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Sony Reveals Digital Copyright Management Blockchain

Japanese multinational electronics conglomerate Sony has launched its own blockchain dedicated to managing digital copyrights.

A press release on Monday detailed the new system that specializes in managing the rights of written work on a blockchain, utilizing features that track the original date and time of electronic content creation. Users will also be able to verify themselves as the original content creator and securely share their work on the blockchain, knowing the integrity of their work will be preserved.

While standard copyright management procedures are said to be processed manually by industry organizations or creators, Sony believes that the blockchain can provide a far more efficient way to do so in terms of both time and money.

The electronics firm say that the system will prove compatible with many forms of electronic works, including e-books, music and films and notably various formats of educational content.

While right now it remains for private use, Sony says they are considering commercialization of the system.

Sony added that future blockchain solutions might well be on the way in areas of data management and distribution throughout the company’s various business domains, but right now the emphasis remains on the field of education.

Sony Global Education is cited as ”continuously carrying out technological development and prototyping towards the use of blockchain technology in the educational field.”

China-based news outlet iPR Daily last month indeed revealed that Sony has filed as many as 23 blockchain patents. Further research from iPR shows that IBM and MasterCard have some of the most substantial numbers of blockchain applications, with over 80 apiece.

Despite these major players launching themselves into the blockchain, a recent survey of executives found that the majority of enterprises are finding blockchain adoption more difficult than initially expected.

The 57% that responded this way cited hardware security and scalability as major issues, with over half of non-blockchain dedicated companies struggling to process high volumes of transactions on the blockchain network quickly.

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McAfee Claims: If in 2020 Presidential Race, “I Will Tell the Truth”

British-American computer programmer and businessman John McAfee has begun making pledges in his run up to the 2020 US presidential elections.

The founder of McAfee Anti Virus software and vocal cryptocurrency advocate stated recently that he would seek a nomination to run in the next US presidential election. In doing so, has expressed a clear aim to advance the stature of cryptocurrency and blockchain on the world’s financial stage. McAfee recently suggested that blockchain and crypto have given new freedoms to the working community who he sees as ‘hired slaves,’ arguing:

“If you want to send Bitcoin, Ethereum or Monero, who do I have to ask? Only the peer… We are creating a permissionless society…We are not slaves for our jobs, we are not slaves to the government, we are slaves to the entire system.”

In his latest pledge as a potential POTUS runner, which would be his second attempt to get his name on the ballot, he has vowed to “tell the truth,” despite also explaining that he has no chance or indeed no intention of actually winning anything. He commented in his latest tweet:

“In truth: the crowd doesn’t want the truth. It is why politicians lie. They cannot win by telling the truth. I don’t want to win POTUS. I just want the stage.”

Running on “Truth” would be a campaign which would certainly get some support in the present political climate in the US. Although, it would be highly unlikely that McAfee, seen by some as a maverick would progress. The comparisons to the potential of Donald Trump to become US President, turning back the clock, are there to be made, however. When questioned back in June about his chances in 2020, McAfee said:

“Don’t think that I have a chance of winning. I do not. But what truly changes America is not the president, but the process of creating one. If my following is sufficient I get to stand the world’s largest stage and talk to everyone, as I did last time, to tell the truth.”

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Live Stream of 51% Attack Shows Fragile Nature of Many Altcoins

A hacker that operates under the pseudonym Geocold promised to conduct a live stream of a 51% attack on an altcoin, and on 13 October 2018, he made an attempt to 51% attack Bitcoin Private. He was successful at gaining a majority of hashing power, and the only reason he didn’t complete the attack was the live stream platforms he was using, Twitch and stream.me, both shutdown his stream.

A 51% attack is one of the greatest weaknesses of cryptocurrency, and it arises out of the inherently decentralized nature of proof of work (PoW) cryptocurrencies. If a miner has greater than 50% of the network hash rate they can mine blocks faster than the rest of the network combined, giving them the ability to fork the blockchain. This can be used to perform a double spend attack, where a hacker sends a transaction to someone on the original chain, and then creates a longer chain where the transaction doesn’t exist, making the transaction disappear.

Bitcoin and Ethereum have far too much hashing power for any real possibility of a 51% attack, however, many smaller cryptos have small enough hash rates where 51% attacks are a real threat. Some cryptos, like Bitcoin Private, have such small hash rates that a 51% attack is very easy. A study found that less than USD 1,000 is needed to 51% attack many cryptos, just by renting hash power from a cloud mining service.

Bitcoin Gold and Verge have already experienced 51% attacks, and the results are crippling. Beyond the money stolen during a double spend, a 51% attack decimates any reputation and trustworthiness held by that crypto. If a crypto is 51% attacked it is usually removed from all exchanges and users dump all their coins.

In this case, Geocold originally said he was going to 51% attack Einsteinium, a crypto with a USD 20 million market cap. However, he gave a week of advanced warning and the Einsteinium community increased the network hash rate by 15 fold, making a 51% attack too costly. Geocold then began live streaming the first stages of a 51% attack on Bitcoin Private, a crypto with a USD 51 million market cap.

With only USD 200 of hash power rented from a cloud mining service, Geocold obtained 62.5% of the Bitcoin Private network hash rate and mined a single block. Other hackers found Geocold’s IP address and knocked him off the Bitcoin Private mining pool before he could fork, and by the time he got his hash power back online, his Twitch live streaming account was banned.

In the 2nd phase of the attack Geocold was successful in mining numerous blocks and was about to fork the blockchain which would have been devastating for Bitcoin Private, but his live streaming account on stream.me was banned. He decided to stop the attack, and plans to do a 51% attack in the future on an altcoin and simply post the video on YouTube once it’s already done.

This incident reveals that crypto users need to be very wary when playing around with altcoins since it takes just one bad actor to 51% attack an altcoin, which would collapse its price. Crypto users should stick to major cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are secure. There may be over 2,000 cryptos listed on CoinMarketCap, but far less than that are actually secure in the face of a 51% attack.

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Closing Charities’ Accountability Gap Through Blockchain Technology

Humanitarian Blockchain

a BitcoinNews.com series

   Part 3: Closing Charities’ Accountability Gap Through Blockchain Technology

          Welcome to the third installment of the Bitcoin News Humanitarian Blockchain Series. Charity begins at home, but the growing question being asked over the past few years is, where does it actually go?  We try to highlight some of the current solutions being presented by blockchain technology to this essential industry

The track record of the charity industry has been, regrettably, far from exemplary, and in some instances, at worst, disgraceful. Well-publicized scandals over the past few years have seen a decline in the public donations to charitable organizations, with some of those intuitions being brought into disrepute by misappropriation of public funds or inappropriate behavior of field staff.

Even now, a US investigation is looking into fraudulent identity activity in Myanmar where refugees fingerprints from amongst the Chin minority are causing confusion as fraudsters purchase refugees’ identities for their own ends. Also, in Bangladesh many Rohingya refugees in safe-harbor there have been registered multiple times and records of family groups have been almost non-existent,

Using Blockchain to clean up the industry is possibly the only way that many charitable institutions can survive, and regain public trust by demonstrating a greater level of transparency and accountability.

The main barriers to success in the humanitarian field have been lowering the impact of administration, transportation and documentation cost on donated funds, and making every aspect of donations totally transparent from source to final delivery of the benefit to the recipient.

Charities have been slow to take up the obvious benefits that can be offered to the industry. In fact, it is no exaggeration to suggest that there could be no more obvious and beneficial use case for DLT than its solution to the accountability problems that charities are currently suffering.

Luckily some organizations are on board, but far too few. The World Food Programme (WFP) has been quick to realise the potential of blockchain solutions. As Bitcoin News reported in the first of its humanitarian series, the uses in Jordan’s refugee camps has been essential, in not only feeding and providing work for Syrian refugees but also creating a renewed feeling of self-worth, particularly against female escapees from the war in Syria.

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, as far back as 2011, was trying to deal with how to get donated funds from a source. At the time, a massive $40 billion was failing to reach its intended recipients, the money was diverted to corrupt officials and middlemen. Seven years on, the blockchain is now being used by the WFP to tackle this problem. Gustav Stromfelt, one of the project managers working on the WFP’s program commented:

“We have this rapid ability to understand where our money is throughout the process…It improves transparency, accountability, and communication across the board.”

This UN-supported programme in Jordan uses dollars at this stage, not cryptocurrency, but through DLT every cent is accounted for right up to the purchase and delivery of physical goods.

Charities accepting cryptocurrencies, and there have been many, were badly hit by the drop in the value of Bitcoin at the end of 2017 and much of the funds were seriously diminished before funds could be dispersed. Silicon Valley Community Foundation revealed in its 2017 audit 45% of its investment assets were unable to be turned into cash in 2018 due to government restrictions.

Many of these problems are now being overcome through online mining schemes which benefit charities and straight crypto donations fund by such organisations as Children in Need and others.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by 24-hour trading volume, has recently tried to address some of these issues with the announcement of a Blockchain Charity Foundation which aims to plug the transparency gap for multiple organisations with its planned donation tracking system: Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao explains:

“Lack of transparency has been a problem for charities today. Some estimate up to 80% of donations does not reach the intended beneficiaries. With the ability to track every single transaction, blockchain technology seems tailor-made to solve this problem.”

Although the Blockchain Charity Foundation is still at concept stage, Binance suggest that the system will allow donors to give to one or as many chosen charities as they want whilst retaining anonymity if they wish: The company commented:

“Each BCF program will have its unique receiving address(es). BCF may choose to donate directly to the ultimate beneficiaries or work with other charity partners who then distributes the funds to the ultimate beneficiaries. Either way, the funds will be tracked in a transparent manner.”

Solutions to past problems are slowly being presented through new technology, but clearly, more urgency is required to reshape the face of the charity industry and restore public face so that charity can transit from home to its needy target and arrive at its destination intact, as was intended from the source.

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IBM’s Food Trust Blockchain Goes Live, Carrefour Jumps in First

Multinational tech giant IBM has been leaving a significant imprint on the retail industry lately with the use of blockchain technology, and it’s doing again with the latest project, Food Trust.

IBM, not content with providing foodchain solutions for mega-retailer Walmart, has now hooked up with French supermarket giant Carrefour in order to launch blockchain based Food Trust, enabling the chain to price its products more accurately.

The recent IBM/Walmart project came up with a farm-to-store tracking system based on blockchain technology which Walmart committed 100 of its suppliers to adhere to. Both Walmart and IBM have been at the forefront of DLT since its conception and both companies are eager to promote the use of new technology in sectors including business and commerce. Walmart has become a primary mover in the industry in pushing blockchain forward with numerous patents pending.

The latest IBM deal with Carrefour, now operating in over 12,000 locations around the globe, offers three individual retailing solutions using DLT. The first of which, called “Trace” offers a sophisticated system of tracking products from source, which also factors in shipping and production costs, allowing the retailer to arrive at a fair price to pass on to customers.

Other aspects of Food Trust in its present early form focus establishes how goods fit retailers “Fair Trade” or “Organic” tags in order to be accurately listed on the blockchain, adding to buyer confidence.

Carrefour itself is no stranger to using emerging technologies in recent months and made a recent impact on the French farming sector this year with its blockchain based system which began tracking its chicken supply. This provided customers with an egg to table history by using a smartphone to scan a code on the packaging to obtain details on each stage of production, including origins, earlier location, feed and where the meat was finally processed.

Carrefour may be the first to use the latest IBM system, but now Food Trust is live and it’s there to be used by all in the food industry moving forward.

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Heat Your House Whilst Earning Using French Crypto-Heater

A French-based startup has come up with a unique idea which enables users to heat their homes whilst using the same energy to mine cryptocurrency.

Startup Qarnot has manufactured the QC 1 crypto-heater, one of two products using both heating and computer energy, which uses the heat generated by home computers to heat the surrounding area via a system of graphic plates.

The crypto-heater is advertised as the only one in the market to be perfectly noiseless with no embedded mobile parts (no fans, no hard drives) and IP-protected. Taking only 10 mins to set up, the heat of the QC-1 is generated by 2 graphics cards embedded in the device enabling the mining of cryptocurrencies or blockchain transactions, while it heats.

At 2,900 euros plus shipping, this heater doesn’t come cheap though. The unit is advertised as configured to mine Ethereum and has extra controls which allow the user to follow the crypto market, either through an LED readout on the heater or via a downloadable app. Heater owners are able to mine other cryptocurrencies through a GitHub link which will give them the necessary codes.

As for dual-usage household products, this time not designed on a commercial level, but more as a bi-product, Alabama IT worker Lee, gave up his graphics card that he was using for Bitcoin mining for his bathtub. This turned out to be a much better tool for the job. By using ambient air pulled into a system to cool his ASICs and heated air pushed through a water-to-air intercooler pumped through from his bathtub, he generated enough computer heated water to keep his mining habits up to par.

The only problem was, he generated bathwater of 122F/50C, so fearing for the life of his pets he decided to halt his bathtub mining activities.

“Imagine a crypto heated swimming pool or anything else you could heat with the output from a small, medium, or large-scale mining operation,” gta3uzi wrote on Reddit.

Some suggestions arising from his post included using the hot water to create a sauna, heating his home, drying one’s hair, and even cooking a steak sous vide.

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Bitcoin Influencers’ Payment Ideas Get Twitter Buzzing

Bitcoin influencers Jimmy Song and Tony Vays opened up a can of worms recently when chatting on Twitter about Bitcoin payment methods, provoking an all-in scenario for followers.

Jimmy Song, an instructor at Programming Blockchain LLC and Bitcoin educator/developer was sharing his opinion about using Bitcoin as a payment method with Bitcoin and Blockchain Researcher Tone Vays, on Twitter. The argument was posed by Song that one could spend money using a credit card whilst staying in credit and then pay the monthly bill with Bitcoin. His tweet suggested:

“If you want to use Bitcoin as a method of payment, this strategy is more rational and convenient than doing lots of on-chain tx’s:

  1. Spend with your credit card with no debt on it.
  2. When your credit card bill comes, sell just enough bitcoin to pay the bill.”

This provoked the response by Jackson Palmer, Founder of Dogecoin, who joined the thread to tweet that there was a missing third step to the Song scenario to avoid incurring credit card debt. He suggested that one could calculate the capital gain/loss tax on the sale of Bitcoin to USD to pay off the credit card.

Bitcoin Cash follower, Elliot, suggested, “That’s right folks. BTC supporters tell you to sell your Bitcoin back to fiat. BCH supporters say you must use bitcoin as CASH. It is peer to peer electronic cash. 1 bit @tipprbot” to which blockchain enthusiast Jan Klosowski responded.

“People will use Bitcoin because it’s profitable. Not for ideological reasons.”

Tone Vays worked on Wall Street for almost 10 years starting as a Risk Analyst at Bear Stearns and later becoming a VP at JP Morgan Chase in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. His feeling was that Song’s idea was feasible from a consumer standpoint and suggested that in 2014 he had spoken about how misusing Bitcoin could affect the entire ecosystem quite negatively.

When asked why Vays, a prolific trader as well as an educator, diversified his trading to incorporate traditional markets, he responded:

“Because all of my videos are on my love of Bitcoin, my explanations of blockchain, and covering blockchain news. I do all of this because you can’t monetize that content. So, coming to conferences and speaking is so that I can spread the knowledge of Bitcoin, but I make money from what I do best, which is trading.”

He suggested that traditional markets offered a better return on his investments.

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President of World Bank: DLT Has “Huge Potential” in Fighting Poverty

Jim Yong Kim, Korean president of the World Bank, has publicly come out in favor of blockchain technology as a tool for fighting poverty in a speech on the Indonesian Island of Bali.

Kim made the comments at the IMF and the World Bank Annual Meeting on October 11, suggesting that DLT had “huge potential” and as a result, the World Bank must keep abreast of emerging technologies.

The World Bank, part of the World Bank Group, is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects. It is comprised of two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association.

At the forefront of all World Bank projects is the need to fight poverty, particularly in underdeveloped or developing nations. Kim referred to the need to combat corruption, often a barrier to successfully supporting developing nations, suggesting that this is a particular area where blockchain could make a significant impact. He commented:

“…we think distributed ledger has huge potential and we issued the first blockchain bond in August, where we created, allocated, transferred and managed the entire bond through blockchain technology.”

He went on to point out that the goal of the bank is to develop universal access to financial services by 2020 which he felt would be unlikely to occur without embracing available technologies and taking advantage of some of the “great things that are coming out,” referring to blockchain and AI.

As Bitcoin News reported recently, the World Bank and The Commonwealth Bank of Australia combined to create an Ethereum-based Australian dollar blockchain bond earlier this year. As for selecting both the CBA and Ethereum for the project, World Bank treasurer Arunma Oteh said that it had worked with the Australian bank for a year before it could launch the project. Ethereum was top of its list as it had “the largest and most active development community globally”.

Oteh continued on a positive note stating that the bank “will continue to seek ways to leverage emerging technologies to make capital markets more secure and efficient.”

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Blockchain Adoption ‘Harder Than Expected’, Claim Executives

A recent poll of executives shows that blockchain adoption within enterprises has been more challenging than initially thought.

Over 200 executives shared their views in the survey, each involved personally in blockchain initiatives of some form. Their background varied from banking, exchange companies, consultancy firms, and dedicated blockchain companies to name a few.

Of the participating executives in the consulting firm Greenwich Associates’ survey, 57% voted that instituting blockchain had been ”harder than expected.” The report points to hardware security and the autonomy of transactions as contributing causes for this significant percentage.

Another area deemed problematic was scalability; 42% said it was a ”major issue.” Unsurprisingly, only 7% of those from blockchain technology companies felt this way, with 33% of them saying it was ”not an issue.” Still, that leaves close to half of non-blockchain dedicated firms struggling to process high volumes of transactions on the blockchain network quickly.

Vice president in Greenwich Associates’ Market Structure and Technology group and the author of the report, Richard Johnson, believes that the disparity between the two groups could simply be put down to ”optimism” from blockchain companies over the technology. More so, they could be making the determination based on controlled tests and would face latency issues when the real-world application begins.

Most firms in the survey were yet to execute any distributed ledger technology (DLT) projects successfully, with slow transactions speeds presenting a major issue. Just 2% managed to reach over 15,000 transactions per second, although Johnson is optimistic about this small number, saying:

“We’re beginning to see firms figure out how to get the blockchain to run fast and do a lot of transactions per second, and I think that’s really encouraging.”

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