Kvě 11

Andreas Antonopoulos’ Folly On Private Blockchains

Source: bitcoin

Antonopoulos

Editor’s Note: The following article is the opinion of the writer. It has started debate along with both positive and negative reactions. All voices should be heard and acknowledged.

Andreas Antonopoulos and others are perpetuating a misconception about the nature of power by advancing the notion that the most monied institutions on the planet won’t crack the code for their own blockchain-based systems. Antonopolous claims that, if a blockchain is not an “open” — or public — blockchain, then it “ain’t worth shit.”

Also read: Andreas Antonopoulos Makes Bold Prediction on Bitcoin Consensus

Antonopoulos: ‘If it ain’t open, it ain’t worth shit”

Tell that to the people investing millions, likely soon to be billions, in just that.

The question Antonopoulos brings up has little to do with distributed ledger tech, blockchain or bitcoin, but rather the way in which power works in our world.

Power is the influence an individual or organization holds over others. Power allows individuals to sway worldly events and worldly relationships. Power allows people to control others. Increasing amounts of power can be obtained by various techniques.

In R3, the most powerful institutions on the planet have united in order to thoroughly investigate the possibility of blockchain technology — namely, private technology —  in streamlining banking and governance processes. A consortium of the world’s power-brokers, R3 members are already proposing systems and schematics. In many cases, these banks are exploring private blockchains or confederated-consortium chains.

Antonopoulos argues these firms will fail. There won’t be functional private blockchains. What Antonopoulos ignores is the sheer amounts of money these institutions have.

Antonopoulos’ notion that these financial institutions will not succeed in developing a private blockchain is similar to a misconception in another nascent industry: cannabis. In cannabis — an industry that evolved underground for much longer than Bitcoin — many participants believe that the foremost bio-technology firms on the planet, like Monsanto, will not be able to quickly create and patent their own strains of marijuana. As scientists in the space will tell you, that is a naive thought. Major corporations — with billions, and even trillions, in assets — have the best in scientists working for them, as well as the best in technology. They will be able to create new, potentially superior strains in mere years, patent them, and offer them at better prices than “mom and pop” growers.

Similarly, technology firms like IBM, Intel and Red Hat can afford the very best developers. If developers are not interested in working in the corporate world, the economics of the situation do not suggest they will go and work for an online creation community like Bitcoin, with its uncertainty, and pay based on future bitcoin price gains. Almost invariably, they will go where the money takes them. True believers work on Bitcoin, not those agnostic to how their wealth is obtained.

In reality, the brightest minds in technology seem to be moving towards experimenting with private blockchains. Most of their time will be spent on experimenting with how to  secure such systems. What they develop in the future, we cannot know in the present. At IBM, the developers there will tell you that Bitcoin is not secure. And that, in fact, it is they who will crack the code for truly securing a blockchain system. And, in their minds, they will have done so for the first time. 

The shortcomings of Bitcoin’s security system have long been known. Hal Finney took issue with the CO2 emissions of Bitcoin’s demand for wasteful computing power.

Antonopoulos doubts the effectiveness of the power held by the most influential organizations on the planet to guide the evolution of blockchain technology, and how it is perceived. To think, as Antonopolous seems to think, that an unprecedented online creation community will successfully figure out how to implement blockchain technology for consumers is extremely risky conjecturing. Consumers are for more likely to trust brands that have spent billions upon billions on marketing over decades than a tyranny (or democracy, depending upon who you ask) of online developers.

Antonopoulos’ line of reasoning parallels that among many Bitcoiners, particularly the libertarian and anarcho-capitalist factions, who believe Bitcoin will replace the modern financial system. While a fun notion to consider, there is little objective evidence for this happening. Let’s take a look at a disruptive technology — the Gutenberg Technology — to which some have compared Bitcoin. If the most popular book printed on the Gutenberg press were a science book, I might more easily accept the notion that Bitcoin could become the keystone banking system. But, that book was the Bible. And, still today, the world is marred by fantasies about the way things truly are. We are drowned in a sea of ignorance. Could it be, similar to the Gutenberg press, that not decentralized money is propagated by blockchain-inspired technology, but, rather, the furthering of baseless, fiat currencies?

Many deep minds in the technology space believe that a private blockchain is a possible iteration for the technology. Indeed, these people have spent more time on developer forums and developing for blockchain technology than Antonopoulos himself (and, admittedly, myself).

In summation, there will not only be public blockchains, and public-confederated blockchains. There will also be private blockchains, private-confederated blockchains, and maybe even state-enterprise blockchains.

What do you think about Antonopoulos’ opinions on private blockchains? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of LondonReal, R3.

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Andreas Antonopoulos’ Folly On Private Blockchains

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Úno 17

Kogarah Technology Centre Showcases Robotics and Blockchains

Source: bitcoin

Kogarah

The Australian bank Westpac had showcased its technology centre at Kogarah in Sydney last week. The local Financial Review (AFR) reported that the financial-service provider continues to promote blockchain technology. Not only does the legacy institution believe in distributed ledgers they are also pretty fascinated with artificial intelligence helping the process.

Also read: AirTM Currency Conversion Success Hinges on Bitcoin Integration

Westpac’s Kogarah Technology Centre

The first thing the corporate firm gave insight to during the event was a robot named Tess (Test Enabling Super Simulator) in the hour-long discussion about technology and blockchains. The bank’s chief information officer Dave Curran showed off the robot, which performed regression testing. The task is the process of finding issues in software and introduce a fix without causing further problems with the codes operations. The bank details that Tess executes thirty days of human testers in a three-day period. Then, Curran explained the importance of blockchain technology to staff and board members. Westpac’s Curran states:   

“Blockchain is a technology that is clearly disruptive, but what it will be we don’t know. We do know that $970 million has been spent on blockchain by fintech.”

Westpac is Australia’s largest asset holding bank and wants to hold a place in this emerging technology race towards the future. Many believe blockchains will have a significant role by saving finance management firms substantial costs by removing intermediaries.

In the summer of 2015 Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia said they were testing out the Ripple Labs protocol for payment processing services. It was also mentioned that Bitcoin’s blockchain was not chosen due to concerns about regulation.

Recently, the bank’s general manager Rachel Slade also had positive things to say about distributed ledger technology and thought it was very possible for it to give the region benefits. Slade said, “The solution we’ve developed is faster than other alternatives in the market today, providing same or next-day payment. This technology could be very beneficial to all Australians, providing a low-cost and fast method of sending low-value payments overseas.”

In December 2015, Westpac became the 43rd bank to join in with R3’s blockchain consortium. Now, at the technology centre at Kogarah, Curran says 2016 will be a “big delivery year” for the financial institution. Tess will be testing new software and helping out with updates in certain technical protocol implemented within the company.

Curran ended the showing to his staff and board — which also consisted of members from IBM, Infosys, and Tata Consultancy — by saying the bank is taking a modern approach to finances. The financial service provider seems very interested in these technologies and wants to take a lead in research and development. The technology centre at Kogarah is a proven testament to the bank’s hunger for fintech, and blockchains are playing an important role within the industry. With blockchain technology, Westpac believes the protocol has the potential to lower infrastructure costs and make international payments faster. To the Australian bank, robots and distributed ledgers working as a team may be the solution.  

What do you think about Westpac’s interest in robots and blockchains? Let us know in the comments below!  


Images courtesy of Pixbay, Shutterstock, and Wiki Commons

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Kogarah Technology Centre Showcases Robotics and Blockchains

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Led 23

Ethereum’s Market Cap Takes The Number Three Spot

Source: bitcoin

Ethereum’s Market Cap Takes The Number Three Spot

The turing complete token Ethereum has been making strides towards the top spot in cryptocurrency capitalizations. This week the digital currency has bumped Litecoin out of the third position on the coinmarketcap.com list hitting a cap of over $138 million USD.

Also read: Number of Ethereum Nodes Grows Exponentially

The past few months have been active for Ethereum, who has seen development, investment and positive media within its crypto-environment. The built-in turing-complete programming language as a layer configured into the ETH blockchain has intrigued developers and investors. This system is said to enable businesses and ordinary people the ability to construct autonomous organizations, smart contracts, and applications. The tokens currently have an available supply of 76,471,765 ETH and are worth $1.80 USD at press time seeing quite a bit of value increase.   

Recently the tech-giant Microsoft announced earlier last year that they would be using Ethereum with its cloud-based Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) Azure platform. Microsoft included other distributed ledger services within its research and development including Ripple, EmercoinFactom and others. On January 20th R3 CEV the blockchain infrastructure project backed by 42 well-known banks announced its use of Ethereum and Microsoft Azure. IBtimes UK reports that R3 is connecting 11 legacy institutions together with these distributed ledger technologies. The banks included in this venture are Barclays, UBS, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Unicredit, Natixis, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, BMO Financial, TD Bank, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. CTO for the Investment Bank at Barclays, Brad Novak explains the protocol is well known saying:

“Ethereum is a well-known open source technology in this space and we also look forward to collaborative experiments using other technologies.”

Since these announcements made by Microsoft Azure and the latest statements made by R3 the Ethereum value has seen quite the gains. January 2016 has seen a lot of trading volume and about a 20% jump in price. However not everyone is on the Ethereum train and see competition coming in the future from camps like Rootstock, Tau Chain, Maidsafe, Counterparty, Bitshares, Coinprism and more. Despite this, the Ethereum community has seen significant development under its hood and many side projects using its protocol.

Devcon1 held last year had shown innovative concepts from teams like Slock.it. The founder of Slock.it Stephan Tual explained the Ethereum Computer with his Medium post showing off the IoT use cases with the ETH protocol. At Devcon1, the device is shown locking and unlocking a simple household doorknob at the event. The summer of 2015 heated up for Ethereum when it was an unknown source said that the project was planned on being experimented with by BNP Paribas, Barclays, and UBS.    

There have been a few in the cryptocurrency community who have said that Ethereum was trying to take Bitcoin’s lunch as it approaches the number three spot on the capitalization totem. However it’s got a long way to go to get near Bitcoin’s 5.8 billion market cap and network effect with thousands of merchants, devices, and software applications. After Mike Hearns announcement that the protocol had failed in his eyes while preparing to join the R3 team, coincidentally coins like Dash and Ethereum had seen a price spike. The price of Bitcoin dropped about 17% immediately after the developers public message. Also reports of an ETH enthusiast spamming people with direct messages via /r/bitcoin saying “Ethereum will defeat Bitcoin” recently spread around the crypto-community after Hearn decided to say farewell. I have also received this reddit message in my private inbox.

The Bitcoin price has jumped back up rebounding shortly after Hearn’s statements and Ethereum has seen quite the value increase moving up its position. Will it be a competitor of Bitcoin or complement the current king of digital currency? Only time will tell as it seems the turing-complete programming language system wants to continue to leave its mark on the landscape of virtual money, IoT and many financial processes.

What do you think about Ethereum’s rise? Let us know in the comments below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixbay, and Wiki Commons 

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Ethereum’s Market Cap Takes The Number Three Spot

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Pro 30

Bitcoin Predictions For 2016: The Year of the Monkey

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoin 2016

Bitcoin finally had a successful comeback towards the end of 2015, declared by many as the “Year of the Blockchain.” With all the hype surrounding Bitcoin and the blockchain during 2015, there has been much speculation towards next year’s approach to cryptocurrency. As 2014 was filled with scandal, Altcoins, and ending up being the worst global currency of that year. 

Also read: Pirate Bay Co-Founder Attacks Music Industry With New Gadget

The New Year is approaching, and many are wondering what to expect from the fun and volatile world of Bitcoin. 2015 has proven well for the digital currency, showing remarkably better performance than in 2014. Bloomberg reported the virtual money was the world’s worst-performing currency in 2014, losing more than 57 percent of its value against the dollar.” But now the finance publication says in 2015 that “Bitcoin has won,” and Apple did not.” The currency’s value has gained close to 40% they report and seem to believe it may be due to “a technological escape route from government’s snooping into our financial affairs.” 

Bloomberg is not the only one reporting Bitcoin’s fantastic year. SG Kinsman reveals via a blog on Medium that “Bitcoin has been the world’s strongest currency in 2015,” outperforming the Israeli Shekel, U.S. Dollar, Swiss Franc, and the Japanese Yen. Kinsman explains that the digital currency may have been a strong asset class this year as well saying, “there’s an argument to be made that Bitcoin is the top performing asset in 2015.”

Banks have also shown strong affection towards the technology behind Bitcoin this year. Just before the beginning of 2016, forty two very large scale finance institutions are betting on the blockchain. Determined to harness the energy of the digital money without the currency privatized distributed ledgers have been all the rage over the course of 2015. Just as Altcoins took the limelight the year before, permissioned blockchain concepts seemed to pop up shortly after. Many Bitcoin enthusiasts have deemed these centralized blockchains as a failure, and the new “cryptographic ledger only” fascination doesn’t give a clairvoyant view of Bitcoin’s future. Many believe that looking at the blockchain and ignoring Bitcoin is the wrong attitude to hold towards this new currency. The Satoshi Nakamoto Institute’s Daniel Krawisz says:

“A permissioned blockchain is an oxymoron. The whole reason that the blockchain was invented is to make Bitcoin a decentralized and anonymous system in which everyone can come to the same arbitrary consensus about the history of Bitcoin.”  

Some people have viewed all the energy towards permissioned ledgers as a positive sign for Bitcoin, though. The price has rebounded quite well in the last three months of 2015, and many people have predicted certain prices for the upcoming new year. People have been speculating the digital currencies price for quite some time trying to forecast the value of Bitcoin in 2016. For years now it has been suggested by a bunch of people that the virtual money’s price will gain quadruple digits or more this coming year. Some past predictions have been very high at $7600-$10,000 USD.

However, predictions today are far more conservative. Wedbush Securities has predicted the price to be in the $600 range for its 2016 12-month projections. Co-Founder of the Jersey-Based Global Advisors, Daniel Masters, believes the price will touch 2013 price highs again. Masters thinks the price could make it to $4,400 by 2017 and has a positive feeling about the currency’s value.

CEO of the Bitcoin exchange giant, BTCC, Bobby Lee believes the price will also be exceedingly high over the course of next year. Lee thinks the value could increase after the reward halving, possibly reaching prices as high as $3,500 by next summer. The BTCC exchange operator says, Today the worth of bitcoin is $1 per capita in the world (population),” Lee said, referring to the value of all the bitcoins in circulation, around $6.5 billion. “For such an innovative, decentralized digital asset, I say ‘boy, are we undervaluing it.’ But it takes a while for people to realize that.”  These opinions seem to have faith in the cryptocurrency as some predictions in the past seemed dismal. Some have predicted that by now the price would be less than ten dollars and even 0, but that wasn’t the case this year.

Bitcoin is doing great in value and is not suffering from a swarm of negative media and scandals, which is a pretty big deal. The currency’s early years have had many ups and downs, but the digital toddler remains strong and will be an adult before we know it. The best currency of 2015 was Bitcoin, trumping the United States dollar and is providing portfolios with better prospects for hedging in this turbulent economy.

There are some good reasons to invest in the digital currency, and there are some unfavorable ones as well. However, the virtual money is continuously strengthening its infrastructure and value as the final days of 2015 proceed. 2016 will bring some new excitement to the crypto-world — that’s for sure.   

What do you predict will happen to Bitcoin in 2016? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Pixbay  

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Bitcoin Predictions For 2016: The Year of the Monkey

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