eToro, the global investment platform with over 10 million registered users, today confirms the roll out of its crypto wallet.

The eToro wallet is a mobile application available via Google Play and the Apple App Store. It provides an easy to use customer interface and enhanced security. Multi-signature* security gives users the ability to see their on-blockchain transactions and balances without the fear of losing their private key**.

Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro comments: “We believe that crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it will have a huge impact on global finance. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise finance and we believe that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain. We believe that in the future all assets will be tokenised and that crypto is just the first step on this journey. Just as eToro has opened up traditional markets for investors, we want to do the same in a tokenised world. The eToro wallet is a key part of this.”  

In order to ensure the best customer experience for clients, eToro is launching its crypto wallet on a phased basis both in terms of users, with a country by country roll out, and functionality.

At launch, users will be able to store Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin in their eToro wallet. The number of supported cryptos will increase over time just as eToro has increased the number of cryptos available on its platform.

Initially, the ability to transfer crypto from eToro to the wallet will be available to Platinum Club*** members for Bitcoin. This will gradually be extended to more users and a greater number of crypto assets.

Yoni Assia continued: The eToro wallet today is just the beginning and we will adding a whole host of additional functionality which will include supporting additional crypto and fiat tokens, crypto to crypto conversion, the ability to deposit fiat, payment in store and more.”

About the wallet:

The etoro wallet is provided by eToro X Limited (“eToro X”).  eToro X is incorporated in Gibraltar with company number 116348, registered office 57/63 Line Wall Road, Gibraltar (“eToroX”). eToro X have received an ‘in-principle’ approval from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission in respect of its application for a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Provider Licence application.

About eToro:

eToro empowers people to invest on their own terms. The platform enables people to invest in the assets they want, from stocks and commodities to cryptoassets. eToro is a global community of more than ten million registered users who share their investment strategies; and anyone can follow the approaches of those who have been the most successful. Due to the simplicity of the platform users can easily buy, hold and sell assets, monitor their portfolio in real time, and transact whenever they want.

eToro is regulated in Europe by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.

Cryptoassets are unregulated and can fluctuate widely in price and are, therefore, not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptoassets is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework. Your capital is at risk.

*This post is credited to Paymentweek

What is a blockchain phone, and why would anyone want one?

  • Sirin Labs’ Finney and the HTC’s Exodus are set to become the first blockchain phones on the market.
  • In the long-term, blockchain phones could be used to increase our security and shift the control of our data away from large corporations back to the individual users.
  • In the future, it is likely that the concept could become mainstream due to the benefits it provides.

Blockchain has made some huge popularity gains over the past couple of years, but the concept of a blockchain phone still remains quite a mystery.

We’re both baffled that so many companies are trying to so hard to bring this concept to reality, and also surprised that it’s taken this long and we don’t already have a fully working model.

What is the blockchain phone, and which companies are developing it?

The main purpose of a blockchain phone is quite simple: To act as a hardware wallet keep your crypto safe.

However, it goes without saying that most of the companies willing to stick their neck out to create a blockchain phone have far greater ambitions than merely creating a glorified crypto storage device.

Sirin Labs’ Finney and the HTC’s Exodus are set to be the first blockchain phones, with both companies planning to release by the end of the year.

However, despite them both having the label of ‘blockchain phones’, the companies have integrated the technology in different ways, creating unique models.

What are the security risks?

Image: HTC

Tech blueprints of the HTC Exodus blockchain phone.

At first, the idea of a blockchain phone raised many eyebrows. Most people would consider their phone the last place to store all of their cryptocurrency—not least because the Android operating system has been found to include a number of security risks.

Following the increased number of attacks on centralized exchanges since cryptocurrencies have become more mainstream, many people have chosen to steer clear of software wallets altogether.

In fact, investors are so worried about security risks that they prefer to store their crypto in a cold storage wallet, which is completely disconnected from the internet.

Another big deterrent is the consideration that even if the phone is secure, it could be lost or stolen at any time, leaving the user without a phone but also without all their cryptocurrency..

Think about the amount of cash you feel comfortable carrying around in your pocket—the likely answer is, not much.

Now think about walking around with your entire savings account tucked away in your back pocket.

This raises the question, how do we get around these risks?

Companies are working to make the blockchain phone more secure

The HTC Exodus improves security by allowing users to hold their own keys and placing them in a trusted execution environment that is separate from the operating system of the phone. It’s part of an ARM chip called TrustZone.

This mechanism has been used by several other companies in the past to protect important data. For instance, Apple uses it to protect the information it stores about your fingerprint and your face that you use to unlock your phone.

However, even with these security precautions in place, it’s still not entirely foolproof.

In an interview with Wired, HTC’s decentralized chief officer Phil Chen said:

“We’re still at the very early stages of educating users that this is not a 100 percent secure solution, but as of right now it’s the best so far. It’s our attempt to do something that’s best from the market.”

The Finney phone, on the other hand, will feature a second touch screen that can be slid up from the rear of the device.

This is designed to turn on the device’s cold storage wallet which will cut off all unencrypted communications and ensure that the digital storage is inaccessible, in order to facilitate secure transactions. The phone can be used and bought with Sirin Tokens (SRN).

Nimrod May, the chief marketing officer at Sirin Labs, said that:

“The vision of Sirin Labs right now is to bridge the gap between the Blockchain economy and the mass market, by basically addressing and resolving these two inherent problems.”

How will a blockchain phone change society?

Image: Sirin

Sirin’s Finney phone has a slide compartment for the cold storage crypto wallet. When the compartment is closed, the wallet is offline and completely shutdown. To open the cold wallet, you slide up to reveal a 2-inch second screen for the authentication key.

The creation of the blockchain phone isn’t merely to give people yet another place to store their crypto. In fact, it symbolizes something much larger. In addition to giving people a new way to relate to their crypto, it will change the way they relate to their data and their identity.

Given the increasing number of data breaches we’re witnessing from large corporations, it’s apparent that people are becoming far more suspicious of the corporations controlling their data, and are interested in finding alternatives.

The blockchain is a transparent, immutable digital ledger that grants users full control of their own data and addresses many of the challenges we’re currently facing with regards to our digital identities.

Ultimately, the use of this technology in the mobile phone represents a shift in control from large corporations, back to the individual users themselves.

“A few years down the road, we see a world where people own their own identities and data, where everyone understands the concept and economics of digital property,” says HTC’s Chen.

Are blockchain phones the future?

There’s no doubt about it that blockchain phones are about to become a reality. However, whether or not they will appeal to the mainstream is a different question entirely.

At first glance, it may seem like just another gimmick that you could use to impress your friends at a party but upon closer inspection, it’s clear that the idea presents some notable benefits over the standard mobile phones most of us are currently using today.

When we spend around 23 days a year on our mobile phones, surely security should be one of our main priorities?

Which is exactly what the blockchain phone is set to provide.

*This post is credited to BigThink

Cobo, a cryptocurrency startup headquartered in Beijing, has raised US$13 million in a Series A funding round from DHVC and Wu Capital to further develop its consumer blockchain products and support the expansion of its product lines into additional markets globally.

Cobo offers two flagship consumer products: Cobo Wallet and Cobo Vault.

Reward Page, Cobo Wallet

Cobo Wallet is a multi-asset cryptocurrency software wallet that rewards users for storing Proof-of-Stake (PoS) cryptocurrencies such as Dash, Lightning Bitcoin (LBTC) and ZCoin (XZC). The “staking” feature allows users to pool their Dash, LBTC or XZC to mine cryptocurrency rewards and enjoy regular returns.

Cobo’s staking pools leverage users’ collective PoS assets to increase the combined staking capacity for a higher chance to validate transactions on blockchains utilizing the PoS consensus mechanism. Users earn PoS rewards as new blocks are validated by the staking pool.

“Crypto has come a long way since I first ventured into this space five years ago. While I’m excited to see that crypto investment and enthusiasm is on the rise globally, a majority of crypto assets remain dormant in an exchange or wallet for extended periods of time, which creates many lost opportunities,” said Changhao Jiang, co-founder and CTO of Cobo.

“As crypto becomes widely recognized as a legitimate financial instrument, our goal is to provide a rewards system that leverages unutilized assets to enrich investors and accelerate the growth of the entire crypto ecosystem.”

Besides the staking feature, Cobo Wallet supports 20+ chains including ETH, EOS, TRX, and 500+ multi-chain tokens. Users can choose to either register a cloud wallet with private keys backed up on the cloud, or generate their own HD wallet seed with private keys encrypted on their device. Cobo Wallet also features a native decentralized app (DApp) store.

The startup claims that since launching earlier this year, Cobo Wallet has attracted more than 500,000 users.

Cobo Vault
Cobo Vault

Meanwhile, Cobo Vault is a cryptocurrency hardware wallet that promises to be “the safest possible means of securing keys from hackers.”

Cobo Vault features a bank-grade encryption chip with tailored firmware that meets BIP 32, 39, and 44 protocols to ensure that the private key is stored in the encryption chip at all times. It includes a secondary level of hardware security that instantly triggers a self-destruct mechanism wiping all stored private keys and data in the event of an attempt to physically force open its body.

Cobo Vault also features web authentication to prevent supply chain attacks, firmware upgrades are done via TF card, and the device has no USB port to prevent active attacks. Transactions on Cobo Vault are conducted by scanning a dynamically changing QR code.

The device’s body boasts a 4-inch LCD display with an IP68 waterproof rating and a rugged, IK10 and MIL STD-810G certified, brushed aluminum case that can withstand a car driving over it, the company claims.

Cobo Vault will support eight of today’s top cryptocurrency including BTC, ETH and all ERC20 tokens. The development roadmap will include more coins based on community requests.

Cobo Vault retails for US$479 and is currently available for pre-order on Indiegogo.

What's in the box, Cobo Vault
What’s in the box, Cobo Vault

Cobo is the brainchild of two veteran blockchain entrepreneurs. Formerly a platform engineer at Facebook and Google, Jiang co-founded China’s first cryptocurrency wallet Bihang, which was acquired by cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin in 2013.

Cobo co-founder and CEO Shixing “Discus Fish” Ma is also the CEO and co-founder of F2Pool, China’s first mining pool and the largest multi-currency mining pool in the world today, which he launched in 2013.

*This post is credited to CoinJournal

In the last years, several Bitcoins and other virtual currencies have been stolen by thieves and hackers. However, it is possible to safely store virtual currencies and avoid being targeted by attacks.

According to a recent report, 4 million Bitcoin have been lost because users did not properly store them. But there are some tips that would allow you to properly store your funds.

The first thing to take into account is to know where we store the funds. Using online web wallets are not the best place to leave our cryptocurrencies. Online wallets use a private key access that must be stored on an offline document such as a paper. But it can be lost or even stolen.

But online wallets are very risky since hackers are able to access the funds in a very easy way. In order to avoid problems, the best is to store the cryptocurrencies in an offline wallet such as Trezor or Ledger.

Online wallets should only have small sums of funds and be used to purchase goods or trade virtual currencies. Once the operation is processed, the funds should be stored in cold wallets.

Another issue is related to losing the keys. Users tend to forget where they store their private keys, something that could be very harmful in case the investor wants to recover its funds. If a crypto investor wants to prove that he is the real owner of these funds, he should always have a private key.

If the user loses the private key, there is no way to recover it, since there is no system that allows for it. Users should store their private keys in a place where they will remember that they have it in case it is needed.

Furthermore, another mistake that investors make is to use an application or computer that has a slow, unreliable or insecure internet connection. If the application is shut down, the data stored there can be lost, or if the network is not safe, there can be hackers ready to steal users’ funds.

The best solution is to always use cold storage wallets, avoiding problems related to attackers or hackers.

*This post is credited to bitcoinexchangeguide

In a “State of Industry Panel” discussion at QuoVadis 2016, Jason Della Rocca, co-founder of Execution Labs, an early stage investor in game studios observed that “The barrier to entry is lower than ever, but the barrier to success is higher than ever before.”

Many indie game developers are driven by their creative flow and passion; hence, they are not naturally inclined to follow the marketing plan that is required activate the business side of a game development project. Their disinterest in marketing their projects however limits the development of their games to the amount of money, time, and resources they could afford to invest in it.

Secondly, game developers tend to develop understandably sentimental attractions to their game development projects; hence, they tend to avoid actions that could cause them to lose their artistic and creative autonomy over development. Getting funding from traditional early-stage investors or VC firms to develop a game often means that the developer dilutes some of their autonomy to make major decisions. Hence, most developers will rather opt to build a “small” game that they own completely instead of a investor-backed “big” game that ends up being different from their original plan.

This piece looks at how crowdfunding has tried and ‘mostly’ failed to solve the funding challenge for game developers. I’ll also provide insights into a blockchain company seeks to provide a more reliable process for crowdfunding game development.

Crowdfunding didn’t quite fix the funding problem for game developers

Crowdfunding is designed to be a fundraising solution that provides financial backing to entrepreneurs and causes with different financial needs across a wide range of industries. However, the reality is that the crowdfunding market is gradually tending towards cliqued industries and causes. For instance, the music, film & video, and games industries have the highest number of funded project on Kickstarter; but the games market alone has raised more money than the first two combined.

Jeremy Snyder, an associate professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia noted that crowdfunding in its current state is a “shift away from distributing resources to where they will do the most good, to more of a popularity contest… “If you have a large social network, media savvy and the ability to use computers, you tend to do well. But that might not match up with those who need the help the most.”

One of the biggest challenges in the current setup of the crowdfunding market is that the demand for funds has consistently outpaced the funds. Based on funding stats on Kickstarter for instance, the total number of Successfully Funded Projects is 146,223 while the number of Unsuccessfully Funded Projects almost doubles at 257,693. This data suggests that more than 63% out of entrepreneurs who try to raise funding for their innovative products and services on Kickstarter end up ending their campaigns empty handed.

The pattern in which unfunded projects outpace funded projects is also noticeable in other crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo and GoFundMe even though it is harder to get their actual stats. In fact, while Kickstarter has a success rate of about 40%, Indiegogo’s total success rate is only 9.8% and it only jumps to about 17.1% for its fixed funding campaigns. Unfortunately, about 95.6% of campaigns on Indiegogo are for “flex funding”.

Can we trust a blockchain solution to crowdfund games?

Game Protocol is a startup project that wants to revolutionize the world of gaming by leveraging blockchain technology. The platform hopes to enhance an easier, faster, and more accessible crowdfunding solutions for game development by giving gaming enthusiasts and investors an opportunity to search and discover interesting gaming projects in development, fund such projects, and benefit from the successes of the developers.

Developers and programmers can use the company’s Game Starter product source for funding from a community of gaming enthusiasts. The developer/programmer gets to create a funding campaign in which they provide some background, pitch, determine the kind of campaign, and let backers know how much they intend to raise. Backers then look through the different campaigns to support game projects they find interesting with a native GXT utility token

Game Protocol is also introducing a GP Developer Hub where gamers and developers can build and iterate gaming projects in a secure, private, and speed-enabled environment. To start with, developers can access developer tutorials written and maintained by a community of developers where you can learn a thing or two about game development irrespective of your skillset and experience level.

Processes on the platform are built on three key functional blocks of Crypto-Wallet for Game Engines, Wagering Smart Contracts, and a Random Number Generator. The Crypto-Wallet is a Unity 3D-based wallet that accepts the GXT Token (GXT) and all other ERC20 tokens. The Smart Contract System gives developers the options of allowing people wager GXT on games and rest in the knowledge that all the funds are secured in a provably fair decentralized system. The Random Number Generator provides an additional layer of certainty that transactions are immutable on the blockchain.

Nonetheless, it would be myopic to ignore the fact that Blockchain technology is still in its nascent stage and there’s no guarantee that it would solve the funding problem for game developers. For one, there’s still a huge wall of skepticism standing in the way of the mass-market adoption of blockchain and its applications. It is still somewhat difficult to get users trust a decentralized system in which no single individual/company can be held responsible if something goes wrong. It would be interesting to see how the general blockchain industry can break down the skepticism to usher in the age of decentralized funding for game development.

*This post is credited to MSN.