While many global financial institutions are slowly climbing on board the Bitcoin train, a few are still not feeling the virtual currency, such as the governor of Australia’s central bank.
Bitcoin frenzy is in full swing, as is evident by the launch of futures trading by Cboe and that the total market cap of all cryptocurrency hit half a trillion dollars. More and more global financial firms are becoming active in the crypto world, but not everybody is feeling the love for Bitcoin. One such person is the governor of Australia’s central bank, who recently labeled the surging interest in virtual currencies as “speculative mania.”
Bitcoin? Bah, Humbug!
The governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Philip Lowe, gave a speech where he said that it was hard for him to envision people using Bitcoin in normal, everyday transactions. He expressed:
The value of bitcoin is very volatile, the number of payments that can currently be handled is very low, there are governance problems, the transaction cost involved in making a payment with bitcoin is very high and the estimates of the electricity used in the process of mining the coins are staggering.
The view outlined by Philip Lowe echoes that of the governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Grant Spencer, who said:
I think a cryptocurrency that has a more stable value will be the sort of cryptocurrency that is more useful for the future. I think they are part of the future. But not the sort that we see in bitcoin.
The reasons for the opinions of Philip Lowe and Grant Spencer is that Bitcoin has shown a good deal of volatility on an almost daily basis, something that most financial experts are leery of. It’s also noted that only a handful of brick-and-mortar retailers actually accept Bitcoin directly as a payment.
Are Electronic Dollars in the Future?
While not thrilled with Bitcoin, Lowe is actually pretty keen on blockchain technology and its use as a basis for an electronic dollar issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia. He believes that such an electronic dollar would be more efficient and have a lower cost for payments and business processing.
It is possible that the RBA might, in time, issue a new form of digital money – a variation on exchange settlement accounts – perhaps using distributed ledger technology.
Lowe believes that such an electronic dollar would be popular as people, in times of crisis, would rather have currency that has a central entity backing it as opposed to privately issued currency.
Philip Lowe of the RAB concludes his thoughts on Bitcoin with the following:
When thought of purely as a payment instrument, it seems more likely to be attractive to those who want to make transactions in the black or illegal economy, rather than everyday transactions.
So, the current fascination with these currencies feels more like a speculative mania than it has to do with their use as an efficient and convenient form of electronic payment.
Do you agree or not with the opinion of Philip Lowe that the current Bitcoin frenzy is a speculative mania? Could cryptocurrency backed by national governments become the norm? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Smart Contracts are becoming an important part of modern corporations and institutions. But often times most small and medium businesses prefer to stay aside from Smart Contracts, due to associated legal risks (smart contracts often are not recognized by courts because they aren’t always legally binding) and lack of technical expertise. Jincor aims to solve these problems by offering a platform for businesses that want to create legally binding Smart Contracts in a cost-efficient manner.
[Note: This is a sponsored article.]
Smart Contracts: Blockchain’s Next Killer App?
Blockchain technology has the ability to solve many complex problems in very efficient and smart ways. Finance, KYC/AML, and Healthcare are only just a few areas that can greatly benefit from Blockchain technology.
Huge international corporations and small businesses have now discovered a new exciting component of blockchain technology – smart contracts.
Smart contracts are essentially very similar to traditional contracts, but with the huge difference that they are enforced by cryptographic code.
How can Businesses Benefit from Smart Contracts?
Smart contracts were first proposed by famous cryptographer Nick Szabo in 1996. The idea behind a smart contract is that it can easily allow multiple parties to securely and efficiently exchange shares, properties, and money without having to rely on traditional paper contracts that require a notary.
Companies and big corporations can eliminate potential security risks and save a lot of money on legal fees and manpower with smart contracts.
According to recent reports, SWIFT, one of the biggest financial cooperative in the world, has already started experimenting with smart contracts for its internal systems.
Did you know smart contracts are already used in flight-delay insurance and real estate? Read this new article on our blog to learn exactly what these benefits are.https://t.co/WrD1flq3Mo
Smart contracts seem to be the next big thing in tech, but why haven’t more companies jumped on board yet? There are several things that need to be taken into consideration in order to answer that. First, Smart contracts are still pretty new and not mature enough yet to be used by huge corporations that transact with billions of dollars daily.
Security concerns are also a valid reason why companies are still only experimenting with smart contracts. Since it’s still a relatively new technology, there aren’t many approved security practices/protocols for it yet.
The infamous DAO hack is a great example of how a buggy smart contract could potentially cause millions of dollars in damages to the infrastructure of corporations. The DAO hackers were able to drain over 3 million ETH, which is currently worth over $1 Billion.
Security audits for smart contracts can be relatively expensive and in some cases, very time-consuming, depending on the complexity of the contract and its functions.
Companies that want to develop such contracts also face another big problem. Currently, smart contracts are developed on Ethereum Blockchain with a special programming language called Solidity. Since Solidity is also very new, there not many developers available in the job market with sufficient experience in it. There is a massive demand for solidity and Ethereum developers in the FinTech and blockchain space, which caused the salaries of Solidity programmers to skyrocket as high as $250,000 per year.
Jincor project, founded by Vlad Kirichenko and Vagan Abelyan, develops a platform that will allow businesses to create and deploy legally binding smart contracts in as easy way as possible.
Businesses will not have to worry about hiring expensive developers or security experts in order to create a proper smart contract. The Jincor platform will allow them to choose smart contract templates that have already been coded, tested, and audited by the Jincor development team and then customize them to their specific needs.
One of the most important things that the platform focuses on is the legal compliance with each contract. The Jincor team ensures that each smart contract will be legally binding and comply with the proper regulations of each jurisdiction.
The Jincor team is planning to hold an Initial Coin Offering on the 1st of December 2017. Here are the key points of the ICO:
Total Token Supply: 35,000,000 JCR
Hard Cap: $26,000,000
Soft Cap: $2,500,000
Exchange Rate: 1 JCR = 1 USD
It is worth noting that Jincor already has more than 300 beta requests from companies.
Do you think that an easy to use smart contract management platform will make businesses more likely to adopt the technology? Let us know in the comments below.
Companies such as HealthHeart are leading the charge when it comes to implementing the security, usability, and scalability of the blockchain to improve on current EHR (electronic health record) offerings.
[Note: This is a sponsored article.]
While blockchain technology is primarily associated with the financial world, its benefits can be applied to other sectors too. Healthcare is one sector in particular that could realize significant benefits through blockchain implementation – especially with regard to patient records.
Current electronic health record (EHR) systems are woefully outdated and plagued with issues like security breaches, cumbersome design and workflows, and over-inflated costs. By managing and storing patient records on the blockchain, EHRs can eliminate the most common challenges and pain points reported by healthcare professionals.
A blockchain-based EHR system can be equally applied to health care providers of any size, from single practitioners to multinational hospital chains. The cost savings of using a system stored on a blockchain are also significant, as platform, storage costs and backups are vastly reduced.
Companies such as HealthHeart are keen to make progress in using blockchain technology to improve the EHR system for both care providers and patients.
Security for Sensitive Patient Data
Over the past several years, there has been a big push in the healthcare industry to “go digital”. In fact, in 2009 the United States government issued a mandate requiring healthcare providers to have transitioned to an EHR by 2015 or face penalties in the form of Medicare reimbursement reductions. A recent survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) found that as of 2015, nearly 88% of all office-based physicians were using some form of EHR system.
Unfortunately, the push to digitize patient records has left them more vulnerable than ever to theft by hackers who can sell a complete medical record on the black market for as much as $1000. In the first half of 2017 alone, there have been over 790 data breaches, of which nearly 25% were in the medical / healthcare sector.
In the wake of increasing cyber-attacks and electronic security breaches, securing sensitive patient data is more important than ever before. The unparalleled security that the blockchain offers makes it an ideal foundation for a new type of EHR.
Consider the following key benefits of a decentralized, blockchain-based EHR system:
Patient records are not stored in a single central location but are instead encrypted and distributed across the entire blockchain, making patient data much more secure and far less vulnerable to hacking.
Data stored on the blockchain is immutable. It can be amended (e.g. adding new information onto a data record) but it cannot be overwritten. This eliminates the likelihood of patient records falsified or corrupted and maintains data integrity.
HealthHeart – Next Generation EHR
HealthHeart is the first EHR to be developed by veterans of the EHR and network security industries who had the foresight to recognize the possibilities offered for improving existing systems through utilizing the Ethereum blockchain.
The HealthHeart EHR is a holistic approach to healthcare that not only allows all doctors participating in a patient’s care plan to access records but also provides a broader picture of a patient’s general health by syncing with data on apps such as Apple Health. In this way, healthcare providers are able to get a clearer picture of patients’ overall fitness, activity levels, diet, and more, potentially identifying problems that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
HealthHeart’s advisory board of active, certified medical practitioners has led them to address key concerns in the medical records and healthcare industries allowing secure, intuitive, and user-friendly system tailored to the needs of any size of medical practice or hospital.
HealthHeart Token Pre-Sale and ICO
HealthHeart’s token pre-sale has already begun and will continue until November 30, 2017. The main ICO will begin on December 1, 2017, and last until December 31, 2017, or until the hard cap is reached. There is no minimum investment requirement in order to participate in the token sale and investors can contribute using BTC, ETH, or LTC.
Like many other industries being disrupted by blockchain today, content sharing platforms are facing new challenges in their quest to meet the new consumer trends and needs. The obvious synergy behind blockchain technologies and p2p content sharing protocols (i.e. torrents) has brought to life a new generation of decentralized online services that are on the heels of such market’s giants as YouTube, Twitch, and Netflix.
To explore the nascent future of this industry Bitcoinist talked to Adrián Garelick, CEO of Flixxo. Adrián is the industry veteran, best known for having created RSK Labs. His new project, Flixxo, is a video sharing network, which employs distributed storage and BitTorrent protocol to store and share the content.
Flixxo launched a token sale campaign on October 24 which will end in 30 days or once the hard cap of 75,000 ETH is reached.
Bitcoinist: Both torrents and video sharing platforms revolutionized the paradigm of content sharing. One was a service allowing users to share free and often shady content, no questions asked. Another introduced the concept of monetizations and created online billionaire celebrities. What middle ground is Flixxo seeking? Or is it creating something completely different?
AG: I love this metaphor I´ve heard from a Youtuber “We are building beautiful houses on a piece of land we are renting from someone else”. With Flixxo, a video creator is building on top of his/her own network of followers. On top of his own land. This is only achievable by using p2p distribution systems, in which every user, every subscriber or follower, is making author´s network stronger. In this ecosystem, the creator of content sets the rules on top of his/her content and he/she can reward his/her fans. And the consumers have the power to bring wealth to the author, incentivizing him/her to create more content.
Bitcoinist: Modern online media is slowly shifting from pre-recorded material to lifestreams. Torrents are also shifting in collective perception from a hip tech to a dumpster for pirated content. Bearing in mind these two trends, what in your opinion will help Flixxo stay relevant and cool?
AG: I find torrents and blockchain similar technologies and also comparable in the collective perception. At the beginning blockchain (represented by Bitcoin) was accused to be a technology for money laundering and financing drug trafficking. Finally, financial institutions and governments found that it was an amazing technology that could be used for their own benefit. On the side of torrents, the protocol has been accused by big movies studios of only being used for piracy… when it has already proved to be a compelling technology for media distribution. Instead of adopting the protocol to their own benefit, they´ve decided to fight against it. Instead of exploring the possibilities, they´ve chosen to ban it. And studios didn’t succeed in stopping torrents, because of their decentralized nature. In this context Flixxo takes the most out of both technologies and creates a synergy, encouraging seeding of legal content.
And about lifestreams, there will always be space for quality pre-recorded videos. It is not only about what is happening right now in someone´s life, it is about good storytelling and quality content. However, torrents can be used for live stream and it is on our roadmap to explore that path.
Bitcoinist: Professional content creators depend on centralized platforms to offer their content to huge audiences and monetize the views. Will Flixxo be able to offer YouTubers comparable audience and monetary rewards? Please explain the math behind the platform if possible.
AG: We cannot bring four billion views to the next “Despacito”, but we can really help monetizing authors from a few thousand to some million views per month. These authors are making from nothing to pennies out of their productions on YouTube. In our platform, they get paid every time a user hits the play button. We have developed a complete economy in which consumers, who need Flixx to play a video, can earn tokens by watching advertising or by becoming distributors of content. So almost every token that comes from advertising goes to the wallet of the content producers, and they can exchange the tokens to fiat or to any crypto with liquidity, directly from advertisers.
We were surprised that premium content creators, with more than 1 billion views on YouTube, reached out to us and showed interest in bringing their content to the platform!
Bitcoinist: How will you incentivize people to join Flixxo, both content creators and consumers?
AG: For authors, we will launch a campaign in which we assume the role of co-producers of original content for Flixxo, in exchange they will have to invite their YouTube followers to our platform. For users we have reserved 500M tokens that will be distributed during ten years, and will reward certain social benchmarks (e.g. having distributed their first five videos, having sent or received two tokens with friends, etc) These incentive tokens will end up in the hands of content creators, encouraging them to bring more content to the platform, and more quality content will bring more users. We will need to be smart and to be ready to deal with this fragile flow.
Bitcoinist: To draw an audience to Flixxo, you’d probably want creators involved with Flixxo to no longer post anything on YouTube. Won’t content creators who keep sharing their content on YouTube even after joining Flixxo be nigh useless for Flixxo’s development? In other words, how important is exclusive content and how will you fight for it?
AG: Once authors find out that they can create a better profit out of their exclusive videos, they will stop posting them on YouTube. We are offering a new model, this new model may require a different content than the content they post on Youtube. So, some content creators would feel comfortable with this model and would be protective of their Flixxo content, and some of them would still prefer posting on both platforms.
Bitcoinist: A huge issue for current content creators is non-transparent and often draconian censorship policies centralized platforms observe. How will Flixxo make sure censorship is not a problem for anyone who is at least not creating criminal content according to international law?
AG: Flixxo is a platform and a network. As a platform, we’ve decided to stay family-friendly and to not allow certain content (such as pornography). However, the network cannot be censored and anyone is able to build a platform for their content on top of it. Back to the house metaphor, it is your own land, is up to you to build the house you want to build.
Bitcoinist: Futurists suggest that in the online world of tomorrow content sharing services will become concepts much broader than how we understand them today. Perhaps we will see social media become one huge conglomerate of imaginable services. In your opinion, how does Flixxo push the humanity in that particular direction? How do you see it evolve?
AG: At the end, it is always about human interactions. All the actual models of interactions rely on third parties, on triangles. There is always author, consumer, and YouTube; he, she and Facebook; client, retailer, and Visa. Flixxo is an ecosystem in which people interact without intermediaries: our network is a swarm of individuals connected, with a common interest in sharing audiovisual content. A network where video content is the language in which they communicate with each other. Directly with each other, without outsiders monetizing on their interactions or messing up the communication.
For more information about Flixxo and the services they offer, please visit their company website at flixxo.com.
Do you think the prospect of better monetization will be enough to woo content producers away from YouTube and on to Flixxo? Let us know in the comments below.
Mastercard has opened up their own blockchain to allow payment transactions to be carried out between selected banks and merchants, but this process uses fiat currency and not Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Quite a few companies have taken a keen interest in what blockchain technology has to offer, and one of these corporate entities is Mastercard, the massive credit card provider. Mastercard has spent the last few years developing its own blockchain, and now the Mastercard blockchain has been opened up as an alternative method of paying for goods and services. The major difference found in the Mastercard blockchain is that it does not use its own cryptocurrency. Instead, it uses real world money.
Mastercard Blockchain Open for Business
The Mastercard blockchain is now open for specific banks and retailers to use as a payment processing system. So far, participation in this blockchain is by invitation only. The last week has been a busy one for Fortune 500 companies and blockchain technology. IMB opened up their own blockchain earlier in the week. Probably the most intriguing aspect of the Mastercard blockchain is that it does not use its own cryptocurrency, which is something that even the IBM blockchain does.
Justin Pinkham, a senior vice president at Mastercard Labs, says:
We are not using a cryptocurrency, and we are not introducing a new cryptocurrency, because that introduces other challenges—regulatory, legal challenges. If you do a payment, then what we can do is move those funds in the way that we do today in fiat currency.
Why the Mastercard Blockchain Could be Very Successful
Some people may look at the Mastercard blockchain and shrug, but there are some factors in why it could be very successful. The first such reason is that Mastercard is lord and master of a vast financial empire, so to speak. It has a settlement network that counts 22,000 banks and financial institutions from all over the world. Few other entities have such a global reach. Another important factor is that the Mastercard blockchain only uses fiat currency, which reduces costs as there’s no need to convert one form of cryptocurrency into another and then, eventually, cash.
This reduction in cost is also amplified by reducing fees for cross-border payments. Normally, a payment that crosses national borders would have to pass through different sovereign banks, racking up fees with each step. The Mastercard blockchain would remove those steps entirely, thus making the payment less expensive and probably faster. Eventually, Mastercard’s blockchain could be used for other items, such as luxury goods to provide “proof of provenance.”
Overall, this is an interesting development. Could the lack of a cryptocurrency tie-in fire a shot across the bow of other blockchains? One also wonders how the energy use for a single transaction on the Mastercard blockchain compares to current credit card transactions and Bitcoin. A Dutch bank recently reported that the average energy cost for a Bitcoin transaction was 200kWh, and the cost for an Ethereum transaction was 37kWh. By comparison, a credit card transaction only incurred an energy cost of 0.01kWh.
Do you think the Mastercard blockchain will have a major impact? Does the fact that it does not use a cryptocurrency have long-lasting ramifications? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, and Flickr.
DDoS attacks are one of the most common problems on the internet. However, blockchain technology may hold the key to a safer and more pleasant internet, an avenue that is being explored by the Gladius project.
New Technology Brings New Problems
With the inception of new technologies, new problems are also sure to arise and “malicious actors” are usually among the first to take advantage of these problems, using exploits in new systems to disrupt businesses and individuals, profiting at their expense.
The internet is a perfect example. An amazing tool that allows us to connect to each other and access “endless” knowledge is also home tomany criminals and scammers.
DDoS orDistributed Denial-of-service attacksare one of the most common problems on the internet. A DDoS attack is when one of these malicious actors or more floods a website or server with useless traffic and/or requests, resulting in the website being overloaded. This can, of course, have an impact on the website’s revenue.
Distributed Denial-of-service attacks are just one of the many problems that plague the web and although solutions exist, they are far from perfect. Traditional DDoS protection services are often expensive and inefficient, relying on a subscription model that forces webmasters to pay a lot more than what they need or use. Needless to say that smaller websites often go unprotected due to the lack of revenue to pay for these inefficient services.
However, blockchain technology may hold the key to a safer and more pleasant internet both for the webmaster and the user, an avenue that is being explored by theGladius project.
Previous platforms likeStorjorFilecoinhave shown us that it is possible to skip these subscription models enforced by traditional companies with centralized structures through the use of decentralized networks.
The Blockchain solution
While Storj and Filecoin have applied this concept to the cloud storage industry, the idea of decentralized networks as service providers can be leveraged for other purposes, as long as the users (nodes) that constitute said network are incentivized. That’s where blockchain technology comes in. Cryptocurrencies allow for secure, quick, and cheap payments to be made to the nodes providing the service.
This is exactly what Gladius is trying to do. By creating a network of people who can lend their idle or unused bandwidth, Gladius is able to provide companies and webmasters with an efficient DDoS protection mechanism where the client only pays for what he uses. This same network is also leveraged by Gladius to provide a new and improved Content Delivery Network (CDN) where the same rules apply, the client only pays for what he uses.
So essentially, Gladius is aiming to accelerate the entire internet by turning every computer to a mini CDN. The outcome is faster geo-serving than centralized CDN’s (more distribution of data centers). It’ll also be safer than current DDoS protection solutions, due to blockchain encryption and the fact hackers will need to remove thousands of nodes around the internet to shut the system down.
The people running the Gladius software and providing these services are in turn rewarded withGladius (GLA), an Ethereum ERC20 token used as the native currency of the network which can be bought on exchanges by the clients that want to receive DDoS protection or use the CDN. The GLA token will also be available during an upcoming token sale. TheGladius white paperreads:
“Anyone with a computer can download and run the Gladius peer client in the background to rent out their unused bandwidth and earn Gladius Tokens (GLA). Large pools with hundreds, if not thousands, of nodes will then be able to handle a continuous stream of requests to validate website connections and block malicious activity.”
By leveraging blockchain technology, Gladius is not only able to provide a cheaper service for companies and webmasters, it is also creating a revenue stream for regular people who happen to have extra bandwidth, thus distributing the wealth that would be normally reserved for a handful of stockholders.
Will Blockchain technology continue to open the door for new and efficient business models? Is Gladius the key to solve DDoS attacks? Let us know what you think in the comments below
Blockchain-based video content sharing platform Flixxo is set to turn online video streaming on its ear with a platform that rewards content producers and viewers alike. Their eagerly anticipated token sale launches on October 24, 2017.
What is Flixxo?
Flixxo is a community-driven video content sharing platform that combines blockchain technology with the Bittorent communications protocol to create a decentralized alternative to YouTube, Twitch, and other similar social sharing platforms. Innovative smart contracts plus the power of peer-to-peer file sharing work together to put power, not to mention revenue, back into the hands of content creators.
Here’s how Flixxo works:
Content creators upload a video to the peer-to-peer Flixxo network and decide how many Flixx tokens it will cost for a user to watch their video. More than just a pay-per-view model, the smart contract associated with the platform’s blockchain technology allows for a lot of versatility. Creators can determine what percentage of Flixx earned will be shared with partners as well as with users who seed the creator’s video.
Once a user pays Flixx to watch a video, they can seed the video for other users to access. When other people decide to watch the video, the user will then earn Flixx by being part of the seeding network. Content creators can choose to have a higher percentage of earned Flixx go to seeders in order to promote their work.
Rodrigo Saiegh, executive producer at FAV! Media, which produces social media content for such giants as Sony and HBO, praised Flixxo’s model:
There are a bunch of new trends on digital content production, looking for disruption on digital distribution. By growing up an economy for teenagers and milennials, Flixxo will develop new business opportunities for such content.
Flixxo Token Sale
On Friday, October 13, 2017, Flixxo will launch their Flixx token presale. The main token sale itself will begin on October 24, 2017, and last for 30 days or until the hard cap of 75,000 ETH is reached. There is a total token supply of one billion Flixx that will be distributed as follows:
30% (300 million Flixx) will be sold in the upcoming presale and token sale
10% (100 million Flixx) will be allotted for the development team and partners, vested proportionally in two years.
10% (100 million Flixx) will be held by Flixxo to cover overhead, bounties, etc…
50% (500 million Flixx) will be distributed in a “predefined and regulated manner” via smart contract as an incentive for users and contributors to join the platform.
Flixx tokens can only be purchased with ETH and will have a fixed exchange rate of 1 Flixx = 0.00025 ETH (1 ETH = 4000 Flixx). Early investors in the project are eligible to receive significant discounts:
30% discount for those buying within the first 24 hours (1 ETH = 5200 Flixx)
25% discount for purchases made within days 2 to 7 (1 ETH = 5000 Flixx)
20% discount for purchases made within days 8 to 14 (1 ETH = 4800 Flixx)
15% discount for purchases made within days 15 to 21 (1 ETH = 4600 Flixx)
10% discount for purchases made within days 22 to 30 (1 ETH = 4400 Flixx)
At the end of the token sale, funds will be allocated as shown below:
Beyond the Token Sale – A Glimpse into Flixxo’s Future
Adrian Garelik, the CEO and co-founder of Flixxo, explains the driving force behind Flixxo:
I’ve long been in love with cinema, which is why I love how the internet has facilitated the spread of works from people all over the world. However, the major video distribution sites are monolithic, centralized, and offer paltry rewards to creators for all their hard work. Flixxo represents a major shift as we are putting power and choice back into the hands of those who love to create or watch videos online. Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the world, and it’s time for that revolution to come to online video distribution and consumption. Creators are rewarded when people watch their work, and users gain by being part of the peer-to-peer community. We’re creating a decentralized home for video lovers where the audience and creators actually hold all the cards and reap the rewards.
The furor surrounding Flixxo doesn’t end with the token crowdsale. The project’s roadmap reveals some exciting milestones ahead. Having already successfully developed and tested a fully functional alpha version of their platform earlier this year, Flixxo plans to open its Los Angeles headquarters in Q1 2018 and officially launch its fully functional platform in Q2 2018.
Q4 2018 will see Flixxo implementing the ability to white label and integrate their platform with other video platforms as well as the launch of a Flixxo marketplace and decentralized Flixx exchange.
Finally, in Q1 2019, Flixx will roll out integration capabilities for other platforms, such as gaming, music, and marketplaces.
The University of Melbourne has announced plans to pilot blockchain based certification and verification based scheme, allowing a private, secure and long-lasting way to verify their student’s credentials.
The University of Melbourne is trialing a blockchain-based record keeping program, allowing recipients to both store their credentials and allow third party access for verification purposes. Learning Machine are behind the issuing system using the Blockcerts open source code developed by the MIT Media Lab in 2016.
Professor Gregor Kennedy, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, explained:
While we are entirely committed to the existing degrees and awards that the University offers, we are also interested in exploring how we can build a more diverse credentialing ecosystem. Issuing credentials on the blockchain is a key component of this investigation.
Blockcerts Open Source Code and Wallet
The Blockcerts code is freely available to the public under the MIT open source license. One of the key benefits of the blockchain is that a recipient owns their credentials and that they will be available to be verified by third parties even if the issuer, in this case, the University of Melbourne, ceases to exist.
Students can access and share their credentials via an open source mobile phone wallet app, enabling them to easily show potential employers that they have the qualifications that they say they have. The benefits of verifying information in this manner include cost savings for the issuing university, security and the prevention of potential fraudulent misrepresentation when it comes to declaring actual qualifications.
Learning Machines CEO Chris Jagers stated:
The blockchain is an innovation that gives institutions brand protection while also giving individuals the benefit of owning their official records and taking them anywhere. Both issuers and recipients immediately gain a level of independence and security that wasn’t possible before.
Learning Machine is a US based company with headquarters in Cambridge, MA. The company is quick to point out that this undertaking by the University of Melbourne is a first in the Asia-Pacific region, and Learning Machines is keen to spread blockchain-based solutions across a broad range of sectors.
Institutions all over the world–universities, governments, corporations, and others–are coming to terms with the logistical challenges of an increasingly mobile, global workforce and student body. The blockchain upgrades legacy methods of credentialing and verification, increasing both the security and efficiency of records processing. The Learning Machine platform makes creating, issuing, and managing blockchain records simple and intuitive at scale.
Do you think record keeping and credentials verification on the blockchain are more secure than current traditional methods? Let us know in the comments below.
The entire spectrum of traditional financial assets has always been plagued with issues stemming from lack of liquidity. Blockchain technology is now being deployed to solve some of these issues through the tokenization of these assets.
[Note: This is a sponsored article.]
The Problem Plaguing ‘Traditional’ Real World Assets
Real estate, stocks, oil, or gold: All real-world traditional financial assets, all succumb to one common shortcoming – they’re not liquid. Liquidity refers to the ‘inexpensiveness to trade’: a factor which hugely influences trading volume. In fact, these assets are traditionally so hard to physically divide or transfer that a new system was developed to get around it: trading papers that represented them.
This new system still failed to solve the problem, however, as innumerable difficulties and risks arose from the complex and cumbersome legal paper-based agreements. What’s the solution, you ask? Tokenization of these assets, i.e. using a blockchain to convert these rights into a digital token that is backed by the asset itself.
Is Tokenization the Solution?
Tokenization of these illiquid traditional assets gives rise to the birth of a new market to trade the tokens thereby severely decreasing frictions to trade. This new market brings in new people who previously didn’t have access to trading such assets due to expensive procedures or legal complications that are incredibly hard for the average person to make sense of.
As a result, tokenization effectively ends up making the asset highly liquid, apart from enhancing its value due to the new found increased liquidity. The other noteworthy benefit of tokenization is security. Digitally trading tokens means buyers and sellers do not have to worry about physical and operational security; one can sleep peacefully knowing that even if a thief breaks into their home, their digital token will remain out of harm’s way. Since the same cannot be said of a physical asset, tokenization clearly emerges as an easier and more secure investing process.
Tokenizing Gold with GoldMint
Assets such as gold and oil, which can be exchanged for another of the same kind, are called fungible assets. Since these assets can be broken into multiple smaller pieces, their tokenization is very easy. This is achieved by bijective one-to-one mapping of the set of assets with the set of tokens.
One particular standout project, GoldMint, has done exactly that as it seeks to provide gold ownership solutions for cryptocurrency investors. Although gold is regarded as the safe haven precious metal for investors, owning it, however, comes with expensive security, safekeeping, insurance, and lack of liquidity related issues. GoldMint’s blockchain solution to these inherent problems is crypto assets backed by physical gold. GOLD a 100% physical gold-backed token.
GOLD tokens are 100% backed by physical gold or ETF using the current price of gold set on the LBMA exchange at the time of sale. This ensures stability and transparency while hedging the risk and the volatility associated with wild crypto-market fluctuations. GOLD, which is run on the GoldMint blockchain, can be used as a trust management investment tool. For instance, GOLD token holders can use them in loans, guarantees, and escrow services. GOLD also acts as a transparent, fast and secure payment tool.
GoldMint’s utility token is called MNT. This is used as a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm for confirming GOLD cryptoasset transactions. MNT miners can receive up to 75% in GOLD commissions for validated transactions. When GoldMint’s own blockchain is established, all that is needed to be done to become a validator is to download the official GoldMint Wallet app and launch it using your GoldMint account. MNT will run on the Ethereum blockchain to begin with.
Post-distribution, GoldMint intends to launch its own Graphene-based PoS blockchain Initially, MNT will be sold and distributed on the Ethereum blockchain. After MNT is distributed, GoldMint will launch its own PoS blockchain which will make the ecosystem faster, safer, and more productive.
The Road Ahead
Although blockchain-based solutions like GoldMint have the power to solve these old problems associated with traditional assets, there lie some roadblocks and speed bumps on the way down this road. Legal reform is needed as technology always outpaces regulations. Most countries require the transfer of physical assets with a government authority, which is counter-intuitive to the token-based approach. It does not help that digital tokens are not bound by geographical boundaries, which becomes a problem as security laws differ in different jurisdictions.
Since traditional assets are usually owned by a small group of owners, the risk of centralization during tokenization is something companies need to find ways to address. At the same time, the biggest challenge for companies tokenizing traditional assets will be to ensure that the tokens remain linked to the physical asset itself. If the buyer or seller lose trust in the company to do so, the token value automatically falls to zero.
Although mass-scale adoption of traditional asset tokenization will take years, it is bound to happen. As with any new technology, those who get in early get rewarded handsomely for their courage and appetite.
Do you think GoldMint will solve the liquidity problem that traditional assets like gold often face? Let us know in the comments below.
Snip, the first completely decentralized news platform, will be launching its ICO on September 29, 2017, at 11 PM UTC. This follows an extremely successful pre-sale in which they managed to raise nearly $4 million.
The Future of News on the Blockchain
News is dead. That is the first sentence of Snip’s whitepaper and it has never been truer than in today’s climate of “fake news” and information overload. A handful of corporations get to decide what is deemed “newsworthy” and readers are left to sift through clickbait, biased news articles, and endless ads.
Snip aims to change all of that.
Already in operation, Snip’s innovative blockchain-based news platform is unbiased and uncensored. Completely decentralized, Snip gives readers the ability to create customized, easy to digest newsfeeds about the topics that matter most to them. Furthermore, it is the individual reader, not Snip, who determines what is a legitimate news item and what is not, through the use of filters that allow the reader to ignore specific words or sources of content.
Contributors benefit from Snip as well and are rewarded with SnipCoins (SNP) based on the popularity of their posts and comments.
In recent days, Snip has announced the formation of several partnerships that will enable it to serve its readers, contributors, and advertisers better than ever before. Among those notable partnerships are:
Bancor – an Ethereum-based platform for decentralized exchange of ERC20 tokens
Goodwin Procter LLP – a top US-based law firm with expertise in blockchain and digital currencies
Wings – a decentralized platform for price discovery and forecasting
AdEx – an innovative blockchain-based ad exchange
Further partnerships are expected to develop as Snip grows in popularity.
Countdown to the Snip ICO
The Snip crowdsale is scheduled to begin on September 29, 2017, at 11 PM UTC. Participants will be able to purchase SnipCoins (SNP) at the current exchange rate of 1 ETH = 78,500 SNP. The hard cap of the crowdsale is $8 million. Once that cap is reached, the crowdsale will end. Prospective investors should note that half of that hard cap has already been reached in the form of a pre-sale that was held last month.
A total of 10 billion SnipCoins (SNP) will be minted, of which 80% will be reserved for contributors and the Snip community. The initial token distribution will be as follows:
28% will be available for purchase in the Snip crowdsale.
30% will be sold in a future token sale and locked for a period of 3 years.
21% will be reserved for the initial pool of contributor rewards.
5% is designated for the Snip company for internal use and for its advisors and partner companies. Snip employees and founders will not hold tokens prior to the sale and will not be rewarded with tokens in the first 6 months after the sale.