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October 2011

Overstock’s Crypto Division Invests $2 Million USD in Evernym



Troubled online retailer Overstock has invested $2 million USD in blockchain-based identity firm Evernym through its crypto division, Medici Ventures.

Blockchain-Based Identity Technology

Evernym was founded in Salt Lake City in 2013 and has developed a blockchain-based technology that allows organizations and governments to issue, accept, and verify credentials that operate similarly to a digital passport. Its digital credential platform, Verity, allows organizations to interact with customers while giving clients control over their data. The technology utilizes blockchain to develop a decentralized ecosystem of digital credentials that is more trustworthy than physical credentials. Overstock’s investment will be used to help Evernym scale its operations.

Evernym’s platform allows every person, organization, and connected thing to have an independent identity. Evernym fills out Medici Ventures’ identity pillar within our keiretsu and will help advance our government-as-a-service technology stack for civilization,” said recently appointed Overstock CEO Jonathan Johnson. The company made the investment via its crypto ventures arm Medici Ventures, which participated in Evernym’s Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE). SAFE will allow Overstock to convert its investment into preferred stock.

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Overstock in Turmoil

Overstock has been in turmoil in recent weeks after the departure of enigmatic CEO and founder Patrick Byrne following his admittance to a three-year relationship with Maria Butina, a convicted Russian spy currently serving 18 months in federal prison. Byrne has championed the company’s ventures into the world of crypto and had previously stated that he wanted Overstock to cease all its other operations and focus entirely on crypto.

Last week, Byrne sold his remaining 13% stake in Overstock, worth $90 million USD, and reinvested the proceeds into cryptocurrency. The news came in the same week that Byrne’s proposed plans for a crypto dividend for Overstock investors unraveled, forcing the company to delay its payment. Byrne had designed a system whereby investors would receive their dividend in the form of an obscure digital security, that could only be accessed via a Dinosaur Financial Group account after a six-month holding period. The aim of this was to prevent short selling against Overstock.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © shirotie

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Telegram Releases Eagerly Awaited Update on Future of TON



Messenger app Telegram has released a long-awaited update on the future of its TON blockchain and its native Gram tokens, clarifying certain aspects of the project as it remains embroiled in a lawsuit by the US Securities and Exchange Commission as to whether two ICOs conducted in 2018 should have been registered with the commission.

Telegram messenger is an immensely popular platform in the world of crypto, central to the discourse on the topic, and has been working on developing its own blockchain since 2017. Multiple rumors have been spreading regarding the project, and while Telegram has remained very tightlipped due to that pending SEC suit, the company issued a public notice on January 6 to address these rumors.

Grams are Not Available for Sale Yet

The first such misconception addressed by Telegram is that Grams, the native token to the TON blockchain, are not for sale and technically do not even exist yet, despite several websites claiming they are official Gram resellers. Telegram has noted that it is not affiliated with any of these vendors and states that the TON blockchain remains in beta testing. In August, it was reported that a secondary market for Gram tokens had sprung up and was seeing returns in excess of 400%, despite Telegram claiming that any resold tokens would be canceled.

TON Blockchain Will Be Decentralised

Telegram has said that it will likely never develop any applications or features for the TON blockchain itself. “Rather, it is Telegram’s goal and hope that the decentralized community of third-party developers and others will contribute to the TON ecosystem through the development of applications and smart contracts,” read Monday’s statement. The messenger service went on to add that TON will always be open source and publicly viewable, meaning it will have no control over the blockchain.

TON Wallet Will Not Be Integrated into Telegram App

Lastly, the Telegram team said that its TON Wallet Application will be released on a standalone basis and will not be integrated into the messenger app. The TON Wallet is intended to compete with other crypto wallet services, but the company did not rule out integration at some point in the future to the extent that the law and regulators would allow.

The SEC Suit

The update from Telegram appears as though it is intended to provide further clarity to several misconceptions that have arisen around the project in light of the SEC lawsuit. Between January and March 2018, the company raised in excess of $1.7 billion USD from 171 investors to fund the development of the blockchain; however, the SEC claims that this fundraising constituted an ICO on Gram tokens and should have been registered with the commission.

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No solid launch date has been set for the release of TON after the injunction prevented the release of Grams until April at the latest. The SEC suit will continue with two further hearings scheduled for February 18 and 19.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © prykhodov

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Rakuten Launches Cryptocurrency Exchange for Customers



Rakuten has begun accepting applications for accounts for its anticipated cryptocurrency exchange called “Rakuten Wallet.” The company announced that pre-registration is available for customers with Rakuten Bank, but further details as to whether the service will be available for everyone has not yet been revealed.

The company previously stated that the crypto exchange will commence business in June 2019 and it will come with a mobile app that allows trading of crypto assets.

New Crypto Exchange for Customers

Rakuten had a revenue of $9 billion in 2018, and the decision to support cryptocurrency is seen as a way of accelerating adoption at the consumer level.

Although the company has operations worldwide, its base in Japan is a significant force in the crypto industry, with trading in Yen contributing to over half of the total Bitcoin purchases. Japan is the home of the first ever cryptocurrency exchange, Mt. Gox, and the creator of Bitcoin adopted a Japanese alias, Satoshi Nakamoto. The country is credited for its advanced cryptocurrency regulations, and the Rakuten Wallet will receive clearance from the Japanese Financial Services Authority.

Although Rakuten is a diverse company, its focus on e-commerce will be vital in supporting cryptocurrency. Since 2015, some of Rakuten’s branches have been experimenting with Bitcoin payments. According to Rakuten, the role of crypto payments in offline retail, e-commerce, and in p2p payments is expected to grow in the future.

Benefits to Customers

The use of crypto payments is expected to eliminate the risk of chargebacks that customers have to encounter when they use credit cards, the conventional payment method in e-commerce.

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With crypto payments, customers will not have to worry about asking for refunds from credit card providers or banks. Equally cryptocurrency payments are cheaper because there are no fees incurred, which may impact on profit margins of the merchant.

Rakuten indicated that in order for the company to efficiently offer crypto payment, there is a need to have a cryptocurrency exchange function.

Are you excited by the news?

Featured image: DepositPhotos @ dimarik

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