The Genesis System Wants to Record Cleaned Fracking Water on the Blockchain

CleanWater

There are more than 900,000 active gas and oil wells in the United States, according to Drillinginfo. Unfortunately, recycling and cleaning the contaminated water has not been an option, with companies typically transporting the produced and flowback water in barrels to underground disposal well facilities.

That is until now.

U.S.-based Genesis Research & Technology Group has developed, tested and patented a new water purification technology system that can be utilized for multiple applications, including oil and gas, industrial, food and agriculture, humanitarian efforts, and emergency and disaster relief. And in partnership with blockchain development company MVP Asia Pacific Inc., they are creating an Internet of Things (IoT) water quality sensor to permanently store tamper-proof water quality records on the Ethereum blockchain.

The IoT sensor system has safeguards in place to ensure that the readings aren’t manipulated. Genesis will also operate under an independent auditing system enabling third-party-approved access to make sure no one alters the sensors. The IoT sensor aims to reduce the carbon footprint associated with unnecessary transportation, and to enable unusable water to become usable again. Over a three-year period, Genesis has shown proven results that up to 2,000 barrels of fracking water can be treated on-site without chemicals into clean water

“A Genesis water recycling system will allow oil producers to be friendlier to the earth’s environment, conserving water, not exposing the roads and countryside to the millions of trucking miles necessary to transport water, and not dispos[ing] of millions of gallons of contaminated water in the ground,” said Ron Price, CEO of Genesis Research & Technology Group, to Bitcoin Magazine.

By combining the Genesis water treatment system with the blockchain via the IoT solution, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and communities around the world can have confidence that the information they see is real, readily accessible and verifiable, said Price. This in turn will make the fracking industry more transparent, discouraging wasteful and environmentally unfriendly practices. It’s also hoped that this will provide an incentive to companies who may be rewarded by consumers and governments to promote excellence.

According to Darren McVean, CEO of MVP Asia Pacific, blockchain technology presents huge potential for the environmental and land rehabilitation sectors.

“In the past, governments and community groups have had limited to no access to land, water and air quality records,” McVean said. “As a result, few have confidence in the records and this has stifled investment in environmentally friendly technology.”

Genesis will be launching their ICO on October 26, where there will be a maximum of 40,000,000 Water Tokens available. Genesis hopes to have their first system operational and generating revenue within six months after the closing of the ICO. They plan to have 12 systems up and running within nine months after the ICO.

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Overstock Reveals Plans for Equity Token Exchange and ICO

OverstockICO

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne believes that one day all company shares will be blockchain-based equity tokens classed as securities, and they will need a regulated exchange to trade on.

To raise funds to develop that exchange, the online retail giant is launching an initial coin offering (ICO) for T0.com (tZero), the company’s blockchain-focused subsidiary and trading platform that supports equity tokens.

Byrne announced details of the ICO at Money20/20 in Las Vegas on October 24, 2017.

The ICO will take place from November 15–December 31 and will include the sale of 50 million tZero security tokens. Tokens will be sold in a type of presale known as a SAFT (simple agreement for future token), which limits participation to accredited investors.

tZero will incorporate profit sharing features of a security as well as utility features of an app token. For instance, token holders will be able to use the tokens to pay for exchange fees. They will also receive a percentage of tZero’s profits, distributed quarterly and paid into their tZero digital wallets.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Byrne said proceeds from the ICO will go to further developing an ecosystem around tZero.

He did not reveal how much Overstock hoped to raise or whether the sale would be capped or uncapped, but he said additional details would be made available around November 8.

Forward Thinking

Byrne has been thinking about a blockchain-based equity exchange for trading blockchain shares for some time now.

Right now, most tokens are utility tokens that play some role in the distributed app they were designed to work with. Equity tokens, on the other hand, are regulated by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and represent an actual share in a company.

Byrne thinks that, eventually, most of the tokens in blockchains today will convert to equity tokens. Taking that concept a step further, he believes all company traded stocks will ultimately be issued as blockchain share certificates.

Right now, however, no SEC approved exchange exists that can handle equity tokens, so Overstock is creating one.

In 2015, Overstock acquired SpeedRoute, a Wall Street trade routing securities firm already licensed by the SEC. Byrne felt that building an exchange from scratch was too risky. Instead, he wanted to buy something in Wall Street that was already pre-SEC approved.

SpeedRoute already had an alternative trading system (ATS) set up, so it only needed minor modifications to get it ready for selling blockchain shares. “We changed it and altered it so it could handle blockchain instruments,” he said. By doing so, Overstock turned the platform into what is now tZero.

To make sure the technology worked, Overstock issued its own blockchain securities last December, distributing more than 126,000 company shares via the platform. “We did it to sort of demonstrate this technology,” Byrne said.  

A Future of Securities

Byrne thinks regulations coming down the pipes are going to dramatically change how tokens are traded.

“If they count as securities, they need a place to trade; it has to be an SEC compliant exchange that can handle blockchain,” he said. “Well, there is exactly one in the world. It is tZero.”

Eventually, he said tZero will have market makers and large pools of capital supporting it to keep the trading liquid. “The markets are very bad now in this whole crypto world. They are very sticky and illiquid markets,” he said. “It is really going to be just what the world of crypto needs.”

But to fulfill that vision, Overstock.com will need to raise a substantial amount of capital through its tZero ICO. “It is going to take several tens of millions of dollars to build that out,” Byrne explained.

Overstock will likely expedite the process by purchasing some $50 million in custody and clearing firms to finish stitching together the ecosystem it needs.

“We actually will make a couple acquisitions that will short the whole thing; supersize it,” Byrne added.

It may take a few years, but eventually,  Byrne said, the idea is to make tZero the largest exchange in the world, and the tZero ICO is a part of that.

“We are thinking very big,” he said. “I’m not just talking crypto exchange; I’m talking exchange.”

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Blockchain Technology Takes Center Stage in Science Fiction Thriller (ID)entity

Blockchain Technology Takes Center Stage in Science Fiction Thriller (ID)entity

Philip K. Dick Award finalist (R)evolution, a 2015 near-future science fiction thriller by PJ Manney, ends with the main character’s consciousness transferred to a supercomputer, accompanied by the otherworldly notes of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”: but with the words “Commencing download: Servers on …”

The story continues in the sequel, (ID)entity, the second novel in Manney’s Phoenix Horizon trilogy, published on October 10. “Major Tom” is one of the many names taken by the protagonist, who starts as Peter Bernhardt, a nanotechnology scientist and entrepreneur, but is forced to assume many other identities by the Bad Guys of the Phoenix Club, who want to take over the world using lots of money, amazingly futuristic tech and powerful connections in the U.S. government.

In (ID)entity, the consciousness of Bernhardt, aka billionaire investor Tom Paine (among others), is embodied again, first in a lifelike sex bot. Major Tom continues to fight the Phoenix Club and archenemy Carter Potsdam, now on the loose as another download. You won’t find other spoilers here, so you are warmly encouraged to read the book.

Blockchain technology takes center stage in Manney’s near future and is inherent in most real estate, trade, barter, identity, gambling and other transactions. There are many global blockchains used by different people and entities for various purposes, ranging from mainstream (but definitely not to be trusted) blockchains operated by Big Business and Big Government (China is still in the lead) to “several uncorrupted blockchains out there, not manipulated by governments and multinational institutions.” Some of these independent blockchains are very popular, and their currencies are widely used.

“In (ID)entity, blockchains are used for more than the multiple world currencies they underpin,” Manney told Bitcoin Magazine. “But their use is not uniform around the world, because a Gibsonian future is never evenly distributed. Some record news, other government records. I posit that there’s a greater malleability to blockchain technology than traditional evangelists admit. Because nothing online is safe. Ever. China could, at any minute, decide to launch a 51 percent attack. Probability or likelihood doesn’t matter when you’re dealing with large system failure. It’s the possibility that counts.”

Manney doesn’t describe herself as a techno-optimist or techno-pessimist but as a techno-realist. “In this case, I show how cryptos and the blockchain could go completely wrong,” she said. “I also hope it’s a call to make cryptos and the blockchain safer and more independent from outside manipulation. That’s my goal in all that I write about: find the potentials for bad use and make it a cautionary tale that will help fix it for the future.”

Science fiction is perhaps at its best when it embeds important issues in a compelling narrative that encourages the reader to try and find ways to connect science fictional extrapolations to current discussion. Manney’s fiction can stimulate us to preempt undesirable patterns in the evolution of key technologies, such as nanotech, artificial intelligence, consciousness downloading (often dubbed “mind uploading”) and blockchain technology. It’s wise to bear in mind that everything can, and will, be exploited for bad ends.

“I admit to a certain amount of handwaving, common to all SF [science fiction], when it includes technologies still in development,” continued Manney. “I assume that blockchains will best be maintained outside of nation-states and proliferate into many aspects of life. And given that proliferation, ways will be found to corrupt them. I can’t tell you how: I don’t code. But that’s the history of all technologies. As much as their creators believe in their world-changing positive properties, they also turn blind eyes to their corruption.”


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This Blockchain-Powered Platform Aims to Disrupt the Esport Gambling Industry

This Blockchain-Powered Platform Aims to Disrupt the Esport Gambling Industry

Esports wagering is a large — and growing — global industry at the intersection between gambling, technology and entertainment. In their 2017 Global Esports Markets Report, Newzoo found that China and North America will generate $362 million during 2017, or 52 percent of global esports industry’s revenue. If the esports industry continues on the same growth trajectory, the global industry is expected to generate $1.4 billion in 2020.

Unikrn’s blockchain-powered platform is tapping into this growth industry, offering services such as “skill and spectator betting applications, a tournament series, team ownership, a casino group and multimedia content for the esports fanbase.”

Along with launching an initial coin offering (ICO) in mid-September, the company has expanded its offerings to the European Union through a joint venture with RBP, a key player in the online horserace and sports betting market, and plans to launch a new skills-based product.

Expanding across the European Union comes after the platform was granted a much coveted gaming license from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). As one of the first European Territories to regulate online gambling, Malta has reportedly become a staunch regulatory supporter over the past several years. Today, over 100 companies currently hold a license issued by the MGA including software developers, online casinos and Remote iGaming operators.

Though obtaining a gaming license from the MGA took more than a year, for Unikrn, it has provided an opportunity to enhance their reputation as a legitimate esports wagering platform; something critical for their successful expansion and token sale. “They [MGA] are by every measure the gold standard and one of of the most respected authorities for responsible and ethical wagering,” said Unikrn founder and CEO Rahul Sood in a statement.

After creating the VoodooPC in 1991 then selling it to Hewlett-Packard, Sood spent 18 years as an entrepreneur. Next, he joined as general manager of Microsoft Ventures, Microsoft’s international startup accelerator and outreach program. Sood left Microsoft in 2014 to enter the world of live immersive esports betting by co-founding Unikrn.

Why Blockchain?

During its Series A round, Unikrn received funding from several notable investors including Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, actor Ashton Kutcher’s venture firm, Sound Ventures, media executive Elisabeth Murdoch’s venture fund Freelands Ventures, media executive Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital and the largest betting company in Australia, Tabcorp. The commonality between most of these venture funds is that they typically pick portfolio companies working in a mix of media, technology and entertainment.

Anthony Di Iorio, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Decentral, joined UnikoinGold as an advisory team member because he finds the project both intriguing and well-supported.

I’m a big believer in the power of decentralized technologies, like blockchains, to empower entrepreneurs and individuals,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “I’m motivated to support the entrepreneurs, the projects, and the communities that are pushing that technology forward by applying it in interesting and exciting ways to existing markets. Unikrn is a bit special.”

Unikrn’s Editor-in-Chief of content, Ryan Jurado, describes the platform’s journey toward the blockchain as a tool for product and community growth. In 2015, Unikrn released Unikoin, a free, internal, non-cryptographic token issued in 2014 that gives users the ability to bet on esports and win prizes in regulated markets where Unikrn is unlicensed to operate. However, Unikoin had no secondary market and customers persistently asked for more value or uses for the token.

Jurado explained that idea for Unikrn to use blockchain technology first came from Mark Cuban in early 2016. After investigating the technology, the team found using a blockchain-based currency would improve compliance and accountability, two activities paramount in bookkeeping.

“The distributed ledger makes Know Your Customer (KYC) and risk management easier and less costly,” Jurado said to Bitcoin Magazine. “It saves time and money used for converting currencies, and helps minimize engagement with banks.”

Along with a distributed ledger model, Jurado also pointed out that the blockchain “expands real-time betting, live betting and skill-based products that would be difficult, or impossible, using fiat currency.”

The blockchain’s ability to increase transaction options while decreasing the need for transactional trust was another value Unikrn sought, Jurado explained, resulting in “an Ethereum-based token with an open ledger that can be used to better rate risk and flag potential abuse.”

A gaming platform such as Unikrn which runs vast numbers of transactions per day manages a lot of risk benefits from “an Ethereum-based token with an open ledger that can be used to better rate risk and flag potential abuse.” Furthermore, as Jurado pointed out, “For users, it’s a home-run: Using blockchain is less expensive than using fiat, and less overhead means less expensive products.”

Tale of Two Koins

To run the token sale and crypto platform, Unikrn opened a subsidiary, Unikrn Bermuda Ltd. The token that Jurado hopes will become “the decentralized token of esports and gaming” is called UnikoinGold (UKG) and was made available in September.

Di Iorio described UnikoinGold as “the (decentralized) beating heart of the secure and seamless wagering ecosystem Unikrn has pioneered.”

As for the original non-cryptographic token, Unikoin, Sood has stated that Unikrn is undergoing a “forking” of their token system in which there will be two currencies: UnikoinGold and UnikoinSilver.

Anybody in the world can buy and use the Ethereum-based UnikoinGold utility token in non-betting applications, including jackpots and experiences, software, hardware, esports, teams and tournaments; however, only users in Unikrn-licensed regions will be able to use it to bet.

Though UnikoinSilver can only be earned, it can be used in most unregulated markets around the world. “The token will allow every non-minor esports and gaming fan to engage in all Unikrn betting products, regardless of where they live. It is a free, non-blockchain token, but will allow fans to unlock real prizes and non-betting operations including editorial, production studios, tournament organization and live broadcasting.” UnikoinSilver also appears to be an alternative “to unregulated skin betting for regions where real-money betting can’t be offered.”

ESPN Meets Esports Meets Vegas

Having already raised $30 million in ether, the UnikoinGold token sale is capped at $100 million. One advantage it has as a token sale is the ease of onboarding users who are already familiar with token transactions. Unikrn’s other advantages come from the fact that they already have an existing platform that is profitable and an online community that is engaged. “This isn’t an investment,” said Sood in a Medium post, “It’s a purchase for a product that we developed that has utility on our platform and our users love and demand.”

A clear caveat to UnikoinGold’s success is that its gaming/ICO combination is sure to keep them visible on every regulator’s radar, which is why earning a Maltese gaming license was such a significant step.

Even at such a unique intersection between media, gambling and gaming, Unikrn is not the only player. Other esports betting platforms using blockchain technology include FirstBlood.io, Eloplay, Gimli.io and Skincoin. And it has yet to crack the lists of top esport betting platforms on sites like OpenOdds and EsportsOnly.

Sood does not seem surprised by his company’s success, thus far. “UnikoinGold was designed and intended for use by our own esports community. It’s like ESPN meets Esports meets Las Vegas.”

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India Trials a Power Grid on the Blockchain to Incentivize Sustainable Energy

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Access to reliable energy is the foundation of economic development and human society. Yet reliable energy can come at a steep environmental cost.

Today’s energy systems are being rapidly reexamined and transformed by both private businesses and public organizations. Innovation coupled with changing policy and consumer demands has prompted The World Economic Forum’s System Initiative On Shaping the Future of Energy. The WEF noted that four out of five of the Initiative’s goals can be addressed in some way through the application of blockchain technology:

  1. Enable innovation to accelerate opportunities towards smarter and more efficient energy use;

  2. Enable the cost-effective reduction of energy’s environmental footprint;

  3. Enable universal access to affordable reliable energy; and

  4. Improve system resilience and security.

One area of application that has been of interest for its utility, efficiency and sustainability is the blockchain application to microgrids.

MaaS in India

Multinational IT provider, Tech Mahindra, and the peer-to-peer based energy trading platform, Power Ledger, have created a new service for clientele specifically interested in microgrids. Microgrids are distributed energy systems that act as a single controllable entity with respect to a larger energy grid network.

A microgrid’s key feature is that it can connect and disconnect from a larger grid network, enabling it to operate both as a part of a larger grid or in “islandmode” as its own grid. The new service offering includes a package of technical services and a platform for customers to set up and operate their own microgrid called “Microgrid-as-a-Service” (MaaS).

The MaaS platform integrates multiple energy assets such as solar, battery storage, electric vehicle chargers and analytics to measure energy efficiency. MaaS is intended to offer resilient and reliable electricity that is also local and less carbon reliant.

While the MaaS product provides technical control over a microgrid, Power Ledger’s blockchain-based platform acts as an added transactional layer that reimburses users for excess clean energy produced by allowing peers to store and trade it at a local level. The blockchain also manages all energy debits and credits of accounts, automates trading and measures each participant’s ongoing financial statements. The blockchain does this by tracking the data flow from smart electricity meters — an Internet of Things application for the energy sector.

The Power Ledger blockchain-based software platform will begin in late 2017 as a virtual trial run on those Tech Mahindra campuses in India that are already hooked up to microgrids.  

Location proves to be a key factor for the project’s success based on two reasons. Data from urban microgrids are typically more complex due to population density; they can, therefore, better demonstrate the strengths of using a blockchain-based platform for microgrids. Also, urban microgrids are much more common in India as opposed to OCED countries where they are mostly employed in rural settings.

“Trialing in India is a major opportunity to change the way communities source the energy required to take part in a modern global economy,” said Power Ledger’s Managing Director, David Martin.

An Economic Environment Ready for Disruption

The fact that India’s economy has been declining since the beginning of 2017 enhances the project’s case for using a blockchain to improve the country’s bottom line. In the first six months of 2017, the country’s gross domestic product fell from 7 percent to 5.7 percent. This may be due in part to reform efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last year.

In June, Modi announced a complete overhaul of India’s tax system. Back in November 2016, he banned the 500 rupee ($7.50) and 1,000 rupee ($15) paper notes, calling them “worthless pieces of paper,” as a way to limit fraud and corruption. These banned notes were said to make up about 86 percent of all cash in circulation, according to CNN Money.

Opportunities for digitization using blockchain technology, and especially for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, are a much needed alternative to several of their systems that do not already have effective nodes of trust built in.

Power Ledger has already proved that its platform can work for both homeowners and businesses. In Busselton, Australia, their peer-to-peer trial showed households can save about $470 ($600 AUD) per year on electricity bills. The forward vision for using blockchain-based platforms to trade energy within microgrids is to enable building owners, campuses, and even “smart cities” and other communities to produce and manage their own affordable electricity and then trade any excess generation.


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Op Ed: A Roadmap For How the Blockchain Can Open Up Foreign Property Investment

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For most individuals, investing in foreign property seems out of reach. The barriers, however, have far less to do with one’s income and more to do with issues around information, namely quality and verifiability. It is not just the cost of property but also the expense in hiring local advisers that makes foreign real estate a rich man’s game.

Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly lower these barriers, making property investment a viable option for a larger swathe of the population. In short, distributed ledgers can provide greater transparency into the availability, detail and oversight of properties in more inaccessible areas.

Tokenization makes real estate investments more liquid and divisible among a greater number of people — an attribute that greatly reduces transaction costs and increases economies of scale.

The various levels of complexity are the reason why foreign real estate investors often resort to hiring local advisers. The costs incurred in hiring local advisers or services can add up to more than the actual property.

As business lawyer, economist and Brickblock adviser Dr. Wolfgang Richter notes, “The various fees make it unfeasible for people to invest small amounts; thus, investing is only advantageous for those with a lot of capital.”

The decentralized, fluid and incorruptible nature of blockchain technology may present a solution to the barriers that aspiring property investors are confronted with.

Providing a Trusted, Verifiable Source of Data by Demystifying Information

As it stands, one of the greatest challenges for potential investors is understanding whether a property is appropriate for investment.

Investors may see a property they like — but how can they understand whether the financial, cultural and security prospects of the surrounding area fit their risk profile? And how can they trust that the information is even correct? Ensuring the accuracy of data and overcoming language barriers makes this process extremely difficult.

The same goes for valuations — how verifiable are they? How is a potential buyer who hasn’t set foot in the country meant to ensure that the current value is fair?

Companies and advisers interested in widening their client pool to international investors can collect, store and present critical information to individuals in a clear and transparent fashion. According to Richter, this information includes “a thorough description of the assets, including a valuation by an external expert, as well as documentation that demonstrates a credible management structure.”

In essence, the distributed ledger eliminates much of the complexity of compiling, verifying and ensuring the integrity of real estate data.

Eliminating the Need for Costly Trustee and Company Structures

Most trustee and company structures exist solely to hold and maintain records. Ensuring that the appropriate data is filed, maintained and accurate — especially as requirements differ across each country — requires extensive resources.

However, with blockchain technology, all data concerning the investment deal and ongoing valuation can be stored in a decentralized database where it can’t be altered or manipulated.

Between not having to pay high marketing fees for documentation and additional costs to store and verify information, investors have more cash to park in their investments.

Reducing the Need for Local Finances and Administration

Tokenization enables real estate investments to be divided and translated into digital tokens. Tokens can be distributed and traded between investors without any need to transfer into local currency.

The ability to buy and sell property via tokens eliminates the need for local bank accounts, which often require a high initial deposit from foreign individuals or are outright impossible to open due to residence requirements. Thanks to the nature of borderless cryptocurrencies, the size of local documentation is vastly reduced — further lowering administration costs. In addition, follow-up transactions for investors can be handled easily because of the liquid nature of the tokens and because of the transparency afforded by the distributed ledger.

Transforming Real Estate Into a More Liquid Asset

Tokenization also turns a somewhat illiquid asset into a highly liquid one. Tokens can be traded or liquidated much more easily and rapidly than an individual property or shares in a typical real estate fund.

Opening Up Accessibility to a Wider Variety of Foreign Real Estate

Dividing up a real estate investment into smaller-sized tokens not only makes it more cost-effective to invest in foreign property, but also enables investors to deploy their capital across more properties. As the amount required to invest can be low, individuals can spread out risk by investing in a variety of tokenized real estate offerings.

A blockchain-backed platform investing in foreign real estate is nascent, not exotic. As companies or advisers build up track records, grading systems aligned to the data in the distributed ledger can help individuals evaluate the risk associated with specific offerings. Investors will be able to gauge the aptitude of potential real estate investments as easily as they do stocks or bonds.

“Regulation will help this process along,” says Richter. Of course, regulators are still getting their heads around the necessary oversight for tokenization structures. There are also questions about tax issues. Yet, as Richter notes, “There are already structures available based on other types of existing offerings which can provide guidance.”

All in all, blockchain technology stands to open up a wider variety of foreign real estate assets to a larger proportion of the population. While some may feel that investing in property may not make sense for those with less capital than today’s investors, the reality is that real estate — like other real assets — can help offset volatile currencies or inflation. It’s a proposition that many individuals have found themselves excluded from. As with many other areas of finance, blockchain technology stands to make it more inclusive.

This is a guest post by Jakob Drzazga. Opinions expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine.

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