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Tag: blockchain

From Here To Where? Bitcoin And The Future Of Cryptocurrency

From Here To Where?
Bitcoin And The Future Of Cryptocurrency

   There’s a number of reasons why cryptocurrencies are so inherently popular.

They are safe, anonymous and utterly decentralized. Unlike conventional currency, they are not controlled or regulated by some singular authority, their flow is determined entirely by market demand. They are also nigh impossible to counterfeit, thanks to the paranoidly complicated code system that encrypts each and every transfer, ensuring complete anonymity and utter safety to each and every user. They even make for a genuinely rewarding, if risky, investment endeavor, despite the fact that any financial advisor in their right mind will caution you against them. Therefore, despite the admittedly high stakes that this sort of dealing entails, not to mention the lack of any government agency to lend credence to them, cryptocurrencies can only thrive and multiply.

If I were to tell you of the history of cryptocurrencies, I would have to begin with cryptographer David Chaum, who in the 1980s devised an extraordinarily secure algorithm that allowed for the kind of encryption required in electronic fund transfers. Chaum’s “blinding algorithm” laid the groundwork for the future development of all types of digitalized currency transactions, be it alternative currencies like Bitcoin or just plain old digitalized cash transfers.

“I am personally excited for the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in general. Current innovations such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others are just the beginning for this technology that can help revamp many industries. There is plenty of opportunity in this space.” — Chalmers Brown, Forbes

In the later part of the 1980s, Chaum relocated to the Netherlands, and, with the help of a few fellow enthusiasts, laid the foundation of DigiCash, a for-profit cryptocurrency network based on his “blinded money” algorithm. Unlike newer cryptocurrencies, DigiCash exercised full monopoly over its supply, a far cry from being a decentralized mode of transactions such as Bitcoin. While DigiCash was founded with the idea of trading directly with individuals, the Netherlands government imposed severe restrictions on the company, forcing it to sell only to licensed banks. This seriously curtailed the company’s profits, and after a decade of struggling and being partnered with by Microsoft, the company finally closed doors in the 1990s. Chaum did go on to try his luck on a few similar cryptocurrency startups at the time, though none of them were really successful to begin with.

Fast forward to 2008, when a whitepaper was released under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, detailing what would be widely regarded as the first modern cryptocurrency initiative. The idea combined concepts such as decentralization, perfect anonymity, finite supply and blockchain technology to pave the way for what we know as Bitcoin. Nakamoto, a pseudonymous individual or individuals operating under a fake name, released Bitcoin to the public in 2009. This idea was soon taken up by a gazillion different startups such as Litecoin. In 2010, Bitcoin received recognition as a proper currency after merchants such as WordPress, Expedia and Microsoft began accepting it as a mode of payment.

“Cryptocurrencies can better adapt to the prevalent challenges of both funding and the emerging digital economy in addition to being a way to engage communities through P2P tech and crowdfunding platforms. There are over 2 billion people without access to the financial economy and even basics of modern civilization. Here at Humaniq, we are a blockchain fintech startup aiming to tackle some of these challenges by tapping into the power of digital currencies to leverage social impact. Approaching these issues from the angle of Initial Coin Offerings, we have so far managed to secure over 10,000 investors and $4M in investments in the last two weeks.” — Dinis Guarda, CEO at Humaniq

Speaking for 2017, we’re still far from Bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency initiative, being officially recognized by a state government as a preferred mode of currency. Mere months ago, Bitcoin saw a 35% fluctuation in price range after a proposed exchange-trade fund by the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust was denied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission due to concerns that the currency could be used for illegal purposes such as black market trading. However, hope is anything but out, and 2017 will be a year to watch out for as far as alternative currencies are concerned.

While Bitcoin experienced a drop in its prices, a cheaper cryptocurrency by the name of Ether reached its all-time highs at $40 a unit. While Ether’s current setup prevents it from being used as a direct method of payment, the cryptocurrency still seems to have a bright future ahead thanks to the concept of smart contracts. In the meantime, more privacy-concerned cryptocurrency alternatives are starting to gain prominence in favor of institutions such as Bitcoin, which despite their vigilant security measures, continue to have loopholes that could be exploited for access to personal data.

“In a reminder of just how fickle the market for such newfangled assets can be, just after 4 p.m. Friday, the Bitcoin price took a U-turn and plummeted to lows not seen in months, dipping below $1000 to as low as $980, after Bitcoin investors received some bad news from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.” — Jen Wieczner, Fortune Magazine

Another interesting turn of events is the acceptance of Bitcoin in the educational industry, what with the University of Ohio hosting classes about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a part of its MFE curriculum. Several colleges have even begun to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment, a move which will clearly help bring this alternative currency to the mainstream. The acceptance of Bitcoin, in general, has already led to a few companies considering genuine investment opportunities in the currency, further fueling its journey to mainstream.

Will cryptocurrencies be the new norm after 2017? Perhaps it is too soon to tell. But if there is one thing we know for sure, it is that the currency seems to have a wide appeal with a particular section of technologically-savvy individuals, a point that is sure to soon work in its favor.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin to rocket to $4000 as blockchain infrastructure sets agenda for cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin to rocket to $4000 as blockchain infrastructure sets agenda for cryptocurrencies

ANALYSTS say the cryptocurrency Bitcoin could hit values of $4000 within the year after a new player entered the market.

  

The introduction of Litecoin,

another electronic online currency is adding to investor appetite as the rolling out of blockchain infrastructure gets set to revolutionize the future of the financial sector. Bitcoin has been making gains since April and is rallying in London has risen over 33 percent days, according to the Coindesk bitcoin price index. It comes after Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) and the World Economic Forum looked at how cryptocurrencies can be aided by distributed ledger technologies.

Bitcoin is leading the cryptocurrency market

It is better than currency because you don't have to be in the same place and of course for large transactions currency can be inconvenient

Bill gates

Global regulatory challenges continue to affect the market with a test case before The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) throwing up some new challenges. A bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss was declined by the US sector watchdog as Donald Trump looks at deregulating markets. However, the sector is gaining appeal, particularly in Japan, which legalized cryptocurrency as a payment method recently and is

Helping to get the yen involved.

  

France invented a cryptocurrency dispenser

Aurelien Menant, founder, and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated blockchain assets exchange based in Hong Kong says confidence is strong in Asia. Meanwhile, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is keen on distributed ledger technology. He said: "Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be, it is better than currency because you don't have to be in the same place and of course for large transactions currency can be inconvenient.” bitcoin was created in 2009 and has a current Market Capitalization of $29,753,633,028.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

$1,700? Bitcoin’s Price is Up Even as its Tech Progress Stalls

  

Referred to as the 'honey badger of money'

(after a famous viral video), bitcoin enthusiasts may find this comparison particularly apt of late. Since the beginning of the year, the network's value has nearly doubled — even while the community continues to be mired in debate. Market observers so far have offered a wide range of reasons for this uptick, though not all of them are good, with increasing prices causing concerns that the industry as a whole is entering a speculative bubble.

Supply and demand

Still, not everyone believes the boost is due to speculation. Redwood City Ventures founder Sean Walsh, for example, sent CoinDesk a bullet-pointed email summarizing the various global developments that could be contributing to the bitcoin price surge. He believes developments in South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China have all contributed. The price surge, according to Walsh, is simply supply and demand.

"Bitcoin is dramatically more scarce than most people realize, especially in the context of its total addressable market of nearly 3 billion internet-connected adults," he continued. Walsh framed the situation simply as one where the cryptocurrency is seeing increased demand, which looks to only increase in the future: "Once the global race to own bitcoin commences, the tiny supply of new bitcoins (just 54,000 new coins per month) will be completely overrun by demand,"

he said, adding:

“There just aren't anywhere near enough coins to go around, and pre-existing holders will grasp ever more tightly into this surging market, as perennially dictated by human nature.”

Tensions subsiding

Still, to those following day-to-day technical developments, it might seem odd that the digital currency's price has seen such an upswing amid its scaling debate and a stalled upgrade known as SegWit. Kristov Atlas, a security engineer at wallet and data firm Blockchain, for example, wasn't able to find technical reasons for the uptick in demand.

He told CoinDesk

"I don't see how the price increase could relate to tech changes; no big changes in long term projects like Lightning lately, and the block size stalemate is still status quo."

"It must be something outside bitcoin that investors have changed their minds about," he suggested. While developers, admittedly, might not be experts on economic market conditions, those that have been in the industry for a while are perhaps more aware of how technical developments could contribute to bitcoin’s price. When asked, some argued the state of the technology could have something to do with the recent increase, though, perhaps in surprising way.

For example, bitcoin’s block size debate took a weird turn a couple of months ago, when discussions about the possibility of forking bitcoin into two networks reappeared. This time around, some miners and developers suggested the idea of destroying the chain that didn't follow along with the majority of hashing power.

This has yet to happen, though, and worries about such an event happening have since died down. Some wonder if this could have given the price boost. "I think part of the rally is due to increased confidence that the risk of a contentious hard fork has all but evaporated," Reddit moderator BashCo said. Yet some expect to see a 'correction', where the price dips to a more reasonable place.

The emotion factor

The idea that raised tensions contribute to price swings fits with bitcoin developer and Nakamoto Institute director of research, Daniel Krawisz's view that the price has more to do with emotions. "The price of bitcoin never makes sense and it doesn’t have very much to do with the tech," he said. "It’s about emotion. It’s about greed." Krawisz also sees the price more aligned with bitcoin's original value proposition of giving users more control, rather than more granular tech additions or debates. “It’s not the new features of bitcoin that matter. What matters are the old features? People keep moving into bitcoin because it's a better alternative than their own national currency,”

he said, adding:

"Bitcoin doesn't really need new features, because it's already better."

Though, perhaps echoing other developer's sentiments about a reduction in fear, Krawisz went on to argue that the increase in demand probably has to do with bitcoin's apparent stability, since it’s been around for a long time compared with many cryptocurrencies. "It's the same reason that people always get into bitcoin now as ever," he concluded.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin plunges $200 after cyber attackers demand ransom using the digital currency

Bitcoin plunges $200 after cyber attackers demand ransom using the digital currency

  • Bitcoin fell from a record high after Friday's WannaCry cyberattack.
  • The digital currency hit an all-time high of $1,848.75 Thursday and on Monday traded near $1,676.42.
  • Analysts also pointed to increased Chinese selling.

A man talks on a mobile phone in a shop displaying a bitcoin sign in Hong Kong.

Bitcoin plunged from a record high hit last week to below $1,700 after cyber attackers locked up data in 200,000 computers Friday and demanded ransom in the digital currency. "It's a big hit to sentiment," said Brian Kelly, CEO of BKCM. "This is some negative publicity for bitcoin." Bitcoin fell more than $200 from an all-time high of $1,848.75 reached Thursday to a low of $1,644.64 Friday. The cryptocurrency steadied over the weekend and on Monday traded more than 5 percent lower on the day near $1,676.42.

One-month bitcoin performance

  

 

A virus called WannaCry hit 200,000 computers in at least 150 countries on Friday, according to the head of the EU police agency. The hackers demanded, for each computer, $300 in bitcoin within three days to unlock the files and threatened to double the fine after that, before permanently preventing access after seven days. Cybersecurity firm Check Point warned in a blog post Sunday, not to send any funds as no one who had paid had yet reported receiving their files back. Relatively few have paid the ransom. CoinDesk Research Analyst Alex Sunnarborg said Monday that $51,300 in 193 transactions were sent to the three bitcoin addresses connected to the malware.

Pickup in Chinese trading volume

In addition to profit-taking on the hacking, Kelly attributed bitcoin's decline on Monday to a drop in prices on the Hong Kong-based Bitfinex exchange, where prices had been artificially elevated due to withdrawal restrictions. Expectations that those restrictions will soon be lifted brought Bitfinex prices for bitcoin closer to the lower price of other exchanges. "A little bit of a price support has been removed," Kelly said. Chinese trading volume more than doubled its share, from 8.2 percent on May 1 to 22.8 percent Monday, according to analysis from Sunnarborg.

Even with the decline of the last few days, the volatile cryptocurrency has nearly doubled in value since the end of March.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Watch the WannaCry bitcoin ransom trickle in

Watch the WannaCry bitcoin
ransom trickle in

The malware that's locked up hundreds of thousands of computers has netted roughly $70,000 so far. Why the WannaCry cyber attack is so bad and so avoidable

  

The WannaCry ransomware made on average $23,333 a day.

Monday was its most successful payday. In just four days, the WannaCry ransomware reeled in enough money to buy 8,750 servings of avocado toast (or maybe a modest house, if you're into that sort of thing). And now the ransom has doubled. The global ransomware plague started infecting computers on Friday, abusing an exploit discovered by the NSA that was leaked to the public by the Shadow Brokers hacker group. It breached computers through phishing emails and then spread through networks using a Server Messaging Block vulnerability on outdated Windows computers.

Before it was accidentally (and only temporarily) shut down, WannaCry had locked down more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, affecting banks, universities, and hospitals, with a demand that the targets pay $300 worth of bitcoins by May 20. On Tuesday, the ransom doubled from $300 to $600, and the tally of WannaCry victims had reached more than 374,000 computers. In the last 72 hours, more than 261 people have decided they would rather pay the ransom than lose their important files forever, according to trackers analyzing the three known bitcoin wallets. (You can track the amount yourself here.) A majority of the payments came on Monday, just hours before the first deadline passed and the ransom rose.

In total, the hackers behind WannaCry made $69,535 by Tuesday morning, as payments continued to flow in. While the original ransomware has been slowed down, patched variations of the malware — pointing to the same bitcoin wallets — have appeared, this time without a kill switch. If every ransom ends up being paid, the hackers could make more than $1 billion from the breach. One risk analysis firm estimates that WannaCry could cost the world's economy $4 billion in damages and losses. It's unclear who is behind the massive attack, but researchers have found clues in the code linking the ransomware to North Korea.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

DC Blockchain Advocates Seek Distance From Bitcoin Amid Ransomware Wave

 

Amid a flurry of negative publicity for bitcoin,

technology advocates are trying to distance themselves from the digital currency as part of a bid to protect the perception of more enterprise-facing blockchain initiatives. The change of public positioning follows an uptick in ransomware attacks using bitcoin as the medium of payment, the most recent of which (after causing major disruption within the UK's National Health Service and elsewhere) has sparked a global conversation.

At a briefing for congressional staff on Tuesday covering the potential uses of blockchain technology in the US healthcare system, the Chamber of Digital Commerce and a panel of other blockchain specialists acknowledged that the ransomware issue is again opening old wounds caused by the technology's association with illicit uses of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

In response, panelists sought to draw clear lines between the two technologies. "A lot of these initial attacks have been on healthcare systems and healthcare companies. This has come onto our radar because the ransomware is asking for the ransom in bitcoin," Perianne Boring, president of the Digital Chamber of Commerce, told an audience of roughly 70 healthcare and technology-focused staffers from congressional offices.

Elsewhere, the panelists sought to categorize bitcoin as merely "one application" of blockchain technology. Srinivas Attili, senior vice president and partner at IBM Global Business Services,

told attendees:

"Blockchain [gets] a lot of bad rap because of bitcoin, in my view. Bitcoin is just one application of blockchain, and you can have hundreds of applications of blockchain."

Blockchain good, bitcoin bad

Just how much regulatory attention is being aimed at bitcoin in the wake of the incidents is unclear, though a member of Congress introduced a bill Tuesday ordering the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a threat assessment regarding the use of virtual currencies by terrorists and criminals. It's happened before, so advocates worry bitcoin's bad press will rub off on the blockchain.

Attili drew the comparison to Amazon being just one among a countless number of businesses built on the HTTP protocol and highlighted Hyperledger as a promising blockchain technology suite that he believes is isolated from any nefarious activity associated with cryptocurrencies. "It's built for business. There's no concept of cryptocurrencies on Hyperledger," he said. Yet, Micah Winkelspecht, chief executive of Gem, a blockchain solutions company, did defend bitcoin, asserting that it's serving a legitimate use as a means of exchanging value.

Winkelspecht said:

"Bitcoin is to those types of attacks as the dollar is to the drug trade. Just because the dollar exists doesn't mean that it's the cause of the drug trade. Bitcoin is just a tool that these criminals are using because it is a good form of exchanging value. It's actually serving a really good purpose as an exchange of value. They are leveraging it as a tool."

"Blaming bitcoin for ransomware would be like blaming the Federal Reserve for any illicit transaction that happens in cash," Boring added.

Recasting the narrative

Still, the damage dealt by the ransomware attacks, compounded by past black eyes like Mt Gox and Silk Road, may cut deeper than many in the cryptocurrency community may wish to recognize. Congressional staffers speaking privately after the event said the concept of blockchain must be, to all intents and purposes, disassociated from bitcoin to gain serious traction in the legislative arena. Boring tried to flip the narrative by saying that, instead of blaming bitcoin for the attacks, there should be a greater focus on the potential of blockchain to protect against ransomware and other cyber attacks in the future.

She said:

"I would even argue that when we talk about protecting our healthcare systems or other systems that might be vulnerable to ransomware or other types of cyberattacks, that blockchain technology could be the silver bullet to protecting our infrastructure."

Winkelspecht concurred, arguing that blockchain could provide a better, more secure way to store data as hackers become more sophisticated in the future. "Before we used to see attacks that were more DDoS — they were attacks on infrastructure trying to bring systems down," he said. "Now we're starting to see more infiltration. They’re basically putting a ransom on data because that data is so valuable and they know that people will pay to unlock it."

Winkelspecht predicted that the next phase of cyber attacks will be "data integrity" attacks that involve breaking into a system and actually altering existing data in a way that "tricks" downstream systems. "Those are the most dangerous and potentially the most costly types of attacks because you may not know it's happening for literally years," he explained. The immutability of blockchain technologies, though, could be the only true line of defense against such intrusions,

he said adding:

"One of the things that blockchains can provide is an immutable proof of data integrity. We can guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt that data has not been modified or changed.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin logos are displayed at the Inside Bitcoins conference and trade show

AP Explains:
What is bitcoin?
A look at the digital currency

  

Bitcoin logos are displayed at the Inside Bitcoins conference and trade show

In this April 7, 2014, file photo, Bitcoin logos are displayed at the Inside Bitcoins conference and trade show in New York. It's worth more than an ounce of gold right now, it's completely digital and it's the currency of choice for the cyber attackers who cyber attackers networks around the world in recent days. Bitcoin has a fuzzy history, but it's a type of currency that allows people to buy goods and services and exchange money without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties.

It's worth more than an ounce of gold right now, it's completely digital and it's the currency of choice for the cyber attackers who crippled computer networks around the world in recent days. When the attackers' "ransomware" sprang into action, it held victims hostage by encrypting their data and demanding they send payments in bitcoins to regain access to their computers. Bitcoin has a fuzzy history, but it's a type of currency that allows people to buy goods and services and exchange money without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties.

Here's a brief look at bitcoin:

HOW BITCOINS WORK

Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not tied to a bank or government and allows users to spend money anonymously. The coins are created by users who "mine" them by lending computing power to verify other users' transactions. They receive bitcoins in exchange. The coins also can be bought and sold on exchanges with U.S. dollars and other currencies.

HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH?

One bitcoin recently traded for $1,734.65, according to Coinbase, a company that helps users exchange bitcoins. That makes it more valuable than an ounce of gold, which trades at less than $1,230. The value of bitcoins can swing sharply, though. A year ago, one was worth $457.04, which means that it's nearly quadrupled in the last 12 months. But its price doesn't always go up. A bitcoin's value plunged by 23 percent against the dollar in just a week this past January. It fell by the same amount again in 10 days during March.

WHY BITCOINS ARE POPULAR

Bitcoins are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they travel from one owner to the next. Transactions can be made anonymously, making the currency popular with libertarians as well as tech enthusiasts, speculators — and criminals.

WHO'S USING BITCOIN?

Some businesses have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon amid a flurry of media coverage. Overstock.com accepts payments in bitcoin, for example. The currency has become popular enough that more than 300,000 daily transactions have been occurring recently, according to bitcoin wallet site blockchain.info. A year ago, activity was closer to 230,000 transactions per day. Still, its popularity is low compared with cash and cards, and many individuals and businesses won't accept bitcoins for payments.

HOW BITCOINS ARE KEPT SECURE

The bitcoin network works by harnessing individuals' greed for the collective good. A network of tech-savvy users called miners keep the system honest by pouring their computing power into a blockchain, a global running tally of every bitcoin transaction. The blockchain prevents rogues from spending the same bitcoin twice, and the miners are rewarded for their efforts by being gifted with the occasional bitcoin. As long as miners keep the blockchain secure, counterfeiting shouldn't be an issue.

HOW BITCOIN CAME TO BE

It's a mystery. Bitcoin was launched in 2009 by a person or group of people operating under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin was then adopted by a small clutch of enthusiasts. Nakamoto dropped off the map as bitcoin began to attract widespread attention. But proponents say that doesn't matter: The currency obeys its own internal logic. An Australian entrepreneur last year stepped forward and claimed to be the founder of bitcoin, only to say days later that he did not "have the courage" to publish proof that he is.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Intersection of Social Media and the Blockchain

The Intersection of Social Media
and the Blockchain

  

Every major social media platform has offered users

a way to communicate with others and earn social currency, such as followers, traffic to their content, likes and retweets. Now, a new breed of social media networks has emerged — one that uses blockchain technology to build platforms enabling users to control their data and escape the censorship imposed by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. In addition, these new social networks reward users with cryptocurrency.

One such new social media platform is Steemit , which runs on top of a decentralized network known as Steem. Steemit rewards users with its own cryptocurrency in addition to social currency. Much like Reddit and Facebook, Steemit uses its incentives to encourage users to post, share and react to content. When someone likes or upvotes a post, it becomes more visible on the site. Steemit rewards the original poster with Steem digital currency that can be exchanged for real cash via Bitcoin or reinvested into "Steam Power," a token that represents how much influence a person has on the Steemit platform.

So, the more Steem Power people have, the more their upvotes will count. Steem Power also allows users to earn additional Steem Power and Steem Dollars from the platform. Put simply, "Steem is a blockchain database that supports community building and social interaction with cryptocurrency rewards," according to the company. Last year, Steem issued a $1.3 million payout to Steemit users. Half was distributed in Steem Dollars, each worth about $1, and a half in Steem Power.

"Because it's based entirely on a blockchain, Steemit shows what social media can look like without censorship," said Steemit CEO Ned Scott at the time. "Everything we see on Steemit.com comes from the open source Steem blockchain, so the entire network is replicable on any front-end application." Another example of a decentralized social network based on the blockchain protocol is AKASHA, which uses the Ethereum blockchain to store user-created content.

AKASHA lets users publish, share and vote for entries, much like Medium and other modern publishing platforms. The difference, though, is that user content is published over Ethereum's decentralized network rather than on the company's servers. The votes are bundled with Ethereum microtransactions, so users can earn some Ethereum if their content is good and other users vote for it. It is "in a way, mining with your mind ." In the second and third quarters of this year, the company expects to open source the code powering AKASHA and run a community breakathon to find and fix the bugs that might have slipped by during development. The AKASHA team is aiming to launch the Ethereum main network in the fourth quarter of this year.

Blockchain startup Synereo is also creating a decentralized, next-generation social networking and content delivery platform. Recently, Synereo released Qrator, a tool that lets users monetize original content, get rewarded for sharing quality content with others and also discover the best content on the internet. Qrator is the first step toward Synereo's vision of a freer and fairer internet. The app will give users a look into the "Attention Economy" that puts creators and curators on top of the internet's "monetary food chain."

With Qrator, the company is looking to develop a cross-platform social graph, laying the groundwork for a fully-decentralized social content app based on blockchain and distributed storage technologies that will be built on the Qrator foundation later this year. Even as the world of social media is constantly evolving, blockchain technology is changing the world around us. Not just when it comes to financial transactions, but also by introducing decentralization that encourages free speech while doing away with the restrictions imposed by the social media giants.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Bitcoin.

 

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

SEC Petition Calls for Blockchain Token Rules

A New York-based broker-dealer

has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to propose rules to cover blockchain-based assets. According to the petition, Ouisa Capital wants the SEC to weigh in on the use of crypto tokens and resolve “the lack of regulatory clarity with respect to the regulation of digital assets and blockchain technology”.

The firm went on to write:

"Ouisa encourages the SEC to engage in a meaningful discussion of how to regulate FinTech companies that are issuing digital assets that may be deemed securities and the platforms and broker-dealers that facilitate the issuance and trading of those digital assets. We believe digital assets in several contexts are securities and that existing laws provide a mechanism for regulation of the issuance and trading of digital assets."

Additionally, Ouisa asked the SEC to create a so-called 'regulatory sandbox', through which startups and financial firms can test new products in limited settings. Unlike other major regulators like the Internal Revenue Service (which views digital currencies as kinds of intangible properties) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (which views them as commodities), the SEC has yet to weigh in with any kind of classification for a blockchain token. When contacted, the SEC declined to comment on the petition and whether it has begun the process of either developing regulations or responding to Ouisa's request. Given its past moves related to space — shooting down a pair of bitcoin exchange-traded funds while continuing to consider a third — such work wouldn't be surprising at this stage, however.

Further, recent comments from officials suggest that the agency is generally weighing the issue, invoking its aim of consumer protection at the same time. During an appearance last week at the North American Securities Administrators Association Section 19(d) Conference, SEC Commissioner Kara Stein remarked on the impact of technology on her agency's work, noting "we will need to adapt and make technology a bigger part of our mission". "Similarly, I hope we continue to examine the range of possible uses of blockchain technology while remaining mindful of vulnerabilities associated with potential cybersecurity risks and investor protection," she said.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Blockchain Tech Offers Solution to WannaCry-Type Cyberattacks, Contrary to MSM Brainwashing

Blockchain Tech Offers Solution to WannaCry-Type Cyberattacks,
Contrary to MSM Brainwashing

Some mainstream media

put the blame for the latest WannaCry cyber attack on Bitcoin, thoughtlessly copy-pasting the statements that a cryptocurrency is a convenient tool for terrorists. In reality, the technologies behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies might very well become the next level security against future attacks.

Ransomware

Ransomware attacks on an unprecedented scale put hundreds of thousands of computers at risk. As Bitcoin and Blockchain take the limelight again, Blockchain may offer a viable solution. NSA tools and Windows vulnerability caused the largest cyber attack in history. While Bitcoin and Blockchain can easily be singled out as a scapegoat, companies are already tackling the vulnerability of centralized systems and creating groundbreaking solutions around ID security and verification on the Blockchain.

Extortion

In the wake of WannaCry, the question of security has become more pronounced than ever. The same technology that allows Bitcoin extortion to the hacker might very well be the protection from such events happening again. After the NHS was hacked, Blockchain experts were quick to point out that secure verification on the Blockchain might have prevented the exploits.

Blockchain solutions

The Blockchain and a decentralized ledger have been praised for its security strengths since the inception of Bitcoin. Now after the WannaCry attacks, the focus on this has become even more pronounced. Sphre, the identity management firm has announced a partnership with Airbitz, which is a data security platform and Bitcoin wallet. According to the firm, Sphre’s AIR is a smart contract based platform that looks to join the secure management and monetization of digital identities.

Sphre Director, Daren Seymor tells Alexander Geralis of Cointelegraph in an

exclusive comment:

“The Airbitz wallet integration will form a key part of the Air Platform to deliver XID micropayment and send/exchange functionality.”

Future ID security

Regarding the high-profile attacks of WannaCry that have put hundreds of systems at risk, he sees that there is a need for security, now it is more evident than ever. Seymor went on to point out the need for decentralized solutions in security as opposed to

centralized ones:

“The current high-profile zero-day exploit of WannaCry shows us that the Internet is still a dangerous place for people and institutions. Centralized identity solutions such as Facebook and Google now represent ever increasing value to bad actors based on constantly evolving attack[s]… centralized solutions will become [necessary] as we continue to evolve with, and transact more of our lives via the Internet.”

AIR, which will have its crowd sale later this month, is not the only company working towards identity security and verification. South African entrepreneur and Bitcoin advocate, Vinny Lingham’s Civic is another project aiming to give users identity security.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
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