Category Archives: Consensys

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Demand for DLT Expertise Skyrockets by 300% in the US

In the US, Glassdoor’s job search website has reported four times more offers on blockchain and cryptocurrency positions in August 2018 than that of the previous year.

The significant rise in job vacancies in the US blockchain and crypto market is buoyed by those positions requiring software developers, which now represent every fifth vacancy. In August 2017, 446 jobs posted were related to keywords “blockchain” and “Bitcoin.” This number rose to 1,755 in August this year, despite the downward trend in crypto markets since the end of 2017.

The greatest demand was seen to be in New York and San Francisco which accounted for 24% and 21% of all positions. Most of the positions, almost 80%, were divided amongst America’s 15 major cities.

Apart from software and technology developers, analysts and market researchers, risk managers and marketing managers represented the majority of positions advertised. Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin’s ConsenSys and IBM were shown to be the most active employers according to the survey amongst the 200 crypto industry positions, with Coinbase and Kraken looking for blockchain specialists.

In order to promote education in fintech, to boost the sector even further and meet employers demands, universities have increasingly joined the blockchain revolution offering courses in both cryptocurrency and blockchain. A recent analysis of curriculum in the best universities by Coinbase this year shows that 22 have a cryptocurrency or blockchain program and 11 of these have more than two relevant courses, with US universities currently leading the charge.

Outside of the US, the National University of Singapore and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich have two or more courses, and universities in the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, and Singapore have their own crypto programmes.

Campbell Harvey, a Professor of International Business at Duke University said that he has seen law students particularly benefit from taking blockchain classes. “Law students that are trained in blockchain, they don’t need to apply anywhere. People are just asking them to join their firms.”

Most of the surveyed students engaged in human sciences say they would prefer blockchain to informatics. It remains to be seen if the demand from blockchain and crypto expertise in the workplace will be met by universities’ output of new young crypto professionals.

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Manny Pacquiao Hangs Up Gloves for Politics, Crypto

It is becoming well known among the crypto community that endorsements and new startups involving celebrities from music and sport are on the rise, but this time it’s an odd combination of ex-boxer newly-turned politician who’s dipped into cryptocurrency.

Enter Philippines Senator and one-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao who is to make a gloves-off fighting appearance for crypto at the upcoming Blockchain Fair Asia event to be held in his home country.

In March, not simply happy with procuring ex-England and Liverpool footballer Michael Owen, Singapore-based Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX), scored another goal,  this time signing a boxer to promote the exchange. Since then, Pacquiao has gone on to launch his own PAC Coin and plans to promote the coin at the event in Manila, very much in keeping his government’s own approach to cryptocurrency, which has largely been supportive.

Since 2016, the ex-boxer has been serving as a member of the Philippines House of Representatives. As a member of the Senate, he would recognize that blockchain is becoming a fast-growing industry in the Southeast Asian country with a regulator-friendly background. The Philippines has long been a magnet to foreign investment, as illustrated by its construction of Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

The blockchain buzz in the country also extends to government level with the Department of Finance (DoF), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), all integrating blockchain solutions into their programs.

Global business head of ConsenSys in Asia, Aiai Garcia, sees the Philippines as the next tech sandbox in Asia, suggesting:

“This is indeed a very exciting time for the Philippines blockchain industry. There are plenty of exciting projects, and the good thing is that all the regulators we’ve talked with or are talking to are also excited about the technology and looking for ways to adopt and use blockchain to improve the current system.”

Pacquiao’s investment in GCOX has, in turn, has given him the possibility to create the new coin. The platform is supported by a number of other celebrities who have also created their own tradable tokens, building on their previous popularity in the world of sport or music.

 

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Irish Blockchain for Women Demystifies New Technology

Blockchain Women Ireland has (BWI) been founded in the Irish Republic to further advance awareness of the blockchain sector in the country.

The idea behind the new group is to promote blockchain as a potential career for women and also keep the community up to date with educational opportunities in the industry.

Ireland currently has a forward-thinking approach to blockchain technology. Earlier this year, the National University of Ireland (NUI), authors of a study on the adoption of blockchain, approached the government to promote a more widespread use of the technology in the country.

One of the findings of that study showed that only 40% of companies in Ireland had embraced blockchain technology, which the researchers felt was relatively low, despite Ireland’s 13th position on Bloomberg’s 2018 Innovation Index, with high productivity scores and advanced IT infrastructure.

The members of the new group cover a wide scope of financial representatives in the country including the Department of Finance, BNY Mellon and the Science Foundation Ireland-funded Adapt research centre for digital content technology. BWI includes two prominent women from the business sector: Mai Santamaria, a senior financial director at the Department of Finance, and Joyce O’Connor, founding president of the National College of Ireland and chairwoman of the Institute of International and European Affairs’ digital future working group.

The group also includes representatives from the cryptocurrency sector including ConsenSys. Santamaria, a senior financial director at the Department of Finance who leads a working group on blockchain, suggested that one of the aims of the BWI will be to cut through some of the hype that currently haunts the industry and offer further opportunities for women:

“The reality is that it is hard to reach out to the blockchain community, particularly if you are a woman with an interest in technology but who isn’t necessarily a coder or similar. We’re trying to establish a network that will help those who want to know more about blockchain, to demystify it and to open doors for those who may want a career in the sector.”

About 85% of Irish citizens currently know about Bitcoin according to a recent study, a major increase from less than 50% during a 2014 Amarach poll. Some 44% of Irish citizens who own cryptocurrency own Bitcoin, making it the most popular cryptocurrency in Ireland, while 30% own Litecoin and 27% own Ethereum.

 

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Ethereum Founder and Coinbase CEO See Positive Growth in Crypto

Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, has commented that the fall in recent cryptocurrency prices is no constraint to future positive market growth.

The comments were made in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday when the ConsenSys CEO indicated that the big picture was the relevant factor for investors, and not to focus on “pimples on a chart” as he put it, referring the peaks and troughs of Bitcoin prices.

He spoke of the “bubble” factor, suggesting that each of the six major events has always bought a surge of activity. He argues:

“…we build more fundamental infrastructure, we see a correction, and the potential gets even more impressive… I absolutely expect that there is a strong correlation between the rise in price and the growth of fundamental infrastructure in the ecosystem and the growth of development in the ecosystem. We are probably two orders of magnitude bigger as a developer community than we were eight or ten months ago.”

The current market trend should be expected, Lubin suggests. He argues that much of the current volatility has to be put down to investor speculation rather than flaws in the underlying technology, suggesting that cryptocurrencies were very much still on the right positive trajectory. Regarding his own case as a CEO, he said:

“So we can look at the price and make growth plans and projections, and we’re still on track, basically. So this is not unexpected.”

Lubin added that each value surge over the past years indicated that the current situation is just like the last “six big bubbles, each more epic than the previous one, and each bubble is astonishing when they’re happening”.

In other news, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has revealed that the company signed up 50,000 new customers a day last year and on Tuesday reflected Lubin’s view that the general trend is positive, suggesting:

“This technology is going through a series of bubbles and corrections, and each time it does that, it’s at a new plateau… People’s expectations are all over the map, but real-world adoption has been going up.”

At time of press, Bitcoin is currently trading at USD 6,429, up 6.47% on 24-hr trading. Ethereum is trading at USD 285, up by 6.93% on 24-hr trade.

 

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Chinese IT Ministry Seeks “Industrial” Scale Blockchain

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIT) is reportedly looking at ways it can push forward its plans for blockchain integration into the financial sector and other industries.

The MIT, established in March 2008, is the state agency responsible for regulation and development of the postal service, internet, wireless, broadcasting, communications, production of electronic and information goods, software industry and the promotion of the national knowledge economy, according to Wikipedia.

A local media report says the MIT wants to progress the use of the new technology forward as it sees it very much in its initial stage. This would involve expanding blockchain, which is principally being utilized in the financial sector, into areas such as supply chain management and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Being a local news report, the news is highly likely to represent more of a government statement than an objective view but it suggests that the government wants to accelerate blockchain in China. The reports says that MIT wants the country to “unite” to provide “a healthy and orderly development of the industry”, according to China Money Network.  It added this will need to be done on an “industrial” scale to integrate it into all areas of Chinese society.

It appears that infrastructures will need to be updated to provide this long-term plan, as the report suggests that MIT wants to involve local departments in boosting the capacity of computing power and storage.

The agency recently released a statement suggesting that the country had experienced “exponential” growth last year along with research by He Baohong of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), that only 8% of blockchain projects launched are still in operation; a fact that the Chinese government would be keen to change.

On 23 July, ConsenSys and the Xiong’an government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a “dream city” project, marking the first time that Xiong’an has publicly recruited a foreign development studio to aid in its blockchain efforts.

This is one of several technological fields that the government has listed as part of a cutting-edge plan to transform Xiong’an into a leading tech hub for the country.

 

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Blockchain Media Civil to Boost Asian Output with 100 New Projects

Civil, the blockchain-based journalism organization, is about to spread itself further with a new USD 1 million fund targeting Asia.

The company built on top of blockchain has been gaining a name for itself in the world of journalism over the past year. The concept of Civil is a unique development in media, utilizing blockchain to allow both readers and journalists to combine to fund topics of interest to them or the public. Supported by CVL tokens, yet to be released, all participants will gain a speculative stake which increases in value as the company expands.

Over the past year, the company raised USD 5 million in financing from ConsenSys and then hooked up with the Colorado Sun, providing financial backing for the then newly-formed newspaper which broke away from the Denver Post after editorial disputes.

Its latest move sees Civil casting its eye on the Asian news market and, as a result, the company has raised USD 1 million to create 100 media projects there over the next three years. In order to facilitate its ambitious plans in Asia, the company has teamed with Splice, a Singapore-based media startup, which will manage the new fund.

The new project will be quite different to the company’s Colorado Sun experience as that newspaper was already newly established, whereas in Asia, Civil and Spice will be attempting to build up projects from scratch and get them off the ground.

Alan Soon, co-founder of Splice, says that there are no limitations regarding the type of media they would take on board and suggested that reporting websites. podcasts and behind the scenes tech were all up for grabs in the new Asian marketplace.

He did also point out that new beneficiaries of the fund would be under no obligation to adopt Civil’s protocol or blockchain technology although Splice itself has committed itself to do so. The advantage being that Splice will have access to the entire Civil networks’ content and licensing. Soon said:

“I’m with Civil because I really believe in their values… They want to do the right thing for this space.”

 

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Ethereum Co-Founder Joe Lubin: Blockchain and Crypto Can Transform Society

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin believes blockchain will have the same kind of impact in the future as the internet had in the late nineties, writes Business Insider. The co-founder of ConsenSys was speaking at the MoneyConf in Dublin where the blockchain company has opened its new office.

Lubin made it clear that he was looking for blockchain to make a lasting impact: “This technology is so profound, it’s going to do so many amazing things for economic, social, and political systems worldwide… We’ve really no concern that the ecosystem or the technology is in real danger.”

He went on to compare current activity fintech space to the dot-com boom of the late 90s, a period of extreme growth and intense activity in the usage and adaptation of the internet. Lubin suggested there was clearly a parallel today, given the same degree of high investment coupled with high gains and losses in cryptocurrency activity, according to the success of company projects.

The entrepreneur argued that the growth of the internet was mirrored today by current developments in the space, as cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology were repeating history:

“There was a tremendous amount of creative destruction in the dotcom era that laid the foundation and taught all of us how to build an effective internet, an effective world wide web, and really transform society. I think that we will see dynamics like that in place in the blockchain space.”

He was clear in his views that although scams are clearly not welcome, they don’t impact of the overall image of the industry, and that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was right in taking these issues on in order to clean up the space. He put the crypto “bad-actor syndrome” down to the failings of human nature and the fact that cryptocurrency investment was open for all.

Lubin pointed to the West in terms of where some of the most progressive movements in the industry were originating, citing the US and Europe as the major source of innovation.

 

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Philippine Blockchain Pilot to Connect Rural ‘Unbanked’

In a bid to spread financial inclusion to a largely unbanked population, the Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) is piloting real-time retail payments on the Ethereum blockchain with five rural banks in Mindanao, the second largest island in the country.

Connecting the unbanked

According to local news outlet Philippine News Agency (PNA), the payment system developed by US-based startup ConsenSys in collaboration with UnionBank will be taking aim at an estimated 35 million unbanked Filipinos, linking rural banks to the national financial network.

In 2017, Finance Secretary Carlos G Dominguez III described the present financial inclusion problem to the Manila Bulletin: “Over 86 percent of Filipinos remain unbanked to this day. That is an intolerable ratio of the population excluded from the financial mainstream… We cannot have a new economy with an ancient banking system.”

UnionBank Chair D. Justo Ortiz said that “the i2i Project is a real-time, cost-effective and secure retail payment system in the blockchain”, adding that the technology can help “crack the hole of financial inclusivity”.

Asia-Pacific ConsenSys Solutions lead Aiai Garcia gave further details on the pilot project, saying that the collaboration would be utilizing the Kaleido platform, which itself is the result of a partnership between Amazon and ConsenSys.

Kaleido is a brand new Blockchain Business Cloud, designed to speed up and simplify any enterprises’ attempts to utilize blockchain technology and is the first Software-as-a-Service that features Ethereum Packages Geth and Quorum.

Currently, the rural banks in mention are ‘retail banks’ that operate in the Filipino countryside and are often overlooked by the big banks and financial institutions as they serve far smaller communities.

The issue that arises from this is that these rural institutions have no links to the countries interbank network nor are they member of BancNet, the largest inter-bank network in the Philippines based on “the number of member banks and annual transactions” it has.

The blockchain pilot reduces the costs of connecting rural banks with BancNet or SWIFT services, otherwise requiring them to spend hefty sums on data centers and cyber security infrastructure, according to UnionBank technology and operations chief Henry Aguda. He also noted that USD 3 million had been invested into Project i2i.

Aguda also hopes to bring in over 100 banks from rural territories in the Philippines before 2019, with an even broader vision to connect all 500 or so rural-banks to the blockchain.

He added: “With this [blockchain platform], they don’t have to spend anything. They just have to load the application i2i in their computers, tablets, or smartphones then they can transact bank-to-bank connected to blockchain.”

Blockchain-related revelations are coming fast from the Philippines. Bitcoin News previously reported that the Filipino ‘Silicon Valley’ had given a firm go-ahead to the countries first ten crypto and blockchain exchanges. Prior to that, announcements of a ‘special economic zone‘ being established for said companies was reported by Bitcoin News in early May.

 

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Amazon Launches Collaboration with Consensys: An Easy Blockchain Deployment Service for Enterprises

One of the world’s most innovative e-commerce companies, Amazon.com, is venturing further into the realm of blockchain after announcing a new startup partnership called Kaleido.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the cloud computing subsidiary of the online retailer; for a subscription fee it provides individuals, companies, and governments with a cloud computing platform. The service offers a myriad of solutions and is making blockchain part of the service.

Recently, Bitcoin News reported that Amazon had begun taking on blockchain proposals from partners on AWS. In April, it had also launched ‘out-of-the-box’ blockchain templates for Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric via the platform.

Boosting enterprises into blockchain

The announcement was made at the 4th annual blockchain technology summit in New York called Consensus 2018. Now, in a new collaboration with leading blockchain incubator company Consensys, the startup called Kaleido will provide a new Blockchain Business Cloud, which is designed to speed up and simplify the blockchain integration and operation process for any enterprise.

In a press release, Kaleido founder Steve Cerveny said:

“If blockchain doesn’t become dramatically easier to use, then companies will have to walk back their investments and our society will be far too slow in realizing blockchain’s significant promise. We designed the Kaleido platform from scratch with new user experiences and tools to radically simplify the entire enterprise journey.”

He added, “They can focus on their scenario and they don’t have to become PhDs is cryptography, we give them a simple platform to build their company on blockchain.”

The company is aiming to provide AWS customers with an “easy button” to access the underlying technology that supports Bitcoin; it is also the first blockchain based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution on the AWS marketplace.

Ethereum co-founder and founder of Consensys, Joseph Lubin said, “We are now entering a new era of simple and inclusive access to blockchain technology that cuts through the hype to advance stronger, more collaborative, business relationships previously out of reach.”

Implications for future enterprises

Simplifying the onboarding process for enterprises seeking to participate in the blockchain boom is a crucial step at this stage; while the value of Bitcoin has garnered institutional and investment attention, the technology that underpins it is also getting more industrial attention than ever, going beyond the financial fascination of digital currencies.

The value of this partnership and blockchain development is far-reaching; Consensys is a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), a group of over 500 organizations dedicated to meeting the specific needs of companies with Ethereum. With Amazon and AWS backing the effort, Kaleido could completely shift the landscape for businesses involved in blockchain.

 

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