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Blockchain in the simplest terms is a centralized ledger of all transactions across a peer to peer network. Participants on blockchain can confirm the transactions without a central certifying authority. Blockchain technology is like the internet in that it has built-in robustness. By storing blocks of information that are identical across its network, blockchain cannot be controlled by any single entity and has no single point of failure. Scientists and technologists alike are discussing how blockchain can innovate already existing fields like fintech, banks, cybersecurity, retail business, supply-chain and even medicinal services.

Blockchain was developed to facilitate first digital money – Bitcoin (which at this point, is known by almost everyone). Blockchain stores an open record of all the Bitcoin transactions, which keeps on growing exponentially. Blockchain is the fundamental innovation behind all digital forms of money like Bitcoin.

Blockchain In A Nutshell

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What is Blockchain and How Bitcoin Works

This article is contributed by Fullestop and has been published after permission. 

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Research from eToro, a cryptocurrency exchange, indicates that the cryptocurrency market has been male-dominated, with women making up only 8.5% of all investors while men account for 91.5%. Others have estimated the number of women investors and users of cryptocurrency to range between a mere 1% to 5%. This gap mirrors the general lack of women in tech and finance.

According to senior business analyst Agnes de Roeyer of the London Block Exchange, that trend could now be changing:

“There’s still a common misconception that cryptocurrency is a game for men, but we’ve seen hundreds of women sign up for our exchange in the last few months and some of the most inspiring and knowledgeable investors, leading the way in the industry are female.”

It will be interesting to see how having more women in the crypto space could shape the industry. According to Perianne Boring, founder of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a D.C.-based trade association for the blockchain industry: “…people don’t understand what Bitcoin is. The perception is skewed, and it won’t be accepted as a legitimate technology unless we find a way to get this imbalance sorted.”

BARRIERS TO WOMEN PARTICIPATION 

Unfortunately, raising money has been a tall hurdle for women founders. According to a Babson College report from 2014, just 6% of partners at VC firms are women, and only 15.8% of startups worldwide have at least one female founder. And when it comes to venture capital, women have been getting only a fraction of what male founders are given. This has resulted in an imbalance of power that has even played out in abusive ways.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are presenting a way to bypass this imbalance. Through ICOs, the public funds new projects so that entrepreneurs do not need to rely on just investors to raise capital. This method is showing much promise, especially with the successful funding of $3.6 billion in ICOs in just this past year. One of the largest raises this year— the $232 million ICO of Tezos — was co-led by a woman. Although ICOs might not be for everybody, Boring thinks that they “can allow for the democratization of ideas.”

CRYPTO GAINS TRACTION WITH WOMEN 

The good news is that female involvement in cryptocurrency is growing steadily. In 2017, four of the 30 cryptocurrency ventures that led the largest fundraising rounds had female co-founders, double the number of women leading the 30 technology companies with the largest initial public offerings last year, according to Bloomberg. And in just the past 6 months the amount of women who are interested in investing in cryptocurrency has increased more than twofold from 6% to 13%.

“There are Women in Bitcoin groups popping up all over the world, with more established branches in San Francisco and New York boasting 381 and 986 members respectively. Some female cryptocurrency investors also see blockchain technology as a solution to common financial problems that women face, such as raising money to start a tech business.”

A report from UK cryptocurrency exchange London Block Exchange that conducted market research shows that the cryptocurrency industry is most popular with millennial women. It could also be possible that women would invest differently from men, as the research suggests that women take a more strategic approach; they are being shown to be 50% less likely than men to suffer from a “fear of missing out” (FOMO), suggesting they would make fewer decisions based on impulse or an emotional urge to act in the moment.

Lastly, the report indicates that women are more collaborative than men, which is potentially tied to having a twofold greater likelihood of consulting with friends and family about any potential investments compared to men, who are statistically more likely to act independently. In reality, there is a wide range of characteristics and tendencies among women alone, and among men themselves; the likely scenario is that there will be varying investment behaviors among either group, but widening the pool of citizens involved in shaping the evolution of digital currency would help shape a financial system that benefits everyone in society.

WOMEN TO KNOW IN CRYPTOCURRENCY 

While the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency has been deemed a man’s game thus far, Connie Gallippi, the founder of the first Bitcoin nonprofit BitGive, notes that there have actually been many women in it all this time, but the problem is that “they’re just not given the same level of exposure or recognition.” Margaux Avedisian, one of the first influential female bitcoin leaders, mirrors Gallippi’s sentiments on how the industry should be giving more recognition to women’s accomplishments. While the Polycon18 conference hosts a Women in Blockchain panel, this is a segregated group and a limited audience.

When it comes to Cryptocurrency conferences, the lineups are almost exclusively all-male speakers — a trend that has frustrated Gallippi enough to send conference organizers lists of qualified and talented women in the space who they could leverage for their events. Avedisian has also argued that there are plenty of women with years of experience whose insights would benefit a much wider audience — one that is not limited to just women. For example, the founders of the two biggest ICOs — Bancor and Tezos — are females. Surely, they have insights that would benefit men just as much as women. Especially since, according to Gallippi, women are filling some of the top posts in cryptocurrency.

Below are some of the names that everyone should know in the cryptocurrency game

MARGAUX AVEDISIAN

Executive vice president at Transform Group LLC and partner and co-founder at CooLPool Fund, Avedisian was among the first female bitcoin leaders to gain influence in 2012. Since then, she has co-founded multiple cryptocurrency exchanges.

ELIZABETH ROSSIELLO

Rossiello, who is running one of the most widely known companies in the cryptocurrency space, has been viewed as a model of the potential that the cryptocurrency revolution holds worldwide. She founded a foreign exchange, and payment platform in Africa called BitPesa in 2013. The company uses bitcoin and blockchain technology to make faster payments between African currencies and the rest of the world with greater ease. It’s an evolution on what mobile money is today. Rossiello had a lot of momentum in raising capital after a successful series-A round of funding, which also saw a healthy amount of participation from billionaire investor Tim Draper. Today, BitPesa is in seven African countries, Europe, and the U.K.

KATHLEEN BREITMAN

The co-founder and CEO of Tezos, Breitman raised a record-setting two hundred and thirty-two million dollars for her cryptocurrency project during a public crowdsale last July. The idea for Tezos was sparked by her frustration with the “glacial pace” that it took for Bitcoin to evolve. Tezos presents a solution to this by giving voting power to everyone who owns “tezzies”— the system’s coins— so they could democratically choose upgrades to the network. Breitman and her husband had been iterating on this idea for years before she finally made the plunge to leave her day job as the senior strategy associate and go all in on this venture. Since then, she has developed most of the company protocol and provided the brawns to overcoming challenges such as lawsuits and a feud with the president of the foundation.

TAVONIA EVANS

She has created $GUAP, a new cryptocurrency that is specifically designed for black consumers. It rewards spending behaviors that keep the money circulating in an ecosystem of black-owned businesses. Additionally, all $GUAP transactions will be available for analysis on a public blockchain. This will allow Evans to build insights on the ways in which black consumers spend their money and the spending power that black consumers have at-large. Now, her greatest challenge is getting consumers to adopt the new currency.

CONNIE GALLIPPI

The founder of BitGive, the first nonprofit in bitcoin, Gallippi got the idea for her venture at a bitcoin conference in 2013. Her “aha” moment was noticing that the cryptocurrency world needed a philanthropic organization. Today, BitGive is the number one place to go if you have Bitcoin and you want to donate some of your digital cash to charity.

Most recently, Gallippi is aiming for even greater impact with a new platform called GiveTrack. The platform, which will live on the BitGive website, holds charities more accountable for the donations they receive through Bitcoin technology. It will use bitcoin’s public records of all transactions to reveal how money that has been donated is truly spent.

AMBER BALDET

Excited by the potential for social good with blockchain, Baldet left her eight-year career at J.P. Morgan to work on a startup developing software for businesses exploring blockchain. She has not yet made a formal announcement about the new company and has kept quiet about any other details.

During her time at J.P. Morgan, Baldet helped the firm to recognize the importance of Bitcoin and the movement in cryptocurrency, and she helped lead the Blockchain Center of Excellence for over two years. In that time, she was exposed to “a breadth of perspectives,” including startups, investment banks, central banks, and hardcore blockchain developers, which will now prove to be invaluable in her new venture.

TESS RINEARSON

When Rinearson learned about the game-changing potential of bitcoin, she decided that she wanted to help shape this future. She then made it her goal to get a job at Chain, a company that partners with other organizations like Visa and Nasdaq to build blockchain networks for their financial services. Currently, an engineering manager at Chain, Rinearson works on developing Sequence, a product that takes the blockchain technology and securely puts it in the cloud. With women accounting for only 26 percent of Chain’s employees, the male domination of the industry stays top of mind for Rinearson. She is committed to encouraging more women involvement. Her projects include working with high school girls through Girls Who Code to educate them about bitcoin and teaching a program at the MIT Media Lab about blockchain technology. Her blog on medium also translates the complexity of blockchain and cryptocurrency into layman terms to make the industry more accessible.

Other women to watch out for in the crypto industry include Galia Benartzi, Meltem Demirors, and Elizabeth Stark.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If cryptocurrency and blockchain are the future of our financial system, then it is even more crucial that the people developing this system are an accurate representation of the global society for which they are creating — that means involving both men and women.

According to Elizabeth Stark, the CEO of Lightning Labs, which has recently launched a cutting-edge software designed to make Bitcoin transactions faster, cheaper, and more private: “There’s a massive opportunity here to change the global financial structure, to change a lot of ways that society interacts with technology… And it is crucially important that women participate.”

In Stark’s view, today’s blockchain technologies are similar to the early times of the Internet:

“Women need to be building this new frontier… There’s way too much of the prior generation of the Internet that was not built by a diverse group of people… I want to see broader participation… broader perspectives contributing to better problem-solving.”

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• 10 Must Known Facts About Ethereum

This article was first published on Mintdice. This article is republished with some updates under the terms and conditions of Bloqtimes and Mintdice Partnership.

Like this article, then support us by sharing it with your friends on social media and feel free to leave any thoughts & feedback in the comments section. If you have any questions or suggestions shoot an email at: contact@bloqtimes.com

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The post The Women Investing in Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bloqtimes.

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IBM recently announced that it has developed a blockchain platform for banks to facilitate rapid clearing and settlement of global payment transactions. According to Bridget Van Kralingen, senior vice president of IBM Industry Platforms, the corporate giant is currently working to provide new ways to carry out payments efficiently in real time, even in very remote areas around the world. Real-time transactions that require optimization include foreign exchange, compliance verification, and settlement.

blockchain is a ledger where transactions are recorded and validated on a peer-to-peer network. Depending on the platform in use, consensus on the network is achieved in several different ways. However, no matter what type of consensus protocol is in place, the aim of using a blockchain is to deliver fast, transparent and secure transactions.

Currently, financial institutions are beginning to find relevant use cases for cryptocurrency, and with the functionality of platforms like Stellar, they have found ways to implement them. Due to the adoption of cryptocurrencies, banks can now carry out cross-border transactions in a secure, seamless, fast and cheap way. IBM already offers services to several banks including Australia’s National Australia Bank, Spain’s BBVA, and Indonesia’s Bank Danamon.

Traditionally, the process of sending and receiving cross-border payments is cumbersome, expensive, prone to errors and takes several days to clear. This is why IBM sees an opportunity to solve these problems by incorporating the Stellar Lumens platform. It hopes to reach people who have restricted access to bank accounts but not mobile phones. IBM —along with the Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit blockchain organization, and KlickEX, the currency exchange— is well on its way to developing decentralized solutions for the banking industry.

ABOUT STELLAR

Stellar Lumens is a decentralized platform that combines blockchain technology with traditional methods used in the finance industry to facilitate international payments. It was released in 2014 by Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim. McCaleb also co-founded Ripple (XRP) and released Stellar as a fork but subsequently created Stellar’s unique code shortly after release.

Despite the change in leadership, Ripple is currently the third-largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $18.2 billion while Stellar follows closely in seventh place with a market cap of $3.5 billion. The Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to fight poverty by making it easy for people in remote areas and developing countries to get access to money is also tied to Stellar.

The platform has anchored itself to the financial industry and presents its technology as the future of banking. By doing so, it will try to bridge the gap between the banking sector and blockchain technology. Its mission is to create the much-needed connection between individuals, banks and payment systems by eliminating risk through more straightforward and more secure transactions. Its digital token is known as Lumens or XLM.

According to Jed McCaleb, this new IBM partnership and implementation will create a significant change in the South Pacific region. Once it has been fully scaled through IBM and its banking partners, it has the potential to disrupt the traditional way money is moved around the world. This will improve financial inclusion as well as the efficiency of international transactions.

IBM AND BLOCKCHAIN INNOVATION

For a long time, IBM has added value to the financial world and has become a validated, permanent presence. The corporate giant has pioneered significant applications of Fintech, artificial intelligence, cloud technology and data science. However, it has seen the immense potential of blockchain and the unique opportunity it presents.

While IBM stands to gain a lot from this partnership, so does Stellar. The cryptocurrency market is associated with high volatility and risk—both qualities that individuals and banks run from. Since IBM is a reputable company, this alliance improves Stellar’s credibility. IBM also provides an extensive network of banks which Stellar may have otherwise had difficulties partnering with.

There are three main reasons why IBM has decided to provide financial institutions with enterprise level, Stellar-based products:

  • To validate the Stellar public network and show that it is indeed trustworthy and highly functional.
  • To facilitate transactions across borders using lumens as a bridge asset between various currencies.
  • To issue assets on the Stellar network.

IBM’S BLOCKCHAIN SOLUTION

The payments solution that IBM has created using blockchain is mostly focused on transforming cross-border payments. Typically, to carry out these international payments, banks maintain foreign accounts (Nostro accounts) in a local fiat currency. Whenever a transaction is carried out, the account is debited in a slow and capital-intensive process. Under IBM’s partnership with Stellar, banks will carry out international transactions using Lumen, Stellar’s digital asset. Local market participants will be tasked with converting the Lumens into their fiat currency, taking some pressure off the banks. Since clearing and settlement are addressed on the same network, settlement time is also significantly reduced.

Using a digital asset to improve payment is one of the best use cases for cryptocurrency and blockchain as a whole. The combination of clearing instructions, transaction details and a native asset on the same integrated network reduces the amount of moving parts that banks have to deal with. To achieve this complete integration, IBM uses the Hyperledger Fabric.

HYPERLEDGER FABRIC

The Hyperledger Fabric is an open-source network which houses different elements for financial transactions including a platform for building smart contracts. IBM’s blockchain implements the use of Stellar’s network and digital asset on the hyperledger to carry out transactions. The hyperledger is hosted by The Linux Foundation and allows enterprises to develop solutions to commerce issues. It has its own consensus mechanism, membership services, plug-and-play functionality and lets users keep part of their transactions private, unlike other blockchains. The technology was originally contributed by IBM and Digital Asset during its first hackathon.

WHAT COMES NEXT?

According to KlickEx, the new network has already begun processing live transactions across 12 “currency corridors” in the Pacific region including the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. As they continue to use the network, KlickEX has revealed that by 2018, they hope to have processed at least 60% of cross-border transactions. Financial institutions especially commercial banks have also participated in the development and deployment of the technology and were incorporated into the network at the beginning of 2018. IBM hopes to lead global transformation in the financial industry and promote inclusion in unbanked regions.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Businesses have faced problems when conducting cross-border transactions for a long time,  especially those that need to import and export goods. Before now, banks used inefficient ways to facilitate these costly transactions. The costs incurred by the banks were transferred to the customers, making it very expensive to conduct business. However, this partnership may solve these issues and make the process better.

Blockchain technology holds so much potential, but just like Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak said, some of the current use cases and hype are similar to the dotcom era. Despite this, the substantial applications will outlive the crash of the bubble, just like the internet survived the dotcom crash. Large corporations like Amazon and IBM have focused on enterprise blockchain solutions as a way to stay relevant in the long run. Hopefully, these applications will stand the test of time and truly revolutionize the way banking is done.

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• 10 Must Known Facts About Ripple

This article was first published on Mintdice. This article is republished with some updates under the terms and conditions of Bloqtimes and Mintdice Partnership.

Like this article, then support us by sharing it with your friends on social media and feel free to leave any thoughts & feedback in the comments section. If you have any questions or suggestions shoot an email at: contact@bloqtimes.com

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The post IBM Announces Partnership With Stellar Blockchain to Expedite Global Payments appeared first on Bloqtimes.

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In-line with other Asian countries embracing blockchain technology and the virtual currencies it supports, Singapore Airlines has launched a blockchain technology based loyalty program to benefit its frequent flyers. The SIA Group announced the reward program on Singapore Airlines website during a July 24, 2018 press release. It mentioned that “KrisFlyer” – airlines frequent flyer programme has launched “KrisPay”, a miles-based digital wallet which enables patrons to convert KrisFlyer miles into KrisPay miles instantly for everyday spending at partner merchants all over the country.

According to Singapore Airlines, KrisFlyer has created a unique platform to give back to the patrons for frequently flying with Singapore airlines. With the introduction of a new digital wallet, users will be able to frequently and seamlessly convert their miles to indulge in everyday goods and services.

Customers can now download KrisPay on Apple store – for iPhone users and the Google Play Store – for android users. Post download, users can easily convert their KrisFlyer miles into KrisPay miles to begin shopping, with the miles carrying a legitimacy of 6 months before expiration. To further streamline their shopping experience, customers can now just scan the QR code at the desired stores to instantly pay with their accumulated miles.

KrisPay is the world’s first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet. The technology has been developed through the joint collaboration between KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft.

The introduction of such a novel platform proves to be very beneficial to dedicated Singapore Airlines flyers. They can use a minimum of 15 KrisPay miles – approximately equal to S$0.10 – to purchase goods and services. By setting the minimum amount of miles to such a low amount of just 15 KrisPay miles, allows even the new flyers to become interested and benefit from their new program. This proves that Singapore Airlines is trying to expand and include more individuals and customers into their frequent flyers programs by providing such innovative incentives.

The line of goods and products that customers can avail from merchants using their new digital wallets is also expanding. To start with, KrisPay miles will be accepted at 18 sellers offering a wide array of goods and services: beauty, food & beverages, gasoline and retail to name a few. To further incentivize customers to avail this new feature, most merchants will be offering discounts during the launch and the start up of this initiative. Singapore Airlines also assured that they will continue to find and add new sellers to their loyalty program and launch new application features.

Following the launch period, it will be necessary to gauge the reception of the KrisPay application. Whether customers will want to convert their miles for a shopping experience or continue to use it for in-flight advantages and upgrades will surely be determined by the added incentives offered.

Singapore Airlines Limited is the most popular airline based out of the Singapore Changi Airport. It has continued to be ranked as the world’s number one airline and has won top spot as the “Best Airline in Asia.” Headed by Peter Seah Lim Huat – the Chairman – and Goh Choon Phong, the CEO, Singapore Airlines flies out to 64 destinations worldwide and has 125 airplanes in its fleet.

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Opera browser has a well-organized user interface, however; it is set up quite differently than the other browsers. It’s a good pick for people who want to use the same web browsing app on all their devices as it’s compatible with all types of gadgets and operating systems. The design and security features of the Opera browser are quite commendable. Alongside, it provides a great speed on any allocation of bandwidth. Whilst Opera doesn’t have a noticeable market capture in the browser market, it has been coming up with a wholesome of new technologies and innovations over the past few years.

Web 3.0

The term Web 3.0 is the latest pattern of web relation which is bringing about a revolution, not just in the way the websites are created, but also in the manner of interaction between people or developers. This new paradigm aims to make lives over the internet simpler and more instinctive with its provision of smarter services. For instance, Search Engine Optimization helps users find their perfect results faster with the aid of Artificial Intelligence, which focuses on the context of the search rather than the keywords contained in it. Web 3.0 is basically a distributed network created upon an Ethereum based blockchain.

Nevertheless, Techopedia was quite unerring in stating, “There is no concrete definition for Web 3.0 yet and the technology that will bring us there has not even matured yet.”

The Innovation

Opera has recently announced that it will launch the first of its kind inbuilt cryptocurrency wallet in its exclusive beta version on the Android operating system. This will help users transact in cryptocurrency without the requirement to open a new tab or extension. Initially, this notecase will support only the Ethereum cryptocurrency. Gradually, the other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, will be included. This launch will be built on the existing browser wallets and promises a simple interface to its users. Opera is thus using the Blockchain Technology in an innovative form. The entire expectation behind this project is to minimize the users entry impediments to Web 3.0, thereby, paving them a pathway to make progress in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. WeiFund is another decentralized application which has been used on Web 3.0 enabled browsers with inbuilt wallets.

The Power of Blockchain

There is a multitude of utilities of the Blockchain Technology. Its ability to enhance the standard of services is unfathomable. No other technology in the market has the ability to work simultaneously on the security and the rectitude of information. Built on a multitude of technology platforms, DiscoveryIoT, led by Selvam VMS and Kumar T, is a flourishing startup which has come up with more than one revolutionary provision that will allow different companies to track their goods through blockchain, precisely alongside, giving equal importance to the factor of their intervals. Discovery aims to solve supply chain issues by implementing Blockchain with the convergence of IoT, AI, and Edge Computing. Their solution will soon be adopted by the several large players in the Consumer Products industry as it solves the current supply chain issues faced by them, in an affordable manner. The founder has quoted, “No other technology matches the level of transparency and security that blockchain offers; and these are two areas where supply chain requires a complete revamp. Hence blockchain was considered to be the most logical choice in building the stack to our supply chain solution“. As stated, the transparency of transactions and in addition a high degree of concentration on the data involved; are the stepping stones to a digitally sustainable and a better world.

Conclusion

This new move of Opera has come up much after the puff of cryptocurrency gradually perished off. The company is just trying to come up with some cryptocurrency-oriented features for its users. It had previously introduced an Anti-Cryptojacking software to show its users the good face of the Blockchain technology. This new innovation still stands out as the crypto wallet might soon become a common thing in every other browser down the lane.

Charles Hamel, the Opera product leader, stated:

We believe the web of today will be the interface to the decentralized web of tomorrow. By becoming the first major browser to open up to Web 3.0, we would like to contribute to making the internet of the future more accessible.”

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The Reserve Bank of India – RBI – told the Supreme Court that it must regulate all forms of cryptocurrencies as letting them continue unregulated could encourage “illegal transactions” and impact the “international flow of funds.” RBI is concerned that the use of cryptocurrencies in an unregulated manner makes it difficult to track and thus, has “immense policy dimensions” as articulated by the RBI senior counsel Shyam Divan to the bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

The Ministry of Finance’s Economic department has created an interdisciplinary committee headed by its secretary, Subhash Garg to examine regulatory framework for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The goal of implementing such a team is to keenly observe cryptocurrencies and come up with ideas for the types of regulatory structures that can be used to support its decentralized nature. However, it will take another three weeks for Subhash Garg’s committee to “respond to various petitions seeking such regulations in India.”

The matter of cryptocurrency regulation is a critical one and needs to be dealt by the apex court: India’s Supreme Court at the earliest. Gopal Subramanium – a senior counsel – supporting the argument of the petitioners against RBI’s motion, says that this is an urgent matter that should be expedited and concluded as soon as possible. He further argued that recent RBI’s circular that mandated banks, e-wallets, and payment gateway providers to withdraw support for cryptocurrency exchanges and other businesses dealing with virtual currencies in India was “baseless”.

According to Subramanium, cryptocurrencies ban and operations without regulation in today’s high tech digital world affects businesses and is an issue which the government should be involved in.

This is not Reserve Bank of India’s first action against the usage of digital currencies. In April, they released a memo banning “banks and financial institutions from providing services to any individual or business dealing with digital currencies within three months.” Most banks have followed the circular and discontinued their operations with cryptocurrencies platform effecting July 6.

However, all major cryptocurrencies companies came together and filed petitions against such ban. In order to refute RBI’s stance against cryptocurrencies, various Public Interest Litigations – or PILs – have been filed to challenge the Reserve Bank of India’s recent motion of disregarding cryptocurrencies as alleged means of transaction and payment.

The Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank controls all policies concerning the Indian rupee which is why it might be pertinent to better understand their motivation and decision to want to declare virtual currencies illegal – should it remain unregulated. However, it is of great interest that the Indian public is pushing hard to legalize and integrate such digital currencies into the Indian society.

The Supreme Court has already pushed the date for final hearing on RBI’s motion to regulate or prohibit virtual currency dealings in Indian financial institutions. Previously, the apex court was meant to announce their verdict on July 29, but they have now decided to proceed with the final hearing on September 11. It is also rumored that the government authorities in India are debating whether they should label virtual currencies as commodities – preventing a total ban on cryptocurrencies.

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A. Introduction

Financial and capital markets use the KYC (Know Your Customer) system to identify “bad” customers and minimize money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorism financing.

Efforts to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism are costing the financial sector billions of dollars. Banks are also exposed to huge penalties for failure to follow KYC guidelines. Costs aside, KYC can delay transactions and lead to duplication of effort between banks.

Primechain Technologies, a blockchain company with the mission of building blockchains for a better world, has developed an open source solution for corporate KYC on the blockchain.

Primechain-eKYC is a permissioned blockchain for sharing corporate KYC records. Primechain-eKYC records are stored in the blockchain in an encrypted form and can only be viewed by entities that have been “whitelisted” by the issuer entity. This ensures data privacy and confidentiality while at the same time ensuring that records are shared only between entities that trust each other.

The source code and other instructions are available on github:
https://github.com/Primechain/primechain-ekyc-open-source

Currently, the project is built on Multichain. Soon the Hyperledger Sawtooth and Hyperledger Fabric versions will also be released.

B. Pain Points in KYC

Based on discussions with banks and financial institutions across the globe and analysis of relevant industry surveys and reports, we have identified the following pain points in the current KYC process:

  1.  The absence of a common standard in the KYC documentation process.
  2.  On-boarding a client takes several weeks.
  3. KYC does not end at on-boarding. It starts there. Banks are obligated to monitor and update changes to KYC data.
  4.  KYC costs for financial institutions are huge, averaging millions of dollars a year.
  5.  Corporates don’t report KYC changes on a proactive and regular basis.
  6.  Banks don’t update their records on a proactive and regular basis.
  7.  Duplication of effort involved in KYC. Companies have multiple relations with multiple banks and financial institutions and are required to provide the same information multiple times – to different banks and sometimes even to the same bank.
  8.  KYC and customer due diligence systems are not usually connected to the transaction monitoring systems.
C. Benefits and Features of Blockchain Based eKYC

Some benefits and features of blockchain based eKYC are:

  1. Removes duplication of effort, automates processes and reduces compliance errors.
  2. Enables the distribution of encrypted updates to client information in real time.
  3. Provides the historical record of all compliance activities undertaken for each customer.
  4. Provides the historical record of all documents pertaining to each customer.
  5. Records can be used as evidence to prove to regulators that the bank has complied with all relevant regulations.
  6. Enables identification of entities attempting to create fraudulent histories.
  7. Enables data and records to be analyzed to spot criminal activities.
D. How Does It Work

Primechain-eKYC is a shared permissioned blockchain that has two types of nodes – Admin nodes and Member nodes. Admin nodes are responsible for permitting nodes operated by verified banks and financial institutions to connect to the Primechain-eKYC blockchain. Member nodes are operated by verified banks and financial institutions.

When a new record is uploaded to the blockchain, the following information must be provided:

  1. Corporate Identity Number (CIN) of the entity to which this document relates – This information is stored in the blockchain in plain text / un-encrypted form and cannot be changed.
  2. Primechain User Dashboard
  3. Document category – This information is stored in the blockchain in plain text / un-encrypted form and cannot be changed.
  4. Upload Record
  5. Document type – This information is stored in the blockchain in plain text / un-encrypted form and cannot be changed.
  6. Search Record
  7. A brief description of the document – This information is stored in the blockchain in plain text / un-encrypted form and cannot be changed.
  8. Manage Whitelist
  9. The document – This document is stored in the blockchain in AES encrypted form and cannot be changed. The decryption key is stored in the uploaders dedicated private database and does NOT go into the blockchain. The key is shared only with whitelisted entities who choose to download the document. This document can be in pdf, word, excel, image or other formats.
  10. Search Records

Disclosure: The author is a co-founder of Primechain Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Disclaimer: This is a press release. ICO or Token investments are full of speculative and market risks. This article is only for information purposes and not an investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research and due diligence before investing.

Bloqtimes does not endorse or and is not responsible or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials in this article. Bloqtimes does not have any stake in Primechain and is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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The post Corporate KYC on the Blockchain By Primechain Technologies appeared first on Bloqtimes.

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South Korea has launched a major initiative to provide tax breaks to various startups working in the fields of of innovative technologies – including blockchain technology – by committing to revise their current tax laws. By doing so, the South Korean government is providing a comfortable vantage point for start up companies associated with “the development of nascent technologies” to flourish according to a post on Coindesk.

During a meeting on July 18, 2018, a group of ministers from eight different government organizations devised a strategy for their new economic policy: a reduction in taxes for companies dealing with a range of 157 “new growth technologies” in 11 areas. It was also notified that the amount of final tax benefits will be further expounded on, during another meeting on July 26, 2018, with final implementation by first quarter of 2019.

According to the existing corporate tax laws in Korea, a company must allocate “more than 5 percent of the previous year’s gross sales to R&D and 10 percent of its R&D investment should focus on new growth technologies such as blockchain.” However, with the proposed policy the government aims to relax to these stringent laws by shedding light and acknowledging the fact that new companies usually are unable to generate enough sales to allocate enough money for investment purposes into their R&D. Henceforth, it was suggested that the percent amount required to R&D investment should be “changed to more than 5 percent of the current year’s gross sales” – not the previous year.

The Korean ministers have already announced their plans and strategies to promote blockchain technology in the country and also promised to reveal more information pertaining to the tax laws by the end of July. In a report news agency Yonhap reported that the new tax rule would apply to any blockchain company based in South Korea, irrespective of whether they are foreign or domestic.

The implementation of tax reforms to accommodate start-up companies affiliated with blockchain technology is usually a tricky path with lots of IFs and BUTs as observed in US and elsewhere. Yet, it will be interesting to see how the Korean government integrate these revised policies into their systems.

However, this is not South Korea’s first venture to publicly support the integration of blockchain technology or cryptocurrencies in their society. Just last month, the Ministry of Science and ICT released their strategy to work on expanding the field of blockchain technology locally. Their plans included investing 10 billion Korean won – approximately 9 million USD for speeding up the efforts. With such an investment, the main goal is to “improve the information sharing efficiency and transparency in the public services by using a blockchain based distributed network”.

It is not a surprising phenomenon that countries all over the world are now openly embracing blockchain technology as govts are catching up to blockchain technology future potentials and use-cases. With their inhibitions and questions answered, many worldly leaders are beginning to understand the benefits of including blockchain technology to better their economic goals and standard of living for their citizens.

If you like above article then Bloqtimes recommends below articles which might be of interest to our readers.

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Stephen K. Bannon, the guy who helped Trump win 2016 US Presidential elections and who was the right hand man of Trump during presidential campaign was just asked a crypto question during CNBC “Delivering Alpha” event. Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, CNBC Chief International Correspondent & Co-Anchor of “Power Lunch” asked Bannon: “What does he think about the future of cryptocurrencies” to which he answered:

I think Cryptocurrencies have huge aspects in the future. Obviously, there are problems about markets they are used for. I like Bitcoin, I am invested in Bitcoin. 90% of ICOs are disasters. We are working on some utilities tokens potentially for the populist movement on a worldwide basis that we’re thinking about they’ve got to be, they have the quality. The problem is there has been too many investors blown out by things that were not thought through. But they’re the future.”

No need to be surprised that Bannon is fond of cryptocurrencies and openly declared he likes Bitcoin and currently invested in Bitcoin. He did mention about challenges and issues related to cryptocurrencies, which understandably are not uncommon to new technologies. He also mentioned that he is currently working on couple of utilities ICOs and he believes cryptocurrencies is the future.

Stephen Bannon is an American media executive, political figure, former Goldman Sachs investment banker, and the former executive chairman of Breitbart News. He was a former White House chief strategist and CEO of Trump campaign. While still in touch with Trump, he parted from white house after first seven months of Trump’s Administration, due to some policy differences.

Being a Goldman Sachs investment banker and with a profound understanding of geo-politics, Bannon’s positive remarks on cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin can be taken as a huge positive for cryptocurrencies.

You can watch Stephen Bannon’s views on cryptocurrencies in the below video.

Bannon on cryptocurrencies - YouTube

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The post Former White House Chief Strategist Bannon Says Cryptocurrencies is the Future appeared first on Bloqtimes.

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Stablecoins: Bringing Stability to the Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

Cryptocurrencies are well known for their extreme volatility, as it’s not uncommon to see coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum rise or fall by 10-20% in a 24 hour time-span. Although this level of volatility is beneficial to traders and investors, it also hinders cryptocurrency’s real-world adoption.

From a practical perspective, businesses do not want to transact in a currency marked by volatility and risk. It would be difficult, for example, to pay an employee’s salary in Bitcoin if the purchasing power of his paycheck is constantly in flux. Volatility also makes it difficult for consumers to make daily transactions using cryptocurrencies. Imagine Bob paying $7 dollars for a cup of coffee one day only to find out the next day that the same cup now costs $5.

Designed to tackle this issue of volatility, there’s an emerging class of cryptocurrencies known as stablecoins that present themselves as price-stable assets in an ever-fluctuating market.

At its core, a stablecoin is an asset that offers price stability characteristics that make it suitable as a medium of exchange, unit of account, and/or a store of value. As a currency, a stablecoin should be global and not tied to any centralized monetary authority that can control its supply. Stablecoins can vary by design, but the two most popular asset-backing methods are an IOU issuance model and a cryptoasset-collateralized model.

IOU Issuance Model

With this model, a business issues stablecoins at a 1-to-1 ratio to an underlying asset in its bank account (basically, each coin is tied to an existing asset in the bank). These assets can take numerous forms. For example, a corporation could have fiat currencies such as the USD sitting in its bank account, or they could back their stablecoins with physical assets, such as gold or silver. Issued stablecoins derive their stability and value from the fact that each token can be exchanged for the underlying asset, similar to how dollar bills used to represent a sum of gold under the gold standard.

Tether (USDT) is the most popular example of an existing stablecoin that utilizes the IOU model. Each USDT has a value equivalent to that of a single US dollar. Thus, to ensure that the value of a single Tether is always the same as the value of a dollar, for each coin that is issued, there must be a corresponding dollar in Tether’s bank account.

Tether: A very famous and widely adopted stablecoin

However, one limitation of this issuance model is that it is centralized. Individuals must trust that the issuing entity does in fact possess the underlying assets that are being represented with each issued stablecoin. This limitation has made itself clear with Tether, as Tether Limited, the company behind the coin, faces ongoing scrutiny due to its increasing supply and lack of third-party auditing to determine if the company possesses the funds needed to cover Tether’s circulating supply.

Cryptocurrency-Collateralized Model

Under this model, stablecoins are not backed by centralized assets such as the Euro or USD; instead, they are backed by digital assets such as Bitcoin. The key advantage to this model is that it can be established in a trustless manner. For instance, the underlying assets that back the stablecoins can be held in a trustless smart contract. Thus, the amount of assets held by the smart contract are transparent and can be independently verified.

A common concern with this model is that the underlying assets themselves, which in this case would be cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, are volatile, seemingly running contrary to the stablecoin’s purpose. As such, this method may often involve over-collateralization so that any price fluctuations can be absorbed. To give an example, a smart contract can be established to hold $400 worth of Bitcoin, which would serve as collateral for the issuance of $200 worth of stablecoins. However, there is always the risk that a black swan event could negatively affect a stablecoin’s underlying value. Such an event is likely to result in the under-collateralization and subsequent destabilization of the issued stablecoins.

Conclusion

Individuals within the cryptocurrency space are always searching for the catalyst that will result in the mass-adoption of cryptocurrencies. While there are many factors that can contribute to such an event, it is clear that tackling market volatility is crucial for facilitating mass-adoption. Stablecoins strengthen the use case for cryptocurrencies by serving as a non-volatile tool that can be used by both businesses and consumers to fulfill their monetary needs. Producing the perfect stablecoin that brings about mass-adoption is a difficult task, though, given the limitations inherent to both stablecoin models. Still, there are a number of promising stablecoin projects that are aiming to overcome these problems to bring about a price-stable cryptocurrency for the crypto ecosystem.

If you like above article then Bloqtimes recommends below articles which might be of interest to our readers.

Positive Things Famous People Said About Bitcoin
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• 10 Must Known Facts About Ripple

This article by Bisade Asolo was first published on CoinCentral. This article is republished with some updates under the terms and conditions of Bloqtimes and CoinCentral Partnership.

Like this article, then support us by sharing it with your friends on social media and feel free to leave any thoughts & feedback in the comments section. If you have any questions or suggestions shoot an email at: contact@bloqtimes.com

Don’t forget to Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for latest Bitcoin, Blockchain & Crypto News.

The post What is a Stablecoin and how do they Provide Stablity to Crypto Ecosystem appeared first on Bloqtimes.

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