Category Archives: smart contracts

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Intel and Filament Push for a Blockchain IoT Future

Enterprise blockchain developer Filament, which receives significant Intel investment, has released an Internet of Things(IoT)-optimized, USB Blocklet chip.

Filament chief executive Clift-Jennings explained, “Many products, not all, have the ability to connect to USB. These are for manufacturing lines – we have a version of a USB product that plugs into the onboard diagnostics port in vehicles. It’s very much trying to drive toward machines being transactive in nature.”

Blockchain can be used to increase transparency between designers, service providers, and end users, making license management safer, providing production-quality data and becoming resilient against counterfeiting via secure design storage.

Counterfeiting and product integrity

According to BusinessWire, the global total of counterfeited goods has increased to USD 1.2 trillion. Counterfeiting of clothing and textiles primarily affects profits, whereas fraudulent components for machinery, cosmetics, and consumables can have a more detrimental effect by risking health and safety. It is believed that up to 10% of aircraft parts are counterfeit. The outsourcing of services causes difficulty in tracking the source and quality of components, as well as where maintenance is carried out.

The global distribution of manufactured components, must take steps to guarantee the security of plans, and provide data that is tamper-proof and in line with regulations and production standards. This must be achieved while preventing the misuse of plans to manufacture counterfeit goods.

Blockchain IoT shaping the future

Data drives innovation so the ability to share or sell manufacturing data on a ledger could fast track other businesses. Autonomous cars are going to rely heavily on driver data to increase safety in their transition to level 5 (the highest level of autonomy). Having existing hardware produced by IBM or Filament with a variety of companies from Microsoft to Amazon offering blockchain API frameworks, this could quickly accelerate blockchain proof of concept in the industry and change how data is shared an analyzed.

Big companies such as Mastercard are already looking at the applications for blockchain to track goods, providing consumers with product integrity. This could then extend right through to the manufacturing level with the use IoT-optimized hardware.

Intel’s investment in Filament is part of their blockchain initiative for large-scale industrial IoT deployments. The vice president and general manager of Intel, Doug Fisher said, “At Intel, we believe the future of IoT will be enabled by smart, connected, secure edge-devices that drive a data-based economy.”

 

Image source: Saginaw Future Inc. – CIGNYS Corporation has three advanced manufacturing facilities in Saginaw County.
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10% of Bitcoin Miners Merge-Mine RSK Smart Contract Sidechain

Rootstock (RSK), the first Bitcoin smart contract sidechain, has announced that 10% of all Bitcoin miners are now securing the RSK blockchain. This makes RSK extremely secure since that is a tremendous amount of hashing power.

Smart contracts are a major advancement in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology world. They allow users to enter into conditional agreements and lock up a certain amount of cryptocurrency until conditions are met. This provides the building blocks for the development of decentralized applications that are directly integrated with the blockchain.

Ethereum has consistently been the second most popular cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin and currently has a market cap of over USD 70 billion. The reason for its popularity is that it has smart contract technology integrated into its protocol, used by many blockchain-based applications.

It is not possible to directly add smart contracts to the Bitcoin blockchain without controversial protocol changes. RSK founders found a solution in creating a sidechain which supports smart contracts and is directly linked to the Bitcoin blockchain.

RSK has its own native cryptocurrency called Smart Bitcoins, but they are directly pegged to real Bitcoins. When a user deposits Bitcoin for an RSK smart contract it remains on the Bitcoin blockchain and is locked up for the duration of the contract, and an equivalent amount of Smart Bitcoins on the RSK sidechain are put into the smart contract. This is done so that RSK smart contracts truly are Bitcoin-based, rather than using their own independent cryptocurrency which would compete with Bitcoin.

Currently, the RSK sidechain can handle 100 transactions per second, with block confirmation times of 10 seconds, but it soon hopes to release a version of RSK called Lumino that has Lightning Network technology and can handle 20,000 transactions per second.

The RSK sidechain can be merged-mined with Bitcoin, meaning that machines mining Bitcoin don’t have to use any additional power or resources to participate in securing and maintaining the RSK network. Miners are rewarded with transaction fees from the RSK network, so it is logical and profitable that every single Bitcoin miner would merge-mine RSK to get extra money. Due to this, the developers of RSK expect much more hashing power to join its network in the long term.

RSK is fully operational and can be used to build decentralized apps that use Bitcoin and directly interact with the Bitcoin blockchain. This gives Bitcoin capabilities similar to Ethereum and will help make Bitcoin use more widespread.

 

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Singapore Government to Launch Blockchain Challenge

The Singapore government has announced that it will be launching a blockchain challenge that will reward winning projects with development funding.

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) stated that the challenge’s aim is to promote awareness and adoption of the technology. IMDA is hoping the challenge will bring more companies into the ecosystem and explore the potential that blockchain technology holds for the future.

The Singapore government has put forth the task to create a successful Minimum Viable Product (MVP)or Proofs-of-Concept (PoC) solving industry challenges.

The challenge guidelines state that the agency is looking at targeting two categories of blockchain applications: “enterprise” and “transformation.” Its preferences lean towards distributed ledger technology that can either streamline business operations or a technology that enables business operations to be seamless in any sector.

The IMDA said participants that are shortlisted will have a maximum of six months to produce either the MVP or PoC.

The winning teams for the enterprise section will compete for an award of USD 38,000 while those in the transformation category will be awarded USD 76,000.

In recent news, Philip Heah, senior director of sectoral transformation stated: “To ensure every business is a digital business, Singapore’s Digital Economy requires technologies which can accelerate sector transformation. Through the IMDA Blockchain Challenge, we will drive awareness and spur development and adoption of this promising technology throughout our economy, including non-fintech segments.”.

Along with the challenge, the Singapore government has called for a more comprehensive spectrum of adoption. It aims to focus on the all-encompassing integrated blockchain technologies and development for broad industrial adoption.

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond is expected to announce a government taskforce which is focused primarily on cryptocurrency regulations and harnessing potential benefits of its underlying technology. The Exchequer is set to be joined by the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority, all taking place at the International Fintech Conference.

Additionally, the British government aims to remove the barriers big conglomerates face in the sector, making it easier for them to participate in the blockchain industry.

The British government has not dismissed the idea of cryptocurrencies; they are working on a resolution to regulate, with Prime Minister Theresa May stating her concerns over the potential illicit activities related with use of these currencies.

Bloomberg reported May as saying: “The risk that criminals can use cryptocurrencies means Britain and other governments should be looking at them “very seriously… Technology companies must focus on the issue of social responsibility, especially in the areas of terrorism and child pornography.”.

 

 

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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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