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Zenit St. Petersburg are creating collectible blockchain cards of their players

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Zenit St. Petersburg — the top soccer club in Russia’s Premier League — has signed on to the Ethereum blockchain-based fantasy soccer game Sorare platform.

As of Oct. 15, Zenit players will be released as collectible and tradeable digital cards as part of the blockchain-based game, joining 100 other international soccer clubs among them Juventus, PSG, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. 

Blockchain player cards can be exchanged with other managers and gamers can play games as soon as they have a minimum of 5 digital cards.  The score of each player card is tied to their real-life performances in soccer league tables.

Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia says the platform aspires to create a global fantasy soccer blockchain game that includes the top 10 leagues in the world. 

Since its launch in March 2019, Sorare has grown 52% month-on-month on average and today counts 40,000 users globally. Interestingly, Russia has grown to become Sorare’s third-largest marker worldwide, witnessing 70% month-on-month user growth. The country also ranks first in terms of average daily time spent on the gaming platform, at 1 hour 15 minutes per day.

Zenit’s general director, Alexander Medvedev, has said he hopes the partnership with Sorare will give the club’s brand better coverage and enable it to reach out to younger fans overseas, especially in Asia and America.

Nonfungible — a rankings site for blockchain games and creators of collectible, non-fungible tokens — currently has Sorare ranked 4th. It reports $181,353 in seven-day volume as compared with $445,545 for the top-ranked game, Superrare.



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Blockchain is still far from maturity, says China’s former IT minister

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Wu Zhongze, China’s former vice-minister for Science and Technology and a well-known digital economics expert, believes that blockchain technology is still quite young.

During an interview with The Paper, the former IT minister also stated that there was still “not much difference between where China and leading economies such as the United States and Europe” stand in terms of developing blockchain-based ecosystems.

Wu noted, however, that China has improved across a number of sectors that are necessary for blockchain development, including hardware manufacturing, platform and security services, industry investment, and financial development, adding:

“With the innovative development of blockchain technology and industry, its application is accelerating, and the scale of the industry continues to increase. This field is expected to become a new economic growth point in the future.”

In what he called the “rapid advancement” of China’s blockchain infrastructure, the former minister stated that distributed technology will bring new opportunities to integrate and develop new technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, data centers, and the industrial Internet.

A recent report by Securities Daily explained how China’s publicly-listed companies spend the millions they have allocated toward blockchain R&D.

The study surveyed 23 companies in China who began working with blockchain back in 2016. Figures suggest that companies allocate an average 20% of their annual revenues toward such purposes. The majority of these funds are spent to further government-related solutions.



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Blockstack PBC changes its name to ‘Hiro’

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Blockchain software firm Blockstack PBC announced that it will be changing its name to “Hiro Systems PBC.”

Muneeb Ali, co-founder and CEO of Blockstack, told Cointelegraph that the team plans to focus on a narrower set of priorities once the stacks 2.0 mainnet launches — something they believe has the potential to unlock an “immense amount of value and possibility”:

“We’ll narrow our focus to building tools for developers that are building apps and smart contracts on Bitcoin. This is enabled by the fact that the ecosystem around Stacks has matured (…) With key functions being taken care of by other organizations, PBC will no longer need to spend the majority of its time at the ecosystem growth or pubic infrastructure (blockchain) layer.”

In a previous interview, Ali said that the best way to bring about a user-owned internet “is to anchor applications and smart contracts to the Bitcoin network in a way that uses Bitcoin as a reserve currency and its powerful blockchain as a security mechanism.”

In June, Algorand and Blockstack launched a joint open-source project to support the development of a smart contract language dubbed “Clarity.” Both companies claimed that existing smart contract languages are neither secure nor predictable enough to meet the growing needs of the emerging industry.



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South Korean telecom launches blockchain wallet for official documents

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The South Korean telecom giant SK Telecom has announced it will issue its first digital wallet for blockchain-powered digital certificate storage and management with the approval of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security.

According to NewsTomato, SK’s Wallet is compatible with the ministry’s own Government24 digital certificate initiative, which promotes the use of electronic certificate issuance and distribution systems in South Korea in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SK Telecom’s digitalized public certificates include copies of resident registration cards, health insurance qualification certificates, immigration certificates, among other documents previously issued on paper and signed by hand. They will be now issued through a mobile app backed by blockchain technology.

Certificates issued through the Government24 app can be received in the SK’s wallet and later submitted to public entities, financial institutions, and private companies as electronic documents.

In the initial stage, 13 types of certificates will be compatible with the wallet, but at the end of the year, SK Telecom plans to make it compatible with “a total of 100 types” of certificates, including tax-related documents.

Oh Se-hyun, head of SK Telecom’s Blockchain & Certification Business Division, argued that blockchain is an essential technology in a society that is “rapidly changing due to the need for non-face-to-face solutions where we need innovation in the process of submitting and processing certificates centered on paper documents and manual work.”

He also highlighted the security advantages that the technology could bring to such processes.

Recently, it was revealed that one million South Koreans have foregone their physical drivers licenses in favor of a blockchain-powered digital alternative used in conjunction with the PASS smartphone app.

This represents more than 3% of the entire driving population in South Korea, which sat at 32.6 million licensed drivers in 2019 according to Statista.



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