Crypto Payments Are Here to Stay: WCDC Makes It Possible

The transition of money has been exciting, looking back. From grains to precious metals to paper, money has been all this and more. Remember the times when a bank card was a luxury, something that only the rich could possess? Today, everybody has plenty of them. And we are now witnessing the times of digital money on blockchain technology.

The evolution of money is ongoing with the introduction of cryptocurrencies. Are cryptocurrencies for everyone? Are they the future of money as we know it?

Cryptocurrencies set to transform global finance

In the last decade, cryptocurrencies have been one of the most innovative technologies to be developed. Their inherent features aim to eliminate many shortcomings of fiat money. One of them is centralization, where few institutions control the production and distribution of money. Centralized control also affects cross-border money transfers as many intermediaries are involved. As a result, global transactions take days, or even weeks, to be completed.

Cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to improve transparency, something that is dearly missing in fiat currencies. This is because unlike banks that act as intermediaries in fiat transactions, there are no third parties involved when cryptocurrencies are transferred from one point to another. Crypto transactions are validated by a network consensus and the information recorded on a shared ledger. The ledger can be accessed by anyone, thereby, improving transparency.

Lastly, cryptocurrencies have introduced a level of security not previously experienced with settlements involving fiat. Theft and fraud is a significant problem affecting traditional money. Cryptocurrencies are secure since they utilize cryptography to mask all the transactions. Therefore, even when implemented on a big scale, the threat of having to deal with fraud cases is essentially eliminated.

Current challenges

Despite their advantages, cryptocurrencies have not gained widespread adoption due to a number of key challenges. Most importantly, cryptocurrencies cannot easily be transformed into hard cash or electronic money for online payments. This is an area where fiat money has excelled. Cash in one’s bank account can easily be used for any payment. Cryptocurrencies can not.

There now exist multiple cryptocurrencies that are vying for the coveted spot as the market leader. Apart from Ether and Bitcoin, most other cryptocurrencies cannot be easily exchanged among themselves. Thus, it is even less convenient to use them for payments. A good medium of exchange as traditional currencies has to be accepted by all parties involved in the system. But it doesn’t work for crypto.

Another challenge is that there exist few stores and businesses that accept cryptocurrencies as payments. Even for those that do, they are limited to either one or two cryptocurrencies. As a result, people owning digital money find that there are fewer places where they can actually put the money to use and access products and services.

Introducing Word Credit Diamond Coin

The current challenges affecting cryptocurrencies have limited their use in a lot of potential areas. World Credit Diamond Coin (WCDC) is a cutting-edge project that seeks to eliminate this problem. WCDC is creating a real-world solution for spending through crypto or fiat money.

The team introduces BR Card that enables users to seamlessly convert crypto assets into fiat and vice versa. The e-wallet technology that the platform will use will ensure compatibility between fiat and cryptocurrencies. The card can then be used to facilitate a variety of purchases and transactions. The BR Card will also enable users to accumulate points for daily payments and transactions. These points can be reimbursed through an exciting rewards program.

WCDC will form strategic alliances with key players in FinTech, blockchain and related areas. It will endeavor to develop new services and solutions using its state-of-the-art infrastructure. It will also keep adding new functions to the system continues to keep in sync with market needs and customer feedback.

Cryptocurrencies are set to define the future of global finance. WCDC is helping usher in such a future by addressing key challenges affecting digital currencies today.

About the project:

World Credit Diamond Coin (WCDC) is enabling the next generation of e-payments using fiat and crypto. It introduces a service to manage electronic accounts, a customer loyalty and rewards program and also makes it easy for merchants to accept crypto payments. With all these features WCDC aims to create a comprehensive ecosystem that allows the use of cryptocurrency as an everyday medium of exchange.

WCDC will soon be listed on CoinSuper, one of the largest, and among the Top-10, exchanges in the world.

The project is conducting a massive Airdrop, where the first 20,000 lucky participants will get 40 WCDC tokens free. Find out more about the Airdrop campaign and how to join it in the official Telegram chat.

To learn more about the company’s innovative solutions, visit its website and keep up with the hot news and updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Terrorists Stay Clear Of Cryptocurrencies But For How Long?

Contrary to perception, cryptocurrencies might as well not be a force for evil. For the longest time, regulators around the world have raised concerns that digital currencies pose a significant danger in facilitating money laundering activities as well as financing terrorist operations.

However, a Senate hearing in the U.S has provided the clearest indication that the same might not be the case. A prepared testimony by Yaya Fanusie, a director for analysis for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, presented to the Senate paints a clear picture as to why terrorist are struggling to make good use of cryptocurrencies.

According to Mr. Fanusie, a good number of terrorist especially those involved in jihadi activities operate in environments that are not conducive to cryptocurrency use.

“They usually need to purchase goods with cash (which is the most anonymous funding method), often in areas with unreliable technology infrastructure. In addition, cryptocurrencies are based on distributed ledger (blockchain) technology, where users’ pseudonymous transactions are recorded for public viewing. This leaves a trail that unsophisticated users may find difficult to obfuscate,” said Mr. Fanusie.

While the terrorists appear to be struggling to leverage the power of cryptocurrencies, Mr. Fanusie believes that this is not something to be proud of as the technology continues to evolve. Widespread adoption and usage of cryptocurrencies going forward should see a good number of the barriers drop something that the director believes could work to the terrorist advantage.

Cryptocurrencies for Terrorist Activities

For the longest time, there has been growing concerns that the distributed nature of cryptocurrencies which makes it hard track transactions, was working to the advantage of terrorist. Numerous reports have come out claiming that suspicious characters were using the so-called privacy-focused Altcoins to send money that is in return used to finance terrorist operations.

However, it appears cold hard cash remains the driving fuel behind most terrorist activities even as regulators remain skeptical about cryptocurrencies use cases.

Looking forward, it may only be a matter of time before terrorist groups find their way to cryptocurrencies and start leveraging the power of blockchain technology.

Those illicit actors have always moved with speed over time to adopt new technologies if they believe they have the potential to enhance their operations. For example, when paper checks, credit cards as well as PayPal came into being, criminals exploited them to their own advantage.

Even though they are yet to get a good foothold of cryptocurrencies, it does not mean that regulators have to take a back seat and watch. Now is the time for law enforcement agencies as well as intelligence agencies to gain a head start before the terrorists start exploiting digital tokens because of widespread adoption.

The fact that cryptocurrencies could soon become the way for transaction all but calls for increased scrutiny by authorities to ensure they don’t end up fuelling terrorist activities. The FDD has already documented a number of fundraising campaigns run on social media entities associated with terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaida and the Islamic state. While the groups have had limited success, as time goes on the same could change.

‘Alternative Data’ is Going Mainstream, Here’s Why Investors Should Pay Attention

When it comes to investing, the name of the game is information. To keep up with others and outperform in an increasingly competitive market, fund managers and retail investors alike are always on the lookout for crucial information that will give them an advantage. Information comes in a variety of forms; most commonly, many are used to traditional data and information supplied by companies themselves. Investors look to a prospectus or other financial documents to make decisions, but that’s also the same information others are looking to for their own analysis. What other options do they have though?

One area of finance that’s rapidly expanding is the introduction of alternative data. Unlike traditional data sources, alternative data is information collected and utilized in an investment strategy that does not come directly from the company in question. To stay ahead of the curve, investors are using alternative data as a competitive advantage to generate alpha. Alternative data is a simple term used to describe a wide array of information that isn’t traditionally considered when making investment decisions. These data sets can range anywhere from social media feeds, to communications metadata, to satellite imagery, and nearly everything in between. In fact, the alternative data movement is getting so much attention that the Deloitte Center for Financial Services recently called it “today’s innovation [that] could be tomorrow’s requirement,” further stating that:

“The lure of alternative data sets is largely the potential for an information advantage over the market with regard to investment decisions. True information advantage has occurred at various times in the history of securities markets, and alternative data seem to be just its most recent manifestation…Speed and knowledge are advancing with the use of advanced analytics, and there will be no waiting for laggards, no turning back.”

This new trend is all about embracing the shifting investing landscape and looking at non-traditional ways of evaluating and monitoring industries. To put things into perspective, consider the case of alternative data in the way of logistics data. According to Greenwich Associates “Alternative Data for Alpha” research, logistics data is at the top of the alternative data wishlist for both asset managers and hedge funds, and for good reason.

In the study, Greenwich Associates gives an example of looking at the logistics and supply chain data for a large tech company that’s just about to release a new mobile device. Investors are anticipating this new device rollout to substantially impact upcoming earnings, but they also know that the success of the new device rollout is dependent on factors other than the tech company itself.

Other key factors to consider in the release, before making any investment decisions, is the company’s dependence on many small, private suppliers from across the globe. Alternative data like additional information on suppliers, their background, company health, and history, etc. all come together to give investors a bigger picture of the situation and make more informed investment decisions.

Above is just one example of using alternative data to inform investment decisions but there are essentially limitless possibilities and types of alternative data out there. For the time being, alternative data is still new enough to provide investors with an advantage over others; however, that likely won’t be the case for much longer. Greenwich Associates predicts that alternative data will “only be alternative for so long—eventually becoming a core part of any portfolio manager’s toolkit once the aforementioned roadblocks are taken down.”  Those roadblocks? According to their study, factors like “prohibitively high fees” and the procurement process is too cumbersome ranked the highest.

Providers Bringing ‘Alternative Data’ Mainstream

Since the future of alternative data in the investment world looks like it’s here to stay, the next question investors are asking is how do we get it to be more accessible? Given the responses from Greenwich Associates’ research, there are still barriers keeping alternative data from being utilized to its fullest extent. Fortunately for investors, there are some ways the information is being brought out from obscurity and into the mainstream. Here are some up and coming projects tackling the current pain points holding alternative data back.

AlternativeData is currently connecting institutional investors of hedge funds and long-only asset managers with alternative data for investing. The company, consisting of former buy-side and sell-side analysts and data analysts, allows investors an easy way to purchase data from their network of alternative data providers.

The Quandl Data Hieratchy
The Quandl Data Hierarchy

Competitor Quandl offers institutional investors similar services by connecting them with alternative data. Quandl believes that “alternative data is going to be the primary driver of active investment performance over the next decade.” Additionally, Quandl offers businesses the chance to work with them to convert current data they may have collected into a source of recurring revenue. Many companies have been using their own alternative data to inform their decisions, so why not leverage what they’re not using for more revenue?

Closing the list is SciDex, a blockchain-based alternative to other providers. The SciDex foundation is building a decentralized marketplace for users to buy and sell scientific data that can then be used for making more informed investment decisions. SciDex is different from other providers because of its focus on a democratized marketplace for data and its artificial intelligence (AI) tools used for building smart data sets. Exchange users will also have the ability to create calls for contributions of data they need and will have access to voting on the blockchain for issuing grants and subsidies for new data providers to grow the industry as a whole.

Whether your needs as an investor are looking to new blockchain and AI focused technology for access to alternative data or going through a more traditional provider, the number of ways to gain access to the data you need is growing. Current estimates put the total amount spent on alternative data to be around  $183 million per year, but Tabb Group expects that the amount could likely double over the next five years. It’s only a matter of time before alternative data is no longer “alternative” as more funds incorporate the data into their strategy and investors don’t want to fall behind; as Deloitte put it: Today’s innovation could be tomorrow’s requirement.

With GPU Sales Cooling After Crypto Craze, Investors Ask What’s to Happen With the Mining Infrastructure

For investors who have been watching the cryptocurrency movement over the past year, it’s apparent that the so-called “crypto mania” has come to an end, or at least on hold for a while. After cryptocurrency prices skyrocketed towards the close of 2017, all of the top 10 high market cap coins have now settled into more muted prices down, in some cases, nearly 80% from their all-time highs. Looking at the charts for bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH), it’s clear that the impressive bull run has tapered off to arguably more sustainable levels.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin Daily Chart
Bitcoin Daily Chart

Ether (ETH)

ETH/USD Daily Chart
ETH/USD Daily Chart

As with nearly everything in the economy though, industries are connected together one way or another. One of the questions many in the cryptocurrency world hadn’t considered after the decline of crypto prices is how that fall will impact other facets of the economy. That fall in cryptocurrency prices, along with an increased focus on newer consensus mechanisms that aren’t processing-intensive (like different variants of proof-of-stake over the current proof-of-work model), has led to a decline in sales of graphics processing units (GPUs) for producers like AMD and Nvidia. While mining on the Bitcoin network is dominated by ASIC miners, other cryptocurrencies are still largely mined viaGPU mining operations, though that could soon be changing.

Crypto GPU Sales Down

Nvidia, the popular GPU manufacturer known for making a variety of cards for the gaming industry and, more recently, the crypto mining industry, recently announced a “substantial decline” in revenue from cryptocurrency miners. According to the company’s CFO Commentary on Second Quarter Fiscal 2019 Results, the company was anticipating a drop in GPU sales, though the reality was more significant than they accounted for.

According to the report, “Our revenue outlook had anticipated cryptocurrency-specific products declining to approximately $100 million, while actual crypto-specific revenue was $18 million. Whereas we had previously anticipated cryptocurrency to be meaningful for the year, we are now projecting no contributions going forward.”

Competitor AMD is in a similar situation as well. After releasing second quarter earnings earlier in the summer, the chip producer noted that their quarter-over-quarter decline in revenue in the computing and graphics segment was “primarily related to lower revenue from GPU products in the blockchain market.”

Cryptocurrency prices aren’t the only factor to blame for the decline in GPU sales either. One of the topics at the center of the cryptosphere right now is about alternatives to the standard consensus mechanism known as proof-of-work (PoW). As newer methods are proposed, developed, and eventually implemented, GPU sales are likely to continue declining in the crypto-related industry.

Heavy Infrastructure Investment

Besides trading and investments made directly in the cryptocurrency world, there has been a significant amount of investment funneled into business related to the crypto industry as well. Unlike the early days of bitcoin, cryptocurrency miners are no longer individual enthusiasts running gaming PCs in their bedroom.

Nowadays, there are entire cryptocurrency mining operations being funded and built across the globe. In Montana, US, Power Block Coin LLC is investing $251 million into a new cryptocurrency mining farm where the facility will be stocked full of mining equipment, and they’re not alone.

In upstate New York, US, there’s an even larger cryptocurrency mine under construction. The new facility in Massena, NY is being built by Coinmint and is estimating up to $700 million in investment going to the mining operation. But with all this funding being put into mining farms and large-scale operations, investors in these ventures are beginning to wonder what’s to come of them in the event that they become obsolete in the crypto world or if interest in mining dies off more. Here are some of the alternatives.

Crypto Mining Alternatives

While the cryptocurrency markets are cooling down on GPU mining, there are still viable alternatives for all the hardware and infrastructure created in the industry. Looking back to the comments from Nvidia’s CFO, there’s another area that led strong growth throughout the year that aided in offsetting a decline in crypto-related GPU sales. According to the CFO commentary:

“GPU business revenue was $2.66 billion, up 40 percent from a year earlier and down 4 percent sequentially, led by record performance in Gaming, Professional Visualization, and Datacenter, offsetting a substantial decline in cryptocurrency GPUs.”  

Professional visualization, video rendering, and developing AI are all areas of the tech economy that cryptocurrency farms can look to in the future. If investors are looking for a return on their investment, farm operators still have options. In fact, there are companies in the space already angling themselves for a significant shift in the coming years.

Marco Iodice is the co-founder of Leonardo Render, a blockchain-based startup working on incorporating much of the infrastructure already in place for mining to profit from large-scale, enterprise-level graphical rendering needs in the growing CGI industry. All of those mining farms can put their GPUs to work for them not mining, but as a means for graphical rendering. He sees the same thing that Nvidia saw in revenue as well and believes there are other solutions for miners, saying that:

“In 2017 we witnessed the ‘gold rush’ of GPUs with people gathering as much hardware as possible to grab some crypto, which caused the price of hardware to skyrocket along with the price of cryptocurrencies. Now that the market is down and there’s less interest in mining, many have hardware that is only worth half of the purchase value. So the best solution, in my opinion, is to keep the equipment so carefully collected and assembled and wait for a new way of using it, ideally more profitable and less volatile than crypto mining.”

Similarly, Tatau is another blockchain-based startup that’s focusing on using the infrastructure to fill other demands. Like Leonardo Render, Tatau is connecting those with computational power across the industry to put their machines to work not for mining, but for outsourcing jobs that require large amounts of computing power. In the case of Tatau, that’s being done for developing AI and the compute-intensive processes associated with it.

Regardless of what the future holds for the cryptocurrency markets, the current state is no longer supporting GPU mining at the scale that it once was. Because of that, investors need to start looking at alternate ways for these mining operations to be put to use. Significant investments were made to create the farms, now it’s up to business owners and investors to ensure the infrastructure is adaptable for the future of the crypto world.

South Korea is Making Deliberate Efforts to Become a Cryptocurrency Powerhouse

South Korea has become a regular fixture in Blockchain and cryptocurrency news reports. Beyond featuring prominently in the crypto news, events from the country often determines whether the price of cryptocurrencies trade up or down in the rest of the world. The reason for South Korea’s strong presence in the crypto space is not far-fetched. As much as 33% of the country’s adult population is actively investing in and using cryptocurrency. Another survey released earlier this week shows that South Korean youths are the most active crypto investors in the whole world. As much as 22.7% of South Korean’s in the twenties are “active” in the cryptocurrency space.

Interestingly, the two biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, Upbit and Bithumb are listed in the top 25 crypto exchanges in the world and they pull their weight with a combined daily trading volume of $200 million. This piece provides insight into the emerging blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem in Korea and how the country could potentially be one of the places where the mass-market adoption of Blockchain technology is realized.

South Korea is a playmaker in the world of cryptocurrencies

The estimated size of the blockchain market in South Korea jumped more than 100% from 20.1 billion Won in 2016 to 52.4 billion Won this year and the market size is expected to grow by 579% to 356.2 billion Won by 2022 as seen in the chart below.

South Korea Crypto

Earlier this year, applications analytics company, Wiseapp revealed that the number of virtual currency app users in Korea increased by about 1,300% from 140,000 in October 2017 to  1.96 million in January 2018. In the data (see chart below) the increase in the number of users tracked the strong bullish performance in cryptocurrencies in the tell end of last year. Of course, recent data suggests that the number of cryptocurrency app users might have dropped; yet, South Korea remains one of the most fertile grounds for cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology.

Wise App Users
Wise App Users

The South Korean Won is the third most traded national currency for Bitcoin, trailing only the USD and the Japanese Yen. The Korean Won is responsible for trade volume of about 59,573BTC to control a crypto market share of 5.81% ahead of the Euro with a market share of 1.53% and the British Pound with a measly 0.21% market share as seen in the chart below.

Cryptocurrency Exchange by Currency

In fact, BTC is currently being traded as 11 market pairs against the KRW base currency with a 24-hours trading volume of 59,206BTC on 11 cryptocurrency exchanges globally.

Korea to host a global summit for crypto innovators and investors

South Korea will be hosting Block Seoul, one of the largest blockchain conferences of its kind from September 16 through September 19 at the Sebitseom Island Complex on Seoul’s Han River. The conference among other things will bring together stakeholders in the cryptocurrency space as part of efforts to help them forge powerful connections and real-world relationships.

There’s an important need to start paying more attention to the practical applications of Blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrencies. Block Seoul is being set up to be a hub for investors, VCs, traditional financial institutions, and ICOs to connect, engage, and collaborate.

Hosting Block Seoul is particularly symbolic for Korea after the country had moved to ban ICOs and regulate the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges within its territory. Block Seoul will play host to heavyweights in business, governance, tech, the blockchain, and cryptocurrency – who will lend their voices to how regulations could be used to guide and power the mass-market adoption of blockchain technology. The more than 40 speakers include former directors of the CIA, NSA, U.S National Intelligence, founders of blockchain startups, partners in VC funds, and investment bankers.

North Korea to host a crypto conference

North Korea, not to be outdone by its neighbor on the south has also revealed that it is planning to host its maiden international conference on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in October. The details of North Korea’s blockchain conference are still sketchy and the country doesn’t have a developed conference tourism industry.

However, Radio Free Asia suggests that the event will be held in Pyongyang and for two days. Attendees can also look forward to a meet a greet session with North Korean business leaders as well displays of the country’s technological capabilities.

North Korea is not particularly the first port of call for cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts, last year there were allegations that state-sponsored hackers from the country attacked exchanges and stole hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies. Hence, it would be interesting to see how Pyongyang is able to leverage the conference to improve its image in the global crypto market.

The whole world is looking to South Korea for direction

From the foregoing, it is obvious that the whole world is fixated on developments in Asia and their effects on the global cryptocurrency markets. When Asia sneezes on crypto, the rest of the world tend to catch a cold. The fast-paced adoption of cryptocurrency in South Korea and its hosting of Block Seoul suggests that the country might yet be able to wrestle back the position to it lost to Hong Kong and Singapore by its premature decision to ban ICOs.

Ripple vs. Stellar: Will There Be Only One Winner?

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts frequently compare Stellar and Ripple due to the similarities in their blockchains. To get a feel for which of these two cryptocurrencies will pull ahead in the grand scheme of things, you need to take a closer look at each and then examine some points of comparison.

Understanding Ripple

To start, take a closer look at Ripple, which Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb, American programmers, created in 2012. Ripple’s cryptocurrency is XRP, and that crypto has the third top market capitalization with the XRP/USD price of $0.32. It is important to understand that Ripple refers to the technology, while XRP refers to the token itself. The idea behind Ripple is the ability for banks to make international transfers within seconds at almost no cost. The founders decided to create Ripple to overcome challenges of the existing cross-border payment systems, including slowness, inefficiency, and high cost.

Ripple relies on distributed ledger technology that ends the need for third parties when transferring money across borders, cuts costs and reduces the time spent. XRP is also useful for banks thanks to its ability to provide liquidity. Although the target audience of Ripple is banks, everyone is welcome to use it, and banks are certainly not the only ones who have already put it to good use.

Understanding Stellar

One of the co-founders of Ripple, Jed McCaleb, created Stellar in 2014. As with Ripple and XRP, Stellar refers to the technology, while XLM or Lumens refers to the cryptocurrency. Stellar is like Ripple in that it also allows for quick and affordable sending and receiving of funds. It also has similar coding to Ripple, which should be unsurprising considering their shared founder.

The difference lies in whom the blockchain and token target. Stellar Lumens is for the average person, particularly those in the developing areas of the world, although banks can still use it. The focus of Stellar is on increasing the abilities of those in poor or less-developed countries to interact in the global economy with nearly instant and highly affordable transactions. The Stellar protocol allows for a direct exchange of fiat currencies in cases of high activity, but it typically converts the sender’s money to Lumens, then converts the Lumens to the receiver’s currency.

Are Both Necessary? Similarities and Differences

The lengthy list of similarities between Ripple and Stellar would make some believe that there is no need for both. After all, they both:

  • Have private nodes without mining allowed;
  • Rely on distributed ledger technology;
  • Deliver almost free and instant transactions, making them ideal for international payments and transfers.

Despite those similarities, there are enough differences between Ripple and Stellar to account for a need for both cryptocurrencies. The biggest differences are the target audiences and the goals behind the blockchains. As mentioned, Ripple’s creation occurred specifically to appeal to banks, a huge market with a great deal of potential for profit. By contrast, Stellar’s creation was to extend the reach of financial services around the globe, helping the unbanked. In fact, Stellar refers to itself as “not for profit” because its goal is helping people rather than making money.

The two also use different consensus algorithms, with the unique consensus protocol for Stellar and proof of correctness for Ripple. Furthermore, Lumens coins are inflationary, while XRPs are deflationary, meaning they increase and decrease circulation, respectively. Finally, Ripple is more centralized than Stellar, although both are much more decentralized than traditional currencies.

It is also interesting to note that Ripple tends to be a larger organization and has raised much more capital, something likely related to the difference in target audiences. By contrast, Stellar has a smaller yet highly experienced team and has not put as much of an emphasis on marketing as Ripple has.

Overall, there are differences in:

  • Goals;
  • Size of the organization;
  • Inflationary vs. deflationary nature of tokens;
  • Consensus protocols.

Can They Coexist?

Given the differences between Ripple and Stellar, many believe that there is no reason that only one of the two can exist or “win.” In fact, both are among the most popular cryptocurrencies and they have similar prices. At the time of writing, one XRP was at $0.32, while one XLM (Lumens) hit $0.223. Based on market cap, Ripple’s XRP ranks at number 3 with Lumens not far behind at number 6.

Who Would Win?

Those who want to know which of the two cryptocurrencies would come out on top if one had to disappear, will be hard-pressed to get an accurate answer. The world of cryptocurrency is volatile and unpredictable. At the time of writing, however, Ripple’s XRP has a higher market cap than Stellar’s XLM, $12 billion compared to $4 billion.

There is also the fact that Ripple has partnerships with many high-profile banks and continues to target financial institutions. As such, there is a great deal of money invested in Ripple, and those who are most interested have more money to spend. There are more than 100 banks working with Ripple already, a figure which includes RBC and Bank of America.

To make up for this advantage of Ripple, Stellar has the potential to allow for a cheaper and more seamless exchange of currencies, provided it has sufficient users to exchange currency regularly. Additionally, Stellar has the advantage of being more decentralized, which can prove useful if the world is moving toward decentralization, which seems to be the trend.


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Conclusion

Both Ripple and Stellar make it their goal to improve the ease of completing transactions across borders, particularly those that involve multiple currencies. Ripple is two years older and targets banks when spreading its technology, while Stellar targets the unbanked. Both rank incredibly high in terms of popularity and market value, and their prices are relatively similar. As such, it appears that Ripple and Stellar are different enough to coexist in harmony, and each currently enjoys success. Despite their similarities, those in the crypto community seem to support both currencies, indicating that there does not necessarily have to be a winner.

Elon Musk’s Twitter Account Gets Hacked, Ernst & Young Dive into Blockchain and Cryptos

Elon Musk Hacked and Free Cryptocurrency Offered

Elon Musk Twitter account was hacked. Musk, the controversial head of Tesla, is a frequent target of hackers due to his tendency to stand in the limelight regarding his many companies and projects like Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, and SpaceX which builds rockets for NASA.

The hackers who took over Musk’s Twitter account (perhaps his fake Twitter account) offered free Bitcoin and Ethereum as part of a ‘plan’ to take Tesla private. Being a hack the offer was obviously a scam, but the hackers took advantage of Musk’s recent bantering about potentially taking Tesla private may have been able to fool some of the 22.4 million followers Elon Musk has on Twitter. Since then, Musk abandoned his plan to take Tesla private and announced that the company remains public.

The fallout from the hack has not been able to be tracked yet via individuals who may have fallen prey to the criminal hack. However, Twitter quickly responded to the hack on Musk by issuing a statement essentially warning its users once again that any offers of free cryptocurrencies should be viewed with extreme skepticism.

The hacker (or hackers) certainly played into the recent news when Musk ‘threatened’ to take Tesla private.

A few weeks ago during one of his many loud pronouncements to the media and shareholders who question his handling of Tesla and its cash liquidity problems, which have surfaced and raised concerns, Musk said he was seriously considering taking Tesla private and could raise the funds to make this happen.

Musk raised the ire of many, including shareholders with this statement and a legion of people who have become part of an ‘anti-Musk’ vanguard warned lawsuits would greet him. The SEC is also taking a look into Musk’s pronouncements.

However, Musk has made it known this past week that he is not going to attempt to take Tesla private. And the company will remain public. Skeptics surrounding Musk, of which there are many, said it would likely be impossible for Tesla to go private.

A huge amount of money would have been needed to take Tesla private, approximately 80 plus billion U.S Dollars. And it has been suggested, serious questions exist about Tesla’s current cash liquidity situation which is under heavy scrutiny, and those who would have thought about funding the company going private would have likely balked upon seeing the auditing.


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Ernst & Young Interest in Cryptos Growing

Ernst & Young have moved deeper into blockchain and digital assets with the announcement they are buying cryptocurrency software. Ernst & Young is one of the Big 4 global accounting companies.

The purchase of this software will allow Ernst & Young to expand its cryptocurrency services. The software purchased is from a Silicon Valley company called Elevated Consciousness.

Ernst & Young’s is keen on offering its hedge funds and institutional investors who are clients’ a host of full cryptocurrency auditing procedures.

Hedge funds and institutional investors are focusing an increasing amount of attention on the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector with an eye towards finding profitable avenues of investment for their clients.

They are making direct investments into certain digital assets, finding ways to invest in growing infrastructure projects surrounding blockchain, engaging in trade for clients, and looking at the creation of Indexes and ETFs.

Reality Shares of the U.S, an asset management company, has recently announced that it is launching an ETF based in China. And Reality Shares has also said it will start a cryptocurrency hedge fund using up to 100 million USD as a starting point.

Also, Northern Trust which is a custodian bank is assisting hedge funds to enter the world of cryptocurrency. Northern Trust is a U.S based financial institution with its headquarters in Chicago.

The bank via administrative technology based on an integration of data storage capabilities with the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers is looking to offer its clients’ full digital asset services.

PwC, which is among the top 4 accounting firms along with Ernst & Young, and is considered among the best top accounting firms consistently.

The news of these two top international accounting and auditing firms getting active within the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors is another sign of genuine interest is strong as global corporations examine blockchain innovation and its potential benefits.

In the midst of the downturn in value in 2018 which has taken place since the beginning of January, after over-exuberance sending cryptocurrencies sky high in values subsided, hedge funds and institutions are still clearly attracted to the multitude of potential revenue streams blockchain and cryptocurrencies are capable of producing.

Yaron Mazor is a senior analyst at DX.Exchange and Private Equity Manager

Invest In Blockchain Study: 60% Of Crypto Projects Have No Working Product

A new study carried out by Invest in a Blockchain, a startup founded in 2017, continues to elicit mixed reactions on suggesting that as many as over 60% of top 100 cryptocurrencies have no working product. According to the study, only 40 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies appear to provide real value to the public.

Invest In Blockchain Study

Some of the cryptocurrencies that met the mark include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Augur, Nano, Monero, and Zcash among others. The biggest casualty of the study was Dash, which missed the mark even on its fork Pivx joining the exclusive list.

The study continues to elicit mixed reactions in part because it is still unclear whether the criteria used to rate the projects is the acceptable standard. However, authors of the study insist certain standards were applied across the board to come up with the final determination.

A working product according to Invest in Blockchain is one that is active and available to the public. It should also have a mainnet that in addition to being active has been upgraded many at times and is well above version 1.0. Businesses, as well as people, should also be using the underlying product be it a DApp, smart contract or digital currency on a daily basis.

According to the Invest in Blockchain, just taking into account the fact that a project is open source and built on top of blockchain does not meet the threshold in affirming a working product. Some cryptocurrencies claim to have a working product just because it is in the public domain yet no one has ever used it.


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Crypto Scam and Fraudulent Projects

The fact that projects with working products have also had to contend with a string of vulnerabilities all but shows it is not easy to have a working product in the sector. The Verge Network is one such project that was forced to fork its network after a hacker exploited’ some loopholes and walked away with tokens valued at about $1.7 million.

Bancor has come under pressure following a hacking incidence that resulted in the loss of Ethereum tokens worth $12.5 million

While the findings come as a shocker, they come at a time of growing concerns about fraudulent projects and scams in the cryptocurrency space. Recent studies have shown that as many as 80% of ICO projects conducted last year have either collapsed or face an uncertain future given that they lack any tangible product to cling on to.

“If you haven’t run into at least a handful of people who are cynical about the state of the blockchain industry and think it’s mostly scams and vaporware, well… you probably haven’t been into crypto for very long,” John Bardinelli and Daniel Frumkin wrote in the study.

China Fighting Tax Corruption with Blockchain

The country has an invoice system called ‘fapiaos’ which people use in two ways, one is a general receipt for business expenditures which are allowed to be deducted, and the other is for deductions via Value Added Taxes, known as the VAT.

People, companies and ‘state’ run agencies are allowed to issue invoices to the China tax office and receive reimbursement for costs incurred by conducting business.

However, tax evasion in China has become a fine art. Reimbursement of ‘costs’ total in millions of dollars for questionable expenses which are accounted for via the ‘fapiaos’. This happens because fake invoices are available throughout China on the black market.

The rampant availability of fake receipts in cities has become a thriving business at the street level. This allows people to get false invoices for a huge variety of costs and gives them the ability to bill the government which is overwhelmed with the receipts and unable to track all of the claims.

The penalty for tax evasion is fierce in China, but the public appears to largely view the consequences a bit like buying a lottery ticket which they do not plan on winning – or lose in this case. Businesses are clearly willing to take the chance and get reimbursed money.

Part of the problem which has sparked the use of fake invoices is because many people are still paid relatively little in salaries and they seek to add onto their money with tax claims which are hard to track.


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And it should be noted that not only is the public involved in this endeavor, but it has been found upon investigation that government agencies within China also practice the art of the fake receipt. This has led the Chinese government to the obvious conclusion that something must change. And one of the methods believed which could help eliminate the use of fake invoices is to start making people, companies, and others submit their applications for tax reimbursement via a blockchain.

In theory, blockchain would help distinguish fraudulent claims, because not only can distributed ledgers not be tampered with, but it would make those submitting the claims more responsible because of the transparency involved.

Yaron Mazor is a senior analyst at DX.Exchange and Private Equity Manager

How AI and Blockchain are Powering the Next Generation of Healthcare

The human body is undeniably the most complex database in Nature with tons of data inside it. In all probability, doctors and scientists know not more than 1% of the mysteries the body holds. The gap between the true extent of the human body’s complexity and our meagre knowledge about it necessitates that we constantly endeavor to learn more about it. However, due to the explosion of medical data, it is becoming impossible for health professionals to keep track of all the data about various medical conditions and make sense out of it.

Considering the fact that medical knowledge is doubling at a mind-numbing rate (by 2020, it is estimated to take only 73 days for information to double), we must explore different approaches, especially those led by technological advancements. With artificial intelligence (AI), a greater amount of information about our bodies can be unearthed in record time and can be processed with an unmatched efficiency.

Companies like Google, with their Neural Network algorithm that predicts hospital patient outcomes and IBM, whose Watson Supercomputer has analyzed more than 115,000 patients to gauge impact of symptoms are leading the charge in introducing AI into healthcare as a means to save precious resources like money and time.

How can we use cutting edge technologies to make our lives healthier and better?

Challenges of healthcare

Currently, the health industry is far from perfect. Think about the length of time one takes to book an appointment with a specialist. Now think about the millions of people in developing countries that cannot get even the most basic health facilities. According to the World Health Organization, around 4 billion people, more than half of the world’s population, do not have access to essential health services, while 100 million are pushed towards poverty due to rising healthcare expenses.

There are people living in extremely remote areas that continue succumbing to manageable diseases like tuberculosis due to inaccessibility and also a disparate shortage in the number of healthcare professionals. More than 3 million people around the world die each year from preventable diseases, like pneumonia and diarrhea.

There have also been many cases of misdiagnosis across the globe. Estimates show that almost 15% of all medical cases in developed countries are misdiagnosed. This could be attributed to sheer carelessness, fatigue due to being overworked, or lack of the necessary skills among other factors.

AI-led medical future

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to be a transformational force in the health industry. Take, for instance, Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI), backed by AI, that have the capability to restore basic abilities like movement, speech, and coherence. BCIs are capable of unifying computers and the human mind in a way that provides information that would have otherwise been impossible to get.

It is also through AI that the functionality of radiology tools will be enhanced. With more developments in radiology, the need for tissue biopsy (the process where a part of tissue is removed by a minor surgical process for lab examinations to determine medical conditions) can be eliminated. This will reduce the chances of potential infections, and spread of existing conditions like cancers, that often result during biopsies.

These are some of the advantages associated with the use of AI, all aimed at improving service delivery in the health industry. Accenture estimates that the AI-healthcare market will grow eleven-fold, from $600 million in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2021.

Making AI benefit healthcare

Massive technological advancements, coupled with our increasing knowledge of the human body, has led to better methodologies of treating diseases, disorders and injuries. Innovations in emerging technologies like AI and blockchain have opened endless possibilities to better the healthcare system. There is a lot that may be achieved, especially once these two transformational technologies combine. One such project that aims to bring AI and blockchain for revolutionizing global healthcare is Stem Cell Project.

Stem Cell Project is putting into use diagnostic and pathological imaging systems pivoted by blockchain and AI. Deep Learning, the concept being used in the project, has been designed to achieve unparalleled accuracy, a dynamic that can never be overemphasized when it comes to the health sector. Solutions to many medical issues are certain to be achieved once Deep Learning is put to use, in conjunction with the blockchain technology.

The system proposes the setting up of a Virtual Clinic powered by AI and connected to blockchain that will eliminate the chances of a misdiagnosis since it allows for remote pathological imaging and early phase diagnosis of patients.

The allowance for remote diagnosis is groundbreaking, to say the least. It will now be possible for individuals across the globe to have the access to first class medical services regardless of where they are based. This also takes away the bulk of what is required from doctors, allowing them to be productive in many other ways. Remote diagnosis will also help to save patients’ time from visiting the hospital for early diagnosis and for repeat appointments for minor exercises.

Using innovations in AI and blockchain tech, Stem Cell Project is set to create benchmarks for global healthcare. The project seeks to redefine how we treat our sick and injured by creating a single global ecosystem that shares data, knowledge and novel methodologies.

For more information on the project, please visit the official website and read the white paper. Join the community on Telegram to keep up with the latest news on Stem Cell Project.

IoT Platform Wars Have Begun, Blockchain Might Foster a Win-Win for All Stakeholders

Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay because big data is the future of business and IoT provides a seamless way to gather this data. IoT simply refers to billions of devices connected to the Internet, assigned IP addresses to actively collect and share data. IoT can effectively transform otherwise “dumb” devices into smart devices that could take part in both machine-to-machine communications and machine-to-human communications for a seamless merger of digital and physical words.

Analysts at Gartner expect that the IoT industry will continue to grow and the number of IoT devices in use will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. The analysts also noted that total spending on IoT endpoints and services will reach $2.9 trillion by 2020. Interestingly, getting consumers to ditch their current devices in favor IoT enabled devices still appears to be an uphill task. This piece provides insight into how blockchain could facilitate the faster adoption of IoT in the mass market.

The platform wars in IoT

In mobile technology, the war of platforms is predominantly between Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Android OS. In the desktop, the platform battle is predominantly between Microsoft Corporations (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows and Apple’s MacOS. In gaming, there’s an ongoing platform war between Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation.

Interestingly, in the IoT segment, there are many different platforms – the likes of IBM, Microsoft, GE, Bosch, Siemens and hundreds of emergent start-ups are trying to build the market-leading IoT platform.

Unfortunately, the fragmented nature of the IoT platform market also makes it hard for OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) to know which platform would make the best business sense for IoT integration with their devices. The current conundrum of the IoT platform wars is that OEMs don’t want to build devices for a platform that doesn’t have any existing users. The fact that OEMs are cautious about pitching their tent on a platform that doesn’t have users also means that IoT devices aren’t being produced as fast as one would have imagined.

Blockchain could incentivize a faster adoption of IoT in the mass-market

Blockchain technology in practical terms is a decentralized network on which users can transfer unique pieces of digital property to other users with the guarantee that the transfer is secure, visible to everybody on the network, and such that the legitimacy of the transfer cannot be challenged. Blockchain technology could encourage data-sharing that would facilitate the mainstream adoption of IoT systems.

A blockchain-based platform could be open sourced, making it easy for all OEMs to build devices that can be integrated to function in an IoT marketplace without being forced to adopt a protocol from any single platform. For instance, blockchain-based IOTW is a platform trying to transform all IoT devices into micro-mining rigs for the cryptocurrency. Many of the existing devices are being retroactively outfitted with IoT capabilities. However, these devices often end up running outdated software that requires consistent manual patches and upgrades.

With IOTW, users don’t need to buy new hardware or commit to repetitive software upgrades on their existing devices. All that is required for existing devices to connect to the IOTW ecosystem is a firmware upgrade from an open SDK solution. Interestingly, once the device is turned on, it will serve the dual purpose of participating in an IoT marketplace and mining cryptocurrencies without any significant increase in power consumption.

More interesting is the fact that IoT device owners will be rewarded with IOTW coins for participating in its data marketplace. The coins can then be used to buy media content, services, or goods in open markets. Device owners can also leverage the coins to pay for services or spare parts on their devices. The IOTW is based on the Ethereum platform and can be exchanged with Ether coins.

2 stocks facilitating growth in the IoT Space

While most IoT companies come out with promises of how they intend to take over the world with their futuristic projects; investors can look at opportunities to make short, medium, and long-term plays. Below are 2 IoT stocks to add to your watchlist as we head into Q4 2018.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTL)

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTL), is the second largest and highest valued semiconductor and chipmaker in the world. Intel has a strong footprint in the global IoT market, having unveiled its IoT platform for coordinating and managing the security and connectivity of connected devices in 2014. Over the last three years, Intel has worked with some of the largest tech firms to integrate Intel IoT platform with open standards for increased interoperability.

Intel Chart
Intel Chart

In the last three year since launching its IoT division, the shares of Intel have climbed by 74.31% and its quarterly revenue has surged 17.26% as seen in the chart above. In Q2 2018, Intel reported earnings of $1.04 per share on revenue of $16.96B. The reported top and bottom line did outperform the consensus analysts’ estimate of earnings of $0.96 per share on earnings of $16.77B. For what it’s worth, Intel has consistently delivered a positive surprise on price and EPS estimates in the last three quarters.

Texas Instrument Incorporated

Texas Instrument Incorporated (NASDAQ:TXN) is another major stakeholder in the global IoT market. In 2014, Texas Instruments cemented its presence in the IoT space when it introduced its Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem for third-party cloud providers to enable devices manufacturers to use it’s TI technology to connect to the IoT more easily and rapidly. By leveraging Texas Instruments’ processors, a microcontroller (MCU), and wireless connectivity solutions; companies such as LogMeIn, IBM, Spark, Thingsquare, ARM, 2lemetry, and ARM have been able to launch a wide cross-section of IoT solutions across multiple sectors.

Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments

In the last 4 years of launching its IoT ecosystem, the shares price of Texas Instruments has surged by 147% and its quarterly revenue has increased by 14.74% in the same period as seen in the chart above. In Q2 2018, Texas Instruments reported earnings per share of $1.40 on revenue of $4.02 billion to beat the consensus analyst estimate of earnings of $1.30 per share on revenue of $3.96 billion. It is also important to note that Texas Instruments has consistently delivered a positive surprise on price and EPS estimates in the last three quarters.

Looking Beyond Hype into Substance; 4 Blockchain Projects to Consider

Smart contracts, Decentralized organizations, and Decentralized applications are some of the biggest applications of blockchain technology. Ethereum, the second largest blockchain after Bitcoin arose into prominence because of its usefulness as a tool for powering smart contracts. In fact, many industry experts believe that Ethereum has better long-term prospects than Bitcoin because of its potential for driving enterprise-grade applications of blockchain technology.

However, Ethereum has had its reign; and its flaws, weaknesses, and limitations are becoming more obvious. Now, a new breed of DApps blockchain projects are in the market and they have the potential to succeed where Ethereum has failed in the past.

Many of the 1600 coins/tokens in the market lack much substance beyond their shiny whitepapers and landing pages. QTUM, NEM, NEO, and Cardano are some of the most innovative blockchain developments in the industry right now. These coins promise a blockchain revolution that combines what currently exists with innovations that have never existed before.

DApps platforms have differentiated themselves from the general cryptocurrency market by providing developers with the tools they need to build blockchain-based apps or decentralized apps (DApp) to some of the biggest problems in business. This piece provides insight to buy the dip on projects with decent odds of getting on the fast track out of the current weakness in the cryptocurrency market.

QTUM

QTUM brands itself as “Blockchain made ready for business” as it provides users a toolbox for building DApps that can be executed on mobile devices while being fully compatible with major existing blockchain platform. QTUM also promises blockchain at scale because it has found smart ways to bypass the scalability bottlenecks and server overload problems that have restrained the mass-market adoption of Blockchain technology. QTUM has an innovative cross-platform and backward compatibility model that leverages the stability of Bitcoin the existing smart contract architecture of the Ethereum blockchain.

QTUM is suffering the bear hug like other cryptocurrencies but the current weakness in the market might be an interesting opportunity to buy QTUM at a discount.

From a starting price of around $6.42 on May 24, 2017, QTUM had skyrocketed by an incredible 1,511% to a 52-week high of $103.45 on January 7, 2018. Hence, the current trading price suggests a massive upside ahead if QTUM can find its way back.

Of course, no one could say with any degree of certainty if, why, and when QTUM will find its way back towards its highs. Positive news about QTUM such as the launch of the X86 virtual machine could trigger an uptrend. Upbeat developments in the general cryptocurrency industry could also lift QTUM and other coins back to bullish ways.

NEM

NEM is being marketed as “the smart asset blockchain” built for scale, speed, and performance through its permissioned private blockchains that deliver best-in-class transaction rates. One of the key selling points of NEM is that it offers users an unprecedented level of customization through its modular Smart Asset system. NEM is also proactive about being scalable by leveraging a revolutionary Proof of Importance consensus mechanism NEM also has a Supernode program that keeps its blockchain open without putting the stability of the network as risk as the blockchain continues to grow.

In the year-to-date period, NEM has declined from a trading price of around $1.04 in January to it trading price around $0.10.

Cardano

Cardano is an interesting blockchain and cryptocurrency project that bill itself as a blockchain platform that “evolved out of a scientific philosophy”. Cardano is working on building a smart contract platform outfitted with more advanced features than you can find in any of the blockchain projects in the market. Cardano is also the driving force behind the Ada cryptocurrency which you can use to send and receive funds digitally. Cardano set itself apart from the competition by creating a platform for building and running financial applications on the blockchain.

Cardano has also suffered a reversal of much of its 2017 gains. Cardano has declined from a trading price of $0.70 to its current trading price around $0.09.

NEO

NEO is another interesting blockchain project focused on creating an open network for powering the smart economy. The bulk of NEO’s work is targeted at leveraging blockchain technology to activate digitization of assets and manage such assets with smart contracts. NEO believes that combining digital assets with a digital identity and smart contracts is the perfect alchemy.

NEO is also not faring well either in the cryptocurrency market. NEO is trading around $15.5 down the $76.19 trading price at which it started trading this year.

Here’s How Blockchain is Changing the Way the Automotive Industry Works

End of the year 2017 saw Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at their all-time highs. It caught the eye of the public and resulted in much-needed awareness about bitcoin and the blockchain technology.

It has also paved the way for many projects like the Autoblock and is set to revolutionize several industries all over the world, and all at once.

What has previously considered mere imagination is now a reality. Many companies such as Tesla, Volvo, and Nissan are working to get self-driving cars on the road and make them available to the public.

These self-driving cars will be able to communicate with each other using the Internet of Things (IoT) and share information about traffic and the weather. The blockchain is not just limited to the financial and banking sector but can be beneficial for every industry. Let’s look at how blockchain will impact the automotive industry:

Introduction of Blockchain to Cars

All leading companies in the world spend tons of money to keep themselves competent in the rapidly evolving technological environment by conducting R&D. Which is why the automotive industry is testing the blockchain technology these days.

Porsche claims to be the first one in the industry to conduct feasibility tests of blockchain technology on cars. Earlier this year, they announced a partnership with Xain, a Berlin-based, to test blockchain application in cars. They also claim to be the first automobile company to test and implement blockchain in a vehicle.

Any transaction done on the blockchain is secure and can be processed much faster than traditional systems. Porsche tested how the blockchain technology can be used to lock and unlock a car.

After deployment, it allowed the owner to share access to the car temporarily. Moreover, using this application, users were able to unlock a car in 1.6 seconds, which is six times faster than the current pace.

Furthermore, whenever someone locks or unlocks a car, the data is logged on the blockchain and no one can edit or modify it, making it easy to keep track of who used a vehicle at a given point in time.

Also, all the data is encrypted which makes it 100% secure. It also allows you to remotely access the car or monitor its status using the app.

CarVertical Rooting for Transparency

CarVertical is a startup working on providing solutions based on blockchain for transparent access to a car’s data. At the moment, the data about a car exists in the form of registers and separate databases.

The problem is that the data isn’t publicly available. To get it, you must pay a significant fee to a company who in return will get you access to a small portion of that data. Only a car’s first owner can be sure about its history; all the rest rely on channels that are not 100% reliable.

For example, if a car on average had five different owners in its lifetime, only 20% of them know everything about the vehicle. If you’re purchasing a second-hand car, it is highly probable that the car may have had troubles in the past. Maybe someone tampered with the odometer to cut down some miles or hide airbag deployment.

There is also the possibility that the car was involved in an accident. Now such a piece of information will be available with the insurance company, but since their data is not public, the buyer will never know the full car history.

car verticle

CarVertical raised 15,000 Ethereum in their ICO for their project which aimed at providing a platform that logs every single piece of information about a car on the blockchain so that data is secure, accessible and cannot be manipulated.

The team revealed that they would gather information about the car from different sources and integrate it with the blockchain registry. It is great for people who want to buy used cars but are afraid that they might be conned.


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Future Implications

There will come a time when everything will be based on the blockchain. If you want to buy a car, the owner will give you a token that will represent the car. Whoever has the token will own the car.

So, if you want to sell your vehicle to someone else, you will send that token to the new buyer. The token will also be used to unlock and then use the car. Each car will have just one token – allowing the holder to be the only one to have access.

If you ever visit the garage for repairs or anything, it will all be recorded on the blockchain. So, if ever the ownership changes or if anyone wants to see how frequently the car has visited the garage, everything will be logged on the blockchain ensuring transparency.

The new owner can check the history of the car since blockchain ensures information access for everyone. Tampering with the mileage of the car will be an old tale as blockchain will have all the records and the owner can’t manipulate the potential new owner.

Autonomous self-driving driverless ca

Since the blockchain is immutable, it protects data from tampering and removes intermediaries from the process. All these elements are equally important for other industries as well and make blockchain the next big thing.

In all reality, the automotive industry is changing, and among many variables, blockchain has a significant role to play in how the automotive industry will move forward into the future.

This article was written by Andrea Bell

Here’s How Investors Can Look to Asian Markets to Predict Future Movements in the Crypto Markets

Countries like South Korea and Japan have long been early adopters in tech-forward industries like cryptocurrencies and the ongoing blockchain revolution. Because of their advanced interest in emerging tech markets, Asian markets are crucial for investors to study when determining what the next big move is going to be in the tech space and markets. Asian markets can act as an indicator and barometer for not only the current state of the industry but where the next big shifts are likely to occur. When it comes to cryptocurrencies, consider that 1 in 3 South Koreans either owns cryptocurrency or gets paid in it. That alone is substantially beyond the adoption rate of the United States and other Western Countries. In South Korea, roughly 31% of workers are cryptocurrency investors, compare that to the 7.8% ownership rate of Americans. So it comes as no surprise that places like South Korea and Japan are good markets to watch and keep one’s ear to the ground.

Past and Future Indicators

In the past, Asian markets have proven to be helpful indicators for future price movements and emerging trends in the industry. Shifts in regulatory positions and government oversight in Asian markets have led to crippling bitcoin (BTC) prices and bearish trends in the cryptocurrency markets more broadly. After regulators announced a trading ban in South Korea, bitcoin suffered a nearly $2,000 discount because of the news.

We’ve seen similar events occur because of Japanese regulatory concerns as well. In June, the price of bitcoin slumped again after Japanese regulators spoke publicly about cracking down on exchanges and rules regarding anti-money laundering practices.

Conversely, investors can also use these same markets as indicators for what the next shift is going to be in the industry to get in early. Rather than just being indicators for price downturns, Asian markets offer investors information about where the industry is heading and what’s next.

Regulatory Framework

Regulatory concerns have been at the top of nearly all cryptocurrency investors’ minds lately. While many western countries are still figuring out where they’re going to stand in the future, Asian countries have been focusing their efforts to bring crypto into the mainstream and out of the darkness.

Asian markets have proven to be helpful indicators for future price movements and emerging trends in the industry

In the United States, regulators are still debating on classifications of different crypto assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum and whether they’re securities, commodities, currencies, or an entirely new asset class altogether. However, Thailand has been taking steps in a different direction. Earlier in the year, Thai officials created the Digital Asset Business Decree that defined cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange as well as identifying tokens as “rights to participate in a digital environment.”

Reversing their original position on initial coin offerings (ICOs), regulators in Thailand now allow for investors to participate in what are deemed to be the 7 legal cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Stellar, and Ethereum Classic. Legal ICOs being conducted are then denominated and carried out in those chosen 7 cryptocurrencies.

Thailand isn’t the only Asian country shifting its position on ICOs either. At the beginning of the summer, a National Assembly committee in South Korea, whose sole purpose is to study the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” said that they’re exploring options for enhancing the legal status of cryptocurrencies in the country, including a possible reversal on the 2017 ICO ban. The shifting views of regulators and governing officials in countries like South Korea toward cryptocurrencies are likely to help pave the way for western markets and regulators when they finally make their mind up on the new technology. Though other trends are worth noting for the future of the industry, this is the one likely to have the biggest effect on the entire industry, not just investors.

Gaming and Crypto Converging

Perhaps the largest market movement taking place in the Asian cryptocurrency scene now is the convergence of the gaming and cryptocurrency industries. Both industries tend to attract more forward-thinking, tech-savvy adopters because of the technology required to participate. Beyond that, gamers are already accustomed to working with virtual currencies and online economies in a way that other consumers simply aren’t.

Dating back for years, gamers have used digital coins and tokens as a medium of exchange for in-game economies ranging from purchasing new skins, in-game items, and a variety of other accessories. It’s worth noting that Asian crypto enthusiasts and entrepreneurs have not overlooked this growing trend, especially in a region where countries make up some of the largest gaming markets in the world. Japan is the third largest gaming market globally, behind only the United States and China.TechinAsia even says that gaming may even be “the key to taking blockchain mainstream.”

the largest market movement taking place in the Asian cryptocurrency scene now is the convergence of the gaming and cryptocurrency industries
the largest market movement taking place in the Asian cryptocurrency scene now is the convergence of the gaming and cryptocurrency industries

New blockchain-based startups are taking advantage of this trend and building products to service this growing industry. Companies like BUFF are building entirely new micro-economies that span across different video game titles and allow gamers to use a single digital currency (a specific cryptocurrency) to purchase goods and online services in the industry.

Another gaming-crypto company, Singapore-based startup Bountie is developing a similar blockchain-based platform where gaming users are rewarded for their time and effort spent playing video games with cryptocurrencies.

These blockchain-based services making their way into the gaming markets aren’t accidental, either. Crypto enthusiasts, innovators, and entrepreneurs in Asia are witnessing first-hand the developments in the area. They’re seeing the growth in both interest and demand in the growing areas of the economy, and they’re developing products to meet the needs of those in the area.

These trends are important for investors abroad to take notice of. As with Asia’s ability to influence and predict what the next move is in the crypto world, consumers in the region provide investors with real-world data about emerging areas of the economy. With growing interest at the intersection of gaming and cryptocurrencies, investors can get a clear view of what one of the next biggest trends is likely to be in the blockchain industry.

Cryptocurrencies Ponzi Schemes On The Rise In Russia

The country’s central bank has already highlighted dozens of fraudulent schemes that masqueraded as legit investment projects in the first half of the year and in the process defrauded people millions of money.

Cryptocurrency Ponzi Schemes

Most of the fraudsters operate online, whereby they appear to have found a way to draw people’s attention with enticing offers that are hard to resist. The operations mostly target people in central regions and large cities where cryptocurrencies buzz is on another level.

The fraudsters are also paying close attention to people with high incomes and looking for quick returns on investments. While the average investment in regular Ponzi schemes averages between 30,000 RUB and 50,000 RUB, it is emerging that crypto Ponzi schemes are attracting investments of between 80,000 RUB and 100,000 RUB.

Even though potential investors are becoming increasingly cautious and careful when choosing their next investments, the same has not prevented the fraudsters from finding their way and corning people.

Since the start of the year, legal entities and individuals have lost more than $4.3 million in illegal and fraudulent cryptocurrency related investments. Concerned with the rate at which such projects are sprouting up, the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain RACIB has started listing unfair and potential ICO scam projects

The association believes the list will help potential investors find trustworthy investment opportunities in the burgeoning sector.

“The list of trusted companies will allow Russian and foreign market participants to base their work on trusted organizations and minimize the risk of fraud in the creation and development of Russian or foreign business in the field of mining, trading with cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, and ICO.” RACIB in a statement.

Call For More Awareness

The association has also created a whitelist that includes all the firms involved in the field of crypto mining as well as investment, marketing, and Initial Coin offerings. The whitelist consists of all organizations that have undergone verification to ensure what they are offering is legit.

Amidst the frenzy of activities in trying to curb fraudulent crypto and ICO projects, it is emerging that what the country needs is a well spelled out legal framework. President Vladimir Putin is on record ordering the regulation of cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Amidst the call, the legislation process appears to be dragging, a move that has left scammers to operate with ease to the disadvantage of most investors.

According to Plasma Pay payments system founder, Ilia Maximenko, people need to carry out deep pre-investment due diligence in order to stay clear of fraudulent schemes in the cryptocurrency space. When it comes to investing in ICO projects, Maximenko advice on investing in projects that already have a working product and only need additional funds to improve or accelerate development.

“If an ICO team have one developer per nine marketing managers, then it is clear that they want to sell it in the first place,” Maximenko said.

Points (PTS) Raises $8M for Blockchain Data Sharing Protocol, Tackling Problem of 1.7 Billion Unbanked People

Points (PTS), the first truly scalable blockchain data collaboration protocol, is announcing $8 million in seed funding from investors including DHVC, Cherubic Ventures, Ce Yuan, Ontology Foundation, Nest. Bio Ventures, and China Chengxin Credit. The funds will go toward further expanding the team and securing new partnerships while continuing to build out its protocol.

“With the support of our VCs and partners, we’re excited to be able to launch the first and most accurate market-ready blockchain-based credit network,” said Sarah Zhang, Founder of Points.

Co-founded Sarah Zhang, who previously was the COO at Ninebot/Segway and Kate Shen, a former Hulu and Microsoft program manager, the first product developed from the protocol is a blockchain-based credit scoring platform. The company says that this protocol is aimed at providing highly accurate credit scores, which ultimately will give underrepresented banking customers – namely the unbanked – with more favorable financial products.

How this works is that the protocol enables multiple trustless institutions to share sensitive data, including names or social security numbers) with each other, but don’t risk having their data exposed to their competitors, even if they’re all plugged into Points. As a result, with more data shared through Points, combined with its AI capabilities, the more accurate the credit scores become and the more favorable banking products that institutions are able to provide to their customers. Ultimately this can mean favorable loans or other financial products for the 1.7 billion unbanked population. In return for the institutions sharing their data, Points offers an incentive through the compensation of PTS tokens.

“Our vision is to serve the underrepresented community, and with blockchain as a core technology for Points, we’re able to incentivize partners to participate in risk-free data sharing, which combined with AI, means truly accurate credit scores,” said Zhang.

Although the company sees itself competing with traditional banks and institutions, what’s sets itself apart is that Points has managed to achieve a market-ready protocol that can handle up to 10,000 transactions per second, while being able to analyze and output a result in under one second – a requirement for the company to be immediately deployable to its institutional partners in China.

To fulfill the need for data, Points is partnered with Chengxin Credit and Teleinfo, owned by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, giving Points access to 500 million credit profiles and one billion identity profiles.

“Among the few practical use cases for blockchain technology, Points has demonstrated a groundbreaking solution with its data collaboration protocol that can contribute to a solution for the world’s credit problems for the unbanked, but this is just the beginning,” said Bin Zhang, CEO and Chairman of the Board at China Cheng Xin International Credit Rating and advisor of Points. “We’re excited to be partnered with and invested in this cause.”

“Blockchain Could Be Recognized as Even More Important than the Internet”

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain are now part of history, perhaps representing the end of the financial and social system as we know it. However, it seems that only a few understand the deep foundations of cryptocurrencies, the technology behind them, the way they work and where they are heading to. We have collected the thoughts of Marco Amadori, an expert on blockchain, bitcoin, ICO’s and cryptocurrencies.


Blockchain has been compared to other major inventions such as the electricity and the internet. How significant is the Blockchain technology in relation to other inventions?

“It is an answer that will be given clearly only in a few years. Looking at it retrospectively, there are many similarities between the past and our days, often highlighted by commentators, in various innovations regarding the coldness which they were accepted by contemporaries and by the media of the time. Remaining on the “electricity” example, you can find images of old newspapers that showed drawings of burned houses by those fools who “dared to play with the power of lightning in the home”. Obviously, it is not enough to not -understand technology in order to be revolutionary.

A few months ago it was fashionable to call it The Internet of Money. If we think about it, it’s simple and it fits. The internet can also be described as “a decentralized system of communication of information that can not be censored globally”, while Bitcoin is “a decentralized system of communication of uncensored value on a global level”.

From these cases of the past, it is easier to describe an ecosystem of startups that develop above (and around) Bitcoin as in the early nineties there was an ecosystem of startups and companies that developed above (and around) the Internet.

So the comparison is not exaggerated, perhaps a little premature, but with an incredible potential.

While the final judgment remains premature, given all this range of enabling technologies, we could say that this innovation could one day be recognized as even more important than the Internet.”

There are many nations that integrate the Blockchain technology into the financial sector and banks (private banks and central banks). So far, what has been done to implement the blockchain technology in the Italian Financial sector?

“Speaking of nations I would say that at the political level very little has been done properly in Italy, we have seen timid consultations at the national level; However, the Autonomous Province of Trento stands out.

In 2017, it approved a proposal to promote the use of Bitcoin in the province, taking note of the phenomenon already underway that has transformed those areas into the Italian Bitcoin Valley. The banks have been interested in various ways, some have invested in internal training, to understand its potential and threats, while some invested also in private consortia, such as R3CEV, which take some concepts of Bitcoin but present them in a more engaging way.”

The Next Step in the Blockchain Evolution and Cryptocurrencies

Given the fall in Bitcoin’s price since the beginning of 2018, the future of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology is a hot topic. There are those who believe that cryptocurrencies are still a bubble and those who claim that they have become the next means of global payment. The blockchain, however, seems to be, in the unanimous opinion, a revolutionary technology that will remain part of the future.


What is the next step in the evolution of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology and ICO’s?

“Level 2 of the blockchain, known as Lightning Network or more simply as “off-chain systems”, that is, they do not write on Blockchain. Blockchains do not scale, they are slow and expensive; this is the price of non-censurability, reliability and open access security; so you have to use clever methods. The inheritance of trustlessness “on-chain” is inherited from below and moving correctly, with versatile and innovative cryptographic tools and sensible incentives for game
theory, to bring it “up” to more applicative layers.

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, similar to the Internet, have also “low” logical layers such as the home ADSL connection, and higher logical layers, such as the HTTPS protocol, which we use to surf the Internet (or rather, use our “browser” to an even higher level of abstraction”).

The ICOs on digital platforms are easy to use but even simpler to exogenous problems to those who deal with a specific ICO (crypto kitties anyone?). Those ICO’s will migrate to off-chain tokens over Bitcoin, for added security and scalability.”

What are the major disadvantages of Blockchain as well as cryptocurrencies compare to the current system?

“Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are still in the early stage of their growth. We did not experience them for decades as a society, so we have not “internalized” them yet. The main flaw is that even before Bitcoin the world was not “ready” for digital security, users use silly passwords and insecure systems, now Bitcoin raises the bar because even before it was true that “data is money”, now it is also the opposite “money is data”, so the main risks are human experience with the digital medium.”

Legislation and Security

Governments in various countries of the world have begun to ask how to regulate the use of virtual currencies, how to guarantee savers against the associated financial risks, how to succeed in imposing fair taxation and how to apply anti-money laundering regulations.

The first laws are being enacted but it’s not easy to achieve the objectives of security, transparency, and fairness that governments must achieve.


What is your advice for the ICO industry to become legit and gain people’s trust?

“The technology is already good as it is, however, I also find that it’s right not to trust ICO’s as the ecosystem has yet to overcome the “baptism of fire” and investors cannot be protected without proper use cases.

In reality, a “hybrid” system between regulated ICO’s and IPO’s could be useful to allow regulated entities to have access to additional liquidity on secondary markets. It makes no sense, for now, to have both an investment tool for anonymous people around the globe but is recognized by institutional investors.”

The broad public is not yet familiar with the blockchain technology. How do you believe it should part of the common knowledge? Should it be thought in universities or perhaps at a younger education level?  

It would be a good idea. For now, however, the subject is unknown both in the private sector, in universities, and in research institutes. We have a superficial knowledge of theoretical nature and certainly insufficient from the practical point of view.

There is a large information asymmetry even within the industry ecosystem, there are very few real experts who practice and study and a flood of sellers of magic remedies based on rattlesnake oil; this is one of the reasons why inbitcoin and some other entrepreneurs from Pordenone founded Bcademy, a company selling training made by those who really use the technology to provide higher and working education both to  developers, accountants lawyers, and managers.

Why Banks and Fintech Firms Should Team Up Rather Than Compete With Each Other

Traditional banks all over the world have always been part of a legacy industry that still follows age-old practices and techniques. With digital disruption becoming commonplace in every industry vertical today, it was only a matter of time before banks were forced to clean up their acts.

Findings from the Global Fintech Report 2017 suggest that almost 90% of global banks are concerned about losing revenue to Fintech firms.

In fact, these financial innovators are growing in such a fast-paced and profound manner that the global Fintech industry is currently valued at USD867 billion. Some of the main drivers of this growth include technological advancements, regional regulatory oversights, and increased customer demand for better banking processes.

While the numbers quoted until now suggest that banks do have something to worry about, truth is that traditional financial institutions continue to be widely used and profitable. However, this doesn’t mean that the existing banking network isn’t flawed.

What are the Two Main Challenges That Banks Currently Face?

Firstly, banks are bound by a number of regulations and pre-determined processes that have been in place for quite a while. Although these processes may have worked to date, they do restrict banks from adopting new ways and innovations.

In addition, a majority of banks aren’t very flexible when it comes to offering solutions that are more user-friendly or convenient.

How Financial Technology Companies and Banks can Help Each Other

For starters, here’s a big reason why Fintech is trending – almost half the people who use digital services for finances do so because of easier access to a wider range of products while having a seamless online experience.

Financial technology firms also use new ideas, agile infrastructure, and cutting-edge analytics to reinvent current banking processes for increased efficiency and convenience. This facet of Fintech is particularly useful as most banks have a huge network of loyal customers, plenty of resources, and a good hold over existing regulatory policies.

To begin with, Fintech firms have better and quicker access to a large amount of data. Consequently, they happen to be more nimble in the way they work. In such a situation, if a bank partners up with the right Fintech company, it can get up-to-date knowledge about existing as well as potential customers.

Armed with the latest information, banks can now tailor their products to be in line with their customers’ expectations. It can also determine what products add value and improve them while doing away with those products that no longer cut it.

Secondly, banks can become more flexible in the way they approach any financial service. With the backing of a Fintech firm, banks can implement disruptive solutions that are more user-friendly in nature. These solutions can also be focused on underserved customers.

Thirdly, back-end banking processes that take an eternity and consume plenty of resources can be finished in double-quick time with the help of financial technology. Fintech firms also have much to gain by partnering with a traditional banking institution. Banks offer the financial stability that’s much needed for any technology start-up.

With a sufficient amount of support, Fintech firms can continue doing what they do best – coming up with new, innovative, and disruptive digital solutions to existing problems. These firms can also gain access to new market segments with the right banking partner.

With robo advisors and virtual assistants being a big part of the financial services industry, it’s pretty much clear that digital revolution is well underway. Truth is that financial technology does have the power and the potential to undermine the role and relevance of traditional banks.

However, it also has the potential to help banks come up with better, quicker, and more economical working processes as well as new business models to make them more competitive in the long run.

Asia: Taking Over the World Economy with Blockchain

“Blockchain” – a term heard frequently nowadays amongst trading circles and tech enthusiasts alike have started coming into the public eye, especially in 2018. Nearly 20% of all cryptocurrency trading volume comes from South Korea and other nations in the region. This 20 % comprises of big institutional investors and average Korean citizen alike. Most go to exchanges like BitThumb, Korbit, or Coinone. It is largely believed that the success of Blockchain technology will usher in a new system in terms of real-estate, banking, healthcare, governance and the list goes on.

ASIA: The Blockchain Hub of The World

Cryptocurrencies, in general, have always had a cult following from Asia, especially in countries like Japan, China, and South Korea etc. Some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges are originally based in Asia. The rising individual wealth in Asia, particularly in China and South Korea is also driving the performance of cryptocurrencies. These individual investors are looking for alternative investment platforms that provide higher returns that are not usually found in traditional vehicles, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. A perfect example would be Binance, consistently being the top cryptocurrency exchange in the world by both daily trading volume and revenue. Another honorable mention would be Bitfinex, a Hong Kong-based exchange offering many crypto assets. While National Governments in the region have always had a mixed stance towards cryptocurrency trading, Blockchain, on the other hand, has attracted a special interest from many industries in Asia. Hence, Asia is considered the Blockchain hub of the world, due to a variety of factors mentioned in brief below.

  1. Asian Consumers Are Ahead: There’s no denying that the popularity of cryptocurrencies has exploded all over the globe. However, if statistics are to be believed, cryptocurrency trading platforms are gaining popularity at a much faster rate in Asia compared to the rest of the world. It is estimated that one of three South Koreans owns or have transacted using some form of cryptocurrency. There are concrete reasons behind why Asia leads the race in this regard. Firstly there are many regions in Asia who have directly embraced digital currencies as opposed to using credit cards.

By 2020, about 1 million people in Asia will receive their very first loans ever. Crypto economy is the tool that will help them to merge into financial markets and to apply for approximately 3 million payday loans annually. Global blockchain companies like MicroMoney aim to support this process allowing people with no credit rating score to enter Asian banks with positive credit histories. Now such companies work as a microfinance business helping the unbanked and underbanked people to provide their primary needs with payday loans.

  1. Consumer Population: The Asian population is about 4 Billion, which makes it one of the most densely populated continents of the world. From a business perspective, this means more speculative investors willing to risk. A recent study indicated that the average consumer in the Asia-Pacific region spends somewhere around $10000 to $100,000 compared to a measly $1000 in the United States. With South Korean exchanges outgrowing traditional stock markets, many people including some government officials believe that cryptocurrencies could replace fiat sometime in the future.

How Can Asian Consumers Stay Ahead?

Compared to adoption rates in the United States, there’s no denying that Asian consumer adoption rates are almost tenfold. Much of this has to do with the national government’s outlook towards cryptos in Asia compared to the rest of the world. In the US, for instance, there is a definite lack of clarity for cryptocurrency regulations. This makes the U.S. market, an unstable one to enter due to the lack of any concrete regulations. The picture is radically different for Asia, where regulations are more clear-cut and unambiguous. Regulators are receptive to the idea of blockchain integration and what it could do for the respective nations.

Another major factor is the degree of awareness of cryptocurrency technology in Asian countries compared to other nations. Asian consumers, on the whole, have much more of an understanding and education regarding distributed ledger technology. The tremendous potential of blockchain technology-based services further legitimizes it as a long-term investment.

How Asian Consumers Affect the Global Economy

It comes as no surprise that a region with a large percentage of crypto-users would impact the overall global economy. While blockchain technology is still in its fledgling stage, Asia looks to play a major role in increasing blockchain usability. For instance, in the petrochemical industry, some countries are already starting to break away from using the U.S. Dollar as a standard for transactions. They have started looking at cryptocurrencies and other means of digital payment as a solution. A perfect example would be Venezuela’s “Petro” cryptocurrency, which is backed by the oil reserves of the country.

The Blockchain Revolution is coming: Be Prepared

Many nations are now trying to figure out an alternative digital reserve currency, with the ultimate aim of dethroning the U.S. Dollar as well as fighting money laundering. China is already looking towards introducing its version of bitcoin, to substitute the Renminbi as the national currency.

Singapore has also become an attractive crypto-hub, because of its highly connected nature and linkages to global trade flows. Singapore is a key node in the trading of oil and gas and is looking to further expand in blockchain implementation.

Thus, Asia is poised to lead the way by embracing sensible regulations, coupled with more awareness and education about the subject. This, of course, doesn’t mean that there have never been any obstacles towards cryptocurrency adoption. It’s only last September when the Chinese government ordered a crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges in the country with the regulations being eased. Japan has also shown a similar stance when seven major exchanges in the country were punished for violations. That being said, blockchain presents a wonderful opportunity to participate with life-changing innovative technologies, which could change the manner of how we live and interact in our daily lives.

Final Thoughts

Among the various benefits, blockchain tech provides, perhaps the key factors are decentralization, democratization, radical transparency, and self-data ownership. As Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain tech moves forward, so does the companies incorporating blockchain technology. Thousands of developers, entrepreneurs, investors, and users are coming up with innovations in the process of transactions, hash rate, wallets, exchange platforms, etc. Cryptocurrency security measures are also starting to get prepped up, with new protocols like Lightning Network, Segwit, Schnorr, TumbleBit, being developed by the best engineers in the world.

These are the Top Venture Capital Firms Investing in Blockchain

Venture capital funds have been investing in blockchain for the better part of the past decade. But it’s only in the last two years that the industry has really begun to mature.

Over 120 venture capital (VC) firms have now made two or more investments in blockchain companies. With that in mind, we will look at the development of venture capital in the industry and some of the leading players.

Maturation of Venture Capital and Blockchain

Some VCs, like Node Capital, made their first investments in the industry in 2011. For the most part, however, things were quiet until 2013 when almost two dozen different venture capital funds invested in blockchain startups.

Some of the early funding rounds of blockchain companies, like investments in Ripple and Coinbase, have paid off handsomely. Still, venture investing really hit its stride in the last couple of years. So far in 2018, there have been more than 200 venture investments in blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. This is more than in all of 2011-2015 combined.

Investment has been Increasing Sharply

Not only has the number of venture deals been rising, but so has their size. Robinhood, a stock and cryptocurrency trading platform, raised $363 million in a single series D round in May of 2018. Compare that to the $50 million it raised in 2015. Likewise, in 2012 Ripple was among the first cryptocurrency companies to receive venture funding. Ripple raised a total of just $3.1 million in its first three funding rounds. That’s less than 1% of what Robinhood raised in a single round this year.

Though there are more than a hundred venture capital funds actively investing in the blockchain, there are several dozens that play an outsized role. The 50 top venture funds in the space invested nearly half a billion dollars in blockchain in 2017 and are on pace to more than double that amount in 2018.

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Who are the Top Venture Capital Firms Investing in Blockchain?

There are essentially two key types of venture investors in blockchain and cryptocurrency companies:

Traditional Venture Capital Funds

The first type consists of traditional venture funds, many specializing in technology startups that have added a handful of blockchain companies to their portfolios. Some examples include multi-billion dollar venture funds like Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

Sequoia has largely invested indirectly via investments in cryptocurrency hedge funds like Polychain Capital and Metastable Capital.

Andreessen Horowitz made early investments in Ripple and Coinbase in 2013 and has continued to invest in more than a dozen other blockchain companies. In fact, they recently announced that rather than comingle blockchain companies with their existing funds, they would create a $300 million crypto-focused fund.

But for most of these funds, blockchain investments remain a relatively small component of their investment funds.

Crypto-Focused Venture Funds

The other key type of venture funds is those dedicated exclusively to cryptocurrency and blockchain investments. Though the majority of venture funds on Crypto Fund Research’s list of the top 50 blockchain venture funds are of the traditional variety discussed above, the top three are all dedicated funds. These include Digital Currency Group, Pantera Capital, and Blockchain Capital.

These funds invest only in blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. And they do a lot of it. Digital Currency Group, for example, has made nearly 60, mostly seed-stage, investments in blockchain companies since they started in 2013.

The 10 Most Influential Venture Investors in Crypto/Blockchain

Let’s take a more detailed look at the top 10 venture capital firms investing in the space. Their rankings are a function of not only the number and size of their investments in blockchain startups but also how long they’ve been doing it and how active they have been of late.

As discussed earlier, Digital Currency Group has been an extremely influential investor in blockchain since 2013. They began with an investment of less than a million in crypto payment processor BitPay. Since then they have invested close to $100 million in dozens of blockchain and cryptocurrency startups. They were also early investors in two of the most prominent success stories: Coinbase and Ripple. Their name refers to digital assets, a broad term encompassing cryptocurrencies and investments in blockchain companies and similar assets.

Like Digital Currency Group, Pantera Capital invests exclusively in blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. Technically, Pantera bills itself as an investment firm and hedge fund, but much of their investment has come via providing venture-style seed funding to blockchain companies. Pantera was an early investor in Ripple and has since made over 30 venture investments in the space. They have also invested in several initial coin offerings (ICOs). ICOs are similar to initial public offerings except that rather than issue stock certificates, companies sell equity via tokens which grant the buyer a stake in the company.

Number three on the list is Blockchain Capital. As their name implies, they are another venture fund exclusively investing in blockchain and related companies. Blockchain Capital began investing in the space in late 2013 and has since invested in more than three dozen blockchain companies. They claim to theirs was the first VC fund dedicated to Bitcoin/blockchain. Most recently they were part of a $35 million series D funding round for a digital asset merchant bank called High Flyer.

Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, is one of the world’s largest venture funds. They manage almost $3 billion in assets. While only a small portion of this is invested in blockchain and crypto startups, they have made more than their share of investments. Their recent decision to start a fund dedicated exclusively to digital assets puts them in a position to be among the most influential venture investors in the space for years to come.

Node Capital is a bit unique among the funds we’ve discussed so far. For one, they are the first venture fund on this list headquartered outside the US. Based in Beijing, Node Capital has focused much of its investment on companies in Asia like Trip.io and Houbi. Another thing that differentiates Node from many of the funds on this list, is their tendency to invest in ICOs rather than via seed or early-stage funding.

While Boost VC also invests in artificial intelligence and virtual reality, they are largely focused on the blockchain. More an accelerator than a traditional venture firm, Boost has made dozens of, mostly small, investments in companies like Ledger, Coinbase and Libra Credit Network. Boost VC has the serious pedigree, having been co-founded by Adam Draper, son of legendary venture capitalist and blockchain investor Tim Draper.

Like Andreessen Horowitz, IDG Capital is a multi-billion dollar venture capital firm investing in a variety of startups. However, they have been relatively active in the blockchain. IDG made angel and seed stage investments in Ripple and has since invested in Circle, Mars Financial, and others.

Draper Associates is the main early stage venture capital arm of Tim Draper’s venture capital empire. He also is the founder of Draper University, an entrepreneurship program based in Silicon Valley. Tim Draper became a bit of a mainstream name when he received international attention for purchasing Bitcoin that the US Marshall Service had seized from illegal darknet marketplace Silk Road. Draper primarily invests in tech companies and blockchain has naturally become a part of this portfolio.

Like Node Capital, Ceyuan Ventures is based in Beijing and primarily invests in Asian startups. Though they haven’t been as active in blockchain as Ceyuan, they have made a name for themselves with investments in companies like Trip.io, Basis, and Mars Finance.

10th place was actually a tie between two very different venture companies. Lightspeed Venture Partners is another multi-billion dollar venture fund with half a dozen offices across the globe. They have made a handful of relatively large investments in blockchain startups. TechStars, on the other hand, is more of a technology accelerator and has made many, mostly small, investments in blockchain startups.

These are the some of the most important venture capital funds involved in the blockchain. Though they have different strategies, operating procedures, and setups, they all play critical roles in funding the development of blockchain infrastructure across the globe. This list will likely look very different in a couple years, or even a couple months, as new players rapidly enter the space.

View a complete list of the top 50 blockchain venture capital funds.