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Louis Vuitton, Microsoft to Build Proof of Authenticity Blockchain

Louis Vuitton, Microsoft to Build Proof of Authenticity Blockchain

High street fashion designer and luxury brand Louis Vuitton (LV) has entered the blockchain race with plans to build its own private blockchain to help track authenticity in their high-end products. It has agreed to work with tech giant Microsoft on the project.

The largest French fashion house intends to begin tracking all its goods from the source of origin as raw materials to their sales shelves, including on secondary markets. Codenamed AURA, the blockchain will be developed using a version of the Quorum blockchain, first built by JP Morgan. LV will be using a more controlled and permissioned version of it, ensuring no data leaks between brands and customers to maintain data privacy.

Project collaborators include ConsenSys and Microsoft Azure, with the team members from all three firms already spending a year on AURA. The next stage of development will focus on intellectual property protection before the platform goes live by June at the main LV branches.

LV also plans to offer the service to other brands with whitelabelling and has promised to share AURA by donating the IP to an unrelated body that will be co-owned by brands backing the platform.

Blockchain is stamping its mark on the fashion industry, with the immutable aspects of blockchain proving to be very attractive in ensuring authenticity via supply chain tracking.

According to Wikipedia, LV has some 460 international stores in over 60 countries, and was the most powerful brand in the world for six years running from 2006 to 2012, with a total 2013 valuation of USD 28.4 billion.

 

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Ethereum Futures Contract: Net Sentiment Appears Positive

Ethereum Futures Contract: Net Sentiment Appears Positive

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is currently reviewing entries from its Request for Input on Crypto-Asset Mechanics and Markets initiative set up last year aimed at collecting information about Ethereum and the resulting impact of a futures contract based on the digital asset.

After reviewing 43 entries, of which 29 of them seem to provide credible insights into the subject matter, an overall assessment may be that of positive sentiment towards an Ethereum-based futures contract. Of the entries, industry experts such as members from the Ethereum Foundation, Coinbase, Consensys, Circle, Craig Wright, ErisX, among others had provided their opinions about the stance of Ethereum in comparison to Bitcoin – which already has an approved futures contract running.

Highlights from the entries included describing the nature of Ethereum as being essentially a smart contract decentralized application (Dapp) creator first, before being considered a store of value or as a medium of exchange.

The Ethereum Foundation clarified that the intrinsic designs of the Ethereum network are “not financial in nature but simply use the blockchain as a source of high-assurance computation and data storage”.

Circle emphasized on Ethereum’s medium of exchange value: “As with Bitcoin, Ether can be used to pay for transactions and can be used for payments. Unlike bitcoin, tokens on the Ethereum network can be generated using smart contracts and can be used in smart contracts and transfers.”

Another comparison described Bitcoin as simply a store of value and medium of exchange, while with the nature of Ethereum’s versatility, the risks scale alongside, as the Futures Industry Association (FIA) opined: “With the Ethereum Network’s architecture, risk management is potentially more complicated than for Bitcoin by orders of magnitude…”

On the other hand, when the regulator asked about the impact of an approved futures contract on the asset itself, ErisX offered its opinion, suggesting that it would have a more positive impact on the growth and maturation of the market. It believes a futures contract will provide “the potential for greater liquidity, more effective price discovery, and more efficient risk transference”.

Although other players in the industry may have had slightly more critical views about the Ethereum network, the compromise did come at a shared view from larger players on more regulatory oversight on the industry.

The first obstacle to a second official cryptocurrency futures contract in the United States may have been scaled when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Ethereum won’t be regulated as security. The second important milestone is an approval from the CFTC, which was initiated when the regulator asked for public opinions about the Ethereum network. CBOE plans to launch an Ethereum futures contract currently awaits the regulator’s approval.

Bitcoin futures contract were launched by Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) in late 2017, which had a compelling effect on the crypto market, taking it to new all-time highs at the time. One major sentiment in the market is that more derivative contracts would have a similar effect on the market. As such, an approved Ethereum futures contract in the US may bode well for the Ethereum support community since the asset’s market value has depreciated by as much as 94.2% at some point; and currently, its price has dropped 89.6% since it’s last all-time high.

Although cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX currently offers an Ethereum futures contract quoted in Bitcoin and has been receiving positive patronage in recent times, still, the market could be set up for an explosive uptrend should the CFTC grant its approval to the CBOE exchange.

 

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ConsenSys to Assist in Blockchain Training for Young Black Women

ConsenSys to Launch Blockchain Training for Young Black Women

ConsenSys has teamed up with Black Girls Code, a non-profit organization providing tech training to young women of color between the ages of 7 and 17.

The partnership will establish the first blockchain training program of its kind in the US which will branch into US states and beyond. The program will be available in Oakland, California, Atlanta, Georgia and in New York City, with plans to run in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The program will be a comprehensive entry in the blockchain system for young participants, including lessons in cryptocurrencies and the fundamentals of the blockchain. Students will be thrown in at the deep end with a hands-on approach, requiring that they participate and contribute to blockchain developer conferences around the globe, enabling them to turn theory into practice. Black Girls Code CEO Kimberly Bryant commented that:

“The ConsenSys team has consistently impressed me with their commitment to creating pathways for access and inclusion within the blockchain ecosystem and their passion for introducing these tools to the next generation of coders.”

Black Girls Code has even developed its own token, and since August of last year, 60 young black women involved in the program have been introduced to the workings of cryptocurrency and blockchain, with a view to increasing these numbers into hundreds in 2019.

The organization has huge targets and has stated that it wishes to train a million girls by the year 2040, becoming a high-tech version of the Girl Guides. One aim is to ensure that minority groups in fintech have a space to grow and flourish encouraging innovative outside investments into such groups.

 

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ConsenSys, AMD to Develop W3BCloud, a Blockchain-Based Throughput Solution

ConsenSys, AMD to Develop W3BCloud, a Blockchain-Based Throughput Solution

A press release yesterday by blockchain software company ConsenSys detailed the inking of a new partnership deal with American multinational semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Abu Dhabi-based investment management firm Halo Holdings, to develop an optimized blockchain-based cloud solution dubbed W3BCloud for the blockchain industry throughput.

“W3BCLOUD is focused on providing the first independent cloud computing blockchain infrastructure, combining increased transaction throughput with state-of-the-art security,” the release states. The new infrastructure is being built to handle the emerging day-in and out of blockchain workloads to provide more efficiency in the space.

The three partners will combine their resource expertise in their field of technology. ConsenSys is to provide blockchain-related insights into “efficient compute usage for blockchain transactions, security requirements, and emerging use cases,” while AMD will leverage its renowned high-end performance hardware manufacturing specialties to build the datacenters with architectures that match the specific blockchain requirements.

Founder of ConsenSys, Joe Lubin said in regards to the newly forged partnership that “bolstering the compute power of blockchain networks with AMD’s leading-edge technology will be of great benefit to the scalable adoption of emerging decentralized systems around the globe.” Lubin expressed his usual enthusiasm for blockchain scaling, touting the envisaged product as one that “will power a new infrastructure layer and enable an accelerated proliferation of blockchain technologies.”

Joerg Roskowetz, Director of Product Management – Blockchain Technology at AMD also said in the release that they are “excited to work ConsenSys” and lend their expertise and “access to high-performance hardware technologies.” They are also optimistic about the concept of the emerging technology as well as the profound use case coverage, and are willing to play their role in the partnership to build systems “capable of better scaling and proliferating decentralized networks.”

Roskowetz identified “smart identity, enterprise data centers, and health ID tracking, to licensing and supply chain management,” as possible use cases where the new technology could be of use.

Both companies have been spreading roots within blockchain space. ConsenSys has been building up its reputation among high-interest groups both within and outside the blockchain ecosystem. It recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with leading IT company SK Group to build and further develop the blockchain ecosystem.

AMD reportedly signed contracts with 7 major technology firms last year to develop eight high-end performance and enterprise-grade mining rigs. This is despite the sales report by the 2018 Q3 financials of the company that attributed blockchain’s contribution as per GPU-built mining chips as “negligible.”

 

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Joe Lubin Sees “Bright Future” for Ethereum: “Sky Not Falling”

Joseph Lubin, Co-Founder of Ethereum and Founder of ConsenSys sees a “very bright” future for Ethereum.

The ConsenSys founder’s comments give some comfort to Ethereum investors after a tumultuous year on the markets, which is only just beginning to show a bullish side in the lead into Christmas. His comments were responding to criticism of a proposed final total of 60% of staff being laid off due to significant ConsenSys restructuring.

The “sky is not falling” said Lubin after staff was notified last month of “a sweeping plan to make ConsenSys more focused and competitive in an increasingly crowded field,” with the adoption of ConsenSys 2.0.

“It’s focusing, it’s adding rigor, it’s adding accountability, and it’s opening ConsenSys up more to the world,” assured Lubin, but with some home truths for investors:

“Excited as we are about ConsenSys 2.0, our first step in this direction has been a difficult one: we are streamlining several parts of the business including ConsenSys Solutions, spokes, and hub services, leading to a 13% reduction of mesh members… Projects will continue to be evaluated with rigor, as the cornerstone of ConsenSys 2.0 is technical excellence, coupled with innovative blockchain business models.”

The wave of negative responses and tweets which followed the announcement of ConsenSys 2.0 prompted an attack from the Ethereum co-founder, arguing:

“What I’ve witnessed among the chattering class the past few weeks in response to ConsenSys 2.0 is a rather typical tune: the alarmed, the eulogistic, and the gleeful.”

Lubin argued that layoffs are not necessarily the outcome of the restructuring of ConsenSys stating that in the last week the company has hired 15, and has other positions available which the company is posting opportunities for, commenting that, “Some within ConsenSys whose roles have been eliminated recently are looking to fill other roles at ConsenSys. This is a rebalancing of our activities and workforce.”

Rather than “the sky falling” Lubin asserts that Ethereum protocol development is accelerating, resulting in “the continued maturation of the token economy, which will see many exciting consumer utility tokens and tokenized security launches in the new year.”

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XRP Preferred Christmas Crypto Gift as Coinbase Boss Reflects on Industry Year

XRP, BTC, ETH, Ripple,

A GloBee poll has revealed that most cryptocurrency enthusiasts would rather receive XRP as a gift than BTC.

The as yet incomplete poll is currently testing the popularity of three leading cryptocurrencies to see how they stand up against each other as a yuletide gift. With just a few hours left before the big day, XRP has the edge against its hallmark competitor Bitcoin while only a meager 9% choosing XRM as an ideal gift option.

With 49% of respondents preferring a gift option of Ripple’s coin over 38% of Bitcoin’s Xmas crypto fans, although proving little, does highlight XRPs ever-growing popularity as a safe payment option.

This is clearly a fact not lost on Coinbase’s President Asiff Hirji after recent revelations that Ripple could soon be listing XRP alongside 300 other cryptocurrencies. One thing that Coinbase did clarify upon making the announcement is that not all of the names on its new hit list of favorable currencies will necessarily be listed, but it’s a positive step further for patient Ripple investors who have had to seek out other exchanges in order to carry out transactions, clearly losing Ripple significant business over time.

As the year draws to close, Asiff Hirji has also been speaking to CNBC’s Fast Money on the market’s fortunes in 2018, commenting rather quizzically that sometimes things are never as good as they look and never as bad as they seem.

The Coinbase boss went on to suggest that 2018 had been a significant year for the industry in terms of innovation despite ConsenSys having to lay off employees and Steemit shed 70% of its workforce. This situation has been reflected across the market due to many exchanges having had to deal with much-reduced trading volume and huge investor selloffs.

Asiff was upbeat about the number of new cryptocurrencies entering the market, suggesting that the industry was still in its infancy and a lot of positive elements were due to follow as more currencies emerge.

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First Mexican Blockchain Association Established with ConsenSys as Founding Member

First Mexican Blockchain Association Established with ConsenSys as Founding Member

Mexico has established its first blockchain association comprised of world-leading and domestic industry leaders, with ConsenSys as a founding member.

Who’s in?

As reported by Forbes Mexico, the new association has members that for a majority represent the cryptocurrency and finance facet of the industry. For example, Bitso and Volabit are Mexican crypto exchanges, and there is also BIVA, Mexico’s second stock exchange, as well as Lvna Capital, a crypto hedge fund based in Mexico City.

Additionally, UK private equity firm Exponent and Mexican investment and brokerage firm Grupo Bursatil Mexicano (GBM) are a part of the founding members. Among them is industry titan ConsenSys, a leading blockchain incubator studio based in Switzerland who recently partnered with Amazon, and has Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin at the helm.

Intentions

Speaking with Forbes Mexico, provisional president Felipe Vellejo said, “This technology has the objective of creating more transparent, safe and efficient procedures”. Therefore, the association is seeking to improve public education on the topic in order to introduce such benefits to society; the Blockchain Association of Mexico will also endeavor to define the standards and practices required for the Mexican blockchain sector to thrive.

Reportedly, the members desire to see blockchain utilized properly and avoid nefarious abuse of the tech, such as money laundering. For the association, it is imperative that the standards set in place are efficient and safe for use, allowing blockchain technologies to operate with as little friction as possible.

Speaking on the potential of blockchain, Exponent Capital founder Mouses Cassab said, “The current applications of the blockchain range from decreasing the costs of sending remittances and international payments, to the democratization of the financial system.”

Purpose

Blockchain-related associations can be considered somewhat an ambivalent topic as they can either be seen as an unnecessary barrier of entry for enterprise networking and resources or viewed as an essential component for the forwarding of a pro-blockchain agenda domestically and on a global scale.

That said, the Mexican association is the first of its kind to represent blockchain in the country, likely making it an invaluable entity on the domestic industry frontier. Naturally, the association is open to any organization and entity that wishes to join due to the versatile applications of blockchain across all industries.

Mexico is gradually emerging in the global blockchain community; in April, a Mexican hackathon resulted in the government announcing the trial of a public procurement procedure on the blockchain some months later. Additionally, Mexico held its first-ever blockchain event in August, Viva la Crypto!.

 

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South Korean KT SAT Eying Blockchain for the Satellite Industry

A South Korean satellite operator has expressed an interest in exploring how blockchain could be utilized within the satellite industry.

The company KT SAT boasting 50 years’ experience as Korea’s sole operator plans to bring blockchain and cybersecurity companies together through its new workgroup, the KT SAT Eco Alliance, in order to see where blockchain can be integrated into current satellite tech.

KT SAT provides services using the resources of the group as being a member of KT group. With two satellite launches in 2017, coverage became wider, providing differentiated satellite communication services to its global customers and partners. The company, owned by South Korea-based telecommunications company KT Corporation, is planning events, workshops, and seminar covering IT tech fields such as password security, the blockchain, and maritime satellite communication. KT SAT CEO Han Won-sik says that marketing is another aspect of focus for the company through such activities:

“In order to lead the domestic and global satellite market, we must continue to search for new services through new ICT convergence…we will look for business opportunities that can provide total solutions and platform services.”

Space seems to beckon blockchain. Last month, blockchain firm ConsenSys, which has over 900 employees, acquired Planetary Resources, a partnership which could bring blockchain technology into space “democratizing and decentralizing space endeavors to… unlock untapped human potential.” Planetary Resources, Inc., formerly known as Arkyd Astronautics, is an American company that was formed on 1 January 2009 and reorganized and renamed in 2012. Its stated goal is to “expand Earth’s natural resource base” by developing and deploying the technologies for asteroid mining. ConsenSys Founder and Ethereum Co-Founder Joe Lublin speaking of the acquisition commented::

“Bringing deep space capabilities into the ConsenSys ecosystem reflects our belief in the potential for Ethereum to help humanity craft new societal rule systems through automated trust and guaranteed execution.”

Another company Spacebit Capital has recently launched the world’s first Venture Capital (VC) crypto fund for the space sector with plans to tokenize commercial space missions, moving forward.

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Kaleido, AWS Launch Blockchain Solutions Marketplace

ConsenSys subsidiary blockchain company Kaleido has collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch a full-stack platform for decentralized enterprise solutions.

Dubbed Kaleido Marketplace, the companies’ press release claims the platform offers a ”whole cloud of blockchain technologies” that can save enterprises the work involved in creating a blockchain themselves, allowing them to more quickly reach live production. According to the release, early adopters claim it reduces 80% of the custom code necessary in building their projects.

The Kaleido blockchain launched in May and has already served over 1,000 clients. The marketplace is a further development of this service, offering extra applications such as AWS cloud, Chainlink for smart contract oracles, HD wallets and ID registries.

The founding companies say Kaleido Marketplace is filling a gap in the market left by a lack of skilled blockchain developers unable to meet job demands as more companies move to decentralized solutions. Kaleido Founder and Chief Operating Officer Sophia Lopez said the aim of the marketplace is to ”help radically simplify the adoption of blockchain and eliminate some of the specialized blockchain expertise needed”, adding ”[it] is a one stop shop for all things enterprise blockchain”.

A Kaleido Marketplace user, commodity trader and finance network Komgo, says the platform allows it to find the ”optimized solution” by building on existing blockchains in the ecosystem. CEO Souleïma Baddi also complimented the platform’s high speed, high volume results.

Kaleido originated as a product of Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin’s blockchain incubator ConsenSys and is also built on the Ethereum network. In May, Lubin described Amazon’s move into blockchain as “heavy duty“, and that it would do them well to integrate the technology into other areas of its business, such as the supply chain.

 

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ConsenSys Acquires Space Mining Company

The blockchain firm ConsenSys, which has over 900 employees, has acquired Planetary Resources as of 31 October 2018. This partnership could bring blockchain technology into space.

Planetary Resources is a company which focuses on mining life-sustaining resources in space, rather than transporting resources from Earth, which is inefficient due to the tremendous cost of launching anything beyond the grip of Earth’s gravity. Planetary Resources is conducting deep space missions to identify resource-rich locations on near-Earth asteroids. Apparently, there are 16,000 near-Earth asteroids that are more accessible than the moon, and they contain a combined 2 trillion tons of water and other life-sustaining resources.

The CEO of Planetary Resources and former NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory employee, Chris Lewicki, said, “Over the course of nearly a decade, Planetary Resources has simultaneously pioneered technology, business, law and policy, and brought the promise of space resources irreversibly closer to humankind’s grasp. I am proud of our team’s extraordinary accomplishments, grateful to our visionary supporters, and delighted to join ConsenSys in building atop our work to expand humanity’s economic sphere of influence into the Solar System.”

It is likely that this partnership will result in blockchain technology being integrated into Planetary Resource’s space exploration and mining activities. General Counsel for Planetary Resources, Brian Israel, said, “Ethereum smart contract functionality is a natural solution for private-ordering and commerce in space—the only domain of human activity not ordered around territorial sovereignty—in which a diverse range of actors from a growing number of countries must coordinate and transact.”

Blockchain can be used to build the technology for the Planetary Resources supply chain, to keep close track of infrastructure, expenses, and mined resources. It is known that blockchain technology makes supply chains shorter and stronger. Beyond this, blockchain technology can be used to launch a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), which might be the best way to govern space exploration and mining in the future.

ConsenSys Founder and Ethereum Co-Founder Joe Lublin said, “I admire Planetary Resources for its world-class talent, its record of innovation, and for inspiring people across our planet in support of its bold vision for the future. Bringing deep space capabilities into the ConsenSys ecosystem reflects our belief in the potential for Ethereum to help humanity craft new societal rule systems through automated trust and guaranteed execution. And it reflects our belief in democratizing and decentralizing space endeavors to unite our species and unlock untapped human potential. We look forward to sharing our plans and how to join us on this journey in the months ahead.”

A new type of blockchain that is optimized for space exploration might end up being developed from this partnership, although this is just speculation. Current Earth-centric blockchains would not function as well in space, since there are long lag times in space due to the immense distances involved.

 

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