Testing the Newly Transformed Non-Custodial Coinbase Wallet

A while back, the San Francisco-based exchange Coinbase announced the launch of an ethereum-based wallet called Toshi. The application was a private and secure messaging platform tethered to a non-custodial ETH wallet. Now Coinbase has decided to revamp the application and Toshi will become the ‘Coinbase Wallet’ which will not only offer ETH and it’s token derivatives but soon it will also hold BCH, LTC, and BTC.

Also read: The Daily: Husbands Blackmailed for Bitcoin, Blockchain This and That

Toshi Platform Changes to Coinbase Wallet

Testing the Newly Transformed Non-Custodial Coinbase Wallet Next time someone tells you Coinbase is “not a wallet” you can tell them that the San Francisco firm does offer a non-custodial wallet that provides users with private keys. The wallet is called Coinbase Wallet, a rebrand of the Toshi Wallet the company introduced back in April of 2017. On August 15, the Coinbase engineer Siddharth Coelho-Prabhu revealed the ETH and ERC-20 wallet known as Toshi was changing names but the Coinbase Wallet will have a slew of new features including the ability to hold bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin core (BTC) and litecoin (LTC).

“Toshi was developed by the Coinbase team a little over a year ago — When the product launched, it featured the world’s first mobile dapp browser — Later, we became the first wallet to launch crypto collectibles,” Coelho-Prabhu explains.

As part of our effort to be the most trusted brand in the space, we also set out to provide best-in-class secure storage. With Coinbase Wallet, your private keys are secured using your device’s Secure Enclave and biometric authentication technology.  

Testing the Non-Custodial Coinbase Wallet

The Coinbase wallet provides users with a platform that manages ETH, and ERC-20s but also allows crypto collectible storage, and the ability to garner air drops. Furthermore, the application allows users to access decentralized token exchanges and relayer platforms. News.Bitcoin.com gave the wallet a test-run on iOS this week and the Coinbase Wallet does, in fact, allow the owner to procure their own private keys with a recovery phrase. The user is asked right away to write down and store the phrase in a safe location, but they can also choose to ‘backup later’ as well. Followed by the backup step, the wallet then asks if the user wants to utilize biometry (fingerprint) or set up a less secure six-digit passphrase. After all the security steps are complete the Coinbase Wallet provides an ethereum address screen that can also show tokens and collectibles.

Testing the Newly Transformed Non-Custodial Coinbase Wallet
News.Bitcoin.com testing out the new Coinbase Wallet on iOS. 

Then there’s a decentralized application browser inside the wallet, which features a wide variety of apps, gaming platforms, and marketplaces that can be used with ethereum, and other token assets. The wallet also has a messenger where you can chat with friends or chat and interact with group chats and wallet bots like the @Toshibot. Overall, the wallet is fairly intuitive like most light clients out there today, but people who are interested in the token economy will find it more useful. When BCH, BTC, and LTC are added, the wallet software will likely open up to a much larger audience.       

The Coinbase Wallet is available for Android systems and iOS and existing Toshi users just need to upgrade the client’s firmware to see the changes. The decentralized app browser works with any platforms that use web3.js, and the wallet also offers native support for ERC-721 tokens. For those who have absolutely no interest in the ethereum ecosystem, they may want to wait until Coinbase adds BCH, LTC, and BTC.

What do you think about the Toshi app changing into the Coinbase Wallet? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, the Coinbase Wallet, and Jamie Redman.


Be sure to check out the podcast, Blockchain 2025; latest episode here.

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Gaming in Asia may be crypto’s killer dApp

As money and talent flows into the crypto and blockchain worlds, a persistent question keeps coming up: what is going to be the “killer app” that drives adoption for these nascent technologies? The answer may well be quite simple: gaming in Asia.

That’s the theory for Cryptokitties, the notable purveyor of cute cats. The company has started expanding into China, Japan, and Korea as it attempts to capture a large market of gamer and crypto enthusiasts there, and it is building on the playbook pioneered by Uber when it launched in China in 2014.

Back in March, Andreessen and Union Square Ventures led a $12 million Series A round into Cryptokitties. A portion of that money went into Cryptokitties’ ambitions to expand into Asia. In fact, Cryptokitties’ largest user markets have been, and still are, the U.S. and China, followed by Russia.

For those unfamiliar with Cryptokitties, it’s often been alluded to as a digital version of Beanie Babies. Cryptokitties are virtual collectibles in the form of cute cats that can be bought, sold, collected and traded with cryptocurrency, with all the transactions listed on the blockchain. Owners who purchase these kitties can then breed them with other kitties to produce new baby kitties.

The company is part of Axiom Zen, the Vancouver and San Francisco-based design studio that originally built the game. Since its launch in 2017, Cryptokitties has also built a third-party app platform for crypto developers called the Kittyverse, open-sourced their digital asset licensing platform, and started a crypto gaming investment fund. The company currently has about 70 employees and is headquartered in Vancouver.

One of the main purposes why Cryptokitties raised venture capital was for geographical expansion. Having ample capital to not worry about cash flow as the company steps on the gas is certainly quite helpful. But as a business, Cryptokitties was already doing fine. Back in June when I was having a discussion with the company, Cryptokitties was already profitable starting in week three.

The company has successfully differentiated itself from many other crypto decentralized apps (dApps for short) companies out there by proving that they could make money first and have a sustainable user base. Jimmy Song from Blockchain Capital once said, you can make money three ways in crypto, and those are “selling mining machines, starting up Crypto exchanges, and organizing Crypto conferences.” Nonetheless, Cryptokitties was an outlier. With its newly raised money, the team was looking to deploy the capital for hiring, building out it’s Kittyverse, and expanding in Asia.

Asia and China has a Large and Untapped Crypto Gaming Market

Benny Giang, one of the co-founders of Cryptokitties, has been tasked with Cryptokitties Asia expansion since late 2017. Since then, the team has launched Cryptokitties in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. During the launch, in order to avoid another one of Ethereum’s network clogs like what happened in late 2017, the iOS app launch was initially limited to 5,000 new players, based on selected WeChat accounts.

Benny believes blockchain games in Asia are a huge untapped market but with increasing competition. Whereas the intersection of gaming and blockchain users is still pretty limited in the Americas, in Asia, that audience is significantly larger. This is primarily due to three reasons: 1) the awareness of cryptocurrency and blockchain is more prevalent in Asia, 2) the regulatory markets are more developed and sophisticated (for better or worse) in China, Korea, and Japan, and 3) there is a proportionally higher number of gamers in Asia than the U.S.

China is the biggest market in this intersection, but there have been challenges. As Cryptokitties launched and grew in the last year, the company saw competition and copycats (pun intended) from China moving quickly into the market. In the beginning of 2018, just as Cryptokitties was launching in China, Xiaomi, the mobile phone maker that recently IPO-ed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, launched their own crypto collectible called Cryptobunny. Baidu, the large search engine of China, also recently launched Cryptopuppy.

Go to Market Learnings from Uber in China – Identifying the Right Local Partners and Hires

As Benny and team began doing research on the Asia market, they realized that working in a market that’s twelve hours away is not easy. Taking some of its lessons from Uber’s experience in China, they decided that they needed to localize their go-to-market approach.

One of the reasons Uber ended up exiting the Chinese market was that it did not successfully build a product catered to Chinese citizens. Despite the large sum of money it was pouring into the Chinese market, Uber was still losing market share to Didi. Another suggested reason for the failure was that Uber should have gone to market with a local partner like Didi instead of going head to head with them. The Cryptokitties team knew that they wanted to expand correctly, and subsequently identified a local partner in China to target the market there.

In January 2018, Axiom Zen partnered with Animoca Brands to publish the Cryptokitties game on mobile in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Animoca is a Hong Kong-based, privately-held developer and publisher of games, with a number of games using popular IP such as Garfield, Ultraman, and Doraemon. By working with Animoca, Cryptokitties was able to build out a localized website for its Chinese-speaking audience, provide native-speaker support services, and host numerous giveaway events.

In my discussion with him, Benny provided some insightful advice on go to market strategy in Asia. First, he mentioned that for a blockchain gaming company like themselves, it is best to find two local partners – one in blockchain and one in gaming – to help navigate the landscape. This kind of well-thought-out, go-to-market strategy requires hard work and local community understanding that very few cryptocurrency teams have achieved.

Currently, most Western crypto companies do not apply a traditional tech-oriented go-to-market strategy when trying to expand into other regions. Instead, most of them choose to leverage their “global communities.” They would incentivize these regional token holders to do local marketing and encourage them to find more token supporters and buyers in their region. Nonetheless, that type of marketing approach effectively identifies people who want to make a quick buck, rather than users who can sustain a platform.

Secondly, tasteful and culturally-appealing design is also very important when it comes to dApps. Cryptokitties originally differentiated themselves from other dApps by creating beautiful cats on the blockchain that immediately caught people’s attention. They have also decided to apply a similar local strategy in China.

Momo Wang is the creator of the highly popular Tuzki character, a black and white line drawing of a bunny that’s used widely across various instant messaging platforms, particularly WeChat .

The popular character Tuzki (Photo courtesy WeChat)

Cryptokitties hired Momo as a brand ambassador and contributor to the Artist Series to design kitties for them. By doing so, they are able to appeal to an audience who may have a different local taste.

Benny adds that it is essential for dApp companies to create beautiful websites and great user experiences that appeal to local communities. However, there are also cons when building beautiful websites for a blockchain company that is decentralized by nature. Smooth user interfaces in the form of a traditional website or an app fall under the jurisdiction of a traditional tech business. Internet companies in China, for example, require approval and licensing from the government to be able to operate and serve its citizens.

China has become the wild west of crypto and blockchain, and there will continue to be unforeseen obstacles. It certainly isn’t easy for Cryptokitties to be the first western dApp company to venture into China, but in the next five years, we’ll see a significant number of Western companies heading east – and these early learnings will be invaluable.

Over 60% of Top 100 Cryptocurrencies Have No Working Product, Study Claims

Over 60% of Top 100 Cryptocurrencies Have No Working Product, Study Claims

Of the top 100 cryptocurrencies listed by market capitalization, only 36 are actually what the authors term “working products” in a study recently published online. Newer ecosystem website, Invest in Blockchain, commissioned the study. It’s sure to be debated, and hotly, as to which coins made the cut to 36, but the authors attempt to assure readers certain standards were applied across the board in order to make their determination much of the cryptosphere is a giant dumpster fire.

Also read: Bitcoin Stickers Attract Unwanted Attention from Authorities

A Cold 36% Out of 100 Top Cryptocurrencies Have Working Products

In fact a cold 36% of the top 100 cryptos have what the writers define as “working products.” They agree that “it’s important to define what exactly constitutes a working product in the first place.” Simply taking into account a project being “open-source, building a basic blockchain and launching it isn’t a very high bar to set. We wanted to be a bit more rigorous with our criteria.”

“If you haven’t run into at least a handful of people who are cynical about the state of the blockchain industry and think it’s mostly scams and vaporware, well… you probably haven’t been into crypto for very long,” John Bardinelli and Daniel Frumkin wrote in the study, Cryptocurrencies In The Top 100 With Working Products That Are In-Use. “And the truth is, those cynics have a good point.”

Over 60% of Top 100 Cryptocurrencies Have No Working Product, Study Claims

 

The study was put out by the site, Invest in Blockchain, founded in 2017. They claim to have “researched the top 100 cryptocurrencies (by market cap) in an effort to learn how many of them actually had working products that are providing real value. The same research done in 2017 may have yielded some truly discouraging results but, even now, the results aren’t exactly stellar.”

For the authors of the study, a “working product” is 1. “active and available to the public,” 2. “Its mainnet has likely been released for some time, bumping the version numbers well above 1.0,” and 3. “Businesses and individuals use it on a daily basis for dapps, smart contracts, or digital currency transactions.”

Dash Doesn’t Make the List

As they researched, the authors were sure to match project promises made to what has actually been delivered, the present state of the company, its roadmap, and release history. Still, there “are many projects in the top 100 that have launched their mainnet, and can claim to have a ‘working product’ by a loose definition,” the authors note.

“However, we have chosen not to include projects which aren’t actually being used by any significant measure, which means that most of the recently launched mainnets will not yet meet our criteria.” For example, “a dapp platform that has a mainnet but that doesn’t have any noteworthy dapps on top of it isn’t considered ‘working’ by this criteria,” they conclude.

Over 60% of Top 100 Cryptocurrencies Have No Working Product, Study Claims

Projects that made the cut are: “0x Protocol, Ardor, Augur, Bancor, basic attention token, bibox token, Binance Coin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitshares, bytecoin, decred, ethereum, Golem, Huobi Token, komodo, Kucoin Shares, kyber network, litecoin, Loom Network, Monero, nano, NEO, PIVX, Polymath, Pundi X, QTUM, Ripple, Siacoin, Steem, stellar, tether, Wanchain, Waves, ZCash, and zencash.”

As noted, there is bound to be controversy with lists such as these. Commenter PertReader1 notes, “LOL you include PIVX a fork of Dash, but ignore Dash? You mention that PIVX ‘launched’ in 2016, yeah as a fork of Dash. How can you practice such yellow journalism?” One of the authors, John Bardinelli responded, “We left Dash out of the picture because of Dash Evolution. DE redefines the project’s focus.” To which yet another commenter, kanuuker1, fumed, “That’s a total load of crap. Evolution is only the next major update. Our goals haven’t changed in years. Dash has a fully working project and is much further along in its development than every other project.”

Do you think there are too many coins out there? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images via Pixabay.


Be sure to check out the podcast, Blockchain 2025; latest episode here. Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

The post Over 60% of Top 100 Cryptocurrencies Have No Working Product, Study Claims appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Coinbase now supports buying and selling Ethereum Classic

Coinbase has added a new buying option for its customers after the crypto exchange introduced Ethereum Classic to its collection.

The addition was first announced in July but Coinbase took its time to implement its newest addition following criticism over the way it added Bitcoin Cash last year. Allegations of insider trading led the company to investigate the incident which saw service outages and wild price fluctuations for Bitcoin Cash right after its addition to the exchange. It later introduced a framework for adding new tokens.

Nonetheless, Ethereum Classic’s value spiked 20 percent on last month’s news. Today, though, it is down two percent over the last 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap.com.

Coinbase has taken a conservative approach to adding more crypto. Today’s addition takes it to five tokens — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash are the others — but that’s likely to change this year. Last month, it announced it is “exploring” the addition of another five tokens while CTO Balaji Srinivasan hinted that the selection would grow further when I interviewed him at the recent TechCrunch blockchain event in Zug.

“We hear your requests, and are working hard to make more assets available to more customers around the world,” Dan Romero, who heads Coinbase’s consumer business, said in a blog post published today.

A note on Ethereum Classic — it was created in June 2016 following a major hack on The DAO, a fundraising vehicle for the project. In short: the Ethereum Foundation created a new version of Ethereum — known today as Ethereum — that rescued the lost funds, while those who opposed continued on with the original chain which was known as Ethereum Classic.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

Ethereum’s falling price splits the crypto community

Hello And Welcome Back To The Latest Edition Of All The Cryptos Are Getting Rekt Right Now.

Crypto bloodbaths have become fairly common in 2018 — mainly because of the insane growth in 2017 — but we’ve not covered them all because they are so numerous and often include so-called ‘flash crashes’ or small drops, but the fall happening today is worth noting for several wider reasons.

Primarily that’s because this is a major test for Ether — the token associated with the Ethereum Foundation that is the second largest cryptocurrency by volume — has been on a downward spiral with little sign of change.

Ether, which is the preferred platform of choice for most developers building on the blockchain, is down nearly 17 percent over the past day. That’s erased billions of dollars in paper (crypto) value as the bear market for cryptocurrencies continues to pull markets south.

The drop also marks the first time ever that the price of an Ether has fallen below its valuation over one year: one Ether is worth $266 right now at the time of writing, versus $304 on August 14 2017. The token has been steadily falling since early May, when its peak value was $808, and as the lynchpin for many ICO project tokens, its demise has sent the value of most other tokens down, too.

Just looking at Coinmarketcap.com this morning, all but two of the top 100 tokens are down over the last 24 hours with many losing 10-25 percent of their value over the past day. Bitcoin, too, has dropped below $6,000, having topped $8,000 for a time last month.

Ether’s plummet below $300 has sparked a mixed debate among those in the crypto community. The token had been held as visionary, an improvement on Bitcoin that gives developers a platform to build on — whether it be decentralized apps, decentralized systems or more — but that hasn’t been reflected in in this months-long price retreat.

Certainly, two founders who spoke TechCrunch and have held ICOs expressed a belief that Ether “needs to find some price stability” to allow the focus to become about product and not just ‘get rich’ speculation. Of course, it helps that the two founders and many of those who held token sales have long since sold the Ether or Bitcoin they raised in exchange for fiat currency. Indeed, if their token sale was last year, the chances are they got a lot more real-world cash than they initially bargained for or would get now.

But still, the idea of consistency is shared by others who are in crypto professionally. That includes investors like Kenrick Drijkoningen, who is in the midst of raising a $10 million fund for LuneX, a spinout of Singapore-based VC firm Golden Gate Ventures.

In an interview last week, Drijkoningen told TechCrunch that raising a fund and doing deals in a ‘low tide’ market like now beats attempting to do the same amid a frothy period with hype and peak valuations — one Ether was worth nearly $1,400 in January, for example. A number of others VCs have long said that, ultimately, stability is good for the ecosystem.

Vitalik Buterin is the creator of Ethereum

But, on the other side, there are more pessimistic voices.

Among some investors canvassed by TechCrunch, the sense is that with the downturn of the ICO funding boom that fueled much of Ethereum’s rise, there may be less incentive to hold as the broader market’s interest in the cryptocurrency wanes.

For one Bitcoin bull, the intrinsic value of Bitcoin as an immutable, decentralized ledger acts as a more powerful draw than the perceived mutability and centralization that the Ethereum platform offers.

“People are also beginning to understand the unique value of an immutable, decentralized ledger, and recognize that Ethereum is not that,” the investor wrote in an email.

Another long-term problem that Ethereum faces, according to this investor, is that the promise of decentralized apps backed by the token is yet to be released. Crypto Kitties, a smash hit earlier this year, has faded and now there’s competition as Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is adding nodes and apps — referred to as LApps — which can operate in a similar but leverage the Bitcoin ledger.

It’s still early days, of course, and markets will always rise and fall, but this is the first big test for Ether and Ethereum. Beyond the sport of price speculation, it’ll be worth watching to see where this heads next.

Note: One of the authors of this post — Jon Russell — owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.