Messaging firm Line launches a dedicated crypto fund

Messaging company Line is continuing to burrow deep into the crypto space after it announced the launch of a $10 million investment fund.

The fund will be operated by Line’s Korea-based blockchain subsidiary Unblock Corporation, which is tasked with research, education and other blockchain-related services. The fund will be called Unblock Ventures and it’ll initially have a capital pool of $10 million but Line said that is likely to increase over time.

The company said the fund will be focused on early-stage startup investments, but it didn’t provide further details.

Line is listed in Tokyo and on the NYSE. This fund makes it one of the first publicly traded companies to create a dedicated crypto investment vehicle. The objective, it said, is “to boost the development and adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.”

Line claims nearly 200 million users of its messaging app, which is particularly popular in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. The company also offers a range of connected services that include payment, social games, ride-hailing, food delivery and more.

This marks Line’s second major crypto move this year following the launch of its BitBox exchange last month. It isn’t available in the U.S. or Japan right now but Line envisages closes ties with its messaging service and other features further down the line.

These moves into crypto come despite some serious downturn in the valuation of the space this year following record highs in January which saw the value of one Bitcoin touch nearly $20,000 and Ethereum, among others, surged. In the months since then, however, many cryptocurrencies have seen their valuations decline. This week, Ethereum dropped below $300 in what is its first major price crisis. Bitcoin has, for many years, risen and fallen although January’s valuations took the extremes to a new level.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

Decentralized Apps Might Be the Future but They’re Not the Present

Decentralized Apps Might Be the Future but They’re Not the Present

To their proponents, dapps – decentralized applications – are the future of internet. To their critics, they’re multi-million dollar sinkholes, with huge development costs, poor UI, and no users. Are dapps like Augur and IDEX early test cases for the web to come, or impractical experiments that are destined to fail?

Also read: Bitcoin ATMs Now In The Thousands Around the World

Decentralized Cash is a Success But Decentralized Apps Remain Unproven

Hating on dapps has become something of a parlor game. They’re an easy target after all. While all the headlines are about VCs pouring millions of dollars of seed money into dapps like Crypto Kitties, and the highly publicized launch of Augur (market cap $311 million), behind the scenes, things are less than rosy. The latter, which launched with great fanfare several years and personnel changes later, typically has less than 60 daily active users (DAUs) and yet Augur is supposedly ethereum’s flagship dapp.

Decentralized Apps Might Be the Future but They’re Not the Present

A glance around the categories on Dappradar shows that the number of people talking about dapps is multitudes greater than the number actually using them. For less than 90 DAU, your dapp can make it into the top 20 for all categories and for around 230 DAU into the top 10. Only decentralized exchanges IDEX and Forkdelta, plus the runaway ponzi game Fomo3D, have more than 1,000 daily active users. It’s to be expected that numbers should be low in the evolution of what is still a nascent technology, but should they be so low that you could squeeze the users of the average dapp into a small room?

“Design is the Killer App for Crypto”

A widely shared article from Coinbase this week, titled “Why design is the killer app for crypto”, observed: “Blockchain today is often compared to the internet in the 1990s. When the internet first came about, you couldn’t have predicted that twenty years later people would be using it to share their houses and cars (thanks to Airbnb and Lyft). The builders of the web didn’t have to know what all the possibilities were — they were just a group of passionate people who believed that this technology was important and transformational to society, and they pulled together to work to make it a reality.”

Decentralized Apps Might Be the Future but They’re Not the Present
Coinbase cited road sign design as an example of how UI improves with time.

Dapps, and the other components that form what’s known as web 3.0, often look clunky and complex to outsiders. Spoiled by slick social networks, whose UI  has been polished till it shines with the force of 1,000 suns, web users are apt to look askance at dapps that fail to match the performance of their centralized counterparts. Once dapp design improves, and the speed of the blockchains they run on increases, so the theory goes, the users will come. Federico Ast, founder of decentralized justice protocol Kleros, agrees, telling news.Bitcoin.com:

New technologies are usually received with skepticism. It’s easy to dismiss a new technology when you compare its very first iteration with the established versions of previous technologies.

From GPS to Bitcoin Wallets, Early Versions Always Suck

As anyone who’s been in bitcoin from near the beginning will know, decentralized technologies have already came a long way. There were no QR codes or mobile apps with the first BTC wallets: just slow and unintuitive desktop builds that called for synching the entire blockchain. GPS is another tool, built into our phones, we take for granted, but watch an episode of Top Gear from the late 90s and you’ll see Jeremy Clarkson testing a $5,000 GPS kit that’s as boxy as the car it’s installed in.

Decentralized Apps Might Be the Future but They’re Not the Present
Doges on Trial

Kleros’ first foray into the world of dapps is a test case for its justice protocol called Doges on Trial. Participants are invited to upload images of fake doges or even of cats to see if they can sneak them past the crowdsourced jurors. Like all dapps, it looks rudimentary and frivolous, but there are serious concepts being put to test. “Of course the very first cars were slower and more expensive than horses. And sending the first email was more expensive than traditional mail,” notes Kleros’ Federico Ast. “But the performance of new technologies increases exponentially. What may start as a ‘silly experiment’ proposing users sort a Doge list (“Hey, any 5-year-old can do that!”) may be the first step to fundamentally rethinking arbitration from the ground up.”

Decentralized Apps Might Be the Future but They’re Not the Present
Early GPS

It has been categorically established, nine years on from the genesis block, that a sizeable chunk of the population want decentralized money. It could be another nine years before we can say for sure whether they want decentralized apps. The number of daily active users for dapps are less than encouraging, but it would be foolish, at this stage of the game, to write them off, just as it has been proven foolish to write off the internet, GPS, and every other transformative technology we now take for granted.

Youtube and Twitter have come in for renewed criticism this week for censoring content

Besides, in an era of increasing censorship and surveillance, we need decentralized apps more than ever.

Do you think decentralized apps are the future? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Dappradar, and Coinbase.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Decentralized Apps Might Be the Future but They’re Not the Present appeared first on Bitcoin News.

The quantum meltdown of encryption

The world stands at the cusp of one of the greatest breakthroughs in information technology. Huge leaps forward in all fields of computer science, from data analysis to machine learning, will result from this breakthrough. But like all of man’s technological achievements, from the combustion engine to nuclear power, harnessing quantum comes with potential dangers as well. Quantum computers have created a slew of unforeseen vulnerabilities in the very infrastructure that keeps the digital sphere safe.

The underlying assumption behind nearly all encryption ciphers used today is that their complexity precludes any attempt by hackers to break them, as it would take years for even our most advanced conventional computers to do so. But quantum computing will change all of that.

Quantum computers promise to bring computational power leaps and bounds ahead of our most advanced machines. Recently, scientists at Google began testing their cutting edge 72 qubit quantum computer. The researchers expect to demonstrate with this machine quantum supremacy, or the ability to perform a calculation impossible with traditional computers.

Chink in the Armor

Today’s standard encryption techniques are based on what’s called Public Key Infrastructure or PKI, a set of protocols brought to the world of information technology in the 1970’s. PKI works by generating a complex cipher through random numbers that only the intended recipient of a given message, the one in possession of the private key, can decode.

As a system of encoding data, PKI was sound and reliable. But in order to implement it as a method to be used in the real world, there was still one question that needed to be answered: how could individuals confirm the identity of a party reaching out and making a request to communicate? This vulnerability left the door open for cybercriminals to impersonate legitimate servers, or worse, insert themselves into a conversation between users and intercept communications between them, in what’s known as a Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack.

The industry produced a solution to this authentication problem in the form of digital certificates, electronic documents the contents of which can prove senders are actually who they claim to be. The submission of certificates at the initiation of a session allows the parties to know who it is they are about to communicate with. Today, trusted third party companies called Certificate Authorities, or CAs, create and provide these documents that are relied upon by everyone from private users to the biggest names in tech.

The problem is that certificates themselves rely on public-key cryptographic functions for their reliability, which, in the not too distant future, will be vulnerable to attack by quantum machines. Altered certificates could then be used by cyber criminals to fake their identities, completely undermining certificates as a method of authentication.

Intel’s 17-qubit superconducting test chip for quantum computing has unique features for improved connectivity and better electrical and thermo-mechanical performance. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

 

Decentralizing the Threat

This isn’t the first time we’ve had to get creative when it comes to encryption.

When Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity is still unknown, revealed his revolutionary idea in a 2008 white paper, he also introduced the beginnings of a unique peer-to-peer authentication system that today we call blockchain. The brilliantly innovative blockchain system at its core is an open ledger that records transactions between two parties in a permanent way without needing third-party authentication. Blockchain provided the global record-keeping network that has kept Nakamoto’s digital currency safe from fraudsters. Blockchain is based on the concept of decentralization, spreading the authentication process across a large body of users. No single piece of data can be altered without the alteration of all other blocks, which would require the collusion of the majority of the entire network.

For years, blockchain and Bitcoin remained one and the same. About five years ago, innovators in the industry began to realize that blockchain could be used for more than just securing cryptocurrency. Altering the original system designed for Bitcoin could produce programs to be applied in a wide range of industries, from healthcare, to insurance, to political elections. Gradually, new decentralized systems began to emerge such as those of Ripple and Litecoin. In 2015, one of the original contributors to the Bitcoin codebase Vitalik Buterin released his Ethereum project also based on blockchain. What these new platforms added to the picture was the ability to record new types of data in addition to currency exchanges, such as loans and contractual agreements.

The advantages of the blockchain concept quickly became apparent. By 2017, nearly fifteen percent of all financial institutions in the world were using blockchain to secure aspects of their operations. The number of industries incorporating decentralized systems continues to grow.

Digital security key concept background with binary data code

Saving PKI

The best solution for protecting encryption from our ever-growing processing power is integrating decentralization into Public Key Infrastructure.

What this means essentially, is that instead of keeping digital certificates in one centralized location, which makes them vulnerable to being hacked and tampered with, they would be spread out in a world-wide ledger, one fundamentally impervious to alteration. A hacker attempting to modify certificates would be unable to pull off such a fraud, as it would mean changing data stored on enumerable diversified blocks spread out across the cyber sphere.

Decentralization has already been proven as a highly effective way of protecting recorded data from tampering. Similarly, using a blockchain-type system to replace the single entity Certificate Authority, can keep our digital certificates much safer. It is in fact one of the only foreseeable solutions to keep the quantum revolution from undermining the foundation of PKI.

 

Malta paves the way for a decentralized stock exchange

Malta AKA “Blockchain Island” has been making waves lately in the world of cryptocurrency and governance. Their latest move involves the crypto exchange Binance and the ICO builders at Neufund.

The plan is simple: Neufund will help MSX, the Malta Stock Exchange’s skunkworks, create tokenized securities. Binance has agreed to carry these securities on its own exchange, essentially creating a straight path to regulated tokens via the already regulated Malta Stock Exchange. In short, this enables Malta to become the first country to be able to offer tokens alongside traditional equities as well as an easy way to go public in multiple ways including via ICO.

The plan is still in the pilot stage. This year they will begin “the public offering of tokenized equity on Neufund’s primary market which may later be tradable on Binance and other crypto exchanges pending regulatory and listing approvals” said Neufund CEO Zoe Adamovicz.

“We are thrilled to announce the partnerships with Malta Stock Exchange and Binance, that will ensure high liquidity to equity tokens issued on Neufund. It is the first time in history, that security tokens can be offered and traded in a legally binding way. The upcoming pilot project will allow us to test the market’s reaction and realize the overall project idea in an environment with minimized risk.” said Adamovicz.

“We are delighted to welcome Neufund as our key partner in building a Blockchain-based exchange that is fully integrated with established financial markets. With the upcoming pilot project we become a worldwide pioneer in digital finance,” said Joseph Portelli, chairman of the Malta Stock Exchange.

This move is interesting in that it offers a parallel track to companies wishing to go public via token sales. While even the terminology isn’t completely hashed out in regards to the future of these systems, having a spot like Malta lead in the matter of token sales selling alongside equities is a solid decision. Malta is increasingly becoming the testbed for these sorts of experiments and, even if this is not yet a real project, it could create a turnkey solution for ICO launches on the island.

PR: genEOS – Blockchain 4.0 for Business Announced – Crowdsale Is Launched

genEOS – Blockchain 4.0 for Business Announced - Crowdsale Is Launched

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Blockchain technology promises to transform business processes, bringing automated record-keeping and turning entirely secure, distributed, decentralized, and scalable applications into a new norm in the business world.

Today, there are technical and commercial obstacles that prevent widespread adoption of decentralized applications (Dapps) in the business community. The genEOS project was created to eliminate the barriers to adoption and build a community of business and technology professionals to deliver on the power of blockchain technology.

Fostering the adoption of decentralized business applications

Introducing an operating system-like environment, genEOS facilitates the development of Dapps that rival traditional web apps for speed, versatility, and ease of use.

Project participants can not only develop, create and launch their own business outcome-driven solutions on the top of blockchain 4.0 technology but also monetize unconsumed bandwidth by renting it out to third parties. There is a strong and growing team of blockchain experts who are ready to build and maintain business-critical Dapps to order.

Key genEOS ecosystem features:

– Ready-to-go development environment for Dapps of the enterprise-grade performance.
– Transaction rates at least equivalent to real-time transaction processing of standard Web 2.0 applications.
– Real-world decentralization combined with scalability and security across the network.
– The requirement for mining is eliminated, making energy costs comparable to those of traditional web applications.
– Open-source code available on GitHub for developers to consult and use to develop their own Dapps.
– Investors from any country can participate in the project, as a US-based non-profit foundation conducts the Secured Token Offering (STO) for genEOS.

genEOS tokens and crowdsale

genEOS tokens give project participants access to the ecosystem and its specific resources such as computing features, storage features, monetization features, etc. The genEOS project has already launched the token crowdsale at [https://geneos.io/] that includes 176 distribution periods (‘windows’) and ends on December 23, 2018.

Allowing the purchase of genEOS tokens with Ethereum (ETH) and fiat currencies (USD, EUR, and CNY), they intend to generate $2 million USD as a soft cap through the STO event. All investors need to go through the KYC procedure before the token sale is over.

Project Partners

Those individuals and businesses share the genEOS’ vision and commitments towards creating a powerful, fast, and secure decentralized ecosystem that lets businesses design and deploy their own blockchain applications are always welcome to join the project.

genEOS’ advisory partner, OpenLedger ApS, has considerable experience of conducting successful ICOs and building successful blockchain-as-a-Service applications, including a decentralized trading platform. Ronny Boesing, the OpenLedger founder and CEO, is a serial technology entrepreneur who has been working with the thought leaders of blockchain technology since 2014.

Aetsoft is the project’s technology partner. The company has been on a mission of assisting businesses in developing custom blockchains as well as creating and implementing next-gen business applications on Ethereum, Graphene, and EOS blockchains.

NextGenOne llc, a non-profit organization registered in the United States of America, carries out STO as a SAFT type PPM for the genEOS project, ensuring transparency while using the latest guidance from the US SEC and US FINRA.

To learn more about genEOS or get involved in the project, please visit their website [https://geneos.io/] or read their White Paper [https://geneos.io/assets/files/geneos_white_paper.pdf].

Join the genEOS group on Telegram and subscribe to our Twitter updates.

Press Contact Email Address
mt@openledger.info
Supporting Link
https://geneos.io/

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

The post PR: genEOS – Blockchain 4.0 for Business Announced – Crowdsale Is Launched appeared first on Bitcoin News.

TMGcore is running high-efficiency crypto mines in Texas

Out on the plains of East Texas, not far from Dallas, a company called TMGcore is mining crypto. The company, funded to the tune of $70 million, will be mining multiple cryptocurrencies and is using some unique technology to ensure that it doesn’t eat up an entire city’s worth of energy.

“TMGcore will be one of the first companies to utilize 3M’s Novec fluorochemical coolant at the heart of an enterprise scale cryptocurrency mining apparatus,” said CEO JD Enright. “The company’s intelligent mining system uses a Two Phase Liquid Cooling Immersion technology to dramatically decrease cooling costs by up to 90% and lets the company conduct mining operations from anywhere, including the middle of hot and muggy Texas. TMGcore also employs dynamically intelligent mining software that automatically mines the most profitable coin based on realtime market value and difficulty of access for the most profitable deployment of resources in realtime. Our technology is first-to-market and delivers a transformative approach to crypto mining that stands to fundamentally disrupt the market.”

The goal is to create mining infrastructure in the US and to prevent overseas control of the various currencies.

“Giving America a seat at the table is our #1 goal here at TMgcore. Our cooling technology and efficient mining rigs open up more regions of this country to house this type of operation,” said Enright.

The mine is housed in Plano, Texas inside a 150,000 square foot facility and is capable of a “100 megawatt live power load.” Further, the company is running custom ASIC chips increase board density and reduce mining costs significantly. In short, it will be one of the highest tech mining facilities in the world.

From the release:

The company has developed a unique use case with a fluorochemical coolant that delivers smart, safe and sustainable cooling for industrial technology operations. TMGcore will be one of the first companies to utilize this compound at the heart of an enterprise scale cryptocurrency mining apparatus. The company’s intelligent mining technology uses a Two-Phase Liquid Cooling Immersion technology to dramatically decrease cooling costs by up to 90%. The system also dynamically adapts its mining efforts toward the most profitable token at any given time, factoring in real-time market price, the difficulty of access and hash rate. TMGcore has also developed custom-made ASIC mining boards that result in a 20% increase in token output.

“Leveraging the magic of this coolant and groundbreaking mining circuitry, we saw a massive opportunity to capitalize on the nascent and highly lucrative mining industry in a physical, tangible and industrial fashion,” said Enright. “TMGcore seeks to deconstruct the mining monopoly in other countries with an American-made, U.S. driven approach that not only pushes the blockchain ecosystem forward but also creates job opportunities for Texas’ fast-growing technology community. We understand the importance of the research and development that creates not only innovations but the efficiencies that support the blockchain industry on a global scale.”

“Texas, more so than many other states in this country, has an abundant supply of energy available on their grid with available real estate to house such a project,” said Enright. “Cryptocurrency mining has not really been able to take advantage of Texas’ energy supply to date because the state is too hot. By utilizing Novec in this Two Phase Liquid Cooling Immersion technology, we have unlocked Texas’ potential to mine for the first time.”

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