Startup Wants to Bring Blockchain Remake For Webcam Sex Industry

While webcam modeling has quickly become the go-to money-making option when much of the pornography business eroded by the avalanche of free online sexual content, it’s certainly not flawless.

Most models only see 20-40 percent of their earnings, if they see any of it, as many service providers have a minimal required sum, usually about $50, to be gathered before issuing out their payment. This standard policy scares away most first-timers. Cashing out your hard-earned money as a model can also be delayed up to a month due to the payment regulations of these sites and three to five business days rule of traditional bank transfers. And as for the clients, some websites still wall you off until you provide your credit card which makes it pretty hard to remain anonymous.

Traditional platforms will often store all sorts of information like ID numbers, geolocations or even private chats, just to name a few which could be alluring data for hackers to steal. These systems are most likely not open source and thus, no one can ensure it completely the data will be encrypted and will be deleted after a while.

Blockchain solution

Comes Live Stars into the picture. The startup company is one of the front-runners in this multi-billion industry to solve these problems by introducing Blockchain technology to the webcam business. Apart from crypto economic efficiency, thanks to Blockchain technology they promise to deliver more privacy, security, control and independence than ever before not only for models but clients as well.

Their concept is simple. With the use of Blockchain, their platform will become decentralized helping to cryptographically protect both clients’ and models’ data from fraud. Regarding transactions, Blockchain will also facilitate payment transfers for clients.

By issuing their own Blockchain token, named LIVE which is an ERC20 utility token, the company will speed up payments, minimize transactional error and protect clients’ data. This will eliminate third-party payment costs (and time) almost entirely, and thus give their models a much fairer revenue rate of 70-80 percent compared to traditional platforms. Earnings will be accessible to cash out immediately and even models new to the industry can benefit from the start as there is no minimal required sum.

As far as anonymity goes, Live Stars will only accept Bitcoins or Ethereum for LIVE tokens during their ICO crowdsale (starting from Jan. 15). The company has managed to raise around $1,250,000 so far at their token presale. If they manage to fully launch their service, the focus will remain on using cryptocurrencies to ensure anonymity. But for those users still unfamiliar with the digital gold, they will still leave a door open and let people buy LIVE tokens with fiat currencies using third-party services.

Private video chats and text chats will use webRTC based on one-to-one principle, independently of servers and admins. Another step Live Stars took on their mission to ensure clients can fully hide their identity.

A self-conscious choice

Although, this is not the first time the crypto economy mingled with the adult entertainment world but Live Stars and a few other similar startups really try to take the technology behind cryptocurrencies and apply the advantages of Blockchains to the porn industry. They aim to bring a more bottom-up approach and provide a transparent, fair and more secure trade for sex-workers.

Yet, while the world frantically, at least on the Internet, talks about the revolutionary aspect of cryptocurrencies, most people still don’t really understand what Bitcoins are and why they seem to be so good for us. And if your average person shies away from buying digital cash, so will models likely to hesitate to enter a webcam business where their income will depend on it.

However, according to Live Stars, they have already managed to vow over a number of models to their pre-launched Alpha platform streaming 24/7. This might be the sign the time is ripe for a new Blockchain-savvy generation of sex-workers who will be able to overcome the downsides of the traditional sex industry.

And with its global application, Live Stars might be the one paving the way for this much awaited financial and technical innovation for both the adult industry and its digital geishas.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

New US Bill Seeks To Fight Terrorist Use of Cryptocurrencies

A newly proposed Jan. 10 US bill aims to fight terrorism by offering rewards for information that results in convictions of cryptocurrency-supported terrorism.

The bill, introduced to Congress by Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) of the House Financial Services Committee, proposes an Independent Financial Technology Task Force to dole out the rewards, whose amount in either dollars or cryptocurrency was not indicated.

The second section of the bill reads:

“It is the sense of Congress that the Federal Government should prioritize the investigation of terrorist and illicit use of new financial technology, including digital currencies.”

The fintech task force would be run by the Secretary of the Treasury and filled by five federal directors and four private sector individuals from think tanks, non-profits, and the banking industry.

The bill also calls for the creation of a FinTech Leadership in Innovation Fund to inspire the development of programs and methods for detecting digital currency use among terrorists. This fund could give grants to universities, companies, NGOs, and any individuals that could contribute to research on anti-terrorist detection tools.

In May of 2017, a US bill was brought forward that would require users crossing the US border to declare their cryptocurrency assets if they exceeded more than $10,000. The bill’s aim was to combat money laundering, which is often the source of terrorists’ funding.

Despite regulators’ increasing attention towards cryptocurrency-financed terrorism, a June 2017 report from the European Union found that terrorists still prefer fiat over digital currency, possibly because of the tracking potential of Blockchain records.

Cryptocurrencies Are Doomed to Fail, But There’s Money to be Made, Says an Investor Officer

The traditional diversified portfolio of investments will have a host of assets in varying risk brackets, but for a traditional investment, officer cryptocurrencies could seem too speculative to be part of any portfolio with a wealth preservation focus.

The caveat is that while not all cryptocurrencies are guaranteed to stick around forever, there are still profits to be made by a savvy investor that chooses a long term winner early on.

Money to be made

An investment officer from Credo Wealth, Deon Gouws, is personally interested in digital currencies, but as chief investment officer for a traditional financial institution, is understandably nervous. He says:

“Most cryptocurrencies we see launching today are likely to fail, but there’s still a lot of money to be made if you can identify the long-term winners successfully and early.”

Mike Novogratz, a well-known investor who has been bullish on Bitcoin for some time now, has made statements indicating agreement. He has called the asset a bubble, but one where there is money to be made. Novogratz said:

“This is going to be the largest bubble of our lifetimes. Prices are going to get way ahead of where they should be. You can make a whole lot of money on the way up, and we plan on it.”

Technology over profiteering

As the cryptocurrency space has evolved, prices have risen astronomically with the influx of interest from the mainstream market. Those who have joined the space in recent times have seen the likes of Bitcoin build to as high as $20,000.

However, those who have joined this space in their droves have clearly done for the profiteering that has taken place, and the promise of more to come. This then means that there is more of a diluted core of users who are in it to see the technology thrive and flourish.

In turn, this not only adds to the speculative nature of the market but also to the bubble-nature that Novogratz refers to. The entire crypto space may not be as prone to a big collapse, or a catastrophic failure like some flimsy ICOs, but there are still concerns for those looking for pure profit.

Bubble territory

The real issue in the market being flooded with people in it to make a quick buck is that the potentially revolutionary technology can be pushed towards bubble technology. It is not the product that is prone to being in a bubble. It is the way in which it is used or perceived that leads to bubbles being formed and popped.

The dot-com bubble has shown a lot of similarities to Bitcoin’s rapid growth, but that does not mean dot-com businesses or digital businesses, are always going to be bubbles. And the same applies to Bitcoin.

In the dot-com boom, people were entering the market to make money, and they were throwing money at anything with .com on the end. It is happening today too, with Bitcoin and Blockchain, but that does not mean a bubble is a definite.

If people continue to flood the cryptocurrency market intent on only making money off it, rather than appreciating it as a new wave of technology, then Gouws’ opinion may be spot on. People will enter have a direct say in which way something like this moves, with their speculative investing.

There needs to be a concerted push to appreciate the technology, and adopt it for mainstream uses if Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, are to be a long term success.

Bitconnect Closes Virtually Its Entire Operation, BCC Token Drops 87%

Bitconnect has formally closed its lending platform and cryptocurrency exchange following warnings from Texas and North Carolina regulators. The Bitconnect Coin (BCC) digital currency is down 87% today and 93% from its December 29 high of $437. At press time, BCC is trading for just $30.

Ponzi-like

Many in the digital currency community have called Bitconnect a Ponzi scheme, including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, according to TechCrunch. Such accusations were based on the multi-level referral system and the promise of up to 40% earned interest, plus a daily bonus of up to 0.25% per day, on each loan. The promise of risk-free high returns is often typical of a scam – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Bitconnect Coin’s website describes the currency as:

“The moment you acquire BitConnect Coin it becomes an interest-bearing asset with 120% return per year. It is that simple.”

Unfortunately for investors, that “interest-bearing asset” is now nearly worthless.

Is Global Front on Bitcoin Regulation Possible?

On a day where confusing news continues to emanate from South Korea and China on new proposed bans and restrictions on Bitcoin, a member of the board of Germany’s Bundesbank has called for a united global regulatory front.

Joachim Wuermeling of Bundesbank believes there is very little chance of containing this digital global phenomenon with differing national rules across the globe. With international co-operation in regulating Bitcoin comes a chance for regulators to take control, says Wuermeling.

The effect of regulation

There has been increased regulatory pressure on Bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency market recently, which has been felt across the board. The confusion that began in Korea caused a major dip, and even the retraction of those statements helped the market grow.

Within these regulatory moves, from individual national countries, there are often powerful moves seen across the entire global cryptocurrency market. However, they are never really big enough to bring it under full control.

These are case-by-case regulations, and these instances are not strong enough on their own for the free running cryptomarket to be constrained by.

“Effective regulation of virtual currencies would therefore only be achievable through the greatest possible international cooperation because the regulatory power of nation states is obviously limited,” Wuermeling said.

Two sides to the digital coin

The issue is that there are two very different views to regulating Bitcoin, and these views can differ from country to country.

Japan is one of the strongest supporters of the digital currency market, giving Bitcoin currency status last year. However, just across the Sea of Japan, on the mainland, China has been the lead actor in the war against Bitcoin.

First there was the ICO ban, then the ban on exchanges, and now there is more bad news for those who even deal in exchange-like services.

It is hard to find an agreeable position on digital currencies for nations with so many torn between different ends of the scale. This is one of the reasons why regulation is so difficult.

Is it needed?

There is also the discussion of the need for regulation as it seemingly flies in the face of what Bitcoin is trying to accomplish with its decentralized nature. Cal Evans, an International Technology Lawyer from London, says:

“As the cryptocurrency “grows up” it has had to overcome some serious compliance and regulatory problems internationally. These regulatory issues are numerous in nature depending on which country you read this in. Yet one problem seems to slip under the radar time and time again. Money Laundering.”

Adding to the devious nature, an unregulated currency brings London’s Kingston University economics professor Steve Keen echoes similar sentiments.

“You can’t be deregulated in a system where there will be criminal attacks. The code itself is clearly not foolproof. People will find their way in, forks will be forced upon them, whether they want them or not. In that situation, regulation may be the only future.”

Is it possible?

It is clear that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will continue to exist in ways that many regulators disapprove of unless there is a united front on wresting the digital currency economy under global control.

Even banning the stuff in countries in China has only proved to be a speed bump in the road, Bitcoiners, and the likes can always find a way.

World Famous Brothel Buying Into Bitcoin?

The Bunny Ranch, which is well known for even those who do not frequent such places thanks to being featured on HBO’s Cathouse show, is mulling over the advantages that could come with offering a Bitcoin payment option.

Bitcoin made its name on the dark web because of the anonymity, and other reasons, it brought to the user, helping them buy anything from drugs and weapons, as well as sex and porn, discreetly.

Things could be going full circle now as the upmarket brothel sees an advantage in harnessing that same privacy in payment.

Exploring the recesses of Bitcoin

Owner Dennis Hof, who has seven such legal establishments across Nevada, says he is exploring Bitcoin as a payment option due to demands being made by their high-end clients.

“We have some of the richest men in the world coming in and out of my brothels. Our high dollar clientele is accustomed to getting anything they want here, so when I started hearing requests from them to look into accepting Bitcoin, I took those suggestions very seriously.”

Bitcoin has created a new breed of the wealthy elite, but it has also become a plaything of those already well endowed in the bank account. Thus, it is not surprising that clientele of the Bunny Ranch have their fingers in the cryptocurrency pie.

The adoption of such cryptocurrencies has spread far and wide, but it is more than just a payment system for such clients, it is a secretive one.

“Friends of mine like Heidi (Fleiss, Hollywood’s most notorious madam) have been trusted with a lot of powerful secrets, and the anonymous nature of Bitcoin is a natural fit for people who have much to lose if their private matters were to ever fall into the wrong hands,” Hof added.

It would also, according to Hof, cut down on the duffel bags of money that are brought to his door, posing a security risk.

Full circle of adoption?

Bitcoin had a lot of things going for it when it was the tool of the dark web for payments. The anonymity, the global transfers, the speed and cheapness of it all – back then.

It was used to buy all sorts of things from the shady underbelly of the Internet, but now, as it has stepped into the light, its image has changed. More a tool of the Wall Street investor than the illicit arms dealer, Bitcoin has evolved.

However, the aspects that made it a success in a secretive world still remain. And, it is because of this, that it looks like it is doing somewhat of a full circle, again being thought of as a tool for paying for sex.

Of course, this is a new era and a much less seedy situation, but the way in which Bitcoin moves, it is showing its versatility to corner and re-corner, all parts of the market.

German Central Bank Director: Crypto Regulations Must Be International

Joachim Wuermeling, a member of the board of Germany’s Bundesbank, has suggested that any attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies would require international cooperation. Speaking at an event in Frankfurt on Jan. 15, the director told listeners:

“Effective regulation of virtual currencies would therefore only be achievable through the greatest possible international cooperation, because the regulatory power of nation states is obviously limited.”

After the Chinese government banned cryptocurrency exchanges from operating domestically in September, many Chinese crypto traders simply moved their activities to exchanges in Japan, and possibly South Korea, according to some analysts.

Many countries globally have already attempted regulatory control over cryptocurrencies in different ways. China has created the most strict controls, banning crypto exchanges and ICOs and now attempting to close all ‘exchange like services’.

South Korea’s Justice Minister recently proposed a trading ban and the government has put other controls into place in the face of what some see as a “cryptocurrency mania” in the country.  Russia has suggested some measure of legality for trading on ‘official exchanges’.

The US is seeing regulation of cryptocurrency both on a federal and state level. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued multiple warnings for crypto investors last year, and has already taken action against Blockchain or crypto-related companies. On the state level, regulators in Texas recently issued a cease and desist order to a UK-based crypto company allegedly selling unlicensed securities to Texas residents.

New Report: Bitcoin Drug Money Laundering Is Highly Centralized

A joint report by Center on Sanctions & Illicit Finance and Elliptic, a cryptocurrency forensics firm, has indicated that Bitcoin laundering for illicit drug activity is a highly centralized process. The report’s authors, Yaya Fanusi and Tom Robinson, indicate that much of illicit Bitcoin is laundered through mixers, saying:

“Mixers have consistently processed about a quarter of incoming illicit Bitcoins per year. The proportion laundered through exchanges and gambling combined has been roughly constant (66 to 72 percent). Of note, Bitcoin exchanges processed 45 percent of laundered Bitcoins, but, as they received much higher volumes, a much lower proportion of their activity is illicit.”

The report also indicated that the vast bulk of those mixer and gambling laundering schemes occur through just three sites. In fact, the report indicates that “97 percent of the volume in their categories and 50 percent of the volume overall” is processed by these few sites.

Metropolitan Bank recently ceased wire transfers for cryptocurrencies, due to the increasing risk of money laundering and other illicit activities being conducted through Bitcoin. At the same time, China has sought to close ‘exchange-like’ sites for Bitcoin, believing greater regulation and control are critical.

When IaaS Meets Blockchain

With data circulation increasing exponentially, a new solution for a more effective and safer storage is necessary. Recent news of faulty widely-used Intel, AMD and ARM chips has sparked growing concerns over cybersecurity and data protection.

With costs of having a physical server to store data being often unbearable, the cloud is the solution adopted by an overwhelming majority of businesses. According to cybersecurity and risk management firm Delta Risk, 90 percent of companies use the cloud for data storage, despite concerns over data security. A survey carried by the company has shown that the major risks users worry about are data loss, data privacy and confidentiality breaches.

The misconfiguration or mismanagement of cloud services or SaaS can lead to data breaches which can be propelled by human error or cyber-attacks. These often harm business operations, as was the case with Equifax and Deloitte.

The move to the cloud allows for a cost reduction and more flexibility for the companies. However, as companies often handle the configuration and usage of the accounts themselves, data breaches frequently occur.

Safe and efficient technology for data storage

Access to data, data storage and security are big concerns for businesses and can be quite overwhelming for small companies with little resources. That’s where IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) comes into action, as it provides virtualized solutions like servers, storage and databases. As the services are usually charged based on utilization, companies have more flexibility to scale their operations.

Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services (TBIS) is running IaaS on their own dedicated Ethereum Blockchain, leveraging Raiden technology to achieve Visa-like speeds, offering a safe, flexible and decentralized service. This solution is not only effective, as there is no outage, but it is also cheaper than most alternatives.

Whenever a problem is detected, the system is prepared to run autonomous “healing” actions, and if a device wavers, the operation is transferred to another network of redundant nodes. Through combining Raiden and Plasma scaling solutions, Titanium is looking to achieve faster transactions, being able to compete with processing networks such as Visa’s, which can handle 2,000 transactions per second.

The company aims to virtualize and decentralize every device and infrastructure that make up a company’s Internet network from routers to firewalls and even servers. Ultimately, TBIS wants to enable the creation of a global company from a laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet without leaving your home, by providing the tools to easily set up an enterprise level infrastructure.

As it only exists on the Ethereum Blockchain, the system is immune to attacks such as DDoS or other address-specific attacks.

An experienced team bringing network to the future

The founder and CEO of TBIS, Michael Stollaire, has also founded EHI, a technology consultancy specializing in enterprise infrastructure management. He is bringing not only his expertise but also EHI clients, which include small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as giants like Boeing, Apple, IBM, Microsoft or Walt Disney Studios.

Working with Mr. Stollaire to push this project forward is a very experienced team with expertise in Blockchain technology, business management and Internet Network Infrastructure management.

Besides IaaS, the company is also looking to provide services such as CaaS (Company as a Service), DEXchange, BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud), InstantMiner or Instant ICO Incubator (III).

A Titanium Blockchain user would be able to virtualize its entire IT enterprise and create a private cloud environment with native monitoring of mission-critical devices, applications and services. It would also be able to create and network a server or a custom cryptocurrency miner or set up an ICO in seconds.

First BBB and D&B certified ICO

Investors can get in on the Titanium ICO, the first ICO ever to be D&B and BBB certified, by buying TBIS’s native BAR tokens. Out of the total supply of 60 mln BAR tokens, 60 percent (35 mln BARs) will be available for purchase. Whereas 20 percent (12 mln BARs) will be ascribed to the TBIS team and 10 percent (six mln BARs) will be allocated to the bounty campaign. The remaining 10 percent is to be held as a reserve.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

Redefining Sports Betting Industry With Blockchain

The development and expansion of Blockchain technology has triggered new opportunities in the betting on the sports industry. A new company founded by Baikov Artyom, a developer of several B2C web applications for consumer services & platforms, aims to streamline the process. By leveraging smart contracts on the Ethereum Blockchain, it allows avid players to take their passion to a whole new level.

Together with a skilled team of specialists in the sports and business industries, the new project called XWIN CryptoBet caters to the needs of players eager to find a convenient, comfortable, and ultimately, private virtual space to place their bets. The decentralized platform is also targeted at investors in dire need to obtain guaranteed income from their activity as bookmakers.  

XWIN redefines the relationship players have with their online gambling resources. Through the use of Blockchain technology, the platform’s margin varies between six and 20 percent of the overall betting rate. The margin belonging to the better’s bet is autonomously managed by the XWIN smart contracts on Ethereum. The 100 percent margin will be distributed into four main sections. 35 percent will be reserved for promoting, marketing, PR and advertising of XWIN CryptoBet. 25 percent of the margin will be converted into a guaranteed fund for player payments, 20 percent will be reserved for legal support and administration, and the last 20 percent will be featured as income distribution among investors.

XWIN provides cross-border betting and complete security of funds. All players will have autonomously-managed, smart contract accounts on Ethereum, thus guaranteeing no infrastructure risks often associated with Internet interruptions, account lockouts because of frequent wins or arbitrages.

Strategical token distribution for streamlined betting

The XWIN CryptoBet framework commits to issuing a limited amount of tokens. Investors and players get an 80 percent share, meaning that the guarantee fund provided by XWIN features a wealth of benefits that blend commission payments, free exchange pricing, and a steady increase of the XWIN token’s nominal price.  

Considering the price is ensured by the smart contract on Ethereum, it is directly linked to the general guarantee fund. To eliminate the risk of increased XWIN token exchange, triggering a massive drop, the nominal price for an XWIN token is calculated dividing the total token amount by 50 percent of the total amount within the secured fund.

The XWIN token supply constantly grows, with a rate equal to 25 percent of the platform’s turnover. Holders of XWIN tokens can sell their coins at any time, as well as redeem them through the smart contracts provided by XWIN.

Throughout the development phase of the platform, investors have full access to XWIN tokens, which are priced at 0.004 ETH. To ensure the project’s continuity and empower the XWIN CryptoBet team to continue working on expanding and improving the platform, the blocked share belonging to the founders will be available after one year.

During the open sale process, 80 percent of XWIN tokens will be made available for sale.

The funds gathered will be distributed strategically to guarantee the continuity of the project. 32 percent goes in developing and hiring process of talented developers to build smart contracts, apps, and interface. 35 percent is planned for executing goals through PR campaigns, marketing, advertising, promotion and sponsorships. There will also be three percent allocated for bounty funds distribution and 15 percent for maintenance and administration.

The XWIN community recently exceeded 5,700 members, and it continues to increase with every day that goes by. Investors who want to participate in the ICO will receive a 20 percent bonus if they sign up until Jan. 15. Thus far, XWIN 405.5+ ETH and 119.2+ BTC (equivalent to $2.1 mln) and counting.

Ioana Paicu, Guest Author

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.