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French Yellow Vests Go Crypto with GiletJauneCoin

French Yellow Vests Go Crypto with GiletJauneCoin

The latest revolution on the streets of Paris, reminiscent of the student riots of May 1968 March, has been typified on news networks by shots of demonstrators sporting safety vests hurling objects from behind barricades at the police.

Among the Gilets Jaunes, named after the yellow vests they sport, is a majority who took the trip the capital to protest peacefully against president Macron’s political reforms and escalating taxes – the French bete noir. The French will tolerate a lot, but when it comes to taxes, the state’s calling card is everywhere in French society.

The latest development of what has become an ongoing protest by Les Gilets Jaunes across major French cities and also a weekend event in Paris, is the launching of a cryptocurrency. This is remarkable in the sense that as a body, the Gilets Jaunes don’t even recognize themselves as a movement and have no leadership.

However, there is now a website built around the GiletJauneCoin (GJC0) which was reportedly launched at the beginning of the protests two weeks ago. The project itself launched online yesterday and GJC0 is now sitting at a network hash rate of over 2.4Gh/s and reached a block height of close to 40,000.

As yet, the tokens have no intrinsic value and can’t be traded on exchanges. The aim of the launch is unclear due to the decentralized nature of the movement itself, one that refuses to even call itself one but rather sees itself as sporadic assemblies of French citizens with similar gripes about central government.

One spokesman with a clear aim has emerged from the tear gas though. Max Keiser, a financial pundit and cryptocurrency advocate has been tweeting the Yellow Vests to start converting their bank savings into Bitcoin:

If every French person converted 20% of their bank deposits into #Bitcoin (and got a Bitcoin debit card to use for day-2-day stuff), French banks and the government would collapse and a lot of bloodshed could be avoided. #jilletsjaunes #JeSuisSatoshi pic.twitter.com/stKqKHYHWl

— Max Keiser [Jan/3🔑] (@maxkeiser) December 9, 2018

Keiser’s belief is that a 20% deposit and withdrawal would create a chain reaction among France’s banks which would lead to a banking crisis. In the event that as he predicts Bitcoin prices would escalate this would give the public an incentive of making further withdraws to buy Bitcoin, putting the French banking system in turmoil.

 

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Study Indicates Blockchain Vital Ingredient for Carbon Efficient World

Study Indicates Blockchain Vital Ingredient for Carbon Efficient World

According to a major comprehensive study, blockchain technologies “can clearly benefit energy systems operations, markets, and consumers”.

Unbiased

The study, ‘Blockchain technology in the energy sector: A systematic review of challenges and opportunities‘, was made available online last month. It was conducted by scientists from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland who were looking deeper into the potential of blockchain technology when applied to the energy sector.

Having reviewed 140 blockchain research projects and startups, the researchers mapped out the “potential and relevance of blockchains for energy applications”, from which they have drawn several varied conclusions with regards to the present and future opportunities of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) as well as the challenges the technology faces.

Citing hallmark blockchain features such as “disintermediation, transparency and tamper-proof transactions”, the study also describes the “novel solutions” that DLT offers, writing that it also empowers consumers and “small renewable generators to play a more active role in the energy market and monetize their assets”. It adds that blockchains have resulted in sharing economy applications in energy, prompting authors to cite “novel market models and energy democratization”.

Intelligent energy

Referencing a survey of the German Energy Agency, the study highlights the growing positive sentiments toward blockchain with 20% of them seeing the tech as a “game changer for energy suppliers”. Furthermore, it notes that numerous energy utility companies have begun to explore DLT’s potential “as an enabling technology for low-carbon transition and sustainability”.

A city in South Korea and the United Kingdom are just two examples of jurisdictions that have partnered with blockchain enterprises on a mission to reduce carbon emissions via their solutions. The UK example is notable as the intention behind the ambitious project is to turn the city climate-positive, offsetting 110% of the emissions and utilizing the positive figure to fund conservation projects around the world.

There is also mention of blockchain enabled Virtual Power Plants (VPPs), these are distributed energy production facilities that connect multiple energy producers to a cloud-based system where excess and idle energy can be tapped and efficiently distributed and monitored. In South Korea, a VPP project was recently announced with renewable power generating units as the core energy model, intended to reduce energy consumption demands during peak-hours and redistribute it to wherever it is needed.

Power trades

A notable takeaway from the study is the examination of peer-to-peer (P2P) trading and decentralized energy. As written in the report: “Potential use cases in this category are decentralized trading in microgrids, bilateral transactions between prosumers and consumers and business-to-business (B2B) energy trading.”

Solutions provided by blockchain could be used in conjunction with VPPs, enhance grid and network management control as well other benefits. Most interestingly, direct P2P energy trading between users could create an on-demand energy marketplace, something of which numerous energy-based eco-blockchain startups are vying for, including one that is soon to go ahead in Japan.

The study is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and from an unbiased perspective, carefully examines blockchain in the energy sector as a future technology that boasts marvelous promise, but is not without its challenges.

Singing off, the study writes: “Blockchain technologies can be disruptive for energy companies and face a large variety of challenges to achieve market penetration, including legal, regulatory and competition barriers. Additional research initiatives, trials, projects, and collaborations will show if the technology can reach its full potential, prove its commercial viability and finally be adopted in the mainstream.”

 

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Pentagon Tops Crypto on “Worst Password Offenders” List

Pentagon Tops Crypto on

Password management site Dashlane has posted the results of its Worst Password Offenders list just in time for Christmas and cryptocurrency users don’t fare well, appearing third highest on the table.

Dashlane is a fairly strong position to make these judgments with its promise, “Discover how much better life is when you never forget another password”. The company publishes the annual rating in part to raise the public’s awareness of what constitutes good and bad passwording, with accesses to numerous users.

Quickly passing top runner Kanye West by, perhaps wondering why anyone would want his password, anyone involved in defending the United States would be a little concerned to see the Pentagon in second place on the list, followed by their employers at the White House, worryingly at number 6.

Those thinking that they were in safe hands with their private files in the possession of lawyers, forget it. UK law firms featured halfway down the list at number 5. Google, the UN, and prestigious UK university Cambridge all featured at the bottom of this top ten list with some of the worst password profiles according to Dashlane’s festive bout of finger-pointing.

Emmanuel Schalit, the company’s CEO, claims the average internet user has over 200 digital accounts with private passwords. What’s more, over a period of five years, this number may even double. So how does one look after 400 passwords apart from churning out the same one? An ill-advised move and recommended by virtually no one. She adds:

“Passwords are the first line of defense against cyber attacks. Weak passwords, reused passwords, and poor organizational password management can easily put sensitive information at risk.”

This is something known to all, nothing new here, so what is the solution? So just to recap, and hopefully the Pentagon staff are paying attention, as well as those White House employees, so they don’t make 2019’s list of worst password offenders. Here are the basics, again:

  • Passwords should not contain names or proper nouns that might connect to the user, ie., “Smith63” for Fred Smith’s private account.
  • Avoid weak number sequences also involving user details like date of birth, house address etc.
  • Alphanumeric sequences work best, mix those numbers and letters.
  • And for those 400 accounts… protect each one with a unique password (not helpful). There are numerous easy-to-use password managers, which help you to manage your multiple passwords securely.

…and here’s the honor roll for 2018’s worst password offenders:

Kanye West, the Pentagon, cryptocurrency owners, Nutella, UK law firms, Texas White House Staff, Google, UN, Cambridge University.

 

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BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast 13th December 2018: Venezuela the First Cryptocurrency Utopia?

BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast

Listen to the 13 December 2018 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

On this edition of the BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast, we examine price analysis as the market approaches lows for 2018. We discuss how the Petro is distracting from the fact that real cryptocurrency adoption is increasing in Venezuela, and there is potential for Venezuela to become a cryptocurrency utopia as it abandons fiat. This could be a glimpse into what would happen in the future if fiat currencies collapse worldwide.

Follow the Bitcoin News Daily Podcast on AnchoriTunesSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherRadio PublicPocket CastsOvercastCastbox, and Breaker. We broadcast a new episode every day, covering the most important topics in the crypto, Bitcoin, and blockchain world!

 

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Music Industry Reflections, Predictions on Blockchain Influence

Music Industry Reflections, Predictions on Blockchain Influence

As the end of 2018 approaches, some major blockchain players have been looking at what 2019 may offer, taking note that emerging technologies have already found a comfortable home within the music industry this year.

Blockchain is the first that springs to mind, and as Accenture Consulting wrote in a recent post, “with blockchain on the horizon, every company of every industry must re-evaluate their role in the value chain — where once again, the music industry is leading the pack.”

How then has the music industry taken this leadership role if these claims are accurate? Alan Goodman compares the influence of blockchain in the years to comes as perhaps rivaling that of MTV which completely revolutionized music sales and gave something back to the creators of the music:

“Thanks to MTV there was a whole new ecosystem around music. We didn’t just see video making as something that propelled musicians. Musicians were suddenly at the fulcrum of new businesses, and new ways of thinking about business.”

Goodman has another role apart from being a founding member of MTV. He is now current Chief Brand Leviator at blockchain payment solutions company Aeryus. He adds:

“More recently, we’ve seen how musicians who understand community building can control their own destinies by conquering social media, crowdfunding, and digital channel creation. But blockchain will have a massive impact on how we do business in music because of the revolutionary decentralized infrastructure.”

Not all in the music industry support Goodman’s utopian view of the future. But Adrian Miller, CEO of Xyion and architect behind recording artist Anderson Paak, doesn’t see much changing in the year to come regarding blockchains impact on the industry and is one of those who believes that the hype surrounding blockchain is little more than just that. He argues:

“Enterprise sales to a few large incumbents is one of the hardest things to do and it can take years, maybe a decade to see results. From that standpoint, I don’t understand how these blockchain-based systems make enough money to exist at scale because they are trying to provide a lower cost and faster solution compared to existing databases.”

He maintains that blockchains are no better than the databases the industry has grown up with, and are slower and more expensive on the whole. Miller says he’d prefer to continue his blockchain research but also pursue more traditional ways of promoting his artists, through promo and album releases.

Facundo M Diaz, Executive Director at Reality Code Foundation, sees extended reality (XR) technology as the future:

“Many artists are finding ways to creatively explore new business opportunities in XR. With approximately 171 million VR users, and AR in every mobile device, the motivation for the music industry to expand their business in these new technologies is huge, but they still need to understand the best way to create something that inspires users to pay.”

He sees 2019 as the opening up of musical talent through adopting XR technology, “creating new and amazing ways to experience music”.

Finally, Bryan Calhoun, head of Digital Strategy at Blueprint Group, an entertainment management firm representing top recording talent, sees ticketing as the area in which blockchain will make the biggest impact.

“I think the two biggest opportunities revolve around rights management and ticketing. Both are going to take time to get done correctly, but companies like Dot BC, Tari, and Big Neon are, respectively, leading the way with exciting projects that have traction.”

 

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Dutch Central Bank Takes Closer Look at Exchanges

Dutch Central Bank Takes Closer Look at Exchanges

The Dutch Central Bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has announced its plans to impose regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges in the country in order to counter money laundering and fundraising for terrorist activities.

In future, registering exchanges will need to ensure that any “unusual transactions” are reported and that exchanges’ KYC rules are tightened.

The new legislation was not completely unexpected by the Dutch cryptocurrency community. The central bank has long been unreceptive to the idea of digital currency, maintaining back in November of 2017 that Bitcoin had no real worth. According to DNB regional director Petra Hielksma at that time, “If something wants to be treated as money, you have to be able to spend, save and calculate with it.”

The Netherlands has been quick to find numerous worthy use cases for DLT, particularly in projects that support local communities, health, and civic pride. The larger community has been mainly positive towards cryptocurrencies too, despite the country’s Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra proposing a ban on cryptocurrency advertising and trying to douse enthusiasm.

Arnhem, near the German border, has become the country’s crypto haven, where Bitcoin can be used to buy anything from bread to beer using Bitcoin and other major currencies. Despite the DNB’s concerns about cryptocurrency, approximately 60% of the households in the Netherlands have some cryptocurrency investment.

However, the DNB points to the more than USD 88 million reportedly laundered over 46 cryptocurrency exchanges around the globe during the past two years, as enough evidence that the government needs to take firmer measures with exchanges with regard to money laundering and other illegal activities.

In terms of expressing a social conscience though, the nation continues to demonstrate its progressive uses for blockchain by forming partnerships with the World Bank, the UN, and the EU Forum. Earlier this year, the Dutch government announced that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy had created a special unit devoted to researching the ways in which blockchain technology could be harnessed to provide reliability in the area of tech development while being energy sustainable.

 

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BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast 12th December 2018: Mt Gox CEO Facing Down Prison

BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast

Listen to the 12 December 2018 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

On this edition of the BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast, we begin with market analysis, including Ethereum’s potential for futures markets and why that might not be favorable, and how Bakkt physical Bitcoin futures might not have as much of an impact as people think. We discuss how the Mt Gox CEO, Mark Karpeles, has been on bail this whole time and is about to go to prison since the trial is nearing completion.

Follow the Bitcoin News Daily Podcast on AnchoriTunesSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherRadio PublicPocket CastsOvercastCastbox, and Breaker. We broadcast a new episode every day, covering the most important topics in the crypto, Bitcoin, and blockchain world!

 

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Cambridge Global Crypto Benchmarking Examines Bitcoin State of Play

Cambridge Global Crypto Benchmarking Examines Bitcoin State of Play

University of Cambridge Judge Business School has published the second of its annual reports which examine the cryptoconomy.

It’s been a huge year following the first report, with Bitcoin reaching such grand heights offering a pre- Christmas surprise for 2017 investors, to the travails of pre-Christmas 2018, which has investors not knowing whether to hold or sell.

The comprehensive 96-page report, which examines, among other subjects, cryptocurrency mining, exchanges, storage, and payments, may make sobering reading for enthusiasts and more active traders this Christmas as the picture it paints is certainly “real”, allowing no space for the hype which often surrounds cryptocurrency. The 2nd  Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study, as it’s been named, has some positive historical facts for investors in its pages but also has warnings for those entering the space, as well as facts that would be welcomed by industry professionals.

Less encouraging perhaps is the fact that around two-thirds of specialized custodial exchanges do not have a refund procedure in the case of customer funds getting lost or stolen; a message that might not be so warmly appreciated. More encouragingly, it has been estimated that crypto businesses are improving and doing a solid job of asset storage with over 80% of funds now being held in cold storage, out of sight and protected from hackers.

The report also revealed that 80% of crypto firms have become cagey when it comes to divulging the results of security audits; not good news for investors who would like to know exactly how companies entrusted with their assets actually operate.

This is not the first of such in-depth reports by a major university, or by academics, which examines cryptocurrency, and the development of its support infrastructure, to have been conducted, although most current research is focused on DLT.

Many universities now run courses, up to a Masters degree, on the subject of cryptocurrency and associated technology.

Judge Business School is a provider of management education and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top business schools, with the Cambridge MBA program ranked among the top in the world by Bloomberg, the Financial Times, Business Insider, US News & World Report and Forbes Magazine.

 

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12 Days of Coinbase Targets Venezuelan Border Town

12 Days of Coinbase Targets Venezuelan Border Town

The traditional 12 days of Christmas started yesterday crypto-style with Coinbase using the song to promote its worldwide services, focusing Day 2 on Venezuelan families in need.

In tune with the season of goodwill, the global exchange giant based in San Francisco, California, has promised to make an announcement that will profit someone each day leading up the big day itself.

Day 1 saw Coinbase announcing that users could buy gift cards so that family and friends could get some Uber, Adidas and Nike surprises through its U-gift program. For those hoping that materialism of this kind was a little too “Christmas Carol” for a multi-national, they have pushed the boat out a bit more on the second day with a gift which feels more befitting a company with such huge profits.

Venezuela continues to somehow avoid major news networks despite a humanitarian crisis there which is gradually becoming more intense by the day.

With a virtually non-existent virtual currency, the Petro, doing absolutely nothing to lift the economy, and inflation rising at alarming rates, eclipsing Germany in the Second World War, nationals are fleeing to neighboring South American countries for refuge. Venezuela is not in good shape, despite Bitcoin donations pouring in to alleviate pressure on some families. The local currency the Bolivar is now almost worthless.

Coinbase is donating USD 10,000 in ZCash (ZEC) to GiveCrypto.org, a nonprofit organization that distributes cryptocurrency to people living in poverty. The idea is that courtesy of Coinbase, GiveCrypto.org will donate USD 1 a day to the wallets of over 100 families living in the Venezuelan border town of Santa Elana de Uairen, located in Bolívar state near the border with Brazil and Guyana.

Recipients can spend their donated crypto on basic supplies and food over a period of three months in Santa Elana de Uairen. The USD 1 worth of crypto a day will allow families to buy 1-2 kilos of protein or 2 kilos of starches and vegetables every day.

 

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No Saudi Crypto Ban After All, UAE Partnership Reveals

No Saudi Crypto Ban After All, UAE Partnership Reveals

Media outlet GulfNews reported today on United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) recent blockchain undertaking involving central bank collaboration with Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (Sama) to develop a cross-border cryptocurrency.

In a recent meeting on global banking standards and regulatory and supervisory priorities, Governor of the UAE’s Central Bank Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri said: “This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic.” And being the first of its kind in the region, he hopes that it will lead to similar regional collaborations.

Al Mansouri hinted on the current inclination, as being a “study between UAE and Saudi [Arabia]”, and the essential framework, though not yet structured, will be between banks and not consumers.

This comes off as a huge step from previous positions – the UAE Central Bank previously did not endorse digital currencies such as Bitcoin because of its speculative nature and risks involved. Further, in August, Saudi Arabia banned cryptocurrencies because of the high risk since the government doesn’t control Bitcoin.

However, recent developments such as ripple’s partnership with Saudi Arabia’s biggest bank National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia (NCB) gives hope to the development of the fintech venture in the region.

According to the GulfNews, Al Mansouri recognizes the recent development in fintech as both a challenge and an opportunity and that the best position would be to understand the risks and work on ways to mitigate them.

The Central Bank of UAE has already taken initiative into developing fintech regulations regarding cryptocurrencies. Al Mansouri said: “We started developing regulations in this regard in 2016 in order to safeguard the financial system and protect consumers. The project is at a final stage.”

It would seem there’s a future for blockchain and maybe cryptocurrencies as well in the Middle East as recent steps towards incorporating blockchain into the fintech and non-fintech spheres has proven to be promising. Last week, Bitcoin News reported on Abu Dhabi’s financial institutions’ success on phase 1 of their blockchain e-KYC solution.

 

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