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China Central TV Warns Off Bitcoin Investors

China Central TV has run a news story warning the Chinese public and investors about the related pitfalls of cryptocurrency, China Banking News reports.

The report, entitled ‘Blockchain Cryptocurrency Bubble Accumulates’ (区块链”代币泡沫堆积), is one of many following last years ban in China on ICOs. This report cites an investor named Yang Chao as an example of the misfortunes of crypto investing, reportedly losing tens of millions of Chinese yuan (CNY) this year on his Bitcoin investments, claiming:

“In actuality, this isn’t the first time that Yang Chao has speculated on coins… Prior to the banning of ICOs and cryptocurrency trading platforms, his losses already exceeded 2 million yuan.”

Yang Chao is reported to have suggested that the recent ICO ban has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of Chinese investors, and his personal reasons for continuing to invest is a result of cryptocurrencies large fluctuations, adding that investors like himself a relatively few in number.

Although Yang Chao’s continued diligence may be unusual in light of Bitcoin’s fluctuating price range this year, the report goes on to say that due to the “mad increase” in the price of Bitcoin, exceeding CNY 120,000 since its creation, “the allure of becoming rich overnight has attracted a large volume of investors”.

China banned both ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges in September 2017, but trading by individuals has remained a murky area with many businessmen relocating to Hong Kong or Japan while still raising funds from mainland investors.

China Central TV ended its news feature with a final warning to would be investors, commenting: “The lack of openness, the lack of transparency, the instability of prices, as well as the expectation amongst investors that they will become rich overnight, has magnified risk on the virtual currency market.”

Cryptocurrencies have battled to find a place within China’s massive financial structure due to persistent government and state media pressure, but the same can’t be said for blockchain. Numerous projects are underway such as Shenzhen City government’s latest project investing CNY 500 million (USD 80 million) in blockchain startups.

 

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Japan’s Largest Bank Partners with US Tech Giant for Blockchain Payment Service

The biggest bank in Japan has partnered with a US tech company to design a blockchain capable of handling 1 million transactions per second, boosting speed and reducing transaction feeds through distributed ledger technology.

MUFG and Akamai partnership

The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) partnered with US-based Akamai to deliver a new global payment network service, which is intended to be available from 2019 and will be compatible with Internet of Things (IoT) style payments and other emerging technologies.

“MUFG and Akamai, using Akamai’s globally deployed high-speed and high-security platform, will utilize this new blockchain’s high-speed processing and secure value transfer abilities to promote pay-per-use, micropayments, and other new IoT generation payment methods, and to support the diverse payment options of the sharing economy by offering an open platform,” reads the 21 May press release.

The new blockchain developed contrasts with the original cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which was built on the first blockchain in the world and can only process seven transactions per second; the distributed ledger developed by MUFG and Akamai is “permissioned”, which means that verified computers are the only ones able to join the network.

Risk and reward

MUFG and Akamai detailed the growing interest in blockchain technologies and highlighted its capacity to “strengthen protection against falsification of transactions and drastically lower costs”, as well as the fact that financial institutions across the globe are partnering with tech companies to also test proof of concept designs.

While the technology is reported to “create new risks for banks”, the Japanese financial giant has embraced it with Akamai, which according to the press release is “the world’s largest and most trusted cloud delivery platform”.

Blockchain has been receiving surging amounts of interest from governments and institutions since ICOs and cryptocurrency markets exploded in 2017. Industry heavyweights such as IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, and JPMorgan are making bold steps toward adopting the disruptive technology, which will only contribute to the future successes of the blockchain industry.

Blockchain, banking, and a cryptocurrency

Earlier in May, the Japanese financial giant reported that it had intentions of trialing its own cryptocurrency in 2019, which lines up perfectly with the intended release date for the new blockchain service.

As reported by Japanese local news outlet NHK, the fifth largest bank in the world by assets will be rolling out a trial app to approximately 100,000 MUFG account holders who can install the app on their smartphones and convert their deposits into the MUFG coin; one MUFG coin will be worth one Japanese yen. Users will also be able to use the currency wherever they so please and transfer the currency to accounts of other participants.

It is a clear indication that the global stance on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies is shifting toward the mainstream. Should the partnership and digital currency trial be successful, it will prove a transformative moment for the industry, financial institutions and society.

 

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Global State Bank Crypto Adoption Still in Its Infancy

With banks increasingly switching on to the current global interest in cryptocurrencies, digital currencies are now being utilized by the same institutions they were designed to subvert, writes Cointelegraph.

More and more banks around the world see blockchain as a panacea to banking issues, all long overdue for improvement and update. They are realizing that, due to today’s already digitalized banking, which has changed the nature of payment and storage of monies, the technology behind Bitcoin clearly has a place within global financial systems.

Only a fraction of money is paper money bills in circulation, and current digital systems lack speed, stability and security. This, coupled with customer demand, as in the case of Goldman Sachs’s adoption of a digital dollar recently, is driving many nations to consider or actively support central bank cryptocurrency.

Governments and central banks from India, Japan, Canada, Russia, Switzerland to Singapore and the Marshall Islands are all currently looking into a government-backed digital currency. Several other governments, including China, Estonia, and Iran, have discussed plans for their own digital currency. Of these, the Marshall Islands have taken one step further and plan to issue its own cryptocurrency that will be circulated as legal tender along with the US dollar.

Singapore has project UBIN and the Bank of Canada has Project Jasper, while the United States is toying with the idea of a FedCoin. Last year, in the Middle East, the Bank of Israel was considering a digital Shekel.

In Sweden, many retail stores no longer accept paper money and some Swedish bank branches no longer disburse or collect cash. In response, the Riksbank has a current project in progress examining the viability of an e-Krona for retail payments.

Crypto-friendly Switzerland is looking towards the viability of a Swiss National Bank (SNB) e-Franc, but has little support within the Swiss government. The often controversial Venezuelan Petro, seen as both an economy saver and possible sanction breaker, was launched in February 2018 to supplement the plummeting bolivar fuerte, reportedly backed by the nation’s oil reserves.

In Russia, deputy minister of economic development Oleg Fomichev suggested the proposed CryptoRuble, conceived in a climate of heavy anti-crypto sentiments regarding adoption by private companies but nonetheless in state hands, becoming another powerful sanction breaker in the current political climate. Russian president Vladimir Putin stated that the Stone Age has not ended because humanity has run out of stones, but because new technologies have appeared.

“If if central banks were to back cryptocurrencies, the central banks would be better positioned to predict money demand and therefore adjust supply accordingly,” writes Mohamed Damak of S and P Global, adding, “It is still too early to tell in which direction this instruments will move.”

Alternatively, he writes, “If cryptocurrencies were to take off and become an effective currency issued in a decentralized manner, the impact on monetary policy implementation would be deep, since central banks might lose their ability to control the money supply.”

It is a view more closely aligned to Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision.

 

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Blockchain Facilitates Tourism at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Two Tokyo companies are looking ahead to the 2020 Olympics with a view to using blockchain technology to share data in hospitality and tourism, according to Newsweek.

The two companies, Mitsubishi Estate and tech giant Fujitsu, are working towards offering blockchain secure data sharing in hospitality outlets, including restaurants and hotels, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. The hope is that the shared data, protected by blockchain’s security, will allow tourists to enjoy shorter wait times at restaurants, better hotel stays and a smoother experience traveling abroad.

Mitsubishi Estate manages 30% of buildings in Tokyo’s business district. Senior Manager Hiroyuki Okuyama pointed out that until now companies have been reticent in sharing information, due to concerns about data being leaked.

A trial is underway in Daimaruyu, a business district in Tokyo made up of three suburbs. There are about 100 buildings in the area. The area houses 16 businesses from the Fortune 500, which puts it on par with New York and London, according to Okuyama.

Construction has already begun on sports venues for the upcoming Games, and Okuyama is confident that the new technology is going to make for a better experience for visitors from all over the world, and should be fully functional before the event’s start in 2020. According to Okuyama, the collaboration with Fujitsu now allows the company to store, share and use data with confidence.

“The general user will not realize the technology behind this, whether it is blockchain or something else,” he said. “What type of tech is used is irrelevant (for the user), it should be irrelevant.”

He suggested that visitors lose valuable time at large events, such as lining up at restaurants when they should be able to immediately verify at any time how much seating is available, and alternatives if full. He commented:

“For us, we believe that people who visit the city, a comfortable and smooth stay is most important. Rather than going after that short-term return, we believe there is more we can do.”

Fujitsu senior manager Eiji Ikeda said blockchain would keep the data in the hands of the owners. “The problem with the cloud is that it is difficult to release,” Ikeda said. “With blockchain, companies can inject their data [while keeping control].”

Reports at the end of last year excited many crypto hungry Japanese, when it was announced that the Bank of Japan had backed a scheme for its own cryptocurrency to be up and running before the Olympics.

The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020.

 

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World’s Fifth Largest Bank Joins Crypto Space with Digital Yen

Japan’s Mitsibushi UFC Financial group (MUFG), the world’s fifth-largest bank by assets, has announced it will trial its own digital currency as early as 2019, reports Cointelegraph.

The move, which dates back as far as 2016, sees the Japanese giant running out the coin, valued at one yen, to 100,000 account holders, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.  The bank suggests that its MUFG coin will be usable in a number of retail outlets, bars, and restaurants, and will also be transferable to other participant’s accounts.

MUFG will be checking to see that it’s all working as intended and that settlements are carried out smoothly and securely. It is reportedly broadening the pilot by offering the currency to a variety of businesses in order to expand the test.

Japan has seen increased interest in digital currency from some of the country’s largest cooperations, with DMM’s announcement that it was ready to trade in cryptocurrency and, most significantly, Yahoo Japan’s announced 40% stake in BitARG, planned for later this year. The deal, worth between USD 18.5 million and USD 27.8 million, allows BitARG to operate a domestic trading platform under FSA rules, making it a viable investment opportunity for Yahoo.

The Japanese Central Bank continues to be wary of cryptocurrency, with numerous warnings issued to customers regarding the perils of dabbling in digital currency, even issuing a negative Q and A for customers earlier in the year in order to test public knowledge and warn about the risks of crime.

Also Japan-based global investment bank Nomura has just announced its latest project; to establish a custody offering for digital assets.  The new project aims at removing barriers to institutional cryptocurrency investment.

Although news regarding large banks like MUFG and companies such as Yahoo walking the crypto path serves to give some extra legitimacy to the Japanese cryptocurrency market, there are still those who feel the ethos of the industry has been somewhat altered. Many crypto enthusiasts feel that the creation of Bitcoin was a positive step towards bypassing the monopoly of institution banking after the financial turmoil of 2008.

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Bitflyer Head Yuzo Kano to Hire the Best Talent for His New Crypto Exchange

Yuzo Kano is a man of resources with a vision. The man aims high, and he wants to have the world’s leading exchange service for digital currencies. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this former Goldman Sachs alumnus is the prominent head behind BitFlyer Inc., Japan’s #1 exchange service. So far the man has doubled his staff over the past six months. He’s looking to have the best and the brightest working alongside him by the year-end. The company aims to have 300 of the best talents from the banking industry and the cryptocurrency field.

Poaching the talent, getting ahead

Luring talent from other companies is not an uncommon practice in the business world. But being as aggressive as BitFlyer has been, certainly seems to put in evidence that Yuzo Kano is taking the lead on making the best out of the relaxation on digital currency regulations by the Japanese government. In the land of the rising sun, government officials are managing trade and exchange of cryptocurrencies with heavy supervision. This has made the legality of transactions using digital currencies an unquestionable, trustworthy legal process. No market can provide this with approval at the moment.

Numbers that favor the initiative

The conditions created by the Japanese government give Kano the opening he needs to launch a global operation. He’s positioned to do that since BitFlyer is currently the fourth largest exchange worldwide, right behind BitMex, Binance, and OKEx. According to last public numbers they handled operations for nearly $2 billion just in 2017. Their users went from a few hundred to almost two million just after the announcement of new regulations. The entrepreneur has been very clear on interviews, stating that he only cares about being the #1 service provider. And to get there, he needs top of the line talent.

Going global, getting credibility

With Japan being set up as its main base, the plan is to go global by opening offices in business capitals of the world. The list includes Tokyo, Luxemburg, San Francisco, Australia and unspecified regions of South America, Africa, and Asia. He plans to go beyond the exchange service by offering new entrepreneurs the framework and the advice to make their plans successful. While his intentions look ambitious, it’s very much at odds with similar initiatives such as the one started recently by Mike Novogratz, who launched a Merchant bank for digital currencies just a little while ago. The talent already hired by Kano gives him a leading hand since it adds credibility to the operation, both inside and outside his country.

Even with a declining number of interested parties and unstable numbers on the behavior of Bitcoin over the last six months, Kano is managing to draw in some very powerful talent by offering some of the best salaries in the industry. He is making sure that people coming to work, have a clear idea of the ultimate goal of the company. It is a guessing game to say how successful he will be. But, it’s worth watching how Yuzo Kano’s efforts pay off in the end.

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 4th to 10th May 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Thailand

Government levies taxes on crypto despite opposition: Thailand is the latest country to levy taxes on cryptocurrencies despite opposition at home. Thai blockchain associations were against the aggressive tax policy and the move follows the regional trend of crypto taxes after Australia and other nations levied taxes on crypto gains.

The ministry of finance had already released plans to introduce taxes for cryptocurrency trading and investment.  Thai digital currency associations voiced their concerns regarding the move and the minister responded but the move eventually took place.

The proposed 15% tax is considered stifling for the growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain space. In addition to this basic levy, a 7% value-added tax is also levied on all cryptocurrency trades. The legislation is still in its infancy and the government has no infrastructure in place to audit the crypto taxes.

Stock exchange launches crowdfunding blockchain: The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has announced the launch of a decentralized crowdfunding platform based on blockchain to facilitate small businesses and enterprises in the country.

The platform is named LiVE and has plans to provide a complete startup ecosystem which will also provide the necessary education for new businesses to get easier access to institutional investors as well. More than 50 companies are targeted to join the program.

China

Police announce blockchain-based evidence storage: The Chinese ministry of public security has announced the development of a blockchain application that stores evidence from police investigations safely and securely for long-term. The tech was patented at China’s Intellectual property office back in November 2017 and it automatically takes police data and stores it in cloud storage.

This will help solve the problem of falsified records and fake evidence, according to Chinese authorities since blockchain technology can help data become tamper-proof. Criminals will no longer be able to easily hack into the government databases and wipe out the records.

600 Bitcoin mining rigs believed to be from Iceland seized in China: Police in the city of Tianjin, China have seized a record 600 Bitcoin mining rigs in a raid, which is the same number of machines that were reportedly stolen in Iceland heists back in December and January.

The mining operation had caused a short circuit due to stealing power from the national grid after authorities found out that there was a sudden 28% increase in power consumption on one line alone.

India

Crypto exchanges challenge banking restrictions in top court: Indian cryptocurrency exchanges have challenged the central bank’s decision to stop facilitating the transactions of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

This is the third challenge to cryptocurrencies in the market and the most severe as all banking services have been blocked off to the crypto exchanges and they include big local names like Coindelta exchange, Koinex exchange, Throughbit Exchange and CoinDCX.

The petitions will likely be heard in India’s top court on 11 May 2018.

Taiwan

Binance CEO sees ICOs as future of VC: The CEO of popular cryptocurrency trading platform Binance has stated that he believes initial coin offerings (ICOs) are the future of venture capital investments. Changpen Zhao, the CEO believes that the digital crowdfunding method is not just a “good-to-have” option but a genuine future for the system.

Binance is currently based in Taiwan after previous operations in China and Japan.

South Korea

Regulators positive about crypto: The new head of the Korean State’s financial watchdog Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Yoon Suk-heun has made some encouraging comments regarding the future legislation around cryptocurrencies.

He at least admitted that cryptocurrencies have “some positive aspects” and could have a part in the future. This seems that the confrontational situation has so far dialed down below the 38th parallel since last September’s ban when regulators had “serious doubts” about cryptocurrencies.

The top regulator also said, “there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed and reviewed. We can figure them out but gradually.”

Japan

FSA crackdown on anonymous exchanges and crypto businesses on the cards: Japan continues its love-hate relationship with cryptocurrencies with the Financial Security Agency (FSA) mulling actions against anonymous cryptocurrency exchanges and startups in the country.

It is also trying to see the exchanges delist currencies like ZCash, Monero and Dash, something that goes far beyond the normal crypto regulations that we have gotten used to in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Indonesia

Private and public sectors encouraged to apply blockchain technology: The South East Asian country is encouraging both the private and public sectors to invest in blockchain technology to solve complex problems that are plaguing the country including storage and application of data according to latest reports from Reuters.

The country is a challenge to administer as 250 million inhabitants are spread over a total of 17,000 islands. The Financial Services Authority has assembled a team and they are investigating the applications of the technology for the future.

Singapore

Physical Bitcoin smart banknotes launched: Singaporean Bitcoin startup Tangem has announced a physical Bitcoin banknote at a popular shopping center in the island state. The banknotes are available in denominations starting from BTC 0.01 btc onwards. Each note has a chip that cost the company USD 2 to make and it stores the private keys.

It is the first hardware solution in the form of banknotes with certification for its entire hardware and electronics according to EAL6+ and EMVCo standards. The company is committed to “radically improve the simplicity and security of acquiring, owning, and circulating cryptocurrencies for both sophisticated and incoming users”.

Tangem has a presence in South Korea and Southern China, Taiwan, Russia, and Israel.

Australia

Government earmarks $700 million for blockchain research: The Australian budget has recently unveiled an allocation of USD 700,000 for the blockchain Space to “to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for government service”.

 

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New Survey Reveals Diminishing New Interest in Crypto

Dalia Research has just published the results of its latest survey on global cryptocurrency adoption, reports Cointelegraph. which reveals a diminishing of new interest in cryptocurrency across major countries across the world.

The report, published on 9 May, shows differences in crypto ownership and knowledge along lines of education, gender, and nationality, and attempted to “measure the spread of awareness, knowledge, buying intention and ownership of cryptocurrency” in a survey of over 29,000 people in eight countries, comprising the US, UK, Germany, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, China, and India.

South Korea and Japan returned the most significant numbers in terms of awareness and knowledge on the subject of cryptocurrency, and globally 75% are at least “aware” of digital currency, although only 50% of respondents attested to an understanding of what cryptocurrencies were.

The research showed that on average, only 4% of people who do not already own crypto intended to invest within the next six months, and notably in Japan and South Korea, there was now little intention to buy cryptocurrency, at 3% and 2% respectively. This seems to indicate that those with the intent to trade or hold cryptocurrencies are already well established in the space. China’s particularly low rate of ownership can be seen as the result of strict government measures in recent months. Japan rated as having the highest ownership of digital currency at 11%.

In terms of gender, the survey revealed that men were more likely to buy cryptocurrencies than women and that the UK, US, and Germany had higher gender gaps than Asian countries. The gender gap in the US was 13%, compared to 4% in China and  India.

Higher levels of education correlated directly to higher levels of crypto ownership, according to the survey, with 12% ownership by more educated owners against 4% by less educated respondents. These were reflected again among those intending to purchase cryptocurrency with a 67/33 percentage split.

Pro-BTC Wall Street analyst Nick Colas cast a pessimistic tone over crypto adoption recently, suggesting that there was evidence of weak public interest indicators, including fewer Bitcoin Google searches and low crypto wallet growth. This was reflected in the survey.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th April to 3rd May 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

The Korean Peninsula

Korea peace treaty inscribed in blockchain: The historic Korea peace declaration by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in on 27 April 2018 was immutably recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. The move was done by Ryi Gi-Hyeok, a prominent South Korean game developer, after the two leaders met at the demilitarized zone on the border.

Rye coded the two Ether transactions, including the Panmunjom Declaration, one in English and the other in Korean. He explained:

“I just thought it took too long for the South and the North to give way to each other… After finding out what I could contribute to this historic achievement as a developer, I found the Panmunjom Declaration on the Blue House homepage and recorded it on Ethereum.”

He has further plans to launch a website to keep all important historic records in permanent, immutable storage on Ethereum.

Samsung posts record-breaking quarter thanks to crypto mining surge: South Korean tech giant Samsung’s investment into ASIC chips for Bitcoin mining seems to have paid off as the company posted a record operating income for the first quarter of 2018 and a profit of $14.5 billion.

Vice president, investor relations, Robert Yi was of the opinion:

“In the semiconductor business, earnings increased significantly year-over-year thanks to favorable memory market conditions driven by a strong demand for server and graphics memory as well as earnings improvements in both System LSI and foundry businesses led by increasing demand for chips used in flagship smartphones and cryptocurrency mining”.

Bank of Korea considering blockchain as part of cashless society concept: The South Korean cryptocurrency scene is exploding after Samsung announced record profits from ASIC chips sales and now the Bank of Korea is considering cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as part of its “cashless society concept”.

The bank has announced the official launch of its cashless society project on its 2017 Payment Report, according to a post from TokenPost on 1 May 2018.

Japan

Crypto enquiries tripled in 2017: The Japanese Financial Security Agency (FSA) has released figures of cryptocurrency enquiries and they have gone up by more than three times since the same time last year. Over 3.5 million people have been trading in cryptocurrencies in Japan and the new figures confirm the massive spike in public interest in cryptocurrencies since the course of last year.

What is interesting is that most of the enquiries were from the 40s and 50s age groups and were regarding the legitimacy of ICOs and the security of the exchange platforms. It seems the older Japanese generation is also getting into cryptocurrencies.

Taiwan

Binance more profitable than Deutsche Bank: Binance, one of the biggest exchanges in the world, has outperformed the mighty Deutsche Bank in terms of profitability, according to latest figures from both of these organizations. Binance posted a profit of USD 200 million between January and March, while Deutsche Bank only recorded net gains of USD 146 million, significantly under a targeted USD 456 million amount.

Binance was originally founded in China but since then moved to Japan before eventually settling in Republic of China (Taiwan).

Singapore

Singapore fast tracks patents and crypto ride-hailing: The Singapore government has just announced its Fast Track Fintech initiative that is aimed at accelerating the patent approval process for fintech areas including cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based payments.

The development was announced by Low Ling, the senior parliamentary secretary for ministry of trade and industry. His office said:

“The incorporation of blockchain technology to improve the security and efficiency of clearing and settlement across borders for transaction and payment is deemed as a Fintech invention.”

Hong Kong

Government finds crypto not implicated in financial crime increase: The Hong Kong government’s investigation into criminal activity has revealed that criminals are still more likely to use conventional methods of money transfer rather than cryptocurrencies to move black money from one place to another.

Normally, cryptocurrencies are blamed for most of the money laundering efforts in criminal circles but this investigation proves that conventional systems are more likely to be used in this space than cryptocurrencies.

Australia

UNICEF announces mining project to help fund education: UNICEF Australia has announced a cryptocurrency mining initiative in which computing resources from donors will be used to mine cryptocurrency which in turn will be used to raise fiat money to invest in education.

The project is called the Hope Page and will be used to mine the cryptocurrency Monero using donors’ computer processing power that can be anything from powerful ASIC miners to a regular PC with GPU.

UNICEF launched a similar project back in February to help the Syrian civil war crisis.

Stock exchange okays plan for blockchain: The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has announced plans to replace its old clearance and settlement system with a blockchain-based alternative as early as 2020.

The idea had been in the pipeline for some time since 2015 but the decision arrived back in December last year when the stock exchange announced plans to become the world’s first stock exchange to employ blockchain technology.

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Sony to Combat Piracy with Blockchain

Sony the Japanese technology company, made an application on Thursday for a patent for a blockchain system to store digital rights data.  Digital rights management (DRM) systems, restrict access to copyright-protected content to those who have the permissions, this is often via a paid service or purchased copy. Customer identification could be stored on the blockchain, which could be used in the verification process to validate if they have the appropriate permissions to view or listen to the media. Sony believes a blockchain-based system could prevent piracy across a variety of media and data such as video, audio, games, and scientific data.

Impact of piracy

In a day and age where we have the internet at our fingertips, copyright infringement is a growing concern. Producers, developers, and service providers are continually looking to improve systems to protect their products.

Digital TV predicts a total loss of USD 52 billion across 138 countries between 2016 and 2022 for streaming services. Piracy, not only affects profits by the loss of subscription fees but puts ad related profits into the pockets of criminals. These figures do not include profit losses from illegal cable and satellite services.

According to Sandvine’s studies TV service providers are set to loose up to USD 4 billion as a direct result of pirated TV services. Up to 6.5% of North American households are believed to be viewing this illegally streamed media. As technology improves and more content begins to migrate to media players like HBO and Netflix, the material becomes more accessible to hackers. Piracy is no-longer a concern for just Hollywood and the music industry.

The computer game industry loses up to a fifth of its U.S market to piracy, USD 3.5 Billion. Globally, piracy costs the market 8.1 Billion a year.

Music piracy was on the rise in 2017 and was up by 14.7% from prior years. The US was at the top of the list, with 27.9 billion visitors to illegal music sites annually.

The Future

By country, the U.S. is affected most by the impacts of piracy and the industry is looking to take preventative measures. If piracy was to continue at its current rate, we would inevitably see a loss of profits, leading to a reduction in services or media offered. Blockchain could bring a fairer future for content providers and producers alike.

 

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