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Tech Giants Take on Opioid Addiction with DLT

IBM has announced that it is now planning to use a blockchain-enabled health surveillance system in order to collect data on antibiotics and opioids prescriptions by doctors.

Opioid prescription abuse is becoming a problem worldwide with figures showing that their illicit use has now overtaken heroin. Globally, prescription opioid pain relievers are now among the most commonly misused and abused medicines.

IBM’s blockchain system is now making it easy for public health agencies to track both medical practitioners and their patients in order to try and stem this new epidemic of drug misuse. The healthcare industry is seeing several attempts at developing secure digital platforms for the exchange of patient data, believing that blockchain-based solutions may have the potential to vastly improve current data sharing systems in national hospitals.

Healthcare and clinical research is an expanding area as doctors and hospitals increasingly need secure access to a patient’s entire health history. This new, rapidly evolving field provides fertile ground for experimentation, investment, and proof-of-concept testing.

The implications for the industry are endless. New platforms are emerging almost daily such as a diagnostic blockchain infrastructure aimed to host, train and use artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, and a blockchain-powered platform designed to track and protect pharmaceutical data.

Prominent healthcare professionals are also growing increasingly confident that DLT has what is required to vastly improve the security of current centralized forms of data storage, which have been vulnerable to hackers attempting to steal patient data for sale on the black market.

IBM has, for some time now, been looking at applying blockchain solutions to the healthcare industry through its work with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the end of last year, its chief science officer Shahram Ebadollahi acknowledged how relevant blockchain and AI was becoming in the industry.

“Blockchain is very useful when there are so many actors in the system… It enables the ecosystem of data in healthcare to have more fluidity, and AI allows us to extract insights from the data. Everybody talks about big data in healthcare but I think the more important thing is long data.”

Since then, CDC has run several pilots and is urging the healthcare community to take up the mantle. Another computer giant, Intel, has done exactly that, working with McKesson and Johnson and Johnson to use DLT to trace the pill supply chain. Intel’s Director of healthcare privacy and security commented that the tech could “vastly reduce the opioid epidemic” adding, “I would not say this will eliminate the opioid problem, but this will help.”

Another player in the healthcare space, the leader in blockchain healthcare solutions, Hashed Heath, maintains that blockchain’s most significant asset apart from the obvious tracking advantages, is that a “decentralized database of test results with free access to this data” prevents global duplication and enhances research by others moving forward.

 

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38% of South Africans Polled Regret Missing Early Bitcoin Uptake

A recent poll in South Africa on awareness and attitudes towards cryptocurrency has shown that 38% of respondents wished that they had invested in digital currency before, writes Cointelegraph.

The poll was conducted by Pan-African financial services company Old Mutual Limited. The annual Savings and Investment Monitor survey for South Africa revealed that in general, South Africans were currently largely positive about cryptocurrencies.

Along with 38% of people responding positively to the statement “I wish I had invested in [crypto] before”, another statement, “You can make a lot of money with them”, received a huge 71% agreement from the public.

The statement “They are bad news, like a pyramid scheme” seemed to resonate with 43% of respondents, while 53% had no idea how digital currencies actually worked.

Overall, and clearly important for the development of cryptocurrency in the region, according to the poll, more South Africans were unaware of the industry than those who were, with a 60/40 split.

As Bitcoin News reported recently, South Africa is developing its cryptocurrency space. The South African Reserve Bank has recently taken steps to introduce a new non-state self-regulatory body (SRO) aimed at overseeing further developments in the industry. Further to that, the SARB has announced that it wants to build a proof-of-concept wholesale payment system for interbank settlement using a South African rand token on DLT.

Europeans, according to recent statistics, are reported to be far more familiar with cryptocurrencies and take up in some countries such as Switzerland and the UK is significant. A recent ING survey suggested that 66% of Europeans were familiar with crypto and 33%, when prompted, saw it as the future of online spending. The awareness rate was found to be lower in the US with only 57% of respondents having heard of cryptocurrencies.

 

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How Much Would Bitcoin’s Price Be If It Extinguished Fiat Currency?

An interesting thought experiment can be conducted in regards to what Bitcoin’s price would be if all fiat currency ceased to exist, and if all of that money were put into Bitcoin. This can be defined as Bitcoin’s extinguishing capacity.

There are varying answers depending on what is defined as money, and money supply estimates for this article are taken from The Money Project which was last updated in 2017. Currently, there are BTC 17.128 million in circulation, and at a price of USD 6,600 each, that yields a total Bitcoin market cap of USD 113 billion.

The Bitcoin market cap pales in comparison to any measure of global money supply but theoretically, Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency could become the dominant form of currency in the future and maybe in a radical scenario, fiat could simultaneously become obsolete. This extreme scenario is what this article explores.

For starters, all the fiat coins and banknotes in the world amount to USD 7.6 trillion. If all of these coins and banknotes were wiped out and an equivalent amount of money was invested into Bitcoin, Bitcoin’s price would be USD 443,700. John McAfee says Bitcoin will hit USD 1 million by 2020, which would entail more than double the amount of money being invested in Bitcoin than the total supply of fiat cash in the world.

However, the total amount of fiat currency in existence is nowhere near the amount of total money in the world. Combining the money held in all of the world’s checking accounts with the total amount of fiat yields USD 36.8 trillion, and this is considered “narrow money” since it is easily accessible. If global narrow money were converted to Bitcoin, then Bitcoin’s price would be USD 2.148 million.

There is much more money in the world that isn’t easily accessible and considered “broad money”, including savings accounts, money market accounts, time deposits, and all the narrow money, totaling USD 90.4 trillion. This is probably the best measure of all the “real” money in the world, and if all broad money were put into Bitcoin then Bitcoin’s price would be USD 5.28 million.

Broad money is considered physical money, yet only comprises 8% of all the money on the books in the world. 92% of money on the books is non-physical. USD 217 trillion of non-physical money is tied up in all of the world’s real-estate, and it is quite interesting that there is nowhere near enough physical money in the world to buy all of the world’s real-estate. This suggests that the real-estate market is hyperinflated and not based on reality.

It gets worse; the governments of the world hold USD 215 trillion of debt, which is more than double all the physical money in the world. This is an excellent way to visualize how unsustainable the global economy is, and this stems from uncontrolled money printing. Bitcoin solves the out-of-control money printing problem, since it cannot be printed at will and only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be created. This fact is what could cause Bitcoin to become the primary global currency since unlimited money printing could destroy fiat currency.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the global derivatives market is somewhere between USD 544 trillion and USD 1,200 trillion, outweighing physical money by an order of magnitude. A derivative is a contract between two parties that derives value from the performance of an underlying asset. Derivatives trading played a primary role in the 2008 global financial crisis, which was on par with the Great Depression. Derivatives can be considered another example of out-of-control money printing, while simultaneously being a deceptive yet legal way for investment bankers to take physical money out of the markets.

To sum up, if all the world’s fiat is put into Bitcoin, the price per coin would be near USD 500,000, and if all the physical money was put into Bitcoin the price per coin would be near USD 5 million. While it seems like a radical possibility, a global economy tiring of a flawed system relying on a tremendous amount of money printing – itself a possible death knell for fiat – could lead to Bitcoin becoming the primary global currency.

 

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Joshua Broggi: Woolf’s University Blockchain Education “Practical Rather Than Theoretical”

There is a widespread scramble in the blockchain industry to apply the technology to almost any imaginable industry. Projects now seek to update existing standards, enhance efficiency or upgrade every known tool across a broad range of sectors, from finance and banking to music sharing and data privacy.

While it’s not improbable that most industries could benefit from a blockchain upheaval, there is some merit in asking the question: is the education system in need of distributed ledger technology? Also, is a blockchain university really necessary?

Joshua Broggi, Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University, certainly thinks so.

Broggi has founded Woolf, a platform that is designed to deliver higher education degrees through a decentralized, democratic system, with the intention to protect both students and teachers. Billed as “the first blockchain university, Woolf allows anyone around the world to access higher education outside of their own jurisdictions.

With platforms like the Open University and other universities allowing for distance learning degrees, this is blockchain’s foray into the sacred institution of education?

Bitcoin News got in touch with Joshua Broggi to help unravel some of the broader questions surrounding Woolf’s innovation on modern education.

Bitcoin News (BN): When did it become apparent to yourself and others behind the Woolf project that higher education needed to undergo some rigorous readjusting? 

Joshua Broggi: Higher education faces many challenges, and these have occupied my thinking (and public debate) for many years. Two economic problems have stood out: student debt and adjunct teaching. In the UK and US, student debt is a major and visible problem – it damages the lives of many students and keeps them from reaching their potential.

At Oxford, my home university, most of the faculty members – 63% – are on temporary contracts. This is typical of all major British universities. In the United States, roughly half of all university teachers are on extremely precarious ‘adjunct’ contracts. The human costs of this employment practice are incredibly damaging.

Meanwhile, university administrations have been growing for decades. In 2015, university administrators finally outnumbered academics in the United Kingdom. So we are left with a situation in which the normal employee of a university is either an administrator or a badly-employed academic. That’s not a good arrangement.

BN: The economic downturn caused quite a stir across all industries; a heavily discussed issue was the decline of college and university entrants, this in tandem with increased university costs has left many sceptical. However, there seems to be somewhat of an upswing over the past couple of years, what do you think has caused this? 

Broggi: Without engaging in an interpretation of the data, I can say that at Woolf, we are committed to providing access to an education that prepares students for a changing employment situation. We’re asking ourselves, “How can we best prepare the next generation of students? How can we reach across borders so that we can broaden student horizons?”

At Woolf, we are committed to the long-term benefits of a formative university education  – the kind of education that results from the extended, concentrated effort demanded by universities – because that is how the underlying skills of good judgment, sound reasoning, and intellectual creativity are developed.

But we don’t think the current system is agile enough to create the courses that students most require. We need to prepare students for a more global world in which the employment demands are changing. This is one thing that makes senior professors excited about joining Woolf: they can craft innovative curricula across borders.

BN: What can a blockchain-based education system do to remedy the employment challenges that faculty members face? 

Broggi: At Woolf, we are creating blockchain processes that enforce regulatory compliance for teaching activities, and that provide government accreditors with assurance about cross-border teaching data.

This eliminates a number of administrative processes and facilitates a global, collegiate, democratic, university structure. The result is potentially very powerful: a system in which professors do not need to ask for permission to practice their profession, but in which regulators and students can be confident about the quality of teaching.

BN: The Open University has been delivering a similar service to what Woolf offers and is in the pursuit of utilizing blockchain also, so can this medium of education overtake the present standard? 

Broggi: The Open University has been doing marvelous work exploring blockchain’s potential in higher education – as have Alex Grech and Anthony Camilleri, who wrote the European Commission Report on Blockchain in Education. We are really supportive of their work on blockchain.

At Woolf, however, we aren’t just researching blockchain; we’re focused on delivering a full university system to the public as quickly as possible, and we have been beta-testing our smart contracts since March of 2018. Woolf is in the process of obtaining full degree-granting powers in the European Union – so many of our considerations are practical rather than theoretical.

BN: In a recent Forbes article you were quoted saying that “teachers and students from outside the EU can join our platform and earn a full EU degree – a non-EU student with a non-EU teacher in a non-EU language“.  The broader implications of this guide me to a point where educational qualifications have the capacity to become borderless, but will the degrees hold any weight in a country that could deny the legitimacy of those qualifications? 

Broggi: The whole design of Woolf is meant to incentivize higher standards. But you raise an interesting point, which is that there are no agreed global standards for accreditation. Every agreement is the result of political negotiation and consensus.

Our work with various governments has reinforced how varied the standards are across jurisdictions, but Europe has agreements like the Bologna Process, which not only help to harmonize standards but also to make them more globally recognizable. At Woolf we have had to develop a strategy to ensure the widest global reach for our credentials – this is an ongoing process, but it is going well, and we are committed to ensuring that our future students will be proud of their degrees!

BN: Protecting the educators, as well as the students, appears to be a priority for you and the platform. However, how can a professor be sure that there is any employment or financial security when the tuition fees will be significantly cheaper and they’ll be getting paid in a cryptocurrency, which is often well known to be rather volatile?

Broggi: Every academic department faces employment challenges because it is uncertain how many students will enroll in a given course. Woolf has several advantages. First, we are focused on a personalized education with Oxbridge-style classes – so we only need one or two students per class. Second, we’re creating a global pool of students and a global pool of qualified teachers – and this makes it much easier for students and teachers to find each other across borders. Third, lowering tuition fees does not mean lowering salary. Many traditional universities only pass on a fraction of tuition fees to their teachers, in their salaries.

This is why we have been working so hard to eliminate and automate bureaucratic processes. Fourth, our blockchain-based enrollment system is designed to give teachers greater financial confidence about future student enrollment, so they know exactly what their teaching load is in the future.

Digital currencies are more unstable than most fiat currencies when they are compared to each other. (Of course, for any currency, one unit is stable in relation to another unit of that currency; so volatility is always a description of external relations.)

At Woolf, we’ve been developing a stabilised payment system to dampen volatility with relation to specific external values, but you’ll have to wait for future announcements on that front.

 

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Take a French Leave from Taxes, or How to Keep Your Cryptocurrency Safe from the Taxman

When cryptocurrencies go through their periodic pumps, cryptocurrency investors are placed in a position of having to stop thinking so much about how to make more profit and start worrying more about how to protect their gains from the avaricious reach of the taxman. Depending on the laws in specific localities, and on the amount of trading an investor does, tax obligations can double or more. Experts from international company Worldcore have given a lot of thought to how investors can protect their earnings from unfair taxation.

According to a recent survey conducted by Worldcore, the majority of both novice and experienced traders are already familiar with, if not actively investing in, cryptocurrencies. Fully 89% of bankcard holders are aware of what cryptocurrencies are – but they may not be as aware of the legal and taxation grey area their crypto transactions and trades are in. This is as true for experienced investors and tax professionals as it is for novices.

The one thing we are sure of is that there is going to be a continued tightening of national regulations regarding cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, this is likely to further confuse rather than clarify the situation as different countries take different approaches. Cryptocurrencies may be borderless, but the laws that apply to them are not – and the message to the user is to beware out there.

For instance, the US tax authority, the IRS, in 2014 issued a ruling that cryptocurrencies should be regarded as property for tax purposes. This means that converting cryptocurrencies to fiat is a taxable event, requiring the individual to calculate loss and gains for each purchase and sale. At first, there did seem to be a loophole, known as a like-kind exchange. This would allow any conversion of one cryptocurrency to another to be considered non-taxable as these things are essentially the same kind of item. As of 2018, though, this loophole has been closed with only real estate being recognized for like-kind exchanges.

For US taxpayers, this has upped the ante. If they don’t comply with tax laws, as vague as they might still be, they may be subject to severe penalties. The IRS last year sent shockwaves through the community when it served Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange, to hand over all trade data for its then over 500,000 users. A court battle ensued and the number of accounts that had their information turned over was dropped to a “mere 14,000”, but it was concerning all the same.

Alexey Nasonov, CEO of Worldcore, had this to say on the matter: “I suppose that we will witness similar actions throughout the world. More and more, regulators will want to access to international cryptocurrency exchanges, users’ accounts. It’s all happening because under 1,000 people were reported to have declared their cryptocurrency in the US in 2015, even though Coinbase’s client database at the time was about 2.7 million. It is currently reported to be over 13 million, putting it on par with some of the largest international banks!”

Rules in other countries vary. In Canada, cryptocurrency purchases and sales are taxable as capital gains/losses. In the UK, crypto-assets fall under the scope of either profit tax, corporate tax, income tax or capital gain tax, depending on whether you’re a company, a professional trader or an amateur investor. In Switzerland, amateur investors are not taxed at all, while in Australia cryptocurrency used to be subject to double-taxation due to the fact that, as property, it was subject to both VAT at point of purchase, and subject to capital gains tax. In Norway and Bulgaria, cryptocurrency is recognized as a financial asset, and the revenue from trades or sales on exchanges is subject to a 25% tax and 10% respectively. In Bulgaria, though, you can take the matter up with the regulator and keep small exchange gains tax-free.

Because we are a company with operations in many countries, Worldcore is uniquely positioned to assess best practices when trying to figure how to stay safe from regulators and keep as much of your cryptocurrency gains as possible, no matter where you live or operate. Here are a few simple rules we’ve come up with:

  1. Remember that it is always the responsibility of the taxpayer to know what their obligations are and fulfill them. Get a hold of your country’s regulations and consult with a professional if necessary.
  2. Make it a habit to log and track your cryptocurrency purchases, sales, and trades. Note the date and time you acquired the currency, for what price, when you sold it and how much you got for it. For small amounts and HODLers, a simple excel file might suffice.
  3. For large investors who trade actively, consider investing in specialized software or in hiring professional tax attorney or accountant.
  4. Don’t try to conceal transactions. There are multiple ways for tax officials to get information on trades – whether that be from the exchanges themselves or even by analyzing blockchains – so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Right now the rules may be vague, but once regulators catch up, the fines you could potentially face may be devastating.
  5. In most countries, giving cryptocurrency as a gift (check for allowable limits) is not taxed. This might be one way to protect your cryptocurrency gains while benefiting those around you.
  6. In those countries where cryptocurrency is considered property or as an asset, taxes will depend on how long you’ve owned it. In both Germany and the US, after one year the asset is considered long-term and will be taxed at a considerably lower rate.

Cryptocurrency has often been characterized as “the Wild West”’ meaning that no laws apply. Although that once might have been true, laws are slowly creeping into the cryptocurrency space. It’s the wise person who sees the trend and takes steps to keep their assets, and themselves, safe.

 

Article reproduced courtesy of Worldcore

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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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