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Tron Announces BitTorrent-Based IPFS Variant Decentralized File System Protocol

Tron announced plans to develop a BitTorrent-based version of decentralized file system InterPlanetary File System.

Blockchain platform Tron, which is behind the decentralized, web focused cryptocurrency tron TRX, announced plans to develop a BitTorrent-based version of decentralized file system InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). The development was shared in a press release with Cointelegraph on May 30.

Per the release, the BitTorrent File System (BTFS) is a variant of the aforementioned open source IPFS software and will “allow users to receive and host storage on their computers with other individuals and businesses.” Internal testing of the BTFS protocol reportedly already started in late May. Justin Sun, founder of Tron and — since the acquisition in June last year — CEO of BitTorrent, commented on the development:

“We’re creating a platform with BTFS, BitTorrent Speed blockchain integration and the BTT utility token to let users quickly and privately interact with each other around the world without a middleman or government intervention.”

The release cites an unspecified 2018 study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, which allegedly claims that “5,750 of the world’s largest private and public companies with revenue of $1 billion or more found that the top 1 percent of those companies captured 36 percent of the economic profit.” The author of the announcement, on the other hand, claims:

“A decentralized internet would create a scenario where some of those profits, from ads sales, data collection and other means, are shared back to people who opt in to big companies’ business models.”

As Cointelegraph reported at the end of March, BitTorrent had announced that it will release the public beta version of its decentralized social media app BitTorrent Live in Q2 2019.

However, in January, Simon Morris, former chief strategy officer at BitTorrent, said that Tron will not be able to manage the transaction volume needed to tokenize BitTorrent. In response, a Tron spokesperson told Cointelegraph at the time that “actions and execution will prove louder than the words of a disgruntled former employee.”

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Filecoin Looks to Mid-2019 for Blockchain Storage Network Launch

Filecoin is planning to officially launch its blockchain-based data storage network sometime near the middle of next year.

In a first-and-second quarter update posted on Tuesday, the Filecoin team unveiled an in-progress roadmap stretching into 2019 and beyond, with milestones including this week’s release of demos for the go-filecoin protocol implementation, a plan to make the GitHub repositories for the implementation public, and, most notably, the launch of the Filecoin mainnet after an initial test phase.

On the plan to open up the repositories, the Filecoin team encouraged developers to take part in the process once it begins.

“This will be a major point of involvement for the community at large, and we strongly encourage the participation of developers interested in developing Filecoin or in building applications on it,” the blog post stated.

The test network launch is planned for between the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2019, though an exact date has yet to be published. The mainnet launch is expected sometime in the second or third quarter of next year, according to the post.

That being said, the team noted that any dates may be subject to change and referred to the roadmap as an “optimistic timeline,” explaining that while they “hate giving dates that may … slip,” the developers hated “keeping [the] community in the dark even more.”

The post added:

“The pros: a much clearer and transparent planning approach, easier coordination across the community, and excitement as milestones get closer. The cons: timelines will certainly have to change – some things may come sooner or later than initially anticipated.”

Filecoin raised more than $200 million from investors in one of 2017’s more notable initial coin offerings (ICOs). The initiative is also backed by venture capital heavyweights like Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, as previously reported.

Storage boxes image via Shutterstock

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Canada: State-Funded Research Program IRAP Now Hosts Blockchain Explorer

The Canadian government-funded research program Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is now hosting its own blockchain explorer, according to an official statement on Aug. 20.

The IRAP, managed by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), has announced that the project has implemented the blockchain-based app on InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a protocol and network that is designed to enable peer-to-peer storing and sharing of data on a distributed ledger.

According to an article published on Newswire, the IPFS blockchain browser has been implemented via Catena Blockchain Suite, a product provided by BitAccess.

With its new initiative, IRAP plans to test the use of public blockchains in government grants’ management, allowing users to perform instant searches for new grant data on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

According to the official announcement, NRC IRAP first hosted a blockchain kickoff session in June 2017, revealing its plans to implement the technology in administering funding for innovative projects to Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In early 2018, IRAP has successfully launched the Canadian government’s “first-ever” live trial of public blockchain technology on Ethereum’s ledger, in order to enable transparent administration of government contracts.

In June 2018, Canada’s national self-regulatory non-profit organization Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) built up a working group to draw up proposals on blockchain within the capital markets ecosystem in a move to protect investors and support healthy domestic capital markets.

Last week, the Bank of Montreal and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan tested a blockchain-powered debt scheme for the Canadian dollar (CAD), which is reportedly the first time when CAD was used as “fixed-income issue” through DLT. Earlier in June, Canada’s central bank (BoC) issued a study reaffirming that double spending on blockchain is “unrealistic.”

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Blockchain Startup Protocol Labs Launches $5M Research Grant Program

Blockchain developer Protocol Labs has launched a multi-million dollar research grant program.

The startup, which is behind projects such as Filecoin, IPFS and Coinlist, on Tuesday announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) program that will see an initial $5 million put towards research efforts. Successful bids will receive grants between $5,000 and $200,000, the company said in a statement on its blog.

Protocol Labs explained:

“The first RFPs solicit improvements to components used in Filecoin and a breakthrough that may dramatically simplify consensus protocol including Filecoin’s. Future RFPs will fund problems across our whole stack of protocols, from Multiformats to Filecoin, and we also welcome open problems and suggestions for work we may be interested in funding.”

The firm listed a number of projects on its Github page for developers to look into as a starting point. However, “Due to the open-ended nature of these problems, it’s worth noting that we may end up choosing more than one proposal per open problem,” it stated.

Research applications will be judged on the quality of the proposed research and relevant experience of the individual or team. Completed solutions are not eligible to apply, states the post.

Solutions must be open source, and therefore accessible to the broader developer community.

To support the effort, the company further announced it is hosting meetups and other events to help facilitate discussion around the technical problems that need solving to improve the space. Further, if the scheme proves successful, Protocol Labs hopes to expand the program in future.

Miniatures and coins image via Shutterstock

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.

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Encyclopedia Blockchainica: Wikipedia Co-Founder to Disrupt His Own Creation

A co-founder of Wikipedia doesn’t like what Wikipedia has become.

Dr. Larry Sanger has been an outspoken critic of the online encyclopedia he helped found for some time, but his latest move, joining venture-backed startup Everipedia as its chief information officer shows just how serious he is about disrupting the model.

Revealed today alongside news of Sanger’s hire, Everipedia is moving the entire process of approving articles, making edits and storing information to the EOS blockchain.

According to the Everipedia team, using smart contracts to record the editing workflow and store articles stands to create a truly censorship-proof system. And by incentivizing contributors with a cryptocurrency token, the company hopes it can create a platform for more accurate information.

In interview, Sanger explained his decision to join the startup as part of what he considers the next evolution of online encyclopedias.

He told CoinDesk:

“The biggest problem with online information today is that it is centralized and controlled by a very few players, that it benefits to have the most salacious and hype-ridden information. We can do much better.”

Tradeable IQ?

In an unpublished draft of Everipedia’s white paper provided to CoinDesk, the company details how this move to blockchain might create an improved Wikipedia.

Instead of a centralized server, content would be hosted by nodes – similar to how bitcoin’s ledger of transactions is held. But as has been clear throughout this year’s scaling debates, many of the largest blockchains in the space would face significant challenges storing the amount of data needed for an online encyclopedia.

In an effort to steer clear of those hurdles, Everipedia explored a number of platforms to host the smart contracts that execute the logic around contributing and editing articles, including the Plasma framework designed for ethereum.

In the end, however, the startup settled on a combination of the EOS blockchain unveiled in June and the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) — a sort of decentralized server — that will be used to store the more data-heavy files including video and images.

Also using the EOS blockchain, the company plans to develop a cryptocurrency token called IQ to incentivize the creation of content. Editors and curators will then “mine” that cryptocurrency by making accurate, valuable contributions to the encyclopedia.

“Just like miners who find blocks get newly minted bitcoin, these editors who are voted to have a very good state-change proposal get newly minted tokens,” said Everipedia co-founder and white paper co-author Sam Kazemian.

According to the white paper, which hasn’t been formalized, 50 percent of the total 100 million “IQ” tokens will be distributed in an initial coin offering (ICO) and 30 percent will be “minted” over 100 years to pay out editors and validators for their work.

To supplement $1 million the company previously raised from Mucker Capital, an additional 20 percent of the tokens will be set aside to pay development costs.

Ground to cover

Similar to the mission of many blockchain startups, Everipedia set out to eliminate the bureaucracy the startups’ founders thought allowed a relatively small number of people to be gatekeepers on Wikipedia.

The founder and CEO of Everipedia, Theodor Forselius, argues that contrary to Wikipedia’s original mission to tap the wisdom of the crowd, the online encyclopedia’s editorial hierarchy has resulted in a slanted view of history and a decreasing number of editors.

“Essentially, a doctor from the 1800s that gets five searches a month on Google could have a Wikipedia article,” said Forselius. “But bloggers, social media stars and up-and-coming rappers that are getting hundreds of thousands of searches a month were not seen as notable enough.”

Yet, Everipedia’s ostensibly more democratic process hasn’t always resulted in numbers or accuracy to compete with Wikipedia. For instance, whereas Wikipedia offers 43 million pages and has about 136 million active users, Everipedia only has about a half-million pages and 2.3 million unique users.

While there’s a long way to go, Sanger believes the company can implement a blockchain solution to rival Wikipedia in as little as nine months.

“The vision that I have for the next stage of the evolution of encyclopedias is what this team is implementing,” he said, adding:

“It opens up so many doors when information is truly decentralized and offered in a protocol such as blockchain.”

Dr. Larry Sanger image via Everipedia

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Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.