Remember tokenized securities or securitization with tokens on the blockchain?

With the entire year in crypto defined by a maelstrom of projects embarking on decentralized finance (DeFi) aspects to their products, it can be easy to forget that previous advancements in blockchain-based technologies have continued to make great headway in terms of adoption and application.

Security tokens and tokenized securities 

In 2019 especially, with greater regulatory scrutiny on blockchain-based crowdfunding in the shape of initial coin offerings (ICOs), many projects sought to reconcile crypto’s much-maligned aspect of democratic fundraising with increasingly unforgiving regulatory compliance. Hence the proliferation of Security Token Offerings (STOs) that meant to replace ICOs as legitimate, law-abiding instruments to raise funds and issue securities through blockchain-based tokens.

It’s important here to distinguish between security tokens and tokenized securities — often used interchangeably, but hardly the same thing. In the former, blockchain technology is used to create new tokens that are a representation of real-world “securities”, ie. crypto assets that share some qualities as securities in the traditional sense. In the latter, we are talking about existing assets (securities) in the real world, that is expressed digitally… wrapped, if you will, in a token technology.

An overlooked breakthrough

Put in another way, security tokens create a token and create securities, but tokenized securities simply digitalize existing securities. That really is something that solves a major problem with traditional securities, which makes it somewhat surprising that it hasn’t been picked up more.

Tokenizing securities immediately helps with widening the market and improving their liquidity. In addition, it’s not a new product so it isn’t so much something for regulators to look at, it simply is a new, digital channel for distribution, which actually makes tokenized securities simpler to approve.

They’re not just an idea, they’re already here.

Because tokenizing securities are comparatively simple to do, there actually have been quite a number of them entering the market. Last year, we saw traditional funds as 22X Fund put together a tokenized fund (with money raised through an ICO in fact in 2018) to invest in 22 startups. But SPiCE will argue it was even earlier, as the VC fund set up in 2017 and lays claim to being the first tokenized VC fundable to offer immediate liquidity for venture capital — which otherwise takes years to liquidate!

This year, AllianceBlock, which is building the “world’s first globally compliant decentralized capital market” partnered with another blockchain firm AIKON for a secure blockchain-based identity management service — making decentralized finance services accessible to all, and securing that access with the blockchain.

The data already shows that the coming years will see securities very soon fully digitized and empowered by blockchain. From owning a small share in your favorite soccer club to fractional ownership of pizza restaurants in a country halfway around the world from you, using blockchain for authentication is spelling out a way for $256 trillion worth of real-world assets, mostly illiquid as physical representations, to go digital.

As they say in blockchain, tokenized securities are a matter of when not if.


This article was originally published at aikon.com


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

One of the most interesting trends surfacing in the crypto industry today is the increasing likelihood of Bitcoin emerging as the next global reserve currency – something that Bitcoin fundamentalists have been preaching for the last decade. 

With the combination of transparency and decentralized trust brought on by the blockchain, individuals and companies across the world have had the opportunity to participate in a free financial system since the emergence of Bitcoin some twelve years ago. 

Since the dawn of Blockchain, trust in this trustless system has been slowly rising with a diverse range of individuals, institutional investors, and even world governments investing in the technology and the various tokens in circulation today. One result of this has been the free flow of liquidity across borders in a remarkably revolutionary way – satisfying the ever-growing need for a more efficient global financial system. 

Mr. Yoon Kim is an accomplished and dynamic crypto analyst and strategist. He successfully built the TMT sector of Tremblant Capital and helped the company increase its AUM from $200 million to $5 billion in five-years’ time. He then launched Vestry Capital, a global TMT equity fund as the head of which he served as an advisor and consultant to various hedge funds and blockchain projects.

With his 20 years of experience in investing and in the blockchain industry, Mr. Kim acutely understands these shifts in the global financial system. 

For that reason, one of the key topics of conversation during The New Normal of Blockchain & Cryptocurrency panel which AIKON organized in late October was “where the future lies for the USD and its long-term position as the world’s reserve currency”. 

Mr. Kim indicated that the USD losing some of its standing in the global financial system and possibly its status as the reserve currency as an inevitable product of blockchain’s accessibility and decentralization. 

“The timing is very auspicious […] it becomes rational and logical for a lot of people to push Bitcoin as a reserve currency” – Yoon Kim

Yoon Kim

As Mr. Kim has pointed out, the current financial system has been in place since World War II – 75 years now! On average, global financial systems have typically lasted for ~70-80 years each. We are, then, coming to the end of an era and can stand with bated breath awaiting the next financial revolution. 

Moreover, history has shown that significant global events often precede the breakdown of institutionalized financial systems. For the Pax Britannica, it was World War I. For the global financial system, we have today, it may very well be the impact of COVID-19 on the world economy. 

Having been a staple of the global economy, and considering the turmoil, the US has endured throughout 2020, USD is in serious danger of being dislodged from the position of power it has enjoyed over the last three-quarters of the 21st century. 

“The prevailing global systems of finance, trade [and] economic activity [have been around for] 70 to 80 years” – Yoon Kim

Given the amount of influence that US politics now has on the rest of the world, and being mindful that the level of engagement that USD (as a global reserve currency) will have on the rest of the world after the presidential election will probably never reach the levels from 40 – 50 years ago when it was at its peak. With the decrease in the level of engagement of the US with the world economy after the Soviet Union’s dissolution, what we see now are the effects of the politics that took 20 years to materialize. 

In that sense, Mr. Kim pointed out that it is very probable that USD is about to be dethroned as the most important currency in the world. 

And while there are those who would like to see the Chinese RMB take its place, Mr. Kim considers this very unlikely to happen. For one, dethroning USD from the position of the global reserve currency would put a significant amount of pressure and responsibility on the Chinese financial system, responsibilities the country seems to be shunning presently. For instance, China has been accused of intentionally increasing demand which then leads to an increase in the prices of international commodities. 

Therefore, the question is what will supplant USD as the global reserve currency or at least become an alternate reserve currency running in parallel with USD?

Mr. Kim stated that Bitcoin seems to fit perfectly, especially taking into account the timing of its rise, as well as its ability to cross borders with very little effort. 

As political and economic relations between the US and China continue to collapse, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that either the USD or RMB will be viewed as a viable global reserve currency going forward. 

Bitcoin may prove to be the thing that both nations, as well as the rest of the world, decide they can live within the upcoming decades. 

“BTC […] will become a reserve currency that stands aside and is not controlled by a single nation” – Yoon Kim

While the Chinese government is actively restricting crypto trades, there is massive support within the government for cryptocurrencies and blockchain. This implies that they have a long-term strategy in place, where Bitcoin would be used to dislodge the USD as the global reserve currency. 

In the same way, we’re seeing the causality of the US global economics politics conducted in the past 20 years and its effect on the situation now, there is a good chance that 20 years from now we will have Bitcoin as the reserve currency of the world simply because it will not be controlled by any one nation and its financial system. 

Should Mr. Kim’s predictions come to be realized, individual and corporate players in this new market that is quickly gaining momentum should be preparing for the shift.


This article was originally published at Aikon.com


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Have you ever thought about how blockchain could affect the diamond industry? Probably not, right? But now blockchain technology could improve how we track diamonds, from the mine to the jewelry store.

But there’s an issue with diamonds. As with any popular industry, the diamond market isn’t exactly squeaky clean. Some diamonds, known as conflict diamonds, are illegally traded to fund wars abroad. You may not know this due to the high demand for diamonds. Almost 50 percent of the demand for diamonds come from the US — and it isn’t a surprise. After all, it is the go-to jewel of engagements and weddings. And because of its hardiness, diamond is ideal for industrial use.

That said, mining for diamonds can be a violent affair. The 2006 hit Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, introduced the travesties related to diamond mining in Africa to the world’s stage.

Regardless, stakeholders in the diamonds industry rightfully want to stop the trade of conflict diamonds, and blockchain might be the solution.

What Is a Conflict Diamond?

For those who don’t know, a conflict diamond is an uncut diamond that is mined in an armed conflict zone. The diamond is then traded, and the funds are used to finance the fighting. These blood diamonds are usually associated with conflicts in central and western Africa.

According to CNN, about 4 percent of the world’s diamond population came from Sierra Leone during its civil war (1991-2002). And that’s from just one country! In an article by CBS, experts suggested that blood diamonds could make up 15 percent of the diamond trade.

Despite these statistics, there are measures in place that attempt to smother the illegal industry. The primary actor is the Kimberley Process. This certification scheme connects local governments and international organizations to solve the problem. Their solution: Ensure every shipment of diamonds from these areas has certification.

Does It Work?

The Kimberly Process says it does and claims a 99.8 percent success rate.

But with so many intermediaries, and so many steps between mining and selling the diamonds, fraud is still highly probable. Many believe the process could be more effective, including the diamond giant De Beers.

The Diamond Blockchain

The De Beers Group, which owns over 30 percent of the diamond market, has recently announced its intent to pursue blockchain tech. That’s right. One of the industry leaders wants to utilize the blockchain to curb conflict diamonds.

From what we knew about blockchain, it should work. Cataloging diamonds on the blockchain will create transparency. Only a select few will have access to the ledger, in order to ensure that each individual in the process does their job correctly. You no longer need to trust governments, the mines, the shipment team. If the diamond is certified on the blockchain, it’s legit.

De Beers plans to track the diamonds from initial mining to final sale. That way, you can trace every move of the diamonds on the digital ledger.

Their blockchain venture, Tracr, launched in January 2018. Despite being founded by De Beers, the company stresses that it has no access to the data unless it’s shared by the data owner. Using the Kimberly Process as a guide, they’ve invested with diamond offices, producers, graders, retailers, and other stakeholders to make the project a reality.

 

But they aren’t the only ones using blockchain to kill conflict diamonds.

In 2015, Everledger was used to securely track diamonds. It came back in 2017 with a new Diamond Time-Lapse plan (DDLP). This new initiative tracks the whole process, from mining to certification, in real time.

But Everledger isn’t completely unrelated to De Beers, either. This tech was built by Dharmanandan Diamonds, a trust of the DDPL and a sight holder of De Beers. In other words, the creators of Everledger are authorized purchasers of rough diamonds by De Beers.

Is De Beers the Solution?

IBM joined the diamond-tracking trade in April of 2018, partnering with various jewelry firms, and they weren’t alone. In fact, a Canadian NGO, Impact, left the Kimberly Process altogether, citing that the De Beers solution was unsatisfactory.

If this is true, there could be more room for blockchain tech development in the diamond industry.

Summary

Saying conflict diamonds are an issue is an understatement. The funds from these illicitly traded gems are funding violence and terror. Blockchain offers a stunning solution.

So far, we’ve seen industry leaders accept the new tech with open arms, but there’s still room for the technology to grow, and the process can still evolve.

But one thing is certain: These initiatives are making us think about how we can prevent the trade of blood diamonds and pave the way to peace.


This article by Kelsey Ray was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Kelsey Ray Banerjee is a professional content writer and digital marketer specializing in blockchain, forex trading, and sustainability. When not writing, you can find her traveling, reading, or on Twitter.

NEO Global Capital Interview

If you’re reading this, chances are you have experience or are interested in trading or investing in cryptocurrency assets such as NEO Global Capital

Chances are pretty high that a majority of our readers have invested a number anywhere between $100 to $10,000 in a mixture of assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and NEO. There’s also slim minority that has taken a walk on the wild side and invested in ICOs – some getting lucky, the bulk getting burnt.

Your decisions were likely fueled by news and impulse, and since your risk was relatively low, it didn’t take much convincing to place your orders

But what happens when that $100 to $10,000 figure is multiplied by 100x to 1,000x, in some cases 10,000x. And it’s your full-time job. And it’s not your money. The landscape changes a bit.

Cryptocurrency funds have a unique task ahead of them that involves navigating through a noisy and clamorous environment to get access to high-quality deal flows and investment targets. The stakes are much higher and reputation starts to matter.

CoinCentral connected with the team behind one of the world’s leading blockchain investment firms, NEO Global Capital, at their inaugural Boston meetup. The event featured heavy hitting figures from organizations such as Arrington XRP Capital, Pantera Capital, Block72, and, of course, NEO Global Capital.

The NEO Global Capital Fund I has a high-octane diverse portfolio of blockchain projects such as OntologyBluzelleZilliqa, Trinity, Mainframe, and Top.

The following interview provides some serious insights into the mechanics behind running an international blockchain fund, especially in the bear market that is 2018, from NGC Founding Partner Roger Lim.

Enjoy!


Can you tell us a bit more about what gives you a sense of a good investment opportunity? What specific traits are you looking for in the team, in the idea, in the technology?

NGC’s founding team has been involved in the blockchain industry since its early days, so we are fortunate to have worked alongside some of the early adopters of the technology. With time comes a better understanding of what industries are most in need of a digital overhaul, as well as where decentralized technologies will have the greatest impact, so our experience has certainly played to our advantage.

As such, we’ve developed a strong sense of which sectors will benefit most from blockchain; what stands out in terms of a projects founding team; and whether an idea is innovative and disruptive versus one that is similar to something that already exists and can really only offer incremental improvement.

That being said, NEO Global Capital has a well-rounded portfolio of investments, and we hope to continue supporting a variety of industries, including identity solutions; gaming; online content streaming; the financial services industry (i.e. banking, financing, payments, and exchanges); and so on.

We will also continue to invest in public chains, as well as privacy and security projects because we see them as strong examples of addressing a specific problem. Overall, it’s important to look at how competitive the market is for whatever that project is trying to solve.

Perhaps most importantly, we place a heavy emphasis on the strength of the team at the heart of a project: Does this project have strong leadership? What is their experience? Do they have high success rates from previous projects? A strong team is often the best indicator of whether or a not a project will succeed.

Could you tell us a bit about the fund’s relationship with NEO?

Our affiliation with NEO is a strategic one that allows NGC to fulfill its position as a leading investment firm. While NEO Global Capital is a fully independent entity, we are long-term believers in NEO and have created a dedicated fund aimed at fostering the growth of the NEO Smart Economy ecosystem. Through strategic capital deployment, project incubation, and utilizing all of our available resources, we believe that we can help accelerate the growth of the overall crypto market.

The NGC Fund I seems to be a newer fund compared to the NEO Eco Fund. Can you explain what are the differences between the two funds, in terms of objectives and potential investment targets?

The NGC Fund I is our for-profit fund, where we invest in the most promising and innovative projects related to blockchain. Our wider interest is in advancing the industry, so we invest in projects that have strong use cases and can help drive the mainstream adoption of blockchain.

Our second fund is the NEO Eco Fund and our goal here is to promote the growth of the NEO Smart Economy ecosystem. In alignment with our belief in NEO, we occasionally invest in projects that would specifically benefit from NEO’s infrastructure.

Overall, the goal of both funds is to help startups create lasting competitive advantages in an industry that’s become very crowded, very quickly.

NEO Global Capital

What kinds of short-term targets and goals do you typically agree with a startup firm once you have decided to invest? How do you go about agreeing on these targets?

Goals, objectives, and targets differ depending on the type of projects we are supporting. If it’s a public chain, for example, we would work with the project to identify gaps in the technical team, the roadmap, and milestones in advance of the mainnet launch. We are generous with our time for each of our investees; we want them to succeed, and if they wish to tap on the experience of any of our partners or reach out to our network, they have the full backing and support of the firm.

It tends to be typical that venture funds require a founding team to have a longer-term target that the company should be sold within a set period of time. Is it any different with NGC? What kind of timeframe do you work to for long term goals, and how do you define long term goals?

In general, token investments achieve liquidity a lot faster on exchanges than equity investments (months rather than years). Nevertheless, at NEO Global Capital we want all our investees to succeed whether we make a token or equity investment. We still hold tokens of many of our investments and we continue to work with them and expect them to continue their growth, development and to achieve the key business objectives over the coming years.

Are there any advantages to operating a cryptocurrency fund in a bear market?

In a way, bitcoin’s dramatic rise last year has solidified the blockchain industry: there is now an interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency that did not exist previously. As we move away from the crypto mania that ensued, the benefit of operating our crypto fund in a bear market is that most projects now come with good intentions.

This is not to say we have completely eliminated bad actors, but there were certainly more projects and players that emerged in the market at its peak when there was a greater opportunity for quick wins. Likewise, the current market allows investors to spend time researching, understanding a new technology or problem a project may solve — in a bull market, investors may act from a fear of missing out.

In addition to good valuations, the current market has produced stronger projects with experienced leadership teams, compelling use cases, and cutting-edge tech. We believe that the competitiveness of the market has not decreased in any way.

What separates a high-quality investment fund from a low-quality one?

A high-quality investment fund is one that makes educated and thoughtful investment decisions. One thing we are very proud of at NEO Global Capital is that our founding team comes from a varied background of crypto investment, traditional financial markets, emerging technologies, and mergers and acquisitions.

We would say that the best investment funds are those that are able to marry their crypto-specific knowledge with experience from more traditional verticals, thereby taking a more well-rounded and considered approach to investment.

A major component for any investor in the ICO space is access to deal flow. What gives NEO Global Capital an advantage here? Do you have any advice for smaller retail investors?

A strong reputation for helping projects post-investment is important and also entices more founders and entrepreneurs to want to work with us. We not only work closely with, but we welcome other funds to work with us to share deals, insights, and expertise. We strongly believe in collaboration and that a variety among blockchain investors (geographical expertise, background, and networks) brings diverse experience and immense benefits to a project.

As for retail investors, As Warren Buffet once said, “never invest in something you don’t understand” so definitely do your research, understand what you are investing in; and diversification is important. Cryptos are highly volatile and therefore risky, weigh up the risks before diving in.

Looking out on the wider market which is becoming very crowded. From the ICOs that have been completed so far in 2018, which ones stand out to you as being unique or otherwise interesting opportunities?

We think all the projects we have invested in have innovative teams and unique solutions to today’s problems within the industry. Ontology, for example, provides a solution to digital identity; Certik solves security problems in blockchain with formal verification; Hadron helps enterprises like NASA outsource their computation tasks with a large user and device population so that these tasks are done efficiently and timely. All hugely ambitious projects making immense progress and we look forward to supporting them in the future.

How does the NEO Global Capital team reach an agreement over which projects to invest in, or not?

While there are no hard and fast rules, a strong product, an effective business plan, and an ambitious, goal-orientated founding team would certainly be the cornerstone of what we consider a promising venture. Each of NEO Global Capital’s partners understands that investors are interested in seeing and investing in projects that are both unique and impactful, so we are often in agreement when it comes to whether to invest or not.

In your view, what is the outlook for the overall price of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies over the next 12 months? What are the crunch points that may end up turning the markets in one direction or another?

If I had to hazard a guess – I would say bitcoin could see new highs over the next 12-18 months. As regulations, standards, and infrastructure become more mature, I expect the market to react positively.

What would be your single best piece advice for any founders of an ICO or blockchain startup?

As the blockchain space becomes increasingly noisy, a recommendation we always make to founders and entrepreneurs is to consider whether or not they really need blockchain. Focus on the problem you are trying to solve and decide if blockchain is truly the solution.

What is the outlook for NEO Global Capital as we move to the end of 2018 and beyond?

Our primary interest lies in advancing the industry of blockchain towards mainstream adoption, so as we move towards the end of 2018, we will continue to strive towards that goal by investing in the most innovative projects; sponsoring higher education initiatives; and facilitating conversation between industry leaders and business professionals that will address what the industry needs, where exactly the market stands, and what steps can be taken in the New Year to advance the industry as a whole.

In line with this, we’ve recently invested in several key blockchain-focused initiatives in higher education: most recently at Berkeley and the National University of Singapore. We also held our inaugural meetup in Boston to discuss project funding and development, best investment practices, and emerging industry trends. We plan to do more of this as we wrap up the year, and hopefully into 2019.


This article by Alex Moskov was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Alex Moskov is the Editor-in-Chief of CoinCentral. Alex also advises blockchain startups, enterprise organizations, and ICOs on content strategy, marketing, and business development. He also regrets not buying more Bitcoin back in 2012, just like you.

When we think about industries set for disruption by blockchain, construction probably isn’t top of the list. After all, the traditional image of a building site seems far removed from crypto, coding, and hackathons. But there are potentially enormous benefits for putting blockchain and construction together.

This article will round up some of the possible use cases for blockchain in the construction industry.

Blockchain and Construction Supply Chains

A bad workman blames his tools, right? Maybe that’s a bit harsh, though. After all, the construction industry is dependent on the availability of quality supplies and tools, at the right time and in the right place. Given that the sector is highly fragmented with many different players, big and small, supply chains are a big deal.

Tools for Building

Purchase orders, delivery notes, and invoices are often still paper-based. Firms frequently don’t know if the supplies they need are in stock when they start a project, which leads to delays and incurs costs.

These aren’t even the worst consequences. UK government contract Carillion collapsed at the start of 2018, affecting the jobs of around 43,000 people as a result. Sources pointed to its poor supply chain management as being a critical factor in the collapse, through lousy credit management and a lack of visibility over projects and required supplies.

The blockchain is already proving its ability to transform supply chains, in one instance through the partnership between Walmart and IBM. Using blockchain to manage construction supply chains could create a single source of truth regarding the availability and provenance of construction supplies, as well as tracking payments.

The industry is taking notice of this use case for blockchain and construction. Recent announcements have now confirmed that Probuild, one of Australia’s largest building firms, has partnered with US blockchain construction innovator Brickschain for managing its global supply chain. The announcement confirms that “Probuild has the vision that Blockchain, IoT and Big Data can revolutionize the construction supply chain.”

The Brickchain Homepage

Blockchain and Construction Project Management

Construction projects rely on various parties to work together to complete a building based on pre-defined specifications. Each party expects payment based on work done. Therefore, the peer-to-peer connectivity of blockchain, combined with smart contract functionality, brings excellent opportunities to streamline construction project management.

One study into the potential of blockchain in construction project management found that “[o]n the construction site blockchain can improve the reliability and trustworthiness of construction logbooks, works performed and material quantities recorded.”

Industry publication Construction Manager (they don’t mess around with fluffy, ambiguous names in this business) also reported on the development of two prototype applications combining blockchain and construction.

TraderTransferTrust is a payment system built on blockchain that triggers payment only on the completion of work done. Physical proof of work, if you will. ConstructCoin is another project from the same development team. It aims to create a marketplace of information about the construction industry.

Reduce Litigation

The Construction Blockchain Consortium (CBC) is an industry group set up by its members to investigate the potential for how blockchain and construction could play together. While the above use cases are transformational, the CBC outlines some cultural shifts that may occur in the industry as a result of using blockchain.

The building industry has become highly litigious. The CBC highlights how using blockchain to foster a culture of collaboration and ownership could help to reduce incidences of parties suing one another for shoddy work or delays in project completion. Further, the consortium believes that a less litigious environment “should encourage a less ‘defensive’ approach to decision making and thereby encourage innovation.”

Digitized Land Acquisition and Building Rights

In their paper about the future of smart cities, McKinsey points to the current bureaucracy involved in land acquisition and building rights as a barrier to agile construction. The paper goes on to explain how digitized solutions will speed up the process of obtaining land and building approvals.

Blockchain-based land registries provide a vast improvement over today’s paper-laden processes. Blockchain allows for speedier approvals with no loss of paperwork or waiting for multi-party signatures on physical documents.

Additionally, in countries, land disputes are all too common. A permanent, unalterable record of ownership has distinct advantages in proving ownership. India is among the countries that have been trialing the use of blockchain in land registrations.

Building Inspections

Most buildings are subject to inspections at some point or another. Structures used by the public need checks to ensure adherence to safety standards. Building surveys often feature in sales of real estate, as they reveal any structural faults that may impact the valuation.

These inspections are often conducted in a fragmented way. An inspector or surveyor may have limited or no visibility of records from previous checks. This makes the process heavily dependent on the specific inspector, and errors or oversights may happen.

Building Inspection

Blockchain offers the opportunity for a piece of real estate to come with its own permanent record of past inspections. Blockchain data is immune to tampering by any party who may have an interest in ensuring structure passes muster. Similarly, blockchain could also record any structural or maintenance work undertaken on the property over its life cycle.

More Agile Planning

Currently, there is a lengthy process to procure public funds for investment in infrastructure. Governments must justify the need to spend taxpayer funds on a particular initiative. This means that new infrastructure investment can take months or even years to come to fruition.

As we move towards the smart cities of the future, increased connectivity and availability of information could significantly speed approvals for new infrastructure investment. For example, a government body may quickly build a case showing increased traffic flows in a particular area, using sensor data from a blockchain. This enables faster construction investment in road improvements, traffic calming measures or other means.

Hong Kong

Final Word

Blockchain and construction may seem unlikely partners at first. However, like so many other sectors, construction depends on trust-based interactions with other parties along with solid record keeping. Therefore, assuming the industry can adapt, blockchain could provide significant value to the builders of the future.


This article by Sarah Rothrie was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Sarah ran away from a corporate job so she could travel the world. After doing that, she found herself a much-loved new career as a freelance blockchain technology writer. She is now a full-time digital nomad, who travels the world while working on her laptop. In addition to writing and researching, she also runs her own websites – find out more at sarahrothrie.com. You can usually locate her somewhere near the food.

All public blockchains make use of blockchain confirmations. These are important since they can help you understand how confident you can be when making a transaction. When any transaction is first broadcast to the blockchain it starts with zero confirmations. This number then increases as the information is added to the first block, confirmed, given a permanent place, and followed by more blocks.

Blockchain confirmations are vital since they are a way of verifying and legitimizing information that will then become immutable. If a transaction is deemed fraudulent, it will be rejected from the blockchain: zero blockchain confirmations means zero transactions.

On average, cryptocurrency exchanges require a minimum of three confirmations until a transaction is accepted. Coinbase, for example, does not consider a Bitcoin transaction as final until it has received at least three confirmations.

However, the larger the transaction, the more blockchain confirmations are required. This is because the more confirmations there are, the harder the transaction is to reverse. For a transaction of $1 million, it’s not uncommon to wait for at least 60 confirmations. The amount of blockchain confirmations required to verify a transaction varies by blockchain. Let’s take a look at Bitcoin and Ethereum here.

Bitcoin Confirmations

You probably already know that Bitcoin’s blockchain creates a new block about every 10 minutes through the mining process. This block then verifies and records new transactions and appends them to the Bitcoin blockchain. This means that a transaction is unconfirmed until the new block is generated. Therefore, if you’re sending or receiving Bitcoin, it’s essential to wait until you see that the transaction has been confirmed.

One confirmation usually takes up to 10 minutes. But, since one confirmation is not enough to be confident about the validity of the transaction, users have to wait for each new block to be created and verify the information. Depending on the amount being sent, this may take anywhere between 30 to 600 minutes. Ten hours is a long time to wait for a transaction confirmation!

Some Bitcoin services are instant and require only the first confirmation, however, the majority ask for more, with some companies requiring at least six Bitcoin blockchain confirmations before accepting the transaction.

Bitcoin Confirmations

What Is the Bitcoin Mempool?

The Bitcoin mempool is the sea of unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions on the Bitcoin network. As explained above, once a transaction is uploaded to the blockchain, it is not confirmed immediately but is released into the mempool of transactions, which are considered in-motion.

All nodes on the Bitcoin network are connected to the mempool, and that includes the miners who collate transactions from the mempool into a block. The miner who first solves the mathematical equation and adds the block to the blockchain is the first to confirm the block. Therefore, the first to receive the miner reward of 12.5 BTC.

This is fairly straightforward, however, some transactions are picked out of the mempool faster than others. Why? Because miners also earn a bonus percentage of transaction fees (called the Bitcoin mining fee).

Miners will pick out the transactions with the higher fees first to earn a higher bonus. It also explains why not paying transaction fees can lead to your transaction getting stuck. In fact, as more people join the Bitcoin network, this bottleneck is one of the greatest challenges to the Bitcoin community.

How to Speed Up Blockchain Confirmation Times

The higher the fee you pay, the more likely your transaction will be confirmed in a timely manner (there is a 60 percent chance that it will take 10 minutes or less). However, if your transaction remains unconfirmed, the recommended wait time is 72 hours before sending it again.

If you want to avoid paying fees, however, you can check to see how many unconfirmed transactions there are at a given moment and calculate how long it will take.

Ethereum Blockchain Confirmations

When it comes to Ethereum blockchain confirmations, the agreed-upon number seems to be undecided. According to the Ethereum white paper, 7 confirmations should be enough to confirm the transaction (about 2 minutes).

However, Ethereum miners must check the parameters of the last 250 blocks. So, if you want to err on the side of caution like the miners, you should wait for 250 confirmations. This sounds like a lot, but in practice is only about an hour.

Stack Exchange

Coinbase requires 50 ethereum confirmations before considering a transaction complete. It should also be noted that the Ethereum blockchain faces significant scalability issues as well. Ethereum is working to scale quickly to take on more users, and through Proof of Stake, confirmations should be even quicker.

Etherscan and Ether Gas

Ethereum doesn’t have a mempool for pending transactions; it’s simply called the transaction pool. The pool contains all the transactions submitted that haven’t yet been assigned to a block.

There are multiple methods for speeding up your transaction and deciding on the best gas price when sending your Ethereum transaction. You can try ETH Gas Station to see an overview of gas usage, and you can see how many transactions are pending by using Etherscan.

ETH Gas Station

Etherscan is particularly popular since you can order transactions by gas price (simply click on the GasPrice column). You’ll then see more or less the same list that miners see and, if you select a gas price that is within the first couple of pages, you should enjoy short confirmation times.

The Takeaway

Blockchain confirmations are essential for securing your transactions. The best way of ensuring a faster confirmation is by paying a higher fee. As all blockchains begin scaling up to prepare for even more users, it will be interesting to see how that affects the prices we pay and the times we wait.


This article by Christina Comben was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Christina is a B2B writer and MBA, specializing in fintech, cybersecurity, blockchain, and other geeky areas. When she’s not at her computer, you’ll find her surfing, traveling, or relaxing with a glass of wine.

Many enthusiasts immediately think of Switzerland when looking into crypto friendly locations. The tiny island nation of Singapore, however, is making its own moves up the ranks. Such an official ranking system doesn’t actually exist of course, but that hasn’t stopped several opinion lists from appearing online in recent months. Expect “blockchain Singapore” to be two words you hear more often as the country looks to make its mark as a leader in the cryptocurrency field.

Cryptocurrency Startup Culture

Despite its size, Singapore is well respected in many areas for its progressive values. It ranks particularly high in the fields of banking and technology. But perhaps more importantly, it has remained open to new ways of doing things.

In an area where other large economies like the US and China have fallen behind, due mainly to over-regulation, it’s no surprise then that a large number of blockchain startups are making their home here in the Asian south.

Exit Stage Right

While the US has not gone so far as to remove cryptocurrency investment outright, China took that step late last year by banning initial coin offerings (ICOs). According to leaders in Beijing, ICOs are now defined as illegal fundraising tools because of the increase in cryptocurrency fraud. To illustrate this, a recent study by ICO advisory firm Satis Group concluded that as much as 80 percent of all ICO’s in 2017 could be identified as scams.

Now whether or not that number is accurate is anybody’s guess. The industry is so young that it’s wise to take any research with a grain of salt. But one thing is for sure, a clear trend is emerging. The number of blockchain startups moving to crypto friendly locations is on the rise. Both Hong Kong and Singapore have already absorbed many startup relocations and more are likely on the way.

Due to its proximity to the mainland, similarities in culture, and more importantly open-mindedness to change, Singapore will remain a hot spot for digital currency talent. Some of the most well-known names in blockchain now call Singapore their home and include the likes of TenXQtumKyber NetworkWanchain, and Zilliqa to name a few.

The Circuit

Popular industry TV shows like CNBC’s Crypto Trader are developing quite the reputation for traveling the world and meeting local blockchain talent. As the number of conferences continues to grow, media coverage is further cementing Singapore’s reputation as a global player.

Blockchain Summit Singapore is hailed as the largest blockchain event in Asia. The conference concluded not too long ago (August 2018) and will be a yearly event. It brings together over 700 entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders, programmers, and technology innovators into an intensive one day summit.

In addition, the incredibly successful annual Consensus event by Coindesk now has an Asian branch. And, you guessed it, Singapore will be its host. The cryptocurrency circuit remains an effective drawcard as new and established projects look to collaborate and pitch ideas to investors around the world.

Project Ubin

ICOs are clearly bringing a new class of investor into the startup funding game. And while Singapore is establishing itself as a corporate honeypot for this technology, don’t bet on the authorities taking a back seat.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has every intention of getting involved. In 2016 the World Economic Forum published a report that predicted that up to 80 percent of banks would develop some kind of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the following years.

DLT

 

DLT is a controversial topic since the banking sector has been quick to dismiss Bitcoin but embrace the so-called underlying ledger technology. Project Ubin is the government-led initiative to bring DLT to Singapore’s national currency. The central bank is partnering with three different technology providers to develop a delivery versus payment (DvP) platform. Its main goal is to create a token form of the Singaporean Dollar (SGD).

A Singapore digital currency won’t be a surprise to many readers though. There is already a push worldwide for cashless societies. Countries like Sweden are already heavily invested in this idea to the point that many businesses simply refuse to accept cash payments. Ubin might just be the project that brings that reality home for the city-state.

Authorities and corporations worldwide are promoting the idea of DLT in business practices. But where does the consumer stand in all of this? Skeptics will have their debating hats on though as many in the cryptocurrency community question just how distributed these projects really are.

Blockchain Singapore

The race is on. A whole new way of doing finance is upon us, and cities are scrambling to be the leaders in this emerging field. Which location will be the capital of blockchain technology? Switzerland? Singapore? Malta? If the boom of the tech companies of the early 2000’s is anything to go by, the early players will almost certainly have a major advantage.

It may be interesting to play devil’s advocate and question whether cities will indeed play such an important role in the future. We already have many talented companies with teams scattered across all four corners of the globe. Both the internet and Bitcoin have pioneered this idea of decentralization, and that concept is making its way into other areas of our lives. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine a programmer coming up with a groundbreaking solution from somewhere remote like Greenland.

While that kind of scenario is exciting, it’s not what we are currently seeing. For now, at least, hubs like Singapore will continue to attract investment, entrepreneurs, and dreamers wanting to make a name for themselves in the most exciting field around.


This article by Ryan Smith was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Ryan is a web developer, writer, and cryptocurrency trader who hails from sunny South Africa. He eats, breathes and lives crypto. He has experience trading in the foreign exchange markets and is always trying to understand the bigger economic picture. When not meticulously looking over charts he can be found planning his next road trip or running around a 5-a-side soccer field.

In this article, we look at the World Bank blockchain initiative and the rising popularity of blockchain bonds. Even though this is a relatively new concept, banks and governments of all sizes are beginning to issue blockchain-based bonds and minibonds. Let’s examine these use cases and try to understand how these changes might impact the future of government fundraising.

Why Blockchain Bonds?

The first general government bonds were issued in the Netherlands in 1517. Since that time, this form of fundraising has played an integral role in public sector fundraising around the world. Traditional government bonds have served as a link between governments and citizens. Bonds of the past have usually been denominated in a given country’s own fiat currency. This, however, has already begun to change with the advent of blockchain bonds.

There are a number of reasons governments at all levels might want to use blockchain bonds over traditional bonds. For instance, utilizing blockchains can eliminate the need for third-party firms and financial institutions. In other words, blockchain technology has the potential to directly connect issuers (governments) and recipients (citizens). Now, let’s examine some relevant case studies.

World Bank Blockchain Bonds

In August 2018, The World Bank announced its plans to launch the world’s first blockchain bond. However, cryptocurrency will not be used as a form of payment. This is likely due to the fact that there isn’t a widely adopted, government-issued digital currency yet in existence.

Unfortunately, most of these options are regarded as Ponzi schemes. Therefore, fiat currency will be used. On August 10, 2018, the World Bank designated the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) as the sole arranger for a two-year bond. The organization aims to raise 50 million $AUD (the equivalent of $36 million).

Paul Snaith, manager of the World Bank’s Treasury Operations Capital Markets, has said that the institution is partnering with Microsoft in order to meet the technical demands necessary to create their software and platform. While World Bank blockchain bonds offer a promising step forward for investors, it’s important to note that anyone who purchases a bond will still follow the traditional path.

For instance, each individual purchaser still has to go through an official registration process. In addition, all cash will be transmitted separately from the blockchain through normal bond channels.

World Bank Blockchain

BNP Paribas Minibonds

The World Bank blockchain effort to become the first global issuer of blockchain bonds is quite an accomplishment, but it isn’t the only large financial institution working on such an initiative. BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank and the 8th largest bank in the world, also has a similar program in the works. In 2016, this bank started building and testing a blockchain platform to allow private companies to issue minibonds.

BNP Paribas Securities Services, the bank’s custody arm, is actively developing a solution that can maintain records of all minibond issuances as well as ownership changes. The bank also partnered with three French companies to further its eventual goal of real-world implementation. These included two renewable energy companies as well as an investment platform called SmartAngels, which worked on creating the first pilot platform.

According to a February 2018 article, Johann Palychata, head of blockchain at BNP Paribas Securities Services’ digital transformation department, said that more improvements are needed to integrate blockchain with existing market practices and stakeholders. Palychata also cited the need for regulatory changes to make widespread adoption a reality.

There haven’t been many updates regarding the possibility of BNP Paribas’ real-world implementation of blockchain minibonds. Nonetheless, BNP Paribas is also bringing blockchain innovation to other areas of finance like asset management. In January 2018, BNP Paribas Asset Management announced that it had utilized BNP Paribas Securities Services’ blockchain technology to conduct the successful trial of blockchain-based fund distribution in Luxembourg.

BNP Paribas Blockchain Bonds

Berkeley, California: First Blockchain Bond Municipality?

When it comes to bond issuance, most people likely first think of either international institutions like The World Bank or large banks like BNP Paribas. But local governments also have the authority and ability to issue bonds. Now, local and state governments across the globe are starting to implement a variety of blockchain solutions.

In May 2018, the city council of Berkeley, California voted to move forward on a project that would make it the first municipality to offer blockchain bonds. What makes this initiative interesting is the fact that it would lower the investment threshold for all investors. Typically, the minimum investment for municipal bonds is $5,000. In contrast, Berkeley’s program would allow people to buy bonds for much smaller amounts (i.e. $10 or $25) to support community projects.

This concept is similar to how cryptocurrency projects have reduced or even eliminated the minimum amount of funds required to participate in ICOs. Additionally, the city plans to issue the bonds in dollars. There is also the possibility that the city could create its own token, offering citizens two currency options.

Berkeley’s Vice Mayor Ben Bartlett told Bloomberg that circumventing Wall Street is one of the city’s motivating factors. If this initiative is successful, it could set a model where governments are no longer dependent on the services offered by traditional debt capital markets. For the city of Berkely, some possible initiatives include a muni-bond backed ICO for affordable housing. The city has already partnered up with a tech startup called Neighborly to make this vision a reality.

Berkeley University

Trends and Takeaways

Blockchain bonds and minibonds can change the future of bond financing. Governments and banks haven’t been quick to utilize cryptocurrencies in bond issuance or payments, but this could be a possibility in the future.

It’s yet to be determined whether governments and financial institutions are firmly in the “blockchain but not bitcoin” camp. Regardless if fiat or crypto is used, blockchain bonds create another potential use case for decentralized technologies. Most importantly, they represent a big step forward for the adoption of blockchain technology.


This article by Delton Rhodes was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Delton Rhodes:

I enjoy researching new, innovative, and interesting blockchain/crypto projects that have the potential to impact the world. Whenever I’m not writing, I’m usually playing sports or producing music.

There are still people out there that believe that bitcoin transactions are anonymous. However, the Bitcoin blockchain can be used to trace cryptocurrency transactions to specific actors and money laundering networks. Last month’s indictments against the 12 suspected Russian individuals who hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers is a testament to how authorities can use the blockchain to track down offenders involved in scandalous cryptocurrency activities.

According to the indictment, the 12 suspects used bitcoin during the 2016 election period to buy the dcleaks.com domain, which was later on used to post emails pilfered from the Hillary Clinton campaign. The group also paid for the server in Malaysia that hosted the site using Bitcoin, and purchased a Virtual Private Network (VPN) using the same pool of funds.

The suspects, who allegedly worked for the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU) unit, specialized in cyber-security operations that obtained invaluable documents through computer intrusions. They were apparently involved in large-scale operations designed to sway the U.S. presidential election, and hacked emails of volunteers and employees connected to the Hillary campaign, including its chairman’s.

Using the alias Guccifer 2.0, the Russian hackers contacted a U.S. reporter and gave him access to the stolen files on the dcleaks.com site, leading to widespread news coverage. The compromising information is believed to have had an indirect impact on the elections.

Genesis Mining Platform

Tracing Transactions Back to the DNC Hacker Group Was Easy

Tracing the Guccifer 2.0 bitcoin transactions to the culprits was relatively easy as demonstrated by Tim Cotton, a blockchain developer. He was able to trace back the purchases to the GRU unit, which hacked DNC servers while using only publicly available information. By analyzing the blockchain, which underlies bitcoin, it is possible for law enforcement and users to access the public ledger and identify a node indicating where a purchase was made.

Data found about transactions that take place on cryptocurrency exchanges is especially invaluable for law enforcement as such services usually require personal information to allow users to transact. This information can be traced back to an individual and is much more reliable than bare numbers and letters.


This article by Elizabeth Gail was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Elizabeth Gail is crypto-enthusiast and a blogger. Her specialties include cryptocurrency news and analysis. When not writing about crypto, she’s out taking part in humanitarian endeavors across the world. You can reach out and engage with her on Twitter and Google Plus.

Blockchain may not be a panacea to the all the world’s problems but there are many areas where it shows potential. Perhaps one of the most important is human rights. According to a 2014 report by Freedom House, only 40 percent of the world live in “free” countries. These are the nations that supposedly respect basic human rights. But a lot has changed since 2014, and not for the better.

A Snapshot of Human Rights Around the World

We often take basic human rights, such as freedom of speech or movement, for granted. Many of us forget that in some countries, simply speaking your mind can land you in jail–or even get you killed. While much of the world remains under the thumb of corrupt and oppressive governments, blockchain technology could provide at least the start of a solution.

The universal declaration of human rights from the United Nations covers a score of fundamental rights that all people deserve. Yet far too many citizens around the world do not receive them. Among the list of 30 articles are the rights to equality, freedom from slavery, discrimination or torture, and freedom of opinion and information.

An Amnesty report published this year revealed that many supposedly “free” countries are failing to comply with basic human rights. The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is one of the worst in the country’s history. The ongoing state of war in Yemen shatters all basic human rights to food and shelter. Turkey’s continued clampdown on journalists and political activists and Russia’s curtailing of freedom of speech are all in direct conflict with the human rights agreement.

We often associate human rights violations with developing countries and oppressive regimes. But the US, EU, and Australia all earned a place among the worst human rights violators on Amnesty’s list.

The EU and Australia were called out for their “callous” treatment of refugees, and Trump’s controversial travel ban borderline violates the human right to freedom of movement while discriminating on religious grounds.

Blockchain and Human Rights

With blockchain technology, we could track human rights issues more easily. This could bring transparency and accountability to both developing and developed countries. Very often, though, speaking about blockchain involves hypothetical use cases for some faraway date in the future. Yet there are many practical use cases of blockchain and human rights right now. Let’s look at a few examples.

The Right to Adequate Living Standard

From Zimbabwe to Venezuela, Yemen to Syria, people all around the world are unable to access their right to an adequate living standard. This means having food to eat, water to drink and not being forced to live in a conflict zone or in fear of persecution.

In countries where hyperinflation is wiping out people’s life savings, blockchain and human rights are starting to team up. Cryptocurrency is beginning to make a dent in the deepening humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

With a national currency devaluing by 95 percent from one day to the next, more and more Venezuelans are turning to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Dash as a solution. In fact, there are now over 900 merchants that accept payment in Dash across the country. The founder of Dash Venezuela told Coin Central:

“Venezuelans have been using cryptocurrency for years now to protect their capital from inflation. But now with Dash, it has opened a new window as a means of payment. It is an easy way to receive something that is stronger than the Bolivar and is within the law.”

Cryptocurrency further allows for micro trade and microlending. Since you can assign a value to the most minute quantity, the size of trade that is economically viable becomes smaller. Blockchain and human rights make a more compelling case as people around the world can finally access the banking system, start their own business, and buy and sell smaller amounts.

The Right to Participate in Government and Free Elections

Another of the UN’s articles is the right to participate in government and free elections. Yet this is willfully denied to many people. Electoral fraud is common around the world. Even in countries like the United States, self-proclaimed as ‘the land of the free’, significant aspersions were cast over the 2016 presidential elections.

The Kenyan elections of 2017 thrust bloodshed, controversy, and chaos front and center. There was a widespread sentiment that the election was rigged, and many Kenyans were unable to take part due to voter intimidation.

So loud was the clamor of voices crying out against the election that it led to a second one. But that was boycotted by the main opponent and the incumbent won by a surreal landslide with 98 percent of the vote.

But rigged elections and voter fraud aren’t by any means limited to Africa. They’re widespread around the world and even common in private companies and public corporations. Blockchain and human rights projects in this area are showing positive results.

People can vote from the privacy of their own homes, free from intimidation. And all votes are tamper-proof on the immutable ledger, akin to anonymous voting in a ballot box.

There are still some issues to be ironed out when it comes to blockchain voting. Verifying voter identity and making sure the same people don’t vote twice, for example. But countries like Estonia are already proving that it is possible. In fact, all Estonians have their own ID cards they can use to vote on the blockchain securely and quickly.

Blockchain and human rights

The Right to Freedom of Opinion and Information

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in December of 2017, a record high number of journalists were imprisoned around the world. The largest concentrations being in China, Turkey, and Egypt. Freedom of opinion and information is a luxury to many in these parts of the world. If a government doesn’t like a certain website, they can shut it down or monitor it. Wikipedia, for example, is censored or banned in many countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Turkey, and even France.

The very fact that blockchain provides us with a decentralized technology that is global and uncensored means that no one centralized entity or government can shut it down.

Privacy-focused messaging app Mainframe, and mesh networking startups Open Garden and RightMesh are working to provide censorship-resistant platforms to ensure continued, unbroken connectivity. Blockchain and human rights show endless possibilities when it comes to freedom of information.

Closing Thoughts

More and more blockchain and human rights use cases will develop over time. Of the 30 articles on the UN’s human rights list, blockchain technology has the potential to help with many.

With its correct use in identity management, we may be able to eradicate illicit slavery and human trafficking. And the ownership of land deeds recorded on a transparent ledger could put an end to the illegal seizure of land.

There are certainly many human rights problems to tackle. And it will be interesting to see how many cases blockchain technology is instrumental in.


This article by Christina Comben was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Christina is a B2B writer and MBA, specializing in fintech, cybersecurity, blockchain, and other geeky areas. When she’s not at her computer, you’ll find her surfing, traveling, or relaxing with a glass of wine.


Clickbank Promo Tools
Advertisements
E-books and Software
Internet Marketing Product Reviews

Popular Posts

What People Love

Company Info

This website is a project by:

TNZ Web Solutions, Tauranga, New Zealand

TNZ Web Solutions is part of ZedBee Limited
NZ Companies registration nr. 5397562 (records)

Menu

Contact

3/12 Cypress Street
Tauranga 3110, New Zealand

Email

© Artisynq Content Network 2020

‌ As an Amazon Associate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.