SpacePirate’s Rustbits Token Sale is Now Live

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.

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Among the many advantages of the digital currency, the transparency associated with transactional data stored over the blockchain is the most attractive one. The very property comes in handy when it comes to maintaining transparency and preventing corruption in sectors where blockchain-based applications are used.

The digital currency technology is already being considered by few government representatives, institutions and other social organizations in their fight against corruption. The blockchain technology was originally developed as the backbone technology for Bitcoin Network. The blockchain maintains a record of all the transactions ever happening over the Bitcoin network in a decentralized ledger. These transaction records, stored forever on the database is used for cross-referencing latest transactions against it to ensure its validity.

Recently, the New America think tank, based out of Washington DC proposed the use of blockchain technology based applications to kill corruption. The idea was voiced by Tomicah Tillemann, director of the Bretton Woods II initiative. The idea has now taken form into something more substantial with the announcement of a new initiative called the Blockchain Trust Accelerator Initiative.

The Blockchain Trust Accelerator Initiative is a collaborative effort between the New America think tank, BitFury – the blockchain company and the National Democratic Institute – a non-governmental organization. With the Blockchain Trust Accelerator Initiative, the partnering entities intend to encourage collaboration with the government, private institutions, technologists, investors and more for rapid development and implementation of blockchain technology-based applications for social good and governance.

Blockchain Against Corruption in England

The Blockchain Trust Accelerator Initiative is not the first time somebody has thought of using blockchain technology to weed out corruption. There have been multiple discussions about it among the English politicians and bureaucrats regarding the use of digital currency technology for same purposes. Quite recently, the Minster for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General at the British Parliament, Matthew Hancock proposed the use of blockchain technology to monitor and track the utilization of taxpayer-funded research grants. According to Matthew’s proposal, by disbursing and recording the flow of grants on blockchain, the government will be able to prevent corruption by ensuring that the money is being spent on the research it was originally intended for and not spent for other purposes.

Last year, George Galloway, the London Mayoral candidate had expressed his intention to put forth a blockchain budget for London, which is transparent and open for anyone to verify the expenditures made by the government. However, the idea was never realized.

The general public across the world have always been affected by corruption among the government employees and departments. It has become a global phenomenon. However, with active participation from the governments and implementation of blockchain technology based applications across various departments will be instrumental in drastically reducing corruption, resulting in improved governance with increased transparency.

Ref: Forbes | Quartz |Business Insider | Image: Forbes

American multinational CA Technologies believes that the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency bitcoin will find its footing in 2016.

In a blogpost titled Five Technology Predictions for 2016, Otto Berkes, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at CA Technologies, predicted a great year for the blockchain technology, saying that the innovative public ledger will “find a home outside of the Bitcoin transaction ledger.”

He stressed that the technology could be further incorporated within the existing Internet-of-Things framework, believing it has has the potential to become a transformative tool in improving the ways through which data is collected and exchanged between physical objects.

“A technology, like blockchain, that relies on a network of computers and has privacy at its core will be an important enabler of IoT and any organization’s digital transformation as it further streamlines operations for greater agility and customer responsiveness,” the CTO added, while further discussing its possible applicabilities in real-time data analytics, “agile security,” and containers and microservices.

Berkes’ statements appear in a time when many technology – as well as finance organizations – are considering to update their traditional and slow infrastructure with the much faster blockchain. Texas-based leading financial organization USAA has cleared its intentions regarding the use of the ledger technology in optimizing its back-end operations.

Even central banks, that used to have a narrow view on the Bitcoin and its underlying technology, are making efforts to understand it better (read R3CEV, a group of researcher and bankers led by American multinational firm IBM).

For the IoT, CA Technologies sees 2016 as the year when the focus would shift to building applications. The automotive and healthcare sectors will benefit from the introduction of IoT sensors and smart devices.

The real-time analysis of big data to enhance the experience of customers by using the predictive insights to prescriptive actions will become a daily affair. CTO Berkes believes that the analytics won’t be the solution to anything, but with improvements, it will become the part of the solution to everything.

Coming back to the blockchain, it is expected that the technology will benefit from the increasing awareness and the sustained fund inflows. The involvement of well-known organizations, government and private, will also aid and accelerate the adoption process. Its idea of blockchain will reach a wider audience this year, and its potential will be understood and utilized on a bigger scale, hopefully.

“Blockchain will have to overcome its “guilt by association” with the Bitcoin problems,” Berkes added, “but the capability exists for it to become the storage of choice for sensors and IoT in general.”

[Note: This article is awaiting moderation with comments from CA Technologies.]

Powerful finance lady Blythe Masters is having a hard time convincing investors to invest in her blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings, according to a news report from The New York Times. earlier reported that Blythe is looking to raise $35M for her blockchain startup before Christmas from leading investor groups such as JPMorgan Chase, where she earlier worked for 27 years, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Santander, Bank Of America, Morgan Stanley and NASDAQ.

The NYTimes reports that leading financial institutions including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are miffed that Digital Asset Holdings is offering a better deal to Blythe’s former employer JPMorgan Chase.

One executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity to said that the deal being offered wasn’t compelling enough.

The deal would need to improve materially for us to get involved. It’s not super-compelling.

Talks have also remained stalled on several issues such as board composition, shareholder voting rights, and how big shareholders can sell their shares.

Blythe Masters has failed to impress potential investors with her version of the blockchain software. With several startups embracing blockchain technology, investors are adopting a cautious stance on DAH’s success in creating cutting-edge software.

Another big problem that the blockchain startup faces is the formation of the R3 group, which is adding more and more banks every week. The blockchain consortium has grown to 42 members. The consortium is working towards creating a technology that will be able to meet the needs of the banks.

With every aspect of blockchain expected to gain in 2016, it can be safely assumed that better implementations of the technology in financial markets will come to the fore. If Blythe fails to deliver software that is in sync with the fast-moving industry, she may not receive the attention (and funds) from the investors, which has become ever important now.

The blockchain consortium R3CEV LLC has added 12 more banks, taking the total to 42. The group of blockchain advocates is also a part of The Open Ledger Project being led by IBM, which aims to create its own blockchain.

According to the official press release, the next round of engagement will commence in January 2016 and focus on non-bank financial institutions, including post-trade organizations that settle transactions. Clearing houses and exchanges are good examples. The initiative is now aiming to extend reach to the broader financial services community.

The recently added banks are Danske Bank, Banco Santander, Intesa Sanpaolo, Nomura, Natixis, Northern Trust, OP Financial Group, Scotiabank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, US Bancorp, Westpac Banking Corporation and BMO Financial Group.

Charley Cooper, managing director of R3, said in a statement:

“We started with banks, but the intent was always to cast broadly in the financial services markets. The real power of blockchain technology grows exponentially when you add more users to the network.”

David Rutter, CEO of R3 commented: “Partnering with a broad range of institutions has always been central to our strategy of developing distributed ledger technologies that will truly benefit the financial services industry as a whole. Securing the backing of 42 of the world’s leading banks demonstrates the level of interest in our initiative, and we now look forward to exploring collaboration with non-bank institutions and expanding our already diverse group.

Founded in September this year, the consortium will work towards developing commercial products and financial-grade distributed ledger solutions.

Banks are rushing for it because they fear the disruptive potential of the technology, which puts the capabilities of the existing infrastructure to shame. The banks do not want to be left behind in understanding this financial technology, which poses a clear threat to their future profits.

In a major blow to the Bitcoin blockchain, leading financial and technological giants including IBM, Intel, Cisco, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group, and State Street have come together to create their own open-source blockchain.

According to a highly extensive report on, the open source project will aim to replicate a blockchain-like technology that can bring a new level of automation and transparency to a wide range of services, beyond its current use as a ledger for Bitcoin transactions. Jerry Cuomo, vice-president and chief technology officer of IBM’s software division, told Fortune:

“I don’t have a strong opinion on cryptocurrencies, but I have a strong opinion on the blockchain as a solution for contracts and supply chains and the internet of things. I think Bitcoin is an interesting application for blockchain, but there are thousands of applications and wider use cases beyond that.”

The Open Ledger Project

The Open Ledger Project, as is the name of this collaboration, is the brainchild of IBM. The tech giant is contributing thousands of lines of existing code based on its research into the blockchain. Digital Asset Holdings, led by Blythe Masters, has contributed the name “Hyperledger” for branding the effort. Since this will be an open source project, anybody can contribute.

Other eminent companies involved in the project include Fujitsu and VMware, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and SWIFT.

The collaboration will aim to tweak or add more features to the blockchain idea in order to make it apt for business purposes. Several issues such as the capability of the current blockchain to handle large volumes of data, dust attacks, and the block-size debate have exposed the weakness of the current network. With their own blockchain, the group will have the authority to create a network infrastructure that is sturdy and can withstand anything that comes in its way!

Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has officially announced its intention to explore blockchain technology in a global payments innovation initiative meant to improve customer experience by increasing the speed and the reliability of cross-border payments.

The initiative is expected to commence in early 2016, and will focus on a business-to-business payments service supported by participating banks. SWIFT provides its products and services to over 10,800 banking organizations, securities institutions and corporate clients.

This initiative is an important first step in driving cross-border payments innovation. As part of the initiative, we will continue to develop new and enhanced services, utilising SWIFT’s Innotribe initiative to further engage the FinTech community and explore the application of innovations such as real-time payment status tracking, the use of peer-to-peer messaging and blockchain technology,” said Wim Raymaekers, Head of Banking Markets at SWIFT.

Founded in 1973, SWIFT enables its users to exchange automated and standardized financial information securely and reliably, thereby lowering costs, reducing operational risk and eliminating inefficiencies. After the completion of the initiative, SWIFT will work together with industry groups to define additional service level agreements (SLAs) that will cater to client groups, in order to further reduce the costs and friction arising from compliance, liquidity and processing efficiency in international payments.

Many financial institutions and banks have been more-or-less hesitant to use blockchain technology, but with a leading global organization such as SWIFT coming into the picture, the participating banks will get a first-hand experience of the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. And given the enormous potential of the blockchain’s ledger technology—which supports fast, extremely low-cost and reliable transfers—the picture may become a lot rosier.

To obtain more information about the innovation initiative or to participate, please visit

In November, Microsoft launched an Ethereum-based cloud platform to enable enterprise and institutional clients to build Ethereum blockchain and smart contract-based applications, which come with pre-built tools and templates.

Now the software giant is working with Ripple to add a dedicated financial services angle to its blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform. With this additional support, Microsoft will be able to provide its clients – which include large financial institutions and banks – with a reliable platform to test their blockchain applications and create new ones.

The blockchain technology has attracted significant traction this year from leading financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, Citi, UBS, and more. Many have expressed their desire to create future products using the Bitcoin technology, as it offers an unassailable cost advantage over the traditional methods.

The payment industry is witnessing a new revolution, with blockchain technology speeding up the processes in a reliable manner. While traditional methods such as banks take up to 2-3 days to process cross-border payments, blockchain technology enables such tasks to be done in a few minutes.

According to a press release, Marley Gray, director of technology strategy for US financial services at Microsoft, said:

Several packages are in the pipeline with reference implementations and samples specific to financial services, via the adoption of C++ Ethereum and Ethereum on Windows Server.

Microsoft will also be using Ripple’s Interledger Protocol known for efficient payments across payment networks, including banks and the blockchain.

Gray said:

We’re exploring how the Interledger Protocol can be used by the Azure enterprise and developer community to enable new and novel use cases within Microsoft’s blockchain as a service offering.

With Microsoft getting onto the blockchain bandwagon, many banks and financial institutions – which were reluctant to use the technology until now – may begin experimenting with the innovative technology.

Recently, it was estimated that the Financial Industry would be investing in over $1bn in Blockchain Technology by the end of this year and investment will continue at this pace well into 2016. Blockchain holds the promise of more fluid and safer transactions and the traditional financial institutions are investing heavily and creating divisions geared towards maximizing the opportunity Blockchain presents.

Debates are on both sides of the coin (no pun intended) on this as Blockchain is the underlying technology for bitcoin, which these same institutions are leery of as the reputation is bitcoin  operates on the dark net and is used in illegal and dangerous ways.    But these same firms ignore that aspect of the development of the technology in order to leverage a competitive edge against other firms in the financial sector.

On 24 November in London and on 8 December in New York City, financial, technological and legal firms will be addressing these issues in an evening panel discussion on where the application of Blockchain is heading.  With representation from R3CEV, a Blockchain/bank partnership incubator; VISA-Europe, Nasdaq; and VC firms investing in this technology, a high-level debate will tackle the challenges and opportunities of its use.

These After the Bell forums, created specifically for the FinTech community, are produced by The Mankoff Company. These two panels will speak to the major issues including:  What can Blockchain actually do?  An explanation of the underlying technology; Private vs. Public Blockchains – similar to private vs. public cloud technology?  How does Blockchain allow for better traceability and auditing?   How do you create a scaleable Blockchain? Where do the regulators stand on this technology and how will that impact growth as if they come down on it, does it mean all this investment is dead in the water? And for those looking ahead, how start-ups in this space are creating the technology and how the financial institutions are selecting the best ones to invest in, maximizing their presence in the space.

For more information on these events and to register, please go to for the London event and for the New York program.

Leading financial services giants, Nomura and Fidelity Investments, are showing a keen interest in the blockchain technology.

The Nomura Research Institute made the official announcement that it will conduct a joint examination with Nomura Securities Co., Ltd., and other technology start-ups regarding the feasibility of implementing the blockchain technology. The Nomura Research Institute (NRI) is the largest consultancy and IT firm in Japan.

The joint study is expected to be completed in January 2016. The official announcement reads,

The impetus behind creating this study emerged from NRI’s continuous commitment to promote open innovation is based on the understanding that the financial and technology sectors are becoming increasingly linked. The unique value created by the merger of existing business with advanced technologies and services provided by new ventures, such as blockchain, is a large area of interest for the financial services industry in Japan and worldwide.

Another leading financial services company dipping its feet in the blockchain technology is Fidelity Investments. The Company has already backed the Dublin blockchain hackathon, the biggest such event in Europe which will feature 150 participants and 10,000 euros in prize money.

The event has been explicitly publicized to bring Ireland back on the global map as one of the leading countries for blockchain research and development.

Aidan Kenny, VP of innovation, process excellence & applied technology at Fidelity Ireland says: “Blockchain technology has the potential to become one of the most significant innovations the global financial services ecosystem has seen. Fidelity Investments Ireland is delighted to sponsor this event and to play a key role in supporting participants.

Another small group which has garnered praise for bringing together the top players of the industry to participate in the event is Chainsmiths, a newly formed Dublin-based consultancy specializing in cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.

Kevin Loaec, Chainsmiths Managing Director said, “Banks are working on blockchain research and some will release products in a few years, maybe even months.”