TRON Launches North American Community Development Campaign

TRON, the open protocol for developers to build decentralized content entertainment applications on the blockchain has launched a community development campaign to engage the North American audience. In partnership with MLG Blockchain Consulting, TRON has been represented at events in Toronto, Montreal and London in the past two weeks, with many more upcoming.

The TRON community is also looking to grow their digital presence by hosting an online TRON Airdrop. TRON enthusiasts can register on the official TRON Airdrop website by joining the TRON Telegram community, sharing the event on Facebook and by inputing an Ethereum address.

You can see whether the TRON team is heading to your city on this map below. If your city is not represented yet, you can request to host an event on the TRON Airdrop website or on the TRON Telegram, which you can join here.

TRON Events

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TRON Community at Event in Montreal

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TRON Community at Event at University of Toronto

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The TRON community is already one of the most active blockchain communities in the world with over 300,000 users. TRON actively looking to grow their global community through events and empowering local leaders is a good sign.

 

 


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Last September, the McGill Cryptocurrency Club hosted a Bitcoin Airdrop during the McGill orientation week, after a partnership with ChangeTip enabled the club to give bitcoin to the incoming class of students. This September, the Blockchain Education Network is expanding the airdrop across Canada and the United States, thanks to a partnership with BTC.com.

Student blockchain hubs in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa have confirmed their participation and are in the process of organizing their events. An airdrop is also taking place in American cities including New York, Boston and Atlanta, among others.

The bitcoin will be given to students who attend the first meeting hosted by each regional blockchain hub. At the meeting, the students will also be given a walkthrough on how to download a wallet and send a transaction. The Blockchain Education Network will be demonstrating how the BTC.com wallet works.

“Bitcoin adoption has been growing quickly in Ottawa” said Patrick Guay, the region head of the Blockchain Education Network in Ottawa, in a quote to NewsBTC Canada. “Leading the charge was Carleton U with their Bitcoin club and we hope now that more universities and denizens of Ottawa will embrace the currency and especially its blockchain technology. This Airdrop is poised to be big!”.

“I’m so excited to participate in this year’s bitcoin airdrop” said Matthew Altman, the incoming president of the Laurier Bitcoin Club. After the success of last year’s Laurier team in the blockchain madness we can’t wait to grow the already burgeoning bitcoin community”.

“Enabling university students to get into bitcoin is a very exciting thing for us at BTC.com – we hope all the university students enjoy themselves and maybe learn a thing or two about bitcoin along the way”, said Alejandro, the business lead at BTC.com.

Wall of Coins, an online bitcoin marketplace, e-BIT, an enterprise private blockchain as a service suite of solutions and DevSub, the new blockchain  technology newsletter to dive deep into blockchain development.

 

 

On June 12-13, 2016, a day prior to the Distributed: Trade conference, BTC Media and SixThirty announced a 24-hour blockchain hackathon with a total of $25,000 in prize money. The hackathon will put teams from corporate giants, blockchain industry experts and the top universities in the world against each other to build the next generation of blockchain applications to solve problems in payments, supply chain management and data security.

The hackathon will take place at T-REX, a tech hub in the heart of St. Louis that is an incubator and community for technology startups and entrepreneurs.

“We are excited to host this Blockchain Hackathon in partnership with SixThirty, one of T-REX’s premier resident accelerators who are a national and international leader in finding and funding cutting-edge financial technologies, said Dr. Patricia Hagen, President of T-REX in a statement to Bitcoin Magazine.

$20,000 of the total prize money is being awarded as a Grand Prize to the winning team who builds a blockchain solution in a trade-related industry. John Riggins, VP of business development at BTC Media, said in a statement to NewsBTC that “the judges are looking for the best application of blockchain technology and will factor in market readiness, usability, design, and the scope of the problem being addressed.”

The hackathon is being judged by technology innovators and major players in the  blockchain VC community who are actively looking to invest into new startups. On the panel include representatives from Blockchain Capital, Dynamo, Tally Capital and DFJ Dragon along with Bitcoin Core developer Jeff Garzik and the former Google head of technology, Tom Niermann.

“The Hackathon is an amazing chance for brilliant students and other innovators to come together and make world-changing discoveries,” said David Bailey, CEO of BTC Media, in a press release. “People are coming here from all over the planet in search of the next big blockchain app”.

Register for the Distributed: Trade Hackathon here or to the conference here.

Full Disclosure: Michael Gord works at BTC Media and is helping to organize the event.

Starting on March 15th, the Blockchain Education Network is launching an elimination style trivia gameshow called Blockchain Madness. There are six Universities in total who are participating, including three in Canada and three in the United States, and competing for a bitcoin prize.

Nicholas Abouzeid, the director of Operations of the Blockchain Education Network, commented on the event.

“We believe in providing an environment that allows students to connect and where successful grassroots initiatives become global movements. In December, we piloted a trivia competition between the MIT and McGill student clubs. Now with six schools across North America, Blockchain Madness is a way to discover trailblazing student clubs around the world and identify top students with proven technical skills and experience. We want the students who compete in March Madness to be seen as student all-stars, in a way similar to basketball players who compete in March Madness.”

The teams to represent Canada are Laurier, Queens and the University of Toronto.  Alex Altman, the captain of the laurier team and founder of their schools club, said in a statement to Bitcoin Magazine.

“I’m very excited for our club to represent Canada and to test my knowledge against other Bitcoin enthusiasts from across North America,” Alex Altman, one of the founders of the Laurier Bitcoin Club, told Bitcoin Magazine.

Ryan Loberg, captain and founder of the Queens club, added “Thank you BEN for putting this together and getting students involved in Bitcoin and blockchain technology.”

It is clear that the interest in digital currencies and financial technology on campuses around Canada and across the world is growing. Encouraging collaboration between Universities is a great way to create micro communities on campuses and stimulate more mainstream adoption. Thank you to Purse for powering the event.

 

This is after Bitcoin was determined by the European Court of Justice to be treated in the same way as traditional money. In a statement they released that bitcoin transactions “are exempt from VAT (value-added tax) under the provision concerning transactions relating to currency, bank notes and coins used as legal tender.”
The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have led to the commission deciding there needs to be more anti money laundering regulations with the popular digital currency. The exact nature of the regulations will be determined in the second quarter of this year.
This is an expected course of action though as other countries in the world are also beginning to implement ways to deal with the growing influence of Bitcoin and blockchain technology.

In addition, the European Court of Justice might apply the licensing and supervision rules of the Payment Services Directive, which sets the regulations for payment services, to digital currencies. This is to ensure they can “promote better control and understanding of the market”.

If this happens, the PSD would need to revise their definition of funds, which currency only includes cash, bank and e-money, to also include crypto currency. This means they will likely have a wider change to their regulations that simply adding the PSD’s licensing and supervision regulations to digital currency.

We must wait to see what the proposed regulatory changes will be, as they are currently very vague. Very likely, digital currencies might be accepted officially into the European Union payment regulations, which could allow bitcoin business to thrive across Europe.

This could also be great for business in Canada, where our government has been waiting to decide on how to respond to bitcoin. In a report by the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce they announced that the “government should exercise a regulatory “light touch” that minimizes actions that might stifle the development of these new technologies”. If new regulations are tested in Europe and work, it might lead to adoption or refined to be improved in Canada.

The bitcoin community has grown substantially since the beginning of 2009. As the community grows, so does the number of businesses that build the bitcoin infrastructure. Many early bitcoin businesses stop being able to compete and fade into oblivion. The ones who have stuck around though have become the foundation of the industry. QuickBT is one of those businesses that has stuck around in Canada and is the place where thousands of Canadians have gone to purchase their first bitcoin. We spoke with Jamie Robinson, CEO of QuickBT about his perspective on the industry and his future plans.

Michael Gord: Hey Jamie, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today!

Jamie Robinson: No problem!

Michael: How did you get into Bitcoin?

Jamie: I first heard about bitcoin a long time ago and didn’t pay any attention to it until early 2013 when the price was moving from 30 dollars to over a hundred dollars and I had a few people from different sections of my life, who didn’t know each other, ask me about bitcoin in the same week. The first person I replied “Don’t worry about it it’s a scam”. When the second person asked, I thought it was time to give it some more thought because I had heard about it twice in one week and thought maybe this is something I should take a look at… especially because the price was going through the roof. I did some digging and ever since my attention has been on Bitcoin. At the time I was still doing consulting work and weaned off consulting to work with Bitcoin full time.

Michael: What motivated you to start QuickBT?

Jamie: I realized how difficult it was to buy a small amount of Bitcoin. I tried using an exchange, a self service bitcoin exchange, and I saw how difficult it was to buy bitcoin, especially in the shoes of the average consumer. I started thinking about it… I knew I was going to show bitcoin to people and suggest they buy bitcoin because I was enthusiastic about it but the process to buy some was so unattractive that I identified it as a huge barrier for Bitcoin success and I asked myself whether I can make this easier for Canadian consumers and whether I can make a living doing it. Can I quit my job and do this? From then on I started doing the research and figuring out everything.

The original concept was credit card and I would go out to the market and buy all the Bitcoin and do a preauthorized transaction for everything. I coded it to work with a credit card company and then I got my first denial. They got me all setup and ready to go and when I was about to go live my account was terminated so it was back to the drawing board for a few months from May to July. In May, I incorporated QuickBT and made the website but it wasn’t until July that I realized that Interac had a online payment method. From then on I got setup and since August 2013, we’ve been live.

Michael: How do you see the bitcoin community has changed since you started QuickBT?

Jamie: When I started, the bitcoin community was comprised completely of IT people. It was all people who were technically inclined, almost completely male and there was a narrow 20-40 computer nerd demographic. I think this was also the case from the beginning of bitcoin, a bunch of young computer guys.

From there the community has opened up and I think the next group of people that joined were all the investor types that thought they could make money when they price of Bitcoin was going from a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand. Almost right after we launched in August the price started going up and a lot of young technically inclined people that wanted to make a quick buck were buying the hype train and got involved. Those people did however they did… some sold and some still have their bitcoin, but the market began to open more widely as more places started to accept bitcoin. Definitely more women began to get involved. There are a lot of people that don’t have faith in the current financial system, who are looking at the current financial climate in the world and thinking that they want to own digital assets that are real. They are looking at their money in their bank accounts and realize it’s all inflated numbers on the computer. Money in the bank is not as tangible a digital asset.

What’s interesting about all these phases and everything about the community is that very few people drop and the community is only getting bigger. Once you have the magic moment, you can’t undo it in your brain. Maybe some greedy people have fallen out but they’ll be back.

Michael: Where do you see QuickBT going moving forward?

Jamie: I think that the most important place is nowhere. Were going to still be here and that’s critical because there are a lot of businesses that have tried to do what we’ve done and failed. There are dozens of examples in Canada and if you look at the businesses that are competing with QuickBT, a lot aren’t that profitable. We’re a healthy business, we’ve been profitable from the beginning and we’re going to continue to be here to onboard new people to Bitcoin. We’re always working on new features and we would love to accept all types debit cards including visa debit cards in our future because right now we only accept certain debit cards.  

Michael: Any new projects you’re working on that you’re excited about?

Jamie: I’m really excited about AcceptBT.com – it’s our way of enabling merchants to accept bitcoin. It works great for restaurants, retail stores and is super easy and requires no Bitcoin education. AcceptBT has already completed a first retail event in Montreal with many businesses on St Laurent, a main street downtown Montreal, accepting Bitcoin with AcceptBT. Now, we’re planning another similar event in Toronto and all the venues who have tried it are excited about it too.

The other project that I’m working on is called SpendBT.com which is also open and has been beta tested but we’re now looking for a better payout method. SpendBT is a really easy way to sell your bitcoin directly back to your Canadian checking account. It started as a way to pay off your credit card using bitcoin but now we’re working on a way to pay Bitcoin directly to your Canadian checking account. We’re really excited to re-launch SpendBT as soon as we have something we’re proud of.

Michael: Where do you see the bitcoin community moving forward in 2016 and beyond?

Jamie: I see the bitcoin community growing quite large. I think the community with continue to grow and continue to get easier to use. As it gets easier to use, I see more people getting disenfranchised by the current financial system – so whether they just don’t like what’s going on or whether they’re kicked out, bitcoin will continue to bring more and more people in.

Personally, I think we’re going to start to see large companies and government buying and owning bitcoin which will be the difference between a three digit price and a seven digit price. Once governments and large corporation start to hedge in bitcoin it’s going to be crazy. I think that’s coming soon. You see it happening already… in Barbados the economists suggesting that the government hold bitcoin. By the time the government wants to get involved there is not going to be very many bitcoin available for sale. If we start to see a rush of governments and big business buying bitcoin because they lose trust in the dollar system that is the cherry on top.

Michael: Thanks for your time and good luck with everything!

Jamie: Thanks, you too!

Recently, Dean Masley, the executive director of the College Cryptocurrency Network announced that the network was rebranding to the Blockchain Education Network, to better represent the new direction of the network. The College Cryptocurrency Club is a non-profit network of bitcoin clubs around the world that collaborates, shares ideas and helps spread the grassroots bitcoin movement on University campuses. In light of the recent re-branding, we reached out to Dean to tell us a bit about the reason behind the change.

Michael Gord: Hey Dean, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today!

Dean Masley: Thanks, it’s a pleasure, thanks for thinking of us! (or whatever you want to put)

Michael: How did you get into Bitcoin?

Dean: I saw a video on youtube and then read the bitcoin whitepaper, got really fascinated and wanted to try it out. I didn’t want to spend money on it, I just wanted to earn it and wanted to experience it and to see if I could utilize my skills in this new global economy. I would look around for projects online such as guitar lessons for bitcoin or someone that needs editing to a bitcoin website in Russia. I would send like 70 messages a day and receive 2 or 3 back and I kept that process going to grow my portfolio and I started to meet more and more people. As time went on and the industry kept growing the projects became more and more serious and I started to actually want to participate in it instead of just doing free lance.

Michael: What motivated you to join the College Cryptocurrency Network?

Dean: As I was doing this I wanted to see if anyone else on my campus was into bitcoin and motivate other students to get involved. When I started, I didn’t know anyone else on campus who was into this and wanted to talk to more kids in real life who were interested in this. I started a club on campus to make a place for other students to come to to get together with other students that were also interested. Unfortunately though, our university has a very bureaucratic process to start a club and administration was concerned that the club was going to become a community of students trying to contribute to the black market which was discouraging.

I met Patrick Cines through Linkedin who was a regional director with the CCN and president of the Penn State Bitcoin Club and he invited me to come to DC for a conference called Bitcoin and the Gateway. I’m from Delaware it was only a quick train ticket away so I went, met the students involved with CCN and was super fascinated with what they had to offer because I was losing hope to make a club on campus because of the bureaucracy. These guys were a community that had done it and encouraged me to continue the process to make a club on campus. They really helped me get started.

Michael: Where do you see BEN going moving forward?

Dean: When I came back from the conference they gave me a bunch of sample constitutions to help make one for my school, which was very focused on having a perfect constitution since the administration at the time had only heard of the negative connotations of bitcoin such as drugs, fake ids. This was a major roadblock. I ended up needing to submit a constitution that was a 12 page paper – I had to do it myself but it was incredible to have CCN there for help answering questions and they reached out the their own administrations to get an added administrative perspective which was included. Great motivational support.

Michael: How do you see the bitcoin community has changed since you got involved?

Dean: It has definitely become much more mature in the sense that business models aren’t focused on the price of bitcoin going up and up – they are actually focused on solving a problem or providing new utility versus just providing a bitcoin copy of existing business models. The movement is taking itself seriously and has become an actual solution provider instead of an alternative economy.

Michael: Where do you see CCN going moving forward?

Dean: We want to make a network that continues and makes it easier for students to make an impact. We realize that with CCN we were putting all our priority on current university students which means that when students graduate they didn’t have the same influence in the network, even though many have more time after graduating to dedicate to it and have fully submersed themselves in the blockchain industry. For this reason, we’re rebranding to the Blockchain Education Network – also to reflect the evolved direction of the industry and to provide the necessary education resources necessary to experiment, experience and create an expectation of blockchain tech that traditional finance cant compete with. Currently, we’re hosting a global hackathon that is partnered with a top five consulting company, we’re hosting an online trivia contest called Blockchain Madness to put university campuses against each other to see which campus has the most blockchain knowledge. We’re also bringing students around the world to conferences such as the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami at the end of the month.

Michael: Any new projects you’re working on that you’re excited about?

Dean: I’m currently working with Jason King, who did the bitcoin run across America. He started to create a bitcoin charity to feed the homeless in Pensacola, Florida. Now, we’re working on Unsung.org, using his experience with homeless outreach and our combined blockchain experience in a desire to solve the hunger problem in the US.

Michael: Where do you see the bitcoin community moving forward in 2016 and beyond?

Dean: I’m hoping to see a huge push towards hedging and/or volatility reduction for merchants and consumers. Just like how in 2013 reducing this problem for merchants allowed them to receive dollars in their bank account for bitcoin at lower fees than paypal and credit cards, i’m curious if that same utility for consumers will help regular consumers experiment with the app store for bitcoin that’s coming out. Open Bazaar, decentralized storage advanced sharing economy apps, cheap starbucks, cheap amazon.

Michael: Dean, thanks for your time and keep on growing the grassroots Blockchain movement!

Dean: Thanks, you’re welcome!