Going back to the early days of Bitcoin, we look at the contributions of Nick Szabo to smart contracts and Bit Gold. Decentralizing gets another boost by Augur in the predictions marketplace with the launch of their platform. Then we see a very real world example of cryptocurrency solving a real need in Venezuela to avoid their collapsing currency and allow people to buy the goods they need to survive. Finally, we see a conventional exchange, the CBOE, talking to the SEC about getting a bitcoin ETF license, which would be a real milestone in terms of bringing cryptocurrency even closer to the masses as an investment vehicle.
Featured stories by Jimmy Aki, Colin Harper and Aaron van Wirdum
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Early cypherpunk Nick Szabo had been researching decentralized financial solutions in the mid-1990s and came to propose what he is perhaps best known for today: smart contracts. These (then-hypothetical) computer protocols could digitally facilitate, verify and enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract, ideally without the need of any third party.
The latest installment in Aaron van Wirdum’s Genesis Files series looks at the contributions of Szabo and recounts how he proposed solutions to some of the problems that Bitcoin would eventually solve.
Blockchain-based predictions platform Augur has opened to the general public, becoming the “world’s first” decentralized prediction-market platform. It was created by the Forecast Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation whose goal is to build “open-source, public forecasting tools.”
Prediction markets have long been dominated by the likes of Paddy Power and DraftKings, which are centrally owned, operated and regulated. This centralization causes all kinds of problems, such as restrictions for users in certain regions, higher associated costs to use and limitations on the types of markets that users could create. A key differentiator for Augur is its global and decentralized nature.
On July 1, 2018, Venezuelan citizen Héctor received 0.5 nano, roughly worth $1.80 USD. The amount seems trivial, but it is almost a month’s salary in the impoverished nation and more than he had made the previous month. This inspired him to write a post celebrating his newfound wealth on the r/nanocurrency subreddit.
In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Héctor describes the day-to-day economic circumstances in Venezuela and tells how cryptocurrencies are giving people like him hope.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is examining an application from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Global Markets which, if approved, could grant the company a coveted bitcoin ETF license and bring new waves of institutional investors to the bitcoin arena.
The cryptocurrency space remains largely unmonitored, and the SEC has sought to take a firm stance to ensure consumer protection and safety. After much debate and speculation, however, officials recently decided that both bitcoin and Ethereum — despite its early pre-sale (now ICO) status — were too decentralized to be considered securities and could not be regulated by the organization.