Antshares Rebrands, Introduces NEO and the New Smart Economy

NEO-Beijing.jpg

At a gathering at the Microsoft headquarters in Beijing on Thursday, with about 200 people in attendance, Antshares, the first open-source blockchain platform developed in China, announced a complete rebranding of its blockchain solution, as well as a number of other developments detailing their ambitious plans forward.

One of the revelations was the platform’s new name and brand, NEO, which in Greek means newness, novelty and youth. The developers also highlighted the strengths of their advanced smart contract code, which will support decentralized commerce, digital identities and the digitization of many different assets. This rebranding of Antshares represents a new direction for the development of China’s blockchain community.

Currently, holders of ANS can now automatically generate Antcoins (ANC) in their Antshares wallets, which will be used as gas on the platform. The ANS asset symbol will become NEO in the 3rd quarter of 2017; meanwhile, the NEO team is working on new clients and a UI for the new NEO brand.

Throughout the day, there were presentations from participants including Microsoft representatives, NEO platform developers, and founders of partner platforms. Among the select attendees were several major potential investors, industry experts and blockchain enthusiasts, as well as members of the Chinese financial and mainstream media, including CCTV.

Presenters at the conference included: 

Da Hongfei, founder of NEO

After announcing NEO’s new brand and strategy, Da Hongfei elaborated on the future of blockchain technology, where every asset will be digitized and programmable with smart contracts. Calling for the transparency and openness of data, he introduced concepts of the “Smart Economy” and new smart contract system, and announced that he is building a new multi-chain protocol for interoperability.

Da Hongfei’s top revelations at the conference were that:

  • NEO is collaborating with certificate authorities in China to map real-world assets using smart contracts;

  • NEO has received a new patent for cross-chain distributed interoperability;

  • NEO’s recent new startup partners include Bancor, Agrello, Coindash, Nest Fund, and Binance, with more partner announcements to come.

Erik Zhang, Core Developer of NEO

In his presentation, Erik Zhang discussed the evolution of Smart Contracts 2.0, and explained the main differences between NEO and Ethereum. One big contrast of these competing platforms is their programming languages. Ethereum requires developers to learn to program with Solidity. Neo, on the other hand, will support almost all programming languages via a compiler, including those on Microsoft.net, Java, Kotlin, Go and Python, greatly lowering the difficulty for developers to write smart contracts. By making its programming languages more inclusive, NEO hopes to attract a larger community of developers. Zhang also explained the mechanics of the NEO Virtual Machine, its execution engine and interoperability.  

图片包含 屏幕截图

已生成极高可信度的说明

Slide Of The NEO Virtual Machine

Tony Tao, CEO of NEO and Founder of Nest Fund

Based on the concept of Ethereum’s The DAO, a blockchain-based investment fund, Tony Tao is about to release a whitepaper for a similar project. Called Nest Fund, and built on NEO’s blockchain, this fund will make improvements on the failures of The DAO. By offering a global bounty reward for any hacker who finds bugs, Nest will be audited by a worldwide peer review, and will then release its token for decentralized investing.

Srikanth Raju, Microsoft’s G.M of Developer Experience and Evangelism for the Greater China Region 

According to Mr. Raju, blockchain technology will lead us into a new digital age, displacing traditional businesses and middlemen throughout many industries. He said that Onchain (the company that founded NEO) is “one of the top 50 startup companies in China”, and offered his support for their endeavors going forward.

 Mr. Han Feng, Tsinghua University I-Center 

Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship at the top university in China, Tsinghua University’s I-Center focuses on the large-scale integration of technology resources. Speaking for the university’s growing interest in supporting blockchain technology, Mr. Han Feng said that current systems of commerce are “outdated and insecure,” and that the internet is ready for an upgrade to a blockchain-based operating system. Calling for a fully-automated, blockchain-based, decentralized economy, he said we can expect a digital revolution in the years to come. This will include digital currency, decentralized storage, secure smart contract codes, IoT, AI, and many more innovations.

 Chen Cheng Qiang, founder and CEO of Innospace

Located in Shanghai, Innospace is a business incubation company, with office spaces, meeting spaces, cafes and living spaces. At today’s conference, Innospace CEO Chen Cheng Qiang announced a ¥200 million CNY ($29.3 million USD) incubation fund, a collaboration between his company and the NEO blockchain team. Plans for the fund include the establishment of a new blockchain space in Shanghai, combining working spaces, startup incubation and acceleration services. According to Mr. Qiang, his company plans to provide the most successful entrepreneurship acceleration services in China.

 Alex Norta, founder of Agrello

Coming all the way from Estonia, Alex Norta announced that his startup Agrello will be partnering with NEO to develop smart contracts for automation, self-execution, accuracy and transparency. Powered by AI, Agrello will be a platform for non-programmers to create their own legally binding blockchain-based smart contracts. Use cases for Agrello’s tech include renting and sharing, freelance contracting, orchestrating production flows, and reducing administration costs for multinational corporations.

Adam Efrima, CEO of Coindash

With offices in Israel and Shanghai, Coindash will be a social trading platform for crypto assets, offering portfolio management tools for digital asset investors. Features of the platform will include portfolio statistics and management tools, investment automation, an ICO dashboard, and insights into other traders’ successful investing strategies. In the upcoming development of Nest Fund, a blockchain-based smart fund by the developers of NEO, Coindash will offer advisory and prediction tools for Nest’s modern investors.

Mr. Zhao Chang Peng, CEO of Binance 

The former CTO of OkCoin, Mr. Zhao Chang Peng is starting his own digital asset exchange, hoping to compete with platforms like Poloniex. Calling his new platform Binance, this new exchange will only deal in coin-to-coin transactions, avoiding fiat pairs and therefore avoiding Chinese regulations. In order to maintain a standard in mature digital assets, Binance will only list coins that meet its strict criteria. With a launch planned for later this year, the platform’s first traded assets will be bitcoin, ether and NEO. 


From the looks, sounds, and energy of the event, NEO has built up some strong momentum going forward. They have one the top blockchain development teams in all of China, with 50 million ANS ($325 million) to support their funding needs and a growing list of partners now aligning by their side. While it may take some time to steal the spotlight from Ethereum, we are sure to see more from this platform in the months to come.  

The post Antshares Rebrands, Introduces NEO and the New Smart Economy appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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How to Slip Some Blockchain Exposure Into Your Portfolio

How to slip some Blockchain exposure into your portfolio

Over the past year, there have been fortunes made with winning investments like bitcoin, ether and ripple. And yet many people don’t know how to buy a single bitcoin. If you are new to digital assets, you may find it a tap dance just to get your money in, between digital wallets, online exchanges and questionable regulations. If you are perplexed by blockchain technology and feel more comfortable having your money in traditional markets, there are companies you can invest in to get the technology in your portfolio. Companies like IBM and Microsoft are betting heavily on blockchain tech, and are positioning themselves as leaders for the Internet of Everything.

Here are some familiar, publicly traded companies that have invested in blockchain technology:

Microsoft (MSFT), Nasdaq 

Microsoft has been sponsoring blockchain technology and is now a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), along with dozens of other companies including J.P. Morgan and Toyota. The alliance was formed to create standards for Ethereum in business use cases and to collaborate for a blockchain-based online marketplace. Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service platform also supports Ethereum, offering Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) tools for app developers.

Quoted in the MIT Technology Review, Marley Gray, who leads Microsoft’s blockchain efforts, said, “We see a huge opportunity here. Enterprise-scale and enterprise-grade infrastructure is going to be vitally important for this financial infrastructure that will be woven using blockchain over these next few years.”

As Microsoft adds development tools and industry expertise, its early bets on blockchain tech should grow in years to come. The stock is now sitting at a 52-week high in the $72 range, with a trailing annual dividend of $1.53 per share.

IBM (IBM), NYSE 

With a different approach, IBM has joined Hyperledger in its foray onto the blockchain. Governed by corporations, Hyperledger has five blockchain and distributed ledger projects in incubation. The one that IBM is most invested in is called Fabric, a blockchain layer for enterprise solutions, which also has support from companies including Accenture, Airbus, American Express, CME Group, Intel and others.

In 2016, IBM focused specifically on introducing blockchain technology to the company’s artificially intelligent computer named Watson. Potential applications include machine-to-machine communications and payments, machine self-diagnostics, and machine self-learning.

Similar to the Microsoft Azure developer platform, IBM also offers blockchain building tools for corporations. Shares of IBM are now trading around $152, with a trailing annual dividend of $1.40 per share.

Overstock.com (OSTK), Nasdaq  

In 2014, Overstock.com started a VC fund to manage investments in firms leveraging blockchain technology. Named Medici Ventures, the fund now owns a 2.5 percent stake in Factom, which may become a leading data hashing company. And in April 2017, Medici invested $428,000 in Bitcoin company Ripio, a leading digital wallet and exchange in Argentina. Medici has also invested in several platforms related to equity trading.

Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne has long been a proponent of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. In 2016, he announced a new subsidiary blockchain-based equity trading platform named t0, which he thinks could revolutionize equity trading. t0 combines cryptographically secure distributed ledgers with existing market processes to reduce time and costs, and increase transparency, efficiency and auditability.

Medici continues to invest in promising blockchain startups. The company’s stock is trading in the $14.50 range, with a market cap of only $363 million.

FastForward Innovations (FFWD.L), London Stock Exchange  

FastForward Innovations is a VC firm investing in emerging technologies. In 2015 FastForward made a £279,000 ($431,300) investment in Factom, which in 2016 was revalued at £560,000 ($709,800) after another successful funding round. The latter round included funds from well-known investor Tim Draper, who stated, “Governments also need better security from hackers, and the blockchain avails them of better security than they currently have. I believe that the Factom team has the opportunity and the potential to build a company greater than Oracle and Palantir and IBM combined.”

FastForward is also invested in digital gaming, wearable technology and online media. The company’s stock is currently trading at £12.65 ($16.24).

Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), OTC  

If you want exposure to bitcoin and only bitcoin, you can buy into the Bitcoin Investment Trust through your traditional brokerage account. A financial product of Grayscale, which is owned by Digital Currency Group, GBTC is meant to track the bitcoin market price on behalf of investors, who then don’t have to buy and safekeep bitcoins for themselves.

The fund’s bitcoins are kept in deep storage vaults with Bitcoin company Xapo, where they are protected by intense cryptographic and physical security. With $390 million in assets under management, the fund has a market cap of $882 million on Yahoo Finance. Recently, the price of the fund has soared above the market price of bitcoin, which shows an active demand for a bitcoin investment vehicle. Currently trading at $516, GBTC is up from $101 just six months ago.

Blockchain Capital  

Though not publicly traded, if you would like to dabble in digital assets but don’t know which projects to invest in, Blockchain Capital offers an interesting way to play this space. Calling themselves the “First Ever Digital Liquid Venture Firm,” Blockchain Capital invests in promising blockchain projects and the platforms that support them, and now has what looks to be a strong portfolio. Their holdings include industry leaders Blockstream, Bitfury, Coinbase, Ripple, ShapeShift, Qtum, BitPesa and more.

What is unique about Blockchain Capital is that they have their own digital token called BCAP, which represents an indirect fraction of non-voting interest in their Digital Liquid Venture Fund. By buying the BCAP tokens, you will own a share of the fund of companies that Blockchain Capital invests in. When the fund released these tokens to the public earlier this year, the entire offering of 10 million BCAP sold out in less than six hours, raising a total of $10 million USD at $1 per token. Today the token trades on Liqui.io for $2.25.

This article is for general information purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Investors should conduct their own due diligence and consult with a qualified tax/investment professional before attempting anything described in this article.

The post How to Slip Some Blockchain Exposure Into Your Portfolio appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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China’s Interest and Investment in Ethereum’s Blockchain Expands

China's Interest and Investment in Ethereum's Blockchain Expands

Copyedit by DoEun

Ethereum Is Dominating in China

Bradley Fink

When we first heard Vitalik Buterin was learning Chinese, it was a clue to his ambitions in China. Less than two years later, the platform he co-founded is now a growing force in the Middle Kingdom. Since he joined the ChinaLedger Alliance (May 2016) and announced the expansion of BlockApps, an Ethereum building-blocks platform, in China (September 2016), there has been a movement in cities and among companies in big industries all throughout China. This is in some part due to the efforts of Wanxiang Blockchain Labs, which has made it their mission in China to bring Ethereum to the mainstream, and also in part to the savvy and persistent efforts of Buterin himself.

At a recent Ethereum meetup in Hong Kong, Buterin said that “Wanxiang Blockchain Labs are making good inroads into China.” Headquartered in Hangzhou, Wanxiang has led the Ethereum charge in China for more than a year. Having partnered with Ethereum early on for the Global Blockchain Summit following Devcon2 in Shanghai in July of 2016, Wanxiang is now China’s top funder of promising blockchain projects.

With its BlockGrantX sponsorship program, it has allocated funds to Ethereum startups including iEx.ec (for fully distributed cloud computing), Proof-of-Identity (for KYC, wallets, multisig, voting, authentication and reputation systems), Golem (P2P computation), Casper (a proof-of-stake consensus protocol), the Raiden Network (an Ethereum off-chain state network) and Micro Oracles (blockchain identity verification). And this month, Wanxiang launched its WanCloud platform for Chinese developers, giving them access to tools for building applications on open-source blockchains.

Since the recent Global Blockchain Financial Summit in Hangzhou, China’s rapid technological developments on the Ethereum platform has been garnering attention. One blog post in particular, from ConsenSys’s Head of Global Business Development Andrew Keys, gave some insight into the rapid rate of Chinese adoption. Highlights of the post, titled “Ethereum Growing Exponentially in China,” include:

  • The creation of an Ethereum Laboratory at Peking University, to work on applications for improving supply chain management and energy markets

  • The Royal Chinese Mint experimenting with a digital RMB on the Ethereum blockchain

  • Chinese companies such as Baidu, Ctrip, JD.com and Meituan utilizing Ethereum technology for aggregated payments services

  • Establishment of the Jiangsu Huaxin BIockchain Research Institute (JBI) in Nanjing, which Keys writes “will be a powerhouse in the Ethereum ecosystem and will become a beachhead for corporations outside of China.”

  • Experimenting with Ethereum technology by Ant Financial, Alibaba’s $60 billion financial arm, to improve their global payment platforms

In Hong Kong, there has also been a surge of new interest in Ethereum. Jehan Chu is the founder of the Ethereum meetup there and a partner at Jen Advisors, a Hong Kong–based early-stage blockchain VC firm. Though the technology is still very young, Chu has seen a huge uptick in activity.

“Ethereum in Southern China has been on a rampage of growth,” Chu told Bitcoin Magazine, “with the local HK meetup growing by 50 percent to nearly 800 members in the last six months, and ether trade skyrocketing. Banks, corporates and even casual investors have all heard about Ethereum’s white-hot growth and mounting challenge to Bitcoin dominance. More importantly, Ethereum startups worldwide from Status.im and Ox to Golem and MakerDao have made HK’s environment of high-level industry professionals a can’t-miss stop on their Asia business development and capital raising tours.”

Recently the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), connecting Fortune 500 enterprises, startups, academics and technology vendors with Ethereum, announced its expansion into China with a new office in Hangzhou.

At the Global Blockchain Financial Summit in Hangzhou, EEA China said that its main objectives are to “explore and develop new standards and technologies using blockchains, so that Chinese enterprises can more easily meet domestic market needs.” Founding members of the EEA include JP Morgan, Banco Santander, CME Group, Microsoft, Intel, Accenture and blockchain startup ConsenSys.

Over the past week, the price of ether has surged from $85 on May 17 to a high of around $211 on Coinbase on May 25. While many credit this rise to the announcements of the EEA, it is also notable that ETH trading was added to some of China’s digital asset exchanges. On May 14 CHBTC.com added an ETH/CNY trading pair, and on May 16 Yuanbao.com added ETH trading to its platform. It has also been confirmed that China’s top Bitcoin exchange OKCoin will soon add ETH trading.

The post China’s Interest and Investment in Ethereum’s Blockchain Expands appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Factom Harmony Takes On the Mortgage Industry

Factom Harmony Takes On the Mortgage Industry

Already working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to secure records on their blockchain, Factom has now set its sights on the trillion-dollar mortgage industry. Having launched its new Factom Harmony solution in March, the company hopes to attract big banks and host their sensitive mortgage data. By increasing the efficiency of document management, Harmony will allow a seamless transaction process between lenders and brokers, without them having to worry about lost documents, altered agreements or incomplete records.

Built on the Factom Apollo data management solution, which allows users to store and create immutable digital records, Harmony “works with existing imaging or document management solutions to create secure, transparent, unalterable records for final loan documents.” In the process, every file is secured within a blockchain container, locking in the order of the final documentation, recording each person who accesses files and rejecting duplicate documents.

Factom refers to this system as “a perfected digital audit vault” for each specific loan. Thus the core product behind Factom Harmony is called Digital Vault, which locks into time the most important closing documents and gives a complete history of every file from origination to close.

As an all-inclusive solution, Factom Harmony

  • creates a permanent record and index of final loan documents, making audits smooth by reducing quality control, due diligence and review time;

  • reduces costs by creating a single source that organizes the final documentation and provides cryptographic truth that each document is an authentic copy;

  • provides access control to multiple parties that can collaborate under audit conditions and exceptions, and includes an immutable audit trail of all actions on each document in real-time, giving a true history of every loan;

  • opens a secure audit room or due diligence deal room that can be tracked on the Factom blockchain.

According to Peter Kirby, CEO of Factom Inc., “The Harmony solution and the underlying Factom blockchain provide lenders with something that was fundamentally missing from the industry. With Harmony, a lender is able to create a final set of documents for each closed loan.”

Right now, origination of a loan has underlying costs of about $7,500 per loan — up from approximately $2,500 per loan in 2006. The costs have tripled over the last few years as banks have been forced to step up their efforts to be in compliance with new laws.

Factom Harmony addresses many of the redundancy issues associated with these efforts by permanently documenting the process from the moment documents are first created, and then allowing that data to be quickly shared and verified digitally. Having digital records that can be securely shared and verified also speeds up financial institutions’ ability to settle transaction among themselves. Factom does not claim to move money faster, but it does attempt to allow others to have the confidence in the data they are reviewing and thus speed up the processes.

According to Factom, Harmony is the first practical and effective deployment of blockchain technology in the mortgage industry. Through combining blockchain technology, advanced cryptography tools and a digital fingerprint for each document or data file, lenders can securely store and expose individual loan files or documents to various third parties.

“This technology dramatically changes the approach and reduces the costs for audits, third-party reviews, litigation costs and due diligence costs,” Jason Nadeau, executive vice president of Factom, said in a statement. “The combination of blockchain and digital signature technology within Factom’s solution creates a solution where the benefits of digital signatures and electronic vaulting are now available for all documents without having to deploy any eMortgage or eClosing technology.”

Toni Moss is the founder and CEO of AmeriCatalyst LLC, an advisory firm located in Austin, Texas, specializing in corporate strategy, business development, market intelligence and market positioning for companies engaged in all sectors of the residential real-estate and housing finance industry in the North American market. Moss has advised clients including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, the European Commission and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Well-known in the U.S. mortgage industry, she is a big fan of Factom Harmony, and had this to say about the blockchain-based solution:

“The industry remains disparate and fractured with regard to the acquisition, management, distribution and protection of data, with a wide variety of third-party providers, proprietary platforms and programming languages. It’s just a matter of time before mortgage data is aggregated into a secure and centralized industry utility — and blockchain [technology] is the most promising catalyst to enable it,” Moss said to Bitcoin Magazine.

“As data becomes more plentiful, accurate, accessible and immutable, investors will have the confidence to return to the mortgage market; processing, servicing and transactional costs (should) decrease; and the market itself will be far more secure and sustainable in the long-term.”

Factom has yet to announce any contracts or partnerships related to its mortgage solution, but the time is right for big banks to start utilizing blockchain technology. In a separate recent development for the company, the Factom blockchain was made accessible to Chinese developers through WanCloud, a product released by Wanxiang Blockchain Corporation to drive progress among Chinese enterprises.

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The Lost Records of Shantou: A Case for Blockchain Tokenization

shantou

In the Guangdong Province of China, Shantou was once a flourishing port city where European traders had their businesses and homes. In the early 1900s, they built a brand new central district near the river in Shantou with consulate buildings, apartments, bars and restaurants. It was a spectacular mix of Victorian English and classical Chinese styles and soon became a mainstay and provincial destination.

The Old Central District in Shantou

Over the years, however, Shantou lost its status as a top commercial hub, as bigger ports emerged in nearby Shenzhen and Guangzhou. As foreign traders left the city, the central district fell into a state of disrepair. Without the once thriving businesses, the local Chinese owners couldn’t maintain their own buildings and, as generations passed, descendants of the owners moved to newer parts of town.

Today, Shantou’s old central district is a dismal, rundown slum. You can still see the charm in the vintage architecture, but facades are falling to the ground and walls are crumbling. As random tourists stroll the lanes taking photographs, they wonder why the owners haven’t paid for renovations or sold the buildings to new owners who could fix them up.

Now Just an Empty Street of Crumbling Buildings 

With No Ownership Rights, Nothing Can Be Restored

汕头2.jpg

Once a Popular Hotel in Old Shantou

Meanwhile, just north of Shantou, Chaozhou has a newly restored and booming old city, with shops, guesthouses, restaurants and people spending money. In other parts of China, old villages and districts like this one have been restored, drawing business owners, locals and domestic tourists.

chaozhou.jpeg   

Gates To The Restored Old City of Chaozhou, Shantou’s Neighbor to the North

Because Chaozhou is a prefecture-level city, the government intervened to restore the streets and buildings. But in Shantou, there have been no renovations because no one in the city knows who owns the hopeless buildings: the deeds to the properties are nowhere to be found. If the deeds still existed, the buildings would be fixed, business owners would move in, and again it would become a busy district of the city. Eventually, just like in Chaozhou, the government will have to intervene with public funds.

But today, with the advent of the blockchain, technology can solve this age-old problem in Shantou. With the digitization (or tokenization) of assets, there will never be a need to keep a deed or piece of paper as records can be safely kept forever on the blockchain.

A Homegrown Solution

Based in Shanghai, Antshares is a Chinese blockchain led by developer Erik Zhang, who has studied Bitcoin and Ethereum, and believes China needs its own, homegrown blockchain solution. Having built Antshares as an open-source protocol, Zhang hopes that people in his country will soon be building apps and digitizing their assets with his technology. And by tokenizing real-world assets such as stock certificates, cars, homes and even people, Zhang believes he can help prevent what happened in old Shantou from happening again in the future.

Bitcoin Magazine interviewed Mr. Zhang about his plans for the tokenization of assets on the Antshares blockchain to find out how it works and what major changes it will bring to the world around us.


Bitcoin Magazine: How will the digitization or tokenization of assets work?

Erik Zhang: We usually divide digital assets into two categories, one for voucher assets and the other for credit assets. Digitizing a voucher asset means that we digitize contracts or licenses, such as the transfer agreement of a company’s equity, stock certificates, a real estate license and so on.

A credit asset refers to the creation of a new digital asset and guaranteeing it as redeemable for a real physical asset in real terms. This can be done with an ounce of gold (or any quantity), a car, a Picasso painting, or as you mentioned, a home. It means creating a digital token that represents ownership of a physical asset, which can be bought, sold, transferred or stored in a secure manner.

BM: How is a digital token created?

EZ: Well, the answer is rather technical and perhaps boring for the average reader. But to do so on Antshares, for example, we would:

  1. Create a numeric identity on the blockchain which can be implemented through a digital certificate. The digital certificate exists on the blockchain with a public key or address;

  2. Use a private key of the digital certificate to register the commitment of the asset;

  3. Safeguard the digital certificate and digital signature on the blockchain;

  4. Allow other people to verify a digital identity through the digital certificate, and confirm the issuer/owner of the asset.

Once an asset is digitized, it can be transferred and traded on the blockchain, and there will be advanced operations that can be performed using smart contracts.

BM: So, in essence, what does this do?

EZ: Basically it records and protects data in a way that can’t be altered or transferred without the owner’s explicit consent. Consent, in these cases, will require a digital signature that can be verified on the blockchain. So if you have tokenized your home, for example, then your legal ownership of the home will be recorded by a digital “token,” and the fact of your ownership can only be changed or transferred when you have provided your private key (password).

In the case of Shantou, or anywhere else for that matter, this will also make it so that lost deeds will never result in such a public dilemma. Records of property ownership will never be lost, destroyed, falsely altered or transferred without consent.

BM: And what will we do with the tokens?

EZ: As far as securing our digital assets, advancements are being made in digital wallet technology so that we can safely store our digital assets. When you want to sell your property, then to complete the sale, you can transfer your token to the new owner digitally on the blockchain.

BM: So, in theory, anything can be tokenized. Do you think that someday we will tokenize ourselves?

EZ: (Laughs) Sure. I believe we will see birth certificates, marriage certificates, diplomas… and entire digital identities on the blockchain. In fact, digital identities are necessary for this whole ecosystem to work. Today, we use so many different types of personal identification: passports, ID cards, driver’s licenses, credit scores. With digital ID’s, people can build a single, comprehensive reputation on the blockchain which can be securely protected and used in any digital transaction. Tokenizing ourselves is a very important part of the future of blockchain technology.

BM: What kind of changes will this bring to the world?

EZ: Well, that is a big question with many implications. But in the case we see here, it will preserve the integrity of data and prevent the loss of ownership rights, such as we see in the case of Shantou. It will also have an impact on the environment as it will almost entirely eliminate the need for paperwork. But again, the implications of blockchain technology are so far-reaching that no one really knows of all the changes it will bring. We have many exciting ideas about it, but for the answer, we will have to wait and see.

BM: When will Antshares begin doing this?

EZ: Over the last year, we have made great progress with our core technology. This can be seen with the recent upgrades to our Antshares core wallet and our code updates on Github. We are a small, dedicated and talented team, and we will be working hard to build a community around our open-source platform. You will be seeing a lot of exciting news from Antshares in the near future.


Read more about other blockchain solutions for land and title registry around the world:

The post The Lost Records of Shantou: A Case for Blockchain Tokenization appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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The Lost Records of Shantou: A Case for Blockchain Tokenization

shantou

In the Guangdong Province of China, Shantou was once a flourishing port city where European traders had their businesses and homes. In the early 1900s, they built a brand new central district near the river in Shantou with consulate buildings, apartments, bars and restaurants. It was a spectacular mix of Victorian English and classical Chinese styles and soon became a mainstay and provincial destination.

The Old Central District in Shantou

Over the years, however, Shantou lost its status as a top commercial hub, as bigger ports emerged in nearby Shenzhen and Guangzhou. As foreign traders left the city, the central district fell into a state of disrepair. Without the once thriving businesses, the local Chinese owners couldn’t maintain their own buildings and, as generations passed, descendants of the owners moved to newer parts of town.

Today, Shantou’s old central district is a dismal, rundown slum. You can still see the charm in the vintage architecture, but facades are falling to the ground and walls are crumbling. As random tourists stroll the lanes taking photographs, they wonder why the owners haven’t paid for renovations or sold the buildings to new owners who could fix them up.

Now Just an Empty Street of Crumbling Buildings 

With No Ownership Rights, Nothing Can Be Restored

汕头2.jpg

Once a Popular Hotel in Old Shantou

Meanwhile, just north of Shantou, Chaozhou has a newly restored and booming old city, with shops, guesthouses, restaurants and people spending money. In other parts of China, old villages and districts like this one have been restored, drawing business owners, locals and domestic tourists.

chaozhou.jpeg   

Gates To The Restored Old City of Chaozhou, Shantou’s Neighbor to the North

Because Chaozhou is a prefecture-level city, the government intervened to restore the streets and buildings. But in Shantou, there have been no renovations because no one in the city knows who owns the hopeless buildings: the deeds to the properties are nowhere to be found. If the deeds still existed, the buildings would be fixed, business owners would move in, and again it would become a busy district of the city. Eventually, just like in Chaozhou, the government will have to intervene with public funds.

But today, with the advent of the blockchain, technology can solve this age-old problem in Shantou. With the digitization (or tokenization) of assets, there will never be a need to keep a deed or piece of paper as records can be safely kept forever on the blockchain.

A Homegrown Solution

Based in Shanghai, Antshares is a Chinese blockchain led by developer Erik Zhang, who has studied Bitcoin and Ethereum, and believes China needs its own, homegrown blockchain solution. Having built Antshares as an open-source protocol, Zhang hopes that people in his country will soon be building apps and digitizing their assets with his technology. And by tokenizing real-world assets such as stock certificates, cars, homes and even people, Zhang believes he can help prevent what happened in old Shantou from happening again in the future.

Bitcoin Magazine interviewed Mr. Zhang about his plans for the tokenization of assets on the Antshares blockchain to find out how it works and what major changes it will bring to the world around us.


Bitcoin Magazine: How will the digitization or tokenization of assets work?

Erik Zhang: We usually divide digital assets into two categories, one for voucher assets and the other for credit assets. Digitizing a voucher asset means that we digitize contracts or licenses, such as the transfer agreement of a company’s equity, stock certificates, a real estate license and so on.

A credit asset refers to the creation of a new digital asset and guaranteeing it as redeemable for a real physical asset in real terms. This can be done with an ounce of gold (or any quantity), a car, a Picasso painting, or as you mentioned, a home. It means creating a digital token that represents ownership of a physical asset, which can be bought, sold, transferred or stored in a secure manner.

BM: How is a digital token created?

EZ: Well, the answer is rather technical and perhaps boring for the average reader. But to do so on Antshares, for example, we would:

  1. Create a numeric identity on the blockchain which can be implemented through a digital certificate. The digital certificate exists on the blockchain with a public key or address;

  2. Use a private key of the digital certificate to register the commitment of the asset;

  3. Safeguard the digital certificate and digital signature on the blockchain;

  4. Allow other people to verify a digital identity through the digital certificate, and confirm the issuer/owner of the asset.

Once an asset is digitized, it can be transferred and traded on the blockchain, and there will be advanced operations that can be performed using smart contracts.

BM: So, in essence, what does this do?

EZ: Basically it records and protects data in a way that can’t be altered or transferred without the owner’s explicit consent. Consent, in these cases, will require a digital signature that can be verified on the blockchain. So if you have tokenized your home, for example, then your legal ownership of the home will be recorded by a digital “token,” and the fact of your ownership can only be changed or transferred when you have provided your private key (password).

In the case of Shantou, or anywhere else for that matter, this will also make it so that lost deeds will never result in such a public dilemma. Records of property ownership will never be lost, destroyed, falsely altered or transferred without consent.

BM: And what will we do with the tokens?

EZ: As far as securing our digital assets, advancements are being made in digital wallet technology so that we can safely store our digital assets. When you want to sell your property, then to complete the sale, you can transfer your token to the new owner digitally on the blockchain.

BM: So, in theory, anything can be tokenized. Do you think that someday we will tokenize ourselves?

EZ: (Laughs) Sure. I believe we will see birth certificates, marriage certificates, diplomas… and entire digital identities on the blockchain. In fact, digital identities are necessary for this whole ecosystem to work. Today, we use so many different types of personal identification: passports, ID cards, driver’s licenses, credit scores. With digital ID’s, people can build a single, comprehensive reputation on the blockchain which can be securely protected and used in any digital transaction. Tokenizing ourselves is a very important part of the future of blockchain technology.

BM: What kind of changes will this bring to the world?

EZ: Well, that is a big question with many implications. But in the case we see here, it will preserve the integrity of data and prevent the loss of ownership rights, such as we see in the case of Shantou. It will also have an impact on the environment as it will almost entirely eliminate the need for paperwork. But again, the implications of blockchain technology are so far-reaching that no one really knows of all the changes it will bring. We have many exciting ideas about it, but for the answer, we will have to wait and see.

BM: When will Antshares begin doing this?

EZ: Over the last year, we have made great progress with our core technology. This can be seen with the recent upgrades to our Antshares core wallet and our code updates on Github. We are a small, dedicated and talented team, and we will be working hard to build a community around our open-source platform. You will be seeing a lot of exciting news from Antshares in the near future.


Read more about other blockchain solutions for land and title registry around the world:

The post The Lost Records of Shantou: A Case for Blockchain Tokenization appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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