Opera has announced the release of its new blockchain-ready browser with a built-in Ethereum wallet on the Android platform. According to the statement released earlier today, the updated app which comes with Web 3 support is now available to users for download on the Google Play Store. Opera says that the new app aims to provide Android users with an opportunity to experience Web 3 easily, as well as a means of accelerating the transition of cryptocurrencies from speculative investments to actual everyday use in transactions.
With the launch of the updated Android app, the company believes that it now provides a platform where users can painlessly use cryptocurrencies online and access Web 3 services, which has proved difficult in the past. The choice of Ethereum is largely down to its large existing community of dApp developers. Opera believes that by offering support to the Ethereum Web3 API, interactions with dApps will become easier for users. The company also revealed that it has plans to extend the wallet to support more cryptocurrencies and networks in the future.
Speaking about the new release, ConsenSys founder and Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin said:
It’s a significant step for one of the world’s leading browsers to add an Ethereum-based crypto wallet and Dapp explorer, and speaks to Opera’s innovative roots and commitment to embracing next generation technology. We see this as an important moment in improving Dapp accessibility, opening Web3 to mainstream audiences, and encouraging developers to build on Ethereum.
The emerging new generation web technology known as Web 3 is an umbrella term for a set of emerging technologies at the intersection of cryptocurrency, blockchains and distributed systems. Together, they extend the capabilities of the web from its current use to vastly more significant applications that at any point.
Opera is confident that today’s web will be the interface to the future’s decentralised web.
In league with Web 3, the crypto wallet browser will demonstrate an ability to renew and extend its role as an information accessing tool, and to manage users’ online transactions and digital identities in a way that enhances security and gives them more control.
This launch comes as the latest in a series of developments aimed at integrating cryptocurrency functionality across Opera’s browser platforms.
Earlier in the year, the company announced the integration of Ethereum wallets on its desktop browser. The new Opera Android browser is currently available in the Play Store.
While reports on the impact of blockchain seem to focus mostly on cryptocurrencies, the technology is affecting industries across the board, with gambling being the one that benefits the most from secure ledgers. The application of blockchain technology benefits both the players and the providers, and ensures the results of their bets are generated fairly and securely.
Online Gambling Needs Blockchain More Than Most Industries
Blockchain technology managed to go from a relatively obscure and abstract concept to one of the founding principles tech companies are based on. The technology has managed to creep into almost every industry, ensuring that its presence in the coming years.
And while industries such as aviation and insurance have been at the forefront of blockchain adoption, the technology is expected to make the biggest impact on gambling. After all, casinos have been exchanging cash for tokens in the form of chips long before cryptocurrencies or blockchain appeared.
In 2018, the online gambling industry is expected to surpass $50 billion, as cited on Inc.com. A study by SuperData Research found that mobile gambling was up 75% year-over-year and that it now accounts for over 25% of all online gambling.
However, the sheer number of websites offering online gambling makes it harder for a gambler to verify the reliability of a site. The mark of a reliable gambling site tends to be a byproduct of their reputation, and most players gravitate towards those sites not because of third-party validation, but rather the reviews they receive.
By integrating blockchain technology, all parties benefit from the permanent record of a verifiable, unchangeable transaction ledger. This means that players are provided an assurance of where their money is going and that their results were generated fairly.
With an online gambling blockchain in place, there is no obfuscation of the rules, which are clearly legible to all parties, and an instant payout is guaranteed. There are no concerns about a site withholding winnings because there is no site governing the game. The player’s funds go directly into a smart contract without the need for a middleman.
A Rising Number of Gambling Apps Is a Direct Answer to the Industry’s Problems
According to a recently released report from Dapp.com, the majority of dApps being deployed on Ethereum are related to the gaming and betting industries. During the third quarter of 2018, 244 dApps were released on Ethereum, with 110 of them related to the betting industry.
And while only 15 percent of Ethereum’s users are actively using betting dApps, they accounted for just over 20 percent of the total transactions on the network during Q3. Betting dApps also made up 18 percent of ether’s total volume distribution on the network, the report from Dapps.com showed.
Dice2win, a blockchain-based dice game, scored third on the list of Ethereum dApps with the most transactions, while Fomo3D, a controversial exit-scam game, attracted the most users.
The increase in demand for trustless betting is best reflected in EOS, a blockchain platform similar to Ethereum. While significantly younger, EOS is often described as the Las Vegas of the blockchain, as over half of the 60 dApps launched in Q3 are betting platforms.
According toDapp.com, 123 DApps went live from Aug. 10th to Oct. 30th, totaling 220 million EOS, equivalent to $1.2 billion. The EOS betting game player makes up 93 percent of the 6.2 million transactions on the platform, nearly the same as the number of transactions on Ethereum dApps recorded in Q3.
The popularity of the platform can be attributed to its BFT-DPoS protocol, which enables a high TPS (transactions per second) rate while maintaining costless transactions. Such a model provides a fantastic user experience, basically removing all of the setbacks associated with traditional blockchains.
The stability of the platform also translates into real-world usage, with EOSBet, the most popular EOS dApp, becoming the first open-source casino to acquire an Online Gambling License from Curacao, which in itself is one of the world’s oldest online gambling regulators.
Massive Payouts from Gambling dApps Show Increase in Popularity
However, EOS does come with its own setbacks, as the scale of users is highly limited by its complicated wallet setup. Users also have a hard time grasping the platform’s RAM and CPU protocols, as most platforms charge users gas fees.
Aiming to address the issue of complicated account setups and buy-ins is Tron (TRX), with initial statistics showing that the use of its dApps has the potential to outpace both Ethereum and EOS projects. Despite being just a few months old, the platform managed to attract a strong user base by not requiring a special asset to pay for the computation.
A great indicator of the platform’s popularity among gamblers is the fact that Tronbet, its most popular betting dApp, has reached an unprecedented milestone—a whopping 3.1 billion TRX has been won by players since October 2018. Despite Tronbet being the first betting app launched on the network, it has been responsible for the boost of traffic the platform’s native token has seen, which resulted in TRX’s price exceeding that of the much larger ETH platform.
While it’s still unclear whether demand drives the development of certain types of games—or vice versa, it seems that dice games are leading the way when it comes to blockchain gambling. Another one of Tron’s high performers is Trondice, a simple dice betting game that’s exceeded 200 million TRX in winnings back in November 2018.
The Industry Still Has a Long Way to Go
While all data points to incredible year-on-year gains for most betting dApps, mainstream adoption in the gambling industry is still a long way off. Some important achievements have been recorded within the currently limited adoption paradigm, with the most important being user trust, enhanced transparency, and relative ease of use.
But, blockchain itself is a double-edged sword, with many of its main benefits also being its major flaws. This is especially visible when it comes to KYC and AML verification, as many betting dApps don’t require users to share any identifying information. The notion of complete privacy attracts a certain niche that enables such businesses to stay profitable, but it also enables a plethora of illicit activity due to the absence of regulatory oversight.
From a platform point of view, the adoption of blockchain technology in the gambling industry leads to the development of native platform tokens that can be used to pay for services within the dApp. However, the current bearish market gives little incentive for players to jump into owning one of the hundreds of altcoins meant for such platforms, making it harder for companies to attract less crypto-savvy customers.
It is still early to judge the magnitude of the impact blockchain technology will have on gambling, but the potential remains obvious. The raw innovation that is happening in the gambling space may mark what could happen to other sectors in blockchain in the near future.
A bug centering around the Ethereum-based GasToken that paved the way for abuse on cryptocurrency exchanges has been fixed.
How Did It Work?
The bug made it possible for hackers to force exchanges into paying very high fees, though at press time, it’s unclear which exchanges lacked the specific security means to prevent the problem from expanding. Additionally, the hackers could potentially exploit the bug to garner profits.
The issue was discovered by a group of cryptocurrency researchers, who later issued private messages to “as many digital exchanges as possible.” The platforms later implemented the appropriate security measures to disrupt the bug and end the threat once and for all.
You Need to Get Strict
Many exchanges, the researchers discovered, were not implementing appropriate limits on GasToken utilization or on how many tokens could be sent to random addresses. Thus, upon the completion of a transaction, the hackers could potentially force the exchanges into paying very high amounts for ongoing computation and then drain the exchanges’ reserves. They could also mint new GasTokens if they wanted (minting is the process of creating entirely new coins for a profit).
Hackers could also enforce high fees on users engaging in business with random accounts. On a positive note, not all exchanges were made vulnerable to the bug, as it was initially reported that only exchanges taking part in Ethereum-based transactions could be victimized.
Very Few Could Be Affected
This was later narrowed down to exchanges that initiated such transactions, not those that processed them, which made for a limited number of platforms that could be affected. Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) and those that utilized smart contracts to process users’ money transfers, for example, could not be attacked.
The bug was first discovered in late October. The researchers then went on to inform those who could be affected, advising that they implement “reasonable gas limits on all transactions” to defend against the possibility of a threat. At the time of writing, the exchanges have implemented the necessary defenses and the problem is now null and void.
This Looks Familiar
This isn’t the first time Ethereum has opened the door to malicious activity. Early this year, research staffers discovered a vulnerability in Coinbase that allowed users to reward themselves with virtually unlimited amounts of ether tokens. In addition, a flaw in Monero’s wallet system allowed users to potentially steal XMR from digital exchanges.
The University of Tokyo began offering a blockchain course at its graduate engineering school, thanks to an $800,000 donation from a consortium that includes the Ethereum Foundation and Japanese banking juggernaut Sumitomo Mitsui.
The class — called the “Blockсhain Innovation Donation Course” — was rolled out on November 1 and will run through October 2021, according to a statement by Sumitomo Mitsui.
Other corporate donors included Good Luck Three, JSS Corp., Zipper Corp., Hotlink Co., and Money Forward Inc.
Goal is to Cultivate Blockchain Entrepreneurs
The purpose of the blockchain course is to educate highly motivated, business-minded students with “outstanding talent in information mathematics” about fintech and the game-changing technology underpinning cryptocurrencies.
The University of Tokyo hopes to nurture future blockchain entrepreneurs by teaching them about decentralized networks and how to implement them socially.
Blockchain is a hot, trendy field of study right now, and many corporations are investing substantial amounts of money to promote the development and widespread adoption of blockchain.
Experts say the innovative technology could transform healthcare, banking, supply-chain management, and the entertainment industry.
Ripple Donated $50 Million To Multi-Uni Program
In June 2018, Ripple, the blockchain-based payment network, donated $50 million to 17 universities around the world to launch a partnership called the University Blockchain Research Initiative. As CCN reported, Ripple made the donations in US dollars, not cryptocurrency.
The company said interest in blockchain is soaring as more people are discovering the vast potential of distributed ledger technology, including facilitating speedier cross-border payments.
In April 2018, Ripple also invested $25 million of its XRP cryptocurrency into Blockchain Capital Parallel IV, a $150 million fund that will invest in blockchain ventures.
Even “Old Money” like the Rockefeller family is investing in blockchain startups, as CCN reported.
Many top business schools around the world, including Wharton and Stanford, have expanded their MBA course offerings to include classes on bitcoin and blockchain, as CCN reported.
According to a recent Coinbase study, almost half of the world’s top universities now offer at least one cryptocurrency-related class.
Top Business Schools Add Crypto Classes
Kevin Werbach, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, is currently teaching a class this semester called “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Distributed Ledger Technology.”
“We’re at the point where there’s a critical mass to teach this domain,” Werbach told CNBC. “There will be a real phenomenon in business for the foreseeable future. And five years down the road, there won’t be too many major business schools that don’t offer similar classes.”
Similarly, John Jacobs — executive director of the Georgetown University Business School — said he has been inundated with calls from corporate recruiters asking for applicants who understand blockchain technology.
“Any world-class program is going to have to equip students in this field to compete,” Jacobs said. “It’s everywhere we turn around.”
Billionaire Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google, is a budding bitcoin and blockchain enthusiast who said ethereum could be a “powerful platform” whose untapped potential is off-the-charts.
Schmidt made the remarks during a live event with economist Tyler Cowen hosted by Village Global in San Francisco.
In the wide-ranging conversation, Schmidt discussed the future of technology, corporate governance reform, Google’s hiring practices, and bifurcation of the internet.
Schmidt Now: Ethereum Has Major Potential
When asked whether he thought blockchain was overrated or underrated, Schmidt gave a compound answer. “In the public format, overrated. In its technical use, underrated,” he said (video below). “Today, blockchain is a great platform for bitcoin and other currencies. And it’s a great platform for private banking transactions where people don’t trust each other.”
Schmidt believes that exciting developments are occurring with ethereum that could revolutionize business and society.
“I think the most interesting stuff that’s going on are the beginning of execution on top of blockchain — the most obvious example being the capability of ethereum,” Schmidt said.
“And if ethereum can manage to figure out a way to do global synchronization of that activity, that’s a pretty powerful platform. That’s a really new invention.”
That’s a bullish assessment that ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin undoubtedly shares.
As CCN has reported, Buterin recently denied rumors that he was stepping back from ethereum development, saying he’s focusing on encouraging the work of other developers in the open-source developer community.
Schmidt in 2014: ‘Bitcoin is an Amazing Advancement’
Interestingly, Eric Schmidt was an early believer in bitcoin. In 2014, he praised the then-obscure cryptocurrency as a unique technological advancement with massive potential.
“Bitcoin is a remarkable cryptographic achievement,” Schmidt said. “The ability to create something which is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value.”
He continued: “The bitcoin architecture — literally the ability to have these ledgers which can’t be replicated — is an amazing advancement. Lots of people will build businesses on top of that.”
Schmidt was first introduced to bitcoin in 2011 by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. In a five-hour interview Assange posted on Wikileaks, Assange urged Schmidt to embrace bitcoin because it’s going to be valuable someday.
“You should be an early adopter, because your bitcoins are going to be worth a lot of money one day,” Assange told Schmidt.
Schmidt — whose net worth tops $13.4 billion — probably didn’t need to get into crypto for the money, but he was apparently intrigued by the new technology.
Other Google executives who are cryptocurrency fans include Google co-founder Sergey Brin and CEO Sundar Pichai. Both tech billionaires have young sons who mine Ethereum, as CCN has reported.
Pichai said his 11-year-old son mines ethereum on a home computer that Pichai built himself. And Sergey Brin said he mines ethereum with his son.
“A year or two ago, my son insisted that we needed to get a gaming PC,” Brin recounted. “I told him, ‘Okay, if we get a gaming PC, we have to mine cryptocurrency. So we set up an ethereum miner on there.”
A documentary film that profiles distributed ledger technology and counts an Ethereum co-founder as one of its executive producers had its theatrical release on October 26 in New York.
Written and directed by Alex Winter, Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain, runs for 84 minutes and covers subjects ranging from the history of Bitcoin to the promising use cases of distributed ledger technology. Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum as well as the founder of blockchain software technology firm ConsenSys, is one of the film’s executive producers.
Regarding Bitcoin’s history, the film credits the 2008 global financial crisis as the reason that triggered the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto to develop an open, decentralized ledger for transactions. Not everything turned out perfectly, however, and the documentary laments that BTC initially became famous for its use in illicit deals on the internet and alleges that this, unfortunately, earned the flagship cryptocurrency a perception and a reputation that it is still trying to shake off.
Good for Newbies
Critics have pointed out that the doc serves as a useful primer anyone is unfamiliar with blockchain technology. As The New York Times film critic Ben Kenigsberg writes, the film serves as a solid teaching aid:
“A hodgepodge of boosterish arguments for blockchain technology, ‘Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain,’ directed by Alex Winter (Bill of “Bill & Ted” fame), is not always a model of clarity, but it does a decent job of explaining the basic concept.”
Some of the contributions that blockchain technology can make to the world that the documentary film focuses on include combating identity theft and transforming power distribution by empowering micro-producers of power such as households who are able to generate solar power and sell the excess to the grid.
Ticket to Riches
But, for all the revolutionary potential of blockchain technology, Winter’s film concedes that what is drawing most people to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is the desire to strike it rich.
“Still, for most people in the world right now, the most exciting thing about blockchain is the prospect of making a fortune overnight,” notes The Hollywood Reporter. “In its closing scenes, the film’s narration acknowledges how attractive this field is to scammers and speculators.”
The platform creates unique identifiers for users that Visa claims increases the efficiency and security of making global payments. As its name suggests, B2B Connect is a blockchain-backed payment solution for use between businesses. By creating a decentralized distributed ledger (DLT) ecosystem that tokenizes sensitive data such as account numbers, Visa says that it can offer customers increased levels of security against fraud while keeping operations fully compliant with the latest government regulations.
Visa also describes B2B Connect as a “scalable, permissioned network.” According to a recent survey of cross-industry executives, scalability has been the most significant issue regarding blockchain adoption within enterprises, with close to half of non-blockchain dedicated firms struggling to process high volumes of transactions on the blockchain network quickly.
Vice President in Greenwich Associates’ Market Structure and Technology Group and the author of the report, Richard Johnson, noted that it is important to recognize that those who have optimistic expectations of scalability could determine this based on controlled tests and would face latency issues when the real-world application begins.
Nonetheless, Johnson said that some firms have found success in processing high volumes of transactions on the blockchain network quickly: “We’re beginning to see firms figure out how to get the blockchain to run fast and do a lot of transactions per second, and I think that’s really encouraging.”
Whether or not Visa has found a blockchain scalability solution, will be put to the test when B2B Connect launches in Q1 of 2019.