Hyperledger and Linux to Offer a Massive Open Online Blockchain Course

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Hyperledger, the international blockchain collaboration of corporate giants and young startups in partnership with the Linux Foundation, is launching a new free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to meet the rapidly accelerating worldwide demand for blockchain education.

The pace at which the “red hot” blockchain technology market is evolving and increasing in popularity makes it difficult for the established education system to keep up with the demand.

In an announcement, Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger said:

“Interest in blockchain technology is exploding. Software developers, product teams, and business managers are all desperately eager to figure out how this technology can solve real-world problems.

“This first introductory-level course is carefully designed for both non-technical and technical audiences, to bring everyone further up the learning curve and get started with it on their own business needs.”

The Linux Foundation, responsible for training and certifying more developers in open source software than any organization in the world, together with the worldwide open source community, is aiming to solve the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology community in history.  

The MOOC will be on the edX.org website, a free online education platform started by MIT and Harvard University in 2012. The site is now a collaborative effort of more than 50 top-rated universities and colleges including Cornell, University of California Berkeley, the Sorbonne, McGill, Juilliard, the University of Hong Kong, Oxford, Notre Dame, the University of Tokyo and the University of Toronto.

MOOC is Designed for Technical and Non-Technical Audiences

Some universities, like the University of Edinburgh, MIT, Stanford, University of California Berkeley and Princeton University, have already begun to offer courses in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies at the college level, while a new Blockchain University is tailoring its courses to professionals looking to upgrade their knowledge. The University of Nicosia in Cyprus offers the world’s first MSc in Digital Currency. But these courses are designed for the post-secondary and graduate knowledge level markets.

In contrast, Hyperledger’s MOOC is set up for both beginners and trained developers, and includes an introduction to the Hyperledger organization and its key business blockchain platforms, including Hyperledger Fabric and Sawtooth.

It covers key features of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, current Hyperledger projects and common use cases, and the differences between various types of Hyperledger projects in the fields of finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chains and manufacturing technologies.

The course includes how to install Hyperledger Fabric and Sawtooth frameworks and how to build simple applications on top of the Fabric and Sawtooth frameworks.

In a statement, edX CEO and MIT professor Anant Agarwal noted:

“Hyperledger and blockchain are two key skillsets that are increasingly in demand in today’s digital world. Our global community of learners have told us that they are seeking courses to help them gain the career-relevant skills they need for the modern workplace. We are thrilled to once again partner with the Linux Foundation to offer a course on this popular, in-demand subject that will provide the building blocks needed for success within the exciting and rapidly expanding field of blockchain technologies.”

Recent job numbers show that the demand for cryptocurrency jobs has doubled in the past six months and are soon to triple from 2016. The job board AngelList reports that cryptocurrency job postings remain one of the largest non-corporate startup opportunities..

Pre-registration is now open. The free Hyperledger course will become fully available on October 25, 2017 (with the option to add a verified certificate of completion for $99).

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CarbonX and ConsenSys Put P2P Carbon Credit Trading on the Blockchain

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Carbon credits trading (also known as “cap and trade”) as a means to help mitigate the effects of global climate change has long been advocated by environmentalists fighting one of the most intransigent environmental challenges of the 21st century.

Now ConsenSys and CarbonX Personal Carbon Trading Inc. have stepped up to enable the first-ever peer-to-peer carbon credit trading platform, built on the Ethereum blockchain.

CarbonX Personal Carbon Trading Inc. is principally a Tapscott family enterprise, with CEO and founder William (Bill) Tapscott, co-founder and CMO Jane Ricciardelli, chair of the board of directors Don Tapscott, and director and board member Alex Tapscott.

Bill Tapscott is a software engineer who has founded and co-founded a number of tech startups including IntelliOne, a cell phone geo-location and traffic data processing company; Maptuit, a navigation and optimization software company in transportation logistics; and Mountain Lake Software, a custom software development company with a strong financial services practice.

Tapscott told Bitcoin Magazine:

“My interest in carbon trading and clean technologies was piqued by being on the Investment Committee of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, a City of Toronto venture fund with a mandate to develop greenhouse gas reduction projects and companies.

“CarbonX will engage millions of people in fighting climate change by materially rewarding responsible behaviors toward the personal consumption of carbon. CarbonX will achieve this by investing in carbon reduction projects and re-casting generated offsets as ERC20 tokens on an Ethereum Blockchain.

“CarbonX’s ultimate goal is to become the global exchange for peer-to-peer personal carbon trading.”

Don Tapscott, chair of the CarbonX board of directors said in a post:

“… climate change is arguably the world’s most daunting challenge. Virtually every scientist now agrees that the debate is over. Rising average surface temperatures combined with rapidly expanding deserts, melting Arctic sea ice caps and ocean acidification now provide unequivocal evidence that human activities are fundamentally altering the Earth’s climate.”

ConsenSys was one of the first startups to build practical applications for the Ethereum blockchain. Their mission is to create simplified and automated decentralized applications (dApps) to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions and exchanges, principally on the Ethereum blockchain.

In a statement, ConsenSys founder and Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin said:

“As one of the fastest growing companies working on Ethereum, a platform that is poised to reformat how the world organizes itself, ConsenSys is committed to enabling technologies to be built that will facilitate attention to externalities like pollution and critical new foundations like sustainability.

“CarbonX has the potential to incentivize behavior that contributes to environmental sustainability, and is an excellent example of Ethereum-based technologies poised to make positive change,” added Lubin.

The CarbonX Token CxT

The CarbonX initiative will buy carbon credits from environmentally sustainable practices like ridesharing and will invest in carbon reduction projects like tree planting and convert this value to Ethereum ERC20 tokens known as CxT tokens.

CarbonX will be announcing a formal token launch in the near future. CxT tokens will be distributed through an open-loop-style loyalty rewards program. The CxTs will then be tradeable on the CarbonX platform and be able to be exchanged for carbon-friendly goods and services, other reward program points or other digital currencies.

For verification, CarbonX will use industry-standard carbon offsets like the REDD and VCS offsets (for example, to apply to ridesharing) and will convert these into CxT tokens.

Investments in carbon reduction projects that will generate offsets will use government protocols, such as those developed by the Ontario provincial government, for example.

“The CxTs will be awarded by enterprises who encourage ridesharing, and brands/retailers who wish to feature products that are carbon-friendly. We will provide guidelines, and consumers/users will be able to track overall performance. In the example of rideshare, we plan to work with companies like Luum and their clients to incent carbon-friendly behaviors. There are many ways we can boost awareness and responsibility for personal action in the fight,” explained Tapscott.

Well-known environmentalist Richard Sandor, chair and CEO of Environmental Financial Products and founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange, has endorsed the CarbonX initiative, saying:

“Blockchain technology has the potential to further expand the applications of market-based mechanisms to help solve environmental concerns. I am pleased to support CarbonX as another positive step towards transparency, accountability and lower transaction costs.”

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Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Hopes to Win Big With the Japanese Bankers Association

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While China tightens its grip on its cryptocurrency community, Japan is openly embracing cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, legalizing bitcoin, and encouraging and funding blockchain research.

Even Japan’s banks are onboard, working collaboratively to develop a blockchain platform specifically for the financial sector. With its 120 member banks, the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) is creating a Collaborative Blockchain Platform and is actively looking for a company to supply its blockchain technology on an ongoing basis.

Experimenting with the Collaborative Blockchain Platform, the JBA will initially determine which financial services best lend themselves to the new platform, likely including settlement/transfer services, know-your-customer (KYC) systems and financial infrastructure such as their Zengin System and Densai Net System.

Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer is stepping up to the plate to take on tech giants including Fujitsu, Hitachi and NTT Data to be the supplier of the blockchain platform that will be used by Japan’s banks.

Although it is one of the largest cryptocurrency and blockchain startups in Japan, the Tokyo-based bitFlyer has its work cut out for it if it wants to upset these three corporate heavyweights and win the right to supply the bankers with a blockchain platform using its miyabi technology.

The company’s COO Bartek Ringwelski told Bitcoin Magazine:

“bitFlyer is the only startup in the event, and we have only raised $36mm since 2014, but we have deep expertise in blockchain technology through our virtual currency exchange (the largest in the world by volume, including margin trading) and our ‘miyabi’ product.”

By way of comparison, Hitachi posted $83 billion in revenue in 2016, Fujitsu posted $47 billion on 2015 and NTT Data posted $15 billion in 2016.

Acknowledging a sea change in Japan’s attitude to cryptocurrency, Ringwelski noted that Japan is actively encouraging and supporting both cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology:

“Japan is emerging as a leader in blockchain adoption. Japanese consumers are embracing virtual currencies, regulators are proactive, and banks are recognizing the power that blockchain, and specifically miyabi, can bring to the financial infrastructure.”

Miyabi Blockchain Technology

The name “miyabi” was first coined between the 9th to 12th centuries by Japanese aristocrats to refer to the theme of elegance and refinement.

According to Ringwelski, bitFlyer’s miyabi blockchain platform is the fastest in the world:

“Based on our research, ‘miyabi’ is the fastest enterprise-grade blockchain technology, delivering 1,500 – 2,000 transactions per second on average, and in some cases, even faster,” Ringwelski said.

Their processing speed of 1,500 to 2,000 transactions per second compares with Bitcoin’s two transactions per second and Ethereum’s seven transactions per second. They also estimate that among the other three competing companies, the maximum speed to beat is 1,000 transactions per second.

When it launched the competition, the JBA made it clear that security and immutability were their first priority. In their view, only a private, permissioned blockchain could satisfy this requirement.

Going Global

BitFlyer’s CEO Yuzo Kano has said he wants the company to go global in the near future and will start by expanding to the U.S. market this fall, initially offering bitcoin trading but expanding to other cryptocurrencies within the next year. The company says it has received approval to start trading from 34 U.S. states.

In the meantime, Ringwelski says that they are eagerly awaiting the decision of the JBA:

“The partner ultimately chosen by the JBA will stand to become part of the core Japanese banking infrastructure — it would be a big deal. Beyond the value of gaining the JBA as a new customer, securing a JBA contract would help spread miyabi to new enterprise blockchain applications and customers worldwide.”

Investors in bitFlyer include SMBC Venture Capital, Mizuho Capital, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, Recruit Strategic Partners, Dentsu Digital Holdings, SBI Investment, GMO Venture Partners, QUICK and Venture Labo Investment.

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Central Bank of Papua New Guinea Adopts Blockchain Technology

Central Bank of Papua New Guinea Adopts Blockchain Technology

The number of countries with banks experimenting with blockchain technology is growing rapidly. The Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG), north of Australia, has joined the movement with its own central Bank of Papua New Guinea running blockchain trials.

Central Bank Governor Loi Bakani, known as a champion of new technologies as a way to enable financial inclusion, recently hosted a conference to showcase his country’s commitment to blockchain technology, with participants from at home and around the world, including Abt Associates, Paycase, Othera, IDbox, Pacific Markets, UCash, Seso and ADCCA.

At the conference, Bakani described the blockchain trials underway at the Bank of PNG and introduced the PNG Digital Commerce and Cryptocurrency Association for the growing number of Papua New Guinea tech entrepreneurs and businesses interested in blockchain technology.

Bakani said, “This will allow PNG to join the Global Blockchain Forum, which gets PNG a cutting edge in discussions about Blockchain at a global level, along with Australia, Canada, U.S.A., Dubai, UK and Japan. There is no reason why PNG can’t be a leader for emerging markets.”

There are already central banks experimenting with blockchain technology around the world, including Bank of America, HSBC, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Bank of England, People’s Bank of China, Bank of Canada, the National Bank of Cambodia, and the Central Bank of India.

Elizabeth Genia, Assistant Governor of the central Bank of PNG said, “It is the new innovations that can change people’s lives — almost 85 percent of our people live outside the banking system.”

According to Abt Associates’ Jane Thomason, who helped manage the conference, 85 percent of PNG has little or no access to banking services and accounts, and the island is among the most expensive remittance corridors in the world, with nearly 10 percent of all funds transferred going to fees alone.

Thomason told the conference that blockchain-based technologies offer developing nations a way to leapfrog conventional technological advancements, similar to the adoption of cell phones in much of the world.

She noted, “In 30 years working in PNG, I have never had so much optimism that we are working with something that really will change the lives of poor Papua New Guineans.”

PNG’s IT Minister Francis Maneke told the conference, “Papua New Guinea is an ideal proving ground for these applications. In fact, there is a possibility that we will leapfrog many developed nations in our use of this sort of smart technology, giving us a competitive edge as early adopters.”

Conference speaker and Paycase CEO Joseph Weinberg told Bitcoin Magazine that the conference looked at ways that blockchain technology could be used in all sectors of PNG’s economy.

“The conference included the creation of frameworks, roadmaps and deployment strategies. In order to make anything of this magnitude work, you need proper planning between the government, regulators, commercial partners and the Central Bank. Corporations in particular need to be engaged as they will enable much of the infrastructure needed to make it happen. This is where PNG is headed.”

Bakani also expressed the hope that blockchain technologies could be deployed in many sectors of PNG’s economy.

“When looking at large-scale deployments of this magnitude,” said Bakani, “we truly value our international panelists and partners and look forward to further discussions as the Bank establishes the next stages of its blockchain implementation.

“The government, along with the necessary stakeholders here in PNG not only recognize the challenges they face, but now see the clear opportunities that blockchain-based systems can enable for their country and people.”

In closing the conference, Maneke said, “We in the O’Neill government are determined to bridge the digital divide to ensure our people can participate in the global economy, and not be excluded from it.”

Funding for the conference was provided by the Australian Government and was managed by Abt Associates.

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Presearch Uses Ethereum Blockchain and AI to Challenge Google on Its Own Turf

Presearch Uses Ethereum Blockchain and AI to Challenge Google on Its Own Turf

Presearch, a software development startup specializing in information search engines, is challenging Google on its own turf with a double-barreled approach, using both blockchain technology and AI.

Presearch’s search engine, already in use internally since 2013, is launching in beta this September. Blockchain technology and AI will be supplemented with curation by subject matter experts.

Founder and project lead Colin Pape, who previously launched the e-commerce site ShopCity.com, said:

“While Google is generally thought of as a neutral entity for search, the company answers to Wall Street and operates very secretively.

“They’ve become known for promoting themselves at the expense of alternatives and appropriating others’ information, blaming it on ‘the algorithm.’ The reality is that they manipulate results and justify changes as being best for the user.”

Pape wants to provide a community-driven, decentralized, open and transparent alternative to Google, in contrast to what he calls the “manipulated algorithm-driven methods standard among today’s industry giants.”

Pape told Bitcoin Magazine:

“Presearch will use a combination of human curation by subject matter experts who are rewarded with tokens, and machine learning technology and APIs from other search providers (particularly for long-tail searches).”

Pape told us they will be using the Ethereum Blockchain ERC20 standard to start but may build their own blockchain technology at some point down the road.

Openness, Accountability and Community Participation

The company’s white paper emphasizes that never in the history of the world has so much information been concentrated in so few hands. It also points out that Google makes $100 billion in annual revenue from search engine searches.

Presearch estimates that 77 percent of global desktop searches and 96 percent of mobile searches, more than 5 billion queries per day, go to Google.

The white paper states that Google has built up an unprecedented degree of trust with users with “their simple interfaces, lightning-fast response times and utter reliability, combined with what appear to be amazingly accurate results.”

A Search Engine Wikipedia

Presearch believes that a decentralized, community-based decision-making process ensures everyone’s interests are considered. By rewarding members for using, promoting and contributing to the Presearch platform, the company wants to create a scalable “Wikipedia for search” to allow members to curate the best content for each inquiry.

The Presearch community can also vote on and fund new development projects, continually upgrading the platform.

Pape added: “With Presearch, I wanted to flip that business model on its head and put power over information back into the hands of all internet users.”

Search is the gateway to the web. The world deserves an alternative search engine that is open, transparent, and that involves the community in product development, consensus and quality control.

Funding

Presearch’s curation and overall development of the platform is incentivized with the Presearch Token (PST).

Presearch has run three separate crowd sales for $1 million, $1.5 million and $3 million in token revenue. There are three more sales to go that are targeted to generate more than $30 million in total revenue.

The startup is headquartered in Midland, north of Toronto, Canada. A “distributed” team is located in Silicon Valley, Boulder, Colorado and the Atlanta area, and the company is planning to expand internationally.

Advisors to Presearch include internet innovator, Rich Skrenta, who sold his search engine Blekko to IBM Watson; open-source search innovator Trey Grainger, SVP of Engineering at Lucidworks; and technology lawyer Addison Cameron-Huff, whose experience includes working with Ethereum’s founding team.

Bitcoin Magazine contacted Google for comment but has not yet received a response.

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Bloq Outlines Blockchain Solutions for Trade Finance and Supply Chain Management

Bloq Outlines Blockchain Solutions for Trade Finance and Supply Chain Management

Bloq, a Chicago-based blockchain developer and software startup, has joined IBM and Microsoft to develop blockchain platforms and best practices for one of the most promising use cases for blockchain technology: trade finance and supply chain management.

Interest in the use of blockchain for trade is growing rapidly as companies and organizations like IBM, Microsoft, Hyperledger, JP Morgan and Walmart recognize that antiquated trade systems are long overdue for a complete restructuring and that blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the systems that make up global trade.

A common problem with current trade systems is fraud. The trip from farm or factory to store shelves involves numerous opportunities to falsify shipping documents and alter shipping container records or contents with little accountability.

“Global supply chain management has drastically changed in the last 10-15 years,” William Nieusma, Vice President, Government Strategy at Bloq told Bitcoin Magazine: “Regulatory mandates, operational complexity and data security concerns have ramped up the pressure to overhaul these outdated systems.”

Nieusma is one of the authors of Bloq’s recently released white paper, “Accelerating Global Trade Processes with Blockchain,” designed to introduce their new project to develop a model blockchain network for companies involved in trade.

“But it’s not all doom-and-gloom; adopters of blockchain-based systems can cut costs, improve customer service and find new, verified business partners,” added Nieusma.

Alan Cohn, attorney and consultant and advisor to Bloq told us:

“Global trade is an area where blockchain can play a transformative role, not just for industry but also for government.”

Nieusma noted that Bloq believes that in the future, the most significant and valuable business systems, including trade, will run on blockchains.

IBM has recognized the potential of blockchain and trade. In partnership with seven European banks, it is building a pilot blockchain trade program with Hyperledger to enable companies like Walmart and Maersk to use blockchain technology to better track the movement of farm and factory products to the store shelves.

Microsoft is also building a model trade program using the Ethereum blockchain in a pilot project with JPMorgan.

Blockchain Tech and Trade Are a Perfect Fit

Trade finance and supply management lend themselves well to the particular advantages of blockchain technology. The Bloq white paper states:

Blockchain technology holds considerable promise to substantially improve supply chain security and transparency. Blockchain’s inherent architectural attributes solve several weaknesses in current trade IT systems and processes to ensure information immutability and transaction auditing, thereby increasing trade value capture and value creation.

Bloq’s model trade platform promises companies high levels of cybersecurity, reduced waiting times, transparency, ease of revenue payments, low infrastructure investment, easily auditable transactions, efficient accommodation for additional participants, immutability and automatic bonding and payments through smart contracts.

Bloq plans to build a “permissioned, federated network” built on the Bitcoin blockchain that, depending on the client’s needs, will also support Ethereum and Hyperledger. Nieusma said:

“Bloq believes that the future is a multi-chain, multi-network world and that interoperability is a guiding principle in network buildout.”

The Bloq program will connect all parties involved in a trade including buyers, banks, sellers and transporters so that information about a shipment is distributed among all involved parties at the same time.

As the white paper states:

“Trade can be safer, more secure, and more profitable with less human error. We hope this discussion leads to an evolution in trade that benefits all stakeholders.”

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Supercluster Funding Bid Could Supercharge Blockchain Development in Canada

Supercluster Funding Bid Could Supercharge Blockchain Technology in Canada

Four organizations in Canada’s blockchain tech sector are going all out this week to submit their application letter to the federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) before the July 21 deadline to be considered for funding under the government’s new Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

A representative for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains told Bitcoin Magazine that “the Innovation Superclusters Initiative will invest nearly $1 billion to strengthen up to five of Canada’s most promising clusters,”  and confirmed that “federal contributions to selected superclusters will have to be matched with private sector investment for maximum impact.”

The Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), ColliderX, the Blockchain Association of Canada (BAC) and the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) have teamed up to apply for some of the $950 million offered by the Canadian government for the best bids in future technologies that the government says will create “Silicon Valley-style hubs of industry key to future growth and jobs.”

ColliderX aims to accelerate core technical R&D at levels that will support innovation in Canada and position the sector as a tech leader overseas. BRI contributes the business-level use cases, setting the agenda for strategy leaders. BAC is a major advocacy organization, and ICTC is a long-time, established industry player, well known to high-tech businesses in Canada.

Blockchain Association of Canada: Call to Action

Kyle Kemper, Executive Director of the Blockchain Association of Canada, is working on the supercluster application letter of intent and told us the only thing they’re short of is time to get their application in to the ministry.

He pointed out that it is imperative that blockchain companies and organizations express their support for and commitment to the bid before the application deadline.

“This supercluster initiative is an opportunity to take blockchain technology mainstream and for Canada to take a lead role,” Kemper told Bitcoin Magazine. “In the bid process we are receiving unanimous support from public, private, academic, philanthropic and non-profit organizations.”

If the group manages to secure $50 million in funding commitments from these organizations as part of a successful bid, the federal government will match the next $50 million for each supercluster. The commitments and matched funds will be spread over 5 years, according to the proposal.

Blockchain Research Institute: No Room for Complacency

Don Tapscott, Executive Director of the BRI, notes that many of the other bids like AI, machine learning, the Internet of Things and Quantum are all dependent on blockchain technology as a foundation.

“The blockchain supercluster proposal is late to the table in part because this extraordinary technology is just becoming mainstream,” Tapscott told Bitcoin Magazine. “But it’s no less important than any of the others. In fact, it’s foundational to everything else.”

In a report called The Blockchain Corridor: Building an Innovation Economy in the 2nd Era of the Internet, Don and Alex Tapscott lay out a blueprint for a blockchain tech supercluster and Centre of Excellence in the already highly active “corridor” between Toronto and Waterloo, Ontario.

The report says:

“We cannot afford to be complacent, nor is time on our side. Canada’s leading position in the Blockchain Revolution could quickly evaporate as other hotbeds around the world, such as Berlin, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, London and New York (to say nothing of Silicon Valley) race ahead. The time to act is now.”

According to the report, the corridor could collectively generate around 170,000 new jobs and around $17 billion in GDP by the year 2025.

Tapscott added:

“Blockchain represents nothing less than the second era of the Internet. The first was based in Silicon Valley. As we show in the Blockchain Corridor Report, the second could be based in Canada.

“I’m convinced that we can find $50 million from the private sector for this initiative. So I sure hope that governments will ensure we have a seat at the table going forward to make our case.”

ColliderX: The Underdog Challenge

Bid partner ColliderX is a new non-profit social enterprise working to promote and develop R&D initiatives in the Canadian blockchain tech sector.

ColliderX founder and CEO Iliana Oris Valiente notes that the four bid partner organizations complement each other to create a dynamic supercluster.

“Being considered by ISED to move on to the next stage of the selection process will be a win for the blockchain industry as it will signal Canada’s support of this ecosystem,” Valiente said to Bitcoin Magazine.

“We’re certainly the underdog in this scenario but are promoting a truly new industry, rather than continued investments in areas that are already more established.”

Information and Communications Technology Council

ICTC is an established industry player that brings a wealth of experience in economic development activities and will be involved in bridging the gap between the blockchain industry and a wider segment of the business and political community.

Namir Anani, President & CEO of ICTC, believes that competition to win supercluster funding will be tough but notes that small- and medium-sized entreprises (like most blockchain startups) represent the large majority of Canada’s competitive businesses.

Anani says they will make the point that blockchain technology is a cross-industry enabler and a key catalyst for heightening small business growth and competitiveness in Canada.

Anani told Bitcoin Magazine:

“The global blockchain market is growing at a staggering CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] of 58.7 percent, according to Transparency Market Research. Capitalizing on this fast growth market is key for Canada’s economy and employment potential going forward.

“As Canada continues to expand its trade agreements in an increasingly global market, such as with the newly ratified Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreements (CETA), blockchain is a pivotal trade enabler for fast-tracking Canada’s place in the global economy.”

Making the Deadline

Valiente is confident that crowdfunding will bring in the needed amounts. To date, she has raised $2 million in pledges on behalf of ColliderX, which will be rolled into the supercluster. 

Anani is also confident the private sector will come forward and is passionate about selling the supercluster bid.

“Blockchain has the potential of reshaping all aspects of the global economy in the next number of years, building Canada’s comparative advantage in this space is paramount going forward. The Blockchain Supercluster is a powerful pan-Canadian collaboration that will unleash cross-industry innovations, new economic opportunities and employment prospects for Canadians.”

Kemper reiterated the need for industry support in order for the initiative to succeed. “I urge all organizations that support Blockchain technology and organizations looking to better understand the potential to go to blockchainsc.ca, fill out a letter of commitment and share this news to rally more people to the cause by 12:00 EST on Friday, July 21.”

Thus far, C4 and the Institute on Governance are among those supporting the bid as sponsors.

The group has until December 31, 2017, to raise the remaining supercluster-specific private-sector funding.

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Adding Some Fun and Games to Bitcoin Scaling Debate Angst

Adding Some Fun and Games to Bitcoin Scaling Angst

If you’re good at puzzles and familiar with the world of Bitcoin, you may be interested in signing up for the second round of the CoinGate Bitcoin Challenge, starting Saturday, July 15 at 6 p.m. UTC.

CoinGate, the Lithuanian-based bitcoin and altcoin payment center, is holding its second Bitcoin Challenge to highlight the history and benefits of Bitcoin as their response to the ongoing contentious scaling debate.

Like many in the Bitcoin space, CoinGate CTO Rytis Bieliauskas is watching with some concern and hoping bitcoiners will come back to their roots and remember the origins and original intentions of bitcoin founders.

Every two weeks throughout the summer, CoinGate is publishing a challenge related to Bitcoin and blockchain history. Solving the puzzles quickly requires some knowledge and skill, but mostly the challenges are designed to be “geeky fun” for anyone involved with Bitcoin to some degree.

On Saturday, contestants can register and access a number of challenges of varying degrees of difficulty on CoinGate’s website and on /r/Bitcoin here.

In preparation for the second contest, the Reddit thread is a good source of examples with answers from the last challenge, which began on July 1.

During the July 1st challenge, there was considerable discussion on Reddit among contestants.

“We were really surprised that participants started sharing their thoughts on our Reddit thread, even though there was only one prize for each riddle,” the Coingate team told Bitcoin Magazine. “And so all the riddles were solved and prizes snapped up within just 3 hours.

“Our team is really happy with the results and the number of participants [the challenge] attracted. All in all, we logged over 800 attempts and more than 600 people who were up to solve the tasks in a matter of several hours.”

Contestants received a series of puzzles to choose from, leading to a Bitcoin private key and the address for a wallet containing BTC.

Three challenges of varying difficulty were launched at once, with the most difficult taking from 4-6 hours to solve. As is evident on the Reddit comments, some found the puzzles baffling while a few seemed more than ready for the challenge.

In one puzzle, for example, contestants were given a grid of four CoinGate logos that seemed identical. A private key was hidden in the image and the participants had to figure out what was hidden and assemble the private key leading to the reward.

Most of the puzzles involve steganography — extracting of the meaning of a secret message hidden within an ordinary message.

Some of the solutions will provide a private key, while some others will provide another method to retrieve bitcoins, for example in the form of a wallet “seed.”

The end goal of each challenge is to get access to a Bitcoin address by finding its private key (or otherwise). Depending on the difficulty of the challenge, that address will contain a reward of 0.01 to 0.1 BTC. (The prize will be sent to a Bitcoin address just before the challenge.)

CoinGate: On SegWit and UASF

CoinGate CTO Rytis Bieliauskas told Bitcoin Magazine:

“CoinGate is seeking to attract people back to the basics of Bitcoin and blockchain [technology]. Having been involved in the Bitcoin world since 2011, we deeply love the original blockchain and we strongly believe that consensus [on scaling] will be reached.”

Bieliauskas is concerned about the direction Bitcoin is taking and is asking Bitcoiners to remember what the original essence and intent of Bitcoin was.

Bieliauskas considers himself to be a Core supporter but is hopeful all parties involved will come to a consensus on how to scale Bitcoin.

On the CoinGate blog, he wrote:

“We strongly believe in a future for Bitcoin. As we have officially stated previously, our team strongly supports SegWit as the best Bitcoin scaling solution, and we therefore maintain a close eye on BIP148 (UASF).”

In an email from the CoinGate team, a representative explained: “We have officially expressed our support for SegWit and UASF back in April, though we have not made any comment on the SegWit2x as it was coined after the New York Agreement. We strongly support any scaling solution that will help Bitcoin grow and become accessible and useful to people across the globe.

“However, since we are involved with Bitcoin from its technical side, we know that a scaling solution must not only seem viable ‘on paper,’ but also undergo rigorous testing before it can be launched across the network.”

Regardless of what the future brings, CoinGate has expressed that it is here to stay:

“[W]hatever the changes in the Bitcoin landscape, our team is ready to adjust to any technological developments. In the end, our goal has always been to make cryptocurrencies accessible, simple and convenient for both businesses and individuals.”

CoinGate is a payment gateway/processor for bitcoin and more than 40 altcoins including Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Monero, Dash, Ripple and Golem. According to CoinGate, it is not an exchange because although the site offers customers ways to buy and sell bitcoins, it does not connect customers to each other.

Those interested in applying to play can sign up here.

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Blockchain-Based Remittance Companies Win at RemTECH Awards Ceremony

RemTech Awards

The global remittance industry’s blockchain-based startups got a boost recently at the Remittance Technology (RemTECH) awards held at the United Nations in New York, from June 16 to 18 as part of the UN Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development.

Of the 11 award-winning remittance companies, five startups built on the blockchain were winners. The entries were judged on price, speed, the onboarding of enterprise clients (for white label solutions) and seamless delivery.

The aim of the RemTECH awards is to showcase the most innovative and outstanding ideas, models and projects designed to improve remittance services worldwide by improving transparency, speed, cost and reliability for companies and end-users that send and receive remittances.

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, Director of the RemTECH Awards, told Bitcoin Magazine:

“Even though large money transfer companies still don’t see the importance of the breakthroughs of blockchain-based and Bitcoin remittance startups, the RemTECH Judging Panel was impressed by some of the solutions presented by companies like Bitso and Everex, just to name two of them.”

“The Awards gave new blockchain startups a chance to shine in the spotlight of the United Nations Forum where the public and private sector met to discuss the challenges of the remittance industry. At IMTC (International Money Transfer Conferences) we are striving to create this dialog of incumbents and fintech firms to work together and create win-win partnerships. It’s not easy but it is happening,” added Cuevas-Mohr.

Bitcoin and blockchain services AirPocket, Bitso, Everex, Moneytis and Trulioo took home the following awards:

Remittances and Financial Inclusion: AirPocket

AirPocket, built on the Bitcoin blockchain, serves Latin America with tens of thousands of payout locations and is supported by the top banks in each country.

Pioneering Spirit: Bitso

Mexican bitcoin exchange Bitso, which raised $2.5 million last September, has been working with Canadian payments startup Paycase to create a new remittance corridor between the two countries and send funds from bank accounts in Canada to Mexico.

Most Innovative Service: Moneytis

Bitcoin blockchain-based Moneytis aims to offer the lowest possible fees to help empower unbanked groups in the developing world. They also have a notification service that monitors all exchange rates in real-time and sends alerts when a significant change happens.

Potential for Growth: Trulioo

Trulioo is a Canadian blockchain-based financial technology company that in addition to remittance services, offers identity verification services for businesses and organizations worldwide using government and private databases.

Service Originality: Everex

Everex was the only Ethereum-based platform nominated. In addition to its contributions to remittance services, Everex has also developed a system for placing national currencies on the blockchain. By doing so, Everex allows people living in cash-based societies to earn a public financial reputation.

“The judges knew about Ethereum, and were excited by the ongoing experiments taking place on the network by individual users, small businesses and multinational corporations,” said Alexi Lane, CEO of Everex, in a statement. “This technology will transform the remittance industry and increase financial inclusion everywhere.”

Greta Geankoplis, a blockchain systems developer and IMTC (International Money Transfer & Payments Conferences) advisor, co-chaired the judges panel. She told Bitcoin Magazine:

“Blockchain (and some Bitcoin specifically) platform-based companies competed shoulder to shoulder with older technology for delivering cross-border value to diverse customers in widely varying environments.

But this is just the beginning. Blockchain platforms in the $700 billion remittance industry holds the promise of leveraging many other needed services in the fastest growing markets: mobile based, micro insurance, loans, education, and remote healthcare to name a few.”

Other blockchain-based companies that were nominated for a RemTECH award included Bitex, Cashaa, DigitalX and OKLink.

The post Blockchain-Based Remittance Companies Win at RemTECH Awards Ceremony appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Samson Mow Introduces Liquid Networks at Blockchain Forum in Canada

Samson Mow Introduces Liquid Networks' at Blockchain Forum in Canada

Blockstream’s Samson Mow and Paycase’s Joseph Weinberg unveiled the Liquid network yesterday at the Blockchain Association of Canada’s Government Forum in Ottawa, as a step forward in the ongoing Bitcoin scaling debate.

The Liquid network is a federated sidechain designed to provide new features and benefits to exchanges, users, and businesses by leveraging a sidechain which will process transactions more quickly and efficiently than the main Bitcoin blockchain.

Sidechains like Liquid Networks offer automated real-time audit, a secure open protocol, and unforgeable secure tokens, all of which can be used over the open internet.

Samson Mow, Chief Strategy Officer with Blockstream told Bitcoin Magazine:

“There’s a preference from some people to scale on-chain with block size increases, but that’s a technical dead-end. Scaling off-chain with sidechains means leveraging proven technology that’s already available, and will be far superior to static blocksize increases for trivial on-chain scaling gains.”

Mow explained:

“Sidechains allow for new innovations in security models and features, plus the added benefit of faster and more cost efficient transactions – if more businesses were utilizing sidechains for use cases involving recurring transactions, they would take some pressure off the main Bitcoin blockchain.”

He noted that there are strong indications that cryptographic federations and sidechains in general are a good solution to better distribute networks that currently hold the potential for centralized systemic risk.

“In the case of Liquid, it will also improve bitcoin interchange liquidity, and accelerate trading and security for a large percent of today’s global and currency-paired BTC trading,” added Mow.

Mow explained that Liquid Networks or “Liquid” represents a point-to-point sidechain that provides near-instant, secure transfer of assets (bitcoin initially), all while user and exchange environments remain separate from the movement of the underlying value.

Paycase CEO Joseph Weinberg told the audience that they have been working with users, enterprises, financial institutions and others on solutions that leverage strong federations.

Weinberg told Bitcoin Magazine:

“Sidechains become even more interesting when you have multiple sidechains from an interoperability perspective. As you tokenize the world, you see this marketplace of all assets being liquefied and then rapidly traversed, similar to how currents move liquid water around the world.

“It’s this frictionless flow and interoperability that our economy here in Canada and our geo-political and economic partners around the world are really well positioned to adopt and champion into the mainstream.”

Samson Mow Introduces Liquid Networks' at Blockchain Forum in Canada

Strong Federations and Sidechains

In order to function, a Liquid Network requires explicit trust of a group of parties, governance guarantees whereby you have rule adherence and a network of many participants responsible for network consensus.

While accelerating trading in bitcoin, this system will build an infrastructure that leads to a “trustless” exchange for users.

Best use cases include cryptographic assets, central bank currency issuance, land titles/registries, credit issuance and settlement between large institutions.

Mow noted that what Lightning Networks can do for smaller transactions, the Liquid Network can do for larger transactions between companies and exchanges.

Currently, Liquid Beta participants include Bitso, Bitfinex, Bitt, BTCC, Coins.ph, Streami, Paycase, The Rock Trading, Unocoin and Zaif. Discussions continue with other partners.

Bank of Canada Is Interested in Liquid Networks

While in Ottawa, Mow and Weinberg met with representatives from the central Bank of Canada. Weinberg told us:

“We met with the Bank of Canada and had some great discussions with them about blockchain technology, and use cases and systems like Paycase’s cross-border transaction platform Traverse and Blockstream’s Elements platform.

“There is a sense that the media misrepresented the Bank’s recent comments on the Jasper experiment, which was actually a well-balanced and accurate assessment of the technologies they’ve trialed to date. I think they’re still very much interested in evaluating blockchain technology.”

Weinberg added: “We are also working on other sidechain initiatives that leverage strong federations and confidential assets via the elements project both in Canada and globally that require multi-participant governance guarantees and explicit trust.”

He added that they are excited going forward, not just about Liquid Networks but the whole interoperation and weaving of different technology stacks in the ecosystem to enable new use cases and leverage all the great layers of the blockchain stack that are being built around the world.

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