The crypto 2.0 world saw what was arguably one of the most active news cycles of the year this week as mainstream newsmakers like online retail giant Overstock.com and Gyft CEO Vinny Lingham moved to align themselves with the companies in the burgeoning industry sector.
The announcements add to the mounting evidence that crypto 2.0 technologies, while still in early and experimental stages, are increasingly captivating the same early adopters who first saw potential in bitcoin.
Counterparty gets Patrick Byrne boost
Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne revealed this week that the company's previously announced effort to launch a cryptosecurity as an alternative to its common stock would go one step further, resulting in the creation of Medici, a decentralized stock market platform the company aims to eventually spin off into its own entity.
Though Counterparty had been seen as a frontrunner in the crypto 2.0 space since its January launch, the news that Overstock had hired two of the decentralized exchange's founders, Robby Dermody and Evan Wager, to build Medici on top of its technology further cemented this notion.
The developers will now move to Utah, the site of Overstock's headquarters, while vetting replacements to helm their former duties at Counterparty.
Speaking to CoinDesk, industry observers unanimously saw the move as one that will bring greater visibility and credibility to the crypto 2.0 space, while also driving the larger conversations about decentralized asset trading with US regulators.
"Overall, it is clear that this partnership between Overstock and Counterparty is very good news for the crypto 2.0 industry, as it shows there is interest around these types of technology, and this is potentially the next big area of growth for cryptocurrencies," Flavien Charlon, founder of the colored coin wallet CoinPrism, told CoinDesk.
Further, there was agreement that any headway Overstock and its partner law firm for the project, Perkins Coie, can make educating regulators about the technology will positively impact the entire ecosystem.
"This is positive for the entire Bitcoin ecosystem and will speed more companies onto the bitcoin block chain, Counterparty and other bitcoin 2.0 protocols," Taariq Lewis, founder of DigitalTangible, a crypto 2.0-powered gold-to-bitcoin trading service, told CoinDesk. "This is good for bitcoin."
Markets also responded to the news, initially driving up the price of the platform's native currency, XCP, to highs around $7.
Counterparty ignites debate
Still, though most agreed the decision was positive for the industry, Overstock's choice of Counterparty as the underlying protocol for its project ignited long-standing battles over its implementation of the bitcoin protocol, the centralization of crypto 2.0 platforms and the distribution of voting power in such networks.
"I believe Counterparty will likely turn into a workable initial solution for decentralized exchange, or at the very least a great proof-of-concept," Gideon Greenspan, founder of asset exchange platform CoinSpark, told CoinDesk. "But, I don't think it's likely to become the standard, especially not if it's managed by a much larger company with its own agenda."
Separate debates were waged on Reddit. Responding to a Medium post written by Andrew Barisser, of crypto 2.0 API provider Assembly Coins, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin engaged in one heated debate about Counterparty's strengths.
Topics included whether transaction fees should be necessary for the creation of assets, whether crypto 2.0 applications of the bitcoin protocol should be monetized and which platforms provide the best way to deal with unconfirmed transactions, among others.
Vinny Lingham joins Koinify advisory board
Fresh off its $1m fundraising this September, decentralized application crowdfunding platform Koinify added a notable new advisory board member, Gyft CEO and former Bitcoin Foundation board member candidate Vinny Lingham.
The smart corporations platform also added noted bitcoin author and thought leader Tim Swanson as a mentor, with Swanson calling the platform "the only serious venture-backed startup" attacking the decentralized application space.
Lingham was similarly positive about Koinify and its efforts in the crypto 2.0 space when speaking to CoinDesk, labeling this industry segment "the most innovative part of the bitcoin technology". He also acknowledged the long-term potential of new bitcoin block chain applications, stating:
"The price of a bitcoin is not reflective of it's current value, it's reflective of the future value of what bitcoin will be worth once we find the 'killer app' for bitcoin, especially for consumers. I'm looking at for that killer app – and if it's out there, then hopefully Koinify could play a role in helping to fund it."
Swanson went on to suggest that Koinify's key challenge going forward will be onboarding decentralized apps that bring new utility and value to the community, while also going beyond applying existing concepts, like an Overstock cryptosecurity, to the technology.
"The decentralized app economy that Koinify is attempting to create in fact has a different form, yet [is] still pragmatic enough given existing technology," he said.
PeerTracks helps you get paid for your music taste
Peer-to-peer music discovery service PeerTracks launched its pre-sale fundraiser at Inside Bitcoins Las Vegas, with its platform that builds off of the BitShares Music block chain, a decentralized autonomous company (DAC) enabled by BitShares technology.
PeerTracks enables fans to create profiles, purchase music and promote artists by investing in artistcoins that rise and fall in value based on the popularity of an artist as indicated by the value of their coins. Similarly, musicians are able to create their own artistcoins, which they can use to raise money for projects.
The platform will ensure the USD value of tokens that can be exchanged for artistcoins on its platform, using BitShares' BitUSD, a digital asset traded on an exchange built into the BitShares block chain.
Founder Cédric Cobban explained his company's big-picture vision, telling CoinDesk:
"What we are trying to do with PeerTracks is allow users to use their credit card to get BitUSD and using it to shop for music, similar to getting Apple credit when shopping on iTunes. The user doesn't know he's using a block chain, none of that is really seen and he doesn't know why this website doesn't take 30% off the top like the other sites."
"Everything is now automated and behind the scenes," he added.
Images via Gyft; PeerTracks; Coinmarketcap; Shutterstock