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Blockchain Platform Allows any Phone-owner to Sell Content

Blockchain-based media platform Snapparazzi released the public prototype example of its eponymous blockchain-based content platform just yesterday, and it appears to post a significant threat to the troubled status quo of the media industry. 


Rise of social media

The content market has changed drastically over the past 10-20 years and is mainly represented by mainstream media outlets and independent/alternative content creators.

Issues resulting from this gap include reduced public trust in mainstream media organizations, elite talent circles, and a reduction in intellectual diversity.

Subsequently, the phenomenon of independent content creators and reporters has come to fruition: who range from travel documentarians to product and media reviewers, independent journalists, artists, and much more.

They have helped grow the platform, been launched to success by the platform, and in some cases – made small fortunes.

Problems within problems

The early days of these sites saw ordinary people, often far from the realms of “professional” entertainers, being afforded the opportunity to upload their creations and potentially achieve fame or relative fortune through cyberspace.

Since the days of ‘Chocolate Rain’ however, concerns such as YouTube demonetisation – which affects how much creators are paid, proportional to their channel size and popularity – have catalyzed a growing chasm even within the creator communities.

The saturation of creators suggests that there is certainly a demand coming from the suppliers of content however the lack of tangible rewards offered by existing models has arguably left a gap in the market that has been unaddressed for many months.

Power to the phones

It’s safe to say that almost everybody carries a phone in their possession with over 5 billion users expected worldwide by 2019. With phones acting often as an all-in-one personal device, it means that everybody has the potential to be a creator as well as a viewer of audio-visual content.

Snapparazzi hopes to dissolve the line between content creator and viewer by connecting users to advertisers and professional media organizations through their forthcoming mobile application.

It will allow anybody with a smart device to capture and market content and sell it in return for cryptocurrency based rewards, with users effectively answering local ‘bounties’ facilitated by geo-locational technology.

In all, the team claims that one of the primary objectives of this is “to reward exceptional and popular content creators”. This is achieved through a much larger proportion of the rewards going straight to the creator compared to standard platforms – and those trading content on the platform are fairly judged based on quality of work, rather than quantity of channel subscribers.

Even the viewers of content on the platform are able to earn currency in return for opting into viewing advertisements.

Everybody earns

To be more specific, the content creator is specified to receive 60 percent of all advertising revenue and 80 percent of the amount paid by the purchasing party, with the remainders going towards compensation of viewers of content – as well as a unique party in their decentralized eco-system who they call ‘moderators’.

Moderators play the role of content approval and authentication, in place of solutions such as in-house teams or proprietary self-learning algorithms used by many top platforms at present. To maintain impartiality, Snapparazzi will rely on community-sourced human moderators who in turn have a digital reputation based on accuracy rates.

The full version of Snapparazzi’s mobile app is due for release next month. The presale launched in tandem with the MVP, as well as round two of their airdrop. Each SnapCoin (SNPC) will cost $0.18 for the duration of this period.

With over $5 million in funds already secured through private investment rounds, it is more than likely that the team will accomplish the goals set for their public initial coin offering (ICO) in no time.

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New York AG Report Faults Crypto Exchanges for Manipulation Risks

The New York Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has released a report on cryptocurrency trading platforms, finding that many are vulnerable to market manipulation and referring several exchanges to another agency for potential violations of state law.

The NYAG’s inquiry was launched in April, seeking voluntary participation from 13 of the world’s most notable trading sites, including Coinbase, Kraken, Bitfinex, Bittrex, and Binance, among others. The process carried forward in spite of the refusal to participate from some exchanges as well as then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s resignation in May.

The newly-released Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative report drew issue with a number of practices put in place by the exchanges, including methods for monitoring and preventing market manipulation.

Indeed, the report states that several crypto trading platforms told the OAG that “it was impossible” to monitor or prevent market manipulation occurring on multiple platforms, meaning that exchanges are limited in their efforts to “police abusive activity.” While noting that exchanges like Gemini are seeking the ability to monitor more effectively, “some platforms do appear to be taking steps to improve surveillance.”

“The industry has yet to implement serious market surveillance capacities, akin to those of traditional trading venues, to detect and punish suspicious trading activity,” the NYAG report contended. “A platform cannot take action to protect customers from market manipulation and other abuses if it is not aware of those practices in the first place.”

The report also took aim at Kraken, which declined to participate and blasted the NYAG effort in a fiery public statement in April, stating:

“The OAG could not review the practices and procedures of non-participating platforms (Binance, Gate.io, Huobi, and Kraken) concerning manipulative or abusive trading. However, the Kraken platform’s public response is alarming. In announcing the company’s decision not to participate in the Initiative, Kraken declared that market manipulation ‘doesn’t matter to most crypto traders,’ even while admitting that ‘scams are rampant” in the industry.'”

Findings on New York operation, self-trading

The wide-ranging report covered a range of topics, including whether the exchanges in question are allowed to operate in New York – and if they are doing so even without permission.

Notably, the report said that Binance, Gate.io and Kraken had been referred to the state’s Department of Financial Services after an investigation into whether those exchanges are operating in New York. A fourth exchange, Huobi, was also investigated but not referred.

“The OAG investigated whether those platforms accepted trades from within New York State. Based on this investigation, the OAG referred Binance, Gate.io, and Kraken to the Department of Financial Services for potential violation of New York’s virtual currency regulations,” the report stated.

The NYAG’s office found that some exchanges could quantify how much trading activity on their platforms came from their own operations. Circle said it was responsible for less than 1 percent of the trading volume on Poloniex while BitFlyer USA conducts roughly 10 percent of the trades on its platform.

Notably, “Coinbase disclosed that almost 20 percent of executed volume on its platform was attributable to its own trading.”

The report also noted that while most exchanges use know-your-customer procedures, Bitfinex and Tidex do not, “requiring little more than an email address to begin trading virtual currencies.” However, the report did not offer a comment on any legal issues this may cause.

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Coinbase Hires LinkedIn Executive as New Data Chief

Cryptocurrency exchange startup Coinbase has hired LinkedIn’s head of analytics and data science.

Michael Li, a senior LinkedIn executive who spent more than seven years with the professional networking platform, is taking on the role of vice president of data, according to a blog post published Tuesday.

Li’s career to date has revolved around incorporating data into financial services, e-commerce and social networks, he wrote in the post. He believes that there are “endless possibilities” for using data in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to define and evolve the role data can play in a rapidly emerging space, combining an innovative mindset to solve new challenges with learnings from my past experience,” he said in a statement, adding:

“Data will be essential to empowering Coinbase’s mission, and core to company’s strategy to deliver the most trusted and easiest-to-use cryptocurrency products and services. I feel privileged to take on this challenging and rewarding new role to start the next chapter of my career.”

This latest hire continues Coinbase’s year-long push to expand its leadership team. In the last 10 months, the exchange has hired vice presidents for finance, communications and engineering, along with chief financial and compliance officers.

Notably, Li isn’t the first LinkedIn executive to join Coinbase’s ranks. In March, Coinbase announced that Emilie Choi had joined to spearhead its acquisition efforts.

More recently, the company announced it would look to hire more than 100 new employees over the next year for its recently-opened New York office.

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Mario Draghi: Europe ‘Has No Plans to Issue Central Bank Digital Currency’

The European Central Bank has no intentions of issuing a central bank digital currency. According to its president Mario Draghi, the current economic conditions fail to justify a need for it. 


Cash Remains King

Speaking in front of the European Parliament, the president of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi touched on the matter of cryptocurrencies and whether or not the European Union needs a central bank digital currency.

He outlined a few reasons for why the ECB “has no plans” to issue a unified digital currency.

First off, according to Draghi, “distributed ledgers have not yet been thoroughly tested and require substantial further development before they could be used in a central bank context.”

The president of the bank also noted that a state-run cryptocurrency will put the private banking sector and Central Banks in direct competition:

With regard to the central bank administering individual accounts for households and companies, this would imply that the central bank would enter into competition for retail deposits with the banking sector and lead to potentially substantial operational costs and risks.

However, despite explaining that cryptocurrencies could, in fact, help institutions “meet demands for both the security and digitalization of the economy… (and) could also allow monetary policy to reach a wider range of economic actors more directly,” Draghi also outlined that:

The demand for euro banknotes continues to grow, and cash remains a popular means of payment.

ECB

Others Disagree

While the ECB may have no immediate plans for a state-run cryptocurrency, other countries have already taken the opposite approach.

Bitcoinist reported July 27 that Iran is considering its very own state-issued cryptocurrencies as the country is set to come under renewed sanctions on behalf of the US.

On the other hand, Venezuela, which is currently torn by hyperinflation, decreed the cryptocurrency Petro as an official legal tender. However, numerous reports have since outlined that the usage of said statewide digital currency borders on non-existent.

Do you think the EU needs its own ECB-sanctioned cryptocurrency? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below! 


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Cryptojacking Scripts Found on Local Indian Government Sites

Official government websites in India ran cryptomining scripts without their owners’ knowledge, the Economic Times reported Monday.

Municipal government websites in the state of Andhra Pradesh, among others, were infected by cryptomining software such as Coinhive, security researchers found. Users visiting these websites would then inadvertently mine cryptocurrencies on behalf of the hackers who injected the scripts in the websites originally.

The process is called cryptojacking, as the malicious scripts essentially hijack a user’s computer to mine cryptocurrencies.

Security researchers Shakil Ahmed, Anisha Sarma and Indrajeet Bhuyan discovered the vulnerabilities, finding that three of sites running cryptojacking malware belonged to the ap.gov.in subdomain, which sees 160,000 hits every month, according to the report.

Bhuyan told the Times that government websites are popular targets for malicious actors, saying:

“Hackers target government websites for mining cryptocurrency because those websites get high traffic and mostly people trust them … Earlier, we saw a lot of government websites getting defaced (hacked). Now, injecting cryptojackers is more fashionable as the hacker can make money.”

Andhra Pradesh’s IT secretary did not respond to a request for comment from the Times, though the state’s IT advisor to the chief minister, JA Chowdary, said “thanks for notifying us about the AP website hacking,” on September 10, according to the report.

Despite acknowledging the cryptojacking malware, the websites continued to run the scripts as of September 16, the Times noted.

It is unclear how long each website ran cryptojacking software, or how much cryptocurrency was mined for the attackers.

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.