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Status – The Kind Of Ethereum Project You Can Get Your Hands On

Status is a project I’ve been excited to see launch on the main net since I first heard about it while living in Seoul. I believe I first read about Status on Reddit as a new social media and messaging app which would run on the Ethereum network. When I saw it was available for early adopters to download it and play around I jumped at the opportunity and was immediately delighted to see people I knew in the network. I was so excited actually that I sent an entire Ether to the wallet associated with my account, which I didn’t know, was on the test-net. Whoops! It was my own mistake and there was nothing that could be done to reverse it. The guys at Status were really helpful and generous when I mentioned it to them and even offered to get me my one Ether back. I just chocked it up to experience and let it be.

They were hiring for a job last summer as well. I believe I saw it posted on Ethlance or something like that – a place where only Ethereum related jobs were being posted. At the time, the team behind Status was located in Singapore and while I thought Singapore might have been one of the better places in the world to be located for a job related to Ethereum, I didn’t see the logistics of moving there as possible at the time. However, I am glad to see that they’ve been diligently working to bring this project to fruition on the Ethereum main-net.

Here are the main reasons why I am looking forward to this project coming live so much and plan to support them in their token sale (ICO), but also more importantly be a patron of the app.

Relatable Technology

Status as it stands is largely a messaging app which would resemble much of what you’d expect from other services such as WhatsApp, Line, KakaoTalk and others of the like. However the underlying tech which makes Status distributed and powerful is Ethereum and while many people may never realize that they are using a blockchain, they will be given an opportunity to use truly unique apps and services not available through other applications.

Community Driven

Status is open source and allows for just about any Ethereum based Dapp to be plugged into its ecosystem and interacted with through the platform. They recently launched a hackathon where over $25,000 USD was awarded to people who wished to build Dapps able to interact with the Status ecosystem. These Dapps range from decentralized Ether games, to job search tools, to payment systems, self-sovereign identity, to crytpocurrency exchanges and more.

Practical Focus

Some Ethereum projects are very interesting in their pure technological or societal promise, though neither might be achieved in the near-term future. This is why many of these businesses raise so much money in their ICO’s – they need enough runway to plan long-term in their development. However far flung ideas built on Ethereum are no good to anyone if no one ever uses them. Status is geared towards being an everyday tool to interact with the community and services around you based on Ethereum. So many aspects of Facebook are all consuming and they own all of the data you share with them. With Status as an open-source platform, you own your data and can choose how you want to interact with it.

More Than Investment Worthy, But Usage Worthy

I can say that even if I wasn’t planning to take part in this token sale, I would absolutely continue to use the app, test it out and offer feedback however possible. These are the kinds of projects that will help drive Ethereum and blockchain as a whole further. This will also help bring the community together more and won’t reinforce communities built on centralized networks such as Reddit, Facebook and places otherwise subjected to censorship. Another hopeful and separate platform for this same decentralized future is Akasha, which is also in Alpha.

There is an Alpha version of the app on Android and you can request access for the iPhone version as well on their homepage – both of which I suggest you check out and offer feedback on!

Blockchain and Digital Currency News, Opinion, Review

Review: Smart Contract Betting Serves As Educational Resource For Ethereum Enthusiasts

As far as games and betting go, I’m certainly not one to spent my leisure time that way. Maybe it’s because I got whomped on by all my friends playing Super Mario when I was a kid and figured I’d be better off developing my skills in other areas. Regardless, I typically avoid delving into digital games of any sort, especially those where money is at stake — that is until I discovered the vDice.io betting game which is based on Ethereum smart contracts.

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I am a blockchain nerd who keeps up on developments in the space on social media, so when the owners of the site reached out unsolicited on Twitter and offered to let me play with some of their own funds to get an honest review, I decided to give it a go. What I found out quickly about this betting “game” is that it’s easily as effective a tool for educating people on how to transact with Ether and how smart contracts work as it is a good way to pass the time.

The “house edge” and fees are clearly stated up front in the FAQ and in running about a dozen bets to try out the service, I found the ratio of winning to losing with respective smart contracts to be honest. Each smart contract has its own odds and conditions that are clearly stated as well. What’s cooler is that this entire website operates anonymously and does not require a user account or any info. You only interact with the site through your Ethereum wallet.

Screenshot from 2016-06-24 21-42-27

The site is cleanly built and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. Well, except for the creator of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin’s head quoting famous one-liners from Arnold Schwarzenegger action films. If you leave the browser open with the volume on this is an amusing feature you’ll hear every minute or so. You can turn that feature off as well from the homepage. What I’d love to see is a more dynamic feature of how the site shows transaction data such as recent bets and wins without needing to refresh the page and continually turn off the Vitalik talking head.

The site recommends that users play using either a Jaxx browser wallet which is available for Chrome or the Mist wallet built by Ethereum. However, any wallet of any brand that supports Ether will do. They have an easy to follow set of instructions for both Jaxx and Mist. The Jaxx wallet is definitely the simpler and more straightforward process of the two; however, the Mist wallet tutorial is actually rather educational. As someone who has downloaded the Mist wallet on their personal machine and invested in the DAO using it, I can say that the tutorial on how to use the contracts feature in Mist is useful and appreciated, in case I wish to interact with other smart contracts related to other things besides betting in the future.

Not only is there the option to bet on specific contracts listed at the bottom of the homepage, but there’s also the option to invest in contracts. The difference between betting and investing in these smart contracts is that if a user sends an amount of Ether to the contract address within the specified amount range, a random number will be assigned to that user. If that random number is higher or lower than the specific figure of that contract, which is all transparent and open source, then the user wins their money back plus a percentage. They’ll receive their funds almost instantly. Currently, their confirmations take about 15-30 seconds; however, they’ll be launching 0-confirmation transactions in July. When a user wants to invest, they’ll receive partial profits from the income received as people play a certain contract and lose. All of the contracts are verified and openly available for auditing on Etherscan.

Screenshot from 2016-06-24 21-42-56

COO of vDice.io Steven Sager talked about how this particular game is unique not only in the realm of Ethereum, but in cryptocurrencies and blockchain related websites as a whole:

“Implemented as a Smart Contract, it’s completely on-chain. Also, it’s the first live, commercial Dapp, connected to the main-net, using an Oracle. As a result, it’s trust-less. We don’t touch funds. There are no accounts (such is the power of Ethereum). Bettors send their Tx to the smart contract address. The smart contract computes and returns the result. Essentially, it functions like classic Satoshi Dice. But, unlike Classic SD for BTC, there’s absolutely no server…not even for randomness. Instead we use random.org.”

Besides plans to make betting transactions much quicker with 0 transactions in the summer, there is also a crowdsale planned at a date yet to be determined in July.

With the existing situation with the DAO being compromised and potentially destroyed by current events, Sager commented on the importance of truly simple but useful Dapps being built and implimented such as vDice.io:

“This illustrates why the simple Dapps need to come first, in my honest opinion — even if they happen to be ‘betting’ Dapps. Higher-level stuff can build on simpler projects at the right time. Ethereum is only one year old!”

With vDice.io’s straightforward build and the transparent nature of how the site works, it’s an exciting way to show how a Dapp can be used in real world applications through betting. It is also a great opportunity for those who are less than expert in blockchain, smart-contract and Ethereum technology to learn in about it in a safer environment where the most at stake is as low as a fraction of Ether per bet.