Daily Archives: July 9, 2021

Majority of Salvadorans Skeptical of BTC as Currency, Poll Finds

Majority of Salvadorans Skeptical of BTC as Currency, Poll Finds

President Nayib Bukele’s adoption of cryptocurrency as legal tender in his country is not being met with deep understanding by most of his fellow Salvadorans, a new survey suggests. Almost half of the respondents admitted they knew nothing about Bitcoin, while two-thirds aren’t ready to be paid in crypto.

Bitcoin Adoption ‘Not at All Correct,’ Half of Salvadorans Say

In a blow to President Bukele’s crypto-friendly policy, poll results released Thursday showed that around 54% of people in El Salvador viewed the adoption of bitcoin (BTC) as “not at all correct.” Another 24% said it’s “only a little correct.” Less than 20% fully approved of the government’s crypto move.

Majority of Salvadorans Skeptical of BTC as Currency, Poll Finds
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, Twitter.

The survey has been conducted by Disruptiva, which is affiliated with Francisco Gavidia University, Reuters reported. The pollster reached out to 1,233 people across the Central American nation between July 1 and 4, and the study has a margin of error of 2.8%.

El Salvador has been using the U.S. dollar as its national currency for years but last month the Congress supported Bukele’s push for cryptocurrency adoption. Lawmakers approved legislation giving bitcoin (BTC) official currency status in the country, which became the first in the world to do that.

President Bukele has been promoting bitcoin also as a way to facilitate remittances from Salvadorans living abroad. The poll indicated, however, that a large portion of the country’s population, 46%, knew “nothing” about the cryptocurrency. And another 65% of the respondents stated they were not willing to be paid in crypto.

During an event presenting the outcome of the survey, the head of Disruptiva’s Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation, Oscar Picardo, commented:

This is a risky bet on digital transformation.

Supporters of 39-year-old Nayib Bukele in the Salvadoran Congress approved the bill making bitcoin (BTC) an “unrestricted” legal tender in early June. Since then, the unique decision has been met with concerns over how the crypto-friendly move will affect the country’s economy.

The IMF warned of “a number of macroeconomic, financial and legal issues,” while the World Bank refused to assist El Salvador in the technical implementation of the cryptocurrency. Last week, the U.S. State Department urged the president to ensure that bitcoin is “well regulated.”

What do you think about the Disruptiva poll results? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

AscendEX Launches Hummingbot Rebate Campaign

PRESS RELEASE. AscendEX, a global cryptocurrency financial platform with a comprehensive product suite, is excited to launch the Hummingbot Rebate Campaign to reward users for trading on AscendEX using the Hummingbot Liquidity Mining Portal. The campaign will begin July 9, 2021 and run for 60 days.

During the campaign, new and existing Hummingbot users on AscendEX will be able to take advantage of a favorable VIP fee structure available to traders with any level of trade volume while using Hummingbot. The campaign is set up to offer a 0 bps Maker and 5 bps Taker fee for all Hummingbot users on AscendEX. As part of the campaign, users who maintain high enough trading volumes will continue to retain access to VIP fee levels after the end of the campaign. For new users rebate rates will go into effect 48 hours after users sign up by using Hummingbot’s affiliate link. For existing users rebate rates will go into effect 48 hours after the start of the campaign.

AscendEX’s Global Head of Business Development, Shane Molidor said, “We are excited to collaborate more closely with our professional traders and market makers by offering zero-fee trading to all Hummingbot users! We understand their business models very well and are thrilled to promote their success,” Molidor continued, “We believe this would support inclusivity for all participants — anyone willing to learn about Hummingbot can participate in the program, regardless of their current trading footprint. Previously, this has only been open to a select few institutions.”

Hummingbot’s CEO Michael Feng said, “Since Ascendex is one of the top exchanges where our token issuers need liquidity and where our users want to trade, we are thrilled to partner with them. Together, we can give everyone in the world access to professional-grade algo trading and market making on a top-tier venue.”

Hummingbot provides open-source market-making infrastructure and a one-of-a-kind open marketplace where individuals get paid to trade. Founded by Carlo Las Marias, Martin Kou, Michael Feng, and Yvonne Zhang in 2019, the team aims to promote an open, fair, and inclusive global financial system by providing tools and education for users. Hummingbot’s one-of-a-kind “Market Making 101” academy enables virtually anyone to learn to trade like a pro. AscendEX will be the third exchange to support Hummingbot liquidity mining on their platform.

To achieve maximum ROI, AscendEX users should participate in this rebate campaign while it lasts.

About AscendEX

AscendEX is a global cryptocurrency financial platform with a comprehensive product suite including spot, margin, and futures trading, wallet services, and staking support for over 150 blockchain projects such as bitcoin, ether, and ripple. Launched in 2018, AscendEX services over 1 million retail and institutional clients globally with a highly liquid trading platform and secure custody solutions.

AscendEX has emerged as a leading platform by ROI on its “initial exchange offerings” by supporting some of the industry’s most innovative projects from the DeFi ecosystem, such as Thorchain, xDai Stake, and Serum. AscendEX users receive exclusive access to token airdrops and the ability to purchase tokens at the earliest possible stage.

To learn more about how AscendEX is leveraging best practices from both Wall Street and the cryptocurrency ecosystem to bring the best altcoins to its users, please visit www.AscendEX.com.

 

For more information and updates, please visit:

Website: https://ascendex.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AscendEX_Global

Telegram: https://t.me/AscendEXEnglish

Medium: https://medium.com/ascendex

 

About Hummingbot

Hummingbot is an open source crypto trading bot platform that enables decentralized market making. Founded by Carlo Las Marias, Martin Kou, Michael Feng, and Yvonne Zhang in 2019, and is headquartered in Mountain View, California. Hummingbot is a community-driven open-source project that aims to democratize algorithmic trading by making sophisticated high-frequency trading strategies freely available to everyone in the world.

 

For more information and updates, please visit:

Website: https://hummingbot.io/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hummingbot_io

Discord: https://discord.com/channels/530578568154054663/

 


This is a press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

123-Year-Old Hydroelectric Plant Sees New Life Mining Bitcoin — Revenue 3x Higher Than Selling to the Grid

123-Year-Old Hydroelectric Plant See New Life Mining Bitcoin - Revenue 3x Higher Than Selling to the Grid

On Thursday local reports from Mechanicville, the city located in Saratoga County, New York, say that an old hydroelectric plant constructed back in 1897 was almost dismantled, but today the plant is mining bitcoins. The Mechanicville facility is considered one of the oldest renewable energy plants in the world, and it’s now making “more money with bitcoin than selling the electricity” to the grid.

Historical Hydroelectric Machinery From 1897 Mines Bitcoin

In the historic district of Mechanicville, New York, there’s an 18.3-acre site that is considered one of the oldest renewable energy facilities in the world. Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant was built in 1897 by the Hudson River Power Transmission Company and years ago the plant was almost shut down. The plant is now owned and operated by Albany Engineering Corp (AEC) and the company signed a deal with National Grid in order to have continued access to cheap renewable energy.

Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant is the longest-running hydro plant in the U.S. and one of the oldest in the world. Photo credit: Paul Buckowski/Albany Times Union.

Jim Besha, AEC’s CEO, told local reporters that AEC is currently making 3X more money than it would be selling electricity to National Grid, the multinational electricity, and gas utility company. “We can actually make more money with bitcoin than selling the electricity to National Grid,” Besha remarked in a recent interview. The firm only makes $0.03 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) selling power to National Grid. Besha further said:

It’s the best (type of bitcoin mining) because we’re using renewable energy. We’re just doing it on the side, experimenting with it. We’re buying used servers.

Albany Engineering Corp Converts the Bitcoin Into Cash

The site leverages the powerhouse built in 1897, an earth embankment, and a concrete non-overflow dam. Furthermore, the power site also utilizes a 700-foot-long concrete gravity overflow dam. AEC has dedicated a lot of capital and resources toward extensive renovations and in 1989 the facility was recorded in the National Register of Historic Places. According to Besha, the AEC CEO is a little skeptical of bitcoin and he told the press the firm immediately converts to cash.

Besha said that he would have liked to sell the renewable energy to National Grid, but the multinational electricity and gas utility company reneged on an old agreement. AEC has had a long-running legal battle with National Grid who signed a contract with AEC in 1993. The deal was that the Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant and AEC would sell power to National Grid priced just under the going market rates.

However, when Besha got the Mechanicville operation licensed, National Grid called the company and allegedly said: “We’re not going to honor this contract. And if you don’t like it, take it to the judge.” AEC got the plant 100% operational but Mechanicville’s local news reports note that the original 1800s machinery had a hard time maintaining a profit. That was until bitcoin mining changed the trend.

What do you think about the old Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant mining bitcoins? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

As BTC and ETH Pursue Multilayer Schemes, Elon Musk Says ‘There’s Merit to Doge Maximizing the Base Layer’

The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, is a fan of base layers when it comes to blockchain technology and on Friday, Musk explained there’s “merit” to the Dogecoin chain “minimizing transaction cost.” Dogecoin developers are in the midst of preparing to update the Dogecoin network by gradually deploying the updates to the network “over multiple software releases.”

Tesla’s Elon Musk Wholeheartedly Believes in Dogecoin’s Base Layer

On Friday morning (EDT), top dogecoin (DOGE) Youtuber Matt Wallace tweeted about the fact that the Dogecoin upgrade was coming in the near future. “Reminder,” Wallace tweeted. “The Dogecoin update is coming soon. It will position Doge perfectly to become one of the most used currencies in the world.” Following the tweet, Elon Musk decided to respond to Wallace’s statement and said:

BTC [and] ETH are pursuing a multilayer transaction system, but base layer transaction rate is slow [and] transaction cost is high. There is merit [IMO] to Doge maximizing base layer transaction rate [and] minimizing transaction cost with exchanges acting as the de facto secondary layer.

The message from Musk follows his June 27 statement on Twitter, where he said it was “important to support” the Dogecoin upgrade. Dogecoin core developer Patrick Lodder and Dogecoin core maintainer Michi Lumin have been working with a team that has been coding the upgrade.

“The proposed changes below bring the decision power towards which transactions to include back to miners instead of the relay network and increase configurability of all fee-related parameters, enhancing the sovereignty of each individual node operator and the community as a whole,” the new fee structure for Dogecoin core says. Back in May, Tesla’s CEO said he was hoping block times would increase 10X and the fees would drop 100X. Lodder’s new fee structure states:

  • Lower the minimal relay fee to 0.001 DOGE
  • Lower the dust limit to 0.01 DOGE
  • Set the default block inclusion fee rate to 0.01 DOGE
  • Bring back a functional free transaction space
  • Lower the default fee rate to 0.01 DOGE

Responses Sent to Musk See Recommendations Like Solana, the Lightning Network, Stacks, Drivechain, and Bitcoin Cash

Currently, the cost to send dogecoin (DOGE) is 0.0052 DOGE per byte, which can be translated into 2.13 DOGE per transaction ($0.454). During the first week of May, dogecoin transaction fees touched a high of $2.37 per transfer. Dogecoin prices at that time were much higher than they are today. Some people responded to Musk’s base layer transaction rate tweet and explained that there are existing blockchains that are already up to speed.

“Solana, you literally are just asking for Solana,” one crypto fan replied to Musk on Friday. Software developer Patrick Dugan responded to the individual’s Solana tweet. “The one thing that would make defi on Doge better than Solana is its PoW mining and the impact of that on amortizing solar and battery installations,” Dugan tweeted.

Of course, supporters of the Lightning Network (LN), which has seen significantly less adoption than many other networks used for BTC sidechain purposes, tried to convince Musk to look into the LN protocol. LN was recommended to Musk by people like Udi Wertheimer and others.

Bitcoin Cash supporters also chimed in and responded to Musk’s base-layer statement. “Meanwhile BCH is already doing it… sound electronic cash for everyone.. even the poorest people on the planet,” a BCH supporter wrote in response to Musk’s dogecoin statement.

Other people responded by recommending things like Paul Sztorc’s Drivechain (BIPs 300+301) and the Stacks protocol. A Stacks representative wrote that Musk’s requests have been innovated on for quite some time now and he believes Stacks offers these benefits.

“Everything that Elon Musk is saying is what the space has been innovating for the past 5 years,” Louise Ivan Valencia tweeted to Musk. “TLDR; Stacks adds scalability [and] smart contract functionality to Bitcoin without modifying it.”

What do you think about Elon Musk’s statements about the Dogecoin network’s base layer? Lets us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

US Sentences Crypto Fraudster to 15 Years in Prison After Duping Thousands of Investors

A Swedish man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in the U.S. for an investment fraud scheme involving cryptocurrency, including bitcoin. He defrauded thousands of victims of more than $16 million.

  • The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that a “cryptocurrency fraudster” has been sentenced to 15 years in prison “for securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges that defrauded thousands of victims of more than $16 million.”
  • Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, a 47-year-old Swedish man, was arrested in Thailand in June 2019. He pleaded guilty on March 4.
  • According to court documents, Karlsson ran an investment fraud scheme from 2011 until his arrest. He sold shares in the scheme called “Eastern Metal Securities” using cryptocurrency such as bitcoin and other online payment platforms. He promised victims “astronomical returns” tied to the price of gold.
  • However, Karlsson transferred the victims’ funds to his personal bank accounts and used the money to buy expensive homes, a racehorse and a resort in Thailand, the DOJ detailed, elaborating:

Karlsson’s fraud targeted financially insecure investors, causing severe financial hardship for many of them.

  • In order to prolong his fraudulent investment scheme, Karlsson deployed several strategies, including rebranding and falsely claiming to be working with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Justice Department stated:

As part of the sentence, Karlsson was also ordered to forfeit a Thai resort and various other properties and accounts, and issued a money judgment in the amount of $16,263,820.

  • The DOJ added that the U.S. “is seeking restitution on behalf of Karlsson’s victims,” noting that “A restitution order is expected to be entered by the court within 90 days.”

What do you think about this case? Let us know in the comments section below.

Jack Dorsey’s Square Building Bitcoin Hardware Wallet to Make Crypto Custody More Mainstream

Square Building Bitcoin Hardware Wallet 'to Make Bitcoin Custody More Mainstream'

Jack Dorsey’s payments company, Square Inc., has confirmed that it is building a bitcoin hardware wallet and service with the aim to “make bitcoin custody more mainstream.”

Square’s Bitcoin Hardware Wallet in the Works

Square Inc. is building a hardware wallet, Jesse Dorogusker, the company’s hardware lead, announced Thursday on Twitter. He tweeted:

We have decided to build a hardware wallet and service to make bitcoin custody more mainstream. We’ll continue to ask and answer questions in the open.

Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey subsequently confirmed, tweeting: “We’re doing it.”

Jack Dorsey's Square Building Bitcoin Hardware Wallet to Make Crypto Custody More Mainstream

Dorogusker explained: “Our next step is to build a small, cross-functional team, which will be led by Max Guise (welcome back). We will incubate this full-stack of tech, design, product, manufacturing, and supply chain with Thomas Templeton & Square’s hardware team to start with a strong foundation.” The hardware lead elaborated:

We have a lot of questions and issues to reconcile and we’ll start with this product direction: bitcoin first, global distribution, multisig to achieve ‘assisted-self-custody,’ and prioritizing mobile use.

Dorsey first talked about his company considering building a hardware wallet on June 4.

The Square and Twitter CEO wrote at the time: “If we do it, we would build it entirely in the open, from software to hardware design, and in collaboration with the community. We want to kick off this thinking the right way: by sharing some of our guiding principles.” He further opined:

Bitcoin is for everyone. It’s important to us to build an inclusive product that brings a non-custodial solution to the global market.

What do you think about Square building a bitcoin hardware wallet? Let us know in the comments section below.

After Barclays, Santander Bank Blocks Payments to Binance in UK Citing Customer Protection

After Barclays, Santander Bank Blocks Payments to Binance Citing Customer Protection

Santander Bank in the U.K. has become the latest high street bank in the country to block fund transfers to cryptocurrency exchange Binance. Recently, Barclays and Natwest banks reportedly made a similar move.

  • A number of Santander Bank customers reported on social media that they have received an email from the bank stating, “We’re stopping payments to Binance for your protection,” beginning on July 8. The bank explained:

This follows the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s recent warning to consumers and is to help protect you from fraud. For now, we want to be restricting payments from finance to your account(s).

  • The email continues: “We are taking this step as we want to do everything we can to protect you and help keep your money safe. We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and let you know if anything changes.”

  • A Santander customer representative further explained on social media: “In recent months we have seen a large increase in UK customers becoming the victims of cryptocurrency fraud. Keeping our customers safe is a top priority, so we have decided to prevent payments to Binance following the FCA’s warning to consumers.”
  • Recently, two other major high street banks in the U.K. made a similar move to block funds to Binance: Barclays and Natwest.
  • The FCA was not the only regulator that issued a warning on Binance. The authorities in Thailand, Cayman Islands, and Japan also issued a similar warning about the crypto exchange.
  • Binance recently suspended euro deposits via SEPA bank transfers. At the time of writing, this option is still disabled on the exchange’s website.

What do you think about Santander Bank blocking fund transfers to Binance for customer protection? Let us know in the comments section below.

93K Users Scammed Into Buying Fake Cryptocurrency Mining Apps

mining

Thousands of users were scammed into buying fake Android cryptocurrency mining apps, according to a California-based security firm. These apps are advertised as a way of earning money via mining cryptocurrencies, but in actuality they don’t perform any function. Instead, they charge the user for supposed improvements and enhancements to improve their currency throughput.

93K Users Scammed

Scammers tricked more than 93K users by selling them fake cryptocurrency apps through the Google Play Store. These numbers come from the latest report from Lookout, a California-based security firm. According to the report, the apps mimic a frontend for cloud mining platforms. The business model of these apps is to cheat users into thinking they are really mining cryptocurrencies.

In fact, the apps do nothing at all. Compared to similar apps which siphon private data from their buyers, these are more subtle. This is what allowed some of them to remain undetected in Google’s Play Store. Of the 175 apps detected by Lookout, 25 of them were available in the Play Store, and the other could be sideloaded from third-party markets.

All of these paid apps include costly upgrades and subscription models ostensibly to improve the performance of mining. This is how scammers are monetizing these apps. Users are tricked into thinking the apps are really mining currency by showing fake numbers. But they then get an error message when attempting to make withdrawals.

Two Classes: Cloudscam and Bitscam

Lookout divided these apps into two main groups: Clouscam and Bitscam. The main difference between these two is that Bitscam apps also accept payment in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. Cloudscam apps only accept Google payments. Lookout estimates that customers have lost at least $350K investing in these apps.

Google removed the reported apps from the Play Store. However, these are still available from third-party marketplaces. The new boom the cryptocurrency industry is experiencing is making inexperienced people easy targets for scammers. While Google already knows about this, dozens or even hundreds of apps may still be lurking in the Google Play Store.

Lookout advises new investors to do due diligence before jumping into buying a cryptocurrency mining app. Scammers know inexperienced users are now entering the cryptocurrency market in droves, and they will try to take advantage of this boom. The security firm recommends knowing the developers behind these apps before buying them, installing them only from the official app, and reading user reviews of the app to look for any anomalies.

What do you think about these mining scams? Tell us in the comments section below.

Ethereum’s London Hard Fork Scheduled to Commence on August 4

Ethereum's London Hard Fork Scheduled to Commence on August 4

The highly anticipated Ethereum hard fork is expected to launch on August 4 at block height 12,965,000 according to Ethereum core developers. The London hard fork will add five Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) that aim to enhance the blockchain. However, the Berlin hard fork was postponed after a vulnerability was identified by the audit company Chainsecurity and the London hard fork could be delayed as well.

London Hard Fork Scheduled for August 4, 2021

Ethereum’s London hard fork is one of the most long-awaited changes in quite some time and will follow the recently implemented Berlin hard fork. The London upgrade is meant to complement the Ethereum 2.0 transition which will change the ETH chain from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS).

Just recently, Bitcoin.com News reported on three Ethereum testnets preparing to leverage the London hard fork. Now that the implementations have been successful following adaptations to the testnets Goerli and Ropsten, pull request #223 was officially merged.

“This pull request proposes block 12965000 for the mainnet activation of the London network upgrade,” explained Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko. “The ETA for this block should be between 13:00 UTC and 17:00 UTC on August 4, 2021. We had agreed on ACD116 to decide the block async and try and get client releases done for ACD117 (July 9).” Beiko added:

If we can roughly hit that timeline, then August 4th should provide enough time to advertise the client releases that are mainnet compatible, and allow infrastructure providers [and] node operators to upgrade.

The biggest changes being added to the blockchain include EIP-1559 and EIP-3554. EIP-1559 will change Ethereum’s fee rate to a new scheme that makes the crypto asset ETH deflationary.

EIP-3554 messes with the miner’s difficulty bomb to ease the transition from PoW to PoS. Additionally, the upcoming fork will also feature EIP-3198: BASEFEE opcode, EIP-3529: reduction in refunds, and EIP-3541: reject new contracts starting with the 0xEF byte.

What do you think about the Ethereum London upgrade date? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Using Decentralized Digital IDs and Blockchain to Help Millions in Africa Get Identified

With over 1.3 billion inhabitants, Africa accounts for over 16% of the world’s population. However, the continent still falls short when it comes to providing its residents with legitimate or government-issued identification documents. As some studies have revealed, as many as 400 million Africans do not have the appropriate identification documents.

Lack of Required Documents Creates Problems

Unfortunately, the lack of a national identification document precludes many from accessing financial services, participating in national plebiscites, or even travelling across national borders. To help reduce the number of people that are in this situation, one African tech start-up, Flexfintx, has created a virtual solution to the challenge — digital IDs.

To understand how digital IDs can potentially overcome the challenge of lacking identification, Bitcoin.com News interviewed Victor Mapunga, the CEO and co-founder of Flexfintx via email.

Bitcoin.com News (BCN): Can you start by briefly telling us what motivated you to start this business?

Victor Mapunga (VM): In 2018 upon my return to Zimbabwe, I was trying to open a bank account with a local bank and I was surprised that I couldn’t easily provide them with proof of residence, a piece of documentation necessary to open an account that most people don’t have and which is hard to prove.

I went from bank to bank collecting registration forms and they all required hard to prove documentation. I spent the next few months researching and asking people in banking halls how long it took them to open a bank account. For some, it was months as they lived in rural areas and had to commute back and forth if they had missing documents.

I also learnt later that over 400 million people in Africa face this challenge and are locked out of the broader financial ecosystem. Thus, Flexfintx was born.

BCN: Why do you think digital identities are the panacea to this global challenge of using or lacking identification documents?

VM: Manual verifications are expensive and time-consuming, whilst performing KYC for users in emerging markets like Africa is seen as too complex and risky. This results in financial institutions, crypto & fintech companies abandoning this market segment.

Digital IDs like the one we developed — Flex ID — unlike traditional ones are completely decentralized, with only the user in full control of their data. This decentralized approach makes it easier for multiple institutions to verify information without having to develop multiple integrations with different service providers. The use of this ID drastically reduces the cost of verification to negligible sums.

BCN: What are the other benefits of digital identities?

VM: A digital identity wallet like Flex ID is capable of storing multiple credentials from e-KYC credentials, healthcare records, prescriptions and academic transcripts all with one application that is interoperable and completely self-sovereign. This means a user is able to perform multiple verifications with different organisations without having to submit voluminous paperwork.

Blockchain-based IDs vs Traditional Systems

BCN: Can you explain how blockchain technology is involved with the digital identity solution you are offering?

VM: We have a Layer 2 network built on top of the Algorand blockchain called the Flex Network (FN). Every issuing authority and verifier organization will be required to either run or use a SaaS API, to interact with a FN node. The node acts as a trustless way to create, update, and fetch information about digital identifiers (DIDs) from the blockchain. This enables verifiable credentials to be independently issued and verified against the public keys associated with the issuer and holder DIDs.

The core technology allowing us to build self-sovereign identity is the DIDs and these are essentially a data format mapping unique identifiers to a set of public keys. A decentralized key management system (DKMS) on the blockchain allows us to maintain a global, shared, immutable ledger of DIDs, and associated public keys to enable independent cryptographic verification of digital signatures.

BCN: The concept of digital identities is not a very new one and there are players in this field already. How is your start-up doing things differently from the competition?

VM: The naive solution is digital identity, but history has proven that central data stores are high-value hacking targets and can affect millions of users in case of a leak. Flex ID is a self-sovereign digital identity, which means the digital identity is fully owned and controlled by the user/thing being referred to. Flex ID allows users to securely exchange their credentials and gain access to services without intervening third parties. Analogous to a real wallet, it contains credentials like driver’s licenses, national IDs, land certificates, etc.

Issuance of digital credentials is more secure, cheaper, and instantaneous than physical ones which are prone to forgery. Physical credentials are expensive to issue and manage and take weeks if not months.

Verification of digital credentials is more trustworthy, cheaper, and instantaneous than physical credentials because they allow verifiers to onboard more customers and expand their service offerings with less risk as digital credentials cannot be faked.

Ownership of digital credentials allows holders to access services digitally and remotely without needing to visit in-person offices which are only present in major urban centres. They are also self-sovereign and recoverable so users cannot lose or harm their credentials accidentally.

WEF Recognition

BCN: Your company Flexfintx was recently recognised by the World Economic Forum as one of seven African tech start-ups that are “shaking up the global tech ecosystem.” What does this mean for what you are trying to achieve?

VM: We are extremely honoured to be selected into this year’s cohort by the World Economic Forum as a Tech Pioneer. We are especially proud to be the first company from Zimbabwe to ever grace the list and the only one representing Southern Africa. We see it as a vote of confidence in the region’s ability and efforts to develop global problem-solving solutions and a thriving startup ecosystem.

As part of Tech Pioneers, we are aiming to contribute towards the Forum’s goals, engage other global stakeholders working within the blockchain space, and use the platform to share our experience building solutions within the emerging world.

BCN: In your view, who is the ideal candidate for this solution you are offering?

VM: Financial organisations, crypto exchanges, insurance and healthcare companies. Virtually any startup which intends on accessing the broader African market will have access to Africa’s identity API through Flex ID.

Do you agree that technological solutions like digital IDs can help reduce the number of people that have no IDs? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.