Mega anymore. Neither in a managing nor in a shareholder capacity. The company has suffered from a hostile takeover by a Chinese investor who is wanted in China for fraud. He used a number of straw-men and businesses to accumulate more and more Mega shares. Recently his shares have been seized by the NZ government. Which means the NZ government is in control. In addition Hollywood has seized all the Megashares in the family trust that was setup for my children. As a result of this and a number of other confidential issues, I don’t trust Mega anymore. I don’t think your data is safe on Mega anymore.
Mega is a rather expensive storage solution when compared against others. Dotcom took questions on a range of other issues. When asked what he would propose in place of current copyright law, Dotcom said:
Copyright & technology need to co-exist. Copyright creators need to adapt to new technologies and not the other way around. The Internet is threatening the old copyright models, but it is also offering an enormous opportunity to monetize copyright with innovative concepts that are better than those of the past. Today we are living in a world of copyright extremism. It is completely misguided, and it’s hurting technology companies and the Internet as a whole.
Dotcom has been the subject of several sensational stories ever since his home was raided several years ago. His wife has since left him, and he is fighting a legal battle with the United States. In the ruins of his previous company, Megaupload, he founded Mega, an encrypted file sharing service. Then more recently he was ejected from that company, too.
Dotcom also released an album called “Good Times.” The entrepreneur was also involved in the founding of Baboom, an upcoming music service that will compete with Spotify.
The takeover of Mega could be a fatal blow for Kim Dotcom, or he could shrug it off and continue with his other projects. Upon his initial arrest, it was discovered that he had both German and Finnish citizenship while at the same time he lived in New Zealand.
Kim Dotcom may not be a favorite of the US government but given the opportunity he continues to find ways to make a living on the Internet. He recently announced a new Internet-like protocol that would not involve IP addresses and thus would protect people’s identities. This was announced before anyone knew that he had been pushed out of his company. No one at Slashdot asked him about his proposed alternative Internet. However, he said of Internet freedom:
I had to carry a lot of pain and fear for a lot of people in the last few years. They destroyed my business. They took everything I worked for and seized all my assets. They destroyed my family and drove my wife back into depression and alcoholism which destroyed the happy family we once had. So many people suffered as a result of the unjust actions by both the US and New Zealand governments. I thought about giving up. Who wouldn’t in such a situation. But I have to fight because I have such a huge responsibility. First and foremost I have to fight for my five children. They need me. Unfortunately they can’t rely on anybody else. And of course I’m fighting for all of you. If I give up all of you will lose. They will use this case to turn our Internet to shit. I love the Internet. It gave me everything. I believe in Internet freedom, in your right to share, in your right to privacy.
Image from 360b / Shutterstock.
New York-Based TokenBnk Launches Crypto Savings Account
The blockchain ecosystem is budding with innovation. TokenBnk has added its name to the list of most interesting blockchain startups when it launched a decentralized application that functions very much like a traditional savings account.
Traditional Finance Meets Cryptocurrency
New York-based TokenBnk is the world’s first Ethereum-based savings account. The general idea behind TokenBnk is that you can deposit tokens into your Savings Contract (instead of a savings account) and earn rewards in the same token you hold. It operates very much like a traditional bank account, only for cryptocurrency. That’s kinda what we’re all about here at Hacked.
To illustrate how the platform works, suppose you receive 1,000 TBK as a reward and hold 500 of them in ether and 500 in OmiseGo. You will receive the same proportion of tokens back into your Savings Contract, thereby boosting your position size.
To withdraw ether from your savings account, you must pay a predetermined fee using the platform’s native TBK token. The fee is distributed as an award throughout the network via smart contract. The amount network participants receive is proportional to the percentage of the Total Network Value they represent.
TokenBnk emerged-by-stealth on or about Thursday, much to the surprise of the author, who has been anticipating this project for quite some time. The release was accompanied by an 11-page whitepaper and plans for a Nov. 30 token launch.
The protocol is being audited as we speak before beta testing goes live. TokenBnk will launch via mobile app some time in Q1 2018, followed by a full platform launch later in the year.
The development team behind TBK is impressive, with the main website listing 14 young men who can’t be more than 35 years old. The team hails from some of America’s most prestigious universities, such as Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon and NYU. Private sector experience is also exemplified with stints at Amazon, AngelList and J.P. Morgan. (We’re glad the former JPM employees at TokenBnk didn’t drink from the same Kool-Aid as Jamie Dimon.)
TokenBnk CEO Shayne Coplan makes a strong case for his platform, especially for those of us keen on investing in cryptos over the long term.
“Currently, most long term holders leave their tokens in their Ethereum wallet, but why do that if you can yield automated regular returns by storing them on the blockchain as part of the TokenBnk network?” Coplan told Hacked. “The idea of holding fiat currency long term and earning no ROI is considered foolish, and it will be no different for cryptocurrencies.”
Coplan was part of the ETH presale back in 2014. With ether prices recently surging past $300, most market participants probably regret trading it right off the bat.
“In hindsight, the buy and hold strategy massively outperformed even the most successful of traders,” Coplan adds. “With the new wave of tokens arriving in the market over the next few years, hopefully TokenBnk can help token holders avoid making that same mistake.”
Ether trails only bitcoin in the race for market cap and is widely considered one of the most promising cryptos from a development point of view.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Blockchain, Insurance and the Crisis of Trust
Blockchain has been described as the modern-day cure for many ailments facing industry. For insurers, the ledger technology can change the way businesses process claims, share data and prevent fraud.
Blockchain for Insurance
Fin-tech disruption has played an important role in reshaping the insurance industry. The internet, mobile devices and even data analytics have become indispensable to modern-day insurance providers. What’s more, the industry full expects this disruption to intensify in coming years.
A survey of financial service providers conducted by PwC found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of insurers identified their own industry as the most likely to undergo significant change as a result of technology. That survey was conducted long before blockchain was even a thing for the average observer.
Fast forward to today, and blockchain is all the rage. Beyond the hype, the ledger technology has radically transformed our perception of record-keeping and trust. As a self-managed system, it can help insurers coordinate claims and boost efficiency without the need for an intermediary.
Most people have or at some point will interface with the insurance sector. It is here that they will likely experience the crisis of trust that have caused many to go uninsured. Recent earthquakes in California revealed that only 17% of the state’s homeowners have insurance to cover the natural disaster.
Of course, everyone in the state knows about the San Andreas fault. The choice to go uninsured is a rational one aimed at circumnavigating an industry plagued by a lack of trust. Blockchain isn’t some magic bullet that will fix this problem. But what it can and will provide is transparency.
More transparency can create a more efficient insurance sector by reducing or eliminating all together the need for manual processes. As anyone who has tried to switch healthcare providers knows, manual data entry is prone to huge risks, not to mention fear of losing personal data. Through blockchain, personal data may be controlled by an individual, but verification is registered on the immutable ledger book.
Blockchain also provides smart contract capability, which can greatly enhance claims processing. By recording and verifying contracts on the ledger, insurers can guarantee that only valid claims are made. For consumers, it also means not having to fill out cumbersome paperwork.
Insurers are also leaning on the blockchain to detect fraud, which drains businesses out of tens of billions of dollars annually. The blockchain’s permanent record provides a decentralized repository insurers can use to verify every customer, policy and transaction. Before the blockchain, this would have required extensive cooperation between various actors.
There’s already a budding community of blockchain companies involved in the insurance industry. Together with other finance companies, they are among the biggest draws of the ICO market. According to CoinSchedule, more than 9% of the total funds raised via ICOs this year have come to finance companies.
When it comes to blockchain, insurance is another sector investors should carefully monitor. It is highly lucrative, but suffers from huge flaws that these new technologies can help fix.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Gizer and Gaze Coin Join Forces to Shape eSports Future
Global gaming network Gizer has joined forces with VR platform Gaze Coin in a bid to transform the eSports economy. The companies are expected to boost monetization channels while providing new opportunities for virtual reality-based gaming.
The strategic partnership, which was just announced via Gizer’s Medium channel, appears to be centered on delivering gaming events in virtual and augmented reality. That’s a powerful concept for the rapidly growing eSports segment.
Gizer launched its crowdsale last month amid much fanfare, and has been ranked one of Hacked.com’s best ICOs of the year. The gaming network made headlines last month after it brought on blockchain heavyweight David Drake to its advisory board. Drake is the Chairman of LDJ Capital and is regarded as an influential blockchain leader.
Gaze Coin’s ICO is coming down the pipeline for Nov. 28. It will be hosted on the Ethereum platform, with a total supply of 100 million tokens.
Both companies appear to be synchronizing their development roadmaps to deliver games in virtual and augmented reality. Gizer plans to unveil its marketplace in early 2018. That’s around the same time Gaze Coin intends its launch the mixed-reality game Dream Channel, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival this past May.
eSports Industry Is Booming
The eSports ecosystem is growing at a rapid rate, according to various research reports that peg it as a billion-dollar industry over the next two years. Earlier this year, Newzoo said it expects eSports revenues to reach $1.5 billion by 2020, with brand investment doubling over that period.
Clearly, the idea of creating professional leagues out of multiplayer games is gaining in popularity. Given the number of users already playing online, the need for an integrated network that connects all the dots and provides incentives has never been greater. The blockchain can greatly enhance the end user experience by creating a stable infrastructure to handle all transactions. This not only improves the platform, but ensures toxic members are kept at bay. (How many times have you played your favorite EA Sports game only to have to deal with members abusing one another and cheating? The blockchain is a potential remedy.)
Greater community involvement and more opportunity to grow the ecosystem are the other major benefits offered exclusively by the blockchain. And because this environment can be monetized, there’s huge incentive to grow and improve it over time.
In reality, eSports is just one of a myriad of industries currently being developed by the blockchain community. A total of 27 industries have been represented by the ICO universe this year alone, according to CoinSchedule. Gaming and VR token raises have been among the most lucrative, drawing in more than $120 million through the first ten months. That’s roughly 4% of the $3.25 billion in ICO funding raised this year alone.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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