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Hedera Hashgraph CPO: The Adoption Of Blockchain Is Going Faster Than Ive Seen In IoT And AI – Forbes

Lionel Chocron, Chief Product Officer at Hedera Hashgraph, was born in France. About twenty years ago, he came to the US west coast to receive a Masters degree at UC Berkeley, whereafter he eventually took a job working at Cisco. He spent 10 years there focusing on emerging technologyhe ran the Internet of Things business unit at Cisco for yearsand corporate strategy. He then joined Oracle to lead the emerging technology industry solution group, which was focusing on imaging technology, IoT, blockchain, and AI.

He crossed paths in 2019 with the co-founders of Hedera Hashgraph, and grew excited about blockchain technology. At the time, large companies were adopting public ledger tech, and he saw the potential for Hedera Hashgraph to become third-generation distributed ledger technology.

The adoption of blockchain is going faster than I've seen in IoT and AI, said Chocron, noting IoT takes longer due to the need for connecting millions of devices. The time it takes to really get the value on the IoT side is pretty long. On the AI side, you don't have any hardware to install, but the volume of data that you have to be able to analyze to raise the level of insight that your AI machine is giving you, minimizing what the market calls a false positive, is huge. You cannot do it in a few weeks. It takes years and years and volumes of data to be able to train your algorithms. Adoption is great, but it is a game for those who have access to the data to be able to optimize.

Until a company or startup gets these prerequisites to play balleither the hardware for IoT or the data for AIyoure on standby in those industries. With blockchain, its easier than IoT and AI, for, in its journey towards mass adoption, blockchain relies on neither major hardware investment nor on major volumes of data.Now, from proving the value to scaling, says Chocron, thats a different discussion, but at least you can demonstrate the value pretty quickly.

At Hedera Hashgraph, he focuses on enabling small, medium, and large companies to adopt distributed ledger technology. He helps them integrate with the tools and the ecosystem out there today. Blockchain and distributed ledgers are pretty well understood, said Chocron. Everybody knows what a ledger is. When you start understanding a distributed ledger, and you start paving the path of how you can use an ecosystem of companies that are working together and sharing information on the ledger, whether it's a private and public ledger, it clicks pretty quickly and people see the value in it.

Hedera Hashgraph CPO Lionel Chocron at Blockchain Expo 2019 in Santa Clara, California.

Whether or not public ledgers are adopted depends on performance, stability, security, and governance, he says. When I was looking at the first generation and second-generation players, as amazing as they've been, and are doing today in terms of paving a path for a new industry, there were a lot of shortcomings in terms of performance, stability, security, and governance that my customers [at Oracle], the big companies, were seeing as a no-no, said Chocron, with whom I spoke at Blockchain Expo 2019 in Santa Clara, California. The third generation that's coming today is going to address that, he believes.

In order to be adopted by enterprise, a distributed ledger will need to be fully integrated into what companies are doing today, he says. Enterprise is already running use cases on private ledgers like Hyperledger, for instance, so an enterprise-facing blockchain company like Hedera needs to help clients integrate into Hyperledger.

Alongside performance, stability, security, and governance, another challenge for blockchain isnot having a complex and fully matured regulatory environment. The regulatory environment for blockchain is still not fully defined, and not just in the US, but globally, Chocron said. There's enough room for interpretation that it's pretty critical for companies, like we've done, to carefully look at the path in front of us to make sure that we stay aligned with what we believe the regulatory environment is going to be. While companies have been looking at private ledgers, they also see value in a public ledger, and they are also trying to understand the regulatory environment to be able to move in that direction.

Such companies are also trying to wrap their heads around how to use the tech, as was Chocron when he first made the leap from enterprise into the blockchain startup world. Unlike in other startup environments, when you are joining the blockchain industry, you have to deal with the token on-ramps and token ecosystem, such as wallets, custody, etc. This barrier to entry doesnt exist in the traditional startup world.

In the blockchain space, it is actually a pretty big challenge not having had the experience, he said of working with hardware wallets, etc.. This is a learning curve that the industry is going through today.

Besides the regulatory uncertainty and a new stack of technology to learn, the rest of the blockchain industry reflects more traditional ones: This is about building use cases, proving the value, developing, and technology, deploying on a POC, and so forth, said Chocron.

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Hedera Hashgraph CPO: The Adoption Of Blockchain Is Going Faster Than Ive Seen In IoT And AI - Forbes

These are the most in-demand job skills in 2020, according to LinkedIn – CNBC

Blockchain has topped the list of skills bosses are looking for in employees around the world this year, according to professional social media platform LinkedIn.

The record-keeping technology first emerged in 2009 with the birth of cryptocurrency but has since moved on from supporting the use of the likes of Bitcoin.

The ability to store, validate, authorize, and move data across the internet with blockchain means it is now being used to securely store and send any digital asset. The technology also stores a permanent and non-editable record of data entry.

Blockchain was the top priority for employers hiring in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Australia, LinkedIn found. Yet it was both first time blockchain made it onto LinkedIn's rankings of in-demand skills and came in first place.

Namrata Murlidhar, marketing director at LinkedIn, said blockchain had emerged from the "once shadowy world" of cryptocurrency to become a "transformative business solution."

Industries outside the financial services sector were increasingly seeking talent with experience in blockchain, she added, including retail, shipping, healthcare, farming and gaming.

LinkedIn measured demand by looking at the profiles of its users, to determine the frequency that people with different skillsets were getting hired.

Cloud computing came in second place, which is the technology allowing data to be stored and managed on the internet. People working in this area would be developing the architecture, design and delivery of cloud systems.

In third place was analytical reasoning - the ability to make sense of data and uncover insights that can help business decisions.

Artificial intelligence (AI), which is the technology developing machine-learning, was the fourth most in-demand area of "hard" skills for employers.

Rounding out the top five was UX design, the focus on users' experience of products, particularly technology.

LinkedIn also ranked "soft" skills the interpersonal qualities employers want most in their staff. The list looked very similar to the 2019 rankings, with creativity holding onto the top spot.

However, emotional intelligence also made an appearance in this year's top five. This is the ability to perceive, evaluate and respond to both your own emotions and those of others.

LinkedIn said this emphasized the "importance of how we respond to and interact with colleagues."

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These are the most in-demand job skills in 2020, according to LinkedIn - CNBC

Blockchain Could Save a Country Billions, Report Says – Chief Investment Officer

If the United Arab Emirates (UAE) successfully implements emerging blockchain technology, the nation could see a plethora of benefits across the board, according to a joint whitepaper by the Centre for the Fourth industrial Revolution and the World Economic Forum.

How the Middle Eastern nation adopts the new crypto technology could serve as a template for other countries, which are eyeing it. The strategy, was launched in recent years to help advance their legislative efforts, to improve the morale of their citizens, and to advance government efficiency. The strategy intends to provide a digital transformation for the UAE.

The government of Virginia is also studying the impacts of blockchain and cryptocurrency, and introduced legislation to form a study group last year dedicated to researching the topic.

For the UAE, the efficiency would occur by the itss reducing printing needs by over 398 billion printed documents annually and saving 77 million work hours annually. Chief among the benefits provided through implementation of blockchain would be the saving of AED 11 billion (USD $3 billion) a year in transactions and documents processed routinely.

The use of blockchain technology will not only allow operational cost reduction but will support the digital security of national documents and transactions, as well as accelerating decision-making processes, the report said.

Small Persian Gulf principalities are serving as proving ground for blockchain. Dubai, under its own blockchain strategy, aspires to become the hub for blockchain intellectual capital and skill development, the report noted.

The report emphasized many challenges the UAE may face in adopting and implementing blockchain technology, as shown by historical examples of other jurisdictions who vied to do the same. The challenges are largely societal issues, and not based on the technology itself.

The reports authors suspect there may be difficulty in aligning the interests of required stakeholders in corporations, service providers and the government. Education of the technology and awareness of its intricacies is also considered to be an important obstacle, as well as unclear regulatory implications.

Survey participants were unified on the opinion that the core challenges in blockchain implementation remain in the operational and regulatory sphere rather than on the technical side, the report said.

The public sector saw education and alignment with stakeholders as the most pressing challenge, whereas the private sectors key concern resonated around regulatory uncertainty, the report added.

Those same issues are propping up in the United States as well. The US Senate last summer held hearings on potential regulatory frameworks for digital currencies. The digital currency and blockchain ecosystem is diverse, and care must be taken in determining what gaps may be present in the existing framework and developing a more comprehensive approach, said US Sen. Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican

The UAE and Dubais blockchain strategies have so far advanced the development of a thriving blockchain ecosystem within less than three years, contributing towards the nations vision of becoming an innovation-drive economy, the report said.

The government of Virginia is also studying the impacts of blockchain and cryptocurrency, and introduced legislation to form a study group last year dedicated to researching the topic.

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Tags: blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Dubai, emerging technologies, Middle East, UAE, United Arab Emirates

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Blockchain Could Save a Country Billions, Report Says - Chief Investment Officer

Blockchain Can Help Safely Feed The World – Forbes

IBM

Feeding a growing planet will require a great amount of food. Doing it safely and sustainably will require an even vaster amount of data to overcome our uncertainty about who is producing our food, as well as the conditions in the farming and fishing communities that supply our most basic needs.

The world population is expected to reach nearly 11 billion people by the end of the century, up from about 7.7 billion today. To keep up with all that population growth, food production and distribution systems must become significantly more productive even as they become more sustainable. Its the only way to feed the world without harming the earth, making people sick or wasting precious nutrients.

That requires lots of informationdata about the growing conditions that make food healthy and safe to eat, as well data about what happens to all the food along the way. For example, spoilage and waste reduces the global food supply by more than a third, according to the USDA. Each stop in a food items supply chainfrom farm to processor to distributoris an opportunity for it to go bad, whether from exposure to the elements or bacteria or simply because the journey takes too long. When it comes to the intricacies of our food supply, we still have vast gaps in our knowledge.

More and better data can help us fill those gaps. But the truly valuable insights and efficiencies come only when all links in the food chainfrom farm to tableare connected. How, for example, are farmersto know if their apples reached consumers in better or worse shape than last years harvest, given that their customers may be thousands of miles away? And if the apples were bad, whos to say it is the farmers fault, and not the power outage that caught the distributor by surprise, or the retailer who didnt handle the apples properly?

Data can also provide us an opportunity to understand how farms and fisheries operate, and what practices they follow that respect animal wellness and the ecology of our planet. By making this connection, we can directly contribute to these communities health and well-being and make more thoughtful choices about what we consume.

By creating a single version of the truth that all participants in a supply chain can share in a permissioned way, we can begin to answer such questionsand many others. Thats the value of blockchain, a distributed ledger creating a continually updated and indelible data record that tracks every step and transaction in even the lengthiest global supply chains. Blockchain can help us create that single version of the truth, and in so doing can help us improve, expand and secure our food supply in the decades to come.

To get food data thats actually useful, we need to connect all the links in the food chain, a goal increasingly within reach thanks to distributed ledger technology. With blockchain, cross-industry collaborationeven between competitorsbecomes dramatically simpler. Members of these networks can designate who sees what information, and why, allowing them to strike a balance between transparency and trade secrets. Many companies are even using this technology to provide key data to consumers, using the provenance record to foster trust and tell a story about their product.

IBM

Take the example of Terra Delyssa, one of the Mediterraneans leading olive oil producers. The company recently began using IBM Food Trust, a blockchain network, to establish traceability for its Terra Delyssa extra virgin olive oil.

Using Food Trust, Terra Delyssa was able to create two applicationsone for its enterprise partners to track in-depth information and audits, and the other for consumers who simply want to know where the oil came from and how it was produced. Consumers can have greater trust in the product, while Terra Delyssas distributor and retail partners can tap vast swaths of new data about the product and its sourcing, to improve their purchasing and distribution efficiency.

With Food Trusts network at 200 participants and growing, Terra Delyssa is hardly alone in looking to blockchain to solve problems related to data, trust and supply chain integrity.

Through careful collaboration via blockchain, even the most complex supply chains can become more transparent and efficient.

Consider coffee.Most coffee is grown in Latin American or Africa on smallholder farms that are technologically unsophisticated (one study estimated the average size of a coffee farm at only 7.5 hectares, or about 18 acres). Many of the best beans cannot be machine harvested. And members of the supply chain use a patchwork system of technology and notebook systems to track their operations. Coffee quality falls in a vast range, from a lukewarm cup of Joe to premium beans that can retail for hundreds of dollars per pound.

The coffee market, in short, was the perfect candidate for blockchain technology. In field tests in Rwanda and Colombia, a new organization called Farmer Connect established the traceability of beans that were entered into the blockchain ledger, and then used the blockchain to detail each shipments journey.

But putting this idea into practice required uniting players large and small to begin collaborating on a shared system. Despite the logistical hurdles, Farmer Connects vision is already working. Industry leaders like the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, the J.M. Smucker Company and Sucafina have all joined Farmer Connect and have begun using blockchain technology to share pertinent industry data up and down the supply chain. Through this new collaboration, Farmer Connect will finally make it possible for coffee industry players large and small to collaborate using one shared, trusted set of data.

In earlier, simpler times, people generally knew who was producing their food, milling their grain, making their cheese or cobbling their shoes. But globalization and international supply chains introduced anonymity and uncertainty to the process.

Reversing that trend is the virtue of blockchain. Even at a global scale, the technology has re-introduced the values of trust, traceability and accountability to our communities of commerce.

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Blockchain Can Help Safely Feed The World - Forbes

Blockchain is the top skill for 2020, LinkedIn says – CoinGeek

Blockchain has emerged as the leading hard skill sought by employers for 2020. In its latest report, the professional networking company found that blockchain was sought by employers more than cloud computing, artificial intelligence and UX design.

The annual report on the most in-demand skills by LinkedIn gives a comprehensive look on what employers are on the lookout for from their employees. In 2019, cloud computing led the list of hard skills, with artificial intelligence and analytical reasoning following suit. Blockchain wasnt even in the top ten. However, in a complete change of fortunes, employers are now more interested in those possessing blockchain skills than any other skill.

LinkedIn pointed out that blockchains rise has been aided greatly by its breakout from its traditional financial industry connection and into other industries. Supply chain, gaming, pharmaceuticals, insurance and legal industries are all using the technology. This has opened up more opportunities and led to the skyrocketing of the demand in blockchain skills.

The demand for blockchain skills varies from one country to the next. However, in most leading economies such as the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France and Australia, its the most in-demand skill.

The report stated, The business world, however, is voting with its jobs, and companies seem to be saying that the potential is worth the gamble. Blockchain has become a line of business for a whos who of the corporate world IBM, Oracle, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft (LinkedIns parent company), Amazon, and American Express, to name just a few. Blockchain is now being used in industries ranging from shipping to healthcare, from farming and food safety to entertainment and gaming.

As CoinGeek reported, while the demand for blockchain skills has continued to skyrocket, the supply has waned. This is despite blockchain jobs having higher pay, with those in the U.S. offering twice the national average. In its Emerging Jobs Report 2020, LinkedIn revealed that blockchain developers were no longer on their list of top 15 emerging jobs. An earlier report by Indeed also found that searches related to blockchain have been on a decline for the past two years. In 2019, these searches went down 53%. In stark contrast, Indeeds portal saw a steady increase in job postings for blockchain-related roles.

The Genesis protocol upgrade on February 4, 2020 is a monumental step in the history of Bitcoin, and will see BSV returned as close as possible to the original protocol as envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto. Visit theGenesis Hard Fork pageto learn more.

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Blockchain is the top skill for 2020, LinkedIn says - CoinGeek

UAE Can Save Over $3B by Deploying Blockchain, New Research Reveals – Cointelegraph

The deployment of blockchain technology can save the United Arab Emirates (UAE) more than $3 billion, according to new findings.

The findings were revealed in a white paper entitled Inclusive Deployment of Blockchain: Case Studies and Learning from the United Arab Emirates, Emirates News Agency reported on Jan. 15.

The paper was prepared by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE a multi-stakeholder operation focused on science and technology the Dubai Future Foundation and the World Economic Forum.

The white paper aimed to understand the current level of blockchain application, key challenges and success factors associated with the technology. More than 100 organizations from over 60 governmental and non-governmental entities that already use blockchain participated in the study.

The vast majority 80% of the surveyed government entities named early-stage identification of applicable blockchain solutions as the most important factor in deploying the technology.

For large organizations, the success of blockchain deployment relied on a clearly defined scope, roles and responsibilities within projects.

As for the public sector, education and alignment with stakeholders appeared to be the most critical challenge when it comes to blockchain implementation, with the private sector noting regulatory uncertainty as a key concern.

By integrating blockchain into their operations, the UAE government can also drastically reduce paperwork, eliminating 398 million printed documents and 77 million work hours per year, the analysis stated.

With reported 80% of public and private sector entities already using blockchain, the UAE has apparently dove headlong into the sector. The UAE, along with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, is leading the charge when it comes to positive crypto and blockchain legislation. As blockchain author Sukhi Jutla previously told Cointelegraph:

The UAE has been smart enough to understand that this innovation will grow in years to come and they dont want to miss it. I wouldnt be surprised if the UAE becomes the leading nation in this space just as they did with the oil and property space."

Over the past several months, the UAE has launched a number of blockchain-related initiatives, including the Digital Silk Road which aims to digitize the trade process, the development of the country's first financial document exchange platform based on the tech, and the Silsal blockchain project with the objective to provide greater security, transparency and efficiency in shipping and logistics.

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UAE Can Save Over $3B by Deploying Blockchain, New Research Reveals - Cointelegraph

NBA Team Auctioning Basketball Star’s Jersey on Ethereum Blockchain – CoinDesk

The Sacramento Kings will auction off starting guard Buddy Hields jersey from Wednesdays game against the Dallas Mavericks using a blockchain-powered marketplace.

Working with ethereum project incubator ConsenSys, the Kings said Wednesday it would be live-auctioning team memorabilia using an ethereum-based platform operated by Treum, a supply-chain product. The platform will be used to verify the provenance of athletic collectibles, with auctions running during and after NBA games.

The platform will help ensure all items being sold are authentic, said Tyler Mulvihill, Treums co-founder.

We've seen time and time again and instances of this exact problem, right? This is the jersey, [is it] real, was it game-worn, how do I know? he said. Were working with the Kings to solve each and every one of those problems.

He told CoinDesk in a phone call the platform wants to heighten fan experiences, noting that a relatively small number of basketball aficionados are able to make it to games at present.

"We wanted to create an application that does something real right now, [that] adds enthusiasm, said Bradley Feinstein, head of business development at ConsenSys. Fans can "participate live in the game [and] ultimately give them this experience where they can participate with verifiable proof. [They] understand that what they are about to get is real.

If the Buddy Hield game jersey auction is successful, here's how future auctions will work: During home games, Kings fans can bid on gear worn by players on the team. Each auction would run from right before tip-off to 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, with all items authenticated and recorded on Treum. A digital token that will contain data detailing the game, season, player and timestamp will represent proof-of-ownership for items, and will be held by the items owner.

Proceeds from auctioning Hields jersey will benefit the victims of 2019's Hurricane Dorian (Hield grew up in the Bahamas) while proceeds from future auctions will generally go to the Sacramento Kings Foundation.

Kings Chief Technology Officer Ryan Montoya told CoinDesk the move is only the Kings latest foray into blockchain, noting that the team has accepted bitcoin since 2014 and offers other blockchain-based fan experience products.

Calling ConsenSys the Andreessen Horowitz of crypto, Montoya said the new auction platform is going to transform businesses, economy.

We just want to be a part of it and share this with our fans, he said.

The NBA is strictly overseeing memorabilia from its teams, said Ian Wheat, the team's director of innovation and esports. The Kings chose to use a blockchain as part of an effort to promote transparency around how the items entered the market and help verify authenticity in secondary markets.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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NBA Team Auctioning Basketball Star's Jersey on Ethereum Blockchain - CoinDesk

LinkedIn: Blockchain beats AI and cloud computing for hottest skill in 2020 – The Next Web

Bitcoin isnt exactlyen voguein 2020, but its underlying technology (blockchain) is apparently still cool.

At least, thats according to employment service LinkedIn, which listed blockchain as techs most sought after hard skill this year.

A LinkedIn blog published last week notes that blockchain is the most in-demand skill in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Germany more popular than cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and UX design.

Blockchain has emerged from the once shadowy world of cryptocurrency to become a business solution in search of problems, said LinkedIn. Which means that you dont have to be in financial services to be seeking new hires who have background and expertise in putting blockchain to use.

The Microsoft-owned company then urged recruiters to start familiarizing themselves with how blockchain works and what its perceived benefits are.

[] Companies seem to be saying that the potential [of blockchain] is worth the gamble, LinkedIn continued. Blockchain has become a line of business for a whos who of the corporate world IBM, Oracle, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft (LinkedIns parent company), Amazon, and American Express, to name just a few.

LinkedIn explains that there are two different kinds of skills: hard and soft.

Hard skills are those that pertain to an employees aptitude for executing specific tasks, mostly technical abilities and specialized knowledge. For software developers, proficiency in the C++ programming language would be a hard skill.

Soft skills relate to the way in which those employees perform those tasks. How one behaves, how they think, and their cognitive skills are all examples of soft skills.

While soft skills are difficult to measure, and perhaps harder to learn, LinkedIn did offer some advice to those looking to break into blockchain this year: learn the programming language used to write Ethereum smart contracts, Solidity.

In November last year, Hard Fork reported that job vacancy site Indeed had noted decreasing candidate interest in blockchain-related roles, but that employer demand in the industry had skyrocketed.

So, while it might be relatively difficult to make money from investing in or trading cryptocurrency this year, working with its underlying tech still seems mightylucrative for now.

[H/T Bitcoin News]

Published January 13, 2020 12:24 UTC

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LinkedIn: Blockchain beats AI and cloud computing for hottest skill in 2020 - The Next Web

This week in tech: Blockchain tops the list of in-demand skills – CoinGeek

Blockchain has spread its wings to virtually every other industry in the world, and this is driving demand for talented blockchain developers through the roof. According to a study released this week, it topped the list of the most in-demand skill globally. The study by LinkedIn attributed the rise to the diversification of the technology from financial services to other industries. The fete is even more incredible given that blockchain didnt crack the top ten skills last year.

Blockchain adoption was also in high gear, starting in Switzerland where a real estate company tokenized a $134 million property. BrickMark investment company issued bond-backed tokens which represent shares in the building. The tokens are only available to accredited investors who will get to earn income from the rent as well as any rise in the buildings value.

The week also saw IBM expand its blockchain efforts, joining hands with one of the largest olive oil producers in the southern Mediterranean. CHO joined IBMs Food Trust Network, which it will use to trace its Terra Delyssa virgin olive oil. The company will trace the oil from the farms where the olives are grown through the supply chain to the final consumer.

In Africa, a utopian crypto-powered city could be on the horizon. Global superstar Akon this week announced that the final plans for the crypto city were in place. The city will be powered by blockchain technology and transactions will be made in Akoin, a native crypto. There are glaring gaps however, such as the lack of a whitepaper for the project, which Akon must address if this real-life Wakanda is to become a reality.

Over in the Philippines, the government wants to build Asias Crypto Valley, and Japan is willing to help make this dream a reality. The two countries believe that blockchain technology, especially when applied to tokenization, has a great role to play in Asias future. The Filipino government also intends to construct an $80 million airport to connect the crypto valley, citing investors demand.

Huobi crypto exchange this week joined the Blockchain Turkey Platform, a cross-industry organization to harness the power of blockchain technology. The exchange has been operating in Turkey for half a year now and becomes the first major exchange to join the organization which consists of tech firms, banks and financial institutions, venture capitalists and the crypto industry.

Still in Asia, the Malaysian government has laid down guidelines for the ICO and IEO sector. Securities Commission Malaysia published the guidelines this week, requiring ICO and IEO issuers to register with the regulator beforehand. The rules also impose a $24.5 million cap on the offerings, but allow participation from both retail and institutional investors.

Blockchain and cryptos have for long been portrayed as bad for the environment, but this week, one big industry player was doing its bit to conserve it. Bitfury partnered with the United Nations on a project that seeks to plant 20 hectares of trees in Kazakhstan. The forestland is estimated will offset the companys carbon footprint by 110%.

Finally, Libra, the Facebook project that you thought had died off, has established a new committee to guide its technical development. The Libra Association formed the five-member team to guide the development of Libras code, implement a technical roadmap for the project, direct the research and engage the Libra community. Diogo Monica, the founder of Anchorage and Nick Grossman, a partner at Union Square Ventures are among the members.

The Genesis protocol upgrade on February 4, 2020 is a monumental step in the history of Bitcoin, and will see BSV returned as close as possible to the original protocol as envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto. Visit theGenesis Hard Fork pageto learn more.

To receive the latest CoinGeek.com news, special discounts on CoinGeek Conferences and other inside information direct to your inbox, pleasesign upfor our mailing list.

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This week in tech: Blockchain tops the list of in-demand skills - CoinGeek

Blockchain Will Be Most In-Demand Hard Skill in 2020: LinkedIn – Cointelegraph

Blockchain will be the most in-demand hard skill in 2020, according to a new study by the educational subsidiary of professional social network LinkedIn.

A newcomer to LinkedIns annual list of top-demanded hard skills, blockchain now tops the list of the most-needed skills in 2020, according to a LinkedIn Learning blog post on Jan. 13.

In 2019, blockchain-as-a-skill overtook major hard skills including cloud computing, analytical reasoning, artificial intelligence (AI), and user experience (UX) design, becoming the number one hard skill in demand among global employers in 2020, according to LinkedIn Learning.

In contrast, a similar list of skills provided by LinkedIn Learning for 2019 does not include blockchain technology at all. Titled The Skills Companies Need Most in 2019 And How to Learn Them, the list ranks cloud computing as the most in-demand of that year. In order, other top hard skills in 2019 included AI, analytical reasoning, people management and UX design.

Top 10 hard skills companies need most in 2020. Source: LinkedIn Learning

As noted in the post, demand in the recent study was defined by analyzing skills that were in high demand versus their supply. Specifically, demand was measured by identifying the skills listed on the LinkedIn profiles of people who were employed at the highest rates.

The study only analyzed cities with 100,000 LinkedIn members, the blog post notes.

As opposed to soft skills, hard skills refer to an employees ability to do a specific task and include specialized knowledge and technical abilities such as software development, tax accounting, or patent law expertise. Meanwhile, soft skills refer more to the way those tasks are done how employees adapt, collaborate, solve problems and make decisions.

In the blog post, Linkedin outlined the immense potential of blockchain technology in terms of providing a cost- and time-efficient, secure and decentralized method of tracking transactions of all types.

It emphasized that a number of high-profile global firms such as IBM, Oracle, JPMorgan, Amazon as well as LinkedIns parent firm Microsoft have been actively implementing the technology. The post advises global recruiters to start becoming more aware of blockchain technology:

Blockchain has emerged from the once shadowy world of cryptocurrency to become a business solution in search of problems. Which means that you dont have to be in financial services to be seeking new hires who have background and expertise in putting blockchain to use. So, recruiters should start becoming familiar with how blockchain works, what its perceived benefits are, and who are the people best suited to help your company explore where this budding technology might have a role.

LinkedIn has previously outlined the importance of distributed ledger technologies like blockchain. Earlier in 2019, a LinkedIn Asia Pacific report listed blockchain among the most demanded skills in the coming years as part of its regular feature The Future of Skills.

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Blockchain Will Be Most In-Demand Hard Skill in 2020: LinkedIn - Cointelegraph

Whats in Store for Blockchain and Crypto in 2020? – CryptoNewsZ

As we launch in the brand new year- 2020 of the brand new decade, it deserves some exciting introspection to see what it has in store for us. The evolution of the crypto sphere in the last decade cant be ignored, and the same evolution lays the foundation of the promising New Year. In this article, we will see what is in store for blockchain and crypto in 2020.

Looking at 2019, Granter points at trough of disillusionment. As per Granter last year, the crypto sphere has a reality check on its potential, real facts, public response and pace-matching with the mass adoption and of the blockchain technology. The concept revealed that a sense of maturity is still needed to make use of the full potential of blockchain technology fully.

In 2019, many companies and industries were still toying with the potential of the technology, whereas only a few real-world use cases surfaced. This experimentation era leads to the shut-down of many start-ups.

The experience has stream-lined the perspectives, expectations, and approaches towards business in the crypto sphere. The inclination has now shifted from experimentation to more practical, useful ambitions. This inclination, as per Granter Hyper Cycle, will design the crypto sphere in 2020, which will lead to a completely scalable blockchain domain in the next three years. The pragmatic approach will pay a good farewell to the small scale proof-of-concept style of work.

In 2020, as discussed above, an inclination towards operational real-world use cases should be expected. The main areas of focus for the new year, as per market predictions, are- development flexibility, interconnectivity, and operational domain.

The blockchain technology, its implementation, user-interaction are expected to have a more realistic approach. This will lead to strategic development backed by strong research and awareness. The blockchain projects can be expected to burst the bubble of ideal experimentation la-la land.

A shift from R&D-type exploratory proof-of-concept (PoCs) and inclination towards the end-to-end process can be expected. Implementation of the blockchain technology will improve massively. This can lead to a stronger bond between traditional industries and blockchain technology.

Also, the debate between the public and private blockchain will only get further stirred up. It will stay like that for a while and will eventually settle-down. There will be more completion between the several blockchain platforms leading to the adoption of hybrid blockchain solutions.

Market analysts predict that the finance industry will keep leading the blockchain adoption. With the expected fine-tuning of the blockchain industry, the blockchain industry will take over many sectors of society. It is anticipated that especially the banking and the finance industry will surpass the past reluctance towards the blockchain industry and will rather start embracing it. Reports suggest that the new year 2020 will see the blockchain technology to become an integral part of the in-production process of many finance institutes.

The advantages of blockchain technology such as transparency, time-stamped transactions, security for both the users and the institutes, the privacy of the users, inexpensive cross-border transfers, almost instant transactions, etc will be celebrated on a grander scale in the new year by the finance industries.

Good things take time. This saying will stand true when it comes to an acceptance of the crypto and the blockchain technology from the non-financial companies. As opposed to past strong repulsion, the non-financial industries are expected to reconsider their take on the blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency. The New Year will pose the question of how the new technology can be used constructively in their businesses rather than just seeing it as a pure element of disruption.

With the advancements and the use-case maturity of the blockchain technology, it is very likely that it will find a fit in the non-financial industries in this new decade. The advantages of blockchain technology such as transparency, time-stamped transactions, security for both the users and the institutes, privacy of the users, inexpensive cross-border transfers, almost instant transactions, etc. can be an attractive hooking point for such industries to start embracing the blockchain technology.

2020 is expected to be a challenging time for start-ups to gain support. It will not be as easy as it was in the last few years. This will raise a question on their survival. Only those start-ups will see the light at the end of the tunnel, which will offer unique, real-world solutions. As the inclination will tilt towards pragmatism, so only those start-ups will survive, which will prove their mettle.

In the past, the success-formula was repeated by many start-ups. One solution was offered in many versions. This new year onwards, this practice will take a shocking halt, and original creative ideas will be expected.

The token market will spin in 2020, and many tokens will get delisted from the market. Reports suggest that there are around 2500 tokens currently active in the market, but as we will walk through the next twelve months, this number is expected to be distilled to mere 1000 active tokens.

The reason is simple- thorough professionalism. The elevated levels of KYC and AML processes, background checks of companies, checking of the purpose and the relevance of the token in the market, the platforms on which they will be offered, etc.; all of such considerations will tighten the entry of any new token and will decrease the number of the current inactive tokens.

Overall, we will get to see the blockchain industry to become more mature and evolved in this New Year and the coming years. The blockchain industry is expected to earn trust from governments from all over the world. The question is just not limited to 2020, but the future of the blockchain technology and crypto industry can lead to many interesting developments such as a whole new internet of blockchains in the next few years. Blockchain and the crypto industry has come a long way from the initial obscure cloudy formation years. As of now, its development is in a highly active stage where it is producing amazing results and is still expecting many beautiful possibilities.

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Whats in Store for Blockchain and Crypto in 2020? - CryptoNewsZ

Decred Team Lead: Blockchain is a part of Africas future – FXStreet

In an interview with CoinDesk, the founder of Feleman Limited, Akin Sawyerr, said that decentralized finance and governance can rebuild economies all over the world. Feleman is an Africa-focused impact investment and advisory firm based in Washington, D.C.

He said:

I have geographical purview over Africa. So a lot of what I've been working on is identifying opportunities around Africa. One of the big challenges you see across Africa is governance. And wherever you have weak governance you have more transaction costs. We believe that cryptocurrencies and crypto networks will have a lot of applications across Africa.

He pointed out that weak governance makes it harder to get things done, which is why Decred, a cryptocurrency known for its governance principles has gained a lot of attention.

We're sort of at the point where people appreciate the methods of governance at Decred.

Sawyerr expects places like Africa to be early adopters of blockchain-based governance solutions.

There's just more value in going into these environments.

.

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Decred Team Lead: Blockchain is a part of Africas future - FXStreet

Blockchain Firm BitFury Partners With UN on Forest Project in Kazakhstan – Cointelegraph

Blockchain development firm Bitfury is set to partner with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on a project to conserve and increase Kazakhstans forestland.

As the Astana Times reported on Jan. 14, the project aims to help the country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% over the coming decade to meet its commitments in the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Bitfury and the UNDP are poised to sign an agreement later this month with the Kazakh Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources to create a forestland in the nations Pavlodar Region.

The project will start with the goal of creating 20 hectares that will consume the carbon dioxide generated by the local coal-powered electricity providers to fuel Bitfurys operations. It is hoped that this will offset Bitfurys carbon footprint by 100110%.

As the Astana Times notes, while Kazakhstan currently owns 29 million hectares of forest, most of it faces the threat of illicit forest fires, logging and changes in land-use.

Meruyert Sarsembayeva, a financial mechanism expert at the Biodiversity Financing Initiative (BIOFIN), told reporters that only a portion of the 29 million hectares is protected, while other lands remain excluded from the state forest fund. Sarsembayeva explained:

We will work with forests that are not being considered and managed. It is exactly these forests that are threatened by the forest fires and illnesses. If they are not legitimized and transferred to the state forest fund, it may lead to that, they will produce even more emissions.

Bitfury and the UNDPs carbon reduction initiative comes under the umbrella of BIOFIN, as part of the latters work to improve forest management practices through changes to legislation and to raise public awareness about emissions reductions.

BIOFINs work globally helps various countries to assess their spending on biodiversity and to strategize their approaches to funding to achieve green goals.

With UN support, Kazakhstan has already reduced its annual energy consumption by 2545% over the past five years via a pilot focused on heating residential buildings. The country aims to derive 50% of its energy from sustainable sources by 2050.

Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan, has reportedly told the UNDP press service that the Bitfury-UNDP-BIOFIN project represents:

The first carbon reduction initiative for Kazakhstan [...] we hope that it will accelerate the countrys efforts to reduce carbon dioxide in partnership with the private sector. These practical solutions will require institutionalization and expansion.

As Cointelegraph reported in fall 2019, research published by the New Scientist has challenged the perception that Bitcoin (BTC) mining is irreconcilable with tackling climate change, pointing to the misleading assumptions that underlie some of the more alarmist reporting and studies on the matter.

In correspondence this week with Cointelegraph, Bitfurys Head of Renewables, Samy Biyadi, contended that:

Cryptocurrency mining is excellently suited for countries that want to transition into green economies. Contrary to public perception about its negative effect on the environment, cryptocurrency mining can help advance the adoption and growth of renewable energies by incentivizing investment in these assets.

Before this, several energy specialists had critiqued the perception that high energy consumption is Bitcoins Achilles Heel, arguing in favor of shifting the debate away from energy consumption and towards where that energy is produced and how it is generated.

Last June, a study found that 74.1% of Bitcoin mining is powered by renewables.

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Blockchain Firm BitFury Partners With UN on Forest Project in Kazakhstan - Cointelegraph

Hong Kong Blockchain Week 2020 to feature International Leaders of Finance and Technology – Yahoo Finance

With support from the Hong Kong government community, industry leaders from across the world will converge to define the future trends of blockchain technology application, regulations, investment, market and industry development.

HONG KONG, Jan. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2nd Annual Hong Kong Blockchain Week 2020 hosted by The NexChange Group will be held between the 2nd and 6th of March, 2020. The conference enjoys significant support from the region's authorities.

Hong Kong Blockchain Week 2020 / 02 - 06 March

Organisations and quangos that have partnered up with HK Blockchain Week to support the community include Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP), Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), Hong Kong Applied Science And Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA), Fintech Association of Hong Kong (FTAHK), Singapore Blockchain Association, MIT HK Innovation node etc.

The core event of the week is the Block O2O Global Summit, hosted by The NexChange Group and Cyberport and held at Ocean Park Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong on the 3rd and 4thof March. The conference is set to be an ideal platform to carry out prolific discussions about the range of applications blockchain technology can offer across different industries.

Attendees will delve into the various aspects like:

Speakers featured on the event agenda throughout the week:

About NexChange: NexChange Group is a venture innovation and media platform specializing in Blockchain, FinTech, HealthTech, AI, and Smart Cities.

Juwan Lee, Chairman of NexChange: "Hong Kong Blockchain Week bridges many industries with the help of blockchain technology and the opportunities it has brought. We expect to bring together those who decide the future of these industries today: investors, governments, media, and entrepreneurs from around the world."

For more information on the speakers, agenda, side events and partnerships, please visit http://www.hkblockchainweek.netor contact: info@nexchange.com

"PR Newswire is the 'Official Press Release Distribution Partner' of Block O2O Blockchain Summit 2020 and Official Hong Kong Blockchain Week 2020"

Photo - https://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20200115/2693187-1

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Hong Kong Blockchain Week 2020 to feature International Leaders of Finance and Technology - Yahoo Finance

BTC Miami Blockchain Conference Kicks Off Its Seventh Year – Bitcoin News

On January 16, The North American Bitcoin Conference (TNABC) opened its doors at the James L. Knight Center in Miami for its seventh year. The conference was filled with hundreds of crypto enthusiasts, exhibits, and well known speakers from the blockchain industry.

Also Read: Grassroots Bitcoin Cash House Movement Expands to Ghana

BTC Miami, the popular blockchain event hosted in beautiful downtown Miami, has kicked into high gear as the James L. Knight Center filled with crypto and blockchain supporters from all around the world. Thursdays opening remarks started with TNABC host Moe Levin and the city of Miamis Mayor Francis Suarez. The mayor discussed blockchain and crypto innovation within Miamis borders in order to establish the city as a hub of innovation. Suarez also announced that this week was an officially recognized event by the city called Blockchain Week Miami.

The official concluded his talk by presenting Levin with a certificate from the city. Following Suarez, Bobby Lee, the founder of the wallet card Ballet, discussed how people can make digital currencies more accessible and referenced the cold storage Ballet card. TNABC attendees heard from bnktothefuture.coms Simon Dixon, Veriblocks Justin Fisher, and a climactic mid-day speech from blockchain investor Brock Pierce. Pierce explained how crypto solutions and blockchain could transform the world for the better.

The exhibit hall was filled with TNABC attendees checking out all the companies showcasing platforms, devices, and artwork. Bitcoin.com gave away bitcoin cash-loaded Golden Ticket scratch-offs, after having people download the Badger Wallet. After that step, people swept the QR code on their scratch-off ticket, in order to reveal their bitcoin cash (BCH) reward. Then the user had to join the special Telegram group Bitcoin.com created to post their SLP address. When the conference convenes on Friday, people who swept their Golden Tickets will get some special SLP-based Miami Conference tokens airdropped for participating.

The Miami Token can be exchanged at the Bitcoin.com booth for special rewards. The Bitcoin.com booth was busy with people learning about peer-to-peer cash and the innovation behind the Simple Ledger Protocol.

A few members of the SLP development team were in attendance as well including SLP engineer James Cramer. Speaking with news.Bitcoin.com, Cramer gave his thoughts on the crypto conference in Miami.

The conference has been great so far, Cramer told news.Bitcoin.com. Meeting with people face to face that you speak with on the internet. You can do video conference calls and things like that, but meeting people face to face is way better. The developer also talked about TNABC participants asking the developers about SLP tokens.

We made new bright green t-shirts that say slp.cash with the SLP logo. People are asking about SLP and they are super interested I think people are open to trying the Simple Ledger Protocol, Cramer said.

Other booths included Edge wallet, Crypto.com, Bitangels, Tradestation, and the Crypto Playhouse. TNABC featured unique artwork as well from crypto artists like Fractalencrypt, Sergey Gordienko, and Lucho Poletti. After lunch, TNABC participants watched a panel on cryptocurrency regulations and law. Additionally, during the remainder of the afternoon, people listened to talks from Edge Wallets Paul Puey, crypto pioneer Nick Spanos, Binary Financials Harry Yeh and closing remarks from TNABC host Moe Levin. During the event, news.Bitcoin.com spoke with Levin and asked him what he thought about the seventh annual TNABC conference.

I feel like this event more closely resembles 2015 and 2016 and not that many people have experienced those years, Levin explained. What I mean by that is during 2015, it was after the climactic rising price of bitcoin hitting $1,200 with all the hype and then nothing for two years and we produced this event for 300 to 400 people in 2015 and it was tiny. It was super small compared to the last two years and I believe there were only a few exhibits at the time. But those businesses who attended and some of those exhibitors went on to build what are now some of the biggest companies in crypto. Levin added:

A lot of people are not aware of the cycles in this industry and what happens is when the market is down, people start building a lot more. They dont go out much, they dont hype things, they just build. And when theres real hype and interest globally, they have the widest nets to capture all the interest.

Additionally, Levin spoke about Miami Mayor Francis Suarezs speech and the certificate he received earlier in the day. I would love to take as much credit for making Miami a Bitcoin City but Im not here every day building a blockchain center and encouraging companies to come here. But the city of Miami is and when they say the quote open for business, it is true. Its also a form of legitimacy from a local government for crypto globally because its a real thing its an official Blockchain Week recognized by Miami. Its nice man, it feels good.

What do you think about The North American Bitcoin Conference (TNABC) Miami? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Bitcoin.com is an official platinum sponsor and media partner of the 2020 TNABC event.

Image credits: Shutterstock, SLP, Jamie Redman, TNABC, Bitcoin.com, Fair Use, and Pixabay.

Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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BTC Miami Blockchain Conference Kicks Off Its Seventh Year - Bitcoin News

The Blockchain: What It Is and Why It Matters – Brookings

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Chances are that youve heard of bitcoin, the digital currency that many predict will revolutionize payments or prove to be a massive fraud depending on what you read. Bitcoin is an application that runs on the Blockchain, which is ultimately a more interesting and profound innovation.

The Blockchain is a secure transaction ledger database that is shared by all parties participating in an established, distributed network of computers. It records and stores every transaction that occurs in the network, essentially eliminating the need for trusted third parties such as payment processors. Blockchain proponents often describe the innovation as a transfer of trust in a trustless world, referring to the fact that the entities participating in a transaction are not necessarily known to each other yet they exchange value with surety and no third-party validation. For this reason, the Blockchain is a potential game changer.

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or group of people credited with developing bitcoin, released a whitepaper describing the software protocol. Since then, the network has grown and bitcoinhas become a recognized unit of value around the globe. Bitcoinis extremely important because it provides a mechanism for accessing the Blockchain but its not the only application that can leverage the platform.

Bitcoin has also been on the receiving end of some bad press, such as around the collapse of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange earlier last year. The Mt. Gox story is not necessarily an indictment of bitcoin. For the purposes of this post, simply remember this: bitcoin is just a mechanism for transacting on the Blockchain and the Blockchain is the key innovation.

The Blockchain enables the anonymous exchange of digital assets, such as bitcoin, but it is not technically dependent on bitcoin. The elegance of the Blockchain is that it obviates the need for a central authority to verify trust and the transfer of value. It transfers power and control from large entities to the many, enabling safe, fast, cheaper transactions despite the fact that we may not know the entities we are dealing with.

The mechanics of the Blockchain are novel and highly disruptive. As people transact in a Blockchain ecosystem, a public record of all transactions is automatically created. Computers verify each transaction with sophisticated algorithms to confirm the transfer of value and create a historical ledger of all activity. The computers that form the network that are processing the transactions are located throughout the world and importantly are not owned or controlled by any single entity. The process is real-time, and much more secure than relying on a central authority to verify a transaction.

There are many analogous concepts both ancient and modern. Technology has and will continue to transfer power and control from central authorities and distribute them to the masses. For example, time used to be determined and communicated by large clock towers that were expensive to build and maintain. Engineering innovations ultimately decentralized the quantification of time to the individual. Likewise, WhatsApp, a popular cross platform messaging app, cut the transaction cost of sending messages globally and cut profits for the carriers. The central authority (phone carriers) lost to the application (WhatsApp) built on a decentralized network (i.e. the Internet).

Similarly, third parties that currently verify transactions (the central authority) stand to lose against the Blockchain (the decentralized network). As such, the Blockchain essentially disintermediates these third-party transaction verifiers: auditors, legal services, payment processors, brokerages and other similar organizations.

While you may not be convinced that exchanging bitcoin is an invaluable service, there are many other examples of value transfer that are critical and currently very slow and expensive. Consider the exchange of property: numerous intermediaries are currently involved in this process, such as a third-party escrow service that works for both parties to ensure a smooth transfer. The escrow service, like other services built solely on trust and verification, collect fees that would be mitigated by performing the transaction on the Blockchain as would wire transfer fees, third party financial auditing, contract execution, etc.

The use case of the Blockchain enabling a decentralized currency exchange such as bitcoin is well defined and will likely be the dominant use case near term, however there are a multitude of innovative and disruptive use cases. Companies are already building their own Blockchains for various applications such as Gridcoin that leverages the Blockchain to crowdsource scientific computing projects. Gridcoin uses its own protocols that require much less computing power and electricity to manage than traditional bitcoin networks.

The Blockchain is a foundational technology, like TCP/IP, which enables the Internet. And much like the Internet in the late 1990s, we dont know exactly how the Blockchain will evolve, but evolve it will.

Similar to the Internet, the Blockchain must also be allowed to grow unencumbered. This will require careful handling that recognizes the difference between the platform and the applications that run on it. TCP/IP empowers numerous financial applications that are regulated, but TCP/IP is not regulated as a financial instrument. The Blockchain should receive similar consideration. While the predominant use case for the Blockchain today is bitcoin currency exchange that may require regulation, this will change over time.

Had we over-regulated the Internet early on, we would have missed out on many innovations that we cant imagine living without today. The same is true for the Blockchain. Disruptive technologies rarely fit neatly into existing regulatory considerations, but rigid regulatory frameworks have repeatedly stifled innovation. Its likely that innovations in the Blockchain will outpace policy, lets not slow it down.

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The Blockchain: What It Is and Why It Matters - Brookings

TraSeable’s blockchain-based traceability technology overcomes challenges in the Pacific – SeafoodSource

In the Pacific, adoption of seafood traceability technology faces hurdles at multiple stages of the supply chain.

Records frequently start on paper, which can be lost or damaged. Internet coverage is often spotty. Tags with QR codes have to be durable in harsh ocean conditions. Customs and habits are hard to change. And by the time the product is ready for the market, not everyone actually wants fully traced and transparent fish.

The Fiji-based traceability company TraSeable has piloted its blockchain technology in the region, and says about a half-dozen companies are using it, with some 50,000 fish tracked so far. But implementing end-to-end traceability and convincing companies to sign on for it is taking time.

"You're talking about the Pacific Ocean, where the boats are at sea and they don't have internet connections and can't send out data in real-time," TraSeable Founder and Managing Director Kenneth Katafono told SeafoodSource. "It's still going to be a while before people start recording on a tablet and stop using paper."

TraSeable offers a tablet-based application that allows fishermen on boats and regulators on shore to input data directly into the system. All the players in the supply chain need to be connected to TraSeable's system, including the fishing companies and the processors, who can onboard their clients. The software is also designed so regulatory authorities can connect and use it to provide third-party verification. Customers can opt to pay extra for TraSeables blockchain feature, which is built on the Ethereum platform.

"The companies that we work with, I think they think blockchain will revolutionize supply chains. They're thinking of that aspect and trying to get ahead and adopt early," Katafono said. Some might seek to use it as a marketing point.

Starting in 2017, TraSeable was part of a tuna-tracking pilot project with the World Wildlife Fund, blockchain company ConsenSys, and Sea Quest Fiji a seafood company the first project of its kind in the Pacific.

The project demonstrated blockchains potential for the region, but Katafono quickly realized that the enterprise-level systems ConsenSys offered would be too expensive for fishermen and seafood companies in the region. So he built a blockchain integration on top of his companys existing digital traceability system.

"The whole idea was to make traceability affordable, because if it's not affordable, seafood operators aren't going to pay for it, unless it's regulated, Katafono said.

Sea Quest has piloted TraSeables technology, achieving proof of concept, and has implemented it in the factory. The company has conducted about five trials with a customer in Europe, where demand is higher than in the United States. Sea Quest expects to start sending blockchain-tracked shipments to them in the coming year, according to Sea Quest CEO Uttam Kumar.

"European customers are very anxious and eager to receive traceable and tagged fish, but we have yet to see that kind of thing happening in the U.S.," Kumar told SeafoodSource.

Improving traceability is a long process that requires convincing workers at each stage of the supply chain to follow new protocols a tough sell when monetary incentives are lacking.

"To get to this stage has been a lot of goodwill from the guys on the boats who are prepared to do this extra work," Sea Quest Owner Brett Blu Haywood told SeafoodSource. "We're in a transitional period where we're going from the old, what was done in the last 20 or 30 years with a pen or a pencil to now digitally entering the catch reports This is all a change of mindset for fishermen."

The simplicity of the tablet-based application helps, with easy data entry for fish type, estimated weight, and other factors.

"All this information goes into the tag and is captured at the point of landing," Haywood said.

Haywood believes that blockchain technology will help squeeze out the bad actors. Producers will be able to record on the blockchain the boat, the captain, and even a photo of the freshly-caught fish on the blockchain giving each fish a story.

Blockchain technology offers the potential for a world where data is not tied to a particular computer server and anyone can access the immutable record of transparent information. Such radical transparency might not suit some players in the seafood supply chain, while other companies already embrace it, according to Katafono.

But at the global level, blockchain technology is now hampered by its own overabundance. The many existing protocols cant communicate with each other, and TraSeables Katafono thinks its out of the question for global businesses to narrow on just one protocol. Instead, emerging standards will need to govern how different systems communicate with each other, achieving what technology experts call interoperability a process that will take years.

"The product data will be more transparent throughout the supply chain because that data is added to a blockchain that is publicly available," Katafono said. "That's where we see things moving. [But] it's still an emerging technology. There are still a lot of things that need to happen for it to gain traction in the supply chain world."

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TraSeable's blockchain-based traceability technology overcomes challenges in the Pacific - SeafoodSource

National Governments Around The Globe Look To Embrace Blockchain – Forbes

The logo of the "Petro" is displayed next to images of Venezuelan late President Hugo Chavez (L) and ... [+] Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in a building in downtown Caracas, on September 21, 2018. - Six months after Venezuelan cryptocurrency petro, with which the government of Maduro seeks to evade financial sanctions from the US, started selling to the public, it still can not be exchangeable for money, goods or other cryptocurrencies as the bitcoin. (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP) (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via Getty Images)

In spite of the original philosophy behind bitcoin, a tool to protect and empower sovereign citizens worldwide against oppressive regimes and predatory financial institutions, more and more nations are finding legitimate value in endorsing cryptocurrency.

Established nations like the United States and China are taking a nuanced approach in applying the tech to various departments, and smaller alternatives like Malta and the Virgin Islands have looked to crypto as a means to bolster and expand their local economies. Heres whats happening in the world right now.

The United States

With a regulatory stance on crypto typically seen as archaic and lethargic, the USA doesnt typically come to mind as a champion of blockchain. However, there are many government departments actively exploring and deploying applications that leverage the blockchain for various uses.

For example, the United States now employs a private blockchain through which yearly grants are awarded to different departments, through a project called GrantSolutions. This initiative creates a centralized record of grants, whilst also improves the ease with which recurring grants can be renewed and distributed each year.

Per the previous report, the US Government is additionally building out an encrypted healthcare data exchange through the INFORMED incubator program, allowing citizens to leverage their personal healthcare data and sell their data to researchers.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff has also embarked on a pilot that utilizes the blockchain to communicate 3D printing files to military bases. As it can be quite difficult to replace older equipment, the military is increasingly relying on 3D printed parts to repair weapons and vehicles. The blockchain enables the communication of these files in an encrypted manner that cannot be intercepted by unwanted eyes.

China

Global headlines have emphasized a recent shift in Chinas stance towards blockchain technology. Recently, a series of statements by Chinese President Xi Jinping has indicated that the Peoples Republic of China plans to dive head-first into blockchain integration in a number of areas.

Chinas aggressive use of surveillance on its population and controversial developments such as the social credit system, which assigns a reputation to each citizen for their behavior, suggests that their blockchain endorsement may be a means to further surveil and restrict their almost 1.4 billion citizens.

Integral properties of cryptocurrency include transparency and immutability. A state-backed cryptocurrency means that government officials could have complete and unrestricted access to the entirety of every citizens financial history and dealings. This could potentially be further expanded to blacklist and reverse unwanted activity in the eyes of the government.

Of course, future adoption by China is largely regarded as speculation, until more comprehensive developments have come to light. However, this would not be the first time a regime looked to blockchain to improve monetary control: North Korea and Russia have both been involved in similar projects.

Venezuela

In 2018, Venezuela launched its oil-backed petro cryptocurrency as a token on the NEM blockchain. The purpose of the central currency is to improve liquidity to the countrys oil reserves and implement a more stable alternative to a national VEF crippled by hyperinflation.

Additionally, the petro was seen as a mechanism for Venezuela to circumvent sanctions and alleviate difficulty to conduct foreign trade. However, it is unclear whether its oil-backed coin has seen significant acceptance by international business partners.

Malta

Despite interest from bad actors, the overwhelming use of blockchain by national governments has been to stimulate their economies and improve their infrastructure. A majority of the first national cryptocurrency adopters were small nations looking to gain an edge and accelerate national growth.

Malta, in particular, has seen huge growth through its blockchain-friendly legislation. With the explosion of the space in 2017, a number of recently formed and massively growing cryptocurrency startups moved operations to Malta.

The most notable of these is seen through the relocation of Binance HQ, a leading exchange valued at over US$2 billion. With a national GDP of less than US$13 billion in 2017, this single instance represents a significant boost to the islands economy and a major proponent for further prosperity.

The British Virgin Islands

A recent adopter of cryptocurrency as a cash-alternative is found in the British Virgin Islands. BVI has recently emphasized an intention to focus its efforts on the emerging Financial Technology sector, and as an aspiring FinTech leader, the archipelago is looking to digitize its economy with the help of a central digital currency.

On December 3, BVI hosted its Digital Economy symposium to educate and strategize with 100 stakeholders across the islands private and public sectors alike. The symposium included a presentation by Lifelabs on the ongoing BVI life project. The project is developing a central cryptocurrency that is backed 1:1 by USD to address hurdles between cross-island business and consumption.

The initiative also encompasses a Rapid Cash Response (RCR) system that will quickly provide ample funds in response to any potential future disasters. 2017s Hurricane Irma spawned over US$3 billion in damages and untold trauma for citizens, and the lack of liquid funds inhibited sufficient clean-up for months afterward.

What does this really mean?

Well, as modern society transitions to a global, digital economy, blockchain represents a key tool for third-world and developing economies to transition to digital in pace with established and first-world counterparts. This benefit is particularly impactful to areas currently dominated by fiat that are hindered by an inadequate or nonexistent banking infrastructure.

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National Governments Around The Globe Look To Embrace Blockchain - Forbes

Xuperchain by Baidu, the Digital Yuan, and Blockchain 3.0 – Market Realist

Chinese Internet giant Baidu (BIDU) has successfully launched a public beta version of Xuperchain (or Superchain). Its the first of its kind: a cryptocurrency that operates on a centralized network. According to a publication on The Block Crypto, Xuperchain will use parallel chain technology to simplify smart contract processing. Parallel chain technology is an upgrade from the currently used blockchain version 2.0. The Block Crypto claims that this technology will make it easier for developers to create and deploy dedicated, function-based smart contracts.

Xuperchain complies with the Chinese regulatory framework for digital currencies and holds a lot of potential, especially for enterprise solutions. Baidus blockchain-as-a-service offering could see a boost with Xuperchains release. Baidus customers can deploy specifically designed apps using the companys blockchain services without the need to build their own dedicated blockchain network. The idea is similar to using cloud infrastructure services from a specialized cloud service provider to store enterprise data online. Since a business can utilize the functionality of Xuperchain without creating a whole network, it makes Baidus blockchain services lucrative as well as cost effective. Currently, Baidu has priced Xuperchain at 1 Chinese yuan, which is roughly $0.15.

It looks like China has finally taken the lead in terms of blockchain technology. A post on Bitrates stated that Baidus Xuperchain release is a breakthrough solution for blockchain 3.0. The design of the Xuperchain network addresses the problem of computing, storage, and scalability in blockchain networks. Blockchain relies on miners to record and encrypt transactions. Since it works on a decentralized topology, the network is scalable upward.

Typically, all blockchain networks are as fast as the weakest node in the system. At times, this leads to problems when trying to scale up a network. But in the case of Xuperchain, master nodes deploy a cores idle computing power to process parallel transactions. This design overcomes any latency issues and makes the Xuperchain network function much faster. According to Cointelegraph, the presence of these master nodes will make crypto mining more energy efficient.

According to The Block Crypto, the white papers for Xuperchain were made public in May 2018. The Xuperchain website claims that since 2018, Xuperchain has processed over 450 million transactions and houses approximately 3.5 million users. In terms of transaction processing speed, Xuperchain is 23x faster than Ethereum. While Ethereum is capable of executing 15 transactions per second, Xuperchain claims a peak concurrency of 353 transactions per second. A publication by Coindesk says that Baidu holds over 50 patents related to Xuperchain and the entire ownership of Xuperchains intellectual properties.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Chinese President Xi Jinping was a staunch advocate of blockchain technology. Even though the technology that powers Bitcoin is in demand, a CNBC publication claims that trading in cryptocurrency is banned in China. In my opinion, one of the reasons for Xis tepid outlook for Bitcoin and other cryptos is the decentralized nature of the virtual currencies. Theres a genuine threat that a peer-to-peer transactional network could create a parallel economy. This raises the question of whether the Chinese leader would accept a state-regulated cryptocurrency. The launch of Xuperchain is the obvious answer.

In August 2019, Forbes reported that China planned to unveil a new virtual currency in place of its domestic currency, the yuan. But the new virtual currency would be a centralized one, unlike all other cryptos. The Peoples Bank of China would regulate and monitor the supply of the digital yuan. Another publication on Forbes claimed that the Chinese central bank would work with seven key institutions to circulate the digital yuan. These institutions will regulate the supply in the Chinese economy. Four of these institutions are banksnamely the China Construction Bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China, and the Agricultural Bank of China. The other three institutions are Chinese tech companies Alibaba (BABA), Tencent (TCEHY), and UnionPay.

Both Alibaba and Tencent are gearing up to improve their blockchain service offerings. In November last year, SCMP reported that Ant Financial was testing blockchain services for small and medium enterprises. Ant Financial was formerly known as Alipay, Alibaba Groups mobile payment platform. On the other hand, Tencent is putting together a cryptocurrency research team. A post in Coindesk hints that the research team will focus on how to use digital currencies in its payments platform.

The US is more focused on setting the ground rules for the crypto space. US Congress plans to define digital assets in the draft bill of the Cryptocurrency Act of 2020. In September 2019, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved the launch of Bakkt, the first regulated exchange for Bitcoin futures.

In comparison, China is making a lot of progress when it comes to applying blockchain solutions. Coindesk reported a month ago about a bond issuance by the Bank of China using blockchain tech. The two-year bond carries a coupon of 3.25% and has raised 20 billion yuan ($2.8 billion). Now, the Xuperchain announcement could establish Baidu as one of the market leaders in blockchain-as-a-service. Other Chinese tech companies Alibaba and Tencent are also catching up.

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Xuperchain by Baidu, the Digital Yuan, and Blockchain 3.0 - Market Realist

Whatever happened to blockchain? – MoneyWeek

Chinas Xi Jinping deems blockchain a core technology

Not long ago investors were getting hyped up about blockchain. Then they dropped it. But they should take another look, says Ben Judge.

Just a few years ago, blockchain also called digital ledger technology (DLT) was the next big thing. It was going to transform every facet of our lives, including the entire global payment system; back-end office systems; and supply chains from beginning to end. The hype was immense. Every spivvy entrepreneur and their dog set up a company that somehow had its value inflated by some version or other of blockchain. Some didnt even bother coming up with a blockchain business. They just slotted blockchain into their name and watched the share price shoot up. The Long Island Iced Tea Corp., which notoriously became the Long Blockchain Corp., immediately enjoyed a share price surge of 458%.

At its simplest, blockchain is a ledger: a way of storing and manipulating information, like a spreadsheet or database. Crucially, though, where a normal database is a single, centrally controlled entity, a blockchain is a public distributed ledger. Each computer that has access to the chain has its own copy. It is literally a chain of blocks of information. As a new piece of information is added to the ledger, it creates a new block in the chain.

The block stores the information, but also who added the information and who has access to it. Once a block has been added and verified, it is given a hash a unique, immutable code that identifies that transaction. You cannot go back and change any of the information stored. Any changes are recorded as new blocks in the chain with a record of who has done what.

Another unique feature of blockchain is its ability to use smart contracts. A smart contract is computer code stored on the chain that can execute transactions between parties once certain conditions have been met: for example, to automatically transfer the ownership of property once funds have cleared; to release funds to a supplier once goods are confirmed as having arrived; or to impose financial penalties if certain conditions are not met. All of this is permissionless it can be done with no need for someone to provide access. It is all coded into the blockchain when the agreement is initially drawn up. And it is this security, and the fact that all parties have access to the information so that there is no need for a middleman, that makes blockchains so useful.

In situations where multiple parties need to access and update data in the knowledge that it is secure and cannot be tampered with, and where intermediaries can be eliminated, a blockchain system is an ideal solution, according to IBM, which employs more than 1,000 people on blockchain products. It is making its blockchain platform available to other organisations that want to create their own versions.

The blockchain hype of recent years went hand in hand with the meteoric rise of bitcoin, whose price peaked at almost $20,000 this time two years ago only to come crashing down in the subsequent months. Blockchain was, after all, created to track ownership and transactions of the digital currency.

Now, however, it all seems to have gone quiet. Many of the promised fabulous enhancements to our lives have yet to happen. Other digital currencies launched to cash in on blockchain have withered away. People are now asking whether blockchain was all just a load of hype. Is that true?

Blockchain is still here and is slowly but surely gaining ground rather than disrupting everything in one fell swoop. Big business is quietly adopting this technology to do the things its good at: settling transactions, recording ownership and verifying identities, for example. It may not be a purists idea of what blockchain should be a public, permissionless ledger open to all. Instead, what we are seeing are private, permissioned blockchains. That means that, unlike public blockchains such as bitcoin, only certain users with the appropriate privileges can add blocks to the chain.

The technology is following the classic example of hype cycle first observed by research firm Gartner. It consists of five key phases. A new technology is developed and enters the trigger phase. Publicity explodes and everyone wants a piece of the action; the cycle enters the peak of inflated expectations. That was the bitcoin peak that prompted chancers to launch new cryptocurrencies. Then, when the technology doesnt seem to change everyones lives as promised by the early adopters, we enter the trough of disillusionment. Investors lose interest. But then, after a while, people find uses for the new technology and we begin to climb the slope of enlightenment. Then comes the plateau of productivity. With blockchain were just past the trough of disillusionment, having risen over the peak of inflated expectations and were now in the foothills of the slope of enlightenment.

There have been flops. Insurance giant Axa trialled a blockchain-based flight insurance product called Fizzy. It used smart contracts to pay out automatically if your flight was delayed. But just the other week it decided to shelve it. And some projects have had a rather longer gestation than was originally envisaged. The Australian Securities Exchange ASX has been planning to replace its clearing system with a blockchain-based system. It has been in development since 2015; the latest estimate for its deployment is spring 2021. Australia is not the only exchange looking at using DLT. Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York are interested too. As Joshua Oliver noted in the Financial Times a year ago: Worldwide, three quarters of the financial market infrastructure operators surveyed by Nasdaq and Celent are working on DLT pilots or already using DLT.

Enterprise blockchain is now most definitely a thing, having moved from proof of concept to real-world applications. Big business has bought in. Along with IBMs platform, other big enthusiasts include Amazon and Oracle. Amazons clients include management consultants Accenture, AT&T and Guardian Life Insurance. Oracles clients include a Jordanian investment bank using blockchain to facilitate cross-border payments; a healthcare technology company providing a network for healthcare organisations to share data and processes securely; and a brewer tracking its supply chain.

Much of the activity is in financial services. One high-profile trading platform is we.trade, set up by a consortium of big banks including HSBC, Societe Generale and UBS. It allows small and medium-sized businesses to guarantee and process transactions digitally, cutting down on paperwork and speeding up trades.

Another area where DLT is useful is in identity verification. In Canada, Verified.Me is a system that has been developed between government agencies and private companies. Customers of five banks including Royal Bank of Canada and Scotiabank can now verify their identities using blockchain technology.

But it is in supply-chain management that it is really proving itself. Last year, IBM launched its Food Trust platform, a blockchain-based system for tracking the supply chain of food. It was originally trialled by Walmart, but is now being used commercially by, among others, Nestl, Carrefour, and Unilever, says Forbes. Walmart Canada has now developed its own system with DLT Labs, a Canadian blockchain developer, for tracking deliveries, verifying transactions and automating payments among suppliers to its 400 retail stores. Shipping giant Maersk developed the TradeLens supply chain platform with IBM, to track cargo around the world. Maersk now wants to monetise the platform and it has recently been joined by Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express of Singapore.

But perhaps the most fervent adopter of blockchain technology recently is China. President Xi Jinping recently praised blockchain as a core technology and called for more support and investment. Chinas tech-focused shares surged. Over 500 new projects have been registered with the Cyberspace Administration of China. Chinas big tech companies are involved, says Jane Cai in the South China Morning Post, and there are dozens of government-led initiatives and schemes, in areas ranging from communications to land development.

It is somewhat ironic given the technologys libertarian origins. China is now pushing toward global blockchain dominance, says Kevin Werbach in Wired. Thats something that should get the rest of the world and especially the US worried, says Biser Dimitrov on Forbes.com. Having a superior blockchain technology will give China an enormous trading opportunity with the emerging technology markets. And then theres the spectre of a digital renminbi. A digital currency controlled by the Peoples Bank of China has the potential to usurp the dollar as a global currency.

While blockchain in the West is mainly business-driven, China is adopting it to strengthen its grip on its population. Mu Rongping, director of the innovation and development research centre at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Cai that The potential is huge for the use of new technologies, such as in areas of public security, public transport, crime investigation and anti-corruption campaigns Blockchain could open a new chapter on the integration of governance and technology. Rather than fulfilling its original imperative of shifting power away from centralised authority, it could actually help Chinas government cement it.

Still, what is clear is that, for good or ill, blockchain is no longer the brash shouty new kid on the block; its maturing. Slowly but surely distributed ledger technology is integrating itself with public and private systems. Its here to stay.

Originally posted here:

Whatever happened to blockchain? - MoneyWeek


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