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Malaysia to Build 835-Acre Blockchain City

Malaysia to Build 835-Acre Blockchain City

A new massive blockchain project called Melaka Straits City is planned for Malaysia with fundraising of USD 120 million needed in its initial stage.

The idea is to make the blockchain city not only functional for a range of business enterprises and educational services, but also a major tourist attraction with the Ministry of Tourism of China predicting that 3 million tourists could visit it every year.

The city will be built on over 835 acres off the coast of Malacca in a project backed by the government of China and construction and engineering company China Wuyi. The plan is to allocate 200 acres of the marine area or building chalets and water recreation facilities. Malacca, dubbed “The Historic State”, is a state in Malaysia located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca.

The features that give its unofficial “blockchain City” tag include a 32-hectare spread of land including kindergartens, colleges, universities, and student dormitories. Melaka Straits City will primarily be promoted as an educational center along with the tourist and sustainable development elements, which are the brainchild of the current owners of the land SWT International Sdn Bhd.

Over different periods Malacca was colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British, and in 2008 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List. Melaka Straits City’s official spokesperson Lim Keng Kai says that the construction will be futuristic, but also with a nod to Malacca’s rich historical past pointing out:

“That is why we’ve planned to build a distinctive cultural street in the center of the city. It will be inspired by the styles of different colonial eras and is going to make tourists familiar with Malaysian traditions and history.”

It is important to note that the Malaysian government has a high level of awareness regarding the crypto sector. Malaysia is still adapting to the spread of cryptocurrency with recent regulations introduced aimed at bringing more transparency to the sector in order to increase the trust level of investors.

 

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IBM and University of Louisville Launch Blockchain Academy

IBM and University of Louisville Launch Blockchain Academy

In an effort to bridge the current gap between blockchain demand for expertise and existing supply, IBM has partnered with the University of Louisville to launch a blockchain skills academy.

The IBM Skills Academy aims to train the next generation of technology workers in Kentucky state, USA, delivering a curriculum built out of eight emerging and developing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet-of-Things (IoT), cybersecurity and not least of all, blockchain.

A recent Hard Fork report notes IBM as one of the top blockchain employers worldwide, and students will take heart in this pioneering form, even if this is the first academy of its kind with an institute of higher learning. While students attending courses there will gain credits towards graduation, an IBM certification is the attractive offer, with staff members also taught about emerging technologies.

The official statement from IBM also hints that more such deals are along in the pipeline, with at least four other universities holding talks with the global tech giant.

A Coinbase report from 2018 concluded that only two of the world’s top 10 universities had yet to offer a blockchain education course, and this University of Loiusville ensures that most of these universities continue to be from the US.

 

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Accra and The Hague Universities Combine to Promote Blockchain in Ghana

Accra and The Hague Universities Combine to Promote Blockchain in Ghana

A partnership between a Ghanaian University and the Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) in the Netherlands has been forged with a view to accommodating a student exchange programme and further promote blockchain in the African nation.

The Accra Technical University (ATU) wants to accelerate it graduate programme in order to provide the industry with the necessary skills to fill its requirements, including advancing blockchain technology in the country.

A seminar organized by the two universities entitled ‘The Power of Blockchain’ took place in Accra this week in which the way forward was discussed. Dr Ernest Winful, the Dean of International Programmes at ATU, told the press that blockchain technology was becoming vital to conducting business in Ghana and therefore students needed new skills in order to embrace tech opportunities in the industry. He pointed out:

“The blockchain is coming like how the internet came and it is important to join the train to avoid any inconvenience it may cause by the blockchain technology in the future.”

An important feature of the collaboration between the universities will be an exchange programme allowing students in both Africa and Europe to learn at both education institutions; an essential inclusion for Ghanaian students due to Africa currently lagging behind Europe, Asia and the Americas in blockchain technology.

From the Dutch side, Rene Dondjio, a Lecturer at the THUAS, said that lecturers from the university situated in the Hague would travel to Ghana making three monthly trips to Accra to train students at ATU, also pointing out that blockchain was becoming a life-changing technology for many at both an individual and business level.

ATU pointed out that it was important that Africa didn’t get left behind as new technologies such as blockchain leaped forward elsewhere around the globe.

 

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Game Creators to Introduce Biocoin to Promote Biodiversity, Taxonomy

Game Creators to Introduce Biocoin to Promote Biodiversity, Taxonomy

A private tech start-up launched in 2014 which focuses on taxonomy and the identification of different species has plans to launch its own crypto, Biocoin, to support the project.

The Australian startup launched the biodiversity video game Questagame after company co-founder Andrew Robinson and his wife Mallika listened to their children arguing in the back of the car over video games:

“They were talking about these fantasy worlds and all these monster types and shields they needed to protect themselves…Could we create a game in which you go out into the real world, and you’re learning the names of all these exciting creatures which in many ways are far more fantastical than anything you can find in a computer game?”

Which is exactly what Robinson went on to do with the co-founder of Questgame David Haynes. An idea on a drive in the country has now turned into a project based at Australian National University in Canberra, with players taking part from more than 40 countries and competitions between schools and universities.

Now Robinson is looking at cryptocurrency and how that may be incorporated into the game as a reward system. At present players joining teams pay a yearly subscription but whilst learning about biodiversity can also earn AUD 10 cents for each correctly identified creature. The revenue goes to the game’s partners World Wildlife Fund, Australian Geographic Society, Invasive Species Council, and Greenpeace.

The idea of Biocoin came about through Robinson’s awareness of blockchain and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin being mined by solving mathematical problems on a computer. His idea is to activate the coins each time a player identifies three species as part of the game. Then on the blockchain, the coins can be exchanged for other currencies.

He sees this as far more valuable than regular cryptocurrencies which he says lack the same degree of social good, although clearly, cryptocurrencies are now beginning to demonstrate a significant power to change and empower when used for social projects in parts of the globe where access to traditional fiat is limited.

 

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Articles 11 and 13 Ringing the Changes: What These Numbers Mean for Crypto in Europe

copyright, blockchain

Strasbourg’s latest copyright laws could change the face of the internet by 2021, but what do articles 11 and 13 have in store for the cryptocurrency space moving forward?

The two new copyright laws originated from the UK, where activists rebelled against the copyright status quo claiming that current freedoms were damaging not only the music industry, for years now a hot topic, particularly amongst performers themselves, but also other areas where artists’ work was largely up grabs, such as in publishing and media in general.

What do they mean?

The fight against internet giants such as Google and YouTube’s snatch and grab policy on other’s work, not to mention a few others, principally social media giants Facebook and Twitter, created the move towards tighter controls of media material. MEP’s took their stance and in September of 2018, the European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market was born.

 Article 11

This is one concern for cryptocurrency aggregator services although the new article is not yet ratified as law. Dubbed rather inaccurately as the “link tax,” due to many perceiving that anyone using sections of an originators work will be paying for it, this has been adjusted since the original MEP’s vote on the new copyright directives. Hyperlinks will not be penalized under the current rules and nor will websites pay fees for using words from parts of sentences from other websites.

Article 13

Article 13 would force sites and online platforms to use automatic tracking technology to detect when users uploaded content to make sure they weren’t sharing copyrighted material, taking the responsibility from user to site/platform owner for adhering to copyright law, and adding cost in the process.

The big concern here for many is memes- virally-transmitted photographs that are embellished with text that make fun of a cultural symbol or social idea. They are everywhere, in fact, it is hard to envisage social media without them. The aims of article 13, were made in good faith due to its aim which was to encourage companies to take more control of the content on their sites-certainly an issue that both Facebook and Twitter struggle with on a daily basis.

But will it kill freedom of expression? Almost certainly, that is if the law actually operated in this way. It does not.  Article 13 clarifies that content shared “for purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody, and pastiche,” including GIFS, will be excluded from the article.

Blockchain

The problem here is clear. Companies running censorship resistant blockchain networks could hit a wall when it comes to compliance once the new regulations are ratified and enforced in 2021. The decentralization of crypto networks is key to the industry and many in the space will be waiting to see just how resistant blockchains’ censor content is to article 13.

An indication of the problems ahead might be just how blockchain companies have dealt with the GDPR as it stood before the new amendments in September 2018. Under last year’s new legislation, consumers were now able to request that personal data held by a company be deleted or erased; an issue which drove some blockchain companies out of business.

Public blockchains which support cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether are open to all comers, and more significantly information stored cannot be altered or erased due to its decentralized nature. This could become a turning point of conflict as the new articles become law in 2021. Legislators could now examine what has become known as ‘privacy poisoning’ with article 13 behind them. ‘Poisoning’ is jargon for the act of loading private data, such as names, addresses, and credit card numbers, or any illegal material on to an otherwise quite healthy blockchain, thereby making the chain inoperable.

This could become an issue which hits article 13 head on and requires some serious tweaking from within the cryptocurrency space moving forward.

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Celeb Waqar Zaka Calls His New Crypto Idea a Solution to Pakistan’s Debt Dilemma

waqar zaka, pakistan

Pakistani television show host, social media star and a self-proclaimed crypto king, Waqar Zaka, has announced that he plans to use skills acquired as an engineering graduate to launch ‘Tehreek-i-Tech’- the country’s first own cryptocurrency project.

Zaka plans to see these ambitious plans come to fruition with support from his old alma mater the National University of Science & Technology and other universities.

His objective? “ I have come to realize that technology is the only way to pay back the debts of Pakistan,” maintains Zaka rather optimistically. His plan is to collect a gargantuan USD 4 billion in only six months, promising that if he is unsuccessful he will quit TV for good.

Waqar Zaka is a Pakistani VJ-turned-television host. Waqar began his career by releasing the song “Nahi Parha Meine Poora Saal”. He then became a VJ. He hosted a reality show Living on the Edge. Waqar then created and hosted reality shows XPOSED, King of Street Magic, Desi Kudiyan and The Cricket Challenge aired on ARY Musik.

He made the announcement on a show on Samma TV, commenting “I have a realization that the only way to pay Pakistan’s debts is through the use of technology.” adding “If Prime Minister Imran Khan launches Pakistan’s own cryptocurrency, our country will be able to get foreign investment from around the world to pay our debts,”

Another inspiration for Zaka is changing the thinking of religious clerics in Pakistan, encouraging them to authorize a “Fatwa” (a ruling on a point of Islamic law) to enable secular or religious educational institutions known as madrassas to make Science and IT compulsory subjects.

Zaka also sees the ‘Tehreek-i-Tech’ project as a fix for Pakistan’s Space Programme. Zaka has happily used his celebrity status and huge fan base to share the message and educate people on cryptocurrencies. ”It was very difficult to make them understand how cryptocurrency can work and can eliminate money laundering for example.” he argues.

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Harvard University Backs $50 Million Digital Token Offering

Harvard University Backs  Million Digital Token Offering

Harvard University’s endowment fund has invested in cryptocurrency company Blockstack Inc continuing the trend of educational establishments’ interest in the burgeoning digital payment industry.

Harvard joins a small group of institutional investors that have jumped into crypto assets. Two pension plans in Virginia invested in a venture-capital fund for the blockchain and digital-assets Along with Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Dartmouth College, and the University of North Carolina (UNC), have all made investments from their endowments into at least one crypto fund in 2018.

Harvard Management currently manages the prestigious university’s USD 39 billion endowments. Blockstack’s USD 50 million digital token offering has been boosted by the endowment fund’s investment of about USD 11.5 million, with Havard Management purchasing 95.8 million company tokens to date.

The trend of university investment in cryptocurrency was commented on last year by Henrik Andersson, chief investment officer of Apollo Capital Fund, when he predicted, “During the coming year we will see a gradual adoption from institutions… We have the first US university endowments investing in funds.” Crypto entrepreneur Mike Novogratz expressed similar views on the impact of institutional investment in Bitcoin at the time:

“The fact that David Swensen [Yale’s chief investment officer] put an investment into Bitcoin — with his reputation on the line, his endowment on the line — tells you something… Some of the smartest people in the investing world think it’s a store of value.”

Keeping the uni connection alive, a network designed by computer scientists at Princeton University will become the backbone of Blockstack’s digital assets called Stacks tokens, which will become a method of tracking stakeholders details on the network itself.

 

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Australia Government Change Would See Labor Push Blockchain

Visa, Horowitz, Among Investors in African Lending App’s 0 Million Funding Round

A spokesman from Australia’s Labor Opposition party has stated that it will push blockchain technology if in government, despite current views that tech is overhyped.

Currently, under a Liberal Government The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) whose aim is to deliver world-leading digital services for the benefit of all Australians, feels that the technology needs more research before it can be described as the real deal.

The current Shadow Minister for Human Services and the Digital Economy, Ed Husic, disagrees with the incumbent government’s stance over blockchain technology and is disappointed after the DTA was given AUD 700,000 to investigate blockchain as part of the 2018-19 Budget.

The government’s findings through DTA chief digital officer Peter Alexander was that “for every use of blockchain you would consider today, there is a better technology — alternate databases, secure connections, standardized API engagement”.

Husic responded during the launch of a blockchain paper from the Australian Computer Society (ACS), saying that some of the anti-blockchain reports were disappointing: “There’s this line that’s starting to creep out into the public space more and more about is blockchain over-hyped.”

He went on to compare the situation regarding the adoption of blockchain to the early days of the internet when people asked, “Do we really need a webpage? Do we really need this?”. He said, “We can just rely on what we’ve been doing at the moment… we don’t need to use this technology called the internet and other people will do it first. Then we saw other people do things first and get the advantage… and then we had to play catch-up.”

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Data 61 is continuing to examine blockchains capability within government and private use, claiming that Australia has the potential to lead the world in further developing the technology. Data61 CEO Adrian Turner commented:

“We’ve got high-performance computing capabilities, strong cryptography capability, strong protocol development experience — for example, wireless — we’ve got all the ingredients to actually smash it globally if we can get focused.”

 

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Local Indian Administrators Bid to Clean Up Bangalore Using Blockchain

Local Indian Administrators Bid to Clean Up Bangalore Using Blockchain

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) the local administrative body in the Indian city of Bangalore is to pilot a blockchain solution to combat garbage problems in the city.

Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, is the capital city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It has a population of over ten million, making it a megacity and the third most populous city and fifth most populous urban agglomeration in India.

India’s Silicon Valley continues to pay a huge price for its multinational IT success, becoming a city overflowing with uncollected waste after years of unchecked growth. The BBMP has decided it is finally time to take action, by employing the technology that Bengaluru has become globally renown for in order to address the worsening rubbish accumulation.

The pilot will be funded by non-profit Citizen Involved & Technology Assisted Governance (CITAG) with the assistance of funding from a Harvard University fellowship. BBMP Special Commissioner Randeep D spoke of the project, explaining:

“Blockchain technology will make it tamper-proof. So all players on the platform can see actions that have been taken regarding a complaint. There is a lot of data integrity and transparency involved in having such a blockchain-based helpline. Different stages of the redressal will be visible to everybody.”

GR Chandran, the co-founder of CITAG, said the pilot is expected to be underway by June of this year and expects the complaints procedure will now indicate who is handling the issue concerning garbage removal along with a resolution date, which if not met, will be raised further with the BBMP. A ratings/review system will be put in place so that requests for collection can be reviewed by complainants.

 

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Australian Primary School Is Creating Mini Crypto Entrepreneurs

An Australian primary school is running its own blockchain course as part of the curriculum and has even created its own school cryptocurrency.

Wooranna Park Primary School in the eastern state of Victoria, situated in a low socioeconomic area, is running its crypto programme under the watchful eyes of former network engineer turned educational technologist Keiran Nolan.

The course at the school wasn’t born overnight, but a result of five years of planning, with support from Victoria’s Melbourne Blockchain Centre. The blockchain is now on the curriculum for all students from pre-primary to year 6 and has become a daily feature of school programmes. Nolan explained:

“Each classroom or learning environment is being set up with a Steemit node for what we are calling ‘Immutable Authenticated Reporting’ – meaning that student work is safe and secure and unchangeable using the Steemit blockchain.”

Wooronna Park is now one of 8 schools collaborating together in the blockchain programme. The school’s Minecraft server is stored via FTP on the Storj.io blockchain. The school has now created its own cryptocurrency called Woorannacoin, originally designed as a voting system for students, but has now morphed into “a learning tool on how to create our own currency”, says Nolan, adding he now has a group of year 4 students that want to do their own ICO. “One of the kids learned how to mine ETH and did it at home with his dad, which was pretty awesome.”

It appears that even the parents have tapped into the students’ newly acquired tech prowess with some of them making some profits on crypto investments due to their children’s knowledge. Nolan’s next project is Rocketshoes, a blockchain and IPFS educational platform that allows students to “keep track of their own learning materials, including assignments, notes, and digital assets.”

300 schools from across the country have now expressed some enthusiasm for the Wooranna Park programme as the interest in blockchain grows across the global educational establishment. 

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