Decentralized Travel Distribution Platform Eliminates Middlemen to Make Your Trips Cheaper

Outbound trips worldwide had grown by 3.9 percent in the first eight months of 2017, according to the ITB World Travel Trends Report. With low-cost airlines, more people, especially in Asia, are taking trips and enjoying travel. However, not all is well with the travel industry.

The travel landscape is dominated by a clutch of companies, which has led to a sort of cartelisation that is serving no benefit either to the travel industry itself or the people it should be serving. The end users of the services associated with travel industry rarely seem to get any advantage from the supposedly highly competitive industry. While there may be a plethora of options to choose from when booking trips online, there is no real choice as Nasdaq points out, “Almost three-fourths of the consumers in the US. are unaware of the fact that they are essentially comparing travel booking options between two companies which own numerous affiliates. While Expedia currently owns around 75 percent of the US online travel market through sites such as Trivago, Travelocity, Hotwire, Hotels.com, Egencia, CarRentals.com, Classic Vacations, etc., Priceline owns most of the remaining market through its websites like  Kayak, Booking.com, Agoda, Rentalcars.com, etc. The Association (American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)) claims that together these two OTAs own around 95 percent of the online travel market in the US.”

If travelers are to get a real choice, they will need the industry to innovate and evolve new ways of product distribution. Winding Tree is building a new decentralized, open-source travel distribution platform that aims to serve the needs both of the traveling public as well as the suppliers of travel products. The platform would involve no centralized control which means that there won’t be many intermediaries to escalate prices. It would also have no barriers for entry so that finally smaller businesses in the industry can have an equal footing with the big boys.

Travel should be about freedom

Winding tree’s platform has a multi-faceted approach for rehauling the travel industry. It will allow distribution of inventory directly to points of sale eliminating costly intermediaries and bottlenecks. It also will lead to more choice for the retailers as they would be able to source products from all the suppliers that exist on Winding Tree without having to worry about markup fee. As a democratic platform, the governance model would allow anyone to propose changes, which would put everyone on the same footing. The Winding Tree foundation will ensure that travel becomes something that everyone will enjoy. Finally and most importantly customers would be able to benefit from all these facets that will transform the travel industry and will be able to use Lif tokens on the platform to pay for their travel.

Lif at the heart of Winding Tree

The Lif token is at the heart of the Winding Tree platform. The token would be useful to conduct transactions and also help users of the platform to participate in the governance of the platform. Winding Tree is holding a Token Generation Event starting Feb. 1, 2018. The pricing has been kept in the range of 1,000-900 Lif for one ETH (Ethereum). The fundraiser for Winding Tree would continue uncapped for a period of two weeks. It is expected that the price of Lif would rise after the first week. Lif tokens would be distributed over seven days after the fundraiser ends. There is no cap on the amount of tokens and it will be decided by the markets how many Lif are generated. Excess funds (over $10 mln)  that are collected would be stored in a Market Validation Mechanism (MVM). This will allow participants in the sale to withdraw a part of their contribution by sending their Lifs to the MVM. More information on the ICO can be found on the Winding Tree website including details on how to participate. Additionally, a white paper has also been released by the platform as well as a one-pager that gives details on the project and its dynamics.

Big-name partners

Winding Tree has been named one of the most promising ICOs of early 2018 by the Merkle. They featured the MVM as one of the highlights and write, “The public sale will take place beginning Feb. 1. There is a soft cap of $10 mln, and excess funds will be placed in a smart contract that will allow token holders to sell back their tokens at ICO rates. If under $5 mln is raised, investors will be reimbursed and the tokens will not be created. 75 percent of the total supply is to be distributed through the ICO.” Additionally, the Merkle was also appreciative of the fact that their efforts have the potential to change the nature of the travel industry itself. That the project has managed to get established travel industry titans as partners is something that definitely works in favor of the Winding Tree. Currently, they have onboard Lufthansa, Swiss, Air New Zealand, Austrian, Brussels airlines and Eurowings. Nordic Choice Hotels, one of the biggest hotel chains in Scandinavia with approximately 190 hotels in Scandinavia and the Baltic region too has partnered with Winding Tree.

Interestingly, the tiny island country of Aruba in the Caribbean is going to be one of the first proving grounds for the project. In order to prevent the island’s crucial tourist revenue from flowing abroad due to a select few Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), the ATECH foundation, which is responsible for Aruba’s technical development has partnered with Winding Tree so that tourists can pair up directly with sellers of travel products.

Winding Tree would be one of those projects that would definitely be worth watching for as the year unfolds. Using Blockchain to tackle one of the most tightly knit industries could unleash a disruption that could be a game changer for all the stakeholders.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

Not Content Scamming $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for ICO

Not Content with Scamming $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO

Altcoins

The fall of Bitconnect was as certain as night follows day. A pyramid scheme wrapped inside a Ponzi with a side order of WTF, Bitconnect was as crazy as it was calamitous. The only miracle was that the racket lasted so long. When the ringleaders shut up shop on Wednesday, causing the token to plummet from $290 to $8, that ought to have been the end of the matter. Remarkably though, BCC continues to be actively traded, and has even recovered some of its value. The reason for the mini revival? Bitconnect is launching an ICO.

Also read: Autopsy of the Bitconnect Implosion: Ponzi, Centralization, Governance

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

It was no secret, prior to its collapse, that Bitconnect was running an ICO. Its Bitconnect X website has been accepting contributions since January 10. When Bitconnect closed its doors a week later, after its original website had been offline for days, it was assumed that Bitconnect X would follow suit. After all, no one would be gullible enough to get fooled twice, surely. Apparently so. Not only is the Bitconnect ICO going ahead as planned, but investors are actively throwing money at it.

Not Content with Scamming $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO

When Bitconnect announced that it was closing its lending platform on Wednesday, $1.5 billion worth of value was wiped off its market cap in less than two hours. Those losses weren’t borne by the company though – it was ordinary investors who were left out of pocket. Bitconnect’s execs were doing just fine, sitting on the stash of bitcoin they’d pocketed from investors in the months prior. But then, as Twitter traders eagerly watched to see the first altcoin drop to zero in real time, something strange happened. BCC stopped falling and started to climb.

The Ponzi Scheme That Just Won’t Die

On January 17, BCC was the worst performing cryptocurrency on Coinmarketcap. Incredibly, 24 hours later, it was the best performing coin on the site, up 410% in 24 hours to reach $43 a token. This revival will have been of little consolation to investors, who were still heavily in the red. Nevertheless, it showed that against all reason, people were still buying the coin. In the past 24 hours, $18 million of BCC has been traded and a coin that was written off as being utterly worthless is now changing hands for $28.

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO
On Thursday, BCC rose from $8 to a high of $43.

The reason for this is BCC can be used to purchase BCCX, the new Bitconnect token that’s being launched via an ICO. Each BCCX is priced at $50. To reiterate then: Bitconnect duped thousands of investors, selling them BCC coins at up to $290 apiece. It then crashed the market, and is now encouraging the same investors to exchange their BCC for BCCX at a ratio of 2:1 in an event that ought to be dubbed The Halvening.

Lambs to the Slaughter

By late 2017, it was apparent to Bitconnect that the Ponzi scheme they had constructed was on the verge of toppling. Not content with riding off into the sunset with their ill-gotten gains, they decided to have another bite of the cherry. The Bitconnectx.co domain was registered on the penultimate day of 2017, and the crowdsale commenced less than two weeks later. The company is seeking to sell 11.76 million BCCX, which will earn it $588 million. It will also retain another $145 million in coins, bringing its total assets to $733 million.

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICOThe new-look Bitconnect X platform, for the record, “allows you to earn interest for helping maintain security on the network by holding BCCX in a Qt Desktop wallet that is attached to the network and allowing transactions to flow through it”. Which sounds suspiciously like Bitconnect mk I.

One of the first tasks on the Bitconnect X roadmap is to attain a listing on Coinmarketcap, which shouldn’t be a problem, as the site had no qualms about heavily promoting the previous scam. After that it will spend the summer performing vague tasks such as “adding more security layers in Exchange platform”, presumably while Bitconnect execs put as much distance between themselves and their creditors as possible.

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO

Bitconnect Keeps Playing While the Titanic Sinks

In the days after the collapse of Bitconnect, the company’s social media account continued glibly tweeting bitcoin news, as if nothing had happened. Each new story it posted was met with hundreds of thunderous replies, until the account finally broke its silence to audaciously issue the following claim:

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO

Before cryptocurrency was invented, gullible individuals were defrauded via Nigerian bank scams. After the mark had lost almost everything, and the princes’ fortune they’d been promised had failed to materialize, the scammer would go in for one last trick. They’d “come clean” with the victim and confess that they too had been duped. For a small fee, they could get the mark’s money back, and set everything right.

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICOAmazingly, many victims, out of desperation, would take them up on this offer. The majority of Bitconnect X’s investors will be the same souls who lost thousands in Bitconnect. Despite all the warning signs, they’re willing to go for broke and pray that this time they can get out before the pyramid collapses. In the words of Winston Churchill, never was so much owed by so many to so few.

How long do you think Bitconnect X will last? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Former FDIC Chair Says ‘We Don’t Ban Assets,’ Bitcoin Just Needs To Be Regulated

Sheila Bair, former US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) chair, told CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Friday, Jan. 19 that there is no precedent to ban Bitcoin (BTC) as an asset, but there is a need for additional regulation of digital currencies.

Bair had previously written a December 2017 op-ed on Yahoo along the same theme of more regulation without any bans against BTC.

In the “Fast Money” interview Friday, Bair reiterated that while, “we don’t ban assets,” regulating crypto markets is necessary to prevent both money laundering and the potential for market manipulation.

Bair looks favorably on CBOE and CME’s recent releases of Bitcoin futures contracts, saying:

“I think that the fact that CME and CBOE launched futures actually could help because that will actually also give them [government regulatory bodies] a window into providing, getting more reporting from the underlying Bitcoin exchanges that are feeding prices into their futures products. It will give the CFDC a window and some information to make sure there’s no manipulation going on.”

Bair’s current main concern with Bitcoin is that the public may be attracted by the promise of high returns and begin investing in Bitcoin and other digital currencies without a clear understanding of what these products are.

In regards to the public’s overall understanding of cryptocurrencies, Bair says:

“I think there’s a lot of confusion between Bitcoin and blockchain technology.”

Bair currently serves on the board of Paxos, a fintech company working with Blockchain technology. She noted during the CNBC interview that she does not own Bitcoin.

Market Analysis Report (19 Jan 2018)

Korean Regulator Investigating Staff Insider Trading of Cryptocurrencies

An official from South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) has reportedly said that an investigation is underway into claimed insider trading within his organization.

Choi Heung-sik, governor of the FSS, said he will make public any findings on the allegations of illegal trading of cryptocurrency by one of its staff members. According to the Korea Times, Choi said:

“We’ve acknowledged allegations that an FSS official sold crypto-assets based on insider information before the government’s updated announcement to regulate the market. We are looking into this case.”

Read more here

NYSE Parent Company Launches Cryptocurrency Data Feed

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), is partnering with blockchain startup Blockstream to launch a new cryptocurrency-based data feed.

ICE Data Services’ feed will display real-time data from at least 15 different cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide, including prices and order book data for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to a press release published yesterday. ICE Data Services President and chief operating officer Lynn Martin said in a statement:

“With the broad array of cryptocurrencies and exchanges, and given the price variances between exchanges, it’s critical that investors have a comprehensive source of pricing information. We’re excited to work with Blockstream, which is focused on bringing institutional-quality data to the market, and we look forward to expanding the feed and our strategic relationship with Blockstream over time.”

Read more here

Petro Discount: Venezuela is Luring Qatar to Invest

A delegation of officials from Venezuela’s government is reportedly pitching the country’s upcoming cryptocurrency petro in Qatar in an attempt to gain the latter as an early investor.

Citing source with knowledge of the diplomatic meetings, Bloomberg is reporting that a group of Venezuelan officials led by ‘crypto superintendent’ Carlos Vargas is currently in Qatar, hoping to land the oil-rich Middle Eastern state as an early investor. The delegation is luring Qatar by ‘currently negotiating discounts’ ahead of the oil-backed cryptocurrency’s upcoming ‘sale’ in February, the report added.

Read more here

Wall Street Creates Global Cryptocurrency Data Feed

Wall Street Creates Global Cryptocurrency Data Feed

Featured

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) parent Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE) has announced it is creating a global cryptocurrency data feed, active by the year’s first quarter.

Also read: Have Lunch with Bitcoin Jesus!

Wall Street Teams with Bitcoin Developer

“Access to comprehensive price discovery is vital to accurately value the cryptocurrency market,” a newly created ICE landing page reads. “Our Cryptocurrency Data Feed, available on the ICE Consolidated Feed, gives you access to streaming real-time, end of day and historical data for the most actively traded digital currencies.”

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE) owns several exchanges from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to subsidiaries in Singapore and Netherlands. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s a Fortune 500 company looking to enter the burgeoning cryptocurrency market. Blockstream is a private company geared toward bitcoin core applications, especially sidechains, and funds many bitcoin core projects, and will act as its partner.

Wall Street Creates Global Cryptocurrency Data Feed

The Feed will include “broad coverage” of six major cryptocurrencies: bitcoin core, ethereum, litecoin, dash, ripple, and bitcoin cash. The collaboration also promises “to offer multi-asset and multi-venue data from cryptocurrency exchanges globally, which will be available in the first quarter of 2018,” capturing “nearly 80% of crypto-exchange trading volume for the most active currency pairs.”

“All crosses are captured and normalized,” ICE explains, “which creates a unique sequence number, details on where the trade took place, and other relevant order book data such as quantity, price, currency and timestamp.” ICE also promises over “two years of Bitcoin (XBT) history; XBT/USD averages over 200,000 updates per day; in excess of 600,000 updates per day across all digital pairs.”

Wall Street Creates Global Cryptocurrency Data Feed

Low Latency, Quality Information

The new feed “initially include data from more than 15 cryptocurrency exchange venues globally,” ICE COO Lynn Martin is quoted as saying, “With the broad array of cryptocurrencies and exchanges, and given the price variances between exchanges, it’s critical that investors have a comprehensive source of pricing information.”

The six cryptocurrencies will be “measured against the U.S. Dollar and other major currency pairs,” the announcement continued. “Blockstream works with cryptocurrency exchanges around the world and consolidates the disparate data sets into a normalized and standardized data source that includes real-time and historical trade information, as well as other relevant order book data such as quantities, prices, currencies, and timestamps.”

Wall Street Creates Global Cryptocurrency Data Feed
Lynn Martin

The team’s hope is to limit latency in price discovery, providing as close to real-time and quality information as possible. “The ICE Data Services Consolidated Feed provides access to over 450 normalized real-time market data feeds and is part of ICE’s Connectivity service,” they stress.

It’s too early to know just yet if The Feed will compete with Coinmarketcap and other aggregators already established, but perhaps Wall Street professionals will be drawn to the legitimacy and gravitas ICE brings, furthering the crypto mainstreaming trend.

What do you think this teaming will accomplish? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, ICE, Blockstream.


Not up to date on the news? Listen to This Week in Bitcoina podcast updated each Friday.

NYSE Parent Firm And Blockstream Create CoinMarketCap For Wall Street

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has partnered with Blockchain tech company Blockstream to bring “disciplined” Bitcoin price information to major Wall Street investors, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.

ICE, the parent firm of the The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), says it plans to pull data from 15 major exchanges and deliver it to big financial names, including hedge funds and professional trading firms, in a format designed to let them easily take work with up-to-date metrics.

The move is yet another example of Bitcoin steadily coming into focus for traditional investment players, in this case keen to leverage its potential as a tradeable asset.

That ICE settled on the Blockstream deal is in itself a further “sign that the once-fringe market for cryptocurrencies is being taken seriously by Wall Street,” the WSF bullishly suggests.

The tool would likely see its first release in March, providing traditional investors with something tantamount to a Wall Street-tailored version of already existing crypto market monitoring resources, such as the widely-used CoinMarketCap.

CoinMarketCap has come in for criticism in recent weeks after developers excluded major South Korean exchanges from the site’s price calculations on Jan. 8, due to what they described as “extreme divergence.”

The WSJ continues the narrative, suggesting the ICE product will have the benefit of removing industry reliance on resources that have a “homegrown feel.”

The news marks the second significant announcement for Blockstream this week — on Jan. 16, the development business launched a Lightning Network-enabled payments store.

Market Analysis Report (18 Jan 2018)

Visa CEO: «We Won’t Process Transactions in Bitcoin»

Yesterday, in an interview recorded at New York’s National Retail Federation conference, Alfred Kelly, Visa’s CEO, was pressed for his thoughts on Bitcoin and said:

“I don’t view it [Bitcoin] as payment system player. We at Visa won’t process transactions that are cryptocurrency-based. We will only process fiat currency-based transactions.”

This tallies with the actions of Visa subsidiary Wavecrest, which cut off debit card services to dozens of European crypto card companies less than a fortnight ago. At the time, Visa denied that it was striking back at the threat posed by cryptocurrencies. The company was adamant that it was irregularities on behalf of Wavecrest clients that triggered the ban.

Read more here

Investors Buying Power Stations in Russia to Mine Cryptocurrencies

Two electric power stations in Russia were recently sold to a cryptocurrency miner looking to expand his operations – the latest sign that the country’s government-supported push to become a cryptocurrency mining hub has been successful.

The two stations are situated in the Perm Region on the western slopes of the Middle Ural Mountains, and in the Republic of Udmurtia. The facilities will be used as data centers as well as housing for cryptocurrency mining equipment. The price paid for the two stations was roughly 160 million rubles (about $3 million).

Read more here

Mark Cuban’s NBA Team to Sell Tickets for Bitcoin “Next Season”

The famous American entrepreneur, businessman and investor, Mark Cuban, has announced that Bitcoin users can soon buy tickets to National Basketball Association (NBA) games directly from his team. Asked on social media when will it be possible to purchase tickets for the Dallas Mavericks, which he owns, Cuban simply answered “Next season.” He then added:

“Some people want to buy products in cryptocurrencies to prove a point. We are happy to make it easy for them. And for Existing Mavs fans who prefer to spend cryptocurrencies, we are happy to make it easy for them.”

Read more here

Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus Starting in March

Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus Starting in March

Regulation

The decree signed by Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko which legalizes cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, and smart contracts, will enter into force in March. Cryptocurrency activities are not restricted by the decree and will be tax exempt until 2023.

Also read: South Korea Urges 23 Countries, EU, and IMF to Collaborate on Curbing Crypto Trading

Cryptocurrencies Soon To Be Legal

Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus Starting in March
Alexander Lukashenko.

The decree which legalizes cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and smart contracts in Belarus will go into effect on March 28. Entitled “On the development of the digital economy,” it was signed by President Alexander Lukashenko on December 21, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

“The decree entitles legal entities and individual entrepreneurs who are residents of the High Technology Park (the HTP) to perform operations with tokens (including cryptocurrency),” explained Iryna Chelyshava, an associate attorney at the Belarusian law firm of Vlasova Mikhel & Partners. “Others can use tokens in the territory of Belarus through residents of the HTP,” she elaborated on Jurist.

Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus Starting in MarchThe HTP is a special economic zone with a special tax and legal regime in Belarus, analogous to Silicon Valley in the US. According to its website, 192 companies that develop software products and provide IT services to customers from 67 countries worldwide are residents of the park, 35% of which are enterprises with 100% foreign investments.

The park describes itself as “the main experimental site for the implementation of pilot projects,” including those based on cryptocurrencies. According to its announcement this week:

The HTP Administration draws your attention to the fact that Decree No.8 ‘On the development of the digital economy’ comes into force on March 28, 2018.

No Restrictions and No Taxes

“The new decree legalizes ICOs, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts,” the HTP explained. It “does not imply any restrictions and special requirements for the operations of creation, placement, storage, alienation, exchange of tokens, as well as the activities of crypto exchanges and crypto platforms.” Furthermore, the park clarified:

Activity such as mining, acquisition, alienation of tokens, carried out by individuals, are not entrepreneurial activities, and tokens are not subject to declaration. At the same time, until 2023, activities related to mining, the creation, acquisition and alienation of tokens are not taxed.

Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus Starting in MarchChelyshava explained that the decree provides the definition of tokens, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts. “The definition given in the decree for cryptocurrency lists it as a version of the token,” she conveyed, adding that “for now the decree does not provide the criteria of cryptocurrency that would distinguish it from tokens.” As for smart contracts, the definition “is broad enough to encompass various approaches to the understanding of smart contracts that exist now,” she emphasized. For tokens, she wrote:

The decree does not specify the nature of the certain civil right, and therefore the concept of ‘token’ is provided with a high degree of flexibility.

By making smart contracts legal documents, “Belarus becomes the first country in the world to legalize smart contracts at the country level,” the HTP noted.

Anton Myakishev, the head of Microsoft’s Belarus office, told Reuters that “the decree is a breakthrough for Belarus,” adding that “it gives the industry the possibility to make a leap forward in its development and allows foreign capital the possibility to come to Belarus and work in comfortable conditions.”

What do you think of Belarus making a tax-free zone for cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and HTP.


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What to Make of ‘Leaked’ Telegram ICO White Paper

The global cryptocurrency community has been abuzz with speculation in the wake of a leaked white paper linked to the popular, encryption-based messaging app Telegram.

News of Telegram’s plans to launch a Blockchain platform originally broke in December, although it still remains unclear if the project legitimately exists.  

Cointelegraph has reviewed the leaked white paper, which lays out ongoing plans to launch Blockchain services and its very own cryptocurrency using Telegram as a springboard.

While the legitimacy of the white paper and its actual association with Telegram has not been confirmed by the Durov brothers, who founded Telegram, the white paper promises some interesting applications to users of the messaging app and wider audiences.

What TON white paper proposes

With access to 200 mln Telegram users, the developers of the project hope to reach a massive audience with what they are calling the Telegram Open Network (TON).

TON is being touted as a scalable multi-Blockchain architecture using a proof-of-stake protocol to address what the white paper describes as major hurdles facing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The white paper cites a lack of capacity to manage high volumes of transactions, unfriendly user applications and a limited market to use cryptocurrencies for goods, content and services as stumbling blocks TON will address.

By using Telegram’s massive user base, the developers hope to reach the critical mass required for mass adoption if its services.

The Blockchain

According to the white paper, the TON Blockchain is “a scalable and flexible Blockchain architecture that consists of a master chain and up to 292 accompanying Blockchains.”

The various protocols chosen promise to be able to process millions of transactions per second.

This will be facilitated by the use of an infinite ‘sharding’ paradigm which will allow the Blockchain to split and merge in response to different network loads. Instant hypercube routing will supposedly manage transaction across different Blockchains. Along with a proof-of-stake protocol, the use of 2-D distributed ledgers is said to allow TON to build “new valid blocks on top of any blocks that were proven to be incorrect to avoid unnecessary forks.”

Grams – TON’s cryptocurrency

Once their Blockchain is up and running, TON will launch a number of services with the Blockchain. This will include a data storage service, a virtual private network service, a DNS as well as its very own payment system.

The payment system will use TON’s very own cryptocurrency, called Grams.

Users will be able to use Grams to pay for content and services that will be provided by Telegram and other decentralized services.

Of course, to make all of this a reality, TON will launch a token sale sometime in the first quarter of 2018. There will a total supply of five bln Grams, of which 200 mln (four percent) will be held by the development team in a four-year vesting period.

In what is described as a bid to prevent speculative trading, 52 percent of the overall supply will be held in the TON reserve during the initial development and launch. The other 44 percent will be sold using a formula ensuring a steadily rising price per token.

TON

Is it legitimate?

Now that we’ve got through the nitty gritty of the proposed TON ICO, we can discuss the legitimacy of the project and its purported link to Telegram, its founders and developers.

Both Nikolai and Pavel Durov, as well as a number of Telegram’s senior developers, are listed in the white paper. However, there has been no official comment from either of the Durov brothers.

Nevertheless, there seems to be mixed sentiment on social media.

Some users are excited by the promise of a mix of decentralized, encrypted data services linked to TON.

Another user expressed concerns at the initial holding structure of Grams by the development team:

Fun fiction?

Conversations with a couple of Blockchain and cryptocurrency experts bring to light a number of points to consider.

The best way to describe this white paper is ‘fun fiction,’ according to ICObench.com advisor Vasily Sumanov.

With a massive user base, it’s not hard to see why fans of Telegram would want to see it metamorphosize into something far greater. A state free community with its very own cryptocurrency and linked services – a crypto-utopia of sorts.

If this piece of work really is fun fiction, the authors have produced a compelling white paper that promises many things. The sharding technology may not be available in current projects, but it’s also not clear if there is a need for a Blockchain that can store that much information. How much space would a node need to store a Blockchain that has 292side chains?

The writers have also used good-practice mechanisms in the restriction of available tokens during the initial stage of development, which would chase away speculative investors in favor of long-term capitalists that see real value in the technology.

If this ‘leaked’ white paper has done anything, it has shown that there is great interest in an ICO that is linked to established applications that provide crucial real-world solutions.

Telegram and its creators will no doubt have appreciated the attention, but whether they are actually busy concocting their own legitimate ICO based on Blockchain technology remains to be seen.

Sumanov, who also doubles up as an academic researcher, believes the Durov brothers would not leave anything to conjecture, with a guns-blazing announcement if they were truly launching an ICO.

“Really, it is too simple and too ‘good.’ I think, that if Durov plans to make an ICO, he will make a public announcement with a really original white paper. Taking into account that Mr. Durov is a libertarian, I believe he will somehow make the integration of his own cryptocurrency and services into Telegram. Will be this done using an ICO or not? Only time will tell,” Sumanov told Cointelegraph.

The real deal?

Conversely, ICOBox founder Mike Raitsyn is far more optimistic about the authenticity of the white paper. Given that the Durov brothers have previously spoken about the possibility of an ICO, Raitsyn says the documents look legitimate.

Furthermore, he insists that the success of Telegram and the network it has built could be the catalyst for a truly universal cryptocurrency.

“Despite their revolutionary potential, existing cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum lack the qualities required to attract the mass consumer. The current state of Blockchain technology is very promising, but it is obvious that the market is experiencing an acute need in a mainstream user-friendly cryptocurrency that would attract mass users and employ the full potential of the new technology,” Raitsyn said.

The technology that will power TON is also a first according to Raitsyn, providing unique features like sharding technology which promises to increased speed and scalability to its Blockchain to support a massive user base.

The expert isn’t concerned about the grand scale of the project, saying the broad scale of offerings is a natural progression of Blockchain technology.

“TON will be a third generation Blockchain project which would offer vastly superior capabilities to users. TON has been designed as a multi-Blockchain platform, which would meet the growing demand for a platform offering a broad range of services. It will provide speed and scalability, intuitive user interfaces and an engaged use base to exchange value.”

If Raitsyn is correct, the Durov brothers will make announcements later this year to either confirm or deny the legitimacy of this project.

Polynom Crypto Capital founder Alexey Ivanov told Cointelegraph that the most crucial part of TON’s plans is the massive Telegram user base. If they make good on their promises, only social media giants could rival them.

“They have almost a 200 mln audience to reach and give them the payment platform. They can only be outdone by Facebook or Google,” Ivanov said.

Presale launched

Meanwhile, adverts promoting the presale of Gram tokens have been seen on Facebook.

TON

On Tuesday, Jan. 16 Pavel Durov sent out a tweet warning people of potential scams around the TON ICO.

However neither one of the Durov brothers have come out with a public statement regarding the TON ICO.

Market Analysis Report (17 Jan 2018)

Bitconnect Shuts Down Its Exchange and Lending Platform

Bitconnect has announced that it is closing its lending and exchange platform. The company has widely been accused of operating a Ponzi scheme and was recently rocked by cease and desist notices in two US states. Immediately after the firm declared its intention to wind things up, its BCC coin plummeted from $290 to under $10 before recovering slightly. With the exchange offline, many holders have been left locked out and powerless to sell their heavily deprecated assets.

Read more here

Vitalik Buterin Leaves China-Based VC to Focus on Ethereum Development

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has left China-based venture capital firm Fenbushi Capital according to TechCrunch, to focus on the development of Ethereum. Buterin announced that he has stepped down from his role as a general partner of Fenbushi Capital, which has been one of the most active investors in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector. He noted that he will no longer serve as a full-time partner of the firm, but will remain as an advisor.

To address the growing demand for Ethereum and the high expectations from the global Ethereum community, Buterin explained that he will solely focus on the development of the Ethereum blockchain network and solving scalability issues to provide a better ecosystem for decentralized applications. He stated:

“I expect 2018, at least within the Ethereum space that I’m best able to speak about, will be the year of action. It will be the year where all of the ideas around scalability, Plasma, proof-of-stake, and privacy that we have painstakingly worked on and refined over the last four years are finally going to turn into real, live working code that you can play around in a highly mature form in some cases on testnets, and in some key cases even on the public mainnet.”

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UNICEF Wants to Fund Early Stage Blockchain Startups

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is seeking to invest in early-stage blockchain startups with the potential to help children across the globe. In an announcement yesterday, the program said it is offering equity-free investments of $50,000–90,000 to seed-stage startups developing solutions on open blockchains in areas including smart contracts, tokens, mining and data analysis. The release reads:

“We are interested in companies that use distributed ledger tech in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, and globally applicable.”

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