Bext360 Grades Coffee Beans, Issues Payouts over Blockchain to Farmers

Coffee, it is hard to refuse the fantastic beverage, even blockchain technology can’t say no to it. Bext360, a Denver, Colorado based company has implemented distributed ledger technology and artificial intelligence to upgrade the coffee supply chain. The technology platform combined with a Coinstar like hardware is capable of sorting the coffee beans and tracking its movement along the supply chain. At the same time, it can also issue payouts to the coffee growers instantly.

The company, founded by Dan Jones aims to make use of technology to improve upstream supply chains of key commodities to enhance the lives of the community responsible for producing them. Categorized as an agritech startup, Bext360 has already raised $1.2 million in venture funding to release the first product targeting coffee growers.

According to reports, the platform utilizes machine vision and artificial intelligence to sift through each coffee bean fed into it and separate them into three grades — Grade A, Grade B and Grade C. The proportion of different grades will decide the payouts to the farmers. The Bext360 coffee grading machine is capable of processing 30 kilograms of coffee cherries at a time, and once it’s processed, producers can choose to receive payouts on the spot. The payouts will be made in the form of digital currencies over Stellar protocol.

At the same time, the platform also allows processing plants, distributors and wholesalers and other stakeholders in the supply chain to make use of the traceability feature. This will allow the end customers to know where the product originated from and its movement through the supply chain. Bext360 offers RESTful APIs that can be integrated into wholesaler or retailer marketing and loyalty programs to make relevant data accessible to end customers.

Jones, on one of the leading business magazines, states that the Bext360 system is a huge step towards upgrading the age-old payment process in the coffee industry that dates back to the 1940s or 1950s. The coffee producers using Bext360’s sorting machine have an option to decline on-the-spot payment and choose to sell it in the commodities market.

The sorting machine by itself is a unique achievement by Bext360, and there is a potential to replicate the model to other agricultural products in the near future.

Ref: Forbes | Image: NewsBTC

 

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The latest monthly tournaments that have been played at MBit Casino in July 2017 seems to be paying out huge money through rewards and prizes. Every month, 40 players enjoy the share in 15 BTC combined tournament prize pool. Above all, players are also permitted to exchange their VIP comp points into free spins and bitcoins, giving them an additional opportunity to gain profits.

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The Two Monthly Tournaments at MBit & Associated Rewards

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Players Can Even Accumulate Their Points

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Islands have been a fixation of many countries, be it the Arab world, especially Dubai with its obsession towards building luxury property over artificial islands or China’s expansion of dominion in the South China Sea. But the African nation of Mauritius has a different kind of aspiration. The country is on the verge of creating the “Ethereum Island” within its territory.

The Ethereum Island is expected to be a collaborative partnership between the Mauritius government and private entities and ConsenSys, an Ethereum blockchain solutions provider. The island will be a global blockchain technology hub open for innovators from African and Asian nations.

According to reports, the founder of ConsenSys Joseph Lubin accompanied by a team of executives recently visited the country, meeting representatives from the Bank of Mauritius, the country’s Board of Investment and other regional authorities. The meetings were held in the context of identifying and setting up the Ethereum Island in Mauritius.

The idea behind creating a global blockchain hub seems to be influenced by the country’s standing status as a financial hub and its aspirations to emerge as a fintech hub as well. If things go according to plans, then ConsenSys will be expanding its team by investing in human as well as working capital, with the government’s support. A publication explores the possibility of the company opening another ConsenSys Academy in Mauritius, similar to the one in Dubai.

It is worth noting that ConsenSys is already working in partnership with the Dubai government to develop blockchain solutions for both private and public sector. The Emirate is working towards implementing distributed ledger technology into government operations, by the year 2020.

Drawing information from other cryptocurrency news sources, the tech news publication quotes the head of technology, innovation, and services at the Board of Investment Mauritius, Atma Narasiah saying,

“We are working to take our economy to another level, and these kinds of technologies are very important in our strategy,”

The current conditions in both the camps seem to be positive at the moment, which makes the creation of Ethereum Island highly likely. The ConsenSys team has expressed satisfaction with the proceedings, and in the near future, the Asian and African blockchain developers and entrepreneurs will have a reason to rejoice.

Ref: Futurism | Image: NewsBTC

The Sale of Rustbits Tokens commenced on June 26, 2017 and will go on till July 31, 2017. Rustbits are Counterparty tokens which will provide the game fuel and also act as a premium in game currency for SpacePirate: Age of Rust.

The Rustbits sale is a means to crowdfund the development of Age of Rust and other games. There is only a limited supply of RustBits. The unsold Rustbits will be burned at the end of the sale.

There are 100,000,000 tokens in total, and only 70,000,000 will be used in the ICO. The price for Rustbits increases every week, starting at 100k Rustbits per BTC. The platform has already managed to sell 19+ million tokens to raise more than 140 BTC at the time of writing.

Rustchain cards are Counterparty assets that players can collect and trade or use to enhance their experience in the game. In order to issue cards, Rustbits will be burned as the new cards are created and distributed.

The first set of 5 cards are a limited exclusive release and will only be available for Rustbits. Unsold cards will be burned at the end of September.

SpacePirate: Age of Rust is a dark noir text/graphic adventure game set in a sci-fi dystopian universe. It is not a pay-to-win based game and has blockchain-enabled cards to collect, trade, and use. It also plays like a dice-based D&D style game that can be played with other people. Though, at its heart remains an adventure and a mystery that rewards players with hidden treasures.

The game is already 60% complete and the team is working on more content (missions, graphics, voices etc.) to round out the first chapter of the game.

The prologue, a small playable demo version of the game, has been released. It is more of a pre-alpha release of SpacePirate. This version does not have full functionality yet, but it’s meant to tell a small story leading up to the events of where things start in the full release of the game. The prologue opened in April 2017 and already has more than 100 people playing the game.

The demo version of the game can be accessed on the official website after signing-in.

Part of the inspiration behind Age of Rust is Spells of Genesis, another card game on the Bitcoin blockchain, which has also inspired other games such as Beyond the Void and Augmentors.

The platform has now partnered with Spells of Genesis to offer an exclusive additional bonus of 5% of the purchased amount of Rustbits in the ICO. The offer is for all holders of Spell of Genesis blockchain cards participating in the sale. One just has to ensure that the Counterparty wallet sending BTC for the Age of Rust ICO is the same one containing their SoG blockchain cards to avail this offer.

Moreover, SpacePirate is also working on adding support for players to use some of their Spells of Genesis cards in Age of Rust for the final release of the game.

Image & Source

Bitcoin blockchain, which was originally meant to keep a record of all the transactions happening over the Bitcoin network has found a lot of new applications in the recent years. Secure data storage, management, and transfer lie at the core of most of these applications. A new Switzerland based startup has decided to create a universal application that can be used to manage most of the personal data.

The product, Pillar is a universal open source cryptowallet created by Twenty Thirty AG, based out of Zug, Switzerland. The company calls Pillar the “dashboard for digital life” and the project goals involve the creation of a personal data locker augmented by other features including browsers, exchanges, devices, services, calendars and more. The blockchain platform will be powered by Pillar tokens.

In order to fund the platform development, Twenty Thirty AG recently announced a crowdsale that went live on July 15, 2017, attracting over $15 million in under 12 hours. The crowdsale followed an earlier pre-ICO campaign during which the company is said to have raised $4.3 million in Ethereum tokens within 20 minutes.

According to the company’s latest press release, the concept of Pillar project is based on a book “Pull”, authored by one of the co-founders David Siegel. In the book, Seigel describes the future of digital platforms without apps. Instead, the lives of people revolve around personal data lockers. The release quotes another co-founder Yogesh Gaikwad saying,

“There are a lot of platforms now, and those platforms mostly belong to companies. But what if you had your own secure personal platform? What if you had a digital assistant that did everything for you without having to go to each app, log in, and work within that silo? And what if no company owned that platform?”

The initial version of the cryptowallet is expected to support digital assets like health records, financial records, money, ownership of things, resume, etc., all stored on multiple blockchains. It will also include a virtual assistant, enabling user interaction with the platform.

The company plans to raise around $50 million during the crowdsale, set to end on July 17, 2017, following which it will be establishing a blockchain-only innovation center in London.

Ref: Media Release | Wired | Image: NewsBTC

Bitcoin users have gotten used to central banks warning the public about cryptocurrency. We have seen dozens of such warnings over the years. Banks are genuinely concerned about Bitcoin, and they should be. However, the bank of Albania feels there are a few key risks people need to understand when it comes to Bitcoin. A rather aggressive stance, although it is doubtful the message will have a meaningful impact.

Hardly a month goes by without a central bank issuing a Bitcoin warning. Investing in cryptocurrency is risky, but so is any other investment in the world today. There are certain risks associated with cryptocurrency which may not be present in other opportunities. Then again, there are also a lot of benefits which no other investment opportunity can provide right now. Despite the current price dip, Bitcoin is still one of the best-performing assets in the world.

Bank of Albania Rehashes Same old Comments

According to the Bank of Albania, there are critical risks associated with Bitcoin. Bitcoin and other currencies are inherently unstable. The community established that fact a few years ago and it is still valid today. That alone doesn’t warrant an official “do not invest’ warning. Secondly, exchanges are unregulated, which is not entirely true. These companies have to go through a complex licensing process in their country of operation. Additionally, they also verify the identities of all customers in accordance with the law.

However, the Bank of Albania feels there are other concerns as well. In their opinion, some exchanges are prone to hacking. Once again, they are somewhat stating the obvious here. Exchanges have been hacked in the past and will continue to get hacked in the future. It is the main reason why Bitcoin users should move money off such platforms asap. Moreover, the bank thinks criminals will use Bitcoin for illegal activities. So far, there has been no real evidence of using Bitcoin for nefarious purposes. Other than darknet markets and ransomware, that is.

Last but not least, the bank has an issue with the verification requirements used by the exchanges. More precisely, they feel the companies safeguarding this information can guarantee them to be administered safely. Banks and other institutions have been far more prone to data breaches exposing personal information, though. It is evident the Bank of Albania is making some vague statements. Warnings like these often have no effect whatsoever, though.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

Controversy is never hard to come by in the world of cryptocurrencies. Litecoin successfully activated Segregated Witness on the network months ago. Interestingly enough, the Litecoin Core client doesn’t generate SegWit transactions by default. One would expect this to have changed by now, yet it hasn’t for some unknown reason. This begs the question if there are any SegWit transactions on the Ltiecoin network to date.

The LTC community was quite pleased when all mining pools came together to activate SegWit. After all, this scaling solution and malleability fix is quite important. Bitcoin users saw this as a way to test the scaling solution and draw their own conclusions. However, it seems things are not exactly going the way as planned. More specifically, Litecoin Core clients can’t generate SegWit transactions by default in release 0.13.2. Considering how this is the latest stable release, it poses a big problem.

Litecoin Core and SegWit Integration

While it is known a future version of Litecoin Core will solve this problem, some questions linger. Having SegWit activated on the network, but not in the Core client is very strange. After all, the goal is to test this solution thoroughly before it is activated on the Bitcoin mainnet. So far, it seems very little active testing has been done. That is quite problematic, considering many people Litecoin can overtake Bitcoin if the latter hits a snag when activating SegWit. Then again, this scaling proposal still remains largely untested on a live network to this very day.

It is important to keep in mind the current Litecoin Core client does support SegWit. However, accessing this feature requires a fair bit of tinkering. Having a default option would make much more sense, but we’ll need to wait for the next release to see that happen. Saying how Litecoin has proven SegWit is safe is definitely not correct at this stage. Once this protocol powers all network transactions, we can start drawing conclusions. Until then, there is no reason to think otherwise.

Additionally, it doesn’t mean there are no Litecoin SegWit transactions either. One Reddit user posted a spreadsheet of information regarding these transactions. It appears the overall number is still relatively small, even though things are picking up a bit as of late. One particular network bloc on July 11th even saw 100 SegWit transactions. That is quite a significant boost compared to a month or so ago. Segregated Witness usage is not as widespread within Litecoin as people would think. That said, things are evolving in the right direction, which is good to see.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

The use of blockchain technology for lending and trade financing is one of the most important applications currently being explored by banking institutions across the world. Many of these projects are either in trial or pilot stage. Daimler AG, the leading German automobile manufacturer, has decided to make use of the cryptocurrency ledger technology for similar purposes recently.

Daimler, in partnership with Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) recently announced the creation of a blockchain based €100 million bond. The bond, Schuldschein is financed by LBBW along with other financial institutions including Esslingen-Nürtingen and Ludwigsburg and Ostalb.

The whole process of issuing the bond, starting with its origination (drafting in conventional terms), distribution, allocation, and execution were all handled over the blockchain. The implementation of Schuldschein was facilitated by Daimler’s and LBBW’s subsidiaries, TSS and Targens respectively.

A board member at Daimler responsible for Finance and Controlling and Daimler Financial Services, Bodo Uebber was quoted by an automotive magazine saying,

“This pilot project is our first step in testing the wide variety of possibilities for using blockchain technology and assessing this technology’s potential for future transactions and financial processes… Simultaneously with launching the Schuldschein, we conduct other projects to determine where blockchains could also be used to increase efficiency and support our business models…”

The development is one of the many blockchain based implementations in the automotive sector. While this particular project focuses on financial aspects, there are other companies that are currently exploring the use of blockchain technology for vehicle data collection, interconnecting the future self-driven cars on a distributed grid and more.

Earlier this year, Daimler acquired PayCash Europe, a Bitcoin friendly payment processing service. With the new acquisition, the company announced its plans to bolster the capabilities of its MercedesPay service. Through MercedesPay, users will be able to pay for car sharing and international financing services using Bitcoin and other conventional payment methods.

Ref: Automotive World | Image: NewsBTC 

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crowdsales have become the new way of fundraising in the startup ecosystem. If the company or the product has got remotely anything to do with blockchain or fintech, then the chances of success are much higher. Tezos, a blockchain self-governance platform has proven it by breaking records to become the highest grossing ICO of all times.

The recently concluded Tezos crowdsale has raised over $230 million within a span of 13 days. The ICO which went live on July 1, 2017, attracted 65,645 BTC and 361,112 ETH, surpassing all the earlier records to become the most successful ICO ever. The total funds collected by Tezos is at least $80 million more than Bancor, which held the previous record by raising a total of about $150 million.

The creators of the platform call Tezos a “self-amending” cryptoledger, which entirely transfers the power to decide network-wide protocol level changes to the stakeholders. The model adopted by Tezos is expected to prevent a repeat of the issues currently being faced by Bitcoin Network and the earlier predicament that forced Ethereum to introduce a hard fork.

The platform is conceptualized by Dynamic Ledger Solutions Inc, a company founded by Arthur and Kathleen Breitman. Arthur’s education includes math, physics, and computer science. He has been intimately involved in the financial industry as well, following his stints in Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Similarly, Kathleen has been associated with the Wall Street Journal, Bridgewater Associates, Accenture, and R3.

Apart from the founders, the Tezos platform is backed by a dynamic development team with lots of experience in computer science related subjects. In addition, the advisory board includes heavyweights like Zooko Wilcox from ZCash, Emin Gun Sirer, and Andrew Miller.

The success of the ICO is dependent not only on the project and its capabilities to solve real-world problems, but also the names associated with the projects. In Tezos’ case, the project has the right combination of both, which has played a pivotal role in the successful multimillion dollar crowdsale.

Ref: Futurism | Tezos Whitepaper | Image: NewsBTC

Key Points

  • Bitcoin price fell sharply during the past few days and broke the $2400-2350 support against the US Dollar.
  • There was a break below a major contracting triangle with support at $2420 on the 4-hours chart of BTC/USD (data feed from SimpleFX).
  • The price is currently trading near major pivot of $2000, and struggling to hold it.

Bitcoin price crashed below $2200 recently against the US Dollar, and now BTC/USD is struggling to hold a monster support area at $2000.

Bitcoin Price Breaks Down

This past week was mostly bearish for Bitcoin price, as it moved below the $2400 support area against the US Dollar. In the last weekly analysis, I highlighted a monster breakout pattern with support at $2400-20 on the 4-hours chart of BTC/USD. It seems like the pair failed to hold the same and settled below $2400. There was a sharp downside move, as the pair traded below the $2250 and $2100 support levels.

At the moment, the price is trading near another crucial support at $2000. Buyers are struggling to hold $2000, which is why BTC remains at risk. The $2000 support is very important, especially a daily close above or below $2000. If the price manages to avoid a daily close below $2000, there are strong chances of a recovery. On the other hand, if there is a close below $2000, there can be more declines towards $1800.

Bitcoin Price Weekly Analysis BTC USD

On the upside, there is a bearish trend line at $2150 on the 4-hours chart. Moreover, the 38.2% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $2396 high to $1958 low might also act as a hurdle near $2125. Selling rallies near $2125-2150 may be considered in the short term.

Looking at the technical indicators:

4-hours MACD – The MACD is heavily bearish and signaling more declines

4-hours RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI is attempting a recovery from the oversold levels.

Major Support Level – $2000

Major Resistance Level – $2150

 

Charts courtesy – SimpleFX