Blockchain Pumping New Life Into Old-School Companies Like IBM

Blockchain Pumping New Life
Into Old-School Companies Like IBM

  • Ledger technology behind bitcoin seen as burgeoning market
  • Microsoft, Oracle expand cloud services to tap demand

Signs That Will Point to Bitcoin Price Stability -Blockchain is getting bigger at Big Blue.

Demand for the technology, best known for supporting bitcoin, is growing so much that it will be one of the largest users of capacity next year at about 60 data centers that International Business Machines Corp. rents out to other companies around the globe. IBM was one of the first big companies to see blockchain’s promise, contributing code to an open-source effort and encouraging startups to try the technology on its cloud for free.

That a 106-year-old company like IBM is going all in on blockchain shows just how far the digital ledger has come since its early days underpinning bitcoin drug deals on the dark web. The market for blockchain-related products and services will reach $7.7 billion in 2022, up from $242 million last year, according to researcher Markets & Markets. That’s creating new opportunities for some of the old warships of the technology world, companies like IBM and Microsoft Corp. that are making the transition to cloud services. And products that had gone out of vogue, such as databases sold by Oracle Corp., are becoming sexy again.

“All of these things will get a new life because of blockchain,” said Jerry Cuomo, vice president of technology for IBM Blockchain. “Our sales team loves blockchain because a customer that is buying blockchain rarely walks out of the store with just blockchain. They walk out with multiple things in their cart.”  Because multiple companies — such as all parties involved in a supply chain — can use the same blockchain, it’s spurring IBM to revise the way it compensates sales associates. In the past, sales reps got paid when their clients bought IBM technologies directly. Now they will also receive a commission when clients encourage other companies to join them on a blockchain network and use Big Blue’s systems and services, Cuomo said.

Bright Sector

The blockchain enables companies doing business with each other to record transactions securely. Its strength lies in its trustworthiness: It is difficult to reverse or change what’s been recorded. The blockchain can also hold many more documents and data than traditional database storage, allowing for more nuanced insights and analysis. It can also hold embedded contracts, such as a lease for a car, whose virtual key could be transferred to a bank in the event of a default.

“Blockchain is one of the bright sectors in technology,” said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc. “Since blockchain infrastructure is fairly beefy, there will be a large pool of revenue associated with sales of equipment, software and related services for blockchain installations.” In addition to hiring third parties for cloud use, companies will rely more on their own databases for storage, said Amit Zavery, senior vice president of Oracle Cloud Platform. “In traditional database systems, there is only one copy of the data for all parties to reference, but blockchain’s distributed nature means all of the peers now hold a copy of the data,” Avery said. “That will expand the data storage requirements on businesses, especially those in industries with typically high transaction rates.”

In October, Oracle announced the formation of Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service, which helps customers extend existing applications like enterprise-resource management systems. A month earlier, rival SAP SE said clients in industries like manufacturing and supply chain were testing its cloud service. And on Nov. 20, Microsoft expanded its partnership with consortium R3 to make it easier for financial institutions to deploy blockchains in its Azure cloud. Big Blue, meanwhile, has been one of key companies behind the Hyperledger consortium, a nonprofit open-source project that aims to create efficient standards for commercial use of blockchain technology. IBM also offers companies a free trial of blockchain in its cloud.

Wal-Mart, Visa

Almost six in 10 large corporations are considering using blockchain, according to a Juniper Research survey of 400 executives, managers and tech staff. The technology is increasingly being tested or used by companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Visa Inc. to streamline supply chain, speed up payments and store records. Deployments of blockchain should bump up sales growth in cloud services, databases and servers by 35 percent, according to Susan Eustis, chief executive officer of WinterGreen Research. Within five years, blockchain technology will push more than 55 percent of large companies with more than 1,000 employees to use the cloud instead of their own data centers, up from 17 percent today, she said. 

IBM is selling more messaging systems to deliver transactions into the blockchain, web-interface products and API systems to easier communicate with the chain and web app environments, Cuomo said. Sales of databases could rise as well. “We are seeing a lot of momentum and excitement in this space,” said Matthew Kerner, partner general manager for blockchain at Microsoft.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Why the Service Industry Needs Blockchain, Explained

Why the Service Industry Needs Blockchain, Explained

How is the service industry doing?

The service is developing not as fast as it could. Like any other business, the service industry is trying to keep up to date. But there are still some issues slowing down the progress. Money. It’s not that simple to get the money to start a new business or to expand an already existing one. It’s not always possible to get a loan since banks may think you are too young or too old, your credit story is not good enough, or your idea will not be in demand.

Personnel. In current realities, the service requires highly-qualified staff. It’s not enough to find competent people and train them. If you have a network of businesses, you have to make an effort to work them as a whole one. Information. Nowadays, information is one of the most important resources. The Internet has made information transfer faster and easier. However, there are a lot of people involved in the transfer chain. Delays in communication between the links take a large amount of time.

How can Blockchain help?

Ongoing Blockchain technology is able to solve the above-mentioned issues. Money. You can launch your own ICO to get the money to start a new business or expand the existing one. If the idea is great and presented properly, it can raise a lot of funds. Besides, hedge and venture funds show their interest in Blockchain. Smart contracts will make the transactions fast and reliable.

Personnel. The distributed ledger facilitates finding a good employer. Blockchain makes it easier to check the education, skills, work experience, and much more. Moreover, technology provides the communication between departments and managers which improves personnel management. Information. The decentralized system allows sharing information promptly. All information is rapidly distributed between the nodes. The information stored in Blockchain cannot be changed and at the same time, you have access to see how the business processes are going.

How can Blockchain improve hospitality?

Hotels will get more information about tourists and facilitated check-ins. Blockchain stores all the information. Thus, if a tourist checked in a hotel, it would simplify next bookings and the registration process. If a hotel is a part of international hotel chains, keeping track of all the guests is not an easy task. The ledger monitors the number of bookings and updates the information about available rooms in real time. Any violation or even attempt will become publicly available. And an so you can check a tourist’s  or a hotel’s, and its staff, reputation before making any reservations. The payments have low fees and are processed quickly from any place on the planet.

And what about catering business?

Restaurants can track all the data about supplies. Each day catering business has to communicate with a lot of food, logistic companies, etc. The supply chain is rather long. It requires a lot of paperwork, transactions, confirmations, and other procedures that require a huge amount of time. The decentralized system allows to get necessary information much faster and accelerate the processes. Each food product has its own shelf time. Expired products are a very bad spot on the reputation of the food brand. Blockchain fixes all the data about the food, storage conditions, delivery time and indicates rotten products.

Why does car business need Blockchain?

There is a lack of communication between the participants of the business. The car industry is a dynamically developing business. In 2016, more than 78 mln cars were sold in the world. There are a lot of institutions involved: manufacturers, banks, drivers, repair stations, etc. Each of them possesses information that is useful for other participants. For example, manufacturers need to know what kind of breakages a particular model has and how often it happens to produce the necessary amount of spare parts.

There are different decentralized platforms, like Uservice that aim at bringing together all the parties involved and create a unified database about cars. For instance, a car owner can register their car and get paid for the information that they will provide to the platform. So every registered car record will be updated and users of the platform can track what kind of issues this model has or doesn’t have.

Can the decentralized technology be used in insurance?

It can increase trust between clients and insurance companies, prevent frauds. Insurance companies note that there are trust issues among their clients. The system of insurance calculation, high prices and low efficiency discourage consumers. Blockchain technology is transparent, it can restore the trust to how the system works. Smart contracts allow to make insurance contracts clearer and more reliable. The code will be automatically executed if an incident happens. Authenticity verification is one of the biggest problems in the field. Using decentralized register, manufacturers, customers, insurance companies, and others can see all the history of the product, even check if it was stolen or is a counterfeit.

How can Blockchain help e-commerce?

Decentralization will bring transparency, credibility, fast transactions and low fees. Trust comes to the forefront again. Trading is made from a different part of the world. You cannot see a consumer or a seller. There is no guarantee that you won’t get involved with a fraudster. Blockchain makes all the processes see-through to everybody. Smart contracts make sure you receive money or goods/services. Plus, there is no third party involved and it reduces expenses significantly.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
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Once the cryptocurrency bubble bursts, there may be real innovation and a solid valuation case for many coins

Once the cryptocurrency bubble bursts, there may be real innovation and a solid valuation case for many coins

  • Once the hype around cryptocurrencies dies down,
    there may be some real value created
  • This could come from some of the other digital coins
    on the market such as Ethereum and Ripple
  • Valuing these might become easier when
    they are used in the real world

The world of cryptocurrencies

is one of the most divisive topics in finance right now. On the one hand, figures like J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon have called it a "fraud" and dubbed those trading it "stupid." On the other hand, there are those who see cryptocurrencies as one of the most revolutionary forces in finance. But amid the debate, there are a lot of people asking how to value this stuff and why bitcoin has traded nearly as high as $20,000.

The answer right now is simple: There are no fundamentals.

Even Robert Shiller, who won the Nobel Prize in 2013 for assessing asset prices, recently remarked that the value of bitcoin is "exceptionally ambiguous." There's no doubt that there is immense amount of speculation in the cryptocurrency market. But when the bubble bursts and the hype dies down, that is where we may find value and it all comes down to the use cases for the different coins on the market.

When bitcoin was created in 2009, the aim was to be an electronic cross-border payments system. The problem now is that bitcoin transactions are at record highs with faster traditional payment systems actually proving a better means. It's hard to say bitcoin has an inherent value beyond the belief of the people trading it. But as many have said, it could become "digital gold," in which case the price is likely to go higher. But looking forward, it's highly likely that other digital tokens could surpass bitcoin because of their utility.

Take a look at Ethereum. The company bills itself as a blockchain platform for others to build apps on. Blockchain is the underlying technology behind bitcoin and acts as a decentralized ledger of transactions. But its uses span far beyond bitcoin. Ethereum has its own blockchain which companies like Microsoft and J.P. Morgan are experimenting with.

Ethereum is specifically designed for so-called "smart contracts" which are pieces of software that execute a contract once certain conditions are met by all parties involved. This removes the need for complex paperwork and errors. Ripple is another blockchain company that is working on cross-border payments across different currencies in seconds. The digital coin created by the company called XRP, acts as a bridging currency to help facilitate transactions.

Both Ethereum and Ripple have seen stunning rallies this year, but both are in the early stages of their experiments. But in the future, valuing them could be easier. For example, if Ripple began to process a fraction of the trillions of dollars that is transacted across borders, we could start to put a price on one XRP. If Ethereum was responsible for a number of trade finance deals, we could use a similar valuation metric.

Of course, this is all very simplistic, and the biggest risk is that people lose belief in these platforms and cryptocurrencies. They are also in danger of being replaced by something better. Cryptocurrencies or digital tokens are here to stay but it's unlikely they'll survive in their current form. One big plus of this current bubble bursting however could be that we get some real innovation across a number of industries, with valuations a little clearer to understand.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

We used a cryptocurrency miner as a heater this winter and it really worked

We used a cryptocurrency miner
as a heater this winter
and it really worked


Surfing through the web back in October,

I stumbled upon an odd but genuinely fascinating contraption: a Russian cryptocurrency miner that leverages the heat it generates from stacking Ethereum to keep your room warm. Shortly after I wrote about this unusual device, Comino – the Russian-based startup behind this invention – reached out to us and kindly offered to ship one of its miners for us to test this winter. We gladly took them up on their offer, and a couple of weeks later, the Comino was already installed at our cozy office in Amsterdam.

After running the crypto-heater for a little over a month now, we are finally ready to share our experience with the device. But before we get to the actual performance, let’s get the technicalities out of the way. Determined to deliver the device in optimal condition, Comino co-founder Evgeny Vlasov flew in directly from Moscow to Amsterdam, along with his business partner Anatoliy Knyazev (not to be mistaken with the eponymous DC Comics villain KGBeast).  The duo swiftly set up the crypto-heater and proceeded to give us a run-down on the technology that powers the machine.

Vlasov and Knyazev first came with the idea for Comino after they spotted an opportunity to bridge the technological gap in the bludgeoning cryptocurrency market by bringing a mining solution that even crypto-rookies can put to use. As such, the Comino is among the first miners specifically aimed at regular consumers – and not strictly hardcore crypto-enthusiasts. “It is an overused statement these days, but we want to be the Apple of crypto-miners,” Knyazev told TNW. “We want to make a product that is easy for everyone to use. Ideally, you won’t even need to read through the documentation, you just plug it in and it starts working.”

Having said that, Comino, which runs a customized version of Ubuntu, can easily be modified for tasks other than mining. Indeed, Vlasov told us Comino often gets enqiuiries from researchers, involved with high-intensity computing tasks, who are interested in re-purposing the machine for other uses.The reason for that is not strictly the components housed inside its metallic case, but its efficient and sturdy build quality. Vlasov and Knyazev too are first to admit that the real value in Comino – as far as hardware goes at least – is in the proprietary components that connect all the GPUs packed inside the crypto-miner.

As Vlasov explains,

unlike home-made miners, which tend to be rather bulky in size and often make very loud noises, the Comino was designed to be much more discrete and accommodating. It was also equipped with proprietary water-cooling system that Vlasov and Knyazev claim will keep the machine alive for years – a lifespan much longer than that of most home-made mining rigs. Comino’s website claims a maximum noise level of around 30 decibels, and while I’m no noise expert, the review unit we tested was pretty silent – much quieter than an actual fan-heater.

In fact, the noise is so low that at one point Knyazev worryingly misidentified the sound from the little fish aquarium we have in our office with that of the Comino. Indeed, the crypto-heater is less noisy than an aquarium. Here are a couple videos that will give you a better idea about the cacophony home-built miners cause: In addition to its proprietary water-cooling system, the device also comes with a slew of custom-made components – like cables, connectors and risers – to ensure the longevity of the device.

The reason Comino opted to produce their own risers

was because industry alternatives couldn’t offer the same resistance to high-intensity signals and waves that mining rigs have to deal with. Vlasov estimates that the compendium of little touches like these ought to keep the miner up-and-running for at least five to 10 years. As far as the rest of the innards go, the Comino N1 (the model we had a chance to test) boasts eight ASUS P106-100 6G graphic cards mounted on an ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard, as well as 3 NOCTUA NF-A14 PPC-2000 PWM fans, a customized Black Ice NEMESIS GTX420 radiator and 2 Chieftech PROTON BDF-750C 750W power supply units.

All of this oomph amounts to about 1kW of power consumption per hour. Make sure to check your local electricity rates to get an idea of how much that will add up to your energy bills. The contraption stands 63.5cm tall, with a length of 45.9cm and a width of17.5cm, which means you could easily fit it in an idle corner of your room and forget about it, while it does the mining for you. And this is precisely what we did. Once we installed the mining rig in our office, which practically included connecting the crypto-heater to the internet via the web-based dashboard system developed by Comino, it automatically created a wallet and began mining Ethereum. As easy as this.

Of course, if you already have a wallet, you still have the option to connect it to the dashboard. You can also connect any other mining rig to the Comino dashboard, in case you want to follow all of your mining efforts in one place. Among other things, the online dashboard shows a number of statistics the Comino developers had programmed to monitor, including the current and average hashrate at which the miner is solving cryptographic puzzles, the current and average temperature at which it operates, as well as the unpaid balance of Ethereum you’ve accumulated. It also shows stats for the temperature of each separate GPU.

Since installing the miner on November 16, it has so far transferred a total of little over 1.2 ETH to my designated wallet – this equals to roughly 1 ETH per month. At the time of writing, my mining returns amount to about $814, according to CoinGecko. The way the system is set-up, the miner will transfer the Ethereum to a wallet of your choice anytime it has mined at least 0.2 ETH. As you can observe in the screenshots below, the Comino N1 maintains an average hashrate of about 200 MH/s, and an average temperature of approximately 60C (±140F) degrees .

While some of this data is visible on the device’s built-in LCD indicator, chances are you will find yourself engaging with the online dashboard much more often than with the actual miner – and this is actually how Vlasov and Knyazev imagine things. Other than a one-off exception to reboot the miner, following a glitch in the LCD display (which had no effect on the actual mining), I hardly ever had to interact with the machine; and this is a good thing, especially for someone who wants to stack on crypto without having to worry about technical issues.

Throughout this one-month trial,

the only issue I experienced with the miner was that – for some reason – its ambient temperature sensor inaccurately picked up the temperature of the GPUs inside (which had just taken a break from mining); this prevented the device from booting up again, until it cooled down a little. But other than that, it ran as smooth as butter. After reporting this minor malfunction to Vlasov, he told us their team is looking into implementing a solution that will allow the machine to turn on, but will only let it mine once it has cooled down to a more suitable temperature.

At $5,000 a piece (currently discounted down to $4,500), the Comino miner is certainly not cheap, but if you’re looking for an easy way to get started with mining cryptocurrency, it definitely does the job. In all fairness, you can probably build a cheaper mining rig, but Vlasov and Knyazev are skeptical about the lasting endurance of recreational mining rigs. Of course, if neither of these options appeal to you, you can always fit your own crypto-miner in the trunk of your Tesla – like this guy set out to do.

And in case you were wondering about how reliable the Comino was as a heater : it certainly kept the temperature high enough to save some energy on heating bills, but not enough to make you turn on the air conditioner. Which is exactly what you want from a a machine that was built to bank on crypto.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Five Bitcoin Must Reads of 2017

Five Bitcoin Must Reads of 2017

Bitcoin has enjoyed a massive increase in value

and a surge of new users over the last 12 months. Its success looks set to continue into 2018, but there are still burning questions about its future potential.It’s been an absolutely mammoth year for bitcoin, as its value has risen beyond all expectations, and its userbase has broadened as a result. Here are the five biggest bitcoin stories of the past year.

Bitcoin Became One of the Top 30 Currencies

Bitcoin was in relatively good health when 2017 got underway, but few could have predicted just how much its value would rise over the course of the year. All kinds of records have been broken over the past twelve months, with going rate rising by well over 1,000 percent. In November, bitcoin officially passed the $10,000 mark, and in doing so became one of the world’s top 30 largest currencies. As its price continues to surge, even experts are unable to say with any certainty when its value will level off.

Early Signs of Regulation

As more and more money is pumped into crypto, we’re starting to see authorities move to regulate it. In August, there were rumblings that members of the US Congress were preparing to submit a bill proposal, and we’ve seen similar activity elsewhere in the world. In November, a federal judge set an important precedent by ordering CoinBase to supply the IRS with details of users who bought, sold, sent, or received $20,000 or more in the cryptocurrency in a single year between 2013 and 2015. To many, one of the most appealing aspects of cryptocurrency is the fact that transactions can be made privately – but it seems clear that more oversight is on its way.

JPMorgan CEO Calls Bitcoin a ‘Fraud’

Cryptocurrency could be a major threat to the current financial system, so it’s not too surprising that bitcoin is ruffling feathers among the big banks. In September, JPMorgan CEO James Dimon claimed that he would fire any trader who was found to be trading in bitcoin, calling it a “fraud.” Despite Dimon’s comments, it seems that JPMorgan is interested in bitcoin. By November, the bank was considering whether it should give customers access to CME’s futures trading program, which was approved at the start of December.

Bitcoin Classic Shuts Down

Bitcoin Classic, a fork of the cryptocurrency intended to increase transaction processing capacity, was shut down in November. Its developers said that the decision was made because of their expectation that Bitcoin Cash would become the norm within the following six months. While some would argue that forks threaten to dilute the wider crypto market, others maintain that the process is key to the continued success of the currency. Forks allow developers to introduce new functionality without compromising bitcoin as a whole, so they could play a key role in allow the coin to compete with future competition.

Cryptocurrency’s Environmental Impact

As cryptocurrency seems poised to have a huge impact on the world’s economy, we’re also going to see more of its environmental effect because computer programs that mine cryptocurrency require energy. In November, it was reported that these efforts are using more electricity than 159 countries around the world. This is something we’ll definitely need to keep an eye on in 2018 and beyond.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Bitcoin drop continues during holiday trading.

    Bitcoin drop continues during
holiday trading
.

After brief recovery, cryptocurrency falls back to $14,000

amid bubble warnings. Bitcoin has struggled to recover from last week’s wild swings, with the price of the popular but volatile digital currency giving up some of its weekend recovery to trade at about $14,000 by midday on Sunday in New York. The cryptocurrency tumbled more than 30 per cent for its biggest reverse of the year before a similarly steep rally on Friday, with the frenzied trading bringing a major cryptocurrency exchange to a standstill as investors reacted to warnings from global regulators and concerns about security in the nascent market.

Bitcoin reached a peak of $19,666 on December 17, but collapsed as much as 31.8 per cent on Friday to a low of $10,775 per coin. It clawed back some of its losses on Friday morning and Saturday to reach above $16,000 again, before slipping back just below the $14,000 mark on Sunday. Michael Novogratz, a prominent former hedge fund manager and one of bitcoin’s most ardent champions in the traditional finance industry, on Friday shelved plans to launch a cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund, and warned that bitcoin could slide to as low as $8,000. He has previously predicted it could hit $50,000 by the end of next year. “Looks to me like a short term top is in,” Mr Novogratz wrote on Twitter on Friday “Bull market isn’t over. Just pausing.”

Recommended

    Free Lunch: Cryptocurrency — a worthless misnomer
    Gillian Tett: bitcoin, blockchain and the fight against poverty

“To be clear, we delayed launching a hedge fund with outside investors capital last week because we didn’t like market conditions for new investors. In no way does it mean we are less bullish the crypto markets,” he added. The explosion of interest in bitcoin and its cryptocurrency cousins has been labelled by many analysts as a classic speculative mania, and drawn warnings from regulators across the world that investors should be wary of the dangers posed by the volatile world of digital currencies.

Those worries were sharpened last week when a small US-listed soft-drink maker called Long Island Iced Tea Corp surged as much as 500 per cent after changing its name to Long Blockchain Corp, a spike that echoed the peak of the dotcom mania. Underscoring its status as the wildest frontier of finance, the turbulence of bitcoin has for the past month been greater than the volatility suffered by US equities at the peak of the financial crisis in 2008, the Black Monday crash of 1987 and the Black Tuesday slide of 1929 that heralded the Great Depression.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

The Taxman Cometh: US, Russian Investors Face New Calls To Pay/more

The Taxman Cometh:
US, Russian
Investors Face New Calls To Pay

Bitcoin traders face new tax obligations

in the US and Russia as authorities keen to get a piece of the action begin ‘tweaking’ laws. As Fortune and others report today, a tax reform amendment Congress passed this week will oblige crypto-to-crypto handlers to pay tax on any gains.  The change in the status quo comes as a low-key change in legislation closes a loophole which previously allowed so-called “like kind exchanges” to occur tax-free.

‘Like kind’ exchanges allowed one cryptocurrency to be exchanged for another without triggering a taxable event, as long as fiat was not involved. This allowed capital gains to continue growing tax free. Now, however, that option will cease to exist in the US, applying only to real estate from 2018 onward. In Russia meanwhile, cryptocurrency sales for fiat are attracting the attention of tax authorities, which now require taxpayers to come clean about any profits. An anonymous holder told local media outlet Business FM about manual declaration of

crypto tax liabilities:

“I don’t think it’s the right approach. More likely lawmakers should create a mechanism through which further transactions can be followed either automatically or via banks.”

Artem Tolkachev, a lawyer who works on behalf of Deloitte, reiterated that the only “possible” way of taxing cryptocurrency transactions was to apply Russia’s blanket 13% rate at the point of conversion to fiat. Fluctuating exchange rates and authorities’ bare-bones understanding of the technology added to the current stalemate in creating an alternative, he added.

 

Exclusive:
Telegram to Release Blockchain Platform, Native Cryptocurrency

The popular encrypted messaging app Telegram will launch

its own Blockchain platform and cryptocurrency, according to sources familiar with the matter. The new platform will be dubbed either “The Open Network” or “Telegram Open Network” (TON) and is supposed to be based on an improved version of Blockchain technology.

Initial reports of the new platform surfaced today from Anton Rozenberg, a former employee of Telegram’s publishing division Telegraph. Rozenberg posted on Facebook what he claims is an advertorial video for the new platform (he did not disclose the source of the video). He also pointed out that TON would aid those under oppressive governments, since they would be able to transfer money natively through the messaging app. This could serve to break the state’s control over citizens’ money, added Rozenberg.

Cointelegraph learned that the currency of TON will be called “Gram” and the platform will be natively integrated with many of the most popular messaging apps (it’s not yet certain which ones). The platform will utilize light wallets, making it unnecessary for users to download a large and unwieldy Blockchain. The TON platform also won’t have to go through a multi-year bootstrap period like most new platforms, since the Telegram app already boasts 180 mln users, according to Bloomberg. Telegram is already immensely popular with the Blockchain community, as cofounder

Pavel Durov proclaimed:

“Like right now, the entire Blockchain and cryptocurrency community just switched to Telegram.”

Cointelegraph has reached out to Durov, but has not yet received a reply. While still not officially confirmed, the creation of TON is compatible with an earlier article from Bloomberg,

which said:

“[Durov] sees Telegram as a charity that he’ll start to monetize early next year, but only enough to fund expansion.”

The Mark Zuckerberg of Russia

The enigmatic Pavel Durov teamed up with his brother to launch Telegram in 2013. The app boasts end-to-end encryption, making it extremely useful for dissidents and ordinary citizens living under oppressive regimes. In fact, according to Bloomberg, Telegram accounts for 40% of Iran’s internet traffic. The Iranian government is so aggrieved by the app’s privacy features that they have charged Durov, in absentia, of terrorism.

Durov isn’t terribly bothered; he’s used to standing up to national governments. He and his brother cofounded Russia’s largest social network, VK, building a company worth over $3 bln. VK was in fact quite similar to Facebook, but whereas Zuckerberg was able to maintain control (and a massive ownership stake), Durov was not.

When he refused to hand over personal user information to Russian authorities, he was forced to sell his stake in the company to one of Putin’s allies. Thus, while Zuckerberg had the option of an IPO, Durov is using an ICO to monetize his creation. After being forced out of VK, Durov left Russia for good, taking with him an estimated $300 mln and 2,000 Bitcoins. He took his substantial wealth with him to St. Kitts and Nevis, investing enough in the Caribbean nation to become a citizen. However, he spends most of his time in Dubai. Durov insists Telegram is not for sale at any price, because his users’ privacy is too valuable

to risk:

“Even for $20 billion, it’s not for sale. That’s a lifetime guarantee.”

An anonymous holder told local media outlet Business FM about manual declaration of crypto

tax liabilities:

“I don’t think it’s the right approach. More likely lawmakers should create a mechanism through which further transactions can be followed either automatically or via banks.”

Artem Tolkachev, a lawyer who works on behalf of Deloitte, reiterated that the only “possible” way of taxing cryptocurrency transactions was to apply Russia’s blanket 13% rate at the point of conversion to fiat. Fluctuating exchange rates and authorities’ bare-bones understanding of the technology added to the current stalemate in creating an alternative, he added.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Blockchain It! Companies Rename Themselves To Bump Up Share Price/more

Blockchain It!
Companies Rename Themselves To Bump Up Share Price

The craze continues as companies begin changing their name

to include the word “Blockchain” and watch their share price soar. As The Verge reports, a spate of renaming shenanigans has seen Long Island Drinks Corp become Long Blockchain, immediately causing its stock to surge 200%. Likewise, a California-based vaping startup Vapetek changed its name to the unlikely Nodechain, while offering only vague promises about its Blockchain-inclusive future plans.

The practice continues what has become a curious phenomenon. In October, Cointelegraph reported on how a veteran yet little-known UK telecommunications company reinvented itself as a notionally Blockchain-centric outfit, adding the term to its company name. Its stock swiftly took off, jumping from £15 ($20) to a high of £84 ($112) in days.

The trend continues in Asia, with Hong Kong tea manufacturer Ping Shan Tea Group now becoming the tenuously tea-linked Blockchain Group Co. How Blockchain impacts the company’s operations or product remains uncertain, with its website making no mention of the technology other than in its new name. In Russia, cryptocurrency-related consumer marketing has taken a more mainstream turn, with Cointelegraph noting how a sushi restaurant chain rolled out an ICO-themed drinks menu, even including a reference to China’s ban. Burger King outlets in the country have also experimented with their own token, which the fast food giant dubbed ‘Whoppercoin.’

ICO to Build Next Generation AI Raises $36 Million in 60 Seconds

SingularityNET raised $36 mln in one minute,

completely selling out of its native AGI tokens. While this is an enormous amount of money to raise in an incredibly short period of time, it’s somewhat unsurprising considering demand. The company asserts that the issue was massively oversubscribed, with 20,000 people registered to participate, seeking to buy $361 mln worth of tokens. The company reduced the number to a more manageable level, according to its press release,

by:

“[Screening] all applicants using layers of algorithms, in addition to manual review, to comply with global KYC/AML regulations. This reduced the pool of contributors to 5,000, but also set a new standard for fundraising via Blockchain with respect to global legislation.”

Artificial general intelligence

SingularityNET aims to create a decentralized marketplace of AIs, where each AI can interact with one another (and pay one another) as needed to solve customers’ problems.

Founder Ben Goertzel gave an example:

“If you need a document summarized, as a user you can put a request into SingularityNet… You may get bids from twenty different document summary nodes…and you may choose one with the right balance of reputation and price.

But now that document summary node if it hits something in the document it can’t deal with, it can outsource that…if the document summary node that you’re paying…hits an embedded video it can outsource that to a video summarizing node and it can then pay it some fraction of the money it was paid. Or, if it sees a quote in Russian…it can outsource that …to a Russian to English translation node that can do that translation, then send it back to the document summary node.”

Popular field

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are hot trends in computing these days, but are largely controlled by massive corporations. These corporate titans develop their own proprietary systems and software and keep it in-house. SingularityNET intends to decentralize this heavily centralized field, allowing developers of AI tools to monetize them and non-corporate users to benefit from them.

As with any new venture, it remains to be seen whether this is even possible, or whether behemoths like Google will forever dominate the field of AI. One thing is certain – there is plenty of interest in decentralized AI systems. SingularityNET’s token sale could not make that any more clear. Just like the Nicholas Cage movie, these tokens were “gone in sixty seconds.”

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

6 Possible Explanations Why Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency Prices Dropped So Low Yesterday

6 Possible Explanations
Why Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency Prices Dropped So Low Yesterday

"Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful."
Warren Buffett

Until Dec. 22, the world of cryptocurrency felt positively 'to the moon.' It seemed like everywhere you looked, your favorite cryptocurrency was hitting new all-time highs with ease, breaking any barrier set before it. In fact, according to data from OnChainFX (reported by Coindesk): in the past four days, all of the top-20 cryptocurrencies have hit all-time highs.

ut yesterday, a steep drop-off in Bitcoin—falling as low as $12.5K—precipitated a drop off among essentially all other major cryptocurrencies. Testament to the power of Bitcoin, this amounted to more than a 20 percent decrease in the entire global cryptocurrency market cap (currently operating at $478B, down from $611B). Through the night we've seen signs of a possible upswing—but many are left wondering what could have caused such a massive drop. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, here are 6 possible explanations for the day's dip.

1. 'Tis The Season To Be Spending

It might seem comical when you first hear it, but with major holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year's planted right in the same month stretch—the end of the year is a notoriously bad time for savings accounts and investments, as many seek to withdraw yearly gains.

Setting aside speculation and the general (deserved) fervor around blockchain technology, few cryptocurrencies currently serve a purpose that benefits the average consumer more than cash does. With a few exceptions, cryptocurrencies are more difficult to use for everyday transactions, meaning many in the market are there for speculative investment. Speculative buyers do not necessarily equate to market stability—as many will seek to cash out on early gains rather than 'hodl' through the waves of market volatility. The end of the year marks the time when these investors would be most likely to convert their winnings to cash, and yesterday—conveniently just a few days before Christmas—might have been the day that experienced the greatest impact of this behavior.

2. Altcoin Overload

As mentioned above, following the initial surge in Bitcoin, most of the major gains we've seen in cryptocurrency this month have been in altcoins like Cardano, Qtum, Ripple, TRON, and Verge. This has undoubtedly felt amazing to the investors motivated to leave the safe haven of Coinbase for the further reaches of the other exchanges—one might even say too good to be true. In the process of diverting funds from BTC, enthusiastic crypto traders may have also temporarily destabilized the Bitcoin market. If Bitcoin were just another coin, that would be all well and good, but Bitcoin is the "gold" of the cryptocurrency world—the standard by which all other coins are measured. So whether we like it or not, every altcoin is hedged (in some way) along Bitcoin's success—or at a minimum for the foreseeable future, its maintenance.

3. Bitcoin Cash Confusion on Coinbase

Employees work at the Coinbase Inc. office in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. Coinbase wants to use digital money to reinvent finance. In the company's version of the future, loans, venture capital, money transfers, accounts receivable and stock trading can all be done with electronic currency, using Coinbase instead of banks. Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

On Tuesday, Coinbase announced it would support buying, selling, and trading Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on its platform. Since the August fork, there has been major community in-fighting among the BCH and BTC camps regarding which is the "true" Bitcoin. Point being: energy is high around this discussion. Many have speculated that BCH would end up on Coinbase, but even conservative estimates in crypto circles were January 2018. So it's no surprise that the noticeable and seemingly out-of-the-blue gains made in BCH in the days and hours leading up to the announcement caused some on social media to cry "insider trading." This resulted in Coinbase shutting down BCH trading within minutes to launch an internal probe into the possibility that insider trading occurred.

By the next afternoon, BCH was in full force again on Coinbase. But the impact might have been deeper felt than we initially realized. Many have at best a passing understanding of the differences between BTC and BCH, and seeing BTC prices drop so sharply when BCH jumped onto the scene—as well as BCH's perceived volatility—might have left a larger stain in their minds on the broader concept of cryptocurrency. And even for those who didn't pay too much attention to the hullabaloo, it might have just amounted to extra, unwanted confusion to keep them from participating further.

4. Market Manipulation

Traders work in a trading pit at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, in Chicago, as they trade S&P 500 Options, unrelated to bitcoin futures. Trading in Bitcoin futures began Sunday on the CBOE.

We also have to entertain the possibility that foul play is afoot. What would that look like?

A recent report in Bloomberg revealed that a group of 1000 investors own 40 percent of all Bitcoin. This means that—if even some among that number were acting in concert, they would have the potential to manipulate the market to their whim. These "whales"—investors, hedge funds, and otherwise with enough stake in the crypto market to tip the scale—could easily have engaged in "painting the tape" (creating the appearance of high transaction volume by simply selling and re-selling back-and-forth on small margins) to inflate the value of Bitcoin.

Why would they do that? So that they could sell off at the highest possible price before inducing a crash by selling off mass amounts of their Bitcoin stock. Of course, this can only work so far unless others begin to take notice and sell their own Bitcoin off; that's where the influx of new traders comes into play. By essentially scaring fair-weather fans with FUD ("fear, uncertainty, and doubt) who started buying in on the crypto hype without much study of the market, whales stand to make off like bandits. How? By selling off at record highs, dropping the market to record lows, then buying back in. This is made even more appealing with the launch of bitcoin futures trading on Cboe and CME, which sets these players up to short the market.

5. Hacking & Regulation

Earlier this month the SEC halted PlexCoin on charges of being an ICO scam, and this week it reportedly suspended trading in The Crypto Company over "concerns regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information" and stock manipulation. Meanwhile, Youbit, the popular South Korean exchange, announced its closure on Dec. 20 after being hacked (purportedly by North Korea), losing 17 percent of all assets. As an added note, the 'insane' energy costs associated with Bitcoin mining continue to garner negative press as we move into the new year. There is a chance that the general concern created in these developments has scared off potential investors and even caused existing participants to cut their losses.

6. The Bubble Was Real & Crypto Winter Is Coming

Of course, there could be some truth to all of the above, and together are amassing to the bubble pop that many have been warning users about for months. The argument against this being a sign of crypto winter is that we've seen this degree of volatility in Bitcoin all throughout 2017 (and even prior). The difference now is that the sheer volume of players is a full exponent greater than it's ever been—and many new participants have no experience navigating these types of markets, making them more sensitive to the down moments. If we are entering the crypto winter, the past eight years of Bitcoin has

revealed two things:

1) that Bitcoin always bounces back—and with it, a whole roster of cryptocurrencies (with inevitable casualties along the way), and
2) the demand for decentralized currency and blockchain technology is here to stay. Some might urge you to cut your losses now before the supposed winter blusters in harder. Others might say it's just another hump in the
road.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

 

Bitcoin’s inevitable plunge is here/iPhones slowing down

Bitcoin's inevitable plunge is here

The cryptocurrency sank in value by nearly half from its Sunday record high, dipping below $11,000 Friday morning.

                                    Bitcoin surged in value over most of 2017.

Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that has soared in value this year, plunged below $11,000 Friday morning, sinking by nearly half from a record high it hit less than a week ago. The cryptocurrency, which allows anonymous transactions unrestricted by global borders, is popular with tech heads, people suspicious of government and — more notoriously — those seeking to launder money. But the eye-popping run-up in Bitcoin's value this year has lured more mainstream interest in cryptocurrencies purely as an investment opportunity. It's lack of government backing and regulation, however, also leads to volatility, like the dramatic swings seen this week. Bitcoin dropped at one point Friday morning to $10,400, according to exchange Coinbase. In recent Coinbase trading, it was valued at about $12,000. 

Even though the cryptocurrency started the year at less than $1,000, it rocketed to a record high above $19,800 on Sunday. Though the price retrenched earlier this week to trade around $15,500 for much of Thursday, a selloff hit that afternoon and accelerated Friday morning. Investment firm Goldman Sachs reportedly plans to create a trading desk to handle digital currencies by the middle of next year, Bloomberg News reported Thursday, suggesting that mainstream investor interest could grow. But regulators have warned about cryptocurrencies' relative lack of investor protections, fostering an environment ripe for scams.

Here's why Apple says