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Brazil University to Launch Bitcoin Masters Program

Sao Paulo university Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV) has announced that it is to offer a Masters Degree in Cryptofinance as part of its program in order to “prepare students for the coming era of digital currencies”.

FGV’s new Masters’ program is a reflection of Brazil’s forward thinking approach to new developments in the financial global market. The university’s program officer, Ricardo Rochman, regards the move as an important one towards training professionals as “leaders” in Brazil’s start-up ecosystem. Rochman claims that the current market suffers from a lack of expertise and that economic and financial fundamentals need to be both researched and taught so that cryptofinance can move ahead.

The Faculty of Economics and Administration at the University of Sao Paulo (FEA-USP) is also embracing the new technologies, adding a Cryptocurrencies module to its Derivatives course. In this module, students can learn about Bitcoin and how markets react in the cryptocurrency environment. Alan de Genaro, a professor at the faculty, made the decision to run the course because future professionals “need to decipher which factors are beneficial and which are not”.

The education market, through major universities around the globe, is beginning to embrace the need for further research and teaching programs with regard to blockchain technology. New York University began offering one of the first classes on the subject in 2014. Other top Universities, such as Duke, Cornell and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are now offering a range of crypto courses. Stanford and Princeton Universities also offer courses on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

In Russia, some major universities have added courses to existing programs on banking, finance and financial markets. Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Moscow’s Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) both run blockchain technology courses.

With cryptocurrency’s growing popularity, Bitcoin ‘labs’ are increasingly being introduced at universities around the world. Students enrolling for Edinburgh University‘s new course, Blockchains and Ledgers, will be required to build their own blockchain in a course aimed at fourth-year undergraduates and first-year masters students.

 

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IBM Looking at Blockchain Alternatives for Cloud Testing

IBM’s blockchain testing future

A patent released this week describes how a test configuration using blockchain will provide a more secure testing infrastructure. In this method, miners allocated tasks will be paid in cryptocurrency on completion. A blockchain solution would reduce hardware requirements and maintenance while saving money for service providers and clients.

Cloud testing is where cloud computing is used to simulate an environment for testing web-based applications. The simulation can be used to test a variety of functional elements as well as performance in relation to user traffic.

Existing issues with current cloud testing

With an increase of applications in development, the demand for these services is growing. Applications continue to become more complex, leading to large hardware requirements and fluctuations in service use.

Suitable bandwidth must also be available to improve testing quality. Similar timings in development cycles can cause cloud resources to be diluted across many companies as their testing coincides with others. Additional costs are incurred as code is retested, due to no record of redundant tests. Finally, testing involves sharing data and information with outside parties, posing a security risk.

Possible benefits of blockchain

Using a blockchain-based environment would allow details of test packages to be publicly viewed via a public ledger. Testing requests and payments could then be processed using smart contracts. Smart contracts would submit requirements and payment details to the network, releasing rewards once all conditions are met.

Results would then be recorded on the blockchain for the client to view. All results and company data can also be encrypted and made exclusively available to the client using private keys.

A record of prior testing would also stop recurring fees for redundant tests. The ability to outsource work to miners would result in lower outlays on hardware to provide the testing services and better resource management at peak times.

World’s Smallest IBM Crypto Computer to Fight Fraud

IBM to Expand Business Cryptocurrency Applications

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Beyond Speculation: Where Bitcoin Derives Value From

When Bitcoin appeared, not many people were ready to recognize the true value a decentralized solution to cash could bring. It took years until the technology was met with recognizable levels of adoption and its creator(s) vanished shortly after Bitcoin began receiving significant mentions from major media, but that’s another story.

Bitcoin’s roots

The vision Bitcoin created and the road it paved for cryptocurrency is something that’s still surrounded by a lot of nuances to many.  It’s true that the initial supporters of Bitcoin, even prior to its widespread success in global markets, were libertarian in nature. This was, in part, due to Bitcoin posing as an alternative to government-issued money.

Of course, Bitcoin has come a very long way since its early days and the overall cryptocurrency economy has grown tremendously. What’s important to highlight, though, is the fact that cryptocurrency’s success in markets is firmly based on a handful of principles. And it is these principles introduced by Bitcoin that make cryptocurrency a viable alternative to government-issued cash.

The principles that make Bitcoin “trustless”

The term “trustless” is often thrown around when it comes to cryptocurrency. Understandably, it might not easy to grasp why or how this is even a feature. It is, however, crucial to understand why trustlessness is important for cryptocurrency. This might be the most important aspect of what crypto has to offer, and it is the result of a plethora of features based on Bitcoin’s principles.

Unlike government-backed money, Bitcoin not dependent on trust for central authorities. Its users do not have to trust any government or central bank for its integrity.

Decentralization

Bitcoin is decentralized, meaning that there is no central issuing authority. There also are no clearing houses that transactions must go through. New units of Bitcoin are minted into circulation through a deflationary process called mining. Other than an incentive structure that rewards miners with transaction fees and newly-generated coins, miners also contribute to verifying transactions by including them in blocks.

Moreover, participants in the network running full node software are broadcasting transactions compliant to the network rules, this way contributing to the ecosystem. Bitcoin’s system works in a peer-to-peer manner, with users also being contributors if they so choose.

Open source: “in code we trust”

The code of Bitcoin is always published. Its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, released the Bitcoin very first client with the entirety of the codebase being made public. This allows for anyone to review the code, compile it and verify its functions without having to trust the issuer. Insofar, no one has been able to crack Bitcoin’s code to exploit its system and the code is continuously reviewed by the community before releases are made official. Crypto enthusiasts have been known to play on the phrase “in God we trust”, inscribed on US dollars, jokingly stating that they put their trust in [computer] code.

Cryptography or “backed by math”

Cryptocurrency might not be backed by a tangible store of value such as gold. However, Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies are backed by cryptography: a codebase that has been through countless tests and found to be unbreakable, a large network of contributors and the largest computing network in the world making up its mining network. All those values are set in stone by mathematical properties other than physical attributes. It is thanks to math that cryptocurrencies have many of the characteristics of cash and that is why many people attribute value to it.

 

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Virtual Reality and Blockchain The New Matrix

What are virtual and augmented realities?

Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) are two up-and-coming technologies that will be soon shaping the future. VR is a computer-generated, three-dimensional environment rendered to replicate an existing or imaginary place. Users are completely immersed in this cyberspace and as the technology evolves, it will no longer be limited to the primary senses of sight and sound. Newer systems are finding ways to emulate touch, taste, smell and even emotions. AR is similar to VR but is an overlay of the simulated environment on top of our own reality.       

How can virtual reality benefit from blockchain?

VR and AR are finding their way into more real-world applications. As their uses grow, certain issues arise regarding data infrastructure and licensing. Currently, applications are centralized and suffer from server speeds bottlenecking their performance when too many users are logged in. With a decentralized solution, audio and visual data can be stored in the blockchain to alleviate these issues. User data for accounts encoded into smart contracts will create an unforgeable contract of ownership because of network verification.

VR is heavily dependant on the quality of its visual and auditory samples as these depict realism. As VR becomes more widely adopted, these resources will need to copyright protection, and have details of their ownership rights and authors readily available. VR/AR is a new technology, without a standardized set of codecs to use. This is the perfect time in the technology cycle to implement a new standard that will reap the benefits of what blockchain has to offer. Blockchain could create a database of sensory samples with the rights of the developers and any other information cryptographically encoded within the sample. Seen as the blockchain is in a constant state of synchronization the sample information would always be up to date. Timestamps on financial transactions would keep a record of events such as royalties being paid for a sample.

A new world

Dot Blockchain Music has already designed its own codec and is taking steps to make blockchain the security that the music and audio industry needs. Metadata in standard codecs isn’t always easily accessible. Dot Blockchain Music will bind metadata to the music which will be verified by the network and be rendered unplayable without that information. With licensing information embedded in the song and the use of smart contracts, this could change the way in which royalties are collected and how security regarding user rights of material is achieved.

In future, getting to work may be as simple as going to the study and putting your VR headset on. In your VR environment you would earn cryptocurrency for your completed tasks and your funds would then be available in the real world. Jobs such as teaching, entertainment and design are perfect for VR as they are remotely accessible. ImmVRse is one of the many companies in the industry that have already adopted blockchain technology in this manner. 

Decentraland is a virtual platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain, using smart contracts to verify ownership of land in the virtual world. Users can go about creating their own in-depth world to visit casinos, attend workshops, shop with friends or even drive a car.

With the rapid advancements in these sectors, the world as we know it today will become indistinguishable from the heavily augmented/virtual world of tomorrow. One thing is for certain, there’s a need for a stable, secure infrastructure for this metaverse and blockchain promises to be that solution.

More on Blockchain in VR/AR:

PR:LUCYD AND INDE FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE INDE to Provide Augmented Reality Apps for Lucyd

PR: Lucyd and Roomful Form Strategic Alliance— Roomful to Provide Their AR/VR App Platform for Lucyd Smartglasses

PR:A Hybrid-Decentralised Marketplace And Content Sharing Platform Poised To Disrupt The Virtual Reality Industry

Vivid Announces Release of World’s First Social AR Crypto Management Tool

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2008 to 2017: From Geeky Pipe Dream To Mainstream Adoption

While Bitcoin emerged in 2008, rising from the ruins of a global economic crisis, it isn’t actually the first cryptocurrency. From the admission of its creator(s), Bitcoin took inspiration from the early models of b-money and Bit Gold from the late 1990s, digital currencies that utilized cryptographic protocols.

That’s not to say Bitcoin is wrongly seen as the father of cryptocurrencies – but Bitcoin is probably more accurately seen as the first successful progeny of many failed predecessors.

This success was not immediate, either. From the very first Bitcoins created in 2009, the earliest transactions were simply test payments sent from its creators and developers. There were early users – people who mined Bitcoin for fun (we’ll come to mining later) mostly – who were credited with creating demand and assigning value to Bitcoin.

Because the concept was so new, it’s perhaps logical that the very first monetary value assigned to Bitcoin in late 2009 by (now defunct) New Liberty Standard exchange was based on the estimated cost of electricity to run a computer that generated (mined) Bitcoin. Then, 1 USD was valued at 1,309.03 BTC.

People continued to exchange and trade Bitcoins, but for modest purchases. One of the most famous is an event still celebrated every year as Bitcoin Pizza Day, thanks to programmer Laszlo Hanyecz, who offered 10,000 BTC to anyone who would deliver two pizzas to his house. On 22 May 2010, someone finally did, recording a historical first for a real-world transaction using Bitcoin.

After a frenzy of computer geek adoption from slashdot later that year, Bitcoin’s real introduction to mainstream consciousness arrived in 2011, when dark market Silk Road opened the door to the illicit trade of narcotics, guns and all manner of contraband. But because Bitcoin became the media scapegoat for illegal online activity, people largely stayed away and it remained within the confines of its growing but small community.

The year 2011 was eventful, being featured on TIMES magazine, experiencing a 66% drop in what was called the“Great Bubble of 2011”, being accepted on WikiLeaks and the first Bitcoin Conference.

In 2013, US FinCEN issued a first statement on Bitcoin in 2013 as the total market cap passed USD 1 billion. The first Bitcoin ATMs appeared as Bloomberg terminal added a Bitcoin ticker (denoted as XBT).

The following years saw Bitcoin gain wider recognition and further adoption, with more exchanges coming to fill the void left by Mt. Gox’s spectacular fall in 2014 (then the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange). Bitcoin hype began to build, popularized by films like Dope (2015) that continued to portray it as criminal currency, but when Bitcoin price crashed from over $1,000 thanks to a ban from China’s central bank in late 2013 and continued to fall to as low as $200 by early-2015, the dream was temporarily forgotten.

It would take almost two years for Bitcoin to recover, finally breaking past $1,000 in January 2017. By now, Bitcoin was primed for mass adoption – governments like those in Switzerland and Japan had formally begun accepting it as legal tender, exchanges saw record volumes of trade, alternative cryptocurrencies had flooded the market, and the Bitcoin network was processing almost 10 million transactions a month.

The year 2017 was a watershed period, as Bitcoin marked nine years of existence. Beyond recognition, Bitcoin was gaining legitimization among lawmakers. GitHub marked more than 10,000 Bitcoin-related projects, while new blockchain startups raised billions of dollars in “initial coin offerings. New users were arriving in droves, with a congested Bitcoin network forced to hasten scaling efforts.

Everyone who could, bought Bitcoin. By the end of the year, Bitcoin had touched $20,000.

 

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