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Blockchain Enabling Users to Benefit from Unused Assets, Excess Capacity

In the beginning, Blockchain seemed to be all about Bitcoin, but the technology is rapidly expanding beyond that initial use case. In fact, Blockchain is rapidly finding implementation in some unusual areas. One such area is the monetization of unused assets, such as Internet bandwidth and SMS services.

From novelty to opportunity

The Founder of Helium, Jason Cassidy, describes this development as one of the beautiful aspects of Blockchain technology. He notes that the ability of Blockchain tech to eliminate inefficiencies across the board makes it stand out. The ability to put unallocated resources to purposeful use is quickly becoming possible.

“Looking back in the brief history of cryptocurrency, we can see there are examples of Blockchains that put this into practice. [One such project] puts wallet users computational resources to use to help find causes for diseases while [another] takes a similar approach and applies it to scientific research.”

Cassidy further explains that this trend will continue as Blockchain developers discover new ways of putting resources to use by bundling them together to work towards a common, unified goal.

A typical example is the A2P SMS services market which boasts of an expected $63 Bln revenue in 2017. Blockchain-based services will soon offer the opportunity for individuals to sell their unused SMS to social networks and other companies. They use it for SMS notifications, SMS-based two-factor authentications, automatic booking confirmations, one-time passwords, and similar services. Users who contribute will become significant players and earn part of the huge revenue that exists within this market. In a sense, this Blockchain-based service might end up creating the first universal basic income.

Internet powered by the Blockchain

Michaels Vogel, CEO of Netcoins tells Cointelegraph that it might be possible to create a whole new Internet built on Blockchain. Vogel notes that Kim Dotcom is working on something dubbed the MegaNet, an alternative internet that doesn’t use traditional IP addresses and is significantly more secure because of its Blockchain backbone.

The interesting part of this idea is how unused computing power (e.g. your phone when it’s not in use) would then contribute its storage and processing power to the MegaNet. Says Vogel:

“I think there is huge potential for other ideas in the future to make use of the world’s dormant computing power, and harness it through Blockchain applications.”

Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing explains that this whole movement is about improving the utilization of assets. According to Epstein, unused bandwidth is an asset and before now, there was no effective way to get compensated for it.

An inevitable development

The combination of Blockchain technology and crypto-economics makes such projects not only feasible, but inevitable.

Epstein notes that we will see this play out in any industry where assets are undervalued because they are underused. Entrepreneurs will find ways to utilize nearly any excess resource, in time. Empty shipping containers, cars traveling from city to city and even premium website domains that people are just squatting on can now be leveraged via Blockchain technology.

This is the power of decentralization, a collective of individuals voluntarily working together. Anyone is free to join or to leave as they please. This freedom of choice aligns well with a humanitarian mindset and we expect to see much more of this innovation in the future.

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Bitcoin Exchange LocalBitcoins Posts Fourfold Trading Volume Increase in Venezuela

Decentralized Bitcoin exchange LocalBitcoins has announced a fourfold increase in its Bitcoin trading volume since June in Venezuela. This substantial increase reflects the phenomenal rise in demand for the digital currency in the country and in other emerging markets.

According to the company, its trading volume of Bitcoin in the last three months has increased to 40 bln Venezuelan bolivars from about nine billion bolivars. This increase occurred despite the lack of clear cryptocurrency regulations and policies in the country.

Venezuela’s financial and banking systems have continuously suffered from hyperinflation and the rapid devaluation of the country’s national currency over the last year.

Venezuela’s crackdown on digital currency mining activities

Based on local media reports, a huge number of university graduates, young entrepreneurs and other professionals have turned to virtual currency mining in order to generate sufficient income to fund their day-to-day activities and feed their families. Aside from Bitcoin, the other cryptocurrencies mined include Dash, Zcash and Ethereum.

The Venezuelan authorities, however, have launched a crackdown against digital currency mining. In a report by Jim Epstein of Reason.com, the police have arrested four Bitcoin miners. The report cited the statement issued by federal police agency Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas Penales y Criminalisticas (CICPC) director Douglas Rico regarding the arrest.

Part of the report reads:

“In a statement attached to his Instagram post, Rico said that they were running ‘more than 300′ Bitcoin mining computers and selling them in Cúcuta, a Colombian town near the Venezuelan border, which is known as a place where Venezuelans go to freely trade bolivars and dollars without abiding by the government’s strict currency controls. Rico also claimed that the miners’ actions had affected “the consumption and the stability” of electricity service in Charallave. These four individuals aren’t the first Venezuelans Bitcoin miners to be arrested.”

However, despite the arrests, digital currency mining is still flourishing in Venezuela.

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Bitcoin Bursting With Potential Says Billionaire Jeff Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein is seen as royalty when it comes to the elite of finance, having been a billionaire for over 20 years. However, despite his traditionalist ways, the former partner at Bear Stearns has weighed in with his opinion of Bitcoin.

Epstein excelled at finding hidden value for his clients and himself, identifying anomalies in the market, and using arbitrage to profit from them. He has now identified Bitcoin as another potential opportunity.

Why does Epstein’s opinion matter?

There are a lot of Wall Street banks, bankers and investors who are sharing their opinion on the digital currency, some more politely than others. Jamie Dimon has called it a fraud, and on the other side, there are rumours that Goldman Sachs will begin direct Bitcoin trading.

However, these opinions are so polarised that they are either so deep in one camp or another that they seem to have hidden agendas.

Epstein’s opinion is fairly measured as he points out its potential, casting his math, science and technology background over it with a focus on finance.

“Epstein is the Brooklyn-born financier who in 1982 formed J. Epstein & Co., the money management firm that famously held a secret client list containing only the names of people worth $1 bln or more.”

Mathematically stopping counterfeiting

As a former math teacher, Epstein appreciates the security that comes from the mathematical work that goes into Bitcoin’s Blockchain.

Counterfeiting is a major problem with conventional money but because each Bitcoin has a unique identifier, and any coins numbered outside a certain range are fake — the whole system is mathematically controlled.

Still not a currency

While there is no formal or legal definition of what a currency actually is, Epstein does not think Bitcoin can be classified as one anyway.

Traditional currency is money that has a sovereign guarantee behind it, a governmental promise that the value is secure. But because Bitcoin is backed by technology, it misses that mark.

However, he adds that it works as a store of value:

“When we talk about gold as a store of value that just means a lot of people agree to pay the same price for one ounce of gold. In 2017, enough people agree on the value of bitcoin that it can serve the same purpose. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins, but this limit comes from computer code, not by how many bitcoins are left to remove from the earth. If we learn tomorrow that half of Montana contained a secret cache of gold, the value of gold would decrease instantly. Bitcoin doesn’t have this problem.”

Call for an update

Finally, the billionaire sees Bitcoin as a powerful catalyst that can start to change the landscape of business and finance.

Terms such as currency, money, wealth, value and even cost need to be updated and revisited. He believes it is Bitcoin that can make people rethink these ideas.

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Blockchain Lending Platforms Can Bail Out SMEs and Improve Global Economy

SMEs are the cornerstone of economic development. In most countries, they provide the platform for job creation and economic growth. Therefore, any product or system designed to encourage the entrepreneurial adventure of SMEs or simplify the business environment may as well be recognized as a solution to a global problem.

Difficulties in traditional funding

Loans and external funding are essential in the development of SMEs. However, the risk of not meeting up with the obligations of loan repayment makes it somewhat difficult for banks to do business with them.

CEO and Founder of WishFinance, Eugene Green says:

“Small businesses play a significant role in the modern economy, as they hire more people, pay more taxes, strengthen their local communities and eventually propel the growth of the economy. However, SMEs consistently report access to capital being one of the most important factors of success, as getting unsecured business loans still remains a large issue for them. In fact, SMEs are the most underbanked business category worldwide and Asia Pacific is the region with the least banked SMEs in most of the countries.”

The factors that may hinder an SME from fulfilling its loan repayment obligations may include the competition of breaking into an existing market and the inability to achieve set targets by these startups. Such factors, among other reasons, may cause banks to be reluctant in issuing loans to such SMEs.

Decentralized lending platforms

Blockchain lending platforms are becoming popular across the industry and are being embraced by a lot of small businesses. These platforms do not require the kind of strenuous processes that is associated with bank procedures, neither demand collaterals from customers.

According to Green, WishFinance is offering merchant cash advances and business loans with fair interest rates based on the company’s real cash flow, not assets. It has direct access to POS terminals infrastructure to see real-time financial transactions, which it combines with the local market data for scoring.

However, like every novel project in the developmental stage, there is still the element of skepticism among members of the public towards lending systems that exist on completely decentralized platforms.

There are always questions with regards to the sustainability and security of such programs, especially as some foul players within the community always take advantage of emerging innovations to defraud unsuspecting or desperate individuals.

The sustainability of Blockchain lending

CEO of Never Stop Marketing, Jeremy Epstein thinks that the idea of Blockchain lending platform is genuine and sustainable. However, he notes that it will be a while until people figure out how to avoid getting scammed or being downright unprofitable.  

Epstein elaborates that having a community token-based model where the credit score of loan companies is affected by the creditworthiness of the people in their network is potentially the kind of business model innovation we will see in the future.

In addition, he notes that projects like LAToken.com where you can take your illiquid assets and tokenize them will help SME find new ways to unlock capital from hard assets.

Epstein also identifies SALT Lending to give SMEs the chance to secure loans against crypto assets, giving them many more options to build their business. He concludes:

“At this point, it is difficult to bet on one single winner, but the trend is there because there is friction in the existing market and Blockchain tech helps remove the friction from intermediary-laden processes.”