Bitcoin’s Unknown ‘Kings’: The Magazine Mystery That’s Got Crypto Guessing
Bitcoin may be global, but it’s still a small community
This is why a recent Fast Company South Africa story attracted international commentary – and not in a good way. After all, it isn’t every day that relative unknowns get touted as “Bitcoin Kings” on a magazine cover. Still, that’s how the crypto world has been introduced to JT Foxx and Mao Lal.
In a tweet posted Wednesday, announcing its June issue, the two supposed experts were featured in a story titled, “Masters of Cryptocurrency.”
The story and the magazine cover circulated widely on crypto Twitter but mainly out of pure confusion.
Some of the responses were just GIFS, GIFS, and more GIFS.
While still others responded with genuine frustration and annoyance.
All jokes aside
Putting the crypto Twitter commentary aside for a moment, the two individuals featured on the cover of Fast Company South Africa’s June Issue are actual entrepreneurs investing in the cryptocurrency industry.
JT Foxx and Mao Lal represent a company called CryptoGold.
According to available material, it’s a mining company that allows individuals “to purchase shares in mining hardware without having to deal with complex hardware and software.” The company is comprised of “a team of mining experts with their own mining hardware” offering services for five different cryptocurrencies.
It is also reported that CryptoGold recently launched a gold-backed crypto coin dubbed the CryptoGoldCoin last month.
However, for all the information that is available online about CryptoGold and the projects it has launched, there is fierce speculation about its actual legitimacy as a result of the June issue publication.
For starters, the cover of the magazine depicts Foxx and Lal holding a mining device primarily used to secure a cryptocurrency called siacoin used on a cloud storage platform known as Sia.
This comes off as odd given the title of “Bitcoin Kings” and the simple fact that CryptoGold, though it is a cloud-based service, does not mine siacoins.
Then, there are the questions to do with the publication itself.
The American business magazine, Fast Company, has no clear affiliation with Fast Company South Africa, but rather, has a local section on their website titled “South Africa” suggesting Fast Company South Africa is an entirely different entity.
Confused? There’s more.
In addition, despite the proud sentiments voiced by Foxx himself at being featured as a crypto king, people are wondering what this “wealth coach” actually knows about the technology.
Others take the bold step by Foxx into an entirely new space as “inspirational” and a sign of his “genius”.
It simply gives greater reason for all participants to remain ever-cautious of potential fraud and take this story as a lesson in engaging in crypto Twitter.
As for Foxx and Lai? They say all publicity is good publicity. Let’s just hope they use it for the greater crypto good.
Cover image via Fast Company South Africa
Written by CoinDesk.com
‘Cryptocurrencies and Precious Metals Can Co-Exist,’ Explains Ron Paul
Ron Paul is a very popular libertarian that ran for the U.S. presidency a few times, but he has always proposed some contrarian opinions unlike any other politician today. For instance, Paul constantly tells the American public that they should “end the Federal Reserve,” or at the very least audit the private bank and find out how it has been operating over the years. Furthermore, Paul fundamentally believes our money should revert back to the ‘Gold Standard,’ and feels it is “a fallacy to believe the U.S. has a free market economy.” Paul’s unique libertarian teachings have inspired a great number of people to embrace free-market economics and question the current way governments operate.
In Paul’s latest paper, The Dollar Dilemma, he details just how bad the monetary system is today, and explains how precious metals and cryptocurrencies can co-exist to help fight against the decaying global economy.
“The economy is run by a conglomerate of individuals and special interests, in and out of government, including the ‘Deep State,’ which controls central economic planning,” explains Paul’s paper.
Rigging the economy is required to prevent market forces from demanding a halt to the mistakes that planners continuously make — This deceptive policy can last only for a limited time — Ultimately, the market proves more powerful than government manipulation of economic events.
Cryptocurrencies & Gold: A Combination of the Old and New Monetary Practices
Paul further asks whether or not precious metals will serve as a better system for the future or if it will be the concept of cryptocurrencies. He believes the proper way to assess the situation is to make certain that “free people in the marketplace make the choice whether the use cryptos, absent the dictates of government and central banks.” Paul emphasizes the process “requires the rejection of the use of force and fraud for any chance of achieving success.” In order for cryptocurrencies to challenge the history of precious metal acceptance it will take a “significant amount of time to reach consensus,” explains the former U.S. senator.
“The marketplace is quite capable of sorting out the advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrencies and precious metals. The biggest challenge will be to get the government out of the way to allow this choice,” Pauls paper details. “It’s conceivable that cryptocurrencies, using blockchain technology, and a gold standard could exist together, rather than posing an either-or choice — Different currencies may be used for certain transactions for efficiency reasons.”
The desire for storage and speed can make a difference in choosing a currency. It appears that decentralized ledger technology will also be useful outside the sphere of digital currencies. A combination of gold and crypto will prove to be a lot more achievable than getting people to adapt to a totally new concept of money.
“A Modern Day Currency Needs an Enlightened Attitude About What the Proper Role for Government Ought to Be in a Civil Society”
The paper further states that each type of money may serve different needs and cryptocurrencies may be able to help with privacy, especially when it involves larger transactions and settlement across greater distances. Paul says the biggest challenge right now for digital currencies is satisfying the prerequisites of a ‘standard unit of account.’ In Paul’s view, a workable currency must keep the public confident and the monetary unit needs to be easily exchanged and hold reliable “real value.”
“For society to advance to the point of accepting a truly denationalized monetary system, a significant amount of energy will be required to rein in the power of government authoritarians — A modern-day currency needs an enlightened attitude about what the proper role for government ought to be in a civil society,” Paul’s paper reveals. “We can use technical science for advancing civilization, but no one can ‘own’ it — As valuable as wheel technology was, no one ever bought and sold this technology as a piece of property.”
The question that can only be answered by the marketplace is whether or not blockchain technology is just another great scientific breakthrough, or can it, in combination with cryptography, become a functional currency? The basic question boils down to this: Do all new currencies need to be based on something tangible?
The full transcript of Ron Paul’s paper The Dollar Dilemma can be found here on Mises.org.
Written by Bitcoin.com
VeChain Arrives: What to Know About the $1.5 Billion Blockchain for Business
Yet another top-20 cryptocurrency has officially released live software.
As of 0:00 UTC Saturday, the first block on the VeChain blockchain, whose token supply is valued at $1.46 billion at writing, has been mined, marking a milestone for a project that aims to convince businesses to adopt code tied to a crypto asset traded on a public market.
Seeking to address obstacles with public blockchains like ethereum and bitcoin (namely alleged governance inefficiencies, economic model issues and design difficulties), the project also hopes to eclipse solutions like Hyperledger that have so far been the go-to platforms for business.
In short, founded by former CIO of Louis Vuitton China, Sunny Lu, VeChain hopes to be the first to put “real business” applications on a public blockchain.
“Right now, if we look at all the existing public blockchains, there is a common economic model which is from bitcoin that tries to motivate more people to join the network,” Lu explained. “The cost to use public blockchains is linked to the token valuation on the blockchain directly.”
For the execution of more exotic blockchain features like smart contracts and decentralized applications, Lu argues this is a problem.
He told CoinDesk:
“It kind of generates a typical paradox which is, the more utility, the more use cases, the higher valuation of the token. It also means a higher cost to use the blockchain, and that means no one will use it anymore if the cost is too high.”
To solve this, VeChain uses a twin token system in which its VET asset functions as a store of value, and the VeThor token represents the underlying cost of using the blockchain. (The project is not alone in using such a system. Both Neo and Ontology (whose launch is underway) also support twin tokens that seek to break up varying user behaviors.)
Still, another means by which VeChain has sought to differentiate is by emphasizing what Lu calls “ready to wear” software that reduces development time and costs.
“All of the public blockchains running in total decentralization mode are like naked blockchains to most enterprises,” Lu said. “Because it’s just open source for the core codes, if you want to build up an application, you’ve got to do everything by yourself starting from scratch.”
But perhaps what distinguishes VeChain from its competitors is the extent to which enterprises are already said to be involved in that process. VeChain boasts partnerships with automobile manufacturers BMW and Groupe Renault, and global quality assurance and risk management company DNV GL.
Some partners, like DNV GL, have even taken on a more technical role in the project’s execution – specifically within its governance system, a key part of VeChain’s pitch to businesses.
Notably, the project uses a system called “proof-of-authority” (PoA) to govern how its blockchain rules can be altered, which Lu says offers enterprises “a balance between decentralization and centralization.”
VeChain is not the first project to attempt to walk this line.
EOS and Tron have also experimented with new governance models in which software users are positioned as “community members” that can use their tokens to elect delegates (nodes) to validate blocks.
In this way, VeChain’s consensus system has two components. The first, what Lu refers to as the “decentralized part,’ is that token holders have the ability to vote, and that the weight of their vote corresponds to the number of VET tokens they hold and whether or not they complete a KYC process.
Some token holders, like DNV GL, also run nodes, and to do so, must meet certain requirements.
“Every node will have specifications, not only about hardware, but about the security level and process, how to manage your nodes and your contribution to the VeChain community,” Lu told CoinDesk.
All voters use their “voting authority” to have a voice in decisions about technical modifications to the blockchain and to elect VeChain’s “Steering Committee.” This is what Lu calls “the centralized part,” which is the seven-seat governing body of the VeChain Foundation and its blockchain.
“Those seven seats of the committee, we will execute any decisions coming from the voting process, even including who should be next in the Steering Committee,” Lu said. “By doing that, you maintain the publicity or transparency of a decentralized part and also maintain the efficiency of a centralized part.”
Finding a sweet spot
So, while decentralization maximalists have been critical of the DPoS and PoA systems, businesses don’t seem to share their concerns.
Renato Grottola, senior vice president of digital transformation and M&A at DNV GL, told CoinDesk that he believes VeChain’s governance model represents “an optimal balance between centralization and decentralization, reducing uncertainty related to future developments.”
Likewise, Danny van de Griend, CEO of MustangChain, a startup which intends to use VeChain’s technology to create a more transparent equine industry with better data accessibility, agrees.
“If you want to have it fully decentralized, it can become a mess,” he told CoinDesk. “You need a good balance between centralized and decentralized.”
De Griend continued:
“You don’t have to think about the basics anymore. Those basic protocols are ready to be used, so you can think more now about, ‘What can I develop now for the stakeholders?'”
Grottola added that this makes it easy for DNV GL to develop supply chain-specific solutions.
“VeChain has been conceived as a platform; it combines blockchain technology with IoT and AI thus offering the possibility to develop supply chain solutions both at product/asset and enterprise level.”
More to build
But the launch Saturday won’t mark the end of VeChain’s development.
While it marks the creation of the genesis block and the start of the generation of VeThor tokens, the blockchain won’t be fully functional for some time. Before the technology can be truly live, VeChain must migrate its tokens from the ethereum blockchain to its mainnet, a process scheduled for July.
Likewise, Lu acknowledges that mainnet launches, in which large sums of cryptocurrency are handled and transferred by developer teams, always come with risk.
“We have some enemies for sure,” Lu said. “People will try to attack.”
For this reason, he added that VeChain has enlisted several cybersecurity firms to conduct testing on its code prior to the launch. Likewise, the project has an “emergency response team” (ERT), which will “monitor the entire mainnet launch” to respond to issues.
According to Grottola, DNV GL is confident that VeChain’s measures will be sufficient to ensure a smooth launch.
“This is a normal practice in business, [but] not so common for crypto startups. That kind of structured approach has been one of the key criteria for choosing the VeChain initiative among other concurrent platforms,” he said.
Other partners are optimistic, too. Kurt Connolly, senior vice president of business development at sports and gambling platform Decent.Bet, which plans to use VeChain’s technology, said the company thinks the odds of a successful launch are in VeChain’s favor.
He told CoinDesk:
“We’re realists. We know that the next ‘perfect’ product launch will be the first ever ‘perfect’ product launch. There are always bugs to fix here or there.”
Sunny Lu image via VeChain
Written by CoinDesk.com