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Block.one launches crypto exchange with $10 billion infusion -- what you need to know

Cryptocurrency
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Block.one is launching a cryptocurrency exchange that will compete with the likes of Coinbase and Binance. The exchange will be known as Bullish. Investors include Peter Thiel, as well as several other billionaires such as Louis Bacon and Richard Li. 

The exchange will be backed, according to Bloomberg, with around $10 billion using a mix of bitcoin (making up around 90% of the investment), cash and some of its own EOS tokens. Those tokens are the currency that Block.one subsidiary Eosio manages using its own Blockchain. The company claims there are more than 400 apps connecting with and using its Blockchain to record data. 

Peter Thiel said, "Bullish’s balance sheet is strong, and its vertical integration offers stability and liquidity to the cryptocurrency space. I’m happy to join Bullish as an investor and advisor as it gets started on a long and fruitful journey."

Bullish aims, according to the company's press release, to allow customers to manage their portfolio using automatic tools with a clear record of all transactions. That tracking comes as part and parcel of using a blockchain where every transaction is logged and available for anyone to see. This should excite traders as it removes the cost of expensive third-party functions. 

Reading the press release and Block.one's website is an exercise in absolute frustration. The site is filled with nonsense jargon that includes the doublespeak like, "empowering people to architect integrity into our world." This sort of carry-on is a good reason people feel so confused by blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Absolutely no effort appears to be made to actual explain, in English, what this company actually does. Although, a currency exchange is a little more clear. It's a place to trade various cryptocurrencies and in Bullish's case, make use of tools to automate some of that trading. 

Block.one is, at its core, a software company that's looking for ways to use blockchain to do things. Clearly, one of those things is a new trading platform and there's also a social network too, called Voice.

Voice uses the EOS Blockchain to create a new kind of social media, one free of the need to monetize content through advertising. In a press release, Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one, described it in blunt terms.

"The truth is, current social media platforms are designed to use their users. Just look at the business model. Our content. Our data. Our attention. These are all incredibly valuable things. But right now, it’s the platform, not the user, that reaps the reward. By design, they run by auctioning our information to advertisers, pocketing the profit, and flooding our feeds with hidden agendas dictated by the highest bidder. Voice changes that."

Block.one is renowned for being one of the most explosive launches ever. The company went "public" not with a stock exchange listing and traditional IPO, but with an Initial Coin Offering, or ICO. It raised a staggering $4 billion through that ICO in 2018. Anyone who invested at the start and kept their EOS Tokens would have seen them increase in value by 50% when it announced the new exchange. It's currently worth around $12.19 per token, which is not the highest it's been. 

An interesting side note here is that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission received a $24 million settlement from Block.one after the company violated federal securities laws by running an unregistered ICO. Block.one settled with the SEC with no admission of guilt. Still, a settlement of $24 million is chicken feed when you've just conjured $4 billion out of thin air. 

A tech journalist with many years of experience, Ian got his start writing about the battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray. Technology might have moved on, but there's still plenty of skirmishes to report on.