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Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:54:28 AM
Telecoms Giant NTT’s Thai Unit Plans to Launch Blockchain, AI, IOT Innovation Lab -  Telecoms giant NTT Corporation’s Thai subsidiary plans to launch a major innovation lab focused on blockchain, artificial intelligence >> full details
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:54:07 AM
Blockchain-for-Land: What We Are Getting Wrong and How to Fix It -  Tim Robustelli is a Program Associate with the Future of Property Rights Program at New America, a think tank based in Washington >> full details
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:53:46 AM
Unconfirmed: Disney Considers $13.2 Billion Equity Deal With Stake in Korbit, Bitstamp -  Two major cryptocurrency exchanges could soon have Walt Disney Corp. as their owner if a $13 billion equity deal goes through >> full details
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:53:23 AM
Lightning Labs Launches Lightning Network Client for Main Bitcoin Network -  Blockchain development company Lightning Labs announced that it released the first alpha version of its Lightning Network >> full details
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:53:03 AM
Report: Samsung Planning New Blockchain Mainnet Featuring Samsung Coin -  South Korean electronics giant Samsung may end up developing a public-private blockchain complete with its own cryptocurrency >> full details
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:52:43 AM
South Korean Hospital to Create Blockchain Medical Data Management Platform -  Blockchain-powered medical data marketplace Longenesis and biotechnology company Insilico Medicine have entered into an >> full details
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:52:25 AM
IBM Issued Patent for DLT-Supported Data Sharing and Validation -  Tech giant IBM has been awarded a patent for a mobile data sharing method that uses distributed ledger technology (DLT), >> full details
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:51:59 AM
Societe Generale Subsidiary Issues 100 Million Euro Bond on Ethereum Blockchain -  French specialized credit institution Societe Generale SFH issued a 100 million euro ($112 million) bond as a security token >> full details
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:51:07 AM
Credit Suisse Exec Says Bank Culture Holds Back Adoption of Blockchain -  Head of digital market assets at Credit Suisse, Emmanuel Aidoo, said that the desire among financiers to maintain the >> full details
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:50:29 AM
Coinbase Closes Chicago Office and Scales Down Work on Matching Engine -  Major United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase shut down its Chicago office and scaled down the development >> full details
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:07:36 PM
Ethereum Co-Founder Joseph Lubin: Blockchain Will Be Most of the Economy in 10-20 Years -  Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Joseph Lubin said that he expects the global economy will be 10 times larger in 10 to 20 years, >> full details
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:07:16 PM
Blockchain and Crypto Business Reps Protest Nevada Bill -  Representatives from the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries voiced their concerns about a bill in the Nevada State >> full details
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:07:02 PM
Insurance Giant AXA XL Launches Security Token and Crowdfunding Insurance Service -  Insurance giant AXA XL and insurance technology startup Assurely have jointly launched a new insurance product covering >> full details
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:06:46 PM
Blockchain ID Startup Metadium Reveals Partnership With Game Engine Giant Unity -  Metadium, a South Korean blockchain identity startup, is releasing its Software Development Kit (SDK) on leading game >> full details
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:06:13 PM
SEC’s Finhub to Host Public Forum on Blockchain, Digital Assets in May -  United States regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that it is hosting a public forum >> full details
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:05:56 PM
Yacht Owners Offered Crypto for Geo-Data as Company Tries to Improve Navigation Systems -  A crypto company that bills itself as “the future of yachting navigation” says its technology enables sailors to mine tokens >> full details
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:05:34 PM
IBM Hints at Stablecoin Cross-Border Payments Solution for Financial Institutions -  The head of blockchain solutions for IBM, Jesse Lund, has hinted that bank-targeted stablecoins will be a major forthcoming >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:53:05 AM
Consensus Algorithm Tendermint Raises $9 Mln in Series A Investment Round -  Blockchain consensus algorithm and peer-to-peer (P2P) networking protocol Tendermint has raised $9 million in a Series A >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:52:32 AM
French Court Clerks to Use IBM Blockchain Platform for Corporate Registry -  French commercial court clerks will use a blockchain-based platform to record changes in companies’ legal status within >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:52:16 AM
Report: Over 40 Bugs in Blockchain and Crypto Platforms Detected Over Past 30 Days -  White hat hackers have detected over 40 bugs in blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms over the past 30 days, tech news >> full details
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latest updates from Telecoms Giant NTT’s Thai Unit Plans to Launch Blockchain, AI, IOT Innovation Lab
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:54:28 AM
Telecoms giant NTT Corporation’s Thai subsidiary plans to launch a major innovation lab focused on blockchain, artificial intelligence and internet of things technology. Thai English-language newspaper the Bangkok Post reported on the development on April 23.

NTT Communications (NTT Com) Thailand is the local operating unit of NTT Com Group, a subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Corporation — Japan’s largest telecoms firm and the world’s third-largest telecoms firm by revenue.

According to the Bangkok Post, the new lab is slated for launch in the second quarter of 2019, and comes in addition to NTT Com Thailand’s existing 500 million baht ($15.6 million) investment to secure additional space for data centers at its Amata Industrial Estate. The company’s president, Manabu Kahara, is quoted as saying that:

"The NTT innovation lab will introduce a playground for customers and partners to do proof-of-concept, development for disruptive technologies such as blockchain, IoT, AI, hybrid cloud and software-defined networks.”

The report notes that NTT Com Thailand is planning to use its innovation lab to develop blockchain solutions for the financial and insurance sectors, as well as to “serve as preventive maintenance for smart factories.”

The Bangkok Post reports on further details of NTT Com Thailand’s expansion plans and projects to meet the growing demands of cloud service operators, financial institutions, cybersecurity service providers and other enterprises, with an overall ambition to grow its business by 30% by 2021.

As reported earlier this month, worldwide blockchain applications in the telecoms sector are forecast to generate $1.37 billion in revenue by 2024, according to a recent analysis from Irish global market research store Research and Markets.

Also in April, KT Corporation — South Korea’s largest telecoms firm — launched its blockchain-powered 5G network brand, which aims to boost the security of internet of things devices.
 
latest updates from Blockchain-for-Land: What We Are Getting Wrong and How to Fix It
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:54:07 AM
Tim Robustelli is a Program Associate with the Future of Property Rights Program at New America, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.

The flurry of activity related to blockchain-for-land over the past few years is impressive, with a number of firms working with land registries worldwide.

Yet, skepticism is growing around the technology’s potential for land administration due to the fitful growth of various pilots.

Some projects, notably those in Georgia and Dubai, do continue to grow. But other blockchain-for-land efforts — such as those in Vermont, Brazil and Ukraine — have succumbed to “pilot-itis.” These projects worked on a small scale, and were even replicated, but haven’t been able to reach larger populations.

There are a few noticeable trends behind why some projects scaled and others didn’t. Pilots that struggled to expand ignored influential stakeholders in the early stages. Or, projects tried to address problems for which blockchain was an ill-suited solution. There were frequently unrealistic expectations concerning outcomes, partially due to a lack of blockchain education. Projects are too often undertaken by governments enthusiastic about the technology, but fuzzy on how it works and what it can deliver. Sometimes, a project was implemented under the wrong bureaucratic or legal conditions.

A land registry should first think more critically about its capabilities, needs and ecosystem before implementing a blockchain-based solution. A set of recommendations to assist land officials during their exploration and implementation of blockchain is below:

Get tech experts and land experts in the same room
Blockchain is a database technology at its most basic, while land administration is a public issue with wide-ranging political, social and economic impacts. So, the stakeholders in the room need to understand both technology and land. Those are usually two different sets of people.

A blockchain-for-land project should engage with political, technical and socioeconomic stakeholders from the very beginning. For example, senior land officials can provide long-term strategic vision, and also possess the experience to spot unintended consequences and risks related to blockchain. IT professionals understand technological nuances and can better evaluate blockchain as a back-end technology. Finally, outreach to the broader real estate community can help to promote blockchain as a tool to improve business operations.

Identify the problem and determine whether blockchain can actually solve that problem
Stakeholders must work together to answer the following question: What is limiting the everyday functionality of the land registry?

There are many possible responses, ranging from undocumented land rights to record manipulation, poor service delivery and sloppy paper-based storage. But blockchain can’t solve every problem, and identifying the specific issue to be solved will help determine whether blockchain is an appropriate answer.

Blockchain will not address problems related to inaccurate, outdated or nonexistent records. Nor is the technology particularly helpful in cases in which records aren’t digitized. It can’t rewrite land laws or improve the institutional capacity of a registry, either.

Blockchain is useful for solving issues concerning corruption, lack of trust, inefficient services and secure data. Still, the technology isn’t a cure-all, and stakeholders must be realistic about the potential of blockchain:

Blockchain replicates data across many computers or servers, increasing the resiliency of a land registry database.
A blockchain-based system allows users to view the same data and track processes in real time, fostering greater transparency in land administration and real estate.
It’s more difficult to attack a blockchain-based solution because, in part, it lacks a sensitive central point to target, leading to greater protection against hacks.
Land records are more tamper-resistant in a blockchain because control is distributed, all users verify new data through consensus and all data is paired with a unique fingerprint — or hash — to ensure integrity.
Data sharing, combined with smart contracts and digital signatures, can help to streamline workflows, remove non-value-add intermediaries and decrease transaction times for registries, real estate firms and customers.
Check if blockchain can scale in your environment
Pilot projects are a good first step to test a solution, but many struggle to expand. A big reason is that the enabling environment — the legal, bureaucratic, financial and political conditions — doesn’t facilitate scaling.

For example, it’s difficult to scale a blockchain-for-land project in a fragmented land administration system, such as the county-based system in the United States. It’s likely more efficient to deploy a blockchain on a nation-wide registry, or in a system within which local offices maintain technical interoperability and follow the same rules.

Pertinent laws and regulations must also change. No project exists in a vacuum; it’s subject to the rules of a particular jurisdiction. Governments may need to adapt or pass legislation that allows for land administration and/or real estate transactions to take place in the digital realm.

Last, buy-in from entrenched stakeholders profiting from the current system is usually critical if any reform project is to succeed. This process can be very difficult, but it’s sometimes possible through demonstrating the long-term benefits of the reforms.

As with most solutions to complex problems, technology alone is insufficient. Land registries must also consider the people and processes involved in reform efforts. After all, it’s individuals and institutions that are behind the ways in which technology is developed and deployed.

In order to better insure innovation and reform, land officials must think more critically about their capabilities, needs and ecosystems. Blockchain-for-land can positively affect populations around the world — if implemented correctly.
 
latest updates from Unconfirmed: Disney Considers $13.2 Billion Equity Deal With Stake in Korbit, Bitstamp
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:53:46 AM
Two major cryptocurrency exchanges could soon have Walt Disney Corp. as their owner if a $13 billion equity deal goes through, South Korean English-language daily news outlet The Korea Herald reported on April 17.

Citing a banking industry source speaking to another publication, JoongAng Ilbo, The Korea Herald revealed the chairman of online gaming giant NXC Corporation, Jung-ju Kim, plans to sell his 98.6% stake in the company.

NXC owns 47% of Nexon, South Korea’s largest game developer, which in turn has stakes in South Korean exchange Korbit and European platform Bitstamp through a Belgian subsidiary.

According to the source, Disney, with whom Kim has a close relationship, is already the preferred buyer, other competitors including Chinese internet giant Tencent and South Korea’s Kakao Corp.

The equity buyout would be worth 15 trillion won ($13.2 billion), and would give Disney a significant if coincidental foothold in the cryptocurrency exchange industry.

Bitstamp is the oldest major exchange still in operation, originally hailing from Slovenia, while Korbit began operations in 2013.

Neither Nexon nor the exchanges involved have yet produced public comment on the press rumors.

To date, Disney has had little to do with cryptocurrency, its Dragonchain blockchain remaining a fringe project despite a 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) raising around $13 million.

As Cointelegraph reported, last week saw another major investment in the South Korean exchange space, with the owner of fellow platform Bithumb gaining $200 million funding from a Japanese blockchain fund.
 
latest updates from Lightning Labs Launches Lightning Network Client for Main Bitcoin Network
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:53:23 AM
Blockchain development company Lightning Labs announced that it released the first alpha version of its Lightning Network (LN) client for the main bitcoin (BTC) network, according to a blog post published on April 23.

The announcement specifies that this is still an early version aimed at testers and developers willing to start experimenting with the software. The developers also warn that the users should not put more funds into the app than they are willing to lose.

Furthermore, while the release supports macOS, Windows and Linux, the post also specifies that it is an important stepping stone in the development of a mobile version. The team notes:

“We’re working as quickly as we can to get our mainnet iOS and Android apps out soon.”

Lightning Labs also claims to be committed to privacy, security and self-determination, the principles that it believes bitcoin was built on. The announcement explains that, to deliver a system in line with those principles, the company needs to release an easy to use non-custodial client solution. The post notes:

“Scaling Bitcoin and Lightning to everyone means not requiring people to follow complex setup processes or hand over control of their funds to trusted counterparties.”

The newly-released solution uses the Neutrino bitcoin light client, which reportedly allows for the use of the LN scalability solution without downloading the entire blockchain first or handing over control over funds. Per the announcement, Neutrino only needs to download and verify tens of megabytes, which can be done in minutes, enabling practical use on smartphones and other low-power devices.

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, crypto payments processing startup Moon is launching a web browser extension that allows e-commerce shoppers to use their LN bitcoin wallets for purchases on sites like Amazon.

Also, at the beginning of the current month, news broke that the United States-based startup Sparkswap has completed a successful seed funding round to create a decentralized exchange based on the bitcoin LN.
 
latest updates from Report: Samsung Planning New Blockchain Mainnet Featuring Samsung Coin
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:53:03 AM
South Korean electronics giant Samsung may end up developing a public-private blockchain complete with its own cryptocurrency token, an anonymous source told crypto industry news outlet CoinDesk Korea on April 24.

The project, part of an undertaking by the company’s dedicated blockchain division, would see a blockchain mainnet appear based on Ethereum (ETH), along with a new asset dubbed Samsung Coin.

“We expect Samsung Coin to come out in the market, but the direction has not yet been decided,” the source, who is in touch with the plans, told the publication.

The news, while not confirmed officially, comes as Samsung continues its various forays into both the blockchain and cryptocurrency spheres.

Last week, the company gave a fresh signal about its belief in the long-term profitability of the emerging phenomena as it participated in a $4 million investment round in smartphone-based wallet app ZenGo.

Samsung’s existing enterprise blockchain offering, Nexledger, also continues to see uptake from entities worldwide, most recent of which came in the form of Indian IT giant Mahindra.

The ETH-based offering would meanwhile likely incorporate elements of both public and private blockchains, with exact details similarly still forthcoming.

“Currently, we are thinking of private blockchain, though it is not yet confirmed,” the source added. The source continued:
 
latest updates from South Korean Hospital to Create Blockchain Medical Data Management Platform
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:52:43 AM
agreement with South Korean hospital Gil Medical Center to create a blockchain-based health data management solution. The development was announced in a press release published on April 23.

As part of the collaboration, the parties intend to develop a blockchain-powered platform based on Bitfury’s Exonum blockchain framework to increase the efficiency of data collection, boost medical research processes and ensure transparent management of patient consent.

Longenesis will reportedly provide a secure ecosystem for Gil Medical Center to upload, store and manage patients’ private data, allowing patients to control and access their data as well. The platform also aims to address compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations as the hospital also provides services to foreigners.

Earlier in April, Bitfury and Longenesis jointly launched production of a blockchain-based consent management system for the healthcare industry that addresses compliance with GDPR and HIPAA.

In mid-March, another major hospital in South Korea’s capital city of Seoul, Seoul Medical Center, announced plans to launch a blockchain-based platform aimed to improve its medical services. The project dubbed “Smart Hospital” aims to boost data accuracy and reduce processing timing for the aforementioned hospital.

As reported in February, in order to promote the country’s blockchain projects, the Seoul Metropolitan Government revealed the establishment of the “Seoul Innovation Growth Fund,” with the goal to invest more than $1 billion in blockchain and fintech startups by 2022.
 
latest updates from IBM Issued Patent for DLT-Supported Data Sharing and Validation
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:52:25 AM
Tech giant IBM has been awarded a patent for a mobile data sharing method that uses distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to documents published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 23.

The product described in the filing represents a continuation of U.S. patent application filed in November 2017 entitled “Information Sharing Among Mobile Apparatus.” IBM proposes a method executed by a mobile apparatus to verify information that has been shared between two devices.

In detail, the platform can collect specific information and deliver it to nearby computing nodes, with subsequent publishing of a verified incident event on a distributed ledger. The collected data is further used to map information updates.

Objects connected within the proposed system would reportedly share event information among multiple mobile devices with a secure reliability and without providing a trusted third party. The document explains:

“Connected objects can be sensed and/or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, integrating connected physical objects into computer-based systems. Connected physical objects are uniquely identifiable through their embedded computing system, allowing the connected physical objects to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure.”

The patent is just the most recent in the long list of blockchain-related patents either filed or received by IBM in recent months. Earlier in April, IBM added a new implementation to manage data and interactions for self-driving vehicles (SDVs) to its arsenal of blockchain patents. The products appears to be a system, wherein an SDV interacts and predicts the behavior of drivers of non-autonomous vehicles nearby.

In March, Cointelegraph reported about an IBM patent for an application that aims to improve the security of permissioned blockchain networks. In the filing, IBM outlined security techniques for withstanding replay attacks while maintaining valid user permissions and privacy.
 
latest updates from Societe Generale Subsidiary Issues 100 Million Euro Bond on Ethereum Blockchain
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:51:59 AM
French specialized credit institution Societe Generale SFH issued a 100 million euro ($112 million) bond as a security token on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. The company announced the development on its website on April 23.

Societe Generale SFH — which is a subsidiary of one of Europe's largest financial services groups, Societe Generale Group — has rolled out its first pilot project developed in collaboration with Societe Generale FORGE. The latter is an internal startup launched through the Group’s intrapreneurial program, the Internal Startup Call.

The transaction’s goal was to investigate a more efficient way for bond issuance, which would potentially facilitate better transparency, and faster transferability and settlement. The company says in the announcement that the product “proposes a new standard for issuances and secondary market bond trading and reduces cost and the number of intermediaries.”

Last September, Societe Generale became one of the major financial organizations that launched a joint venture dubbed komgo SA to oversee a new blockchain-based platform for financing the trading of commodities.

The venture aims to digitize trade and commodities finance processes through a blockchain-based open platform, and was developed in partnership with the Ethereum-focused blockchain infrastructure and solutions group ConsenSys.

Earlier in April, Private bank Kleinwort Hambros, which is owned by Societe Generale, launched an exchange-traded note made up of blockchain-related companies. The stocks reportedly included 20 companies, which are expected to profit from blockchain and distributed ledger technology adoption.

As reported today, head of digital market assets at Credit Suisse, Emmanuel Aidoo, said that the desire among financiers to maintain the status quo is holding back the adoption of blockchain technology. Aidoo argued that banks’ unwillingness to adopt blockchain lies in the culture within banks, and has nothing to do with the technology’s immaturity or a lack of potential use cases within financial organizations.
 
latest updates from Credit Suisse Exec Says Bank Culture Holds Back Adoption of Blockchain
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:51:07 AM
Head of digital market assets at Credit Suisse, Emmanuel Aidoo, said that the desire among financiers to maintain the status quo is holding back the adoption of blockchain technology, Business Insider reported on April 23.

In an interview with Business Insider, Aidoo said that banks’ unwillingness to adopt blockchain lies in culture within banks, and has nothing to do with the technology’s immaturity or a lack of potential use cases within financial organizations. Aidoo said:

"What is preventing the banking industry from rushing into it? I think it's mostly culture. I think the tipping point is about having an entrepreneurial culture, a willingness to push people to keep asking why."

Aidoo, however, added that this year the industry will see people taking an interest in the ways blockchain technology could benefit them in terms of cost profile, with some banks to begin more meaningful rollouts of blockchain-based products.

In February, global investment bank Credit Suisse and Portuguese Banco Best completed blockchain-based end-to-end fund transactions. Last March, Credit Suisse and Dutch-based ING financial service groups also successfully completed the first live transaction of 25 million euros ($28 million) in securities on R3’s Corda blockchain platform.

As recently published forecasts predict, global blockchain spending could reach almost $2.9 billion in 2019, which is an 88.7% increase from 2018. The financial sector will purportedly be the leading industry in terms of spending in blockchain development this year. Banking, securities, investment services and insurance services are forecasted to invest more than $1.1 billion out of the total global blockchain spending.
 
latest updates from Coinbase Closes Chicago Office and Scales Down Work on Matching Engine
Updates: Apr-24-2019 10:50:29 AM
Major United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase shut down its Chicago office and scaled down the development of its matching engine, Fortune reports on April 23.

Per the report, the exchange will consolidate the high-frequency trading matching engine efforts into its San Francisco office. Coinbase also purportedly laid off about 30 employees and will relocate some to the area of the other office, while others will work remotely.

According to local news site Chicago Inno, when the company announced the opening of the Chicago office in May last year, it planned on hiring 100 people over three years, most of whom were going to be engineers.

The office was lead by Paul Bauerschmidt, who according to his LinkedIn profile was the former managing director at Eris Exchange and executive director at CME Group, and Derek Groothius, who was previously a software engineer at DRW. Both are reportedly leaving the company.

A spokesperson of the company reportedly told Fortune that while the closure of the office is a setback, the company is continuing to hire new employees in other offices. The spokesperson also noted that high-frequency trading is no longer a priority and that the company is focusing on new products.

The Block reported that the decision to close the office was made at the executive level and it is unclear whether the employees were expecting their positions to be terminated. The Block estimated that simply the teams salaries could have been as high as $6 million, without accounting for bonuses, office rent or the cost of technology.

As Cointelegraph reported last week, Coinbase reportedly saw around $520 million in revenue last year, 60% less than some analysts expected.

On the other hand, competing crypto exchange Binance reported $78 million in profits in Q1 2019, up 66% compared to the previous quarter.
 
latest updates from Ethereum Co-Founder Joseph Lubin: Blockchain Will Be Most of the Economy in 10-20 Years
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:07:36 PM
Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Joseph Lubin said that he expects the global economy will be 10 times larger in 10 to 20 years, when blockchain is fully ramified, and blockchain will be involved in most of it. Lubin made the statement at the SXSW conference in Austin on March 14.

During the same keynote, Lubin also pointed out that just as nowadays there aren’t many “normal” people using blockchain-based systems, “there weren’t a lot of ‘normal’ people firing email around in 1983.”

He also reiterated the promises of Ethereum 2.0, stating that there are a lot of inefficiencies present in Bitcoin (BTC) and the current version of Ethereum that Ethereum 2.0 won’t have:

“In Bitcoin and currently in Ethereum, you need to have specialized hardware, burn lots of electricity, waste lots of computation, to basically keep everybody in sync. [With Ethereum 2.0, in 18 months] we’ll have a blockchain system much more powerful and scalable that uses orders of magnitude less energy.”

As Cointelegraph recently reported, Lubin also said that blockchain technology and decentralization can benefit content creators and journalists.

The statements mentioned above are also in line with what Lubin said in November last year, when he told a New York Times interviewer that with blockchain, society will move “from a scarcity to an abundance mindset.”
 
latest updates from Blockchain and Crypto Business Reps Protest Nevada Bill
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:07:16 PM
Representatives from the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries voiced their concerns about a bill in the Nevada State Senate in a Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, March 12.

The bill, SB 195, would introduce several uniform standards to the virtual currency industry, and would require crypto-related business like exchanges to register with the state’s Department of Business and Industry.

The Uniform Regulation of Virtual-Currency Businesses Act, sponsored by Democratic senator James Ohrenschall, is an effort put forward by the Uniform Law Commission to introduce consistent regulations for the virtual currency industry. In the hearing, Ohrenschall states that other iterations of the bill were introduced in state legislatures in Hawaii, Oklahoma and California.

Following an initial explanation of the bill before the committee, representatives from the crypto industry protested the legislation. The Nevada Technology Association (NTA) said that the bill was premature and would put Nevada at a competitive disadvantage as blockchain was still in its nascent stages. The NTA continued that a bill that tried to regulate the rapidly evolving technology in such detail could do more harm than good.

Matt Digesti, vice president of government affairs and strategic initiatives at Blockchains LLC said that no blockchain- or cryptocurrency related businesses were consulted during the bill’s drafting process.

A written statement from Wendy Stolyarov, director of government affairs at blockchain firm Filament, said the law would “unintentionally classify us as a money transmitter because we build hardware wallet technology that enables machine-to-machine autonomous transaction.”

The bill is still in the early stages of its legislative lifecycle, having only been introduced in mid-February. No action was taken on the bill in committee and it has yet to be amended, according to public records.

Early this year, the Associated Press found that some counties in Nevada were issuing marriage licenses on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. While the technology purportedly enhances the provenance of such documents, their acceptance reportedly varies across different government agencies.
 
latest updates from Insurance Giant AXA XL Launches Security Token and Crowdfunding Insurance Service
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:07:02 PM
Insurance giant AXA XL and insurance technology startup Assurely have jointly launched a new insurance product covering equity crowdfunding and Security Token Offerings (STOs), according to a press release published on March 6.

The new product dubbed CrowdProtector is designed for issuers and investors, and purportedly protects new online capital formation strategies like equity crowdfunding and STOs. The product also aims increase trust, confidence and safety to potential investors guaranteeing that the issuer is insured. According to Ty Sagalow, CEO of Assurely, the parties have managed to increase underwriting. The releases states:

“CrowdProtector provides Issuers protection against investor complaints and lawsuits as well as serve as a communication to investors that they may get their principal investment returned should the issuer misuse the funds, purposefully misrepresent information in their offering documents, or steal the money.”

In the release, it is noted that until recently, investing in private companies has been available to accredited investors, — having a net worth of higher than $1 million, or earned income exceeding $200,000 — leaving a large amount of potential investors on the sidelines.

AXA XL is reportedly the second largest insurer in Europe, also providing risk management and reinsurance services to insurance companies globally. In 2018, the company’s net profit was reportedly 2.14 billion euro ($2.42 billion), having fallen by 66 percent from a year earlier. At the same time, the company’s earnings in 2018 rose by three percent, with dividends up by six percent to 1.34 euro ($1.52) per share.

Back in 2015, AXA XL revealed its plans to use Bitcoin (BTC) for remittances in order to streamline payments around the world. At the time, the company stated that many use cases related to Bitcoin had not yet been explored.

As Cointelegraph reported in February, blockchain security firm and crypto wallet service BitGo announced plans to offer crypto insurance through Lloyd's of London. BitGo Business Wallet clients will purportedly be able to acquire insurance for their digital assets held on BitGo’s Business Wallet service and Custodial offering.
 
latest updates from Blockchain ID Startup Metadium Reveals Partnership With Game Engine Giant Unity
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:06:46 PM
Metadium, a South Korean blockchain identity startup, is releasing its Software Development Kit (SDK) on leading game engine Unity’s Asset Store, according to a press release published today, March 15. The press release describes the move as a “strategic partnership” with the gaming giant.

Per the press release, the Metadium Meta ID service will be available to game developers using the Unity engine via the Unity Asset Store. In correspondence with Cointelegraph, the startup further explained the nature of the partnership with Unity, noting that its is part of the Asset Store Partner program:

“It [this partnership] includes extra assurance tests for our SDK's stability and certification of our plug-in. In addition to this, there will be more involvement of both sides for promotional activities to ensure exposure and to drive wider adoption among game developers.”

The press release further claims that the partnership can potentially open Metadium’s Ethereum (ETH)-based identity system to the 6.5 million game developers using the game engine. At a TechCrunch conference about six months ago, Unity’s CEO, John Riccitiello, stated that the engine is currently used in half the world’s games — and more than half of mobile and Nintendo-platform games.

A game engine is a Software Development Environment meant for easier video game building. Metadium also told Cointelegraph today that the Unity Asset Store has only a few other blockchain partners, citing Enjin and DMarket as examples.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, Enjin — an Ethereum-based digital asset tokenization startup — also launched an SDK for Unity earlier this month.

Around the same time, a patent from Unity related to in-game cryptocurrency tokens was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
 
latest updates from SEC’s Finhub to Host Public Forum on Blockchain, Digital Assets in May
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:06:13 PM
United States regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that it is hosting a public forum on distributed ledger technology (DLT) and digital assets this May. The news was revealed in an SEC press release today, March 15.

The commission’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (Finhub) has organized the event — dubbed the Fintech Forum — which will take place on May 31, 2019. The press release reports that the forum will include industry experts as panelists and is “designed to foster greater communication and understanding around issues involving DLT and digital assets.”

According to the announcement, topics to be covered during the forum include initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency platforms, “DLT innovations, and how these technologies impact investors and the markets.”

The agency reports that the forum is the second in the Fintech Forum series, the first taking place in November 2016.

The event — which is open to the public — is set to take place at the SEC’s headquarters in Washington D.C., the announcement notes.

As previously reported, Finhub was created in fall 2018 with the aim of facilitating the agency’s engagement in fintech-related fields, including DLT and digital assets.

This week, the SEC also announced that Finhub will host a series of local peer-to-peer meetups across the country with the aim of engaging more actively with the crypto and wider fintech community. The first scheduled meetup is set to take place in the San Francisco area on March 26, at the SEC’s regional office, before extending to other offices across the country.
 
latest updates from Yacht Owners Offered Crypto for Geo-Data as Company Tries to Improve Navigation Systems
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:05:56 PM
A crypto company that bills itself as “the future of yachting navigation” says its technology enables sailors to mine tokens as they sail.

BoatPilot offers a free marine navigation service that is geared toward private and commercial yachting markets. The firm describes itself as a blend of Google Maps and TripAdvisor, as it offers up-to-date and relevant data and a comprehensive database of user-generated photos, routes and comments that have been verified by the yachting community. Augmented reality (AR) support also means that the data that the skippers need can be incorporated into their surroundings — eliminating distractions and enabling skippers to focus when sailing in poor visibility or darkness.

The company believes that one of the best ways to keep marine charts updated is to incentivize sailors to share their geo-data. It has created a module called BoatGod that can be installed on vessels and capture geo-data — with yachtsmen rewarded in NAVY tokens whenever this precious information is sent to BoatPilot.

Delivering crucial information
In its white paper, BoatPilot claims that private yachtsmen and small charter companies now represent the largest fleet in the world, yet they are being badly underserved by marine navigation systems that were initially built for commercial purposes instead of civilian use. The company says “adapted” versions of these systems that have been made available to the public are often packed with irrelevant information, a poor user interface, and sometimes fail to provide crucial details on the nearest fueling stations, restaurants and marinas.

BOATPILOT IS AVAILABLE HERE
Through its crowdsourced approach to geo-data, BoatPilot is aiming to guarantee that information on seaports and other known large objects is regularly updated and relayed to users quickly — helping to keep yachtsmen and their passengers safe. At present, the company claims it can take years for data to be added, changed or removed from existing systems. Illustrating the problem, its white paper adds, “In the Mediterranean region alone there are dozens of known marinas and lighthouses that are not included in any of the navigation systems currently available.”

According to BoatPilot, testing of its product has already shown that its software “provides more precise information than other marine navigation systems that have been on the market for years” — and in one case, its program was able to deliver details on 100 geo-locations in the Mediterranean that were completely absent from the systems offered by long-standing competitors.

Making yachting easier
BoatPilot says that its navigation software — and the hardware module capturing geo-data — is complemented by a tool called Pocket Skipper. Pocket Skipper provides additional services to yachting enthusiasts, enabling them to list their vessels for sale, explore marina rentals and more.

The company claims more than 50,000 users have downloaded the Android version of BoatPilot MVP (minimum viable product) since the product was released — adding that, during a “record-breaking” season in 2017, the software was trusted by yachtsmen for the navigation of 4,700 vessels. Moreover, the team plans to launch the app this spring.

In a recent blog post, BoatPilot said its concept came to life when one of the company’s founders encountered severe weather while sailing in darkness. It hopes that its AR functionality will “minimize navigation risks and raise the safety of the waterways,” bringing all of the information they need together in one place.

The company raised more than $5 million during a token generation event. The 2018 sailing season saw the BoatGod hardware module rolled out to the first batch of charter yachts, and now the company’s NAVY token has been listed on three crypto exchanges: DDEX, Mercatox and Livecoin.
 
latest updates from IBM Hints at Stablecoin Cross-Border Payments Solution for Financial Institutions
Updates: Mar-16-2019 05:05:34 PM
The head of blockchain solutions for IBM, Jesse Lund, has hinted that bank-targeted stablecoins will be a major forthcoming development for the tech giant’s blockchain-powered cross-border payments solution. Lund made his remarks during an interview on financial news channel Cheddar on March 15.

While more details are set to be imminently announced next week, Lund told Cheddar that “market demand” is driving IBM to develop a stablecoin solution for financial institutions.

“More than a few banks around the world [...] see tremendous business benefit to issue stablecoins in their native fiat currency,” he said.

When asked how IBM’s solution compares to JPMorgan Chase’s forthcoming in-house, USD-backed “JPM Coin” stablecoin, Lund hinted that IBM’s solution would be “somewhere in between” JPM’s exclusive, closed network asset. He stated:

“It’s not a proprietary coin like JPMorgan’s solution, although I think what they’re doing makes a lot of sense for them. [...] What JPM’s doing also adds tremendous validation to what we’re doing. But our view for stablecoins is really that they should be more broadly accessible and what World Wire seeks to do is to provide fungibility of digital assets across financial institutions.”

“World Wire” refers to IBM’s collaboration with Stellar (XLM) and use of the network’s native asset in IBM’s cross-border payment network, Blockchain World Wire (BWW).

Alongside BWW, which aims to leverage cryptocurrencies to enable near real time international settlements between banks, IBM has also partnered with Stronghold, a Stellar-based asset, to create the Stellar network’s first stablecoin.

As Cointelegraph reported in February, Lund recently hinted at IBM’s interest in stablecoins as a vital aspect of innovating the cross-border payments landscape. Proposing that there should be an ecosystem of various digital assets that work as settlement instruments for cross-border payments, he suggested:

“It could be [...] XRP [...] it could be Bitcoin, but it would also probably include other instruments, like stablecoins, and even eventually soon — hopefully — central bank-issued digital currencies.”
 
latest updates from Consensus Algorithm Tendermint Raises $9 Mln in Series A Investment Round
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:53:05 AM
Blockchain consensus algorithm and peer-to-peer (P2P) networking protocol Tendermint has raised $9 million in a Series A investment round, according to a blog post published on March 14.

Tendermint has raised $9 million in the Series A investment round led by cryptocurrency investment company Paradigm, with contribution from Bain Capital and 1confirmation among other investors.

Part of the funds will purportedly be allocated to support of further development of the Cosmos Network and its ecosystem. The company also plans to spend the funds on the building staff and creating a sustainable business model.

The round closing follows the Cosmos Hub mainnet launch — so called “The Internet of Blockchains,” developed by Tendermint — on March 13. The developers believe that Cosmos may contribute to solving blockchain’s scalability and interoperability problems.

Salil Deshpande of Bain Capital reportedly said that “we envision a future where multiple blockchains serve specific use-cases  —  store of value, privacy, general purpose smart contract platforms, and many others. In this future, interoperability solutions provide a crucial alchemy that could lead to an explosion of blockchain applications, as well as boosting usage on existing chains.”

Cosmos Hub will further pass two more phases, as the recent launch was reportedly the first in a series of proof-of-stake chains developed by Tendermint.

Tendermint reportedly supports leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance’s decentralized digital currency exchange. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao reportedly said that Binance Chain is based on the Tendermint protocol and runs on a Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm.
 
latest updates from French Court Clerks to Use IBM Blockchain Platform for Corporate Registry
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:52:32 AM
French commercial court clerks will use a blockchain-based platform to record changes in companies’ legal status within the country. The development was revealed in an official announcement on March 14.

The blockchain network was jointly developed by IBM and the National Council of Clerks (NCC) and will reportedly be deployed starting in 2019 by the clerks operating in commercial courts across France. The blockchain platform is built on the Hyperledger Fabric framework and aims to increase transparency and efficiency in legal transactions associated with the lifecycle of companies in the registry.

Specifically, the solution will be used to record and share data related to “the exchanges of regulatory information related to companies' difficulties,” as well as “the changes of status of the company registered on the French territory.” That includes such data as change of corporate name, registration court office, establishment of branch offices, and business dissolution.

In a pilot, NCC reportedly managed to shorten the time needed to update the registry from several days to a single day. Vincent Fournier, Senior Manager Blockchain at IBM France, said that "blockchain's qualities are ideal for this use, improving the Clerks' business processes and adapting to the ever-changing nature of their missions."

IBM has released various commercial blockchain products and filed a number of blockchain-related patents. Moreover, IBM reportedly offers the greatest number of blockchain jobs, according to recent research by The Next Web.

This week, IBM partnered with blockchain consortium and credit union service organization CULedger to develop new blockchain-based solutions for the credit union industry. These solutions can reportedly improve services such as digital identity authentication, Know Your Customer compliance, lending and payments services, and other consumer processes that require authentication.

Also this month, IBM revealed two new patents targeting network security using blockchain technology and focusing on database management using the tech.
 
latest updates from Report: Over 40 Bugs in Blockchain and Crypto Platforms Detected Over Past 30 Days
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:52:16 AM
White hat hackers have detected over 40 bugs in blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms over the past 30 days, tech news outlet The Next Web (TNW) reported on March 14.

According to an investigation conducted by TNW, 13 blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related companies were hit with a total of 43 vulnerability reports from Feb. 13–March 13.

In the blockchain field, e-sports gambling platform Unikrn reportedly got the most vulnerability reports, amounting to 12 bugs. Unikrn is followed by OmiseGo developer, Omise, having received six bug reports. In third place is EOS, with five vulnerability reports.

Consensus algorithm and peer-to-peer (P2P) networking protocol Tendermint received four bugs. Tendermint is followed by decentralized prediction market protocol Augur and smart contracts platform Tezos, with three each. Anonymity-focused cryptocurrency Monero, ICON, and MyEtherWallet reportedly saw two vulnerability reports each.

Major American crypto exchange Coinbase and the developer of blockchain browser Brave, Brave Software, reportedly received one vulnerability report each.

The hackers received a total of $23,675 dollars for their efforts, of which Tendermint contributed the most at $8,500. EOS gave $5,500 in rewards, while Unikrn awarded $1,375. TNW says that the low bounty amount suggests that the bugs were not critical.

In contrast, tens of thousands of dollars in bounties were handed out by EOS to white hat hackers who found critical vulnerabilities in its platform.

This week, major hardware wallets manufacturer Ledger unveiled vulnerabilities in its direct competitor Trezor’s devices. Among other issues, the Trezor device could purportedly be imitated by backdooring the device with malware and then re-sealing it in its box by faking a tamper-proof sticker, which is reportedly easy to remove.

Trezor subsequently responded to the claims, stating that none of the weaknesses revealed by Ledger are critical for hardware wallets. According to Trezor, none of them can be exploited remotely, as the attacks described require “physical access to the device, specialized equipment, time, and technical expertise.”
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