OmiseGo Donation for Refugees

In late March 2018, decentralized payment provider OmiseGO and Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin teamed up with the nonprofit GiveDirectly to send $1 million to refugee families in Uganda. More than 12,000 households will benefit from this donation, which will be exchanged from the OMG ERC20 tokens into local currency.

“OmiseGO, with an additional generous contribution from Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, is donating the equivalent of $1 million USD in OMG tokens directly to refugees living in extreme poverty, and GiveDirectly will deliver those funds,” OmiseGO founder Jun Hasegawa wrote in a blog post, adding that as successful members of the growing crypto-economy, they “see an exciting opportunity to share that wealth.”

How GiveDirectly Works

Providing unconditional cash transfers directly to people dealing with significant poverty is GiveDirectly’s central mission. They have raised over $200 million since 2013 towards this end. GiveDirectly conducts field research before enrolling individuals in its programs and provides a live feed featuring the recipients on its site. GiveDirectly also offers extensive research on its site explaining how direct cash donations both benefit those in poverty and are usually well-spent.

This group states that 88.4 percent of its donations go directly to recipients. To learn more about how charities typically spend money, the watchdog site Charity Watch from the American Institute of Philanthropy is a useful resource. Their top-rated groups “generally spend 75 percent or more of their budgets on programs,” among other factors.

Why This Collaboration Makes Sense

GiveDirectly’s work aligns with several of OmiseGO and Buterin’s goals. OmiseGO is an Ethereum-based, decentralized and disintermediated network that offers self-sovereign and peer-to-peer financial transactions. It can be of particular use to those in developing countries who do not have reliable and equitable access to banking infrastructure. It’s “financial tools do not require users to go through centralized networks, which often put up barriers and impose unnecessary costs,” Jun said.

“Refugees are a perfect population to serve through this effort … We’re excited to plug them back in, transfer funds, and let them get to work,” Jun said of the recent $1 million joint donation.  

Vitalik has often called on members of the digital money-community to find meaningful uses for blockchain and cryptocurrencies, rather than just trying to accumulate wealth. He walks the walk as well – in February 2018 he gave $2.4 million to the SENS Research Foundation, a nonprofit addressing age-related disease.

Featured photo credit: CC via UNMISS on Flickr

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Cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance has announced a $1 million coding competition — dubbed the “Dexathon” — to solicit prototypes for the company’s planned decentralized exchange (DEX) and public blockchain.

The Hong Kong-based Binance announced the Dexathon on Friday, explaining in a statement that building a viable, user-friendly decentralized exchange is an “all-hands-on-deck initiative,” which is why the firm is soliciting external prototypes in addition to its internal research and development.

Previously, the company unveiled plans to launch its own public blockchain, which would serve as the foundation for a decentralized exchange. The company’s BNB token — which is currently structured as an ERC20 token — will be transferred into the new network and serve as its native asset.

Decentralized exchanges are seen as a major frontier in blockchain-related development because they will allow users to freely trade between cryptocurrencies without entrusting their assets to centralized third parties — entities that far too often fall prey to hacks.

A variety of DEX platforms already exist, but they have yet to achieve widespread usage or liquidity, largely due to systems that are not intuitive and order books that are restricted to a small number of assets.

Binance, which already operates one of the world’s highest-volume centralized exchanges, wants to change that, which is why they are offering $1 million in prizes for prototypes that they can integrate into their DEX codebase.

In addition to basic functionality, the DEX prototype should allow for new token creation, freezing, and burning — as well as the ability to trade one token for another within the same blockchain. Entries will receive bonus points if they include support for native on-chain initial coin offerings (ICOs).

This should all be accomplished without smart contracts, virtual machines, or Turing complete languages, and Binance advises that competitors should prioritize speed and simplicity over bells and whistles.

The company will distribute a combined $1 million in prizes (awards will be paid out in BNB tokens), and winning teams may also be considered for employment at Binance.

The exchange operator also said it will give qualifying university teams special grants of $10,000 per team, even if they don’t win an award during the competition.

Competitors have until June 30 to submit their entries.

Featured Image from Pixabay

PRESS RELEASE: February 16, 2018

Media Contacts:

Stacy Savage
(512) 673-3360
[email protected]

Steve Mangum,
(469) 939-2059
[email protected] 

Zero Waste Asset Management Launching at Dallas Bitcoin/Blockchain Conference

DALLAS, TX – Zero Waste Asset Management (ZWAM), a Dallas-based tech company that consults business and government entities on Zero Waste, is launching today, Friday, February 16th at the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Blockchain SuperConference. ZWAM is registering as a Public Benefit Corporation LLC and will be supported on the Ethereum blockchain. The company is presenting its business pitch at the SuperConference on Sunday, February 18th at 3:30PM to spread the word about the launch and to seek funding through traditional, non-ICO methods.

Currently in the US, businesses collectively spend over $21B for annual waste hauling services. Zero Waste, on the other hand, is an operational efficiency concept that requires 90% or more of waste diversion from landfills and incinerators by 2040 or sooner. Zero Waste has been adopted and enacted by the Cities of Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth, with a future commitment from the City of San Antonio.

According to the Dallas Morning News, thousands of tons of local recyclables from 14 North Texas cities and subdivisions were dumped in landfills over a 21-month period and the amount of recyclables mishandled affected 19% of the total recycling from those areas.

“ZWAM will help communities view their wastes differently, which will in turn create local recycling markets and green jobs. Each recovered material, such as cardboard, metals, and organic matter, like food wastes, has a regional per-ton value. These highly valuable discards, typically viewed as trash, will soon be used as collateral to back our cryptocurrency utility token called the SAVE Token. By properly recycling, reusing, and composting these assets, participants earn SAVE Tokens which can be exchanged in the ecosystem for goods, services, or cash”, said Co-founder, John Bushe.

Changing our waste systems is necessary not only for the environment in continuously conserving resources, but for the economy where it has been estimated that for every 10,000 tons of discarded materials, only 1 job is created at a landfill compared to 10-200 times that many jobs in the reuse and recycle sectors.

The public is invited to ZWAM’s decentralized art show after-party on the evening of February 17th.

Zero Waste Asset Management

Jay-Z investing

Arrive, which is a subsidiary of  Jay-Z’s entertainment firm Roc Nation, announced in early February 2018 that it is investing in the trading platform Robinhood. Robinhood offers commission-free trading of U.S. stocks, ETFs/options, and in January, it announced it would soon be offering free cryptocurrency trading as well.  Arrive focuses on funding startups and providing “high-growth companies with both capital and consumer engagement through cultural influence.”

Robinhood, Champion of Equitable Financial Access

“We believe in Baiju and Vlad’s mission to make the financial markets more accessible and cost efficient for customers of all size. Robinhood will have our support as they execute the long-term vision of their company,”

Arrive President Neil Sirni said of founders Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, who launched the platform in 2015. Their goal was to make trading easy for anyone through a mobile app and to eliminate the $7 to $10 trade fees charged by most brokerages. In October 2017, they also launched Robinhood for Web, a web platform with investment research and discovery tools. Bhatt told CNN a few years back when the financial services company was first getting off the ground:

“The ability to participate in the stock market is a huge privilege that we as Americans have. Getting it more accessible to large audiences is a huge opportunity,”

Robinhood now has more than 3 million users and was most recently valued at $1.3 billion, the company reports. Over 80 percent of users are millennials and it is currently the fastest-growing brokerage.

Rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) is not the first artist in his field to back Robinhood — rappers Nas and Snoop Dogg invested in the fall of 2014, along with actor Jared Leto.

Crypto-Trading on Robinhood Imminent

Robinhood’s crypto-trading is due to begin this month and more than 1 million people have already signed up.

Bhatt recently said:

“It is fairly obvious that people care about [cryptocurrency]. We want to be there and help shape the way the industry goes with a better platform at a better price,”

 

Featured image via The Come Up Show, Flickr.

bitcoin price

This year’s bitcoin price decline has many investors contemplating whether they should scramble for the exits, but that, according to one futures trader, makes now the perfect time to buy.

Writing in a CNBC op-ed, Bill Baruch, president of Chicago trading firm Blue Line Futures, said that he is buying the bitcoin price dip because he believes the flagship cryptocurrency is on the cusp of a 70 percent rally that would restore the bitcoin price to $14,500.

“I am watching a key level at $8,650 and a continued close above that could signal immediate upside potential,” Baruch wrote on Friday. “The next level of resistance is $10,000, and a break back above that should bring further buying to the table, suggesting near-term upside to $14,500, a 70 percent jump from its current price.”

On Saturday, the bitcoin price was trading at $9,130, according to the BlockExplorer price index, which represented a roughly four percent recovery from its previous-day level.

bitcoin price
BTC Price Chart | Source: Bitcoin Wisdom

This, notably, was approximately $500 above the $8,650 level, which Baruch believes will be a key indicator of an imminent recovery.

If Baruch’s forecast is realized, it would restore bitcoin to where it was trading at the beginning of January, but it would still be trading well below the all-time high of $19,891 it set on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex during the middle of December.

Wall Street strategy firm Fundstrat Global Advisors, however, believes bitcoin will break to a new all-time high by mid-2018 and ultimately surpass the psychologically-important $25,000 threshold by the end of the year.

“It has been a terrible few weeks but the fundamental positive story for crypto remains intact,” Fundstrat co-founder Tom Lee wrote in a note to clients this week, adding that “we think the risk/reward at these levels warrants adding here, even if there is additional downside.”

Nevertheless, although Blue Line’s Baruch is bullish on bitcoin’s short-term prospects, he believes that even better values can be found in the altcoin markets, where there are “cheaper and better technologies within the complex that are positioned for stronger gains.” Specifically, he believes that ethereum, ripple, stellar, NEO, and VeChain could emerge as major challengers to bitcoin within the near future.

Featured Image from Pexels