Homeland Security Calls On Freelancers to Design A Digital Wallet Interface; $25k to Finalists

  • The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) division of the US Department of Homeland Security has allocated up to $25,000 in prizes as an incentive for designing a digital wallet user interface.
  • Prospective applicants will be required to create a user interface compatible with DHS projects in the blockchain niche.
  • Notably, the DHS has been quite active in this area and previously supported innovations focusing on the decentralization of identity records.

According to the technical director of S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), Anil John, participants who get to the final stage are expected to demonstrate ‘ease of use and visual consistency, while supporting interoperability, security, and privacy.’ Digital wallets that stand out might ultimately increase the value proposition of the DHS blockchain projects once integrated.

John highlighted that one DHS client is already leveraging blockchain to build a decentralized credential network for the issuance of digital green cards. Despite its active involvement in funding blockchain projects, this is the first time the DHS is taking a design challenge to the public, according to S&T’s program manager, Kathleen Kenyon.

She was keen to highlight that they are trying to get that ‘freelance designer’ given that their foothold in this space is less significant than corporate contacts; this was the main reason for a low budget digital wallet crowdsource. As for the prizes, three finalists will be allocated $5,000 each while the winner gets an extra $10,000. Applications are still open, with the first stage finalists announced on October 27 via an online SVIP event. Overall winners will be announced later in the year.

This incentive by the DHS is not the first of its kind; just recently, the IRS issued a bounty of up to $625,000 to developers who will crack Monero’s anonymity and the lightning network. In similar efforts to boost compliance and oversight, the U.S Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has floated an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) targeting the amendment of AML policies.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Social Media Giant Launches ‘Facebook Finance’ Division to Push For Payment Opportunities

  • Facebook Inc. is determined to push its strides in the payment industry with the launch of the F2 division, Facebook Financial, to handle all its payments.
  • The division will be led by the co-founder of Libra Association, and Novi CEO, David Marcus
  • Stephane Kasriel joins from Upwork Inc.

The largest social network company in the world is launching a new payment and commerce division led by Davis Marcus. Facebook Financial will be in charge of all the payment projects currently in development under FB, including WhatsApp Pay, Novi, and any universal payment features set to be built on Messenger and Instagram in the future.

The launch of the division focuses its energy on building stable commerce systems within the Facebook-controlled apps, in a bid to increase advertisement revenue and keep users longer on the platform, the Bloomberg states.

One of the key developments F2 will work on is the launch of WhatsApp Pay in Brazil and India to boost e-commerce. However, the process of registration and tough regulations in the country are slowing the implementation process.

David Marcus, who has championed for the development of digital currencies since the launch of Libra, states the company is working with financial regulators in these two countries to integrate payments on their apps. He said,

“It’s helpful to have specific expertise in financial services regulation to build things the right way from the get-go.”

Former CEO of the freelancing marketplace, Upwork Inc., Stephane Kasriel, will join the Facebook Finance division as a payments vice president, deputizing Marcus.

Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the benefits of Libra to Facebook shareholders during the AGM, stating the stablecoins will usher in a new wave of higher prices for advertisements on its social platforms.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ConsenSys Health To Spin-Off; Will Focus On Ethereum Based Healthcare Solutions

  • ConsenSys’s Health division to be headed by blockchain healthcare veteran – Heather Leigh Flannery.
  • Codefi, Infura, and PegaSys to help empower Ethereum healthcare based solutions

The Ethereum-focused firm founded by Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys, announced yesterday that it will branch off its health division, dubbed ConsenSys Health. The new independent division will focus on creating solutions for the US healthcare industry.

The company is already promoting its Infura and Codefi products. With ConsenSys Health, blockchain tech will be used in the health industry to help reduce unnecessary costs and potentially provide users with control over their medical records. During the announcement, Lubin added the following:

“Spinning off a separate company in this area is an opportunity for us to combine the powerful technology built by ConsenSys with a team of domain leaders to solve the biggest challenges in healthcare.”

Heather Leigh Flannery To Be the Head of ConsenSys Health

With this decision, Lubin announced the head of ConsenSys Health as Heather Leigh Flannery, who used to be the Consensys’ healthcare Global Lead.

A veteran of the blockchain space, Flannery is currently involved in other blockchain-related healthcare projects. This new initiative will focus on the US healthcare market which, after looking at the per-capita cost, is the most disrupted.

The ConsenSys team argued that blockchain technology can profoundly impact the US’ healthcare system by reducing the cost of administration and research.

Blockchain Can Securely Streamline Data Sharing

By expanding the patients’ access to care and engaging them directly, blockchain allows for faster, more secure data sharing. Here’s what Flannery expects, as far as the improvements in the US healthcare system go:

“The convergence of emerging innovations, such as blockchain and machine learning, allows us to approach old problems in new ways. This opens up the possibility for improved patient and provider experiences, new business models, and ultimately, a sustainable and value-based healthcare system.”

The Healthcare Subject Tackled by 2020 US Presidential Election Nominees

The healthcare system in the US has been a major battleground topic for nominees in the ongoing 2020 Presidential election. While nominations for the Democratic party are still going on, each candidate brings a different approach to the ongoing concerns about healthcare.

For example, Bernie Sanders promoted his ‘Medicare for All’ proposition, which has faced its fair share of criticism for being too radical, so the adoption of blockchain solutions sounds wiser.

Until now, the latest Democratic entrant – Michael Bloomberg – has been the only candidate to show interest in the blockchain and crypto space.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Square Crypto Hires Bitcoin Core Developer and Blockstream Co-Founder Matt Corallo

The crypto division of Square, Square Crypto, has recently hired Matt Corallo. The announcement was made on Twitter. He was one of the co-founders of Blockstream and a prominent Bitcoin dev. He previously worked on Chaincode Labs, too, where he passed almost three years.

Corallo commented on the news affirming that he was very excited to be a part of the team. According to him, it will be very exciting to experiment on Square Crypto and to make Bitcoin even better.

During an interview, he affirmed that the work will be different from what he is used to, but that the bigger the problems, the more you need talent.

The whole project is set to be open source, so the upgrades made by them can be used for others interested in Bitcoin as well.

Square Crypto Is Building Its Team

Corallo was just the newest addition to the company created by Jack Dorsey. Since the announcement of the initiative back in March, many people have been wondering who would be working on it.

The goal of the startup is to create a small but good team that will have a single designer and some software engineers.

Before him, Steve Lee was hired. He worked as a Google director previously and was hired to lead the new team. At the time, he affirmed that the team would be focused on creating the technology that could complement Bitcoin and make it more efficient and mainstream.

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Author: Lorraine Mburu

Tron’s Marcus Zhao Touches on New Anonymous Transactions Being Finalized on TRX Network


Marcus Zhao, the technical director of the Public Chain Division of Tron (TRX), has gone to Twitter in order to announce that the anonymous transactions are near from being complete in the Tron network.

According to him, the next step was to improve the testnet until they are able to launch the changes on the mainnet of the system. He asked for feedback from the users, too, and provided a link that could be used if they wanted to help out in testing the network. This way, the users can see the changes by themselves before they are implemented for good.

The Reaction

Most of the people on Twitter were very excited about the news. However, they were far from being the only voices who had opinions about how Tron should deal with the upgrade.

A user named @vcorem, for instance, affirmed that this was simply too much work in order to improve a feature such as this one. They first created the virtual machine, then implemented the ZK-Snarks protocol on it and then decided to emulate the UTXO model to make these transactions. So much work for something that is not really that much unique, in his opinion.

Opinions on this were divided as there were other users who had a much more positive view of the system. Some affirmed that such a system would be very useful and that other ecosystems are already doing it, so there is a trend towards anonymity

The fact is that this kind of transaction is really getting popular. There are several old-school tokens using it today such as Monero (XMR) or Zcash (ZEC), but many other projects involving anonymity are being created today. Litecoin, for instance, is also set to start an anonymous option for its users.

Unfortunately, authorities from all over the world frown upon anonymous tokens as they believe that they can be used for crimes. It seems that a battle between the believers in a world with anonymous transactions are going to have to face this problem before they are able to reach their goals and see more private tokens.

At the time of this report, Tron is trading 4.3% up today (and 7.2% up this week) and it is priced at $0.0295 USD per token with a market cap of 1.97 billion UD, being the 10th largest cryptocurrency in the world.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Binance Launches New Binance US Division To Operate In The North American Country


Binance Launches New U.S. Division To Operate In The North American Country

  • Binance launches new U.S. division to operate in the country
  • The goal is to start offering services to individuals in the United States

Binance, the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the market, is working on its Binance U.S. division to launch its exchange in the country. The firm is working with regulatory agencies in the country so as to target only US customers.

Binance Launches New U.S. Division

Binance is moving forward and expanding in the market. Due to different regulatory issues, U.S. traders have difficulties to use the Binance platform and other services such as the Launchpad. This is clearly not good for Binance that has reached a large number of individuals around the world.

According to CoinDesk, Binance is working with a firm called BAM Trading Services. The new platform is expected to be entirely operated by BAM and Binance will be offering the wallet and matching engine technologies.

This will be the formal entry of the cryptocurrency exchange to the U.S. market. Nonetheless, users in the country were able to access to this trading platform but with some restrictions, as mentioned before. The CEO of the company, which is also the founder, Changpeng Zhao, said that they are excited to launch Binance US and improve their speed and liquidity.

At the moment, there is no further information regarding BAM Trading Services, about what it does or how it operates. The registration document with the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) noted that the regulatory agency does not verify information submitted by the MSB. The firm is now only available to operate in California.

At the time of writing this article, Binance is the largest cryptocurrency platform in terms of trading volume. In the last 24 hours, Binance handled $1.82 billion in trading volume.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Carl T