Three of the biggest companies building on Ethereum

“No other blockchain network has been as ‘beta tested’ as Ethereum.” … de la Villa, the Distributed Ledger Technology Program Director at ING.

Ethereum, the largest blockchain network for decentralized applications, and home to the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, is turning five. Since its launch in 2015, Ethereum has attracted some of the largest companies in the world. Countless multinationals, Fortune 100 companies—pick your benchmark of prestige—are building on it.

Many companies started looking into Ethereum at the height of the 2017 ICO boom, when Bitcoin spiked to near $20,000 (and Ethereum didn’t fare too badly, peaking at $1,432, according to CoinMarketCap). But now the dust has settled, what’s happened to these companies? Have they abandoned ship or kept plugging away on the network?

To mark Ethereum’s fifth anniversary, Decrypt spoke to some of the largest companies in the world to hear what they’re building on Ethereum.

Ubisoft: The video game giant

French video game publisher Ubisoft is responsible for some of the biggest triple-A games franchises in the world, including Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Watch Dogs. It’s embraced blockchain in a big way, backing eight blockchain startups for its Entrepreneur Lab and partnering with blockchain games developer Planetarium on its game Nine Chronicles.

No surprise, then, that Ubisoft is also building on Ethereum. A few months ago it launched Rabbids Tokens, based on its popular Raving Rabbids series. Rabbids Tokens are built on Ethereum’s ERC-721 token standard, the token standard invented by the team behind CryptoKitties; each non-fungible token (NFT) represents one of Ubisoft’s terrifying cartoon rabbits.

The tokens were part of a game that worked as follows: put some money into an Ethereum wallet, use it to “nab” (buy) a Rabbid from another user. Upon purchase, that token will start to represent another character from the Rabbids world, with the whole exchange documented in your virtual log book.

That new character remains in your possession until another user “nabs” (buys) the token. Then, all you’ll have left in your wallet is the proof that you, once, were lucky enough to own one of these NFTs yourself. The project is for charity, and all funds raised from the sales go straight to UNICEF, the UN’s children’s charity.

Alongside those altruistic ambitions, the project was “an opportunity for Ubisoft to go mainnet and experiment further with blockchain technology,” Nicolas Pouard, Ubisoft’s blockchain initiative director, told Decrypt. Pouard’s team was interested in working out how Ethereum could be used for gaming.

“Rabbids Tokens were a first step,” said Pouard, though he declined to share any other information about the next ones. “Other projects will hopefully follow,” he added, saying that Ubisoft “would like to continue to explore its potential as well its growing ecosystem.”

So, why did Pouard and his group of engineers build on Ethereum? “The Ethereum ecosystem is by far the most mature and it has been explored and challenged extensively,” he said. “No other blockchain network has been as ‘beta tested’ as Ethereum.”

“No other blockchain network has been as ‘beta tested’ as Ethereum.”

Nicolas Pouard

Still, there are issues with Ethereum, Pouard said. First, its user experience. “As of today, wallets and mnemonics are not user-friendly as they do not meet web 2.0 usability standards,” he said. “The interface between the technology and users still needs to improve–it has to adapt to them, not the other way around.”

Pouard added that Ethereum is still struggling with the issue of scalability; gas prices have spiked in recent months due to the boom in decentralized finance (DeFi). That means that games that rely on micro-transactions, like Rabbids Tokens, struggle. “It is not sustainable for small volume businesses and hardly makes sense for users to purchase digital assets while paying twice their price in gas,” he said.

To compensate, Ubisoft is exploring areas such as sidechains, layer two and other blockchain protocols, and user design. “Ultimately, though, we’re convinced that those challenges will only be overcome through collective efforts, and that the whole ecosystem needs to work together in that sense,” he said.

ING: The bank

ING, a Dutch bank, has worked on Ethereum for years. Why Ethereum? Simple: When it started back in 2017, “there were not a lot of platforms out there at that time,” said Mariana Gomez de la Villa, the Distributed Ledger Technology Program Director at ING.

ING is part of several Ethereum initiatives. Gomez de la Villa mentioned three projects: First, Komgo, a project designed to streamline trading documents that is “already commercially live at ING”. It’s also part of Fnality, an Ethereum-based payments settlement consortium that is planned to be tested by the end of the year. Finally, there’s Bamboo, a bilateral letter of credit. The bank has also made much of its work, particularly around Zero-Knowledge Proofs, available as an open source project.

There are early signs that ING’s technology, generally produced alongside other banks and blockchain developer shops, works. The bank says the transactions executed through Komgo increased efficiency by 33%, cutting down the transaction time from three hours to 25 minutes.

Several of these projects have been in the works for three or four years, said Gomez de la Villa, but they’ve taken so long to come out because Ethereum had a few quirks that needed to be ironed out to become enterprise-ready. Most importantly, the tech needed to be private, confidential, scalable and vetted with clients, she said. All this took time, and that’s why they’re finally “seeing the light in production.”

Ethereum, now five years old, is among the older blockchain networks. But ING is sticking with it. Why? “There’s a large developer base,” said Cees van Wijk, IT chapter lead in the global ING DLT-team. “It’s battle-tested,” he said, adding, “there’s a huge ecosystem around it.”

“[Ethereum is] battle-tested; there’s a huge ecosystem around it.”

Interoperability is another reason: “Applications become really powerful once they start to interoperate,” he said. “If you have a payments system, an identity management system, and yet another trade finance system, and they can all interoperate, and use each other’s features and guarantees, then [the technology] becomes much stronger.”

ING is staying off public chains since the bank still wants to retain some control over the network. “We as an institution need to be really careful to comply with some of the regulation requests that we have from our central bank,” said Gomez de la Villa. So, “we are pretty much not allowed [to use public chains],” she said, because it’s impossible to source the identities of everyone on the network.

Instead of a distributed network of anonymous miners, ING uses a distributed network of verified network participants. The benefit? “You can trust that the Ethereum blockchain will only contain valid transactions and you know with whom you are interacting,” said van Wijk.

Ameritrade: The broker

TD Ameritrade, a broker founded in 1975, is big into crypto. Qualified customers can already trade Bitcoin futures (though they’ll need $25,000 in their account to do so) but the firm has invested in ErisX, a CFTC-regulated spot exchange that uses Ethereum smart contracts to facilitate its trades, and joined the Chicago DeFi Alliance, a business advisory service for DeFi startups.

In May, ErisX started letting US customerstrade Ethereum futures; it was the first US exchange to do so. That said, volumes are… slow. Its Bitcoin futures product usually trades between just one and two contracts each day, and nobody has invested in an Ethereum futures contract in the past week.

“We always look to implement products our clients have demand for,” said Sunayna Tuteja, TD Ameritrade’s Head of Digital Assets & DLT, adding that “recent macro events have demonstrated how quickly something deemed nice-to-have can become a need-to-have.” TD Ameritrade, she said, has a responsibility to “lean into the emerging capabilities of the Ethereum network and commercialize the opportunity in a way that solves gnarly problems.”

Are there problems? Of course! “As with the Cambrian explosion of any new technology, there are growing pains,” she said. “The community will need to continue to pay attention to aspects of security, scale, liquidity, and ongoing education that empowers the new wave of market participants.”

But who said things were going to be easy?

“Onwards!” said Tuteja.

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The gaming industry could help Blockchain finally go mainstream

Blockchain technology was initially created to give users increased security by reducing the chances of assets being tampered with. It has since been …

Blockchain technology was initially created to give users increased security by reducing the chances of assets being tampered with. It has since been used in various industries with gaming being one of them, and one with great potential.

For instance, Cryptokitties was one of the first games to implement blockchain within its system. In the game, users search and trade for cats which act as the game’s non-fungible token (NFT). Soon after, a bunch of other blockchain games rose to popularity and became a welcome addition to the industry.

The beauty of blockchain tech is that the value of assets and items obtained or traded in-game become the property of the player with its value is not bound to the game it came from. Therefore, since these items are now owned by the player, they will able to use it outside of the game and still maintain its value.

Another game type where blockchain technology is effectively implemented in actual gameplay is in card games. Gods Unchained, one of the most popular trading card games around, uses their cards as NFTs and are traded by players outside of the game on OpenSea.

While card games are probably the most popular type of blockchain games, real-time strategy games and MMORPGs are also touted as an ideal genre to test blockchain technology. These types of games are able to generate multiple asset types with smart contracts that are able to dictate the rules of the games. While not popularly utilized yet, it’s highly probable that future games in this genre will be looking into using blockchain technology.

For example, Pixelmatic, a studio based in Shanghai and Vancouver, is currently developing a new space-based MMO that will feature cryptocurrency as an in-game medium of exchange. While no recent updates have yet been announced regarding the relationship of cryptocurrency and the game’s items, the studio is still moving forward in normalizing the use of cryptocurrency in mainstream gaming.

One of blockchain games’ main concern is the limitations set by the platform it runs on. On Ethereum, for example, games that implement blockchain are susceptible to spamming the network with transactions because of the slow but secure nature of blockchains. This, in turn, increases gas fees.

But despite this limitation, there is no decrease in the number of games adopting blockchain technology. This may even further push platforms and developers to find a solution to this current problem and speed up the 10-minute verification process of blockchains.

Overall, it won’t be surprising to see a surge of blockchain-based apps in the future, particularly in the gaming industry. In implementing this technology, both users and developers will benefit especially when talking about in-game purchases, items, and even tournaments. With real-life value and security, this may also, one day, open the doors for e-sports to find their place in both real-life sports and entertainment sectors.

Source: Cointelegraph

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Cargo blockchain platform updates unleash collectible virtual assets for digital artists

Using a blockchain concept known as tokenization, any form of media can be uniquely tied to a blockchain asset providing proof of ownership. As a …

Cargo, a secure platform for creating and deploying digital assets using distributed ledger blockchain technology, today announced the release of numerous updates to its all-in-one platform for managing digital collectibles.

Using Cargo’s infrastructure and code, artists and businesses can now fully manage and govern the creation of assets related to their work. Using a blockchain concept known as tokenization, any form of media can be uniquely tied to a blockchain asset providing proof of ownership.

As a result, regardless of what the creator has made – audio, video, 3D models, image files or virtual items in a game – Cargo users now have the ability to define, create, mint and distribute unique tradable digital assets on a blockchain.

This is done using a protocol for “nonfungible tokens,” or NFT, that allows for the creation of assets linked to a blockchain ledger that can be tracked between owners. Ownership is proven by holding the digital keys needed to trade the digital asset in question, meaning that asset ownership can be tracked and verified.

Using Cargo’s Javascript Software Development Kit, developers now have access to a marketplace that allows creators to build multiple collections within their own token economies. They can control which files remain private, which are public and which are for sale.

Cargo can also manage and sell compatible collectibles that are created as NFTs and stored on other blockchain platforms. In this manner, a creator can have holdings across multiple platforms and still manage collections through Cargo.

Thanks to the virtual nature of digital assets, Cargo’s platform is also designed to support the production of items at scale. Using Cargo’s “white-label” SDK, creators can also mass-update metadata for millions of NFTs at a cost that keeps overhead low.

Cargo’s platform was incubated by Polyient Labs and its gaming-focused spinoff Polyient Games. The incubator works by providing early-stage businesses capital infusion, insight, guidance, direction and talent to get blockchain-powered solutions into the market.

“Even before these new enhancements were introduced, Cargo already won over crypto artists and gamers because it gave them the ability to create, sell and manage an infinite amount of NFTs, digital collectibles and in-game items,” said Brad Robertson, chief executive of Polyient Labs and Polyient Games.

Using Cargo’s platform, digital artists and game creators will have a greater opportunity to enter into the blockchain-based tradable asset economy.

“Our goal with Cargo is to provide scalable NFT infrastructure and marketplace functionality to power the largest or smallest projects,” said Cargo founder Sean Papanikolas. “Whether you are an artist creating one-off pieces, or a game company creating millions of items.”

Blockchain asset marketplaces have made it possible to give rise to fully digital collectible card games such as “Spells of Genesis” and the Coinbase Inc. backed “Gods Unchained,” which released a blockchain-based digital card that sold for $31,000. Other blockchain platforms have also courted digital gaming by providing asset creation and management such as Blockchain.com Ventures funded Enjin and Walt Disney Co.-incubated Dragonchain Inc.

Other digital assets can also be tracked and sold using blockchain platforms, for example, Warner Music invested in Flow, a platform developed by Dapper Labs, the creator of Ethereum-based CryptoKitties, which enables creators to trade in digital assets such as music and memorabilia. The music-focused startup Fenix uses blockchain technology to help bring fans and independent music artists together. And ANote Music looks to streamline royalties and sales using blockchain for music labels.

Cargo’s digital asset creation platform and marketplace is generally available today and is accessible through a Web3-enabled browser using any provider.

Image: Cargo

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Blockchain Could Build an Empire in the Gaming Industry

3d rendering mock up double exposure, blurred background. Blockchain continues to pervade daily life. Having started as a P2P dream of …

Blockchain continues to pervade daily life. Having started as a P2P dream of decentralized currency, the technology has now become a familiar name. Gaming is one of the most potential areas being explored with blockchain technology. It seems like a perfect fit, since gamers have been at the forefront of technological advancements. They were the first to notice the boom of emerging cryptocurrencies. It is predicted that blockchain will create its own empire in the gaming industry, thus encouraging more widespread adoption.

Cryptokitties laid the groundwork for the next innovations integrating blockchain technology into the gaming industry. There was a time when raising virtual cats was a hot trend in global crypto communities. Although the software itself illustrates the technology for collecting, the program has rapidly gained popularity, since it comprises the majority of Ethereum ‘s transactions. Following Cryptokitties’ success, there have been a series of apps that exploit blockchain gaming technology, from adventure games and card games to action games and role playing.

The use of Blockchain in gaming is primarily managed by the platforms’ transaction ability in Ethereum. Therefore, existing gaming blockchain implementations include experimental tickets, collectible platforms and mobile games.

Applications for the Gaming Industry

One of the first games to use blockchain gaming technology was card games. The only drawback of the collectible cards is that the cards themselves are commercial items, non-fungible tokens. The NFT is traded on OpenSea most of the time. “Gods Unchained” is one of the most common card selection games with blockchain technology.

Games are the perfect area to test blockchain technology, as gameplay allows several asset types to be generated and smart contracts to control the rules. Effective gaming, RTS, and MMO games are typical examples. While successful gaming titles are becoming increasingly popular with multiplayers, online and community dynamics, the implementation of blockchain gaming technology is likely to gain considerable momentum.

Pixelmatic, a Shanghai and Vancouver-based developer, is working to launch a space-based MMO game with elements of RTS and Eve Online, and a cryptocurrency for an in-game medium. The project has lucrative potential, and the game is the first step to greater acceptance of cryptocurrencies amongst industry players in traditional gaming.

Despite the spam risk on the Ethereum network and the rising gas fees, a growing number of games are being developed to run on public blockchains. Proof-of-stake blockchains, sidechains and state channels may provide solutions for addressing problems at existing operating blockchains underlying small transaction rates.

The Future of Gaming

Card games seem to take the spotlight, according to EsportsBets, while online casino games are leading the way. The gaming world is developing on decentralized platforms, with a link to the esports world or competitive gaming. The potential for blockchain in esports is enormous, from tournaments and team management to gambling and buying and selling in-game items.

Many of these games offer a gaming experience similar to popular online multiplayer games, while using technology to solve some of the more confusing aspects that arise with a centralized organization. Platform speculation that may be useful in gaming for blockchain applications and tokens is increasing, and platforms are often listed on top exchanges shortly after release.

Through designing user interfaces, using the related technology for blockchain applications, for transacting from PoW systems to more transaction-oriented systems, and for launching products that draw more attention, the integration of blockchain is a natural development for online games and public-adoption is only a matter of time.

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Gaming Industry Use of Blockchain May Lead to Mass Adoption By Cointelegraph

Blockchain technology has recently become a phenomenon in various areas of the economy, driving innovation, fostering growth and bringing added …

Gaming Industry Use of Blockchain May Lead to Mass Adoption

Blockchain technology has recently become a phenomenon in various areas of the economy, driving innovation, fostering growth and bringing added value. Among the most noteworthy of these sectors is the gaming industry. Gaming is a use case that drives true adoption of blockchain technology by taking the incentive for the user from pure speculation to transactions on a blockchain platform. This drives innovation in development as well as consumer adoption.

The first true blockchain gaming application was Cryptokitties. While the platform itself is a technology demonstrator for collectible items, it quickly rose to prominence as the application representing the majority of transactions made on the platform. Since its inception, the number of apps leveraging blockchain technology in gaming has exploded, with categories ranging from adventure games and card games to action games, role-playing games and casinos.

Continue Reading on Coin Telegraph

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