Getting Serious About Your Money

It’s not too late to consider a new year’s resolution, and being smarter with your money is a great one.  Saving money and planning out a financial forecast are habits most people adapt easily.  However, to truly be prosperous and successful you need to adapt other habits that might not come as easily.  Those habits are discussed in the article from Entrepreneur Magazine below.  Make note of them and see how great your finances look by the end of 2017.

10 Money Habits That Will Help You Get Serious About Prosperity

Take your financial life to the next level through actions like seeking new income sources, making debts your priority and separating friendship from business.
by Ayodeji Onibalusi | Contributor | Entrepreneur and Online Marketing Expert
January 25, 2017

The power of habit can be quite interesting. Rather than create 2017 resolutions that may not stick, a good alternative is to develop positive habits this year. Especially when the category is financial life.

So, make it your goal to form new habits that will take your financial life to the next level.

From learning a new skill every day to hitting the gym regularly, habit takes away the one singular thing that prevents us from getting things done — resistance. With good habits, we no longer resist. We just do it.

You can quickly attain financial freedom by positively channeling the power of habit toward how you treat money. But, first, let’s look at the steps to developing new habits.

Author James Clear breaks down habit formation into three steps (the three R’s): reminder (what triggers the behavior); routine (the habit itself) and reward (what you get from this behavior). In order for a habit to stick, it must follow the three R’s rule. By practicing some of the following habits, your reward will be a more financially rewarding lifestyle.

1. Be clear about your financial goals.

One habit you need to develop is clarity toward your goals. Your goals can shape your attitude toward whatever you do and put you in the right perspective about your financial life. Lack of clarity is equivalent to having no goals at all.

“Clarity about your money goals is the first step towards getting your finances right,” Yasir Khan, founder and chief editor at  WealthKept.com, told me. “Getting your finances right — being able to prioritize what you do with your money — can only be achieved by clearing the unnecessary obligations out of the way.”

Developing a habit of being clear about your financial goals will also create a sense of focus, which is the psychological effect of setting goals. Let’s assume your aim is to start your own business this year. You’ll outline how much funding is required to do that, and how much you want to raise yourself.

2. Stop associating guilt with money.

One habit which keeps a person from growing financially is how he or she feels about money. A lot of people feel guilty, which is why they often find it difficult to discuss the financial terms of a business relationship before starting one.

Develop a positive attitude toward money this year by overcoming any guilt you feel about money.

3. Seek more income sources.

The best way to improve your financial life this year is to use your free time to earn an extra income. Start by looking at areas where you can fill a need and earn extra money in the process.

And make converting your spare time into income opportunities a habit. You could freelance for businesses or help people with things they can’t do themselves. Khan said he was able to start two small businesses apart from his main job when he noticed he could use his free time to help others. Now that his side businesses are growing, he hires people to help him run the business.

4. Make clearing your debts a priority.

One of the biggest hindrances to financial growth is debt. The problem is that debt keeps compounding, making it your most expensive liability. Start paying off your debt with each paycheck you earn. By forming this habit, you could become debt-free by the end of 2017.

5. Save to secure your future.

Make saving a habit in 2017. The more you save, the more you’ll have when you retire. JPMorgan Chase puts together an annual guide to retirement that provides investment and savings strategies for all stages of life.

6. Separate friendship from business.

Underscore the purpose of your relationship with others, and make it a habit to always separate money from friendship and friendship from business.

A lot of relationships have gone to ruin because of money. In 2017, be careful when forming business relationships. Make sure you know enough about someone before entering into such a relationship. Use background check tools like Check Them or Check People before a first meeting. Entering into a relationship with the wrong person could be costly or devastating to your financial life.

7. See money as a means, not an end.

Many people get the notion of money very wrong. Because we see money as the end goal, it affects our orientation about it. See money as what it is and what it’s meant to be — a tool, a means to an end. What the end is for every one of us may be different. For most, it might be happiness, while for others it’s simply a comfortable lifestyle.

8. Seek advice from money experts.

Develop a habit of seeking advice before making any major financial decision. This will help you avoid making any decision you’ll end up regretting. When you make a habit of seeking financial advice, you’ll be less likely to take financial risks that could hurt your lifestyle.

9. Decide against impulse buying.

Make it a habit to spend only on things you need. Cut back on impulse buying by weighing your options before making any purchase. When you buy on impulse, you only gain a temporary sense of satisfaction. Once this instant gratification has worn off, what you’re left with is a shrunken purse and a tinge of regret, or buyer’s remorse.

10. Live below your means.

Many wealthy individuals mastered the habit of living below their means, even before they became hugely successful. A lot of wealthy individuals prefer to live a frugal lifestyle.

Going frugal can help you create a financial lifestyle that’s easily manageable. It can leave you with enough money and time to invest into your business and relationship. And that’s what good money habits are all about.

Article sourced from: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287634

Blockchain and Walmart

In the new year major retailer, Walmart, will test use of blockchain technology.  Specifically blockchain distributed ledgers will be used, and it will be a new advancement for blockchain in a new market.  Learn more about the plans and hopes for the future in the article below.

Walmart Testing Blockchain Technology for Supply Chain Management

 

U.S. retail giant, Walmart, is about to start a major test of blockchain technology for supply chain management, The Wall Street Journal reports. A pilot project, which will start in the first quarter of 2017 and run for four months, plans to leverage distributed ledger technology to track and trace pork in China and produce in the U.S. — two high-volume product categories with large markets.

This will be one of the first major tests of blockchain distributed ledgers outside the financial services industry. According to the WSJ, blockchain technology can help in overcoming delays and errors, resulting in more streamlined and efficient supply chain management. In fact, the supply chain management sector is a prime target for advanced applications of blockchain technology. Among companies in consumer goods and manufacturing, 42 percent plan to spend at least $5 million on blockchain technology in the next year, according to a Deloitte survey.

As explained in a recent Distributed article titled “How Blockchain Technology Is Reinventing Global Trade Efficiency,” the supply chain sector represents billions of dollars in enterprise revenue, but is fraught with losses and inefficiencies resulting from risk, fraud or anachronistic manual paperwork delays.

According to Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety at Walmart and leader of the blockchain effort, the pilot project will give Walmart a sense of how blockchain technology works and how well it scales. The main challenge, Yiannas explained, is setting up technology for farmers, field workers and others to collect data and insert it onto a blockchain. Innovative data entry tools running on ubiquitous smartphones, with backends in the cloud, are expected to allow field workers to input relevant data to a blockchain ledger that tracks all data, making it accessible “in minutes, rather than days,” Yiannas said, thereby improving Walmart’s supply chain efficiency, identifying bottlenecks and reducing food waste.

The project — a collaboration between Walmart, IBM and Tsinghua University in Beijing — was first unveiled in October, when the project partners claimed they were creating a new model for food traceability, supply chain transparency and auditability. “By harnessing the power of blockchain technology designed to generate transparency and efficiency in supply chain record keeping, this work aims to help enhance the safety of food on the tables of Chinese consumers,” noted an IBM press release. In fact, the pilot project was initially planned to track and trace Chinese pork; U.S. produce was added later.

The technical platform that Walmart will use is based on IBM’s blockchain technology developed for the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger fabric. An open source blockchain technology intended as a foundation for developing blockchain applications, the platform has modular architecture that allows for plug-and-play components, such as smart contract, consensus and membership services. In September, IBM unveiled a collaboration with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), which leverages the same technology to automate and streamline business transactions.

“As advocates of promoting greater transparency in the food system for our customers, we look forward to working with IBM and Tsinghua University to explore how this technology might be used as a more effective food traceability solution,” said Yiannas.

“Advanced technology has reached into so many aspects of modern life but it has lagged in food traceability, and in particular in creating more secure food supply chains. Our collaboration with Walmart and Tsinghua University is a step of global significance to change that,” added Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, Industry Platforms, IBM. “Food touches all of us, everywhere, so we are experimenting in China with Walmart and Tsinghua, given the size and scale of food consumption in this country.”

The Walmart pilot project will use transaction security and authentication technology developed by Tsinghua University, “China’s rapid economic growth has led to massive opportunities for innovation, but it has also presented quality of life challenges, including helping to assure that food sold in the country is safe to eat,” said Tsinghua professor Chai Yueting from the National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies.

Chai added that Tsinghua University is also committed to in-depth research of food safety — one of the most important areas that the world is focusing on. “We believe the work with IBM and Walmart can serve as a global model for others to follow and replicate,” he said.

Article sourced from: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/walmart-testing-blockchain-technology-for-supply-chain-management-1482354996

Improving Your Bitcoin Security

As 2016 comes to an end and a new year begins, you will notice market and economic changes take place as they do with any new year.  Currently Bitcoin prices are on the rise.  If you want to protect your share use the tips in the article below.  You can never be too secure.

How Not to Lose Your Bitcoin in 2017

(@pamelawjd) | Published on December 28, 2016 at 12:58 GMT

2017 is almost here and the bitcoin price is surging!

Are you surprised by how much your bitcoin is worth? Don’t let that surprise turn to dismay by losing it. Now is the perfect time to take a few basic precautions to keep your cryptocurrency secure.

Here are 8 do-it-yourself tips to help you improve your security:

1. Backup today

You can never say it enough: back up your wallet. If you haven’t yet backed up your wallet, do it now.

Most hardware and software wallets use an industry standard backup protocol called BIP 39 that allows your wallet backup to be 12, 18, or 24 English words.

It’s important to write the words down, on paper, in order, and securely store the backup somewhere safe from people, water and fire. If you don’t back up your wallet, you could well lose your bitcoin. Forever.

2. Check on your backups

If you have backed up your wallet, check on the backup locations.

The new year is a perfect time to check on your important papers, including your wallet backups. Can you still access them? Can you still read the words? Are they secure from fire, water and theft? If you’ve given the backups to someone else (lawyer, accountant), ask them to check their storage.

Do they still have them? Verify the location and security of your backups.

3. Set a calendar reminder

While we all know we should be checking our backups, wallets and estate plans regularly, it’s hard to remember to do it.

Add a reminder to your calendar now, to check all these things again in three, six or at most 12 months.

4. Move money off your smartphone

With the increase in the bitcoin price, you might be shocked at how much money you’ve been carrying around on your smartphone.

Now is a great time to move your coins onto a hardware wallet or into cold storage. Hardware wallets are very easy to use, with user-friendly software components, and are considered one of the safest ways to store bitcoin.

While it’s great to carry petty cash or spending money on your phone, never carry more bitcoin on your smartphone than you would carry as cash in your wallet.

5. Move your money off exchanges

If you have coins sitting on an exchange, move them out today to a wallet you control.

Most of the popular exchanges pool coins and while you have a “balance” showing on your account, you do not actually control the keys. If the exchange gets hacked you could lose your money. Remember that you only control the bitcoin if you control the keys: “not your keys, not your bitcoin”.

6. Upgrade to two-factor authentication

Add two-factor authentication to your bitcoin-related accounts and to all other important online accounts. The best two-factor solution is a hardware token and you can buy one for just $20–$30.

Otherwise use a smartphone authentication app, such as Authy or Google Authenticator. SMS is not a very good two-factor solution, though it is still better than none at all.

7. Use a password manager

Humans are great at identifying patterns and that makes us terrible at randomness. Password best practices – choose a different random password for each site, never write them down – pose management problems.

For most people, the only way to accomplish this is to use a password manager – one which generates and stores your passwords securely on multiple devices. Popular managers include 1Password, LastPass, and the open source KeePass.

Many offer free basic services, with premium services costing less than $80 per year. They’re easy to use and in just a couple of weeks you’ll never want to be without one again.

8. Plan for your family

If something happened to you tomorrow would your family be able to access your bitcoin? While this tip takes time to implement, it’s worth it.

It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to make a plan and decide who you want to get what, write down instructions and tell your family about your plan.

Be sure to consult an attorney, to make sure your plan is consistent with local law and can’t be challenged in a court. If you have a will, trust, or other estate plan, let your attorney know that you have new assets that need to be included in your plan.

Getting your first bitcoin is becoming easier and easier, but keeping it safe from hackers, insolvent exchanges, and loss isn’t as easy.

These 8 tips will help you bring in the new year with a renewed sense of confidence that you can safeguard the bitcoin that you have, especially now that it’s worth a lot more.

Have an opinion on blockchain in 2016? A prediction for 2017? Email editors@coindesk.com to learn how you can contribute to our series.

Keys image via Shutterstock

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, CoinDesk.

 

Article sourced from: http://www.coindesk.com/how-not-to-lose-your-bitcoin-in-2017/

Charity DAO

The DAO was a way people could fund projects by being stakeholders.  Unfortunately it ended because of  contract issues.  However, now, a new DAO has been created called Charity DAO which will run completely different than The DAO of the past.  Read more about this development in the article below.

The Developers Behind The DAO Are Launching a New DAO

(@DelRayMan) | Published on November 18, 2016 at 23:04 GMT

matthew-roszak-dao-blog-post

The guys behind Slock.it are at it again.

The team that created the now-infamous ethereum-based funding vehicle known as The DAO have regrouped, and in a blog post published today, Slock.it CTO Christoph Jentzsch announced a new open-source initiative called Charity DAO.

The original DAO raised as much as $150m worth of ether by selling tokens that would be used by stakeholders to vote on projects to fund. Yet a then-unforeseen flaw in the DAO’s smart contract was exploited, resulting in a $60m loss and the collapse of the project.

Charity DAO, by contrast, is aimed at making charitable functions more transparent, and if everything works as planned, increasing the willingness of donors to give.

Jentzsch told CoinDesk:

“I want to see a truly decentralized autonomous organization being built on top of ethereum, and a charity DAO is a great application for many reasons.”

Unlike the for-profit DAO, which was intended to pay dividends to investors based on the success of its investments, this effort is intended as a nonprofit. But to prevent even the potential of such high-stakes losses like with The DAO, Jentzsch says this time around he’ll temporarily cap the amount raised and a so-called “security hatch” will be written into the code.

“But long term, I hope this can be removed to be truly decentralized and autonomous,” he told CoinDesk.

Conducted in partnership with a group identified as “Giveth” in the blog, Charity DAO will let donors control their funds and vote on which projects they want to fund.

While this is not formally a product of Slock.it, Jentzsch says some of the same people who contributed are still involved. Jentzsch is leading the project, but wants to open it up to outside contributors.

The model itself sounds remarkably similar to The DAO, except the recipients of the funds will ostensibly also be nonprofits.

“We want to use the knowledge and the experience learned from this experience to create a Charity DAO,” wrote Jentzsch in the post. “The Charity DAO will have a very narrow focus.”

A second chance?

In the aftermath of the collapse of The DAO, when an unknown perpetrator took advantage by moving $60m worth of funds into an account he or she controlled, the ethereum community suffered immensely.

Charity DAO, as a result, will likely face an intense amount of scrutiny.

In pitching the project in the blog post, Jentzsch argues that “trust in charities is at an all time low” and “charities have a public image problem,” both of which might be hard to swallow for investors who were temporarily burned in the fall-out surrounding the DAO collapse.

But in spite of a call from one member of cryptocurrency academia to ostracize the Slock.it team from the community, one cannot help but remember the old startup-maxim: fail fast and fail often.

In the end, all DAO investors were given a chance to receive a refund following a controversial hard fork that resulted in a schism in the community and the formation of ethereum classic.

Jentzsch said his involvement with The DAO was “a humbling experience” that highlighted previously unknown factors. He added that it is, perhaps, exactly this experience that helped improve the code used in this current incarnation.

He told CoinDesk:

“I think there is no other smart contract which got more reviews then theDAO contract, and we can use all of this knowledge and feedback to build a better one.”

 

Image via Shutterstock

 

Article sourced from: http://www.coindesk.com/dao-developers-launching-new-dao/

MasterCard’s Blockchain APIs

MasterCard is one of the first corporations that comes to mind when you think of credit cards.  But the company does so much more beyond providing you with credit.  Their latest venture?  Blockchain APIs.  Although this isn’t the first credit company to progress in the blockchain world, it is extremely forward thinking with this advancement.  Read more about this in the article below.

 

Credit Card Giant MasterCard Releases ‘Experimental’ Blockchain APIs

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on October 31, 2016 at 14:01 GMT

matthew-roszak-mc-blog

Visa isn’t the only credit card issuer moving fast on blockchain.

But while Visa is going it alone in releasing a B2B blockchain, MasterCard it seems is quietly developing a set of new blockchain APIs with more collaborative goals.

The credit card giant’s development site now features three APIs connected to its internal blockchain work, including offerings focused on smart contracts and payment settlement. The APIs were released by MasterCard Labs, its innovation outfit.

MasterCard blockchain lead Justin Pinkham said the company released its API platform last month in a bid to stoke interest among banks and merchant developers.

He told CoinDesk:

“This is part of our initiative to publish experimental APIs from Mastercard Labs and give developers the chance to work on emerging technologies that haven’t yet been commercialized by us.”

Pinkham went on to state that the company is continuing to pursue uses of the technology while at the same time advocating for collaborations that might apply to MasterCard’s businesses.

“We believe that there is a role of blockchain in the future of commerce. This future needs to be developed in partnership with banks, merchants and industry participants,” he continued.

The news is perhaps the most significant to date for MasterCard, which has criticized bitcoin (the longest-running public blockchain) in the past but expressed cautious enthusiasm about its underlying technology.

More in store

But with the launch of the APIs, MasterCard is beginning to push some of the work done by its internal teams out the door.

It won’t be the last, according to Pinkham, who said that the company is creating the foundation for blockchain tech that could focus on use cases including inter-bank payments and trade finance.

Applications focused on digital identity and the exchange of know-your-customer information are also being explored, according to Pinkham.

The work coincides with collaborative efforts between MasterCard and startups through its Start Path Global program, as well as the more than 30 blockchain-related patents Pinkham said the company has submitted to date.

Disclosure: MasterCard is an investor in CoinDesk’s parent company, Digital Currency Group.

Image credit: Valeri Potapova / Shutterstock.com

 

Article sourced fromhttp://www.coindesk.com/credit-card-giant-mastercard-releases-experimental-blockchain-apis/

A New Digital Currency

The newest medium of exchange has been created.  It’s digital and it’s called Zcash.  This form of currency is supposed to be more secure and private than other digital methods.  If all holds true, it has the potential to be the most preferred method of digital transactions.  Learn more about Zcash in the article below.

Zcash Has Launched: Here’s How to Get Some

matthew-roszak-zcash-blog

Zcash (ZEC), the new digital currency lauded for its privacy features, is launching today amidst some massive hype. But until enough tokens become available on exchanges, Zcash enthusiasts are poised to acquire their ZEC first-hand by mining for it, either by setting up a home rig or by signing up for a cloud mining contract.

Created from a fork of Bitcoin’s codebase, Zcash promises all the best features and stability of Bitcoin with the added bonus of total payment confidentiality. Zcash transactions can be shielded to hide the sender, recipient and value of all transactions on the blockchain. Only those with the correct view key can see the contents.

Another interesting aspect of Zcash is it uses a memory-hard proof-of-work known as Equihash. This means the best hardware for mining Zcash tokens is standard GPUs and RAM. The hope is this will lead to a more decentralized set of miners.

“We think it is unlikely that anyone will be able to build cost-effective custom hardware (ASICs) for mining in the foreseeable future,” Zcash CEO and founder, Zooko Wilcox, and software engineer, Jack Grigg, wrote in a blog post.

Since Zcash did not hold an initial crowdfund, every Zcash token issued will be as a result of mining. And it’s likely that mining, especially in the early days, will be cheaper than purchasing Zcash on an exchange.

Mining for ZEC

There are two ways to mine Zcash: you can build your own GPU rig — arguably, with good mining software, you can use a CPU as well, but more on that later — or you can mine Zcash in the cloud.

Building your own GPU is not easy. When you buy an ASIC for mining bitcoin, you simply connect it to the internet and plug in the power. But GPU mining is a custom setup, where you need to source motherboards and graphic cards.

Because of the work involved, cloud mining make might make sense for some people, though it carries more associated risk. To that end, several cloud GPU providers are open for Zcash business. Genesis Mining is offering a limited number of one-year contracts. Toomim Brothers is offering Zcash cloud mining on three, six and 12 month contracts.

If you are setting up your own CPU or GPU rigs, you will need to find an efficient mining software. Zcash recently held an open source miner challenge, and made all the submissions available to the public.

Slow Start and the Founders Reward

Mining will begin with a “slow start,” which limits the block rewards for the first 20,000 blocks (roughly 34 days). During that time, the block reward will gradually increase from 0 ZEC to 12.5 ZEC.

Typically, when a coin first launches, mining difficulty is at its lowest and rises over a few days or weeks. A slow start discourage the big outfits from dedicating all their resources to mining in the beginning.

“With the ‘slow start’ approach, we can pull the trigger to start mining, knowing that we still have a few weeks before it gets to be significantly valuable, giving us time to watch for failures, work on related operational things (updating our web site, dealing with getting hacked and defaced and all that, collaborating with wallet makers, exchange operators, and other partners, touring the world to visit stadiums of screaming fans, etc.),” Wilcox  wrote on GitHubback in March.

But some in the Zcash forum argue, in the case of Zcash, where there is so much buzz around the coin, major players may jump into the game right away, and the difficulty will soar beyond the reach of the average CPU within hours or days.

TY13R (as he is known on the Zcash Slack channel), who has worked on the Zcash GPU miner, told Bitcoin Magazine:

“When they publish the first block, a huge a amount of hashing power will move over to it. There could be hundreds of blocks mined on the first day.”

Like Bitcoin, the plan is to only produce 21M tokens with a halving every four years, where the reward is halved to control inflation. However, unlike Bitcoin, for the first four years, a full 20 percent of the Zcash mining reward will go to stakeholders in the Zcash Company. This is known as the “Founders Reward.”

Exchanges  and Wallets

If you’re not up for mining, another option is to simply buy Zcash tokens. Coins will be sparse until there is enough in the supply system. But, said TY13R, “If there is money to be made, people will sell. It all depends on whether the miners are willing to give up their ZEC.”

Several exchanges — including Poloniex, Bittrex, HitBTC, and Kraken — have already announced support for Zcash.

Shapeshift has also said that its platform will support ZEC as soon as liquidity allows. Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift, said to Bitcoin Magazine:

“Just as we should expect privacy in our emails, telephone calls and personal relationships, so too is privacy warranted in financial transactions. In our age of surveillance, the individual deserves every tool of empowerment, and Zcash has the potential to uphold this principle.”

Along with Trezor wallets by SatoshiLabs, Jaxx has revealed it will integrate Zcash a few days after the launch, making Zcash the fifth token Jaxx has added to its lineup in less than three months.

“VCs have invested in Zcash, there’s cutting edge security technology behind it and that’s resulted in quite a lot of chatter in the crypto community,” said Jaxx CEO Anthony Di Iorio. “Zcash holds an extraordinary amount of promise.”

The Case for Zcash

As of this writing, the price of Zcash futures is hovering between 1.2 and 1.4 bitcoin ($820- $950) on BitMEX. If those numbers are any indication, Zcash could well become the second highest valued digital currency on record behind Bitcoin.

Zcash represents the hope for a perfectly untraceable digital currency. Although progress is being made, at this point, Bitcoin transactions are traceable. This lack of fungibility, the idea that one bitcoin may not be as valuable as another, based on how it has been used in the past, has long been a threat to Bitcoin’s livelihood.

“You need fungibility for Bitcoin to function. If you receive coins and can’t spend them, then you start to doubt whether you can spend them,” Blockstream CEO Adam Back told the audience at the Scaling Bitcoin conference in Milan.

The hope is that Zcash finally solves that problem, using the established cryptographic protocol, zk-Snarks. The basic idea is that when you make a transaction, you give a proof that says you have access to a certain amount of funds, but that proof gives zero knowledge to other people about what those funds are. (That is the “zk” part). The “SNARK” part is that Zcash can do this fairly efficiently now, especially compared to ZeroCoin, its precursor.

But Wilcox’s own words capture the aspirations of Zcash the best. In an earlier interview with Bitcoin Magazine, he said:

“The dream is that people all around the world use Zcash and other cryptocurrencies directly, to cooperate and organize with one another in safety and privacy. This will give them freedom from corrupt regimes, banks and unstable national currencies.”

Whether or not Zcash lives up to this dream, only time will tell. As it states on its website, Zcash still considers itself “an experimental technology” and cautions, “there is risk involved.” But for many people who wish they had jumped into Bitcoin earlier, those cautions may go unheard.

 

Article sourced from: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/zcash-has-launched-here-s-how-to-get-some-1477670989

Blockchains and Banks

More banks and major financial institutions are investing in blockchains.  There is potential for great progress in the industry with this type of backing.  However, with great confidence from most bank executives, there are also some that want to proceed with caution.  There are arguments that blockchain transactions are safe and effective for certain kinds of digital monetary exchanges but not for others.  Read more about this in the article below.

 

Bank Execs Want An ‘Even Playing Field’ For Industry Blockchains

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on October 23, 2016 at 08:01 GMT
matthew-roszak-bank-blog

Ninety percent of banking executives surveyed earlier this year by professional services firm Accenture said that their institutions are investing time and money in blockchain projects.

Just 3% said that they weren’t doing so, with the last 7% telling Accenture that they were “uncertain” about their work with the tech, according to a report published today. The firm surveyed 32 bank executives in August and September.

Yet despite the high degree of interest, the survey also casts a portrait of a banking sector that is largely in a cautious test-and-see phase. Respondents expressed concern about regulation and the need for standards to help build a network effect, while also highlighting compliance and security concerns as factors holding any significant degree of investment or product development.

At the same time, respondents expressed support for shared approaches between banks in order to create what one survey-taker called “a level playing field”.

Another bank executive told Accenture in an interview:

“The lack of a universal standard could prove deleterious. There could end up being bilateral agreements and altered processes between banks, which would severely diminish any network effect.”

Respondents indicated that that applications focused on intrabank settlements and cross-borderpayments were the most attractive, with 44% of survey-takers highlighting the former as the most appealing use case.

Still, the report suggests that some banks are still figuring things out.

Accenture quoted one US bank executive who said his institution remains “bewildered” amidst its own internal investigation.

“We don’t even have enough information to have an opinion,” said another executive from Canada.

 

Image via Shutterstock

 

Article sourced from: http://www.coindesk.com/bank-execs-want-even-playing-field-industry-blockchains/

The Future of Blockchain

The next five years of blockchain developments and use could be extremely progressive and forward-moving.  Predictions have been made in a study called the Wealth ad Asset Management 2021: Preparing for Transformative Change.  Part of the growth predicted would be due to technology advances and also to likely overall growth of the industry in general.  Read more about this report in the article below.

Wealth and Asset Management Report Predicts Blockchain Use by 2021

matthew-roszak-future-blog
A new report from Roubini ThoughtLab has found that over the next five years blockchain use is set to grow by 43 percent.

Teaming up with a coalition of leading organizations from the wealth industry, Roubini ThoughtLab conducted a study, titled Wealth and Asset Management 2021: Preparing for Transformative Change.

The research looked at extensive quantitative analysis from 2,000 investors and 500 wealth firms across 10 world markets. It also looked at economic modeling and forecasting across 25 countries and expert opinions from over 40 market leaders, economists, technologists and investment specialists.

According to the report, broad based changes in the finance industry are upon us. This can be witnessed in the rise of women investors in North America and the growth of the middle class in emerging markets. At the same time, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain, and real-time analytics are a few of the smart technologies that investment providers are embracing.

As a result, it is predicted that by 2021, the convergence of these smart technologies will produce a huge impact on the wealth profession, unlocking the doors of global wealth across a diverse universe of investors. However, with a fast-paced marketplace, it is important for investors to understand their customers’ needs and behaviors, and make the necessary technology changes to meet their requirements.

Bob Reynolds, President and CEO of Putnam Investments, commented in the report that ‘the business moves in cycles, and some are severe.”

Even for experienced professionals the market can be a particularly difficult place. Consider the Great Recession of 2008, which saw industry leaders having to navigate their companies through a debt crisis, a market slowdown, and a drop in oil prices.

As a consequence, economist Dr. Nouriel Roubini said in the report that “mediocre growth and low interest rates have become the new normal.”

However, while Roubini believes that a storm is looming, there are others who think that the biggest market upheaval will originate from within the industry.

“The wealth sector is going through a tremendous, fast shift,” said Dirk Klee, Chief Operating Officer of UBS. “Not because of regulation or low interest rates, but from customers and their desire for a digitally enabled experience.”

The report found that wealth service providers and investors agree that technology is revolutionizing the industry. From those surveyed 46 percent of service providers and 52 percent of investors believe that heightened competition and the growth of fintech companies are the main drivers of change over the next five years.

Watching Emerging Markets

The report found that only 11 percent of firms and 31 percent of digital leaders have systems in place for monitoring next-generation technologies. In a bid to meet customers’ needs, it’s important to stay ahead of the game by catching new trends early.

The most influential technologies to watch are the fast-growing, smart technologies that can enhance a customer’s experience and put one firm ahead of another. Technologies targeted for growth by 2021 include artificial intelligence at 128 percent, telematics at 72 percent, blockchain technology at 43 percent, and geospatial/location-based technology at 26 percent.

Alex Tapscott, Founder and CEO of Northwest Passage Ventures, states in the report that blockchain is a game changer for the wealth profession. However, speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Spiros Margaris, venture capitalist and founder of Margaris Advisory, said that he believes blockchain technology will eventually be a game changer for some industries and could be a very attractive technology for the wealth management industry by cutting out the middleman and providing faster settlements at lower costs.

“However, in my opinion, it’s over-hyped in its role as the magic bullet that will bring huge benefits and savings wherever it is applied,” he added.

Instead of blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are predicted to be more transformative for fintech by 2021. According to a Forrester Research report released earlier this month, it is these two technologies that will provide fintech companies with a bigger opportunity to grow, helping to expand customer engagement levels over the next five years.

Margaris agrees, stating that companies seeking opportunities to grow and expand will see faster results by investing in AI and IoT compared to blockchain.

“We are at the early stage where the blockchain industry is still searching to find the best use cases for a mainstream adoption,” he said.

 A Relatively New Market

Blockchain was first outlined in 2008, but as a relatively new technology it has garnered plenty of interest, particularly among financial services companies. According to the report, 45 percent of providers say that they are now exploring blockchain, while 64 percent expect to expand their use in five years.

Of course, while there is a lot of interest in blockchain, the broader picture demonstrates that experimentation characterizes most of its current use, such as happens in technology accelerators, and that more needs to be done to increase its adoption.

“The more companies, from incumbents to fintech startups, experiment with proof of concepts for blockchain implementations, however crazy or useless they might seem at first glance, the faster we will see real advances and benefits happening,” Margaris said.

While blockchain use-case breakthroughs might not happen in the next five years, Margaris is of the opinion that the likelihood of this happening will increase due to investments made in the sector and the many participants who want to benefit from a possible breakthrough.

Bitcoin Goes to Space!

One small step for Bitcoin, and one giant leap for digital currency.  Genesis Mining successfully sent a bitcoin into space!  This fun news is the first “peer-to-peer financial transaction in space”.  This means Bitcoin and Bitcoin wallet have huge potential for transactions spanning large distances and use by NASA and other space researchers.  Read about this exciting launch and watch the video on YouTube below.

Toward the Moon: Genesis Mining Sends the First Bitcoin Into Space

matthew-roszak-space-blog

Bitcoin has come a long way since it was first introduced to the cyberpunk world by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, and now for the first time, space travel history has been made with the digital currency.

Genesis Mining, a major bitcoin cloud mining company, recently conducted the first peer-to-peer financial transaction in space.

Searching for a way to increase awareness of Bitcoin, while educating people about its benefits as the standard bearer for digital currencies, Genesis Mining decided that sending bitcoin into space was the perfect way to achieve this goal.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Marco Streng, CEO and cofounder of Genesis Mining, said that the Bitcoin community started using the catchphrase “to the moon” when the growth of the digital currency was rapidly escalating. For the company, this was their way of saying that they think this ambition is still possible.

“We hope its value and the value it returns to the world will continue to grow and we believe firmly that there are no limits to its success,” Streng said.

With growing interest in private space programs and the increased possibility of space tourism, Genesis Mining decided to demonstrate how easy bitcoin is to use by sending it into space. Streng adds, however, that sending it to the moon itself is still out of reach for them for the time being.

“While we knew that sending it to the moon may prove difficult in the short term, near space was a pretty great achievement for cryptocurrency so we decided to pursue the project,” he said.

Surrounded by the lush greenery of the rolling hills and blue skies of Sheffield, England, the team released their weather balloon carrying a 3D printed bitcoin and a Bitcoin wallet. Initially, the goal was to clear 20 km, which is above the Armstrong Limit (the altitude beyond which humans cannot survive without a pressure suit), and send a bitcoin to the wallet.

In space, there are many layers. What is known as “near space” is the region of Earth’s atmosphere that is between 20 and 100 km (65,000 and 328,000 feet) above sea level. The Armstrong Limit is roughly at 20 km, but it extends up to the Kármán Line, where outer space begins and astrodynamics take over from aerodynamics for flight to be achieved.

Once the weather balloon had reached 20 km, the team at Genesis Mining sent one bitcoin to the wallet to make it official, but they wanted to see if they could reach a higher limit.

“We hoped to get over 30 km, which we did,” said Streng. “Our partners let us know that 34 km was going to be the optimal height and that is when we sent the second coin.”

For the team, sending bitcoin into space helps to increase awareness about  the digital currency and demonstrate its ease of  use.

“We believe firmly in technology being a vehicle to make our lives better. Showing that Bitcoin can be a part of the growing private space enterprise is another step in that direction,” Streng said.

Watch the video of the bitcoin launch into near space here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnSYVo_5dXM

Blockchain and Health Care

The health care industry is in huge transition right now due to the immense amounts of technology that are infiltrating this field. Blockchain is one of the largest new innovations that could revolutionize the industry. Just out this piece on just how the government plans to take advantage of this wonderful idea.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting
research papers related to blockchain applications in healthcare and
health research.

According to a notice
published in the Federal Register, HHS is seeking white papers that
explore how the technology can be leveraged for healthcare purposes. The
submission date is 29th July, with the winners set to be announced late
next month.

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The
only stipulations, the notice states, is that papers shouldn’t be
longer than 10 pages and that no more than three papers should be
submitted by any one researcher or group.

Further, the department asks that any submission “educate its audience on the technology”, explaining:

“The paper should discuss the cryptography and underlying
fundamentals of blockchain technology, examine how the use of
blockchain can advance industry interoperability needs expressed in the
Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, patient centered outcomes research
(PCOR), precision medicine, and other health care delivery needs, as
well as provide recommendations for blockchain’s implementation.”

The Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap was published last fall as part of a bid to support greater interoperability between healthcare data networks in the US.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/29om6Z8