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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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BitTorrent Creator’s Chia Could ‘Fix’ Bitcoin With Own Altcoin By Late 2018

BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has debuted his “solution” to Bitcoin which he says resolves “centralization problems” with the virtual currency.

Speaking to TechCrunch Wednesday, Cohen explained his Chia Network would offer more reliable, eco-friendly mining and security measures.

The developer has been famously critical of Bitcoin this year as the network suffers slow and expensive transaction processing.

“The idea is to make a better Bitcoin, to fix the centralization problems,” Cohen told the publication.

Employing a concept called proof-of-time, as opposed to proof-of-work, Chia relies on a two-step block authentication method.

The three “weightiest histories” found by full nodes are relayed to “farmers,” not miners. These find “the best proof of space they have,” after which proof-of-time servers begin validation and publish a verified block to the network.

This procedure should take away mining power from a select few miners, as occurs with Bitcoin, Cohen says.

“It’s technically ambitious and there’s a big meaty chunk of work to do. I’ve done enough raising money and recruiting. Now for the real work,” he added.

While Bitcoin continues to find stability after its latest hard fork was canceled by developers this week, Cohen maintains a late-2018 or later release for his altcoin will still be timely.

He is not alone in his plans, with MegaUpload creator Kim Dotcom likely to beat him to issuing a cryptocurrency, this time for his own decentralized file sharing network. Dotcom’s Bitcache will be 100 percent Bitcoin-supportive, however, having an integrated wallet for users.

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CNBC Audience Predicts $10k Bitcoin Price as Dotcom Says ‘Hodl’

Bitcache and MegaUpload creator Kim Dotcom have urged Bitcoin holders not to sell, as even mainstream news consumers stay bullish on its future.

In a tweet over the weekend, Dotcom, who is now fully signed up to Bitcoin to power his latest creation, reiterated the lucrative nature of ‘hodling’ funds.

“Congratulations,” he told followers. “Don’t sell yet.”

His comments came a day before WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange revealed he had turned 50,000 percent profits from Bitcoin funding of his resource, as a direct result of the US government blocking credit card payments.

Assange, also using Twitter, wryly expressed his “deepest thanks to the US government,” which made the decision back in 2010 when a single Bitcoin was worth less than $0.10.

While vocal proponents of Bitcoin’s long-term investment prospects are becoming increasingly well-known, a survey by CNBC meanwhile suggests more and more mainstream consumers are beginning to share their positivity.

Reporting on Assange, the publication asked users to choose a likely future Bitcoin price, without specifying a timeframe.

Out of three options – over $10,000, $6-8,000 and “Jamie Dimon is correct” – the majority of the roughly 5000 respondents chose the first, reflecting optimism as Bitcoin continues to circle all-time highs around $5,700 Monday.

Where does Bitcoin go from here?

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New Zealand ‘Bitcoin Bottleneck’ Sees Hungry Consumers Swamp Exchanges

New Zealand’s “Bitcoin bottleneck” is seeing consumers “embrace” Blockchain while banks dither on regulation.

According to reports by local news outlet Stuff, consumers left out in the cold by the country’s troubling regulatory climate are fast feeling the ‘FOMO’ – or ‘fear of missing out’ – effect.

“We are still seeing far more demand that we can service,” Dave Seyb, CEO of Kiwi Bitcoin exchange NZBCX, told the publication last week, “with the bottleneck still being the banking situation.”

“Bitcoin markets across the world have seen huge influxes of new consumers in 2017 as non-technical users come on board.”

At the same time, New Zealand’s financial players have seemingly sought to halt the phenomenon, with one of its first-ever exchanges bitNZ shutting down this year after its bank refused to service its accounts any longer.

As of this month, banks “are still shutting down some accounts,” CEO of newcomer exchange Dasset Stephen Macaskill continued, with Stuff adding there is nonetheless now a consensus that they must “change their internal policies to accept this new industry.”

Meanwhile, the country’s startup scene is actively pursuing Blockchain solutions as a way to get local industry acquainted with innovative technologies, without falling foul of legacy gatekeepers.

“Users shouldn’t really need to think about the Blockchain per se,” Aaron McDonald, CEO of app hub Centrality explained, “just like most people don’t understand how the Internet actually works, or how a cloud service actually works.”

It’s not only average investors who’ve felt the sting from New Zealand’s unwieldy approach to cryptocurrency. Entrepreneur Kim Dotcom regularly brings the situation to international attention, as he struggles to clear his name following accusations of copyright fraud from lawmakers.

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Bitcoin Price Approaches $3,000 As Industry Shows Relief At China Exit

Bitcoin may have lost 20 percent in 24 hours, but markets and the industry are increasingly relieved that China’s influence may soon be over.

As traders come to terms with the latest Chinese regulator-induced crash, which is seeing Bitcoin drop to new recent lows of $3,080, new hope is surfacing that the country’s ban on exchanges will end its central bank’s sphere of influence.

“Will that be the end of it?” local news resource cnLedger asked Thursday posting data from the three major China-induced price crashes.

In terms of Bitcoin value against the yuan, September’s news exchanges will likely all have to cease trading by the end of the month has had less impact compared to previous crises.

In January, when exchanges faced similar demands, prices dropped 45 percent, while a block on CNY bank deposits in 2013 resulted in an 89 percent slump.

Hinting at further relief, entrepreneur Kim Dotcom tweeted that “no government can stop the rise of crypto now,” echoing sentiment from multiple commentators that a hands-off approach from China means less, not more power.

Overall, the past month in Bitcoin has seen price volatility return. On Sep. 1, prices were circling all-time highs of $4,947, and have since lost more than 40 percent.

Cointelegraph reported yesterday that China’s oldest and second-largest exchange BTCChina would be closing Sep. 30, with other exchanges expected to follow suit.

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Copyright Issues and Censorship – Key Reasons Why Internet Needs Blockchain

Sometimes censorship seems like the practice is as old as writing itself and that, for as long as we have writers, we’ll always have someone that is willing to censor or silence them for their own personal gain.

From Socrates’ untimely death to internet sandboxing, censorship has taken many forms throughout history and the truth is that it deprives us of knowledge and keeps us from prospering as a society.

It goes far beyond what you don’t get to read in the newspaper or watch on TV. News and entertainment have a great impact on our society, shaping opinions and influencing the way we experience the world on many levels.

Over time, the Internet has acted as a safe haven for those that seek to find information and those that seek to expose it. However, its centralized, yet global, structure has made it the perfect vehicle for surveillance and censorship, allowing information to be edited and even removed at will.

Blockchain technology can be seen as the tool the Internet was intended to become. Decentralized Blockchain networks grant authority to none, regardless of their wealth or social status. Instead, authority is distributed proportionally throughout participants, creating a balance of opinions and views.

From exchange of value to exchange of information

The first applications for the Blockchain were focused on the exchange of value and not on the exchange of information/knowledge.

However, the evolution was bound to happen and now, complex cryptocurrency platforms like Ethereum and others allow users and developers to explore an infinite number of possibilities with none to tell them what they can or can’t do.

Although these networks allow for complete freedom, there is still much to be done. The information that can be stored on these networks represents but a tiny fraction of the content we can find online and, even though they are gaining traction, most cryptocurrency networks are far from being production ready.

Steemit, for example, has been able to create and maintain a network in which writers are completely free to write about what they want with no form of centralized censorship applied. Not only is Steemit a platform where writers are free to express themselves, but it is also a place where they can be rewarded for their work, depending solely on how well their content is received by the community.

It’s worth noting, however, that Steemit’s reward model has also made it somewhat unreliable, given that whales (users with large holdings) can have a big impact on the writer’s’ rewards. This can be done by downvoting content they don’t like or by using upvotes to sway writers into editing their content.

Cointelegraph asked Ricardo Gonçalves, a prominent witness in the Steemit community and the founder of SteemSports and BuildTeam projects, how he felt about this issue.

He stated:

“There will always be bad actors in any Blockchain community; Bitcoin for example has the issue of mining giants threatening consensus decentralization on the Blockchain and using their influence to steer decisions to suit their own agendas, in my opinion this is a much bigger problem to solve. The great thing is that this issue is outweighed by the many positive initiatives and support coming from the Steem community, who have demonstrated that they would rather use their voting power for the good of the platform.”

Bringing the Internet closer to its original ethos

Changing the way we interact with the web will not happen overnight and it will most likely be a long and arduous process. However, there are promising solutions on the horizon, many of which are leveraging Blockchain technology to bring the Internet closer to its original ethos.

While the Internet itself has much room for improvement, small changes can also drive evolution forth and bring our beloved web back to its original vision (without breaking it along the way).

Archain, for example, allows pages on the Internet to be stored on a Blockchain-like network that can scale to an arbitrary size.

The solution proposed by the Archain team allows a decentralized archive for the Internet to be created, giving users access to deleted pages and allowing them to go-back to uncensored versions of the content they are dealing with.

We asked Sam Williams, CEO of Archain, how a decentralized archive for the Internet can help end censorship.

He stated:

“We believe that access to history is a human right. By distributing an open archive of historically important documents and web pages across the globe, we are going to make it impossible for one country, or even a group of countries, to censor our collective history.”

Blockchain and copyright issues

On the other hand, we also have copyright issues, a polarizing subject. While some defend that all information should be freely accessible, others insist that authors must be rewarded for their work. While both are valid points, Blockchain technology may help reach a compromise in which both views are implemented.

Kim Dotcom, the Internet entrepreneur behind the Megaupload file sharing platform, has come up with a solution that can make both sides of the copyright debate happy. This solution is called K.im, a decentralized platform in which uploaders (a.k.a pirates) will be able to set a price for the files.

While viewers can pay to download the content, broadcasters, studios and other copyright holders can purchase ownership of the pirated files and profit from its sales. This allows the files to be accessible, while also covering the losses of the copyright holders to an extent.

Kim Dotcom seems extremely confident about the project. In a previous interview he stated:  

“It is the holy grail of copyright enforcement. It is my gift to Hollywood, the movie studios, and everyone else. […] Rightsholders can turn piracy traffic into revenue and users can access the content on any platform. Since every file is a store, it doesn’t matter where it ends up.”

While all of the aforementioned projects are not a definite solution to censorship problem, they are providing citizens with the tools their need to protect themselves from it while building the basis for what can one day become a truly free and open Internet.