There is no doubt that digital currencies provide benefits for an individual, a company and an institution by facilitating better access to financial products and services.
Money laundering costs the global economy between $800 billion and $2 trillion annually, according to a United Nations report. This amounts to 2%–5% of the global gross domestic product. Today, more than 90% of money laundering still goes undetected. Developments in technology, however, have resulted in newer and faster tools. Criminals use these advancements to continue laundering money. At the same time, government authorities and fintech companies leverage technology to identify transaction attributes and help to expose fraud.
Money laundering with Bitcoin
Is Bitcoin (BTC) really the preferred method for criminals to carry out money laundering activities?
Crypto assets are a digital representation of value that can be traded or transferred digitally and used as a form of payment. Bitcoin is the most popular digital asset used today. In the media, Bitcoin is frequently associated with the infamous Silk Road — the first online modern darknet marketplace — where online users would purchase items like weapons and illegal drugs anonymously. In 2013, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down the market’s first iteration.
Mainstream media content on Bitcoin and digital assets focus on criminal activities rather than technology and innovation. Typical rhetoric goes like this: Due to its anonymous nature, Bitcoin can help criminals. Looking deeper into this statement, is Bitcoin the preferred method for criminals to carry out money laundering activities?
What about banks?
Another tender for payment is cash. Banks still require traditional identity systems using the least volatile types of user information to wire and transfer money. National boundaries heavily restrict processing times and the transferring of physical currency. Less evident to a typical consumer is that money can be sent from laptops and computers with a couple of clicks, and transfers can be nestled or disguised in a matryoshka-like system of shell companies across strategic jurisdictions.
The gatekeepers of our financial system are also associated with money laundering.
Globalization means new opportunities to engineer dubious ways to transfer money that take advantage of economic disparity between countries. John Sweeney, a British investigative journalist for the BBC, stated: “It’s bad form to mention money-laundering. Instead, you talk about asset-management structures and tax beneficial schemes.” Banks, the gatekeepers of our financial system, are also associated with money laundering.
Financial institutions are repeatedly fined for their failure to uphold strong Anti-Money Laundering laws. HSBC’s $881-million money laundering scandal is just one story that has made its way into the media and has become a Netflix original documentary. Technology and innovation in digital currency promise more efficient, reliable and scalable ways to move and transfer assets in our global economy, but what advances are still needed?
Anti-money laundering fines
2019 was a record year when it comes to the number of fines imposed: Authorities handed out 58 AML penalties, totaling $8.14 billion, double the amount that was imposed in 2018, with 29 fines totaling $4.27 billion. U.S. regulators were the most aggressive, imposing 25 penalties totaling $2.29 billion, and the United Kingdom followed second with 12 fines totaling $388.4 million, according to a recent report.
Two-thirds of AML penalties were imposed on banks, while approximately 17% were given to organizations in the gaming, gambling and cryptocurrency sectors. These industries are subject to closer scrutiny from regulators, as they are common channels for money laundering.
AML penalties have been growing since 2015. The average fine was $145.33 million in 2019. In 2020, we have already seen two penalties over $1 billion, the largest being a $5.1-billion penalty issued by the French government.
Tackling AML and regulating cryptocurrency
The emergence of new tools to tackle AML is commonly scrutinized by regulators before gaining acceptance. In 2019, stronger AML regulations were established concerning money and digital assets such as cryptocurrency. In spite of this, the crypto sphere will continue to grow.
The Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, an intergovernmental organization, was founded in 1989 to combat money laundering. It has released crypto guidance for many countries where regulators urged caution around bank compliance. Hong Kong recommended banks to adopt a risk-based approach to the sector. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, pushed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, urging banks to report suspicious activity related to digital currency including cryptocurrency.
Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also set to launch a cryptocurrency regulatory framework later in 2020. Meanwhile, banks have been taking significant steps to de-risk the entire crypto sector. The FATF made clear that this de-risk approach is not sustainable in the long term because the cryptosphere will continue to grow. Therefore, avoiding exposure will be impractical.
New discussions in the year 2020
As a new adoption, businesses will be expected to monitor and assess the financial risks related to the use of digital currencies.
With new technology comes new adoption. 2020 is set to be the year where greater regulatory clarity around cryptocurrencies will be provided. India, Japan, South Korea and France have granted more favorable legislation to the public concerning crypto this year. These actions have been driving discussions within government circles about establishing a central bank digital currency, its regulation and monetary authority or law.
The emergence of projects such as Libra, a permissioned blockchain digital currency proposed by Facebook, would require regulators to keep pace with innovation and achieve a greater understanding of the latest technology and its implications. Businesses will be expected to monitor and assess the financial risks related to any use of digital currencies as a new adoption.
Stages of money laundering
Criminals paid in cryptocurrency need to receive their final payout in cash. This requires obscuring where their funds come from. Unfortunately, several sophisticated services and tools help criminals do so. After all, if there were no way for bad actors to cash out cryptocurrency that they had received through illegal means, then there would be far less incentive for them to commit crimes in the first place.
An example of the money-laundering process:
- Placement as a starting point: a movement of cash from its source. Money is placed into circulation within the existing money system by going through intermediaries, such as financial institutions, casinos, shops and currency exchanges. Examples of these activities include currency smuggling out of a country, bank complicity, currency exchanges, purchase of assets and so forth.
- Layering. In the second stage, the objective is to make it challenging to uncover the activity of money laundering. To do so, criminals have to layer their spending and make the trail of illegal money difficult to identify. This usually happens by converting cash into monetary instruments or buying assets with illicit funds to resell them.
- Integration. This is the final stage of money laundering where laundered money goes back into the economy through the banking system and is, therefore, considered to be “clean.” Methods include but are not limited to property dealing, front companies, foreign banks and false invoices.
Given its digital nature and inherent characteristics, Bitcoin appears to be appropriate during placement and layering phases. Starting with placement, Bitcoin could be a useful tool to exchange fiat currency to Bitcoin and then Bitcoin again into another fiat currency, moving money from one country to another. However, because most criminals use Bitcoin to receive money, their main issue is integration — that is, putting the illicit funds back in the economy to hide their illegal activity.
According to “The Chainalysis 2020 Crypto Crime Report,” many criminals launder their cryptocurrency with the assistance of over-the-counter brokers. OTC brokers are agents or firms that facilitate trades between buyers and sellers who do not want to (or cannot) transact on a cryptocurrency exchange.
OTC brokers are common among traders and miners who want to divest of large holdings of crypto assets at a negotiated price, as using an open exchange to sell off large volumes can impact market prices. The majority of OTC traders collaborate with exchanges, but many of them “offer much lower KYC than the exchanges they operate on.” Many of them take advantage of and specialize in providing money-laundering services to criminals. Exchanges are still the preferred way to clean illicit Bitcoin. Throughout 2019, more than $2.8 billion worth of Bitcoin was sent from criminal entities to exchanges, and 52% of it went to the top two exchanges, Binance and Huobi.
Bitcoin is more practical for the second phase of money laundering: layering. It is a digital currency that can be used to make purchases across the network without constraints from physical boundaries. If one pays enough attention (and implements privacy-preserving techniques such as the ones we will further explore), it is possible to spend Bitcoin to buy assets or cash it out through OTC traders.
For instance, one might purchase a Rolex on a secondary market and then resell it, only this time for fiat money. However, it will be quite hard for criminals to purchase monetary assets since most of them are bought through intermediaries that require compliance with Know Your Customer and AML.
However, it is worth pointing out that unlike cash, cryptocurrencies are inherently transparent since all transactions are recorded in a public ledger. As included in the report released by Chainalysis, all these illicit funds leave traces behind them. If one accumulates a significant amount of information, then it becomes possible to identify who is behind the Bitcoin address used to launder money.
Bitcoin can be practical for placement and layering when laundering money. However, does it provide a better alternative to the current system? Only 1.1% of the total cryptocurrency volume is deemed to be illicit. The vast majority of crypto-related crimes were scams with transaction volumes totaling more than $8.6 billion. Excluding PlusToken, Bitconnect and OneCoin — the three largest crypto Ponzi schemes — scams have accounted for about 0.46% of all cryptocurrency activity.
Based on the preconceived notions of anonymity and identity, the argument that Bitcoin is a better tool to launder money is a misconception. Identities on the Bitcoin blockchain are not anonymous, but rather pseudonymous. Each identity is associated with an alphanumeric string, called a private key. While it is possible to argue that Bitcoin offers a certain level of protection over the identity of users, transactions are actually public.
Due to its inherent features, all transactions of a blockchain are shared among peers, whose consensus is required to validate the chronology of transactions. Dave Weisberger, the CEO of CoinRoutes, argued:
“The goal of money laundering is to create a chain of transactions that can’t be traced, so since the bitcoin blockchain is designed to have an indelible public record of all transactions, it makes ‘laundering’ much more difficult.”
If pseudonymity does not provide enough privacy, then so-called “mixers” can be used. Mixers are software or services that allow users to conduct transactions by mixing their coins with other users to preserve their privacy. This enables users to hide their outputs and their addresses — and their real identities.
In 2019, cryptocurrency mixers were front and center on the news cycle with reports with European authorities shutting down services. However, according to the Chainalysis report, mixers appear to be used much more for privacy than illicit activity. Only 8.1% of all mixed coins have been stolen, and only 2.7% of coins mixed had been previously used on darknet markets.
Coin mixers are not exactly user-friendly, and they are not yet able to provide the same degree of security as “legacy methods” for money laundering. One person using a mixer might raise red flags, but mixers are only able to hide transactions effectively if a critical mass of Bitcoin is mixed. Furthermore, there are more advanced countermeasures available, such as blockchain analysis, which can tie even mixed Bitcoin to addresses. Unlike cash, every cryptocurrency transaction is recorded in a publicly visible ledger. With the right tools, it is possible to investigate which cryptocurrency activities are associated with crime, gather insights on their obfuscation techniques, and share insights with law enforcement to stop bad apples from abusing the system.
These companies have helped legislators by providing valuable intelligence to help with criminal cases. One such case is the recent involvement of Chainalysis in closing the Welcome to Video Website, accused of allowing people to post, share and download minors’ videos to a network of pedophiles. Cash is still the easiest and most secure way of laundering. The United Nations Drugs and Crime Office and Chainalysis both estimate that for each dollar in Bitcoin spent on the dark web, at least $800 is laundered in cash.
The data presented suggest that Bitcoin can be an additional tool for criminals to launder money. For example, they may use disposable addresses and techniques of coin mixing as a precaution to ensure an adequate level of privacy protects them. However, pseudonymous identities, public transactions and navigating system complexities required to use Bitcoin do not currently provide a more efficient or effective alternative to launder money. As shown in Chainalysis’ report, a criminal does not want a permanent trace of illicit activities published and shared publicly.
Furthermore, Bitcoin cannot accommodate the enormous volume of money that would be needed to be laundered by criminals. The Bitcoin network sees a low daily volume compared to other asset classes — $25 billion on Jan. 27, 2020. Moving such a sum of money would immediately sound the alarm for blockchain forensics companies and would require further intermediaries and centralized exchanges.
In 2017 and 2018, the Lazarus Group, a hacking group associated with North Korea, cashed out the majority of its funds through low-KYC exchanges. However, in 2019, the group’s techniques became more sophisticated, as they cleaned half of their funds through CoinJoin wallets (mixers), while the other half still sits idle in their wallets.
Law enforcement and regulators need to become experts to improve their ability to “prevent and respond to various forms of crypto crime.” Exchanges are also expected to carry out extensive due diligence on users, OTC trades and any other third party operating on their platform, which still represents the preferred destination to which criminals send their illicit cryptocurrencies.
AML regulations are not designed for the current state of things. More international collaboration and oversight are needed to enable freedom of movement of funds and money. Unfortunately, legislations have not been able to keep up with rapid technological advances. For an alternative to our traditional banking systems, new rules and regulations are needed to ensure adequate governance globally.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
This article was co-authored by Aly Madhavji and Alek Tan.
Aly Madhavji is the managing partner at Blockchain Founders Fund which invests in and builds top-tier venture startups. He is a limited partner on Loyal VC. Aly consults organizations on emerging technologies, such as INSEAD and the United Nations on solutions to help alleviate poverty. He is a senior blockchain fellow at INSEAD and was recognized as a “Blockchain 100” Global Leaders of 2019 by Lattice80. Aly has served on various advisory boards, including the University of Toronto’s Governing Council.
Alek Tan is the CEO and co-founder of InnoDT — a blockchain data analytics platform solving algorithms and application optimization for business customers that helps fintech customers to seek to stay ahead of dynamic algorithms designed to future proof their strategy. Alek has over 10 years of experience in finance, management and fraud prevention.
Top 10 Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) Providers
🔥🚀 BaaS or Blockchain-as-a-Service is a paid blockchain-based cloud service that blockchain companies provide to customers. BaaS provides customers with the ability to build, host, and use their own blockchain apps, smart contracts, and any other digital services on a distributed network.
It is important to clarify that the BaaS concept is derived from the concept of SaaS (Software as a service) and works similarly to it. 👇
◆ How does BaaS work?
According to the BaaS concept, blockchain companies install, manage, and maintain, blockchain-based cloud platforms in addition to providing the tools necessary to build blockchain applications to customers in return for a fee.
◆ The future of the BaaS industry
Currently, the global revenue from blockchain services is estimated at $ 2.5 billion and by 2025 this number is expected to rise to $ 19.9 billion.
Overall, the business value of blockchain solutions will increase to more than $ 360 billion by 2026, with estimates of this number reaching $ 3 trillion by 2030.
The previous figures clearly show the future of the industry as well as explain the huge and successive investments in the blockchain business in general.
❖ Advantages of using the BaaS model
The BaaS model provides its users with many advantages, most notably high data security, efficiency, scalability, unlimited customization potential, as well as it is compatible with current cloud services.
In addition to the above, the adoption of the BaaS model reduces administrative burdens and provides better management and recruitment of resources.
Moreover, the BaaS model is easy to use and affordable, given the value it offers.
☉ BaaS vs owning a blockchain-based cloud platform
The BaaS model is a better solution for business than having a blockchain-based cloud platform in all aspects. Owning a blockchain-based cloud platform is hugely costly due to start-up costs (infrastructure, personnel, software, licensing, hardware, consulting, and more), retirement costs (decommissioning of server racks), and operational costs (monitoring, cost per transactions, bandwidth expenses).
In addition to the above, owning a blockchain model means fully assuming administrative responsibilities. 👇
🗨 While in the BaaS model, the cost is significantly lower because you only pay for the service you get. The service price in the BaaS model is subject to several factors, including the transaction rate, the maximum number of concurrent transactions, the payload size on transactions, and so on.
Also, in the BaaS model, all administrative burdens are borne by the provider.
● How to choose the right BaaS provider?
There are a number of points to consider when selecting a BaaS provider. For instance, the provider’s experience and reputation, the security of the platform, the technical support as well as the ease of use and pricing.
In addition, it must be ensured that the platform integrates with the existing operating systems and software.
🚀 It should also ensure that the platform supports smart contract integration and deployment, identity access management (IAM) system, different runtimes, and frameworks. 👇
🟥 Top 10 Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) Providers
Blackwell is one of the world’s leading providers of blockchain solutions to governments, enterprises, and end-consumers. Founded in 2018 by experts who have contributed for 20 years in developing emerging technologies for some of the largest companies in the world.
Blackwell aims to assist organizations in adopting blockchain solutions by providing consulting and a cloud blockchain platform in addition to a distinct and diverse set of tools and programs.
Blackwell aims to help everyone generate profits by allowing them to build and expand blockchain tools, services, and products.
Currently, content creators rely on existing toolkits developed by Blackwell, set their own commission structures, and earn percentages as they sell and promote their tools around the world.
During the past two years, Blackwell has developed blockchain solutions for cryptocurrency businesses around the world. 👇
🔻In addition, Blackwell has vetted dozens of token contracts for some of the most popular exchanges in the world, prevented and stopped hacks saving individuals millions of dollars, built successful token-swaps tools, and analytics tools.
Blackwell’s previous work includes the names of many well-known businesses such as JPMorgan Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, Disney, GoPro, Paramount, Mattel, Universal, Lucas Arts, Suzuki, Epson, Time Warner Cable, Guitar Center, Beachbody, Marriott, Jaiyen Eco-Resort and more.
🗨 Blackwell has an impressive list of tools and applications. Notable among them are Blackwell Wallet, Pride Token, Fire Tokens, EgoCoins, Blackwell, Blackwell Book, Sheets-n-Blocks – Blockchain, Contract Tool, VoteBlock, API Miner, Smart License Creator, Blackwell Prime, Listener, Token Swapper, Blackwell Daico, Blackwell Telescope, Blackwell Spyglass, Blackwell Velvet, Blackwell KYC Form Builder, Non-Fungible Token Creator, BW, and Dumbapps.
In addition to apps and tools, Blackwell has launched a store for DApps named “Well Spring” that has 16 working apps so far.
Blackwell backed tokens are valued at over $ 80M.
🗨 Regarding the future, Blackwell is seeking to expand by investing $ 10M. The company plans to obtain it by selling 100MM tokens to investors.🔻
Amazon introduced its BAAS service called “Amazon Managed Blockchain” in 2018 through its cloud arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon Managed Blockchain is a managed service that makes it easy to create and manage scalable blockchain networks using open source frameworks including Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.
Moreover, Amazon allows customers who want to manage their own network to go ahead, but it is an option that needs experience in dealing with AWS Blockchain Templates.
Amazon also enables companies to integrate their blockchain-based networks and business processes to improve IT infrastructure, business processes, human resources, financial transactions, and supply chains.
In addition to the above, Amazon provides AWS Key Management Service to secure Hyperledger Fabric’s CA (Certificate Authority) and Amazon QLDB technology to manage augmented ordering service.
🗨 The BAAS offer from Amazon is characterized by flexibility in identifying resources to suit companies’ needs.
Amazon customers’ list includes star names like Nestlé, BMW, Accenture, Sony Music Japan, and the Singapore Exchange. 👇
🚀IBM is one of the world’s most important BaaS service providers. Forbes selected it among the top 50 blockchain companies, thanks to its blockchain platform “IBM Blockchain“, which it launched in 2017.
IBM Blockchain is a fully-integrated distributed ledger technology platform that enables businesses to “’ develop, govern, and operate a blockchain ecosystem quickly and cost-effectively on a flexible, cloud-based platform by using Kubernetes.
Partnerships have been vital to IBM’s continuous BaaS expansion. it created the Trust Your Supplier platform alongside blockchain firm Chainyard and also pioneered the Contingent Labor platform in conjunction with IT People.
As well as IBM Blockchain has joined The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project to evolve and improve upon earlier forms of blockchain. Instead of having a blockchain that is reliant on the exchange of cryptocurrencies with anonymous users on a public network (e.g. Bitcoin), a blockchain for business provides a licensed network, with known identities, without the need for cryptocurrencies.
👉 IBM Blockchain Platform has been used widely in industries such as food supply, media, advertising, and trade finance. 👇
🔥 Microsoft is one of the oldest BaaS service providers as it has been in the market since 2015 when it launched Azure Blockchain Service.
Microsoft aims through its BaaS service to enable users to build public, private, and consortium blockchain environments with industry-grade frameworks and bring their blockchain apps to market.
🎯Microsoft provides three products to customers: Azure Blockchain Service, Azure Blockchain Workbench, and Azure Blockchain Development Kit.
Azure is compatible with other Microsoft products such as Logic Apps and Flow, making it a great choice for organizations looking to harness blockchains such as General Electric and T-Mobile.
Microsoft Azure’s most prominent features are the support of several Blockchain frameworks, including Quorum, Corda, Hyperledger Fabric, and Ethereum. Plus, ease of deployment using Azure CLI, Azure Portal, or Visual Studio Code with the Azure Blockchain extension. Azure also supports full monitoring and logging.
🗨 The above helped Microsoft to forge important partnerships with prominent entities such as its partnerships with Ripple and BitPay. 👇
🔻 Alibaba is one of the leading blockchain solutions providers around the world. The well-known Chinese company introduced its BaaS service in 2018 through its cloud platform.
🗨 Alibaba has an active research team and has registered many patents on blockchain during the past period.
Utilizing Quorum, Hyperledger Fabric, and the Ant Blockchain, the platform integrates Alibaba Cloud’s Internet of Things (IoT) and anti-counterfeiting technologies to create blockchain solutions for product traceability.
Alibaba’s BaaS offering provides diverse solutions to meet user needs including encompasses enterprise-level BaaS services, an agile BaaS platform that supports private deployment, and specific blockchain solutions for container services. 👇
🚀 Software giant Oracle unveiled its BaaS service in 2017. The service, called “Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service”, aims to provide an enterprise-grade distributed ledger platform that can help businesses to “increase trust and provide agility in transactions across their business networks.”
Oracle enables its service users to provide permission blockchain networks for private or consortia models, enroll member organizations, and run smart contracts to update and query the ledger in addition to many other benefits.
🎯 Also, Oracle enables its service users to use its other solutions such as Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud, Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud, and other Oracle cloud solutions. 👇
🔥 R3 launched its BaaS service called “Corda” to enable companies to transact directly and privately using smart contracts.
Corda is an open-source blockchain platform that works on minimizes blockchain nodes’ deployment time by a few minutes, allowing enterprises to host the Corda network in a few clicks.
👉 Interoperability, security, and privacy are the foundations of the finance-focused Corda.
Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) recently hired Corda service to streamline financial processes and enhance settlements
Corda provides users with the following benefits: Easy cloud-based deployment and quick setup of nodes with Docker, a Built-in blockchain application firewall to provide additional security, as well as R3’s Interoperability feature that allows developers to work with more than one application at the same time.
🗨 It is worth noting that R3 has developed solutions for more than 300 clients in addition that it has partnerships with many prestigious institutions such as Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and more. 👇
🎯 SAP launched its BaaS service “Leonardo” in 2017. Through its service, SAP aims to help companies transition into the digital age through the use of distributed ledger technology.
Leonardo is a Hyperledger based service and resides in the SAP Cloud service, meaning it can be accessed from any device.
🔻 The platform provides plug-and-play blockchain solutions and allows for the easy setup and hosting of blockchain nodes.
SAP Leonardo functions as a blockchain cloud service, machine learning service, and supports the Internet of Things (IoT) in a single ecosystem.
👉 SAP Leonardo provides its users with several benefits such as cloud deployment, monitoring of blockchain data in real-time, and more. 👇
🚀 Well-known Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei launched its BaaS service in 2018. The service, called “BCS“, is based on Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain framework that allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play.
With its BaaS service, Huawei aims to enable companies to develop smart contracts on top of a blockchain network for several use-case scenarios.
🔥 Huawei also works with enterprise customers to promote the deployment of blockchain solutions and applications and to build reliable, public infrastructure, and an ecosystem-based on blockchain and shared success.
🗨 According to Huawei, BCS enables enterprises to deploy blockchain technology within five minutes. It concentrates on nine application scenarios, including data assets, Internet of Things (IoT), operation, identity verification, data certification, data transactions, new energy, philanthropic donations, and inclusive finance.
Huawei has many and varied partnerships inside and outside the Chinese market, but the most prominent name remains the famous car manufacturer Honda. 👇
🔻Factom launched its BaaS service in 2017. The service, called “Factom Harmony“, aims to allow enterprises and software vendors to quickly add blockchain capabilities to any application or workflow using simple API calls.
Harmony also aims to enable users to create portable, archivable cryptographic proofs to use as trusted inputs for internal and external audits.
🚀 What sets Factom Harmony apart is that it reduces the time and resource requirements to perform audits and meet compliance objectives. ⤵
✍ Author: Husayn Hashim
Bio: Husayn Hashim works as an author and programmer. He has been writing about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies for si years. He’s interested in programming, technology, finance, and business. He loves writing and loves to share his knowledge with others.
Founder´s Packs now available for the first AAA blockchain game BLANKOS BLOCK PARTY
Mythical Games, a next-generation game technology studio driving mass adoption of blockchain, today announced the upcoming private beta for Blankos Block Party, an open-world multiplayer game with a heavy focus on player-designed levels and collectible assets, will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, with open beta to follow later this year. Players eager to start their collection of the digital vinyl toys come to life can now purchase a Founder’s Pack, starting at $24.99 (USD), to receive exclusive and limited in-game content, as well as guaranteed priority access to the game’s private beta and Founder’s status in both Discord and in-game.
Blankos Block Party is an online game world that integrates blockchain to facilitate the economy and allow players to buy and sell their in-game items in exchange for real-world currencies, using Mythical’s proprietary technology to track and verify all purchases across any platform, creating a safe transaction for all involved. With this model, Mythical is eliminating the need for grey markets and allowing the community to dictate the value of what is bought and sold in secondary marketplaces.
Limited quantities of the Founder’s Packs are available now for purchase via fiat or supported cryptocurrencies in four different package options, which provide limited-edition Blankos and themed accessories designed by some of the world’s top vinyl toy artists, priority access to the private beta, 100% in-game currency match and other items only available while these packs last. Each Founder’s Pack will be numbered in order of purchase and recorded on blockchain to enhance collectibility and future resale value for players.
Ice Pack: RSVP to the ultimate block party with the Ice Pack, and receive the exclusive Lolli Blanko and three themed Lolli accessories, Founder Status and Lolli emoticon and 2,500 Blankos Bucks. ($24.99)
Tako Pack: Start your collection with the exclusive Tako Blanko designed by multimedia artist Junko Mizuno, two themed Tako accessories, as well as one unique Tako-themed Build Mode asset and one Build Mode item wrap, Founder Status with Lolli and Tako emoticons and 5,000 Blankos Bucks. ($49.99)
Bite Me Pack: Be the life of the party with the Bite Me Pack, which delivers the exclusive ‘Bite Me’ Billy Bones Blanko, six Bite Me-themed accessories, rare gold and black Build Mode materials, plus Bite Me brand Build Mode basic set, Build Mode items and the Bite Me rocket launcher, as well as Founder Status with Lolli, Tako and Bite Me emoticons and 10,000 Blankos Bucks. ($99.99)
Boss Pack: Become a VIP with the Boss Pack and show off your status with the exclusive Boss Dino Blanko designed by legendary toy artist James Groman, two Boss Dino-themed accessories, two Build Mode Materials, three Build Mode items and two themed weapons for Build Mode, not to mention Founder Status with Boss Dino, Bite Me, Tako and Lolli emoticons and 15,000 Blankos Bucks. ($149.99)
Founder’s Pack items will only be available for a limited time, or until the limited quantities sell out; Mythical will not reissue these special-edition Blankos or their accessories in the future. These exclusive Founder’s Pack items will be available for purchasers to unbox and play immediately in the private beta, and can also be sold to other players when the Blankos secondary market launches.
For additional details on Founder’s Packs and their contents and benefits, or to purchase one of the limited edition packs, please visit Blankos.com. Packs can be purchased with fiat currency, or supported crypto payment options via BitPay (Binance USD/BUSD, Bitcoin/BTC, Bitcoin Cash/BCH, XRP, ETH, Gemini US Dollar/GUSD, Circle USD/USDC and Paxos Standard USD/PAX). In addition to purchasing a Founder’s Pack to receive priority access to the private beta, players can reserve their free accounts now on the Blankos website to get on the waiting list for the chance to be included in the private beta without purchase (subject to capacity).
U.S. crypto exchanges have a plan for the travel rule. Now they just have to get along
- A working group of 25 U.S.-based exchanges released a white paper this week outlining their platform to comply with FATF’s travel rule.
- The group includes some of the most prominent exchanges stateside, suggesting that the plan has legs.
- Now, the group has to develop a governance structure.
Sunoco LP Maintains Quarterly Distribution
CVG Announces Third Quarter 2020 Conference Call
What the VR is Going on at Facebook? Accounts, Store Content and the Splits
Jay-Z announces new line of cannabis products dubbed Monogram
The Rockefeller Foundation commits USD1 billion to catalyze a green recovery from pandemic
PJM Named a Top Adoption-Friendly Company in the United States for 14th Consecutive Year
Top 10 Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) Providers
Defining Value in Supplier Selection: An NSK Perspective
LBE VR: Past, Present and Post Civid Future
Do I need to Buy One Whole Bitcoin? 3 BTC Questions I’m Tired of Answering
ReneSola Power and Novergy to Form Joint Venture to Develop Solar Projects in the UK
S&P Global Platts Announces Finalists for ‘Leadership in Energy Transition Award’
Founder´s Packs now available for the first AAA blockchain game BLANKOS BLOCK PARTY
Kevin Hart Jokingly Calls Crypto “Voodoo Money” While Kanye West Takes Bitcoin Seriously on Joe Rogan’s Podcast
Lenovo to Sell Varjo’s Enterprise VR Headsets
The Virtual Arena: The Ascendance of Arena-Scale Entertainment – Part 2
ICL Agrees to Acquire Fertiláqua, a Leading Brazilian Specialty Plant Nutrition Company
How these fintech partnerships are shaking up finance
Four key storylines of BLAST Premier Fall Series
FMC Corporation Announces New Executive Role, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, and Elects New Vice President of Procurement and Global Facilities
Ant Group Chairman Eric Jing: Blockchain Will be the New Standard of the Future Financial Infrastructure
Cross border payments part 1: the competition is really, really old
Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation Completes Initial Public Offering
SESCO Lighting Announces new CEO
Discussing roster changes, recent tournaments, and NA teams in Europe on HLTV Confirmed S5E12 with smooya
Humic-based Biostimulants Market worth $848 million by 2025 – Exclusive Report by MarketsandMarkets™
The Carlyle Group to acquire Calastone
Tyler Jacks, founding director of MIT’s Koch Institute, to step down
How to Shiny Hunt in Dynamax Adventures in Pokémon Sword and Shield’s The Crown Tundra expansion
March joins T1’s Dota 2 roster as head coach
Huobi expands fiat gateway to support AUD, GBP and EUR through Banxa
P2P Lending Platform SeedIn Rebrands to BRDGE, Plans Expansion Into Indonesia
Malaysia Airlines Operates More Than 200 Rescue and Repatriation Flights During RMCO, CMCO
Water Treatment Chemicals Market to Surpass $85,341.8 Million Revenue by 2030: P&S Intelligence
Daqo New Energy Announces ADS Ratio Change and Further Amendment and Restatement to Deposit Agreement
How to Shiny Hunt the Regis in Pokémon Sword and Shield’s The Crown Tundra expansion
Third party tests confirm HYZON Motors’ new liquid-cooled fuel cell stack leads the world in power density
Polyethylene Furanoate Films Market Size Worth $800.9 Thousand By 2035: Grand View Research, Inc.
Elkem signs MoU with FREYR for supply of battery materials
Air Canada Adding Doha To Its Route Network With A Boeing 787-9
Techcrunch1 week ago
Original Content podcast: It’s hard to resist the silliness of ‘Emily in Paris’
Blockchain6 days ago
Bitcoinnami Officially Launches on October 21, 2020
Startups1 week ago
Solve the ‘dead equity’ problem with a longer founder vesting schedule
Startups1 week ago
Three views on the future of media startups
Startups1 week ago
Pear hosted its invite-only demo day online this year; here’s what you might have missed
Startups1 week ago
VCs reload ahead of the election as unicorns power ahead
Esports1 week ago
Legendary Pokémon encountered in Sword and Shield’s Dynamax Adventures have 100-percent catch rate
Cyber Security1 week ago
TikTok Launched a Public Bug Bounty Program in Collaboration with HackerOne