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Calvin Ayre’s 2023 predictions: Innovation on BSV Blockchain will win

This article was originally published on CoinGeek on December 31, 2022.

2023 will be the year that politicians, regulators and law enforcement agencies finally slay the ‘layer 1’ fraud at the heart of ‘crypto,’ after which they’ll target the deeper, more insidious ‘layer 2’ fraud that threatens far greater harm.

Tis the season for dusting off one’s crystal ball and playing prognosticator on the year to come. Compared with this time last year, you’ll find far fewer bulls predicting tokens topping $100,000 in 2023. Those few diehards still braying ‘to the moon’ are predominantly bottom-feeding influencers whose credulous audiences don’t handle pessimism all that well.

Someone who definitely doesn’t fall into this evergreen optimism camp is John Reed Stark, former chief of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Internet Enforcement. Stark’s 2023 predictions read like a doctor delivering a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis: more regulatory investigations, more enforcement of existing securities laws, more targeting of tax dodgers and the collapse of crypto crooks such as Binance and Tether (possibly thanks to damning revelations from Sam Bankman Fried).

The lobbying campaign that SBF deployed over the past two years made U.S. politicians, regulators and law enforcement agencies look downright foolish and asleep at the switch. The embarrassed pols aren’t likely to forget this insult. But taking revenge on SBF and his FTX/Alameda cronies won’t be enough to quench their thirst for revenge—and their desire to at least appear to be taking their oversight and consumer protection roles seriously.

Binance seems the logical place for them to start their revenge tour, particularly given the pre-Christmas revelation that Binance US—the allegedly independent, regulatory compliant U.S.-facing operation—was routinely transferring billions in customer funds to and from wallets associated with Binance’s international operations. Tether’s role in propping up the crypto frauds that target consumers will likely come under even greater scrutiny in markets across the globe, leading to demands for actual audits that inevitably expose its reserves as so much vaporware.

Stark is right in his belief that a regulatory tsunami is about to crash over crypto, but he’s so focused on the ‘layer 1’ fraud that he misses the far more damaging ‘layer 2’ fraud perpetrated by the mainstream payment companies and the Silicon Valley tech-bros who support them. Only when this fraud is exposed and mitigated will the true promise of the Bitcoin white paper be realized.

Mastercard of puppets

Crypto’s 2022 downfall was inevitable, given the laws of gravity and the reckless speculation that has plagued the sector ever since the Bitcoin block-size wars. Intended as a low-fee peer-to-peer electronic cash system, Bitcoin had its limbs amputated by Bitcoin Core developers and their Blockstream partners. The resulting crippled protocol known as BTC was thus forever condemned to sit there, inert, under a sign declaring ‘Digital Gold!’ The rampant speculation and get-rich-quick schemes began in earnest shortly thereafter.

Satoshi envisioned Bitcoin handling a level of transactions that would surpass Visa, which at the time was handling around 15 million online transactions per day. Instead, BTC maxed out at several hundred thousand per day. This forced mutation from Bitcoin to BTC served Blockstream’s interests, most notably through its ‘sidechain’ projects such as the Lightning and Liquid networks.

But there were higher powers at work here with their own agendas. As Kurt Wuckert Jr. has so meticulously documented on this site, Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group (DCG)—an early Blockstream investor—was birthed in 2015 by a group of major financial institutions, with Mastercard taking the lead role in DCG’s initial funding.

Satoshi may have only referenced Visa in his transaction forecasts, but Mastercard clearly recognized the threat that the original Bitcoin model posed to the credit giants’ comfortable duopoly. A function-free, speculative digital Beanie Baby they could live with; what they couldn’t live with was a low-fee payment rival that promised serious benefits for both merchants and customers.

The credit giants have tried to mask their bad intentions by partnering with exchanges like Binance to allow users to use crypto assets in retail transactions via special debit cards. But this is simply a middleman earning fees for converting crypto to fiat before the transaction is concluded. On their own, BTC and other ‘digital pet rocks’ are still as useless as ever for conducting transactions.

BSV: the mortal threat

When Dr. Craig Wright was doxxed as Satoshi in 2015, the groups that conspired to hobble Bitcoin entered into a new conspiracy to denigrate Wright in the eyes of the public. It simply wouldn’t do for Satoshi to reappear and wreak havoc on those who’d tampered with his vision, like an irate Odysseus returning to Ithaca after 20 years and discovering Penelope’s would-be suitors had turned his home into a Dionysian kegger.

That effort to diminish Wright’s influence gained a new urgency in 2018 with the debut of Bitcoin SV (BSV), which honored the original Bitcoin protocol through an unbounded capacity to scale the blocks on the blockchain. In short order, BSV began processing millions of transactions in a single block, handling tens of millions of transactions per day—just as Satoshi promised.

The Mastercard/DCG/Blockstream cabal soon unleashed an army of keyboard warriors, with the active support of the deep-pocketed founders of Twitter and Facebook, to paint Wright as a fraud and, by extension, BSV as the product of a fraud. Make no mistake: this was an organized, concerted effort to strangle BSV in its crib before its promise of realizing Satoshi’s vision could catch hold in the public consciousness.

This is the ‘layer 2’ fraud I spoke of earlier. While the ‘layer 1’ fraudsters have done significant damage to millions of retail investors around the globe, the damage is insignificant compared to the damage done to society as a whole from the ‘layer 2’ fraud. Because this larger fraud threatens to hold back progress in the form of Web3 projects that will allow individuals to wrest control of their online data from today’s Web2 giants and the payment infrastructure that supports them.

BSV’s demonstrated capacity to enable millions of nanopayments with fees measured in fractions of a cent make BSV the only blockchain capable of taking advantage of the exponential growth in IP addresses that the introduction of the IPv6 standard will bring.

The fact that BSV is the only blockchain capable of handling all this extra internet traffic is why the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is welcoming Dr. Wright’s input and why the IPv6 Hall of Fame recently inducted Dr. Wright for having made a valuable contribution to the development and deployment of IPv6.

The financial giants and their Web2 allies don’t want you to know any of this. Which is why they’re trying to use the courts to keep Wright off-balance and tarnish his reputation. Thankfully, Wright and BSV are made of sterner stuff.

All rise

The success of the attacks on Wright is reflected in the widely held perception that Wright is the instigator of the legal cases he’s involved in. But with rare exception, Wright has been the defendant in these legal fights, starting with the suit brought in 2018 by Ira Kleiman, brother of Wright’s deceased friend/colleague Dave Kleiman. Ira (unsuccessfully) sought to enrich himself off the sweat of others, specifically, staking a claim to Bitcoin mined by Wright in the period immediately following the technology’s debut in 2009.

Wright is/was involved in two defamation cases, one brought against Wright by Norwegian Twitter troll Magnus ‘Hodlonaut’ Granath. Wright was the plaintiff in a defamation suit against U.K. podcaster Peter McCormack, but Wright only filed suit after McCormack quite literally begged him to do so via a series of inflammatory Twitter posts.

Wright was the (successful) plaintiff in a Bitcoin white paper copyright case against the anonymous Twitter troll Cøbra. Wright is the defendant in a suit brought by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), which seeks to deny Wright’s authorship of the white paper. COPA consists of Blockstream, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, Jack Dorsey’s Block, Michael Saylor’s Microstrategy, the Coinbase and Kraken exchanges, amongst countless others determined to keep the speculative token-flipping model alive by crushing BSV.

I find it incredibly ironic that the ‘not your keys, not your coins’ crowd that so enthusiastically preaches the doctrine of self-ownership is so eager to condemn Wright for defending his authorship of the white paper. Or that they would be surprised that he would vigorously defend himself against scurrilous public attacks on his character.

Wright is the plaintiff in a suit brought against the developers of numerous blockchains to retrieve over 111,000 Bitcoin, the private keys to which were stolen from him in a 2020 hack of his computer. But his suit is intended to compel these developers to acknowledge the “high level of power and control” that they exercise over their respective chains, and that they have a fiduciary duty to assist victims of theft in recovering their stolen property (provided a court is sufficiently convinced by evidence of the theft to issue a court order).

In other words, Wright is trying to establish precedent that those who would wield control over blockchains have obligations similar to those required of mainstream financial entities. Bitcoin’s original design included an ‘alert key’ intended to notify Bitcoin miners to freeze stolen assets but this was permanently disabled by the BTC Core developers.

Here again, I find it incredible that Wright is being dragged through the mud simply because he’s attempting to drag this industry screaming and kicking toward something resembling compliance with common law. I strongly suspect that governments around the globe, if forced to choose between ‘code is law’ and ‘law is law,’ will side with Wright’s view every time.

The road ahead

The declining fortunes of yesterday’s crypto kings means they will have fewer discretionary funds to funnel to minnows such as Granath and McCormack, so I assume Wright will be forced to endure fewer of these nuisance suits in 2023. COPA will also struggle to maintain a united front as their respective businesses struggle to survive the ‘crypto winter’ (which isn’t ending anytime soon).

The days of ‘number go up’ seem well and truly behind us. The 2022 exposure of so much criminality at the heart of this grifter economy has virtually guaranteed there won’t be another influx of public (i.e., sucker) money anytime soon. And without a steady stream of fresh funds, Ponzi schemes can’t—and won’t—survive. Good riddance.

The current crypto model, which has held sway ever since Bitcoin’s forced conversion to BTC, is a centralized exchange serving as a casino, encouraging ‘gamblers’ to endlessly flip function-free tokens generated by non-scalable platforms. BSV’s scaling capacity enables both fractionalized real-world utility and security tokens, all on-chain, thereby rendering most of the current crypto industry utterly redundant. Small wonder that all these forces have aligned to denigrate Wright and reduce BSV’s visibility.

With regulators, politicians and law enforcement finally awake to the scammers preying on consumers, the downfall of these long-running frauds is nigh. Better still, the thinning of this herd will allow the market to see BSV for what it is: a regulatory friendly and legally compliant blockchain that can serve as both the backbone of the Web3 revolution and an environmentally friendly data storehouse without peer. A little late, in my opinion, but better late than never.

Buckle up, people. 2023 will be a year you won’t forget.

P.S.: If you want to argue any of the above with me, I’ll be at London’s QE II Centre from May 31 to June 2, 2023 for the London Blockchain Conference. I’ll spring for a pint and regale you with the story of how Craig Wright, Stefan Matthews and I saved Bitcoin over a three-day strategy session in 2015. (It’s not quite Lord of the Rings but it does involve one chain to rule them all.)

Watch: London Blockchain Conference 2023 brings government enterprise onto the blockchain

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Global blockchain payments wallet, Centbee, raises $1 million pre-Series A funding from Ayre Ventures

This article was originally published on CoinGeek on December 23, 2022.

London – December 23, 2022: Blockchain payments company, Centbee, announced today that it has closed its pre-Series A round with entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, founder of Ayre Ventures. Ayre Ventures first invested in Centbee in 2019. Speaking on the new raise, Ayre said, “My faith in Centbee has been rewarded through Angus and Lorien’s ongoing commitment to making Bitcoin – the original protocol in the form of BSV – easily usable and accessible to everyone. Unlike other blockchains, BSV is focused on utility, not speculation, and Centbee is working hard to further Bitcoin’s adoption as a true peer-to-peer electronic cash system.”

Centbee Co-CEO, Lorien Gamaroff, added, “We have the right vision, products and team to drive exponential growth for our investors. Consumers around the world are looking for better, easier ways to pay, and our blockchain-based payment wallet does just that. Our latest feature, ChatPay, makes it easy to send money via an in-wallet chat application.”

Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with offices in South Africa, Centbee was founded by co-CEOs, Lorien Gamaroff and Angus Brown. Gamaroff is a leading expert in blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies. He has consulted and advised regulators and corporates internationally and is highly regarded globally as an educator and presenter. Brown has 20 years of experience in payments and banking including the role of CEO of eBucks.com, a world-first bank-backed digital currency created in 2000. Brown was appointed Chairman of the BSV blockchain’s Technical Standards Committee earlier this year.

“Centbee has a suite of digital cash products and services that make payments easy, even cross-border,” says Angus Brown, Co-CEO. “Our cross-border remittance service, Minit Money, enables people to move money simply and cheaply across borders to support family and friends and has already processed over 35 000 remittances into Africa. The investment by Ayre Group will be used for scaling and growth as well as strengthening technical and operating capacity.”

The Centbee and Minit Money apps are available in the Apple Store, Google Play store and Huawei app gallery.

About Ayre Ventures

Founded by entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, the Ayre Group has investments and interests across the world. With a passion for content and publishing, fintech, real estate and property in seven countries around the world, Ayre Group supports and drives the world’s most disruptive innovations.

About Centbee

Centbee is a digital cash wallet that makes it easy for global consumers to buy, spend and send digital cash to their friends and family on their mobile phones using the BSV blockchain.

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Get ready for big things in 2023: Calvin Ayre’s end-of-year message to BSV

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This article was originally published on CoinGeek on December 22, 2022.

2023: “A new year beckons, and with it the promise of a fresh start. An opportunity to put the past behind us and chart a new course,” says Calvin Ayre, founder of CoinGeek, Ayre Group, and LondonBlockchain.net, in his video message to wrap up 2022 and ring in the year to come. The new year will see the first unicorn startup on the BSV blockchain, and a charge led by gaming and remittances to harness its benefits.

This year, Calvin gets straight down to business in his traditional season’s greeting. BSV is the original Bitcoin protocol on the original Bitcoin chain, and it’s ready to meet the scaling demands of a truly global transaction network.

Anyone that touches Big Data should pay attention to BSV, which has “left other blockchains in the dust in terms of transaction volume,” he says. It’s the largest proof-of-work blockchain by all relevant scaling metrics, and 2023 will be the year transaction value follows volume.

Streaming multimedia will also be a focus, with the benefits of nChain’s impressive intellectual property portfolio. Calvin calls out to Ayre Ventures Managing Director Paul Rajchgod, recently appointed to the board of movie streaming service Row8. Row8 just acquired BSV Metaverse and Web3 streaming platform Rad and will soon announce a technology licensing deal with nChain.

“I anticipate a flurry of similar announcements in 2023,” he says.

Another exciting area is IPv6, and the promise of an exponential rise in unique internet addresses. BSV is the only blockchain capable of handling this growth, something the IPv6 community and IEEE has begun to notice.

Keep on fighting for the real Bitcoin

It hasn’t been an easy ride for BSV and Bitcoin’s original protocol over the years. Calvin goes through some of the struggles as he, Dr. Craig Wright and his colleagues have faced in their efforts to keep Bitcoin from being perverted by external forces who “used it to feather their own nests.”

He harks back to the summer of 2015, when Stefan Matthews first introduced him to Dr. Craig S. Wright. This was followed by a three-day meeting in Vancouver as the trio made plans to save Bitcoin and give BSV its “sense of purpose.”

“Were it not for that meeting, three men pouring over documents and Craig Wright whiteboarding himself into a frenzy, there would be no BSV. Bitcoin as we know it would’ve been limited to the bastardized protocol known as BTC.”

Calvin wraps up the message with a reference to Dr. Wright’s anti-cyberbullying case in Norway, “a fight he is destined to win” as it heads to the more-experienced appeal judges there. 2023 will also mark the end of negative cancel-culture campaigns by fake free-speech absolutists at “pretender protocols” who have tried to stop BSV’s message getting to the public, he says.

Watch the video message to hear it all for yourself and, as Calvin says, see you at the London Blockchain Conference in May 2023!

Watch: London Blockchain Conference 2023: Bringing government and enterprise onto the blockchain

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ROW8 acquires Rad to power its premium movies streaming service with NFTs

This article was originally published on CoinGeek on December 22, 2022.

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — ROW8, the Premium Movie Streaming service with the latest Hollywood films like Black Adam with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ticket to Paradise with George Clooney, and Bullet Train with Brad Pitt, has acquired the metaverse and web3 streaming platform Rad. ROW8 has premium video on demand movies from every major studio on its platform, with all of its studio partners exploring NFTs in some way. Rad has been building immersive streaming technology and leveraging smart contracts for over 5 years, and has many of the same studio partners for VR and blockchain-based content. Combined, the two companies will work with major studios and the top NFT projects building for web3 and the metaverse.

“Rad’s suite of web3 creator tools alongside ROW8’s library of Hollywood films will make our platform the premier destination for both digital collectibles and your favorite movies” said Jasmina Christoph, Founder and President at ROW8.

“ROW8 is easily the best positioned company in the world to bring Hollywood into the future, with its patented technology, app footprint, and deep relationships with the biggest studios in the world”, said Tony Mugavero, CEO of Rad. “They have the highest level pipeline of content you can have in the entertainment industry, and Rad works with the same studios in web3 and XR, which means we can accelerate adoption of forward-thinking distribution from a place of trust.”

ROW8 has streaming deals in place with every major movie studio, including Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and it offers over 1800 theatrical release-windowed movies. ROW8’s patented technology includes the ability to geo-locate viewers and share revenue with nearby theater chains, dynamic “Scene Alerts” to give viewers a peek into seeing if the next scene is scary or has adult themes, and their proprietary “Movie Love Guarantee” which allows viewers to return a movie and swap it for another one if they weren’t enjoying it.

Rad has streamed innovative content with every major studio and broadcaster globally by licensing content or powering experiences in VR and web3, and has streaming apps on PlayStation 4 and 5, Android TV, iOS, and Meta Quest, and built a globally leading position in VR, distributing content to devices like PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality. Rad was the first streaming service to offer an NFT subscription and is launching its full NFT Stream Pass in December 2022. Rad has done NFT releases with companies like DKNY, Hacksmith, Cinedigm, and directly with creators like Elliot Sloan and platinum rapper Calboy. Rad also worked with ConsenSys to build its cross-blockchain-based platform Ara with the ARA token, which will power ROW8’s NFT platform. Additionally, Rad has numerous studio and well known media investors like Disney, Sony Innovation Fund, A+E Networks, WWE, Warner Music Group, Gary Vaynerchuk, and more.

Tony Mugavero will become CEO of the combined companies, and Rad’s leadership team will all stay as part of the transaction.

“We couldn’t be more excited to join forces with ROW8,” said Brooklyn Earick, Chief Marketing Officer at Rad, who will be staying on as Chief Strategy Officer post-acquisition. “Combined, we’ll be the first platform to offer movies like Avatar and Top Gun alongside NFT’s from Hollywood studios and web3 creatives.”

The combined companies have secured funding in a round led by Ayre Ventures.

Ayre Ventures founder Calvin Ayre celebrated the acquisition, calling it “the perfect marriage of content and delivery, the intersection of preparation and opportunity. ROW8’s vast library of marquee content will discover new ways to reach consumers through Rad’s BSV-based NFTs. BSV is the only blockchain with the scaling capacity and ultra-low transaction fees to realize the promise that web3 holds for creators, distributors and consumers.”

Also participating in the round are Intersect VC, who are investors in Dapper Labs and Triller; former New England Patriot Super Bowl Champion and Pro Bowler Richard Seymour’s 93 Ventures; Alvin Kwan, former head of Corporate Development at Fox and Board Member at Fubo TV; Rusty Matveev, who is CSO at Calaxy and formerly a partner at MSG Ventures; Revere VC; Stacks; and Jason Campbell, former quarterback for the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders.

Upon completion of the acquisition, Paul Rajchgod, Managing Director, Private Equity for Ayre Ventures, will be appointed to ROW8’s board.

About Rad

Rad NFTV is the first streaming platform powered by NFTs. Rad’s suite of apps allows you to stream Live TV, Premium Video, and Live Events all unlocked through NFTs. Discover content in ESports, Music, Comedy, and Sports Entertainment from companies like Complex, Whistle, CoinDesk, DeadHeads, Knights of Degen, and Virtue Animation Studio. Rad NFTV’s library of fast and loud content, NFTs, crypto rewards, and OTT footprint creates a streaming metaverse for the next generation of creators and fans.

The platform can deliver a broad range of NFT and content experiences, with 2D, 3D, 4K, Live, 360° / 180° VR, and traditional video across devices like PlayStation 5, PSVR, Oculus Quest, iOS, Google TV, and more. Viewers can earn ARA rewards and become peers in the network powered by Ara’s blockchain and P2P networking technology, and the company’s Rad Pandas can be used to unlock lifetime subscriptions as well as get additional ARA rewards.

About ROW8

ROW8 is a subscription-free movie only OTT service featuring both new and catalog titles and has distribution deals with all major Hollywood studios. It also features its proprietary “Movie Love Guarantee” allowing customers to return their film within the first 30 minutes and exchange it for another without any additional fees, and its patent pending “Scene Alert” monitoring system which alerts parents to inappropriate scenes before they air, giving them control over what content their children see.

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