Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and Digital IDs

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDs

The city of Zug, home of the Swiss Crypto Valley, will invite its residents to take part in an experimental blockchain-based vote. They are expected to share opinions on several questions of local importance, including the fireworks display during the annual Lakeside Festival and the use of digital IDs to borrow books and pay parking fees. This and other fintech and crypto-related stories from the Alpine nation and other corners of Europe are featured in today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief.   

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: POT Saves World, Coinbase Pumps ETC, Binance Wants EUR

Zug Experiments with Blockchain-Based Vote

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDsAuthorities in the Swiss city of Zug plan to ask local residents to participate in a consultative blockchain-based vote this month utilizing the city’s electronic ID system. They will be able to vote via their smartphones by downloading and installing an app. The experimental vote will be held between June 25 and July 1. Citizens will be asked if they are in favor of setting alight fireworks during the annual Lakeside Festival, and whether they think digital IDs should be used to borrow books from the library, pay parking fees, and for identification on regular referendums.

According to Swissinfo, the results of the vote will be non-binding. Nevertheless, the initiative, which aims to test whether blockchain can be used on a broader scale, highlights again the positive attitude of Swiss authorities towards cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology. The canton of Zug, dubbed Switzerland’s Crypto Valley, has become home to many fintech startups and even established crypto companies like the Chinese giant Bitmain, which has opened an office there.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDsFor some time now, Zug has been accepting cryptocurrency payments for municipal services, including company registrations using bitcoin and ether. The city introduced its eID system to provide citizens with digital access to council services. The pilot phase of the project started last fall. The system is based on blockchain technology.

New Swiss Body to Simplify Capital Markets

In another example of Switzerland’s serious approach to fintech innovations, leading representatives of the country’s financial, technological, academic and legal sectors have recently formed the new Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) to facilitate the use of blockchain in financial markets. In a press release, they noted that “the blockchain technology has the potential to reduce the complexity of the capital markets system and lower the barrier of entry for startups.”

According to CMTA’s founders, the lack of legal certainty is slowing and can potentially compromise development in the field. They hope to facilitate access to funding for new businesses by defining a set of industry-supported open standards. These should ultimately contribute to value creation throughout the economy said Jacques Iffland, CMTA’s chair and partner at Lenz & Staehelin, the largest Swiss law firm.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDs

Swissquote Bank Ltd, a leader in online banking, and Temenos, which specializes in banking software, are also behind the initiative. CMTA promises to work to create toolkits that can be used by new or established companies, businesses and startups to access funding and raise capital securely and efficiently, using new technologies and leveraging digitalization. The association is based in Geneva.

Irish Blockchain Startup Delivering Aid to Refugees Raises €1m

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDsAn Irish startup, using blockchain to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid, has raised an estimated €1 million from investors, according to industry sources quoted by The Irish Times. The Dublin-based Aid:tech is working in refugee camps, often in hotspots like the Middle East. On Wednesday, Enterprise Ireland and SGInnovate, the venture capital arm of the Singaporean development authority, announced simultaneous investments in the Irish company. This is the first time both state-backed organizations have allocated funds to support a blockchain business, the Irish daily notes. Amsterdam-based Blue Parasol Investments and Tin Fu Fund, a closed private equity fund managed by Shenzhen Capital Group, also took part in the funding round.

Aid:tech aims to increase transparency in the distribution of aid, welfare, remittances, donations, and healthcare services through digitizing their delivery using blockchain technology on its platform. According to the company, only a fraction of the estimated €306 billion (~$360 billion) transferred each year by non-governmental aid organizations is currently delivered via transparent systems which, the startup claims, are extremely expensive to administer. The blockchain technology employed by the Irish firm would allow all international aid to be accounted for, including the distribution of medicine, food and other essentials, the publication details.

Government-Backed Platform to Promote Ireland as a Blockchain Hub

In an attempt to highlight Ireland’s capabilities in the blockchain ecosystem, authorities in Dublin have launched a new government-backed platform. Blockchain Ireland, founded in partnership with a young company called Consensys, aims to create conditions for greater cooperation between startups working in the sector, both on national and international level. The platform was launched by the Irish Blockchain Expert Group and backed by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Department of Finance, leading members of the country’s blockchain industry and representatives from a number of academic institutions.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDs

The online platform is a source of useful information about the Irish blockchain ecosystem. It will be used to promote the country as a blockchain hub by highlighting the Irish technology sector and business environment which turn Ireland into an ideal location for blockchain-enabled business, Silicon Republic reports. The services it will be offering include providing information on setting up a new company and support for blockchain projects in Ireland. Its activities, however, will stretch beyond Irish borders. Blockchain Ireland will be working to develop the European and international blockchain ecosystem as well.

What are your thoughts on today’s topics in Bitcoin in Brief? Let us know in the comments below.


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Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Set To Test Blockchain Voting

Residents of the Swiss city, Zug, will use the city’s eID system to vote using their smartphones this month as part of a blockchain based voting test, according to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. From June 25 to July 1, residents will download an app to register to vote. The city, home to what’s known as … Continued

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Switzerland Shows the Way: Bank First to Offer Crypto Business Accounts

Switzerland Shows the Way: Bank First to Offer Crypto Business Accounts

Switzerland’s legacy bank, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, announced this week it was accepting cryptocurrency related businesses as account holders, something many legacy financial institutions outright refuse. Long viewed as a progressive society way ahead of its time, the Swiss are once again leading, … this time it’s doing so in the crypto revolution.

Also read: Fidelity Investments Hints at Entering Cryptocurrency Exchange Space

150 Year Old Bank in Switzerland Opens to Crypto Businesses

Switzerland’s mortgage bank Hypothekarbank Lenzburg CEO Marianne Wildi explained, “As a bank that sets itself up technologically and pursues a cooperative strategy in the field of fintech, it is also a matter of credibility to work together with the young sector of crypto and blockchain companies in Switzerland.” Its earliest iteration can be traced back 150 years, and has since morphed into a mortgage, retail, and a private banking services provider, acting locally while being publicly listed.

Switzerland Shows the Way: Bank First to Offer Crypto Business Accounts
Hypothekarbank Lenzburg CEO Marianne Wildi

The Swiss were among the earliest to really see crypto’s potential, becoming a mecca for those interested in the technology and incubating startups along the way. As a rival to the US’s Silicon Valley, an area in Zug has been deemed Crypto Valley for its broad enthusiasm of the phenomenon. Even so, in announcing its new policy Hypothekarbank Lenzburg is the country’s first bank to welcome crypto businesses.

Regional media quoted Ms. Wildi as explaining how much thought went into changing their policy, suggesting guidance came from the country’s relatively permissive regulator, the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). In perhaps in an effort to assuage board members’ fears, she also was sure to the extensive vetting that goes into accepting crypto businesses as clients.

Could be a Trend

Prior to Hypothekarbank going all in, the financial community dabbled along the edges of crypto-related business support. Falcon Private Bank, for example, made headlines last year by vaguely interacting with “crypto asset management.” Bank Frick of Liechtenstein continues to offer to its customers cold storage and top coin access such as bitcoin cash, bitcoin core, litecoin, ether, and ripple.Switzerland Shows the Way: Bank First to Offer Crypto Business Accounts

Ms. Wildi elaborated on just how their new police would shake out, more or less handing over the task to contractor Geissbühler, Weber & Partner AG. “They already have a lot of cryptographic know-how and analyze customer inquiries about the legal consequences and backgrounds,” she assured. “After due diligence they give us a recommendation, and the decision then follows. It’s true that the customer review process is more involved in such relationships, but it does not make any difference to other customer relationships insofar as compliance processes have to work flawlessly anyway.”

Do you think more countries will follow Switzerland’s lead? Let us know in the comments. 


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PR: Particl Releases Their Privacy Focused Decentralized Marketplace

Particl Releases Their Privacy Focused Decentralized Marketplace

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.

Zug, Switzerland – Particl, an open-source project building privacy focused decentralized applications, has released the Alpha MVP version of their Particl Marketplace – a disruptive way to buy and sell goods online. Released May 31st, 2018, the marketplace is a new featured application within the project’s flagship application, Particl Desktop.

Particl’s decentralized marketplace is private by design and is a highly scalable and secure solution for e-commerce. Built to be a trustless solution – in a sea of online shopping sites with go-between intermediaries and fees – that has privacy at its core instead of as an after thought.

The Alpha release of Particl Marketplace is a minimal viable product (MVP) that showcases simple steps for shoppers and vendors to transact in a truly peer-to-peer (P2P) setting without any third-party interaction. Even the Particl escrow solution is only between a buyer and seller, which is controlled by a multi-signature contract instead of a moderator like competing decentralized marketplaces.

Future releases of the Particl Marketplace will transition from testnet to mainnet as features such as Governance, more cryptocurrencies, ratings, reviews and Ring Confidential Transactions (RingCT) get designed into the platform. PART, the native privacy coin of Particl, is the only coin built on Bitcoin’s latest codebase (0.16) to use Confidential Transactions to obfuscate transaction amounts.

The team’s implementation of RingCT is currently being reviewed thanks to a grant to the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Ultimately, all transactions running through the Particl privacy platform, including the Particl Marketplace, will leverage RingCT to provide the highest level of privacy to both shoppers and vendors.

Also expected in a future Beta release of Particl Marketplace is a Governance system that gives full, decentralized control to the users of the platform. Not yet implemented, this is one of the main differences between Alpha and Beta. While neither the Particl team nor the Particl Foundation currently has any control to remove listings or vendors on the marketplace, the testing environment allows a reboot option if necessary. Once on mainnet, a decentralized, self-governing mechanism will be in place to allow users to report, vote on and kick off any bad actors abusing the Particl Marketplace.

About Particl
Particl is a decentralized platform with a native suite of tools to enhance and protect your online privacy. Still less than one year old, Particl has added a number of firsts to the protocol’s basecode (Bitcoin 0.16). These include Confidential Transactions, Ring Confidential Transactions and PoS Cold Staking where all coins are safely stored offline while dedicated online staking nodes – which hold no PART – work on their behalf within a multi-signature contract. Particl Marketplace is the project’s MVP and is private by design.

Contact Email Address
paul@particl.io
Supporting Link
https://particl.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.

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PR: Patientory Stiftung Joins the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

Patientory Stiftung Joins the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

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.

Zug, Switzerland – Patientory Stiftung, a Swiss-based global nonprofit healthcare organization founded to educate and connect adopters of PTOY blockchain, a HIPAA-compliant blockchain that securely stores and manages health information in real time, today announced that it has joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open source blockchain initiative.

As a member of the EEA, Patientory Stiftung will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of ethereum-based enterprise technology best practices, open standards, and open-source reference architectures. Patientory Stiftung brings these industry leaders together at its Inaugural Blockchain in Healthcare Summit – North America on May 31, 2018. At that time it will also launch and make available the private, permissioned blockchain testnet network, PTOYNet.

“Patientory Stiftung foresees an exciting future for blockchain in the healthcare industry and is thrilled to merge the benefits of the EEA and its other members with what will happen next,” said Mohsen Shafaei, Managing Director of the Patientory Stiftung. “The EEA’s resources will play an integral role in making our vision a reality and we look forward to learning about Ethereum and leveraging its technology to benefit everyone.”

With more than 500 member companies, the EEA membership base represents a wide variety of business sectors from every region of the world, including technology, banking, government, healthcare, energy, pharmaceuticals, marketing, and insurance. The EEA’s industry-focused, member-driven working groups are each tasked with creating and delivering specific advancements to the development and use of ethereum-based technologies.

About The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance
The EEA is an industry-supported, not-for-profit established to build, promote, and broadly support Ethereum-based technology best practices, open standards, and open-source reference architectures. The EEA is helping to evolve Ethereum into an enterprise-grade technology, providing research and development in a range of areas, including privacy, confidentiality, scalability, and security. The EEA is also investigating hybrid architectures that span both permissioned and public Ethereum networks as well as industry-specific application layer working groups.

EEA will collectively develop open industry standards and facilitate collaboration with its member base and is open to any members of the Ethereum community who wish to participate. This open-source framework will enable the mass adoption at a depth and breadth otherwise unachievable in individual corporate silos and provide insight into the future of scalability, privacy, and confidentiality of the public Ethereum permissionless network. For additional information about joining EEA, please reach out to membership@entethalliance.org or visit www.entethalliance.org.

About Patientory Stiftung
The Patientory Stiftung, a global nonprofit healthcare blockchain organization connects healthcare industry adopters of the PTOY blockchain. The PTOY blockchain securely stores and manages health information in real time, and such storage and management is facilitated by a blockchain based token (called “PTOY”). The Patientory Stiftung facilitates the development of standards that are essential to the implementation and adoption of the PTOY platform and token in securely protecting and managing healthcare information. Such standards are necessary for interoperability and auditability and for transparency purposes. These activities will help ensure the safety, reliability and usability of the use of the PTOY platform by its members and the general public, a prerequisite to the wide acceptance of the PTOY platform as a viable means of transacting business by the public and the acceptance of the industry as a whole. To learn more, visit www.ptoy.org.

Contact Email Address
nk@kasakmedia.com
Supporting Link
https://ptoy.org/inaugural2018/

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.

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Bitcoin Smart Banknotes Launched in Singapore

Bitcoin Smart Banknotes Launched in Singapore

A digital asset smart banknote manufacturer has launched bitcoin banknotes at a store in Singapore. Designed to make owning and circulating cryptocurrencies as easy as using paper money, they are currently available in denominations of 0.01 and 0.05 BTC.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Bitcoin Banknotes Debut in Singapore

Digital asset banknote manufacturer Tangem announced the launch of smart bitcoin banknotes at the Megafash Suntec City store in Singapore on Thursday.

Bitcoin Smart Banknotes Launched in Singapore
Megafash store in Singapore.

The announcement states:

Available immediately in denominations of 0.01 and 0.05 BTC, Tangem Notes radically improve the simplicity and security of acquiring, owning, and circulating cryptocurrencies for both sophisticated and incoming users.

With headquarters in Switzerland’s cryptovalley Zug and Hong Kong, Tangem also has offices in Singapore, Moscow, and China, according to its website.

The company says it “is delivering the first shipment of 10,000 production notes to prospective partners and distributors around the world for commercial pilots.”

How Tangem’s Smart Banknotes Work

Tangem explains that their bitcoin smart banknotes are “Comparable to a well-protected paper banknote” and “Cheap enough to hand over.” Citing their ease of use, the company says there is “No special infrastructure, no complicated applications – just touch the banknote with an NFC-capable smartphone to be 100% sure it has valid assets.”

Bitcoin Smart Banknotes Launched in Singapore
Illustration of how the banknotes work.

Transferring ownership of the notes is anonymous and instant, Tangem claims. “Physically hand over the whole wallet together with the blockchain private key. No transaction fees, no need to await confirmation blockchain.” Moreover, the company says that its banknotes are equipped with “high-grade EAL6+ protection for all cryptocurrencies. Irretrievable private keys prohibit replication of wallet and its assets.”Bitcoin Smart Banknotes Launched in Singapore

Competitor Opendime has long offered a physical product with a similar purpose but shaped more like a USB thumb drive and without any amount printed on them.

Security Questions

Bitcoin Smart Banknotes Launched in SingaporeTangem’s hardware is based on Samsung Semiconductor’s S3D350A chip. The company claims to offer “the first hardware storage solution on the market with its entire electronics and cryptography certified to the Common Criteria EAL6+ and EMVCo security standards.”

As with any embedded firmware-based product in the cryptocurrency space, security audits and open-source code are paramount to earning users’ trust to ensure that the company does not have access to the funds stored on their product. At the time of this writing, Tangem’s only publicly available code is for its iOS and Android apps on Github.

However, the company claims that it has shared the full source code of its proprietary chip firmware with a Swiss security firm, Kudelski Group, adding that this firm has completed an in-depth review and comprehensive security audit of its product’s architecture.

What do you think of these bitcoin smart banknotes? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Swiss Officials Fear ICOs Will Tarnish Reputation of ‘Crypto Valley’ Zug

Some Swiss Officials Fear ICOs Will Tarnish Reputation of ‘Crypto Valley’ Zug

Cryptocurrency foundations, community organizations, and entrepreneurs have helped put the lightly populated Swiss canton of Zug on the business world’s map. While the local administration has created one of the most welcoming environments for the industry, some voices fear possible negative repercussions such as bad press and an American regulatory backlash.

Also Read: Survey Says 8% of the American Population Now Own Cryptocurrency

Lamborghini Robin Hoods

Some Swiss Officials Fear ICOs Will Tarnish Reputation of ‘Crypto Valley’ ZugA new report from Zug, Switzerland by the Financial Times showcases that despite the success ‘Crypto Valley’ has had in attracting businesses, there are still those that fear it might bring unwanted attention as well. A Swiss finance specialist commented: “I’m just waiting for Washington to call Bern and ask ‘what are you doing down there in Zug?’.” Another local insider said: “They say they are different to banks, that they are Robin Hoods — but we have Robin Hoods driving around in Lamborghinis.”

Besides flashy displays of wealth, critics also echo other familiar complaints. “My big worry is that the whole intransparency will lower Zug’s standing worldwide,” said Andreas Hürlimann, a local Green party councillor. “You don’t know from where to where the money is flowing, whether it is drug money for instance.” He also added that the council accepting bitcoin payments was “clearly a marketing gag”.

For their part, the entrepreneurs appear to be pleased with the region’s politicians and  regulations. The only issue they raised in the FT report was reluctant cooperation by the local banks, something that they can bypass by turning to other places such as Liechtenstein.

Black Sheep

Some Swiss Officials Fear ICOs Will Tarnish Reputation of ‘Crypto Valley’ ZugThe main concern that rises from the report is that some ICO could mess up in a way that will bring foreign pressure to harshen the local legal framework for all others. “Switzerland remains under pressure to follow a ‘clean money’ strategy. It was hard work to get Switzerland off the blacklists — and there is of course no appetite for it to be back on them,” explained Jan Seffinga, blockchain expert at Deloitte.

“These ICOs require blind trust in the founders. You can’t do much if the raised funds are misappropriated,” commented Luzius Meisser, founder of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland. Heinz Tännler, Zug canton’s finance director, said: “The risk is when you have ‘black sheep’. We have our eyes open. But there is never an opportunity without risks.”

Still others seem to be overwhelmed by the fast development of ‘Crypto Valley’. Dolfi Müller, Zug town council president, said: “We play the background music . . . We don’t have great plans — we don’t want to be a ‘smart city’ like Dubai. It’s step by step. It’s Asterix against Rome.”

Should the people of Zug be grateful for ICOs bringing business to their community or cautious? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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