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On June 26, 2018, Facebook announced it’s reversing its full-scale crypto ad ban effective immediately. Back in January Facebook banned all crypto ads on its platform citing that it wanted to deter people from advertising “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

Facebook is now allowing ads and related content from advertisers who go through their application process. Ads promoting binary options, and initial coin offerings are still banned, but other crypto-related services such as exchanges, and wallets will be allowed if approved.

Those involved in the cryptocurrency community were not happy with the blanket ban that was enacted in January, many stating that it set back the efforts of many legitimate businesses, and stifled the advancement of a rising technology. Facebook’s blanket ban was followed by Google and Twitter, with Twitter now allowing ads for exchanges and wallets.

It remains to be seen if the ban on initial coin offerings will be lifted or revised in a way to allow for legitimate products. There is no denying that ICO scams were abundant in the industry, but since before the ban and now there are plenty of great products and services that have arisen out of ICOs. Much of the confusion surrounding ICOs has been lifted since regulators have become more vocal on securities laws.

Only time will tell if Facebook, Google, and Twitter will allow for all crypto-related services to go through their application processes, but for now, many crypto-enthusiasts will agree that this is a step in the right direction.
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Huobi, one of the world’s largest and most popular crypto exchanges, recently announced the launch of their US platform HBUS. Huobi expressed that HBUS is not a subsidiary or division of Huobi, but rather a virtual currency marketplace that will be their exclusive US partner.


On June 25, 2018, Huobi announced that executive director Frank Fu from Meitu Inc., a successful photo-retouching app in China, will be the CEO of HBUS overseeing operations and leading the expansion of HBUS in the U.S. market.


Frank Fu has held several executive positions in the tech industry and already has a notable track record in the crypto space. While working at Meitu Inc., he had led a team that generated 500 million new mobile subscribers worldwide. Additionally, he has founded several digital media startups, and various blockchain mobile consumer applications.


This news marks another example of a traditional finance executive moving into the blockchain space. Fu said he sees the current economic climate as a “compelling time in cryptocurrency,” and looks forward to “assembling a team dedicated to building a world-class virtual currency and digital asset platform.”


Fu will be the keynote speaker in San Jose at the Blockchain Connect Conference on Tuesday, June 26.

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Twitch, the largest live video streaming platform for video games in the United States has just added cryptocurrency donations to its service.

 

Streamlabs, the company that created the software that provides users the ability to tip on Twitch, announced that there is currently support for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

 

To accept and payout cryptocurrency donations users will have to link their Streamlabs account to their Coinbase account. The company said more coins will be added to the platform in the near future.

 

Twitch has been known to have a pro-crypto mindset as they have accepted bitcoin-based subscriptions since 2014. This new support for crypto donations is just another step in bringing cryptocurrency to a massive audience.


Amazon acquired twitch in 2014 for $970 million, which in turn gave Twitch the rights in April to the National Football League through an eleven-game package of Thursday Night Football games. Streamlabs also paid out $34 million in donations in Q1 of 2018. Twitch is on top of the streaming world and shows no signs of slowing down.


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The blockchain and cryptocurrency space is scaling at a rapid rate. Crypto startups are popping up on a weekly basis, and a lot of these businesses are in need of funding. Binance, one of the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, is set to launch a $1 billion venture capital fund to help boost this growing industry.


Binance will be using its BNB token, which currently has a market cap of $1.6 billion to make investments. The company will be primarily funding crypto and blockchain startups, specifically payments/wallet, security token platforms, decentralized exchanges, alternative trading systems, and other blockchain funds.


Ella Zhang, head of the companies blockchain fostering program, Binance Labs, explained that they are seeking at least 20 funds to invest in, and each of these funds must already have $100 million in assets under management to be eligible for funding.


The first project to be funded by Binance Labs is a ride-sharing app that will be supported by blockchain technology. CEO of the new app, Weixing Chen, explained that this would be the first app to test blockchain technology on a massive social scale.


Binance was founded in 2017 and is already using its wealth to fund other startups and foster growth. This news is a testament to the exponential growth of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies.


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Coinbase, the largest and most prominent U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, announced its acquisition of the trading platform Paradex. Paradex is a decentralized exchange that allows users to trade hundreds of coins peer-to-peer directly from their wallets, in contrast with Coinbase’s centralized platform that holds tokens on behalf of its customers.  


This acquisition continues Coinbase’s trend of expanding beyond the four tokens offered on their service – Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Coinbase currently only offers these currencies because of the regulatory uncertainty about which tokens must be registered as securities.


Paradex allows users to rely on smart contracts to trade tokens and record the transactions on the blockchain. Coinbase is excited about the smart contract technology, and believes the acquisition will bring them a different pool of users, and gives their current customers access to lesser-known tokens.


Coinbase reiterates in a blog post that, “this peer-to-peer trading removes the need for third-party custodianship and the associated security risks,” and that, “It is another step toward creating a truly decentralized crypto economy.” It is clear the San Francisco based company wants to move away from the centralized model so that they can offer more digital tokens to their users.


Paradex will be suspending its app as of Wednesday to integrate its services with Coinbase. Initially, only customers outside of the U.S. will be able to use the Paradex services, but they will eventually offer these services to U.S. customers after changes for compliance purposes.


The company also revealed a new brand called Coinbase Pro that will replace its current professional investor platform GDAX. The platform will feature a new design, chart features, and a whole new suite of services to attract more institutional investors. GDAX will be retired at the end of June, and all customers will be rolled over to the new service.



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If you believe crypto is the future of currency Twitter and Square Inc CEO is on your team. Jack Dorsey spoke at the Consensus blockchain conference in New York to express his enthusiasm for the future of bitcoin and how he wants to help move the technology forward. “The internet is going to have a native currency, so let’s not wait for it to happen, let’s help it happen,” he said at the conference. “I don’t know if it will be bitcoin, but I hope it will be.”


The Twitter CEO told the Sunday Times newspaper in March that he expects bitcoin to become the single global currency within the next decade. Dorsey is also a personal investor in bitcoin, and his recent speech reaffirms his positive stance on the crypto market.  


A big leap in the industry came from Dorsey’s payments processing company Square adding transactions in bitcoin to their Cash app in January. The CEO stated that using bitcoin or another cryptocurrency as a global currency would lower the barrier for his company to enter new markets.


According to Nomura Instinet, the Cash app is growing substantially quicker than Venmo and other payment processing apps because of their decision to add crypto to their platform.


Like most companies, not everyone on the board of directors remains as bullish as Dorsey on bitcoin’s role in the future of currency. The CEO expressed that there are still varying opinions on the topic and the decision to add bitcoin to the app was a controversial move in the company.


Dorsey concurred that as of right now Bitcoin has its problems and that it’s slow and costly, but he remains hopeful that as adoption becomes more widespread, these issues will disappear.


Square spent $33.9 million to buy bitcoin for the Cash App and sold a total $34.1 million. As a result, Square reported low bitcoin trading profits that only amounted to around $200,000. Regardless, Dorsey’s view on bitcoin remains hopeful, which gives the crypto community at large a boost in morale.



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Swiss startup Streamr has announced several partnerships at the Consensus conference in New York this week to allow users to sell their data on the blockchain. Data privacy has been a growing concern for consumers as highlighted in the recent Facebook-Cambridge analytica scandal. Major companies are now working day and night to find solutions that will give customers complete control of their personal data. Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Nokia are two such companies that are looking at blockchain as the answer to this growing concern.


Steamr plans to build a data marketplace and put in on the blockchain, this would allow consumers to put their data at whatever capacity on the blockchain, and potentially let them to sell it to advertisers, government agencies, or whoever is interested in buying it. The marketplace would give users complete control of their data and the knowledge to know how and where their personal information is being used. Streamr plans to tokenize this data in the form of their cryptocurrency DATAcoin.


Nokia, the Finnish telecom giant, wants to use Streamr’s marketplace to put the data collected by their WiFi hotspots on the blockchain. These hotspots are valuable to all mobile consumers, for example, their hotspots are frequently used in farming communities that use internet-enabled sensors to give farmers their own weather stations. This data is very valuable to these rural areas, and this partnership would allow them to monetize this information.


Many businesses are seeing the limitless potential of blockchain technology. Hewlett-Packard is going to use the Streamr engine to collect data from consumer’s vehicles. HP created a prototype in which a vehicle can receive data from fuel levels, tire pressure, windshield wiper activity, etc., and drivers can sell this information.


All of these innovations will allow consumers to monetize anything that’s valuable to outside parties. Nokia’s radio system lead Martti Ylikoski stated, “We recognize a growing movement of empowered mobile customers who want to control and monetize their data, our partnership with Streamr reflects our firm belief in the platform.” Streamr is just the tip of the iceberg in showing how blockchain technology can give consumers complete control of their data. This is a big win for data privacy and data usage, and hopefully, it will push other big businesses in the right direction.



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Technology and computing goliath International Business Machines Corporation, better known as IBM, has announced a partnership with Veridium Labs to launch a token on the Stellar blockchain. Veridium Labs Ltd. is an environmental fin-tech startup that aims to provide a digital asset solution for consumers and businesses to offset their environmental footprints.


The issue that this partnership aims to solve is that third-party carbon credits are often difficult to value and mark on a traditional balance sheet. The “verde” token will act as a layer upon the carbon credit to give it value and make it easier to track and account for by using the Stellar blockchain. Todd Lemons, CEO of Veridium labs said that the underlying formula for the valuation of the token would involve “carbon density per dollar times product group.” The startup is still ironing out the kinks, and working with several global institutes to help determine the value for each product group.  


IBM’s role in the partnership is to handle the commodity aspect of the verde token to make sure that it is a viable asset. The company has previously worked with Stellar, and it’s own lumen cryptocurrency, so they have experience in overseeing the buying, selling, and managing of cryptocurrencies. IBM also manages nine nodes on the Stellar blockchain, so it comes as no surprise that they have decided to bring the verde token into the mix.


The tech giant has expressed that they are willing to work with other blockchains in the future, but as of right now issuing their token on the Stellar blockchain shows that a long-lasting relationship might be in place. This partnership also highlights another considerable leap in traditional tech companies moving into the blockchain arena to eradicate issues that have proved to be too challenging for the traditional sector.


Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of IBM’s blockchain division, said, “By using a public, permissioned blockchain network, we can help Veridium create a new sustainable marketplace that is good for business and good for the world.” The primary goal of the verde token is too easily track and manage the carbon footprint of businesses on an open ledger and ultimately allow each consumer to offset their footprint through the exchange.



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Google, Facebook, and Twitter, three of the world’s largest online ad providers recently decided to ban advertising for ‘cryptocurrencies and related content’. There are still a lot of great crypto projects that need exposure, and fortunately there are still a lot of great platforms to use. If you were only working with the big three, here’s a list of alternative ad networks that are worth a try. 

Bing Ads:
BingAds is the second largest ad network behind Google Adwords, it is responsible for PPC advertising on Bing as well as the Yahoo search engine. In 2015 AOL. Inc announced a partnership to take over the majority of Microsoft’s ad sales business and in turn AOL’s properties replaced Google search with Bing, and display Bing Ads sold by Microsoft. All of these alliances allow Bing Ads to help businesses reach 33% of U.S. consumers. Bing is currently still an underdog to Google, but has some of advantages over Google that advertisers should pay attention to. Many sources have noted that while AdWords has more customers viewing their ads overall, you have lower cost-per-click on Bing Ads and better ad position. Sample tests have also shown that Bing Ads received a higher click-through-rate than AdWords. All in all Bing Ads is great alternative to Adwords for advertisers who want to reap these advantages, and reach a massive audience at the same time.

Taboola: Taboola is one of the top native advertising platforms out there. They have a huge network which drives in a large number of traffic and they are known for being cost effective, and having plenty of intuitive tools and targeting options. Taboola is also one of the top sponsored content networks hosting over 1,200 of the world’s leading publishers such as NBC News, and CBS News. Taboola is a great platform and is worth a try for any business looking for an alternative revenue source and alternative to Facebook and Google.

RevContent: RevContent is a top-tier network that is considered to be the best-performing and largest native ad networks in the world. They are known for having a high-quality system that boasts many great features such as infinite scroll, unlimited API customizations, and a wide range of site-specific targeting options. RevContent is also known to have a great 24/7 support team that responds in record time. This great reputation results in only 6% of applications to this network being accepted which shows that they don’t want to slip in quality. This is a great network to work with if you get the chance!

Clicksor: Clicksor is one of the most prominent and long lasting contextual ad networks on the internet. Their ad network automatically matches your ads to websites that are deemed most relevant to your ad, and they offer four different kinds of ad formats to publishers. Clicksor has a huge list of advertisers and publishers in their network, and they are known to be a direct alternative to Google Adsense. Although many smaller networks can’t compete with Google, Clicksor holds a reputation of being the best contextual ad network to date. If you’re looking for a quality alternative to Google and Facebook then Clicksor is your answer.

eZanga: eZanga is one of the largest and oldest ad networks out there, and they specialize in reaching specific audiences, and niche markets. Their slogan is “we play in spaces the big three search engines leave behind”, and that’s where they have found success for publishers and advertisers who partner with them. eZanga’s ad management platform AdPad lets clients seamlessly manage PPC campaigns, and their ad fraud platform Anura protects clients from the effects of invalid traffic. If you’re looking for an alternative ad network then eZanga is definitely worth a try.

Adblade: Adblade is a native advertising and sponsored content network launched in 2008. They are one of the largest content-style ad platforms on the internet and require that their publishers receive a minimum of 500,000 page views a month. Adblade’s dashboard offers a variety of stats and real-time metrics to effortlessly manage your campaigns. If your website or business relies on promoting original content through blogs or other writing platforms then Adblade is a great alternative PPC ad network to partner with.

AdRoll: AdRoll is a retargeting network that helps clients re-target site visitors, and reach new audiences. This platform is known for its ease-of-use and having a similar feel to Google products. They have very clear visuals on the dashboard, and comprehensive, shareable reports. Their support staff is also of great help whenever you have questions about the platform. AdRoll has a huge ad exchange that can place your ads on thousands of different websites, it is one of the most reputable retargeting platforms on the internet. AdRoll is a great alternative to Google because it can retarget your ad to thousands of websites that Google will miss.

Advertise.com: Advertise.com is a great alternative to popular PPC ad networks that offers a wide range of online advertising including contextual ads, search ads, video ads, etc. The great thing about Advertise.com is that they are established in the industry so you can rest assured that you won’t have to deal with any ad fraud or bad traffic. They off some very low costs per click so you’d be paying a fraction of what it would cost on Google. Overall Advertise.com is a great alternative to popular ad networks, its cost effective, secure, and offers everything you need to run a successful campaign.

Bidvertiser: Bidvertiser is a PPC ad network that makes a great alternative to Google AdWords. The great thing about Bidvertiser is that its average cost per click is much lower than other ad networks, yet the traffic is still high-quality. The network operates by displaying its ads on third party websites who sign up under their revenue share. They allow you to zone in on your niche by targeting your ads by channels, keywords, and geo-location. Overall Bidvertiser is a great alternative network for those looking to step away from Google.

Outbrain: Outbrain is a great CPC network that is similar to Taboola and other native ad providers. The platform is very simple to use and easy to navigate, and drives relatively cheap traffic to content pages and articles. It’s an adequate network to partner with if you want to grab a huge amount of eyeballs from big name publishers. Outbrain is also known for having a great support staff that is very responsive and helpful. All in all Outbrain is a reputable native advertising network that is worth a try.
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