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Canadian University Offers Graduate Training in Blockchain Tech

The University of British Columbia offers a so-called training path in blockchain and DLT tech, focusing on public benefit blockchain solutions.

Canadian-based University of British Columbia (UBC) has announced a blockchain and distributed ledger technology training program for master’s and PhD students. UBC announced the development in a press release on June 11.

The training path is reportedly designed to build competency around blockchain tech, and is focused on its application in four public benefit areas: health and wellness, clean energy, regulatory technology and Indigenous issues.

UBC says they hope to train 139 students over a six-year period, and graduates should have the tools to evaluate blockchain solutions as well as identify opportunities for blockchain implementation.

Canadian national non-profit research organization Mitacs and 15 industry partners will provide CA$2.44 million for 156 internships and post-doctoral training projects.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, students at UBC’s Vancouver campus founded a bitcoin (BTC) club in 2014. At press time, the club’s website stated that its goal was “ … to provide an environment where bitcoin-related ideas, projects, programs, events, and businesses can be studied and grown.”

The club reportedly focused on education and engagement, bitcoin payment options for on-campus merchants, obtaining mentorship from industry professionals, and providing incubation for bitcoin businesses on campus.

At the end of May, Dublin City University partnered with tech company network Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet to launch a master’s program in blockchain technology, purportedly the first of its kind in Ireland.

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Chinese City Offers Rent Subsidies, Cash Rewards to Blockchain Businesses

Blockchain businesses will be able to receive up to $86,800 in relief on rent bills under new measures brought in by Fuzhou, China.

Fuzhou, China is offering rent subsidies to blockchain businesses in a bid to accelerate the industry’s growth, the state-run People’s Daily reported on June 11.

The incentive is part of three measures designed to help the sector, and will enable companies to receive up to 600,000 yuan ($86,800) in relief on rent bills per year for three years.

Traditional companies will also be encouraged to build blockchain applications, and will be eligible to receive a 20% subsidy on the cost of their development. Projects that win awards for scientific and technological progress, or deliver transformation in Fuzhou, could be rewarded with a payment of up to 600,000 yuan.

Firms that deliver industrial blockchain platforms such as technology labs or research centers could land a windfall of two million yuan ($289,000) if they are recognized by Chinese authorities — and as much as one million yuan ($144,500) if they contribute to high-level meetings at “international, national and provincial levels.”

Some of China’s biggest companies have started to embrace blockchain. On May 21, it was reported that e-commerce giant has applied for more than 200 blockchain patents.

Two days later, it emerged that rival retail behemoth Alibaba was planning to integrate blockchain technology into its intellectual property system.

Last month saw China release its latest government-sponsored cryptocurrency rankings, with EOS retaining the top spot and bitcoin moving up three positions to 12th place.

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Gartner: Blockchain Tech Used by Enterprises at Risk of Becoming Obsolete Within 18 Months

Many enterprises have unrealistic expectations when looking to implement blockchain, the research firm Gartner has warned.

Research firm Gartner has warned that 90% of the blockchain technology used by enterprises will need to be replaced within the next 18 months, tech site ITPro reported on June 3.

The company’s senior research director, Adrian Lee, said the industry’s fragmented nature means the technology implemented by some companies is at risk of becoming obsolete or insecure by 2021.

Lee also said blockchain vendors often use marketing messages that fail to address an enterprise’s needs — leaving companies confused as to how decentralized platforms work, and whether they would add any net benefit to their operations. He told ITPro:

“Many CIOs overestimate the capabilities and short-term benefits of blockchain as a technology to help them achieve their business goals, thus creating unrealistic expectations when assessing offerings from blockchain platform vendors and service providers.”

The Gartner executive said this ultimately creates a headache for IT departments, as they need to decide which blockchain would be the best fit for their business.

Lee predicted that fragmentation will only increase in the blockchain industry over the coming years — and instead of joined-up thinking, standardization and unification, a multiplatform world will develop. As a result, Gartner does not expect a single blockchain platform to assert dominance between now and 2024.

Back in February, Gartner had warned businesses to stay away from blockchain for the time being, with research fellow David Furlonger claiming that the industry’s level of maturity means there are a series of challenges that need to be addressed before enterprises can confidently use the technology at scale.

Nonetheless, April saw the company forecast that 20% of the world’s top 10 grocers will be using blockchain technology by 2025.

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Crypto Giant Coinbase Loses (Yet Another) Executive in Exodus

Wall Street Veteran Leaves Coinbase

After securing $300 million worth of funding in 2018, crypto startup Coinbase has somehow been put between a rock and a hard place. Executives, and key ones at that, have begun to leave the firm, citing a multitude of reasons. Most recently, Asiff Hirji, the TD Ameritrade executive-turned-the company’s chief operating officer, has revealed that he will be departing.

Despite joining Coinbase in December 2017, Hirji has been instrumental in Coinbase’s history, spearheading last year’s historic funding round that valued the company at $8 billion and its push into the institutional markets. In fact, in an interview with CNBC, the former executive suggested that 2019 was going to be a great year for cryptocurrencies as a result of institutions, looking to the fact that his team managed to see massive inflows into its custody business. On the matter of his importance to the firm, chief executive Brian Armstrong explained in a statement reported on by Bloomberg:

His experience and mentorship helped guide Coinbase through an important chapter in its history. He joined at a critical time when both the company and crypto space were going through rapid growth, bringing his extensive experience to bear when it was most necessary.

Per the statement, Emilie Choi, the vice president of business, data, and international of Coinbase, will be Hirji’s successor. Sources tell Bloomberg that Choi, formerly of Yahoo and LinkedIn, has been responsible for key partnerships, acquisitions, and was also instrumental in the firm’s funding round.

Executive Exodus

As hinted at earlier, this news is the latest in a string best defined as an “exodus of executives from Coinbase”. It seemingly started last October when Adam White, a vice president, left for Bakkt to become a part of the crypto initiative’s C-suite. More recently, we’ve seen Dan Romero, one of Coinbase’s earliest employees and executives, chief technology officer Balaji Srinivasan, and Christine Sandler leave the firm too, citing reasons of new positions or wanting to take a break from the cryptocurrency/working world.

It is unclear how this will effect Coinbase, but the frequency of these departures likely have some worried.

Shift In Crypto Strategy

All this comes as the company has ostensibly taken a shift in business strategy through new ventures and practices. For instance, the company’s trading platforms have begun to support a multitude of altcoins, upwards of five, when just two years ago, Coinbase supported a mere three, and was rather hesitant to anger the Bitcoin community by adding other digital assets.

What’s more, we’ve seen the company take a large focus on cryptocurrency custody, launching support for dozens of digital assets, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins, to satisfy the growing institutional subset of investors. Coinbase Custody was recently revealed by Armstrong to have $1 billion in assets under management, which is a fair portion of the entire digital asset market.

But most recently, the company was revealed to be looking into margin trading, following in the footsteps of Binance. Choi recently told The Block that conversations have begun in regards to launching the feature. Choi elaborated:

“Margin, lend, borrow is definitely going to be a next big step for us, especially on the active trader side.”

Title Image Courtesy of Marco Verch Via Flickr

The post Crypto Giant Coinbase Loses (Yet Another) Executive in Exodus appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Is Kevin O’Leary Bluffing? He Lauded Bitcoin (BTC) In 2013

bitcoin crypto btc bull

Canadian Businessman Bashes Bitcoin, Despite His Previous Optimism

Just the other day, Kevin O’Leary, who also goes by the nickname ‘Mr. Wonderful’, appeared on CNBC to give his thoughts on Bitcoin (BTC). His nose for “crap” purportedly served him well on the segment, which was Tuesday’s “Squawk Box” episode. As we reported, the Canadian businessman who is valued in the hundreds of millions called Bitcoin a “digital game”, rather than an investment, currency, or newfangled asset class. He then dubbed BTC “worthless”, noting that the lack of liquidity and market share of Bitcoin is an issue in his eyes. As he put it, Bitcoin is “crypto crap”. Well put, we guess?

He then explained that he once put $100 into Coinbase, bought the exchange’s basket of assets vehicle, and then proceeded to lose $70. This loss doesn’t deem something a bad investment per se, but let’s give O’Leary the benefit of the doubt here.

In a weird twist of fate, the businessman was recently revealed to have expressed cautious optimism towards the cryptocurrency market in 2013. Spotted by fundamental analyst Ceteris Paribus, O’Leary appeared in a 2013 segment on Canadian news outlet CBC to talk about Bitcoin, which had then just suffered a 60% drawdown… in a single day. And surprisingly, he was somewhat bullish.

During his three-minute showing, O’Leary claimed that he sees Bitcoin as a bet against central banks and that it is “here to stay”, looking to the fact that it was then sported a market capitalization of $1 billion. He even quipped that he wouldn’t be against putting 2% to 3% of his personal portfolio towards BTC, citing it as a way to diversify his currency holdings. What?

This all begs the question, what happened between Bitcoin and O’Leary over the past five years? Did he miss out, is he looking to accumulate more, or did he forget entirely about the cryptocurrency? Right now, no one is all too sure.

But if the market rallies again, and O’Leary is called on to impart some information about this space, maybe we can finally figure out what exactly is going on.

Skeptic Turns Believer

In a similar fashion, Mark Mobius, a legendary investor, has flipped from bear to bull on the leading cryptocurrency. In a Bloomberg podcast released this week, the 80-something founder of Mobius Capital Partners LLP., he claimed that Bitcoin will be “alive and well”, well, well (repetition was intentional) into the future. As we reported previously, Mobius remarked that there is a need for Bitcoin, looking to the fact that there “definitely [is] a desire among people around the world to have the ability to transfer money easily and confidentially. I believe Bitcoin and other currencies of that type are going to be alive and well.”

Well what did ya know? A bear turned bull, and a bull turned bear on the same day.

Title Image Courtesy of Noah Silliman Via Unsplash 

The post Is Kevin O’Leary Bluffing? He Lauded Bitcoin (BTC) In 2013 appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Big Four Firm KPMG Identifies Top Four Skills Required for Blockchain Career

Big Four auditing firm KPMG has identified the top four skills needed for a blockchain-related career.

Big Four auditing firm KPMG has identified the top four skills needed for a blockchain-related career, in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on May 16.

KPMG suggests that an increasing number of companies will investigate blockchain technology this year. “Blockchain projects will not succeed or scale without a multifaceted team that goes beyond technologists,” the firm states, thus identifying the four major skills needed for a career in the industry.

KPMG argues that the successful deployment of blockchain tech depends on professionals with both technology literacy and business acumen.

The latter purportedly requires a deep understanding of specific processes in business, which is essential when developing and defining a highly-demanded use case and value proposition for a project.

The importance of technological literacy lies in the understanding of how blockchains actually operate. KPMG said it is critical to understand how to apply that knowledge to a specific use case.

KPMG suggests that professionals in the field should have data analytics skills in order to understand and apply data derived from a blockchain, in addition to a “hacker mentality,” which requires teams to be open and able to explore and experiment by “hacking the problem” from multiple perspectives.

Earlier this year, KPMG released a survey showing that 48% of C-level executives believe blockchain is likely to change the way they do business in the next three years. When asked about the possibility of implementing blockchain in their companies, 41% of respondents said they are likely to use the technology. As for advantages and disadvantages of the decentralized technology, 23% of respondents believe that blockchain helps improve business efficiency.

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Chinese City of Guangzhou Issues Business License Using Blockchain and AI

Guangzhou issued a business license using blockchain and artificial intelligence technology supported by WeChat.

Major Chinese city Guangzhou has issued a business license using blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, local news agency Sohu reports on April 22.

The license was issued at the administrative center of Huangpu District, Guangzhou, and represents the first blockchain and AI-powered business license in China, according to the news outlet.

The type of the license, touted as “scan the code and start the company in one click,” reportedly allows startups to not only file an application, but also to open a bank account and to submit a tax invoice application using a WeChat mini-program.

According to the report, by using blockchain and AI, Huangpu District piloted its commercial service blockchain platform that purportedly reduces the bidding submission time and helps to avoid repeated submissions, as well as provides an easier way for companies to form.

In mid-March, China’s first blockchain-based electronic invoice for a subway ride was issued in the Shenzhen Metro through a project developed by the Shenzhen Municipal Taxation Bureau and Chinese tech giant Tencent, which provided the blockchain technology back-up through WeChat.

In late 2019, Cointelegraph reported that Guangzhou, along with Beijing and Shanghai, have become the biggest concentrated areas of relevant blockchain legislation in China. Previously, Guangzhou was selected as the headquarters for a new local blockchain alliance that involved 54 companies focusing on blockchain use in finances, trading and funds.

Recently, executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute Donald Tapscott predicted that the official Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), will become a cryptocurrency.

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Launch a Crypto Exchange in 30 Days: German Firm Offers White-Label Products for Startups

A German company says it combines the powers of IT and marketing to offer white-label products to blockchain companies – including exchanges.

A company says it is combining the power of IT and marketing to deliver high-security, functional and profitable pieces of software that not only work flawlessly, but also sell.

CPI says its software is scalable and geared toward the finance and blockchain industries. The firm offers white-label products that allow businesses to achieve their financial goals by converting casual visitors into paying customers. Among its suite of products is a crypto exchange that is available on the web and through mobile apps.

The platform delivers high-frequency trading for virtual currencies and fiat, along with assets such as real estate that have been tokenized on the blockchain.

According to CPI, it can help fledgling crypto businesses get their own exchange up and running in less than 30 days — complete with promotions across a plethora of channels to help generate traffic and revenue.

The German company describes this platform as its masterpiece because it supports a range of major crypto and fiat currencies. It can handle up to 10,000 orders per second (per market) and also comes complete with social trading — which means an exchange’s users can follow successful traders and emulate their strategies.

CPI has also become a payment service provider, enabling merchants to easily complete transactions in fiat and cryptocurrencies, both online and offline. This software can be easily integrated into any company’s existing infrastructure and is offered as a white-label product, meaning it can be adapted to incorporate their branding.

Additionally, the firm helps startups secure the financing they need to get off the ground. It offers an intuitive dashboard for initial coin offerings and security token offerings, enabling them to collect the money pledged to them by contributors. According to CPI, this service helped new businesses collect more than $250 million in 2018 alone.

Marvin Steinberg, founder of CPI Technologies, said:

“Since its inception, CPI Technologies has delivered successful projects, one after another. The company has more than 43 completed projects that have processed more than 32,000 BTC, helped increase visitors by 420 percent and sales by 182 percent.”


CPI says that all of its products are “100 percent made in Germany” and undergo exhaustive testing to ensure that they are easy for users to interact with.

The company takes pride in helping finance and blockchain businesses to cut costs when developing new products — without compromising on quality. According to CPI, all of its software works quickly and can withstand high levels of traffic, meaning that it runs as effectively for 10 users as it would for 10 million. And, for companies eyeing international expansion, CPI also claims that it can produce the marketing materials and translations needed to break into non-English-speaking markets.

Learn more about CPI here

The company performs deep analysis on all its software to ensure that conversion rates are as high as possible, delivering the best possible results to clients.

In addition, from a security and a compliance perspective, “double bookkeeping” is used in order to eliminate the disarranged financial records that can be seen on other platforms. CPI also stresses that it never has access to its customers’ funds and keeps them secure by ensuring that private keys are never stored on a server.

Unlocking growth

According to CPI, it isn’t enough in the competitive marketplace for businesses to have excellent software that does everything that customers expect. It’s also important to reach out to the public and show them why they should part with their hard-earned cash.

As a result, the company also offers marketing across a multitude of verticals. In addition to producing videos that enable prospective customers to learn more about a brand, CPI can also help devise social media strategies that help attract visitors and boost the companies’ profile. CPI also provides services for organic methods of outreach, including search engine optimization and paid traffic campaigns via Google or Facebook.

The company’s CEO is Maximilian Schmidt, a programmer with eight years’ experience who initially got involved with the blockchain industry in 2014. He is joined by Marvin Steinberg, a serial entrepreneur with 15 years’ experience in sales and marketing, who teaches the CPI marketing team.

In his work with CPI, Marvin has made it his mission to maintain growth and development, which has allowed the projects he works with to reach their funding targets and sign-up figures of over 2,000,000 users for white-label exchange platforms, the team highlights. The same mission is carried forward to the other projects Marvin is working on, including Steinberg Invest and Steinberg Marketing.

Learn more about CPI

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Chinese Central Bank Governor Defines STOs as ‘Illegal Financial Activity in China’

The governor of the Chinese central bank has stated during a summit that STOs are an “illegal financial activity in China.”

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, highlighted the illegality of Security Token Offerings (STOs) in the country, English-language local news outlet South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports Dec. 9.

A deputy governor of China’s central bank, Pan Gongsheng, reportedly told a summit in Beijing “that ‘illegal’ financing activities through STOs and ICOs [Initial Coin Offerings]  were still rampant in the mainland despite a nationwide clean-up of the cryptocurrency market last year.”

Gongsheng also said that if the government had not stepped in, the chaotic crypto market could have hurt the overall financial stability in China.

The central bank official pointed out that “the STO business that has surfaced recently is still essentially an illegal financial activity in China.” Gongsheng also reiterated the stance that cryptocurrencies are associated with crime:

“Virtual money has become an accomplice to all kinds of illegal and criminal activities.”

According to the article, Gongsheng noted that “most of the financing operations conducted through ICOs in China were suspected of being illegal fundraising, pyramid sales schemes and other financial fraud.”

The article also mentions that the chief of the Bureau of Financial Work, Huo Xuewen, warned against STOs about a week ago. He said:

“I want to warn those who are promoting STO fundraising in Beijing. Don’t do it in Beijing. You will be kicked out if you do it.”

On the other hand, blockchain adoption — the tech behind most cryptocurrencies — has been relatively embraced in China. As Cointelegraph recently reported, a Chinese Internet Court has started using blockchain to protect the intellectual property of online writers.

The legal basis of this development can be assumed to be the Chinese Supreme Court’s ruling from September, which established that blockchain can legally authenticate evidence.