WEF’s ‘Blockchain Bill of Rights’ Gets Support From Governments and DLT Firms

The World Economic Forum has finally revealed Presidio Principles called the ‘Blockchain Bill of Rights’ on Friday after teasing about it for quite some time.

These new principles, which would focus on forming international partnerships and fostering diplomacy across countries for creating Digital Economy 2.0.

The document found support from 15 signatories until now, which involves the government of Colombia, blockchain firms like ConsenSys, CoinShares, Electric Coin Company, along with the United Nations’ World Food Program.

The Presidio Principles described 16 essential rights of users for blockchain networks and applications. Some of the key principles of the Blockchain bill of rights include:

  • User’s right to manage consent of data stored with third-party service providers.
  • Porting of data between interoperable networks
  • Revoke consent for data collection at any given time in future.

Victor Munoz, the advisor to the President of Columbia on the matters of economy and digital transformation revealed the reason behind their support for the Presidio Principles and said:

“We supported the creation of the Presidio Principles – as well as guidelines and design principles for public institutions – because we wanted to ensure that progress can continue rapidly and responsibly, ensuring that basic characteristics like security and data privacy are secured for our citizens,”

Apart from the few mentioned signatories, many blockchain and crypto firms are advocating for others to join WEF’s open dialogue, one of them being Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin. Lubin believes this would show the users in the community their commitment to standing for the rights of the users in the decentralized space.

The global blockchain council has been involved in the development of the framework behind the Presidio Principle since last year when it first convened in 2019. The first draft of the Blockchain Bill of Rights was made public on April 10th on Github and was open for public comments and it was available for comments until May 5.

The final version of the bill was released on May 23rd. The next step to ensure its correct implementation would be to issue different guidelines for different industries and how it can be incorporated in their current ecosystem.

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Author: James W

Bittrex Exchange Won’t be Returning the ‘Stolen’ $5M in Funds From Steem Owners

Yesterday, the Steem blockchain went through the controversial hard fork 0.23 that seized the tokens of former Steem “witnesses” — blockchain validators that created another blockchain called HIVE.

The hard fork – codenamed “New Steem” – seized 23.6 million STEEM tokens from 64 witnesses.

A letter was also sent on Tuesday by a legal firm representing the affected members, urging cryptocurrency exchanges not to support the hard fork.

But Bittrex would be doing no such thing because the exchange co-founder Richie Lai said, “my own personal feelings do not matter.”

Yesterday, when $5 million worth of tokens were meant to be seized, they were moved to the main wallet of the Bittrex exchange in an attempt to move them to their original owners.

But it was for nothing.

In an official announcement, the exchange said they wouldn’t be returning the funds.

“The fact is, we only interpret the data on the blockchain, and in this case, the consensus of the blockchain – regardless of how it was reached – agreed that the funds from those 64 accounts be moved to the ‘community321′ account.”

Bittrex’s stance is clear, the witnesses are in control of the blockchain, and they get to decide what happens with these tokens. And now, unless Bittrex changes its decision, those Steem owners won’t be getting their funds back.

Back in December 2019, Tron founder and CEO Justin Sun bought the Steemit blogging platform. In February, this year, he made a hostile takeover of the platform which led the Steem community to build its own blockchain, Hive.

At that time he worked with Huobi, Binance, and Poloniex, which he acquired in November, last year. The crypto exchanges have a lot of power given that they used the voting power gained through customer’s funds. However, Binance and Huobi later withdrew their support and Sun has been since battling with the community.

About the latest hard fork, Sun denied his or Steemit Inc.’s involvement but said: “the hive witnesses did this to them first and took all their assets.”

He is also working with law enforcement to fight against the Hive witnesses.

“As for Steemit Inc., many millions of dollars were stolen by Hive witnesses. We are working w/ law enforcement & will take actions to get our funds back! We have lots of sympathy for all Steem witnesses who have suffered the same at the hands of the Hive witnesses,” wrote Sun.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin’s Transaction Volume on the Darknet Grows by 65% in Q1, 2020

Recent analysis conducted by Crystal Blockchain – the analytics unit of Bitfury – has revealed that the use of Bitcoin and other altcoins on the darknet is on the rise.

These same stats also show that the use of mixers to conceal BTC transactions has grown from 1% to 20% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter last year.

This market research dubbed ‘Darknet Use and Bitcoin’ highlights some key segments in which users transfer or receive digital assets via the darknet.

Notably, the value of BTC transacted between darknet entities grew by 65% despite a plunge in the number of Bitcoins transferred. As per the report, there was a 22% and 26% drop in the number of Bitcoins sent and received through darknet channels.

Source; Crystal Blockchain

The BTC Darknet Market Outlook

Bitcoin launched about a decade ago and has been gaining popularity over the years. It is noteworthy that the darknet is among the major adoption drivers of this market.

However, recent developments in regulation by entities like the FATF aim at changing some dynamics of the darknet’s BTC operations. Most notably, more players have opted to use mixers in a bid to conceal their identities.

This has shift has caused a drop in the use of exchanges with strict KYC requirements. Stats by Crystal Blockchain show that the BTC market share of such ecosystems decreased to 13% compared to 24% back in Q1, 2019. The report reads:

“While more exchanges implement the FATF requirements, darknet users are trying to avoid the risk of unveiling of their activity by those exchanges. To veil darknet activities, they started to prefer mixing services to exchanges for withdrawal of cryptocurrency.”

Based on this market shift, there was a total of 7,496 BTC transferred through mixers compared to 790 Bitcoins last year. This translated to a surge in USD value from $3 million to $67 million in Q1, 2020.

Though BTC remains dominant, the report noted that other altcoins are now competing for the darknet market share.

Private coins like Monero have actually found themselves in trouble with authorities for facilitating illegal activities via its private coin. Crystal blockchain is, however, optimistic that darknet crypto usage will be reduced with advanced tech and regulations.

“What is reassuring, however, is that these activities are easy to monitor and identify with analytical tools like Crystal. As a result, the impact of the strong regulations enacted by the FATF and the European Union to fight these illicit activities is already apparent.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Algorand Blockchain Onboards First Insurtech Use Case; Addressing A $40B Opportunity

  • The Algorand blockchain, which currently competes with Ethereum on enterprise solutions, has gotten its first Insurtech use case.

According to a press release on May 20, a firm dubbed ‘Attestiv’ whose focus is media validation is set to leverage Algorand for blockchain services.

This milestone presents an opportunity for Algorand and Attestiv to address P&C insurance fraud which costs the U.S $40 billion. Through Algorand’s PoS and permissionless ecosystem, Attestiv is optimistic about transforming the insurance industry. Algorand’s COO, Sean Ford, confirmed that:

“Attestiv is disrupting the insurance industry by helping organizations of all types build trust and transform their business by leveraging our open, decentralized blockchain.”

Attestiv on Algorand Blockchain

Attestiv’s market niche is in media insurance, where the firm leverages emerging tech to enhance efficiency in record keeping and validation. Basically, Attestiv uses AI to validate items such as metadata, sensor data and digital media.

This can be done at the point of capture or through forensic analysis. Notably, the records are tamper-proofed through fingerprints which can then be used to identify alterations or changes to the underlying media.

Algorand’s blockchain was, therefore, selected to store the fingerprints and prevent any changes through its immutability aspect. Furthermore, Attestiv notes that the blockchain’s security and scalability presents them a favorable cost-structure and opportunity to grow. Attestiv’s Nicos Vekiarides echoed:

 “We are excited about our new offering and have selected Algorand because of the enterprise-level scalability, security, and economics that meet our customer needs.”

Based on the value proposition by both entities, this collaboration is likely to shape the future of insurtech. The underlying technical agreements can be further improved through smart contract technology. By doing so, Attestiv could generate more complex insurance contracts and secure them within Algorand’s blockchain network.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

IOV Labs Launches Light Client for the Lumino Network to Boost BTC’s Smart Contract Capability

IOV Labs, an early-stage firm focusing on scaling solutions for Bitcoin’s blockchain, has launched a new layer to further enhance its course. The Gibraltar based startup released a light client for the Lumino payments network on May 13.

This milestone was confirmed in a statement issued to Cointelegraph by IOV Labs,

“IOV Labs announced the launch of its Light Client for the Lumino Payments Network, a third-layer Bitcoin scaling solution.”

Notably, the Lumino payments network is set to rival the popular Lightning scaling solution for Bitcoin. This initiative, however, enjoys a competitive advantage as it is compatible with smart contracts designed to leverage Bitcoin’s ecosystem.

Lumino Network Fundamentals

Bitcoin’s rise has not been short of challenges given its limiting tech infrastructure when it comes to scaling. This has resulted in slower transactions than stakeholders anticipated with approximate 7 transactions per second (Tps). The Lumino network comes as one of the solutions to increase throughput within Bitcoin’s blockchain.

With the new light client for Lumino, Bitcoin’s network can be boosted to 100 Tps accompanied by a possibility of scaling to 20,000 in the near future.

In order to achieve this efficiency, IOV Labs has boosted the so-called ‘layer three solution‘. This basically means that the platform leverages Bitcoin’s network to secure smart contracts and ERC-20 based tokens. RIF Labs had earlier launched sidechain solutions dubbed ‘Rootstock’ (RSK) for smart contract integration. The recently released light client will further reduce the resources required by developers to create DApps based on BTC’s network.

Lumino’s new light client allows the developers to build blockchain-based solutions without operating complete nodes. Instead, they can develop innovations with online web access and mobile hardware. This will, in turn, allow more focus on bootstrapping Bitcoin’s network given node availability hence a higher Tps.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Decentralized Blockchain Platform Celo Wraps Up $10M cGLD Auction on CoinList

cLabs, a Silicon Valley-based blockchain startup, has revealed that it has raised approximately $10 million through auctioning off the Celo Gold (cGLD) tokens which were availed to investors within the CoinList platform.

According to a press statement shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, about 509 investors drawn from different parts of the world were involved in the auction process, and on average paying $1 for every Celo Gold (cGLD) token. The press release also indicated that the majority of the investors are from Germany as well as the United Kingdom. The startup also confirmed that on average, a buyer spent about $519 for the cGLD token and in most instances earned about 50 tokens in bonus for referrals. The auction came to an end on Tuesday morning after running for approximately 12 hours.

The current sale of the cGLD tokens will help the startup to add to its $30 million raised in venture capital funding by companies such as Polychain as well as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Apart from being a major funder of the project, Polychain is currently one of the 77 entities which are running Celo validator nodes.

Whereas it is not clear when the launch date will be, the CoinList investors are expecting to get their tokens before the end of the year.

[Also Read: Celo Adds 20+ New Members to the Alliance for Prosperity]

According to Andy Bromberg, CoinList co-founder, the cGLD token sale was the second time the platform has conducted a successful token sale this year and follows the successful sale of Solana tokens which raised 1.76 million. Bromberg also stated that CoinList buyers will be able to get the cGLD tokens direct into their CoinList wallets after the Celo mainnet finally goes live. Additionally, the investors can also opt to transfer their tokens to external wallets that they own to Custodians like Anchorage and Coinbase.

CoinList stated that it is focused on assisting prospective crypto projects to succeed and it was a pleasure to partner with the Celo project. Currently, Celo enjoys the support of more than 700 backers.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Vietnam Ministry of Finance Forms Research Group To Develop Digital Currency Policies

Cryptocurrencies are actively being considered an alternate form of financial instrument, and the blockchain technology powering it has already seen massive adoption all around the globe.

Vietnam is the latest country looking to study and formulate laws around digital currencies. The Vietnamese Finance Ministry has agreed to establish a research group who would be responsible for reviewing, analyzing and developing various regulatory policies around crypto-assets.

The research group was announced on 11th May by the ministry, which would comprise of 9 members. The members of the group would consist of:

  • General Department of Taxation, the country’s securities regulator
  • National Institute for Finance
  • General Department of Vietnam Customs
  • Department of Banking and Financial Institutions of the State Bank of Vietnam

The research group would be led by the vice-chairman of the State Securities Commission, Pham Hong Son. The regulatory body would be responsible for keeping track of new updates and regulatory challenges associated with the ever-evolving crypto sector and help Vietnam respond to regulatory challenges with more preparedness to tackle them.

Is Vietnam Doubling Back on Its Decision?

Vietnamese Prime Minister gave the nod for the formulation of the regulatory framework back in 2017 which made many believe that the crypto assets will be a legalized for use as a form of an exchange or a legal tender.

However, in April 2018, the government deemed bitcoin as illegal tender, meaning that even though people and businesses can invest in bitcoin, it cannot be used as a form of exchange to buy or sell goods.

Just days after deeming Bitcoin as illegal tender, the government issued an order restricting credit companies from offering any form of service to crypto providers in order to contain any form of money laundering woes.

The service ban was similar to Indian Central Bank prohibiting banks restricting commercial and government banks to offer any service to digital asset service providers. Since then, the government has not made any regulatory changes towards the digital asset service providers, which make the current formation of the research team even more significant.

Many believe the newly formed team could be a game-changer for the digital asset ecosystem.

Since the government has observed that those nations which have worked around crypto-assets and regulated it over time with changes as per the demand have fared better than those who have either outright banned it or refused to formulate laws around it.

Despite the regulatory uncertainty, local business has tried to establish crypto exchanges in the country. However, only peer-to-peer platforms have managed to gain traction from the community.

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Author: Silvia A

VeChain Picked To Spearhead The Use Of Blockchain Solutions Asia Pacific Provenance Council

A freshly formed consortium known as Asia Pacific Provenance Council is banking on blockchain to enhance efficiency in supply chains that exports Australian agricultural surplus estimated to be worth about $76 billion to China each year.

The consortium has partnered with VeChain public blockchain which will enable solo shipments containing agricultural produce such as avocados which will be tracked from their Australian picking point of pick up to their arrival in China for consumers to buy them. The partnership will enable each member of the supply chain to easily confirm the products that have been shipped, their location as well as their storage conditions such as temperature, humidity and other components.

VeChain will also offer Australian companies such as Fresh Supply Co (FSC) fresh product tracking capabilities like exporters as well as logistics operators to record how different agricultural lots are moving via supply chains, international shipment service providers as well as customs.

David Inderias, Fresh Supply Co CEO stated that the technology will be helpful in improving trust among those involved. He explained:

“…being able to say that our products are safe, and that we have tracked them, is going to be table stakes for dealing with China.”

The current COVID-19 pandemic and its effects all over the world, necessitated the urgency of the partnership, VeChain stated. The firm explained that the pandemic is a threat to producers of food and manufacturers as well as vendors all over the world.

VeChain explained that it seeks to become an enabler empowering its partners with blockchain technology to help in development of apps for different sectors of the economy.

In a statement shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, VeChain CEO Sunny Lu explained how the platform will help in the current COVID-19 crisis. He said:

“The implementation of blockchain technology certainly contributes to buffering the immediate economic impacts of the pandemic for the enterprises, and will help improve productivity by unleashing more resources and growth opportunities.”

In the recent past, public awareness when it comes to food safety has gone up and blockchain technology will help in keeping with the track.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Monsoon Blockchain and HK Crypto Exchange OSL Partner to Build a ‘Digital Asset Powerhouse’

  • Crypto exchange OSL partner with Monsoon Blockchain Solutions in an attempt to further digitization of money and assets.
  • Monsoon set to build a digital powerhouse in Asia pacific region as they merge with other big shot investors.

Reports of this unique partnership between the crypto exchange OSL and Monsoon Incorporated have now surfaced. The Hong Kong-based exchange looked to the Blockchain solutions firm to explore new avenues of asset and Fiat digitization.

In a press release by Monsoon, the company plotted out its quest of establishing supremacy within the US and Asian digital assets markets. They are now poised to unleash various digital tokens inclusive of telecom tokens and the Monsoon token to be hosted on their network.

Its underlying Blockchain, which is Ethereum-based, aims to leverage smart contracts to build a highly sophisticated market solution for Cloud computing enterprises. Monsoon had previously secured other deals with Alibaba, IBM, and Oracle facilitating distribution of data services.

Monsoon also recently collaborated with the phone retailing giant Dixintong (D. Phone) in a lucrative partnership that brought in $2.5 billion by close of 2019.

OSL is reportedly one of Asia’s biggest exchanges by transactional volume. Specializing in brokerage, custody, and exchange services they process over $1.5 billion in transactions monthly on their platform.

So far, It’s hit $171 billion while projected to hit over $4.4 billion by 2024 through global remittances and transactions on its enterprise solution. In a recent investment from Fidelity Investments, OSL allegedly revealed $8.3 trillion in assets they manage a significant bump from 2018, $6.7 trillion figure.

Monsoon to Soon Join the BSN Network

Monsoon has also announced they will join the recently launched Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN). Launched in April 25th of this year the alliance was already onboarded by China Mobile, China UnionPay, and Red Date Tech and set to commence global operations by June 25th and deployed to over 100 Chinese towns

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Author: Lujan Odera

Forked Version of Telegram’s Open-Source TON Blockchain Network OS is Now Live on Github

Telegram’s blockchain project, TON, has experienced several delays, due to the regulatory friction with the SEC and just recently postponed its launch indefinitely as all its efforts to convince the regulators did not go as planned.

However, the operating system for its blockchain network, TON, does not have to bear the brunt and it is all set to go open-source on Github prior to its official launch on Google Play and Apple AppStore.

The news about TON Labs, making the OS open source was revealed on May 6th by the Mitja Goroshevsky, CTO at TON Labs. The CTO explained that the TON OS would not be a universal one like android or iOS and meant to enhance the interaction of customers with blockchain-based systems and applications. He explained:

“Vitalik Buterin has been referring to Ethereum as the “World computer.” If it’s a world computer, it must have a processor and resources and provide services to the user.

But there is no operating system or operating environment to manage these resources on the blockchain today.“

TON to Launch TON Cash Along With Making the OS Open Source

As per a report from ForkLog, the industry publication revealed that the open-source launch of the TON OS will also include a command-line interface, the multi-signature wallet smart contract, TON validator launch toolkit, and the TON node.

Apart from these tools and services launched with the open-sourcing of the project. The report also revealed that TON Labs is planning to issue its decentralized browser – called Surf – along with a staking pool called DePool and even a new token called TON Cash within a month of the open-source launch.

TON-OS is designed to support blockchain applications and further, it would also allow users to create blockchain applications compatible with the TON ecosystem. Despite the regulatory woes over the native token – GRAM – being a security offering, the mainnet can still be launched by the independent validators.

With the release of the TON Open Source, TON Labs is joining hands with the Free Software Foundation (FSF). As the name suggests FFS is a major free software movement, and the decision by TON Labs to join this movement is to keep its TON blockchain project as decentralized as possible which can be available to everyone for free.

The Forked version of the TON OS went live during a three-hour live-streamed Zoom call in which the first block (genesis) went live. You can see the live stream here. You can see on the TON block explorer that they are (at the moment) sitting at around 5,000 blocks.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh