Opinion: Europe Must Embrace Blockchain to Avoid Cybercolonization

Opinion: Europe Must Embrace Blockchain to Avoid “Cybercolonization”

                               

On September 27, the EU Competitiveness Council met in Brussels to discuss how to support Europe’s digitization,

particularly with regard to artificial intelligence — an area that has tremendous potential, but also faces extreme global competition. AI, of course, runs on data. The unfortunate reality is that U.S. tech companies control and exploit large amounts of European data, in turn monopolizing our digital economy.

That’s why I, among 16 other executives, signed a letter to the council’s ministers—who engaged in a public policy debate and “competitiveness check-up” at Thursday’s meeting—urging a focus on these monopolies and the unfair business practices they get away with, from the exclusion of third parties to spontaneous changes to terms and conditions to unjustified interference, to name a few. There are alternatives to giving away the data, and thus, sovereignty,—something I emphasized as part of the National Digital Council in France and as the leader of numerous working groups focused on AI and privacy.

France, for one, has worked hard to attract major foreign investment in this space, opening AI hubs while seemingly ignoring the fact that Google, Apple, Facebook and the like don’t pay taxes in the country, yet still extract significant wealth from it. This hurts innovation and many local startups working hard to improve the region. London, Paris, Berlin, and Zug are popular tech destinations, yet they often get overshadowed or pushed out of the market because of the dominant U.S. players.

Google, of course, dominates web search market, conducting 77% of all internet searches and processing 400,000 every second—gathering significant amounts of data in the process. Such dominance means, as AI specialist Cedric Villani aptly put it, that large foreign companies threaten Europe with “cybercolonization.”

Online platforms that mediate buying and selling account for a whopping 60% of the private consumption of digital goods and services. Europe cannot be lax and blindly open its market to foreign platforms who are only creating monopolies. Their goal is to lock both buyers and sellers into their ecosystem—to be the central point of the majority of digital transactions. This level of centralization has become synonymous with a dependency on tech oligopolies, and a lack of country sovereignty. Even the “local” companies we think we have working in AI are often very dependent on U.S. tech.

The good news is that every problem that exists with closed, proprietary marketplaces and platforms can be solved easily with blockchain. Through the GDPR, Europe and France have already been the first to regulate data privacy, protecting both individual rights and digital sovereignty from foreign tech giants. Blockchain—which in fact has developed faster in Europe than in Silicon Valley—can take this a step further, and can transform Europe in to the next Crypto Valley. Decentralized AI means that algorithms run directly on end-user devices, preventing sensitive data from being sent to the cloud at all.

Also, rather than having an intermediary between people buying and offering digital goods and services, blockchain allows peer-to-peer marketplaces. These marketplaces often have no fees, meaning all of the value can be captured by buyers and sellers. On the other hand, when U.S. tech giants hold a monopoly they can charge significant fees, force certain types of payments, and coerce end-users in a myriad of other ways. With a decentralized approach, no single person or company controls the content. The suppliers and buyers decide for themselves what should be included in the marketplace.

It can be tempting to want to make Europe attractive to some of the biggest names in tech and AI, but we must recognize what we are sacrificing by doing so. Many local startups can’t compete because having a monopoly means you can, more or less, do whatever you want—even if that means engaging in unfair business practices or doing things that are good for your bottom line but bad for actual users. One way to avoid such cybercolonization, though, is to embrace decentralized technologies. They’re the key to both innovation and sovereignty.

Article Produced By
Dr. Rand Hindi

Dr. Rand Hindi is an entrepreneur and data scientist. He is the CEO at Snips, the first decentralized, private by design voice assistant.Rand started coding at the age of 10, founded a Social Network at 14 and a web agency at 15 before getting into Machine Learning at 18 and starting a PhD at 21. He has been elected as a TR35 by the MIT Technology Review, as a "30 under 30" by Forbes, and is a lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/opinion-europe-must-embrace-blockchain-to-avoid-cybercolonization

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Unilever O2 and Sky Join Blockchain Pilot for Digital Ad Transparency

Unilever, O2 and Sky Join Blockchain Pilot for Digital Ad Transparency

                                 

Unilever, O2 and Sky are among the latest big firms to sign on to Jicwebs’ blockchain pilot program designed to improve trust and transparency in digital advertising. The news was revealed in a Nov. 12 report from United Kingdom-based industry magazine Campaign.

Industry involvement

Jicwebs — an acronym for the U.K. digital ad trading standards body, the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards — first announced its blockchain pilot initiative in May 2019. It counts the participation of major global media agencies Zenith, OMD UK and Manning Gottlieb OMD, who have been evaluating the potential for blockchain technology to bolster transparency in the sector and increase operational efficiency. According to Campaign’s report, the U.K.’s popular online platforms Gumtree, Netmums and Rightmove have also all signed on to the project.

To complement the Jicwebs pilot, ISBA — an entity representing the U.K.’s leading advertisers — is also conducting an end-to-end audit of some of the problems that plague the digital ad sector, notably in regard to trust and brand safety. Richard Reeves, managing director of the Association of Online Publishers, said that the body welcomes “all initiatives that increase transparency for our members and shed light on where advertising spend is being distributed across the digital supply chain." If the pilot proves successful, Jicwebs reportedly plans to consult the digital ad industry on how to implement the blockchain solution in 2020.

An embattled industry

As previously reported, McDonald's, Nestlé and Virgin Media joined Jicwebs’ initiative this July. Blockchain technology is increasingly gaining traction in a sector that is battling the increasing threat of fraudulent activity, “deepfakes” and opaque financing. In late 2018, major Japanese car manufacturer Toyota partnered with blockchain advertising analytics firm Lucidity to reduce fraud in its digital ad campaign buys.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/unilever-o2-and-sky-join-blockchain-pilot-for-digital-ad-transparency

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

China Scraps Plan to Categorize Bitcoin Mining as Industry to Be Eliminated

China Scraps Plan to Categorize Bitcoin Mining as Industry to Be Eliminated

                                  

More than six months after the China National Development and Reform Commission proposed to categorize bitcoin mining as an industry to be phased out from the country,

it appears the agency has now scrapped that plan. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a top-level economic planning agency under China’s State Council, published a finalized new Catalog for Guiding Industry Restructuring on Wednesday that will take effect from Jan 1, 2020.

In the final version, which will replace the current one published in 2011, the agency has removed bitcoin mining or other virtual currency mining activities from the initially proposed category of industries that should be eliminated from China. Description related to virtual currency or bitcoin mining can’t be found in the finalized catalog. Formally established in 1998, the NDRC is now one of the 26 cabinet-level departments which all together form the State Council of the Chinese central government. The main role of the NDRC focuses on studying and penning economic reform strategies and policies to be executed at local level governments. The NDRC first published its industry reform catalog in 2005, grouping industrial sectors into three types – those the agency advises the country to encourage, restrict or eliminate.

The initial draft of the latest catalog update was released in April this year, which classified “virtual currency mining, such as the production process of bitcoin” under the category to be eliminated. The move was taken at the time by many, including major news outlets, as a signal that China was planning to ban bitcoin mining even though the policy itself does not automatically mean a bitcoin mining ban. The revision of the draft plan comes after a months-long period of public consultation. During a NDRC press conference on Wednesday, officials said since the release of the initial draft, the agency has received over 2,500 suggestions on various issues, most of which were taken into consideration, although the officials did not comment on any particular suggestion related to bitcoin mining.

Article Produced By
Michael Williamson

Michael Williamson is a content marketer who formerly worked out of Unbounced's Montreal office. A writer by day and a reader by night, he is loathe to discuss himself in the third persona, but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.

https://www.icogeeker.com/china-scraps-plan-to-categorize-bitcoin-mining-as-industry-to-be-eliminated/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Bitcoin Falls 43 Slipping Below 9000 for First Time in Two Weeks

Bitcoin Falls 4.3%, Slipping Below $9,000 for First Time in Two Weeks

                                 

Analysts cited a lack of positive market drivers and speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve might pause this year’s rate-cutting cycle, which could curb demand for the cryptocurrency as a potential inflation hedge. The price dropped to $8,800 as of 18:57 UTC (1:57 p.m. New York time), according to Trading View. It’s still more than double where bitcoin was at the start of the year, leaving the cryptocurrency as one of the world’s best-performing asset classes in 2019.

Bitcoin had rallied more $2,000 in late October after Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that the country would embrace blockchain – the decentralized computing networks underpinning cryptocurrencies – as a “core” technology, followed by the reveal of hundreds of blockchain projects already in motion. Since then, though, the price had mostly fluctuated within a range between $9,100 and $9,600.

Friday’s decline accelerated after bitcoin broke below its 200-day moving average of $9,186, which had been seen as a price support by some traders using technical analysis. “This is a pretty classic example of a technical move,” said Kevin Kelly, co-founder at Delphi Digital, a cryptocurrency research firm in New York. “It just sort of broke to the downside.” The price drop appears to have triggered margin calls for some traders, leading to position liquidations and creating additional selling pressure, Kelly said.

One of the macroeconomic narratives for buying bitcoin is that, like gold, it can be used as an inflation hedge, Kelly said. But with increasing signs that the economy might be responding to the Fed’s three interest-rate cuts earlier this year, speculation is mounting that the U.S. central bank might refrain in the near term from further moves to ease monetary policy, he said. “You have seen an unwind of the consensus on this doomsday narrative,” Kelly said. Some investors may also have become more skeptical that China’s public push to use blockchain would translate into new demand for bitcoin, according to Greg Cipolaro, co-founder of Digital Asset Research.

While many traders thought bitcoin, as the original blockchain and biggest digital asset by market value, might benefit from broader adoption of the technology, if China has been at work developing a digital version of its own currency, it could be a win for blockchain technology on the whole but mean little for bitcoin today. “My opinion is that that wasn’t the right read of that news,” Cipolaro said. “They were clearly saying blockchain not bitcoin.” With that realization in the backdrop, “you really haven’t seen follow-through on the price,” he said. “There hasn’t been a major catalyst post that $2,000 rip two weeks ago.”

Article Produced By
Michael Williamson

https://www.icogeeker.com/bitcoin-falls-4-3-slipping-below-9000-for-first-time-in-two-weeks/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Top Vietnamese Bank in Partnership With RippleNet

Top Vietnamese Bank in Partnership With RippleNet

Vietnamese bank TPBank has confirmed its partnership with RippleNet.

Lately, Ripple has been making major steps to improve the global financial infrastructure, as evidenced by its collaboration with Asia-based SBI Holdings, which resulted in SBI Ripple Asia—a branch of SBI Holdings.RippleNet focuses on faster transactions using DLT and the technology could be finding its way into Vietnam if the recent reports are anything to go by. As earlier reported by MSN News, RippleNet is already in association with the Vietnam-based TP Bank, which is currently utilizing its blockchain technology.

Enhancing Cross-border Transactions

TP Bank had previously stated its collaboration with SBI Holdings in order to use blockchain technology to enhance cross-border payments. In an interview with Vietnam Insider, TP Bank CEO Nguyen Hung said: “TP Bank is also working with SBI on applying blockchain to international transactions. With its flexible, transparent, and decentralized nature, blockchain has the potential to greatly improve transaction networks and ensure instant transactions despite geographical distance.”

SBI Ripple Asia serves a conglomeration of Asian banks using the technology to facilitate improved financial infrastructure. RippleNet comes handy as it provides a globally accepted payment network that utilizes XRP. In Vietnam, TP Bank was the first bank to successfully apply for national money transfers. With the Ripple partnership, TP Bank could become the first bank in Vietnam to conduct faster payments through RippleNet.

Vietnamese Bank Targeting Japanese Customers

Cross-border transactions in Vietnam are mainly aimed at Japanese clients. However, based on the reports, the service will be extended to South Korea after Japan. If the country chooses to use ODL, that would mean another milestone for XRP adoption. According to the latest performance and strategy report delivered by SBI Holdings, the institution showed a keen interest in using XRP to facilitate remittances from Japan to South-East Asia. In the new partnership, SBI Remit will utilize Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity service, a step that will make XRP inch closer to its adoption and utilization. In its effort to eliminate pre-funding in the current correspondent banking network, Ripple believes that XRP provides the best solution for faster cross-border payments.

Article Produced By
Tony P.

Tony is a writer and a crypto enthusiast. A graduate of creative writing, he synthesizes blockchain and cryptocurrency topics in a way he only can.

https://theccpress.com/top-vietnamese-bank-in-partnership-with-ripplenet/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Why You Can’t Be Anonymous Using Crypto

Why You Can’t Be Anonymous Using Crypto

                                     

Most people associate blockchain and Bitcoin with anonymity and imagine that they can perform transactions online without being detected. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth, as aside from a few altcoins that have privacy features, Bitcoin and most cryptos aren’t actually anonymous.

How Cryptos Can Be Traced

Every crypto transaction has inputs and outputs that are addresses from which the crypto is sent and received, respectively. These addresses are encrypted through a private key, and cryptos such as Bitcoin or Ethereum can only be moved from their wallet using the private key from the address. The outputs are the addresses that receive the crypto, and it is referred to as the public address, which consists of a long string of numbers and letters that do not have any identifiable information to connect you to your address or its associated wallet. The public address acts as your pseudonym on the blockchain and allows other addresses to interact with you.

As these addresses do not give away any personal information, most people believe that they cannot be identified on the blockchain. Even if there is no real name attached to bitcoin transactions, they are pseudo-anonymous at best, as there are many ways of identifying the owner.

In some sense, it is true that bitcoin is more anonymous compared to other payment methods that are run by centralized third-parties, as your bitcoin funds and transactions have no connection to your real name, your email, or your physical address, just random numbers and characters. But actual cash transactions are more anonymous than crypto because all of your transactions are visible to the entire blockchain network. Most blockchains are public ledgers, which means that anyone can look into your transaction history with a certain crypto, and also know how much you hold in your wallet. You would have to create a new wallet after each transaction to keep your anonymity. But, no such measure would be enough to deter someone from finding out your identity.

All Your Activity Is Publicly Available

After you make a transaction with someone, they will have your public address and, using it, they can search your past trading activity, as well as trace all your future transactions. Most cryptocurrencies have publicly-available transactions, and those with the advanced software and necessary tech skills would be able to trace the transactions back to the original source. The availability of blockchain analysis software that is sophisticated enough to track wallets and trace transactions have made it easier for law enforcement agencies to find criminals and drug lords who thought that using Bitcoin’s public ledger would keep their activity anonymous.

Node Connections

Other ways of identification involve finding out your IP address. This can be done by connecting multiple nodes and tracking the source of a transaction. Attackers can intercept your transaction by connecting to all the nodes on the blockchain network. Then, they wait to see which node is the first to transmit a transaction that will be identified as the source of the transaction. Thankfully, there are some methods that you can use to keep your activity private when using cryptos online, such as using mixers. Mixing services jumble up crypto addresses together and send them out randomly, so that no one can link the private and public addresses.

Today, you have a lot of options, as you can choose Bitcoin Mixer to be sure that, when you make a transaction, you can stay calm because no one is spying on you. Also, if you are looking to increase your privacy when using ETH, you can opt for Ethereum Mixer, as it works automatically and without any human assistance.

Article Produced By
Lavinia C.

https://theccpress.com/why-you-cant-be-anonymous-using-crypto/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Bitcoin Mining to Ramp Up Dramatically in Russia

Bitcoin Mining to Ramp Up Dramatically in Russia

                               

Bitcoin mining is heating up as several groups are ramping up production, with one Russian company aiming for 20% of the world’s total.

Bitcoin mining has definitely changed over time. Regular people used to be able to mine BTC with their desktop computers, but those days are long over. Cryptocurrency mining is now the province of major companies, such as Bitmain. It seems that the competition between crypto mining outfits is heating up, with one Russian company shooting for hitting 20% of the world’s Bitcoin mining total.

In Mother Russia, Bitcoin Mine You!

The company in question is the Russian Mining Company (RMC), and its CEO is Dmitry Marinichev, the country’s Putin-appointed internet ombudsman. The company is setting up shop in a metal factory in the province of Karelia. The factory has been closed since 2018 due to U.S. sanctions.

Of the plant and RMC’s plans, Dmitry Marinichev says:

Now the plant for Rusal is unprofitable, the electricity supplied to it is practically not utilized, and people living in the single-industry town near the plant have nowhere to work. Our idea is to redesign the plant and sell its computing power as a service, that is, provide an IT service.

One of those services is cryptocurrency mining, and the plant is so large, it could account for a full 20% of the entire world’s Bitcoin mining production. The company managed to raise US$43 million during an ICO in 2017.

Other Competitors

RMC is not alone in trying to grab a larger slice of the cryptocurrency mining pie. Argo Blockchain in the United Kingdom has doubled its order of mining rigs as it seeks a “significant expansion” to its capabilities. The company has ordered 10,000 Antminer T17s, worth a total of $9.51 million. When the new mining rigs arrive in December, the company will boast a total of 17,000 Bitcoin mining machines. Its total hash power is then expected to increase by 240%. China-based Canaan Creative is looking to score through a NASDAQ initial public offering. The second-largest BTC mining device manufacturer is hoping to raise $400 million through the IPO. The company says it will use the funds to pay off debts and fund research into blockchain technology and AI.

The decision by Canaan Creative comes a short time after Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke favorably about the country becoming the leading force in advancing blockchain technology. However, China is still hostile to decentralized cryptocurrencies, shutting down exchanges back in 2017, but the country’s central bank is reportedly close to releasing its own state-controlled cryptocurrency. While some critics are saying that the profitability of Bitcoin mining is down considerably, it seems a number of companies are willing to spend big to increase their stake in the industry.Images courtesy of Wikimedia/Vpetrov-71 and Pixabay.

A few years back, Jeff began hearing about Bitcoin and the rise of other cryptocurrencies. A proponent of allowing people to take economic power into their own hands, he has enthusiastically supported cryptocurrencies and the many benefits of blockchain technology. This interest propelled him to becoming a writer for, and later editor of, several crypto-focused websites. His goal with BitcoinerX is to provide timely news and analysis in an entertaining manner.

https://bitcoinerx.com/mining/bitcoin-mining-to-ramp-up-dramatically-in-russia/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Comrade Communist Party of China Now Promoting Blockchain

Comrade! Communist Party of China Now Promoting Blockchain

                                

In an interesting twist, China is now promoting blockchain, albeit from a communist angle, while censoring dissenting views.

China has an interesting history with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. At one time, most of the Bitcoin trading took place in China, and crypto mining is still heavily associated with the country. The last few years have seen the communist central government work against virtual currencies, such as banning exchanges and putting the squeeze on miners. However, China is now actively promoting blockchain but is doing so while adhering to the party line.

Censoring Naysayers

President Xi Jinping of China recently endorsed blockchain technology in a major policy speech. The effect of the speech was to see the stocks of blockchain-associated companies rise dramatically. Such a move seems like a good one, but there is a price to pay.That price is that the innovative technology must bend to the will of the communist government, which can be seen in several forms. The first form is the use of censorship that is being used to help promote blockchain. The central government is now banning articles that say blockchain is a scam, according to popular Twitter user cnLedger. Such a circumstance is a complete 180 from the prevailing attitude of just a year ago. However, blockchain technology is now useful to the country’s regime, so it gets the green (or should that be red, eh, comrade?) light.

App Promotion

Another form of how blockchain and communism are being linked is through an app. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has released an app called Xuexi Qiangguo that was designed by the Alibaba Group. This app teaches a course on Bitcoin and blockchain, but the kicker is that it does so through the political theory espoused by Xi Jinping, who just happens to be the Communist Party General Secretary in addition to being the Chinese president. The reach of the Xuexi Qiangguo app is huge. It is reported that it already has 100 million users. The course on Bitcoin and blockchain, taught by Chen Kang, can also be found on Xuetangx, a MOOC platform with 16 million users that was founded by Tsinghua University, the college that Chen Kang works at.

User Beware

The Xuexi Qiangguo app is not benign. Researchers from German cybersecurity company Cure53 and the Open Technology Fund, sponsored by the U.S. government, have found some malicious code within the app. The researchers say the code found in the app resembles “a backdoor which is able to run arbitrary commands with superuser privileges.” If run, the app’s code will allow a person to enjoy full system-wide administrative access. This means a bad actor could use the app to modify files, download software, or even install a keylogger. The app also scans other apps and sends the collected info (activity log, user info, etc.) to whoever is behind the malicious code. Cure53 also found that the app gives the Chinese government the ability to know “the location of every citizen at any single point in time.”

Make no mistake. China is deadly serious about being the world leader in regards to blockchain technology. A majority of the world’s blockchain-associated patents have been filed in China, and the central bank is reportedly close to launching its own state-controlled cryptocurrency. Mark Zuckerberg recently warned Congressional members that if the U.S. does not actively support cryptocurrency and blockchain, then it will cede the field to China.

Article Produced By
Jeff Francis

https://bitcoinerx.com/blockchain/comrade-communist-party-of-china-now-promoting-blockchain/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Volvo: Cobalt Used In Car Batteries Will Be Recorded On Blockchain

Volvo: Cobalt Used In Car Batteries Will Be Recorded On Blockchain

Volvo Cars Company announced that the Cobalt used in the electric car batteries

will be recorded or tracked on the blockchain, reported on 06 November 2019. According to the report, this new announcement of the use of blockchain traceable Cobalt is followed by Volvo’s first fully electric car named the XC40 Recharge announcement that was published last month. For the further development or implementation of this new technology, Volvo already did an agreement with its two car’s battery suppliers named China-based CATL and South Korea-based LG Chem. As per the deal, These two battery suppliers will be responsible to fulfill the requirement of batteries in Volvo’s new model cars for the next decade as well as they have to use blockchain technology for

tracing required raw materials.

“Blockchain technology, which establishes a transparent and reliable shared data network, significantly boosts transparency of the raw material supply chain as the information about the material’s origin cannot be changed undetected.”

– Volvo Cars Company

The raw material traceable blockchain system is already ready for use as it was successfully tested in august by blockchain firm Circulor and software giant Oracle on

CATL’s supply chain.

“We have always been committed to an ethical supply chain for our raw materials, With blockchain technology we can take the next step towards ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimising any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers. ”

– head of procurement at Volvo Cars, Martina Buchhauser

Previously, The encrypted peer to peer messaging application Telegram has launched the test wallet for its native cryptocurrency GRAM token. Telegram has launched the wallet for Windows, iOS and Linux users. Users can download the gram wallet from the official website.

Article Produced By
Blockchain News

https://bitcoinik.com/volvo-cobalt-used-in-car-batteries-will-be-recorded-on-blockchain/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

China Removes Bitcoin Mining From Its BanList

China Removes Bitcoin Mining From Its BanList

China removes the bitcoin mining from the ban list of industries,

and now the bitcoin mining industry has no restrictions or danger from the regulatory department of china, reported on 06 November 2019. According to the report, it is confirmed from the information given in the newly published edition of Industrial Structure Adjustment Guidance Catalog (2019) where bitcoin mining is not listed in the elimination list of industries that are going to be banned after taking final action in 2020.

Previously, China published a list of industries that will be banned in 2020 where bitcoin mining was also listed in the ban list, but just now they published the documents again by doing some changes where bitcoin mining is also removed from the ban list.
This is really good news for the bitcoin because most of the hash power on the bitcoin network is from the bitcoin mining farms established in China.
China also a big producer of bitcoin mining equipment.

Last month, Hurun Report, research, media, and investment firm recently published a report named “Hurun China Rich List 2019” in which it featured 12 local cryptocurrency magnates. Last Week, The encrypted peer to peer messaging application Telegram has launched the test wallet for its native cryptocurrency GRAM token. Telegram has launched the wallet for Windows, iOS and Linux users.

Article Produced By
Bitcoin News

https://bitcoinik.com/china-removes-bitcoin-mining-from-its-banlist/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur