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Ethereum (ETH) Co-Founder Predicts Blockchain Will Dominate Economy in 10 Years

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin made the prediction that blockchain will be a primary catalyst for the growth of the global economy over the next 10 to 20 years.

Speaking in a keynote at the SXSW conference in Austin on Mar. 14., Lubin claimed that he expected the global economy to grow ten times larger over the next decade or two, and fully expected blockchain to be involved in the majority of enterprise and market growth.

Lubin explained his prediction by comparing the current of blockchain and cryptocurrency to that of the internet and email in the years before it became a mainstream sensation. Speaking on the issue of mainstream adoption and the room left for blockchain to grow, Lubin said

“There weren’t a lot of ‘normal’ people firing email around in 1983.”

Ethereum’s co-founder also took the opportunity to address the advantages he sees in the development of Ethereum 2.0 over cryptocurrency market leader Bitcoin. In particular, Lubin explained that the Ethereum development team is specifically targeting the inefficiencies of Bitcoin as areas of advantage for Ethereum 2.0, presenting what he believes will be a cryptocurrency capable of overcoming the current industry hurdles,

“In Bitcoin and currently in Ethereum, you need to have specialized hardware, burn lots of electricity, waste lots of computation, to basically keep everybody in sync. [With Ethereum 2.0, in 18 months] we’ll have a blockchain system much more powerful and scalable that uses orders of magnitude less energy.”

While Ethereum is still a year and a half away from launching its anticipated major update, one that will witness a monumental switch from a Proof of Work system to Proof of Stake, the developer is already looking to how Ethereum can revolutionize the industry and improve upon its current framework.

Lubin made headlines earlier in the week for similar comments related to the benefits of blockchain, when he claimed that the decentralized technology could be of substantial benefit to content creators. Lubin singled out artists as a subgroup that would “benefit quite dramatically” from the adoption of blockchain, allowing them greater control over the distribution of their content while dictating the parameters of its consumption.

During that talk, Lubin went on to state that blockchain removed the need for middlemen in content creation and distribution, a factor that would greatly benefit the bottom line for musicians and other creative performers,

“I think artists in the music industry on average capture about 11 or 12 percent of the value in the industry and those big record companies are sucking up 70 or so percent. We can replace those record companies with smart contracts on the Ethereum platform.”

Cryptocurrency, as a whole, has seen positive price traction in 2019 after an abysmal year for coin prices in 2018. While there have been periods of price oscillation, Bitcoin reached its lowest 30-day price volatility earlier in the week since November 2018. In addition, the majority of top cryptos have experienced double digit price gains since the start of the year, with altcoins leading the market. Ethereum has managed a nice rebound in price after falling in valuation with the rest of the industry from it’s all time high established in early 2018. 

Last week, analytic firm Electric Capital reported that Ethereum had the most robust monthly developer contribution, generating twice that of second-place Bitcoin.

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Blockchain Technology Can Solve User Data Privacy Issues

Lucy Wang believes that blockchain technology holds the key to the actualization of robust data security for the digital landscape. The Lambda co-founder made the call recently while talking about the recent Marriott Hotel data breach.

Data Breaches Aplenty

Breaches that end up compromising user data aren’t a new phenomenon on the internet. Almost every website with a significant volume of user information has fallen victim to hackers and other cybercrime syndicates.

Recently, Marriott International Hotel Group became the latest prominent name to admit being victims numerous data breaches. A statement released by the company said that as many as 500 million customers had been affected by multiple hacks beginning in 2014.

By the company’s admission, hackers successfully compromised user information such as credit card details, addresses, and even passport information. How could this happen? Well, all that data found its way unto centralized servers, providing a single point of failure that could be exploited by agents on the internet.

There are many within the decentralized technology landscape like Wang who believes that blockchain technology offers a solution to this problem. However, before going into such details, why should we even care?

Data is Valuable

Data is the currency of the digital economy, and as such, data is valuable. However, the present construct of the internet places user data in the hands of corporations that can pretty much do whatever they like with our precious information. They can sell them to the government (for surveillance) or to other companies (for targetted advertisements) both of which are horrible exploitation of user privacy.

In the process of shopping, browsing websites, watching YouTube videos, reading various social information on the e-commerce platform, the algorithm will secretly monitor our behavior, and also collect our various data. In a sense, “data and the algorithm “knows” us more than ourselves. They know that we prefer juice or cola, we like beautiful models or men with eight packs of abdominal muscles. Like this Marriott case also shows that under certain circumstances, “data and algorithms” could have the “control right” of our wealth.

Data giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu attract their attention by providing various information, services, and entertainment. And hotel giants like Huazhu and Marriott have our personal information and even bank card information. We have also seen that these “centralized” giants have used our data to earn hundreds of billions of dollars. We are not at all equal to the “centralized” giants.

Adopting Blockchain For Data Security

Under the centralized network, the giant almost has all of our private data, and the centralized internet has already relied heavily on the main-net. Whether it is academic or technical, these problems cannot be solved perfectly. In recent years, with the blockchain concept deeply rooted in people’s minds, the need to build a new decentralized network capable of subverting traditional client/server has gained more and more recognition.

However, most of the existing public chains are “ineffective” for data storage, TPS deficiency, cross-chain issues, governance issues, application development issues, etc. The nature of the blockchain is decentralized distributed ledger, and the data that can be stored is minimal (simple transaction records), other data cannot be efficiently stored. Therefore, in the absence of underlying data support, the actual use of the blockchain is significantly limited. More specifically, the decentralized storage of data is the most critical part of the future application of the blockchain.

To provide useful solutions to the problem, blockchain technology must of necessity, evolve with more robust and advanced features. Part of this improvement has to come at an algorithmic level like exists in projects like Lambda, with its Provable Data Possession (PDP) and Proofs of Retrievability (POR) protocols.

Recently, Ethereum World News reported the Project’s launch of the first ever Proof of Space-Time (PoST) protocol on GitHub. For Lucy Wang, the hope is that stakeholders become aware of the need to implement blockchain in data security frameworks to prevent further largescale data breaches.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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The Bahamas Plans to Become a Leading Blockchain Hub

An NGO in collaboration with some institutions announced plans to establish blockchain developers in the Bahamas. The group also aims to place the Island at the forefront of distributed ledger technology (DLT) adoption.

A Leading Blockchain Hub in the Caribbean

According to The Nassau Guardian, an NGO known as the Caribbean Blockchain Alliance (CBA) is seeking to establish a group of decentralized technology developers in The Bahamas. In a press release, Stefen Deleveaux, founder of the CBA, talked about the inherent opportunities found in decentralized technology.

The founder further explained thus:

Blockchain technology is seen as the next step in Internet and financial technology, in what many describe as Web 3.0. There is a huge opportunity to use this technology to improve public and private services in this country. In addition, competent blockchain developers are in high demand, in an industry that almost guarantees access to a high-income job or potential project.

Deleveaux also said that part of the objectives was to build several cohorts of DLT developers. The CBA founder also recognized the importance of blockchain technology in software infrastructure as the reason for the groups.

Furthermore, Deleveaux announced a collaboration involving Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), CBA, Blockgeeks, and the University of the Bahamas. These four institutions would host a hackathon. Also, twenty-five Bahamian citizens would partake in a course for decentralized technology developers, from November 30 – December 1, 2018.

The press release further stated that after the course, students would get a certificate recorded on the decentralized technology.

Michael Nelson, who serves as IDB’s Chief of Operations, added that the bank seeks to empower Bahamian citizens. With the collaboration and the incentives in place for DLT developers, Ameer Rosic, the CEO of Blockgeeks, believes that the Island could be “the blockchain hub of the Caribbean.”

Island Governments Adopting Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency adoption are recording high among Island governments. Some of these countries go further to aspire to become “blockchain Islands.”

Towards the end of the second quarter, the Bahamas announced plans to issue its digital currency. According to the Island, a state-owned virtual currency would help to improve its economic development and eliminate barriers.

Malta, another DLT-friendly country, is at the forefront of decentralized technology and cryptocurrency adoption. Popularly known as the “blockchain Island,” it was the first country to have a holistic legislative framework regulating DLT technology.

Furthermore, Malta introduced the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA) and the Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS). Both Acts would regulate virtual currency and decentralized technology.

However, Marshall Islands’ plan to adopt cryptocurrency isn’t receiving complete support. President Hilda Heine’s announced moves to create a virtual currency that would act as a legal tender but received a “no confidence motion” from some of the country’s senators. The IMF and the U.S. also disagreed with the president’s plan.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Blockchain Evidence is Legally Binding, says China’s Supreme Court

The Supreme People’s Court of China has issued a set of new rules on the trial of internet court cases, part of which is that blockchain can authenticate electronic data entered in as evidence.

Blockchain Authentication

The court’s ruling issued on Friday sets out new rules to guide the activities of internet courts, and protect the legal rights of disputing parties. A portion of the new regulations relates to the authentication of electronic data presented as evidence:

The electronic data submitted by the parties can prove their authenticity through electronic signature, trusted time stamp, hash value check, blockchain, and other evidence collection, fixed and tamper-proof technical means or through electronic forensic evidence platform certification. [a rough translation]

Data stored or retrieved with distributed technology are now admissible in Court. Also, in instances where electronic data entered in as evidence in a case is questioned by any of the parties involved, the data can be authenticated using blockchain technology.

This new ruling by the Supreme Court agrees with the precedence set by Hangzhou Internet Court earlier in the year.

In a case between a media company and a technology company, Hangzhou Internet Court ruled that decentralized technology can be used as a method to determine the authenticity of the digital information presented as evidence.

Internet Court was instituted due to the rising numbers of online trade disputes and copyright infringements in the country. The Hangzhou Internet Court is the first, and it was instituted in August 2017. The government plans to launch internet courts in two other cities – Beijing and Guangzhou.

China Picks Blockchain Over Cryptocurrencies

Despite the relentless crackdown on cryptocurrencies in the country, the Chinese Government is eagerly embracing blockchain technology.  On the one hand, the government banned ICOs and domestic cryptocurrency trading and exchanges and restricted crypto-related online content. On the other hand, it is also adopting distributed ledger technology in trade and other sectors.

In April, EWN reported that state-owned Sinochem Energy Technology Co Limited completed a shipment of gasoline to Singapore using blockchain technology.

Private Corporations in the country are also adopting the blockchain technology and driving decentralized technology-related innovation globally. Chinese company’s like Tencent and Alibaba are leading the global blockchain patent race.  56% percent of all issued distributed technology-related patents in the world belong to Chinese companies.  Even the country’s Central Bank is also not left out, issuing 68 filings for DLT (Decentralized Ledger Technology) patents.

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Senior Government Official Calls for Greater Blockchain Technology Capacity Development in the Country

A Bahraini minister has called on companies and individuals in the country to adopt blockchain technology. According to the minister, this would go a long way in developing the country and combating cyber-crime.

Bahrain Stands to Benefit from Blockchain Technology

According to lcoal media sources, Bahrain’s Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs, Dr. Abdulhussain Mirza, has emphasized the importance of blockchain adoption. During the inauguration of the two-day SmartSec Cyber Security and Blockchain Conference 2018, the Minister said that Bahraini companies and citizens must take advantage of the nascent technology.

Speaking on its potentials, Mirza referred to the technology as a “true mark of progress” and hailed it as a significant advancement for the country. The minister believes that blockchain technology was capable of combating cyber threats and insecurity.

The Bahraini minister also believes that the adoption of blockchain technology will go a long way in creating secure transactions. Also, the immutability of the blockchain is a valuable asset that can be useful for companies and industries, to maintain customer privacy.

Abdulhussain Mirza further said:

This is the kind of initiative that we would like Bahraini companies to have so that innovation can arise amongst the great minds of this community. “Cyber-security is an essential part of our lives because most of our daily lives involve the use of technology in one way or another.

Mirza also noted the prevalence of digital attacks which affected over sixty countries, including Bahrain, in 2017. Bahrain’s apex bank recently warned various financial institutions, including banks, of an impending attack aimed at ATMs all over the globe.

According to the minister, the digital age means that security should be taken seriously. He also said that adequate electricity supply should be a priority, as it ensures safety and immunity against cyber-attacks.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Adoption in Bahrain

Bahrain is looking to become a global virtual currency hub, with its firm belief in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. In March, the island enabled a “regulatory sandbox” for virtual currency. At the time, four digital currency exchanges were entered into the Regulatory Sandbox which would be studied and later regulated.

In August, ABC, a Bahrain-based bank, became the first bank in MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region to joinS a blockchain-based consortium, by R3.

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World’s Largest Bank (ICBC) is “Focusing on Using Blockchain Technologies”

Blockchain technologies have revolutionized the way today’s society conceives business. The world of finance has been one of those that has benefited the most from this technological evolution, encouraging big players to think more and more about the moment in which they adopt the DLTs within their business scheme.

In the world of financial institutions, if there is any firm worth mentioning for having adopted blockchain technologies, it would undoubtedly be the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The ICBC is the largest bank in the world, with 4,009.26 Billion Dollars in total assets. Just to put things in perspective, that amount represents almost twice the total assets of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and 1200 Billion Dollars more than the total assets of MUFG, another major financial corporation using Ripple.

Having the most substantial amount of money in the world as a corporation, the business decisions tthat the ICBC takes have repercusions on a global scale. The number of financial transactions and international operations carried out by this giant easily exceeds those of any other major player in the world economy.

ICBC: Grasping The Application Scenarios for Blockchain Technologies

Do Not Miss Out - Blockchain is the New Revolutionary TechnologyLast weekend, the Chinese news portal Bia News published an article noting that ICBC Chairman Yi Huiman commented that the Bank is currently focused on adopting blockchain technologies to improve its financial services. He also said that they are currently “grasping the application scenarios” in which DLTs could have better results than contemporary techniques.

According to the press release, the ICBC is working hard on the development of an electronic platform known as e-ICBC3.0. They are also investigating different ways of applying blockchain technologies to achieve a better information ecosystem.

Another area in which DLTs are playing an important role is the area of Research and Development:

“In the cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and Internet of Things, the bank has formed enterprise-level technical achievements that can be opened to the outside world.”

Finally, the third point on which they are working hard is the “construction of smart banking application scenarios.”

So far ICBC has not commented on how developed such projects are; however confirmation by a chairman provides enough credibility, given the tradition of secrecy that has characterized the world’s largest bank.

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Taiwan Hospital Launches Blockchain-powered Healthcare Platform

Taipei Medical University Hospital has established an online healthcare platform driven by blockchain technology to integrate and improve record-keeping among medical institutions in the country.

Blockchain Healthcare Platform

As reported by Taipei Times, the project tagged “Healthcare Blockchain Platform,” is the result of the collaboration of over 100 community clinics, and is established to address issues currently plaguing the country’s healthcare system, such as patient referrals and transfer of patient personal and health records between health institutions.

Currently, inter-hospital transfers are a long and arduous process, and hospitals have referral counters where nurses have to assist patients with referral requests. But with this platform, patients will be able to access complete medical records and seek physician referrals by merely logging into a mobile app. While various medical institutions can request for and authorize a transfer of patient records, using smart contracts.

Speaking on the project, Chen Ray-Jade, Taipei Medical University Hospital Superintendent, had this to say:

Blockchain technology not only helps to combine electronic medical records with electronic health records from multiple hospitals and clinics, it also incorporates the additional security feature of notification and consent before any transfer takes place.

Chen also said that the decentralized nature of blockchain technology would greatly reduce the risk of data theft.

Also speaking on the development, Wang Yao-Ting, a physician at Zhuang Jing Clinic, said:

With access to all the medical and health data of a referred patient through blockchains, doctors can gain a better understanding of their general health.

Blockchain Adoption in the Health Sector

Apart from trading and logistics, blockchain technology is beginning to find increasing utility in the health industry. From securing patient records to combating fake pharmaceutical products, healthcare is fast becoming a popular real-world adoption arena for the emerging technology.

In Singapore, MetLife’s innovation center, LumenLab has started testing its automated insurance solution called Vitana. The app which is based on blockchain technology will offer automatic insurance payouts to pregnant women who have gestational diabetes. It is the first insurance product designed for gestational diabetes in the country, and one in five pregnant women in Singapore are diagnosed with this condition.

ALLIVE has partnered with Ontology to create an intelligent healthcare system powered by blockchain technology. The system which is geared towards lowering the cost of health care. There is an ID system – Olife which will be used to create and maintain patient profiles, as well as, an AI system – Olivia that will operate as a virtual medical care provider. There is also Oleaf an interface that will enable patients, medical practitioners, insurance companies and other stakeholders to work together using secure and reliable data.

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Report: Blockchain Spending to Hit Nearly $12 Billion By 2022

A new report published by the International Data Corporation expects spending on blockchain solutions to increase annually at a growth rate of nearly 75 percent through 2022.

Dubbed the “Worldwide Semiannual Blockchain Spending Guide,” analysts at the firm expect total spending on projects in the blockchain industry to hit $11.7 billion in 2022 alone, compared to the $1.5 billion expected to be spent in 2018. The report further added that “blockchain platform software will be the largest category of spending outside of the services category and one of the fastest growing categories overall, along with security software.”

This spending trajectory is largely expected to be led by the financial sector, with banks being early adopters of the technology. The report explains that data shows a total of $552 million was spent on blockchain by the financial sector alone in 2018. The distribution and services sector is not too far behind, having invested a reported $334 million.

Further, the report covers developments in the blockchain industry for eight different regions across the globe with the potential addition of China as a ninth in forthcoming reports.

As the scope of the analysis currently stands, the United States delivers more than 36 percent of worldwide spending on blockchain technology with cross-border payments and settlements being the most popular use case for the technology. A total of $193 million has reportedly been spent on this field.

Looking ahead, Jessica Goepfert, program vice president for the International Data Corporation, said certain use cases for blockchain technology are not going away anytime soon, saying:

“We continue to see the greatest spending and growth for blockchain around lot lineage and asset and goods management … Manufacturers want to ensure products arrive where they are supposed to arrive. Retailers and wholesalers seek assurance around the validity and quality of the products they are selling. And consumers are demanding greater transparency from providers.”

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Majority of Businesses Have No Plans for Blockchain, Gartner Finds

A new survey from research and advisory firm Gartner suggests that organizations are largely apathetic toward blockchain integration.

According to the results of the research, which queried chief information officers (CIOs) about their companies’ attitudes towards the technology, only 1 percent of CIOs indicated any kind of blockchain adoption within their organizations. Furthermore, just 8 percent said they were in short-term planning of experimentation with blockchain.

However, most notable may be the fact that 77 percent of CIOs surveyed said that they are not interested nor do they have plans to develop and deploy the technology.

According to Gartner VP David Furlonger the survey provides evidence on the “massively hyped state of blockchain adoption and deployment.”

Furlonger added,

“It is critical to understand what blockchain is and what it is capable of today, compared to how it will transform companies, industries and society tomorrow.”

CIOs are more careful in approaching towards implementing blockchain tech. Twenty-three percent of CIO’s, among 293 that are in short-term planning, sees blockchain demanding for new skills to implement, while 18 percent said that blockchain skills are “difficult to find,” a release states. Rest believed that there should be a change in the structure of IT department for better blockchain implementation.

Furlonger further said that organizations could face significant problems of failed innovation, wasted investment, or rejection of a technology, when they rush into blockchain deployments. Blockchain requires understanding of fundamentals of its process, security law, value exchange, decentralized governance, he said.

He mentioned that there is a need for CIO’s to not just recruit qualified engineers, but also to finding enough to see growth in resources as blockchain developments grow. “Qualified engineers may be cautious due to the historically libertarian and maverick nature of the blockchain developer community,” he added.

Furlonger concluded,

“While many industries indicate an initial interest in blockchain initiatives, it remains to be seen whether they will accept decentralized, distributed, tokenized networks, or stall as they try to introduce blockchain into legacy value streams and systems.”

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.