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INTERVIEW: Augusta Industries $AAO.ca With Real #Blockchain In A Real Company With Real Data and Real Revenues $HIVE.ca $CODE.ca $BLOC.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 10:35 AM on Friday, February 16th, 2018

DC #Blockchain Hearing Sees Call for Congressional Commission $SX $SX.ca $IDK.ca $AAO.ca #Blockstation

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 10:03 AM on Thursday, February 15th, 2018
  • Members of the U.S. House of Representatives got a crash course on blockchain today, with subcommittees of the Science, Space and Technology Committee meeting to hear testimony on the tech
  • During the “Beyond Bitcoin: Emerging Applications for Blockchain Technologyhearing, the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology and the Subcommittee on Oversight asked a range of questions, primarily aimed at getting a sense of which use cases have attracted the most attention today – and could, in theory, wind up being used by the U.S. government itself.
Feb 14, 2018 at 21:20 UTC  |  Updated  Feb 14, 2018 at 21:25 UTC

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives got a crash course on blockchain today, with subcommittees of the Science, Space and Technology Committee meeting to hear testimony on the tech.

During the “Beyond Bitcoin: Emerging Applications for Blockchain Technologyhearing, the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology and the Subcommittee on Oversight asked a range of questions, primarily aimed at getting a sense of which use cases have attracted the most attention today – and could, in theory, wind up being used by the U.S. government itself.

Ultimately, the witnesses would recommend that Congress set up a legal framework which would encourage and, perhaps, even fund research into uses of the technology within the public sphere.

“I would encourage Congress to commission a blockchain advisory group,” said Aaron Wright, an associate clinical professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and co-director of its Blockchain Project.

He later elaborated:

“So the idea with the blockchain commission would be to provide a degree of uniformity and a unified approach to the numerous regulatory decisions. Some issues raised by the witnesses today – there’s privacy issue, identity issues, consumer protection, commodities laws, and there’s competing interpretations that have been issued already by federal agencies, so the thought would be to standardize that.”

Applications, not regulations

The hearing pointedly sought to avoid a topic that has been a hot one, both in and outside of Washington, D.C.: regulation. While it was a subject that came up through witness testimony, chair Ralph Abraham (R-LA) said he wanted to focus on what he described as a potentially “transformative” technology.

To that end, the hearing called for examples of how the technology can be used, both in the private sector and by the federal government.

Representative Barbara Comstock (R.-VA) started listing use cases by noting that her personal information was likely stolen or compromised by a data breach at the Office of Personnel Management. As a result, she said she was “pleased” to hear about efforts to create more secure identity management platforms that uses blockchain as a means to encrypt data.

One notable topic of exploration came through Chris Jaikaran, a cybersecurity analyst from the Congressional Research Office, who discussed the tech’s use for underpinning voting systems.

“The blockchain doesn’t record the vote, it records the person, the identity, the voting. The vote itself is stored on another secure system,” he explained.

Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety, Walmart Inc., detailed his company’s work with blockchain to the subcommittee members, explaining how the retail giant is using the tech to track food shipments.

Yiannas spoke on the pilot projects the retail giant had concluded already, explaining that blockchain has already seen success in helping track food supply chains.

He explained:

“In 2017, Walmart and IBM decided to trial a blockchain to track mangos from source to store … at the end of the trial, we proved we could cut down the time to trace food from seven days to 2.2 seconds. That’s food traceability at the speed of thought.”

Security concerns

While committee members seemed enthused on the idea of private-sector blockchains helping businesses solve problems, they shared concerns about using similar platforms to share government-related information. Representatives Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) in particular asked for clarification on how distributed ledgers would be secured from potential attackers.

Charles Romine, director of the Information Technology Lab at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), noted that 51 percent attacks and compromised computers could both disrupt a blockchain, but that these types of attacks would be less dangerous for large – and therefore powerful – networks.

One particular area that was honed in on is quantum computing, which some have warned could undermine the security of blockchain systems.

These concerns are being considered but are at least 15 to 30 years away from becoming a reality, Romine explained.

“If there is a concerted effort to develop quantum computing, I believe we have a number of years before it reaches maturity – what we refer to as being cryptographically relevant.”

Looking ahead

As with any hearing before Congress, the natural question becomes: what comes next?

Prior to the hearing, aides to the committee downplayed the prospects of immediate action, though they floated the idea that the testimony on Wednesday could form the basis of work toward some kind of legislation around blockchain.

IBM’s Jerry Cuomo prepared a list of potential actions Congress could take in order to provide more support for blockchain research. First and foremost, he recommended that the government should encourage projects which can directly impact the U.S.

Cuomo argued in favor of a “thoughtful” approach to legislation.

“Perhaps most importantly, [Congress should] recognize the difference between blockchain’s use in new forms of currency from broader uses of blockchain when considering regulatory policy. Carefully evaluate policies established regarding cryptocurrencies to ensure that there will not be unintended consequences that stymie the innovation and development surrounding blockchain.”

Ultimately, it’s tough to say whether Congress will move on such legislation anytime soon – especially considering the current political climate in the U.S. today – but the process likely moved one step closer through today’s testimony.

Panel image via YouTube

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/dc-blockchain-hearing-sees-call-for-congressional-commission/

#Blockchain explained: It builds trust when you need it most $SX $SX.ca $SXOOF $IDK.ca $AAO.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 2:01 PM on Monday, February 12th, 2018
  • Blockchain is best known as the technology behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin — a digital currency whose value soared above $19,000 over the last year before slumping to half that when the frenzy subsided
  • But blockchain is so much more, potentially easing the doubts and uncertainties that dog so much of life — whether buying a used car from a stranger, having faith that a piece of fruit really is organic, or knowing that a prescription drug isn’t counterfeit
  • Blockchain, in effect, hard-wires trust into transactions or data that we might otherwise be more cautious about

Here’s everything you need to know about the technology powering the bitcoin cryptocurrency today and, soon, a myriad of services that will change your life.

This is part of “Blockchain Decoded,” a series looking at the impact of blockchain, bitcoin and cryptocurrency on our lives.

These days, we’re having a harder and harder time trusting each other.

Trust is an essential part of ordinary living, whether it’s picking mechanics based on Yelp reviews, sliding credit cards into gas station fuel pumps or heeding our doctor’s advice. But our trust has been eroding for years. In the US, only 33 percent of us felt we could trust our government in 2017 — a decline of 14 percentage points from 2016, according to Edelman’s annual trust barometer study. Trust in businesses dropped from 58 percent to 48 percent, too, while media (fake news!) and social networks also took a hit.

That’s a problem. The less trust you have, the harder everything becomes. Did that job candidate really graduate from college? Did your brother-in-law really repay that loan?

But there’s an unlikely solution that might help restore enough faith in strangers to make our lives a bit easier: an encryption technology called blockchain.

Blockchain is best known as the technology behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin — a digital currency whose value soared above $19,000 over the last year before slumping to half that when the frenzy subsided. But blockchain is so much more, potentially easing the doubts and uncertainties that dog so much of life — whether buying a used car from a stranger, having faith that a piece of fruit really is organic, or knowing that a prescription drug isn’t counterfeit. Blockchain, in effect, hard-wires trust into transactions or data that we might otherwise be more cautious about.

“It’s revolutionary,” said Mark Siegel, an investor at Menlo Ventures.

Bitcoin’s value has soared and plunged over the last year, and it’s hard to separate the sensible from the scams among the 1,500 other cryptocurrencies. But blockchain has enjoyed more stable appeal.

Indeed, staid companies like IBM, Microsoft and Intel are offering blockchain as just another software tool to get business done. Other companies dabbling in blockchain include Goldman Sachs, Nasdaq, Walmart and Visa.

Because blockchains work as a secure digital ledger, a bumper crop of startups are hoping to bring it to voting, lotteries, ID cards and identity verification, graphics rendering, welfare payments, job hunting and insurance payments.

A lot of that revolution could be invisible to you, taking place inside and among businesses. But it’s potentially a very big deal. Analyst firm Gartner estimates that blockchain will provide $176 billion in value to businesses by 2025 and a whopping $3.1 trillion by 2030.

How does blockchain actually work?

OK, strap yourself in, because this gets a bit hairy.

A good place to start is the name: a blockchain is an ever-growing set of data blocks. Each block records a collection of transactions — for example, that you now hold the title to the car you bought or that you paid a car dealer to get it.

IBM and Maersk have a partnership to use blockchain to smooth shipping operations. A single blockchain can help exporters, shipping companies, port authorities and importers cooperate.

Maersk

That may sound simple, but here’s a difference between blockchain and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Today, the government stores the information on its own central computer. Blockchains, though, distribute it across a group of computers — maybe even thousands of them. Each has its own copy of the blockchain transactions.

That decentralization and synchronization means no single party controls the data. If one business sells an asset to another, each sees the same data. There’s no need for lawyers at one company to call the other if their accounting databases disagree, because there’s only one accounting database.

Cryptography — mathematical methods of keeping data secret and proving identity — now enters the picture when it comes to recording transactions. Blockchain uses the same cryptographic key technology that keeps hackers from sniffing your credit card number when you type it into an e-commerce website. One digital key ensures only you can enter a transaction to the blockchain involving your assets, and another digital key lets someone else confirm it really was you who added the transaction.

“You can take a network of parties that didn’t have prior experience working with each other — that didn’t have reason for trust — and still find a way to build a transaction record or a history of the truth,” said Brian Behlendorf, executive director for the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project for blockchain software.

Indelible ink

Another fundamental part of the blockchain is called immutability — its resistance to tampering or other changes. To understand it, you need to understand another cryptographic concept called the hash.

Hashing reduces data to a bunch of seemingly random characters — for example, the hash of the phrase “the quick brown fox” is “9ECB36561341D18EB65484E833EFEA61EDC74B84CF5E6AE1B81C63533E25FC8F” using an encoding method called SHA-256. Tweaking just one letter in the phrase produces a completely different hash, and you can’t go backward to figure out the original data from the hash.

With blockchain, hashes are linked together so any minute change is immediately visible, not just for the block housing it but for all other blocks added later. With red flags that big for changes that small, you can see why auditors would get excited.

“It’s like doing the crossword puzzle in ink instead of pencil,” said Marie Wieck, head of IBM’s 1,500-employee blockchain group. “You will see if you change your answer to 3 across from moon to star.”

That’s no fun for embezzlers accustomed to hiding behind dodgy or altered records. Cryptocurrencies can offer anonymity to criminals, which is why it’s been popular for things like the WannaCry ransomware that locked up people’s computers until they paid up. But blockchain makes it easier to find the digital scene of the crime — especially with private blockchains that networks of business partners can set up to cooperate.

Mining madness

The process for locking down a block onto the blockchain so it can’t be changed, at least today, is called mining.

And it’s a problem.

Here’s how it works. When you and others announce transactions to a blockchain network, computers on that network race to solve a complicated mathematical puzzle based on those transactions. A computer that succeeds announces it to the network, and the transaction is accepted if other computers verify that none of the assets in question were already used. That’s what’ll keep you from selling the same concert ticket twice on a blockchain-based ticket market. (Citizen Ticket and Active Ticketing are working on this.)

Cryptocurrency mining computers like this Antminer S9 from Bitmain may look modest, but when stacked by the thousands there’s immense horsepower to make today’s blockchains work.

Bitmain

But today’s mining approach, called “proof of work,” has huge drawbacks.

For one thing, mining works most profitably on powerful computers that consume immense amounts of electrical power. For example, bitcoin mining today uses about as much power as the country of Singapore, enough to power 4.4 million houses, according to cryptocurrency analyst firm Digiconomist. That amount is growing.

For another, transactions are relatively slow. Blockchain transactions can race past transactions that rely on middlemen and reconciliation procedures, like escrow accounts for home purchases or international money transfers. But bitcoin transactions can take about 10 minutes, which is why cryptocurrencies today aren’t useful for just buying something in a store.

There’s lots of work to free blockchain from the problems of transaction speed and energy consumption, though. One idea, “proof of stake,” uses no significant computing power and looks to be the future for the Ethereum Project, which is responsible for the ether cryptocurrency.

If bitcoin was the first generation of blockchain and Ethereum the second, there are a number of people hoping their project will catch on as the third.

Tezos, for example, hopes to build in better governance so its technology can move forward without the troubles bitcoin and Ethereum have suffered, said Tezos CEO Kathleen Breitman, speaking at the Techonomy conference in November — though ironically, Tezos has suffered governance problems of its own with a spat over its own management. Another challenger is Dfinity. Its chief scientist, Dominic Williams, promises transaction speeds 600 times faster than Ethereum, which today is only a bit faster than bitcoin.

Smart contracts

The original blockchain was described in a 2008 bitcoin paper by Satashi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for a person or perhaps group that unified some ideas into the first working cryptocurrency. The idea became reality with the release of open-source bitcoin software in 2009. The bitcoin blockchain now records about 300 million transactions and counting.

But ether has popularized a newer idea called smart contracts. These are programs that run on the Ethereum network and take automated if-this-then-that actions. For example, a smart contract could look for the highest bid in an auction at a certain time and automatically transfer ownership rights to the auction winner.

Bitcoin is based on blockchain technology. The surging price helped generate new interest that’s withstood the recent plunge in bitcoin value.

Yahoo Finance

“When companies sign a contract, it’s enforced by a judge or lawyers in a court,” said Vipul Goyal, an associate professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s cryptography group. “Smart contracts are enforced by cryptographic mechanisms in the code. Enforcing the contract is much cheaper and much faster — almost instant.”

With smart contracts, blockchain could help automate lots of computing operations, including ones humans never touch. Your electric car could wait for favorable electricity prices before deciding when to charge itself from the grid, solar panels or in-home batteries, then the blockchain could handle accounting among all the parties.

Goyal expects blockchain will help automate all sorts of transactions. For example, if it’s used to register your car purchase, that could trigger a cascade of other operations, like transferring the car’s cryptographic keys that let its owner unlock the car.

“This is much more efficient than going to the DMV and filling out paperwork,” he said. “It’s also more secure, because these keys cannot be forged. The seller can’t make copies of the key and try to steal the car.”

The ties that bind

Expect to see blockchain showing up in particular where there are groups of interlinked organizations. That could include one company and its suppliers, or it could be consortiums of competitors and and their suppliers.

For example, IBM has a blockchain partnership with a long list of food suppliers and grocery retailers, including Dole, Kroger, Nestlé, Tyson Foods and Walmart.

The basic attention token, developed by browser maker Brave Software, uses blockchain to oversee online ad payments that can flow among advertisers, publishers and anyone using its browser.

Brave Software

Another blockchain project comes through browser startup Brave, which relies on the technology to change online advertising in a way that improves performance and privacy while giving browser users a cut of the proceeds. Blockchain accounting, using a digital payment mechanism called the basic attention token (BAT), enables direct payments among advertisers, publishers and browser users — for example an advertiser paying a publisher or a reader making a small one-off payment for a news article without buying a subscription.

It’s transparent, so anyone can see exactly how many BATs were transferred and check that Brave didn’t illicitly siphon any off, Brave CEO Brendan Eich said.

But for companies averse to sharing data with competitors, blockchain’s transparency is a difficulty. There are mechanisms for handling the challenge, Behlendorf said.

“In most networks, you have a balance between data that can be kept private, but enough public that you can attest to its veracity,” Behlendorf said.

Another way blockchain could bring many parties together is property records.

There are thousands of counties in the US, each with its own record of who owns what. One startup, Propy, hopes to digitize those records, mirroring the records initially the way title companies do, but also storing them on the blockchain, said CEO Natalia Karayaneva.

If county clerks saw the benefit, they could gradually move to the system — it’s decentralized, not Propy’s own database. Propy hopes to profit by taking a percentage of the sales it facilitates, but at the same time, it also hopes to cut purchasers’ costs — for example by eliminating the thousands of dollars that title insurance can cost.

Slow down there a minute

For something as hyped as blockchain, with millions of dollars raised, you have to expect some backlash. There’s plenty, starting with the criticism that blockchain would have already taken off if it’s so great and concerns that it’s abetting cryptocurrency shenanigans. There’s also the concern that poorly written code could leave a faulty foundation.

Overinflated expectations are nothing new to the tech industry, though, and there are enough serious players engaged that it’s hard to dismiss blockchain as all sizzle and no steak. Expect a winnowing as reality sets in.

“In 2018, we expect to see a number of projects stopped that should never have been started in the first place,” said Forrester analyst Martha Bennett.

She points out plenty of other areas where blockchain falls short of its promises. The immutability comes at a cost, lacking some of the mechanisms for recourse found in today’s slower processes. Companies cooperating to set up their own private blockchains, rather than using public ones like Ethereum, must have some trust already to set up rules for access and governance.

Here’s another hitch: getting everybody on board. For example, Automaker Renault hopes for a blockchain to lock down car maintenance records. After all, who wouldn’t want to know if the used car you’re thinking of buying made lots of trips to the repair shop? It turns out the seller may not share your enthusiasm for that much transparency.

So it’s not perfect. But it doesn’t have to be. Blockchain just has to be better than what we have today. There are a lot of underhanded cryptocurrency dealings, but regulators are now reining in abuses, said Rick Levin, chairman of the financial technology and regulation team at the AmLaw law firm Polsinelli. Likewise, engineers are hammering out improvements to blockchain and big names like Nasdaq and Goldman Sachs are embracing it.

“I don’t think it’s just going to vanish,” Levin said. “There’s too much energy behind this.”

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/blockchain-explained-builds-trust-when-you-need-it-most/

St-Georges Eco-Mining $SX.ca $SXOOF Announces Amendment to the Letter of Intent Between its Subsidiary #ZeU Crypto Networks Inc. and Tiande $HIVE.ca $BLOC.ca $CODE.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:17 AM on Thursday, February 8th, 2018

  • Letter of intent dated January 12, 2018 relating to an asset acquisition between SX’s subsidiary, ZeU CLrypto Networks Inc. and Qingdao Tiande Blockchain Information Technology Co. Ltd. has been amended
  • Proposed acquisition is subject to a number of terms and conditions, including but not limited to, the completion of a concurrent financing not less than $10,000,000 and up to $30,000,000 that can be done in tranches and the receipt of all necessary regulatory, corporate and third party approvals

Montreal, February 8, 2018 / St-Georges Eco-Mining Corp. (CSE: SX) (OTC: SXOOF) (FSE: 85G1) announced today that its previously announced letter of intent dated January 12, 2018 relating to an asset acquisition between SX’s subsidiary, ZeU Crypto Networks Inc. and Qingdao Tiande Blockchain Information Technology Co. Ltd. has been amended. The general terms of the LOI, which referred to Qingdao Tiande Technologies Limited instead of Qingdao, were previously announced by press release dated January 14, 2018.

ZeU, Qingdao and Beijing Tiande Technologies Inc. (“Beijing” and collectively with Qingdao, “Tiande”) entered into the amendment to the LOI (the “Amendment”), which has extended the date by which the parties will conclude the execution of a definitive agreement on or around February 19, 2018 or such later date as may be mutually agreed upon by the parties. The proposed acquisition is subject to a number of terms and conditions, including but not limited to, the completion of a concurrent financing not less than $10,000,000 and up to $30,000,000 that can be done in tranches and the receipt of all necessary regulatory, corporate and third party approvals.

The Amendment also revised the consideration structure, such that the proposed Acquisition will now be settled through the issuance of 75,000,000 common shares of ZeU (each a “Share”) and 75,000,000 Share purchase warrants (each a “Warrant”) on Closing and an additional 75,000,000 Shares after the issuance of the 20th patent derived from the intellectual property and patent application acquired from Tiande. Each Warrant will be exercisable at a price of CND$1.00 for a period of three (3) years following the date ZeU completes a transaction pursuant to which its Shares will either be listed on a recognized stock exchange in North America, or will be exchanged for common shares of a reporting issuer listed on a recognized stock exchange in North America.

Frank Dumas, President & CEO of St-Georges and of ZeU Crypto Networks commented: “The Acquisition required an extensive due diligence effort and has its own particular challenges. We are happy with the current progress and we can now see the finish line ahead of us. Some elements that are ‘sensitive’ to third party sovereign entities increased the expected workload. The current proposal should allow Tiande to operate in China as an exclusive partner to ZeU, giving ZeU the exclusive ownership and right to develop and commercialize the technologies outside of China and would also call for the establishment of a “Canadian Intellectual Property (IP) Container” and a “Chinese Intellectual Property (IP) Container” allowing for a “Chinese Source Code” to be exclusively used in China without any possibility for North American oversight. In order to facilitate the due diligence requirement, Tiande is giving access to its Sandbox installation to third parties interested in running live tests with the ZeU protocol. Institutions that are considering subscribing to the current financing effort are welcome to use the Sandbox platform.”

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

“Frank Dumas”

FRANK DUMAS, PRESIDENT & CEO

About St-Georges

St-Georges is developing new technologies to solve the some of the most common environmental problems in the mining industry.

The Company controls directly or indirectly, through rights of first refusal, all of the active mineral tenures in Iceland. It also explores for nickel on the Julie Nickel Project & for industrial minerals on Quebec’s North Shore and for lithium and rare metals in Northern Quebec and in the Abitibi region. Headquartered in Montreal, St-Georges’ stock is listed on the CSE under the symbol SX, on the US OTC under the Symbol SXOOF and on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol 85G1.

The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or the accuracy of the contents of this release.

Compliance and medias contact: 514.295.9878

5 #Blockchain Opportunities No Company Can Afford To Miss $SX $SX.ca $IDK.ca $AAO.ca #Blockstation

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 12:56 PM on Wednesday, February 7th, 2018
  • blockchain phenomenon appears to be gathering pace as we head into 2018
  • With big announcements from the likes of Kodak and Microsoft, it’s clear that there are opportunities beyond finance where it has already taken a foothold

Bernard Marr , Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

The blockchain phenomenon appears to be gathering pace as we head into 2018. With big announcements from the likes of Kodak and Microsoft, it’s clear that there are opportunities beyond finance where it has already taken a foothold.

But what are the opportunities for your business? To help start to answer that question I have come up with five areas of activity where a move to distributed, encrypted record keeping could provide a competitive edge.

Reducing costs

Banks and other financial institutions such as insurers have already moved to investigate and adopt blockchain technology. Of course for them it may be a case of survival as the concept is so disruptive to their traditional business model, the danger is that if they don’t act, someone else will.

Banks and credit card companies charge around $2 trillion a year for providing middle-man services such as clearing payments and fraud-checking. Moving to blockchain systems can effectively automate much of this, bringing down costs.

But the characteristics of blockchain which make it so transformative in finance – the transparency, reduced need for trust, and robust, immutable structure of data – can help reduce financial burdens involved with making and recording transactions in many other industries, too.

If centralized, unwieldy and unsecure ledgering and inventory systems can be replaced with a streamlined, distributed blockchain system for record keeping, then there will be reduced need for middle-man functions such as administration and compliance-checking of those records.

Storing data on a blockchain also means it is more reliable. If this data is then being used in your business analytics (e.g. machine data) it is more likely to be accurate and yield insights which will align with real-world objectives.

Increasing traceability

In the food industry there is a huge demand for provenance. Demonstrating that safety and welfare standards have been met at every point of the supply chain is hugely important, for legal and business reasons.

Blockchain has been given rise to the potential of every individual ingredient or product effectively receiving its own “digital passport”, meaning its origin and journey can be traced at any stage of the process.

Traditionally these records will have been kept by a number of different organizations – from growers to pickers, packagers, retailers and deliverer – in a centralized fashion. This leaves multiple points of potential failure, such as data loss, and possibly invites fraudulent activity.

Blockchain has also been enthusiastically adopted by the diamond industry – where provenance is also paramount. UK-based Everledger has recorded details of more than 1.6 million of them on a blockchain, storing data such as their size, color and certificate number. High resolution imagery is used which means diamonds can still be matched to their “digital twins” on the blockchain, even if the unique identifying numbers which are invisibly etched into the stones are removed. It plans to begin doing the same with vintage wine in the near future.

Improving customer experience

Loyalty and reward programs encourage repeat custom and also give access to invaluable insights into buying habits and trends. Traditionally the data from these programs is collated centrally rewards are issued in arrears, after administration and processing.

Moving to a blockchain based system enables reward points to be calculated and issued at the point they are earned. This not only speeds things up, it potentially lets customers use the value in their purchases to receive immediate discounts.

Several startups, such as Qiibee and Loyall, have brought blockchain-based loyalty cards to the market, with the idea that it will make it easier for customers to transfer and trade the value in their freebie vouchers across different retailers.  This could lead to reward and loyalty exchanges, where customers can choose to invest their earned value in what they need right now, rather than what they have previously spent money on. Overall this will lead to happier and more satisfied customers.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/02/07/5-blockchain-opportunities-no-company-can-afford-to-miss/#178c47b71a83

Startup Raises $20 Million to Build ‘#YouTube on the #Blockchain’ $SX $SX.ca $IDK.ca #AAO.ca #Blockstation

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 9:12 AM on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018
  • Silicon Valley startup Lino is preparing to take on YouTube with a decentralized, collectively-owned video content distribution system
  • Purports to cut out the middleman to more fairly compensate content creators
Feb 6, 2018 at 02:00 UTC

NEWS

Silicon Valley startup Lino is preparing to take on YouTube with a decentralized, collectively-owned video content distribution system that purports to cut out the middleman to more fairly compensate content creators.

The company, which faces competition from Streamspace, Flixxo, Viuly and Stream, all of which are developing similar concepts, received a $20 million vote of confidence from prominent Chinese seed investor Zhenfund during a private token sale, it announced today.

Explaining the company’s mission, its website says that YouTube holds “enormous power” over creators and focuses on maximizing profit, which can bring it into conflict with its actual creators.

The site continues:

“The solution is to create a collectively owned, decentralized means of distribution, which ensures all content value is directly distributed to content creators and affiliated contributors without going through a privately owned entity as a middleman.”

The company’s LINO tokens will operate as the system’s currency and will be earned by creating and sharing content, as well as from the development of infrastructure and applications on top of the Lino blockchain. In other words, users who run nodes to host content will earn tokens, as will the content creators, according to a Medium post by the group.

“We believe in decentralized, peer-to-peer [content delivery networks (CDN)], but current projects seem not ready for stability and costs,” Lino’s website states.

Instead, it seeks to provide a decentralized CDN through an auction system, which the founders believe will maintain a high standard of work on the platform, according to TechCrunch.

The value of the content will be determined by human engagement with it, which Lino argues will prevent fraud and bots from manipulating the system. Transactions will be free of charge. The “auction system” is a reflection of that engagement – users with more interesting or novel content will receive more of a reward than those who produce less interesting content.

Lino chief executive Wilson Wei told TechCrunch that he expected content creators to garner three to five times the profits they make on YouTube or its competitor site, Twitch.

While the outcome of Lino’s project remains to be seen – the product will launch later this year – Wei expressed confidence in its underlying design. He told TechCrunch:

“The whole content economy is huge, but we believe in the decentralized organization concept. Why don’t we do it and starting the whole revolution starting with video content?”

Image via Shutterstock

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/lino-raises-20-million-youtube-fight/

#Blockchain: A Very Short History Of #Ethereum Everyone Should Read $SX $SX.ca $IDK.ca #Blockstation $AAO.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 12:37 PM on Friday, February 2nd, 2018
  • Even those who are not familiar with blockchain are likely to have heard about Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency and payment system that uses the technology.
  • Another platform called Ethereum, that also uses blockchain, is predicted by some experts to overtake Bitcoin this year.

Bernard Marr , Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

AdobeStock

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is an open-source, public service that uses blockchain technology to facilitate smart contracts and cryptocurrency trading securely without a third party. There are two accounts available through Ethereum: externally owned accounts (controlled by private keys influenced by human users) and contract accounts. Ethereum allows developers to deploy all kinds of decentralized apps. Even though Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency, it’s Ethereum’s aggressive growth that have many speculating it will soon overtake Bitcoin in usage.

How is Ethereum different than Bitcoin?

While there are many similarities between Ethereum and Bitcoin, there are also significant differences. Here are a few:

  • Bitcoin trades in cryptocurrency, while Ethereum offers several methods of exchange including cryptocurrency (Ethereum’s is called Ether), smart contracts and the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
  • They are based on different security protocols: Ethereum uses a ‘proof of stake’ system as opposed the ‘proof of work’ system used by Bitcoin.
  • Bitcoin allows only public (permissionless or censor-proof) transactions to take place; Ethereum allows both permissioned and permissionless transactions.
  • The average block time for Ethereum is significantly less than Bitcoin’s; 12 seconds versus 10 minutes. This translates into more block confirmations which allows Ethereum’s miners to complete more blocks and receive more Ether.
  • It is estimated that by 2021 only half of the Ether coins will be mined (a supply of more than 90 million tokens), but the majority of Bitcoins already have been mined (its supply is capped at 21 million).
  • For Bitcoin, the computers (called miners) running the platform and verifying the transactions receive rewards. Basically, the first computer that solves each new block gets bitcoins (or a fraction of one) as a reward. Ethereum does not offer block rewards and instead allows miners to take a transaction fee.

What are the advantages of Ethereum?

Proponents of Ethereum believe its main advantage over Bitcoin is that it allows individuals and companies to do much more than just transfer money between entities leading Bloomberg to write it’s “the hottest platform in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchains” and companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Intel and Microsoft to invest in it.

Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin said, “I thought [those in the Bitcoin community] weren’t approaching the problem in the right way. I thought they were going after individual applications; they were trying to kind of explicitly support each [use case] in a sort of Swiss Army knife protocol.”

He envisioned a different way.

Buterin was introduced and intrigued by blockchain technology when he got involved in Bitcoin as a 17-year-old programmer in 2011 and co-founded Bitcoin Magazine. He started to imagine a platform that went beyond the financial use cases allowed by Bitcoin and released a white paper in 2013 describing what would ultimately become Ethereum using a general scripting language.

The key differentiator from Bitcoin was the platform’s ability to trade more than just cryptocurrency.

In 2014, Buterin and the other co-founders of Ethereum launched a crowdsourcing campaign where they sold participants Ether (Ethereum tokens) to get their vision off the ground and raised more than $18 million. The first live release of Ethereum known as Frontier was launched in 2015. Since then, the platform has grown rapidly and today there are hundreds of developers involved.

Ultimately, Buterin hopes Ethereum will be the solution for all use cases of blockchain that don’t have a specialized system to turn to.

Ethereum is still experiencing growing pains and suffers from some of the same issues that Bitcoin does primarily in its scalability. In 2016, $50 million in Ether was stolen by an anonymous hacker which resulted in questions about the platform’s security. This caused a split within the Ethereum community and it broke off into two blockchains: Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).

There have been dramatic fluctuations in the price of Ether, but the Ethereum currency grew more than 13,000 percent in 2017. This tremendous growth is attractive to many investors, but the volatility makes other investors cautious.

It’s still a very young platform, but its potential and applications could be limitless. Ethereum’s infrastructure was enhanced over the last few years when it was challenged with security issues and since it’s less monopolistic than Bitcoin, it is more open to reform measures that might ultimately make it a superior solution to Bitcoin.

Bernard Marr is a best-selling author & keynote speaker on business, technology and big data. His new book is Data Strategy. To read his future posts simply join his network here.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/02/02/blockchain-a-very-short-history-of-ethereum-everyone-should-read/2/#26dbb6664abc

#Blockchain Could Revolutionize the World of Supply Chain Management $SX $SX.ca $IDK.ca $AAO.ca #Blockstation

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 4:58 PM on Thursday, February 1st, 2018
  • Blockchain is not theoretical.
  • Companies are currently piloting the technology and getting ready for deployment

Blockchain, the technology underlying bitcoin, has some challenges to overcome. But the potential applications are so compelling, supply chain managers should quickly learn more about it and begin to conceptualize how it can be applied to their businesses.

I was recently at a Detroit Tigers game with my friend George. I met him in graduate school where it quickly became apparent that he was much smarter than me. Ever since, I have been looking over his shoulder, literally and figuratively, to learn something new. This night in Detroit was no different. George was glued to what appeared to be a stock price chart on his iPhone. “What are you looking at?” I asked. “Have you heard of bitcoin? I bought one and I am looking at its price history.” George then attempted to explain to me what bitcoin is. “It’s a digitally enabled cryptocurrency that gives people the ability to exchange anything of value.” Trying to hide my blank stare of confusion, I replied, “Oh, so how are your wife and kids?” Nevertheless, bitcoin was now on my radar.

After listening to people talk about the topic on NPR and CNBC, the one conclusion I came to is that no one really understands bitcoin or it’s potential. Then I watched an interview with the CEO of a company called Ethereum, who said, “Bitcoin will not be the big game changer to our economy. It is the underlying technology [blockchain] that will really change how commerce is done.” When asked which industry sectors could benefit the most from blockchain, the CEO responded, “supply chain management.” Now I was really paying attention.

What is Blockchain?

Twenty years ago, people had to manually balance their checkbooks. Yes, I’m middle-aged, but stay with me. We recorded debits and credits of money coming in and going out of our checking accounts to calculate our available cash balance. Our checkbooks were our personal financial ledgers. Then there was the advent of online banking through which my wife and I could have a joint checking account. My personal financial ledger, once exclusive to me, had now become a distributed ledger made accessible to two people. We both had the ability to view and manage each other’s financial activity with full transparency and accountability, for better or worse. Blockchain is a joint checking account on anabolic steroids. It is a digital distributed ledger that can be used by multiple business parties to conduct financial transactions, trace product movement, record business activities and/or process legal documentation in a secure and recordable environment.

According to The Economist magazine, the first distributed blockchain was developed by an anonymous person or group referred to as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. It was implemented the following year as the underlying technology for the digital currency bitcoin, where it functions as a public ledger for all transactions. The technology has a strange history and somewhat esoteric application, so let’s look at a more practical example to understand how it works.

How Does Blockchain Work?

The process for shipping a 40-foot container of sneakers from Shanghai to Seattle is not much different than it was 50 years ago. It is a complex endeavor that involves importers, exporters, freight forwarders, clearing agents, shipping lines, haulage companies, intermodal operators, surveyors, banks and insurance brokers. These stakeholders are collectively responsible for processing roughly 55 documents such as commercial invoices, packing lists, certificates of origin, shipping instructions, bills of lading, cargo inspection certificates, customs clearance documents and freight invoices. The process is manual, paper-based and siloed within each stakeholder organization, resulting in hundreds of communication events for a single container.

Using blockchain technology, the previously mentioned stakeholders can now create their own digital ledger and greatly reduce the amount of time and labor to process container shipments. For example, the sneaker manufacturer, a pre-verified participant or signatory in the digital ledger, uploads the packing list, commercial invoice and certificate of origin. That transaction is encrypted with a unique 60 character alpha-numeric code, effectively fingerprinting the transaction, which is then time-stamped. This is referred to as a “block.”  Next, Chinese customs (also a pre-verified participant) provides export approval on the documentation, which is posted as a separate transaction or block, with its own 60-character encryption, then time-stamped and linked to the exporter’s document upload. The blockchain begins to form. Simultaneously, the importer will upload their import license, delivery instructions and necessary clearances activating another block that is encrypted, time-stamped and linked to the other transactions. When the freight forwarder uploads the House Bill of Lading (HBL), marine insurance and cargo inspection certificates, there is full visibility to the other documents already uploaded, the entities that authorized them and when those authorizations took place. Clearing agents, shipping lines, haulers, intermodal operators and surveyors all submit their documentation and approvals through the same process. The end results are 1) a secure, centralized record of trust, which provides end-to-end visibility of the container’s journey 2) demonstrable costs savings through the elimination of manual processing, duplicative communication and organizational delays.

Smart Contracts

The example provided above would involve the use of “smart contracts,” a technology feature enabled by a blockchain. Smart contracts provide an automated escrow environment in which they can be executed without human interaction. However, since they are not widely used, their legal adoption is still in question.

Who is Using Blockchain?

Blockchain is not theoretical. Companies are currently piloting the technology and getting ready for deployment. Forbes recently reported on the best known blockchain pilot program conducted by Maersk and IBM. The program focused on creating a distributed ledger to create a single electronic environment where all the documentation related to a shipment could be stored. Much like the example earlier described. The Wall Street Journal recently reported a pilot program conducted by Cargill, the agricultural conglomerate, which used blockchain to track individual turkeys from four farms in Texas to Cargill’s processing lines and eventually to grocery stores. The Harvard Business Review reported that Walmart has a pilot program to track the movement of pork in China using blockchain technology. Mining giant BHP Billiton is also using the technology to track mineral analysis done by outside vendors. Everledger, a company that helps companies track the provenance of diamonds, is building blockchain applications to track the movement of diamonds from mines to jewelry stores.

Challenges of Blockchain

Despite the bullish sentiment regarding the potential benefits of blockchain, the technology has some big obstacles to overcome. For starters, how will the technology be governed? In a perfect world, there would be a public blockchain, that no governing body controls, in which corporate transactions would be recorded in one distributed ledger and protected through encryption. This is probably not realistic. Michael J. Casey, a senior advisor from MIT stated, “Inevitably, private closed ledgers run by a consortium of companies will also arise, as their members seek to protect market share and profits.” Currently, there are over 20 alternative blockchains, distributed ledgers and/or blockchain-inspired software products being developed and marketed.

Casey also added that another potential impediment is international law. Moving a 40-foot container from Shanghai to Seattle is not only a complex endeavor from an administrative and logistical perspective, it involves a myriad of regulatory and legal hurdles, which dictate responsibility for freight moving through various jurisdictions. Revising the historical laws and unifying the stakeholder organizations governed by those laws through a distributed ledger technology such as blockchain will be monumental. Consequently, some type of global administrator will have to be appointed to govern the adoption of this technology if it is to take hold in a manner comparable to the internet.

Next Steps for Supply Chain Managers

Technology moves fast and slow at the same time. When the internet was becoming popular in the early 1990’s, we had more search engine options than we could handle with Alta Vista, Yahoo, Netscape, AOL, Google and The Big Hub. It was not until the early 2000’s that Google was becoming the clear front runner. During this same time frame, companies such as SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft and Siebel were introducing enterprise resource planning systems. Moreover, Red Prairie, i2 Technologies, Manhattan Associates and Manugistics were introducing warehouse management and transportation management systems. Seventeen years later companies are still sunsetting legacy systems and adopting these technologies for the first time. As a result, it is tempting to take a “wait and see” approach for blockchain adoption. However, the potential applications for the technology are so compelling, supply chain managers should be quick to learn more about it and begin to conceptualize how it can be applied to their businesses. For example, if you are an international importer or exporter, the distributed ledger and smart contract technologies are immediate opportunity areas. Pick a [low complexity] product category and map out the end-to-end supply chain from a physical, IT, financial and administrative perspective. Include your trading partners to participate in the process. Reach out to organizations that are building blockchains for commercial use, such as Ethereum, Chain.com, Intel and Monax, and begin to conceptualize the construct of a pilot program. This is an exciting technology for the supply chain and I encourage you to be on the forefront of realizing the benefits.

Resource Link:
Tompkins International

 

ThreeD Capital $IDK.ca Adds Dr. Eric Ting-Kuei Chou To Advisory Board $HIVE.ca $CODE.ca $BLOC.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:52 AM on Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Threed capital

  • Announced today the addition of Dr. Eric Ting-Kuei Chou to its Advisory Board.
  • Dr. Chou is a Vice-President and the Head of Research and Development at Goldspot Discoveries Inc.

TORONTO, Feb. 01, 2018 — ThreeD Capital Inc. (the “Company”) (CSE:IDK), a Canadian-based venture capital firm focused on investments in promising, early stage companies and ICOs with disruptive capabilities, is pleased to announce today the addition of Dr. Eric Ting-Kuei Chou to its Advisory Board.

Dr. Chou is a Vice-President and the Head of Research and Development at Goldspot Discoveries Inc., a technology/investment company that focuses on improving mineral exploration targeting through machine learning/AI.  He specializes in the field of applied geophysics, computational science, data science, and machine learning.  Dr. Chou received his PhD in Mineral Engineering from the École Polytechnique de Montreal and holds a Master’s in Applied Science from the same engineering school.

Dr. Chou possesses over 6 years of university teaching experience at the rank of a lecturer in the field of mathematics and applied geophysics. Dr. Chou obtained his B.Sc. in Physics from McGill University. Dr. Chou has accumulated over 7 years of experience working with public and private sectors analyzing data sets associated with industrial activities. Prior to joining Goldspot, he was a research associate working on various cutting-edge technology projects and he has also served in the Canadian Army Reserve as a Signal Officer.

About ThreeD Capital Inc.

ThreeD is a publicly-traded Canadian-based venture capital firm focused on opportunistic investments in companies in the Junior Resources, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain sectors.  ThreeD seeks to invest in early stage, promising companies and ICOs where it may be the lead investor and can additionally provide investees with advisory services, mentoring and access to the Company’s ecosystem.

For further information:
Gerry Feldman, CPA, CA
Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary
Feldman@threedcap.com
Phone: 416-606-7655

#Crypto Betting Platform On #Ethereum #Blockchain Increases Player Winning Chances #Esports $GMBL $SX $SX.ca $SXOOF $IDK.ca $AAO.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 2:40 PM on Monday, January 29th, 2018

  • Blockchain technology, a trump card when betting on sports
  • Sizeable profit margins managed autonomously

There’s no secret that betting of sports is stimulating, exciting, and ultimately, fun. It redefines gambling because people who become players participate in a contest with realistic winning chances. However, the risks associated with sports betting are often not worth the investment. With Blockchain technology transactions are immutable, meaning lower risks and improved contractual performance.

ESports is a profitable industry because it provides entertainment, gambling and technology in a single package. However, traditional sports betting platforms have flaws and cannot provide seamless experiences. A new project built on the Ethereum Blockchain technology, XWIN CryptoBet, aims to provide a better, more convenient betting space where all transactions and activities are performed seamlessly and transparently. The mission and vision is to leverage smart contract accounts that guarantee secure betting and bookmaking.

Blockchain technology, a trump card when betting on sports

Decentralization is the Blockchain’s main trump card that can prove extremely useful when engaging in sports betting activities. The team behind XWIN CryptoBet are experienced CEOs, entrepreneurs, business founders and sports enthusiasts that work together to disrupt the sports betting industry with an improved business model targeted at skilled bookmakers and avid players. Key benefits include full confidentiality, cross-border betting, information security, transparent transactions due to the association with the Ethereum smart contract model.

XWIN CryptoBet makes betting on sports an exciting but secure activity. The platform’s decentralized nature makes activities on the platform accessible, safer and more transparent. Users are in full control of their investment, and since the project is developed on Ethereum, the smart contract accounts offer them availability 24/7 from any smart device on the market.

Sizeable profit margins managed autonomously

Bookmaking has always seemed an interesting domain to avid investors and entrepreneurs searching for entertainment. XWIN provides stable margins between six and 20 percent. To eliminate risk, the XWIN token will be used to perform all types of transactions on the platform. Winnings made by both players and bookmakers are deposited into the holders’ smart contract account, and 80 percent of the tokens made available are intended for players, aspiring bookmakers and investors.

Holders of XWIN tokens are free to sell off or gamble their XWINs whenever they see fit on the platform. As far as the free exchange pricing is concerned, it all depends on supply and demand, as well as commission payments and token nominal price.

Players and better access on the XWIN platform

Betters and players that choose to join XWIN CryptoBet are fully protected from common risks associated with traditional eSports platforms such as substitution of results, blocking, account thefts, non-payment winnings, and more. Upon registration and purchase of XWIN tokens, betters and players benefit from guaranteed payments from the general guarantee fund, ID protection, convenience and accessibility, low fees, cross-platform betting and multi-wallet platform ID.

All funds are protected by the Blockchain-based system on Ethereum and are stored in the XWIN’s smart contract DAO account. As far as the economic model is concerned, the margin varies between six and 20 percent of the betting rate. All funds are managed individually, and out of an overall margin of 100 percent, 25 percent is reserved for player payments.

Thus far, XWIN CryptoBet has managed to raise $2.3 mln in the first stage of its token open sale. With a thriving community of nearly 7,000 members, the ICO rewards investors and players 10 percent for their contribution to the project by Jan. 23.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent the views of NewsBTC or any of its team members. NewsBTC is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied in Sponsored Stories/Press Releases such as this one.

Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/2018/01/24/xwin-blockchain-betting-platform/