Category Archives: Cambridge University

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Survey: Crypto Space Still Driven by Individuals, Needs Institutional Investment

A new survey has revealed that despite Bitcoin losing over 80 percent of its value over the course of a year, tech start-ups are still putting their money in cryptocurrency.

A study of 500 startup executives shows that 40 percent of them have invested their own money into digital assets this year, although currently, only 13 percent see the emergence of Bitcoin and blockchain as a significant force for the future.

The world is becoming increasingly digital-based which is primarily the attraction in cryptocurrency as financial startups see the potential for virtual currency to eventually replace fiat and offer users ease of use and greater efficiency in the long term. Blockchain technology, on which Bitcoin is based is increasingly demonstrating its real-use cases across a range of sectors around the world, offering the potential for far more successful business models that currently exist, particularly in the area of logistics and supply chains,

Despite these potential attributes, 57 percent of those executives surveyed in this particular study felt that many blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies were more experimental than practical and many startups were simply speculating without real belief without the potential for success.

The ‘skin in the game’ theory may account for the continued levels of investment in financial technologies in which, according to this survey, larger institutional investors have little faith in what they are actually investing in.

The same survey mirrors the findings of a recent Cambridge University study which suggests that the number of individuals investing in Bitcoin of the past year has doubled reaching approximately 35 million, suggesting that most want to be “In the game rather than out of it”

The Cambridge report revealed that the numbers of verified users rose from 18 million in January 2018 to 35 million in December. Individual accounts at the time of the release of the report had risen to a record 150 million, although indications are that only 38% of these accounts are considered active according to some exchanges’ definitions and criteria.

The reports indicate that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies remain of primary interest to individuals rather than institutions. This fuels the current argument being put forward from within the industry that it will be the institutional interest which will push the fortunes of both cryptocurrency and blockchain forward in 2019. As yet, the impressive numbers of new individual players have done little to get the attention of institutional players.

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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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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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Five Small Countries Build Solid Foundations with Big Crypto Ambitions

Five small countries are becoming cryptocurrency beacons impacting on the space through growth and innovation, writes Benzinga.

Georgia with its population of 4 million, once a USSR member state, has minimal regulations regarding cryptocurrency with a booming mining community. Ranked at the end of 2017 as second by volume of countries mining crypto by Cambridge University research, much of the success is down to affordable electricity through hydropower.

The future looks bright for Georgian crypto enthusiasts. This affordability means that enthusiastic miners can make a living with low power overheads. Luka Kobeli, co-founder of blockchain company Blockmentor agrees, suggesting “everything about the way the economy functions is going to change” through blockchain and cryptocurrency in Georgia.

Thailand is another of Asia’s countries managing to launch itself into the region’s vibrant blockchain environment. Thailand Post made the announcement that it was to use blockchain in 2017 using a blockchain tracking system. At the beginning, of 2017 the country’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency pushed for legislation calling for the support and use of blockchain-powered smart contracts.

So popular is cryptocurrency in Thailand that education is becoming a priority. Recently, the Thai Fintech Association launched the Cryptoasset Revolution (CAR) course offering to provide participants a complete understanding and knowledge about investing in crypto assets and initial coin offerings in three months of courses running through the summer.

Malta has become increasingly appealing to Bitcoin companies conducting business, not only due to the island’s positive spin on blockchain technology and its open-minded approach to regulation, but also its strong economy.

The announcement that crypto exchange giant Binance has now made Malta home, followed by similar plans from rival exchange OKEX, German blockchain firm Neufundand and gaming platform The Abyss, have received recent media attention, causing over-regulated companies to consider their options.

“I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming. We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation, and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy,” maintains Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat.

In Liechtenstein, an entrepreneur can start a company without a bank account, and BTC or ETH will fulfill government requirements. This liberal approach to cryptocurrency is rarely seen; even crypto-friendly Switzerland has its limitations, and banks there have been no friend