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Pornhub Partner Site Tube8 Announces Partnership With Vice Industry Token

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Tube8, a Pornhub subsidiary with over 150 million page visits every month, wants to incentivize consumers’ porn-watching habits with cryptocurrency.

The company revealed it has entered an agreement with Vice Industry Token (VIT) that will see its entire platform tokenized. The collaboration will enable users to earn VIT tokens for streaming and interacting with Tube8 videos.

The token implementation is planned to begin at some point before the end of the year. The announcement makes Tube8 the first major adult platform to adopt token-based rewards and actually pay its users for interacting with the content.

Some context first:

The adult entertainment industry has long been known as pioneers of early technology. This goes back to porn studios first emerging as a legal workaround to enable sex work—as long as there’s a camera.

This announcement is notable for the sheer number of users who actively use the site. It’s the first major test that will actually yield important data about whether this time of crypto business model works in practice.

According to Tube8 spokesperson Robin Turner, “For as long as I can remember, getting paid to watch porn was always a pipedream; one that was always dreamed about, but never fully realized. Now however, with the introduction of VIT, we are marking a paradigm shift in how people consume adult entertainment.

As opposed to having to fork over money to consume content, which some sites require, our users will get paid to consume our free content,” he continued. The more they interact with our videos, the more money they earn.”

Tube8 did not elaborate on how its crypto-rewards will be calculated, but odds are the platform will set certain reward limits to prevent users from gaming the system for profits.

One thing users won’t have to stress about is paying extra fees to use their tokens. Turner emphasized this fact repeatedly when he said, “There are no fees but [Tube8 and Vice Industry Token] will hopefully benefit mutually by expanding their user bases and increasing engagement with their respective products through this collaboration.”

The choice for Tube8 to alter its platform with a fresh user engagement model makes sense, but the rationale for partnering with Vice Industry Token begs some important questions – especially when one considers in the heated controversy the token distributor itself was recently embroiled in with Tube8 parent company pornhub.

Rober Turner spoke on this matter when he said, “VIT offers Tube8 a way to reward their viewers by monetizing content through the VIT protocol. Whereas before, users would log in, watch a few videos and leave, VIT incentivizes them to create an account and interact with the content to generate Vice Tokens.

It is the only cryptocurrency that is designed specifically for tokenizing and rewarding viewers of free content on tube sites,” the Tube8 spokesperson continued. Anyone can earn VIT and anyone can buy VIT.”

Despite Tube8’s insistence that Vice Industry Token is the only solution specifically built for integrating token-based rewards, there are tons of other blockchain startups providing similar services – though not all of them are fully centralized (which nullifies some of the biggest advantages of using blockchain in the first place).

That said, Vice Industry Token has managed to strike deals with a number of adult industry household names, including a collaboration with Donald Trump whistleblower Stormy Daniels. So there is clearly something that is making the offering attractive to industry insiders (and hopefully that is not Vice Industry Token’s sales team).

Although this is mere speculation, one theory is that since VIT originated from the executives behind adult industry behemoth Hustler, it is possible that they have connections with alot of industry figures that eased the transition to a blockchain based business model. If you’ve done business with someone before, it’s easier to take a leap of faith.

There’s also the fact that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in general is so “in” right now.

According to Turner, “Tube8 has over 10 million registered users who frequent the platform regularly Considering the popularity of cryptocurrency right now, it only made sense to pay them for watching, and interacting with, our videos. We value their attention and want to keep them coming back for more!”

There’s no doubt that rewarding users for their kinks is an offering likely to arouse the interest of many consumers across the globe. But given their ambitious goals and user base, Tube8 and Vice Industry Token have got some equally hefty technological hurdles ahead of themselves if they want to succeed.

The first of these undoubtedly is scalability.

While tokenizing a platform with a 10 million-strong user base and 150 million monthly visits sounds good, it is by no means an easy task. In fact, this would be nearly impossible on common blockchain networks like Ethereum, and this is according to co-founder Vitalik Buterin himself.

At present, Ethereum can handle roughly 15 transactions per second – far less than Tube8 would need to keep its millions of horny users properly rewarded consistently.

While Vice Industry Token has announced plans to migrate to a forked version of the Steem blockchain (which is more commonly known as Graphene) that purportedly can handle a throughput of 100,000 transactions per second, its VIT token is still based on Ethereum. The company ran an initial coin offering (ICO) on the Ethereum network, offering VIT as an ERC20 token.

Given that (as an ERC20 token) VIT suffers from the same problems that Ethereum does, the only way to fully tokenize Tube8 without clogging the entire blockchain would be by giving up decentralization – and running the VIT reward-based integration on Tube8 through a centralized server. This would completely defeat the point of moving the platform to a blockchain in the first place.

That said, these workarounds have arguably served as experiments in blockchain technology; and some companies may find this worth the risk if it means they will be on the bleeding edge of technological progress.

When asked about its plans to deal with the Ethereum-specific technological obstacles of its Vice Token integration, Tube8 suggested VIT has successfully transitioned to Graphene, and is no longer running on Ethereum.

Robert Turner further elaborated upon this as well, saying, “VIT’s blockchain, based on Graphene, can indeed handle the number of transactions required with no fee unlike Ethereum. VIT uses DPoS [Delegated Proof-of-Stake] and is fully decentralized. It is the only true working fork of Steem in existence.”

But according to Vice Industry Token reps on Telegram, VIT still operates on the ERC20 protocol. Even VICE CEO Stuart Duncan seems to agree on this point. “Everyone needs to understand there are a lot of moving parts to get Graphene as a software fork of Steem to run our platforms”, Duncan told VIT holders back in July.

Among other things, Duncan admitted on Telegram that one of the main roadblocks ahead of the Graphene migration is making sure the VIT-powered fork of Steem is completely bug-free. He also added the company is working hard on fixing so called “minor” bugs in a blog post from last month.

It goes without saying that this job might need more then a well-endowed pizza man knocking at the front door.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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ICO Funding Has Slowed to a Crawl; Bithumb Reportedly Eyes Security Token Offerings

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The amount of money flowing into initial coin offerings (ICOs) plunged in October to levels not seen since before the crypto boom took off in early 2017, as regulatory uncertainty and bear-market conditions continued to take their toll.

ICO Funding Plunges

Crypto startups managed to raise a mere $54.5 million in token sales last month, the lowest haul since March 2017, according to ICOData.io. That’s a far cry from the $1.66 billion raised in December 2016 and the $1.52 billion-dollar haul from this past January.

ICO funding has declined in each of the last four months following a decisive shift in market dynamics earlier in the summer. Tokens sales attracted nearly $913 million in investments in June; one month later, that figure had fallen to less than half.

For all of 2018, 1,150 ICO projects have raised in excess of $7.16 billion, easily outpacing last year’s haul. Although that still comes out to a respectable $6.2 million average raise per project, the amount of money flowing into the ecosystem has fallen sharply from peak levels.

Bithumb Pursuing STO Platform: Report

The fallout from the ICO boom has given rise to a new paradigm that seeks to address many of the longstanding issues plaguing token sales. The security token offering (STO) is a financial security that mirrors traditional shares in a publicly-traded company. STOs are governed by federal laws set forth by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), putting them in the same bracket as traditional securities. This includes specific consumer protection guidelines and rules for soliciting investment from the general public.

According to a new report from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is planning to launch its own STO platform. Citing industry sources, Yonhap reports that the exchange has already entered into an agreement with SeriesOne, a U.S. fintech firm, to begin developing the STO exchange, which would allow it to list security offerings in the world’s largest economy.

Yonhap reports that SeriesOne is looking to launch the security token platform during the first half of 2019, with Bithumb providing necessary resources to operate the exchange.

“SeriesOne actively sought to strike a deal with Bithumb after assessing it as the most suitable partner,” a Bithumb official said, as quoted by Yonhap. “Bithumb will ramp up efforts to develop into a global financial firm as the blockchain-based asset tokenization is expected to spread globally down the road.”

A platform backed by one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges could entice more startups to register as a security and actively seek contributions from U.S. investors. Until now, blockchain companies have been hesitant about entering the U.S. market due to more stringent regulations.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 664 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Is Goldman Sachs Finally Launching a Bitcoin Trading Product?

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After a full year of speculation, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may finally be following through with plans to launch a bitcoin trading product. According to The Block, Goldman has already begun a limited roll-out of its new trading platform.

About to Make a Splash?

Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Block reported Tuesday that Goldman Sachs is already signing up new customers for a forthcoming bitcoin derivatives product. Although details remain scant, the New York mega firm appears to be pushing for a non-deliverable forward – a cash-settled product that is comparable to futures but isn’t traded on an exchange.

Last year, Bloomberg reported that Goldman Sachs was planning to launch a full-fledged bitcoin trading desk by mid-2018 in its quest to bring crypto trading to mainstream investors. The bank has since scaled back that timeline and has apparently done away with the concept for now. The trading desk was initially conceived to support physical cryptoassets, including bitcoin. Although the bank has been involved in clearing bitcoin futures contracts that trade on CBOE and CME, Goldman announced back in August that it had “not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering.”

Rumors linking Goldman Sachs to crypto offerings continue to swirl. Earlier this month, Abacus Journal reported that the bank was actively seeking the creation of an Ethereum derivatives product that would serve many of the same functions described above with respect to bitcoin. According to The Block, those rumors are not accurate.

Institutional Adoption

Putting digital assets in the hands of institutional markets is considered by many to be the greatest hurdle standing in the way of mass adoption. This line of reasoning also believes that institutional access to the market, whether physical or derivatives-based, could spearhead the next wave of growth. While significant efforts have already been made to democratize cryptocurrencies and temper fears over custody and consumer protection, adoption at the institutional level remains limited.

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is launching its new cryptocurrency trading platform, Bakkt, in mid-December. The platform will initially offer physically settled bitcoin futures contracts as opposed to the derivatives contracts currently offered by the Chicago-based clearing houses. This means traders who purchase a futures contract will receive physical bitcoin on settlement.

ICE’s foray into cryptocurrencies could be a significant step in the market’s gradual pivot toward institutional investment. In the absence of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), physical futures could serve as a promising alternative for investors looking to diversify into crypto without the risk of trading on a virtual exchange.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 664 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Crypto M&A: Bitstamp Acquired by Belgian Investment Firm

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UK-based Bitstamp, which is the largest crypto exchange in the European Union, is being acquired by Brussels-based investment firm NXMH. Bitstamp, whose trading volume hovers at approximately $45 million over the last 24 hours and which only supports leading cryptocurrencies, will keep its management team and vision intact. The deal is a sign of shifting sands in the blockchain industry during a year in which market prices and trading volumes have plummeted.

Bitstamp’s reasons for being acquired are three-pronged:

  • “quality of the buyer”
  • “quality of the offer”
  • “the industry is at a point where consolidation makes sense”

According to Reuters, it’s an “all-cash deal”, the size of which is being held close to the vest. Bitstamp reportedly boasted a valuation of $60 million as of 2016. Bitstamp will gain access to the deep pockets of NXMH, which reportedly has AUM of EUR 2 billion and which should only strengthen the exchange’s competitive position. NXMH, whose investment approach focuses on China, Korea and Japan, is no stranger to crypto, with its parent company NXC having acquired South Korea’s Korbit exchange last year.  NXMH is acquiring a majority stake of 80% while Bitstamp CEO Nejc Kodrič will hold into 10%, according to Reuters.

Further industry consolidation could unfold with exchanges buying exchanges or there could be a trend emerging in which investment companies acquire minority and majority stakes. Bitstamp reportedly has been being courted by potential buyers since mid-2017, which suggests that other exchanges are similarly being pursued. Meanwhile, leading U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase is reportedly pursuing an IPO, though no signs of a public listing could be found.

With the BTC price having shaved off more than 50% of its value this year, exchanges are experiencing lower trading volumes versus a year ago, which no doubt has eaten into profits. Reuters reports Bitstamp’s daily turnover at $100 million, but CoinMarketCap suggests it’s less than half that amount. Bitstamp, whose humble beginning sounds a lot like that of Microsoft, having been “founded in a garage with two laptops and EUR 1,000 seven years ago,” maintains that the integrity of the exchange will remain the same.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

For all the progress that the industry has made, there are signs of an apparent “exit scam” unfolding on a small Canadian crypto exchange dubbed MapleChange over the weekend. If that proves to be the case, it’s two steps forward one step back for a crypto community that has worked to remove the stigma attached to the nascent industry.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 70 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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