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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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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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