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IBM Patents IoT And Blockchain Technology To Stop Drones From Stealing Packages

  • IBM has patented a system which integrates blockchain and IoT to detect if a drone steals a package

Major shipping companies like Amazon, DHL, and FedEx have been developing drones that deliver packages, in order to cut down on delivery costs and time. However, IBM thinks drones may be used by criminals to steal packages, especially considering the increasing levels of packages being shipped through e-commerce and the increasing number of people who have drones, and has patented technology which integrates blockchain and the internet of things (IoT) to stop thieves who use drones to steal packages.

This new system will work by placing an IoT sensor on a package, and if the altitude of the package exceeds a certain threshold, then the IoT sensor will begin downloading data into the blockchain to show how high the drone is. The intended recipient of the package will then receive a notification that their package has been stolen by a drone. The package recipient can then presumably call the police to report the incident, as well as the merchant and the shipping company which delivered the goods.

It is unclear if IBM will be deploying this system anytime in the near future, but it is certainly a clever use of blockchain and IoT.

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Mitsubishi Puts Salmon on the Blockchain

Mitsubishi subsidiary Cermaq, a world leader in trout and salmon farming with operations in Norway, Chile, and Canada, has announced that they will be tracking salmon on the blockchain from egg to store via the IBM Food Trust which uses blockchain technology.

The reason that Cermaq is taking this step is that consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the origin of their salmon and if it is produced in a sustainable way. Now consumers who buy salmon from Labeyrie, a leading brand of smoked salmon in France which sources its fish from Cermaq, will be able to scan a code on the product’s packaging and receive a treasure trove of information that is stored in the blockchain about the specific piece of salmon that they purchased.

Once the QR code is scanned, it will show when the fish was hatched from its egg, the facility it came from, how big it was when it was transferred to seawater, at which seawater facility it had been farmed, the health of the fish and if it received any vaccinations, when it was fed, and when it was harvested. This information will come in the form of both texts and photos.

The advantage of using blockchain, in this case, is that information stored within the blockchain is encrypted, secure, and immutable, and only Cermaq will be able to alter any data within the blockchain. Therefore, customers will know that the data they are receiving is official. Ultimately, this use of blockchain technology increases trust in the brand, and customers will be able to make better-informed decisions when buying salmon.

 

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Government-Backed Tribe Accelerator Garners Support of IBM, Citibank

Government-Backed Tribe Accelerator Partners with IBM, Citibank

Government-Backed Tribe Accelerator Garners Support of IBM, Citibank

Enterprise Singapore has backed Tribe Accelerator, which grows blockchain-based startups and has garnered the support of companies such as IBM, Ubisoft and Citi as corporate partners. Tribe Accelerator helps these startups to scale and implement their blockchain-based solutions using its association with such global corporations. These blockchain solutions can either directly be integrated into existing business entities or be integrated into the end-user products of daily life so that everyday problems can be tackled effectively. 

Tribe Accelerator said, 

The addition of IBM, Citi and Ubisoft into the corporate partnership-base will give participating start-ups greater access to international markets and resources beyond Singapore.”

The startups which benefit immensely from this usually belong in the media, healthcare, advertising and fintech industries. Tribe Accelerator has managed to raise USD 16.8 million for them through its global demo tour across Singapore, Shangai, Seoul and San Francisco. Companies such as Bluzelle, which provides distributed open-source database; Torus, which is a hub for digital identities; healthcare start-up Whitetech and many others have greatly benefited from the support. 

Ng Yi Ming, managing partner at Tribe Accelerator, said on Wednesday: 

“The success of the inaugural batch far surpassed our initial expectations. By ensuring all parties are aligned with a common objective, it has greatly reduced information overlaps and made solution integration prompt.”

As was previously reported on BitcoinNews.com, the blockchain accelerator had taken automobile industry giant BMW and technology corporation Intel as its corporate partners. The addition of these corporate giants will only increase the access of blockchain-based startups to the global market and resources, who can then make their blockchain solutions more accessible.

 

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Brazil registers its first birth certificate on the blockchain

Brazil Records First-Ever Blockchain Birth Certificate

Brazil registers its first birth certificate on the blockchain

Brazil, the fifth most populated country in the world, has made history by issuing its first birth certificate using blockchain technology, a significant step towards recording vital public statistics.

According to reports, Álvaro de Medeiros was the first baby to have his birth certificate issued without the need of any notary or a registry office. GrowTech, which strives towards a high-end tech world, in partnership with IBM, has used blockchain technology to record birth certificates, using its Notary ledger platform which provides virtual notary services.

The parents were invited by the hospital to test this technology to record birth certificates. The father, highlighting the convenience of this technology stated that the registration process was time-saving as it only took about five minutes. Conventionally, it would take days for the manual registration process of birth to be done by the registry offices. Simultaneously, the transparency and efficiency in the recording of these essential documents also increase.

IBM’s blockchain leader in Latin America, Carlos Rischioto said that the registration process involves three main steps. First, the hospital is required to make a “live birth statement”. After this, the Ledger platform of the blockchain technology is used to create a digital identity of the newborn. In the last step, the essential and relevant information is sent to the notary to finalize it.

This is not the first time essential public records have been stored using blockchain technology. As previously reported on BitcoinNews.com, many people are choosing to record their sacred matrimony on a decentralized ledger. Thus, it is evident that companies are striving towards the digitization of maintaining public records, in which blockchain has a major role to play.

 

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IBM Blockchain Browser Wants to Store Your Browsing History Indefinitely on Blockchain

blockchain IBM blocks art

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), on 6 August 2019, filed a patent for a web browser that incorporates peer-to-peer distributed ledger technology to store browser events like browsing history and search queries on the blockchain.

What can be stored on the distributed network?

  • user bookmarks,
  • search words (e.g. in a word-based search engine),
  • history of URLs visited,
  • time,
  • geolocation,
  • device used,
  • internet protocol (IP) address of the user’s computer,
  • textual content typed into entry forms,
  • default/user settings (e.g., browser security settings), etc.

A transaction (that is added to the block) may be any web browser event associated with a user.

Key points discussed in the Patent application

  • Lock-In Attribution: The system can create a permanent and unbreakable link between the user and his/her browsing information, which can be verified.
  • Secure Share: The system can securely share a user’s digital browsing information with others. Transferring browsing information involves transferring browsing information record. 

A blockchain-based browser, as the company puts it…

“…affords a system for storing browsing information such that privacy is preserved and places privacy in the ‘hands of a user’ rather than a third party.”


Although the authors of the patent intend (and hence mention) placing the privacy in the “hands of the user”, clarity on who the targeted end user is, is open to interpretation.

The patent is an interesting one, as it combines two seemingly unrelated pieces of technologies. The browser, a software piece as old as the internet itself, and the blockchain, a piece of tech as transformational as the internet itself.

It appears that IBM is looking at a use case of browsers which is yet to become mainstream, both in reality and in the imagination of end-users. The end-users could be people, governments, hospitals, organizations or a bunch of five people running a business — hosting their own browser, chat apps, self hosted cloud with a currency of their own.

If one could reflect on the choices of browsers available currently to the end users like us, there’s Chrome by Google, Edge (which is now dating Chrome in a way) by Microsoft, Firefox by Mozilla, Opera, Safari by Apple.

The browser is where all the action has taken place ever since the alphabet i started denoting the internet when placed in front of the name of a device like phone, pad, pod, mac, etc. The web browsers have become the single most important innovation to have occurred in the information era. There’s even a web browser-centric operating system that does most of what one would expect from a computer.

There is a lot of data moving through the gates of these browsers.

The norm of the industry these days reads somewhat like this:

IF there is DATA, TOKENIZE it and BLOCKCHAIN it. Else, generate more DATA. With sufficient data, put the ML and AI to work to derive useful patterns of understanding, a.k.a. INFORMATION, albeit abstracted for privacy reasons, which is where the cryptography comes in.

– every cutting edge companies’ research mission

And, who is this end user?

The prospect of keeping user behavior on the blockchain — forever, perpetually — especially with data points such as user bookmarks, search words (e.g. in a word-based search engine), history of URLs visited, time, geolocation, device used, IP address of the user’s computer, textual content typed into entry forms and default/user settings (e.g., browser security settings), is just unsettling, given that permanence is wasteful without a clear purpose from the onset.

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Blockchain – A Game Changer for Healthcare?

Blockchain - A Game Changer for Healthcare

Over the years, the healthcare industry has made slow progress towards integrating emerging technologies. But with the ascent of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things, and surprisingly virtual reality, a unique opportunity opened up for distributed ledger technologies to provide a de facto trust infrastructure in the healthcare system and it is believed that integrating blockchain-based solutions could aid professionals at unprecedented rates.

An excerpt from a paper titled Metrics for Assessing Blockchain-based Healthcare Decentralized Apps, authored by Peng Zhang, Michael Walker, Jules White, Douglas C. Schmidt from the Vanderbilt University, provided an insight into how decentralized technologies could be harnessed to address key healthcare industry problems. Its researchers noted:

“Programmable blockchains have generated interest in the healthcare domain as a potential solution to resolve key challenges, such as gapped communications, inefficient clinical report delivery, and fragmented health records.”

Problems with Existing Systems

Electronic health records (EHR) is currently being used by a growing niche of medical stakeholders such as hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, research institutes, and insurance companies to access a secure database of patients’ health information. Initially, the design was tasked with basic patient administration such as organizing appointment schedules and issuing repeat prescriptions. Over time the system evolved, such that for hospitals, it meant storing or sharing accurate health records on their patients and providing the industry vertical access to relevant treatment and diagnosis history, and possibly help focus research on treatment plans and designs of new drug products.

Consequentially, healthcare informatics has grown to become a mammoth in the data industry. Data from this industry is projected to grow to as much as 15 times its 2013 value by 2020.

The growth rate of #healthcaredata is projected to be greater than that of the total global data set. At 153 exabytes back in 2013, the healthcare industry is expected to generate 2,314 exabytes of data by 2020, a 48% annual growth rate. pic.twitter.com/LcSKlovnvC

— John Snow Labs (@JohnSnowLabs) July 15, 2019

Meanwhile, the rate of adoption of EHR in developed countries is quite alarming, as research by Meeker reported an increase in the use of EHR system in the United States nearing a 100 percent, and in another report, physicians who had adopted EHR systems were up about 60% in just under a decade. This growth could further imply a concurrent growth of the problems in EHR.

Most of the data related problems plaguing the healthcare industry revolves around security and integrity due to data-breaches, interoperability, and censorship.

Data Security: In terms of data security and attestation, data stored by EHR systems aren’t always reliable due to possible human errors in data entry, conflicting data entries or worse, data tampering as seen in the cases of medical insurance fraud or pharmaceutical drug trial scandals. More so, data breaches are common attacks experienced in the industry. It’s been pointed out that:

“Globally, healthcare was racked with more cybersecurity breaches than any other industry in 2018, accounting for 25% of 750 reported incidents…

“Health information was the second most at-risk type of data in cybersecurity threats [in 2018] …

“Despite healthcare’s mounting cybersecurity threat, the industry’s security measures haven’t kept pace painting a gloomy picture for 2019.”

Lack of Interoperability: Another huge problem in the healthcare industry involves the silos of health data among disparate institutions. While shared information between homogenous verticals in the industry has a profound impact on the overall healthcare delivery system and could improve care quality, these data silos present a huge setback on both EHR system designs and security layouts. BIS Research measured the low threshold of information sharing among industry verticals, stating:

“Less than 10% of healthcare organizations regularly share medical information with providers outside of their organization.”

More so, running EHR through trusted intermediaries could be quite expensive as suggested by physician and specialist in medical informatics and health IT Dr. Christina Czeschik.

Patient-owned Data Censorship: Another important aspect of health data sharing concerns patients as well, as they are the primary data sources. While some argue about the ethical justification of allowing patients access to their health data, a lot of clinics and some general practitioners claim that putting patients in control of data from EHR provides them the “opportunity to become active partners in their care.”

The design-flaw impact on incumbent healthcare informatics – whether electronic or otherwise – has rippled into many socio-economic and political realms, aggravating the already complex systemic problems. However, this could all be unraveled with a trusted entity, and as far as humans go, none could fit in that role. Blockchain technology seems the only logical route to provide the ideal trust factor in the data stream network, and when it comes to the healthcare sector, no better solution seems applicable.

Surmounting Obstacles

Blockchain is reportedly being touted to be the panacea to a wide array of database-related problems and consequentially being sought out for trustless infrastructure. The thing about the technology is its cryptographic layer – which is made up of complex codes and algorithmic consensus that secures its system; and smart contract ingenuity which makes any blockchain-enabled system communicate seamlessly and almost autonomously.  A recent study revealed:

“The adoption of the blockchain technology could save the healthcare industry up to USD 100 – 150 billion per year by 2025 in data breach-related costs, IT costs, operations costs, support function costs and personnel costs, and through a reduction in frauds and counterfeit products.”

Currently, there are a plethora of blockchain-based startups exploring diverse opportunities to disrupt the healthcare system with the blockchain or in a combination with other emerging technologies. The solutions being provided by these startups can generally be grouped into EHR disruptors, pharmaceutical drug monitoring, patient data monetization. However, as Disruptor Daily would find after studying 40 blockchain startups venturing into the healthcare industry, other areas of the application included genomic data security, healthcare cryptocurrencies, and provenance and medical history.

This disruption wave seems rather logical given the stats of expected increase in spending opportunities – to a ballpark of USD 5.61 billion by 2025 – on global blockchain-related research and development in the healthcare sector, as well as the rise in digitized healthcare products, and an increase in the use of online health information systems – all seem to be drawing the attention of both decentralized and centralized interest parties.

It may not be all about the financial opportunities after all, as most people would think the blockchain and all of its underlying systems are limited to fintech innovations. Innovators continue to disprove this biased logic with more out-of-the-box turnkey blockchain applications that optimize processes.

This blockchain-based healthcare niche should be taken seriously, as an alliance comprising of major US healthcare companies are making moves to improve healthcare data using blockchain. Other emerging developments continue to dwarf the limitations of entry barriers and with the likes of IBM offering a proprietary blockchain-based solution to drug prescription tracking to stem drug misuse, and transportation giant Uber venturing into the blockchain-based healthcare sector, it does provide an overall sentiment regarding the future of the market.

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Blockchain Career Opportunities Are Booming

Blockchain Career Opportunities Are Booming

The blockchain and cryptocurrency industry has seen a steep rise in expansion over the last few years, grabbing the attention of various users across the globe. With many companies investing billions in blockchain technology, career opportunities have been increasing by leaps and bounds.

According to a report by Tech Jury, the blockchain market is expected to surge to USD 20 billion by 2024. Several companies and banks are leveraging blockchain for the potential it holds to revolutionize business and real-world applications.

It is estimated that in ten years, about 80% of the population will be engaged with blockchain in some form. In fact, as reported by BitcoinNews.com earlier, engineers left their highly paid “dream jobs” to pursue a career in the blockchain industry thanks to its decentralized ideology. 

The popularity of cryptocurrencies has gained ground among enthusiasts, venture capitalists and major corporations. Amid the curiosity surrounding the crypto space, the underlying technology of crypto has led to a boom in the financial market. It has been estimated that investment banks and companies can save an estimated USD 12 billion by using blockchain tech to cut down on the radical costs for data transfer and storage.

Insight on career opportunities

In August 2018, according to a Glass Door economic research report, blockchain career listings saw a whopping 300% increase over a span of one year with 1,775 job openings in the United States alone. The median blockchain-based job salary was found to be about USD 85,000, about 61.8% more than the average US median salary, with New York being the top US metro for job openings. LinkedIn produces over 3,000 job results in the US alone for blockchain-related work ads.

Graph indicating the involvement of people in the crypto and blockchain industry
Image source – Indeed

Blockchain-based careers have become a lucrative option for tech-savvy personnel. The most popular line of blockchain job, according to Glass Door research, was found to be Software Engineer and about 45% of blockchain-related jobs are for software engineers. Needless to say, apt coding skills are an essential qualification for this job. These engineers develop the software apps, infrastructure for Bitcoin and Ethereum use, which serves as the basic premise for the working of blockchain technology.

Next, are the blockchain web designers, who perform marketing activities and build the interface and design blockchain websites. They have to ensure that information about the digital currency industry is correctly and minimalistically presented. Next in demand is the role for Operations which requires a skill-set of operation management and IT. There has also been an increase in demand for the financial personnel considering the fact that the industries are deeply-rooted with finance.

Perhaps an important aspect in which blockchain-based jobs facilitate employment is through the recruitment of non-technology jobs. The increase in technology-related jobs and the general expansion of a blockchain company gives rise to the need of non-tech jobs such as risk manager, marketing manager, public relations officer, product manager, among others.

Oracle, one of the largest technological companies globally, has been expanding its blockchain team, while Chinese industrial and commercial banks have recorded sales of USD 165 billion. This expansion gives rise to the need for real-world experts who keep a check on the security and accountability of the transactions that take place. Even last year, according to a LinkedIn report, blockchain developers took the topmost position in terms of hot demands. Blockchain, therefore, has the potential to serve as a career opportunity for talented candidates, along with them receiving handsome salaries. 

Companies like Circle, Fourkites, and Pixelplex are making long-term investments in blockchain by hiring candidates and many other companies are encouraging skilled personnel by providing them job opportunities to excel in blockchain career. For example, ITExpertsIndya has created its one-size-fits-all job application wherein anyone who is interested can fill up a their name, phone number and other details and submit their resume in a click. They are looking for highly-motivated, organized individuals who give attention to detail and who are results-oriented. It is required for the job applicant to have knowledge of requirement analysis, functional design, software design, database design and testing.

The consultancy companies putting out the most job postings for crypto and blockchain roles are Deloitte, IBM and KPMG. It is highly anticipated that Facebook is going to join this list with the ongoing related hiring spree of the company.

Facebook’s crypto team expansion

It is no secret that Facebook is entering the crypto space with the plan of launching its own crypto dubbed Libra. The project will be open to about 12 countries and is planned to debut in the first quarter of 2020. The company has been attracting a large audience with the support of major payment gateways including Visa, Mastercard and Paypal. Backed by a consortium of 100 corporate investors, Facebook has stirred a storm in the job market. A lot of aspirants have their bag full of hopes to grab the job opportunities in the dream company. 

There is an increased pressure on Facebook to protect user safety and privacy given its involvement in data breach scandals in the past. Needless to say, the management of such a wide database is no piece of cake. This will only open gateways to the expansion of the crypto team. Therefore, with the success of the Libra project, there will be a direct increase in the career opportunities such as compliance, legal, regulatory, privacy and audit jobs to contain the venture.

At the time of writing, Facebook has listed 38 new job opportunities in the blockchain industry which includes Business Development Manager,  Lead International Blockchain Counsel, Financial Accountant, Data Scientist, Growth Product Manager, Threat Investigator, Quantitative UX Researcher, Mixed Methods UX Researcher, Head of Data Science, Director in Payments Partnerships, Vice President, Technical Sourcer and Head of Customer Services.

As reported recently, a prominent professor from MIT was recruited by the social media giant to work on the crypto project. The increase in hiring by blockchain firms shows the long-term interests that firms have in mind. Monetary investment may be volatile in the short run, but investment in human resources sends a strong message of the long term trends.

Blockchain can have a rapid growth in the near future if the employers and the companies promise to believe in the potential of this technology and put in all their efforts and skill in blockchain technology. The primary requisite of the blockchain-related jobs is that it revolves around good coding skills and engineering experience.

Fortunately, these openings are centered in places where there is no shortage of technical and financial expertise. Blockchain is a dynamic and fast moving industry and these trends have created a large scope for people to have developed trust in it, paving the way for long-term interests.

 

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Bitcoin Mining: 1960s Computer, Punch Card Machine, Hand, Breath, Body Heat

Bitcoin Mining: 1960s Computer, Punch Card Machine, Hand, Breath, Body Heat

Bitcoin mining began with computer processing units (CPUs), and then evolved to use graphics processing units (GPUs), but with the exponential rise of Bitcoin mining difficulty, the only profitable way to mine Bitcoin is with Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs).

Mining actually involves the solving of cryptographic puzzles — in the case of Bitcoin, highly complex puzzles that require a lot of computing power. However, it is technically possible to mine Bitcoin with anything that has processing power, as Ken Shirriff has proven. Shirriff has mined Bitcoin with an Apollo Guidance Computer from the 1960s, a 55-year-old IBM punch card computer, a Xerox computer from the 1970s, and even by hand.

If you really wanted, there are other exotic ways to mine Bitcoin, such as with human breath and body heat. All of this will be explored in this article.

Bitcoin mining with a 1960s computer

On July 21 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. The Apollo Guidance Computer was installed on both the command module and lunar modules during this mission, and all other Apollo missions. It weighs 70 pounds and is under a cubic foot in size, during an era when computers were typically the size of refrigerators or even filled rooms. This made the Apollo Guidance Computer weaker than other computers at the time, but the important thing is it was small enough to fly onboard a spaceship. It has 2.048 MHz of processing power and 4 KB of RAM, as opposed to a 2010 iMac which has 3 GHz of processing power and 8 GB of RAM.

Shirriff went through the complex process of coding up a Bitcoin mining program on the Apollo Guidance Computer. This was an extremely difficult task since the machine is 15-bit, while Bitcoin’s SHA-256 mining algorithm is 32-bit. Also, the computer has a pre-set program that is written on ropes of tape fed into the computer, and a new program for Bitcoin mining had to be written on a simulator and fed into the computer.

In the end, Shirriff succeeded, and the Apollo Guidance Computer mined Bitcoin at a rate of 10.3 seconds per hash. Compare this to Bitmain’s Antminer S9 which mines Bitcoin at up to 14 TH/s. This is 1.442 X 10^14 times faster than the 1960s device. Shirriff estimates it would take about 1 billion times the age of the universe for the Apollo Guidance Computer to find a Bitcoin block.

A punch card machine and copy machine

Perhaps even more impressively, Shirriff mined Bitcoin on a 55-year-old IBM punch card computer, specifically the IBM 1401. Shiriff had to create 85 punch cards for a single SHA-256 Bitcoin mining hashing cycle, and the computer was able to generate one hash every 80 seconds, about 8 times slower than the Apollo Guidance Computer. For each hashing round, the punch cards had to be fed back through the machine, making it a difficult physical task, versus modern Bitcoin mining rigs which are essentially plug and play. Shiriff speculates that it would be possible to set up a Bitcoin mining network with an IBM 1009 Data Transmission Unit, which is the size of a refrigerator and sends 300 characters per second over a phone modem to another computer.

Also, Shirriff mined Bitcoin on a Xerox Alto from the 1970s, which has a processing power of 5.88 MHz and 96-512 KB of RAM. This was difficult due to the Xerox Alto using 16-bit instead of 32-bit, and the programming language is BCPL which is obsolete. The Xerox Alto was ultimately able to mine 1.5 hashes per second, much faster than the Apollo Guidance Computer and the IBM 1401, but it would still take the age of the universe to find a Bitcoin block.

Human hash power

Shirriff has also experimented with mining Bitcoin by hand, and managed to do 1 round of SHA-256 hashing in 16 minutes and 45 seconds. However, a Bitcoin mining hash requires 64 rounds of SHA-256 hashing, so the estimated hash rate when mining Bitcoin by hand is 0.67 hashes per day, and that’s for an expert like Shirriff who knows exactly what do. It is quite complex to do SHA-256 Bitcoin mining by hand, and anyone who is not an expert would likely generate a much smaller hash rate. The complex process of mining Bitcoin by hand can be watched in the below video.

Shirriff is not the only one who has experimented with exotic ways to mine Bitcoin. Max Dovey, a researcher at the Institute of Network Cultures, built a Bitcoin mining rig called Breath that uses breathing to mine Bitcoin. Breath uses a spirometer, a medical tool which measures how much air is inhaled and exhaled by the lungs. The rate of breathing determines the computer’s hash rate, with 1 breath per second generating 1,000 hashes per second. This is notably much faster than the Apollo Guidance Computer, the IBM 1401, and the Xerox Alto, but it is important to note that a modern computer was used for Breath.

Breath generated less than USD 1 of cryptocurrency in several months, and it is more of an artistic exercise to show that Bitcoin mining could be powered by basically anything, rather than a serious way to make money.

Another interesting and exotic way to mine Bitcoin is with human body heat. The Institute of Human Obsolescence hooked up people to special equipment that generates electricity from body heat, and on average 0.6 watts per hour was generated from each person. This is actually less than 1% of the 80 watts per hour generated by an average resting person. Scaling this up, if 44,000 people laid still for an entire month and their heat was harvested, it would generate 1 Bitcoin (at the time).

During this experiment, people who volunteered their body heat received 80% of the cryptocurrency mined. Due to the low energy output, altcoins like Vertcoin and Startcoin were mined instead of Bitcoin. That being said, this experiment started in 2015, and cryptocurrencies have gained tens of thousands of percent of value since then, turning pennies of cryptocurrency into more significant amounts of money.

Shirriff’s experiments with mining Bitcoin by hand, an Apollo Guidance Computer, an old IBM punch card computer, and a Xerox Alto, combined with the experiments which mined Bitcoin from human breath and human body heat, prove that Bitcoin can be mined with literally any device, and powered with literally anything.

Although Bitcoin mining is impractical with weak devices or such low power output, it is perhaps possible to mine low-value alternative cryptocurrencies with such methods, exchange them for Bitcoin satoshis, and perhaps one day those satoshis will become quite valuable.

 

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US FDA Calls for Blockchain to Authenticate Prescription Drugs

US FDA Calls for Blockchain to Authenticate Prescription Drugs

Blockchain busy American multinational retail corporation Walmart Inc has announced it wants to expand its new tech footprint by developing a proof-of-concept blockchain for identifying and tracking prescription drugs.

Working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  IBM, Merck and KPMG, the retailing giant is joining a pilot aimed at improving the tracking and authentication of prescription drugs, to ensure the supply chain remains free from counterfeit medication.

The move by Walmart was in response to a statement made by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb back in February of this year when he called for submissions from companies to join the DSCSA Pilot Project Program. He commented at the time:

“Using new innovations, we believe we can improve the overall security of our closed system and improve our ability to prevent the introduction of illegitimate products, better detect the introduction of illegitimate products, and enable stakeholders and the FDA to respond more rapidly when such products are found.”

In June, Merck, Walmart, KPMG, and IBM heeded the call and agreed to work together on the FDA trial using developing blockchain technologies. When one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Merck, were asked why they agree to join the pilot program they responded that:

“A permissioned blockchain network has the potential to create greater transparency, reduce the time needed to track and trace inventory, help determine the integrity of products (such as whether they are kept at the correct temperature), prevent and remove counterfeit drugs, and more.”

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Retail Giant Target Hits Bullseye with New Blockchain Initiative

Retail Giant Target Hits Bullseye with New Blockchain Initiative

Minnesota-based retail giant Target has now locked into a blockchain project earlier used by one of its suppliers as it shows a greater willingness to come on board with the new technology.

This now means that the international retailer, which remains the 8th largest in the US operating 1,851 stores across the country with 300,000 team members around the world, has officially entered the blockchain space.

Its two current supply support networks, ConsenSource and Hyperledger Grid, require hiring blockchain savvy staff to boost its distributed ledger technology-related work across the US, developing “distributed ledger systems, protocols, smart contracts, CLIs, and RESTful APIs in an open source environment”, according to recent employment opportunity advertising.

“I’m proud that Target will support the Hyperledger Grid project, and that we’re committing dedicated engineering resources to build out components in the Grid architecture,” said Joel Crabb, Target’s vice president of architecture, adding:

“Many companies – including Target – see the most potential for enterprise blockchain initiatives as open source.”

He explained that open-source projects required all participating parties to define the governance model collectively allowing companies to “focus their time working on blockchain-based solutions that will lead to greater speed, transparency and cost savings”.

Target plans to join the Sawtooth Supply Chain project, which is currently working on documenting the provenance of food and other assets using the Sawtooth implementation of Hyperledger, although the retail giant is not yet a member.

Rival Walmart uses Food Trust for its tracking, also a Hyperledger implemented project developed by IBM. Target’s use of blockchain had been low key up until recently until hiring Aarthi Srinivasan from IBM as its director of product management for personalization, machine learning, and blockchain, in 2016.

With Sawtooth, Target is clearly showing its intention to conduct what it calls “a broad migration of many mainframe-based systems and middleware products to a modern platform” relating to supply chain management.

 

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