Category Archives: Markethive

F2Pool: We Were Never Against SegWit. Wait…

F2Pool: We Were Never Against SegWit. Wait…

  

F2Pool: We Were Never Against SegWit. Wait…

Earlier today, Wang Chun, the owner of F2Pool, the second largest Bitcoin mining pool in the world, clarified that he was never against the activation of Bitcoin Core’s Segregated Witness (SegWit) on Litecoin.

Chun stated:

“Please let me do Charlie Lee a favor and clarify: I was never against SegWit on Litecoin.”

Just a few hours later, Chun offered a completely opposing stance on SegWit to his previous statement. What are Chun’s intent and motive? During an interview in February, Chun reaffirmed that F2Pool is pushing the activation of SegWit on Litecoin to observe its impact on overall scaling, on-chain capacity expansion and providing an infrastructure for two-layer solutions. At the time, Chun planned to support SegWit on Bitcoin upon the activation of SegWit on Litecoin.

Since then, Chun has emphasized his opposition to the Bitcoin Unlimited software and its team, due to multiple bug exploitations and the software’s instability. However, Chun has since expressed his concern over the Bitcoin Core development team as well.

In a rather conflicting statement, Chun wrote to Cointelegraph’s journalist:

“I've tried my best to love Core. But Core doesn't love me. Now I know Charlie Lee has a backup plan and it is called UASF.”

Chun’s criticism of Bitcoin Core came as a surprise to the Bitcoin community as he previously explained that Greg Maxwell, a Bitcoin Core developer, helped make his decision to support SegWit on Litecoin. It is highly likely that Maxwell introduced the benefits and advantages of activating SegWit and Chun agreed to observe the solution’s effect on Litecoin prior to implementing it on the Bitcoin network.

Currently, Chun is not in support of SegWit on Bitcoin, Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Unlimited. He went as far as to encourage developers to find an alternative solution to SegWit since the majority of miners are not willing to accept SegWit as a scaling solution. “If the majority of the miners say no to SegWit, developers must find an alternative solution,” Chun said. Over the past week, a new solution called Extension Blocks was introduced by Bitcoin startup Purse’s BCoin. However, the community doesn’t seem to be convinced as of yet that Extension Blocks is the answer to Bitcoin scaling.

Based on the current trend, a user activated soft fork (UASF) is likely, considering that some of the largest businesses and companies within the Bitcoin industry already expressed their support toward UASF. Throughout this month, Chun has changed his stance on SegWit and Bitcoin scaling in multiple occasions. On April 6, Chun stated that he decided to reconsider SegWit on Litecoin. While Chun has been offering ambiguous statements to his followers and to the Bitcoin community, it is still likely that Chun will change his stance on SegWit on Bitcoin if the solution is activated properly on Litecoin.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency Boom Predicted By Bitcoin Market Data CEO Confirmed, Trend ‘Set To Continue’

Cryptocurrency Boom Predicted By Bitcoin Market Data CEO Confirmed, Trend 'Set To Continue'

  

Where’s the cryptocurrency market heading?
A stack of bitcoins 
stand on top of U.S. dollar bills.

Well, a prediction made in January over a boom in market capitalization of cryptocurrencies – and particularly in the altcoin market – by the founder of a crypto-market intelligence start-up that raised over 10,000 Ethereum (ETH) in a pre-sale financing round, has fully come to pass.Maksim Balashevich, the Belarusian CEO and founder of Santiment based in Germany, which collects and sells live markets data feeds to crypto traders, predicted such a boom in altcoin cryptocurrency capitalization last quarter on January 5, 2017.

And, even though bitcoin is the ‘Big Daddy’ of cryptocurrency and accounts for just under 70% of overall market capitalization today, the boom predicted would “outpace bitcoin by a wide margin”, according to the crypto-market platform’s CEO in Frankfurt Am Main. Based on the Elliott Wave theory, his prediction posited that the cryptocurrency altcoin markets would increase to over $6 billion (bn) in market capitalization. This has already come true and gone a fair way beyond. Fast forward and the combined altcoin market cap today stands in excess of $8.4bn. Some going and much aided by the recent strong performance of Ethereum (ETH), ranked the number two crypto currency behind bitcoin.  

The Elliott Wave theory (or principle), which is named after professional accountant Ralph Nelson Elliott who developed the concept in the late 1930s, is a form of technical analysis that traders apply to analyze financial market cycles and forecast market trends by identifying extremes in investor psychology. The theory claims that markets enter periods of mass pessimism (negative/depression) and euphoria (positive/hype) that drive prices.

The driver of this latest growth in the crypto space was cited as the increase in smart contract awareness and anonymous blockchain technologies. Digging a little deeper into the Elliott Wave theory, the move in the direction of the main trend is made of five waves, with corrections always being in three waves, and patterns repeat themselves on any time scale due to the fractal nature of the waves.

Fear & Greed

Balashevich, who has over a decade of experience in financial markets analysis, argued that the crypto markets are driven by fear (i.e. selling in panic almost at the bottom), greed (i.e. Buying close to the top in fear of missing out) and ignorance (i.e. entering an asset/project with weak fundamentals), with altcoins exhibiting particular “sensitivity to collective emotional impact as participants fear potentially missing out on rapid gains and extreme risks.”

And, having good information at your fingers should help to spot the potential danger signs. The Minsk-born CEO who came to Germany in 2000, predicted that market sentiment in the altcoin market, which encompasses all digital coins except bitcoin, remains extremely bullish. He claimed that 2017 would see a “dramatic boom”, and that this boom is just getting started.

‘Third of a Third’ Wave

On his blog from January, Balashevich wrote: “The altcoin market is entering the ‘third of a third’ wave in the Elliott Waves theory." This represents a moment the crowd realizes that the main trend – either up or down – is occurring. “Following the recent rise in bitcoin, we believe the altcoin market is set to experience a similar bull market over the course of the next six to twelve months as cryptocurrency investment enters the mainstream conscious,” he contended at the time.

Applying such wave analysis to the altcoin market since May 2013, Balashevich showed using graphs that the combined altcoin market capitalization (ex-bitcoin) was entering the so-called ‘third of a third’ wave. This point is regarded as something special in the Elliott Waves theory. Also at the time, he stated: “It represents the capitalization of the entire crypto market and we have just had a decisive breakout to new highs. This means we are most likely entering the next wave of crypto acceptance and would not be surprised to see continually rising prices for most or all major crypto assets.”

As an aside, he noted that “it is, by the way, the only time the crowd is right about price direction” and the trend gets accepted by the majority. [Thereafter] the good news keep coming and the price steadily climbs higher. For practitioners of the science of waves patterns, looking at the whole crypto market at the start of this year it was noted that the pattern was slightly different and “close to the middle of wave 3”. It still required “a few sequences of up and down to finish this wave”, the CEO suggested. That said, moves in the latter would not be “as volatile and intense” as those in the alts-only market.

By comparison at the time to the whole crypto market and based on the analysis presented, Balashevich asserted: “We can comfortably expect the alt-crypto market to rise substantially more in percentage terms than the bitcoin market over the next 6-12 months.” He added: “We might see ‘alts’ capitalization reach somewhere around $7bn. This figure is based on a typical Elliott Waves Fibonacci projection, where wave 3 is either 1.61 or 2.61 the size of wave 1. We saw wave 1 rise from $0.5bn to $2.8bn (a move of around +$2.3bn). So based on the next wave pattern, we could see an increase anywhere between $3.5bn and $6bn in the next move.” This has proven to have been exceeded.

Smart Contracts & Anonymity

Santiment, which is aimed at traders and investors that touts a network giving participants an "information edge" over the competitors thanks to machine learning and the wisdom of the crowd, predicts that areas focused on smart contracts and anonymity are set to benefit most from the next wave of investment in the cryptocurrency sector. This is given that these are areas that bitcoin has "failed to innovate on", according to the Belarusian.

“Smart contracts could potentially have the greatest effect on the way we use the internet in the not-so-distant future,” Balashevich elaborated. “One way, which already exists now, is ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) and tokenized economies. ICOs have had their share of problems already – not all funded projects will deliver what they promise – and we might see an ICO bubble pop at some point." Adding a caveat he stated: “Yet, ICOs are by far the most democratic, transparent, and frictionless ways to fund and run modern digital companies. I have little doubt that strong communities will be able to establish proper open-source environments to get the most out of this trend.”

Noting that the start of 2017 that Ethereum appears to be the “de-facto platform of choice” for developing smart contracts and the rise of the ICO, Balashevich remarked: “Most ICOs are created here and we expect the trend to continue. The openness of Ethereum platform allows many teams to work together on building the many needed components, such as decentralized exchanges, mobile clients, CDNs (content delivery networks), oracles, prediction markets and stable cryptocurrencies…for running the modern digital companies.”

The upshot – as predicted by the German-based Belarusian – was that ETH (the cryptocurrency behind Ethereum) alone, with all incorporated Ethereum blockchain companies, “could bring in a significant portion of this additional valuation.” Ranked number two cryptocurrency behind bitcoin, some have dubbed Ethereum ‘Bitcoin 2.0’. Trading at $46.43 today (April 12), its market cap currently stands at over $4bn. This is significantly up from just over $8 a pop at the start of this year with a then market cap of around $722 million. It rose to the $30 mark by the middle of this March before reaching a peak at the end of last month – touching $53. But even with the recent dip in price, it has still added to the overall altcoin market capitalization.

Still, one has to question if the altcoin market's performance overall is heavily dependent on the contribution of Ethereum for its market cap, what happens if there is a reversal in its price? On that score, only time will tell. But with hundreds of cryptocurrencies on the market one has to figure that there is junk out there amongst the winners. A point in fact, which Jack Tatar, CEO & President of Research at GEM Research in New York and co-author of 'What's The Deal With Bitcoins?', underlined in an engaging presentation ('Blockchain Assets & Investing In The Future') during a Coinsbank-hosted event last October in Turkey. As I recall his precise words at the time were "some real garbage out there." So it pays to pick wisely and do your research.

Crowd Sentiment

Santiment’s crowd sentiment platform claims that it enables users to access “sentiment data that cannot be found anywhere else.” The theory and sales patter says that this should enable faster and more profitable crypto-trading decisions. Furthermore, it can be used to earn tokens – Santiment Network Tokens – in ‘crypto-financial’ games or spend them to access what are described as “exclusive market insights.” By using their platform users are able to receive clear market analyses, chart trading data, visualize and compare sentiment data with friends to "turn weaknesses into strengths", and, benefit from a 'Battle-test' simulator.

Earlier this year on February 13, Santiment raised 12,000 Ethereum (ETH) in an initial crowdfunding campaign in a matter of  2.5 hours, which is the equivalent today to around $525,000. The start-up, which had been a fair while in planning, stated after reaching its pre-sale goal that the venture would go to work on its white paper and MVP (Minimum Viable Product). It has also forged a number of partnerships that includes universities in Germany.

Predicting The Market

One might well ask is it possible at all to predict the market and the crypto market come to that? On that notes and as Balashevich noted in a separate blog at the back end of last year: “The truth is, no one can make predictions with 100% accuracy. It’s just the nature of the beast. I’ve come to accept that if no one can absolutely predict the market, it means we’re all in the same boat, guessing what will happen next.” Phew, so we are not alone on that front. But whatever investors in the crypto space do, it should go without saying don’t forget to store your crypto assets securely. Any gains built up over a sustained period of time in a cryptocurrency could be wiped out if this aspect not addressed properly.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin value rises over $1 billion as Japan, Russia move to legitimize cryptocurrency

Bitcoin value rises over $1 billion as Japan, Russia move to legitimize cryptocurrency

  • Bitcoin price has risen over 8 percent in the last week
  • Japan passed a law to accept bitcoin as a legal payment method
  • Russia is reportedly looking into ways to regulate bitcoin

  

A bitcoin token stands next to a collection of U.S. one dollar bills in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.
 

Bitcoin is up nearly $100 in the past week, hitting levels not seen since mid-March after Japan legalized the cryptocurrency as a payment method and Russia is seeking to regulate it too. The digital currency was trading at around $1,223.04 at the time of publication, up from highs of $1,124.88 on April 5, and hitting prices not seen since March 16, according to Coindesk data. Bitcoin's market capitalization has risen from $18.34 billion on April 5, to $19.5 billion on Wednesday, according to Coinmarketcap.com data. Bitcoin has suffered a recent dip in price thanks to a debate over the future of its underlying technology, but the recent support appears to have come from Japan.

Earlier this month, Japan began accepting bitcoin as legal currency with major retailers backing the new law. Consumer electronics retailing giant Bic Camera began accepting bitcoin last week. Bitcoin trading in Japanese yen is the second-most liquid market globally, according to data compiled by cryptocurrency trading platform Gatecoin. "The Japan virtual currency act has likely had a major impact, as there has been a lot of buzz in Japanese media over the ruling over the last few months," Aurélien Menant, founder, and CEO of Gatecoin, told CNBC by email.

At the same time, Russia, one of the strongest opponents of bitcoin is seeking to regulate the digital currency. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev told Bloomberg in an interview this week that the authorities hope to recognize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a legal financial instrument in 2018 in a bid to tackle money laundering.

"The state needs to know who at every moment of time stands on both sides of the financial chain," Moiseev told Bloomberg."If there's a transaction, the people who facilitate it should understand from whom they bought and to whom they were selling, just like with bank operations."Increasing state regulation around bitcoin could make the cryptocurrency an attractive investment for investors who previously shied away from it due to the high risk and price swings.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Washington Lawmakers Finalize New Bitcoin Business Rules

Washington Lawmakers Finalize New Bitcoin Business Rules

   Legislators in Washington state have put the finishing touches on new rules for businesses that offer digital currency services.

Senate Bill 5031, public records show, has cleared both chambers of the state's legislature, setting it up to be sent to the office of Governor Jay Inslee. The bill was first introduced in January, clearing its first vote the following month. While not guaranteed to be signed, the broad support the bill attracted signals that it may pass.

Still, its contents could lead some digital currency-focused startups to think twice about operating in the state – and in the past year, several firms have already pulled out, citing a difficult regulatory environment. The bill represents an update to the state's existing money transmission laws, in order to make them account for firms that handle digital currencies. According to the text of the measure, businesses would be required to maintain reserves – denominated in the relevant digital currency – equal to the funds they retain on behalf of their customers.

The bill states:

"A licensee transmitting virtual currencies must hold like-kind virtual currencies of the same volume as that held by the licensee but which is obligated to consumers in lieu of the permissible investments required in of this subsection."

Other requirements include mandatory third-party cybersecurity audits of "all electronic information and data systems", the text reads. Even absent the new legislation, the past months have shown that some startups working with the tech have moved to steer clear of the state. These include digital currency exchanges Bitfinex, Bitstamp and Poloniex, the latter of which moved to exit Washington just last week. According to an email circulating on social media and dated 8th April, Poloniex said that it would be suspending services to customers in the state after 21st April.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

India sets up high level committee to study cryptocurrency

high level committee set up to study cryptocurrencies

India sets up high level committee to study Cryptocurrency

The Indian government will setup a high level inter-disciplinary committee to take a close look at the circulation of crypto currencies in the country.

“The circulation of Virtual Currencies which are also known as Digital/Crypto Currencies has been a cause of concern,” said a finance ministry press release on Wednesday. The ministry said that the committee will take stock of the present status of Virtual Currencies both in India and globally, examine regulatory structures and tackle issues like consumer protection and money laundering.

The committee, comprising of top officials from the department of economic affairs, financial services, revenue, home affairs, Reserve Bank of India, NITI Agog and the State Bank of India, will submit its report in three months.

India’s central bank had earlier cautioned that virtual currencies, including bitcoins could be risky. However, the Reserve Bank of India has also been studying blockchain technology and bitcoins closely. Blockchain is a database that acts as a digital ledger for transactions.

There are four major bitcoin exchanges in India: UnoCoin, CoinSecure, ZebPay and BTCXIndia. These are mostly startups and operate within the banking system by asking buyers to submit ‘know your customer’ documents before they can trade on the platform. According to one estimate, India has only 50,000 bitcoin enthusiasts and users.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

How To Invest In The Blockchain Without Buying Bitcoin

How To Invest In The Blockchain
Without Buying Bitcoin

    

Blockchain Technology’s potential to change the Status Quo

Not a day goes by without a media mention about blockchain technology’s potential to change the status quo of how data will be recorded, stored and transferred in the future. As blockchain is booming, investors are taking note and looking at opportunities where they could benefit. Investing in bitcoin, the digital currency built on the blockchain is considered too risky by many investors and, at the same time, doesn’t actually offer exposure to developments of new blockchain applications and the growth of this technology. Fortunately for investors, however, there are ways to invest in the blockchain boom don’t involve buying bitcoin.

Blockchain Startup Stocks

Firstly, investors can purchase blockchain startup stocks. Currently, there are several publicly traded stocks in blockchain companies trading on global exchanges. The first blockchain stock that started trading in the U.S. is that of the company BTCS Inc., which provides an online bitcoin shop and a range of blockchain solutions, according to its website. Another prominent North American stock is the Vancouver-based blockchain consultancy service provider BTL Group, which has recently launched its own smart contract platform called interbit. Its stock is trading on the Toronto stock exchange.

Outside of North America, there are listed blockchain stocks in the U.K. and in Australia. In the U.K., the London-based blockchain technology investment and development company Coinsilium is listed on the ICAP Securities and Derivatives Exchange (ISDX) and was the world’s first initial public offering by a blockchain startup. On the Australian Stock Exchange, there is the blockchain startup DigitalX. DigitalX provides two blockchain-based services: a global peer-to-peer remittance service called Air Pocket and a software solution to provide bitcoin liquidity to institutional investors called DigitalX Direct.

Crowdfunding Platforms

Alternatively, investors can purchase shares in blockchain startups during early-stage funding rounds through online crowdfunding platforms. Young blockchain startups regularly choose the route of online crowdfunding to secure funds to develop their products or service. The crowdfunding platform BnkToTheFuture, for example, allows investors to place funds into a range of Bitcoin and blockchain startups. Notable blockchain startups that have raised funds through BnkToTheFuture’s platform have included the prominent African remittance startup BitPesa and the multi-currency mobile bitcoin wallet Shapeshift.

Invest in New Blockchain Projects’ Initial Coin Offerings

The third option for investors would be to invest in initial coin offerings (ICOs) of new blockchain projects. ICOs are a new, innovative way of raising capital that involves blockchain projects issuing their own digital currencies or tokens to early backers during a crowd sale. As this new form of crowdfunding is still entirely unregulated there is substantially more risk involved than investing in blockchain stocks or in traditional crowdfunding campaigns, but the returns of successful ICOs have been excellent.

When it comes to investing in ICOs, the key is to select blockchain projects that will have real-life applications and are managed by a team of experienced blockchain developers. Some projects may even have financial backing from leading Bitcoin investors. That is usually also a good sign. Unfortunately, the more the ICO market grows, the more fraudulent activity also occurs. Hence, it is vital to conduct thorough due diligence on each ICO before investing in the crowd sale to avoid falling victim to a scam.

As blockchain technology will likely become the standard to securely record, store and transfer data in many industries over the next ten years, it might be wise to start looking into the investment opportunities in this space, despite the potential risk involved in these investments.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

How does the Blockchain Work (for Dummies) explained simply

How does the Blockchain Work (for Dummies) explained simply

How does the Blockchain Work?

Well here is a simple explanation that cuts through the hype.

Blockchain is a hot topic around the world these days, yet for many, the technology remains an elusive concept. Yet it shouldn’t, the concept is simple once you get your head around the architecture and theory of basic crypto economics. When you do have your “a Ha” moment, the world will never seem the same to you again.

This blockchain basics guide is designed to deliver a clear, non-technical introduction to one of the most transformational & misunderstood technologies of our time. If you want to know what blockchain technology is, how it works, and it’s potential impacts, without all the technical lingo, then this post is for you.

A short History of Transacting Money

Historically, when it comes to transacting money or anything of value, people and businesses have relied heavily on intermediaries like banks and governments to ensure trust and certainty. Middlemen perform a range of important tasks that help build trust into the transactional process like authentication & record keeping. The need for intermediaries is especially acute when making a digital transaction. Because digital assets like money, stocks & intellectual property, are essentially files, they are incredibly easy to reproduce. This creates what’s known as the double spending problem (the act of spending the same unit of value more than once) which until now has prevented the peer to peer transfer of digital assets.

But what if there was a way of conducting digital transactions without a third party intermediary? Well, a new technology exists today that makes this possible. But before we dive into the mechanics of this revolutionary technology, it’s important to provide a little context.

Blockchain Vs Bitcoin — What’s the connection?

Bitcoin first appeared in a 2008 white paper authored by a person, or persons using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The white paper detailed an innovative peer to peer electronic cash system called Bitcoin that enabled online payments to be transferred directly, without an intermediary.

How the Blockchain Transfers Value

While the proposed bitcoin payment system was exciting and innovative, it was the mechanics of how it worked that was truly revolutionary. Shortly after the white paper’s release, it became evident that the main technical innovation was not the digital currency itself but the technology that lay behind it, known today as blockchain. Although commonly associated with Bitcoin, blockchain technology has many other applications. Bitcoin is merely the first and most well-known uses. In fact, Bitcoin is only one of about seven hundred applications that use the blockchain operating system today.

“[Blockchain] is to Bitcoin, what the internet is to email. A big electronic system, on top of which you can build applications. Currency is just one.” — Sally Davies, FT Technology Reporter

One example of the evolution and broad application of blockchain, beyond digital currency, is the development of the Ethereum public blockchain, which is providing a way to execute peer to peer contracts.

What’s under the blockchain hood?

Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger or decentralized database that keeps records of digital transactions. Rather than having a central administrator like a traditional database, (think banks, governments & accountants), a distributed ledger has a network of replicated databases, synchronized via the internet and visible to anyone within the network. Blockchain networks can be private with restricted membership similar to an intranet, or public, like the Internet, accessible to any person in the world.

When a digital transaction is carried out, it is grouped together in a cryptographically protected block with other transactions that have occurred in the last 10 minutes and sent out to the entire network. Miners (members in the network with high levels of computing power) then compete to validate the transactions by solving coded complex problems. The first miner to solve the problems and validate the block receives a reward. (In the Bitcoin Blockchain network, for example, a miner would receive Bitcoins).

The validated block of transactions is then timestamped and added to a chain in a linear, chronological order. New blocks of validated transactions are linked to older blocks, making a chain of blocks that show every transaction made in the history of that blockchain. The entire chain is continually updated so that every ledger in the network is the same, giving each member the ability to prove who owns what at any given time.

“A blockchain is a magic computer that anyone can upload programs to and leave the programs to self-execute, where the current and all previous states of every program are always publicly visible, and which carries a very strong crypto economically secured guarantee that programs running on the chain will continue to execute in exactly the way that the blockchain protocol specifies.” — Vitalik Buterin

Blockchain’s decentralized, open & cryptographic nature allow people to trust each other and transact peer to peer, making the need for intermediaries obsolete. This also brings unprecedented security benefits. Hacking attacks that commonly impact large centralized intermediaries like banks would be virtually impossible to pull off on the blockchain. For example — if someone wanted to hack into a particular block in a blockchain, a hacker would not only need to hack into that specific block, but all of the proceeding blocks going back the entire history of that blockchain. And they would need to do it on every ledger in the network, which could be millions, simultaneously.

Will the blockchain transform the Internet & the global economy?

Make no mistake about it. Blockchain is a highly disruptive technology that promises to change the world as we know it. The technology is not only shifting the way we use the Internet, but it is also revolutionizing the global economy. By enabling the digitization of assets, blockchain is driving a fundamental shift from the Internet of information, where we can instantly view, exchange and communicate information to the Internet of value, where we can instantly exchange assets. A new global economy of immediate value transfer is on its way, where big intermediaries no longer play a major role. An economy where trust is established not by central intermediaries but through consensus and complex computer code.

“The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the next few decades has arrived. And it’s not social media. It’s not big data. It’s not robotics. It’s not even AI. You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin. It’s called the blockchain.” — Don Tapscott

Blockchain has applications that go way beyond obvious things like digital currencies and money transfers. From electronic voting, smart contracts & digitally recorded property assets to patient health records management and proof of ownership for digital content.

Blockchain will profoundly disrupt hundreds of industries that rely on intermediaries, including banking, finance, academia, real estate, insurance, legal, health care, and the public sector — amongst many others. This will result in job losses and the complete transformation of entire industries. But overall, the elimination of intermediaries brings mostly positive benefits. Banks & governments for example, often impede the free flow of business because of the time it takes to process transactions and regulatory requirements. The blockchain will enable an increased amount of people and businesses to trade much more frequently and efficiently, significantly boosting local and international trade. Blockchain technology would also eliminate expensive intermediary fees that have become a burden on individuals and businesses, especially in the remittances space.

Perhaps most profoundly, blockchain promises to democratize & expand the global financial system. Giving people who have limited exposure to the global economy, better access to financial and payment systems and stronger protection against corruption and exploitation.

“Every human being on the planet with a phone, will have equal access. Expanding the total addressable market by 4X” — Brock Pierce

The potential impacts of blockchain technology on society and the global economy are hugely significant. With an ever growing list of real-world uses, blockchain technology promises to have a massive impact. This is just the beginning. Many of the most exciting applications and platforms haven’t even been invented yet!

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Coalition Launches to Promote Blockchain in the Netherlands

Coalition Launches to Promote Blockchain in the Netherlands

  

A blockchain consortium in the Netherlands has published a new roadmap.

First revealed on 20th March, the so-called National Blockchain Coalition was established by the Ministry of Economic Affairs' information technology team. Overall, the initiative aims to unite more than 20 public and private organizations including the government agencies, universities and private companies from financial, logistics and energy sectors, with the goal of turning the country into a leader of a blockchain tech.

Major supporters include ABN Amro, ING, and Nationale-Nederlanden, one of the region's largest insurance companies. In statements, Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp stressed his optimism that blockchain technology would help make digital payments and data exchange easier and safer for global users while improving the economic outlook of the Netherlands.

Kamp said:

"By keeping the Netherlands at the forefront of the application of innovative technologies, our knowledge base remains progressive and world-class. That creates jobs and income."

The combined initial funding of the founding partners amounts to €700,000 by the end of March. Each member will invest €200,000 and €500,000 will come from available government capita.

High priorities

The statements coincided with the release of the National Blockchain Coalition's full agenda, of which identity was high on the list of the priorities. The agenda went on to explain how the group would now need to work with leading legal entities and other objects on standardization and interoperability challenges in 2017 on this goal and others.

Overall, the coalition aims to speed up the pace of rollout of blockchain technology within the government and use more government records such as data from the National Office of Identity Data, Chamber of Commerce, and registration records from the Ministry of Security and Justice.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

UK Research Council to Award £3.6 Million in Blockchain Grants

UK Research Council to Award £3.6 Million in Blockchain Grants

  

British, UK, money

A UK-based research agency charged with distributing government grants has announced that £3.6m ($4.5m) will be made available to seven blockchain projects.Revealed yesterday, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) said the grants will range from £420,000 ($525,000) to £617,000 ($772,000). The funds will be issued under its "Digital Economy Theme", an effort aimed at supporting research around digital technologies that could have a positive impact on daily life.

The EPSRC is the main funding agency for science and research initiatives in the UK, investing approximately £800m ($100m) annually for research and postgraduate training. According to EPSRC chief executive Philip Nelson, the decision to award the blockchain grants was made due to the apparent maturation of the industry beyond financial use cases.

He said in a statement:

"Distributed Ledger Technology may be synonymous with bitcoin to many, but as these projects show it has disruptive potential across a wide range of products and services. If it delivers on its radical promise, it could make a significant impact on the economy and society."

Each of the seven EPSRC-funded projects will bring together universities and private-sector companies, with projects being led by professors from British colleges and universities. Receiving the most funding, at £617,000, will be an initiative focused on regulation and compliance models.

The project is being led by Professor Tomaso Aste of University College London and will gain insight from blockchain consortium R3, as well as public institutions like the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission, the UK Financial Conduct Authority and the London School of Economics. The second most highly financed project seeks to develop trusted and transparent voting systems, using distributed ledger tech.

Perhaps unsurprising given the increasing interest in central bank-backed digital currencies, the EPSRC will also fund an initiative that will use data analytics to steer monetary policy decisions regarding the money supply.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Russian Plans to Legitimise cryptocurrency by 2018

russia plans to legistimise cryptocurrency by 2018

Russia Plans To Legitimize Cryptocurrency By 2018

Russia is a country has never seen eye-to-eye with bitcoin up until now. Several legal proposals have been drafted which could have lead to jail time. Thankfully, it appears regulators have come to their senses, as bitcoin users in Russia no longer need to fear jail time. In fact, the country may turn bitcoin into a legitimate financial instrument as early as next year.

This U-turn by Russian legislators has quite a lot of people stunned in disbelief. Just a year ago, it seemed using cryptocurrency in the country would lead to jail time. While that is still a distinct possibility right now, things are going to change very soon. The Russian Finance Ministry wants to accept bitcoin as a way to fight money laundering. An interesting stance, as most countries feel bitcoin facilitates money laundering, even though there is no evidence.

If all things go according to plan, bitcoin will become a legal instrument in Russia as soon as 2018. Government officials want to combat illegal money transfer. As a result, the Russian central bank and government are working together on getting this new legislation approved as soon as possible. A positive stance towards digital currencies can benefit the country, that much is evident.

Russia Looks Differently At Bitcoin All of a Sudden

One thing bitcoin provides is absolute transparency regarding transaction participants. To be more specific, transactions can be seen by the public in real-time. Through the banking or other financial systems, there is little to no transparency. This effectively facilitates money laundering, costing the Russian government millions every year. Bitcoin transfers show which address is the sender and the recipient. It is anything but an anonymous payment method.

Do not be mistaken in thinking Russia will effectively regulate bitcoin, though. Despite what governments may think, it is impossible to regulate cryptocurrency in any way or shape. Legalizing bitcoin will force companies dealing with cryptocurrency to conduct additional AML checks. A similar scenario is playing out in China right now, with exchanges introducing additional verification requirements.

Russia has been battling money laundering for quite some time now. Hundreds of lenders lost their banking license in the past few years. Legalizing bitcoin is a direct result of investors looking for alternative solutions. Additionally, it will also help give bitcoin a better publish image moving forward. After all, once bitcoin is a legal currency, activity will be monitored even further. That is not necessarily a bad thing as long as people use it for legal purposes. Anyone conducting illegal activity with cryptocurrency will have to find other solutions, though.

For the time being, the first deadline to mark on the calendar is mid-2017. Around that time, legislators will decide if digital currencies are an asset in Russia. This will be an important day in the history of bitcoin, that much is certain. After Japan legalizing bitcoin, it appears other countries are scrambling to do the same. An interesting development, yet it shows how mature bitcoin has become over the past few years.

David Ogden
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Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member