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INTERVIEW: Augusta Industries $ Discusses Disposition of FOX-TEK Canada Inc. $ $ $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:27 AM on Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Here Are 10 Industries #Blockchain Is Likely To Disrupt $SX $ $SXOOF $ $ $ $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:08 AM on Monday, July 16th, 2018
  • In simplest terms, blockchain refers to a decentralized database.
  • If you think of a traditional database like a spreadsheet, running on a single computer, blockchain distributes that so the spreadsheet runs on millions and millions of computers.
  • Also uses state of the art cryptography, so that once information goes in, it is virtually impossible to get it out again without the original passcode or key

You’ve probably heard that blockchain technology is going to revolutionize… fill in the blank. But what actually is it and how is it going to disrupt these industries?

Adobe StockAdobe Stock

In simplest terms, blockchain refers to a decentralized database. If you think of a traditional database like a spreadsheet, running on a single computer, blockchain distributes that so the spreadsheet runs on millions and millions of computers. It also uses state of the art cryptography, so that once information goes in, it is virtually impossible to get it out again without the original passcode or key.

The real disruption here is that trust is established through collaboration and code, rather than a central authority. So you no longer need a bank to make a money transfer around the world. You no longer need an escrow account to buy a home, or a real estate agent to facilitate the transaction. You no longer need a company or central authority to facilitate a transaction of any kind.  That is revolutionary and has the potential to revolutionize nearly every industry. But here are some of the most likely:


When the average person hears the word “blockchain,” they probably think “Bitcoin,” and so it’s no surprise that banking tops our list. Blockchain would be a more secure way to store banking records, and a faster, cheaper way of transferring money through the decentralization provided by blockchain. Plus, there’s minimal risk of a run on a blockchain system or a collapse, as there’s no central “vault.” It’s as though each person’s money has its own private vault that no one else can access.


Some of the biggest challenges in healthcare could be solved by a blockchain system allowing all doctors and healthcare providers to access your health records securely and easily. Unlike the days of paper records, or even today when digital health records can be created and stored in a myriad of different systems, your health records could be singular, complete, and travel with you from birth to death, regardless of how many times you change doctors or insurance systems. Additionally, your health information could be accessed immediately, at any time, potentially offering doctors lifesaving information in an emergency.


Rigged votes and “voting irregularities” could be a thing of the past, as could the threat of rival governments or terrorist organizations hacking the vote. Voting systems secured with blockchain technology would be completely unhackable. From voter registrations to verifying identity to tallying votes, the system would be indisputable. Gone would be the days of recounts and “hanging chads.”

Real Estate

If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, you know how much paperwork is involved. But blockchain systems could be used to simplify the process and eliminate escrow altogether. Smart contracts could be designed that only execute when certain conditions are met, including funding. Besides, all these various documents could be stored securely. A startup called Deedcoin is offering cryptocurrency powered transactions that decrease the commission rate for the agent to as little as 1 percent.

Legal Industry

Storing and retrieving documents as well as verifying their provenance are key functions of the legal industry. With blockchain technologies, questions over the legality of wills or other legal documents could be eliminated by securely storing and verifying documents. Also, questions of digital inheritance, especially with the rise of cryptocurrencies, can be eliminated with blockchain secured documents.


The whole basis of blockchain is to create decentralized and ultimately secure ways of storing, verifying, and encrypting data, so naturally, security is going to feel the force of this new technology. Decentralized data storage in the cloud eliminates many of the problems of data hacks we’ve seen major players dealing with over the last few years. Advanced cryptography based on blockchain technologies can create virtually unhackable data encryption.Government

Aside from voting systems, blockchain technologies could be used to help reduce and eliminate bureaucratic red tape and corruption in government agencies. For example, welfare, disability, veterans and unemployment benefits could be more easily verified and distributed, eliminating fraud and waste. Smart contracts could ensure that government funds are only released when certain conditions are met whether to contractors or foreign governments in the form of aid. And security, efficiency, and transparency in government functions could be increased across the board.

Rentals and Ride Sharing

It seems like startups like Airbnb and Uber have already disrupted these markets, but blockchain could create true peer-to-peer networks for rentals and sharing of goods and services that would eliminate the need for the middle-man company, which naturally takes a cut of the fee.  In fact, there’s no reason these peer-to-peer networks couldn’t expand to renting and borrowing just about anything from books to tools to furniture and beyond.

Charities and Aid Organizations

Many people want to donate to charity organizations, but worry about whether their money will actually reach the intended recipients. Charities can create trust through smart contracts and online reputation management systems that can help donors trust that their money is going to the specified people and places. And the U.N.’s World Food Programme is implementing a blockchain based system that allows refugees to get food with an iris scan, instead of relying on cash, credit, or vouchers, all of which can be stolen.


As the power of online and distance learning grows, so does the need for an independent way of verifying students’ transcripts and educational records. A blockchain based system could serve almost as a notary for educational records, creating a way for employers and other educational institutions to access secure records and transcripts. In fact, it could also help universities and other large institutions collaborate. No longer would a student have to wait for the course she wants to be offered at Harvard if Oxford is offering it online; her grades and records would be easily and instantly transferable.

These are just some of the industries that are likely to see significant disruption from blockchain technology. What opportunity do you see for blockchain to disrupt and improve your industry?

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.


3 Ways #Blockchain Is Already Delivering Real-world Results $ $SX $ $SXOOF $ $ $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 10:39 AM on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018
  • Most people are familiar with blockchain technology in relation to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
  • The two are inextricably linked in the minds of everyday people. It’s fair to say that the bitcoin market has flourished in recent years, with the price of bitcoin peaking at nearly US$20,000 in December 2017.

By Ben Beard

However, cryptocurrency is a volatile commodity as the recent US$17 billion market collapse illustrates all too well. The cryptocurrency market had seemed more stable in recent months, but it was the calm before the storm, and the hack of South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange triggered a huge market decline as investors sought to offload their crypto assets.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies notwithstanding, blockchain is, nevertheless, an exciting technology. It has the power to change the world as we know it, in many exciting areas.

Distributed ledger technology is poised to change the world. Blockchain, as it’s better known, is being rolled out over numerous industries. Blockchain technology is scalable. It can be used to create a worldwide ledger, with data stored on thousands of servers. This information is accessible to everyone, in real-time. The blockchain is virtually incorruptible. Every single transaction is given a timestamp that can’t be altered. It’s already having an impact on industries where efficiency matters the most.

The following three sectors are where blockchain is already having a major ripple effect.


Blockchain technology is changing the face of modern logistics. Fifty years ago, very few businesses traded on a global scale. Today, international trade is not just for Fortune 500 businesses. It’s now easier than ever to unlock your business’s global potential thanks to cloud technology, innovative fintech, and e-commerce solutions. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) now has 340 million online buyers in Europe alone. It’s clear that trading online is more profitable than ever, but no matter what niche you are in, you have to take care of your bottom line.

This is where blockchain comes in. Blockchain makes the logistics of transporting goods from A to B more efficient. Existing technology can already track shipments, but this data is vulnerable to misinterpretation and tampering. Blockchain applications solve the problem of authenticity, adding a layer of accountability and trust to global logistics. Companies save money and customers enjoy a better service. It’s a win-win for everyone.


Healthcare is already benefitting from blockchain technology, especially in pharma and biotech, but it has the potential to do so much more. Healthcare generates a huge amount of data. There are approximately 325 million US citizens with medical records. Then we have medical research, assorted information, and a host of other data. It’s hard to keep track of all this data, so the system has become incredibly cluttered over the years.

Blockchain is changing the face of modern healthcare, by offering a safe and secure third-party mechanism for storing data. 86.9% of physicians now use electronic medical records, but the system is still fragmented, and mistakes cost lives. Blockchain has the potential to unify the EMR system, making data more accessible and easier to track across different platforms. The blockchain is also a solution to the problem of reconciliation and fraud within a bloated healthcare system. It’s impossible to alter data in the blockchain, which in the long-term, should save money and improve patient care.


Finance is probably the best-known application for blockchain technology since most people associate it with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, bitcoin and blockchain are not the same thing. Bitcoin transactions are stored on the distributed ledger, but bitcoin blockchain is different to that used in other applications. However, whilst Bitcoin is still viewed with suspicion by governments and financial institutions, the underlying blockchain technology is being adapted to revolutionize the banking sector.

In 2016, Goldman Sachs estimated that blockchain technology could potentially save them $6 billion a year by 2020, by eliminating additional costs. They also predicted that blockchain would reduce the number of errors and fraudulent transactions, thus saving even more money.

Banks traditionally use secure databases for transactions. Banks need to establish a secure connection to send and receive money, which is time-consuming and expensive. Blockchain technology allows transactions to happen instantly, regardless of the location. Global payments are cleared within seconds, instead of days. IBM (NYSE:IBM) is already working in blockchain global payment solutions, so it’s only a matter of time before global currency transactions move on to the blockchain.

Blockchain technology is still in its infancy, so we have yet to see what distributed ledger tech is truly capable of.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Technology for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ben Beard, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in contributed article. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.


#Blockchain Data Storage Could Soon Be The New Standard $SX $ $SXOOF $ $ $ $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:23 AM on Monday, June 25th, 2018
  • With growing concerns over data privacy and security, users are calling for companies to find better ways of handling sensitive information
  • Blockchain data storage has the potential to offer much-improved security solutions compared to traditional databases used today

Why Move to Blockchain Data Storage?

Data breaches have been a pressing issue for many tech companies over the past few decades. With an increasing amount of sensitive data stored on company databases, we have continued to see new hacks affecting a wide range of industries, leaving user data exposed. As a result, hackers have acquired information that has led to widespread identity theft, illegal data sells on the dark web, and other major concerns.

For example, the 2017 Equifax hack exposed tax ID and driver’s license details of 145.5 million people. In 2018, the issue only appears to be getting worse. Dixons Carphone reported that 7 million individuals had been affected by a hack that started in July 2017 but wasn’t discovered until June 2018.

In many cases, consumers not only have to be worried about the possibilities of such hacks but also the fact that companies are often unaware of the issues for months or even years.

While the implementation of GDPR does help make sure that more companies comply with data privacy standards, better security is also a big factor that companies need to research and implement.


Potential Concerns for Blockchain

Since data has traditionally been stored on centralized databases, it has become more likely that any given hack will lead to a large amount of data exposure for a large number of users.

Despite the promises of blockchain to provide better security, it’s still important to consider some of the risks of blockchain implementation. Contrary to popular belief, the blockchain is indeed hackable. Sybil attacks, routing attacks, and DDoS attacks all present major security challenges for emerging blockchain projects.

For PoW consensus algorithm projects, 51% attacks executed by miners on blockchain networks have proven to cause big security issues for a number of projects. The Verge, and other projects, for example, have faced regular 51% attacks.

The fact that blockchain technology is still relatively new also means that the teams in charge of securing data have to consider a variety of possible (oftentimes theoretical) security scenarios. They then must design sophisticated solutions to prevent data breaches from occurring. In several cases, projects have had to make reactive changes to their security measures instead of being more proactive in preventing threats.

Scalability Needs Improvement

While security is a major concern, it’s not the only factor for companies and users to think about. Even with the advent of decentralized blockchains, there are still a lot of developments that need to happen.

It may take some time before companies and users can consider large-scale data storage on the blockchain an overall better solution. While security is essential for blockchain data storage adoption, so is usability.

In mid-2018, most of the major blockchains haven’t demonstrated enough scalability yet to meet potential increases in user demand. When thinking about cryptocurrency payments on the blockchain, the amount of data storage needed is actually quite low, considering the large amounts of data needed to save photo and video files.

Projects like Storj and Filecoin are working on making cloud storage of large files not only possible but also practical.

For many companies and users, however, blockchains have an even more immediate potential to store sensitive data that requires less storage. For example, financial and identity-related information stored on the blockchain could soon become practical to implement even with a few small improvements in scalability.

There are a number of scaling technologies like sharding and off-chain protocols being researched and implemented. These can make blockchain data storage more scalable, potentially allowing millions (or even billions) of users to store data securely.

Advantages of Blockchain Data Storage

Even with these concerns, blockchain still has a few advantages over traditional data storage security. As mentioned above, traditional data storage solutions rely heavily upon centralized databases to maintain security. For hackers, the target to attack is much clearer. Once a hack is successfully executed on a centralized database, vast amounts of data can be accessed by hackers.

With blockchains and distributed ledger technologies, however, hacks are much more difficult to execute. In Storj, for example, only a small amount of data can be accessed in a hack since data is encrypted and distributed across a large network of databases.

Blockchain ultimately aims to eliminate the all-too-common news reports of large-scale hacks which affect millions of users as seen in companies of today that rely upon centralized databases.

The Potential of Blockchain Data Storage

A number of blockchain projects are aiming to make data storage more secure. The potential benefits promise to be groundbreaking for end users. Blockchain projects not only have the potential to create the architecture for inherently more secure data storage systems but also to allow individual users to have full authority over which parties are allowed to view data.

In many cases, blockchain projects are using native cryptocurrencies as part of tokenomic models. These allow users to monetize from any third-party data use while also preventing any possibility of identity theft and other issues seen in recent years due to large-scale data breaches.

Final Thoughts

With continued large-scale hacks of traditional databases, consumers are increasingly wary of vulnerable, outdated data storage technologies as well whether or not companies are keeping sensitive data safe.

Yes, blockchain technology still needs some improvements in security and scalability before it can be considered the hands-down, go-to solution for data storage.

It’s still to be determined when exactly blockchain can become the ultimate solution and when user adoption will follow. Still, there are many signs of a momentum shift away from traditional database technologies and towards better data security via decentralized blockchains.


Swiss City Plans #Blockchain Voting Pilot Using #Ethereum-Based IDs $SX $ $SXOOF $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:20 AM on Monday, June 11th, 2018
  • Swiss city of Zug, known for its proactive support of the blockchain industry
  • launching a voting pilot that will base both polling system and residents’ IDs on blockchain technology
  • e-voting pilot, which will take place between June 25 and July 1,
    • developed as part of the city’s efforts to adopt more blockchain applications and will tie in with a digital identity trial currently underway
Jun 11, 2018 at 12:00 UTC

The Swiss city of Zug, known for its proactive support of the blockchain industry, is launching a voting pilot that will base both polling system and residents’ IDs on blockchain technology.

The e-voting pilot, which will take place between June 25 and July 1, has been developed as part of the city’s efforts to adopt more blockchain applications and will tie in with a digital identity trial currently underway, the city government said in an announcement on Friday.

In July 2017, the city announced plans to launch an ethereum-based application called “uPort” to digitize local residents’ ID information. The pilot phase got started in November and now has over 200 residents signed up for the new service, according to the announcement.

By using their digital ID, local residents will be able to cast votes in the one-off blockchain polling pilot, though the city government indicated that the vote is a “consultative test” and the results will not be binding.

The primary goal of the trial, it added, is to the review the security aspects of the polling system, examining whether the platform is able to achieve “immutability, testability and traceability” while maintaining voters’ privacy.

The use case for blockchain in voting systems – with its potential to remove election fraud and provide immutable records – is one that has seen notable interest both from authorities at various levels of government, as well as within finance.

Nasdaq announced in November it was developing an electronic shareholder voting system based on blockchain for the South African capital markets, while Santander used the tech for shareholder voting at its annul AGM in May – possibly a world first.

Over in Russia, Moscow’s municipal government announced in March that it was extending its use of a blockchain-based voting platform to the city block level. The Digital Home service allows neighbors in high rises to electronically vote and communicate on issues to do with building maintenance and management.

And, in the same month, the U.S. state of West Virginia launched a voting pilot project for absentee voters in the military by using a mobile application powered by blockchain technology, while Sierra Leone also notably piloted the tech in a presidential election.


Major bank CEOs say #blockchain will underpin the financial industry ‘in five years’ $SX $ $SXOOF $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:28 AM on Monday, June 4th, 2018
  • Banks have invested millions in developing blockchain applications in recent years, as part of a broader industry effort to try to cut costs and simplify their back-office processes.
  • Rather than a centralized system, blockchain allows multiple parties to have simultaneous access to a constantly updated ledger that cannot be changed.
  • “We believe there is huge promise in blockchain. It is early times in this technology but it can bring about more efficient processes,” Carlos Torres Vila, CEO of BBVA, told CNBC on Monday

Sam Meredith | @smeredith19

Apple, Facebook and other big tech can be a threat — or a partner: ING CEO   7 Hours Ago | 02:48

Blockchain technology could soon revolutionize the global banking industry, according to the chief executives of two major European lenders.

Banks have invested millions in developing blockchain applications in recent years, as part of a broader industry effort to try to cut costs and simplify their back-office processes. The technology, which is perhaps better known as the software powering cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, was initially treated with skepticism by international lenders.

However, the use of blockchain in the banking industry is increasingly viewed as a proficient way of reducing the risk of fraud, with some banks now hailing its potential.

“So, if you look at blockchain… I think the banks are really working on this now because the potential is so huge and if the top five, six global banks would put their minds to it and agree on a standard, you could force (that) standard onto the globe,” Ralph Hamers, chief executive of ING Group, told CNBC’S Arjun Kharpal at the Money 2020 fintech conference in Amsterdam on Monday.

“And I think that you can actually then get to a timeframe of five or six years in which this will work,” he added.

‘Huge promise’

Rather than a centralized system, blockchain allows multiple parties to have simultaneous access to a constantly updated ledger that cannot be changed. That makes cheating the system by faking documents, transactions or any types of information, nearly impossible.

Fascinating to see crossborder M&A in European banking back on center stage: BBVA   4 Hours Ago | 02:56

“We believe there is huge promise in blockchain. It is early times in this technology but it can bring about more efficient processes,” Carlos Torres Vila, CEO of BBVA, told CNBC on Monday.

When asked whether he was as optimistic as ING’s Hamers in predicting that blockchain technology could be rolled out throughout the industry over the next five years, Torres Vila replied: “I am, I think it does have that promise and I think that timeframe should be about right… but we will see how it develops.”


The #blockchain explained for non-engineers $ $SXOOF $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 3:27 PM on Friday, June 1st, 2018
  • Blockchain buzz is inescapable
  • While the technology has transformed some companies and minted fresh millionaires in a dazzlingly short period of time,
    • blockchain is as confounding as it is powerful
  • If you’re confused by the hype, you’re not alone

What is blockchain? Is blockchain tech limited to Bitcoin? What is blockchain’s relationship to cryptocurrency? What are blockchain-related jobs? We answer these questions about blockchain and more.

By Dan Patterson | June 1, 2018 — 15:01 GMT (08:01 PDT) | Topic: How Blockchain Will Disrupt Business

Blockchain buzz is inescapable. And while the technology has transformed some companies and minted fresh millionaires in a dazzlingly short period of time, blockchain is as confounding as it is powerful. If you’re confused by the hype, you’re not alone.

This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature, looks at how blockchain is shaking up the economy and changing the way individuals and enterprises conduct business.

The blockchain is a decentralized, vettable, and secure technology that has, in less than a decade, become a powerful driver of digital transformation poised to help create a new employment economy. Evangelists claim blockchain tech will disrupt industrial supply chains, streamline real estate transactions, and even redefine the media industry. “Think of blockchain as the next layer of the internet,” said Tom Bollich, CTO of MadHive. “HTTP gave us websites … now we have blockchain, which is like a new layer of computing.”

SEE: The executive’s guide to implementing blockchain technology (PDF) (TechRepublic)

Employment data seems to validate blockchain’s current hype cycle. Google search data indicates a cresting wave of interest in the tech, and according to searches for blockchain-related jobs spiked nearly 1000 percent since 2015. Enterprise organizations like Capital One, Deloitte, ESPN, and eBay are hiring blockchain engineers, retraining project managers to facilitate integrations, and even searching for specialized attorneys.

Image: Google Search Trends

But while the technology’s applications seem nearly limitless, understanding how the blockchain works and why it’s important is challenging, even for technology and IT professionals. The blockchain is, fundamentally, an ever-expanding database. Just like a bank record, every transaction is logged and then made available to the public. The database relies on a novel method of encryption, allowing developers to verify the authenticity of each transaction.

The database is strengthened with each transaction, so to incentivize so-called ‘miners’ — individuals or organizations that use powerful GPUs to solve algorithmic challenges — each chain releases a digital ‘coin’, commonly referred to as cryptocurrency. The Bitcoin blockchain releases nodes — or, blocks — of transaction data every 8 to 10 minutes. Miners receive a portion of a coin for their effort, and the chain’s encryption is strengthened. Because the code is open and viewable by anyone with a computer, blockchain tech is often referred to as a ‘public ledger’ of activity.

Although most often associated with Bitcoin, the blockchain can be stamped with a vast spectrum of data, said Bollich’s co-founder and Riot Blockchain’s CEO John O’Rourke in an interview with TechRepublic. “It’s basically basing your faith in math [as opposed to] faith in some other trusted party that could potentially be hacked,” he said. “The blockchain allows all of that [activity] to be digitized, and secured with every single transaction on that ledger.”

Image: Satoshi NakamotoDigital currency is attractive to some because the coins are algorithmically dispensed and not controlled by a government. In the latter half of 2017 and first half of 2018 initial coin offerings — ICOs — raised billions in speculative funding.

SEE: What is blockchain? Understanding the technology and the revolution (PDF) (TechRepublic)

However, a wise man once said, “Don’t believe the hype.” When it comes to cryptocurrency and blockchain hype, we should all learn from Flavor Flav’s immutable wisdom. It’s nearly impossible to accurately value cryptocurrency. Some currencies are easy to hack. Most coins falter or never gain market traction, and established coins like Bitcoin and Ether often fluctuate wildly in price. Government regulation seems inevitable, and the SEC is cracking down on fraudulent traders.

Analysts at research firm Gartner, though still bullish on the long-term future of blockchain tech, are quick to caution that enterprise integration is not as easy as the hype might imply. According to a recent report, 14 percent of CSOs expressed concern that the technology will require significant organizational and cultural changes of the IT department. Another 77 percent of CIOs said their organization has no short-term interest in blockchain technology.

Alex Feinberg, a former Google exec and COO of Petram Security, remains confident in the long-term future of blockchain tech. Blockchain startups are on the rise, he noted, and the employment landscape is rosy for talented programmers and integration experts.

“As I started understanding what investment banks did and as I started understanding how the banking system was constructed, and as I understood how money was created,” Feinberg said, “it became apparent to me that the US government, the US banking system was in a bind.” The solution, he said, was decentralization. And the technological key to innovative decentralization? “The blockchain.”


INTERVIEW: Augusta Industries $ Discusses Sale of FOX-TEK Canada to Mooncor for up to $21.5M $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 4:05 PM on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

On May 27th, Augusta Industries had a market capitalization of approximately $6.5 Million.

On May 28th, the Company announced the sale of one of its’ two subsidiaries for up to $21.5 Million consisting of $9,500,000 in common stock of the acquiror (Mooncor) and additional potential royalties of $12,000,000.

Augusta plans to “distribute a portion of the consideration shares to shareholders” and though no official plan is in place, CEO Allen Lone believes it will be in the 25% range. If you do the math, 25% of $9.5M is $2.37M being returned to shareholders. At a market cap of $6.5, that amounts to an approximate 35% return to current shareholders.

Plus, the remaining shares go on the balance sheet of the company and royalty payments could add substantial cash to the company in the coming years. Not bad. Not bad at all.

If that were it, you’d have no reason to watch the interview – but there is more. A lot more with respect to the remaining subsidiary (Marcon) and other plans.

A new page is turning for Augusta and investors both old and new will want to watch what Allen has to say.

HTC’s new phone is all about the #blockchain $SX $ $ #Blockstation $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 10:25 AM on Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

  • There’s no doubt about it: “Blockchain” is the biggest tech buzzword of today, the equivalent of “web 2.0” at its heyday a decade ago, and naturally, everyone wants in.
  • Latest company to join the blockchain party is HTC, who has announced the HTC Exodus, a smartphone that fully embraces blockchain technology

Blockchain is a crucial technology that underlies Bitcoin. It’s a decentralized, cryptographically secured database that’s near-impossible to tamper with, which makes it great for securely storing financial transactions data. But after Ethereum expanded on Bitcoin’s original idea, letting anyone run fully fledged apps on the blockchain, we’ve seen everyone jump on the bandwagon, from photography companies to burger chains.

So is HTC just riding the hype without much substance? Not necessarily.

On a teaser website, HTC says the phone will be “dedicated to decentralized applications and security.” The company lists several ways in which the Exodus phone will do this: For example, it will support decentralized applications (Dapps) and it will have a hardware element that will connect to cryptocurrency wallets. Both of these are doable: There’s already a phone called Sikur that focuses on security and has a built-in cryptocurrency wallet, and Sirin labs has announced its cryptocurrency-oriented Finney phone in May.

HTC also claims that every Exodus phone will be a node — a vital part of Bitcoin and Ethereum’s architecture, which broadcasts messages across the network. “We want to double and triple the number of nodes of Ethereum and Bitcoin,” HTC’s site says. The idea is interesting, but running a node eats up processing power, storage and bandwidth. It’s already possible to run a Bitcoin or an Ethereum node on a smartphone, but optimizing this for the mass market is not trivial.

There’s no word on the phone’s specs, though things like camera performance would likely be secondary to the phone’s utility as a blockchain-friendly device.

For this project, HTC has assembled a team led by Phil Chen, who was one of the architects behind the Barnes & Noble Nook, as well as a long-time product manager at HTC.

There’s no word on the price, either, but you can already reserve the phone by giving up your email, here.


Santander $SAN launches a #blockchain – based foreign exchange service that uses #Ripple’s technology $SX $ $SXOOF $ $ $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 3:53 PM on Thursday, April 12th, 2018
  • The service, called Santander One Pay FX, uses technology developed by blockchain firm Ripple.
  • Santander’s blockchain-powered foreign exchange platform is currently live in Spain, the U.K., Brazil and Poland.
  • Ripple has struck partnerships with multiple banks and other financial institutions, including Santander.

Published 4 Hours Ago

Jonathan Nicholson | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Santander has launched a foreign exchange service that uses blockchain technology to make same-day international money transfers.

The service, called Santander One Pay FX, uses tech developed by blockchain firm Ripple. Santander said it is the first cross-border payments service using blockchain to be made by a bank.

Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is a decentralized network that records a growing list of transactions. It was originally used as the technology to underpin bitcoin but banks have become increasingly interested in other use cases, like clearing and settling payments.

Santander’s blockchain-powered foreign exchange platform is currently live in four different countries — Spain, the U.K., Brazil and Poland. A wider roll-out is expected in coming months, the bank said.

Innoventures, a $200 million fintech, or financial technology, venture capital fund set up by Santander, was one of a number of investors to participate in Ripple’s first round of funding in 2015.

Ripple has struck partnerships with multiple banks and other financial institutions, including Santander. Banks are less keen to use the firm’s digital currency XRP, but earlier this year two money transfer firms, MoneyGram and Western Union, announced projects involving the cryptocurrency.

On Wednesday, Ripple invested $25 million into a fund started by Blockchain Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to blockchain.