24/01/2018: Biggest Stories in the Cryptosphere

1. Australia Could Soon have Gold-backed Cryptocurrency

Perth Mint, Australia’s biggest gold refiner, is developing a gold-backed cryptocurrency. The state-owned company hopes to attract gold investments by doing so. In the past few years, the number of investors has decreased, as people look elsewhere to invest their money. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin were the an alternative. Despite not having a name yet, the cryptocurrency in question would be used to trade gold. Perth Mint also discussed the plan to employ Blockchain technology in their operations, starting from the supply chain. In the past year and a half, the company has been trying to make gold more accessible by introducing an online trading platform where users could purchase the precious metal at any time. The addition of a cryptocurrency would increase accessibility further.

2. Two Wins for Blockchain Technology in the UK

Innovate UK, the country’s technology development arm, announced on Monday it would invest even more capital in blockchain-based technologies. $26.6 million will be invested in technological projects promoting new products or services. Companies recruiting graduates to involve in these projects would receive a further $16.8 million. To benefit from these grants, a proposal must be submitted by the end of March, but companies first need to meet certain criteria in order to qualify.

The second win for Blockchain comes as the British Blockchain Association (BBA), a network focused on blockchain technology, was launched during London Blockchain week. It was founded by Dr Naseem Naqvi and Dr Mureed Hussain. BBA aims to promote blockchain technology to the government and businesses, as well as sparking an interest in students, to ensure future skilled labour.

3. We Had CryptoKitties, Now We Have CryptoCelebrities

We reported in December that when CryptoKitties was launched on Ethereum, it accounted for 15% of the platform’s total traffic — the most successful dapp to date. Now, a new game has been introduced: CryptoCelebrities. Users can purchase any “Celebrity Smart Contract” they want, but only one is available of each. However, if another user wants the same celebrity, the seller cannot refuse. The website states:

“If you buy a contract for 0.2 ETH, another player can snatch it away from you. Once that happens, you’ll automatically receive 0.4 ETH! Most contracts double in price with each transaction until they reach 1 ETH.”

Furthermore, from March 2018, royalties will also be paid out. In the first 24 hours, total transactions amounted to $1 million. However, it is not clear yet, if it is possible for users to cash out or if they need to wait to be bought out.

4. Former UBS Employee Launches a Cryptocurrency Fund

Axel Weber, the chairman of UBS Bank, the largest manager of wealth, said yesterday at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, that investors should stay away from investing in cryptocurrencies. This comes as former UBS banker Jan Brzezek launches a cryptocurrency fund, with a $10 million fundraising goal by the end of the month. The fund, called Crypto Fund, was described by its founder, and CEO, as: “...a passive fund that tracks the first blue chip index for cryptocurrencies”. Brzezek was first involved in cryptocurrencies between 2015 and 2017, when still employed at UBS. He acknowledged its high volatility, but stated that the advantages to the financial industry, and its stakeholders, would outweigh the risks.

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