Jul 122017
 
Steven Heap/123RF By Will Nicol — Posted on July 4, 2017 6:30 am If you follow tech or financial news, you’ve probably seen the name “Ethereum” popping up over the last couple years, often in connection with bitcoin. Ethereum is a rising star in the world of cryptocurrencies, entirely digital forms of currency that grew in popularity after the creation of bitcoin by a person or group calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Demand for Ethereum is so high that it may even be driving up the price of graphics cards, as miners try to generate as much currency as they can. What is Ethereum exactly, and what does it mean for the future of cryptocurrency (and maybe society)? Here’s the rundown. To start — what is a cryptocurrency? People often refer to Ethereum as a cryptocurrency, but that isn’t precisely true. It is a platform that allows individuals to conduct transactions and draw up contracts, using a currency called “ether.” To understand what distinguishes Ethereum from a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, it helps to understand what a cryptocurrency is, as well as the concept of a blockchain. A cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency created through encryption. A cryptocurrency has no physical form — like a banknote or coin — and it is not issued by a central bank or governmental authority. Units of cryptocurrency exist as data on the internet, and are created and managed through something called a blockchain. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger, shared amongst any number of computers. When transactions occur, they are recorded in blocks; in order for these blocks to go into the ledger, they must be validated by a certain number of computers on the blockchain network. Crucially, the ledger exists, in the same form, for everyone on the network. Anyone can can look at to see a complete history of every transaction that has occurred, and any changes would be visible to everyone. The individuals who validate the transactions — which they do by having their computers solve complex computational problems — are called miners. Mining is a surprisingly intense activity, as our guide explains, that requires powerful hardware and a lot of planning. As a reward for their help in validating blocks, miners are given rewards. This is typically a specific cryptocurrency; Bitcoin miners receive bitcoin, while Ethereum miners receive ether. When you send someone an amount of cryptocurrency, a digital signature is (more…)
Jun 172017
 
It's been called the 'next oil'. In the coming decades, the supply of water has the potential to influence geopolitics, diplomacy and even conflict. By Bryan Lufkin 16 June 2017 The 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace pits 007 against an evil criminal syndicate bent on global domination. Sounds par for the course… but this particular network of baddies isn’t using lasers or missiles to cause havoc. Grand Challenges In this special series, Future Now takes a close look at the biggest, most important issues we face in the 21st Century. For two months, we'll bring you insight from leading scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs and influencers to help you make sense of the challenges we face in today's rapidly evolving world. No, the Quantum organisation has a uniquely dastardly plan: seizing control of Bolivia’s water supply. While the evil syndicate’s role in the film might not be entirely realistic, this piece of fiction does raise a scenario that is worth considering seriously: what would happen if a country’s water supply was cut off? What would be the global fallout? Think about it: sure, we need water to survive. But it also fuels a country’s commerce, trade, innovation and economic success. This has been the case for time immemorial, from the Nile in Ancient Egypt to the Amazon in the Brazilian rainforest. While bodies of water typically help form natural borders of countries, several nations tend to share access to rivers or lakes – the Nile runs through nearly a dozen countries alone, for example. Given how conflict-prone humankind is, it’s surprising there haven't been more dust-ups of a “hydro-political” nature.   Bodies of water have always formed natural boundaries between countries, forcing people to figure out ways to share water peaceably. (Credit: Getty Images)   Experts agree: if there was no access to water, there would be no world peace. That’s why one of the grand challenges of the next few decades could be maintaining this ultra-sensitive stasis of water management. In the 21st Century, freshwater supplies are drying up, climate change is raising sea levels and altering borders, explosive population growth is straining world resources, and global hyper-nationalism is testing diplomatic relations. Meanwhile, water demand is expected to go up 55% between 2000 and 2050. In the coming century, in terms of its value as a global resource, it’s been described as “the next oil." So what can we do to guarantee global access to (more…)
Jun 172017
 
Bancor initial coin offering raises over $200 million in three hours to become the largest crowdfunded project ever DOMINIC POWELL / Friday, June 16, 2017 A demo of the Bancor protocol. Source: Bancor.network A new blockchain startup built on the Ethereum platform has become one of the highest funded crowdfunding projects ever, raising approximately $US153 million ($201 million) through an initial coin offering (ICO) in just three hours earlier this week. The startup is called Bancor, and it offers a platform aimed at making it easier for other startups and users to launch, manage, and trade their own forms of blockchain currency, known as “tokens”. These tokens are managed through the Ethereum network’s “smart contracts”, which enable self-executing contracts enforced and recorded on the blockchain. Combining these two features, the Bancor protocol offers “smart tokens”, which enable “any party to instantly purchase or liquidate the smart token in exchange for any of its reserve tokens, directly through the smart token’s contract, at a continuously calculated price, according to a formula which balances buy and sell volumes”. The ICO was intended to run for an hour, reports Coindesk, with a funding target of 250,000 ether (the main currency of the Ethereum blockchain), or around $US95 million. Due to alleged difficulties with the network, including supposed delayed transactions, the campaign was extended an additional two hours, resulting in a total of 396,720 ether or approximately $US153 million being raised. Over 10,000 investors got on board with the ICO, with Coindesk reporting the largest single purchase was $US27 million, equalling 6.9 million BNT, the token used by the Bancor protocol to fuel its new platform. This was enough to shoot Bancor into the number one spot of highest funded crowdfunds, and continues the recent initial coin offering craze, with blockchain startup Brave raising $US35 million in 30 seconds via a recent ICO. However, due to the transitory value of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, the true amount raised by these startups is ever-changing. With the value of ether increasing over 2800% this year alone, a $US153 million raise could be $50 million more, or less, in a matter of days. The Ethereum protocol is proving to be a popular platform for successful crowdfunds, with seven of the top 10 crowdfunding projects having been based on the platform, including the crowdfund for the platform itself. Share this:FacebookLinkedInTwitterGoogleTumblrPinterestReddit (more…)
Jun 132017
 
This is from friend, a most dedicated man, the Director of Kigezi Orphans Project, Serving Children the lord! through this orphange. *In 1923, nine of the wealthiest people in the world met at Chicago's Edge Water Beach Hotel*. *Their combined wealth, it is estimated, exceeded the wealth of the Government of the United States at that time*. These men certainly knew how to make a living and accumulate wealth. *Attending the meeting were the following men*: 1. The president of the *largest steel company,* 2. The president of the *largest utility company,* 3. The president of the *largest gas company,* 4. The president of the *New York Stock Exchange,* 5. The president of the *Bank of International Settlements,* 6. The *greatest wheat speculator*, 7. The greatest *bear on Wall Street,* 8. The head of the *World's greatest Economy* & 9. A member of *President Harding's cabinet*. *That's a pretty impressive line-up of people by anyone's yardstick.* Yet, 25 years later, where were those nine industrial giants? *Let’s examine what happened to them 25 years later*. 1. The President of the then largest steel company (Bethlehem Steel Corp), *Charles M Schwab, lived on borrowed capital for five years before he died bankrupt.* 2. The President of the then largest gas company, *Howard Hubson, went insane*. 3. One of the greatest commodity traders (Wheat Speculator), *Arthur Cutten, died insolvent.* 4. The then President of the New York Stock Exchange, *Richard Whitney, was sent to jail.* 5. The member of the US President’s Cabinet (the member of President Harding's cabinet), *Albert Fall, was pardoned from jail just to be able to go home and die in peace.* 6. The greatest “bear” on Wall Street, *Jesse Livermore committed suicide*. 7. The President of the then world’s greatest monopoly, *Ivar Krueger, committed suicide*. 8. The President of the Bank of International Settlement, *Leon Fraser, committed Suicide.* 9. The president of the largest utility company, *Samuel Insull, died penniless.* *What they forgot was how to "make" life while they got busy making money!* *Money in itself is not evil;* it provides food for the hungry, medicine for the sick, clothes for the needy. *Money is only a medium of exchange.* *We need two kinds of education*: a) One that teaches us *how to make a living,* and b) One that teaches us *how to live*. *There are many of us who are so engrossed in our professional life (more…)
Apr 282017
 
Greenfire supports blockchain business and technology. It is a belief held by Greenfire that business is growing into a blockchain technology based accountability system that will provide the move into a more sound money system. Aaryn Prettyman   Maybe you’ve heard the term “blockchain” but aren’t quite sure what it is. You’d be in good company. However you may want to start learning, as it just may be a technology platform that changes the ARM industry someday. In super-simple terms, blockchain is a decentralized way of keeping track of what is “true” (i.e. who owns what, who has signed what, who has paid what, etc.). This decentralized mechanism is called a “distributed ledger” – imagine a town checkbook, but instead of living in city hall, everyone in the town has a copy of it. Each time an entry is made it must be validated by everyone with a copy, and then everyone’s copy is updated. Each update is a new “block” in the “chain,” and each block needs all the other blocks to form the whole picture. The result is said to be a highly secure, transparent, interdependent chain.  Today, most information is tracked in major centralized databases owned by one company (or government) or another. As we know, these databases are often vulnerable to hackers, they are not at all transparent, and they can be difficult to get corrected when they are wrong. This has created a lack of trust in our systems, and makes it frustrating to do business. Blockchain was first used to manage bitcoin, the new kind of electronic currency that pretty much operates on the fringe. But many are now experimenting with a wide range of other, more mainstream uses. One example is that the State of Arizona has just passed a bill giving legal status to smart contracts and blockchain based signatures. Here’s what the bill says, "A signature that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic signature. A record or contract that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic record. Smart contracts may exist in commerce. A contract relating to a transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because that contract contains a smart contract term. For the purposes of this section: “Blockchain technology” means distributed ledger technology that uses (more…)
Apr 112017
 
Land Department and MPKj officers visiting the former forest reserve of Bukit Enggang in Bandar Sungai Long. The site is being used to illegally dump rubbish and carry out open burning activities. — SAMUEL ONG/The Star ILLEGAL rubbish dumping and open burning at the former forest reserve of Bukit Enggang in Bandar Sungai Long are posing serious health problems for residents. Over the past 10 years, there have been about 10 illegal rubbish dumps in Bukit Enggang. The residents claimed this had made them fall sick and their children were coughing badly after inhaling smoke from the open burning. The illegal dumping problem has not been resolved despite residents’ many complaints and actions by the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj). Sungai Long resident Yong Yew Hong, 53, who lived there for more than three years, said he jogged in Bukit Enggang every day. “At midnight every day a few rubbish and sand trucks filled with rubbish enter Bukit Enggang and come out empty,” said Yong when visiting the rubbish dump at Bukit Enggang. “There are about 10 rubbish dumps in the housing areas near Bukit Enggang where residents suffer from the foul smell and smoke from the burning of rubbish. “They start burning the rubbish in the evening every day. This causes the air in the housing area to be hazy. Another Sungai Long resident Lee Hui Leng, 34, said they were forced to close their windows and doors to keep the smoke out. “When my husband and I drove past the area one night, we noticed the people burning the rubbish with kerosene,” said Lee. Jogger Benny Ong, 74, said he had been exercising and jogging at Bukit Enggang for about 20 years. “Now Bukit Enggang is famous for illegal dumping. The foul smell and smoke from the rubbish dumps have kept joggers away. “There are food waste, broken furniture, development waste and many more at the rubbish dumps,” said Ong. Kajang Municipal councillor Lai Wai Chong said MPKj received 52 complaints from the residents in February and confiscated 12 vehicles. “Each offender was fined RM2,000 and their vehicles confiscated for a month. “We will return the vehicles to the offenders only after they pay up the fine,” he said, adding that the council would keep a 24-hour watch over the area to catch the culprits red-handed. Source: Open burning at illegal rubbish dumps a health risk for Bukit Enggang (more…)