The world seems to be at a weird crossroads. Everything seems to be globally-centered. Its possible to send an email across the world in a matter of seconds, but transferring money requires enough jumps through flaming hula hoops to scare away the most accomplished circus master.
It is confusing and odd and it stems from global economies keeping a tight lid on inter-government transactions and foreign exchanges. This is, until, cryptocurrency came along.
The initial appeal of cryptocurrency, in whatever form, is anonymity. The secret privatization of the cryptocurrency platform is what attracted many people to it in the first place. The source was founded on instant transactions and equality. No banks were needed. No exchange rate transfers and other frustrations of making a foreign exchange existed in cryptocurrency.
Admittedly, it attracted a lot of good with a lot of bad. But, this is the system at work. Circle wants to take the ethos and attractions of cryptocurrency to another level by adopting free and instant exchanges at a global level.
What is Circle?
Circle is a global finance and technology provider that is seeking to facilitate instant and free financial exchanges. The group has some top-tier investors behind it. Some of these leaders include Goldman Sachs, EverBright, and Accel Partners. The financial backers span the globe and have helped provide the company with $140 million in initial backing.
The company is utilizing Bitcoin currently to help funnel a massive system of instant transactions for big rewards. The team is able to do this through the blockchain, which hardly needs a thorough explanation for anyone familiar with the crypto world. The blockchain allocates safe and instant transactions. The team further apples their own AI risk engine to protect all finances.
The Purchase Proliferation of Poloniex Crypto-Exchange
The company has some substantial and impressive backing, and it is not slowing down anytime soon. The company just made a massive acquisition. According to reports, the group just snagged the Poloniex Crypto-Exchange. The acquisition cost about $400 million. It ranks as one of the highest single purchases in cryptocurrency.
The team will likely leverage this sale to continue their success. This includes nearly $2 billion in transactions every month, with about $60 million in profits received over a three month period.
The company is banking on two main aspects to provide an incredible financial future. The first is the slowing-down of Bitcoin, which has already come to fruition. The longevity of this slowdown and how far it will go into obscurity is not yet determined. But, the group is confident that there is room for another major player in the crypto-space.
Another element is the massive success of Poloniex. The group sees the coin as the future of the cryptocurrency world, and it is not hard to see why. The team has handled Bitcoin from the ground up, initially beginning as an exchange service or a proclaimed Paypal of Bitcoin. The group eventually dipped into social engagement, eventually returning back to the roots of cryptocurrency. It is a natural path and one that follows on the ways in which the Internet works.
Co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire has supported this seeming back-and-forth as simply following and then turning to leading the industry. He seems humbled by the success and is willing to make adjustments accordingly to accommodate larger tech industry trends.
Centre and Transaction Ease
The acquisition of Poloniex is certainly a step to new heights. Circle expects to expand into these new areas. One of their big accomplishments or goals is the combination of multiple e-wallet services under a single umbrella. The combination will take the form of a protocol that eases cross-wallet transactions. It is called Centre, and it will make cross-platform exchanges from Circle, Paypal, and more a whole lot easier.
Poloniex users should have no problem ingratiating the coin into their profile and utilizing it on a level playing field with other currency exchanges.
Fortunately, Circle seems to have developed a pretty incredible trajectory in the past three years. The support from major players tells a big part of the story. In the right hands and with the right series of decisions for Poloniex, the team could dominate the space in no time.
If you listen to many YouTube or Facebook videos on BitCoin, LiteCoin, Ethereum, and the other alt coins, you will have to know these acronyms.
Just like the stock market has ticker symbols, most coins have a similar abbreviation; but there is no standard governing body that sets the abbreviation. So for example BitCoin is often referenced to as BTC, LiteCoin as LTC, and Ethereum as ETH. In some cases, the names can be confusing, such as Cardano, who’s coin/symbol is ADA (both are named after historical figures).
Games are an ancient invention. Although their date of origin is unknown, five years ago archaeologists unearthed some 5,000-year old gaming tokens during an excavation in Turkey. You may have heard a recent buzz about a newly coined term with a related theory and tactics, referred to as gamification. It is a method used for taking existing ideas, knowledge, or actions, and integrating them with game mechanics to engage people in gameplay with nongaming contexts. The gamified technique can encourage behavioral changes, such as loyalty or participation, among other things.
There is one application of the method that is gaining popularity with businesses and schools. It is gamifying learning, whether it be for employee onboarding, professional skill improvement, or turning in a homework assignment on time. By gamifying instructional environments, the desired results and learner experiences are worth more with learning made into a game.
What Are the Mechanics of Gamification?
Game mechanics or building blocks of the game, make up essential parts of the game theory. These raw materials are elementary to gamified learning. Game designers efficiently and artfully construct the game with these elements so the players can enjoy the game better when achieving wanted goals and needed results. Below are a few of the building blocks commonly used to gamify the nongaming:
Points are single count units of measurements.
Badges add positive reinforcement and players earn them after collecting some points.
Leaderboards can incorporate the two mechanics above by displaying players in either a descending or climbing order, based on levels and achievements.
Challenge is purposeful in motivating players to act and work toward something more significant and great.
Constraints, like a deadline, is a game mechanic aimed to encourage self-motivation.
Narrative brings players deep inside the story of the game.
Who Are The Players?
It is good for game designers to know the way in which the players approach gameplay. British professor and game researcher, Richard Bartle, created an analysis of player types and the Bartle Test of Psychology. He divides the way people play games into separate categories. Although distinctive from one another, the four different personality types are not rigid. Most of the players have traits assigned to more than one group, but mostly everyone has one characteristic that dominates, thus controlling his or her overall playing approach.
Achievers: They care only about ranking, status, and measurable units of achievement. Achievers are quick to tell their peers about their progress and prominently display their collection of earned badges.
Explorers: They feel that discovering something new or unveiling secrets of the game is the real prize and not badges.
Socializers: They make up the vast majority of players and represent the way about 80 percent of people play games. Socializers enjoy interacting with other players during the game and do not mind joining forces and collaborating if it accomplishes more than playing alone.
The Killer: They are like the Achievers, in that they concern themselves with winning and getting as many game credits as possible. However, the thrill for Killers is in seeing other players lose, which is another level of competitiveness.
How is Gamified Learning Different from Game-Based Learning?
Gamification is a concept in which games inspire learning and a nongaming setup, whereas, training that is game-based uses games for the enhancement of study. It is a subtle difference. However, the distinction is that the former uses game mechanics, such as badges, achievements, and awards as a substitute for grades in some cases, and the latter may make use of digital or nondigital games and possible simulations for the students to learn.
Benefits of Gamifying a Learning Environment
Whether in a classroom or office, to gamify an instructional experience can provide advantages that traditional education methods may also do but differently. Some benefits may include but are not limited to the following:
Optimization of the brain’s processing and capacity to retain new information.
Improved engagement and motivation.
Adjustment of the cognitive pleasure and reward center for heightened learning.
Strengthened recall and other soft skills.
Facilitates better learner engagement.
Fosters positive behavior changes.
Examples of a gamified classroom setting, whether it be at the workplace or school, could include the following:
Grading backward, starting from zero instead of 100. Credits are added with each submitted assignment or a demonstration of understanding in a particular area, for example, until 100 gets reached. When that happens, the players get badges and have ascension on a leaderboard.
Players can use role-play, similar to a video game. It adds learning perspective by having viewpoints from different people with a different relation to a problem when learning a concept. It will also add to the game mechanic, narrative.
Alternatively, the following are examples of ways to gamify an eLearning platform:
Players create avatars and go through different simulation challenges which map to specific qualities needed to receive a reward. The scores after each task build up, so the player earns the bonus. High scorers display on a leaderboard.
Like above, for this example, players will use avatars. They journey along different learner paths. They must answer a series of questions for various named real-life challenges. The more skillful a player becomes on his or her track, the fewer lifelines or learning aids are accessible, and the more immersive the learning experience becomes for the player.
Gamification may still be fairly new, but different industries are benefiting from its application in online communities, customer relations, and education among other uses. Researchers are steadily conducting studies to see how gamifying influences people’s social behavior, thought processing, loyalty, engagement, and learning. The creative and proper use of game mechanics motivates people to learn more, and it adds value to desirable outcomes of nongaming situations.
Another aspect of gamification involves using cryptocurrencies to reward the learner (customer) for taking micro-actions. For example, if the player/learner finishes 3 lessons per week, they could earn some crypto-token. This could be a rebate on their sales price, or could possible be exchanged for other goods or services
I was looking at the possibility of dumping my cable provider and using only Amazon apps, or YouTube’s new TV service.
What is the difference between HBO-GO and HBO-Now?
I noticed that Amazon has two HBOs apps, HBO Now and HBO Go. HBO Now allows is free to install, but requires you to approve the in-app purchase of the unlimited version for $14.99/month. HBO Go is for user who are already HBO subscribers (such as via their cable company), and wish to watch HBO on their smart TV. HBO Go is also available outside of an amazon as a website, for travelers who want to watch HBO on their laptops or phones.
Yes, Amazon Prime members can buy an HBO channel subscription for $14.99/month. The HBO channel on Amazon Channels gives you unlimited, on-demand access to HBOs current and past programming (the same great content available through HBO GOand HBO NOW).
My first assumption was that one of these apps would have in-app purchases, that would allow you to watch in a pay-per-view mode, but I was wrong.
When I was researching in-app purchases, I discovered that some apps allow you to pay for these with “Amazon Coins” which I found below. When you buy them in lots of 50,000, you save 25%, and there are various discounts for the smaller purchases down to 1% for the smallest purchase of 300.
So like a cryptocurrency, you can transfer coins to a friend (or perhaps to even pay for something that friend gives you). They don’t have mining of course, but they do say you can earn Amazon Coins when you buy certain eliglbe apps, games and in-app items through the Amazon Appstore.
Amazon Coins work with the Fire-TV and Android, sorry iPhone users.
The Steven Spielberg movie will be release in theaters March 30, 2018. Meanwhile, I would like to recommend the book.
Today’s world is starting to look more and more like science fiction, so it should come as no surprise that more readers than ever are getting into the genre for the first time. Whether readers are avid sci-fi fans or first-time explorers of the realm of science fiction and fantasy, they can’t afford to miss Ernest Cline’s recent work. Check out this brief Review of “Ready Player One” to discover whether it sounds like a good fit.
What’s it About?
Taking place in a dystopian version of the near future, Ready Player One is about a teenage boy who only feels truly alive when he’s plugged into the novel’s virtual reality utopia, known in the book as OASIS. Wade Watts becomes fascinated with the puzzles hidden between the layers of this digital world. As he stumbles upon his first real clue, he finds himself surrounded by players in an insidious game that forces him to confront the real world in order to learn how to survive it.
The Real World
In the real world, Wade is so quick to abandon the teenager’s family lives in a large block of unpleasant stacked mobile homes, dividing his time between school and the abandoned van he uses to plug in and adopt his online persona. As he becomes more obsessed in the online world, readers begin to see his real-life persona slumped over his desk sleeping, risking access to his virtual reality visor, which will be taken away if he flunks out.
The Virtual Wort
In OASIS, Wade Watts transforms himself into an alter-ego known as Parzival. In the virtual world, he becomes more and more obsessed with the game, called Anorak’s Invitation, which is chock full of references to 1980s trivia. In fact, the very name of the novel hearkens back to the phrase that signaled the beginning of arcade games designed in that era.
Understanding the Game
Readers who are hooked by the author’s premise but don’t have the background knowledge to understand his many references will likely have to begin looking things up as soon as the plucky hero begins to uncover clues. To begin with, it’s important to note that many games from the era incorporated secret features, known as Easter eggs. In the novel, the game’s creator, Halliday, has incorporated Easter eggs into his own game as secret clues designed to lead the novel’s protagonist on an exciting adventure through the virtual world.
The Egg Hunters
Wade isn’t the only player who has become obsessed with unlocking the puzzle behind OASIS. In Cline’s dystopian future, prospects have already grown quite grim on the resource-depleted earth, so it’s no surprise that so many players have chosen to devote the majority of their lives to the virtual world Halliday has created. Those who are playing the game within a game are known as gunters, and they will stop at nothing in their hunt for Halliday’s Easter eggs.
The Other Players
Wade becomes virtual friends with four other players in an attempt to quicken his progress in the game. These players, known collectively as the High Five, throw around 80’s-vintage movie quips and obscure references like nothing and begin to bond over their hunt for Halliday’s eggs.
The End Game
As Wade struggles to make progress toward his goal of winning the untold billions that are promised by the game’s creator it becomes clear that this virtual contest is taking its toll back in the real world. When players begin to die in the real world, Wade must decide whether he can trust his new-found virtual friends, or anyone else, for that matter, with helping him in his quest toward this ultimate prize.
Worth the Read?
Complete with sly references and inside jokes that will appeal primarily to gamers and 1980’s trivia buffs, Ready Player One is still accessible enough to engage a wide range of readers. This smart, funny thriller functions as both a celebration and a critique of modern online culture, and the author’s well-developed sense of suspense keeps the narrative moving quickly along. With its intriguing puzzles, intense action, and a remarkably engaging payoff at the end, Ready Player One is worth the read even for those who might need to pause periodically to check Cline’s many obscure references.
Both virtual reality and cryptocurrencies have been gaining popularity in recent years, and show signs of being the next big thing in the future of the entertainment industry. While both of these technologies have been around for some years, it is only recently that virtual reality prices have begun to drop and cryptocurrencies have begun to catch on as a viable form of exchange. Chances are, as these technologies become common household names, people will begin to spend larger portions of their lives in virtual reality and those who spend some time trying to imagine what that will look like stand to profit a good deal as these changes occur.
Cryptocurrencies and MetaMask
It’s important to note that this article really isn’t describing some kind of utopian distant future; in reality, virtual and augmented reality is already here and it requires new ways of thinking about both currency and the world in general. For example, a Google Chrome extension known as MetaMask is already available and is quickly catching on. MetaMask works sort of like an online wallet interface, allowing browsers to display their current monetary standing on their screen while they browse to help them make responsible online shopping choices.
This may not sound like futuristic innovation, but it is one important step toward the adoption of cryptocurrency as a viable means of performing online transactions, which is already paving the way for the use of this technology as virtual reality develops further. It’s not the only example of cryptocurrency being used in virtual reality’s infancy, though.
VibeHub is an online marketplace that allows users to buy and sell virtual reality sessions using cryptocurrency. This represents an incredible step in the direction of a comprehensive change in how users think about virtual reality and social communication alike, as it allows users to experience things like meet and greets with their favorite artists, live music concerts, or even learning new skills from the comfort of their homes using virtual reality technologies. Like virtual reality more generally, this platform is still in its infancy and the potential for future development is almost limitless.
VibeHub and Cryptocurrency
VibeHub uses its own currency based on the block-chain technologies behind other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to enable virtual trading in real-time. This web platform is compatible with MetaMask and Myst, allowing those who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies to access VibeHub as well. However, as public confidence in cryptocurrency continues to rise, eventually, the forms of currency that are currently most commonly in use could easily become antiquated and unnecessary.
The Future of Virtual Reality
As the world’s populations continue to skyrocket while its resources become simultaneously depleted, it is hard to imagine everyone in the world having access to all of the physical things that they desire. However, virtual reality might someday offer a virtual alternative in which users are able to have the virtual houses, cars, pets, and material possessions of their dreams with no need to continue consuming valuable natural resources to have and maintain them. Of course, this is only one potential future for those technologies currently being developed, but it is admittedly an appealing one.
The Winding Road Toward Progress
It would be a mistake to believe that these two examples of virtual reality backed by cryptocurrencies represent any kind of end-point for either of these technologies. In fact, both block-chain technologies and virtual reality are still in their infancy, and chances are the road to progress will be long and winding. There are a wide variety of possible outcomes for these technological innovations, but with any luck, the end result will be a fully-integrated virtual reality that is decentralized and accessible to all.