Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency Plans ‘Supercharged’ Central Banks’ Interest In This Barbados Startup

In the summer of 2016, when bitcoin was beginning its ascendance to a $20,000 all-time-high, Bitt, a Barbados-based startup, did something that at the time seemed rather bizarre: It issued a cryptocurrency backed by the Barbadian dollar. Many wondered why anyone would want to corrupt the efficiency of issuing currency on a shared, distributed ledger by introducing value controlled by a central authority.

Then came Facebook, which earlier this year announced its plans to issue Libra, a cryptocurrency backed by a basket of currencies issued by central banks and designed to have all the benefits of blockchain, with the price stability of the strongest fiat currencies. Could this be the way to get people to actually spend cryptocurrency instead of just hold it like an investment?

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Rachel Roberson
Overstock’s tZERO Patents Tech for Recording Trades on Public Blockchains

The technology will allow tZERO to record trades as hashes anchored on a public blockchain, verify previous trades and keep an immutable record of the transactions on its platform, according to the announcement.

The method, tZERO CEO Saum Noursalehi said, “can be used in our suite of products, as well as licensed to companies across various industries that are seeking to maintain a tamper-proof and auditable record of time-series-based data.”

It can also link the settlement of tokenized securities on a public blockchain with legacy trading systems and anchor data about the resulting on-chain settlements into public blockchains, the company said.

“For example, off-chain trade data and on-chain settlement data occurring on an Ethereum mainnet can be combined and anchored into the Bitcoin blockchain for added resiliency, security and transparency,” tZERO explained.

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Rachel Roberson
Land on the blockchain: How countries are solving ownership disputes using DLT

The World Bank estimates that fewer than 30 percent of the world’s population has the official title to their land. In Zambia, for instance, getting the deed for your home could change your life. The value of your house increases tenfold, and you become eligible for government welfare services and bank loans.

But the process is expensive, laborious, and occasionally corrupt. There are more than 500,000 land records in the Zambian land administration, but only 176,000 of these records are complete. And, with the government issuing an average of just seven thousand land titles a year for the past decade, it’d take the government dozens of years to get its act straight. 

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Rachel Roberson
Q&A: Overstock.com's Jonathan Johnson on integrating Bitcoin for online payments

Early in 2014, Overstock.com became the first major retailer to begin accepting Bitcoin as a form of retail payment, and since that time it has continued to invest heavily in the cryptocurrency.

In the first day accepting the digital currency, Overstock saw a 4.33% increase in online sales, representing $126,000 of Bitcoin. Since that time, payments in the form of Bitcoin have cooled but remain steady. There are now more than  a dozen retailers who accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. While Bitcoin accounts for less than one quarter of one percent of Overstock.com's online payments, depending on day-to-day fluctuation, the company continues to see it as an important part of its retail strategy.

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Rachel Roberson
Vinsent Combines Traditional Wine Buying Model With Blockchain Technology To Bring Consumers Closer To Wine

New wine buying app Vinsent combines the concept of “wine futures,” one of the most traditional forms of purchasing wine, with blockchain technology, ensuring that consumers receive what they ordered and enabling the use of cryptocurrency for purchase. Founded in 2018 by Jacob Ner-David, a tech entrepreneur and chairman of Israel’s Jezreel Valley Winery, Gil Picovsky, an investment professional, and Ron Prashker, strategy and marketing expert and partner at Italy’s Salcheto winery, Vinsent offers consumers an opportunity to purchase wine directly from wineries while it is still in the barrel. After noticing that there is almost no connection at all between many consumers and the wineries whose product they drink, Ner-David and his partners combined the Bordelaise concept of En Primeur with the American model of direct-to-consumer winery clubs.

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Rachel Roberson
Utah County to Offer Blockchain Voting App in Municipal Elections

Utah County is to pilot the mobile voting app from Voatz in its municipal primary election in August.

According to a press release on Tuesday, the county will offer the blockchain-based voting service to active-duty military, their eligible dependents and overseas voters. The pilot is a collaboration between the Utah County Elections Division, Voatz, Tusk Philanthropies and the National Cybersecurity Center.

As part of the Tusk Philanthropies effort to increase voter turnout, Voatz has previously been trialed in municipal elections in Denver, as well as two primaries in West Virginia – the first time a U.S. state has offered blockchain-based mobile voting in federal elections.

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Rachel Roberson
Overstock’s tZERO Subsidiary Rolls Out Android Version of Crypto App

Overstock’s digital currency arm tZERO has released an Android version of its recently launched cryptocurrency mobile application, according to a press release published on July 25.

Initially, the tZERO Crypto App rolled out in late June supporting two major coins Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). The launch of the digital wallet and exchange services app for crypto was coupled with the release of its iOS version.

Per the recent announcement, tZERO utilizes biometric authentication for additional security and also enables investors to use a unique private key recovery system to restore their funds and coins in the event they lose their private keys. TZERO CEO Saum Noursalehi said:

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Rachel Roberson
Overstock’s tZERO Lures New Execs from Barclays and IMAX

Overstock’s security token platform subsidiary tZERO is growing its leadership team as it prepares to onboard more tokens.

Announced Wednesday, the company has hired three new senior managers that will turn tZERO’s leadership structure into one more resembling a corporation than a startup.

Firstly, Brooke Navarro, now head of issuance at tZERO, spend almost a decade at Barclays and became one of the few female managing directors there in 2018, focusing on equity markets in tech, media and telecom. According to tZERO’s CEO Saum Noursalehi, the firm had been looking for “the right person” for six months before finally finding Navarro.

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Rachel Roberson
tZero CEO Saum Noursalehi Publishes Letter on Platform Roadmap

Dear tZERO Token Holder,

I am quite pleased with the progress our team is making. I have been communicating with you, our token holders, through the Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK) quarterly earnings calls, SEC disclosure, and periodic event-driven press releases. I realize I can do more to keep you apprised of the status and prospects of the business. This letter is a first step in that direction. We have also hired a Head of Investor Relations to help.

This letter addresses: why I believe tZERO is such a significant business opportunity, the milestones we have already hit this year, and the planned roadmap for the remainder of the year.

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Rachel Roberson
Overstock’s tZero to tokenize major movie biopic on Atari founder

Nolan Bushnell went from repairing broken pinball machines to launching the videogamemanufacturer Atari in the 1970s. Now, as a tribute to his pioneering spirit, the producers of a biopic on his life, “Atari: Fistful of Quarters,” are taking a unique approach and tokenizing the enterprise. 

tZero, a subsidiary of online retail platform Overstock, will develop “Bushnell” tokens, on behalf of film production and financing company Vision Tree, it announced today. The movie is being co-produced with Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian W.

Token holders will receive shares of movie earnings, assist in choosing the movie cast and vote on its trailer.

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Rachel Roberson
Overstock.com unit tZERO to launch digital currency wallet, exchange app

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Overstock.com subsidiary tZERO said on Thursday it has launched a digital wallet and exchange app for cryptocurrencies.

Investors who want to participate in the global cryptocurrency market will be able to buy, sell and hold these digital assets directly through the tZERO Crypto App on their mobile phone, rather than using more vulnerable, third-party exchanges for custody, tZERO said in a statement.

tZERO is focused on the development and commercialization of blockchain, the technology that underpins bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. Blockchain is a shared database that is maintained by a network of computers connected to the internet.


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Rachel Roberson
tZERO Launches Second Digital Security to Trade on PRO Securities ATS

tZERO, a blockchain company focused on capital markets, announced today that the Digital Voting Series A-1 Preferred Stock is the second digital security available for trade on its PRO Securities ATS, an SEC registered alternative trading system.

Listed as OSTKO – formerly OSTKP – it is available on the non-exchange venue that matches buyer and seller counterparties for transactions. The venue is backed by tZERO’s security token trading technology.

This follows on “the commencement of secondary resales among accredited investors of tZERO’s security tokens in January 2019,” according to a company statement.

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Rachel Roberson
Overstock.com subsidiary Medici Land Governance puts Wyoming County's land records on blockchain

Overstock.com’s blockchain subsidiary Medici Land Governance (MLG) announced that it has put the land registries of Teton County, Wyoming, into a blockchain-based land record and information system.

According to its press release, land records, including warranty deeds, mortgages, the release of liens, and other similar documents, starting from 1996 are now kept on an MLG platform.

The registry, which can be tracked and viewed by the public, ensures the immutability of existing land information and provides a clear chain of title.

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Rachel Roberson
BITPoint and IdentityMind partner for Latin America AML compliance

IdentityMind Global and BITPoint LATAM, a cryptocurrency exchange in Latin America, have announced a new partnership for KYC and AML compliance.

Currently, BITPoint is operational in Panama and Peru and plans to expand their territories into Latin America. The company already has a presence in five Asian countries, including Japan. BITPoint is among the few certified digital assets exchanges registered with the Japanese Financial Service Authority (JFSA).

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Rachel Roberson
Overstock Subsidiary to Help Liberia Digitize Services, Boost Economy with Blockchain

Overstock.com subsidiary Medici Land Governance has signed a memorandum of understanding with Liberia to help the African nation digitize government services, a news release announced on June 10.

The pro bono pilot project will explore how Liberia can strengthen its economy through blockchain and enhance interoperability between government departments. As well as strengthen the country’s capacity to generate revenues, the release notes that such infrastructure could reduce corruption.

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Rachel Roberson
Overstock’s Medici Ventures Leads $7 Million Round for Blockchain Voting Startup

Blockchain-based mobile voting platform Voatz has raised $7 million in a Series A round led by Overstock’s Medici Ventures and Techstars.

Urban Innovation Fund and Oakhouse Partners also participated in the funding, according to an announcement provided to CoinDesk Thursday.

Voatz said it will use the investment to develop the accessibility and usability of its platform, as well as to boost security as it launches new pilots in partnership with states, cities and “select international jurisdictions.”

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Rachel Roberson
Grainchain, a blockchain-based platform for commodity sales, launches in Mexico

In the two years since GrainChain launched its distributed ledger-based transaction platform for bulk dry goods, the company has brokered thousands of contracts on everything from corn, sorghum, wheat and soybeans to even sand from its headquarters in McAllen, Texas.

Now the company is expanding its services to Mexico, partnering with the government of Tamaulipas to help farmers and grain elevators with commodity management and settlement.

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Rachel Roberson
Crypto Exchange Binance Enhances Global KYC/AML Measures With Tools From IdentityMind

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by adjusted trading volume, is implementing stronger know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations to ensure data security and compliance across their global operations.

Following the launch of Bitcoin Lite in Australia, Binance announced today a new partnership with Medici Ventures portfolio firm, IdentityMind. This collaboration is part of a joint mission to help raise the blockchain industry’s standards by improving existing data protection and compliance measures.

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Rachel Roberson
Overstock’s Medici Acquires Stake in Blockchain Banking Startup

Medici Ventures, the blockchain investment arm of Overstock, has acquired a 5.1 percent equity stake in blockchain banking startup Bankorus.

Announcing the news on Monday, Overstock said Bankorus’ blockchain platform allows individuals and institutions to “securely” buy, sell, store and lend digital assets.

“The addition of Bankorus to Medici Ventures’ portfolio of companies will further our work in building the foundation of a blockchain-based technology stack for society,” said Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures.

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Rachel Roberson
Explore wine on the blockchain with your tipsy Valentine

A bottle of red, a bottle of white, remember that Merkle trees keep your chain size light. That’s right: wine is now on the blockchain.

Vinsent, a new app that allows purchasers to pick up a bottle of fancy (mostly Israeli) vino, is turning to the blockchain to register wine futures purchases while ensuring that the bottles are authentic.

Vinsent came from VinX, a Medici-funded company that sought out to create a digital wine futures platform similar to the Bordeaux model.


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Rachel Roberson