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Blockstream Reveals Massive Bitcoin Mining Facilities, Fidelity An Early Customer

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On Thursday, blockchain technology company Blockstream revealed details related to their massive Bitcoin mining data centers in Quebec, Canada and Adel, Georgia. The facilities account for a combined 300 megawatts worth of energy capacity, and they’re currently available for hosting enterprise-level mining activities, in addition to Blockstream’s own mining operations.

Blockstream plans to open their facilities to smaller scale miners in the future. For now, two of their active customers include Fidelity Center for Applied Technology and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

The size of Blockstream’s mining facilities cannot be overstated. According to Blockstream CSO Samson Mow, the facilities would account for roughly 6 exahashes of Bitcoin mining power if used at full capacity with the latest ASIC mining hardware. This would have equated to 10% of Bitcoin’s total network hashrate less than a month ago, according to BitInfoCharts. However, the Bitcoin network hashrate recently skyrocketed to around 80 exahashes this week.

In addition to their mining centers, Blockstream will soon launch the first mining pool with a focus on putting more power back into the hands of individual miners via the BetterHash protocol.

Blockstream Concerned About Bitcoin Mining Centralization

According to a company blog post, Blockstream first got into Bitcoin mining due to concerns around the centralization of the industry back in 2017. At that time, the activation process for Segregated Witness (SegWit), which was a capacity increase and bug fix for the Bitcoin network, had become politicized by Bitcoin miners in the eyes of many Bitcoin developers and users.

Concerns related to Bitcoin mining centralization were recently discussed on a panel at the Bitcoin 2019 conference in San Francisco. Genesis Mining CEO Marco Streng explained why Bitcoin users should be more alarmed about the level of centralization in mining, while longtime Bitcoin developer Matt Corallo did his best to point out the issue may not be as bad as it seems at first glance.

Notably, Blockstream CEO Dr. Adam Back, who was cited in the original Bitcoin white paper, also spoke at the conference regarding his thoughts on the future of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies alongside Yugen Partners Chief Scientist Dr. Scott Stornetta, who was also cited in the Bitcoin white paper.

Putting Power Back in Miners’ Hands

In addition to pushing for the geographic decentralization of Bitcoin mining, Blockstream’s upcoming mining pool should be helpful due to its use of BetterHash. The BetterHash protocol, which was developed by the aforementioned Corallo, solves a key issue with mining centralization in that it allows individual miners to choose which transactions go into new blocks rather than the mining pool operators.

While Bitcoin mining is rather centralized in terms of mining pools, the picture looks much better in terms of the diversity of entities that are actually operating the hardware. Putting individual miners in control of transaction selection means collusion in terms of transaction censorship, blockchain reorganizations, or other types of 51% attacks on the network would be much more difficult.

Braiins also recently announced a new mining protocol, called Stratum v2, that offers a similar upgrade in terms of the decentralization of transaction selection (based on Corallo’s work).

When asked why Blockstream decided to go with BetterHash rather than Stratum v2, Blockstream CSO Samson Mow stated, “Stratum v2 seems to still be in the discussion phase, and we started with BetterHash months ago.”

Some critics may argue that implementing BetterHash while also developing large Bitcoin mining data centers may be a bit of a contradiction in terms of promoting decentralization, but Mow pushed back on this argument when reached for comment.

“I don’t believe Blockstream Mining poses centralization risks,” said Mow. “If anything, Blockstream Mining serves to decentralize the Bitcoin mining ecosystem in many ways. We’re self-mining with just a small portion of our available power, with the rest allocated to customers, and we have plans to make the hosting service available to smaller miners that otherwise would not be able to mine effectively. Also, by leveraging the BetterHash protocol in our mining pool, all of our customers can run their own full-nodes and build block templates. This means the pool cannot use their hashrate for censoring transactions or falsely signaling readiness for Bitcoin protocol upgrades – which has happened in the past as with SegWit2x.”

Even with these concerns around Bitcoin mining centralization, some U.S. lawmakers are convinced they would not be able to ban Bitcoin.

On the other hand, Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project would be much easier to manipulate, regulate, and control. That said, multiple members of the Bitcoin industry have pointed out the roundabout ways Bitcoin could benefit Facebook’s Libra.

That said, even if improvements are made to the decentralization and censorship resistance of Bitcoin from a technical level, the reality is the digital cash system still faces a serious regulatory issue in terms of its use as a payments mechanism due to the way in which the crypto asset is taxed.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m a writer who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. I’ve worked all over the Bitcoin media space — from being editor-in-chief at Inside Bitcoins to contributing to Bitcoin Magazine on a regular basis. My work has also been featured in Business Insider, VICE Motherboard, and many other financial and tech media outlets. I’m mostly interested in the use of Bitcoin for transactions that would be censored by the traditional financial system (think darknet markets and ransomware) in addition to the use of bitcoin as an unseizable, digital store of value. Altcoins, appcoins, and ICOs don’t make much sense to me. Find all of my work at kyletorpey.com. Disclosure: I hold some bitcoin

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SendFriend gets $1.7M for blockchain-based remittance led by MIT, Mastercard

SendFriend, a New York-based blockchain startup specializing in international money transfer to the Philippines, has raised $1.7 million in pre-seed funding from a group led by MIT Media Lab, Mastercard Foundation, Ripple and Barclays. Other investors include Techstars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures and 8 Decimal Capital. The blockchain-based platform, set to launch service from New Jersey and expand to other U.S. states, will allow customers, mostly overseas Filipino workers, to transfer funds back home for about 65 percent less than what is currently on the market, according to David Lighton, co-founder and CEO………………

Source: SendFriend gets $1.7M for blockchain-based remittance led by MIT, Mastercard

Breaking: Facebook Develops Its Own Cryptocurrency for Remittances

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After some resistance to blockchain and nonacceptance of the technology, Facebook, the social networks giant, has got down to developing its blockchain team and is currently looking for fresh talents to welcome to growing blockchain unit. In this regard, there have been rumors about launching Facebook’s own digital currency. They are reportedly true.

Those familiar with the matter have revealed that the company is working on developing a so-called stablecoin, digital currency pegged to the US dollar, that will allow users of the messaging app WhatsApp to transfer money on the platform.

As was reported by Bloomberg, Facebook is far from releasing the coin, as at the moment the company is “working on the strategy, including a plan for custody assets, or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value of the stablecoin.” Moreover, the focus will initially be “on the remittances market in India.”

The government of India is implementing a policy of demonetization and adoption of the blockchain technology. In September this year, mobile banking transactions worth of $6.8 million were processed, which marked a new monthly high. The country also leads the world in remittances. As the World Bank estimated, people sent $69 billion home to India in 2017.

Huawei Cloud Launches its Blockchain Services Globally – Pratik Makadiya

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After earning significant success in China, Huawei Cloud launched its Blockchain Services (BCS) globally earlier this month. Per a press release issued by the company on November 29, 2018, the service will help create, manage, and deploy blockchain applications economically on the company-run cloud.

Advantages of BCS

According to the company, BCS could capitalize on the advantages of Huawei Cloud’s container and security technologies, among others. Some of the areas where it could be universally applicable include the Internet of Things (IoT), finance, data applications, among others. The press release states:

“The scenarios it can be used in cover data transactions, identity authentication, proof of information (such as real estate and education), remote healthcare, food source tracing, the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), and IoT device management. It offers substantial assistance for establishing a technological ecosystem and digitally transforming industries.”

As per the information available on the official website, the professional edition is free until the end of this calendar year (December 31, 2018), while the basic version will remain free. The website further explained the use-cases of BCS in fields such as supply chain finance, supply chain trading, digital assets, and notarization for crowdfunding. All of which will be ameliorated with additional transparency.

Huawei’s official cloud website states that BCS “Enables efficient exchange of digital assets and prevents in-chain falsifications with such automated transaction capabilities as asset ownership confirmation and accounting reconciliation.”

Expounding on the advantages of using BCS, concerning other cloud systems, the press release highlighted various benefits such as its flexibility, efficiency, and innumerable security and privacy features.

Huawei’s Blockchain and Crypto Ventures

Huawei latest move is not the first foray into blockchain. Since 2016, the Chinese tech giant has been a member of Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium, hosted by the Linux Foundation.  The company has been recognized for its contributions in two main fields namely Fabric and STL, and also as Hyperledger maintainer. The telecom company was the only maintainer from Asia in these sub-projects.

For the uninitiated, the hyperledger is a blockchain-as-a-service platform that enables clients or users to build smart contract applications that tend to primarily focus on public services such as ID verifications, financial auditing, supply chain, and tokenized assets.

In April this year, the telecom giant Huawei unveiled a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform. Before that, Huawei divulged their launch of a blockchain-based smartphone, and in May, the company also announced to release BTC.com’s Bitcoin wallet in its app store.

Can Blockchain Technology Make Agriculture Safer – Hiroyuki Shinohara

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Smart contracts built on blockchain technology may eliminate the need for middlemen. Energy grids could use that tech to increase cybersecurity. And aerospace suppliers look to blockchain as a potential investment in keeping track of their supply lines and boosting efficiencies.

But perhaps one of the most unexpected – and impactful – applications of blockchain may be in agriculture.

Blockchains could ensure vegetable quality

The blockchain is a byproduct of Bitcoin, but its application range is infinite. Blockchain can have a significant impact beyond the internet, and it is likely the concept will be applied to all industries in the future. One example of this potential is in quality assurance – a process all businesses must contend with.

An active example of the impact of blockchain technology on agriculture is the increase in traceability of agricultural products. In Aya-cho, Higashi Morokata-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, demonstration experiments are being carried out using blockchain technology to assure the quality of organic agricultural products. The data recorded includes who farmed the product, condition of the soil, nature of the pesticides and production environment. This proves the quality of the product.  Agriculture experts are taking notice of these products, too, which trade at almost twice the market price due to the spotlight on them.

In the manufacturing industry, the traceability of parts has been advancing significantly. The same cannot be said for that of software, though the role of software in terms of products and services will become more significant in the future. When this happens, businesses must assure the quality of the software by disclosing who wrote the program and how it was written. The blockchain should be an important part of this assurance process.

Keep information in a virtual safe

In the years to come, a company’s survival will greatly depend on “the amount of useful information” it possesses. One example is Uber, a car dispatch service provider. They are a well-known business, but like any other, they are looking further into the future to see “how they can optimize the huge customer data base they possess for their next business endeavor.” Uber may just completely change the logistics of the world by making use of “movement of people” data accumulated by their dispatch service. Imagine the impact on Japanese business if leaders thought so deeply about the relevance of their future data and technology.

Since the introduction of IoT, the number of data-collecting sensors and amount of information collected from them has dramatically increased. IoT technology becomes more capable by the day. However, too many companies use a low-security system to manage high-value information. Japan is a developed country with a strong manufacturing base, and it is the only country that can create its own social infrastructure from beginning to end. If Japanese manufacturing companies were to turn their expertise into data and store it in a trustworthy blockchain, that shift would create huge value.

Requests would come from all over the world from those who want to analyze the data. Furthermore, utilization of this data could bring about new innovations, such as a never-before-seen refinement of strong metals. Ultimately, to make use of this data, we have to keep it in a safe. That safe is a blockchain.

Seagate Is Using IBM Blockchain To Fend Off Computer Counterfeiters – Michael del Castillo

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Data storage giant Seagate has a counterfeiting problem. All one need do is Google “Seagate and fake” and the results produce numerous guides to help ensure users the hardware they’re putting in their computer is real. But the problem is actually larger than just retail customers buying fraudulent hard drives, which sometimes come shipped as nothing more than dressed  up USB sticks. Not only are counterfeits making it onto some mainstream platforms like eBay, but something called the reverse supply chain, when customers return goods, is also vulnerable, increasing the risk that Seagate itself, which generated $11.8 billion revenue this year, is accepting counterfeits back into its own supply…………..

 

 

 

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Singapore Central Bank ‘Demonstrates’ Value of Blockchain With Tokenized Assets – Georgi Georgiev

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The Stock Market and Central Bank of Singapore have successfully developed a blockchain-based settlement system for tokenized assets in partnership with some big names like Nasdaq, Anquan Capital, and Deloitte.

Bitcoinist reported earlier in August that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which is also the city-state’s de facto Central Bank, as well as Singapore’s Stock Exchange (SGX), have partnered up with Anquan Capital, Deloitte, and Nasdaq to develop a blockchain-based settlement system of tokenized digital assets.

In a joint press release dated November 11, MAS and SGX announced that the collaboration has been successful and that they’ve developed Delivery versus Payment (DvP) capabilities for settling tokenized assets throughout different blockchain-based platforms. Purportedly, this will help simplify the process after the trade and make settlement faster.

According to Ms. Tinku Gupta, Head of Technology at SGX as well as Project Chair, a patent has also been already filed:

We are delighted to drive this important industry effort to accelerate innovation in the marketplace. Based on the unique methodology SGX developed to enable real-world interoperability of platforms, as well as the simultaneous exchange of digital tokens and securities, we have applied for our first-ever technology patent.

Tokenized Assets on the Rise?

While Singapore’s Central Bank has traditionally been receptive of blockchain technology, it seems to be particularly keen on tokenized assets.

Speaking on the successful proceedings of their partnership, Mr. Sopnendu Mohany, Chief Fintech Officer at MAS outlined:

Blockchain technology and asset tokenisation are fuelling a new wave of innovation globally. This project has demonstrated the value of blockchain technology and the benefits it can bring to the financial industry in the short to medium term. The concept of asset tokenisation, as well as other learnings gleaned from this project, can potentially be applied to a broad spectrum of the economy, creating a whole new world of opportunities.

Juzar Motiwalla, Co-Founder of Anquan Capital, on the other hand, recognizes the evolution of tokenized assets and the impact they might have on existing business models:

The evolution of new forms of tokenised assets is accelerating the search for new business models, which in turn intensifies the search for dramatically improved settlement engines. […]We see keen interest in this across multiple sectors, including financial services and digital advertising.

It does seem like asset tokenization could be the next big thing. Last month Bitcoinist reported that a $30 million New York condo has been tokenized on the Ethereum blockchain.

 

 

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How Blockchains Will Transform The Real Estate Industry – Max Coursey

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If your hearing was sensitive enough and you were listening all over the United States, you would likely hear real estate agents, title companies, lenders and inspectors printing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of papers. These papers are scanned, faxed, emailed, distributed and shredded in ways that feels somewhat reminiscent of the technologies of an old Friends episode. Common practices in the real estate industry are often archaic and wasteful  and they can be beacons for fraud across all sectors……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesrealestatecouncil/2018/11/13/how-blockchains-will-transform-the-real-estate-industry/#b51f72e675fe

 

 

 

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Blockchain Is Starting to Show Real Promise Amid the Hype – Avi Salzman

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Partnerships and initiatives featuring blockchain seem to be trumpeted every day. Projects that actually solve real-world problems are much rarer. The research firm Gartner surveyed 3,160 chief information officers this year and found that only 1% had put blockchain to work. Take the Australian mining giant BHP Billiton (ticker: BHP), which announced in 2016 that it would use blockchain to track its supply chain, including the movement of rock and fluid samples. But after the company tested it in a pilot project, a BHP executive said this month that the technology “hasn’t reached the point of maturity where we think it applies to us……..

Read more: https://www.barrons.com/articles/blockchain-is-starting-to-show-real-promise-amid-the-hype-1534554901?mod=barpkt19

 

 

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When is Blockchain Right for Your Business

Blockchain technology

How blockchain technology works?

According to the pioneers of blockchain technology, it is nothing less than an online ledger that records the data related to all transactions made throughout a business organization. Apart from the transactions that are made regarding money, other transactions that hold value are also recorded in this system.

The database that this system store does not have one location. Also, it is freely available to the public. Therefore, the chances of fraud are minimized. Moreover, this is a decentralized system, which means that it is not controlled by any party. Thus, improving the level of credibility and reliability on the system.

Benefits of Blockchain Technology

There are several benefits of blockchain technology for the business owners. The most prominent ones may include:

  • Improve the level of security

  • Decentralization that is, free from the involvement of the third party

  • Reduce the cost and fatigue of managing the business records in registers or manual ledgers

  • Along with these benefits, the most important advantage of blockchain technology is that it has the capability to protect the coy rights of organizations.

Why is blockchain system needed in business?

The blockchain is a sensitive system that is a part of every national and multi-national company. Nowadays its use has increased because of the increased hacking threats to the confidential data of organizations. In order to protect the secrets of organizations a decentralized system is adopted, and this system is what we called as blockchain system.

Also, the customers that connect to different companies for business purposes share their important data with them. So, they also need measures to protect their sensitive data because you never know when someone uses it betray you. Here again, the Blockchain development agency comes for customer rescue.

What is the right time to adopt this system for your business?

According to this Forbes article, we’re at the stage that’s called “the early majority” – which means that if we decide to adopt blockchain tech into our business operations, we’re still one of the early adopters.  That said, considering your available resources and growth plan, you should probably do it at the very start of your business. An obvious reason for this is the high efficiency of this system.

As you adopt blockchain technology at the beginning, then you can manage all your ledgers without the interference of any third party. It will make the whole process clear and clean from the start. Rather than waiting for some reasonable time, adopt it right away in the beginning to stay carefree from the tensions of managing transactions through third-party involvement.

This is how this technology works for the benefit of business organizations. The potential of such systems is completely realized by business owners, and they have started using it to make their business activities clear and free from any fraud. This is the reason why this system has become indispensable for the business owners.

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