A New Type of Bitcoin

Three days ago, Bitcoin launched its newest technology, Bitcoin Gold.  This is big for digital currency and blockchain technologies.  There are many differences that separate Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold that you can learn about in the article below.  For those of you who use Bitcoin technologies, you have likely already experienced the new addition, but if you have yet to use it, continuing reading to discover more about BTG.

Bitcoin Gold Launches on November 12

After weeks of preparation, Bitcoin Gold (Bgold; BTG) is finally launching tomorrow,  November 12, 2017.

Bitcoin Gold is the second project to fork away from the Bitcoin blockchain to create a new coin this year; on August 1, Bitcoin Cash (Bcash) was the first. Where Bcash attempted to offer an on-chain scaling solution by increasing Bitcoin’s block size limit (while removing the Segregated Witness code), Bgold is an attempt to counter Bitcoin’s mining centralization.

The most important difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Gold is a new proof-of-work mining algorithm. Instead of SHA256, the new coin uses the memory-hard Equihash proof-of-work function that’s also used in the privacy-focused altcoin Zcash. This means that specialized ASIC hardware that has come to dominate Bitcoin’s mining ecosystem will not be able to mine Bgold.

Although Bgold is launching this weekend, the fork “officially” occurred on October 25. Anyone who held bitcoin (BTC) on that day (specifically, when Bitcoin block 491406 was mined) will have an equivalent amount of BTG attributed to their private keys. These private keys can be imported into a dedicated Bgold wallet, which, starting tomorrow, will allow users to spend the coins. (But note that this does not come without risks and tradeoffs: If you’re not sure what you’re doing, it’s best not to ignore BTG until you do. For more information als see this article. Update, November 12th: There are now confirmed cases of malware disguised as Bgold wallets. Be extreme careful not to import your Bitcoin private keys into any software you don’t fully trust!)

Block 491407 on the Bgold blockchain will be the first block to deviate from the Bitcoin protocol. In other words, this will be the first block where Bgold splits off to become its own currency. However, somewhat controversially, the first 8000 blocks will be privately mined by the Bgold team. Only after these 8000 blocks will Bgold’s mining difficulty ramp up to normal levels, and will anyone be allowed to mine the coin. The resulting 100,000 BTG worth of block rewards from the first 8000 blocks will fund project development and more. (For more details, see the Bitcoin Gold roadmap.)

Other changes implemented by Bitcoin Gold are mostly to ensure a smooth split away from Bitcoin. This includes a new difficulty re-adjustment algorithm named “DigiShield” that adjusts the mining difficulty each time a block is found — instead of once every two weeks. Bgold also includes strong replay protection, ensuring that no users spend BTC when they mean to spend BTG, and vice versa. Additionally, BGold implemented a new address scheme, preventing users from spending BTC to BTG addresses and vice versa.

Bitcoin Gold will be supported by a relatively large number of exchanges, including major players like Bitfinex, OKex and HitBTC. Several of these exchanges are effectively supporting BTC/BTG trading already through futures markets. Ignoring an initially inflated price, these futures have traded at around 0.02 BTC in recent weeks, with a notable surge to about 0.042 BTC at the time of writing this article. If this holds up, 1 BTG would be worth almost $250, and Bgold would immediately become a top-5 altcoin on websites like coinmarketcap.com.

For more information on Bitcoin Gold, see Bitcoin Magazine’s earlier article on this project.

Disclaimer: The author of this article holds BTC and will therefore also own BTG at launch.

 

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-gold-launches-tomorrow1/

Matthew Roszak’s TEDx Talk

I was recently invited to give a TEDx Talk in San Francisco, and I couldn’t have been more honored to do so.  Here is what TEDx wrote about the subject of my talk:

Matthew Roszak shares how we’re transitioning from an old model where money use to equal to power changing to money becoming technology via the rise of cryptocurrencies and tokenized assets on the blockchain.  Matthew Roszak is co-founder and chairman of Bloq, a leading blockchain enterprise software company.  Mr. Roszak is also founding partner of Tally Capital, a private investment firm focused on digital assets and blockchain-enabled technology with a portfolio of over 20 investments, including Block.One, Civic, Factom, Rivetz and Qtum.

Mr. Roszak is a blockchain investor, entrepreneur and advocate.  He has spent over 20 years in private equity and venture capital with Advent International, Keystone Capital Partners, Platinum Venture Partners and SilkRoad Equity, and has invested over $1 billion of capital (from start-up to IPO) in a broad range of industries.  Mr. Roszak is a director and beneficial owner of Eboost, Enter Financial, MissionMode, Neu Entity, Onramp, SolidSpace and TrueLook.

Mr. Roszak serves as chairman of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the world’s largest trade association representing the blockchain industry.  In addition, Mr. Roszak serves on the board of BitGive, a no This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.  Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

You can watch the full video here:

Bloq’s New Token

“‘Tis what it ’tis.”

Call it a statement on the times, but Bloq CEO Jeff Garzik isn’t exactly expecting a warm reception from some circles to the news his startup is launching a new token.

Long a controversial figure at the center of the debate on how best to scale the public bitcoin blockchain, Garzik’s company is today announcing what it believes will be a solution to the infighting he perceives as keeping money out of the established cryptocurrency market.

Revealed at Money2020 in Las Vegas, Bloq is unveiling metronome, a cryptocurrency that seeks to claim a series of firsts in crypto-economics, including offering users the ability to switch the same token back and forth between blockchains as desired.

“It’s sort of a best-of-all-worlds cryptocurrency,” Garzik said, describing it as a “boxcar” that could ride on top of any compatible blockchain.

Garzik told CoinDesk:

“You can run it on the etheruem, ethereum classic, quantum. That’s one of the key ways that this is self-governing, for the first time, you’re not tied to a single blockchain, you can run metronome contracts on any EVM compatible blockchain.”

As for how it will impact the Bloq business model, today focused on enterprise services, Garzik and co-founder Matt Roszak indicated they believe the project is consistent with the firm’s “multi-token, multi-network” vision for blockchain development.

Launched in 2016 with the goal of bringing Red Hat-inspired services to bitcoin, Garzik echoed a familiar refrain in an interview, voicing his belief bitcoin is still destined to form the “root of an Internet of blockchains,” others of which may have different use cases and attributes.

In this light, Garzik framed metronome as seeking to offer a utility to those who want a more reliable store of value and foundation for distributed applications.

“We feel that there is a consistent demand for a cross-chain option. I point to the major uncertainty of proof-of-stake and proof-of-work, where the proof-of-stake system is going to change the money supply, but [ethereum] hasn’t stated how much it will change,” he said.

That said, Garzik said metronome isn’t exactly a bid to replace the prevailing public blockchains available on the market, so much as to tailor them to a different audience.

“You can expect the bitcoin maximalists’ from the ethereum maximalists’ reactions, but it’s building on the strength of existing blockchains, it’s not trying to elbow them aside,” he said.

No ‘existential risks’

But if some of the more acrimonious debates in the cryptocurrency world seem besides the point, Garzik’s involvement appears to have left him with inspiration for his latest work.

As outlined in the metronome white paper, one of the chief selling points of the token is that it boasts “zero founder control” after its launch, and as such, is resistant “to the whims of individual or community discord” by functioning as a series of smart contracts.

All told, metronome is comprised of four types of smart contracts, which allocate the distribution of new tokens, regulate supply and liquidity and move funds between accounts.

Praised as a feature by the Bloq team, Roszak believes this sophisticated automation will encourage large investors who have yet to put money into public cryptocurrencies for fear of the seemingly erratic decision-making by developer groups to do so.

“When they analyze cryptocurrency, the analysts engineers and economists sitting at the committee, they’re saying they pick the top two – bitcoin and ether. Then they say, well there’s forks, ‘civil wars,’ ‘proof of Vitalik,'” Roszak posited. “They’re cryptographically secure but these components create surprise and risk.”

In contrast, Roszak framed the Metronome token as “fixed and locked in stone,” attributes he suggested should counter these concerns.

However, Roszak seemed to shirk the idea that the nascent state of blockchain technology could pose problems given the fixed nature of the distribution system of the cryptocurrency. Rather, he sought to stress that while the monetary network is set, flexibility will be provided in the ability of the token to port the system between blockchains.

“Having that rigidity of knowing exactly what the token does and behaves, that certainty, seeing that mintage curve, is not available in any other cryptocurrency,” he said.

Monetary network

Equally unique, however, is how the token will seek to operate on launch.

As described in its announcement materials, metronome is opening with an initial auction of 10 million MTN, with 8 million MTN being made available to the public and 2 million being set aside for Bloq as the principal development team.

Any proceeds of the sale will be sent to smart contracts that will manage the distribution of the funds, which Garzik said will distribute the proceeds “over decades” to metronome users.

As an example, there will be a stable allocation of new metronome tokens daily, with about 2,880 MTN created during the first 40 years.

Here, too, Garzik sees metronome as offering an innovation in a market where most cryptocurrencies are scheduled to reduce their supplies to zero.

“That’s one of the worries about the bitcoin-type supply curves, and it’s assumed and hoped that that will pay to sustain the system. But, that’s just a hope,” Garzik said.

Still, it’s here where metronome perhaps could run into issues similar to the ones it’s seeking to avoid in its design. Noted in the white paper is how certain groups could take steps to alter the supply rate.

“A consortium could agree to fork the MTN supply with a new MTN contract on the same or different chains, by exporting funds they control to the new fork,” the white paper reads.

That such decisions could also form the subject of infighting is not addressed in the paper.

Sale details

Armed with this roadmap, Bloq is moving ahead on the launch of the token, setting a date for the first week of December for its token sale.

According to Roszak, the Metronome code has undergone three audits since it was first written, from Ethereum Foundation member Gustav Simonson; Demian Brener, CEO of smart contract review services provider Zeppelin; and Martin Swende, security lead at the Ethereum Foundation.

On release to the public, Bloq will aim to use a descending price auction model by which tokens become less expensive to purchase as the sale progresses.

Yet, it was the current state of the code that was perhaps the biggest selling point of a sale.

“Today, you can raise money with a good idea, but as some of these things get pressure-tested, you’ll have to launch with code, then you’ll have to launch with users,” Roszak said.

He concluded:

“We’re launching with code that’s ready.”

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/jeff-garzik-startup-bloq-launch-new-cryptocurrency-token-sale/

Bloq’s Latest Venture

More and more industries and companies are adopting blockchain for various purposes across the globe.  One of the uses blockchain has the most potential in is trade finance.  That is why Bloq recently came up with solutions to streamline trade finance and supply chain management better.  Learn about our venture in the article below.

Bloq Outlines Blockchain Solutions for Trade Finance and Supply Chain Management

Bloq, a Chicago-based blockchain developer and software startup, is now developing blockchain platforms and best practices for one of the most promising use cases for blockchain technology: trade finance and supply chain management.

Interest in the use of blockchain for trade is growing rapidly as companies and organizations like IBM, Microsoft, Hyperledger, JP Morgan and Walmart recognize that antiquated trade systems are long overdue for a complete restructuring and that blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the systems that make up global trade.

A common problem with current trade systems is fraud. The trip from farm or factory to store shelves involves numerous opportunities to falsify shipping documents and alter shipping container records or contents with little accountability.

“Global supply chain management has drastically changed in the last 10-15 years,” William Nieusma, Vice President, Government Strategy at Bloq told Bitcoin Magazine: “Regulatory mandates, operational complexity and data security concerns have ramped up the pressure to overhaul these outdated systems.”

Nieusma is one of the authors of Bloq’s recently released white paper, “Accelerating Global Trade Processes with Blockchain,” designed to introduce their new project to develop a model blockchain network for companies involved in trade.

“But it’s not all doom-and-gloom; adopters of blockchain-based systems can cut costs, improve customer service and find new, verified business partners,” added Nieusma.

Alan Cohn, attorney and consultant and advisor to Bloq told us:

“Global trade is an area where blockchain can play a transformative role, not just for industry but also for government.”

Nieusma noted that Bloq believes that in the future, the most significant and valuable business systems, including trade, will run on blockchains.

IBM has recognized the potential of blockchain and trade. In partnership with seven European banks, it is building a pilot blockchain trade program with Hyperledger to enable companies like Walmart and Maersk to use blockchain technology to better track the movement of farm and factory products to the store shelves.

Microsoft is also building a model trade program using the Ethereum blockchain in a pilot project with JPMorgan.

Blockchain Tech and Trade Are a Perfect Fit

Trade finance and supply management lend themselves well to the particular advantages of blockchain technology. The Bloq white paper states:

“Blockchain technology holds considerable promise to substantially improve supply chain security and transparency. Blockchain’s inherent architectural attributes solve several weaknesses in current trade IT systems and processes to ensure information immutability and transaction auditing, thereby increasing trade value capture and value creation.”

Bloq’s model trade platform promises companies high levels of cybersecurity, reduced waiting times, transparency, ease of revenue payments, low infrastructure investment, easily auditable transactions, efficient accommodation for additional participants, immutability and automatic bonding and payments through smart contracts.

Bloq plans to build a “permissioned, federated network” built on the Bitcoin blockchain that, depending on the client’s needs, will also support Ethereum and Hyperledger. Nieusma said:

“Bloq believes that the future is a multi-chain, multi-network world and that interoperability is a guiding principle in network buildout.”

The Bloq program will connect all parties involved in a trade including buyers, banks, sellers and transporters so that information about a shipment is distributed among all involved parties at the same time.

As the white paper states:

“Trade can be safer, more secure, and more profitable with less human error. We hope this discussion leads to an evolution in trade that benefits all stakeholders.”

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bloq-outlines-blockchain-solutions-trade-finance-and-supply-chain-management/

The Launch of Token Alliance

Bloq is pleased to be a part of the latest blockchain industry agreement, the Token Alliance.  The Token Alliance was developed by The Chamber of Digital Commerce and it includes Bloq and over 70 other organizations and companies.  Learn about the goals of Token Alliance and what it will mean for blockchain going forward in the article below.

Blockchain Industry and Regulatory Leaders Launch Token Alliance

Chamber of Digital Commerce Develops New Initiative to Promote Best Practices for Burgeoning ICO Ecosystem

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Chamber of Digital Commerce is pleased to announce the Token Alliance, an industry-led initiative to educate, promote and help shape the responsible growth of token and digital asset issuances. The Token Alliance is co-chaired by former Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Dr. Jim Newsome, and former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner, Paul Atkins.

Token sales or Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) can be a powerful tool for startups and businesses seeking funding through a crowdsale. In 2017 alone, more than 100 token sales raised over $1.5 billion. However, regulatory uncertainty and compliance continues to be a challenge for the industry. The Token Alliance will work with the community to recommend legal frameworks that drive innovation and promote investment, balanced with protections for market participants.

“With the SEC’s recent findings regarding ICOs, combined with the CFTC’s determinations and enforcement, it is clear that proactive industry efforts are imperative and timely,” said Jim Newsome, Founding Partner of Delta Strategy Group and former Chairman of the CFTC. “I look forward to helping shape the dialogue and enable this innovative technology to progress for the benefit of industry and consumers.”

Paul Atkins, CEO of Patomak Global Partners and former SEC Commissioner said, “The Token Alliance will serve a much needed role in helping the industry establish for itself appropriate guidance for this new and exciting asset class. I’m thrilled to be a part of this initiative and bring my service as a former securities regulator to help foster this ecosystem.”

The initial participants of the Token Alliance is comprised of more than 70 organizations including: Alluminate, AlphaPoint, Bankcoin Global, Blake Cassels & Graydon, Bloq, CMT Digital, Cognizant, Cooley, Crowell & Moring, Elliptic, Gem, Hashed Health, Loyyal, Microsoft, Netki, Node40, Parsons & Whittemore, Perkins Coie, Polsinelli, Qtum, Reed Smith, Rimon Law, Rivetz, Steptoe & Johnson, t0 and Tally Capital.

“As with all new technologies, it is important to set appropriate guidelines to curb potential abuse, while protecting innovation,” said Perianne Boring, Founder and President, Chamber of Digital Commerce. “We look forward to working with our members to continue to promote and advocate for the power of the blockchain.”

The Token Alliance is open to participants from across technology, legal, advisory and other sectors, with an expertise in blockchain technology. Companies interested in learning more and participating are encouraged to contact the Chamber of Digital Commerce at: policy@digitalchamber.org.

About the Chamber of Digital Commerce
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Chamber of Digital Commerce is the world’s largest trade association representing the digital asset and blockchain industry. For more information, please visit: DigitalChamber.org.

Press Contact:
Marie Knowles
+1-202-422-2589
marie@digitalchamber.org

Source: https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/09/18/1124136/0/en/Blockchain-Industry-and-Regulatory-Leaders-Launch-Token-Alliance.html

Bitcoin’s Biggest Move Yet

The bitcoin blockchain will be splitting into two parts in the very near future.  This is due to the fact that current technology can only keep up with so much memory and data in transactions, and with the impending future of bitcoin growing and being even more widely used it would not be able to keep up.  Learn more about the transition and hear what Matthew himself has to say about it in the article below.

A new digital currency is about to be created as the bitcoin blockchain is forced to split in two

  • Members of the bitcoin community unhappy with its direction are forcing the blockchain to split.
  • This will create a new, separate digital token called Bitcoin Cash.
  • Every investor with bitcoins will receive the same number of Bitcoin Cash tokens, although not all exchanges will accept them.

A collection of bitcoin tokens stand in this arranged photograph.

Bitcoin faces a pivotal moment as investors are about to receive an entirely new asset called Bitcoin Cash after the blockchain supporting the cryptocurrency is forced to split in two.

“The creation of Bitcoin Cash is certainly a pivotal moment for Bitcoin and its community,” Charles Hayter, founder of digital currency comparison website CryptoCompare, told CNBC on Monday.

“The inception of Bitcoin Cash may prove to be exactly what Bitcoin needs.”

On August 1, a “user activated hard fork” will take place. Members of the bitcoin community unhappy with the direction of the digital asset have set up an alternative “node” called Bitcoin ABC.

Nodes are required to send messages across the bitcoin network, but Bitcoin ABC will use a different set of rules, causing the blockchain (the digital ledger which records every bitcoin transaction) to fork and create two separate digital assets: the original bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

And because Bitcoin Cash will have all the history from the old blockchain, any investors with bitcoin tokens will receive the same number of tokens on the new blockchain.

However, Bitcoin Cash will likely only be worth a fraction of bitcoin. The original digital currency is trading around $2778.39 today, but future values for Bitcoin Cash on the website Coin Market Cap are just $288.35, or 0.103 of a bitcoin.

Why is bitcoin splitting?

The bitcoin community has been divided on how to solve its scaling issue. Currently, only 1 megabyte of transactions can be processed at any one time, leading to delays.

“Demand for Bitcoin has been so high in recent months, that those creating the cryptocurrency can’t keep up, slowing transactions,” Iqbal Gandham, U.K. Managing Director at eToro, said in a press statement on Monday.

“For bitcoin to continue to scale and have the potential to become a globally used currency, this slowdown in transactions has to be addressed.”

Bitcoin miners attempted to solve the scaling debate earlier this monthby signalling support for SegWit2X. This would introduce “segregated witness” to the block chains, which would move some of the data outside the main bitcoin network to increase its capacity, and later increased the number of transaction to 2 megabytes.

However, some investors, miners and exchanges are unhappy with the proposal and think that it doesn’t go far enough. Bitcoin Cash will increase the transaction limit to 8 megabytes.

“This means that the two sides that were once debating within Bitcoin, can instead apply their different views of what the cryptocurrency should be in two different blockchains,” said Hayter.

“So while this is a development that sparked from previous disagreements, it may come to end the scaling debate once and for all.”

Who is supporting Bitcoin Cash?

Bitcoin exchanges are divided on whether or not to support Bitcoin Cash. Several exchanges, such as BitMEX, Bitstamp and Coinbase, have said they will not support or allow trading of Bitcoin Cash on their exchanges, which means investors holding bitcoins on these sites will not receive any new tokens.

Some exchanges are also suspending bitcoin trading, withdrawal and deposits around the time of the fork. Hayter advises bitcoin investors to check for any statements issued by their exchange to find out whether or not they will receive the new token.

Bitcoin Cash may gain more support once it launches, according to Garrick Hileman, research fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

“Because millions of bitcoin users will automatically own Bitcoin Cash, and because a sizable number of wallets and exchanges (including some of the largest) have announced support for Bitcoin Cash, it is likely to live on for the foreseeable future,” he told CNBC via email.

“Bitcoin Cash could be significant but we won’t know more until after it launches. If it fails to sustain support then it could fade away.”

What will Bitcoin Cash be worth?

Aurélien Menant, founder and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated bitcoin and ethereum token exchange based in Hong Kong, says parts of the community are referring to the new token as Bcash. He says the new coin will pose no threat to the future of bitcoin.

“Investors holding both bitcoin and Bcash may benefit from the speculative price gains in both cryptocurrencies following the hard fork, but adoption of Bcash as a network will be limited in the short term.”

Fran Strajnar, co-founder & CEO of data and research company Brave New Coin, says most cryto currency funds and investors are looking forward to receiving their free tokens.

“Most will likely hold as it’s free, just to see what happens or for hedging,” he told CNBC via email on Monday.

“However a majority of everyday users, traders and investors are vocal about market dumping their free tokens as soon as they can.”

Strajnar predicts the price for Bitcoin Cash could be hit heavily once it is open to trading.

“If there’s any legs at all to Bitcoin Cash or if the miners backing it deploy large scale and sustained attacks on bitcoin, then Bitcoin Cash may survive its initial violent birth.”

Whatever happens, bitcoin will not disappoint in terms of creating drama, says Matthew Roszak, co-founder & chairman of blockchain enterprise software company Bloq.

“This entire process will be a key test for bitcoin in its evolution beyond a store of value and show its potential to grow into something much greater,” he told CNBC via email.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/31/blockchain-fork-will-create-new-digital-crypto-currency-bitcoin-cash.html

Beaming Bitcoin From Space

You may have previously seen news about Bitcoin in space.  Now, technology created by Blockstream is pushing towards a “Blockstream Satellite” that can get bitcoin from space to anywhere on the planet.  Learn about the progress and problems that Blockstream has faced thus far and what it could mean for the future of bitcoin in the article below.

Blockstream Is Using Satellites to Beam Bitcoin Down to Earth

Aug 15, 2017 at 14:59 UTC by Alyssa Hertig

Sounds fantastical? Maybe, but Blockstream swears it isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

Today, the bitcoin infrastructure company is launching Blockstream Satellite, an ambitious attempt to use leased satellites to beam bitcoin nearly anywhere in the world. Now in beta, bitcoin users in Africa, Europe, South America and North America can already use the satellites to download a working bitcoin node capable of storing the network’s entire transaction history.

But while complex conceptually, the company believes its end result can solve a real issue facing the $66 billion network – without internet, you can’t access bitcoin.

And this poses a problem for bitcoin proponents who believe the cryptocurrency could be especially beneficial to people without internet, who also generally live in areas with economic instability.

So, Blockstream decided to set its sights on a solution, and found it in space.

According to Blockstream CEO Adam Back, the project is all about putting bitcoin into the hands of those who “desperately need” it.

He told CoinDesk:

“There is some coincidence between countries with poor internet infrastructure and unstable currencies. The people who are in direct need of bitcoin are those who currently have unstable access to bitcoin. This project will address that problem, and, we hope, will allow many more people to use bitcoin.”

The vision

While running a full node is a cumbersome process, it’s nonetheless the most secure and trustless way of using the digital currency, and for individuals dealing with political and economic instability, this process could prove crucial.

But because full nodes require an Internet connection and 160 GB of free space, they are a rarity in some regions of the world. There’s allegedly only one man running a full node in all of West Africa, for example.

While Blockstream is now taking care of a way to download a full node, there are a few other choice technologies those that want to take advantage of the satellite will need.

Users will need a small satellite dish – if they already have a TV satellite, they could use that – and a USB to connect the satellite to a personal computer or a piece of dedicated computer hardware such as a Raspberry Pi. The rest can be accessed through free, open-source software, such as GNU Radio for establishing a radio connection.

“The cost to entry is extremely low,” said Blockstream’s head of satellite, Chris Cook. According to him, the package of equipment costs “a little under $100.”

Then, once users have those tools, they can pull bitcoin blocks from the satellite, building a bitcoin full node.

Cheaper technology

But while they’ll now be running a full node, it still takes some sort of Internet connection to make transactions over the network.

While many users in the areas Blockstream is targeting won’t be able to afford mobile data connection plans to initiate transactions, Back argued cheaper communications technologies, such as SMS or bi-directional satellite, could be used instead.

Transactions, he said, take up about 250 bytes, which wouldn’t cost more than one penny to transfer using such technologies.

In this way, Back’s vision of the satellite as bringing bitcoin even to people completely off-the-grid is theoretically possible. He offered the example of a small hut on the side of the road in the Sahara Desert in Africa, adding:

“With a perpetual generator out back with a satellite dish, a Raspberry Pi by the generator, a local wi-fi hot spot, and the necessary software set up, you could be transacting globally with bitcoin.”

Sounds like a lot, but Back argued that it would be pretty cheap, especially if costs are pooled between multiple people, like if an entire village shared the costs of setting up the infrastructure that they could then all use.

Monetizing space bitcoin

While it’s ambitious as is, Blockstream is taking that mission even further, adding more satellites as the year goes on, with the hope the most people on earth will be able to access a bitcoin satellite by the end of the year.

“The only people that won’t be covered are those in Antarctica,” Back said.

While the project is technically feasible, though, is it financially so?

Bitcoin is admittedly a different beast, but other Internet space projects don’t have a great track record so far. Although, Blockstream does have plans to monetize the satellite.

According to Back, Blockstream will eventually release an API for developers and companies to send data over the satellite connection for a small bitcoin fee.

He concluded:

“That might allow a smartphone wallet that sends messages to send it via satellite or some application to send messages via satellite. That’s a way to monetize the infrastructure and to expand to more services on it.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Blockstream.

Satellite image via Blockstream

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/blockstream-using-satellites-beam-bitcoin-earth/

Blockchain in Health Care?

You all know that Blockchain technologies have helped the finance and investment world evolve.  Blockchain is associated with more than you think  in money processing!  So, what would happen if Blockchain technologies had a role in other industries like health care or engineering?  The article below explores health care specifically.  Learn about the capabilities Blockchain has that can associate with medical practice and what the future could hold.

Blockchain-Styled Solutions for Health Care on the Rise

by Rebecca Campbell | Blockchain | March 30, 2017

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform healthcare services just as it’s doing within the finance sector. Through a decentralized and encrypted network, the healthcare industry can share, store and distribute information easily and transparently, producing a streamlined system that is resistant to fraud. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2016, a Medicare fraud scheme cost around $30 million in losses. A report from U.S. health startup Color Space Post, a privately owned, consumer-led health company that’s leveraging blockchain technology to develop a new healthcare infrastructure, states that “blockchain technology could make a massive impact on both the administration costs and fraud.”

And yet, even though it’s still in its infancy within the healthcare industry, blockchain technology is already helping to transform it.

Healthcoin: The First Blockchain-Based, Globally Scalable Platform for Rewarding Prevention

Founded in 2016 by CEO Diego Espinosa and COO Nick Gogerty, Healthcoin, which won the award for best private blockchain at this month’s CoinAgenda in Puerto Rico, utilizes blockchain technology to allow employers, insurers, individuals and governments across the globe to manage people’s lifestyle change and incentivize the prevention of adult onset diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, latest figures show that in 2012, approximately 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, had diabetes.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Espinosa said that Healthcoin originated when he reversed his borderline Type 2 diabetes. Despite living a healthy lifestyle — a low-fat diet and running 25 miles per week — he found his A1c kept going up. This is a blood test, also known as hemoglobin A1c or glycohemoglobin test, that provides information on a person’s average levels of blood glucose. A normal A1c level is less than 5.7 percent. Espinosa said that after deciding to experiment with a low carb and no sugar diet, he found his biomarkers went back to normal, which helped plant the seed for Healthcoin.

“When I saw my blood labs, the idea for Healthcoin was born: shifting the focus of prevention to ‘moving the needle’ on biomarkers as opposed to just measuring steps and other ‘inputs,’” he said.

Still in its pre-launch, Healthcoin will work by tokenizing measurable improvements in health. Espinosa says that users will submit their information through their doctor, employer, insurer biometric screening program or even health apps. As it is biomarker-based, Healthcoin takes in information relating to A1c, blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which are precursors to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

“When a user’s biomarkers improve, the blockchain issues them a token,” said Espinosa. “This token is equivalent to a ‘certificate of proven prevention.’”

By building a plug-and-play rewards and data analytics layer for prevention, Healthcoin is aiming to create a network that engages every level, from users to doctors and international health organizations to governments. Through blockchain technology, the network trades in a market for rewarding proven prevention readily, verifying when someone has prevented their disease over their lifetime.

Once launched, Espinosa says that employers and insurance companies can offer to pay users a pre-set reward for the tokens while the underlying biomarker database can be mined by the pharmaceutical industry to help in drug discovery.

“Healthcoin will shift the focus of healthcare to generating proven prevention outcomes,” he adds. “The goal is to have millions of people generating healthcoins across the globe and thus turn the tide on the diabetes epidemic.”

DeepMind Health: Bitcoin-Style Verifiable Data Audit

London-based DeepMind Health is planning to build out a new technology. Loosely sharing some of the same properties as blockchain technology, it is designing a system to track patients’ records in real-time, allowing clinicians to predict, diagnose and prevent serious illnesses.

Identified as the Verifiable Data Audit, the idea is to develop a digital ledger that will record what data has been used with DeepMind, claiming that the hospital remains in control.

According to the NHS Confederation, every 36 hours the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) deals with over one million patients. However, a report from the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper states that in 2016, over 205,000 medication errors were made in the prescribing, dispensing or administering of drugs throughout the NHS, and that medication errors are increasing by 6 percent a year.

DeepMind Health, which is collaborating with the London’s Royal Free Hospital, has created a kidney monitoring app. Called Streams, it is a clinical application that aims to improve care, directing clinicians to patients who are at risk of or have a serious condition of acute kidney injury (AKI).

In a blog post, DeepMind Co-Founder Mustafa Suleyman and Head of Security and Transparency Ben Laurie cite an example focusing on the Royal Free Hospital partnership to explain how the Verifiable Data Audit will work each time there has been any interaction with the data.

“Each time there’s any interaction with data, we’ll begin to add an entry to a special digital ledger. That entry will record the fact that a particular piece of data has been used, and also the reason why — for example, that blood test data was checked against the NHS national algorithm to detect possible acute kidney injury.”

They add that like blockchains the ledger will be append-only so that once a record of data use has been added, it can’t be removed. It will also ensure that third parties can determine whether entries have been tampered with.

However, it also differs from blockchains. According to Suleyman and Laurie, blockchain technology has some wastefulness associated with it, such as that most blockchains require participants to carry out complex calculations that involve high energy costs. Some estimates state that the energy used could be as much as the power consumption of Cyprus.

“This isn’t necessary when it comes to the health service, because we already have trusted institutions like hospitals or national bodies [that] can be relied on to verify the integrity of ledgers, avoiding some of the wastefulness of blockchain [technology],” they add.

DeepMind is also changing the “chain” part of blockchain technology and replacing it with a tree-like structure known as a Merkle tree or hash tree. Every time an entry is added to the ledger, it will produce a value known as a cryptographic hash, which recaps all entries made in the audit.

“Now we have an improved version of the humble audit log: a fully trustworthy, efficient ledger that we know captures all interactions with data, and which can be validated by a reputable third party in the healthcare community.”

In the long-term, the team is hoping to expand the system to individual patients or patient groups so that they can view how and where their data is being used.

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/blockchain-styled-solutions-health-care-rise/

Getting Blockchain in Your Portfolio

Many Americans have a least some money invested in the stock market, mutual funds or businesses.  For those who know investing well know that expanding a portfolio can be advantageous.  This is where Blockchain comes in.  Did you know you can invest in certain companies that have invested in Blockchain technology?  If you do, you are, in turn, exposing your portfolio to Blockchain!  Learn what some of those companies are and how you can begin dipping your toes in the Blockchain pool.

How to Slip Some Blockchain Exposure Into Your Portfolio

by Bradley Fink | Investing | June 9, 2017

Over the past year, there have been fortunes made with winning investments like bitcoin, ether and ripple. And yet many people don’t know how to buy a single bitcoin. If you are new to digital assets, you may find it a tap dance just to get your money in, between digital wallets, online exchanges and questionable regulations. If you are perplexed by blockchain technology and feel more comfortable having your money in traditional markets, there are companies you can invest in to get the technology in your portfolio. Companies like IBM and Microsoft are betting heavily on blockchain tech, and are positioning themselves as leaders for the Internet of Everything.

Here are some familiar, publicly traded companies that have invested in blockchain technology:

Microsoft (MSFT), Nasdaq

Microsoft has been sponsoring blockchain technology and is now a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), along with dozens of other companies including J.P. Morgan and Toyota. The alliance was formed to create standards for Ethereum in business use cases and to collaborate for a blockchain-based online marketplace. Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service platform also supports Ethereum, offering Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) tools for app developers.

Quoted in the MIT Technology Review, Marley Gray, who leads Microsoft’s blockchain efforts, said, “We see a huge opportunity here. Enterprise-scale and enterprise-grade infrastructure is going to be vitally important for this financial infrastructure that will be woven using blockchain over these next few years.”

As Microsoft adds development tools and industry expertise, its early bets on blockchain tech should grow in years to come. The stock is now sitting at a 52-week high in the $72 range, with a trailing annual dividend of $1.53 per share.

IBM (IBM), NYSE 

With a different approach, IBM has joined Hyperledger in its foray onto the blockchain. Governed by corporations, Hyperledger has five blockchain and distributed ledger projects in incubation. The one that IBM is most invested in is called Fabric, a blockchain layer for enterprise solutions, which also has support from companies including Accenture, Airbus, American Express, CME Group, Intel and others.

In 2016, IBM focused specifically on introducing blockchain technology to the company’s artificially intelligent computer named Watson. Potential applications include machine-to-machine communications and payments, machine self-diagnostics, and machine self-learning.

Similar to the Microsoft Azure developer platform, IBM also offers blockchain building tools for corporations. Shares of IBM are now trading around $152, with a trailing annual dividend of $1.40 per share.

Overstock.com (OSTK), Nasdaq  

In 2014, Overstock.com started a VC fund to manage investments in firms leveraging blockchain technology. Named Medici Ventures, the fund now owns a 2.5 percent stake in Factom, which may become a leading data hashing company. And in April 2017, Medici invested $428,000 in Bitcoin company Ripio, a leading digital wallet and exchange in Argentina. Medici has also invested in several platforms related to equity trading.

Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne has long been a proponent of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. In 2016, he announced a new subsidiary blockchain-based equity trading platform named t0, which he thinks could revolutionize equity trading. t0 combines cryptographically secure distributed ledgers with existing market processes to reduce time and costs, and increase transparency, efficiency and auditability.

Medici continues to invest in promising blockchain startups. The company’s stock is trading in the $14.50 range, with a market cap of only $363 million.

FastForward Innovations (FFWD.L), London Stock Exchange  

FastForward Innovations is a VC firm investing in emerging technologies. In 2015 FastForward made a £279,000 ($431,300) investment in Factom, which in 2016 was revalued at £560,000 ($709,800) after another successful funding round. The latter round included funds from well-known investor Tim Draper, who stated, “Governments also need better security from hackers, and the blockchain avails them of better security than they currently have. I believe that the Factom team has the opportunity and the potential to build a company greater than Oracle and Palantir and IBM combined.”

FastForward is also invested in digital gaming, wearable technology and online media. The company’s stock is currently trading at £12.65 ($16.24).

Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), OTC  

If you want exposure to bitcoin and only bitcoin, you can buy into the Bitcoin Investment Trust through your traditional brokerage account. A financial product of Grayscale, which is owned by Digital Currency Group, GBTC is meant to track the bitcoin market price on behalf of investors, who then don’t have to buy and safekeep bitcoins for themselves.

The fund’s bitcoins are kept in deep storage vaults with Bitcoin company Xapo, where they are protected by intense cryptographic and physical security. With $390 million in assets under management, the fund has a market cap of $882 million on Yahoo Finance. Recently, the price of the fund has soared above the market price of bitcoin, which shows an active demand for a bitcoin investment vehicle. Currently trading at $516, GBTC is up from $101 just six months ago.

Blockchain Capital  

Though not publicly traded, if you would like to dabble in digital assets but don’t know which projects to invest in, Blockchain Capital offers an interesting way to play this space. Calling themselves the “First Ever Digital Liquid Venture Firm,” Blockchain Capital invests in promising blockchain projects and the platforms that support them, and now has what looks to be a strong portfolio. Their holdings include industry leaders Blockstream, Bitfury, Coinbase, Ripple, ShapeShift, BitPesa and more.

What is unique about Blockchain Capital is that they have their own digital token called BCAP, which represents an indirect fraction of non-voting interest in their Digital Liquid Venture Fund. By buying the BCAP tokens, you will own a share of the fund of companies that Blockchain Capital invests in. When the fund released these tokens to the public earlier this year, the entire offering of 10 million BCAP sold out in less than six hours, raising a total of $10 million USD at $1 per token. Today the token trades on Liqui.io for $2.25.

This article is for general information purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Investors should conduct their own due diligence and consult with a qualified tax/investment professional before attempting anything described in this article.

 

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/how-slip-some-blockchain-exposure-your-portfolio/

The Efficiency of Smart Contracts and Blockchain