Football Club Juventus has now officially been tokenized, letting fans vote on decisions

Italian Football Club, Juventus now has been tokenized thanks to Socios.com. It costs fans around $2 to purchase an indivisible token which they can earn rewards by using and vote for decisions regarding the team.

“99.9% of sports fans are not in the city/country of the team they are supporting. We created these fungible fans tokens to allow fans to have an influence over some fan-based initiatives,” Alexandre Dreyfus, founder and CEO of Socios.com, told The Block.

Right now, the only decision that fans are able to make is what song will be played when Juventus scores a goal at their stadium. Token holders will also receive merchandise discounts, exclusive access to press releases and some community features.

The new income from tokenization will undoubtedly be used to fund the team, but the decisions that holders are involved in will be very trivial. Basically, Juventus could have held a poll on Twitter asking which song they should play when the team scores, but instead they chose to monetize it. It would be interesting to see a future where there is enough fan money invested in the team to make decisions about trading team members or picking starting players.

Socios is also tokenizing football clubs, Paris-Saint Germain and Atlético de Madrid, but Juventus is their biggest announcement yet because of Cristiano Rinaldo being a team member.

$CHZ is Socios’ own token which can be purchased on Binance. In 2020 the company plans on releasing trading pairs for teams against their own token, like $JUV-$CHZ, but it is unclear what exchange the token will be on.

It’s interesting to see blockchain work directly with football clubs. Who knows, maybe this will be the future of trading cards. Socios makes note that teams have fans all over the world that can’t contribute by attending games, and this is their way of capitalizing on that. Let us know if you think it will work out in the comments.

“Decentralized exchange” CryptoBridge shuts down – Was it ever actually decentralized?

CryptoBridge announced today in a press release that they will be shutting down their “decentralize exchange” because of market volatility, increasing regulation and a lack of funds. This is the second time within a week where something that claims to be decentralized has been closed by a central party, and Twitter users find it to be pretty funny.

“If it’s decentralized, how does someone decide to shut it down…. nevermind.” – @propelforward

This Tweet was a response to The Block posting a story on CryptoBridge, but also a reference to a comment made about Poloniex acquiring a decentralized exchange on November 28th. Justin Sun, founder of TRON gained control of Poloniex exchange recently, and the “decentralized exchange” is based on TRON tech, so it’s not only a conflict of interest but not truly a decentralized operation.

What is decentralized, and what isn’t? 

The easiest way to explain decentralization to a newbie is using Bitcoin as an example and how it can’t be shut down, because nobody runs it. Because decentralization has interested so many people, it has also been used as marketing to make products seem more appealing.

Kyle Kistner, founder of a decentralized liquidity protocol called bZx wrote an informative piece regarding how decentralized decentralized finance actually is. His conclusion that even the most innovative, trustworthy and successful DeFi projects were not fully decentralized, including his own.

“These DeFi products are non-custodial, have permissionless margin calls, permissionless provision of margin call liquidity, decentralized price feeds, and decentralized interest rate determination, but centrally control platform developments & updates. Examples include bZx.” – Kyle Kistner

This quote was an excerpt from Kistner’s stages of decentralization and an example of the most decentralized a DeFi project has ever been. Bitcoin actually excels more than Ethereum in this perspective because Ethereum Devs control updates on the network. Eth users can opt out of hard forks to the network, but there is much more central governing on the mainnet where as Bitcoin improvements are on additional layers.

To summarize, trading ownership and shutting down decentralized exchanges is not truly decentralized, but virtually all decentralized projects have aspects of centralization.

Decentralized exchanges deal with less regulation, that’s a bad excuse CryptoBridge

Another thing that smells fishy about CryptoBridge’s explanation is the implication of increased regulation. In the US, one of the most heavily regulated financial environments, decentralized exchanges aren’t looked at as the same as centralized exchanges because they are merely a forum to connect buyers and sellers. Since the exchange doesn’t take custody of funds, they are not required to obtain the identity of users for the time being, which opens up options that US exchanges can’t offer like small market cap tokens and leverage.

“If a CVC trading platform only provides a forum where buyers and sellers of CVC post their bids and offers (with or without automatic matching of counterparties), and the parties themselves settle any matched transactions through an outside venue (either through individual wallets or other wallets not hosted by the trading platform), the trading platform does not qualify as a money transmitter under FinCEN regulations.” – FinCen

At this point, it should be obvious that CryptoBridge leaned to the marketing side of the word “decentralized” more than the technical aspects. Let us know in the comments if you think that the term “decentralized” is overused.

5 of 8 top blockchain venture capital funds are invested in games

The Block published research of the top 8 crypto investors, and 5 out of 8 have money invested in blockchain-based games. Galaxy Digital, specifically has about 15% of their holdings in games while firms like Polychain and Coinbase Ventures hold a bit less.

blockchain investment research
Credit: The Block

Still waiting to see blockchain games reach the masses 

Games take a while to make, but it seems like the only topics that hit mainstream crypto news are investments in blockchain games or blockchain inclusion in mainstream games. It is rare to hear news about the performance of a primarily blockchain based video game.

The principle makes sense, in games like World of Warcraft, you spend hours grinding to receive items that only hold virtual value. Games like this have policies that ban players if they sell accounts or items for cash, which means that the virtual value can never be translated into physical value even though there is demand.

Some blockchain-based games are regular games that implement a physical economy and some have a steeper learning curve, requiring some sort of crypto deposit to play. The thing is, not many games have made it easy to siphon value out of the game even though it is encouraged. Games with blockchain implementation often require players to use an external market place to exchange, very few have one implemented.

Another detriment to blockchain based games is that inherently, they are focused on implementing a specific tech to a game rather than making a good game that implements new tech. It’s similar to the developing virtual reality market, we tend to hear way more about the capabilities of VR headsets than than any popular game you can play with them. With that being said, investing in blockchain gaming is understandable and a respectable decision by gaming enthusiasts, but it there isn’t much momentum yet.

Where is other blockchain money invested? 

In the research, they found that most investors have money locked in crypto exchanges. This makes a bit more sense because most popular exchanges have high leverage, high risk, which means more profit for owners. Exchanges in crypto often feel like casinos guised as a place to trade. There is an extent to where leverage is useful, but the line is crossed when sites like Binance offer 125x buying power. Crypto has a reputation of being volatile and making people rich. High leverage capitalizes on that and in the end, the house wins as usual.

There are promising games being worked on, like those on Hackernoon’s list, but all of them are still in progress. Let us know in the comments if there are any games that prove our opinions invalid, we’d love to hear about them.

Former head of Circle minted Tether himself, says it’s legit

Former head of Circle, Dan Matuszewski, went on a podcast called On the Brink with Castle Island to give his opinions and experiences minting the Tether stablecoin. Matuszewski firmly stated that there is nothing true about the allegations of Tether driving Bitcoin’s 2017 bull run.

“I say this as someone who created and redeemed billions of tether over the course of my life and specifically created it in 2017”

In 2017, there was price descrepancy between Bitcoin on Coinbase and on Bitfinex, which created arbitrage incentives. Matuszewski said he took advantage of this by minting Tether himself, but did not specify how he went about doing it.

“I can tell you that billions of dollars were sent in to make it like that”

Bitfinex had discounted Bitcoin compared to Coinbase, so people would sent in USD to Tether which was minted into USDT. Afterwards, they would transfer the Bitcoin to Coinbase and sell it for a profit. The reason this worked is because Coinbase was so popular, so the demand for Bitcoin was clearly there without the arbitrage incentives.

Matuszewski noted that a major difference between USDT and Circle’s USDC is that Tether is more willing to fight against regulatory scrutiny. From what Matuszewski said, something like USDC would have KYC (know your customer) restrictions on chain were USDT would not, and would fight against being force to implement them.

There is no easy access portal to submit USD in exchange for USDT, so the process would likely involve contacting Tether directly. It would be much easier for Tether to take USD from large net worth customers, mint a bunch of USDT and not involve proof of identity in the process than it would be for them to make a widely accessible web portal.

Tether is still popular in markets like Asia, because USD-BTC is a popular trading pair and USDT is harder to trace than things like the Renmimbi. Emily Parker, cofounder of Longhash mentioned on the Unchained podcast with Laura Shin that before people in China buy Bitcoin, they usually exchange their cash for USDT.

German banks want to hold Bitcoin, Oh, the irony

German media outlet Handelsblatt reported a new bill that would make it legal for banks in Germany to hold Bitcoin. The report added that Sven Hildebrandt, Head of Distributed Ledger Consulting said Germany was on its way to becoming a “crypto-heaven.”

Combining crypto and traditional banking is a double edged sword. On one hand, when Canada approves Bitcoin funds, or Bakkt releases an exchange tailored for big investors, holdrs get excited about the price going up. On the other, the actual ingenuity of Bitcoin becomes irrelevant.

Bitcoin is cool because you don’t need a bank to keep it safe and it doesn’t take up room. All you need is to write down a password, hide it, and then never worry about a third party losing your funds. Still, Warren Buffett doesn’t even use a cell phone so who really expects someone like that to create a crypto wallet.

These banks will also be allowed to sell Bitcoin as well, but not buy it back. The demographic of investors that want to buy Bitcoin from a bank and keep it there seem less likely to withdraw it to an online spot exchange and sell it there. This could be good for the bullish case with there being less supply, but then again, the investors will probably be able to find someone to sell it for them.

I can’t help but feel like it’s pointless to buy Bitcoin and give it to a bank. You could easily watch a 5 minute YouTube video and have it be even more protected. If a customer calls up and is able to sell their bag through the bank, that would be more intriguing, but also would make it a full fledged exchange.

I held Bitcoin on an exchange for a long time, but after seeing so many exchange hacks, I found it worth while to create a wallet. In the end, it took way less time than I expected, especially because there are wallets with great user experiences, like Exodus.

There are no size limit to wallets, no fees (other than those inherent to blockchain transactions) and it’s as easy as setting up a Facebook account. With all that, I would be surprised to see an excessive demand for banking Bitcoin.