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  • Money talks. And with a median salary of nearly $85,000 per year, blockchain professionals make more than most, according to Oct. 2018 Glassdoor study. The median U.S. salary is nearly $52,000. So why do crypto and blockchain workers earn 62% more than other American workers?Because companies are mostly hiring people with technical expertise such as coders and analysts. Secondly, most jobs are located in expensive cities which drive higher wages. The top five U.S. locations with the most blockchain openings are:New York, NYSan Francisco, CASan Jose, CAChicago, ILSeattle, WAIn New York, the median pay for software engineers is $104,000. Here are the top five non-U.S. locations with the most blockchain work opportunities:LondonSingaporeTorontoHong KongBerlin“Companies are hiring primarily for technical roles, requiring engineering experience and coding skills, and many of these job openings are centered in cities that are already major talent hubs for technical or financial expertise,” according to Glassdoor’s study. “Both factors are contributing to pay exceeding median salaries elsewhere — another strong indicator of long-term investment.”Such jobs rose 300 percent since last year, rising to 1,775 openings in the U.S. in August 2018. But Asia is seeing a lot of hiring as well. Recruitment firm Robert Walters is seeing a 50% increase in blockchain or crypto jobs in Asia since last year. Thus, it’s no surprise that Singapore and Hong Kong are establishing themselves as the “blockchain islands” of the Far East.
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  • It’s fashionable to disparage initial coin offerings (ICOs): the choice fundraiser for the cowboy, the con and the scam. With a tarnished name, few legitimate projects chose to go down the ICO route. The crowdfunding platform, Cofound.it, closed its doors in September complaining the ICO market ultimately hurt investors. It’s a low ebb. But one British-based project thinks it can still be used; if it’s an ethical ICO, anyway.Holding company Investx announced on Thursday that their planned public sale for the INX utility token would follow strict principles to reduce the risk for investors. This will include the creation of a reserve fund as well as a sustainable token supply. The company has brought on David Atkinson, Director of Holochain (HOT), to advise and assist the development of an ethical ICO.“We [Investx] wanted to differentiate our ICO by openly committing to ethical ICO principles”, said Peter Edgar, CEO of Investx. “These are steps we’ve taken to stabilise the token, lay foundations for future growth, and commit to transparency that holds us accountable to token holders.”The funds will go towards Investx’s new blockchain equity platform. Based on the Ethereum (ETH) network, INX tokens can be used to buy equity in private companies, which they can keep or sell, in or outside the ecosystem. Although companies hosted on the platform will have the option of accepting INX for equity, Investx will have a fiat currency reserve relative to the number of tokens in circulation, which can be used to buy equity on the token holder’s behalf.Investx argues that their blockchain model would open up SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) investment to a wider variety of investors, including even retail investors. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has so far given their approval.
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  • “An eye for an eye” is a Biblical principle of justice that is seeing 21st century use case. And if applied to its full extent, the tit-for-tat approach towards one’s adversary will do harm to the world’s two largest economies. That is until either side blinks.The U.S.-China trade war escalated last month when President Donald Trump imposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. It’s the second and more painful round of taxes levied on imports, and it’s set to increase to 25% by year-end unless the world’s most populous country of $1.4 billion opens its markets to the world’s biggest economy (America) worth $19.4 trillion.The billionaire-turned-politician isn’t backing down. He’s doubling down with the same resolve of an angry voter.During the 2016 campaign, Pres. Trump’s politics of populism appealed to disenfranchised Americans who have been left out of the middle class by competitive – and arguably predatory – Chinese business practices. He called for retaliatory actions (an eye for an eye) against China’s trade practices which include tariffs on American imports, restrictions on U.S. products, and outright theft of proprietary technology and intellectual property.So how big is the trade imbalance between the two superpowers? Last year, China reaped trade surpluses of $167 billion in computers and electronics; $39.9 billion in electronic equipment; and $38.6 billion in miscellaneous manufacturing, according to U.S. Census Bureau.
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  • Polymath (POLY) tokens surged as much as 20% in value during Thursday’s trading as markets reacted to the news tZero has issued its security tokens to investors.In a price surge reminiscent of the December bull-run, POLY is currently trading at $0.22. The tokens peaked at around 14:00 BST when the market cap surpassed $70m: just shy of $0.25 per individual coin. The price declined in the past four hours. The POLY market cap stood at $64m at press time, $6m below where it had been earlier that same day.Polymath first started to rise last night, when coins spiked from $0.20 to over $0.24 within an hour. Although the price quickly corrected, tokens began to rise steadily throughout the evening and into Thursday morning.tZero token saleThis initial spike followed news on Tuesday that tZero, a blockchain-based subsidiary of the internet retailer Overstock, had issued its security tokens. Sold during a security token offering (STO), between December and early August, investors with a signed agreement for future equity (SAFE) were issued with the tokens as early as last Friday.Although the tokens have now been issued, holders still won’t be able to touch them. To be fully compliant with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), security tokens need to be locked down for a full 90 days before they can be released, and then only to accredited investors. Normal investors will have to wait until early August 2019 – exactly a year after the token sale – before they can take their holdings.
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  • Decentralizing The Dollar is a three-part series on stablecoins, each addressing one of the three key methods postulated for tying a stable cryptocurrency to a fiat currency. In Part One, we examined how TrueUSD might rectify the flaws in Tether; in Part Two we looked at Kowala, and algorithmic stablecoins; and in Part Three we’ll look at crypto-collateralized coins.Keeping track of the different stablecoins is a bit like learning the names and habitats of all the dinosaurs. There are tokens backed by dollars, euros, gold or silver, or even by pure code. There are also different stability systems for each major blockchain, and some have their own chains. There are also stable coins whose value is collateralized by other digital assets. Volatile cryptocurrencies might seem like an odd anchor, but that hasn’t stopped several tokens from stabilizing their value with a combination of crypto-collateral and governance to limit their price movements.Some, like BitShares USD and Maker’s DAI token, can be considered relatively successful at hedging against market volatility. Others, like NuBits, provide a cautionary tale. Maker/ Dai: Volatility Fenced InIf you wanted an example of clever programmers innovating away the market’s problems, you couldn’t do much better than MakerDAO, a system of smart contracts which keeps the native DAI token stable.  Using a combination of price feeds and clever code, MakerDAO has kept the value of the Dai token reasonably close to a dollar. 
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  • Just when we thought Tron was starting to grow up and behave like a credible enterprise, Justin Sun turned around and did what he did best. After a week of stoking the embers, the Tron Foundation confirmed rumors that TRX was partnering  with China’s largest search engine. An “official tweet” from the Foundation announced that “#TRON is joining forces with Internet service giant Baidu,” and headlines sprouted around the cryptosphere: Confirmed: Baidu and TRON to Cooperate on Cloud Computing Resources (Cointelegraph)News Flash: Tron’s Justin Sun confirms its secret partnership with Chinese Google, Baidu (AMBCrypto)Breaking: Baidu confirmed as TRON’s [TRX] Newest Partner (CryptoCrimson) That’s a pretty formidable announcement, and evidence that the blockchain is starting to appeal to serious business—the sort of thing you’d announce in a joint press release rather than an “official tweet.”Unfortunately, like many aspects of the Tron project, if it sounds too good to be true, then Justin Sun is opening his mouth again. 
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  • Crypto guru Mike Novogratz views distributed ledger technology (DLT) as split between enterprise-facing private blockchains and open-source public blockchains. IBM is the undisputed leader in enterprise solutions with 65% of companies saying they would choose Big Blue to deploy the technology in their own business, per a Sept. 2018 survey by Juniper Research.For now, it’s hard to imagine anyone dislodging IBM when it comes to large-scale use cases of blockchain. And that’s reflected in how corporate executives view the New York-based conglomerate of 330,000 employees.Corporate preference for Big Blue is nearly 10 times that of second-place Microsoft (7%) while other companies that barely received votes include Accenture, Deloitte and Oracle. Samsung SDS and Sony have entered the space, with Samsung helping the South Korean government use DLT to improve administration — a pilot project that will undoubtedly attract similar interest from bloated bureaucracies around the world. Sony recently announced an initiative on digital rights management.But compared to what IBM Blockchain is doing, these look like tentative steps rather than bold inspirations of conquest — and perhaps more of an effort to appease impatient board directors than to achieve a tectonic break in how business is done.IBM Is All-In On Blockchain BetsThe Fortune 50-ranked company is focused on sure bets that are aimed at global impact: That is, to help Fortune 500 clients reshape entire industries, and whose private or open-source DLT transformations drive the highest ROI for shareholders.
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  • What Are Grin And MimbleWimble?Grin coin is an implementation of the MimbleWimble protocol. Grin aims to be a scalable privacy coin that has no addresses, no amounts, and is therefore less storage intensive than other privacy coins and digital currencies.The coin has an anonymous founder, has been developed by the community, and Grin is slated to have a fair proof-of-work launch in Q1 2019. Its mining algorithm is ASIC-resistant, meaning you can mine Grin with your laptop. The MimbleWimble protocol is a design for a blockchain-based ledger where there are no addresses and the data storage required is minimized. It is a private-by-default blockchain that is also scalable and uses elliptic-curve cryptography that has been tested for decades. When compared to Bitcoin, MimbleWimble only needs to store 10% of the data requirements which means that it is more scalable, less centralized, and significantly faster.Grin and MimbleWimble: HistoryOn August 2nd, 2016 a text file was posted anonymously in a Bitcoin development forum outlining the early-stage of the MimbleWimble whitepaper. The purpose was to soft fork this design for a blockchain-ledger into Bitcoin as a solution to the scaling problem and to add private transactions. On October 20th, 2016 a different anonymous developer posted on the same forum that he was working on an implementation of MimbleWimble – it was called Grin. When Satoshi first wrote the Bitcoin whitepaper its purpose was to become a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. High transaction fees and opportunity costs of using bitcoin have transformed its major use case into being more of a store of value.
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  • Here’s a fun bit of trivia: which company runs the largest cloud computing network for rendering graphics? Is it Pixar, whose 24,000-core-data center qualifies as one of the world’s top supercomputers? Or Amazon Web Services, with an estimated 4.1 million servers? Or perhaps Microsoft, with more servers than Apple(bees)?The answer might be: none of the above. RNDR, a blockchain-based platform for decentralized computing, now claims that its distributed network of Graphics Processing Units constitutes the largest cloud network of its kind. In a press release issued today, the company stated that its network “Top[s] the cumulative capacity of all GPU instances from major public cloud providers,” including Amazon and Microsoft.The data were based on a survey, taken during RNDR’s beta testing. Based on responses from 1,200 individuals, the survey found that users are contributing 14,000 GPUs to the network, for a combined rendering power of 1.5 million OctaneBench. OctaneBench is a GPU benchmarking unit created by OTOY to measure rendering power; according to OTOY’s website, 100 OctaneBench refers to the processing power of a single GTX 980 graphics card.  Star Wars Headline, Because Star Wars Mentioned In Just A MomentRNDR is a blockchain network launched by OTOY, a centralized rendering service whose computing power has been used for productions like Star Wars, Avatar and Westworld. OTOY has also partnered with Facebook to provide post-processing tools for the Manifold camera, and with Unity to provide enhanced cinematic graphics to game developers. 
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  • NEO celebrated its second anniversary today, signifying two years of stable operations since its mainnet launched. While most of us celebrate our birthdays with cake, presents and red envelopes, the “Chinese Ethereum” is celebrating the blockchain way— with a “technical articles competition,” as well as other contests. “The NEO MainNet has been running in stable capacity for two years since its release,” the NEO website said in the anniversary announcement. “As an early blockchain project, NEO has spent the past two years improving its core technology, enriching and extending its ecosystem, and expanding the global presence of the NEO community.”NEO’s Premature Growth SpurtNEO was one of 2017’s greatest hits, although the run-up in prices was largely overshadowed by a few other big blockchains. Under the diminutive name of Antshares, the mainnet launched with a token valued at around $0.08 cents—putting it all the way down at 535th by market capitalization.But Antshares climbed at breakneck speed. By August 2017, when it rebranded, NEO had reached the top ten, with prices pushing $40 dollars. Within a few months, the value quadrupled again, crossing $160 before the bubble began to burst. Peeking Under the Wrapping PaperBut the two-year-old blockchain is already starting to deliver on the presents. Although Ethereum grabbed most of the spotlight in the blockchain revolution, NEO’s dBFT consensus algorithm comes with significant advantages—including a 10,000 per-second transaction rate that leaves proof-of-work blockchains in the digital dust. 
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