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First Mexican Blockchain Association Established with ConsenSys as Founding Member

First Mexican Blockchain Association Established with ConsenSys as Founding Member

Mexico has established its first blockchain association comprised of world-leading and domestic industry leaders, with ConsenSys as a founding member.

Who’s in?

As reported by Forbes Mexico, the new association has members that for a majority represent the cryptocurrency and finance facet of the industry. For example, Bitso and Volabit are Mexican crypto exchanges, and there is also BIVA, Mexico’s second stock exchange, as well as Lvna Capital, a crypto hedge fund based in Mexico City.

Additionally, UK private equity firm Exponent and Mexican investment and brokerage firm Grupo Bursatil Mexicano (GBM) are a part of the founding members. Among them is industry titan ConsenSys, a leading blockchain incubator studio based in Switzerland who recently partnered with Amazon, and has Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin at the helm.


Speaking with Forbes Mexico, provisional president Felipe Vellejo said, “This technology has the objective of creating more transparent, safe and efficient procedures”. Therefore, the association is seeking to improve public education on the topic in order to introduce such benefits to society; the Blockchain Association of Mexico will also endeavor to define the standards and practices required for the Mexican blockchain sector to thrive.

Reportedly, the members desire to see blockchain utilized properly and avoid nefarious abuse of the tech, such as money laundering. For the association, it is imperative that the standards set in place are efficient and safe for use, allowing blockchain technologies to operate with as little friction as possible.

Speaking on the potential of blockchain, Exponent Capital founder Mouses Cassab said, “The current applications of the blockchain range from decreasing the costs of sending remittances and international payments, to the democratization of the financial system.”


Blockchain-related associations can be considered somewhat an ambivalent topic as they can either be seen as an unnecessary barrier of entry for enterprise networking and resources or viewed as an essential component for the forwarding of a pro-blockchain agenda domestically and on a global scale.

That said, the Mexican association is the first of its kind to represent blockchain in the country, likely making it an invaluable entity on the domestic industry frontier. Naturally, the association is open to any organization and entity that wishes to join due to the versatile applications of blockchain across all industries.

Mexico is gradually emerging in the global blockchain community; in April, a Mexican hackathon resulted in the government announcing the trial of a public procurement procedure on the blockchain some months later. Additionally, Mexico held its first-ever blockchain event in August, Viva la Crypto!.


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Ethereum Core Devs Plan Upgrade in Secret

Ethereum core developers have reportedly met multiple times in secret to plan an as yet undisclosed upgrade to the network, hoping to provide a short-term scaling solution.

The so-called ”Ethereum 1x” upgrade was discussed on four occasions during the Devcon4 conference that took place at the end of October. On one occasion, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and co-founder Joseph Lubin were both in attendance.

The minutes for these meetings were published on Github by an engineer of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) Greg Colvin on 23 November, and CoinDesk claims one attendee has verified its authenticity, although they wished to remain anonymous.

They said the proposals for the upgrade were not mature enough to be shared with the public yet, while the documents indicate a clash in ideas over how to manage community feedback regarding early-stage technical proposals.

Colvin’s motivation for sharing the internal documents may have arisen from the Ethereum blockchain’s responsibility to establish a general consensus from software users before implementing any rule changes, as is the case with all public blockchains.

What changes were discussed?

While the minutes do not show any final decisions were made, the following changes were discussed:

  • A system-wide upgrade or hard fork in June 2019
  • Replacing Ethereum’s EVM that processes smart contracts
  • Introducing storage fees for smart contracts
  • Replace the EVM with an eWASM for accelerated processing

Overall, the document has a sense of urgency for which the changes must take place, with as much public feedback as possible. We should be able to hear more about the changes from the core development team themselves soon, however, as Buterin argued he is ”uncomfortable with institutional private calls and absolutely against private forum[s].”


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Joseph Lubin: Blockchain Can Empower Our Identity, Agency

Co-founder of Ethereum Joseph Lubin has said that blockchain technology has the ability to empower people identities and agency.

”We are going to be more in control of our own identity and agency in these decentralized networks,” Lubin told the audience at the International Luxury Conference. As he interprets it, the technology will change the current scarcity mindsets of individuals into an abundance mindset which will encourage people to express themselves.

His remarks are particularly significant as the benefits of blockchain are usually reduced to economic and technological terms; the potentials on an individual level are frequently not discussed.

Blockchain will also bring the benefit of creating more wealth, Lubin predicted, and ”more of an appetite for luxury than less”.

These comments came during the New York Times’ conference in Hong Kong on 12 November. Running also on 13 November, other prominent speakers include the president of Alibaba Group and the CEO of fashion brand Balenciaga.

Blockchain art

As Bitcoin News reported in October, blockchain is becoming an increasingly popular choice for artists looking to sell their works. Just as in Lubin’s statements regarding the promotion of individual’s expression, cryptocurrency artist Josie Bellini told Bitcoin News that blockchain will eliminate the need of the middleman, allowing artists to reap the full extent of their work.

Blockchain can be used to sell artwork on the international market, create transparent, decentralized selling platforms, track the history and authenticity of art, as well as tokenize shares in pieces of art for joint ownership

The art industry has both the essence of luxury that Lubin alluded to in his view of blockchain’s enabling potential, as well as that of self-expression and identity.


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Berlin Bullish on Blockchain; Ethereum Co-Founder Bullish on Berlin

Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, has dubbed Berlin as “the most important city in the blockchain cosmos” and also made comments on old internet practices that need to be forgotten as a means for it to evolve into “Web 3.0”.

Blockchain prowess in Berlin

Lubin has firm beliefs that the German capital of Berlin has the capacity to be a world leader in all things blockchain. Speaking to a local news outlet, he said, “Berlin has the infrastructure, Berlin has the talent, the really good programmers are here… the government needs to set up more programs to promote blockchain.”

The latter comments arrived in a timely fashion as the first ever Blockchain Visionnaire Summit (BVS) took place on 23 July, where a panel of speakers including software engineer Artiona Bogo (SAP) and Cindicator CTO and co-founder Yuri Lobyntsev.

The panel had discussions on Berlin’s geographic prominence in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. New York-based conference co-founder Anastasia Cherinkova said, “It’s much more about developing companies and less about raising capital. Meetups and conferences in Berlin are mostly for developers, less for entrepreneurs or investors.”

Lubin also acknowledged that blockchain and the industry were within their earliest stages, however, to move forward he admitted that Bitcoin hype brings more money into the space, enabling the tech to move onward.

In regards to Web 3.0, Lubin thinks the “old web” was wrought with mistakes, especially given the conventions of centralized data silos that collect and store user data, saying, “We have to get away from silos, from companies that collect data and make money, and people should have that back in their hands.”

German progress

The chief of the German Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), Felix Hufeld, is a blockchain bull, describing it as a technology that can turn the financial sector “upside down”, though he holds a skeptical stance on the volatile cryptocurrency markets and initial coin offerings (ICO).

Furthermore, in early July 2018, Solarisbank, a Banking-as-a-Platform institution launched a blockchain-focused banking service for clients in the blockchain and digital currency industry called the Blockchain Factory. It facilitates the banking needs of companies whose businesses are “directly or indirectly” based on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Phillip Blankenagel, head of communications at SolarisBank, said, “We… see it as a chance to work with innovative companies on the future of the financial industry. We believe in the future of blockchain technology and the future of companies that rely on this technology. At the same time, as a bank licensed company, we place great value on legal and regulatory permissibility and scrutinize possible partnerships.”

The European Union has admitted that it faces some serious challenges in the advent of blockchain technologies and as of yet, there are very few financial institutions offering corporate accounts for blockchain companies, which will surely lure fintech companies from across the globe to Berlin.


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Daily Show’s Ronny Chieng Serves Roast at Ethereum Conference

Cryptocurrencies are re-entering popular culture, as demonstrated by the appearance of Ronny Chieng, a senior correspondent from the Daily Show at the Ethereum Summit on Saturday.

Chieng took to the stage alongside ConsenSys founder and CEO Joseph Lubin and Kavita Gupta, founding managing partner at ConsenSys Ventures. His opinions voiced were inherently suspicious of cryptocurrencies but humorous enough to entertain the crowd of Ethereum enthusiasts.

Truth in comedy

Several of Chieng’s comments touched on topics that are indeed garnering contention in the industry. Specifically, Chieng targeted the reasoning behind the resurgence of decentralized technology now, since it has been around since the file-sharing platform BitTorrent.

Responding to this criticism, Lubin interjected, saying, “BitTorrent was attacked in significant ways. It was stigmatized and didn’t come out at a time when there was popular sentiment… Trust is [now] lost in centralized institutions.” Lubin was clear that he thought now was the right time for peer-to-peer technology to succeed.

His sentiment was echoed from various speakers during the conference, several citing the recent Facebook scandal involving third-parties collecting personal data as a reason to decentralize institutions.

The volatile price of cryptocurrencies was also targeted by Chieng, as he stated the fluctuating prices should be a clear indication of a bubble, although he jested he would gladly invest to make money from it.

Speaking specifically on blockchain, Chieng said ”[it is] what dumb people like myself can make money off of in the short term”, although he admitted so far he has been unsuccessful in actually turning a profit on his cryptocurrency investments.

Lubin countered by talking up the benefits of a bear market, noting that they encourage funding and participation from investors and developers. “It’s great when the price goes up because it brings more resources into the ecosystem,” he said.

He also went on to describe the technology behind cryptocurrencies as more exciting and important than the actual value of the digital currencies themselves.

Still dubious, Chieng concluded, “This is either the biggest scam or the most undervalued asset in humanity. It could still be either way.”

Crypto in pop culture

Around 2013, when Bitcoin first began experiencing popularity, popular figures such as Ashton Kutcher used their platform to support the new cryptocurrency. Now, it appears to be re-entering pop culture.

Aside from Chieng’s roast at the Ethereum conference, a crypto-themed short comedy film was just released, entitled Buy The Dip. Written and directed by self-proclaimed cryptocurrency investor Sam Lucas Smith, the film takes a humorous look at a group of friends investing in crypto in the UK.

While making a comedic appearance at a cryptocurrency conference, or releasing a short film on the topic may not influence the market to such an extent as regulations might, it is a sign of the changing times. Entering pop culture is indicative of the sociocultural influence the cryptocurrency industry is gaining.


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