European Commission to Offer Grants for Creating Digital Twins Using Blockchain for Defense

Blockchain developers and specialists are being given grants by the European Commission (EC) so that they adapt civil tech to defense applications.

The European Defense Industrial Development was published by the EC on March 24. It calls on small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to come with solutions in the defense sector using new technologies that are quick to deploy and are cost-effective.

How To Be Considered For The Blockchain Grants?

The EC has provided an outline that offers guidance for the program, which may benefit from the 254 million Euros budgeted in 2019-2020 that were designated for grants to successful projects. The proposals should fall within these guidelines:

“Based on real-time cloud and on-premise digital twin benefiting from blockchain technologies’ robustness, able to channel all currently optimized logistics needs, such as chain of spare parts, maintenance, energy consumables.”

What Is a Digital Twin?

Digital twins are virtual representations or mirrors of physical entities, assets, and processes such as human beings, pieces of infrastructure, machines or objects. The blockchain is capable of strengthening the digital twins’ integrity because it allows tamper-proof cryptographic tags for validating provenance, ownership, and states of either objects or products, to be used.

What Can a Blockchain – Digital Twins Combination Offer?

The 2018 Deloitte report says the combination between blockchain and digital twins can bring benefits for the internet of things (IoT) sector and other applications that are very useful for production environments’ predictive maintenance.

According to Deloitte, blockchain is efficient at offering secure identity management and transparency in data analytics and ownership models. The EC admits that combining blockchain and digital twins is efficient in the energy, supply chains, and equipment maintenance sectors for defense. The submissions for the program will take place between April 15 and December 1, 2020, according to how the COVID-10 pandemic dictates.

Blockchain and Defense

As it has been reported of late, BAE Systems, the US-based contractor providing defense service solutions and support together with civilian systems and intelligence, has a cryptocurrency exploiter open position for supporting operations. Back in July last year, the US Department of Defense also released its blockchain technology plan for digital modernization.

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Author: Oana Ularu

EOS Block Producers Reach ‘Strongest Consensus’ In Approval Of Worker Proposal

The EOS Worker Proposal, which is famous for being very controversial, was announced by the most important EOS block producers that it went into its first execution stage and is supported by many participants to the network.

One of the leading EOS block producers, EOS Nation, reported that many Eosians agreed to support the new proposal and nothing could have changed their mind. On March 24, it also announced that a number of 34 both active and standby producers approved the EOS Worker proposal. It seems that until now, this is the strongest consensus achieved by any proposal in the EOS Mainnet.

The Eosio.wps System Launched

The March 24 first multi-signature approval launched the eosio.wps account that stores funds needed for new operations on the system. After this approval and the MSIG execution, eosio.wps will receive 50,000 EOS tokens in transfers from eosio.names, while the 3rd MSIG is going to deploy the Worker proposal smart contract to the same account, namely eosio.wps. After the 4th approval, the new proposal will have the whole network’s voting system reconsidered.

A Proposal Surrounded by Controversy

According to the new scheme and outlines, anyone can make a proposal on how the EOS blockchain should work, in exchange for a small EOS fee. After that, the block producers, regardless if they’re active or standby, need to vote on the proposal with +1, -1, or 0. In order to pass, a proposal has to gather 20 points. Here’s what the co-founder and CEO at Block.one, Brendan Blumer, had to say about the strategy employed by EOS:

“Socially authorising the BP’s to direct token-holder funds into projects without a clear or measurable return of value is risky, and may open the door to corruption and external scrutiny.”

Many voices don’t agree with him, but it remains to be seen how things are going to work for the EOS Worker Proposal in the future.

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Author: Oana Ularu

The ‘Amazon of Blockchain’ Will Take Off in the Next 2 Years: Ripple SVP Tells Zuckerberg

While Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse is talking about the wellbeing of the team being the company’s highest priority as such transitioning to remote work and the “unprecedented new reality,” Asheesh Birla, SVP of Product and Corporate Development at Ripple shared with Randi Zuckerberg that Ripple would be taking off in the next 2 years. She tweeted,

Zuckerberg had Birla, the former Vice President of Global Technology at Thomson Reuters on her show as a guest where he shared how the fintech startup is “revolutionizing” the way payment moves by using a digital asset, XRP to move money fast and at cheaper costs effectively across borders.

Ripple is basically “frictionless motion,” in making payments more effective that people don’t even know when using their iPhones and IP technology. “I’m excited that we’re seeing real world adoption and that the technology is really improving,” said Birla.

Ripple: “Amazon of Blockchain”

It was in 2013 that Birla joined Ripple, a year after it was co-founded by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb, who has also co-founded another cryptocurrency, Stellar, focused on payments.

“I made a smart decision to join a startup that was involved in the internet wave right out of college. I loved being involved in something that was creating something out of nothing and then Blockchain made me feel the same way.”

As for Ripple, he said, he has “found the Amazon of Blockchain with Ripple,” whose mission was to “efficiently and safely move money as quickly as information moves today.”

As other Ripple executives have repeatedly emphasized, Birla also stressed that the market needs those “solving real problems with blockchain.” One just needs to identify how their product is better by using the blockchain, a distributed ledger technology underpinning the cryptocurrencies, and “really focus on that.”

And the point of using blockchain is to remove the intermediary, either banks or other financial institutions, he said.

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Author: AnTy

Even At Sub $200B Market Cap, Bitcoin is A Store of Value Now: Macro Trader Dan Tapiero

  • The Fed is being too “aggressive” and responding “wrongly” – chief financial economist of MUFG Union Bank
  • 200 billion bitcoin means it’s SoV now – macro trader Dan Tapiero
  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong believes falling stock market and interest rate cuts may lead to growth in crypto this year

While the US stock market has been recording considerable losses despite the Federal reserve’s emergency 50 basis point rate cut, investors have piled into the safe haven asset Treasuries to combat the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus (covid-19).

The two-year Treasury yield has dropped to 0.70% while the 10-year plunged for the first time ever to below 1%. Investors have fled from the risk assets as the spreading virus threatens to derail global growth. The other safe haven asset, gold, has also been rising during this time, climbing to a 7-year high.

According to Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for MUFG Union Bank, the Fed is being too “aggressive” and responding “wrongly” to the financial markets. “We aren’t in a recession yet,” and Fed cutting rates won’t keep it from coming. He added,

“Moving between meetings with a bigger than normal interest rate cut looks like Fed officials are panicking as much as stock market investors did last week.”

Bitcoin is a SoV

Macro trader Dan Tapiero says on Twitter,

However, this could be good for the crypto market, bitcoin especially, as the crypto asset like gold have non-negative yields.

Bitcoin currently is a store of value as Tapiero explains,

The Year of Crypto

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong also feels,

“A down stock market and interest rate cuts may lead to growth in crypto this year. Governments around the world are likely to look to stimulate the economy in any way they can, including using quantitative easing and expanding the money supply (printing money).”

He pointed out how China has already printed $173 billion which may lead to the movement of these finds into cryptocurrencies, which,

“Are viewed as a hedge against inflation.”

“This could be the year where the mindset of institutional investors begins to shift, from crypto as a venture bet, to crypto as a reserve currency.”

However, the crypto community was quick to point out that it isn’t crypto rather bitcoin. Today, Amstrong again took to Twitter,

It is interesting that “the CEO of the world’s most prominent Bitcoin-related company seems so skeptical of Bitcoin” said Joe Weisenthal Co-host of ‘What’d You Miss?’ on Bloomberg TV.

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Author: AnTy

Walmart and 7 Other Companies Join Collaborative Blockchain Group Hyperledger

Walmart has become the latest company to be added to the open-source blockchain Hyperledger, being one of the 8 new members to join the platform today.

These new members were announced in Phoenix, Arizona, at the 2020 Hyperledger Global Forum on March 3. Walmart Global Tech’s vice president Sanjay Radhakrishnan had this to say about his company becoming a Hyperledger member:

“We’ve seen strong results through our various deployments of blockchain, and believe staying involved in open source communities will further transform the future of our business.”

New Service Providers Announced by Hyperledger

Launched back in 2016, Hyperledger is hosted by the Linux Foundation. Its platform has the purpose to advance blockchain technologies. It has received contributions from Intel and IBM. At the Forum’s opening day, 8 Hyperledger new members were announced, Aiou Technology included.

Aiou Technology is a subsidiary of IOST, a popular blockchain network. The business-to-business smart contracts company Clear and Tangem, the Swiss blockchain services firm, were announced to be new members as well. Hyperledger seems to have 6 new Certified Service Providers too. These include: Kompitech, Beijing Proinsight Technology, Xoaa, LimeChain, Mindtree, and Zhigui. Here’s what Hyperledger’s executive director, Brian Behlendorf, had to say about the new members:

“Adding this great mix of new members and HCSPs is a great opening act for Hyperledger Global Forum.”

Walmart Is a Supporter of Blockchain Technology

Walmart decided to become a Hyperledger member 10 years after it had first experimented with DLT. In 2016, the retail giant closed a partnership with China’s Tsinghua University and IBM to run a pilot program that uses Hyperledger and tracks the pork market in China. The pilot’s aim was to bring improvements in the food safety sector by identifying supply chain potential contaminators at the source.

Walmart filed patents related to blockchain technology and even filed to patent a blockchain-based system that traces drone-delivered packages in 2017. All through 2018, Walmart files numerous patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office, targeting shipping, supply chain, and payments systems. In 2019, it joined MediLedger, the blockchain-based pharmaceutical consortium.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitcoin Becoming A “Currency of Choice” Will Push BTC Price Up 2,500% – Tim Draper

  • Bitcoin correction may end up being more than that but we’re in for an interesting ride
  • Tim Draper still holding to his prediction of BTC at $250,000 in 2023 beginning
  • When the time to make the switch comes, “Bitcoin is going to be the big winner”
  • Warren Buffett is a critic because Bitcoin is a “huge threat” to his holdings

Bitcoin has been extremely volatile for the past two weeks, trying to stay above the important psychological level $10,000 but unable to as yesterday we went down below $9,500.

Bitcoin might be in correction but according to venture capitalist Tim Draper, we are in for an “interesting ride.” Draper, the founder of Draper Associates, in an interview with CNBC said,

“I have been out of the market for about six months, it felt pretty lofty for me and I kind of moved most of my stuff to crypto and Bitcoin. It’s kind of a safe haven now and I think this correction may end up being more than that… we’re in for a kind of an interesting ride.”

Bitcoin – A “Currency of Choice”

Draper reiterated his Bitcoin price prediction for Bitcoin that sees the digital asset hitting $250,000 in the next three years.

“I’m still holding to my prediction I think Bitcoin in 2022, Or at the beginning of 2023, will hit $250,000 and that is a big move from where it is here.”

The reason behind such a bold prediction is Bitcoin becoming a “currency of choice.” Draper explains that currently bitcoin isn’t as easy to move around but eventually it will be and then people will have a choice.

And then, they won’t choose to pay the banks two and a half to four percent every time one swipes their credit card. The choice will be the currency that’s “frictionless, open, transparent, global, and not tied to any political force,” he said.

At some point, Draper feels people are going to make that switch and at that time, “bitcoin is going to be the big winner.”

Enormous Risk

Although he didn’t reveal how much of his net worth is in bitcoin and crypto, he did say, “a lot of it.”

“It’s a lot, it is a lot a lot and it is just better in the long term,” said Draper.

But what kind of risk endemic to other holdings if we see an increment of over 2,500 percent in Bitcoin by 2023.

“Enormous risk, I wouldn’t hold a bank if you paid me to own the bag. I wouldn’t hold an insurance company right now. I mean that they are not in good shape going for the next 10 years, things are going to change. very big.”

He also points out how the millennials prefer bitcoin over dollars as it’s a better currency to hold.

Bitcoin a “Huge Threat” to Crypto Critic Warren Buffett’s Holdings

Draper also commented on long term crypto critic Warren Buffett reinstating his dislike for crypto by saying that they don’t have any value and he doesn’t own any crypto and neither will he ever.

“That is hilarious, he owns 50% of his holdings are banks and insurance companies, they are not going to do well in this new decentralized economy, of course, he’s not going to like it.”

Draper said Buffett sees bitcoin and cryptos as a “huge threat to his holdings.” Draper said,

“Clearly he’s not gonna want this new currency that is completely, everyone knows, is so much better than what we have out there and these currencies that are tied to fiat government. I think they’re just gonna be a relic of the past, it’ll be like holding drachmas and Frank’s.”

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Author: AnTy

Institutional Investors Still Slow On The Uptake But Unregulated Crypto Exchanges Rule the Market

Institutional Investors are still slow on the uptake despite bitcoin being over a decade old. In 2019, institutional investors remained sidelined despite the improvement of the institutionally-focused products and services like derivatives and custody, states crypto exchange Kraken in its latest report.

Last year saw an impressive 84% year-over-year growth in regulated crypto derivative notional volume but much of the industry’s appetite gravitated towards unregulated venues that offer higher leverage and diverse product offerings.

Regulated Exchanges Grew in 2019

Notional volume from regulated derivatives fell to 5% in 4Q 2019, one year low and a significant decline from the 2019-high of 10% in 2Q 2019.

While CBOE announced it would cease bitcoin futures trading, just two months later, CME reported a record volume of $11 billion in May 2019. At the end of Q3, ICE launched Bakkt for industry-first physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts that later included bitcoin options and cash-settled futures.

Quarterly notional volumes of regulated exchanges

In January this year, CME also announced bitcoin options, while rumors are that NASDAQ is also planning to release bitcoin futures this year.

But Unregulated Exchanges Still Dominate the Market

However, the unregulated exchange are still dominating the market, much of which is attributable to platforms like Binance Futures and FTX.

Quarterly notional volumes of regulated vs. unregulated exchanges

Crypto derivatives exchange FTX is reportedly seeking to raise $15 million in an equity round that puts the company at a $1 billion valuation.

Hong Kong-based FTX’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried confirmed the news to the news outlet The Block. The exchange is apparently planning “significant” growth that is not limited to just hiring more staff members but also expanding its product line.

Meanwhile, FTX token recently reached its all-time high at $2.92, up 4.36% in the past 24 hours and over 18% in the past month.

The exchange also offers presidential betting on crypto might be driving this uptrend. The new product was offered in early January that allows users to bet on the upcoming US presidential election. Currently, it lists six candidates, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg.

Popular crypto options exchange Deribit has also reportedly completed its 10% sale of equity. The Panama-based exchange has been looking for buyers of its shares since January at a 9-figure valuation.

The exchange accounts for over 80% of open interest and is now looking to grow its product offering and draw more interest from both retail and institutional traders.

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Author: AnTy

Stablecoin Popularity Grows As Their Value Transfers On Ethereum Blockchain Surpasses ETH

Most of the value in Ethereum blockchain is now being transferred using stablecoins rather than the blockchain’s native cryptocurrency, Ether. A fresh analysis by Messari indicate that stablecoins are now more popular on the Ethereum blockchain than Ether.

While Ethereum boasts of its native cryptocurrency, Ether, there are various tokens which have been developed on the network. Most of these tokens are stablecoins which can be said to be digital assets which are pegged to the rate of a different currencies such as the euro, GB pound as well as the US dollar or precious metals like gold.

Previously most of the value that was being passed on Ethereum has been through Ether. However, stablecoins have now overtaken Ether. This has been partly due to the popularity of Tether which is pegged on the US dollar.

Commenting on the current research, Ryan Watkins an analyst working with Messari, said in a tweet,

Tether is also available on Bitcoin Omni layer, however, the firm is responsible for this started moving the Tether tokens to Ethereum last year in April. This led the volume of Tether within the Bitcoin platform to decline drastically. In the recent past, Tether was made available in Tron blockchain and today there is lots of USDT on the platform.

Last year in November, CoinMetrics, a data analysis firm, stated that the volume of Tether transfers within the Ethereum platform were almost three times higher than those of Ether transfers.

The high level of Tether activity within the Ethereum blockchain had began to clog the network. However, miners were able to adapt fast through adding the block sizes and now the network is stable and working seamlessly. However, if Tether activities continue rising, there are reasons for future concerns about the network, Decrypt reports.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

OneCoin May Have Used Fake Reviews in Ponzi Scheme – Is Anyone Surprised?

The cryptocurrency project launched by OneCoin which was accused of being a Ponzi scheme by authorities may have used fake reviews on Quora and TrustPilot.

The Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) said in a blog post from Wednesday that the OneCoin campaign was initiated at the same time as its founder’s (Ruja Ignatova) disappearance, after she has had many legal cases brought upon her.

In March 2019, a supposed leaders at OneCoin was arrested for perpetuating a pyramid scheme. At the same time, Ignatova was charged with money laundering, and wire and securities fraud. Lawyer Mark Scott was found guilty of money laundering as well.

OneCoin Reviewed with 5 Stars Many Times in October

Researchers at DFRLab discovered that in October 2019, OneCoin received many 5-star reviews on TrustPilot. Here’s what’s written in the research lab’s blog post:

“Of the 579 reviews for OneCoin on the site, 90 percent were positive. Of the five star ratings, about 400 were published within the span of a single month.”

The researchers also say the bad reviews were practically hidden by the 5-star ones.

The Authenticity of TrustPilot Reviews Can’t Be Determined But…

The DFRLab team couldn’t prove that the reviews aren’t authentic, as the TrustPilot’s interface doesn’t allow to make such a determination. However, the influx of good reviews is abnormal and came at the same time as OneCoin was going through some serious legal problems.

However, when the answered about OneCoin from Quora have been analyzed, there were clear signs of inauthenticity, as the profiles that left answers don’t have pictures, nor bios, and they all have revealed an interest only in OneCoin-focused discussions. The respondents claimed they were experts in the cryptocurrency field, but their answers were restricted to OneCoin’s value and viability. This is what the DFRLab blog post concludes:

“While there was no direct evidence tying these inauthentic profiles and reviews to OneCoin employees or evidence of automated activity on either platform, the profiles and favorable reviews nonetheless served to boost trust for the OneCoin brand as it faced a multibillion-dollar scandal.”

Searches on social media for the names of the respondents turned back no matching results.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Crypto Rating Council Adds eToro, Radar and OKCoin, Will Release Framework Before Year-End

Crypto Ratings Council which is a group being led by Coinbase and is hopeful of coming up with a framework to analyze if various cryptos can be classified as securities as per the US law, has announced the addition of new members, CoinDesk reports.

The council announced that Radar, eToro as well as OKCoin US are the new entrants to the group which aims at coming up with standards that will be used by the exchanges to assess if different cryptos are a security or not. According to Juan Suarez who is Coinbase’s counsel working with the CRC, the new entrants will help in enhancing both the technical and legal aspects within the group.

Suarez also revealed that each CRC member is given the priority of reviewing the rating prior to being made public while each asset must be listed by one member.

Suarez also explained that assets are rated using a scale of 1-5 where 1 shows that the crypto in question does not have the qualities of a security as per the US laws. On Thursday, the group rated five new assets where cosmos (ATOM) as well as livepeer (LPT) were to have a score of 3.75. Meanwhile, DASH as well Horizen (ZEN) both received a score of 1 with the Ethereum Classic (ETC) scoring a 2.

CRC is also set to refine the explanations given in its present list. Suarez explained that although the ratings will remain intact, the reasoning denoting whether an asset is a security are set to be condensed. He went ahead to state that it is only the operations of the firm that will be altered to make the bullets more explicit.

CRC stated that it is not in any way affiliated with the SEC which has the mandate to assess and announce if a crypto is a security and has only so far said that Bitcoin as well as Ethereum have no security characteristics.

CRC has come under sharp criticism for lack of transparency about how they asses the assets with various people on Twitter calling for the release of the framework.

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Author: Joseph Kibe