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…)
Jul 012017
 
BIJAN SHAHROKHI JUNE 18, 2017 2:33 PM   With the recent surge in value of cryptocurrencies, ordinary people and traditional investment firms are paying more attention to the space. The market cap of cryptocurrencies has grown from less than $30 billion in March 2017 to over $110 billion in June 2017, and this is just the beginning. Cryptocurrencies are quickly becoming a new global market for assets, similar to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and government backed-currencies.   But the immediate settlement of currency transfer on blockchains (such as Bitcoin and Etherium) is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s incredibly efficient at money movement; on the other, it allows bad players to transfer your cryotcurrency with the same speed. And if the wrong person gets unauthorized access to your cryptocurrency holdings and transfers the currencies to their own wallet, there will be no getting it back.   As a result, among new investors in the space, there is a concern about giving money to new, unproven, and non-regulated online-only cryptocurrency wallet providers. And that opens up an opportunity for traditional banks. You already trust them with your life savings, so you will likely trust them with your cryptocurrency holdings.   It would take an enormous investment for banks to move into this space. But here are some reasons they should consider it:   They can address a real pain point for their customers: Cryptocurrency investors are concerned about trusting recently established organizations to hold their assets. Banks are reliable alternatives because people trust them. Banks entering this space will solve a real financial problem for their customers and will deepen and reinforce their relationship.   They will stay relevant: Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might become more popular than government backed currencies one day. The only way for a bank to stay relevant in that future is to secure their relationship with the cryptocurrency holder today. As time goes on, new players will slowly earn a reputation for safety and security and will present a threat to existing financial institutions. Now is the time for banks to secure those relationships while they still have an advantage over existing and entering players.   They will start learning by doing: Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Banks must start learning how these markets operate and discover the right business models for their organizations before fintech companies make them irrelevant. A great way to (more…)
Jun 302017
 
Monday's new study greatly increases the potential for catastrophic near-term sea level rise. Here, Miami Beach, among the most vulnerable cities to sea level rise in the world. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images In what may prove to be a turning point for political action on climate change, a breathtaking new study casts extreme doubt about the near-term stability of global sea levels. The study—written by James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate. Hansen, who is known for being alarmist and also right, acknowledges that his study implies change far beyond previous consensus estimates. In a conference call with reporters, he said he hoped the new findings would be “substantially more persuasive than anything previously published.” I certainly find them to be. To come to their findings, the authors used a mixture of paleoclimate records, computer models, and observations of current rates of sea level rise, but “the real world is moving somewhat faster than the model,” Hansen says. Hansen’s study does not attempt to predict the precise timing of the feedback loop, only that it is “likely” to occur this century. The implications are mindboggling: In the study’s likely scenario, New York City—and every other coastal city on the planet—may only have a few more decades of habitability left. That dire prediction, in Hansen’s view, requires “emergency cooperation among nations.” We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization. The science of ice melt rates is advancing so fast, scientists have generally been reluctant to put a number to what is essentially an unpredictable, nonlinear response of ice sheets to a steadily warming (more…)
Jun 232017
 
Why connecting all the Blockchains is the final step for mass adoption of Cryptocurrencies Dr. Julian Hosp, 16 Jun 2017 – Development, Opinion, Protocol Dr. Julian Hosp is the co-founder and CVO of TenX, a Singapore based FintechCompany that makes any Blockchain asset spendable instantly by offering a debit card payment system to its users on the frontend and by connecting any Blockchain at the backend. Since the start of Bitcoin in January 2009, we have seen the introduction of a multitude of blockchains across all kinds of areas and financial markets. Today we can count hundreds of public blockchains that amount to a total market cap of almost 100 Billion dollars, excluding many more private blockchain installations. Last year we saw the emergence of precious metal backed tokens, derivatives, entirely new asset classes representing entire ecosystems, and even ETF tokens to invest into other blockchain assets. One such example is Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) or token sales that are gaining in popularity. The World Economic Forum is even going as far as predicting that 10% of the global GDP will be stored on the blockchain in less than 10 years. In terms of today’s global GDP that would be $7.8 trillion. Here a challenge arises: If we as a community do not find a way to connect blockchains, these 7.8 trillion dollars will be dispersed in such a way, that its true value is a lot lower. So what is the solution? The solution is one that we have seen in a similar way being executed around 30 years ago already: Before the invention of the TCP/IP protocol the Internet was also dispersed in many local networks, so-called Intranets. These provided local efficiency over the more traditional point-to-point communication (such as letter, fax, telephone calls). The real breakthrough only came in 1973, when different Intranet networks realized that they could use a unifying Internetwork protocol to communicate among each other, thereby extending reach by compatibility even more. With the requirements for an Intranet to join the so called Internet dropping to the bare minimum, it became possible to add almost any Intranet, no matter how basic or sophisticated their characteristics were. The initial adoption by users was relatively slow, as the services offered at the beginning were limited. There was one major factor however, that eventually sped it up significantly. The same providers that were already offering mail, FAX (more…)
Jun 212017
 
3 Struggles that Only People who are Truly Awake Will Understand MARCH 28, 2016 BY JUSTIN GAMMILL One Topic I Read About In My Personal Life A Lot Is The Concept Of Being “Awake”. I’m Not Talking About Literally Not Being Asleep, I’m Talking About Being Awake To The World Around You. Wakefulness is a combination of mindfulness, consciousness, and awareness on a very deep and often spiritual level. Imagine walking around with your eyes open in a world full of people with their eyes clenched shut. That’s honestly what it feels like. The more I study, meditate, and really search my soul – the more I realize that this mentality isn’t the norm. No matter how much I wish it was. If you’re like me and consider yourself to be awake in a world full of people with their blinders secured tightly to their heads, then you’ll understand the following struggles just as much as I do. Seeing The Forest For The Trees Of all of the aspects of wakefulness that I struggle with, this notion is #1 on my list, and the entire reason for me writing this post. You’ve heard the cliché of people “missing the forest for the trees”, meaning that when you look so intently at that one tree – you don’t notice that you’re surrounded by them. If you’re truly awake, or at least well on your way to being awake, you see the forest from an aerial view. You see the connections between people and actions in ways that other people don’t understand. A big part of wakefulness to me is understanding people and human nature in general. Intuition has a lot to do with it, but studying psychology, spirituality, and the human mind Intuition has a lot to do with it, but studying psychology, spirituality, and the human mind has given me a different perspective. I have always wanted to know what makes people tick outside of the actual physiological components. That’s why I write a lot about emotional intelligence; because I think it is the first step in being awake. If you consider yourself to be emotionally intelligent, then you understand how many people are emotionally ignorant. This is where the forest and trees come in… As someone who is awake, you see the actions of people and understand why they do them. For me, it is seeing the underlying reasons for people’s actions. Perfect (more…)
Jun 202017
 
More than 5 billion people – or two-thirds of the world's population – now have a mobile phone connection You can watch the number increase in real time By Rob Thubron on Jun 19, 2017, 10:00 AM How many people do you know that don't own a cell phone? For the majority of us, that number will be very small, if not zero. Not too surprising considering that 5 billion people around the world – or two-thirds of the earth’s population – now have a mobile phone connection. The data comes from GSMA Intelligence, the research unit of the GSMA trade body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Its real-time tracker shows that the number of unique mobile subscribers has now passed the 5-million-person milestone, representing year-on-year growth of almost 5 percent. The site also shows the number of mobile connections around the world. This figure is considerably higher as many people use more than one SIM card, and it includes machine-to-machine connections, of which there are around 400 million. It’s taken four years for another billion people to acquire a mobile phone connection. Back in 2003, there were just one billion unique mobile subscribers across the globe. GSMA director Mats Granryd called reaching the milestone a “tremendous achievement for an industry that is only a few decades old.” “Today, mobile is a truly global platform, delivering connectivity and, perhaps more importantly, social and economic opportunities to citizens in all corners of the world,” said Granryd. Over half of all mobile subscribers, 2.7 billion, are located in the Asia-Pacific Region. When it comes to individual countries’ mobile markets, China sits at the top with 1 billion subscribers, while India is second with 730 million. It is in Europe, however, where phone penetration is at its highest, with 86 percent of citizens subscribed to a mobile service. The US has the second-highest subscriber penetration at 80 percent. By the end of this decade, GSMA predicts that the number of unique phone subscribers will reach 5.7 billion – around three-quarters of the earth’s population – with India responsible for the largest share of this growth. Share this:FacebookLinkedInTwitterGoogleTumblrPinterestReddit (more…)
Jun 192017
 
How Filipino children and adults risk their lives to eke out a pathetic living recycling waste Living among rotting rubbish, smoke-filled air and polluted water, these are the men, women and children who spend their lives scouring for recyclable treasures in a garbage-filled abyss – just so they can survive. Each day, as hundreds of truckloads of bags of waste are chucked onto the rubbish site in Paranaque, south of Manilia, the Philippines, gangs of so-called 'scavengers' rummage frantically to try and retrieve items they can sell for cash. Living in utter poverty, and employed for around $4 a day, these rubbish pickers are exposed every day to hazardous waste, such as used needles, as well as infectious diseases, including E coli, salmonella and pathogens that cause hepatitis and tetanus. And this is a scene which is played out on dozens of landfill sites across the world, as those living in extreme poverty try and make ends meet.  Now a set of eye-opening photos which convey the heat, stench and noise in which these pickers are forced to work have been released, to coincide with UN World Environment Day.  Celebrated every year on 5 June, and run by the United National Environment Programme, the day is a call for global awareness on protecting the environment. This year's theme – Small Islands and Climate Change – is marked by the slogan: 'Raise Your Voice Not The Sea Level'. According to the UN, people living in urban areas around the world generate 1.3 billion tonnes of waste per year and this will increase to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025 – unless something is done to change it.      An elderly woman looks for recyclable items at a garbage dump in Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines – but this is a sight witness in landfills and rubbish tips across the world, as those living in poverty try desperately to earn a living       So-called trash pickers and their families live amid rotting garbage so they can spend their days fishing valuable pieces items from a vast garbage tip, to sell on the streets themselves, or to hand over to those who employ them – in return for a meagre salary       +16 The eye-opening photos, which show the conditions in which these people work, have been released to mark UN World Environment Day, which takes place on June (more…)
Jun 192017
 
A group of US lawmakers wants to see cryptocurrency holdings declared at the nation's border – and advocates of the tech are pushing back. Introduced last month, the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Counterfeiting Act of 2017 – which is actually the third iteration of a bill that debuted in 2011 – would bring a range of digital currency services under federal scrutiny, including those that provide transaction mixing services. Yet, the provision that has attracted the particular ire of cryptocurrency advocates – especially those who prefer a regulation-light environment – is one that would make such holdings subject to disclosure requirements at US customs checkpoints. This means if a person trying to enter the country has more than $10,000 worth of bitcoin in their possession, under the proposed legal change, they would need to inform the relevant authorities. Such requirements are already in place for payment methods like cash. But given the rising public profile of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, coupled with the perception among policymakers that they could be used to fund terrorist activities, is driving legislative efforts like the bill currently under consideration. One observer, Joe Ciccolo of Canada-based BitAML, remarked that cryptocurrency has become the "new face in an old debate", going on to say that policymakers and law enforcement officials have long sought to expand the definition of what constitutes a "monetary instrument". Ciccolo told CoinDesk: "Earlier this decade, we saw a push to include 'prepaid access' such as gift cards. Law enforcement went so far as to pursue card readers to scan prepaid access devices for their balance. Now that digital currencies have gained traction, they've been included in the same conversation. As in the past, I suspect there will be strong opposition from across the financial services community." Perianne Boring, president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a blockchain trade advocacy organization, said the legislation is "not necessary" given the existence of regulations from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which require exchanges services to register as money transmission businesses and adhere to federal reporting requirements. "While we encourage thoughtful and meaningful study of the prevention of cross-border financial crime, the storage of virtual currency carries different and complex considerations than those attributable to prepaid access," she told CoinDesk. Asset grab It's clear from the response that the frustration toward the measure isn't going anywhere. That anger surfaced in earnest over the past week or so in social media postings and fiery blog entries (more…)
Jun 172017
 
By Joshua Althauser https://cointelegraph.com/news/there-will-be-no-bubble-for-bitcoin-and-ethereum-heres-why Tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban has recently stated that Bitcoin is facing a bubble. However, Daniel M. Harrison, the CEO of DMH&CO and managing partner of Monkey Capital, reveals that such a thing is impossible due to the market-influencing capabilities of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Market bipolarity The main factor that makes a digital bubble impossible is market bipolarity. For many people, market bipolarity is confusing but it can be distilled in a few important and understandable viewpoints. Apparently, market bipolarity is directly affected by George Soros’ “theory of reflexivity.” According to George Soros, market conditions are not influenced by equilibrium. Rather, they are “reflexive” due to the synchronization of two functions: cognitive and manipulative function. The cognitive function is a neutral thinking base – this is where economic participants assess facts for what they are. The manipulative function, on the other hand, turns one fact (or a couple of facts) in order to gain an advantage. Once the cognitive mind is affected by the manipulative mind, the neutrality will be “painted” in a different light it becomes a manipulated fact. Therefore, markets reflect the view and perspective of participants, not the full scope of economics. The situation can be represented in two ways: Manipulative Cognitive = Reflexive Manipulative + Cognitive = Equilibrium The aforementioned equations show that a manipulative thinking pattern is the usual baseline and not a cognitive function. This shows the reflexive nature of all markets one of the clear indicators that Bitcoin and Ethereum are far from experiencing a digital bubble. Artificial vs. Natural More importantly, Ethereum and Bitcoin markets are influenced by two thinkers: artificial and natural. Artificial pertains to the Blockchain AI and natural is all about human intervention. Many experts think that Blockchain is adopting an "economic mindset." If markets with manipulative and cognitive participants are suddenly annexed, it will always result in reflexivity or positive feedback loops. In this case, digital markets are bound by reflexivity or states of reflexivity. This is a self-perpetuating situation that can go on for many years. It’s also important to know that artificial thinkers are the “igniters” of self-perpetuating reflexivity. With AI (Blockchain), digital markets will continue to thrive, leading to fluctuating values of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Market bipolarity will always be constant. Through market bipolarity, any episode of a digital bubble is canceled out. The whole Blockchain system will never return to its “roots” but it will continue evolving. Price valuations, on (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…)