Čvc 01

Germany Creates Official Organization for Public Advocacy of Blockchain Tech

· July 1, 2017 · 12:30 pm

Officially named the  ‘Blockchain Bundesverband’, the new German advisory panel, which is focusing on public advocacy of blockchain technology in Germany, was launched at the German Reichstag with the help of local politicians, blockchain advocates, and startup leaders.


Encryption in Germany

On June 20, 2017, the German government voted into law a new bill which would effectively allow police and other government agencies to install a ‘state trojan’ onto suspects’ electronic devices. The ‘state trojan’ would give governmental bodies the ability to monitor encrypted traffic, like popular messaging apps Whatsapp and Single, that use encryption for secure communication between users.

Many security experts raised concerns that this bill could potentially hinder technological innovation and be damaging for startups and corporations that use p2p encryption for their services. Bitcoin and blockchain experts expressed regarding the privacy of cryptocurrency users and traders as well, fearing that the bill could be used to spy on cryptocurrency traders and startups that use blockchain technology for their services.

Blockchain Advisory Panel

The ‘Blockchain Bundesverband’ was initiated by blockchain enthusiasts, startup founders and local politicians from the CDU, SPD, Die Linke, Die Grünen and  FDP party. The most prominent startups that joined this blockchain organization are Slock.it, IOTA and Jolokom which are also based in Germany.

According to the official blog post of the ‘Blockchain Bundesverband’, the organization’s main goal is to help German startups and government institutions to integrate blockchain technology into their services and systems.  Another significant milestone for the organization is the official acknowledgment of blockchain verified documents, timestamps, and IDs by the German government.

Additional goals that the blockchain advisory panel plans to address include the following:

  • Usage of blockchain technology in a public office system by 2020.
  • Implementation of proper government regulation for blockchain and bitcoin.
  • Creation of a blockchain commission that will support the German government regarding the technological transition of government functions.

Do you think that the formation of this new blockchain advisory panel will enable Germany to properly promote blockchain innovation? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of  Pixabay, Bundesblock

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Kvě 15

Antonopoulos On Trust: Fake News ‘Is About To Happen To Money’

· May 14, 2017 · 9:00 pm

Andreas Antonopoulos has predicted that the world’s money supply will suffer the fate of information in the fake news era.


Money To Get Its Fake News Moment

In a talk originally held April 11 but republished Saturday, Antonopoulos said that in light of the multiple currency failures seen in recent times, consumers no longer know what gives cash in their pockets value. During the discussion Antonopoulos commented:

blockchain training conference Antonopoulos

What’s really interesting is what just happened in [the] news that has left an entire generation of people now unable to discern truth from fiction, easily manipulated through propaganda […] What I’m going to suggest today is this is about to happen to money.

Just like the information consumer watching television or reading news sources online, the debate about whom to trust and whether the reputation of a source means that source can be considered reliable is now transferring to the financial sector.

…And Bitcoin Is Already On Consumers’ Radar

Antonopoulos highlights the currency failures in countries including Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Ukraine as prime examples of central banks failing to uphold the promise that cash will be worth approximately the same tomorrow as today.

One day, that phrase which seemed so meaningful and strong and satisfying – ‘the full faith and credit of the United States of America’ […] – compare it to this one: ‘the full faith and credit of the National Bank of Zimbabwe.’ […] That sentence no longer has much weight to it.

In terms of Bitcoin’s role in providing a haven away from trusting third party authority, Antonopoulos used India’s increased interest in the virtual currency following demonetization of 86% of its cash supply last November.

Bitcoin is not going after replacing national currency; […] it’s doing something far more dangerous: it’s encouraging people to put their savings outside the system.

Germany: ‘If You Think Bitcoin Is Safe As Fiat, Take Responsibility’

For those reading the news a month after Antonopoulos’ words, a warning against using Bitcoin, this time from Germany’s central bank, now strikes an altogether less sincere tone.

“From our perspective Bitcoin does not constitute a suitable medium for storage of wealth,” Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele told German newspaper, Die Welt, last weekend. “Just one look at the highly volatile exchange rate demonstrates that.”

In further comments even more ironic in light of Antonopoulos’ words about trust, Thiele continued:

Carl-Ludwig Thiele

Whoever nonetheless thinks Bitcoin is as safe as the euro or dollar must take responsibility for that. All we can do is warn people about using Bitcoin as a means of wealth storage.

What do you think about Andreas Antonopoulos and Carl-Ludwig Thiele’s opinions? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Andreas Antonopoulos, Reuters, AdobeStock

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Dub 29

Europe Blockchain Fever: Public, Private Sectors Jumping on Board

Source: bitcoin

EU

Europe is taking blockchain technology and fintech solutions very seriously. All across the land, government officials, new startups, financial executives, and educators are promoting these emerging markets with much excitement. With investments being made within various European countries, and strategic discussions with parliament, it seems the Europe wants a leading edge in this growing environment.

Also read: Peter Todd Exposes MIT ChainAnchor Project That Enables Tracking Bitcoin User’s Identity

Dutch Bank Partners With Nexuslab Blockchain Ventures

recent partnership between the Dutch Rabobank and the Swiss-based Nexuslab will be geared towards early-stage European blockchain ventures. Switzerland’s blockchain startup program Nexuslab will be advised by experts from Rabobank, and the collaboration will give the bank access to the European startup Nexussquared. Both companies will host in-person hangout sessions in Amsterdam, London, Berlin, and Zurich. Daniel Grassinger, Managing Director of Nexuslab and co-founder of Nexussquared stated in the recent partnership announcement:

“We’re excited to work with Rabobank on this first round of Nexuslab. The engagement of a leading international industry player demonstrates Switzerland’s ability to play a central role in the development of the European blockchain ecosystem. Together with Rabobank, Startupbootcamp and our infrastructure and IT-partner SwissQ we have created an unparalleled offering for aspiring European blockchain startups to turn their ideas and visions into viable businesses.”

London Is All About Blockchain Technology

In a presentation at London’s Digital Catapult, Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock had some positive statements to say about blockchain technology. Hancock told attendees that digital ledger protocols give distributed consensus of everyone in the chain. He feels that data held within the chain has protection from central authority censorship and has “built-in immutability.” The Cabinet Office minister said during his speech, “we’re exploring the use of a blockchain to manage the distribution of grants. Monitoring and controlling the use of grants is incredibly complex. A blockchain, accessible to all the parties involved, might be a better way of solving that problem.” Another London proponent for the emerging technology is George Galloway, who is currently a Mayoral candidate, former Labour Party MP and current leader of The Respect Party. Galloway says in a recent podcast that if he becomes Mayor of London, he will use blockchain technology to provide a transparent budget.

Parliament to Regulate Blockchain Tech ‘Softly.’

Alongside these announcements, the European Union’s parliament has been considering what to do with blockchain technology as far as regulation is concerned. According to a recent report from Reuters, certain members of the EU council want to regulate these technologies “softly.” Jakob von Weizsaecker, a German member of the European Parliament gave some positive remarks about these protocols to the press and said, “We don’t want pre-emptive regulation, but we do want precautionary monitoring,” However, the virtual currencies and blockchain report given to parliament and passed calls for quite a bit of AML/KYC type of regulatory policies. The report does warn against regulating too harshly and Weizsaecker addresses the subject within the report. Weizsaecker states:

“To avoid stifling innovation, we favour precautionary monitoring instead of pre-emptive regulation. But, IT innovations can spread very rapidly and become systemic. That’s why we call on the Commission to establish a taskforce to actively monitor how the technology evolves and to make timely proposals for specific regulation if, and when, the need arises.”

European Central Bank is Infected by the DLT’s

To add to all the blockchain and digital currency fervor across the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) is full steam ahead with distributed ledger technology. An Executive Board Member of the ECB, Yves Merch said the central bank is researching blockchains and the economic implications. The board member said he considered Europe as a leader in blockchain technology. The declaration coming from Yves Merch doesn’t end the ECB news as another report finds the entity researching the current post-trade landscape, blockchain governance, and the overall implications of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The ECB paper was written by authors who don’t necessarily have the same opinions as the bank describe DLTs in great detail. According to the researchers the definition is:         

“DLTs allow their users to store and access information relating to a given set of assets and their holders in a shared database of either transactions or account balances. This information is distributed among users, who could then use it to settle their transfers of, e.g. securities and cash, without needing to rely on a trusted central validation system”

Europe Knows What Bitcoin and the Blockchain Is

Europe wants to be on the forefront of blockchain technology and financial technology solutions and each and every day this is becoming clearer. People from all around the EU are beginning to find out about cryptocurrency and DLT’s. In Germany, a recent report shows 44% of consumers know what Bitcoin is which is a good sign. Since 2008 Bitcoin has created some pretty cool concepts and ideas that are taking the world by storm. European proponents believe the EU is riding the lightning.   

What do you think about Europe’s fascination with these technologies? Do you believe the region is a leader? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Nexuslabs, Shutterstock, Wiki Commons and Pixbay

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Europe Blockchain Fever: Public, Private Sectors Jumping on Board

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Dub 28

Study Shows 44% of Consumers in Germany Know What Bitcoin Is

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Bitcoin Adoption Germany

It should come as no surprise to find out a lot of people have heard of Bitcoin by now, even though very few consumers have used the cryptocurrency so far. A new German Consumer Payment Study shows 1% of participants have ever used Bitcoin, which is a disappointing number.

Also read: Andreas Antonopoulos Makes Bold Prediction on Bitcoin Consensus

Bitcoin Has Not Yet Gained Much Traction In Germany

Although these types of studies do not paint the complete picture of consumerism in Germany, there are some telling signs regarding Bitcoin adoption in the country to be found. Considering how there are so many different payment options available in the country, it should come as no surprise to know Bitcoin is not all that popular in Germany right now.

To be more precise, the study shows how only 1% of participants knows what Bitcoin is, and have used the cryptocurrency in the past. While this is a rather low number, there is nothing to worry about just yet, as only 26% of respondents indicated they had never heard of Bitcoin before they were shown a video on what it is all about.

What is rather surprising, however, is how a significant portion – 44% – of participants indicated they know what Bitcoin is, but have not used it yet. This is a promising sign for cryptocurrency adoption in the country over the coming years, as there seem to be educational efforts taking place to promote the benefits of Bitcoin in general. However, 29% indicated they heard of it but are uncertain as to what Bitcoin is or does.

Another interesting piece of information comes in the form of how people seem likely to use Bitcoin in the next year. Especially the ones who haven’t used it yet, 12% seems willing to give Bitcoin a try in the next 12 months. If this were to be the case, Bitcoin adoption in Germany would get a significant boost.

If there is one thing to take away from this survey, it is how it is difficult to get a complete grasp of how people feel about Bitcoin in Germany. However, there seems to be a growing awareness of cryptocurrency in general, which can only be seen as a positive trend. But there is still a long way to go before mainstream adoption will be achieved in this country, as well as the rest of the world.

Whether this is due to a lack of educational efforts, or not making Bitcoin accessible enough for general consumers, remains a big mystery for now. One thing is for sure, though: both types of solutions are direly needed. With a healthy portion of participants indicating their knowledge on Bitcoin, new ways have to be found to get cryptocurrency into the hands of these people in a convenient manner.

What are your thoughts on this German consumer study? Would you expect to see similar statistics in your country? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Tsys

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tsys 

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Study Shows 44% of Consumers in Germany Know What Bitcoin Is

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Úno 22

Wall Street and Silicon Valley: A Match Made in the Blockchain

Source: bitcoin

Wall Street

A new report from Deutsche Bank points to financial technology (FinTech) organizations as being crucial towards advancing initiatives to integrate blockchain technology into Wall Street. Aptly titled ‘FinTech 2.0: Creating new opportunities through strategic alliance’, the report details the untapped potential which collaborative efforts between the largely geographically separated partners could bring, particularly to business-to-business (B2B) payments.

Also read: Lisk Announces ICO With ShapeShift, Dapps Made Easy

Blockchain Technology Needs Collaboration Between Silicon Valley and Wall Street

Wall Street

By bridging New York’s financial and regulatory horsepower with FinTech groups, many of whom are startups, Deutsche Bank is echoing an increasingly loud sentiment which is arguably necessary for large banking institutions to benefit from the blockchain’s potential. As the report itself states:

“For banks, the fintech culture and role as disruptor can be used as an advantage, with fintechs’ position outside of bank walls providing the necessary gateway to innovation. Partnership projects can exploit a “sandbox” approach to experimentation – with the freedom to test new ideas away from banks’ infrastructural and cultural constraints – and can sidestep internal obstacles to innovation, such as over-familiarity with antiquated payment methods, or the parameters imposed by investment or regulatory pressures.”

Transitions in digital infrastructure are paving a new path for banks as they look out on the 21st century. Given the unique and powerful ability for Bitcoin’s underlying technology to lower operating costs and latency times around financial settlements, there is a strong business case to advance these initiatives forward.

Many consumer-focused applications have launched, yet advancement on the B2B and infrastructural side is still slower than had been wished. The hope, however, is to advance blockchain development actively through leveraging the unique perspective and technical talent present at FinTech organizations with the scale, muscle, and network of banks. Stating the importance of creating a symbiotic relationship, especially from the angle of FinTech here, the whitepaper states:

“Two of the greatest difficulties fintechs face – particularly in the B2B market – are access to a sufficient client base (of corporates and their treasurers) and the ability to successfully scale-up a functioning solution for mass usage. While nimble and innovative, these corporates often lack the necessary global reach, processing infrastructure, financing capabilities and client-knowledge and experience to translate an in-demand market solution into a viable vehicle for long-term growth.”

In the past 5-10 years, there has been a surge of innovation around payments technology. Large banks are traditionally tied to data security and data privacy laws that force them to proceed with caution when innovating. FinTech startups, on the other hand, can experiment in a more unbounded manner. Recent applications such as Venmo demonstrate FinTech’s power to launch and captivate. Deutsche Bank is sensing the unnecessary divide between Banks and FinTech, and is suggesting that by partnering together new products can be launched more quickly and profit margins will increase for all parties involved.

B2B back-end blockchain solutions, it is hoped, will propel Banks towards an even larger scale and enable them to offer a more diverse and creative product line. For example, there are lots of potential applications of blockchain technology that Banks could pursue, such as partnerships and integrations with suppliers, inventory tracking, payroll assessment, and supply chain payments tracking.

Currently, Banks are hurt by backend, global financial architecture that remains outdated, disjointed, and inefficient and requires costly overhead, all while restricting B2B payment options. Systems such as SWIFT and GPS work and are reliable, yet in a world with quickly evolving communication channels they fall short. Stating the importance for Banks to fully realize B2B pathways, the report states:

“The B2B sector holds even greater potential than the retail advances so far, with online sales estimates for B2B revenues in 2020 double those of B2C. Innovation in this sector will be driven largely by CFOs and treasurers, who, accustomed to the prevalence of technology in their personal lives, now expect the same capabilities and level of convenience for their corporate cash management operations.”

Without the human capital or organizational freedom to explore, Banks are intelligently looking towards FinTech. As it specifically relates to B2B payments, in the developing world there is a huge opportunity for digital businesses and local banks to be included in the global financial ecosystem with much less hassle. Over the long run, look for the success of these partnerships to be fostered through a willingness to work together and overcome cultural differences.

What do you think of Deutsche Bank’s latest report? Can Silicon Valley and Wall Street work together in the long run? Share your thoughts below!

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Úno 03

German Socialist Democrats’ Proposed War On Cash Will Not Affect Bitcoin

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Germany

With multiple countries around the world looking to become cashless, things are starting to change slowly but surely. In Germany, the Social Democrats want to impose a limit on cash transactions, as well as get rid of the 500 EUR note completely. However, Germany may prove to be quite a different country when it comes to abolishing cash, as non-cash payment methods are not gaining the upper hand just yet.

Also read: European Commission to Bring Bitcoin Exchanges Under AML Directive to Curb Terrorist Financing

Removing Big Notes And Limiting Cash Transactions

When it comes to paying in cash, the process feels a bit clumsy most of the time. Not only is there a variety of bills to take into account, but there are tons of different coins that represent a specific value. Dealing with change is another issue, as calculations have to be made and the right amount of bills and coins have to be sorted by the cashier.

None of these factors are keeping German citizens from paying with cash though, as it remains the preferred method of payment throughout the country. However, that isn’t keeping the Social Democrats party from proposing a change in the way people deal with cash. Their new proposal would lead to a limit of cash transaction amounts, as well as completely remove the 500 EUR note from circulation.

It has to be said that the 500 EUR note has become rather useless to most consumers and businesses these days. There is hardly any retailer accepting Euro bills valued at more than 100 EUR these days. Getting rid of the 500 EUR bill is a good idea as there is hardly anyone using it in the first place, so it won’t be missed as much.

Statistics indicate how less than 20% of payments made in Germany throughout 2014 were done through plastic cards. Compared to the rest of the European Union, this number is incredibly low. This just goes to show that not every country will be going cashless anytime soon, which can be both a blessing and a curse in the long run.

Imposing a maximum transaction limit of 5,000 EUR will not do much to limit the amount of cash payments being made throughout Germany though.  Very few goods or services cost in excess of 5,000 EUR these days, and it is hard to imagine people would actually use cash to pay such large amounts. Walking around with a lot of cash in one’s pocket is not the safest thing to do these days, and plastic cards provide a valuable alternative.

No Major Influence On Bitcoin Adoption Expected

Unlike what most people might think, this proposal will have little to no effect on Bitcoin adoption in Germany. Even though consumers are not too keen on paying with plastic cards, cash remains king in the country, and Bitcoin will provide a viable alternative to both payment options in due time.

Imposing a maximum cash transaction limit of 5,000 EUR will not keep people from buying Bitcoin either. After all, given the current Bitcoin price, 5,000 EUR will still get one roughly 14.5 bitcoins, which is more than sufficient for an investment. In the end, there will be no direct on Bitcoin adoption in Germany, as these changes will neither benefit nor damage the potential of digital currency.

What are your thoughts on removing the 500 EUR note from circulation? Do cash transaction limits of such magnitude even matter? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Handelsblatt

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia

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German Socialist Democrats’ Proposed War On Cash Will Not Affect Bitcoin

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