JUN 25 DIGEST: Ascribe Raises $2 Million in Seed Capital, Onename Releases API to the World

Ascribe raises $2 million in seed capital; Onename announces API enabling developers to build apps with blockchain identities; Ripple discontinues Smart Contract platform Codius and more top stories for June 25.

Ascribe Raises $2 million

Ascribe, a startup helping artists and writers secure their intellectual property rights through blockchain technology, has raised US$2 million in seed capital. The backers involved include Earlybird Venture Capital, Freelands Ventures, Digital Currency Group, among other angels.

The startup was founded by Bruce Pon, Trent McConaghy, and Masha McConaghy, who have vast experience in banking, hardware, and curation.

Bruce Pon:

"We are working on securing copyright, giving creators a means to license easily and transfer their work and we're swallowing the Internet to give creators visibility on what happens to their work. The idea to use blockchain to allow artists to create digital scarcity germinated in mid-2013 when Trent and Masha asked ‘Can you own digital art like you own bitcoin?' Trent built a prototype in fall-2013. In mid-2014, we decided to leave our companies to start Ascribe full-time. Since then, we've been refining the technology and working with early users."

Onename announces API for developers to build apps with blockchain identity

Onename, an open-source identity protocol provider, has announced that it is opening up its API to the outside world. This enables developers to register, update, and search blockchain-based user identities. According to Onename, the new API is important mainly because it supports decentralization and greatly simplifies things for developers.

“The Onename API provides a common interface to a couple of separate sub-systems that we've built over the past year. Our current production system is built on Namecoin and we've solved several scalability challenges of Namecoin along with extending the basic functionality provided by the underlying blockchain.”

Overstock Reports Over $100k in Bitcoin Losses for Q1 2015

Overstock has reported losses of over US$100,000 in bitcoin in the first quarter of 2015. Its cryptocurrency value holdings have also gone down to US$233,000 from US$340,000 at the end of the previous quarter.

Group general manager Judd Bagley explained:

"The swing in the value of our cryptocurrency holdings is attributable to the sale of some of our non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies, the use of some of our bitcoin to pay for services including our membership in the Chamber of Digital Commerce, and changes in the market."

Group general manager Judd Bagley

FBI: Criminals are increasingly using CryptoWall Ransomware schemes

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released a Public Service Announcement informing that public that criminals are increasingly extorting and demanding ransoms in digital currencies.

According to the US agency, Bitcoin, and other digital currencies are payment methods of choice to criminals because of the levels of anonymity they offer.

FBI Public Service Announcement:

“Data from the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) shows ransomware continues to spread and is infecting devices around the globe. Recent IC3 reporting identifies CryptoWall as the most current and significant ransomware threat targeting U.S. individuals and businesses.1CryptoWall and its variants have been used actively to target U.S. victims since April 2014. The financial impact to victims goes beyond the ransom fee itself, which is typically between $200 and $10,000. Many victims incur additional costs associated with network mitigation."

Chinese Mining Pools Call for Consensus on Bitcoin XT

Three of China’s biggest mining pools have called for more of a consensus before switching to Bitcoin XT.  F2Pool, BTCChina and Huobi Pool have stated they will not support the Core developer Gavin Andresen’s proposed changes to allow for bigger blocks, as they stand now.

Wang Chun, F2Pool admin:

“We will wait and see what other core developers think of Gavin's proposal. But we will certai