BoE Economist; Speculation in Crypto Markets Reduces Bitcoin’s Transactional Value

A senior Economist at U.K’s central bank has published a working paper on how speculation affects the value of digital currencies. Peter Zimmerman, a BoE economist, highlighted that crypto coin users are mostly speculative making it hard to realize the transactional value of digital assets like Bitcoin.

According to the paper, a speculative approach to the crypto market has seen more people acquire digital currencies for hoarding purposes. This traffic has however become overwhelming for some blockchain platforms that host the cryptocurrencies. Zimmerman argues in his paper that the decentralized networks become less efficient in process execution owing to the high number of participants.

It therefore beats logic for users to opt for a slower network when they need it most; if the assumption is crypto utility is based on transactions. The paper further emphasized that congesting the blockchain networks creates a competition for space eventually wiping out the monetary value of cryptocurrencies;

“Limited settlement space creates competition between users of the currency, so speculative activity can crowd out monetary usage.”

The ‘Digital Gold’ PoV on Bitcoin

Zimmerman also observed that some Bitcoin and other token HODLers are now viewing the assets as ‘digital gold’. As mentioned earlier, the majority of BTC investors are looking to make a kill with this ‘investment product’. The paper explains this in basic household economics;

“When cryptocurrency is more valuable, households become reluctant to spend it on fees. Instead, they prefer to hoard it and endure slower settlement times. I call this a ‘digital gold’ effect: when cryptocurrency is more valuable, agents view it as an asset to store, rather than money to spend.”

A solution was also offered in the paper to help realize the value of cryptocurrencies in transactions. Notably was the diversification of speculative risk through derivatives that are settled on the crypto market. In addition, implementing the new lighting network could improve the operating capacities of platform’s like Bitcoin blockchain. The views in Zimmerman’s paper however do not represent those of the Bank of England (BoE).

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Author: Edwin Munyui

DTCC Urges Financial Institutions to Collaborate in Forming A DLT Regulatory Framework

U.S Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) published a white paper on Feb,12 calling for the establishment of a proper regulatory framework on blockchain technology. The leading American financial markets clearing and settlement company noted that this would help avoid the risks associated with Digital Ledger adoption in future.

This white paper dubbed ‘Security of DLT Networks’ highlights the opportunities and looming risks if financial industry stakeholders do not step up to oversee blockchain implementation. DTCC’s Chief Security Officer, Stephen Scharf, further emphasized on the importance of tech policy upgrades;

“DLT offers great potential, but as with any new technology, it also comes with certain risks. Traditional security measures may not be adequate, so it is critically important that this topic is top of mind for any DLT implementation.”

DTCC’s Proposed Strategy on Blockchain Implementation Oversight

According to the whitepaper, financial market players are better off collaborating to form standardized guidelines on DLT adoption. It continues to read that a coordinated approach would help address the security associated risks in detail. This will in turn assist firms operating and looking to enter the blockchain market to play by the book and grow within a regulated framework.

DLT will notably improve how data is protected, verified and processed. As a result, DTCC suggests that a more tech specific framework would be effective in integrating the DLT networks within IT legalities across the world. An industry consortium to form fundamental operational guidelines was also identified as a long-term solution to the existing legal gaps in the DTCC whitepaper.

There have been previous efforts to form a baseline regulatory framework around blockchain tech but only a few jurisdictions have achieved much. DTCC plans to capitalize on its muscle within the derivatives market to lobby as many financial players and develop a standard for DLT frameworks. Mr. Schaff noted on the importance of a global framework for all industry participants;

“As is common in IT security communities, frameworks must be widely available, generally agreed upon, and commonly adopted.” he added “As best practices mature, they can be adopted into a formal framework and used for financial industry participants and regulators alike.”

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Author: James W

Dish Network Patents ‘Anti-Piracy Management System’ Using Blockchain Technology

Dish Network has just published on Thursday a patent for its new blockchain-based anti-piracy system that enables owners to see how their content is getting used.

Dish claims the system can oversee and implement ownership rights more efficiently by putting platforms on alert mode when their content is being used without approval. It seems the biggest problem of online streaming is piracy and the distribution platforms are too many to be monitored in an effective manner. While it’s easy to take down unauthorized content after identification, this usually happens after millions of views.

The System Was Initially Filed in 2018

Initially filed in July 2018, Dish Network’s new anti-piracy system uses blockchain technology for embedding ownership data that can only be updated and uploaded by owners. It intends to provide distribution platforms a reference point that’s incorruptible and to make sure the data is authorized. More than this, it helps with the enforcing of ownership rights, taking action against administrators who put up content without permission.

Not Yet Known If the System Will Use Its Own Blockchain

There’s not yet known if the Dish Network’s anti-piracy system will work on an already existing platform or use its own blockchain. Users will be able to pay owners in crypto or fiat currencies for their identity tokens, which will give them the green light to use content. These identity tokens are customizable and permit access for a specified amount time. They also give the authorization for content on some platforms to be edited. When someone unauthorized uses the content, the owner gets notified.

Dish is One of the Biggest Television Providers in the US

Having over 9.5 million patrons in the US, Dish is among the most important satellite television providers in the country. It has grappled to keep its subscribers just as much as other companies in its category did, as more and more people prefer online streaming nowadays.

Back in 2018, when over 1 million subscribers cancelled with them, they said online operators are using their content illegally and filed 2 lawsuits against 2 different platforms. Other important companies that have recognized how efficient blockchain technology is when it comes to copyright enforcement are Baidu and the Korean giant CJ.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Google Scholar Articles Published Mentioning Bitcoin Surged 19.1% In Just One Year

The number of Google Scholar articles published that currently mention Bitcoin (BTC) have grown around 19.13% in the last year. This shows that the interest in Bitcoin continues to grow all around the world. The information was provided in a recent tweet by the CTO of Casa Hodl, Jameson Lopp.

Interest In Bitcoin Grows

In the last ten years, Bitcoin became the leading cryptocurrency of the world allowing users to make transfers and store value in a fast and easy way. Bitcoin is the first asset to allow individuals to send value across borders and electronically without having to be worried about the double-spending issue.

Back in 2009, there were 83 articles published about Bitcoin. This was the year in which Bitcoin was created. Since that moment, the articles published per year started growing and reached 11,500 in 2018. And in 2019 the number of Bitcoin-related articles reached 13,700.

Although this represents a net growth of 19.13% compared to 2018, between 2017 and 2018, the number of articles published grew by 78%. Furthermore, between 2016 and 2017, the growth rate reached 91.12%. Jameson Lopp considers that 2019’s numbers could continue to grow considering there is still a listing lag, meaning that the current 19.13% growth could be higher.

Many users were surprised by the results of the year 2009 when there was very little or no information about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Indeed, Bitcoin was just a niche topic and just a few developers and tech-savvy people knew about it.

It is worth mentioning that Bitcoin’s annual minimum prices in USD terms have also been growing over time with just one year registering a retraction since 2012. In 2019, Bitcoin’s minimum price was $3,404 and in 2018 it was $3,225.

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Author: Carl T

French Law Enforcement Agency Uses Smart Contracts Running On Tezos (XTZ) To Validate Expenses

According to a recent press release published on LinkedIn by Nomadic Labs, as of September 2019, the first smart contract ever developed by a public authority was deployed in the Tezos (XTZ) blockchain.

French Law Enforcement Agency Uses Smart Contracts

Tezos is one of the most popular blockchain networks in the market. In the last year, it expanded as an innovative solution for companies and institutions to deploy their smart contracts.

This time, The French Armies and Gendarmerie’s Information & Public Relations Center (SIRPA) has been validating judicial expenses incurred during investigations. In addition to it, the law enforcement agency has also been recording this information on the Tezos blockchain.

The Gendarmerie’s cybercrime division (C3N) is the one that was using smart contracts on a public distributed ledger to improve its processes and keep control of its tasks and data.

The report explains that this is one of the first examples of how a government organization is able to use smart contracts for operational purposes. At the same time, the C3N is able to acquire cryptocurrencies from the Europol funds to cover operational costs.

The press release goes on by saying that the smart contract deployed was designed to only provide access to authorized individuals, allowing the division to justify expenses without disclosing information about their operations.

Other governmental agencies around the world have been using blockchain technology in order to reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency. A provincial government in Argentina is currently using Bitcoin and Ethereum to store copies of documents.

In Switzerland, blockchain technology is being used to conduct local minor elections and help citizens increase their participation in the community.

At the time of writing this article, XTZ is the 17th largest cryptocurrency in the market with a valuation of $814.69 million. At the same time, each XTZ can be purchased for $1.23.

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Author: Carl T

Messari Research Piles On The Pain For XRP Community, Alleging That Ripple is A ‘Tax Shelter’

  • Messari Unqualified Opinions published an article that states that Ripple has not been making charitable donations to any other companies.
  • Elliptic recently published an article that connected XRP and Ripple to $400 million in illicit activity.

In the Messari Unqualified Opinions blog, it seems that Ripple and XRP may not be having a good week. Released shortly after an article by Elliptic suggested a connection between $400 million in illicit activity and XRP, the article compared the activity to that of Bitcoin, which is tied to $829 million.

The author of this article suggests that XRP is being used as “a corporate and executive tax shelter,” adding that they aren’t providing grants to charities and that the circulating supply of XRP may be “locked in long-term restricted selling agreements.”

The public Form 990 for the foundation for the fiscal 2018 year shows that there was $0 granted to other charities by the Ripple Foundation for Financial Innovation. Messari points out that the CEO was provided with his $665,000 salary, and that millions were invested in XRP Capital, controlled by Michael Arrington.

Messari’s concern, as he describes, is due to dissatisfaction that other charities not having donations from the Ripple Foundation. Still, the donations to the Foundation last year are legal non-cash donations, and the team at Ripple is well associated with the laws surrounding their financial activity.

Unfortunately, considering the controversy surrounding Ripple’s assumed centralization and issues with their treasury, Messari takes a sarcastic and frustrated tone through the article. Messari states that the network is “’shadier’ than bitcoin, despite what Ripple execs might have regulators believe.”

The article doesn’t even shy away from other implied allegations, sarcastically commenting, “I’m not suggesting Brad Garlinghouse is personally laundering $400 million himself. Of course not. That would be silly and probably wrong.” Continuing, it adds that the actions of the company are potentially “worse,” accusing the platform of “using that vehicle as a corporate and executive tax shelter.”

Elliptic recently announced that they will be launching a transaction monitoring system, the first of its kind, to follow XRP, as the platform seems to hold over 85% of the crypto asset’s supply.

The Ripple community is fairly strong, and they frequently rise up against any platform or even individual that speaks against them. Messari decided to take on this so-called “army,” recently alleging that the Ripple Foundation is only investing in their own charity to get the tax write-offs that it would provide.

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Author: Krystle M

New CasperLabs Proof of Stake Blockchain Specification Announced as ‘CasperLabs Highway’

According to a recent announcement published by CasperLabs, the company managed to create a new specification for a much more secure, live, PoS (Proof-of-Stake) protocol. The new specs are named CasperLabs Highway.

As many already may know, PoS protocol came as an alternative to the mechanism used by many cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, called Proof-of-Work (PoW). However, while PoW is used for verifying blocks by staking computing power, PoS works differently. It allows users to stake actual currency, which brings several advantages.

One such advantage is that there is no need for a powerful mining network or networks, which ultimately saves not only energy but also money. On top of that, it helps preserve the environment.

The second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Ethereum, has been developing its own PoS protocol that is supposed to be implemented shortly. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. According to CasperLabs, PoS faces several various issues regarding the security of the blockchain that uses it.

The company believes that a proper PoS needs to be live, but also much safer than what the developers’ efforts so far were able to produce. These issues were already addressed in the past, with one of the best-known examples being a research paper by Ethereum researcher, Vlad Zamfir. Zamfir released a study called CBC Casper last year, in which he addressed safety, but he left out the live aspect.

Now, with the release of the specs by CasperLabs, both issues were addressed for the first time. The company’s Highway did this by having a ‘summit,’ which will have to reach the consensus, as well as various levels of agreement.

The way that the company explains it is by imagining a mathematical highway, where cars have a constant speed, and vehicles traveling in different lanes tend to send messages over time. When the leading car sends its message, it spreads from one car to another, where each new car sends its own message to the next. Confirming these messages would lead to different agreement levels, which are then reached in ’rounds,’ which represent certain periods of time.

All of this can be possible if the process of moving the ‘lanes’ is dynamic, meaning that the frequency of switching gets doubled when it comes to the left lane, and cut in half for the right one. The concept will be able to speed up the process, while not sacrificing the security of the blockchain. It is still unknown whether the concept could be applied in practice, but CasperLabs is optimistic.

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Author: Ali Raza

Japan’s SBI Holdings to Use Ripple’s XRP On-Demand Liquidity For International Remittances

SBI Holdings, the Japanese banking giant, has recently published its latest report. In the document, the company talks about its strategies and reports its latest plans. One of them is to use Ripple’s XRP tokens for international remittances that will be made between Japan and the Southeast Asian region.

According to the company’s report, the SBI Remit service will use Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity services (known before as xRapid). Initially, SBI Remit has used MoneyGram to send money overseas, but some changes will be made. So far, the service has sent out over $7 billion.

Back in June, a partnership was started with Ripple to send money to Mexico. This is possibly why the partnership has been stronger since then and now the two firms are going to tighten it even more.

Half of the payments made by SBI Remit will be covered by SBI Ripple Asia, a subsidiary of the company, which was created after the partnership with the crypto company. It is fair to note that SBI is also a “crypto” company right now, as it has recently launched the VCTrade, a cryptocurrency exchange platform based in Japan.

Right now, SBI is trying to get Japanese banks on board of its initiative. So far, the Suruga Bank and the SBI Sumishin Net Bank are already a part of it.

In related news, the banking holding institution has recently launched another product called Money Tap, which is set to be a mobile app for money transfers, also powered by Ripple. If the situation continues this way, SBI and Ripple will have a long-standing partnership to offer solutions for Asian clients.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Litecoin’s Loafwallet, Cornerstone Team up for New Crypto Pay & Pension Plan (CP3) Program

In a blog post published on October 22nd, Cornerstone Global Management announced a partnership with Litecoin Foundation to integrate Loafwallet into its Crypto Pay & Pension Plan (CP3).

This strategic collaboration will make Loafwallet, Litecoin’s native wallet, the preferred destination for Cornerstone’s highly anticipated employee pay program, CP3, which is set to be officially unveiled on Saturday, October 26th on Cornerstone’s website.

Crypto Pay & Pension Plan is targeted at US-based employees through which they will get the option of converting a part of their income to any or all the three cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum – at the time of receipt. The converted crypto assets will then be automatically transferred to the wallet of the employee’s choice.

The aim of CP3 is to encourage wider use of cryptocurrencies by allowing US employees to participate in the cryptocurrency wave without putting in the effort of visiting an exchange to receive the crypto assets.

The partnership would work well for Cornerstone’s vision as Litecoin Foundation is a renowned non-profit organization whose mission is to advance Litecoin for the good of society by developing and promoting state-of-the-art blockchain technologies. It described Loafwallet as one of the most active and ‘real world adoption’ using groups within the entire crypto space.

The Loafwallet, managed by Litecoin Foundation, has already achieved the milestone of 50,000 customer downloads worldwide and this proposition will only further its popularity among employees and pensioners.

Charlie Lee, Managing Director of the Litecoin Foundation, expressed his happiness at the partnership by saying that the CP3 program will be great for getting Litecoin into the hands of as many people as possible.

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Author: Sakshi Jain

US Space Authority, NASA, to Hire Data Scientist with Blockchain and Crypto Asset Knowledge

The new data scientist position published on LinkedIn on Sept 21 terms having blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledge a ‘plus’.

As the world moves towards new technologies, there seems to be an increasing interest in blockchain-based skills in the hiring departments of traditional heavyweight companies in various industries. The latest job listing from NASA shows an affinity to blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledgeable applicants.

The aerospace and aeronautics company is looking for a data scientist to work in NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Company in Pasadena, California. The data scientist selected is expected to conceptualize and develop innovative applications for the laboratory and conduct earth orbiting missions. Furthermore, the scientist will become a member in a team of other scientists who make up the JPL’s Innovation Experience Center (IEC).

NASA Places Priority on Blockchain

The job requires a number of technical qualifications including proficiency in Cloud Computing and Big Data, knowledge in deep learning frameworks and major frontend frameworks such as Node, D3.js, Flask, Vea and React. While all these skills are expected on the job, listing blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledge comes as a shock to the community.

The company post states having skills in the field as a bonus qualification on the job. It reads,

“Experience with cryptocurrency and Blockchain is considered a plus.”

An Affinity to Blockchain

In the past few months, NASA has shown its affinity to blockchain as the company announced a number of projects to be built using the decentralized technology. In early January, the company announced its plan to build a blockchain solution to manage the air traffic and security. The open source platform enhances aircraft privacy and anonymity while providing a secure and efficient method for communication between air traffic officials.

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Author: Lujan Odera