New survey data from online student loan marketplace LendEDU suggests that younger consumers in the United States are more apt to invest in bitcoin.
While China tightens its grip on its cryptocurrency community, Japan is openly embracing cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, legalizing bitcoin, and encouraging and funding blockchain research.
Even Japan’s banks are onboard, working collaboratively to develop a blockchain platform specifically for the financial sector. With its 120 member banks, the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) is creating a Collaborative Blockchain Platform and is actively looking for a company to supply its blockchain technology on an ongoing basis.
Experimenting with the Collaborative Blockchain Platform, the JBA will initially determine which financial services best lend themselves to the new platform, likely including settlement/transfer services, know-your-customer (KYC) systems and financial infrastructure such as their Zengin System and Densai Net System.
Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer is stepping up to the plate to take on tech giants including Fujitsu, Hitachi and NTT Data to be the supplier of the blockchain platform that will be used by Japan’s banks.
Although it is one of the largest cryptocurrency and blockchain startups in Japan, the Tokyo-based bitFlyer has its work cut out for it if it wants to upset these three corporate heavyweights and win the right to supply the bankers with a blockchain platform using its miyabi technology.
The company’s COO Bartek Ringwelski told Bitcoin Magazine:
“bitFlyer is the only startup in the event, and we have only raised $36mm since 2014, but we have deep expertise in blockchain technology through our virtual currency exchange (the largest in the world by volume, including margin trading) and our ‘miyabi’ product.”
By way of comparison, Hitachi posted $83 billion in revenue in 2016, Fujitsu posted $47 billion on 2015 and NTT Data posted $15 billion in 2016.
Acknowledging a sea change in Japan’s attitude to cryptocurrency, Ringwelski noted that Japan is actively encouraging and supporting both cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology:
“Japan is emerging as a leader in blockchain adoption. Japanese consumers are embracing virtual currencies, regulators are proactive, and banks are recognizing the power that blockchain, and specifically miyabi, can bring to the financial infrastructure.”
Miyabi Blockchain Technology
The name “miyabi” was first coined between the 9th to 12th centuries by Japanese aristocrats to refer to the theme of elegance and refinement.
According to Ringwelski, bitFlyer’s miyabi blockchain platform is the fastest in the world:
“Based on our research, ‘miyabi’ is the fastest enterprise-grade blockchain technology, delivering 1,500 – 2,000 transactions per second on average, and in some cases, even faster,” Ringwelski said.
Their processing speed of 1,500 to 2,000 transactions per second compares with Bitcoin’s two transactions per second and Ethereum’s seven transactions per second. They also estimate that among the other three competing companies, the maximum speed to beat is 1,000 transactions per second.
When it launched the competition, the JBA made it clear that security and immutability were their first priority. In their view, only a private, permissioned blockchain could satisfy this requirement.
BitFlyer’s CEO Yuzo Kano has said he wants the company to go global in the near future and will start by expanding to the U.S. market this fall, initially offering bitcoin trading but expanding to other cryptocurrencies within the next year. The company says it has received approval to start trading from 34 U.S. states.
In the meantime, Ringwelski says that they are eagerly awaiting the decision of the JBA:
“The partner ultimately chosen by the JBA will stand to become part of the core Japanese banking infrastructure — it would be a big deal. Beyond the value of gaining the JBA as a new customer, securing a JBA contract would help spread miyabi to new enterprise blockchain applications and customers worldwide.”
Investors in bitFlyer include SMBC Venture Capital, Mizuho Capital, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, Recruit Strategic Partners, Dentsu Digital Holdings, SBI Investment, GMO Venture Partners, QUICK and Venture Labo Investment.
The post Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Hopes to Win Big With the Japanese Bankers Association appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
The way we consume media content has been on a continual overhaul for the past two decades. Every aspect of media distribution has become more streamlined from the razor-thin devices we use to consume media to the manner in which we purchase and store our coveted content. Books, music and movies have all seen their physical bodies and storage locations dissolve, to be replaced with on-demand downloads and digital copies.
The digital content revolution has done a lot for increasing access and visibility for artists and authors, but the current publishing giants have failed to adequately adjust to the times in a few crucial areas. While it’s true that platforms such as YouTube and Medium have granted publishing access to the greater public and eliminated gatekeeping middlemen like talent agents and PR people, the current digital content sharing platforms have built their empires on the skeletons of the publishing giants’ templates that existed before and, unfortunately, have continued operating in ways that fundamentally undermine the artistic control and profits of their contributors.
YouTube, for example, recently announced they will not allow users to earn any money until they reach 10 thousand views. Medium was recently very candid about the moral dilemmas and growing pains they have faced while trying to balance the selling of advertising space as well as respecting their contributing authors and readership. And it’s no secret that Amazon and iTunes take a chunk out of authors’ and artists’ earnings, with iTunes currently pocketing 30 percent of its artists’ profits and Amazon taking a hefty 30–75 percent.
Though it’s easy to be critical, I am more interested in looking for a viable alternative to disrupt the existing system. This will require harnessing the decentralizing nature of emerging blockchain content distribution technologies. Here’s why:
Blockchain could be the solution to making micropayments a reality.
As media consumption has gone digital, a cost-effective way to charge per article or per song has been a limiting factor. Many platforms and publications have opted for subscription-based charging as high transaction costs make pay-per-use charging impossible. Amazon, for example, passes on its internal transaction costs to their clients, which currently equal 2.9 percent of the total transaction as well as a flat fee of 0.30 cents for every transaction.
The pricey transactions make processing small charges inefficient and not cost-effective, which has led many experts, such as editor of TechCrunch John Biggs, to predict that the future of digital publishing will depend on the adoption of micropayments.
Blockchain technologies allow for an incredible number of transactions to be processed at a low cost. Decentralized blockchain systems distribute the collective payment history across the entire network and don’t favor any single “auditor.” The network is maintained by all blockchain nodes as a whole.
Emerging blockchain transaction processing speeds have also recently shot past the leading blockchain currency, bitcoin, and would be capable of processing on a large scale. Where Bitcoin’s transaction speeds average 7 transactions per second, new blockchain-based currencies are already approaching thousands of transactions per second; Bitshares claims they can process 100,000 per second.
In fact, a newspaper in Winnipeg, Canada, has already begun to use a micropayment system to charge per article for its news content and projects earning over $100,000 in digital revenue.
Blockchain could tilt the balance of power towards individuals, not publishing powerhouses.
As mentioned previously, YouTube and Medium have dramatically increased content creators’ access to audiences and established a more democratic, popularity-based promotional scheme. Unfortunately, they are both still centralized content distribution entities that can make arbitrary and unilateral decisions. YouTube and Medium both have the right to remove comments, content or entire channels or profiles without leaving a trace.
In contrast, a blockchain content distribution platform preserves an unchangeable record of all actions. The record produced by blockchain systems creates an environment of total transparency for both content creators and media consumers, and it also ensures that all views, comments and ratings reflect the real interactions the content has experienced, leaving no room for subjective, inflated ratings or deleted bad reviews.
With nothing deleted, content producers can create and post with the security that their work and reputation will remain intact, trolls can’t hide their past bad behavior and can easily be spotted via their comment history, and all content fairly reflects its actual popularity.
Blockchain technology could provide instant payouts and security.
Today, freelancers, authors and artists working with publishing platforms are accustomed to waiting multiple months to receive payment for their work. For big-name artists, this is just part of the business. But for smaller artists, it can be difficult to wait for reimbursement without any idea of how much they will eventually be paid. The financial uncertainty, prolonged waiting periods and lack of payment transparency in current digital content media sharing platforms could be discouraging potential artists and authors from seeing content creation as a viable source of income. Instead, the system encourages content creators to seek payment, not for the quality of their content, but through product sponsorships, PR and ad-focused content.
With blockchain-based content distribution, content creators can be paid within seconds of a consumer paying for a download. Consumers would also know their purchase was directly supporting the content creators they enjoy and effectively cut out the publishing middlemen eating up the content producer’s profits.
Though blockchain technology may, at times, sound a bit hard to conceptualize, digital media distribution really shouldn’t be rocket science. While the zeros and ones behind publishing platforms get more complex, the process for content creators and consumers has simplified and should continue to do so.
The bottom line is content creators who make good quality content that people are willing to pay for deserve a simple and transparent digital media sharing platform that fairly compensates them according to the consumer demand for their work. Media consumers equally deserve the ability to directly support the content creators they enjoy. And blockchain technologies may be the disruptive technology that digital media content distribution needs.
This is a guest post by Matej Michalko, founder and CEO of DECENT. The opinions expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine.
The post Op Ed: How Blockchain Technology Will Disrupt Digital Content Distribution appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
The craze for ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) seems to be going on and instead of things starting to calm down things are actually getting more and more intense, regardless of the news that some countries may be banning them or regulating them. Nowadays all we pretty much see in our sidebar with ads, provided mostly by Google, is pretty much all about ICOs and nothing more. We are also being contacted on a daily basis by a lot of people that are willing to advertise their upcoming or already running ICO or just do a coverage. We are not big fans of Initial Coin Offerings ourselves and writing about them or even directly advertising kind of means that we either approve or endorse them or at least this is what most people will think even if that is not our intention. We have been covering some ICOs in the past, just a few actually, as giving investment advice for ICOs especially has never been the idea or goal of this website. If we see a good idea and want to help promote the project and actually use the service or product that will or is being made directly as a result of an ICO we are going to share that information anyway. In such cases we are even investing something in that particular ICO ourselves, this is how much we believe in the idea. Even then however you should not threat that as an investment advice, you should still do your own research as we may not always be right on the spot…
With all of the above said our team does not track any or all ICOs that are currently appearing, starting or ending, they are quite a lot actually and if you do not specialize on that topic alone it will be hard to cover it all. We are not investors or traders and we do not give investment or trading advice, even if we do both of these as well from time to time. We are not against ICOs as a concept, in fact we have recently taken a part of such a project ourselves – Cryptum, a project that is developing a crypto mining board game among other things, though our interest was caught by that particular side of the project. It is not an ICO that promises great things such as decentralizing the board game business or putting board games on a blockchain, it has much more reasonable goals and a business plan that actually seems quite reasonable. Taking a part in that particular project has allowed us to get a pretty good insight on how things work inside an ICO and how many people try to make profit from such projects, not caring at all about the actual product or service (the ugly side of the business).
You are still welcome to contact us if you are running an ICO, planning to start one, or have even finished such a project. We would gladly check it out if we find it interesting and may even do a coverage here, but don’t just say you want to promote an ICO and you are contacting us for advertisement rates. If you are not able to explain what your project is about in just a few sentences in an understandable way, then don’t even bother writing to us. If you cannot do at least that, then maybe you should not be running an ICO at all… just repeating a couple of keywords such as decentralizing and putting whatever it is on the blockchain all the time probably would work for some people, but not for us. If you cannot explain your idea quickly and easily, then don’t even bother trying to!
On September 8, the U.S. government’s General Services Administration (GSA)’s program “Emerging Citizen Technology” hosted a workshop titled “Emerging Technology and Open Data for a More Open Government.” The participants in the workshop were directed to draft proposals that specifically use Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain technology and open data.
“Open data and emerging technologies — including artificial intelligence and distributed ledgers, such as blockchain — hold vast potential to transform public services held back by bureaucracy and outdated IT systems,” said Emerging Citizen Technology program manager Justin Herman. “We are opening the doors to bold, fresh ideas for government accountability, transparency and citizen participation by working with U.S. businesses, civil society groups and others to shape national goals for emerging technologies and open data in public services.”
At the workshop, several government agencies have indicated a strong government backing behind the development of blockchain technology. In particular, a representative of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated that the Trump administration was serious about and committed to this technology, and would not be deterred.
The initiative is related to the fourth National Action Plan (NAP 4), which the U.S. government is releasing this year in the the framework of the multinational Open Government Partnership (OGP) and its Open Government Declaration. It is aimed at empowering citizens and advancing the ideals of an open and participatory government.
The September 8 workshop follows the first U.S. Federal Blockchain Forum, organized by the Emerging Citizen Technology program on July 18 to discuss blockchain use cases, limitations and solutions. Financial management, procurement, IT asset and supply chain management, smart contracts, patents, trademarks, copyrights, royalties, government-issued credentials, federal personnel workforce data, appropriated funds, federal assistance, and foreign aid delivery were among the government blockchain use cases discussed at the July 18 workshop. Participation was restricted to federal agencies’ managers.
The Government Blockchain Association participated in the September 8 workshop and shared details, reported by ETHNews, on the topics discussed. In particular, three priority areas were examined: a national identity system based on blockchain and biometric technologies and interoperable across different agencies; an open government innovation initiative aimed at improving the internal operations of government agencies through blockchain technology; and a blockchain open-interface framework to connect government blockchain pilots with external data systems.
The Government Blockchain Association, open to all interested individual, corporate and institutional members, was formed to explore blockchain-based solutions to problems typically faced by government entities.
“We are currently seeing deep and informed interest in blockchain [technology] across many levels of the public sector,” said Gerard Daché, Founder and President of the Government Blockchain Association. “This time next year, I would not be surprised to see dozens of pilots, legislative resolutions, and even funding spread across the various states and high up in the U.S. Federal Government specifically for piloting blockchain based innovation.”
The Association believes that blockchain technology, Bitcoin, distributed ledgers and cryptocurrencies will fundamentally transform how the government interacts with its constituents.
“We don’t believe blockchain adoption in the public sector needs to take over ten years as some suggest it might,” Daché added. “There is an excitement that is palpable so, our goal is to harness this enthusiasm and direct it into working groups that actually influence national, state and large city governmental policies.”
The post Blockchain Technology Plays a Critical Role in U.S. and International Open Government Initiatives appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Wall Street Journal reports that all Bitcoin trading will be banned in China.
SEC officials will discuss blockchain at an event in mid-October, according to public records.
Australia has introduced a new bill that, if passed, would end the country’s bitcoin “double taxation” issue.
The CEO of Japanese finance group MUFG said today that big bank-issued digital currencies aren’t quite the same as bitcoin.
Distributed ledgers could help update ageing central banking systems, says a new report, but issuing cryptocurrencies will be a more complex affair.