Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘blockchain’ Category

A Crypto Kinda Friday

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It’s a crypto kinda Friday.

Engadget’s reporting on an interesting blockchain story, one which has ticket broker Ticketmaster fighting bogus ticket sales by acquiring Upgraded.

Upgraded is a company that combine’s the distributed trust of blockchain with encrypted barcodes to minimize the fraud sometimes seen with paper-based or PDF tickets.

The Engadget story claims with the new one solution one would “have a clearer sense of when a concert pass is legitimate, while even holders will have more of a grip on where their tickets are going.” But Ticketmaster told Engadget it didn’t have a definitive time frame for integrating the Upgraded’s solution.

…While U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase made a recently developed automated security scaling tool available to the public. 

In a report from Coindesk, it was said Coinbase released a program called “Salus” which can automatically choose to run and configure different security scanners and issue a report on the results.”

Salus was available as an open-source tool via GitHub starting yesterday, and is said to “offer the advantage of being able to centrally coordinate security scans across a large number of software storage repositories, avoiding having to configure a scanner for each project.”

And finally, if you’re worried about those crypto assets, U.K-based security firm G4S announced a new service for protecting them.

According to a story from Cointelgraph, the company is offering high-security offline vault storage for crypto assets, a new capability which builds on the company’s existing expertise, which is running prisons and detention centers.

What’s fascinating about the offering is the how. G2S explained in a press release that the company not only take crypto assets offline, but it breaks them up into fragments so that they are independently without value, and then stored in the company’s security vaults.

Access to these sites is heavily restricted with multiple layers of security and robust protocols, and only when all the fragments are combined with specific technology can they unlock access to the value stored within.”

“It has been a justified cliche to describe the cryptocurrency space as a Wild West. Working with our clients, our innovative vault storage concept offers the highest protection to keep people and their assets secure and bring order to the frontier.

So how long until we see a cold storage Bitcoin heist flick on the big screen?  Maybe not until Bitcoin gets back over $10K?!

Written by turbotodd

October 19, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Walmart’s Leafy Green Blockchain

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TechCrunch recently reported on an initiative in which Walmart has been working with IBM on a food safety blockchain, and that Walmart would be requiring all suppliers of leafy green vegetables for Sam’s and Walmart upload their data to the blockchain by September 2019.

TechCrunch’s story notes that “most supply chains are bogged down in manual processes,” making it difficult to track down food safety issues like E. coli romain lettuce. But “by placing a supply chain on the blockchain, it makes the process more traceable, transparent and fully digital.

Each node on the blockchain could represent an entity that has handled the food on the way to the store, making it much easier and faster to see if one of the affected farms sold infected supply to a particular location with much greater precision.

Walmart has been working with IBM for over a year on using the IBM Food Trust Solution use case in this scenario.

Most notable is the time compression involved. The story notes that before moving the process to the blockchain, it typically took approximately 7 days to trace the source of food. With the blockchain, that has been reduced to 2.2 seconds, which means that also “substantially reduces the likelihood that infected food will reach the consumer.”

You can learn more about the IBM Food Trust blockchain solution here.

Written by turbotodd

September 26, 2018 at 11:16 am

State of Blockchain Q1 2018 Report

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As the CoinDesk Consensus 2018 cryptocurrency and blockchain event kicks off this morning in NYC, CoinDesk released its “Q1 2018 State of Blockchain Report.”

Peter Ryan with Disqus detailed some of the top 6 takeaways that defined Q1 2018:

  1. It’s a bear market for crypto. Following its peak of $20K, bitcoin suffered a 51 percent decline in the first quarter. However, 79 percent of respondents to the CoinDesk Sentiment Survey said they thought this bear market would be short-lived.
  2. Crypto market is maturing. Bitcoin futures markets were introduced in Q417, and there’s been steady growth in this activity through Q118. But the shorts outpaced the longs, 5,000 to 3,000, which has likely led to the slumping price, along with a fall in demand in the spot bitcoin market.
  3. Miners stay long. The amount of processing power devoted to securing the bitcoin network diverged from the market cap, with the hash rate (a measure bitcoin mining) growing 47 percent over the quarter. Miners take the long view.
  4. Taxes are coming into the picture. Cryptocurrencies generated an estimated $70 billion in global tax revenue for 2017. But the tax parameters around crypto remain confusing to survey respondents, both about the legal and tax status of the entire asset class.
  5. ICOs continue to boom. ICO raised $6.3 billion in Q1, and the average raise has almost doubled from $16 million to $31 million.
  6. Fees decline. Transaction fees on the bitcoin network dropped from an average of $40 in Q417 to around $9.49 per transaction in Q118.

As for the broader opportunity for the blockchain, SiliconAngle’s James Kobielus writes that today’s blockchain startups “will need to show that they have staying power and can ride a ‘land-and-expand’ strategy to greater success.” 

And he asserts that to be considered to be mature enough for broad enterprise deployment, a commercial blockchain platform would need to meet several criteria:

  • Blockchain solutions should be general-purpose in their ability to be deployed into a wide range of industries, business functions and other application domains.
  • They should be deployable into private clouds, public clouds and various multicloud deployments of a hybrid, B2B and community-wide nature.
  • They should be able integrate seamless with enterprise investments in other data, transaction, security and other platforms.
  • They should be standardized within a dominant open-source community with wide representation.

He also writes that:

Of the principal blockchain projects, only the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric is likely to become the standardized foundation for truly enterprise-grade open-source blockchains. Contributed by IBM Corp. and Digital Asset, Hyperledger, now in version 1.0, boasts more than 185 collaborating enterprises across finance, banking, the “internet of things,” supply chain, manufacturing and technology.

You can read more in Kobelius’ post here.

Written by turbotodd

May 14, 2018 at 10:36 am

A Bit More Blockchain

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Happy Thursday.

According to a story from Fortune (who were reporting a story from The Times of London), Twiter CEO Jack Dorsey is on the record saying that Bitcoin (despite the recent bubble) will come to replace all currencies.

“The world ultimately will have a single currency, the Internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be Bitcoin.” But the timeline will be “probably over ten years, but it could go faster.”

Miners, start your computers (but watch that electricity bill!)

Meanwhile, also across the pond, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, was expected to announce a government “crypto assets task force,” along with a host of other fintech initiatives earlier today, according to a report in CoinDesk.

The initiative, part of the government’s larger Fintech Sector Strategy, “will help the U.K. to manage the risks around Cryptoassets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology,” he said in the statement.

Back here in the U.S., Blockchain Capital, which is an investor in fintech companies like Coinbase and Ripple, has raised $150 million for its fourth fund. 

According to a story from Axios, this new fund appears to be the largest venture capital fund raised to focus exclusively on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

So my logical question: Was the new round raised in Bitcoin or cash??!!

Inquiring minds want to know.

For those more interested in the crypto pick and shovel play, IBM Think this week in Vegas had a number of sessions focused on blockchain.  

If interested, check out this replay of IBM’s Jerry Cuomo, who lays out a number of actual blockchain use cases that do everything from save energy to cut food waste.

Written by turbotodd

March 22, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Posted in 2018, bitcoin, blockchain, ibm

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Turning Up the Heat on Crypto

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The cryptocurrency juggernaut continues to build momentum. It seems as though there’s a new initial coin offering every day now.

Multicoin Capital is looking to raise $250 million in capital by the end of June, and Reuters is reporting that Marc Andreessen and a “slew of big individual and institutional investors” have invested thus far.

Multicoin views cryptocurrencies as a long-term investment (three to four years), as opposed to the short-termism we’ve been seeing in recent weeks.

Other investors include PayPay’s first COO, David Sacks, and Elad Gil, co-founder of genomic testing company Color Genomics. 

In related news, Bitcoin’s price has now settled down to around $9,000, and this as Japan suspended trading on two cryptocurrencies on Thursday following a reported $530 million cyber heist at Coincheck, one of the country’s largest crypto platforms.

According to a story in Fortune, Japan’s Financial Services Agency has ordered Bitstation and FSHO to suspend business for at least one month, the first due to an executive using customer funds for personal transactions, and the second for allegedly failing to shore up customer protection.

And finally, in the better cryptocurrency mousetrap category, French startup Qarnot has unveiled a new computing heater made specifically for cryptocurrency mining.

A heater. With a computer. Just for mining bitcoins. And heating you.

Three words, people: Picks and shovels.

Addendum: Check out Paul Ford’s Bloomberg story, “Bitcoin is Ridiculous, Blockchain is Dangerous” where he compares to the emerging crypto tulip-mania to the early days of the WWW. 

Written by turbotodd

March 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

Long on the Blockchain

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Bloomberg is reporting that the cryptocurrency market is headed south. Like beyond-the-boarder, deep into Mexico south.

The peak for Bitcoin was $19,511 on December 18th, soon after the introduction of regulated futures contacts in the U.S. 

But now, reports Bloomberg, Bitcoin has seen more than half its value wiped out after “waves of negative news,” including escalating regulatory threats from around the world (including in India, South Korea, China, and the U.S.), along with a record $500 million heist at Japanese exchange Coincheck Inc.

Nothing like a virtual coin bank heist in Tokyo to bring down a bull Bitcoin market! Quick, was George Clooney or Matt Damon anywhere in the vicinity??

Bitcoin was trading as low as $7,643, and overall down 21 percent on the week (and is bringing down other virtual coins, including Ripple, Ether, and Litecoin, all of which tumbled 28 percent).

Turbo’s Take: One, I wish I’d held on to those 7 Bitcoins I’d had in Coinbase and which I sold a year ago this month. I’d take $7K per coin. Two, this is all missing the larger plot — it’s not about Bitcoin, or even virtual currency — it’s about the underlying technology that powers these systems, the blockchain (see IBM’s blockchain overview here). It’s about the power to increase transparency and decrease friction in markets and transactions of all types. So, if you want to go short on Bitcoin, be my guest. But I would recommend you go long — very long — on the blockchain.

Written by turbotodd

February 2, 2018 at 10:59 am

Posted in 2018, bitcoin, blockchain

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IT Big Spender: AI, Blockchain, IoT

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Gartner Inc. presented its 2018 worldwide IT spending projections in a webinar yesterday, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

In its estimate, Gartner projected that worldwide IT spending this year would hit $3.7 trillion, up 4.5 percent over last year. Key areas that would help increase that spending included blockchain, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence, among others.

Enterprise software spending is projected to reach $389 billion, up from 9.5 percent in 2017, as corporate budgets channel more funds into software-as-a-service.

Other big gains included devices, which are expected to grow 5.6% over last year to $704 billion.

As to AI:

By 2021, spending on AI will generate an estimated $2.9 trillion in new business value, as businesses seek to use AI-powered tools to “drive efficiency gains, create insights that personalize the customer experience, entice engagement and commerce, and aid in expanding revenue-generating opportunities,” Mr. Lovelock said.
– via WSJ

Written by turbotodd

January 18, 2018 at 10:32 am

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