US Government Labs exploring Blockchain Tech for energy

A US government research laboratory has announced it is investigating blockchain technology with a view to developing an application to manage smart power grids, in a move that could become increasingly more common across government departments. The plans were unveiled before a meeting of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Congressional body responsible for scrutinizing policy in this area. Prepared by US Department of Energy manager, Carl Imhoff, the plans suggested blockchain technology could be used to facilitate peer-to-peer energy exchange, amidst a raft of other new innovations. It follows on from research efforts at the Department for Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where Imhoff and his team have been examining blockchain systems for a range of applications for energy provision and distribution. In a prepared statement, he described some of the possible use cases for the technology, in addition to disclosing the outline of the plans under consideration at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “PNNL is currently working with DOE and industry partners to determine the optimal use of such resilient data concepts as blockchain in emerging market constructs such as transactive energy…[Blockchain] could be a part of grid modernization efforts, encourage distributed power generation and storage systems, and help secure emerging market constructs.” According to Imhoff’s statement, the proposals could harness the distributed nature of blockchain infrastructure to overhaul distribution and funding within the energy market. Energy has emerged as one sector ripe for the benefits of the blockchain, with numerous applications and use cases currently under development. These include projects like those in the hands of government, as well as the efforts of several notable blockchain startups, and follow on from the first successful energy trade on the distributed server processing system ethereum back in August 2016. The Department of Energy has previously ventured into blockchain research, including inviting proposals for specific blockchain use cases for energy systems back in January of this year. Notably keen on the technology, the news from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory could be the first of many blockchain implementation projects from the Department of Energy, as wider efforts to modernize public administration continue to gain momentum. The post US Government Labs exploring Blockchain Tech for energy appeared first on CoinGeek. Source>>> US Government Labs exploring Blockchain Tech for energy

Thoughts on the State of Cryptocurrency and Blockchains

When I first started reading about Bitcoin in 2011, I approached it as an interesting experiment that could increase economic freedom and give billions of unbanked access to basic financial services and the global economy.I observed small and growing demand for a digital currency with Bitcoin’s properties, and believed any barriers to adoption would come from the supply side, software failures or government bans on using the technology.I’m still hopeful that cryptocurrencies will have a net positive impact, but I find myself increasingly worried about what widespread adoption might mean for society.Bitcoin is becoming the Internet of MoneyWe can now transfer value across the internet nearly as easily as we send emails. Citizens in Venezuela and Zimbabwe are mining and purchasing Bitcoin to survive rapid hyperinflation. In Switzerland’s cryptovalley, rent and utilities can be paid in Bitcoin. The Swiss national rail service is selling Bitcoin at 1000 ticket kiosks across the country. MIT is issuing digital diplomas on Bitcoin’s blockchain.Issues around scalability, lack of global internet access, and the ease of purchasing cryptocurrency are all being addressed. Second layer protocols like the Lightning Network will improve scalability while enabling micropayments, advanced smart contracts, and cross-blockchain atomic swaps.Google, Facebook, SpaceX, and various mesh networks are on track to provide global internet access within a decade. Coinbase and ATMs make buying Bitcoin simple.I believe Bitcoin will be the most widely used blockchain for at least another 3-5 years, while Ethereum will hold the number two spot for a similar time period.The Decentralized Web is ComingThere is a growing appetite for alternatives to monopolists such as Facebook and Twitter, where users and their data are products to be sold to the paying customers, advertising companies.I am looking for a decentralized / cryptographic alternative to Twitter. Twitter’s freedom of expression has been on an inexorable decline. It is enslaved to its US jurisdiction and politics. Although it is substantially better than Facebook that is a very low standard indeed. — @julianassangePlatforms like Steemit, Yours, Y’alls, Akasha, Leeroy and Cent are templates for what alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Quora might look like. Civil and the Decentralized News Network aim to establish sources for independent journalism that prioritize quality fact checking and informing the average citizen over partisan propaganda designed to generate revenue. On these decentralized platforms, monetary value flows towards users providing content, not parasitic and often intrusive advertisers.See the following pieces for optimistic and pessimistic takes on the potential of decentralized social networks.Decentralized social media is peer-to-peering into the futureDecentralized Social Networks Sound Great. Too Bad They’ll Never WorkBlockStack is building infrastructure to enable a more decentralized web, and IPFS is developing a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol, an alternative to HTTP that doesn’t rely on servers.Legacy Institutions are Preparing for a World Run on BlockchainsNot so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted, and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays. So I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies. — Christine Lagarde International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing DirectorThe Bank For International Settlements (BIS)(responsible for …

Plus…Thoughts on the State of Cryptocurrency and Blockchains

Interview with Key Globitex Advisor Carlos Blanco, Risk Analyst and Financial Modelling Expert.

  Globitex, the institutional Bitcoin exchange co-founded by Jon Matonis, aims to drive deep liquidity into the Bitcoin ecosystem, facilitated by the GBX token. Globitex team’s vision is of an exchange suitable for spot and derivatives trading using Bitcoin as the unit of account – expanding the utility of the cryptocurrency and fulfilling its potential to be the currency for global trade and settlement. —– Thanks for your time Carlos, you are a pretty busy guy if your bio on the Globitex website is anything to go by. In which segment of the financial industry are you currently working and what do you specialise in? I have worked on financial risk management for energy and commodity portfolios for the last two decades. My work has involved working with software firms developing market risk models, providing advisory work to some of the largest energy, commodity and investment firms worldwide, and conducting research and education services.  Why did you decide to join the Globitex project? I share the Globitex founders’ vision that the Globitex exchange can create an important cryptocurrency-based money and commodity derivatives market. In addition, I have had the pleasure to know and work with some of the leaders of Globitex for many years and I am looking forward to assisting their team in this exciting project.   Going forward, what do you see as the most important issues to overcome for a project of scale such as Globitex? I see two sets of issues. On the internal side, building an institutional grade derivatives money and commodity markets that will settle in cryptocurrency will require creating a robust infrastructure and solve important challenges along the way. I think the Globitex team has a proven track record and the capabilities to deliver on that front. On the external side, many market players are waiting for greater regulatory and legal certainty. From its inception, Globitex is attempting to work within the existing regulatory framework to minimise the risk for industry participants that will be using the Globitex exchange. What are in your view the most important features for Globitex as a commodity spot and derivatives exchange that should be implemented in the first place? For Globitex to succeed, it is essential to bring liquidity in the contracts that will be offered through the exchange. Development priorities should have that clear goal in mind. Globitex should aim to become the go-to-place for cryptocurrency-based global commodity trading.    Do you see a potential market demand coming from the traditional trading industry for the cryptocurrency money markets and commodity spot and derivatives products that Globitex is planning to realise? Yes, but I see that happening gradually. The traditional trading industry is waiting for more regulatory certainty and once cryptocurrency-based exchanges develop, they will become an alternative trading mechanism that will complement the existing organized and OTC derivatives markets.   Do you think Bitcoin could one day be used as a widespread unit of account and a medium of exchange, not only for large international trades …

Plus…Interview with Key Globitex Advisor Carlos Blanco, Risk Analyst and Financial Modelling Expert.

Mining consumes large amounts of energy—so do data centers

Another day, another FUD [fear, uncertainty and doubt] about Bitcoin. This time, the target is Bitcoin mining and its effect on the environment. The Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study, published by the Cambridge Judge Business School in April, showed that medium-to-large mining facilities the world consume an estimated 288 megawatts (MW) to power their operations. The study was quoted by a report that hammered some alternatives to digital currency mining, which it claimed “is not only affecting our environment, it is also harming cryptocurrencies themselves by promoting centralization and industrialization.” In actuality, the article is about ethereum taking a swipe at Bitcoin—all under the pretext of ending “the centralization of Bitcoin mining and the environmental devastation that is being left in its wake.” The Bitcoin network actually runs at around 343MW, according to another report. Yes, that’s quite a lot of energy, but still less compared to data centers. Or even Citibank, for that matter. In 2014, data centers in the United States consumed an estimated 70 billion kilowatt per hour (kWh), or about 1.8% of the total electricity consumption in the country, according to the Energy Technologies Area of the U.S. government-backed Berkeley Lab. By 2020, data centers’ energy consumption is forecast to reach 200 billion kWh per year, with 50% of the power directed at cooling systems that keep the processors from overheating. Then, there’s Citibank, which has consolidated 20 data centers with 40,000 systems—not the supporting systems, mind you—using 66MW of power. The banking giant employs 219,000 staff using an average with off times of 850W of power on systems. Add to that are the company’s 120 smaller computer rooms, which consume an estimated 138MW. The total: 390MW, and that’s not including all the branch systems, etc. Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake The article also mentioned that Proof of Work, where the probability of mining a block depends on the work done by the miner, “is not the only way to do run a digital currency.” There’s also Proof of Stake, which it claimed “offers some less-than-obvious advantages” in terms of security, and also consumes less energy. However, distributed consensus from Proof of Stake is impossible, according to Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra. “We showed that by depending only on resources within the system, proof of stake cannot be used to form a distributed consensus, since it depends on the very history it is trying to form to enforce loss of value,” Poelstra wrote. Currently—and for the foreseeable future—there is no meaningful alternative to proof of work. To quote developer Paul Sztorc, “Proof-of-Work exists because money is being created. It is, then, impossible to ‘create a new form of money’ without invoking Proof-of-Work.” Using Proof of Work for other purposes only shows an inept understanding of economics. SolidX CTO Bob McElrath explained it best: “If Bitcoin mining had a second ‘useful’ purpose, this would simply reduce the security of the mined chain, from an economic perspective, since miners could in principle sell the ‘useful’ output as well …

Plus…Mining consumes large amounts of energy—so do data centers

Decentralized Android App Store Set to Remove Barriers Between Developers and Users

An innovative new decentralized platform is aiming to liberate Android app developers and consumers alike from the restraints currently put in place by Google Play with a sustainable blockchain-based economic model. The Google Play Android app store is one of the most popular app marketplaces and distributes more than two million applications to more than two billion devices around the world, but suffers from excessively rigid curation and centralization. While the Android app market is known to be more open and less regulated than the iOS App Store, there are still a number of limitations placed on both developers and consumers. Google Play charges developers a fee of around $25 to place an app on the marketplace, while consumers are barred from accessing specific applications dependent on geographic region and cannot access ad-blocking applications. The DAO PlayMarket 2.0 platform aims to solve these problems and more with a decentralized Android App Store that removes the barriers to entry that restrict developers, as well as providing consumers with the ability to purchase apps with cryptocurrency. Liberating the Android App Ecosystem The DAO PlayMarket 2.0 system intends to disrupt the tightly controlled Android app ecosystem by creating a fusion between an Android app store, an ICO developer platform, and a crypto exchange. The platform is set to establish a unified standard for tokenizing the mobile applications market by introducing a number of advantages over incumbent app markets. Developers that release their apps via DAO PlayMarket 2.0 will be able to create and release their own tokens that can be used both within their applications or to secure funding for new projects via a built-in ICO platform. The DAO PlayMarket 2.0 platform also offers a far more attractive commission structure, charging just one percent commission on application placement as opposed to Google Play’s 30 percent. Aside from providing consumers with censorship-free access to apps, DAO PlayMarket 2.0 will also allow them to invest in the development process of apps that appeal to them and earn dividend income from it. Users are also able to purchase apps with cryptocurrency, which is not currently possible in the existing Android app ecosystem. DAO PlayMarket 2.0 will also host a built-in cryptocurrency exchange called PEX. This integration allows for fast conversion between currencies and tokens, facilitating peer-to-peer trading real time with streamlined tools and interfaces. The DAO PlayMarket 2.0 ICO Unlike many of the ICOs that are currently underway, the DAO PlayMarket 2.0 platform has already completed a significant amount of work. The DAO PlayMarket 2.0 already boasts a working alpha version of its decentralized Android app store and has created a cold wallet prototype and smart contract prototypes. The DAO PlayMarket 2.0 platform is built on the Ethereum ecosystem and will be issuing an ERC20 standardized “PMT” token which can be purchased with a range of currencies cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, ETC, LTC, and DASH. The total number of PMT tokens issued will be limited to three million, of which 75 percent will be distributed …

Plus…Decentralized Android App Store Set to Remove Barriers Between Developers and Users

Dr. Craig S. Wright on why proof of work trumps proof of stake

Apart from cryptography and mathematics, Bitcoin’s security is backed by economics. As a user notes in a Medium post, Bitcoin is not only an ingenious application of cryptography and mathematics—it also hits the nail on the head on the economics side of things. In a paper published in the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), nChain chief scientist Dr. Craig S. Wright outlines how Bitcoin’s proof of work (PoW) system utilizes Ronald Coase’s nature of the firm to achieve optimum balance between efficiency and profitability. By tying them to each other, in Bitcoin mining, the more efficient is also more profitable. Nature of the firm “automates” honesty and desired miner behaviour The Nature of the Firm was written in 1937 by British economist Ronald Coase. For decades, the paper was widely ignored until he published another article that gained him a wide following in the 80s. And in 1991, the paper won him a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Today his ideas remain substantial in analyzing modern business, how and why partnerships are made, and how they tend to scale. One point that the theory of the firm states is that in cases where there is no clear assignment of property rights, the parties involved will naturally gravitate towards a system where the conditions will be mutually rewarding for all parties involved—regardless of whether property rights have to be crossed. How does that work in the Bitcoin ecosystem? Investing in the system and keeping honest transactions ensures more profit; attempting to attack and cheat the system gives very little reward, and costs way too much. PoW lets this mechanism play out naturally to its advantage—without the need for intervention, that is. In this system, the nature of the firm works in sort of “automating” market behaviour to work favourably for the blockchain ecosystem. This works in favour of proof of work in that it encourages the major forces within the Bitcoin ecosystem to work for the betterment of the community by incentivizing investment into the system—miners who allocate more processing power for the blockchain earn more in return. Above all else, it incentivizes honesty because ensuring the integrity of transactions also ensures a miner’s rewards. As more miners come into play, and as better processing equipment are introduced into the industry, it is in a miner’s best interests to invest more in order to compete for the rewards. Because while they still earn fees from every transaction they process, they also need to compete for a portion of the network in order to get a higher chance at mining Bitcoins. Consequently, it also becomes significantly harder to gain enough hash rate (51%) to attack the system—it gets too expensive to do so, and offers very little reward especially compared to mining. Today, it would cost over a billion dollars in mining rigs alone to pull this off. What about the threat of giant mining pools? “It is not true to say that miners in a pool behave as a single agent …

Plus…Dr. Craig S. Wright on why proof of work trumps proof of stake

Blockchain Can Make the Internet a Safer and Faster Place

Content delivery networks have become an integral part of the internet as we know it today. To date, around 50 percent of websites and online services utilize a CDN, which provides notable benefits for both publishers and internet users. For publishers, a CDN helps reduce bandwidth usage, thus helping conserve on resources. A CDN also gives the added benefit of protecting servers against traffic based attacks like distributed denial-of-service or DDoS. Thus, these two services go hand-in-hand, and major service providers market these together. For users, meanwhile, a CDN ensures faster delivery of websites and applications, by caching content on servers located nearer to their geo-location. This reduces latency and also improves security on the part of end-users through front-end optimization. One of the basic fundamentals behind a CDN provider is that it is supposed to deploy data centers worldwide, to ensure adequate coverage and point of presence wherever a user is. The more nodes a CDN has, the better ability it has to deliver content at a faster speed to users within the vicinity. More nodes also mean that a CDN has better capability in diffusing the effects of a DDoS attack. Therefore, you might expect that a major CDN brand would have points-of-presence virtually anywhere – even in remote regions and markets around the globe. This is not the case, however. As of their latest data, two of the biggest CDNs in the world seem to lack adequate support for several countries, like Russia and China. Take these for example: In the image above, Cloudflare showcases its 118 datacenters around the globe with speeding up access for customers in these regions. Notable, however, is the sparse number of datacenters in countries like China, Russia and other Central European countries. In fact, it also has a limited presence in Africa and South America, and even in Australia. Meanwhile, in the image above, Incapsula also describes its network of 40 datacenters, which have a capacity of 47 Tbps. Similar to Cloudflare, the company also focuses on certain regions, which means access from other parts of the globe may not be as fast as desired. It also has lack of points-of-presence in China, Russia, and countries. What does this mean for users and businesses? Given the limited point of access in some regions, users in countries like China and Russia, might experience slow access, since they do not have a nearby point of presence. Another potentially disadvantageous scenario is that users in firewalled ecosystems – such as that of China, with its “great firewall of China” – might have an even more difficult time accessing content from outside the country. Both Cloudflare and Incapsula, for one, have a presence in major China cities like Beijing, Shenzen and the like. However, it is mostly meant for servicing business users in these major areas only who want to enhance their reach to users outside of China. For end-users, the benefit might be limited. According to Cloudflare, it has had to partner with …

Plus…Blockchain Can Make the Internet a Safer and Faster Place Seed: Three additional candidates announced

Block Collider, Datafund, and ENTX are the new candidates that are joining the Seed program. Together with the five previously announced candidates they will be evaluated and validated by you, our Priority Pass™ community. Make sure to learn more about all Seed candidates on their websites, join their Telegram groups to meet the teams, and let us know which team(s) have the most potential.Block Collider is an ultra-low latency second generation crypto currency created from the blocks of other blockchains. This protocol will create a decentralized ledger capable of executing​ ​complex​ ​transactions​ ​between​ ​blockchains.Datafund guards and protects the privacy of an individual while enabling companies to engage in fair data exchange. Both protocol and distributed application(dApp), Datafund guards personal data, provides safe storage and enables personal information to be shared on the need-to-know basis according to an agreement between exchanging parties.ENTX gives value to digital assets. Creating an algorithm using the wisdom of relevant crowds, expert assessments and big data, ENTX will construct a fair market value for digital assets ranging from game skins to frequent flyer Seed: Three additional candidates announced was originally published in Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. Source: Seed: Three additional candidates announced

Blockchain journalism marketplace civil lines up first publications

When blockchain startup Civil unveiled their plans for a blockchain-based marketplace for journalism earlier this year, reactions ranged from excited to bewildered. For some, the model was seen as a revolutionary new mechanism for funding journalism in the digital age, while others are still trying to figure out how it works and why it’s necessary. Now, as the company lines up their first publications ready for launch in January, the project is starting to attract further attention from investors, publishers and other stakeholders. Civil’s aim is to utilise blockchain technology to develop a decentralised marketplace, through which journalists and their readers can jointly work to create the journalism they want to see. Audiences support journalists and publications through the platform’s CVL token, an on-platform cryptocurrency that is designed to reward content creators in a meritocratic way. In addition to providing a mechanism for funding journalism, Civil has one further core advantage – it enables journalists to create media within the blockchain environment, recording their features with the security and immutability of the distributed ledger. By allowing publications to archive their content permanently within the Civil blockchain, it is immune from deletion or interference from third parties, unlike the traditionally-funded media, where articles can disappear overnight on a whim. Civil has just announced $5 million in funding, backed by ConsenSys, which will now help the firm recruit the first wave of journalists and publications to the platform. The hope is that over time, more media outlets and freelance journalists will switch to the platform, as readers become more familiar with the system and how it works. Blockchain technology has already been disruptive in a number of fields, most notable financial services where banks in particular stand to realise significant efficiency gains, thanks to the unique features of the distributed ledger. There are also applications for the underlying technology across a range of other sectors, and there is no reason journalism too couldn’t benefit from a newly envisaged model. What remains to be seen is whether Civil can capitalise on the opportunity, and whether their first wave of publications will be enough to encourage readers to move to the platform. But as more consumers become familiar with the idea behind blockchain technologies, and how these might work for platforms like Civil, the company is well positioned to help shape the future of online journalism The post Blockchain journalism marketplace civil lines up first publications appeared first on CoinGeek. Source: Bitcoin

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