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“The first thing I saw in VR was porn”: interview with Omar Rashid

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Why should an artist use virtual reality? We asked Omar Rashid, film producer and VR pioneer in the entertainment industry

Why should an artist use virtual reality? What are the new technologies that best “lend themselves” to the art world? And above all: what does the public think? We asked Omar Rashid, an Italian-Iraqi designer and videomaker with a past as a writer. In 2016, together with Elio Germano, he made NoBorders VR, the first Italian documentary to use virtual reality, and in these months he’s bringing around Italy Segnale d’allarme, VR transposition of a “traditional” play. Omar is a true pioneer of virtual reality in our country. And he approached this technology thanks to a porn.

Read also —> At Monet’s house: an Augmented Reality tour to discover the secrets of the painter

Art and VR: Interview with Omar Rashid

How did you come to the world of VR?

I went through art and fashion studies but my background is strongly marked by hip-hop culture and the graffiti world. My first work experience was in New York in a skaters clothing company. In 2002, for “anagraphic” reasons, I was not able to obtain a work visa: let’s say that it was not the best historical moment to be the son of an Iraqi in New York! I returned to Florence with the aim of creating a reality that would be a melting pot of all the experiences I had had up until then. I created the brand Gold and I opened a sneakers store but then slowly I realized that it was better to focus my energies on communication and storytelling.

What is your approach with new technologies?

With technology I’ve always had an approach very influenced by my past as a writer. I don’t have space to communicate? I create it! I don’t have a budget? I use technology in an unconventional way. I started using virtual reality with this very spirit, in 2013, when together with Giovanni Landi I created Gold AR to promote my brand. It is a smartphone app that uses virtual reality to transform the environment around us into a 360-degree shooter: once framed, Gold’s stickers come alive and start moving like a snake. The goal is to shoot to hit it. Almost as a joke I sent the project to the Auggie Awards, the virtual expo that every year gives an award to the best augmented reality software, programs and apps. And Gold AR won the award for the best marketing campaign based on augmented reality, beating giants like Pepsi, Ikea, Absolut Vodka and Wall Mart in collaboration with Marvel: we are very proud to have beaten even the Avengers!

The next step was the production of audiovisual content?

My passions have always been high-tech and audiovisual. I’m super freaky and as soon as a new tech gadget comes out I have to have it. It went the same way with the first VK2 viewers in 2014. One of the first things I saw in augmented reality was porn. My reaction was, can you really make videos like that with this stuff? Soon after, I bought the Oculus Gear VR and a set of GoPro cameras to make my first augmented reality videos. Don’t worry, they weren’t porn! The very first footage I showed to some friends. Among them was actor Elio Germano who, after a moment of bewilderment, asked me to make something together!

In 2016, VR was a completely new technology: how was it to write the rules of this “new” audiovisual language?

The first important project I developed with VR was No Borders (directed by Haider Rashid, ed.) the first Italian documentary in virtual reality shot at 360°. Elio is the protagonist and investigates the migrant crisis in Italy. The film moves between the Baobab Center in Rome and the No Borders garrison in Ventimiglia, a city on the border with France which, at that time, had become the symbol of the migrant emergency. Virtual reality allows the viewer to immerse himself in the scene by exploring it at 360 degrees. In No Borders you live spaces, moments of the day, you listen to stories and experiences that involve the volunteers. Virtual reality leads to be part of a cross-section that affects everyone’s life more and more every day.

What are your upcoming projects?

I’m working on several projects experimenting with the language of VR. Recently came out The Italian Baba – My Cave in India: a virtual journey in search of oneself. The viewer is immersed in the distant Indian landscapes in search of a guide, a guru. We make an inner journey through the words of the text Barefoot on Earth by Folco Terzani, of which Elio Germano is the narrator. The Italian Baba is an example of how virtual reality can be the tool that allows us to taste and see places with our own eyes and at the same time with the eyes of someone who is not us. A 360° journey that speaks of lives lived and yet to be explored. In October (2019) I was in China to speak about audiovisual production at the World Conference on VR Industry and on November 1 I launched a project dedicated to my city. It is a solo video about Florence that, in the middle, changes and gives birth to a broader reflection on the history and fate of art in the society of the future: all with the support of VR!

Da Firenze con furore...Omar Rashid - DolceVitaOmar Rashid was born in Iraq and grew up in Florence. He finished his studies at Polimoda in Florence in 2002 and, after some experience as a clothing designer between Paris and New York, he created his own streetwear line and used unconventional channels to make it known. The passion for new languages and their application becomes the central element of his career. In 2013 he created Gold AR, an augmented reality app winner of the Auggie Award as "Best Augmented Reality-based Marketing Campaign". In 2016, together with Elio Germano, he realized NoBorders VR, the first Italian documentary that uses virtual reality, winner of the MiBACT "Migrarti" award at the Venice Film Festival. Today with his agency Gold Enterprise he realizes VR projects, in parallel he teaches viral marketing and web communication at IED in Florence.

Read also —> Virtual Reality: you can visit Trajan’s Market in Rome from the couch at home

Source: https://www.thepatent.news/2021/01/06/vr-porn-interview-omar-rashid/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vr-porn-interview-omar-rashid

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Canadian VR Company Sells $4.2M of Bitcoin Following the Double-Spending FUD

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NexTech AR Solutions, a Vancouver, Canada-headquartered developer of VR and AR solutions, has booked a $200,000 profit after selling over 130 bitcoins. The firm justified its decision with the double-spending that allegedly occurred on the BTC network yesterday.

  • According to a press release published by the company, NexTech has sold all of its BTC holdings, amounting to 130.187 bitcoins. With today’s prices, this amount is worth north of $4,2 million.
  • The sale has come less than a month after the initial purchase – revealed on December 29th, 2020. Despite the relatively short period, though, BTC’s price has expanded, and the firm managed to realize a profit of $200,000 after the sale. This means a 5% ROI in just a little over three weeks.
  • However, what’s more interesting is the company’s reasoning for the sale. NexTech CEO Evan Cappelberg said that the decision came after reports of a “critical flaw called a ‘double spend’ may have occurred, which, if true, allows someone to spend the same Bitcoin twice.” 
  • The executive argued that such a development would undermine the faith in the BTC network. “If the system is built on scarcity and faith in the system, then a ‘double spend’ would eliminate both – essentially destroying the store of value it was meant to be.”
  • This alleged double-spending accident raised numerous concerns inside and outside of the community. Nevertheless, Andreas Antonopoulos, among the most popular BTC proponents, debunked the rumor with comprehensive tweets and explanations. 
  • He called the rumor an “irresponsible publication” and said that the situation was nothing more than two blocks getting mined almost simultaneously. 
  • Antonopoulos further explained that this was a regular block reorganization instead of a double spend and concluded that “nothing weird or outside the consensus algorithm happened. Bitcoin continues to work exactly as it should.”
  • Similarly, Blockstream CEO Adam Back shared Antonopoulos’s conclusion, saying that “there was no Bitcoin double spend. Stop misreporting stuff, seriously.”
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/canadian-vr-company-sells-4-2m-of-bitcoin-following-the-double-spending-fud/

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Bitcoin Correction Intact While Altcoins Skyrocket: The Crypto Weekly Recap

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Bitcoin failed to recover in the past seven days and it marked a further decline of about 8%. This has its current price hovering around $32,000 and its dominance has declined to 64.1%. But before we take a look at what this means for the altcoin market, let’s see what happened with BTC.

The cryptocurrency started off trading above $35K and even took a shot at $38K on Saturday. The bears had a mind of their own, however, and prevented this from happening, sending the market in a sideways trajectory for the next few days.

Yesterday, though, things took a turn for the worst as the market tanked and lost about $5K in just a few hours. This continued in today’s trading session as the price hit a low of around $28,800. The bulls regrouped and prevented a 4-hour candle close below $30K and managed to recover to where we currently stand at around $32,000.

In between all this, however, a lot of things happened in the altcoin market. Ethereum breached its former all-time high above $1430, major large-cap coins such as LINK and Polkadot also saw serious increases. Cumulatively, this reduced Bitcoin’s dominance to about 64% and it’s interesting to see how things will develop from here.

What may have triggered the sell-off during the past few days was news that a double-spent had happened on Bitcoin’s network – something which, if true, could undermine the entire credibility of its blockchain. Well-known proponent and industry expert Andreas Antonopoulos took it to Twitter to explain in great detail why this wasn’t the case. He made it clear that nothing that happened was out of the ordinary and that Bitcoin’s network is and has been operating exactly as intended.

Elsewhere, the US Treasury Secretary nominee, Janet Yellen, reiterated that cryptocurrencies have been used for illicit activities but also said that they can improve the current financial system.

“Long Bitcoin” has also become the most crowded trade according to a survey by the Bank of America, which goes on to show that the interest in the cryptocurrency continues to increase.

In any case, it’s interesting to see how the next week will go and if the coveted $30K mark for Bitcoin will hold up.

Market Data

Market Cap: $937B | 24H Vol: 166B | BTC Dominance: 64.1%

BTC: $32,460 (-8.89%) | ETH: $1,237 (+7.53%) | XRP: $0.273 (-1.41%)

Andreas Antonopoulos Fights FUD With Facts: Bitcoin Is Safe And Worked As Expected. Long-term Bitcoin proponent and industry expert Andreas Antonopolous took it to Twitter to bust the recent FUD that a double-spent had taken place on Bitcoin’s network. He reiterated that the protocol is working fine and as intended.

US Treasury Secretary Nominee Yellen: Crypto Can Improve The Financial System. The nominee of President Joe Biden for the US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, has said that the technology behind cryptocurrencies has the potential to improve the efficiency of the financial system.

Largest Asset Manager BlackRock May Start Trading Bitcoin Futures. The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, has filed two documents with the SEC, letting the watchdog know that some of its funds may start trading cash-settled Bitcoin futures contracts in a huge move for the entire cryptocurrency industry.

Ethereum 2.0 on Track as Staked ETH Tops $3.6 Billion. According to the latest update from developers who are working on Ethereum 2.0, everything is on track and the network is also growing in terms of the amount staked and its security. This comes as ETH hit a new all-time high this week.

Bitcoin And Tesla Stock The Biggest Market Bubbles According to a Deutsche Bank Survey. According to a survey conducted by the large multinational Deutsche Bank, Bitcoin and Tesla stocks are the biggest market bubbles in the recent month. It indicated that more than half of the investors believe in this narrative.

Long Bitcoin Unseats Tech Stocks as the Most Crowded Trade in January, BofA Reports. Long Bitcoin has become the most popular trade recently, unseating stocks of technology companies. This became clear in a study conducted by the Bank of America. Bitcoin continues to gain interest.

Charts

This week we have a chart analysis of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Polkadot, and Chainlink – click here for the full price analysis.

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Disclaimer: Information found on CryptoPotato is those of writers quoted. It does not represent the opinions of CryptoPotato on whether to buy, sell, or hold any investments. You are advised to conduct your own research before making any investment decisions. Use provided information at your own risk. See Disclaimer for more information.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bitcoin-correction-intact-while-altcoins-skyrocket-the-crypto-weekly-recap/

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Bitcoin as a last resort? Murmurs of crypto as reserve currency abound

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Reserve currency is money held by central banks or treasuries usually for international transactions. Argentina is not going to be able to purchase a Boeing 737 MAX passenger jet, for example, with its highly inflationary peso; it will have to pay with U.S. dollars, which is why Argentina keeps dollars on hand — i.e., in “reserve.”

A second basic function is to support the value of a national currency. If the Brazilian real, for instance, plummets during an economic contraction, Brazil’s central bank could bid it up again by purchasing reals with dollars that it holds in reserve.

Could Bitcoin (BTC) fulfill these key functions of a reserve currency? “I certainly think so, in the future at least,” Franklin Noll, a monetary historian and the president of Noll Historical Consulting, told Cointelegraph. Bitcoin’s electronic nature makes it well suited for settling payments. “If gold was used in the past to do so, this digital gold should do the job as well, if not better.”

Meanwhile, these are unusual times. When markets crashed amid the COVID-19 crisis in March, Bitcoin followed suit. “BTC did not perform well,” Sinjin David Jung, managing director at International Blockchain Monetary Reserve, told Cointelegraph. But in early 2021, the world is facing a different circumstance, one marked by extensive stimulus spending — especially in the United States — and if the dollar falters, according to Jung:

“BTC’s position is almost like the ‘last resort reserve currency’ in holding value if the increase of the U.S. dollar supply becomes the only tool for avoiding financial depression while paradoxically resulting in supercharging the market.”

“The U.S. dollar is still king”

But challenges remain, and Bitcoin probably won’t supplant USD anytime soon. Said Noll: “The current problem with Bitcoin — as with gold — is that few, if any, goods or debts are denominated in Bitcoin.” Furthermore, according to him: “It’s hard to see a future where a significant amount of the world’s trade is denominated in Bitcoin. The U.S. dollar is still king.”

Jonas Gross, project manager at the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center — a think tank associated with the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management — sees little chance that BTC will be used as a reserve currency by any industrialized country in the near future. “Skepticism remains very high,” he told Cointelegraph, referring to a recent statement made by European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde that called for global regulation of BTC because of money laundering concerns, among others.

That said, “the U.S. dollar’s dominance as the world’s reserve currency could indeed be threatened,” continued Gross. China is in advanced testing of its central bank digital currency — i.e., its digital currency/electronic payment project — which could be launched as early as 2022, and foreigners might be allowed to access and use it for transactions. In that event, Gross added:

“It would be possible to use a digital version of the yuan for global payments easily and conveniently — transaction costs could be reduced, and the digital yuan would ‘flow across borders’ quite easily.”

China’s yuan will have to go some distance to catch the dollar, however. USD accounted for 60.46% of the world’s allocated foreign exchange reserves as of Q3 2020, followed by the euro (20.53%), Japanese yen (5.92%) and U.K. pound sterling (4.50%), according to the International Monetary Fund. The yuan was only fifth (2.13%).

Just six dominant reserve currencies since 1450

Campbell Harvey, professor of international business at Duke University, told Cointelegraph that as the rates of borrowing in the United States rise, “the riskier it [USD] becomes as a reserve currency. At some point, it is too risky, and alternatives are sought.” Indeed, economic history teaches that global reserve currencies do not last forever.

In August, business intelligence firm MicroStrategy announced that it had adopted Bitcoin as its primary treasury reserve asset. At the start of 2021, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper raised the ante, suggesting that not only companies but governments might use crypto as a reserve, albeit as part of a “basket of things” that also included gold and fiat.

There have been six major world reserve periods since 1450, with an average span of about 94 years. The U.S. dollar has already been the world’s reserve for 100 years, surpassing the average, and is nearly equal to its predecessor, the British pound, which dominated for roughly 105 years.

BTC by itself is unlikely to become a reserve currency because of its extreme volatility, though, Harvey said. “Currently, the USD volatility versus 10 leading currencies is about 3%–4% per year. BTC is in the range of 80%–90%.” Gold, he added, has an annual volatility of about 15%.

Part of a basket?

On the other hand, cryptocurrencies could be used as part of a basket in the future, added Harvey. “It would unlikely be a single cryptocurrency in the basket. By the time this happens, all major central banks will have their version of a cryptocurrency.”

The idea of a diversified basket is not new, continued Harvey, referencing F. A. Hayek’s 1943 Economic Journal paper titled “A Commodity Reserve Currency.” Still, “there are plenty of issues: What assets do you use and what are the weights?” Also, who actually determines the weightings and if and when an asset is to be added or dropped?

“Bitcoin could indeed be used as part of a ‘basket of things’ as a hedge against inflation and political turmoil,” Gross said. One already sees BTC being used as a corporate treasury reserve, he added, mentioning MicroStrategy. Noll, too, viewed some corporations’ recent embrace of Bitcoin as a treasury reserve as a significant development:

“It is a short step from widespread private reserve currency/asset to public reserve currency/asset. If Bitcoin is good enough for banks, insurance companies and cities, it certainly is good enough for a small nation looking to bolster its own reserves.”

José Parra-Moyano, assistant professor at Copenhagen Business School, told Cointelegraph: “It could be that if Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies establish and continue showing technical security, central banks will incorporate them to their reserves.” But maintaining technical security over time won’t be easy, he suggested.

Is the infrastructure sufficient?

Is BTC’s infrastructure anywhere close to ready? Jung told Cointelegraph: “At this point, only BTC [among cryptos] could be considered a contender for the last resort reserve currency”; its transparency, simplicity and track record “clearly show it to be engineered for this function.”

“There are indeed some hurdles to overcome,” according to Gross. “Lower volatility and higher speed — e.g., implemented through the Lightning Network — would increase BTC’s attractiveness.” Furthermore, he outlined that efforts to educate regulators about cryptocurrencies should be improved so that they understand the potential of the technology “from a portfolio diversification perspective.”

Other potential obstacles are Bitcoin’s “newness” — it has only existed for 12 years — noted Harvey, as well as its still-limited adoption, vulnerability to manipulation — “see the academic evidence on USDT and BTC” — and also vulnerability to algorithmic attacks, “a 51% attack is costly but feasible.” Harvey added:

“Central banks don’t like it because it’s deflationary, and the algorithmic nature of the money creation usurps their economic influence — of course, this last point is also a selling point.”

Jung believes that the often-cited volatility flaw is exaggerated. BTC can’t help but be volatile in the process of its positioning as the last resort reserve currency. It will “continue to be volatile until the conditions are met when the U.S. dollar value starts to consistently drop even as the excess U.S. dollars are fueling greater market gains.”

Finally, in asking about BTC’s potential as a reserve currency, it is assumed that there will always be the need for such a reserve. Harvey, for one, isn’t so sure. “Why do we even need a ‘reserve’ currency?” he asked. “In the future, everything will be tokenized. To pay for something, you will have your choice what to pay in — e.g., BTC, gold, IBM stock, etc. Users will have easy access to millions of cross rates and will be instantly able to ‘pay with whatever asset you choose.’”

“Inherently when you speak about a reserve currency, it is all about long-term stability and competitiveness,” said Jung. “As such, the U.S. dollar will always act as the world’s primary reserve in times of geopolitical uncertainty. But what happens when the world and the U.S. dollar is in a continual state of quantitative easing?”

In that event, all bets are off, and national governments, beginning with smaller countries, might indeed gravitate to a basket of hard and digital assets as their reserve currency of “last resort.” Crypto and blockchain proponents will just have to continue spreading the word and hope that BTC or any other cryptocurrency will eventually become mature and worthy to take up the mantle of a commonly accepted reserve.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-as-a-last-resort-murmurs-of-crypto-as-reserve-currency-abound

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