July 2018

0

Stellar (XLM) was the best performing cryptocurrency amongst the 25 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization during the month of July.

Source: CoinDesk | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share:
0

Cryptocurrency payments startup Ripple is partnering with Madonna to raise funds for orphans in the African nation of Malawi.

Source: CoinDesk | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share:

A new survey has found that 88 per cent of crypto exchanges want regulation, while a third believe a market crash is a significant threat to the industry. The study, conducted by Mistertango, a crypto payment app that is regulated by the Bank of Lithuania, is based on responses from 24 cryptocurrency exchanges across Europe, […]

The post Survey: 88% of Crypto Exchanges Want Regulation for the Industry to Mature appeared first on Coinjournal.

Source: Coinjournal | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share:
0

Korean police are investigating a cryptocurrency startup claiming to be selling treasure from a sunken ship, the Korea Joongang Daily reported.

Source: CoinDesk | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share:

Op Ed: Is Green Crypto an Oxymoron?

Cryptocurrencies are not exactly bathed in the light of righteousness right now when it comes to the environment. Despite not having a physical form, they are ultimately responsible for a substantial amount of environmental impact. This has stemmed from news stories detailing how, in Iceland, more electricity is being used to mine Bitcoin than is used to power its homes, or that Bitcoin mining now uses as much energy as all of Ireland consumes. Sensationalist as these headlines might be, there is no denying that Bitcoin, Ethereum and the myriad of minable altcoins are responsible for significant power consumption today.

These headlines are why people are more aware of the perceived negative impacts of cryptocurrency mining than they are of the process of mining itself. To grossly oversimplify the process, every 10 minutes a bundle of transactions are encrypted in a block, which is added to the blockchain. Bitcoin miners bundle said transactions into blocks by hashing the transactions together in a Merkle tree, then solving a so-called “proof-of-work” puzzle. This puzzle takes the form of a series of mathematical equations used one after another until the “winning” equation is solved. At this point, the block is verified and added to the blockchain. In return, the miner (or consortium) receive the transaction fees and a predetermined allocation of coins for their efforts. For Bitcoin, this reward currently amounts to roughly $14 million per day.

Critically, the difficulty of the mining task adjusts automatically every two weeks in order to maintain a block creation rate of roughly one every 10 minutes. This means that increasing computing power will not result in more coins being created. Instead, the computation task just consumes more computing power to maintain the status quo of production. This system makes existing mining hardware less profitable and drives up the amount of energy consumed per bitcoin earned.

According to Digiconomist, the Bitcoin network currently consumes about 71 TWh of electricity per year, with the Ethereum network a distant second consuming about 21 TWh. Together, they account for energy consumption on par with the United Arab Emirates (~96 TWh per year). Economist Alex de Vries boldly predicted currency mining could consume 0.5 percent of the world’s energy in 2018, something that has put cryptocurrencies — and bitcoin in particular — in the firing line of multiple environmental groups.

Obviously, this would be a moot point if all mining was being powered by renewable sources like solar, wind or hydroelectric power (Iceland is powered entirely by geothermal and hydro power for example). However, an estimated 60 percent of the mining hash power originates from China. Furthermore, 70 percent of the electricity in China is generated by non-renewable sources, particularly coal. It shows that Iceland’s sustainable cryptomining is the exception rather than the rule. Put simply, cryptomining is not all powered by coal, but it mostly is.

Common environmental criticisms of cryptocurrencies often neglect to put the issue in the context of the wider financial sector’s impact. The devastating physical mining of metals to create obsolete coins is a key example. Also, the big banks are fundamentally unable to wean themselves off the massive energy consumption required to keep every headquarters, branch and ATM operating.

That said, if the crypto community really believes itself to be the future, it needs to do better than finger-pointing and petty whataboutism when it comes to environmental issues. How, therefore, do we rehabilitate crypto and blockchain technology to be greener?

The idea of “green crypto” is not a misnomer. There are initiatives out there that encourage more responsible cryptomining. The Canadian province of Québec has actively courted cryptocurrency companies to use its spare hydropower capacity. Recently, actor William Shatner threw his significant weight behind Solar Alliance, a Canadian company building a three-megawatt solar farm that can be rented out to cryptocurrency miners.

The emergence of similar projects is a positive sign for greater investment in crypto’s greener side. While most of these projects receive the bulk of their funding through the ICO route, more traditional investments and partnerships have been effective in driving mainstream visibility of the solutions they provide. Electrify Asia is one such project, raising $29 million through an ICO and going on to secure the backing of one of Ethereum’s original founding team members Wendell Davis, along with prominent Japanese VC group Global Brain.

Another example of mainstream investment in green crypto projects is Climate Coin, which has the backing of tech specialist PAL Capital. Climate Coin operates as a crypto-based carbon credit that can be purchased by anyone worldwide to offset their carbon footprint. On a macro level, energy-focused blockchain startups like this raised over $300 million between Q2 2017 and Q1 2018 alone, most of which came through ICOs. This level of investment, in what would have been a technological fantasy only a short time ago, is a sign that blockchain technology is being taken seriously by energy companies.

From an economic standpoint, increased investment from existing utility companies is inevitable. Blockchains’ penchant for decentralization blends well with existing energy-saving practices. In small scale use cases, the technology is enabling smaller companies to enter markets long monopolized by big energy companies.

Various initiatives are using a peer-to-peer exchange model to trade cheap renewable energy, circumventing the need and cost of buying energy from established suppliers. By motivating small renewable energy producers to sell directly to energy users, and using smart contracts to earn credits in the form of fungible crypto assets from any excess power produced, there is an opportunity to make the existing energy ecosystem cheaper, more efficient and consumer friendly.

While less common, there are still many crypto- and blockchain-based companies directly addressing environmental unsustainability. One blockchain-based initiative is the Plastic Bank, run with the support of partners including IBM. It is issuing tokens earned from collecting plastic waste to help impoverished communities. These tokens can then be converted into cash, exchanged for cooking fuel or education vouchers, demonstrating the good that this technology can do for the less fortunate.

Energi Mine is using a similar system, providing the cryptocurrency EnergiTokens (ETK) to consumers when they engage in energy-saving activities such as using public transport or buying energy-efficient appliances to reduce energy consumption. The ultimate goal of this is to cut global energy demand and carbon emissions by creating a system of financial incentives, which will subtlety shift positive energy decisions to become unconscious reflexes.

In this way, some blockchain and cryptocurrency companies are taking a holistic approach to tackling the established “rebound effect” — where the reduction in energy consumption created by new technologies and new efficiencies gets cancelled out by negative behavioral or other systemic responses. This is something that happens often without people realizing it. For instance, a 5 percent improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency may result in only a 3 percent drop in fuel use because 2 percent more fuel is consumed by people being able to afford to drive faster or further than before.

This is a well-documented phenomenon in the conservation space, and cryptominers are especially guilty of this. Every advancement in processor efficiency or cooling is negated by the gradual upward creep in mining power consumption needed to stay competitive.

This very phenomenon, however, could provide an opportunity for the industry to contribute to energy-saving technology in a huge way. The power/efficiency ratio demanded by cryptominers has given rise to an arms race in specialized hardware that can be used to mine cryptocurrencies more efficiently. A meaningful investment in green tech here would have an impact not only on the crypto community, but on the green hardware sector as a whole, especially if some of the breakthroughs can be extrapolated to other uses, which would go a long way toward creating a “good citizen” reputation for the crypto space.

Whether it is making sure that the energy for cryptomining comes from renewable sources, or simply investing in green-minded initiatives pioneered by the crypto and blockchain community, everyone in the sector can do something to reduce or offset its environmental impact. If crypto truly is the future of money, then the crypto community should feel obliged to do more to change the world for the better. Not just from a financial standpoint but from an environmental one as well.

This is a guest post by Omar Rahim, CEO of Energi Mine. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share:

Market infrastructure provider CLS, nine financial institutions and IBM are collaborating on a proof-of-concept (PoC) for LedgerConnect, a distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform designed to enable banks, financial institutions, fintechs and software vendors to share and deploy applications and services hosted on a shared distributed ledger network. LedgerConnect, which will operate on a single, enterprise-grade […]

The post Financial Institutions & IBM Unveil LedgerConnect Blockchain Project appeared first on Coinjournal.

Source: Coinjournal | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share:

More Than a Ledger: How Blockchains Will Democratize Wealth

To Mark Pascall, co-founder of BlockchainLabs New Zealand (NZ) and president of the Blockchain Association NZ, the blockchain space is more than just a new technology layer, it’s a “fundamentally different way for organizations and societies to operate.”

It represents a historical reversal of the movement toward an evermore centralized society.

“The major problem is that without mass decentralization, we get a bigger and bigger wealth disparity between the rich and the poor,” Pascall said in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.

Although we were in a hunter-gatherer society and it was relatively easy to protect assets many centuries ago, as society became more complex we built more things of value and so had to build bigger things to protect those things.

Pascall explained that this has led to requiring third parties to protect our assets — like banking systems and the sovereign state — and these institutions are fundamentally rooted in a logic of violence.

The shift toward a centralized society took place over many hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the invention of the World Wide Web in the 1980s, that the “internet accelerated that centralization to an alarming degree,” says Pascall.

“Now, the boundaries have been hit as we’ve got global monopolies. We’ve got five or six companies who own alarming amounts of data and wealth and control.”

They control how we think, they control how we vote now, and that’s a pretty scary space, and they’re very difficult to displace. We know the network effectively is very powerful and it would be incredibly hard for somebody else to displace Facebook with another decentralized model.

Globally, many people’s awareness of current events is shaped by Facebook and Google, which determine, with hidden algorithms, what information we see and consume.

But Pascall hopes blockchain technology can now enable these monopolies to be undone in order to create “a better, fairer, more equitable society.”

This is why he believes many are so passionate about the potential of the blockchain space; it carries potential to shift power away from some of the world’s most extreme monopolies.

“So the blockchain is this infrastructure that can allow that centralization to move to a decentralized world,” says Pascall.

While many people talk about the blockchain as a decentralized ledger or a database, Pascall believes that this narrow definition “in itself is missing the point.”

So what is the point? Pascall draws another lesson from history: the creators of the first internet in the 1980s didn’t actually make any money out of it.

The inventors of the so-called “fat applications” — the Googles, Facebooks and Amazons — were people who now extract massive value out of that fat layer on the thin protocol and make the money.

Now, blockchain technology enables people to build fat protocols that are open source; these are open, transparent protocols built by communities of developers.

The people who come up with these new ideas and protocols, the startups, can raise a lot of money to support them in building communities to develop these second-layer, foundational bits of the internet.

“There is a bit of a wild west money grab out there and I think that’s one of the things the ICO concept has driven.

“In the last century when we saw the dotcom craziness and then the crash — there’s a bit of that going on, so we are going to see, out of the thousands of ICOs that are being generated now, a bunch of core foundational protocols emerging which will be open, community-driven, fully decentralized, with no central organization or person. They’ll be controlled by the token holders, which could be you or anybody, so those will emerge as the winners,” says Pascall.

“It should get us to a more equitable place where it’s not just the high net worth people in Silicon Valley or in Singapore or in London who are the financial investors who are making the big money — it should democratize that space.

“We can now share in a fairer system and a tokenized economy where everything can be tokenized, from a football team to a building to a new idea, and they can be fully liquid and tradable, and individuals can become their own Swiss Bank,” he says.

So blockchain technology and tokenization will enable the purchase of more assets and remove previous barriers to trading and investing that meant that, previously, this was often reserved for the wealthy few.

“How I think about it is that the internet democratized knowledge, the blockchain will democratize wealth,” he adds.

“That’s the positive future that a lot of people in the blockchain space see, and that’s why we’re passionate about it.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share:

Behlendorf: Google Can Benefit From “High-Velocity Development on Fabric”

Google is the latest tech giant to offer blockchain technology to its customers. The company announced that it would be introducing open-source integrations for applications built with both Ethereum and Hyperledger later this year through its Google Cloud Product marketplace.

Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, executive director of Hyperledger Brian Behlendorf explains, “This decision follows a similar path taken by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and cloud-hosting services offered by Oracle, Huawei and IBM to offer ready-made templates for their ‘blockchain as a service’ offerings. There is growing interest in blockchain enterprise development options. This is one of the kinds of services offered by more than 60 companies participating in the Hyperledger Vendor Directory.”

Google has allegedly held an interest in blockchain technology for years and was the most active investor in blockchain startups and applications between 2012 and 2017, after Japan’s SBI Holdings.

According to Behlendorf, the search engine’s interest in Hyperledger is due in part to its latest project entitled “Hyperledger Fabric.” He states that Fabric is a leading enterprise blockchain platform that runs dozens of production enterprise networks across finance, healthcare and supply chain applications. It also has hundreds of pilots in operation.

“Unlike other systems, it has support for writing business logic (what you might call ‘smart contracts’) in Go, JavaScript, and soon Java,” he explains. “It has also been fine-tuned to operate in environments where performance (time to finality, combined with the number of transactions per second) are optimized.”

Behlendorf is confident Hyperledger can bring a lot to the table and offer Google’s customers access to an array of new tools and products they never even knew existed.

“We hope Google finds Hyperledger Fabric and other related technologies to be capable and easy-to-support options for its customers to build and operate enterprise blockchain networks and applications,” he says.

“As it is open-source, and all development is done publicly, we think Google will benefit from the high velocity of development on Fabric by the broad and active user and developer community. Hopefully, they’ll find bugs and help us fix them! That will help them provide a better offering than any proprietary or in-house alternative might. For us, the potential for more developer contributions — and maybe another logo to add to our vendor directory — will be really helpful.”

Founded in December 2015, Hyperledger is a vendor-neutral home for the collaborative and open-source development of blockchain technology platforms and tools. As a “coin agnostic” system, it does not require a specific token or currency to operate and is not funded by initial coin offerings (ICOs). The company boasts over 250 members in its consortium and uses this technology to build products and services for both internal and resale purposes.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share:
0

A group of U.S. lawmakers has proposed the creation of a blockchain pilot as part of a wider effort to combat infectious fungal diseases.

Source: CoinDesk | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share:
0

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will headline Ripple’s Swell conference later this year, the cryptocurrency payments startup announced Tuesday.

Source: CoinDesk | Date: July 31, 2018

View full Article on Source

Share: