New York Hackathon on Climate, Finance and Identity

hack-logoHub Culture is hosting a hackathon in New York tied to Climate Week NYC and benefiting work on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The hack focuses on three tracks: climate, finance and identity, and seeks to develop solutions using open APIs from MIT Connection Science, Ven, and other public blockchain resources.

Hosted at Rise, the Barclay’s accelerator in New York, the programme features a series of brief overviews on Ven, Ethereum, Enigma and Bitcoin related infrastructure, then convenes a set of tasks open to prizes, including awards from the American Carbon Registry, Ven, and MIT.

To register, visit the Hackathon signup page on Eventbrite.

Ven App Enters Beta Testing

Hub Culture has been working on a new mobile app for Android and IOS to enable Ven to operate as a unique system outside of the main social network. The app enables global transaction capability for Ven and will help to simplify the transaction experience for our members.

Testing is now underway, with new capabilities to Request Ven from another user and to more easily link your contacts to a transaction.  Following approvals, the new app should be available in the app stores by the end of the summer.

A Word on Issuance Protocols

Ven is issued through the Hub Culture network and is controlled by a set of algorithms that release the currency into the market under a set of fixed protocols. These protocols are determined by the Ven Central Reserve Board, a group of advisors tasked with managing the network, but the actual protocols are not widely published.

The main protocols for issuance involve the fundamentals that determine Ven value – namely asset backing and diversification. Ven pricing is determined by a formula of underlying assets presented in a fixed ratio that when added together equal ‘100%’ of the asset allocation for Ven. This includes weighted percentages for fiat currencies, like the US dollar, Euro, Yuan, Yen, and other currencies, along with commodities like gold, silver, steel, carbon and others.  The proprietary formulation is not public, but the weightings are fixed and deliver a real-time price value for Ven delivered directly from the financial markets.

Hub Culture uses this price value to publish the bid/ask price for Ven on the HubCulture.com network, and sells Ven at rates determined by the price feed. Since the underlying components are fixed but their individual pricing rates are not, individual components tend to even out pricing fluctuations.

The second aspect to the issuance protocol is the holdings and asset backing: for Ven to be issued, a corresponding purchase must be made, and the value of the purchase is recorded by the Ven ledger. The underlying funds from a purchase are then allocated into a mix of assets that reflect the underlying components. Of course, its not possible to allocate .020 from a small Ven purchase into a single asset like gold, so this is done on aggregated terms, and in the markets where Ven trades, often in real time above certain thresholds.

The liquidity of these underlying assets also allows Hub Culture to match pricing and market-making, helping to keep secondary pricing for Ven within a close range of the algorithmic value. Together, these protocols help make Ven the world’s most stable digital asset, and a reliable source of value for asset holders.

Federal Reserve Faster Payments Task Force Gathers Speed

Hub Culture and Ven are part of the 300 person strong Faster Payments Task Force, a landmark initiative by the Federal Reserve to build consensus around payments innovation in the United States.  The task force includes leaders from across the world of payments, including banks large and small, service providers, stakeholders, regulators and academics from the United States.

Through a series of calls, webinars and in person meetings, the task force seeks to understand and develop end-to-end solutions for ubiquitous, secure payment infrastructure in the financial services industry. The effort is particularly centered around the Federal Reserve’s payment services.

This week the group is meeting in Chicago to continue refining criterion for approaches to faster payment systems in the US, and to develop the conversation on a wide range of issues concerning other aspects that emerge from the work. Over 4,000 have signed up to monitor the progress via online tools.

Digital assets like Ven and identity/compliance systems like HubID are part of the conversation with other approaches and services as part of the ‘non-bank providers’ working segment.

Together, the blueprints for faster payments in the US and beyond are emerging, but a final solution is not expected soon. Working groups and segments are are set to continue development through 2016 as part of the existing remit of the task force, with an ongoing series of meetings and other activities.

Cold Hard Cash? Not in Iceland

Last week, Hub Culture joined McDonough Innovation and 40+ thought leaders for a week long Innovation for the Circular Economy Conference, held at a remote lodge in northern Iceland.  The days consisted of intense discussions with participants on aspects of the circular economy – a concept pioneered by William McDonough in his 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle, which looked at how to build complete life cycle thinking into everything we do and build.

The trip was a testament to the modern.  We made the trip door to door from London to Reykjavik and back without accessing a single bank note over 7 days – relying entirely on a mix of Uber, debit card and Ven.  While many aspects of the week were pre-booked, the idea that a person can leave the house with a smart phone and a debit card, travel to another country for a week, and return back without ever touching cash, as if it were normal, underscores the tremendous changes happening in the way we all use finance.

It turns out even in the north of Iceland, the salmon guides and other workers have heard of digital currency, and seem just as willing to use and accept it for tips and other gratuities – Hub Culture’s team used Ven for tips and treats the entire week, instead of Kroner.

Meanwhile, among many conversations the group worked on Moonshots – with crade to cradle infrastructure ideas taking centre stage, and an intimate look at some companies and innovators working to bring these concepts to life.

Ven Briefing in Washington D.C. with Albright Stonebridge Group

In July, Hub Culture and Albright Stonebridge Group teamed up to host a luncheon briefing in Washington, D.C. focused on digital currencies and their impact on spheres of finance, technology and politics.  As digital assets like Ven gather momentum, they offer new capabilities for these sectors in particular.

The briefing pulled together participants from American Express, the Association of Finance Professionals, BloombergCoin Center, the Digital Asset Transfer Authority, legal experts from Goodwin Procterthe U.S. State Department, and others with Ven to discuss implications of digital currency.

In the wake of the OPM hacking scandal, the potential of block chain technologies to offer added security in terms of financial transactions and secure information storage were at the forefront of the conversation, along with the looming arrival of New York Department of Financial Services rules on digital currencies, known popularly as the BitLicense.

For Ven in particular, the discussion focused on the growth of Ven Authorities, which have facilitated larger transaction volumes over the past 18 months through the creation of new services and digital asset services. Ven is now the world’s largest asset-backed digital currency and the world’s 3rd largest digital asset after Bitcoin and Ripple.

An Open Letter to Greece

An open letter to our friends in Greece:

Today’s news about capital controls and ATM closures in Greece present a frustrating and uncertain moment that reminds us of volatile situations in Argentina, Venezuela, Russia and Cyprus. In all these places, citizens watched as forces beyond their control eroded their real wealth and economic freedom right in front of their eyes.

Since 2002, Hub Culture members worldwide have enjoyed great moments and memories on your islands and in your cities. We know the ongoing issues are not reflective of the Greek people, but a banking and political system grappling with broad and dynamic forces.

We also know there’s no way you can operate a business or social life on €60 a day in ATM withdrawals!

To this, we offer you access to Ven, the world’s only asset-backed digital currency and a truly stable, easily transferable digital asset. Fully backed by a mix of currencies and commodities, Ven has traded within 5% range against the Euro, the Dollar and other currencies since 2007, and we saw over half a billion units traded last year in European financial markets. Defined by the IRS as a digital asset, it is not currently subject to capital controls, and is exchangeable globally at zero transaction cost via HubCulture.com.

Might now be a great time to give Ven a try as a way to maintain liquidity and hold a stable store of value?

To learn more about how Ven can help you protect your wealth, your assets, and perhaps your sanity, we invite you to try using Ven.

We are also at this time announcing a v100,000 Ven liquidity pool available to qualified HubCulture.com members upon detailed application review. If we can be of assistance, get in touch for more information – VenForGreeks@HubCulture.com.

Pass it on. Alternatives exist.

Ven and Bloomberg Join Forces for Liquidity ~ San Francisco

The Liquidity series of Salons arrived in San Francisco with a panel breakfast at Bloomberg West focused on digital assets.  Joining the panel discussion were Avish Bhama of Mirror, Grant Fondo of Goodwin Procter, Jordan Lampe of Dwolla and Divya Kaveria of Capco, with Ven currency founder Stan Stalnaker moderating.

The panel covered the recent Ripple Labs settlement with FinCEN and the upcoming BitLicense rules, which come into affect for digital currencies operating in New York on August 8, 2015. The settlement opens the way for Ripple to expand its service operation with the blessing of regulators, amid a promise to comply with AML and KYC guidelines set out in existing regulation.

Lampe shared Dwolla’s experience in creating a new hyper-efficient settlement network designed to compete with Visa and MasterCard in the US market. Dwolla currently is geared only toward USD settlement, but has plans to offer additional assets and currencies on their platform in the future.

Bhama outlined Mirror’s plans to dominate in smart contracts, an area receiving a lot of attention from companies that include Digital Asset Holdings, the major banks and even NASDAQ.   Kaveria outlined plans for Capco’s new consumer venture project called Sprinkle, a mobile app that will allow consumers to import corporate and loyalty reward points to a single interface, then to convert the points into Sprinkles.  Ven has partnered with the project and will be a major exit point for Sprinkles to other forms of liquidity for members.

 

Ven Racing Gathers Speed

Hub Culture’s new racing division is gathering speed, with an expanding set of activities focused around speed in the world of sport. Established in February 2015, the division is focused on establishing virtual currency involvement with Ven in four sporting categories: sailing, cycling, rally and ski. A calendar of events and activities involving these sports is in development, focused on utilising Ven as a tool to expand and enhance the success of each programme.

Sailing is the centrepiece project, with a three year programme now in development around the 2017 America’s Cup, to be held in Bermuda for the first time in June 2017.  Hub Culture is using Ven as a mechanism to grow local support for the Cup and to create a suite of activities for Hub Culture members and partners in the context of the cup.  Currently there are six teams slated to compete for the America’s Cup in Bermuda.

In the world of cycling, Ven is actively supporting local cycling clubs in Australia. Invert building racing is a cycling team of 8 guys based in Melbourne, Australia. They race locally, nationally and offshore.

On the rally front, street rally and race projects are in development in the American west, with support for Local Motors and their 3D printed automobiles in the drivers seat.   In skiing, activities in Verbier take a more casual turn, with limited, friendly competition at heart.

Learn more about Ven Racing here.

Bloomberg’s Update from Liquidity Summit

From Bloomberg’s daily update:

“Hub Culture and Bloomberg just teamed up to present Liquidity ~ The Summit on New Finance, drawing over $2 billion of investable capital, 100+ participating companies and over 30 panelists to talk about the evolution of finance and digital currency. We heard from Man GLG, Blockchain, Qoin, Mirror, DATA, Bitnet, LMAX, CAPCO, Hogan Lovells, Goodwin Procter, Midpoint, Ethereum, Qualcomm Ventures, Balderton, Ariadne Capital, Entropia Universe and others:

Read full highlights from Hub Culture.

During the morning Hub Culture provided forward guidance on Ven, outlining that their target trading volume is 2 billion for 2015, and hope to add two more Ven Authorities to their stable of trading partners. They announced the first digital currency debit / prepaid cards for Visa and Mastercard, now in development with Pyxpay, a payments company based out of New York.

Company announced they are setting aside 1,000,000 Ven for humanitarian projects related to micro-payments, with the first programme for Syrian refugees to begin soon in Turkey, followed by programmes in Rwanda and South Africa. They also announced VEN LOOP – a new club for institutional settlement, allowing big banks and hedge funds direct clearance on funds with a daily sweep into core currencies. Their goal is to avoid end-to-end market makers with Ven Loop, but are still working on how to achieve that feat.

For now, Ven settlement will remain with exchange partners like LMAX, MTF exchange which announced they are now processing $10 Billion daily, and launching services in New York and Tokyo.

Other notable facts from the day – the leading Bitcoin companies Bitnet, Blockchain, Elliptic and Mirror advocated for an increase in the block size of Bitcoin, which should lead to faster transactions, and Entropia Universe revealed they are doing over 1 billion mirco-transactions a month on their virtual world platform. Qoin announced European grant funding for community currencies, setting up a Euro precedent for localised Euro alternatives (a Grexit solution?) and SDKA International, a Dubai based commodities trader, predicted $100 Million in Ven denominated commodity trades by 2018.”