Crypto News: July 24, 2018

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Augur, a decentralized predictions market, recently launched with quite a bit of attention.

It is one of the first dApps to come to market after raising $5.5M through an ICO. The initial reactions are mixed — some users are excited to use decentralized services, while others have complained about the complex user experience. Either way, the user base and volume of predictions (bets) has continued to grow over the last few weeks.

Augur is about to face one of their first big tests though. Within the last couple of days, the platform has had a number of assassination predictions created by anonymous users. These predictions include assassinations on President Trump, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, etc.

Normally, a centralized service would identify this content as inappropriate and subsequently remove it. The centralized approach would defend their decision based on “safety” and “community standards.” Augur says it is not centralized though. In fact, one of its selling points is that it can’t be censored.

If this is true, the next week or two will be very interesting. Should Augur take down the assassination markets? Does the team have enough centralized control to take down the content? Should they refuse to censor content? How does law enforcement approach this type of violent content on decentralized platforms? Who is responsible if something actually happens? How do users respond if Augur censors the content?

These are hard questions that cut to the core of the crypto community’s ethos. Decentralization should lead to a lack of censorship. It should create an environment where personal freedom and freedom of speech is prioritized over everything else. These ethos are admirable in times of peace.

But will they withstand the controversy of assassination markets? We’re about to find out...

THE RUNDOWN:

Crypto’s ‘40 Under 40:’ Fortune published the Ledger 40 Under 40 list, which features the pioneers building some of the world’s fastest-growing businesses. They’re innovating around digital payments, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and blockchains. See the list.

Google expands blockchain push with digital asset tie-up: Google is increasingly betting that blockchain technology will be key to competing with Amazon and Microsoft in cloud services. To that end, Google and the New York-based startup Digital Asset announced a partnership on Monday to bring blockchain to Google Cloud. Read more.

Bitcoin hits 2-month high: Bitcoin is having a relatively good time—on Monday it hit a two-month high of $7,820, although at the time of writing it had subsided slightly to $7,700, which still represents a 3.3% boost over the last 24 hours. Read more.

Crypto stock exchange operator pleads guilty to fraud: The man behind two now-defunct cryptocurrency investment sites has pled guilty to securities fraud and obstruction of justice charges. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the guilty plea on Monday. Jon Montroll was arrested back in February by U.S. authorities in connection with securities investment platform BitFunder and crypto exchange site WeExchange. Read more.

Pharma scandal prompts calls to put vaccine data on a blockchain: A scandal around the fraudulent actions of a vaccine manufacturer in China has sparking a heated debate over the last week – and now the Chinese cryptocurrency community is suggesting blockchain as a potential solution. Read more.

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